Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Comments by David Bates

Showing 100 of 423 comments. Show all.

  • Good commonsense would nice, if commonsense was not a cover-up of “how” we actually do, being human! That is, the existential nature of being in time. Or, reality beneath the commonsense delusion that we actually “know” ourselves because we can speak, read and write, words. Using our mind’s to regulation the unconscious nature of “Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self.” (Schore, 1995)

    As Mark Twain said, Sera. “When we realize that we are all mad, the mystery’s disappear and life stands explained.” While the explanation of life, as Being and Time, has been yielding its secrets to the emerging new science discipline of “psych-physiology,” while commonsense has continued with its dissociated “politics of experience,” not realizing that the politics of the personal, is all about the hidden nature of affect-regulation.

    Hence the war of words, in the current mental health debate, can be won by showing “how” the best way out, is through. Not from the “surface” perspective of what we do, but the internal context of how we are, human.

  • Just to explain again, in black & white, how I understand the vicarious sense of reality, I label my mind.

    FORMATIVE CAUSATION AND MORPHOGENESIS. Are 4 words from Rupert Sheldrake’s book, New Science of Life, which are relevant to my transformation of experiences, that mainstream psychiatry’s bio-medical view of my behaviour, saw as unmanageable without professional help and the long term use of medications. Although I noted, during my extensive research that much literature from science disciplines such as “psychophysiology” or research from Heartmath Institute, or the trauma related understanding of human experience, of people like Peter Levine and Bessel van der Kolk, cannot be found in so much of the pragmatic, treatment oriented literature of academic psychiatry, such as: The Recognition and Management of Early Psychosis. (McGorry, et al, 2012)

    Yet my medication free transformation, involving the experience of three affective psychoses or euphoric mania’s in 2010, 11 & 12, where managed using Levine’s understanding of how to discharge the energies, trapped within my body, by the uncompleted motor actions of traumatic experience. How to surrender to an innate capacity to self-heal overwhelming experiences. A charge and discharge understanding of nervous system function, and the morphogenesis of the mind, through the excitatory and inhibitory process of nerve cell activity. Subtle, involuntary activity within body-brain which can be sensed through the corresponding muscular tensions and vascular pressures, involved in respiratory sinus arrhythmia or high-frequency heart-rate variability.

    Which plays a primary role in regulation of energy exchange by synchronizing respiratory and cardiovascular processes during metabolic and behavioural change. With my self education about the impulsive nature of energy exchanges within my body, by adapting to a felt-thought sense of the internal landscape which creates my awareness of the external landscape, enabling the self-regulation of my behavioural change.

    With Sheldrake’s understanding of evolution, as habitual motion and spontaneous change, bringing me an awareness of the conception and evolution of my own life. Especially, the spontaneous change in my psychophysiology, which led to my first diagnosis of mental illness in 1980. Essentially because I was so self-ignorant of my own nature. The nature of the patterned relationship of my internal organs, mediated by my nervous system, and the formative causation of a sense of reality, I grew to call my mind.

    Best wishes to all,

    Batesy.

  • Thanks for this very timely & insightful essay on the dissociative nature of Western culture. As you say: Modern culture is highly dissociative, so I suggest that meditation and mindfulness training could fruitfully be built into psychiatric and therapeutic practice. This might prove to be especially important in work with so-called personality disorders and PTSD where patients often need help with fully experiencing the present moment in all its depth, freshness and novelty. (The trauma work of van der Kolk and Rothschild are my gold standards here.) In tandem with the memory reconsolidation work of Phelps et al., such a practice could prepare the ground for a quantum leap beyond early trauma and knee-jerk autonomic hyper-arousal which imprison victims in past images, visceral reactions and beliefs, destroying themselves and all those unfortunate enough to become trapped in their relational orbit.”

    I’ve finished an essay on my own journey, beyond my first “label” scizophrenia, in 1980. An essay which explores the evolution of my life & the formative causation & morophogenesis of my mind. Using R.D. Laing’s intuitive comment about the dissociative Paradox of Modernity; we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy. A heart based essay about the nature of “I am” & how as; “Lose your mind, to come into your senses.” -Fritz Pearls. Especially, the Sixth Sense of Infancy, which is lost to the rationalizing, adult mind. Ipso-Facto – “We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.” -R.D. Laing. Lost in the delusion that the words of public rhetoric, in the politics of our experience, is the reality of our motivation.

    An essay which explores the “simulation” of mindfulness practice in the Western world, after spending three years “immersed” in the largest Buddhist culture on earth. Hence I write:

    MINDFULNESS is a word that frustrated me enormously, before I spent time with Buddhist monks in Thailand. Having experienced the grounding exercises employed by many CBT therapists and others, using a Western version of Eastern rituals, which is largely a “simulated” version of ancient ritual, in my opinion. A version, which was, at times effective in calming the driven motivation of euphoric mania, giving me some sense of internal self regulation and the possibility that the metabolic energies involved, had some behaviour reorienting purpose. Yet I found it hopelessly inadequate for self regulating periods of major depression and the associated suicidal impulses to escape, overwhelming psychic pain. Until my full time exploration of ancient rituals and a compelling need to make the words of The Polyvagal Theory, flesh, changed my method of mindfulness practice to a mind-less, sensation awareness. Awareness of the muscular tensions and vascular pressures that underpin my thought process, like the tension always present in my tongue during my private ideation. The I-talk of internal self communication which is an aspect of the habitual formative causation of speech. A “felt-sense” (Gendlin, 1982) of self, employed in my self exploration journey, using Peter Levine’s “sensate” awareness of nervous system function, to resolve my life long issue of traumatized orienting responses. Specifically, through developing a felt-thought sense of my subconscious “neuroception” (Porges, 2011) of safety and security. Particularly, the internal sense of ontological security that traumatic experience had robbed me of, and a “treatment oriented,“ (McGorry et al, 2012) crisis intervention approach, simply re-enforced. Particularly, my first diagnosis of schizophrenia within 15 minutes of contact with a pharmacology oriented psychiatrist, who never mentioned the words, ontological insecurity or nervous system, during a three year period. While an ancient tradition of esoteric self exploration, brought an inner wisdom to mystical feelings during three episodes of euphoric mania, in 2010, 11, & 12. Made possible through a daily interaction with a Buddhist tradition of meditating on the Void of nonbeing, beneath the mind’s sense of duality. Which, as I have tried to indicate above, with Brian Massumi’s explanation of self-affectation, as the dual process of mind-body/body-mind, self-regulation.

    A body-mind awareness, which as you read these words, may bedoesn’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)”

    Interested readers may read more of my; 4 words: Nervous System, Mental Illness essay here:
    https://www.academia.edu/18666917/4_Words_Nervous_System_Mental_Illness

    As I have written here before, I write for the isolated, who have been re-traumatized by the pragmatic, time limited and treatment oriented approach of mainstream psychiatry. Writing that shows a black & white trail of experiential healing, using Peter Levine’s “sensate” awareness of “how” The Body Keeps the Score. And more importantly “how” to surrender to our “innate” capacity to heal overwhelming experiences. As I’ve just written elsewhere, I believe the true task of this community, is to show “how” the observations of all the people you mention above, are correct. For there is enough “developmental science” out there and particularly the “psycho-physiological” discoveries by people like Porges & McCarty, to bring a truly modern perspective to the ancient secrets of heart, written into the very clever, “esoteric/exoteric” narratives, on the human condition.

    Although, here on MIA, folks would have to loosen their “paternalistic” projections onto the nature of God, to discover the reality of a 3 letter word for Ultimate Reality, Within?

  • Thanks so much, Guy, for this timely reminder of Laing’s extraordinary “appetite” for being with people, and his experiential stand against the mind’s delusion that words, like schizophrenia” can actually describe the reality of human experience. A word that labelled my own lived experience, in 1980, which ironically, is the year of DSM III’s publication, as the tome which turned towards “statistics” as proof of evidence, rather than the quality of face to face, observation and heart-felt, inter-relationships.

    In my own journey towards a quality of life, beyond the mistrust of my own sensations, which medical diagnosis, instilled by way of the “paternal” veneration of family and friends, as well as myself, initially. The recent discoveries of the science field of “psycho-physiology” has brought a middle-path understanding to the quality observations of people like Laing and many others, who spent time looking a human behaviour, rather than machines. And while the current neuroscience research of people like Porges, Panksepp and Schore, is largely brain-centric and treatment-oriented, making the words of this research FLESH, has brought me an “in-the-flesh” sense of Ronnie’s conception of “ontological insecurity” in the behaviour of people, medically diagnosed as, in a “fever-type” (Porges, 2013) model of behaviour, having, schizophrenia.

    A model of conceptualization, which, in my humble opinion, rationalizes the behaviour of prescriptive medicine practice. Please consider these thoughts on my:

    Understanding of lived experience, which in my opinion compliments R.D. Laing’s conception of ontological insecurity, as my hidden motivation, organizing behaviors, variously diagnosed by others, as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder type 1. Diagnostic terms which rationalize the pragmatic behaviors of prescriptive medicine, in my humble opinion. A necessarily pragmatic approach to personal crisis intervention, which expediently ignores R.D. Laing’s warning that: We can see other people’s behavior, but not their experience. (Laing, 1990) A treatment oriented perception of others, which can not help, but ignore Allen Frances warning about seeing the other with a preconceived, expectation. An expectation which affective neuroscience is now explaining as the predictive role of the brain, in our perception of reality. Such as the predictive expectation, which perceived hypo-manic behavior, likely to become hyper-manic without a crisis intervention, that saw me deprived of my liberty in April 2007.

    ONTOLOGICAL INSECURITY Are 2 words I now understand as the habituated insecurity, that I managed to heal through the “felt-sense” development of increased “introception,” (Schore, 2003) through which I have gained a physiological awareness of how my innate “social engagement system” (Porges, 2011) is vulnerable to “affect dysregulation,” (Schore, 2003) after being primed by early life, traumatic experience. With my medication free selfregulation, resulting from an experiential integration of the words of The Polyvagal Theory. Which enabled a deeper understanding of “the mis-attuning social environment that triggers an intense arousal dysregulation,” (Schore, 2003) or “dissolution.” (Porges, 2011) An experience mediated by my nervous system’s “neurorception,” (Porges, 2011) of internal and external reality. A “psycho-physiological” model of human function which helped me to heal myself, after decades of trial and error failure, using a treatment oriented, crisis intervention model of human behavior. A phylogenetic perspective on human development and the ontological insecurity of nervous system dysregulation, based on the Jacksonian principle of dissolution:

    Jackson proposed that in the brain, higher (ie, phylogenetically newer) neural circuits inhibit lower (ie, phylogenetically older) neural circuits and ‘‘when the higher are suddenly rendered functionless, the lower rise in activity.’’ Although Jackson proposed dissolution to explain changes in brain function due to damage and illness, the polyvagal theory proposes a similar phylogenetically ordered hierarchical model to describe the sequence of autonomic response strategies to challenges.

    The model emphasizes phylogeny as an organizing principle and includes the following points: (1) there are well defined neural circuits to support social engagement behaviors and the defensive strategies of fight, flight, and freeze, (2) these neural circuits form a phylogenetically organized hierarchy, (3) without being dependent on conscious awareness the nervous system evaluates risk in the environment (i.e., neuroception) and regulates visceral state to support the expression of adaptive behavior to match a neuroception of safety, danger, or life threat. Functionally, when the environment is perceived as safe, two important features are expressed. First, bodily state is regulated in an efficient manner to promote growth and restoration (eg, visceral homeostasis).

    This is done through an increase in the influence of mammalian myelinated vagal motor pathways on the cardiac pacemaker that slows the heart, inhibits the fight–flight mechanisms of the sympathetic nervous system, dampens the stress response system of the HPA axis (eg, cortisol), and reduces inflammation by modulating immune reactions (eg, cytokines). Second, through the process of evolution, the brainstem nuclei that regulate the myelinated vagus became integrated with the nuclei that regulate the muscles of the face and head. This link results in the bidirectional coupling between spontaneous social engagement behaviors and bodily states. (Porges, 2011) ”

    A “sequence of autonomic response strategies to challenges,” which when felt through improved interceptive awareness of muscular tensions and vascular pressures, made the words of a “double-bind” (Bateson, 1956) and a “family projection process,” (Bowen, 1985) conceptions of schizophrenic behavior, flesh. My own inner double bind pattern, of involuntary and voluntary responses to our social world.

    More of this, lived experience sense of ontological insecurity, can be read on academia.edu here: https://www.academia.edu/18666917/4_Words_Nervous_System_Mental_Illness

    An essay about lived experience and our social world, which is, in my humble opinion, in desperate need of more emotional honesty about our inner world and we actually do, being human. Thoughts, which I believe echo your own words Guy, when you write:

    This can only be done, as Laing once noted, in the spirit of live and let live. As in any relationship, when the chips are down, you take your chances, and I take mine, in the to and fro, wear and tear, of sharing my life with the community I am a part of, for better or for worse.

    Sincere regards,

    David Bates.

  • Regards the internal change that was the process of my un-learning, the delusion that I knew myself, simply because I’d grown to adulthood taking for granted this habituated process of thinking & speaking. I have just completed my latest attempt to articulate the lived experience of psychosis, from the perspective of R.D. Laing’s conception of ontological insecurity, explaining how I used Peter Levine’s “sensate” awareness approach, to make the words of recent neuroscience discovery, flesh. Specifically, professor Stephen Porges articulation of nervous system dissolution. Which I believe, brings a neuroscience confirmation of Ronnie’s “experiential” understanding of schizophrenia. Through his extraordinary “appetite” for being “with” people, compared to a “categorizing” aversion towards other people.

    May be read on academia.edu here: https://www.academia.edu/18666917/4_Words_Nervous_System_Mental_Illness

    An essay which explores the formative causation & morphogenesis of my mind. In the existential context of my personal evolution.

  • Sorry, time presses & typing excluded; which the existential psychiatrist “R.D. Laing” sums up, quiet intuitively, in his comment: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in infancy. The trance state illusion that words involve a solid sense of reality, rather than a vicarious sense of reality.

  • Dear Sera, you write: As best as I can tell, the disconnect comes from the fact that we’ve all been taught to think about people who’ve been given psychiatric diagnoses or who are acting ‘crazy’ or who are hospitalized because they’ve been deemed ‘out of control’ as other. When those parts of ourselves get so big and colorful as to lead to some such grand intervention, we seem to intentionally blind ourselves to their much more readily relatable roots – the points at which we could see ourselves reflected back.

    In fact, for some, I think that process of ‘othering’ is something of a survival skill because letting in the idea that ‘us’ is ‘them’ feels too dangerous. The idea that any of us is capable of getting to such an extreme place is too frightening to bear.” in the context of your en-titled promise: Crisis is (un)Learning.

    Which I agree with from the perspective of un-learning the sense that I knew myself, simply because I could speak, read and write the common words of our social communication. A process of unlearning this deluded sense of reality, which the existential psychiatrist sums up, quiet intuitively, in his comment: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in infancy. The trance state illusion that words involve a solid sense of reality, rather than a vicarious sense of reality.

    In everyday practice, the best way I can articulate my previous self-ignorance of a language based sense of self. Is that, before reading Alan N Schore’s landmark book “Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self,” in 2007, I knew more about the internal functioning of my motor car, than I knew about the internal function of my body-mind. Before 2007, I was lost in the double-bind paradox of my non-voluntary & voluntary responses to the reality of being. Taking my daily experience for granted, as I thought I saw an obvious reality, beyond my skin. While remaining comfortably numb, to the reality of “how” I do, seeing.

    Hence, my seemingly paradoxical comments here on MIA, as I try to turn a socio-political agenda towards the more profound question of what madness is, if it is not what the high priests of psychiatry, say it is. While my current medication free self-regulation, comes from unlearning a too “obvious” sense of “us & them” and through a broad reading education, coming to appreciate why, professor Jaak Panksepp suggests “we are all brothers and sisters under the skin.”

    While in terms of un-learning a paradoxical sense of material reality, you write:

    “I’ve been reminded many times recently how ‘crisis’ really does lead to (un)learning, and how it can, in fact, unite groups around common causes, bringing new relationships and illumination all around. I’ve seen that happen individually for people I know, and also for my community as a whole.

    (Shameless plug ahead) In fact, I’ve seen it up close and personal in the Greenfield, Massachusetts part of our RLC community as of late. Unfortunately, the threat of loss of a substantial portion of the RLC’s budget in that area rode in on the heels of a statewide threat of a similar nature that had only just been conquered.”

    This paradox of personal survival and spirituality, by which we are; caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender. -Jackson Browne. While, unlearning a sense of reality “out-there,” by appropriate education about reality within, can, in my experience, bring a depth of awareness, about the nature of our own “bio-energetic” economy. Especially, the systems of unconscious projection, by which we create the material survival needs of our social world.

    Why is it, that “the politics of experience,” has a habit of maintaining the status-qua? And are we, in this century, on the event horizon of understanding the formative causation and morphogenesis of our human mind? Which in terms of our personal evolution, requires knowledge of early life development and why “the attempt to regulate affect, is the driving force in human motivation” -Alan N Schore.

    The human paradox? As the experiential lessons of Zen Buddhism teach. Like when I was in Laos & asked a Buddhist monk about how I should understand reality? Bang! He hit me on the head, with wooden mallet. Lesson; you can only FEEL it. Which is the real secret to my medication free, self-regulation, the unlearning of a thought sense of my own reality and a re-orientation to feeling it.

  • Elizabeth Svoboda writes for Aeon. “The literature we choose to guide us should supply proven advice we can trust. But it should also, as Franz Kafka wrote, be ‘the axe for the frozen sea within us’, bludgeoning us in ways that awaken us to the extraordinary.”

    A frozen sea which Buddhist, experiential philosophy describes in one word, Void. Or that point at the bottom of the nervous system reactivity, described as flight/fight/freeze, when one manges, after much practice. to stop thinking. A point in time and space, which can spontaneously alter the habituated nature of one’s personal evolution, in my experience.

    While; Reading be More Effective than Medication or Therapy, if we, as Joseph Campbell advises, “read the right books by the right authors.” Books like The Polyvagal Theory, in which the explanation of our nervous system motivation, brings an inverted triangular, embodied awareness to Abraham Maslow’s, triangular hierarchy of human needs. While reading Stephen Porges alongside Peter Levine, brought me an embodied awareness of an innate capacity to heal overwhelming experience.

    While, in terms of our mind’s sense of duality, one may contemplate a dual “mind-body” process of “self-affectation” through the act of reading these very words. As Brain Massumi explains, of our constant embodied process of Movement, Affect, Sensation:

    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) Copied from: Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Post-Contemporary Interventions) Duke University Press. Kindle Edition.

    Through such “attention” to how our body creates our mind, we can transcend the delusion that we know ourselves, simply because we can speak, read and write, words.

  • Dear J Doe, you write “words can put vulnerable people at risk—not only to their sense of self-worth, their sense of self-knowledge.” A word formulation I agree with, although from the perspective that the words we use for social communication, is not the reality of our motivation. In fact, since acquiring the kind of knowledge which explains a hidden motivation beneath my skin, I’ve embraced R.D. Laing’s intuitive understanding of the paradox of modernity, in his comment: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.

    Embraced the false-self illusion, that I knew myself, simply because I could speak, read and write, words. Dissolved my normally adjusted ego sense-of-self, by making the words of recent neuroscience discovery, flesh. Which has allowed me to remain medication free, for eight years now. A making words flesh, journey of experiential self-exploration, which has brought me a visceral sense of Jaak Panksepp’s comment: we are all brothers and sisters under the skin. By of how our nervous systems mediate the internal relationships of our body’s major organs, and create our mind’s, subjective experience.

    An under the skin sense of reality, that can bring an embodied sense of limits of language and self-interested survival, to: A WAR OF WORDS: THE DSM AND DEPENDENCE, and the egoic war of words involved in posts and comments here on MIA. A language based delusion about human motivation, which sees the curious paradox of normal self-interested function, which ignores well formulated essays like this one.

    While Laing explained the self-interested illusions of his own profession by drawing attention to human behaviour and how we avoid examining our own, with a language of self-deception: I see you, and you see me. I experience you, and you experience me. I see your behaviour. You see my behaviour. But I do not and never have and never will see your experience of me. Just as you cannot “see” my experience of you. And Allen Frances sums up psychiatry’s behavioural dilemma with: psychiatric diagnoses is seeing something which exists, but with an expectation of what we see.

    A post hypnotic trance addiction to words, which Alexander Johnson sums up with: the delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature. The hidden nature,of our nervous system motivation, in my experience.

    You mention the words informed consent and I wonder how you feel about the informed consent around the dangers of smoking, and the paradox of normal behaviour, which ignores both written words and graphic visual images of smoking related disease?

    I wish you joy, in your journey towards non medicated self-regulation.

  • Hi Alex, thanks for kind words of support.

    In my own trial of the visionary mind, as Dr John Weir Perry suggests of the extreme sensory awareness that plagues the highly sensitive soul. I believe that 2040 will begin a species realization of what we are, in our journey towards wholeness, as one tribe, with an inevitable Cosmic destiny.

  • “Nevertheless, moral treatment’s outcomes in various centers and hospitals in Europe and America showed that psychosocial support, not medical techniques, was the most potent agent of healing.”

    While the latest science from the field of “psychophysiology” shows us the hidden agent of facial nerves and muscles, by which psychosocial support, affects the human heart. Although, one has to take a multi-disciplinary approach to research, in order to find such highly relevant literature, rather than just reading the material of particular self-interest.

    While in the context of that oft repeated phrase, these days, a continuum of human experience. I note the success of trails using the love molecule oxytocin, to revive the “social engagement system” (Porges, 2011) of people diagnosed as Autistic. While, as a continuum of human experience, perhaps all of us, could be diagnosed as suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder, as developmental neuroscience, now suggests of our early life experience. A continuum of human experience, described by R.D. Laing, as how: we are all in posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.

    I suspect that psychosocial sense of self, is heading towards a realization of this phenomena, as myopically focused brain research, continues to fail in its utopian quest for the cause of so-called mental illness. Hopefully, the devil of self-interest or banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt calls the bloody minded mediocrity of the average human being, will come to a profound realization, soon.

  • To oldhead, my first diagnosis of schizophrenia, was almost 36 years ago now, within 15 minutes of my first contact with doctors of the mind. Who’s crisis intervention motivation I understand, while lamenting the way self-interest plagues us all and blinds us to reality within. These days, I prefer professor Jaak Panksepp’s understanding of how, we are all brothers and sisters under the skin, to the vicarious sense of reality, we call our mind’s subjective experience. Specifically, the seductive sense that we actually know ourselves because we can speak, read and write words.

    Specifically, in this era of unprecedented material wealth, which paradoxically includes unprecedented, physical and mental ill heath. A paradox, many writers now label The Paradox of Modernity. Specifically, the everyday illusion of words, by which, as Allen Frances points out: Psychiatric diagnosis is seeing something which exists, but with an expectation of what we see.

