Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On the Beliefs that Kill

 Yes, beliefs do kill. They create a zeitgeist for murder.  If there were no zeitgeist for murder in the Middle East it may well be that the murder rate would be far less.  How else to explain how 150 militants decide together to penetrate a children’s school and slaughter over 100 innocent children?  What was in their minds but pure unadulterated murder.  What were they thinking?  They weren’t.  What were they feeling?  Killing, mayhem, massacre.  Why?  Because those children were offspring of military people.  And, as the killers said, “They grow up to be adults who kill us.” This is exactly what the Nazis said when they killed children.  They kill now for possible crimes twenty years hence.

 First the zeitgeist that it is OK to kill women who do not wear veils, cartoonists who do not defer to Allah, those who do not dress according to their standards, and on and on.  The point is to kill; to release all that hate.  And where does that hate come from?  Now the facile answer; lack of love.  No loved child could possibly travel miles to slaughter young children.  Why?  Because when you are loved you feel with and for others.  When you are shut down and your feelings are revenge, it permeates all thinking as deeper brain levels overtake higher levels and replace any semblance of humanity.    What is the revenge about?  Ostensibly for blasphemy against Allah.  In reality for a total lack of love and an atmosphere of death for the infidels.  That is why civilized societies all over the world are eschewing the death penalty.  They do not want to lose their humanity.

 As we see from Al-Qaeda and ISIS we can always find reasons to kill.  But to think about what we are doing and to reject murder because it is murder is the step toward humanness.

 I am not an expert on the Middle East, nor their politics or religions but I have treated killers, not mass killers, but those filled with rage and I know where it comes from and how it gets its start.  For mass killing we need the words of social psychologists who specialize in such matters. But I have experience with individual development into murder and can write on that.

 But in my practice I have seen patients rip up pillows and smash the walls until there are deep holes in them.  I have seen pure fury.  How could that be?  I let it happen under controlled circumstances.  And for almost 50 years of our therapy I have never seen an untoward incident.  On the contrary, expressing rage releases that urge and softens our patients.  But to let it happen means going against the whole background of psychiatry and psychology:  we were warned in our studies about letting feelings get out of control.  And so we suppressed them rather than do what is logical; which is to let feelings out.

 I see the progression of feelings daily in my work with patients.  First they come in mad at this and mad at that. Then get into deep feelings after weeks or months of therapy and are furious with their parents for their indifference and lack of feelings; and then the hard part—begging them for love.  It doesn’t matter that they cannot give it; it is their need for it that counts,  their need that removes the pain and becomes liberating, and above all, removes the fury. This is not a theory I concocted.  It is the progression of feelings in so many patients.  Lacking this primal context there can be pure rage;  a sensation that lives down in the brainstem that has no words and no feelings. As it comes up, and given the right context, those deep feelings can channel his rage against those who blaspheme Allah.  He now has a target far from the real source;  his lack of love.  And worse, that target is accepted by those around him.  They now have congealed feelings and a target.  They will kill, not for Allah, but for lack of love under the sobriquet of Allah.  Meanwhile, the killers in Paris shouted as they killed, “To avenge the Prophet Muhammad.”  Unless they had some word from Muhammad, who told them to do that?

 But in the case of a mass zeitgeist there is a contagion effect, as the feeling gains acceptance and solidifies.  It becomes shameful not to kill those who are not respectful of a specific higher being.  All that rage lives on the deepest and most level of the brain. It becomes socially institutionalized psychosis.  There is a delusionnary target; certainly no sane person can imagine that children are a menace and a danger.  And then the rage arises to prompt the killing.  I write “psychosis” advisedly, as it is a phantom enemy joined with murderous impulses with no higher level control.

 Where is the sane zeitgeist?  The same place it was during the Holocaust when Marlene Dietrich’s sister could live across from a death camp.  That zeitgeist rationalizes and makes acceptable the killing of another human being.  Jews, infidels, it is all the same as long as they can release their pent-up rage.  Or if someone can offer a rationale for killing, as we do when we recommend the death penalty.  The first step in the zeitgeist is to dehumanize the ”enemy.”  It is easier to kill a subhuman than a feeling human; that is why we can hunt and kill animals, not understanding that their feeling base is as large as ours.  We don’t believe that they can feel.

 This is all on the personal, individual level; how people can go crazy together and do horrendous things.  Are they thinking? No, they are feeling from deep down in the brain where the shark brain lies in wait. It doesn’t differentiate among targets so long as they look like food.  What are the sharks and the shark brain thinking?  They are not. They act on untrammeled instinct.

 So,  as to make my point real, I wrote this at the same time as a group of terrorists in France attacked the offices of a magazine that makes fun of all the great religions and ideologies and killed 12 writers/cartoonists.  Their shouts were “Praise Allah.”  Their pal who also was radicalized in prison with them, went on another killing spree nearby and killed another four people.
 How come he traveled to a Jewish delicatessen to kill?  Because in certain zeitgeists the Jews were already considered sub-human.  We need to be very careful about joining in on the maladaptive zeitgeist which overall makes it easier to discriminate and ultimately to kill.  That is the danger of even the most minuscule insult to any race or belief.  It adds to the background noise of hate.  And the hate accumulates till violence shows its ugly head.  The person; Jew, homosexual, Arab,  are the targets to discharge the hate.  And where should that hate go if anywhere?  Toward their early life, parents who never loved and a family life filled with chaos and violence.  That is what built the hate and need to release; rather, to find a target where they can release.  They killed those who answered back against idolatry; who refused to praise and serve a higher authority.  They killed those who would not share their beliefs.  Was it just beliefs?  No.  Beliefs without the urging of feelings never take on that violent aspect.

