Saharasia – How it Got Started and What Does it Mean?

Saharasia – How it Got Started
and What Does it Mean?

Saharasia: The 4000-3500 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Human Violence and Warfare, In the Deserts of the Old World.
by James DeMeo, PhD
2nd Updated Edition. 465 pages with over 100 maps, tables and illustrations.
A book that will forever change your perception of human society, history and behavior.

Available for $34 outside the USA, and $19.95 on Special Sale for USA orders. Shipping charges are additional ($5.60 for USA and around $15 USD variable for most international.) Available from Natural Energy Works, our on-line bookstore, and from most international on-line bookstores.

Author James DeMeo Recounts the Development of Saharasia, and Some Details on the Rocky Road to the Discovery.

Saharasia is perhaps the most important book I’ve ever written, though certainly not the most popular. It presents a major discovery on the role of early human armoring in the origins of war and social violence, in the mid to late Old World Neolithic period of around 4000 BC. My findings were rooted in, and constitute a powerful confirmation of Wilhelm Reich’s sex-economic theory of human behavior. By many reader’s reactions, these findings present an entirely different and new world view of early humanity, and will change forever your view of human history, society and behavior, exposing as it does many facts which were heretofore hidden from the multiple science professions: archaeology, anthropology, history, psychology, climatology. The findings in Saharasia powerfully challenge nearly all conventional theories of human behavior and the origins of violence, including those of “violent genes”, “naked ape”, “blank slate” and “original sin”. The story of its development is also interesting and unique. Here is a summary on how the Saharasia discovery was made.

Most reading this will know how Wilhelm Reich’s discoveries have been a central subject of my own research going back to around 1970 – some 50 years ago. My university studies at that time were partly directed at biology, health and environmental issues, but gradually focused upon earth and atmospheric science. I was the first university student to undertake open experimental investigations of Reich’s discoveries for my Master’s and PhD Dissertation work, within a top mainstream university, the University of Kansas at Lawrence. My student quarters were always overflowing with books by Reich and other controversial scientists of the 20th Century, aside from those required for my courses. A portion of my living space was equally dedicated to experimental undertakings, with a microscope to investigate the bions, a vacuum tube millivoltmeter to investigate bioelectric fields and skin electrical potentials, a telescope for night-sky viewing, constructions of orgone blankets and accumulators, and whatever other analytical equipment I could buy or scrounge and repair as discarded by academic departments or research labs. I took very seriously Reich’s point that “your microscope should be of just as high quality as the automobile you wish to own.” Well, I never owned a fancy new car, but did eventually obtain a very fine microscope, and other excellent scientific equipment, eventually building up my own laboratory.

My open interest in Reich was puzzling or sometimes quite offensive to some of my professors, while a few others shared my positive interest. I still recall one professor being fired from the local Miami-Dade Community College, where I once studied, for daring to openly discuss Reich’s Mass Psychology of Fascism. I was cautioned by my seniors in orgonomy about “not throwing darts at land mines”, which in my enthusiasm was hard to avoid, given the large “emotional mine fields” which spread across most universities in those days. (Today, this problem in the universities is even worse.) On a few occasions, I got a chilly roaring blast, a literally screaming of rage in my face by “top” academics declaring “REICH WAS A QUACK!!” or similar insults, with an intensity far greater than what rational objections could merit. A “protest too much”, as Shakespeare would say. At other times, in starting such conversations with other students or professors, I could read their body language and facial expressions as one of horror and terror, and so found a polite way to change the subject, and leave them in peace. Learning these issues of human armoring, the capacities or limitations of people to tolerate such issues as Reich raised, became a paramount concern for survival of a student or non-tenured professor in the mainstream of academic science.

After completing an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, with an additional post-baccalaureate year of Chemistry (exploring a medical career, which I soon nixed), I set out to find a professor in a university somewhere, anywhere on the planet, in any scientific department (I would adapt) with whom I could study Reich’s work in greater depth, towards a science PhD. It was personally difficult for me to hide those interests, and I reasoned that, either I would be successful in finding such an open-minded university department, or if I got canned and thrown out for being a “Reichian radical”, I’d recover by writing a book on the experience.