    Hence, my own writing about resolving my birth trauma conditioned expectations of life, and my eight years of medication free self-regulation, describes the need to orient attention, by way of “felt-sense” internal exploration, of how my nervous system organizes my bio-energetic resources and energizes my thoughts. While, with all due respect, your responses to me, are covering up your inability to know yourself, from the inside-out. An inability, manifest in your reply: Those who have gone through extreme states (and there are plenty here at MIA) are aware of what they are.

    Again, please enlighten me, on what they are. And let me know how dystopian visions of the future, are simply a non-conscious projection, involving a profound lack of self-awareness, because as R.D. Laing pointed out: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy. The delusion that we know ourselves because we have been taught to speak, read and write words. Where though, is the taut sense of muscular tensions and vascular pressures that give rise to this process we call thinking.

    I look forward to your articulation of your own”in-the-flesh” experience of being human.

  • As I suspected, you cannot point me towards a post here on MIA, that explains how mental illness is not what psychiatrists say it is. Or how people get lost in the illusion that the everyday words we use for communication with self & others, is the reality of our motivation.

    Hence, the socio-political agenda will continue, going around and around its “us & them” Cartesian circle.

  • Hi Naas, I noted, that in your personal story, you cited Peter Levine’s work in healing trauma, and seemed to suggest that trauma plays a role in the historical journey of a family. While in the context of medication free sleep, my own journey to resolve birth trauma and give up my need for sleeping pills, during periods of intense excitement or mania.

    I used Peter’s book In an Unspoken Voice. To help me make the words of recent neuroscience discovery, flesh. Specifically, the words: the motor act is the cradle of the mind. By adopting a “felt-sense” of mind-less awareness of muscular tensions surrounding my heart. A practice enabling surrender to sleep, which I describe here: http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/p/recovery-method.html

    A mind-less meditation which has since brought awareness of the muscular tensions and vascular pressures which underpin my thinking processes. Like, the tension, always present within my tongue, during private ideation, which brought an awareness of how my thoughts are a preparation for speech. Beneath, my once taken for granted sense of my thoughts, as a just so, experience.

    Good luck with your journey, its a long and winding road, by which we cleanse the doors of perception, as William Blake & William James suggest.

  • Hi Michael, your post reminds me of an American legend’s heart-felt plea: We can’t go on together.
    With suspicious minds. And we can’t build our dreams. On suspicious minds. -Singer Elvis Presley. Writer: Francis Zambon. While your well chosen title remind’s me of McGilchrist’s suggestion, in his book The Master & His Emissary, about right & left hemisphere brain function, that our mind’s are now hostage to the image of our own creation and we’ve adopted the logic of the machine.

    The cause and an effect process going on inside the brain logic of technological conception, which ignores how the brain is energized by the body. While driven by an unconscious urge to belong, so many people simply affirm the consensus rhetoric, no matter how paradoxical or contradictory to the nature of our actual experience, such consensus rhetoric, is.

    And while I do understand the need for political activism, in pointing out the hypocrisy of a world view that “would blame its patients for so overwhelmingly choosing not to take the medications.” I continue to be dumbfounded by the lack of interest shown here on MIA, towards the game changing question: If mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it?

    To which I answer: Behavior, manifest by our nervous systems need to re-orient our non-conscious perceptions of reality. Our “neuroception” of reality, as professor Stephen Porges explains, in The Polyvagal Theory. While asking my American cousins to consider the affect of culture, in the context of an historical denial about the body and its role in creating the mind? Especially, in the context of where we are now, on humanity’s journey towards self-realization.

    With deep respect for the sanctity of human life, I ask readers here on MIA to contemplate their nation’s traumatic birth into modernity and peer through the veil of a self-fulfilling sense of fearful paranoia, by which this kind of “us & them” world view of humanity, arises. The same question I ask my fellow Australian’s to contemplate, as we inflict our Caucasian-centric views on refugees, while paving the road to hell, with our good intentions.

    I’ll end here with a paraphrase of the quote from C.S. Lewis:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny subconsciously exercised for the good of its victim, may be the most oppressive to the honest perception of oneself.

    Love,

    David.

  • Ideology is the thinking we do to avoid being aware of our own reality. Ideology, creates an experience of resonance between people, that is similar to a love affair. Ideology, is the verbal expression of our attachment need. Ideology, is the “projection” of the systems inside us, that create the illusion of systems, out there.

    Ideology, is the need to regulate internal state, to mobilize our bio-energetic states of being. Yet, ideology, formed by constant thinking, prevents us from inhabiting The Power of Now & Self-Healing. Ideology, as constant “autonomic” thinking, prevents us from digesting the written word, at first sight. Because we become so possessed by ideological desire, that we function with an “expectation” of reality, because our ideological desire prevents us from feeling what we are seeing.

    Ideological desire, is produced by what Laing called ontological insecurity, which can now be understand through Stephen Porges discovery of our vagal function and nervous system “dissolution,” in the face of life challenge.

    IMHO and as I’ve stated here many times, there will be no change until we face reality within and the historical damage done by a Western perception of the body as a house of sin. Hence, in the developed world, there now one billion people officially obese, which from an Eastern perspective on Self-Awareness, suggests the rise in higher education has thickened our dissociation from our own reality.

    Hence, the socio-political agenda will simply go round and round this circle of dissociation, until we address the issue of self-interested survival & stop denying it. Because self-interested ideology will be met with equally self-righteous ideology. Please read Brian Massumi’s important work again, on HOW we read with a habitual mode of functioning, which has long forgotten how we learned to do this:

    “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. It was asserted in the last chapter that action and perception are reciprocals of each other.

    When we read, we do not see the individual letters and words. That is what learning to read is all about: learning to stop seeing the letters so you can see through them. Through the letters, we directly experience fleeting vision like sensations, inklings of sound, faint brushes of movement. The turning in on itself of the body.”

    Again IMHO, it would be far more productive for this movement to answer Dr Michael Cornwall’s potent question: If mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, what is it? Behavior, manifest by our nervous systems need to re-orient our non-conscious perceptions of reality. Our “neuroception” of reality, as professor Stephen Porges explains, in The Polyvagal Theory.

    Answering Micheal’s question, by pointing out the science that does explain how the body creates the mind, will be game changer, IMHO. While the reactive ideology will simply maintain the status-qua.

    You write: So, we’re all going to need to get a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I guess this blog is intended at least somewhat as a call to action to do just that.

    Tell me Sera, how do you do, being comfortable & uncomfortable and do you feel a sense that thought, spoken & written words, is the actual reality of your motivation? Know Thyself, was the ancients advice, perhaps because they knew the word was good, because it comes from the flesh, yet have fallen into a habit of sighting words without making them flesh? Habitual movements of the mind, just like habitual movements of the body?

    In the great guru tradition of self-awareness, the general state of the human condition is summed up by the word ignorance. The dwarf within, is another, more visual metaphor for self-ignorance. While interestingly, if you travel India, you may notice that Jesus is revered as a Guru, just like Buddha. Although, what could we learn from simply sitting on our Ass? Another word for Donkey, I believe.

    Best,

    David.

  • Do I hear the Politics of Experience? I wonder? In the socio-political agenda, here on MIA.

    I understand the need to feel a sense of belonging and the self-affectation of our self-defensive view of reality. Yet, in the context of modernity’s painfully obvious misogyny, let me ask readers to consider a view of reality, from two men, not afraid to challenge the obvious sense of reality, that plagues the worried well masses, we label “normal.” Please contemplate with a felt-sense of reality, the second-hand, vicarious illusions created by our mind & how, as R.D. Laing suggested: We are all in posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.

    MIND: AS VIRTUAL REALITY.
    The mind’s Self-Affectation of Internal Regulation and a Vicarious (second hand) Sense of Reality. Please read Brian Massumi’s explanation of how the mind, is a virtual re-presentation, as McGilchrist puts it, of our, in the living moment, sense of reality:

    “Self-affectation. A term that should be understood in the double sense of the artificial construction of a self and of the suffusing of that self with affect. Here, there is no model. Only infolding and unfolding: self-referential transformation. The analog is process, self-referenced to its own variations. It resembles nothing outside itself. A topological image center literally makes the virtual appear, in felt thought. It is more apparitional than empirical. Sensation, always on arrival a transformative feeling of the outside, a feeling of thought, is the being of the analog. It is matter in analog mode. This is the analog in a sense close to the technical meaning, as a continuously variable impulse or momentum that can cross from one qualitatively different medium into another. Like electricity into sound waves. Or heat into pain. Or light waves into vision. Or vision into imagination. Or noise in the ear into music in the heart. Or outside coming in. Variable continuity across the qualitatively different: continuity of transformation. The analog impulse from one medium to another is what was termed in the last chapter a transduction. In sensation the thinking-feeling body is operating as a transducer. If sensation is the analog processing by body-matter of ongoing transformative forces, then foremost among them are forces of appearing as such: of coming into being, registering as becoming.

    The analog process of reading translates ascii code into figures of speech enveloping figures of thought, taken in its restrictive sense of conscious reflection. 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. It was asserted in the last chapter that action and perception are reciprocals of each other. If, as Bergson argued, a perception is an incipient action, then reciprocally an action is an incipient perception. Enfolded in the muscular, tactile, and visceral sensations of attention are incipient perceptions. When we read, we do not see the individual letters and words. That is what learning to read is all about: learning to stop seeing the letters so you can see through them. Through the letters, we directly experience fleeting vision like sensations, inklings of sound, faint brushes of movement. The turning in on itself of the body, its self-referential short-circuiting of outward-projected activity, gives free rein to these incipient perceptions. In the experience of reading, conscious thought, sensation, and all the modalities of perception fold into and out of each other. “ -Brian Massumi

    Copied from: Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Post-Contemporary Interventions) Duke University Press. Kindle Edition.

    This is an example of the reading material which has helped me understand myself from the inside-out, and experientially confirm Dr John Weir Perry’s statement in his book Trail of the Visionary Mind, “psychosis is natures way of setting things right.”

    And while I truly understand you when write: Our efforts were founded on all sorts of great ideals and slogans like ‘nothing about us without us’, but all these years later we still seem to be searching for what that really means. Yet, in spite of all our struggles and convolutions along the way, it continues to boil down to essentially the same basic point, doesn’t it, -Sera.

    I beg you to consider the need to take the ideology out of the debate & offer practical solutions for the hundreds of thousands who suffer in isolation. The basic point that I’m trying to make here, is that the common-sense notion that we truly know ourselves because we cab speak, read and write words. Is, in existential terms, a delusion.

    Which why Hakomi therapists begin with the question “how do you do? How are you doing, you?” Before re-orienting the client towards sensation awareness of how their whole body, which has no separate parts, when one looks at reality with 100 times magnification, creates the experience we label, mind.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Kelly, you write:
    “According to Whitaker, when we look at the escalating rates of psychiatric medication treatment, we have to ask some important questions about its role in the escalating rates of mental health disability in this country (1 in 70 adults) and globally.

    He helps us to see:

    There is no validated science that supports any neurochemical explanation for any of the diagnosable mental illnesses, and such, medications acting on these chemical systems force the body to adapt.

    This adaptation are likely responsible for the data supporting poorer long-term outcomes in those who have been medicated than those who never were (but presented with the same symptoms) or who were tapered. In this way, a chronic state of symptoms even while medicated, and withdrawal when tapered leads to a psychic holding pen for many patients, potentially for the rest of their lives.”

    But are these statements the whole truth or half truths? For example, exactly how do we validate scientifically, the reality of human experience? And is it true to say that there is no science that supports the body’s adaptation processes? Developmental science which is increasingly uncovering the internal nature of adaptive function and showing why the research on brain processes, is quiet bizarrely myopic, as-if brain process is not energized by the body.

    When I made my first comments here on MIA, I suggested that Robert’s focus on medications was equally myopic and failed to ask the question of brings any individual to a doctor of the brain, for very first time, as I tried to argue for the autonomic nervous systems role in mental health, with its constant feedback from the body, especially the other major organs, heart, lung & stomach.

    What saddens me deeply about the ongoing “socio-political” focus of this webzine, is the failure to provide practical advice about HOW to self-regulate episodes of disrupting behaviour, which a treatment oriented view, reflexively perceives through the lens of symptoms. Rather than “bio-energetic” states of being, as you indicate at the end of your post.

    While, in my own need to understand episodes of what academic psychiatrists call affective psychosis, most commonly understood as mania. Self-education about the nervous organization of my lived experience, not only confirmed John Weir Perry’s comment: I really do feel “chronic schizophrenia” is
    created by society’s negative response to what is actually a perfectly natural and healthy process. Read more here: http://www.global-vision.org/papers/JWP.pdf

    A natural and healthy process, long described by Peter Levine and given much credence by The Polyvagal Theory, which did so much the confirm Bessel van der Kolk’s notions of how: The Body Keeps the Score, in the so-called symptoms of PTSD. A process of adaptation, long denied in socio-political history of our Western world.

    Interestingly, you write: Most of the time, when you sit and watch. When you try to look with curiosity, decisions are made for you and crises morph into new normals.

    This process of rebirth is often compared to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. The stark contrast between before and after, the dark dissolving transition, and the struggle into a grand new existence.”

    And ask you and others here on MIA to consider the current epidemic of mental illness diagnosis, as the process by which humanity as a whole, is undergoing a transition into a species self-realization, beyond the traumatic birth of modernity, which has led to the current paradox of unprecedented material wealth, with rising physical and mental ill health. Which, in many Eastern societies, is viewed as an historical loss of internal self-awareness, due to the rise of an intellectual sense of self, which cannot “feel” the vicarious sense of reality, created by an unquestioning use of language and image labelling words.

    As I wrote on the facebook page for: Esalen Institute- Compassionately Responding to People in Extreme States Weekend Workshop. November 20-22

    Its certainly been a mighty struggle to make the words of neuroscience discovery flesh & give up the everyday illusion of words & the sense that I knew myself, simply because I can speak, read and write words. A struggle to “cleanse the doors of perception,” as William Blake and William James advise, by feeling within, just how: the delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature. -Alexander Johnson. Our own, internal nature and our unique, yet often self-defeating capacity for adaptation.

  • Love the notion of a mad economy that is giving birth to R. D. Laing’s prophecy: 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.

    Which reminds me of my first dream of a world without money, after a fervent prayer to God, to give me a sign and show me what I should do with my life. Of course I didn’t expect a 3 decade involvement with the paternalistic modus operandi, of the developed world’s mental health systems and the delusion by which we exalt language above nature, to flow from that life challenging moment of fervent prayer.

    Especially, the effort involved in understanding, in both body and mind, what R.D. Laing meant by: We are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy. The self-deceiving seduction involved in words of communication with Self and Others (another of Laing’s insightful books) IS the reality of our motivation. A fleshy sense of self, which wonders if Mother Nature views us all, as terrorists, these days?

    Keep up the great work Karen, although I do wonder about normalizing, recovery?

  • Dear Ron, you write “But it’s not true that the BPS report fails to include mention of terrible experiences – it includes for example mention of a sense of one’s blood being poisoned, of going to hell, of “the worst feeling I’ve ever felt.” Which I understand from lived experience, even though my very first experience of what academic psychiatrist’s call an affective-psychosis or mania, felt wonderful and I experienced no fear of my own sensations, until the powerful tranquillization AFFECT, of a chemical straitjacket began to manifest as the subjective experience of an internalized sense of threat.

    Which, in hindsight, was a manifest sense of the existential issue that had plagued my lived experience, since the trauma of my forceps delivered birth. While, since my experience-dependant resolution of 3 episodes of mania or affective-psychosis, during 3 years spent, immersed in a Buddhist culture, I have asked psychiatrist’s why they take this “psychosis is always a bad experience” concept for granted?

    “Is an observation bias, driven by sub-conscious self-interest,” I ask them. “Does it rationalize your own behaviour and the needs of prescriptive medicine,” I ask. And have you seen video footage of doctor’s lamenting their dilemma of posturing a sense of knowing, that patients demand?

    “I’m expected to know what the problem is and know how to fix it,” one young doctor explains, on youtube, before adding “its part of my training.”

    While a cultural tradition in the East, asks us to contemplate, with a “mind-less” sense of being, described by Tolle as The Power of Now. The delusion involved in the sense that we know ourselves, simply because we can speak, read and write, words. A perspective on lived-experience, which can bring a balanced understanding of psychosis, between one’s body & one’s mind.

  • Michael concludes:”I hope that our society doesn’t persist in the fear-induced reaction that forces people in our communities who are experiencing extreme states to experience violations of their human rights as well.” It will.” writes Seth.

    Unless, we are experiencing the event horizon of R.D. Laing’s prophecy? That through the experience of quiet ordinary people diagnosed with schizophrenia, the light will begin to break into our all too closed mind’s? Closed by way of life’s experience and the vicarious impressions of reality, as it is, which we are raised to label, mind? Because, in my experience of recovery, we are all, as Ronnie described, in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy. Or, as Alexander B Johnson puts it: The delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature. Our own nature, in my experience of exploring the “self-affectation” process involved in the experience of delusion, which, experientially confirmed for me, personally. John Weir Perry’s statement: psychosis is natures way of setting things right.

    Although, it was a mighty struggle to give up my illusion that I knew myself simply because I can speak, read and write, words. And are words, but surface image labels of reality? As-if, the word schizophrenia, contains the reality of lived-experience. And while the world’s leading psychiatrist’s continue to fight (with words) over whether Bipolar Disorder & Schizophrenia, can be described as the experience of affective & non-affective psychosis, Allen Francis asks us to contemplate, with a mind-less sense of Tolle’s The Power of Now, how: Man is the labelling animal, we can’t stop ourselves from putting a label on everything in sight.

    And as much as I love my brother in arms, Michael Cornwall, I beg you comrade, to feel the internal nature of projection, by which the American psyche, in my humble opinion, is trapped within a taken for granted sense of “us & them.” To paraphrase Australia’s newly minted Prime Minister’s suggestion about our public debate on nuclear energy, we have to take the ideology out the politics of experience and explore the practical realities involved in how we understand, the nature of being human.

    As always, much love,

    David.

  • Dear James, you write: we often speak of stigma, as if it is almost a living, breathing organism itself that flows throughout our land. But of course, we all know that stigma is really an intricate composite of individual experiences and reactions over time, each that presses an individual into difficult, uncomfortable decisions and circumstances.

    I found the ” living, breathing organism itself that flows throughout our land,” more accurate than the “knowing” labels that follow. Which is to say, the notion that we do know the reality of our actual experience, which is, as you say, that of a breathing orgamism, by the words/labels we have learned to use in communication with our fellow beings, are anything more than a symbolized sense of our own reality. From my own struggle to understand my abnormal experience from the inside-out, giving-up the educated sense that reality, especially my own, is a cognitive construct, has involved, not word/label recognotion but “stimulus” recognition and confronting the trauma fuelled impulse to escape into the dissociation of mind, which denys our actual nature.

    Life begins with cognitive capacity but not cognitive function and I had to relearn the introceptive capacity which “normals” take for granted, in that gift of forgetting that has fuelled our success as a spicies. Resulting in a 21st century, 1st world, normal adult function which is in denial of its subconscious motivation, as we increasingly use language skills to aid survival.

    How will the labelling dillema be resolved when it involves a false paradigm of everday perception, so concisely pointed out by millenia of sage experience? Like R.D. Laing’s intuitive: we are all in posthypnotic trance induced in infancy. While Buddha suggests: words do not describe reality, only experience unveils truth.

    In my opinion the current feeding frenzy of medical diagnosis, will be seen in hindsight, as nature correcting our flight into exoteric sense-ability, which now needs to follow the circular nature of reality, back to an esoteric sense-ability.

  • Sorry for the typo’s. The suggestion that reading is a consumatory act, comes from: Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader. by Sedgwick & Frank. A good introduction the the visceral nature of human development, from pre-birth to adulthood and the now missing term “unconscious” which is apparently, “so last century.” According to some of the bright young wits at ISPS-Int.

    Yet, I seem to remember, during Gestalt training, that Fritz Pearls understood this visceral digestion of the word and how important it is to NOT simply sight words and end up like Mr Meeks in the movie Cloud Atlas. Parroting “I know, I know!” Mind you! The ancient’s did say that the meek will inherit the earth.

    While my current girlfriend keeps laughing at me, with: Davis Bates. David Bates. David Bates. How do you like them labels? How do you feel about me verbalizing & stigmatizing you, in this way?

    She smiles & winks, while she tells me she knows, I am, more than a bunch of words. While I smile back, doing my best to invoke a sense of her knowing that she’s exquistitly, drop dead gorgeous and way beyond anything my innsecure & impotent words might convey.

    While Monty Python knew best, that our innate reality is more of a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Say no more! Time to re-visiit the unspoken voice of the body & realize the clinical illusions, in our bio-medical, (a quick fix pill, for every ill) throughly modernistic, sense-of self .

    Yet alas, I am a society outsider confronting an insider game, of paternalistic rank & status. Please dis-regard my wordy meandering’s & my self-educated sense of self-revelation.

  • FEELS like spring is in the air, in the somewhat United Kingdom. While our good King David, the honest male Doctor sets out his metaphorical tale of a another, new beginning. What we need is true reason, not this treason of psuedo-science fostered on my loyal subjects by those who pofess insider knowledge of the truth, about our common mental health.

    While here in the survival stakes of everday survival (racing metaphors, so beloved of World Wide Royalty) we compete to see who will be the material winners & losers. And as the material girls all know, its a material world & the reality of male presence is simply nor enough. Don’t you get that feeling sometimes, that Charles Dickens had a gender bias? “You want MORE!” My dear Olive Oil. Sorry, I digress.

    I guess, I’m wondering whether the well known use of rich visual metaphors, in the movies, might help us to transcend the Paternalism engendered social matrix & the illusions . . . delusions that language describes our actual experience. For example, why does the consensus mainstream accept the term “mental illness,” with its paradoxical sense of “its all about my head and my body is not involved in this experience.” Where is the VISCERAL sense of reality, in a term meant only for communication betweencommon self’s, while confusing said self’s that RHETORIC is reality?

    Can we, for the sake of our children’s children’s children, be honest about HOW language covers-up the visceral nature of our common reality, “as-if” (Damasio, 1994) “words describe reality.” -Buddha.
    Can we “notice how we fail to notice,” (Laing, 1967) that life is a progression of habitual behaviour, like the habitual greet & meet social reflexes of “hi how are you.” Which includes the “triangles” (Bowen, 1996) of talking about otherness, to modulate the raw energies of a heart-centered reality, in being here, now.

    Perhaps King David the honest male doctor will propose a new mental health caregory in his new Magna Carta? Vocational Illusion Disorder, springs to mind as I remember the sage advice. “In the great race of life, you should always bet on self-interest.” And will there be space for Queen’s in this new charter? A move beyond our misogynistic sense of reality, where insecure men feel the need of power? Yet of course, as Billy Shakespeare pointed out, earth bound time, in our survival oriented sense of here & now, is somewhat deluded, Horatio!

    Perhaps, readers may contemplate the reality of another springtime & King David:
    Springtime in Jerusalem – II Samuel 11:
    Now it was at the turning of the year, at the time of kings/messengers going-forth,
    that David sent Yo’av and his servants with him, and all Israel. They laid waste to the Children of Ammon and besieged Rabba, while David stayed in Jerusalem.

