Thursday, February 18, 2016

Suicide and Success

There have been a number of people  who have committed suicide who seemed at the pinnacle of  success.   So what is going on? And most of us  thought that once we choose  a profession and follow it and succeed at it, becoming an expert and well known, that would be fulfilling.   We would feel like a success.  Wrong.  When we have deep-rooted lack of love, rejection, indifference and missing touch early in our lives we cannot feel like a success.

Usually because success and  fame are ephemeral notions not part of our systems.  Success is not a feeling, loved is.  Fame is other people’s idea of success; it is in a way their feeling……admiration, humbling, important, etc.   And why does the person, even most accomplished, never feel satisfied nor fulfilled?  Because all of his fulfillment and all of his admiration is symbolic; it is not the love he needed early on.  It covers it over, sits on top of the real need and leaves an emotional vacuum in its place.  It is the imprinted pain that cannot be erased no matter what kind of success is there.  And it drives him for more and more. Finally at the top of his fame he feels still unfulfilled and a failure; there is nothing more to gain, nothing more to try for.  He looks at all his billboards and feels empty. What does it mean?  “I don’t know what else to do to feel good.  It seems that life is empty. There is no point; suicidal thoughts thrust their way in.  The pain that drove it all is still alive and gnawing inside.  It says, sotto voice, you are not loved and that is all that matters.  You have failed at what matters most; to be adored, admired, encouraged, held and caressed.   That is the malaise that speaks of something missing.   “All your drive was to try to feel loved, and you are, but not by the people who really matter.”  To be loved early on, is what sets the stage for your life; it makes you feel confident but not driven.   It offers daring and enthusiasm and a joie de vivre.   It allows you to try but never in desperation.

Symbolic love has to be repeated over and over exactly because it cannot fulfill.  Why not?  Because it sits on the painful imprint of no love; that imprint has only one goal in life; to be relived exactly as it was laid down.  It will NEVER leave until it is lived again, fully, in its original context.  It cannot.   Its goal is a constant warning of unfinished business.  The pain from very early on has to be felt and dealt with in all its agony.  Yes, there is agony from deep, deep pain that was transformed into an imprint that becomes a primordial part of us.  It now confuses us,  distracts us, and above all, stops our concentration.  Oh yes; it depresses us because we live with an enemy in the house that we cannot shake off.   It lives with us and in us; it claws for its liberation; it wants freedom to live the pain, believe it or not.   Yet we do what we can to stop it.  No wonder most psychotherapy is aimed at repression, rationales, understanding but never deep feeling.     They get a bit of relief which the patient settles for; but no cure.   So what does the successful person feel?  Very little:  Down, unhappy and unfulfilled.   He has to with no other choice because those feelings will not leave even for mercy’s sake.  The imprint knows no mercy.  It wants conscious awareness somewhere inside even while the top cortical level does what it can to imprison it.   Conscious awareness means deep feeling plus ultimate understanding of what it is.  Enough rearranging of the chairs on the Titanic.  We must replace things to be healthy’ we must join feelings with their thoughts and make ourselves whole.    Fame won’t do that; I have treated enough Stars to know that, and my patients also know it. There is no substitute for extirpating the imprint.  None.  Leaving the imprint and  you are leaving misery there.

So let’s go over this again.  When there is a basic lack of fulfillment early life, gestation and birth and infancy, There is an imprint of lack of fulfillment.  That stays and is embedded deep in the brain, almost in accessible.   But the feeling is imperceptibly accessible: feeling unfulfilled.   And we drag it and it drags us into into the race for fulfillment.  It has be symbolic because once embedded and out of reach we will fill ourselves with substitutes; symbols.  We cannot know the real lack and what it is.  That is why the system insists on reliving later in life.  It understands real integration and liberation.  And it finally stops the terrible drive to feel like a success.  That is different from being successful.  That is the drive to do things right.   A little more relaxing.


  1. The drive to do things right - and to do what matters!

    Depriving a child of love looks like a great way to make human resources. A great way to create "tax slaves".

    I think societies, generally, never question the motives of people who give them what they want.

    A super driven hard-worker type person is always only going to be seen a "great" and "successful" - but ultimately only because they serve our ends as a society. If you've got barbarians at the gate, for example, the 'warrior' is never to be seen as a violent suicidal blood-lust person (even if they are) - they will only be brave heroes. We (society) got what we want. So end of conversation.

