The Intelligence of the Heart
Spirit of Change 20th anniversary issue reprint from Winter 1992
Women must act as the mother of the species. We can’t do without them. — Joseph Chilton Pearce
Joseph Chilton Pearce says we are facing a glorious or disastrous end — depending upon what we do about the way we raise our children. He cites hospital birthing, daycare, television, early formalized academic learning and synthetic growth hormone accumulation from the meat and dairy industries as the greatest threats to our children and therefore, our society.
For decades, Joseph’s ideas and writings have inspired the thinkers, the authors and the parents of our time to advance those philosophies which truly nurture the child’s most precious core — their dignity as an individual spiritually evolving soul. In his newest book, Evolution’s End, he passionately speaks of the potential for our children and our species by clearly illuminating how far we have veered off the path with our current child rearing trends. He also puts forth a vision for how we might possibly renegotiate that path.
A storehouse of scientific, academic and philosophical information, Pearce presents the facts of scientific research in an exciting and thought-provoking manner. Using this information as a springboard, he then shares with his reader the evolutionary leap to the next level of knowledge by infusing his vision with the “intelligence of the heart.” “If we develop intellect and fail to develop intelligence (of the heart),” says Pearce, “we are then subject to a novelty-seeking mind that operates without regard to our own or others’ well-being. Anything is possible to us, but what is appropriate?”
Joseph Chilton is the author of several other best-selling books including The Evolution’s End and Magical Child. In this same vein, the paradigm put forth in Evolution’s End illuminates the pathway that will lead us into an enlightened future, woman and children first. As we begin to absorb more and more of this philosophy as expressed through our art, our literature and our culture, we will witness the transformation that is our evolutionary potential. — CB
CAROL BEDROSIAN: What I find most enjoyable about your work is that while it’s clearly grounded in the scientific data of brain/mind research, it is also infused with the possibilities inherent in visionary thinking. Do you call yourself a scientist, a psychologist or what?
JOSEPH CHILTON PEARCE: None of those things. I certainly am not a scientist as such. I write. I write a book about every five years to keep the wolf away from the door. I always have something stirring in the back of my mind. I am, at best, a kind of generalist.
I remember the head of my department where I taught many, many years ago, way back in the fifties, said what we need are more good dilettantes. And the word dilettante is a very interesting point of view. I set about to be a good dilettante and to be able to look at the work of all sorts of other people and put it together into a synthesis along with my own viewpoint. “From my own viewpoint” means that I never use anything as an example which I have not experienced. I am always speaking directly from my own cellular knowing and then looking at what goes on in scientific communities in general. From that standpoint I find it an extraordinarily exciting time because I think that we are literally in a period of history that is a breakthrough period of history. There have been two or three of them in human history.
CAROL: Why is this a breakthrough period of history?
JOSEPH: It’s my feeling — this is only personal observation — that a new form of intellect, which is analytical and logical and capable of a very high level of computation, has been shaping up for a long time in western history. This intellect offers enormous potential but it has gotten us into a very bad rut and is doing some extremely destructive things. I think our technological world is a nightmare on many levels and is creating great damage both to us people and to our Earth. But nevertheless, what’s involved here, is that the kind of thought process involved is fairly new in history.
CAROL: Why do you say that?
JOSEPH: I think it represents a high evolutionary type of thought that we have been moving towards for a long time. But it’s manifesting completely out of balance with the rest of the system so it becomes ultimately destructive.
I spoke in my new book, Evolution’s End, of it being a great risk of evolution. My insistence is that if you look at the very neural structure of the brain, you find the so-called “triune” structure, the three-fold matrix of the brain system. And all of the work from research centers all over the world have clearly articulated that the behaviors and modes of thought and capacities inherent within each of these three brain structures represents the totality of all the great developments throughout all of life on the planet. We are the recipients of that incredible evolutionary progression. When we look at this from our movement through these ancient neural structures up to the opening of the latest evolutionary structure we recognize that you must develop the lowest and most ancient parts of the structure first as a foundation to the later additions of nature.
CAROL: What is the triune nature?
JOSEPH: The core brain and the limbic structure are referred to as the amphibian or reptilian type of brain. Simply, they are the oldest of the neural structures that we seem to have in common with all lower animals. They present us with our physical experience of the world. That is the brain that is organizing our muscular movements and our physical perceptions of the world that, ultimately, can be taken over by the highest neocortical structures.
From this, we move into the second evolutionary structure of the brain, the old mammalian structures which are drives for reward, relationship, and the qualitative evaluation of the experience gained from the first structure giving us our physical world. And then the third structure, the great neocortex, gives us a position from which we can reflect on the other two operations and compute on them, take them apart, put them back together. This is the structure of novelty and possibility. It is the part we are thinking of as intellect.
