Monday, January 4, 2010

Allowing human nature to work successfully - Jean Liedloff and The Continuum Concept

During the holidays I finally had a chance to slowly read two articles about Jean Liedloff and her Continuum Concept that I had been meaning to read for a  long time. For those that do not know her work, Jean spent a lot of time with indigenous people in South America and based on her observations developed fascinating theories about human nature and raising of children, which she summarized in her book "the Continuum Concept".

After reading both of the articles about five times, I have to say that I have rarely come across words with which I have agreed so completely. It's like she's explaining things about happiness that I have intuited for a long time, yet couldn't express. So I highly, highly recommend everybody to read the articles, which are available here and here. But for those that would like a little sneak peak before heading over to the Continuum Concept website, here are a few highlights:
  • We use the word normal as though it were a synonym for natural, which it is not.
  • We act as though human nature were something to be afraid of, to constrain, modify or fight...
  • We mistrust human nature itself
  • Learning occurs naturally, but teaching isn't natural at all.
  • And much, much more fascinating stuff
In addition to the "my gosh, she's hitting the nail right on the head" feeling I had as I was reading the articles, I also noticed an amazing consistency of what she was saying with Albert Pesso's and Diane Boyden's PBSP theory and method (about which I have written here a couple of times already). Two of the most striking similarities, IMHO, are these:
  • a root cause of unhappiness (and other problems) is frequently "positive experiences that we expected as small children but did not get" (these can include touches, looks, reactions, words, and many others). PBSP works with the concept of five needs (place, nurture, support, protection, limits) that each baby expects it will have met.
  • another root cause of unhappiness is that sometimes children grow up subconsciously believing that their role is to provide their parents with emotional support (yet no matter how hard they try to fulfill their parent's needs, they always fail). PBSP calls this "holes in roles".
I firmly believef that anyone interested in living a happier and more satisfying life would benefit tremendously from doing some work on these two issues. And perhaps reading the two articles linked above would be a good start.

I wish everyone a most natural 2010!

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