 After the terrorists were killed by the police, 3 million Frenchmen took to the streets to protest.  The terrorists seemed to know they were on a death march and did not care. They did their job; releasing rage and rationalizing under the authority of Allah.  And above all,  they felt they belonged.  They shared the hate with others.  Let us not minimize this since those followers of a leader in Waco, Texas  when faced with fleeing and escaping, went back into the building which was on fire.  They chose death instead of feeling there was nowhere for them.  If there is no close family, the need to belong is primordial.

 I have seen it in treating Mexican gang members. They come here not knowing the language, the fathers are struggling to make a living, neglecting the kids and they join a gang to be able to talk to others, to feel that they belong and are wanted.  The price of entry is sometimes killing someone else; often someone from the block down the street.  These kids are family to each other; they need a family and someone who cares about them.  And they fabricate enemies; across the tracks, a different neighborhood.  It doesn’t matter as they need a target, someone they can blame and pin their woes on.  And they do find them.  It is a common enemy that provides cohesion for the group.    That enemy makes the gang or group closer and more bonded.  When there is no enemy they provide them;  manufacture an enemy who is the danger, even those who live 2 blocks away.  What do they have in common?  The enemy.  Take away the enemy and there is less cohesion.  In these situations you are not safe if you are different.

 I have seen several articles on the French massacre and some claim they are not psychotic.  I am not sure what is psychotic if you go to kill a hundred children who have done nothing at all to harm anyone.  These are psychologists writing.  The claim of the terrorists is that they perceive they are victims of injustice.  Maybe true, but one does not slaughter someone who has nothing to do with that injustice.  OK, so they think that there has to be delusions for psychosis to exist.  Isn’t what those killers believed? Pure delusions?  That their God was insulted and that he is the last word for truth? That one has to kill if others disagree with their delusions?  That it is all done in the name of a God or deity.  And that the deity approves of this slaughter and actually insists on it:  the Fatwa.  So “God” does not ask them to love and honor others;  it wants them to be murdered.  Ayayay!  They do not celebrate life; they celebrate death and often ask to be killed.  They give up their life happily to be known as a “martyr.”  For that word they are willing to die.  Imagine, the most precious gift anyone of us have is life.  To throw that away for a word is indeed psychotic.

 So who gets killed? Those who deviate from the zeitgeist.  And who makes the zeitgeist?  All of us. But first those who profit from it.  Capitalists who can make money if we acquiesce. Or those in power who are willing to kill us to remain in power.
 In Cambodia they killed those who wore glasses because they thought it was that only the Vietnamese who wear glasses so they can read and have thoughts.  They were the danger.  In fascist societies, the college people are the danger because they might think.  Intellectuals often become the target, even those who read French; hence freedom fries, rather than French fries.

 The powers who reign do not want us to think; they want us to believe, to be engaged in endless studies of the official scripts so as to be further inculcated and more easily led.  It looks like thinking but it actually replaces thought. The spread of ideation has cast a large intellectual net over us so that the powers simply twist and turn the ideation and we follow.  We continue to follow until it envelopes us and we do its bidding without any further reflection.  Their control is now internal; we just follow its dictates.  That is the ticket; impregnate ideas until they become part of us, and then we follow them without question.  It is a true principle in advertising: “ Buy this truck and you will be strong.”  It is not said, it is implied.  We fill in the blanks with our deprived needs.

          Let me explain. When we hurt early on — and that means in utero, in infancy and most importantly in early childhood— we have a defense system that hurries to contain the pain. For every major trauma there seems to be an equal and opposite defensive force to contain the pain. I call this defense system the gating system. Those familiar with my writing understand that defenses are abetted by biochemical means through which neurotransmitters are secreted by the brain into the gap between cells so that the message of pain cannot travel to high centers, enabling us to remain unconscious. We humans usually manage to hold down our most painful feelings by a neurologic system that was built for it, to keep our mental system functioning. It is in the first weeks of life in the womb that life-threatening events occur. The mother is depressed or anxious, takes drugs or drinks alcohol and is not careful with her diet. As her life goes on, there may be a compounding of pain for the developing infant due to her own parental neglect and indifference. Her gates do not function well and she goes on taking drugs to quell her pain. The chemicals that accompany these states spill into the placenta and affect the fetus.
      Sometimes life deals such harsh blows that the gates crack or weaken; the result is that there aren’t enough repressive chemicals such as serotonin in the synapse to keep repression going, and we have a carrying mother in turmoil. Deep in that turmoil lies rage which is sucked up into various targets, rarely parents.  But it can be Socialists, Unitarians, Vegetarians and so on.  Or the unions which we rally against.  Or Wall Street, as another target; choose your poison but the real poison is the deep-lying pain that drives so much of us.  That does not negate the reality of the target but it helps to explain the violent reaction; as those who wear glasses.

 Of course, not every unloved child grows up to be a killer. Some lose love, go into despair and then find God. They have been saved, saved by the idea of God, unless we really think He comes down from out of wherever He is and literally lends a hand. But the reaching out for God represents the hope of being loved, albeit this time only in fantasy. Others may start to feel the pain and reach for the bottle. Still others may reach for the neck of the departing lover and strangle her. But what they all have in common, what makes the act-out obligatory, is the reawakening of early deprivation by a current situation. Amorous rejection is the trigger; parental rejection gives it power.

 Think about this.  The terrorist feels he is loved once he does his terrible deed; life in reverse.  He does it all in the name of God and since many of us have different Gods the permutations are enormous.