When they threw out midwives — women assisting women at the most critical point in their lives — and putting in male surgeons with their machines, the whole structure started coming down.
CAROL: So this is what we are moving into now — this evolutionary neocortical…?
JOSEPH: Yes. We have moved, you might say, as a life process from this very ancient, very primitive, although enormously complex, reptilian structure, with its very primitive survival drives and we have opened up certain aspects of the neocortex in recent decades that we haven’t before. This is giving rise to our whole technological scientific revolution. It is a misguided process, though, which is actually very destructive if you look at it from the context of the whole Earth itself. And it has been destructive for our children. Everywhere we have exported this scientific technological revolution, we immediately see a massive increase of controlled autism, schizophrenia, child suicides, and breakdown of family and social units and so on. Lots of things go along with it.
Real Heroes and Supermodels
CAROL: So you are saying that this development and this evolution of the neocortex are leading to the breakdown in our society?
JOSEPH: The issue is that we develop only a fraction — perhaps only 5-10% — of the neocortex, evolution’s latest structure. And this is due largely to our failure to provide the appropriate nurturing environment for the development of that structure. The fact is that no development can take place until the brain is given a model of that development and the appropriate nurturing environment that will allow its unfolding.
CAROL: In your introduction to Evolution’s End, you said, “the real thesis of this book is the magnificent open-ended possibility our higher structures of brain/mind hold, the nature of their unfolding, why many of them don’t unfold, and what we can do about it.” So my question is, how do we open that higher development?
JOSEPH: All of the research that is coming in points very heavily towards this: it is simply a matter of beginning to operate in our own time. We are operating in some very ancient ways of thinking. Who was it the other night that said this is a 19th century operation in a 21st century world?
CAROL: That was Ross Perot, wasn’t it?
JOSEPH: Yes, I think that it was Perot. There is a good point in that. We are certainly doing that with our children. We are still operating in some very ancient ideas. I am now coming abreast of what is happening right now. No intelligence, ability or capacity can unfold in a child who is not given a model of it in his or her environment. Furthermore, the character and nature and quality of the model determine the character and nature and quality of the intelligence or abilities that have been posed in the child. This holds true for everything. A child can’t rise above the nature of their models. And the absence of any models means that that particular capacity in the child lies dormant.
CAROL: Until it’s awakened.
JOSEPH: Until it’s awakened. This third model that is based on novelty and possibility and intelligence is one that we are working towards in our evolution now. But because there are so few adults that have awakened and developed that structure themselves, they cannot possibly nurture it in their own children. We have very few models for that.
CAROL: You have a marvelous quote in your book: “The laborer coming to this vineyard at the eleventh hour gets the same wage as the one coming out in the first hour.” I thought it was a wonderful quote because it addresses the hopelessness of, “Oh, well, childhood lost; there goes my chances for neocortex development!”
JOSEPH: Well, that quote was talking about the stage that should open at adolescence, that all of us long for and eat our heart out about the rest of our life. I haven’t ever found anybody who doesn’t immediately respond to this one: that since about age fourteen or fifteen they’ve had this great feeling that something tremendous is supposed to happen. And it doesn’t. It comes right up from their heart. I got a lump in my throat waiting for this thing to happen. So we are told that it is sexuality. There is nothing wrong with sexuality, mind you, but sexuality is another force; it’s not this thing that is aching here in the heart. It plagues us for the rest of our life.
Now that is what can be an opening to this stage of neocortical development. It really is. I’m convinced of that. The other exciting thing about that now is the discovery just recently that this latest part of the brain — these frontal lobes — are still laying down their tracks in childhood, still making their structures throughout adolescence and not complete until early adulthood. Not even ready to go to work until then. By that time you should have all preliminary structures functional as the foundation for this incredible thing that is supposed to open up and it never does.
Why? Two reasons: failure of our models and environment to build appropriate structures of knowledge in the early, middle child and adolescent years; and failure to identify models for a nurturing environment in that post-operational stage of development in adolescence. Look at the models that we give our adolescents. Just look at them. Your television, your billboards, your advertisements, your rock stars, your sports stars and all these models.
CAROL: And what kind of models are you speaking of?
JOSEPH: The young adolescent is looking for models that will represent totally unknown, open-ended potential which they sense intuitively.
CAROL: Who or what are those models?