It took two years of searching before I hit gold, and found two such professors at the same university, who were open to Reich and my research interests – Robert Haralick and Robert Nunley at the University of Kansas (KU). They invited me to apply to the KU graduate program, and were open to my open experimental study of Reich while working towards a doctorate in the Geography-Meteorology Department. With their agreement, my first study at KU would be aimed at evaluating the most “radical-controversial” aspect of Reich’s discoveries, namely the Reich cloudbuster.

For the first two years at KU, from 1977 to 1979, I attended a full load of courses, but also implemented a research protocol to evaluate its influence upon Kansas weather. The results of that study (about which I will discuss in a later article) were formally accepted as my Master’s Thesis. A more in-depth program of research was then developed for my doctoral program, to take the cloudbuster into the Southwestern USA deserts, for a desert-greening project. That proposal ran into opposition, however, and so had to be dropped, even as I continued with such work privately.

In consultation with Nunley, the idea came to do a global geographical and cross-cultural data analysis on some of Reich’s earlier ideas on the origins of violence, such as the correlated behaviors and social institutions that drove societies into war and social violence. Such issues were inclusive of harsh treatments and ritual abuses of infants and children, as well as severe sex-repression of young love – as with Romeo and Juliet – as well as restrictions on older adults in their seeking of happy and loving relationships. Those two categories of human relations were paramount in Reich’s theory, that where gentle mother-love for infants, and parental protection and love for children was present, and where young love within peer groups was not suppressed, nor adults confined to arranged love-less compulsive marriages, the larger society was of a peaceful egalitarian nature. And contrawise, where those aspects of love were not present, social violence and warfare were present and persisting.

In concept, such a study was a simple task. Find some cultural data on those subjects, make a series of world maps, look for patterns that would expose where the variables were more or less intensive, check the correlations with other social variables, and in a year or two I’d finish up.

To assist in this effort, I found several professors in the Anthropology Department who were agreeable to my line of investigation, and who helpfully steered me towards the Human Relations Area Files. From there I found the work of George P. Murdock, who had already compiled in his life’s work, the “Ethnographic Atlas”. That atlas was a huge data base of several hundred cultural factors for 1170 specific individual tribal cultures, from around the world. His “atlas” contained no maps, however, only the raw data in tabular form, which was also just then made available on IBM computer cards. Using the mainframe computer at KU, and having learned about desktop computers from Nunley, who was an expert in that field, I created Basic programs to read those data and organize them into world maps. A speedy completion seemed at hand.

With Nunley’s help in computers, I wrote a Basic computer program to read the Murdock data, and another larger data set by Robert Textor, and print them out on histograms, with approximated regional locations. Later, exact latitudes and longitudes for each tribal unit were obtained, programming the computer to make more exacting maps of greater detail. The primary result was the World Behavior Map, which summarized the levels of human violence in different regions, identifying the most and least violent regions. Many variables were found in the Murdock/Textor data that matched what might stand as proxies for Wilhelm Reich’s sex-economic theory of human violence and totalitarianism. Additional maps were also hand-drawn from other data sets for individual factors not in the Murdock/Textor data base. The variables included such pain-inflicting and repressive, violent social institutions as:

*Infant Cranial Deformation and Swaddling
*Breastfeeding / Denial of the Breast
*Male Genital Mutilations
*Phallotomy and Eunuchism
*Female Genital Mutilations
*Unnecessary Hysterectomy and Mastectomy: Ritual Medical Castration and Sexual Mutilation of Girls and Women in Western Hospitals
*Scarification of the Body
*Female Premarital Sex Taboo
*Segregation of Adolescent Boys
*Incest and Incest Taboo
*High Bride-Price Marriage
*Marital Residence
*Contraception and Abortion
*The Couvade, and Similar Practices
*Post-Partum Sexual Taboos
*Cognitive Kin Groups
*Inheritance Rules: Land and Movable Property
*Ritual Widow Murder = Mother Murder
*High God Religion and the Mother Goddess
*Class Stratification
*Caste Stratification
*Hydraulic Society and “Oriental Despotism”

The reader will note that some of these variable also inflict damage upon the “civilized-modern” nation states, including the USA and Europe. So it is not a matter of pointing out problems and self-destructive impulses in so-called “primitive” cultures.

