Love, Children, and the World
By María José López Álvarez
According to scientists, studies are demonstrating the existence of a marked relationship between how we are treated during birth and the child rearing period and the way we relate to the world as adult individuals.
Michel Odent argues that the mother-child bond is the base from which all other forms of love spring –including the love for Mother Earth–, and speaks of the existence of a critical period during and after birth with long term consequences for the individual’s future capacity to love. Odent’s work has found a relationship between juvenile crime, suicide, and autism, among others, and certain risk factors surrounding the birthing period, such as forceps delivery, the use of anaesthetics, birth induction, and immediate separation of mother and baby.
He maintains that, for millennia, the survival strategies of numerous societies have been based on the domination of nature and other human groups, and that their violent behaviour stems from aggressive beliefs and rituals surrounding birth –in our society, practices such as unnecessary birth interventions and mother-infant separation after delivery. Thus, he believes that, in order to create a peaceful society and to heal the environment, we need a change in the occidental obstetric model as a fundamental prerequisite, i.e. the humanizing of birth and the empowerment of mothers to trust their bodies as powerful and as conceived and designed for bringing life into the world.
Jean Liedloff claims that, due to cultural practices, occidental societies have separated in a very short time-span from the evolutionary continuum in harmony with the environment in which the human species evolved. As a primate, the human baby expects to be carried in arms, to be breastfed, and to sleep beside his/her carer. This is the baby’s continuum or, in Nils Bergman’s words, the infant’s “natural habitat”. When the baby is separated from his natural habitat, he shows a series of responses designed to call for his mother. In these circumstances, the baby is under stress and, in the event that his calls are unsuccessful, he can reach a state known as “dissociation” , during which the combination of stress hormones and toxic chemicals produced in the brain may cause the death of brain cells, which can in turn affect the individual’s future behaviour and his vulnerability to mental illness.
James Prescott’s work shows that in different cultures, certain variables of infant affection, such as playing with children, caressing them, holding them or breastfeeding, are inversely related to crime and violence variables, such as frequency of robberies, murders, etc. That is, the more affectionate the adults are towards their children, the less violent that society is.
So, our brain seems to respond to the way we are treated from the moment we come into the world: empathy, compassion, and love are imprinted in it through sensory stimuli such as breastfeeding, touch, skin to skin contact, etc. Joseph Chilton Pearce believes that this is our biological plan as a species (i.e. our brains are designed to be hardwired for love) and that, when it does not happen, it is because culture is interfering with biology.
There is yet another determining factor in the way we relate to our environment: contact with nature. Occidental societies are steering towards a total lack of this type of contact from infancy. As Aric Sigman states: “We’re witnessing the ecological equivalent of an attachment disorder whereby the child’s separation from Mother Nature causes a failure to bond properly with her and to go on to establish and maintain a caring relationship thereafter.”
The relationship is also reciprocal: Richard Louv has adopted the term “Nature-Deficit Disroder” to describe the health problems associated with the alienation we are suffering from nature: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illness. Health problems increase with the time children spend in front of the screen, which, according to recent studies affects learning ability independently of the programme’s content. Occidental society is substituting “videofilia” (love of the screen) for “biophilia” (love of life).
We shouldn’t be surprised if, as human beings brought up in this environment, we find it difficult to build communities which care for others and for the environment: environmental degradation and the severity of war have known no precedent in human history.
Where, then, lies the solution? In my opinion, it is in our very hands and hearts: we can start with informing ourselves, getting support, and advocating for birth with no unnecessary interventions; breastfeeding our children and supporting others who breastfeed; carrying our babies in our arms as much as possible without fear of spoiling them; sleeping with our children, playing with them, talking to them, taking them out to Nature, and reducing their exposure to screen time. As Pam Leo, author of “Connection Parenting” affirms: “How you treat the child, the child will treat the world”.
