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The Save-The-World Factor
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 Suicide, Eating Disorders, Schizophrenia, Religions... 
 

Contents/Overview/Update

Overview- The author, his work in the field of suicide, and a short description of the evolution and writing of the Save-the-World Factor web pages  Includes reporting that the factor is recognized to exist in at least in one African tribal group

A 2007 Update: Part 1 of The Save-The-World Factor reports the results of three years of therapy focused on better understanding a potenitally deadly (suicide-related) mind/brain & environment situation. As an integral part of the presentation, an attempt is made to shed some light on - and maybe provide an understanding of - why a young man in Calgary committed suicide at about the same time. The speculation - or conclusion - given the available personal experiences  - the evidence - is that some individuals remain more 'connected' (or less 'disconnected') to an inner mind/brain 'entity' that Freud called "the Id," this concept representing the nature of our mind/brain system during plus/minus the first year of our lives  Historically, we have considered the newborn child to be "primitive" with so-called animal instincts (Freud), thus requiring the (western? white?) socialization/civilization process (that may not be the positive process we have believed it to be). Children were also perceived to be 'something' like innate sinner (evil?) entities who required certain rituals to be performed if ever they were to have the potential of being good (even altruistic) and maybe eventually have so-called "eternal life" (Baptism in the Roman Catholic Church).
Alice Miller on the subject of innately evil child (Interview with Alice Miller, November 1992): "As I have already said, I regard all talk of a death-wish, of destructive drives, or genetically programmed evil, as nothing but flight from the facts - facts that have already been proven - and, thus, self-chosen ignorance. People, who love to delegate their responsibilities to the outside world, avoid the testimony of facts. They don't care about the truth. They want to be left in peace. Goodness they attribute to God, evil to the devil or their children's innate wickedness. They also believe that what is destined can be transformed by discipline and violence. How can it? Has anyone ever seen a single human being whose inborn destructiveness has been transformed by beatings and other forms of mistreatment into good, positive character traits? There isn't one in the whole wide world. Nonetheless, " scientists " still cling to their belief in the myth of " inherent evil " and millions of parents still go on mistreating their children in the belief that they can beat goodness into them. What they create instead is a submissive child, a child that may not show his well-justified fury today, but will later remorselessly act out his rage on others, in war or on his own children. The only ones who will not be forced to pass on this legacy of destruction are those who encounter, either in childhood or later, an enlightened witness - someone who can help them feel the cruelty they suffered, recognise it for what it was and categorically condemn it." - More on Alice Miller: Alice Miller: The Most Significant Thinker In Psychiatry Today.
In opposition to such traditional ideologies that essentially demonized the child (and what is biological), the evidence indicated that 'something' primary (innate?) has existed within ourselves that is highly positive in nature and the expression "bio-altruism" was used in Part 1 of The Save-The-World Factor  to describe an aspect of this 'something' or psyche 'entity' that would manifest itself as universally altruistic. The expression "the inner child" has been a common metaphor recently used to describe such an inner positive or wonderful 'being', and the belief that the child was innately wonderful - and even more like a genius - was also expressed by Buckminster Fuller who was known for his "Save The World" attribute:
"Every child is born a genius but is quickly degenuised either by unwitting humans or by physically unfavorable factors of the environment. The bright ones are those who are less damaged than the others." (Fuller & Applewhite, 1986: In a NASA speech, June 1966. All related quotation are given in Note 1)
"Einstein's genius was synergetic. All genius is synergetic. All children are born geniuses, but most are swiftly degeniused by the power structure's educational system. In the guise of education, the system deliberately breaks up inherently holistic considerations into "elementary" topics." [Fuller & Kuromiya, 1992: p. 37]
That newborn children may have a "bio-genius" potential at birth is a radical idea, with serious implications with respect to what societies (maybe to varying degrees) have been doing to them. Surely, if a group of individuals were doing the same thing to our children via brain surgery, they would be perceive in extremely negative terms, likely as the most evil of criminals. Yet, WE may have a history of doing to our children something akin to performing a lobotomy on them. Even more damning might be the possibility that, via socialization processes, we may have also been 'lobotomizing' our children's potential to be (or become) wonderfully altruistic! Is there evidence that, maybe, something like "bio-altruism" exists in humans?