 When we follow evolution as I see in my patients there are deep feelings, sometimes overwhelming that force their way up in the idea/belief area of the brain (neo-cortex),  and the belief becomes as obdurate as the feeling itself.  We need to address not only the beliefs but the underlying force behind them.  And indeed, when we get patients to relive very deep feelings the beliefs seem to evaporate, especially the belief in the devil.  With ISIS or Al-Qaeda the force pushing ideas is inordinate; we must not underestimate it.  Those ideas do not make one kill; it is the rage that drive them.

 One thing I fail to understand is that after the killing, the remaining journalist put out another massive issue, stating in effect, on the cover, all is forgiven.  I don’t get it.  Are the religious precepts so strong as to override rational feeling?  What bothers me is the majesty of it all; “when I forgive I am above all that.  I have the power to forgive those lesser beings.”  “I am the great forgiver.”

 Have you noticed?  Terrorists always do their deeds for love.  Mohammad loves me…….and wants me to blow myself up for the cause. Still the need for love dominates.  The recipe is if I kill I will be loved. Still the same need, only taking a lethal turn.

 When hundreds all believe the same thing there is danger.  It becomes unassailable.  The contagion factor gives it more power.  What is the answer?  Love.


  1. Great and interesting post as usual, Art!!!



  2. Hi Art,

    -"One thing I fail to understand is that after the killing, the remaining journalist put out another massive issue, stating in effect, on the cover, all is forgiven. I don’t get it"-.

    As a satirist, had I dared to respond at all (and with all my colleagues brutally murdered before my eyes more or less, I WOULD certainly have been strongly driven to do something DAUNTLESS) I would have resorted to serious sarcasm. . .

    Art, you'll have to ask France; she would know. . . but I think what you are seeing on that magazine cover is very serious and eloquent French sarcasm, way beyond mere irony. . . Maybe a 'double entente' of the deepest nature?

    I'm not sure but I think so. . . It always inspires me that the French will 'respond' where the English defer. . . not always, mais dans cette situation je pense c'est tres vrai, cetainement. Je pense. Je suis, ausi un petit peu de Francais.

    Paul G.

  3. This is a great post, and it is also sad to read this ; reality. Art, you're a great writer !!

  4. http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/murderers.htm
    ' For 1500 hundred years, the Christian Church systematically operated torture chambers throughout Europe. Torture was the rule, not the exception. Next to the Bible, the most influential and venerated book in Christian history was the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches), which was a step-by-step tutorial in how to torture "witches' and "sorcerers".

    Great article and it reminded me that his story is repeating itself.

    It also reminded me of George Carlin and how he had it all worked out.

    "God" told them to do it.

    I look at the boys in frocks and note their hearing voices from the man in the sky.lol

    Now if I heard voices, I would be locked away- but put on the patriarchal robes and so many bow to them.

    I grew up in Ireland with all that fear of burning in my bed at night- if I did anything wrong. Then my Dad explained the scam and sure enough nothing happened in bed at night.

    But I know so many who kept on believing and thus giving their power away to this very day. There is no talking to them, so I keep out of Ireland.

  5. Art, doesn't it happen in the sports arenas too? there are two sides too. there is belonging too. need to win too. and a proof of a handshake of course. to SHOW that we "learn" how to lose. forgive in spite we have just been defeated with/without little help of a referee.
    and then there is betting... profit from conflict.
    is a story of war much different?

    the culture of controlled conflict. but are we under control? do we know what we control?
    the drive, the danger is not leaving much alternative. only a both well controlled and well accessed first line can prevent the disaster.

    so, opinions, theories and proofs are life threatening as a product of disconnected reality processing even if they are "true". evolution VERSUS creation.
    what if neurosis is not accurately diagnosable from that disconnected balcony. nor it is treatable. health means safety and for that we need reality. basement included.
    so written knowledge alone is like any printed value. including money or a diploma. or internet. it is nothing without connection. or to be precise> it is dangerous.

    maybe all religions and sciencies will eventually decide and agree about what is true. shake a hand and sigh peace. united neo cortex finally wired and fully functioning. BUT disconnected. no love.

  6. I must confess I enjoyed this article as much as everyone else did. I can relate to it -- I dreamed I was stomping on my father's head and felt very satisfied when his skull cracked open and my foot went straight through. I was a shark... I was not human. just incredible unthinking hatred. This article is like a mirror..... I am looking into it.... and it excites me to see my own reflection in Art's words.... to see that there is a great shark inside me. I enjoy knowing that I have this huge power inside. It makes me feel excited and optimistic...it makes me feel that life will be far more powerful when I can let it all out. Life should be powerful....not murderous of course... but powerful. Powerful love... powerful sunsets... powerful hugs and kisses. Not this lame existence day after day.

    1. Hi Richard,

      I went through a whole (very long) stage of hating my parents, again & again & again. . .

      But you'll be glad to know 'forgiveness' didn't stop it. No prizes if you guess what did. . .

      Paul G.

    2. you travelled back in time with help from doctor who? you're dreaming, paul. if your hatred is leaking from a repressed source in the unconscious, it will kill you when it connects. that is why your defences will NOT allow the connection. IT IS HORRIFICALLY DANGEROUS. you have no idea what lies behind those leaks. it won't actually kill you but you will come close to death. repressed feelings are NEAR-DEATH feelings. repression is a deep nuts-and-bolts epigenetic reaction -- it is a horrific distortion inside every cell of the body. it is the final gruesome option when all else fails. it means you will not grow properly ever again. your mind will not work properly ever again. it is a terrible sad disaster. do you really think a normal amount of hatred could be enough to cause such a powerful shut-down? you think a few leaks will reverse it? NO WAY. you're dreaming, Paul.
      Of course I have never primalled but going by the way Art describes it, I imagine it is like being hit by a tidal wave. An overwhelming explosion from hell, but an explosion that feels right because it is connecting.... it is actually flowing along its natural path.... but it's not a river, it's a terrifying tidal wave that reaches as high as the sky. it's gonna blow you away. get it?

