Good to see you still fighting the good fight Michael and as a fellow traveler, I empathize with the sentiment while begging to differ with a consensus-reality understanding of what the experience of so-called mental illness really is. You wrote: “There, at the inner core of the psyche, at the level of self as John described it, the incredibly powerful, activated archetypal opposites of good versus evil, dark versus light, male-female, life and death can clash, compete, morph and transmute into a bearable inner tension that the waking function or ego can tolerate, without being sucked back under and into the waking dream or nightmare of madness. This dramatic initiatory ordeal is really only possible if the person’s erupting affect isn’t silenced and stopped by the emotion-killing drugs called antipsychotics.” Yet imagine being able to say with authentic certainty that so-called psychosis in all its varied manifestations, as categories of a perceived mental illness has an adaptive purpose and is initiated by our inborn need to comply with nature’s fitness agenda of learning to face reality as it is? Like the inconvenient truth that there isn’t a human being alive today that can explain how they walk & talk or how thoughts are created within the embodied nature of a conscious mind. Inconvenient truths that raise the unthinkable question “is the normal process of attention awareness we assume to be conscious, a waking dream?” For example, if you look at the back of your hand & attend to it’s skin & blood-vessel terrain with a philosophic meditation on why ‘a map is not the territory,’ as you contemplate whether the signifying word ‘hand’ actually defines the reality of what your eyes are seeing? Would that meditative self-cross-examination lead you to agree with Einstein’s conclusion that humanity suffers from the perennial problem of an optical delusion of consciousness? And as Gen Alpha continues to grow and new members of the largest most ethnically diverse and connected generation in human history are born everyday, is something stirring in the mass-unconscooius? Has Iain McGilchrist’s new book set the stage for the mother of all prophecies, The Fall? Not the consensus-reality idea of a prophecy about human behavior & society’s morality agenda, but the loss of sensory immediacy inherent in the evolution of our brian’s frontal-lobes, as McGilchrist points out. And as a tribute to Jung and the now all too obvious mess that 21st-century humanity finds itself in, here is an excerpt from the epilogue to Iain’s rather synchronistic book: “The left hemisphere’s raison d’être being power and control, it naturally puts values of utility and hedonism, those of the lowest rank in Scheler’s pyramid, first. I may be wrong, but it is my distinct impression that there has been a decline in courage, loyalty and humility in our society – indeed in all behaviour that carries its costs upfront, rather than concealing its sting in the tail; speaking the truth takes courage, and it would seem that those in the institutions of government, science and the universities would rather conform than confront untruth. The powerhouses of intellect, the universities, have lost their nerve, and become passive, conformist and feeble – and excessively bureaucratic. Perhaps because of this I can’t help noticing that many of the most interesting ideas in science, in politics and in philosophy these days come from outside the institutions – something I say only with the greatest of regret, as someone who always saw himself as a proud beneficiary of their ancient traditions, and who wished to further those traditions. And along with the loss of courage to speak the truth, there has been an undeniable withdrawal from the beautiful and the sacred. All of this combines to reinforce a loss of sense of purpose and direction – or ‘the faintest idea of what we are doing’, in Walker Percy’s phrase. Hence the crisis of meaning that it is, by now, a commonplace that we face. . . . . The other thing that stands out is that we have abandoned even the pretence of seeking wisdom, instead intent on seeking power. Wisdom and humour are both expressions arising from the shared suffering involved in acquiring one of the greatest flowers of life, a sense of proportion. They are both important elements in turning us away from aggression and towards healing. But, for us now, humour is dying along with wisdom: the left hemisphere Puritans are seeing to that. Puritanism always was the enemy of both; and it has historically often been associated with aggression, destruction and a ferocious need to control – with power, in other words, above all else. A member of the Swiss Parliament, Lukas Fierz, recalls as a boy meeting his celebrated neighbour, Carl Gustav Jung. In the course of conversation, Jung told us about his encounter with a Pueblo chief whose name was ‘Mountain Lake’. This chief told him, that the white man was doomed. When asked why, the chief took both hands before his eyes and – Jung imitating the gesture – moved the outstretched index fingers convergingly towards one point before him, saying ‘because the white man looks at only one point, excluding all other aspects’. Many years later, Dr Fierz, who is a physician and a founding member of the Green Party in Switzerland, recalls that a significant adversary of that movement was a successful industrialist and self-made billionaire: I asked him what in his view was the reason for his incredible entrepreneurial and political success. He took both hands before his eyes and moved the outstretched index fingers convergingly towards one point before him, saying ‘because I am able to concentrate on only one point, excluding all other aspects’. I remember that I had to swallow hard two or three times, so as not to say anything …44 The secret of success – of a kind; and the formula for ruin.” McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (pp. 2065-2066). Perspectiva Press. Kindle Edition. In May I’m of to Greece to contemplate the wisdom of Socrates, Plato & 3 pieces of instructive wisdom from a famously illiterate Oracle: Know Thyself, Nothing in Excess, Surity leads to ruin.
Good to see you still fighting the good fight Michael and as a fellow traveler, I empathize with the sentiment while begging to differ with a consensus-reality understanding of what the experience of so-called mental illness really is. You wrote:
“There, at the inner core of the psyche, at the level of self as John described it, the incredibly powerful, activated archetypal opposites of good versus evil, dark versus light, male-female, life and death can clash, compete, morph and transmute into a bearable inner tension that the waking function or ego can tolerate, without being sucked back under and into the waking dream or nightmare of madness. This dramatic initiatory ordeal is really only possible if the person’s erupting affect isn’t silenced and stopped by the emotion-killing drugs called antipsychotics.”
Yet imagine being able to say with authentic certainty that so-called psychosis in all its varied manifestations, as categories of a perceived mental illness has an adaptive purpose and is initiated by our inborn need to comply with nature’s fitness agenda of learning to face reality as it is? Like the inconvenient truth that there isn’t a human being alive today that can explain how they walk & talk or how thoughts are created within the embodied nature of a conscious mind.
Inconvenient truths that raise the unthinkable question “is the normal process of attention awareness we assume to be conscious, a waking dream?” For example, if you look at the back of your hand & attend to it’s skin & blood-vessel terrain with a philosophic meditation on why ‘a map is not the territory,’ as you contemplate whether the signifying word ‘hand’ actually defines the reality of what your eyes are seeing?
Would that meditative self-cross-examination lead you to agree with Einstein’s conclusion that humanity suffers from the perennial problem of an optical delusion of consciousness?
And as Gen Alpha continues to grow and new members of the largest most ethnically diverse and connected generation in human history are born everyday, is something stirring in the mass-unconscooius? Has Iain McGilchrist’s new book set the stage for the mother of all prophecies, The Fall?
Not the consensus-reality idea of a prophecy about human behavior & society’s morality agenda, but the loss of sensory immediacy inherent in the evolution of our brian’s frontal-lobes, as McGilchrist points out. And as a tribute to Jung and the now all too obvious mess that 21st-century humanity finds itself in, here is an excerpt from the epilogue to Iain’s rather synchronistic book:
“The left hemisphere’s raison d’être being power and control, it naturally puts values of utility and hedonism, those of the lowest rank in Scheler’s pyramid, first. I may be wrong, but it is my distinct impression that there has been a decline in courage, loyalty and humility in our society – indeed in all behaviour that carries its costs upfront, rather than concealing its sting in the tail; speaking the truth takes courage, and it would seem that those in the institutions of government, science and the universities would rather conform than confront untruth.
The powerhouses of intellect, the universities, have lost their nerve, and become passive, conformist and feeble – and excessively bureaucratic. Perhaps because of this I can’t help noticing that many of the most interesting ideas in science, in politics and in philosophy these days come from outside the institutions – something I say only with the greatest of regret, as someone who always saw himself as a proud beneficiary of their ancient traditions, and who wished to further those traditions. And along with the loss of courage to speak the truth, there has been an undeniable withdrawal from the beautiful and the sacred. All of this combines to reinforce a loss of sense of purpose and direction – or ‘the faintest idea of what we are doing’, in Walker Percy’s phrase. Hence the crisis of meaning that it is, by now, a commonplace that we face.
. . . . The other thing that stands out is that we have abandoned even the pretence of seeking wisdom, instead intent on seeking power. Wisdom and humour are both expressions arising from the shared suffering involved in acquiring one of the greatest flowers of life, a sense of proportion. They are both important elements in turning us away from aggression and towards healing. But, for us now, humour is dying along with wisdom: the left hemisphere Puritans are seeing to that. Puritanism always was the enemy of both; and it has historically often been associated with aggression, destruction and a ferocious need to control – with power, in other words, above all else.
A member of the Swiss Parliament, Lukas Fierz, recalls as a boy meeting his celebrated neighbour, Carl Gustav Jung. In the course of conversation, Jung told us about his encounter with a Pueblo chief whose name was ‘Mountain Lake’. This chief told him, that the white man was doomed. When asked why, the chief took both hands before his eyes and – Jung imitating the gesture – moved the outstretched index fingers convergingly towards one point before him, saying ‘because the white man looks at only one point, excluding all other aspects’.
Many years later, Dr Fierz, who is a physician and a founding member of the Green Party in Switzerland, recalls that a significant adversary of that movement was a successful industrialist and self-made billionaire:
I asked him what in his view was the reason for his incredible entrepreneurial and political success. He took both hands before his eyes and moved the outstretched index fingers convergingly towards one point before him, saying ‘because I am able to concentrate on only one point, excluding all other aspects’. I remember that I had to swallow hard two or three times, so as not to say anything …44
The secret of success – of a kind; and the formula for ruin.”
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (pp. 2065-2066). Perspectiva Press. Kindle Edition.
In May I’m of to Greece to contemplate the wisdom of Socrates, Plato & 3 pieces of instructive wisdom from a famously illiterate Oracle: Know Thyself, Nothing in Excess, Surity leads to ruin.
Dear Eric, you wrote: “It doesn’t matter which sort of gods you believe in, or what sort of voices have contacted you. If this passage cites the Last Days, it is always the Last Days for us. The Last Days last a long time, but in the end they do slip away. My voices tell me it’s not too late. But what do they know? They’ve only been here for millions of years.
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
And for those of us who are cursed to ‘feel’ reality more than we think reality, your essay seems rather timely as humanity slouches towards Bethlehem once more. And for psychiatry and anti-psychiatry, has Iain McGilchrist’s new book taken a sledgehammer to consensus-reality Ideas of Reailty? Should people on both sides of the mental health debate contemplate these aphoristic words about the paradox of human perception:
“Perception is not the same as attention, and not at all the same as thinking. But the world we choose to attend to, indeed choose whether and how to attend to, is nothing without perception.
‘We live in two worlds, the world of sight and the world of thought’, wrote Friedrich Max Müller, one of the most celebrated philologists of the nineteenth century, ‘and, strange as it may sound, nothing that we think, nothing that we name, nothing that we find in our dictionary, can ever be seen or heard, or perceived.’ Perception is the act whereby we reach out from our cage of mental constructs to taste, smell, touch, hear and see the living world.”
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (p. 183). Perspectiva Press. Kindle Edition.
Which reminds me of an old Buddhist monk in Thailand who taught me an ‘imbibe’ form of meditation: “open your eyes an feel how reality pours into them?” Making me wonder why Iain used this quote to introduce his thoughts on perception: “To repeat: don’t think, but look!” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein
And can we wonder why this has appeared within a timeframe that coincides with: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p09ybpb8/universe-series-1-1-the-sun-god-star
As a fellow traveler on the road to the kingdom come and 13 years after I walked away from the medical model trap of a reified belief system, I now take the ancient wisdom advice seriously & find that spending 40 days & nights alone in the wilderness get me in touch with the cyclical nature of time in this solar system where my nervous system evolved.
And I fall, into the two trees philosophy of Genesis (tree of life, as my spinal cord & tree of knowledge, as my early life adaptation to language) discovering the truth of the Nazarene’s “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,” as the reality of 1 Sun, 1 Earth, 1 Moon & 1 me.
Are you the tower of babel, Eric? Are you the river & the burning bush – (100 million brain cells of electro-chemical function) metaphorically speaking?
“Published reports of clinical trials of psychiatric drugs typically include a graphic showing the efficacy of the study drug in reducing symptoms of the disorder compared with placebo. These graphics are visually compelling,” – Robert Whitaker. Too true Bob, yet is it any wonder in a human world driven by optical delusions of consciousness?
As Albert Einstein concluded: “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
I just bought Iain McGilchrist’s The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World. Interested to see what he brings to Einstein’s “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it?” Iain writes:
“At one point I was going to call this book There Are No Things. I changed my mind when I saw that it might align me with a nihilistic trend in post-modernism that I deplore. It also gave the impression that I was arguing for ‘truth-as-correctness’ rather than ‘truth-as-unconcealing’.” He offers the book as a hopeful synthesis of science & philosophy.
In the meantime the politics of experience continues unabated, I see.
The title of this article reminds me of my first mania driven day dream in 1980, a world without money? And of course it got me diagnosed as schizophrenic within 15 mins of my first contact with a psychiatrist, who knew the word psychosis and mistook his knowledge of words for insight & understanding into the experience of said words.
While in this social world of dystopian normality, humanity sleepwalks towards an apocalypse of its own making, and the purpose, or divine madness, of psychotic experience continues to be viewed with suspicion & fear. So, after exploring the unseen experience of euphoric mania for decades now, I read Hans closing thoughts with resonating interest in how my thoughts colonize my body & detach me from Reality.
Hans said: “We’re in the process of putting the book together where we’re trying to rethink ourselves as settler subjects. But we’re trying to do it differently from what some other folks in the decolonization, settler-colonial projects have done, which is to rely heavily on indigenous literature and thought, which we think is immensely valuable for decolonization.”
Which I read from Jung’s perspective on unconscious projections, as a need to resettle ourselves within our bodies & reattach ourselves to reality. If individuals can give up the sin of reification & stop sleepwalking? Stop taking an adult maladaptation to reality for granted & begin questioning how: The delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature:- making language the expositor of nature, instead of making nature the expositor of language,” – Alexander B Johnson.
Because the “optical delusion of consciousness” Einstein suggested we suffer from is right there in the words we use to ‘name’ ourselves? For example, my name is David Bates & for most of my life I did not know what the great wisdom injunction ‘Know Thyself,’ alluded to.
Only a decade long journey towards self-regulation of divine mania has brought a visceral sense of my need for decolonization, to use Hans’ term inwardly. And a realization of my reification-fallacy & the false belief that I can know myself as words & the symbolic nature of languages? For inside the unseen reality of my mind, the words David Bates are first & foremost, ideas or a creative use of my innate – (inborn) – imagination.
And finally, after walking away from the mental health system of reified classifications, I find myself with an embodied understanding of R. D. Laing’s: “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
Even an embodied sense of the delusional ills of our social world and our increasingly desperate needs of reattachment to this heaven of a world we call home. Is it time to create a synthesis of neuroscience revelations on reality within and learn how to escape the prison of our own making?
As a great man said: “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us,” – Albert Einstein
Is it time to adopt a larger horizon of self-knowledge, attention and awareness about the reality mapping function of our mind’s & realize how “a map is not the territory?”
Please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_(fallacy)
Inspirational Lynne, and as a fellow traveler, I empathize with the spirit of fellowship you advocate, although I had to walk away from the vision of madness shared by psychiatry and anti-psychiatry alike. Spiritually I prefer the Nazarene update to the golden rule and had to learn to love the enemy within, as my self-ignorance.
Which has brought the experiential wisdom understanding of so-called mental illness as having a purpose for the rest of humanity. Like the canaries in the coal mine metaphor, this community uses to allude to the madness of a reification-fallacy, conflating ideas about reality with reality?
You write; “Who Are the Mad? People like me who are angry for being treated shabbily and cruelly for having unique ways of surviving within the confines of our human condition. People like me who, when we were in the middle of our suffering within the walls of an inner tomb which we created to survive, felt hopeless and helpless.”
In my experience, the suffering is purposeful as a need to transcend the madness of our consensus-reality needs of societal organization. The individual need to go beyond the fallacy of imagining our ideas of reality are reality.
Psychiatry exemplifies this fallacy in its ‘as-if’ focus on diagnostic labels, while the so-called mad experience exemplifies the experiential need to live a life beyond labels. As experiential wisdom sayings of the Bible allude to. Hence, we read “wisdom is more excellent for those who see the sun?”
Meaning, your idea of the sun is not the reality of the sun? And you should not go about mistaking your finger for the moon, as the Eastern wisdom counterpart suggests. Or, are the words bipolar type II, the experience of said words? And inside the unseen reality of our mind, what exactly are words? Ideas? An adaptive use of our innate imagination?
So, who is mad? Who is wise? What is memory all about? Why did Einstein say: Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. An optical delusion of consciousness, a kind of prison for us? Why are three prison breaks in the New Testament’s book of Acts? And why did a much loved writer say: When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. – Mark Twain
Anyway, much love for your extensive work on liberation and a life beyond the prison of psychiatric labelling. My self-liberation journey beyond my reification-fallacy is explained here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_(fallacy)
My understanding of self-love and the sun is here: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48.
“What is a critic but one who reads quickly but never wisely?” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. With all due respect to your well-educated intelligence, Magdalene did you see the verification fallacy reference or note Hoffman’s ‘fitness beats truth’ comment on humanity’s false sense of reality?
As Plato pointed out long ago in his Sophist dialogue, we all suffer from a susceptibility of definitions, confusing the ‘descriptive’ nature of language as definitions of reality. The cognitive confusion that leads people like yourself to dismiss the experiential perspective of people like me with superficial remarks like: “I see that you have had painful experiences in Australia.”
Thanks so much for your depth of insight & understanding.
Dear Magdalene, you wrote: “The conundrum with Overprescribing Madness is that by trying to respect the ‘mental health’ vernacular, it seems to necessarily pull all its punches.” While Martin Whitely wrote: “This is just one example of many of 21st century mental health interventions massively over-promising and under-delivering. Unfortunately, given the current medicalised momentum of mental health policy in Australia, it appears likely we are about to see history repeat.”
Why does history repeat? What is the human conundrum? Why is humanity sleepwalking towards apocalypses of its own making, like the estimated 3 billion animals that died during Australia’s worst bush-fire season on record? Are we entering the era of R. D. Laing’s mental health prophecy when humanity needs to confront its illusions of reality? The subjective illusions we are all raised with, through a word reification fallacy? Please consider:
Reification (also known as concretism, hypostatization, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating something that is not concrete, such as an idea, as a concrete thing. A common case of reification is the confusion of a model with reality: “the map is not the territory”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_(fallacy)
As an Australian survivor of 28 years trying to appease family, friends and the experiential blindness of nonempathic people, I’m surprised your critique didn’t hit the nail on the head with the undeniable fact that there is still no pathology test to confirm the subjective diagnosis of any category of so-called mental illness. Although the ‘subjectivity’ issue the global mental health crisis points towards will most like turn on the way ‘fitness beats truth,’ as Hoffman points out in his book The Case Against Reality.
How we prefer to ignore unpalatable truths like no pathology tests for diagnostic verification because ‘fitting’ into our social environment is more important than facing truths about the nature of reality? For example, during the three years I spent in Thailand learning how to ’embody’ the latest map of the unseen territory of my nervous system (aka The Polyvagal Theory & its impact on trauma informed care) I incorporated the sage Buddhist advice “words are not reality & only experience reveals the nature of Being.” Confirming my intuition of my own reification fallacy after stumbling on Alan N Schore’s groundbreaking, Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self, in 2007.
