Hi everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment here in the Alliance community to acknowledge and witness the tragedies that have unfolded in recent days--in particular with the Newtown, CT school shooting and the Clackamas, OR mall shooting just 3 days before. In fact, the web site for ThinkProgress has posted a timeline of shootings since Columbine and the CT shooting was the eighth in the U.S. in 2012. 

I don't have answers about what's going on in our culture. True to the spirit of depth psychology, I do have a million questions. There are clearly dark shadows at play--and the archetypes and gods showing up in these scenarios are demanding attention--something only those who are paying attention can probably begin to address right now. I am reminded that Martin Prechtel, author and initiated shaman among the Maya people in Guatemala, suggests that if a culture is not willing to make offerings, there will be arbitrary sacrifices. It makes me wonder: What are we, as a culture--and as a community, even--missing here? What is being neglected, bypassed, or buried that we can individually and collectively address? And how do we begin?

I know many of you have likely been horrified at the events--especially this week--and at the same time I find it somewhat surprising that no one (including myself until now) has brought it up here in the forum for discussion, a place I would wish could be a destination and a container for such distressing emotional issues at such a critical time in our culture.

This is not a judgement but a curiosity--a wondering at how we can make this community more relevant and meaningful in dealing with the difficulties that come our way--and in connecting more humanly with each other. Perhaps there are no words for the horror and despair; or perhaps many of us, me included, are introverts and find it hard to reach out, or find that the feeling function is our inferior function...

What do you think? How have you been affected by this tragedy and the increasing violence in the world today? I wrote a brief blog on the subject of witnessing, but it doesn't begin to address the depth of emotion I'm feeling and you may be as well... Please join in discussion, even if only to express your feelings here...

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  • I'm sure many of you have seen this (HuffingtonPost) post from Liza Long, the Idaho mother of a 13-year-old son:' I Am Adam Lanza's Mother': A Mom's Perspective On The Mental Illn.... If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. It's an authentic and disturbing account of her own situation--and her plea for help. What are parents and family members like her to do?

    Her post was also featured on CNN this morning and is clearly an important contribution to the conversation. I can relate to a certain situation like this in my own life, and I suspect many of you are personally affected in some way as well. Simply labeling troubled children and individuals offers no solution and usually further marginalizes those who already find themselves at the edges of whatever we consider "mainstream" or "normal. After reading Liza Long's post, I hope you'll share your reactions and thoughts here...

    • Thank you for posting this link. I listened and feel utter sympathy for this mother's plight. I am grandmother to a boy- now adult at 22 - who is disabled and mentally challenged. Though seldom violent, he is resistant to suggestions. He still lives with his mother and is physically stronger than her or her husband. Because he is too old for the schools that care for these children, he is at home all the time now. Just by resisting attempts to get him into a car, to change his clothes, to do anything he is not of a mind to do, causes him to strike out. He could easily hurt his parents or sisters. The solution for many years has been to use drugs. The family says, thank god for the drugs. But we all carry a sadness that this boy/man carries such deep capacity for  love and yet such anger. We can understand his resistance; he has had to be closely controlled all his life. We can hug him when he is loving, but most of us do not know what to do when he is angry but to leave him alone. We miss having a larger society that will embrace him, guide him, give him opportunities. His mother has handled this well and deserves much credit. His siblings help as much as they can.  I just wish she had more help from community. Let us hope the coming discussions are fruitful.

  • Hi Marilyn, Michael, Meg, Jenna, and everyone. Thank you so much for your impassioned responses. I'm so grateful you're willing to engage and I hope others will weigh in with thoughts and feelings in coming days. 

    Michael, I have to agree with you that our culture--and perhaps human culture in general-- is just not set up to nurture our children into healthy, whole human beings--and as you point out, this starts even before the birthing process and continues throughout childhood. No matter how good parents try to be, there's no way to protect our innocent children from the horrors of the world. It's part of the human experience and raises the question of how we can collectively transcend to greater levels of consciousness (and action)---while still acknowledging and honoring the shadow that is always going to be part of us.

    On the other hand, I do think there are many things we can learn (and teach our children) about how to deal with the horrors that come our way. I think your comment, Meg, about the "not feeling" being part of the self-regulating response to trauma is very real and perhaps the work of depth psychology is there--to bring awareness as a very small first step to the fact that that is what we do--ALL of us--as a general rule. 

    Jenna and Marilyn: Both of your comments bring a new wave of emotion and concurrently a fresh wave of total confusion. I recognize even as I read them that tendency to "not feeling". It's just too horrible to comprehend--and yet, coming back to the idea of arbitrary sacrifice, I think there's something really important about identifying what archetype is at play, what the collective dream is trying to communicate to us to elicit RADICAL change in our culture.

