The Descents of Man: Descents to “Civilization” — Control … Human Devolution in Light of the Trauma of Birth; Our Separation from Nature Began When We Stood Up


The Descents of Man:

Descents to “Civilization” — Control … Human Devolution in Light of the Trauma of Birth; Our Separation from Nature Began When We Stood Up

— which is Chapter 6 of *Psychology of Apocalypse: Ecopsychology, Activism, and the Prenatal Roots of Humanicideby Michael Adzema, coming to print book and e-book format March-April, 2018.




The Descents of Man:

Descents to “Civilization” — Control … Human Devolution in Light of the Trauma of Birth; Our Separation from Nature Began When We Stood Up


“We remain … one of the few species whose bodies have adaptations suited to water as well as land.”

“…bipedalism is rare in Nature. As bipedal humans, we were beginning a whole new adventure for life on planet Earth.”

“Civilization describes the whole sum of the achievements and the regulations which distinguish our lives from those of our animal ancestors and which serve two purposes — namely to protect men against nature and to adjust their mutual relations.” — Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents



Having established how we are different from all other species and have become human, let us now look at contemporary humans’ distinction from the natural world of planetmates. For we find that our fall from grace in Nature began when we were still apes — prehomonids is the usual way of saying it — and still living harmoniously with the rest of the world.1

Descents from Grace, Human Devolution

After that Edenal time there was a step-by-step descent from that state of grace till we arrive at our situation of industrial civilization today. There were developments that increased our split from Nature. It happened over time, gradually, imperceptibly. This supposed evolution, actually a devolution, is related to birth pain … indeed, they are all direct results of birth trauma. For that trauma results in fear and insecurity. And the response to fear and insecurity is a drive to control. That drive to control is another way humans are different from all other species. It is also a way humans in the modern era are different from prototypical humans, from primal humans.

Let me explain.

The First Descent — Bipedalism

A long long time ago … we’re talking millions of years, double digits millions … our ancestors lived in trees in a region of the Earth now called Africa.

Humanity’s First Home Was the Trees

Our primate forbears were arboreal, scurrying along tree limbs and with a small amount of ability to brachiate, that is, to swing below the limbs and branches, like some primates do today. We slept in branches, and we took nourishment from the trees. We were primarily fruitarian, augmenting our diet with insects, caterpillars, and the like. We did not hunt or eat meat. Foraging was the way to go and was eminently sufficient during normal times. Life was good; but as happens, it did not last forever.

A change came upon the Earth. It was a global warming during the Miocene Era. The Miocene Era lasted from 23 to 5.3 million years ago and included periods of both warming and cooling of the Earth’s climate, though overall it was warmer than the preceding Oligocene Era and the following Pliocene. Before sharp drops in temperature at around fourteen million years ago and again at eight million years ago, the Earth had experienced a particularly torrid time. This warming began at around twenty-one million years ago and receded only about fourteen mya. Life was no longer so good. The days were hot and discomforting. Rising temperatures meant tree lines receded, leaving open space in Africa for savannah and desert. Vegetation was harder to come by. Very many, most actually, of our would-be progenitors died off. That would have been the end, and we would not be around today, except for….


Our Second Residence Was Waterfront Property

Luckily for us, some of our ancestors did live near oceans, streams, marshes, rivers, and lakes. And what a relief it was to have water to cool off with on those hot scorching days.

Furthermore, this was the best possible place to forage. Vegetation still grew prodigiously near water sources. Sure, we had to share those waterholes with other planetmates, which included lions and other carnivores; and that was occasionally fatal.

Yet the water was also the best place — and oftentimes, along the seashores, the only place — to escape from predators. So in addition to our former way of seeking refuge in the trees, around water we could make our way out into it as well to escape. Most carnivores looking at us as lunch were averse to water. Their loss, our gain.

Even better, there were other … different and more varied … food sources that came with water. Shorelines, marshlands, and lakesides provided both welcome relief from the increased temperatures as well as served up succulent new foods such as fish, crab, kelp, snails, and items comparable to what we know of as oyster, lobster, and mussels, today. This was in addition to the lush vegetation that grew near water.

Whereas most of our species at that time died off, those who had waterfront property thrived.

Which, strangely enough, is exactly the opposite of what will happen in the near future with climate change and the sea and ocean levels rising today. There’s a cruel karmic justice for ya.

But back then, it was an advantage to be by the sea. We were still planetmates and Earth Citizens, of course, and we belonged in Nature. We retained our planetmate nobility and took our honored spot in the ecosystem of Gaia. We were still in Eden, so to speak.

