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Orgone Biophysical Research Lab

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Dr. James DeMeo's Research

Research Summary & Author Interview on SAHARASIA

Research Study On the Origins of Violence Proves:

Ancient Humans Were Peaceful, Modern Violence is Avoidable.

First presented to the world in the 1980s,
today more important than ever for an understanding
of the genesis of human sadism, antisocial violence and warfare.

A new geographical study on the ancient historical origins of human violence and warfare, drawing upon global archaeological and anthropological evidence, has been published presenting substantial proof that our ancient ancestors were non-violent, and far more social and loving than are most humans today - moreover, the study points to a dramatic climate change in the Old World, the drying up of the vast Sahara and Asian Deserts, with attending famine, starvation and forced migrations which pushed the earliest humans into violent social patterns, a trauma from which we have not yet recovered in over 6000 years.

The study and book, titled SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World, by retired professor James DeMeo, Ph.D., is the culmination of years of library and field research on the subject. Professor DeMeo undertook the original research as a 7-year dissertation project at the University of Kansas, which was concluded in 1986. He has since put more than 10 years of additional research into the subject. His study is unusual in that it presents the first world maps of human behavior, as developed from large anthropological, historical and archaeological data bases. In recent years, DeMeo's findings have been published in World Futures, Pulse of the Planet, Kyoto Review (Japan) and Emotion (Germany), and presented to scholarly conferences hosted by the Association for American Geographers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and International Psychohistorical Association, among others.

"With very few exceptions, there is no clear and unambiguous evidence for warfare or social violence on our planet Earth prior to around 4,000 BC and the earliest evidence appears in specific locations, from which it firstly arose, and diffused outward over time to infect nearly every corner of the globe." says DeMeo, who today directs his own private institute in rural Oregon. "A massive climate change shook the ancient world, when approximately 6000 years ago vast areas of lush grassland and forest in the Old World began to quickly dry out and convert into harsh desert. The vast Sahara Desert, Arabian Desert, and the giant deserts of the Middle East and Central Asia simply did not exist prior to c.4000 BC"

DeMeo points to numerous studies in paleoclimatology - the study of ancient climates.

"Something happened around 4000 BC which forced the drying-out of this vast desert region, which I call Saharasia, and the drier conditions created social and emotional havoc among developing human agricultural societies in these same regions."

DeMeo's maps show spreading centers for the origins of patriarchal authoritarian cultures within this same Saharasian global region - male-dominated, child-abusive, sex-repressive cultures with a great emphasis upon war-making and empire-building. DeMeo points to the work of the controversial natural scientist Wilhelm Reich to explain the patterns.
(Click here for published summary article.)

"Famine and starvation is a severe trauma from which survivors rarely escape unscathed. A lot of people die, families are split apart, and babies and children are often abandoned, and suffer enormously. Starvation affects surviving children in an emotionally severe manner. They shrink from the exhausting heat and thirst, emotionally withdraw from the painful world, and simultaneously suffer a severe stunting of the entire brain and nervous system due to protein-calorie malnutrition. Even if such starved children later get all the food and water they want, they are deeply scarred in an emotional-neurological manner which forever changes their behavior - specifically, there is an implanted inhibition of any impulse of a pleasure-seeking, outward-reaching nature, and a discomfort with deeper forms of body-pleasure, in both maternal-infant or male-female expressions. Additionally, the child's view of the mother, who could not protect or feed the child during the famine period, is thereafter colored with suspicion and anger. These attitudes and behaviors are deeply protoplasmic in nature, and are passed on to ensuing generations no matter what the climate, by social institutions which reflect the character structure of the average individual at any given period of time."

As part of his project, DeMeo undertook a cross-cultural evaluation of Wilhelm Reich's original ideas on human behavior.

"Reich claimed humans became violent from two major causes: firstly from abusive and neglectful treatment of infants and children, and secondly from the repression of adolescent heterosexual feelings."

This latter consideration, DeMeo asserts, has gotten nearly no attention from specialists on child-abuse, given that our society still considers adolescent romance and pre-marital sex to be a bad thing.

"Pre-marital, adolescent sexual romance is normal among the most peaceful cultures, but is always repressed in violent warlike cultures. It is an even more precise predictor of social and individual violence than is child-abuse."

Ideas such as these got Reich into hot water in the 1950s, DeMeo says, and his own work has similarly stirred up controversy.

To test Reich's ideas, DeMeo reviewed social variables on child-rearing, sexuality, the status of women, and violence, for over 1000 aboriginal cultures from around the world.

"The cross-cultural evidence is very clear about this: the most violent human societies are those which treat their children in a neglectful and punitive manner, and which also demand sexual abstinence from their young unmarried people. Such cultures also emphasize highly compulsive forms of marriage, with a reduced status for women, and a lot of strong-man political or religious bosses who order everyone around at the point of a spear."

DeMeo does not pull punches about our own society.

"Americans are not as violent as the most extremely violent cultures around the world, but we certainly are not as peaceful as the most peaceful societies. Unfortunately, our culture appears to be going towards increased social violence."

