Montréal, March 29, 2000
The vision of the extinction of homo sapiens by his own hand seems to pushing its way up into the light of our awareness. The biological sciences are coming to the conclusion that there is more to 'the evolutionary tree' than the boughs, branches and twigs, ... that to understand evolution, one must consider more than the parts, ... one must consider, at the same time, how the parts transform the 'space' in which they live into a place for others to live, ... which would not otherwise be possible. That this space-organism 'self-referentiality' or 'web-of-life' effect is fundamental to viable evolution is the conclusion of Kirchner and Weil's just-published study on extinctions . The bottom line is that humans are in the process of inducing far more extinctions than are necessary to bring on a 10 million year mass evolutionary hiatus in the geologic record;
". . .Weil said that the long recovery period [10 million years, ... "well past the expected life span of the human species, or even of the genus Homo"] is perhaps not surprising. While a species' extinction does not leave an empty niche, it destroys all or part of other niches. For example, it removes opportunities for predators, parasites and other organisms that would normally rely on that species. Extinction also is a lineage termination, which removes a potential ancestor from which other species could evolve."
For the rapidly growing number of youth who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, who rebel against the cultural system they are immersed in, which they see as absurd and ridiculous, ... and who are told that their perspective and their mental make-up is 'flawed' and that they will have to spend time in detention to 'reflect' and take drugs to stabilize their thoughts, ... it is finally coming clear that, far from being they who are screwed up, ... it is Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Normal, ... who continue to speak of 'success' for their children in terms of conformity to global initiative which constitutes an insane trip to extinction.
Am I saying that the majority of adult citizens in our western culture are 'screwed up'?
Yes I am!
Am I saying, then, that only a 'few of us' 'have possession of our senses'?
No I'm not!
It is the western notion that the world is 'bivalent', ... that we cannot be one thing and another at the same time, ... that is the very nature of our mental screwed-upness, ... the so-called 'law of non-contradition' which underpins the thinking of the average western man, ... the man who worships at the altar of science and rationality.
Let's be clear. The law of non-contradiction is abstract bullshit! Nature IS inclusion.
In a more natural way of thinking, then, ... the majority of western adults are, at the same time, both screwed up and having possession of their senses. The majority of western adults love their children and want them to fare well in the world, ... this testifies to the fact that they are in possession of their senses. The majority of western adults encourage their children to compete for the best grades and the best jobs in an out of control system which strip-mines and devours its own human resources and spits them out on the slag-heap, ... this testifies to the fact that they are screwed up.
This is the 'double-bind' which is sending more and more children to the psychiatric wards, to early suicides, to crime and drugs, ... to be counted amongst the 'schizophrenic' and the 'bipolar' and the 'chronically depressed'.
We have a hollow onion on our hands here, an onion which continues to expand and capture more ground without having retained an inner core of sanity, as Mercy Amba Oduyoye says in a 'Letter to my Ancestors'. Mercy is an indigenous traditionalist in the African spirit of Ubuntu  who knows much about the madness of western ways. Ubuntu is an age-old African term for humanness - for caring and for sharing. Ubuntu as an 'ideal' means the opposite of being selfish and self-centered. It promotes co-operation between individuals, cultures and nations. Ubuntu thus empowers all to be valued: to reach their full potential in accord with all around them. ... Ubuntu puts implicit understanding in the primacy over knowledge, ... 'Tell me and I will forget, show me and I might not remember, involve me and I will understand'.
If you suppress the western tendency to stop and judge each incoming word, ... to search for a 'single point of failure' as if words were explicitly engineered constructs, ... and instead listen for the implicit whole-and-part harmony in the web of words spun by Mercy, .. you will see that she finds good and bad in all things, as in the aboriginal traditions of North America and elsewhere, ... she is not 'coming from' the bivalent and purificationist traditions of western europe, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, ... and so can see 'good AND bad' in this western culture which itself perceives, inquires, manages and regulates on the basis of 'good OR bad'.
Mercy Aduyoye says;
"Do hear me out a little my ancestors in Jesus. What has the Christian past to teach us as we struggle with our contemporary realities? Can we find a healthy and healthy-giving Christianity in Africa? Well, say something. OK! You too have questions to ask. You ask: What are we doing in our community based organizations? Are we carefully examining the concepts of structural adjustment, of liberalization, of privatization, or do we contain our efforts within "rescuing the perishing and caring for the dying"? I hear you urging us on "Go beyond changing, transforming, reconstructing so you might continuously nurture, enhance, build and sustain beautiful lives in beautiful environments. That is the way to claim our descent.