Then a fateful development ensued.

Our First Split with Nature Began When We Stood Up

You see, in the water there is a huge advantage in foraging to be able to raise oneself up on one’s hind legs. One could go out further in the water, much further. Naturally, those that did increased their success in acquiring food. They survived; they reproduced. They won out in the process of natural selection.

There was an even greater advantage attached to water in terms of safety from predators. Again, wading out as far as possible brought the greatest security.

For both reasons, over time our primate ancestors found it increasingly advantageous to stand up. And not just to stand up, but to stay up! And for long periods of time. Considering the reasons — food acquisition and safety from predators, which both involve survival and with one of them being extra motivating to endure long periods of uprightness so as to avoid a ghastly and brutal end — there was huge incentive to stay out in the water for extensive lengths of time, standing. And to avoid being eaten as well as to get the best things for eating, oftentimes it was the most benefit to be standing as far out in the water as could be, with only one’s head above the surface.

At first we were practicing our new skill of keeping our “chins up” (old chum) only in water. Eventually, for other reasons we found it helpful to be bipedal on land as well. These included keeping one’s hands and arms available for carrying an infant, for with our loss of hair … oh, did I fail to mention that? … yes, we lost our hair like all other mammals who go out to sea … and I assure you, we were not the first. Anyway, with our loss of hair, infants could no longer hold onto fur, as our primate relatives do. Furthermore, with humans being born more helpless than our cousins and staying that way for a longer period of time after birth, our very young ones were not developed enough to cling anyway. We’ll get into that shortly, with prematurity of birth and secondary altriciality.

The Naked and Aquatic Ape

Now, over the course of millions of years, because of our semi-marine lifestyle, our bodies changed in myriad ways. We lost our hair, as I said: It was helpful, when in water and especially when swimming, to not be encumbered with fur. Yet the hair on our heads remained and grew longer. For in water, a toddler could grasp its mother’s hair, while she was foraging, so as to stay in proximity with her and avoid the dangers of being separated and possibly even drowning.

Our fingers became more sensitive and more useful, for that was a great help in finding and acquiring food items beneath the water.

Our eyesight was already pretty good. Having been tree-dwellers, it was hugely important to be able to distinguish shapes and patterns and for our vision to have keen three-dimensionality and binocular perspective to be able to judge limbs and distances well to keep from falling and possibly dying. Well, in the water, super-duper vision was nice to have, too; but we developed it even more. For looking through the water to find food was aided considerably by better eyesight.

What was not that important anymore was the sense of smell. Whereas our primate sisters and many mammalian cousins have a keen ability to make out odors and scents, we began losing ours. In the water, there were nowhere near the complex odors and scents as on verdant land with its intricate, multi-aspected vegetation, infinitely complex dirt and ground cover, and varied beings … all emitting different, intense, and “highly informative” smells.

There, in the forest, it was a huge advantage to have super smell. Not so much in the water, surrounded by bland smelling ocean or sea water, with little complexity or variation to it. Even worse, the chemical substances eliciting smell, so abundant in the woods, would be washed away, while in water. Or they would drift off on the breeze and not linger as long, like they did when there was vegetation and trees all around.

Additionally, while foraging in water, it was an advantage to communicate with others of our own. Smell was a good way for land-dwellers to convey emotion and messages. The scents of the forest and other planetmates, particularly our own kind, were rich and revealing. The water, much less so.

So for informational purposes, we developed two of our abilities exceedingly — the ability to make meaningful sounds to communicate and a refined capability to convey emotion, thought, and intent through facial expression. The first would lead to language, over a very long time. The second grew out of the fact that in water, at times, it was only or primarily our heads that were visible.

It was quite an advantage in acquiring food to be able to communicate with our own, so being able to send and receive signals by way of facial expressions was a huge boon. We could not use our body language as much in water. Being often up to our heads in it, sometimes we could not wave our arms to signal alarm. It was difficult to indicate displeasure or irritation with one’s body posture alone. Signals for happiness, pleasure, and direction were similarly muted. As mentioned, using smell for communication, as many in our extended family did to achieve the same ends, was no longer possible.

