Differing approaches to a life wasted on beliefs

Let’s start by observing that people structure their lives around beliefs. As time goes on, what actions would a person have taken to ward off non-confirming evidence?

One response may be that they would engage in ever-increasing efforts to develop new beliefs that justified how they spent their precious life’s time so far.

Such was my take on the embedded beliefs in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684598/pdf/PSYCHIATRY2017-5491812.pdf “Epigenetic and Neural Circuitry Landscape of Psychotherapeutic Interventions”:

“Animal models have shown the benefits of continued environmental enrichment (EE) on psychopathological phenotypes, which carries exciting translational value.

This paper posits that psychotherapy serves as a positive environmental input (something akin to EE).”

The author conveyed his belief that wonderful interventions were going to happen in the future. However, when scrutinized, most human studies have demonstrated null effects of psychotherapeutic interventions on causes. Without sound evidence that treatments affect causes, his belief seemed driven by something else.

The author cited the findings of research like A problematic study of oxytocin receptor gene methylation, childhood abuse, and psychiatric symptoms as supporting external interventions to tamp down symptoms of patients’ presenting problems. Did any of the paper’s 300+ cited references concern treatments where patients instead therapeutically addressed their problems’ root causes?


For an analogous religious example, a person’s belief caused him to spend years of his life trying to convince men to act so that they could get their own planet after death, and trying to convince women to latch onto men who had this belief. A new and apparently newsworthy belief developed from his underlying causes:

“The founder and CEO of neuroscience company Kernel wants “to expand the bounds of human intelligence”. He is planning to do this with neuroprosthetics; brain augmentations that can improve mental function and treat disorders. Put simply, Kernel hopes to place a chip in your brain.

He was raised as a Mormon in Utah and it was while carrying out two years of missionary work in Ecuador that he was struck by what he describes as an “overwhelming desire to improve the lives of others.”

He suffered from chronic depression from the ages of 24 to 34, and has seen his father and stepfather face huge mental health struggles.”

https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/dec/14/humans-20-meet-the-entrepreneur-who-wants-to-put-a-chip-in-your-brain “Humans 2.0: meet the entrepreneur who wants to put a chip in your brain”

The article stated that the subject had given up Mormonism. There was nothing to suggest, though, that he had therapeutically addressed any underlying causes for his misdirected thoughts, feelings, and behavior. So he developed other beliefs instead.


What can people do to keep their lives from being wasted on beliefs? As mentioned in What was not, is not, and will never be:

“The problem is that spending our time and efforts on these ideas, beliefs, and behaviors won’t ameliorate their motivating causes. Our efforts only push us further away from our truths, with real consequences: a wasted life.

The goal of the therapeutic approach advocated by Dr. Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy is to remove the force of the presenting problems’ motivating causes. Success in reaching this goal is realized when patients become better able to live their own lives.


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Remembering Dr. Arthur Janov

Here are some of the sites, other than the NYT, WP, and AP obituaries and their repetitions, where people remember Dr. Janov:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/DrArthurJanov/

http://arthurjanov.com/

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155221889014118&set=a.65601639117.72499.674399117&type=3

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/register/arthur-janov-obituary-n7zgws597

https://pessimisticshrink.blogspot.com/2017/10/janov.html

http://forward.com/culture/384164/arthur-janov-the-jewish-creator-of-primal-scream-therapy/

http://tributes.com/obituary/guestbook/105268227?pane=candle#guestbook_area


Here’s one that I had a reaction to. My comment is posted below, in case that site’s moderator deletes it:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/founder-primal-scream-therapy-has-died-what-exactly-180965126/

Poor job reporting. According to the NYT..according to Vice..according to the AP..

The last paragraph is especially horrible for misguided attempts to place Dr. Janov’s life in historical context: the unattributed “experts widely regard;” the “pseudoscience” assertion with no proof; the snide implication that his life only had value because John Lennon produced an album.

