How Culture Shapes The Human Brain

The power of Touch the Future’s Academy is its ability to create relationship. A dramatic illustration of this synergy is in the relationships between four interviews:

(New) Joseph Chilton Pearce on The Death of Religion and Rebirth of Spirit

(New) Darcia Narvaez, PhD on Neurobiology in the Development of Human Morality

(Now indexed w/tanscripts) James W. Prescott, PhD on Sensory Deprivation and Brain Development and

(Now indexed w/transcripts) Jean Liedloff of the Continuum Concept on her experiences with stone age tribes in the Amazon.

This constellation began with our discussion with Darcia Narvaez exploring her and neuro-scientist Allan Schore’s new book on the relationship of neuro science and morality, something James W. Prescott has been describing for years. What is morality? Our capacity to be kind to others. Indeed, this capacity is innate; however, like all capacities it must be developed and this cycles back to nurturing or its absence in early childhood with what we call nurturing directly impacting how the brain forms structurally and functionally.

Themes: 
culture
morality
sensory deprivation
brain development

Applying findings to large populations

Applying findings to large populations
James W. Prescott

80% of cultures could be accurately predicted or classified in terms of their peaceful or violent behavior from this one single measure of whether the infant was carried on the body of its mother all day long. I could predict the remaining 20% has to do with whether the cultures permit or punish adolescent sexuality. Cultures that are very repressive towards sexual expression, what I call sexual affectional bonding, are violent cultures and the cultures that permit adolescent sexual expression are non-violent cultures.

And so the question, I said what’s the best strategy to really document this on a really broad scale.  One can look at clinical studies, developmental studies, but they are always highly select samples, it’s not generalized too far with them, and they’re very costly.  So I thought that a better approach would be to look at a large human population’s cultures, going back to the primitive cultures, the pre-industrial cultures, that certainly one would think that there were cultures that varied on this one specific variable of how they rear their children. 

Fortunately a member of our National Advisory Council, at that time was Professor John Whiting, who’s a Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Harvard University who published extensively on child rearing practices and later behavior.  I remember asking John, was there a systematic database on this and he said well as a matter of fact there is and if it exists you’ll find it in Arby Texture’s volume of “Cross Culture Summary”, which had just come out and published in 1967, which is a massive statistical summary of the statistical correlations in our relationships among a large number of variables that had been developed and quantified by Culture Anthropologists on 400 cultures.  This was the sample and Texture’s cross cultural summary. 

Fortunately there was information on child rearing practices, specifically related to whether infants were carried on the mother of the body all day long and those that did not.  Those ratings were done by Culture Anthropologists, Dr. Barry Bacon and Chown.  And fortunately there was also information on violence.  Those were the two that I wanted to link up with.  And Dr. Phillip Slater had developed codes on violence and warfare.  So, when I combined those two measures I selected every culture in that 400 culture sample in which those two bits of information were available.  That yielded 49 cultures. 

And low and behold what I found was that 73% of the cultures could be accurately predicted or classified in terms of their peaceful or violent behavior from this one single measure of whether the infant was carried on the body of its mother all day long.  That measure was increased in predictability when I published that in 1975 and the futurist, Body Pleasure and Origins of Violence.  It was reprinted in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and a number of other places.  And then I was informed by three different Cultural Anthropologists that there were errors in the original quoting. 

But every time a correction was made it increased the predictability so that I could now predict with 80% accuracy the violent or peaceful nature of these cultures from that one variable of maternal infant physical affection. The bonding that occurs with this body contact.  Then the second half of the story where I could predict the remaining 20% has to do with whether the cultures permit or punish adolescent sexuality. And basically the cultures that are very repressive towards sexual expression, what I call sexual affectional bonding, are very violent cultures and the cultures that permit adolescent sexual expression are non-violent cultures.

