Interview with Jean Liedloff following her book
“The Continuum Concept”
Interview was held on November 16th 2004 at her home in
Interviewer: Ron Gerlitz. Participants: Jean Liedloff, Ron Gerlitz, Nurit Niv (Ron’s wife) & Noga Gerlitz (our 9 months old baby).
This is the full, long & unedited transcript of the interview.
The edited, Hebrew version can be found here.
(Left to right: Jean, Nurit, Noga)
In your book you claim that there are some human behaviors that babies and kids expect – like being carried by adults and that their environment won’t be child–centered. What is the fundamental justification for those claims? What make you sure that this is exactly what babies expect?
Well, I am just thinking how did I arrive to my ideas. I mean, first of all, w/o particularly looking for …, I didn’t got there as a researcher. I didn’t go to the Jungle as a researcher. I went there b/c adventures I wanted to be in the Jungle and it sounded wonderful …
But, eventually I began to see, first of all, after a while not particularly but I noticed, especially when I was interviewed by the NY times when I came back I think from the 1st expedition and the interviewer asking me questions obviously and I was giving answers and also, you know, putting into articulating things that I had seen and so forth.
And, I guess one of the things I noticed was that the Indians are lot happier than we are,
You know. You could see greater well being, but I wasn’t particularly looking for a reason. But eventually, I could see that they were not, they didn’t seem to have the neurotics, the anxieties and all these kind of things.
And also you didn’t see anti social behavior and I noticed even, as I wrote in the book, even when they were drunk. B/c when we are drunk, we very often, our inhibition or sort of social behavior goes off and you could see the anger that is under there all the times except when people are sober, they are keeping it down.
How drunk they were. They could fall over unconscious from being drunk, but they would not show anger that was repressed, so that’s mean the anger is not even there.
And, I began to see all sort of signs, for example, lack of baby crying and you know that babies always doing these kind of things like kicking and (Jean does movements)….
What I call, sort of struggling and fighting. It looks as though, when you want to understand – they are trying to throw off uncomfortable energy.
They just want to get free of it.
One way to explain it is that if you had a broken leg. Say you were skiing, you are perfectly happy, healthy and so forth. But, you break your leg skiing.
So, the Dr. say you got to put your leg in a cast and you got to stay there six weeks, so you can’t really move. So, it does not take by long before you get pretty twitchy
from this excess energy you are not using, do you know what I mean?
And, that’s the way a baby is, whose excess energy isn’t being discharged and the way …
I think it is all sort of backwards. How can it be?
Those babies in the jungle never had this. They can pick baby by one hand (showing me) You can pick up the baby by one hand (point to our baby Noga) … You think the arm is going to come out of the socket, the hand is going to fall … they don’t!
You can do it … (Ron laughs)
I did it once, I was giving a lecture at the La Leche League
International conference in
As I was speaking, a baby came loose from the crowed. I guess his mother did not notice and he was crawling up the aisle towards me.
So, I picked the baby up like this, by one hand and everyone was “haaa”, b/c they were never do that. You are supposed to support the head and treat the baby as though it is fragile. And everybody gasped … And, I mean I would not do it again. I was just lucky that I didn’t happen to frighten the baby, b/c it could have been. I was totally stranger. But luckily the baby just went go-go-go, you see.
I hold him up and I said: look and I showed them that the baby not falling into pieces and so forth.
In any case, what I am saying is that I see these children, you know, little, smaller than we are physically, just as a race. But, you see these little creatures running around confident. I think I gave illustration about a child, I think I wrote it in the book. Tiny little thing, they are all naked ….
Comes up to me b/c he cut his thumb and his mother said, go to Jean b/c I was sort of being the doctor. And, the child by himself, three years old, arrived and he waits there when I put some disinfections. To have that much confident and that much sort of self reliance.
I saw the signs of this w/o putting it together for quite a long time b/c I wasn’t there to look for a theory. But, eventually after the 4th expedition (out of 5. R.G.). The first 2 were led by Italians and the last 3 I led myself, I gave up Italians. No more Italians!
Ron: yes, we read in the book.
Jean: But, you didn’t read my politically incorrect slogan after that: never let a day-go by.
I was really less and less interested to look for diamonds and more and more interested in the Indians and their way of life and so forth and after the 4th expedition I really began to see the importance of what I was looking at. And then, the 5th expedition was pretty much just to check up to be sure I wasn’t romanticizing.
And, I also in between that years, between the 4th and the 5th expedition, I began to thinking about the sort of, if it does not sound too pretentious, almost like a unified field theory of human nature. And, how this is consistent with what we understand about the evolution of the species. Why it could not be otherwise?
It all began to make a certain kind of sense and I found that what I was doing was
annunciating a kind of … I was postulating the notion of innate expectation. That we have innate expectations. Which, none of these “buffoons” who are supposed to be experts in the field recognize at all. So, I was postulating this idea and I think I have made a case for it in the book. I think it is pretty persuasive. I did go up to the center of cognitive studies in Harvard, where they are suppose to be the experts on human, child development.
Ron: what was their reaction?
(Was it in the 70s? Jean: it was before I wrote the book. Before 75)
Jean: The way I was been able to be seen by these people, b/c I have no degrees and no credentials to be able to make statement.
Ron: So, why did they want to hear you?
Jean: Well, b/c they were telephoned by a man who I met in cocktail party in NY
And we started talking … By the time we finished talking the sun was coming up.
He had completely mastered all my ideas, and he became my greatest advocate. And, his office was in the white house. So, he telephoned anyone from the white house, said: listen. You won’t say I don’t take a call. You take the call. This was very important intellectual in the Kennedy and than in the Johnson white house. And he would bring them up and tell them that there was this, well I was sort of a kid…
They listen b/c he had advocating me.
Ron: But, what was their reaction?
Jean: Well, there were different ones. Some of them were quite funny. One of them said that they didn’t agree that a human being, a baby, would have innate expectations. They said, we viewed them as ‘Carte Blanche’. I didn’t dare tell them, but what he meant to say was ‘Tabula rasa’. ‘Carte Blanche’ is a very different concept, but I didn’t say anything b/c it was … I didn’t dare correct him b/c I was suppose to be the ignorant and he is the professor.
But the idea was that they never had such a concept.
Another words, what they were saying is that the baby is ‘Tabula rasa’ and does not have any expectations. It simply takes in whatever his experience was, but he does not have any prior expectations. What I was postulating was the notion that we have expectations based on the experience of our evolving antecedents and the experiences that we had over hundreds of thousands of years to which we adopted and which our species is a reflection of the adaptation. That’s what evolution is. It is a serious of adaptations to experiences. Right?
So, we adapted to the experiences we had for hundreds of thousands of years. We, than, expect to have those experiences to which we adapted. And, if we don’t have those, than we do not develop optimally.
For example, if a baby is put down. Now, you suppose to go to sleep. Dr. Spok says you should go sleep now (Dr. spook I call him …)
Baby is expecting to be held. Not to be separate for a hundreds of thousands of years.
