THE GREATEST CHALLENGE
NOW FACING HUMANITY
The great challenge facing Humanity, if it wishes to evolve to the next level, is finding a way to release negative emotions without harming ourselves and others.
In the first installment in this series–found here–we discussed the problem and the presence of violence in our world—as well as the source of it. Much of it, we said, has to do with sudden eruptions of unwanted data in one’s mind.
We said that you can shove your unwanted data (bad memories, traumatic events) into your personal “trash bin” (the subconscious), but can never get it completely out of your mind. You can “overwrite” it with dozens of newer and better memories, and soon the bitter memories can begin to fade, but they will never be deleted.
Unlike computers, however, there seems to be no way to control if or when this “unwelcome data” shows up in our lives, triggered by something that causes it to spontaneously arise out of the subconscious and take over the conscious mind.
I believe that this is precisely explains the state of human affairs on this planet today. Yet there some ways open to us through which humans can release these negative emotions without harming others or themselves.
Now, in Part II of this series, a look at what psychology offers around all of this.
Because such spontaneous eruptions can apparently be stimulated, and thus occur, at any time—nearly always temporarily controlling, and sometimes severely warping, our behaviors—mind scientists such as Arthur Janov and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross spent years looking at ways that this reservoir of emotional content could be emptied on command, at will, under controlled conditions, so that people took control of them, rather than they taking control of people.
Their idea was to engage in deliberate triggering of the subconscious to release the buried pain through the voluntary expression of it even before it is actually felt. The theory is that expressing emotion does just that: express it. That is, push it out.
PART TWO OF A THREE- PART NEWS ANALYSIS
Processes such as Janov’s tool (which he called Primary Therapy) and Kübler-Ross’ device (which she termed the Externalization of Repressed Emotions)—to cite two examples—involved top-of-the-voice screaming, or beating a set of old telephone books on a mattress, using a rubber compressor hose. Persons were encouraged to begin the screaming or the banging even when no negative emotion was being experienced in their present moment.
The result was in many cases remarkable, if surprising to the participants: the spontaneous “appearance” on the surface, a bringing forward to a place of present-moment consciousness, of intensively negative and apparently deeply-held feelings about another person or a long-past event—negative emotions that shocked many participants with their intensity, with many swearing that while they certainly understood that they held “bad feelings” about some things, they never knew they had such mountains of anger within them.
As Janov and Kübler-Ross suspected it might, the expression of these negative energies in such a dramatic way turned into the expulsion of them, releasing them from their captivity in the subconscious, where they had been held in some cases for many years, and allowing patients to “let go” of them permanently.
The idea, once again, is to release these long and deeply held emotions on purpose, under controlled conditions, rather than have them overtake us, becoming an episodic (or, worse yet, a chronic) aspect of our personality, behavior, and experience. (As in the case of the man who shot people in a Colorado movie theatre, or the person who kidnapped, beat, raped, and imprisoned three women in Cleveland over the past ten years.)
What can possibly cause such repugnant and repulsive deviant behaviors? Clearly, mental aberration, abnormality, anomalousness. Yet what causes this? Is it possible that there is a pain even more deep-seated than that caused by obvious childhood traumas or life-impacting tragedies? Or there be something along the lines of a “primal pain” that precedes all the others, and actually gives weight and substance to them?
If we can find the answer to that question—or at least one answer—we could go a long way toward eliminating eruptive anger, malevolence, violence, and killing from the collective human experience. We could create a society in which, at last, its members were much more safe, much more secure, and much more free from fear.
Will we, can we, ever completely eliminate every cause or source of attack, one human upon another? Perhaps not. Can we enormously reduce the number of such events occurring in our communal lives? I believe we can. Yet the solution I propose will come from the spiritual, not the psychological, community of healers.
And that’s where you come in.
(In the final installment: The source of the original pain—and the way to get rid of it. A surprising description of what you can do as an average, ordinary person to offer a non-psychological solution that, if it swept the planet, could change the world.)