JOSEPH: Right away, I think of Waldorf school, founded by a monk who was a real mystic and a real mysterious person, too. Rudolph Steiner discovered that at this age, young people seriously need biographies of very great people to hold the model of people possessing all of our common failings, who, faced with every obstacle, managed to rise above them to great heights. For this age level, the Waldorf schools introduce the study of myths of the Holy Grail: Sir Gawain, the Holy Grail and all the rest of the Knights of the Round Table. That myth is blatantly obvious in its talk of the higher stage that should open at adolescence as the young knight does.
But now we have no knowledge of that and if a young person expresses some kind of a highly virtuous, noble kind of an intuition within them, they are scorned. The reason is simply that you can’t make a nickel off of it. It’s not of a commercial value. And so the young adolescent quickly senses that all his/her ideals are scorned and they become very bitter and disillusioned.
A lot of people are recognizing now that that’s what really hits the adolescent. If a young person is given enough nurturing models then he/she will begin to nurture this longing of the heart and begin to move in that direction. But if they are given only models that lock them into their earliest sensory motor physical drives for territory, acquisition, food and sexuality without modulation or moderation by the higher cortical structures, one begins to operate against the well-being of ones’ society. But in this way, they are commercially viable and then you can make millions of dollars off these young people.
The Damage of Hospital Technology at Childbirth
CAROL: In addition to this information on brain research and structure as they relate to our human evolution, you devote over half your book to discussing other factors which seriously impact our development. You mention hospital intervention in childbirth as the most important.
JOSEPH: That is the biggest one. That’s the number one. Technological interventions, the rising tide of C-section and so on. The damage of hospital technology at childbirth is massively denied. Everyone has to deny it. As the father of five, the mother of my children died when my children were 1-11. I brought them up. You become very emotionally involved when you do that. The research comes from Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden, Britain, France, the United States, Hawaii, Canada. The massive damage is done in hospitals, not just to the child, but also to the mother. Probably the damage done to the mother is greater than that done to the child.
CAROL: Can you elaborate?
JOSEPH: And here you have it again; all the damage done is neurological. We are not talking about the emotions, other than the neurology behind it. Here you get into the fact that in the skin-to-skin contact with a newborn infant, all sorts of latent genetically encoded intelligences, abilities, and capacities start firing in for a woman.
CAROL: And this is triggered by the skin-skin contact?
JOSEPH: Yes, just by the infant and the mother in their new relationship outside the womb. That triggers all sorts of responses in the child and all sorts of responses in the mother. All these neurological structures in the brain open up to do certain kinds of new tasks that are called upon at that period.
But we’ve broken all that up consistently and for a long time now. The real watershed was hit during World War II when we began to dramatically separate all mothers from their infants — 97% of them. Breastfeeding disappeared right around that time so the LaLeche League was founded to try to reintroduce breastfeeding.
There is a cascade of interlocking redundant processes that nature provides to make sure that this connection is made. Everything hinges on the child bonding with the mother, which is the foundation of all subsequent bonding. The bonding of family, the bonding of the Earth —which is a very real thing — the bonding with society. All societies recognize that at age seven the social ego emerges ready to bond with society in which one could no more move against one’s society than against your own body if that bond is made. Then the male-female bond, the parent bond, adolescence, all these bonds.
The mother is the first teacher of the heart, and a bonding between mother and infant must be established before birth, the critical period. The mother must then awaken the undeveloped intelligence of the infant and be the constant model for the ongoing development, until that child’s intelligence has been self-actualized and no longer needs such nurturing.
A bonding between mother and infant must be established at birth, the critical period. In the skin-to-skin contact with a newborn infant, all sorts of latent genetically encoded intelligences, abilities and capacities start firing in for a woman.
CAROL: But if these mammalian major structures in the brain have also been depressed on some levels…
JOSEPH: You fail to make the connection at all. And if you break the first bond you’ve broken the foundation on which all subsequent bonding is based. The connections aren’t made, and these are literal connections. If you read Gerald Adleman, you’ll see how all these connections take place in the brain to literally link these three structures together into an integrated unit that moves for the well being of the society and the species, the infant, the child, the mother, and everybody else. And we’ve broken those up consistently, even though there is a redundancy, which means that Nature doesn’t trust one channel so She provides a dozen different ones. We’ve hit them all and annihilated them, and as a result, all the bonds that hold a society together are then at high risk. And you’ll see a whole society de-structuring, literally falling apart.
So your school, your whole educational system, your society starts collapsing from this (plus television). Everywhere that we have exported this as a technology, the very same patterns take place, such as in Japan. When they imported our techniques and threw out midwives — woman assisting woman at the most critical point in their lives — and putting in male surgeons with their machines, the minute they did that, the whole structure started coming down. And now they are in as big a mess as we are in this country. And we are going to have to put back the power of being the mother of the species back into our hands. Take it out of male surgeons hands.
