Sunday, June 16, 2013

More on Telomeres

I have written about telomeres before, and it is something we plan to study with our patients. But it is worth another look as it pretty much determines how long we live, but more importantly whether we fall ill prematurely. The research on it is largely about outside stress, never on internal forces. So it is a matter of war, poverty, strikes and parental fights. Yet the key chronic stressor is the imprint that carries forth those parental fights as a fixed memory that follows us for the rest of our lives. And they say that we have to eliminate stress in order to live longer. So how do we do that? We can move to a new city or country but the imprint follows us assiduously and never lets up. We can go to cognitive therapy and talk our feelings to death, or we can attack the imprint at its origin, relive the trauma and finally be rid of it. I know of no other way to do it. The imprint is tenacious and it must be because it is there to guide our lives and control our reactions. It was lifesaving originally and the system remembers and carries it on.

It is clear that stress and its handmaiden, cortisol, the stress hormone does shorten telomeres. Or beginning patients were high in cortisol until one year of therapy; then it reduced significantly. We assume that since cortisol and telomeres work in see-saw fashion: cortisol high, telomeres short; cortisol low, telomeres longer. That is why we will do this research because I am convinced that since we lower cortisol we may also lengthen telomeres. Or at least keep them from shortening. When telomeres get too short so do our lives. There is an article by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Apel about all this in Nature (11 Oct. 2012) (See a short preview: ). Worth a read. They report on a number of studies of telomeres: in 2004 that compared white blood cells of mothers with chronically ill children with those mothers with healthy children. Clearly, mothers of ill children had shorter telomeres. Again, stress is a factor. And that means increased cortisol levels. And that means shorter telomeres. It is not short term stress that is the culprit but enduring stress; and what could be more enduring than the imprint? If only that could be accepted by the scientific

What cortisol may do, inter alia, is increase the action of telomerase which affects the function of telomeres. To be clear: what that enzyme may do is get busy fighting deterioration taking place with the input of primal pain. This, it seems, is happening to prevent further neuro-biologic damage to the system. A research team led by Owen Wolkowitz of the University of California, San Francisco, has been studying telomeres and depression. (May 23, 2013, “Depression linked to telomere enzyme”) (See for example What telomerase does ordinarily is help maintain the length of the telomeres, even lengthen them. They are protective. And they go up when depressives take antidepressants; they also go up in animals where it is associated with increased nerve cells in the hippocampus. It appears that the hippocampus deals with the facts of feeling and the memory of it. It is seriously affected by depression. The longer the depression the shorter the telomeres, and it becomes a life-or-death matter. They have found, for example, the very serious pancreatic cancer, is associated with shorter telomeres in blood cells. These people were also studied before the onset of cancer so we cannot say that telomeres shortened because of shorter telomeres. Telomeres maintain the stability of genes; my view is unstable individuals, unstable telomeres. There are other cancers associated with shorter telomeres. We do indeed plan to study them in our therapy. The point is made, but not by the researchers: imprinted pain has a lot to do with depression and with later serious illness. We need to study this among our patient population.

Much of the research on telomeres seems to confirm our hypothesis, that it is the very early experience that stamps in the most forceful and enduring imprints. The work quoted above found that stress in infancy “and even before” erodes telomeres. Children who spent a lengthy time in orphanages had shorter telomeres.

Telomeres are shorter in chronic depressives, and that fact is crucial. Why? We have to assume that there is an imprint of early trauma to set up the depression, in the first place. That means pain. There is a great amount of imprinted pain in depressives, something we have seen over and over again in our patients. And we see depression lift as patients relive very early pain. This seems to be also true with immune disorders, as depression affects the immune system adversely. Chronic depressives have shorter telomeres. That can mean premature serious illness and early death. I believe that our therapy is life-saving, and we are beginning to see why. One problem we have is that when patients get to earlier imprints the pain is painful; but if they stay with it, it does not last, and makes for great changes throughout the system. It is indeed tempting to want to quit when pain arrives but for every pain experienced there is that much less to feel.

And when cortisol is chronically high and telomeres short, there is a much greater chance of suffering from certain cancers, including the deadly pancreatic cancer. What causes this cancer? Early trauma that is imprinted and endures. Another effect is the appearance of dementia in those with shorter telomeres. Again, we need to look at very early trauma, even in gestation, to find the answer to the question, what causes cancer? What causes dementia?