María José López Álvarez is a former La Leche League Leader, a biologist, and the mother of three beautiful children: Sebastian (7), Clara (5), and Alejandro (2 months).
 Odent M, 1999. The Scientification of Love. London: Free Association Books.
 Liedloff J. The Continuum Concept.
 Bergman N, 2005. The Physiology of Skin to Skin Contact. II International Breastfeeding Symposium: Kangaroo Mother Care. Bilbao: La Leche League Spain.
 Buckley S, 2009. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices. Celestial Arts.
 Presscott J.
 Pearce JC, 2007. The Death of Religion and the Rebirth of Spirit. A Return to the Intelligence of the Heart. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press.
 Sigman A, 2009. Videophilia. Resurgence No. 254, May/June, 16-17.
 Louv R, 2005. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Workman Publishing.
 Sigman A, 2005. Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives –and What We Can Do About It. Vermilion Press.
La relación entre la crianza y el cuidado del entorno.
La ciencia está demostrando que existe una marcada relación entre la forma en que se nos trata durante el nacimiento y la época de la crianza y cómo nos relacionamos con el mundo en la edad adulta.
Michel Odent argumenta que el vínculo materno-infantil constituye la base sobre la que se construyen los demás vínculos emocionales –incluido el amor a la Madre Tierra– y que existe un periodo crítico durante y tras el nacimiento que posee consecuencias a largo plazo sobre nuestra capacidad futura de amar. El trabajo de Odent apunta a una relación entre la criminalidad juvenil, el suicidio y el autismo, entre otros, y determinados factores de riesgo en el periodo cercano al parto, tales como el uso de fórceps, el nacimiento bajo anestesia, la inducción del parto y la separación inmediata de la madre y del recién nacido.
Odent argumenta que, durante milenios, las estrategias de supervivencia de muchas sociedades se han basado en la dominación de la naturaleza y de otros grupos humanos, y que dichos comportamientos violentos comienzan con creencias y rituales agresivos en el periodo cercano al parto. Aboga pues por la humanización del nacimiento y por un cambio en el modelo obstétrico occidental actual como requisitos fundamentales para construir una sociedad capaz de sobrevivir en el entorno del que forma parte, esto es, de vivir pacíficamente y reconstruir el entorno social y medioambiental que la especie humana ha mermado de una forma que no conoce precedentes en la historia.
Según Jean Liedloff, a través de prácticas culturales, la sociedad occidental actual se ha separado en un espacio de tiempo muy corto del continuo evolutivo en armonía con el ambiente en el que la especie humana se desarrolló. Como primate, el bebé humano espera ser llevado en brazos y conocer el mundo desde esta perspectiva, ser amamantado y dormir al lado de su madre. Éste es su continuo o, en palabras de Nils Bergman, su hábitat natural. Cuando el bebé está separado de su hábitat natural, desarrolla una serie de respuestas diseñadas para reencontrarse con su madre. El bebé en estas circunstancias se encuentra en estado de estrés y, de no producirse el reencuentro, puede llegar a un estado conocido como de “disociación”, durante el cual la combinación de hormonas del estrés y sustancias químicas asociadas puede causar la muerte de células cerebrales, con consecuencias en el comportamiento futuro del individuo y en la vulnerabilidad frente a enfermedades relacionadas con la salud mental.
Por su parte, los estudios de James Prescott demuestran que ciertas variables relacionadas con el afecto físico, tales como el cariño, las caricias y el jugar con los niños/as, se encuentran relacionadas con variables determinantes del crimen y la violencia, como la frecuencia de robos, asesinatos, etc., en diferentes culturas.
Así pues, los estudios apuntan a que nuestro cerebro responde a la forma en que se nos trata desde que venimos al mundo: la empatía, la compasión y el amor se imprimen en el mismo a través de ciertos estímulos sensoriales, como el amamantamiento, el tacto, el contacto piel con piel, etc.
