The Human Baby -- by James Kimmel, Ph.D.

"Tenderness appeared in man's mammalian ancestors eons before he learned to preserve fire or shape a stone." -- Lewis Mumford, The Conduct of Life

Ninety-nine percent of all humans who have ever lived were hunter-gatherers. Studies of hunter-gatherer societies readily confirm the respect given, and the support provided, by the group to a mother nurturing a baby. Since ancient times, however, continuing until the present, there has been a concerted effort in Western civilization to eliminate the necessity for the natural mother to nurture her newborn. Mothers in many cultures and at various times have been encouraged to suppress their tender feelings toward their babies, discouraged from nurturing them in the biological human way, and to give over their baby's care to others.
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The history of childhood in the civilized world reveals that babies have not always been perceived as lovable or needing tenderness. At various times and for varied reasons, they have been seen as evil, harmful, burdensome, worthless, unwanted, and expendable. They have, of course, been treated in accordance with these beliefs about them (deMause, Beekman). Lloyd de Mause, in his book on the history of child care, has stated, "The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken. The further back in history one goes, the lower the level of child care, and the more likely children are to be killed, abandoned, beaten, terrorized, and sexually abused".
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DeMause is referring to the societies of civilization, not to societies of people living outside civilization. The story of people who live as hunter-gatherers is quite different as regards children than the one described by him. Studies by anthropologists of hunter-gatherer groups do not describe infant and child care in these groups as a "nightmare." They usually describe the care of the young as "indulgent".
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A human baby born today, to any parents anywhere in the world, would have no trouble fitting into a hunter-gatherer society. He evolved to do so. On the other hand, any baby born today in modern society does not fit our world, nor would any baby born in the past fit it either. Babies (and mothers) have not changed in their reproductive biological or genetic structure; it is society and mothers who have changed in their response to, and in their attitude toward, babies. We no longer value and support mothering or the babies' critical need to develop in relation to a tender, nurturing mother.

[ed. Those are some excerpts of a brilliant essay by Dr. James Kimmel that offers a sort of broad anthropological overview of childhood... About what our species has evolved to expect in terms of childrearing... and about what our contemporary culture seeks (and succeeds) to do with its proscribed childrearing practices (which amounts to acculturation; domestication & alienation from nature, including alienation from our natural selves and others like us.).... I really encourage everyone to read the essay in its entirety, even those of you who think reproduction is 'evil' and plan to never have any association with children.]  (continued...)

The Unholy Trinity: Death Squads, Disappearances, and Torture

In this excellent article by Greg Grandin, the history of U.S. involvement in decades of 'dirty wars', brutal dictatorships, and false democracies across Latin America is briefly explored in an effort to show that the current atrocities occurring in the global war against terrorism are really nothing new. They may have been refined a bit, to be more palatable for public consumption, but essentially nothing has changed. Just like the cold war and the drug war, the war on terrorism is nothing more than a contrived pretense for the wealthy elite classes of the world to wage unrestrained warfare against self-willed people and planet which stand in the way of their amoral quest for profit.  (continued...)

WTF WWF?!? -- Roundtable for Responsible Soy: Rejected! La Soja Mata.

They use so many dirty tricks against us. Age-old dirty tricks too, like 'image magick'. Using symbolic abstractions to mesmerize us... to mystify us. The environmental NGOs who sell their 'brand' for the purpose of corporate greenwashing.are certainly deeply involved in such dark magic... attempting to distract us with their mindfucking trickery while our mother is raped and our children are robbed. (continued...)

The Ecofascist Technocratic-Primitivist Utopia In Our Midst: a.k.a. "Yuppies With Spears"

When wealthy technophilic urbanites begin to catch-on to the notion of a 'retrolithic revolution', what will the inevitable niche markets & subcultures of late capitalism look like? I'm sure we can all imagine multiple possibilities, and yet, as often happens, the truth will probably be stranger than fiction... as is the case with this mindblowing report about a techno-primitivist-capitalist "tribe" that is supposedly already well organized and established in the northeastern United States. I'm still holding out some hope though that this article is actually fiction, but it's very subtle satire if that's the case. And it's likely that life would be imitating art soon enough, in any case. This is definitely a must-read... not only is it the first fresh content this site has had in quite a while, it's also the most unusual and also the most directly relevant piece that has EVER been posted here. So, enough hype... I'll let you get to it...   (continued...)

The Garden of Simplicity: Expressions of Voluntary Simplicity and Their Implications

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Here's an interesting essay from the author of a book titled Voluntary Simplicity -- a label that also symbolizes a steadily growing sub-culture/social movement found in many post-industrial nations around the world. In the essay he briefly discusses the history of 'simplicity' as a lifestyle choice, and then goes on to detail several forms which that choice for simplicity tends to take in the United States. Though these 'diverse expressions' of simplicity are probably best read as arguments for simplicity... compelling reasons to choose a simpler lifestyle... since the distinctions that are made seem quite unclear, at times. The possible overlap of supposedly distinct expressions of simplicity, which the author concedes may occur, is really totally inevitable. Even for the simplest folks, it's impossible to do just one thing... and any one of these 10 approaches to simplicity would undoubtedly include or impact aspects of all the other 10 approaches. I guess that what I'm saying is that the essay seems unnecessarily complicated (ironic, I know), but it's still worth reading if you have the time.

read -- The Garden of Simplicity (continued...)

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