Dr. Robert W. Godwin's

One Cosmos under God
The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind and Spirit

The ultimate purpose of Dr. Godwin's book is toconvey a panoramic view of the evolution of the cosmos, specifically focusing on the sudden emergence of matter, life, mind and spirit. His book is about how everything came to be, and ranges over cosmology, physics, biology, anthropology, history, theology and mysticism, encompassing the cosmic origins and ultimate destiny of human consciousness. I have confined my excerpts to the origins of man's mind or soul, the basis of his psychological abnormalities, and the early environment we all require in order to actualize our latent potential.

Because of the specific interests of the Primal Psychotherapy Page, these excerpts are confined to the approximately one-third of the book that considers the conditions that allowed for the emergence of the human mind. There is much of interest remaining which is not represented in these excerpts.

-- John A. Speyrer, Webmeister, The Primal Psychotherapy Page

This book seeks to question and understand the implications of our scientific orthodoxy and, in so doing, provide an updated "cosmic mythunderstanding" which like all creation stories, addresses itself to the perennial questions that have puzzled human beings ever since they become capable of puzzlement: how did we come to exist, what is the point of existing, and is there any escape from what appears to be an absurdly brief slice of existence between two dark slabs of eternity -- the triune mystery of our genesis, our present being, and our ultimate end. [p.19]

We can never stand outside of the process, any more than the developing embryo can take a peek from outside the womb to see how things are going. Like fruit from a tree or infant from mother, we don't come into the world, but out of it, a conglomeration of elements that were forged in the billion-degree heat of exploding stars, then scattered through the fathomless reaches of deep space, only to temporarily congeal into the whirling patterns known as you and me, abstract and immaterial patterns which are recreated instant by instant, like eddies given form through the flow of a rushing stream." [p.26-7]

Our universe certainly could be a chance event, but the chances of a random universe being so tuned that it may, after 13 billion years, produce conscious life forms capable of dismissing themselves as a chance event, are dauntingly remote. [p.37]

. . . (S)uddenly, about 40,000 years ago, mind crossed a boundary into a realm wholly its own, a multidimensional landscape unmappable by science and unexplainable by natural selection. History is the chronicle of the ongoing break with nature caused by the unexpected dawning of self-consciousness that vaulted Homo sapiens into this subjective world space. [p.92]

It took many thousands of years for any human beings to understand that the imagination was the new environment where they actually lived, and that this realm was capable of infinite elaboration and expansion (as well as metastasis into hellish dimensions of cruelty and evil). [p.92-3]

. . . (O)ur initial exterior diaspora out of Africa was soon followed by an interior one, with various cultures carving out their local, more or less misguided encampments within the greater light of consciousness as such. [p.94]

Most everything humans have done with their minds for the past 40,000 years - at least all of the really interesting things that define us as human - has been completed and utterly superfluous from the standpoint of natural selection. [p.98]

The evolution of the human brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is also the only example of evolution providing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use; a luxury organ, which will take its owner thousands of years to learn to put to proper use-if he ever does.1

Natural selection simply cannot account for most of the traits and capabilities that suddenly arose in this virtual space, such as our profligate creativity, our love of music and art, our ethical capacity, our sense of humor, and a linguistic ability that far surpasses mere survival needs. . . . (T)here are no plausible evolutionary theories that can make sense of these seemingly superfluous extravagances. [p.109]

The truth is that the least-studied phase of human development remains the phase during which a child is acquiring all that makes him most human. Here is still a continent to conquer.2[p.109]

Here we should make it perfectly clear: the DNA bestowed on me at conception, while necessary, was entirely insufficient to create what any of us would call (and some still don't) a proper human being. Rather, the genetic material provided only a flexible mainframe for the storage and retrieval of a human being. Absent the very specific environmental conditions (i.e., my parents) that coaxed my humanness out of an otherwise Stone Age baby, "I" would be something else entirely, perhaps similar to Uday Hussein, or to the Wild Boy of Aveyron, found living by himself in the woods of southern France in 1800. (p 110)

For much of the human history of psychology, . . . it was thought that the only reason infants were interested in mothers was because mothers fed them. Until fairly recently, no one considered bonding and attachment to have any great significance for how the human mind actually develops. . . . We now know that the antiquated view of the mind developing as a closed system is utterly false, and that the infant is exquisitely attuned to the human environment right from the start, even in the womb." [p.111]

Allan Schore, whose work brilliantly integrates cognitive neuroscience, developmental affective neuroscience, psychoneurobiology, developmental neuropsychoanalysis, and other emerging "hyphenated" disciplines, observes that, [p. 109]