  2. Hello Art!

    You must be very careful what you write... how alone you are about the concept of love... a concept is what it is for those who don't feel its nature... they can be misled to perceive themselves be living lovingly for what need they have!

    Your Frank

    1. Frank,
      Want to know why you write this? "how alone you are in the concept of love"...what makes you say this? How do you know that others don't feel the same way. People perceive love in many ways, and sometimes where there is love one cannot perceive it at all or they don't want to. The beginning love, when one is first born or in the womb, of course is necessary. As one gets older love in living is very important...Then as one leaves the nest" to me, one must build themselves to a certain extent , mentally and physically in order to survive; in order to take care of those who first gave initial love. Frank, what is wrong with a foundation? I just don't understand why you tell Art that he must be very careful what he writes?


    2. What is love??? The sophisticated scheme for it is in our suffering ... and we do not want to know about it... that's what our so-called knowledge is all about... far away but yet so close!

      I would say are you blind? But I do not... it is for what your going to defend yourself even more and you will walk blind for the rest of your life! To defend themselves of what provokes suffering is no traction road if you do not understand the nature of suffering!

      So... my assertion got its intended purpose for the questioning of what love really is!? Was it not still quite artful to get you to really question your affection?
      If you identify yourself with being loving... it more than you can not possibly live up to... what may not be the consequences? Is not that a question for its serious nature as need to see the light of day?

      So to the question of why Art is so lonely around love!
      If we look at how love could bring an end to all wars... wipe out the need for relegion. To not talk about all these institutions ignorant to take care of all suffering. Where do all these people come from... treating their surroundings so unloving? They come from our loveless homes... schools and not least how then society provides drugs and perverted entertainment... everything for what the sophisticated scheme of economy requires to be rolling on... etc... etc... etc.

      For Art "to be careful" is for what others may believe themselves to be loving... for how love sounds good more than anyone can live up to. To identify with something can be what we do to get our liv out of suffering

      Your Frank

    3. Hello beachcoast7!

      The answer to your question stood written!

      "they can be misled to perceive themselves be living lovingly for what need they have" and what it thereby can cause other suffering because they can not possibly perceive their own interpretation of reality! This is true in general for all... if not not all... almost all! I can bet on it!

      Your Frank

    4. O.k. Frank. Thank you. I know of this world and how it can be. Sincerity is important. I know that it is better to live in a kind world. kind environment; but it one is not in that environment they will soon know that there is kindness and love also in the world. I think in order to be a success, one has to know all facets of what life has out there. As Roland May stated: "be true to oneself".....what good is it going to do to constantly try to "see through" people; to judge, and have a "closed mind". What one perceives may not be true at all....just like one can't judge a book by it's cover. What is wrong with a person perceiving themselves as being a loving, kind individual...when there is so much cruelty and hatred out there; even if it is just for one's self, for one's sanity, for one's mental and physical strength. I am a realist. Some say, "life is what you make it, and I do believe that to be true (even if one wasn't raised in a loving environment....they aren't stupid).

  3. An email comment:
    "Ontogeny or Phylogeny?

    Being one of the stars himself, Arts view of fame and success as an ephemeral notion seems so right. I have been through it and studied it, over and over again in the fiction and in the psychological literature and in the world of art, yes, wherever there are people. We act out our pain, often propelled by the hope and temptation of fame and success. Mainly we fail, but since the pain does not go away we try again and again and again. It is certainly not only the stars in different segments and niches who suffer, it is a common pattern among all human beings around the globe.

    Art says:
    “We thought that once we choose a profession and followed it and succeed at it, becoming an expert and well known, that would be fulfilling. We would feel like a success. Wrong. When we have deep-rooted lack of love, rejection, indifference and missing touch early in our lives we cannot feel like a success.”

    Because Art has felt his pain, he can, fortunately, for those interested, allow himself to reveal that. Most people cannot, of whom some commit suicide. However, is not the neurotic process of i.e. pursuing a profession / wishing to be successful, the way we interpret evolution?? To make us survive short term and to propel the species to make new, random, adjustments?

    Death is naturally programmed into our cells. The programming is provoked either we get too old or we wear out due to act outs propelled by repressed pain. Then a malnourished immune system can not cope. Especially if exposed to cancerous virus cells which like the terrorists sneaks into our cells, even into the cells of the immune system.

    “Symbolic love has to be repeated over and over again because it cannot fulfill”. Yes, that is often a tragedy seen from the individuals, ontogenic point of view. Phylogenetically, mutation, migration, genetic drift and natural selection are the evolutionary conditions for the species. What a dilemma! We are at the same time part of the macroevolution and have a limited human life to live, love or suffer.

