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Abraham Maslow was a Eugenicist

I have a lot of respect for Abraham Maslow. In 1943 he came up with the “hierarchy of needs.” This hierarchy of needs initially provided the foundation for a theory of human motivation that saw human behaviour as motivated by a series of needs, from lower physiological needs to higher needs for self-actualization and transcendence. The hierarchy is typically represented by a pyramid of needs; however, for reasons outlined in the article “Eupsychian Theory: Reclaiming Maslow and Rejecting The Pyramid The Seven Essential Needs,” we prefer to represent the human needs identified by Maslow as a Circle of Seven Essential Needs.

The circle of essential needs was not the end of Maslow’s thinking, it was really only the beginning. Later on, as his thinking matured, he began to develop a Eupsychian Theory. A Eupsychian Theory is a theory of a “good society” and the “good person.” He didn’t finish his project because he died of a heart attack before he could, but the foundations of the theory are certainly there, if you look carefully (Sosteric & Ratkovic, 2020). The theory itself is fairly simple and contains really only three propositions.

One, if you want to make good humans, you have to create a good society.

Two, if you want to create a good society, make sure the society meets all our human needs.

Three, sick humans, evil humans, are created by societies that fail to meet all our essential human needs (Sosteric & Ratkovic, 2020). As he noted, psychopathology and “evil” results from the frustration, corruption, or violent suppression of our essential needs (A. H. Maslow, 1970, p. 1969).

Maslow was very clear about these things and he said them in several locations.

A basically thwarted man may actually be defined as a ‘sick’ man” (A. H. Maslow, 1943, p. 395).

In our society the thwarting of these needs is the most commonly found core in cases of maladjustment and more severe psychopathology ” (A. H. Maslow, 1943, pp. 381–383).

“Destructiveness, sadism, cruelty, malice, etc., seem so far to be not intrinsic but rather they seem to be violent reactions against frustration of our intrinsic needs, emotions and capacities” (A. H. Maslow, 1968, p. 3).

We do know, however, that out of the search for fulfillment of a basic need-take love in the child for example-can come evil. The child, wanting his mother’s exclusive love, may bash his little brother over the head in hopes of getting more of it. What we call evil or pathological may certainly arise from, or replace, something good. Another example is the little squabbles among children; all the fighting they do about who should do what, about dividing up the chores, ultimately can be seen as a distorted expression of a very powerful need fairness and justice” (A. Maslow, 1961, p. 8).

Exhibit A: Maslow’s Eugenicist Tendencies

Maslow clearly had a good sense that toxic societies created toxic people and that if we wanted to create healthy, fully developed people, we needed to create healthy societies, which is why I find his eugenicist positions rather puzzling. In journal entries (A. Maslow, 1982) which he knew he had to keep secret for fear of the backlash should he publish them, he repeatedly referred to something he called the aggridant, a term he used to describe chickens that were bigger, stronger, and more dominant. For Maslow, the aggridant was a superior chicken person with strong genetics, driven to achieve things. An example of an aggridant in human form might be Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. Maslow compared the aggridant to the weak person and suggested that if human beings wanted to evolve, eventually society would have to develop Eugenicist policies to weed out the weaker genes and encourage aggridant development and aggridant leadership.

Putting aside the rather questionable attribution of aggridant status to people whose status derives from the sociopathic exploitation of the working classes (Ronson, 2011) in the service of the addictive accumulation of wealth (Sosteric, 2018), and the fact that it is aggridant who are impoverishing billions and who have led us to the brink of ecological catastrophe, the whole idea of seems rather bizarre, especially considering it was this guy who founded both Humanistic and Transpersonal psychologies. How can you support eugenicist policies at the same time that you realize that environment plays a critical role in human health, well-being, and development? Put another way, why focus on and blame the individual when clearly it is society that is at fault. For me, and most sociologists I suspect, the implications are clear. If you want to grow healthy, well adjusted “good” individuals, meet all their needs. It’s just like growing a flower. If you stunt the flower by failing to water it properly or by planting it in shitty soil, it’s not the flower’s fault if it grows up weak and spindly, it’s the gardener’s fault. It just doesn’t make any sense to blame the individual plant.

At this point, I have to say, I got a question; specifically, what on Earth would lead Maslow to ignore the implications of his own theory and support Eugenicist policies? The answer, I suspect, is probably a complex combination of ideology, influence, and the use and misuse of science in the service of a Capitalist hegemony. I think its best if we let an interested historian sort that out. I do know one thing though; Maslow was a fascinating character full of brilliant and useful insight but subject to erroneous thinking, questionable ethics, and irrational prejudice, just like a lot of people.

What should we make of all this. Personally, I find a lot of value in most of Maslow’s ideas. I also think that given Maslow’s history as a progressive academic with socialist tendencies, he would have eventually put aside his horrible thinking and come to the proper conclusion, which was that if we wanted to create a better human, we needed to create a better society. Unfortunately, he died six months after committing his “cold blooded” thinking to paper, so I guess we’ll never know for sure.

References

Maslow, A. (1961). Eupsychia—The Good Society. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1(2), 1.

Maslow, A. (1982). The Journals of Abraham Maslow (R. Lowry, Ed.). The Lewis Publishing Company.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–396.

Maslow, A. H. (1968). Towards a Psychology of Being (2nd Edition). Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.). Harper & Row. https://amzn.to/2OSRmlX

Ronson, J. (2011). The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry. Picador. https://amzn.to/2SEwVLp

Sosteric, M. (2018). How money is destroying the world. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/how-money-is-destroying-the-world-96517

Sosteric, M., & Ratkovic, G. (2020). Eupsychian Theory: Reclaiming Maslow and Rejecting The Pyramid The Seven Essential Needs. PsyArXiv Preprints. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/fswk9

 

 

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Introduction to Archetypes Part One: Power, Origin, and Purpose

What is an archetype? Answering that question can get complicated and confusing, but in essence, an archetype is quite simple. An archetype is a conscious or unconscious idea that provides answers to Big Questions. Big questions are the ultimate questions of existence and cosmology. Big questions are questions of existence, purpose, place, and so on. Examples of big questions include, “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose?”, “What is the nature of God?”, “What happens when I die,” and so on. Archetypes provide answers to these questions.

You will understand the idea of an archetype perfectly if you consider a simple example. Almost everybody on this planet accepts the archetype of good versus evil. On this planet, just about everybody believes that some mystical force for good (sometimes literally called “the force”) and some magical power for evil (sometimes personified as Satan/Darth Vader, or other “dark” figures) exists in creation. It hasn’t always been this way. Indeed, ancient and indigenous spiritualities do not have such an all-encompassing view of cosmic evil forced. But these days, most people on this planet, atheists and scholars included, believe that these mystical and magical forces of light versus dark, anima versus animus, fight each other in an eternal battle of cosmic proportions, the goal of which (in exoteric teachings) is the annihilation of the “evil one” or (in esoteric teaches) recognition and integration of one’s own internal shadow. This holds true whether one is a “new ager” browsing the local metaphysical bookstore, or a scientist hived off in a laboratory somewhere. Freud’s evil little id, Jung’s negative shadow, Hegel’s dialectic, George Lucas’s light and dark side of the force, and every single Marvel hero comic and movie ever produced, reflect the same good versus evil archetype, just framed in different ways.

This notion that the universe is composed of dark/evil versus good/light forces is an archetype. It is an archetype because this idea of good versus evil provides an answer to a big question; rather, two big questions. The big questions it answers are “Why do bad things happen” and “Why are we here?” For most of us, the answers are well-rehearsed. Bad things happen because of “evil.” You are here to fight evil and be good.

Power

Archetypes are Filters Through Which we Understand Reality

As you can see, an archetype is an idea that answers a big question or two. Archetypes are more than just big ideas that answer big questions. Archetypes also organize our thinking and influence how we see the world. We see and understand the world through the filter of the archetypes in our consciousness. We can see this quite clearly if we consider the good versus evil archetype. If we adopt this archetype, then when we look at the world, we see in it the operation of good versus evil. School shootings? Taliban oppression? American Imperialism? Monsanto greed? The fall of New York’s twin towers? When we adopt the good versus evil archetype, we see all these events as the operation of “evil,” and our response as the operation of good.

The notion that archetypes answer big questions, and the idea that archetypes provide a kind of filter through which we see the world should not be controversial. It is obvious that archetypes do these things. It should also be obvious at this point that archetypes are quite powerful. Anything that can influence how you think about and see the world is a force we need to reckon with.

Archetypes Inform our Self Image and Constitute our Self

Strikingly, it goes even deeper than that. Archetypes do not only control how we see the world, they control how we see ourselves. They do this for the same reasons, and in the same way, that they help us create the world at large. They do it because they shape our ideas about our self.

We can see all this clearly when we consider what I call the Fool in School archetype. Those familiar with the Western Tarot, those steeped in New Age “teachings,” and those who come from Christian or Vedic type backgrounds, will be familiar with this archetype. The Fool in School archetype, like all archetypes, answers a big question. In this case, the question is, “why am I here?” When we ask the question “Why am I here?” people often answer it in a spiritual way, saying we are here to “learn lessons,” “pay off karmic debt,” “evolve to greet the universe,” or something like that. We are, in short, “fools in a cosmic school.”

You can see this “fool in school” archetype represented bright as the noonday sun in the “modern” Western tarot deck, in the Fool card. In the tarot deck, in that card, we clearly see the “cosmic fool” stepping off the cliffs on his way to his Earthly school. To tell the full story, this fool is jumping into a body (a “chariot”, another tarot card) and his body is going to carry him through a lifetime of divine or evolutionary lessons where he will, if he is lucky, pass judgment (another archetype in the deck), enter into heaven, graduate onto the next universal level, and so on and so forth. He is a “fool in school” and according to this pervasive “fool in school” archetype, so are you. Brigit Biddy, a popular tarot “authority” online, captures the exoteric archetype perfectly.

In the Fool Tarot card, a young man stands on the edge of a cliff, without a care in the world, as he sets out on a new adventure. He is gazing upwards toward the sky (and the Universe) and is seemingly unaware that he is about to skip off a precipice into the unknown. Over his shoulder rests a modest knapsack containing everything he needs – which isn’t much (let’s say he’s a minimalist). The white rose in his left hand represents his purity and innocence. And at his feet is a small white dog, representing loyalty and protection, that encourages him to charge forward and learn the lessons he came to learn. The mountains behind the Fool symbolise the challenges yet to come. They are forever present, but the Fool doesn’t care about them right now; he’s more focused on starting his expedition.1

Like the good versus evil archetype, this fool in school archetype finds expression throughout the world. You find this idea in Western theology (you are ejected from the Garden and you have to win your way back in), Eastern theology (in order to reach Nirvana you have to learn lessons and clear any karmic debt you accumulate), and science (you are an evolving ape moving towards higher levels of capacity and consciousness). You also find it peppered everywhere in the art and culture of this society. You find it in movies, music, television, literature, news, and so on. This idea is so pervasive because we were taught it as children, we believe it, and so we reproduce it in our art and work. I know I was taught it as a child. I spent enough time in the Catholic Church to absorb the fool in school archetype. Even later, when I rejected Catholicism, I found it again in New Age doctrine. When I rejected that, I found it in university where I was taught the Darwinian / Jungian canon that the “worthy” ones are the ones who have the strength and courage to pass nature’s tests, evolve, individuate, and survive.

