This is the remarkable story of an individual who experienced severe stress starting in the womb. Growing up in a highly dysfunctional family, he used intellectualization as a defense against overwhelming emotional pain. A high academic achiever, this young man was on the Dean’s List at Brown University when he suffered a catastrophic neurological collapse. Labeled as schizophrenic, he was on the verge of death as his twentieth birthday approached.
Starting to jog, he avoided his demise. Four years later, this individual found psychoanalyst Erich Fromm’s The Sane Society while browsing in a bookstore. Unable to work or communicate normally with people, he began a long intellectual odyssey which ultimately involved the reading of thousands of books about American society.
Miraculously transformed by a bodywork technique developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, he continued to live with severe stress due to his lack of social skills and the crazy-making institutions of an aggressive society. Nine years after relearning to use his body properly, this man discovered psychoanalyst Alice Miller’s For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and The Roots of Violence. Reading many other books about child abuse and human development, he began to understand the reasons which had caused his ordeal. This engrossing story is a unique combination of memoir and academic study. People interested in psychology, education, human development, American culture, and social criticism will find much to ponder in it.
No man and no force can abolish memory.
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Quoted in Unchained Memories
The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future too. We all try to lie out of that, but life won't let us.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
—George Santayana, Quoted in Family Secrets
Once we have gained knowledge of the past, the present— no matter how confusing it may have seemed—will often become easy to understand.
—Alice Miller, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware
Present knowledge that the child's metabolism requires the intake of energy expressed as love, as well as the energy derived from the intake of milk and bread, makes the body the "nursery of the soul."
—Edith Cobb, The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
—Chet Powers, for The Youngbloods, Quoted in The Greening of America
This Book is Dedicated to Josef Dellagrotte
Author's note --
The names of the authors mentioned are real. All the other names except Feldenkrais practitioner Josef Dellagrotte, psychiatrist Harry Kozol and Professor George Morgan have been changed. I changed the names because at the time I wrote this book my mother was still living.
1. A Very Stressful Beginning
2. A Very Unnatural Birth
3. The Pursuit of Loneliness Starts
4. Fear Takes Over
5. A Father and Early Memories
6. Elementary School Years
7. Numbed by Abstractions
8. A Stunted Adolescence
9. Brown and Breakdown
10. A Little Anatomy and Physiology Lesson
11. I Start Moving
12. I Encounter Toxic Psychiatry
13. My Real Education Begins
15. My Schizoid Personality
16. I Finally Attend Harvard
17. My Father’s New Life
18. I Become a Reading Machine
19. I Don’t Attend Law School—and Other Adventures Back North
20. I Win a Tennis Championship
21. I Experience the Feldenkrais Technique
22. Financial Reverses
23. I Remain a Hot Reactor
24. I Join the Citizens Party
25. I Try Dating
26. I Return to Fort Lauderdale
27. Society: The Real Lunatic Asylum
28. I Wasn’t a Satisfactory Performer
29. The Therapy Debate
30. My First Semester in Graduate School
31. Hemingway and Social Reconstruction
32. I Research San Antonio and Socialism
33. Graduation Day Arrives
34. I Try to Enter the Teaching Profession
35. I Become a Client of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
36. My Teaching Career Ends
37. Psychiatric Labelling
38. I Find Alice Miller and Slow My Temper
39. Two Extraordinary Incidents
40. I Find Religion
41. A Violent World
42. My Minimal Self
44. Our Dysfunctional Educational System
45. Competition or Cooperation?
46. Defective Parenting in an Unnatural World
47. Technology and the Destruction of Life
48. Visions of a New Society
49. Am I Worthy to Live?
50. People in Little Boxes on a Lousy Earth
At the age of seventeen, I was inducted into the cum laude society of my private school. At the age of eighteen, I reached the finals of a state schoolboy tennis championship. A month later, I entered an Ivy League college. A little more than a year after that, I was labelled a paranoid schizophrenic.
I’m able to tell my story because in 1988, while browsing in a bookstore, I found the former psychoanalyst Alice Miller’s book For Your Own Good: Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence. During the previous sixteen years, I had read about twenty-five hundred books from such disciplines as literature, history, sociology, social criticism, and political science. Almost all of my reading dealt with American life. I acquired wide-ranging, abstract knowledge about American society; yet, I had no knowledge about human development or my own history. Reading Miller’s book, I was stunned. It provided much information about the origin of the severe problems that I had experienced from the age of nineteen, twenty-three years ago. During the subsequent four years, I gained much insight into dysfunctional families while reading widely in the fields of psychology and human development. My wall of silence has been broken down, allowing the truth to emerge. I now understand that the severe stress illness I developed was not caused by a genetic malfunction or biochemical imbalance but by early trauma.
Miller observes, "The truth about childhood as many of us have had to endure it, is inconceivable, scandalous, painful. Not uncommonly, it is monstrous."(1) Yet, until recently, our culture has not encouraged us to take our suffering seriously, particularly our fate as a child.(2) This situation started to change in the 1980s as a torrent of books were published about dysfunctional families and child abuse. This trend is a positive development; it is a start toward fundamental societal reconstruction.
All our experiences need to be digested and "cared for;" in fact, "memory comes from the Greek word for ’to care for’."(3) It is obvious that the facts of childhood can never be changed. People can either stop repressing them and learn to accept them, or they can deny them. Those that totally deny their childhood suffering will make others suffer.
My mother, Florence Eisenberg, was the daughter of a wealthy businessman, Isadore Eisenberg. She was born in a medium-sized New England mill town, Fall River, Massachusetts, on September 28, 1928 and attended the city’s public schools. She was one of the top ten students at her large high school. A poor grade in chemistry prevented her from being close to the top. Florence was in her sophomore year at a Boston-area colllege majoring in sociology when a classmate introduced her to Howard Goldstein. Howard came from a poor Boston family; he had graduated from Boston Latin and was attending a nearby university.
In 1943, Howard volunteered to serve in the Naval Air Corp. He wrote to Florence almost every day from the various campuses and bases at which he was undergoing his training. In 1993, my mother gave me about fifty of his letters. They show that he was very much in love with her. However, "in love" is not love. Nature wants babies, so it evolved the feelings found in courtship. Genuine love is the result of two mature people working hard to develop interpersonal communication skills and empathetic feelings toward their partner’s growth.
Howard was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve on March 6, 1945. On March 10, he married Florence in Boston; then, on March 26, he reported for duty at a naval base in Florida. Having graduated from college in January, his wife joined him for the summer. She lived with a friend in her home near the base. The newlyweds were happy that they were living close to each other. Near the end of June, Florence became pregnant. Late in the summer, she returned to her parents’ home. The atom bomb having been dropped on Japan in early August, the end of the war was in sight. Florence eagerly awaited Howard’s release from the service, which was expected within a few months.
His release date approached as October progressed. He was just about to leave the base to return to Boston when an officer came to inform some of the men that a plane had to be ferried to a base in Oklahoma. Upon realizing that none of the men would volunteer, the officer randomly chose a crew. Howard was one of those chosen. The plane developed mechanical trouble en route; the crew landed it in New Orleans to obtain the needed repairs. Howard was stuck in a hotel for a few days with almost no money. One day he wrote his wife three letters. In his last, he asked whether she could feel the baby kicking yet. A woman should feel fetal movements at approximately four months into her pregnancy.(6) Florence had been carrying me for about this time, so she would have answered affirmatively either immediately or soon thereafter.
Having been fixed, the plane flew to Oklahoma and landed. Florence wired her husband to wait for a friend and fly back to their Florida base together. Howard ignored her advice because he was eager to pick up his release papers in Florida and return to his beautiful and adoring wife in New England. He boarded an Army troop transport plane on the morning of October 31, 1945. All passengers perished when the aircraft crashed into a mountain shortly after takeoff.
Isadore approached his daughter later that day and told her that Howard was dead. Florence was unconsolable; she couldn’t accept the fact that she would never again see alive the man with whom she had expected to spend her life. She was one month past her twenty-second birthday.
Recent research has shown that the most critical determinant of psychological and physiological development is that of important happenings in the womb. Trauma experienced during this period affects the brain system, the hormone balance, and the anatomy of the baby as well as its psychological state. Events are impressed upon the delicate and unsophisticated mind of the fetus with a force that can be matched subsequently only under astounding circumstances.(7) The fact that a mother’s experiences affect her unborn child has long been known. Samuel Taylor Coleridge remarked in Miscellanies Aesthetic and Literary that "the history of man for the nine months preceding his birth would, probably, be far more interesting, and contain certain events of greater moment, than all the three-score and ten years that follow it."(8) A thousand years ago, the Chinese organized prenatal clinics because they felt that a woman’s emotions and biology influenced the personality and mental health of her child.(9)
In the 1980s, a new scientific discipline has arisen: pre- and perinatal psychology, the neurological and psychological study of babies before and during birth. A leader in this field, psychiatrist Thomas Verny, is sure that the foundations of human personality are formed by birth and prenatal experiences.(10) Maternal thoughts and feelings need not irrevocably shape the fetus’s future. They are, however, one very important element in determining a person’s fate in life. Mothers should experience pregnancy as the calm and happy beginning of a new relationship. Unlike genetic inheritance, maternal thoughts and feelings are under the mother’s influence.
After twelve weeks, "the fetal nervous system is fully organized and can fully react to, code, and store trauma."(11) The baby will increasingly be interested in the outside world from the time around the beginning of the second trimester.(12) Imagine the impact that Florence’s hysterical reaction to Howard’s death had upon me.
Yet, her ongoing attitude toward me was much more important than a single event, no matter how traumatic. Pregnancy is a stressful time even without traumatic incidents or heavy baggage from the past. Unconscious problems are greatly magnified during stressful times.(13) My mother had repressed the suffering that she had undergone when she had been severely emotionally abused by her own mother and father. She fell victim to the repetition compulsion. Santayana summed up this psychological mechanism cogently when he remarked that people who can’t remember the past will repeat it. Abused children often identify with the aggressor; upon bearing a child of their own, they are able to reverse roles. Having power now, they have their child at their mercy. These previously abused people see their own parent in the child; in other words, they pretend that the child is their abusive parent and strike back. This contempt for individuals who are smaller and weaker is the best defense against allowing their own feelings of weakness to become conscious.(14) I don’t know Florence’s feelings and thoughts about me while I was a fetus. She was anxious, angry, and depressed; she was surely quite cold and distant toward her unborn child. People who don’t know the truth about their parents and caregivers as well as about themselves are incapable of love.
Chronic stress causes secretion of stress hormones; these hormones travel through the blooodstream to the womb and induce stress in the fetus. The effect is powerful because of the interconnection of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. The brain is a gland too; it produces hormones, has receptors for hormones and is bathed by hormones. Therefore, the nervous system is everywhere in the body. Elizabeth Noble declares, ’’High concentrations of hormones and/or neurotransmitters during critical periods of brain development can permanently affect metabolism, growth, reproduction, information processing, behavior, and immunity."(15) Although going unnoticed, these physical changes become an ongoing part of our psychological makeup. (16)
Dr. Lester W. Sontag published a paper in late 1944 called War and the Maternal-Fetal Relationship. He concentrated solely on threats to the pregnant woman's husband. Scientifically ahead of his time, Dr. Sontag found that stresses which increase maternal neuro-hormonal production increase the fetus’s biological susceptibility to emotional distress. His body machinery having been dramatically changed in utero, the child’s ability to grow and change will be impeded. He will sometimes find that it takes much more effort to function as well as people who have not been damaged in the prenatal period.(17)
Researchers haven’t discovered exactly when the fetal brain and nervous system is most susceptible to excessive stress-related maternal neuro-hormones. Neither has the scientific community found precisely what kinds of changes these neuro-hormones cause in the fetus. However, if the mother becomes upset and withdrawn due to the loss of
her spouse, she will likely cause her child to greatly suffer.(18)
The fetal hypothalamus and its outposts in the body may be most affected; in fact, a Finnish study supplies direct evidence that stress affects hypothalamic development. Drs. Matti 0. Huttunen and Pekka Niskanen wrote an article entitled Prenatal Loss of Father and Psychiatric Disorders in the Archives of General Psychiatry in April 1978. They wanted to find out whether the death of a father would affect a child most before or after birth. Studying their subjects’ histories, the doctors soon discovered that the occurrence of psychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia, was significantly higher among those who had lost their fathers before they were born. The researchers concluded that the hypothalamus, the body’s feeling center, definitely had been affected by the mother’s agitation.(19)
Prenatal mother-infant bonding is more important to their relationship than post-birth bonding. A complex and subtle intrauterine bonding.(20) A complex and subtle intrauterine bonding system causes the fetus to respond to his mother’s deepest feelings and thoughts. The fetus reacts to the emotional content of speech as well as to unspoken attitudes and feelings.(21) Imprints, also known as engrams or memory matrices, have an impact on the unconscious mind of the baby.(22) Within a fraction of a second after his mother becomes fearful, the fetus’s heart will begin pounding at double its normal rate.(23)
Maternal thoughts which make the fetus happy or calm can lay the foundation for a cheerful and serene disposition in life.(24) A secure person is self-confident; he also will have a predisposition to be friendly and extroverted.(25) He develops these traits naturally when he has known from the prenatal period that he is loved. On the other hand, if the womb environment has been hostile, the child will be prepared to find this hostility in the outside world. He will have tendencies toward suspiciousness, distrust, and introversion; he will have difficulty in relating to others and in asserting himself.(26)
The husband’s attitude toward his wife and unborn child is one of the most important factors in securing a favorable outcome for a pregnancy.(27) Leni Schwartz declares: "A man’s awareness of his pregnant partner’s increased needs for tenderness, affection and care can significantly reduce tensions and avoid a retreat into resentful distance, and her sensitivity to his needs is crucial as well.”(28) During the fourth month of pregnancy, the woman should focus on her
relationship with her partner.(29)
Howard and Florence were geographically close to each other for a few months in Florida. They were also psychologically close, continuing their intimacy by mail when Florence returned home. There is no question, however, that they would, have experienced significant problems if Howard had lived. His choice of Florence for a wife was based on dysfunctional patterns in his own family background. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that, in their own way, they truly cared for each other during their short time together.
Stanley Coren in The Left-Hander Syndrome furnishes additional evidence that my neurological problems started in the womb. He explains that some left-handedness is the result of damage sustained before birth or during the birth process itself. According to my mother, as an infant I was strongly left-handed. My nursery school teacher taught me to use my right hand for eating and writing. However, I batted and threw left-handed in baseball and bowled left-handed. The few times I played golf, I did so left-handed. For some unknown reason, I used my right hand in tennis when I started to play at ten years old.
It is difficult to switch a person from left to right-handed; it is successful in only one out of every three or four attempts. It works only if the attempt is made when the individual is quite young and only for the specific actions on which the teacher concentrates.(30)
90 percent of women and 86 percent of men are right-handed. Most left-handedness is the result of "naturally occurring genetic or physiological factors." However, a scientific consensus has developed that a subset of left-handers use that hand because of a neurological or psychological difficulty. The pathology that changes a natural right-hander to a left-hander is probably a neural injury to the left hemisphere of the brain; it can range from minor to very severe.(31) Due to these neural injuries, some individuals who would have developed as normal, consistent right-handers "will get switched off of their programmed main track and onto a side track that leads them to left-handedness."(32) Coren prefers the term "side-track left-hander" rather than "pathological left-hander" to describe these people.
Left-handedness, being a rare trait, can be viewed as a sign or a marker pointing to the existence of other psychological and neurological difficulties. The same type of damage or injury that caused the left-handedness might also cause other difficulties that could influence the individual’s physical or psychological well-being. Most left-handers don’t experience major problems from the injury or damage they have sustained.(33) Nevertheless, "the percentage of left-handers seems to be much higher in groups with an assortment of psychological and physical problems."(34) Samples of schizophrenics contain two to five times more left-handers than are found in non-schizophrenic samples.(35) Left-handed schizophrenics often have more severe symptoms than do right-handers. Generally, left-handers suffering from psychopathology achieve lower scores on most neuro-psychological tests.(36)
One reason that left-handedness can be used as a sign of damage is that control of handedness is neurologically complicated. As many as twenty-three brain centers and neural pathways may take part in deciding handedness and in controlling the hands. Coren notes:
"These include several different movement control systems that originate in the cerebral cortex. Several other centers of control are located in the older sections of the brain (usually referred to as the midbrain), in addition to a set of pathways through the spinal cord and lower brain centers and some pathways between the two hemispheres."(37)
The natural development of handedness may be changed due to injury or damage to any of these areas or arrangements.
The percentage of left-handers in the population declines dramatically as people age. Coren and colleague Clare Porac had gathered information that shows that older left-handers are rare. Among the group of 20-year-olds they measured, about 13 percent were left-handed. But the group of fifty-year-olds they measured contained only 5 percent left-handers. Finally, in the group of people eighty and older, less than one-half of one percent were left-handed. Many other researchers around the world have confirmed this pattern.(38) The fact that left-handers are more accident-prone may be more important than the pathological factor in causing their early deaths.(39)
It is indeed miraculous that, as I write this, I’m fifty-one years old and in reasonably good health.
I was born on March 29, 1946 in a hospital in my mother’s hometown. A University of Cincinnati study has found "that extreme habitual worries, a negative attitude toward motherhood, and a poor relationship with one’s own mother prolonged labor most."(1) My mother has told me that my birth was an easy one. I must have been unusually eager to escape from the womb because her labor was only one and one-half hours long. An unborn child may blame himself for his mother’s unhappiness and try to make her happy by being born easily.(2)
I was a participant in an assembly-line process which functioned as a rite of passage introducing me into technocratic society.(3) Actually, birth is a flexible natural process. Whether it takes place in the hospital and with substantial technological intervention or at home, it will usually conclude satisfactorily.(4) Cultural anthropologist Robbie E. Davis-Floyd finds that hospital birth definitely is not safer than prearranged home birth with a mid-wife.(5)
My short and uncomplicated hospital birth was traumatic. Obstetrician Frederick Leboyer, an advocate of natural childbirth, poetically and vividly makes this clear in Birth Without Violence. Babies definitely feel at birth; therefore, after undergoing hospital-technological birth, I felt horrendous pain.(6) Yet, I was handled roughly in the delivery room. Leboyer describes "the tragic forehead, the screaming mouth, these desperate, pleading, outstretched hands,
these desperate, pleading, outstretched hands, these feet, furiously kicking, the legs curled up to protect the tender stomach, this flesh which is nothing but a mass of spasms, jolts...."(7) Leboyer concludes, "The scars are everywhere: in our flesh, our bones, our backs, our nightmares, our madness, and all the insanity, the folly of this world—its tortures, its wars, its prisons."(8)
I should have stayed on my mother’s belly with my umbilical cord intact.(1) The cord should be left intact while it keeps beating, which is four or five minutes or even longer; my body would then have been able to process physiological changes at its natural rate. With the cord intact, I would have received oxygen until I was ready to breathe on my own. Clamping the cord before my lungs were completely working caused extreme stress. I may still have cried a little when I started breathing on my own; I would not, however, have yelled in f 2 fear.
Historically, the mother has put her infant close to her left breast, where it will spend much time during the initial several months of life. Fathers also instinctively place newborns in this position. John Bowlby called this skin-to-skin contact "attachment behavior," and John Kennell and Marshall Klaus subsequently called it "bonding." Studies disagree on the length of bonding. Some feel it takes place in the first hour or even less time; others limit it to the first four or five hours. Bonding pioneer Dr. Kennell and his team have determined that "its uppermost limit is well under twelve hours." When I wasn’t placed in this position, I developed adrenal overload and shock. This shock severely impaired my maturation. At that time, however, it was a gift from nature, similar to letting loose opiates in the brain to ease psychological stress.
A newborn possesses a single ’’genetically encoded visual circuit”: the skill to perceive and react to a human face which is between six and twelve inches away. Under normal circumstances, an infant will smile when he sees a face; his reaction is crucial to bonding. Within this six to twelve inch space, the baby acts serenely and energetically; outside of it, he feels forsaken and becomes fearful and tense.(5)
97 percent of newborns for the past fifty years haven’t seen a face but only masks and dazzling lights. After an unpleasant and aggravating chemical was put in my eyes, I was bathed,, covered, and sent away to a small sleeping compartment in the nursery. Here, I became aware of two conditions which I didn’t experience in the womb— silence and stillness. Not genetically equipped to deal with this predicament, my adrenals persisted in letting loose steroids. I cried briefly and then became silent.(6)
Various cultural childbirth practices had reduced the potency of the natural bonding process for centuries. However, this practice of taking the baby away from its mother at birth is the overwhelming historical catastrophe. This sensation of desertion is the most destructive happening in life; it emotionally and psychologically incapacitates people.(7) The most damaging kind of loneliness is imprinted in a person when he is taken away from his mother during the crucial first few hours.(8) Had I been placed close to my mother’s heartbeat, my stress hormones should have stopped operating. In my case, due to my mother’s unconscious hatred of me, this natural event would still have been damaging.
A major portion of the brain relates to touch, which is crucial in infancy.(9) The human mother is genetically endowed with the desire to gently massage and stimulate her newborn; she routinely does this in nontechnological countries.(10) Holding her child close to her left breast arouses very old mammalian nurturing intelligences and dormant intuitions in the mother. She should then be able to react aptly to her baby, starting "a great love affair.”(11) On the other hand, too little touching can frequently weaken a person’s physiological and mental health. Lack of touching in infancy and early childhood can lead to adult difficulties with sociability, "including feelings of alienation, estrangement, detachment, isolation, personal inadequacy and lack of identity....”(12)
Under ordinary circumstances, I would have felt secure when I sensed my mother’s rhythms, smell, touch, voice, and breast.(13) However, if a caregiver communicates with an infant in an indifferent, suppressive, or wrathful way, he is telling the baby that he is being rejected and, perhaps, even is some peril.(14) When my mother finally did start interacting with me, she was indifferent if not immediately hostile; she continued to radiate tense and anxious feelings during my childhood and adolescence.
The four most important needs for bonding are: "holding, with a body molding of the infant to one’s self; prolonged and steady eye contact; smiling; and soothing sounds." Breast-feeding supplies all of these behaviors at once; it is the tactile event that is most important in instituting a feeling of emotional stability in babies.(15) Body stimulus must be added to it. Formula and bottle-feeding replaced breast-feeding in industrialized nations after World War II; they were
recommended as being scientifically safer and more advanced than breast-feeding. This generation was the first to be nursed on rubber nipples fastened to glass, and then plastic, bottles. Bottle-feeding is compatible with the philosophy behind hospital-technological birth. It is excellent training for life in an unnatural environment which is heavily dependent on machines. Furthermore, the corporation and the marketplace have commodified this personal maternal action. This takeover is in accord with the general tendency toward commodification of all components of the natural world.(16)
This type of feeding is not solely responsible for subsequent behavior; the overall behavior of the mother is crucial.Cultural anthropologist Ashley Montagu notes: "Overfeeding, underfeeding, scheduling, demand, pacing of rate of baby’s intake, handling, arbitrary feedings, amount of physical contact, mother’s acceptance of the baby, mother’s stability, marital adjustment, and many other factors are involved in the feeding situation.(17) The mother’s actions are so important because her infant becomes a social human being during the first six months of life.(18) He comes into the world with a basic biological impulse to associate with other people and to encourage others to associate with him.(19) The baby learns how to get his mother to play with him; he becomes an expert at maintaining and regulating the flow of a social exchange. In other words, he learns to relate to someone by creating and sharing experiences. Dr. Stern states:
"Besides the gratification of feeding and warmth, these involve the mutual creation of shared pleasure, joy, interest, curiosity, thrills, awe, fright, boredom, laughter, surprise, delight, peaceful moments, silences, resolving distress, and many other such elusive phenomenon and experience that make up the stuff of friendship and love."(20)
Each mother develops her own style and usually performs her actions in a natural, almost unconscious way. She makes faces, uses baby talk, moves her head and body in unique ways, and adopts certain positions and rhythms in her interaction with her child.
The first two years feature the development of attachment and separation behaviors. The infant smiles, gazes, clings, and coos; he averts his gaze, stares, and develops momentary inhibitions in the periods between interactions. Although there is no exact timetable that shows when a baby may be said to be in relationship, he displays a number of behaviors by the end of the first year that point to the fact that a relationship has begun.(21) His relationship with his mother becomes the model for all his subsequent interpersonal communications.(22) During the second year, separation behaviors develop. Mobility, walking away, and becoming involved with objects are the primary behaviors. Gazing back at mother and periodic vocalizations fill the gaps.(23)
What are the qualities that a good mother displays toward a one-year old child? D. Stayton and her colleagues give these answers. She is sensitive to the baby’s signals and communications. Capable of seeing situations from his viewpoint, she responds quickly and properly. The mother accepts almost everything about the baby’s behavior, and she accepts the responsibility of taking care of him even if it restricts her activities. She does not try to impose her will on the baby; when control is necessary, she tries to make the child see that her action is helping him.(24) Self-esteem, therefore, is initially "an active organismic" matter rather than a symbolic one; it evolves from the primal physical involvement of the baby with his caregivers and his early environment.(25)
I lived with my mother in her parents' house until I was approximately one and one half years old. I’m not sure whether her younger brother Morris and her older sister Selma were living there at this time. Colleen O'Leary, the live-in maid, helped to take of me. In 1954, she married a retired twenty-year Navy veteran and moved to a town about fifty miles away. As a young adult, I visited her occasionally until she died of cancer at the age of sixty. I told her that I loved her just before she died.
My mother remarried when I was almost one and one-half years old. The couple soon moved to their own apartment. I was alone with her all day until I was approximately three years old. Florence emotionally terrorized me to the point that she cut off all feeling. Many children from disturbed families suppress their emotions; the most damage is caused by blocking feelings very early in life. They are routinely told that they'll soon have something to weep about and are warned not to ever shout at their caregivers or suffer drastic consequences.(1) My mother employed these types of remarks frequently. The old saying that sticks and stones can break a person's bones but words can't hurt him is wrong. As the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse declares, words can injure a person as badly as a fist.(2)
Florence projected her belligerent feelings onto me and overreacted to any of my aggressive responses. She saw to it that I became defenseless and emotionally controlled by her. My mother had an unconscious wish to inhibit my emotional responses because they would intrude on her own defenses. The thicker the parent’s defenses, the more antagonism is shown toward the child.(3) Any affectionate response by me would have threatened to break up her emotionally deadened state and put her in touch with her own distress and unhappiness.(4) Hating herself, Florence proceeded to ruin my spirit and stimulate heavy guilt feelings in me. Dr. Theodore Rubin points out that self-hate is the most powerful "antitherapeutic" force in the world. Its ability to cause catastrophic outcomes is virtually unrestricted.(5)
Youngsters comprehend when they are being ill-used. Had I continued to express my pain and angry feelings, I would have given away the family secret that my parents—especially my mother—were not capable of providing me with "love-food.(6) Like a child described in The Drama of the Gifted Child, I "became totally reserved, polite, and good, and no longer showed any emotional reactions."(7) I formed a fantasy bond with her. This bond starts in infancy and continues in childhood; it is "an illusion of connection with the mother" that reduces nervous tension and emotional distress when genuine love is lacking. (8)I thought that by behaving perfectly I could win her love. This, of course, was impossible, because of her own psychological difficulties.(9) Bond in this usage really means bondage or restriction of liberty. This reaction is similar to that of a person lost in a desert who visualizes that the sand is actually water. Taking a large quantity into his hands, he imagines that it feels moist and cool and tastes invigorating.(10)
I was repeatedly made to feel guilty; I felt vulnerable and powerless.(11) Clusters of these traumas may be called "frozen governing scenes;" they are frozen because the victim constructs defenses in order to block his mental anguish.(12) These scenes were imprinted in my neurological system.(13)
My most important right, the freedom to form my own personality, had been stolen from me.(14) I found myself in a situation similar to that of a prisoner of war or an inmate in a concentration camp. I had to remove myself mentally in some way from the sense of lacking protection from an antagonistic person; through this tactic, I could retain hope and survive.(15) Children’s feelings are powerful in ideal circumstances.(16) The less competent the parents, the more pain a child will feel. Completely numbing one’s feelings removes the pain from consciousness; this strategem is usually employed by males.(17) I split off my feelings of fear, sadness, and rage. Numb in body and mentally mystified, I entered a deep trance. The more pain a person suffers, the more likely that he will enter this type of
profound trance.(18) My mental fixation, known as "cognitive closure" brought about inflexibility and a tremendous loss of liberty.(19)
I had entered a Kafkaesque world. Alice Miller in Thou Shalt Not Be Aware devotes a chapter to this genius’s childhood suffering. She sees unmistakable indications of this sensitive writer’s anguish on every page of his fiction.(20) He dissociated his feelings from the parents who had emotionally abandoned him. Characterized by his nursemaid as an "obedient" and "good" child, Kafka "had a quiet disposition."(21)
"How great, how irrepressible must have been Kafka’s hunger for a sympathetic ear in his childhood, for someone who would respond genuinely to his questions, fears, and doubts without using threats or showing anxiety, who would share his interests, sense his feelings and not mock them. How great must have been his longing for a mother who showed interest in and respect for his inner world. Such respect, however, can be given a child only if one has learned to take oneself seriously as a person as well."(22)
I must have had similar feelings.
My plight was analogous to that of the condemned soldier in Kafka’s In the Penal Colony. In this story, a soldier is about to be executed for insubordination and arrogance to a superior. The officer in charge is using a machine that will torture and then kill the condemned man. A Harrow will inscribe on the prisoner's body the phrase: "HONOR THY SUPERIORS!”(23) The Harrow will write deeper and deeper for twelve hours, with the condemned man suffering great pain and growing progressively more silent and weaker. He will begin to understand the sentence at about the sixth hour. Finally, he is supposed to be tossed into a pit and buried. The soldier doesn’t even realize that he has been sentenced. He is assumed to be guilty and doesn’t have an opportunity to mount a defense. He learns about the sentence as the harrow’s needles implant their message in his body.
The officer is now the sole open defender of this old procedure; however, he finally realizes that it is time to discontinue it. Therefore, he frees the condemned man before he dies. The officer switches places with the soldier. Defective now, the machine murders the officer outright instead of slowly torturing him.
My mother tortured me by means of emotional battering, carrying out her sentence for what she deemed was extreme disobedience to her. Her message, Honor THY SUPERIORS! was deeply engraved in my unconscious. I had no real opportunity to mount a defense.
Florence behaved in this manner because she had been severely abused by both her parents. Her mother Majorie, a homemaker, had severely emotionally abused her. Isadore, her father, had physically assaulted her in addition to harshly criticizing her. However, he was mostly preoccupied with his business affairs. Isadore had wanted to to practice medicine but lacked the money to attend college. He had worked at a series of relatively menial jobs until he started an automobile finance agency. My grandfather lost everything at the start of the Depression; however, he rebuilt his business and was affluent by the end of the 1930s. Isadore later invested in the stock market, in which he enjoyed considerable success.
Although unable to consciously recall the vulnerability of her earliest years, Florence saw it reflected in me.(24) As a mother herself, she had the power to seek revenge; she no longer had to be a victim but could make a weaker person suffer by breaking his will.(25) That her retaliation was not against the same person who originally made her suffer didn’t bother her. She was willing to take revenge upon an innocent child. As a perpetrator, she had persuaded herslef that I had to be disciplined; she was using the tactic of blaming the victim.(26) This coping mechanism, however, was not a genuine solution to her difficulties. My mother could not even be certain that her will was her own; she basically had assumed her own mother’s identity.(27) Identification with the aggressor is a strategem of the impotent, of those who are so overpowered by the antagonistic force attacking them that only magic can prevent obliteration.(28) Undoubtedly, she unconsciously retained bad feelings about her actions because she had to quash her natural tendency to empathize with herchild.(29)
Schmookler declares, "The ancient biblical line tells us: As ye sow, so shall ye reap. To this insight can be added: As the world sows in us, so shall it reap from us."(30) My mother parented her children in the same style in which she was raised. Undoubtedly, my great-grandparents were also raised in this abusive manner.(31) Subjected to this abuse, Florence experienced traumatic "learning at the deepest level about how relations among human beings are to be conducted, about how one navigates between life and death.”(32)
The ability to feel anger is crucial in producing an individual with a strong identity In fact, refusing to allow a child to express his anger and suffering is the greatest cruelty that can be inflicted upon him. Emotions are kinds of bodily energy. Fueling an individual’s most basic powers, they communicate to him when one of his needs is in danger. The greater the shame and rejection that are heaped on the youngster’s true self, the weaker his sense of self. I developed an irrational impulse to protect my mother, bonding to her by my perfect behavior.(33) This behavior had a weak foundation. Psychologists Michael Schulman and Eva Mekler point out that "the opposite of an oppositional child is not an obedient one. It is a respectful and cooperative one."(34) My early anger was a healthy source of energy; I
had to employ a great deal of energy to repress it.(35) Anger doesn’t mean acting out behavior like hitting, cursing, screaming; these are judgmental behaviors rather than emotions.(36)
My unconscious emotional life became heavily laden with fear as my ostensibly innocent play was treated as deserving of punishment. Sandor Ferenczi notes, "When the child recovers from such an attack, he feels extremely confused, in fact already split, innocent and guilty at the same time; indeed his confidence in the testimony of his own senses has been destroyed."(37) Psychiatrist Peter Breggin makes a useful distinction between guilt and shame. Experiencing guilt, the person is inclined to blame himself; he believes that he is responsible for his own misbehavior. He has brought his punishment on himself and merits it. Experiencing shame, the person usually blames other people. They are insulting, ruling or excluding him; they are making him feel like he is valueless, flawed, a nonentity, an alien.(38) In my case, I introjected heavy guilt feelings.
My fate was similar to that of the protagonist in Kafka’s The Trial. Joseph K., who holds a relatively high position in a bank is arrested in his apartment by two coarse warders. K. is puzzled about the men’s identities and who they represent. They represent the higher authorities, who are parental introjects. The warders tell K. not to annoy them; they claim that they are probably looking out for his good more than anybody else on earth. Upon being offered identity papers by K., the warders admonish him that he’s conducting himself "worse than a child."(39) In fact, during his long trial, K. is treated like a guilty child by both opponents and supporters.
The Court in which he is tried has never given an outright acquittal to a defendent. K. doesn’t even know the exact charges and is presumed guilty. He has entered a complicated and treacherous maze from which it is impossible to emerge safely.
On the night preceding the accused man's thirty-first birthday, two warders come to his residence. Going into the street with them, he abruptly recognizes the uselessness of opposition. The banker and the two men go to a quarry. One of them takes out a butcher’s knife, which K. sees that he is supposed to stab into his own breast. However, one warder clutches K.'s throat while the other pushes the knife far into his heart and rotates it there twice. The banker feels intense shame in dying like a dog.
My mother assumed that I was bad, hence guilty, just because I existed. Sometimes she was pleasant and bought me nice clothes and toys and took me interesting places. Suddenly, she would turn abusive and accuse me of all kinds of terrible deeds. Florence had no proper comprehension of human relations, either in dealing with me or with other people. She rationalized that she was simply teaching me to behave properly. Her verbal attacks were similar to the twisting of a knife into my heart. I didn’t have a defense counsel. Finally, I sensed that it was hopeless to fight this Court; I also sensed that I would have to admit guilt and change my behavior.
Her criticisms damaged my body, whose biochemistry had already been altered in utero. It has recently been discovered that the intercommunication between the brain and bodily systems is total. An onslaught by means of criticism, rejection, or abuse affects the brain and body like a virus; the muscular system, the visceral system, and the ideational system are simultaneously affected.(40) Besides repressing my feelings, I also started to tense my muscles to block anger.
We receive our knowledge of the world through our five senses; yet, our senses have even more significance for us. Dr. Deepak Chopra observes that "we literally metabolize our environment through our senses." Every sensation I experienced became the molecules of my body. Hormones were released which triggered the release of other hormones—insulin, glucagon, growth hormones—and caused many other bodily changes. A Vedic expression points out: "If you want to know what your experiences were like in the past, just examine your body now. And if you want to know what your body will look like in the future, examine your experiences now."(41)
My brain’s biochemistry was affected. A study by the National Center for the Study of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder found that a single calamitous occurrence when a person lacks control changes brain chemistry. Upon being severely threatened, my brain released "certain hormones called catechalamines."(42) These hormones augment the body’s energy, making it ready to struggle or flee. Catecholamines are the essential substances which constitute anger and fear, emotions which help the individual to survive.
Human beings possess three different principal minds. The survival mind is concerned with physical operations such as breathing and maintenance of regular blood pressure. The feeling mind gives rise to and utilizes emotions or feelings. Lastly, a verbal, logical, thinking mind utilizes language and figures out problems. They are interconnected in the brain, yet are segregated entities which have distinct uses. The minds operate on three different tiers of consciousness, with the gating system separating the layers.(43)
Customarily, a feeling or way of thinking that an individual has toward another person, thing, or action involves the three levels of consciousness operating together. However, when the feeling is overpowering, the changeable interrelations among the levels is shattered. This happened to me when I experienced the feeling that my mother didn’t like me at an early age. At this point, "fragmentation and blocking" took place between the levels.(44) Suffering a succession of psychological traumas which my brain was unable to consolidate, I became unconscious early in life.(45) In other words, as Harvey Jackins observes, when an emotion associated with a painful occurrence is obstructed, the mind can’t assess or fully understand the occurrence. The obstruction of emotional energy is augmented each time a comparable incident happens. This blocking prevented me from entertaining thoughts about escaping from my home environment or living in a home that was like Ozzie and Harriet’s on television.
Gating is the main way that pain is repressed. Our brain’s electrical system and a chemical analogue work in association to gate pain. Gating stops the large number of electrical impulses which create pain from arriving at the upper tiers of the brain.(46) Additionally, a morphine-like chemical in the upper brain stem called endomorphine or endorphin both gates and deals with pain. There are many different types of endorphins, each having a different use; endorphin reserves may be depleted by recurrent stress. To deal with overwhelming pain, the receptor sites in the brain may greatly increase in number. Finally, brain hormones called neurotransmitters are formed in and released from the gaps between nerve cells called synapses. These substances also keep in check or increase the pain signals.(47)
The more pain the organism suffers, the great the degree of gating. Gating can occur when one physical or psychological stress produces severe pain or when a cumulative effect overloads the brain.(48) It prevents feeling and sensation from reaching the thinking level of the brain, and it stops ideas and thoughts from influencing the emotional level. The thinking brain tries to repress past responses and memories, especially those ''deeply grooved imprints (neuronal pathways) created by overwhelming stress and trauma.”(49) Signals of "restraint and inhibition” are transmitted between the nerve cell pathways by the endorphins; however, they do not eliminate pain from the system.(50) The tension and pain stay in the limbic system and cause an imbalance in the brain which waits for liberation and unity.(51) Gating ensured my survival.(52) It helped me as a child but eventually harmed me. In fact, this loss of contact with one’s inner world can eventually lead to loss of contact with the outer world.(53)
I’ve mentioned that at approximately one and one-half years old I moved to an apartment with my mother and her new husband. Florence had been introduced to James Rubin by the son of one of her father’s business partners. James was working locally for his uncles who owned a jewelry store. He had been born in Tulsa, Oklahoma where his father Harold had owned a Goodyear tire distributorship servicing that entire state. Harold had become wealthy, but he had lost his wealth when the Depression struck. Having extended too much credit, he lost the business when his customers couldn’t pay him. James had a governess and chauffeur; he was severely traumatized when he lost this life style at about ten years old. Harold died soon afterward. James started drinking at fifteen. During the twenty years he was married to Florence, his mother never called him.
His mother Sadie took in boarders for awhile; she then married wealthy Saul Sokoll. He descended from a family of European tailors who had started a line of clothes in America. Sadie and Saul moved to an apartment hotel in Chicago. They sent James to a New England prep school, where he captained the football team. He started college at the University of Texas and transferred to Tulane University, from which he graduated.
Dorothy declined James’s marriage proposal to her on their first date but married him several months later. James soon adopted me. Our family lived in an apartment for about one and one-half years. At three years old, I moved with my parents into a new Cape Cod bungalow that Isadore bought our family. It cost $13,500 and was located in a good middle-class neighborhood.
My first memories begin around the age of five. I remember playing with two children, Paul Smith and Linda Golden. I remember a motorcycle stopping in front of our house. The driver rang the bell and told my mother that he had run over and killed our dog Ginger. In 1993, I went to offer condolences to Linda upon her mother’s death. It was our first meeting in over thirty years. She said, ’’You had a dog named Ginger. I couldn’t have a dog, so she was my dog too.” Our family then got a small mongrel dog named Blackie, who lived with us for thirteen years before dying of cancer.
My mother had read to me and taught me to read before I entered the first grade. She tried unsuccessfully to have me skip the first grade because I was already such a good reader. I then went to the second grade at the newly constructed King School about five blocks from home; I stayed there until graduating in the sixth grade.
School was in session from 8:30 to 11:30 A.M. with a fifteen minute recess. In good weather, I walked the five blocks to my house at 11:30; eating quickly, I returned to the schoolyard to play. After school, I often returned to the field behind the asphalt schoolyard in order to play baseball with the real equipment. In the autumn, I played touch football on the grass in front of the school. Easily learning to ride a bicycle, I travelled all over the neighborhood on it. I still have a book of snapshots of my classmates from the fourth grade. In front is a section that says, ”1 like.”; the only line that is filled in has the single word "sports.”
The King School was considered a good one in the traditional educational paradigm. There were about thirty-five children in each of my classes; approximately thirty of them were Jewish. These middle-class Jewish families stressed education. Most of the children had little difficulty learning in school; many of them eventually graduated from prestigious universities and pursued various professional careers. We studied basic math, reading, geography, history, music, art, spelling, and penmanship. We began to study Spanish in the sixth grade. I received mostly As in the academic subjects but didn’t do well in music, art, and penmanship. I never spoke to the other children in class or participated in mischief; therefore, I got As in behavior. Psychiatrist Breggin declares, ’’Psychiatry has no diagnoses for children who are too conforming, too inhibited, and just plain too good.”(1)
My encounter with books wasn’t limited to public school. Through the first seven grades, I attended Hebrew school twice a week from 4:30 P.M. to 6:00; I also attended Sunday school. At night, I often did independent reading. I read almost all the books in two series: the Bobsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. I also enjoyed reading about historical events and biographies of famous people. During my childhood and adolescence, I never learned how to do anything else well except study academic subjects.
My elementary school years weren’t totally filled with scholastic endeavors. I collected stamps, played with a Lionel train set in our basement, and listened to distant stations on a short-wave radio. I had friends and sometimes slept overnight at their homes.
The limited time that my father spent with me during my childhood and adolescence revolved around sports. He played catch and threw pitches to me with a rubber ball in our driveway. We shot baskets together, using a basketball hoop fastened to a board on top of the front of our garage. Indoors, we played darts and a game in which we tried to throw or bounce marbles into a box.
James and I were also avid spectators at sporting events. We went to Fenway Park in Boston to see the Red Sox play several times a summer. My father and I also saw the Boston Celtics play two or three times a season. In addition, we followed sports closely on television.
I also played sports at summer camp. I went to a local day camp at the ages of five and six; I then went to an overnight camp on Cape Cod for two summers. Finally, from the ages of nine to seventeen, I spent the summer at Camp Indian Lake on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.
I began to play tennis in New Hampshire. I demonstrated excellent lateral movement; I also had excellent eye-hand coordination. I didn’t, however, have any formal instruction when I started playing and developed a weird style. I hit my forehand and backhand with the same side of the strings and bent my elbow when I hit my forehand.
Having little power, I was the type of player who is called a retriever. My style of play was similar to my tense and inhibited psychological mindset. As I got older, I became one of the best players in the camp; I was also an excellent table-tennis player. I didn’t learn the proper grips in that sport either but eventually became the best player among the campers. I was also able to beat all but a few counselors. Camp Indian Lake was a general summer camp. Therefore, I also participated in baseball, capture-the-flag, riflery, basketball, and swimming. I excelled, however, only in racquet sports.
Overall, I was well provided with food, clothing, shelter, physical activity, and entertainment. Unfortunately, the emotional atmosphere of the Rubin household was toxic. The effects of the early abuse that that my mother had suffered continued to manifest themselves. Florence was the primary stressor in our dysfunctional family. Bradshaw notes, "Anyone who becomes controlling in the family to the point of being experienced as a threat by the other members initiates the dysfunction."(2) She fought constantly with her own mother. She managed to insult and lose almost all her friends; she also spewed forth a never-ending barrage of insults at my father. Often she would berate her spouse for things that had happened weeks or even years ago.
James reacted to the stressful situation at home by withdrawing from it. He worked in a branch office of my grandfather’s automobile financing agency with my uncle Morris. Isadore paid my father a decent but not large salary. James was on the road most of the time visiting automobile dealers and repossessing cars while Morris ran the office. James started coming home later and later most nights to escape from my mother’s harangues; sometimes he didn’t come home until after midnight. Florence would go to bed early and set her alarm for quarter to twelve. She was waiting for him to open the door so that she could deliver her tirade. James was generous in buying his spouse material things such as jewelry and clothes; he also took her on several substantial vacations. However, nothing that he ever did for Florence or bought her satisfied her for long.
James felt that he deserved his wife’s abuse, for he accepted it without really fighting back. They were both half-people involved in an entrapment or enmeshment. Neither could leave; as the years passed, their fear of surviving on their own grew.(3) Periodically, she would throw James out of the house. He would sleep in a motel for a week or two and then come home.
Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm notes that "man can attempt to become one with the world by submission to a person, to a group, to an institution, or god." He thus goes beyond his personal life by becoming a part of something bigger than himself. His identity is submerged into somebody or something to which he has submitted. On the other hand, man can attempt to merge with the world by having power, by dominating others and making them a part of himself.(4)
Cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker points out that in romantic love a partner can become God to the other partner. Therefore, he can also become the Devil. One becomes dependent on the other partner for self-justification whether in the masochistic sense of becoming a slave or the sadistic sense of becoming a God. However, the attempt of one human being to act as a god to another is doomed to fail because a spiritually potent god must be an abstract object. This type of relationship "is too narrow a fetishization of meaning"; therefore, the partners become dissatisfied.(5)
My parents’ marriage was another fantasy bond; it provided an illusion of connection which was as addictive as alcohol or drugs.(6) James had severely repressed his pain and was willing to relinquish self-determination and governance of his own life. He was gripped by a strong emotional hunger caused by the emotional malnutrition he suffered as a child.(7) The amount and persistence of regression or reversion to childlike behavior in a fantasy bond are the result of numerous changeable factors. Regression functions to lessen anxiety and to nourish an imaginary security. The most important element affecting regression is the degree of emotional impoverishment and needless discomfiture resulting from unsatisfactory or heartless mothering.(8)
The nature of the social intercourse between a couple is a sign of whether or not a bond exists. A positive relationship features candid dialogue and leads to friendship based on genuine amicability and parity.(9) Feeling deficient, James experienced the need for the scoldings that Florence was only too willing to administer to him.(10) Having someone pay attention to him, in however negative a way, provided him with some assurance.(11) Their bond turned into a "death pact" which narcotized them, dulling their pain and feelings of emotional starvation. Additional feelings of self-reproach, dismay, and compulsion drove them to sustain their defenses.(12) No matter how turbulent their relationship became, they feared separating and becoming independent people.
Under the best of conditions, being a good parent is the toughest job in the world. In order to have been good parents, Florence and James would have had to be mentally healthy and been able to take care of their own needs. They would have had to support each other wholeheartedly. Most important, they would have had to make their own inner child healthy again.(13) Bradshaw elaborates:
"The job of parents is to model. Modeling includes how to be a man or woman; how to relate intimately to another person; how to acknowledged and express emotions; how to fight fairly; how to have physical, emotional, and intellectual boundaries; how to communicate; how to cope and survive life’s unending problems; how to be self-disciplined; how to love oneself and another. Shame-based parents cannot do any of these. They simply don’t know how."(14)
It's obvious that my mother was out of control and unapproachable. However, my father was at least partly physically unavailable and wholly emotionally unavailable. These behaviors constitute covert/ emotional abuse.(15) This was devastating to my development because to feel like a man a boy must be loved by a man. In other words, I didn’t bond with James. Bradshaw comments, "Bonding involves spending time together, showing feelings, warmth, touching and displaying desire to be with one another."(16) My father never told me anything about how to be a man. He never told me anything about the, business world or American society; he never advised me how to make my way in these systems.
Nobody in our family ever talked openly about any painful feelings, thoughts, or experiences that were causing so much distress.(17) This was also catastrophic to my development because a child builds a feeling of security through the dialogue he carries on with his parents. I should have learned to handle complicated internal difficulties. In order to develop self-esteem, I would have had to experience parental warmth, definite boundaries, and courteous usage.
Upon entering junior high school in the seventh grade, I started my serious academic work. Neither of my parents had fulfilled their career dreams. My father had wanted to go to law school. My mother had been offered a chance to do graduate work at Harvard University researching juevenile delinquency with famous professors Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck. Instead, she had married Howard Goldstein. I didn’t know that my parents wanted me to be a lawyer, but I did sense that they wanted me to get high grades. Taking advantage of me to support their desires was covert abuse.(1) This usage of a child is called "dyadic enmeshment"; it is the most injurious and crazy-making type of emotional abuse.(2)
Possessing disparate knowledge and power, I was more than willing to become a superachiever to gain the recognition and sense of being special that these pursuits brought me. This is not surprising because a child normally "accepts to predicate his whole being on the vocabulary of motives learned from his parents."(3) Doing well in school was the only way I could generate any feeling of self-esteem at all. My fear of failure was so great because of the extraordinary difficulty I faced in winning recognition of worth from my parents.
Many pedagogic psychologists measure intellectual growth by a child’s success in handling and mastering abstractions at an early age. However, the kind of effort and skill necessary to succeed in this task is precisely the kind that "blocks off those areas of children’s emotional life—joy, sorrow, high spirits, and despair—which form the only basis for true independence or autonomy.”(4) It is misguided to equate progress in cognitive development with progress in personal development. Regarding a child as a possession to be controlled and shaped toward a particular goal will badly stunt his vital growth.(5)
In the seventh grade, I was placed in a special class of about thirty-five high achievers. Allowing academic achievement to dominate my life, I developed a neurotic style of being over-intellectual. Addicted to abstractions, I fell into an inflexible way of life. Called intellectualization by psychologists, this defense provided me with a way to block out what was happening in my home. My study time in the seventh and eighth grades was substantial but not totally out of control. I studied three or four hours each night of the week and five or six hours on weekends.
I had reached puberty, a time when feelings are supposed to be intense; however, I felt nothing at all. I was just a little further removed from my feelings than many of my classmates. Bradshaw states that most American families, schools, and churches do not promote fun, spontaneity, and emotional express. He declares:
"The schools I went to taught me to learn ’not to talk’, to stand straight in line, not to ask too many questions, to memorize great quantities of material, to learn a number of things I’ve never used again (solid geometry, years of Latin, diagramming sentences).(6)
This statement describes my experiences perfectly.
I earned mostly As through the eighth grade at my junior high school. My parents had tried to send me to an excellent private day school in a nearby town. I was afraid to go because I would have been behind the other students in certain subjects. I would have soon caught up because I was highly motivated; I wouldn’t, however, take a chance on receiving lower grades for even a short time. My parents then inquired about sending me to an elite private school about a half hour from home. The admissions office informed them that the school didn’t accept boarders until the tenth grade.
I finally went to a respectable but hardly elite Episcopalian school in New Hampshire. My grandfather knew a banker on the Board of Trustees who arranged for me to be admitted. There were only two other Jewish students in my class. This was the first time that I had gone to school with mostly non-Jewish youngsters. It could have been a positive experience to go to school with children of different faiths; however, I remained socially isolated.