Hence, we became ever more adept at portraying messages through our faces, culminating in tiny but finely tuned movements in facial muscles and the ever more refined changes in facial expression that would make possible. On the other side of that, we became skilled readers of each other’s facial expressions. To this day, we might not be very good at reading body language, but if you look at actors and the way they can convey so much information with a slight change of lip, eyebrow, head movement, or such — sometimes movements of muscles in the face practically imperceptible, yet we get the message — you will see how profoundly good we got at understanding each other’s feelings, emotions, and even thoughts that way. We can tell a lot by “the look on his (her) face.”

These are only a few of the many ways our bodies changed, and in these kinds of changes we were not all that unusual in Nature. Other species had been land-dwelling and had actually made a complete change of residence to the sea. Among these are the seals, dolphins, whales, walruses, and dugong, also known as sea cows. They had all once lived on land. The whale was once a land dwelling quadruped, like any other of the furry animals we see around us today. And the manatee evolved from a creature that had similarities to both an elephant and a rabbit. Imagine that.

The changes in their bodies were huge … as were the changes in their sizes, by the way. Limbs that were important on land became rather useless in the water, and flippers and fins and the like were better things to bring to water. In water, removing the limitations of gravity, as it did, meant that size, shape, and weight were not constrained. Sea mammals became big and blubbery. Which is something that we only now, with our corporate control of food pushing nutritionless starchy, sugary, and salty foods to the near elimination of all else, are pulling off with our increased weight and heft.

World-Straddlers … Return to the Interior

However, we never made that complete transition to water like they did. We remain to this day one of the few species whose bodies have adaptations suited to water as well as land. Our cohorts in that regard are pigs and elephants, interestingly enough. Nevertheless, with a status midway between primates and dolphins, this was the first of many instances where humans found themselves on the borders of erstwhile hard and fast categories. Not only would it not be the last, but it is one of the things that ended up defining us. We were world-straddlers, like it not, for good or ill. And oftentimes it was for the worst.

Part of the reason we never became fully aquatic was also due to climate changes. Days were getting cooler again, and those of us who lived along the seas would begin making our way increasingly toward the interior of the continent and begin spending more of our time on land.

Perhaps it was that those who were inland thrived more, but it is also possible that those ancestors of ours with oceanfront property worked their way up the rivers back to Africa central. Or both of those factors contributed. For one thing, now that the Earth was cooling again, it was not as crucial to be in water. It was not as comfortable either. How our desire to go swimming changes on cool and cloudy days, eh?  

There might also have been more disincentives to forage in waters in the interior than there were down by the sea. If it had been the case that our direct ancestors first evolved along the ocean, then when it got cooler, they might actually have wanted to follow the rivers and streams inland for more comfortable, warmer weather. However, along the ocean, there would be relatively few dangers in the water. Sharks were rather uncommon and only occasionally fatal. Other dangers, such as sting rays, could be survived. Whereas, inland there would be more dangers to survival in the water. There were crocodiles and alligators and their like; there were poisonous water snakes in more abundance than by the sea. These, along with the fact that the land surrounding began giving up more in the way of groceries were incentives to stay on the land more and to seek food there more often.

Indeed, while our ancestors came from the interior of Africa and were marsh, swamp, stream, and lake likers, we eventually had less and less need to go into the water; and we found more and more reasons to be on land. Our bipedalism at least made that an interesting change from those we saw around us who were loping about on four legs.

For certainly, bipedalism is rare in Nature. As bipedal humans, we were beginning a whole new adventure for life on planet Earth.

To summarize, we began as apes and as tree-dwellers. However, a change in climate around twenty million years ago caused our forebears to congregate around water supplies — lakes, oceans, streams, and swamps. Water afforded relief from the heat as well as provided abundant food sources which were becoming scarcer in the interior of Africa. Foraging in waters made standing upright to be an advantage in natural selection, for one could go out into deeper waters and expand one’s possibilities for success. Retreating to water was also a way to protect against some kinds of predators who were averse to water. Standing for long periods of time in water made bipedalism increasingly advantageous; it was favored in natural selection.

Second Descent — Birth Trauma

So, along the line of our early evolution, prehumans stood up and became bipedal. However, this resulted in a different structuring of our bones, of course. Most significantly, standing up achieved a different configuration of our pelvic bones. The different alignment made it so the pelvic ring, through which babies needed to be born, became smaller. The prenate’s head was larger, along every dimension, than the widest opening of the pelvic ring, and we only were able to be born by adaptations involving a softer bone in the skull, which could be molded to allow birth, and the evolution of hormones to relax and lubricate the female in areas around the birth canal during delivery. Regardless, humans began being unique in Nature in having the first ever occurrence of routine birth trauma, with difficult and longer deliveries, and excessive pain to both the mother and the neonate. These things are all relative, of course. It is in comparison to the rest of Nature and to what our evolutionary line experienced earlier that we have birth trauma, difficult deliveries, and greater pain for both participants.