Does this archetype exist in your consciousness? Pause for a moment and ask yourself, why are you here. If your answer is that you are here to learn lessons, grow, and evolve, then yes, this archetype exists in your consciousness. If it is there, do not feel bad. This “fool in school” archetype is inscribed deeply into all of us from a very early age not only in the spiritual and scientific teachings we receive, but also in the actions others take towards us. For some, this idea may be inscribed so deeply that it might be hard to consider alternatives.2 For some, even questioning the fool in school archetype and suggesting alternatives, like the I am God archetype, can invoke fear, even panic.

If the archetype exists in your brain, then this archetype is going to determine how you see yourself. If you adopt this archetype, you will see yourself as a fool in school and you will interpret your life events as life lessons along the way. If a good thing happens to you, you will view it as “positive karma,” a reward for good behaviour. If bad things happen, you will personalize the issue and look for the “lesson” embedded in the event. You are a fool in school, after all, and the lesson is where you should focus your attention.

Archetypes Influence Our Actions in the World

At this point, you can see that archetypes, which, according to our definition are ideas that answer big questions, are important. Archetypes influence, maybe even determine how we see the world and how we see ourselves. It does not stop there though. Because archetypes control how we see the world, archetypes also control how we act in the world, and the type of world we create. I would even go so far as to say that the archetypes in our brain determine the world around us in fundamental and powerful ways. They do this not in any mystical or magical way, but in a concrete, down-home on the farm sort of way, which is to say, through the actions of human hands, guided by human ideas.

It is not rocket science. If you build a table, you have an idea of that table first. If you build a house, you have an idea of that house before you start. If you build an institution, for example, the Catholic Church, you have ideas in mind and those ideas determine what you create. And note, it is not just the things that we create that are influenced by the archetypes in our brain. Our entire life can be influenced by these things. Consider the fool in school archetype. If you adopt that archetype, your view of self will be such that you spend your life pursuing “life lessons.” More importantly, you will interpret your life through this archetypal lens, and you will act according to the logic embedded within. If something bad happens to you, you will look for the “lesson” (i.e. the silver lining) in that event. If something good happens to you, like you get the idea to start an online book company, it will be interpreted as some kind of karmic, perhaps even Darwinian, reward.

And that is an archetype. An archetype is an idea that provides an answer to a big question. In so doing, the archetype influences, even determine, how we see ourselves, see the world, and the actions we take in our life. There is nothing mystical or magical about this. It is simple and basic human psychology. If you have an idea and you think that idea is important, you use that idea to understand yourself, organize your life, and inform your actions in the world.

Origin

At this point, I hope I have established the nature and power of archetypes. Note that I am not saying anything new here. Carl Jung clearly understood the full power of archetypes when he said that archetypes “create myths, religion, and philosophies that influence and characterize whole nations and epochs of history” (Jung 1964). If you accept that archetypes have this power, the next question becomes, “where do archetypes come from?” The answer to that question is complicated, so we will step through this carefully.

First and foremost, archetypes come from human imagination. For an archetype to exist, it must be imagined in some way. There are different ways to imagine archetypes. Sometimes archetypes emerge in a gentle state of meditation, sometimes in dreams with deeper meaning, and sometimes in powerful “mystical” visions. Note that this imagining of archetypes is not uncommon. Everybody does it. From children to adults, magicians to mystics, scientists to indigenous Australians, everybody dreams archetypes from time to time. We find archetypal elements in the dreams of dreams children (Jung 1964), in the Dreamtime of Australian aborigines (Mudrooroo 1995), in the vision quests of indigenous North Americans (Frederick Johnson 1943; Harner 2013), in the mystical experiences of Christian mystics like, and in the output of artists like Michelangelo or even Pink Floyd.

Everybody imagines archetypes from time to time, but where do those archetypes come from? There are two basic answers to that question. The first answer is that archetypes are rooted in the neurological and biological systems of the body. In this view, it is the neurons in your brain or the universal instincts and reflexes of your body that form the substrate from which emerges the images, words, and music that form our archetypal representations. The problem with positing the body as source is, as Jung noticed, that archetypes have a universal character, and they have a powerful healing impact. That is, the same archetypes appear in roughly the same form in the experiences of adults and children all over the world, and when they do appear, there is often noticeable shifts and improvements in the life of the person who experiences them. Carl Jung said archetypes help us understand things we cannot understand, deal with realities (like death) that we would rather not deal with, and add meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence. According to Jung, archetypes provide “mental therapy for the sufferings of anxieties of [humankind] in general [like] hunger, war, disease, old age, death.” (Jung 1980:11). (Jung 1964).

Since Jung was a materialist, I presume, this universal character of archetypes, and their apparently magical ability to enlighten and heal presented a problem. To solve this problem, Jung suggested several different things, like archetypes were “archaic remnants” or “primordial images,” carvings of our primordial human experiences present in an “immensely old psyche” that still forms the basis of our modern mind (Jung 1964). He also suggested these primordial ideas are expression of our “instincts,” our “physiological urges” that “manifest themselves in fantasies and often reveal their presence only by symbolic images ” (Jung 1964). Jung suggested that archetypes are “the unconscious image of the instincts themselves, in other words…they are patterns of instinctual behaviour.” (Jung 1980:44: italics in original). Archetypes represent the way our unconscious more primitive mind “thinks;” archetypes, as representations of a powerful symbolic unconsciousness, “pave the way for solutions” (Jung 1980:33) to issues, fear, problems, etc.

Jung has to go through quite a few contortions to get to a point where it might be reasonable to claim that powerful archetypes that control reality, enlighten, and heal can emerge from the neurology of the physical body, no matter how complex that might be. However, if one is prepared to put aside one’s materialist presumptions, it is possible to suggest an alternative, that archetypes are conceptual/symbolic communications from a Consciousness that exists independent of the individual human mind and body, from a non-local mind (Dossey 2015) or a Fabric of Consciousness, as I would say. Connection to this independent consciousness is variable and not a given. Most of the time, we are closed to communication with this Fabric, but during the periods of receptivity and connection that occur in dreams, times of crises, and visionary experiences, these archetypes, these big ideas, filter (sometimes slam) their way through.

The question of the ultimate source of archetypes, whether these originate in bodily consciousness or are transmitted in from some larger, independent, source, is important; unfortunately, we cannot resolve the issue one way or another here. Fortunately, we do not need to in order to move forward with our understanding. At this point, it is enough to understand that the human imagination is the proximate source of archetypes. It is when a human imagines something in a dream, a vision, or whatever, and it is when these dreams and images contain answers to big questions, however primitive and ill-formed they may sometime be, that we see the manifestation of an archetype.

Of course, not all the ideas that occur in your brain are archetypes. Not all ideas that come from human imagination, not all ideas expressed with human hands, qualify as archetypes. Most ideas, even if those ideas are ideas that answer big questions, are merely ideas; few ever rise to the status of archetype. So, what qualifies an idea as an archetype? Jung says archetypes have a “specific energy” (Jung 1964), they feel special, contain a “peculiar fascination.” We might say archetypes have an intellectual and emotional valence that normal ideas do not.

At this point, it is worth summarizing what I have said so far. So far I have said that archetypes are conscious or unconscious ideas that arise in human imagination, that they provide big answers to the big questions, that they organize and influence how we think about and see ourselves and the world, and that they influence, even determine, how we create and act in the world around us. I think we have a pretty decent understanding of what archetypes are and where they come from.

Purpose

The story does not end here, however. We have to understand, archetypes are not just individual productions. When a child, an adult, a mystic, a dying person, or whatever, has a vision, and when that vision contains a powerful archetype, that person is rarely the only one involved in that vision. Archetypes are significant. Archetypes feel special to us when we envision them. This special feel motivates us to tell people, and we usually do. When we experience archetypes, we tend to express them to others.

Sometimes archetypes are expressed by the individuals who have them, as for example when a young child recounts a dream of ascension to a father, or when an artist or musician creates a piece of artwork to share. We might call this expression primary expression, because it is the individual who experienced the archetype that tells the story. Sometimes, however, the expression is not so straightforward. Sometimes there is secondary expression of archetypes. That is, sometimes other people get involved and “help” the person express, even interpret, what they have experienced. For example, the child who has an archetypal dream might tell the father who then tells the psychologist about the dream. The psychologist might then write an interpretation which, if published in a book, can reach many people over many generations. and published it in a book. Or, a mystic might have a vision, or a series of visions. This mystic might talk about the archetype, but then somebody else might come along and set down the visions down in a book, a Veda, a Gatha, a bible, or a scripture of some sort.

It is important to realize that archetypes are expressed not only by the individual but by other people as well. This is important because humans are human, and they are imperfect, biased, self-interested, and damaged by Toxic Socialization. As a consequence, bias and other factors might enter in, not only to primary expression, but also (and perhaps especially) with secondary expression. For example, consider the ancient religious figure Zarathustra (a.k.a. Zoroaster). Zoroaster was a mystic would lived approximately 1,000 B.C.E. (Boyce 2001). Zoroaster had a series of visions the output of which became the Zoroastrian religious faith. Interestingly, Zoroaster dreamed many of the archetypes that we are familiar with today, like the notion of good versus evil, the idea of punishment and judgment, and so on (Sosteric 2018a). His visions, and his own grass roots, anti-elite interpretation, were passed on word of mouth for several centuries until finally, in and around C.E. 250 (Boyce 2001), the Zoroastrian teachings, the Zoroastrian archetypes, were written down into the Gathas, or sacred books of the Zoroastrian Faith, by a Sassanian high priest named Tanser.

The process whereby the archetypes were finally written down into sacred books is instructive. The process started when Tanser, working under the authority of the Sassanian autocrat Ardashir. declared Ardashir the final arbiter of the Zoroastrian doctrine. He did it by suggesting that Ardashir was better than everybody else, that he was “more richly endowed with virtues than the ancients…” and that he was uniquely qualified to revive a faith that had “decayed” by a man of “true and upright judgment…” (Boyce 2001:102–3). Once the authority of Ardashir had been proclaimed, Tanser then selected a single Zoroasterian tradition among several that were available in the region, and suppressed all the other ones with, as one protester at the time noted, “excessive bloodshed” (Boyce 2001:103).

