The Time cover “Are You Mom Enough?”, marked the 20th anniversary of The Baby Book by William Sears, MD, labeling attachment parenting practices such as child-led weaning as “extreme.” No surprise, expected really, by echoing a professional party line dating back over 100 years times ten and more.
Please review and share the fabulous re-shoot and Pathways Family Wellness Magazine follow-up on Times most provocative cover story in decades.
To understand why, first realize that a woman’s body was built, among other tings, for pleasure. In a culture where pleasure is BAD pleasure becomes a commodity, something to be possessed, sold and controlled, especially by males whose normal sensory development has been retarded resulting in a cultural hyper-need-response to what is deprived, driving up the value and the compulsive need to possess and control it.
Ashley Montague notes in the Dehumanization of Man (and Woman via children), ‘the central issue of Western thought and civilizations is freedom vs. control.’ In 1932 with the publication of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley predicted an increasing and rapid centralization of power and control, not through oppression and terror, we have that too, but rather through the subtler devices of conditioning, persuasion, new drugs and distraction. What does rapid centralization of power and control have to do with breast feeding and equally intimate circumcision?
Jump time -1928, The Psychological Care of Infant and Child, by John Broadus Watson, celebrated founder of behaviorism, and before that to Luther Emmett Holt, MD, professor of pediatrics at Cornell University and the author of the leading manual on child-rearing for more than a half a century (1894 – 1984), Care and Feeding of Children, a handbook read by millions of women where they were told among other things not to pick up their babies when they cried, to abolish the cradle, to feed them on the clock, and not to pamper them by too much handling, in a word, don’t touch because touch is bad. Montague summarizes Holt and Watson’s commandments.
Keep your emotional distance and especially desist from kissing, coddling, or fondling it. Do not respond readily to your child’s cries for food or attention. The Child’s capacities, said Watson, should be developed towards conquering the world, to meet this aggressive purpose children must be trained to master their feeding schedules, toilet training, and other tasks according to a strict regime. It is through these techniques of problem-solving and being absorbed in strenuous activity that the child would be prepared to cope with the competitive demands of modern society. Such a child, wrote the supreme behaviorist, will be ‘as free as possible from the sensitivities of people and one who, almost from birth, is relatively independent of the family situation.’ More specifically:
There is a sensible way of treating children… Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap, if you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say good night. Shake hands with them in the morning. Give them a pat on the head if they make an extraordinary good job of a difficult task. Try it out. In a week’s time you will find how easy it is to be perfectly objective with your child and at the same time kindly. You will be utterly ashamed of the mawkish, sentimental way you have been handling it.
Watson’s advice to treat children like machines had a deep impact on psychology. It mirrored and reinforced what John Taylor Gatto calls the hidden agenda of compulsory schooling, prediction, conditioning and control, and more specifically, it had a profound impact on pediatric thinking and practice – which obviously continues today. Pleasure is Bad. Get over it – or if not -pay for it.
Jump time – a few days ago. During an insightful, deep and passionate conversation James W. Prescott, PhD, made the simple observation that personal and cultural violence is rooted in the deprivation of pleasure, a theme he has been advocating for more than half a century. Marilyn Milos, founder of NoCirc, Lisa Regan, editor of Pathways, and I were discussing that there is no medical justification for circumcision. So why is it done to men and women around the world, and by who? The answer: to significantly impair and therefore control pleasure. For governments and religions, which are both vested in population prediction and control, the control of pleasure is a powerful and universal weapon to achieve male dominated objectives, at the expense of women and children.
Please listen to the conversation and share it with friends. [direct download mp3]
Consider how Watson’s advice deprives natural, affectionate and playful pleasure between parents and especially mothers and children and how this sensory deprivation alters the way the brain forms. See Prescott, The Origins of Love and Violence.
The entire system from bottle feeding, don’t touch, don’t play, sit in rows, do what you are told until the bell rings (like Pavlov and Watson), don’t question authority, to the torturous removal of the most sensitive and therefore pleasurable tissues of the male and female body, without anesthesia, all of this is designed to increase violence and therefore control. The anti-attachment parenting experts pledge of allegiance:
Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap, if you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say good night. Shake hands with them in the morning. Give them a pat on the head if they make an extraordinary good job of a difficult task.
We are at the bottom of the breastfeeding list worldwide and have five percent of the world’s population but almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners, 2.3 million criminals behind bars and a very lucrative business it is. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate profits derived from illicit drug trafficking worldwide at about $600 billion. The majority of these victims are petty drug offenders. As Gabor Maté, MD brilliantly describes In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction, addiction is, at its roots, a failed or broken attachment issue and this points to sensory deprivation of playful affectionate touch and yes, pleasure.
Prescott is correct. Personal and cultural violence is rooted in the deprivation of pleasure. Deny pleasure and you turn what is denied into a commodity. The pornography industry generates larger revenues than the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink, $97.06 billion a year.
Are you Mom Enough to shake free from the social-cultural-religious-totalitarian authorities and listen to your heart, the intelligence of your own body, to respect the somatic signals, body language being expressed by millions of years of natural intelligence unfolding, and turn the other cheek to the centuries of absurd male obsessive compulsive need to control you and turn your children into the Frankenstein’s Watson and his latter day saints covet? Only you can.
A Moral Imperative Against Pleasure
Moses Maimonides in The Guide of the Perplexed (circa 1190) stated:
As regards circumcision, I think that one of its objects is to limit sexual intercourse, and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible, and thus cause man to be moderate. Some people believe that circumcision is to remove a defect in man’s formation; but everyone can easily reply: How can products of nature be deficient so as to require external completion, especially as the use of the foreskin to that organ is evident. This commandment has not been enjoined as a compliment to a deficient physical creation, but as a means for perfecting man’s moral shortcomings. The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired; it does not interrupt any vital function, nor does it destroy the power of generation. Circumcision simply counteracts excessive lust; for there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment; the organ necessarily becomes weak when it loses blood and is deprived of its cover from the beginning. Our Sages say distinctly: It is hard for a woman, with whom an uncircumcised had sexual intercourse, to separate from him. This is, as I believe, the best reason for the commandment concerning circumcision.
(Part III, Chapter 49, emphasis added).
Prescott, J.W. (1989). Genital Pain v Genital Pleasure: Why The One and Not the Other?
The Truth Seeker, July/August 1989, pp. 14-21