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2 APRs 2000
OF DEPARTMENJ HISTORY OF VICTORIA TJT.SVERSITY

Dwaryes. Lloyd deMause: Giantamongst a
By PatrickHalston Giant (Ogre?) For PeterBaskerville- another

WARNING!

is This document for PeterBaskerville'seyesonly! If you be a nosyhistorianfrom the future kind I think again- it is your cursed not who thinks I am for somereason talkingto you, please, had I havespecificallynmind with this warning(honestly, hadhopedyour profession been paperdoesn'thave I anthropology). don't careif this reduced a subdiscipline psychological to of to that legalprotections, if so manyyearshavepassed you choose view everythingI saidas or firther don't try andexcuse beingculturallyconstructed asif d am somekind of it! And please probinginto this document I of because am unaware your probings.First off, do you go through Oh, your childrens'diaries youknowyour snooping wouldgo undetected? you wouldthough, if yearshavepassed sinceI wrote (typed)this, I may wouldn't you. Secondly, evenif a thousand the yet be witnessto your snooping.If I am in heaven, crosstown andpersuade devil to I'll - created for especially you. You may get me housing create new tenthlevel to his tenement a why to now, but she'll getyou in the end(readdeMause understand the devil is a female). yourselfwarned, heathens! Consider

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PatrickHalston

for Right then,foreveryone Peter,its eternaldamnation you. but

1 Accordingto the Oxford Dictionaryof CurrentEnglish,historyis 'othe studyof pastevents,

that believes sincehistoryinvolvesthe studyof humanaffairs." Lloyd deMause especially a the to humans that anyoneseeking understand pastshouldfirst undertake studyof human of withoutthis study,the discipline historyshouldaim to do little more nature. To deMause, or a thanto present casethat certainthingsdid happen, that certainpeopledid exist - including shouldnot be to whenandwhere. Explainingwhythe pastwasasit was,according deMause, the eitherprovethat humanbeingsplay no activepart in shaping until historians attempted studyof humanpsychologyis not world they inhabit, or thatthey do, but that the extensive cannot that humanpsychology or, humanmotivations, finally, to agree to necessary understand from a studyof a that extrapolations malleable be intuitedbut provethat it is so unpredictably aboutall peoplethroughout certaingroupof peopleliving in a certaintime towardconclusions from Attemptshavebeenmadeby historians time areactsof intellectual imperialoverreach. the the possibilities especially latter- but to deMause, to variousschools proveeachof these prove thathomo of of psychology, neuroscience, clinicalpsychology of discipline developmental which vary primarily "societies"(groups) who construct activeagents are sapiens predictable, to of or to according the absence presence "love" givenby primarycaregivers(usuallymothers) produce specifickindsof adultswho construct their children. Specifickinds of childhoods The specifickinds of humanenvironments. historian- andcritic of deMause David Stannard, of are the that hasagreed if this ideais correct, implications very great: the pastress human thanthe fact thatthesewerehumanaffairs:the pastwould in less affairswould deserve attention to way cease be a "foreigncountry." a meaningful that The ideaof history asa "foreign country"means the pastis so differentfrom the present of onesi.e.,not dogmatic.It is a conception the mustbe modest as that conclusions to its nature PeterNovick's complaintthat, contraryto the pastthat one is naturallyleadto if oneaccepts but Oxford dictionarypreviouslycited,history is not the studyof pastevents, of artifacts 'opastness" a into sources existingin the present.The studyof the pastdefinedthis way makes or barrierof formidableproportions.Neverallowingthe historianto makeconclusions, create of allow, this sortof historymakesa tecteation the pasta beyondwhat the sources narratives

