Homo Sapiens, Really?

Homo is defined as “man.”  Sapiens is defined as “capable of discerning.” We are used to seeing Homo and sapiens together without awareness of their meaning. Do we believe in the universal presence of  Homo sapiens when we shouldn’t?

How do we define and evaluate discerning? Our interests and motivating factors, our feelings and philosophy determine what we focus on, whether we enlarge or contract  perception of what we study. If we know a hell of a lot about an ever “object of perception” regardless of our tools, (a narrowing of vision), how do we rate our discernment? Rating  depends on the result of our perception, what we do with and as a consequence.  Discernment is not an abstract value like something floating out there light years away from contact.

Some think that a hugely contracted mind is extraordinary.  Even smallness makes connections All physical/energetic matter, no matter how small is part of the “whole.” Discernment on the highest level takes in the whole as best it can be currently understood. To see only the smallest part as unconnected  leads  to loss. Our society’s thinging of the world’s parts is all about making disconnected so our taking it and its dismemberment is regarded as insignificant. So it is with earth’s coal, oil, nuclear energy, oxygen producing trees, clean water flowing freely. Ignoring and breaking apart the world’s connection is destroying what sustains us.

Discernment is not an abstract notion. It resonates inside our bones. Discernment portends disaster. It picks up what is going on and says, “look out.” Discernment underlies our ability to survive. If we recognize and give a Latin name to some kind of rock but do not notice a tiger leaping out of the bush to devour us, the name of the rock can be printed on our tombstone. The discernment of many Homo sapiens, especially its leaders, is dominated by the need for power. The more powerful they feel the less they are able to see. Their field of awareness has a single frequency. Their philosophy is more.

The narrowness of vision is also true of those whose thinking is shaped by things focused on by TV and the written news. These consumers do not recognize that most TV stations and newspapers are owned by corporations which need to push their wares. The news offers information of which the corporation approves. Corporations own factories which make tanks and guns and bombs. In US society, most of those running for office need millions to buy advertising. Those receiving corporate money to pay for advertising will ready us for war with tales of horror and threat. Politicians, TV actors and those who write the news put forth what the corporation pays them to sell. Also, a fact rarely recognized,  TV and written news sell us to their corporate funders as consumers who will buy corporate products. News purveyors are selling us.  Selling newspapers does not make enough. Did you know  TV viewer and news reader, that you are for sale?

Discernment is narrowed by negative feelings. Fear stimulates greed which stimulates fear. Fear and greed tell us to hold onto our limited supplies, to keep what we’ve got away from “them.”  Greed tells us to take if from them first.  Advertising and corporate funded news tell us what to buy and who to fear. They engender fear which keeps us funding their weapons manufacture also to build jails against those who they claim “threaten.” With more people in jail than any other country in the world, jail is the US’s primary occupation, that and the building and selling of weapons.

The other day I saw a new invention, a non-polluting ball beloved by sea life which swims around it, lying so deep in the ocean that no boat can crash into it. The ball rolls in and rolls out with the tide. The energy created by its rolling is brought by lines to storage units from which Homo sapiens can draw power. The construction of this tide-moved ball is paid for by our taxes so the power it creates should be free. Discernment would see this invention as in tune with life, a worthy cause to fund and use. Will the politicians whose “running” is funded by environmentally destructive producers,  (fracked gas, nuclear, coal and oil), allow it to be widely known and purchased?

True discernment is exemplified by the Zen statement, if you meet Buddha on the road, slay him. Slaying Buddha means finding out the essential nature of the “all” through meditation not believing another person’s words. Many people are too desperate about survival to slow down and meditate as the newly “recovered” economy replaces jobs with computer-run machinery, if not by distant people, even children who work for far less. To put sapiens onto Homo, we have to open our eyes, ears, and mind, not to believe what we are told. If we give into the false security of believing messages which dim consciousness, destruction has to follow. If we separate from corporate-created ignorance, we will be out of the Homo anti-sapiens pack and probably anxious about our autonomy. Also more alive.

