Attack on the Child.

In order to understand the pathological need for wealth, fame and consumption that typifies Western Culture, we need to look further than mere greed. Having the moral high ground is not enough. You might still miss what’s so interesting about wanting more than you need….

The Rule of Intention says that the way things pan out has to do with the intentions of those who are involved.  If children in their millions are starving then someone is witholding the spoon. If thousands have no education then that’s by design. If families are living on the streets someone put them there.

So then what does it mean that we collectively aspire to more than we need? Why is it that we regard excessive consumption differently from obesity? You’d be shocked if a person’s goal was to gain a hundred pounds…

and yet

”We are screwing the planet to make solar powered bathroom thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.” G Monbiot.

Are we then simply diplaying our wealth? Is there some arcane connection between wanton destruction and attractiveness? I think not, but whatever the answer it  lies deeper than our greed or stupidity.

Symptoms of dis-ease are never arbitrary or simply unfortunate. They are the unconscious expression of something yet to be named. There is hidden meaning in desperately pursuing stuff you don’t actually need, stuff whose production enslaves and destroys into the bargain. Calling it addiction doesn’t quite work either, despite the added caveat to greed that there is more at work than mere self indulgence.

Believing we can convert the rhythms of work into cash so that real life might then begin may feel worth the price to be paid by aliveness, but what many of us do in our leisure time is just more of the very same consuming of life from which we most need to a break. In our millions we become even further absorbed…..

”in the electronic reproduction of life, the passive consumption of the twittering screen.” A Watts.

So we save up for our hols, to get away from it all, when proper enjoyment can get under way, only to find that it too is also somehow pasteurised, with boxes to tick and schedules to fill. Been there, done that…  We wait to be amused, wonder what’s  next and if we’ve had our money’s worth.

All of which..

”gives rise to a culture devoted not to survival but to the actual destruction of life.” ibid

So is our devouring of life a form of collective suicide, a Chomskian rushing to the precipice?

No, its scarier than that.

It is an attack, not just upon ourselves, but on our children. The planet that their parents are pillaging is, after all, their inheritance. The spiritual malaise and attendant acting out of the developed world is far greater, far more malicious, than mere apathy, denial or disinterest.

”Once you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Sherlock Holmes.

If we want to understand consumerism and its attended ravaging of the planet we need to ask what it is that people are really hoping for with the must-have item on their bucket list. Irrespective of its concretisation, the new car, the fancy vacation, the latest gadgetry, what people seem to be striving for is a sense of worth, of being safe and held and fed.

Collectively we are seeking the in-arms experience of infancy which, as a culture, we have simply not yet had.

‘When the expected does not take place, corrective or compensatory tendencies make an effort to restore stability.’ J. Liedloff.

Consumerism is a parody of contented infant satiation. We want life dribbling down our chin. We want to be in the ‘lap of luxury’. We want the safety of maternal embrace whose alternative is the poor substitute of being gripped by her dark and compulsive sister, (mater)ialism.

‘The infant (like the guru) lives in the eternal now, in a state of bliss; the infant out of arms is in a state of longing, the bleakness of an empty Universe. Want is all there is..’ ibid

Amassing the unnecessary to the detriment of  life on Earth looks entirely crazy until we consider it in a symbolic light, the unfulfilled need of a culture seeped in denial about what is truly indispensible. Mother.

This denial reaches its acme in psychoanalytic theory with Freud’s Drive Conflict theory which entirely marginalises Mother as relevant to baby’s health or illness.

According to this theory dis-ease is not down to how we are treated, whether we are held and loved, but on dysfunctional ‘object relations’. You did it to yourself, a doctrine of victim blaming that also constitutes the final eradication of Mother’s relevance to life. In thirty years I have never found Freud to use the word ‘mother’ even once.

This denigration of life’s most important role impoverishes our entire culture but it does far more and has consequences you might not have considered.