    Act I. David and Batsheva
    Scene 1- David sees a woman
    2 Now it was around the time of sunset that David arose from his lying-place/couch and
    went walking on the roof of the king’s house, and he looked at a woman washing herself – from on the roof. The woman was very good-looking!

    In the sense of context is everything, that many suggest is illusive and fleeting. This ancient narritive about the human condition and HOW the heart so often rules the head. Brings a sense of context & perspective to David Healy’s effort to use metaphor in its role of points to deeper truths which defy objective reason. In fact, imo, it is only by escaping the mind numbing, self-objectifying logic of modernity, that we can bring a new sense-ability to our common need to see through the illusions of our “medical model” of human behaviour. BEHAVIOUR being a word that shifts the context of mental health perception, away from the “bio-medical sense of self, ushered in by DSM-III” -David Healy.

    Please consider the context shifting perception of modernist critique of the 195o’s movie “David & Bathsheba,” starring the all-American hero, Gregory Peck. And as Roxane Gay (the, Bad Feminist) discussed on a recent Aussie show labelled One-plus One, why do we crave Hero’s? Which, here on MIA, may resonate with readers of Robert’s book’s & the motif by which one’s own life may be subconsciously, acted-out? Please consider the interesting (to the ever fleeting mind) catergories of critique, for the ancient, ever present, David the hero, story:

    The Enigmatic Batsheva and the Male Gaze: Gendered Readings:
    The Men Face Off and the Men Coverup:
    Impeachment for King David –Bathsheva Gate and Watergate:

    Read more here: http://www.haggadahsrus.com/PDF/DavidAvigailBatsheva.pdf

    The interview with Roxane Gay & her sense of chilhood trauma & our common craving for heroic others, can be seen here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/programs/one-plus-one/

    The main point, I’m trying to write here, is that words, particularily written words, give a false sense of reality, in an era when survival involves the manipulation of words and we all tend towards a too literal interpreatation, falling into a sense og adult function, described so accurately by Ronnie Laing: “we are all in a posthypnotic trance, induced in infancy.”

    As you read these words, can you contemplate the VISCERAL nature of your “consumatory” act? A contemplative act which brought me a deeper sense of my internal “affect regulation & origins of self.” A visceral sense of my own reality, wherin, I understand my “mind” as the product of a “dissapative-system,” whereby I gain the paradigm shift into modernity’s exploration of Chaos Theory and HOW it applies to the subconscious progression of our nutured behaviour. Nurtured by the Social Matrix, which fancy’s itself to BE the “projective-indentification” of external objects.

    It is, in my humble opinion, the social matrix nurturing of a taken for granted, analogous sense-of-self, which is maintaining the medical model of madness, because this false sense of “i am my mind” reality, so fears the visceral nature of experienced sensation, that we avoid the challenge of knowing what madness is. A challenge which, when viewed in the context of life-development, rather than half-way down the track (more racing metaphor) of a taken for granted sense of adult function. Brings a more nuanced sense of one’s own reality and the sage advice that “the boy is father to the man, as the girl is mother to the woman.”

    In 2007 I got lucky, in the reality of chaos, chance & circumstance which Eleanor Longden alludes to in her good foftune, in meeting Pat Braken. I went from trying to self-regulate with magic bullets, to a magic word, AFFECT. Which was the “key” to my, then decade long desire, to understand my lived experience, from the inside-out. Inside my multi-organic function, where the Sun don’t shine & words don’t matter. Where Goethe’s green snake & Alan Watts green room, can be felt as the clever anciant narritives of our human story. Like in the movie Cloud Atlas & Sonmi-451’s feminine gusie as our craved for, saviour hero.

    Hmm! 451. Is that a clever, esoteric allusion to our tenth cranial nerve & its role in creating the verb?

    “I am not genomed to alter reality,” exclaimes our heroine. In this very clever re-telling of a Christ Consciousness story. While the willy Zachery wants to cog the survival game, as he begs the other heroine from the future, to provide him insight into why we suffer & keep making the same mistakes.

    In July, I note that Robert & other heroic others will be attending an Esalen Institute workshop, entitled: The value of psychotic experience. Although it seems to be looking towards a Laingian approach, which may, inadvertantly aviod hearing voices like Alan Watts, who attend this same workshop & presented with Ronnie, many years ago. While I hope, those in attendence can explore the deeper sense of Laing’s profoundly intuitive sense of our word deluuded sense of reality. In a Western educated world, lost in its paternal injunction against the visceral power of touch.

    IMO Its our Paternal Model of human function which now needs transcending, if we are to address the current epidemic of so-called mental illness & the feeding frenzy of over diagnosis. I’m sure, all my brothers & sisters of the user fratenity will recognize the PATERNALISM at the HEART of the labelling, mental health system. Although, its much more difficult to turn the mirror-neurons around & COG, as willy old Zachery says, one’s own labelling system, within.

    Sincere regards to all,

    David Bates.

  • Dear uprising,

    You write: You have a lot of interesting ideas to share, but unsolicited psychoanalysis is rude and it feels oppressive to read.

    Do you really believe that in world where toddlers are dying from the insanity of our current bio-medical sense-of-self. We should be too concerned about bruising a few ego’s and appearing to rude?

    This perception and call for civil discourse, is what keeps this webzine stuck with nothing more than endless, middle-class intellectual masturbation, imho. And the global mental health debate is stuck in a Cartesian circle of well-meaning rationalizations, because we refuse to address the nature of being human.

    In terms of your well-intentioned comment on my behaviour, you may wish to contemplate how, the road to hell is paved with…….

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • “I’m just saying that expanding our sense of inner resourcefulness while tapping into more profound creativity is what best prepares for any change, especially when institutional funding s so under the gun now. Sometimes, we just don’t have a choice, so it’s best not only to have a plan B, but to believe in it.” -Alex.

    “I feel a bit like you’re comparing apples and oranges (as they say). ” -Sera

    In my humble opinion, what Alex is trying to do here Sera, is take you beneath your “obvious” sense of reality, towards a self-realization that the vital resources needed in this mental health debate, are within all of us. Which is why the internet can, by providing the expertise of lived-experience, short-circuit the need of funding to very large degree.

    The respite houses, can be cyber-housing, in line with the reality that “isolation” is the most common outcome for people who undergo nature’s initiation into the mystery of being. Sounds & feels like Woo. I know, yet this, I feel, is where we are at, in the emerging nature of our Solar (Christ) Consciousness.

  • “Science is not always a set of answers to questions, a collection of hard-won facts about how the world works. Sometimes the scientific method spans decades, centuries even, every study a drop in a bucket that might never be filled. It’s hard to know how close emotion researchers are to a solution, or if there even is one. “Philosophically, it’s arguable that ‘experience’ is not anything intrinsically measurable,” Fridlund writes. “This may make it forever off-limits to science.”

    Robert Whitaker may wish to “contemplate” (felt-sense) this view of science and its modern day mythology, when he confidently endorses the science of a “super-sensitivity” affect from neuroleptic compounds. While even though he acknowledges the original meaning of neuroleptic: “take hold” (lepsis) of the central nervous system to suppress …, he fails to see HOW my repeated mention of our autonomic nervous system, fits into John Weir Perry’s understanding of psychosis, as “natures way of setting things right.”

    While, like the author of this article, Robert begins in the middle of the “epidemic problem” never once having the courage to question what brings any individual before a prescribing medical vacation, for the very first time. Perhaps, that because he suffers from the vocational world view of his own profession, which has never let reality stand in the way of a well “sold” story?

    I urge readers to investigate further the source of wisdom in this article about our guiding motion & e-motion sense of survival. And explore Ekman’s mentor Silvan Tomkins, as I have tried to articulate here:

    “Its an ability we learn in the first years of childhood, in what the developmental experts call the practicing phase of life, the first three years. We learn so much, and promptly forget the learning, as our brain creates patterns of expectation which become our unconscious motivation, or motor-vation, as I’ve come to understand. The primary processes of unconscious expectation, which guide us through life. This is the main reason why fundamental change is so difficult to achieve, until we find a way of bringing the unconscious motivation into conscious awareness, and begin to dissolve old habitual patterns. Its also why traditional talk therapy is so limited for serious mental anguish, and why the mad behavior of psychosis is so misinterpreted and misunderstood by our rational mind. Let me share an explanation of primary process and how my constant reading and re-reading over the past five years has fueled a steady organic process of natural transformation, including four episodes of euphoric “state,” psychosis. Reading people like Murray Bowen, Jaak Panksepp, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Ekman, Allan Schore, Stephen Porges and Peter Levine in a short list of the most important contributors to my slow, yet steady paradigm shift in self-awareness and self-definition. Examples;

    “Emotions, the Higher Cerebral Processes & this Sense of Self:

    Evolutionarily, the brain mechanisms for language were designed for social interactions, not for the conduct of science. Indeed, words give us a special ability to deceive each other. There are many reasons to believe that animal behavior will lie to us less than human words. This dilemma is especially acute when it comes to our hidden feelings that we normally share only through complex personal and cultural display rules.”(Panksepp, 1998).”

    You can read more of this, from the inside-out understanding of the “nature” of psychosis here:

    http://born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-12_16.html

    The title Born2Psychosis is chosen deliberately, to ask readers to question their attachment driven acceptance of a consensus reality, which now inhabits an existential, mass-delusion.

    Sincere regards to all,

    David Bates.

  • This post in many ways, describes the non-conscious nature of our “attachment” driven behaviours, with the basic assumption that we can only be “rescued” by others. Here I use the term rescued in the context of my therapist training, where the women in the group struggled with “not rushing in to rescue,” finding this natural urge difficult to let go of, in the face of another’s suffering.

    Its also an attachment drive, by which most adults get their sense of adult function, in our “paternalistic” rank & status society, which suffers from lack of insight into our subconscious, emotional projection process. Which, considering the changing “technological” times, may suggest that the internet is the best resource for support, providing the correct “insightful” information on how to “self-regulate” episodes of e-motive disruption, can be provided.

    While on global scale, I think the key words in your post are “lack insight,” in an era of a survival economy masquerading as community & society, where all the average citizen knows about their heart & brain, are the “words” heart & brain. Which, to me at least, speaks to the “existential” purpose of psychosis & the current epidemic of mental illness, in our so-called 1st world societies.

    Which from a spiritual perspective on how the bone headed denial of our own reality, has always driven the hyper-sensitives crazy, speaks to this communities role in Global change, as we face the challenges created by our own (humanity’s) self-ignorance. For example; from a Christian perspective of that famous musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” where the question is “critically” asked about why Jesus did not appear in an age of mass communication. takes on a very different perspective, in terms of a rising Christ (Solar) Consciousness.

    For, if we take the time to look beyond the headline debate of the “fourth estate,” (the media) their is a science discipline rising, which is articulating a middle-path between psychiatry & psychology, that is bringing the practical reality of the Biblical Resurrection, into view. With its “insights” into organism function, and how our body, which includes our brain, creates our mind.

    An example of which is my own resolution in relative “isolation” experience, after three decades of using medical definitions to try to understand my behaviors, as the lived-experience of the symptoms of my schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder diagnoses.

    Which came from broadening my personal knowledge base and changing my habitual attitude to all the subtle and not so subtle sensations within my body. Which essentially involves sensing voluntary/involuntary muscular tensions, and associated vascular pressures and spontaneous or withheld breathing. With a felt-sense awareness of the pressure/tension sensations of cerebral blood flow, in my various states of mind.

    A desire to understand the unconscious roots of my experiences, beyond a consensus normality, which has NO insight into the unconscious roots of its behavioural e-motivation.

    I urge members of this community to look beyond an “obvious” sense of reality, which history has always shown to be based on a self-protective ILLUSION. While I believe that the current science research on holistic organism function, which is beginning to highlight the heart, as the engine, or center of our systemic organism function, will see a shift in human perception, as significant as Galileo’s realization that the Sun is at the center of our Solar System.

    A self-realization that will bring us back to nature and see us finally understand the purpose of life. As the Universe evolved into a form which will save itself from entropy. An historic pressure for self-realization, in terms of normal self-protective ego-function which is painfully lacking a true self-awareness, still stuck in a simplistic survival mode of function. While urge readers to contemplate the real-time meaning of the current rise in stress related dysfunction, in terms of R.D. Laing’s intuitive understanding of our normal perception of what constitutes SANITY:

    “True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality… and through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer.” — R.D. Laing

    No other human experience dissolves the normal ego adaptation, like the experience of so-called mental illness. And practitioners of prescriptive medicine need, imo, to contemplate their behaviour in terms of a basic survival economy, which is emotionally sick and profoundly lacking in true self-awareness.

  • Thank you Alex,

    Its not easy to stand outside the attachment driven illusions of a consensus reality, within any group of like-minded individuals. Particularly when the subject of the consensus is mental health, which as you rightly point out, is about energy.

    It is staggering, the extent to which both psychology & psychiatry ignore the burgeoning new science disciplines, which are exploring the bio-energetic nature of our internal structure & function. While it is this internal reality of being, which can make sense of why Dr John Weir Perry suggested psychosis is natures way of setting things right. And how R.D. Laing’s comment on our post infancy trance like illusions, is fundamentally correct.

    As Allan Schore points out: Bioenergetic conceptualisations thus need to be implanted into the central core of psychoanalytic and psychological theory, a position they now occupy in physics, chemistry, and biology. Thermodynamics are not only the essence of biodynamic, they are also the essence of neurodynamics, and therefore of psychodynamics.

    Which is why I try to point others in our community, towards the developmental science, that will answer Dr Michael Cornwall’s potent question, in terms of our global mental health debate, “if mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it.” An adaptive process, involving the bio-energetic nature of the relationship between our heads & our hearts. An adaptive process expressed far more poetically by a famous writer and victim of our confusion about the nature of being human:

    I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am. ―Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

    Warm regards,

    David.

  • Interesting that authors call for “humility” while pointing out, how the report is formulated by “a group of eminent clinical psychologists.” My point here, being that in an era of self-preservation, gained through the use of cognitive function, clinical psychologists may suffer form what McGorry et al, in their psychiatric formulations on the experience we label psychosis, call “the clinicians illusions.”Which Allen Francis formulates more concisely as: Psychiatric diagnosis is seeing something that exists, but with a pattern shaped by what we expect to see.

    My point here being: cognitive capacity is an experience-dependant evolution of being, which suffers from the dichotomy of taking immediate experience for granted. More specifically, in context of our PARADOX OF MODERNITY, we mature towards an adult consensus reality, having long forgotten HOW life begins, not with cognitive capacity, but motion & e-motion, to secure our survival.While in New York later this month, the IPSP conference will swamped by horde of emotional adolescents, demonstrating no capacity to FEEL how their body creates their experience of mind.

    They will do so, because, as a current aspirant for the top political job, here in Australia, so frankly pointed out, “in great race of life, you can always bet on self-interest.” While I make no apologies for labelling people emotionally adolescent, and ask readers to contemplate Billy Joel’s poetic description of our apparently “healthy psychological boundaries,” as little more than pretty faces, so willing and able to tell pretty lies. I ask middle class academics to consider that their well formulated “affect-regulating” responses to any sense of otherness, is based on the need to dampen the vitality affects of our primary process, e-motivation. With our common-sense psychological functionality, more of dissociation from the reality of being, than an embrace of it.

    While in terms of betting on self-interest, academic turf-wars, are the business as usual name of the game, in our 21st century urban landscapes of an economy masquerading as society. A masquerade which is based on our Western cultural history of viewing the body as a House of Sin. With the industrial revolution and rise of a “subject – object” attitude of mind, responsible for our current era of Material Wealth & Poverty of Self-Awareness. While in New York, the emotional system of a self-interested gathering, will feel much excitement and that something is really happening man!

    Yet” as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls,” somehow, some way, the things “appear” to change the more they ………. For as Joseph Campbell points out in his book “The Inner Reaches of Outer Space,” our human anatomy has not changed in the last 40,000 years, let alone the last 4000. And in New York, ISPS professionals will continue to utter the psychological delusion, that we are all different, with nothing more than “subjective” evidence, to affirm their affect-regulating needs.

    I urge ordinary members of the survivor community to go beyond the “appearance” of this rank & status eminence, and involve themselves in a self-education effort, made possible by our age of technology, which will take society beyond taken a for granted sense of worship, (the reverence of our parental, emotional systems of society) towards a sense of individual self-worthship. While the self-interest of professional groups can be clearly seen in their tendency for “self-citing” behaviour. With this report being no different form research behaviours in the early intervention for psychosis, approach to anomalous experiences. While another eminent psychologist, explains how the rise of neo-Kraepelian psychiatry, was based on the self-interest of any groups natural survival instinct & how a group consensus is reached:

    ” The Kraepelinian dichotomy: Emil Kraepelin’s view that psychotic disorders could be conceptualized as naturally-occurring disease entities which could largely be differentiated into dementia praecox and manic-depressive psychosis, has had a huge impact on twentieth-century psychiatry. The rise of neo-Kraepelinian psychiatry in the 1960s and 1970s contributed to the construction of DSM-III, in which the Kraepelinian dichotomy between schizophrenia and psychotic affective disorders became embedded in psychiatric classification. (Greene, 2007) An essay which points out how the attachment driven urge of group behaviour tends to be self-citing: The neo-Kraeplinians, although not connected in any official way, worked together to promote their approach. Blashfield (1982) described this informal network with their common beliefs, methodologies and research interests as an ‘invisible college’: there was a tendency among this group to produce papers which actively reinforced one another’s findings. (Greene, 2007)”

    While my comment is written in the spirit of Willelm Reich’s important insight that: “everyone is right in some way,” it is merely a matter of knowing “how.” (Reich, 1973) A view which understands all words as nothing more than labels, and would see the “chemical imbalance” metaphor as semi-accurate description of how our body creates our mind. With the great existential challenge of our age, being, imo, the need to resurrect the body, from the nightmare of history, which weighs so heavily on our Western educated souls. To which end I include an excerpt from my own existential journey, to understand my psychoses, from the inside-out:

    “With my existential challenge exploring the paradox of a taken for granted sense-of-self lacking knowledge of internal structure and brain-nervous system function. Lacking knowledge of the thermodynamic nature of organism organization, and the level of dissociation involved in a mind-body split in functional awareness. With an experiential focus on how: The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation. (Schore, 2003) A self-exploration of my affective states of consciousness creating a “sensate” (Levine, 2010) awareness of the “thermodynamic,” (Schore, 2003) “primary process” (Panksepp, 2004) nature of dissociation, compared to secondary process conceptualizations stating: Dissociation can be understood as a psychological survival strategy that enables us to endure overwhelming pain and fear. (Longden, 2013)”

    My 30,000 word formulation on the lived-experience of psychoses, can be read here:
    https://www.academia.edu/8013843/Psychosis_Affective_States_of_Consciousness_and_Nervous_System_Dysregulation

    While my experiential understanding of just how much, my mind fears the sensations of my body, and how my mind is fundamentally, a dissociation from the nature of being alive. Seeks to cause a stir in the taken for granted ego-functioning of middle class intellectualism. Asking the owner of this webzine to consider how his need for civil discourse, on a subject that so e-motive in nature, has created little more than a window for intellectual masturbation?

    Intellectual masturbation, which is in deep denial of our common need to self-regulate the subconscious processes of our common “primary-process affective consciousness.” (Panksepp, 2004)

    Sincere regards to all,

    David Bates.

  • Sounds like a strategy hoping for a positive outcome, Ted.

    Yet will this display of the movements real-life numbers and its overstated view of itself as “MindFreedom International,” have a negative outcome? Will it demonstrate a handful of people, with a need of subconscious “affect-regulation,” in order to feel strong and carry on the good fight, in face of an overwhelming majority attitude of indifference.

    The kind of existential indifference which underpins professional C.A.R.E. in our mental health facilities, which Mary O’Hagan points out, is the real-life attitude of COVER. ARSE. RETAIN. EMPLOYMENT.

    While one of long term advocates form a clear eyed perception in out mental health debate points out:
    “Discover and Recover on February 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm said:
    I’ve been an active reader and participant of MIA for almost 5 years, and I have to say, “What movement?” I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I see no movement on this site.”

    While I humbly suggest that the real-life issue in our common experience of mental dis¬ease and the current “treatment oriented” vocational attitude, is not just a human rights issue, but the meaning of being human, issue. A deeper perspective which will see R.D. Laing’s intuitive prophecy come true in this century, as the boi-medical perception of schizophrenia continues is inherent denial of the human condition.

    I would readers of our community to begin to notice, as Laing suggested, how we fail to notice, that we fail to notice, how we habitually cherry pick phrases from people like Laing, to satisfy our subconscious need for what developmental science refers to as “Affect Regulation & the Origins of The Self.” For in my humble opinion, the key to a survivor led breakthrough in mental health, is the accuracy of Laing’s:

    “We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in infancy.” Because:

    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

    With our taken for granted adult functionality, having long forgotten our birth and the motion & e-motion, nature of being human.

    Sincere regards,

    David Bates.

  • Dear Peter

    KNOW THYSELF is ancient wisdom advice that most within our predominately Patriarchal, Misogynistic, Caucasian developed, educated societies, assume to be from Ancient Greece. That well known phenomena of HOW the winners get to shape our sense of how we got here, in this 21st century A.D. While a well travelled and experienced sense of that concise advice, comes to understand that it most likely stems from ancient Temples now buried under an ocean of sand, in the Sahara desert.

    While ‘what is he on about’ will grip your obvious sense of reality, as you read this comment with the dichotomy of being human. The taken for grantedness of our actual experience. Specifically, HOW we forget our own life history and take our adult capacity for the spoken, written and read word, completely for granted. With no real memory of how our body created the “sensation” experience we label mind, in the process of our emerging functionality, as members of a survival economy, masquerading as society.

    As you write of securing your place in this survival economy, “I was collecting data for my PhD,” and imo, developing a vocational world-view that “we’re inevitably discussing an illness, a disease.” While from the world-view shaped by actual experience, I would urge you to “pause” and contemplate your subconscious, survival oriented rationale, as you justify your own behavioural needs.

    While from this vocational world-view perspective, I urge you to consider why, in the literature of a “treatment oriented” attitude to psychosis, there is no referential material, citing the latest view from “developmental science?” And why in the current early intervention attitude to first episode psychosis, there is a “paradoxical” view that dismisses earlier formulations of a “double-bind” theory relating to the family dynamic as a crucible of madness. While simultaneously pointing out that Expressed Emotion within the emotional dynamic a psychotic patient returns to, is a most accurate indicator of relapse.

    Again I would urge you to pause and contemplate the “thermodynamic,” internal nature of how the constant reciprocal influences between your body-brain create your taken for granted experience of mind. While urging members of the survivor community to help the survival vocations of psychology & psychiatry to face the reality of our historical journey to becoming human. For as the great American writer Jean Houston points out, we are not yet fully human, still closer to the animals than the angels, in our subconsciously motivated survival behaviors.