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Getting in Touch

I am a clinical psychologist with a PhD  in clinical psychology and a certificate in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. I spent many years of therapy discussing my difficulty in establishing love relationships. I talked about parental abandonment but none of this made a difference.  I was like a person skating as fast as possible on thin ice to avoid falling in.

I have written Unloved Again to show you how to fall into the hell of your unloved childhood in order to be able to leave it. You need to see your childhood despair and the defenses you built not to feel terror and pain. Seeing them as part of childhood helps you stop magnifying current danger. Without this struggle, the endless round of disappointment continues. You are living in the past without knowing it.

What cracked the surface of my denial was a trip to nations in which child care was lovingly embraced by everyone. In Ladakh on the Tibetan plateau, babies are in arms, wide-eyed and calm.  I remember walking down a mountain path, looking at a rooftop below where Grandma was laying apricots to dry. Wrapped in a shawl on her back was a baby. I did not hear the baby make a sound when the woman put it to her breast. So comforting. She instinctively knew what the baby needed for comfort. I felt a great pain in my heart. I registered what I missed in my childhood. My pain told me that I needed it still. I fell through a hole in the ice of my denial.

In Ladakh and in the Venezuelan Amazon, where all the babies are carried, the babies never cry. In the US are we are used to babies crying. That is why at first I did not notice its absence. We think that crying is normal. Some parents make up to the weeping child with things–ice cream, toys. They do not know what the baby needs. They know as little as did the parents who unloved them.  Babies, who have “everything” money can buy, grow up to seek unloving partners or are themselves unloving.

Knowing something only with your mind is not knowing it. You need to know it with your heart. You need to be in touch with how you felt as a child, to see how your selfhood was prohibited.  You cannot choose to feel only love.  Emotions flow together. It is everything or nothing. Unloved Again takes you step-by-step through many  blinding webs of childhood to get to the place of love.



When Columbus landed in San Salvador, the Arawak Indians, living in ease and splendor greeted him as friend. They as did most of the Indians, lived on Mother Earth as her gift to them. There was no ownership. The act of sharing was with ever expanding kinship which included friends. Plants and animals were related to as siblings, earth, sun and water as divine. As in any family, the emphasis was on keeping all alive.

Columbus looking at these relaxed and friendly “savages,” stated that with 50 men, he could turn them into servants, by which me means slaves which he did. He caused the extinction of a vast number digging for gold, the most valued object of man. He sometimes killed them just for sport. He had guns. He worked those native who could not escape to death.

Columbus saw the Indians and island produce as things to own, use, use up. This life philosophy has grown to the point where the whole earth now is regarded as an object. Thanks to advanced ways of seeing what is down there, there are no wild places left. All is assessed for its monetary value, for its purpose in what you manufacture or collect. There is no seeking the consequences of your collection beyond the now.

People can be looked upon as commodities as well. Why now do we have 25 percent of the world’s imprisoned people when we are only 5 percent of its inhabitants? Poor people, largely black and Hispanic are not longer needed to work in factories. That work has been shipped to areas of the world where people work for less, are without health benefits, retirement pensions, vacations.

What to do with the unemployed auto workers as in Detroit from which the automobile industry has fled? Put them in jail for all kinds of minor offenses. Jailing has become a main industry in the US and is farmed out to private agencies which can make 50 thousand dollars a year for a prisoner. They offer few services, health care, education, job training. Rehabilitation and a successful return to society are not their goal. Unemployed man is a commodity to the jailing corporation. We the tax payer pay the bill.

We have been educated and shaped by TV, raised to be consumers, given credit cards which encourage us to “get it now” and pay later, taught to see the world in terms of what we can get from it.  Lately and increasingly, it is becoming difficult to be so blasé, ignorant and hungry. Treating the world as an inanimate object to own, use up, destroy, forget, has gone beyond the earth’s capacity to recover. Now the temperatures are rising due to our burning things: coal, gas, oil, wood. The oceans due to ice melt and are reclaiming low islands first and then our coast line with all the major cities. Dehydrated forests are bursting into flame. Warm oceans are killing all the fish from plankton up. Everywhere there is death: butterflies, polar bears, animals small and large…. And at the end of the chain of life is us.