So that when you combine the two of issues, the two variables of affectional bonding, the maternal infant relationship, then adolescent sexual relationship, I can accurately predict with 100% accuracy the peaceful or violent nature of these 49 primitive cultures distributed throughout the world.  Now there’s no other theory or database that exists that match that and I can specify the sensory systems about it involved, the brain mechanisms involved, and that’s why these cross cultural studies are so successful, those were built on solid experimental scientific evidence.

Natural is regarded as demonic

Natural is regarded as demonic
Joseph Chilton Pearce

this book is starting off on the notion that creation, which simply means how is it that anything is and how is it that there is something rather than nothing, a question that’s been asked for many thousands of years? Creation and evolution are absolute twins, completely different and yet absolutely necessary to each other, creation being the ability to bring life into this universe. Evolution being an impulse within the creative process to overcome any obstacles and restraints.

In fact when my wife wanted to breastfeed her child in the hospital and they referred to it as a barbaric practice.  And when I championed that in a talk I gave at Columbia University one time, this doctor hopped up on the stage and said I was trying to turn everything back a thousand years and force women into a caveman kind of mentality, etc., etc.  And so the idea that has grown and been fostered by the scientific process is of anything that is natural as essentially demonic. And we see nature dying on every hand around us in many, many ways as the result of that.  We’re killing the natural process and that means the Earth itself.

Well this book is starting off on the notion that creation, which simply means how is it that anything is and how is it that there is something rather than nothing, a question that’s been asked for many thousands of years? Creation and evolution are absolute twins, completely different and yet absolutely necessary to each other, creation being the ability to bring life into this universe. Evolution being an impulse within the creative process to overcome any obstacles and restraints. It’s rather like a great river flowing swiftly along and any obstacle like a rock or something throws the flow out and so on and so forth. So, evolution is an impulse within the process of creation whereby the reality is to overcome any obstacle or constraint to its full expression. And we find that every created object sooner or later hits its restraint and obstacles. And so, the evolutionary process is to move beyond that, incorporating the best parts of that which we move beyond as the foundation for the next great creative acts which removed beyond the limitations and constraints of the first one. And so we find this incredibly beautiful picture all of the sudden of the constant ongoing and evolving of the human spirit through these different forms. 

That’s what we start off with then in that book.  The absolute necessity of evolution has a critical part of the creative process. Part of that was the revulsion I had developed recently in the arguments in schools and so on and so forth and parent groups of the argument between Creationism and Darwinism or evolution. And not realize these two forces which are always maintaining a certain critical balance for the life process to work. That was one of the things starting it off then. One of the final ending parts of this was death as a critical part of the evolutionary process. You might say death and evolution then become what Douglas Hoffstarter would call a “strange loop,” what I called a mirror-to-mirror function.

For instance, there are all sorts of indications that the human organism could be organized very simply that it would never wear out. A lot of stuff has happened recently which shows that the human body can function without any of the inputs we once through were critical to it. We have many people who now live without any intake of food at all and so on. We don’t need to go into all those things. We have for a long time known that the human being can undergo some of the most extreme conditions and come through them without being touched, the fire walking where they go through a pit of fire that would melt aluminum on contact, a hundred of them at a time, and only know ecstasy from it and so on. So, these incredible capacities of the human that are never developed, but were they we would find the human might never be subject to anything like death again. Well then, why would death be maintained?  Simply in order to keep the system moving beyond limitation and constraint.  Eliminate all that and you’ll suddenly find yourself in the position of total stasis, everything freezes. Nothing moves anymore, movement itself being essential. There are no static fixed things. Who was it in the theory of Quantum Theory, Quantum Theory never leads to anything because no such thing exists. Only relationship.

