Prenatal Matrices of
Prenatal Suffering Is the Root of Virtually All Human Atrocity — Greed, War, Torture, Rape, Racism, Murder, Massacre, Bigotry, Pollution, Apocalypse
— Which is Chapter 12 of *Psychology of Apocalypse* by Michael Adzema
Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil:
Prenatal Suffering Is the Root of Virtually All Human Atrocity — Greed, War, Torture, Rape, Racism, Murder, Massacre, Bigotry, Pollution, Apocalypse
“These imprints of experience — …being compressed and hemmed in, gasping and unable to get our breath as if we’re drowning, feeling poisoned and revolted or disgusted by what comes into us, and feeling dirty or irritated and burning on the surface of one’s body — are molds for what we call ‘human nature.’”
“…evil, as I mean it, is not of a theological or religious origin or intent. Quite simply, evil … e, v, i, l … is the opposite of live … l, i, v, e. Evil is live spelled backward…. There are many things we do on both large and small scales that are anti-life. They lead to death, to unhappiness, to unnecessary suffering, and to all the other things we have attributed to evil…. Evil is an empirical category … closely associated with self-destructive, destructive, and self-sabotaging tendencies in humans.”
Over the last five chapters, I disclosed the imprints from our experience of birth which are driving us to kill ourselves. For our birth is unique in Nature in both the amount of trauma attending it and the prematurity of its occurrence. I pointed out that we have experiences, in the womb, of oceanic bliss, then no-exit claustrophobic feelings, then feelings of struggle and warlike aggression, which is rooted in our actual birth struggle. And finally we have feelings of release and exultation, which is related to our experience of actually being born.
I explained that we act out these early imprints in all kinds of ways. War is a particularly salient one; as in going to war we are re-creating our imprint of the birth struggle and the desire to achieve release and rebirth. We are the only species who has the kind of birth that we do, that is, traumatic; and that has everything to do with the fact that we are the only species to go to war.
But let’s back up a bit and put this in context. Because humans stand upright — are bipedal — in the latest stages of gestation/pregnancy the weight of the fetus, now nearly at its largest, presses upon the arteries feeding the placenta and bringing oxygen to the unborn child. Bipedalism causes fetal malnutrition in addition to birth trauma, you see. Of course, this is most pronounced when the mother is standing, as the fetus weighs down upon arteries between itself and the bones of the pelvis. Reduced blood and delivery of vital resources mean the fetus is not getting as much oxygen, or nutrients for that matter, as it wants and could use. The prenate cannot gasp for breath but one can imagine it having a similar feeling … recall the sensation of holding one’s breath under water.
This is an uncomfortable situation for the fetus which goes on for a long time and gives rise to many of our adult feelings of claustrophobia and entrapment, depression, no-exit hopelessness. This is one of those specific birth traumas we humans have acquired because of becoming bipedal that other species, our planetmates, do not have. So birth pain makes humans out of planetmates, essentially. It makes us different and sets us apart from all other species in ways that are not often positive or beneficial, however human. It is something that is crucial to the understandings I bring forth in my books, Planetmates: The Great Reveal (2014) and Prodigal Human (2016).
Looking more closely at it, there are four major feeling constellations involved in this late gestation discomfort. You might say, four blueprints of human consciousness are written in the womb. They, along with other imprints from our prenatal and perinatal experiences, are integral parts of the foundation of our humanness — that part which is normally called “human nature” and is considered to have a basis that is genetic only.
It is a joke to think that just because a trait exists in humans at the time of birth that it is rooted in our DNA alone. That thinking is as archaic as flat-earth theories became after the heliocentric revolution. For there are a full nine months of individual experience prior to birth that, being the earliest influences on all experiences and perceptions after them, are far more important in determining who we become and how we act later on than anything that happens to us after birth, even if it also occurs to us early on, as in infancy or childhood. It is wholesale naïve and rather quaint that esteemed scientists and intelligent lay folk would subscribe to the idea that just because one cannot see something happening with one’s eyes, it does not have observable consequences. By that reasoning, we would never attribute causation to molecular events and would have no science of chemistry.