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historian's fantasy;ultimately, the past becomesunknowable. But one can only reach this conclusion if one acceptsa conception of human affairs as variable, and unpredictable,so that the recreationof a contexl for human affairs becomes paramount to properly understandinghuman activity. If human beings are predictable, and if the context - "society" - is apredictable outcomeof human nature,then a completereplication of the past, "making the past come to life", may not be as necessaryan undertaking in order to understandit. Rather the emphasiswould be on an understandingon universal laws for human behavior - an undertaking akin to astronomer'smapping of the galaxybasedon the reception of light after millions of yearsof travel. Time, and/orphysical distanceis a problem. Evidencemay be distorted or unavailable; but theseare problems which becomesurmountablebecauseof the predictability of both physical and human nature. But the comparison with astronomy or physics works better with models of the past that posit an essentiallyunchanginghuman nature through time. Norbert Elias, for example, accepts the premise that since human sapiensare predictable, so long as one unlocks the puzzle as to why an unchangingbiological specieshas createdsuch enoflnousvarieties of cultural forms, one may not need to know everything about the past in order to understandit. Given a few key clues, one could intuit the rest, with specific details less important than general forms i.e, this culture has kings is far more vital a discovery than knowing the namesof thesekings. Elias's humansare like carbon atoms: essentiallyunchanging,but can be combined into various formations of varying complexity to produce a structurewhich emphasizescertain specific potential qualities of the individual carbon atoms over others. DeMause's conceptionof history is more akin to evolutionarybiology. He believesthat homo sapienshave remained the sameonly genetically, but phenotypically the expressionof the genesinto their adult form - homo sapienshave enonnouspotential for variance, and for evolution. Thus deMausereswrectsthe ghostsof evolutionarytheoriesof people like Hegel or people changethrough time, in a direction which is fairly Hempel. Societies vary because consideredprogressive: it involves the developmentof a human capacityfor empathy, sympathy - love.

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childhood understands is to The individualjourney from genotype phenotype what deMause and adultcharacteristics, societal to be, andthusit is childhoodwhich ultimatelydetermines of by if in forms. The manner which a child is raised, shared the majorityof members a group, of that forms. DeMause believes this conception socialformationis thesesocietal will determine uponthe by differentfrom that typically offeredin sociologyandanthropology beingbased individualism.No groupis allowedan entity over and of anti-holisticphilosophy methodological by are Instead groupprocesses entirelyexplained all beyondits individualconstituents. of of motivationandbehavior individualsandthedescriptions their psychological lawsgoverning of which itself is only the outcome prior motivationsacting currentphysicalhistoricalsituation, on physicalreality. clearlybelieves is to The seed, then,of all history,according deMause, childhood. DeMause cites,by and that makesthis claim inefutable. Thepsychologists deMause that modernscience or or that of with him on the importance childhood- especially the absence presence large, agree But adultcharacteristics. to towardsthe child by its caregiversdo determine degree empathy of makes is resultin specificadultcharacteristics a claim deMause saythat specificchildhoods developmental in say. Instead, the average to which seems go beyondwhatthesepsychologists childrenoften grow up to like psychology textbookyou will find statements "without empathy, presents with is: us of be withdrawnadults". An example what deMause themandwere"not there"emotionallycouldnot as Childrenwhosemothersswaddled everywhere. imagining"enemies" and adultsmaintainobjectconsistency grewup paranoid, the in a timely fashionexperienced regularlydid not feedthem Childrenwhosemothers themwith depressive rejected wittrholding. Childrenwhosemothers world asmalevolently Childrenwhosemothers periods threatening. as international peaceful experienced silence political leaders.Children totalitarian themandwho wereengulfingoftenchoose dominated their childrenas"born selfishanddemanding" weresoneedythey describe whosemothers too othernationsasdemanding andor who sawthemas"angry sincebirth" experienced chose muchor asangry"bad babies." Childrenwhosemotherusedthemasantidepressants who ridiculed And mothers their own depression. to manic,oftenviolent leaders counter her own were their activitiesdidn't coincidewith andhumiliatedtheir childrenwhenever ridiculeand of as sphere poisoncontainers intolerable in experienced the international of in shame-as "the shame Versailles."

