Beyond Adolescence

Something wonderful was about to happen
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Many of have had the feeling that something wonderful was about to happen, that life was full of promise and that we would play an important part in making the world a better place.  This passion and idealism blossoms during adolescence as we look at the world with completely new eyes.  In this program we are going stretch our limits by discovering completely new ways to look at our young adults. As with our other programs Joseph Chilton Pearce, will challenge us along with a group of parents, educators and health care providers, by asking that we consider that adolescence might actually be very different from what we think it is.  He suggests that adolescence may really be cumulative effect of both false education and a failure to fully develop our full potential.

Many of have had the feeling that something wonderful was about to happen, that life was full of promise and that we would play an important part in making the world a better place.  This passion and idealism blossoms during adolescence as we look at the world with completely new eyes.  In this program we are going stretch our limits by discovering completely new ways to look at our young adults. As with our other programs Joseph Chilton Pearce, will challenge us along with a group of parents, educators and health care providers, by asking that we consider that adolescence might actually be very different from what we think it is.  He suggests that adolescence may really be cumulative effect of both false education and a failure to fully develop our full potential. Please join Joe, along with a group of parents, educators and health care providers as they discover how the passionate search for ideals and ultimate models, which begins during adolescence, brings us to Evolution’s End, as we reach for the threshold of pure spirit.

Joe Pearce

Let's look at the adolescent as a real genuine group let’s say of the mid-teens or even the teens themselves.  As I said, adolescence is by in large an arbitrary category, creative of the now day and time for a group of people that have no place.  We have no room for them in the economic scheme of things and so we've created this category forum.  But, nevertheless there are some very genuine things about adolescence that I would like to take up today. 

Betty Staley of the Steiner School, the Waldorf School and the college in Fair Oaks, California, we've done many workshops together and she turned out a remarkable book called "Between Form and Freedom" which was a study of the adolescent, an English publication.  I've forgotten exactly the name of the publisher, this "Between Form and Freedom" little paperback has some marvelous insights.  There are three facets of the adolescent I would like to bring up that are not ordinarily mentioned about the adolescent.  You will find these, I'm sure, quite resonant with you.  The first of these characteristics of adolescence that we've already taken up starts around age 11 but by 15 or so it hits a kind of a critical acute level and that is idealism.  The average person looks at the adolescent and they say idealism, this is the craziest thing we ever heard.  They don't have an idealistic bone in their body.  Look at their models, and so on and so forth.

Now, the issue is, and it was Betty that made this so clear to me, they are so acutely painfully idealistic.  Starting about age 11, growing to about 14 or 15 and they start looking at the world through totally different eyes.  This was when all of the sudden our children start dropping behind us on the street.  They don't want to walk right with us.  Have you ever had that happen?  Here I know with all my young’uns, for years they looked up to me as though I were God and I liked that very much and suddenly they hit this certain age and they're looking at the old man and they're noticing he has dandruff, kind of bald, kind of small and not so much after all.  In schools, our little children marching beautifully, good morning teacher, and they're loving and obedient and so on and all of the sudden they hit this age and they're looking at the teacher and they say, what do you know, and they're challenging the teacher every minute.  The teacher's offended by this.  They're threatened by it.  What's going on?  Well it's just suddenly nothing of their own doings.  They're looking at the world through a prism, a new perspective and they're looking for a model that will match their idealism.  That's all they're doing.

And they're looking at us through this idealistic frame of reference which suddenly comes up and they find us falling short.  They weigh us and we are wanting, as the statement goes.  So we're offended by this but, understand that at this point they need a model that matches that idealism.  I ask you to quickly examine the models we give our young people. 

Just look at it.  Who are their models?  The pop starts, the rock stars, the movie stars, the sport stars, at best maybe the political stars, Donald Trump, really these are their models.  On every hand, and I say this in all kindness, on every hand, no one means to do this, the models betray what the young person is looking for.  They simply betray them.  They don't match up at all.  It's not what they're after.  It doesn't fit the need.  It's not appropriate and they keep looking.  And at a certain point, and it's happening earlier and earlier, at a certain point what happens?  In place of the idealism comes despair, a loss of hope of finding a model and cynicism, anger, frustration and the adoption of models who represent the exact opposite to what they're really after and that comes about from their feeling of futility and helplessness of ever finding what they really want. 

