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Everybody knows today that lead is a neurotoxic, which, with small but repeated doses, harms the development of the brain and intelligence of the child. So it is legitimate to ask what were the results of the chronic intoxication of a whole generation by all the lead massively rejected in the atmosphere, following the use of leaded gasoline by cars. What could be the (statistical) effects of a lowering of the average intelligence, even slight? What will happen when «lead free» children will arrive at the age of creating their own fashions and social movements? What challenges are waiting for them, facing parents of the «leaded» generation?
This page was created on August 17, 2009.
Everybody heard that the Roman civilisation declined following the absorption of lead (used at this time for water pipes and food additives). Historians do not agree on that point, as it is very difficult to know what really the matter was, who was eating lead at this time, and who was less clever, in a ruthless world where anyway nobody had access to a really fulfilling education.
A less known coincidence, but much more troubling, happened in Germany, with the use of lead as a pesticide, in the years 1920 and 1930, followed by the rise of nazism. Of course other causes played to start such a large social disease, but the fact remains that the nazi generation was the one fed with leaded pesticides. We can suppose that this generation was suffering of a lowered average intelligence, which made it more vulnerable to the propagation of the nazi delirium.
But the coincidence which draw my attention was the very obvious reversal of the youth, about in 1980: abandonment of idealistic, ecological, social, community, self-managed movements, replaced by egocentric or reactionary movements derived from the derelict punk ideas: cynicism, withdrawal into oneself, rap, tags, fascist city gangs, black and violent video games, etc. This reversal more or less matches the ripening of the generation which started to breathe lead in quantity, in the 1950-60 years. Of course we can see here, as well as with the nazism, the result of the reactionary propaganda of the medias (In France: sardou, rap, Libé, «radios caca», despising of idealists, etc.). This propaganda being unable to stop the idealistic movements, the scheme was to present a reactionary mind set as being «the youth's fashion», which worked very well... But an idealistic youth is, by principle impervious to such a propaganda. This strongly suggest that this generation had a weaker ground: the leaded generation?
If this relation between lead and the political awareness really exists, this situation should be only temporary. This is because, after a shameless pollution in the 1970-80 years (Joachim Curtius, University of Francfurt, in a study on lead as an antagonist of greenhouse effect), lead free gasoline started a radical lowering of lead in the atmosphere, during the 1990 years. So we should soon see the arrival to teenage of a new unleaded generation, and, if this relation really exists, to a come back of idealism among youngsters. This should happen in the 2010 years (written in 2009).
(To the condition of course that no other more subtle pollution hampered intelligence... We already know that these generations will have their sexuality impeded by some pesticides, thanks to mister the farmers of another age who still refuse organic farming. Studies published in California, into «Environmental Health Perspectives» or conducted by the Mount Sinai Hospital Center, or by the University of Columbia, all show a strong diminution of intelligence among children exposed to organophosphate into non-organic food. Other studies also show a link with attention deficit disorder, with or without hyperactivity. All this casts a gloomy shadow on the near future, and it could very well explain the return of social diseases such as xenophobia or district gangs.)
It is difficult to figure how new positive and idealistic movements may look like. Come back of the 1960-70 years, or something entirely new? We can expect environment, spirituality, responsible social... or something entirely new.
We can however only wish for such a situation, but we must not forget that the previous idealistic generation did not produced much, as it was victim of numerous traps. So the Hippies were destroyed by drugs, French May 1968 and communities were rotten with marxism from the very beginning, and at last the European environment movement was taken over by the Greens political party and sterilized of all its social, artistic or idealistic components. Only Martin Luther King's anti-racism movement saw its ideas written into laws and implemented into government actions.
The proportion of idealistic youth which could remain into the 1980-1990-2000 years could however exist, but into a movement which remains largely underground (and even completely censored in France): the New Age. Living at its epoch, this movement is a raw springing out of spirituality and altruism, going far beyond everything else in the domains of art and beauty. But it fell into the trap of numerous cults, and of ideological viruses such as «everyone his own truth» which forbid its members to chuck out all the crooks and nutter theories which stifle this movement and make it rot.
So there is much to bet that future unleaded movements will have to thwart similar traps, and it is the purpose of this page to warn them. Especially this page is for all the youngsters who will lead a questioning of ready made ideas, when they have no experience of such a step and its numerous traps.
