On Trauma, Cultural Sickness and Healing

by William Skink

I’m going to take another stab at articulating why I think Jasun Horsley’s work is so important, though I’m not sure I can do much to improve on Dan Mitchell’s comment, which you can read here or below the fold at the bottom of this post.

The arrival of Vice Of Kings and Prisoner Of Infinity in my mailbox could not have come at a more ideal time. I had pledged on Independence Day to abstain from drinking alcohol because I was tired of this chemical dependency I had used to self-medicate for far too long.

Why was I self-medicating?

In my recent past I could point to the vicarious trauma I absorbed by working with people in crisis at the homeless shelter. Vicarious trauma is a real, recognized phenomena, defined as

…the emotional residue of exposure that counselors have from working with people as they are hearing their trauma stories and become witnesses to the pain, fear, and terror that trauma survivors have endured.

While I wasn’t in a formal counseling relationship with the clients I worked with, the nature of triage that our decrepit social support systems are faced with day to day translates into most social workers wearing “multiple hats” so to speak in trying to meet the needs of so many people.

While this explanation makes sense, it doesn’t explain my pre-social-worker habits, so to be honest with myself I went farther back to acknowledge that even the childhood experience of having a workaholic father can prime a person in the early stages of development to having a greater chance later in life of developing addictive coping strategies.

One of the best looks at the root causes of addiction is the work of Dr. Gabor Maté, especially his book In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Here is a very basic summation of Maté’s work from his website:

Turning to the neurobiological roots of addiction, Dr. Maté presents an astonishing array of scientific evidence showing conclusively that:

1. addictive tendencies arise in the parts of our brains governing some of our most basic and life-sustaining needs and functions: incentive and motivation, physical and emotional pain relief, the regulation of stress, and the capacity to feel and receive love;

2. these brain circuits develop, or don’t develop, largely under the influence of the nurturing environment in early life, and that therefore addiction represents a failure of these crucial systems to mature in the way nature intended; and

3. the human brain continues to develop new circuitry throughout the lifespan, including well into adulthood, giving new hope for people mired in addictive patterns. Dr. Maté then examines the current mainstream.

While Gabor Maté offers a more clinical approach to understanding the deeper psychological engines that drive the consequences of early childhood adversity–like addiction–Jasun Horsley’s approach includes selflessly using himself as an example of how trauma manifests, while simultaneously (and sympathetically) deconstructing the incredibly complex narratives of trauma that seem to lurk beneath fantastic cover stories like Whitley Strieber’s; cover stories that are being exploited to further a larger agenda that the traumatized storytellers are not fully conscious of.

Before the fortuitous arrival of VOK and POI, I had two main branches of books in my library that engaged with these topics: occult books with authors who are often times too enthusiastic about this material (whereas I am deeply suspicious), and books with an overt Christian perspective with hokey religious language that makes it hard to read.

Horsley’s work carves out a middle ground that understands occult dynamics as a once active practitioner, while at the same time reassessing a liberal cultural upbringing that conditioned him to deplore Christian Conservatives in the UK like Mary Whitehouse, one of the most vocal opponents (at the time) of the Paedophile Information Exchange, or PIE.

For those unaware of the overt effort in the 70’s and 80’s to mainstream pedophilia in the UK, here’s a BBC article from 2014 that asks the very good question How Did The Pro-Paedophile Group PIE Exist Openly For 10 Years? From the link:

PIE was formed in 1974. It campaigned for “children’s sexuality”. It wanted the government to axe or lower the age of consent. It offered support to adults “in legal difficulties concerning sexual acts with consenting ‘under age’ partners”. The real aim was to normalise sex with children.

Journalist Christian Wolmar remembers their tactics. “They didn’t emphasise that this was 50-year-old men wanting to have sex with five-year-olds. They presented it as the sexual liberation of children, that children should have the right to sex,” he says.

It’s an ideology that seems chilling now. But PIE managed to gain support from some professional bodies and progressive groups. It received invitations from student unions, won sympathetic media coverage and found academics willing to push its message.

Well, that was the 70’s, you might say. Or, if you’re a conservative, you can try to rationalize it away as being just those liberal pervs.

More recent attempts to normalize pedophilia have been identified and content subsequently removed, like at Salon, which some think was a mistake. A TED talk was also removed:

An independently organized TEDx event recently posted, and subsequently removed, a talk from the TEDx YouTube channel that the event organizer titled: “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change.”

After reviewing the talk, we believe it cites research in ways that are open to serious misinterpretation. This led some viewers to interpret the talk as an argument in favor of an illegal and harmful practice. TED would like to make clear that it does not promote pedophilia.