. . . My esteemed forebears, in 1970 David Barrett made a statement that till today fills me with fear and trembling. He wrote under a title "AD 2,000, 350 Million Christians in Africa" I can see you smile because you told us that "If might were right, the elephant would be king of the forest". What does this numerical strength represent? What sort of Christianity? I thought of the onion that once disappointed me to the core of my being; it held a theological message. This big perfectly shaped glossy-skinned fruit of the earth, had a hollow center. The life sustaining growth point had dried up. So I ask , What is the theology and spirituality at the core of African Christianity, dried, rotten or alive? Our claim to relevance depends on the answer.
. . . Living with our history we declare the 20th century as Africa's Christian century. You will bear us out that even though the churches of the first Christian centuries were concentrated on the shores of this continent, this century that is closing, has seen more dramatic presence of Christianity. The Church has grown, yes, but it seems little has changed from 1951 when it was said that "the Church has grown evangelically without corresponding theological, liturgical and economic maturity." This "lamentable" situation needs to be addressed with all intentionality." There is an understandable concern that under the stress of political and social change, organized Christianity may start to disintegrate at the center while it is still expanding at the circumference. Well, honorable forebears, you know that we are expanding, there are many more churches, many more expatriate missionaries, many more charismatic movements and many more people who confess Christ as their personal savior. There are many who leave it to The Christ to deal with their enemy, The Devil, and to dispel the fear of some of you whom they had demonized or are beginning to do so. We too want to leave behind a path of faith and on that we shall faithfully work. . .
. . . This is why I make bold to pour these words to you, my ancestors. I am convinced that both our African and our Christian heritages as well as the Islamic, have something to say to us. Even the Western heritage may be gleaned for a positive contribution. Was it not you who said "Tete wo bi ka, tete wo bi kyere? [the past has something to say: the past has something to teach"]. But the past has nothing to impose."
* * *
Now, the bivalent reader may project onto these words of Aduyoye, thoughts of bitterness and judgement, ... but bitterness and judgement is the way of the oppressed within a bivalent culture. Aduyoye is not coming from bivalence and exclusion, but from multivalence and inclusion. But she is saying something which everyone feels, ... that the western system is undergoing accelerating growth around a degenerating, hollow core. The riots in Seattle and the tear-gassing of crowds of youths at 'Le Sommet du Quebec et de la Jeunesse' here a month ago, was all about this 'hollow onion', ... the exclusionary pressures imposed on students, ... the blatant cultivation of dominatorhood and cannibalism via the sterile ahuman machinery of a global economy.
Children know intuitively that there is no path to happiness, ... happiness IS the path, ... and so it is with the understanding of Ubunto and the traditions of indigenous peoples.
How did we get to this insanity of seeing happiness or 'success' as something to be found 'over the horizon', .... something we had to sacrifice the present for, ... to sacrifice and cannibalize the youth of the present in ever greater 'quantities'?
In fact, how did we ever get to this notion of 'things in their own right' by which we see ourselves as fully detached from our containing environment, while engineering our over-the-horizon selves and futures?, ... when all we know through our experience as living creatures on a spherical earth is connectedness with the world around us?
How did this 'Western Abandonment of 'Self-Other' Reciprocity' happen?
What we know from our experience is that we have an 'inside' and an 'outside' which is reciprocal, ... as everything in nature seems to have, ... from a tree to the spherical globe of the planet earth on which we live. The spherical nature of space and the motions of the heavenly bodies has been recognized at least since the time of the ancient Egyptians and the 'music of the spheres', ... a space-time geometry which is fundamental to our reality, ... fundamental to a child's reality.
What we know from our experience is that when the space inside moves or grows, ... it moves or encroaches on the space outside.
What we know from our experience is that 'up' and 'down' is experienced as 'outward' and 'inward'. And always, and without fail, when we relate 'outer' to 'inner', our common sense gives us the notion of 'convergence' (outer-to-inner) and 'divergence' (inner to outer). It is in no way our experience which gives us notions such as 'parallel lines' in space or on a natural surface which have somehow lost their associated sense of convergence and divergence. A straight line on a sphere is in reality a portion of a circle and if that so-called 'line' is moving, ... like a wave on the ocean, ... then the area on one side of it is diverging and the area on the other is converging as the circle, like an elastic band pulled over the calf of the leg, either grows or shrinks in circumference.
In this spherical space we live in, this space of experience, reciprocity always prevails, ... if something is, in itself, diverging or converging, contracting or extending, compressing or dilating, then its reciprocal 'otherness' is doing the reciprocal.