    Do not get me wrong. Arts hint of a life with unconditional love and fulfillment is a nice mirage. My basic interpretation of Art is that we can do much more to develop / show our feelings and human relations. Psychotherapy can, in the best case, only temporary affect evolution. Like his Hollywood stars, we will make do with time-limited experiences of fulfillment and, unfortunately, we have to face the consequences when the addictive act outs become our everyday life.

    Jan Johnsson"

    1. Attempts at clarification of a catch-22

      Art says he does not feel fulfilled now as he developed into a skilled, famous and experienced expert / specialist because he carries a perpetual pain since he never received love, touch and attention of his parents. However, his repressed pain developed energy. This pain propelled energy drove his ambitions / act outs, during a long life, to relieve other people's pain, to develop the Primal Principle and at the same time, in addition to books and blogs, to serve as an educator / tutor and a widely loved expert.

      If Art had received love, touch and attention had he developed a more satisfying life? We can only guess and imagine that it could have been so. What we learned is that the brilliant expert who helped / motivated many of us (through and beyond our pain) to a new and more satisfying life, he, Art, sits himself as the loser / the "Shithead" in his own game of life.

      It feels unfair and the moral is that we must not become so blinded by the pain effects that we can not appreciate their evolutionary compensating properties. I wish Art a greater sensitivity to the love we radiate. It is meant to be felt as part of his Fulfilment.

      Jan Johnsson

      Of course, my “attempt” is pain propelled, but certain parts of my pain I love!

    2. Hello Jan!

      If we are to see suffering as a process to success... so I would say that it is as much "unfortunate" circumstances that it leads to similar results as others. What you say seems more to be a thought about something / someone is behind this development... which it certainly did not do more than "unfortunate" circumstances proves to be successful! Yes... we're fortunate for what Art's thought at the time could lead to such a fantastic result. And because of that... so we can begin to ask ourselves the right questions of what science contains!

      Sorry if I misunderstand you!

      Your Frank

  4. Dear Arthur how are in this age? You have almost 92.

    1. Piotr, Thanks for asking. Back problems due to years of skiing but otherwise still OK and swimming and walking every day. But still almost 92 art

  5. Hi Jan,

    -"Arts hint of a life with unconditional love and fulfillment is a nice mirage"-.

    I agree Jan but honestly, when we look around ourselves (with eyes open so to speak) we don't need any knowledge of Primal to realise that, unless you're part of a very small minority who never see others suffering at all. . . I think it's conscience that finally drives evolution in this respect.

    Art said:

    awareness + feeling = consciousness.

    I think that's right and it's not a word game nor would I want to play it like that. So, I ask myself: "what on earth, in me, is conscience"?

    I get a sense of unconditional love when my conscience works, goodness knows how, exactly that happens in me, but I do. I kind of become defiant about it too. For others even more than myself and I wonder if that is what ultimately drives people to become true teachers and helpers. That (we) see others suffering and out of conscience we act, and from that a sense of unconditional love can grow in us. Like a flower, or a tree that we tend. Or a child we love.

    I don't need a belief system to realise it is the fruits of our relations with life that give us pleasure. . . It's just that Primal offers that ever so important lynch pin to tie ones beliefs and behaviour to. Because it's so significant the subject offers endless ways of eloquently saying the same thing. . . If that's not Art, then surely it's art and if not art then at least 'craft'?

    All best Jan and I so love your posts !

    Paul G.

    Of course it doesn't last but the two seem linked and for me that's what is all worth this Primal thing, who-ever we are, wherever we may be. . . But those words feelings, and senses

  6. Hi,

    on BBC iplayer, a series of documentaries called "All In The Brain".

    I haven't dared to watch any of them. Apparently the comic entertainer Steven Fry, himself a Bi Polar sufferer has made an episode and provoked a warm hearted & fascinating response from Richard Bental, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Liverpool University. His open letter has appeared on Canterbury Christchurch University Blog (Discursive of Tunbridge Wells).

    I dunno what the http is.

    I imagine the letter is more palatable than the documentary; I'm glad I read the letter first, it's interesting.

    Paul G.

