Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Joseph Chilton Pearce, aka Joe

American Author, Public Speaker

"A child’s direct sensory-motor exploration is required to build the neural constructions of cognition and learning."

"A positive emotional state entrains, or unites, our systems for thought, feeling, and action; shifts our concentration and energy toward support of our intellectual and creative forebrain (old mammalian and neocortex); and allows us to both learn and remember easily. In very young children, the primary caregiver’s emotional state determines the child’s state, and therefore the child’s development in general. Any kind of negative response, any form of fear or anger shifts our attention and energy from verbal-intellectual brain to our oldest survival brain. This shift shortchanges our intellect, cripples our learning and memory, and can lock our neocortex into service of our lower brain."

"All hormonal function, including that of the immune system and even allergic responses, occur as a sophisticated memory system handled primarily by our emotional brain. Because learning and memory are emotional-cognitive functions, the neural pattern, imprint, or “structure of knowledge” (to use Piaget’s term) of specific learning events includes in its content the memory patterns of those emotional hormones prominent in the body at the time of that learning."

"All systems are dynamics, intricately interdependent and interactive. Environment and genetics are a paired dynamic."

"Among the greatest of cultural lies is that we are, by nature, violent, and that only chaos would prevail without the order imposed by law and the shame stress that powers it."

"By observing a supposed objective truth out there, we become passive victims relieved of responsibility. Instead, we can use our eyes in active vision, to see with, not through. Rather than compounding our neighbor’s error through intellectual condemnation of him, we can enter actively into that relationship through our heart. Freeing him from error in our mind’s eye, we open him to deliverance in his own. There is only one heart, and it can take on any form."

"Any judgment we make, no matter of whom, registers in the heart as a disruption of relationship, and the heart dutifully responds on behalf of our defense, shifting neural, hormonal, and electromagnetic systems from relational to defensive. Creator and created are giving rise to each other, we are judged as we have judged."

"American high school students of 1950 had a working vocabulary averaging 25,000 words. Today that level is 10,000. As of 1998 some 85 percent of all academic honors in the United States were taken by foreign-born students. Offspring of these students may, in turn, keep our standards from disappearing for perhaps one or two generations more, but that will be all. Sooner or later they will become we, and who will be left to comprehend that intelligence itself has deteriorated?"

"Culture is a massive exercise in restraint, inhibition, and curtailment of joy on behalf of pseudo-safety and grim necessities. We live out our lives in the long shadows it casts."

"Numerous studies show that eradicating anxiety and stress and their accompanying cortisol would, in itself, greatly increase longevity and decrease illness."

"Our children’s growth: joyful learning or cultural conditioning? A child’s socialization, which can be characterized as learning in its most complete form, encouraging reflective thought, is instinctual and arises spontaneously on its own. Culture is something quite the opposite: an intellectual, arbitrary conditioning and enhancement of automatic reflexes that must be both induced and enforced."

"Infants instinctively resist enculturation because they intuitively sense in it a denial of life that robs us of our spirit and our loving, willing, thinking, being. Resistance is futile. Without exception, these cultural techniques involve carefully masked threats that prey upon the child’s rapidly learned fear of pain, harm, or deprivation, and more primal anxiety over separation or alienation from parent, caregiver, or society. “Do this or you will suffer the consequences.” This threat, in fact, underlies every facet of our life from our first potty training through university exams."

"Forgiveness is a state of mind, a way to live in the present moment, which means to allow each instant to pass without carrying negative elements over into the next. You can knock down your little child time and again and he or she will get up and come back, trusting and open-armed, time and again. We must backtrack, recapitulate, and realize we have no choice except to say yes to the heart. There is no judgment involved; it is a simple matter of frequency and sync."

"Each major stage of development offers a window of opportunity distinctly different from anything that has come before. The increase of intelligence at each stage of development is disproportionately greater than the increase exhibited in the previous stage, similar to the order of increase found in the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes."