In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, our scientific culture, which has been standing on the ladder of abstract bivalent absolutes, ... on the abstract notion of rectangular space and parallel lines which meet only at infinity, ... is having to rediscover what we already knew about spherical space-time from our natural experience. As Einstein dutifully and pedantically explained, in speaking of relativity to the culturally converted who could no longer conceive of the world as they did naturally, when they were children;
"Therefore we say that the spherical surface of the globe is an unbounded continuum. Moreover, the spherical surface is a finite continuum. For if we stick the paper discs on the globe, so that no disc overlaps another, the surface of the globe will finally become so full that there is no room for another disc. This simply means that the spherical surface of the globe is finite in relation to the paper discs. Further, the spherical surface is a non-Euclidean continuum of two directions [RECIPROCAL DISPOSITION], that is to say, the laws of disposition for the rigid figures lying in it do not agree with those of the Euclidean plane."
EVERYTHING IN OUR NATURAL LIFE EXPERIENCE INVOLVES RECIPROCITY!
TO EMBRACE THE ABSTRACT, BIVALENT NOTIONS OF 'UP' OR 'DOWN' AND 'LEFT' OR 'RIGHT' IS TO PURGE THE NOTION OF 'INNER-OUTER' AND 'SELF-OTHER' RECIPROCITY FROM OUR PERCEPTUAL BASE.
To reiterate; ... ... This understanding, ... that we are immersed in a reciprocal reality, ... comes naturally to the uneducated child, and it is our acculturation into the notion of absolutes and bivalency which subsumes this understanding in us.
When you teach your child about 'up' OR 'down' and 'left' OR 'right', or 'good' OR 'bad' in terms of EXCLUSIONARY bivalent choices, ... in terms of 'binary branches', ... you are in effect purging his mind of his natural sense of self-other 'reciprocity', ... for the 'inner' AND 'outer' of his natural experience is INCLUSIONARY, ... his natural senses inform him that the inner is CONTAINED WITHIN the outer, and when the inner world moves, the outer world moves reciprocally, ... when we enlarge what is 'inside' a realm, ... we reciprocally shrink what is outside the realm. When we 'go up' a hill, we do not simply 'displace ourselves', ... we reposition ourselves upon a new and more outer layer of the landscape, where our 'reciprocal disposition 'relationships with our containing 'other' are transformed. Our action was not a simple 'displacement' along a line from 'down' to 'up', ... it was a reciprocal transformation of relationships which simultaneously effected our friends and family who stayed in the valley. Had we all started off on the hill and everyone but us moved into the valley, ... the transformation would have geometrically been the same.
Movement is relative and effects both that which is seen to be moving and that which is seen to be stationary; or, in other words, ... the notion of stasis is a non-relativistic abstraction since what we experience through our senses is divergence and convergence, ... 'thrusting and parrying', and it is our acculturated conceptualization processes which determine how we interpret this relative motion, ... whether we choose the euclidian space convention with its associated notions of an ontological reality and linear time (and the notions of 'cause-and-effect', 'history' and 'progress' which are bundled with it), ... or whether we choose the non-euclidian space convention with its associated notions of an ontogenic reality and space-time continuum (and the notions of 'circular causality' or 'self-referentiality', 'possibility space transformation', 'ancestral experience layering' and 'evolutionary becoming'.)
Now, there's nothing wrong with abstractions, euclidian or otherwise, ... they are very useful support tools, ... but they are only SUPPORTIVE ABSTRACTION, ... and when we begin to impose our abstractions on our reality, ... this is the beginning of insanity.
THIS CONFUSING OF SUPPORTIVE ABSTRACTION WITH 'THE WAY OUR NATURAL WORLD WORKS' IS THE STORY OF THE WESTERN CULTURE AND ITS SCHIZOPHRENIC DENIAL OF THE RECIPROCITY OF SELF-OTHER.
This 'euclidian' denial of self-other reciprocity has been much written about by psychologists and anthropologists and by indigenous peoples who have suffered from its judgemental violence, such as Mercy Amba Oduyoye in her 'Letter to my Ancestors'.
And there are more crazy-making goodies in the euclidian package, such as the abstract notion of 'history', ... which sees the past as 'completed', 'finished' and dead, rather than as enfolded layering within our continuing ontogeny whose transformative power continues to participate in the shaping of our landscapes, ... and the abstract notion of 'progress', which sees the future as some kind of detached, ontologic state which lies over the horizon, ... which we can somehow consider out of the context of its environmental reciprocity, ... and the fact that the 'environment which goes with it' is also being simultaneously transformed by our actions to achieve such 'progress', ... the over-the-horizon prize along the line from 'less' to 'more' which we may 'possess' if we work hard enough. But the reciprocities which emerge as we work towards the possessing of our enhanced future, ... do not have the same geometry as in the story of the man who sells his pocket watch to buy his love the combs for her beautiful hair which she has long admired, ... while she at the same time sells her hair to buy him the watch chain which he has long admired. Mutual giving of material possessions cultivates love, ... while mutual pursuit of material possessions cultivates avarice. In the finite and unbounded commons of nature, ... someone or something must always pay the price of avarice.