Doesn’t this make sense? When you have a constant pressure and tension on the organs due to the imprint it makes sense that they will give in and break down, The organs are saying, I can’t hold on any more. It is more than I can handle, all too much. It is surprising to me that they do continue to hold their integrity as long as they do.

There is an article in July issue of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Mass., 2012 that underlines the importance of anxiety to damaging the telomeres.(See It is an important study in which they took blood samples from 5200 women ages 42-69. It is known as the Woman’s Health Study. They analyzed telomere length among them. Those who reported frequent anxiety attacks (phobias) had significantly shorter telomeres. They implied that it would deduct six years from their lives. They conclude that chronic anxiety in childhood leads to premature aging and, of course, a shorter life. Anxiety will kill us; which is why it is so important not to leave the imprint untouched in psychotherapy. Telomeres will soon be the key marker for not only how how long we live but how many years a key psychotherapy can add to our lives. If we leave it untouched and unchanged the therapy is a failure.

Stress erodes telomeres very early on, according to late research. So children who spent time in orphanages from birth on had shorter telomeres. I think the evidence is there in so many dimensions; early trauma damages the system in every way possible. We need to pay attention when we carry a baby in the womb and we need to pay real attention to our birth practices which are deleterious too often.

The research emphasizes that the early stress carries on into adulthood. Those women in a study in England who had early abuse also had shorter telomeres We can run but cannot hide from our imprint. It follows us everywhere and anywhere until we acknowledge it and relive the damage. Here is supporting evidence for the imprint even if not stated. Why else does it endure and shorten telomeres? Why cannot they make the equation that early trauma stays fixed in the system and drives behavior while shortening our lives? I believe that the earlier the stress, the carrying mother smoking early in pregnancy, the more harmful it will be later on. Let’s teach about pregnancy in school so that adolescents understand what pregnancy means for a human life.


  1. Hi,
    "-When you have a constant pressure and tension on the organs due to the imprint it makes sense that they will give in and break down, The organs are saying, I can’t hold on any more. It is more than I can handle, all too much. It is surprising to me that they do continue to hold their integrity as long as they do"-.

    Unfortunately I don't understand the chemistry behind this. Methylation / de methylation. Acetylation. . . Somehow the trauma is encoded bio chemically and that continues to exert a 'force' which as yet is difficult to see until the force actually shows a biochemical aberration. Too late; onset of serious disease.

    So many smaller systems have been shown through yours and others research but not yet a cohesive linking of all these smaller systems. . . To define how the trauma is actually biochemically encoded. I mean, how do the chemical components in the histone layer behave when a primaller primals? How do they behave when the opposite happens, when I have to bottle up a feeling to hide my condition from the world at large?

    All chemicals and chemical processes behave mechanistically according to Newtonian principals. . . When you talk about 'force' there must be some fancy chemistry at work to achieve this 'buffer zone' that contains the force.

    It is tantalising to be on the edge of a discovery and therefore the edge of a revolution in human affairs.

    Paul G.

  2. Indeed, it would seem the education about Primal damage and better ways to raise the young, beginning with conception, not birth, is the best overall course for hopefully reducing some measure of primal pain in the human race at large. Unfortunately, my understanding and belief is that our leaders, who watch our every key stroke and utterance, are working against us. How long can that go on and not take a heavy toll that adds to primal pain. So our problems are much bigger than any solutions, as I see it. but to try is better than not to try.

  3. Telomeres are stuck in the oven forever!?

    When I in my loneliness... draw a breath... looking at life from that tomorrow may never come... I am here and now. Someone comes and tells me ... your condition is deceptive!

    I'm home baking buns... my wait for them to be ready... a thought strikes me... if someone would come and tell me "your buns will never be finished" and after a while my buns are beautiful done... the room is filled with an aroma that gets temptation to be awakened.

    The order of this is in analogy with what the primal therapeutic process shows... not least with the scientific evidence for physiological changes... exactly like the buns was well done... and someone tells me this is an illusion.

    Is this not the time... to introduce the railing in the courtroom to prove the contents so we can get on with something that obvious... so we can move forward in our revolution of the primal therapeutic process... an process we all waiting for... EVEN THOSE WHO CLAIM NOT TO BE WAITING!

    What is there to lose? Our fears... to be wrong by the law... when we are right without... for those "who can see" an opportunity!?


    1. Hi Frank,

      you've mentioned a court action so many times and I've responded with my fears about what 'court action' could do to Primal.

