During a diamond-hunting expedition to Venezuela, Jean Liedloff came into contact with the indigenous Yequana people. After several expeditions she notices in a strange moment of realization, while in the intense jungle heat, laboring hard physically, that her “primitive” Indian guides are laughing and cracking jokes constantly, have enormous amounts of energy, and never seem bored and restless. Lured by this strange awareness, she goes back to the jungles of the Amazon to live with these primitive people to discover the key to their happiness.
The Continuum Concept is essentially a set of child raising protocols which our bodies are genetically wired to follow. They can be seen everywhere in the animal kingdom, as well as in almost every primitive culture. Liedloff felt that we had lost our trust in our children and ultimately ourselves. Parents had forgotten how powerful they are to young children and how easy it is to make them feel as if there is something wrong with them.
If our parents, our tribesman, our authority figures, clearly expect us to be bad or anti-social or greedy or selfish or dirty or destructive or self-destructive, our social nature is such that we tend to meet the expectations of our elders. Whenever this reversal took place and our elders stopped expecting us to be social and expected us to be anti-social, just to put it in gross terms, that’s when the real fall took place. And we’re paying for it dearly.
The book from 1975 is a must read for all parents-to-be and those who want to understand their own confusion better.
Get it here.
The two words that I’ve arrived at to describe what we all need to feel about ourselves, children and adults, in order to perceive ourselves accurately, are worthy and welcome. If you don’t feel worthy and welcome, you really won’t know what to do with yourself. You won’t know how to behave in a world of other people. You won’t think you deserve to get what you need.
Interview with Liedloff — Touch the Future (1998)