    A view of our common “existential” reality, to which I include an excerpt from my own existential resolution of psychosis, in terms of making sense of Dr John Weir Perry’s view that psychosis “is nature’s way of setting things right.” From my academic paper: Psychosis: Affective States of Consciousness & Nervous System Dysregulation:

    “In 2007, I began a self-education process to understand the structure and thermodynamic functioning of my nervous system processes, and the non-conscious stimulation of my manic-depressive experiences. Including a continuous reading and re-reading of relevant literature like “The Polyvagal Theory” (Porges, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001a, 2003, 2007, 2011) which articulates the discovery of “an integrated social engagement system,” (Porges 2001) and an adaptive perspective on psychiatric disorders:

    The Polyvagal Theory provides a perspective to demystify features of clinical disorders. The theory provides principles to organize previously assumed disparate symptoms observed in several psychiatric disorders (i.e., a compromise in the function of the Social Engagement System). Moreover, by explaining features of disorders from an adaptive perspective, interventions may be designed that trigger the neural circuits that will promote spontaneous social engagement behaviors and dampen the expression of defensive strategies that disrupt social interactions. (Porges, 2009)

    Leading me towards an experiential integration of developmental science knowledge, which has changed a self-defensive, treatment oriented perception of my genetic predisposition to experiencing manic-depression. Towards “a phylogenetic interpretation of the neural mechanisms mediating the behavioral and physiological features associated with stress and several psychiatric disorders.” (Porges, 2004) A shift in personal focus, towards understanding the “phylogeny of the autonomic nervous system,” (Porges, 2004) which brought a non-pathologic context to why “despite family, twin and adoption studies revealing a high genetic liability, with a point estimation of 81%, single major-effect genes have not been detected and the precise molecular aetiology of psychosis currently remains unknown.” (McGorry et al, 2012) Hence, my experiential research, has explored a dichotomy in the descriptive language used to define assumptions of brain pathology, and the nervous ease and “dis-ease” (Frances, 2013) of my lived-experience. A dichotomy evidenced by my pharmacological treatment resistance, with a long history of delusional experience, occurring both on and off antipsychotic medications. A long history of various medical diagnoses, hospitalizations, intolerable medication side-effects and no breakthroughs in the promise of genetic research, so painfully frustrating to my quality of life aspirations. A dichotomy of lived experience and diagnostic definition, which persisted until appropriate education enabled an awareness of my nervous system function, and the psycho-physiological content & context of an experience, historically labelled psychotic. Which, in the phenomenology of non-conscious organism function, and how “thermodynamics are not only the essence of biodynamic, they are also the essence of neurodynamics, and therefore of psychodynamics,” (Schore, 2003) views all descriptive language terms as the insubstantial labels, of our “affect” driven images of consciousness.”

    This excerpt is included knowing that you cannot afford to consider such a view, in our current urban landscapes, of an economy masquerading as society, and that you need to keep voicing the public rhetoric, that justify’s prescriptive medicine practices and seeks funding for resources. A common dilemma that posses both sides of the “psychiatry anti-psychiatry” argument here on MIA, with the mask of consciousness “cloaking” funding opportunities, with the rhetoric of serving others.

    We need more research! We need more treatment approaches!

    All perfectly understandable in the common context of survival, and our historical denial of the body as a Temple of Being. within our predominately Patriarchal, Misogynistic, Caucasian developed, educated societies.

    Sincere regards,

    David Bates.

  • Hi Steve, its a good thesis, although I question the extent to which you stay within a conceptual framework, which does not, from my lived experience, provide the practical solutions to a self-regulation of psychophysiological distress.

    Although you mention the natural perspective of our body’d major organs, you seem to be endorsing the current misconception that our mind, is all about what happens within the brain?
    Even in Bessel Van der Kolk’s wonderful book about our susceptibility to trauma induced PTSD, he describes the brain as “the engine” of our humanity, whereas, from my own experiential resolution of spontaneous psychoses, I have found my heart to be the engine of all that I am. And the key to a practical self-regulation of our varied states of consciousness.

    As professor Stephen Porges points out, what is missing in our global mental health debate are the reciprocal influences between body & brain, which create our human consciousness. While the work of McCarty et al, at HeartMath is producing a new paradigm of understanding about our heart-brain connects, which is complimenting the kind of developmental science perspective, advocated by people like Allan N Schore.

    In terms of the practical reality of HOW my body creates my mind, and how I learned to master psychosis, the “organs” perspective you mention at beginning of your thesis, I describe like so: my resolution experience, after three decades of using medical definitions to try to understand my behaviors, as the lived-experience of the symptoms of my schi!ophrenia and bipolar affective disorder diagnoses. Came from broadening my personal knowledge base and changing my habitual attitude to all the subtle and not so subtle sensations within my body. Which essentially involves sensing voluntary/involuntary muscular tensions, and associated vascular pressures and spontaneous or withheld breathing. With a felt-sense awareness of the pressure/tension sensations of cerebral blood flow, in my various states of mind.

    While a more detailed explanation and referential material can be found here:

    Psychosis: Affective States of Consciousness & Nervous System Dysregulation

    ABSTRACT: With 34 years of lived experience, I present a middle path bridging psychology and psychiatry, based on research and discoveries in developmental science. An experiential understanding of psychosis, as a thermodynamic, psychosomatic process. Enabled by developing an embodied awareness of the “affect” driven nature of nervous system activity and the “role of visceral state and visceral afferent feedback on the global functioning of the brain,” (Porges, 2011) during episodes of affective psychosis. Since 2007, my normal and abnormal states of mind have been explored with an improving sense of the “bidirectional influences between peripheral physiological state and the brain circuits related to affective processes.” (Porges, 2009) A model of experience based on: The Polyvagal Theory (Porges, 2011) and the discovery of “an integrated social engagement system,” (Porges 2001) vulnerable to “affect dysregulation.” (Schore, 2003) A phylogenetic perspective on “A Traumagenic Neurodevelopmental Model,” (Read et al, 2001) with an understanding of traumatic experience and “the mis-attuning social environment that triggers an intense arousal dysregulation.” (Schore, 2003) With 7 years of experiential research focusing on “the primacy of affect” (McGilchrist, 2010) and the “primary process emotional/affective states,” (Panksepp, 2004) of my “innate affect” (Tomkins, 1995) driven imagery of consciousness, during episodes of “affective psychosis.” (McGorry et al, 2012)

    https://www.academia.edu/8013843/Psychosis_Affective_States_of_Consciousness_and_Nervous_System_Dysregulation

  • Speaking As A Survivor Researcher, I have to say that the last place I’d want to be is inside the mainstream priesthood, in modernity’s tower’s of babel. Where from my perspective of trying to expereintially understand my altered states of consciousness, I’d be corralled into affirming what is already known and actively discouraged from thinking outside the mainstream square.

    I’m reminded of classroom incident where my constant questions of the esteemed professor, was met with increasing anger. At which I voiced my defence of simply needing to understand. Which brought one those pregnant with possibility moments, when the professor shouted at me:

    ‘Your not here to understand, your here to learn how to pass an examination.’

    Sadly, because we accept our current landscape of an economy masquerading as a society, truthful moment was allowed to pass without inquiry, because the remuneration aim, is the name of the game.

    As a self-educated survivor I would encourage others to realize that they are, if on government benefits, in a unique position to explore “the tree of life,” as the kabbalists suggest, from the twin perspectives of knowledge and internal sensations. Which in my opinion will transform our understanding of human mental health, in the coming century.

    The epidemic of mental illness, may be happening now, not because of the influence of commercial power, but because, in terms of our historical journey as a sentient species, this is HOW we become more conscious, more fully human. An historical perspective that endorses R.D. Laing’s intuitive understanding that through the suffering of quite ordinary people labelled schizophrenic, not those of armchair comfortable middle class rank & status, the light will begin to break into our all-to-closed-minds.

    It is in this context of a need for true self-awareness that I write papers and upload them the free download site of Academia.edu with a lived experience perspective our vocation shaped worldviews: My Mad Behavior: Brain Disease or Adaptive Dis~Ease?

    A medical vocation, cloaks our mainstream perception of madness, not in words of understanding human behavior, but in the need of a public rhetoric that justifies a treatment methodology and attracts resource funding. A personal view from lived experience, which seeks to help broaden discussion about, The Paradox of Modernity.7 The paradox of an era of rising material wealth and rising physical and mental ill health, within the worlds most developed societies. Which from the perspective of the Buddhist society where I spent three years, experientially self-healing my mad behavior, seems to be created by a Poverty of Self-Awareness. A paradox of modernity which I humbly suggest, needs a serious inner contemplation of the existential notion that:

    We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy. -R.D. Laing

    Because for me personally, Laing’s seemingly strange statement, speaks directly to the paradox of my previous faith in treatment oriented rhetoric and why I experienced psychoses, whether on or off medications. Contemplating this existential paradox, spoke directly to my conscious assumption that my ability to sight words and remember them, was synonymous with personal self-awareness. With Laing’s intuitive sense reflecting Buddha’s statement: words do not describe reality, only experience shows us truth. With my own inner contemplation exploring how an habitual fixation on sight and sound in our modern urban environments, creates an imbalance in sensory perception.

    Read more here: https://www.academia.edu/11296675/My_Mad_Behavior_Brain_Disease_or_Adaptive_Dis_Ease

  • Dear Monica,

    You write: sounds like crazy woo…but it’s my experience and it’s happening. It seems to be happening to others I communicate with as well…I sometimes think of the bible quote: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

    Which reminds me of the sense of oneness & Biblical metaphor that springs intuitively to mind whenever I undergo a spontaneous experience of the rapture! An experience I often made the mistake of reports to mental health professionals who, in their economic need to survive, dismissed it as psychotic.

    Yet, as I’ve commented below, I have the strong feeling that we are, in fact, involved in an historical shift in human self-awareness which will see us make natural sense of the hidden green language (as the esoteric’s put it) in the Biblical narrative. Mystical mountains and interior caves, being the obvious way that the great mystery of our cosmic reality, is cloaked in images of external reality.

    With my own sense of oneness echoing the Biblical sense of I am, so poetically expressed by a well known victim of psychiatric confusion about the human condition: I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am. ―Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

    While on that famous mystical mountain attained by Moses, a dialogue with Ultimate Reality (God) brought forth a famous quotation about humanity’s exodus from Africa:

    Moses at the Burning Bush
    …13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” 15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.…

    The question being, is the current day confluence of spirituality & science, bringing the prophecy of the resurrection (how the body creates the mind) into sight? With an implicit understanding of HOW we are the Universe evolved into a form which is perceiving and acting upon itself.

    The purpose of life resolved, with the secure sense that our children’s children’s children, will go on to populate our Milky Way Galaxy. While in terms of suffering the profound mental dis¬ease labelled as illness, Carl Jung points out in The Red Book, how we have always suffered for the sake of the future.

    If you are familiar with the rituals of the Christian Palm Sunday, I am suggesting that there is much about our internal nature, hidden in the narrative of an obvious sense of external reality. “They took of their cloaks,” suggesting a laying down of the veil of consciousness?

    Warm regards,

    David Bates.

  • Another good essay CHAYA, in our common need to clarify what is actually happening, beyond the headline seeking debates.

    A long time ago, a character created to personify the story of the human condition, suggested we stay in love with each other and not worship false idols. While modern science, in studying human development from the inside-out, suggests that the REAL human economy is within us. That is the innate vitality affects which create health, happiness and a bonded feeling of safety, so vital for our children’s hearts to bloom.

    In shifts the mental health debate towards a sense of a “continuum of human experience,” should we confront the paradox that our human anatomy has not changed in the last 40,000 years, let alone the last 4,000, while we all exhibit the delusional impression, that the changing objects of modernity, have created a change inside us? As Jimi Hendrix famously said “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will be transformed.”

    That transformation is happening right now, as we face the reality of our urban landscapes of survival economies, masquerading as society. With groups like Psychiatric Survivor Entrepreneurs for a mutually supportive environment, involved in a shift in our common perception of what society will look like in 22nd century A.D.

    Imagine, health and happiness being felt as more valuable commodities, than the objects of survival we consider essential to quality of life? IMO there is a realization coming, involving the level of self-ignorance that we simply take for granted, as the dichotomy of being human. All of us reaching our common adulthood, having long forgotten the early experience of life, which wasn’t defined so much by sight, sound and language. But by the NATURE of being alive, that we all have in common, beyond our competitive needs for the false object resource’s, of health & happiness.

    As a Psychiatric Survivor Entrepreneur, I see my own task, as articulating my sense of a looming generational change, as science and spirituality converge, to further illuminate the darkness of our habitually taken for granted, human behaviors. Hoping to broaden discussion about, The Paradox of Modernity.7 In which, material wealth and a poverty of self-awareness, is creating a pressure for human self-realization, which will see an intuitive prophecy realized:

    If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable age of Darkness. They will presumably be able to savor the irony of the situation with more amusement than we can extract from it. The laugh’s on us. They will see that what we call ‘schizophrenia’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds. -R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience

    Warm regards

    David Bates.

  • Good article Chaya. It seems to indicate that we all share a common dilemma of poor self-awareness, when it comes to HOW we make choices. A dichotomy of being human, that is marked by a profound split in mind-body awareness?.

    Reading what you write: The individuals and families I work with are moving more and more into an expanded awareness of the “Self” in self-determination; it is inherent in aspiring to come off psych drugs, this desire to be more inclusive in our sense of self.

    I’m reminded of my own struggle to expand my sense of self, beyond my taken for granted self-ignorance, when all I understood about my brain & heart, were the “words” brain & heart. It was painful to admit to myself, that for most of my adult life, I knew more about how my motor car functions, than how I function.

    While, in reading the shift towards discussion of our common experience of SELF, here on MIA, I’m heartened by sense of movement in the right direction. The “individual” efforts by those of us with lived experience are sorely needed, in our “vocation” shaped rhetoric of human understanding.

    Certainly, in my own individual efforts to make sense of Dr John Weir Perry’s understanding that psychosis is “natures way of putting things right.” Going through it, in order to allow my nervous system to self-heal a trauma induced wound. Involved turning away from the avoidance approach of a medical vocation’s, limited intervention/treatment understanding of psychotic experience.

    While beyond the public rhetoric & taken for granted “politics of experience,” my experiential triumph over the inherent psychotic projections that we all suffer, has brought as sense that the current epidemic of mental illness, in our so-called developed societies, has an inherent purpose in our still emerging, common humanity.

    Dare I say, that it feels like the final battle between our heads & our hearts, for a clear eyed perception of heaven. The heaven that has always been, right in front of our eyes. A comment that comes from the broadening of my personal knowledge base, with a reading education into the latest “developmental neuroscience.” Science knowledge which is peculiarly absent from the literature of psychiatry, with its vocational interest in time constrained, prescriptive medicine, behaviours. As, like all vocational world-views, the profession rationalizes its own behavioural needs, imo.

    While on a personal level, it was the painful truth of my own rationalizations, which I was forced to face up to, in finally allowing the subconscious processes of my psychophysiological self, to heal the wounds of life’s experience. TRUTH & its much needed intervention in our current politics of experience, which always reminds me of Jack Nicholson in the movie A Few Good Men: You can’t handle …….

    For as Bertram Karon points out, we don’t really want to know about schizophrenia & psychosis, because of what such “knowing” will teach us about the human condition.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Interesting blog Michael.

    Which seems, from afar, to spell out the fearful divisions within the American psyche. The taken for granted sense of “us & them” which so defines America’s politics of experience, which from a Buddhist landscape, appears to be a desire for cognitive constructs invoking a sense of victory, rather than enlightenment. One wonders if God weeps for the illusions of self-awareness, inherent in a Caucasian mind-body split, ruling over the heart of America’s, national, sense of self.

    HOW to go beyond the easy headlines (cognitive function) invoking a need to feel strong and feel the impulse of self-protective function, that will transcend the psychotic delusions of a survival economy masquerading as a society? HOW to be honest with each other and admit that in the great race of life, we can always bet on self-interest.

    HOW to go beyond the “pretty faces that tell pretty lies,” as Billy Joel puts it in his song HONESTY. HOW to deepen our combined sense of self, beyond the self-defensive psychotic adjustments to reality, that we all exhibit in our taken for granted behaviours and perceptions of reality.

    For as you state in our blogger profile:
    “I want this blog and the discussion it generates to help deepen our understanding of the mystery of madness and to help us learn ways to lovingly do self care when we are mad, and how to lovingly respond to others when they are mad.”

    Is this blog post a loving response to T.M. Luhrmann’s madness, Michael? Are you helping to deepen our understanding of the mystery, Michael? Are you helping people to make sense of Dr John Weir Perry’s lived-experience perception that psychosis is “natures way of setting things right.”

    I understand the rhetoric and the socio-political argument. But do you believe that such affect-raising labels/words do anything other than keep America’s mental health debate stuck in a Cartesian circle? A Cartesian circle created, imo, by our individual & group needs of regulating the bio-energetic nature of being human, The heart-centered impulse to our impassioned pleas for sanity, in this age of darkness and its increasingly self-objectifying language of science based illusions, about the human condition and the mystery of life’s purpose.

    I ask readers to contemplate the reality that we are not yet fully human and all our PROJECTIONS onto external reality, are created by internal processes which are essentially PSYCHOTIC in nature. And that all group behaviour, whether it be a group labelled psychiatry or anti-psychiatry, is based on basic-assumptions that are essentially about binding and bonding needs. An understanding that may be contemplated from a reading of Bion’s formulations on groups:

    “Bion on Groups:
    Bion’s major work, “Experiences in Groups,” was published in 1961. His starting point in groups, was the work of Melanie Klein and the mechanisms she ascribed to the earliest phases of mental life, mechanisms that involve psychotic defenses. These psychotic defenses persist in the life of all normal individuals to a greater or lesser extent, but they are especially characteristic of groups, and revealed in the “basic assumption” that binds the group together.

    Generally, “basic assumptions” are about the affects of “anxiety, fear, hate and love.” Specifically, by a “basic assumption,” Bion means an assumption such as “the group exists for fight or flight,” or the group depends on a leader, or the group has hope based on a belief that through it a new messiah or solution will emerge. How thoroughly such an assumption holds varies, but a basic-assumption always exists.” -Teresa Brennan. The Transmission of Affect

    I’m sure you will read this comment in the spirit of its intention, Michael. Even as it raises, heart energized, innate affects, like pain, anger and rage.

    Love,

    David.

  • TIME certainly presses our behaviour and perceptions.

    Like the time constrained behaviour of prescriptive medicine practice and our ability to critique the reality of experience.

    All my attempts to label the oceanic sensation of oneness, during moments of euphoric joy, with sporadic flashes of being immersed within an Ultimate Reality, as both Western & Eastern mystics, alternatively label God.

    Were cast aside in the inevitable needs of survival within modernity’s urban landscapes, where an “economy of survival” masquerades as community and civil society.

    “Why do you insist on contemplating the existential nature of being human, instead of getting on with life & being normal!”

    My family & friends would chastise.

    And yet: – The ability to see the deeper connections to things that seem unrelated on the surface.

    – The ability to organize meaningful content out of so many seemingly disconnected ideas.

    May allow the “sensitives” to bring our common humanity beyond its inherent denial, of its own reality and understand the deeper connections within our body’s, that create our ideas and our cognitive illusion that world is made of words.

    With a sensation focus on our internal nature bringing a realization of 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

    Will the “sensitives” of lived-experience be able to bring an “embodied” awareness of the “illusions” inherent in our Western educated sense of a highly judgemental, labelling sense of normality and confirm Lacan’s insight that the common ego is hollow. Based, not on a true “deeper” sense of self, but a constant judgement of any sense of otherness, flowing from the heart’s “orienting & defensive” impulses?

    So glad you are contemplating your own sensitive nature & just how you are made of Star Dust, Sera.

    Is there room for Spirituality in this MIA faith in Science’s “subject to object” orientation, of subjective inquiry?

  • The UNCONSCIOUS IMO is your body & our inherent subconscious “structural violence” is our mind’s fearful denial of its own creator. In a paradox of modernity, where all the average person knows about their own internal structure & function, are WORDS.

    Hence this highly insightful statement about our common-sense illusions, in the global mental health debate:

    “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

    In my expertise by lived experience, our common sense dependence on sight, sound and our recognition of words, has created an unnatural perception about the roots of human behaviour and biological disease.

    For example; do know about your own development within the womb & do you know that your heart has its own nervous system, which is intimately involved in your subconscious orienting/attention processes? Have you read or heard of developmental science perspective’s on psychiatric disorders, and their references to our autonomic nervous system?

    For, in the context of my comments here & Richard & Timothy’s essay’s, our subconscious need for “affect-regulation” in our universal needs of self-regulation, is “driving” the cognitive constructs of a political argument.

    While Timothy’s use of the word Mark, holds an interesting parallel to words Sin. For as Tolle points out in his book “A New Earth,” The original meaning of the word sin, in Greek & Hebrew, is mark. And to commit a sin was to miss the mark, to miss the point of life. Which we all do, in this current “paradoxical modernity” by assuming the world is made of words.

    Interestingly though, right here on MIA, some bloggers are turn towards the inner nature of reality, with suggestions that we can only FEEL our way out of mental distress, by focusing on the internal sensations of our body. For as one the great champions of the anti-psychiatry movement (an association he did not condone) R.D. Laing pointed out:

    “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”

    My own resolution of spontaneous psychoses, whether on or off neuroleptic medications, came from broadening my knowledge base and beginning to notice HOW I habitually failed to notice, the internal structure & functionality, of my body-mind & HOW I do, being me.

    How do you do, being you, barrab?

  • Hi MIG,

    I understand where your coming from, my point is that structural violence comes from our still, overwhelmingly UNCONSCIOUS, behavioural motivation. Particularly in Western educated world, with no history of developing “embodied” self-awareness.

    Therefore, the debate is stuck in a Cartesian circle, because we don’t know how to make words incarnate, (take their meaning into the flesh) and we simply confuse our ability to speak, hear & write words, with self-awareness.

    Hence, we see the political classes in all our democracies, increasingly confused about the difference between rhetoric & reality. While individually, we demonstrate no capacity to feel how we all rationalize our behavioural needs.

    Which in the primary process reality of being in any given moment of time, is a need to regulate AFFECT. Which is why academic psychiatry labels psychosis as affective & non-affective, although that confusion is beginning to resolve itself. As the dissociated perception of paranoid schizophrenia, as a non-affective psychosis, is being accepted as a syndrome of dysfunctional behaviour, energized by innate terror.

    Since my first comments here on MIA, I have suggested that nothing will change until we recognize how the hidden nature of our evolved function, and that the human rights aspect of the debate here needs to recognize that the epidemic of mental illness, involves a historical movement towards accepting what the human species is.

    Both Timothy & Richard’s essay’s demonstrate how we manage to talk all around the core issue of what lies at the root of individual, family, community & societal function. IMO its the dichotomy of being human, in how we simply take our experience for granted and end up, as Einstein pointed out, just sensing an “obvious” reality, and not inquiring any further. With great PARADOX of the recovery movement, an assumption the NORMAL is good.

  • Feels very much like a battle cry piece, Richard? Pitched perfectly to an “us vs them” choir who feel dis-empowered.

    But, “what will you do when the war is over, tender comrade?” -Billy Brag.