  7. Hi Art

    This so resonates with me. My Mother once said to me "We chose your name because it would look good in lights". It took me until my late 40's to recognise the huge weight that statement placed on my little shoulders. In other words "I will only love you if you are successful and allow me to fulfill my own need for love through your success". In "Drama of the Gifted Child" Alice Miller describes how many patients she had with Manic depression had the similar back ground of families placing the role of rescuer of the families reputation on the person. When they failed the person was rejected and cast out as has happened to me. This also resonated with me. Add to this a father who never really wanted me to be more successful then him. He was in many ways an emasculated failure. Thus as a small Boy I was confronted with the unconcious double bind of needing to be successful to be "loved" by my Mother and a failure to be "loved" by my Father. Therefore I used to shift between obsessive bouts of work followed by periods of depression. I have often wondered of the experience of a difficult birth compounded by later experiences contributes to an individuals Manic depression. If a child starts off in the world relating to only two important people ie parents then the two states of Manic Depression could reflect the childs dysfunctional relationship with his/her parents set in the stone of a young brain formed then. Forever more the person fights against this double bind until he or she falls apart or kills themselves to rid themselves of the pain.

    1. Hi planespotter,

      this reminds me of my Dad's persistent reminders that I had thrown away my 'privileged' education (by deciding to get into crafts) when he himself later told me he got no qualifications due to spending his school war days (also at an expensive private school) cycling round Sussex visiting airplane crash sites. Later still (smugly) he said: "what's the point of qualifications when you don't need them to be successful". . . Although in his old age my Dad has softened and helped a bit with cash, he still maintains that power base over me. . .

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul and Planespotter, only saw my Farther maybe 3 or 4 times a year if I was lucky, though he lived a few suburbs away, because he was putting all efforts and time to succeed at his Art . I think he was obsessed with the idea of being a famous . Well, he 'succeeded' in the end, and I'm very proud but also angry. How could he discourage my dancing all those years, when he himself was pursuing his art. He begrudged any money spent on my dance lessons.My mother payed for me with her single parent pension ,whilst paying for years of ' Primal Therapy' to become a loving parent. So even buying ballet shoes was tuff. Was hard seeing all the private school kids being driven and picked up in nice cars, while we waited for the bus at night. I used to get anxiety waiting for the bus at night........what kept me going all those years was the dream of success.
      Anyway I don't feel like a success , because there was no love when I needed it most, because I couldn't succeed at being loved. Now I need to succeed at loving myself, regardless of whether the world thinks I'm 'successful' enough to love. Katherina

  8. Hi Jan,
    I don't see where Art is " hinting of a life with unconditional love and fulfillment ". What were the words in Janov's current article that make hints at that? I don't think Art hints at anything , rather he makes his message very plain and unmistakable . I think he is simply saying that the reason why people are driven to seak a feeling of success, is because they don't feel successful, and that no matter what they do they will never feel successful if they don't feel successful. But there is real hope for success in expressing a deep need for success or unconditional love for that matter.
    I still feel driven to succeed in my relationship with my boyfriend, and going to the Janov Centre . Maybe I think if I go to the Janov Centre I'll be successful. I have no doubt that I would succeed in having my feelings, but I know how to have my feelings already. .....Thanks for showing us where to find real success Art ! Ps. I said in a blog a few months ago that " I don't want to have my feelings for you Art" , because I don't want to have to pay for anymore Primal Therapy because I've already spent years doing that . I don't want to have to pay anymore for something that I can do myself. Katherina

  9. One learns at an early age (most times, no matter how they were born)...."a little kindness goes a long way" (even if it is just for one's own piece of mind).

  10. It seems suicide is the ultimate defense against Primal Pain. Among the thousands of people I have met, apart from Primal patients, I don't know one single person who would like to hear about Primal Therapy, much less even getting it. So what can or will they do? Struggle, suffer, have all kinds of diseases, and die prematurely.

    I know people who bluntly state they'd rather die than doing this therapy. And I can understand them.

    1. Yeah, Erik. It's hard to see our friends suffer. They have ways to cope. They defend hard against early maltreatment in that they reflexively push any reminders away. I get why they don't believe the premise of reliving. It must seem like a huge lie that you should go back there and relive pain to be rid of it. Go toward the pain? you gotta be kidding.

    2. Yes it seems like a huge effort but we have confirmation daily that our approach is right. art

    3. Totally agree. Hope there will be a resurgence of interest in Primal like in the 60's so more people can get out of their pain.