And so they kind of choose anti-heroes.  Instead of those who measure up to virtue, uprightness, all this that they felt at age 11, justice, fairness, and so on, they pick the punk star who says don't kill me I'm already dead.  That's what they wear on their t-shirts, don't kill me I'm already dead.  And that becomes the kind of cynical, and they all practice at this, they play it, they have to be tough, sophisticated and cynical of one another.  That is to deny their idealism.  Why must they deny it so vigorously?  What is it Macbeth said, "the lady doeth protest too much".  They deny it so vigorously because it's too painful.  Their loss of idealism is too painful to them so they pick their anti-models and of course the societies anxious to provide those for them because through those models you can make billions of dollars out of that frustration and rage of your young people.

Now, let's take the second thing about the adolescent.  This will start up somewhere probably around 14 or 15.  I can tell you by 16 it's so painful, it just is literally very heavy in a person's life.  And that's the feeling what I call the great expectation.  Great expectation.  And that is the feeling that something tremendous is supposed to happen and it's supposed to happen right now.  And instant by instant we wait for it as young people.  I was talking about this with a radio announcer once and he was one of these tough guys who battens around his guests you know and plays the tough role and I mentioned this business.  Can't you remember when you were an adolescent, this feeling something tremendous was supposed to happen in your life?  He said, "what do you mean remember it in my life", he says "I've waiting for it all my life and it hasn't happened yet" and blanky-blank "I don't think it ever will".  He said "I thought every corner I turned it was going to happen.  Every time I went up over a little hill it was going to happen and it never did".  I love that you see but that really speaks for us all.  This feeling of great expectation.  This constant anticipation that something is supposed to happen and we expect it right now. 

My favorite example, I have several, it was a letter from a young man in a university back east whose parents in New Mexico said he loved his third year of college.  He was a junior and he was a star in every way, he was an athletic and he was popular and he made top grades and how everything was going his way.  It was wonderful.  He loved his school more than ever but something happened that he had to try to share and there was no one to share it with except his parents.  He said, "I awakened the other night with 'the cold hand of terror clutching my heart'".  And he said, "what it was, I suddenly remembered that since I was 14 I'd been waiting constantly for something tremendous that was supposed to happen and I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that I was almost 21 and it had never happened yet and the thought occurred to me, suppose it never happens and I never even know what it was supposed to have been". 

The issue wasn't that he couldn't bear up under the disappointment of it never happening, the issue was he could not bear not knowing what it was supposed to have been.  This is the adolescent.  I think of George Leonard writing in Esquire Magazine, in his 16th year there in Atlanta, Georgia, he and his young friends getting together for their great bull sessions that would last all night long.  Maybe you can remember that and how they would exhaust all topics of women and sports car or racing and so on and so forth and finally get around to the terrifying subject of what this was.  There's also this gesture you see toward the heart, what it is and he spoke of this anguished longing, so intense we knew it could never be assuaged you see.  And the problem is, it can't even be articulated.  It can't be put into words.  All the young person can do is kind of futile gesture toward it and that's all.  This great anticipation of something tremendous that's supposed to happen.

Critical & Creative Thinking 02

Bring the house to order
Joseph Chilton Pearce

We are about ready to enter into society as functioning social members.  Nature provides for this. So, we look at a society's body of knowledge and it's around age 11 when the child is initiated into the culture's body of knowledge, and childhood begins to wind up and come to an end, and they make their preparations to become full members of the society. 

Now the child can deal with the structure of knowledge.  Why do you bring it to order?   You will see that in play, again, here, instead of the wide open play and make believe where everything changes all the time, very fluid, very relaxed, a lot of fun, the young person becomes very much involved in rigid rules and regulations. I talked about how out on the sandlot we spend half our time arguing.  You are not being fair. I was out, you were not, and so on and so forth, hammering out our giving up of this absolute freedom we had on behalf of a social group and how a social group organizes and manages to get along together.

We are preparing for what now?  Well, we have got about three, four years before puberty, before the opening of genital sexuality when we can actually father children.  Can you think of anything on earth that requires more self-restraint than parenting.  Self-restraint, self-sacrifice, giving up one's own entirely self-centered good on behalf of the good of another.  That’s parenting.  And to prepare for that, what do we have?  We bring the house to order.  And the person undergoes willful self-restraint on behalf of the rules and regulations of a larger order.    