Well, in this book I have several really clear illustrations of creation of something out of nothing, creation (x-ing and helo) out nothing at all which is a strict no-no in all academic theory. And if you get down to the level of micro, into the micro level like Margulis and Sagan and others that have examined now with the electronic microscope and we find spontaneous creation of nothing taking place right and left. But no one would admit to that in the scientific world because it’s sacrilegious.  So, the beginning of the book is on the necessary pairing of evolution and creation, simply to kind of knock some of these stupid ideas that have cropped up in our schools, in our politics. Look at the ways it’s entering into politics and so forth. And then I get on into, I would say our prescriptions being written for curing the human ills. The academic world writes its prescriptions for how to cure us. The scientific world has these vast realms of prescriptions for altering our behavior. The political world with these prescriptions, the Capitalistic world and all this with their prescriptions for solving the problems.

The rebirth of spirit

The rebirth of spirit
Joseph Chilton Pearce

There is a growing awareness of the death of spirit and the rebirth of the spirit is a real possibility as our only saving grace and one interesting part of that is, my friend Robert Sardello saying, the way to organize all this is through surface of the Earth instead of looking at the Earth as simply a source of rape and pillage in our mining and all these things that we’re doing. Just suddenly return to our senses and realize we must serve the Earth, protect and nurture her because she is our Mother. She is our nurturer. From her must come our nurturing and protection and if we don’t, then we have given in to the forces of darkness on every hand.

There is a movement to open to the human spirit and it’s a very real and valid movement, but on the other hand, it’s almost like a race against time. We look at the Kogee, in fact on that great island right off of the coast of Columbia in South America, and the Kogee who have been saying over and over that the Earth is dying, that all the great snowcapped peaks are going, the snows of Kilimanjaro, whatever it was, they’re not there anymore. The whole shape and structure of the Earth is being radically changed by forces we have released. So, we’re in a time of real peril and the rise of the human spirit is an attempt to counter ideas. So it’s a conflict between the forces of darkness which I relate religion to and the forces of light through the great spiritual giants who have appeared on Earth and they generally always meet with disaster. So, in the end, in the current crisis that we face, we find this force of darkness reaching all the way back into conception and the womb itself to we can easily say contaminate the human species. The child is being destroyed as a true human even before birth and people will say what are you talking about?  And you have to really look closely at all the stuff coming out and you’ll find we’re in a dire plight concerning the next generation.

We have our, what is it, baby Einstein. We have the women wearing things around their pregnant bellies, the sound waves are now are going to profoundly improve the human. The child will be born a genius, and all these things that are going on which represent the attempt to take over every tiny facet of the natural intelligence of our Earth and turn it into the servant of intellectual invention. Of course that’s exactly what Goethe warned against and so many others have.  As you say, Shelly with their Frankenstein’s, she clearly saw what we have going on today. There is a growing awareness of the death of spirit and the rebirth of the spirit is a real possibility as our only saving grace and one interesting part of that is, my friend Robert Sardello saying, the way to organize all this is through surface of the Earth instead of looking at the Earth as simply a source of rape and pillage in our mining and all these things that we’re doing. Just suddenly return to our senses and realize we must serve the Earth, protect and nurture her because she is our Mother. She is our nurturer. From her must come our nurturing and protection and if we don’t, then we have given in to the forces of darkness on every hand.

I think of the Mathematician Kurt Godel, an unknown Mathematician. Russell and Whitehead had come out with this incredible work in mathematics that was the bible of the whole scientific and academic world for two or three decades because it was a remarkable work of intelligence and intellect and skill to show through mathematics any proposition, anything that the human mind could come up with, through mathematics the truth or falsity, the validity, the worth of that could be tested mathematically and mathematics emerges then as the final, final rock bottom bastion of truth and how we can find truth in life is through mathematics.  And this was of course embraced by the whole scientific academic world. No institution of learning or higher learning would dare not acknowledge this. 

