Archive for July, 2006



July 22, 2006

Funny how I said wasn’t going to post much a couple of weeks back. In the last post (the 6th since then) I mentioned how I used to believe that ‘left wing poltics could save the world’. Well, according to a discussion that Ran started and has been picked up by Taognostic this means I was once an insecure person who identified with losers! OK, that’s an unfairly brief summary but at the end of it all Dan has some good advice.

Remember, in civilisation you can’t be honest, or depressed, or sad. Be happy and GO LARGE!

It’s kind of a joke but kind of serious too. I don’t like civilisation in principle but in practice I’m really addicted to certain aspects of it so I should enjoy them while I can. I think if we understand the critique of civlisation but still can’t have fun while we’re in it then we’ve lost. We’d probably be better off in (not so) blissful ignorance.

I’m not sure I’m explaining what I feel very well – and that’s probably not what Dan meant either – but I’m trying to grasp something new here. When I read Ran’s first version of his posting about how people take sides over the Israel issue I though it was the dumbest thing he’d ever written, probably because I was still stuck on my side of the debate and resented having it pointed out. It’s starting to make more sense now and if I can get out of here I’ll be able to come to that issue without my indentity being involved in it. I’ll still be opposed to what Israel is doing but it will be for reasons of Truth, Justice and, umm, other Stuff With Capital Letters.

I think this also helps to explain why I was never comfortable accepting labels like ‘leftist’ or the much more presumptuous ‘progessive’. Maybe a part of me knew that the bullying, right-wing criticism of those groups was kind of on the mark – or maybe I just didn’t want to be sneered at. Clearly I’ve developed ways of side stepping these inadvertant attacks on my identity but also equally clearly it would be better if I figured out what my identity actually is.


Material assets and other security blankets

July 22, 2006

I’ve been poking around Taognostic and found this talk by Richard Heinberg. It’s a critique of civilisation that is comphrehensive and basic at the same time, the sort of thing you can give to your mother to explain where you’re coming from these days.OK, maybe that’s stretching it a bit but as a first up reading the uninitiated could do a lot worse.

I had always associated Richard Heinberg with the Peak Oil movement so to discover an essay with this breadth of understanding is a nice surprise, especially as he wrote it back in 1995 at a time when I still thought left wing politics could solve the world’s problems.

The most interesting part of the talk is where he compares our adult desire for material objects with the security blankets of our infancy.

The infant lives entirely in the present moment in a state of pure trust and guilelessness, deeply bonded with her mother. But as she grows, she discovers that her mother is a separate entity with her own priorities and limits. The infant’s experience of relationship changes from one of spontaneous trust to one that is suffused with need and longing. This creates a gap between Self and Other in the consciousness of the child, who tries to fill this deepening rift with transitional objects–initially, perhaps a teddy bear; later, addictions and beliefs that serve to fill the psychic gap and thus provide a sense of security. It is the powerful human need for transitional objects that drives individuals in their search for property and power, and that generates bureaucracies and technologies as people pool their efforts.

This is an idea that for some reason I’ve never heard before and interestingly ties in with something else I read on Taognostic:

When people get mad about you messing with their car, or stepping on their lawn, it’s not because they care for either, it’s because they have (dangerously) expanded (or contracted might be more accurate) their identity to cover material objects. When you step on their lawn, you’re threatening their false identity.

All the more reason to pick up your baby


Hard Science

July 20, 2006

From the Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame comes this thorough paper on why letting your children Cry It Out is not a sensible option for parents.Interestingly someone on the Continuum Concept email list (the source of the link) made the point that there should be no need for scientific proof to dissuade people from leaving their babies to cry alone but that it should be considered a moral issue. I agree.

I also agree with her final point that despite this arguement, in our culture it is necessary to have the hard evidence close to hand.


Stack ’em high

July 17, 2006

Scott posted this on the Continuum Concept email list



Primate Research lab (orginal)


Human daycare Industry Supplies (orginal)


Click on the ‘original’ link to see bigger version fo th e pictures – I’m having trouble getting Blogspirit to cooperate with me


pick up your baby

July 15, 2006

I’ve just discovered a couple of excellent articles on the web.The first is about Stress in Infancy by Dr Linda Folden Palmer, which basically covers the scientific research proving that our culture’s treatment of infants is completely bonkers. It’s an excerpt from a book she has written; ‘Baby Matters – What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring For Your Baby’ which from the reviews sounds like an excellent book to give to those doubting relatives who are trying to undermine your belief in caring for your baby properly.

And one of the best articles I read on this subject, which I just discovered hidden in a Mother Anarchy post is ‘Why Men Leave – A Hidden Epidemic’ by John W Travis. He basically says everything I’ve been trying to say in his first few paragraphs and then goes on to cite his own life experience as evidence of what happens to emotionally malnourished baby’s when they become adults. What really blew me away is that the article is written by a member of my father’s generation. This is a generation for which genuine role models are incredibly thin on the ground. In fact I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of men in this generation (that I know of) who have what it takes to be a genuine elder. Now I can add one more to that list (although I’m still on the same hand). I can’t reccommend the article highly enough.


what are the kids into now

July 11, 2006

Just saw this link about emo on Ran’s blog. The article is a sort of ‘what are the kids into now’ thing.Ran mentions that it’s a lame attempt to understand the phenomena but let’s face it, an article that managed to explain how the emotionally deprived and abusive childhoods we give our children are bound to lead to this sort of thing would never have been published. This article could also never explain how emo is probably a very healthy response to the deprivations of childhood – that would be even worse/better.

I actually feel like hedging a little bit here because I’m having to rely on a mainstream journalist to explain emo to me. I’d bet the house that we’re getting a very distorted explanation.

And by the way, people who get upset over little things are not just mysteriously dysfunctional, the ‘little thing’ is a substitute for a much deeper hurt that the individual thinks they have no right to express. There was a coment in the article about middle class kids who moan too much. The statement makes the common inference that middle class kids must have been ‘given everything’ so how dare they complain. The fact that being given things as a substitute for genuine childhood attachment causes massive trauma in itself is never talked about. Being left without a proper explanation we revert to blaming the victim, the end result of which is to continue the abuse.

When I read something like this I always use the term abuse to describe the childhoods and then I think; ‘hey, it’s not really abusive is it? I mean it’s an exaggeration to say that normal childhood is abusive right?’. Most people would certainly think I was being ‘an extremist’ but then I remember that  to create a trauma, refuse to let the victim to express the hurt and blame them for everything is exactly how abuse works.


The Continuum concept

July 6, 2006

There are several great postings on Mother Anarchy at the moment but of particular relevance to this blog is the essay on The Continuum Concept (book by Jean Liedloff). Of all the books I have read this probably has had the greatest impact on my attempts at parenting. It provides a kind of reference point by which I am able to compare everything that we do as parents and for me it is also proof that we can do a lot better than current parenting practices. I fully intend to write a review of it at some point but for now I can highly recommend you read Unhappy People.