I wrote this little essay half my life ago, back in 1993 when I was 21 years old. I was then on the very beginning of my adult path, which I was manifesting by hitchhiking around the perimeter of Australia, starting and ending in Melbourne, where I’d been living as an exchange student in biology. I wrote this essay one early morning in my tent in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, having hitched there from Western Australia. I’d already made it more than halfway around the continent. Meanwhile, my parents had just split up not a few weeks before, and I found this out via telephone. I knew that when I returned home to New York nothing in my life would ever be the same, myself included. I knew that if I were to survive and thrive that I would have to look deep inside myself and know who I was, what I stood for, and where I was going. And so I wrote, channeling the truth that was pouring out of me. This gem, as I see it in hindsight, was one of my first clear expressions of that. Continue reading
Dear humans of the year 2100,
By the time you read this I will be long dead, probably forty or fifty years already. The things about which I write are obvious to you. To you it is obvious that we, your progenitors, failed. We failed to make the changes necessary to allow our species to live sustainably on this planet. We failed to use the technology at our disposal to live cleanly on Earth. We failed to use farming and waste disposal methods that did not poison the land and water and air. In our quest for lives of comfort we used our planet, and psychologically our children, as a sewer. Continue reading
I have recently been enjoying good conversation with some friends who describe themselves as “anarchists” and “voluntaryists.” Although I am new to exploring the meaning of these labels, my friends have explained them to me by returning to certain philosophical cornerstones: the non-aggression principle, respect for boundaries, and the avoidance of the use of force. From what I have gathered, a summation of their point of view, be it political or economic or simply interpersonal, is that all human interchange and interaction should be voluntary: that is, that no one should be forced to do anything by anyone or should practice force on others. Perhaps one could restate it by saying that no one should be aggressive toward others or cross others’ boundaries. This, they explain—assuming I have understood it correctly—is the basis of morality. Continue reading
[Written in June, 2011.]
Over the years I have received emails from people (and had face-to-face conversations with many) who feel I present no evidence for the radical sides of my point of view.
These words provide a good challenge for me, and have inspired this essay. What evidence do I have? How have I arrived at my conclusions? Why am I so confident, for instance, when I say that all parents, to varying degrees, are traumatizers? Continue reading
[Written in late 2009.]
Although I have already written a sixteen thousand word essay analyzing the work of Alice Miller—my favorite writer in the psychology field—over the years several people have asked that I create a shorter, more concise, easier-to-read version. I have finally done so—and have gone in a few new directions too…
Before I begin the new essay, I want to make a few background points. I wrote the longer essay in 2006. A few months after I wrote it someone passed it along to Alice Miller herself, and she read it—and criticized it harshly on her website. She labeled parts of it “highly confusing,” she argued that I was taking her words out of context, and she stated that my motivation was to confuse her readers. However, by putting my name on her website she generated a significant amount of attention for my essay, because within hours a horde of people googled my name, found the essay, and read it for themselves. (Several wrote me complimentary emails.) The next day, however, Alice Miller realized her “error” and removed my name from her website, calling me “Mr. X.” instead, presumably to make it more difficult for people to find the essay and judge my words for themselves. Continue reading
[Written in 2006.]
It may be considered indiscreet to open the doors of someone else’s house and rummage around in other people’s family histories. Since so many of us still have the tendency to idealize our parents, my undertaking may even be regarded as improper. And yet it is something that I think must be done, for the amazing knowledge that comes to light from behind those previously locked doors contributes substantially toward helping people rescue themselves from their dangerous sleep and all its grave consequences.
–Alice Miller, The Untouched Key, preface
Alice Miller has influenced my thinking more than any other writer in the psychology field. She opened my eyes to the struggle of the child in the repressive family, she introduced me to the idea that an abused child will compulsively need to replicate his repressed traumas until he is able to resolve them, and she banished from my mind the idea of inherent evil in the child – or the adult. Continue reading
[Written around 2007.]
Translated into adult English from the look in the baby’s eyes…
I need parents who love me fully. I need parents who understand me fully. I need parents who can adequately translate the needs behind my cries…and my coughs…and my silences.
I need parents who are open to learn all they can learn from me. Continue reading
[Written around 2004.]
There is but one truth. This one truth is reality. Reality is what is, whether we see it or not. Although truth is not subjective, our perspectives on truth can be subjective. Until a person becomes fully enlightened – and can see full truth – his vision of truth will be at least partially distorted. He will believe things to be true that are false. His knowledge of cause and effect will be limited. He will lie to himself. Continue reading
[Written in 2004 or 2005.]