So, the baby has a signal built in which has a built in response in the same species. The baby cries and the mother or the father trying to put the baby down. Here is it, knows what it means w/o a dictionary. And than, Dr. Spook says: no, you have to be strong and let the baby cry and teach him a lesson. And what happens is that the baby feels that something is wrong with me. I am not good enough. B/c everything that is desirable is my father and my mother. I want to be held. And, so you are everything good. You are everything desirable, you are the authority …
So, then you come. I am in the crib and I am crying and you look at me and you are saying: “hoow. I just fed you and I’ve just changed you and noting is wrong with you
and shut up”. Or, you just don’t bother. I feel there is something wrong with me.
And this feeling that just about all approximately 100 % of
the population of the western world, not just
Called, you know what the name it is? “Normal”.
It is the tragedy, b/c in fact it is the norm. I wouldn’t want a normal child. I hope she is not normal (pointing towards Noga). We want her to be natural, not “normal”.
Ron: we hope so …
Jean: B/c the normal is so terrible.
Let me ask it sharper, how do you know what baby expect? You said that the baby expects to be carried, while Dr. Spok says that the baby expects to be in the crib.
It is empirical. I am looking at the children and I am
seeing what happens, you know. Just, good sense. I am observing. I am told,
well, all babies are crying and all babies this. They (those she saw
in the Jungle. R.G) don’t cry! And the ones in
Nurit: can I nurse her here?
Jean: do you ask me ???
Nurit, Ron: no, no just if it is OK here in your living room, just want to be sure ….
Jean: Listen, you can do it and tell everybody to do it too:
When I see a girl nursing a baby outdoor, in public, I always go up and congratulate her and say: thank you for giving such a good example. For heaven sake.
What bring you to the claim that the happiness of the Yequana
is a direct result of the fact that they were raised according to their continuum expectations. Maybe they are happy b/c of other reasons?
(kicking my leg!) I had this ridicules argument from Francis Crick, the one that discovered DNA.
I was having lunch with him at the Sock Institute and he said: how do you know it is not from something else? Maybe it is the diet?
I kicked him in the shins.
Ron: like you did to me.
Jean: yes. But the harder I did it to him. With shoes on!
The point is that I think one can see the combination of the baby’s reaction. I mean the baby is not a martin.
The baby is programmed to signal for something. It is not just cartoon.
Why would the baby crying?
The baby is crying saying I am not happy. This is wrong. My experience is wrong.
Why would he do it unless the experience is wrong?
It does not make any sense.
And why is it that these babies of theYequana and the Balinese
They happen to be the only ones in the civilized world who I see has a society pretty much continuum correct.
You see how they are being treated. Now, if a baby …
I know very few people who don’t understand what is the crying about. It wants to be picked up. If you do pick it up – it stops crying.
So, it is not a big mystery.
And then you see the baby. The development … You could see the alienation manifesting itself in different ways. The feelings that something wrong with me b/c my parents …
Your parents look for you like the authority. B/c that is the only authority we have and it is our nature as a species (we are probably not the only species who think our parents are authority) and we came to take their values. They show us what is right and wrong, what is desirable and not desirable. What’s good, what’s bad. We take it from them. So it is …
I remember my mother coming in and my sister and me were talking and we were supposed to be shutting up and go to sleep. She would come it, she would open the door and look disappointed and close the door …
This awful feeling of “we
are bad “. And I mean …
When you think of the various manifestations of this …
Do you find it difficult to understand the connection?
If a person feels himself to be the wrong thing, I am not the right thing.
You feel angry. You want to be accepted. You want to feel you are loveable and that you are the right stuff. You feel jealous of people who are supposed to be the right.
Like those two kids, Klebold & Harris (Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (17 & 18) who murdered 13 kids in Columbine school in April 20, 1999. R.G.) who at the Columbine. They shoot everybody at school.
What they were angry at was what they called the “Gokes”, the sports, the athletics.
They were rejected by them. They were not considered one of them. So these were the “right” ones and they felt themselves to be the wrong ones.
When you actually heard as we did afterwards. You can see. One of them had a big thing b/c he was very much rejected by his father and criticized by his father for not being good enough.
That is just a very sort of conscious thing, but just from birth onwards to be left to cry,
when all you want is to have your correct experiences according to your evolved expectations as a species. And you are treated like a brat, like a bad boy, bad girl.
And the feeling of wrongness about yourself, and that’s on your parents authority usually or something that feels like parental authority. So, no matter how much you fight it, it feels like the judgment of you. You live with it and than you try to compensated by trying to persuade people that you are really confident and that you are really better than you secretly believe yourself to be. You try to look confident when you are not. I think we all did it. I did it. I was always trying to look confident and I never was.
I never felt welcome, a day in my life b/c my mother made me feel unwelcome.
The picture of my mother, staring at me. (Jean points to a picture on the table. Than she turns the picture up side down) Don’t let her stare at me …
But, than you see these (Yequana. R.G.) children who are confident. You see it in a straight line. You can see them as babies; you can see them as toddlers, as children and bigger children. You see where it never begins for them to be … and you don’t see them being kicking and riving. So, you can see where it does not begin. It begins with us.
You trace it back and you see what is it they doing that keep them on this line?
First I observed all this. Then I realized. I put the evolutionary whole picture on it.
That what we expect is what we adapted to as a species. The experiences we had for hundreds of thousands of years was being held! Where else could we have been?
Nobody was putting a baby
down. They would have been eaten. You could not leave a baby alone in the
Jungle or on the Savanna or in the desert or wherever we were evolved in
And also you see the signals of the baby and the child. And then you see the results of the deprivation and you can see the anti-self feeling. And it is not very difficult to see how when you feel anti self how you become anti social. You think, something is wrong with me, makes you angry at everybody else. So, I don’t think it is all that mysterious.
Ron: Question about us, those that were not raised according to the CC principles.
How do you see the connection between raising kids according to the CC and our own healing?
Jean: If it heals the parents to treat the children that way?
Jean: Well, I think …
One’s feelings are pretty much based on the authority of one’s parents.
Just about everyone I talked to, b/c I am very often consulted by people,
and one of the things just about everyone says is: I don’t want my child to have the feelings that I have. I don’t want them to be raised the way I was raised. So, but the thing is certainly is a good idea to have in mind the principles of the CC to understand the principles of one’s human nature more clearly. When one raising one’s own children and you have the feeling that you are not going to do to them what was done to us.
But, whether that’s healing? It’s certainly preventing things from getting worse.
But, whether that’s actually healing yourself? I think it does help to realize …
One of the things I do when I do therapy with people on the telephone about their own case is to get people to understand that the feeling of wrongness that we have about ourselves, which is really the basis of all this neurosis around the place.
You just about anybody that you ask. You say, do you feel that you’re really the right stuff ? They don’t. Is this the way things supposed to be? Nobody really feels that it should be.