    This need for revolution which projects subconscious, internal systems of projection onto the external environment, while remaining blindly “unaware” of how the ego’s self-defensive, unconscious creation by the hearts polarizing “affect-system,” relationship with the brain, creates a cognitive illusion of knowing. The perceptual dichotomy of being human. Immersed, as we are, in an ocean of e-motive reactivity, in my experience.

    You write: “Now do not misunderstand me, I am not advocating that we just put our heads down and narrowly (or blindly) fight the daily battles against psychiatric abuse. No, we must adopt a political strategy of walking on two legs of struggle. That is, while fighting the particular daily battles we must always link these specific fights to the broader issues of systemic and ‘structural violence’ within the larger economic and political system.”

    While Dr John Weir Perry, suggests that understanding schizophrenia, requires a perception of our “systems of projection,” which are denied in “normal” human behaviour. And C. G. Jung suggested that although such human experiences as war, are presumed to be an external reality phenomena, war is produced by interpersonal psychic phenomena.

    My perception of Timothy Kelly’s essay, was of an attempt to broaden the debate about societal function in our Paradox of Modernity. A paradox, which from my own experiential resolution of spontaneous psychoses, and an embodied understanding of why Perry suggested that psychosis: is natures way of putting things right. Is a paradox of self-ignorance, in our common assumption that behaviour “fixated” on sight, sound and our capacity to “label” reality, is synonymous with true self-awareness.

    Kelly’s important discussion point, needs in my opinion, to be considered in the context of survival, in an Economy masquerading as Society. Where people will survive by whatever resources are available, and the providers of those resources will deny the conflict of interest, in meeting the resource needs of their own survival.

    So, “what will you do, tender comrade, when the war is over” and your external perception of injustice, no longer energizes your internal juices and the polar nature of your unconscious, affect-system?

    Jungian/Langian therapist’s would relate affect-system with affect/image and the processes of three global states of vigilance, that Jaak Panksepp describes as SWP (slow wave sleep) REM (rapid eye movement dreaming) and Waking state consciousness. While the wonderful American writer Jean Houston suggests, we are still undergoing the process of becoming, human. And the English writer Rupert Sheldrake suggests that “evolution/revolution” is primarily a process of habit. An existential view, which suggests that POWER is primarily a force of habit. But when does this habituated human process begin and how much of the process is available to our waking state consciousness?

    How much, is our taken for granted “politics of experience,” a product of unconscious Projection?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • There that wonderful moment in the movie “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson spills the beans on normality’s avoidance of truth. “You can’t……….”

    While during the Vietnam war, smart heads in the CIA created “plausible deniability,” knowing that most people will accept lies, in an immediate need to self-regulate internal homoeostasis.

    “Deception is the art of Plausibility,” was the catch phrase used to give voice to the propaganda industry, that such an innate human need creates.

    But is there a “basic assumption” that such deceiving behaviour only applies to THEM?

    Last week I spent two days in company of mental health professionals, who demonstrated no lived-experience capacity to FEEL how they rationalize their own behavioural needs. No capacity for understanding a “continuum of human experience,” in their fixated belief that the surface image labels, we call words, can describe the phenomena of our actual experience.

    I’m hopeful that the search for a deeper sense of “meaning & purpose,” advocated by the author, will lead to a realization breakthrough, this century, as the reality of lived experience, continues to disprove the “conceptual” sense of reality, so many career academics, cling to. Even in spite of “paradoxical” nature of their public rhetoric.

    While I fear that the conferences put together by people like Eric, will be highly selective in the choice of lived-experience individuals, invited to participate.

  • This is a truly wonderful essay on the experience of “the self” Sara.

    The phenomenology of our actual experience of being human, which gets lost in our common assumption, that the everyday language we use for communication, is capable of communicating our reality, even to ourselves.

    Especially, when we are pressured by our need of attachment to endorse the consensus reality of our group. I was struck mostly by your sense of these phenomena of experience as: When they enter my world, it’s as if they are amplified especially for my benefit (or torture).

    With the term “amplified” having particular meaning in my own journey towards self-healing, self-regulation, after almost three decades of trying to explain away the phenomena of my spontaneous, by psychoses, by endorsing the bio-medical language of our mainstream consensus.

    In educating myself about the “adaptive” nature of my nervous system and synthesising knowledge from an inter-disciplinary approach to the phenomenology of experience, I developed an embodied awareness of how my innate affect-system, acts as an amplifying mechanism, for orienting my mind’s attention to the phenomena of internal & external reality.

    From such a perspective, the phenomena list you explain here, is your world. While I agree with you 100% that trauma and innate sensitivity, lie at the root of what, mainstream, group, consensus reality, needs to label a mental illness. Because we are not yet ready to accept the human condition for what it is.

    The Universe evolved into a form which is perceiving and acting upon itself. While from my experiential perspective, the issue of what madness experience is, beyond the bio-medical, fever-type model, will see R.D. Laing’s prophecy come true, in this century:

    “If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable age of Darkness. They will presumably be able to savor the irony of the situation with more amusement than we can extract from it. The laugh’s on us. They will see that what we call ‘schizophrenia’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds.” -R.D. Laing

    Warm regards,

    David Bates

  • Hi TIP,

    I agree with every word you wrote. While you mention, perhaps the most important single word term in the whole mental health debate.

    HONESTY. Of which Billy Joel has a great and insightful song, that mentions those pretty faces, all to willing to tell pretty lies. Although psychologist’s prefer to rationalize this self-protective feature of our normal behaviour, as an expression of “healthy boundaries.”

    While in great talk between Will Hall & Mary Olsen on Madness Radio. When asked whether she thought the “open-dialogue” approach to first episode psychosis, can become acceptable to mainstream America. She uses the word “honesty” in an important cultural context. Noting that in Finland, people seemed to able to be more emotionally honest in the circular questioning of family members.

    While in my own self-healing of decades of spontaneous psychoses, (psychosis being an image label of the surface impression of a human experience) being immersed within a different culture, was vital to my capacity to tolerate the mind annihilating sensations of “terror” which lay at the root of my “prepsychotic personality.” -John Weir Perry

    Spending three years in the largest Buddhist society in the world, was crucial to my desire to understand my experience from the inside-out, because I found myself in a culture with more “embodied” sense of self. A culture, that does not have the “automatic” good/bad axis of subconscious judgement, that I experience within my native Caucasian culture.

    While in terms of honesty, I spent two days last week, in the company of mental health professionals, with no life experience capacity, to acknowledge “how” they were rationalizing the behavioural needs of a vocation stuck in the “time” limited paradigm of prescriptive medicine.

  • Hi David,

    Coming from a lived-experience and Buddhist perspective, I would suggest that we can “trust” our actual experience, once we learn to let-go of our self-protective attachment to a conceptual sense of reality. Which in experience involves questioning the “paradox” within my taken for granted, habitual behaviours, including NOT noticing how my body creates my mind.

    A difficult reorganization of my sense of self, immersed as I am, in a cultural climate that pressures me daily, to assume I am my mind. Yet, having won my struggle with what prescriptive modern medicine believes was a serious mental illness, produced by a disease process. I now understand belief-systems, as largely a rationalization of behaviour.

    While, in terms of moving towards understanding Schizophrenia and Psychosis, as a Continuum of Human Experience. Dr John Weir Perry’s observation that we need to understand our subconscious “systems of projection,” brings our common humanity, into “conceptual” debates about what works for the “other.”

    With a turn inwards, towards one own experience of sensation and how our body creates our mind, bringing the “avoidance” motivation of an intervention/treatment attitude towards other people, into conscious awareness. A process of gaining improved self-awareness, which R.D. Laing pointed out, as beginning to notice how we habitually fail to notice, the subconscious roots of our taken for granted behaviours, including our modes of thinking.

    Best wishes,

    Batesy.

  • Wonderful essay Will and a sad indictment of modern society, in many ways.

    Our Paradox of Modernity that sees an era of unprecedented material wealth, combined with rising rates of physical and mental ill health. An age when we have an economy masquerading as a society, it seems.

    And where to now? From the perspective of history, will this century see R.D Laing’s prophecy come 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 presumably be able to savor the irony of the situation with more amusement than we can extract from it. The laugh’s on us. They will see that what we call ‘schizophrenia’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds.” -R.D. Laing.

    From my own experiences of altered states of reality, which in hindsight have become understood as, Ultimate Reality breaking through natural survival defences. I have the feeling that this century will see a breakthrough, as “developmental” science continues to chart a middle path between psychology & psychiatry, and a “disease” model of human behaviour, continues to fail the causation question:

    “If madness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it” -M. Cornwall

  • Hi Stephen,

    I know people here get annoyed by my references to Murray Bowen and his seminal contributions to family systems theory. But IMO there are few original thinkers, with most psychological productions being little more than a repackaged, regurgitation of the breakthrough thinkers wisdom.

    People cite the “open-dialogue” program here, and I’am amazed how much people don’t seem to realize how much its based on these seminal ideas, produced in America, in first place. Bowen predicted that a reduced level of individual self-differentiation in society would come tho head in the middle of this century. Quiet the prophet, IMO. Please consider his thoughts about our levels of intellectual/emotional functioning;

    The concept of differentiation of self is important. At the more differentiated end of the scale is the person who can “know” with his intellect, and who can also know, or be aware of, or feel the situation with his emotional system. He has reasonable ability to keep an operational differentiation between intellect and emotions and take action on the fact of intellectual reasoning, that opposes his feelings and the truth of subjectivity. Only a small percentage of the population has this level of differentiation.

    A person can have a well functioning intellect but intellect is intimately fused with his emotional system, and a relatively small part of his intellect is operationally differentiated from his emotional system. He can accurately “know” facts that are personally removed, such as mathematics and the physical sciences, but most of his intellect is under the operational control of the emotional system, and much of his total knowledge would be more accurately classified as an intellectual emotional awareness, without much differentiation between intellect and feelings.

    The person at this level of differentiation does not commonly have a clearly formed notion of fact, or differences between truth and fact, or fact and feeling, or theory and philosophy, or rights and responsibility, or other critical differentiations between intellectual and emotional functioning. Personal and social philosophy are based on the truth of subjectivity and life decisions are based more on feelings and maintaining the subjective harmony. _Murray Bowen.

    Regards,

    David.

  • Of course I agree with your sentiments Jack, yet, as you point out in your final sentence;

    Yup, this stuff’s been going on for a long time. So remember … don’t mourn … be happy, if you’re so inclined … and organize!

    So why is it that mainstream society feels a need to ignore the reality of all the research and all the book publications? And is the reality of this mainstream ignorance just about the power of capitalism’s predatory nature? Will we still be making the same protests, pointing to the same research findings, and results, like the “open-dialogue” approach, in five years from now? Is there a “subconscious” need, beneath the seemingly obvious in our objective reasoning about what is actually happening in society? Does our usual understandable protesting, paradoxically maintain a mainstream status-quo?

    In the facebook Occupy Psychiatry Discussion group, I’ve asked this same question with a plea to occupy psychiatry with good sense and good science, like the science of psychophysiology I refer to in the chapter link below, which most readers will assume to be just egoic self-promotion;

    In October 2010, when I’d returned to Australia towards the end of a six week long psychosis, I’d spent an evening with my best friend from 1980, and he made this interesting comment;

    ‘That first time, back in 1980, it felt like the real you had come out, then everyone wanted you to go back into your shell again.’
    ( see: A Physiological Foundation – My New Realization?
    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-6.html )

    ‘People see it as a breakdown, its so disruptive to the old personality, the personality they’ve become adjusted to, but that old personality was habitually defensive and I needed a breakthrough experience to change an unconscious pattern of avoidance behavior,’ I replied.

    Yet are we really so self-aware, about our subconscious reactions, which stimulate our mind’s sense of reason? IMO Freud’s iceberg metaphor about our human motivation, is as relevant today as it ever was and I don’t believe that we really understand the emotional dynamics involved in the mental health debate. Of course, its about human rights, yet we are treated so differently because our experience goes to the heart of what it means to be human, with the average citizen scared to death, by what people like us go through.

    As Foucault pointed out, our cultural assumption is of reason on the one hand and madness on the other, while reality testing suggests unreason and madness, on a continuum of human experience. Yet, IMO the problem is, that society at large will desperately cling to its image of reason, regardless of inconvenient truths?

    Are we in this community, guilty of the same thing, in this oh so rational, debate? We humans are exasperating and quiet paradoxical, are we not?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Hi Michael,

    Is this feeling of a Cosmos longing for relationship with its children real? As I wake this morning, after recover from the above post, which had left me feeling naked, exposed, and stripped of my psychological boundaries. Those walls of Jericho which dived us from each other and our eternal soul (metaphorically speaking, of course) I’m greeted by one those synchronous moments, which have guided my path in recent years.

    My best friend from 1980, and my first so-called breakdown, has posted a picture of himself and his wife. It comes just hours after me writing this;

    “In October 2010, when I’d returned to Australia towards the end of a six week long psychosis, I’d spent an evening with my best friend from 1980, and he made this interesting comment;

    ‘That first time, back in 1980, it felt like the real you had come out, then everyone wanted you to go back into your shell again.’

    ( see: A Physiological Foundation – My New Realization http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-6.html )

    ‘People see it as a breakdown, its so disruptive to the old personality, the personality they’ve become adjusted to, but that old personality was habitually defensive and I needed a breakthrough experience to change an unconscious pattern of avoidance behavior,’ I replied.”

    Mere meaningless coincidence? Or synchronicity? To the “objective” rational mind, such seemingly magical moments NEED to be ignored, simply because instinctual survival demands we don’t dwell in AWE of the reality of our special nature, and its SENSITIVITY, IMO.

    Yet picture the image of Earth Rise from the Moon? That threshold we crossed in 1969, when the children of this Universe got to see Heaven from a true perspective, for the very first time? And to my American cousins, in that great land of paradox, which produces all measure of human madness, in all kinds, I ask you to consider the words of one of your most loved, creative artists, Harry Chapin;

    “All I got is time, Nothing else is mine.
    All I want is you and one more tomorrow.
    Nothing lasts to long, When I leave it’s gone.
    So I send my mind ahead and hope to follow.

    Yes, I know I have a lifetime coming,
    But I’ve got it all figured out,
    Everybody’s lonely, Everybody’s lonely,
    Everybody’s lonely, That’s what it’s all about.

    I’ve had my share of heartaches, misfortune and mistakes.
    Occasion’ly this life has left me battered.
    But I can’t blame no one else, ’cause what I’ve done to myself
    is the only kind of history that matters.

    Yes, I know I have a lifetime coming,
    But I’ve got it all figured out,
    Everybody’s lonely, Everybody’s lonely,
    Everybody’s lonely, That’s what it’s all about.

    Now, maybe you’ll come with me, and maybe you will stay,
    and maybe you’ll just watch awhile then wander.
    It seems like all the good things in my life just drift away,
    But maybe you will stay this time, I wonder.

    Yes, I know I have a lifetime coming,
    But I’ve got it all figured out,
    Everybody’s lonely, Everybody’s lonely,
    Everybody’s lonely, That’s what it’s all about.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OreExm0bXF8

    Warm Regards,

    David.

  • WHAT IS ULTIMATELY DREAMING ITSELF AWAKE, INSIDE YOU?
    Please consider;

    “The notion of this universe, its heavens, hells, and everything within it, as a great dream dreamed by a single being in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, has in India enchanted and shaped the entire civilization.

    The ultimate dreamer is Vishnu floating on the cosmic Milky Ocean, couched upon the coils of the abyssal serpent Ananta, the meaning of whose name is Unending. In the foreground stand the five Pandava brothers, heroes of the epic Mahabharata, with Draupadi, their wife: allegorically, she is the mind and they are the five senses.

    They are those whom the dream is dreaming. Eyes open, ready and willing to fight, the youths address themselves to this world of light in which we stand regarding them, where objects appear to be distinct from each other, and an Aristotelian logic prevails, and A is not not-A. Behind them a dream-door has opened, however, to an inward, backward dimension where a vision emerges against darkness…” _Joseph Campbell.

    And from a neuroscience perspective, (blasphemy, to the true believers here, apparently?), although I question people’s ability to really grasp the meaning of the words “cognitive dissonance and psychological-blindness,” consider;

    Sleep, Arousal, and Mythmaking in the Brain:

    Shakespeare proposed one possible function of sleep when he suggested that it “knits up the raveled sleeve of care.” Each day our lives cycle through the master routines of sleeping, dreaming, and waking. Although we do not know for sure what the various sleep stages do for us, aside from alleviating tiredness, we do know about the brain mechanisms that generate these states.

    All of the executive structures are quite deep in the brain, some in the lower brain stem. To the best of our knowledge, however, the most influential mechanisms for slow wave sleep (SWS) are higher in the brain than the active waking mechanisms, while the executive mechanisms for REM sleep are the lowest of the three. Thus, we are forced to contemplate the strange possibility that the basic dream generators are more ancient in brain evolution than are the generators of our waking consciousness.

    The brain goes through various “state shifts” during both waking and sleep. Surprisingly, it has been more difficult for scientists to agree on the types of discrete states of waking consciousness than on those that occur during sleep. EEG clearly discriminates three global vigilance states of the nervous system–waking, SWS, and dreaming or REM sleep.

    Some people have also thought that dreaming is the crucible of madness. Many have suggested that schizophrenia reflects the release of dreaming processes into the waking state. Schizophrenics do not exhibit any more REM than normal folks, except during the evening before a “schizophrenic break,” when REM is in fact elevated.

    There seem to be two distinct worlds within our minds, like matter and antimatter, worlds that are often 180 degrees out of phase with each other. The electrical activity in the brain stem during dreaming is the mirror image of waking–the ability of certain brain areas to modulate the activity of others during waking changes from excitation to inhibition during REM. In other words, areas of the brain that facilitate behaviors in waking now inhibit those same behaviors.

    Many believe that if we understand this topsy-turvy reversal of the ruling potentials in the brain, we will better understand the nature of everyday mental realities, as well as the nature of minds that are overcome by madness. Perhaps what is now the REM state was the original form of waking consciousness in early brain evolution, when “emotionality” was more important than reason in the competition for resources.

    What a strange thing, this dreaming process, that has now been the focus of more scientific inquiry than any other intrinsic mechanism of the brain. In terms of the EEG, it looks like a waking state, but in terms of behavior it looks like flaccid paralysis. When neuronal action potentials are analyzed during the three states of vigilance (sleeping, dreaming, and waking), we generally get a picture of waking activity as accompanied by a great deal of spontaneous neural activity, with only some cells being silent, waiting for the right environmental stimulus to come along.

    Before certain critical experiments were done, it was assumed that the waking state was sustained by the bombardment of the brain by incoming stimuli from the senses and that sleep ensued only when stimulation from environment was sufficiently diminished.

    During REM sleep, most of the brain exhibits slightly more neuronal activity than during waking, with storms of intense activity sweeping through certain areas of the brain. However, many neurons that are most active during waking cease firing completely during REM.”

    Excerpts from, “Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions.” by Jaak Panksepp.

    In a recent moments of day-dreaming inspiration, I’ve written in the Joseph Campbell Mythical Roundtable facebook group, that we are all on a special 12 step program, now containing some 6 billion odd souls, and counting? The Universe perceiving and acting upon itself? Becoming eternal by evolving into a form which acts upon itself, that is.

    And what does such a view have to do with the mental health debate? IMO what is at stake here, is the meaning of being human, in the reality that psychosis, is a right of passage? A subconscious right of passage, as our evolved brain/nervous systems, needs to adopt a mature orientation to reality, as it is. Hence I find myself posting this update on my facebook wall;

    HELP BRING FORTH – REALIZATION?
    Lift the veil a little more & realize the defensive and dark side of your objective rationality. Real human intelligence is emotional, intuitive, innate and entirely creative, because that’s what mother nature and the cosmos, created you for. Too much of our so-called objective insight, is based on our instinctive need to survive, that’s all. In Silvan Tomkins brilliant work on our innate nature, he notes 9 primary affect-emotions, only 2 of which are considered entirely positive. Interest-Excitement and Enjoyment-Joy, the other seven are devoted to your immediate need to survive the possible dangers of the present moment. Going beyond this innate need of wary self-defense is what happens to all the great mystics, including Buddha, Jesus & Muhammad as they faced the nature of their own reality and transcended an innate sense of FEAR.

    In the response to my comment above, Michael writes of interpretation getting easier with age, and I agree, hence my suggestion to Chrys on another thread, that we are “idolizing” education for the sake of education, above the value of lived wisdom, which only age and experience brings. This “idolization” of our educated priesthood, has IMO, led us into our current global dilemma, and is now forcing us to mature, a little more.

    Yet does this point in human history come by way of chaos, chance and circumstance? And is the rationally oriented cause and effect, objectifying intellect, capable of grasping an “unbelievable” reality, of ALL was meant to be? Right here, right now, because this moment is and always was, Eternal? Such is the trial of the visionary mind and the existential challenge of the born to be hyper-sensitive’s, like you and me. Please consider an excerpt from my journal come memoir, currently under construction;

    Is the Unexamined Life worth Living?
    Is the Hero’s Journey, applicable to an ordinary, individual life? Please consider the Cosmic Mythology of our Evolution;

    Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.” Please consider;

    Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, or the hero’s journey, is a basic pattern that its proponents argue is found in many narratives from around the world. This widely distributed pattern was described by Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).

    An enthusiast of novelist James Joyce, Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

    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 man.

    Campbell and other scholars, such as Erich Neumann, describe narratives of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Christ in terms of the monomyth and Campbell argues that classic myths from many cultures follow this basic pattern.

    The Crossing of the First Threshold
    This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.

    Campbell: “With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the ‘threshold guardian’ at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. Such custodians bound the world in four directions — also up and down — standing for the limits of the hero’s present sphere, or life horizon. Beyond them is darkness, the unknown and danger; just as beyond the parental watch is danger to the infant and beyond the protection of his society danger to the members of the tribe. The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, to remain within the indicated bounds, and popular belief gives him every reason to fear so much as the first step into the unexplored. The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil of the known into the unknown; the powers that watch at the boundary are dangerous; to deal with them is risky; yet for anyone with competence and courage the danger fades.”

    Modern Examples: In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke enters into the threatening and unpredictable world of the Creature Cantina in Mos Eisley. He then leaves Tatooine for the first time on the Millennium Falcon. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry defeats the troll, plunging him into a situation where he and his two companions will actively fight the darker powers, rather than simply parrying the blows. In The Lord of the Rings, Sam stops in the middle of a field and says to Frodo “If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”

    Belly of The Whale:
    The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. By entering this stage, the person shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis. (recall my use of Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis in Chp 17)

    Campbell: “The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown and would appear to have died. This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that the passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation. Instead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward, to be born again. The disappearance corresponds to the passing of a worshipper into a temple—where he is to be quickened by the recollection of who and what he is, namely dust and ashes unless immortal. The temple interior, the belly of the whale, and the heavenly land beyond, above, and below the confines of the world, are one and the same.