Además de la ausencia generalizada de este tipo de estímulos en la sociedad occidental, existe otro factor determinante en la relación que desarrollamos con el entorno: el contacto con la naturaleza desde la infancia. Nuestra sociedad se está dirigiendo hacia la casi ausencia de este tipo de contacto; nos hemos convertido en “hombres y mujeres de asfalto” y es aquí donde criamos a nuestra prole, sin posibilidad de apego al entorno natural. En palabras de Aric Sigman: “Estamos siendo testigos del equivalente ecológico a un trastorno del apego, donde la separación del niño/a de la Madre Tierra causa la imposibilidad de formar un vínculo apropiado con ella y de establecer y mantener una relación de cuidado hacia la misma”.
Pero la relación es recíproca: Richard Louv ha acuñado el término “Nature-Deficit Disorder” o “Trastorno por Déficit de Contacto con la Naturaleza” para describir el coste que conlleva la alienación de la naturaleza para la salud humana: disminución de la utilización de los sentidos, dificultades de atención y tasas más altas de enfermedades emocionales y físicas, entre otros. Los costes a la salud se multiplican con el tiempo que los pequeños pasan frente a la pantalla, el cual, de acuerdo con estudios actuales, afecta a la capacidad de aprendizaje, independientemente de la calidad del programa. La sociedad occidental está sustituyendo la “biofilia” por la “videofilia”.
No debería ser de extrañar que, como seres humanos criados en este ambiente, nos resulte difícil crear comunidades que muestren una relación de empatía y cuidado con respecto a la comunidad y al entorno.
¿Dónde descansa entonces la solución? Cómo traemos a los bebés al mundo y la manera en que los criamos determina el tipo de sociedad que forjamos. Por primera vez, contamos con un modelo basado en la evidencia sobre cómo crear una sociedad pacífica y podemos tomar un papel activo y deliberado para llevarlo a cabo. Comencemos por obtener información y apoyo para tener partos sin intervenciones innecesarias, por amamantar a nuestros hijos e hijas, por llevarlos en brazos y mostrarles el mundo en que vivimos desde “esas alturas”, por dormir a su lado y acariciarlos, por llevarlos al campo y por reducir su exposición a la televisión y a los videojuegos. Pues, como afirma Pam Leo, autora de “Connection Parenting”: “Así como tratemos al niño, éste tratará al mundo”.
Embarazo, parto y puerperio
Buckley S, 2009. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices. Celestial Arts.
Kitzinger S, 1993. Nacer en Casa y Otras Alternativas al Hospital. Interamericana McGraw-Hill.
Odent M, 2001. La Cientificación del Amor. Editorial Creavida.
Smulders B, Croon M, 2002. Parto Seguro. Una Guía Completa. Ediciones Medici.
Bergman N, 2005. “Método Madre Canguro” (DVD).
González C, 2006. Un Regalo Para Toda la Vida. Guía de la Lactancia Materna. Temas de Hoy.
La Liga de la Leche Internacional, 1997. El Arte Femenino de Amamantar. Editorial Pax México.
López Álvarez MJ, 2008. Lactancia Materna. Un Vínculo Alimenticio, Saludable, Sostenible y Justo. Opcions nº 25. Páginas 26-27.
Minchin M, 1998. Breastfeeding Matters. Fourth Revised Edition. Alma Publications.
Sueño y colecho
Jové R, 2006. Dormir sin Lágrimas. Dejarle Llorar no es la Solución. La Esfera de los Libros.
McKenna J. Safe Cosleeping. www.nd.edu/~jmkenn1/lab/safe.html
Small MF, 1999. Nuestros Hijos y Nosotros. Crianza Natural.
González C, 2003. Bésame Mucho. Cómo Criar a tus Hijos con Amor. Temas de Hoy.
Liedloff J, 2006. El Concepto del Continuum. En Busca del Bienestar Perdido. Ob Stare.
Manne A, 2005. Motherhood. How Should We Care for Our Children? Allen & Unwin.