I studied between classes and every weekday night; I also studied most of Saturday and Sunday. My academic subjects were Algebra 1, English, Spanish, Latin, Biology, and Religious Studies. I was particularly good at memorizing foreign language grammatical rules and words. I finished the year as the second or third ranked student in my grade. In the spring, the headmaster called me to his office and told me that it wasn’t necessary to spend so much time studying. However, I continued studying in exactly the same way.
The fall sports were soccer and football. I was small and thin; nevertheless, I chose football! I entered near the end of a few games; I remember actually carrying the ball once. The winter sports were skiing, hockey, and basketball. Hating the cold weather and snow, I wasn’t interested in outdoor winter sports. Therefore, I went out for basketball. I sometimes played in practice sessions but never played on the team officially. During the short spring season, I played tennis; I was the seventh or eighth player on the team and didn’t play in matches. Of course, I was only a freshman. Furthermore, I was totally out of shape.
I told my parents that I didn’t want to return to this school for the tenth grade. As an excellent student, I was quickly accepted by a good country day school about a fifteen munute drive from my home. My father drove me to school in the tenth grade on his way to work. I got a ride home with the mother of another student who lived in my neighborhood. I obtained my driver’s license soon after my sixteenth birthday. After receiving a new Ford Mustang at the beginning of my junior year, I drove to school for the next two years.
The tenth grade was the height of my formal academic career. I received As in the five subjects I took: English, Geometry, Latin, European History, and Spanish. I was, like Bradshaw, "Rigid, obsessive, overly controlled and obedient, people pleasing and ravished with shame and guilt."(7) Rigidity of roles increases as family dysfunction increases.(8) Perfectionism and accusation were the cardinal principles shaping the roles in our family.(9) The principle of perfectionism probably does the most harm and causes the most mystification. Trying for perfection, I never believed that I had achieved enough. My unconscious self-hatred and guilt increased along with my academic achievement.
I was able to preserve my mental balance by this emphasis on abstractions. Although temporarily escaping dangerous tension, I was nevertheless quite ill psychologically. I managed to relieve my apprehension, but my progressive path inward crippled my adaptation to the realities of social intercourse. Utilizing this extremely defensive lifestyle, I was rapidly descending into an "autistic fantasy.(10)
My plight was similar to that of the trapeze artist in Kafka’s short story A Hunger Artist. In the first section of the story, entitled "First Sorrow," a trapeze artist stays continually on his trapeze day and night as long as he is in the same building. He is initially motivated to improve his skill level, but subsequently he continues his isolation because he has become accustomed to it. He finds the position on the trapeze to be very good for his physical health; his psychological health, however, is not as not as good. The artist suffers anxieties that his manager fears will become increasingly worse. Furthermore, his social life suffers.
The second section of the story is entitled A Little Woman. This section is narrated in the first person. The artist as narrator states that the woman is experiencing emotional and physical suffering because she allows herself to be annoyed by him. He insists that there is no love affair between them. In fact, he declares that "she is a complete stranger to me" and "shows not a trace of friendliness toward me....”(11) The narrator realizes this and doesn’t allow himself to become as disturbed by her violent emotional outbursts as he used to become. He knows that the relationship will probably not reach a pivotal crisis....
The third section of the story is called A Hunger Artist. The artist is in a cage fasting. He doesn't want to stop fasting after even the longest fixed term—forty days. He wants to become famous by setting the all time record for fasting. His accomplishment must be unimaginable.
The hunger artist lived this way for many years, enjoying only slight periods of recovery. He was acclaimed by the world but in spite of this he was emotionally disturbed. Yet, nobody paid any attention to his problem. The artist tells an overseer that he cat.'t help fasting. The performer feels that it is hopeless to fight "against a whole world of non-understanding...."(12) Fasting is imperative, he declares, because he is unable to discover food that he enjoys. Had he found it, he would have filled himself like anyone else would do. The artist dies after uttering these words. However, his dimming eyes show that he believes that he is still fasting.
I sensed rejection early in life. Miller asks, "What is a newborn to do, however, whose mother experiences him as threatening (perhaps because she sees one of her parents in him) and passes along to him with her milk rejection, fear, and not infrequently a need for revenge?"(13) I became silent and progressively more distant from people. I became a "reading artist." Unfortunately, this tactic didn't promote genuine psychological health. My fear, rage, and anxieties were still firmly lodged below awareness.
My relationship with my mother was similar to that of the narrator and the little woman. Florence was greatly annoyed by me. Totally remote from me, she didn’t demonstrate any affection. My good behavior avoided a conclusive crisis but didn’t change her negative attitude.
I didn’t want to stop studying even after ten hours; I wanted to be the greatest student of all time. Only short periods of summer vacation provided recuperation. Although acclaimed by my family and teachers for my scholastic abilities, I was sinking further and further into a schizoid existential state. Nobody paid the slightest attention to the internal suffering that impelled me to such feats of obsessive studying. Had I found the food I liked, I wouldn’t have spent so much time on academics and socialized more. As will become clear, I almost but didn’t die from my compulsive activity.
Another way of viewing my plight is to say that I had developed a false self and was playing a rigid role. I was trying desperately to prove that the negative self-concept that I had introjected from my mother was wrong. This constellation "of negative traits, feelings, and attitudes" may be called "the voice."(14) It is only partially conscious and speaks a deceitful language of self-destruction. It contains the repressed fury that the person has constantly felt toward himself.^ Self-evaluations that are authentically negative but fair are quite different to those delivered by the voice, which are filled with malice. The voice impedes the display of emotion, weakens logical thought, and undermines the attainment of genuine aims and happiness.
In the tenth grade, I continued my memorization feats in Spanish and Latin. In geometry, I could work out the problems and do well on exams. I didn’t, however, really understand what I was learning or realize that I would never have any use for it.
My European history class had an examination at three week intervals. I spent so much time studying the textbook that I almost memorized the chapter; I then was able to regurgitate this material flawlessly during the test. Studying a history textbook is a boring way to learn this inherently interesting subject. A young student is much better off studying original documents and reading genuine books on the subject. Later, he can spend a short time reading a textbook to fill in the gaps in his knowledge.(18) In the tenth grade, I didn’t know this, and I wouldn’t have cared anyway. My eyes would have stayed riveted to the textbook so that I could win a prize in the form of an ”A”.
In English, in the tenth through twelfth grades, we read plays by such classic authors as Shakespeare and Ibsen as well as great novels by authors such as Dickens and Melville. We also read classic short stories by authors such as Twain and Hawthorne as well as essays by authors such as Emerson and Thoreau. Dickinson, Whitman, and Frost were among the classic poets we read. Additionally, each month we had to read a novel outside of class and submit a review of it. I often read a four or five hundred page novel.
I really didn’t appreciate great literature at this time. Consuming the books as a school requirement, I was reacting to them in an alienated way.(19) Overall, I was like the protagonist of A Separate Peace by John Knowles. He states:
"I became quite a student after that. I had always been a good one although I wasn’t really interested and excited by learning itself, the way Chet Douglas was. Now I became not just good but exceptional, with Chet Douglass my only rival in sight. But I began to see that Chet was weakened by the very genuineness of his interest in learning. He got carried away by things; for example, he was so fascinated by the tilting planes of solid geometry that he did almost as badly in trigonometry as I did myself. When we read Candide it opened up a new way of looking at the world to Chet, and he continued hungrily reading Voltaire in French while the class went on to other people. He was vulnerable there because to me they were all pretty much alike— Voltaire and Moliere and the laws of motion and the Magna Carta and Pathetic Fallacy and Tess of the D’Urbervilles—and I worked indiscriminately on all of them."(20)
Finally, English students had to write a theme every week. I saved a notebook of my themes from the tenth grade for about twenty-five years. Reading them in my early forties, I saw that my ideas were conventional and didn’t demonstrate an intellect that was sensitive or especially perceptive in any way. This is hardly surprising. The content of my classes through secondary school never included social or philosophical issues. I was totally isolated from my peers and from the adult community. Furthermore, my parents never discussed serious issues with me. I didn’t even know that it would be much easier to use index cards. I would write a page and then rewrite it until the sentences were in a suitable order. My themes would be returned with a few comments about a month after I had submitted them. I developed basic writing skills but progressed no further.
In the eleventh grade, I took English, Spanish, Latin, Algebra 11, and Biology. Grade inflation wasn’t a factor in this era; an "A" wasn’t easy to achieve. Nevertheless, I earned four As and a B in biology. I got As on the biology examinations but received a B when I refused to dissect a pig. This was my only rebellion against the system, for which I was duly penalized. I didn’t like studying science and had refused to take chemistry. The school didn’t protest since I was such a good student. It wasn't until thirty years later that I found out that my mother's nemesis in high school had been chemistry.
I scored a 601 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test verbal section and a 554 on the math section. These scores were not spectacular, considering all the studying I had done. Of course, much of it had involved rote memorization, which was heavily rewarded by the testing system. Moreover, the amount of useful instruction I had received in the "good" schools I had attended was miniscule. As I've noted, the atmosphere at home also was not conducive to my intellectual development. It seems reasonable to assume that I would have developed a sharper intellect if I hadn't been subjected to so much emotional stress. Understandably, I did much better on the two achievement tests I took in my senior year. I scored a 679 in English and 721 in Latin.
My parents wanted me to matriculate at Harvard. My school’s guidance counselor told James and Florence that I was an "overachiever." Actually, my parents and schools were underachievers, both in teaching me academics and in helping me develop personally. I soon had an interview with a representative from Harvard and received a "B" rating.
Employing much time and energy, I had developed a moderate intellect. My ultimate rewards were being inducted into the cum laude society at the end of my junior year and gaining early admission to Brown University. However, childhood holistic researcher and educator Joseph Chilton Pearce makes a useful distinction between intellect and intelligence. Our schools and universities, despite their flaws, have produced a great many moderately and very strong intellects. But, intelligence is a different attribute. It is the force that works for the genuine benefit of the person himself, his society, and the environment. Intelligence remains in much shorter supply in our country.
In my senior year, I took English, Advanced Math (Calculus and Trigonometry), Spanish, Latin, American History, and Physics. I earned As in Spanish, Latin, and American History. I got Bs in English and Advanced Math. Finally, I received a C- in Physics. Neither I nor many of my classmates could understand the physics material at all. Later, the course was found to be unsuitable for beginning physics students.
My country day school had three hard tennis courts. I played on them informally from the opening of school during the last week of September until the middle of October. Then, I just tossed a football around with some other students until thanksgiving vacation. I didn’t participate in either of the two winter sports, wrestling or basketball. However, I was the scorekeeper for basketball games during my senior year. In the spring, I played on the tennis team during my three years at the school. I was the number two player during my junior year and the number one player and captain during my senior year. I didn’t win many matches because by the time I got into shape the season was over. I did reach the finals of the state 16 and 18 and under championships which were held in September on clay.
Meanwhile, life in the Rubin household was chaotic during my puberty and adolescence. After three miscarriages, Florence had given birth to another son, Alan, on January 26, 1957. She emotionally abused him from an early age. Florence would scream insults at him, calling him a no-good bastard, ’’baby it," and other choice epithets. In the preface to the 2nd edition of Touching, Montagu states: "This book is about human beings, not objects, and no baby is an ’it’ to its mother, nor should it be to anyone else."^(1) Obviously, Montagu, possibly the most knowledgeable person in the world about early human experience, hadn’t taken my mother into account before making that statement. Florence also grabbed him and shook him as well as slapped him occasionally. Completely undisciplined herself, she administered this ’’discipline" to him.(2) My mother’s punishment was inconsistent and not related, at least initially, to Alan’s behavior. During these scenes, James was absent or remained silent. Alan screamed and cried; he battled back furiously and never became silent as I had.
I also continually declined to acknowledge the truth of these occurrences. Completely numb, I had started this denial of the unloving atmosphere of my home at a much earlier age. Enduring repression of early trauma demanded that I misapprehend reality; in other words, my natural capability to react to experience had been harmed. Social worker Jean Jenson points out, "Another definition of denial is: telling yourself a lie and believing it.”(3_ Soren Kierkegaard puts it this way:
"There are two ways to be fooled:
One is to believe what isn’t so;
The other is to refuse to believe what is so."(4)
Having become insensitive to myself, I became insensitive to other people; I didn’t see their pain or feel for them.(5) Employing this strategy, I was temporarily able to keep from becoming involved in difficult situations. However, by using it continuously, I was sure to lose in the long run. Kafka points out:
"You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world; this is something you are free to do and is in accord with your nature, but perhaps precisely this holding back is the only suffering that you might be able to avoid."(6)
Not processing experience correctly, I forfeited my chance to lead a rational, enjoyable life. I should have seen clearly what was happening and understood what a particular occurrence meant. I should have emotionally responded to the situation and correctly recognized my response. Having determined what action I wanted to pursue, I then should have judged the likely consequence. Finally, I should have chosen a way of proceeding which would benefit me?(7)
The primary reason that I didn’t react to the turmoil around me was the fact that a tactic of remaining silent had been coded in my unconscious at an early age. My heavy involvement with symbolic abstractions facilitated this response. Abstractions functioned for me like drugs and alcohol functioned for characters in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. Mary, the mother, utilizes morphine to artificially fog her mind. She tells the servant girl Cathleen that she loves the fog that surrounds the Tyrone family’s seafront cottage. She declares, "it hides you from the world and the world from you. You feel that everything has changed, and nothing is what it seemed to be. No one can find or touch you any more."(8) She wishes that the thick fog constantly be present. Then, innumerable people could travel past the cottage, and she wouldn’t see them.
Edmund, her son, has artificially fogged his mind with alcohol. At the beginning of the final act, a foghorn is heard as the curtain rises. The fog is thicker than ever. Edmund tells Tyrone, his father, that he took a long walk to the beach and stopped at the Inn before and after reaching his destination. He states that he needed the fog; in fact, he loved it. He couldn’t see any of the houses and didn’t meet any people. Edmund observes, "Everything looked and sounded unreal. Nothing was what it is. That’s what I wanted— to be alone with myself in another world where truth is untrue and life can hide from itself."(9)
Meanwhile, Florence and James were perpetrating extraordinary violence on their children, although leaving no apparent physical scars. Alan and I were emotionally abandoned. Physical brutality was perpetrated on or in front of us. Our parents exploited us to assuage their own discontent and unhappiness. Finally, they declined to clear up their own past traumatic experiences.(10)
Florence’s behavior became increasingly turbulent during my teenage years. She would yell for growing lengths of time. Sometimes she would take plates out of the kitchen cabinet and smash them on the floor; then, she would make her spouse clean up the mess. Occasionally, she would dance madly around the house shouting, ’’Welcome to the Rubin nut house!" At sixteen or seventeen years old, I finally would ask her once in a while to keep quiet. She would shout at the top of her lungs, ’’You keep quiet. I have a delicate nervous system!"
Adolescents normally have emotional upheavals and mood swings. They are often completely surprised by the intensity of their true feelings after suppressing them during the latency period. Now, these feelings (rage, anger, rebelliousness, falling in love, sexual desire, enthusiasm, joy, enchantment, sadness) clamor for expression; however, frequently their expression would upset their parents’ psychic equilibrium. Miller asserts, "If adolescents were to show their true feelings openly, they would run the risk of being sent to prison as dangerous terrorists or put in mental institutions as insane."(11) I didn’t have any emotional upheavals in adolescence; my emotions were totally frozen. I barely noticed my parents or anyone else; I related solely to my books.
I was bar mitzvahed on Saturday, March 29, 1959; I read and sang the whole service in Hebrew. During that school year, I attended bar and bas mitzvah parties every Saturday night at a hotel in the center of Fall River. Regrettably, I hadn’t developed any social skills. I ded, however, dance with various girls at each party. That was the beginning and end of my teenage social life.
Neither my parents nor teachers ever mentioned a word about sex. Adolescents naturally explore their sexuality; their self-consciousness is magnified by newly emerging and powerful sexual feelings. They feel awkward because of bodily changes.(12) Since I didn’t feel anything, I wasn’t self-conscious or embarassed at all. I didn’t even masturbate. The root cause of my abnormal behavior was inadequate mothering. Cutaneous stimulation of the infant activates its tactile response systems and paves the way for subsequent adequate functioning in all areas involving tactility. It is most important in the sphere of sexual activity. Not having received adequate stimulation, I did not develop properly as a human being; I had not experienced enough love.(13) My inward lifestyle and lack of sexual responsiveness were related. A person’s fundamental beliefs, thoughts, and emotions concerning sex heavily influence his dependence on interior and defensive strategies.(14)
It is particularly foreboding when a youngster becomes too good at a young age, and his parents are proud of his behavior. Early in life, I had split off my fear of my mother and also my hatred; I became my mother’s puppet. My false-self system had ”a relatively low ’coefficient’ of realness”(15) This false self was originally erected as a wall to prohibit people, whom I unconsciously viewed as dangerous, from disturbing the integrity of my private sphere. I feared that I would be overwhelmed in any association with people that was more than superficial, as I had been with my mother.
Adolescents achieve distancing through joining a peer group. In effect, the peer group becomes a new parent; it requires a member to rigidly follow its rules. I had lost contact completely with my few friends when I left Fall River’s public schools. I never socialized with the other students in my private schools. Both were all male schools; therefore, I didn’t even have contact with girls in class.
Adolescents develop a personal fable. The fable revolves around the idea that their particular experience is unique. They think that their suffering has been unsurpassed, that no one comprehends them, and that their parents have treated them worse than any other parents.
Having established an intimate relationship, they begin to see that their experience has been quite ordinary. I didn’t engage in this type of adolescent self-talk, nor did I have an intimate relationship. I just kept on studying.
Normally, teenagers attempt to distance themselves from their parents; they try to make their caregivers unattractive. They try out many different types of thoughts, fashions, roles, and ways of conducting themselves.(16) These experiments often clash with their parents’ lifestyles or values. Yet, abused children often are more powerfully bonded to their parents’ rules than unabused children. Their feeling of self-worth is low, and their choices are limited.(16) Completely committed to my parents’ dream that I would be close to the top in the scholastic competition, I was involved in symbolic acting out with a vengeance.(18)
Several studies have shown that teenagers’ foremost worry is what career they will pursue.(19) I didn’t think about this matter at all; my major purpose in studying was to obtain high grades. Rendered unconscious by the conformity trance induced by school, I was thereby soul-murdered.(20)
By constructing a false self, I found myself entombed within the walls of an inescapable prison. This false self had to fail eventually. Radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing points out, "It is not possible to go on living indefinitely in a sane way if one tries to be a man disconnected from all others and uncoupled even from a large part of one’s being.” A human being must have a true self in order to verify reality.(21)
My routine involved excessive hours and poor body mechanics. Otherwise, it was quite normal for an adolescent in our society who is striving to attain success in a prestigious career. Modern bourgeois people live in their heads. For a long time, they have been obsessed "with thoughts of double-entry bookkeeping, inventory accounts, statistics, mathematical equations, and market shares."(22) They methodically suppress attention to their bodily sensations in order to develop the unemotional, scheming, machine-like psyche which is considered appropriate for the industrial age.
I entered Brown University in September, 1964. I was put in a room with two other freshmen in the area called ’’the West Quad." Within a month, they had decided to room together; their decision wasn’t surprising since I didn’t relate at all to people.
At Brown, I continued spending most of my time studying. The first semester, I took English, Intermediate Spanish, Intermediate Latin, and Introduction to Political Philosophy. I earned a B in English, As in Spanish and Latin, and a C in Political Science. The political science course involved the study of classic political theorists such as Hobbes, Machiavelli and Mill; it was later moved to a more advanced level. Furthermore, this was a subject I hadn’t studied in secondary school. I couldn’t memorize the large quantity of material in the course, and I wasn't adept at interpreting what I read. Overall, a 3.0 average was good for a first-semester freshman at Brown in the 1960s.
In the second semester, I took an English course focussing on great essays and Intermediate Spanish 2. Certain subjects were required until the introduction of the New Curriculum at the university in the late 1960s. I believe that I also took a Religious Studies course on Judaism and Introduction to Philosophy. I either received two As and two Bs or one A and 3Bs. I was named to the Dean’s List, putting me among the academic elite in the United States. My parents suggested that I should plan on law school and work for a great corporation.
On a superficial level, I had remained healthy as a child and adolescent. I had colic as an infant; it disappeared when plain milk was substituted for my rich formula. I had the mumps and measles as a child. My tonsils were unnecessarily removed at about the age of six. Through the twelfth grade, I suffered from a moderate number of colds and flus. In the fifth grade, I had to urinate frequently and received permission to go to the boy’s room without asking the teacher’s permission. Elizabeth Noble states, "Emotional trauma (and sexual guilt) can be converted into a bladder complaint, the bladder being a substitute for the womb. I have long called urine-control problems ’urinary tears’.(1)
I had started tensing my muscles excessively in school and while doing homework. As an anxious individual, I moved rigidly and excessively raised my shoulders.(1) Pallor and dryness of the skin are often associated with this type of tenseness. While at the country day school, I developed a severe case of dandruff.
The human being’s motor cortical patterns are set by his experience in his environment; in other animals, these patterns are heavily preset and existing from birth.(3) My earliest interaction with the outer world was totally physical; therefore, my earliest emotional movements were connected to muscular and postural patterns.(4) So, the workings of the human mind are affected more by the history of its body than is found in other creatures.(5) The adults in my environment promoted or rejected particular paths and patterns of actions in my nervous system. As a result, I—as most people— ended up using only a small part of my potential ability.(6)
The origin of arrested learning is most often one incident involving intense emotion. However, unless this event causes irremediable harm, the person’s normal development will begin again at some point. Arrested learning will continue indefinitely when many situations similar to the initial incident occur.(7) When I sensed the beginning of fright, I tried to find a unique way of controlling my incipient bodily reactions to anxiety. I found a way to hold my breath and tense my abdominal walls.(8)
Through my school years, I had gradually learned to stoop, although not yet to an extreme degree. Pain, of either emotional or physical origin, can undermine confidence in the body and self; it is the principal reason for postural distortion.(9) When I was frightened or anticipated a difficult action, I drew my body together for protection. This action led to unnecessary effort and hindered my body from developing he proper organization. I used my body in this way because I lacked self-confidence. I could reach my goal, but I eventually would pay a high price.(10) I didn’t sense the way I was gradually becoming more and more tense and was straining muscles needlessly.(11) This neurotic tension protected me from experiencing catastrophic feelings.(12) Nature, however, intended any strain to be a temporary, not a chronic condition. One must differentiate between stress and strain. Stress involves change; it is neither bad nor good. Stress is actually excessive stress; it can be hazardous and should be avoided.(13)
The emotional strain stemming from my family environment was compounded by the cultural environment, which emphasizes straining oneself as a sign of great willpower. The educational establishment has long promoted compulsive behavior as a mark of success in learning; it teaches docile students to strain themselves from early childhood. When it was apparent that I could easily master the academic work in elementary school, I was placed in an advanced class. Here, I was supposed to learn the meaning of life.(14)
My compulsive need for approval from the school system and my parents had resulted in my self-assertive urges severely and incessantly overtaxing my biological system. I wasted enormous amounts of energy trying to succeed, acting too fast and too intently. Humanity in general has used crippling methods to gain what it considers security. A person only needs willpower when he lacks the proper technique for accomplishing his goal.(15) When an individual engages in correct coordinated action, his movements will appear and feel effortless.(16)
Human beings have ’’multiple synergistic and overriding controls for self-regulation"; yet, they can become disordered through an improper use of self.(17) My habits were bad because they didn’t relieve the tension that developed during my actions.(18) I continued this pattern until I was utterly exhausted. Of course, I wasn’t deliberately acting against myself; I was doing the best I could at a particular time with the techniques of which I was aware.(19) Unfortunately, as a neurotic person, I was pulling myself to pieces rather than pulling myself together.(20)
In my junior and senior years, I had started to experience persistent fatigue. Dark circles were a constant presence under my eyes. During my junior year, I had been studying every weeknight until midnight and waking up at 6:00 A.M. During my senior year, I experienced a great deal of trouble waking up on school days. This isn’t surprising because "the biological need for sleep is greater between the ages of 17 and 25 than at any time since infancy."(21) Yet, I remained oblivious to warning signals of impending exhaustion.
In September 1965, I returned to Brown for the start of my sophomore year. A week after school began, my neuromuscular system became highly disordered; many of my muscles became permanently contracted. Psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich discovered that a person’s attitudes and emotional experiences are capable of forming particular muscular patterns which hinder his energy from moving smoothly and and easily. These muscular blocks are called "character armor."(22) Mine now was extraordinarily thick.
I was almost totally imprisoned by my inner thought processes. A thought would enter my mind and stay there for quite awhile. The same thought came faster and faster, as if my mind was a record player with the needle stuck. I called my mother and told her that I was sick, although I didn’t describe my symptoms. I entered a prestigious hospital in Boston. The doctors ran a series of tests and announced that they couldn't find anything wrong; they suggested that I see a psychiatrist. However, I didn't see one for a month.
I was having what is commonly called "a nervous breakdown." Yet, as Janov points out, "Nerves don't break down. Defenses do."(23) My defense of being a superachiever immersed in abstract thought was collapsing. I started to see that my obsessive studying had caused my physical problem and that my parents had encouraged it.
Over the next few weeks, the muscles of my eye, mouth, jaw, stomach, and chest entered a state of permanent contraction. My speech slowed, and my breathing became rapid and shallow. This pattern of breathing, called hyperventilation, is often found in conjunction with chest pains, heart palpitations, and the arterial narrowing of
ischemia. Employing it habitually, I was at increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.(24)
The effects of my past trauma had started to manifest themselves in a devastating way. The repression of the trauma, not the trauma itself, caused my illness.(25) Miller asserts:
"The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body, and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, our perceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday the body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child who, still whole in spirit, will accept no compromise or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth."(26)
I returned to school after my short stay in the Boston hospital. A month later, I went to see psychiatrist Harold Jacobs, whose office was several blocks from the university. Dr. Jacobs saw me for a few sessions, during which we talked. I asked him if he thought there was something wrong with me. The doctor replied affirmatively, although he never specified what it was. At one point, I was labelled a paranoid schizophrenic and later a borderline schizophrenic. I didn’t find out that I was considered a schizophrenic for another twelve years.,
I actually had a stress syndrome which is technically called the general adaptation syndrome. This syndrome has "three stages: (1) the alarm reaction; (2) the stage of resistance; (3) the stage of exhaustion."(1) The stressor agents were my contracted muscles, which produced extraordinary nervous tension. When my muscles became contracted, I entered stage one.
When no action was taken to reverse the muscle contractions, I entered the stage of resistance. My nervous system sent chemical alarm signals to my endocrine glands, principally the pituitary and the adrenals. These glands secreted adaptive hormones which fought against the damage to my body caused by the contracted muscles.(2) Hormones are dissolvable chemicals discharged by the glands into the blood; they move to all areas of the body. These stress hormones were sent throughout my body, causing significant chemical changes in the physical makeup of my body fluids and tissues.(3) The overall stress response involved interrelated reactions among my "brain and nerves, pituitary, adrenal, kidney, blood vessels, connective tissue, thyroid, liver, and white blood cells."(4)
My thinking processes also were disordered; however, I didn’t have a brain disease. It is useful to make a distinction between the brain and the mind. The brain is the physical location where most of the body’s functions begin, are regulated, and controlled. The human brain is about the size of a grapefruit and weighs about as much as a four hundred page hardcover book of standard size. There are more cells in the brain than there are stars in the Milky Way. Billions of interactions go on between its cells, and this electrochemical process makes up the brain system.(5) Viewing the entire time span of the world’s existence as a twenty-four hour day, our brains came into existence five minutes before that day ended. Virtually all human history occurred in the last minute of that day.(6)
Loren Eisley observes that "the fossil memories of its past" are encoded in the human brain.(7) In fact, every situation a person encounters affects his body. The more important the event, the more power it has to produce changes in biological functions. Body memories remain even when traumatic situations have caused a minimum of physical pain. (8) My constant straining for academic achievement compounded the damage done by stressful fetal and family environments. My body became a picture of my attitudes and reactions to life's traumas.(9)
Our sensory-motor systems constantly react to stresses with specific muscular reflexes. When repeatedly triggered, these reflexes cause muscular contractions that can’t be relaxed voluntarily. These contractions have become habitual; their patterns are "learned" at an unconscious level. They become ingrained "into the functional patterns of the central nervous system.”(10)
My central nervous system has both structurally and functionally two divisions: a sensory division and a motor division. The sensory nerves appear in the area from the brain down the spine to the tailbone; the motor nerves are in front. My sensory nerves are responsible for transmitting sensations to my brain of everything I sense outside as well as inside my body. My perceptions of the world and of myself are directed by the sensory nerves. The motor nerves are responsible for every movement I make; by means of these nerves, my movements go from my brain down my spine. Motor nerves have attachments to the muscles of the skeleton and the smooth muscles of the viscera; through these muscles, they control my movements within and outside myself.(11)
In the spine, the sensory and motor systems are divided but in the brain they are integrated. When my brain receives messages from the sensory nerves, it can compute what to do and how to do it. That is, having received sensory information, it can issue commands to my motor system. Thomas Hanna declares, "These integrated functions of the sensory and motor systems are so fundamental and so familiar that, like the fish that does not notice the water, we do not notice their ceaseless operation."(12) Due to my severely contracted muscles, the operation of my sensory-motor system was disorganized and quite noticeable. My movements were limited and inefficient; this motor system malfunction affected the clarity of my sensory perceptions.(13)
All muscles have tone, or tonus. This is "a natural elasticity or ability to stretch and contract in response to stimuli."(14) Tonus is zero when I am in a state of rest. If I have complete control of a muscle, I can have a muscle tonicity of zero. But, if I can’t control the muscle voluntarily, its tonicity increases to ten, twenty, or even forty percent. Then, my muscle is chronically tense. The human body has almost eight hundred muscles, all of which have sensory cells. My well-being depends on sensory information supplied to my brain by my muscles.
Furthermore, the brain is a coordinating and cooperating part of the immune system. Likewise, the immune system affects and is affected by the brain.(15) Psychologist Paul Pearsall notes, “The immune system, in coordination with the brain, must run effectively if we are to be healthy."(16) While in the resistance stage of the general adaptation syndrome, my immunity to disease was weakened.
I have a supersystem of my mind and body within which my immune system functions.(17) This supersystem is actually a combination of the central nervous system, hormonal system, and autonomic nervous system. It affects all of my 200 trillion cells.(18) This network consists of all the interactions ’’between brain, immune cells, behavior, environment, feelings, thought, and other people.”(19) In other words, the supersystem is sensitive to minute changes in the environment, to caring or its absence, to words, to tone of voice, to stated feelings. A person’s brain keeps developing and changing throughout life as his thoughts emotions, and environment change.(21)
Every thought activates a messenger molecule in the brain. This molecule is immediately converted into biological information. The human body isn’t a body and a mind or a mind inside a body but a body/mind. The mental happening doesn't cause the physical happening; "the mental event and the physical event are exactly the same thing,"
viewed from different perspectives.(22) Furthermore, my mind isn’t located only in my brain. Consciousness expressed through behavior is found in every cell of my body.
The right and left hemispheres of the cerebral cortex are termed the higher areas of the brain. The gray matter of the cerebral cortex or neocortex is the site where my daily thinking and my sense of self is located. Much of my internal self-dialogue is carried on in the neocortex. This thinking can have a great impact on the regulation of other sites in the brain and supersystem. Actually, my whole brain thinks in constant interaction with my entire body.(23)
Every thought and feeling brings with it an abundant flow of brain chemicals that affect and are affected by the billions of cells in my immune system. The immune system is "the most complex health maintenance system in the universe...."(24) A person with a strong immune system has found a balanced way to promote the growth of mind, body, and spirit.
Human beings possess four major whole-body reflexes. These reactions occur quickly and are controlled by the brain: the fight reflex, the flee reflex, the flow reflex, and the "being" reflex. Pearsall points out, "Different hormonal patterns, different changes in our stomachs, our bladders, and our bowels take place in response to what our brains tell us is happening."(25)
These responses first helped human beings face various situations thousands of years ago. I was practicing the flow response when I became silent because of mother’s threatening behavior toward me. This tactic was used by ancient people to keep predators from attacking them. The attackers might ignore the prey who seemed to be weak, sick, or dead. The flow response can affect the body negatively, just as the fight-and-flee response can.(26)
With its muscles severely contracted, my biological system experienced the rage of the fight reflex. Cavemen used fighting or fleeing in reacting to wild animals near their cave. In this state, my sympathetic nervous system operated ceaselessly for the next thirteen years. This system functions when a person is under pressure or worried; it activates the hypothalamus in the brain.
The hypothalamus, the ’’brain of the brain" is found in the limbic system; it directs many of the body’s interactions.(27) The hypothalamus excites to action the amygdala and the brain stem, causing trophic hormones to activate the whole sympathetic nervous system. This system prompts the adrenal medulla to secrete catecholamines; these can decrease the effectiveness of the immune system. The medulla is almost a separate endocrine gland; it produces hormones, but its nerve fibers also link up with the sympathetic system and are involved in the fight-or-flight response. The adrenal cortex likewise produces hormones from its three zones.
Janov’s description of the sympathetic nervous system is worth quoting at length:
"The sympathetic system is the work horse; it alarms and alerts, increases the activity level of all organ systems, raises body temperature, and increases vital functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. It increases urine production, produces bowel spasms and churns up the viscera; it regulates peripheral blood flow so that in anxious situations the hands and feet become cold and the face pale. It is this system that triggers the secretion of the steroids or stress hormones. It mediates nervous sweating, dry mouth, high tension muscle states, taut face and jaw, higher voice, and it is the agency for impulse behavior. It keeps us focused externally rather than being reflective.(28) On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system functions when a person is not tense, free from worry, self-confident."(29)
Ever since the seventh grade, I had been practicing the hurried, worry-filled lifestyle Pearsall calls ’’running hot.” He observes:
"Running hot is defending immaturely, being driven, yet frustrated by the need for power, feeling alientated from others, living in a state of alarm, being driven by time, and sometimes frantically attempting to protect a narrow but precious view of self."(30)
Now, running as hot as possible, my sympathetic nervous system was totally out of control.
Many parts of my brain were not working properly. The brainstem or reptilian brain is the oldest part of the brain; it evolved more than five hundred million years ago. It adjusts an organism’s basic level of alertness and gives notice of vital incoming information. The reticular formation, located in the brainstem, comprises at least four distinct neural systems, each with its own neurotransmitter. One of its functions is to operate the ’’reticular activating system,’’ an
arousal system that keeps the brain awake and alert.(31) With my muscles contracted, I wasn’t clearheaded when awake. In fact, the number of hours I could stay awake rapidly decreased. I was soon sleeping fourteen hours a day.
The brainstem contains several centers that regulate various functions that are vital for survival; these include blood pressure, heartbeat, respiration, digestion, and certain reflex actions such as swallowing and vomiting.(32) The brainstem also controls sleep, modulates spinal reflexes and sustains muscle tone. Maintaining and adjusting posture and coordinating muscular movement are two important functions of the cerebellum, or "little brain", located at the back of the brainstem.(33) The cerebellum also plays a part in producing speech.(34) My blood pressure was high, my heartbeat rapid, my respiration shallow and fast, and my digestion poor. The gastrointestinal area is especially responsive to general stress. Not surprisingly, I soon developed a peptic ulcer.(35) I stooped and couldn’t coordinate properly my muscular movements.
Neurons are the nerve cells that are the major components of the brain; they are very tiny but are found in extraordinary numbers. Their main function is to process information and transport it to other neurons in the brain. Now, my nerve impulses were totally disordered.
Psychologist Robert Ornstein declares, "Neurons talk to each other by releasing certain chemical molecules, the chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, at the synapses."(36) The chemical transmitter molecule is the nervous system’s basic unit of action. There may well be hundreds of distinct chemical messenger molecules in the brain. I’ve mentioned that the chemical messengers called hormones are sent into the bloodstream by glands; they are more numerous than neurotransmitters.(37)
The neurotransmitters fasten themselves to chemical receptor molecules that are found in the post-synaptic membrane. These receptor molecules have their own unique shapes. The neurotransmitters also have unique forms which fit into the receptor molecules, similar to the way that a key fits into a lock. When the messenger molecules fasten themselves to the receptor molecules on neurons, they activate the receptor molecules. This can only happen when the messenger molecules fit properly into the receptor molecules. Then, enkephalins, natural brain opiates, are released into the bloodstream. Enkephalins have the same effect as morphine, which obstructs pain and brings about pleasure. Unfortunately, these natural painkillers are as addictive as morphine and heroin.(38) Suffering from permanently contracted muscles, I was awash in chemical painkillers.
I've pointed out that as a child and adolescent my sense of personal identity had been tenuous. I had been ontologically insecure. Now, the reliability of my bodily processes had been shattered; I was "more or less unembodied."(39) My personal cohesiveness also was fragmented as my thought processes overwhelmed my organism. A person secure in his body at least has a starting point with which to develop relationships with other people. On the other hand, a person whose self and body are poorly integrated can’t participate directly in meaningful activities m the world.(40)
I entirely lost my ability for reflective awareness. This "is the ability to be aware of one's own self acting relatively unself-consciously or with a simple primary nonreflectiveness."(41) My mind was absorbed in watching, censuring, and managing as well as possible my dysfunctional body. My intense self-examination was fraught with bad feeling. Any possibility of spontaneity or happiness withered under this prosecutorial stance.(42)
My world—never very broad—was now stunted and meager.(43) I not only was extremely self-conscious of my own actions but also of the way other people viewed me because of my awkward movement patterns and slow speech. I was simultaneoulsy more obvious to other people, yet isolated from them.(44) I had entered the state Kierkegaard terms "shutupness.” However, "this autistic, private, intraindividual world," is not a feasible substitute for the only world there really is, the shared world.(45)
Although I had attained the lofty academic status of Dean’s List student at an Ivy League university, I was profoundly stupid. Any animal that is confined to a narrow range of abilities to act is stupid. Therefore, neurosis originates in dysfunctional early learning. It results when a person dully clings to a very limited range of habitual activities in order to gain his feeling of self-esteem.(46)
The state of being that is labelled "schizophrenic" carries this stupidity to an extreme. A person who has this mysterious "disease" has been, in a sense, quite unintelligent in handling "primary enculturation data."(47) Psychosis results when his character structure breaks down completely.(48)
The individual's awkwardness in ordering his life experiences is always created by the society into which he is born.(49) Part of the reason people labelled "psychotic" make "normal" people so uneasy is that they provide caricatures of these smoothly functioning lifestyles.(50) However, affixing a label to the person’s problems doesn’t help him and often harms him.
As a child, I was supposed to start to acquire my self-esteem from my mother’s mouth instead of her milk. I then tried to enhance my self-esteem by following the patterns valued by my society. In other words, my self-esteem began to depend on symbols. Therefore, I began to devote most of my life to the protection, maintenance, and enhancement of the symbolic means I used to nurture this positive feeling about myself.(51) I wanted to contribute to world life and be a hero in some way.(52) Now, however, my self-esteem was shattered.
Becker believes that status and role are fundamental to human societies. They show the individual how to proceed in a specific social situation as well as the way he should feel about himself in this situation. Status and role also give predictability to behavior so that everyday affairs have a dependable meaning.(53)
At this time, I was about to lose my status as an excellent student at an elite university and assume the role of a mental patient. My striving for success had been exaggerated and not based on my own decisions. When I could no longer play my false, accommodating role, I was scorned by society.
My transformation from honor student to schizophrenic was similar to the protagonist’s transformation in Kafka’s short story The Metamorphosis.(54) Gregor Samsa is carrying a heavy workload to support his mother, father, and seventeen-year old sister Greta. His father’s business had collapsed five years earlier. He is a commercial traveller who has to bear the irritations of constant traveling. Gregor would like to quit his job, but he is paying back his parents’ debt to the chief of the business. He is proud that he has been able to furnish his parents and sister with a comfortable life in a nice apartment. His family initially was thankful for Gregor’s support but gradually came to take it for granted. They didn’t really feel warmly toward their provider.
Astoundingly, one day Gregor awakes and discovers that he has turned into an immense insect. He speaks with a constant, terrible, quavering squeak which barely is comprehensible. He now possesses many small legs which perpetually oscillate and are uncontrollable. The salesman oversleeps and misses his train. The chief clerk comes to his family’s apartment to inquire why he didn’t appear at work. He wonders why Gregor is shutting himself in his room, giving ”yes" and "no" replies, making his parents suffer a great deal of needless discomfort, and thoroughly leaving undone his job-related tasks. Gregor is still anxious to work, despite the fact that he doesn’t feel well and has pains in the lower part of his body.
The chief clerk and Gregor’s parents are horrified when they see his appearance. The clerk leaves, yelling ”Ugh!" His father physically abuses Gregor, and his mother suffers greatly.
The family members wonder how they can make a living. Gregor is ashamed when he hears them talking about this question. Eventually, they all prosper in new jobs and probably will enjoy an even better future. However, the members still feel hopeless with the insect around; they feel that they have been burdened with a unique misfortune. Gregor’s sister concludes that nobody could criticize them for attempting to destroy it.
Meanwhile, Gregor is in pain and very weak from lack of nourishment. He thinks about his family with compassion and love. Feeling even more strongly than his sister that he must not be a burden to the family anymore, he dies.
I had been carrying a heavy academic workload in order to realize my parents’ unlived dream of success. Then, my muscles contracted; and I turned into a schizophrenic. My mother was horrified, and my father was puzzled. They were alarmed at the strange-speaking creature with uncontrollable muscles that they saw in front of them. Psychiatrists, functioning as agents for society, would soon try to drug me and lock me in an institution as a hopeless schizophrenic.
The tenseness of my muscles was causing an enormous expenditure of energy. I would wake up at 7:00 or 8:00 A.M. and have to go back to sleep within a couple of hours. In fact, because of muscular tension, old people often complain that they are constantly tired.(1)
Like Gregor, I wanted to keep working. I continued attending some classes and by sheer willpower kept studying. I was even named to the Dean's List again at the end of the semester.
By March 1966, my muscular tension was so severe that, at times, I began to shake uncontrollably. As my twentieth birthday approached at the end of the month, I was in the final stage of the general adaptation syndrome: complete exhaustion. Repression had saved my life during my childhood and adolescence; now, it was about to kill me. Janov declares, "So when one wonders if a person can die from a lack of love, the answer is yes."(2) However, unlike Gregor, I didn’t die. The brain is an adaptive organ; it will adjust to the events of 3 a person’s life in whatever way is necessary to survive.(3)
I suddenly got the idea to start moving. I put on a winter jacket and chinos and wore a pair of sneakers. Stepping outside my dormitory, I jogged a half mile to Meehan Auditorium, which contained the university’s hockey rink. Then, I almost collapsed. Feeling severe pains in my chest, I required five minutes just to catch my breath. A few minutes later, however, I jogged back to my dormitory. I continued to jog everyday that the weather permitted. Frequently, an individual under stress preserves his sanity by trusting his body in order to alleviate the fears, obsessions, and phobias that are destroying his organism. For this reason, progressive educators from Rousseau to Dewey and Reich taught that "self-directed activity by the child" is a vital factor in maintaining mental health.(4) My jogging gait was inefficient because my muscles were so tense. However, for awhile after finisishing jogging, I felt relief from my contracted musculature. Both my muscles and my mind relaxed somewhat.
By early April, I dropped out of Brown. In the summer, I got a work-study job at the local Young Mens’ Christian Association day camp. I was supposed to be the reading instructor! Because of tension in my eye and facial muscles, I could barely read myself. Furthermore, I could barely communicate with anyone. I had obtained the job through Joe Hines, the physical director of the association. I had played tennis with him for several years at a private club in Fall River. Hines saw to it that I kept the job all summer despite my incapacity.
Driving was difficult for me that summer. My peripheral vision had narrowed drastically; my body was so tense that I had trouble staying in my seat. The few times I drove late at night, I was afraid that I would fall asleep at the wheel. Over the next seven years, I was involved in four minor accidents due to my reduced visual acuity and tense musculature. It is amazing that I managed to drive as well as I did.
My parents had purchases a beautiful new home in a wealthy suburb, about a fifteen minute ride from Fall River. Our family lived there for two months in the summer of 1967. My mother was hysterical most of the time. James had started to attend Alcoholics Anonymous but found it difficult to make much progress due to the atmosphere at home.
When a person undergoes a crisis, he may make significant changes in his lifestyle and reach a better state of balance than before the crisis occurred.I spent the summer of 1967 exercising as much as I could. I played tennis at the private club in Fall River and jogged in the grass around the playground of the elementary school next to our house. Many nights I went bowling. As will become apparent, my attempt to change my lifestyle was greatly hindered by the fact that there was so little information available in the mid-sixties about jogging, athletic injuries, body work therapies, and meditation. My aerobic capacity continued to improve, but my muscles remained severely contracted.
Florence frequently went to see her father, who was ill in Fall River. Having concluded that he wasn’t receiving the proper home care, she decided to return to Fall River to supervise it. James sold the house and temporarily moved our family into his uncle’s house, which was diagonally across the street from our former house.
Circumstances soon overwhelmed my father. An accountant discovered that he and my uncle Morris had stolen a considerable sum of money from the business. My grandfather fired James but not Morris. My father suffered a heart attack. Upon recovering, he learned that Florence was initiating divorce proceedings. She ordered him to leave. James was now virtually destitute.
Forence’s mother died around this time, leaving her $125,000. She used $36,000 of this money to build a new house several blocks from our old one. Florence, Alan, and I soon moved into it.
I returned to Brown in September 1966. The university psychiatrist asked, "Are you coming back because of parental pressure?" Upon answering negatively, I was readmitted. I managed to survive the next two years, although my grades were understandably poor. I was ingesting a large quantity of Gelusil everyday for my ulcer. I also suffered from severe tension headaches. Janov comments, "Tension as a total bodily experience must wreak havoc with all the organism, especially constitutionally weakened organs."(1) He also notes that headaches and ulcers are routine symptoms in the United States. In the mid-1970s, 20,000 tons of asprin were swallowed per year. This amounts to "almost 225 tablets per person."(2) I simply had a more severe tension syndrome than is normal in this country.
I was a frequent visitor to the school’s psychiatrist, who supplied me with copious quantities of Librium. This drug is a minor tranquilizer used to treat anxiety. It is a central nervous system depressant with effects similar to alcohol and barbiturates. Librium is classified as a sedative-hypnotic, producing relaxation (sedation) at low doses. Its anti-anxiety effects are short-lived. As a minor tranquilizer, it suppresses the brain’s ability to produce feelings. The brain attempts to combat its effects in unpredictable and incomprehensible ways.(3) Other hazards of minor tranquilizers include "addiction, withdrawal reactions, rebound anxiety, mental dysfunction, and lethality."(4)
During the fall semester, I had a few sessions with Dr. Morton Liberman, a psychiatrist near Brown; I merely talked about my symptoms. He put me under the care of a young psychiatric social worker in his office, Ronald Simpson. I could barely communicate coherently with anyone, let alone deeply probe my feelings about the present or past.
Dr. Liberman soon referred me to a nearby psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Monahan, who gave me Tofranil. Dr. Monahan said, "You don’t want to be a vegetable, do you?" He monitored my progress by seeing me for about five minutes every two weeks. I always told him that I was doing well; actually, I didn’t notice any effect whatsoever. Tofranil is a tricyclic antidepressant. Research shows that this type of drug is not much better than a placebo.(5) However, in effective dosages, tricyclic antidepressants can make a person lethargic and disinterested. They cause generalized mental dysfunction and sometimes reduce depression by preventing the brain from producing higher psychospiritual reactions. Tricyclics can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, are extremely lethal in overdose, and have many side effects. I don’t know the dosage I was taking. It may have been low enough so that it only produced a placebo effect. My body and mind were so disordered that perhaps I just didn’t notice the effect. I wasn’t so much depressed as oppressed by severe muscular contractions. After about three months, I stopped taking Tofranil; I found that my jogging regimen helped me much more than the medication.
During the summer of 1968, I increased my jogging to five or six miles a day. One day, I was running on the grass on the edge of a nearby high school’s track when I tripped over a rock and sprained my ankle. Due to a misunderstanding, the injury wasn’t taken care of properly.
When I started jogging again, I couldn’t move in the same way. My foot-leg system was misaligned now. I continued jogging for the next seven years even though my movement pattern grew increasingly dysfunctional. I began to suffer from severe pains in my feet because of the way that they were striking the ground.
I consulted several doctors during these years. They all gave me different advice. I was told that I should wear hightop shoes, that I had fibrositis, that it was psychosomatic. I also was told to stop jogging because I might get arthritis. I flew to the office of the newly-formed National Jogging Association in Washington, D.C; then, I saw a nearby doctor someone in the office recommended. His recommendation didn’t help. I even tried acupuncture in New York City in 1973. My jogging continued to be dysfunctional and painful.
In May 1968, I had completed 3| years of college. However, my body and mind remained in disarray. I realized that I would be unable to complete my last half year in 1969.
The sixties were a time of cultural and political upheaval. The counterculture, Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, and the Students for a Democratic Society were important parts of this era. I was too involved with my internal war to be able to participate in any of these events. I had reported for a draft physical in early 1967 and had told the interviewing officer that I had suffered a nervous breakdown in college. He asked, "How are you doing now?" I answered, "I’m doing better.” I soon received a letter excusing me from the service.
I began to think that my schooling must have been a trap if it had left me in this predicament. Educational critic John Holt observes, "Next to the right to life itself, the most fundamental of all human rights is the right to control our own minds and thoughts.”(1) For a few years, I had barely been able to read anything. Vigorous aerobic exercise had revived my ability to read. Out of school for a second time, I had the leisure to read whatever I wanted. During the summer of 1968, I started browsing through bookstores.
One of the first books that attracted my attention was The Sane Society by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm. He states, "Nothing is more common than the idea that we, the people living in the Western world of the twentieth century are eminently sane.”(2) The fact that many of our citizens are afflicted with mental illness to varying degrees does not make the majority question the overall mental health of our society. Yet, despite advances in material prosperity as well as political and sexual freedom, the world half way through the twentieth century is more mentally disturbed than was the case during the nineteenth century.(3) Fromm deals extensively with ’’the pathology of normalacy” in The Sane Society and several other books.(4)
My reading wasn’t extensive between 1968 and 1970, but it was stimulating and informative. It was much more interesting than Latin and Algebra. Ln the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was easy to find books radically questioning the mainstream institutions of American society. I read books such as Coming of Age in America: Growth and Acquiescence by social critic Edgar Fridenberg and Culture Against Man by anthropologist Jules Henry. I was starting to pierce the social filter which impeded my learning the truth about society. This filter allows some experiences to penetrate it and prevents others from entering. All societies prevent their average member from allowing some thoughts and feelings into consciousness.(5) The average person has limited contact with reality; he is aware of it only to the extent that his social functioning requires him to be.(6) For him, reason and reality are "public consensus."(7) This pathologically normal person rapidly learns "which thoughts are ’right,’ which feeling is normal, which taste
The social character is the unique manner of organizing psychic energy so that it helps to operate society. Even though what it requires them to do is harmful, society succeeds in gaining the allegiance of most of its members. The fictitious interests it imposes on them through ideological conditioning and even brainwashing make them want to do what they must do. The playwright Ibsen describes this process in commenting about a character: "He can do anything he wants to do because he wants only what he can do.”(9) Furthermore, some people finally see that their socialization has been harmful to them. Yet, habit often impedes them from breaking free from the most difficult and offensive paths of existence. William James tells the story of a menagerie-tiger whose cage had broken open in a railroad accident. The animal came out but soon timidly went back in and easily was locked up again. He had found his incipient freedom too overwhelming.(10)
The most successful, well-adjusted people aren’t clinically insane. They function well; yet, in embodying socially patterned defects, they are very sick people. Reason develops from the uniting of rational thought and feeling. When the two functions are forcefully separated, "thinking deteriorates into schizoid intellectual activity, and feeling deteriorates into neurotic life-damaging passions."(11) The new man of the technetronic age suffers from a low-grade chronic schizophrenia, which is a social rather than a psychiatric sickness. The people affected are not isolated completely like the psychotic because they share their sickness with millions of other people. These people view themselves as normal and consider those whose heart and mind have not been separated as being insane.(12)
I was stunned by The Sane Society, a beautifully written and cogent book. I read seven other books by Fromm during the next decade. He was my foremost intellectual guide until I encountered the writings of Andrew Schmookler in the late 1980s. Though it was "schizoid intellectual activity,” my reading of Fromm and other social critics kept me going. I now knew that I had been damaged by a dehumanizing society.