    That is why the approaches and entrances to temples are flanked and defended by colossal gargoyles: dragons, lions, devil-slayers with drawn swords, resentful dwarfs, winged bulls. The devotee at the moment of entry into a temple undergoes a metamorphosis. Once inside he may be said to have died to time and returned to the World Womb, the World Navel, the Earthly Paradise. Allegorically, then, the passage into a temple and the hero-dive through the jaws of the whale are identical adventures, both denoting in picture language, the life-centering, life-renewing act.”

    Classical example: In the story of Dionysus, Hera sends hungry titans to devour the infant Dionysus. The Titans tore apart the child and consumed his flesh. However Dionysus’s heart is saved by Hestia, goddess of the hearth, allowing Dionysus to be reborn as a god. Jonah is swallowed by a great fish in the book of Jonah (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible).

    Modern Examples: In “Star Wars: A New Hope”, the heroes are sucked into the enemy space fortress by a tractor beam. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is stabbed by one of the Ringwraiths; he almost dies but his life is saved by Elrond. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry enters the Forbidden Forest and discovers the presence of Voldemort, who murdered his family and almost murdered him.

    Initiation:

    The Road of Trials:
    The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.

    Campbell: “Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the myth-adventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals. The hero is covertly aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he met before his entrance into this region. Or it may be that he here discovers for the first time that there is a benign power everywhere supporting him in his superhuman passage. The original departure into the land of trials represented only the beginning of the long and really perilous path of initiatory conquests and moments of illumination. Dragons have now to be slain and surprising barriers passed — again, again, and again. Meanwhile there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstasies and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land.”

    Classical Example: “In fitting in the theme of tests often occurring in threes, Jesus is tempted by Satan three times in the desert. Jesus passes each of these three temptations, and the narrative moves more firmly to Jesus’ divinity.”

    Modern Examples: In The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship fight their way through to go through the mines of Moria, Gandalf is lost fighting the Balrog. In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke rescues the princess from the Death Star, but Obi-wan is killed by Darth Vader. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry enters the realm of the trapdoor that’s guarded by the three-headed dog and undergoes a series of trials.

    The Meeting With the Goddess:
    This is the point when the person experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely.

    Campbell: “The ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome, is commonly represented as a mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the World. This is the crisis at the nadir, the zenith, or at the uttermost edge of the earth, at the central point of the cosmos, in the tabernacle of the temple, or within the darkness of the deepest chamber of the heart. The meeting with the goddess (who is incarnate in every woman) is the final test of the talent of the hero to win the boon of love (charity: amor fati), which is life itself enjoyed as the encasement of eternity. And when the adventurer, in this context, is not a youth but a maid, she is the one who, by her qualities, her beauty, or her yearning, is fit to become the consort of an immortal. Then the heavenly husband descends to her and conducts her to his bed—whether she will or not. And if she has shunned him, the scales fall from her eyes; if she has sought him, her desire finds its peace.”

    Modern Examples: In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry defeats Voldemort/Quirrell because touching Harry burns their flesh. The explanation that comes later is that they can’t tolerate the pure love that Harry’s mother had for him, and which protects him.

    Woman as Temptress:
    In this step, the hero faces those temptations, often of a physical or pleasurable nature, that may lead him or her to abandon or stray from his or her quest, which does not necessarily have to be represented by a woman. Woman is a metaphor for the physical or material temptations of life, since the hero-knight was often tempted by lust from his spiritual journey.

    Campbell: “The crux of the curious difficulty lies in the fact that our conscious views of what life ought to be seldom correspond to what life really is. Generally we refuse to admit within ourselves, or within our friends, the fullness of that pushing, self-protective, malodorous, carnivorous, lecherous fever which is the very nature of the organic cell. Rather, we tend to perfume, whitewash, and reinterpret; meanwhile imagining that all the flies in the ointment, all the hairs in the soup, are the faults of some unpleasant someone else. But when it suddenly dawns on us, or is forced to our attention that everything we think or do is necessarily tainted with the odor of the flesh, then, not uncommonly, there is experienced a moment of revulsion: life, the acts of life, the organs of life, woman in particular as the great symbol of life, become intolerable to the pure, the pure, pure soul. The seeker of the life beyond life must press beyond (the woman), surpass the temptations of her call, and soar to the immaculate ether beyond.”

    Modern Examples: In Star Wars: A New Hope, Han Solo claims his reward money and leaves the rebels to fight alone only to return later to save Luke’s life. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry is tempted by the Mirror of Erised as a false answer to his desires and needs. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo attempts to offer the ring to the lovely royal elf Galadriel because he believes in her power, but declines when he sees what it would do to her.”

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth

    IMO these age-old legends from all the worlds religions and fairy tales, are as much about our “internal” reality, as the observed “objective” reality of the material world. Hence, following my “intuitive” bliss, as Joseph Campbell suggests, I began a new blog recently;

    “2020: Project Realization. Towards a New Sense of Self & Earth. Re-Defining the Chemistry of Life’s Cosmic Nature.
    A dream. A future day when all humanity will pause to honor our ancestors in acceptance of our species destiny.
    Science continues to discover more about reality, both without & within. Reaching for a Cosmic Self-Realization?”

    http://www.2020-realization.blogspot.com.au/

    But of course, to mainstream “objective” realists, I’m just a crazy psychotic, with “unreal,” cosmic sized day-dreams? And in defense against the predictable “reactions,” rationalized as reason, towards my “reductionist” worldview;

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” _Albert Einstein.

    Please consider a footnote of my own hero’s journey;

    My Personal Journey & need for Redemption:
    Since 2007, my own hero’s journey has been about family redemption. Please consider this personal correspondence with my youngest son;

    Hi Shaun, Thanks for the response, I’m really happy that we are starting to communicate like this, and I do mean it, that my “acting out,” the generational violence when you were young, sends shudders down my spine these days, and makes me feel deeply ashamed. But we all, do this, “acting out,” without consciously knowing how or why? Its been my task, since 2007, to understand this, within myself, and then explain it to others. I wrote to James previously, saying that once I published, to critical acclaim, the family’s attitude will shift, although with little ability to really understand why. The same thing happened when I built the family business, and people’s perception of me changed, even though I had not changed that much. I just brought out more of what is innate, within me, as you did, that night at Jannali, in your HSC drama performance. Its a deep source of regret for me, that both you and James, gave up your acting desires, just as it is that Matthew gave up his artistic desires, and Luke his sporting prowess.

    The two books are 1, about why so-called mental illness, is not a brain disease, and how, after 2007, I set about trying to find the scientific proofs to compliment my intuitive sense, that the medical model, is flawed. As my journey continues, and I manage myself without medications, my ability to understand and communicate that understanding to others, is growing rapidly now. Both, amongst professionals and lay people. The second book, is about our family and the generational nature of emotional coping and how it affects each new generation. In particular, its about the pivotal experience of loss, like the life I sanctioned to be aborted when your mum & I were too young to really understand just how sacred and precious, life is.

    The abortion, came through as a very strong part of the emotions, involved in my first experience of mental illness, and its possible that if we had decided to have that first child, as I wanted too, we would have had five children, 1 girl and 4 boys, just like my Grandmother. Of coarse, no one can be sure, that the first pregnancy was a girl, yet imagine what a difference a girl would have made, on both sides of our family tree? For my own mother, it would have helped to heal a childhood wound, from her abandonment, by her own mother, and for your mother, it would have allowed her and your Nan to improve the generational nature of emotional relationship. My great wish now, is to get a current, academic essay I’m working on right, and then contact an established writer to co-write a book, which will ensure its publication, by a good publishing company.

    The second book, will be about my search for redemption, in the adoption of a Thai daughter, to help bring the generational wound, to a healing completion. Hopefully, this will happen before my mother dies, and we can have the experience I saw with my Grandmother, when you were still a baby. A night in Blacktown, when her great grand children gathered around a curious old fossil, and I saw in her eyes, the meaning of life. She didn’t need money or things, or so-called success, she saw her life’s meaning, right in front of her eyes, and died knowing, just how much she’d contributed to this life, to this family. In the end, its what its all about?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Brother Michael, I’m so happy to see this lived perspective on the madness of our 2013, “objectified” sense of self. The very sense of self which presumes itself intelligent, while remaining in deep, socially constructed denial about our true nature, IMO.

    Only this morning, half a world away from you, I find myself writing these notes to myself, in my journal, as I continue an inward journey, which began with my “flight” to Thailand, three and half years ago. Please consider;

    “Noticed, projected anger this morning, from the frustration of my life-long “outsider” position and working on my more academic essay. Yet, at the same time being aware of how a frustrating “process” helps me to better articulate my intuitive sense of reality, as it is. I’m struggling with how best to say to myself and others, how our self-deluding, yet consensually accepted “subject – object” orientation of our intelligent mind, adopts the “projected” illusion of objective reality, in service of denial.”

    My intuitive, “day-dream” sense, of how our need to sanctify the mind, reflects our need to control our evolved, innate, nature. Hence, our urge to dominate Mother nature, seems to reflect the evolved mind’s need to dominate those powerful, archetypal forces within, which are the forces of our Cosmic evolution, as a sentient life-form. Please consider an excerpt from a current essay, I’m writing;

    “The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived “enemies” – his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.

    Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, tribes, religions, and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships. They bring about a distortion in your perception of other people and yourself. Through them, you misinterpret every situation, leading to misguided action designed to rid you of fear and satisfy your need for more, a bottomless hole that can never be filled.

    Trying to become a good or better human being sounds like a commendable and high minded thing to do, yet it is an endeavor you cannot ultimately succeed in unless there is a shift in consciousness. This is because it is still part of the same dysfunction, a more subtle and rarefied form of self-enhancement, of desire for more and a strengthening of one’s conceptual identity, one’s self-image. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”

    Exerts from “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle.

    My psychoses over the past three years, have fundamentally changed my state of consciousness. Yet mainstream psychiatry considers all hyper-sensitive’s like me, pathological?

    Please consider excerpts from a dissertation on Psychosis and Spirituality;

    “Similarities between mystical experience and “madness” have been noted since ancient times. Mystics have long been persecuted for their experiences, which to some may look like mental disorder, but for initiates are signposts that they are on the right path. Even today, the ancient practices of many tribal and indigenous peoples would be considered a psychotic disorder by mainstream psychiatrists.

    Psychiatry, in general, makes no distinction between mystical experiences and mental illness, and shows no recognition of the contribution made by the great spiritual teachings into the systemic study of consciousness. Consequently the concepts and practices based on centuries of deep psychological exploration and experimentation are dismissed and the fruits of this practice ignored (Grof and Grof, 1989).

    PSYCHOSIS, OR PEAK EXPERIENCE:

    Peak experiences have been reported by millions of people both males and females of all ages, from diverse social and educational backgrounds with various religious affiliations (Austin, 19980). During his initial research, Maslow (1971) believed that all individuals were capable of peak experiences and even came to the expectation that all participants in his research would report a peak experience. Those who did not, he called non-peakers, not because they could not have this type of experience but because he believed that they somehow suppressed or denied them. Maslow considered “non-peakers” to be rational or mechanistic and therefore regarded their peak experiences as a form of insanity. He believed that the individual who is afraid of losing control would desperately try to stabilize or hold onto their reality and push the peak experience away.

    (In general terms, does this fear of losing control, apply to the consensus reality we all share as a socially constructed, group mind, in our generational need to keep madness, out of sight and out of consensus awareness, so that we can remain in denial? What does the Biblical story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den really refer to, when we think in terms of metaphor & projected internal energies? Both the Lion & the Dragon have long been associated with the fiery energies of the human heart, and this “projection” is seen most recently in the movie Avatar, when Jake Sully, that well know scoun, is foolish enough to try to Master the red dragon of Psychosis, IMO. Yet what benefits flow to the tribe, when the born to be sensitive’s, manage this age-old challenge, to decipher the needs of our Cosmic Soul & our Destiny as sentient species? IMO we are the children of this Universe and its own evolved mechanism (hate that Descartes, term, that limited cause and effect logic, “as if,” we are a machine), of Eternity.)

    Maslow’s (1971) research demonstrated that peak experiences can occur in the middle of everyday events in the most common of surroundings. Maslow was surprised to find many of his undergraduate students having peak experiences which they described in similar language to that used by spiritual leaders in the East and West, thus implying that one does not need to be a mystic to experience a peak state (Hoffman, 1988). In fact Maslow said:

    “The great lesson from the true mystics, from Zen monks, and now also from the humanistic and transpersonal psychologists – that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s backyard. (Maslow, 1971, p, x)

    According to Maslow (1986), these experiences lie at the core of moments of ecstasy and deep mystical and transcendental experiences such as those explored by William James. (link to “the varieties of religious experience)

    Other models of Peak Experience:

    Maslow’s description of the peak experience is similar to the description given by Rogers (1980) for the “fully-functioning person.” Rogers originally described this as being open to experience, process oriented, caring, non-materialistic, anti-institutional, holding an inner sense of power, somewhat skeptical of science and technology, having a desire for authenticity, wholeness, intimacy and the spiritual. Like Maslow, Rogers was aware that only a minority of the population reached this state and of these, only a few possessed each of the characteristics.

    Maslow also considered the height of the peak experience similar to Cosmic consciousness (Bucke, 1923/1969) and the mystical experience as outlined by James (1902/2007), who identified four characteristics of the mystical experience: 1. Ineffability; the experience defies expression, its quality must be experienced, it cannot be transferred, it is more like a state of feeling rather than intellect. 2. Noetic quality; a state of knowledge providing insights into the depth of truth beyond the grasp of the intellect, illuminations and revelations of significance transcending time and space. 3. Transiency; mystical states cannot be sustained, they are fleeting, rarely lasting up to half an hour at most, once faded they can be somewhat imperfectly reproduced. 4. Passivity; the individual’s will is suspended and one is held by a superior power, various phenomena such as autonomic writing, trance or prophetic speech are experienced and although not often recalled the individual senses their importance.

    Cosmic conflict involving a dramatic clash of opposites-combat between the forces of light and darkness. With archetypal images as primordial patterns which form the basic content of religions, mythologies, legends and fairy tales of all ages. (which has been my intuitive, yet unarticulated understanding for a long time now.)”

    Excerpts from: The Differentiation of Psychosis & Spiritual Emergency by Monika Goretzki. (comments in brackets, mine)

    http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/47986/1/02whole.pdf

    Sadly, the need to embrace the current group mind, tends to lead transpersonal writer’s into a dichotomy of suggestion, that there is a “clinical” difference between psychosis and Mysticism, which IMO reflects the current limitations of our “cause and effect intelligence. Even the scientists who embrace “systems theory,” which now illuminating the systems growth of our early maturing brain/nervous systems, within the first years of life, acknowledge that they revert to cause and effect language, in everyday dialogue, with family and friends. It does seem though, that we are on the road to the Kingdom of Heaven, the rise and rise of mass education, lifts the perceptual capacity of our younger generations. President Obama’s impromptu remarks about the Trayvon Martin case, reflect this reality, IMO. He noted how, observing his children and their friends, that they were accepting the generational challenge to it better than we did.

    I know you will recognize John’s contribution to this fine dissertation, in the language of our Cosmic struggle, to become Buddha, within this eternal now. The literal translation of Buddha, meaning, AWAKE.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • It will be interesting to see how Bob rationalizes the expected outcome of a NEED to ignore reality and remain in denial, about the nature of our very human madness.

    Consider an excerpt from a book by one of most renowned new age voices of our time and the inherent madness of being human;

    “According to Christian teachings, the normal collective state of humanity is one of “original sin.” Sin is a word that has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. Literally translated from the ancient Greek in which the New Testament was written, to sin means to miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering. Again, the term, stripped of its cultural baggage and misinterpretations, points to the dysfunction inherent in the human condition.

    The achievements of humanity are impressive and undeniable. We have created sublime works of music, literature, painting, architecture, and sculpture. More recently, science and technology have brought about radical changes in the way we live and have enabled us to do and create things that would have been considered miraculous even two hundred years ago. No doubt: The human mind is highly intelligent. Yet its very intelligence is tainted by madness. Science and technology have magnified the destructive impact that the dysfunction of the human mind has upon the planet, other life-form’s, and upon humans themselves. That is why the history of the twentieth century is where that dysfunction, that collective insanity, can be most clearly recognized. A further factor is that this dysfunction is actually intensifying and accelerating.

    The First World War broke out in 1914. Destructive and cruel wars, motivated by fear, greed, and the desire for power, had been common occurrences throughout human history, as had slavery, torture, and widespread violence inflicted for religious and ideological reasons. Humans suffered more at the hands of each other than through natural disasters. By the year 1914, however, the highly intelligent human mind had invented not only the internal combustion engine, but also bombs, machine guns, submarines, flame throwers, and poison gas. Intelligence in the service of madness! In static trench warfare in France and Belgium, millions of men perished to gain a few miles of mud. When the war was over in 1918, the survivors look in horror and incomprehension upon the devastation left behind: ten million human beings killed and many more maimed or disfigured. Never before had human madness been so destructive in its effect, so clearly visible. Little did they know that this was only the beginning.

    By the end of the century, the number of people who died a violent death at the hand of their fellow humans would rise to more than one hundred million. They died not only through wars between nations, but also through mass exterminations and genocide, such as the murder of twenty million “class enemies, spies, and traitors” in the Soviet Union under Stalin or the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. They also died in countless smaller internal conflicts, such as the Spanish civil war or during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia when a quarter of that country’s population was murdered.

    We only need to watch the daily news on television to realize that the madness has not abated, that is continuing into the twenty first century. Another aspect of the collective dysfunction of the human mind is the unprecedented violence that humans are inflicting on other life-forms and the planet itself – the destruction of oxygen producing forests and other plant and animal life; ill treatment of animals in factory farms; and poisoning of
    rivers, oceans, and air. Driven by greed, ignorant of their connectedness to the whole, humans persist in behavior that, if continued unchecked, can only result in their own destruction.

    The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived “enemies” – his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.

    Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, tribes, religions, and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships. They bring about a distortion in your perception of other people and yourself. Through them, you misinterpret every situation, leading to misguided action designed to rid you of fear and satisfy your need for more, a bottomless hole that can never be filled.

    Trying to become a good or better human being sounds like a commendable and high minded
    thing to do, yet it is an endeavor you cannot ultimately succeed in unless there is a shift in consciousness. This is because it is still part of the same dysfunction, a more subtle and rarefied form of self-enhancement, of desire for more and a strengthening of one’s conceptual identity, one’s self-image. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”

    Exerts from “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle.

    My psychoses, have fundamentally changed my state of consciousness. Yet mainstream psychiatry considers all hyper-sensitive’s like me, pathological?

    Yet here on Medications in America, the denial of the nature of human madness, is upheld by a rational agenda, to keep the focus on medications and treatment, IMO.

    We should realize that the human mind evolved to “dampen” the internal energies of our e-motive reactivity. That’s generally what we do with our need for “rationalizations,” IMHO. We self-sooth the inherent anxiety, of the lived moment.

  • A wonderful essay Chaya, and a fine example of how life is not a Hollywood movie, and that so many children are not raised in a “Mary Poppins,” environment? I found this paragraph the most powerful statement about the reality of maturing;

    I find my current challenge is to allow myself that guilt-free mentality I came in to the world with, and to put down any heaviness or burden. If it feels heavy and burdensome, it probably isn’t mine to do. It’s probably the child in me still feeling like she should hold everything for her family, thinking that will keep her safe. Please consider an excerpt from my own journey, to let go the cover-up needs of the family group and come into my own;

    “Just as I am now estranged from my family, my mother was estranged from her family of origin, and entirely dependent on another’s extended family, my father’s. This unbalanced emotional arrangement played its part in the further chaos, chance and circumstance, which resulted in my first episode of bipolar disorder, mania. Essentially, the current estrangement with my family, which is following the same generational pattern as my mother’s estrangement from her family, is based on a subconscious need for movement, both physical and emotional, towards or away from. A subconsciously stimulated movement towards support and protection, and away from a subconscious sense of threat. Like the threat my public airing of mental illness within the family, posses to my mother, my brother and my children, its embarrassing. Embarrassment, being a milder expression of shame, yet nonetheless stimulating a need to move away from the threatening source. Consider Franz Kafka’s brilliant critique of the human family, and our need for support and protection:

    The Metamorphosis

    “We have to try and get rid of it”, said Gregor’s sister, now speaking only to her father, as her mother was too occupied with coughing to listen, “it’ll be the death of both of you, I can see it coming. We can’t all work as hard as we have to and then come home to be tortured like this, we can’t endure it. I can’t endure it any more.” And she broke out so heavily in tears that they flowed down the face of her mother, and she wiped them away with mechanical hand movements. “My child”, said her father with sympathy and obvious understanding, “what are we to do?” His sister just shrugged her shoulders as a sign of the helplessness that had taken hold of her, displacing her earlier certainly when she had broken into tears.

    “If he could just understand us”, said his father almost as a question; his sister shook her hand vigorously through her tears as a sign that of that there was no question.

    “If he could just understand us”, repeated Gregor’s father, closing his eyes in acceptance of his sister’s certainty that that was quite impossible, “then perhaps we could come to some kind of arrangement with him. But as it is …”

    “It’s got to go”, shouted his sister, “that’s the only way, Father. You’ve got to get rid of the idea that that’s Gregor. We’ve only harmed ourselves by believing it for so long. How can that be Gregor? If it were Gregor he would have seen long ago that it’s not possible for human beings to live with an animal like that and he would have gone of his own free will. We wouldn’t have a brother any more, then, but we could carry on with our lives and remember him with respect. As it is this animal is persecuting us, it’s driven out our tenants, it obviously wants to take over the whole flat and force us to sleep on the streets. Father, look, just look”, she suddenly screamed, “he’s starting again!” In her alarm, which was totally beyond Gregor’s comprehension, his sister even abandoned his mother as she pushed herself vigorously out of her chair as if more willing to sacrifice her own mother than stay anywhere near Gregor. She rushed over to behind her father, who had become excited merely because she was and stood up half raising his hands in front of Gregor’s sister as if to protect her.

    He did not turn his head until he had reached the doorway. He did not turn it all the way round as he felt his neck becoming stiff, but it was nonetheless enough to see that nothing behind him had changed, only his sister had stood up. With his last glance he saw that his mother had now fallen completely asleep.

    He was hardly inside his room before the door was hurriedly shut, bolted and locked. The sudden noise behind Gregor so startled him that his little legs collapsed under him. It was his sister who had been in so much of a rush. She had been standing there waiting and sprung forward lightly, Gregor had not heard her coming at all, and as she turned the key in the lock she said loudly to her parents “At last!”.

    “What now, then?”, Gregor asked himself as he looked round in the darkness. He soon made the discovery that he could no longer move at all. This was no surprise to him, it seemed rather that being able to actually move around on those spindly little legs until then was unnatural. He also felt relatively comfortable. It is true that his entire body was aching, but the pain seemed to be slowly getting weaker and weaker and would finally disappear altogether. He could already hardly feel the decayed apple in his back or the inflamed area around it, which was entirely covered in white dust. He thought back of his family with emotion and love. If it was possible, he felt that he must go away even more strongly than his sister. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful rumination until he heard the clock tower strike three in the morning. He watched as it slowly began to get light everywhere outside the window too. Then, without his willing it, his head sank down completely, and his last breath flowed weakly from his nostrils.” An excerpt from Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka Translated by David Wyllie.