So, what I do when I am doing consulting or therapy sessions with people it is reasoning with them, getting them to understand that they were tiny baby, little like that (points to Noga) and they were made to feel wrong, unlovable. When in fact, they were lovable.
They were the right thing. And not only that, but they have been ever since they were always been the right thing. Not always now, not always as a baby. They were always the right thing. And when they were acting up and doing … - they were trying to get it right.
B/c that’s what we do. Whether we burning down the school house , or dancing around trying to get our parents to admire us or trying to teach them a lesson or just trying to be very – If your father wants you to be a football star , then you try to do football, whether you like it or not. And if your mother wants you to be pretty, then you are trying to be pretty. Or you are trying to impress them. Somehow to change their opinion of you, so that you can feel better about yourself. They still feel like the authority.
And just to get this all conscious and reason with them and then in a certain point I ask them something like – on a scale of 1 to 10, how good a judge of values of personal values do you think your mother is?
So, what is about? You are an adult now. The idea was that they were adults and they looked authoritative to you, they looked as they know. Now, you are an adult and you got your judgment and you could now see that, in the light of your understandings of things now, that you are a better judge of what’s right and what’s wrong and you could just reasoning intellectually, you can see that you were right and they were wrong.
And very often therapists trying to get you to forgive your parents. And interestingly enough, I have never felt that I had to do that. B/c when I get people to understand that, I very often ask them, what their parents childhood was like, and they very often know the grandparents. Nobody is wining. We are all victims of other victims.
Ron: do you think we should forgive our parents or not?
Jean: No, no, no. This is the point: I never say this to people, but I discovered that when I get through with them and get them to understand what happened, they become almost like therapists to their parents. They understand them and they are sympathize with them.
Just b/c of understanding the things.
So, I don’t tell them- now you got to go to forgive your parents.
But, they just do. Automatically. Not only forgive them but they become very sympathetic an very often they use the technique I am using on them on their parents. They’re sitting and talking about their childhood, making them feel better.
So, that the forgiveness comes by understandings the whole thing. No one is winning. It’s one damn victim of another victim. It’s just one big tragedy. So, we should all try to be sweet to ourselves and each other and understand that it is all been a terrible, hurtful tragic mistake.
Compliments to kids. In the book you say that (page 98) the regular means of saying compliments or blaming hurt severely their motivation.
A lot of parents include us, find it very difficult not to compliment the kids.
Yes, I know.
Ron: We find it also not natural. If we do it, it is not only difficult - it is against our nature.
So, what I want to ask you and a lot of people from our community asked me to ask
You: did you mean just the extreme when you say to the kid “you are an angel, you are unbelievable” or do you mean categorically to every compliment which you suggest parents not to give to the kids.
Jean: You are using the word compliment. I am using the word praise. Look, if you just think in the logic of the child mind, if I …
Look, if you do something nice like you just turn the light on for your wife, and I’ll say: Oh, “that’s lively dear” or “that was very good”.
Why should I be surprised that you do something social? It’s insulting to you.
I mean, of course, you are goanna do something nice. You are a nice person. You are kind, you are generous, you are sweet and it gives you pleasure. And, say, I am your mother and you make some paper flowers and give them to me or still the flowers from the neighbors and give them to me (laughing) and I say: “oho, how wonderful. Look what he did. Isn’t it clever? Look what Ron did”. It’s insulting that I am so surprised and I think it is so amazing. I am not to say … If you bring me the flowers and I say “oho, thanks. These are lovely. Get me some vase and some water, let’s put it there”, that’s enough. That’s make sense. But, to say, to make it looks like it is not expected and that it’s wonderful and amazing. Like, when American husband does something nice like taking the dishes from the table to the kitchen. Listen: you’re wonderful as though it was so unusual.
The next topic is the implementation of the CC principles in the western world.
How do you think we can combine the CC principles in our western society?
What do you suggest to parents?
We are talking about people. There is no society. It is just people. There are pressures from society and there are examples and there are all kind of social pressures, but I think that when you understand these things which have not been understood. In fact, quite the opposite has been told you. That really, no matter how you feel, you should let the baby cry. You have to be brave and let the baby cry so you don’t spoil.
Ron: I am talking about parents that agree with the principles. What are the practical ways to implement them in our lives?
Jean: You don’t put the baby down. You sleep with the baby. What else do you want to know?
Returning to the praising issue –
You don’t have to encourage a child.
For example, this business of learning. I know this is going to sound really crazy and radical. But, if you think about it or maybe observe it rather than think about it …
I was asked to speaking
Somebody got up and introduce me saying: this is Jean Liedloff. She is against education.
They were from
I thought they are going to lynch me now.
The point is that it is a kind of basic notion, like a subtitle almost at education – we are goanna make you do this. You not goanna like it, but we goanna make you do it anyway.
You’ll go to kinder garden, you go to school – we goanna make you do it.
The thing is that we loose track the fact that babies, like little mouse here (points to Noga) out sniffing and tasting and touching and watching. She is learning the all time.
So, education very often interferes with the learning. In fact, I was thinking back about it in the years that I was with the Indians. These children, they know the name for everything. The names for not only this finger and this finger, different words. But, the front and back of this ankle of this part of this finger. And, every child knows this. And inside and outside of every animal and the different plants. And they learn this and I notice b/c I lived with them for two and half years. I never saw anyone teaching. Learning was going on not impeded by teaching. And I suddenly realized that learning of course is natural, which we don’t really quite understand that it is totally natural. And in fact not only we do it but every other animal does it appropriate to its own species. But teaching is unnatural. We think teaching and learning go together like horse and carriage, love and marriage.
No, learning is a quite separate thing and it very often interfered with by teaching.
Somebody deciding what
you ought to learn, what we want you to learn. In fact, it does not really
improve learning. B/c learning out of desire to learn, out of a will and wish
to learn, out of curiosity. A straightforward motivation. A baby looks at
something. Like this little mouse (points at Noga) is looking at
something up there. She wants to know. Nobody is telling her that it is
aardvark and this is from the
But, we overlooked that. We say, no. They suppose to learn. A is for apple. But she says, no, A is for aardvark.
Here is question from my own mother. Is it possible to implement your CC principles when you send 3 month old baby to a day care?
Jean: Three months?
Ron: Most people send their kids to a daycare at three month.
Jean: They do?
Ron: In the western world … I think so.
Jean: Well, you answer that.
Ron: Well, well … She (points to Noga) is not in a daycare …
Jean: I gather. You wouldn’t be in here. You would have been going out to the bay …
My darling, look. Not only is it wrong for the baby. It’s wrong for Nurit, it is wrong for you. It’s wrong for everybody. How would you be feeling if she were in daycare?
Wrong. So, it is for both of you. If a baby is even say three weeks old. If the person who is taking care of the baby is carrying the baby 24 hours a day – it’s OK. If the baby experience is correct. By the age of six months, the baby is very aware of which person it is. But at the age of 3 weeks or three months probably not. The point is that in the daycare they are not being carried around. If they were – fine.