We find that we are about ready to enter into society, the mainstream of society as functioning social members.  Nature provides for this, the fact that we now have created an intermediary state, which we call adolescence, which really never existed before.  You were a child up to a certain point, you underwent certain rights of passage, and you took your place in the adult world, for which all your childhood had prepared you.  Now, we have adolescence, and we start speaking of the teenager's adolescence.  And adolescence has grown this way, moving deeper and deeper into childhood, children become adolescents earlier and earlier, and they stay adolescents longer and longer and longer.  Now, they are even living with their parents until they are 30 and so on and so forth.  So, adolescence is kind of an arbitrary dumping ground for people we are not ready for, we have no place for them in our society.  But nature still is preparing for that socialization and parenting at this point.   

So, we look at a society's body of knowledge.  What is a society's body of knowledge?  You won’t find any society on earth, the Aborigine, the Eskimo Laplanders, whatever it might be, the South American tribes, all of those people have a body of knowledge, and it's around age 11 when the child is initiated into the culture's body of knowledge, and childhood begins to wind up and come to an end, and they make their preparations to become full members of the society.  

All bodies of knowledge that all societies have, following the same three categories, it's real interesting.  And they, again, follow, and here I'm fitting everything into my pattern, like Freudians fitting everything into the Id, Ego, and Superego.  By the way, they followed the same pattern too.  But it does fit this triune nature of the brain.

All societies have a body of knowledge which consists of three things.  The first will deal with the physical world, the actual mechanics of the physical world.  In our society that ends up as science and technology and perhaps certain crafts.  Science, technology, agriculture, all these practical technologies for dealing with the physical world.  You don't find any society on earth which will not have a body of knowledge inherited, passed down through the ages for dealing with the physical world in the most economical fashion and for the wellbeing of all.  And then, now that's, of course, dealing with the reptilian system, our primary world, physical body system.     

And then, the body of knowledge's second category will always be art.  Now art, in its broadest possible category, covering every facet of art, art is simply the language of the emotional cognitive system.  It's the language of relationship.  It's the language of feeling, of that deepest core of being me as distinct from everything else, and my experience of being me, distinct from everything else, and how I relate to the whole life experience.  Art is that language of the *limbic system, the language of the emotional cognitive system.  And if you think about it, you will see how perfectly that is true.    

I remember David Bohm, the great physicist late departed, saying, music was pure, subtle energy.  Subtle energy.  He said, music was the subtle world, in effect, expressing itself in the physical world, and I really think that's quite true.  When we look at the art forms of other nations, other peoples, the Australian Aborigine art form is astonishing.  All of these, we find expressions of the feeling capacity, the affective expression of life.     

And then finally, the third stage, moving on up, what do we have?  The realm of meaning.   Meaning in its purest abstract form.  Meaning.  Well, we stand back, we look at all this objectively and we say, what the dickens is it all about?  Meaning.  And this will always express itself as our philosophies and our religions.  Philosophies and/or, whatever you want to call it, and/or religions.  And around about age 11, a child simply, spontaneously becomes religious in some fashion.  And generally, they want to become religious in a very organized, formal way.   And they will immediately polarize things.  This is a great age of polarization.  We don’t understand this.  Great age of polarization.  It's either right or it's wrong.  And let's be perfectly clear about it, it's either just or it's unjust, it's righteous or it's unrighteous, you are  either fair or you're not being fair, etc.  The child sees everything in these clear blacks and whites.  They are a perfect example of the old classical, logical truth tables, either A or not A, and you can't have it both ways.  That's this age, beautifully.

And this need, this critical need of philosophical, religious basis of meaning that's applicable to this age, that's a serious need.  My friend Gene *Swartz, who's with the Waldorf School in Spring Valley, teaches sixth grade.  He said, we talk about God because children seriously need the subject of God at that period, you see.  And of course in this day and age, this is politically incorrect and not only that, it's illegal.  But that's a private school system, so we relax.    

Now, this need of a religious frame of reference or philosophical frame of reference, it's really all kind of the same thing, is simply the need for meaning.  David Bohm said, the brain really operates and functions by meaning.  It can't operate in a vacuum that is meaningless to it.  We were speaking a while ago, someone came up and said, I've been called attentional, I have an attention deficit.

