Archives for: October 2008, 17
Modernity -- industrialization, technologizing, virtualizing, pharmacologizing -- has perpetrated a divorce between our biological state and our lifeviews. I deal with this gap as a standard part of my work with first-time postpartum careerwomen in a major American city. And we all manifest it insofar as we are ignorant of our deep genetic ancestry. Medicine's established ignorance of the central role of such genetic markers as ABO bloodgroup has been but one example of this phenomenon. We are embedded in biological realities, yet the cultures and individuals we deem successful are those most alienated from those very realities.
For my clients, successful transition to motherhood usually entails a period of disorientation, as years of competent breadwinning and progeny-free sexuality are suddenly completely replaced by the sheer physicality of childbirth, breastfeeding, and the waste products of a tiny bundle of pure need. It comes as a shock to the modern woman, whose past contact with such matters has usually been limited to the mediation of movies, photos and jokes. Pregnancy, with its out-of-control body expansions, its nausea, olfactory sensitivities and gustatory cravings, is but a mild foretaste of the utter immersion of the puerperium and "fourth trimester", especially as pregnancy is usually loaded with such distractions as outfitting the nursery, buying the layette, finding obstetrician and then pediatrician, arranging for maternity leave, etc. Suddenly and starkly, it's all about Biology.
Similarly, we who study bloodtype anthropology and/or who take an interest in our DNA geneology, find ourselves confronting our long lost biological identities. And we wonder, "How could I have lived so long without knowing this? How can we as a society have ignored this?" much as new moms often feel anger toward a zeitgeist that had heretofore duped, or anesthetized, them.
My work with new mothers involves, among other things, facilitating an optimal psychological and physical passage to a state of acceptance of, and joy in, their new identity, an identity which ushers them to a level of reality upon which society has always been based, depsite their former lifestyle's blindness to it: Good Morning!
I see Dr. D'Adamo's having publicized blood type medicine and anthropology as quite similar: Assisting the public's transition from biogenetic ignorance to our understanding of ourselves within the vast and ever-present human story. People of all ABO bloodgroups are changed in profound ways when their psychological features and medical histories are perceived as genetic imperatives, sourced in the adaptations of their hitherto unrecognized ancestors. Just as the new mom thrills to discover her community of mothers, the bloodtype-anthro student is often excited to profoundly understand his lifelong fascination with, say, Plains Indians, Mongolian horsemen, Gypsies, or things Japanese, which he now studies with more personal urgency. He furthermore connects his high-acid stomach with all Os and their hunting prehistory; she understands the link between her vulnerability to stress and all As, with their community-building/maintaining forebears.
The Physical has immediacy. It appears to reign in this life and is in fact ignored at our medical and social peril. There is, however, that which trumps the Physical -- in the spiritual realm. Understanding what we are raises the question of what we, mere humans, aren't. Coming to terms with the lesser reality, ephemeral and limited as it is, leads some to seek the Greater and eternal one. Good morning indeed.