Who Needs Light?
Who Needs Light?
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Who Needs Light? is a prescription for what ails “the general suffering public” in our families and communities throughout the world’s philosophically Cartesian cultures where thought is seen as more valuable than emotion. Beginning with infant brain development, the author identifies startlingly familiar influences of Darkness from a new point of view—that of the difference between Head People and Heart People. The book includes a guide which defines the characteristics and habits of Abusive Personality Types. In lay terms, it shows how to identify and avoid these archetypal “Children of Darkness” wherever one might find them. Dr. May uses case studies, meditative exercises, original poetry, science and oral history to lead us step-by-step through the oppressive forces of materialism, self-centeredness and authoritarian religions which have shaped our present-day civilization. Her final vision is one of hope and radical spiritual evolution.
Chapter One A NEW-BORN LIGHT From the swales in the dales of the Yorkshire trails To the swamps of the Southern bayou, The voice of disdain rings out in my brain, “Dim your light, Child. We deny you.” Children look up to the adults who raise them. It does not matter whether those adults are kind, honest and forthright, or whether they are mean, vicious abusers. A young child will hold a parent in awe, without judgment, even when the parent’s actions may cause the child physical or emotional pain. A child simply tries to get along, to survive, and will do whatever necessary to accomplish it. Since their powers of analytic thinking do not begin to develop until after age six, children will simply do their best to make sense of their environment with the limited knowledge and brain power they possess. These childhood beginnings also determine the cultural lens through which they will later view the world. It is vital to understand the early beginnings which shaped our personalities when we view our later emotions and actions. The Case Against Children Every child comes into the world wanting to be accepted and welcomed. However, in the Western world, we have imposed an implicit philosophy which goes something like this: Children are unruly, selfish, destructive little creatures who must be disciplined, controlled, corrected and punished if they are ever to be acceptably civilized. If your parents don’t do it, then your teachers will. Overlaying this authoritarian attitude toward children is an increasingly libertarian attitude toward adult behavior. This sometimes spills over into extreme indulgence toward children’s needs. (Perhaps we can bribe this hopelessly unruly kid into behaving.) Thus, the average child is likely to be whip-lashed during a regular day between punitive and authoritarian discipline at school or in the neighborhood, and excessive indulgence in toys, technical devices, food treats and pampering at home. The contradiction is dizzying to children. …(S)adly, a large number of Americans tend to look at children with attitudes on a scale from subtle disapproval to outright dislike. Meanwhile, rude and aggressive children whose loud public conversations seem to consist of only seven dirty words (as defined by comedian George Carlin) fuel the notion that this generation is truly going to the dogs. I believe it is the conflicting, shifting lessons which have left them lost, rudderless and disturbed. …In spite of the psychological damage it wreaks, the philosophy dictating a controlling, crime-and-punishment approach to human development is maintained in the public school systems and in many families as if it were law, even though there has never been any real evidence that it’s appropriate or effective in the long run. …(M)any…have demonstrated the fallacy of our disciplinary approach and its polar opposite, massive indulgence, but we have remained mostly lodged in our traditional ways. Pandering to a child’s every whim springs from the same fundamental philosophy as the crime and punishment approach, which is: They are useless, defective, lazy, and the most effective way to control them is through rewards rather than punishment. Thus, we reward them without the expectation that they will accomplish anything meaningful. The resulting mix of entitlement, shame and self-doubt has crippled generations of good and able individuals. Proponents of the crime and punishment approach will argue that shame and self-doubt encourage lawful behavior and more manageable citizens. This is true, in the short run. It has been used throughout the ages by despots (including parents) who wished to exercise absolute control over others. It has also historically led to rebellion and revolution. …I believe we would advance more rapidly as an evolving civilization if we learned to treat our children more kindly, and less indulgently. …Many of us find it easier to achieve the sentiments of love, compassion and empathy than to act on those feelings. We have become paralyzed by fear, self-doubt and self-involvement. In this book, I offer examples of how the traumas and conflicts of childhood create deeply-rooted self-hatred. That self-hatred can create such feelings of alienation that many have abandoned any higher aspirations in favor of “looking out for Number One.” It takes determination to awaken to the truths of our own prejudices and misguided actions. It becomes easier if we work together, in our families and in our friendships, to grow toward the freedom which will encourage each of us to take our place as a force toward evolution and Light. The barriers you meet, in yourself and in others around you, will serve to prove your mettle. It takes faith, and the strength of character which grows from faith, to hold fast to the qualities we think of as Light-actions: compassion, kindness, empathy, generosity, forgiveness, fairness, courage. You must first free yourself from the bonds of fear and uncertainty – the residue of having been raised amidst personal, cultural and historical cruelty. As Americans, we have also been raised with relative political freedom and material prosperity…As a result of our material successes, we are now in the position as leaders of the planet to fulfill our path as a people by creating a new form of social contract, even if it means starting anew. We have done it before. The planet is changing, and humankind must change with it, or perish. In the following chapter of this book, I will present a picture so that you can put yourself into it, look into your heart of hearts and absolve yourself of all the “crimes” of your childhood, whether they belong to you, your parents or elders, your schoolmates or siblings. You will never be truly happy and free as long as you still define yourself by what they thought, what they said, and how they felt about you. It doesn’t matter. Once you are an adult, you begin anew, with your own intelligence, and the ability to decide what you choose to believe, how you choose to behave, and how you feel about yourself in your heart.
Kathryn E. May, PsyD is a clinical psychologist who has been in private practice in New York City and the Hudson Valley for 35 years. She has developed the radically new Gunsberg/May technique of visual focusing which has helped hundreds of clients to rework neurological brain channels, allowing them to see life, literally, from a more positive, present-oriented perspective. This, combined with her spiritual approach to social and developmental issues, has evolved into a treatment method for eliminating anxiety and depression as well as resolving personal and family relationship struggles. Dr. May is co-author of the book (underline) Back Rooms, Voices from the Illegal Abortion Era.

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