Monday, 23 September 2013

More notes on the trauma roots of the Dominant Culture...

More notes on the trauma roots of the Dominant Culture...

The following are some of the symptoms of PTSD.

    Difficulty regulating emotions and impulses
    Emotional numbing
    Anger and aggression
    Substance addictions
    Behavioural addictions
    Self-harming behaviours

How many of these apply to cultural norms as evinced in the behaviour of those who rule, those who determine how 'Economics' operates, those who are scripture bound, to ideologies and/or Faiths, to criminal behaviour endorsed by the State and other Governing structures? 
"This intrinsic dynamic is observable in all religions. Religions were obviously created not by people respected in childhood but by adults starved of respect from childhood on and brought up to obey their parents unswervingly. They have learned to live with the compulsive self-deception forced on them in their earlier years. Many impressive rituals have been devised to make children ignore their true feelings and accept the cruelties of their parents without demur. They are forced to suppress their anger, their TRUE feelings and honor parents who do not deserve such reverential treatment, otherwise they will be doomed to intolerable feelings of guilt all their lives. Luckily, there are now individuals who are beginning to desist from such self-mutilation and to resist the attempt to instill guilt feelings into them. These people are standing up against a practice that its proponents have always considered ethical. In fact, however, it is profoundly unethical because it produces illness and hinders healing. It flies in the face of the laws of life. "

Alice Miller
The same applies to the Institutions of Governance, of Banking, of Corporate 'business'.... and the current UK Governing group, the 'coalition partners' and their so-called 'opposition' Labour are demonstrating this by their behaviour and justification of their policies.

The people who built these structures, and the vast majority of those who work within them form a large part of the cultural meme/behaviour that is replicated, generation after generation, BECAUSE there is almost no acknowledgement within Governance of the adverse realities these structures impose on those who have the least power; rather those who have the least power are chosen for castigation and punishment, in a vicarious desire of the power holders, at every level, from the executive to the front line, to ameliorate their own symptoms of distress, the existence of which they deny, yet which, at the unconscious level, drive their behaviours.

"I became aware of my patients’ deeply entrenched resistance to remembering these painful events: they were extremely reluctant to feel the tragic situation they had been in as children and to take it seriously. Some of them described acts of monstrous cruelty with a complete lack of emotion, as if they were something that was only to be expected. They believed their parents had loved them and that as children they had richly deserved severe punishment because they were so insufferable. The regularity with which true feelings were denied or split off made me realize that almost all of us tend to deny, or at least play down, the pain caused by the injuries we suffered in childhood. We do this because we still fear punishment at the hands of our parents, who could not bear to accept us as we truly were. These childhood fears live on in the adult. If they remain unconscious, that is if they are not identified as such, then they will retain their virulence to the end of our lives. Unfortunately, these fears also live on in those who advance theories that camouflage childhood reality and that concentrate instead on the nature of “psychical structures.” This approach began with Freud and was later taken over by C.G. Jung and others. Like present-day “spiritualist” interpretations, these theories all served one purpose: to allay the fears of the maltreated children these therapists still were. "

Alice Miller

The resolution of all this can only emerge AFTER full acknowledgement - until that occurs the past will drive the present behaviour, and will be 'justified' with whatever means is deemed culturally acceptable - full employment, democracy, etc etc..

Capitalism is an unresolved post Christian dynamic.

Power, guilt, shame and coercion are the fundamental memes of Capitalism.... as they were, and remain to this day, of Christianity

It's easy to ditch a false religion at the surface, much harder to address the unconscious scars that remain until they are fully acknowledged, and steps are taken to move into recovery and healing.

I know this from my own experience, when I tried for years to adopt Bhuddism, Paganism, Dao-ism and other -isms as a way to recover from my Christian indoctrination,  yet was unable to alleviate my symptoms of guilt, shame and fear. It wasn't until I started to acknowledge and address my experiences as a child, from the perspective of that child, in the presence of an 'enlightened witness' that I was able to start to recover..

As Judith Herman points out, the safety issue is crucial.

The key to healing from traumatic experiences in childhood is achieving these ‘stage-one’ goals of personal safety, genuine self-care, and healthy emotion-regulation capacities. Once these have become standard operating procedures, great progress and many new choices become possible. Importantly, the first stage of recovery and treatment is not about discussing or ‘processing’ memories of unwanted or abusive experiences, let alone ‘recovering’ them. As much as I describe and understand history, I need to feel safe to proceed.