Our life experience informs us of a landscape where outer meets inner, ... where as we develop ontogenically, ... in a reciprocally-related space-time container-and-content coevolutionary context wherein the landscape incorporates a whole and part harmony, ... even in the desert as it self-referentially coevolves the aesthetic curvatures of its own dunescape, ... .... our life experience informs us of the older becoming enfolded in the younger while persisting in its transformative influence. The old rock layers of the earth, pushing up here in hills and there in mountains, influencing the runoff of rains and snows, ... a runoff which sculpts and cultivates the landscape , ... a landscape which subsides here into fertile valleys and there into marine basins, ... the old continues its morphological influence, ... just as the layers of our older experience, our more youthful experience, modulates our continuing ontogenic development and impressions the morphology of our becoming.
This experience-based notion of ontogeny and ontogenic 'time' stands on the ladder of the space-time continuum. It is radically unlike the abstraction-based 'hollow onion' conception of reality where the reality of the present LINEARLY overtakes and subsumes the reality of the past, leaving a dead core at the center of the expanding onion. It is not our life experience which gives us the hollow onion view of history and progress, but our man-made and imposed abstraction.
What goes on when we deny the self-other reciprocity of our life experience and consider things 'in their own absolute and bivalent, something-or-nothing right?
Well, Mcluhan said that when we look only at 'content' in its own right, ... we are more concerned with the cornflakes and cadillacs which come out of our factories than with the reciprocal transformation of the containing space in which we are immersed along with the factories and products. The 'medium is the message', .... but which impressions us most as we look out at the exponentiating offerings of cadillacs and SRVs and products of that ilk, ... the transformative effects of their production, ... or they themselves, ... seen in their own right? What do we know of the reciprocal effects of our 'progress'?, .... 'progress' which comes through our working our way over the horizon towards the possession of one new 'material future in its own right' after another?. Well, we know that;
"World consumption of energy will increase 60 percent by 2020, with the global use of natural gas doubling during the next two decades. Energy consumption in developing countries will grow 121 percent from 1997 to 2020, and electricity consumption will increase 76 percent without a change in energy policies. The emission of carbon will grow 40 percent from 1990 to 2010, and by 72 percent by 2020, says EIA. Improvements in energy intensity are the only factor that has minimized the growth of energy consumption and carbon emissions. Development of renewable energy is constrained by expectations that fossil fuel prices will remain relatively low over the forecast horizon and that, as a result, renewables will have a difficult time competing. "Failing a strong worldwide commitment to environmental programs, such as the limitations and reductions of greenhouse gases outlined in the Kyoto Protocol, it is difficult to foresee significant widespread increases in renewable energy use," says the official forecast. "Modest growth in renewable energy is projected to continue, maintaining an eight-percent share of total energy consumption over the forecast horizon."
This much we know. Meanwhile, millions of parents continue to encourage their children to go for the best marks in school, and for the best jobs in the global economy, out of the context of where this denial of self-other reciprocity is taking us.
It is often heard; 'We need to cultivate their success in school so that they can get into positions of power and change things when they get there.', ... yeah, sure, sure, .. promises, promises. And is that what we older ones managed to do?
There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path.
There is no path to harmony and balance, ... harmony and balance is the path.
If it is not in the here and now, then it will never arrive, because our movements toward it will change the reciprocal context which gives meaning to it. It is implicit that I want a car together with a living forest to drive through, ... and not a car which comes together with a toxic wasteland.
'But this wave of growth in the global economy amplified by our technologies will have 'a positive impact on our future.'', .. so the 'reasoning' goes.
If its waves of growth we're after, let's be sure we're talking about 'waves' rather than hollow onions, .... colonial fronts 'in their own right' that fuel their expansion by sucking the life juices out of their own insides.
When we think waves, we tend to think 'peaks' rather than 'troughs', ... but what is the relationship between a peak and a trough?
If we go back to our euclidian abstraction, one might say that' 'a peak goes up and a trough goes down.' But that would abstractly abandon the notion of the 'inner-outer' reciprocation of our life experience of nature.
The 'peak' of the wave at sea, is not the bivalent opposite of the 'trough' because each belongs to a reciprocal domain. The 'trough' is a reciprocal 'ripple' in the atmosphere, and the atmo-sphere is the outer sphere which contains and includes the inner 'hydrosphere', ... and it is the reciprocal thrust and parry of container and constituent, ... of 'self-and-other' which induces the wave motion. And for every wave motion there will be an inner region of 'source' and an outer region of 'receiver' determined by the propagational movement of the wave, ... a multivalent azimuthal movement which is, at the same time, both divergent or one-to-many, AND, convergent or many-to-one.