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with the sort has deMause not backedup thesestatements To date,to the bestof my knowledge, he exploration, references, hasprovidedfor certaineffectsof traumaon children and of detailed in like "growth panic" and"identificationwith the persecutor."He will probablydo so,perhaps but of the remainingchapters his new book ChildhoodandHistory yet to be completed, without
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we discoveries might by are his them,accompanying claimthathis theories backed psychological axe historians justified if they viewoanddismiss, add- yes,to someextent. But fornow, perhaps overreach. of as theories an example intellectual deMause's the acknowledged ambitiousnatureof his work, not. Twentyyears&go,deMause Or perhaps quotingNovalis:.otheorieSarenets:onlyhewhocastswil1catch''(deMause,@ to for Psychohistory)But twenty yearsagoit was still possible critics like David Stannard claim Today,it is still childhoodandadultcharacteristics. that thereis no provenlink between but psychology textbooks, more likely than possible find this point of view in developmental to presented voicedf.whichall evidence dissenting as not presented a lonely,conftoversial, still with. Justlike somescientists believethat smokingis not the throughout textbookdisagrees evenfantastical point of view; a it linked to cancer, is now a barelyrespectableperhaps acceptable mundane xvii) hasbecome "fairy taleworld" (Stannard, portion,of deMause's to claimedto be "not at all opposed open(andadmitted)speculation intellectualtruth. Stannard believingthat" [a]fter all, someof the most in the writing of history" (xiv) purportedly and timeshavederivedfrom the examination in historicaladvances modern important (xiv). If he meantwhathe said,andif other as of reexamination whatbegan bold speculations" with him here,currentpsychological agreed of who readhis analysis psychohistory historians theories which began, of and warant their reexamination exploration deMause's discoveries and but andstill remain,bold speculations, which arefinding moreandmoresupport, echoes, someof themquiteunexpected. from a varietyof disciplines, has believes hada historyof a evenfrom sociology, disciplinewhich deMause For example, like we ignoringhumanpsychology, arenow finding statements this: "the kind of humanbeing greatlyon the particularsocietyandsocialgroupthat surroundus at birth depends we become added). Thetextbook's emphasis in andduringearlychildhood'(Sociology Our Times,102,

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emphasison society and social group are well within sociological tradition, but the dogmatic assertionof the importanceof early childhood is not. This sametextbook goeson to say somethingwhich soundsstrikingly like deMausein emphasizingspecific qualities resulting from by specific childhoods:"children whoseneedsare met in settingscharacterized affection, warmth, and closenessseethe world as a safe and comfortable place and other people as care trustworthy and helpful. By contrast, infants and children who receive less-than-adequate or who are emotionally rejected or abusedoften view the world as hostile and have feelings of suspicionand fear"(I 04). What is still missing from disciplineslike psychologyand sociology is the claim that childhood determinessocietalforms, but it seemsincreasinglylikely, notably for psychology, that the reason for this is that the discipline "does not go there" - rather than the idea itself being new discipline of psychologicalanthropologythere a fantasticalone. Indeed,in the reasonably that in the two pagesdevotedto history in a are explorationsof this idea. It is also suggestive "In psychology textbook we get this statement: the early days of recordedhistory, children had few if any rights, and their lives were not always valued by their elders. Archeological research, for example,has shown that the ancient Carthaginiansoften killed children as religious sacrifices 'strengthen'thesestructures"(Shaffer,T). What them in the walls of buildings to and embedded rational ones,i.e., harsh,but that thesepracticeswere necessarily is missing here is a statement practices,conductedby adults for the purposeof group survival - possibly somehownecessary the because discipline of psychologyimaginesother possiblemotivations for adult behavior. The result is a presentationof a social practicewith pathologicalovertones,presentedin such a way that it is not much of stretch to intuit a direct link betweennot being valued as children, and particularreligious and socialpractices. So if historians decide to ignore the importanceof childhood - a discovery Stannardbelieved would be oogreat" is it fair to assume history is anotherdiscipline which that this is because