In 2007, research related news items were suggesting that altruism may not be what we have traditionally believed:
Altruism is not about the suppression of basic selfish urges but rather, evolutionary speaking, "basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable." At least, this is what emerged in the new findings neuroscientists recently published. The 2006 research by Jorge Moll and Jordan Grafman of the National Institutes of Health that used brain imaging and psychological experiments at once challenges centuries-old conviction that has associated altruism with a higher moral faculty...

That morality is said to be biologically rooted poses a "threat" to other fields of studies especially theology and philosophy, two disciplines that have long struggled with the notion of free choice. Morality is defined as a capability to make a sound decision among the many choices available to an individual. If follows that culture and other aspects of human society especially religion and spirituality play a vital role in nurturing moral skills. 

The findings, nevertheless, seem to be in a hurry to reduce morality to mere brain chemistry. True, the brain is automatically wired once a moral stance is required. But to think of morality as merely an evolutionary tool resulting from millions of years of survival instincts in both individual and species as well is troubling indeed...
(Sianturi, 2007)
The basics of the research results being referred to was issued in a press release by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (National Institute of Health) that was authored by Stimson (2007).  The two studies that produced the challenging results are:
Moll J, Krueger F, Zahn R, Pardini M, de Oliveira-Souza R, Grafman J (2006). Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(42): 15623-8. PubMed Abstract.

Tankersley D, Stowe CJ, Huettel SA (2007). Altruism is associated with an increased neural response to agency. Nature Neuroscience, 10(2): 150-151. PubMed Abstract.
One of the first news articles about these studies - by Vedantam (2007) - begins as follows:
The e-mail came from the next room.

"You gotta see this!" Jorge Moll had written. Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health, had been scanning the brains of volunteers as they were asked to think about a scenario involving either donating a sum of money to charity or keeping it for themselves.

As Grafman read the e-mail, Moll came bursting in. The scientists stared at each other. Grafman was thinking, "Whoa -- wait a minute!"

The results were showing that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable...

Altuism of the more "Universal" Kind Might be Innate.

Warneken F, Tomasello M (2006). Altruistic helping in human infants and young chimpanzees. Science, 311(5765): 1301-3.
Abstract (PubMed): Human beings routinely help others to achieve their goals, even when the helper receives no immediate benefit and the person helped is a stranger. Such altruistic behaviors (toward non-kin) are extremely rare evolutionarily, with some theorists even proposing that they are uniquely human. Here we show that human children as young as 18 months of age (prelinguistic or just-linguistic) quite readily help others to achieve their goals in a variety of different situations. This requires both an understanding of others' goals and an altruistic motivation to help. In addition, we demonstrate similar though less robust skills and motivations in three young chimpanzees.

Warneken F, Hare B, Melis AP, Hanus D, Tomasello M (2007). Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children. PLoS Biology, 26;5(7): e184 (7 pages)..
Abstract (PubMed): People often act on behalf of others. They do so without immediate personal gain, at cost to themselves, and even toward unfamiliar individuals. Many researchers have claimed that such altruism emanates from a species-unique psychology not found in humans' closest living evolutionary relatives, such as the chimpanzee. In favor of this view, the few experimental studies on altruism in chimpanzees have produced mostly negative results. In contrast, we report experimental evidence that chimpanzees perform basic forms of helping in the absence of rewards spontaneously and repeatedly toward humans and conspecifics. In two comparative studies, semi-free ranging chimpanzees helped an unfamiliar human to the same degree as did human infants, irrespective of being rewarded (experiment 1) or whether the helping was costly (experiment 2). In a third study, chimpanzees helped an unrelated conspecific gain access to food in a novel situation that required subjects to use a newly acquired skill on behalf of another individual. These results indicate that chimpanzees share crucial aspects of altruism with humans, suggesting that the roots of human altruism may go deeper than previous experimental evidence suggested.  Free Full Text: PDF, HTML..
 

Related News Articles:

Selfless Chimps Shed Light on Evolution of Altruism: "Chimpanzees have now shown they can help strangers at personal cost without apparent expectation of personal gain, a level of selfless behavior often claimed as unique to humans. These new findings could shed light on the evolution of such altruism, researchers said... These findings suggest the roots of human altruism go deeper than previously thought, reaching back as far as the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. "There is a biological predisposition to altruistic tendencies that we share with our common ancestor, and culture cultivates rather than implants the roots of altruism in the human psyche from primordial forms to more mature ones," Warneken told LiveScience... Primatologist Frans de Waal at Emory University in Atlanta noted he recorded hundreds of cases of altruism among chimpanzees, "but skeptics like to downplay the evidence by saying it is not based on controlled experiments." These new experiments "thus confirm what observers of chimpanzees had said all along." Still, altruism is rarely seen in chimps in the wild, and past research from the Max Planck Institute and others actually suggested that chimpanzees were not capable of human-like altruism..."

Altruism Among Chimps: "On the ever-shrinking list of behaviors unique to humans, one stands out: selfless altruism. Or so scientists thought. Even as they dismiss many of the kindnesses we do for others as selfish rather than selfless (that is, we help someone because we expect, even subconsciously, a favor in return one day, or because it makes us feel good), they concede that humans have the capacity to act on behalf of others even when there is no prospect of personal gain and even if it comes at a cost. In that, supposedly, we are unique... hat was supposed to be the sole province of Homo sapiens. Chimps do nice things for each other—they share food, groom their friends, console troop-mates and form alliances against opponents—but in every case the action can be explained by increasing the chance that the do-gooder will either be on the receiving end of such a kindness in the future (you groom me, I’ll groom you) or will increase the chance that his relatives will survive and reproduce. Still, there had been hints of pure altruism. In a 2006 study, for instance, scientists reported that chimpanzees helped their human caregiver fetch objects she was unable to reach. This was the first experimental evidence that chimps are capable of altruistic helping, but even it came with an asterisk: maybe the chimps hoped to eventually be rewarded for their kindness, which would make it less-than-pure altruism... When all was said and done the answer was clear. Twelve of 18 chimpanzees and 16 of 18 toddlers helped when the stranger reached for the stick or pen. For both toddlers and chimps, what determined whether or not they helped was whether the stranger tried to retrieve the object, not the prospect of a reward. “This indicates that subjects were motivated to help the experimenter with his/her unachieved goal . . . but did not aim at retrieving a material reward for themselves,” write the scientists. “Rewarding their helping was unnecessary and did not even raise the rate of helping in either case.” ..."

Altruism 'in-built' in humans: ""This is the first experiment showing altruistic helping towards goals in any non-human primate," said Felix Warneken, a psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany... Further evidence of chimps' ability to cooperate was revealed in a separate study published in the same edition of the scientific journal. Alicia Melis, at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda, found that chimps recognised when collaboration was necessary and chose the best partner to work with..." [Melis AP, Hare B, Tomasello M (2006). Chimpanzees recruit the best collaborators. Science, 311(5765): 1297-300. PubMed Abstract]

Although much could be discussed and debated about the implications of such research results, the hint that altruism is not learned via socialization processes is important. I now leave you to access Part 1 of the Save-The-World Factor - maybe after you read the Overview below - that may prove to be both interesting and challenging.

Overview

The "Save-the-World" factor in suicide problems has been an evolving concept since related elements were first recognized more than 20 years ago. Its potentially lethal outcomes, however, only became apparent by the late 1980s and early 1990s as the result of the author's venture into gay and lesbian youth problems, especially suicide problems. A group of web pages are dedicated to this issue under the title "youth suicide," the major focus being on gay and bisexual male suicide problems. The related work - which has included writing a book on the subject "The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem (1994), presenting the paper "The Homosexuality Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem" at a 1995 Suicide Prevention Conference (Banff, Alberta), and co-authoring two research paper published in 1997 and 1998. By September 1997, the first draft of The "Save The World" Factor  (finalized by December 1997) was placed on the Internet.

This was soon followed by a web page related to the recognition of the same factor manifesting itself in eating disorders, especially in the "last hope" (self-killing) cases Peggy Claude Pierre encountered. The basic concepts rendered in Claude-Pierre's 1997 book, The Secret Language of Eating Disorders, and in related interviews/articles, are addressed in  "Save-The-World Factor: Part 3". Claude-Pierre has detected The "Save The World" Factor underlying the most serious cases of eating disorders (a form of self-killing), but she considers the attribute to be pathological (given its association with "death" outcomes) and she therefore seeks to eliminate the factor I consider (and evaluate) to be the most wonderful attribute an individual could manifest. The observed lethal outcome may also have little to do with being a Save The World Kid. Such negative outcomes are more likely the result of simply being a Save The World Kid growing up and living in a society where he/she cannot reveal their feelings (or status) to anyone because serious abuse is anticipated.

In Christian countries, the Save The World  concept is restricted to Jesus - apparently the only kid to have come to save the world; yet he 'told' US to do as he did, and even be as he was. Unfortunately, he was elevated to a  "uniqueness" status - even to "deity" status - thus making it very embarrassing - and quite frightening - for all children who are somehow feeling they must save the world. WE are also likely to be most unkind to anyone claiming to have a "Jesus" status. Furthermore, Jesus' "death" story strongly suggests that such individuals may be doomed to die, one way or another, because humans have changed little - in terms of their morbidity - in the last 2000 years.

Often enough, and maybe as a rule, Save The World Kids feel they are responsible for all the ills (or sins) of the world. Furthermore, they may also feel that, if they do not change the world, all negative outcomes to unfold will then be their fault! In other words, they are taking on all the sins of the world, just as Jesus is said to have done, but is this rational? Is each one of US responsible for all that WE do? Could this be a responsibility denied? Is there evidence in human history that WE, in fact, blame others - collectively & individually - for whatever evils were done to, let's say, our forefathers by their forefathers?

Repeatedly, and especially during the Twentieth Century via vastly improved ways of murdering others en masse, members of one human group have murdered even newborn children in other human groups for this reason. The unspoken - but acted on - reason has always been: "Yes! Even their babies must be killed because of what their fathers and forefathers did [are doing] to US! (e.g. Hiroshima and Nagasaki)"  As a rule, however,  WE all fail to recognize that, maybe, even as two-year-old kids, we will not only be held responsible for all sins of the world, but we may also be murdered by others who are certainly holding US responsible for these things as We also have held others accountable.

Why then is it illogical (even deemed pathological) for an individual to accept responsibility for all the abuses his/her group (or even all humans) have (will) inflict on others? Have WE not, throughout history, manifested the same belief? This is what psychiatrists have called "projection," or a form of "projection": making others - as individuals - accountable for all that we also know ourselves to be accountable for, but deny and thereby fail to live up to. [Typically, "projection" in the human involves condemning in others what exists in oneself, but the phenomenon also operates in other ways.]

Anyone presenting themselves to an average mental health professional with the feeling (suspicion or belief) that they must Save The World - because they recognize themselves to be responsible for all the sins of the world - will be "in deep shit!" as one email commentator with a history of anorexia stated,  or worse! They may receive a variety of clinical diagnoses and they will likely be placed in the "pathological grandiosity" category. These negative outcomes for Save The World Kids are presented in "Save-The-World Factor: Part 2 - Pathological Grandiosity in Schizophrenia and Other Disorders"

Interestingly enough, I ventured into the world of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder (including personality disorders) only to discover that mental health professionals - especially psychiatrists - have been encountering Save The World Kids, especially the ones who did not make it and also remain at extremely high risk for suicide. Could mental health professionals be harming these individuals instead of helping them? The history of these professionals has, in fact, been quite lethal whenever they encountered and treated individuals (e.g. homosexuals) designated by society - and its religious leaders - to be in the "should not exist" category. Save The World Kids would be in a similar category and their encounters with mental health  professionals may be resulting in their accelerated destruction - in one way or another.

It has also been most interesting to encounter the save-the-world concept articulated somewhat blatantly and metaphorically in the African Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso. In their tribe, the "gatekeepers" - the ones said to be keeping pathways opened to the spiritual world for all humans - are not 100% heterosexual individuals. The author of a book on his tribal people, Malidoma Somé, states:

So to then limit gay people to simple sexual orientation is really the worst harm that can be done to a person. That all he or she is is a sexual person. And, personally, because of the fact that my knowledge of indigenous medicine, ritual, comes from gatekeepers, it’s hard for me to take this position that gay people are the negative breed of a society. No! In a society that is profoundly dysfunctional, what happens is that peoples’ life purposes are taken away, and what is left is this kind of sexual orientation which, in turn, is disturbing to the very society that created it.
I think this is again victimization by a Christian establishment that is looking at a gay person as a disempowered person, a person who has lost his job from birth onward, and now society just wants to fire him out of life. This is not justice. It’s not justice. It is a terrible harm done to an energy that could save the world, that could save us. If, today, we are suffering from a gradual ecological waste, this is simply because the gatekeepers have been fired from their job. They have been fired! They have nothing to do! And because they have been fired, we accuse them for not doing anything. This is not fair! (From: "Gays: Guardians of the Gates; an interview with Malidoma Some" located at http://www.vix.com/menmag/somegay.htm - http://www.menweb.org/somegay.htm - http://www.cultural-expressions.com/thesis/gay.htm .)
 Additional Information about the Dagara people and the authors of books related to them:

- Homosexuality: The Gatekeepers by Sobonfu E. Somé located at http://w3.ime.net/~bmhc/soulvp03.htm: "This west African author and teacher, whose work has influenced numerous western luminaries, offers us a fascinating look at her culture's view of lesbian and gay men as spiritual gatekeepers for the community. This essay is excerpted from her book The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient Teachings in the Ways of Relationships." "The words "gay" and "lesbian" do not exist in the village, but there is the word "gatekeeper." Gatekeepers are people who live a life at the edge between two worlds: the world of the village and the world of spirit. What they do, they don't like to communicate to anyone. It is their right to keep what they do to themselves. Everybody in the village respects that because without gatekeepers, there is no access to other worlds. The gatekeepers stand on the threshold of the gender line. They are mediators between the two genders. They make sure that there is peace and balance between women and men. If the two genders are in conflict and the whole village is caught in it, the gatekeepers are the ones to bring peace. Gatekeepers do not take sides. They simply play the role of "the sword of truth and integrity." ,,,

- The Gatekeepers located at http://www.amassi.com/gatekeepers.htm. (See: Stolen Heritage: Reclaiming Our Birthright by Alicia Banks and other Related Information): "This constantly reiterated discomfort and hatred for the [same-gender-loving] person [in white dominated societies] is again another indication that every year we might as well be prepared for the apocalyptic moment when the stars start to fall to earth... The great astrologers of the Dogon are same-gender-loving...Why is it that everywhere else in the world, same-gender-loving people are a blessing and in the white dominated world they are a curse? It is self-evident. The "modern" world was built by Christianity. They have taken the gods out of the earth and sent them to heaven, wherever that is.... In the book "The Spirit of Intimacy " author Sobanfu Somé says, "Sexuality, including woman-to-woman sexuality, is so integrated into the spiritual life of the Dagarat that her people have no word to specify "lesbian" or even "sex"....Like many other Africans, the women of Dagara do not sleep with their men. �Women need to sleep together, to be together to empower each other...then if they meet with men, there is no imbalance." Tribal women not only sleep and live together, they join together for group rituals. "We go to a cave or bush and do rituals to build male energy. We have a female father who gives us male energy. She looks like a male. Anything we feel or experience that we haven't dealt with is expressed." This women's group ritual balances their male/female energy. "It is so we are not completely male or female.� Dagarat women believe that once you've made love with your life partner in this circle, it is extremely dangerous for her to be intimate with another woman. If you break the circle, you bring in alien energy. Your partner will die. The diviner in our village comes in and says �You murdered her"...Sobanfu also says women must look at sex as a journey. "You are traveling to a place not known by you or your partner. Only your ancestors know. When two people merge, your genealogy becomes a participant in what's going on." "

- Remembering Our Purpose an interview with Malidoma Somé, by Sarah van Gelder located at http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC34/Some.htm.

- VISIONS: Malidoma Somé Interview by D. Patrick Miller located at http://www.mojones.com/MOTHER_JONES/MA95/miller.html.

- Echoes of the Ancestors, Inc. is a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of the Wisdom of the Dagara and other indigenous tribes of West Central Africa. Located at http://www.malidoma.com/Malidoma/index.html.

- Elder Initiation of Malidoma Somé. In December 98 and early January 1999 Malidoma Somé was initiated into the Elders of the Dagara Tribe of West Central Africa... He says it will take him several years to process all that happened, and understand it well enough to try and put it into words; not to mention that the official completion of the whole process will not take place until January 2002. Located at - http://www.malidoma.com/Malidoma/elder.html .

- Information about female homosexuality in the Dagara tribe obtained from the book, The Spirit of Intimacy by Sobanfu Somé. (See: Stolen Heritage: Reclaiming Our Birthright by Alicia Banks and other Related Information): "This constantly reiterated discomfort and hatred for the [same-gender-loving] person [in white dominated societies] is again another indication that every year we might as well be prepared for the apocalyptic moment when the stars start to fall to earth... The great astrologers of the Dogon are same-gender-loving...Why is it that everywhere else in the world, same-gender-loving people are a blessing and in the white dominated world they are a curse? It is self-evident. The "modern" world was built by Christianity. They have taken the gods out of the earth and sent them to heaven, wherever that is.... In the book "The Spirit of Intimacy " author Sobanfu Somé says, "Sexuality, including woman-to-woman sexuality, is so integrated into the spiritual life of the Dagarat that her people have no word to specify "lesbian" or even "sex"....Like many other Africans, the women of Dagara do not sleep with their men. �Women need to sleep together, to be together to empower each other...then if they meet with men, there is no imbalance." Tribal women not only sleep and live together, they join together for group rituals. "We go to a cave or bush and do rituals to build male energy. We have a female father who gives us male energy. She looks like a male. Anything we feel or experience that we haven't dealt with is expressed." This women's group ritual balances their male/female energy. "It is so we are not completely male or female.� Dagarat women believe that once you've made love with your life partner in this circle, it is extremely dangerous for her to be intimate with another woman. If you break the circle, you bring in alien energy. Your partner will die. The diviner in our village comes in and says �You murdered her"...Sobanfu also says women must look at sex as a journey. "You are traveling to a place not known by you or your partner. Only your ancestors know. When two people merge, your genealogy becomes a participant in what's going on." "

- SobonfuWeb Site. - Malidoma Web Site: Malidoma Patrice Somé, PhD Author, Elder, Diviner. - The Wisdom Of The Somes: "A husband and wife from the Motherland explain how including ancient African traditions in daily routines could change the quality of our lives. "Everyone has a mission in life," explains Malidoma Patrice Some, a shaman--or high--priest from the West African country of Burkina Faso and author of Of Water and the Spirit, a wonderfully strange and very personal account of the rituals, beliefs and worldview embraced by his people, the Dagara tribe. "Our mission is connected with a revival of the ancestors' culture and tradition. There's a missing link to our African ancestry that has repercussions on the quality of our lives. We cannot move forward into the future by abandoning the past. Knowing tradition is everything." ... Here Malidoma and Sobonfu offer some of the Dagara people's fundamental beliefs and practices, which may help you fill the spiritual gaps in your life... " - So you'd like to... meet Malidoma Somé?  A guide by Andrew Parodi, Gervais, Oregon. - Wisdom From West Africa. Guest: Sobonfu Somé: MP3 Download.  - Healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Somé: This essay is an edited excerpt from a speech given by Malidoma Somé in 1995. - Echoes of the Ancestors, Inc. presents An Introduction to Dagara Shamanism.

- Malidoma Patrice Somé Biography: "Before his birth, in 1956, the elders of Malidoma’s village knew that his purpose in coming into this world was to carry the message of indigenous technology and spirituality to the western world, a place where modernity was growing increasingly hungry for a reconnection to ancient wisdom. Little did he know, as a young child, stolen from his family and village, that the years he would spend under the harsh tutelage of the religious order would prepare the way for the eventual challenge of integrating old and new, the sacred and the mundane. For more than twenty years, Malidoma Somé has shared the wisdom of his ancestors and tribal elders, awakening a deep knowing in the hearts and bones of those who have recognized in his name, his books, his voice, the spirit world inviting the renewal of a deep and abiding relationship with all beings on earth. Malidoma is the author of several books, including Ritual: Power, Healing and Community, Of Water and The Spirit, and The Healing Wisdom of Africa. He is currently working on two new books, one about the Ancestors (and our relationship with them), and another, a sequel to his highly esteemed autobiography, on the topic of Gatekeepers. Dr. Somé is also an initiated elder in his village in Dano, Burkina Faso, W. Africa. He travels throughout the world bringing a message of hope, healing and reconciliation through the powerful tools of ritual and community building. A tribute to Malidoma: “Despite the ways in which European culture has brutalized him and his people the Dagara, Malidoma Somé lives his purpose with dignity, intention and deep love. By teaching Westerners how his own people have traditionally connected to Spirit and used ritual to create balanced and sustainable community, Malidoma “makes friends with the enemy/stranger.” Under the direction and guidance of his own elders, he is sharing ancient wisdom that is so desperately needed as corporate greed and globalization continue to tear at our connection to Mother Earth, to human family, and to the values of love, sustainability, and beauty. I count myself deeply blessed to call him teacher and friend.”

- Gate Keeper: PrimaSounds: In this CD the music serves as a kind of gatekeeper, sonically opening and closing the gates into other dimensions... the Dagara, and their spokeman in the U.S., Malidoma Some, who inspired this CD... Gate Keeper contains five songs, each running ten minutes, designed to guide the listener into ten different visionary experiences or dimensions. The name Gate Keeper was taken from the Shamanic culture of the Dagara Tribe located in the heart of West Central Africa. "Gatekeeper" is the title given by the Dagara to the Shamans who open and close the dimensional gates between alternate worlds and realities. According to Dagara cosmology there are five basic kinds of gates that a Shaman may travel through. In each dimension there are countless different worlds and realities, only some of which have been explored by man. The Gatekeepers know the five portals well, and know how to open and close the gates for their fellow shaman to enter and explore. This cosmology was made known to Ralph through his friendship with Malidoma and Sobonfu Somé, shamans from the Dagara Tribe. In this CD the music itself serves as a kind of gatekeeper, sonically opening and closing the gates into other dimensions. Each of the five songs on the CD is designed to open a different inner gate which the listener can then choose to enter. Once through, the path branches into two directions, one down and one up. The first worlds are lower - the microcosm - representing contact with levels of consciousness that are part of our own. Traditionally these are called the underground worlds: (1) Fire, (2) Mineral, (3) Water-Plants, (4) Nature-Animal, and (5) the Earth itself, Gaia. Each gate also has an upward heavenly direction - the macrocosm. These are realities where consciousness which is more evolved and expanded than our own can be found. Traditionally these are called the heavenly worlds: (6) Ancestors, (7) Elementals, (8) Angels, (9) Muses, and (10) Being in the Universe. All ten worlds go together in a kind of evolutionary "ladder of creation," referred to for instance in the Bible as "Jacobs Ladder." A complete description of these songs-gates and dimensions will be contained in Ralph's forthcoming book on PrimaSounds. By intense listening to Gate Keeper you can find these five portals within. You can choose to enter and fly, much like a Shaman in trance. It is like jumping through a hoop into another world. There visions and messages of all kinds can be received. New worlds and dimensions can be explored. This can stimulate creativity, self knowledge, and provide lasting contact with intelligences of all kinds from all over the Universe. This is a kind of sacred blessing, not a pandoras box. So don't worry, the sonic portals are a one way door; only you can pass in and out, and it won't happen against your intentions or desires. If a session gets too intense, you can return to "normal consciousness" at any time fairly easily and quickly.

- Wisdom from West Africa. - African Art: Traditional. - The Africa Question: Did They or Didn't They?