Small MF, 1999. Nuestros Hijos y Nosotros. Crianza Natural.
Prescott J. El Placer Corporal y el Origen de la Violencia: http://www.violence.de/prescott/bulletin/article-es.html
Louv R, 2005. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Workman Publishing.
Sigman A , 2005. Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives –and What We Can Do About It. Vermilion Press.
Ok, I am going to share this with you first before I start some of my own experiences….
In her new book The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena, former Harvard professor Diane Hennacy Powell combines philosophy, physics, and empirical data to examine supernatural traits like telepathy (the ability to access someone else’s consciousness), psychokinesis (the ability to use one’s consciousness to affect external objects), clairvoyance (the ability to broaden one’s consciousness to remote time and space) and precognition (the ability to see into the future). She spoke to TIME about Abraham Lincoln’s eerie dreams, Einstein’s theories of time-travel and the idea that anybody can be a psychic.
In your book you write about the psychologist William James and his comparison of the brain to a prism. How does this relate to psychic phenomena?
He believed consciousness is not just what’s happening to the neurons in the brain. The brain is our instrument in focusing and organizing our consciousness. Just like a prism will take a white light with all these different frequencies and separate it so you can see the different colors of the spectrum. Rather than us experiencing everything that’s happening all at once, our brain focuses us on the here and the now. It uses our sensory organs as guides as to what we should be focusing on. Experiments have shown that most psychic experiences occur when are sensory organs are muted, like when we’re dreaming or having a near-death experience.
In your book you mention Abraham Lincoln as one of the more famous examples of precognitive dreaming.
Lincoln had a very vivid dream of walking around the White House and hearing all these people mourning and asking, “What’s going on?” and then having someone tell him, “The president’s dead.” Then he saw his own corpse. He had this dream literally ten days before he was assassinated. He didn’t tell anybody about it at first, but a few days before [his assassination], he told his wife and some friends. Of course, that’s not true of all dreams. Some dreams actually are tapping into some other time and place, and there’s real information in them. Others are just imagination. I think that’s one of the reasons why psychics don’t have 100% accuracy, sometimes it’s just their imagination. What I’m interesting in is trying to discern what it is that makes those experiences so different.
Tell me about the stigma associated with scientists who study psychic phenomena.
There are theories about how the brain works, and what people do is design experiments to generate data that fits with that theory. If they run into data that doesn’t fit into their theory, they just ignore it. But a true scientist will throw out the existing theory if they have a lot of data that cannot be explained. Theories are man-made, and therefore fallible. Data is what’s most important. That’s why we have penicillin. The scientist who grew this bacteria didn’t just throw it out. He looked at it and asked, why aren’t bacteria growing in this plate, and he noticed there was mold in it. If he had thrown out that plate, we wouldn’t have penicillin.
You write that it’s likely everybody possesses psychic abilities, but some people are simply more successful at it? Why is that?
Genetics are likely behind it. One of the things we know is that it runs in families. If you talk to psychics, they’ll tell you there’s a family history of it. Though we haven’t found it, there’s likely a gene for it. There are also cases where people haven’t had any psychic abilities until they’ve suffered head traumas. What’s common is that these people who’ve had this head trauma, the structure and function of their brain has been changed. They’re often not able to function very well in the real world because they don’t know how to use the analytical side of their brain. Similarly, people with synesthesia [a condition in which the senses are connected, i.e. the sound of an orchestra will cause flashes of color or the taste of chicken] have less activity in their cortex. People with autism also have a higher probability of psychic abilities.
How do quantum physics and Albert Einstein’s theories relate to precognition?