Not only does the dominant form of spirituality in Western Culture fail to nourish, but our anxious preoccupation with and eternal focus on the future with its promise of salvation…at some point…does have the appeal  that the indiscretions of today may be swept under the carpet, but in the process of ducking conscience we are also bound to be gripped with envious spoiling for those who are able to be in the moment where real life happens, where all bliss, joy, gratitude and celebration are to be found.

Much of the West’s ferocious subjugation of the ‘childlike’ third world has to do with this same improbable truth, that we envy them. Despite their poverty they seem to have something we do not, a living for today where the real riches of life are to be found. And so they are happy. For all our wealth and power in the West we are miserable. Our worrying about tomorrow means we cannot  enjoy our mountain of stuff  today because all enjoyment is Now.

I once asked an African man on a dusty savannah roadside in tropical heat when the bus he was waiting for would arrive. ‘Today”, he answered contentedly.  By contrast and half a world away, commuters on Stuttgart railway station platform follow the digital clock ticking over, . At the exact same moment they all look in disappointed unison at their watches and turn to stare down the track as if they were practicing impatience for a show.

Our collective obsession with time and tommorow means that the aliveness gets sucked out of today.  We become chorus lines to celebrity others whose lives have somehow become more real than our own. The togetherness, the gratitude for simply being alive can’t be entered into and like the uninvited guest, ‘Now’ turns cold, vengeful and wooden.

”Unlived life will not sit idly on the shelf, it will turn round and bite you.” M.L. von Franz.

If a sense of Self that transcends self-interest can’t be embodied it will be projected. The recipients will invariably be the next generation who are as yet untutored in guilt, whose feeling of belonging has yet to be eroded, who have yet to know alienation.

and who are handy…

The child..

‘will arouse certain longings in the adult. . . longings which relate
to the unfulfilled desires and needs of those parts of the personality
which have been blotted out. . .’ C. G. Jung.

Whilst we idealise, cosset and run around endlessly with compensatory gestures of slavish devotion,  so too do we silently envy and spoil. The secret bit about narcissistic brats is that they were made that way by parents who first loaded them down with not only their own unfulfilled expectations but with all the potentialities in today that we can’t shoulder for the sake of insuring ourselves against tommorow.

The horror of growing old and dying without first having properly lived is all too much and become split in our affections.

I will pat you on the head whilst I poison your earth.

My father personally favoured random electrocution as a means to express his envious grievance at my blossoming youth. Bare mains wires ran down the walls both inside and outside my room. They would set window frames and brickwork alive, especially when it rained. You might say that most parents are not so pathological and yet the quest for more than you need means you have to go out and take it off someone else, perpetual warmongering for which youth in their millions are most necessary.

I once spent three days as part of a tiny force of  green berets sitting under a tree waiting for the go ahead to take on 300 defected enemy soldiers who’d changed their mind and taken their new commander hostage as a prelude to melting back into the bush with shiny new G3 semi automatics. We all knew it was a suicide mission should the order finally came through, but the predominant feeling amongst us was one of quiet acceptance, the calm of sacrificial beasts under a stone knife, as though fulfilling some preordained narrative.

Saturn is eating his children.

Behind closed doors it’s usually less flamboyant than electrified bedrooms or going to live in a war zone but after three decades of being a psychotherapist I have to say that everyone who ever came to see me had the same issue. Their true self had been attacked and their destinies subverted by someone they were entitled to trust.

Which is why having more than you need is a form of poison. Its not just greedy. It’s a blow aimed at those who would be better stewards of this earth than ourselves, our children.

this article contains excerpts from my new book ‘Abundant Delicious.. on attaining your heart’s desire’. http://andywhiteblog.com/2016/06/11/abundant-delicio…ot-off-the-press/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom and The Fates.

It’s said that the Moirai, the Three Fates of ancient time who determined both a person’s quality and span of life, had but a single eye between them. They squabbled over which should have it, the two blind ones eternally conspiring against the sighted third. In the form of millenial sisters, State, Church and Capitol, this bitchy pattern spills over into mortal affairs.