The whole thing is wrong
for the mother and/or the father too. They miss the experience of being with
him and being their example and being their authority. I know that when
I was a little all I wanted was my mother approval and I never got it. She was
always bored, she was beauty and so brilliant. She, when I was three, took us
to live with my grandmother b/c she broke up with my father. She moved away from
my father when I was three. Even though I had this wonderful grandmother, I
just wanted my mother’s attention. I wanted her for approval. I wanted her to
affirm me, to recognize me. My all dreaming life was how can I impress my
mother? I had all these ideas of rescuing her form fire or I would march down
We were supposed to be at table dinner time. My mother would very often come late. My grandmother would say: this is Ok. She is an artist. B/c she is an artist, she never wear a watch. She didn’t have to be on time, but we were expected to be on time.
Eventually I would become a comedian, or I would tell jokes. I used to do impressions of people in the news. Just to make my mother laugh. And I found I could do that. Then I realized this awful feeling that she was laughing b/c what I was saying was really funny and not b/c it was part of her daughter.
So, I couldn’t do it. It is an awful feeling.
It is interesting how much I care that she be the one to recognize me and make me feel I am Ok. I am the right stuff. I never felt like the right stuff b/c she didn’t recognize me as the right stuff. I was never interesting enough.
Ron: What are you saying is that our continuum expectations are to be appreciated by our parents, not just by other adults.
Jean: yes. The one who looks authoritative. By the time they are six months old, this is not my observation, but the observation of researchers that they recognize which person it is and it has to be their mother or father.
So, I don’t think it is a good idea, even at 3 months.
Ron: it is even more important when they are older?
Jean: yes, but if you start at three months, you wouldn’t take it back …
So, the idea is – don’t do it. And besides you missing all this bonding, this all sequence of events together. Of the first walk and first that and the observation and the fact of your enormous authoritative in the eyes of that child that sees his own reflections in your eyes.
For example, when she is older and you say to her – take this book to daddy. That’s the kind of things they love, b/c they think they are part of things and you show that you trust them to do it and they are part of the action. They want to be in the middle of it.
The idea of putting a baby down. No, when you are sleeping you know that your quality of sleeping is quite different you are not together with your wife.
So much more a baby who been evolved in a place it could have been eaten.
Sleep or awake – the experience should be there. Baby is perfectly happy, perfectly well sleeping in light when you are watching TV at full light, you’re having a conversation, you are singing … The baby can sleep. Fine. Don’t put the baby away.
And if you go out dancing, take the baby with you. He won’t wake up.
Ron: did you see parents in the western world do it?
Jean: No, didn’t happen. I see enough Indians dancing with their children.
Some people say that there is a kind of internal contradiction in the book.
On the one hand you tell the parents – listen to your inner voices. Listen to the
continuum voices inside you. On the other hand you suggest what we should hear.
A mother can hear something different. She hears that the baby wants to sleep in a separate room.
No darling, no.
Ron: What would you say to her?
Jean: What she is listening to is not the original voice. B/c, we are talking about species
Homo sapiens and unless that mother is a martin …
I am not saying that this is my opinion. I am saying it’s my observation. It’s my extrapolation of principles from the observations. It’s not sort of an optional thing that sometimes the baby wants to sleep alone. There is no chance in the world that a human baby of 2 months wants to sleep alone.
Sometimes I am on the radio and people call and say “my baby, when I pick it up starts to cry and scream and wants to be put down”. I ask: are you tense? He answers: yes.
The point is when yourself tense, if your energy is not circulating and discharging.
You are taking energy from sunshine and from food and you also have to discharge it by activity and by just living. If you take a lot in and you don’t discharge it, you get all these things. If you pick a baby up and you are all tense, they are sharing your energy field and they can actually do it better buy kicking etc. You can get rid of this excess energy by running around yourself or the home with the baby. The baby, who is sharing the energy field, gets the excess energy discharged from the mutual field.
Ron: For me it makes sense to sleep with our baby. But, for my friends it is totally does not make any sense to sleep with their kids.
Jean: I am sorry but this is a cultural thing. It is. There is no way in the world than suddenly we are an exception.
It turns out that the mother who is so tense that the baby feels worse in this energy field.
Ron: what she should do?
Jean: she should run around the block 6-7 times, have some orgasms which are very good too. Orgasm has two separate functions. One is obviously for reproduction. The other one is to discharge the excess energy we are taking in. And you can feel the difference. The difference of feeling more and more tense and eventually it is all sort concentrate in the sexual areas and orgasm – that energy is discharged. And if the baby is in bed with you it discharges the energy and the baby … I am not quite sure how it is, but it’s interesting.
That when they started to do Psychotherapy using drugs like L.S.D. They were talking about the Oedipus phenomena and the children have this guilty feeling and have that sexual desire to making love to the parents of the opposite sex and they feel guilty about it. They discovered that just about everybody had it when they were using these drugs.
What kind of survival sense does that make for species? But then it occurred to me that it makes a certain amount of sense if part of the baby’s experiences for hundreds of thousands of years has been that they were present while the parents were making love. And they were sort of passive participant in this very primal act. And the energy which is being discharged, that orgasm, is sort of landing upon them and they’re maybe discharging their own energy and in some way giving an experience that they expect, but miss and later on it comes to have sort of nostalgic desire that they wish to make love to the parent of the opposite sex and they would be that at all. They feel that they have missed something that resembles a sexual experience.
I talked to some psychological researchers and they say it makes more sense than the other explanations of the Oedipus.
Ron: So, kids expect their parents to make love near them?
Jean: I think so. Where were they for the last hundreds of millions of years?
Nurit: Till what age in the tribe you saw the children sleep with their parents.
Jean: In the same hammock … the mother and the father and the baby are in the same hammock. When he gets older, he sleeps in his own hammock.
I don’t know exactly at what age.
But, as there are no walls in between, you should be able to hear people making love. I was never aware of hearing it. I was sleeping near, but not that closed to the hammocks.
What we should be doing is let the baby sleep with us. Of course, they are 100% welcome. Just let the baby be there like it is place to be with his parents until the baby leaves. B/c the natural movement of development of a child is outward, towards independence. That’s what development is at any animal. Little birds start flying.
A baby when it is ready and it is about 2 years old, when they feel completely welcome, It will go start to look for places to sleep outside. Could be a sofa, a playroom. They will go sleep there when they feel like. But if you say: wouldn’t you like to go now? No!
They won’t feel welcome and will be afraid to leave. So the more welcome they feel, the sooner they leave! They know they can always come back, so it is safe to go.
And children very often do come back. It all makes sense when you think about it.
It’s just little animals.
The crazy thing is that we recognizing it much more at animals. If a kitten is going “miu miu miu”, we don’t think that the mother shouldn’t answer it.
We think we shouldn’t.
It’s really crazy when you think about it.
I want to ask you something very practical. They are a lot of people that read your book and agree with most of the principles and they try to implement the CC principles.
