Questions for further study - Jane English 1984
Evolution of human head and brain size - Jane English 1980, 1997
On the evolution of human brain size - Jane English 1980
There has been an increase in brain size as humans evolved.
This evolution reached a limit because of the infant's head having to pass through the maternal pelvic opening. Infants with larger heads and brains did not survive birth, and thus could not pass this tendency for larger brain size on to future generations.
Early on in evolution, changes happpened through mutation and natural selection.
Now the human nervous system has evolved to where reflection, invention and conscious selection are possible.
So now evolution can also happen through invention and conscious selection.
The invention of cesarean birth allows infants with larger heads and brains to survive being born and to go to having children of their own.
Thus continued evolution of brain size is again possible.
A letter to the editor of Newsweek on this same topic - 1997
To the editors of Newsweek --
As a cesarean born person who has spent much of the past 25 years exploring the implications of having been born that way, I was amused to read in the Sept 29 issue's 2000 Millenium Notebook that, " . . . humans paid a price in limiting the size of the female pelvis and consequently the the diameter of a baby's head that can go through it. 'We've maxed out on head size.'" (italics mine) It is obvious, when one takes into consideration the approximately 25%* of births in the US that are cesarean, that this is not true. The possibility, perhaps probability, of further evolution in the size of the human brain is one of the unintended side effects of the increase in cesarean births. The "different doorway" through which we entered the world is much larger than the pelvic opening. What, in terms of human evolution, is on the other side of this "different doorway" is unknown!
* "In the United States almost one quarter of all babies
are now delivered by cesarean section -- approximately 982,000
babies in 1990. In 1970, the cesarean section rate was about 5%;
by 1988, it had peaked at 24.7%. In 1990, it had decreased slightly
to 23.5%, primarily because more women were attempting vaginal
births after cesarean deliveries."
Data found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/cesarean/cesarean_4.html
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Birth and labor:
What are the characteristics of a good caesarean delivery? -in terms of medical procedure, who is present, attitudes (emotional, mental, and spiritual) of those present
What happens during labor that is essential to the well-being of a person? What are the positive aspects of the birth learning of the vaginally born? -do cesarean born people(CB's) learn these things? If so, when and how? How can this learning be facilitated? Is it essential to know these things? Or should we redefine what it is to be human?
What is labor like for cesarean born(CB) mothers of vaginally born(VB) children? Easier? Harder? More sense of it being strange and foreign?
Do CB mothers tend also to have CB children? What are the %s?
Do studies on:
- Relationship of CB and VB siblings
- Mothers with both CB and VB children. What differences do they perceive?
- CB/CB relationships
- Sexual patterns in CBs - how energy moves through their bodies.
How does knowledge of the CB/VB difference affect a CB person? -Their self-image, their relationships with other people and the world. How can this knowledge be used as a facilitative tool rather than as a conceptual prison?
How does the knowledge of CV/VB differences affect VB people? Do they resist it? Does it help them understand their own birth learning? What is their attitude toward CBs once they know of the difference?
What is the CB person's attitude toward change? What is their style of making change? In their habits, job, living situation, attitudes, relationships, etc,?
Look at art by cesarean born people
Therapy - CB client and VB therapist
- Can the VB really know enough of the CB's experience to help them transform it?
- Is this perhaps possible only when the VB has done enough inner work to be quite aware of their own birth learning?
- What are the goals of such therapy? To get the CB to understand and conform to VB shaped social mores or to find common ground that transcends VB and CB?
- What might this common ground be and how does anyone, CB or VB, come to awareness of it?
Balance of teaching coping skills with encouraging creativity and uniqueness.
How can the different qualities of a CB be respected without turning CBs into a category of "weirdos"? Look at this in various educational levels from pre-school to university.
Dealing with CBs is perhaps the same as dealing with any person from a minority culture in the educational system of the majority, though the CB/VB cultural difference may run even deeper.
What is necessary in teacher training to enable them to respect CB/VB differences? Do teachers of CBs, like therapists of CBs, really have to be in touch with the perinatal level in their own psyches? Is this possible in current teacher education?
What is the appropriate balance of "techniques for teaching CBs" with simple awareness of and respect for the differences? This, of course applies to all differences, not just CB/VB. Respect for individuality.
Look at the % of CBs in the following populations relative to the % of CBs in the general population: Artists, psychics, criminals, mentally ill, therapists, religious careers, scientists, technicians, engaged in solitary rather than group pursuits, etc.