I was also impressed by The Greening of America, which I read in 1970. Yale Law School professor Charles Reich points out that "the most thoughtful and passionate of our youth have become disgusted with the United States for spreading death not only in foreign lands but to its own citizens.”(13) They realize that the Corporate State has broken faith with the American dream. This State takes advantage of, controls, and eventually ruins both the environment and human beings. Its type of rationality is actually insanity. This alleged reasonableness gives the illusion that dishonesty, deceit, poverty, dehumanization, and armed conflict are sensible and unavoidable.(14) The erroneous priorities of this scientifically-oriented, machine-dominated society are being planned by private groups who don’t care about the public good. Reich bewails the deterioration of representative government and freedom, the alienated quality of both work and culture, the lack of community, and the dissolution of psyche. Our current predicament can be traced to the beginning of the industrial era. It was at that time that scientific procedures, an emphasis on comfort and wealth, and market economics overwhelmed more humanistic possibilities.
There are three types of consciousness in American society. Consciousness includes an individual’s "background, education, politics, insight, values, emotions, and philosophy”; yet, it goes beyond these attributes.(15) It is the entire person including his psyche and mode of life. Consciousness 1 originally was the frontier ethic of individual effort and hard work. However, the powerful industrial capitalists such as Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Harriman, and Ford added repression and order to this spontaneous individual effort. This managerial arrangement was responsible for the development of a "hierarchy of power and privileges" that supplanted genuine communal principles, replacing them "with antisocial ’success’" and with life-destroying science.(16_ Consciousness 1 believes whole-heartedly in the Darwinian struggle for existence involving a brutal competitive race spurred by personal self-interest.(17)
Consciousness 2 is that of the reformers of the Progressive era and of the New Deal. They used governmental power to bring order to the laissez-faire economy and shaped the atrocious arrangement which presently dominates American life—the American Corporate State.(18) Consciousness 2 has been an attempt to mitigate the disastrous results of Consciousness 1: "Robber barons, business privacy, ruinous competition, unreliable products and false advertising, grotesque inequality, and the chaos of excessive individualism and lack of coordination and planning leading to a gangster world."(19)
Consciousness 2 believes in an elitest society, the elite being those who best serve the progress of this machine-dominated society. People still are involved in a Darwinian struggle for existence; success, however, is measured by institutional goals rather than strictly individual ones. They are still driven by a terrible fear of defeat in the competitive battle. This corporate State "has only one value, the value of technology-organization-efficiency-growth-progress."(20)
Now, some people have escaped from the false consciousness of the Corporate State. Consciousness 3 rejects the competitive struggle. It replaces the jungle of Consciousness 1 and the meritocracy of Consciousness 2 with true community. People who nurture this consciousness have a "feeling of being an outsider."(21) They spurn the alienated labor that the rat race of the technological society offers them. They deemphasize material values; they try to recover their true self, simply by enough people changing their consciousness, the Corporate State will be overthrown. In other words, radicalization follows a change of consciousness. The revolution involves cultural changes which greatly influence the economic and political structures of society. Therefore, once these cultural changes take place, "economic equality and social ownership of the means of production" will naturally occur.(22) High quality work can flourish in such a free atmosphere. Law, organization, and government will be used for sensible, compassionate purposes. There will be maximum individuality within maximum community.
Reich’s analysis of the American mind is correct. However, the majority of people in this country haven’t experienced a fundamental change of consciousness due to deep early injuries to their psyche. I’ll later discuss the way in which power has ruled the world for ten thousand years. Therefore, this deliterious state of affairs can’t be be balmed on capitalism or industrialism.
In the 1960s, many alienated young people tried "A life of withdrawal into personal experience."(23) Using drugs, living in a commune, and striving for personal fulfillment were important parts of this lifestyle. I was incapable of considering this option. I was absorbed by my inner thought processes and the attempt to reduce my physical tension. All I could do was read and exercise.
I also was unable to participate in radical political activism, another consequential phenomenon of the 1960s. Few young people in the United States had previously pursued radical activism fervently. Even when the New Left was at its zenith, the percentage of youth that was radical was small.
The majority of radical students were from upper middle class professional families; they were intelligent and knowledgeable about contemporary affairs. A high percentage of the students were Jewish. Often, both parents were graduates of four-year colleges.(24)
In general, the student radicals were not antagonistic to their parents’ values. Many parents were left of center; a sizable percentage of them had earlier in their lives been members of leftist organizations. Many, however, had dropped their formal memberships and had acceded to the inducements of capitalist society. Therefore, a large number of young radicals were trying to implement their parents’ political desires. They had been successful academically and had assumed leadership roles in high school.(25)
Ronald Aronson, a young New Left college professor describes his feelings about taking part in the rat race of capitalist, technological society:
"Somehow, I had gotten on this machine in motion, had become the machine, acting on behalf of some enormous power I couldn’t even begin to fathom. To follow out its and my momentum led to the ’good life’ whose every detail I already knew in some instructive way: professional work, marrying, the struggling young couple getting set up, vacation trips, a wonderful child, a small house at first, then living better, making more money. My own steps led naturally into the full-fledged American way of life, a life in which I could look good for other people and smile Hello, and buy and live better and better. Phyllis and I called it ’the whole bit.’ Somewhere inside I knew what attitudes and feelings were required for entry into this good life: despair, boredom, the relentless drive to keep moving, being ’realistic’ by putting society’s demands first and my own second, giving up on happiness, lying about
Aronson’s feelings were prevalent among college-trained individuals of the late 1950s. The lures of prosperity and safety that American society offered led to desperation rather than to happiness among many of these people. Some chose to fulfill themselves through political action rather than accept a traditional vocation.(27)
In June 1962, the Students for a Democratic Society released the Port Huron statement, a long declaration of beliefs that aided the New Left in its quest for change during the next five years. The students were concerned about the Cold War, the possibility of nuclear war, racism, and personal economic distress in the midst of affluence.(28) In its preamble, the Statement declared: ”We would replace power rooted in possession, privileges or circumstances” ... by power rooted in love, reflectiveness, reason, and creativity.” It called for a social system of genuine political and economic democracy in which people would perform non-alienated work. Its anti-authoritarian and individualistic characteristics had their roots in ’’the American Jeffersonian tradition and classic anarchism.”(29)
The rest of the Port Huron Statement listed many societal faults and outlined a plan for remedying them. Among the radicals’ complaints were: universities were removed from community problems and students were uninterested in solving them: the Democrats1 and Republicans’ positions were too similar most of the time; the country's foreign policy was in the grips of a belligerent anti-communism directed by the military-industrial complex; poverty and inequality were significant factors in affluent America. (30) By the 1966-67 school year, Students for a Democratic Society national leadership had determined that American corporate liberalism was unreformable. Thirty years later, these problems remain. The Cold War has ended, but the military-industrial complex is still gigantic.
In 1965, Students for a Democratic Society had seventy-five chapters with about two thousand members. By 1967, it had become the major New Left organization. By the spring of 1968, this group had had 350 chapters and 40,000 members. At its height in the fall of 1968, 100,000 students were involved in 500 chapters. However, by 1967, 80 to 90 percent of the organization’s membership was unknowledgeable about the intellectual sources of the New Left and read almost nothing except articles from the burgeoning underground press. On the other hand, 5 to 10 percent of Students for a Democratic Society consisted of ’superintellectuals,’ mostly graduate students. The group’s Weatherman faction escalated its violence in 1969, and Students for a Democratic Society basically expired as an organizational force at the end of that year. By 1972, student radicalism had almost vanished.
Had my muscles not become contracted in September 1965, there was no chance that I would have become a student radical. I am Jewish. My parents, however, weren’t professionals and were conservative. My mother knew little about politics; she voted Republican because her father did.
My father voted for Richard Nixon in 1968 and supported the Vietnam War. I had been an outstanding student in secondary school. My learning, however, was narrowly focused, shallow, and involved mostly memorization.
Although on the Dean’s List at an Ivy League university, I knew practically nothing about American society beyond what I had learned studying traditional secondary school history texts. I was totally isolated from my peers and intended to major in Spanish. I may have taken a few American history courses before I graduated. At best, I would have become a liberal.
I discovered radical political analysis in the summer of 1968. At this time, I was suffering from both a physical ailment and a psychic alienation bordering on psychosis. Therefore, I was incapabl_e of participating in any organized societal activity, whether supporting conventional societal practices or opposing them.
About this time, my financial status changed dramatically. In the summer of 1968, I received fifty thousand dollars from the estate of my Uncle Harold, my grandfather Isadore’s brother. Harold had owned and operated a clothing store on Nantucket Island. He had suffered a stroke and had been virtually a vegetable for a couple of years before his death. In his original will, he had left the store to me. Unfortunately, it had been altered by other relatives. Florence wanted to contest the will. Her lawyer, however, could not be present the day the trial was to start on Nantucket. He had recommended waiting and moving the proceedings off the island. Dr. Harry Kozol, a prestigious Harvard-trained forensic psychiatrist, had been retained at $3,000 for the day to testify that Harold was mentally incompetent when he signed a new will. The judge ruled that Dr. Kozol would not be allowed to testify. I accepted $50,000 to settle the case.
In 1969, Isadore died and left my mother close to a million dollars. When the banks had started to finance automobiles, he had branched out into the stock market. He had been successful, especially in the 1950s.
Florence spent her time in the 1970s moving from one home, condominium, or apartment to another in such locations as Newport, R.I., Falmouth and Boston, Ma. and Fall River. She moved and moved but could never escape herself and her childhood humiliations. Janov points out:
"Because he is not where he is, the neurotic will never be content for any lasting period of time. He is using the present to work out the past. So he will buy a house and fix it up, and when he is done he will want a new house.(1)
My mother spent much of her time shopping and decorating her various residences. She also took trips to England, France, Italy, Central America, the Panama Canal, and Bermuda.
Florence dated several wealthy men and a distant relative of modest means. Fortunately, she had become a friend of Dr. Kozol. She was going to marry her relative until Dr. Kozol warned her that her fiance was simply after her money. My mother never did remarry.
I lived mainly on the $50,000 I had been left in the 1970s. My mother helped me with my modest medical expenses. Most of the bills were covered by my Major Medical Blue Cross-Blue Shield policy. They were mostly for psychotherapy and treatment of athletic injuries. I had no additional major illnesses and few minor ones. My ulcer had disappeared when I had persevered in my jogging regime. My tension headaches gradually diminished in intensity and frequency.
Florence also supplemented my income with various gifts or small items; she particularly liked to buy me sweaters. No matter how brutally she emotionally abused her children, she always helped them financially. She would often bemoan the fact that, despite her having given them the finest food, clothing, and shelter, they had turned out to be no-good bums! She had purchased an apron which read: "My children will be the death of me!" To this day, Florence never really says a kind word or praises her children; she knows how to lecture but not how to advise or discuss. Over the years, she kept up a constant stream of criticism about people, places, and activities. Florence was especially severe on sales clerks, waitresses, and greedy labor unions. She denigrated “Negroes.” She wouldn’t want to live near one but would employ one as a maid.
In the middle of January 1970, I went to Fort Lauderdale for the first time and stayed for a few weeks in the Bahia Mar Hotel, which was across the street from the beach. Then, I stayed in a less luxurious motel a few blocks away from the beach for another month. Renting a car, I went to Jai Lai, Sea World, a tropical park, several movies, and a few plays at the Parker Playhouse. I drove to Hollywood and watched forty-year-old Pancho Gonzales play tennis. I attended several New York Yankee exhibition games at the team’s stadium on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale. I jogged on the grass almost everyday in Holiday Park. The park had a tennis center with three hard courts and eighteen
clay courts. I did not, however, play any tennis during this vacation.
I returned to Brown in September 1970 for my last semester. It was still difficult for me to sit in class and sit reading for several more hours a day. Yet, I managed to achieve a 2.75 grade point average. I completed the requirements for my degree in January 1971. Then, I went to live with my mother and brother in the new house she had built. It was located in our old neighborhood in Fall River.
I was tense and communicated poorly with people. I continued my reading and jogging but didn’t cause any real trouble. Late one morning in the spring, as I was sitting in my room, there was a knock on my door. Four policemen entered the room, grabbed me and took me to a police cruiser. It soon arrived at the local community mental health center. I protested to the man who was admitting me that I wouldn’t be able to jog in this place. He said to keep quiet and admit myself voluntarily, or he would have me sent to the state hospital. After signing myself in and being given a
room, spent the afternoon on the ward with some of the patients. That evening, I called a friend, who contacted a lawyer.
The next morning, I attended a group therapy session. Then, a staff member interviewed me. I replied affirmatively when he asked me if I was receiving private care. Shortly, a staff member informed me that I was being released. Subsequently, I found out that my mother had persuaded a local psychiatrist who had never seen me to sign a
I continued living at home; I read, jogged, and went to the movies. I went to see Dr. Kozol a few times that spring and several more times at infrequent intervals over the next four years. Dr. Kozol had been trained before biological psychiatry started to dominate the profession; he didn’t rush to put me on medication. We mostly talked about books. He also told me about his own career. He was especially proud that he had seen Eugene O’Neill as a patient near the end of the great playwright’s life. Many years later he told me that he had seen my grandmother Marjorie early in his career.
Dr. Kozol’s lifestyle was a common one for an affluent American physician. He had an apartment in the Prudential Center complex in Boston and a home in an elite section of Falmouth. He patronized high-priced restaurants such as the one in the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Yet, his son Jonathan was rapidly becoming a leading radical critic of the American educational system.
The younger Kozol had graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1958. He had gone to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar but had resigned his scholarship. In 1967, his book Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools won the National Book Award. In 1974, The Night is Dark and I am Far from Home would be published. It is a severe indictment of the school and university system in America. According to Kozol, the function of the public schools is state indoctrination. Students submit to "twelve years of mandatory self-dehumanization, self-debilitation, blood-loss."(1) The wealthy children submit to a similar process of indoctrination in preparatory schools. It is more subtle but more effective.
Kozol enumerates and emphatically condemns some of the many social injustices in this country and abroad. Secondary school students aren’t taught to make the connections which would show how the wealthy gain their wealth by oppressing and exploiting the poor. They are ethically emaciated; they are living in an "intellectual prison.”(2) They can admire rebels and write research papers on social injustice but stop well short of dangerous rebellion against poverty, pain, and desperation. Most American students become, in effect, "murderers, or else soul-broken automatons for an unjust social order."(3)
Kozol scorns doctors who live in luxurious homes in elite communities. He excoriates the wealthy who live in grandeur surrounded by headwaiters while simultaneously living in moral isolation. He quotes the Harvard psychiatrist Robert Coles who doubts that most doctors or other professionals even ask themselves "where their money comes from, who pays them, who rewards them—whom they never get to represent."(4)
Dr. Kozol was dynamic, articulate, and humane. He didn’t see me on a regular basis. Even if he had, this caring physician could not have made much progress as long as my muscles remained contracted.
By the spring of 1972, my mother could see that it wasn’t possible for me to work. She sent me to see another Boston psychiatrist. After my second appointment, this doctor announced that he was going to hospitalize me. I protested that I didn’t want to be hospitalized. He looked puzzled for a moment and then asked, "You came here voluntarily, didn’t you?" After replying affirmatively, I left; I never saw him again.
Upon voluntarily admitting myself to a psychiatric hospital, I would have been detained involuntarily if I had tried to leave. Only psychiatrists in Western society have the right to use physical force to make consumers accept their services.(5) I would have undergone a degrading examination and stigmatizing diagnosis which would have invalidated me as a human being.(6) Powerless, I would have had to adapt to the same kind of bullying that I had received from my mother at an early age.
Involuntary treatment should be avoided; it is immoral and unconstitutional. ’’Normal” people don’t like authorities to force their solutions on them. So-called mental patients are no different and are not likely to be helped by involuntary treatment. Forcing help on people impedes the goal of strengthening and empowering them. It also interferes with the goal of helping them learn mutual respect and love.(7)
Any chance for recovery would have been precluded by the treatments I would have been subjected to in the hospital. Biological psychiatry follows the so-called biomedical model, upon whose concepts modern Si scientific medicine is based. My body would have been viewed as a machine whose parts and their functions could be examined separately. Psychiatrists would have tried to rectify the malfunctioning of a specific mechanism through either injurious physical or toxic chemical means. I wouldn’t have been viewed as a human being or assisted to heal.(8)
I especially was fortunate to have escaped hospitalization because I surely would have been administered neuroleptic medication. Neuroleptics are also referred to as major tranquilizers and antipsychotics. They subdue the major nerve pathways into the frontal lobes and limbic system. Breggin states, "The frontal lobes are the seat of higher human functions, such as love, concern for others, empathy, self-insight, creativity, initiative, autonomy, rationality, abstract reasoning, judgment, future planning, foresight, willpower, determination, and concentration.”(9)
Patients in the traditional psychiatric system often are given neuroleptics for several months or even longer. They have a good chance of developing tardive dyskinesia, tardive dementia, and other permanent neurological disabilities.(10) Virtually any organ of the body can be damaged by these drugs. They would probably be illegal if they were not being administered to mental patients. I would have suffered psychological harm as well, getting the message that I was a pathetic, defenseless, flawed person.(11)
Psychiatry’s administration of dangerous medication to so-called mental patients keeps disturbed or disturbing people out of society’s view. This is especially arrogant since psychiatry isn’t pure science or medicine. It is ”a mishmash of philosophy, psychology, religion, law enforcement, and politics as well as social engineering and big business, and occasionally science and medicine."(12)
Since its beginning in the seventeenth century, psychiatry’s function has been to control socially deviant behavior. People are labelled when they are overwhelmed by their emotional and spiritual problems, when they are too irritating to conventional society, or when they get into trouble with the law.(13) I certainly was irritating because of my sensory-motor dysfunction, slow speech, and flattened affect. My thought processes were hypermagnified; actually, the signs of so-called schizophrenia are exaggerations of mental traits which "normal” people also have. Psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan points out that schizophrenic thinking contains nothing that normal people’s thinking does not contain to some degree.(14) Labelling me either a full-fledged or borderline schizophrenic did not benefit me. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz declares that the diagnosis of a person as schizophrenic is a ’’pseudoscientific ritual” whose purpose is to stigmatize the individual so that he is now regarded as less than human.(15) Then, his fundamental human rights can be ignored.
Laing notes numerous studies which have shown that the person who is diagnosed as shizophrenic has been part of a group of people who communicate in extremely disturbed and disturbing ways. He asserts ’’that without exception the experience and behavior that gets labeled schizophrenic is a special strategy that a person invents in order to live in an unlivable situation.”(16) I had remained silent throughout my childhood and adolescence in order to survive. However, I had narrowed my experience down far too much; I was mostly just manipulating abstractions on paper in a tense way. Eventually, I developed a severe stress illness because of this dysfunctional lifestyle.
Becker notes that ’’schizophrenia can be accurately diagnosed on the basis of a long and continuing history of shallow object-relationships.”(17) I was clearly what psychiatry labels a schizoid personality long before the catastrophic malfunction of my neuromuscular system. So, viewed from a holistic perspective, schizophrenia "is not an illness but rather a way of life.”(18)
Human beings can be separated inexactly into those who basically live in the outer world of people and those who mainly live in the inner world of the imagination. Everybody, however, lives in both worlds to diverse degrees. I was labelled schizoid or schizophrenic because I lived to a lopsided extent on the inner side. I unconsciously built up an extra thick character armor, developing what may be termed a "mistaken" or massive shutupness.(19)
I didn’t consider myself a schizophrenic or "mental case," although I knew that my body and thought processes weren’t working properly. I wanted to do as many healthy activities as I could, while avoiding hospitalization. I was impressed with Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which I read in 1970. It is a highly entertaining satire on toxic psychiatry.
In the novel, the patients in an institution are tightly regimented and lack stimulating activities. Already stymied by guilt, shame, and fear, they are punished by being drugged and shocked. Many are in the asylum, according to Miss Ratched, the Big Nurse, because they can’t conform to society’s regulations. At group meetings, the patients are supposed to confess to each other bad things they’ve done and criticize each other. Ultimately, society determines whether or not a person is sane; therefore, it insists that the individual comply with its standards.
Randall McMurphy, a drunken wanderer, has been admitted recently. This vagrant disturbs the hospital routine and is insubordinate to the authority figures. He especially battles the Big Nurse’s bullying and lecturing; furthermore, he convinces other patients to follow him. McMurphy is dangerous to the staff’s control because he is instrumental in reviving the residents' spirits, bringing them out of the mental fog they are in, due to the treatment and their own low self-esteem. The rebel insists that the patients aren’t ’’any crazier than the average asshole on the street...."(20) He points out that nobody is a perfectly integrated human being but that everybody is criticizing other people.
Each patient is molded into ”a functioning, adjusted component” of a very large and powerful organization called the Combine. The Combine is equivalent to the Establishment or what social critic Lewis Mumford called the megamachine. The hospital operates as a factory for this organization. The staff look after the Combine’s interests; they try to correct ’’mistakes made in the neighborhood and in the schools and in the churches....”(21)
McMurphy attacks the Big Nurse and is lobotomized. He is brought back to the ward as a vegetable in a wheelchair. Another patient smothers him to put him out of his misery.
Soon after I escaped commitment and a chemical lobotomy, I went to see Dr. Kozol. He told my mother that it would be expensive to treat me in a first-class pychiatric hospital. Dr. Kozol knew that the drugs and other treatment that I would receive in even a prestigious psychiatric hospital wouldn’t benefit me in the long run. This dynamic psychiatrist was enthusiastic about Harvard University and about traditional education in general. He encouraged me to attend the Harvard Summer School and to continue seeing him at his office on Beacon Street in Boston.
I did attend Harvard that summer. My parents had wnated me to go there as an undergraduate; now, I was in Cambridge as a student! I took an English course on the Victorian novel and a political science course on the Middle East. Studying five hours a day, I received As in both courses. I also jogged five miles daily. I continued to use my body in an inefficient way, expending large amounts of energy in studying and exercising. Remote from people, I barely said a word to my roommate. I didn’t take advantage of any of the entertainment in Harvard Square during the two months I was there. On several Friday afternoons, I drove back to Fall River and stayed until Sunday afternoon. I felt that I was too busy reading, jogging, and sleeping ten hours a day to bother taking the subway to see Dr. Kozol. I saw him once after classes ended. He said, "You do well once you are in school." After classes ended, I returned to live at home in Fall River.
I soon took the train to Bridgeport, Connecticut to visit my father. I had made this trip two or three times a year since he had moved there in 1968. James was living in a small apartment and had a close relationship with Irene Dubitsky. He had dated her briefly before coming to Fall River and meeting Florence. A spinster, she lived at home with her bachelor brother Stanley, a prominent lawyer, and her mother.
Irene would have married James if his health had been better. He had suffered a serious heart attack while living in Bridgeport and had spent many weeks in the nearby Veterans Hospital. Irene had spent long hours with him each day in the hospital; she played a significant part in his surviving the ordeal. My father had stopped drinking after the attack. His 5’8” frame now carried 140 rather than the 225 pounds it had during my adolescence.
Spending long hours on the road, James was working as a salesman on commission for an airlines training school. He tried to sign up young women to attend the school. After the attack, he worked part-time in a liquor store owned by the Dubitskys; but, he never had a drink himself. Then, he resumed his selling career.
Upon seeing me, James occasionally would ask what was wrong with me. I couldn’t tell him. He still wanted me to go to law school; he said that Stanley would help me get into the University of Connecticut.
My father drove to Fall River occasionally to see Alan. The divorce proceedings had been acrimonious. Ignoring the fact that he had a serious heart problem, Florence continued to show the utmost hostility toward James. She often belittled him to Alan.
After my second close escape from mental hospitalization, I continued to see the social worker Ronald Simpson in Dr. Liberman’s office. I complained steadily about my jogging difficulties. My desire for exercise was insatiable; during the summer, I also played tennis at the private club in Fall River. I could move normally playing tennis but not jogging.
Remembering the beautiful tennis center I had seen in Fort Lauderdale, I discussed the possibility of going there to live for awhile. Simpson thought it was a good idea because he knew that my mother might soon try again to have me committed somewhere if I stayed around the area. Dr. Liberman told my mother that I wanted to go to Fort Lauderdale to play tennis. He said that, since money wasn’t a problem, he saw no reason that I shouldn’t go.
In late September 1972, I drove to Lorton, Virginia and put my car on the Auto Train. Within two days after arriving in Fort Lauderdale, I was living in a small room in an apartment building about a mile from Holiday Park. On October 5, I put on my tennis clothes, picked up my racket, and drove to the park. For the next month, I spent a great deal of time around the sign-up window trying to find partners. Gradually, players began to notice that I could play at a Class A level in spite of the fact that my eye-hand coordination was impaired. I couldn’t volley the ball at the net because of this handicap.
The tennis boom was starting across America, and Fort Lauderdale was one of the top tennis cities in the country. Chris Evert was just starting her brilliant professional career. Her father Jimmy was the teaching professional at the park. I usually had to wait a half hour to forty-five minutes for a court. The wait often reached an hour and a half to two hours from around December twentieth to the end of March. When it was that long, I often returned to my room. Singles players were only allowed forty-five minutes of court time. I usually played three courts of singles a day; I also jogged three or four miles. There were only a few days when I couldn’t play at all because of the weather. I was able to socialize with some of the players in a rudimentary way. We mostly talked about matters relating to tennis. I was having alot more fun than I would have had in a mental institution; I was also much healthier.
I hardly did any reading from October, 1972 through March, 1973. Then, I started reading approximately one hundred pages a day and continued at this pace for the next ten years. I didn’t miss more than five days a year.
Most of my learning involved American society and literature. History was my favorite subject. I had studied American history in elementary school, the eighth grade, and the twelfth grade. I had simply memorized the names, dates, legislation, conflicts, and movements without trying in the least to interpret what I read. When I read Frances Fitzgerald’s America Revised in 1979, I had long since realized the validity of her thesis. She showed how most high school history texts don’t give an accurate portrayal of American life. In school, I had read an ambiguous, watered-down version whose purpose is to manipulate young students and sell as many copies as possible.
The textbooks I studied were "consensus documents." They didn’t deal with any controversial subjects; they catered to the "lowest common denominator" of our citizens’ biases.(1) They were meant to promote nationalistic sentiments. The viewpoints of the ruling groups were advanced and those of other groups were muffled.
The textbooks portrayed America as "perfect: the greatest nation in the world, and the embodiment of democracy, freedom, and technological progress."(2) I learned that Americans were generous, abundantly supplied with common sense, pragmatic, democratic, good citizens, and homogeneous in a general way. Unpleasant situations in American history, such as slavery and labor unrest, didn’t alter the basic picture.
Political decisions and elections, economic legislation and trends, and various governmental projects were highlighted. Free enterprise was lauded but the word capitalism was never mentioned. I didn’t learn about how the American economy actually operated or about its alteration from one era to the next. I didn’t realize that there were any economic, political, or legal inequalities whatsoever. There was no indication that the wealthiest and strongest groups exercise an exaggerated authority in governmental affairs.
The textbooks portrayed the Soviet Union, a powerful totalitarian country, as obstructing economic improvements which would bring affluence to many areas of the world. In fact, it was attempting aggressively to subvert our free-enterprise economy. On the other hand, the United States had labored mightily to distribute aid "to poor, ignorant and diseased countries."(3) It always conducted itself in an altruistic manner. However, its virtuous mission was difficult because it was besieged by potential hidden adversaries. By the time I reached high school, the major threat had shifted to the Chinese Communists.
I graduated from country day school in 1964. Due to the political upheavals of the 1960s such as the civil rights movement and student rebellion, elementary and secondary school history textbooks underwent the most significant changes in American history beginning in 1965. United States society suddenly was beset by enormous problems, although their causes weren't explained. Despite covering a vast range of subjects, the textbooks continued to make absolutely no connection between events. They gave the impression that these problems weren’t caused by anyone but just spontaneously arose. Therefore, ... "history is just one damn thing after another. It is in fact not history at all."(4)
In the spring of 1973, I started to read serious academic history books. By the end of the decade, I had read a few hundred books on American domestic history from 1890 through the Watergate scandal of 1973-74. I devoured books on political, intellectual, black, labor, cultural and literary history. I went through biographies of reformist and radical politicians. I read books concentrating on a particular decade or a particular movement. I covered a great deal less material on foreign policy. Many of the books were from a radical perspective.
I was fascinated by the ongoing struggle between the big capitalists and their radical adversaries. I feasted on rhetoric such as Eugene Debs’s statement:
"The issue is Socialism versus Capitalism. I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough. Money constitutes no proper basis of civilization. The time has come to regenerate society—we are on the eve of a universal change."(5)
Another speech which was typical of the type of material that affected me deeply was Bill Haywood’s declaration at the opening convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical union. He stated:
"Fellow Workers... This is the Continental Congress of the working class. We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working-class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism. ... The aims and objects of this organization shall be to put the working-class in possession of the economic power, the means of life, in control of the machinery of production and distribution, without regard to the capitalist masters."(6)
I’m hardly the only person to discover as an adult that the history I studied in school was highly selective and contained many lies. The extraordinary aspect of this situation is that I was learning this material while my muscles were contracted and my emotions were in the utmost turmoil. Identifying with the working class, I was unable to work. I won’t elaborate upon the lessons I learned about American history. I refer the interested reader to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States as a good starting point for further inquiry into this subject.
I also read well over one hundred books of sociology. I learned about the class structure in America. I especially remember reading World of Pain: Life in the Working Class Family and The Hidden Injuries of Class. Growing up in a middle class neighborhood, I had attended school with middle and upper middle class children. I had blocked my family's turmoil from my mind. Otherwise, I had led a life sheltered from the unpleasant realities of American society.
I read about thirty books on the mass media. I learned that it portrays a narrow picture of American life which is favorable to the upper middle and wealthy classes. The mass media especially favor the largest corporations which dominate American economic life.
My reading also included the areas of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the military-industrial complex, and the big foundations. It covered the Wall Street and Washington law firms as well as the New York Stock Exchange. Furthermore, I was fascinated and horrified in studying about how the multinational corporations were attempting to dominate the entire world.
I repeatedly came across comments about how mentally unhealthy American society is. Fromm notes that man has made great technological progress in reaching the Space Age; however, he has made virtually no progress emotionally since ancient times. Gordon Rattray Taylor in Rethink asserts that a society in which one-third of the people are emotionally impaired is a psychological slum. Kirkpatrick Sale in Human Scale reveals that people who have mental problems have steadily grown in mumber during the last twenty years. In 1976, approximately thirty-two million people obtained some treatment for mental problems. Mental facilities treat six million patients each year. An estimated forty million citizens have "diagnosable disturbances" and require professional care; an additional fifty-five million endure serious emotional distress.(7) According to Stuart Kirk and Herb Kutchins, between 1975 and 1990, "the number of psychiatrists increased from 26 to 36 thousand, clinical psychologists from 25 to 80 thousand, and marriage and family counselors from 6 to 40 thousand.”(8) Although many of these diagnoses must be taken with a grain of salt, it is undoubtedly true that there is a tremendous amount of pain in American society.
Central-nervous -system agents were the fastest growing part of the pharmaceutical market in the mid-1970s, accounting for 31 percent of total sales. From 1962 until the mid-1970s, dependence on prescribed tranquilizers rose by 290 percent. During this period, the per capita consumption of alcohol rose by 23 percent and the consumption of illegal opiates by about 50 percent.(9) However, reliance on tranquilizers and sleeping pills did drop dramatically in the 1980s as their dangers became better known. Much of the responsibility for this dependence on psychotropic drugs lies with the psycho-pharmaceutical complex. Nevertheless, these statistics reveal something important about the level of pain in America.
I read about life in corporate America. The Managers by sociologist Dianne Margolis especially impressed me. She conducted eighty-one in-depth interviews with the managers and their spouses from a "Fortune 100 corporation” she calls Global Products, Inc.(10) The men’s jobs were at levels from the lowest to the highest managerial positions: most were in "middle-management.”
These managers’ principal personality trait was their courteous lack of intensity. They had no strong values; they responded to almost every social issue by calling controversy ’’ridiculous.” Their beliefs, descriptions of their own experiences and their emotions were not connected. Their speech was emotionless and monotone; it was passionless and had little variety in content.(11)
Since the time of Descartes, thought has become more and more separated from affect. Thought is valued because it involves reasoning while affect is considered irrational. Fromm asserts, "The person I has been split off into an intellect, which constitutes my self, and which is to control me as it is to control nature."(12) My split was simply more pronounced than that of these highly functioning and richly rewarded members of our society.
Because of his schizoid inability to demonstrate his feelings, Western man is "anxious, depressed, and desperate." He talks about the goals of "happiness, individualism, initiative;" he declares that he is living for his family or to have fun, or to make money. Actually, however, he is without goals. Most people in our society are merely going through the motions of living in order to avoid isolation.(13)
The schizoid managers in Margolis’s study were following "the Protestant Ethic." The Protestant tradition upheld the belief that men are called to their vocation by God. The Protestant Ethic is a distortion of that tradition; it holds that material possessions are an indication of God’s approval. Since one’s worthiness is judged by possessions, a person can never have enough of them. The corporation becomes these people’s God and utterly controls them.
Most of the managers worked sixty to seventy hours a week from Monday through Friday; they were engaged in an obsessive pursuit of status, money, and success. They "are the one-dimensional men totally immersed in the fictional games being played in their society."(14) Morally numb, the managers denied dangers that the corporation caused outsiders. These included: violation of antitrust statutes, price fixing, environmental pollution, unsafe work places, production of dangerous products, and the manufacture of consumer demands rather than the fulfilling of consumer needs.(15)
Yet, the managers perceived their corporation as the one rational order in a world of irrational forces; they always viewed government regulations and court decisions against Global Products as irrational. These executives deluded themselves that Global Products operated in a perfect free enterprise system. However, the company was part of an oligopolistic setup in its industry. When discussing corporate issues, the managers parrotted the corporate line.
I also learned about the psychotic process of preparing for nuclear war. I read in Real Security by Richard Barnet that the United States had increased its stock of deployable nuclear warheads from 3,950 to 9,200, and the Soviet Union had increased its warheads from 1,650 to 7,000. Sidney Lens in The Day Before Doomsday reveals that United States officials had secretly thought about starting a limited nuclear war on several occasions. Robert J. Lifton and Richard Falk in Indefensible Weapons expose the delusive beliefs of the national security managers that fuelled the arms race.(16)
I also enjoyed reading about one hundred novels. I concentrated on classic American authors between 1890 and 1940. I especially enjoyed the naturalistic school which comprised Hamlin Garland, Stephen Crane, Jack London, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser.
My favorite novelist is Theodore Dreiser. My favorite novel is his mammoth An American Tragedy, which I’ve read six times. Dreiser focuses on the materialism, the acquisitive spirit, and the wide discrepancies of wealth and poverty in industrial America. Specifically, he chronicles ’’the gospel of wealth of the gilded age” and its emphasis on "success and the Darwinian survival of the fittest.”(17) His novels present a world of contrasts: wealth and poverty, slums and beautiful neighborhoods, expensively clothed socialites and ragged lower class workers and beggars. He writes about the desperate search for decent employment among the lower classes and about alienated labor in capitalist society. Dreiser shows more clearly and at greater length than any other American writer the social and economic class differences of American society.
He emphasizes the deterministic view of man as a mere mechanism. Yet, there is far more to his philosophy than this idea. Charles Child Walcutt points out that his works continually raise ethical questions about "tradition, dogma, received morality, and social ’justice”’; they demonstrate great sympathy for and insight into men.(18) His novels combine desperation and utopianism, astonishment and terror, sympathy and guilt, biochemical determinism and intuition. Through my enormous reading about American society, I gradually became, in effect, a purely cerebral Dreiser.
I read about forty plays. I especially admire those of Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams. My favorite playwright is Dr. Kozol’s patient O’Neill, and my favorite play is his Long Day’s Journey into Night. I found the story of O’Neill’s own dysfunctional family fascinating.
I was able to provide myself with a broad education in the humanities and social sciences simply by browsing through bookstores and picking out interesting books to read. I also got suggestions from my reading and the books’ bibliographies as well as from reviews in newspapers and magazines. I wasn’t affiliated with any university nor with any other group. I didn’t discuss my reading with anyone except Dr. Kozol, and I couldn’t write because of my neuromuscular problem. This is why my reading can be labelled schizoid intellectual activity. I was functioning like an isolated Students for a Democratic Society superintellectual graduate student. In 1975, Dr. Kozol called me ’’the hermit scholar.”
Moshe Feldenkrais, inventor of the Feldenkrais movement reeducation technique, points out that, "thought that is not connected to feeling at all is not connected to reality."(19) So, in this sense, I had lost contact with reality. Intellectualizing often is used to escape from feelings of shame. Bradshaw states, "Generalizing and universalizing keep one in categories so broad and abstract that there’s no contact with concrete specific sensory-based reality."(20) I had carried to an extreme the behavior of the pathologically normal educated person in our society. People trapped by the megamachine are driven at an increasing speed by the techniques of modern industrial society. An individual "thinks, figures, busy with abstractions, more and more remote from concrete life."(21)
Jonathan Kozol scorns purely academic reactions to social injustices. He asserts that a person who functions solely at his desk or hall avoids all danger; this person has a "tortured mind and soul."(22) I had a tortured mind and introverted soul because neuromuscular disorder. The only action I could take was to in a lecture introverted of my get up from my desk and go jogging or play tennis! Of course, this routine of exercising and reading was the best adaptation my brain could make to the severely contracted state of my musculature. I could have spent my time brooding or compulsively watching television. Fritjof Capra notes:
"As the environment changes, the brain models itself in response to these changes, and any time it is injured the system makes very rapid adjustments. You can never wear it out; on the contrary, the more you use it, the more powerful it becomes."(23)
As I’ve made clear, you may not be able to wear it out but you can exhaust it through excessive strain.
Fortunately, my early indoctrination had been totally eliminated. Describing a society which emphasizes money and possessions, Fromm declares:
"Our conscious motivations, ideas, and beliefs are a blend of false information, biases, irrational passions, prejudices, in which morsels of truth swim around and give the reassurance, albeit false, that the whole mixture is real and true."(24)
In effect, I had escaped from a 1984 type of environment consisting of my mother’s critical attitude, traditional schooling, and potential incarceration in a mental institution.
Orwell1s novel takes place in London, which is ruled by the Party of Ingsoc, meaning English Socialism. The society is a totalitarian dictatorship modelled on the Nazis and Bolsheviks. The Party is headed by Big Brother, whose face is everywhere.
Thought control is a prominent feature of Oceania. All information is supplied by a Ministry of Truth. Books, periodicals, news reports, and other means of obtaining information have been altered to conform to the Party line. In addition, the historical records have been distorted or ruined. The Party insists that only those who believe its orthodoxy are sane. A person must accept it even if it declares that 2+2 = 5. The three slogans of the Party are:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH(25)
The person accomplishes this feat by utilizing a kind of self-hypnosis. Actually, this society is one of ’’controlled insanity.”(26) The educated elite are the craziest.
The official language is called newspeak. Its purpose is to constrict the range of ideas. Entertaining an aberrant belief is called thought crime. Therefore, people must practice the habit of mind called crimestop in Newspeak. It means instinctively halting any unsound thought before it reaches consciousness. Crimestop ’’includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc....”(27) The Party members must also utilize Doublethink. It is:
"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself."(28)
The Thought Police constantly monitor Party members. They keep them under surveillance by using a two-way screen called a Telescreen, a satire on television. A Party member can never know when he is being watched.
Unquestionably, the United States’ megamachine in its capitalist, industrial form indoctrinates far more subtly than the Party of Ingsoc. It also delivers a great many more consumer goods than does Orwell's party. Parents, schools, and the mass media promote a way of life which emphasizes consumption. A clever system keeps people working and competing with each other on a treadmill of success and achievement. This alliance of bureaucratic Big Business and Big Government produces what political scientist Bertram Gross calls "friendly fascism."(29)
State corporate capitalism sanctions welfare for the rich and free enterprise for the poor. The free market is dominated by oligarchical arrangements. Freedom is defended by making alliances with third world dictatorships. Politicans who shout the loudest about defending family values promote policies that destroy families. Correctional facilities produce more crime. People upset about heinous crimes sanction state murder through the death penalty. Many pro-life advocates favor excessively militaristic policies and legislation which impedes the healthy development of infants. Attempts are made to bring peace by stockpiling weapons. The Environmental Protection Agency accedes to arrangements to exploit nature through allegedly wise use of resources. The Department of Justice does not prosecute most corporate crimes.
I left off my narrative in the spring of 1973, when I had just begun this intellectual odyssey. At this time, I flew to Bridgeport after Irene informed me that James was near death. He died a few days after I arrived; he was fifty-three. In our last conversation, my father told me that, while Irene had been good to him, he didn’t love her. He loved and always would love Florence. His fantasy bond with her remained totally intact.
On the other hand, Florence always has maintained that she never loved anyone but Howard Goldstein. Many years later, my mother told me that James had called her about a month before her death. She said that he apologized for stealing the money and for other things he had done to her during their marriage. I’m sure that my father, having been raised in a dysfunctional family, was at least partly responsible for their many misunderstandings.
After the funeral, I said goodbye to Irene and returned to Florida. She died within two years. A chain smoker, she succumbed to a brain tumor.
In the spring of 1974, I left Fort Lauderdale and returned north. I soon rented an apartment in Providence. In the fall, I saw Dr. Kozol in his Boston office. He wanted me to be able to earn a living and suggested that I apply to law school. I took the Law School Admissions test and scored a respectable six hundred. A few years later, I retook the test and scored a mediocre five hundred. I hadn’t taken a course on how to prepare for the examination. Neither had I ever taken a course related to law or seriously studied anything about it independently. In my current emotional and physical state, I wasn’t particularly well-suited to analyzing cases and making fine distinctions between them. However, as previously noted, I had developed a strong interest in twentieth-century American history. Furthermore, I had found that, despite my impairments, I possessed an excellent ability to comprehend and analyze this historical era and the overall workings of American society.
In 1975, I asked to meet Jonathan Kozol. Dr. Kozol replied that his son was too busy. He also said that he didn’t agree with the thesis of The Night is Dark and I am Far from Home, but he always encouraged Jonathan to pursue whatever path in life he felt was right. Later that year, my mother and I went to hear the younger Kozol speak at Brown University. He autographed a copy of his book for my mother. He also wrote, "Yours in struggle, Jonathan Kozol."
I could barely run anymore when I returned north. I found a slim book by a cardiologist from New Jersey, Dr. George Sheehan, on athletic injuries. Sheehan was soon to become nationally known as a writer on running and running injuries. I called him and described the increasing difficulty I was experiencing running. He gave me< the. namei of a podiatrist in Connecticut, Dr. William Cornell. I went to see Dr. Cornell, who had an orthotic made for me. It didn’t help.
I started taking yoga because I had read that stretching helped runners. During the week of my first lesson, I also started taking swimming lessons. The instructor owned a diving supply company and had a small pool in the back of the store. During the first lesson, he had me try a frog kick with a crawl armstroke. I snapped my legs too hard and strained a muscle. It was only a small tear at first and didn’t interfere with my movement. I was so out of touch with my bodily sensations and so determined to continue my lessons that I continued exercising. I completed eight weekly swimming and yoga lessons with a torn adductor muscle! Finally, the pain and swelling was so great that I had to stop. The muscle was now spastic. However, the yoga stretches had helped to reduce the tension in my contracted muscles, although the tonus remained much too high.
After resting the injured muscle for a few months, I began swimming again. I took more swimming lessons with an instructor at a private secondary school and in a class at a nearby university’s pool. I became an adequate swimmer; eventually, I could swim a mile at a relatively slow pace. After every exercise session, I had to put ice on the muscle. Furthermore, I had to give up jogging because my gait was now too lopsided and painful. I did, however, continue playing tennis during the New England summers.
Dr. Kozol had helped to get me admitted to Suffolk University Law School in Boston. I arranged to live with Ira Lipson in an apartment in Brookline. Lipson, who was about five years younger than me, had lived on the same block in Fall River as my family. I looked at the apartment and was ready to take up residence. Then I realized the obvious: I couldn’t possibly go to law school! I had to struggle to survive everyday because my muscles were permanently contracted. Two days before classes were supposed to begin, I called the school and told an administrator that I wasn’t coming.
Suppose I had proceeded smoothly through Brown and gone to law school? I most likely would have specialized in some aspect of corporate law. The independent Gerry Spence, in With Justice for None, reveals that the average citizen has never received justice in the United States. This is because, for a long time, the corporation has been the king who rules this country. The contemporary king is "an amorphous agglomeration of corporations, of banks and insurance companies and mammoth multinational financial institutions...."(1) Business owns America’s soul, and its heart longs only for profit. The majority of the American people have become corporate-like also, obsessed with money and material possessions.
The United States is bursting with lawyers. It has ”2.67 lawyers per thousand people while Japan needs only 0.10." In fact, the United States with a mere 6 percent of the world’s population, has two thirds of the world’s lawyers. 355,000 lawyers were practicing in 1970. There was a 91 percent increase in lawyers admitted to practice between 1970 and 1975. By the late eighties, 40,000 new lawyers a year were being graduated by our universities.(2)
There are, however, far too few lawyers who are on the people’s side and will battle for them. Lawyers and the justice they dispense have become commodities.(3) Most lawyers are preoccupied with attaining money and success rather than with obtaining justice. They sell themselves to prestigious law firms that work for powerful corporations. The people need alot more lawyers with the skill and persistence of Ralph Nader.
Spence asserts that "law school is no place for human beings who care about other human beings.” Too many students graduate from law school who are merely "intellectual mechanics.”(4) They are similar to their professors in that they are obsessed with the abstractions of the law and care little about law that actually can help people. In fact, after three years in an orthodox law school, most students have had little experience with a client; some haven’t had any experience. Most law students suffer long-lasting emotional damage from their law school experience.
The Law School Admission Test and, in most cases, the general admissions process, doesn’t measure: ’’common sense, judgment, practicality, idealism, tenacity, fidelity, character and maturity, integrity, patience, preparation, the ability to listen, perseverance, client-handling, creativity, courage, personality, oral skills, organizational ability and leadership.”(5) If Charles Manson obtained a high score on the Law School Admission Test and Mother Teresa achieved a low score, the computer would give the nod to Manson for admission to law school and eliminate Mother Teresa. In fact, Ralph Nader and Allen Nairn closely studied the test and found that the questions have no relevance to issues of social justice.Moreover, the test is not an accurate predictor of law school grades or of graduation from law school. It is only a moderately better predictor when supplemented by undergraduate grades. The legal journal Law and the Social Order featured a study which concluded: "There is no empirical evidence of a significant correlation between LSAT scores and probable ’success’ in the practice of law.”(7)
While speaking at law schools, Spence asks students why they are there. A few confess that they are studying to become lawyers because their fathers are attorneys. Over 20 percent are there because they aren’t sure what career they would like to pursue and are giving law a try. Some are there because law is a lucrative profession and success in America is measured by the amount of money a person makes.
Some individuals do go to law school with the intention of facilitating social change. They quickly change their minds after being exposed to the professors, the method, and the subjects of law schools. The schools use the case method in which past cases are read and examined. From these cases, specific axioms are selected and thinking abilities are presumably sharpened. Yet, this method has been censured persistently as worthless. Law students view it as "frustrating, humiliating, and absolutely stultifyingly boring.”(8) The students are being brainwashed into thinking like lawyers. They will be ridiculed and chastized until their thought processes begin to match those of their professors. They will learn to be complaisant and submissive, not to question what they are being taught.
The professors must teach a curriculum that allows their students to pass the Multistate Bar Examination, a homogeneous multiple-choice test. Law professors seldom concur about which are the right answers to the examination’s questions. Leslie Whitmer, executive director of the Kentucky Bar contends that the examination does not properly test a student’s legal learning.(9) Almost every student who takes the test agrees. The multiple-choice answers are so similar that a large number can be answered in more than one way. Most lawyers concur that the purposes of the bar examination is not to measure legal abilities but to limit entrance into the profession.(10)
Spence sketches the way that a reformed law school should operate. Students will primarily acquire knowledge by doing. After two years of school, the students may have taken part in as many as twenty actual cases of various types. They also may have defended some poor people accused of illegalities. For the most part, the students will learn the law by themselves so they will have the knowledge needed to pursue their cases. The main object of their learning will not be to pass the Multistate Bar Examination. In fact, this examination should no longer be used.
Finally, these new students will learn that the law is not difficult to understand. The prized fantasy of legal scholars—that the law consists of complex, bewildering, difficult statutes that only a select group of erudite individuals can grasp—will be shattered. Spence declares that he could teach most legal rules to most eighth graders quite quickly.(11)
After not attending law school, I lived in Providence until the fall of 1977, reading, swimming, playing tennis and attending movies and plays. I attended about twenty movies a year during the 1970s. Probably only one out of every ten movies I saw had any artistic merit. In my opinion, it’s a rare movie that does justice to the book on which it is based. But, in going to a movie, at least I left my apartment and travelled to a specific location. I paid my admission fee and participated two or three hours in a public experience. Media and social critic Joyce Nelson declares, "Of course, as a ritual moviegoing is not as fully communal as live performance, or even live participation as subject, not spectator.(12) However, for me, it was better than sitting alone watching television.
While living in Fall River and Providence in the 1970s and 1980s, I also attended numerous plays. Some I didn’t enjoy. These included experimental dramas, eminently forgettable light comedies, and heavier fare whose plots didn’t interest me. Many, however, were memorable, high quality plays. These included: The Price, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Glass Managerie and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, and The Iceman Cometh and Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O’Neill. It wasn’t until recently that I saw Long Day's Journey into Night performed.
In the spring of 1977, I had started spraining my ankle when I moved too quickly in a lateral direction on the tennis courts. I flew to New York to see Dr. Paul Montgomery, a nationally known podiatrist. He put me in a special type of orthotic which I wore in my regular as well as my athletic shoes. He also put some kind of strip on the outside of my tennis sneakers which prevented my ankle from turning. Although still experiencing a great deal of difficulty, I was also able to jog a mile or two in my new orthotics.
In September, 1977, I returned to Fort Lauderdale and rented an apartment in Oakland Park, about a twelve minute drive from the Holiday Park tennis courts. I mostly concentrated on tennis during this stay in Fort Lauderdale. I only missed playing about five days during the next year.
The city championship was held in late August. I played everyday during the two months before the tournament, often at noon in ninety-degree temperatures with high humidity. As the second seed in the Class A division, I easily reached the semi-finals. I won the first set of the semi-finals 6-4 and took a commanding 5-1 lead in the second. I then proceeded to lose the next five games; however, I managed to win the next game, forcing a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was the best of nine points. With a 4-2 lead, I served only my second double fault of the match. My next serve was out, and my second serve was quite shallow. My opponent stepped in and tried to put it away to even the tiebreaker. When his shot landed just wide, I entered the finals.
The next day, I defeated the top seed 7-6, 7-6. A schizophrenic who hadn’t played a tournament in over a decade had won the Class A division in one of the toughest cities for competitive tennis in the country! I received the trophy from Jimmy Evert. About three weeks later, I returned to Fall River and rented an apartment.
I had read about the humanistic psychology movement' in Fort Lauderdale. I went for an appointment with a psychologist in Newton, a suburb of Boston. He listened to me recount my troubles of the last thirteen years, including my many athletic injuries. He finally told me that he couldn’t help me and referred me to another psychologist who was affiliated with McLean Psychiatric Hospital. This psychologist said, "You look like you’re holding something in." He did an exercise with me in which he asked me to tell him what I was feeling. I sensed that this course of action wouldn’t solve my problem and did not return for another session.