If you think it’s just liberal platforms dealing with this difficult topic, remember Milo Yiannopoulos? He had to resign from Breitbart after disclosing his own problematic sexual relationship with an older man when he was a teen, and how that relationship informed his opinion that these relationships can be consensual and mutually beneficial. From Wikipedia:

In the interview in a January 2016 episode of the podcast Drunken Peasants, Yiannopoulos stated that sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men and women can “happen perfectly consensually”, because some 13-year-olds are, in his view, sexually and emotionally mature enough to consent to sex with adults; he spoke favourably both of gay 13-year-old boys having sex with adult men and straight 13-year-old boys having sex with adult women. He used his own experience as an example, saying he was mature enough to be capable of giving consent at a young age. He also stated that “paedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature” but rather that “paedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty.” Later in the interview, after his previous comments received some pushback from the hosts, he stated: “I think the age of consent law is probably about right, that is probably roughly the right age … but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them.”[68]

Yiannopoulos subsequently held a press conference, at which he said he had been the victim of child abuse, and that his comments were a way to cope with it. He declined to identify his abusers or discuss the incidents in any detail. He characterised his comments as the “usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humour”, and dismissed the allegation that he endorses child molestation. He alleged that the video had been edited to give a misleading impression, and stated, “I will not apologise for dealing with my life experiences in the best way that I can, which is humour. No one can tell me or anyone else who has lived through sexual abuse how to deal with those emotions. But I am sorry to other abuse victims if my own personal way of dealing with what happened to me has hurt you.”[69] In response to the controversy, Simon & Schuster cancelled its plans to publish his autobiography in June 2017. Media outlets reported on 20 February that Breitbart was considering terminating Yiannopoulos’ contract as a result of the controversy. Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart on 21 February, reportedly under pressure to do so.[70]

It is sad to see our society’s total failure to grapple with this immense cultural crisis. We can’t even seem to acknowledge it IS a crisis, even as unsealed testimony suggests people like Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton engaged in sexual acts with minors.

Instead, for the next three months, we are going to be treated to a political circus featuring two cognitively declining sexual abusers vying for control of a America’s hegemonic death machine. Fun times.

For me, Horsley’s work has been an antidote to this madness. He has shown me there is a middle ground between waiting for the rapture and giving in to the DO WHAT THOU WILT anything goes mindset that seeks any little crack (liberal or otherwise) to get its claws into our culture.

For an even better championing of Jasun Horsley’s work, Dan Mitchell’s comment is reproduced in full after the fold. Thanks for reading.

Dan Mitchell:

I have read many books over the years and very few of them have had the impact on me that POI has. While reading this book the old Psalm, ‘deep calleth unto deep’ was running through my mind. There was something within the pages that strongly called out to something hidden deep within me. That is the real power of this kind of book. It is not just a book, though. It’s more like a mirror that reveals self to oneself.

Going into POI I was not unfamiliar with trauma. Having personally suffered childhood abuse and growing up to experience my own encounters with the supernatural, it was not difficult for me to understand the mechanisms at work in Strieber’s narrative. Like Jasun, I inducted Whitley Strieber’s books into my own narrative and after many years of going over them with a fine-tooth comb, doubts began to arise in me about the truth of Striebers experiences. Even worse I began to see the narrative itself as a willful deception that was possibly much bigger than Strieber himself.

Having read Vallee’s “Messengers of Deception” and nearly everything I could by Jung, I understood that UFOs were powerful archetypal symbols that could easily be used to manipulate the masses. Their mystique was universal and transcended race, gender, and language. At about the same time that I was making these discoveries, doubts began to arise regarding my own personal narrative. I wondered if there was something hiding in me, like a Tyler Durden perhaps, that was playing a game with me, submerging me into some type of multi-dimensional ARG in order to protect some important secret it did not want me to know.

As early as 2011 I was referring to this “higher self” as the Seraph, which is interesting because there is a link between the word “Seraph” (burning one) and Serpent (or flying serpent), which is often a being known to deceive. All of these things were inventoried and taken into careful consideration. Only now is everything finally coming together as I work to heal myself.

Let me express with one word why this book is so important: Honesty. The mark of a good and compassionate person is their honesty. Many years ago when I was still a young boy I watched an adult family member nearly beat my beloved dog to death with a skateboard. When this beating was finished, this man looked me in the eye and sardonically smiled. He spoke to me through his eyes. His eyes said, “you see, I can do anything I want.” I have always abhorred this type of violence and psycopathy. The man who carried out this senseless act was not only a sadist but a pathological liar. Honesty is the mark of a person that is being made whole and natural, a man returning to his proper orientation.

It was quite possible for this violent legacy to have been passed on to me in spirit and blood. The only thing that stopped it from happening was the intervention of good people, some that died long ago and some that are still alive; people like Jasun Horsley who are honest and saw things that in my ignorance and immaturity I was unable to see. I have learned a lot from these folks. For that I give these men and women of honesty and good heart my utmost love, respect and appreciation.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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