The resulting birth pain gave prehumans bigger brains to deal with that trauma and keep it from affecting their ability to survive. As Janov and Holden (1975) have pointed out, the majority of our big brains is employed in keeping pain repressed … keeping out information, not raising our intellect. Thus humans have bigger brains in order to process bigger traumas at our beginnings. Again, this is relative to the rest of Nature, in particular our nearest relatives among planetmates, monkeys and apes.

Third Descent — Prematurity

Now, the big brains required a longer gestation for their development. However, the gestation required of twenty-one months for the level of maturation at birth comparable to our nearest planetmate relatives did not fit with natural selection. Evolutionary pressures, such as those involving a mother’s ability to forage and not be incapacitated with pregnancy, came into play, putting limits on the length of gestation. Our evolutionary response was to be born sooner — prematurity — and to finish the second half of our brain’s maturation after birth. This is called secondary altriciality.



Secondary Altriciality

In very many species the young are born helpless and needing assistance to survive. This characteristic of helplessness at the beginnings of life is termed altricial. We are the only species, however, who have an additional time of helplessness requiring attentive care; we are said to have secondary altriciality. Because we were premature relative to our primate relatives in Nature, we had to have that period of twelve months, which in primates would be in the womb, outside in the world of society. That is to say, with people, basically the parents.

Now, this meant that we were experiencing pain at the beginnings of life through birth trauma, then also through the fact that parents could not possibly take care of the needs of an infant as well as Nature could, as is the case with our primate relatives who experience their comparable brain development in utero.

Fourth Descent — Fetal Malnutrition

Another development that came with bipedalism is that in the late stages of gestation, the prenate would be so large that it would press against the blood vessels in the surrounding environment and inhibit the blood flow to the extent that nutrients and oxygen were not supplied sufficiently. A big part of that reduction of blood flow came out of the fact that standing up magnified that constriction of blood vessels. By contrast, the fetuses of our four-legged primate cousins hang loosely below the mother, not impeding the blood flow.

resized fetal malnutrition , contrast cropped ... this is the one


Because of this reduction in the supply of nutrients to the fetus, the arc of growth, at the end of gestation, flattens out and does not catch up and begin retracing the curve established earlier in gestation until after birth. The prenate’s growth, measured by its weight, as well as body length, slows significantly beginning in the third trimester and especially during the last four weeks of gestation and resumes its spurt only when it is no longer in the womb. By comparison, our ape relatives, not to mention other planetmates, do not have that prenatal arrest of development.


fetal malnutrition graph, length

Thus, we were beginning to have fetal malnutrition, because of our upright gait, which was another source of hellacious pain for us as neonates having vast consequences for human psychology. We stood up, and our soon-to-be-born children got really crowded in the womb. They were suffocating and starving in there, too.

Fifth Descent—Ego

Big brains were one way of dealing with this ever-mounting pain and trauma at our beginnings. However, concomitant to that was the creation of an Ego. In order to keep our early pain repressed as well as to seek the satisfaction of needs — now dependent on society for them — in a haphazard world, with no real certainty those needs would be met, we evolved an adaptation of consciousness that was split from Nature and removed from our experience of life. This Ego, being separate from experience, sought to act as a director or controller of the items of our consciousness as well as of our immediate environment.


fetus in womb, worked

Our egos were modeled upon our parents, of course. So we would have all the shortcomings they had. Or we would have others in response or in reaction to theirs. This is called human personality.

Sixth Descent — Mistrust

Both traumas — birth trauma and fetal malnutrition — contributed to the growth of that Ego and affected our personalities in many and varied ways. Part of this was the way it made imperfect humans even more lacking in caring for their infants. Thus we “acquired” even more pain because of insufficient satisfaction of needs.

Mistrust of Nature Led to Control Compulsion

Altogether we learned, early in our lives, that the world around us could not be relied on. Consequently, we began an ever-increasing mistrust of the world, which manifested, critically, in our relation to Nature and our feelings about how well we could have our needs met in it. Since we mistrusted, we began controlling. Control came in to fill the gap of mistrust that lay between need and satisfaction.

Seventh Descent — Hunting

While in Nature, our needs were taken care of, but with this increasing mistrust and out of the fear that it engendered, we began thinking we needed to augment our vegetarian diet. We began killing planetmates, which we call hunting.