We already see the propagation of unfounded rumours, such as aspartame or soy which would be very toxic, through «cool» propaganda channels with a good funding. A dogmatic spiritual movement, disconnected of science or of serious spiritual teachings, would be as dangerous as the marxism, and mislead numerous persons into impracticable ways, antisocial attitudes, and even lead to dictatorship. DANGER! A dogmatic environment movement rejecting technology, science, altruism or spirituality would quickly take us back to the Middle Age, on every points of view. DANGER!
But eventual positive social movements in the years 2010 may have to face deliberrate hostility. The parents of the hippies in the years 1960 were strongly impregnated with grey, normative and puritan ideologies, which brought them to very reactionary positions toward their children, as to reject their search of beauty while hypocritically letting the drugs free.
Similarly, the parents of youngsters in the years 2010-2020 will be those who grew into the disorder, anarfascism, individualism, cynicism, materialism and racism of city gangs, the sniggering rejection of beauty. And these brown ideologies are as much contemptuous and normative than the grey puritanism of the years 1960. So there are chances that these more sensitive children will feel lonely and misunderstood. The clash will likely happen at the level of expressing beauty, or clothing, or «signes ostentatoires» (ostentatious signs). My guess is for a spiritual movement, but which would enliven concretely a search for beauty, of harmony in society. With for parents some «beaufs» (in French, petty middle class character, atheist and reactionary, whom prototype is Cabu), amateur of trash video games, with pervert «educators» who «do not make morale»... We are going toward, once again, a «new generation that the parents don't understand»...
Still more teenagers suicides in sight, if we do nothing to help these youngsters to understand what happens to them and keep their self-confidence, if one does repression before understanding. Than only one reader avoid this doom with reading it, would far more that repay the effort to publish it. But it would be fine too, if one could pass the information to all the others... Sir and Ladies the educators? The journalists? We hear stories of Internet pages which get millions of readers...
When I speak of «leaded generation», one must not understand that people born between 1960 and 1995 would be all idiots. This is only a statistics, an average. The intelligence of a given individual is determined by numerous factors, and can vary in much larger proportions than the effect described here. In more, lead could affect other faculties, emotional or social intelligence, which allow to have an happy life with others. Then lead could explain this prevalence today of this geek autism, which impairs the same generation, with so many youngsters or former youngsters entrenched behind their screen, into the negation of common sense and rejection of emotional life.
But we must understand that a small variation of the average intelligence (or of any other faculty of the mind, such as emotional intelligence or interest in others) can have much larger consequences. These things are ruled by a mathematical domain said of percolation, as it starts from the study of fluids propagating into porous materials (as into a percolator). In a poorly porous material, fluids cannot flow from a pore to the other. And even if we progressively increase porosity, the flow does not increase in proportion: it remains null. But it suddenly starts when enough pores are connected together, in order to create a first continuous path. A similar reasoning holds for epidemics, which can propagate only if a minimum proportion of persons are likely to catch them. If the proportion is too weak, the epidemics does not propagate, or it remains confined to some marginal cases. But if a lowering of hygiene standards makes more persons vulnerable, then an unexpected epidemics can suddenly «appear» and spread in a very fast way. So we can expect that the propagation of ideas (and also alas of ideologies) obey to similar laws: the progressive appearance of a fair enough percentage of receptive persons will provoke the sudden appearance of an unexpected intellectual or social movement. On the other hand, a small drop of the average intellectual level could trigger the fast expansion of stupid or retrograde movements. This is probably what happened with nazism, and also in 1980, with the appearance of rap, gangs, etc. triggered by a punk movement which had no intend whatsoever to become a normative thought system. This fashion spreading of anti-life or anti-social ideologies can be called a social disease.
At last, when enough people are receptive, the chances of intellectual life will make a small number of «theoreticians» popular, and their speech will spread fast. They will give their style, ideas, concepts and vocabulary to the movement, making of it a very original and unexpected one. This is what makes all the interest of the phenomenon... but also its danger, as it will also make common the mistakes and limitations of these persons.
