This conceptual “think piece” looks at levels or Stages of Cognition, equating each of the Four Stages I examine with an anthropological concept. I equate Stage 1—rigid or concrete thinking—with naïve realism (“our way is the only way,” fundamentalism (“our way should be the only way and those who do not follow it are doomed”), and fanaticism (“our way is so right that everyone who disagrees with it should be either converted or eliminated”). I equate Stage 2 with ethnocentrism (“there are lots of other ways out there, but our way is best”). The next two Stages represent more fluid types of thinking—I equate Stage 3 with cultural relativism (“all ways are equal in value and validity”), and Stage 4 with global humanism (“there must be higher, better ways that can support cultural integrity while also supporting the individual rights of each human being”). I then categorize various types of birth practitioners within these 4 Stages, while showing how ongoing stress can cause even the most fluid of thinkers to shut down cognitively and operate at a Stage 1 level that can involve obstetric violence—an example of further degeneration into Substage—a condition of cognitive regression, or “losing it.” I note how ritual can help practitioners ground themselves at least at a Stage 1 level and offer ways in which they can rejuvenate and re-inspire themselves. I also describe a few of the ongoing battles between fundamentalists and global humanists and the persecution that Stage 4 globally humanistic birth practitioners often experience from fundamentalist or fanatical Stage 1 practitioners and officials, often referred to as the “global witch hunt.”

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