Hence, I suggest the current ‘meta-crisis’ of global humanity has more to do with a ground of being paradox, cryptically spelt out in ancient sayings like “wisdom is more excellent for those who see the sun?” A saying that points directly to the reification fallacy we all suffer from, while time will tell if this well-considered prophecy comes true:
“If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable Age of Darkness… They will see that what was considered ‘schizophrenic’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break into our all-too-closed minds.” — R. D. Laing
Copied from, A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN WEIR PERRY • MICHAEL O’CALLAGHAN
Dear Lauren, you wrote: “I had decided not to believe in a God prior to this but on this evening, God spoke directly to me. Along with that communication I felt an absolute oneness with the universe. All of my senses were heightened, feeling vibrations of nature and of all of life itself—birds, stars, trees, people—all of it.”
An experience of Universal Oneness I share with you & have been trying to comprehend since the first ‘rebirth’ of my ‘sensory’ nature in 1980, moments after an authentic prayer to the God of my childhood Memory. An experience that saw my family and friends become increasingly concerned about my mental health in the weeks that followed. And of course, we all know how that story goes within the medical model of our human experience of mind.
1980, was coincidently the year DSM-III was published as a ‘categorization’ guide to making a living in mental health, so long as people can ignore the inconvenient truth that there is no scientific pathology test to confirm the ‘subjective’ nature of a so-called, ‘professional’ diagnosis. And after 28 years of trying to be ‘normal’ & going along with the getting along of being socially normal within an increasingly mad world, I rebelled in 2007.
Spending 3 years in Buddhist Thailand in order to integrate, by way of embodying the latest science of our human nervous system. While here in a year numbered 2021 (when did that categorization of reality begin, I wonder?) I now practice Plato’s Metempsychosis method of ‘transfiguration’ before the Sun, each morning & evening. Watching & Re-Membering (“What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” (Matt 26:40,41), as I notice ‘how’ Gaia gives birth to the phenomenal nature of day & night.
As Plato suggests I float back down the river of memory to re-member my own birth agony of almost three days stuck in the birthing of my mother, bringing my 5 external awareness senses back online, so to speak, and allowing my 6th sense of ‘introception’ to synchronize the nature of my reality with the nature of reality, here on Earth. Using our current scientific world-view to understand the great Christian story as a ‘metaphorized’ history of humanity & the perceptual paradox of the human condition?
While reading the story of the Nazarene I now ask myself “what kind of blindness would a wise King of Jewish Philosophy cure?” Which I try to remember as normal folk laugh at me filming the sun appear to rise each morning & respond with, “you believe the sun is moving?”
Please see my comment to the wonderful Michael Cornwall here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2021/05/remembering-jay-mahler/
In which I write of my early morning experiences thus: Anyway, perhaps when you and David are at Esalen facing the sun next time, you might discuss spirituality from a scientific world-view by consulting & meditating upon Earth-Axis Rotation? Which for San Francisco at: Latitude: 37.4225° 37° 25′ 21.09. Involves the Speed: 827.28 mph. Please see link for a one world meditation here: http://www.unitarium.com/earth-speed
And as I approach my 70th birthday, still prone to wondering about life and its purpose here on earth, I ask myself “is God a Person or is God Creation?” And watching for one hour each morning & evening I ponder life on the spectrum, the Spectrum of Creation? And I wonder if MIA can transcend the politics of experience to answer Michael’s decades old question “if mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, what is it?”
Is it the existential need we all have of truly Waking-Up, here in Heaven?
Dear José, you wrote, with finger tips touching keys, I presume:
“Unification is a fifth pathway integration and offers a meta-theoretical perspective of psychotherapy. Rather than understanding different orientations as providing a specific way of working and understanding the client’s lived experience and finding connections between distinct approaches to therapy, the lens of unification sees orientations as providing specialized information on a larger, more complex phenomenon.
The authors use a metaphor to explain these differences:
“A potentially useful analogy is that each of the paradigms can be considered as being akin to a ‘mountain,’ and the other four pathways towards psychotherapy integration are concerned with developing connections between the mountains. In contrast, a unification view steps back and offers frameworks to see the whole of the mountain range from a zoomed-out perspective.”
And as a survivior of the well intentioned mind’s that saw only words like schizophrenia & Bipolar Disorder Type 1 for 28 years, I respectfully ask you to consider the existential paradox of human minds that can be afflicted by analogies, in the same way human skin can be afflicted by allergies?
And having spent three years in Thailand resolving the madness of my normal consciousness, which reflexively confuses and conflates the word consciousness with the experience of consciousness (just as psychiatrists do with schizophrenia) I suggest that the ‘mountain’ of which you ‘type’ can be discovered within your breath.
With all due respect to the well educated ‘treatment’ perspective to ‘other’ people’s ‘madness’ experience, healing is not rocket science and a simple self-healing process is discovered in the steady release of trauma through breathing. The principle experience being how oxygenated blood optimizes brain function through cerebral blood flow.
Yet the fly in this self-ointment healing approach is the powerful and overwhelming sensations of ‘natural’ trauma release within the human body. Sensations, that for the ‘unaware’ are absolutely terrifying, while paradoxically only those of us who have endured our own painstaking process of recovery can make sense of the Buddhist caveat for education: words are not reality and only experience reveals the ‘nature’ of being.
While in the broader context of crazy normality it has become popular to speak of self-deception and a sense of drowning in ‘bullshit’ as humanity finds itself sleep walking towards an apocalypse of its own making. And I wonder if you endorse popular analogies about human behaviour like “this is where the rubber meets the road?” As Jordan Peterson did in his recent chat with Iain McGilchrist. See conversation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zld-MX11lA
Speaking about writing with two fingertips and almost going into the interior terrain of ‘introception’ and discovering his own ground of being, yet reflexively and rhetorically doing an about face with words: this is where the rubber meets the road? A Sophist mentality in full ‘flight’ we might say, from the inner perspective of our ‘unseen’ flight/fight/freeze and entirely subconscious motivation?
Incidentally, what set me on the path to self-liberation and my last self-treatment sense of needing medications was a chance encounter with book titled: Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development. Within which, Alan N Schore states: The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation. (Schore, 1995)
And with bipolar disorder also being ‘clinically’ described as a disorder of ‘affect’ in psychiatric and psychologist literature, I wonder if you care to examine your own affect-regulation when experiencing the presence of so-called madness? Or perhaps you would prefer to experience ‘the fall’ and reclaim the inner experience of reality that resides within your Infants Sixth Sense, as the Polyvagal Theory explains of our innate Neuroception: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c1d025fb27e390a78569537/t/5ccdff181905f41dbcb689e3/1557004058168/Neuroception.pdf
Could you ‘surrender’ to reality within and fall deeply, madly & seriously in love with the nature of creation? Please consider a famous lecture on the art of surrender and falling in love with reality, as it is:
“Falling in love. And say, it’s crazy. Falling. You see? We don’t say “rising into love.” There is in it the idea of the fall. And it is goes back, as a matter of the fact, to extremely fundamental things. That there is always a curious tie at some point between the fall and the creation. Taking this ghastly risk is the condition of there being life. You see, for all the life is an act of faith and an act of gamble.
The moment you take a step, you do so on an act of faith because you don’t really know that the floor’s not going to give under your feet. The moment you take a journey, what an act of faith. The moment that you enter into any kind of human undertaking in relationship, what an act of faith. See, you’ve given yourself up. But this is the most powerful thing that can be done. Surrender. See. And love is an act of surrender to another person. Total abandonment. I give myself to you. Take me. Do what…anything you like with me.
See. So, that’s quite mad because you see, it’s letting things get out of control. All sensible people keep things in control. Watch it, watch it, watch it. Security? Vigilance? Watch it. Police? Watch it. Gods? Watch it. Who’s gonna watch the gods? So, actually, therefore, the course of wisdom, what is really sensible, is to let go, is to commit oneself, to give oneself up and that’s quite mad. So we come to the strange conclusion that in madness lies sanity.” – Alan Watts
Can you step into your breath young man & experience the philosopher’s mountain, within?
Nice eulogy Michael, I was drawn rather hypnotically to this paragraph: He became a leading catalyst state-wide for a whole new focus on the spiritual dimension of suffering and healing. We even did a workshop together at the Esalen Institute on that subject in 2011, along with David Lukoff and Laura Mancuso. We followed it up with large gatherings in Alameda county that drew many who also recognized Jay’s drive for deeper understanding.
And sharing the same drive for deeper understanding I’m bewildered by my synchronistic impulse to check out MIA this morning, to find myself see your writing again and having flashback memories of spending a weekend with you at Esalen, in 2014. And curious at this mere coincidence, intellectually speaking, I allowed my impulse to click on the links of MIA Global and spotted a fellow madman writing from the hard to do perspective of 1st-person experience and mentioning your old mentor, JWP.
An interview discussion can be read here: Philosophy & Madness: A Discussion with Wouter Kusters on his new book: https://www.madintheuk.com/2021/04/philosophy-madness-a-discussion-with-wouter-kusters/
In his book Wouter writes of the spiritual dimension of suffering and healing: Spiritual psychiatry is a continuation of the age-old idea that madness and genius are bedfellows. It attempts to demonstrate that a mad person may have the same kinds of aspirations and insights that any number of “enlightened,” highly gifted, or highly sensitive individuals have but that the mad person, for some reason, deals with them in a clumsy way. This idea is close to my own view of the mad person as a “crypto-” or “proto-philosopher.” Madness is philosophy lived out in practice.” From: A Philosophy of Madness by Wouter Kusters, MIT Press. Kindle Edition.
While these days I prefer to video the spiritual reality of my many experiences of being the earth turning in space (boy did psychiatrists have a field day with that personal disclosure) and when normal people laugh at my daily habit of filming sun-rise & sun-set, I respond with “you think the sun is moving?” Anyway, perhaps when you and David are at Esalen facing the sun next time, you might discuss spirituality from a scientific world-view by consulting & meditating upon Earth-Axis Rotation?
Which for San Francisco at: Latitude: 37.4225° 37° 25′ 21.09. Involves the Speed: 827.28 mph.
Please see link for a one world meditation here: http://www.unitarium.com/earth-speed
Maybe you’ll remember a strange Aussie dude saying; “the body is the shore on an ocean of being?”
THE WONDERFUL AND HORRIBLE PARADOX OF THE HUMAN CONDITION?
John Read speaking about the placebo affect of expectation that ECT would cure or heal a brain problem describes the tempory lift in mood that people experienced as “a wonderful and horrible paradox.”
And here’s the thing. The lift in mood and behavioral capacity to function normally for a while appears to both the person who received the ‘treatment” and those who observe a return to normal function is based on the paradox of human motivation and perception. The existential paradox being that none of us can give a first-person account of ‘how’ we do being human. None of us can say how the two quintessential human behaviors of walking and talking are orchestrated by internal processes that cannot cross the threshold of conscious awareness, because our nervous system functions at millisecond speeds that defies any mechanistic, cause and effect explanation.
But we can, by studying the mounting evidence concerning the structure and function of our nervous system, learn a better form of self-regulation through a sensation awareness and acceptance of the muscular tensions and vascular pressures that underpin our human motivation and perceptions. We can, in fact, become aware of brain motions and understand how ECT treatment might provide its short-term relief of re-traumatizing memories. Please consider this questioning of inner motions and the possibility that our famous intellect is a self-defense against feeling our body’s powerful and disorienting sensations:
“We would object less to the irresponsible brain operations and lobotomies which are performed to kill the devil in the organism if they served to disclose the dynamic functions of the brain. Such questions as “Does the brain move? Does it contract and expand when working, just as other organs such as the heart, intestine, glands, etc., do?” are of the utmost importance for medical pathology and the understanding of the organismic functions. It would be highly important to invent a device which would enable the brain specialist to observe the brain in its natural state.
THE INTELLECT AS DEFENCE FUNCTION
It is commonly assumed that the human intellect has a solely objective function and that it is directed toward the world; ethics and philosophy in particular conceive of reason and intellect exclusively in the sense of an absolute non-emotional activity capable of comprehending reality “incorruptibly.” Two things are overlooked here: (1) the intellectual function itself is a vegetative activity; and (2) the intellectual function may have an affect charge whose intensity is no less than any purely affective impulse. Over and above this, character-analytic work reveals another function of the intellect which ties in very well with the inversion and opposition of drives discussed earlier. Intellectual activity can be structured and directed in such a way that it looks like a most cunningly operating apparatus whose purpose is precisely to avoid cognition, i.e., it looks like an activity directing one away from reality. In short, the intellect can operate in the two fundamental directions of the psychic apparatus: toward the world and away from the world. It can function correctly in unison with the most lively affect and it can also take a critical stand toward the affect. There is no mechanical, absolutely antithetical relationship between intellect and affect but, rather, a functional one.” Reich, Wilhelm, Chatacter Analysis (pp. 305-306)
I suggest, with all due respect of course, that if the 67th Maudsley Debate concerns the same motion, we will hear the same arguments from my Lord’s and my Lady’s Academia, who while presenting good word formulations about what they did and do to make a living, will not be able to acknowledge that they are as clueless as to how their thoughts are energized as the rest of us.
Watch Campbell’s explanation of the Serpent & Dragon within Paul. The Asian Dragon is metaphoric of our parasympathetic nervous system and the mythology addresses the sacrifice of the Self in Asian Tradition.
Exemplified by the traditionally expected role of being a passive subservient woman. While the Western Dragon is essentially about tempering the ruggedly individualist male ego, and is metaphoric of our sympathetic nervous system.
While in Buddhist mythology it’s the Cosmic Serpent that takes center stage in the sense of self that is subconsciously projected in Art.
Curiously, the medical icon shows an entwined serpent form coiled around a staff that is topped with wings.
Sascha used the youthful Icarus symbol of flight to create a space where people might navigate those flights and plunges into the depths of existential experience.
The interviews with Campbell speak of energies and organs of the body, and making up word formulations of the top of our heads, needs to be grounded in both a knowledge and awareness of how our subconscious Self orchestrates the energies of our body to create our Mind.
And to paraphrase an Asian koan; what are you between two thoughts?
What’s Blocking Progress in Behavioural Healthcare?
Denial of the Human Condition, in my humble opinion. You frame your word formulation from the so-called Recovery Movement Perspective, without writing a word about what our sense of recovery is From or To.
It’s not fair the way we recovery experts, by way of Experience are Excluded from the Funding Table & We want our share of the Tax Payer Pie, seems to be your Emphasis Here.
Yet, Corrina, is this truly the role of this community in an era when technology is threatening to produce a society where only 60 percent of people will have a job that pays enough to allow more than simply paying for the necessities of survival.
Are you barking up the wrong tree with this highly rationalistic sense of recovery? Should you perhaps go back to Scripture & ask Yourself why Jesus teaches in Parables and whether you can embrace a felt-sense of how The Father & l are One?
What is coming around the Existential Corner, so to speak, is not how the experience of so-called Mental Illnesses is a Pathological Disease, but what the experience has to teach that multi-headed Dragon we label Normal, about The Human Condition.
He quotes the Prophet when asked why he teaches in Parables; they seeing see not and in no wise perceive.
And the in principle question is, do you take this wisdom passage literally, as history, or figuratively as metaphoric of the paradox of human motivation and perception.
And more importantly for behavioural healthcare, can you take it seriously by changing the word they to “l.”
“I am Corrina West,” you might say to yourself and meditate upon ‘how’ you effectively think, l am these words.
Good luck on your existential journey.
There is the famous Asian koan about not mistaking your finger for the moon when pointing to the glorious full moon in an amorous attempt to impress your lover.
The full extent of the koan goes on to note how light reflected off the surface of the moon is reflected in many a still water on earth. Which can be read as a wisdom injunction on self-reflection.
If we can accept the habit-formation of our human motivation and perception while being aware of how we instantaneously recognize words mentally while tending to ‘Passover” the reality of how our body creates our mind.
As creatures of a nervous and anxious disposition, we tend to deny that ‘sensation,’ as a medium of inner awareness is a truer medium of lived experience than the languages medium of communicating our experience.
For example, how is an ability to recall the word ‘brain’ a comprehension of the function of our brain? Yet in our need to belong and to get along by voicing the words of consensus reality, we confuse the signification of experience with the experience of experience.
Once you begin ‘to get’ how words are mere imperfect images of truth, as Abraham Maslow described them, you can ask yourself existential questions that although bringing up a sense of uncertainty and insecurity, can lead you back to the embodied sense of self that was present at birth.
Peter Levine’s book ‘In an UnSpoken Voice,’ gives very good examples of how to integrate the latest knowledge on the ‘unseen’ structure and function of our nervous system into a better form of self-regulation.
The PARADOX for members of this community is the flight into the mind of traumatic experience, in an attempt to self-regulate by avoiding awareness of bodily sensations.
And of course, the intellectual rationalizations can look very intelligent from the perspective of IQ, but post-modernity is taking us beyond the rote learning style of the baby boomers, and trying to re-imagine how the primary nature of affect-emotion runs the show.
An annoying and inconvenient truth that is playing out in the Congressional hearings about a High Court nomination, right now.
Deleted by Sascha l suspect, after rereading his angry response to people that bore him. Although you got an invite to friendship huh, with your comments creating an ‘ideo-affective’ resonance in Sascha’s skull.
Sadly my calling out of the ‘attachment’ urge that drives us all and the fantasy bond that subconscious need creates, got deleted too.
And once again we see that we are not so different from ‘them’ when comes to our ability to be emotionally honest and act with transparency.
I made the first comment on thread and called out the meaning of and use of the Dragon, citing Campbell’s understanding of the image-identifying word in world mythology.
And Sascha would have people believe that he was thinking of the Eastern Dragon when he wrote this article, by saying so after he watched Campbell’s explanation.
My point is that choosing words like Mad Underground can come from a projection of what we are trying to convey, with Underground being a perfect metaphor for our subconscious motivation and perception.
On this comment thread l cited wisdom quotes that speak directly to this common paradox of human motivation and perception, and l believe that the community needs to See that our experience is both purposeful and meaningful in the existential context of how we do being human.
It is a MYTH that we know ourselves through the communication medium of spoken and written languages, and beginning in 1990 with the decade of the brain, the hidden structure and function of our nervous system, began to be revealed in detail.
Any authentic and honest reading of the latest neuroscience knowledge, can bring a sense of ‘metaphor’ to our commonsense use of languages and just how limited we each are, in our self-ignorance about how we actually function.
Paradoxically, an attempt to integrate neuroscience using the ‘felt-sense’ tradition of meditative wisdom practice s brings concise comments on human mental health back into the reality of Being Human today.
As the prophet said of normal people; they seeing see not and in no wise perceive.
My advice to people like Stephen Gilbert is to gently call out the self-ignorance of being normal, rather than defend against or compete with the well educated elites who can’t say a word about HOW their own thoughts are Energized.
The TREATMENT perspective on Mental Health is a Defense against disturbing behaviour, not an attempt to understand human behavior.
The term ‘ideo-affective’ resonance comes from Silvan Tomkins Affect Imagery Consciousness and he a he’ll of a time getting wordy wise editors to publish the title with commas.
Fantasy Bond comes from Robert Firestone’s book The Fantasy Bond.
As long as we ‘venerate’ language over nature and delude ourselves that languages are our human nature, the mental health debate will continue on its ‘polemic’ way and Sascha will be spruking another New group in a couple of years from now.