    No longer a source of support and protection within the family group, Gregor is shunned, even by his sister, who had benefited most from his, father-like support. In Murray Bowen’s seminal ideas on family therapy, this paternalistic nature of the nuclear family group, becomes the structuring force of mainstream society. Hence, we often describe government and other institutions as “paternalistic and condescending.”

    The Motor Act, Is The Cradle of The Mind? -Sir Charles Sherrington.
    Hence our implicit, subconscious-self, is based on the survival need of physical movement.

    Just as my mother’s family physically “moved” away from a source of family embarrassment. A family secret my mother had kept to herself for so many decades, until we sat down to review our “family tree,” in 2006. Perhaps she was hoping that those sharing moments together would help to heal the void created between us, in our mutual experience of birth trauma? I’m certain she’d never spoken with my father about our family secret. Such emotional intimacy was not the “style,” on that side of my family tree. Perhaps she’d recalled the mother-child relationship which briefly blossomed between us, in Wallingford, England, when I was the responsible, caring son, on a day when she almost died. Or perhaps my deceased father’s lost presence allowed a more sensitive and open emotional “style,” indicative of our shared genetic heritage, from the maternal side of my family tree?

    But alas, these subconscious patterns of motivation are not easily dislodged, until brought to our conscious awareness. The very purpose, of my efforts here, unless read with a quick defensive judgment, as a subconsciously stimulated need of projecting blame? Am I really just blaming and shaming my family here, in a need to avoid responsibility for my current circumstances? This is certainly my family’s perspective, on these complex explanations of subconscious motivations. And what do I really mean, in this notion of a subconscious need for physical movement, and its strange recurring patterns, within everyone’s family tree?

    In Murray Bowen’s seminal approach to family and society, he describes a notion of “sinning,” perhaps reflecting the Christian culture in which he was immersed:

    “The force that drives the family projection process is intense. It is an automatic emotional force that functions to keep the patient sick. The full power of the force is most clearly seen in “action language” in families with severely impaired patients, when family anxiety is high. The family will overextend itself to do anything for the patient as long as treatment is for the patient.

    The process can be aptly described by the following analogy. The family approaches the psychiatrist with a problem in one family member that, from a systems point of view, is the product of years of “sinning” throughout the family. The group is adamant in its demands that the product of the “sinning” be removed without doing anything to disturb the family patterns.

    The same projection process operates in psychiatry. There have been reports about family therapy in the literature for almost twenty years. One of the best family research studies in the past decade was designed to keep mental patients out of hospitals. It was carefully designed and controlled, and it demonstrated that about eighty percent of patients already approved for admission to a public hospital could be kept at home and treated with a fraction of the professional personnel and time and expense required for the control group, and that the end result after a five year follow-up was much superior to the conventionally treated group. The scientific reports about it appeared periodically until the final book report five years ago.

    Reviews of the work in professional journals described the work as “interesting and worthy of further study,” etc. One could say that innovations in thinking and procedure require time for acceptance. There is evidence that this force in psychiatry is part of the same force in all families, and also in society. Society probably spends more time and energy in futile attempts to remove the products of “sinning” than in trying to stop the “sinning.” ” Excerpts from “Family Therapy in Clinical Practice,” by Murray Bowen.

    In my opinion, Bowen’s “sinning,” is our subconscious need to “shun” any sense of “otherness,” like the experience of so-called mental illness, which no longer lends support to group function, on a family and societal level of implicit needs.”

    Read more here: http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-17_16.html

    I wish you well in your journey and take great comfort in the maturity of such a young voice. I wish the internet had been available at the time of my first diagnosis, and lent me the support and guidance, it now renders possible to so many, in communities like this.

    Sincerely,

    David Bates.

  • I don’t know, I read the post and the comments above, and I mainly see adolescent point scoring to one degree or another, IMHO.

    The authors write;
    Rather than re-positioning itself in response to the widely-acknowledged threat to its power and status arising from the DSM-5 debacle, psychiatry, along with colleagues from all professional disciplines, needs to work in genuine partnership with people with lived experience of diagnoses, in order to find less damaging and more humane ways of making sense of, and responding to, madness and distress.

    I would love to see a list of the people with genuine lived experience, that the authors are working with, to glean real wisdom from? In my experience the usual “educated priesthood,” tends to be as condescending towards those of us who do a double degree in life, simply because we don’t have letters after our name.

    The “subconscious” need for rank and status, is as strong within anti-psychiatry, as it in mainstream psychiatry IMO. With the usual educated elites being no more self-aware, than the blue bloods they rail against, IMO. When I acted-out an active psychosis within the sacred walls of theicarusproject in 2010, the reaction was no different to any mainstream situation, and the denial that we’re not like “them,” is one of those paradoxical realities of being human, IMO. When will we learn that a “postural attitude,” towards “them,” will always beget an equally strong reaction, in the subconscious reality of our e-motive reactivity?

    Which is why I wrote, “asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

    Read more here: http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-17_16.html

    Best wishes to all,

    david Bates.

  • Consider words from my brother in arms;

    “It seems obvious that when faced with the choice of allowing a realization that Jung either was singularly psychologically blind to the identity of his own benefactor Dionysus, or a realization that Jung deceptively hid the identity of the phallic maneater Dionysus– that Jung’s followers were in so much cognitive dissonance, were in such a bind that they unconsciously chose the third alternative. They went into a collective trance. Like the throng in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale, they couldn’t see the reality before their very eyes.

    Orwell famously affirmed this psychological axiom – ‘To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.’

    That’s why Perry’s patrician jaw dropped and I saw him for the first time at a loss for words when I spoke my Jungian blasphemy about the big secret hidden in plain sight. When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness. Perry became almost giddy–he kept repeating–”Of course Michael, yes, you are right, you are right–I never saw it, none of us did–oh, you must publish this, must publish this!” And so I am right now.” _Michael Cornwall PhD.

    See more here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/

    As Michael points out: “When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness.”

    The dreaded realization that mainstream society, not just psychiatry, is avoiding like the plague, IMO. I’m not a fan of the taken for granted “us vs them” worldview, IMO Michael’s insight applies to us ALL.

    The taken for granted sense of “otherness” which matures into a taken for granted sense of “them,” is simply a subconsciously stimulated need, for survival towards the possible dangers of the present moment.

    Yet in America, with particularly “paranoiac,” society, at least to those of us who don’t live in one of the most violent cultures on earth, Hollywood’s rather adolescent emotionality seems to fuel, a taken for granted misperception of life, as it is, within the reality of the lived moment. A simplistic survival perception, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  • Over the past decade, there have been dozens of “critical mental health” books published. As a mental health researcher, I read most of these. Some of these books have been ground-breaking (e.g., Blaming the Brain, Mad in America, Anatomy of an Epidemic, Pharmageddon), but many are fairly derivative of previous scholarship. The field is now almost crowded with such work.

    And yet, just like climate change, there seems to be an innate need to ignore, inconvenient truths? Like the knee jerk reaction we get, when we tell people in mainstream medication compliance groups, that we’ve recovered from so-called mental illness, and no longer require the medications and other treatments, to be normal.

    “Well, simple, you never had a mental illness,” is so often the reaction and IMO because we don’t function with reason, but simply rationalize our reactions, on issues pertaining to being human. IMO that’s what’s at stake in the mental health debate, “just what does it mean to be human?” Hence, even great books like “Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs,” will continue to be ignored by our consensus reality, because real truths are inconvenient, to our sense of normality.

    IMO the continuing focus on medications and treatment, is part of our mechanism of denial, as we scapegoat any sense of “otherness,” in the way humans have for millennia, its a ruse to prevent us from being truly self-aware until we are ready to face the final curtain, and take responsibility for what we are?

    The Cosmos, perceiving and acting upon itself.
    We are IMO, the very mechanism of Eternity.
    But I am, a certified Psychotic!

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Will the wishful desire come to fruition, or be ignored in our consensus need to protect the image, of our “normal” sense of reason? As you write Bob;

    Which will it be? My optimistic self hopes for the first outcome, while my realistic self expects the latter. And if it proves to be the latter, this will be a medical story of continuing harm done, and, I would argue, it would be reason for our society to conclude that the care of “psychotic” patients can no longer be entrusted to the psychiatric profession.

    I think the problem is the taken for granted prominence of “objective” rationality, and that it contains some kind of special insight? The consensus of the group, towards this image of reason, will therefore go to any lengths to protect it, hence psychiatrists become the mind police for a greater society, where the average citizen is scared to death by the kind of innate experiences, people with a so-called mental illness go through. IMO this is not madness or the mental illness of a diseased brain, but simply the acute sensitivity of being human.

    We must remember that to the great Mystics, normality is Psychotic? Hence I posted these comments on my facebook wall today, as my inner journey continues.

    BRING FORTH – REALIZATION?
    Lift the veil a little more & realize the defensive and dark side of your objective rationality.
    Real human intelligence is emotional, intuitive, innate and entirely creative, because that’s what mother nature and the cosmos, created you for. Too much of our so-called objective insight, is based on our instinctive need to survive, that’s all. In Silvan Tomkins brilliant work on our innate nature, he notes 9 primary affect-emotions, only 2 of which are considered entirely positive. Interest-Excitement and Enjoyment-Joy, the other seven are devoted to your immediate need to survive the possible dangers of the present moment. Going beyond this innate need of wary self-defense is what happens to all the great mystics, including Buddha, Jesus & Muhammad, as they faced the nature of their own reality and transcended an innate sense of FEAR.

    To which, there followed these comments;

    Chilling and accurate and terribly sad it is so common most never even notice.

    Its not sad, when we realize it was all meant to be? We are living through the resurrection right now, as technology allows us to see clearly, what the mystics have always known. To the Mystic, normality is Psychotic?

    The sadness is the realization that so many will never step past the door into the resurrection experience… technology does actually open up many realities that used to be open only to the mystics. Having lived with so called psychosis for many years and trying to mesh with the so called normal world, I have faced many things people blanch at when I describe them. Sadness because until recently I was very very alone in this 3 dimensional reality.

    NEVER? Is a long time. I understand the desire, we want it to happen NOW! Yet the task of maturity for us all, is the realization of reality, as it is, in the here and now. As Joseph Campbell points out, the Hero’s journey is an individual one and the need to teach what has been learned and forgotten by successive generations. Perhaps, its time to start teaching children more ancient wisdom, than simply how to become another “objective” cog in an economic wheel of life? The real wheel of life, is organic, its our inherent nature and where the vitality of our creativity comes from. Losing touch with this innate reality and trying to be objectively rational, always diminishes my energy, as I join the consensus image of reason, which in Buddhist terms, is illusionary and self-defeating.

    Gentleness and patience and compassion are lifelong learnings that slowly teach me new courage.

    What this community gets lost in, IMO, is the consensus need to protect the image of our “objective” sense of reason. As long as we focus on “treatment” we endorse the consensus view that Madness is a disease and NOT part of a “continuum” of human experience. We can’t have our cake and eat it too? We must start showing the world that so-called mental illness, is simply the sometimes hypersensitive nature of being human, IMO.

    Please consider an excerpt from a very fine dissertation on psychosis and spirituality;

    Chinomy (1974) advises that the initiate start at the fourth (heart) chakra, which is safer, and work from there because the base chakra is too dangerous to work with for the novice who is not familiar with the process, or not strong enough to handle Kundalini energies.

    (Yet, compared with Levine’s sensate awareness for trauma resolution, does Kundalini relate to the spontaneous release of a nervous system [conditioned] vigilance state?)

    This transformational process is always accompanied by varying degrees of physical and psychological signs and symptoms, and Greenwell (1990) has classified these phenomena into seven primary categories.

    The first category, pranic movements or kriyas, consists of intense, involuntary body movements, shaking, vibrations, jerking, sensations of electricity, tingling, and waves of energy throughout the body.

    Category four includes psychological upheavals such as the intensification of unresolved psychological issues, fear of death or insanity, mood swings, and waves of anxiety, anger, guilt, or depression as well as profound compassion, unconditional love, and heightened sensitivity to the moods of others.

    The parapsychological experiences category consists of such phenomena as precognition, healing abilities, reading the minds of others, unusual synchronicities, electrical sensitivity and psychokinesis.

    The extrasensory experiences category, which is often identified as a subcategory of the parapsychological, includes atypical perceptions such as lights, symbols, images of entities, the reviewing of other lives, visions, auditory input including voices, music, repeated phrases or continual inner sound and olfactory sensations.

    The final category, samadhi or satori experiences, includes sensations of deep peace, wisdom, experiences of light, tranquility, joy, overwhelming waves of bliss and the absorption of consciousness into a condition of unitive awareness.

    Greenwell (1990) acknowledges that each individual demonstrates a unique pattern, varying in intensity and duration, and suggests that when one’s experiences fall into several categories this indicates a high probability of Kundalini awakening. Sanella (1997) believes that the signs and symptoms, such as alterations in emotions and thought processes, visions and voices all appear to be largely personality determined. But sensations such as itching, fluttering, tingling, heat and cold, perceptions of inner lights, sounds and the occurrence of contortions and spasms appear to be quite universal. He proposes that this universality may indicate that all spiritual practices are activating the same basic process and that these processes may have a definite physiological basis that gives rise to these specific bodily symptoms.

    Saraswati (1984) focuses on the changes that take place in the mind during the awakening of Kundalini. When this happens, one transcends the normal categories of mental awareness, the scope of one’s knowledge becomes greater, the mind becomes dynamic, while the quality and experiences of the mind begin to change. When one looks at people, animals, and nature, there is a deeper communication with them, a realization of some inner essence. Matter appears to lose substance, one’s body may feel like it is made of air or one may feel that they are no longer a part of their physical body. (the comment in brackets is mine)

    http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/47986/1/02whole.pdf

    And from the author who helped me most, in the transformation of my psychoses;

    Trauma and Spirituality:
    In a lifetime of working with traumatized individuals, I have been struck by the intrinsic and wedded relationship between trauma and spirituality. With clients suffering from a daunting array of crippling symptoms, I have been privileged to witness profound and authentic transformations. Seemingly out of nowhere, unexpected “side effects” appeared as these individuals mastered the monstrous trauma symptoms that had haunted them-emotionally, physically and psychologically. Surprises included ecstatic joy, exquisite clarity, effortless focus and an all-embracing sense of oneness. (p, 347)

    “The life of feeling is that primordial region of the psyche that is most sensitive to the religious encounter. Belief or reason alone does nothing to move the soul; without feeling, religious meaning becomes a vacant intellectual exercise. This is why the most exuberant spiritual moments are emotionally laden.” _Carl Jung.

    At the right time, traumatized individuals are encouraged to and supported to feel and surrender into immobility/NDE states, states of profound surrender, which liberate these primordial archetypal energies, while integrating them into consciousness. In addition to the “awe-full” states of horror and terror appear to be connected to the transformative states such as awe, presence, timelessness and ecstasy. (p, 353)

    Excerpts from “In an Unspoken Voice,” by Peter Levine, PhD.

    IMO the continuing focus on medications and treatment, is part of our mechanism of denial, as we scapegoat any sense of “otherness,” in the way humans have for millennia, its a ruse to prevent us from being truly self-aware until we are ready to face the final curtain, and take responsibility for what we are?

    The Cosmos, perceiving and acting upon itself.
    We are IMO, the very mechanism of Eternity.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • COST EFFECTIVE?
    There was a very interesting interview on ABC (Australia) television the other day, noting the increased use of meditation, by the U.S. military, and just how cost effective it is. Of course, the person interviewed reported that the acknowledged effectiveness of this approach was being treated with caution and some suspicion, by a very “objectively” rational, medical fraternity, who seem to think it, too good to be true? I guess the point is, we are NOT objects, we are organic, biological creatures? Please watch the interview here;

    TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION & YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM?
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-16/post-combat-stress-treated-with-transcendental/4822244

    Its a view I’ve posted here before, as the increase in understanding, of the role of our autonomic nervous system, in mediating our so-called symptoms of mental-illness, grows?

    See a comprehensive paper issued by the military in 2011, here: http://www.dcoe.health.mil/Content/Navigation/Documents/Mind-Body%20Skills%20for%20Regulating%20the%20Autonomic%20Nervous%20System.pdf

  • Good post Julie, and certainly tries to tackle the mythology of what for so many becomes a self-filling label, of self-definition. While I understand the psychological background and the need to define the social-emotional causes of mental/emotional distress, I can’t agree with the outright rejection of the “chemical imbalance,” metaphor.

    In my own resolution of bipolar disorder type 1, I come to the conclusion that there is truth in the metaphor, yet not in terms of “pathology.” IMO the imbalance is within the nervous systems, which of coarse function, predominately, with chemical reactivity. As a quote from a rather infamous researcher suggests, the search for truth, resides in seeing how we are all right, in our particular way;

    “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.” _Wilhelm Reich.

    Please consider an excerpt from an essay I’m currently working on, about my resolution of so-called mental illness, using a science and experiential approach;

    “Understanding My Psychoses & Improved Self-Regulation

    Over six years of intense self-education and experiential self-exploration, I’ve come to understand my psychoses, as combined, body-brain-mind states, rather than symptoms of a brain disease. I’ve experienced the painful process of sensing a subconscious internal constriction, as a defense against the trauma of my birth, and subsequent life experience. I now understand, both within my mind and within my body, the internalized sense of threat, that my euphoric psychoses, were attempting to overcome. My improved self-regulation, involves a new mind/body sense, of the respiratory, muscular and vascular nature of an habituated constriction, with its variable affect on my cognitive capacities. Its “affect” on my awareness, of sensations, emotions, feelings and the “tone” thoughts within my mind. My approach involved gaining a more organic sense of my core emotions, to raise awareness of their nervous stimulation and understand my internal functioning. Understanding the voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) nature of self-regulation, has slowly built a new paradigm of health. I now understand my experience as a NEED of appropriate orienting responses, involving a subconscious “neuroception” (Porges, 2004) within my nervous systems. My experiential approach is based on “the polyvagal theory,” (Porges, 2001) and accords with an emerging view of the primacy of emotion, described by Allan N Schore as, “Toward a New Paradigm of Psychotherapy” (Schore, 2012).

    I’ve shifted my sense-of-self, from a learned and taken for granted cognition, as my thoughts, my vocabulary of words, towards a middle path of felt/thought self-awareness. Mastering my psychoses, was based on the latest science of psychophysiology, and an improving sense-ability, to discern my internal systems of energy mobilization and immobiliztion. Peter Levine’s conception of survival energies, as charge and discharge, from his trauma resolution work, has profoundly affected my ability to self-regulate, and master psychosis. An organic energy perspective has helped me understand my heart’s role, in energizing the profound affects of post traumatic experience, and the varying degrees of internal constriction, mobilized to contain an internalized sense of threat. Studying the scientific literature of human development, “the polyvagal perspective” (Porges, 2006), has enabled a paradigm shift in my self-awareness, particularly my “face-heart connection.” A new perspective on my life experience, in accord with a new Science of the Heart, “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead. It takes the power of the heart.” (McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2001). I’ve moved beyond self-limiting thoughts of a diseased brain, and life-long medication compliance, to understanding psychosis, as a maturing, development NEED, involving my subconscious regulation of AFFECT.

    Six years ago, there were so many questions: Should I even attempt to understand the internal nature of my psychoses? Should I cling to a consensus view of mental illness, to secure my relationship with family and friends? Should I try even harder to trust the learned expert knowledge of medical pathology, or follow my innate intuition, stimulated by my lived experience? Do I need a PhD level education to read and understand developmental neuroscience perspective‘s, and other scientific explanations of my internal functioning? In 2007, reading Allan Schore’s “Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self,” and his call for a multi-disciplinary approach to mental health, was simple commonsense to me. Yet my training as a therapist had brought the “turf war” tendencies, of medical and other discipline’s of specialization, into a sharp and disheartening focus. Could an emerging science of psychophysiology help me to understand the organic nature of my psyche, even if the scientific method may never manage to objectify it? Could an intense self-education effort and an experiential integration, help me to understand my psychoses, from the inside-out? Was my initial experience of a euphoric mania, an innate need to overcome the affective nature of traumatic experience? Is there a developmental issue within my brain and nervous systems? An attachment dynamic, missing from an earlier, critical period, which requires a “corrective emotional experience.” (Yalom 1995)

    Stumbling on Schore’s book certainly peaked my interest in neuroscience, from a developmental perspective, with an emerging view of brain plasticity, suggesting that a different approach to my experience was possible, if not probable. Reading the neuroscience literature of early development and embryology, I was surprised to read constant references to the autonomic nervous system. Wondering why my many psychiatrist’s had never mentioned this, even though I remembered well, the phrase “my nerves were shot to pieces,” from WWII veteran’s, during my childhood and youth. Remembered too, my Family Therapy training, and suggestions that there was a less than obvious reason, that such phrases now carried the mental illness label, PTSD. “Its not necessarily for the sake of the patient,” one wit had quipped. Could I really find a way to undo, a developmental problem, from so early in my life, there was no conscious awareness of it? A time before I’d learned to crawl, and before I ever learned to think? I still remember reading “(an) early postnatal period represents a “critical period” of limbic – autonomic circuit development, during which time experience or environmental events might participate in shaping ongoing synapse formation. (Rinaman, Levitt, & Card, 2000, p. 2739)” in the paper, “EFFECTS OF A SECURE ATTACHMENT RELATIONSHIP ON RIGHT BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, AFFECT REGULATION, AND INFANT MENTAL HEALTH” (Schore, 2001).

    In 2007, my lived experience and the views of many others, had really undermined my earlier acceptance of my medical diagnosis. There were so many questions, needing answers: Are my psychoses, not caused by a brain disease, requiring life-long medication? Should I try to understand my experience of psychosis, rather than seek to control my euphoric psychoses by a medicated suppression? Should I keep any non-consensus thoughts and behaviors out of sight, and out of mind? Should I try even harder to accept and trust the medical view of psychosis, as a brain disease, a mental illness? Should I have had more faith and trust in my first psychiatrist’s advice about my altered states of mind? “Look! There is no need to think of it as madness, there should be no stigma attached to a diagnosis of mental illness, your disease is no different to someone suffering from cancer or diabetes.” He was 100% certain that the genetic cause for his misdiagnosis of schizophrenia, (later switched to bipolar type 1 disorder) was no more than a couple of decades away. In 1980, I passively accepted his well meaning, yet paternalistic care and concern, never asking why there were no scientific tests for my brain disease. By 2007 though, I’d had decades of disheartening experience, with a paternalistic medical system, and its too often, condescending attitude towards people like me.

