Happy 101st Birthday Dad!.... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and Mom.
Another year past and another annual ring added to the trees…for those that survived. Times have become quite interesting, not necessarily good, but interesting.
I must say, I’ve come to look forward to this annual correspondence with you. Speaking with you again, I feel closer to you… and I miss speaking with you about personal things, the world, Bioenergetics, psychotherapy, and the life of the unconscious.
Personally, 2011 has been one of the most challenging years of my life. Despite expectations for a smooth year, beginning with the fire which destroyed your New Canaan house; the subsequent insurance company difficulties; the unbelievably expensive and inefficient litigation required to clarify publishing rights of your work; Hurricane Irene which substantially damaged and rendered unusable your beloved summer house on Long Island Sound, which many of your friends know;…just to mention some of the “once-in-a-lifetime” events that have befallen this year. Each one a trauma.
If trauma presents an opportunity for growth, I could be 25 feet tall! All things considered, we are resilient and well.
Unfortunately, our human world does not fare so well. With climate change making itself obvious and increasingly costly, the terrible paralysis that has afflicted our policy-makers, and the insatiable need of corporate and institutional leaders to preserve and enhance their power, status, and wealth, the illusion of “middle-class” security and freedom is hitting the wall
A basic premise of western developed culture, that technology can overcome nature and our many human problems, is increasingly seen as the illusion that it is. While technology does yield miraculous solutions to real human problems and needs, the preponderance of technology, driven by tax-subsidized commercial interests, creates myriad social, environmental, economic and financial problems around the globe; enriching extraordinarily few at the expense and exploitation of the many.
From my personal experience, I can testify that the legal system is less useful than the ridiculously paralyzed US political system. Primarily serving to maximize income for participants, the legal system has justice somewhere below golf on its’ priority list. In the US legal system, justice and fair judgment is unaffordable at best, and may be unattainable at any price.
Without a functional legal system, and where government policy is driven by big business’ commercial interests, we have experienced increasing breakdowns in every aspect of life: economic, financial, health, and environmental security has never been lower in the developed world. From the denials of human activity causing climate change, to the ridiculous illusion that the US economic system is a free market, to the unprecedented wealth inequality in the US, we have no reason to expect our societal system to correct itself through reasoned policy, regulation, or legislation.
The US population is so confused, the Status Quo, aka the powers that be, has a free hand in pursuing its goals of preserving and enhancing itself at the expense of the vitality of the middle classes of the population. While feeding the illusion of a free market, the US government has become a patron of the large corporations’ owners and managers in creating an economy where profits are privatized, but losses and expenses are socialized….borne by taxpayers. The diseased nature of the Status Quo creating this corruption is never questioned or explored.
In energetic terms, the Status Quo is a rigidification of the collective body just as rigidification is a phenomenon of trauma and neurosis in the individual as you and Wilhelm Reich have elucidated. It is a fascinating proposition that these “functional identities” occur across scales of reality: from the individual, to the collective group, to astronomical phenomena as well as cellular and likely molecular and atomic phenomena. This is a concept of Wilhelm Reich, and more recently is supported by the repetitive patterns discovered in the reiterations of fractal geometry.
Similarly, the accumulation of vast wealth by a very few individuals in the US, while half of the population has insufficient income, parallels individuals’ over-charged ego-driven self image dominating one’s under-charged body and feeling state.
The unprecedented wealth/income inequality is much greater than most suppose. The over investment in the “Job Creators,” the Captains of Industry, an extremely elite group of powerful people, parallels (and is functionally identical with) the reality that 21st Century humans are overly invested in their ego, mind and brain; while their body, whether obese, model-like, or athletic, is likely under-charged and under-nourished of nature’s ways and energies. It is preferred that the body be under the control, and in the image, of the ego. An over-investment in what we think, that is, an over-charged ego, makes our thinking un-grounded in reality and dissociated from the feelings and realities of our own bodies, and thereby from our natural and human environments.
I have come to believe that such problems: the self-serving Status Quo, and wealth inequality, for example, are fundamentally the result of the mind-body split, a condition you have devoted your life to characterize. It is the manifestation of Reich’s “emotional plague.” If true, as I believe, then it will not be possible to solve our economic, financial, environmental, and health problems with technology and innovation, smart policy and enforcement. This is contrary to the conventional belief that humans can overcome nature and all our problems!....as our powerful minds have convinced us into believing; but, only at
There is no question technology, innovation, the motivation to get rich, with effective government policy, regulation, and enforcement are all vitally important. Unfortunately, our political leaders have greater incentive to inflame problems rather than solve problems, and our corporate leaders cannot distinguish their personal interests from public interests. Corporate leaders assume and believe the public wants what corporations want to sell.