Why couldn’t the writer be bothered to gather first-hand information such as taking 10-15 minutes to look at the Primal Center’s website? Or look at Dr. Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief, which was outstanding? Or Dr. Janov’s blog that he kept up throughout the years until 2017?

Does this hit piece on the occasion of a man’s death comply with Smithsonian Magazine’s journalism standards?


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Dr. Arthur Janov passed away

Dr. Janov passed away October 1, 2017 at the age of 93.

I remember him as always helping others.

I’ll add more as time goes by. Today, I’ll repeat the last of his 10 comments he made on this blog:

Beyond Belief: What we do instead of getting well

“I do thank you over and over because who quote the essence of my work which pleases me a lot. art janov”


Dr. Janov’s comment on Beyond Belief: Symptoms of hopelessness was:

“i thank you for your help art”

and I replied:

“Thank you for giving me a lens to more clearly see!”


Dr. Janov’s comment on Beyond Belief: Why do we accept being propagandized? was:

“good good art janov”

but my post wasn’t really good. I worked on it, and replied the next day:

“Thanks for helping me improve this post!”


I remember and miss Dr. Janov when I read research and curate studies from what I interpret would be his viewpoint. For example, were he still alive and well, I feel that he would have provided favorable feedback on my Epigenetic effects of early life stress exposure post.

He often noted that aspects of Primal Therapy were proven by subsequent research – especially topics in epigenetics, where research didn’t really start in earnest until the 1980s.

http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-passing-of-great-man.html


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Prisoners of our childhoods

Same old shit – another failed relationship.

Coincident with the start of our relationship, I was struck by a phrase by Dr. Janov, posted in Beyond Belief: What we do instead of getting well:

“It doesn’t matter about the facts we know if we cannot maintain a relationship with someone else.”

I kept that thought in the forefront.

Both of us are prisoners of our childhoods. I’ve tried to see and feel the walls and bars for what they are.

Like all of us, J hadn’t tried to process the reality of her childhood and life. For example, on her birthday I asked her how she celebrated her birthdays when she was growing up. She provided a few details, then mentioned that her parents had skipped some of her birthdays. Although I had no immediate reaction, she quickly said that she had a happy childhood.

I was at fault, too, of course. I again asked a woman to marry me who hadn’t ever told me she loved me, except in jest.

I asked J to marry me around the six-month point of our relationship. I felt wonderful, in love with her that August morning after she slept with me at my house. I made an impromptu plan: in the middle of a four-mile walk, I asked her to marry me while kneeling before her as she sat on a bench outside a jewelry store. But she wouldn’t go in to choose a ring. She said she’d think about it.

A month later, after several dates, sleepovers at her house, and a four-day trip to Montreal, I again brought up marriage while we rested on her large couch in her nice sun room. The thing I felt would be wonderful brought about the end.

I tried to understand why she couldn’t accept me for the person who I intentionally showed her I am. She abstracted everything that she said.

I tried to get her to identify why, after all the times we cared for each other, after all our shared experiences, she didn’t want me around anymore.

Didn’t happen. She didn’t tell me things that made sense as answers to my questions.

One thing she said without abstraction was that I was weak for showing my feelings. She told me I was clingy.

Another thing she communicated at the end shocked me. She somehow thought that I was going to dump her. I said that the thought never even crossed my mind.

I didn’t recognize it as projection at the time. Prompted by her underlying feelings, she attributed to me the actions and thoughts that only she herself had.

I’ve tried to put myself in J’s place. How horrible must it have been for her to be steadily intimate with a man and not feel that his touches, kisses, words, affection, expressed love? That he couldn’t really love me, and so I couldn’t love him? That he was actually after something else, because it was impossible that he loved me?


One thing I’ve felt after the end was that the need underlying my only stated relationship goal – to live with a woman I love who also loves me – is again ruining my life. My latest efforts towards that goal were rife with unconscious symbolic act outs of an unsatisfied need from my early life.