“…in place of the former fraternity of regional communities, a single Zoroastrian church was created under the direct and authoritarian control of Persia; and together with this went the establishment of a single canon of Avestan text, approved and authorized by Tanser… Tanser set about his business and selected one (?) tradition and left the rest out of the canon. And he issued this decree: The interpretation of all the teachings of the Mazda-worshipping religion is our responsibility.” (Boyce 2001:103)

Why would Ardashir claim interpretive superiority, reduce the Zoroastrian faith to a single cannon, and violently subdue competing understandings? Because archetypes are powerful. Like Jung said, archetypes “create the world” and as such are useful for, well, creating the world. Ardashir used the Zoroastrian religion, and the archetypes they contained, as a propaganda device. He used them to consolidate power and gain domination over their enemies. He used them not for the good of humanity, but to create the world in his image by controlling how people saw themselves, saw the world, and how they acted in the world. According to Mary Boyce

Ardashir was not only a military genius, but a man of great shrewdness and administrative talents, who was prepared to use bloodless means as well as warlike ones to establish his rule and create a new Persian empire; and one of the tools which he chose for this was religious propaganda. There can be little doubt that the priests of Persia, whose forefather had led to Zoroastrian community under the Achaemenians, felt themselves well fitted to do so again; and they plainly undertook with zeal the task of persuading their fellow Iranians that they, together with the new dynasty to which they lent their support, were more devout and orthodox, and would be truer upholders of the faith, than their Parthian predecessors had been. (Boyce 2001:101–2)

At this time there are several open questions concerning how Ardashir used the Zoroastrian faith to create his new Persian empire. What elements of the Zoroastrian faith did he suppress when he consolidated the teachings? What elements of the Zoroastrian faith did he reinterpret? Who were these efforts aimed at? Were they aimed at other elites, or the masses in general? Were his efforts successful? Did taking control and modifying an entire religion help him create the world that he envisioned?

Whatever the answer to these interesting questions is, it does not change the basic point here which is simply this: if you want to understand archetypes, you cannot just look at the archetypes themselves, you also have to look at the people expressing the archetypes, their social class position, their economic interests, and so on. You have to look at the motivation and purpose of the people expressing the archetypes, because that figures into the archetypes you receive, and any interpretations you might have of your own archetypal experiences.

It is very difficult to gaze back thousands of years to the Zoroastrian faith to understand exactly what Tanser and Ardashir did to the Zoroastrian archetypes, how they reinterpreted and twisted them, and what they discarded in the process. However, we do have a more modern example of how people, elites in particular, use archetypes for political and economic purposes. Our example here is the Western tarot deck. The tarot deck was originally a simple set of cards (Decker, Depaulis, and Dummett 1996; Decker and Dummett 2002). However, during the Industrial Revolution, it was picked up by Freemasons who used it is a sort of clay tablet upon which to inscribe a series of powerful archetypes like “who am I,” “why am I here,” and so on. We have already seen one example of a tarot archetype in the Fool card, but all the other major arcana cards are archetypes as well. Unlike the Zoroastrian faith, we have a much better idea of exactly what the Freemasons did to the tarot. As I explore in my article “The Sociology of Tarot “ (Sosteric 2014), the deck was created by of bunch of rich white men (nobility, mercantilists, and capitalists) who imprinted it with ideas that they hoped would help lubricate the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Basically, they borrowed the images from some preexisting playing cards, provided a bunch of commentary that constructed a bunch of meanings for the individual cards, and then tried to make the cards sacred by lying about where they got their information. In the process, they created what Decker, Depaulis, and Dummet (1996:27) suggested was the

…most successful propaganda campaign ever launched: not by a very long way the most important, but the most completely successful. An entire false history, and false interpretation, of the Tarot pack was concocted by the occultists; and it is all but universally believed”

Why would Freemasons do that? As already noted, they did it to help lubricate the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, specifically, they were creating new ideas which would support new structures of authority and new (or rather, reconceived) social class relations.

We are going to explore exactly what the Freemasons did to the archetypes in the second part of this introduction to archetypes. I would just like to say at this point that what I have said so far should not seem that far out. In fact, if you accept one basic truth about archetypes, i.e., that they are powerful, it makes perfect sense. An ancient autocrat trying to build a new empire, a medieval Roman elite seeking to maintain power, and an emerging industrial elite needing to manage the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, would need to handle and control its citizenry so that it could handle and control its commerce, trade, and defence. Archetypes, in some cases created, and in others modified, by people claiming to be high priests with special spiritual knowledge, provided a tool to facilitate the inscription of power. Archetypes, sanctioned in sacred stories and programmed into the consciousness of the masses, provided elites with the ability to manage and control the population.

Note, there is nothing really new here, and it is not rocket science. The psychology is exceedingly simple and obvious in practice even to this day. Consider the archetype of good versus evil. Modern world leaders, especially those of the authoritarian variety, invoke good/evil archetypes all the time in order to manipulate their populations into war (Sosteric 2018b) and to provide cover and subterfuge for their actions.” By painting the “other” as evil and projecting a cosmic archetypal struggle onto the world, ruling elites are able to simply and effectively prime and control their populations, directing them even towards violence and genocide.

To summarize what we have said in this short introduction to archetypes, archetypes

  1. Provide answers to the big questions.
  2. Help us organize our thinking about the world and our self.
  3. Guide us as we shape the world around us and
  4. Are powerful
  5. Arise from human imagination and are expressed (in a primary and secondary fashion) through human hands.
  6. Can be co-opted, manipulated, and exploited by powerful actors seeking to further their personal power agendas.

Additional Comments

As noted above, we will explore in a bit more detail what happens with archetypes when elites get their hands on them in part two of this introduction. In part two, I will also introduce my Triumph of Spirit Archetype Deck, which is a deck that attempts to strip elite influence out of the Western tarot, and recover (or rather create/recreate) an archetypal system with a more humanistic, egalitarian, and authentically spiritual frame. Before closing up here, I would like to offer a few final comments for your consideration.

  1. Archetypes are originally sourced in human experience, specifically connection experience. Historically, this experience has been very important. All indigenous cultures, indeed all preindustrial cultures, had programs for encouraging connection experience, which often delivered various universal archetypes. From the initiatory rights of ancient societies, to the Dreamtime of the Australian aborigine (Lawlor 1991; Mudrooroo 1995), to the vision quests (Broker 1983) and power quests (Harner 2013) of North Americans, to the secret/suppressed initiatory rituals in Judaism and Christianity (Merkur 2000), all cultures (except the mainstream of our modern one) encourage and guide one’s towards connection experiences.
  2. Archetypes can be experienced individually or can be part of larger religious and cultural activity. Visions, dreams, etc., expressed in prose or Mantic Poetry,3 can be collected and put into “sacred” books, like bibles and Korans and tarot decks. Note, the organization into sacred books is usually an activity that elites engage in, because they have the resources to do so. This organization, which can be accompanied by violent suppression of teachings that compete with “official” cannon. This organization often/sometimes replaces more varied, organic, grassroots understandings and discussions of archetypes with archetypes that support an elite political and economic agenda. Elites put great effort into this organization because a) they recognize the power of archetypes and b) controlling archetypes helps them control how people see themselves, how people act in the world, and the world that we all create. Archetypes help elites create a world in their image.
  3. Because archetypes are powerful and because they can help elite actors (or any actor) create the world, we might call a collection of archetypes, whether those archetypes are in a book like a bible, a deck of cards like the Tarot deck, or some other source (like a record album), Creation Templates. I want to call these archetypal collections creation templates and not a more negative term like ideology, or a more neutral term like discourse (McHoul and Grace 1993), not only because that is exactly what they are, i.e., archetypal templates used to create a world from a specific point of view, but also because, conceivably, any interested person could construct a new creation template within a new archetypal frame serving a different, less elite, and more human agenda. Creation template is a term that allows space to consider and even encourage the creation of global alternatives.
  4. Ellens uses a term “Master Story” (Ellens 2001) to refer to a common story that we find peppered throughout the world’s Monotheistic belief systems (Judaism, Christianity, Islam. According to Ellens, the common core archetype in the Master Story is the archetype of “cosmic contest between transcendental good and evil.” Ellens points out that the master story is what drives the “institutional and society violence” prevalent in Western culture (Ellens 2001:7) . I would add to this that this is not a random or natural process, but that common core archetype enables elites to manipulate and weaponize the masses by playing to eschatological expectations set down in the “sacred” books. (Sosteric 2018a)
  5. It is important to emphasize and remember at all times that at all points in the process, human imagination and human agency is involved. Sometimes the agents act in good faith, sometimes they do not. Even when they do act in good faith, bias may enter into the equation. Therefore, when analyzing archetypes we must pay attention to motives and bias. Questions like who is expressing the archetype and who is constructing the creation template become important sociological, psychological, and historical questions.
  6. Given all the above, it is reasonable to suggest that archetypes are contested, that archetypes are expressed in the most straight forward and innocent fashion by the people who imagine/experience them (primary expression), but that primary expressions, what some call “marginal knowledges” (McHoul and Grace 1993:15) after they have been suppressed by elite actors, may be subjugated, modified, or even erased by powerful actors for political or economic gains.

In closing, I wish to leave you with the Wheel archetype from the Golden Dawn tarot. The archetype shows a regal figure atop a wheel and an ape-like figure below. In uncovering the meaning of this archetype, ask yourself two questions.

Recalling that archetypes provide answers to big questions, the first question is, “What big question does this archetype provide an answer to?” Is it “Why are we here?” Is it “Who am I?” Is it “What is my purpose on this earth?” Is it something else?

Recalling that archetypes have considerable power to influence self-image, understanding of reality, and actions in the world, the second question is, “What kind of world is this archetype constructed to reflect and create?”

 

References

Boyce, Mary. 2001. Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Routledge.

Broker, Ignatia. 1983. Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway Narrative. Minnesota: Minnesota Historial Society Press.

Decker, Ronald, Thierry Depaulis, and Michael Dummett. 1996. A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot. New York: St Martin’s Press.

Decker, Ronald, and Michael Dummett. 2002. A History of the Occult Tarot, 1870-1970. London: Duckworth.

Dossey, Larry. 2015. “Nonlocal Mind: A (Fairly) Brief History of the Term.” Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 11(2):89–101.

Ellens, J. Harold. 2001. “Introduction: The Destructive Power of Religion.” Pp. 1–9 in The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, edited by J. H. Ellens. Westport, CT: Praegar.

Frederick Johnson. 1943. “Notes on Micmac Shamanism.” Primitive Man 16(3/4):53.

Harner, Michael. 2013. Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.

Jung, Carl. 1964. Man and His Symbols. New York: Anchor Press Double Day.

Jung, Carl G. 1980. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. 2nd ed. edited by G. Adler, S. H. Read, M. Fordham, and W. McGuire. New York: Princeton University Press.

Lawlor, Robert. 1991. Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboridinal Dreamtime. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions.

McHoul, Alec, and Wendy Grace. 1993. A Foucault Primer: Discourse, Power and the SUbject. New York: Routledge.

Merkur, Dan. 2000. The Mystery of Manna. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions.

Mudrooroo. 1995. Us Mob: Australia: Angus & Robertson.

Sosteric, Mike. 2014. “A Sociology of Tarot.” Canadian Journal of Sociology 39(3).

Sosteric, Mike. 2018a. “From Zoroaster to Star Wars, Jesus to Marx: The Science and Technology of Mass Human Behaviour.” Retrieved (https://www.academia.edu/34504691).

Sosteric, Mike. 2018b. “Star Wars Is a Religion That Primes Us for War and Violence.” The Conversation.

Endnotes

2What are the alternatives to the “fool in school” archetype. Instead of seeing yourself as a fool in school, you may adopt what we might want to call the I Am God archetype. Using this archetype, you would see yourself as spark of God consciousness incarnated into a physical vessel for the purposes of playful creation. This thought is not as unusual as you might think. Philosophers and mystics from Epictetus to Gandhi, Muhammad to Meister Eckart, have said something to this effect.

