Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Seven: “Please, Sir, Might I Have Some More?”—The Psychological and Economic Repercussions of Fetal Malnutrition
There are four important qualities of pain involved in late stage gestation. One has to do with being crowded and unable to move freely. The other three come under the category of fetal malnutrition: (1) You get less oxygen because of the reduced blood flow in late pregnancy; you experience lack of abundance and feelings of deprivation, impoverishment, “starvation.” (2) With the reduction of blood, you get a reduction in nutrients and insufficient removal of toxins so that the blood coming into and flowing through you is not felt to be as “pure”; you experience being poisoned, “infected”…prenatal “disgust.” (3) Finally, you experience a buildup of toxins in your placental environment as the reduced blood flow does not remove toxins as efficiently as it previously did; you feel irritated, bugged, “dirty”…prenatally imposed upon by the outside world.
So there’s crowdedness in the late stages of womb life, increasing up to the time of actual birth. But there’s the experience directly related to the fetal malnutrition—the increased pressure on arteries to the placenta which reduces blood flow hence the amount of oxygen the prenate receives—that occurs at that time. One feels “pressured” and “overwhelmed” as one becomes larger in the womb; but one also experiences not getting enough oxygen—the simmering panic of near drowning.
We Feel Recurrently Pressured, Overwhelmed, and Panicked
So there’s not moving; but there is also suffocation of sorts…they are related, but very different experiential constellations, both of which profoundly affect how humans will see their lives ever after … both experiences skewing our ability to ever see reality accurately—clear and “unfiltered.” Because of the distinctly different experiences humans have coming into the world—caused by our uprightness, our bipedalism—we are, unlike any other species, riddled with bouts of feeling “pressured” by events, “overwhelmed” by circumstances, and panicked by thoughts of suffocating for lack of vital resources—food, air, land, water, touch, interpersonal contact, tribal/societal belongingness.
The Struggles We Create to “Breathe Free”
We spend much of our lives struggling to “breathe freely,” to “get on top of things,” to “get out from under,” to “be ahead of the pack,” because of this time in late gestation when we felt stifled and in danger of dying lest our oxygen/blood supply be completely “dried up.” We cannot enjoy the blessings of the moment, for we are forever looking forward, fending off and steeling ourselves for possible unpleasantness in the future.
The lesson to be taken from this is not that our early life mirrors our adult, “real” lives. Something more important is being said: Having our lives suffused with these feelings is not necessary, and the perceptions and deductions one makes from them are not instructive … they are wrong interpretations of what is going on; they are “unreal” … when we once again experience them as adults.
These feelings are rooted in forgotten memories, imprints we carry from early experience, and they are not rooted in actual circumstances. Sure, we create a reality that matches these feelings, but the feelings are there first. And if we had less of these feelings, we would less often create situations that mirrored them.
The feeling we carry with us, below the surface in life, is of not being able to breathe, to get enough air…as I have said it is like the discomfort we feel holding our breath under water. We have a simmering panic of “drowning”…of our oxygen supply being “cut off”…which is kept constantly in check.
As adults our experience is colored through with that feeling in ways so subtle we can no longer tease it out even if we wanted to…that is, unless we go through deep experiential psychotherapy, wherein we discover this to be the case. But the vast majority of us live our lives with a barely-kept-in-check panic that we will at some point be cut off from something that we need to survive—food, water, air, other people…and their concomitants—land, transportation, money, family, and so on.
The Oliver Twist Economies We Insist On…”Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?”
We act out these fears through excessive control of and storage of all these resources and through controlling and sycophantic behavior toward others in order to try to ensure a steady supply of vital resources.
Yet even as we wrap up so much of our time and energy in these pursuits, we make sure we will feel no relief from their underlying uncomfortable feelings…as in every other of these feelings, we both seek relief from them and at the same time create the circumstances that give rise to them. In early economic systems, such as a “strong man” economy and feudalism, there is a simplified framework of control-conformity, dominance-sycophancy.
But in “evolved” economic systems, we make certain we will not feel relief from the threat of lack (oxygen starvation/ fetal malnutrition): For we insist on a “dog eat dog” competitive system like capitalism, with its underlying Dickensian threat of an Oliver Twist state of deprivation—We get enough to survive, but it is not free and easy and leaves us always a little starved, wanting “some more.” We find all kinds of rationalizations for not adopting a more prosperous, more egalitarian, more cooperative, less competitive, and less stressful economic style as exemplified by socialism, for example.
Of course, there are societies who have done this historically — many indigenous cultures operate harmoniously this way; and there are societies and cultures that are attempting to create such a workable harmonious system today. But there are reasons why we refrain from wholesale adoption of such easier existences and why we insist on our economic struggles not being alleviated. For to adopt a cooperative socialist framework for meeting our actual needs would be akin to re-creating the earlier style of existence in the womb that was easy and free…the one that was Edenal…in harmony with Reality and Nature.
We’re the Ones Who Block a Return to Eden
That would be smart, of course. But as always we insist on our pains; we are forever doomed to creating situations that confront us with their reality unless or until we actually face and resolve them . So, while we are capable of living in more enlightened styles, we are for the most part going to ensure our existence in a state of struggle…we are the ones who put the angels to guard the gates of Eden.
Continue with Oxygen Hunger, the Greenhouse Effect, and Fetal Malnutrition … The Latent Worldwide Oxygen Panic We Don’t Want to Notice: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 8
Return to Imprinted in the Womb for Wars of Expansion, Deforestation, Cities, Imperialism, and Road Rage—Crowded—”Back Off!”: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 6
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