What usually happens is that the mom stays at home with the kids. I’ve just read an interview with you in which you say that women should take the baby to work. I agree, but in most cases mom who try to implement the CC principles don’t go to work. This is our society.
Darling, I’ve noticed. I live here too.
Ron: People say that if the mom is at home she might be frustrated b/c everyone is going to the universities and have degrees and money and her self-esteem might be lower. They say: it’s bad for the Mom; it’s bad for the kid. This is the claim.
What do you think about it?
Jean: Darling, the mom is staying at home, doing what?
Ron: She stays with the baby at home b/c she doesn’t want to send her kid to the daycare.
Jean: She isn’t doing anything else.
Ok, in the 1st place, anybody that has no other company but a baby is going to be intellectually frustrated. It isn’t intellectual companionship for a reasonable girl. So, she should have make friends with some other people, neighbors and they can do their housework together. And maybe you can find different kinds of work to do at home or together and you take the baby with you.
For example Gloria Steinem who has a magazine. She is a great feminist figure. What she did after reading my book was she got the people who work on the magazine to bring the babies in. What they did is having the babies in those boxes and put the boxes on the desk and they go working. The baby is just isolated so they are crying and …
That wouldn’t do it. So, they should have the babies sitting on their lap and then should make an effort to run about few times and discharge some energy. Not just have the babies present. The point is that whether they stay with the babies or leave the babies with somebody else and go to work, at least I am telling them how it should be.
Unfortunately, there are no laws against depriving babies and children of their requirements but at least I am telling you what they are.
If you really want to, I think in most cases you can find a way to do it.
Just sit there with the baby on your lap and going “gu gu gu” isn’t what the baby wants.
You should be doing something interesting. Preferably like moving and not just sitting in front of a computer.
Regards conflicts with kids: we are trying to raise our babies according to the principles, we carry them, we sleep with them, we try not to be child centered, but still people have a lot of conflicts with their kids. For example, the so called “terrible 2” and the tantrums.
How do you suggest us to deal with the conflicts?
What conflicts? Don’t tell me that they have “terrible 2” all of them?
Ron: No, I am not telling all of them and I am not claiming that it is as bad as the kids are raised in the normal way. I am saying that still we have still conflicts.
Jean: (points to Noga who sleeps peacefully on the sofa near Nurit) – But darling, you should be touching her.
Nurit: (surprised) why?
Jean: B/c it is a big difference b/c you are sharing an energy field, even if it is small.
It is really important.
You could have taken the baby with you (referring to Nurit going to the car
to bring something w/o taking Noga at a cold
When you are like this, the baby could be sleeping somewhere else, as far as she is concerned. But the great thing is that just this (illustrating touching the baby with the fingers), you are still touching. It’s not new age stuff; I am talking about a real energy field.
So, if you are touching you are sharing an energy field.
Nurit: Sometimes I really feel it.
Ron: you asked for example. I have a friend. Two years old baby. He sits near the table and throws the food on the floor. The parent tells him, don’t do it, but he keeps throwing.
How should we react?
Jean: Darling, I get these weird questions and are total, absolutely have nothing to do with the reality. Another words, if you have a continuum child with whom you are in total harmony and hasn’t gone any burning expectations, which have never been fulfilled, and then suddenly he behaves like a hate ridden lunatic. They don’t. The child is social by nature. They are not suddenly going to start throwing … Going from being a serial prude to a serially killer …
The child is not going to be anti social.
If the child should drop some food on the floor, than you say something like – oh darling, what a mess. Come on, let’s clean it up. As if, not that the child is anti social. You assume that the child is social. B/c the expectations that you show to the child on the most powerful things, not just the ones that is born with (the innate expectations) …
But, the expectations that you show the child that you have …
In a funny way, your expectations of the child behavior should match her expectations
of what your expectations should be.
Another words, you expect her to be social. You expect her to be part of the family.
They want to be part of the family? They do. For Christ sake. They don’t want to be something else. They want to be loved.
You say, Noga, take this book to daddy. If she doesn’t do it, just get up and take the book yourself. Leave her out of the action. She won’t like it. She doesn’t want to be left out of the action. Don’t make her feel bad. She already feel she missed the opportunity to be part of things. Next time you’ll ask her – she’ll go.
But to say “you are very bad” etc - just understand how powerful your authority is in her eyes. You don’t even to say anything. Just look on them and do “cha” (kind of angry voices), and it goes right and it stays there and hurts.
That’s the way they feel the truth about themselves. Awful. Just thinking about my mother.
What was your objective when you wrote the book? What was your drive?
Well, it’s a funny thing.
I was given two advances, one from an English publisher and one from an
American publisher. Both of whom preferred to loose the money they had given me
rather than publish the book. Big publishers. The Editor Chief of the one in
Anyway, both of them said – couldn’t you make it more autobiographical? And put pictures in it? Which is what they were expecting - “Blonde goes up Amazon” …
The usual kind of adventures story about blonde American girl go to the Jungle and bla bla bla.
And this wasn’t at all. What I have learned of value.
I just thought that I am sorry to disappoint them, but this is too important.
I couldn’t sell it out.
Eventually it was somebody who is
the most highly sort of intellectual in
(Back to the question itself)
I don’t know. I know that I was keen & enthusiastic enough on saying what I was saying even though it was totally against everything that was being said. I mean, as the NY times book review said, it was totally “radical”.
Ron: It was like that you knew something new and you wanted to share?
Jean: Yes. Clearly, most people would just practically do anything to be published. And rather that be published and rather than sale the subject and make it into “Blonde goes up Amazon”, I just thought “this is too important” and so I just put it back until this Jonathan, this famous English intellectual asked me if he could read it. This was generous of him. I have never written anything before.
I rang him at a certain point and got his wife on the telephone and asked “is Jonathan finished reading it?” and she said “no, he hasn’t finished reading it, but he told me I ought to read it”. Now, he was a doctor and she also was a doctor. She was a pediatrician.
That was a good sign. Then, couple of weeks later he had finished reading it and he said “I think this is a very important book and I think a million copies”. I’ll never forget. He asked if he can show it to publisher. Later I went to have lunch with the publisher and Jonathan. The publisher says he wants to publish it.
How many copies were sold over all?
It was published by now in 23 languages. The only figures I know …
B/c they don’t send me statements the way they should … b/c I should have an agent and I don’t.
The only one who pays w/o being hit over the head is the German. Last year they sold 455 thousands copies just in German.
Ron & Nurit: Woow!
Jean: That was last year. This year is half a million. Just in German.
If it was possible to roll back to 1975 and you now about to publish the book.
Would you write the book exactly the same way you did? Or, would you write it in a different way?
Well, I hope that I’ve learned something since then. But, I don’t know …
I don’t know. Funnily enough, I have just recently being rereading it. I was sort of surprised, but, no, I mean …
Ron: I’ll tell you why I am asking. You probably know that your book got a lot of critics and angry.
Jean: I don’t know. No. What?
Ron: You don’t know?
Jean: No, I don’t.
Ron: (laughing) I mean that there are a lot of people that don’t agree with you.