The same applies to entire communities caught up in trauma cycles, for example Israel/Palestine... or Northern Ireland ..

Likewise with the dominant culture, especially where that culture is based on Power Relationships and Utilitarianism as opposed to Empathic Relationships and Conscious Awareness of Interdependence. Until we feel safe enough, we cannot begin to address the underlying issues in detail.

Which is what Christian based Counselling projects for Survivors of Clerical Abuse, for example, cannot achieve. Nor could 'Democracy' as touted by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq between 2004 and 2012 achieve.... in these cases, it is obvious why the people who seek help do not feel safe, and therefore cannot proceed.

After centuries of War as States established themselves, and fought with each other, we now live with a culture that portrays war as 'good vs bad', with sacrifice, glory and bravery in combat as key 'positive' elements to be admired, is it the case that this culture has not yet resolved the issues related to mass trauma, that in fact that this culture is founded on unresolved PTSD issues? Just as the major Religions were?

If so, then the resolution of that culture's problems are a matter of concern for all of us because the issues are tractable - that is to say they can be dealt with, worked on towards healing and recovery. PTSD is no mystery. It is well understood. As is the resolution of PTSD.

If we don't, at the very least, attempt to resolve them then it will become our children's problem.

Is that the inheritance we wish for our children? Is that our gift to them?

Do we hold to our 'belief systems', our 'hatreds and fears' rather than address the matter with all our available energy?

What then is the meaning of our 'love', if we refuse this essential task?

Kindest regards


Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe

Saturday, 21 September 2013

More Notes on an Intergenerational PTSD thesis of Cultural History, Power and liberation.

I have determined, with 54 years of living experience, and with 25 years of research, that we Human Beings are biologically mandated to experience this Earth life, and to appreciate it fully and to nurture the biological world from which we have emerged. We are alike all other creatures in this.

This piece is a follow up from my previous piece on the evolution of PTSD cultures and Ideologies.

As a conscious human being, there emerges a combination of sensation, gratitude, wonder and love that is innate, it comes out of the lived experience of optimum biological health, and it feels to me that this 'spiritedness' can only be truly seen when it is articulated in behaviour, in relationships and in outcomes. It is not independent of human agency. This is a spirituality with no name, with only the experience, the behaviour and the outcomes to articulate it.

And so, when it comes to 'healing' and the Church's 'response' to Survivors, their Christianity is irrelevant. The Church's faith is irrelevant. Their beliefs and concepts are not the issue. The lived experience, and it's meaning are what matters.

Faith or belief is NOT material to the case of abuse, of cover-up, of intimidation, obstruction of the Law and it is most certainly NOT material to the healing process of ANY Survivor (even if a Survivor chooses to have Faith) in psychological, emotional, physical realities and and in our relationships - these abuses and harms Survivors speak of are matters of medicine, law, psychology and biology, not matters of faith.

These issues are frequently clouded, because that's partially the way unresolved PTSD based Cultural and Institutional Structures behave; they create masks and pretence, within and without, in it's denial state, as a bulwark against the truth, and it's implications with regard to their status in Power.

There are many cultural masks, some intentional, some emergent, some inherited as one culture subsumes another. It can seem complicated, yet it is simple.

The study of simplicity and complexity in biology has lead to discoveries which suggest that Civilisation is complicated, rather than complex.

This is because Civilisation as we know it is standing on a variety of constructions, crutches created in moments of crisis, in the attempt to shore up areas of action and behaviour where the natural biological mandate exposes, as
it sometimes does, those actions and behaviours as being pathological, dysfunctional and damaging.

This crisis management or 'fire fighting' keeps happening because the problems remain unresolved and thus the 'organic structure' that is created becomes more and more complicated and less complex.

Behaviour and action tend, in these circumstances, to become increasingly homogenised. 

This desire for uniformity, this cultural insecurity, binds so much energy up, (energy that needs to flow freely so that nutrients are available to all biological systems, energy that human beings could use to make living together a nurturant experience) that ill-health and disease have become the norm, and the medical and ideological suppression of any visible symptoms of distress that might indicate the pathology the primary concern of Power.

That's the environmental problem described in a nutshell.

It's also our social problems described at base. In the most simple terms possible.