OUR BODY-MIND & SELF-AFFECTATION: Or how self-aware are you of the subconscious muscular and vascular processes that are energizing your capacity to read? Please consider:
There is no thought that is not accompanied by a physical sensation of effort or agitation (if only a knitting of the brows, a pursing of the lips, or a quickening of heartbeat). This sensation, which may be muscular (proprioceptive), tactile, or visceral is backgrounded. This doesn’t mean it disappears into the background. It means that it appears as the background against which the conscious thought stands out: its felt environment. The accompanying sensation encompasses the thought that detaches itself from it. Reading, however cerebral it may be, does not entirely think out sensation. It is not purified of it. A knitting of the brows or pursing of the lips is a self-referential action. Its sensation is a turning in on itself of the body’s activity so that the action is not extended toward an object but knots at its point of emergence: rises and subsides into its own incipiency, in the same movement. The acts of attention performed during reading are forms of incipient action. (Massumi, 2002)
As Mark Twain said: When you realize that we are all mad . . . . . .
With all due respect Sascha, what your doing is attempting to regulate a subconscious system of innate (inborn) affects. Including the desire for attachment that is clearly present in your (every picture tells a story) last photo of this article.
This community types words in this like-minded souls echo chamber like RECOVERY and types personal story’s of how I was behaviorally dysfunctional for a while, went through the SYSTEM and still managed to get well. But recover from and to what is real question to be answered, especially from the perspective that somehow the mad underground has something existentially important to teach that mass of humanity that prefers the LABEL normal.
Until people like your good self can answer Michael Cornwall’s koan; if mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it? The ebb and flow of blossoming groups like IDHA will continue and in a couple of years, you will no doubt be writing another article of self-affectation in order to feel within your skull, of the cerebral blood-flow warm sensation, we label HOPE.
And of course, having fun in close proximity to warm bodied others is vitally important to our common sense of humanity.
P.S. Does Seth still believe the Messiah will step out of the shadows of the Mad Underground?
THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM? Of course the survivor community view of the mental health system takes the existential perspective of Power over People.
Big Money. Big Pharma & The Collusion of Academic Psychiatry, of which the Abolitionists prefer the term Biological Psychiatry.
But is the real existential culprit the Power of Veneration? The Experts & their venerated position in a Society that makes Education its Totem & Lived Experience Taboo.
Especially the infamous “Doctor knows best,” in all perspectives on Health Care? Which maybe true in the majority of Human Health Issues, yet not so for the Doctor’s of the Mind.
Who, just like every other human being cannot give a first-person (from the inside-out) account of HOW they do Being Human.
Like everyone else, they are trapped in the third-person dichotomy of a conscious mind, that is largely based on the memory of our early life adaptation to the survival skill of literacy and numeracy.
Like everyone else they see words & numbers and take this ‘ascribing’ of words & numbers to life’s experience, as a whole-self judgement of the Reality of Being.
Like the way Psychosis is judged as a ‘break with reality,’ which if read literally would mean that psychotic experience is death. Although read metaphorically, it could mean the death of our sense of consensus reality & a resurrection of the sentience (raw feeling of consciousness) we are all born with.
My point being, that the veneration of education over the wisdom of lived experience, is the real-time power that keeps The System in Place, as we continue to wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls.
No wonder Jesus cites Isaiah; they seeing see not and in no wise perceive.
And when we see a clock we know what time it is, while in no wise perceiving the Nature of Time or the Spiritual meaning of Passover.
“At last l feared to See Myself, as Nothing but Words.” -Plato
It was 6 am, this Tuesday morn as I walked towards the new wharf in North Sydney, after making the first comment above.
Noticing that during the 60 seconds of a one-moment continuum of experiencing experience, that the moon was full and roughly 10 degrees above the curved horizon to my left, and how it corresponded to the sun that was equally 10 degrees above the curved horizon on my right, as I faced South.
The sign, significance hit me in the stomach at first sight glimpse, as I felt myself rotate in time-space, as the earth moved my still planted feet. And pausing to feel a depth of existential alignment I pictured within my skull, where the third rock from the Sun is right now, on her annual journey around the center spindle of our solar system.
“Ah! Sometimes you need to lose your mind to come into your senses,” I recalled as I remembered; It was the third hour, and they crucified him. Wondering if this horizontal vision of sun and moon, and humanity’s conceptual calendar’s of the space-time continuum, do create a psychological-blindness to the nature of Eternity?
Course, back in the day of apocalyptic scripture writing this early hour of light unveiling shadows of night, was known as the first-hour of another day of the Sun.
APOCALYPSE: to uncover, reveal?
It’s modern “end of days” meaning is rather late, 1802 according to dictionary.com
Wisdom is as good as an inheritance. Yes, it is more excellent for those who see the sun. Ecclesiastes 7:11.
And the punishment for treason is “ignore him,” “ridicule him,” “laugh at him,” and paradoxically I have suffered this from your own good self, on the Icarus Project, Sascha.
But as they say, forgiveness is divine, especially in the Mad Underground of Becoming more and more, Human.
For anyone interested in the mythology of a wisdom perspective on the personal and societal transformation of the Self, that is known as Humanity, Campbell’s interview on the subject is here: Saying “yes” or “no” to the serpent / slaying the dragon
It’s a perspective that comes from the timeless wisdom of mythological teachings about our human condition, like the myth of Icarus and those finely feathered thoughts that get us burnt if we let our imagination soar to high. While personally, I have found that the embodiment of a felt-sense of timeless aphorisms (short pithy comments full of meaning) to be more valuable than monetary gain.
Like asking myself; what am I between two thoughts?
Please forgive my double comment post.
“How does psychological theorizing, research, or interventions help create social, cultural, political, and economic arrangements that permit individuals to participate on an equal level with their peers?”
Psychologists could start by looking into a mirror at their own faces and noticing how they have the same anatomical features as every other human being under the Sun. Which can, from a felt-sense perspective of being human, rather than a theoretical, conceptual notion, undermine the psychological worldview that we are all so very different.
Even though, every day psychologists will see, like everyone else, that no matter the color of our skin, every human being under the Sun has white teeth and a pink tongue. Yet due to the psychological-blindness of our early life adaptation to the communication-oriented skills of numeracy and literacy, we all fail to see an obvious equality.
But life is a competitive game of survival and we must go along to get along in this social world of consensus reality. And just like in the movie Fight Club, the first rule of the game is . . . . .
“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.” -R. D. LAING, Knots
Hi Sascha, l like the idea of an organized idealism that comes from the wisdom perspective of peer experience. Although l think your sense of a sleeping dragon, has the mythology of personal and therefore societal transformation the wrong way round.
The idea, as explained by Joseph Campbell, is to learn the painstaking truth of how to say yes to the Serpent & Slay the Dragon that is our conscious sense of Self.
The habit formed conscious Self that fails to notice that in taking it’s feeling of being a mind for granted, has imprisoned its self inside a notion that reality is made of numbers and words.
While ‘metaphorically’ speaking the Serpent represents the Mad Underground of our overwhelming subconscious motivation, which is orchestrated by our nervous system.
Personally, l would change tack and organize a peer group of professional and lived experience people to start changing the system from within, having noticed that it is often the psych-nurse’s who are more open to discuss alternative views of mental health.
And l confess that on first sight of your passionate plea for change, the words of a favorite song came to mind:
“Caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender. . . Say a prayer for the Pretender.”
In my survivor journey towards the Serpent within, l’ve found that as long as money is the primary motivation, there is no real attempt at understanding, only more and more of that self-avoiding rationalization, we label Normal.
Good luck Sascha.
Hi Paul, the great Prince of Sense-Ability, as l learned to imagine him after 3 years of Buddhist reconditioning of my nervous system in Thailand, is a fascinating personification story about the human condition.
With most Buddhist people assuming the word Buddha to be the name of a specific historical individual, not a state of being that has overcome the veil thrown over reality by our early life adaptation to the survival skill of literacy and numeracy.
Chopra suggests that the simplistic translation of the word Buddha is ‘awake,’ although not in the normal waking consciousness of “l see and hear reality beyond my skin & l can name & number it,” more in sense of seeing and hearing and feeling a sense of ‘motion’ within and without the organism, we label human.
A sense of the inner and outer motions of reality that are felt more as vibration and frequency resonance, than the static sense of reality created by words.
Hence, a saying attributed to the teaching story of the great Eastern Prince of Wisdom: Words are not reality, only experience reveals the nature of being.
While in terms of his Western counterpart of teaching a wisdom of the ages, through a personification story about the subconscious/conscious paradox of human motivation and perception.
Jesus, the Christ said: marvel not that l said to you, ‘you must be born anew.’ And given that our nervous system is obviously active pre-birth, is the sentience, as a raw, uncategorized by languages, capacity for awareness of sensations, what both these great wisdom stories are really about?
One of the stories of The Buddha’s birth, suggests he walked and talked immediately after birth, which can be read as a koan paradox about the limits of rational thinking and the fact that none of us can explain HOW we walk & talk.
And as for Empathy & Compassion, Jesus advised us to Love our Enemy too. Although Socrates may have added that the real enemy lies within, and is our own diabolical self-ignorance.
As Joseph Campbell said of our taken for granted language skill: myth is more important than history, for history is simply journalism and we know how reliable that is.
And paradoxical as it is, many of us keep journals and write our life-story of a Self, without contemplation of our Mind, as simply a product of Memory.
Hi Michael, a very, very powerful piece about the very nature of personal experience. You don’t pull any punches and l wonder how frustrated your feeling about the politics of politeness and self-avoiding rationalizations of the mental health debate.
For me empathy is more about feeling than thinking and after a decade or so of visceral digestion of The Polyvagal Theory, l now try to be aware of moment’s when l’m lacking in self-empathy, through a felt, subconscious sense of being immersed in fear.
Its a very subtle problem that is more a question of degree than the either, or, sense of fear that is created by the ‘static’ impression of words. For example, in your last blog you described a momentary sense of fear in the face of a threatening other.
While what l’m trying to convey through the limited medium of the written word, is a an internal threat that is a residue of traumatic experience. A muscular and vascular freeze response that cuts off a relaxed an easy access to inner sensation flow, and simultaneously creates a rather numb cerebral tone.
And of course the paradox is the tendency to shame & blame myself for experiencing this subconscious self-defense, thereby losing my conscious sense of empathy and compassion.
Perhaps, as a long serving therapist trained in the art of the depth psychology of the Self, you might agree that as Jung pointed out, the public persona of the mental health debate, has become ‘unconscious’ by thinking itself conscious of the medical perception of madness.
Hope your writing a book about the art of being with Self & Other during life’s most challenging, experiential moment’s.
No wonder Laing wrote: We are bemused and crazed creatures who are strangers to ourselves and each other.
BTW As a depth-psychologist do you ever ponder what prompted Robert to title his book: Anatomy of an Epidemic?
Strange how every human being under the sun has such similar anatomical features and physiological reactions to those primary orienting responses of affect-emotion?
Hi Chris, you use an interesting choice of words in your satire, with, ‘down a rabbit hole of a thought, intriguing me most. It made me think of the koan question “where are you between two thoughts?’ Which is an existential question related to the limits of rationality and the conscious sense that we know reality because we can name and number it?
While paradoxically, no human being under the sun can give a first-person description of ‘how’ they walk and talk. Not ‘what’ they do when walking and talking, in that paradox of being that post-modernists call the third-person (outside looking in) dichotomy of the human mind. While the word ‘adapt’ really peaked my interest in your paragraph description of a personal epiphany about a social model worldview. You write:
“In a lightning bolt moment, it really struck me that the social model view of disability is something that the mental health community needs to look at in more detail and possibly adapt. And when I say adapt, I’m reminded of the satirist Tom Lehrer in one of his monologues using it as a synonym for ‘steal’… I’ve said before that emotional complexity is not pathology — a purely medical view of mental ill health is outdated and cannot be simply explained away by genetics and faulty brain chemistry; a broader view is required to look at what is happening in a person’s life.”
And here’s the thing, from the perspective of a profound paradox in human motivation and perception, that the ancients phrased through the aphorism (a short pithy comment full of meaning), they seeing see not and in no wise perceive. While in the context of a broader worldview required to look at what is happening in a person’s life.
Should we start with acknowledging the spell-binding affect (not a typo) of human languages and our unwitting postured pretense that language is our human nature? And that even the well-educated priesthood of academia suffer from the same early-life adaptation to numeracy and literacy skills and imagine themselves fully conscious in their artful word formulations, of what they do to make a living.
In my experience and humble opinion, we are all creatures of habit and largely in denial about our human nature as we give voice to words that enable our social inclusion and self-differentiation, never pausing to ask; what am I, between two thoughts?
I am my body, how about you Chris?
Rachel777, you wrote, “These drugs “work” by shutting down part of the brain like pain killers do.” Are you of the opinion that your emotions are ‘parts’ of you too?
How does such a ‘mechanistic’ sense-of-self explain how the 100 million cell composition of the organ you name ‘brain’ understand ‘how’ your thoughts are energized?
Opinion though is not knowledge and word recognition is nothing more than word recognition, yet we all pretend that knowing words and numbers is a true self-knowing.
And what we are doing here in this cyber-cerebral echo chamber of like-minded souls, is simply the yarda yarda yarda of social inclusion and self-differentation.
If you say that, I’ii say this!
And round and round the circus goes as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls.
While over at the Temple of the Oracle, the existential advice is Know Thyself and Nothing in Excess.
But hey, the ancients never invented wifi, so what the hell would they know?
Zenobia you write: “Prescribers have historically almost never considered the discontinuation of AP medications in persons with chronic psychotic disorders but a growing recognition of their side effects in addition to questionable long-term efficacy warrants an effort in this direction.”
And I congratulate you on presenting these signs and symptoms that prescriptive medicine may be waking up from its nightmarish history of a word recognition, philosophy. Words like person-centered for instance, which sounds very good and even looks well on a paper of academic word formulations.
Ah! “the infinite possibility of 20 characters or more, laid upon a page?” Who said that?
While just this morning, Australia is outraged by TV revelations about this country’s aged care system, with so-called experts fronting TV camera’s to parrot words like person-centered. We Believe! Crys the upper management team of the aged care system, yet when pressed on the time management economics of staff allowed ten minutes to wash and dress frail elderly people each morning. The psychological response was, “well everybody is different!”
Yet my point in making this comment on your well, word formulated article is, at age 80+ we all return to the foundations of our psychological sense-of-self, our body. And our common anatomy begins to give the lie to this heady sense of self that created by our early-life adaptation to numeracy and literacy.
And having worked as a counselor trying to help people with addiction issues, I respectfully suggest that well-educated people like your good self, are addicted to seeing numbers and words and struggle with the more challenging issue of being truly-present within yourself and therefore with others.
This article, like the one written by Will Hall; Did You Ever Stop Taking Antipsychotics, reminds of a report here in Australia about our much-venerated intervention program for first episode psychosis, HeadSpace. When venerated experts called for more funding, more research without once mentiong the telling words: results were marginally better than people getting no treatment.
And as a long-term survivor now in my eleventh year of non-drug ‘affected’ (not a typo) self-regulation, I can’t remember how times I stopped taking AP’s, which are not antipsychotic drugs but are neuroleptics that clamp the nervous system. I get a little tired of these “we need to make a living in mental health” research papers from people who cannot give a first-person account of how their own thoughts are energized.
But, I get it, for I was stuck in my head for many a long decade too, certain that I knew myself because I could recall to mind, numbers, and words, like my name and age. While this survivor comment will be perceived as little more than a whining criticism, I expect.
I do recall R. D. Laing’s warning about the stupidity of perceiving subjectively gathered and subjectively (third-person – outside looking in a dichotomy of the conscious mind) data being regarding as Objective.
And as I wrote in the comment section, which Stephen Fry, the much-loved narrator of The Secret Life of The Manic-Depressive, once said is people who really need to get a life. (no wonder Will didn’t respond)
DATA DATA! SHOW US THE TRUTH! WE GOT A BAD CASE OF LOVING YOU!
But hey, we all need to make a living, somehow. For those interested in the reporting on Australia’s Headspace program and the economics of healthcare provision, mental or otherwise, the promo and link are here:
“Australia’s flagship youth mental health program Headspace is only providing a “small” benefit to clients, a major study has revealed, while the wellbeing of about one in 10 of its patients is going significantly backwards.
The University of New South Wales evaluation concluded “Headspace has a small program effect”, saying results were marginally better than people getting no treatment or being treated privately.
“While some evaluation findings are mixed, results show that there are small improvements in the mental health of Headspace clients relative to two matched control groups,” it said.”
Have you read Robert’s books oldhead?
Neuroleptic is the original term, used because of the ‘affect,’ not a typo, on the nervous system.
Which why Laing called these synthetic drugs a chemical straight jacket.
Not trying to gaslight you or white ant you, just trying to find the line within, where criticism turns to critique.
I do love reading your insightful wisdom Oldhead. But, pray-tell, how is your pot-smoking experience an understanding of HOW you subsequently experienced no problems?
Will seems to have joined the ranks of a data mining collective, having gained a seat at the table, so to speak, through his valiant efforts to raise awareness of psychiatric opinion masquerading as knowledge.
Which reminds me of R. D. Laing’s warning about the sheer stupidity of assuming that subjectively orchestrated and subjectively volunteered data, is in any way, Objective!
But folks need to make a living in mental health, and they sing their merry song:
DATA DATA! SHOW US THE TRUTH! WE GOT A BAD CASE OF LOVING YOU!
Love this Will. Shows signs and symptoms that we are getting there in our attempt to show that psychiatric diagnosis suffers from a history of Opinion masquerading as Knowledge.
Regards the psycho-social context of drug withdrawal and the experience of psychosis, when, as you described, ones behaviour is driven by powerful bio-energetic orienting energies like innate (inborn) shame.
Is it reasonable to say ones conscious sense of self becomes Shame? Like people taken over by the innate affect-emotion Rage, on our roads and freeways.
Like you l have stopped taking the drugs more times than I can remember, against medical advice and the opinion masquerading as knowledge, of family & friends.
Unlike you my episodes of affective psychosis were mostly on the up side of innate (inborn) affects, as Silvan Tomkins called the primary orienting responses we are all born with. Like the baby’s communication cry of innate distress.
My six weeks long episodes of innate joy and the euphoria labeled mania, filled my skull bound sense of self with an extraordinary sense of oneness & love.
But l accept that it’s possible that a majority of people suffering this ‘second-coming’ of the sentience (raw feeling of consciousness) we are born with, may only experience negative-affect, as an orienting response to a feeling of life-threat that is subconscious.
Tompkins observations of innate affect-emotions describes 9 inborn subconscious orienting responses, listing 6 as negative, 2 positive and one neutral. With the primary purpose of negative affect-emotions, to maintain life in the face of threat to the organism.
While in my need to develop a balance of thought, felt sense awareness of what happens inside me, during these experiences, that Eleanor Longden suggests should be framed psychologically, as a continuum of human experience.
Have been enabled by reading The Polyvagal Theory and developing a felt sense awareness of the subconscious switch to body-mind states of fear & joy that resides
deep within my brain and is constantly active within my tenth cranial nerve.
A state of self-awareness that has brought me an embodied sense of the prophet’s warning: they seeing see not and in no wise perceive.
And an embodied sense of why R. D. Laing nailed the paradox of human motivation and perception, with his intuitive remark: we are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy.
Much respect for your efforts Will.
Big Picture, oldhead. The Systems created by human beings are subconsciously orchestrated by their nervous system, just as our self-nurtureing intellectualism about they and them is.
Just trying to get folks to notice how they much prefer to write about the politics of experience, rather than the experience of experience.
The word Anatomy, can of course be used in different contexts, but if we don’t believe in the medical perception of mental illness, then we are left with anatomy and the experience of the body.