      -"What is there to loose"?

      In UK until recently many of us relied on the social system we believed we were paying taxes for. Just recently we are being told that there simply is not the money to pay for this social system any more and people will have to buy insurance to pay for care.

      Unfortunately the deficit is so great that people who cannot even afford to buy their own insurance are now also being taxed to pay for the deficit. Meanwhile Google and various other corporations registered 'offshore' get away with paying less tax than the lowest tax bracketed people.

      If there were an opportunity to make a case for Primal in UK it would be on the grounds that the UK can not provide any appropriate care for sufferers of trauma related emotional health disease. Also if low wage earners are to avoid being taxed for the sins of giant corporations those who have mental / emotional health issues would do well to apply to the European Courts for exemption from taxes which are effectively being payed because the giants don't pay.

      Eventually there will be a lot of people making a claim to avoid bankruptcy for ridiculous amounts of money; say £1,000 of local authority tax. . .

      I am one of these people. I earn peanuts, I still have to pay local taxes and I am not entitled to benefits. . . I don't want to go bankrupt for less money than I can sell my car for but on the other hand I don't want to sell my car because then I will not be able to work at all. Except stacking shelves in the local supermarket or driving a white van. . . or working in a call center for benefits claimants.

      Wow, what a life. . . All this time developing skills to be part of an advanced society and there I am stacking shelves at Ikea or filling rolls at Macdonalds.

      Yeah, ok Frank, lets make a case, go to court with a serious complaint and take the authorities to the cleaners. Where do we start?

      Paul G.

      The world has gone mad and in overpopulated, developed countries the rich are 100 to 1000 times richer than the poor. Let's take them to the cleaners!

    2. I think that anxiety affects us more than we understand the scientific content!

      Paul... it is a matter of self-discovery! Furthermore... if we are to be afraid to represent what science is presented... then shall we remain silent.

      Copernicus companions were burned at the stake for maintaining the Copernican scientific content and it was during a time when barbarism was more qualified... but even under these conditions there was people who saw more to science than to be subjugated order for authority to remain silent. What luck... they got finally right!

      It may be that the scientific content will be silenced to death because we ourselves are so silent. We may perhaps put our hopes into what individual patients presenting and representing about primal therapy!? We live... and become both anarchists and atheists without showing any greed and anguished symptoms… but time will not be enough to further human existence!

      The effect of "academic anxiety" cannot convince himself about the content of psychiatric and psychological science... it depends on that the academic formation relieves the emotional consciousness! How could they understand something when what they understand strives “self satisfaction” and not their own and the patience’s suffering... the content of what the science represents!

      This above for the academics to take part of... "what is up and what is down" in a scientific process of law!


    3. Hi Frank,

      -"it is a matter of self-discovery"!

      well of course, I mean, I rail at imaginary judges as a matter of course, in my imagination. . . Such is the lot of a compulsive perfectionist, but are you serious about actually taking a Primally influenced case to court or are you just winding me up?

      Paul G.

  4. The intellectual world control over our emotions! Neocortex lacks contact with the limbic system...what we can not see... we do not see... even if we want to! We can be "wanting" to see... by the good fortune to be right led!


  5. Off topic but really interesting was a recent program about acrylamides and how these chemicals present in fried foods can effect birth weight. It would seem that babies born to Mothers who consume a lot of fries etc during pregnancy display similar problems to those born the smoking Mothers. Smaller Brain size and low birth weight. Tends to underline Art's theory about the negative effects of womb life when the Mother does not take care of herself.

    On another point about stress the woman who cust my hair is in her thirties and the other day on Facebook a load of her friends were talking about "Mummy Brain" where they lose concentration etc. Deep seated stress.

    With regard to stress, Art why don't you so often mention how much this Mummy Brain contributes to early trauma rather than war or parental fights. It's subtle and often seen as reasonable behaviour by society. The tough Hockey Mom! A Mother with Mummy Brain is going to be snappy, bad tempered, authoritarian and far less likely to deal with her children well and that every day drip drip of trauma whether being spanked, slapped, criticised, ignored or simply having to be the parent from an early age is going to leave deep scars too! It often has little if anything to do with the Father who I see often standing on the sidelines looking on helplessly. It's to do with her own relationship with her Mother's "Mummy Brain" which is the problem.