    Yes!--I agree it is definitely something about a murder--the outright massacre--of innocents (innocence). I'm wondering as I think many of you are about the collective fact that the feminine has been abandoned by our culture, resulting in a loss of sustainability, vulnerability, and of nurturing in lieu of patriarchal culture. What aspect of the Great Mother archetype may be manifesting here, or making certain demands?

  • Hi Bonnie,

    I could hardly process the horror of what happened in Connecticut. As a mother of four children of my own (now grown) and a relative to several teachers in my family, I am mourning with the families who have suffered, including the remaining family of the boy who did the shooting.

    Jean Campbell posted an interesting question at the I.A.S.D. page on Facebook from the group The Dream Tribe: If we consider yesterday's horrific violence in Connecticut a 'collective dream' - what might our dream be trying to tell us? If it were your dream, what might it mean?

    I answered:If this were my dream/nightmare...I would wonder what part of me/us is killing the creative, imaginative, innocent parts of myself/ourselves through violence, war, and berserk thinking. What am I/we ignoring that has the potential to explode and destroy everything of value in its wake? Why is the Mother being slaughtered and the teachers being killed? What is it within myself that has to change in order to avert this kind of nightmare in the future?

    I agree with you, we need to find some way to reach out and dialogue about how we can begin to be more humane. If not here, where? If not now, when?

    Thank you for sharing from your heart,

    Jenna Ludwig

  • Hello Bonnie~Thank you for your sensitive postings. My own *feeling function* is alive and well. And one of the things that I do know for myself, is that in trauma speak, there's an important** self regulating** that goes on in the aftermath of such tragic events. That self regulating includes *not feeling*, because it is simply too much for a mind, heart, soul, body to take in all at once. I've often reflected that the mind is kind in that way. I believe it was Jung who said something to the effect emotional maturity partly occurs b/c of our capacity to stay with complexity. I pretend to offer no answers and find myself feeling **assaulted** by those who do right now. My sensabilities lean toward the unknown path of grief, reflection, and trusting the integration of such complexities will lead me toward the best action my heart reveals.

  • Mass Murders for Revenge & to Scare Millions of Secret Abusers? Where’s cooperating?

    Some causes of violence are violent birth trauma in normal hospital birth deliveries & violent parenting Punishing children for anything, esp spanking, slapping,  hitting, battering, blaming blame, screaming & threatening terrorizes children with secret & outer fears, hate, guilt & regret or craving revenge or escape, running away or drugs to numb the pain from birth trauma, neglect & abuses ignored.  We have no laws to protect children from common child abuse & horrible sexual abuse secretly wounding 40% of girls growing up in private families is tradition in male run family cultures.

    Denial of most secret violent child abuse creates raging planned ‘copy cat’ crimes for revenge & getting hero praise among the millions of other victims of secret abuses & punishments so common in empire cultures.  Normal birth & family violence & video war games trains mostly boys toward violent expressions in for revenge.  Growing up from violent normal hospital birth trauma of production line style, & circumcision the most violent painful operation in modern medicine wounds babies with numb emotions, unable to feel deeply inside or have any empathy for others. 

    Revenge for punishment  is motive of rage against authorities, & secret child sexual rape & molesting Freud learned a century ago & hide from all.  Until “Assault on the Truth’ by Jeffery Masson 1990s expose of Freud’s secret.  That’s explained in family violence by Alice Miller radical psychiatrist in her many books exposing child-abuse results, but not ‘birth trauma’ so normal in hospital deliveries Standard Operating Procedure to imprint babies with modern medical science systems of fearing germs & real emotions. 

    Now the most violent cultures: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, cannibals & African tribes do ritual circumcision of males &or females to enslave them for slavish development.  When are we gonna admit these crimes against children & outlaw punishing children by mad people to control them with pain & fear? So we can grow up cooperating together in families, schools & community relationships?!        naturallyours   micheal sunanda

  • Thank you for starting this discussion, Bonnie. The idea of arbitrary sacrifices is compelling and I'd like to hear other thoughts on that. My fb comments the past few days have focused on our cultural tendency to ignore or criminalize severe mental illness. I have worked with the children who
    • oops...had trouble with my mobile app...continued now:

      exhibit severe emotional disturbance as the result of trauma and neglect, some for mysterious reasons. What is the archetype at work here, when our children's souls are torn apart at the seams, and we watch as they become brutal murderers? 

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