    3. Hi Richard,

      what stopped me hating my Father was seeing him reduced to tears with my mother going insane in a dementia care home. What stopped me hating my mother was seeing her in that care home 'reduced' to a live corpse with other zombies around her too. She still recognises me and breaks into wails of childlike despair and gratitude when she sees me. Then she shits herself and on the good days we laugh about it. She does the same thing with my Dad. . .

      What stopped me hating myself was seeing that all these things are a consequence of epigenetic trauma and thus I was being able to 'carry on'; very English I know but not entirely regardless. . . The words I use are just words but when my Dad and I occasionally embrace we are both reduced to tears. I assume you are not so obdurate to press me further on this because I know that my Dad, realising that his son (me) was experiencing strong feelings of remorse and me realising that he was also experiencing strong feelings of remorse, we both manged to form a pact whereby each of us stopped hating each other. I consider myself lucky in this respect. . . but if Hate must be the currency of this conversation then I can easily say I hate the people who condemn my relationship with my Dad without any comprehension of what it is like to find the feeling part of him in me.

      I put that down to me discovering this blog and being able to wrangle with stuff whilst here. . . and also a bit of help from my friends.

      Yours sincerely

      Paul G.

    4. Hi Richard,

      It's hard to tell why Art prints some things and not others, except he does obviously play us off a bit. If I say I know I'm dreaming because you reminded me or if I say I understand, then all I reveal is my desire to protect myself from the facts.

      On the other hand I won't just pretend you havn't struck a chord or feign because your presentation of the facts terrifies me. But like you, I need to protect myself from further injury on top of my torturous history. . . further injury would not be the right motive or springboard for my recovery; it would not be the right station and it would not lead to the right destination.

      I have used some fine words to convey my ambivalence (with your post). I suspect any more will just infuriate you to incandescence and provoke deeper hypocrisy in both of us. . . Lets not go there eh?

      Have you made it to the center yet?

      Me neither.

      Paul G.

    5. Hi Richard,

      yes I do get it and thanks for the shocking reminder. However my point is different from yours. I have seen my Dad break down and cry with remorse and together we have been able to patch up a shaky relationship, that's better at the end of his life than continuing with an eternal festering denial. This blog has helped me handle the feelings of rage he triggers in me. He is still a narcissistic idiot and occasionally triggers my rage with his incessant referrals to himself. Likewise my Mum, now nearly a zombie in a dementia care home triggers in me feelings of rage because there I am 'catering for her needs' yet again. . . But not only have I seen my Dads feelings of helplessness and grief but also I have had to tear myself away from my Mums shrieks of grief and terror when I leave from visits. . . Thus my experience of both my parents now leaves me shaken and stirred and radically unable to direct my rage at them any more.
      I no longer care whether or not the feelings I have (often in my car on a layby out in the wilderness on the way to work) are abreaction or the real thing but I have little choice other than to endure them. The anti depressants I tried make not a jot of difference by the way, well, except by cutting out the 1st line intrusion, interestingly.

      Strangely Richard, I do care about your opinion, I also care that you didn't respond to my invitation to connect on linkedin. Silence is such a DEVASTATING weapon Richard, isn't it. . ? Selective silence is manipulative too, speak to me here but not elsewhere and presto you have me where you want me eh?

      I have come to recognise the revenge that permeates the dealings other people have with me and I with them due to this latent rage in us all (well, sorry, I don't want to judge, most of us). And so, it is in this way I no longer "hate" others or myself, I just hate our behaviours. That may appear semantic or even sanctimonious to you but it 'means' something to me. It helps me deal with the chronic bullying I get from nearly every one.
      It is in the spirit of this recognition that I make this attempt at a response to your challenging post.
      Why won't you connect with me outside this forum?

      Paul G.

    6. Hi Paul. I did not intend to attack you but maybe sometimes I am too much of a smart ass. I thought you were claiming to have healed to some extent. I want you to know that a few leaks won't do it. I can't accept a false belief even when it's not my own.... it's like a fly crawling on the end of my nose... I can't accept it. The neurotically filtered feelings you are experiencing with your parents are not resolving the old feelings that threatened your survival. I am compelled to say it loud and clear before others start to believe in your beliefs. I don't want to hurt you, I just want to get rid of the fly.
      I did not receive any notification from Linkedin. Thank you for the invitation. I will accept it when I can find it.

    7. Hi Richard,
      i think you have a point about need for a proper therapists... but when you talk about the wave way above our height I think you talk about the feeling that is above the primal zone. i don’t know where Paul is but it seems that he got some grip on his childhood and at least for some time he has spent inside the primal zone.
      Paul, given the threat you encountered in your childhood that lasted and lasted….. for years… it is no wonder you have a problem not to be overwhelmed with the deeper memories. when you describe your present environment it is almost like you are back in school. but no holidays on sight. problems at work… i hope you at least sleep well. your system doesn’t want to be overwhelmed. listen to it. one place on earth to solve the problem is not easy bite to digest. all this it is not regular situation for any human.

    8. Richard,

      I have never claimed to have 'healed' certainly not the 1st line andf that's really rather the point. . . Watching others suffering and crying in empathy is not neurotic. If I believe I don't have empathy and don't know what it is either and all because you told me on Janovs Blog, well that would make me a shmuck. OK, I'm a shmuck, does that make you FEEL better?.
      Breaking down and crying is normal and even experiencing abreaction is more common than you think. Feeling what I feel has taken my hate away to an extent. You just can't see that. I believe you can't tell the difference between my abreaction and my true feelings EITHER. . . OK Doctor Atkin?
      Yet you keep hijacking my feelings to prove Art's point. That makes you his teachers pet. I tried to be Art's Pet too. You say you are trying to protect others from my beliefs. Do you feel I am trying to indoctrinate?