    1. Hi planespotter,

      in all fairness to parents chasing after their childrens needs all day / week / month / year / decade or so I have to say even the best and most healthy of us get 'muddled' brain sometimes. Due to being far from one of the healthiest of humans I can vouch for my contribution to the hall of dodgy parenting fame.

      I watch men do it with their kids too. I do it sometimes. . . Then there I am watching myself fail dismally. I did it today actually. All emotional energy drained away and nothing left to give. . . functioning on 3rd line control of duties. Robot mode and I'm responsible for making one of my kids cry. He's saying I don't understand. He's right. I'm numb.

      A lonely place to be when your kids are looking at you like you're the devil incarnate because you can no longer 'keep up the giving' (and the giving you did give wasn't quite good enough either), and he's right. But it's too late ! My son's critical window is long shut tight and no matter how hard I try to help him or my grandson get to school on time and eat properly at appropriate times there is no getting away from the fact that he had a shit childhood and that was partly my responsibility. We both know it but his unmet needs are so great I can not really compete with his "imprints".

      Sometimes I feel like his unpaid caretaker. . . That's what his stepmother said she felt about me. . .

      Oh wheels within wheels.

      Complete disaster on the home front as "Grandads presence in the house provokes unaddressed power and control issues to surface". . . but I suppose we will somehow patch up the broken ends and get the little toddler into nursery school tomorrow. More or less on time. I mean my grandson of course.

      It's hard being Grandad and not being your Son's persecutor. I mean, unifying family should be the speciality of Grandads but actually getting involved to help without 'taking over' is almost impossible.

      The hazard of any situation in which you have to 'take the lead' is that you will fail dismally in the eyes of your followers. Not wanting to be a 'leader' is never an excuse; or reason either.

      Children can share the lead. Yes, but to do this your society must provide the support for such an egalitarian way of living with your children in a nuclear family. Either that or your family must be pretty rich to pay for a lot of 'privacy'. And that too brings it's own set of 'private' hazards.

      Not the case with my disheveled brood and society says children should go to school, on time, every week day until the holidays but makes parents responsible for getting them there. Kids have smartened up and no longer care to follow rules blindly (thanks internet and Dr tablets, really helpful there). But this doesn't mean they see reason and keep healthy disciplines though! On the contrary the internet gives them a good perspective on their pre-decedents stupidity and every reason to challenge authority.

      I mean, there is no end of complications encumbent on the 'parent' to fulfil the social rules and obligations and 'make excuses' to the kids for so doing. It's not just that the state makes parents into unofficial and unpaid social workers and police persons but that the 'free trade' available to kids these days gives them a freedom that is 'unparentable'.

      I'm fucked if I understand it all and people mostly think Grandads are useless old farts anyway!

      Paul G.

    2. Hi Paul

      I take your point. However on the whole who is the main carer for any baby and toddler in the first few years of life when the Brain is growing so quickly? The Mother. I am not attacking these women. However the whole "Mother knows best" is a sacrosanct mantra not often contradicted by society. If a Mother believes that leaving a baby to cry out helps them learn to self sooth (while not appreciating the huge damage it does do)then who is going to disagree? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    3. Part 1

      Hi Paul

      Following on from my reply I have had a few experiences which tend to back up my view above. It is about my experience of British Society or at least the part that I have inhabited for the vast majority of my life in some kind of semi slumbering stupor.

      Standing up for oneself at 53 as I am, especially when one has learned to express one's feelings somewhat better, is a dangerous business especially in social circles. Making a mistake means having to apologise for ever more.

      I would love to meet some women who actually took responsibility for their actions. And men as well. A few years ago my Father said with a tired look in his eye "Give women what they want *********, it's easier". He had given up years before, in the face of a continual fusillade of screaming, crying and other means of emotional blackmail. My Mother thinks that kind of thing is normal and my Father did not have the emotional integrity to stand up to her. Frankly if he had, he would have run a mile from her to begin with. I am surrounded by insecure people and families and the pattern is an insecure Mother who takes charge and a Father who is pushed to the side. When this woman gives birth she don's a veil of authoritarianism that no-one will challenge, because to do so is to face ostracisation and bullying from like minded families. The men in my life and I also mean many friends too, tend to withdraw and down their sorrows with drink and or drugs, sex, etc. Then the women lose faith and respect for the men, but because these women tend to talk to each other, they can also bolster each other into believing that what they believe is true. Then the men die young or run off and the women are left bitter, lonely and resentful of men. The women run around continually looking for a strong man they can talk to. I've had aged aunts etc, all trying to start this relationship with me and I just run a mile because they don't want me to actually have an opinion, they just want someone to listen to them. They grew up with a Father who was remote and not that bothered about them or who got too close to them emotionally and emotionally dumped on them. Both scenario's create a woman who needs a man to listen to her while she doesn’t want to listen to him. Just the same with men and their Mothers.