My daughter is seriously deficit on attention unless she likes the subject.   And can she entrain then, you see.  So, we get to this period and meaning becomes critically important to the child.  And that's the expression of this third and highest structure of the mind, when it reflects back  on the whole process and, look, it's reflecting back on its, always its physical process.  It's now, what is the philosophy for meaning in this physical world at this time.  We need a meaning for it.  That's our religious impulse at that time, a meaning for this physical life.  It's still directed toward this.  The whole first 15 years is all directed toward what?  Stabilizing our dominion over our physical world, gaining it and stabilizing it.   

So, if we look at this from this standpoint, we will find that to make our focal point of the highest part of education, the production of scientific, technological minds, and geniuses in a system which, above all, must, of necessity apparently to maintain its own integrity, deny meaning.  Deny meaning.  Then, we are going to have some difficulties.  We are going to have some difficulties.

How Can So Many Deny So Much?

Over fifty years ago James W. Prescott, PhD, noted that an absence of what we call bonding is neglect or abuse. Researchers at the McLean Hospital identified four types of permanent brain abnormalities caused by early childhood abuse and neglect. These and other studies confirm what Prescott and associates discovered in the 1960's and 1970's; that lack of affectionate, intimate contact between mothers and infants during the most sensitive periods of brain growth may result in permanent brain abnormalities associated with juvenal and adult patterns of depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, aggression and violence.


Failure of Culture—James. W. Prescott

 VIOLENCE: THE Failure of Culture

James W. Prescott, Ph.D.

The failure of Women to become Nurturing Mothers is the failure of Culture. One cannot Nurture or Love if they have not been nurtured or loved. One cannot give to someone else what he or she does not possess. Nurturing and Love are learned behaviors not to be found in our genes. There are no genes for love or violence—they are learned behaviors. This learning process begins with MOTHER in the intimacy of breastfeeding bonding, which contains all the elements of nurturing and love—from the micro molecular biochemistry of breast milk to the macro chemistry of the sensory environment of touch, movement, taste, and smell of the body of MOTHER-- all that is crucial for the development of the bran gestalt called LOVE where the Whole is greater than the sum of its Parts.


Essential Joseph Chilton Pearce 60

Losing Sensory Perception
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Out of Germany come the studies that show how increased environmental stimulation causes the brain to close, to narrow its perception filters at a rate of approximately 1% per years. Over a ten year period the brain will register 10% less nuance of color, sound, taste, etc., thus requiring media producers to increase the pace, volume, explosive violence, the overall level of stimulation, which in turn, causes the brain to further limit and constrict actual sensory perception and sensitivity. The brains of our grandparents literally perceive a vastly different spectrum of sensations than today’s developing brain.

Essential Joseph Chilton Pearce 34

Self as Image
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Neuroscientist speak of a primary self, and then the emergence of an autobiographical self. Autobiographical implies separate from, distinct which comes about during the toddler period and language development. The toddler rushing out to explore with wonder hitting negativity over and over and forming an semantic image that conform or mirrors that negativity. And that image is called the autobiographical self. The autobiographical self is always negative. In the original open state there is no need for an image of self of any kind. Through this negative image the child feels it can maintaining contact with the source, parents and family, projecting this negativity. Praise therefore is a counterfeit form of negativity.

Beyound Adolescence

Joseph Chilton Pearce

In this program we are going stretch our limits by discovering completely new ways to look at our young adults. Joseph Chilton Pearce will challenge us along with a group of parents, educators and health care providers, by asking that we consider that adolescence might actually be very different from what we think it is. He suggests that adolescence may really be cumulative effect of both false education and a failure to fully develop our full potential.

Essential Joseph Chilton Pearce 17

Bonding, Culture and Survival
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Bonding is a biological process. Direct, skin to skin contact immediately after birth activates in the mother the ancient species survival reflex.This opens and develops strengthens and capacities that she has not needed before, abilities to attune to the infant on many levels. She is driven by a tremendous genetic drive to insure the wellbeing of the child. Intimate interaction correspondingly activates the infant’s innate intelligence. Mother and infant are awakening in the other the unique and exact capacities needed for each to fulfill nature’s agenda of optimum development of the species. Each is taking their cues from the other. Inhibit, retard, break this reciprocal intimate relationship and both mother and child pay a heavy price, as does the culture.