Or are you convinced that you are your mind? Richard is a long-time therapist who knows the mysterious ways of our subconscious Self. And as Carl Jung said of the paradox in our human motivation and perception, when your certain that your fully conscious, you should probably think again.
Richard, why is it that you never target your own system, in writings about revolution?
Are you unaware of your nervous system and the subconscious dynamics of your conscious recognition of words & numbers?
And joining the choirs cheers for Robert’s outing of psychiatric opinion masquerading as knowledge, do you ever wonder how the word Anatomy, was chosen in the title word formulation?
Was there a subconscious prompt of the body, perhaps?
Hi Lawrence, just a thought. But is the epidemic an aspect of humanity transiting into post-modernity? Lot of pain and suffering caused, l know.
But is it possible that the epidemic is a feature of humanity waking from the nightmare of history, in a 21st-century realization that we are not our mind’s?
Psychiatrists are described as doctors of the mind, and as a doctor, can l ask you ‘how’ your own mind, your patterns of thought, is energized?
Or, as a well educated person who recognizes words and numbers, like your name and your age. Can you write a few word’s about how you walk & talk. How these two quintessential human behaviors are subconsciously orchestrated by your nervous system?
And is our fixation on the issue of medications, a feature of our normal avoidance of our inner environment, as we ‘reflexively’ keep the energies of our attention firmly focused on the environment beyond our skin.
As l say, this just a bigger picture thought, and l’m not trying to embarrass you, by asking you HOW you do, Being Human.
Hi Shaun, PVT was key to my increased self-awareness that l am my mind, as Tolle puts it. Mindfulness in my experience of meditation in Buddhist tradition, is a confusing term that deflects from the felt sense intention of this body oriented exercise that has traditionally been a self-inquiry into the nature of Mind, as the Dali Lama suggests.
My own practice is better defined as a mind-less focus on the muscular tensions and vascular pressures that help energize my thoughts, my mind.
Through this perspective of my mind as a form of energy, l shift my sense of self away from my mind as a product of memory and the notion that l know myself because l know words & numbers.
Socrates was suspicious that words imprison self-knowledge by creating static impressions of our own reality. My brain, my heart, my lungs, etc. And the conceptual sense of our experience of experience, is trapped in an analogous use of terms that don’t actually fit our inner reality.
Terms that are mostly mechanistic, like the image of brain as composed of machine cogs. While the recent turn to cybernetics as a self portrait analogy, seems to suggest we modular in constitution, with the brain being compared to a computer CPU.
No wonder Laing said we are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to ourselves and each other. And that he nailed the normal self-deception by saying we all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy.
Stuck inside our heads, assuming we perceive reality because we can name & number it.
Apologies to Jessica too for not mentioning her efforts in this wonderful article on the importance of adolescence, and that age which is described as a time when summer nigh, in the New Testament parable of the human condition.
I’m sure she is familiar with The Polyvagal Theory and its impact on trauma-informed care for people suffering a subconscious nervous response to life’s most difficult experiences. To clarify, for those who care to take the time to read and digest, meditating upon such knowledge in a visceral way. Please consider an excerpt from an academic paper, now a chapter in a book:
The Infant’s Sixth Sense: Awareness and Regulation of Bodily Processes
Life is a sensory experience. During every moment of our lives, we experience the world through our varied sensory systems. Sensory experiences drive our behavior and contribute to the organization of our thoughts and emotions. Immediately after birth, the infant is bombarded with a variety of new sensory stimuli. These provide important information about the characteristics and potential demands of the baby’s new environment. The infant must immediately detect, discriminate, and adapt to this information. Successful adaptation to the rapidly changing environment and the ability to cope with changing demands depend on the infant’s ability to detect and interpret sensory information. Thus, when we study infant behavioral patterns, vocalizations, and physiological reactivity, we attempt to understand how the young infant uses sensory systems to detect information from the environment and to integrate this information into motor, affective, and cognitive schema to successfully interact and adapt to a changing environment.
We have learned that humans have five primary sense modalities: smell, vision, hearing, taste, and touch. We know that even a newborn can respond to these sensory modalities. These responses are obvious to the parent and clinician (although only a few decades ago, scientists were unaware of the sensory capacities of young infants). However, this traditional method of categorizing sensory information does not account for the vast amount of sensory information being conveyed to the brain from the numerous sensors located inside our body. Even current clinical models of infant regulation (e.g., Ayres, 1972; Greenspan, 1991) that emphasize the importance of sensory processing in the emotional and cognitive development of the infant, and individual differences among infants in the ease with which they detect and interpret sensory information, focus primarily on three sense modalities that describe the external environment— that is, touch, vision, and hearing. These models do not deal with internal sensations that provide information about the physiological regulation.
Although neurophysiologists and neuroanatomists describe sensory systems that regulate our internal organs, this research has had little influence on either our common language or the clinical terminology we use to describe bodily processes. At present, there are only a few easily understood descriptors that characterize internal senses and states— for example, pain, nausea, and arousal. Yet in spite of this linguistic handicap, our experiences provide us with an awareness of bodily sensations and an appreciation of how these sensations can contribute to mood state and psychological feelings.
Missing from our language and our science is the ability to describe internal states. In our day-to-day interactions we choose vague terms, such as “feelings,” to describe the psychological consequences of bodily changes. Behavioral scientists often attempt to objectify these terms by operationalizing concepts such as state, mood, and emotion with verbal reports and elaborate coding systems. Clinical practitioners infer these feelings and use terms descriptive of emotional tone. However, whether we are talking about feelings, emotions, states, or moods, we are always attempting to describe the internal states that are continuously being monitored and regulated by the nervous system. The goal of this chapter is to introduce an additional sense modality that monitors bodily processes. A variety of terms may be used to describe this sensory system. Classic physiology describes this sensory system as interoception. Interoception is a global concept which includes both our conscious feelings of and unconscious monitoring of bodily processes, Interoception, like other sensory systems, has four components:
1. Sensors located in various internal organs to “sense” internal conditions;
2. Sensory pathways that convey information to the brain regarding the internal conditions;
3. Brain structures to interpret sensory information and organize systems to respond to the changing internal conditions; and
4. Motor pathways that communicate from the brain back to the internal organs that contain the sensors to change directly the state of the internal organ. Brain structures evaluate interoceptive information, categorize it, associate it with other sensory information, and store the associations in memory.
Best wishes to all, and I apologize again for appearing to be off topic and off script.
Although, I do feel its important to try and value-add comments and not just opine.
This is surely coming, here in the 21st-century paradigm shift, away from living in our heads. I suspect that soon enough, the realization will dawn in education systems around the globe, that filling young mind’s with more and more knowledge is not enough.
And that teaching the revelations of New Testament Neuroscience Revelations on the Human Condition, is very important, especially in that period when people experience the second major growth spurt in brain growth, after the first three years of life.
Do they, somewhere teach mindfulness of one’s infant sixth sense, I wonder. Or, as most practice in the West, do they teach a pseudo form of mindfulness that keeps the individual trapped in thought, unable to answer the Sage question:
Where are You, between two thoughts?
Please consider this excerpt from a paper on Yoga, Wisdom and How to Feel the Inner qualities of Being Human:
Yoga Therapy and Polyvagal Theory: The Convergence of Traditional Wisdom and Contemporary Neuroscience for Self-Regulation and Resilience.
Yoga therapy is a newly emerging, self-regulating complementary and integrative healthcare (CIH) practice. It is growing in its professionalization, recognition, and utilization with a demonstrated commitment to setting practice standards, educational and accreditation standards, and promoting research to support its efficacy for various populations and conditions.
However, heterogeneity of practice, poor reporting standards, and lack of a broadly accepted understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in yoga therapy limits the structuring of testable hypotheses and clinical applications.
Current proposed frameworks of yoga-based practices focus on the integration of bottom-up neurophysiological and top-down neurocognitive mechanisms. In addition, it has been proposed that phenomenology and first person ethical inquiry can provide a lens through which yoga therapy is viewed as a process that contributes towards eudaimonic well-being in the experience of pain, illness or disability. In this article we build on these frameworks, and propose a model of yoga therapy that converges with Polyvagal Theory (PVT).
PVT links the evolution of the autonomic nervous system to the emergence of prosocial behaviors and posits that the neural platforms supporting social behavior are involved in maintaining health, growth and restoration. This explanatory model which connects neurophysiological patterns of autonomic regulation and expression of emotional and social behavior, is increasingly utilized as a framework for understanding human behavior, stress and illness.
Specifically, we describe how PVT can be conceptualized as a neurophysiological counterpart to the yogic concept of the gunas, or qualities of nature.
Apologies to the choir for going off script and introducing something new.
But honestly, the only thing I’m trying to sell you here is the inner nature of you.
Hi Stephen, l always enjoy reading your comments, in your capacity to be emotionally honest and seek to uncover and reveal the subconscious processes involved in our human motivations.
And in my opinion the venerated experts could not afford to listen to you and be awoken from the language created delusion that the recognition of words and numbers, is a an depth recognition of reality as it is.
While paradoxically the well intentioned stance against the ongoing medicalization of life’s experience, taken by this community, maintains the status quo, by presenting opinion that simply polarizes the mental health debate.
There is a great interview on Will Hall’s podcast about the open dialogue method of healing first episode psychosis. Asked if this approach will take root in America, the other person makes a telling comment about culture.
“There is an ability to be more emotionally honest in other cultures.”
My question to Megan about an inborn impulse to the act of suicide, comes from my reading and experiential integration of The Polyvagal Theory, understanding of the subconscious structure and function of my nervous system.
Yet, in the stick to the script, mentality of the MIA community, such introduction of anything new into this echo chamber environment is greeted with wary suspicions, and gaslighted or white-anted.
One even gets accused of being a fifth-columnist, sent in to undermine the faith.
And is that belief, a true perception or an expression of paranoia, l ask you and other more balanced members of this community.
Again, l really appreciate your authentic effort to be more emotionally honest than most people can manage.
Removed for moderation.
Can you write of how you feel in the impulse to use the word ‘toxic,’ Fred 77?
How was that thought word energized, within your mind?
I apologize for asking you to give a first-person, from the inside out, response to your experience of experience, but l feel it’s important to get beneath our self-nurturing, intellectual sense of Self.
As l have commented on the sister site http://www.madintheuk.com With 11 years of post-radicalization drug free self-regulation under my belt.
I found that well educated mental health professionals cannot afford to listen to survivor stories of actual experience, in their need to make a living.
Hence, the quote from David Mitchell, which is hard to swallow, l know.
“Who are these men of lust greed and glory. Rip off the Mask and let’s see. Oh No! That’s not Right. For there’s You and there’s Me.” SuperTramp, Crime of the Century.
“The strong do eat and the weak are meat.” -David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.
Is the impulse to suicide innate (inborn) Megan? Hardwired within our nervous system & vagal paradox of our tenth cranial nerve?
The mammalian nervous system’s last ditch effort to sustain life, by feigning death. An aspect of our subconscious Self, that our early life adaptation to the survival skill of literacy and numeracy, has no knowledge or awareness.
Is the word agency the experience of agency? Is the word consciousness the experience of consciousness? And does your ability to say the words “l am Megan Wildwood,” truly mean that you know yourself?
Or when we voice such figures of speech, are we manifesting a true sense of being?
“We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to ourselves and each other. We are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy.” -R. D. Laing.
And is the unspoken deal of civil society and our language communication skills of social inclusion & self-differentiation an agreement to not talk about reality, because it’s disturbing to the illusion that we do actually ‘know’ ourselves because we can recognize words & numbers?
Removed for moderation.
A Comment Across the Pond on Mad in the UK, which the moderator may consider off-topic, from the perspective of hearing voices, and consider deleting. We shall see.
MAD IN AMERICA & The Cyber-Cerebral Echo Chamber of Like-Minded Souls?
It’s interesting (a word I tend to use whenever I experience the living breathing phenomena expressed in the words “I don’t Know”) that there so few comments on this introductory blog post for MadintheUK. While across the pond on the parent webzine Mad in America we can see the numbers 1457 eye views and 41 comments.
While my question about the cyber-cerebral echo-chamber of like-minded souls comes from reading Barak Obama’s legacy speech and making a mental note of his warning about the dangers of withdrawing into gated communities and the twitter-verse echo chambers of public opinion, as news.
While here in the calendar year 2018, as the occupational vocation known as psychiatry is trying to come to terms with the truth that psychiatric diagnosis is no more than opinion. Should survivors and medical practitioners look to the past and recognize the true value of lived-experience?
A question I ask, from the certainty that no psychiatrist or well-educated PhD’s under the Sun, can think, say or write a single word about HOW they perform the two quintessential human behaviors of walking and talking.
Furthermore, as a survivor, I ask an existential question of well educated psychiatric opinion, as a form of subconscious orchestrated expectation; Is a recognition of words, a whole-self perception of reality?
“What do you see when you look in a mirror?” I survivor asked, Robert Whitaker. And although Robert reported this existential question in one his blog posts he did not type any words about what he perceives when he does look in a mirror, at the reflection of his own face.
And of course, it’s considered bad form to point out inconvenient truths or ask the wordy-wise educated elites to give a first-person account of their own experience. They much prefer the third-person dichotomy of a mind that perceives itself from the outside looking in.
So, in the endless polemic of re-thinking psychiatry, I wonder if it’s at all possible to re-phrase psychiatric perceptions as opinions and contemplate Socrates life lesson question of youth; is opinion knowledge?
Does the debate about medications ever mention the words; self-regulation?
Is it because wordy-wise academics, like everyone else, have no idea HOW they DO being Human?
And as we see quite clearly the wisdom of lived-experience in Jeannie’s capacity to be the wounded healer, as she facilitates personal growth work in hearing voices groups. Should we contemplate the lived wisdom of the so-called past and learn the Socratic method of dissolving our own self-deception? Please consider:
SOCRATES: I would have you imagine, that there exists in the mind of man a block of wax, which is of different sizes in different men; harder, moister, and having more or less of purity in one than another, and in some of an intermediate quality.
THEAETETUS: I see.
SOCRATES: Let us say that this tablet is a gift of Memory, the mother of the Muses; and that when we wish to remember anything which we have seen, or heard, or thought in our own minds, we hold the wax to the perceptions and thoughts, and in that material receive the impression of them as from the seal of a ring; and that we remember and know what is imprinted as long as the image lasts; but when the image is effaced, or cannot be taken, then we forget and do not know.
THEAETETUS: Very good.
SOCRATES: Now, when a person has this knowledge and is considering something which he sees or hears, may not false opinion arise in the following manner?
THEAETETUS: In what manner?
SOCRATES: When he thinks what he knows, sometimes to be what he knows, and sometimes to be what he does not know.
An excerpt from Plato’s, THEAETETUS.
“At last, I feared to see myself nothing but words.” -Plato
“sometimes you have to lose your mind and come into your senses.” -Fritz Pearls
The crucifix on the wall? A symbolic representation of the indigenous acceptance of the lived wisdom of the Wounded Healer.
And as the great mythologist Joseph Campbell said, the problem for the priesthood and their moral sermonizing on the story of death & resurrection, is that they know the words but not the experience the words allude to.
Like looking at your hand and mentally knowing the word ‘ fingers,’ while a felt sense of the sensations of motion when moving your fingers, may bring you a conscious realization of words attributed the Lord Buddha: Words are not reality, only experience reveals the nature of being.
Which is perhaps why the West’s great spiritual teacher quotes the prophet: seeing they see not and in no wise perceive.
While one the hero’s of the anti-psychiatry movement, R. D. Laing said: we are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to ourselves and each other.
And the peak insight of the axial-age was: Know Thyself
And is that because we take the communication skill of language, to be our human nature, when it is clearly nothing more than the ‘habituated’ motion of ‘memory.’
Hearing Voices is a birthright and so is the Resurrection of the ‘sentience’ (raw feeling of consciousness) that all humanity is born with.
And as the truly ‘awake’ ask of ‘normally’ adapted humanity: Where are you between two thoughts?
Truly awake? Aware that language throws a veil over reality & we should learn to be ok with an inability to ascribe words to experience?
Beware the scribes, said a wise Jesus the Christ. A word (Christ) that originally meant ‘anointed’ even though many now associate the word with Savior, from a supernatural perspective.
Although, if we do learn to not ascribe words to experiences of awe, would we come to a feeling for the wisdom of the ages story, in a supra-normal way?
“In that moment, upon hearing the sweet melody proclaiming me as Mary Magdalene, I was initiated into a twisted, dark version of the gnostic mystery school (delivered via the sanctity of the voices I hear that others don’t) where I would give up earthly concerns to embody my new life as a high priestess and yes, Jesus Christ’s wife.
Mary was, after all, one of the most misunderstood figures in the history of the world, certainly an identity I shared. I may not have spent my afterlife watching as the Catholic Church framed me as a harlot to further their agenda of oppressing women and keeping them out of church leadership (which they publicly but ever so discreetly apologized for in the 1960’s), but I definitely did know what it felt like to be the black sheep.”
Great article on life’s experience Jeannie. Feels like you were experiencing the inner marriage of your human nature, as a product of male and female genetics. I identify wholeheartedly with your understanding of how both Jesus and Mary are the most misunderstood characterizations of the Human Condition, in the history of the written word.
Most probably because of our early life adaptation to the survival skills of literacy and numeracy sees us grow to normal adulthood, convinced that word recognition is a true recognition of reality. While the sudden dissolution of this adaptive skill removes the veil that languages throw over the nature of reality.
“Look Mummy I see clouds,” says the beautiful young girl who is simultaneously dancing with delight.
If she is lucky, mum will introduce her to the conception that ‘clouds’ is simply a signifying symbol of what she saw with her eyes, just as she is about to undergo the second brain growth spurt of adolescence, thereby grounding her sense of her own reality with a simultaneous balance of thought & felt sense-ability.
So I guess my question of your experience of hearing a beautiful angelic voice, as though coming from the other side of your mortality, is, does it come from the subconscious foundation of your conscious mind?
Was the Mary Magdalene perception of the experience, a sense of inner wisdom about the profound paradox of our human motivation & perception, of which the New Testament story is a Parable? Is that famous story to be read ‘metaphysically’ and ‘otherworldly’ or ‘metaphorically?’
Certainly, the experience of a sudden dissolution to the consensus-reality world of word recognition has felt somewhat otherworldy in my own euphoric sensations of oneness, which a treatment-oriented medical vocation diagnosed as an experience of affective psychosis or bipolar disorder. But I learned to heed Jesus warning about being a scribe and stopped trying to ascribe words to an overwhelming sense of Creation.
Some say that perception is always based on perspective and the right answers to problems must be proceeded by the right questions. And in my eleven-year post-medicalization journey of drug-free self-regulation, I learned to ask myself existential questions like: how are my thoughts energized.
“Being Human I walk and talk. How, do I do that?’ Learning over time (whatever time is) to be ok with the uncertainty wrought by the thought; “I don’t know.” Even though its a thought that kindles a feeling of insecurity within my body.
BTW Did you know that during Jesus and Mary’s lifetime there was a debate about the conception of a universal calendar (Catholic means Universal, btw) and whether it should be based on the solar (I and the father are one) or lunar cycle of the Passover. And perhaps because the female menstrual cycle follows the lunar period cycle, performance anxiety riddled men, decided to confine the lunar affect on human evolution to the dustbin of history.
And one wonders why James Joyce said: history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.
Or why Plato said: I fear at last to see myself as nothing but words.
My eyes, my ears, my nostrils, my mouth. Two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and one mouth. Could these be the seven assemblies in the Book of Revelation? Seven assemblies formed within the skull, and the place of Jesus Crucifixion?
