Epitaph 2005

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EPITAPH FOR MARXISM

Michael H. Ducey, Ph.D.

In the history of human thought, Marxism is a brief but important episode. Lasting for about 160 years, this school of thought originated the systematic critique of society, kept asking the right question –“What is wrong?”– and kept getting the wrong answer. From the 1840s till the 1990s, Marxist thought and social activism were full of “oopses” and “oh, damns”. They came up with an idea, created a program, observed current events, found that events invalidated the idea (from Lenin to Pol Pot), and went “back to the drawing board” again.

Because they knew there is something wrong here.

I think the reason they were always wrong and the reason they kept coming back to the same question is that in the learning curve of history, the correct answer was still hidden from view. In the progress of human inquiry, the source of emotional agendas was not yet fully understood. Late in the course of Marxism there is reference to the unconscious, but its investigation is still superficial. Freud’s work was hugely important, but still flawed and incomplete. The true nature of emotional agendas and their genesis did not become clear until the end of the twentieth century. Now it is available in the studies of trauma and trauma treatment, but the insights and techniques of this body of work are still not generally accepted.

So, the foundation for the pattern of mistakes of Marxism lies in the split between self and economy. The “superstructure” and the “material base” in fact come together in the formation of emotional agendas via harsh child-rearing practices. Once the formation of the self is fully understood, it is clear that in modern times the “human” determines the economic, and not the other way around.

Therefore, the proposition that the relations of production are the cause of the elements of domination in human behavior is only correct if you go back to primitive hunting-gathering times. In those days self-preservation needs resulted in the survival only of tribes who mastered the techniques of domination, principally, insensitivity and violence. Thus, in recent centuries, what might appear as “the hegemony of capitalism” is merely the latest form of the hegemony of dominant elites. Capitalism is only the latest form of practices of domination. “The rational” is not problematic in itself. In itself it is merely powerful. It is only problematic in its subservience to emotional agendas.

Therefore, the key intellectual exercise on the way to answering the question, “What is wrong?” is to investigate the dynamics of domination. When we do that, we find that its core is insensitivity to the other, which permits the exercise of uninhibited violence, which in turn fosters survival in a certain historical and economic niche.

With this preamble, certain more specific errors in Marxism become apparent:

 

  1. The fantasy of sudden transformation — The sudden transformation of society from dominative-exploitative social relations to collaborative and cooperative relations, by means of a political revolution, is the fantasy of a split self. The condition is well-identified in modern psychology:Splitting the human being into two parts, one that is good, meek, conforming and obedient and the other that is diametrically opposite is perhaps as old as the human race, and one could simply say that it is part of “human nature”. Yet it has been my experience that when people have had the opportunity to seek and live out their true self in [introspective work], this split disappears of itself. They perceive both sides, the conforming as well as the so-called obscene, as two extremes of the false self, which they now no longer need. [Alice Miller, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, 31]The integral self understands that the amelioration of society is gradual.The myth of the vanguard class — There is no anointed or anointable, demographically identifiable, stratum of society that carries the consciousness of the ideally transformed society. The “myth of the vanguard working class” was an understandable mistake in the early nineteenth century. With the knowledge we possess today, it is an inexcusable refuge from reality.Therefore, the transformation of society from dominative relations to mutual relations (a) is gradual, piecemeal, step-by-step, and (b) has a demographic source that is random. As a rule of thumb, it is much more useful to think of ameliorative change as coming “from the middle” rather than from a “working class.”All those problems that the Marxist tradition has seen as coming from defects in the nature of “reason” are actually defects in the nature of emotions. Reason always has emotional premises. Emotional premises are “prior” to Reason, and the study of their formation is only now approaching scientific maturity.

The Critique of Rationality.

The “problem of rationality” is its subservience to emotional agendas. Numerous social commentators in many fields of both science and literature have expressed serious reservations about the relationship between rationality and the quality of human life. Perhaps we should place at the head of the list Karl Marx and his followers, whose critique of rationality, while often seeming solipsistic and emotionally disturbed, does have at its starting point some undoubtedly realistic observations.