In a biological process, not a sentimental or an emotion or an intellectual, a biological response to that which has been established in-utero or a reconfirming of that established in-utero and it’s found that when the mother interacts with the infant on a skin to skin contact right after birth that it actually awakens, activates in the mother’s emotional cognitive brain what is called the ancient species survival extinct.  And it gives her a capacity and ability that she has never needed before, of tuning into the infant on many, many different levels and responding to the infant for the infant’s own welfare and well-being.  She’s driven by an enormous genetic drive to protect, nurture and defend the infant at all costs.  The welfare of the infant becomes paramount in her life by activating this particular part of her brain system. As a result of that she’s tuned into her infant on many different levels than just the ordinary way we think of relating.

And the other interesting thing is that this gives her the capacity to awaken in the infant the infant’s own genetically encoded package of intelligences so they’re each awakening in the other fundamental biological intelligences and there’s a reciprocation established, a reciprocal action, each is taking their cues from the other.  The mother is so observant, so acutely aware of the infant, she sees the infant through totally different eyes.  She senses the infant on different levels.  No one else in the world will ever sense that infant on all the levels she is going to be sensing from that infant.  They will be in communication on many different levels than just ordinary sight and sound.

Now with this is the foundation of their relationship from that point on throughout the entire development of this infant, it is the infants welfare and well-being that will be the prime stimulus in the mother’s response to him. And she’ll be taking her cues for how to respond to that infant from the infant itself.  

Not having this connection, if it’s broken by something and the bonding is incomplete, she won’t be bringing in those cues.  She won’t know what to do.  She’ll be confused by the infant and the fallback and all sorts of intellectual schemes are trying to respond.  She will be looking at the infant not from the welfare of the infant but from what she’s been taught or read in books or what she believes might be the best for her own image of herself as a mother.  

We find that the unbonded mother is far more concerned over the behaviors of the infant or a child as they reflect on the mother’s own social position.  That is the mother’s prime motive.  The prime impetus in her response to her infant is not the welfare of the infant but the welfare of her own social image in the eyes of other people.  So she’ll be responding to the infant or reacting to him in ways to try to change the infant or child’s behavior in ways she thinks will enhance her own social image and she won’t even be aware of this.

Then the child is taking their cues from the mother and they’re picking up from the mother not the cues of nurturing, well-being and their own welfare, it’s simply a demand from behaviors that are going to protect the mother herself.  So you get a complete reversal, an inversion of the natural process from the failure to establish that bond in the beginning.

You not only have the fundamental or different concept within the woman’s own mind of what being a mother is, if these nurturing intelligences are not awakened, but you have a different concept of what a child is.  A child becomes simply a malleable piece of clay that we must mold into our image of what we think the child should be or what we’re told what the child should be by experts.  You find a peculiar situation in our society or our culture of women taking their cues for how to bring up a child from male experts, even doctors, rather than from their own innate inherent instinct, their genetically encoded wisdom for how to mother and how to take care of a child. They are looking to male physicians or experts or developmentalists or people that write books about it simply because they had no knowledge of that coming from within themselves.  Why, because it was never awakened within them. And, as a result, the child doesn’t have it awakened in them all of these counter-nurturing and responsive kind of things, and you have a lot of problems in relationship in the family from the terrible two’s on through the terrible teens.  You have warfare in effect between the parent and the child which is exactly the opposite of what nature intended.

Violence In The Name Of God


E-Mail correspondence below calls for a different priority.

Rabbi Lerner—It is time to launch an “agonizing reappraisal” of the destructive role that religious institutions have had upon Humanity.

The continuing violence against women and her children throughout human history must be understood within a religious framework. Transforming Cultures of Violence into Cultures of Peace is not possible without a transformation of values and assumptions of gender inequality inherent in religious theology.

So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27-29).


Almost a Woman

Not having health insurance I sat in the waiting room of the local ‘tribal’ clinic waiting for my annual routine blood work to be drawn. Sitting across the room was a Native or Hispanic mother with her daughter, who is just becoming a woman. She watched the television and got up a few times to answer a question or help her mother with a form. I was struck by her natural beauty, her chiseled face, large doe-like brown eyes, her body mid-way transforming from a child to a woman.

self image