And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. Mark, 15:22.
“Is the self a symbol of Christ, or is Christ a symbol of the self?” -Carl Jung
Be well Jeannie.
No response to my comments Ron?
Can’t go there? Can’t write about HOW you walk and talk, or HOW your thoughts are Energized?
Hi Fred77, l’ve commented on this webzine in years past, that the now global debate on mental health is not just a human rights issue, it’s about HOW we do being human.
I’ve given criticism of the fixation with medications, as a miss-step in understanding the experience of what we perceive to be madness or extreme states of consciousness, because the med’s issue does not address what it is that brings a person before the “doctor knows best” treatment oriented, prescription writer, for the very first time.
We’ve all seen this community get excited from time to time about new books, new reports, New movements like hearing voices and Eleanor Longden’s wonderful Ted Talks revelation that people can cope with hearing voices and thrive, as well.
Yet, paradoxically, little changes and in my humble opinion this communities failure to address Michael Cornwell’s koan: if mental illness is not what psychiatrist’s say it is, what is it? Is shameful.
While perversely, l was howled down by members of this community for writing a true story of how l talked my way out an acute care ward, by embarrassing a Judge and the Hospital’s head of psychiatry. I seen was as a traitor to the “us vs them” cause of abolitionists.
My attempts to draw attention to the polyvagal theory of nervous system structure and function, dismissed out of hand by the politics of experience agenda of advocacy and the need to feel like one is doing something worthy.
Contact’s poem is “nice” Fred, the words resonate “intellectually” and ‘affect’ warm sensation within the body. But HOW does the reciprocal influence between brain and heart orchestrate such visceral states of being?
Do our 12 cranial nerves play a role? Especially the tenth nerve, as it’s the longest nerve in our body & brings news of the environment within, to our brain.
Within weeks of my release from captivity in 2007 l spotted a book title which began my now eleven year long journey of drug free self-regulation: Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self.
And my drug free self-regulation is based on a simultaneous thought & felt sense of perception. Of which l’ve given an example on Ron Unger’s post on Process Work.
Personally, l believe a breakthrough is coming, as the data from the 1990’s decade of the brain, continues its transformational journey from the highly technical language of laboratory science, into everyday consciousness.
As Tolle suggests in his teaching about ‘presence’ what 21st century youth need now, is not more knowledge, but the wisdom of insight and his first law of enlightenment is: You are not your mind!
Of course l like the ‘intellectualism’ of this webzine, l do that too, in my need of Self-Nurture.
But statements of the ‘bleeding obvious’ as they say in North England, lack insight, wisdom and true self-awareness, in my humble opinion.
Again, a recognition of words is not a true recognition of reality, yet we tend to behave as though language is actually our human nature and not simply a product of memory.
I teach in parables because they seeing see not and hearing hear not, and neither do they understand. -Jesus the Christ.
Richard may see this quote of Jesus as Religious, but does it come from a synthesis of a wisdom of the ages understanding of the Human condition, that walked out of Africa 70,000 years ago?
Reality & Choice Therapy. Here’s a Reality question for you Ben.
Being Human You Walk and Talk. Habitually performing these two quintessential behaviors with repetitious ease. Can you write a few word’s about HOW you walk and talk?
Dr Glasser uses the word habit twice in the video you recommend & l ask you this question about the subconsciously directed habit of walking & talking, because l’m curious about how to make conscious choices when we are so subconsciously motivated by an early life process of habit-formation that we simply take for granted.
I’m confident that neither you or anyone in this comment thread will respond to this question of HOW we do being Human or why the prophetic comment: they seeing see not and no wise perceive, is a thousands of years old assessment of mental health that has not changed in its accuracy, because human anatomy & the subconscious processes by which we do being human have not changed either.
The Recognition of Words is not a Recognition of Reality. Yet we posture the pretense that we know reality because of our early life adaptation to literacy and numeracy skill.
And we are trapped in a third person dichotomy of mind, perceiving ourselves from the outside looking in.
Do we all wear blinders, Frank? Is word recognition, the recognition of Reality?
Are you your mind, or does it simply seem that way through the repetitious process of habit formation?
Can you write a few word’s about how your thoughts are Energized? Shifting your attention process to the unseen environment within your body?
It’s difficult l know, and post modernists suggest, we all trapped in the third person dichotomy of our mind’s. The outside looking in view of our own reality. Cursed by the impulse to take experience for granted & suffering from a diabolical Self-ignorance.
“Knowledge is the only good, ignorance the only evil.” -Socrates
Is it fear or ignorance, Steve? Perhaps a combination of both, as we seek a sense of conscious certainty, to appease a subconscious need to feel secure?
11 of years of drug free self-regulation began with an acceptance that l knew nothing more about my own reality, than word’s.
While the history of Process work involved the term ‘felt-sense’ & the paradox of traumatic experience, in my opinion is a fear-terror flight into the mind, in an attempt to escape sensations/feelings in the body.
My existential (the experience of experience) advice to Legal Chic, is an example of the process of ‘realizing’ how we are raised to live in heads, through our early life adaptation to literacy & numeracy skill.
Process work, in my opinion, involves a self- balancing of thought & felt sense. Through an a shift in attention to the ‘environment’ within our body. Hence, the notion that ‘word’ recognition is not a recognition of reality, and we are not our Mind.
It simply feels like we are our Mind, through the repetitious process of habit formation. Growing to normal adulthood with no memory of the effort involved in our first attempts to form the sound of words, like our name.
Hence, R. D. Laing said: we are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy.
It may be that the New Testament story of Jesus The Christ, is know as the greatest story ever told, because it’s a parable story of the Human Condition?
King of the Jews?
Or King of Perspective?
A story that, in Hellenistic Jewish world that Jesus was born into, where the Romans where the colonizing Politic Power, Greek influenced writers demonstrated the Power of Philosophy.
And did so by adopting the Apocalyptic tradition of Israel’s Wisdom Teacher’s. While researching the World history and origin of words, @ online ‘cites’ like dictionary.com, one finds that the word Apocalypse was meant to convey the meaning: to uncover, reveal.
Furthermore, such research finds that it’s more commonsense assumption of catastrophic end of days, is modern, not until the 1800’s, apparently.
While, given that your nervous system was obviously active pre-birth, and waking consciousness begins with our very first breath, was the dissolution of your wordy wise sense of reality, a symptom of your Second Coming?
An experience of the ‘Parousia,’ a Greek word associated with the second coming of the Christ, and a word which essentially means, Presence.
You are indeed a human being, Legal Chic. But my comment is about ‘how’ we do being human.
Third dimension, is a creative word formulation, but are you made of words?
Try saying “l am” Followed by your name & contemplate how you have said “l am these word’s?” And is this figure of speech a true sense of being human?
Or is it simply a product of memory?
Look at your hand & notice the thought word ‘fingers’ then move your fingers & feel the sensations of motion, while asking yourself whether the ‘word’ fingers is the reality of your fingers?
Great article Ron, l like the counselor comment “try being just a little psychotic all the time.” Sums up the human condition really, as we walk around pretending that we know reality because we can name and number what we think we perceive.
While, simultaneously not being able to think or say in word’s ‘how’ we walk and talk. All we can do is describe ‘what’ we do when performing the two quintessential behaviors that make us human.
As postmodernism suggests, we are all trapped in the 3rd person dichotomy of our mind’s. And l suggest that using word’s like extreme state simply maintains our consensus reality illusions of Self knowing by our ‘memory’ of literacy & numeracy skill.
Socrates did not write because he was suspicious of how word’s imprison self-knowing by creating ‘static’ impressions of our reality, with word’s like ‘my brain’ my heart etc.
And the sad truth is that we human’s who label ourselves ‘normal’ know little more about our human nature, than word’s and numbers.
In my experience psychotic experience is a dissolution of this third person dichotomy of mind, inflicted by the subconscious nature of our nervous system structure and function.
Learning something about how our nervous system orchestrates the bio-energetic phenomena of experience we call mind, can lead to better self-regulation, by shifting attention to bodily sensations that help recognise the charge/discharge patterns of those 100 million cells that compose the organic nature of our brain.
The simple advice that out of the contemplative era known as the ‘axial-age’ was know thyself, for a very solid reason, we don’t.
“Seeing they see not and no ‘wise’ perceive.” The Prophet.
“We are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy.” R. D. Laing
The euphoria and excitement described are interesting in the context of trauma informed care and the impact the polygonal theory of nervous system structure and function, has had on clinical practice.
Professor Stephen Porges paper on love as as an emergent feature of the mammalian nervous system, talks about our capacity for proximity behaviors & whether we immobilized in a body-mind state of fear or love.
A paradox of human motivation & perception that is explained as the vagal paradox of our tenth cranial nerve.
While, from the decade of the brain that was the 1990’s, so much technical data has emerged that it will take more decades for these revelations to filter into our common consciousness.
In the meantime we will carry on will the perception that seeing word’s is a true perception of reality & not simply a medium of communication.
Yet, is the word consciousness the experience of consciousness?
As they say in the East; easy to see, easy to do, hard to be wise. Or as the prophet said; they seeing see not and in no wise perceive.
“We are all in a posthypnotic trance, induced in early infancy.” -R. D. Laing
Most humans are Mad without knowing it. Secure in the post-hypnotic-trance state that feels like word recognition is a true recognition of reality.
Looking into a mirror with insane belief that the word Eyes, is true recognition of their Eyes.
Which, l suspect, is why a survivor asked Robert the question “what do you see when you look in a mirror?”
Word Recognition is not the Recognition of Reality. And the experience of metempsychosis is about waking up to the truth that language is not human nature.
But our early life adaptation to the survival skill of literacy & numeracy, as memory. Makes us feel like we are our Mind?
“They seeing, see not and in no wise perceive” The Prophet.
“I felt fear, and felt my breathing catch and my muscles tense in my shoulders and stomach.” Its a very visceral account of personal experience, that seems to speaks volumes about the muscular tensions and vascular pressures that create the cerebral tone of our body-mind, Michael? And I wonder if you were aware within that temporal (of fleeting moment) experience, of the affect on your heart-rate and your cerebral blood-flow?
In another blog here on MIA there is mention of psychiatry’s ‘gas-lighting’ behavior, which is a term that to my mind, reflects the subconscious nature of our Projective Identifications, which can either be perceived with a negative or positive bias?
What Gas. What Light and Where? Gas, as the oxygen we breathe and transform into oxygenated blood? Light, as the the metaphysical energy of our conscious awareness, fired by our heart and its reciprocal influence on the charge and discharge nature of 100 million brain cells?
Which, when contemplating the reality of inner experience versus the literacy and numeracy skills of consensus reality, begs the question; what is psychotic experience if it is not what psychiatry says it is?
Is it the metempsychosis of self-differentiation experience, or as Tolle say of the first law of enlightenment: the experience of ‘how,’ “you are not your mind.”
BTW: There is new book by Peter Kingsley on one of your mentor’s Carl Jung and I wonder if your term ‘psychological-blindness’ will get an explanation in this two volume tome? The promo reads: Catafalque (2-Volume Set): Carl Jung and the End of Humanity.
Catafalque offers a revolutionary new reading of the great psychologist Carl Jung as mystic, gnostic and prophet for our time.
This book is the first major re-imagining of both Jung and his work since the publication of the Red Book in 2009–and is the only serious assessment of them written by a classical scholar who understands the ancient Gnostic, Hermetic and alchemical foundations of his thought as well as Jung himself did. At the same time it skillfully tells the forgotten story of Jung’s relationship with the great Sufi scholar, Henry Corbin, and with Persian Sufi tradition.
The strange reality of the Red Book, or “New Book” as Carl Jung called it, lies close to the heart of Catafalque. In meticulous detail Peter Kingsley uncovers its great secret, hidden in plain sight and still–as if by magic–unrecognized by all those who have been unable to understand this mysterious, incantatory text.
But the hard truth of who Jung was and what he did is only a small part of what this book uncovers. It also exposes the full extent of that great river of esoteric tradition that stretches all the way back to the beginnings of our civilization. It unveils the surprising realities behind western philosophy, literature, poetry, prophecy–both ancient and modern.
It’s a complex phenomena of being, Michael.
In my experience it’s a way of seeing with an expectation of recognition. Like looking at the sky and seeing the word clouds, while failing to notice this sense of being my mind, has dissociated my sense of being.
No wonder Jesus cites Isaiah’s concise comment on the paradox of human motivation and perception; seeing they see not, and in no wise perceive.
Which reminds me of a great line in DAVID Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas; what is a critic, but one who reads quickly but never wisely.
Are you maturing like fine wine?
Ahh! The cave thing? “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” -Joseph Campbell I wonder if you may have contemplated Plato’s allegory of the cave & its influence on the New Testament story of resurrection? Psychological, not Physical?
R.D. Laing spent a month in an Indian cave, with a Guru who introduced him to the timeless question: where are you between two thoughts? And I’ve often wondered whether that experience played a role in his intuitive comment: we are all in post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy. As the adaptive survival skill of literacy, seduces us into feeling that we and the world are made of words?
Yet, is language really human nature or simply a function of memory? Socrates was suspicious of how words imprison self-knowledge by creating ‘static’ impressions of our own reality: my heart, my brain. Yet the word heart is not the reality of our heart anymore than the word brain is the reality of our brain.
Within the cave of my body (the heart of the earth) I have often pondered why Plato said: I feared to see myself at last altogether, nothing but words.
Great personal story Laren and I can’t help thinking that if you had been born into a Hindu family in Northern India, the thoughts and voiced words ‘I am God,’ would have been greeted with:
“Of course you are, God is Creation and so are You!”
Ron mentioned the wonderful Alan Watts, who suggested that it is important for each of us to realize that we come ‘out’ of the Universe and ‘into’ it, in any supernatural way. Sadly in the Christian perspective of the West, the ‘personification’ bias in our perception of creation has distorted the axial-age wisdom of Christianity’s inspirational founder.
As a survivor of the mental health system, now in my eleventh year of drug free self-regulation, I wish you well on your journey.
Dear Monica, you wrote, “I think we’re all the second coming of christ!”
Which I agree with, although I’m not sure what you mean exactly, by the word Christ? Do you mean Jesus last name? Do you mean Christ as Savior or the anointed one? And if anointed is the original Hebrew notion of our relationship with Creation, is the Christ better understood as the anointed nature of human consciousness?
While personally, I have to become aware of ‘how’ I habitually think the word consciousness, as if the word, IS the experience of consciousness. In that ‘I think therefore I am,’ sense of being human. While the history of words and their origins brings a rather uneasy feeling to one’s commonsense understanding of words: Word Origin and History for Christ:
title given to Jesus of Nazareth, Old English crist (by 830, perhaps 675), from Latin Christus, from Greek khristos “the anointed” (translation of Hebrew mashiah; see messiah), noun use of verbal adjective of khriein “to rub, anoint” (see chrism). The Latin term drove out Old English Hæland “healer, savior,” as the preferred descriptive term for Jesus.
And of course, from this communities perspective on mental health, the association of the words Christ and Healer, are of paramount importance to healing the spirit of humanity, in this 21st century A.D.
Chris, you wrote “Oppression, trauma, and inequality are neurological domains for good reason, because the brain develops, delays, and deteriorates in the presence or absence of social engagement, to various degrees based on individual constitutions.”
Which triggered memories of my own conversion of a pathological sense of bipolar experience, into a more solid sense of the spiritual grounding that the experience entails, as a right of passage into true maturity. More specifically the words ‘social engagement’ made me wonder whether you have used the latest non-pathologizing revelations on the structure and functioning of our nervous system, to help you gain a better ‘feel’ for spontaneous self-regulation.
And I’m thinking of the contribution the polyvagal theory has made within the field of trauma healing for example. And of course, the word ‘healing’ directs the focus of the helping professions towards the need of establishing the crucial feeling of a safe environment, in order for the healing nature of empathy to really work.
Not by the communication of words/labels, but primarily through the ‘social engagement’ role of facial expression and open, relaxed posture. And I’m guessing that your neurobiological sense of bipolar experience, comes from learning how to regulate the ‘paired’ subconscious relationship of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
While recently, clinical practice directed towards the ‘self-regulation’ of most of our ‘labelled’ disorders, has involved a return from exile, of ancient wisdom about the profound paradox in human motivation and perception. A movement that has flowed from the laboratory to the clinic and is enabling people like yourself to bring an ‘experiential’ expertize to the table of mental health.
Here is a brief extract from the book: The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe;
Yoga and the social engagement system.
Polyvagal Theory deconstructs yoga practices involving breath into specific neural exercises of the vagal brake (see vagal brake). Pranayama yoga is functionally a yoga of the social engagement system since it involves neural exercises of both breath and the striated muscles of the face and head.
While the most recent academic paper on this emerging perspective on ancient wisdom is: Yoga Therapy and Polyvagal Theory: The Convergence of Traditional Wisdom and Contemporary Neuroscience for Self-Regulation and Resilience
Your experiential perspective seems to exemplify a new movement within the survivor community, that is acting as a bridge to cross the inevitable divide, in our politics of experience, as an all too easy blaming and shaming, ego game.
Great article Chris, keep up the good work.
Great comments on our survival-oriented manipulation of the other, Lawrence. And given that Doctors are trained to perform dispassionately, I wonder if you might comment on the degree of ‘projection’ involved in the medical perception of others?
The great wisdom tradition of humanity suggests that understanding a well-phrased aphorism (short pithy comment full of meaning) is more profitable than a thousand words in a book of thoughtful ‘rationalizations.’
And given that bipolar disorder is also known to psychiatrists as a disorder of ‘affect,’ of (which Grammarly reflexively assumes I meant ‘effect’) can you please comment on an aphorism from Alan N Schore’s book: Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self:
The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation.
This modern-day aphorism about the nature of our human self, which I first read in 2007, after almost 30 years on the medical treadmill of gaining family & friends approval, by accepting the labeling projections of a dozen psychiatrist’s, ‘need’ to make a living, set me on the path to a more mature self-regulation.
Giving up the medications and developing a more mature self-regulation, in line with this notion of affect-regulation, involved giving up my normal sense of thought-controlled behaviors and turning my conscious awareness inwards to feel the sensations of muscular tensions & vascular pressures which help ‘energize’ my various states of being.
A process which also involved acquiring the latest knowledge about my nervous system, and how such knowledge is effecting a return of ancient wisdom. Please take a look at:
Yoga Therapy and Polyvagal Theory: The Convergence of Traditional Wisdom and Contemporary Neuroscience for Self-Regulation and Resilience.
As a footnote, I have found that ‘psychosis’ is nature’s call to mature self-differentiation, as a need to face up to the difference between subjective & objective reality. Because, as Plato suggested, I feared to see myself as nothing but words.
My heart, my brain, my lungs, etc. Which feels like a counter-transference phenomena of the modular nature of computer construction. Yet the word brain, is not the reality of my brain, the word is simply a sign, an image identifying label, like all the words of language are, as a medium of communication.
Will all due respect to the highly educated; words are not reality, and only experience ‘reveals’ the ‘habituated’ nature of being human.
I really appreciate your mature reflections on the ubiquitous nature of our self-denial.
Daniel, we all need to “feel” like we are doing something good and contributing to our chosen cause, yet when you write “some people are inherently more or less deserving of autonomy because their bodies or brains are inherently better or worse,” are you manifesting, right here, a “split” in your own self-awareness, that reflects the “paradox” of human, so-called mental health?
