when you get up. Those are simple, inexpensive Rx, but the person, rather than taking charge, chooses to get a pill or go to an expensive seminar or psychiatrist; which is also effective, but it seems to me that trying a simple thing first is to be considered. Primitive cultures sometimes use very simple means with effective results.
RMN: That’s very true. In many non-technological societies, such as exist in Borneo and also in the Amazon, there are ritualized battles where very few, if any, people get killed and the tribe is offered a form of release from pent-up emotional stress. So do you think part of the problem with violent crime in the West is related to our not having a socially acceptable channel for our frustrations?
LAURA Oh yes. Look, I was visiting Brazil with Aldous, and in Rio on a Saturday night we went to see a ritual called the “makoommba” The people would dance together, sing and go on and on and on and on. By 3:00 A.M., they be sweating and breathing enormously, the frustration was gone and they be laughing and dancing. Aldous spoke enthusiastically about “makoomba,” how more effective and less expensive it was than lying on the psychoanalyst’s couch. Now we know that while dancing, running, and swimming, the body produces chemicals called endorphins which give us a happy, elated feeling. We have our own inner chemical factory. We have to learn how to use it well.
DJB: So are you saying that the problem stems from just repressed physical ? Would something as simple as playing sports be helpful?
LAURA Oh that is wonderful, yes. That was the Greek idea. They used sports and emphasized the mobility and the nobility of the body. But even if you would take groups of people out in the open, near mountains or water or forests, give them just a little bit of ritualistic direction, like you were saying, it would be much more effective than giving them advice. They know it all already.
RMN:Or think they do. What do you think are some of the major psychological differences between men and women, and how can these differences complement one another rather than being a source of tension?
LAURA Well, I think that there is not such a great psychological and emotional difference between men and women. I think that we make the differences and that if we would accept the fact of androgyny, there would be balance and cooperation, rather than competition. Each one is both: every man has some feminine elements and every woman some masculinity. When I asked Krishnamurti a religious person, he said (among other things) that a religious person must be both man and woman–I don’t mean sexually, he said, but must know the dual nature of everything; the religious person must feel and be both masculine and feminine.
DJB: So you are saying that you see the conflict between men and women as being an externalized drama of the conflict going on inside each of us?
LAURA I feel that it is educational and cultural, rather than basic. It seems to me that the wonderful work done by women for a more just recognition of women’s talents and capacities is sometimes a bit flawed by a tendency to imitate man. A small instance: a woman can hardly buy a pair of jeans or pants without a zipper in front. Why a zipper? We don’t need a zipper in front. Refusing to wear pants with a zipper in front would be a clear statement–and probably better pants.
RMN: Do you think men are beginning to get more in touch with their feminine side and vice versa?
LAURA Oh yes, because much has been accomplished. Men can feel fairly free now to cry, dress more freely, take care of the household, and take care of their baby. It is the best thing for baby, father, and mother.
RMN: We touched earlier on the idea that the mind affects the body. This is taken for granted in a lot of places–like in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. But still, despite the monumental evidence to the contrary, purely physical explanations are still invoked, more often than not in the West, to explain, not only physical, but mental illness. Why do you think this is, after so much evidence has shown that the mind and body are parts of the same whole?
LAURA Because of the great division of body and mind that has been with us for two thousand years. Two thousand years are difficult to overcome. The power of words, if coming from High Places and repeated enough times, is so powerful so as to obscure such tangible present inescapable facts as the body-mind interaction. Doctors go to school for thirty years and they are told that the body is a mechanism that you fix or you don’t, and that belief has been programmed so deeply in their minds.
RMN: Why do you think it even began in the first place?
LAURA Well Aldous