Maps produced from the Murdock/Textor cross-cultural variables, and additional independent ones, all showed a similar geographical pattern: the most harsh, punishing and dictatorial of social factors aiming to destroy maternal-infant bonding, and young adolescent and young adult sexual and romantic love, with harsh punishments, had their most severe and widespread characteristics across one major multi-region part of the world. And that region was what I call Saharasia, inclusive of North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

Most everyone familiar with our world will note those are all harsh desert regions. They include the Sahara Desert, the Syrian, Negev, Turkish and other Middle-Eastern deserts, the deserts of Iraq, Iran, south Russian regions, Pakistan, the Rajasthan of India, and the Mongolian and Gobi deserts. Historically, it was easy to imagine how these harsh and hyperarid deserts might create a more violent kind of human social structure, where violent human social institutions could develop alongside violence-rationalizing belief systems, all related to the struggle between different tribal groups for food and water, and geographical access to them. However, there was more to it than merely a vague “struggle for food and water”.

The preliminary cross-cultural and map-making work required deeper study history and archaeology, to filter out the murky qualities of ancient history, and compare that to the modern behavior findings from the cross-cultural maps. I was driven to Truly Know the meaning and relationships of the new findings which were cropping up wherever I applied Reich’s theory. Reich’s ideas, already unique and controversial within psychology and psychiatry, served as a giant spotlight which was, for the first time, shone upon the massive data of anthropology already collected but never quite fully understood in the way I was investigating. The full exposition of the new discoveries required a full 7 years of investigation, including field work in Egypt, Israel, and the American Southwest, with extended library research, computer number-crunching and map-making way beyond anything I anticipated. I was captured in a passion, and could not let go. Wherever the new facts and patterns on the world maps were leading, I would follow.

A separate investigation into ancient history was made, to identify the earliest traces of human violence and war in the “stones and bones” of ancient settlements and cities. Over 100 texts summarizing the archaeology and history of different world regions were consulted, from which I developed a new data base of around 10,000 index cards, each with a critical event that steered humanity into greater violence, with its own latitude-longitude coordinates and general or specific date. This time- and location-specific method yielded additional eye-opening geographical patterns, allowing construction of new maps on the diffusion of violence around the globe, which matched certain aspects of historically-accepted diffusion of people and world languages. The findings were flowing in almost faster than I could record them, something which by authentic scientific methods is known as the “fruitful hallmark of an accurate theory”.

One of those major findings was the strong geographical correlation of the most abusive and violent of human behaviors as identified on the World Behavior Map were nearly identical to maps made by other scholars on most severe desert regions around the world. This was illuminating but also astonishing in the extreme, for the reason that those same areas of world geography were not always harsh deserts! Prior to c.4000 BC, Saharasia was not a desert, and that carried serious implications for the desert-behavior correlation as seen in the modern-era maps. If the harsh desert conditions were a mechanism that drove people into a condition of violent treatments of infants, children, adolescents and of their fellow adults – notably in attacks against mother-infant bonding and against sexual bonding of young and older people, then what is suggested as the human condition prior to the c.4000 BC marker date, before the harsh deserts existed?