In the 1970s Henri Lefebvre (The Production of Space) commented:

Already in Marx’s time there were plenty of people ready to sing paeans to the progress achieved through economic, social or political rationality. They readily envisaged such a rationality as the way forward to a ‘better’ reality. To them Marx responded by showing that what they took for progress was merely a growth in the productive forces which, so far from solving so-called ‘social’ and ‘political’ problems, was bound to exacerbate them. . . . . . . Marx retrieved the contents [of this predominant tendency of rationalization] and identified the most general form of social relations, namely the form of exchange (exchange value). [82]

This phenomenon by which “a growth in the productive forces” exacerbates social ills is not a figment of an esoteric Marxist imagination. In ecological geology we have the following observation:

Given the fact that the [North American] continent has never supported a more impoverished mammal fauna in the last 50 million years than it does at present and that the existing fauna is unbalanced, appropriate introductions [of species] are more likely to be beneficial than deleterious

The one great exception to this concerns our own species. It alone has caused massive extinctions on immigrating to the New World, not once but twice. As we have seen, the first humans to enter the New World appear to have exterminated most of North America’s large mammals. The arrival of a new kind of human, with different technologies and ways of doing things, would repeat the catastrophe all over again.

In the words of Henry Fairfield Osborn, president of the new York Zoological Society in the early twentieth century, ‘nowhere is Nature being destroyed so rapidly as in the United States . . . an earthly paradise is being turned into an earthly Hades; and it is not savages nor primitive men who are doing this, but men and women who boast of their civilization’. It was a cry heard over and over throughout North America, yet for a century it seemed as if nothing could stop the slaughter. This is the sad story of the economic machine that ate the life of a continent, and it was not just animals that were fed into its maw, but people and cultures too. . [The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples, by Tim Flannery. NY Grove Press 2001, 298-299; 302-303.]

Some historians have noted that the First World War was yet another repetition of the centuries-old tribal conflicts that had gone on in Europe for over a thousand years. The difference, however, between this conflict and the older ones was that this one was fought with new technologies. Speaking of the time immediately after the Armistice of November 11, 1918, historian Lentin observes:

The country was indeed at this time swept by a sudden, vehement cry for revenge. ……The war had brought suffering of a scale and intensity which the harshest pessimist could not have prophesied, and for which Britain, after a century of peace and progress, was, psychologically speaking, peculiarly unprepared. The interminable casualty lists, the row upon row of beardless faces in the `Roll of Honour’, the rattle through a thousand letter-boxes of the same War Office telegram — all this produced a stunned sense of disbelief at the annihilation of so much youth and promise. When, with the peace, people began to come to terms with what had happened, it was not to be expected that they would rise overnight to the serenity of saints or sages. Even if they wished to forget, the press would not let them. As a Cambridge newspaper put it, `Somebody has got to be hanged.’ [A. Lentin, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson and the Guilt of Germany (Leicester University Press, 1984), 25-26.]

For Marxists such as Lefebvre the problem of rationality is not merely economic or psychological, but resides in the deepest levels of the human psyche: “The quasi-logical presupposition of an identity between mental space (the space of the philosophers and epistemologists) and real space creates an abyss between the mental sphere on one side and the physical and social spheres on the other.” [6]

This gap in the psyche is thematic and omnipresent in the philosophy of Lefebvre, and he links it inseparably to the economic and social phenomenon of class:

The fact is that Chomsky unhesitatingly postulates a mental space endowed with specific properties — with orientations and symmetries. He completely ignores the yawning gap that separates this linguistic mental space from that social space wherein language becomes practice. . . . . . These authors . . . for all that they lay claim to absolute logical rigour, commit what is in fact, from the logical-mathematical point of view, the perfect paralogism: they leap over an entire area, ignoring the need for logical links, and justify this in the vaguest possible manner by invoking, as the need arises, some such notion as coupure or rupture or break. . . . . . . The width of the gap created in this way, and the extent of its impact, may of course vary from one author to another. . . . . .

. . .those dominant ideas which are perforce the ideas of the dominant class . . . the net result is that a particular ‘theoretical practice’ produces a mental space which is apparently, but only apparently, extra-ideological. . . .and sets itself up as the axis, pivot or central reference point of Knowledge. [pp. 5-6]

I find the epistemology of this viewpoint to be solipsistic and emotionally disturbed. For a person who is emotionally integrated, there is no “abyss”, or even “a gap” between the mental sphere on the one hand and the physical and social spheres on the other. There is simply a “difference”. And with one and the same emotionally integrated subjective self, I experience the mental sphere on the one hand, and the physical and social spheres on the other, and note that they impinge on the subject self in different ways. Linking them is simply a matter of paying proper attention.