3Mantic poems are poems written in a “mantic tradition…cultivated by priestly seers who sought to express in lofty words their personal apprehension of the divine; and it is marked by subtleties of allusion, and great richness and complexity of style.”(Boyce 2001:17) Basically, mantic poems are connection poems, poems written during connection to convey some spiritual or humanistic truth about God, Consciousness, and Creation. For an example of mantic poetry, see https://www.michaelsharp.org/mantic-poetry/

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Workbook Two: Exercises and Affirmations

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SAAR Affirmation

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A SAAR Affirmation (See, Accept, be Accountable, be Responsible) is designed to encourage you to see the truth, accept the truth, be accountable for your role in the toxicity, take responsiblity, and atone–all important components of the LP Connection Framework. Repeated often, but don’t be afraid to stop if things get too be too much too handle.

Today I will see the toxicity that surrounds me,

Today I will accept that it is unhealthy and disconnecting.

Today I will be accountable for all my toxic actions.

Today I will take responsibility for the bad things I can change.

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Affirmation of Self

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure=”3_5,2_5″ _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”3_5″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.3.2″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]An Affirmation of Self is an affirmation your power, ability, and mastery. It is a disenfectant for your psychic wounds, a salve against infection, and a tool to grow your confidence and power. You should use it daily, when you are on walks, before you go to sleep at night.

I am powerful. I am healthy. I am beautiful. I am strong.
I am worthy. I am connected (to Self). I am beautiful. I am strong.

I am powerful. I am healthy. I am beautiful. I am strong.
I am worthy. I am connected (to Self). I am beautiful. I am strong.

I am powerful. I am healthy. I am beautiful. I am strong.
I am worthy. I am connected (to Self). I am beautiful. I am strong.

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Other Lessons from This Workbook

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Workbook Four: Exercises and Affirmations

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Affirmation of Love and Power

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The universe is a universe of love and compassion.
I am a being of power and might.
I am safe. I am loved. I am loving. I am Light.
I have the ability to make this all right.

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Gender and Gendered Violence

This is a unit on gender and gendered based violence, in my Sociology of Canadian Society class. It brings you up to speed on certain aspects of this world’s mechanisms of gender-based oppressions, oppressions  that serve not human beings in general, but the narrow financial interests of capitalist in particular. Important concepts include Binary Gender, the Mode of Exploitation, gender-based violence, and gender persecution.

Begin watching the Netflix series Unbelievable

Gendered Violence

We begin our look at modern society in this unit by looking at gendered and sexual violence in our society. In this unit, we look at gendered violence against women as a whole, and also focus in on campuses assault on women, and gendered violence against the LGBTQ community.

Browse “The Facts about Gender-Based Violence”
https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/

We start our analysis with gender-based violence against women. One of the things that we note right out of the gate is just how prevalent gendered violence is, and how little things have changed over time. Statistics from the Canadian Women’s Foundation website (link above) indicate that

  • 7 in 10 people who experience domestic violence are women and girls.
  • Women are about four times as likely as men to be victims of intimate partner homicide.
  • Every six days in Canada, a woman is killed by her intimate partner. Over 80% of intimate partner homicides victims in 2014 were women.
  • Women were 10 times more likely than men to be the victim of a police-reported sexual assault….

Note, when we summarize and try to understand IPV statistics, we have to be cognizant of the fact according to Statistic Canada, as few as one in twenty women actually report sexual assault. Your text suggests the ratio is even higher. The rates cited above are, therefore almost certainly dramatic underestimates.

Men can also experience domestic violence and sexual assault. Male children are spanked as often as their female counterparts. As noted in the article on toxic socialization, such family violence has deleterious psychological, emotional, and physiological consequences (Sosteric 2016). Any violence that men experience, whether it is at the hands of their mothers and fathers, or spouses or coworkers, cannot be ignored or suppressed (Nicola Graham-Kevan 2007).

Read the working paper “Toxic Socialization

Sexual assault also swings both ways, and men are sexually assaulted as well. Estimates for men range from between 1 in 6 to 1 in 3. Like women, many men who experience sexual assault do not report it. Men do not report because there is a culture of silence when it comes to female perpetrated violence, and because the men experience intense feelings of shame when they are victims of female perpetrated violence #(Adebayo, 2012)#. Men do not report because of the stigma associated with being “weak” and unable to defend themselves. Police offers laugh; friends exclaim surprise when an individual “allows” a female to assault them; family members downplay and minimize the assault. The net result is that sexual violence perpetrated against males is partially erased, i.e. invisibilized, from the criminal statistics, and also from our conscious awareness. This leads to lack of programming and support for boys who experience sexual assault. This is unfortunate, since boys and adolescents who are sexually assaulted have a much greater risk of suicide (Anderson, Hayden, and Tomasula 2015)

While men do experience domestic violence and sexualized violence, nevertheless, it is true that women are sexually assaulted much more often, and experience more gender-based violence than their male counterparts. If you ask the women around you, this will likely be confirmed by anecdotal data. I personally know many women who have experienced assault or rape and who have never reported to police. The impact of this violence is costly. The Canadian Women’s Organization puts the bill at $7.4 billions dollars a year, but considering how damaging the consequences, and how under-reported the crime is, the costs are likely significantly higher. We should not let the dollar figure distract us from the person psychological and emotional cost of sexual assault, which are also staggering. Women who are sexually assaulted are traumatized, fail to finish degrees, experience depression, and even attempt suicide (Robinson-Buffalo 2015)

Statistics on the incidence of sexual assault are depressing. What is even more depressing is how the legal system carries within it deeply embedded social, racial, and gender-based stereotypes, and how these stereotypes prevent proper disposal of sexual assault cases. A native women can be simply ignored by police (McKenzie 2019), while a child from foster care (see the miniseries “Unbelievable”) can face similar discrimination. Police have a tendency to “unfound” rape cases and the reasons they do so are irrational an based on cultural and gender stereotypes and misinformation. Police determine whether an investigation into sexual assault is unfounded based on lack of evidence, the “character” of the victim (determined by what cloths she was wearing, where she was hanging out, her ethnicity (McKenzie 2019)), her social class, and any other irrelevant factors.

When working your way through the course materials on gendered violence for this unit, pay close attention to the incidence of gendered violence and sexual assault. Pay attention to how most data probably represents a gross underestimation of the actual prevalence of gender-based violence and sexual assault. Also pay attention to the obstacles men and women face when reporting, as well as the physical, personal, familial, social, and economic consequences of this violence and the obstacles that men and women face when seeking help and trying to report.

Homophobia

As we’ve seen so far, gendered based violence is an issue in Canadian society. Children at school also experience assault and abuse. Bullying is, sadly, a common and serious problem in Canada’s school system. Many children and adolescents experience various forms of violence coming at them from their friends and schoolmates. This bullying can be intersectional, meaning there can be multiple ways in which a person might experience this bullying, based on their particular identity. Gender violence is an intersection because it is violence based on one’s sexual identity. Social class can also intersect, as you see in the miniseries Unbelievable. Women from lower social classes and specific ethnicities who experience sexual assault and violence may not be believed or supported as readily as those from other social demographics.

One particular group that experiences a lot of violence is the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Two-Spirit, Queer and Questioning) group of kids. As the text notes, and despite some hopeful signs on the horizon, violence against LGBTQ kids is an endemic and widespread phenomenon in Canada. It is so bad that sometimes children kill themselves just to get away from it.

We can use, as the text does, the general term “homophobia” and “transphobia” to describe the LGBTQ violence children and adolescents experience, but frankly I don’t like that term because I don’t feel the term homophobia captures the issue. In fact, I would argue describing anti-LGBTQ violence as “phobic” normalizes the practice and obfuscates the reality of it. Consider the term “phobia”. The term itself is a fairly neutral term. Calling somebody “phobic” is not negative in any way. I am an arachnophobe, for example, and that’s never been a source of social guilt or shame for me. Nobody has ever flashed me “the eyes” (i.e. a look of derision/disgust) for being afraid of spiders. Arachnophobia is just not that big a deal. My wife is afraid of snakes (orphidiophobia) and it is the same with her. Nobody looks down on her for having this phobia, and in fact, most people sympathize with her because they have it too. People accept the fact that phobics exist because we’re all phobic in some way. What’s more interesting, when you call somebody a phobic, there is rarely any analysis. Nobody ever asks the question “why are you arachnophobia” or “why the fear of snakes”. “It is what it is” seems to be the unanimous consensus. In our society, phobias are just not that big a deal!

That, I think, is pretty much the way it is with homophobia. Unless you are a social scientist, when you hear the term “homophobe” you do not express a lot of concern, and you do not put a lot of analysis into it. You read “homo” as a fear of people that are gay and you read “phobia” as something we all have, and you come away with an “it is not that big a deal” feeling. You may shake your head and click your tongue because you either secretly sympathize with the homophobes, or because you do not understand what the fuss is about, but that’s about as far as the reaction goes. The term “homophobia” just doesn’t invoke very strong reaction from people. And that’s too bad, because things might be different for LGBTQ people if we used a different word to describe what it is we were seeing when we saw an individual bully an LGBTQ youth or adult. We need a different word because a different word would allow us to perceive what was really going on. A different perception might lead us to different thinking, and different actions!

Perhaps an example will make this clear. Imagine you are a child at school. Imagine that you are normal and healthy. Imagine you have loving parents and fun friends. Imagine your parents yell and scream occasionally, and maybe hit you now and again, but for the most part life is shiny and you are happy. Imagine, in other words, a “normal” childhood. Now imagine that one day everything changes. Imagine that one day you wake up in the morning and your parents no longer love you, and no longer even want you in their home. Imagine one day you go to school and the teachers are looking at you with disgust and your friends no longer want to sit with you. Imagine that now, when you walk down the hallway, students point fingers, laugh, and even spit. Imagine the bullies in the school are now targeting you. Imagine you suddenly find yourself being periodically hit, knocked down, or even beat up while everybody else, even the teachers, just stand by and watch. Imagine, in other words, your life has become a living hell.

You start searching around for a reason and you slowly realize this is all because you don’t fit into the gender norm anymore. You are not “male” and you are not “female,” you are something in between, and people don’t seem to like that too much. In fact, they seem to hate it. You search around for a label and somebody says “homophobia.” You think about that for a while, but that term just doesn’t seem to fit your experience. These people aren’t phobic, they are psychologically, emotionally, and physically violent! These people aren’t afraid of you, they are attacking you. It doesn’t seem to be about fear, it seems to be about something else, like hate. you are confused, and rightly so. Not only has your life been turned upside down, but the word used to describe the reality that you are experiencing doesn’t make any sense. “Homophobia” doesn’t seem to describe your experience at all. In fact, quite the opposite appears to be true. They say “homophobia”, but all you can see from your perspective is exclusion, violence, and abuse. Clearly you need a different word to describe your experience, but what?