      Also these women tend to be frightened of anger in men. They control it and punish it and then wonder why their husbands become depressed and emotionally distant. They are probably afraid of their own anger too as it can be so uncontrollable, but because society accepts that a woman can scream and shout at a man (or ridicule him) or even slap him round the face (and the man take it) their neurosis is far more accepted than a man’s is (probably because men are bigger and stronger) and we suffer for it. I am sick to death of being a f***ing Rock.

    4. Part 2

      I think the Werewolf is a very British monster. I remember watching "Company of Wolves" in the eighties. A wonderful and highly charged film. Angela Carter’s book projected an incredibly sexy story about young women's growing sense of sexuality and the almost unacceptable sexual power of men reflected in the Wolf man. I often wonder whether the Wolf man is an allegory for the repressed power of men especially in the UK. It's almost as though both men and women are fearful of that power and yet the women yearn for it and the men who don't have it work with the heroine to kill that power with a silver bullet. If women could accept that power and not see it as a threat, I think there would be far less repression of women in the workplace for example, because men would not subconsciously resent women. I have seen many relaxed sane men turn into dictators in the workplace once they have children, as they feel themselves losing power in the home. Everyone loses. Mum’s Dad’s and kids.

      I totally support equality of the sexes and abhor the repression of women in many societies and yet also hate the inability of SOME women to see that maybe while not knowing it, they are partly the unknowing cause of it. Chess is perhaps one of the oldest games on the Planet and which is the most powerful piece? The Queen. She can sweep all over the board in more directions than anyone else. The King is almost impotent on his limited ability to move. He is the figurehead. The piece seen as most important and yet is he?

      My Mother has yearned for a more powerful man and yet castrated the man in her life and he colluded. She spent her life dealing with Liang’s double bind. Desperately wanting something she also feared. The fear of self expression in ourselves can contribute to the destruction of self expression in others so we can lie to ourselves. I have experienced that fear and how it kills friendships. The power I sense in myself now, used to be a boiling rage and fire. Learning to harness fire and use it when needed is difficult at 53. It's like giving a 2 year old a loaded AK47!

      Sorry a bit of a ramble, but one born out of frustration. I am surrounded by depression, OCD, ADD, sleeplessness, authoritarianism, suicide etc etc. At the centre of all this are women who know what is best for everyone in their lives. They mean well, but as I say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Not always women but mostly. In my life the man who thinks he knows what is best for everyone else, tends to be married to a woman who knows what is best for him.

      “Mother knows best” turns into “Mum’s know best for everyone” and that is a dictatorship and sure as hell isn’t equality!

      To fight to be different in that system, is to want to howl at the Moon!!!!!

    5. Well written planespotter and even better meant.

      Paul G.

  6. Dr. Janov and all,

    Some people could live a relatively long and good life, according to their DNA-markers.

    The evidence lays in what DNA type dominates.
    Example: the CC type with “rs755017” marker (European dominance) has longer telomeres on average, equivalent to those of a person 5.52 years younger.

    Now, if we have high Cortisol hormones stress out-put, the telomeres shortened quicker.

    What puzzles me most is how violent, aggressive people, control-freaks, psychopaths like my father, whose life depended on high adrenaline, live past the age of 86. He survived 3 heart attacks and 3 strokes, until the fourth heart attack lead to death.

    How much longer would a person live, born with long telomeres no trauma or lifting methylation with PT?

    1. Sieglinde: Very good point. art

    2. Yes, this is a question that dogs me.

      Many people have commented that I look 43 and not 53, (on the good days). Nevertheless I am a bit arthritic and it shows in my hands and fingers. Carpentry and other activities really help.

      Annoyingly, when I compare my hands to those of my 85 yr old dad his look younger than mine and he has no arthritis at all though his mother did severely.

      Rumour has it Dad had a wet nurse from birth. A surrogate mother, a nanny who loved him and held him (way back in the 1930s). Despite his parents having little to do with him he was loved by a surrogate from birth. That I reckon is the reason why Dad can still zoom around in his Smart Car at 85, bragging about how bloody smart he has been (and what a clever millionaire his Dad was despite never even giving him one hug, quote unquote).