      Give me a break please.

      Paul G.

    9. Let me use Art as an example. He was wrong for many years. He misinterpreted his own feelings. He preached the wrong messages to his patients. He was wrong. But he was never a shmuck. He kept learning until he became fully conscious. "Shmuck" is an insult. "Confused"... "Overwhelmed"... "Leaking"... "Misconnected feelings"... "Hijacked feelings"... "Numb"... these are informative words -- not intended to flatter or insult or belittle. I don't see myself as Doctor Atkin. I see myself as a tired person, doing a repetitive job, saving money, chatting with American girls, hoping to meet the right one and get married, waiting for the green card lottery results in May, and swatting some of the comments that land on this website. You are not a fly.. you are not a shmuck.. you are a beautiful, important, neurotic child, as I am. Don't take it so personal.

    10. Richard, A vos ordres Monsieur. art

    11. Hi,

      I do take it personally because I'm not healed. . . also I quite like your posts, so because I respect your opinion I am more emotionally open to you. Thus from you, it's much harder. . . particularly when you speak directly to me with Art's authority. . .

      Makes me feel like I am getting the rules from the headmasters prefect. . . Perhaps Art could say something about what it was like for the officers on his battleship?

      I could tell a tale or two about what it's like to be trained to be an officer from the age of 8yrs old. Until I was 17. . . 9 years of officer training. . .

      Paul G.

  7. Awesome, kind of reminds me of an excerpt from a book by Richard Dawkins

    ... Bush presided over more executions in Texas than any other governor in the state's history, averaging one death every nine days. Perhaps he was simply doing his duty and carrying out the laws of the state? But then, what are we to make of the famous report by the CNN journalist Tucker Carlson? Carlson, who himself supports the death penalty, was shocked by Bush's humorous imitation of a female prisoner on death row, pleading to the Governor for a stay of execution: “Please,” Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, “Don't kill me.” Perhaps this woman would have met with more sympathy if she had pointed out that she had once been an embryo.

    -The God Delusion

  8. Hi,

    I'm sure that the main problem a conventionally trained therapist has when confronted with the truth (& therefore the "terror of the situation") is their almost total ignorance of 1st line rage. Maybe they heard the idea, possibly even 'studied' it. . .

    In the idea of rage, there are mere words which don't quite fit the sensations. Rage itself is terrifying enough when perceived from outside looking in on the rage. . . but excruciating when experienced on the way down to reliving the source of the rage (pain) in the individual concerned. To get to the source of the rage is much harder than begging Mummy to take you back home again. . . That is difficult enough, but raging is much worse, it is a suffering 'outside of conscience'. Later, if consciousness can return and focus onto it, the rageful person suffers again for the impact IN his conscience and on hir peers. This is why rage and anger is so taboo. Primal Theory takes the taboo out of rage and allows for a descent beneath that.

    How a Primal therapist keeps the right distance from a rageful patient whilst they 'climb the walls' (to get out), is perhaps a mystery worth exploring. . .

    'Out of context', in the office of a conventional therapist the concept of rage s/ he perceives in hir client has NO value other than to reinforce the analytical defenses s/ he (as an observer) inevitably hides behind to prevent hir own rage from emerging and affecting the 'alliance'. What alliance can really exist if that is it?

    Thus the conventional therapeutic alliance is often reduced to voyerism rather than genuine witnessing. Conventional therapists needs to throw up barriers of their own. I suppose a real Primal Therapist would enable a patient to reach a place in their descent where their rage can de-fuse down to earlier expressions; where need emanates from. I mean, the (observed) rage in itself is only a misplaced/frustrated energy to 'get out' in the 1st place, n'est pas?

    It seems to me that Primal Therapists must have reached their own 'rage energy' sufficiently to be able to slip into an engaged but NOT invested witness role. They themselves would have reached that junction where the boughs join the trunk and sensations predominate. This is very difficult for an ordinary human because most ordinary humans have so many unaddressed issues in the 'branches above' (2nd line) they couldn't possibly (shouldn't try to) begin a navigation to those lower depths. Therefore It seems to me, because the Primal Center is the only place where there is a conscious acknowledgement of the 1st line critical window imprints it is also the only genuine crucible for the conscious transformation of rage.
    Where else would one want to go to learn to do this? A Buddhist monastery? A boxing gym? A Shaolin Temple? A Wall Street Trading Post? A race track? A training camp in the middle east?

    Paul G.

    1. Hi,

      I've been trying to form the words of an insight regarding the responsibilities of 'leaders' and the way 'commanders' hijack that role and 'implant' their own agenda.

      When this 1st line pressure in the toddler meets the 3rd line moral judgement down apon hir, she becomes 'compressed' and then hir limbic system has to fragment. Parts of the toddlers psyche get 'locked' away in the methylation process. In defense of this the toddler quickly has to erect a wall of denial, maybe standing firm with jaw jutting in defiance. . . The key is in not admitting the trauma, not admitting the vulnerability of need and not admitting the pain of dissatisfaction. At toddler age there are few words to express this apart from maybe: "NO"! But as we grow older we build more sophisticated constructs to lend weight to that denial.

      I think what commanders do when they hijack that leadership role is to convince their followers that they are in some ways invincible. The followers are lead to believe that being a victim is somehow wrong. Universally, morally and even ethically wrong. Therefore any expression of suffering and pain are a universal sign of weakness.