That the Religious Institutions are at all permitted to 'provide support services', which are ideologically driven by Christian Faith, to Survivors, is part of this necessary suppression and it is also irrational and it is certainly cruel. It's irrational because Christianity is not the issue here. It's cruel because that's an obvious distraction tactic. A tactic.

The adherents of Christian Ideology will of course deny this is the case, and quote their Faith's concepts and texts, and point to their charitable work, etc., by way of mitigation.

However the reality is that these Institutions have seen the outcomes for Survivors, and non-Survivors -those who died before they could speak out, those who died in situ.(of the abuse or neglect, wilful or otherwise). There is more than a few centuries of detailed authentic disclosures, historical data that is reliable, that show that this behaviour  occurred worldwide. They knew all along. They know.

And, knowing what they knew, having continued their Institutional behaviour, it appears that they have accepted those outcomes though they do not suffer them, and that this acceptance was deemed essential policy even it it was not fit and proper!

They are therefore participating, by inaction, by protective action and by the acceptance of those harms without seeking to prevent the harms, in the criminal offences as secondary to their status, and are liable.

What's their Faith got to do with it?

It's immaterial.

I am surprised it has taken me so long to fully and clearly articulate this ............
We are human beings, and our experience of sensory sensitivity is intense, and if we are hurt, and repeatedly hurt, individually and collectively, we do feel it, and our behaviour does, of course alter, it does change, and so too would the outcomes of our behaviour. This sensitivity is biologically mandated not least because as biological organisms we emerge from within a dynamic living system, where change is constant, and that sensitivity is part of how we observe those changes and respond to them to maintain the nurturant behaviours that determine well being, optimum health. Some people call this 'creativity' - I call it common sense.

The changes in behaviour are outcomes emerging from experience and from how we humans - as animals - experience our environment, based on form, our embodied nature, and consciousness, the awareness, sensitivity, perception, language and decision making processes that can be articulated as the active mammalian we are, emerging as part of Earth's biology. This is a fundamental biological reality.

Think of new born babies, infants, children ... how sensitive!

What kind of Community would,
understanding that this sensitivity is indeed a biological mandate, most ably nurture that sensitivity into maturity? What kind of Society would fulfil this biological mandate?

And what kind of Society would undermine this biological mandate?

Whatever Society it is, there will be a number of apparently interdependent causal factors that are themselves effects... and it is those interdependency cycles that
we need most to be understood, if we are to return to Societal behaviours that reflect and respond appropriately to that biological mandate.

In short, we are born into an Institutional Culture whose underlying psychology is unresolved chronic PTSD. We have no choice as babies, infants, children and adults but to adjust our senses so that we
can survive, let alone thrive, in this psycho-social setting.

The behaviour of Governance at it's very core is merely the behaviour of wounded, damaged and damaging children who have become adults without resolving key areas of their woundedness, who behave like someone in distress, affected with Chronic Intergenerational PTSD, in ways that are similar in dynamics, promoted and dressed up as a State, a Religion, a nationality or an ideology, or just a drunk and violent parent or partner.

Seen at that level it is tractable. It is a problem that can be resolved. Our biology mandates that there is a solution., And it's not mutating to grow metal hard scales, and talons and extra large incisor teeth, so that we become more biologically mandated to surviving in a state of constant conflict for survival. The 'struggle for survival' myth, so beloved of David Attenborough.

There is a solution.

I keep in mind, whilst I discuss these matters, all those centuries of war in Europe, with each generation traumatised, with every unresolved symptom integrated into the building of social infrastructure, each unresolved generation birthing a new generation with that PTSD as their background .....

It's not an 'evil conspiracy', though it does involve some seriously organised nasty, nasty behaviour, experience and horrific outcomes, on a wide, wide scale; words cannot suffice how nasty the truth about this is. It is natural enough to be fearful of looking directly into this horror.
However it has to be said that Fear is also a teacher; on a personal level when one is looking at one's own fears, or on the wider level, when a community looks at societal fears.

Note how often fear is triggered by the stream of mainstream 'news', 'reports' and 'documentaries' and how little real information is provided. Is this fear a teacher? Or is it a bully?

The child that Survives adopts behaviours that help the child to make it through, yet which are unhealthy for an adult. One must respect that. One cannot 'push' someone out of their fear, and the same applies to whole Societies.