More than anyone could have predicted, observational and experimental research of infants interacting with their mothers has turned out to be the most fertile source for the generation of heuristic hypotheses about not only early development but also psychic dynamics.3(p.112)

Bear in mind that it has only been in the past fifty years or so that we have begun to appreciate just how subtle the relationship is between caretaker and infant, what with the continuous functioning of various projective (outgoing) and introjective (incoming) mental processes. For example, as recently as the 1920's, John Watson, the well-known behavioral psychologist, could warn parents that "Mother love is a dangerous instrument," which "may inflict a never healing wound," so that parents should never hug or kiss their children, or even allow them to sit in their lap.[p.113]

Of course, this sounds crazy to most of us now, but that is only a measure of how far we have advanced in our ability to understand and empathize with the experience of infancy (very similar to our modern ability to empathize with the suffering of animals, which did not trouble the vast majority of people in the past). Especially during early growth and development, the psychological feedback between the baby and its caretaker is so intimate that the two (infant and caretaker) can only be artificially separated. In fact, the brilliant pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W Winnicott made the farsighted observation that there is actually "no such thing as an infant." Rather, because the baby comes into the world without any firm psychological boundaries, there is only a fluid, shifting, unitary space between (usually) mother and infant, as if they were a single organism. And it is within this "virtual space" that we all initially locate our minds, but only with the assistance of an emotionally sensitive and responsive parent. [p.113]

Once you understand the nature of . . . (mind parasites) . . . you will need little convincing that history is littered with their destructive and self-defeating effects. If you don't understand them, then it is unlikely that any amount of argument will suffice, because you are in blissful denial of the hostile forces that keep you and most everyone else subdued, tyrannized, and in bondage, doing time behind bars as strong as death (but fortunately, weaker than love) (p. 138).

It is safe to say that nearly all human beings are inhabited by at least a few personal and cultural mind parasites, while most people have considerably more than a few. Remember, evolution doesn't care if you are happy, only if you survive and reproduce. . . . [p 123-3]

Futhermore, it is now well established that many disturbances in mentation can be readily traced to the earliest relationships, and that most forms of mental illness, in one degree or another, involve difficulty in "thinking one's thoughts" or "feeling one's emotions." Indeed, one way of putting it is that disturbed minds do not generally think their thoughts, but are thought by them; thoughts, emotions and mental states abruptly "intrude" in an unpredictable, uncontrollable, unassimiliable, and bewildering way, preventing any real continuity in being and identity." [p.113-4)

Thus, what we call our "mind" is not something only located inside our brain. Rather, the mind is actually discovered and developed in the virtual area (what Winnicott called the "transitional space") generated between various neurophysiological processes and early interpersonal relationships. [p. 114].

We may put forth the psychological/evolutionary law that "if your mind wasn't read (as an infant), then you are mentally dead (as an adult)." In other words, our capacity to navigate around and enlarge our own mental space will very much depend upon whether or not we were cared for by parents who themselves had the ability to read and respond to our mental states, to empathically enter our mental world by being able to understand their own. Our ineffable experience of "I" is actually not an independent discovery; located through some kind of applied introspection or intuition (as in "I think, therefore I am."). If anything, we probably first discover the "I" of the (m)other, by trying to read the minds and intentions of our early caretakers (who simultaneously treat us as a subjective center with an "I" of our own, before we even know we have one).

Often--very often--the true self is never discovered at all and an authentic person does not come into being, only the hardwired reactions to a psychologically toxic childhood environment--emotional deadness (or uncontrolled emotionality), lack of empathy, unregulated shame, absence of curiosity, unreflective acting out of conflicts, and an abundance of envy, guilt, rage, distrust and ingratitude. Remarkably, we are discovering that early experience can be literally neurotoxic, inducing increased destruction of synapses in the brain. This occurs at the worst possible time, because this is when the brain is growing most rapidly, going from 400g to over l000g in the first year of life. During this stage of development, synaptic connections will either be reinforced and "etched" by experience or ruthlessly weeded out and "pruned,"to such an extent that the latter process actually resembles neurodegenerative disease: [p.115]

Suffice it to say at this juncture that the attachment system, while it provided our gateway into humanness, also included a subsystem to deal with the great variability in the quality of (mostly inadequate) parenting that has been available throughout the course of history. This subsystem, known as the "unconscious," is responsible for the intergenerational transmission of psychopathology, and helps to explain the violence, madness, and irrational mayhem that comprises so much of human history. [p.117]

As Bowlby accurately described it, "when a baby is born, it evokes feelings in the parents that are as profound as those of a young child for its mother or as the passions of new lovers." However, most critically, the feelings evoked in the parents are by no means uniformly positive. Rather, an array of primitive feelings is usually aroused, including envy, resentments, hatred, and anxiety, all stemming from a reawakening of unconscious feelings first experienced in their own distant infantile past. [p.117]

