Commonsense Childhood

I put this here in the hope that it will help any parents tempted to use drugs to “help” their child’s development. They won’t, the drugs will just turn their life into hell !

It has been a mystery to me why my parents drugged me in 1976. An act that has left me with health problems to this day. But “why?” was simply a lack of commonsense. When I’d just started formulating my first friends and relationships at primary school, we moved. What a stupid thing to do ! Just when your first son is at a crucial stage of development. No wonder I developed problems at our new place. I was in a new school. I made one friend and a few others but I found other children taking advantage of my lack of local experience. Not an uncommon experience for a child and even a growing experience, but the point is that my parents did not take stock of this situation. All I might have needed is some reassurance and understanding of the stressful after effects of moving house, but it was like it had never happened. So, stupidly the drugs were reached for to “fix” a problem that never was. Drugs that would leave me with such a major problem for the next 30 YEARS (!) that it is only now, when I’m 39 (!) that I’ve realised what the original situation REALLY was.

Thanks to Bruce Levine’s book Commonsense Rebellion for nudging me in the right direction. Thank you too to JUNO magazine (A Natural Approach to Family Life) and their article “The problem with boys. Or with us ...” that talks about “modern” (read – STUPID) approaches to childhood development. The crass culture of “cool”. “Battery reared boys” (yes like BATTERY HENS). Cognitive favoured over right brain “artistic, feminine” learning and teaching. The erroneous assumption that boys are purely male and girls are purely female, when we are all a mixture of both. Health and safety obsession – “cotton wool culture”. Political correctness – the author of the book reviewed in this article heavily criticises feminism, but only the areas that have gone too far. Boys and Men are not the “enemy”. Yet despite us all being a mixture of male and female there are essential differences between boys and girls.

Again this is all a call to commonsense values and ancient values that have always worked. I was going to write a separate article about a BBC4 broadcast that I was watching last night but it seems highly relevant here. It was about a period of Spanish history where Spain essentially went “mad” and lost contact with reality. The age of the Conquistadors.  These pious men of God who fought and pillaged their way across the world. “Such was the strange logic of 16th century Spain” as the narrator put it. He examined paintings of strange lifeless figures staring up to an abstract God. Resigned from life they pursued a path of destruction of the world and themselves, justified by an abstract idea that could be used to explain and justify any act, however unreal.

As I thought, some of the current situation HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. Far from being “just” a little bit of history repeating, it is HISTORY that holds all the answers. The Spanish in that period behaved the same way as we do now – abstracting our existence and decisions to an abstract idea. It does not have to be to an abstract idea of “god”, that abstract idea can be money, or drugs, or “mental health”, or “progress”, or “careers”, or “success”. All are equally pernicious in their abstract nature to deceive.

It was Diego Velázquez who was eventually to brilliantly capture and a dawning of a new sanity after the demise of the Conquistadors when they had consumed themselves in their own madness. In a departure from the purely religious paintings that went before he painted these astounding scenes or “ordinary” people.

Here are all the relevant sources …

http://www.diegovelazquez.org/The-Waterseller-of-Seville-1623-large.html
http://www.diegovelazquez.org/Three-Musicians-(or-Musical-Trio).html
http://www.diegovelazquez.org/Infante-Felipe-Prospero-(detail)-c.-1660-large.html
http://www.diegovelazquez.org/Three-Men-at-a-Table-(or-Luncheon)-large.html
http://www.diegovelazquez.org/Prince-Baltasar-Carlos-as-Hunter-(detail)-1635-36-large.html
http://www.diegovelazquez.org/Two-Young-Men-At-A-Table-large.html
http://www.diegovelazquez.org/Old-Woman-Frying-Eggs-1618-large.html
http://www.diegovelazquez.org/Juan-de-Pareja-c.-1650.html

Look at their faces ! This is Spain in the 1600’s ?! That boy putting his thumb up could be from a photo you might see today in modern Spain. These images are astounding and far more than just a work of art. They are magick, an act of a master capturing what should not be able to be captured on pure canvas. A photo could not do this work however many mega pixels your camera has. Who was it who said “we are all artists now” ? It’s funny, I have not seen anyone producing the quality of work that Velázquez has created … shining on to THIS DAY. I think we’re all kidding ourselves that we have become geniuses when the truth of the matter is that we have become very stupid.

According to the BBC4 piece Velázquez intent was to show the “God” in the reality of everyday people. THE CHURCH OF WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW as Coldut put in their DJ mixes. I want a God I can see and touch that is in front of me now ! Not some abstract force in the sky. Well there we have it. Look at the paintings, look around ! It is all here in THIS LIFE. This truly is paradise now and we don’t have to go on some path of suffering and destruction as the Conquistadors did to reach it. Of course the narrator did not put it this way …he said “We don’t know what will happen after death. All we have is our life and everyday reality. Maybe this is all we need”. I don’t think you have to be religious to appreciate his point.

Look at the third painting. Astoundingly Velázquez actually speaks to us there after all these years. The singer mirrors the pious paintings of religious suffering that came before ..BUT IT’S A TRICK ! Notice the guitar and the pious grimace suddenly becomes a singer caught in the act of reaching a note. And to cap it all, a relieved looking boy shares the moment of relief with us. Thank God ! This is pure genius of human expression and human communication coming to us from over 300 years ago. Where is this kind of intelligence these days ?

Far from being some distant part of history “back there” this period is informing DIRECTLY what is going on here. The Mental Health field that drugs children IS the same mentality as the Conquistador. There is a no “comparison” or remote “anaology” here. We are repeating THE SAME MISTAKE. Look at these further images from the broadcast …

They show the censorship of an astronomical text by the Spanish Inquisition. Scribbled out passages and cut out pages. This is what is going on today. It is a kind of mental disease that hides evidence and censors information that conflicts with doctrine. It does not matter if it is God or the “Bible”, or the DSM – the human behaviour involved is identical. This is shown beyond a shadow of a doubt in the paintings of Diego Velázquez. The relief on those faces that things have changed for the better.

Here is the revolution in mental health that MindFreedom has been looking for. It is history that holds all the answers because the situation that MindFreedom campaigns to change so we don’t have to drug our own children, has happened before.

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2 thoughts on “Commonsense Childhood

  1. History repeats itself, yes. Some people say humanity is spiritually evolving (cf. Ken Wilber). And that, soon, humanity will “wake up”. I don’t know, what to believe. Although it sounds nice, all that talk about a collective spiritual awakening, so far, what I see is exactly this, that history repeats itself, and that the only thing evolving is globalization and technology/science. Both make it increasingly likely that one fine day our collective stupidity will kill us all.

  2. That may true. Any awakening will be welcome at the moment. However history is not so linear. I think “awakening” get’s looked at in mechanistic, western terms of “progress” but history is not linear and actually older civilisations were more progressive than we are.

    I don’t know about “increasingly likely”. Nothing lasts for ever. The only reason that anything seems “likely” is that the current Scientific reductionists are going mad and can see no end to their madness. Did it not seem like this in Spain in the age of the Conquistadors ? It must have seemed that there would be no end to their lust for gold and conquest but eventually their Galleon crashed onto the rocks. Now Spain is one of the most peace loving nations in the world.

    That is one of the reasons I wrote this article. There is so much pessimism from some places that many seem unwilling to even look at the lessons of history because “everything is already decided”. A sort of fait accompli. Are we activists or not ?

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