    4. Hi,

      some say it takes 'courage' to face your inner demons, some say it takes strength to keep them 'locked away', others still find themselves drawn inexorably toward them for the lack of 'resistance' (defenses). I imagine many people make it to the Primal Center after their resistance has worn so thin they are almost there already, it's just a matter of sorting out the conditions and details. So it seems like a billion roads across a thousand terrains lead to Santa Monica; if only there were Centers in other parts of the world, Europe, Asia, Africa, Russia, China. . . If only. They'd all be booked up too.

      Paul G.

    5. Paul, If only there were more of us, but there aren't. art

    6. Art,

      I'm going to sound like a conspiracy theorist but really I'm just following your dialectic:

      It's not about the money, I have an insight into the 'exclusivity' of your therapy in Santa Monica. I have realised from my own bitter personal experience that the unavailability in other parts of the world is frequently used as a stick by some 'behaviourists' to beat their 'service users' with. These behaviourists know your therapy works but don't want people to ask for it because it challenges a massive maladaptive group act out; one which is very profitable for many of these behaviourists. Infact I believe there's a whole morality based on it.

      I realised this morning whilst 'disciplining myself' to do chores, struggling with the dead weight of my depression that this obsession with becoming self sufficient and being able to 'pull one's own weight' is nothing to do with survival of the species but everything to do with the chronic accession to power of a tiny fetus having to struggle alone to get out.

      Struggling to do it all alone. It's very popular nowadays isn't it?

      How many birthing mothers over the last 80 years or so have actually 'delivered' their babies in a way which allowed the baby to collaborate with their mum, in time with her contractions, so that the babies body felt accompanied in hir efforts to 'get out'?

      How many people who are in power 'got out' without the problems of getting stuck, swimming UP hill (due to mums feet being in stirrups - how mad is that?), going unconscious, getting strangled and every other conceivable obstacle generating the NEED to struggle (or even fail) alone?

      How many people end up in 'power' have NOT struggled like this at birth?

      To me there seems a world of difference between achieving ones aim and struggling to become successful. . .

      Paul G.


  11. Yes beachcoast, thank you for the reminder of the power of kindness.


    1. Katherina: I once read a personal primal testmony in which a man was treated with unlove and coldness all the time in which he said that even if he hd received A FEW MOMENTS of real love, warmth and kindness every day, i woulsd have made a huge difference to his childhood and the way his life turned out.
      I´m now 54 and sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed by feelings of helpessness and desperation, and YET,I can also be completely calmed down by (what appears to be) someone just aking a few MOMENTS to hear me and show genuine compassion. It is like magic. If only althse soca workers,or child shrinks or volunteers working with abused or othwrwise damaged children realized how crucial even a few moments of genuine kindness and compassion can be to a´s the few instances of REAL understanding and compassion in my own desolate existence that stick in my mind. Gary

    2. Garry, thanks for your response, It's caused me to stop and ask," what would be the kindest thing I could say to you Garry?".
      What is true kindness? I have to admit I can only offer you the best example of kindness that I know. For years I thought it was great that I was getting even a scrap of affection, and I settled for that, because it was more than what I got as a child. A little stopped me from starving , but it didn't satisfy my deep need for much much more, as a matter of fact all that I dared to FEEL I wanted, and needed so to be happy, without compromising. Love to you Garry.... Katherina

    3. Hi Katherina. Thank you. That´s really nice. You ask me how you could show me kindness, but I can´t tell you. It has to come from you alone, and it has to be spontaneous. I always wondered how kindness could be used deliberately in Primal Therapy because that seems to be a contradiction in terms. But to try and answer your question, at times when I felt at rock bottom (my worst) it was the few people who were calm and showed in few words that they understood and I felt their empathy was REAL who helped me. It was those who TRIED to be empathic who quite honestly did even more harm.

      The greatest thing anyone here could do to show kindness would be to resolve to never hurt another non-human animal. This would include never again eating any part or produce of any non human animal, not buying leather, suede or fur, or commodities tested on animals, and treating all animals with respect and compassion.

      I have thought long and hard about why most of one species - us - treats ALL other species as if they have no rights, no right to live, no right to enjoy freedom, no right to live unabused, and no FEELINGS. We know already that they have the same feeling base as us, and the same survival instinct, and feel terror as they approach death. And I submit that is is immersion in a SPECIESIST culture which causes us to treat animals as commodities, as things, rather than as beings with FEELINGS like ourselves. As we grow up, our exposure to animals is mostly, generally, in terms of us USING and ABUSING them in some way. Years of regular exposure to animals being treated as undeserving of life, a nuisance, important only insofar as we can exploit and kill them, permit the colossal global abuse of animals in todays world.