How to get out of this, if indeed we can, if it isn’t too late? The world is alive, every molecule. We need to see it, feel it and treat it as so. We are to share and love and sustain life, to live without any sense of ownership. We need to stop needing and getting “things” so that life small and large can find a place to be again.

We may not want to know this because the anxiety of awareness is so high. If we hide out heads in the sand a la ostrich, we can count on losing everything. To love the earth, Mother Earth is to feel the pain of loss, to feel what our exploitative ways have destroyed, to be driven to live differently. To love is to feel. There is no other way.


The King of Love

Where did his courage come from? Recently we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Listening to his speeches, I am fired up by his words. He speaks for what he believes in and acts accordingly: no harm to anyone, peace and love, fair wages for poor people, blacks seated in the back of the bus. He spoke with pain about having to tell his daughter’s about her exclusion from the local amusement part. He didn’t want her to know such things. He took his courage from his belief in the ultimate destiny of man, all of us seeing each other as brother and sister, and aren’t we? How could we not agree?

There are two things standing in the way of love which small disputes line up behind to give its logic weight. The first is the need to steal from those whose labor or goods we want to profit and the second one is fear. It is fear largely propounded and blown into hurricanes by people who benefit from these subdivisions. We do not know this once the wind of fear has taken hold and thrown us about.

When feeling terror tells what to do based on what we hear they will do to us, we have to scratch our heads, step back and calm our inner child.  We, the adult have to respond to cries of danger telling us to run and fight and hang the purported enemy with a philosophical “really?” Need to tell our inner child, “Stop worrying. I am on the lookout for danger and am able to properly assess it.”

Then we need to act which means to investigate the situation, not to fall for words of terror and broadcasts of danger. Genuine loyalty to saving our selves from danger requires saving us all. That is because panic leads to violence directed at the one named enemy which causes violent reactions to come back. It causes millions of people to flee to foreign shores seeking shelter.  Many of them die en route.

Throw a stone and see what happens. Martin Luther King was a man of love and courage. He felt fear but sought to live by higher principles. He said I may not get to the top of the mountain with you but I have seen the promised land. All wept and cheered with him. Transformed by love.


Afraid to Grow Up

He was raised by a tyrant mother and a father training to be a doctor who was never home, probably in part to avoid her. His mother had to have her way about everything. As soon as he got the lay of the land, part of him totally rebelled but the way he did it represented surrender to her at the same time which is why to this day he is trapped in his infant mentality.

He is in therapy, an extremely frustrating person who keeps reiterating how can I save the child within – I am a child and only a child. What can I do about it? He doesn’t admit the he also is the hated mother which continues to give him orders, a fight that never ends.

When told he has to become an adult, he says I have no idea what you are talking about, I am a  child. When told that the adult lives in the present, not in the emmiserated past, that an adult makes decisions about what he wants to do and if he is unsure tries them out and then decides. Then the patient goes back into his infant child’s cry for help – show me, explain me. The therapist says that no one can give you reality. You have to experience it yourself. Yes. But how do you do it? And on and on he goes refuting freedom.

He repeats it over and over again about the day he dropped out of the world, left his mother standing there, complaining and pleading about being unable to reach him. Now that he is locked in, his baby self is happy. The therapist feels exactly as his mother did, helpless to reach him. She tells him that he is playing a game with her and is extremely spiteful. When will he stop playing the game and try living?

He retreats into his helpless infantile stance. Can’t help it. Don’t know what to do, who to be and to top it off, says, tell me. She responds there is nothing to tell. If you want to remain a spiteful little baby, that is your choice. There is no plan for adulthood. It is all about exploration and choice. He is silent then repeats his dropping out scenario. He has practiced this helpless go fuck yourself position so long he is not ready to give it up. Complaining is another weapon in his pack. See I can’t do it, (pseudo tears) wah-wah-wah. This internal baby is determined to keep on winning and wipe the adult out.