"Intelligence by its nature always moves for well-being when connections can be made. A prayer that leads to healing, then, might function much as a collective electrical charge that gathers to arc the gap to a smaller charge in its opposite polarity."

"Natural law: Intelligence, no matter how innate or genetically encoded, can unfold within us only when an actual model for that intelligence is given us. Bio-cultural effects, once initiated, tend to self-generate. Projected by us, we perceive the behaviors demonstrated by our great models as powers out there to which we are subject, rather than as potentials within ourselves to be lived."

"In periods of frustration, fear, or anger, the em spectrum is incoherent. In times when love or appreciation is experiences, it is coherent."

"If our belief is passionate enough, the river comes to us and in whatever form the passionate belief makes possible. Belief is causative and passion is formative. Passionate belief is the chaotic attractor that lifts chaos into its particular order."

"No media project succeeds based on “good news only” because good news does not trigger our alert system. Anything good indicates a safe space, the quiet background against which events can play out. The enculturated mind is cued to respond to the negative as a point of focus, which largely screens out or ignores a quiet stable base, and, because it sharpens and maintains our alert awareness, we actually begin to look for the negative."

"Our drive toward novelty is a tool of evolution and transcendence."

"The worst is yet to come, however. Far more devastating that this pruning is that nature then brings about a corresponding increase of the connecting links of the emotional circuits in this cyngulate gyrus with the lower survival fight-or-flight structures of the amygdala, that neural module linked directly with our ancient defense and survival system in the reptilian brain. In this way, a sharp curtailment of connections with the higher, transcendent frequencies of mind and heart is brought about in order to shift growth toward the lower, protective survival systems."

"There are no mediators between our heart and mind, just the blocks of our defenses, fears, and doubts."

"The toddler is allowed to regulate his own exploratory behavior. What occurs as a result of this entire mechanism is that nature’s imperative to explore the world at large is overwhelmed by the greater imperative to avoid the pain of a broken relationship with the life-giving caregiver. What will be developed in the child is a capacity for deception as he tries to maintain some vestige of integrity while outwardly appearing to conform. Living a lie to survive a lying culture, the child forgets the truth of who he really is."

"Science has supposedly supplanted religion – but it has simply become our new religious form and an even more powerful cultural support."

"We live in an environment of feedback or “mirroring” in which creator and created give rise to each other both within us and outside of us."

"A society – the product of socialization – is made of spontaneous nurturing and love, while culture can be quiet hate, which can lead, sooner or later, to a child’s subtle or flagrant rebellion."

"Transcendence is a movement into the unknown, the ability to rise and go beyond limitation and restraint… it is our biological birthright, built into us genetically and blocked by our enculturation."

"We have ignored for half a century or more the studies that show some 95 percent of all a child’s learning or “structures of knowledge” form automatically in direct response to interactions with the environment, while only 5 percent form as a result of our verbal teaching or intellectual instruction."

"We must accept that this creative pulse within us is God's creative pulse itself."

"When brain and heart frequencies entrain, they enter a synchronous, resonant, or coherent wave pattern. Though rare in adults, such entrainment is critical to full development of our human nature… The same entrainment of heart frequencies occurs between mother and infant during breast-feeding and other close body contact."

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."

"We live in a web of ideas, a fabric of our own making."

"Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold."

"We are shaped by each other. We adjust not to the reality of a world, but to the reality of other thinkers."

"...There are many other facets to the current collapse of childhood. I have touched on the issue only briefly, but one thing is clear, our schools have deteriorated because they must deal with damaged goods. Most responsible for this damage is hospital childbirth; second comes television. Next comes day care, which fosters television and is a result of hospital childbirth. Premature schooling runs fourth. (A fifth must wait a bit for discussion.) And as our damaged children grow up and become the parents and teachers, damage will be the norm, the way of life. We will habituate to damage. Nothing else will be known. How can you miss something you can't even recognize, something you never had?"

"For only as we ourselves, as adults, actually move and have our being in the state of love, can we be appropriate models and guides for our children. What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become."

"Seeing within changes one's outer vision."