Jean: Well, All right. I don’t hear from them.
Nurit: Maybe write it with not so much critics and not writing it in such one-way?
Ron: some people say that when they read the book, especially parents, it’s just too difficult for them to read it. For example, when you describe that you put the baby in a crib and all he wants is his mother and the mother doesn’t pick him up b/c Dr Spook
says … So, he suffers. You use the word “suffer”. For some people, they just can’t bear it. So, they take the book and throw it away.
Jean: I know darling. I’ve heard this. I don’t call it a criticism.
I have heard people telling that that cry and they have feelings of depression.
There was one famous writer. I think I put it in the introduction.
What she says was: it’s the cruelest thing I have ever read. To think that she didn’t obey her instincts and she suffered through all this and neglected her children. In fact, she sent one of her children to me for therapy, who told me how horrible mother she was.
What she said was: It’s not that I wish you hadn’t written it. I am not even wishing that I hadn’t read it. I just wish that it weren’t true.
The fact is … I mean, by now it is clearly is true. It is not just me who says so. But there are a lot of people who are confirming and discovering that if they do what I suggest, they don’t get the same results. These terrible, pathologists called normal. Doesn’t happen if you behave correctly.
The thing is that it hurts terribly to realize what we have been doing, what have been done to us, what we are doing to our children. It’s terribly painful.
Do we not want to know?
The point is - Let’s all cry together. Cry together and feel sorry for ourselves, and feel sorry for our parents who did this to us and what was done to them. They are all victims. Nobody is winning. And then, let’s not do it anymore.
What do you think most people miss when they read the book?
Or a point people miss when trying to implement the CC principles?
Jean: I don’t know. What do you think?
Ron: I’ve heard that CC is equal to carrying the baby, sleeping with him but forget the issue of “child centered”.
Jean: I hear that sometime. Yes. But, what can I do?
Very often when somebody says this to you: “I carry the baby and I sleep with the baby and they don’t get the rest of the picture. Ask him if they actually read the book or just hear about it from someone. It probably turns out that they haven’t read the book. They heard about.
Ron: In our thinking the practical issues are always in the 1st degree. It is easy to distinguish. When you say, “don’t be child centered” is more elusive. People run to the practical issues.
Jean: is it too vague? It is not too vague. It just takes more explanations. Let’s explain what we can. What else can we do?
Tell me what you want me to do that will make it clearer?
Ron: I have got no suggestions. I wanted to see what’s your experience is.
People say that when you read the book, you can’t ignore it. It does to you something.
Either you agree and want to give it to your friends or you are so angry with the author (which is you…) and you throw it away. Reactions are extreme.
Jean: It is radically against what everybody is doing.
Darling, look at some reviews the book got (showing us printed flyer with scores of reviews the book got). This is the NY times book review, no less, “Radical is certainly the word for her proposals, but in view of the continuum and it’s millions of years, it is only our tiny history which appears radical in its departure from the long established norm of human and pre-human experience. There are remarkable insights here”
So, it is radical for now. But, what I am saying: this is the human way. And people recognize it from the guts. If I was saying “Jean whoever her name says this ...” you would say che che che ,Shut up, who cares. But, what makes the power of it is that you’re talking to someone that knows it all long. It’s in there. I am just putting words to it. The music is there. I am just putting the words.
I want ask you a personal question. What does it do to you that you influence so many people all over the planet? People raise their kids differently b/c of you.
I don’t really get it. I’ll love to be able to get it and feel big and powerful and make me feel more confident and more good. More wonderful, more proud f of myself. I’d love to feel like that. I just don’t get it (sad voice).
I mean, I understand the importance of the work but I don’t really get it.
I’ll love to be able to get it b/c I love to feel more confident and more big, brave and good and wonderful. But, I don’t. I still feel not really welcome.
Nurit: does it make you feel more confident about what you wrote, that so many people adopted it, or you are anyway 100% confident?
Jean: Well, it proves it out in away. But, I based my words on my observations. I didn’t invent them. I try to extrapolate principles from the observations. And understand what it meant. And when it doesn’t … It makes sense and ideas going off like popcorn. One goes of and than another. If that’s true, this must be true. I was really very exciting that year between the 4th and the 5th expedition. When I understood the evolutionary aspect of it. It became like a unified field theory and it made sense of view of the human species as a product of evolution, which we are. And what evolution is, is a serious of adaptations to experience just as the evolution of lungs. When the baby is inside the womb and it has no experience of air. It developing lungs adapted to air with no personal experience of air. Why? B/c it’s evolving antecedents encountered air and adapted to the exact mixture of gases of oxygen and whatever on this planet. Those little lungs in there are expected exactly that gas even they have no personal experience.
We expect to have the experience to which we adapted.
You can’t deny that the examples I gave about lungs being expectation of air and eyes evolving as expectations of the light spectrum in this planet and ears expect the sounds waves and so forth.
That’s perfectly unarguable. But by the same token we also expect to have the experiences to which we adapted over hundreds of thousands of generations. We are not Carte Blanche.
Are you a feminist?
In what sense?
Ron: In any sense that you choose to refer to.
Jean: Well, I think we ought to be paid equally for the equal work. I don’t spend my time doing feminist things, but I certainly agree with being treated as individual equally and so forth.
And I am also very pleased that we are not all the same.
I tried in the last days to understand what are the feminist claims against your theory. Here is what I got: “Implementing the CC principles brings women back home (even if it shouldn’t). It no doubt hurts their ability to be in an influential position in the society. It means that the CC, if you want or not, collaborates with the social forces that want to bring women back home and whose tactic is to attach women to the home.”
Do you mean it is a plot to get rid of the women in the work place? (laughing)
Ron: No. It is not.
Jean: It sounds like.
Ron: No. Even if you don’t want, on practice it collaborates with those forces.
Even if it is not an intentional collaboration.
Jean: I understand that. It sounds like the idea of everyone stops working and go back home. Well, what I am saying what nature expects. What human nature is.
Now, what you do with it once you understand it …
Another words, if you understand this and you still want to leave your baby at home with a stranger or put him in daycare and go to work – at least I have done my best to make you understand what you are doing.
Now, if you are talking about having influential role in society. If all the continuum parents are bringing up the next generation so that are not neurotics and are not angry, how more influential than that can you get?
In fact if you want to be
influential. There is one girl lives in
We are influential whether we mean to be or not. The point is what we are influencing is to make children feel that they are not the right thing. And that is so bad. B/c when you feel anti self, not only are you unhappy, but you are very likely to be anti social.
And social problem, any one. Think of one.
Jean: After the Columbian thing, what did everybody do? They said “why why why”.
We know why. You and I knew why. But, interestingly enough some public radio reporters went around asking kids after this “do you personally know any body who you think might do this, who is capable of this?” Forty percents of them said “yes”. Think about that. After they heard the horrific details of this, forty percents of the kids said they thought they knew somebody that angry. Extrapolating from that, if 40% said yes, maybe about 100% knew somebody.