Eighth Descent — Murder

Killing planetmates, who are so much like us, and with the repression of conscience required, or, one might say the insensitivity, that came of that, we were able to kill each other. Cain killed Abel is the way The Bible expresses that, metaphorically.



Ninth Descent — Farming

This increased our anxiety and mistrust and the consequent compulsion to control … out of fear of lack of resources … and the next part of Nature that compulsion was directed to was the plant kingdom. We began growing our food — horticulture — to augment our gathering and hunting. This led to farming, to the agrarian revolution, and to agriculture, in time.

Tenth Descent — Husbandry

Controlling now our food sources through planetmate flesh (meat) and the plant kingdom, the next step was naturally to begin growing those planetmates in place, just as we had their distant sister plants. This is called domestication of animals or animal husbandry.

Eleventh Descent — Sedentary Life and Storage

Now, all this sedentary living, required for farming and husbandry, made it that we could store more things, which we were not wont to do when we were nomadic and would have had to lug it with us. Hence, we were “settled” in place, and we stored things.

Twelfth Descent — Accumulation

The ability to store meant that some people would store more than others. Those who accumulated more would have influence, and eventually control, over those who stored less. Ten thousand years ago, the rich began calling the tune to which all society would need to dance. We have, with this, the beginning of civilization. As I heard it put recently, civilization is “they lock up the food.”

Thirteenth Descent — Hierarchy

Folks who accumulated more — let us call them Large Accumulators, the earliest of what today we call the wealthy — could dominate and control, now, beyond the things of Nature, also their fellow humans. Levels of power arose, with those above dominating those below and those lower on the societal ladder needing to conform and abide by the wishes of those above, for security and sustenance reasons. This is hierarchy, and it comes into play with sedentary living and the rise of centralized living — that is, villages, then cities, then states. All are characterized by a hierarchy of power where those above could call the tune … domination; and the ones below would need to dance to the tune of another, and could no longer pursue ends of their own, which is submission.

Naturally, this inequality of wealth evolved into a hierarchical arrangement of dominance and submission. Each level would control those below while being conforming and sycophantic to all those above. We have an incipient class war and an overt culture war going back to this time. For those at the top would wish to hide the injustice in this setup through social constructions, such as law, mores, and religion, which would divide the classes and keep them pitted against each other, rather than focusing their blame on the ones in control.

Losing our relatively noble status as when we lived in the egalitarian cultures characteristic of gather-hunters, we began living in societies where controlling others or being controlled colored all our social interactions, and an incipient class war festered beneath the surface.

Fourteenth Descent — Misogyny

Since men were being controlled by higher ups outside the family, they began taking that model of authoritarian control into the family, as well. This was first applied to children, but at this point it began being directed at women. Wives were required to submit to their mates in a manner similar to the way men were being required to submit outside the family. This soothed men’s humiliation born of submission to other men by having it balanced in the family with being able to experience domination of women, particularly wives. Again, we have Ego stepping in to keep our pain repressed, regardless who around us it might hurt.

The root of all our problems is our obsession to control and its resulting domination of everything around us. For humans, Ego became the prime motivation in life, towering over everything else and any other impulse. 

Nature did just fine for billions of years before us, but we began the rationalization — continuing right up to today — that it now needed us to manage it … to have dominion over it … for it was essentially just a soulless machine. People lived and loved and enjoyed life for millions of years, but our strong men and patriarchs would concoct the idea that our Small Accumulators, women, and children would be utterly lost without their telling them what to do. For — as men told themselves — these underlings were less “divine” and were closer to that dreaded and scapegoated “animal” state — defined as that which is “out of control” and “wild.”



Fifteenth Descent — Child Use

With all this extra work required to grow food and raise it as planetmates, it was deemed helpful to engage children into the mix by making them assist in the work at younger and younger ages. Thus, we began controlling our children, like everything else, and with that came not just child labor but also child abuse.

Child Abuse and Human Tool Use — Humans Become Abominations in Nature

Separation from the Divine meant separation from all else, all others, even one’s own offspring, along with increasing isolation, and increasing reinforcement of the alien, backwards, consciousness construct, Ego. Humans began secretly to think, “There’s nothing really alive but me.”

