High Risk And All Grown Up
As the media-dust stirred from alleged sexual abuse of young women by the newly appointed justice to the Supreme Court fell, blanketing the land with its gray shock-and-awe numbness, a mother wrote: predator abuse, sexual and misogyny in general, of women, children and, I declare, the environment, is rooted in the way we model and condition our children, more specifically young boys. Quite right. She then prescribed a few well intended interventions –mostly in vain.
Strategy No. 1:
Make your boys feel as comfortable as possible experiencing and discussing emotions.
Strategy No. 2:
Teach your kids to set and respect physical boundaries.
Strategy No. 3:
Model respectful behavior and regularly engage with your kids about what that means.
Applying these and other behavior modifications to a mal-adapted sensory-emotional and therefore aberrant intellect, is like trying to teaching a dog to write poetry. Aberrant Intellect? I’m afraid so. Nature invested several million years evolving and perfecting the sensory and emotional brain centers. What we call intellect or reason is imbedded in, derives its input from, and is dependent on these more ancient centers. Aberrant, malformed or twisted sensory and emotional integration feeds the newly imaginative centers with equally twisted input. Garbage in, garbage out. Reaching for the sky demands a solid foundation. Sadly, our definition of intellect does not include the integrative force of bonded empathy or, by another name, the intelligence of the heart, resulting in, as Joseph Chilton Pearce often said, “intellect asking only if it is possible without regard to appropriateness.”
With this we can say, and with absolute confidence, that the culturally approved, praised and often well-paid predator-rapist is created, not born. Approved? Predators? Rapist? Again, yes. Another sexual assault every 98 seconds doesn’t just happen. We create this and are complicit, responsible. Rooted deep in the original sprouting of sensory and emotional neural connections, something goes wrong (or right, as Howard Bloom describes below, in the systematic way innately loving boys were turned onto warriors in ancient Sparta). Instead of nurturing, comfort, safety and pleasure, physical sensations were twisted to produce discomfort, fear or pain, or worse still – starvation – sensory deprivation. In place of expected safe, pleasurable nurturing, formative physical and emotional experiences reaped negative or toxic, not positive, effects, feelings and meaning, patterns that begin to leach their influence with predictable results: successful, well-paid predator-males.
Trump’s public humiliation of Kavanaugh’s alleged victim is an integral part of the rapist profile: self-aggrandizing, personal domination, humiliation and control. Lust is a legitimate drive, but let’s face it, overrated. It wasn’t lust that drove Cosby and Harvey to exploit, disable, use and plunder. Rape is not sexual, rather a brutal, selfish act of violence where sexuality is used as the weapon to dominate, humiliate and control, and is, in all its forms, emergent from and an expression of a mal-adapted, aberrant, and/or twisted male intellect. Think about it. Why would a well-developed, integrated and empathic brain even conceive of rape when authentic, ecstatic coupling is nature’s design? Hard-wired in the early developing male brain, the rapist profile is little affected by the well-intended prescriptions noted above. Don’t bother locking the gate, the horses left the barn long ago.
In her classic The Continuum Concept, Jean Leidloff describes how ‘boys will not be boys,’ as she observed prehistoric native children and parenting deep in the Amazon. The loud, aggressive, often violent boyish-behaviors she grew to expect in Manhattan were sharply absent. James W. Prescott, PhD., predicated with astonishing accuracy the peaceful or violent nature of 49 primitive cultures based on mothers carrying their infants, with its implicit sensual body contact and breastfeeding, along with the acceptance or punishment of adolescent sexuality. Decades of research lead Jim to describe two cultural-defined brain structures. One I call the bonded-empathic brain that integrates sensory, emotion and intellect into one unified experience, and the other, the unboned, isolated brain where intellect and perception of self are disassociated from sensation and emotion. In one, mutual and reciprocal relationships govern. In the other, an emerging isolated and implicitly selfish, self-centered-self or ego governs, selfishness being a coping strategy, a defense against a world and its relationships that are painful, that cannot be trusted, therefore must be dominated and controlled.