I had also heard about the incipient holistic health movement. Referring to a list of holistic health organizations that I had found in a magazine, I called Interface in Newton. Interface is an educational organization which features lectures and classes relating to holistic health. I briefly described the problem with my spastic adductor muscle to someone who had answered the phone. She suggested that I contact Dr. Samuel Hines, a psychiatrist affiliated with Interface. I called his office and made an appointment in a couple of weeks.
Dr. Hines had a small, unpretentious office in a shabby old building in Newton. He listened while I told him about my adductor muscle, my jogging difficulties, and my neuromuscular disaster in 1965. I asked him whether it would be helpful to use acupressure on the adductor muscle.
He replied, “Do you want to treat the symptoms or eliminate the problem?" Dr. Hines suggested a body work technique formally called Functional Integration and informally called Feldenkrais, after its founder Moshe Feldenkrais. Dr. Hines thought it could solve all my muscular problems. Thinking that this claim was unbelievable, I almost walked out of his office right then. I read a brief article that he gave me about the treatment, but I really didn’t understand how the technique was supposed to work. Deciding to give it a try, I made an appointment to see a practitioner named Josef Dellagrotte in a couple of weeks.
I had also made an appointment to start receiving physical therapy for the adductor muscle at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, one of the most prestigious hospitals in the world. During my initial appointment, the therapist said that she would use a machine to electrically stimulate the muscle. She told me to make another appointment for next week. Before leaving, I mentioned that I was going to try the Feldenkrais method. The therapist asked, ’’Isn’t that available only in California?” It was true that in 1978 the practitioners were heavily concentrated in California. The first American training program, taught by Feldenkrais himself, had taken place in San Francisco between 1975 and 1977.
Moshe Feldenkrais was an Israeli with a Ph.D. in physics. He was an outstanding soccer player and had a black belt in judo. He had damaged his knees and had been told that he might become crippled. From this time, Feldenkrais researched the movements of the human body for twenty-five years; he studied tai chi, yoga, applied kinesiology, babies moving in their cribs, and animals. He discovered that very slow movements were picked up by the brain, which then transformed the way people moved. Feldenkrais developed over one thousand movement sequences.
I went for my appointment with Dellagrotte. He worked in a small room with a body work table across the hall from Dr. Hines’s office. Dellagrotte had been a Fulbright scholar and humanities professor before graduating from the first training program. I described my muscular problems to him. He had me lie down on the table; then, he started feeling various muscles. Dellagrotte started moving parts of my body in a slow, gentle way. At the end of the fifty-minute session, I felt no difference.
I returned in a week for another session; I didn’t feel any different at the end of this session either. Furthermore, I didn’t have the slightest idea what he was doing. However, I was determined to come for at least a few more sessions to see if there was any improvement in any of my muscular problems.
During the third session, Dellagrotte had me breathe while holding my chest in different spots. Then, he put me through some movements. The muscles in my ribs, diaphragm, and abdomen that had been severely contracted for thirteen years were released. Gradually, my posture straightened until I was upright and in line with the pull of gravity rather than bent inward. The skeleton must be in this upright position to organize breathing properly.(1) My muscles no longer had to do the job of the skeleton in holding up my body; they were free to carry out their main job of moving the body.
My posture had been poor from an early age. It had become terrible when I had suffered my neuromuscular derangement. Poor posture is the outward manifestation of inner emotional disturbance or inconsistency. In other words, faulty posture is a bodily revelation of the emotional strain that has caused it.(2) Since a person’s posture relates to his actions, acture probably would be a more precise term.(3) An individual’s acture is the same ’’whether he tries to flex his body, solve an important social problem or empty his bowels."(4) The manner in which a person organizes himself for any action essentially remains constant and will normally change very slowly unless altered by a potent body work technique such as Feldenkrais. Changing the posture is the most important consideration in working on all situations of a distorted dependence relationship to other people. A person who has good posture has an excellent opportunity to enjoy mental or emotional calmness as well.
Upon leaving Dellagrotte’s office after the third session, I noticed that my thought pattern was much calmer. Able to communicate with people in a less remote and harsh way, I was no longer "schizophrenic.” I had been "cured" of this "disease" in one fifty-minute session! Actually, Feldenkrais clients are not cured of their conditions; they relearn the proper use of their bodies. Many problems that modern medicine considers permanent can be changed dramatically using this method.(5)
I didn’t have to be persuaded to return for the fourth session. Dellagrotte worked on my spastic adductor muscle for two or three sessions; in fact, he concentrated on the surrounding muscles. Eventually, the adductor muscle relaxed. I no longer needed to put ice on it after exercising. In subsequent sessions, various movements led to the relaxation of my jaw, neck, and eye muscles. Upon starting to play tennis in the spring, I found that my eye-hand coordination had improved so that I could now hit the ball at the net.
During the next several sessions, Dellagrotte concentrated on my feet and legs. He explained to me that there was nothing wrong with my right ankle. The whole movement pattern of that leg had been disrupted by the failure to treat the original injury properly ten years ago. My subsequent jogging had aggravated the condition. My other foot and leg had also suffered from the awkward movement pattern on the right side. After being put through various movements, the range of motion in my hips increased significantly. When I jumped on a mini-trampoline and moved my feet on a roller, the pains on the bottom of my feet disappeared.
I had thirteen initial sessions, which lasted until Dellagrotte went away in the spring of 1979. Later that year, I had another thirteen sessions, during which time my ability to move improved even further. Dellagrotte had told me that I could shortly have become crippled if I had continued to use my body in my habitually traumatic way.
As the sessions were ending, Dellagrotte said that I could now try jogging; he also said that I could throw away my orthotics. I found that my jogging gait had improved somewhat, although it was not really as easy and smooth as it should be. However, my ability to walk was perfect now. Therefore, I decided to forget about jogging and stick to swimming, walking, and tennis.
In the spring of 1979, I also attended classes taught by Dellagrotte in which he gave instructions to the participants, who would try to do various Feldenkrais movements. The classwork is called Awareness Through Movement. In addition, I bought Feldenkrais’s book Awareness Through Movement, which explains the philosophy behind the movements. It also includes ten lessons, which are difficult to do from the book. Therefore, I bought them on tape narrated by Feldenkrais himself. I soon bought another excellent series of tapes by Ruthy Alon, a close associate of Feldenkrais. I did the Feldenkrais and Alon tapes repeatedly from the spring of 1979 to the spring of 1983.
Feldenkrais observes, "The lessons are designed to improve ability, that is, to expand the boundaries of the possible: to turn the impossible into the possible, the difficult into the easy and the easy into the pleasant.”(6) A person who has been moving in a dysfunctional way learns to produce smoother movements without simultaneously initiating unwanted impulses. I began to sense parasitic contractions as I widened and refined my control of my muscular range through very slow movements. I gradually sensed which movements felt best and began to choose them. I did the movements over and over again on a yoga mat at home. Lying on the ground reduced the tension in my body. Doing the movements slowly, I now could distinguish small differences in muscle tension.
I found out that my future did not have to be wrecked completely by my past misuse of myself. Feldenkrais’s ability to redirect the nervous system demonstrates that life need not be a sequence of stationary conditions in which we helplessly find ourselves but can be a process self-consciously directed by us? People can make fundamental changes in themselves and have an opportunity to travel the path to maturity.
I was fortunate to have help in learning the movements on the tapes from Ruth Monchik, a woman from Newton in her early sixties. Monchik taught yoga at Harvard and in a basement studio in her home. She was eager to learn some of the movements and went through the tapes with me for free. Since then, she has been a genuinely warm friend.
Early in 1980, my mother frantically told me that the bankers in charge of her trust fund had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from it. Her lawyer had supposedly been watching over it, but he had been negligent. Florence was now told that a lawsuit would be expensive and drag on for many years. The bank was powerful and winning was far from certain.
My mother still had enough money to live comfortably. I, however, was left in serious financial circumstances. In the 1970s, I mainly had lived by using the fifty thousand dollars I had received on Nantucket in 1969. Florence had supplemented this money modestly. Dr. Liberman had certified that I had been permanently disabled before the age of twenty-two. As a son of a deceased veteran, I had been placed on a federal disability program; I had started receiving monthly benefits in 1975. I also was given Medicare benefits which I never used until 1988. Until 1987, I had my own Major Medical Blue Cross-Blue Shield policy.
I had started investing in the stock market in 1969. I dealt with Edward Kravitz, the broker who had handled my grandfather’s account. Kravitz often had called him to obtain tips on the market. I had made about twelve thousand dollars during the 1970s, although neither my father nor grandfather had ever given me any advice about investing. I had merely read a few popularly written books on the subject. My success undoubtedly was just luck since the most astute observers have discovered that the market is a random walk.
I enjoyed discussing the market with Paul Kaplan, the only friend with whom I was in regular contact. Kaplan had lived behind my family’s house in Fall River. He had graduated from Bryant College, a business school, and subscribed to The Wall Street Journal. When I was living in Fall River, I spoke to him several times a week and occasionally went to a mall or bowling with him.
I was investing in the market even as I was reading copious amounts of radical material and identifying with the working class in their battle against the capitalists. Maybe this was the result of being adrift on a sea of abstractions. Actually, I sensed that I would never be able to work; therefore, I was trying to make some money in the only way I could within the capitalist system.
I certainly was no worse than Theodore Dreiser. Ironically, the book sales and film rights to An American Tragedy, published in 1925, made Dreiser affluent for the first time in his life just as he began to turn permanently against the capitalist system. He himself finally had achieved the Horatio Alger dream of going from rags to riches. Now, Dreiser had a grand apartment in a stylish section of New York, liveried servants, and an enormous estate and country house at Sroki, and costly clothes. Yet, the great writer constantly censured the rich, deriding ’’their vanity, pomp and vulgar display of wealth.”(1) He had never become free emotionally from the pain and humiliation of his own youthful poverty. Furthermore, his fanatical authoritarian religious upbringing had implanted in him feelings of insecurity which were never eradicated.
Michael Lyndon notes: "Sometimes Dreiser loved ’the people’, sometimes he considered them ’potato minds.’”(2) I was identifying with the working class but other than working on tables at Camp Indian Lake one summer, I had never worked a day in my life. Other than superficial encounters, I hadn’t had any contact with working class people other than Colleen O’Leary and Gladys Rollins, our longtime maid in our first house. W.A. Swanberg astutely declares that any accounting of Dreiser’s manifold contradictions "would have to be done in the misty suburbs of abnormal psychology.”(3) This statement fully applies to me. It is undoubtedly true of all people whose childhood traumas remain repressed.
Another financial disaster befell me in the late 1970s. Cenco, Inc. had gone off the New York Stock Exchange after someone had stolen twenty-two million dollars from the company. I held seven hundred shares which a short while before had been worth fifteen thousand dollars. I eventually received a five hundred dollar bond, payable in 1993. I was left with about twenty thousand dollars of the original fifty thousand; I used the last of it in 1987.
These two criminal incidents aren’t unusual in contemporary America, nor were they unusual in Dreiser’s era. Commenting on Dreiser, Arun Mukherjeee notes: "Money and the desire for it are the two prime movers of his plots. His characters rob, steal, prostitute themselves and even murder in order to get it."(4) The great writer had soon discovered through his experiences as a young journalist in the 1890s that American society was a morally bankrupt drama, refuting the instruction of the religionists and moralists. Genuine Christians were not abundant, and Sunday school precepts were not applicable to daily life.(5)
White-collar theft and other corporate wrongdoings are rampant in this country. The Bureau of National Affairs estimates that every year corporations commit crimes whose dollar cost to the country "is over ten times greater than the combined larcenies, robberies, burglaries, and auto thefts committed by individuals."(6) 20 percent of the United States’ five hundred biggest corporations have been found guilty of at least one major crime or have had civil punishments imposed on them for grave misconduct.
In fact, the corporation has become "society’s frankenstein...."(7) It is a criminal mechanism that takes away from an individual his accountability to his fellow men.(8) Yet, the laws are heavily weighed to preserve the rights of the powerful.(9) Slater points out that most judges and law enforcement officers are quite lenient toward public officials and corporation executives who steal. They act as if these officials and executives are professional thieves and cheaters who should receive mild punishment similar to that given to children who take candy without permission. These judicial and legal personnel take the attitude that even a few months in jail for a rich person is a brutal and almost un-heard-of- disciplinary action.(10)
As the 1980s began, I had lost the security of having a wealthy mother to help me financially. I had taken a giant step towards joining the poor whose lives I had so extensively read about in my history and sociology books as well as in Dreiser’s novels. Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980. Soon, the first reports about homeless people started coming over the airwaves. Having studied American society so thoroughly, I knew that eventually millions of people would be without homes; I feared that I could eventually be among them. The only situation worse than being a "mental patient" is to be a poor one. I had already learned many times over that "the world is not just, goodness is seldom rewarded, and the cruelest deeds are seldom punished.(23)
As previously noted, my biochemistry had been drastically altered in the womb, in early childhood, and during the long period in which my muscles were severely contracted. My nervous system was now miraculously better but still somewhat impaired. I didn’t realize how impaired it still was, until years later, it had improved much more. By then, my movements were less jerky and angular.(1)
Jacob Liberman, who holds a doctorate in optometry, points out that the eyes are extensions of the brain.(2) The patterns of the mind’s activities and the vision patterns of the physical eye indicate a person’s overall health and more specifically his emotional health.(3) They are precise indicators of the way an individual thinks and learns.(4) Therefore, Shakespeare was correct in noting that the eyes are "the windows of the soul."(5) The Bible also perceptively states, "The light of the body is your eye; when your eye is clear, your whole body is clear, your whole body is also full of light; but when it is bad your body is full of darkness.”(6)
A person’s fields of vision represent the amount of the world his brain is perceiving visually. Liberman believes that they also represent the portion of his brain that is actually working. The fields of vision provide the base for his “postural, emotional, and physiological stability in the world."(7) My emotions had been in turmoil and my posture poor for thirteen years. During this period, my fields of vision had been drastically narrowed, and the skin under my eyes had turned a deep black.
In the early 1980s, my thought patterns and emotions were calmer, although my dark circles remained. Yet, I was far from being in excellent emotional health. Unconscious factors linked to my childhood still held sway over me. I still squandered too much of my energy in useless thinking and worrying. I still slept ten hours a night and another during the afternoon. Furthermore, I continued to rush about during my waking hours trying to fill every second with activity. In my daily living, I continued to maintain the pace that is most favored by our competitive society. This habit had survived my thirteen years of neuromuscular disorder intact.
I was functioning in what Capra calls "the Cartesian mode.” Relying solely on this style of living, I now didn’t have obvious symptoms of mental illness but nevertheless wasn’t mentally healthy. Although not employed or in school, I still lead an "ego-centered, competitive, goal-oriented ” existence.(8) I was engrossed with the past and the future; therefore, I couldn’t enjoy present activities. Our academic, corporate, and political institutions are filled with people operating in this Cartesian mode.
As I’ve mentioned, psychologist Paul Pearsall terms this hurried, worry-filled lifestyle "running hot." Hot reactors are selfish and tension-filled. They are constantly "charged up, defensive, over-mobilized, and ready to act."(9) My emphasis on the head rather than the heart was causing my brain to ignore caring and intimate feelings.(10) As a hot reactor, I utilized information quickly and intensely; I allowed a minimum of time to emotionally connect with it. This was certainly true of me when I was reading book after book about American society. Finally, as a hot reactor, I didn’t examine my childhood traumas and the emotional patterns that developed from them.(12)
I hadn’t realized yet that rational and clear-thinking people can learn to modulate their activity level and practice the art of being. In In fact, a "being reflex’ is a better option in the modern world than the fighting, fleeing, and flowing reflexes.(13) I didn't learn this lesson until the late 1980s.
After my Feldenkrais sessions, I was able to control my muscles and thought patterns well enough to attempt an extended piece of writing. Over many years, I had taken notes on some of the best books I had read. Now, I wrote a paper of over one hundred pages summarizing the most perceptive criticism about American society that I had studied. I concluded that the country needed a radical third party such as the newly-formed Citizens Party.
Soon after picking up the typescript, I read in the newspaper that environmental scientist Barry Commoner, the Citizens Party’s candidate for President of the United States was going to speak at Brown University. I went to hear him and had him autograph his book The Closing Circle. I met several people who had formed a Rhode Island chapter of the party, and I was invited to attend their next meeting.
The meeting was held at the home of Allison and David Packer on the affluent East Side of Providence. I met a sociology professor from Providence College and a progressive lawyer, both ofjwhom lived on the East Side. There were a few Socialists and two members of the Communist Party at the meeting. I also met a radical historian who had authored nine books on foreign policy.
At this time, I considered myself a Democratic Socialist; therefore, I felt comfortable with these people. For a long time, my bible of social criticism had been The Sane Society. Fromm calls for a type of humanistic Democratic Socialism. He indicates the strong points and the faults in Karl Marx’s political vision. The great psychoanalyst declares that Marxist Socialism overestimates bourgeois property rights and focuses far too much on economic elements alone. Other groups, called communitarian Socialists, have expressed socialism’s goals in a much better way. They are: Owenists, syndicalists, anarchists, and guild socialists. These groups wanted "an industrial organization in which every working person would be an active and responsible participant, where capital would not employ labor but labor would employ capital."(1) Workers will feel solidarity with all other workers, consumers, and indeed with all mankind. Fromm concludes that the various schools of Socialism contribute to "one of the most significant, idealistic, and moral movements of our age."(2)
I attended several meetings of the Citizens Party. Not playing a major role in the party, I didn’t storm any barricades. I passed out some leaflets, stuffed some envelopes and helped in a few campaigns. However, I was engaged in the real world with real people rather than merely sitting in my room reading. Unfortunately, the Citizens Party enjoyed little success at the polls and died after the 1984 elections.
My other venture into social life did not go as smoothly. I now understand the reason for this failure. My muscles were working much better, but I retained many of the traits of an adult child of an alcoholic. It’s true that my mother was addicted to rage, and my father did not engage in the dramatic acting out common to many alcoholics. However, children in various other types of stressful environments are just as harmed emotionally as are children of alcoholics.(1)
Rational behavior has a positive impact on a person’s life and his intimate associations. Never having been in a normal household, I could only conjecture at what actions constituted rational conduct. "Normal" in this regard is a vague, general term; perhaps functional is a better word.(2) My parents had not modelled an intimate relationship for me; therefore, I had no idea how to engage in one. I dimly sensed that I was quite unlike most people. This was true in the sense that I was thirty-five years old and, having been in a schizoid state for many years, hadn’t worked.
One day my mother and I were eating lunch in a restaurant in Fall River. A good-looking Jewish woman from our neighborhood came over to our table. She was the wife of a Harvard Law School graduate who specialized in estates and trusts. The woman asked me if I would like to meet her daughter. After replying affirmatively, I nodded when she
mentioned a day and hour.
I went to their comfortable home and rang the bell. Their daughter Susan answered the door. She was the ugliest woman I had ever seen! After entering, I had a pleasant chat with her and her parents. I figured that she was better than nothing to date. Perhaps, unconsciously, I felt that I could not get a date with anyone much better.
Susan had graduated recently from Boston University and was now training to be a dietician in a hospital outside Boston. I dated her on Saturday nights and during her summer vacation. She wasn’t particularly bright nor articulate but was a pleasant young woman.
Young people usually go through a sexual apprenticeship involving "courtship, dancing, kissing, and petting with more or less intimate contact."(3) As I’ve related, the only part of this apprenticeship that I served involved dancing during my bar mitzvah year. Now, six months into our relationship, I finally saw a woman undressed at the age of
Janov notes that genuine sex problems are the result of a lack of education and experience but that these types of problems aren't frequent. People who canrt feel and who have had limited experience can benefit greatly from education and technique. He concludes, "However, feeling people manage to learn by themselves to do what is instinctive and natural."(4) I had obviously regained at least a partial ability to feel because I had a good idea how to proceed. Maybe my avid attendance of movies had provided models for me.
We engaged in mutual masturbation on three successive Saturday nights. On the fourth, Susan refused my advances, declaring that she didn’t want to be anybody’s sex object! There was about as much chance of this happening as of me becoming an astronaut. Two weeks after refusing me, Susan broke off our relationship.
She had introduced me to drinking. I sowed some of the wild oats that normally are sowed in adolescence. During a few nights with her, I had five beers. After I stopped seeing her, I occasionally had a beer or two. After reading For Your Own Good and The Family in the late 1980s, I stopped drinking entirely. My drinking with Susan was part of the false self that I had developed as child. Miller declares:
"Splitting of the human being into two parts, one that is good, conforming, and obedient and the other that is the diametrical opposite is perhaps as old as the human race, and one could simply say that it is part of 'human nature.'"(5)
However when, through successful therapy, a person finds his true self, this split automatically heals. An individual sees that his obedient as well as his so-called lewd self are the immoderate poles of his false self, which are now superfluous. I didn’t have successful therapy.
However, through my reading, I gained enough awareness about the forces that had shaped my behavior to realize that drinking wasn’t something I wanted to do. This relationship could have been a scene out of Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie. I would be playing the part of Laura Wingfield. Laura has a physical handicap, wearing a brace on her leg. Her real handicap, however, is psychological. She has an inferiority complex caused by the sickness in the Wingfield family system. Her father, an alcoholic, has physically abandoned the family; he rarely was home and then permanently left. Amanda, her mother, lives predominantly by remembering fantasies of past successes with gentlemen callers when she was a young lady.
Amanda dominates her daughter and her son Tom, criticizing them severely. Laura’s self-regard has been crushed in this atmosphere. She quickly drops out of Rubicam’s Business College and roams the city during school hours. The young lady spends most of her time taking care of a glass menagerie of little animals. This self-nourishing behavior gives her the illusion of self-sufficiency. She can be labelled schizophrenic if her behavior is viewed in isolation from the family system.(6) Tom points out to his mother that Laura appears peculiar to people outside the family. She’s very shy and exists in her own world. Amanda asks her, ”So what are we going to do the rest of our lives? Stay home and watch the parades go by? Amuse ourselves with the glass menagerie, darling?” She fears that her daughter will stay unmarried and live a life of dependency "stuck away in some little mousetrap of a room...."(7)
Amanda desperately wants to find a husband for her daughter. Tom brings James D. O’Connor, a co-worker, to dinner. Amanda’s hopes are dashed, however, when she is informed that Jim is engaged to be married.
I still had a slow voice, dark circles under my eyes, and too much tension in my body. I had low self-esteem caused by the Rubin family’s sickness. James had been an alcoholic who emotionally if not physically abandoned our family. Florence was domineering and critical.
Due to my muscular problem, I had been forced to drop out of society. However, through my reading and tennis, I had been more creative active than Laura. Yet, Florence pretended that nothing much was wrong with me. She sometimes asked if I were going to spend my whole life playing tennis and reading alone in my room. After my Feldenkrais sessions, she wanted me to get a job and get married. Then, I wouldn’t be fated to live a life of dependency ’’stuck away in some little mousetrap of a room....” Inevitably, the outcome of this attempt to match me with a woman turned out to be as illusory as Amanda’s attempt to find a partner for Laura.
Soon after the demise of my relationship with Susan, a doctor with whom I played tennis got me a date with a pharmaceutical saleswoman. She wasn’t pretty but was a big improvement over Susan. In a restaurant, she told me what she did for a living. I remarked in a loud voice, "Oh, you sell drugs." My date immediately said, "Shh!" I also made the mistake of telling her that I had suffered from "mental troubles." We dated six times until I realized that she simply wanted me to pay for some free entertainment.
Ruth Monchik later got me a date with a doctor’s daughter from Newton. This young lady was an authentic blind date; she was partially blind. My second date with her was the last I’ve ever had.
It’s just as well that my dating career was brief at this time. Based on my background, I would have been incapable of love. I had no model for it, and indeed no model even for communication skills. Genuine love has far more to do with giving, not receiving.(8) In fact, love doesn’t consist primarily of a relationship to a particular person; it consists of an "attitude, an orientation of character, which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one "object" of love.(9) My reading had taught me that we desperately need a more loving society and world, but I still was under the sway of repressed rage and hampered by interpersonal ineptitude.
In the summer of 1981, my mother was looking for a way to get me out of the area again; she suggested that I return to Fort Lauderdale in the fall. I took her suggestion and rode the Auto Train south once again. I didn’t have enough money to rent my own apartment; therefore, I took a small room in Steve Heinz’s house. It was in the center of the city, within a couple of miles of Holiday Park. I had met Heinz in 1978 when he had been part of the maintenance crew at the park. Heinz didn’t have much formal education but was bright and progressive; he soon started reading some of the books of social criticism that I recommended to him. He was the first genuine that I had who was part of the working class.
I walked, read, went to the movies and swam at a Young Men’s Christian Association’s outdoor pool for the first couple of months that I was there. Then, I picked up my tennis racket and started playing again at Holiday Park. However, playing there didn’t provide the same thrill that it had in the 1970s.
I had never learned to cook; therefore, I ate my meals in restaurants when I wasn’t living near my mother. Now, I really didn’t have enough money to continue this practice. After a seven month stay with Heinz, I returned to Fall River in the spring of 1982, staying with my mother in a condominium she had recently purchased.
Florence immediately started to lecture me about getting a job. However, I didn’t have the vaguest idea how I could reenter American society in a conventional way after having been an outsider and observer for so long. I was a Rip Van Winkle who had been restored to a relatively normal body seating after thirteen years of extreme neuromuscular derangement. Unfortunately, I still had physical problems which would prevent me from working full time. Besides, I had read enormous quantities of material about the problems and faults of this society.
During my recent stay in Fort Lauderdale, I had discovered Russell Jacoby’s Social Amnesia: A Critique of Contemporary Psychology from Adler to Laing. I now don’t agree with his praise of orthodox Freudianism and have reservations about some of his criticisms of specific psychological authorities. I am, nevertheless, in complete agreement with his overall portrait of American society.
Jacoby notes, ’’Psychic transfusions are to be given to the schizophrenic so that he or she can be released into the madhouse called society.(1) Appearances are deceptive in this antagonistic society. In its entirety, the society is false to the core. Sharp class differences create an existence that is human for only some people. It is a society in which anxiety is commonplace and blatant violence is the rule.(2)
The modern individual is decaying. The nurture of self and self-fulfillment are emphasized in late capitalism while the possibility for their realization constantly diminishes.(3) The ideology of free competition, free initiative, and equal opportunity maintains that everybody can transcend his situation and reach his goal. The truth is that freedom and individuality are present solely "in their mangled bourgeois form."(4) These words are euphemisms that conceal a brutal atmosphere of survival of the fittest. The individual has been overpowered by this cruel reality and left "numb and dumb.”(5) Each individual must harden himself for the sake of self-preservation.
People are particularly numbed by the icy atmosphere of interpersonal communications. The emphasis on human relations, responses, emotions are actually "subhuman responses to a subhuman world.(6) Human and social relationships are relationships between things but are viewed as natural and permanent. Modern man's relationship to his fellow man is one of "two abstractions, two living machines, who use each other." Employers use employees; salesmen use their customers. Although they treat each other with a degree of superficial friendliness, people are commodities to each other. Behind their facade lurks "distance, indifference, much muted distrust." They are "atoms" (meaning individuals in Greek) who cooperate to a limited extent for selfish reasons.(7) Therefore, Jacoby is correct in pointing out that the source of evil is to be found "not in the human condition but in inhuman conditions."(8) Genuine human relations are either obsolete or yet to be realized.
To competently evaluate an individual’s personality, it is imperative that one evaluate also the condition of his world. However, the state of his world is never contingent on himself alone, nor solely on his past environmental influences. In order to produce more people who are well-integrated, it isnecessary to criticize and change a particular culture and its values.
Fromm asserts, "Alienated psychiatrists will define mental health in terms of the alienated personality, and therefore consider healthy what might be considered sick from the standpoint of normative humanism."(9) In order to find the cause of "mental illness," the United States would have to engage in a penetrating examination of its social processes rather than increase the money spent developing psychotropic medications.(10) In a humanistic society, the discipline now called psychiatry would be an active force for social amelioration rather than a refuge from social disorder.(11)
Dr. Arno Gruen, a professor of psychology and a psychoanalyst, avers that the mentally ill who are avoided by society aren’t the most damaged people. The truly impaired "are the people who want to impose upon us a belief in a diminished human reality.”(12) We ignore messages from our hearts and live in a society in which a mutilated self is considered normal. It sanctions preprogrammed varieties of love which aren’t genuine. It is a society in which power rather than love prevails.(13)
People in this society fit into various groups in which they can attempt to hide their rage and destructiveness. These qualities predominate because their development of autonomy has been blocked. A person who doesn’t achieve "freedom, spontaneity, a genuine expression of self” has a serious personality defect.(14) If the majority of people in a particular society don’t achieve these positive traits, they are suffering from a socially patterned defect. They are not conscious that they have a defect and don’t consider themselves outcasts. As the philosopher Spinoza argues, such traits as greediness and ambition are forms of insanity.(15) It is ludicrous that, in contemporary America, "the individual is born into a world in. which it has been predecided that the promotion of free enterprise and the sale of goods is the dominant problem in meeting the challenge of life."(16) in other words, a normal person gains self-esteem by suppressing his critical acumen and wholeheartedly engaging in the sale and consumption of merchandise.
The race for success and achievement is really a war of all against all.(17) Those who strive for power are fleeing from feelings of suffering and helplessness. They are trying to keep inner chaos and the possibility of psychotic disintegration from overtaking them.(18) The more they are unable to live fully, the more they will try to live through symbols of living such as power and money.(19) The most successful people are those who are the most isolated from their emotional world.(20) To succeed, they must reject all qualities in themselves that are not "wonderful, good, and clever." By rejecting "weakness, impotence, uncertainty," they are rejecting the child in themselves and in other people.(21)
Enormous numbers of people in contemporary society are out of touch with their feelings and indifferent to everything. They are inwardly empty and don’t see any meaning to life.(22) Thought and feeling as well as perception and passion must be properly connected for people to experience meaning in life. These people are also lacking values which are well integrated with their life experiences. Andrew Bard Schmookler declares, "Knowledge that matters in human terms must be integrated with the whole human being."(23) Fromm declares that "we have the know-how but we do not have the know-why nor the know-what for."(24) He adds that our intelligence tests reward skill in memorization and fast manipulation of thoughts but not the ability to reason. People may be outstanding at passing objective tests but remain ignorant in a human sense.
The boosters of our society commonly associate human achievement with technical achievement.(25) One of the leading principles of this cybernetic society is that ’’something ought to be done because it is technically possible to do it.”(26) These projects include space travel, nuclear power, and nuclear weapons. A rocket that can travel into outer space is valued much more than a human being.(27) We are being ruined by our own machines, poisons, weapons, and despair.(28) We are wallowing in our own waste matter.(29) In fact, modern people "are encased in the leaden armor” of their ’’technological schizophrenia.”(30)
The totally alienated cybernetic man’s most striking trait is the split between thought-affect-will. In fact, the word schizophrenia is taken from the Greek schizo, to split, and phren, psyche. This overemphasis isn’t only to be found among those people engaged in scientific work. Most of contemporary urban workers, including "clerical workers, salesmen, engineers, physicians, managers, and especially many intellectuals and artists" qualify as cybernetic people. These cogs in the megamachine worship science, technology, and progress.(31) The megamachine may be defined as
"the totally organized and homogenized social system in which society as such functions like a machine and men like its parts."(32) It requires a steady growth of order, power, predictability, and control.
The modern American society that I would be attempting to reenter has been emotionally toxic for large numbers of people for a long time. Due to the erroneous social principles that have conditioned its citizens since infancy, this country is filled with a "very large amount of mental disorder, nervous tension, conflict, fear, anxiety, frustration, and
insecurity."(33) These false values have produced loveless, deeply sick people.(34) In 1971-72, official government statistics revealed that this country had 4 million schizophrenics, 4 million seriously disturbed children, 9 million alcoholics, and 10 million people suffering from 35 severely disabling depression.”(35) 25 million adults were using Valium at the beginning of the 1970s. By 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration revealed that Americans were taking 5 billion pills of the class of tranquilizers called benzodianzephines. Valium is part of this class. Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren are drugged. One-fourth of women aged thirty to sixty use psychoactive prescription drugs regularly.
Becker aptly defines this society:
"Life in contemporary society is like an open-air lunatic asylum with people cutting and spraying their grass (to deny untidyness, hence lack of control, hence their death), beating trails to the bank with little books of figures that worry them around the clock (for the same reason), ogling bulges of flesh, bent over steering wheels and screeching around corners, meticulously polishing their cars, trimming their hedges (and of course spraying them), giving out parking tickets, saluting banners of colored cloth with their hand on their heart, killing enemies, carefully counting the dead, missing, wounded, probable dead, planning production courves that will absolutely bring about the millenium in thirty-seven years (if quotas are met), filling shopping carts, emptying shopping carts, nailing up vines (and spraying them)—and all this dedicated activity takes place within a din of noise that tries to defy eternity: motorized lawn mowers, power saws, electric clipshears, powered spray guns, huge industrial machines, jack hammers, automobiles and their tires, giant jets, electric shavers, motorized toothbrushes dishwashers, clotheswashers, dryers, vacuum cleaners."
American society is dominated by this obsessive-compulsive way of life. This standard cultural neurosis almost totally suppresses human beings’ animal spontaneity. It is a "material-technological character-lie which inhibits our impulses toward "mystery, awe, and beauty."(36)
Laing points out that everyone is crazy because they look at society from the perspective of the standard neurotic arrangements. Becker feels that the only people who can break out of this constricting viewpoint are those who have a breakdown and relinquish their old perceptions. This happened to me when my muscles went into contraction.
Some people, however, have managed to break out of the culturally normal way of viewing matters without such a drastic breakdown. Most of them haven’t had the time to do all the reading I’ve done. Fortunately, this isn’t necessary to throw off the chains of early conditioning. Yet, in order to earn a living, a significant number of them remain connected with institutions that allow them to engage in some limited reforms but basically uphold the status quo. Finally, many of these people are involved in work that requires a great deal of specialization. Some specialization, of course, is necessary for a society to function. Our society, however, is overspecialized. I had been fortunate in that my enormous reading outside of institutional constraints had allowed me to obtain an increasingly rare general perspective.
Our society is historically one of the lowest-ranking ones in its degree of mutual caring and cooperation.(37) The modern market society is unique in the way that social and economic relationships are carried out "in such an abstract, detached, superficial, and forced context.” Sociologist Max Weber, in the early twentieth century, noted that a market society fosters extremely impersonal relationships in which people become commodities. He observes, "There are no obligations of brotherliness or reverence, and none of those spontaneous human relations that are sustained by personal unions."(38)
Many participants are full of self-blaming and anger; they remain mired in jobs which are distasteful to them. Huge numbers of people don’t believe that other people are honest. Furthermore, our society is set up so that people are frequently forsaken.(39) They start to feel completely isolated; they also feel that they are responsible for their lives
having turned out so badly.(40)
Our capitalist society justifies itself through the theory of the meritocracy. It holds that individuals are free to do whatever they want in life. Their final position in the hierarchy depends on their work habits and skills.(41) Those with the most brains, stamina, and superior attitudes will end up on top. This theory doesn’t recognize the fact that many individuals start the race with large handicaps because of their parents’ psychological and financial situations. The degree to which people have been traumatized in childhood is a very important factor in how their adult lives turn out.(42) Of course, what is termed "success" in our society often would not be considered success in a healthy society.
People’s emotional health is damaged by this type of society, in which most of its members emphasize self-centered and self-serving traits. This is a gigantic mistake because "our fundamental essence, our core being, exists in relationship with others, as part of a community of meaning, love, and solidarity.”(43) Needing each other is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Human beings who don’t realize that "we" rather than "I” is the fundamental structure of life are detached from their genuine humanity.(44)
In his encyclopedic study Human Scale, Kirkpatrick Sale enumerates the crises of modern life. They include:
"An imperilled ecology, irremediable pollution of atmosphere and oceans, overpopulation, world hunger and starvation, the depletion of resources, environmental diseases, the vanishing wilderness, uncontrolled technologies, chemical toxins in water, air, and foods, and endangered species on land and sea.
"A deepening suspicion of authority, distrust of established institutions, breakdown of family ties, decline of community, erosion of religious commitment, contempt for law, disregard for tradition, ethical and moral confusion, cultural ignorance, artistic chaos, and aesthetic uncertainty. Deteriorating cities, megalopolitan sprawl, stifling ghettoes, overcrowding, traffic congestion, untreated wastes, smog and soot, budget insolvency, inadequate schools, mounting illiteracy, declining university standards, dehumanizing welfare systems, police brutality, overcrowded hospitals, clogged court calenders, inhuman prisons, racial injustice, sex discrimination, poverty, crime and vandalism, and fear.
"The growth of loneliness, powerlessness, insecurity, anxiety, anomie, boredom, bewilderment, alienation, rudeness, suicide, mental illness, alcoholism, drug usage, divorce, violence, and sexual dyfunction.
"Political alienation and discontent, bureaucratic rigidification, administrative inefficiency, legislative ineptitude, judicial inequity, bribery and corruption, inadequate government regulations and enforcement, the use of repressive machinery, abuses of power, ineradicable national debt, collapse of the two-party system, defense overspending, nuclear proliferation, the arms race and arms sales, and the threat of nuclear annihilation.
"Economic uncertainty, unemployment, inflation, devaluation and displacement of the dollar, capital shortages, the energy crisis, absenteeism, employee sabotage and theft, corporate mismanagement, industrial espionage, business payoffs and bribes, white-collar criminality, shoddy goods, waste and inefficiency, planned obsolescence, fraudulent and incessant advertising, mounting personal debt, and maldistribution of wealth.
"International instability, worldwide inflation, national and civil warfare, arms buildup, nuclear reactors, plutonium stockpiles, disputes over laws of the sea, inadequate international law, the failure of the United Nations, multinational exploitation, Third World poverty and unrepayable debt, and the end of the imperial arrangement."(45)
With my muscles contracted, I necessarily remained outside society. Therefore, I was stigmatized because I couldn’t fit myself into the wage-work day and hold steady employment.(1) Yet, the amount of work that people do in modern industrial society is unprecedented. The traits of orderliness and punctuality are emphasized to an extent far beyond most other cultures.(2) Slater asserts that he "would rather pay people not to make nerve gas than pay them to make it; pay them not to pollute the environment than pay them to do it; pay them not to innundate us with instant junk than pay them to do it; pay them not to kill peasants than pay them to do it; pay them not to be dictators than pay them to do it; pay them not to replace communities with highways than pay them to do it, and so on."(3)
Fromm believes that a non-coercive society would accept the principle of a guaranteed annual income. He recognizes the possibility that a minority of people would choose a life similar to that of a monk, totally pursuing their inner growth, contemplation, or study. Yet, if the Middle Ages permitted monastic life, our much wealthier society is easily capable of bearing this cost. This idea would be ruined if a person had to demonstrate that he was actually making "good use” of his time.(4)
Society may be conceived of as "a drama, a play, a staging....(5) As a child, I learned to perform for the people around me. I was then supposed to assume a part in the status-role system related to my occupation, my family membership, and my relationships. In competitive societies, behavior is deliberately planned. (6) Even after my muscles were no longer contracted, I was bound to be socially awkward because I was "poorly trained as a performer.(7) The person labelled schizophrenic often never learned to act convincingly in dialogue with other people. I didn’t acquire self-esteem in my family and was thus unable to get it in the wider society. As I’ve indicated, a person—especially a "mentally ill" one—who can’t assume a satisfactory part in society’s drama is for the most part shunned by its people.(8)
Even after my Feldenkrais sessions, I couldn’t put on a smooth performance with my loud, tension-filled voice, still somewhat rigid mannerisms and dark circles under my eyes. I was now able to satisfactorily make contact with other people but had few social skills. My behavior furnishes people with the most obvious information about me. Behavioral traits include: "The way we look at someone or away from them; whether our voice tone matches our body posture; the way we breathe; the flush and color of our face; the way we hold our hands."(9) These non-verbal signs reveal to others whether we are being congruent or incongruent. Congruence is the correlation between the content of our speech and the way we deliver the words. Living in a competitive, individualistic society, my lack of social poise was a particularly deliterious obstacle.(10)
I wasn’t fully aware of these impediments at the time, and I wanted to try to obtain a satisfactory status in society. In our society, a person is a commodity who must invest his energy and skills in order to successfully market his personality.(11) Mocking careers, Slater declares: ’’When we say ’career,’ it suggests a demanding, rigorous, preordained life pattern to whose goals everything else is ruthlessly subordinated— everything pleasurable, human, emotional, bodily, frivolous.”(12) Because of my past physical and emotional trauma, I probably would have remained in Florida and continued my regimen of reading and exercising if my mother hadn’t lost a great deal of money.
Slater asserts that all inheritance should be eliminated. It is simply a carefully worked out and costly welfare program for the wealthy. Inherited wealth probably never really helped anyone; it simply allows parents to bolster their egos in making their children rich but weaker in character.(13) I agree that a just society would eliminate inheritance. I’m glad, however, that it still exists in our dysfunctional society. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have survived my illness.
American society’s philosophy ’’about institutionalizing the aged, psychotic, retarded, and infirm” can be called the Toilet Assumption." (14) This principle holds that unwanted material, problems, intricacies, and hindrances will be eliminated if they are removed from society’s sight. Philosophically, it is part of a general tendency of "escaping, evading, and avoiding" which is a major feature of the American lifestyle. These responses provide the reason for the shocking differences between our riches and our methods of dealing with people who can’t sufficiently care for themselves. A cooperative stable society can assimilate old, sick, and disturbed people into the local community. An individual in this category is a problem that can be dealt with every day through constant association. Instead, we place people who can't take care of themselves in institutions which are "human garbage heaps."(15)
Anyway, I was accustomed to being outside of the "consensus reality" or the "laws of reality" of American society.(16) It is true that I would continue to be under the rule of my mother and the federal government to a significant degree unless I managed to secure a reasonably well-paying job. However, the much ballyhooed freedom of American life is illusory. We are ruled by machines as well as giant governmental bureaucracies and corporations.
It so happened that one day in the fall of 1982, while browsing in the Brown University bookstore, I came across books from the school’s courses in American Civilization. I began to think about applying for a Master’s Degree in that subject. I felt that this endeavor would be easy. My muscles were functioning well. I had read well over a thousand books in the last decade, mostly about American society.
I was about to engage in what Freud termed "the repetition compulsion.” This is the need to "repeat old wounds and traumas in order to master them."(1) I was trying to get unresolved and unmet needs from childhood satisfied in adulthood. An individual will unconsciously search for a person or condition that is similar to the original circumstances. Then, they repeat that situation. In effect, my unconscious, hopeless attempt to win my mother’s love through intellectual effort was continuing despite the earlier devastation it had brought to my body-mind system. I was about to resume my attempt to be a top student at an elite university. Truly, this was age regression. It also demonstrates that mystified behavior is repetitious.(3)
I started seeing a therapist recommended by Josef Dellagrotte. I knew that my body-mind system was still not well-integrated and that I still required eleven hours of sleep a day. I expected that the therapist would suggest a treatment to supplement my Feldenkrais lessons. Previously, Dellagrotte had suggested that I take up tai chi, the oriental martial arts form. However, I couldn’t find a satisfactory group close enough to Fall River. Now, there are classes in Fall River and the immediate vicinity.
We just discussed my background and future possibilities for four months while he waited for an opening in a group he ran. Upon hearing that I was thinking of returning to school, the therapist urged me to go. He was politically radical and had read Social Amnesia. Therefore, he was impressed with my writing on the Citizens Party. Yet, I remained highly ambivalent because of the remaining problems in my body-mind system. Furthermore, I now believed that any formal schooling should be cooperative. The therapist expected me to remain in therapy for about two years. I left after four months because I felt that merely talking wouldn’t help me enough.
The efficacy of the many different types of therapy has been questioned by numerous writers. Gruen and Jacoby emphasize that individual therapy remains very limited because the problem lies in an evil society. Jungian therapist James Hillman makes the same point in his book We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Therapy and the World is Getting Worse. Illich declares, "In a triumphantly therapeutic society, everybody can make himself into a therapist and someone else into his client."(4) Social life turns into an imparting and undergoing of therapy: "medical, psychiatric, pedagogic, or geriatric.(5)
The therapist uses kindness and caring to maintain power over the client and keep him in a state of dependency. What is routinely regarded as therapy and humaneness is really role-playing.(6) Roles in general "are an alienated mode of behavior custom-fit for an alienated society.’’(7) Jacoby points out that this division between roles and real selves turns society into a masquerade party. Perhaps, as Becker believes, roles are a necessary part of any society. It is certain, however, that the types of roles found in a society which lacks genuine community are dyfunctional. Many patients ’’want society to make them like the rest of us: well-adjusted, obedient, successful, and with the freedom to act in a destructive way like other people.”(8)
Jacoby doesn’t want to renounce therapy; he notes, however, that therapy— whether individual, family, or group—remains therapy. It doesn’t touch the social roots of the person’s problems or bring about social change. In that sense, radical therapy doesn’t exist—therapy and radical politics are the alternatives. Yet, it is a perfectly legitimate activity to help ’’the victims, the sick, the damaged, the down-and-out."(9)
Former psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson in Against Therapy recounts many horror stories about therapists’ techniques and prejudices. He firmly believes that the profession is fraudulent, although most therapists are honest and want to assist their clients. Unfortunately, under the best of circumstances, what they have to offer is inevitably far less than what they would like to offer.(10) Most therapists believe that their clients’ unhappiness is at least partially self-created. The therapist frequently declares that he can’t change society or a client’s personal life. He offers sympathetic awareness of the person’s problems. This understanding, however, implicitly focuses on how the patient has created unhappiness or at least increased it. This approach is responsible for creating profound misunderstandings and suffering.(11) Masson notes that, in his own career as a therapist, he found that any counsel he could give was no better than a knowledgeable friend could offer (and much more costly).(12) He suggests that people with similar problems form self-help groups in which no financial gain is involved. In his latest book, Bradshaw urges people to act in accordance with their "own impulses and intuition." With increasing age, he has come to see the wisdom of the anonymous aphorism: No one can give you better advice than yourself.”(13)
David Smail, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Nottingham University agrees that psychological distress is incurable by therapy. Smail declares, "The way to alleviate and mitigate distress is for us to take care of the world and the other people in it, not to treat them." We should make efforts "to enlighten rather than mystify, to love rather than exploit...."(14) However, given the disordered state of our society, I’m not ready to jettison therapy completely. Some people have been so traumatized and mystified that they can derive considerable benefit from an effective therapy administered by a competent therapist. After my Feldenkrais sessions, I could have been helped. Alice Miller—whom I fully trust—recommends a type of primal therapy developed by Jean Jenson, an American social worker with thirty years experience. This therapy allows a person to feel the pain of his childhood trauma in the precise manner that he would have felt it at that time. He will also come to terms with his apprehension of feeling it.15 a client must revert to his childhood mode of awareness many times to heal his pain. He will be dealing now with such feelings as "abandonment, rejection, inadequacy, neediness, ’bad,’ and shame" because he was unable to feel them as a child.(16) He must feel the grief of that child.
A person in therapy can recover repressed facts, feelings, or both. He can also stop denying the meaning of incidents that are already consciously remembered.(17) Furthermore, the client must deal with current situations he has unconsciously caused in order to preserve "his struggle or avoidance defensiveness."(18)
Miller also recommends Facing the Wolf by Theresa Sheppard Alexander. Alexander describes the process of Deep Feeling Therapy, which is a modified version of Janov’s Primal Therapy. Focusing on eight sessions of a three week intensive, she portrays the method from both the patient and therapist’s point of view. Using herself as both the patient and therapist, Alexander recalls her confusion and pain stemming from severe childhood emotional and physical abuse.
In the past, she disregarded or disbelieved her emotions. Now, reliving a moment of past trauma, she "’feels’ the emotions of that time, which was too painful or frightening to fully experience when it occurred."(19) She experiences her deepest emotions as they affect her whole body.
Primal therapy, however, is not a panacea. Robert Firestone has carried out a Feeling Release Therapy modelled on Janov’s original primal therapy and found that many primal sessions may not change a person’s type of defensive system. He concludes:
"A truly effective therapy must challenge all aspects of the patient’s neurotic lifestyle: idealization of the family, negative self-concept, distortion of people outside the family, lack of compassion and feeling for oneself, withholding and self-denying responses, self-nourishing habits, and the bonds with the significant people in one’s life."(20)
In other words, a successful psychotherapy not only will give people complete access to their feelings but help them to dismantle their defenses.(21) Yet, most people who improve in psychotherapy go back to a society that is highly toxic to the undefended individual. In fact, personal defense systems are concentrated in the organizations and conventions of society. The dishonesty in marital relationships and in the conventional family is reproduced in many organizations.(22)
In Febuary 1983, I went to the Department of American Civilization at Brown and talked to Professor Alan Meyers, a graduate adviser. I told him something about my illness and about my reading; then, I gave him a copy of my long paper on the Citizens Party and American society. He was accommodating and said that I’d hear from the Department. Two months later, I received a letter stating that I’d been admitted as a special student.
I had expected to be admitted as a degree candidate. I returned to Meyers’s office and told him rather harshly that I wanted a degree. I hadn’t been subjected to the authority of a teacher or employer for a long time and didn’t show the proper deference. The professor became agitated and said I’d be rejected as a regular student. Only my college grades counted. He testily asked, ”Do you want it?” I replied affirmatively. I had been rudely thrust back into the world of bureaucracy and hierarchy.
During the summer of 1983, I continued my exercise routine of playing tennis and walking. Two weeks before classes began, I sustained a moderate tear in a calf muscle. I had been going for a shot near the end of a two-hour tennis match when I suddenly felt as if someone had just hit me with a baseball bat on my right leg. I was placed in a cast by an orthopedic doctor; I started school on crutches. This injury was upsetting to me because I depended on being able to exercise everyday. When the cast was removed, I went to Dellagrotte for a Feldenkrais session rather than undergo conventional therapy. Then, I began swimming and didn’t resume walking until April.
The American Civilization Department’s program required that each student take four graduate seminars and four one hundred level undergraduate courses for a Master’s Degree. The courses had to relate in some way to American life. If I had entered the program with a conventional undergraduate education, I could have taken one History or English seminar each semester. I hadn’t however, taken any courses on American History as an undergraduate and had been too sick to learn much in my early American Literature course. In effect, I had only benefitted from my freshman year at college. Over the past decade, I had read hundreds of books relating to American history and literature after 1890 but only a few relating to the previous period. Only a few graduate seminars in English or History were offered each semester. Yet, I couldn’t take many of them because of this gap in my knowledge.
Regular students were required to take a graduate seminar numbered 201. Taught by the Department chairman, Professor Leo Roberts, it focused on the Wild West of the nineteenth century. I really wasn’t interested in this topic, which I called Cowboys and Indians. But, as a special student, I wasn’t required to take this seminar. Now, I would be interested in studying Indian life, having read Jerry Mander’s absorbing book In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations. I’m impressed by the fact that the traditional philosophy of the American Indian emphasizes spiritual advancement rather than the accumulation of material wealth.(1)
I couldn’t find any English or History seminar that I could take. Therefore, I signed up for a sociology seminar about some aspect of health and illness. Unfortunately, it was being held on the third floor of a building with a steep flight of stairs. I would have had a difficult time reaching the room on crutches for the first couple of weeks. I didn’t, however, know what else I could take.
A few days before classes started, the Department held a social gathering for the professors and graduate students on the lawn outside its building. Someone introduced Professor Roberts to me. I then proceeded to tell him that I wasn’t taking his seminar because I wasn’t interested in it! This remark must have been especially shocking coming from a graduate student, most of whom are notorious for their docility toward professors.
