We are after biological truths beyond mathematical facts, a place where biology and neurology coalesce with psychology. What biopsychology studies imply is a kind of universality, a continuum, with all kinds of organic life. These studies are corollaries, not separate, inviolate realities; a kind of intellectual genuflection to the left brain, but, without contact to the right brain those realities are confined to the intellectual. Anything can be true with statistics because they ignore biologic realities; they can be manipulated any number of ways. When we take into account the neurobiological, we add the total effects of experience on all of us, everywhere. We not only see how neglect and lack of love make us behave, but also how they change our brains and body.
All this may escape those who have no access into the right brain unconscious, where history and feelings lie. Animal research is interesting, but we are not trying to understand the psyche of rats; we need to understand our own psyche by analogy or corollary. Those who suffer, who have faulty gates, have a sort of inchoate entry into the unconscious but it is not complete. We have an experimental laboratory in our clinical work, where we see the unconscious every day with patients. We do not need statistical truths. We know that if the patient is feeling this, then that is likely to happen; a replicated experiment, at its heart. When we see it over and over, hundreds of times, we have a good idea about what drives what kind of behavior, and what feelings cause which symptoms.
Yes, objective studies are helpful and necessary; they are being done by the hundreds now and supporting our work, without the primal syntax. Take for instance, the notion of the imprint; the work on methylation and acetylation are giving us a good biologic look at how the imprint is set down. They give us a precise microscopic view but neglect the macro view that would put it into context, and maybe even tells us how to change things. The imprint is now a fact, which we have seen and known about for 40 years, and it is good to have corroboration for it. But besides facts, we need truths, a frame of reference that puts it all in perspective and helps guide our future work.
Those in cognitive therapy are able to “feel better”, but confuse that with getting better because they can use language and words to suffocate pain. They use thoughts to anesthetize feelings, and imagine and think that all is well. This is reified by the doctor who also thinks that what the patient says matters—it does, but not in the way they think.
There is a world of the deep unconscious that needs to be explored, an unconscious from our animal legacy. That unconscious can never be understood in verbal language. We cannot talk to a salamander, and he therefore cannot tell us what we need to know. But wait! Yes, he can. We can communicate with it as humans through addressing the brainstem and primitive limbic system, the salamander brain in each of us. That tells us a lot. It explains so much, especially when we see rage in patients and wonder where it comes from.
If there is no place in a theory for that unconscious there is no way that one can be cured of all sorts of emotional problems; problems that may have their origin in the residue of reptilian life. To observe patients writhing in reptilian fashion when they are in the grips of an ancient brain makes all of that clear. We have measured this over and over, and filmed it to be shown in a primal documentary in process. It can never be clear so long as we remain on the cognitive level, so long as we deal with facts but no truths. So long as we use the abstractions of statistics to support our case we are bereft of the one thing we need to truly understand what we observe: feelings.
Let us not forget that in the world of cosmology there is the discovery of dark matter that makes up the majority of what we used to call empty space. We are part of that universe; only our dark matter is called the unconscious. Heretofore, psychotherapy has dealt with only the tip of the iceberg, leaving an unexplored universe untouched. Although cosmology usually deals with the external universe, we are also part of that universe, and the laws that apply to external cosmology must also apply to us humans. After all, we are made of stardust—carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, iron and other elements. Carbon, when combined with hydrogen and oxygen, form organic compounds. The laws that apply sui generis to the universe above must also apply to the universe below. There is no simple dividing line between the two.
The history of the universe abides in each of us. Nothing is lost in our evolution; we simply add on. We still have part of that ancient brain encased in our skulls. We are the history of the universe incarnate; walking archives—a fact that is largely ignored in the field of insight psychotherapy. The more we discover about the laws of the universe the more we shall learn about ourselves. The key here is that the more we travel back in personal time the more present we can be; for it is fact that the past is imprinted in our systems, and until we relive and connect it to consciousness we will be enslaved to our history. The deeper we travel into the antipodes of our unconscious, the clearer we see our ancient history. Chronic high body temperature speaks about our history; it shouts its meaning but too often remains incomprehensible to the sophisticated intellectual. Abstracted from oneself and one’s feelings usually means fixated on abstractions in psychology and medicine.
We need to consider Primal psychology a branch of cosmology—a study of the inner universe. How can we learn about the laws of human intercourse if we never delve into the dark mass of the unconscious? Otherwise, we are pushed by forces we do not understand and over which we have no control. We develop symptoms for unknown reasons, and fall ill for reasons quite mysterious. It does not have to be this way. The unconscious speaks to us all of the time in its own language; too often we do not know it for what it is, nor can we speak it, for it has nothing to do with words. Proper therapy must use non-verbal language. Migraine may speak loudly about anoxia at birth. Our salamander brain speaks to us every minute of every day. We need to listen and learn what it says, and too often it says: you are in danger.