As we walk forward on the path toward full enlightenment, different parts of ourselves live at different stages of healing. Some parts can be amazingly healed and insightful, while others can remain buried and out of touch. Our different parts traverse the various stages at their own speeds, seemingly independently – but ultimately connected to our core of perfection by our universal thread of truth. Continue reading
[Written in 2004.]
A traumatized child is safe to broken parents because he does not threaten their dishonest authority. Thus he earns his crumb of love. A traumatized student is safe to broken teachers because he does not question their unearned authority. Thus he earns his right to gain a false education.
A traumatized worker is safe to broken bosses because he follows their numbing orders. Thus he keeps his dead job and perpetuates a dead system. Continue reading
We humans are destroying our planet—and we are responsible. We spread pollution through our industry, our overpopulation, our fertilizers, our trash, and our insecticides. We wreak ecological havoc through our unsustainable farming, logging, mining, fishing, and exploitation of the world’s other natural resources. We are making our home unlivable not only for ourselves but for the millions of other animal and plant species with whom we share it.
[Written around 2005.]
The definition of child abuse is simple: whenever the spirit of the child is disrespected the child is abused. Abuse of the spirit of the child can take many forms, from the overt forms of child abuse that conventional society is able to accept – such as overt sexual abuse, physical violence and the extremes of neglect – to whole realms of abuse that fall below society’s radar and are considered normal and healthy forms of parenting. Continue reading
[Written in 2004.]
Dissociation (being split-off from one’s deepest truth) mimics enlightenment – but it isn’t enlightenment. People who are dissociated live in great peace. But this is only because they have blocked their negative feelings. The enlightened person resolves his negatives feelings, and thus his peace is not false. Continue reading
[Original essay written around 2006.]
[Introduction/addition, March of 2013: I no longer really use the word “enlightenment” anymore. As a term it is too loaded — too many people equate it with some sort of Buddhist-like dissociative state, which is the exact opposite of what I’m talking about. Nowadays, when I am trying to express the concepts I define below as “enlightenment,” I prefer to use the terms “being healthy,” “being real,” “being honest,” having “resolved our inner traumas,” or “being fully conscious.” I ever prefer the term “self-actualization.” But since I have used the word “enlightenment” a lot in past incarnations of this website and also in my books, I don’t want to remove the word entirely… So please take my use of this loaded word with a grain of salt!]
What is enlightenment? Continue reading
[I wrote this essay in June of 2011.]
Many parents have asked me, “Who is your intended audience for this website?”
This is often followed by their admission that they feel alienated or attacked by my writing. Not infrequently, this is followed by a suggestion that I rewrite my website. Although they acknowledge that some parents can be terrible, other parents, they say, are looking for help, and can’t get it from a website that labels them as abusers.
Although I recognize that parents need help, helping parents is not the primary purpose of this website, because parents as a group are not my intended audience. My intended audience is the child: the child within everyone, the wounded self within each of us who was never fully heard, never fully recognized, and never fully nurtured by parents who themselves were never fully heard, recognized, or nurtured. In order to speak directly and honestly to this audience, I take the side of the child. If I did anything less I would fail at my mission. Continue reading
[I wrote this essay in July of 2011.]
I create my writing, videos, and music in the context of my broader point of view. Many of my individual works, however, reflect but one facet of that viewpoint, and when studied out of context risk giving a misleading impression of where I stand. For that reason I write this essay: this is the nutshell of my whole point of view. Continue reading
[I wrote this essay in July of 2011.]
For several years I have been studying people in deep, long-term friendships and couples in happy, long-term, committed relationships, in order to determine what makes the relationship function. What keeps them together? What keeps them “happy” in their relationship? The general answer I have found is simple, and is neither a good nor a bad thing: it is common values. The reason I say it is not necessarily good is that I have seen many happy, functioning couples or friends who share values I find disturbed or offensive, such as fundamentalist religiosity, mutual denial of their abusiveness toward their children, xenophobia, hypochondria, overlapping areas of sexual acting out, shared love of the same drug, and love of living in a bubble of comfort, to name but a few.
My reason for writing this essay, however, arose when I got down to brass tacks and asked myself about my own values, and thus, in turn, about the types of people I am most likely to gravitate toward.
What do I value most in this world? Continue reading