The source of Marx’s and Lefebvre’s disturbed solipsism is probably the influence of trauma on human consciousness. The source of trauma can be child-rearing practices or a variety of other social experiences. (E.g., the impact of World War II on the city of Paris, France.) The symptoms of trauma include:

It is a kind of fragmentation, whereby trauma tears apart a complex system of self-protection that normally functions in an integrated fashion. Abram Kardiner described the essential pathology of the combat neurosis in similar terms. When a person is overwhelmed by terror and helplessness, “the whole apparatus for concerted, coordinated and purposeful activity is smashed.” [Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman, p. 34]

Although empirical study of the matter would be needed to come to a firm conclusion, it is not an unreasonable hypothesis that the consciousness of Karl Marx and the mid-twentieth century French Marxists such as Lefebvre was influenced by traumatic experiences.

However, Lefebvre does make a good point when he says that “social space is a social product.” That serves to remind us that although Marx and Marxism’s commentary are seriously hampered by emotional disturbance, certain core elements of their analysis are valid. For instance, Marx’s comment about exchange value contains an important insight, but if it is interpreted in an extreme manner, it becomes absurd. Exchange value significantly adds to productivity and wealth, and so it is a good in itself. But it would also seem to be clear that rationality is only one aspect of the human make-up and is always at the service of the emotional agenda of the psyche. And so, greater productivity and wealth are dangers to human society when they are at the service of primitive and ancient emotions.

Just to put the most extreme case of recent history on the table, Adolf Hitler was fond of the word “harsh”. He repeatedly insisted that his programs be carried out “with the greatest harshness”. The grand scale of Nazi psychopathology is a phenomenon which the human race has still not fully comprehended. Only sixty years in the past, the horror has still not subsided sufficiently for us to grasp it.

Therefore, The Holocaust is not just a phenomenon of concern to the Jews. It is of concern to the human race itself. And, one way to frame it is that The Holocaust was a laboratory specimen of rationality at the service of psychopathological human emotions. Therefore it is an example not only of emotional psychopathology becoming state policy, but also of the moral ambiguity of rationality itself.

For if you go to Auschwitz and observe the immense piles of eyeglasses and other human detritus there with this peculiarly clinical inquiry in mind, you must be impressed by how very well organized it all is–starkly highlighting the diseased emotions it was serving. It is not what happened to the Jews that is the main lesson of Auschwitz, but what can happen to us all if our rationality is unhinged.

Two other phenomena of the middle of the twentieth century have called our attention to “the problem of rationality”. One is the stock market crash of 1929 and the following Great Depression. This collapse of an advanced ‘rational’ economic structure suddenly revealed the illusory nature of the ‘advancement’. The other is the bombing of Hiroshima in 1946. It brought to the surface of our consciousness for a moment the immensely destructive potential of the highest forms of human rationality if they are detached from personal and social health. And actually, Hiroshima is the capstone of the mid-twentieth century critique of rationality, for it brought us face to face with the extinction of our species by our own hand.

Certain poets have also given us critiques of rationality. Marge Piercy’s capacity for sardonic insight was never more in play than when she wrote the poem called “Right Thinking Man”:

Right thinking is virtue he believes,br> and the clarity of the fine violin of his mind

leads him a tense intricate fugue of pleasure.

His children do not think clearly.

They snivel and whine and glower and pant

after false gods who must be blasted with sarcasm

because their barbaric heads

keep growing back in posters on bedroom walls.

When he curses his dependents

Plato sits on his right hand and Aristotle on his left.

Argument is lean red meat to him.

Moses and Freud and St. Augustine are in his corner.

He is a good man and deserves to judge us all

who go making uncouth noises and bangs in the street.

He is a good man: if you don’t believe me,

ask any god.

He says they all think like him.

[“Right Thinking Man”, by Marge Piercy. In To Be of Use (Doubleday, Garden City, 1969).]

And then there is Richard Brautigan, whose poetic irony was a leitmotif for the hippies of the sixties:

There was also a big sign that said:

USED TROUT STREAM FOR SALE.
MUST BE SEEN TO BE APPRECIATED.

I went inside and looked at some ship’s lanterns that were for sale next to the door.. Then a salesman came up to me and said in a pleasant voice, “Can I help you?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m curious about the trout stream you have for sale. Can you tell me something about it? How are you selling it?”

“We’re selling it by the foot length. You can buy as little as you want or you can buy all we’ve got left. A man came in here this morning and bought 563 feet. He’s going to give it to his niece for a birthday present,” the salesman said.

“We’re selling the waterfalls separately, of course, and the trees and birds, flowers, grass and ferns we’re also selling extra. The insects we’re giving away free with a minimum purchase of ten feet of stream.”