Waves in nature are necessarily inner-outer reciprocal things, having a 'phase' which implies cyclicity or 'resonance'. The linearity of a wave on the ocean is a linearity which is only apparent, .... an abstraction of our own making which we impose on our sensory input. The wave conceived of as being linear is instead, at the next level of conceptualization, 'circular' with respect to volumetric space. The trajectory of points along the crest of the wave do not move along parallel lines because the circular geometry of the wave as seen in volumetric space must move either in a direction of growing circumference or shrinking circumference.
So waves are always reciprocal with respect to the inner-outer surfaces of their movement, ... they have in nature a container-content reciprocity rather than an abstract 'up and down' oscillatory relationship. In the ocean wave, the kinetic energy of the relative motion of the wave, which is abstractly determined by our choice of reference frame, ....we say, ... sets up a potential energy wave associated with the differential height of the column of water under peak versus trough, ... in combination with the atmospheric rarefactions and compressions associated with the hydrospheric troughs and peaks. But is this not an inverted way of looking at things? .... the same sort of dysfunctional perception as looking at the cornflakes and cadillacs instead of the transformation induced by their production? That is, the energy associated with the motion of things is determined by our choice of abstractions, ... by our choice of space-time conventions. After the rocks come down the mountainside and fill the riverbed, ... we say that the rocks are no longer 'doing anything', .... but now the water upstream is overflowing its banks and flooding the adjacent valley and the village.
What is going on here?
What is going on is that the space which contains things is what is in the primacy in nature, rather than the 'things' themselves. The induced transformation in the space which contains things is the ladder upon which the things and their actions 'stand upon' as they do their stuff. The actuality of material-causal transaction emerges from the possibility of the interfering environmental relationships within which the material things are participating constituents. There is no such thing as a 'wave' in its own right, ... a wave exists by the grace of its containing space. As Einstein says in his summing up of the general theory of relativity;
"Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether would be unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring -rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it."
Similarly, the pressure wave, ... being innately and reciprocally convergent-divergent in nature, ... being 'of space' rather than 'of matter', fits in with our geometric experiencing of the world, and suggests that we also are 'of space' rather than 'of matter', ... that we live within the hermeneutic circle between subject and object, ... where we in fact 'construct' the notions of 'subject' and 'object' as thought props for understanding the way the world works. The notion of a wave which travels in a given direction is an abstraction of the mind. If the muscles in the belly of a horse ripple, ... the notion that the ripple moves in a direction at a certain velocity and therefore has such and such kinetic energy, is our mind's abstraction.
Instead, .... the medium is the message.
So our stories about 'waves' of growth in the context of 'history' and 'progress' seen 'in their own right' are abstractions which deny the inner-outer reciprocal aspect of nature. We can whip the horse and make its belly shiver and interpret the patterns anyway we want, ... and we can impose this interpretation on our abstract science of belly-watching but we cannot impose it upon the horse, who has his own purpose.
Yet western children are being taught to pursue such abstractions, ... the abstraction of their own 'history' and their own 'progress' seen in its own right, ... out of the context of the reciprocal impact on their containing environment and containing community of fellow students, ... fellow workers, ... and fellow nature.
And so it goes within western companies, western industries, western economies and western governments.
And in this acculturated blindness to inner-outer reciprocity, ... the blindness which comes with bivalency and the exclusionary, judgemental notions of 'good' OR 'bad', ... 'up' OR 'down, ... 'past' OR 'future', ... comes the schizophrenia and dysfunction which characterize western colonializing civilization, ... the dominator society.
Now if one reads the above statement 'coming from' the characteristic bivalent, purificationist judgementalism of the west, ... then it will sound a harsh criticism indeed, ... and this may well lead to its rejection and denial.
On the other hand, ... if one is coming from a multivalent culture which sees 'good' AND 'bad' in everything, ... the above statement will be interpreted as addressing one-of-many qualities in the culture, ... as part of a process of interpreting 'the way the world works' which allows for the inclusion-based evolution of ideas rather than the exclusionary purification of ideas.
As Mercy Aduyoye says in the letter to her ancestors;
"This is why I make bold to pour these words to you, my ancestors. I am convinced that both our African and our Christian heritages as well as the Islamic, have something to say to us. Even the Western heritage may be gleaned for a positive contribution. Was it not you who said "Tete wo bi ka, tete wo bi kyere? [the past has something to say: the past has something to teach"]. But the past has nothing to impose."