Consequently, newborns were seen in exactly the same way as other beings being controlled — as just as worthy an investment, and little more, as raising kidnapped Earth Citizens and just as acceptable for coercion, for forced enlistment, in the survival schemes of the now rootless, directionless sedentary humans

All these controlling tendencies of all-seen-as-not-ego were alike in their estimation and implementation: control of life ways; all Earth Citizens — fauna and flora; other humans; and dependent newborns. They were all seen increasingly as “things” to be manipulated and used for Ego survival. They were all gradually deprived of their status as being conscious, of having consciousness, as being akin to self and one’s consciousness.

Sixteenth Descent — Work

A major development came in with hierarchy and its patterns of dominance and submission which was a monumental change in the experience of life of humans. With dominant folks directing affairs, lesser people were brought into line to work toward the satisfaction of the needs of those above and would have little time left over to attend to their own. We created work when we began buying other’s time, and selling our own, in exchange for survival. This created an onerous existence for humanity which was vastly different from the rich experiences of life that our ancestors, previous to that, had enjoyed.

Seventeenth Descent — Religion

This controlling not being enough, the elite added still more tools to their arsenals of domination. We have the individualistic spirituality of the gatherer-hunters called shamanism — in which everyone could work out their relation to the Divine — being deformed into religion. Religion put other people in as mediators with the Divine — priests — and religion was slanted along the lines of the desires and wishes of the higher ups, the elite. Consequently, obedience to higher power, rather than individualistic and creative relation to the Divine, took over as the ethic.

Gods and Patriarchality

Controlled and increasingly living in fear, people imagined gods, then concocted them, who were amalgamations of the authoritarian figures of the society and culture — the fathers-husbands and the wealthy Controllers. Religion became infused with a morality, a patriarchal one, that was only superficially covered up for what it really was — a mechanism to keep the family members, in particular the wives and children, as well as the masses in line. This increase of control represented a gradual loss of self, or soul, from all these factors; and the process continued, with religion and the elites of society directing the populace of society along ends specifically suited to themselves.

Thought and Emotion Control

After all this controlling of everything and everyone about and now with religion added as a tool, the inner thoughts and emotions of the masses were next to be conquered and wrangled into submission.

Inner life was targeted for control to serve toward two ends: For the masters, it was more effective than external control to keep the masses from noticing their enslavement and, in the throes of righteous injustice, rising up against their oppressors.

For the oppressed masses it served in their attempts to defend … even more defensiveness was required now … against the pain building up in them from all the assaults on their felicity to date. To function in such a deprived and unhappy state, folks needed to put out of their minds and to repress — with all their might and using all the devices at their disposal, including religion — the pains emanating from prenatal malnutrition, birth, guilty consciences from killing, huge workloads to survive, abuse as children, domination by a wealthy elite and/or by males, and finally religion itself.

Sexual and Pleasure Repression

Hugely important amid the thought-and-emotion control was that of sexual behavior. Religion and the Controllers embraced the notion that even sexuality was a source of uninhibited expression of emotion, outside the control of the elite, so sexuality became demonized … at least for the lowly. Sexuality was both a reminder of our erstwhile belongingness in Nature as well as it was a powerful source of potential defiance, thus requiring repression.

The quality of life of the dominated, including love, was more than just not important to the Controllers, which was true. On a level so fundamental it could not even be seen, the personal feelings, motivations, and individual ends of those lower in status got in the way of the ends the Controllers had in mind. Human feeling, intention, and choice were thought to be arenas designated only for them. Those who controlled deemed themselves risen to the heavens, at times thinking they were gods, at times demanding they be thought of that way.

In this scheme, the subdued and the server classes were viewed as no more than props in the dramas the elite would concoct. They were not more important, often even less so, than the planetmates who had earlier been enslaved, similarly to be used at will by humanity. And sexuality for the underlings, like it was for planetmates, was an unpredictable variable, arising from “messy” biology and human feeling, which was inconvenient to the Controllers in the attainment of their ends. It would not at all benefit the Controllers for their underlings to be happy or satisfied. In fact, messy emotion would work against the higher ups’ desire to have those below attend to their needs, not their own. It was an element of life that would be out of their control

So, pleasure in general, sexual pleasure in particular, was increasingly devalued, downplayed, moralized against, even demonized, and therefore suppressed, using religion as the tool, in favor of values that benefited those at the top — values which were centered upon hard-work and obedience. This repression of sexuality, love relationship, and tender human feeling was added to the piles of hurt that humans carried, which needed to be suppressed so that ordinary folks could even function … and most definitely so they could act in the productive manners beneficial to and demanded by their dominators. We were on the road to soul murder.