      You have to decondition yourself. Deprogramme yourself. Look at your reactions & feelings to non-human beings. Educate yourself. Look at Ashley Capp`s brilliant "Twelve reasons to go vegan" on the internet. I don´t know if humans would be susceptible to childhood conditioning about animals if it were not for neurosis, but I do know that the attitude towards, and treatment and slaughter of animals worldwide is unnatural, wrong and unspeakably cruel. Factory farming It is by far the most colossal instance of barbaric cruelty and agony in the huistory of this planet.

      Just remember: all animals are born to LIVE, not die. Gary

  12. One of my friends sent me this TED talk yesterday:
    My friend was apparently inspired by it enough to change her life.
    However, if a person reads this blog post and then watches the talk, a different message will form. A message of the uselessness and waste of life of acting out being unloved, no matter what fame and success is garnered along the way.

  13. Art: Suicide. With subjects close to searing pain; eg death, we typically use euphemisms to avoid triggering our own pain.

    We avoid seeing & hearing what triggers us, so censorship of others speech, AKA taboos, becomes the norm. Children are naturally free spirits, and therefore a threat to those needing to keep pain repressed, so they are controlled and moulded constantly. In company, suicide or death are alluded to obliquely and quickly dropped. Phew....a near miss.....

    Workaholism, alcoholism, constant smoking, drug addiction, obsessive addiction to ideologies/religions and evangelising...the pain must be kept at bay. Somehow. ANYHOW.

    Fame & success. When people no longer know their real needs, they are easily manipulable because substitute needs MUST replace them, although the substitutes must fulfil the real needs, yet also be disguised. So "fame" IS seeking love, but simultaneously avoids the love really being sought as it is too painful.

    In other words, violent pornography, the fame and image industries, dangerous sports, films with themes of sex, overcoming death (in whatever way) and so on, have a guaranteed mass market.

    I´m not quite sure how I keep my own suicide feelings at bay, but somehow I do. I have to. We all have to. But not totally. I can´t. I guess that´s because the feelings always want to be felt. A small black coffee will tighten the screws on my repressive safe box, and both my body AND brain stop feeling hopeless. Drugs of any kind affect the system in its totality. Dope, coffee, even obsessive beliefs. But when I´m on my regular 100 kilometer bike rides, my thoughts become oh so black, so hopeless......I keep going though i don´t feel like it. Just like birth i guess. Every minute of every day must be filled with doing something to make my future absolutely secure. "For a rainy day". So that eventually I can sit back and finally relax, my future safety assured

    It never happens does it? To me or anyone. Death awaits those with death feelings as soon as we stop. Or other terrible pain. When we finally get what we "want", and we can find nothing more to struggle for, the feeling is released, and rather than face the death feeling, we defend against it by killing ourselves.

    This is all so crazy. Gary

  14. Have I missed something?

    Love and concern two fundamental factors in order to develop a loving life... but when they have passed us by during our early development... they have evolved to satisfy other behaviors!

    There is much talk about love and kindness here on the blog! But we must not forget that it is "love" and "kindness" which also allowed us to remain in illusion that it exists!

    To just be loving and kind... dont get any one to think differently about what need of love and kindness contain.

    If we look at what allowed us to experience emotions that help us move forward in life... so there is not much of love and kindness to help us... but to walk a tightrope for what kindness any one need to succeed to feel... it is a completely different story.

    Kindness and truth they are two fundamentally different to what it means! You can never love someone to be able feel what he/she needs to feel for what was missing during the days of real need! If we look at what love means to us today we can say that we love them all... that is a big difference to just let others be! But if we need love of the day everyone and everything will do in moments of need!

    Again... love and concern two fundamental factors in order to develop a loving life... but when they have passed us by during our early development... they have evolved to satisfy other behaviors!

    Your Frank

  15. maybe Two things about the past>
    Past is gone (more or less wasted) and past is perfect (a sequence of necessities to be accepted). they naturally come together from the deep and form a strong insight about the importance of someone’s life. they provide the intelligence, the ability to have the most of life. in the present and future.
    But these two notions, if superficial, can provoke much suffering. It can become a concept for perpetual suffering too. Keep us mired in hopelessness. In nothingness. Keep us too long on the edge of a feeling. On the edge of life, wasted.

    in desperation suicide becomes success. an opportunity. for me the the subject of waste was always dangerously premature. i am not ready, yet.