Dissociated from reality, as it too frequently is, this is a psychopathic view, resulting in greater imbalance, inequality, and
un-sustainability as they utilize their god-like global prowess in business and government affairs to create markets “in their own image.”
Government and business policies and initiatives are driven not just by myopic short term gain, but from the leaders’ [unconscious] insatiable and unattainable need for love and acceptance, manifested as a relentless drive for wealth, power, and status. Positions of high power are especially sought after and occupied by such psychopathic personalities; they are the most effective power-seekers. We have no reason to expect anything other than much more of the same craziness in policy-making and profiteering….until the breakdowns intensify to shock us into the reality of our dysfunctional and un-sustainable human situation on this planet.
Without recognizing our dependencies and inter-connections with nature and our fellow humans; being unable to sense conflicted interests and dangerous social trends; being unable to speak out against injustice and exploitation; being unable to see the realities, leaves us susceptible to seeing only what we wish to see, or are told to see. These are some of the characteristics of the mind-body split.
The necessary solution is to recognize, understand, and begin to heal the mind-body split….first in ourselves, then in others. I try to work with my body and myself at least 2-3 times weekly….short yet of your daily routine…but I am still overcoming my resistances! I also enjoy working/being in the woods, and of course sailing, skiing, and sex; not that I have had much time or good feelings for that recently!
I enjoy spreading your wisdom, too….hard as it is with the high level of charge that exists around many of these issues. Seeing your published works become more accessible and visible, and participating in showing the work and its’ value for good health, is a good thing. Although difficult, it is gratifying.
Another functional identity between individual and group, the US population in this case, is in neurosis. Neurosis in the individual is characterized by such highly charged internal conflicts that beliefs and behavior are compromised. It is obvious that our US population is afflicted with such highly charged internal conflicts that beliefs and behavior, collectively, are compromised: paralyzed, compulsive, defensive, ideologically dogmatic, inability to see/accept reality. The self-preserving behavior of the Status Quo, dissociated from reality and un-sustainable, is plainly self-destructive….aka neurotic.
In my opinion, only two significant social events occurred that are positive harbingers out of the nasty environment of lies, image, and degradation. After decades of destructive, corrosive policies and practices, in late 2010 a government panel of legislators known as Simpson-Bowles made tax reform proposals that actually made sense! No doubt the hangman’s noose, the 2008-2009 economic collapse, sharpened their vision. It was thrilling to see common sense at work! Of course, because it was so sensible, it was severely criticized all around, and the last year has been spent evading it, re-interpreting it, and diluting it. Surprise, surprise!
The other event is the emergence of energy seeking freedom from oppressive social conditions. Known as the
Arab Spring in the mid-East, millions are desperate for freedom, transcending their justifiable fear for life and limb to topple 3
self-serving governments, with several more yet at risk. In the US, Occupy Wall Street is an emergence of energy transcending confusion, not fear. At the opposite end of the spectrum from Simpson-Bowles, this event too is thrilling.
Long overdue, the Occupy movements have spread to hundreds of cities and dozens of countries. Without a single cause as focus, it is an upwelling of dissatisfaction with the environment created by the Status Quo. Partly due to the confusion that is so effectively spread by the moneyed interests, but also because it is an existential crisis we have…. not just a financial banking crisis, or even an economic or environmental crisis. It is about the hows and whys of the exploitation of national populations, especially in the US, but elsewhere throughout the developed world.
The US free market is an illusion. The level playing field that would represent a true free market is so slanted that money falls out of the pockets of consumers into the hands of the government enabled profiteers. You can name virtually any of the largest 1000 businesses and point out the “corporate welfare” they receive in the form of outright cash subsidy, tax breaks at every level of government, legislation favoring companies and industry groups, etc, etc, etc.
We do not have a free market based on capitalism. We have worse than crony capitalism: it is a dishonest form of socialism where profits are privatized, and costs and expenses are socialized…paid by the general public, tax-payers and non-tax-payers alike.
Whether you buy a house, a car, a phone, a computer, take a trip, buy groceries, gasoline, an education or healthcare, like Henry Ford said; “you can have any color you want as long as it is black.” There is no choice to our unsustainable ways….there is no Plan B. We either continue paying through the nose for a wasteful, consumer-driven 21st Century lifestyle, enriching an extremely small elite group of individuals while degrading our health and environment in the process, or it breaks down. Obviously, it has been breaking down and will accelerate with greater intensity, as our leaders have no ability or incentive to change the path we’re on.
For the Occupiers, coming up with a list of demands is no small task, as there seems to be as many problems as there are multi-millionaires and billionaires. However, these problems are not as great as they seem….they are perpetuated, inflamed, and made worse by politicians who benefit more by playing “political football” with unsolved problems, rather than by actually solving problems.