      Is this stoicism? I think not, but people get this denial confused with stoicism. . . (Into the valley of death rode the 600 etc). . .
      In this common 'belief system' of denial it follows that you can experiment on others to see if they are weak; remember, "admitting pain is weakness". Therefore you can test your 'allies' to destruction to prove whether or not they are worthy of your 'alliance'.

      So, this explains why witches were tested by torturing them. When they showed pain it proved they were wrong (coincidentally if they showed no pain either they were still wrong). . . Kind of thing.

      In Social Psychology 'process models' are used to help show how group relations work. Linear descriptions in prose (such as here on this blog) often fail to describe what's really happening because there are complexities occurring over time. The 'drama triad' is one of many process models to explain things but it is equally also a delusion in and of itself. In a way the delusion of this triad occurs only when you are in denial.

      Taking the three 'modes' of Victim, Rescuer & Persecutor you can see straight away that not everyone fits into any one of these and the protagonists of this model readily admit that we humans can easily flit from one mode to another anyway. Certainly there are huge pressures throughout society to conform to this triad and each mode has a certain 'payoff' depending on your situation.
      How does it work? Well I think that by concealing command behind a veneer of leadership the follower's psychic loyalty can unwittingly buy into a political belief system which sets rigid tracks for channeling the followers unconscious and repressed feelings.
      It is a clever manipulation of the drama triad. The wall of denial elicits all kinds of reactions but in particular is this vindication of weakness in the victim. In it's extreme form it is justification for hir total destruction.
      This whole scenario is operating throughout society on a sliding scale, a 'spectrum' of affect. . . My particular gripe is the way therapists can still operate using religious / spiritual ideals and / or (worse) a gender political framework. This latter is widely used in middle class western societies to reinforce gender separatism and promote it as a "suffering / pain / victim free" solution to problems; IE: yet another way to deny suffering and pain and politicise it as "Undesirable", as a sign of moral weakness.

      Paul G.

    2. Paul, you have enough to say to start your own blog. Have you thought about it? art

    3. Hi Art,

      A while back I had thought about starting an 'environmental' blog. Since I got onto this one of yours (I never did anything like this before) my world view has radically changed.

      If you haven't underestimated the inevitable denial of Primal you may have underestimated the useful 'cognitive impact' it has on some people, me in this case. Obviously this blog shows I am not alone. However, I am not inspired to start my own blog on these subjects because my perceptions and insights are best rooted here. This is where they belong; they are directly inspired by yours. Better I divert others to your blog than start another one methinks.

      I mean, one profound insight I have gained is not to bother shouting at deaf ears. . . Sounds simple enough but if you don't realise why you shouldn't then NO AMOUNT of 'blogging' is going to make any difference, to me personally or the world at large.

      Your blog explains why shouting at deaf ears merely exhausts ones lungs and strains one's vocal cords.
      Lastly, If it's not obvious, my contributions here have followed a pattern and are leading to a conclusion which is nearly done. After this, I will have much less to say here. But I'm not quite done yet, so if it's alright by you I will send a few more responses. . .
      Hopefully, after that conclusion, as time goes by you will not be so bombarded. . .

      Paul G.

  9. I think it could be easy for any normal human to murder a psychotic or psychopath when the alternative is to let an innocent child be murdered. Easy -- just pull the trigger. Normal humans can hate. Hatred is a normal feeling which enables you to pull the trigger and blow the brains out of any despicable person who threatens you or your loved ones. Right?

    I have seen dogs and cats filled with hatred, and when they are in this feeling, their life-saving bravery is astounding.

    John Lennon hated his parents and threatened to kill them. Perhaps he was too human (connected) to ever go through with it. Perhaps. But I am not so sure that his humanness would have resulted in peace and love at all times.

    In very ancient times, murder was often the best solution because we did not have prisons and prison guards. Even today, chimpanzees often form a gang to murder the most offensive chimp. Hyenas and wolves do the same thing with offensive members in their packs. They all raise their top lips and bare their teeth -- pure hatred.

    Today, humans don't need to murder because we have the technology that offers other options. But some people are just too evil and too dangerous to be set free on this planet, regardless of their unfortunate beginnings in life. And we should hate those people when they threaten us. But we should not blow their brains out even when our fully connected feelings are giving us the human urge to kill. We should adhere to logic and morality (two very intellectual concepts but important ones).

    If you find it easy to kill someone who is not directly threatening anyone, then obviously you are totally disconnected (crazy) and should be killed mercifully if there is no kinder option available.

    Some methods for lethal injection cause pain before death. Merciless revenge is cruel. In any case, I don't agree with any form of execution because the alternative is easy and affordable; just keep the offensive people on a guarded island and for the most part, let them fend for themselves.

    Hatred can be normal and it can be psychotic. I read somewhere that soldiers cannot kill until they are trained to hate and kill. I think they are trained to focus their repressed primal hatred onto new enemies, similar to what Art described in his article. The soldiers who lack primal hatred will not be able to hate the new enemy.... they will betray their crazy friends, and consequently, they will become a target for much of that misguided hatred in their own group. That is why 'cowards' get physically assaulted in the army. The leaders of the group will often turn a blind eye....suggesting that the 'weaker' soldiers threaten the group because the group is only as strong as the weakest link. The weak ones are discouraged until one of them seeks legal support. I have had annoying conversations with my sister's ex boyfriend, a brutal soldier in the New Zealand Army.

    Even the most loving of religions, Christianity, is based on the same mentality. All the followers will be loved, and all the outsiders will be washed away. John Lennon was washed away by a hateful Christian. My religious aunt is still trying to convert her daughter....with "love" she triggers anxiety in her daughter.... "Join us, honey, or you will not go to heaven." And when daughter refuses, mommy becomes hateful. Religion is exactly the same as war. You have two choices: Conform or Die. No one is allowed to be themselves.