If you stop thinking of time the way those in the Newtonian age thought of time as an arrow, and you start thinking of time as the way that Einstein thought of it as a space-time continuum, the future already exists. Just like the entire globe of the earth is all there even though I’m not currently seeing it all here in Southern Oregon. Our brain only allows us to experience time as a series of recurrent moments. What Einstein’s saying is that when we’re talking about time we’re really talking about a psychological construct. Time is like any other dimension in that it isn’t limited. Like space, we have up and down, east and west, they go bidirectionally. Why would time be something different than that? If we didn’t have the constraints of our brain and our psychology that limit our experiences, we would be able to see that.
In my opinion, reality is unique to me and every individual. I imagine this to be the case because each reality is birthed from ones thoughts, experiences and percieved experiences however limited or diverse they may be… I don’t know it’s a hairy subject and I am no expert..(I don’t think anyONE is).
I posed that question to myself because of the content of my blog..whatever thoughts/ feelings you keep kind of become “your world, your reality.”…? I want to keep it balanced… For example when I am researching about world events and I throw myself into an seemingly endless timeloop which I sometimes emerge from at six in the morning having read up many different ideas, thoughts on a particular subject, throughout the night, I am all awash with it..it permeates into my soul it seems.
If it is a positive subject then I feel like the world is one enchanting paradise (slight exageration) on the flip side of that, the scene is dark and stifling and disempowering…
I can emerge out of these 2 extremes and come back to my unique point of equilibrium.. but I am sure the point shifts with each such experience…
I have this rich friend who worked hard all his life because his reality is and has been since very early age that the world is a very cruel place and you have to be strong. Money gave strength and therefore he dedicated his life to amassing it… Unfortunately he is still lonely.. still fearing his reality of the cruel world.. his life of amassing riches did not cure the problem… did not improve his reality it seems..
Just an observation but intellectual man often seems to give little thought to the spiritual slum he dwells in..
On the other hand say myself.. what is my reality… well my reality has metamorphosed a couple of times in my life..but the latest version states that the world is largely how you choose to see it..
Heaven and Hell are “right here, right know” …as Fatboy slim would say..
..I am not sure what reality is but I have a fair idea of what my reality is… a bit like what my truth is I guess.
So, is my blog a reflection of my reality..?
I think it is a small slice of my wondering, questioning, sharing, hungry for truth mind/reality …..
Below info from prisonplanet.com
“A top scientist gave a speech to the Texas Academy of Science last month in which he advocated the need to exterminate 90% of the population through the airborne ebola virus. Dr. Eric R. Pianka’s chilling comments, and their enthusiastic reception again underscore the elite’s agenda to enact horrifying measures of population control.
Pianka’s speech was ordered to be kept off the record before it began as cameras were turned away and hundreds of students, scientists and professors sat in attendance.
Saying the public was not ready to hear the information presented, Pianka began by exclaiming, “We’re no better than bacteria!”, as he jumped into a doomsday malthusian rant about overpopulation destroying the earth.
Standing in front of a slide of human skulls, Pianka gleefully advocated airborne ebola as his preferred method of exterminating the necessary 90% of humans, choosing it over AIDS because of its faster kill period. Ebola victims suffer the most tortuous deaths imaginable as the virus kills by liquefying the internal organs. The body literally dissolves as the victim writhes in pain bleeding from every orifice.
Pianka then cited the Peak Oil fraud as another reason to initiate global genocide. “And the fossil fuels are running out,” he said, “so I think we may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third as many people.” ”
National Security Memo 200, dated April 24, 1974, and titled “Implications of world wide population growth for U.S. security & overseas interests,” says:
“Dr. Henry Kissinger proposed in his memorandum to the NSC that “depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World.” He quoted reasons of national security, and because `(t)he U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less-developed countries … Wherever a lessening of population can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resources, supplies and to the economic interests of U.S.”
Kissinger prepared a depopulation manifesto for President Jimmy Carter called ‘Global 2000’ which detailed using food as a weapon to depopulate the third world.
The Melbourne Age reported on recently uncovered documents detailing Nobel Peace Prize winning microbiologist Sir Macfarlane Burnet’s plan to help the Australian government develop biological weapons for use against Indonesia and other “overpopulated” countries of South-East Asia.