    1. Vuko , for what it's worth , The past is not gone, and is not wasted when used to bring us back to who we really are. The nature of ' the past' is that it's separated off from the present and not felt. Another aspect of its nature is that it must not be felt, and must not be dredged up or allowed into the present? It's all that part of us, we defend against knowing in the present. If we have a process to feel it, then we have a way to welcome our past self, into the present. Holding those parts of us in the past is so painful, because that part of us yearns to join with us and live fully in the present. It's so cruel to expect ourselves to disown part of ourselves and keep it locked away in that thing we call the cruel past , never to be heard from or seen again, as if the past didn't exist and we never suffered it. I'm doing my best Vuko, no doubt I can do better one day. Until then let's go gently with our past, and be thankful for our defences that keep it locked away safely until we have a safe place to feel it, and welcome it into the present. Sitting on the edge of a feeling is not a good idea, I think it's better to burry it until one has a safe place to dig it up and feel it safely at The Janove Centre.

    2. Katherina,

      -"sitting on the edge of a feeling is not a good idea"-. . .

      So true but I have discovered that the world offers so many 'unfinished businesses' in the here and now that resonance down to that buried past is impossible to avoid. Unless you have plenty of power / money / drugs; even then 'repression is NOT guaranteed' !

      It's no joke of course.

      Paul G.

    3. Katherina,

      I like the perspective you have on the past.

      To feel Pain from the past, integrating its new memories with all other memories, gives me a sense of being timeless, in that my thoughts and feelings move freely between the present and the past.

      In 1990 I suddenly sat down and wrote 16 short stories. It was nothing I had planned, it just happened. I had a number of key scenes from my childhood as starting points, and as I began writing, material from the brain poured out via my fingers on to the paper. To my surprise and delight. Really, the amount of unknown memories that came up was astounding. There was no primalling involved. After three weeks I was finished, and hasn't felt any need later for further writing.

      This was apparently a soft way of approaching early Pain, as shortly after, when I had the opportunity to visit the Primal Center, some very significant hurts from infancy could be resolved.

      So, when suffering, I found writing to be a soft way to approach the "cruel past".


  16. A lot of talk about "love".

    It began with a (mistaken IMO) criticism of Art. In his earlier books he makes it clear that love is not some lofty, spiritual ideal attainable by only highly evolved souls, but what enables the new mother to "know" instinctively exactly what her newborn baby needs.

    It is knowing that the person laughing at the party so as not to be rejected is not really feeling happy.

    It is my dog Rosie knowing EXACTLY what her 5 puppies need at all times. And meeting those needs.

    It was my cat Suzie knowing EXACTLY what her 5 kittens needed at all times. And meeting those needs.

    Love isn´t something you can create by thought. If it was, animals would not feel it.

    Does this sound dumb? I think it´s pretty dumb - and supremely arrogant, because arrogance is based on human stupidity - for humans to believe that having vastly larger brains for their body size (with the exception of dolphins) makes them the only species in all creation which can feel love.

    If our brains enable us to commit deliberate genocide, kill millions in wars, torture, rape, and kill trillions of helpless animals and cause the near irreversible eco-destruction of our planet, and those we deem incapable of love rarely so much as even hurt each other without good cause, why would we assume we can love but not them?

    And yet, generally, we have some idea of what "love" is, because, despite all our damage, it is what we are. Somehow, the word resonates within us.

    I guess long term primallers would find this discussion sad because they know that love is just a feeling. It´s not rocket science. And yet...this simple feeling which nature gave to us all - including all other species - is close-on extinguished by neurosis, whereas if we lived as nature intended, this earth would be a Paradise in which us humans would love and respect all animals not human, could not conceive of hurting them, certainly not eating them, because we would instinctively empathise with them. Gary

    1. Thanks, Gary! Your comment covers most of what I myself wanted to say. My conclusion is that nature by necessity has provided all forms of life, flora and fauna, with the ability to provide for its offspring, or the species would and could not exist!

      When this ability is compromised in humans, or mammals in general, we have neurosis, or worse. I've seen many clearly neurotic dogs and cats, for instance.

      Abuse and neglect are two terms that cover the four ways we get neurotic: physical and mental, active and passive. If you were beaten, it's active physical abuse; if you were never talked to or looked at, it's passive mental neglect. If you were a victim of incest, you got bingo, cos you covered all four combinations! Neurosis is guaranteed.

