3 Intelligent without disassociating

Being intelligent without disassociating
Darcia Narvaez

I think what happens when you don’t know what you’re doing as a novice, or you’ve been undermined in your development, is that you need some other outside structure to tell you how to live.  So in the hunter-gatherer communities, the Native American traditions the whole life’s field is structured around development and helping that child become the contributing adult. Colin Turnbull in his book, “The Human Cycle,” talks about how the Imbuti in comparison to his own British upbringing just develop their children or offer their children so much more. 

There’s a way to be intelligent where you’re not disassociating but when you go into the left hemisphere kind of thinking where you want to categorize everything, you want to structurally control it and count it.  That’s a disassociation from relationship.  So you have decided that that other thing there is a “thing,” it’s an object, and you are powerful over it as a subject.  So that’s what I’m talking about.  It’s the breaking of relational responsibility to whatever it is you’re talking about.  We can see this in economics, in the theory of economics.  It’s decided you have no responsibility to anybody but yourself because you’re a selfish creature anyway right?  So who cares about anything else?  It’s just irrational to care about  the relationships with other people in your family and your responsibility to the Earth.  That’s all externalized.  You know, that kind of thing.  It’s disassociation from relational responsibility. 

Well, I think what happens when you don’t know what you’re doing as a novice, or you’ve been undermined in your development, is that you need some other outside structure to tell you how to live.  So in the hunter-gatherer communities, the Native American traditions, you structure, the whole life’s field is structured around development and helping that child become the contributing adult.  Colin Turnbull in his book, “The Human Cycle,” talks about how the Mbuti in comparison to his own British upbringing just develop their children or offer their children so much more.  He was raised by nannys.  He went to boarding school and he says that he felt by the time he got to adolescence he had nothing in him because nobody tried to encourage his own emotional development or his sensory development.  Instead it was all suppression and punishment.  And then when he got to middle school and high school he was suppose to be aggressive and be a key member and fight, fight, fight and all that.  And he felt like well yeah, what else is there to do?  But in contrast Mbuti are very supportive and loving towards their children and encourage their sensory development and every experience is encouraged.  But of course they’re in a different environment. 

And then by the time they get to adolescence they feel energized and ready and open to tackle whatever obstacles or whatever challenges adolescents and what that could bring.  It’s a very different orientation.  So if you arrive at adolescence or even before that as Turnbull did, with nothing in you, you’ve got to find something out there then.  So that’s where ideology steps in and it can be religious ideology.  It can be science.  So science also is an ideology.  It can be used that way.  Because science is again that detachment from relationship.  I’m going to treat this animal, like experimental medicine. This upsets me so it is difficult for me to say. But it’s experimenting on live animals and people started to just cut vocal cords so they wouldn’t hear the screeching of the animal.  How in the world can you go to that place and act that way unless you’re detached, disassociated and you have something missing in your heart?  So it’s the heart sense that is so key to being a human being and that’s what we’re really undermining, the way we’re raising kids.

2 Multiple types of morality

Multiple types of morality
Darcia Narvaez

What happens I think in the rest of society now is that we raise children without what they need and so they’re easily stressed and going into the self-protective mode.  We put them in schools though and we tell them you need to know this information and if they can survive there and do well, they develop sort of a detached imagination.  We say don’t feel. We put them in rooms where we don’t want them to feel, don’t want them to sense their body’s because they’re just sitting a chair, so they learn to disassociate in this way of intellect, what we call intellect, and that then becomes dominant.  So I think adults who succeed in our culture these days of shifting between the self-protective mode and then this detached imagination or if they’re self-protected and imaginative they’ll be vicious.  They’ll want to impose their will on someone else by their only ideology or even if they think like a Missionary or others we’re going to help those people over there.  Those poor Africans you know, they need my help and I’m going to go in and impose my view of what’s good on them. 

We have to understand that there’s multiple types of morality and if you’re mistreated a child and you’re let cry, your stress response systems, the various kinds, are going to be much more threat reactive and when you’re in social situations you’re going to go into a self-protective mode which either means you’re going to want to be dominate or you’re going to withdraw, depending on how you sense things in that moment.  In that case, that’s morality but is a very self-protective and it’s an abnormal kind of a morality for human nature, is my point.  But we think it’s normal now because it’s all over the place.  And then the other option is to disassociate.