CAROL: So how do we reverse this trend?
JOSEPH: Well the first thing is that woman must take back their own power of judgment and decision on all reproductive processes as they have for millions of years. They must act as the mother of the species. We can’t do it without them. That’s the biggest price this country or any other country can pay. Hospital birth has a six times greater mortality rate in birth mothers than homebirth regardless of situations, and I know all the counter-arguments! I’ve heard them for thirty years.
A Child’s Place Is At Work
CAROL: What about daycare? You mentioned daycare as a contributing factor in you book. With so many single mothers that have no other means of support, what are they going to do with their children while they work?
JOSEPH: Now here you are in to the touchiest, most painful issue of all. We have backed many of our mothers into a position of having to leave their children when we know that daycare is very disruptive to a child in the majority of cases. There are some good daycares but the ones where you drop them off at 6:30 in the morning and you pick them up at 6:30 at night is very disruptive.
We have to radically reevaluate our whole position of a woman in society. For the time being it is very dysfunctional and very dangerous. We are moving towards a maximum danger of a social structure. I can’t see any reason that a woman can’t be allowed to follow her career instincts. We need that form of intelligence in business, in politics, in medicine, in all professions. We simply have to do what we’ve done for untold millennia: the child’s place has to be in the total of society, not these striations in which we isolate everything from everything else. The mother has to take the child with her. The child does not care where he/she is. Their environment is where their mother/father is. That’s the environment. That’s the source of their comfort. My parents ran a newspaper. I cut my teeth on linotype. The newspaper office was my playground and my home. I loved it. My mother liked to be in my father’s office bossing the crew around. She didn’t want to stay home with me. It was fine and I loved it. Everybody accepted it. I stayed with her.
I go to a woman dentist. I go out of my way to be with her because she keeps her three little children with her. Her receptionist is the babysitter and she is liable to interrupt her drilling on your teeth to attend to one of her children. I go there because of that. I go out of my way to go to a grocery store run by this family because they keep the baby crib right behind the cash register and the baby is bouncing up and down…
CAROL: There is a lot of popularity to the idea that a new age is coming, that people are moving towards spirituality. Is this directly linked with the development of the neocortex you are talking about? If it is, that means that the great excitement people are feeling is almost a biological urge.
JOSEPH: It is, it is. Yet no intelligence capacity or ability will unfold until we are given a model of it and a nurturing environment. So a great challenge as adults is to become that model for our children. They can’t become who we tell them to be. They can only become who we are. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they can’t rise above us if we give them the proper nurturing environment. But it does mean that they are held down to whatever kind of environment we provide.
CAROL: And how are you going to assist your child in opening to that level?
JOSEPH: I don’t think that you can do it until you open yourself. You have to be what you want your children to become. This is where some moral courage comes in: to buck the current trend of pure materialism and open up to your own inner self. The parent must do it if they want their child to do it. All a child has to do is come across one significant model. There are all sorts of arts and martial arts that can turn a person around. And all sorts of spiritual paths.
The thing of it is that most people are so locked into the gross national product and standard of living and quality life, but it’s the real quality of life that develops the intelligence of the child, not standard of living. And what does the quality of life mean to the child? It means that you are going to be unconditionally loved and accepted and wanted by one significant person. The unwanted child is at risk at every level. Their immune system is at risk and their intellectual system is also totally at risk.
CAROL: Who is the unwanted child?
JOSEPH: Simply a child who senses that they are not wanted, or more severely, they are neglected and abused, and they are not cared for. We have terribly unwanted children in our United States from the lowest social levels to the highest. Seriously, radically emotionally deprived children. They are given everything except what they need most and that is unconditional love and acceptance.
I can guarantee you I have traveled over this road many a time with a lot of other countries and we have the most emotionally deprived children in the world. That doesn’t mean all the children, but probably about 70% of our children are severely emotionally deprived. They are touch starved. The skin of the body is starved throughout life for touch and nurturing because the child didn’t get it in the most critical time in their life, which is at birth.
The issue is that we just have to stop some of our behavior patterns with children if we are to stop the current downhill sliding. And we have to do it by changing ourselves. When we say we want a better life for our children, that is pure protection. We want a better life for ourselves. Of course we do, and the only way that we can get a better life for our children is to get a better life for ourselves.
Carol Bedrosian is the publisher of Spirit of Change.
2007 Postscript: Joseph Chilton Pearce is the author of many books, including Crack in the Cosmic Egg, a national best seller Magical Child, Evolution's End and most recently The Biology of Transcendence. For over thirty years Joe has written and lectured internationally on human development and the changing needs of children.