These imprints on our psyche caused by uncomfortable experiences in late gestation that are molds for and roots of a great deal of the later experience and behavior of humans can be put in four categories — crowded, suffocated, disgusted, and irritated. These imprints of experience — let us say, being compressed and hemmed in, gasping and unable to get our breath as if we’re drowning, feeling poisoned and revolted or disgusted by what comes into us, and feeling dirty or irritated and burning on the surface of one’s body — are molds for what we call “human nature.”
Let me explain.
1. The first has to do with being crowded and unable to move freely. The other three come under the category of fetal malnutrition:
2. You get less oxygen because of the reduced blood flow in late pregnancy; you experience lack of abundance and feelings of deprivation, impoverishment, “starvation.”
3. With the reduction of blood, you get a reduction in nutrients and insufficient removal of toxins so that the blood coming into and flowing through you is not felt to be as “pure”; you experience being poisoned, “infected” … prenatal “disgust.”
4. Finally, you experience a buildup of toxins in your placental environment as the reduced blood flow does not remove toxins as efficiently as it previously did; you feel irritated, bugged, “dirty” … prenatally imposed upon by the outside world.
These feeling complexes sculpted by our early, uniquely human, prenatal discomfort and pain mold our politics, shape our wars and conflicts, determine how we treat the environment, and color how we see and treat each other. They are the roots of violence, bigotry, and pollution.
(Primal Union with Mother): In the womb, fantasies of Paradise, unity with God or Nature, sacredness, “oceanic” ecstasy, etc.
(Antagonism With Mother): Derived from the onset of labor, when the cervix is still closed, feelings of being trapped, of futility, of crushing head pressures and cardiac distress, of unbearable suffering and hellish horrors, of being sucked into a whirlpool or swallowed by a terrifying monster, dragon, octopus, python, etc.
(Synergism With Mother): When the cervix opens and propulsion through the birth canal occurs, fantasies of titanic fights, of sadomasochistic orgies, of explosive discharges of atom bombs and volcanoes and of brutal rapes and suicidal self-destruction, all part of an overwhelmingly violent death-rebirth struggle.
(Separation From Mother): Upon the termination of the birth struggle, after the first breath, feelings of liberation, salvation, love and forgiveness, along with fantasies of having been cleansed, unburdened and purged.
: During the leader’s first year, media fantasy language and cartoon body-images are full of group-fantasies of the great strength of the nation, and of the leader as grandiose, ruthless in defense of the group, and vitally necessary to its national life-blood…. The group in this “strong” stage is felt to be safe in a “strong” womb-surround, so any external disorders which might occur are not seen as threatening enough to require a violent response.
This “strong” period is clearly a societal equivalent of Grof’s BPM I. Peace and prosperity and strength in the nation aligns with oceanic peace, vibrant growth, and bliss in the womb.
: The deification of the leader begins to fail, with an increase in scapegoating to deflect hostility from the leader. The group’s boundaries are felt to be “cracking,” with images of leaking water and crumbling walls predominating. The leader is seen as weakening and unable to control events. Complaints of being crowded, hungry and breathless multiply, and worries are increasingly voiced that collapse is imminent….4
This is clearly equivalent, on the individual level, to Grof’s BPM II where growth is stymied, depression and no-exit hopelessness set in. The words “crowded, hungry and breathless,” which deMause is applying to a social context could as easily describe the fetal situation of BPM II.
: The group during this stage experiences extreme anxieties about its collapse of self-image and growing rage toward the leader, who now seems impotent in ending the group’s feeling of pollution, sinfulness and starvation. Group-fantasies of choking, falling, abandonment, disintegration, death and explosiveness proliferate in the media…. Free-floating paranoid fantasies of unnamed poisonous enemies multiply, as the group attempts to project its own rage outward…. The “collapse” stage ends only after a “search for a humiliating other” — an enemy who, in a moment of “group-psychotic insight,” is identified as the concrete source of the group’s distress…
Clearly this is describing another aspect of BPM II, the no-exit prior to birth. It would align with the time in the womb leading up to when the birth struggle will begin. It is here and the previous category, FS 2 and FS 3, where deMause breaks down Grof’s one stage of BPM II into two. That increasing distinction of this time by deMause was a stepping off point for my own theories, where I found four distinct constellations of feelings within BPM II, not just two. We’ll get to that soon, but continuing with deMause, we have
: The “group-psychotic insight” which identifies the delusional poisoner of the group can take one of several forms:
(2) f an external enemy can be located who will co-operate by humiliating the group, it then enters into a trance-like state of sadomasochistic enthrallment towards the enemy, whose totally evil nature makes every rage seem justified and every sacrifice noble.