That unrelenting need is for a woman’s love. The women I’ve chosen, though, have always given me what I got from my mother: they wouldn’t accept me as I am, and didn’t love me.

And there can never be a substitute. Most of my Primal Therapy sessions included the pain of feeling exactly that.

My prison cell is what Dr. Janov calls the imprint where I – as a child, teenager, young man, middle-aged man, old man – futilely attempt to change the past.

“Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released”


P.S. – We got back together seven months later, and are still going strong. 🙂

Hope sells

I used a browser yesterday that didn’t have ad blocker software installed. The below pictures came from one of the ads that displayed:

helpless

hope

A young girl in a dance position and outfit juxtaposed with an appeal: “No situation is HELPLESS because there is HOPE.” How interesting!

I didn’t click through the ad yesterday to see what was being sold by engaging customers’ beliefs, within which lay hope. When I clicked the ad today, it asked for donations to “Sponsor a Child,” develop “the perfect recipe for sustainable success,” and, at the bottom of the page, “We love because Jesus loves.”

What do we know about this ad’s appeal from reading Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief? Can hope change a helpless situation per the ad?

On one level – yes, in a believer’s brain, by blocking helpless feelings. Otherwise – no. Hope ultimately isn’t a remedy for the causes of what created helpless feelings.

I donated to a similar organization for a few years, but not anymore.

Beyond Belief: What we do instead of getting well

Continuing Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p. 61 Heavy pains with no place to go just pressures the cortex into concocting an idea commensurate with the feeling.

The feeling itself makes no sense since the original feeling has no scene with it nor verbal capacity; it was laid down in a preverbal time without context, save for the feeling itself.

We cling to those ideas as strongly as the feelings driving us are.

Sometimes we argue with someone not realizing that we are battling a defense which is implacable. They don’t want to hear what we have to say. They want to protect their psyche.”

“p. 63 Suffocation at birth is registered not as an idea, but as a physiologic fact. It becomes an idea when the brain evolves enough to produce ideas. Then it can produce, ‘There is no air in here.’

A slightly stifling atmosphere in the present can set off this great pain and with it an exaggerated response. ‘I have to leave this woman because she stifles me.'”

“p. 64 It doesn’t matter about the facts we know if we cannot stop drinking or if we cannot maintain a relationship with someone else.

“p. 68 My task is to examine why individuals adopt belief systems, whatever they are, and how certain feelings provoke specific kinds of belief systems..to demonstrate how feeling feelings can alter those beliefs without once addressing the beliefs at all. Deprogramming is not necessary. Probing need is. Resolving feelings seem to render belief systems inoperative.”

“p. 71 We are a nation and a world of seekers, a people who seek refuge in all manner of beliefs.”

“p. 75-76 Later in life, equipped with the cortical ability to substitute ideation for feeling, the traumatized baby can call upon a god to save him from his inner pain, even when he doesn’t know where the pain originated, or even that there is pain. He just calls upon a god to watch over him, to see that he gets justice, who won’t let him down, and above all, who will help him make it into life.”

“p. 106 Neurosis is the only malady on the face of this earth that feels good..numbs the feeling. Numb feels good – not ‘good’ in the absolute sense, just not ‘bad.’

So we settle..we get numbed out and feel no pain and in return, life is blah blah. The person then feels she is not getting anything out of life and seeks out salvation or a guru in one form or another.


“We are a nation and a world of seekers, a people who seek refuge in all manner of beliefs.” The patient’s story on pages 89-105 told of horrific damages inflicted by believers and the subsequent consequences.

Variations of his story with its adverse childhood experiences could be told by tens of millions of people in the U.S. alone!

Why isn’t the internet flooded with stories of people facing their realities and doing something to effectively address the real causes of what’s wrong in their lives?

Said another way, why is the internet instead flooded with stories of people NOT facing their realities, doing things to prolong their conditions, and avoiding getting well?