The body-mind split that is driving us all this madness, and why so-called “norm’s” will choose psychiatry’s “categories” over the challenge of embodied being. R.D. Laing wrote: We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced during infancy. While in reading your fine article and the “rational” responses I am reminded of Martin Heidegger’s comment about the nature of human ideals; “the interpretation of reality which idealism constructs is an empty one.”
The “postured-pretense” of “knowing” in the human being is appalling and hence we go round and round in circles, avoiding our own reality, by way of “projection” and the phenomena of “transference – countertranference,” that creates the subject-object orientation of this sensation we label mind.
But I do get the need to feel like there is an intelligence directing this need act-like we know what we are and what to do about it.
Hi Daniel, perhaps the real question is an existential return to the era of alienist questions of what Maslow called ‘homo-normalis-rationalis, who Reich said where emotionally evasive and dishonest compared the emotional authentic desire of the so-called schizophrenic. And from R.D. Laing’s perspective on our human post-hypnotic trance state, induced during the behavioral initiation period of infancy. Does, the mistress of all our Muses. memory created a post-hypnotic suggestion, as we see the objects of the material world & instantly name it?
From Laing’s question about the possibility of ‘love’ in a know thy-place, paternalistically organized the social world, actively block, by the base affect-emotion of fear, the existential questions of humanity that needed to be asked right now. Like, is the word ‘heart’ my experience of my heart & do I act-out the sin of self-ignorance, by simply taking my experience for granted?
During infancy, we explore the material world by grasping objects and experiencing them with a visceral sense that is a mix of our five senses capacity to know reality. Without realizing it, do we grasp at words, with our minds in the same sensate, experiential way? Imagine a shift in the tactics of political experience, by humorously asking mind doctors an existential question, based on Socrates retort to emotionally adolescent critics; Know Thyself.
And imagine a Marilyn Monroe lookalike asking in that famous “Mr. President,” super-sensual way, a question of existentially conservative, hierarchically dominating men; So you know the mind’s of others and being human, you naturally can walk and talk. Can you say a few words about ‘how’ (Reich’s most intuitive word of human experience) you do that?
I asked this question of a young American male, still too young to fear loss. He instantly began to move his right foot forward, as his right arm moved upwards, then stopped (a flight-fight-freeze reflexive response?), and being an authentic type, he said; I don’t know. I’ve made a comment on Michael Cornwall’s last blog about gently turning the tables in an existential way, by raising my hand before my face (Gestalt awareness of foreground/background phenomena; saying the ‘hand’ then wiggling my fingers to ask, is the word ‘hand’ the experience of my hand. The non-plussed look in response hovers on the event-horizon of an epiphany.
Then, just as Reich describes in ‘Character Analysis’ the habituated muscular/vascular armoring blocks it. Which, from the Buddhist perspective on Void mind, is, I suggest, the fear of ‘self-emptying’ Jesus alludes to on his ‘conscious-cross.’ Is it time to turn the tables, through this community’s lived, experiential wisdom, that we are not mad or ill, we just experience the call to awaken through the nervous system’s evolved or created wisdom. And finally, do know the wise story of the ‘handless maidens’ who literally create so-called history?
I invite readers of this thread to google the ‘axial-age’ and follow their heart’s to current theological and philosophical debate, on fate & destiny. Marvel not, when I say you must be born again. -The Nazarene.
Yeah but ‘how?’ cry the youth of today: “Jaspers described the Axial Age as “an interregnum between two ages of great empire, a pause for liberty, a deep breath bringing the most lucid consciousness”. It has also been suggested that the Axial Age was a historically liminal period when old certainties had lost their validity and new ones were still not ready. -From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_Age
Some witty street philosophers ask; are you barking up the wrong tree, of knowledge? While the Buddha sat down on the right side of the tree & the Christ said; cast your net on right side, my shepherds to the sheep.
While in ancient India, where Val Resh lives, the brain is known as the. ‘net of gems.’ Don’t go sowing seeds in the field of consciousness now, though, will you? Or gleaming in the field of consciousness and sorting the wheat from the chaff either, like Ruth in a certain book, way too old to take seriously. Parables of the human condition are just Myths, aren’t they? Just like the myth that we really do know ourselves.
What a heroic journey the human story is.
Yet the feminine nature of innate wisdom might if know the truth of the Handmaiden’s tail? How women give birth to history, quite literally, even though they may sacrifice their innate wisdom, upon the altar of an all too adolescent, male ego.
Do we need more politics of experience now, or the sword of insight, that renders our self-protective psychological-blindness, asunder? Are you, in your ‘temporal’ experience of the space-time continuum, a Temple of Cosmic Being?
Imagine, if this community could answer could ask the most important question of humanity, what that would do for the intellectually ‘fake’ notion, that we are simply mad or Ill?
Some youth are now calling out conservative politicians, as Fake-Wits. Must be a current administration inspired phenomena, perhaps?
Great article Sara, in the great need we all have of ‘doing something.’ The very human and normal impulse to do, which the great mystics have always countered with a call to sit and contemplate or meditate upon the nature of being human. Bradshaw sums up this paradox of being human, in his wonderful book ‘Healing the Shame that Binds You,’ by saying, “I reached the point in my life when I had to stop being a human doing and become a human being.”
In this wonderful documentary that you cite ‘A Drop of Sunshine,’ Val talks about this ‘phenomena’ of being, as she rebels against her parent’s well-meaning advice to go for a walk. She also mentions, in analyzing her ‘illness’ as she still perceives it, the low point of functioning when her brain seemed to be stuck in a phenomenological pattern of “yes/no, yes/no.”
In response to this specifically identified lived-experience of so-called brain disease and our experience of psychophysiological dis-ease, I would like to point out the “on/of” or “excitation/inhibition” phenomena of neural firing patterns within the brain, which is energized by our heart-rate variability (HVA) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), which can be experientially confirmed through the use of ‘grounding’ meditative techniques, such as vipassana yoga.
Yet, IMHO this paradox of doing and being, is most evident in its paradox form, in our impulse to ‘think,’ where (phenomenologically speaking) we grasp at words within our mind-space, in the same way we grasped at material objects, as infants. With this perspective on the ‘nature of mind,’ most probably why R.D. Laing said:
We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another, and to the spiritual and material world — mad, even, from an ideal standpoint, we can glimpse but not adopt. We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in infancy.
While the father of Gestalt therapy said, back in that strange revolutionary decade, the 60’s: Lose Your Mind and Come to Your Senses.
While the Buddhist’s say: stay your impulse to do and make your subject (mind) void, and you will begin to ‘feel’ the nature of your own reality. For as the Buddha said: Words are not reality, only experience reveals the nature of being human.
While the original meaning of the word Apocalypse is: to uncover, reveal.
I am certain though that the political ‘agenda’ of this community will keep fighting the good fight, and following its impulse to do something. While paradoxically assuming that Plato’s allegory of the cave, and the Bible’s hints, allegations, allegories and allusions to the human condition, are nothing more than words.
I blame modern education myself, for initiating all the fine young cannibals into the ritual feast upon words.
While there is, from that fad of self-inquiry, existentialism, the possibility of asking oneself a question that cuts right to the core of being human: I walk and I talk. How. Do I do that?
While not even the Pope or the President can answer this 21st century, crucial existential question.
I have faith though, that in following its natural impulse to ‘do’ this community will lead us to salvation.
How about you?
Nice word formulation Shannon and I really love your chosen image of two heads coming together to form the ‘symbol’ of a heart. Chosen, I assume, to give an image of empathy as more of a ‘felt-sense’ of reality than a ‘thought’ sense of reality. As a person-centered and viscerally therapist, my own experience of empathy is that, just like love, it hurts.
And I must confess, that there are days when I lack the visceral resources to face the other and their existential pain, preferring, in a self-protective way, to go through the motions of an ‘habituated’ form of well-voiced sympathy. While the ‘academic’ sense of the reality of being a human person, increasingly leaves me bored to tears, and chilled by the lack of visceral honesty, in its postured pretense that the world and humanity, is made of words or names.
While down amongst the dead men, so to speak, where I facilitate a homeless men’s group, I hear a wise street philosopher’s pondering, “do academics dream in words, do you think, as they bake a new formulation, in their efforts to realize a ‘leaven,’ psycho-physiological sense of humanity’s reality?
Beware the dark sayings of the Prophets regarding the existential reality, consensus reality is most certain of: They see yet do not see. They hear yet do not hear. And neither do they understand themselves?
Yet ‘paradoxically’ they see and hear a certain truth, that the social world of community communication, is indeed, made of words. While Galileo did marvel at the infinite possibility of 20 characters (letters) laid upon a page. And within his latest book ‘What Kind of Creatures are We?’ Noam Chomsky points out that by far the most use of language-based communication, happens inside each subject’s cranium.
While in trying to create an ‘integral’ approach to our common humanity, Ken Wilber points out ‘how’ we all honor the unspoken taboo on expressing our private ideation in public. Hence ‘unwittingly’ we all maintain the status-qua. Hallelujah! Cry the Christians in celebration of being here in heaven, while the wise Buddhists ask, “How you do that?”
How do you do, Being You?
“How can we collaborate,” Gary. Through the existential paradigm of Comparative Mythology, perhaps? For by now this MIA community has experienced an existential truth told long ago: Words are not reality, only experience reveals the nature of being human. -Buddha.
And to compliment my call for an existential shift in perspective, may I invite readers to contemplate, in the great Western tradition of what the East refers to as meditation, an extract from the written words of wise men:
“Schizophrenia– the Inward Journey (1970)
My own had been a work based on a comparative study of the mythologies of mankind, with only here and there passing references to the phenomenology of dream, hysteria, mystic visions, and the like. Mainly, it was an organization of themes and motifs common to all mythologies; and I had had no idea, in bringing these together, of the extent to which they would correspond to the fantasies of madness.
According to my thinking, they were the universal, archetypal, psychologically based symbolic themes and motifs of all traditional mythologies; and now from this paper of Dr. Perry I was learning that the same symbolic figures arise spontaneously from the broken-off, tortured state of mind of modern individuals suffering from a complete schizophrenic breakdown: the condition of one who has lost touch with the life and thought of his community and is compulsively fantasizing out of his own completely cut-off base.
Very briefly: The usual pattern is, first, of a break away or departure from the local social order and context; next, a long, deep retreat inward and backward, as it were, in time, and inward, deep into the psyche; a chaotic series of encounters there, darkly terrifying experiences, and presently (if the victim is fortunate) encounters of a centering kind, fulfilling, harmonizing, giving new courage; and then finally, in such fortunate cases, a return journey of rebirth to life. And that is the universal formula also of the mythological hero journey, which I, in my own published work, had described as: 1) separation, 2) initiation, and 3) return: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow men.
That is the pattern of the myth, and that is the pattern of these fantasies of the psyche. Now it was Dr. Perry’s thesis in his paper that in certain cases the best thing is to let the schizophrenic process run its course, not to abort the psychosis by administering shock treatments and the like, but, on the contrary, to help the process of disintegration and reintegration along. However, if a doctor is to be helpful in this way, he has to understand the image language of mythology.
He has himself to understand what the fragmentary signs and signals signify that his patient, totally out of touch with rationally oriented manners of thought and communication, is trying to bring forth in order to establish some kind of contact. Interpreted from this point of view, a schizophrenic breakdown is an inward and backward journey to recover something missed or lost, and to restore, thereby, a vital balance. So let the voyager go. He has tipped over and is sinking, perhaps drowning; yet, as in the old legend of Gilgamesh and his long, deep dive to the bottom of the cosmic sea to pluck the watercress of immortality, there is the one green value of his life down there. Don’t cut him off from it: help him through.
Well, I can tell you, it was a wonderful trip I had to California. The conversations with Dr. Perry and the talk we delivered together opened a whole new prospect to me. The experience started me thinking more and more about the possible import to people in trouble today of these mythic materials on which I have been working in a more or less academic, scholarly, personally enthusiastic way all these years, without any precise knowledge of the techniques by which they might be applied to the needs of others. Dr. Perry and Mr. Murphy introduced me to a paper on “Shamans and Acute Schizophrenia,” by Dr. Julian Silverman of the National Institute of Mental Health, which had appeared in 1967 in the American Anthropologist, and there again I found something of the greatest interest and of immediate relevance to my studies and thinking. In my own writings I had already pointed out that among primitive hunting peoples it is largely from the psychological experiences of shamans that the mythic imagery and rituals of their ceremonial life derive.” -Joseph Campbell.
Can we collaborate in a truly existential way, to deliver the community boon of a nervous system inflicted, right of passage, which has been undestood since pre-historic times, as the organism’s maturing need to face reality, as it is?
Dear Gary, you use the word myths here in your coherent response to AuntiePsychiatry. Which is a very interesting word in relation to the well-adapted notion of feeling like we are ‘normal.’ Bertram Karon suggests that schizophrenia is a ‘terror’ syndrome which normality must ignore, least it face the reality of its own half-truth sense of being human.
What I mean by this half-truth sense, is the myth that we truly know our own reality, by way of our memory of numbers, letters, and words. And of course, in the competitive game of survival, we can not afford to recognize this half-truth game, for we must compete for available resources, and call for more research and more healing techniques, in our need to make a living in mental health.
While being a well educated human being who likes the letters PhD, could you, as a human being who walks and talks, write a few words here about ‘how’ you do that?
The reason I ask is that I am calling this community to change its tactics and slay the dragon of biological psychiatry with a humorous critique of our fellow ‘subjects’ appalling Self-Ignorance.
For I am sure that as a well-educated young man with a keen interest in the humanities, you are aware that Buddhist’s sum up the human condition with a single word, ignorance. Hence my question asks you if you are brave enough, as a man, to face this reality within yourself, and explore the ground of your own being.
As a therapist who facilitates a men’s group for those who find themselves homeless and dressed (existentially speaking) in sackcloth and ashes, I find that by far the hardest thing for any man to do, is to admit to his own fear. While this question of self-ignorance, once accepted, brings a soothing dissolution to self-inflicted shame, when facing the great social edifice of know thy place.
For as Plato, has Socrates say, when you can admit that you know nothing, you will find yourself taking the first step on the path to the wisdom of knowing thyself. While, paradoxically, the reflexive nature of being human creates an inner ‘double-bind,’ which maintains the need to see only the mirror function of our mind’s. I see yon objects and recall their names. For R.D. Laing did say: We are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in infancy.
But hey, who needs a sense of penny-wise wisdom, when we are conditioned to grasp for dollars and cents?
Hi Richard, thanks for your considered response, I do appreciate it, considering the business of survival, platitudes of reply one usually receives in these online forums.
As a boy, my father used to say, “if brains were dynamite son, do you have enough to part your hair?” And in response to my ‘I hope so,’ he would say “me too, for you will have to keep your wits sharp in the face of the unbelievable things that WILL happen to you.” While I might offer a little ditti of my own, in the existential context of hope:
Chicky, chicky dido, dido. Chicky, chicky dido Dido,
There will be no white flag upon my door (of conscious awareness)
for I’m in love (with life) and always will be.
My apologies to Dido for this refrain upon her wonderful ode to love.
As Jung pointed out in the Red Book, mixing sense with nonsense is the great privilege of the creative’s, who resist the yoke of reason’s stiff neck.
BTW allusions to said ‘stiff-necked’ nature of reason, are in the Old Testament. yet who can Adam & Eve it? (slang term for, believe it)
“Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the stiff-necked adversary of thought. -Martin Heidegger
And as Yeats so mystically suggests in his famous poem, The Second Coming, what rough beast do we now perceive slouching ever closer to Bethlehem? (house of bread)
Kepp on thinking and singing Richard, and don’t let them psychiatric norm’s perceive that you perceive the web they weave.
Hi Bet, its ‘interesting,’ a word/term I use in the context of Silvan Tomkins understanding of our innate (inborn) ‘affect-system,’ of which he believes, “nothing crosses the ‘threshold’ conscious awareness, without the ‘stimulus’ of an innate-affect.
While Karon, a co-editor of Tomkins Affect Imagery Consciousness, a title he refused to be edited with commas because he believed in a whole body creation of conscious awareness, which current researchers suggest is actually ‘edited’ by the brain, in our survival need of ‘foreground – background’ attention to what is happening in the ‘external’ environment.
Interesting too, that Don Quixote, remains the best-selling novel in recorded history.
For we do, do we not, love to tilt at windmills? While simply taking for granted, the ongoing mystification & objectification of our human experience.
I confess, that the ‘impulse’ to take my lived-experience for granted, has been the greatest ‘sin’ ( the original meaning of this word/term, was mark.), in that way that daughters retain the mark of their mothers, with their seemingly effortless capacity to inflict upon men; THE LOOK! “Oh No, please darling, not the look. You make me feel so small.”
The Generalisimo heads of psychiatry have learned this neat existential trick too, have they not? And to respond to your authentic desire to go beyond the ‘politics of experience’ here on MIA, Jungian dream analysis does take note, whenever the subject dreams of a house, in that way of dreaming Freud called ‘displacement.’
Hence, some, Christians are now contemplating whether the New Testament story of Jesus, the Christ, as St Paul often wrote, can actually be pondered consciously, as a ‘parable’ of the human condition, as relevant to any Sun-Day, as it was back in the day.
All I can add to this world-view, in the context of this community, is the possibility that the community is yet to ‘realize’ its role in history, and I suggest that Plato’s ‘metempsychosis’ involves a realization of reality ‘as it is,’ that was understood during pre-history, in the ‘pain-inflicted’ rights of passage, for young men.
IMHO so-called civilization has led us away from a ‘participatory-consciousness’ which every human being is born with, and into a too cerebral sense of reality, as mere words. I do understand the community’s current need of re-energizing its postural attitude towards biological psychiatry, yet I question the selective use of comments by those it claims as hero’s, like R. D. Laing, who as an alienist, was offering an existential critique of what Maslow calls ‘home-normalis-rationalis.’
If Laing was anti-anything, it was stupidity and the commonsense denial of embodied experience. As some philosophers say, denial is the ‘stone’ the builders of civilization reject.
Sorry about the long blocks of uninterrupted text and any grammar mistakes, but the A.R. prevented me from editing, telling me this comment is ‘perceived’ as spam.
While to paraphrase Pink Floyd, this feels like; Welcome my son, welcome to the machine!
Congrats Richard on your artful and soulful song of resistance to the good ship USS Commercial Enterprise. I love these stirring last lines of your well-meditated song:
She has her ‘Benzo Buddies’ / and her friends at MIA
Damn all their drugs / Big Pharma / and the FDA
And there’ll be no mercy / When Psychiatry finally has its day.
My only concern is whether this meditation on the material world and the truth of what happens to people is a clear-eyed perception of reality, or an anger-rage fueled and vainglorious desire for revenge. Are these songs you speak of truly organizing or agonizing, I ask respectively of your genuinely authentic desire to see a revolution in mental health.
You seem, as I did and still do, to place your faith (belief) in science to clarify the condition of being human, and quite rightly resist the cloak of pseudo-science that the average psychiatrist wraps themselves in. Yet, after decades of spontaneous experiences, the ancient Greeks called the great Muse of Mania, and modern-day medicine calls an affective psychosis or an aspect of the Bipolar experience, I feel that we may be barking up the wrong tree, in our rational response to psychiatry.
After my first experience of non-normality reality back in 1980, my need to understand the nature of my experience of non-duality (sensations of oneness that refused to named) I turned, by chance (synchronicity) to Joseph Campbell and his notion that: “myth is much more important than history, because history is simply journalism and we all know just how reliable that is.”