(3) uicidal individuals often resolve internal ambivalences through a fantasy of a “Hidden Executioner” who helps them in their suicidal effort in killing the bad, polluted part of themselves so that the good purified part can be loved again….
However, another aspect of our unique human birth that is instructive to understanding our current drive to extinction and apocalypse is the time before birth, at the end of gestation. Here, where we do not get enough oxygen because of our weight as a fetus having become such that we constrict the blood vessels around us, we experience a suffocation but also a buildup of toxins, as the blood supply being reduced does not remove our waste matter, particularly carbon dioxide, sufficiently.
As I said above, this period is delimited, roughly, in Grof’s BPM II, but it has two components, in deMause’s schema, as it manifests in the cycles of national events. As I also said, I see there are four. Beyond that, I see that expanding the category to reveal these four components adds immensely to our understanding of human events through history and currently, particularly as it pertains to the events that demand we call them evil.
Furthermore, employing this fourfold breakdown of BPM II, and the expansion of deMause’s FS2 and FS3, reveals things overlooked in those theories. In my framework, we see clearly that the poisoning in the womb that Grof describes as going on during BPM I and only for some people is in fact routine and occurs during the last trimester and most excruciatingly during the final month. While I do not deny that some feelings of the influx of noxious elements can occur earlier, during the BPM I period, especially if the mother smokes, drinks, or uses drugs, it clearly — adding the research of deMause and my own — is an aspect of everyone’s experience, as you will see….
Also, Grof’s schema calls for scatological feelings as occurring after birth. Whereas with the addition of deMause’s research and insights along with my own, it is clear these feelings of wallowing in feces are actually an aspect of the prenatal immersion in toxins. While I believe it is possible that some people are born into feces, as the mother’s bowels release upon birth, as Grof explains it. Still, the fact that mothers routinely receive a pre-birth enema, yet experiencers feel this constellation of feelings about being surrounded by dirt and feces, is not explained. Not, that is, unless one employs the revised categories of BPM II that I am proposing.
In any case, these categories I am calling the Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil.
I should probably mention that evil, as I mean it, is not of a theological or religious origin or intent. Quite simply, evil … e, v, i, l … is the opposite of live … l, i, v, e. Evil is live spelled backward. That is to say that there are many things we do on both large and small scales that are anti-life. They lead to death, to unhappiness, to unnecessary suffering, and to all the other things we have attributed to evil. Thus, evil is an empirical category; it is one closely associated with self-destructive, destructive, and self-sabotaging tendencies in humans. In no way is my definition a derivative of any “revealed” or authoritarian laws or commandments. No. Evil is what causes unnecessary suffering and death. And great evil is what leads to unnecessary suffering and to death on a massive scale. There is no way to quibble about the suitability of my using the term evil for the events and occurrences I have been and will continue to be pointing to.
Putting it in the context of the categories brought out in the chapter on Thanatos, the death wish, the Will to Die, you might say that this prenatal matrix of evil specifies exactly what that death wish is, where it comes from, and does so much more in elaborating on its aspects, revealing its features. The prenatal matrix of human evil is Thanatos explained. It is the reason we are self-destructive and the ways in which we harm ourselves and others.
It is not a death instinct, however. It is the way we end up after going through some very hellish experiences in the womb in the last trimester. If we did not go through these experiences, we would not have these tendencies to sabotage ourselves and to harm others. In that light, you can see how the death “instinct” or drive becomes simply an aspect of neurosis. Certainly, it is a neurosis that is fundamental and common, nearly universal, but it has roots in experience, not DNA. We know that because by mitigating these early traumas, as we very well are able to, we create people with less of that tendency to want to undermine themselves.
Furthermore, we know this is not genetic because those experiencers who feel through, resolve, and integrate these early traumas have considerably less to none of those tendencies. I know. For I did re-experience these traumas in a thorough and comprehensive way over the course of a number of years. And whereas, starting out, I had my share, more than some actually, of self-sabotaging tendencies, after doing my inner work, I no longer do. Rather than being unconsciously self-defeating, I am now — in a sense unconsciously … or at least effortlessly — self-actualizing. Completing and publishing eleven books in the last four years might be taken as testament to that.
