While I was translating a very comprehensive, highly readable and basically brilliant book by Katy Elphinstone “Autism and Asperger’s, Advice for Parents and Carers” into German, I also came across some other very helpful and inspiring titles.
One of those is the Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff. The years in the 1970s she spent living with the Yequana in the Venezuelan Jungle led to a radical change of her preconceptions and beliefs of how we should live and of what human nature really is.
Be sure that you as well will end up inspired, perhaps incredulous and even frightened when you realise how much we in our “civilized” world have willingly removed ourselves from who we really are, of which we have daily proof. It sent shivers down my spine!
The core of her theory is that the innate expectations with which an infant of our species is born are in a phylogenetic sense those of a mammalian predator. If this continuum is broken, it will lead to agony and a constant strife to make up for this lack of nurturing and reassurance experienced in the earliest days of infancy.
It made me realise how we have deprived ourselves of our very basic needs, which certainly aren’t toys and money (read ch. 3, The Beginning of Life, on this, it’s heart-rending). It gets worse when you realise, as Liedloff convincingly argues (ch. 5, Deprivation of essential experiences and ch. 6, Society), how the deprivation leads to anti-social behaviour, addiction, and utter deprivation, while never actually being able to attain that goal which is ultimately not a goal but a state of being which is natural to our species. We identify it as “joy” and “happiness”.
But there are solutions and innovative ways to go about it, which are essentially atavistic in nature and by taking us back they are ultimately taking us forward. These are very promising and make us hopeful.
Please read for yourself. It’ll sure to help more than buying the most expensive pram etc. for your child and toys to distract when they cry (which they probably won’t do as much if they are allowed to be as their and our nature intended).