Godel came along, he looked at it, saw the absolute infallible kind of nature of the argument and then selected, looked at the argument from kind of the back and front, they looked at the time of starting at the end and working their way to the beginning, that isn’t what he did but he found that very theorem they had come up with to be used to show the absolute falseness of the theorem itself. The theorem would disprove its own self if looked at from just a slightly different point of view. So Godel really represented a remarkable feat of mind in that respect, sort of a self-corrective function going on. That seems to be the case in a lot of it, finding that science as a mode of thinking, a way of being.  Creating the civilization it has could arise only in Christianity. Why, because only Christianity had demonized the body and all physical things which automatically included the Earth.  The Christians, certainly more than the original Muslims, really considered the Earth their enemy. Natural process was unnatural and so on, and embracing of death, leading to the happy hunting grounds, as preferable to allowing nature to flourish. And we look at the great systems of thought that arose out of that. People don’t realize that Freud showed a tremendous fear of the natural process and spoke of our great enemy, nature, who does all this to destroy us with earthquakes and he goes on, a very neurotic mind, that the only possible protection we had against this ruthless, mindless destructive nature was to band together under the guidance of the very finest scientific principles.  He then says, of course, that which was said five centuries ago by the first of the Bacons, wrest nature to her knees, force from her all her secrets and use them to control her totally. 

And that became the great driving force behind all scientific process that finally emerges as victorious about a hundred years ago. To then speak of natural process is almost to be unscientific. And to allow a child to grow up in their natural state would obviously mean illiteracy, ignorance, barbarity, brute-ness, back to the cave man and so forth.  Whereas you’re talking about returning to the true spirit and nature of what the human being should be and was at one time. And he know he was at one time because of the few remaining cultures who live in a reality system totally different than ours.  And we don’t believe that.

Science as a Frankenstein field

Science as a Frankenstein field
Joseph Chilton Pearce

One of our Presidents they started talked about well this practice has caused all these various problems.  Oh that’s alright.  Our scientists will take care of that.  And of course the scientists, he got to looking at finely they’re the root causes of it and they had no intention or meaning of being that and they’re a nice good bunch that go home to their families at night. There are no demons in the crowd but the overall result of the activity, of that field of activity, is demonic and destroying us.

One of our Presidents they started talked about well this practice has caused all these various problems.  Oh that’s alright.  Our scientists will take care of that.  And of course the scientists, he got to looking at finely they’re the root causes of it and they had no intention or meaning of being that and they’re a nice good bunch that go home to their families at night. There are no demons in the crowd but the overall result of the activity, of that field of activity, is demonic and destroying us.

Our then judging everybody by this criteria that has come in.  We look at the illustrating Aborigine, there were 500,000 of them.  Now they’re down to a handful and assigned the worst place in Australia to live, gave him out of the way.  And yet friends of mine who have lived with them for years say that the difference in the reality structuring of the brain and the kind of reality they move in has no resemblance to ours. So we find these field effects themselves that we’ve brought into action here. They’re jealous Gods and are out to destroy the lesser Gods. We think of all that as Mythology and nonsense and we’re living it at every hand right now. Well I think I’ll stop at that point.

We are our own worst enemy. Rudolph Steiner saw our dilemma coming to a head a couple of thousand years ago. That we really got into this mess of a complete misinterpretation of what everything was about. Riane Eisler, for instance in “The Chalice and the Bladed” recognizes that several thousand years ago we got off on the wrong foot and once we did a power took over which she calls the “male dominator force.” And once it takes over it simply works for one thing and this preservation of that force itself. And out of that has come a growing crisis in our, not our civilization but our species’ survival. Steiner claims that what now have this mythological business of Golgotha of crucifixion and so forth, that what was underneath it was a struggle between the forces of nature which are beneficial, benevolent, love and so forth, and the forces behind this male dominator culture.  Men will automatically rankle at this and try to turn it into a gender war. None of that’s involved. The problem then, what Steiner saw is the battle between two essential forces of nature resulted in religions. Religions became the symbols of those forces.