Does he see the spiteful person he has become, the person so afraid to fail that he won’t try? Hiding in the costume of helplessness, can he force the therapist into the guise of a controlling mother whom he endlessly frustrates and enjoys an infant’s power? Can he get her to admit she is a failure and must give up? Is there such a thing as too late?

The adult needs to put his foot down and stop listening to the internal child who remains as afraid of the (now deceased mother) to do so. His adult has to stop living in the past.


What Kind of Family Has the Healthiest Children

Hunter-gatherers have the most emotionally healthy kids. The family does everything together. The kids see how Dad puts together an igloo shaped home from scratch, branches, leaves, and twigs; see Mom gathering and preparing edibles including roots and, berries, fruit and nuts and seeds. The boys get a blow gun and go with Dad to hunt, practice with their blow gun all the time. It is part of being family. The hunter-gatherers leave a very light some say non-existent foot print on their environment. They are part of the living world around them, not above it looking down.

They do not turn its plants and animals, its store of minerals, into commodities, “things” to be harvested and eventually used up. They are not into acquiring wealth. They do not store and save. Meeting basic needs is quite enough. If one place is low on water, if their wildlife numbers are running low, this family will not exhaust them. They will move on, ever grateful for the care that Mother Earth gives them, the mother of us all.

In the evening after eating they sit in their igloo of made of leaf and twig and sing. Their voices are very beautiful as they sing together although sometimes one takes a solo. The baby, who is barely walking sings along. These are songs of joy, of celebration.

Their children are not on the internet or sprawled insensibly in front of a TV which gives them image, sound and action so that their brains can go to sleep. They have their parents within reach so there is no fear of being abandoned or forgotten. When they need direction, the parents are there to give it. The parents are behavioral models who answer questions. There is no empty internal space which happens to a child that lacks loving guidance. Hunter-gatherer children are not forced out of desperation to turn to each other for resources they as children, cannot provide.

Modern children focus attention on FaceBook as do their parents, on I-phones on which they are constantly text-ing. Directly talking on a phone is no longer fashionable. When out on a date, the parties keep looking at their internet devices as if they are not together. In a life filled with externally programmed imagery, they are essentially unrelated. The frantic compulsive to turn it on is a sign of tuning out.

Needing loving adults as models, helpers, educators, as purveyor of love, there are only other children. They have to hold onto one another instead of to caring adults. The internal sense of connection established by adult love, is empty. The empty-feeling child turns to mechanical instruments to deaden feelings; to the TV for endless hours; to texting friends who are empty too. He gets into antisocial behavior to vent the rage he feels over the emptiness of his world.

You Need To Feel the Pain

We live in a culture and time in which many have been taught that they should not feel pain. To avoid the pain which comes their way and often in advance, they self-medicate with booze and pot and over-the-counter relaxants. They go to doctors who prescribe sedatives/pain killers/sleep inducers, etc., medication which usually becomes habit forming because the pain of giving it up is called “detox” and is read by the doctor and user as a sign that they need it.

It is a fool’s dance which benefits the doctor who makes his living and the pharmaceutical corporation which sells it to them both, drugs which frequently sickens the user with “side effects” which actually are effects you can pretty much expect.

The underlying issue is knowing what you feel. It is as if the body/mind’s purpose of feeling pain is without value. This is so far from the truth that it can be regarded as suicidal and if not that serious, turning you into a kind of robot which does not react to what is happening to you, by you and around you in the world of people and animals and plants and children and lovers and…These feelings are part of your connection. If you will not allow yourself to feel them, you do not connect.

You are floating on the surface. Without negative sensation, you also miss the positive, since no drug distinguishes good from bad. Not knowing what you feel, you do not know what you are missing. Love is the deepest connector. You need to feel your connection to all things. Integration is the truth of being.

Pain is a jumping off place. Pain moves you to caring and creative effort. Pain alerts you to what is going on and gets you to act upon it. If you live to avoid feeling pain you miss out on deep connection. Your feeling of love is an impulse followed by forgetting and moving onto the next event. Love is essentially superficial, replaceable: this person for that, this experience for that. Nothing matters much to you.