When Capitol and State team up against Church, Fascism will have a dark spiritual underbelly, religious bigotry.

When Church and Capitol collude without State, then you’ll have Empires without respect for Sovreignty.

When State and Church get chummy, then Jihads of Aquisition brew. Despite oneself,  the ‘must haves’ of life assume an almost mystical quality. Spirit and Stuff get mangled in the deification of the dollar. Consumption, like prayer, becomes an end in itself.

According to which sisters are pally at any given time, people get to be controlled in a particular way. Capitol/State favour  Big Stick. Capitol/Church use Guilt. State/Church prefer Propaganda.

Sometimes allegiances can change over night when The Girls are in a bad mood. But on one thing they agree. Democracy is rule by the Great Unwashed.

In 1921 influential American thinker W. Lipman coined the phrase, ‘the Manufacure of Consent’, a necessary technique for controlling the democratic electorate since,

”the general concerns of all people elude the public.’ W Lipman

People don’t know what is good for them. Their fates are too random.

Then came Bernay’s, Freud’s nephew, head of US post-war, ‘Dept of Public Relations’,

”I decided that if you can use propaganda for war you can certainly use it for peace. But propaganda got to be a bad word because the Germans were using it so what I did was to find some different words.” Bernays.

and so began the truly organised perception of Reality as commodity-to-the-highest-bidder. Bernays was instrumental in the US media portrayal of Guatamala as a nest of Russians in 1954, sufficient to overthrow democratically elected Arbenz.

The Russians did not even have diplomatic relations with Guatamala at the time. So how do you so pull the wool over people’s eyes like that?

Bernays was using the four principles of Lipman’s Manufacture of Consent. These four principles are also the weak spot in the Single System system. They show how its possible to bring the cyclops down.  And its not by force of arms. No monster makes rules of engagement and strategy unless it also has vulnerability. We may find its weakness in the rules that it makes.

One, Create Fear

Up until the collapse of the Russian federation it was ‘The Reds.” After 1990 it quickly became Islam, once…

”threats to our interests… and the serious problems we face, can no longer be laid at the Kremlin’s door” N. Chompsky

Recognising attempts to frighten you for what they are takes courage in any situation. The deliberate manufacture of fear is more scary than the fear of some random and arbitrary event because it involves betrayal. Someone you trusted is trying to make you feel bad and so its tough to point to its efforts.

Two, fuel a Two-Paradigm Debate.

So, find common ground. The  greatest wish of our lords and masters is to see us get embroiled in arguments about race and religion. Divide and rule. Corporate power feeds from it and rears up to its most unrestrained during times of martial law. Wasting spit on partisan divisiveness is playing the game. .

“We should be cautious about putting too much faith or fear into elected officials, we have to create it ourselves.”  E. Snowden.

Three, Create a Diversion.

Bread and Circuses for the people. Selotaste and plastoslurp. And for as long as you’ll settle for life’s consolation the Fates have you by the short and curlies will fFill you with entitlements, couch you on routes of least resistance.

If life can’t be easier then at least say that it should be and let a silent grudge be formed, an invisible resentment that life should be other, if only it weren’t for the Other, fueled by framing it as payback, maleable into a force of oppression overnight.

”the devil doesn’t come with a red cape and pointy horns, but as everything you ever wanted.” T. Max.

What the Media does best is never stated out loud. It’s implied, its the thread that joins all the sensational stories and the fear mongering. You should have it better. You poor thing. Your inheritance has been stolen. And while you are learning to grind your axe and mutter under your breath, you don’t notice that burglars are making off with your stuff there and then, nor that you are shackled to your grindstone.

The invitation to regress, to be babied, to have no more demanded of us than the cosy simple values of wanting dens cached with chocolate, makes for citizens that are entirely controllable.