I use Paul McClain’s “Triune Brain Theory” as an inspiration. I know people complain about it although the critiques weren’t that bad.  It was just minor details but people somehow dismiss it in the neuroscience field which, unfortunately.  But anyway offers a nice view into the different modes that we have so that the very self-protective mode is that all those more primitive survival systems activating and kind of drawing the blood flow away from other options and your thinking just deteriorates in those situations.  It’s all about self-protection.  And then we have the mammalian and limbic system area, the very pro-social kind of socially oriented part of the brain that must have good early supportive experience to develop well.  You know this from various researchers like Allan Schore’s work.  The third area is the imaginative aspect so that’s the prefrontal cortex, the neo-cortex, the ability to imagine alternatives to the present moment, to have some foresight about the future and imagine possibility.  That part also develops but it also requires, to develop well, a good supportive environment, not only in early life but through age 30 or so, or even probably beyond because we can all shift back into this, what’s called sometimes, the reptilian mode of self-protection. 

What happens I think in the rest of society now is that we raise children without what they need and so they’re easily stressed and going into the self-protective mode.  We put them in schools though and we tell them you need to know this information and if they can survive there and do well, they develop sort of a detached imagination.  We say “don’t feel.” We put them in rooms where we don’t want them to feel, don’t want them to sense their bodies because they’re just sitting in a chair, so they learn to disassociate in this way of intellect, what we call intellect, and that then becomes dominant.  So I think adults who succeed in our culture these days shift between the self-protective mode and then this detached imagination, or, if they’re self-protected and imaginative they’ll be vicious--they’ll want to impose their will on someone else by their only ideology, or even if they think like a missionary, or others, “we’re going to help those people ‘over there’.”  Those poor Africans you know, they need my help and I’m going to go in and impose my view of what’s good on them.  And I think that’s a vicious thing to do.  It’s disrespectful.

So that’s sort of where we are.  We flip between those modes.  But what a hunter-gather society shows us is that there’s an alternative way to be and it’s quite different.  Its being present in the moment with others and then using your imagination to imagine yourself connected to everything in the universe, everything on Earth is part of your relational context. You are in a web of relationships.  And we know that’s true from physics depending on which element of science you’re looking at.  We share DNA with all these creatures and plants.  We are connected.  The hunter-gather spends most of their time in this mode of being, being connected and present and they’re very ‘there,’ and they’re not imposing themselves on others and they have just a different kind of morality.

So that’s what I would take as a baseline for human nature.  That we are meant to be imaginative, in the globe, in the planet, with the plants and animals and we can see from Native Americans that they include the mountain, the air, the water, the river as a self. It’s an agent. They are agents. What happens when we deteriorate the early life experience of children we undermine their ability here to hear the mountain, the tree, the wind, understand them as agents. 

Humans aren’t the only agents.  Human are not the only ones that communicate.  All these other entities do as well.  The hunter-gatherers, the Native Americans especially, have a sense that they are agents and they are responsible to be in relationship, respectful of the relationship, with all those other entities.  So that’s another aspect that we’re missing now that’s led to the demise of our understanding of the Earth and how we are now destroying our habitat.

Darcia Narvaez, PhD Neurobiology and Morality

Author: 
Darcia Narvaez

Neurobiology in the Development of Human Morality, Evolution, Culture and Wisdom is about trying to shift our imagination to remind us that our human nature is different from what we see today and the way we raise children can be different also and they’re linked to what we think is human nature and what we think of as normal human adult behavior is not normal.  We are very abnormal.  But unfortunately the people who are abnormal are the ones that are spreading their view of the world all over the world as if that’s normal, to be selfish and always thinking about what you can gain for yours

NICHD: REINVENTING THE WHEEL

James W. Prescott, Ph.D.

THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT

George Santayana The Life of Reason (1905) 

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

ON 30 MARCH 2015, the NICHD provided a public press release that described an intervention to teach mothers of preterm infants how to interact with their babies more effectively, which resulted in better weight gain and growth for the infants, a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

Maternal interaction improves growth, weight gain in preemies

Themes: 
sensory deprivation
culture

The Only Power Strong Enough

 

Carly Elizabeth is seven months young today, just this week beginning to pre-crawl. I wish I could be so attentive, persistent, focused, so sensitive and aware of everything instead of being preoccupied with all my stuff. Carly craves engagement and it is truly one of the most challenging tasks as a parent to keep up, to stay in the present moment, to share this experience together right now. Oh, how easy it is to give that demand for complete engagement over to some mechanical or technological thing, but at what price?

Themes: 
attachment
bonding
culture

Michel Odent, MD

Author: 
Michele Odent

Michel Odent describes how changes in birth practices are altering individual human beings, the cultures they create and implicitly the future of the species.

Suzanne Arms

Author: 
Suzanne Arms

Suzanne Arms describes the challenges the natural birth movement has faced and continues to face.

Suzanne Arms

Author: 
Suzanne Arms

Since 1973, Suzanne Arms has been an outspoken visionary, multi-book author, photojournalist, inspired teacher and public speaker: wise, passionate and compassionate. She synthesizes earth-based wisdom and modern science about how best to bring humans into the world and care for the mother-baby bond, so that everyone benefits and families can thrive. Her perspective is both broad and deep, as she weaves history, politics, economics, psychology, spirituality, public health, cross-cultural issues, eco-feminism and the feminine into a beautiful tapestry of knowledge.

Ashley Montagu

Author: 
Ashley Montagu

Our first Touch the Future interview was recorded in my home with Ashley Montagu in 1994, an anthropologist and humanist who popularized issues such as race and gender and their relationship to politics and human development. Ashley authored over fifty books including Life Before Birth, Touching, On Being Human, The Nature of Human Aggression, The Natural Superiority of Women, Growing Young and many others. In 1995 The American Humanist Association named him the humanist of the Year for revolutionizing our understanding of human nature.

Continuum Concept 04

Nobody's born rotten but we can make them bad
Jean Leidoff

The first job you have on Earth, which is dictated innately, is that of an explorer. You go around sniffing and tasting and touching and looking at everything. And people say don’t touch, it’s dirty; don’t touch that; be careful, you’ll hurt yourself; don’t do that, you’ll break it—all of which constantly undermines your feeling of competence.The little ones are learning from the older children or from the adults, but nobody’s teaching. They’re learning on their own initiative, which is so powerful. You don’t have to augment it. In fact you can’t really augment it. There’s no way you can make a child learn better than he would if left alone.

The first job you have on Earth, which is dictated innately, is that of an explorer. You go around sniffing and tasting and touching and looking at everything. And people say don’t touch, it’s dirty; don’t touch that; be careful, you’ll hurt yourself; don’t do that, you’ll break it—all of which constantly undermines your feeling of competence.

When you get to school people say sit still when you don’t want to sit still, fold your hands, don’t talk to your neighbor. You want to talk to your neighbor because you have something to say. But you’re not supposed to. Whatever you’re doing they say stop.

Whatever children are doing—is learning. That’s all they do. They’re just learning like little sponges all the time. But they’re told, “Stop it because this is worthless. What is important is this. Pay attention. ‘A’ is for apple.” Everything else is undermined and pronounced worthless. “A” isn’t even for apple. It could be for aardvark, it could be for God knows what, anything you like. But they arbitrarily tell you that “A” is for apple and nothing else counts. And they persist. All your authority figures tell you that your nature, which is to explore, is worthless.  If they don’t teach you it is not learning. 

I’ve recently come to the rather startling but obvious conclusion that learning occurs naturally, but teaching isn’t natural at all. I can’t remember ever seeing any of the people I’m talking about (who live so successfully) teaching. The little ones are learning from the older children or from the adults, but nobody’s teaching. They’re learning on their own initiative, which is so powerful. You don’t have to augment it. In fact you can’t really augment it. There’s no way you can make a child learn better than he would if left alone.

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