New dunes are shaped by old dunes, ... there is an inner and an outer enfolding relationship, ... we cannot deny a past which is 'inside of us', but must include it and use it as a pivot in our coevolving of a more just and harmonious future. Harmony and evolution can only come from living strife and opposition, ... only death and stagnation comes from purification. To Goethe, Mephistopheles was as important as God since without him, there could be no redemption, since there would be nothing to be redeemed from. Opposites which stand 'on their own' are unnatural abstractions since our life experience knows no bivalent facts which are self-standing in their own right. The magnetic field has a north and south pole, ... but these are not stand-alone ontologies, but reciprocal aspects of an inductive, interpenetrating 'becoming'.
Everywhere in our today's culture we are focusing on the quantifiable 'peaks' in their own right, ... the explicit and manifest out of the context of the implicit 'reciprocal other' from which the explicit and manifest emerges. Our focus on material cause, the cornflakes effect which is caused by the factory, is to focus on the lesser of a reciprocal relationship. Material-causal effects are to the environment as the ocean wave peaks are to the containing atmosphere, ... nothing more than an abstract reification of the rippling of the belly of mother nature, ... a rippling in the medium of our environmental container which is the real message.
What was it that Weil and Kirchner said about focusing only the 'peaks', ... the 'species in their own right'?;
"While a species' extinction does not leave an empty niche, it destroys all or part of other niches. For example, it removes opportunities for predators, parasites and other organisms that would normally rely on that species. "
In this statement, they are validating relativity, ... that 'space is a curved space-time continuum', ... that there is a reciprocal 'thing-other' relationship in natural ontogeny which makes all the difference, ... that homo sapiens are just a rippling on the inner surface layering of our enveloping mother nature.
It is an insane linear view which has us deny the inner-outer reciprocity of our experience and has us manage 'things in their own right', ... that has us detach the past from the future and chase the pot of gold over the horizon towards the end of the rainbow as a solution for presently perceived insufficiencies. But as we run along the conveyor belt of progress, we reciprocally transform the background on the canvas which portrays the sought after progress that we are running towards, and our unconsciousness of this reciprocality makes our mission Sisyphusian, ... with the desired meaning of the result always receding from us, ... eluding our grasp. Our insane response is to run ever faster and ever harder.
And what about those that can 'see through' or 'sense' the madness of this hollow onion social environment? My discussions with 'young rebels' are fully consistent with what has been said by psychiatrists such as Ronald Laing back in the sixties, "what we call 'normal' is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being. The more one sees this, the more senseless it is to continue with generalized descriptions of supposedly specifically schizoid, shizophrenic, hysterical, 'mechanisms'.
There are forms of alienation that are relatively strange to statistically 'normal' forms of alienation. The 'normally' alienated person, by reason of the fact that he acts more or less like everyone else, is taken to be sane. Other forms of alienation that are out of step with the prevailing state of alienation are those that are labelled by the 'normal' majority as bad or mad. The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one's mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have perhaps killed 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years." (R. D. Laing, 'The Politics of Experience', 1967)
So, how are we doing on sorting this out, as we enter the year 2000?
"March 20, 2000, ICSPP Calls for Moratorium on Psychiatric Medicating of Young Children http://www.breggin.com/moratorium.html
The call for a moratorium is made in response to Hillary Clinton's efforts to allay
public concerns about the drugging of children age two to four years old.
The White House announced concern today about the psychiatric drugging of young children with stimulants such as Ritalin and antidepressants such as Prozac.The White House was reacting to an overwhelming negative public response to recent revelations in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the escalation in drugging children ages two to four years old. "
The answer today to an intensifying insanity amongst the global community of hollow onions otherwise known as western adults is, ... 'drugs'. As Peter Breggin, a respected authority, described as 'the conscience of American Psychology' says;
"The neuroleptic drugs have gradually become promoted as agents with a specific "antipsychotic" effect on schizophrenic symptoms. Meanwhile, psychosocial approaches have fallen into disrepute among many psychiatrists. Patients have been instructed to remain on neuroleptics for a lifetime and told that it was safe to do so. "
Breggin goes on to inventory, in terrible detail , the very different reality which is playing itself out (see http://www.breggin.com/neuroleptics.html) in terms of both severe physiological and violently antisocial side-effects of the drugs. In the following paragraphs, he describes the manner in which those who recognize and rebel against the confederacy of hollow onions, aka our modern society, are subdued by the neuroleptics;
"The overall impact is a chemical lobotomy so, since frontal lobe function is suppressed (Breggin, 1983, 1991). The patient becomes de-energized or de-enervated. Will or volition is crushed, and passivity and docility are induced. The patient complains less and becomes more manageable. Despite the claims made for symptom cure, multiple clinical studies document a non-specific emotional flattening or blunting effect (reviewed in Breggin 1983, 1991).
