Sunday, December 6, 2009

Surprise, Surprise. Killers Kill Again.

There is a story in today’s paper about an alleged killer who murdered four police officers in Seattle. Here is someone who is a career criminal and who should have been in jail for the rest of his life. I’ll skip the details, which can be found in all major newspapers. This is a criminal with violent tendencies given freedom time after time, including being released by governor Mike Huckabee. Why did that happen? Ah, that is the question. Mostly because Baptist preachers often demand clemency for those who say that they see the light and have gone straight; and who have found God. You cannot get out of jail if you haven’t found that imaginary guy who sees all. Huckabee, who is so religious he doesn’t believe in evolution, listens to those preachers.

So what is it about them? Well, first of all, they all believe in forgiveness and redemption. And then they believe in what people say. And worse, they don’t believe in science; I mean, after all, if you don’t believe in one of the greatest scientific discoveries in history what are you doing on this planet? Recently scientists voted that evolution was one of the greatest discoveries in all of science. But the governor doesn’t listen to science; he listens to the forgivers, which is nice if you are talking about your mother but not about a killer. Lacking access to good sense and feeling they believe the words of psychopaths who use those words to deceive. And they deceive those self-deceivers because it is easy. And to be good Christians they want to forgive and believe that psychopaths turn good, which they don’t.

If you don’t see how people evolve what do you see? A static, unchanging world that is very predictable except when it isn’t. If you want to eschew forgiveness I have an idea. I do not forgive governor Huckabee for being gullible, stupid and in effect, criminal because he let loose a dangerous maniac onto us. Being forgiving makes us feel that we are so good but the result, as we see, is immoral.

And so why didn’t Huckabee listen to scientists and specialists in the field? Simple. He doesn’t believe in science. He believes in religion, and how many crimes are committed in the name of religion. Besides psychologic science, as I see it, is a failure.


  1. In New Zealand those kinds of religious-associated decisions from judges are unheard of. It wouldn't be tolerated for a second, and it may be illegal here(?). But we let them out very early on, even if they have demonstrated that they capable of the worst. And they re-offend about 80% of the time, or something like that.

    And another effect of those early releases is they go off have lots of kids - passing on their neurosis and expanding it for the rest of society to forever enjoy. The far-reaching costs are huge.

  2. Art, I am not totally with you on this. There is always a 'Primal' reason why a guy is a killer, psychopath or a maniac. Just classifying it that was solves nothing and anyway who's doing the judging??? There is another side to this coin also, and that is the police. To the best of my ability as a primal patient (I am not a therapist nor have ever been trained), I see a very sad childhood with people that kill authority figures. It seems simple to me how the authority figures of his childhood dealt with him. I suspect also as he grew up his feelings got compounded until such time as his only response when someone was authoritarian over him (policemen) his rage overcame him. Violence, to me, is an overdose of anger, piling up for decades.

    To me, the police are a major part of the problem, the other is the politicians. You've gotta have a serious "Primal" problem to want to be a politician in the first place, cos for no better reason than they/us think they/us know how to solve the other guys behavior.

    If humankind does not 'catch-onto' Primal Theory and see the full implications, then we are doomed to extinction. In the end, it is not that Dr. Arthur Janov discovered "Primal Pain' and formulated "Primal Theory" It only matters that it WAS discovered and the theory PROFFERED and that it gets serious consideration as to how we might circumvent NEUROSIS for the future generations.

  3. Thank you for writing this. You should send this out as an editorial to the major papers, too.

  4. Hi Dr.Art Janov , I wonder why are there "psychopaths" ...? Because of a birth trauma , neglection et. in infancy , genetic disorders ..? Are these guys and ladies(ß) the exception to the rule (that "we all.." are the victoms of (parents, circumstances..) or are "they" so incurable like disabled by birth without a n y hope for recovery . I am strongly against letting people kill other people !! But d o the medicine better medisin .. (Christopher Barr ,a brother in faith the way) not k i l l and all the others from the industrial complex .and no one puts them in prison for good .I know it is an aporectic situation (as the the philosophers would name it) Perhaps I can´t stand the imagine to put someone for ver in prison ,may be .. Yours emanuel

  5. I think the problem is that most people just don't understand the psychopath. They don't understand how their minds work. Because it seems to be just too horrifying a concept for many people to grasp.

    Imagine a person who has never been allowed to express one single emotion their whole, entire childhood. Not one. If they did, (which is only natural for a developing child!) they would be beaten or otherwise sadistically punished by an uncaring parent. The child's second line is crushed between terror and rage to a point where it is unable to develop like it should have. It becomes withered to the point of being unable to function.

    Eventually they adapt. Without any feelings to colour existence and allow empathy for another human being, their existence is a black and white picture of two instincts. Rage and terror. Fight or flight. It is that simple. If they are cunning enough, they can and do easily fake whatever feelings are necessary to fool whoever they need in order to rape, kill and butcher again and again in many unfortunate cases.

    They can't 'see the light' for the same reason you can't teach a crocodile to have empathy for a small child. The only difference is that the crocodile is not intelligent enough to fool so many people. The psychopath is.

    Too blunt for your blog I guess, but I am reminded of Judge Judy's two sayings I think Mr. Huckabee should learn:

    'Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining'.

    'Don't try and teach a pig to sing. It doesn't work, and it annoys the pig'.

  6. an apt question. one that pertains to the world of someone with you expertise.

    to quote a friend of mine:

    "When your family or friend is murdered they do the best they can. When their own are murdered, not only do they find the murderer swiftly but they arrest the whole family with expediency. Why is that not done with a typical murder?"

    best wishes,

  7. stories like this is why I talk about primal therapy to every person I meet. Without knowledge of the causes behind a killer, society is going to pretend that repression doesn't exist and put a happy face on it like Huckabee did (1) or just ignore it and put a tighter lid on them (2). It is such a relief to be optimistic about the future by seeing work in the psychology field becoming more scientific and integrated with biology/chemistry, rather than ideas and conjecture like id, hot seat, positivism, etc.

    The patient who has been incested isn’t plagued by negative thoughts; she is plagued by reality. It was terrible and she should feel terrible. Putting an optimistic face on it isn’t a positive step; it is a false one. That is truly negative. The way to be positive is to have a “negation of the negation.”

    His rationale is appealing because it is simplistic. Push button two and you can resolve the problem. Throw money at the crime problem, build more prisons, punish the criminal more severely and you will solve the problem of crime.

  8. Arthur, couple of questions:

    1) how do you assess psychosis in a prospective patient?

    2) what is it that makes them psychotic? I'm assuming massive first line pain, but is there also brain 'damage' of some sort, either caused by that pain or in addition to it?


  9. Emanuel: Look in new book. Cannot write. I had an accident. AJ

  10. Hi Dr.Art I hope You`ll get w e l l soon!!! Yours emanuel

  11. Erron: I am laid up for a week or 3. I will answer this later. sorry art

  12. I am sure that I speak for everyone in wishing you a speedy recovery from whatever accident you had. Last night, I re-read the essay "The Prolongation of Life " from "Primal Man" usual, absolutely fascinating...and important. Marco the Free Thinker

  13. As someone who had a violent childhood - I used to carry a baseball bat for protection, at the age of 6 each day when I went out to play, it's been my observation that violent people share a common emotional presentation.

    I have also worked with several killers, who were on probation, and had mandated therapy as a part of their release.

    I can say that killers and those who are violent, almost always have a primary emotional state of being - detached from others emotionally.

    They don't feel connected to anyone, and learn to use violent intimidation as a way of getting what they want from others.


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.