What I am saying is that there is kind of sieving anger in 14-18 years old. These people aren’t a fish out of unknown pond. These are the one who are the infants and becoming the adults. These angry furious murderous, but not quite doing it, but angry enough almost …
There is this anger and it is sort of recognized. You see it in sports. The identification with people hitting each other over the head, or kicking or winning and loosing.
Also very much in video games. What’s the fascination of these video games? These kids who should be out ramping around, are sitting there and zapping, killing in a permissive way. Right?
What are they killing? Somebody who is big, strong and evil. Grown ups. The adults.
And then you get this moron in white house.
Ron: People asked me to ask Jean if she voted for Bush or Kerry. But it’s clear. I can’t ask it.
Jean: You don’t have to ask.
What is the macro influence of the abandon of the CC? What it does to us as collective, not as individuals?
If you have a society, a population of angry people, what have you got?
What have you got? What I was just saying. Name one social problem. You said violence. What violence did you mean?
Gangs, for example. Which are pseudo families b/c the family wasn’t doing what they needed and what they get is somebody who is pledged to be on their side and to share the anger.
Think of another social problem.
Ron: People that don’t care about the others.
Jean: When I treated somebody and had therapy with people and when I get finished with them they feel that they are the right things, Instead of they are not the right thing. This is my aim. Their inner belief has changed from what their parents gave them to feel to their own logical understating that they are the right thing. Not only now, but they always were the right thing. Their parents were mistaken. So, they are not angry. The resentfulness is very often b/c they are hoping to change their parents mind so that they can feel good about themselves. Once they are giving up on the parents and realize that they are OK.
Then, all this (resentfulness) goes away. We were talking about forgiving parents. When I finished with them, they feel good about themselves. They know that they are the right thing. It’s amazing. They start taking care of people. I don’t tell them. Be sweet to your roommate or friends or husband or wife …
They suddenly have their deeply social nature as Homo sapiens comes out. Once it is relieved of this, it just comes out. The caring for our people turns up. B/c we are naturally deeply social animals. You don’t have to teach that. We think that you have to make a child be nice. Go there and be nice. Share the toy. The way the Yequanna children are, for example. Unsupervised, the children play together all day. Little tiny ones run around after the slightly bigger and they are all running around together and they just sweet to each other. And if one hits the other one by mistake, no one ever thinks he did it on purpose and gets angry. They look like a tree hit them or something. It never occurs to them that some would hit them.
So, the natural sociality of our species is allowed to arise. So you don’t have to teach anybody to be kind to others, or to want to help …
It’s interesting that they (Yequanna) don’t empathize, which I found a bit shocking and than I realized that empathy …
For example, when an animal was shot and it was struggling and it was suffering and they would think it was funny. B/c it was wriggling around and they laughed at it. It seemed cool. But also when someone was ill, they didn’t empathize.
Jean: But, they did everything to help, but they didn’t empathize. They didn’t suffer with him.
Ron: Why? Is it good?
Jean: I don’t know but why have more suffering than is necessary? We don’t want anyone to suffer. I don’t know whether some of us pretend to suffer or we really do.
I feel sense of pity very deeply for all kind of people and things. But, it’s not doing them any good. It is just hurting me. So, they (Yequanna) don’t do that for some reason and I was a bit shocked but then I thought – but they do everything they know to help. But, then they don’t empathize.
One of the things that most bothers me in this world is the violence between different societies. I am talking about wars.
Do you think that society that will implement the CC will be less violent towards other societies?
What do you think?
Ron: I want to think that yes.
Jean: Let’s put it this way: Why do you think they are violent now?
Ron: There are a lot of
reasons. B/c they have bad leaders. B/c people have gains from the violence.
Like for example, the current
Jean: But, what is it that makes an individual want to be violent?
Ron: It is not the individual. It’s the society.
Jean: No. There is no society acting. It is individuals in the society.
What is it that makes them do it?
Ron: Maybe b/c they are convinced that there is no other way. It is always that my side is totally just, and it is just the other one who is evil. We should defend ourselves. That’s what everyone says. Not only this. We are more correct and we should have power.
Jean: This is the Israelis and the Palestinians. Two killing each other and they go on and each one say how bad the other is and the violence and they are really angry.
Ron: I agree.
Jean: You can feel the anger.
Ron: Yes. But in some cases there is real conflict. For example, there is conflict about land. But the point is not being solved …
Jean: But the point is that in the guts, it is not about land. It’s about oneself and other selves and others. Isn’t it?
Ron: Do you think that if from tomorrow all the parents will raise the kids to be continuum babies, can we expect that in hundred years there won’t be any more wars?
Jean: Why should it take a hundred years?
It seems to me that by now we have quite a lot of ways of
talking to one another. But I think that I did talk in my book about social killing
and anti social killing. For example, if a person is feeling social, continuum
correct, whatever. And it’s in their society that the correct thing to do if
you’re an American you go over to
Well, it hurts to kill a member of your own species. But, people
do it. For social reasons they go to
Ron: But social killing can be much more evil than …
Jean: Whether it is evil or not, the point is that people are just as dead when you kill them. A lot of Palestinians feel that the right thing to do is to kill Israelis and a lot of Israelis that the right thing, the correct thing, the virtues thing is to kill Palestinians.
And look from here, we think, for Christ sake: stop it. Don’t do it. It’s just look anti social for us, but for them … Somebody who is actually going to do a suicide bombing feels like a martyr, which is the ultimate heroic virtues feeling of self. And yet, they go and do something, which we see as evil. They go and kill 17 of the others, whoever the others are. I am not saying that looking from the moon, we look and see all these dopey inhabitants of this plant going around hitting each other over the head and killing each other. What I am saying is that they might be doing it for social feeling.
What I am saying is that they might be doing it for social reasons. I am talking about the inside feelings that people have about selves. Being social.
If you were standing next to Hitler, and you had a loaded gun, wouldn’t you feel that you would like to be able to shut him?
Ron: Of course, Of course, Of course, Of course. He murdered my family. But this is an extreme example.
Jean: But this is an example.
Ron: But, it is very extreme
b/c I think that to kill Hitler was something very just. But I think that the
war between the Israelis and Palestinians is unjust and what happened in
Jean: But this is a very different thing from the business of an individual pulling a trigger.
It is the perception. You say you don’t think that this one is just and you don’t think that the other is just. But, those dopey soldiers who are out there right now in Falluga who is never been outside of the back of a pickup truck in Alabama and he is out there and he thinks he is doing the right thing … Maybe more for his buddies, than for the flag and the idiots in the White House. But, he feels he is on the side of something good. And those who wait behind the door in Falluga to knock him off also think he is doing the right thing.
Ron: What is the connection to the continuum concept? If they were continuum babies, they wouldn’t behave this way?
Jean: What I am saying is they would behave socially. They would be feeling social.
Ron: Does it mean that they
will not go to
Jean: What they feel is to be social.
Ron: So, it will not help to end the wars.