‘Christian children all must be, mild obediant good as He.’ C. F. Alexander

And that means you,

but its okay,

especially if you can be eternally rewarded, not just with one product or another but anything in the name of your narcissistic entitlement. Something that when you stick it in your belt says, ‘I’m big.’

No lonely desert wandering, no shitty soul searching, no struggle to find words or slice yourself on the edges of critical thought.

And if you can be fed the idea that you are a poor misbegotten child into the bargain then so much the better…

except that you might have a shotgun under your coat.

The need to be given everlasting priviledge and be treated as special can undermine even the smartest person. This is because being seduced into believing in your own rightness is so tempting that if you have to forgo a healthy adaptation to reality in the process, waa’l… so be it.

I once made a clinical appointment with a highly qualified man for the following week. He said he would call on the day to confirm, as if offended at having to be pinned down to a particular time.

He neither rang nor showed up. I waited a day and then said something. His infallibility was so strong that he was finally compelled to assert, despite his intelligence, that he still intended to confirm the appointment which had not only passed but whose existence he now also denied.

When I said, like a terrible witholding mother, ‘you can’t have both confirmation and denial’, he fled.

Four, Keep Telling The Lie.

People will suck in all kinds of shit without any discrimination, so long as it is the same old shit. We do it to keep our worlds from turning too much, from having to be re-invented by what we come to realise. We collude with the Lie, bend ourselves out of shape to believe it.

I recall at about fourteen hanging out in a gang of white supremacist lads who suddenly realised that the ‘kaffir-boy’, the black servant in the house, spoke five languages. The confusion as to how this was possible was clearly visceral, they were contorting themselves with ad hoc explanations and rationalisation. For me, it was simple. He was smarter than us. Yes, a moment of clarity, but I suddenly felt very lonely and had to leave.

”Assimilating a new sort of fact demands a more than additive adjustment of theory, and until the adjustment is completed- until you have learned to see nature in a different way- the new fact is not quite a fact at all.” Thomas Kuhn.

And so what is truth and what is a lie become confused if it means making a paradigm shift in order to come to a conclusion.

So we believe the lie…

but pay for it by having to lurch collectively from crisis to crisis in order to make it through the day, like an addictive, accident prone histrionic, twisting to the twine of the Fates. The policy of, ‘never let a crisis go to waste’, means that our fingers must always be in Someone Else’s Pie. Always take at least one side and preferably both. Never be the moderator. Never be the voice of reason. It won’t pay the bills or fill the holy coffers. Be free, under Our control.

Consciousness and ‘Deadly Sin’.

We generally have the idea that communication is a matter of  first formulating our thoughts and then spitting them out. In fact its often the other way around.

‘I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.’  F. O’Connor.

We find out what what we think and feel once the words that carry them are abroad. This is the rationale behind word association tests. It is also the basis of ‘parapraxes’, or slips of the tounge.

When I was first in therapy I was telling my analyst about my father’s recent marriage to his third wife. He stopped me in mid sentance…

‘your father’s what?’

…marriage..

‘you said ‘funeral’,….’

a slip of the tounge that was the tail end of murdeous rage I was quite unaware of until it found its own way into our conversation. The ‘talking cure’ is rooted in this intimate relationship between self-expression and consciousness. This is true even more so for the expression of feelings… which is why personal breakthroughs are invariably associated with the catharsis of some forbidden emotion.

For consciousness to amount to anything it has to be shared.

‘I think I have told you, but if I have not, you must have understood, that a man who has a vision is not able to use the power of it until after he has performed the vision on earth for the people to see.’  Black Elk.