Nature became the great enemy. Alfred North Whitehead, one of our really smart cookies, said science as a practice could only have arisen in a Christian nation. Why? The Christians were the first ones to demonize the body. Everything about the body was bad in order that we renounce the body and embrace the soul. The soul of course, was that which could be then more or less engineering by the Christian establishment. It was another form of kind of political control. But, in demonizing the body we automatically were demonizing the body of the Earth, and so from that point on the husbanding of the Earth as nearly every civilization before that had considered their number one priority. We honor the Earth. We take care of the great Mother. And suddenly the great Mother was the great demonic who was there only to be raped, pillaged, and turned into profit for us on every line. Now this happened a long time ago. It’s been effect for a long time.  In fact the Cathars and the other, what were those, the Knights Templars, and that means the Knights of the Temple, those who maintained the temple. They came along and tried to overthrow this whole thing and they were all slaughtered off in their wealth and they were the ones who built Chartres Cathedral, probably one of the half dozen greatest acts of man. And they funded it and everything else and engineered and designed that and to this day, from everything I can find out and my friends who spent a great deal more deal on it than I have, say that just the experience within that particular design has a tremendous effect on us. Now all this was a nurturing of the human spirit who in turn then will turn around and do everything to nurture the Earth that gives him birth. So what do they do? Well the Knights Templars were falling upon to the King and slaughtered every last one of them and the Cathars and so on and so forth that all that takes place. And this goes on in one form or another over and over and over.

What we’re facing today is simply the final gathering of the demonic forces of destruction. As my friend Robert Sardello said, “The scientific creation of the atom bomb was the final, final demonstration and act of pure hatred of life itself.” Oppenheimer saying this one of the most beautiful sights of man and you look at it again and you find it the symbol of cold hatred against life itself. So, the fact that we now of course have more of this than anybody could ever use, there’s this leading to the final point of the death of the human spirit unless something happens. So I say in the death of religion lie the seeds for the rebirth of the human spirit. And of course I am a Jesus man and an anti-Christian Jesus man. Church represents religion and Jesus was the absolute of religion.

The death of religion as we know it

The death of religion as we know it
Joseph Chilton Pearce

There is a negative intelligence as well as a positive intelligence. The quality of the intelligence involved is beside the point. The point is its organizing factor in the human psyche, in our brain structure itself. And the way children’s brain structures are being changed by the violence in which they’re being born into, begotten by, etc.

My argument has been that that’s not who we are. We are now acting against our natural state. Who we really were created by the evolutionary process on this Earth has in a comparatively short time become demonic.

Hate radio constitutes about two-thirds of all radio activity. Morris Dees who has that Southern Poverty Law Association estimates that even just from the election of Obama that the organized militia hate groups in America has jumped from 400 up to close to 1000 now, each of which is devoted to the overthrow of the government to re-establish a white supremacy and so on and so forth. And they’re arming to the teeth. That’s the disturbing thing about it and they’re not in Mississippi, they’re over a surprising segment of the population. So here we have a field effect which attracts and adds to its own effect. These are psychological states we could call them. They’re states of mind and what we have to get used to is the fact that these field effects are forms of intelligence. There is a negative intelligence as well as a positive intelligence. The quality of the intelligence involved is beside the point. The point is its organizing factor in the human psyche, in our brain structure itself. And the way children’s brain structures are being changed by the violence in which they’re being born into, begotten by, etc. A friend of mine who said in all probability the vast majority of children were begotten, conceived in a state of alcohol or rage. Silly statements like that and yet something has gone really haywire that you find the serious problems arising in children as they do today and the high suicide rates being predominant above all.