Repression of Individuality

The extent to which overlords wished to drive all individuality and feeling out of their underlings is exemplified in a sight we see everywhere in all patriarchal societies, and pretty much only in patriarchal cultures. That sight is of the soldier, guard, attendant standing at attention and unmoving, often near at hand to the Controller — the king, royalty, military or political personage, or tyrant. What better way to indicate that person in attendance is not a person or alive but is only a tool to be used at the overlord’s whim.

Notice how no amount of movement is allowed. For any such action arising out of the volition of the underling would indicate an individuality, separate from the Controllers, that was wanted to be beaten out and removed from the personality of the soldier or guard. The message is clear: “Your life is not your own. It is mine. Don’t even think of having an idea of your own, let alone an independent action. No. Your body is mine to direct and manipulate. Keep it in the corner, quiet and unmoving, until I tell you what to do with it.” The thinking  here is no different from that of storing one’s guns in a locker, keeping one’s car in the driveway.

This practice continues right up to modern times where we see, as some kind of goal or achievement, the control and orchestration of individuals and groups and their every tiny movement, every action, to be in “lock step” with others, with absolutely no individuality or non-conformity at all. Clearly we see this in boot camps, where they march in formation, stand at attention, frozen, only moving in a way that is in complete synchrony with the others in the group. In ways like this we are told we are nothing … we are on the level of a tool, or a thing. It has its beginnings even with the marching to and from class in grade school … to and from lunch … to and from the lavatory…. Do not get out of line! We are told our lives only have value as determined and put into action by higher ups.



For only with such complete conformity, such machine-like regimentation, did Controllers feel that they could be safe from insurrection. Only with it could they feel that they could elicit actions from their subordinates in which the underlings would put their lives at risk for the ends of the elite. Or do any other thing, however disagreeable, that the Controller would not want to do. Look to any parade, any military ceremony, half-time at any high school football game to see how this kind of total non-individuality is put out as the ideal, as the paragon of total repression of self, which is desired in a patriarchy. All so its elites can wield control and power maximally.

Propaganda, Positive Thinking, and Pharmaceuticals

Hence, methods of mind control developed, ever modified and perfected. It took the form of things similar to the positive thinking and the pharmaceutical suppression we see in modern times. For both serve to aid one in running away from the trauma and pain within and to delude oneself that everything is different than it really is. Such a delusional trance of fake happiness … “just put on a happy face” “smile, though you feel like crying, smile, what’s the use of sighing” … was needed to avoid the huge loss of self-esteem, and thus effectiveness (“use”), that would come with a knowledge of all that one was enduring … and all unfairly … if one compared oneself with Nature.

Indeed, one did keenly feel an unfairness in one’s life. Though it would not do for it to be acknowledged; it was another “inconvenient” feeling requiring repression. For we retained, in our needs and desires at least, a knowledge of what we really wanted. And what we longed for desperately were the same things we had been having while in Nature, over the course of millions of years, which were now being denied, supremely, over the course of the last five-to-ten-thousand-some years.

Eighteenth Descent — Culture

The amalgamation of all these Ego tendencies — which included controlling traits, conforming and sycophancy tendencies, and separation from the Divine and Nature and the loss of connection to feeling or to a life lived with “felt experience” — is culture. Culture developed, in civilizations, in concert with the loss of Divine connection. It created a mesmerizing maze in which to get lost and to hide from oneself one’s lost experience of life. Culture is a weed without roots, it is the fury we create to block out our emptiness. Ignorance of the Divine made for some pretty a-mazing untruths and empty rituals.



Nineteenth Descent — Soul Murder

Thus, with the assistance of mind control that was imposed — things akin to morality, propaganda, and religion; augmented by mind control that was self-administered, which would include things like thought control, positive thinking, “creating one’s reality,” “channeling” of one’s drives for fulfillment, and sublimating of one’s desires; along with trivial distractions from one’s experience of self through mindless entertainment, mind-numbing work, and such; and finally with the boost provided by the modern pharmaceuticals serving to put blinders on one’s thoughts and to restrict one’s feelings and emotions and channel them along those “appropriate” lines helpful to the higher ups … with all of these together we had the ability to achieve a pretty good murder of the conscience, of the soul.