      I don't know what it is about private elitist upbringing but it seems to allow some people with feelings to behave like psychopaths, quasi psychos sanctioned by those who are so smart they own all the resources and hand out 'charity' like some people feed the ducks at the park. Quack, Quack.

      Notice the resentment?

      Paul G.

  7. Art, does time slow down as you become more conscious? The years went by so slowly when I was a feeling child and now they seem to go by so fast.

    1. Hi Richard,

      I can't help responding to this; as your past experience lengthens your next unit of future experience (a second, a minute, an hour, a day etc etc) becomes increasingly smaller by comparison. Thus time seems to go faster the more of it you have had, the older you get. . . . This is inescapable.

      I also remember being a 'timeless child' and yes there is a 'timeless' quality to feelings. Nevertheless. . .

      Nevertheless, I feel there are inescapable facts of that unique subjective we call time.

      Another inescapable fact of time is that the more you have had already then what's left becomes increasingly more precious. That is, if you want consciousness. I don't think time slows down with increased consciousness; I feel consciousness adds flavour and colour, depth and dimension that was lacking when awareness predominated. You could say that is why those who get older generally cling onto life; it's not just a survival instinct BUT also the desire to live a fuller, more meaningful life and to make something out of previous experience. Thus will, the Will to live evolves as we get older. The reasons why we make efforts change. Our raison d'etre evolves.

      If you want consciousness, that is.

      Paul G.

    2. Paul, thanks but your comment doesn't make sense to me. When I am very busy, time seems to slow down. When I am daydreaming, an hour can go by very fast indeed. For me, a busy day is a very long day. As for old people - they cling to life because they know they have wasted their lives and they know time is running out. They don't want to die knowing that they have never lived, but that is exactly what they will do. A young child can pack so many activities and discoveries into one hour -- children have very rich lives that are full of joy and pain. We oldies are already dead by comparison, and children can sense our deadness. They see it in our eyes and in our voices. We are unconscious, and I suspect that is the reason why summer flies past in a few short months for an old person, while it feels like eternity for a child.

    3. Well Richard there are these things called 'circadian rhythms'.

      Pretty much all life has been influenced by the various cycles of sun, moon, tides etc. Our central nervous system and brains have many bio chemically controlled internal 'clocks'. Our biology and neurology and also all the biosphere's life is highly governed by these chemical 'clocks'. As our intellects develop (if they do) then a link is formed with these clocks and 'time perception' evolves.

      With consciousness there is some choice as to how, where, when it does.

      When you fly to California you will get jet lagged, or rather, when you get back to the antipodes you will be, or is it the other way around ?

      Essentially, I agree with you; except your comments about getting old are cynical and apply only to people who are still very repressed. Even then there are older people who are very repressed and know it who still manage to stay alive and charm their children and grandchildren. I am one of those and my eyes beam ! If you ever get to meet me you might get a piercing look too! ! !

      Ask Art. Hey Art, you're old, you've unlocked most of your repressions, how does time pass for you?

      My guess is that Art has developed some extra choice over 'how he spends his time' and therefore how he perceives it's passing.

      In my workshop I have noticed that when I am busy time can go very quickly and when I am bored, very slowly. It all depends; time is the ultimately unique subjective. Lets face it, is there any answer to the question: "What is Time"?

      It's been a long time since I was a child and I miss the timelessness of childhood, so instead I spend as much of my time with my children and grandson as I can. . .

      Paul G.

    4. Hi Richard

      I sometimes wonder whether this sense of time is to do with our metabolism compared to time passing; time being a constant. When we are small our metabolism is racing away burning up fuel and we dash about exploring and thus time can seem quite slow whereas the older we get the slower our metabolism is and time speeds up in comparison.

    5. one more comment:
      Time is the measure for efficiency. Like energy, consciousness, DNA… it is a life resource. And the goal is to expand the limits in life. to enjoy it.
      The best speed of time is when we know what is going on so we can learn and know what to do. and do it. because appropriate reaction (or sleeping time for example) happens within appropriate time span and at appropriate moment only if we are open to learn more… about what supports life. and not only intellectually.
      Slow or fast… sounds a bit disconnected to me right now.
      Full… meaningful is better. appropriate.