“How much are you selling the stream for?” I asked.

“Six dollars and fifty cents a foot,” he said. “That’s for the first hundred feet. After that it’s five dollars a foot.”

“How much are the birds?” I asked.

“Thirty-five cents apiece,” he said. “But of course they’re used. We can’t guarantee anything.”

“How wide is the stream?”, I asked. “You said you were selling it by the length, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” he said. “We’re selling it by the length. Its width runs between five and eleven feet. You don’ have to pay anything extra for width. It’s not a big stream, but it’s very pleasant.” . . . . . .

“You’re probably asked this all the time, but how’s fishing in the stream?” I asked.

“Very good,” he said. “Mostly German browns, but there are a few rainbows.”

“What do the trout cost?” I asked.

“They come with the stream,” he said. “Of course it’s all luck. You never now how many you’re going to get or how big they are. But the fishing’s very good, you might say it’s excellent. Both bait and dry fly,” he said smiling.

“Where’s the stream at?” I asked. “I’d like to take a look at it.”

“It’s around back,” he said. “You go straight through that door and then turn right until you’re outside. It’s stacked in lengths. You can’t miss it. The waterfalls are upstairs in the used plumbing department.”. . . . . .

I had seen all I wanted of the waterfalls, and now I was very curious about the trout stream, so I followed the salesman’s directions and ended up outside the building.

O, I had never in my life seen anything like that trout stream. It was stacked in piles of various lengths: ten, fifteen, twenty feet, etc. There was one pile of hundred-foot lengths. There was also a box of scraps. The scraps were in odd sizes ranging from six inches to a couple of feet. . . . . . .

I went up close and looked at the lengths of stream. I could see some trout in them. I saw one good fish. I saw some crawdads crawling around the rocks at the bottom. It looked like a fine stream. I put my hand in the water. It was cold and felt good. (Trout Fishing in America, by Richard Brautigan, pp. 106-107.)

                                                    —————————

Suffice it to say that after the period of completely positive evaluation of reason in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries — a period of time that saw the great expansion of science into all aspects of human life, and which was collectively called “the Enlightenment” — there came a period in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when the critique of rationality became more and more vocal.

Before the discovery of the complexity of human emotions — a discovery that began with the likes of Charcot and Freud in the late nineteenth century, but took almost a hundred years to mature — all kinds of mistakes were made by critics of the destructive, oppressive and violent uses of reason. For Marx the main mistake was — not having access to any insight into emotions themselves — to place the problem of rationality in the nature of rationality itself. Thus he did not recognize that exchange value “has a dual character”, and that the duality of that character resides in the nature of the emotional agenda that it serves.

Likewise Marxists and other critics of “capitalism” kept pounding away at the faults of modern industrial society, but not having a precise diagnosis of the problem, came up with all kinds of inventive, convoluted, confused and confusing analyses. They tortured themselves with inventing novel modes of thinking that do not actually exist except in dreaming (Althusser’s “overdetermination”), and fantasized equally non-existent dangers lying in the mind (Lefebvre’s “abyss”). As a result they produced a disjointed discourse of self-doubt that only became more and more depressed and pessimistic as history moved on.

But now we have a scientifically mature (but still far from complete) understanding of emotional agendas and so we can proceed to an analysis of the underlying causes of the ills of modern industrial society. That analysis, I believe, will lead us to focus our attention on “the narcissism of elites.”

Emotional Agendas

The literature on emotional agendas is vast, and the subject is not without its complexity, but at this point we can simply note the basic list of defense mechanisms that have become part of common knowledge:

“Almost everyone nowadays knows what it means to say an alcoholic is “indenial.” This is the alcoholic who tells himself and the world “I can quit any time I want to.”

To review other defense mechanisms: all of us know a rationalization when we see one, especially when the other guy does it. Intellectualization is denial that’s been to college–“I understand why I drink but I choose to continue.”

Everyone who has ever kicked the dog or yelled at the kids when he’s really angry at the boss is guilty of displacement. Introjection and incorporation are ways we have of minimizing the impact of death or separation, and most of us have had the experience of suddenly realizing we are acting “just like” the person we cared about who is gone.