The death of religion I think is not a foregoing conclusion because religion crops up in all sorts of different ways. But the death of religion as we have known it is a major issue today and in its dying throws this religious process is ready to kill off the whole world to try to maintain its own state. One of the big problems we face is not recognizing the extent of what intelligence is. We think intelligence has something to do with what we have learned, etc., etc. All life is an expression of intelligence. That’s what really Darwin was showing us on every hand, that these forms that appear and so on are examples of an incredible intelligence or creative intelligence. Once set in motion they tend to maintain themselves, to replicate themselves. Not just through sexuality but through the whole mental processes spawned by that. At the same time we have the clear examples of the few cultures left on Earth that somehow or other missed all of this. Even by now we’ve been writing about all this through the generations ago in the fifties and sixties and by now they’re probably mostly destroyed and gone. One of the things this technological corporate destructive society took over, one of the first things they did was eliminate all the competition. That is any mindset which was not in keeping with it, our intelligence simply began to get rid of it. Now it’s a very strange phenomena, this is, but if we take an anthropological study like Robert Wolf gave us not long back from his years and years with a very elusive mysterious kind of forest people in Malaysia called the Signoi and to find that they moved in a universe, in a world, in a reality structure vastly different than ours and surprisingly superior to ours except in its lack of the technology. And since we now judge the worth of a culture only by its technology we can’t imagine flying saucers coming down that don’t represent the superior technology and therefore they are superior people. We look at Jean Lideloff’s work. Now a society of people that were incapable of judgment or animosity or violence in any conceivable way. They were incapable of it, but as a result we looked on them as extremely primitive when they’re probably the last civilized people on Earth. So my argument has been that that’s not who we are. We are now acting against our natural state. Who we really were created by the evolutionary process on this Earth has in a comparatively short time become demonic.

M: And turned against like itself? A demonic would mean..

Right. We’ve become a culture that is cannibalistic. We’re feeding on ourselves and of course destroying our Earth at the same time.  But everyone is convinced we can cure all this through scientific process.

Religion and science as field effects

Religion and science as field effects
Joseph Chilton Pearce

There it is. It’s a very demonic process.  Of course then we get into the whole medical travesty of the taking over of childbirth and shifting millions of years of genetic encoding and the fact that that is sweeping the world, practices which are bizarre such as medical interference at childbirth, C-sectioning, the fact that that should become a major occupation, the way of bringing children into the world and we see 80% C-sectioning and Thailand, having wrecked Thailand as a nation and no one would believe that. If you say that, oh no, there are all these other failures that we’ve made. And then now the report I just got in of the fact that the Chinese had adopted C-sectioning and you got to wondering why? That’s what I would call field effect. These fields of notions get going and they’re contagious. They spread and they leave destruction in their wake.

A field in this sense is an aggregate or a way by which thought forms or practices or beliefs in the human tend to aggregate and intensify and grow in their power and attract followers. And every follower they attract, a field attracts, the follower intensifies and strengthens the field. We have the field of medicine. Now, what’s wrong with the field of medicine? We have all these other fields we speak of. He’s going into the field of Architecture, the field of Mathematics, and so on and so forth. Each one of these field effects takes on a life of its own. When Darwin said any, and I do follow Darwin, I think he’s one of the most ignored geniuses of history practically, he said “any activity repeated long enough becomes habitual,” it becomes a habit and “any habit repeated long enough will tend to become genetic,” locked into the very gene structure. And we don’t believe that and yet you look at the, well there are lots and lots of examples of it on every hand. I’m using field effect in the same fashion. Systems of belief or practices or new concepts and ideas that you’ll find grow and grow and grow and become more and more popular, attract more and more people and the more people that are attracted the stronger its field becomes. Right now if you look into our local telephone directories you will find the lawyers filling chapters of the telephone directory and other fields dropping out entirely. And so what’s happened there? That law and the practice of law should become one of the biggest field effects in the United States and so on it goes. And these fields take on tremendous power.