We do not lack solutions – only the ability and incentive to change the Status Quo is lacking.
That is why I am thrilled by the Occupy movement. It is a natural emergence of energy in protest of intolerable conditions at many levels of our existence. It is unlike the Tea Party, which is similarly emerging protest energy, but it has been corralled and manipulated by corporate/political interests.
After our TRE workshop in NYC I visited the Occupy site at Zucotti Park. It happened to be just 8 days before the city tore it down. While it is reminiscent of the 1960s, it is a whole lot different. A much larger swath of the population resonates with many of the issues raised by the Occupiers. Students, union workers, and office workers everywhere are joined by their common problem and enemy: a Government of the Corporations, by the Corporations, and for the Corporations.
The Occupy Movement is a line drawn in the sand: THIS WILL NOT STAND! I AM MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. Led by the energy of the twenty-somethings, people of all ages and backgrounds increasingly see the injustice, the degradation, the redistribution of wealth upwards to the elite few, gaining obscene wealth at the expense of the population and the planet. If the Status Quo is not materially altered, I clearly see a non-peaceful scenario as becoming increasingly likely, to add to our currently overflowing plate of breakdowns.
It’s interesting, you have always said, the [tightly controlled] process of policy-making in Washington most typically results in the solution that represents the “least common denominator:” a minimally acceptable-to-the-collective solution. Usually worse than individual proposals, it serves poorly. In contrast, the natural organization of the Occupy groups seems to result in collectively intelligent solutions that are superior to individual proposals. I believe we will hear more of their energy in the future. The Occupiers have already initiated discussions the Status Quo would not otherwise permit.
I see the Occupy Movements around the US and the world as our best opportunity to participate in the kind of real change that is required. I look forward to exploring these issues further from an energetic perspective.
As I learned from you: “People get the best government they deserve, and the worst government they
Sorry for the long narrative, I guess I had a lot to say. I’d like to finish up to let you know how well the TRE work is being accepted. Without any psychological interpretation, people materially benefit from the physical body work. In fact, it is hard
to imagine an individual in modern society who wouldn’t benefit. Of course, this is nothing new to you. People are surprised when I point out that you had effectively finished your personal psychotherapy work by 1960, when you were 50. The gains you subsequently made, further self-knowledge, self-realization, self-actualization, however it is characterized, which
were substantial through your next 48 years, were gained by your body work only, notwithstanding occasional
Unfortunately, there is a large, but diminishing, belief that Bioenergetics can only be done in the context of psychological analysis and interpretation. I know for a fact that this is simply contrary to your view of the value of Bioenergetics. With Bioenergetic Bodywork, the Foundation will increasingly feature the value of your style of bodywork, which served you and others so well.
It seems so difficult for some Bioenergetic professionals to understand that Bioenergetic Bodywork, and Tension/Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) are unique body-working techniques that focus directly on body energy flow, blocks, and grounding, for greater centeredness, well-being, and for relief from stress, anxiety, and certain physiological/physical conditions; all without mentioning mother, brother, spouse, or boss. Anyone can benefit from such techniques. The more people experience the bodywork, the more people will wish to further the process of self-discovery of their body, feelings,
For those people who seek more, or wish to explore chronic developmental trauma conditions, or for those with conditions requiring psychotherapy, Bioenergetic Analysis is by far the most effective vehicle when used by a knowledgeable, experienced practitioner.
If you don’t agree with anything I’ve said, or whatever, try to let me know in a gentle way….I’ve had a tough year. I remember when Mom was younger, she told me that when you and she passed on and were through with the house in New Canaan, she would be glad to see it burn. Many years later, I reminded her of that statement, and she was surprised and denied having said so. Two years after your passing, I thought we were free and clear….but it burned anyway, leaving me to ponder, did she?....or didn’t she?
I’ve thought about it enough to realize the truth of your words: mystical phenomena may well exist, but there is no practical psychotherapeutic benefit to be had by going there. I can play all sorts of scenarios in my mind, but in the end, all I am left with is what I want to believe….pointless at best, crazy-making at worst.
Just to be safe, I want to say that I hope you and Mom can see I’m doing the best I can, and I and everyone else will just have to be satisfied with that! I am sure, and certainly hope you know I am not trying to cheat anyone, or gain unfair advantage, or tout myself as anything I am not….and my work with Bioenergetics and the Foundation is not about money: I’ve got several ways to make much easier money, and an endless number of ways to lose as much or more. It’s not about money, it’s simply the best way I can contribute a labor of love to the world.
….until next year, your loving son, Fred.