There is no significant body of research to prove that neuroleptics have any specific effect on psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. To the contrary, these remain rather resistant to the drugs. The neuroleptics mainly suppress aggression, rebelliousness, and spontaneous activity in general. This is why they are effective whenever and wherever social control is at a premium, such as in mental hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, institutions for persons with developmental disabilities, children's facilities and public clinics, as well as in Russian and Cuban psychiatric political prisons. Their widespread use for social control in such a wide variety of people and institutions makes the claim that they are specific for schizophrenia ridiculous."
So, youthful reader of this essay, if you could hack it to get to this point, ... don't despair when adults of the western world inform you that you are 'abnormal', .. CELEBRATE!!!, ... and when they give you the pills to take to 'make you normal', ... it is crucial to remember that those pills are not for you, the pills are for them, ... so that they, the confederacy of hollow onions can continue unabated in their insanity.
Now if you are a hollow onion who is reading this essay; i.e. a 'normal' western adult, ... you may be pretty irritated or angered by now at my judgemental statements.
But you might reflect on the fact that if you are angry at me for these 'judgements against you', then this would confirm your 'bivalency problem', because you will be projecting something on me which is a property of yourself and not me. I am not being judgemental, ... I do not believe in the abstract bivalent, purificationist philosophy wherein something is 'good' OR 'bad', ... a philosophy which sources this hollow onion insanity in the first place.
I am merely describing one of our multiphrenous personalities, ... a personality in which we are afraid of non-conforming people and react by putting pressure on them to make them conform, or to drug them so that their non-conformance will stay inside of them and not come out to bother us.
But as our hollow onion society grows faster and more hollow, there is a veritable 'war on children' to keep them conforming, and because the insanity is intensifying and the rebellion growing stronger, the drugging and suppression is become more severe and being implemented at earlier ages.
The administering of Ritalin for 'Attention Deficit Disorder' is a case in point (see www.breggin.com);
" number of children being drugged has escalated several-fold in the last few years.
"works" by producing malfunctions in the brain rather than by improving brain function. This is the only way it works.
and amphetamine have almost identical adverse effects on the brain, mind and behavior, including the production of drug-induced behavioral disorders, psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction."
"Our society has institutionalized drug abuse among our children. Worse yet, we abuse our children with drugs rather than making the effort to find better ways to meet their needs. In the long run, we are giving our children a very bad lesson--that drugs are the answer to emotional problems. We are encouraging a generation of youngsters to grow up relying on psychiatric drugs rather than on themselves and other human resources."
So what is the way out of this hollow onion lemming-trek to self-extinction ?
The answer is easy, ... the implementation somewhat more challenging. The alternative treatment of alienated people who have been told that it is THEY who are screwed up and must take drugs for the rest of their lives, is to concede, as nature informs us, that nothing can be taken 'in its own right', ... that everything is reciprocal, ... that the behavior of the individual is not 'in its own right' but is co-determined by its immersing environment.
The answer is to desist from this madness of binary judgement and purification imposed non-relativistically on the most sensitive individuals in our society, ... judgement and purification imposed in such a way that our hollow onion insanity is fully indemnified and protected in its continuing growth.
What is needed is the non-judgemental, harmony-seeking ways of Ubuntu and the indigenous peoples of the world which transcends the binary judgements of the 'IN-EFFECT' IMPLEMENTATIONS of Christianity, Islam and Judaism in their meld with social systems. As Mercy Aduyoye points out in her 'letter to my ancestors', there is a difference between intent and implementation;
"You remember how Jesus , our spiritual ancestor prayed that we may have peace, and how he wished us fullness of life. This was nearly 2,000 years ago. The world has known very little peace. For us in Africa, the only peace we have known in the past 500 years is that which comes from acquiescing in our own dehumanization. I am not unmindful that some of you resisted the imposition and paid with your earthly lives.
I can hear Anowa say "enough is enough". I see Jesus weep to see our inability to identify and adhere to that which makes for our peace. "
Now this is heavy stuff and while I do not 'live in it' all the time, ... when I cross the street to the Bar-des-Pins to have a few beers and shoot some pool, ... I am happy to be amongst, and having a good time with those rebels who have survived being so abused by our hollow onion society, ... being not just amongst the rebels, but amongst those who risk their own alienation, like the school teacher who helps rebellious youth navigate without major disaster in spite of the threats of parents and administrations which warn against 'meddling' and 'police' their warnings with firings and sueing those whose selfless and charitable assistance to youth encounters a stretch of turbulence. Guillaume knows he walks a tightrope, ... but he has been doing it for years, and the fruits of his efforts come back and say hello to him and thank him, ... and those he was not able to reach during their crisis times in rebellion he knows are walking much tougher roads, ... if they are still able to walk freely.