Some adepts of the New Age think that angels or people of other planets reincarnate as Humans, in order to help Mankind: they would be the indigo children. Those adepts propose criterion which allow to point as some children as being indigo: early awakening, interest toward others, manifestations of altruism, artistic sense, etc. But if we think a bit, these criterion describe children... who are normal, whose parents take care normally! However other adepts of this movement also consider various personality troubles (autism, hyperactivity, cognitive deficit...) as «consequences of the repression of the society» on children with superior capacities, repressed or misunderstood. Such a repression happens (I saw examples), and it can really lead to a trauma having the appearance of such troubles. But the most often, these troubles happen naturally. Then, to systematically accuse the society allows crook psychologists to easily manipulate the parents. It is clear that with such movements, we enter into unchartered domains, allowing for slanted interpretations in both ways: true cultist dereliction or normative persecutions.
If I mention here this story of indigo children, it is not to advertise them,it is because the adepts of future unleaded movements are quite sure to be confronted to the same two dangers: sectarian/ideological drift, or psychologizing/normative repression... which results will be the same.
Persecutions could take place against a new generation which would manifest higher interests than the rap and the gangs, which would follow more interesting fashions, or would organize into unexpected social movements. A very good pretext for persecutions would be the appearance of a violent movement, a thing I clearly warn of. But persecutions could also aim at perfectly benign behaviours, such as refusing meat, meditating, dreaming, not being in a gang, refusing a normative «psychotherapy», refusing casual sex, not smoking marijuana, not looking at the TV, being victim of mockery, following the fashion, not following the fashion, showing altruism or sensitivity, hearing nice music, being interested into nature or poetry, visiting virtual worlds, wearing «signes ostentatoires d'appartenance» (ostentatious signs), or any arbitrary pretext that sadistic educators and politicians use to invent, in order to mark people into categories and play to make them suffer. If, as a teenager, you are victim of such persecutions, understand the danger: persecutors are paranoid, and if you protest, this will only comfort them into their delirium and attacks. Rather say that you «understand», in order to calm them, and continue to lead your life more discretely.
In the other way, I would also like to warn the future adepts of new movements against cultist tendencies, which can take very varied appearances: marxism and leftism, false psychology, refusal of the society, social conformism, religious cults, etc. Especially:
- Refuse any statement which is spreading without being checked by science studies, sources or inquiries. Keep away of people who repeat them, and especially of those who are well paid to publish them. Keep in mind that every domain like ecology, medicine, dietetics, etc. are based on science, only art and spirituality escape it.
- As much as physics, spirituality has its laws and ways. Great spiritual traditions, especially Buddhism and Hindu Yoga, explain this in a clear enough way, so that there is no need to add new groups or to discard these basis. Refuse any self-recognized, «revolutionary» or «polemical» guru.
- Apparently sympathetic or nice people may hide less nice intents. This is especially the case of cults, where pleasant or gratifying appearances may hide terrible traps. If, in a group, you feel very bad without clear reason, check if it would not be a cult. A test which often works is to tell them that you are something «bad» (gay, Jew, scientist, cop, etc.) and see if they are still very sympathetic.
- Be as wary of people who say society is the devil, as much as of those who say that society is THE norm. The society is neither entirely good, nor entirely bad. It contains all the heritage of positive realisations of mankind, but alas its is still very far of being expurgated of all the potential of negative reactions. And people can serve the one, or the other, or most often the two.
- Nobody speaks for the society at a whole, even not the government. Be wary of all who speak in the name of society, they only use it as an instrument for their own not very social purposes.
- Boot the bum and chase away all those who come to «organise» your movement. They remained stuck at Saint Petersburg in October 1917, dreaming to change your movement into a Molotov cocktails factory, after emptying it of any substance. Hopeless.
- The purpose of a demonstration is not to beat the cops, but to pass a message to the ones who will see it. And the message is much more into the behaviour of the demonstration than on the posters. And anyway a really new message never makes it through the medias, so don't waste your time.
- The most dangerous moment in a movement is when the medias start to speak of it, because then they can deform and break it. Keep discret, no great gatherings, no visible manifestation, no vocabulary: keep PRIVATE. For instance we saw how, in France, the medias organized the taking over of the ecologists, to the profit of the «greens», atheistic and politically dependent.
- Wait to complete your studies before «dropping out». If is what I did in France in 1973, about the communities. When I completed my studies, there was no more communities... but I had a profession.
- Anyway any serious movement will need able and trained people.
- Stop any relation with those who reject science. Science is not free of defects, but it is today the best basis for knowledge.
- Be as much wary of those who reject spirituality. Spirituality is the basis of our evolution and liberation, which makes it still much more important than science. However the information on what is really spirituality is less widespread nowadays, so we need to explain first, and reject only after.