With these two developmental paths in mind, empathic-integrative and isolated-dissociative, the critical importance of early and extended nurturing, especially for males, comes sharply into focus. Expanding on Ashley Montagu’s landmark book, The Natural Superiority of Women, where Montagu demonstrates in biological, psychological and emotional terms that males are more vulnerable, in nearly every way, than females, Joseph Chilton Pearce cites current research from Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self and other works by Allan Schore, PhD., equating nurturing and prefrontal brain development.
Without sustained nurturing what we call the higher brain capacities - thought, language and imagination, along with the social-identity these represent, are governed by the oldest, fight-flight centers in the hind-brain. Bonded nurturing, which is predominately sensory-emotional, activates and develops in several stages the much newer, advanced and mature capacities found in the prefrontal brain centers: empathy, altruism and compassion. The nature and quality of our intellectual capacities express differently depending on which brain center the intellect is serving. If a failure of nurturing prevents the opening and development of the prefrontals, the massive power of the intellect serves evolution’s least mature master, the predator-rapist brain rather than an empathic-creative-compassionate brain.
In 1989, paralleling Jim’s research, psychologist Ken Magid described High Risk: Children Without Conscience, children who cannot trust, children who cannot love, children who will not be loved. They grow up to be charmers, con artists, amoral entrepreneurs, thieves, drug users, pathological liars, and worst of all: psychopathic killers… and they are often the product of even the best-intentioned families. Sound familiar? Today, perhaps some of Ken Magid’s high risk children are politicians, heads of corporations, lawyers, Wall Street executives and just maybe - Yale graduates, jurists and heads of state.
I contacted Ken several times regarding the near stranger-rape and attempted murder of a colleague in the early 1980s. Ken explained how High Risk children without conscience developed refined levels of empathic sensitivity but meaning produced was completely different He used the term trust bandits to describe High Risk children. They are able to sense the feelings of others but used these perceptions in highly manipulative ways. Empathy was used as a weapon, like the predator-rapist, to manipulate and control. What happened to the other did not exist in their world. Ken described a four or five-year-old High Risk boy coveting a younger child’s lunch, pushing the toddler in a pool and watching the child drown as he ate the dying boy’s sandwich, then casually walking away unaffected. Today these high risk children are all grown up.
Howard Bloom describes with stunning detail in his first book, The Lucifer Principle, the treatment of young males in combative Sparta compared with the egalitarian culture of Athens. The 650 BC culture of Sparta demanded a steady stream of violent warriors who were unencumbered by empathy or compassion and perfected the process to produce them on demand. Strip away the historical-cultural overlay, examine from a sensory, mother-infant nurturing and more broadly ‘affectionate bonding’ point of view, and our treatment of boys raised in America today, including elite families, often mirrors that warmonger Sparta. Raised in such environments the normal neural wiring that produces what we generally think of as empathy gets twisted.
In Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential--and Endangered, Bruce D. Perry, MD., and Maia Szalavits describe how and why the brain learns to bond with others, or not. Empathy—the ability to love and to share the feelings of others—is revealed as the essential prerequisite for compassion that underlies the qualities that make society work—trust, altruism, collaboration, love, charity—and how deficiencies in empathy are key factors in war, crime, racism, rape, addictions and mental illness. Of particular relevance is Chapter Six, No Mercy, about Ryan, a privileged young man from a privileged family, raised in an affluent neighborhood, and how he plotted the executed the rape of the handicapped girl next door, not dissimilar to the Yale-frat-boys alleged drugging and gang ‘rape-train’ of coeds. Our often well-paid predator-rapists are created, not born.
Sharing common sensory-emotional roots, elite boys of elite families go to elite schools, form clubs, get stumbling drunk and some act-out their mal-adapted, often twisted male intellects by drugging and gang-raping coeds, and are proud of it, keeping score, patting each other on the back. Bravo! And why not? This is, like Sparta, what the culture we have created is designed to produce, often masked by pious church vestments, sexy cheerleaders and flag waving patriotism.
Every 98 seconds another is sexually assaulted in the land of the free and the brave, 1 out of every 6 women.
In August 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury named more than 300 clergies in a report which found more than 1,000 children had been abused.
A five-year Australian inquiry in 2017 found that "tens of thousands of children" were sexually abused in Australian institutions over decades, including churches, schools and sports clubs.