He points to the general failure of parents and sex-education programs to say much of anything positive about sexual pleasure, with the great emphasis upon "abstinence education", as a major cause for the growing violence in our schools.

"Our young people should be warmly romancing each other, dancing and singing together, making love and enjoying what should be the happiest time of their lives. Instead, we start our children off with a lot of hidden cruelty in the hospital birth, with incubator-isolation, denial the mother's breast, time-table feedings, circumcision and so forth. Later, it is compulsory schooling, obedience-training and so-called 'tough love'. Then comes the biggest lie, the 'sex-can-kill' theories stemming from modern AIDS hysteria, a disease for which young adolescents and teens have virtually a zero risk."

DeMeo injects an additional controversy into his work, by siding with dissenting scientists who reject the "infectious-HIV" hypothesis of AIDS, and he points to various studies supporting this criticism (such as those by Prof. Peter Duesberg, the retrovirus specialist at the University of California at Berkeley, and by the larger "Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV Hypothesis of AIDS").

"We give potent and dangerous psycho-drugs like Ritalin to perhaps 10% of the livelier kids, which is a major scandal in this country, to squash them into conformity with our obedience-demanding school system, or to the irrational "quiet child" demands for of their families. Then we give them inaccurate and superstitious lies about the supposed dangerousness of their sexuality, which for that age group is of burning interest, and unrealistically expect them to behave in a loving and calm manner. We still define a 'good child' as the one who is quiet and obedient, who does not have any sexual expression - but our entire society is constructed like a social pressure cooker in which an enormous inner tension has built up. Social violence, suicide and drug abuse erupts from that high-pressure situation, in a very predictable manner. And overseas, in the more violence-prone nations characterized by political dictatorships and religious fundamentalism, the problem is even worse."

The roots of modern violence are similar to the ancient roots of violence, DeMeo says:

"It is all in the treatment of babies and children, and in our sexual attitudes and behavior. If we would end institutional violence towards babies and children in the hospitals, making gentle home birth and midwifery more widely available, ending practices such as circumcision, allowing more freedom and even student-democracy in the schools, emphasizing 'hearts over heads', if we could be more tolerant of adolescent romance and premarital sex - giving kids a real education about contraceptives and love instead of a false education of abstinence and AIDS hysteria - and also eliminate compulsiveness in our marriages, then social violence would gradually melt away. Ending the better-known forms of child-trauma and abuse, such as pedophilia and beating of children, is vitally important but by itself is simply insufficient."

DeMeo again points to the cross-cultural evidence to support his, and Reich's, controversial positions.

"If this theory was wrong, there would have been no positive support from the cross-cultural evidence, and no patterns on my world maps. Instead, the cross-cultural review demonstrated a 95% positive correlation between the many variables, at a high level of statistical significance."

DeMeo's World Behavior Map which was also prepared from cross-cultural data, appears strikingly similar to a world climate map, with the harshest desert areas of the Old World characterized by extreme patriarchal authoritarian culture. The geographical patterns, he asserts, are imbedded in the same data found in every university library.

Figure 1. The World Behavior Map: For the period roughly between 1840 and 1960, as reconstructed from aboriginal cultural data gathered by G. P. Murdock, with minimal historical interpretation.

Figure 2: The Budyko-Lettau Dryness Ratio: Contrasting the relative dryness of different arid lands around the world. Values reflect the ratio between precipitation and evaporative energy; values of 2 receive twice as much evaporative solar heat as moisture from precipitation, while values of 10 receive ten times as much.

"These data were gathered by hundreds of anthropologists who engaged in field work and published their studies over the last 100 years. The data was then coded by a team under the direction of George Peter Murdock at the University of Pittsburgh in the 1960s. I took the data and made maps from them, and the maps demonstrated the Saharasian patterns which can be clearly seen. This finding has therefore been subjected to a triple-blind control procedure, which virtually insures the pattern is real and not some methodological quirk or accident. My later review of archaeological and historical patterns demonstrated the same Saharasian pattern extended back in time to around 4000 BC, which was the starting point for both the vast Saharasian desert belt, and the very first persisting and geographically-significant child-abusive, sex-repressive, and violent patriarchal authoritarian societies. The drying up of the Saharasian desert belt was the cause of a vast epoch of generations-long famine, migration and land-abandonment, leading to the appearance of warlike patriarchal authoritarian culture. The process started firstly in Arabia and Central Asia, spreading outwards over several thousand years to eventually encompass nearly the entire world."

Figure 3. Suggested Patterns of Diffusion of Patrism Around the World. Prior to Columbus and the European migrations.

DeMeo believes his findings provide conclusive proof for other social theorists who have long argued for peaceful social conditions among the earliest humans.

"The 'Garden of Eden' myths, which exist in the historical literature of many Old World cultures, appear to be factually rooted in this early period of socially-cooperative and peaceful social conditions, when the Saharasia was green and fruitful. Then came the devastating climate change towards aridity, which formed the vast Saharasian desert belt, and humans were literally cast 'out of the garden'. The rest is history."