One of the most chilling admissions of deadly intent came from the lips of the late Jacques Cousteau, the sainted environmental icon. In an interview with the UNESCO Courier for November 1991 the famed oceanographer said:
“The damage people cause to the planet is a function of demographics — it is equal to the degree of development. One American burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangaladeshes. The damage is directly linked to consumption. Our society is turning toward more and needless consumption. It is a vicious circle that I compare to cancer….”
“This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s just as bad not to say it.”
In the foreword to his biography If I Were An Animal, Prince Philip wrote, “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”
Throughout history elites have invented justification for barbaric practices as a cover for their true agenda of absolute power and control over populations. Up until the 19th century, the transatlantic slave trade was justified by saying that the practice was biblical and therefore morally redeemable in nature, despite the fact that no such bible passage exists.
From 1932 until 1972, the Tuskegee Study Group deliberately infected poor black communities in Alabama with syphilis without their consent and withheld treatment as the diseased rampaged through the town killing families.
In 1951 the Israeli government used US government provided technology to irradiate 100,000 Jewish children in a mass atomic experiment with an entire generation of Sephardi youths used as guinea pigs. 6,000 died immediately after the experiments and the rest suffered for the rest of their lives with debilitating illnesses and cancer.
Who is this last song about???
Just to recap, the small olive press we took our olives to is run by a charity and they had warned us that they would take a week, as much of the process is done by hand. Most olive oil of 500 kgs approx is made within an hour or so when taken to the various local industrial olive mills ..
Well they took a bit longer than a week but the end product is worth it.
Quality is so important… It reminded me of my friend Veron, who said I have so little money but I eat like a queen. During late summer her family help in farms to pick figs, almonds, autumn is spent picking olives etc. They are often “paid” with the produce. So they dry their figs, jar their olives, have their own olive oil all year and in addition to all that they plant fruit and vegetables wherever they stay. I still have a pumpkin they gave me last year! (Its stored in a cool, dark and dry place. )
Back to our olive oil.. When you normally buy olive oil, it is made with “regular” olives not the wild olives. The wild olives are a lot smaller in size so you have to work a lot harder at picking each tiny olive and to many it can feel tedious and time-consuming. However as we wanted thee best and time was not a BIG issue we decided to pick mainly wild olives, as did our neighbours J&R. We put our olives together and shared the olive oil. In terms of taste, the wild olives give the oil a MUCH stronger taste. That would not be to everyone’s liking but I love it. It is an oil more suitable for savoury use. I have also tried using it as a massage oil. It absorbs into the skin really quickly leaving it feeling soft and wonderful. No grease sitting on top of the skin at all. Amazing. 🙂
Due to lack of knowledge we messed up the timing of picking our olives. This year was an experiment to be honest. Next year we will buy our own press and make different types of olive oil picking them and pressing them as the various varieties ripen.
As a last note I would like to suggest… that when you buy some olive oil and consume it.. if you like please pay a thought to the olive tree and the hands that laboured to collect the olives. Olive picking is an EXTREMELY hard underpaid job normally done by those at thee bottom of the social scale. And not everyone has the refreshing attitude my friends V and N have to physical work….. Nor does everyone have their youth and strength…
I do what I do by choice because I want to reconnect with nature.. to feel “whole again”.
I wanted to share the below with you in my blog entry yesterday but I kept it to myself because it goes into a different dimension of life experiences which I have not shared with you guys much on this blog… However I have reached a stage whereby I want to start.. so here goes…
Yesterday as I crossed the “raging river” that NO ONE would dare cross especially with a dodgy leg, on a flyweight aluminium ladder with water crashing around me a few metres below……
I felt completely safe
That feeling was coming from the river…. not from me… it was strongest when I was half way across.
I felt it resonating towards me like you feel warmth from a fire….
It was magical and humbling..