The best way to shut people up and prevent awareness is to make sharing a sin. Most obvious is sexual sharing. But the embargo on freedom of expression runs through Western Civilisation way deeper than who you can or cannot fuck.
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Sin is generally perceived as being about morality and being good but in fact its about daring to be conscious. Even God’s casting of Adam and Eve from Paradise, the land of blissful ignorance, is not for disobeying but for having the courage to be awake.
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‘Behold, man is become one of us, to know good and evil, and now, lest he put forth his hand and….eat, and live forever, therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden.’ Genesis 3;22
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Given that this is true, could it be that the so called Deadly Sins have to do with consciousness rather than morality? And if so, consciousness of what?
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When we look at these sins…
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Wrath; Greed; Gluttony; Sloth; Lust; Pride; Envy… they seem ‘bad’, and yet if you look at them with an unjaundiced eye, as symptoms of something, you can’t help but notice the similarity that these symptoms have with something all too familiar to the consulting room of psychotherapists everywhere.
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the post traumatic effect of Maternal Deprivation.
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and not of your personal mother but of the Great Mother, the Principle of Relatedness, the Divine Feminine…
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whose influence the church is a great deal more concerned about than any of your idiocyncratic shenanigins.
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Being good members of the flock means suppressing not just the memory of the Great Mother but more importantly the feelings of loss that accompany Her banishment.
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Its not enough to eradicate Her from memory..
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DON’T SPEAK HER NAME…
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… neither must we collectively name the emotional wounds we are left with millenia later, much as an individual child might make her vulnerability and loss at mother’s absence into ‘bad’ emotions and demonise her longing, acting out the wish to be filled up and held in-arms with a substitute paradise of drug addiction, materialism or narcissistic entitlement.
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To ensure that the feelings of abandonment and loss are not discussed and thereby bought more firmly into consciousness, they are made into taboos which entrench repression.
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 John Bowlby ( Attachment and Loss. 1950) observed that the first stage of maternal deprivation gives rise to protest..
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WRATH…
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and the assumption that someone else must have mummy…
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ENVY…
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prolonged absence creates terrible inner hungering…
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GREED…
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which the child tries to remedy itself..
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GLUTTONY…
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or symbolises the connection back to mother with sexuality..
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LUST..
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eventually the child begins to despair but tries to cover it over with a compensatory superiority…
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PRIDE…
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and finally falls into detachment and affectionless psychopathy..
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SLOTH….
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‘The mind is still haunted with its old unconscious ways; it broods on lost authorities; and the yearning, the deep and hollowing yearning for divine volition and service is with us still.’  J. Jaynes.
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The great irony of the age of communication is that we have stopped talking to one another. Collectively we are in the stage of maternal deprivation that Bowlby calls, ‘detachment’. We are detached from one another, from ourselves, from the world, from our dreams and inner life.
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”When we are cut off from the fulfillment of our basic needs we seek out substitutes to temporarily ease the longing. Bereft of connection to nature, connection to community, intimacy, meaningful self-expression, ensouled dwellings and built environment, spiritual connection, and the feeling of belonging, lots of us over-consume, overeat, over-shop, and over-accumulate.” Charles Eisenstein
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Even our vaunted sciences are rooted in separation and division.
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Newton saw the Universe as a machine… not a living organism, Darwin developed the notion of constant competition and Freud declared that we are without soul, as much a bundle of conflicts and strife on the inside as the natural world was assumed to be on the outside.
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What science ‘discovered’ was the underbelly of its own belief system projected into the world that then allowed us all to rest easy with our loss but at the price of being forever plagued by the spectre of ‘deadly sin’, a price that has left Western Civilisation apathetic and depressed.
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“Young children, who for whatever reason are deprived of the continuous care and attention of a mother or a substitute-mother, are not only temporarily disturbed by such deprivation, but may in some cases suffer long-term effects
J. Bowlby
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2,000 years worth of long term effects…..
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‘From the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.’ N. Chomsky.
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like orphans who assume they must have sinned terribly for mummy to have gone away without actually having to feel Her absence….
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and so we are compelled to take in Mother Earth by way of enactment, by the plunder and rape of the Planet, by the ravaging consumption of the Self, rather than by conscious acts of devotion known to those from whom we have descended in more ways than one.
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“Our Savior is our True Mother, in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.” Julian of Norwich