Thursday, October 2, 2014

”The Medium Is The Massage / Message.”

Marshall McLuhan published his master peace ”The Medium is the Massage / (Message) - An Inventory of Effects” 1967, a few years before ”The Primal Scream”. To summarize, the content is about how societies, always, have been shaped more by the nature of the media, by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. The older training of observation has become quite irrelevant in this new time because it is based on psychological responses and concepts conditioned by the former technology - mechanization. Innumerable confusions and a profound feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transitions. Our ”Age of Anxiety” is, in great part, the result of  trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools - with yesterday’s concepts. Fortunately, youth instinctively understands the present environment - the electric drama which is the reason for the great alienation between generations.

From 1978 and two decades ahead I was skeptical and confused by most of my fellow patients in the Primal Therapy. They talked all the time about the importance of ”The Screams” they performed in their sessions at the Institute or in their home built, soundproofed, boxes.The content of the communication in ”The Primal Scream” had shaped them. I was never able to come close to their screams.  However; I must admit I too built a box in 1982. My primal box was the scene of some minor re-lived pain, the creation of allergic reactions but 0 / zero screams. The box cost me a fortune and a lot of headaches to get rid of when my giant, underlying, ”silent scream” provoked my constant need to keep me on the move…

During decades in active therapy, I was a poor screamer, but I have had countless, silent, wordless experiences being trapped, squeezed and unable to get out. During a few intensive years in the 90is (and now and then later) my re-lived birth struggle, regularly, ended in something like a newborn baby’s first cry. Historically, that cry, which welled up through my throat from the depths of my stomach after being trapped since 1940, would, without re-living the imprinted pain, have developed into a grand mal seizure. These experiences became a tremendous relief that gradually led to the improvement of my vital signs into excellence and to end my obsessive, constant activities of moving around.

My confusion as to the meaning of screaming disappeared undramatically. It was as an early eye-catcher ”The Primal Scream” had been most important in my therapy journey. Without the sensational, promising attention, which the publishing of ”The Primal Scream created, I would not have been made aware of and benefitted from the innovative principles that Art Janov eventually developed. Selectively to reverse the evolution, has worked as an enigma machine (alluding to Dr. Janov’s background as a marine telegraph operator) during the process to restore / cure my mind and body. The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse has caused me to enjoy life in a way that I, previously, would have condemned as boring and free of varieties.

McLuhan’s and Janov’s insights and observations are still clear and accurate.

Jan Johnsson