The many reasons why people do things that don’t truly get them well are covered in Beyond Belief and Dr. Janov’s other publications. One obstacle for people who want enduring therapeutic help is the intentional misrepresentation of Primal Therapy.

Every day I look at the results of an automated search that uses “primal therapy” as the search term. Along with the scams and irrelevancies are the “scream” results.

This misrepresentation is addressed here:

“Primal Therapy is not Primal ‘Scream’ Therapy. Primal Therapy is not just making people scream; it was never ‘screaming’ therapy. The Primal Scream was the name of the 1st book by Dr. Janov about Primal Therapy.”

People who perpetuate the “scream” meme are only a few seconds away from search results that would inform them and their readers of accurate representations of Primal Therapy.

What purpose does it serve to misdirect people away from doing something to effectively address the real causes of what’s wrong in their lives?

Beyond Belief: The impact of merciless beatings on beliefs

Continuing with Dr. Arthur Janov’s May 2016 book Beyond Belief:

“p. 17 When someone insults us, we immediately create reasons and rationales for it. We cover the pain. Now imagine a whole early childhood of insults and assaults and how that leaves a legacy that must be dealt with.

The mind of ideas and philosophies doesn’t know it is being used; doesn’t know it serves as a barricade against the danger of feeling. It is why no one can convince the person out of her ideas. They serve a key purpose and should not be tampered with. We are tampering with a survival function.”

“p. 19 It seems like a miracle that something as intangible and invisible as an idea has the power to transform our biologic system. It makes us see what doesn’t exist and sometimes not see what does. What greater power exists than that? To be fooled is not only to convince someone to believe the false, but also to convince others to not believe the truth.

The unloved child who cannot bear the terrible feelings of hopelessness shuts down his own feeling centers and grows insensitive, not only to his pain, but to that of others. So he commits the same error on his child that was visited upon him, and he does so because of the way he was unloved early on. He cannot see his own hopelessness or that of his child.”

“p. 56 All defensive beliefs must have a kernel of hope inside of them. It is the embedded hopelessness that gives rise to its opposite – hope – and its accompanying biochemistry of inhibition or gating.

To be even more precise, it is the advent of pain surrounding hopelessness that produces the belief entwined with hope. All defensive belief serves the same function – repression, absorbing the energy of pain.”

“p. 57 An unloved child is a potential future believer.”

“p. 58 No one has the answer to life’s questions but you. How you should lead your life depends on you, not outside counsel.

We do not direct patients, nor dispense wisdom upon them. We have only to put them in touch with themselves; the rest is up to them.

Everything the patient has to learn already resides inside. The patient can make herself conscious. No one else can.”


“p. 29 The personal experience stories throughout the book are written by my patients and, with the exception of a few grammatical corrections, they are presented here exactly as they were given to me.”

All of the Primal Therapy patients’ stories thus far started with horrendous childhoods that resulted in correspondingly strong beliefs.

I came across a public figure example today in 10 Defining Moments In The Childhood Of Martin Luther King Jr. The author included two items germane to an understanding of how beliefs may develop from adverse childhood experiences:

  • 8. King Sr. “Would beat Martin and his brother, Alfred, senseless for any infraction, usually with a belt.”
  • 6. “By the time King was 13, he’d tried to kill himself twice.”

Every reference I found tied King Jr.’s suicide attempts to his grandmother’s death. What an implausible narrative! “A whole early childhood of insults and assaults” would certainly have more to do with the causes for preteen suicide attempts.

Consider a child’s feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, pain, and betrayal when the people who are supposed to love them are cruel to them instead. Feelings like what I expressed in Reflections on my four-year anniversary of spine surgery.

Consider the appeal of escaping from this life when:

“The unloved child cannot bear the terrible feelings of hopelessness.”

Granted that it’s only the patient who can put together what happened in their life so that it’s therapeutic. Beyond Belief and Dr. Janov’s other publications outline the framework.