For myself, when you see or experience homophobia, I would suggest you use the term persecution to express what you are seeing. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines persecution as:

  • a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate people based on their membership in a religious, ethnic, social, [sexual], or racial group (sexual added):

I think you will agree, the word “persecution” appears to capture the experience of young LGBTQ people a little better than homophobia. All you have to do is add the term “sexual” to the above definition, as in “sexual persecution,” and you have a perfect description of exactly what is going on. If you are LGBTQ you are being subjected to a campaign of persecution designed to either a) subjugate you to “normal” gender rules or b) banish you from the social world altogether by driving you out of home, school, and life. It is not homophobia that you experience, it is persecution, and it is important to name it as such. Nobody ever looks at an anti-Semitic and sees a semiti-phobe. People look at anti-Semitics and see mean, sometimes violent, racists engaged in mean, sometimes violent, campaigns of persecution. And that’s the way it should be, because that’s what anti-Semitics are, and that is the reality we’re dealing with. Anti-Semitics are mean, violent, racist, and they persecute Jews just because they are Jewish. Anti-Semitism captures the reality for Jews; homophobia does not capture the reality for the LGBTQ community. So instead of calling it homophobia, call it persecution. If you are LGBTQ, you experience persecution plain and simple; and it is bad. If you are an LGBTQ youth, even your parents can turn against you.

In my view, the term persecution represents a more accurate representation of reality than “homophobia”. Not only does it reflect more accurately the nature of the perpetrator, but it also reflects the victimization better.

The question at this point is, why would anybody persecute you just for being different? Unfortunately, that’s a tough question with no simple answer. The textbook talks about post-structuralism, discourse, heteronormativity, and the disciplining of the body, but in my view, that’s bit of a whitewash. The authors say we start with some normative ideas about sex and gender and then, through a process of social “discourse,” we “construct, sustain, and reproduce” proscribed norms. We have our ideas about what sex and gender is, and we learn to enforce those ideas by talking about them amongst ourselves (social discourse). That’s about right, but the definition raises a lot of questions, like for example where do our ideas about gender come from, how are these ideas “reproduced”, and (most importantly) why are gender boundaries enforced with such bitter, angry, violence? I would like to spend a few moments examining some of these questions.

Reproduction and enforcement

As to where our ideas come from, most immediately, our ideas about gender come from agents of socialization. Agents of socialization are parents, teachers, reporters, advertisers, artists, actors, directors, and anyone else involved in conveying to us the rules of our society. Agents of socialization are responsible for assigning your sex and passing on gender ideas. Remarkably, it starts at the moment of birth when the doctor examines your genitals, assigns your sex (you don’t have a choice in the matter), and passes you to the nurse who then “marks” you with a pink or blue blanket. Gender assignment continues at home where your parents act differently towards you based on your genital arrangement, treat you differently (boys are treated with rough insensitivity, girls with gentle concern), teach you different things (boys learn about mechanics, girls about dolls and babies), and expect different behaviours based on your assigned gender. Eventually, you go to school where teachers and your fellow students take over the “reproduction” of gender with the same gender dichotomous teaching and expectations. In this way, each new generation “learns the rules” from agents of socialization. This is the reproduction of gender. Gender is reproduced through the actions (and sometimes inactions) of agents of socialization. The only thing I would add to this is that “normal” gender follows a “two-gender” or (Binary Gender) script. That is, we generally believe that there are only two possible genders, male and female, and we force all children, adolescents, and adults into one of the two binaries.

Above we are talking about how gender is reproduced in our society. For many people, gender is reproduced in a normal, binary fashion. Most people “read” the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) social cues, accept their gender assignment, and think and act accordingly. Unfortunately, the two-gender theory isn’t adequate and some people do not fit in. In some cases, individuals may find themselves thinking and expressing personality, feelings, and sexual urges in ways that do not fit the two-gender model of human sexuality. They may act differently at an early age (boys playing with dolls, girls wanting cars), and become confused and even anguished later on by the rigid gender assignments that they increasingly sense they don’t fit into. Everything is hunky dory of course as long as they suppress their differences and stay within prescribed boundaries of “normal” gender, but if they step outside, watch out because that’s when the enforcement (read violence) begins. Everything from physical abuse (dads screaming and hitting their boys for dressing up like girls), through emotional and psychological assault, and even social exclusion may be directed at the individual who deviates from binary gender. People who don’t fit into the ridged gender mould, people who act outside the proscribed boundaries, people who don’t honour the two-gender model, become a target of the militant and violent Gender Police (Tannehill 2014). The job of the gender police is to either force you to fit into acceptable gender patterns with whatever means they have at their disposal (sticks, stones, name-calling, etc.), or banish you from the social sphere.

And that is basically that. Modern society has a “two-gender” theory of human sexuality–binary gender. Agents of socialization teach you the rules and the boundaries (values, norms, behaviours, etc.) and you are expected to fit into one or the other of the prescribed genders. If you do not fit it, enforcement begins. If the enforcement does not work to keep you in the prescribed box, violence and persecution ensue. If you are not LGBTQ, it is easy to discount this all as simple homophobia; but that’s a mistake. The persecution that LGBTQ folks face is so horrific and unfair that even their own parents may come to reject them.

If you are like me, when you get to this point in your unfolding awareness you wonder, why does society have a two-gender model of sexuality; more importantly, why do children as young as five experience gender-based persecution, and why is binary gender so violently enforced? It is especially a concern since the imposition of binary gender is not universal and many traditional indigenous cultures are broadly accepting of the diversity.

Watch the documentary “Two Spirits

As you will see in the documentary Two Spirits, some traditional indigenous cultures accept a non-binary model of gender. People who do not fit into the binary are called “two spirits” are accepted as a productive and welcome part of the community (Sheppard and Mayo 2013). The Samoan culture, for example, accepts gender diversity. They call effeminate males Fa’afafine and are quite tolerant and accepting of this in-between gender category (Vasey and Bartlett 2007).

Explaining Gendered Violence

The answer to why there is a two-gender model and why people who step outside that are persecuted is not complicated. Psychologists argue that the problem is personal, suggesting that those who believe there are only two genders cannot handle the ambiguity because the ambiguity threatens their sense of identity. If they are male, seeing a male that doesn’t fit in is a threat, a distinctiveness threat, that causes anxiety and forces uncomfortable questions about the solidity of their own identity (Broussard and Warner 2019). This would certainly explain why men who are the most vocal and violent persecutors of the LGBTQ community often come out as gay themselves.

Read 20 Republican Politicians
Brought Down by Gay Sex Scandals

When trying to explain the persecution that trans-folks experience, personal psychology is certainly an important consideration. However, this is a sociology class and as sociologists we tend to look at social structure, institutions, politics, and even economic system for insight. To answer the question of why gender-non-binaries are persecuted, you start with the sociological awareness that the dominant economic systems on this world, whether they be socialist, capitalist, or feudal, are organized around the exploitation of a working/peasant class. If you look at the history of the world, you see that at all the economic forms we’ve had, from feudalism and mercantilism through socialism and capitalism, are based on the exploitation of the many (the masses) by the few (the elites). Karl Marx said as much in his Communist Manifesto when he said that the history of the world is the history of class exploitation (class struggle), with some classes on top and others subordinate and oppressed. I’ll let Karl speak for himself below.

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations. Karl Marx

Admittedly, Karl Marx has been the subject of a lot of ideological derision over the years, and you may want to dismiss his comments outright, but don’t be too quick. Warren Buffet, one of the richest elites on the planet, agrees with Marx. In a 2006 interview with Ben Stein of the New York Times Buffet said, and I quote “There is class warfare, all right, but it is my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning” #(Stein, 2006)#.

So yes, there is social class; yes there is class war; yes the .01 percent exploit the masses for their own benefit; but what does this have to do with gender persecution? To understand the relationship you have to understand that all societies on Earth are organized around what Ruyle calls a Mode of Exploitation. The Mode of Exploitation is basically the way the ruling class go about accumulating surplus labour. According to (Ruyle 1975) any specific Mode of Exploitation consists of three interrelated factors; these factors include

  1. Exploitative techniques – the mechanisms through which economic surplus is extracted, “the precise instrumentalities through which economic surplus is pumped out of the direct producers: slavery, plunder, tribute, rent, taxation, usury, and various forms of unequal exchange (Ruyle 1975, 12) – what we might also call a regime of accumulation),
  2. Mechanisms of force (like the police and the army who are called in to ensure regimes of extraction continue by physically coercing the population if necessary). These mechanisms are organized around a “state” which monopolizes violence and is thereby able to physically coerce the exploited population” (Ruyle 1975, 12) Finally, there are the
  3. Ideological institutions (like the church, Hollywood, the family) tasked “to control the minds of the exploited populations.” (Ruyle 1975)

According to Ruyle (1975, 12), “these elements of the exploitative system may be institutionalized separately, as in industrial societies such as the United States and the Soviet Union, or they may be integrated into a single unitary institution, as in the early Bronze Age. The precise ensemble of exploitative techniques, together with the manner in which state-church elements are institutionalized, constitutes a historical mode of exploitation.”

The question before us now is, what does a Mode of Exploitation have to do with gender violence? The simple fact of the matter is, binary gender figures into the exploitative techniques used by modern capitalism to extract surplus and enforce accumulation. That is, the two-gender theory of human sexuality has more to do with the way capitalist exploitation is organized and the way surplus is extracted, than it does with actual, natural, sexuality.

To put it as bluntly as possible, Binary Gender is a “factory-based” gender arrangement, and “exploitive technique” that the ruling class use to extract surplus-labour. You see this clearly when you consider the content of the gender stereotypes and how this content supports the capitalist (or even socialist) social order. Think of the emergence of capitalism during the industrial revolution. Prior to capitalism, production was feudal, craft-based, and land-based. Families, and in particular husbands and wives, worked together in the fields, tending farms, raising families, running family businesses, etc. Prior to industrial capitalism, gender wasn’t so much of an issue in the nobility’s extraction of surplus. The nobility where able to extract what they wanted without a concern for gender because man and wife worked together in the fields, and the nobility earned their piece from that work. As Middleton (1979) notes, there was some specialization of labour, but it wasn’t strictly enforced, and it wasn’t exclusive:

In agriculture and in animal husbandry, each sex … specialize[d] in a particular range of occupations. Predominantly male tasks included ploughing, hedging, ditching, reaping, mowing, spaying and gelding. Planting, winnowing, gathering straw, stubble and chaff, and weeding were done by women, who also undertook the care of poultry and the dairy. But arrangements were generally flexible and sexually nonexclusive, and there is evidence of women being engaged in most male tasks—such as reaping, binding, mowing, carrying corn, shearing sheep, thatching and breaking stones for road-maintenance. Heavy ploughing was the only task from which they were almost totally excluded, and even here there is evidence that women were accustomed to drive the plough oxen on some estates (Middleton 1979).

To be sure, the gender arrangements were perfect, and certainly not wholly egalitarian, but the gender roles and gender hierarchies of advanced capitalist society, which constitute one of the exploitative techniques capitalist use to extract labour, were absent. The point is clearer when you consider pre-capitalist, pre-feudal societies like the North American Navaho. Their production was not organized for exploitation and, as you saw in the documentary film, traditionally they did not ascribe to binary gender. Indeed, gender is far less of an issue in societies not organized around a specific, Capitalist Mode of Exploitation.