Actually, as an adult child of an alcoholic, I greatly feared authority figures.(2) I rationalized my anger by couching my hostility in the lofty language of social reconstruction. I remembered Illich’s statement ’’that a society constructed so that education by means of schools is a necessity for its functioning cannot be a just society.”(3) This is true but shouldn’t have prevented me from playing the game of school in which I now found myself involved. My angry, hurt inner child, whose development had been so violently arrested, was contaminating my present behavior.(4) Furthermore, to be fair to myself, it was genuinely difficult for me to switch to prescribed syllabi after having done independent reading for so long.
I still had to find a seminar that I could take for the first semester; therefore, at home that evening, I looked in the catalogue again. Finally, I realized that I would have to take Professor Roberts’s seminar! I hobbled into the small class of around fifteen students on the first day and sat down. Roberts immediately looked up from a book and exclaimed, "You’re not in it!" I replied that I had changed my mind.
The professor made little effort to teach during the seminar. The material he did try to convey was disorganized. Roberts had been a professor for many years. He is a learned man; perhaps he was preoccupied with personal problems. Not surprisingly, he acted coldly toward me.
The first assignment was to write a ten or twelve page research page on a topic relating to the Wild West and then give a talk to the class based on the paper. I went to Roberts’s office and asked him to suggest a topic. He took down four books from his shelf on some Indian tribe and suggested a topic I don’t recall. I found the books dull, but I forced myself to read them. I gave the talk and turned in the paper. It was returned with a B and the comment that it was supposed to be research. Thinking that the professor was being nasty, I was determined to show him what I could do on my final paper. I didn’t realize that the problem was that I’d never really done a college research paper! I hadn’t learned this skill during my freshman year in 1964-65. Yet, here I was among students who had been carefully selected for graduate school on the basis of their superior ability to carry out research projects. I was like a rookie with the talent to be a major league baseball player, but who hadn’t received the most rudimentary instruction in hitting and fielding. Of course, after my freshman year, I couldn’t have done research effectively even if I had previously mastered the process.
After several classes of the seminar. Professor Meyers came to one session to talk about the Wild West as portrayed on television. He was an academic television critic! I had read and fully believed Jerry Mander’s book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.(5) Mander details the way that watching television acts like a drug on the viewer. Drugs allow a person to escape from reality while supposedly providing experience and relaxation; television has a similar effect. The television screen doesn’t really have a picture; it features a flicker effect which is created by the phosphorescent glow of three hundred thousand tiny dots which flash on and off thirty times per second. The human eye was not designed to connect these dots which are flashing at subliminal speed; therefore, the viewer eventually falls into a trance-like state. Moreover, television encourages people to be passive spectators of events rather than to take action to change the world. The medium is an inferior means of communication and education; it is most effective at implanting permanent images in people’s unconscious. I had included this information in my paper about the Citizens Party that I had submitted to Meyers before he had admitted me as a special student. I had no idea that his main academic interest was television. To his credit, he had admitted me anyway.
I had virtually stopped watching television in 1965 when I had become ill. 1 was spending so much time sleeping and exercising that I wanted to spend my other hours pursuing more worthwhile activities. To this day, I remain outside the electronic nervous system of the country. Ninety-nine percent of the homes in the United States with electricity have a set; 95 percent of the population views television daily.(6) The average American adult spends nearly five hours in front of the televison everyday.
The young, the poor, and the superbly educated are influenced by television. All public comprehension of ’’politics, news, education, religion, science, sports” is molded by the prejudices of television. Our compound of electronic techniques, including film and radio, had produced ”a peek-a-booworld," in which an event will come suddenly into view for a brief time and then disappear again. By watching television, "we learn what telephone system to use, what movies to see, what books, records, and magazines to buy, what radio programs to listen to."(7) Television has become the soma found in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.(8) Most people in our society have accepted this deeply unnatural, bizarre world. For the most part, they believe its definitions of veracity, information, and reality. Inconsequential matters appear to us to be significant and babble seems remarkably sane. Television is so important that our era may even be called the Age of Television.(9)
Television news provides disinformation. This is misleading, out of context, insignificant, incomplete or shallow information.^ Newscasters don’t display negative emotional reactions when commenting before and after terrible tragedies on the film clips. In fact, some remain enthusiastic as they tell about various barbarities and disasters. The average television news story is about forty-five seconds in length. Actually, no story has any impact on the viewer.(11)
On the other hand, reading is fundamentally a rational pursuit. It requires being attentive to a sequence of thought, which requires a great deal of evaluation, analysis and logic. A reader must unmask misuse of logic and common sense, as well as unite one general idea to another. A reader must also evaluate beliefs, examine statements, and discover similarities and differences between them.(12) Therefore, the manner in which television promotes learning is antithetical to book-learning. Meyers is the exception: a person who watches a great deal of television and also does a considerable amount of reading and writing. Anyway, I kept quiet during the class in which he gave his talk.
The Wild West seminar proceeded forward. The second assignment was a fifteen page research paper. I decided to do an analysis of Willa Cather’s My Antonia. This was an English paper, but it was approved by Roberts. I spent long hours frantically trying to put together source material; I didn’t even know that the first rule of research is to limit the topic. My paper, a mismash of history and attempted literary analysis, wasn’t really research at all.
I was also taking an undergraduate course on American Domestic History from 1890 to 1930. I had read about one hundred books dealing with this era. Often, I had read a whole book on a person or event which Professor John Peterson mentioned during his lecture. I got an A- on the midterm examination; I also received an A- on a book review. I really didn’t know the proper way to write a review and would have benefitted from reading one of the many short books on this subject. I wrote an excellent final examination and received an A for the course. Brown had eliminated all pluses and minuses in final grades as well as the grade of F. A student received either A, B, C, or No Credit.
An award-winning historian, Peterson was impressed with my work. He rarely stopped to ask questions during his lectures. However, during one of them, he suddenly asked the class of at least seventy students if anybody knew who ran against Theodore Roosevelt for the presidency in 1904. I raised my hand and replied, “Alton B. Parker." Peterson said, "I knew you’d know." I was proud that I could name all the losing presidential candidates of the twentieth century. I hadn’t memorized them; I had read so much history that I automatically learned them. One day I met the professor eating lunch with a student in a campus sandwich shop. I interrupted their conversation and asked Peterson if he could name all the losing presidential candidates of the twentieth century. Without hesitation, he rattled them off. Halfway through the course, he asked me if I would like to study for a Ph.D.
I turned in my final paper for the Wild West seminar. During this last class, Roberts made a comment about a former chairman of the American Civilization Department. Then, he remarked that the individual would remain nameless. Just as he finished his sentence, I blurted out the professor’s name. It was Hyatt Waggoner, who had written extensively on Hawthorne and Faulkner. My remark wasn’t prompted by my unconscious rage; it was an honest mistake. I had been taking Waggoner’s course on Faulkner when I left school in the spring of 1966. Robert’s talking about him had brought back a painful memory.
I picked up my paper just before attending a social gathering for the students and professors at the end of the semester. It was graded B- and had the comment: "Plot summaries are not sufficient for graduate school.” Thinking that Roberts still was picking on me, I told him that I’d like to talk to him about the paper. He gave me an appointment in a few days.
I stormed into his office and started shouting that he had given me a bad grade because he didn’t like me. This was the first time that I had yelled at any authority figure in my life. The professor became flustered and started defending himself. He said that the paper was too long, the tone too shrill, and that it wasn’t literary analysis. I quickly said that it was history and tried to justify a few important points I had made.
Replying to his question about where I had attended college, I said that I had graduated from Brown. Then, I told him I had suffered a stroke. Dellagrotte had told me that my illness had had similarities to a stroke. Roberts ended the meeting by offering to take another look at the paper.
There was a month between the end of the first semester and the beginning of the second. I doubted that I would be returning after the fiasco in the Wild West seminar. However, I signed up for two courses. I chose an English seminar on Hemingway and started reading his novels. I also registered for a course entitled ’’Possibilities for Social Reconstruction,” taught by Professor George Morgan. He had been an applied mathematician but years ago had become an interdisciplinary humanist. Seven years ago, with my muscles contracted, I had gone to see Morgan. I had told him about my illness and reading and asked to be allowed to sit in on the course. He said it was impossible.
Now, in early January 1984, I went to his office again. I’m sure that he didn’t remember my previous visit. Now, my muscles were functioning normally, and I wasn’t totally remote from people. I told Morgan that I was a student in the American Civilization graduate program. I showed him my long paper on the Citizens Party. The professor glanced at the bibliography and was surprised to see his own book The Human Predicament: Dissolution and Wholeness among the entries. He then asked, ’’Why do you want to take this course? Don’t you want to study new material?” After replying that I really wanted to take the course, I was admitted.
I had found two chapters of his excellent book particularly interesting: Chapter Four, "Loss of the World," and Chapter Five, "Dissolution of the Person.” He notes, "The culmination of our predicaments is the disintegration of the individual man, the dissolution of the whole and unified person.(1) This problem greatly affects all our other problems. For the most part, modern man doesn’t attempt to synthesize the ’’facts, values, claims, feelings and desires ’’that make up his life. He often lacks a genuine awareness of self, an integrated self. Feeling himself composed of disunited parts, he seeks guidance about each of them from a different specialist. Lacking values, modern man submerges himself in "the chaos of modern trivialities." He is "estranged and isolated;" he is alienated from nature, other people and from his work.(2) Most of this work is meaningless; it is incapable of providing genuine satisfaction.(3) Modern man’s emotional life has shrivelled, or it is exploited by powerful forces emanating from the wider society. In effect, an atmosphere that alternates between "anesthesia and emotional whipping" pervades his life.(4)
Morgan laments the fact that a person’s speciality rules his life and encloses it within narrow confines. He becomes a captive of an arrangement, a specific aim, or an organization.(5) Ruled by this specialty, the person adopts the required social behavior. Moreover, the specialty insidiously shapes his language as well as his general outlook and approach to the world. All creative activity requires some specialization. The degree of specialization and the spirit in which it is pursued are the important points.(6)
Moreover, our society and its work largely ignore our feelings; our jobs leave little room for passionate, sensitive involvement in the world.(7) Subjective elements receive a cool reception in the common, mechanized workday atmosphere. Sensitivity to the characteristics of the working environment as well as sympathy and feelings for the workers are lacking. The people we deal with are usually known to us only by the way they perform their job. Morgan agrees with Jacoby that roles in our society are largely an alienated mode of behavior.(8)
He agrees with Becker that an individual’s worth is now judged by how well he adjusts "to a scheme of standardized, impersonal functionality.” In most instances, a person is assessed only in regard to how well he fulfills his duties in an organization. Applying this view first to others, the individual eventually begins to judge himself also by this criteria.
A few days after talking to Morgan, I received a letter from the American Civilization Department. It said that I could continue to take courses but asked whether I wouldn’t feel more comfortable switching to the History Department. This was impossible because I knew little about early American history.
I went to see Meyers; I started telling him about my Hyatt Waggoner remark. He snapped, "Why are you telling me this! Don’t you know that you have to be respectful to all professors at this level.” The professor then asked me whether I would like to transfer to the History Department. I replied that I liked this department. He asked, "Don’t you know how to write an English paper?" Without waiting for a reply, Meyers declared that I didn’t have to take any more English courses. I stated that I had signed up for the Hemingway seminar and had been reading him already. He replied, "Well, what’s a month of reading Hemingway." Meyers finally said that Peterson liked my work a great deal and that I could get a Master’s Degree in the American Civilization Department.
I had figured out what my problem was a few days after my confrontation with Roberts. I realized that I didn’t know how to do a research paper; therefore, I went to the Brown University bookstore and purchased a book on this subject. It had a good section on how to write literary analysis. After also reading a book by Professor Roger Heinkle of Brown entitled Reading the Novel, I was ready for the second semester.
The social reconstruction course was innovative. Morgan preferred that the students not be graded but receive either Satisfactory or No Credit. Graduate students, however, had to be graded unless the professor absolutely refused to give grades. There were no lectures in the course. The fifteen students read some preliminary material together from such books as Ivan Illich's Tools for Conviviality and Lewis Mumford’s The Pentagon of Power. Subsequently, the class broke up into groups that picked current topics of social reconstruction to research. Each group of three or four students then assigned reading material based on their topic to the rest of the class. The group’s students led the class discussion on their particular topic. Morgan had an exceptional talent for stimulating dialogue; he moderated the discussion and interjected occasional remarks. In addition to completing this class project, the students had to write three three-page papers giving their views on topics that had been dealt with in class.
This format took seriously the criticism of education offered by Paulo Freire in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Freire states that ’’education is suffering from narration sickness." The teacher narrates, and the students listen. The contents of his talks "become lifeless and petrified"; often they don’t have anything to do with the realities of the students’ lives. The students memorize his words; they become containers being filled by the instructor. This method is called "the banking concept of education" in which the supposedly more learned teacher gives the gift of knowledge to his students, who are presumed to know nothing.(10) This approach destroys the ability to think.
On the other hand, problem-posing education relies on communication and dialogue. Freire asserts, "Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the students and students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges; teacher-student with student-teacher."(11) Dialogue requires the instructor to have enough humility to recognize his own ignorance. His students now are engaged in critical investigations with him; they can reflect on problems and take action to change the world.
Morgan, like Slater, doesn’t believe that learning should be divided into departments. Slater points out that the notion of dividing knowledge into departments or disciplines has its roots in feudal real estate customs and the medieval clergy’s obsession with classification. Furthermore, every discipline is organized hierarchically. Often, this order is totally arbitrary; its purpose is to force the student to assimilate a particular discipline’s "conventions, prejudices, and worldview."(12)
The areas of knowledge in which one needs previous information are the exceptions. Therefore, a student usually can understand the "advanced" courses in a discipline without having taken an introductory course. Perhaps the reason I got a "C" in that course on classical political theory during my first semester as an undergraduate was because I really wasn’t a good learner but only a good memorizer.
Generally, schools and universities operate under the assumption "that learning should be arduous, tedious, and unpleasant."(13) It is well-known that introductory courses in a university are boring except when a rare instructor makes a course exciting. Undoubtedly, useless and outmoded academic ideas would be eliminated much faster than currently if students were allowed to study what they want. It’s unfortunate that universities usually reward professors for writing and research rather than for their teaching ability. I must point out, however, that Brown University is close to the top in the United States in the quality of its teaching. Its curriculum also gives the student great flexibility in choosing courses.
Andrew Bard Schmookler adds that our society has constructed universities ’’blind to the universal.”(14) The various fields have specialties and subspecialties. The university becomes a Tower of Babel, in which mutually unintelligible languages are spoken. Becker also berates the academic compartmentalization of such subjects as "sociology, anthropology, psychology" and their attempt to make themselves as scientific as physics. Our foundations and academic institutions largely spend great sums of money in a mutually agreed upon attempt to investigate everything but the real "problems of social and human values."(15)
Morgan’s social reconstruction class was about as good as a class can be in an institutional setting. The students were smart, articulate, and self-motivated. I knew a great deal about social reconstruction issues from my voluminous reading and spoke often.
The only tense moment 1 experienced in the course came on the day of my class presentation on the topic of a need for a more holistic approach to medical care. I was studying in my apartment. I suddenly realized that it was 12:50 and that the class started at 1:30. I hurriedly grabbed the material for my talk and went to my car to begin the twenty-five minute drive to the campus. Upon driving down the street, I soon noticed that my gas tank was nearly empty. Two stations that I tried to pull into had cars at both full service pumps. Unfortunately, I had never used a self-service pump. Finally having succeeded in getting the tanks filled at a third station, I burst into class ten seconds before it was scheduled to begin. My presentation then proceeded smoothly.
However, when I returned to my apartment later that afternoon, I was upset at the problems that I had encountered so far during the school year. I hadn’t experienced nearly as much pleasure doing my reading and writing in this institutional setting as I had experienced doing it independently. My lack of knowledge about the mechanics of scholarship had been one problem. Another was my desire for perfection. A third problem was that the critical voice I had introjected from my mother was working overtime. At the height of my agitation, I took thirteen notebooks filled with notes about books I had read and threw them into the dumpster outside the building.
The seminar on Hemingway also went well. The students’ first assignment was to write a three-page paper giving an original view about some aspect of the author’s work. I used Fromm’s The Art of Loving to argue that A Farewell to Arms wasn’t a love story. I identified symbols and used literary terminology properly. Professor Gerald Montgomery refused to give grades; he returned the paper with a satisfactory on it. He commented that Hemingway thought it was a love story.
I had written the phrase ’’the great psychoanalyst Erich Fromm” in the paper. Montgomery had underlined the word ’’great” with a red pencil. I asked him why he had done this. He answered that, in his opinion, Fromm was influential but not great. Morgan, on the other hand, thought highly of Fromm and had used works by him in another course.
The main project was a fifteen-page paper. Montgomery said that it could be longer but cautioned his students to be reasonable. Early in the course, I was reading a passage about heroism in one of Hemingway’s novels when I noticed that it correlated closely with one of the main themes in Becker’s book The Denial of Death. After deciding to use this book to write
a paper entitled Hemingway’s Search for Heroic Values, I went to the professor’s office to ask his approval. Upon showing him Becker’s book, I sensed his surprise that I knew about it. I had read The Denial of Death three times; I thought it was the greatest book I had ever read. Now, I would rate Krishnamurti’s On Conflict first, followed by Andrew Bard Schmookler’s The Parable of the Tribes and Alice Miller’s For Your Own Good. Montgomery finally pulled a copy of The Denial of Death off a bookshelf; then, he approved my topic.
I spent a great deal of time reading Hemingway and writing the paper. I already knew so much about the subject that I didn’t have to spend a great deal of time on the social reconstruction course. Many of Hemingway’s ideas about heroism had much in common with Becker’s. In fact, they fit so well that it seemed that Hemingway had read The Denial of Death and then had written his short stories and novels. Actually, it was Becker who had read Hemingway.
My paper on Hemingway contains much material that is strikingly relevant to my own life. Becker observes that man’s existential dilemma stems from the fact that he is half animal and half a symbolic being. He notes, ’’Man’s body is a problem to him that has to be explained. Not only his body is strange, but also its inner landscape, the memories and dreams.”(16)
My existential dilemma had stemmed from the fact that I had become well over ninety percent a symbolic being during my adolescence. I ended up in a situation in which my body became a massive problem to me. My inner landscape had become numb from repressing the pain of early abuse. I had almost died when the physical bill for this repression had come due. The literary critic Philip Young believes that Hemingway suffered from a traumatic neurosis which resulted from his wounding by a trench mortar on July 8, 1918 during World War I. Hemingway saw the legs blown off three Italian soldiers who were with him. Two died immediately and the third was carried screaming by Hemingway toward help. The future recipient of the Nobel Prize was shot at repeatedly by Austrian machine guns and subsequently had two hundred twenty-seven fragments of steel removed from his right leg alone. Thinking about this incident repeatedly, he was henceforth preoccupied with death. Hemingway sought out primitive experiences such as hunting and fishing in order to control his fear. He spent long hours killing animals and fish so that he wouldn’t commit suicide. Hemingway had learned in the most spectacular fashion that it is dangerous to be a man.(17) He knew from vivid, first-hand experience that "tis a hard trade and the grave is at the end of it.”(18)
I now don’t think that Young’s theory about the start of Hemingway’s emotional problems is accurate. Kenneth Lynn, in his brilliant biography of Hemingway, has shown that this talented author’s emotional problems stemmed from early abuse by both parents. However, I saw striking parallels between Young’s theory and my own life.
I suffered from what had been termed a traumatic psychosis from the moment my muscles had become contracted in late adolescence. I wasn’t able to do much but engage in disordered thinking. I sought out exercise so that I wouldn’t die or commit suicide. My defense of intellectualization had allowed me to survive adolescence. I had finally learned, however, that my survival technique carried a high price tag. I had almost gone to an early grave and subsequently had expended great amounts of energy in continuing my attempt to survive.
In Hemingway’s short story Soldier’s Home, Krebs returns from fighting in World War I; he is thoroughly alienated from the townspeople1s world. His mother urges him to get a job because God has some work for each person. Krebs finally does relent and gets a job; he adjusts to the conventional hero system. Becker declares, ’’Most people play it safe: they choose the beyond of standard transference objects like parents, the boss or the leader; they accept the cultural definition of heroism and try to be a ’good provider’ or a ’solid citizen.”'(19) These people are what the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard calls the Philistine or inauthentic cultural man who follows too rigidly the daily routines of his society and accepts too readily the gratification it provides.(20) Philistinism may be termed "normal neurosis."(21) It’s certainly true that many men gain partial freedom or self-realization. Yet, most people end up involved in the standardized roles into which they happen to fall ”by accident, by family connection, by reflex patriotism or by the simple need to eat and the urge to procreate."(22)
Hemingway’s values were in disarray because of his war experiences. Yet, he was too creative a person to sink into madness or extreme hedonism. Becker declares:
"The creativity of people on the schizophrenic end of the human continuum is a creativity that springs from the inability to accept the standard cultural denials of the real nature of experience. And the price of this kind of almost ’extra human’ creativity is to live on the brink of madness as men have long known."(23)
Hemingway’s art became his own private religion with unique heroic values. He could not follow Krebs and resign himself to the standard cultural solution of an ordinary job; he could not tranquilize himself with the trivial.
I had been an almost perfectly behaved child and a close to ideal student in school. When my muscles became contracted, I began to see that I had slavishly obeyed authority. I did become trapped in a kind of madness. I didn’t have a chance to work and resign myself to the standard cultural solution of an ordinary job. Involuntarily at first, I became thoroughly alienated from the conventional hero system. I could have died or remained a virtual vegetable. I could have tranquilized myself by taking psychotropic medication or by only exercising, watching television, and attending movies. Instead, I used my academic prowess to fashion my own creative solution to my predicament. Eventually, I read about almost the entire hero system of American life.
Anyway, in my thirty-four page paper, I analyzed Hemingway’s major novels and five of his greatest short stories. My analyses were cogent, and the paper as a whole was cohesive. It was returned with this comment:
"This is a fully satisfactory account of your understanding of the essential Hemingway. You have chosen a noble theme and you have done it justice. Becker really does work here, but it is not surprising, for Becker was clearly an avid follower of Hemingway (and, of course, others). Do you know Leonard Kriegal’s book on manhood? I think it will interest you. Very good paper."
I received a “Satisfactory” for this course and an "A" in my social reconstruction course.
Roberts, as chairman of the department, must have been puzzled when he read the report on my work that Mongomery sent to him. Last semester, I had botched an attempt at an English paper in his course, causing him to conclude that I didn't know how to write one. Now, I had written this highly praised paper in a graduate English seminar. Meeting me on a campus street just before classes began the next fall, the departmental chairman asked me when I was going to receive my degree. I replied that I would receive it in the spring of 1985. I then blurted out that I had complaints against professors. This statement wasn't directed towards Roberts; it referred to my ambivalence about participating in a competitive educational process. The chairman snapped, "You don't have to stay in school” and walked away. I never spoke to him again.
I did want to get my degree. Most people want some societal recognition for their talents and efforts. By getting the degree, I would accomplish something within conventional society. Now, instead of being an isolated schizophrenic, I was a highly praised graduate student at one of the country's leading universities.
My own funds were almost depleted. My mother had taken out a loan through her bank in order to pay for my tuition. In the early 1980s, Duane Elgin had written a book called Voluntary Simplicity. I was now rapidly sinking into "involuntary simplicity." Perhaps, with a Master's Degree, I would be able to get a decent job.
The Reagan presidency was at its apex. This administration deluded many people into thinking that it was conservative. Actually, it was using state power heavily to benefit the rich and powerful; it sanctioned welfare for the rich and free enterprise for the poor. Books such as democratic socialist Michael Harrington’s The New American Poverty and Washington Post writer Thomas Byrd Edsall’s The New Politics of Inequality were appearing. Professor Peterson had recently published a book on poverty in twentieth century America. At a gathering of students and professors before the start of the fall semester, I mentioned to him that I had read his book. He quipped, ’’Why did you read that? There’s no poverty here.”
At the end of my successful second semester, I again had to face the question of what seminar to take the next fall. I noticed that there wasn’t any seminar that I could take during the second semester. Therefore, I decided to take two seminars during the first semester, which began in September, 1984. I selected one on intellectual history during the 1930s. I then faced a choice between an English seminar on Hawthorne and an Urban Sociology seminar. I went to see Professor Siegal in her office before the summer break and asked her a few questions about the course. She handed me a syllabus and said that it would change “some.”
I wasn’t really interested in Hawthorne. I had read The Scarlet Letter and some of his short stories at country day school. I had studied him as an undergraduate English major but had been too sick to absorb the writing. As I’ve noted, I concentrated on twentieth century American life and literature during my independent reading. I didn’t know much about the social and historical background of Hawthorne’s time. Of course, I could have read several of Hawthorne’s novels over the summer months. Finally, I decided to to take the Urban Sociology seminar. I read many of the articles in the syllabus during the break between semesters.
During the summer, I paid a visit to Professor Meyers in his office. He had seen the positive reports about my work during the previous semester. He was friendly and asked if I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. I said that I was too old; actually, I couldn’t have afforded the tuition. The professor declared that people in their fifties and sixties earn Ph.Ds. I nodded and left.
I next encountered Meyers at the gathering for professors and students before the start of the fall semester. I quipped that some researchers think that television can cause cancer through microwave pollution. It now occurs to me that I was, in a low-key way, using the same strategy of belittling toward him that my mother employed for so long, especially toward her sons.
I went to the first class of my Urban Sociology seminar. My summer reading wouldn’t help me because Siegal had changed the syllabus almost completely. Moreover, the students were supposed to do their research in the field. I had never taken a sociology course; therefore, I knew nothing about doing sociological field work.
For the next week, I frantically tried to get into a different course, even though it wouldn’t be a seminar. I wanted to graduate in May and attend a Brown commencement. Furthermore, I didn’t want it on my record that I had only taken one course this semester. However, all the courses for which I tried to sign up were filled. During this week, my mother submitted a notice to our local Temple’s monthly bulletin claiming that I was the top student in my graduate school class at Brown!
I went to Meyer’s office and told him that I was in trouble again. He asked, ’’You?” I explained the problem in my Urban Sociology course and told him that this meant that I would only have one course. During the last semester, I had gone to his office to ask him a question and given him a book called Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. I had pointed out a chapter on the fraudulent nature of the Nielsen ratings and urged him to read it; now, I asked for the book back. Meyers removed it from his bookshelf and handed it to me. He asked, "What are you doing here?” Then, he said, "The students are conservative." The professor was being flippant because he knew that the majority of the students at Brown were liberal. Anyway, his demeanor made it clear that he wasn’t particularly concerned about my current plight. Finally, he suggested that I talk to Siegal.
The night before I went to see her, I talked to my old friend, the social worker Ronald Simpson. He had married a woman from Latin America and was publishing a small Spanish language newspaper. Simpson suggested that I do a survey with him on the attitudes of the rapidly growing Hispanic population of Rhode Island.
The next afternoon, I mentioned this idea to my sociology professor. She asked me whether I knew statistics; upon hearing my negative reply, she said that I couldn’t do a survey. Siegal declared that, as a graduate student, I was expected to knew what I was doing. She then insolently asked, "Where did you go to school, the University of Rhode Island?" I answered that I was an American Civilization student, not a sociologist. The professor proceeded to her bookcase and took down four books; then, she literally threw them onto her desk. She asserted, "You want to sti.dy Hispanics. Here, you can study Mayor Henry Cisneros of San Antonio." I would be required to write a twenty-five page paper from library sources.
Hispanics? San Antonio? I had read a biography of Cesar Chavez; other than that, I knew absolutely nothing about Hispanics or San Antonio. I skimmed through the books that Siegal had so rudely given me; I only found one to be at all helpful. However, I had read a great deal of sociology and knew that I had a good understanding of the subject.
The following day, I rushed to the Rockefeller Library at Brown and desperately looked in the card catalogue under Hispanics. Not finding any promising sources, I was about to give up and drop the course. Then I got the idea to look under San Antonio. I suddenly came across a book entitled The Politics of San Antonio: Community, Progress, and Power, published in 1983. Taking it from the stacks, I found that it was a series of articles on the urban power structure of San Antonio. It was edited by three professors from different colleges in Texas. I checked it out and read it. I also read some articles on San Antonio that had recently been published in such newspapers as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
However, I still didn’t have nearly enough material for a twenty-five page paper. I decided to call the professors in Texas. I managed to reach two of them. One provided me with some helpful suggestions for further reading; he also suggested that I send for a copy of a document that a city planning committee had just published. I sent for it around October 15, 1984 but hadn’t received it by late November.
I wrote the paper during November, managing to stretch it to twenty-four pages. I finished it at the end of November; I had to turn it in a week later. The day before I was going to take it to my typist, a package arrived in the mail. It was the planning commision report, entitled Target ’90: To Build a Greater City, authored by the Target ’90 Commission. I spent six hours daily for the next few days reading it and writing an additional three pages which fit well at the end of the paper. I then rushed it to the typist.
The paper came back with an A- on it, so I received an A for the seminar. Siegal made some technical academic criticisms of the paper. Among her general comments, she stated; "Generally thoughtful and well-written, integratin theory and the case study. Good use of sociological literature." She also declared, "Overall, a very good job (especially for a "non-sociologist.) I was also glad to see you integrate the reading of the course; I guess someone was listening." As the Chinese fortune cookie I opened tonight after dinner observed, "Everything is impossible until it is achieved."
I also received an A- in my seminar on Intellectual History. My topic was the philosopher John Dewey’s and the American Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas’s attempt to form a radical third party in the 1930s. I had read several books during the past summer by and about Norman Thomas. I did an enormous amount of research on my topic during the fall semester; in fact, I spent as much time reading during this period as my still damaged body/mind system would allow. I was more than "running hot," as the psychologist Pearsall puts it. I was blazing. I even researched the history of the American Socialist Party, which was actually somewhat irrelevant to my main topic. The final paper was thirty-seven pages. As a part-time student, I wrote a total of about one hundred pages of academic papers this semester!
I now had completed the four required seminars, doing well in three different disciplines. After taking two more one hundred level undergraduate courses, I would receive my degree. I figured that the last semester would be easy, but I was wrong.
I had looked forward to taking a course in Twentieth Century Social and Intellectual History given by historian Arnold McMurray. He had been teaching it when I was an undergraduate in the 1960s. It was considered a difficult course although it didn’t have examinations but only papers. Nevertheless, I was confident that my extensive knowledge in this field would make this an easy course for me. Unfortunately, upon trying to sign up for it in the middle of the first semester, I had discovered that the course had been cancelled. McMurray had been asked by the History Department to substitute for another professor in an introductory history course.
Therefore, I signed up for a history course on American Foreign Policy since World War 11. I started reading a few of the books during the break between semesters; however, I didn’t find them interesting. Looking through the catalogue again, I signed up for a political science course entitled Campaigns and Elections. It was taught by young dynamic Professor Donald Dickinson.
The banking concept of education was alive and well in this course. Dickinson lectured in a pleasant voice and presented the material in a lively format. He required that the twenty students read about two hundred pages between the twice weekly sessions. Furthermore, he reserved the right to call on any student at random to answer a question about the reading. I read all the material, which I found provocative.
The course had a midterm and final examination of the traditional type in which the student stores up information in his mind and regurgitates it on paper. I had never Liked this type of examination; I had always overstudied for them. Studying for my Master’s Degree, I had so far only taken a traditional examination in American Domestic History, about which I already knew so much.
The midterm examination arrived. I answered some questions fairly well; I was only able to answer sketchily a few others. I knew that I hadn’t performed nearly as well as I had in American Domestic History. I thought that I might have flunked or only earned a C, which is the equivalent of flunking for a graduate student.
Upon returning the examinations, Dickinson put a chart of the grades on the blackboard without the students’ names. Many of the students had found the test difficult because most did not receive high grades. Fortunately, the professor had given a substantial amount of credit for anything that resembled a reasonable answer. I received an eighty-three. At home, I studied the questions carefully and figured out that Dickinson had expected the students to remember something about every article as well as every chapter from the books that he had assigned. Therefore, I changed my method of taking notes and studying for the rest of the course.
Shortly after I received the examination back, I got a letter from the Dean of the Graduate School. It said, "Congratulations, you’re studying with us." I had just now been officially admitted as a regular student and was eligible to receive a degree! Nobody had ever told me that I was still on trial after my first semester in the program.
I finished the Campaigns and Elections course with a B. I know that I did much better on the final examination, which I never got back. The only unpleasant incident occurred during the last class of the semester. I had just turned in the one required ten-page paper and was leaving class, At the door, I commented to Dickinson that a certain election procedure reminded me of the stock market. The professor turned pale and yelled, "It’s not like the stock market. The stock market is a random walk. We’ve got to study these things!" He then whirled around and stormed out. Dickinson returned my paper with an 85 or B grade; he wrote some mild criticism and a pleasant comment.
My other course was American Domestic History 1930-1980 with Professor Peterson. As expected, I did extremely well and received an A. However, I was disappointed when the professor responded in a lukewarm way to a paper I had written comparing Philip Slater’s The Pursuit of Loneliness with Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism. My problem was that I still didn’t know how to do a book review properly. Years later, I finally purchased a book on this subject and learned the proper technique. Considering all the books I’ve read, I’m certainly capable of writing a good review. Furthermore, I’ve subscribed to The New York Times Book Review and read thousands of reviews over the years.
A week before commencement, I ran into Meyers on a campus street. As he hurried by on his way to a class, he told me that he was leaving Brown for Brandeis University. I asked, "You don’t believe Jerry Mander?" He yelled back, "It’s art" and quickened his pace.
Commencement day arrived in late May. Had my undergraduate career at Brown proceeded smoothly, I would have received a B.A. in May 1968. Now, seventeen years later, I was receiving an M.A. at a Brown commencement. This book could have been entitled "Student Interrupted." Meyers must have been thrilled when Bill Cosby received an honorary degree and spoke. I may have been the only person in the audience who had never seen him on television. As my mother watched, Professor Roberts handed me my degree on the lawn next to the American Civilization building.
I had written 250 pages of papers. I had received two Bs, five As, and a Satisfactory. All that schizoid intellectual activity had finally borne fruit. I had returned to society and accomplished something it acknowledged as legitimate activity.
Just after the start of my final semester, I had gone to the Brown Career Planning office. I told the woman who I was initially referred to that I was an almost thirty-nine-year old graduate student who had never worked. Her eyes widened, but finally she suggested that I see the assistant director of career planning.
I told him the same story that I told the woman. Then, I said that I had suffered a stroke but was now healthy enough to get a job after I graduated. Today, I would tell him that my muscles had been severely contracted or that I had suffered from a serious nerve-muscle dysfunction. Anyway, he asked with a prosecutor’s tone, ”Is that what the doctor said, Howard?” Then, he said, "You have a strange voice. You can sign up to see recruiters but don’t be disappointed. It’s doubtful that you’ll get anything here." I left and never returned.
Shortly before graduation, the idea of trying to teach high school occurred to me. In retrospect, this wasn’t a good idea because I didn’t have the social skills and spontaneity necessary for this demanding task. I was somewhat stiff in demeanor, and I did have an odd voice. Referring to neurotic speech, Janov states: "Because it rests on a layer of tension rather than a solid foundation of feeling, the tense voice is often shaky.
Furthermore, I didn’t really believe in conventional schooling anymore. However, I reasoned that maybe I could earn a respectable salary and enter society in a relatively low position of power. Perhaps I was unconsciously identifying with the aggressor because of the damage that had been done to me as a secondary school student.
I went to see Professor Morgan and told him that I was thinking of teaching; then, I asked for a recommendation. He said that he would write one for me; he then suggested that I talk to Professor Thomas Hadley, the chairman of the Brown Education Department. He told me, "You’re good at schoolwork. You should get a PH.D. and become a scholar."
Ruth Monchik, the yoga teacher, got me an appointment with the headmaster of an elite private school. I went to his home and showed him my research papers. He listened patiently while I told him something about my background; then, he gave me a few tips on obtaining information about other careers. Finally, the headmaster said, "Some third-rate school may hire you." Afterwards, he told Monchik that I should do something about my voice.
An influential relative obtained an appointment for me with the headmaster of another elite school. By this time, I also had recommendations from Professors Peterson and Montgomery. My relative also asked a headmaster of a preparatory school for low-income students if he needed any teachers. The headmaster called me and asked if I would like to teach science to fourth graders. I replied that 1 knew little about science and wasn’t qualified to teach it.
Then, my mother sent me to see a priest who taught English at a local Catholic high school. Florence had met him years before when she thought that she wanted to convert to Catholicism and had remained friends with him. Recently, he had told her that he’d be glad to help me obtain a teaching position. 1 went to the school and had a friendly fifteen minute conversation with him. I asked him who his favorite American authors were. He replied,
"Hemingway and Wolfe." Then, he remarked that Hemingway travelled with a bottle of gin in one hand.
After filling out an application for a teaching position at his school, I sent it to a nun who headed the diocese’s education office. I soon went for an interview with her and told her something about my illness. She remarked, "Oh, were you hospitalized?" The nun made it clear that she had given me the interview in order not to offend the priest. She hinted that I had as much chance of getting a position at the high school as I had of becoming President of the United States.
About a month later, my mother received a call from the school. A secretary stated that the priest had disappeared and wnated to know if my mother had any idea where he was. A few days later, an article appeared in Fall River’s newspaper revealing that the priest had committed suicide.
I now began to think that the possibility of a teaching career was remote and that I should pursue other activities. I saw an advertisement for a Spanish teacher in a local publication and decided to take lessons. I wanted to try learning from a tutor in a cooperative setting. Since I planned to major in Spanish when I first entered Brown, perhaps I was longing to return to those days when my life was proceeding in its preordained groove.
David Stampler had been born in Spanish Morocco; he held a Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford University. He had been a professor at a good college; but, for some reason, he didn’t want to continue teaching at the college level. He was now teaching primarily minority students at an urban high school.
I took a lesson once a week from him for eight months. The Spanish that I had learned through my first year of college quickly came back to me. After a month of lessons, I was studying vocabulary, doing grammatical exercises, and reading for four hours a day. Stampler, an outstanding teacher, said that I was an excellent student. Unfortunately, it is difficult to learn a language thoroughly without speaking it and hearing it spoken frequently. I had hoped to go to Mexico to continue my studies; however, I was unable to do this because of my mother’s dwindling financial resources.
Then, in the spring of 1986, I got the idea to teach in the public schools. I had read about the mounting social and academic problems which challenged many of these schools. Nevertheless, I decided to pursue this vocational avenue. In the spring of 1986, I went to a local university which offered a teacher training program. The professor in charge of the program looked disdainful when I told her that I hadn’t worked. However, she told me that I could sign up for the training.
Between the summer of 1986 and the summer of 1987, I took all the courses necessary to become certified to teach English. I received A- to A+ in every course. Yet, despite my enormous reading, I didn’t have the necessary background to teach any particular high school subject. I had to sign up for English because I had a B.A. in that subject. I knew little about English literature and nothing at all about poetry.
For several months in early 1987, I did some substitute teaching; I managed to survive this unpleasant ordeal relatively unscathed. I also started tutoring minority students preparing for college in the Upward Bound program operating out of the university. I did the tutoring in several of the area’s high schools and received $5.00 an hour.
In the spring of 1987, my mother decided that I must immediately get my own apartment. I prepared to move into an apartment building in which I had previously lived in the late 1970s. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding occurred; this incident prevented me from taking up residence there. I stayed in an acquaintance’s house for ten days; then, I had to go to a motel.
I had a terrible time living out of a suitcase and looking for an apartment while I continued my work as a tutor. I was also trying to finish a project for one of my teacher training courses. Becoming increasingly agitated, I finally went one night around midnight to the Crisis Center at the local community mental health center. This was the center to which I had been taken by the police fifteen years ago!
I told the female psychiatric assistant a little about my past illness and about my current lack of housing. I also told her about my working in the teacher training program. She took out my file which contained my single past admission; then, she advised me not to come into this facility as a patient. She said that if I needed to enter a hospital, I should go to a nearby private psychiatric facility.
I returned around midnight to the same emergency unit about a week later. The psychiatric assistant requested that I stop coming at this hour. She advised me to go to the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission office in Fall River in order to receive help with employment problems. I solved my housing problem a week later when I found an apartment.
At the Commission’s office, I was interviewed by a counselor and then by a psychologist. The psychologist spent about ten minutes with me. He asked me what my psychiatric diagnosis was. I didn’t know what to say; so, 1 replied: ’’Schizoid personality.” I had heard this term somewhere but didn’t know what it meant because I hadn’t studied psychology yet. The psychologist immediately noted this on a piece of paper; then, he administered a standard psychological test. The results having proved satisfactory, I was officially accepted as a client of the agency.
Social critic Ivan Illich has termed the mid-twentieth century "the Age of Disabling Professions." This term unmasks the "antisocial functions" of educators, physicians, social workers, and scientists. Commodities are institutionally defined. "I learn" becomes "education," "I heal" becomes "health care," "I move" becomes "transportation" and "I play" becomes "I watch television."(1) This Age of Disabling Professions will also be remembered as the Age of Schooling.
Authentic politics deteriorated during this age. The voters, guided by professors, relinquished to technocrats the power to legislate needs and to decide who needed what. They also gave the technocrats complete authority over the means of servicing these needs. During the initial one-third of their lives, people are socialized to collect prescriptions of these various needs and for the subsequent two-thirds become "clients of prestigious pushers" who direct their routines.(2)
The most important factor in defining a professional is his delegated power to call a person a client and to decide what this client needs. The professional will then hand out a prescription according to this need. Professionals have prestigious positions in industrial society which allow them to exercise control over many citizens. These contemporary specialists who mostly service human needs commonly "wear the mask of love" and supply a type of care. Educators, doctors, and social workers have made "the modern state into a holding corporation of enterprises that facilitate the operation of their self-certified competencies."(3)
The new types of health professional is generally more concerned with cases than with individuals. He focuses on the breakdown that he observes in a particular case rather than with the person1s grievances. His actions primarily benefit the society rather than the person. This health professional has been given substantial independence to design the diagnostic means by which he is able to pinpoint which people need treatment. The power of modern professions is so great that they are able to define the boundaries of the client’s "world-become-ward.Illich pungently concludes: "Life is paralyzed in permanent intensive care."^
I was interviewed by a Commission counselor who was knowledgeable about holistic health care. She was friendly and accommodating. Yet, I was just another client in this bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is a setup in which strangers can deal with each other concerning business or personal matters.It was obvious that my best opportunity to escape from remaining trapped as a client was to obtain a job in academia.
During July and August of 1987, I tutored and taught in the Upward Bound program at the local university at which I was taking my teacher training. I taught an American history course to four students who had flunked the subject during the school year. I also taught a course on how to write a term paper. The students were generally well-behaved. I was working from 8:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. on four weekdays. Back in Fall River, I went for a three mile walk. After dinner, I slept for an hour; then, I did homework for the last of my six courses in the teaching program.
I was scheduled to do my teaching internship in the fall in order to complete the certification requirements. I wanted to do it at a high school in a solidly middle-class community adjacent to Fall River. I observed English classes there for a few weeks. It was a traditional school with fifty-minute classes and a competitive atmosphere. The students were shamed by having their grades read aloud. I had last encountered this practice as a student at country day school twenty-three years ago.
Just as I was about to start my teaching, I was told by the chairman of the English Department in a hostile manner that I wasn’t welcome and to leave. I drove to the Department of Education at the university. The professor in charge of teacher training told me that the high school’s English Department chairman had called and said that I didn’t understand adolescents. The school administration had somehow obtained information about my background.
I was reassigned to a high school in a small town about a twenty-five minute drive from Fall River. After observing classes there for a few days, I was again ready to begin teaching. Then, the English teacher under whom I was assigned to work called the university’s Education Department and complained about my voice. Incidentally, about a year later, I inquired about taking lessons with the voice coach of an excellent repertory theatre. However, I couldn’t afford his fee of forty dollars an hour.
I returned to the university. The head of teacher training consulted the Dean of Continuing Studies. The Dean decided that I was qualified to teach; he knew that he didn’t have any legitimate reason for denying me a chance. He told me to report to a large high school in Fall River. It had many problem students.
The next day, I received a phone call from a community college in Fall River. I had applied to teach American Civilization there earlier in the summer. The school needed an instructor for an introductory course which started in two weeks. I went to see Professor Carl Lambert, the chairman of the Social Science Department. He gave me a syllabus with lecture topics and two paperback books to use in the course. Lambert introduced me to Professor Herbert Nicholson, who taught politics and government. He then told me that if I had any questions I should consult Nicholson. I took the material and went home. Then, I called the Dean of Continuing Studies at the university and told him that I was postponing my practice teaching for a semester while I taught this course at the community college.
The course turned into a garbled nightmare. Years later, Lambert explained to me that he had only given me the syllabus as a guide. Not realizing this, I tried to lecture by exactly following the topics on the syllabus. I spent long hours putting together these lectures which I read from index cards. I should have merely put key words on the index cards and spoken from memory. Better yet, I shouldn’t have used the banking concept of education, which I knew was ineffective. However, I didn’t communicate my doubts to either Lambert or Nicholson. I thought that I was supposed to lecture and that is what I proceeded to do.
I had prepared these lectures from material not contained in the books, which I thought the students would read. I remained oblivious to the fact that these students weren’t readers and had trouble understanding abstractions. Despite my wide-ranging knowledge, I remained limited in human qualities. Mumford warns, ”To heed only the abstractions of the intelligence or the operations of machines and to ignore feelings, emotions, intuitions, fantasies, ideas, is to substitute bleached skeletons, manipulated by wires, for the living organism."(1) The amount of a person’s erudition or his zeal in acquiring knowledge doesn’t measure his humanity. This is gauged by the amount and zeal of his devotion to mankind. In fact, all the intellectual attainment in the world is perilous if that learning is not humanely comprehended and humanely utilized.(2)
It didn’t occur to me that few people in our society other than professors at leading colleges and universities had spent as much time reading as I had. I was too concerned with showing off my own knowledge and too little concerned with putting it in a form that the students could easily understand. I should have given them less material to absorb and allowed them to ask more questions. The best approach would have been to get permission to run the course in a way similar to Morgan’s social reconstruction class.
Two students in my course did well. One was a young woman who had been scheduled to enter the university where I had taught Upward Bound classes. Having become ill, she was just taking a few courses at the community college that fall. She wasn’t a reader but took excellent notes and showed on the examinations that she understood most of what I was saying. The other was a young woman who had come to the United States from Austria to visit; she had only been in this country for three weeks. She couldn’t understand the more difficult of the two books but read the easier one. This foreign student understood the book and my lectures well; she received an A for the course.
The course lasted from the middle of October until the middle of December, 1987. Twenty students started it; eight of them remained to the end. I received poor evaluations from them and was dismissed.
I could still have started my practice teaching at the large high school in Fall River after Christmas vacation. I realized, however, that I didn’t have the academic background to teach high school English. Moreover, I was afraid that my nervous system wasn’t healthy enough to survive the rigors of high school teaching. Therefore, I wrote the Dean of Continuing Studies that I was going to pursue other plans. In retrospect, the end of my teaching career was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I had read widely, but I was yet to do my most informative reading.
The immediate negative aspect of my failure to enter the teaching profession was that I remained labelled as a "schizoid personality" or mental patient. At this point, I was socially inept, still neurologically impaired, and confused about my status in society. I wasn’t, however, mentally ill.
The most satisfying work I could have done would have involved political action to change the society. Yet, I certainly wouldn’t be helped to obtain this type of work by a government agency. Physicians and health bureaucrats "stress delivery of repair and maintenance service for the human component of the megamachine." They try to return people to "sickening jobs."(1) Of course, 1 had hardly worked at all. Should I be unable to enter the workforce, retaining my sick status was deemed satisfactory by the powers that be. In fact, in a pathological society, the conviction predominates that "defined and diagnosed ill-health" is vastly superior to any other kind of negative appellation.or to no appellation whatever. It is better than criminality, political nonconformity, indolence, or voluntarily staying away from work. Many people are excused from industrial work by medically attested symptoms. Increasing numbers of them subconsciously realize that they intensely dislike their jobs and their leisure passivities. However, they eagerly accept the falsehood that a physical ailment excuses them from social and political
obligations.(2) They don’t engage in struggle to change the society responsible for their illness. This deception results in "the expropriation of health" or "social iatrogenesis."(3)
Another possibility is that, after being placed into a particular category by medical bureaucrats, a person may be denied work. A society in which most people are certified as deviants is similar to a hospital. Illich concludes, "To spend one’s life in a hospital is obviously bad for health."(4)
The subject of diagnosis is a crucial one. The modern physician invents the labels he uses to assign sick-status to a person.(5) Physicians and ancillary personnel can make diagnoses which can determine either transient or enduring roles for their patients.(6) Diagnosis always increases emotional trauma, demarcates incapacitation, imposes inaction, and concentrates thought on the possibility of nonrecovery. The patient loses his freedom for self-definition. His special role tends to segregate him from "normal" and healthy people, and demands acceptance of the management of experts.(7)
It was fortunate that I didn’t know that I had been labelled a schizophrenic for almost the entire thirteen years that my muscles were contracted. I just thought that I was a person whose body-mind system had suddenly started to malfunction. I may well have given up my fight to recover if he I had known that I had the serious and incurable disease of schizophrenia.
Cultural anthropologist Becker agrees that such psychiatric terms as schizophrenia, depression, psychopathy, and mania, carry such connotations of "social opprobrium" that it is dangerous to continue using them. Becker continues using them simply "as pointers because in the present stage of knowledge and history it would be impossible to communicate without them."(8) However, he gives them very different meanings than does medical psychiatry. The terms allow us to understand characteristic manners of responding to experience and don’t have any medical significance. Becker employs these terms from an outlook of social criticism.
I had lived an extremely inward lifestyle from early adolescence. This trait in itself wouldn’t have caused my stress illness. Additionally, I lived in a stressful environment and utilized poor body mechanics from an early age. Finally, I didn’t find healthy ways to eliminate my stress on a daily basis. When my muscles were contracted, my thinking and emotions were split. However, this didn’t mean that I had the disease of ’’schizophrenia" but a severe stress illness which was an ongoing manifestation of the general adaptation syndrome. I needed to make intensive physical, emotional, social, and spiritual changes in my lifestyle, using natural methods whenever possible.
Paula J. Caplan has recently written a devastating expose of the way psychiatrists develop the categories used in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. She is a clinical and research psychologist who was also a psychotherapist for several years. Caplan was a former consultant to the psychiatrists who compose the American Psychiatric Association’s manual, the most authoritative handbook of supposed mental disorders.(9) This handbook’s judgements about normality are developed by "at most a few dozen people—mostly male, mostly white, mostly wealthy, mostly American psychiatrists.(10)
The purpose of her book They Say You’re Crazy is to aid individuals in understanding how normality is determined. This knowledge will assist people who are labelled abnormal or who personally believe that they are abnormal to surmount the harm caused by this process. Although it is touted as valid science, the manual is filled with prejudices, slipshod and faulty thinking, and outright nonsense.(11) Unfortunately, the authors of the manual have a value system in which zealous absorption with particular elements of sexuality and with such habits as ritual handwashing are called "mental disorders" but zealous absorption with—and action involving—"racist, woman-hating, or deeply materialistic attitudes and beliefs are not."(12) Not surprisingly, numerous people who enter psychotherapy have been dealt with wrongly ’’because of their race, sex, age, class, sexual orientation, mental or physical condition, and physical appearance.”(13)
Psychiatrist Joel Kovel points out that the manual was produced to help therapists rather than sufferers. This situation wouldn’t cause difficulties if it were likely that therapists would follow paths that would help their patients. This is less likely when they are labelled by the manual. Kovel notes that people who are diagnosed as mentally disordered then are placed into an arrangement of social relations and power. He recommends ’’the person and his/her relation to the world” as the center of attention rather than the "false abstraction of mental disorder."(14)
Caplan makes it clear that some people are very dyfunctional. They may injure themselves or injure or scare others. Some individuals feel emotional distress, some are outsiders, some don’t view reality as most people in our society do.(15) Yet, projects such as the manual have provided little aid in mitigating this pain.(16) The motives of the people who put together the manual and of the American Psychiatric Association in general include financial gain, power, and control.(17) Mental health professionals, however, are seldom asked about the procedures they use to determine which individuals and what conduct are normal.