We look at the concept of who we are that grows and takes over in human society. The image in America of the true male growing more and more violent and the way this whole concept, for instance, took over and eliminated child play on behalf of organized sports and so forth. The little small things like that we we’ve been paying our attention and yet is bringing about remarkable changes in the neural structure of the brain, the body and its operations and all and it spreads. We think of the way the peak of this business of male domination and taking over all the way down to child play, the organizing of sports in children always with the coach behind it and the coach setting the model and example who the children try to be. It was in the late sixties they did a survey of high school students of what qualified a person for real manliness and the answer or one of the major definitions given of real manliness was the willingness and ability to inflict pain or harm on another without remorse or without feeling. And we find that that’s the case and violence has risen and risen and risen because violence itself becomes a field effect. And the only way to protect ourselves in that field is to violence itself and people don’t pay any attention to all of that. Well this is human nature but it was not human nature previously.

Religion and science as demonic forces

Religion and science as demonic forces

That was very clear to me that early religion was one of our great enemies and our downfall, not only looking at the present time when we have nothing but this worldwide clash between religious beliefs and where even the Buddhist’s get violent at times. Throughout the whole planet, the rising tide of violence seemed to have, more often than not, a religious fervor involved in it, not just the Christians and the Jews and the Muslims, but it seemed kind of spread throughout the world. The strange phenomenon of terrorism as a practice and the Jihad, and yet we look back in the early Christians, singing on their way to feed the lions and so on and so forth. They’re feeling, getting on the crusades and going over to kill the Arabs and so on, just bloodshed after bloodshed, and then the backlash. The Muslims might have been perfectly at peace had we not, the Christians, invaded them to take their land away from them and so on and so forth.  So, it’s been a back and forth bloodshed and beneath it a supposedly very generous gesture of the powers that be, of these religious people whose aim is to lift us to a higher level. And we have really plunged deeper and deeper into despair. That’s all.

That was very clear to me that early religion was one of our great enemies and our downfall, not only looking at the present time when we have nothing but this worldwide clash between religious beliefs and where even the Buddhist’s get violent at times. Throughout the whole planet, the rising tide of violence seemed to have, more often than not, a religious fervor involved in it, not just the Christians and the Jews and the Muslims, but it seemed kind of spread throughout the world. The strange phenomenon of terrorism as a practice and the Jihad, and yet we look back in the early Christians, singing on their way to feed the lions and so on and so forth. They’re feeling, getting on the crusades and going over to kill the Arabs and so on, just bloodshed after bloodshed, and then the backlash. The Muslims might have been perfectly at peace had we not, the Christians, invaded them to take their land away from them and so on and so forth.  So, it’s been a back and forth bloodshed and beneath it a supposedly very generous gesture of the powers that be, of these religious people whose aim is to lift us to a higher level. And we have really plunged deeper and deeper into despair. That’s all.

And I blame that then on religion which is pretty narrow.  But on the other hand I think even of science. I don’t think science has been at all the great saving grace as a human species as we have made it to be. We look at the enormous problems which we face today and everyone is convinced that science has literally lifted us out of the gutter and led us into green fields. On the other hand, if you look at it at the basis of nearly every real catastrophe certainly facing us today it’s scientific. And to most people this is an even worse heresy than would be spiting on the flag or calling your mother by a bad name, to suggest that science has been a curse on the species. It just doesn’t make any sense to people at all. And yet if you look closely you’ll find these two things; science as a new religion and religion itself is what brought us to the brink of species extinction.

I would look also at such a harmless little thing as Goethe’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was a perfect picture of what has happened in the scientific world.  And Goethe, being a great scientist of his time, wrote it as a warning. To him he was saying look what you’re doing. You think the boss is away and you can catch the secrets of this thing and run the show and you’ll lead through your destruction so doing. And it was interesting that every one of these new discoveries which will spawn more and more and more of the same and they’ll all prove in the end to be destructive. And so, to say that science is a destructive thing in our life is an even worse heresy to the average citizen, even to the learned people, the educated people. To them this just makes no sense at all.  It’s an insane kind of an irrational remark and yet if you look at it closely, at the root of our problems today lay science and religion.