And with this we have the achievement of the heights of “civilization” — the sociopath. All human “evolution,” characterized as it is by increasing control of everything and anyone around, reaches its fruition in the creation of a personality without the ability to empathize, which enables a human to kill, steal, manipulate, bully, destroy the environment, kill off species, and dominate without conscience or remorse — all in the service of narcissistic desires and greed. The sociopath is the logical and inevitable omega point of man’s descent from Nature. Commiserations to Teilhard de Chardin for having gotten it backward, regarding his Omega Point, under the nearly unbreakable spell of the overweening anthropocentrism which arose in tandem to such sociopathy, sharing many of its qualities.

Indeed, while this evolutionary “advance” — sociopathy — came into play with civilization, especially among elites and Controllers, these tendencies can be seen to characterize and be at play in the majority of human personalities at this time in history. While mostly recognizing these traits in their most extreme form, most humans will fail to see the reflections of them in their own selves. Unfeeling, insensitive, greedy, narcissistic, anthropocentric, and self-centered people will not know they are that way. And seeing everyone around them as much the same, they will hardly know it can be any different.

This is where we are today and why we need to return to our primal personalities, in tune with Nature and the Divine.

The Descents of Man

In sum, these descents, in relative order of their appearance in time or, if they occurred concurrently, their priority as being causative were as so,

  • First Descent — Bipedalism
  • Second Descent — Birth Trauma
  • Third Descent — Prematurity
  • Fourth Descent — Fetal Malnutrition
  • Fifth Descent — Ego
  • Sixth Descent — Mistrust
  • Seventh Descent — Hunting
  • Eighth Descent — Murder
  • Ninth Descent — Farming
  • Tenth Descent — Husbandry
  • Eleventh Descent — Sedentary Life and Storage
  • Twelfth Descent — Accumulation
  • Thirteenth Descent — Hierarchy … control of others, inequality, domination and submission, class war
  • Fourteenth Descent — Misogyny … domination of women, domination and submission brought into the family
  • Fifteenth Descent — Child Use…. and Abuse … domination and control of offspring, mistreatment and exploitation of children, family “armies” and work groups
  • Sixteenth Descent — Work
  • Seventeenth Descent — Religion … instead of spirituality, beginnings of impersonal and ritualized practice in relation to Divinity and authority, sycophantic worship instead of connection with Divinity, phantom and transcendent gods
  • Eighteenth Descent — Culture
  • Nineteenth Descent — Soul Murder … control of thoughts and self, avoidance-denial of pain, ultimate loss of empathy and conscience (the sociopaths of today and of history) and, thus, the ability to engage in war, hate crimes, burning of Jews and witches, genocides, ecocide, and to murder from afar and upon command.


So we arrive at our situation today, separated from Nature and about to bring down the whole shebang out of our pure contrariness. Oh, what to do. Well, at this point we are thoroughly removed from Eden; we have cast aside natural ways. “By the sweat of our face we will eat our bread.” We have learned to work hard, to forgo pleasure. And we never look back, lest we be confronted by that burning pain of birth pain. Let us now bring that aspect of it deeper into focus.


— from Chapter 6, titled “The Descents of Man:  Descents to “Civilization” — Control … Human Devolution in Light of the Trauma of Birth; Our Separation from Nature Began When We Stood Up”

— of *Psychology of Apocalypse: Ecopsychology, Activism, and the Prenatal Roots of Humanicide* by Michael Adzema, coming to print book and e-book format March-April, 2018.

Click for a free downloadable copy of this excerpt from *Psychology of Apocalypse*, with my compliments.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell





— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….


*Dance of the Seven Veils  I(2017). 

At Amazon at

At Amazon at
 At Amazon at

*Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness* (2014).

At Amazon at

See Michael Adzema at Amazon for any other of the eleven books currently in print.



About sillymickel

Activist, psychotherapist, pre- and perinatal psychologist, author, and environmentalist. I seek to inspire others to our deeper, more natural consciousness, to a primal, more delightful spirituality, and to taking up the cause of saving life on this planet, as motivated by love.
This entry was posted in anthropology, Apocalypse, Consciousness, Ecopsychology, Environment, extinction, God, History, Michael Adzema author, Mysticism, new paradigm, personal growth, philosophy, Planetmates, Pre and Perinatal Psychology, psychology, science, Spirituality, Transpersonal Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Descents of Man: Descents to “Civilization” — Control … Human Devolution in Light of the Trauma of Birth; Our Separation from Nature Began When We Stood Up

  1. Pingback: We learned, early in our lives, the world could not be relied on. We began an ever-increasing mistrust of it, which manifested, critically, in our relation to Nature. Control came in to fill the gap of mistrust that lay between need and satisfaction. | Ap

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