      This neurological disorder can, as we know, be treated with Primal Therapy, which for this reason very well could be called Primal Neurotherapy(TM), as it changes and expands the wiring in the brain.

      Finally, I believe the greatest benefits of Art's lifetime achievement will be harvested by future generations, but it is on us to carry it on.


    2. Hi Gary,

      this is going to sound like semantics:

      Some people say 'care' is an aspect of Love and I agree but 'care' alone is not love and care can become a tyranny which blocks out the actual love we really need (& could give). The wire monkey experiments come to mind. I feel the issue comes down to the specific thing that makes us humans completely different; is that we have the power to reflect (in thoughts) our own worth in relationship to our peers and particularly our carers when we were little. Now I'm not saying other mammals don't have this need but in us humans it seems we are particularly vulnerable to the need to feel wanted. To 'think' that we are wanted and appreciated as well.

      I believe this is a two way thing in humans, and that there should not be too much made of it either; ie: it's natural to want to be wanted and it effects bonding, it makes bonding work. A child needs to know that it's wanted, thus to want the other is normal.

      The behaviourists I referred to in my previous post seem to believe that the bond that exists between (say) father and child is there 'strictly' just to meet the child's needs. That it is the child who needs to be needed ONLY. Thus the father's 'need' for the child is purely utilitarian on his part. Thus it is possible for behaviourists to demonise fathers who desire more contact with their children and frame it as some kind of lack, some 'deficit' in the father. I really have heard behaviourists say this 'desire' that Dads have must purely be a case of 'men putting their needs before their children's'. If you think I'm making this up, I'm not. I believe I have discovered a very good example of what you have been driving at in some of your posts. There seems to be a particular division in the psyche of us humans (particularly us men or 'emasculated people') which is not so prevalent in the other mammals. It can drive us to 'love' others (humans and animals) in ways which are not only careless whilst acting in the name of love but counter productive in bonding. As far as I can see this gets it's start with separation trauma and somehow it seems to affect men more than women but I just don't know. But I tell you there are these 'behaviourists' who believe the need to be needed is strictly neurotic if you are a Dad. They seem to have far too much influence in Social Services and in mainstream Right Wing politics.

      Paul G.

  17. The process of primal therapy is the only one that contains the science of love... and the only possible one to prove it!

    The now present "science" of feelings contain no love... but love could contain science of feelings! Neocortex and the limbic system does not recognize each other...but we are only in our neocortex so whom are there to tell what? Now we may understand why it is possible to argue that love exists without it!?

    Primal therapy is the only possibility to prove the lost of love through a clinical trial... the emotional process of it... and the only possible one that can!

    Why should we be needing to call primal therapy anything else to possibly be legitimized among the already so-called professional in the field of psychology and psychiatry as more experience to be on the accused's bench than to perceive the scientific content of primal therapy? Now we know that this is the case ... so now we do not need to do so!

    Art! Could you have any use of me... please let me know?


    1. Frank, if you do brain research I can use you. art

    2. Hi Frank,
      -"The now present "science" of feelings contain no love... but love could contain science of feelings"-!

      Exactly. Thus this current "science" is a 'Tyranny of Care'. It's basically all about control of dependents (which is perceived as love by those previously mentioned 'behaviourists'). Furthermore, as a consequence of this tyranny, Pain is made Taboo. Real love acknowledges pain. You might say that is the fundamental difference between care and love.

      It also follows that love and conscience are linked; love acknowledges all feelings and so: Feelings + awareness = consciousness.

      It sounds like semantics again but words are all we have to communicate with; if we are to build a genuine Science of Love we really are compelled to sharpen our pencils and use words with caree and precision.

      And on the subject of being any use to Art and to Primal as a movement, I see we bloggers perhaps are some of the best 'loco in parentis' for the furthering of Primal. Even if we can never meet and collectivise, we can at least sharpen our pencils and speak words clearly and precisely to promote the core ideas.

      The dialectic Art has developed has an infinite potential. Not merely to be creative with words but to challenge the status quo in INDIVIDUALS minds and free up their potential. That is the purpose of true art is it not?

      Paul G.

  18. Hi Art

    I have a question for you and would welcome your views. I have for a while suspected my wife os more depressed than she makes out. She is trying to run a business and it's not going very well. She has mentioned jumping off a local cliff a few times recently. I don't think she would ever do it but have you ever discovered the related birth trauma to jumping suicide? There may be more than one I would be interested to hear what you think.


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.