The point I am emphasizing is that our earliest relationships, in the degree to which they are unsatisfactory, lead to a paradoxical situation in which the poor parental bond is internalized and turned into a psychic entity that compulsively seeks to reenact the situation later in life. [p.119]

In this way, internalized object relations -- or what I am calling, 'mind parasites' -- are more than just inaccurate and ineffective working models of the world, but lifelike "beings" with their own autonomous agenda that "psychobiologically mediate psychiatric and cultural psychopathology." [p. 121]

As LaBarre fully recognized, parents are a serious adaptive problem for the infant. [p.119]

Steven Pinker, in his book The Blank Slate makes the point that humans seem to be born with a true, individual personality that is not merely a result or outcome of good parenting; however, at the same time, our true self can be crippled or obscured by bad parenting. [p.123]

There is nothing which is more necessary and more precious in the experience of human childhood than parental love; . . . nothing more precious, because the parental love experienced in childhood is moral capital for the whole of life. . . . It is so precious, this experience, that it renders us capable of elevating ourselves to more sublime things -- even divine things. It is thanks to the experience of parental love that our soul is capable of raising itself to the love of God. 4 [p. 132]

It is time to accept the irrational as a component of human affairs, to recognize that men adapt both to an outer, rational, secular world and to an inner, irrational, sacred world whose locus they have misplaced as being outside. . . . The pattern of this projection lies deep in human biology and real childhood experience.5 [p.133]

Liberty alone leads to chaos, while law alone (for example, in the contemporary Islamic world) leads to rigidity and cessation of growth. Humans evolve only under conditions of liberty constrained by law, oriented toward the true, the good, and the beautiful. [p.137]

Although evidence of the mind parasites is everywhere present in human history, for example, in the form of ubiquitous demons, evil spirits, witches, and other psychological projections -- no one has taken it upon themselves to write a similar book about their historical impact on human affairs, in part because nowadays no one knows just how to regard them. [p.140]

One of the reasons for the failure to appreciate mind parasites has to do with their very nature: their most basic "trick" as it were -- no different from any virus -- is to hijack the machinery of the mind in such a way that the mind does not recognize what has happened. [p.144]

While it is possible as an adult to develop a psychological "immune system" that can detect and minimize the workings of these parasites, it is impossible to do so as an infant, before we have any idea what is happening to us. [p.144]

(O)utward history is only a symbol of inward history, the purpose of which will be made visible at the end, when we fully open our I's and awaken from our "nocturnal immersion" in time. [p.144-5]

Neurosis, in individuals, or groups, is a frightened clinging to the past, and remaining a slave to the forgotten. History and life-history are both in part events to be recovered from, through unearthing and re-viewing forgotten premises behind the bitterly defended false answers. History that cannot be understood and neutralized is the neurosis of society. 6 [ p. 148]

. . . (S)omething primarily psychological has been interfering with our post-biological evolution over the past 30 or 40,000 years, and it is the same thing that interferes with out individual evolution: mind parasites. [p.150]

Sacrificial killing, according to Walter Burkett, "is the basic experience of the sacred: and "the oldest form of religious action." [p.140]

It is almost as if certain cultures, such as the Aztec, existed only for the sake of mind parasites (rather than vice versa), completely revolving around the ritual slaughter of thousands upon thousands of victims (estimates range between 15,000 and 250,000 per year) in order to "feed" a voracious sun that might extinguish at any moment without a continuous supply of human blood. The "voracious sun" is, of course, the angry, demanding parent: "There is no doubt that the tendencies that drive parents to destroy their children" are the result of paranoid anxieties laid down in infancy and reawakened by later stressors. . . . [p. 154]

. . .(Y)ou may find it a very useful spiritual exercise to dispassionately read your newspaper with an eye toward detecting mind parasites, rather than in the conventional way, as if the news were actually a chronicle of logical actions by rational agents. [p. 171]

We must, each of us, fight for the cultural circumstances that make intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth possible, because most cultural circumstances actively suppress our growth as human beings." [p. 180]

    1Koestler, A. (1978). Janus: A Summing Up, p. 275.
    2John Bowlby, Attachment and Loss
    3Schore, A, (2003). Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self, p. 3: New York: W. W. Norton & Company
    4Powell, R. (2002). Meditations of the Tarot, p. 576, New York: Jeremy Tarcher
    5LaBarre, W.(1970). The Ghost Dance: The Origins of Religions, Garden City, NY, Doubleday & Company

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