Prior to c.4000 BC, most of Saharasia did not exist as a harsh desert, and was instead a wet and lush semi-forested grassland-savanna biome, similar to the big game parks of Eastern Africa today. Massive rivers coursed through the various sub-regions of the later Saharasian Desert Belt, and filled giant lakes of which today only dried up remnants or saline mud-holes remain. Bones of water-life animals litter those dried-up wastelands, of elephant, giraffe, hippo, crocodile, fish, and also the hunting implements, settlement debris and skeletal remains of human hunter-gatherers. None of those humans or animals could subsist in those same regions today, without massive irrigation and imported food. And most remarkably, the human artifacts of those wet periods rarely or even never showed signs of serious or systematic social violence or organized warfare, neither in the weaponization of hunting tools, nor defensive fortifications, nor body-armor protection, nor skeletal remains. The few exceptions so boldly asserted by some archaeologists, promoting their favored “violent gene” theories, are with few exceptions highly ambiguous, and generally overblown in media reports to rationalize human violence as something forever present, in our “dna”. Prior to the c.4000 BC date, those concepts find little support, and then only in a few pre-4000 BC sub-regions of desert conditions, with isolated and rare examples of human violence.

After around 4000 to 3500 BC, however, evidence for human violence explodes across the then-drying Saharasian region, with all the artifacts and built-structures of human violence and warfare. And that kind of evidence expands outwards from hyperarid Saharasia, around the world unto its modern extent. Pre-Columbian ocean voyages help our understandings of that process, where violent humans also departed from Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Chinese regions outwards across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, to yield smaller regions of violent humans in what are not desert lands at all. In such cases, it is the social institutions of human ideology and religion which have carried the abusive traits into the non-desert world.

My work on Saharasia exposes all these factors in great detail, and thereby constitutes a highly quantitative and evidence-driven discovery on the origins of both ancient and contemporary human violence and war. In this, the Saharasia book presents a hopeful vision for humanity, that violence is not our “natural state”. It also gives strong support to the sex-economic theory of Wilhelm Reich, as the most solid and accurate of all theories of human behavior, and being a bedrock of my own findings.

I can say with fact, that Reich was intuitive in both senses, inventing the cloudbuster and having an intuitive sense of what he called “The Emotional Desert”. In that latter concept, he once supposed how living in a harsh desert with blistering heat and less water, where plants had thorns and with venomous snakes and insects were found as a dominant feature, that people might develop a corollary in their behavior. My work discussed and clarified Reich’s original supposition, not exactly as he had it, but very close, and with solid data extracted from the very professions of human behavior and psychology where Reich and Saharasia are censored, slandered and erased the most, and appreciated the least.

Saharasia had intensive peer-review during the dissertation production, with input of valuable helps, suggestions and criticisms from my committee, which was composed of four geographers and two anthropologists. Nevertheless, Saharasia also came under attack, from the Physics Department (!?) who had just then learned I had wrote something in an Appendix to my cloudbusting study, 8 years earlier, which was critical of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity! I can laugh about it today, but back then it was a serious concern. One member of my committee dropped out, saying “I won’t sign anything with Wilhelm Reich’s name in it”. As I later learned, his son was a PhD psychologist. In spite of these problems, the dissertation was accepted.

I was successful to publish several summary articles on my findings in a few lesser-known journals. At one point my work attracted the attention of the female editor at the University of Texas Press. She was astonished and deeply moved about my research, wanted to publish simultaneous soft- and hard-cover editions, with a publicity campaign and speaking tour. I was amazed, and elated. Unfortunately, the male academic reviewers were aghast. One took offense that I did not accept that prostitution was the “world’s oldest profession”, for which instead I had nominated midwifery. Another stated, like a squeaky-voiced powdered-wig imbecile of some Royal Court “what’s all this got to do with sex”? A third wanted the book published, but was outvoted. That was around 1987, when the KU Geography Department approved the Saharasia findings as my dissertation, and awarded the Doctorate PhD.