Rebirth of Spirit

Author: 
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Religion was one of our great enemies and our downfall, not only looking at the present time but throughout history. The rising tide of violence seemed to have, more often than not, a religious fervor involved in it. On the other hand I think of science. I don’t think science has been at all the great saving grace as a human species as we have made it to be. If you look at it at the basis of nearly every real catastrophe certainly facing us today it’s scientific.

4 Greedy self or common self

The Greedy Self or The Common Self
Darcia Narvaez

If you are raised with that much experience in the natural world, without much experience in inter-subjectivity and resonance and attunement with others, which we’re doing to kids today, you’re going to have a sense that either you’ll be in that self-protective mode of the way the world works is for me to be dominate or I have to submit.  Dominance is better usually but some people prefer submission.  And so you’re going to have an attitude that you can’t survive or you can’t be well-off, you can’t feel safe unless you’re in control.  So you’re going to want to control others as much as possible and make sure everything is left brain ordered.  You don’t have much of a right hemisphere of self-regulation.  You regulate yourself with things.  You horde stuff.  You accumulate lots of money.  Whatever it is, something out there has to make you feel okay.  So you don’t have an inner sense of balance so that you get easily thrown off tract if things aren’t following your script. 

I’ll start with the indigenous perspective, the hunter-gatherer perspective is described by the anthropologists.  They have a common self-view.  Common self meaning that tree, that mountain, that river is part of me and the insects, the animals, and it’s part of their view we’re all in this together and it’s a cycle of life, essentially, that there death in transformation.  A new life and it just goes on and on.   There’s no place to go.  We’re just here.  And so there’s no afterlife.  There’s no thought of afterlife.  We’re just here as part of the cycle.

One thing that’s important to say for the hunter-gatherers is that they’re living in nature and they have a sense of living with nature, that it’s part of them.  They are part of it.  And that’s quite different from the Western view that some say emerged from the Middle East, maybe 2,000, some 5,000 years ago.  It depends.  Where it’s us against nature.  The humans are not part of nature.  They need to fight it and control it and dominate it.  And so, if you are raised without that much experience in the natural world, without much experience in inter-subjectivity and resonance and attunement with others, which we’re doing to kids today, you’re going to have a sense that either you’ll be in that self-protective mode of the way the world works is for me to be dominate or I have to submit.  Dominance is better usually but some people prefer submission.  And so you’re going to have an attitude that you can’t survive or you can’t be well-off, you can’t feel safe unless you’re in control.  So you’re going to want to control others as much as possible and make sure everything is left brain ordered.  You don’t have much of a right hemisphere of self-regulation.  You regulate yourself with things.  You hoard stuff.  You accumulate lots of money.  Whatever it is, something out there has to make you feel okay.  So you don’t have an inner sense of balance so that you get easily thrown off track if things aren’t following your script. 

So the Common Self-world-view expands the self.  You have a big inclusive self and hopefully you have the smaller ego which is what you find in the hunter-gatherer societies.  In Western cultures we have to grow a big ego to protect ourselves.  We don’t feel safe and we don’t feel part of the world.  We don’t feel part of our community.  So you have a big ego and a very small self.  So the big Common Self though is an alternative which I think actually is a very hopeful one because in this view we’re all in a process of being and transforming and dying and living and so on.  And so right now everything looks pretty dire for the planet if you look at all the data.  But it’s us.  This is us.  And there’s hope because if we can shift our imaginations back to our human essence, we can transform ourselves again.  We’ve done inadvertent transformation.  We’ve done huge experiments on ourselves.  And maybe it’s great to have a lot of autistic people who think, you know, very unrelationally about stuff.  It remains to be seen.  But actually at the same time we’re destroying the planet.  All these things we don’t think are important, rivers and creatures and species and forests and on and on.  So what I see is the Common Self.  When I get depressed about the way things are, I remember, this is US.  We’re not going anywhere.  We’re just going to transform and come back in some fashion. That, actually it’s alright then, we’ll come back.  Maybe we’re not going to save ourselves now but maybe when I come back as a mouse, things will be better.  I don’t know.

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