So, why is gender an issue in the capitalist mode of exploitation. It has to do with the way production is organized. Under industrial capitalism, workers go to factories (or offices) and they produce for the capitalist. Going to work in factories (and were not in the field outside the home) would not be an issue if it wasn’t for children and their need for constant care. Unfortunately for capitalists, children are necessary to regenerate the capitalist labour force (although this may change in the next decade or two with the introduction of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics), therefore children must be trained to fit into the production system. The problem is, somebody has to go to the factory, and somebody has to stay home to raise the kids. Enter binary gender. The problem of child-care was solved by manipulating the consciousness of the masses using ideological institutions, and forcing (through the state legal apparatus or with gender-based violence) a strict bifurcation of gender roles. Men became the masculine “breadwinners”, strong, responsible, and disconnected, and women became the warm, nurturing caregivers. Men were thus drawn out of the home to work in factories, while women stayed home and reproduced the next generation of workers. Binary Gender facilitates this arrangement, not only by providing a specific organization of labour suitable to capitalist exploitation, but also by providing the ideological, even spiritual, justification for the dichotomy.

As a student reading this, you may doubt that the elites of this world manipulate gender for the purpose of organizing exploitation, but you don’t have to look any farther than WWII to see them doing just that. During WWII, when men were off dying for their country in the war, corporations were short on labour. In order to fill the gaping holes in the labour force left by young men off to war, gender expectations were manipulated so that women, who had previously been presented as weak, effeminate, and fit for the kitchen, were now presented as strong, independent, and capable of factory work (Honey 1984)##. This manipulation was organized around the infamous Rosie the Riveter campaign.1

This was a campaign, designed by the Westinghouse corporation to manipulate gender expectations so that women would enter the labour force and work in place of the men. In this campaign, ideas of gender were modified and women were portrayed as strong and capable. The campaign worked, gender expectations were modified, and women entered the labour force. It didn’t stick though. Following the war, when men came home and wanted their jobs back, traditional gender roles were re-established and women found themselves ejected from factory work life (Honey 1984)## simply because capitalists organizing the campaigns felt that women needed to be back home, and in the kitchen again. Over the next several decades women, and in particular feminists, fought to get women back in the labour force, mostly succeeding. The point here, however, isn’t to go over the history of gender struggle, the point is to highlight the fact that elites manipulate gender for the purpose of organizing exploitation! And that is why, in modern capitalist (or even socialist) societies, we have Binary Gender. Binary Gender has nothing to with the actual or “natural” expression of gender. Binary Gender facilitates the capitalist exploitation of labour.

Now, I could say a lot more at this point. I could talk about how binary gender is not natural and how it doesn’t capture the full expression of human sexuality. I could talk about family, church, and even state, discuss how these institutions are co-opted, and show how they are shaped into a form suitable for service to the Mode of Exploitation. I could also talk about the profound psychological and emotional consequences for us as human personality and potential is raped, and our collective sexuality is manipulated, corrupted, and diminished in service to this system, but this unit is getting too long as it is. I want to close this unit by suggesting some things that you can do to end the manipulation and return your world to a more natural, fluid, and sensible conceptions of gender.

The first thing you can do is recognize, like the Navaho in the film Two Spirits, that there are more than just two ways to express personality and sexuality. Personality and sexuality covers the spectrum from stereotypical female representations (like Julia Roberts or Judy Garland) to stereotypical male (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and all points in between. The key is variation. More to the point, the key is to not pathologize variation. When it comes to the expression of personality and sexuality, there is lots of natural variation. The rainbow of variation should be embraced for the beautiful thing that it is!

The second thing you can do is recognize the political and economic significance of the binary gender model. As we have seen, the binary gender model is there to serve political/economic interests of a specific economic class, and nothing more. It doesn’t represent God’s view, and it isn’t that way in the natural order of things. In other words, open your mind to reality. Human sexuality is manipulated and corrupted for the sake of private interests.

The third thing you can do is recognize the profound impact that this manipulation has on us. The textbook gives hints at the mental, emotional, social, and even spiritual cost that accrues because of the systematic suppression and corruption of human sexuality, but I’m sure if you pay attention to your own life, and give it a little thought, you’ll be able to see the consequences for yourself. And note, we are not talking about a little bit of suffering here. From the violent murders that occur from time to time (recall in the film Two Spirits how the victim’s face was smashed in by a jagged rock), to the psychological and emotional anguish that must come from feeling that you were born “wrong”, through the shame and anxiety that comes from being violated and rejected by the world, it is a profound and negative impact. Don’t white wash that impact with poorly chosen words like “homophobia”, face the truth and express the horror of the gender-based persecution. We don’t do ourselves, or the planet, any service by pretending it isn’t as bad as it is.

Finally, make a change. The textbook frames it as a choice to uphold basic human rights, and you are certainly fine to do that; but as a parent, I prefer to see it as an act of protecting our children from the violent imposition of self-servicing political/economic ideology. Our children (and ourselves for that matter) are damaged by the imposition of the Binary Gender Model of sexuality. Pay attention to attempts to impose the Binary Gender Model on your children and resist the imposition with all your might. You can resist by

  1. accepting your children for who they express themselves to be,
  2. protecting them from the violence of their peers, teachers, etc., and
  3. challenging discourse, perceptions, and actions that reflect the Binary Gender model.

Educate yourself about gender, pay attention to the world around you, and don’t be silent about what you see or think, and what you think. Speak out. If you hear somebody using derisive gender-based language (like “that’s so gay” or “faggot” or something like that), say something. If you talk about boys and girls, challenge the gender-based status quo. Don’t let people get away with it! Things are changing rapidly its true, but there is still much work to do. A lot of children are going to be hurt, and a lot of families are going to be fractured, before the last vestiges of the ideologically motivated Binary Gender Model is eradicated from the consciousness of this planet. It is in all our interests to get rid of it as quickly as we possibly can, so get to work.

References

Anderson, Laura M., Brittany M. Hayden, and Jessica L. Tomasula. 2015. “Sexual Assault, Overweight, and Suicide Attempts in U.S. Adolescents.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 45 (5): 529–40. doi:10.1111/sltb.12148.

Broussard, Kristin A., and Ruth H. Warner. 2019. “Gender Nonconformity Is Perceived Differently for Cisgender and Transgender Targets.” Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, no. 7–8: 409. doi:10.1007/s11199-018-0947-z.

Honey, Maureen. 1984. Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda during World War II. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

McKenzie, Victoria. 2019. “In Alaska Hometown, Native Women Say Police Ignored Rapes.” The Star. September 14. https://www.thestar.com/news/world/us/2019/09/12/in-small-alaska-city-native-women-say-police-ignored-rapes.html.

Middleton, Christopher. 1979. “The Sexual Division of Labour in Feudal England.” New Left Review Janary-April.

Nicola Graham-Kevan. 2007. “Domestic Violence: Research and Implications for Batterer Programmes in Europe.” European Journal of Criminal Policy Research 13: 227–32.

Robinson-Buffalo, Marcene. 2015. “Sexually Assaulted Teens at Greater Risk of Suicide.” Futurity. April 6. https://www.futurity.org/sexually-assault-boys-suicide-891742/.

Ruyle, Eugene E. 1975. “Mode of Production and Mode of Expoitation: The Mechanical and the Dialectical.” Dialectical Anthropology 1 (1): 7–23. doi:10.1007/bf00244565.

Sheppard, Maia, and J. B. Mayo. 2013. “The Social Construction of Gender and Sexuality: Learning from Two Spirit Traditions.” Social Studies 104 (6): 259–70.

Sosteric, Mike. 2016. “Toxic Socialization.” https://www.academia.edu/25275338/Toxic_Socialization.

Tannehill, Brynn. 2014. “Call the (Gender) Police!” HuffPost. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/call-the-gender-police_b_4815479.

Vasey, Paul, and Nancy Bartlett. 2007. “What Can the Samoan ‘Fa’afafine’ Teach Us about the Western Concept of Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood?” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 50 (February): 481–90. doi:10.1353/pbm.2007.0056.

Endnotes

Categories
Student Only Theory

What does health and connection look like

A healthy human being is one who has no need to deploy Awareness Reduction Mechanisms to protect itself from the trauma of pain.

A healthy human being is one who has resolved Pathological Adaptations developed to protect itself from ongoing assault and painful trauma.

A healthy human being is one where the spiritual ego expresses in its physical unit without suppression and distortion.

A healthy and fully developed physical unit is one where, through a period of focused Connection Practice, spiritual ego and bodily ego have merged into a well-oiled, unified whole.

A healthy Physical Unit capable of full connection develops only when all Seven Essential Needs are met

Categories
Student Only Theory

The Goal of Spiritually Sophisticated Therapy / LP Connection Life Coaching

The Physical Unit

The Physical Unit is a vessel designed specifically to allow Consciousness to survive, thrive, experience, and create within physical creation.

The Physical Unit has a “dual consciousness” consisting of a Bodily Ego and a Spiritual Ego.

Spiritual Ego

The spiritual ego is eternal.

The spiritual ego is always and everywhere loving, compassionate, expansive, powerful, pristine, and pure.

The spiritual ego is the real you.

Bodily Ego

The bodily ego is temporal and temporary.

The bodily ego is dependent for existence on the hardware (the brain and CNS) provided by the physical unit.

The bodily ego is an “artificial intelligence,” designed into the physical unit in order to help it survive, thrive, and evolve towards greater perfection of Connection.

The bodily ego’s job is to respond to the environment in adaptive ways that increase the individual’s chance to survive, grow, and develop properly.

The bodily ego is programmed and, it should be noted, damaged by its experiences in the world.

To understand the bodily ego, look to the childhood, adolescent, and adult experiences of the individual.

A damaged bodily ego will be unable to connect properly to spiritual ego.

While disconnected, the bodily ego will be prone to confusion, manipulation, and damage.

While disconnected, over time, the bodily ego will deteriorate and diminish.

The Goal

The goal of the spiritual practitioner and spiritually sophisticated therapist/healer is to heal and train the bodily ego so that it can properly connect with its own spiritual ego.

Categories
Healing Lesson Student Only

A deeper look at defence mechanisms – ARMS

On the LP we think of the classic psychological defence mechanisms a little differently. While Freud thought of defence mechanisms as something that helped you repress your “disgusting” primitive instinctual urges, and while modern psychology thinks of them as ways to repress uncomfortable emotions, we think of defence mechanisms a little differently. We think of Defence Mechanisms in an evolutionary sense, as behavioural patterns that are selected and reinforced by evolutionary processes because of their contribution to the operation, defence, and survival of the Physical Unit, specifically through the strict avoidance of pain, which is a biological signal of a physical or psychological problem.

To be clear, when your body is in pain, something is wrong. Defence mechanisms were designed not only to alert you to the problem so you can use your brain to figure out a solution, but to react in cases where involvement of your neocortex isn’t required.

We can break defence mechanisms down into two broad groups, physical defence mechanisms and psychological defence mechanisms.

Physical Defence Mechanisms are defence mechanisms that operate through the somatosensory systems of the body. A physical defence mechanism might include a defence reflex1 designed to protect an individual from burns, or an emotion like fear designed to encourage a survival action (e.g., flight from a hungry tiger).

Psychological Defence Mechanisms are defence mechanisms that operate through the emotional and cognitive apparatus of the physical unit. Psychological defence mechanisms are psychological / behavioural patterns of thought and behaviour deployed by the Bodily Ego in an effort to

  1. reduce the likelihood of harm (e.g., the Fight, Flight, or Follow response), or
  2. reduce psychological pain, anxiety, anger, and sadness that might prevent optimal function or overwhelm the individual,2 what some call an Ego Threat (Newman, Duff, and Baumeister 1997), but would more appropriately be called, at least within the nomenclature of the LP, Bodily Ego Threat.

Most psychological defence mechanisms operate around the core or basic psychological defence which is repression. Repression is a sometimes conscious, often unconscious act of forgetting. One may forget a thought, an aspect of reality, the memory of an experience, or a physical act that one engaged in that causes the bodily ego pain. When something is too painful to recall, when the pain is so strong that recall threatens to undermine the normal functioning of the individual, repression may be invoked to prevent the emergence of the memory and permit normal function.

There are two basic reasons why recall may cause pain.

  1. There may be significant trauma attached to the thought, aspect of reality, memory, or action such that recall threatens to overwhelm the individual with negative emotions. For example, and individual forgets sexual assault because it is just too painful to remember. An abusive parent forgets that they abused their children when they were younger.
  2. The thought, aspect of reality, memory, or action may cause Disjuncture, thereby evoking painful intense guilt and shame. A corporate CEO may, for example, repress awareness of the pain and suffering caused by the use of child labour in sweatshop conditions in order to avoid feeling guilty. A corporate CEO may also suppress guilt and shame directly in the interests of “doing what needs to be done.”

On the LP, we call psychological defence mechanisms deployed to reduce awareness in order to mitigate pain the bodily ego’s experience of pain Awareness Reduction Mechanisms (ARMs).

Awareness Reduction Mechanisms (ARMs)

ARMs are psychological/behavioural patterns deployed by the bodily ego to help reduce emotional pain, anxiety, anger, sadness, and other strong emotions caused by the recall of trauma or the presence of disjuncture. The Primary ARM is repression. Repression is the basic awareness reduction mechanism your body uses to suppress awareness. Repression is simply the forced submersion of a thought, action, or event. Repression is a simple, neurologically based refusal to recall something that happened to you, something that you did, or some thoughts that you might think. Repression is initiated to avoid the stress, anxiety, and emotional pain (anguish, guilt, shame, sadness, etc.) that recall might bring. The more pain a remembering brings, the stronger the tendency and push to repress.

Individuals cannot usually rely on repression alone to prevent remembering. Life is full of triggers and associations that invoke painful memories and realities, and individuals are often challenged to remember things and be accountable. There are many instances, therefore, were primary repression fails. When that occurs, secondary and even tertiary ARMs may be invoked to reinforce repression, as for example when a memory is “triggered” or when an individual is challenged by an external source.

As noted above, there are two reasons why an individual may invoke primary and secondary ARMs to prevent recall, trauma and disjuncture.

Repression rooted in trauma: When one experiences a psychological trauma, like sexual assault for example, the event may, particularly if handled improperly, require repression in order to ensure ongoing functioning of the physical unit. Repression is not necessary if the event is treated properly and the individual is able to properly process in a supportive environment; however, in unsupportive conditions, for example, where the family or others (police, social services, etc.,) deny or blame the child/adolescent, repression may be necessary.

Note that it is not the individual’s inability to process and clear the emotions that is the root of repression. Studies demonstrate that when families believe the victim and are supportive, trauma is mitigated and victims are resilient. The root of the need to repress lies in the failure of the family and society to properly deal with the event, and especially when the victim is repeatedly victimized by family denial and censure, police insensitivity, and so on. When an individual learns that recall and discussion of the event, an already painful proposition, brings additional censure and pain, they learn to not remember—to repress.

The external imposition of suffering on an individual trying to remember something is important. Freud, the man who originally observed the mechanisms of repression in operation in Victorian society, suggested that people repressed because of unacceptable and shameful urges from the ID. In fact, people repressed because they were afraid to talk about their sexuality and sexual assault experiences because of censure from a prudish, repressed society, or because of censure from the many perpetrators that may have existed, both within the general population and within the psychological establishment itself (Masson 2003).

Repression rooted in disjuncture: When one engages in an unaligned action, one experiences disjuncture. When one engages in an act of disjuncture, Steering Emotions (e.g., guilt and shame) are deployed by the Spiritual Ego in an effort to “right the ship’s course,” so to speak, and realign the physical unit.

For example, a parent may psychologically abuse their child. They will know that this act is wrong at a deep level and they will experience guilt and shame as a result. If they choose to ignore the guilt and shame instead of acting to align their actions, guilt and shame will grow. In order to avoid being overwhelmed by guilt and shame, they can correct their behaviour. If they choose not to correct their behaviour, they may deploy various ARMs in an effort to reduce awareness of their disjunctive acts, and mitigate painful emotions. They may repress their memory of their abuse past or present. If challenged or triggered, they may utilize secondary ARMS. They may deny that the acts ever occurred. They may rationalize and intellectualize (what doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger) to add weight to their repression. They may compartmentalize (they never think about home while with friends, or at work). In order to “make up” for their abuse, they may become the “it” mom or the “dude” dad. They may also rationalize (it wasn’t so bad) to reduce awareness of negative consequences of their abuse, and so on and so forth. There are lot of different ARMs people can use to repress disjunctive actions or traumatic memories.

ARMs are complicated and interactive. The following table summarizes their functional characteristics as well as the general situations where they may be deployed. Note, repression is the primary ARMs. Other secondary arms are deployed to reinforce repressive efforts.

1https://dictionary.apa.org/defense-reflex

2For a possibly over comprehensive list, https://www.psychologistworld.com/freud/defence-mechanisms-list.

Summary of ARMs

Primary ARM

Mechanism

Description

Trauma

Disjuncture

Repression

Reduces awareness through a wilful act of forgetting…

We forget sexual assault and abuse from childhood

An abusive parent may repress awareness that their actions is abusive, or repress awareness of the consequences of abuse (i.e., they pretend the abuse is not damaging their children..

Secondary ARMs

Mechanism

Description

Trauma

Disjuncture

Denial

Related to gaslighting. An attempt to reinforce repression by verbal denial. Deployed when challenged.

That never happened to me.

I never hit my kids. There’s no evidence that spanking is harmful.

Rationalization
(making excuses)

A form of informational positioning: An attempt to reduce pain and disjuncture of an event or action by justifying the actions in a rational and logically plausible fashion.

Telling yourself that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. My childhood abuse made me what I am today.

Telling yourself that beating your children builds character.

Denying the true nature of your actions. Gossiping and undermining another person while pretending your actions are in their best interests.

Diversion/Distraction

Redirecting attention from trauma or disjunctive acts towards something different.

Children are talking about child abuse but a parent redirects their attention with treats or trips to Disney World.

Isolation
(a.k.a. Informational Positioning)1

A cognitive process involving the creation of a gap between an unpleasant or threatening cognition, and other thoughts and feelings. We remember “less often” by minimizing associative connections.

A person who begins a train of thought but switches because it brings them “Close” to remembering sexual assault. Conscious or unconscious Avoidance of triggers.

A person who begins a train of thought but switches because it brings them “Close” to remembering they are a perpetrator of sexual assault. Conscious or unconscious Avoidance of triggers.

Intellectualization

A form of informational positioning. Concentrating on the intellectual components of a situation so as to distance oneself emotionally.

An individual who has experienced sexual assault seeks information on other cases and the psychology of rapists and victims. The individual takes self-defence classes in order to feel safer rather directly addressing the psychological and emotional issues.

A pedophile having sex with 12-year-old intellectualizes by showing statistics that children legally marry adult men in some cultures..

Compartmentalization

A form of informational positioning. Involves breaking up your life into discrete, disconnected pieces.

When you come home at night, you block out exploitation and abuse you perpetrate at work. When you go to work in the morning, you block out awareness of the violence in the home. When you go to Church, you do not think about the hypocrisies in your daily life

Social Comparison

Comparing oneself to those worse off

My trauma was bad, but others had it much worse than I.

Parents suggest their abuse wasn’t as as bad as what other parents did. “Sure we spanked you, but at least we didn’t use belts like Jimmy’s dad.”

Avoidance/Withdrawal

Removing oneself from events, situations, and social interactions because to participate means being reminded of painful events

Tertiary ARMs

Mechanism

Description

Trauma

Disjuncture

Distortion

The deliberate and deceptive reshaping of self image and reality in order to make self or reality appear as something that it is not.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.This trope basically sends the message that abuse and trauma are good for you because they build strength and character, and make you a better person.

Reaction Formation

An attempt to reduce/redirect awareness by fixation on the opposite.

Includes things like self-serving bias, undoing, etc.

A gay man traumatized by homophobic parents and unable to express, expresses and lives and marries heterosexual in order to prove they are not gay.

A child with low self esteem because of negative interactions with parents, teachers, goes on to become a “rocket scientist” just to prove them all wrong.

A gay man taught to feel shame by homophobic parents and unable to express, expresses and lives and marries heterosexual in order to prove they are not gay.

A toxic family works hard to present an image of the perfect nuclear home.

The owner of a sweatshop dresses nice and inflates his “good deeds” in order to deflect attention from his bad ones. Donating a small portion of your great wealth to good causes because it makes you feel better about yourself.

A parent who abused their child becomes a Girl Scout Group leader to make up for it.

Sublimation

The transformation of unwanted ideas, emotions, and urges onto an alternative target.

An individual angry over sexual assault and unable to properly express/resolve that anger becomes a professional boxer in order to gain release.

An individual shamed about their sexual urges represses these urges and devotes their attention to artistic pursuits.

You have a desire to cheat in your marriage. In order to avoid the disjuncture, guilt, and shame this would cause, you focus your attention on other pursuits, like your car.

Projection

Projection of misaligned acts onto another.

An individual angry over sexual assault and unable to properly express, and feeling guilty about feeling angry, projects that anger onto others, seeing others as angry and hateful.

A CEO who is embezzling money from the company projects these disjunctive acts onto others and accuses employees of stealing.

Displacement

Redirecting anger, hatred, and other sequelea of trauma or disjuncture to an external target.

A male child who has been psychologically or emotionally abused by his mother grows up to consciously or unconsciously hate women.

A corporate CEO who feels intense guilt and shame because of the way they treat vulnerable workers seeks out “punishment” from safer sources, sources that do not raise awareness or invoke guilt and shame.

Gaslighting

Related to denial. A form of psychological manipulation in which a person covertly sows seeds of doubt in an individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or sanity,.

Gaslighting is a defence mechanism used when an individual

I didn’t scream at you and call you names when you are a child. You’re crazy.

I’m not being abusive, you’re being abusive.

Well what about the time you did that?

 

 

 

Functioning

ARMs work in three basic ways, by straight forward Awareness Reduction, by Awareness Redirection, and also by Sublimation. Note that ARMs are not mutually exclusive. An ARM like compartmentalization may help reduce awareness, redirect awareness, and sublimate negativity, all in one go.

Awareness reduction is pure repression, as well as ARMs deployed to reinforce that repression. Examples of ARMs deployed to reinforce repression include denial, distortion, regression, and compartmentalization.

Awareness redirection basically distraction. When we redirect awareness, we redirect awareness from a trauma or action we do not want to think about onto something that is less threatening. Examples of ARMs that help us redirect awareness include projection, informational positioning, gaslighting, displacement , reaction formation, sublimation

Finally we have sublimation. Sublimation occurs when we obscure our disjunctive thoughts and actions by superimposing acceptable thoughts and actions on them. For example, reaction formation, self-serving bias, and social comparison.

The Social Character of ARMs

It is is important to understand that beyond simple repression, most secondary and tertiary ARMs have a social component. An individual denies and gaslights, for example, not because they are spontaneously remembering but because someone in their social or family space is challenging their repression or triggering their memoirs.

Endnotes

1Undoing may serve as atonement if a) the individual first attempts to undo damage to the original victims and b) the undoing does not serve to repress awareness of one’s own disjunctive actions and realities.

2Isolation (a.k.a. Informational Positioning?) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolation_(psychology)

3Compare against fixation which is getting stuck in an immature stage of development because of severe psychological trauma.

ARMs work in three basic ways.

References and Further Reading

Kinzl, J.F., Ch. Traweger, W. Biebl, and C Traweger. 1995. “Family Background and Sexual Abuse Associated with Somatization.” Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics 64 (2): 82.

Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff. 2003. “The Assault on Truth: Freud’s Suppression of the Seduction Theory.” 2003.

Modestin, Jiri, Roman Furrer, and Tina Malti. 2005. “Different Traumatic Experiences Are Associated with Different Pathologies.” Psychiatric Quarterly 76 (1): 19. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-005-5578-y.

Newman, Leonard S., Kimberley J. Duff, and Roy F. Baumeister. 1997. “A New Look at Defensive Projection: Thought Suppression, Accessibility, and Biased Person Perception.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, no. n5.

Book List

The Assault on Truth.- a fascinating and eye-opening read detailing how Freud caved to a bunch of pedophiles and child abusers.

Endnotes

3For a possibly overly comprehensive list, https://www.psychologistworld.com/freud/defence-mechanisms-list.

4Undoing may serve as atonement if a) the individual first attempts to undo damage to the original victims and b) the undoing does not serve to repress awareness of one’s own disjunctive actions and realities.

5Isolation (a.k.a. Informational Positioning?) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolation_(psychology)

6Compare against fixation which is getting stuck in an immature stage of development because of severe psychological trauma.

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Lesson Student Only

Using connection supplements to practice healing and connection

A Connection Supplement is a natural or artificial supplement, like Cannabis, LSD, Psilocybin, and so on, that activates your brain and facilitates connection to Consciousness. Connection supplements have been used since the dawn of humanity to facilitate connection with consciousness. I personally believe they are integral elements in the rapid evolution of the human Physical Unit, particularly the brain and CNS, both at an individual and collective level. They are not technically necessary for individual development,  however, in a world where you are constantly struggling to survive, in a world where you are constantly swimming in the toxic soup of a System gone horribly wrong, heck, even in a world where you just don’t have the time and energy to go sit in a Zen temple for hours at a time, connection supplements can be incredibly useful and important facilitators that can, when used properly, accellerate your healing and connection process. They can also help you maintain your progress forward, especially if there are still toxic pockets in your life spaces that you still have to endure.

As defined in the SpiritWiki, a Connection Supplement is a substance that facilitates a stronger connection to Consciousness. Connection supplements help you pour water (i.e. Consciousness) into the glass (see Water Glass Metaphor)

If you are going to use connection supplements to facilitate healing and connection, it is important to be aware of a few things.

Number one, connection supplements vary in onset, intensity, and duration. Some are more intense and last longer, some are gentler and of shorter impact.

  • In terms of onset, some connection supplements, like LSD, take an hour or so to begin their effect. Others, like cannabis, when you smoke it, take effect instantly.
  • In terms of duration, some connection supplements last a long time. LSD lasts about twelve hours, psilocybin about eight, cannabis (ingested) about six, cannabis (smoked) about an hour. Some connectin supplements, like powdered DMT, last only a few minutes.
  • In terms of intensity, some connection supplements are very intense, even in low doses (LSD, for example), while others have a softer effect. In this regard, cannabis is a soft entheogen in as much as its action is, when taken in low doses, gentle. In higher doses, cannabis can provide Connection Experiences as intense as LSD. It is also easy to control the intensity with cannabis, especially if you purchase from medical suppliers where you are guaranteed )

You should choose a supplement that fits into your schedule, and that suits your temperament, and stage of development. When you are starting out, it is best to choose gentle supplements with limited duration and lower intensity. This way, if you confront challenging materials, invoke fear, revisit trauma, connect with the highest point in The Fabric, or whatever, the experience is short, gentle, and less likely to trigger an Ego Explosion or a rare Nadir Experience. See this forum post for our growing collection of science-based information on connection supplements.

Number two, there is growing evidence that connection supplements impact the neurology of your brain and CNS in a positive way by allowing you to generate new pathways, and to erase older grooves.  Neurologists call this neurogenesis. There are a few implications of this connection supplement induced neurogenesis the most important of which is that connection supplements offer a potential cure for the brain damage caused by Toxic Socialization. Of course, healing the damage caused by Toxic Socialization requires more than a single-use or two. It takes time to rewire your brain. More importantly, it takes persistence, and this is the point. Although you can experience “enlightenment” in only a single session, unless you are persistent and consistent, your brain won’t rewire, and you will eventually fall back into old patterns. Ergo the repeated insistence in LP teachings on disciplined, daily practice.

Number three, intent is important. You can, if you choose, consume a connection supplement and take a random “trip;” however, for best and most consistent effect, it is best to have a “destination” in mind before you get on the bus, so to speak. As explained throughout the LP corpus, setting your destination is very easy. Set your intent with a simple, willful statement. Intent statements include things like…

  • I wish information on how to heal my wounds
  • I wish information on who I am deep inside
  • I wish to know what is my purpose, and why am I here.

Probably the best intent statement to use when you are just starting out is something like

  • Provide me with the information I need to know right now so I can move forward towards healing and connection as safely and efficiently as possible.

Number four, a safe, quiet, clean, uncluttered cocoon is critical. Connection supplements open up your connection to your Highest Self and beyond, but they also make you much more sensitive to negative energies, negative people, and toxic situations. Exposure to negativity while you are experiencing connection can create challenges and can undermine your experience. Exposure to negativity and toxicity can even trigger a Nadir Experience. Make sure you are in a safe space where you will be free from distractions for the duration of your experience. For longer experiences, consider having a healthy family member, healthy friend, or trusted guide with you.

Number five, remember, connection requires practice, not just because it takes time for the brain to rewire, but also because handling Consciousness, especially when flowing freely, can be hard. When you make a connection, you open up your Bodily Egoto a flow of Consciousness that can be quite unlike the Normal Consciousness of your daily experience. It can be disconcerting, novel, shocking, horrifying, shattering, fantastic, overwhelming, staggering, and powerful, sometimes all at the same time. When your connection is wide open and consciousness is flowing, it is like a powerful fire hose directed straight at your brain. It is not impossible to get that flow under control, but it is going to take practice. Lots of different religious and spiritual traditions will provide you with lots of different advice on how to do your Connection Practice.  The LP has its own suggestions. We’ll talk in detail about these later, but for now, Lightning Path Connection Practice basically comes down to three things, grounding, aiming, and control. You have to practice grounding to make sure you do not lose touch with empirical reality and get lost somewhere deep in The Fabric. You have to practice aiming so that you a) make the right connection and b) achieve the proper intensity. Finally, you have to practice control, specifically controlling what thoughts your Bodily Ego is thinking. This is important. As we will learn when we start studying this planet’s Creation Template and the archetypes of which it consists, there’s a lot of interference and a lot of bias in the Collective Consciousness of this planet. If you do not keep your thoughts positive and in control, there’s no telling where you might end up.

 

 

 

Categories
Basic Lessons Lesson Student Only

What is Enlightenment?

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash. The fire behind the Buddha represents the fire of Consciousness, from which we all emerge.

What is enlightenment? Enlightenment is basically the realization of a truth, particularly and especially when that truth is sourced internally, via a Connection to your Highest Self (HS).

Pause and think about that for a moment.

Enlightenment is the realization of a truth that comes to you when you make a connection. When you make a connection, your Highest Self is able to speak to you. Therefore, enlightenment is your HS telling you something. Enlightenment is your HS saying “this is the way it is” or “you need to pay attention” or something like that.

It is important to understand that enlightenment is not just about realizing a truth. Enlightenment is also and equally about you listening and being open to the truths conveyed by your connection. If you are not open to hearing the truth, then it does not matter how strong your connection is, or how loud your Highest Self might be talking at you. If you are not open to hearing the truth, if you are blocked up in some way, nothing is going to change. If your mind is closed, you will stay stuck in the mud and muck of Maya until the day you die.

When you think about it, enlightenment is really just learning something. Enlightenment is just like going to a school and listening to a teacher or a professor. If you attend university and go listen to a nuclear physics professor’s lessons, you will slowly become “enlightened” with regards to nuclear physics. The same thing applies elsewhere. If you go listen to a psychologist, you will slowly become enlightened with regard to psychological things. The only difference is that in the case of spiritual “enlightenment,” you are listening to and learning from your own HS.

If that is the case, if enlightenment is really just learning, why call a truth realized internally via a connection to your HS enlightenment, and not just learning? For no compelling reason really, except, that the lessons and learning that come when you connect to your HS often feel more significant, more important, and more meaningful than the type of learning you do when you sit in a classroom or read a book. When you gain insight from an internal connection, when you  gain information by “going within,” the information often comes with an emotional and psychological “oomph.” Sometimes the “oomph” is small, like a feeling of being blessed, and sometimes its an oomph of truly cosmic proportions. When it feels cosmic, people have a tendency to use big words, like “enlightenment,” “gnosis,” “satori,” “transcendence,” and so on, to try and describe the grandeur of the experience. But really, no matter how dramatic it may feel, it is just learning from your Highest Self.

As you can see, enlightenment is pretty straight forward. Enlightenment is simply the learning you do when you connect with and communicate with your Highest Self. We talk about how to get started on the path to connection and communication in the book The Great Awakening, and also in Lightning Path Workbook One: The Basics. For this lesson,  it is important to simply understand two things.

Number one, understand, enlightenment is also not something that happens only in a temple, on a mountain top, or only to the special and “chosen” few. Enlightenment is just learning. Enlightenment is just talking to your own HS. Since everybody can learn, since every body has a Highest Self, and since everybody can connect, it is really just a question of persistent intent and a bit of daily discipline.

Number two, understand, enlightenment is not a one-time-only affair. Enlightenment, like learning, is not something that happens just once or twice, no matter how powerful the “lesson” might feel to you. Enlightenment, like all forms of learning, is ongoing. This means there is no such thing as “total enlightenment.” This also means there is no endpoint where you can claim ultimate knowledge about everything. If you practice connection long enough, you might become an expert at something, and you might even qualify to be a teacher, but just like going to one or two lessons does not make you a qualified psychologist or a capable nuclear physicist, a couple of Connection Experiences, even a dozen, does not qualify you as a spiritual expert and it certainly does not qualify you to teach. Anybody who claims otherwise is either a fool, or a liar, or both.

Remember, enlightenment is simply the learning you do when you connect with and communicate with your Highest Self. Also remember, enlightenment is something that is ongoing. You can become “enlightened,” that is, you can learn more things from your HS, whenever you sit down and make a good connection to your highest self. If you want to become enlightened, you have to practice connection persistently and consistently, every day, or at least a few times a week.