At another conference on “Matriarchal Cultures” where I was an invited speaker on my Saharasia work, after my talk during the question period, several Muslim women “scholars” in full veils, launched into a verbal assault of screaming and finger-pointing that lasted so long and intensively that the professional translator could not keep up, and the conference organizer later apologized to me, saying she’d never in her life seen such angry attacks upon a speaker. And during that lecture, I never mentioned one word about “Islam” – although the World Behavior Map by its geographical dimensions screams “ISLAM!” Today, after 911 and other Muslim terrorism, I make it a point to mention Islam, but not to condemn all Muslims, as like it or not, it is the central organizing ideology across all of Saharasia today, and which brings Saharasian cultural institutions of child abuse, female inferiority and violent terror into every place where unreformed Muslims settle. Since the analysis was centered on pre-1900 tribal cultures, to include Native Americans in the New World, and socially-isolated cultures in Europe, the analysis had “peeled back” the layers of the modern nation-states, and thereby exposed a generalized older condition which did not include the horrors of 20th Century world wars, nor much of colonial influences.

There are several other chapters in Saharasia that should find wide interest, notably the specific discussions on village-level peaceful cultures that survived into modern times due to geographical isolation, a chapter on Contraceptive Herbs, and a section on the demise of the generally peaceful Minoan, Indus-Valley, and Anasazi cultures, where violence appeared only in the very end times of their civilizations.

For such controversial materials, which challenged the academic status-quo at nearly every turn, I was also subjected to published slander by the malignant academic-supported ‘skeptic clubs’. They, too, hate Reich, and me also for on-going work verifying and supporting his original findings, and other scientifically-valid controversies. The various attacks made continued work in the universities nearly impossible, even while many of my best friends and supporters were Professors. (And this was decades before the explosion of leftist rioters screaming down and attacking conservative speakers and professors.)

After departing from KU I held the post of Assistant Professor in a few universities, but eventually broke away from the narrow confines of the academic world to form my own research institute in 1989. It wasn’t until 1998, however, that I was able to expand and re-draft the original Saharasia dissertation into a scholarly book version, more readable and with greater detail:

Saharasia: The 4000-3500 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Human Violence and Warfare, In the Deserts of the Old World.
As I wrote, Saharasia will forever change your perception of human history, society and behavior.

A second edition was produced in 2006, correcting a few slips and citation errors, and with a new Appendix “Update on Saharasia” which addresses new evidence that had come to light in the period since the original publication. In that Appendix, I gathered even more evidence supporting my Saharasia discoveries, examining several claims that superficially were considered as opposing it, but which factually did not. Saharasia Still Stands Strong! I should also say, having presented my Saharasia work in lectures to numerous professional scholarly societies, and at invited university symposia, I never received any kind of serious critical exposure of errors or of facts, by which my findings would be at risk. But I did often get many “ah HA” reactions from other scholars, who then pointed out new things to me which further confirmed the findings. Every year or so, the Saharasia book is ordered by universities as a textbook, I am happy to say.

Here’s a Table of Contents of Saharasia,
Again, while the original retail price was $39, it has been reduced down to $34 for outside the USA, and to a special sale of $19.95 for USA orders, plus shipping. Those reduced prices are for the full second edition, a 465 page work with numerous maps, tables and illustrations. Available from Natural Energy Works, our on-line bookstore, and from most on-line bookstores.

Also Available: Abridged Version of Saharasia in Italian and Greek languages. (If you speak English, the full original book is a better deal.)

* SAHARASIA (Italian): Le Origini della Violenza Umana, Abridged Italian Summary of the Saharasia discovery and book, around 100 pages by James DeMeo, PhD.
Price: $14.95

* SAHARASIA (GREEK): The Origins of Human Violence, Abridged Greek Summary of the Saharasia discovery and book, around 100 pages by James DeMeo, PhD
Price: $14.95

See the offerings of these translations underneath the main Saharasia presentation at
Or check with your favored international book sellers.

Thanks for reading, and for your purchase, which helps to keep my work alive and moving forward.

James DeMeo, PhD
Director, Orgone Biophysical Research Lab
Ashland, Oregon, USA

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
– George Orwell

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