While these days, after being a decade free of any form of ‘self-treatment,’ preferring a more embodied sense of ‘self-regulation,’ to ‘doing’ something to myself. I see and call for a Comparative Mythology approach to the illusions of biological psychiatry. For this community knows well the myth of mental illness, the myth of a chemical imbalance and the myth of a chemical cure, while I, through the reality of lived experience know the myth that I truly know myself because I memorize numbers, letters, and words.
It is within this sense of knowing the normal mind’s vicarious (second hand) sense of reality that your argument is coherent to me, yet I feel it is also incongruent to our common experiential reality, where all our ‘idealizations,’ as scenarios of hoped for possibility, fall upon an inevitable probability, as subconsciously motivated behavior claims the day, over and over, again.
I know you do your best to see through ‘homo-normalis-rationalis’ (a term coined by the anarchist alienists of the 60’s & 70’s) much-loved sense of “I think therefore I am,” so I finish my critique with an extract from Descartes first meditation:
“It may be that although the senses sometimes deceive us concerning things which are hardly perceptible, or very far away, there are yet many others to be met with as to which we cannot reasonably have any doubt, although we recognize them by their means. For example, there is the fact that I am here, seated by the fire, attired in a dressing gown, having this paper in my hands and other similar matters. And how could I deny that these hands and this body are mine, were it not perhaps that I compare myself to certain persons, devoid of sense, whose cerebella are so troubled and clouded by the violent vapours of black bile, that they constantly assure us that they think they are kings when they are really quite poor, or that they are clothed in purple when they are really without covering, or who imagine that they have an earthenware head or are nothing but pumpkins or are made of glass. But they are mad, and I should not be any the less insane were I to follow examples so extravagant.
At the same time I must remember that I am a man, and that consequently I am in the habit of sleeping, and in my dreams representing to myself the same things or sometimes even less probable things, than do those who are insane in their waking moments. How often has it happened to me that in the night I dreamt that I found myself in this particular place, that I was dressed and seated near the fire, whilst in reality I was lying undressed in bed! At this moment it does indeed seem to me that it is with eyes awake that I am looking at this paper; that this head which I move is not asleep, that it is deliberately and of set purpose that I extend my hand and perceive it; what happens in sleep does not appear so clear nor so distinct as does all this.
But in thinking over this I remind myself that on many occasions I have in sleep been deceived by similar illusions, and in dwelling carefully on this reflection I see so manifestly that there are no certain indications by which we may clearly distinguish wakefulness from sleep that I am lost in astonishment. And my astonishment is such that it is almost capable of persuading me that I now dream.
Now let us assume that we are asleep and that all these particulars, e.g. that we open our eyes, shake our head, extend our hands, and so on, are but false delusions; and let us reflect that possibly neither our hands nor our whole body are such as they appear to us to be. At the same time we must at least confess that the things which are represented to us in sleep are like painted representations which can only have been formed as the counterparts of something real and true, and that in this way those general things at least, i.e. eyes, a head, hands, and a whole body, are not imaginary things, but things really existent.
For, as a matter of fact, painters, even when they study with the greatest skill to represent sirens and satyrs by forms the most strange and extraordinary, cannot give them natures which are entirely new, but merely make a certain medley of the members of different animals; or if their imagination is extravagant enough to invent something so novel that nothing similar has ever before been seen, and that then their work represents a thing purely fictitious and absolutely false, it is certain all the same that the colours of which this is composed are necessarily real.
And for the same reason, although these general things, to wit, [a body], eyes, a head, hands, and such like, may be imaginary, we are bound at the same time to confess that there are at least some other objects yet more simple and more universal, which are real and true; and of these just in the same way as with certain real colours, all these images of things which dwell in our thoughts, whether true and real or false and fantastic, are formed. To such a class of things pertains corporeal nature in general, and its extension, the figure of extended things, their quantity or magnitude and number, as also the place in which they are, the time which measures their duration, and so on.
That is possibly why our reasoning is not unjust when we conclude from this that Physics, Astronomy, Medicine and all other sciences which have as their end the consideration of composite things, are very dubious and uncertain; but that Arithmetic, Geometry and other sciences of that kind which only treat of things that are very simple and very general, without taking great trouble to ascertain whether they are actually existent or not, contain some measure of certainty and an element of the indubitable. For whether I am awake or asleep, two and three together always form five, and the square can never have more than four sides, and it does not seem possible that truths so clear and apparent can be suspected of any falsity [or uncertainty].” -R Descartes.
As Socrates may ask us with a well-meditated ‘nature-philosophy,’ is our fractured and multi-voiced opinion of what is really happening in the world, a sure-footed and true ‘knowledge,’ or is it, as R.D. Laing may ask us, simply the politics of experience?
Myth of Mental Illness. Myth of a chemical imbalance. Myth of a Chenical Cure. Myth that we really know ourselves through the memory of numbers, letters, and words.
And is Normality a Cult like Religion, Julie Greene?
Comparative Mythology, may be a new way, beyond the yarda, yarda, yarda of our attachment need? Yet we must keep on keeping on, and not let on that we perceive the web we weave, in our need to make a living.
I am human. I walk and talk. How I do that, I have no clue, but hey, I’m Normal.
Hi Seth, I asked the question on another thread, about ‘how’ the right answers to difficult existential problems are prefaced by the right questions. Yet, how will homo-normalis-rationalis, see that there even is a problem with normal perception, as long as its survival needs are being met?
It is a chastening experience to read Reich’s The Murder of Christ, and note how he predicted his own demise, while Laing asked his fellow psychiatrists and psychologists why Reich’s work is so habitually shunned.
The deafening silence that greets such existential questions, under the guise of being intelligent, speaks volumes, I think. And I do believe that this community is yet to truly understand its role in history, and that the best way to counter the dis-information of biological-psychiatry is to turn the ‘existential’ table by humorously asking existential questions like; Being human, you walk and talk. Tell me good mind Doctor, ‘how’ do You, do that?
Watch the non-plussed response say nothing while conveying the reality of normal Self-Ignorance. Stay thy hand Prince Academus and keep thy subject Void, and you just might begin to feel the nature of your own reality?
Hi Frank, what I’m trying to convey here is the paradox of normal perception, which our need of attachment to each other, continually heaps confusion upon confusion, through the process of enculturation, as Maslow points out. While Laing, being of that great post WWWII generation, and hoping to show how society creates an alienation from our own nature, says: the range of we think and do, is limited by the way we fail to notice, that we fail to notice.
And taking Laing’s often ‘intuitive’ comments seriously, I confess that the greatest sin of my life has been, acting on the ‘impulse’ to take experience for granted. Paradoxically, whenever I felt comfortable within my skin, no thoughts arose to question the nature of my experience, and I was, more often than not, to lazy to make the effort to educate myself about ‘how’ I do being me. Reich’s most intuitive comment by far, I believe, is; Everyone is right in some way, it is merely a matter of ‘how.’ Contemplate, for example, his call for authentic awareness of self, by people who happily label themselves, Normal:
“The Schizophrenic Split:
The fact is that the schizophrenic is, on the average, much more honest than homo normalis, if one accepts directness of expression as an indication of honesty. Every good psychiatrist knows that the schizophrenic is embarrassingly honest. He is also what is commonly called “deep,” i.e., in contact with happenings. The schizoid person sees through hypocrisy and does not hide the fact. He has an excellent grasp of emotional realities, in sharp contradistinction to homo normalis. I am stressing these schizophrenic characteristics in order to make comprehensible why homo normalis hates the schizoid mind so much.” -Reich, Wilhelm. Character Analysis (pp. 401-402)
And some did sit upon the ground and feel the radiant warmth of the Sun. And they did desire not to build upon a precept of this warm sensation, they did their best to let rise an involuntary sound within their larynx, AUM!
And some do say that upon listening to the sound (vibration) of the Sun, a child Awakes. And it is said by the wise, that unless you see through the eyes of a child, you will not perceive the web you weave, as you confuse the yarda, yarda words of communication, with real-time, communion.
Hi Frank, I see you are into facilitating ‘epiphany,’ experience, beyond our attachment driven, yarda, yarda, Yarda.
And they did take him to a place the English call Calvary, a place also known as SKULL. For there was a rumor, even a murmur that Adam’s skull is buried there.
Say What! Cry Prince and Princess Adademiac. Away with you Jester, we know the Truth and we know the Way. Besides, you do not wish to block our grasping need to make a living, do you?
Dear oldhead, Does a tree remain a tree if you (in your extra-ordinary capacity for perception) refuse to judge it, a Name? And are you OLHEAD, no more than a WORD?
Hi Steve, they say that right answers to difficult problems are always prefaced by right questions, pointing to the paradox of lived experience, which the famous Zen Koan’s try to ‘orient’ subjective experience towards. Yet, ‘how’ to frame the right question if one is existentially unaware of a problem in the first instance of an ever temporal, subjective experience?
It’s interesting, how, without noticing the habituated nature of our subconsciously directed behavior, we tend to posture the pretense, using our innate gift of imagination, the illusion that the word, consciousness, is the lived experience of. . . consciousness. While in regards to your sense ‘of a truly religious system,’ Steve.
Joseph Campbell said the religious priests suffer from the problem that they have the words of holy scripture (some say it was always about being a whole-self, not a holier than thou self), but lack the experience the words ‘allude’ to. And we of the holy survivor community know only to well, the distaste and disregard, professing professionals have for our lived experience.
Michael Cornwall, in an essay that some say was his finest hour to date, mentions the phenomena of psychological-blindness, as a necessary experience of doctrinal faith. While towards the end of the book ‘A Dangerous Method,’ the author asks readers to consider whether people like Freud, Jung and others, were consciously aware that they were creating new doctrine, that can only be adhered to by the existential phenomena of faith.
While we play the politics of experience game with some say is dog whistle politics, and they say that this phenomenal experience is a lower form of wit that sarcasm. Conservative politicians accused Obama of being a hope merchant, a peddler of false expectation. While wise people say that when playing this subliminal dog-whistle game, should one really be surprised when it gives birth to a dog-whistle response?
“You the bad guy!”
“No I am Not!–You the bad the bad guy!
But, where is Narnia, pray tell? Ask the confused masses, who just want to know what the hell is going on, in this ‘rhetoric-is-reality,’ illusion? While a truly wise man once said:
“I teach them in parables of the human condition, because it is true, as the prophets have said: they see yet do not see, they hear yet do not hear and neither do they know themselves.” -The Nazarene
And what does the ‘word’ parable mean: (A parable is a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parables have human characters. A parable is a type of analogy.) Copied from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable
I am sure that intelligent people place great store in the capacity of words to describe the image of material objects, but I do worry that PhD initiated ceremonies of experience are a form of Anti-Experience. A well practiced form of dissociation.
And if I may paraphrase the great R. D. Laing: the range of what we think and do is limited by the way we fail to notice that we habitually fail to notice, ‘how’ we do being human.
Sorry if is too long comment disregards blog etiquette here. I can only beg forgiveness, being a survivor of a system that made me…Mental. In the Crazy-Wise sense of the term/word, mental.
(Do you get it, Crazy-Wise, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, in a full monty-python, kinda way.)
And I should have listened well to my Mom, when she said (Sophia-Wise) stray not close to the wise ones dear, least they unsheathe their swords of insight and render thy veil asunder.
“This admittedly ambitious set of steps is what is involved in moving away from a “climate change denial” paradigm of care. Daunting? Certainly—so that C (for “Certainly”) gets added to my earlier 5 Cs of Commitment, Courage, Creativity, Capability, and Care.”
I love the academic-like formulation of words here, Robert. Especially the “climate change denial,” although I am concerned with a so-called post-modern deconstruction of our climate of denial, from the well ‘initiated’ academic perspective that the world is made of words, and that people are made up of parts and these parts all have an identifiable name. But, tell me Robert, does your name give you a sense of a ‘whole’ you?
The 5 Cs, you say so well, giving voice to words of subjective and inter-subjective ‘communication,’ while the great hero of the human potential movement, Noam Chomsky, in his book What Kind of Creatures are We? Tells us that the majority of language use, takes place in that ‘private-space’ we name our mind, and Ken Wilber, another hero of the human potential movement notes the great social taboo on expressing any form of private ideation which might bring about a state of mental dis-ease, to our well versed, consensus-reality.
And pray tell, happens, during the motion of personal evolution, to the 5 Ss (senses) of being human? Perhaps a quote from a rather unique individual might bring a certain clarity to the yarda, yarda, yarda call for Revolution: Lose your mind and come into your senses. –Fritz Pearls
While having gone through what Plato names metempsychosis, as natures call to understand the nature of my mind, from the inside-out. I suggest that a more ‘existential’ sense of revolution, is better persued through the perspective of Comparitive Mythology, in order to cure the well versed academics and politicians of their ‘rhetoric-is-reality,’ DELUSION. Please consider the possibility that you are not made of words and that R.D. Laing was intuitively spot-on when he said: We are all in a post hypnotic trance induced in infancy.
In other words; “welcome to the world my child, and upon sighting yon nature, you must recall her names, if you are to fit right into an insane social world, where you must go along, to get along, and make for yourself, a living.
And if I might paraphrase the creative lyrics of Alison Moyet, by whispering to academic head, of ‘how’ Mother Nature laments for her ‘dissociated’ children:
Invisible – I feel like I’m invisible.
You treat me like I’m not really there
and you don’t really care.
I know this romance
it ain’t going nowhere.
The book by Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By, opens with:
What is a properly functioning mythology and what are its functions? Can we “live by” myths today? Can they help relieve our modern anxiety, or do they help to foster it? In Myths to Live By, Joseph Campbell explores the vital link of man to his myths and the way in which they can extend our human potential.
The fourfold stages of the ‘monomyth’ are, departure from the norm, initiation, return, community boon. While, despite the inevitable swoop of the predatory critics, might I suggest that the ‘boon’ phase of an heroic struggle is still awaiting, arrival of clear eyed manifestation.
Tell me Robert, do think a tree remains a tree, if you refuse to judge it, a name? And is the post-modern myth that we truly know ourselves by our adaptive ability to recall to memory, numbers, letters and words, long past its use by date?
Ah! The Humanity.
Ah! The material girls who do adore the material world, even unto this day.
In the brilliant movie The Fisher King, Bonnie, starring the comic genius Robin Williams and based on the Grail Legend. Two wise women have a conversation late in the movie plot, and one of them, some might say is a representative of Sophia, the Goddess of Wisdom herself. This woman says: If God really is a man in psychologically ‘projected’ guise, then the Devil must be a woman, in said projected disguise, and perhaps we should simply put the two them in a room together and let then duke it out between them.
Ah! Says the other Sophia in Wise guise.
We’ve been doing that for millennia, my Dear!
While in the north east of England some men say; Huh Bonnie Lass, don’t you know.
“Thou shall have a fishy, on little dishy, when thy boat comes in!”
“Sing for your Mommy, dance for your Daddy. When thy Boat comes in.”
Boat being Symbolic of Thy Conscious Awareness for said millennia, Bonnie Lass.
And Dante, all clever-wise, did float back down the river of forgetfulness, on his travels back to Paradise.
Nice formulation Bonnie, in this manufacturing of assent for like-minded others in our need to create a politics of experience. I note your e-motive use of the ideo-affective words; Third Reich doctoring here. Yet I am concerned that the usual Princess & Prince Academous, so to speak, simply demonstrate, upon this would-be psychiatric survivor educating web-zine, how self-refexive they really are.
Let illuminate my meaning with wise words from a more existential, Doctor Reich:
(THE INTELLECT AS DEFENSE FUNCTION
It is commonly assumed that the human intellect has a solely objective function and that it is directed toward the world; ethics and philosophy in particular conceive of reason and intellect exclusively in the sense of an absolute non-emotional activity capable of comprehending reality “incorruptibly.” Two things are overlooked here: (1) the intellectual function itself is a vegetative activity; and (2) the intellectual function may have an affect charge whose intensity is no less than any purely affective impulse.
Over and above this, character-analytic work reveals another function of the intellect which ties in very well with the inversion and opposition of drives discussed earlier. Intellectual activity can be structured and directed in such a way that it looks like a most cunningly operating apparatus whose purpose is precisely to avoid cognition, i.e., it looks like an activity directing one away from reality. In short, the intellect can operate in the two fundamental directions of the psychic apparatus: toward the world and away from the world. It can function correctly in unison with the most lively affect and it can also take a critical stand toward the affect. There is no mechanical, absolutely antithetical relationship between intellect and affect but, rather, a functional one.) An extract from, Reich, Wilhelm, Chatacter Analysis (pp. 305-306)
While from beyond the world of Academous where the Dark Lord Ignoramous, doth lash thy Subject still:
(Schizophrenia– the Inward Journey (1970)
In the spring of 1968 I was invited to deliver a series of talks on schizophrenia at the Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California. I had lectured there the year before on mythology; and apparently Mr. Michael Murphy, the imaginative young director of that highly interesting enterprise, thought there should be a connection of some kind. However, since I knew next to nothing of schizophrenia, on receipt of his letter I telephoned.
“Mike, I don’t know a thing about schizophrenia,” I said. “How would it be if I lectured on Joyce?” “Why, fine!” he answered. “But I’d like to hear you on schizophrenia, just the same.
Let’s set up a dual talk in San Francisco: you and John Perry, on mythology and schizophrenia. How’s that?” Well, I didn’t then know Dr. Perry; but in my youth I had had the very great experience of kissing the Blarney Stone – which, I can tell you, is worth a dozen Ph.D. degrees; so I thought, “Okay! Why not?” And besides, I had such confidence in Mike Murphy that I was pretty sure he had something interesting in mind.) An excerpt from, Myths to Live By, Joseph Campbell.
And feasting our eyes upon such lived wisdom, should we not consider the usual business of manufacturing assent, with a false-self sense that rhetoric is reality, will simply lead us onto the same old merry go round, that R.D. Laing so aptly described decades ago?
Some do say, that acting-out the same behavior over and over again, with a Gestalt (temporal now) expectation of a different outcome, is most assuredly, a sign-symptom of madness.
As I have commented on Michael Cornwall’s blog about our ubiquitous stupidity, Einstein said when asked about the human traits we name, personality; “the only trait I’m reasonably sure of is stupidity, it seems to be as endless as time.” Although for the well memorized sense of self journalist, he did add; “but what material substance of mine is contained within my name.”
May I, with all due respect, for your authentic desire to see a revolutionary change in the vocation of psychiatry, suggest that a real-time Gestalt revolution would be in turning the tables, by using Comparative Mythology as a means of destroying the delusion of simply seeing the ‘mirror-function’ of the mind, as we all do?
Within the halls of academia, one could ask the Mind Doctor, “Is there any such thing as a non-affective diagnosis?”
And what, pray tell, is the existential difference between the word ‘effect’ and the word/name (are they really the same) ‘affect?’
Dear brothers & sisters of the survivor community, could we re-frame the struggle to free the human subject from its experienced conditioned delusion, through the vehicle of comparative mythology?
I invite the more willing to be authentic, to contemplate the possibility that our lived-experienced, which homo-normalis-rationalis (Maslow’s term for Laing’s notion of an alienating social adaptation that is taking us further and further away from own nature, by a process, psychoanalysis calls, transference-countertransference, whereby we see ourselves through the vice of analogy, which has become more, and more mechanistic, because we are bound, within, by the sin of taking lived-experience for granted.), continues to shun, as-if, we are like the Lepers of old, because of the paradox that too-much self-consciousness is disruptive of the experience psychologists name; flow.