The Random House Webster’s College Dictionary’s definitions of normal include: "conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; regular; ...approximately average; free from disease.” The dictionary defines mental health as "psychological well-being and satisfactory adjustment to society and to the ordinary demands of life." On the other hand, mental illness is "any of the various forms of psychosis or severe neurosis."(18) Mental disorder and mental
disease are equivalent terms for mental illness. Indeed, most therapists and most laypeople use the phrases "mental disorder," "mental illness," and "mental or emotional abnormality" interchangeably.(19) A parenthetical note in the dictionary reveals that it wasn’t until between 1960 and 1965 that the phrase mental illness began to be commonly used. Normality is viewed in either-or terms according to both the dictionary definitions and common usage.(20)
A person labelled abnormal or mentally ill conjures up pictures of dissimilarity and separateness. These terms imply that this person is not as capable, nice, or safe to associate with as normal people. Frequently, "abnormal" and "mentally ill" are taken to mean "crazy," a label that "calls forth images of someone who is out of control, out of touch with ’reality,’ incapable of forming a good relationship, untrustworthy, quite possibly dangerous and probably not worth one’s attention, time, or energy."(21) It is also imperative that we ask ’’’normal’ or 'ill-disordered’ according to whom? And compared to what standard?"(22) In the United States, a person who is thought not to be emotionally normal is routinely thought to be mentally ill.(23)
Actually, normality is a term called a "construct" by psychologists. Therefore, there is no distinct actual entity to which the term "normality" inevitably coincides. At some point in time, several people looked at the first table and then picked a word to call it. With a construct, however, the word is initially chosen, and subsequently various people decide to apply it to various things. The different individuals and groups employing a particular construct seldom fully concur in interpreting it or agree about its contents. The meaning of most constructs—including "normality"—is highly debatable.(24)
Hearing the word normal may make one think of these words and phrases:
As people should be
As nature or God meant people to be
As it is least dangerous to be
Similar to however we see ourselves
Morally upright and strong
Responsible for their actions
Able to exercise self-control
In touch with reality
Aware of how they affect others
Not tending to make us feel frightened or anxious
Not crazy; sane
Able to cope with life(25)
Hearing abnormal may bring up the following words and phrases:
Not average; atypical
Different from how people should be
Different from how nature or God meant people to be
Different from how we see ourselves
Morally deficient and weak
Not responsible for their actions
Unable to exercise self-control
Out of touch with reality
Unaware of how they affect other people
Tending to make us feel frightened or anxious
Unable to cope with life(26)
Currently, in the United States, categorizing people as normal or abnormal is a large-scale undertaking that is implemented by various individuals and groups, including the American Psychiatric Association, academic staff, and the people next-door. Yet, this procedure of delineating normality has invariably consisted of ’’far more ’art* (politics, values, social mores) than, science.”(27) Many people silently feel anxious about whether they are normal. This worrying causes an undeterminable amount of harm and consumes a great deal of energy. Numerous individuals ’’feel needless shame, fear, panic, conflict and anger’’ when they are labelled abnormal either formally or informally.(28) As I’ve noted, diagnosing people as mentally ill has helped very little to moderate their torment and often increases it. This fact doesn’t mean that it is erroneous to detect when some people need assistance.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—IV, the edition currently in use as Caplan writes, contains nearly four hundred ways to be abnormal. Its classification system leaves wide latitude ’’for subjectivity, opinion, judgment, and bias” in deciding who is abnormal.(29) A therapist who focuses on pathology can easily discover a way to diagnose virtually anyone as abnormal.(30) Yet, research has shown that therapists rarely concur about which people are normal and which aren’t (and if not, how).(31) In fact, the manual’s reliability is so poor that the chance is not great that two therapists will make the same designation of pathology (even in broad categories) for the same individual. Therefore, we cannot presume that the groupings describe anything authentic.(32)
When we find out that one person is calling another person abnormal, we have to ask why he has made that decision. Does the labeller want to aid the other person or is he trying to show his superiority to that person? If he wants to help, will calling the person abnormal advance that purpose?(33) We must also ask, "Normal compared to whom?" A standard is always involved in defining normality, and everybody believes some standards are more appropriate than others. Caplan concludes, "Thus we must always ask not only What is the standard? but Who is Choosing the standard?"(34) Overall, the process of attempting to define normality is dubious. Any attempt entails extensive value judgments, nearly insuperable difficulties involving interpretations and research methods, and formidable hazards to the individuals labelled abnormal. Furthermore, it is wrong for the manual to concentrate almost exlusively on individual minds to the exclusion of societal problems. The manual should focus much more zealously on our "crazy-making, sick, impersonal society.”(35)
After my Feldenkrais sessions, I tried periodically to assure myself that I was normal. I still wasn’t "normal," if that word is interpreted as meaning that all systems are functioning as they were naturally intended to function. A normal person probably will not wonder whether or not he is normal. A person who supposes he is normal is most likely not.(36)
In fact, one individual can’t exercise judgment about another’s normalcy unless blatant mental illness is involved. It is impossible for a therapist to find out enough about another person’s body and brain to make this judgment.(37) Each person must discover for himself what is normal.
By now I had entirely exhausted the $50,000 I had received in 1969. It was difficult for my mother to pay a large percentage of my rent in an apartment. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission placed me in subsidized housing. I was enrolled in a special "voucher program" in which I paid a little more than the usual rent for a subsidized apartment. I moved into one in a decent complex in my childhood neighborhood.
My rehabilitation counselor referred me to a group program for people who had experienced emotional problems and now sought employment. The job placement specialist managed to secure me a position at the minimum wage in a Walden bookstore located about ten miles outside Fall River. This job went as poorly as my teaching job at the community college. I wasn’t given enough hours to learn how to ring up all the different kinds of sales correctly. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading books far more than putting them on shelves and selling them. I was occasionally hostile to the managers and was fired after two months. I then returned to my routine of reading and exercising.
A few weeks later, I went to my bookcase and pulled out Alice Miller’s For Your Own Good: Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence. I had bought it several months before while browsing in a bookstore. I had been attracted by anthropologist Ashley Montagu’s recommendation on the back cover. He states that this significant book clearly traces the origins of violence in the world to our unsound child-rearing customs.
Reading the book with great interest, I began to understand what had happened to me as a child. In The Drama of the Gifted Child, Miller notes:
"To put it another way: our patients are intelligent, they read in newspapers and books about the absurdity of the armaments race, about exploitation through capitalism, diplomatic insincerity, the arrogance and manipulation of power, submission of the weak and the impotence of individuals—and they have thought about these subjects. What they do not see, because they cannot see it is the absurdities of their mothers at the time when they were still tiny children".(1)
This statement certainly applied to me before I read For Your Own Good. I rushed to a bookstore and purchased Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child and Thou Shalt not be Aware. During the next three years, I read about forty books on prenatal development, birth, early childhood, and dysfunctional child-rearing patterns.
Fromm declares that a few books have provided great inspiration to him and significantly influence his life. He states that everybody should ask himself whether there are a few books that have been of crucial importance to his development. Until I read Jiddu Krishnamurti’s books On Relationship and On Conflict in 1998 and 1999, the two books that influenced me the most were The Sane Society and For Your Own Good.(2)
I had led my life at a frenetic pace for a long time. Fromm explains that the neurotic person is an alienated person because he is driven by unconscious forces which seperate him from his genuine self and other people. The psychotic has simply carried this alienation to an extreme and lost his sense of self completely.(3) Passivity in the classic definition of the word means that a person "is driven by forces he does not control, that he cannot act but can only react."(4) A person isn’t passive when he sits still and meditates, thinks, or gazes at natural phenomenon.
In 1989, I slowed down my tempo considerably. I began to attend only a few movies a year and even quit playing tennis. For a few years, I meditated about an hour a day. However, Krishnamurti points out that conventional meditation, which involves sitting in one place and repeating words or visualizing scenes, isn’t really meditation at all. It’s actually self-improvement, which is egocentric.(5) Genuine meditation isn’t an isolated activity; it must be practiced during the activities of daily life.(6) It’s a demanding task involving methodical attention to inner and outer happenings.(7) By restricting meditation to a particular time, one is actually engaging in self-hypnosis.(8) The true meditator is able to quiet his mind through the understanding of its clashing elements.(9) Although not carried out in an ideal way, this change of pace did help my body-mind system to attain some sense of emotional balance for the first time in my life. The source of my constant activity undoubtedly derived from certain feelings which started in the womb and early infancy. Janov declares, "I view the original primal feelings as essentially nurochemical energy which is transformed into kinetic or mecanical energy impelling constant physical motion or internal pressure.”(10)
I had simply carried to an extreme the feverish pace which is common in our society. Activity which is actually busyness is stressed. Most people engage in so many "activities" that they are incapable of inner development; they even transform their so-called leisure moments into further activity. Always depending on stimuli from outside themselves, these people are very passive in the classical sense. These stimuli include: aimless chatter with other people, viewing movies or television, travel, shopping, and new sex partners.(11)
Every culture has a tempo and the word that best categorizes America’s tempo is ’speed.’ Many other cultures believe that haste makes waste; our culture, however, believes that speed represents attentiveness, strength, and accomplishment.(12) Medieval craftsmen were usually sef-employed and set their own pace. They didn’t think it was improper to quit work for lengthy periods each day to talk with a friend, do tasks at home, or sit in a neighborhood tavern.(13) Then, the bourgeois class started to use the clock in almost every part of daily life. Rifkin explains: ’’The new god was science and technology, the new salvation material progress; the new church, the industrial order; the new idol, the clock and watch; and the new ritual, the daily schedule.”(14)
In the modern factory system, the machinery began to regulate the pace of work. The factory tempo was continuous and merciless.(15) The worker had to come to work punctually, work at the required tempo, and depart at the scheduled time. Most farmers and tradesmen had to be coerced into accepting this system and didn’t make disciplined employees. Employers used severe penalties and disciplinary measures along with incentives and rewards to ensure compliance.(16) Employers even limited or completely forbade talking between employees so as not to upset the schedule. Finally, they started to use their employees’ children instead.
Traditional schools have operated like factories. This educational system trains children to learn at the same rapid pace in which events in the frantic urban industrial world take place. Speed in giving an answer or solving a problem is emphasized. Examinations have time deadlines, and the best achiever is said to be the one who can give the most correct answers in the allotted time. Rifkin notes, ’’Students are taught to cram, compartmentalize, and segment their learning to conform with the dictates of clocks, bells, and schedules.”(17)
With the addition of the computer and the program to the clock, efficiency has become the most important value in the contemporary age.(18) Computers and programs are the most powerful form of social control ever devised; they allow each person’s immediate future to "be predetermined down to the tiniest artificial time segments of milliseconds and nanoseconds."(19) This high-tech world of clocks and schedules, computers and programs promised to release people from a situation of agonizing toil and scarcity. Actually, the human race is becoming more isolated from each other. Extremely anxious, they long to escape back to the natural world for a respite from this high-tech
Most workers are not purchasing merchandise because they agree with the consumerist philosophy behind the American Way of Life. They are buying these goods in order to allay their immense self-doubt. Consumerism is also a protest against a mode of life that that has harmed them and that they secretly disdain.(21) I am living within this urban industrial culture but have barely participated in its work routines. I remain alienated from this type of life.
Two extraordinary incidents in 1989 disturbed my attempt to establish a slower pace of life. First, my mother acted out a scene which could have come directly from one of Miller’s books. When the lease on my subsidized apartment was about to expire in June, I didn’t renew it at Florence’s request. She said that I should move back in with her in order to save money. Yet, when I appeared with several suitcases at the door of her apartment, she told me that I couldn’t stay. A glazed, almost trance-like expression suddenly appeared on her face. My mother then quietly but firmly remarked, ”l’m not afraid of you, Howard.” At the age of sixty-three, Florence continued to act out her long repressed fear of her own mother.
In August 1989, another incident could have ended my turbulent odyssey through American civilization. It involved my friend Leonard Sokoll, with whom I had played tennis for thirty years at the Match Point Tennis Club in Fall River. I had accompanied Sokoll three times during the last few years to a bird sanctuary which was a fifteen-minute drive from Fall River. One Sunday morning I drove to his apartment around 8:30 A.M. Sokoll started driving his car with me in the front passenger seat. This seventy-four-year-old man was a good driver. As a salesman, he was accustomed to driving over fifty thousand miles a year. However, on the outskirts of Fall River, he suddenly fainted while the car was traveling sixty miles an hour. It swerved off the highway onto a divider. The divider was usually grass but was now gravel because the road was being repaired along this stretch. Sokoll’s automobile weaved back and forth as it traveled over the gravel for about five seconds. I thought that he had suffered a heart attack.
Then, the car suddenly smashed into a huge mound of soft dirt. The only mound in sight, it had been left by the construction crew. The vehicle came to a halt with only a slight dent in the front fender. Sokoll woke up and exclaimed, "What are we doing here!" I told him what had happened. A rescue vehicle soon arrived. We assured the medical technician that we were uninjured. My friend also assured the two men that he would consult his doctor about the cause of the blackout.
A tow truck arrived and brought the automobile to a nearby repair shop. A mechanic unbent the fender which was preventing one of the wheels from turning properly. Sokoll then insisted on driving home! I hadn’t had time to become nervous when the car had left the road; now, however, I was inwardly praying that we reach home safely. Fortunately, we soon arrived back at my friend’s apartment in one piece. Then, we went to Match Point and played tennis! Sokoll went for an examination in Boston about a week later; there, he was given a portable monitor to wear as he went about his daily routine. After it picked up an arrhythmia, he entered a Boston hospital and had a pacemaker Installed.
I fully agree with the many commentators who think that the automobile is a very destructive technology. According to the National Safety Council, more Americans have died in automobile-related deaths than were killed in all America’s battles during the past two hundred years.(1) More disabling injuries to the brain and spinal cord result from automobile mishaps than from any other cause. Between ten and forty people per 100,000 suffer significant impairment and pain from these types of injuries. Many impairments aren’t noticed by crash victims until days or even months later; they cause undiagnosed discomfort and distress. These statistics don’t include the many accidents that aren’t even conveyed to the police.(2)
A few days before finishing the last draft of this chapter, I walked out the door of my apartment building and started toward the circular road in front of the complex’s two buildings. A car driven by a resident drove down the road, swerving onto the grass near my building and down a ditch next to the structure. This elderly woman either had fallen asleep or lost consciousness for a few seconds. Fortunately, she emerged from the badly damaged vehicle limping slightly but apparently otherwise unharmed. Had I walked out the door about seven seconds earlier, I would have appeared shortly thereafter in the obituary section of Fall River’s newspaper. Actually, one-fifth of the 43,000 people deprived of life by the automobile each year are pedestrians and bicyclists.(3) Nevertheless, politically aware doctors don’t tell an automobile accident victim that he "is not the victim of a specific car accident but a victim of an obsolete transportation system kept alive by the necessities of profit."(4) Instead, the injured person is released so that he can resume driving and this time be fatally injured.
The automobile is harmful in other ways. It is the most environmentally destructive non-military device ever manufactured.(5) It is the technology most responsible for ruining community life in the United States.(6) It tends to make people competitive, arrogant, ruthless, and irascible."(7) Furthermore, the private car does not stimulate a person to use any of his genuine abilities. It causes mental confusion, stopping a person from thinking. Finally, giving
him an incorrect feeling of strength, the automobile hampers him from walking.(8)
On the other hand, walking is a natural human function. Dr. Andrew Weil, a nationally known proponent of natural medicine, declares: "Walking is a complex behavior that requires functional integration of a great deal of sensory and motor experience; it exercises our brains as well as our musculoskeletal systems." A person1s limbs move in a cross-patterned way when walking. This means that "the right leg and the left arm move forward at the same time, then the left leg and the right arm."(9) This sequence causes electrical activity in the brain that has a harmonizing effect on the entire central nervous system. It is a unique benefit of walking as an exercise. Personally, in recent years, I have benefitted greatly from walking. Since 1985, I’ve walked four to seven miles a day year round.
Additionally, following John Bradshaw’s advice to let go and let God in, I regularly attended Temple Shalom from 1990 to 1993. Faced with an absolute void of relationship, fear and self-interest had driven me back to the temple in which I had spent a considerable amount of time as a child. However, I was only partially successful in breaking my isolation; I didn’t socialize with any of the congregants outside of the temple. I did become a friend of Rabbi Solomon Kravitz, an intellectual and author of several books on religion. Rabbi Kravitz and I conversed extensively about books and social problems. In hindsight, I see that I was travelling down another false path.
Social character has to satisfy any person’s natural religious requirements. A religion does not necessarily have to be a system which has a concept of God, involves idols, or even is perceived as a religion. It may refer ”to any group-shared system of thought and action that offers the individual a frame of orientation and an object of devotion."(1) Market economics has become the primary religion.(2) This may be termed "moneytheism." Shakespeare declared that money had become the new "visible God" of Western civilization.(3) Norman O. Brown observes that our culture doesn’t offer its surplus to God (as previous societies did). Instead, the procedure of creating an ever-growing surplus has become God.(4) R. H. Tawney, in his forward to Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism sums up this ethic clearly: "So far from there being an inevitable conflict between money-making and piety, they are natural allies, for the virtues incumbent in the elect—diligence, thrift, sobriety, prudence—are the most reliable passport to commercial prosperity.(5)
We have wandered off the path of true enlightenment into a "spiritual cul-de-sac."(6) "Ambition, atomism, and alienation" have poisoned human awareness. The words holy and health may be traced to the concept of wholeness. Therefore, it is imperative that more and more people see the connections that have led to our dysfunctional state of affairs.(7)
Unfortunately, organized religion has bee quite limited in its effectiveness among alienated men. This type of religion is merely a commodity in a department store window. Genuine monotheism is incompatible with the capitalist success ethic, which relegates concern about God and meaningful answers to the problem of man’s existence to a decidedly secondary role.(8) Ministers, priests, and rabbis should be leading the criticism of modern capitalism. Certainly, some religious leaders have voiced this criticism and even taken meaningful action against capitalistic abuses. However, overall, organized religion helps to maintain the conservative forces in contemporary life and uphold "a profoundly irreligious system."(9)
I’ve come to the conclusion that organized religion isn’t even worth reforming. As Krishnamurti points out, there will never be peace in the world as long as nationalism and organized religions exist. Historically, members of different religious groups have killed each other for God’s sake.(10) Although it talks about peace and love, the religious world is as responsible for the perpetuation of fear and self-interest as the commercial society.(11) They both have a devastating effect on human life because fear is the most harmful feeling in man. Krishnamurti notes: "It makes the mind wither, distorts thought, leads to all kinds of theories, extraordinarily ingenious or subtle, to absurd superstitions, to dogmas and beliefs."(12)
Religion’s dogmas, rituals, and sacred books aren’t really sacred or holy; its gods and priests don’t have any value.(13) The dogmas and rituals have been passed from generation to generation. Therefore, believers’
minds are similar to computer programs.(14)
During my brief sojourn into the religious world, I was still self-absorbed; I was now pursuing God rather than abstractly pursuing social revolution. Since I hadn’t achieved a respectable position within conventional society, I was now trying to gain some respectability in the religious world. My behaviour was still based on the fear of being an outsider, a nobody.(15) Now, at least, I could be close to God. This path was unsatisfactory because the pursuit of respectability unvaryingly brings isolation and never liberates the mind.(16)
Reading and tennis had given me pleasure in my otherwise stunted life. At this moment, I was pursuing the supreme pleasure—God.(17) My search was driven by my weariness of the world’s brutalities and social injustices that I had both experienced and addictively investigated academically. I was using the temple as another escape, similar to drinking or going to the movies. I was thinking about life rather than living it. I continued following the path that so many people art treading as second-hand human beings, quoting others, following others, empty as a shell.(18) The quotes in the temple revolved around the Bible rather than criticisms of capitalism.
Most worshippers’ lives aren’t holy at all; they are lived within the brutal competitive struggle and corrupt consumer society. The majority of congregants are devoid of compassion. Krishnamurti points out, "Compassion means passion for all human beings, and also for the animals, for nature."(19) This isn’t surprising, because the age-old dogmas and rituals are mere thought processes.(20) Actually, humanity is stupidly worshipping what its own thought has created.(21) In other words, it’s worshipping itself.(22) Of course, a small percentage of the faithful within organized religions are leading truly religious lives, promoting harmonious and just relations among people. However, they could engage in these activities without relying on religious abstractions.
I now understand that a person who wants to find the truth, to discover reality must find it himself, not through intermediaries. Knowing oneself is the only path to enlightment; a person can successfully achieve this understanding only through complete awareness of his own thoughts and feelings in daily relationships.(23) Krishnamurti notes, "No expert, no specialist can show us how to understand the process of the self.”(24) The mind becomes still, and a person is in affectionate communion with others. This is genuine religion.(25)
"Normal" and "sane" modern men have killed millions of human beings in wars. Preparing for and fighting wars have been major preoccupations of human institutions in the twentieth century. 120 wars have been fought by countries during the last forty-five years. Twenty-two wars took place in the world during the 1980s. During this decade, the United States’s military spending amounted to over $2.3 trillion. Presently, research and development funds spent on military projects account for over 70 percent of all research and development spending in the United States.(1)
During battles, most soldiers believe that they are engaged in self-defense, upholding their honor, or supported by God. The people on the enemy side are regarded as "cruel, irrational fiends," who must be subdued in order to eliminate evil from the world. However, a short time after hostilities end, our enemies often become our friends and vice versa.(2)
R.D. Laing points out:
"In the last fifty years, we human beings have slaughtered by our own hands coming on for one hundred million of our own species. We all live under constant threat of our total annihilation. We seem to seek death and destruction as much as life and happiness. We are driven to kill and be killed as we are to let live and live. Only by the most outrageous violation of ourselves have we achieved our capacity to live in relative adjustment to a civilization apparently driven to its own destruction. Perhaps to a limited extent we can undo what has been done to us and
what we have done to ourselves. Perhaps men and women were born to love one another, simply and genuinely, rather than to this travesty that we call love. If we can stop destroying ourselves we may stop destroying others. We have to begin by admitting and even accepting our violence, rather than blindingly destroying ourselves with it, and therewith we have to realize that we are as deeply afraid to live and to love as we are to die."(3)
We are cruel and callous because we have repressed our own early humiliation and suffering.(4) Miller concludes, "The stockpiling of nuclear weapons is only a symbol of bottled-up feelings of hatred and of the accompanying inability to perceive and articulate genuine needs."(5) Miller doesn’t write abstractly about social structures; she draws her conclusions from the observable realities of daily life.(6)
Historian Philip Greven has shown in Spare the Child that corporeal punishment of children is a significant factor in the perpetuation of violence through the generations. The implements "range from hands to belts to rods to switches to rulers to boards to paddles to whips to chains and to almost anything else grown-ups might think to use...."(7) This physical punishment is actually child abuse.(8) The kinds of punishment, the degree of pain, the types of suffering, the levels of physical and emotional harm vary greatly between individuals, extending from quite mild to very harsh.(9) Commonly, parents begin to attack their children’s bodies and spirits before the age which allows subsequent conscious recall.(10_
Greven asserts, "Love is natural; hate is created."(11) Some children, however, come to despise their parents because of the violent assaults they have undergone at their hands. The resulting anger and frequently rage are exactly the same feelings as are generated in adults who are struck. Anger is the most important emotion that remains embedded in our psyches after the pain has been repressed or disowned. Corporeal punishments suppress empathy and deep sympathy for oneself and other people. These lacks often last for a lifetime.(12)
These early assaults against children’s bodies are also assaults upon their identities. Even if struck only once, a child retains the memory in his brain and body for life. Children who were hit only once or twice can frequently recall the sensation of hurting and violent blows years later. A "psychic warehouse of assaults, fears, and pains" is built; an individual’s future experiences, actions, fantasies, and thoughts" will rely heavily on withdrawals from this warehouse.(13) Those children who are repeatedly punished also have to deal with the apprehension and intense fear of future punishment. It is apparent that children who are assaulted transfer their feelings about such punishments into their adult domestic relationships. These feelings are "anger, rage, anxiety, fear, terror, hatred, hostility, and love."(14)
Exploring and attempting to comprehend the effects of distressing assaults on children which ostensibly are carried out for disciplinary purposes is a pressing but complex task. The hurts are stronger and more likely to cause injury to ourselves and other people when they are deliberately disregarded or repressed than when they are felt and admitted to be true.(15) As Eugene Bliss notes, "Although reality may be unfair, the truth must be faced, the past is unalterable and must be accepted.(16) In any case, the consequences are extraordinarily widespread; they radiate from individual minds to our communities and ultimately to the entire world. Indeed, early physical punishment affects all aspects of our society and its culture.
It is urgent that we find answers to a series of questions about early punishment. How does early punishment affect ”our innermost selves, our feelings and personalities?”(17) How does it affect our beliefs and actions in public matters? How does childhood punishment mold our consciousness and our firm beliefs about authority and power?
The world’s current problems are reflections of what is inside us— poverty, violence, pain.”(18) Humans pretend to be godlike and act violently because their inner torment has made them the sickest of animals.(19) The death of the world through environmental collapse or nuclear catastrophe are distinct possibilities. These impulses to destroy all life on earth can be traced to early punishments.(20) Our society must begin to perceive and comprehend "that the end of the world begins with the striking of a single child." Only in this way can we "reshape our lives, our consciousness, and our world."(21)
It appears that for every step civilized man has taken forward in science, technology, and the manufacture of material goods, he has taken a step backward in moral growth.(22) Humaneness doesn’t come from a culture’s intellectual
sophistication or from thinking about moral values.(23) Children who are loved, respected, and cared for properly will naturally develop their own humane ideals.(24) Janov points out, "On the contrary, teaching values is what is desperately needed for those who do not feel, who cannot sympathize, empathize, and understand naturally."(25)
Overall, our society has succeeded in generating an intellect lacking intelligence.(26) This is certainly true of the half million brilliant scientists who spend their careers developing weapons. People with genuine intelligence would do things that truly benefit themselves, other people, and nature. Unfortunately, most people in the world today have been damaged severely and have not developed the many genuine intelligences which are the birthright of every normal person. Society really doesn’t need geniuses "in a technologic-scientific and socially cubistically dilapidated world....” It needs individuals "who are able to love, to work, to play, and to use their minds soundly.”(27)
My agitated mind had achieved right thought but not right thinking. The latter can’t be discovered in books or obtained from an advisor; it must be generated effortlessly and without premeditation through the mind’s
becoming attentive to its behaviour in ongoing relationships.(28) The American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey defines intelligence as a questioning, experimental receptivity to experience that facilitates a person’s
ties to the outside world.(29) It is the discerning of what is, which is continously altering.(30)
Actually, intelligence is totally unrelated to ’’knowledge or information."(31) My uncreative mind had been like a phonograph record repeating ideas from books; yet, I called this parrotting of thought knowledge.(32) I had been
living in a magnificent maze —really a prison —constructed by my own intellect. Addicted to knowledge, I didn’t realize that the faster I acquired it, the faster was my degeneration.(33) My experience was unique only because of the state of my body-mind system while I was obtaining much of my information. Unfortunately, the world is top-heavy with book knowledge but short of people who understand themselves.(34) Human difficulties are so complicated that
people can resolve them only by being uncomplicated, not by seeking enormous intellectual attainments.(35)
In the late 1980s and early nineties, I sat on the coordinating committee of a state chapter of a national peace group. The committee’s members talked politely to each other and solved differences of opinion in a calm and rational way. They reached agreement by consensus. This was the first time in my life that I had been exposed to such an atmosphere when important decisions were being made. I was able to improve my social skills through this volunteer work. It was much more effective than reading books on developing social skills or attending therapy sessions. I was learning from real life models, as I would have done if I had been raised in a more functional family. My improvement was rudimentary; I certainly didn’t attain the vibrancy of an extovert. Yet, this experience was valuable because it broke the trance that caused me only to relate to books rather than to people. The fog in which I had been so long enveloped started to dissipate.
However, society no more needs peace organizations than it needs organized religion to solve the problem of war, a catastrophe caused by our daily relationships. The respectable members of society fervently desire peace, but all their actions in the home and the wider society lead to war.(36)
When I virtually stopped going to Temple Shalom late in 1993, I became isolated again. Social historian Christopher Lasch asserts that in our troubled age, everyday life turns into a struggle for survival. People become accustomed to taking one day at a time; they rarely allow themselves to look back at better times. If they look ahead, they try to figure out how they can put themselves in the best position to weather future disasters. Selfhood is a luxury in this disturbed era. Lasch asserts, "Selfhood implies a personal history, friends, family, a sense of place."(1) A self under attack shrinks inward; beleagured, it finds this is necessary in order to ensure its psychic survival.
One of the most important causes of distress is a sense of complete loneliness. Krishnamurti defines it as the feeling ’’that you have nothing to depend upon, that you have no relationship with anyone, that you are totally isolated."(2) Loneliness brings action and stimulation to a halt; it even prevents development of self-acquaintance and identity. The lonely person doesn’t contribute to the making of cultural meaning or gain his proper share of it.(3) Fortunately, it is impossible to live in complete solitude.(4) Through books, I’ve had access to the world’s greatest minds. I’ve also been constantly subjected to my own repetitive thoughts and conflicts. It would be far more beneficial to communicate face-to-face with fellow human beings. Actually, in order to function at a superior level, a person must be living harmoniously in the community. Pearsall asserts, "Holism means ’integration with others,’ not just within self."(5) I’ve continued to feel impotent, overwhelmed by a sense of victimization. As Kai Erickson puts it, the
traumatized person "has no defence other than to make himself small, to draw a curtain over his sensory organs, to take his inner self out of the field of combat so that there is less of him to be wounded and less of him to be implicated in the insanity of what is happening."(6)
With rare exceptions, animals associate with each other in the natural world. When a creature segregates itself from the group, something is amiss or else this action is helping the group to survive in some way.(7) So, it is not surprising that evolution made human beings into social animals. Schmookler points out:
"In our natural condition, society was essentially an extended family. Intimate relationships of sharing and caring were at the core of our species strategy for survival, and it is in such relationships that our deepest selves tend to be nourished. This is another aspect of connectedness that can strengthen the human in its strategy against the inhumane."(8)
Therefore, human beings want to live in a society with the quality of life which a young child in a functional family experiences. This environment gives the infant a sense of trust; he feels that he is part of a loving group.(9)
On the contrary, Americans are automatic nobodies because no one has any stable position or lasting union with other people. Society consists of "a jungle of competing egos” trying to make places for themselves. Competition breeds loneliness and results in only short-term contentments, because one competition is followed by another one.(10)
All mentally sound people have a fundamental impulse to establish and preserve important associations. These relationships must involve friendly communications with at least a couple of people fairly often and in a dependable environment. However, in the United States, there are currently fewer of these types of relationships than ever before in modern times. Far too many individuals in our society have turned into effective robots who are financially comfortable but have few relationships with others.(11) Richard Goodwin has noted that 'clubs, associations, citizens’ groups, and recreation leagues” aren’t an effective replacement for the habitual communication of individuals who inhabit a common environment.(12)
In fact, Americans have slighted their neighbors more and more during the past twenty years. This is unfortunate, because many of these neighbors are solitary. The United States Census Bureau found in 1995 that people living alone now comprise one-fourth of American households. In 1970, the figure was one-sixth and in 1950 it was one-eleventh.(13) Therefore, it isn’t surprising that ’’unfamiliarity, suspiciousness, distrust and loneliness” are increasing. (14) Fewer and fewer hours are being spent socializing. This is sad, because friendship that merely entails talking can be beneficial. Lacking friendship, a person is likely to question whether he is human.(15)
My failure to establish genuine communication with the community is similar to that of K., the protagonist in Kafka’s The Castle. A land-surveyor, K., is summoned by the authorities from the Castle; he travels to the village where it is situated. K. is powerless and lonely. He doesn’t fit in with the peasants nor with the Castle. He is even unsure about life in the Castle is like. The villagers don’t accept visitors and greet him coldly. Both K. and his assistants call the Castle and are told by the Castellan that K. will never be allowed into the Castle. Gardena, the landlady of the Bridge Inn tells him: ’’You are not from the Castle, you are not from the village, you aren’t anything.(16)
As time passes, the Castle authorities refuse to communicate with K. , although they allow him to roam the village. In his wanderings, however, he has to exercise extreme caution. The authorities’ psychological abandonment of K. ’’transposed him to an unofficial, totally unrecognized, troubled, and alien existence.”(17)
The Mayor finally informs K. that his case is unimportant and that, in fact, he has been summoned because of a bureaucratic error. The village doesn’t require a land-surveyor at this time. Furthermore, even K.'s and his assistants’ contacts with the authorities in the Castle up to now have been illusory. Yet K., in his ignorance, has thought that they were real.
The Mayor tells the land-surveyor that he is too sensitive and that he is receiving respectful treatment from the villagers. He states that K. is free to leave at any time but emphasizes that he isn’t being thrown out. K. gradually feels that he has a stake in the village and is determined to hold on to it. He insists that he doesn’t expect any special treatment from the Castle; he merely desires his rights.
K. is unsuccessful in repeated attempts to gain access to Klamm, the chief of Department X. He eventually comes to believe that he is the victim of a plot to keep him from reaching the Castle authorities. These authorities’ power is absolute on important matters. K. notes that the officials infuse fear of themselves in the villagers. The land-surveyor basically doesn’t disapprove of these actions, because a ruler who is virtuous should rightly be feared. However, ” the authorities often abuse their power, speaking very offensively....(18)
Miller points out that K.’s predicament symbolizes that of a small child who is psychologically abandoned by his parents and other adults in his environment. The officials are his parents, and the villagers are the household servants. The abused child is bewildered by the unmistakable disregard shown to him and mystified by the adults’ manipulation. He is ’’discredited, misled, not paid attention to, shunted off with promises, humiliated, and ignored....”(19) In fact, not a single person comforts him and clarifies things for him. The poor child—like K.— "is groping in a dark labyrinth."(20)
The abused child has been born but isn’t really wanted. He simply longs for the respectful treatment that he is entitled to from his parents. Unfortunately, his hopes are shattered time and again by the child-rearing principles Miller terms poisonous pedagogy, as K.'s are dashed by the uncommunicative bureaucracy.(21_ The child and K. are repeatedly told that they should realize that the authorities’ intentions are good. Therefore, they should ignore any cruelty that may be perpetrated upon them. The abused child’s own desires and emotions are neglected; only his parents’ count. Similarly, only the Castle authorities’ needs are important. There is no "dialectical process involving dialogue."(22) The manipulated child is as much an ignorant, bothersome outcast as is K. If he tries to make clear his stressful feelings, he is considered recalcitrant to pedagogical advice. All his childish spontaneity, wonder, and curiosity are crushed.
The Castle had eluded me all my life. As a young child, I found myself in a household devoid of healthy communication. Starting in the seventh grade, I began to focus heavily on abstract symbols and entered a preliminary schizoid state. Later, with my muscles contracted, I was as far away from the Castle as possible. Finally, I managed to return to the classroom and earn a Master’s Degree. However, as a graduate student, I remained isolated outside of class. It then appeared that I would reach the Castle by becoming a teacher. This wish proved to be illusory. Like K., I
have remained on the periphery of the Castle.
I survived my illness because I exercised vigorously and escaped from taking powerful medications. These strong medical drugs commonly do more harm than good; they promote the perception of the body as a machine "run by mechanical and manipulating switches."(1) Capra sums up this approach:
"For the past three hundred years our culture has been dominated by the view of the human body as a machine, to be analyzed in terms of its parts. The mind is separated from the body, disease is seen as a malfunction of biological mechanisms, and health is defined as the absence of disease."(2)
Drugs are overconsumed in a society which believes that technology can be utilized to shape human life according to virtually any plan.(3) In fact, technical medical interventions cause enormous "pain, dysfunction, disability, and anguish."(4) This clinical iatrogenesis is one of the most virulent epidemics of contemporary society.
In the 1980s, increasing numbers of people paid office visits to the burgeoning numbers of holistic health care practitioners. Unfortunately, the holistic doctors I visited weren’t working as a team. Now, centers which
feature an integrated medical approach using both traditional and alternative methods are arising.
Dr. Patch Adams gives some excellent ideas about how to develop a humanistic medical system in Gesundteit! Adams, a graduate of the Medical College of Virginia, ran a medical practice from his various homes in Virginia and West Virginia. He and his associates didn’t charge their patients, take money from health insurance or carry malpractice insurance. For several years, Adams earned an adequate living by working at part-time jobs related to medicine. His group’s practice was also funded by gifts from friends. Usually, the personnel included fifteen to twenty people, including two or more doctors. The group emphasized preventive medicine and combined alternative therapies with allopathic medicine. Homeopaths, chiropractors, and naturopaths began to treat patients at Adam’s residence; an acupuncturist practiced in the basement. The practitioners lived together and tried to develop "an environment that was loving, humorous, creative, cooperative, and open to change.”(5)
Adams deplores the fact that medicine is now primarily "an efficiency- driven business” and has neglected its service-oriented nature.(6) It has changed from a community endeavor to a corporate undertaking ladened with greed and selfishness. This is tragic because medical care shouldn’t be "a commodity to be bought and sold"; basically, it should be a gift from the society to its citizens.(7)
Ideally, healing should be a loving human interaction rather than a business matter.(8) Adams and his staff try to become friends with the patient. This caring physician asserts that "friendship is great medicine.” House calls are an essential part of his practice; he believes that a medical history is sadly deficient without one. Initially, this humanistic physician spends hours with a patient "learning about his or her parents, lovers, friendships, jobs, and hobbies: the entire person."(10)
Adams learned that most patients needed a great deal more than medication to get well. Frequently, he saw that discontent with a person’s "work, family, and self" precluded a "cure" or change for the better from occurring. He
began to understand that his group must learn how to stop these misfortunes from happening or change them if they had already occurred. Only then is it possible to properly treat an individual’s health difficulties.(11)
This humane physician is another observer of American civilization who has found that most people in our society are lonely. This condition, in conjunction with lovelessness, brings the greatest suffering of all.(12) This is bad because happiness is a critical factor in keeping healthy; in fact, it may be the most important factor of all.(13) Love is the most powerful medicine in the world.(14) No quantity of physical health can make up for dysfunctional relationships "with our families, friends, and ourselves."(15)
Adams deplores the fact that our important professions such as medicine, education, and law are now largely incapable of rendering good service to humanity. He notes that we spend huge sums of money on war preparations, fancy clothing, makeup, and amusements rather than on activities which could lead to a healthy society.(17) Individual wellness is integrally related to that of society and of the entire world. Social and global improvements are vitally necessary to ensure individual health.
It’s obvious that even the best holistic health practitioners don’t yet influence the disorder of the wider society very much. Shamans have long provided people with a social myth that transcends past personal experiences. The shaman tries to influence the collective and social unconscious which involves the entire community. Medicine, whether traditional or holistic, "will have to go beyond the study of biological mechanisms and, like shamanism, find the causes of illness in environmental influences, psychological influences, and social relations."(18)
Advanced industrial society incapacitates people from successfully contending with their surroundings and when they become ill, "substitutes a ’clinical’ or therapeutic prothesis for the broken relationships.(19) People would resist this atmosphere more frequently if medicine did not rationalize their biological confusion as a weakness in their health instead of as a weakness in the life style which is forced on them or which they force on themselves. This is a clandestine and amoral way to accuse the victim. The physician, who is in an elite position in society, decides that a patient is not suitably adapted to an environment that has been created by other professionals. Instead, the physician should be reproaching his colleagues for shaping environments into which the human organism has a hard time adapting itself. Originally, my illness was largely the result of the repression of early abuse. To a significant degree, I’ve recovered from this trauma. However, I must still confront a crazy-making and an advanced technological environment which I find unhealthy and frightening.
Currently, a person seeking psychological therapy faces many potential hazards. V. Rainy has defined therapy as an "unidentified technique applied to unspecified problems with unpredictable outcomes.(20) Hans Strupp points out that psychotherapy is a billion-dollar business which has ambiguous limits, vague quality control and comparatively indefinite ethical principles.(21) The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual disguises the actual origins of many distressing feelings such as "loneliness, mourning, disempowerment, insecurity, shame, anxiety, and anger."(22)
People who are emotional disturbed do need advice and help in taking I now believe that positive steps to find solutions to their problems.(23) I know believe that those individuals who are avid readers and want psychological advice will obtain the greatest benefit from studying some of Krishnamurti’s many books. Another positive step would be the joining of a self-help group with people who have undergone similar problems, as Jeffrey Masson suggests in Against Therapy. However, many people, at least in the immediate future, will still seek outside assistance. Therefore, it is imperative that the helping professions devise effective means to deal with great emotional shock rather than to focus on the supposed mental imbalance of the victim.(24)
What the path of healing pursued, it’s vital for the individual to bring unconscious ideas and impulses to consciousness. Psychiatrist Leonore Terr in Unchained Memories describes the way people repress traumatic memories, the way their lives are affeted, and how and when they can be recalled. She notes, "To repress is unconsciously and energetically to defend against remembering. It is a more active process than merely forgetting.”(25) People occasionally can remember traumas such as kidnapping, abuse, or the death of a sibling that happened before three years old. However, they will only remember fragments of the trauma, which don’t contain the essence of what happened. They can describe very early visual memories in word pictures but find it virtually
impossible to narrate at any length.(26) 3-1/2 years old is approximately the earliest age from which memories can be freely recalled. When asked about a specific event, such as the birth of a younger sibling, most people can remember back a little further than 3-1/2.
Some memories are "forgotten’’, regardless of the youngster’s age, because they involve recurrent physical or verbal attacks from which the child can’t defend himself. Terr published a clinical research study in 1988 about twenty children who had experienced various traumas under the age of five. She had outside documentation of their experiences. The researcher points out: "No matter how young or how nonverbal these children were at the time of their traumas, their nonverbal behaviors—how they played, what they feared, how they acted—indicated that their memories had been stored and remained strongly operational.(27)
Some memories of repeated traumas later return after having been repressed, dissociated, split off, or displaced. It is possible for these memories to be as accurate as single traumas that never became unconscious; customarily, however, they are more incomplete and abridged.(28)
Human beings most likely have two memory systems. One is already active enough so that an infant can use it "as the infant focuses his eyes, follows, feels emotion, and responds to other human beings."(29) Psychiatrist Daniel Stern has demonstrated that babies retain mental pictures of very vibrant puppets for several days. When they see the puppets again, they instantaneously smile. The infants don't smile when the puppets are calmer.
This is the implicit memory system. When I was terrorized at an early age, I formed implicit memories. These memories were "planted time after time and then stored via entirely nonverbal pathways."(30) The verbal memory system may be called the explicit or conscious system. It starts working around the age of three.
Learning involves the changes in behavior of an organism affected by its experiences. Memory is the retention of these experiences over lengthy periods of time.(31) After a person’s behavior is modified and stored, it is fixed in neural circuitry. Memory is found throughout the brain; it causes an enduring change in the connections between cells.(32) Old non-verbal memories from a person's infant and toddler stages frequently are the keys to that person’s ties to other people as he grows up.(33) My implicit memories warned me that people were unstable, even dangerous, and that I would be served best by remaining unobtrusive.
Terr declares that every person needs his memories and must try voluntarily to retrieve them at times. Even when a person has many memories, he can still try to recover more. Memories are not recovered by hammering the brain. A person should relax and allow his mind to work calmly. Terr asserts, "Relaxed thinking, visualization, and free association are generally as successful in retrieving memories as hypnosis is."(34)
My memories started to come back after 1 had read Miller and Bradshaw. My slower pace of life and extensive reading about human development facilitated this process. Writing this book has helped me to recall even more material. This is an important process for any person. Terr concludes, "We need our remembrances to understnad ourselves—who we are and what we believe.(35) We are our memories." However, Krishnamurti asserts that it is possible for the mind to remember the past but to totally dissociate itself from those happenings. Therefore, the mind can liberate itself from the past instantly.(36)
Most people are able to remember and understand their preschool years if they can retrieve only two or three small fragments of events.(37) I have inferred what happened to me during my preschool years from my reading, experiences, and observations because I don’t remember anything. Anyway, the most damaging abuse was perpetrated at such an early age that it would not be retrievable by me through simple memory.
I was just as ill-served by the educational system and its emphasis on competitive formal schooling as I was by the fragmented health care system and its emphasis on labelling and medication. Many brilliant social critics, including Krishnamurti, have found fault with schools and universities. One of the most astute has been Ivan Illich, whose comments are found in his books Toward a History of Needs, Tools for Conviviality, and Deschooling Society. Certified educators currently dictate the curriculum to society and dismiss learning outside of school. In fact, modern political culture has substituted knowledge-stock certificates given by schools for the means test. "I want to learn” is translated into "I want to get an education."(1)
The hidden curriculum of compulsory schooling communicates the idea that an individual must prepare for adulthood in society by going to school. Therefore, those who can bear the trying experience of school the longest and those who receive the costliest education are deemed superior and are thought to merit "the right to more power, wealth, and prestige."(2)
This is ironic because the brightest students usually find the classroom routine tiresome in traditional schools.(3) Too often in schools and higher education, the operative assumption is that learning should be difficult and unenjoyable. There are exciting teachers in every university who employ innovative methods to spur students to learn, but they are distrusted by the more traditional professors. These people often have difficulty securing tenure because they emphasize teaching instead of writing and research. This is because bureaucratic universities usually reward efforts that are quantifiable and will make them look good.(4)
The message is transmitted that material not taught in school is unimportant and that what a person learns outside of school is virtually worthless. Learning is changed from an activity into a commodity called education which is monopolized by professionally planned institutions called schools.(5) This commodity must be given out thriftily so that unauthorized unauthorized people don’t obtain it employ it improperly.(6) This convoluted educational process has been substituted for "the plain knowledge of the facts and the ability to use tools which shape a man’s concrete life."(7)
Professional teachers think the idea that people would learn more from random access to learning resources than they learn by being taught is ridiculous.(8) In fact, people don’t use libraries enough because they have been conditioned to demand that they be taught. Kirkpatrick Sale, a Cornell University graduate and author of several brilliant radical books, agrees that little learning usually takes place in schools. He declares that he learned a great deal more in the 42nd Street library of New York City than he did in his sixteen formal school years.(9) Philip Slater, author of the best single book I’ve read on American society—The Pursuit of Loneliness— also found traditional schools to be a waste of time. He eagerly engaged in independent reading. Slater asserts, "That school could be a place where ideas were exchanged—where you could think and talk about important questions— was inconceivable."(10) The great playwright George Bernard Shaw notes, "(Schools are) machines for forcing spurious learning on children in order that your universities may stamp them as educated men when they have finally lost all power to think for themselves."(11) For many years, I was able to buy nine-tenths of my books; I found this independent reading to be valuable and pleasurable. This was in spite of the fact that my body-mind system was under tremendous tension.
Andrew Bard Schmookler, a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard, is equally unimpressed with his school experiences. He notes that he learned in school to be a good boy and sit obediently at his desk until the clock showed that he could move. In serving this sentence, he learned to be alienated from himself.(12) After completing high school, Schmookler realized that he had been shortchanged by his schools, even though they were supposedly good ones. He felt that he learned less per hour in these institutions than in practically any other activity he pursued. The lessons the curricula actually taught the students include: obeying the institutions demands, accepting boredom willingly, engaging in meaningless, repetitive lessons, ignoring their biological rhythms and disconnecting themselves from their bodies, except during athletic pursuits.(13) Schmookler had wished that grades weren’t given in high school. Yet, what he calls his "Taskmaster” insisted that he get superior ones.
In his freshman year at Harvard, he didn’t just fulfill the requirements that his professors demanded of him. In his search for meaning and understanding, he tried to do much more. Sometimes he would write a forty page paper although only assigned one of fifteen pages; he found himself studying more than one hundred hours a week. This overly conscientious student was following in his father’s footsteps. As an economics professor at Michigan State University, he had been a workaholic for years early in his career. Schmookler asserts that, in general, our society is driven by the psychology of compulsive work and of insatiable consumption. Both traits are the results of the early injuries to the psyche that I mentioned in discussing The Greening of America. By his senior year, he was mostly engaged in independent studies, supervised by eminent professors Erik Erikson and Robert Bellah. Schmookler admits that he’s never really freed himself from his ’'taskmaster. However, he feels that the most valuable aspects of his work have come from times when he wasn't worrying about and judging his performances.(15)
David and Micki Colfax homeschooled their children and sent three sons to Harvard. In their book Homeschooling for Excellence, they emphasize that this need not be the goal of homeschooling. The Colfaxes assert that real earning in and out of the classroom depends on a diversity of community, cultural, and class conditions. It varies from locality to locality and from one age to another. They note, "For the most part, any standardized, official curriculum is largely meaningless, incoherent, and irrelevant to the lives of most children.” Contemporary assembly-line schooling greatly restricts classroom teachers’ ability to cope with individual differences. Early childhood educational research has consistently found that children develop at quite different paces, possess very different natural talents, and differ considerably in their ability to organize coherently what they have learned.(16) The official curriculum is actually a device for controlling children; it impedes genuine education.
Homeschooling is much more efficient than public education. A child who attends public school usually spends about 1,000 hours yearly there. However, only about twenty percent of these hours are spent on genuine educational matters. The rest of the time is wasted on matters which are basically organizational. The homeschooled child who devotes only two hours everyday year-round to basic education spends over three times as many hours on genuine education as the public school child does. Additionally, the homeschooled child has a great deal of time to participate in other such as athletics, gardening, art, or music.(17)
Likewise, in universities, students possess minimum power over activities the arrangements that are supposed to help them. They are "an inferior subject class,” sanctioned by the rest of society only if they are isolated and distant. Furthermore, as I’ve previously mentioned, most hierarchical ordering of material in the academic world is totally arbitrary, and most introductory courses are uninteresting. A truly curious student might learn much more if
not restricted to a particular field’s very old biases and uncritically accepted customary practices.(18)
Slater pillories the educational obsession with Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and grade-point averages.(19) He declares that Intelligence Quotient tests and other tests basically gauge a person’t talent at taking tests and frequently
not much more. Montagu points out that Intelligence Quotient tests don’t really evaluate intelligence; in fact, they misrepresent and conceal its true more complicated and nature. Whatever intelligence is, it is a great deal more complicated and comprehensive than the Intelligence Quotient measures.(20)
A democratic educational system recognizes that people learn "uniquely, unevenly, erratically, and continually."(21) Competence in a genuine democracy is shown rather than graded by examination. Unquestionably, compulsory
instruction destroys the enthusiasm for autonomous learning in most people.(22_
In fact, Howard Gardner’s research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education has shown "that there are at least seven areas of intellectual competence, which are comparatively unrelated to each other. There are:
(1) linguistic—responsiveness to the interpretation and arrangement of words;
(2) logical-mathematical—skill in making logical connectioons and processing sequences;
(3) musical—a feeling for "pitch, molody, rhythm, and tone";
(4) bodily-kinesthetic—skill in using the body and in using objects proficiently;
(5) spatial-skill in observing the world correctly and in modifying or improving components of that world;
(6) interpersonal—skill in comprehending human beings and their associations;
(7) intrapersonal— ability to understand one’s emotions and those of other people.(23)
At nineteen and a half years old, I had attained a position close to the top of the academic ladder in the United States. Yet, as I’ve pointed out, aside from having developed a moderate linguistic competence and a moderate but largely fraudulent mathematical competence, I was profoundly stupid in every other way.