A Church-commissioned report in 2004 said more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years, in cases involving more than 10,000 children - mostly boys.
The good ol-Yale boys, and other equally bred, often travel in packs, swarming like flies over mounds of money and power, cultural counterfeits for the hallmarks of true intelligence; empathy, altruism and the sanctity of ecological wholeness. What else are those privileged, like Ryan, with a twisted personal identity to do? Rape the earth, mother nature and each other for profit and the girl next door for fun - because they can? Being privileged often comes at a high price.
Considering a broader definition, the endless war machine with its ever-expanding theft of resources, stolen from families, women and children is rape. Predator bankers and predator corporations attracting and supporting predator politicians is rape. Militarizing local police is rape. The ineffective, often callous, debt-addicted un-healthy care system is rape. Much of the what we call public education, as John Taylor Gatto describes, conformity and obedience training, is rape. The drugged-technological manner in which most babies are born is rape. In all these ways and more rape has been normalized in our culture which conspires to create and reward more predator rapists. We reap what we sew.
The mother who wrote that abuse of women by males is rooted in the way we model and condition our children, more specifically young boys, is absolutely correct. Like a bar-room fight, however, a toxic culture, like a pandemic snowball, once set into motion cannot self-correct. The best practice is to step aside. Stepping aside means doing all the well-intended things our mother wrote about, but long before that, much more and much more deeply.
Realizing that culture is toxic, the perquisite antidote is to negate one’s identification with culture. Culture vaccinates each individual with its poison by creating a social identity which is a mirror of that culture. Conform and obey and you are accepted, get an A, win the prize. Fail to conform and obey and you are rejected, persecuted and punished into submission, or neutralized. Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Kennedy brothers and many others come to mind. Resisting herd-authority risks being attacked by the herd. It also opens and invites a nonpartisan quality of inquiry and empathic-intelligence that is not found facing a firing squad.
Freedom from the limitations and constraints imposed by herd-authority, be it the gang, the church, school, social strata, corporation, or nation-state, invites the formation of a different kind of identity and implicit set of values that are equally free. Religious and political slogans along with nationalism with its public displays of patriotism are replaced by a more global, inclusive, holistic and ecological self-world view. Priests, obedience and dogma are gently dismissed by direct experience of the sacred.
Experiencing the vast interconnected web of life, every child of every species is respected and appreciated for the miracle of creation that their unique expression represents.
Nurturing replaces conditioning which completely redefines the meaning of learning and education as mother and child, master and apprentice discover new and inventive ways to learn and grow together.
Pregnancy and birth are experienced as sacred rites of passage for mother, father and baby, private and drug free.
Appreciating that nurturing during the most explosive early moments, weeks, months and years are sensory experiences, triggered by mirror neurons, that these experiences are the only way integrated empathic intelligence can unfold, mother is supported, valued and appreciated for the gift nurturing represents to her baby and to the world that baby will create. And this support, value and respect endures. What do mirror neurons trigger interacting with dead screen technology?
Toxic food produced by toxic culture is abandoned, replaced by whole, plant based nutrition that is fresh and alive.
No longer poisoned by fake food, poisoned water and chemical mutations, the meaning of wellness is redefined and discovered anew.
Free from the blinders imposed by “isms”; race, religious, ethnic, national, and political, with integrated empathic intelligence showing the way, kindness, mutual respect and innovative creativity replaces conflict and aggression first in the home, then spreading to community and beyond
Toxic contests with winners and losers, their implicit comparison, rewards and punishments, give way to new visions of innate human potential far beyond what culture says is possible, with each new discovery opening the doors of human potential ever-wider.
All of these, and more, open and unfold spontaneously when the perquisite antidote of negating one’s identification with toxic-culture strikes and illuminates the horizon. Predator rape is not possible within the light of integrated empathic intelligence. Nor is this higher vision of human and life’s potential possible while rolling down the hill caught in toxic culture’s giant snowball. Like turning on the light in a dark room, light dispels darkness. What most fail to realize is that discovering the switch that dispels the darkness that breeds the predator is an individual affair. Others can point, and they do. But only we can flip the switch, and we must, or our sons might well become predators and our daughters their victims.