Germaine will be there tomorrow night. Bright and spirited, a rebel from age thirteen who was constantly apprehended by the school administration and their psychologists and psychiatrists whom she abused in more eloquent terms than they could muster in justifying their hollow onion absurdity; ... her actions emerging from her resistance to having conformance to the absurd imposed upon her, ... and the establishment's hardening actions emerging from her abuse of their hollow onionism as she resisted its imposition on her.
With the encouragement of her mother (unknown to her until much later) who wanted to bring about her conformance at all costs, she was pursued and harassed by the police who seemed to always know her whereabouts and when she might be 'smoking' with friends. At age seventeen, she was sentenced to stay in a detention facility for delinquents until age twenty-one. There was nothing more than minor shoplifting and soft drug possession in her file, other than the one very serious crime, ... that of being able to make the people and the agencies that sought to impose conformance on her look incredibly stupid and absurd in their defence of absurdity during those times they confronted her in public. By lucky circumstance rather than by process, she managed to probate her detention.
All of these experiences continue to layer the interior of her existence and things are in no way easy for her today. Our hollow onion confederacy has ways of closing off the doors of opportunity to those who refuse its heavy hand of conformist purification and in spite of her obvious capabilities, she must make her way within the 'leper colony' of those who have been 'marginalized', ... a colony which nevertheless ... "manifests humanness - caring and sharing, the opposite of being selfish and self-centered, which promotes co-operation between individuals of whatever culture or nationality, and empowers all to be valued: to reach their full potential in accord with all around them. "
Germaine and a web of others like her meet in this bar in 'no-man's land', ... the kind of bar which attracted me but which I had little time for when working in a 'high powered, high tech' professional job, ... a bar where the smell of Ubuntu is strong.
It is good to be here now because it has become clear to me that 'the knowledge of many things does not teach understanding.' and as Ubuntu suggests; 'Tell me and I will forget, show me and I might not remember, involve me and I will understand'
* * *
 Source: University Of California At Berkeley(http://www.berkeley.edu)
Date: Posted 3/29/2000
New Study Suggests Humans Will Not Live Long Enough
To See Earth Recover From A Mass Extinction. --- (by UC Berkeley environmental scientist James W. Kirchner and Duke University paleontologist Anne Weil)
BERKELEY (3/9/00) -- The Earth needs, on average, about 10 million years to recover from a mass extinction of the planet's species, far longer than most scientists thought, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University.
. . . "People have argued that we only have to worry about human-caused extinctions if we do something that causes the loss of 80 or 90 percent of species on the planet," said UC Berkeley environmental scientist James W. Kirchner.
. . . "Our analysis shows that even if the human impact is much smaller than that - 20 or 30 or even 50 percent of species - it's still going to take 10 million years for the Earth to recover. That is well past the expected life span of the human species, or even of the genus Homo."
. . . "We don't know what our current level of extinction is, but some biologists estimate that eliminating 90 percent of tropical rain forests would lead to the extinction of half the species on Earth," Kirchner.
. . . Weil said that the long recovery period is perhaps not surprising. While a species' extinction does not leave an empty niche, it destroys all or part of other niches. For example, it removes opportunities for predators, parasites and other organisms that would normally rely on that species. Extinction also is a lineage termination, which removes a potential ancestor from which other species could evolve.
"Extinction is a double whammy. You not only take out the ecological niche as you take out the species, but you take away the evolutionary potential for radiation, too," Weil said. "Diversification takes a long time to ramp up."
 March 20, 2000, ICSPP Calls for Moratorium on Psychiatric Medicating of Young Children http://www.breggin.com/moratorium.html
The call for a moratorium is made in response to Hillary Clinton's efforts to allay
public concerns about the drugging of children age two to four years old.
The White House announced concern today about the psychiatric drugging of young children with stimulants such as Ritalin and antidepressants such as Prozac.The White House was reacting to an overwhelming negative public response to recent revelations in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the escalation in drugging children ages two to four years old.
Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., director of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, has been the leading voice among professionals who feel that too many of America's children are exposed to psychiatric drugs.In his new book, Reclaiming Our Children, and in dozens of public and professional appearances in the last few weeks, Dr. Breggin has called for a change in national policy away from psychiatric medication for children.He said "Instead of impairing the brains of children with drugs, we must identify the individual psychological, social, and educational needs of our children while also making the necessary reforms in our families, schools, and communities."
email@example.com (Ginger Breggin) www.breggin.com
Return to Index of Essays