When the child or Survivor feels safe, that's the time for looking at the event or events, the experience and the real honest meaning of it, as a discipline of self healing. 

Those that do resolve their issues, who deal with their fears must also be respected.

And so how to help the child within to feel safe again?

Possibly by developing, through exploration, a personal process of first noticing that one can take care of oneself, the adult that is safe, in the present, and then offering that to the child within, as a support, not to do anything.... just to be a first witness, an adult who cares, who is present, who will listen and hear and understand.

And let the child's response emerge.....

Let the child tell his or her story...

So that it can be understood, so that the child can finally hear those words they needed to hear at the time,  so that learning how to prevent it in the future is enabled. Without that how can one feel safe again?

That's the basic process.

That's what needed to happen then, and needs to happen now. And if the actors in the past are not available, for whatever reason, then this is another potential route... the individual need not be trapped..

This process deserves widespread support, and the primary support is a cultural acknowledgement of it's biologically mandated basis.

It's not easy, it takes time. For many the trauma is deeply grown in over time....

At the same time, in political situations there is an inherent contradiction facing people seeking liberation from an oppressive situation - the oppressed, who are dehumanised by being oppressed, in seeking liberation are seeking to re-humanise themselves, and they will only succeed when they are also seeking to liberate the oppressors from their dehumanised state, in effect to humanise the situation between and around them. That, at least, must remain as central intent, and area of constant exploration and praxis and the preferred outcome.

This is notably absent in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Chile in 1973, in Indonesia in the 1960s onwards and in most places where the oppressed have taken up arms in a struggle for liberation. The 'rebels' or 'insurgents' or 'saviours' (the USA/UK Governments that have supported 'rebels' invaded to 'bring democracy') irrespective of their ideological position, appear to be intent on destroying those who they say are the oppressors rather than reaching a position of negotiation by which the situation of oppression is resolved. For the most part they are hoping to replace one form or oppression with another.

This is what Paolo Friere discusses in Pedagogy of The Oppressed.

Natural Child, Natural Society: assuming that both are cause and effect at the same time.

Freedom to be empathic, safe to be empathic.... offer that to all children.

I think the way to accomplish this is everybodies business; it is a collective action, a collective need that must be met and it's crucial to state that there is also a personal respons-ability, and responsibility, associated with this, because we are biological organisms operating in a biological reality. Neither Institutions nor individuals can avoid this work and claim they are mature or nurturing.

We all live in a sh
ared reality, not a yellow submarine. Science and common sense assert this on the basis of evidence.

We are embodied within a mutually interdependent reality. Science and common sense assert this on the basis of evidence.

A fundamental in biology is that there is no waste, and another is that all healthy biological process lead to nurturing the environment, nurturing more life, in the short, median and long-term.

All actions seed more life. That's the basic biology, most fundamental premise emerging from Biology Sciences....

That's my primary intellectual driver. Biology emerges as a dynamic, through the action of responsive organisms that are learning all the time.

This is a long work, over generations..... aspects of it must be contextualised, understood and options or actions must be tested in the present, and over that intergenerational timescale... because others not yet born will have to pick up the mess.

Given that particular fact, that others will have to clean up the mess we leave behind, how rude and immature it is to avoid that responsibility, once it has been clearly identified?

How dangerous? How toxic?

The evidence for punishment is that punishment tends to create the desire to avoid punishment more often than to behave a certain way, naturally enough. That's therefore only a partial and usually time limited success.

Harmful behaviour should not be avoided, it ought to be c
onfronted head-on, especially where children's lives are adversely affected, directly or indirectly.

Preventing harmful behaviour cannot be achieved through punishment. It can only be achieved through honesty, through dealing with what actually happens, and through making changes in our fundamental psychology that reflect understanding, empathy and where necessary, remorse for actions taken that have caused harm ought to drive reparations.

All of which we do not see in The Catholic Church as an Institution, or amongst the Catholic Hierarchy of individuals... for example read the recent comments by a Catholic Archbishop who proclaimed that the floods across the globe were a judgement by God, on 'our' behaviour (not the Bishops behaviour) with regard to sexuality, marriage and so forth.

"The psychology of any given family, community or society is both revealed and perpetuated in how they relate to and treat the children AND the most vulnerable people in that family, community or society." 

This mus become clear as a matter of choice.


Kindest regards


Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe