The misadventures of a first time father

Tag Archives: Joseph Chilton Pearce

I’m still reading Joseph Chilton Pearce’s “Magical Child.”

Rather than bore anyone with my attempts at a book review, I thought I’d share a slew of quotes and notes I found interesting amid the next few chapters.

Chapter 2 – Matrix Shift: Known to Unknown

“The womb offers three things to a newly forming life: a source of possibility, a source of energy to explore that possibility, and a safe place within which that exploration can take place.”

Once we have a an established bond in that matrix (the mother), a child is then ready and able to move on to to the next stage of development.

“The early child can move into an exploration of the world only by standing on the safe place provided by the mother. Later, after age seven, the child can move into the matrix of his/her own personal power only by standing on the safe place of the earth itself.”

In order to relate creatively and explore all possibilities, one has to achieve independence from the matrix. To relate fully to the mother, an infant has to leave the womb and eventually, move on from the dependency relation with the mother. After age 7, to relate fully with the world, the child must functionally separate form the world.

“Intent always precedes the ability to do; that is, during any particular stage of development, nature is preparing us for the next stage.”

“Everything is only preparatory to something else that is in formation, as day must fade to night and night to day.”

“We can force certain forms of abstraction prematurely on the child in his/her concrete stage of development, but the effects are specifically damaging (even though the damage will not be detectable for several years).

“…the newborn infant requires about eight or nine months to structure a knowledge of the mother as new matrix and move out to explore the larger matrix, earth; the child requires about seven years to structure a knowledge of the earth matrix and shift from mother as safe space to earth itself; and so on.”

If you are stressed, the baby will be stressed.

Interaction is a dynamic interchange of energy. Interaction automatically increases and enhances our safe place.

“Give the safe place for growth, the vast possibilities of the huge womb world, and the great energies of the mother’s body to call on, that tiny organism grows at an astonishing rate.”

“This interaction is the growth of intelligence and body and is the pattern our entire life should follow.”

“Research shows that the mother is the infant-child’s basis for exploration of the world itself.”

“The mother is the infant’s world…she is the infant’s power, possibility, and safe place.”

In those first eight to ten months of life, the baby has to, above all, structure a knowledge of the mother.

“Only when the infant knows that the mother matrix will not abandon him/her can that infant move into childhood with confidence and power.”

“Development then moves toward structuring a knowledge of personal power in interacting with that world matrix.”

“The biological plan is wrecked when the intent of nature is met, not with appropriate content, but with the intentions of an anxiety-driven parent and culture.”

“Anxiety results when the child is forced in mismatched relating of intent and content. Interchange with the matrix and growth of personal power then break down, but the sequential unfolding of maturation goes right ahead.”

“We must first recognize that such a plan exists…We knew about this plan when we were around six years old and a great excitement, longing, and joyful anticipation filled us. Something else happened, of course; and even as it happened, we know intuitively that it was all wrong. This primary knowing got covered up by anxiety conditioning, which was so deep and pervasive, so ingrained and so continually reinforced and amplified on every hadn that the deep knowing has been lost to us.”

“We must rekindle our knowing of a personal power that can flow with the power of all things and never be exhausted.”
Chapter 3 – Intelligence and Interaction

“Interaction is a two-way exchange of energy, with an amplification of the energy of each of the two forces.”

“Reaction is a one-way movement.”

“We always tire when energy flows out in this way. In true interaction, however, we never tire.”

“Through interaction, intelligence grows in its ability to interact. We are designed to grow and be strengthened by every event, no matter how mundane or awesome. The flow of nature and seasons, people, extreme contrasts, apparent catastrophes, pleasantries — all are experiences of interaction to be enjoyed and opportunities for learning, leading to greater ability to interact.”

“Any bodily involvement by the early child brings about a patterning in his/her brain system concerning that movement and all the sensory information related to it.”

“If repeated sufficiently…puppetlike movements…will lead to that infant’s ability to initiate and complete these movements months ahead of an infant who is not so stimulated.”

“Intelligence can only grow by moving from that which is known into that which is not yet known, from the predictable into the unpredictable.”

“When people express reaction-aggression, they are expressing not just a crippled intelligence, but what they have actually learned.”

“Growth of the infant-child’s ability to interact means increased rhythmic patterning in the brain and corresponding muscular responses. This growth can be slowed almost to a standstill by subjecting the growing child to demands inappropriate to his/her stage of development, that is, by trying to to force the child to learn or deal with information or experience suitable to a later stage of development or by keeping them locked into an earlier stage. Then the child learns that learning itself is difficult and frustrating or non-rewarding.”

“…adult idea systems and opinions, is designed for the later years for development. Forcing the early child to deal prematurely with adult abstract thought can cripple the child’s ability to think abstractly later on.”

“Direct physical contact with the world – taste, touch, even smell – are often either discouraged or actually forbidden in the parent’s anxiety over the hazards of germs and imagined threats. Without a full-dimensional world view structured in the formative years…no knowledge of physical survival can develop.”
Chapter 4 – stress and learning

“When we know the probable outcome of an event taking place around us, our body systems can remain fairly passive and relaxed.”

“We spend large part of our adult lives establishing routines that allow us to function with a minimum of sensory sampling.”

“The unknown-unpredictable imposes sensory data that do not fit the brain’s established editorial policies well enough to be handled automatically by various subordinates.”

“To enter into an unpredictable situation and accept it openly is to flow with its energy, be augmented in your own energy, and relax its tensions and stresses accordingly.”

“The periods of prenatal life, delivery, birth, and infancy are all genetically designed to provide exactly the kinds of experience needed for the brain to structure its place of power.”

“The mother is the infant’s first matrix and the source of his/her possibility.”

“If this matrix does not become fully structured, if such a security and strength are not given from birth, intelligence will have no ground on which to grow.”

“Without that safe place to stand, no energy can be utilized to explore possibility…”

“We then spend our lives trying to avoid this threat. (the unknown)”

“The person denied the first matrix remains grounded in that earliest stage, trying to establish some arbitrary and artificial safe place of his/her own making. It is a compensation that never works.”

I have currently begun reading the book “Magical Child” by Joseph Chilton Pearce.

A quick web search of background on Pearce turns up his belief that active, imaginative play is the most important of all childhood activities because it cultivates mastery of one’s environment, which he terms “creative competence”. Children denied that form of play develop feelings of isolation and anxiety. He also believes that child-parent bonding is crucial, and sees modern clinical childbirth and lack of breast feeding as obstructions to that bonding.

I have so far only completed Chapter One of Magical Child, but I plan on sharing what I’ve come across as I move further through the book.

Any quotes that I reference should be automatically attributed to Pearce.

In it, Pearce covers a myriad of findings on a child’s brain as it develops from birth, including assessment that, much like the instinct found in other animals in nature (who learn and grow much faster than we humans do), the first few years of a child’s life are primarily made up of movements tied to their instinct or intent.

“The intent is simply an impulse that moves the child’s body in its initial crude attempts to interact with the actual world…the intent that drives the child for the first few years is that of physical interaction with all the possible contents of the living earth (its creatures, phenomena, experiences, and things) and, above all, its principles and laws of interaction. These principles are quite practical and mundane, such as “fall down, go boom,” and “fire means burn.” Each physical contact the child makes brings about a corresponding patterning, or learning, in his/her new brain.”

As a child grows, as does their brain, their intelligence (or ability to interact) comes from their interactions with the new phenomena they come across.

“Although this seems obvious, this movement from the known to the unknown proves to be both the key and the stumbling block to development. Most intellectual crippling comes from the failure to observe the balance of this movement. In our anxieties, we fail to allow the child a continual interaction with the phenomena of this earth on a full-dimensional level (which means with all five of his/her body senses); and at the same time, we rush the child into contact with phenomena not appropriate to his/her stage of biological development. That is, either we block the child’s movement into the unknown and so block intellectual growth, or we propel the child into inappropriate experience.”

Pearce says that in order to nurture the intelligence in our young, we’ve got to honor their progression from ‘concreteness towards abstraction,’ meaning that they must experience a full interaction with the earth as it is so that they their brain might structure a knowledge of the world.

“This is physical knowledge, or basic body-knowing. Only out of this kind of knowing can abstract thought develop, such as an understanding of the law of gravity rather than “fall down, go boom” or the laws of thermodynamics rather than “hot, don’t touch.”

He goes on to say that a child’s ability to have flexible logic is dependent on their ability to differentiate between their experiences and then put them into useful categories.

“This differentiation begins quite early in life and is the function of regulatory feedback. One automatic and natural result of this differentiation is the development of a conscious, personal awareness, a sense of individuality.”

One of the most interesting tidbits is Pearce’s thoughts on the dependency that the human race has put on tools. For years, academics have always argued that the human race’s ability to craft and use tools was what made them “‘so evolved,” yet it is those same tools, Pearce states, that are becoming such a crutch that we are actually holding back our own mental development.

“This belief is so ingrained that we actually believe that only through tools (houses, clothes, weapons, machinery, writing, books) can we survive. We assume that tool usage is the real mark of intelligence and set up tool capacity (including writing as a tool) as the final criteria for intelligence. We mold young minds accordingly, centering the training of children on tool usage and the complex abstract systems we have evolved out of such usage. Finally, we conclude that without this engineered tinkering with the mind of the early child, that child would be as a beast of the field, without language, thought or writing or horrors – tools.”

It doesn’t meant that we should go live with the wolves, he notes. He simply is stating that there is a balance meant for humans that were not meant to live in the conditions and ways that we have trapped ourselves into.

“The human was not meant to live in the wilderness. On the other hand, the current breakdown of social life clearly shows that we were not meant to live in the strange nightmare world of a city. Humans are designed to live in the garden. To live in the garden, we must tend that garden. We must be good stewards of our resources and exercise careful dominion over them. Tools could be an adjunct to this stewardship over the earth. We get in serious difficulties when we substitute mechanics for personal power, for they are qualitatively different functions.”

I know some of this may read like a text book as I quote form throughout the chapter, but I really did find this stuff fascinating, and felt Pearce’s quotes explained things better in some cases.

For those that I may have frightened off with these delving into child-rearing and development, don’t worry. I’ll still be writing about the myriad of other misadventures of fatherhood as I always have. Here and there, though, I’d like to continue sharing some of these interesting tidbits as I move further through Pearce’s work.

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