Saharasia also contains DeMeo's personal observations from Egypt, Israel and other parts of Saharasia from the 1980s, demonstrating a harsh clash of cultures regarding female status and sexuality, which have been much freer and open in the West (including in Israel) than in any of the Muslim, "Saharasian" nations. While the book was written before the 9-11 terror events, it helps us to better understand the great anxiety which is created when these two forms of cultures interact, and the immense quantities of destructive aggression and sadistic outbursting which are present in those world regions where women and sexuality are dramatically smashed down, religious and political authority is absolute, and where violations of social taboos regarding sexuality, however slight, are likely to provoke a death sentence, for the sake of "family honor".

For more information, contact:
James DeMeo, Ph.D., Director of Research
Orgone Biophysical Research Lab
Ashland, Oregon, USA

E-mail to: info(at)orgonelab.org
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SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World,
by James DeMeo.
Natural Energy Works, Ashland, Oregon, USA
2nd Revised Edition, 2006, 464 pages,
100+ Maps & Illustrations
Full Citations & Index
Softcover $39. ISBN: 0-962-1855-5-8

For more information:

TO PURCHASE:Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World, by James DeMeo, Ph.D. 450+ pages, over 100 illustrations and maps, with comprehensive bibliography and index.

SUMMARY ARTICLE: "The Origins and Diffusion of Patrism in Saharasia: Evidence for a Worldwide, Climate-Linked Geographical Pattern in Human Behavior" by James DeMeo, Ph.D. (Summary article also available in other world languages.)

MORE INFORMATION on the Saharasia Discovery by James DeMeo, Ph.D.

Quotes from the Rear Cover of the Book:


The Revolutionary Discovery of a Geographical Basis to Human Behavior. The First Global Cross-Cultural Anthropological, Archaeological and Historical Survey of Human Family and Social Institutions.

Saharasia - a controversial "Marriage of Heresies" over 10 years in the making - will change forever your way of looking at the world, your home culture and current events.


* The scientific validity of Wilhelm Reich's Sex-Economic Theory of human behavior, through clear and concise cross-cultural testing and verification. Cultures which engage in child abuse and sex-repression predictably develop violent, superstitious and warlike characteristics. Cultures which preserve Mother-Love for children, do not beat or coerce their children and do not suppress the sexuality of their unmarried adolescents or females predictably remain peaceful and egalitarian.

* The existence of a world-wide period of peaceful human social conditions where archaeology has little evidence for warfare or social violence. The "Garden of Eden" myths appear to be based upon this early factual situation, which ended with the onset of severe, generations-long drought and famine in the Old World.

* A devastating climate change which occurred at c.4000-3500 BCE, when vast areas of Arabia and Central Asia were converted from lush grassland-forest conditions into dry desert. This climate change eventually spread to create the vast Sahara Desert and the interrelated deserts of the Middle East and Central Asia: Saharasia.

* The destruction of numerous peaceful and technologically-developed cultural groups and city-states in the Old World by widespread and enduring drought and desert expansion, which left terrible famine, starvation and emotionally traumatic conditions in its wake.

* The loss of age-old gentle and loving forms of child-rearing and male-female relations in the remnants of cultures which survived the massive epoch of drought and desertification, with the subsequent development of patriarchal authoritarian and violent, warlike characteristics.

* The stimulation of massive waves of land-abandonment and out-migrations from the dried-up areas in great diasporas from Arabia and Central Asia. Drought and starvation dramatically changed these peoples, transforming their original peaceful and egalitarian social behavior into warlike and authoritarian social conditions. Over the centuries, peoples from Arabia and Central Asia spread their patristic and armored way of life through conquest and invasion, dramatically affecting the histories (and current events) of Europe, Africa, India, China, Japan, and other world regions.

* Kingly-warrior central-states of Saharasia progressively spread their child-abusive, sex-repressive and violent social institutions over the Old World, and even into the islands of Oceania and parts of the New World by way of ocean-navigating voyages pre-dating Columbus by hundreds or thousands of years.

About the Author:

James DeMeo, Ph.D., formally studied the Earth, atmospheric, and environmental/social sciences at Florida International University and the University of Kansas, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1986. At KU, he openly undertook graduate-level natural scientific research specifically focused upon Wilhelm Reich's controversial discoveries, subjecting those ideas to rigorous testing with positive verification of the original findings. DeMeo has undertaken field research in the arid American Southwest, Egypt, Israel, sub-Saharan Eritrea, and Namibia, Africa. His published works include dozens of articles and compendiums, and several books, including Saharasia, The Orgone Accumulator Handbook, On Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy and Heretic's Notebook. He is also co-editor for the German-language compendium Nach Reich, and editor of the journal Pulse of the Planet. DeMeo served on the Faculty of Geography at Illinois State University and the University of Miami, is a former Research Associate of the American College of Orgonomy, and is on the Advisory Board for the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), and the Natural Philosophy Alliance (NPA). He founded the Orgone Biophysical Research Lab and Greenspring Center in rural Ashland, Oregon, holding the post of Director since 1978.

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Additional Articles and Materials:

* James DeMeo's Academia.edu website, with references to published articles and books, and PDF downloads.

* The Orgone Biophysical Research Lab: James DeMeo's Research Website.

* The Saharasia web page.

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