Based on what I observed and experienced in schools, I fully endorse Illich’s view that the American university is the last stage of the most involved initiation rite in the history of the world. He assert, "No society in history had been able to survive without ritual or myth, but ours is the first which has needed such a dull, protacted, destructive, and expensive initiation into its myth."(24) He doesn’t rule out any possibility of some formal instruction; he simply cautions that special arrangements must never be more important than chances for independent study.(25)
Illich later expanded his critique of schooling to include other forms of education. He defines "education as learning when it takes place under the assumption of scarcity in the means which produces it."(26) Illich coneludes that the disestablishment of traditional schooling would bring about an overzealous restoration of various arrangements of corrupt, all-inclusive education. The world will then become "a universal classroom, a global schoolhouse."(27)
Wolfgang Sachs, a friend and colleague of Illich, helped him to see that the teaching role was already leaving the schools and being taken over by other kinds of obligatory learning which was not required by law. For instance, people now suppose they are acquiring knowledge from television. They are also forced to go to in-service training or lured into spending large quantities of money in order to learn how to acquire sensitivity, how to take vitamins, or how to participate in leisure activities.(28)
Illich also points out that some of society's members are able to criticize the entire society by means of their positions in universities. However, those who enjoy this freedom are full members of our consumer society and accept the idea of required public schooling.(29) Schools, which employ an enormous number of people, may be termed the World Church of our collapsing society. The foremost principle of a deschooled society would be to refuse teachers the right to hold professional status. Anybody who risks teaching somebody must also be responsible for the outcome. Likewise, the student must also assume responsibility for his own learning.
The January-February 1995 issue of the Utne Reader, an alternative Reader's Digest, contains an interesting article on Illich by Marilyn Snell entitled, "An Invitation to Ivan Illich." As a priest, he founded and directed the Center for Intercultural Documentation in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The center functioned as "an intensive language school and training center for United States priests, nuns, and brothers on their way to Latin America" and a think tank for radicals." The politically conservative church ordered Illich to Rome. Within a year, he had resigned from the priesthood; however, he remains dedicated to the spirit of the church and its values of "beauty, truth, awareness, and mystery."(3)
The article reveals that Illich himself hasn't been fully able to escape from the institutional academic world. He holds degrees in theology, history, and chemistry. Previously, he had been vice rector of the Catholic University in Ponce, Puerto Rico; now, he is back in academia. Snell reveals, "Unwilling to associate himself with any one institution, Illich splits each academic year between guest professorships at Penn State and in Bremen, germany, and spends the remaining months in a Mexican village outside Cuernavaca working on various writing projects."(31)
One might be tempted to dismiss Illich’s message as a remnant of the radical sixties. Yet, it is still relevant in the 1990s. In fact, John Gatto, in a series of five essays entitled Dumbing Us Down; The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling has updated Illich’s message. Gatto quit his job in the public school system upon winning an award as New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991. He declares that, while there are many humane people who teach in schools, the institution is psychopathic.
In unusually clear expository prose, Gatto enumerates the seven lessons that schools teach. He states, "The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context. I teach the un-relating of everything."(32) This statement was certainly true in the public schools I attended for the first eight grades and just as true in the private schools I attended from the ninth through the twelfth grades.
The first lesson schools teach is class position.(33) Very few children escape the class from which they started. Of course, in my case, I started out destined for the upper middle class and through illness and financial fraud ended up in the lower class.
The second lesson schools teach is indifference.(34) The fifty-minute periods of my traditional schools taught me this well. I learned smatterings of many subjects. However, I was quite ignorant of anything that really mattered and unable to actually do anything in the world after twelve years in supposedly good schools. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in one of his journals: "We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a belly full of words and do not know a thing. We cannot use our hands, or our legs, or our eyes, or our The fourth and fifth lessons schools teach are emotional dependency and intellectual dependency.(36) They emphasize a perverted kind of individualism. George Leonard observes, "A culture dedicated to creating standardized, predictable human components could find no better way grinding them out than by making every possible aspect of life a matter of competition. ’Winning out’ in this respect does not make rugged individualists. It shapes
conformist robots."(37) A student who wants to get the highest grade in a class is not apt to dispute the teacher’s version of the subject being studied.(38) Yet, it is vital that children learn "how to evaluate humanely and critically the world in which they are living."(39) To be educated people, they must receive more than instruction in the three Rs and technological skills.(40) Then, they must learn how to take action to correct the world’s deficiences.
Schools create a false reality because they assume that the child’s home environment is fine and that if the child misbehaves in school, he is the one with a problem.(41) In other words, the school ignores the emotional realities of home life. The myth of equal opportunity ignores the widely differing degrees of hurt that children carry with them to school. This pain will greatly affect their concentration as well as their conduct. Yet, paradoxically, the perfect children often are those who have suffered through the most painful occurrences at home. Psychotherapist Michael Lerner notes:
"They are being ’perfect’ little children precisely because they have internalized the fears most considerably and have managed to repress their own feelings so completely that they no longer experience any overt contradiction on the conscious level in fulfilling their parents’ ongoing fantasies and in trying to fit into their parents’ ongoing drama."(42)
As this book makes clear, this statement precisely describes the emotional reality of my early years.
Schools don’t emphasize the uniqueness of each person. This is disastrous because it is the greatest possible tragedy for a person to live his life without a genuine sense of identity.(43) This situation is responsible for the rage and shame that dominates our addictive society and violent world. We are addicted to dependency; we are waiting for the teacher to tell us what to do, but this happy day never arrives. Gatto warns:
"Bridges collapse, men and women sleep on the streets, bankers cheat, good will decays, families betray each other, the government lies as a matter of policy, corruption, shame, sickness, and sensationalism are everywhere. No school has a curriculum to provide the quick fix."(44)
The sixth lesson schools teach is provisional self-esteem. Everything in a school system obsessed with performance is based on trying to get an A. Gatto agrees with Slater that working for official favors, grades, or other symbols of subordination has nothing to do with genuine education or freedom.(45) Grades and standardized tests are excellent ways to treat people "impersonally, ’objectively,’ that is, as if they were objects."(46)
The seventh lesson schools teach is that one can’t hide.(47) Schools are an integral part of the centralized society which started to grow from the time just before the Civil War.(48) Students are monitored constantly by teachers; the surveillance even extends into private households through homework. Janov declares that a child in our society who doesn’t want to sit in classes for six hours a day is thought to have something wrong with him. He concludes, "What’s wrong may be that he is normal.”(49)
So, it is apparent that "school is a twelve-year jail sentence" whose only effective curriculum is the teaching of bad habits.(50) It destroys the possibility of children growing up as active members of the community and having a meaningful family life. Our dehumanized society suffers from epidemics of drugs, suicide, divorce, violence, cruelty, and hardening of class into caste. These pathologies develop to a large degree because the seven lessons of school prevent effective personality maturation in children. They fail to learn lessons in self-motivation, persistence, self-reliance, bravery, dignity, love, and service to other people. Reason must be balanced by other parts of our humanity or we become unreasonable and foolish.(51) Indeed, the conventional school system couldn’t survive at all "without exploiting the fearfulness, selfishness, and inexperience of children...."(52)
John Holt, the author of How Children Learn and How Children Fail, gave up on reforming conventional schools. Shortly before his death, he wrote Teach Your Own. The Coifaxes’ Homeschooling for Excellence also gives many valuable practical suggestions for carrying out this project. Children can learn from mentors, family members, independent study, and apprenticeships. Buckminster Fuller stated that he wasn’t a genius nor were any people he knew. Some people are simply fortunate not to have been damaged as severely as others. Fuller, like Margaret Mead, was basically taught at home.(53)
Scientists aren’t made in science classes, politicians in civics classes, or poets in English classes. Actually, the only thing that schools really teach is the way to obey orders.(54) Miller notes that those in power always use conditioning and manipulation but disguise these weapons by calling them ’’education and therapeutic treatment."(55) She quotes a long passage by J. Sulzer, written in 1748, that calls for training children from two and three years old to strictly obey parents and superiors and trustingly accept all they do. Sulzer asserts that obedience is so significant that all education amounts to learning how to take orders.(56)
This emphasis on strict obedience is the foundation of the dysfunctional rules that have governed parenting for a long time. These rules are: “Children are to speak when spoken to; children are to be seen and not heard; children are to obey all adults (any adult) without question."(57) The result is that most children in our society have lost access to their own needs and feelings.(58) In Western societies, boys especially have been socialized to repress their deep feelings. Instead, they are taught "to be strong, invulnerable, competitive." Unfortunately, human experience is destroyed when people lose access to their own feelings. We live in an unreal world because we can now relate to ourselves only through abstractions exterior to ourselves.(60) Indeed, most cultures develop and recreate "splits in human consciousness"; in this way, they suppress children’s autonomy.(61)
I don’t think anyone has made the case against traditional schooling in a more amusing but truthful way than Charles Dickens in his satirical novel Hard Times, written in 1854. Mr. Thomas Gradgrind, a retired wholesale hardware merchant, runs a model school. He is not unkind and really means well. He declares, "Now, what I want is facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else and root out everything else."(62) Gradgrind understands only the reality of facts, statistics, definitions, calculations, and practical reasoning. He doesn’t want the school’s pupils or his own children Louisa and Tom to exercise their imaginations in any way. Furhthermore, they must learn to be solely concerned with their own self-interest. Dickens describes Bitzer, a top student in the school, in this way:
He had grown into an extremely clear-headed, cautious, prudent young man, who was safe to rise in the world. His mind was so exactly regulated that he had no affections or passions. All his proceedings were the result of the nicest and coldest calculation:...(63)
Mr. M’Choakumchild is a teacher at the school. He himself had graduated from a teahcers’ school which taught its students the same methods in a factory-like manner. His knowledge of facts was immense. He knew: "orthography, etymology, syntax, astronomy, geography, and general cosmography, the science of compound proportion, algebra, land-surveying and levelling, vocal music, and drawing from models...." He also knew: "the higher branches of mathematics and physical science, French, German, Latin, and Greek." Finally:
"he knew all about the Water Sheds of all the world (whatever they are) and all the names of all the rivers and mountains, and all the productions, manners, and customs of all the countries, and all their boundaries and bearings on the two-and-thirty points of the compass.(64)
In fact, M’Choakumchild taught his pupils every Ology in existence. Had he known less, he might have been a much better teacher.
The school is located in the industrial manufacturing town of Coketown. It is smoky, dirty, and dominated by the factory machines. The streets are very much alike. CoketownTs inhabitants are also very much alike and are rigidly regimented by the rat race of the industrial system. Efficiency and proper use of time are paramount. The wealthy capitalists propagate the myth that there is equal opportunity to make a fortune.
The entire system runs on facts, including the dealings between the businessmen and the ordinary workers. The impersonal market in which the aim is to buy cheap and sell dear reigns supreme. Buying commodities for as little as one can and selling them for as much as one can is held to comprise the entire obligation of man.
Mr. Gradgrind proposes to Louisa that she marry a close friend, Mr. Josiah Bounderby. She accedes to his wish, even though she doesn’t love him. Bounderby is a wealthy banker, merchant, and manufacturer. Louisa becomes dissatisfied with her marriage and her life.
Eventually, Gradgrind’s daughter confronts her father and curses the fact that she was raised by him. She asks:
"How could you give me life, and take from me all the inappreciable things that raise it from the state
of conscious death? Where are the graces of my soul? Where are the sentiments of my heart? What have you done, 0 father, with the garden that should have bloomed once, in this great wilderness here?"(65)
Louisa bemoans the fact that she didn’t acquire the character traits that would help to make the world a little better. Gradgrind tells his daughter that he thought he was raising her correctly and is devastated by her statements. Perhaps he was wrong in totally concentrating on the Head and utterly neglecting the Heart. Eventually, in old age, he puts "Faith, Hope, and Charity" ahead of facts and figures.(66)
Coketown’s bank is robbed. Gradgrind’s son Tom, who worked there under Bounderby, is finally discovered to have committed the crime. Tom doesn’t understand his father’s shock upon hearing the name of the criminal. He points out that Gradgrind taught him to trust statistical Laws. His father often told him about the law that of so many people "employed in situations of trust" so many will be dishonest.(67)
The model student Bitzer appears and is going to turn in Tom to Mr. Bounderby rather than let him escape overseas. He is doing this purely out of self-interest, which he has been taught to emphasize from an early age. Then, Bitzer says to Gradgrind:
"It was a fundamental principle of the Gradgrind philosophy that everything was to be paid for. Nobody was ever on any account to give anybody anything, or render anybody help without purchase. Gratitude was to be abolished, and the virtues springing from it were not to be. Every inch of the existence of mankind, from birth to death, was to be a bargain across a counter. And if we didn’t get to Heaven that way, it was not a politico-economical place, and we had
no business there."(68)
Yet, some parents and children will want schools to remain in their lives. Fortunately, it’s possible to devise an effective school. One type is found in Waldorf education; its curriculum produces well-rounded, well-integrated people. This educational philosophy was developed by Austrian thinker Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), who founded a school in Germany in 1919. In Steiner’s view, any systematized scholastic course of study is an "instrument of murder for the real development of human forces....(69) Waldorf schools promote genuine idividuality. Each school operates as a close-knit society of instructors, parents, and pupils; it attempts to incorporate their particular social principles and aspirations. Mary C. Richards visited many Waldorf schools throughout the United States. She found that the association between grownup and youngster involves a genuine human relationship and that "hierarchical, authoritarian decision making or professional aloofness" are uncommon.(70)
In Education in Search of the Spirit, John Fentress Gardner gives an excellent introduction to its philosophical underpinnings. Today, the traditional educational paradigm emphasizes performance carried out by mere biological organisms.(71) Viewing human beings as machines, it programs behavior. The intellectualistic thinking it promotes is abstract and suppresses warm feelings.(72) It results in the heartless objectivity of scientism. The skills it most values are linguistic and mathematical ability, proficiency in retaining information, and the strength of rational inquiry. These skills are quantified by Intelligence Quotient tests.(73) This traditional paradigm doesn’t concern itself with "objective spiritual values like compassion, genorosity, and courage—to say nothing of integrity, idealism, or creativeness."(74)
Traditional education encourages egoism based on fear and competition. It encourages materialism and "the decline of positive—aesthetic—religious experience."(75) Healthy egoism manifests itself as personal thoughtfulness and initiative. The unhealthy type encouraged by traditional education results in self-centeredness, disorder, and dishonesty. People practicing this negative egoism exploit each other and the natural world. The school tries to restrain the antisocial urges that result from this egoism. The society that sanctions them refuses to believe that reflective people can live cooperatively without laws mandating compulsory education.
So-called progressive education also has numerous flaws. It has not educated students to cope with the real world and has often lead to social conformity. Gardner notes, "While it awakened enthusiasm, it often came up short on facts learned, on the systematic ordering of facts, and on certain social and intellectual skills needed to deal with facts.(76) Finally, it usually ignores the higher self or spiritual being which religion emphasizes.
It’s unfortunate that both innovative and traditional schools don’t concentrate on "healing, harmonizing, and humanizing" their pupils.(77) They should be helping youngsters to develop their genius. In its original sense, genius is a directing, motivating ideal that is found in everyone. Strength of purpose originates with genius, which utilizes whatever skills a person possesses. A person with genius puts his talents to use helping humanity and delights in life. This is genuine creativity.
Intellect is not nearly as important as this "active, love-filled thinking" and determination to help other people. In other words, one’s character matters far more than any specialized talents that one has been genetically given.(78) Presently, school lessons employ skills that are comparitively insignificant for the development of genius. Yet, scholars who excel at these tasks are considered to be socially superior people.(79)
School doesn’t have to be the type of place Gatto calls "a jail for children."(80) Actually, children want to admire and obey their teachers. In young children, determination or will should be developed. Then, in the middle years of elementary school, their ability to feel should be encouraged. Teachers should "guide the children’s feelings about the beautiful and ugly, the noble and ignoble, in a purely artistic way, avoiding many rational ’evaluations’ and definitions of just what shall be considered beautiful or ugly, noble or ignoble and why."(81)
Then, in adolescence, young people will find fulfillment by discovering a hero or heroine who will provide an example for their endeavors. Having followed mature adults at a young age, these adolescents will now be able to decide for themselves what ideas and actions are inherently correct and beneficial. They will be able to think clearly about reality. This is due to the fact that intellectual cognition will develop after feeling and will are solidly entrenched in the youngster’s personality.(82) They will arrive at "true knowing, deeper knowing, intuitive-participatory knowing...."(83) Only this comprehensive intelligence, which has evolved from all-inclusive experience, is capable of accomplishing its goals. It must be balanced, at peace with with itself, and based on love.(84) Gardner concludes, "For the youngest child, imitation is active love; for the elementary school pupil obedience and trust are feeling love; and at adolescence a burning idealism becomes thinking love."(85)
Teachers, parents, and older children must have genuine freedom of choice in educational matters. Therefore, state control of subject matter, assessment of personnel, and means for preparing and licensing teachers is just as wrong in a democracy as in a totalitarian country.(86) Teachers in so-called independent schools must also be liberated from pressures emanating from the church, particular business and professional influences, and higher education. Finally, educators must free themselves from the worship of materialistic values; then, they can develop a truly religious outlook.(87)
The Waldorf approach to schooling is perceptively and clearly described in School as a Journey by Torin M. Finser. He relates his experiences teaching a group of students from the first through the eighth grades. His students cover an amazing variety of subjects, taught in blocks of several weeks. They include:
'Reading, writing, music, art, mathematics, spelling, grammar, geography, zoology, botany, geometry, punctation, meteorology, astronomy, physics and mechanics, history from ancient to modern times, mineralogy, phsiology/health, two foreign languages, physical education, chemistry, computers, and environmental science."
In high school, the pupils are taught by specialists in one field.
Their reading includes fairy tales, fables, legends, bible stories, historical biographies and Shakespeare. It is selected in order to stimulate the students’ gratefulness, wonder, emotions, imagination, and veneration of the creator’s handiwork. Reading about the lives of transformative individuals "such as Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Jacques Lusseyran” is especially important. These studies are designed to nurture an idealism that will grow in adolescence. The Waldorf curriculum isn’t supposed to be merely a more humanistic version of Gradgrind’s school. The pupils do much more than study academic subjects; they engage in practical activities such as building, farming, and woodwork. Also doing handwork, they make such items as scarves, hats, pot holders, mats, cushions, pillows, socks, mittens, and stuffed animals.(88) Even while teaching academic subjects, the instructors try to show their practical applications.
Finser participates in many of the classroom activities. He is also aided by many teachers who enter the classroom two or three times a week to teach a particular subject. In addition, he works closely with his students’ parents. At the end of every year, he writes extensive commentaries on each student.
Waldorf education strives to develop both analytic and creative thinking. Rather than lecturing or moralizing, the teachers attempt to stir the learners’ own imagination and let them draw their own conclusion about their readings. More importantly, it strives to create well-balanced people whose will, feelings, and thinking are ’’working together harmoniously.”(89)
This method is suitable for those parents and children who want an intensive educational experience which takes place largely in a specific building called a school. However, it’s probable that the vast majority of of people will neither need nor want such a comprehensive learning experience. Most learning should take place in psychologically sound homes and cooperative communities.(90) Schools should be "richly stocked community resource centers."
The community will feature systems of cooperating individuals of different ages who will take part in investigations and undertakings which are related to their genuine occupations and hobbies.
James Moffett's book The Universal Schoolhouse offer an excellent plan for redesigning education. Moffett holds two degrees from Harvard, a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and a Master's of Arts in French. He spent thirty years teaching and attempting to reform schools. Now, Moffett agrees with Gatto that contemporary schools are similar to jails. As do Illich and Gatto, he calls for the dismantling of schools as presently organized. He predicts that, within twenty years, citizens will look back on these institutions as amazingly crude, just as they now regard the eighteenthcentury methods for dealing with mentally disturbed individuals. Future generations will find it hard to comprehend how citizens who believed themselves devoted to individual freedom and democratic government could require obligatory learning which forced children to report to specific buildings every weekday. In public schools, they were then controlled by government agents.(91)
Moffett, agreeing with Colfax, Slater, and Gatto, declares that the systematization of subject matter into courses is a major cause of difficulty in schools.(92) Simultaneously, subjecting classes to identical subject matter with the cirriculum established ahead of time, even in optional courses, greatly restricts the material that can be treated. Considering the possible range of information, the selection is also arbitrary. Moreover, students usually have difficulty recalling and employing this material.(93)
History isn’t the only subject whose curriculum is adjusted to the lowest common denominator. School districts and state departments of education severely limit the contents and approaches of textbooks and other purchased materials. This is especially unfortunate because a high percentage of schools buy their materials. Unquestionably, such a vital matter as learning shouldn't be left in the hands of the corporations who shape the content.
Furthermore, books aren’t always the most effective method to obtain knowledge of a subject or master a skill. They often lead to an overemphasis on memorization and submissiveness rather than nurture "interaction, initiative, and inquiry."(95)
Moffett envisions an extensive system of individualized learning "a school without walls."(96) Continual advice will be available to learners from knowledgeable people. Ultimately, the student himself must decide what he wants to learn and also assess the effectiveness of the teaching. Using Moffett’s plan, there will still be a need for professional educators; they will teach a speciality as well as coordinate the system as a whole. It is imperative that these people comprehend how personal and moral growth are achieved.(97) The state will merely facilitate this network.
Finally, Krishnamurti offers extensive advice about education in his books. A good starting place for the interested reader is his Education and the Significance of Life.(98) Agreeing with other progressive educators, he decries the fact that fear poisons traditional schooling, blocking the development of genuine intelligence. Therefore, a school which arouses this feeling should not operate.(99) In fact, a good educator should assist students in comprehending fear and freeing themselves from all kinds of this toxic emotion.(100) The comparison between students and the promotion of ambition and the success ethic in traditional schools can only perpetuate conflict, resulting in psychological wounds.(101) Furthermore, Krishnamurti is another progressive educator who declares that government control of education is a catastrophe.
The purpose of education is to develop human beings who have an integrated intelligence. Knowledge, technique, and efficiency have their place but to give them a primary place in life produces conflict and chaos.(102) Therefore, a genuine educator doesn’t only supply information; he helps the student to develop wisdom.(103) As I’ve noted before, Krishnamurti points out that people may obtain degrees and cultivate a certain machinelike ability but be utterly lacking intelligence. The emphasis on passing examinations and obtaining degrees tends to shape crafty intellects that shun fundamental human concerns. Intelligence is the skill of discerning the quintessential meaning of existence, the what is; and education consists in developing this ability in oneself and other people.(104) Krishnamurti concludes that good education doesn’t follow any system.(105)
In criticizing traditional schooling, I’ve ignored the positive accomplishments and experiences that somehow often take place in them despite their flaws. The trait that fatally poisons these places as well as the wider society is competitiveness.
Alfie Kohn, a former student of Professor George Morgan and a Brown University graduate, has written a brilliant book debunking competition in American life. No Contest: The Case Against Competition won the American Psychological Association’s 1987 National Psychology Award for Excellence in Media. Kohn declares that competition is an American cultural addiction; it is our state religion.(1) Since one person’s success depends upon another’s failure, competitiveness promotes hostility and emotional isolation in human relations. It creates "easily aroused envy toward the stronger ones, contempt for the weaker, distrust toward everyone."(2) Therefore, competition is never beneficial.
Yet, since Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859, the predominant view of the nature of evolution has been that life involves "a struggle for existence in which only the fit survive."(3) The fittest are defined as those who take whatever actions are necessary to survive; they leave the most offspring through natural selection. This view justifies businessmen taking advantage and tyrannizing their employees, governments their citizens. It vindicates countries when they deprive "inferior peoples" of their lands. It holds that it is natural for the poor to lack food and perish. War keeps nations in good health and powerful.(4)
Darwin provided a scientific justification for a strain of social and political thought that had been developing since the early years of the nineteenth century.(5) Originally, he interpreted natural processes in such a way that they mirrored the brutal struggle for existence between men which was taking place at this time in a Victorian England that was undergoing a rapid industrialization and urbanization.(6) Additionally, imperialism was widespread in Europe.(7)
However, in The Descent of Man (1871), he modified this one-sided picture. In this book, he heavily emphasized cooperative behavior between members of large communities and between nations. Yet, this correction was lost amidst the belligerent voices of those who were promoting "the crude, muscular Darwinistic point of view...."(8) One of these voices belonged to the English sociologist Herbert Spencer, who developed a belief about how nature operated in society. This doctrine was eventually termed "Social Darwinism." The supposed overwhelming competition found among organisms in nature was said to apply to human society as well. This was misguided because Darwin, Spencer, and Thomas Huxley grossly overemphasized the element of competition in the natural world and seriously underestimated that of cooperation in natural selection and the evolutionary process as a whole.(9)
Darwin meant "competition" when he used the word "struggle." For Darwin and his interpreters, competition or struggle in nature or human society usually meant fighting.(10) In the Origins of Species, Darwin often writes about "the warfare of nature.(11) This is nonsensical, however, because there isn’t any warfare in the natural world. Similarly, animals don’t mainly struggle against other animals for their existence but struggle with their environment.
Leonardo da Vinci pointed out that man is the only animal which cruelly oppresses its own and other species.(12)
On the other hand, Petr Kropotkin (1842-1921) has had the most lasting impact among the writers who have tried to propose a more balanced evaluation of evolution.(13) Kropotkin in Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution (1902) explained that competition is not the customary course of events in nature. Animals only compete during extraordinary times. Kropotkin declares, "Better conditions are created by the elimination of competition by means of mutual aid and mutual support.(14) Natural selection shuns competition in order to produce the most robust conditions of life while conserving energy. Competition always harms a species, and there are numerous ways to avoid it. This is nature’s inclination, although it doesn’t always succeed.
Actually, the so-called "struggle for existence" in nature is completely different than the contention between nineteenth century capitalists.(15) It is understandable that people socialized in an industrial, mercantile environment would readily accept this combative view of nature. However, this lifestyle is not what life is supposed to be like. In fact, even in modern times, this competitive way of life isn’t practiced by most people in the world.(16)
Much study in recent decades has substantiated Kropotkin’s thesis. This research has clearly shown that most relationships between living organisms are essentially cooperative ones, characterized by coexistence and interdependence and symbiotic in various degrees.(17) Benefits in differential reproduction are commonly gained through peaceful means. These means include: "better integration into the ecological situation, maintenance of a balance of nature, more efficient utilization of available food, better care of the young, and elimination of intragroup discords that might hamper reproduction."(18) Whatever competition exists usually is carried on within a general environment of cooperation. It is true that predator-prey relationships hurt the immediate prey; however, they generally benefit the overall existence of both species.
Yet, people who are satisfied with the status quo promote the idea that human beings are naturally aggressive. What they’ve done is develop biological theories to fit their socioeconomic biases. Unconsciously, they’ve shaped their understanding of nature to conform to their own behavior. People learn to cooperate or compete, and individuals in the United States are carefully taught to compete.
The experience of cooperation will lead to the good-natured development of more cooperation while competition will result in an increasingly depraved escalation of competition. The result has been that, except for minimal types of cooperation necessary for any society to exist, "Americans appear to be uniquely uncooperative as a people."(19) Competitive schools really provide the service of screening people for entrance into business and governmental positions. Competitive sports teach people to value hierarchical power arrangements and the existing state of affairs within society.
Kohn proposes that people compete because they are unsure of their abilities; they are trying to overcome low self-esteem.(20) David and Roger Johnson reviewed seventeen separate studies on the psychological impact of cooperative versus competitive learning situations. They concluded that cooperative environments are clearly superior in promoting increased self-esteem. The Johnsons noted elsewhere that cooperation closely relates to many attributes of psychological well-being. These include: fully developed emotional stability, harmonious interpersonal dealings, a firm personal identity, and confidence about other people’s actions.(21) Lawrence Frank succinctly sums up the psychological underpinnings of a competitive society when he comments that its energy is generated by a combination of "obsessional thinking, anxiety over personal inadequacy, and hostility requiring an outlet."(22)
Lerner fully agrees with Kohn’s assessment that very few societies in history have been more competitive than ours.(23) Cooperation is rewarded only if it is with those who are more powerful.(24) People live in "a basically inhumane, paranoid, rapacious society whose dominant idea is "Look out for Number One.’" Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel states that the cardinal principal of our society is "Suspect Your Neighbor as Yourself." Therefore, our society, based as it is on selfishness and egotism, ranks extremely low in qualities of mutual caring. Its citizens encounter severe difficulty in getting the nurturance and support that are the vital ingredients for psychological well-being. Fancier, more plentiful consumer items can never replace their needs for community and purpose.(25)
Many people face the choice between one oppressive work situation or another equally oppressive one.(26) The workplaces in our society commonly treat their employees as children and send the message that they have ruined
their lives and that they alone are responsible.(27) Fear generates aggressiveness as a rational response to this environment. Hatred is actually "love frustrated."(28) An aggressive person is looking for love. Many people, viewing themselves as powerless, direct their anger inward instead of toward social action to transform their society.(29)
In a society which operates under The Theory of the Meritocracy, people learn to view themselves as commodities at work; they try to obtain the attributes that will sell for the most money. These include: "the best degrees, training, resumes, appearance and manner of self-presentation."(30) They learn to blame themselves about their childhood and adulthood if their lives are going badly rather than an unfair or destructive society.(31)
The idea of merit is transferred from the job market to social life. People view their partners as commodities; they eventually start to think whether they "couldn’t get a better list from someone else."(32) If a person is alone, he probably doesn’t deserve a satisfying relationship. People in our society eventually learn that they are indeed alone and that even their friends are incapable of emphatically responding to their plight.(33)
Parents in our society typically don’t give children the love they need. Their relationship with their offspring is what the Jewish theologian Martin Buber terms an I-It instead of an I-Thou relationship. The two people in an I-Thou relationship acknowledge "each other as free, conscious, and infinitely precious subjects."(34) In an I-It relationship, one person uses the other as an object that can be manipulated and controlled in order to fulfill his own needs. Parents offer their children conditional love; they insist that the children must fulfill their desires. Most children try to develop the attributes that will fulfill their parents’ expectations. It is apparent that my mother carried this controlling mind-set to an extreme with me.
Lerner emphasizes that he is focusing on parents’ limitations; he points out that most parents freely give as much love as they can to their children. Yet, virtually every part of our society opposes the development of genuine love. People must usually adjust to these circumstances in order to survive.(35)
Fromm and Montagu thoroughly describe the absurdities of competition in their books. Fromm declares, "Indeed, what most people would like is to be aggressive, competitive, maximally successful in the market, liked by everybody
and at the same time tender, loving, and a person of integrity."(36) Montagu states that the main disorders of Western civilization are due to competition.(37) He avers that greatest progress undeniably results when people cooperate. The
anthropologist points out:
"Cooperation and competition are not mutually reconcilable drives. Either you are a cooperator or you are a competitor; if you are both, then you are in a state of disoperativeness, of confusion, unreconciled and in conflict with yourself. And this is the state in which most members of Western civilization find themselves."(38)
Montagu concludes that if a man must be violent, offensive, coarse and competitive, and if only a sissy is mild, warm, compassionate, and cooperative, then for the benefit of humanity, there should be "fewer men and more sissies."(39) Indeed, the United States is one of the few countries where it is a compliment to call a person "aggressive." Yet, what progress American society has made has been despite its competitive ethos, not because of it. People have often worked together and accomplished beneficial tasks.
Kohn subsequently published a book entitled Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes; in it, he clearly shows how destructive and ineffective the ways our competitive society uses to motivated people really are. After labelling our system of rewards "pop behaviorism," he notes that its main proposition is: "Do this and you’ll get that."(40) Behaviorism is the school of psychology founded by John b. Watson; its leading contemporary proponent has been B.F. Skinner. Our society has socialized children, instructed pupils, and managed employees by using its main axiom. Francis W. Parker humorously summarizes its mind-set in this manner:
"Bought at home, bought at school, with merits, percents, and prizes, bought in college and university by the offer of high places, the young man with a finished education stands in the world’s marketplace and cries: "I’m for sale; what will you give me?"(41)
Unfortunately, both behavioral psychology and orthodox economic theory have created "truncated picture of the human being."(42) The behaviorist’s idea that people must be goaded into doing good work by extrinsic motivators is outdated. In fact, rewards and punishments are similar in effect. The use of rewards to induce people to do things is dehumanizing and demeaning; this practice simply controls them by means of seduction instead of force. Some people are punished by not getting the reward they expect. Rewards benefit the more powerful party and support the status quo.(43) Both rewards and punishments cause individuals to behave in a manner that will win the approval of the person who gives them. Therefore, pop behaviorism "is by its nature inimical to democracy, critical questioning, and the free exchange of ideas among equal participants."(44)
Research suggests that rewards completely fail to produce lasting change in people.(45) Rewards simply motivate people to get rewards; they don’t stimulate creativity. When individuals are pursuing a reward, they commonly
do just what they have to do and no more.(46) Morton Deutsch found in six separate studies that don’t work more productively when they will be rewarded based on their performance rather than equally or based on their need. In fact, rewards are most successful in motivating "those who are alienated from their work."(47)
High achievers in conventional schools often are not good learners. Students who earn high grades by studying and even memorizing exactly what schools assign frequently hate what they are doing.(48) Those who concentrate on how well they are doing—or worse, how well they are doing compared to other students—are more likely to perform poorly.(49) Richard Ryan and Jerome Stiller declare, "Externally imposed evaluations, goals, rewards, and pressures seem to create a style of teaching and learning that is antithetical to quality learning outcomes in school, that is, learning characterized by durability, depth, and integration.(50)
A few years ago, I discovered Andrew Bard Schmookler’s writings and was able to put my experiences in historical perspective. Schmookler, one of the great intellectual integrators of the twentieth century, in his books The Parable of the Tribes, Out of Weakness, and Sowings and Reapings analyzes the practical and psychological reasons why civilization has developed in such a dysfunctional and violent way since its beginning ten thousand years ago. Before that, as anthropologists have found, the so-called "primitive" societies of the hunters and gatherers did not engage in the Hobbesian battle of every person for himself. Sharing was a distinguishing trait of these early societies; they tried to sustain the lives of every person for the safety of the group. In them, the person who is most highly regarded is not the one who possesses the most resources, but the one who transfers the most to other people.(1)
Primitive warfare hadn’t been centrally organized, nor was it directed by permanent chieftains. Most primitive wars were basically armed melees; the participants didn’t aim at conquest nor at killing the maximum of the enemy.(2) Then, living entities were thrust into a state of anarchy, ungoverned by any order which promoted a safe life. The international system became a war of all against all.(3) This disorder started when man’s relationship to nature changed from 9000 to 7000 B.C. during the "Protoneolithic period," in a thousand mile area between western Iran and Greece.(4) The great English philosopher Thomas Hobbes perceived this situation correctly but misnamed it. He termed it the state of nature, not realizing that it is really a very unnatural state.
In the fourth and third millennia B.C., centrally organized large-scale societies developed which were ruled authoritatively by a dominant minority. The first societies which relied on great industrial and military power, they invaded other territories, exacted tribute, took slaves, and grabbed resources.(5) Patriarchal rule was a crucial feature of the new urban societies. Control was paramount in these societies; it included: control of nature, control of slaves, women and children.(6) Aggressiveness isn’t an isolated trait but part of a syndrome. Aggression is found in coordination with traits such as strict hierarchy, dominance, and class division.(7)
Schmookler declares that this struggle for power is deeply unnatural because, looked at from an evolutionary perspective, it is simply not plausible that man is either sick or criminal by nature.(8) Human beings have been forced
to live under zoo conditions.(9) They have been living in a prolonged emergency situation analogous to the body’s adrenalin response.(10) Schmookler aptly notes, "Human nature is what unfolds when healthy people grow up in a healthy society."(11)
The two choices human beings have are love or power. Unfortunately, an escalating struggle for power has been the rule since the start of the anarchical intersocietal system. Frustrating human needs in the maternal relationship or in any other areas of the socialization process benefits the intensification of power in civilized societies.(12) Anna Freud points out that a child who receives genuine love and approval will develop a firmly established "primary narcissism,” a secure kind of self-love. This child is at peace with himself; he is an indication that the surrounding system of relationships is harmonious. However, when a child’s needs are ignored, he will feel that his worth is diminished. Then, secondary narcissism withtwo components develops.
"The first is a sealing off of the self, so that the disappointing and hurtful connection with the outside world loses some of its sting. The second part of this narcissistic strategy is a denial of the internalized image of the self and a compensatory overinflation of the self-image."(13)
A person who develops this pathological narcissism because of neglect or abuse can’t relate meaningfully and constructively to other people. This pathological narcissism is found in a certain type of character but is probably found to some degree in all members of our society.(14) When I taught at the community college, I was still alienated from my real needs and feelings. I had a tremendous abstract knowledge about social structures and social injustice, but I couldn’t relate to the students as concrete human beings. Lacking self-knowledge, my self-expression at the college had lead to self-assertion, with its combative and power-hungry qualities. Egotistically driven, I only loved my intellectual achievements, which my mind was cruelly using for its own self-satisfaction. Such behavior is inconsistent and unsocial.(15)
Nature has gradually perfected over a very long period of time in both infant and caregiver the behaviors and responsibilities required "to develop individuals, not mistakes."(16) The epidemic sickness in the system of human relationships has caused these narcissistic injuries. Profound students of childhood such as Lloyd de Mause (The History of Childhood) and Alice Miller (For Your Own Good) have shown the pervasiveness of abusive and defective parenting historically.(17) In fact, the chronic conflict in civilized societies has caused parents to be in a virtual state of war against their children. This war is transferred from generation because parents who haven’t received "the gift of mutuality—of respect, of compromise, of accommodation"—can’t give it to their offspring.(18)
Insecurity and a sense of scarcity are the prevalent feelings in such an atmosphere. We remain oblivious to our hypocrisy because we refuse to confront our internal rage, which is produced by "the war between the demands of our
culture and the needs of our nature."(19) Injured people make sick history, and sick history injures the next generation.(20) A world in which narcissistic injuries are prevalent is a belligerent world. To a great extent, the intersocietal system can be described as a group of peers who live within reach of one another and all of whom experienced abuse in childhood.(21)
The struggle for power injures not only those on the bottom but those at the top. In fact, every human being growing up in this type of society probably will have "an impaired relationship with himself."(22) People grow up in a world divided into victims and victimizers, winners and losers, the chosen and the rejected.(23) Each person in this world frantically tries to protect a self-image that deep within he realizes is fraudulent.(24) The area of interpersonal relations becomes a stage on which self-centered actors try to destroy each other.(25)
Schmookler fully agrees with Jonathan Kozol about the defective upbringing to which the members of the ruling class must submit. They must frequently endure a socialization process which consists "of systematic (if subtle) deprivations and humiliations.(26) As adults, the powerful attack or economically exploit other nations, destroy the environment and steal the masses’ freedom and belongings. The dysfunctional patterns of mind that people learn in such an injurious and traumatic system should be regarded as illness. Manifestly, the disordered state of civilization has produced a consciousness sick in its cognitive, emotional, and spiritual qualities.(27)
Schmookler agrees with Krishnamurti that fear is the basic cause of our hostility and violence. In order to make peace, we must recognize our mutual fear and ability to be hurt; then we must reveal our mutual desire for love. (28)
We must come to realize that self-respect and identity don’t have to be in short supply. Indeed, Schmookler believes that human beings would naturally receive all the love they need if civilization were in its proper condition. (29) Unfortunately, creatures born for love are especially susceptible to becoming instruments of hate when they are injured.(30) However, unless we quickly learn to love other people as nature intends a mother to love her children, we may cease to exist.
Schmookler also agrees with Kozol that there are far too few moral people in our zero-sum society. Psychically damaged parents and teachers don’t raise moral children. In Bringing Up a Moral Child, psychologists Michael Schulman and Eva Mekler offer many ’’clear-headed, wise and empirically sound ideas” on this important subject.(32) Moral behavior has two elements. It must promote the well-being of one or more people: and it must be fair or just, taking into account other people’s rights without prejudice or favoritism.(33) Personally feeling gain when someone else gains is the most important quality of moral motivation.
This attribute is acquired through three psychological processes. The first is the internalization of parental standards about right and wrong behavior. Schulman and Mekler declare:
"Whether internalization takes place depends on how parents state the rules, on how clear and consistent they are, and also on what they say and do when their child follows or fails to follow the rules (such as praising and scolding him in
timely and appropriate ways, and teaching him ’nicer’ ways to satisfy his needs.(34)
The accomplishment of internalization also depends on whether a child’s parents have acted toward him in ways that stimulate loving feelings toward them. A loving parent’s discipline affects a child much more strongly than a cold parents discipline. Spanking a child doesn’t accomplish anything that won’t be accomplished better by punishments that are more instructive. The most effective and instructive punishments are those that ’’are swift, strong, reasonable, and not so severe as to be frightening.(35) Parental sharing of thoughts and feelings with their offspring allows those children to feel loved.(36) Treating children’s thoughts and feelings with respect also communicates love to them.
The second psychological process the child must develop to become a moral person is that of responding with empathy to another person’s feelings. He will feel bad when someone else is unhappy and good when that person is happy. The development of personal standards is the third requirement for moral behavior.(37)
Numerous studies have shown that one-and-two-year olds will more likely follow their parents’ rules without being reminded frequently or coerced when their parents act with warmth and sensitivity toward them, make the rules easily understandable, and don’t use corporal punishment. The rules as well as the consequences of following or disobeying them should be consistent.(38) The caregiver should never censure the child in general but only criticize actual conduct.
I remain profoundly alienated from the mainstream values of contemporary American life. Before writing this book, my recent reading list had included such titles as: Declaration of a Heretic by Jeremy Rifkin, The Poverty of Affluence by Paul Wachtel, In the Absence of the Sacred by Jerry Mander, Fool's Gold by Andrew Schmookler, as well as two books by Bill Mckibben, The End of Nature and The Age of Missing Information.
This society makes people slaves to technology, while paying little attention to technology's "side effects.(1) They frequently turn into the principal effects and totally cancel the supposed advantages. Fromm declares that society has a much greater need for "a human renaissance" than it does for "airplanes and television."(2)
I fully endorse Jerry Mander’s outlook on technology, which he explains in In the Absence of the Sacred. He points out that in a genuine democratic society the merits and drawbacks of every new technology would be fully debated. If the technology is judged injurious, it would be rejected. Currently, the corporate sector of society makes the actual decisions about introducing a technology. The most important factor is the potential profit.
Computers play a fundamental part in "every new technical innovation, whether in communications, the military, genetics, transportation, automation, or multinational corporate activity."(3) The academic world, corporate executives, politicians running for the presidency, futurists, and the communications industry continually tout the benefits of computers. Heavy television advertising for computers sends the message that neither commercial enterprises nor individuals can live during the coming years without computers.
I don’t own a computer, nor do I know how to use one. I didn’t grow up using one and have no desire to learn. This recalcitrance may seem bizarre but is actually prudent. Computers are highly unhealthy for workers manufacturing them, the environment surrounding the plants, and users. Chemicals involved in computer manufacturing are the most harmful compounds that have ever been combined, according to attorney Ted Smith of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.(4) Many medical problems among users have been reported. These include: tiredness, eye fatigue, migraine headaches, and cataracts. Pregnant women who use video display terminals suffer a higher percentage than normal of "miscarriages, birth defects, premature births, and infant deaths."(5)
I was born just after World War II ended. It was then that the idea of the American Dream through technical innovation started operating with full force. This was called the "American way of life." Currently, a single technical-economic network surrounds the earth. Important elements of this magatechnology are: "Computers, television, satellites, corporations and banks, space technology, genetics, and the alarming new ’post-biological’ machinery: nanotechnology and robotics."(6)
Mander’s comment on the way this emphasis on science and technology has drastically changed people’s lives is worth quoting in full:
"I was born in 1936. At that time, there were no jet airplanes and commercial plane travel was effectively nonexistent. There were no computers, no space satellites, no microwave ovens, no electric typewriters, no xerox machines, no tape recorders. There were no stereo music systems nor compact disks. There was no televison in 1936. No space travel, no atomic bomb, no hydrogen bomb, no "guided” missiles, as they were first called, no "smart" bombs. There were no fluorescent lights, no washing machines, no dryers, no cuisinarts, no VCRs. There was no air conditioning. Nor were there freeways, shopping centers, or malls. There was no Express Mail, no fax, no telephone touch dialing, no birth-control pill. There were no credit cards, no synthetic fibers. There were no antibiotics, no artificial organs, no pesticides or herbicides. That was fifty-five years ago. During my lifetime all of this has changed."7
I had become alienated from this way of life after I learned more about its consequences through my reading during my illness.
Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood where the homes had lawns. Many families, including ours, owned dogs and cats. The only other contact I had with the natural world was at summer camp. At Camp Indian Lake, I had helped row boats and had been a passenger in sailboats on Lake Winnipesaukee. I had also gone on trips which involved climbing mountains and camping overnight in nearby woods.
Psychologist Chellis Glendinning notes that about ten thousand years ago, the human scale itinerant life that had persisted for more than a million years was irreversibly changed. Domestication of plants and animals occurred; then came large-scale civilizations. Human beings consideration for the earth and sharing of its natural rhythms were profoundly altered. They began to subjugate the earth’s resources, and the human spirit entered a condition of persistent emotional turmoil.(8) Currently, psychological stress is incessant in large-scale technological civilization, which suffers from a widespread addictive process which Glendinning calls techno-addiction.(9)
Most people in contemporary society only pay attention to books and speakers who they consider as eminent authorities; they aren’t ever attentive to natural phenomena.(10) This is unfortunate because to preserve their mental health, human beings must live in the natural world.People frequently undergo a modification of consciousness when they come into contact- even briefly-with uncultivated areas.(12) They become unhurried and quiet. Ralph Waldo Emerson thought that authentic education has to emanate from original sense-impressions in the natural world. He deplored the fact that docile youngsters matured in libraries.(13) It is imperative that youngsters delve into nature for themselves, not just learn about it from school books.(14)
Genuine groups of hunter-gatherers are not psychologically disturbed; usually, they are unified in thinking, emotional response, and spirit. They live in truly democratic small groups. Anthropologist Marshall Sahlins states that in nature-based societies neither manual power nor technology are fully utilized, and natural resources are consumed sparingly. Work activity takes only a few hours a day, and there are a greater number of idle days than work days. Large amounts of time are occupied by "dancing, fishing, games, sleep and ritual."(15)
Had I been able to continue on my ordained academic path, I would have utilized my skill in handling abstractions to enter a corporate law firm. There, I would have helped my company to manipulate the natural world for profit. This European materialist mind-set despiritualizes life. It isn’t satisfied with observing nature but must wreak havoc with it in order to gain more material possessions.(16) In fact, the more we have become isolated from nature and from each other, the more we have relied on material possessions to fill the void. Words like progress and development actually refer to the insane activities that are destroying the planet. Mother Earth, however, will strike back and eradicate the careless and greedy practitioners of this lifestyle.(17)
American society has continued to travel in the direction forecast by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World (1932). This satirical novel takes place in A.F. (after Henry Ford) 632. The setting is a totalitarian World State, an anti-utopia or dystopia (meaning "bad place" in Greek).(18) Its motto is COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY. Its inhabitants are produced scientifically in test tubes by an assembly-line procedure. The reproductive cycle has been conquered by genetic engineering and artificial insemination. Identitcal twins are manufactured by the dozens at one time.
The World State is a "society of altered, cloned, and patented organisms."(19) Infants are raised in State Conditioning Centres, which feature Neo-Pavlovian conditioning rooms. The behaviorist psychology of Ivan Pavlov and J.B. Watson is fully utilized. Individuality having been totally abolished, unorthodoxy of behavior is the greatest crime. People are conditioned to fill prearranged jobs, which range from menial to highly intellectual in a vertical hierarchy. A type of sleep-teaching relying on repetitive "hypnopaedic" messages implants ideas in the child’s mind and will continue to implant suggestions in the adult’s mind.
This society reveres Our Ford or—when dealing with psychological matters— Our Freud. It is administered by a special class of technocrats. At the apex of the pyramid are Ten world Controllers, who are also conditioned and genetically engineered for their positions.
The inhabitants are perfect machines.(20) They must be obedient, conformist, and stable. All spontaneity and creativity that would disrupt society’s political, social, or economic efficiency are prohibited.(21) Ashley Montagu has characterized the culmination of this machine age in this manner: "Not only are things increasingly produced by machine but human beings, who are also turned out to be as machinelike as we can make them, see little wrong in dealing with each other in a similar mechanical manner.”(22) The people reside in the ultimate consumer society, totally divorced from natural processes. The residents are forced to consume a certain amount of resources a year to keep the industrial mass production system healthy. They are "consumers, even commodities, but never citizens."(23)
Huxley’s World State carries the German sociologist Max Weber’s warning about "the dangers of overorganization, especially as it tended toward systematic coercion or what he called ’the iron cage’ of bureaucracy" to its extreme.(24) Science, manipulated by specialists and experts, is used to maintain the stability of this bureaucratic state. High technology reigns supreme. In fact, science has completely eliminated ethics.(25)
Immediate happiness, gratification and comfort—not truth or beauty—are the main goals of this industrial civilization. All desires are satisfied instantly so that people don’t need feelings. The society features television, movies with tactile stimuli called feelies, and unlimited sexual intercourse. In other words, it stresses a depraved materialism replete with sensory experiences and animal enjoyments.(26) These pleasant activities give the society its
stability; they provide a "hedonistic conformity."(27) In fact, people can avoid any unpleasantness whatever by taking the drug soma which makes them euphoric.
The majority of American citizens are either willingly or unwillingly trapped in this brave new world of managerial rule through advanced technology and mass suggestion. Fortunately, the situation isn’t yet as extreme as that portrayed in Huxley’s novel. The United States is presently a relatively benign plutocracy; however, the primary manipulation is carried out by the multinational corporations rather than the State. Large segments of the population are narcotized by television, shopping, movies, spectator sports, gambling, psychotropic and illegal drugs. Of course, the system of rewards and punishments that conditions people at home and at work is far more subtle than the one found in Brave New World. Furthermore, helpful information is readily available in books, newspapers, and magazines outside the mainstream. Authentic relationships and the arts provide respite from the megamachine’s stifling grip.
As I’ve noted, I considered myself a democratic or humanistic for many years; I especially had been impressed by Fromm’s books. Even when he was ten or twelve years old, Fromm felt somewhat disconcerted when a person told him that he was a salesman or businessman. He thought that this individual must feel very badly that he’s only spending his life making money. The great psychoanalyst continued to be alienated from the business or bourgeois culture as an adult. He became a socialist because he did not think that capitalist society featured a way of life that was humanly fulfilling.(1) The essay Humanist Socialism in Fromm’s On Disobedience and Other Essays is an excellent introduction to his thought on this subject.
I also read numerous other authors who criticized American society from a democratic socialist perspective. A particularly outstanding one was Michael Harrington, who became "the National Chairman of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, the main successor organization to the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas."(2) Reading Deb’s and Thomas’s biographies, I was moved by their criticisms of capitalism and inspired by their humanistic visions. I especially noted their warnings about the dangers that an overcentralized government poses for freedom.
In addition, I studied many authors who partially or wholly approach the problem of social reconstruction from an anarchist perspective. Ivan Illich, Noam Chomsky, J. Krishnamurti, and Kirkpatrick Sale are some of the best. However, I now realize that the political philosophies of socialism and anarchism—as well as capitalism—are abstractions. There’s no blueprint for a good society; the most important attributes are maximum individuality within maximum community, the nurturing of positive human potentialities, and the protection of the natural world.