Jean: Well, if everybody, everybody, everybody, which is a bit ridicules to think that we are going to change it in any reasonable amount of time. But, it could be, b/c I think that there is a natural attraction to this idea. As I’ve seen people have a natural attraction to it b/c they feel not b/c of Jean wrote the book, but b/c they knew it all a long and “ha, that’s what I always felt to be true”. That’s the power. When that really gets to be the conventional wisdom. When that becomes the way, the expected way – might all this just stop. B/c you would not have those lunatics at the top.
Ron: Haaaha. Ok … (letting my air go out !)
Jean: Who are persuading the
Do you think that people in the western society that were raised according to the CC principles tend to hold specific moral or even political views?
I’ll put it much more practical. People that were raised according to the CC principles, will they vote for Bush or for Kerry?
I was about to say that … Given the choice – they would vote for Kerry. On the other hand, they would vote for Bush if they didn’t know enough about what was realy going on. So, when the inner feeling, the inner motivation, the spontaneous motives of people is warm and generous and social, which is what Homo sapiens is by nature, what feels good is to live your love. If it doesn’t sound too soupy.
The feeling of generosity of wanting to give and wanting to share – it’s love.
And if you want to live that, if your feelings is to live your love rather than suppress it or hide it for fear. Fear is opposite of love, not hate. Hate is just a manifestation of love turned inside out and it’s the feeling, which has been wounded.
The opposite of it is indifference, fear. When people are free and feel confident in themselves and live their love. Live their loving nature, I know it sounds soupy. Our first natural way is to be generous, to be social, to laugh, to want to share. When you see something beautiful you say, “ohu ohu, look, look”, you want to share.
Artists, painters, musicians, sculptors are people who see something beautiful and they say, “ohu, look at that”. B/c you it’s a loving instinct that you want to share it. It’s a pressure that you want to share it. It’s a powerful force of wanting to give what thrills you and what you think is beautiful. That’s what is artist about.
Ron: So, it is more values of sharing?
Jean: Yes. Living your love. How does it sound to you?
Ron: It sounds good to live your love.
Jean: If you’re free to live your love, that’s what we want, isn’t it?
Ron: I think that if you talk about the political arena, the leaders really put fear inside people. As you said, it is interesting that fear is the opposite of love, not hate. I’ve never thought about it. And they put the fear and they exploit it. So, maybe if people cannot accept the fear b/c they live their love, they will tend not to elect those leaders.
Jean: that’s right.
Ron: so we should work on it.
Do you know what happened with the Yequana people since the time you visited them?
You think I get emails.
Ron: Haven’t you been with any contact with them?
Jean: How could I be in contact?
Do you know what is the life expectation there? Are there old people there?
Not many. Got to be lower than the western society.
Ron: What is the baby mortality rate?
Jean: It’s got to be a lot higher. But, if they live they are going to be a lot happier than we are. (laughing)
The only thing I felt I
can offer them was medicine and hygiene. Everything else, I was learning from
Ron: What are their costumes about death?
Jean: Just put him away.
Ron: Do they have some ceremony?
Jean: yes, but not interesting.
Did you continue to investigate the issue since you published your book?
Well, I’ve certainly thought about it and I’ve observed what is going on. Probably like you. You look at the news, you look at what’s going in, you look at your neighbors and you interrupt it differently understanding these things. You learn more about the CC b/c you see it manifested in different ways and you understand it. Don’t you?
Ron: did you make any academic research?
Jean: Me, in school?
Ron: Or, not academic. Did
you visit other parts of the world (except the journey to
Jean: No. What I saw was
perfectly clear. I didn’t need … After five expeditions it got through my fix
scalp. Once I saw it, it was so clear. And when I went to
Their faces are not permanently smiling or permanently frowning, but just relax and emotions go across their faces like clouds. Just easy and relax. And also a frequency of laughing. I noticed that the Yequanne and the Senema and the Balinese – a lot of laughing going on all the time.
How do you implement the CC principles in your life?
I don’t live a good life. Here I am, all alone in this houseboat which is not correct. But, here I am all by myself (very sad voice). Haven’t find Mr. Right.
I was engaged in
So, I guess I’ll be servant of everybody else happiness.
Which I really enjoy making other people happy, but it would be nice …
But, considering that I have this unnatural life on living alone and not having any children, at least I have nice pussy cat and I have this nice houseboat to live in and my time is free. I’ve never been bored in my life. But, I don’t think it’s a natural life to be living alone year after year.
What did you change in your own life following the meeting with the Yequana?
Did you behave differently?
I have my Yequanne Canoe paddle and arrows (showing stuff hanging from the walls and the ceiling that she brought from the Jungle). And the Shaman tool there, also from the Yequanne.
Nurit: I want to ask you. You said that the mother should stay with the baby at home.
Jean: No, I didn’t say they should stay at home. I said they should stay with the baby. The baby should stay with them. I didn’t say they should stay at home.
Nurit: Ok. But, they stay at home. It makes them be lonely with the baby.
Jean: Yes. But they shouldn’t b/c it is crazy. It is not enough intellectual companionship to be with a baby all day. You should be with other people. Maybe you find other parents or you get together and find some work to do and you make company. Like those I mentioned in the book. They were making greeting cards. She went horseback riding and she took the baby on the horse with her.
Nurit: But, don’t you think that baby should be in a baby company? Not only adults’ company?
Jean: Little tiny babies don’t need baby’s company. When they get little bigger, they like to be with other children. Around toddler age. The main thing is that they have adults and that the adults be adults’ center and the baby and the children can be around them and help them and watch them Just e there. But, adults’ society should be about adults, not about children. And you should be talking and laughing and working and playing with other adults.
What are you doing in these days?
Well. I usually go out to lunch in a Cafe in
Ron: Do you work as psychotherapist?
Jean: A bit.
This is the last question. If you could say one thing to every fresh/new parent, what would you say?
Jean: (thinking, thinking, thinking)
I am trying to think of something, which is not, “Read the book”. Trying to say in as few words as possible what one needs to know in order not to be dragged along in the normal, neurotic, inappropriate way that society is doing but to …
I mean, if I just came back from the Jungle and said “OK, everybody. Do what comes naturally. Good bye.” Then I go away and someone says, “That’s not what I feel like doing, like the one who feels his baby should be in crib”. Let’s take a vote. So, you can’t really do that. I have to tell them what is natural b/c I’ve seen it, and having seen it, I can say, amazingly enough, this is what natural and the results they got which is happy children , happy adults, social, not anti social, People who feel good about themselves and good about other and expect to be liked, expect to be welcome and to feel welcome and worthy. The two words that everyone should feel, that you should make your child feel are ”welcome and worthy”.
Ok, maybe I should just leave them with the two words that they should feel. How they should feel and how they should keep in mind that they want their children to feel “welcome and worthy”.
We want to thank you. Not only for the interview, but also for all the ideas you brought. You really changed the life of so many of us. You enable us to raise our kids in a better way. This is the best thing we can do. Thank you.