Beyond the politic agenda of this webzine’s good intentions, there are sources of knowledge which can transform the understanding of psychotic experience, through a positively biased perception, beyond the innately biased perception of being-normal. For there is an ‘existential’ question looming large in background of our daily awareness, which is, as some say, the Zombie Apocalypse of Climate Change. And my existential point here is that the word apocalypse is much misunderstood, here in so-called modernity. Please consider;
Word Origin and History for apocalypse Expand
late 14c., “revelation, disclosure,” from Church Latin apocalypsis “revelation,” from Greek apokalyptein “uncover, disclose, reveal,” from apo- “from” (see apo -) + kalyptein “to cover, conceal” (see Calypso ). The Christian end-of-the-world story is part of the revelation in John of Patmos’ book “Apokalypsis” (a title rendered into English as “Apocalypse” c.1230 and “Revelations” by Wyclif c.1380).
Its general sense in Middle English was “insight, vision; hallucination;” meaning “a cataclysmic event” is modern. Copied from: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/apocalypse?s=t
While, IMHO after going through the lived-experience of an inner-apocalypse call of my nervous system, to know the nature of my mind, from the inside-out, Plato’s and the Greek sense of ‘metempsychosis’ is an experience of self, that corresponds to the Buddhist notion of pure consciousness. For those interested in re-framing this politics of experience merry-go-round, I invite you to listen to the many voices, currently trying to blend science with spirituality, at SAND:
Hi Frances, I love your authentic comment on the merry go round of lived-experience. And I wonder if you might a Socrates type in willy guise, knowing that the ego’s admission of knowing nothing is the first step on the path to know thyself, wisdom?
For wisdom is a worthy inheritence for those who but percieve the Sun and feel, within their hearts, the ancient Vedic truism; Thou art That!
Our father, which art in the heaven’s… … … …
Truth is but one say the wise, while the timeless sages call it out, by many names.
A middle path between your head and your heart. For beyond mere words, which Maslow describes as imperfect images of truth, what does the usual ‘politics of experience,’ as the conscious manifestation of the ‘politics of the nervous system,’ (see introduction to Alan Watts “The Joyous Cosmology,” actually know about the ‘thermodynaic relationship (some wise wit’s call it ‘wedded’) between the organ named brain and the organ named heart?
Furtheremore Oldhead, desirious of being young still, is thy name, as a word, descriptive of thy whole-self?
And without desiring to be a predatory critic in the manifest politics of experience, I invite you to contemplate, with Christian-like prayer, Wilhem Reich’s self-arresting question; “does the brain move, like any other organ of the body?” While, beyond the yarda, yarda and even unto more, yarda, yarda, yarda, of this webzine’s subconscious political agenda, wise men and woman are asking, “what about self-regulation,’ beyond this prism of a ‘treatment’ oriented agenda?
Let me ask you , Oldhead, ‘are you, perchance, more self-protective, than self-perceptive, in your ‘reflexive’ assumption that you actually know yourself because the Mother of all your muses, memory, can recall to conscious awareness, numbers, letters and words?’
Ah the ‘paradox’ of human nature?
DO PSYCHIATRISTS HARM THEIR PATIENTS OUT OF STUPIDITY?
Do we harm ourselves out of ourselves by the lack of patience?
It’s interesting to note, when looking with patience upon this blog article and its ‘energized’ comment thread, ‘how’ the human nervous system mysteriously guides our ‘self-affectation.’ Take note, if you can, how we are ‘impulsed’ to avoid that with which we are ‘unfamiliar’ and ‘especially’ any words which attempt to enkindle an ‘exposure’ affect?
While thrice nightly, some do say, the ‘affect-images’ of said nervous system motivation, calls attention to what lies beneath the ‘threshing floor’ of our conscious awareness. Furthermore, can we, as a community that swears by its like-minded interest in human rights, develop a sense of our role in human history?
Borrowing Bard like terms, I might venture to say; “I come not to praise history, but to bury it!” For the ‘phenomenology’ of the ‘self’ is but one, and no amount of name calling affects its reality of lived-experience, within the space-time continuum. Hence, when Jesus, the Christ says; they see yet don’t see, they hear yet don’t hear, and niether do they understand. He was ‘psychologically’ right. But of coarse, the WE of NOW can’t possibly BE the WE of THEN, can WE?
A Middle Path, Any-Body?
Ah! The Humanity!
“Myth is much more important than history, for history is simply journalism.” -Joseph Campell. And there is, of coarse a myth we still live by today. The God-awful myth that we truly know ourselves because we our mind’s have the capacity to recall numbers, letters and words. Hence, we not defeat the doctrine of the church of biological psychiatry by repeating that sure sign of madness, doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. We can pitch an intellegent critique towards the tent of psychiatry, till doomsday and nothing will change the delusion of our common faith in the ability of words to accurately describe our human experience.
For it the very height of self-deception to assume that the word human is the reality and experience of being human. Yet, sadly, through the sheer power of ‘habituation’ this is what we do, in our need to ‘reflexively’ avoid inner self-awareness. This is the ‘paradox’ of being normal, that wisdom in all its word form guises, has tried to explain since before history (written subjective opinion) began.
R.D, Laing, who is a hero to many in this community, once wrote an article about ‘how’ Wilhelm Reich is so religiously avoided, and ‘shunned’ by the clever Dicks of psychology, yet this is the lived phenomena of being normal, as the wise have pointed out, from time immemorial. “Where should we expect to see the like of David again?” Ask the wise Rabbi’s, with the clever answer to personal experience, “Why with a Leper of coarse, the inner man who is always ignored.”
In the totem and tabbo of our know thyplace social world, perhaps we should spend time educating ourselves, about ourselves, rather than simply educating ourselves on ‘how’ to make a living? And in honor of Reich’s astonishing contribution to body psychotherapy, may I paraphrase the georgous Randy Crawford when she sings:
When your body reaches for your heart
Open up and let it through
Every body needs a heart around
Things can tumble down on you
You discover when you feel around
You don’t have to be alone
Just your own love is all you need to know
When you’re feeling down
Oh oh you might need your body
You might need your body, too
(You might need your body too)
If there’s fire stolen in you’re heart
And you’re sure it’s wrong and right
Don’t be blinded by the words in your head
Re-align to your heart and become whole, instead.
As I begin therapy with my own clients by asking them what they know about their body, besides words, I invite readers of this comment thread to be brave enough the venture their thoughts on what they truly know about themselves.
“Gnosis: Greek for knowledge of the heart.” And would you, could you, be brave dear Michael and write a few words about your knowledge of your heart?
I ask, not to accuse you of false impressions about others and misleading rhetoric, but in an authentic desire for understanding, beyond the yarda, yarda, yarda, of mere words. And in posting this comment, I can only hope that the moderator of this webzine sees an authentic desire and not a personal attack. For sadly, the truth of our anxious social norm’s, is that all they know of the major organs of their body, is mere words.
Hence, just as in this blog article of faith and the resultant assent of the comment thred, the blind continue to lead the blind, with a misplaced faith the the ‘power’ of words. Such is the politics of manufactured assent in our social world. Where, just as R. D. Laing pointed out, we play the game of survival, and the first rule of this social game is, Do Not Mention The Game.
Dare I say, from an Eastern perspective, that those who live by the word, die by the word (existentially) through the anxious avoidance of their hearts “pulsation of sensation,” to use a very, very apt description from Reich’s Character Armour, diagnosis of the human condition. BTW the second edition has perhaps, the most extensive, description of a person centered relationship to the phenomena labeled schizophreania, I for one, have read. But who has the time to read, when we are so busy, making a living?
Should we make the effort to “know Thyself” as Plato and the Oracle would advise, or simply cower in self-defence, towards the great social edifice of know thy-place?
Seth, can I ask you about the academic process of gaining a PhD, as you so aptly seal your sense of self, with a ‘trust’ in words and their ability to accurately describe the reality of personal experience. Do you, unwittingly self-avoid the sensations of embodied experience and therefore block your own desire to see the next step in the human potential movement, take place?
I can’t help but wonder what the delightful lady from that much loved show about ‘nothing’ (Seinfeld) would exclaim about the politics of experience and its manufacturing of assent (opinion) taking place in the here and now of this comment thread; yarda, yarda, yarda….no doubt. Despite the common assent of our shared opinions, rhetoric is not reality and as far as I can see, we simply enact the trick of self-avoidance, as we retreat into onclaves of like-minded groups, just like Barak Obama pointed out in his lecacy speech.
Sadly, when homo-normalis-rationalis, is aked what said organism knows of itself, the forthcoming answer is merely words. Which, as Maslow pointed out, will ever remain imperfect images of truth. While there are self-arresting questions homo-normalis-rationalis can ask itself to dissolve the illusion of both history and time.
“What time is it now?” (insert local number of caregorized time here), then ask;
“What is time?”
Or you could ask a psychiatrist in a gentle, open and loving manner; being human, you walk and talk. How, do you do that? A self-arresting question I now pose to my clients, as a way of showing them that their experience of so-called madness, can be felt as a somewhat sane response to a mad, social world, just as R.D. Laing suggested.
With all due respect Seth, one should not underestimate the parent-child dynamic in our ‘know-thyplace’ social world, or as Sheldrake suggests of our personal evolution, the habituated nature of our human behavior.
Michael, I understand your defence of antipsychiatry rhetoric and the need to speak truth to power, as we say. Yet, from a Jungian perspective, should we not recall Jung’s advice about our conscious sense of rhetoric, which may well be motivated by an ‘unconscious’ politics of the nervous system, as two famous critics of conscious normality, point out, in their introduction to Alan Watts, ‘The Joyous Cosmology.’
May it be posible, that we all commit the same sin of a rhetoric is reality illuson, in a feast of critism, so to speak, as we strive for recognition, one above the other, to use a Fritz Pearls, term for the politics of experience. While all the while, everyone of us, yearns for an Epiphany experience. “Tell, me doctor, in no more than 140 characters, what is the matter with me, and why am I so afraid of my own sensations of lived experience.”
Within the church of psychiatry’s doctrine, are the seeds of demise, for it cannot explain its own existential experience, and as Joseph Campbell suggests of other churches, reliant on doctrinal faith; ‘they have the words, but lack the lived-experience the words allude to.’
Allen Francis, in the fourth season of life, does try to be honest about ‘how’ psychiatric diagnosis is seeing something that exists (the other’s behavior) with an ‘expectation, of what the psychiatrist is seeing and interpreting through the ‘superficial’ medium of the Word. While approximately 500 years before the Sermon on the Mount, Socrates wandered the byways of Athens asking its citizens to contemplate (a word that conjures the original purpose of prayer) the phenomena of the human good. Like the great awakeners of the axial age period of evolving human consciousness, Socrates did not write a word and was said to be suspicious of ‘how’ words ‘imprison’ knowledge, by trying to make the motions of nature ‘static.’
Furthermore, I am told that it is written, “Robert, what do you see when you look in the mirror?” While, a good ‘existential’ therapist, desiring to demonstrate just how and why the post-modern social world is ‘alienating’ of the human sense of self, might ask Robert, “do see your eyes and mistake a word for the reality of and the function of your eyes?” Furthermore, can you admit the ‘habituated’ nature of your behaviour and why, in addressing psychiatrists with well-chosen words, you find yourself (existentially) behaving like a well initiated Jew standing before a famous wall in a famous city, where words are repeated in parrot-like fashion, with a heartfelt hope of personal transformation.
I invite readers of this comment thread to contemplate (an inner phenomenon of the self) as St Augustine advises, that commenters will reflexively shy away from any invitation to reveal their private sense of subjectivity. As Ken Wilber points out, in his call for an ‘integral’ psychology and spirituality, (echoing Freud’s formulation of Totem & Taboo) the societal taboo on inter-subjectivity, bars the way to the next step in our human consciousness.
Asked why he taught by parables, Jesus, the Christ (no Christ is not simply Jesus last name) replied, “they see, yet do not see, they hear, yet do not hear, and neither do they understand. Although, missing from this comment, for political purposes I suspect, is the word ‘thyself,’ from this parable of the human condition, which is ‘existentially’ relevant unto this today. For we ‘initiate’ our children well, “see my love, how the world is made of words.” Learn this lesson well, and may it keep you in good grace, as you endeavour to make a living.
While, in the politics of experience, the wise know the ‘paradox’ of statehood and selfhood, in the need to organise the road to humanity’s salvation, whispering in a hushed tone, all these wise ‘aphorism’s’ are actually about ‘you’ and your human experience. And knowing the manifest politics of my nervous system, I prophesy the non-response to my invitation to ‘expose’ the ‘privto bonno,’ as St Augustine and wise others framed it, of one’s private experience of a subjective self.
BTW Freud called Hebrew mythology, ‘exposure myths.’ While Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers ask, is there a mythology we live by today? Experientially, it is easy to see and easy to do. And paradoxically, strangely hard to be wise.
Hi Ron, you seem to doing your level best to be reasonable amidst a plethora of manifest impulse to project subconscious organism states onto the other. That paranoid sense of the personal nature of the politics of experience, that is forced, through self-ignorance to see only a world of us and them. Yet, should we not notice the current phenomena in our democratic world, where ordinary people are voting with a manifest sense of ‘a pox on both your houses?’
While I invite readers of this comment thread to ponder the sage question, ‘where are you between two thoughts?’ And furthermore, ‘are you certain that you know yourself because you know numbers, letters, and words?
As Socrates would say to the predatory critics, who are bound by their nervous system, to swoop upon thy subjective head; Know Thyself!
While I might add, staying the course in experiencing psychosis, one finds oneself exploring the nature of mind, from the inside-out, wherein, despite the consensus opinion, there no mechanistic process of this and that.
Perhaps a reframe is in order, for the political agenda of this webzine, whereby we might see the upside of lived experience as a call to the next step in humanity’s global consciousness. Especially, as the great cities of the so-called first-world face the structural flaw in our so-called civilisation; housing affordability. Even the rich are now facing the reality that their grandchildren will not be able to afford to buy a home, under the present dynamics of a purely material economy.
Interestingly, the Catholic Catechisms speak of an economy of salvation, in which a purifying exile may see the return (as in Campbell’s monomyth) of the ancient art of; realisation. Perhaps, madness can be understood, more along the lines of mother nature’s wisdom, in the grand plan of making the species homo sapiens, fit for purpose?
Hi Michael, thanks for your reply. I mention Socrates ‘KNOW THYSELF,’ and Plato’s clever disguise of his own wisdom of self-knowing, after witnessing what happens to anyone who dares to speak truth to the human condition. A phenomenon of experience made wise parable some 500 years later when ‘axial-age’ wisdom was brought to embodied peak-experience in the great awakener Jesus, the Christ.
While during said axial age an individual we name Buddha, asked ‘where are you between two thoughts, my child?’ An interesting development in the evolution of human consciousness, some say, while Ken Wilber seems to believe (have faith, my son) that there is a similar phase or stage of evolving consciousness happening right now.
While I write this formulation of words (names), with an intention to draw attention to the great delusion of our postured pretence of being normal, of which the experience of psychosis may, in fact, be self-created as a response to the disembodied sense that knowing numbers, letters and words, is actually knowing thyself.
While during said axial age, I wonder if the mystery schools attended by people like Plato and others, did initiate the individual into a self-realization process known as metempsychosis? Furthermore, a wise sage in China, where John Weir Perry began to notice how we become ‘encultured’ as Maslow pointed out, taught a process of understanding reality for 50 years, yet lamented how so few, in their impulsive drive for survival, by gaining material objects, showed any desire for the acquisition of know thyself wisdom.
BTW did you read Jung’s comment in ‘psychology and alchemy’ that the conscious mind is taught to repeat ‘words’ much like a Parrot? While in facing the bathroom mirror each morning, I question the mirror function of my mind, by asking myself, ‘what do you see, mind,’ ‘eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth and are the ‘names’ of these parts of me, the whole reality of me?
Be whole, Michael.
You are very brave Sara. To tell one’s personal story in such an authentic way is truly revealing of the exquisite sensitivity of our (too sensitive for own good) naked flesh. The video reminds me of Joseph Campbell’s understanding of James Joyce genius; “he saw symbols (signs) everywhere,” and felt the radiance of ‘luminous’ experience. Campbell, in his last book, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, describes the illusion of perceiving the space-time continuum, the plagues the people Maslow called ‘homo-normalis-rationalis,’ who don’t feel the call of nature, as experientially traumatised people do. By calling attention to the common heritage of our human anatomy and the subconscious processes of perception, which, despite the normal sense of time, have not changed for at least 40,000 years.
So when you quite rightly feel that you are called to save the (social) world, you are in fact following in the footsteps of the great ‘awakeners’ like the Buddha and Jesus, the Christ. Dare I say, you actually feel the ‘anointed’ nature of your stream of consciousness, before it enters the river of public opinion, which, unfortunately, tends to become a flood of misperceived reality, as people simply manifest the mirror function we label, ‘mind.’ IMHO, in this time impoverished era, we have lost the ancient art of ‘realisation,’ ie, the word Sun, is not the reality of the Sun. To notice the sun’s reality, one has to take the time to ‘feel’ its radiance.
Campbell, describes how, as a well-adjusted social norm, he was eighty-five years old before he finally got what the great mystics have always said; the oneness of the all, is nameless. Or as the Buddha said, (also known as ‘one thus come, like the Sun; Words are not reality, only experience reveals the nature of being human. “After all these years, I get-it,” Campbell lamented as he accepted the wise Buddhist injunction; You not think too much nah!
Be well, Sara.
Hi Michael, nice article about the postured pretense and lack courage in the average practicing mind doctor, who of course must surely know their own minds, as they label the mind’s of the patient suffers. While regarding the word ‘stupidity’ I’ve heard it said that Einstein was asked during the fourth season of his life, what he thought about human personality traits. With a rye twinkle in his eye and tongue slightly protruding, he said the only one he was reasonably sure of was stupidity. ‘It seems to be as endless as time,’ he is reported to have said. While a mere temporal moment later, he whispered ‘then again, what material substance of mine, is contained within my name?’ The truth is but one, the ancients said, yet the sages call it out by many names.
Perhaps, the way to win this war against institutionalized stupidity would be to outflank the fearful perception of otherness labeling words, by a humor that critiques the Doctor’s own sense of reality? For example; if I raise my hand up to my face, creating a gestalt moment of temporal perception, and notice my mind’s quick judgment ‘hand,’ then wiggle my fingers to notice that the word hand, is not the lived experience of my hand. Will I come upon a momentary sensation of illusion, with regards to my habitual use of language? And would, per chance, a good intelligent mind doctor, by a similar mode of self-exploration, perhaps be able to notice the ‘motion’ of mind that judges from a fear of the others possible movements, that for survival’s sake, one is pressed to see a word, rather than the motions of nature in action?
But then again, in the fourth season of life, what price wisdom in a world grasping for material wealth? Although Steve Jobs, the creative force of nature behind those clever ‘apples’ inclined to distraction or knowledge, depending on the user, is reported to have said that he would trade all his clever devices for one afternoon with Socrates, in the hope of finding a form of wisdom, worthy of an inheritance.
In my experience, so-called mental illness is a right of passage experience instigated by the nervous system, in mother nature’s need for her child to mature and face reality, as it is. And if one can endure the process, it may even be understood as a call (as in Campbell’s 4 stage monomyth) to understand the nature of mind, from the inside-out. Wilhem Reaich’s bio-physics model of rhythmic pulsation in the arising nature of ideation was of enormous help, especially his mind stunning question ‘does the brain move?’ Like all the organs of the body.
I guess I have rambled too much within this wordy wise comment on your article of frustration, at ‘how’ people see a world made words in a time impoverished era of gestalt expectation. But I wish well Michael, once more into to mystic of life within a cosmic whale, my friend.