I also understand that, taking a long-term view of civilization, even capitalism has had positive qualities. Schmookler, in The Illusion of Choice points out that the market system has certainly been beneficial to us in many ways. After all, the civilized societies of the five thousand years before capitalism were rarely charitable ones; they were predominantly exploitative and despotic associations. Therefore, to a significant extent, the appearance of "the liberal order of the market society" truly liberated the human psyche and human industriousness.(3) Unfortunately, it has also caused great imbalance in our society and environment.(4)
For the sake of his argument, Schmookler ignores the many ways that oligarchic concentration has shattered the free market so beloved by conservatives. The basic relationship of people in the market is the simple one of "buyers and sellers making exchanges."(5) The market is free, but people’s liberty to decide how their society will be shaped is greatly restricted.(6) Of course, our society has various other social organizations that affect our lives. Yet, the market system is so strong that, for the most part, it shapes our fate. It does this throogh coercion, persuasion, and ordering society so that people encounter serious obstacles in selecting options other than what the market sets before them.(7)
Its rational and bureaucratic system both nourishes and imprisons us simultaneously.(8) It is responsible for the ironic situation that all our free human choices result in a society nobody would elect to live in.(9) People act alone to improve their own situation; simultaneously, they are destroying their collective surroundings.(10)
C. B. Macpherson, in his book The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism, points out that, in such a society, the individual, possessing his body and skills, is not viewed as owing anything to the community.(13) The contract represents the major factor in human relatioships. It defines all the privileges and obligations individuals have in connection with each other. The narcissistic economic beings of this society "are out to pursue self-interest, to satisfy wants, to maximize utility, or preference, or profit, or reinforcement, or reproductive fitness."(14) Of course, there are many positive aspects of American life not captured by the foregoing portrait of a selfish contract society; overall, however, the power of the market prevails.(15)
The market methodically underestimated the worth of natural resources because no one must be compensated for them. It thus ignores the rights of other living beings and is oblivious to "the wholeness of living systems."(16) Its accounting system is distorted and should be changed, according to Robert Repetto of the World Resources Institute, to reflect the actual expenses of using natural capital.(17)
Schmookler, like Spence and many other social critics, locates the source of our trouble in the modern corporation. He declares, "Many of our corporations are, in a meaningful sense, virtually beyond human control."(18) Management is fundamentally directed by the corporate system, rather than the opposite. The type of people who reach the top rungs of the bureaucratic corporate ladder are actually quite similar in outlook. Their responsibility to the shareholders is solely to maximize profits, as the market dictates. Therefore, the market system, instead of the shareholders, directs the corporation. Any interests the stockholders have as human beings are ignored. These corporations function like machines on automatic pilot within the larger machine of the market economy.(19)
Schmookler speculates that the unrestricted growth ethos has developed because nations are still taking part in a world system that features an unrestricted fight for power.(20) In effect, international economic competition has functioned like an arms race.(21) In the final analysis, the most important purpose of economic power is to bolster a country’s power rather than to increase affluence and liberty.(22) In other words, a country’s strength in international competition depends to a large extent on the degree of its economic vigor.(23) This is the reason that a society which wants to excel in this race must make its children apprehensive very early in their lives and force them to compete.(24)
However, this forced productivity is gained at a high physical cost. Psychologist Ernest Lawrence Rossi in The 20 Minute Break states that for an enormous period of time people lived closely attuned to nature’s rhythms; they worked in daylight and slept at nightfall. They rested during the day whenever they felt the need. However, when civilization arose ten thousand years ago, this pattern started to change; many cultures and governments demanded work schedules that disrupted this natural rhythm. This problem reached its apex in the urban industrial societies of the twentieth century. Rossi points out that "human consciousness became crowded with stimulation, distraction, and
demands for more and more outer-world performance."(25) Gradually, most people failed to notice their need for a rest period, although evolution had prepared them to take it over a hundred million years of development.
Rossi shows how to use the new science of ultradian rhythms to reduce stress, maximize performance and improve health and emotional well-being. Ultradian rhythms involve 90 to 120 minutes of activity and fifteen to twenty minutes of rest; this pattern makes up what is termed "the basic rest-activity cycle (BRAC)."(26) During the 20-minute rejuvenation period, a person’s body-mind complex’s system are restored so that they can continue working
properly.(27) Then, he can function at his peak during the next activity cycle.
If an individual ignores the first chance for a rest, the Ultradian Stress Syndrome begins. Stress molecules travel from the limbic-hypothalamic region of the brain into every part of the mind and body. These stress-messenger molecules were supposed to be used in an acute life-threatening situation; they give a person what is popularly termed a second wind after a few minutes. His fatigues and pain are hidden by many natural opiates. High on his hormones, the individual may feel terrific for awhile. By repeatedly ignoring his need for a rest, a person will cause his body-mind system to deteriorate; he will eventually bring about serious symptoms and illness.(28) This was exactly the sequence which led to my reaching the exhaustion stage of the general adaptation syndrome at nineteen years old. Actually, each person must live and work at the pace that is right for him; he must be guided by his own feelings and experiences rather than the clock or calender.(29)
Our system’s enormous productivity also has a high psychological cost. Many of our greatest ancient teachers such as Buddha, Jesus, Chuang Tzu, and Rabbi Hillel declared that a materialistic attitude would not bring contentment. Furthermore, as I’ve noted, Kohn presents compelling reasons why this strategy is not as effective as our society believes that it is.
This feverish activity is leading to an environmental cul-se-sac. Schmookler notes, ”E.J. Mishan has calculated that if our per capita income were to increase at 3 percent per year for five hundred years it would be one million times higher than it is now.”(30) Yet, we remain firmly addicted to economic growth despite overwhelming affluence for the majority of people in te industrial nations. Affluence, according to anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, can be attained by wanting small amounts of goods as well as by creating large amounts. In Stone Age Economics, Sahlins wrote about what he termed "the original affluent society," that of the hunter-gatherers.(31) They were happier with their modest assets than modern man is with his unprecedented possessions.
A contented society has a very different psychological mind-set than a maximally productive one. Without having to participate in this economic arms race, our society might choose to deemphasize material goods and live in peace with its natural environment. Since the United States is already so rich and strong, it could decide to part with a portion of its economic superiority in order to promote other beneficial experiences and values.(32) Schmookler proposes that the United States, Japan, and the Western European nations who have been allies for two generations formulate a treaty to limit economic competition.(33) This would be a major step toward global economic cooperation. A global economy requires global control and the elimination of anarchy in the intersocietal political system.(34)
Eventually, as Herman Daly proposes, our society should live in "a steady-state economy that develops but does not grow."(35) This will involve concrete institutional modifications.(36) In the long run, all of civilization could form the equivalent of one society. It would feature an "interconnected market, with peace maintained by an overarching political order."(37) Only if we can create a safe world order can diverse communities flourish and their peoples’ human needs and creative potentialities flourish too. Their social orders are apt to be very different than the ones we see today. However, unless we recognize the ways we have been wounded by a hostile world, we will not be able to develop these new societies.
The subject of what a new society would be like is a vast one. The interested reader would do well to start with Fromm’s essay Humanist Socialism and Schmookler’s The Illusion of Choice. Extensive theorizing on this topic is far beyond the scope of this book. However, I will mention a few other interesting approaches to societal reconstruction.
Dr. Peter Breggin divides human experience into three psychosocial dynamics. These "correspond to three basic human needs: love, liberty, and coercion.(38) He notes that socialism is "coerced love." It involves the government forcing people to do what they should voluntarily want to do. The free market proponents and anarchists are right in reasoning that government’s range of action should be as restricted as possible.(39) Let me hasten to add that Fromm’s humanistic socialism wants to minimize governmental coercion and emphasizes voluntary cooperation among citizens.(40) Breggin avers, "Human beings need and want as much autonomy and personal freedom as possible in their lives."(41) In a society in which liberty thrives, they are able to enhance their freely chosen contributions to their community.
The question is whether any way can be found to curb the tendencies of government to accumulate power and the tendencies of the free market to impede competition, and at the same time to stimulate compassion, benevolence, and
regard for each other and the earth.(42) The answer is found in the natural powers of love and community. Love rejects violence and coercion; it takes great pleasure in life and seeks to multiply feelings of happiness and gratification. Breggin concludes, "Human beings throughout the world need an infinitely more loving attitude toward each other, nature, and the earth itself.(43)
More importantly, the United States must relinquish the belief that large scale institutions and facilities are better. Massive research has shown that "smaller buidings, communities, cities, offices, factories, farms, economic networks, and societies are both more efficient and more humane.(44) Many people in the United States who call themselves ’'conservatives” point out that big government is unwieldy, time-consuming, and unresponsive. Big government rightly generates much resistance among citizens and is responsible for much improper distribution and faulty use of resources. Large governmental bureaucracies are distinguished by these traits: inflexibility, lack of productiveness, a tendency toward defensive behavior, inefficiency, irresponsibility, and hindrance of democracy.(45) Large-scale institutions, multinational corporations, centralized governments, high-technology machinery, large cities, high-rise buildings" and expensive automobiles are integral features of the American dream of unchecked growth.(46)
We should return to the "small arrangements, small groups, small communities and cities" that have been preponderant through most of human history even in the modern industrial era.(47) Human success has depended not only on our talent of living in small groups of about twenty-five people but also on our skill in organizing communal institutions involving several hundred individuals which stress mutual aid and cooperation. This human ability to live in genuine communities has been the indispensable "adaptive mechanism' during the history of human development.(48) Designs for social living and the economy as well as political arrangements should all be planned and carried out so that individuals can make sense of their experiences in the community and at work, associate
with other individuals in an unintimidated and honorable manner, and actively participate in the decisions which affect their lives.(49)
During the past ten thousand years, the vast majority of human beings have resided in villages of about five hundred people.(50) The face-to-face community or association group should be a primary living unit and contain between four hundred and one thousand individuals, with about five hundred the best number.(51)This small arrangement may be termed the neighborhood. A larger community, consisting of an alliance of sveral neighborhoods, should contain between five thousand and ten thousand people, with about five thousand optimal. These human scale communities have a good chance to maintain the qualities of ’’intimacy, trust, honesty, mutuality, cooperation, democracy,
congeniality.”(52) A full size city should have an optimum population of about fifty thousand people.(53)
Once the world’s military and economic arms races are ended, the way will be clear for what political scientist Joel Jay Kassiola calls the death of industrial civilization. The industrial worldview or social paradigm should be replaced by that of the ecological or transindustrial worldview.
The politics of industrialism include:
An ethos of aggressive individualism
Materialism pure and simple
Economic growth and GNP
High income differentials
Employment as a means to an end
Dependence on experts
Sovereignty of nation-state
Environment managed as a resource
The politics of ecology include:
A co-operatively based, communitarian society
A move toward spiritual, non-material values
Sustainability and quality of life
Low income differentials
Work as an end in itself
International and global solidarity
Resources regarded as strictly finite(54)
Jonathan Kozol has written six more books concentrating on the plight of "the poor, homeless, illiterate, and forgotten."(1) Rachel and Her Children won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 1988. It focuses on people in the Hotel Martinque in New York City. He quotes the farmer in Robert Frost’s poem The Death of the Hired Man who tells his wife, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." Kozol states that his wife’s reply is more interesting but less frequently quoted. She says, "I should have called it something you somehow haven’t to deserve."(2) Unfortunately, in the 1980s, public policy in the United States sanctioned the belief that people must deserve or earn the right to a home.
Contrary to Dr. Breggin’s vision, the people currently considered worthy of respect in our society are mostly tough, hard, and lean. Those who are capable of "gentleness, unselfishness, or love" are not considered true assets to society. Kozol summarizes the 1980s in this way: "Winning is all; the solitary runner, tuned in to a headset that excludes the cries of his less fortunate competitors, becomes a national ideal."(3)
Even the homeless people who Kozol talked with constantly discuss whether they deserve secure housing, food, forgiveness, love, freedom from fear...."; many of them don’t think they really are deserving of these blessing.4) Most of these people don’t feel political anger. Yet, the ones who adjust best to the horrors of homelessness and who most successfully resit alcohol or drugs are usually those who have some grasp of the political forces that have landed them in the Martinque.(5)
In 1995, Kozol published Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. It is a forceful description of a physical and spiritual wasteland—the South Bronx. The book asks what our society can provide poor children after it has cut welfare rolls, closed up public housing, wrecked Medicaid and subtracted funds from Head Start.(6)
Incidentally, in 1993, I met Dr. Kozol for the first time in sixteen years. I accompanied my mother when she treated him and his wife Ruth to lunch at the luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Boston. Dr. Kozol was then ninety-three years old and still seeing a few patients! In 1997, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and entered a high-class nursing home.
He hadn’t seen me since I had completed my Feldenkrais sessions. His mind was still sharp, although he spoke in a subdued voice. He was perplexed because my body and behavior were dramatically altered. My movements and ability to carry on a pleasant conversation weren’t those of a schizophrenic. We had an enjoyable lunch and then went to a nearby sitting area. My mother talked mostly to Ruth, and I talked to the doctor. I discussed books, current events, Eugene O’Neill, and Jonathan with him. I also told him about my obtaining a Master’s Degree from Brown.
Let’s return to the question of worth pondered by the residents of the Hotel Martinque. Most people believe that I’ve done absolutely nothing productive in the world. This belief, however, bears scrutiny. It’s undeniable that, because of circumstances largely beyond my control, I couldn’t engage in the goal-oriented behavior so revered by our society. Yet, this may be viewed as a refreshing contrast to the extreme emphasis that Americans place on success, achievement, and productivity. Fromm states:
"We find ourselves giving more and more of our time and energy to things that have a point, that produce results. And when all is said and done, what are those results? Money perhaps, or fame or a promotion. We hardly ever consider doing something anymore that has no purpose. We’ve forgotten that it is possible, even desirable and, above all, pleasurable to do something without a specific goal in mind."(7)
What I haven’t done is important. I haven’t destroyed nearly as many of the world’s resources as have large numbers of more "successful" citizens. In other words, I haven’t fulfilled my obligations in our maximum growth economy which features "consumption for consumption’s sake.”(8) In this economy, as Slater points out, we must have superfluous employment so that individuals will accumulate superflous funds to purchase superfluous goods. Moreover, we have to purchase superfluous goods in order to generate superfluous employment so that people will accumulate superfluous funds.(9)
Yet, most people in our society would call me unworthy because I haven’t worked and contributed to the common good; they uphold the principle "He who does not work should not eat." Fromm, however, notes that the fact a person hasn’t benefitted his society in some way isn’t really the problem. The psychoanalyst points out that rich people in those cultures which explicitly or implicitly have endorsed this principle haven’t been ordered to follow it. Fromm asserts that every person has an inalienable right to live. This means that it is his right to receive essential commodities, as well as education and medical care. In other words, he deserves to be treated at least as well as a pet, which does not have to "prove" anything in order to live.(10)
Work and all other social obligations should be appealing enough so that people want to fulfill their responsibilities. However, a modest guaranteed income, somewhat below the lowest worker’s income, should be given to anyone who doesn’t work. A certain minority of people may "prefer what would be the equivalent of the monastic life, completely devoting themselves to their inner development, to contemplation, or study.(11) The Middle Ages accepted monastic life; therefore, an affluent, modern society should be able to economically accept its equivalent. However, bureaucratic methods which force people to prove that they are making good use of their time would ruin the idea.
Massive evidence has demonstrated that man is naturally active and that laziness is a symptom of sickness. Even with my severely contracted muscles, I engaged in a great deal of exercise and reading. I achieved my goal of survival; I managed to recover from a serious condition that wasn’t treated correctly for thirteen years. Rather than dying or remaining an invalid, I read widely and exercised vigorously.
My story makes it apparent that a future decentralized society must feature more moderate differences in income and wealth. Peter Steinfels in The Neoconservatives points out that a society has no more reason to allow the allotment of income and wealth to be decided by the share of natural abilities than by historical and social fortune. The degree to which capacities are fulfilled is influenced by many different social factors and class opinions. Steinfels concludes, "Even the willingness to make an effort, to try, and so to be deserving in the ordinary sense is itself dependent upon happy family and social circumstances.(12)
Yet, our political system has continued its rightward shift in the 1990s. My mother’s trust fund will be exhausted in a few years. As I sit alone in my apartment, I envision myself in a homeless shelter in my old age. I’m reading O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. In my cynical moments, I identify with Larry Slade, one of the alcoholic derelicts who live upstairs at Harry Hope’s bar. Larry no longer believes in the Anarchist Movement or the State. He has declined to play a part as a functioning member of society. He’s proud to be "a philosophical drunken bum.” I nod in approval when Larry declares:
"Forget the anarchist part of it. I’m through with the Movement long since. I saw men didn’t want to be saved from themselves, for that would mean they’d have to give up greed, and they’ll never pay that price for liberty. So, I said to the world, God bless all here and may the best man win and die of gluttony! And I took a seat in the grandstand of philosophical detachment to fall asleep observing the cannibals do their death dance."(13)
He also states that a good society will have to be composed of human beings but, unfortunately, a marble temple can't be built from ”a mixture of mud and manure."(14)
The great folksinger Pete Seeger wrote a song entitled Little Boxes. He describes people living in houses on a hillside which are of various colors and made of "ticky-tackyThe inhabitants all graduated from universities and then were placed in the same little boxes. Although entering different fields such as law, medicine, or science, they are following an approved path in life. Then, they have children who grow up and repeat the process. This is the system that I was involuntarily pushed out of when I became ill. Becker observes:
"In the Christian view of a great poet like Charles Williams one cannot even begin to be an adult unless one has gone through the most heartbreaking baptism of all: the banishment of one’s self-respect to Hell; or in our words, the disintegration of the self-esteem that sustains one’s character."(1)
In this sense, I certainly reached maturity. However, I do regret not having been able to use my hard-earned wisdom in the world. I’ve had to settle for being an ivory tower (and Ivy League) radical. The true heroes are people like the freedom riders of the 1960s and people like Jonathan Kozol who forgo comfort and financial gain to work with the poor and oppressed.
I know intellectually that there are some good people and positive things happening in our highly disordered world. Yet, affectively, I continue to carry within me Yossarian’s impression of the world in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. He declares:
"What a lousy earth! He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place that same night, how many people would go insane? How many winners were losers, successes failures, rich men poor men? How many wise guys were stupid? How many happy endings were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars; brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many people in positions of trust had sold their souls to blackguards for petty cash, how many had never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were crooked paths? How many best families were worst families and how many good people were bad people? When you added them all up and then subtracted, you might be left with only the children, and perhaps with Albert Einstein and an old violinist or sculptor somewhere.(2)
Could feelings which correspond with this impression first have assaulted me on Oct. 31, 1945?
1. Alice Miller, Breaking Down the Wall of Silence, trans. Simon Worrall (New York: Dutton-Penguin, U.S.A., 1991), p.l.
2. The Drama of the Gifted Child (New York: BasicBooks-HarperCollins, 1981), p.Xl.
3. Elizabeth Noble, Primal Connections (New York; Simon and Schuster, 1993), p.60.
4. Alice Miller, For Your Own Good, trans. Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum, 2nd. ed. (New York; Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1984), p.158.
5. John Bradshaw, Bradshaw On: The Family (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1988), p.66.
6. Thomas Verny, M.D. and Pamela Weintraub, Nurturing the Unborn Child (New York: Delta-Dell Publishing, 1991), p.79.
7. Arthur Janov, The New Primal Scream (Wilmington, DE: Enterprise Publishing, 1991), pp.65-66.
8. Quoted by Ashley Montagu, Foreword, Noble, p.13.
9. Leni Schwartz, Bonding Before Birth (Boston: Sigo Press, 1991), p.219.
10. Thomas Verny, M.D. with John Kelly, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (New York: Delta-Dell Publishing, 1988), p.118.
11. Janov, New Primal, p.142.
12. Verny and Weintraub, p.79.
13. Verny and Weintraub, p.31.
14. Miller, Drama, p.66.
15. Noble, pp.54-55.
16. Francis Mott, quoted in Noble, p.58.
17. Verny and Kelly, p.54.
18. Schwartz, p.34.
19. Verny and Kelly, pp.56-57.
20. Verny and Kelly, p.27.
21. Verny and Weintraub, p.XXV.
22. Noble, p.18.
23. Verny and Kelly, p.27.
24. Verny and Weintraub, p.XXVl.
25. Verny and Kelly, pp.29-30.
26. Verny and Kelly, p.50.
27/ Verny and Kelly, p.13.
28. Schwartz, p.68.
29. Verny and Weintraub, p.81.
30.Stanley Coren, The Left-Hander Syndrome (New York: Vintage-Random House, 1992), p.208.
31. Coren, p.140.
32. Coren, p.158.
33. Coren, pp.166-67.
34. Coren, p.153.
36. oren, p.138
37. Coren, p.161
38. Coren, p.206
39. Coren p. 284
Verny and Kelly, p
4. Joseph Chilton Pearce, Evolution1s End (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco-HarperCollins, 1992), pp.111-112.
5. Pearce, Evolution1s, p.112.
6. Pearce, Evolution1s, p.122.
7. Pearce, Evolution’s, pp.124-25.
8. Janov, New Primal, p.265.
9. Janov, New Primal, p.16.
10. Pearce, Magical, p.63
11. John Kennell and Marshall Klaus, quoted in Pearce, Evolution's, p. 116.
12. Jeremy Rifkin, Biosphere Politics (San Francisco: HarperCollings, 1992), p.221.
13. Schwartz, p.19.
14. Verny and Kelly, p. 156.
Rifkin, Biosphere, pp.221-222.
16. Rifkin, Biosphere, pp.221-22.
17. Ashley Montagu, Toucing, 3rd ed. (New York: Haper and Row, 1986), p. 88
18. Ashley Montagu, On Being Human, 2nd ed. (New York: Hawthorne Books, 1966), p.80
20. Stern, p71.
21. Stern, p.95.
22. Stern, p.1.
23. Stern, p.128.
24. D. Stayton and colleagues, quoted inMichael and Eva Mekler, Bringing Up a Moral Child (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1985), p.2.
25. Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York: MacMillan, 1973, p.229.
1. John Bradshaw, Homecoming (New York: BAntam-Doubleday Dell, 1990), pp. 71-72.
2. Steven Farmer, Adult Children of Abusive Parents (Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1989), p. 5.
3. Robert Firestone, The Fantasy Bond (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1985), p.310.
4. Firestone, p.107.
5. Quoted in Firestone, p.99.
6. Firestone, p.205.
7. Miller, Drama, p.16.
8. Firestone, p.21.
9. Firestone, p.92.
10. Firestone, pp.37-38.
11. John Bradshaw, Creating Love (New York: Dutton-Penguin books, U.S.A., 1995), p.65.
12. Bradshaw, Creating, p. 85
13. Bradshaw, Creating, p. 82.
14. Peter Breggin, M.D., Beyond Conflict (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), p.99.
15. Jean Jenson, Reclaiming Your Life (New York: Dutton-Penguin Books, U.S.A., 1995), pp.27-28.
16. Jenson, p.34.
17. Jenson, pp.30-31.
18. Bradshaw, Creating, p.31.
19. Bradshaw, Creating, p. 108.
20. Alice Miller, Thou Shalt not be Aware, trans. Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum (New York: Meridian-New American Library, 1986), p.241.
21. Miller, Aware, p.257.
22. Miller, Aware, pp.255-56.
23. Franz Kafka, "in the Penal Colony," in The Metamorphosis, The Penal Colony and Other Stories, trans. Willa and Edwin Muir (New York: Schoden books, 1988), p.197.
24. Miller, Good, p.22.
25. Andrew Bard Schmookler, Out of Weakness (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p.153.
26. Breggin, Beyond, p.82.
27. Schmookler, Weakness, p.152.
28. Andrew Bard Schmookler, Sowings and Reapings (Indianapolis: Knowledge Systems, 1989), p.22.
29. Breggin, Beyond, p.83.
30. Schmookler, Sowings, p.4.
31. Schmookler, Sowings, pp.5-6.
32. Schmookler, Sowings, p.10.
33. John Bradshaw, Family Secrets (New York; Bantam Books, 1995), p.216.
34. Schulman and Mekler, p.224.
35. Miller, Good, p.106.
36. Bradshaw, Family, p.145.
37. Philip Greven, Spare the Child (New York: Vintage-Random House, 1992), p.159.
38. Breggin, Beyond, p.109.
39. Franz Kafka, The Trial, trans. E.M. Butler (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968), p.9.
40. Janov, New Primal, pp.259-260.
41. Deepak Chopra, M.D. Restful Sleep (New York: Harmony, 1996), p.61.
42. Creating, p.47.
43. Janov, New Primal, p.57.
44. Janov, New Primal, p.59.
45. Janov, New Primal, p.69.
46. Janov, New Primal, p.37.
47. Janov, New Primal, pp.47-48
48. Janov, New Primal, p. 38.
49. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.75.
50. Janov, New Primal, p.48
51. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.75.
52. Janov, New Primal, p. 48.
53. Janov, New Primal, p. 40.
1. Peter Breggin, M.D. Toxic Psychiatry (New York; St. Martin’s Press, 1992), p.277.
2. Bradshaw, Family, p.164.
3. Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (New York: Rinehart and Company, 1955), p.30.
4. Fromm, Sane, pp.30-31.
5. Becker, Denial, p.166.
6. Firestone, p.334.
7. Firestone, p.48.
8. Firestone, p.182.
9. Firestone, pp.334-35.
10. Firestone, pp.183-84.
11. Firestone, p. 375.
12. Firestone, p.133.
13. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.87.
14. John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You (Deerfield Beach, FL: Healthcommunications, 1988), p.42.
15. Jenson, p.125.
16. Bradshaw, Healing, p.42.
17. Bradshaw, Family, p.81.
1. Jenson, p.113.
2. Bradshaw, Creating, pp.49-50.
3. Ernest Becker, The Revlution in Psychiatry (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe-MacMillan, 1964), p.140.
4. Arno Gruen, The Betrayal of the Self (New York: Grove Press, 1988), p.5.
5. Miller, Drama, p.75.
6. Bradshaw, Family, p.170.
7. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.20.
8. Bradshaw, Creating, p. 14.
9. Bradshaw, Creating, p.37.
10. Firestone, Fantasy, p.206.
11. Franz Kafa, "The Hnger Artisit" in Metamorphosis, p. 238.
12. Kafka, "Hunger," p. 250
13. Miller, Aware, p.274.
14. Firestone, p. 101.
15. Firestone, p. 307
16. Firestone, p.319.
17. Firestone, p. 298.
18. David and Micki Colfax, Homeschoolingfor Excellence (New York: WAgner, 1988), pp.90-91.
19. Erich Fromm, The Revolution of Hope, ed., Ruth Nanda Anshen (New York: Warner, 1988), p.76.
20. (1960; rpt. New York: Bantam-MacMillan, 1972), p.46.
1. Montagu, Toucing, p.XI.
2. Bradshaw, Family, p.94.
3. Jenson, p.113.
4. Quoted in Janov, New Primal, dedication page.
5. Janov, New Primal, p.43.
6. Quoted in Firestone, p.137.
7. Jenson, p.18.
8. Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978), p.98.
9. O'Neill, Long, p.131.
10. Bradshaw, Creating, pp.45-46.
11. Miller, Good, p.107.
12. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.161.
13. Montagu, Toucing, p.216.
14. Firestone, p.215.
15. R.D. Laing, The Divided Self (New York: Pelican Books, 1965), p.138.
16. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.164.
17. Bradshaw, Family, p.13.
18. Janov, New Primal, p.137.
19. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.160.
20. Bradshaw, Homecoming, p.144.
21. Laing, Divided, pp.138-42.
22. Rifkin, Biosphere, p.188.
1. Noble, p. 124.
2. Montagu, Touching, p.108.
3. Moshe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self, ed., Michaeleen Kimmey (New York: Harper and Row, 1985), p.73.
4. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.82.
5. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.71.
6. Feldenkrais, Potent, p. 92
7. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.235
8. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.57
9. Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), p.75.
11. Feldendrais,Aware, p.75.
12. Arthur Janov, The Primal Scream (New York: Perigree-G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1970), p.49.
13. Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., Superimmunity (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1987), p.216.
14. Feldenkrais, Potent, pp.XIII and XIV.
15. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.XIV.
16. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.XIV.
17. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.86.
18. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.90.
19. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.90.
20. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.83.
21. Chopra, p.2.
22. Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point (New York: BAntam-Simon and Schuster, 1983, p.343.
23. Janov, New Primal, p.68.
24. Janov, New Primal, p.68.
25. Miller, Good, p.259 and Janov, New Primal, p.6.
26. Miller, Aware, p.316.
1. Hans Selye, The Stress of Life, rev. ed. (New York: Mcgraw-Hill Book Company, 1976), p.l.
2. Selye, p.55.
3. Selye, p.59.
4. Selye, p.150.
5. Pearsall, p.17.
6. Pearsall, p.21.
7. Quoted inPearsall, p.21.
8. Bradsahw Secrets,p.221.
9. Kathlyn Hendricks, quoted inPearsall, p.22.
10. Thomas Hanna, Somatics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1988), p.53.
11. Hanna, pp.5-6.
12. Hanna, p.6.
13. Hanna, p. 7.
14. Hanna, p. 13.
15. Pearsall, p.18.
16. PEarsall, p.34.
17. Pearsall, p.XII.
18. Pearsall, p.9.
19. Pearsall, p.XII
20. Pearsall, p.340.
22. Chopra, p.10.
23. Pearsall, pp.22-23.
24. Pearsall, p.1.
25. Pearsall, p.219.
27. Pearsall, p.219.
28. Janov, New Primal, p.160.
29. Pearsall, p.304.
30. Pearsall, p.64.
31. The HumanBody, ed.-in-chief, Charles Clayman,M.D. (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1995), p.99.
32. Clayman, p.67.
33. Robert ornsteinandRichard F. Thompson, The Amazing Brain (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, p.6.
34. Clayman, p.66.
35. Selye, p.259.
36. Ornstein and Thompson, p.6.
37. Ornsteinand Thompson, pp.83-84.
38. Ornstein and Thompson, pp.88-89
39. Lain, Divided, p.66.
40. Laing, Divided, p.69.
41. Laing, Divided, p.197.
42. Laing, Divided, p.112.
43. Lain, Divided, p.85.
44. Laing, Divided, p.37.
45. Laing,Divided, pp.74-75.
46. Becker, Revolution, p.181.
47. Becker, Revolution, p.208.
48. Becker, Denial, p.75.
49. Becker, REvolution, p.211.
50. Becker, Deinail, p.218.
51. Ernest Becker, The Birth and Death of Meaning, 2nd ed. (New York: Free Press-MacMillan, p.211.
52. Becker, Revolution, p.211.
53. BEcker, Birth, 81.
54. In his The Metamorphosis.
1. Hanna, p.72.
2. Janov, New Primal, p.53.
3. Hanna, p.33.
4. Becker, Birth, p.26.
5. Capra, p.323.
1. Janov, Primal, p.124.
2. Ivan Illich, Medical Nemesis (New York: Panteon-Random House, 1982), p.63.
3. Breggin, Toxic, p.214.
4. Breggin,Toxic, p.265.
5. Breggin, Toxic, pp.152-53.
1. John Hold, Instead of Education, in Deschooling Our Lives, ed. Matt Hern (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1996), p.28.
2. Fromm, Sane, p.3.
3. Fromm, Sane, p.102.
4. Fromm, p.11.
5. Erich Fromm, D. T. Suzuki, and Richard Demartino, Zen Buddhismand Psychoanalysis (New York: Harper-Colophon-Harper and Row, 1970), p.102.
6. Fromm, Zen, p.108.
7. Erich Fromm, The Heart of Man, ed. Ruth Anshen (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), p.118.
8. Fromm, Revolution, p.54.
9. Quoted in Erich Fromm, The Application of Psychoanalysis to Marx's Theory, in On Disobedience and Other Essays (New York: Seabury Press, 1981), p.29.
10. Becker, Revolution, p. 163.
11. Fromm, Revolution, p. 42,
12. Fromm, Revolution, p.44.
13. Charles A. Reich, The Greening of America (New York: Random House, 1970), p. 3.
14. Reich, p.4
15. Reich, p.16.
16. Reich, p.35.
17. Reich, p.25.
18. Reich, p.58.
19. Reich, p.60.
20. Reich, p.90.
21. Reich, p.255.
22. Reich, p.25.
23. Irwin Ungar, The Movement (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), p.39.
24. Ungar, pp.30-33.
25. Ungar, p.35.
26. Ungar, p. 37.
27. Ungar, p.38.
28. Ungar, p.53.
29. Ungar, p.54.
30. Ungar, p.55.
1. Janov, Primal, p.137.
1. Jonathan Kozol, The Night is Dark and I am Far from Home (Boston: Houghton MIfflin Company, 1975), p.1.
2. Kozol, p.176.
3. Kozol, p.13.
4. Kozol, p.35.
5. Breggin,Toxic, p.368.
6. Capra, pp.123-24.
7. Breggin, Toxic, p.409.
8. Capra, pp.123-24.
9. Breggin, Toxic, p.43.
10. Breggin, Toxic, p.386.
11. John Modrow, How to Become a Schizophrenic (Everett, Washington: Apollyon Press, 1992), p.195.
12. Breggin, Toxic, pp.381-82.
13. Breggin, Toxic, p.32.
14. Modrow, p.18.
16. R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (New York: Pantheon-Random House, 1967, pp.114-15.
17. Revolution, p.78.
18. Becker, Revolution, p. 97.
19. Becker, Denial, p.157.
20. George Mead, quoted in Becker, Revolution, p.54.
21. Becker, Revolution, p.54.
22. Becker, Revolution, p.57.
23. Becker, Revolution, p.73.
24. Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (New York: The Viking Press, 1964), p.63.
25. Kesey, p.38.
1. Frances Fitzgerald, America Revised (Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press-Little Brownand Company, 1979).
3. Fitzgerald, p.129.
4. Fitzgerald, p.161.
5. Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, rev. and updated ed. (New York: Harper-Perennial-HarperCollins, 1995), p. 275.
6. Zinn, p.322.
7. Kirkpatrick Sale, Human Scale (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1980), p.23.
8. Quoted in Paula J. Caplan, They Say You're Crazy (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Company, 1995), P.XX.
9. Illich, Medical, pp.67-70.
10. Dianne Rothbard Margolis, The Managers (New York: William Morrow, 1979), p.7.
11. Margolis, p.131.
12. Fromm, Zen, p.79
13. Fromm, Zin, p.79
14. Becker, Denial, p.73.
15. Margolis, p.121.
16. Informationinthis paragraphisfrommy paper "Joiningthe Citizens Party", which does not have footnotes.
17. R. N. Mookerjee, Theodore Dreiser (Delhi, India: National Publishing House, 1974), p.4.
18. Charles Child Walcutt, "Theodore Dreiser and the Divided STream," in The Stature of Theodore Dreiser, eds. Alfred Kazin and Charles Shapiro (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1955), p.247.
19. Feldenkrais, Potent.
20. Bradshaw, Healing, p.105.
21. Fromm, Sane, p.120.
22. Kozol,Night, p.162.
23. Capra, p.292.
24. Erich Fromm,To Have of to Be., ed. Ruth Nanda Anshen (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), p.98.
25. George Orwell,Nineteen Eighty-Four, introd. Bernard Crick (1949: rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), p.159.
26. Orwell, p.344.
27. Orwell, p.340.
28. Orwell, p.186.
29. Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism (New York: M. Evans and Comany, 1980).
1. Gerry Spence, With Justice for None (New York: Tiems Books-Random House, 1989), p.3.
2. Spence, p.27.
3. Spence, p.41.
4. Sepnce, p.45.
5. Peter J. Kacouras,president ofTemple Universtiy andformerly the deanofits law school, quoted inSpence, pp.46-47.
6. Spence, p.48.
7. Quoted in Spence, p.46.
8. Spence, p.52.
9. Spence, p.245.
10. Spence, pp.244-45.
11. Spence, p.248.
12. Joyce Nelson, The Perfect machine (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992), p.76.
1. Feldenkrais, Awareness, p.100.
2. Feldenkrais, Potent, pp.54-55.
3. Hanna, p.26.
4. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.73.
5. Hanna, p.26.
6. Feldenkrais, Awareness, p.57.
7. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.63.
1. Mookerjee, p.145.
2. Michael Lydon, "Justiceto Theodore Dreiser," The Atlantic Monthly, August, 1993, p.99.
3. W. A. Swanberg, Dreiser (New York: Charles SCribner's Sons, 1965), p.524.
4.ArunMukerjee, The Gospel of Wealth inthe American Novel (Totow, N.J.: Barnes and Noble, 1987), p.66.
5. Theodore Dreiser,"Life, Art, andAmerica," in Hey-Rub-A-Dub-Dub (New York: Boni and Liverright, 1920), p.255.
6. Spence, p.198.
7. Spence, p.210.
8. Spence, p.274.
9. Spence, p.101.
10. Philip Slater, The Pursuit of Lonelines, rev. ed. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1976), p.42.
11. Miller, Aware, p.232.
1. Feldenkrais, Awareness, p.35.
2. Jacob Liberman, Light: Medicine of the Future (Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1991), p.16.
3. Liberman, p.18.
4. Liberman, p.21.
5. Quoted in Liberman, p.27.
6. Luke 11:34, quoted in Liberman,p.82.
7. Liberman, p.82.
8. Capra, p.380.
9. Pearsall, p.63.
10. Pearsall, p.59.
11. Pearsall, p.52.
12. Pearsall, p.59.
13. Pearsall, p.220.
1. Fromm, Sane, p.247.
1. Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D., Adult Children of Alcoholics, expanded ed. (Deerfield Beach, FLA: Heath Communications, 190), p.109.
2. Woititz, p.61.
3. Feldenkrais, Potent, p.179.
4. Janov, New Primal, p.284.
5. Miller, Aware, p.191.
6. Bradshaw, FAmily, p.26.
7. Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie (New York: New Directions, 1970), p.42.
8. Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving, ed. Ruth Nanda Anshen (New York: Perennial Library-Harper and Row, 1974), p.18.
9. Fromm, Art, p.38.
1. Russell Jacoby, Social Amnesia (Bostno: Beacon Press, 1975), p.41.
2. Jacoby, p.63.
3. Jacoby, p.64.
4. Jacoby, pp.70-71.
5. Jacoby, p.44.
6. Jacoby, p.105.
7. Fromm, Sane, pp.139-40.
8. Jacoby, p.9.
9. Fromm, Sane, pp.191-2.
10. Becker, Revolutin, pp.212-13.
11. Becker, REvolution, p.VII.
12. Gruen, p.41.
13. Gruen, p.66.
14. Fromm, Sane, p.15.
15. Fromm, Sane, p.16.
16. Becker, Revolution, p.223.
17. Gruen, p.53.
18. Gruen, p.126.
19. Schmooker, Weakness, p.59.
20. Gruen, p.126.
21. Miller, Drama, p.103
22. Victor Frankl, quoted inAndrew Bard Schmookler, The Parable ofthe Tribes (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984, p.200.
23. Schmookler, Parable, pp.200-01.
24. Fromm, Sane, p.172.
25. Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructivenss (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 19743), p.437.
26. Fromm, Anatomy, p.37.
27. Erich Fromm, For the Love of Life, ed. Hans Jurgen Schultz, trans. Robert and Rita Kimber (New York: The Free Press-MacMillan, 1986, p.8.
28. Slater, Pursuit, p.24.
29. Slater, Pursuit, p.35.
30. Slater, Pursuit, p.37.
31. Fromm, Anatomy, pp.350-52.
32. Fromm, Anatomy, p.31.
33. Montagu, Human, p.109.
34. Montagu, Human, p.100.
35. Morris Berman, "The Reenchantment of the World," in Questioning Technology, ed. John Zerzan and Alice Carnes (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991), p.63.
36. Becker, Birth, p.150.
37. Michale Lerner, Surplus Powerlessness (Oakland, CA: The Institute for Labor and Mental Health, 1986), p.171.
38. Rifkin,Biosphere, p.25.
39. Lerner, p.176.
40. Lerner, p.167.
41. Lerner, p.30.
42. Lerner, p.129.
43. Lerner, p.174.
44. Lerner, p.179.
45. Sale, Human, pp.233-34.
1. Becker, Birth, p.133.
2. Fromm, Sane, pp.79-80.
3. Slater, Pursuit, p.153.
4. Fromm, Revolution, p.133.
5. Becker, Birth, p.82.
6. Slater, Pursuit, p.15.
7. Becker, Birth, p.134.
8. Becker, Birth, p.139.
9. Bradshaw, Secrets, p.207.
10.Slater, Pursuit, p.15.
11. Fromm, Art, p.78.
12. Slater, Pursuit, p.78.
13. Slater, Pursuit, p.187.
14. Slater, Ppursuit, p.21.
15. Slater, Pursuit, p.21.
16. Bradshaw, Healing, p.84.
17. Slater, Pursuit, p.59.
1. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Against Therapy, rev. ed. (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.255.
2. Jenson, p.50.
3. Bradswhaw, Creating, p.72.
4. Illich, Medical, p.121.
5. Illich Medical, p.123.
6. Gruen, p.10.
7. Jacoby, p.68.
8. Gruen, p.105.
9. Jacoby, p.139.
10. Masson, p.285.
11. Masson, p.44.
12. Massson, p.299.
13. Bradshaw, Secrets, p.96.
14. Quoted by Dorothy Rowe, Foreword, Masson, pp.21-22.
15. Jenson, p.98.
16. Jenson, p.122.
17. Jenson, p.34.
18. Jenson, p.34.
19. Theresa Alexander, Facing the World (Plume-Penguin Books, USA, 1997), Author's Note.
20. Firestone, p.286.
21. Firestone, p.341.
22. Firestone, p.381.
1. Russell Means, Fighting Means on the Future of the Earth, in zerzan and Carnes, p.73.
2. Bradshaw, Healing, p.207.
3. Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality (New York: Harper Colophon-Haper and Row, 1990) p.45.
4. Bradshaw, Healing, p.207.
6. Jerry Mander, Int he Absence of the Sacred (San Franciso: Sierra Club Books, 1992), pp.75-76.
7. Neill Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (New York: Penguin Books-Viking Penguin, 1986), pp. 77-78.
8. Robert McNeill, quoted in Postman, p.111.
9. Postman, p.80.
10 Postman, p.107.
11. Postman, pp.103-4.
12. Postman, p.144.
1. George W. Morgan, The Human Predicament (Providence; Brown University Press, 1968), 61.
2. Morgan, pp.67-68
3. Morgan, p.41.
4. Morgan, p.58.
5. Morgan, p.71.
6. Morgan, p.51.
7. Morgan, pp.72-73.
8. Morgan, p.45.
9. Morgan, p.71.
10. Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Seabury Press, 1970), p.57.
11. Freire, p.67.
12. Slater, Dream, p.71.
13. Slater, Dream, p.78.
14. Andrew Bard Schmookler, Fool's God (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco-HarperCollins, 1993), p.171.
15. Becker, REvolution, p.212.
16. Becker, Denial, p.51.
17. Philip YOung, Ernest Hemingway (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1966), p.166.
18. Ernest Heminway, Death inthe Afternoon (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932), p.103.
19. Becker, Denial, p.170.
20. Becker, Denial, pp.73-74.
21. Becker, Denial, p.81.
22. Becker, Denial, p.83.
23. Becker, Denial, p.63.
1. Janov, Primal, p.120.
1. Ivan Illich, "Useful Unemployment and its Professional Enemies," in Toward a History of Needs (New York: Panteon-Random House, 1978), p.36.
2. Illich, "Useful," pp.21-24.
3. Illich, "Useful," pp.23-24.
4. Illich, "Useful," pp.25-26.
5. Illich, "Useful," p.34.
6. Slater, Pursuit, p.12.
1. Lewis Mumford, The Pentagon of Power (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970).
2. Montagu, Human, pp.109-111.
1. Illich, Medical, pp.60-61.
2. Illich, Medical, pp.122-23.
3. Illich, Medical, p.33.
4. Illich, Medical, p.77.
5. Illich, Medical, p.119.
6. Illich, Medical, p.89.
7. Illich, Medical, p.96.
8. Becker, REvolutin, p.6.
9. Caplan, p.XV.
10. Caplan, p.31.
11. Caplan, pp.XX and XXVI.
12. Caplan, p.221.
13. Caplan, pp.XX and XXI.
14. Caplan, p.287.
15. Caplan, p.XVI.
16. Cap[lan, p.XXI.
17. Caplan, p.230.
18. Caplan, pp.42-43.
19. Caplan, p.9.
20. Caplan, pp.42.43.
21. Caplan, p.11.
22. Caplan, p.32.
23. Caplan, p.36.
24. Caplan, p.34.
25. Caplan, pp.41-42.
26. Caplan, p.42.
27. Caplan, p.38.
28. Caplan, p.9.
29. Caplan, 81.
30. Caplan, p.76.
31. Caplan, p.33.
32. Caplan, p.203.
33. Caplan, p.9.
34. Caplan, pp.11-12.
35. Caplan, p.6.
36. Janov, New Primal, p.303.
1. Miller, Drama of the Gifted Child, p. 100.
2. J. Krishnamurti, Sobe Las Relaciones, trans. Armando Clavier (Madrid: EDAF, 1994), and Sobre El Conflicto, trans. Armando Clavier (Madrid: EDAF, 1995).
3. Fromm, Sane, p. 124.
4. Fromm, Love, p.109.
5. J. Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom (Wheaton, Ill: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1954), p.173.
6. J. Krishnamurti, The Only Revolution, ed. Mary Lutyens (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1970, pp.139 and 163.
7. Krishnamurti, Only, p.44.
8. J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living, ed. D. Rajagopal (Wheaton, Ill." Theosophical Publishing House, 1967), III, 145 and Only, p.49.
9. Krishnamurti, Commentaries, III, 295.
10. Janov, Primal, p.51.
11. Fromm, Revolution, p.12.
12. Jeremy Rifkin, Time WArs (New York: Touchstone-Simon and Schuster, 1987), pp70-71.
13. Rifkin, Time, p.104.
14. Rifkin, Time, p.224.
15. Rifkin, Time, p.362.
16. Rifkin, Time, p.108.
17. Rifkin, Time, p. 71.
18. Rifkin, Time, p. 138.
19. Rifkin, Time, p.141.
20. Rifkin, Time, p.224.
21. Berman, p.62.
1. Rifkin, Biosphere, p. 180.
2. Jane Holtz Kay, Asphalt Nation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), p.104.
3. Holtz Kay.
4. Jacoby, p.141.
5. Rifkin, Biosphere, p.181.
6. Slater, Pursuit, p.145.
7. Slater, Pursuit, p.139.
8. Erich Fromm, The Art of Being (New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1992), p.115.
9. Dr. Andrew Weil, Spontaneous Healing (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), p.188.
1. Fromm, Have, p.135.
2. Montagu, Human, p.115.
3. Quoted in Biosphere, p.24.
4. Andrew Bard Schmookler, The Illusion of Choice (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), p.301.
5. Mukerjee, p.10.
6. Schmookler, Illusion, p.301.
7. Schmookler, Illusion, pp.207-8.
8. Fromm, Sane, p.175.
9. Fromm, Sane, p.177.
10. Krishnamurti, Conflicto, p.92.
11. Krishnamurti, Conflicto, p.87.
12. J. Krishnamurti, Sobre El Miedo (Madrid: EDAF, 1995), p.85.
13. J. Krishnamurti, On God (San Francisco, 1992), p.13.
14. Krishnamurti, Conflicto, p.147.
15. Krishnamurti, Miedo, p.70.
16. J. Krishnamurti, Sobre La Libertad, trans. Armando Clavier (Madrid: EDAF, 1994), p.15.
17. Krishnamurti, God, p.18.
18. Krishnamurti, God, p.93.
19. Krishnamurti, Miedo, pp.148-49.
20. Krishnamurti, Relaciones, p.184.
21. Krishnamurti, Miedo, p.121.
22. Krishnamurti, Mideo, p.121.
23. Krishnamurti,Relaciones, p.52.
24. Krishnamurti, First, p.75.
25. Krishnamurti, Relaciones, p.40.
1. Rifkin, Biosphere, p.112.
2. Fromm,Sane, p.4.
3. Laing, Politics, p.76.
4. Greven, p.38.
5. Miller, Good, p.144.
6. Miller, Breaking, p.59.
7. Greven, p.4.
8. Greven, p.9
9. Greven, p.13.
10. Greven, p.134.
11. Greven, p.123.
12. Greven, p.127.
13. Green, p.155.
14. Greven, p.186.
15. Greven, p.124.
16. Greven, p.167.
17. Greven, pp.121-22.
18. Noble, Primal, p.257.
19. Schmookler, Weakness, p.9.
20. Greven, p.122.
21. Greven, p.222.
22. Ashley Montagu, The Natural Superiority of Women, new and rev. ed. (New York: Collier-McMillan Publishing Company, 1992), p.207.
23. Gruen. p.118.
24. Miller, Aware, p.118.
25. Janov, New Primal, p.370.
26. Joseph Chilton Pearce, quoted in NOble, p.260.
27. Montagu, Natural, p.162.
28. Krishnamurit, Commentaries, III, 153.
29. Ron Miller, What Are Schools For? (Brandon, Vermont: Holistic Eduation Press, 1990), p.101.
30. J. Krishnamurti, The Only Revolution (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1970), p.132.
31. Krishnamurti, Only, p.132.
32. J. Krishnamurti, On Love and Loneliness (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993), p.22.
33. J. Krishnamurti, Life Ahead (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), p.107.
34. Krishnamurti, Love, p.115.
35. Krishnamurti, First, p.90.
36. Krishnamurti, Only, p.75
1. Christopher Lasch, The Minimal Self (New York: W. W. Norton, 1984), p.15.
2. Krishamurti, Love, p.141.
3. Becker, Birth, p.100.
4. Krishnamurti, First, p.43.
5. Pearsall, p.321.
6. Chellis Glendinning, My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization (Boston: Shambhala: 1994), p.92.
7. Montagu, Natural, p.200.
8. Schmookler, Parable, p.205.
9. Montagu, Human, p.78.
10. Slater, Pursuit, pp.11-12.
11. John L. Locke, The De-Voicing of Society (New York: Simon and Schuster: 1998), p.17.
12. Locke, p.202.
13. Locke, p.176.
14. Locke, p.158.
15. Locke, p.174.
16. Franz Kafka, The Castle (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968), p.63.
17. Kafka, Castle, p.75.
18. Kafka, Castle, p.254.
19. Miller, Aware, p.260.
20. Miller, Good, p.242.
21. Miller, Aware, p.261.
22. Miller, Good, p.101.
1. Illich, Medical, p.63
2. Capra, p.321.
3. Illich, Medical,p.73.
4. Illich, Medical, p.26.
5. Patch Adams, M.D. with Maureen Mylander, Gesundheit! (Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 1993), p.126.
6. Adams, p.57.
7. Adams, p.53.
8. Adams, p.29.
9. Adams, p.35.
10. Adams pp.41 and 43.
11. Adams, p.18.
12. Adams, pp.92 and 98.
13. Adams, p.95.
14. Adams, p.54.
15. Adams, p.92.
16. Adams, p.43.
17. Adams, p.112.
18. Capra, p.309.
19. illich, Medical, p.169.
20. Quoted in Caplan, p.22.
21. Caplan, p.18.
22. Caplan, p.278.
23. Caplan, p.12.
24. Caplan, p.115.
25. Leonore Terr, Unchained Memories (New York: Basic-Harper Collins, 1994), pp.52-53.
26. Terr, pp.224-25.
27. Terr, p.109.
28. Terr, p.203.
29. Terr, p.255.
30. Terr, p.137.
31. Terr, p.101.
32. Terr, pp.101 and 241.
33. Terr, pp.22506.
34. Terr, p.241.
35. Terr, p.247.
36. Krishnamurti, First, p.241.
37. Terr, p.246.
1. Illich, Tools, pp.97-98.
2. Ivan Illich, "Outwitting Developed Nations," in Toward, p.57.
3. Philip Slater, A Dream deferred (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991), p.74.
4. Slater, Dream, pp.79-80.
5. Ivan Illich, "In Lieu of Education," in Toward, pp.70-71.
6. Slater, Dream, p.80.
7. Illich, "In Lieu," p.76.
8. Illich, Tools, p.70.
9. Sale, p.288.
10. Slater, Dream, p.77.
11. Quoted in Slater, Dream, p.71.
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