I may eventually write on the "gatekeeper" phenomenon linked, in some ways, to the status non-heterosexual individuals also had in many North American aboriginal tribes.

Note 1

Statements made by Buckminster Fuller about children being born as genius, or as having genius potential:

"Every child is born a genius but is quickly degenuised either by unwitting humans or by physically unfavorable factors of the environment. The bright ones are those who are less damaged than the others." (In a NASA speech, June 1966. Fuller & Applewhite, 1986)

"All children are born geniuses but almost all are swiftly degenuised by environmental events. By environment I mean all of the Universe that is not self." (In a
UNESCO address, 1968. Fuller & Applewhite, 1986)

"It is my conviction, from having watched a great many babies grow up that all of humanity is born a genius and then becomes degenuised very rapidly by unfavorable circumstances and by the frustrations of all their extraordinarily built-in capabilities. Everybody's specialized now. We couldn't be getting ourselves into worse trouble since we also learn that all the biological species became extinct because they overspecialized. So overspecialization is the way to extinction, and society's are all tied up with specialization. Everybody is born to be a comprehensivist. If nature wants to develop a specialist, she'd have you born with one eye and a microscope fastened on to it."  (
In a Transcript by John Donat in "The Listener", Sept. 26, 1968. Fuller & Applewhite, 1986)

"I am grateful for being so generously introduced. But I hasten to point out that all humans are born geniuses. However they are usually degenuised rapidly by perverse circumstances. Most perverse is the ignorantly and lovingly lavished don't  or do that cultivates that which does not 'come naturally,' and discourages much of what does 'come naturally.' There is nothing innately exceptional about me. I was just lucky." 
(In a speech to the American Assn of Museums, Denver, June 2, 1971. Fuller & Applewhite, 1986)

"I became convinced that all life is born as genius but gets to be degenuis-ed very rapidly. I wondered whether it may not be possible then to develop an environment for a new-born life where it would not get degenuis-ed. This is why I became preoccupied with environment. I felt that a little child had what Maharishi is able to regain as human beings; how to break through to those fundamental faculties with which we are all endowed. I had hoped that I might be able to protect what we find in that new-born child, its purity and its brilliant conceptuality, its contact with eternity."  (In
an address at the Univ. of Mass, Amherst, July 22, 1971. Fuller & Applewhite, 1986)

"All children are born genuises. Out of very 1000 some 999 are swiftly and inadvertently degenuised by the grow-ups. Because millions of human beings in all the years of their history have always been born naked, helpless and though superbly equipped cerebrally, utterly lacking in experience, ergo utterly ignorant. Their delicate sensing equipment is as yet untried." 
(In a draft preface for Mrs. John S. Lillard, August 28, 1975. Fuller & Applewhite, 1986)

"Genius does its own thinking - has confidence in its own exploratory finding, has confidence in its own intuitions." (
Fuller & Applewhite, 1986)

"Einstein's genius was synergetic. All genius is synergetic. All children are born geniuses, but most are swiftly degeniused by the power structure's educational system. In the guise of education, the system deliberately breaks up inherently holistic considerations into "elementary" topics." [Fuller & Kuromiya, 1992: p. 37]

References

Fuller, R Buckminster, and Applewhite EJ (1986). Synergetics Dictionary : the mind of Buckminster Fuller: with an introduction and appendices. New York: Garland.

Fuller, R. Buckminster, and Kuromiya, Kiyoshi (Adjuvant) (1992). Cosmography: A posthumous scenario for the future of humanity. New York: Macmillan Publishing.

Sianturi RR (2007). Altruism Is Hard-wired in Human Brains. Is morality not behind good deeds?  Ohmy News Internation. June 12. Internet: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?article_class=4&no=366279&rel_no=1 .

Stimson D (2007). Inner Workings of the Magnanimous Mind. The National Insittute of Health: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. April 4. Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/news_articles/brain_activity_during_altruism.htm .

Vedantam S (2007). If It Feels Good to Be Good, It Might Be Only Natural. Washington Post, May 28. Internet:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/27/AR2007052701056.html .


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