,.doesnot go there"? As mentioned,there are ways in which deMausegoesbeyond what current psychological opinion allows, and thesecouldp otentially be made into imposing ba:riers for the concerningthe investigationof deMause'stheoriesinto history. The wide spreadagreement
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importance of love in childhood is not (yet) matchedby a similar agreementthat certain forms of child rearing are related to varying degreesof love towards the child. So historians could make the remotenessof the past into a barrier which would make qualitative judgements as to the value of children at any given time seemingly impossibleto make. Discovering that children were swaddledmay be a reasonablyeasyhistorical discovery;but that they were or were not loved? To which deMausewould reply that argumentsthat say, for example,that swaddling in one culture may be a sign of abuse,but in others merely a way to keep babies warrn, are merely signs visit these"happy" of academicdenial. When you have psychologicallytrained ethnographers babiesthey seeconsistentsigns of neglect. Do historiansface the sameproblem that deMause believesfaces academicopinion today?: if swaddling,killing, or the sexualuse of children is to always a sign of neglect,then, suddenly,the "west" ceases be the world's great evil. DeMause would say that until enough academicsoutgrow their need to attack anything which resembles anything a Christian republican, or conservativemight approve of some psychologists will continue to advocatethe pleasuresof pedophilia (for example) as an imagined way of humiliating those who once humiliated them or others they care about. Will historians begin to explore deMause's theories at the sametime that we finally decide that: no, htxfiing whales is not simply a cultural practice; it is cruel in the sameway that the cultural practice of slavery is cruel, or that the confinement of women within the patriarchical family is cruel? Maybe not: it requires even more couragethan this: deMause'stheoriesneuterthe "potency" of historical knowledge, and historians' prestige. If deMause'stheoriesare coffect, the claim that the human past needsto be studiedas a sourceof wisdom needsto be qualified somewhat. We could still learn from our past, but rather this being the qualities neededto createa civilized society lest we return to barbarism, we would
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learn to be wise to the fact that our past is a nightmare we arejust waking up from. Far more important to creating a"good society" would be to apply our efforts to assistfamilies in need. History would still be an intellectual adventureof praiseworthyproportions, but not necessarily more importantthan explorationsof virtual worlds onthe computer especiallyif thesevirtual worlds were specifically designedto encourageintellectual growth.

7 Yes, history is our past, but if "happy people don't start wars", if the future of our species has everything to do with our temperament,then the discipline whose truths are most essential is of coursepsychology,and not history. What ought to concernall thosewith genuineconcerns for our futtne is not that our kids doni,t know history and require higher standards,but that kids now go to schoolsthat seemlike prisons, and are told that becausewe live in a competitive global environment with winners and losersthat there is little room for fun in childhood anymore. With seemto promise arelease from suffering - lecfureson the environmentslike these,apocalypses evils of world wars not withstanding. The fact that movies like Titanic or Saving Private Ryan were so popular is not a sign that the popular appetite for history is very large, but that too many people are drawn to movies containing an astonishingamount of suffering and death. Lei ,' us pleaseremember that Newt Gingrich, the man who would strip a cotrntry of its social programs, is a historian. Not much praiseworthy in a life spent in conversation with so many greatdead minds, while working to destroy the creation of new ones. In lieu of a standardconclusion I would like to end with an apology, and a cartoon (which doeshave conclusive-like overtones). First the apology: Sorry Peter,this isn't my best work. pleasedon't take it as any kind of a statement regardingyour course- it isn't. I would like to able to put together good papers at the end of the year, but it rarely happens. My attitude towards the course is best measuredby my overall class participation, my first three papers, and o'cosmic"sense,they probably my final two presentations.This is not a plea for marks; in the don't matter much (also part of a regressivepedagogicalmind set - marks ate not linked to improved learning (pleaseseethe work by the interesting and decentprogressivethinker Alfie , Kohn: The SchoolsOur Kids Deserve 1999);not your mind set,of course,and, by the w&/, I just another silly appreciatethe commentsyou provide (althoughpossibly not for this one); it's pedagogictool, often as humiliating and agitating as it is motivating, that exists becausemany of us still feel that educationshould not (note: not cannot)be fun. The sadresult: some of your studentshave admitted to me that they ignore the comments,and focus on the mark the vital question to be answered:"am I an A student?" and not :"I wonder what my professor, having written and read far more papersthan I, will be able to tell me about my successin arguing a

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thesis?about what could be improved? etc., so that I will be able to improve my uniting and

thinking in future). And now, a few final word of wisdom from Calvin of Calvin and Hobber, (no| p"C)

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lloyd deMause,

. www.psychohistory.com.

Lloyd deMause, Foundations Ps)'chohistory. www.psychohistory.com. of Learning,2000. Nelson/Thomson DianeKendalled.,Sociolog,v Orn Times.Scarborough: in David Shaffer, Developmental Ps)'cholog]': Childhood Adolescence 5tr ed.PacificGrove: and 1999 Brooks/Cole Publishing . Company, Oxford: David Stannard, Shrinkingof History: On Freudandthe Failtre of Ps)'chohistory. 1980. OxfordUniversityPress, Della Thompson The OxfordDictionar,v CunentEnglish.New York: Oxford ed., of 1992. UniversityPress,