Reaction formation and undoing are ways of doing the opposite of the wished-for behavior, which sometimes appear superstitious. Most of us know someone who hates our guts, but always acts like our best friend. That is reaction formation. Projection is a powerful and often destructive tool whereby we take unacceptable parts of ourselves and attribute them to others. Projection is often the fuel for divorce: “It’s not my fault, it’s your fault, that I’m unhappy, unsuccessful… ( you fill in the blank).” Splitting is a complex defense mechanism in which others are seen as either all good (and thus caring, rescuing sources of strength) or all bad (and thus to blame for all one’s own misery). To be in a close relationship with a splitter is extremely confusing (but rarely dull), because the roles frequently reverse, often several times a day, so one is never quite sure where one stands. Splitters can wreak havoc in groups because they tend to get others to play out their assigned roles; no one is permitted to be merely human, a combination of good and bad.”

[Richard O’Conner, Ph.D. at http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/connor3.html]

This is simply to make the preliminary point that emotions rule rationality much more than rationality rules emotions. So the critique of “capitalism” or “the world economy” is much better approached by examining the narcissism of elites than by trying to invent an impossible epistemology.

Trauma and Emotions

The final step in the maturation of the scientific understanding of emotions has come in the last 30 years of the twentieth century through the study of trauma and trauma treatment. Many important details still need to be worked out. There are many experimental forms of trauma treatment that are not learning from one another and whose effectiveness is therefore still weak. But the outline of the situation is stable, and it begins with the nature of “trauma” itself.

There is a physiological substrate to trauma, which has to do with the serotonin cycle in the human brain. Thus, the most widely used medications to control the uncontrolled emotions due to trauma imprints and stress are called “selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors” (“SSRIs”)(e.g., Prozac, Wellbutrin, Zoloft). Experiences early in life are a key factor in generating trauma imprints.

Trauma has various levels of severity. I group them into four such levels.

The psychopath. The most profound level of severity is that due to early and sustained massive stress (e.g., in infancy), a consequent complete overwhelm of the serotonin cycle even to the point of physiological changes in the brain. Adrenaline-cortisol flow is always on, and normal affective connections are massively destroyed. This produces the personality type known as the psychopath, a person who has no control over his or her emotional needs, and has perfected certain masking survival techniques, such as the perfectly cheerful exterior masking perfectly concealed rage and leading to covert acting out. A psychopath can also be produced by anomalies in the hard wiring of the brain that are due to no behavioral inputs.

“Personality disorder.” The second level of severity is caused by less sustained stress later in life than what produces the psychopath, but still broadly diffuse traumatic inputs. It produces a person who has “a personality disorder”, and one that has some measure of control over the apathy-rage cycle.

To the extent that the criminal justice system and forensic psychiatry can distinguish between the psychopath and someone with an attachment disorder, they tend to send the psychopath to a high-security mental ward and the person with the personality disorder to the non-medical penal system, which in the USA includes the death penalty.

Neither of these two levels of emotional agenda is particularly “treatable” in the present stage of medical knowledge.

PTSD. The third level of trauma is that caused by certain specific and extreme stress events that happen usually after infancy, such as incest and intermittent violence by a parent. These traumas produce phenomena such as re-enactment, depression and “triggered” dissociation, which symptoms have now been gathered into the medical discussion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Adrenalin-cortisol flow is affected by specific, continuous stimuli. Stressful adult events such as war, torture and becoming a refugee also operate at this third level.

The Alice Miller Finding. The fourth level of trauma is that produced in most of the human population by harsh child-rearing practices. I think of this as “the Alice Miller finding” due to the work on this subject by the Swiss psychiatrist. This level of trauma produces extremely complex personality structures in which some interpersonal relationships may be egalitarian and intimate, but other aspects of a person’s emotional agenda may be insensitive, manipulative and ultimately narcissistic.

In this view of human emotions, the fully healthy personality is that of the “saint” or the “sage”, and even there, one may have his doubts about many of those who are thought to be such.

What Is To Be Done

This is of course Lenin’s famous question. But I do not give his famous answer. My program for addressing the question of emotional agendas in the critique of modern industrial society is an enterprise of personal and intellectual endeavor that includes the elements: identify, publicize, treat.

The first step is an exercise of study and science. One element of this is to identify the syndromes that affect rogue elements of elites. The CIA uses profilers to classify problem political leaders, such as Saddam Hussein. Regular social science can expand this perspective greatly and embark on the study of the narcissism of elites in general. On the way they can identify the syndromes that affect the personality structures of the great thieves of recent years: e.g., Thomas Keating of the Savings and Loan scandal, Michael Milken of junk bond infamy, Fastow, Skilling & co. of Enron, Bernie Ebbers of Worldcom, Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco. and so on.