    Art, can you talk more about cold-blooded murder such as honour killings?.... a girl is raped by a stranger and then, to restore honour in the family (whatever that means) she is killed by her father. Or a group of young guys enjoy kicking an old man to death. Are these unfeeling killers psychopaths, or just incredibly repressed?

    By the way, I was hoping you would publish my previous comment. It would get a big reaction. Sometimes you are no fun, Art.

    1. Richard, I try never to write my area of expertise. Honor killings I do not know enough about. But I welcome all of you who may know more to contribute. art

    2. Sorry, I just published your last comment.

  10. Dr. Janov,
    Children of war and violence are: deprived of love, security, of fundamental needs such as food and shelter and consequently are imprinted with fear that leads to defensive and violent reaction. Depending on the severity of the early violent imprint, fury is often the only way to express their deeply ingrained pain and fear. I saw this underlying pain and fear in my father’s permanent raging, and the furies later in my brother. The greater the lingering pain, the bigger the rage. It is ONLY the neglected and abused who will repeat the experienced cruel pattern. Do genes play a role? Of course, neglect and abuse alters our genes.
    Evidence of war brutality between Christians is recorded by Jacques Callot in his 'Les Grandes Misères de la guerre' (The Great Miseries of War) in 1632, the result of “Thirty Years' War” between German Lutherans and Catholics.
    By Jacques Callot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Grandes_Mis%C3%A8res_de_la_guerre#mediaviewer/File:Les_mis%C3%A8res_et_les_malheurs_de_la_guerre_-_11_-_La_pendaison.png
    History: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years%27_War
    As I have said many times before, humans create their own monster/criminals.
    The roots of all begin with a mother and her early pain-imprint. Controlled by her pain, she can’t care deeply for her child. Feeling guilty, she directs a child to a God/Allah as a replacement for the love she couldn’t give.
    Today, everybody who has been a childhood victim knows how a mother’s carelessness feels. How a mother’s denial blinds her from recognizing or even preventing abuse. Only a few are brave enough to admit it.

  11. it also brings up the question of what is appropriate. not only what is true. how to be active on public stage and not make things worse. just like the dilemma of primal therapist in communication with the patient. to feel the context we live in now and act appropriately.

  12. Art... I am might be well outside the scope of what you're writing about many times... to not say all. It with implications for what my posts further is all about... but my brain is only able to take a little part of your narrative... it with obvious implications. My world is not about what you perceive as important... it is limited to what is possible for me. It has never been able to attend for what love... emotional possibilities would have given me opportunities ... opportunities to visualize a process "big" enough for what life requires. It with results... I have been "stupid" and uneducated.

    It may take weeks before I see the big picture of what your writing tells me about... a handicap I am now starting to get some of... it for what "peace and quiet" results in... it after sensations around the experiences of how catastrophic feelings shattered my mind!


  13. it also brings up the question of what is appropriate. not only what is true. how to be active on public stage and not make things worse. just like the dilemma of primal therapist in communication with the patient.
    who is appropriate? leaving for the re representative institutions to decide what is an insult, what should be allowed/banned and how Jesus or Muhammad should be represented in press. the play of the disconnected representatives. they say we need strong institutions. the rule of law. but does it really guarantee anything? safety, for example. the world is in chaos but doesn't know anything about it. eventually it will take one decretum to crash it all.
    “don’t let this happen again” was heard from Auschwitz today. it was another call for institutions to take control. and it was heard that no one in last 70 years could explain what happened in those extermination camps. or in Paris.anxiety provocative. lets go back to neo cortex for answers. to ceremonial "commemoration".
    how many of those old people will get pneumonia under the big tent or outside in the snow?

    1. It is impossible to feel for each and every person in the world. A feeling British person may cry when she feels the overall state of this mad world, but she does not suffer too much when a stranger is tortured in Africa or the Middle East. We must realise that brutal atrocities occur every day, and we are indeed emotionally unaware of those atrocities because we cannot be everywhere all the time. There is nothing wrong with that. This is why the word INAPPROPRIATE is often inappropriate. It is NOT inappropriate to think of strangers in a purely intellectual way. This is what all politicians do because they have no other choice. There are too many people for just one mind.

      So we must think of human suffering in an intellectual way. We must use morality and logic to deal with millions of sufferers. Empathy is not enough.

      We must institutionalise people ....yes, force them to do better things.... force them to stop hurting their children. The people who invented the Bible knew exactly what they were doing. They used fear to control people ... to force them into a better way of life. It was not a perfect way of life but it was better than rampant child abuse, wife abuse, bloodshed and even blood sports day after day after day. These preachers of the Bible were the ultimate manipulators -- they caused a huge amount of harm which continues today, but ultimately they probably did more good than harm. Christians have marched from one primitive country to the next, dramatically reducing much of the spontaneous violence, creating enough calm to allow institutions to be established -- not just religious institutions, but also courts, prisons etc.

      Art is of the view that we should not use manipulative methods to promote primal theory. I agree. But we should, and must, use manipulative methods to seduce/scare people into a better way of life. Of course seduction is better than fear, but we must not overlook the power of fear. What would happen if we threatened pregnant mothers with life imprisonment in the event that they should give birth to a child with fetal alcohol syndrome? Would the public anxiety and anger cause more harm than good? Or would it have a spin-off effect; would it encourage public debates which could lead onto more and more discussions on fetal health and life-long physical and psychological effects? Do we need to use FEAR? Maybe not. Maybe expensive rewards can be effective.