In any case, let me explain these prenatal matrices of human evil. I break them down into four categories:
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 1 (PME 1) is the time of compression and crowdedness in the womb that begins in the third trimester and is especially difficult in the last month.
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 2 (PME 2) is the hypoxia that comes to the fetus as the placenta ages, becomes more fibrous, has increasing calcification, gets increasingly less efficient, resulting in reduced oxygen and feelings of suffocation, gasping, prenatal starvation and oxygen deprivation, and prenatal panic. This is augmented in the last month by the fetal malnutrition come of bipedalism and which is increased by the mother’s standing, rather than lying down, at the end of pregnancy. This also begins in the last three months but is extremely traumatizing in the last month.
Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 3 (PME 3) is the constellation of feelings during those last three months, especially severe in the last one, where because of the aging placenta’s deficiencies, the byproducts of food conversion, carbon dioxide in particular, are not removed as efficiently. So this toxic waste matter gets “backed up” and recirculated into the fetus. The prenate experiences feelings of being poisoned, of nausea, of being force-fed noxious substances, and of disgust-sickening.
Finally, Prenatal Matrix of Human Evil 4 (PME 4) comes about because the fetus is not merely taking in those toxins but is immersed in them. The environment in the amniotic sac, for the fetus, gets increasingly polluted, and this is experienced on the prenate’s skin as a kind of itch that cannot be scratched, an irritation, a burning. It results in feelings of revulsion, creepiness, dirtiness.
As I repeatedly say, war can be considered an act-out of our birth struggle and the desire to be born. However, on a deeper level war is a direct outgrowth of PME 1, for such crowdedness cries out for expansion in an explosive way, like a war.
Now, pertaining to PME 2, PME 3, and PME 4, I’ll give you a look ahead. For this time at the end of gestation, where we feel suffocated and living in a toxic environment, is the root of our unconscious desire to manifest and live with pollution, as well as of a global warming, with its buildup of carbon dioxide, and global oxygen reduction, which goes hand-in-hand with the increase of carbon dioxide. Much more of the things we have created which are threatening life on this planet, including nuclear radiation, are act-outs of the prenatal trauma built into our beginnings
Our PTSD from the Womb We Confuse as Human Nature
At any rate, the reason we do these self-destructive, indeed, suicidal things is that our psyche tries to heal itself from that birth and prebirth trauma by having us unconsciously re-create that which we could not integrate or face at the time, which left us thereafter damaged and in need of healing. The psyche does this in its unconscious attempt to somehow resolve or heal these traumas by having us continually re-create that which might remind us … at least it re-stimulates this in us … the things inside we need to resolve still. You might think of this mechanism as a kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome, which virtually all of us experience, from our births, yes, but at a deeper level, from even before — during the hell of prenatal trauma.
This undergirding of our personalities with a prenatal horror is so prevalent, in fact, that we actually call it our “human nature” — a human nature we say is characterized by aggression, competitiveness, selfishness, and greed. But which my research and that of others in my field has shown to be a product of our birth and prenatal traumatic experiences. And which my research has shown is underlain with a deeper human nature, before that and in synchrony with the rest of Nature, which existed in us before that, before our trauma, which actually is genetic … a true human nature. Another hint of what’s coming: The good news is that we have such a harmonious and cooperative human nature which we can access and so avert our ecocidal plunge.
All this being said, let us now take the prenatal matrices in turn, beginning next chapter with PME 1. Which is the constellation of feelings around being crowded, hemmed in, and experiencing a fetal claustrophobia.
— from Chapter 12, titled “Prenatal Matrices of Human Evil: Prenatal Suffering Is the Root of Virtually All Human Atrocity — Greed, War, Torture, Rape, Racism, Murder, Massacre, Bigotry, Pollution, Apocalypse”
— of *Psychology of Apocalypse: Ecopsychology, Activism, and the Prenatal Roots of Humanicide* by Michael Adzema, coming to print book and e-book format March-April, 2018.
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— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….
*Dance of the Seven Veils I* (2017).
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