The second step is to devote a lot of social science and journalistic writing to the subject of the narcissism of elites. If one question is the actual personality disorder of rogue leaders, an equally important question is how they manage to rise to power. Surely one element of this process is a collective blindness to the whole issue of emotional agendas. We appear to live in a culture where the investigation of interiority is widely taboo.

The third element is treatment. The fourth and third levels of trauma are treatable. But, since the present state of culture imposes widespread prohibitions as to any interior inquiry, such treatment will have to begin with those elites who regard it positively. Let them begin to treat themselves and model the results for others.

Trauma Treatment

[The following text is taken from the web site: http://www.thesecularspirit.com]

To demystify trauma we must note that it is an event that overwhelms our normal defense responses. What makes trauma so “mysterious” is that previously we did not understand the biological structure of these responses. Now that we do, we have more powerful treatment options.

Furthermore, the idea of “overwhelm” is important. When we were very little, events that would be trivial to an adult can overwhelm the fetus or infant: e.g., simple pain, alone-ness, rejection, etc. So, “traumas” can be very ordinary events, and everybody has them.

“Overwhelm” is essentially an information issue. Things happen too fast. There is too much information to process. Our response mechanisms get overloaded. They freeze. The treatment is to un-freeze them.

These frozen responses persist into adulthood and form a framework for interpreting the world. We have them in common with other mammals. (See Waking the Tiger, by Peter A. Levine.) As frozen, physiological imprints, they must be treated physiologically.

Somatic process.

So, somatic process is the key to this new method. That is, you must start with noticing what is going in on your body. This is a physiological noticing: “warmth”, “tightness in my diaphragm”, “a tingling”. . . When you notice these sensations, they “move”. You just follow them wherever they lead. The result is an increased sense of presence in one’s body and in the world.

This is different than psychotherapy, which focuses on emotions. We note that emotions have two components: one mental, one physiological. We train ourselves to by-pass the mental part and focus on the somatic.

Slowing down the clock, small pieces.

The basic tactic is to “slow down the clock.” Simply remembering a traumatic event can trigger re-enactment of the whole episode. We want to avoid re-enactment.

The key is to focus on a piece of the memory that is small enough to recall without dissociating. We call this “titration”, a term from chemistry which means adding one volatile element to another in very small amounts, to prevent their explosion.

In trauma treatment, past events need to be approached from a certain distance, as it were, and the time-sequence slowed down. We can recall past events in extreme “slow motion”. At this pace, we can identify components of events that went unnoticed because things happened too fast. Since every piece of the memory contains all the elements that contributed to it, the recall of a very small piece can unfreeze healthy responses.

Our comment is, “We can access anything as long we go slowly enough.”

This is not psychotherapy.

This method is education in the tradition of “somatic education”, a field pioneered by people such as F. M. Alexander and Moshe Feldenkrais. Somatic education is the identification of specific physical processes that mediate between spirit and body. It trains people to notice and use such processes.

Since it is not psychotherapy, it does not use transference. The important relationship in this process is between you and your body. There is information stored in your body. Your body has things to tell you. As a facilitator, I merely guide you to awareness of bodily processes that are already there. (I do have a Ph.D., but it is in sociology. It merely gives me a broad cultural perspective on the healing arts.)

It is not easy for people to believe that “the cure for pain is in the pain.” But if they actually see it working, then it will be more attractive.

So, we need to assemble a small group of people who already get it, and have them demonstrate the benefits. To say that “the cure for pain is in the pain” means that when you stay awake and engage the trauma imprints, then pain decreases by quantum leaps, and “you become very strong and your existence becomes very meaningful.”

So, I wish to assemble such a group in New York.

In this process we will emphasize “working in sensation”.

In the normal course of psychotherapy, there is a presumption of the primacy of emotions. Emotions are precisely what we want to work with. However, we also know that “emotions” are composed of two distinct parts. One is cognitive and the other is “somatic” (“in sensation”, we say.)

In this process, we will — through proposing certain ground rules, and education in inner body sensing — direct the attention away from emotions as such and towards their components in sensation. These ground rules are the essence of this innovation.

In this study, we will engage in group process with ourselves as the subjects, and videotape the proceedings. The videotaping is to create an educational tool for the general public. Since the default setting of culture is deep-seated fear of interiority, actual images of people experiencing benefits from self-exploration should be more effective than, for example, merely writing a book.

Michael H. Ducey, Ph.D.
Bronx, NY
July 7, 2004
August 27, 2004
September 7, 2004