    6. Hi planespotter,

      I think you might have partially answered the question: "what is time"? with the remark "it is a constant".

      Therefore it is a scientific tool and the apparent obsession for developing ever more accurate clocks is not entirely an obsession. There's a great story about the first trials of the new complex Naval Clocks developed at the end of the 18th C. They had special gimbals and counterweights to compensate for the wave motion on the pendulum and escapement.

      Navy Captains at the time were very skeptical about these new clocks until the trials conducted on transatlantic journeys which pitted two different teams of navigators; one using the old sextant & dead reckoning system and one using the amazing new clock (which I think was also sealed into a glass box).

      So the story goes, the Captain nearly put the ship on the rocks in fog off Brittany but the 'clock team' intervened with the correct position derived from using the new, incredibly accurate clock.

      Going back to Richard's question and remarks about childhood time perception one would have to take into account the fact that for the first three years our 'consciousness' is largely not 3rd line. Most kids don't learn anything about clocks , time, punctuality, measurement etc until a lot later than three yrs. I can remember being at boarding school learning the 24hr clock and thinking to myself "what's all this about? I don't even understand the 12hr clock" ! I was ten. My daughter's ten and she says she doesn't have a clue about time. . . she knows the words "you gotta get to school at 8:45am" but regarding the actual sense of time passing she simply doesn't have that faculty. She's learning but it will be another year or two before she can "Tell the Time".

      There was a time when I was about 24 when I refused to wear a watch (on principle, so as not to be a 'clock watcher' ruled by time, typical idealistic perfectionist) and I could guestimate the passing of actual time to within about 10 minutes all day every day. Now with my neurosis distorting things I can be an hr or two out.

      So, my question is : "What happens to our consciousness when we eventually learn to use that scientific constant, that tool we call time?

      Paul G.

    7. Hi vuko,

      I agree, brilliant for so few words. You're good at that.

      Though we English are famous for embroidery and sometimes English words can be embroidered into a larger tapestry of meaning.

      Art's books have a little bit of English embroidery in them don't you think?

      Paul G.

    8. Paul,
      sorry, i don't quite understand your points. this and that one below. try using more words ). as you can see i struggle with english language and your question, i sense, could be responded by a more experienced and native english reader.

      thank you for your comments here.

    9. Hi vuko,

      there is this way in English Literature that is quite old and has many influences including the Norse, of using many more words than are necessary. . .

      If it's done just to repeat oneself it's boring for others but if it helps generate another 'angle' of perception then it's not just 'hot air'. The tapestry makers and the carpet makers weave a good story.

      In UK as everywhere else there are different regions with different ways of using English to express stuff. Because we regional tribal British are so closely living together on such a small island the humour and flavour gets constantly mixed up and then turned out in literature.

      All of this makes for a very entwined culture of language and meaning. Good grief I sound like a University Lecturer.

      I like carpentry and trigonometry because one can speak obliquely, acutely, perpendicularly, parallely, etc etc.

      And of course with such a colorful language one can endlessly re-invent meaning through various shades of expression. . .

      It's not all about wit. It's just another way to pass the time in conversation and express some finer meanings and details. . .

      Paul G.

  8. Hi Art,
    only one small remark :
    that world wide most wide spread addictive poison!! (imagine "They" (the sugar barons..) are pumping this so called food into Third and Fourth...etc.
    countries (in India there is Diabetes in wild progress!)

    And you know or guess it : Telomeres are shortened by the ensuing insulin
    flooding of the organism..
    Coke and the like really are ruling this world!

    Yours emanuel

  9. Dr. Janov and all,

    Science is making big time progress.
    Maybe Gene-Methylation is possible soon.

    "Noninvasive Sequencing of a Human Fetus"

    1. Sieglinde: actually We are hoping to study soon demethylation in our patients. art

  10. is it possible that the only instrument than can measure the imprint will
    remain to be - the patient? the only one than could ever make a clear distinction between primal therapy process and the rest of therapeutic
    processes that don't ever reach the hurt in real context.
    all these microbiological "proofs" don't prove anything. it is proving that PT is not worse than any other therapy. i bet transcedental meditation or a portion of fresh peaches in these hot summer days can in some complicated way affect the methylation, stress, epigenetic response... and can prolong life... antidepressives do it. and primal therapy do it. and clean air does it. and EMDR. manipulation of the imprint is not the same as integration of it. or maybe it is. there is no proof of cure and no proof of cause in these papers.
    If we leave it (the imprint) untouched and unchanged the therapy is a failure". the fact is that the imprint is always touched by something and always changing the response and it is all complicated and connected. and the genes are the one of the myriad ways for the imprint to express. but the imprint itself remains invisible. that is frustrating. i want to measure it regardless of what is his expression. but maybe it is impossible.