      Does manipulation lead to a lack of trust? Yes. Does this lack of trust make any difference at all? Maybe not. People often say they do not trust the media, yet they will believe almost any story presented by the media. We don't trust our government, but we vote for it. We are neurotic sheep, choosing to be manipulated.

      The Primal Center needs help. Realistic help. We should be asking inappropriate questions instead of massaging our compassionate egos.

    2. Hi Richard,

      where do you draw the line between asking inappropriate questions and manipulating?

      How you define manipulation depends on what is the moral prerogative at the time.

      Art - could you define what manipulation we should not use to promote Primal? I have found the subject (of Primal) has almost always met with some kind of recoil. It's almost impossible speaking to adults about it without offending them in some way.

      On the other hand kids I have talked to aren't offended at all.

      Paul G.

    3. Hi,

      I'm so trying not to post too much. . .

      In his book 'Human Manipulation', Malcolm Coxall explains that we're all doing it and receiving it most of the time. This is no excuse to try to manipulate and particularly not to use manipulation to promote Primal but cutting to the chase, what has Art actually said on the subject ? Please fill me in, I'm transfixed with apprehension that I may be 'guilty'. How might one try to promote Primal by manipulating? I know I'm naive. . . perhaps that makes me manipulative, shit ! Now I feel guilty for not double guessing what I should say to people who are not as naive as me, maybe they are more naive than me. . . Now I'm confused as well as guilty. . .

      Paul G.

    4. Paul: I do the leg work and you do the work of promotion so they read my stuff. After that, it is up to them to do what they want.l No guilt please. art

    5. if we keep treating our feelings as terrorists and institutions as saviors, what is the prospective?
      next gen hi-tech upgraded modified human from some laboratory. evolved. until it becomes outdated. a fully controlled product?

  14. A Prerequisite For Love: End Of Poverty!

    It is easy to come to common conclusions with Dr. Janov’s analysis; about what happens to religiously / ideologically distorted brains, for lack of affection / love. They commit murder, hoping to be admitted to an imaginary religious community of love "behind the Gates of Heaven." However, I would like to add some comments to Janov’s experienced-based analysis. According to my interpretation, Janov bases his analysis on psychotherapeutic experiences of phenomena of survival reasons, which take place in our brains influenced / propelled by unbearable pain. My additions may become extra sensitive due to Janov's background as an American and a Jew. He applies the analysis to current religiously-based terrorist acts against for example Jews in Paris and against children in parts of a war-torn Arab world.

    Dr. Janov has recently in a “Reflection” held that we are all products of the evolution that has as its overall goal reproduction, for the survival of the (human) species. In a world populated explosively in the last century, there is not yet resources for general primal therapies. Nor does there exist adequate security for giving everybody the affection and love that prevents the tragic murders of economic, political, religious, and these factors related causes. We live, however, in a world that develop “better and faster” than most people think and have insights into, and I recommend a study of the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSGoqw45tKI&feature=youtu.be

    We are shocked by the tragic terrorist acts carried out by poor, often outcast and unloved, adolescents influenced / addicted and temporarily “drugged” by religious beliefs. They are part of a revolution that has often been triggered by tribal hostilities, made worse by so-called liberation wars to exploit oil and further fueled by greedy arms exports from the so-called developed countries. West's behavior has little regard to cultural and developmental differences. When frantic and desperate terrorist actions emerge, then we are mastering indignantly the pain propelled / distorted brains of the terrorists, about our “free speech” and our quality of life. The reactions, politically understandable, are, on both sides, multifaceted and comprehensive; each side defending their point of view, their beliefs.

    However, charity = love begins at home! And how does it look at home in the world’s leading democracy? In the US, there have, on average, during the last 30 years, been committed 18.000 (official) murders and 90.000 (official) rapes PER YEAR. Democracy in the United States has segregated the society so skillfully, with political and economic instruments that it looks like a metaphor in order to demonstrate Herbert Spencer’s concept of the survival of the fittest! Oddly enough, this happens despite the fact that only 12 percent - one in eight people - think that evolution should be taught without mentioning a creationist alternative! If the world follows the US example, then we will end up with a global figure of about 400.000 murders per year… that may be lower than it is today…

    Love as the foundation for a long and happy life in the service of evolution is so far a luxury for the few and the prioritized.

    Jan Johnsson

  15. OFF TOPIC:

    Big thanks to Arthur Janov for the seemingly endless and profound observations in all his books, especially The Primal Scream which I am now re-reading attentively for the upteenth time. What a fertile and creative heart and mind!

    I flashed on a lot of issues particularly in the chapter comparing normals and neurotics last night. I`m not sure but I seem to be getting some clarification into some deep conflicts I`ve had all my life about work, for instance.. However, whether I will ever get to the roots of what seems to be a new opening to a lot of stuff buried inside is uncertain. It`s probably too late for me, but just reading Janov still seems to be helpful, and clarifying and reassuring amidst all the confusing societal chaos around me. So thanks, Art!


    1. You are indeed welcome. You readers is why I blog. I just want to inform as best I can. art

  16. Hi Art and RichardThe most hatefull face I ever saw was that of 5 year old boy slapping his friend.
    I do not know what hate distinguishes hate from say rage or ... but in my case all the hating ... feelings?
    collapse when i see the hated... object suffering (like Mr.Gadaffi or the like ... before being shot /hanged ...

    Apropos killing that Cop who killed the innocent 13 year boy playing with a (play gun ) would he!! have hadthe r i g h t to kill that boy (child!!!) if it was for sure that he had a real gun!!!???

    P.S. As You know the tens of thousands of iraqiis beeing killed b Nrs.. Bush ... Yours emanuel


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.