- If Gods, angels or extraterrestrials can speak to some human beings, so they don't need special individuals to do so. If they can speak to them, they can also speak to us, and give us clear evidences that their voices that we hear are not a trick of our imagination. In short, be wary of any person who claims to be special, or enjoying peculiar experiences. See evidences first. True mediums exist, but they are rare.
- A serious movement does not need leaders, «representatives» or political parties to live and exist: marxism destroyed the socialist ideal, as much as the Greens destroyed the self managed environment movement. A valuable movement needs people who incarnate its values in a concrete and lasting way, people who work and do something, kind people easy to live with, who give the desire to join the movement.
- A valuable movement proposes its ideal to the society, it doesn't throw it in its face.
- But by far the greatest lesson of the years 1960 and 1970 is that no social movement can success if it is not accompanied of the elimination of all our psychological problems. This is a spiritual work on the very basis of the functioning of our minds, a liberation work about all what frustrates us and make us act badly toward others. This is a long and tricky process, but the only one possible, whatever it is just not quarrel in a small group, or to lead successfully a great movement into a length of time. All social movement which do not undertake a form or another of psychological liberation is hopelessly phoney, doomed to fail or to exist in books only.
- So any person who will come along telling you that the spiritual aspect is not important will have to be considered as active opponent.
- Same for anti-science people.
Updated on March 11, 2011:
The Arab spring seems to match the scenario described above: the sudden appearance of a vast movement, starting from a very local event. What is surprising is its magnitude, the determination of its members, their level of responsibility. Add to this the rejection of both the usual «islamic» terrorism and hackneyed Israel/Arabs dichotomy...
However I was did not foresee it would happen in the Arab countries. Probably, the rapid development of new communication means (cellphones, social networks...) allowed for a large number of people to connect in a short time, while they were in facts ready for long.
Updated on May 27, 2011:
It is also very interesting to note that the Arab revolutions are all basically non-violent (wars which greeted them are not their feat).
It is also very interesting that this movement is now spreading in Europe... It is very unlikely that they overtrow the solid democraties here, but some corrupted or incompetent governments may pay the cost of the «crisis» they provoked, that they aggravate with their sadomasochist budget cuts.
Added on April 2, 2021:
These twelve years since this page was created have seen the arrival to adulthood of the first lead-free generation, born roughly after 1995-2000. (I don't use the term millennial, because the dates are different, with added cultural connotations.) I predicted twelve years ago that this generation would return to normal intelligence. Has this actually happened? Yes and no, as we are to see why.
In the absence of published statistics, it is difficult to estimate the intelligence of this generation. However, a much greater ecological sensitivity and the appearance of several advanced movements such as the vegans or animalism clearly indicate a greater adequacy with reality. But the members of this generation seem to blend into the mass, unlike their grandparents of the 1960s-70s.
The explanation I see for this mixed result is that lead was actually replaced by other intelligence disruptors, especially endocrine disruptors (phthalates, organophosphate pesticides, especially the dreaded chlorpyriphos, also producing ADHD). However, there is a very visible difference: lead promotes disorders such as aggressiveness or violence, but not the other pollutions. Thus the leaded generation, which produced the grotty-punk movements of the 1980s, is now slipping into old age, while voting for more conventional hate parties. The phthalate generation does not produce violence, but neither do they produce organized movements. Or not yet.
Another very cruel aspect of endocrine disruptors is the decline in virility: fewer spermatozoids, smaller penises, less libido. This justifies the monitoring of adolescents, with hormone treatment if necessary. Such destruction of adolescents constitutes a sexual mutilation, with criminal penalties against the manufacturers, dispersers and supporters of endocrine disruptors. But I see no reaction other than denial and silence, as usual. Beware when this generation reacts.
Added September 2022: spectacular fall of youth delinquancy. An article in Good News Network, based on several government sources including the FBI, reports a dramatic drop in juvenile delinquency: 78% in the last ten years (a fourfold decrease). These agencies attribute this result to a variety of rehabilitative actions instead of punishment. But the fact is that adult delinquency dropped only 8% in the meanwhile. So this can be seen as one of many indicators of the arrival of the lead-free generation, at about the predicted dates.
Added June 2023: Science studies also are finding a drop in criminality after leaded gazoline was abandoned.