    1. Hi vuko,

      You seem to be suggesting that a 'rocking boat' is better than a boat in the doldrums.

      I agree.

      This sets Primal Activity against chemical reality. The chemicals want to settle down (precipitation / repression) but life stirs up the sediment. The wind blows and the tide flows and the muck rises.

      Thank goodness for that.

      Paul G.

    2. i suggest that disconnected science is deceptive gossip.
      just hope it won't move the therapists in wrong direction.
      it is ok to read the info but make their own conclusions.
      we are trying to figure out the most complicated systems in
      universe that is connected and disguised.
      it is one thing to read the signs of disguise, to make interpretations out of readable interpretations.... and another is to feel. also, reading the signs of the feeling, the measurable signature that feeling leaves on the instruments as a PART of the big picture- is difficult too.
      if a person become conscious through the relivings it doesn't mean it will be easy for him to prove it. to see the whole mechanism behind it. it could only mean that he has the best chance to do it. maybe that is why Art is so interested in latest research. he knows the motivation behind the whole thing. he probably knows that it is complicated but doesn't give up. that is not bad as long as he doesn't cling to the information too much. again that is where the access to feelings helps. breaks the deception. keeps the flow open.

      i react badly. maybe i should say it is all interesting, this new findings... but it often aggravates me. i see it as arrogant, controlling, simplistic, definite. i can't move?

  11. it is like the poor imprint wants to say something and we keep missunderstanding. the imprint is frustrated too. there is no proof
    and there is no expression of the imprint without the feeling.
    feeling is the proof. and the cure.

  12. An email comment:
    "Hello Art and other Primal people.

    I thought it would be interesting to share this Slate article, and some choice quotes from it.

    The "choice quotes" I'm referring to go as follows:

    "In the past decade, neurobiology has evolved to explain why victims respond in ways that make it seem like they could be lying, even when they’re not. Using imaging technology, scientists can identify which parts of the brain are activated when a person contemplates a traumatic memory such as sexual assault. The brain’s prefrontal cortex—which is key to decision-making and memory—often becomes temporarily impaired. The amygdala, known to encode emotional experiences, begins to dominate, triggering the release of stress hormones and helping to record particular fragments of sensory information. Victims can also experience tonic immobility—a sensation of being frozen in place—or a dissociative state. These types of withdrawal result from extreme fear yet often make it appear as if the victim did not resist the assault.

    This is why, experts say, sexual assault victims often can’t give a linear account of an attack and instead focus on visceral sensory details like the smell of cologne or the sound of voices in the hallway. “That’s simply because their brain has encoded it in this fragmented way,” says David Lisak, a clinical psychologist and forensic consultant who trains civilian and military law enforcement to understand victim and offender behavior."

    (Bolding mine). Does this come as a surprise to anyone who knows the basics of Primal Theory?

    1. No, no suprise at all,

      I mentioned research into decision fatigue a while back. Israeli study.

      I have undergone extended periods of excessive personal responsibility for situations in which I had little if any actual control due to the incredibly fragmented nature of the events I was trying to engage with and put right. When I tried to get my children out of social services care.
      At first I noticed what the Israeli scientists discovered about decision fatigue (increasingly poor performance and the tendency to er on the side of procrastination). But much more insidious was the way the 'external fragmentation' began to resonate with my own 'fragmented traumatic registers'. . . That is what really f****d me up more that anything else.


      Turn the lights on and off randomly in a solitary prisoner's cell for a week and watch him collapse into a psychosis. Give him food when he's not hungry and starve him when he is, wake him up when he's sleepy with loud music and deprive him of everything when he's wide awake. . . watch him disintegrate and become seriously damaged.

      This is what happened to me when I tried to "sweep out the Aegean Stables" of my children's incarceration in foster homes due to their mother's eratic heroine / methadone / diazepam / amphetamine life.

      I am currently re-writing my 'Medical Statement' and it surely is like assembling a jig saw puzzle. Trauma and Pain smashes up the obvious into tiny pieces, the truth gets buried in complication.

      Paul G.


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.