    Studying Family Therapy, and Murray Bowen’s seminal ideas in particular, had quickened my intuitive sense of an emotional development issue, involved, somehow, in my psychoses. For me, Bowen’s unique insights into an emotional projection process, within our unconscious functioning, explained the triangular patterns of emotional reactivity in my own family, and by extension the paternalistic nature of human societies. “The family projection process is as vigorous in society as it is in the family.” (Bowen, 1985) I remember feeling bewildered and emotionally bruised by my first hospitalization and the medication’s bewildering side effects. Remember too, the paternal tone and condescending pity of family and friends, “Doctor’s know what’s best, just take your medication’s, I’m sure everything will be fine.” People didn’t ask me how I actually felt, the projected care and concern, was about maintaining appropriate behaviors and knowing one‘s place. I did my best to comply with the social need of anxiety management, and generating positive affect. “Hi how you, I’m fine how are you,” even when I was feeling wretched and pathetic. Bowen’s observations of a generational transmission of “emotionality,” now seems to be understood within developmental neuroscience disciplines, as an unconsciously learned, self-regulation, involving the primacy of “affect/emotion.” My need for a deeper understanding of my “affective” psychoses, led me to Silvan Tomkins conception of “affects,” as the reflexive, physiological foundation of human emotions. “A second critical discovery occurred when my son was born. Beginning shortly after his birth, I observed him daily, for hours on end. I struck by the massiveness of the crying response.” (Tomkins, ????) From reading Tomkins and others, it seems to me that our innate “distress” response, early in life, epitomizes this notion of primary affect/responses, stimulating emotional reactivity, and underpinning our intellect and sense of reason. (Tomkins described nine, primary, affect/responses).

    Bowen‘s concept of a “differentiation of self” NEED, for each individual, within a family and society, gave direction to my experiential approach. “A person can have a well functioning intellect but intellect is intimately fused with his emotional system, and a relatively small part of his intellect is operationally differentiated from his emotional system.” (Bowen, 1985) An “intimate fusion,” which these days, neuroscience seems to understand as cortical and sub-cortical processes within the brain and nervous systems. Like Jaak Panksepp’s seven “affective” systems, SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY. FEAR, or what Tomkins described as an innate fear-terror response, lies at the heart of my own need of self-differentiation. A need to understand the internal nature of my psychotic experiences, and improve my self-regulation. My hunch was, that my avoidant life-style, was internally motivated by fear, and that mania, was an attempt to “affect” by new experience, a more appropriate internal motivation. A hunch based on Allan N Schore‘s profound statement, “The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation.” (Schore, 2003). My Family Therapy training, which had included two years of group therapy, induced a fascination with the unconscious processes, involved in my own experience and interpersonal relationships. I’d watched experienced therapists gradually affect a more open and playful, emotional atmosphere, within family groups, who began therapy with somewhat closed and defensive responses. Hence, it doesn’t surprise me that one of the world’s most successful interventions for first episode psychosis, is Finland’s open-dialogue approach. An approach based on an emotional systems view of family, interrelationships, continuously refined over the decades since Family Therapy‘s birth. “in the 5-year treatment outcomes. In the ODAP group, 82% did not have any residual psychotic symptoms, 86% had returned to their studies or a full-time job” (Seikkula et al, 2004).

    The success of open-dialogue’s, relationship oriented therapy, and the denial of its success by mainstream opinion, (like other successful, non-medication approaches) seems to bring a non-obvious, emotional projection process into view. Take the current controversy over the release of DSM-5, amid fears of an increasing medicalization of natural emotional experiences, for example. “Essential funds are used in the ongoing futile search for genetic markers instead of addressing the societal issues we know lead to mental health problems.” (Dillon, 2013) Making Murray Bowen’s decades earlier statement seem rather prophetic; “Society is creating more “patients” of people with dysfunctions whose dysfunctions are a product of the projection process. Alcoholism is a good example. At the very time alcoholism was being understood as the product of family relationships, the concept of “alcoholism as a disease” finally came into general acceptance.” (Bowen, 1985) The DSM-5 controversy also includes alarming reports, that use of antipsychotic medications, are implicated in a range of shocking side-effects, including homicidal violence, suicide and a 25 year reduction in life expectancy. Yet despite these alarming reports, Robert Whitaker, author of “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” suggests a societal delusion has been created, as to the “merits of psychiatric medications,” with The Triumph of Bad Science and dubious practice’s involved. “And voila, you have a process for creating a societal delusion.” (Whitaker, 2012) Although in a recent interview, he had thoughts of “unconscious” processes? In my opinion, there is an unconscious NEED for such a delusion, involving affect/emotion and the dubious quality of our objectifying rationality, and its limited ability to grasp the nature of our well meaning motivation:

    “Vulnerable groups fit the best criteria for long term, anxiety relieving projection. Vulnerable to become the pitiful objects of the benevolent, over sympathetic segment of society that improves its functioning at the expense of the pitiful. Just as the least adequate child in a family can become more impaired when he becomes an object of pity and over sympathetic help from the family, so can the lowest segment of society be chronically impaired by the very attention designed to help. No matter how good the principle behind such programs, it is essentially impossible to implement them without the built-in complications of the projection process.” _Murray Bowen.

    It took me decades to begin to sense my internal motivation. Sense the paradox of my internal defense against pain and sensations of fear; and a flight to the refuge of my mind. To understand how we’re all raised to suppress sensations, in order to secure our mature sense of objective rationality. Reaching adulthood, with a taken for granted “subject to object” orientation, as Teresa Brennan puts it, “ To understand why I felt lost in a sea of unconscious emotional reactivity, my social reflexes not quiet in-tune with normal social adaptation. Decades and the invention of the internet to begin to really understand, how traumatic experience had frozen my innate ability for spontaneous social communication. I had to leave my own culture to escape the built-in complications of a projection process, in which I felt trapped. So trapped that I’d found myself acting out a well meaning, projection of paternalistic care and concern, towards my therapy clients. So I went in search of my own “built-in” processes, in search of personal transformation. In my opinion, we are so immersed in the “autonomic” nature of our socially evolved humanity, asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

    I must admit that a “chemical imbalance” notion of mental illness, had initially given me a plausible “how” and “why” explanation for my experience of mania. Yet by 2007 I’d experienced decades of medication failures to control my recurring psychoses. On or off medications, I still experienced episodes of manic euphoria and crushing depression, with the confusing affect, that my only auditory and visual hallucinations, occurred while taking high dose anti-psychotic medication. I’d also been exposed to a range of alternative views of psychosis, which seek to understand its emotional and mental dynamics, rather than fearfully judge the experience as pathological. View’s which advocate taking the time to understand the nature of psychosis, and resist an unconscious urge to keep madness firmly out of sight, and safely out of the consensus mind. Like many in the psychiatric survivor community, I’ve experienced the very palpable fear and loathing, that states of madness invoke in other people. Like many I have been overwhelmed by the core emotional energies, at the heart of my humanity, and I’ve witnessed the denied fear of “emotional contagion,” both within myself, and others. In my humble opinion, a strictly medical model provides a container to sooth our consensus fear of madness, rather than seeking a causal explanation. Although, only a reading of the history of madness brings such a view to mind, beyond a matter of fact acceptance of the current, medical paradigm.

    Although I’d lost my trust and faith in a medical view of my experience by 2007, I had not lost my faith in science and the human spirit. By 2010, I’d been reading the kind of science which seeks to understand the development of the human condition, a science perspective that resonated with my intuitive feelings about emotional development. Allan N Schore’s “Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self,” brought new insights to my understanding of my affective experience, and scientific hints of an alternative “how” and “why” explanation. Since 2010, I have come to understand my psychoses, as discontinuous states of body-brain-mind experience, seeking a fundamental reorganization. A reorganization involving the core nature of my being and my human susceptibility to traumatic experience. The core affects of which are misunderstood by our mainstream medical and psychological disciplines, in my opinion. Recovery has involved a new understanding, both within my mind and my within body. Understanding how my brain is not the sole mediator of my psychotic experience. Learning how to self-regulate on a physiological level, has been key to my deeper understanding . Learning how the unconscious activity of my autonomic nervous system regulates my physiological state, has helped me to understand my psychological experience of psychosis. A daily practice of internal “sensation” awareness, has allowed me to master the chaotic energies of psychosis, and understand the experience as a brain-nervous-system NEED, for appropriate maturation. In my opinion, the chaotic energies of psychosis, involve the primary e-motive energies of my body-brain, which are intricately linked with my heart, lungs and gut, in reciprocal feedback loops. My growing ability to self-regulate the experience of psychosis, involved coming to terms with the power of my heart, and its role in energizing my body-brain-mind. My psyche.”

    While I understand the need to protest society’s denied need to keep madness out of sight and out of mind, I do believe we do ourselves a disservice, by not facing up to the internal realities of our own experience. Certainly, I found it very difficult to let go of a taken for granted sense of self, based on “external” images of objects, and struggled with the paradox of developing a “felt-sense” of my organic nature. A paradox I call the trauma-trap, in that sub-conscious flight into the safety of the mind, which becomes a mental torment.

    As I began to practice reconnecting with a cut-off sense of self, which is essentially pain, within my body, the “autonomic” flight back into my thoughts, was bewildering. A confusion I believe, is compounded by our Western sense of “I am my mind,” and our attachment driven need to adopt the “group-think.”

    Recently I have written about psychosis, as a spontaneous “right of passage,” as an existential crisis. A NEED, for our brain/nervous system to adopt a mature orientation to reality as it is. Please consider;

    “Please consider a comparison between a rather poetic conception of existential crisis, and the science of human development, which informed my new understanding;

    “So, we finally arrive at the final and perhaps most important question in this discussion:
    “Why would an individual’s psyche intentionally initiate psychosis?”

    In other words, how can something as chaotic and as potentially harmful as psychosis act as a strategy to aid someone in transcending an otherwise irresolvable dilemma? To understand this, it helps to use as a metaphor the process of metamorphosis that takes place within the development of a butterfly. In order for a poorly resourced larva to transform into the much more highly resourced butterfly, it must first disintegrate at a very profound level, its entire physical structure becoming little more than amorphous fluid, before it can reintegrate into the fully developed and much more resourced form of a butterfly.” _Paris Williams. (read more here)

    Yet how do we understand this common metaphor “psyche” and how can I explain how neuroscience gave me clues to understanding the internal NEED for my experience of “mania?” Please consider;

    “A second core assumption of systems theory is that self-organization is characterized by the emergence and stabilization of novel forms from the interaction of lower-order components and involves “the specification and crystallization of structure.” This mechanism also describes how hierarchical structural systems in the developing brain self-organize. Developmental neuroscience is now identifying the “lower” autonomic and “higher” central brain systems that organize in infancy and become capable of generating and regulating psychobiological states.

    Developing organisms internalize environmental forces by becoming appropriately structured in relation to them, and by incorporating an internal model of these exogenous signals they develop adaptive homeostatic regulatory mechanisms which allow for stability in the face of external variation. The regulation of the organism, which maintains internal stability and output regulation and enables effective response to external stimuli, therefore depends on the formation of a dynamic model of the external environment. Self-organizing systems are thus systems that are capable of generating new internal representations in response to changing environmental conditions. (p, 94)

    The human is a nonlinear dynamic system, an inherently dynamic energy-transformation regime that coevolves with its environment, one that self-organizes when exposed to an energy flux. The infant becomes attuned to an external object in its environment who consistently responds in a stimulating manner to the infant’s spontaneous impulsive energy dissipating behaviors. (p, 95)

    The nonlinear self acts “iteratively”, so that minor changes, occurring at the right moment, can be amplified in the system, thus launching it into a qualifiedly different state. Indeed energy shifts are the most basic and fundamental features of emotion, “discontinuous” states are experienced as “affect responses,” and nonlinear psychic bifurcations are manifest as rapid “affective shifts.” (p, 96)

    One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism’s efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). (my mania in 1980) I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

    Vagal tone is defined as “the amount of inhibitory influence on the heart by the parasympathetic nervous system.” (p, 301)

    In light of the principle that birth insult and stress interact and impair later stress regulation , early right-amygdala function, including olfactory contributions to proto-attachment communications, should be evaluated in the perinatal period. (p, 304)

    Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).

    Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child’s increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking. Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a “rushing” of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411).” (Schore, 2003)

    Please note the my reference to mania and its implications for Paris Williams more eloquent formulation, of psychic transformation. There is even a reference to vagal-tone and birth insult, as the hints which enabled my transformation of a birth-trauma, and family dynamic, conditioned FEAR response, within the subconscious functioning of my nervous systems, into a more joyful approach to life. Yet the difficulty in sensing unconscious processes, in a culture, now addicted to Descartes famous error, of “I think therefore, I am,” is compounded by our “instinctive” underpinning of our intelligence, with a NEED for quick and easy phrases and statements. Hence, although Paris and others like him have contributed much towards re-framing the mental health debate, in America, little will really change, until we address our common, subconscious functioning, and what really makes us tick.

    The positive energies of elation, as a metabolic resource for brain/nervous system structure, is what was missing in my childhood. Hence my first experience of psychosis, was a right of passage need to face the social world, as it really is. Managing the excitement of spontaneous social engagement, had always been my downfall, in relationships, where my “frozen” facial expressions met with an equally “defensive” response. All, occurring at speeds, to fast, to breech the threshold of conscious awareness. Hence, only a “sensate” approach towards understanding the sensations within my body, has helped me to re-connect with my mind’s creator, and heal a wound, long forgotten, because it happened, before I ever learned to think.”

    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-17_16.html

    The “chemical imbalance,” metaphor is true, its simply a matter of how, IMO. The imbalance is in the cyclic nature of the nervous systems, in a need to manage the “metabolic energy,” challenges of life, particularly post trauma life, when a conditioned imbalance of “negative affect/emotion” needs to be recalibrated, so to speak.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Great topic, with the very real issues of shame & safety, right there in the title. Perhaps, the greatest issues in human mental health, and just how we generate these “feelings?”

    Its easy to “rationalize” these terms, shame & safety, yet how aware are we all, of just how these sensations-feelings are generated within us? Please consider a new term for our “subconscious” perception of safety;

    “NEUROCEPTION:
    A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety. -STEPHEN W. PORGES, University of Illinois at Chicago.

    What determines how two human beings will act toward each other
    when they meet? Is this initial response a product of learning from culture, family experiences, and other socialization processes? Or is the response the expression of a neurobiological process that is programmed into the very DNA of our species? If
    the response has a neurobiological basis, are there specific
    features of the other person’s behavior that trigger either
    feelings of safety, love, and comfort or feelings of danger?
    Why do some children cuddle and warmly conform to embraces, yet others stiffen and pull back from the same overture? Why do some children smile and actively engage a new person, while others avert their gaze and withdraw?

    Does knowledge of human biology help us to understand the triggers and mechanisms of these behaviors during normal development? If we learn how behavioral features trigger neural circuits that facilitate social behavior, will we be better able to help children with severe developmental disabilities, such as autism, improve their social behavior?

    By processing information from the environment through the senses, the nervous system continually evaluates risk. I have coined the term “neuroception” to describe how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening. Because of our heritage as a species, neuroception takes place in primitive parts of the brain, without our conscious awareness. The detection of a person as safe or dangerous triggers neurobiologically determined prosocial or defensive behaviors. Even though we may not be aware of danger on a cognitive level, on a neurophysiological level, our body has already started a sequence of neural processes that would facilitate adaptive defense behaviors such as fight, flight, or freeze.

    •Neuroception describes how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening.

    •Neuroception explains why a baby coos at a caregiver but cries at a stranger, or why a toddler enjoys a parent’s embrace but views a hug from a stranger as an assault.

    •The Polyvagal Theory describes three developmental stages of a mammal’s autonomic nervous system: Immobilization, mobilization, and social communication or social engagement.

    •Faulty neuroception might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.”

    http://www.frzee.com/neuroception.pdf

    People in this community have been bewildered by my comments, on how we scan blog posts and comments here, seeking resources for our established worldview? My comments come from the “paradigm shifting” discovery of professor Porges “The Polyvagal Theory,” which in my opinion is as revelatory as any of the great thinkers, like Galileo, Newton or Einstein.

    IMO the polyvagal perspective will revolutionize mental health in the coming decades, although many will to give up their “fundamentalist” beliefs in a supernatural father figure, as creator of ALL, and realize that there is no dichotomy in a religious and science view of cosmic evolution, once we get beyond the literal meaning of words, and begin to think, again, in metaphor & meaning.

    It is Stephen Porges groundbreaking discovery and Peter Levine’s methods of trauma resolution, through developing “sensate” awareness of my hidden internal functioning, which has allowed me to master psychosis, and feel safe from the shaming projections of others, by learning just how I oriente “subconsciously,” in a defensive world.

    But as Peter Levine points out, the great confusion and “paternal” needs of projection, will continue, as long as we remain in denial, about “what” we really are;

    “My approach to healing trauma rests broadly on the premise that people are primarily instinctual in nature – that we are, at our very core, human animals. It is this relationship to our animal nature that both makes us susceptible to trauma and, at the same time, promotes a robust capacity to rebound in the aftermath of threat, safely returning to equilibrium. More generally,
    I believe that to truly understand our body/mind, therapists must first learn about the animal body/mind because of the manner in which our nervous systems have evolved in an ever changing and challenging environment. (p, 225)

    However, there is an almost violent schism lurking in our cultural zeitgeist. Lets face it; the fight against evolution by the proponents of “creationism” and “intelligent design” is not really about professed gaps in the fossil records; its about whether or not we are basically animals. (p, 225)

    In fact, the word instinct is rarely found in modern psychological literature. Rather it is purged and replaced with terms such as drives, motivations and needs. While instincts are still routinely drawn upon to explain animal behaviors, we have somehow lost sight of how many human behavior patterns (though modifiable) are primal, automatic, universal and predictable. (p, 231)” _Peter Levine. Excerpts from: “In an Unspoken Voice.”

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Great essay Jennifer, and as others have noted, very hopeful. I’m just wondering though how the real-life experience of many in this community, relates to the notion of supportive and loving families? In my own experience, there is a non-recognized need to move away from (over time) any member of the family group, who is not seen as a source of support and protection. A movement that is “physical” more so than psychological, and rarely verbalized, by any of the group members. As Murray Bowen pointed out, in his seminal ideas on Family Therapy, our underlying e-motive reactivity, is managed by emotional cut-off, usually involving physical distance.

    Is the family, the very crucible of madness, and are we back to previous ideas, about our emotional functioning, like Bateson’s “double-bind?” As you write, by family, we mean the human family;

    “By family, we mean the human family. Which includes family members and individuals with lived experience from a variety of vantage points —those in recovery, psychiatric survivors, friends and allies, care providers, community members, educators. Anyone willing to create and support family healing communities based hope, strengths, mutuality, respect, curiosity, and a diversity of perspectives; anyone willing to commit to working on his or her own personal growth.”

    In my own need to master psychosis, self-education and a self-reliance, which involved giving up the “group-think,” in my need to belong, has set me free from the subconsciously “projected” needs of others. In a family, emotional systems view, the “sensitive one” (me) in our family group, no longer soaks up, the dumped negative affect’s of other family members. In that strange twist of fate, which people find “unbelievable,” the “apparent” weakest link in the family chain, turns out to be the most independant and strongest link, in the generational nature of emotional coping. In the history of the family therapy movement, it is understood, that the “sensitive” one, carries the burden of healing generations of emotional pain. Please consider an excerpt from my generational journey;

    “The Family: The Foundational Cell of Society?
    The family systems perspective contends that the most effective way to work with individuals is in the context of their families. In their groundbreaking book, The Family Crucible (1978), Napier and Whitaker wrote, “Working with the totality of the forces that influence the individual is such a logical idea that it is hard to deny its validity” (p, 59). Excerpt from Creative Family Therapy Techniques

    In 2006, when I made my right of passage observation to that young woman, I’d been reading books like The Family Crucible for my Differentiation of Self assignment, researching three generations of my family tree. Trying to understand why the existential themes of abandonment and rejection, seemed to run, river like, through both sides of own family. My ex wife, myself and my four sons. Which, right now, brings me to a recent post about, affect, family faces and the generational nature of our very human madness. Please consider;

    Subconscious, reactions to the transmission of “affect”
    Recall from: Family Attachment Affects & Mental Illness. Pt 1
    “I have three lovely handkerchiefs here, choose one.” Then Monica left the house and my mother never saw her mother again. My mother was just five years old when this rather brutal act of abandonment took place. Already the focal point of a family projection process, which sought to dump feelings of guilt and shame onto an unwanted “other.” My mother, who no doubt had already begun to form her hard-core defense against the transmission of “affect.” A tendency to distance and isolation which has had its ripple effects through the continuing generations of our family tree. Please consider;

    Is traumatic experience a factor, in the generational nature of, emotional coping?

    “It is the nature of trauma to elude our knowledge because of both defense and deficit … To protect ourselves from affect, we must, at times, avoid knowledge. We defend against feelings of rage, cynicism, shame, and fear by not knowing them consciously. Trauma also overwhelms and defeats our capacity to organize it.”

    Psychoanalysis, psychiatry, and developmental traumatology are all now converging on dissociation, the bottom-line survival defense against overwhelming, unbearable emotional experiences. Longitudinal attachment research demonstrates an association between traumatic childhood events and proneness to dissociation, described as “detachment from an unbearable situation,” “the escape when there is no escape,” and “a last resort defensive strategy” (Schore, 2003b, 2009). Although Kohut never used the term dissociation, in his last book (1984) he characterized an early interaction in which the traumatized child “walls himself off” from traumatizing experiences.”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    “Dissociation, detachment, and a wall” of indescribable distance, certainly resonates within me, when I think about the traumatic experience of birth, shared by my mother and I, and its ongoing generational affects. Indescribable, by way of the (surface, verbal, conscious, analytic explicit-self) described above. An emerging understanding of the human condition, which seems to resonate with that divided sense-of-self we all feel, when we notice the discrepancies between our explicit-self, and a very private, implicit-self, deep within us. Our taken for granted maturity, signified by an ability to make the appropriate noises and gestures, while simultaneously holding sometimes opposite, private thoughts and feelings. Yet these words, explicit and implicit, are not exactly part of our common vocabulary of self-description and social interaction, leaving me wondering if I’ll ever resolve a family estrangement, now seemingly set in concrete. “Is it really, all my fault,” I’m wondering. Should I let sleeping dogs lie and not question the roots of my own and my mother’s trauma history, for the sake of an emotional equilibrium, maintained by physical distance and psychological denial. Should a child ever question the sanctity of motherhood, or explore the foundations of this most fundamental of relationships? Did traumatic experience affect my mother’s ability for emotional empathy? Consider;

    “If the mother’s empathic ability has remained infantile, that is, if she tends to respond with panic to the baby’s anxiety, then a deleterious chain will be set into motion. She may chronically wall herself off from the baby, thus depriving him of the beneficial effect of merging with her as she returns from experiencing mild anxiety to calmness. Alternatively, she may continue to respond with panic, in which case two negative consequences may ensue: the mother may lay the groundwork in the child for a lifelong propensity toward the uncurbed spreading of anxiety or other emotions, or by forcing the child to wall himself off from such an overly intense and thus traumatizing [experience, she] may foster in the child an impoverished psychic organization, the psychic organization of a person who will later be unable to be empathic himself.

    NOTE: 1, In this chapter we equate “unconscious” with “nonconscious”; that is, implicit functions that occur beneath levels of awareness not because they are repressed but because they are too rapid to reach consciousness.

    2. Throughout this chapter, we refer to “mother” interchangeably with “primary caregiver(s).” We are referring to the primary attachment figure, although we recognize that the infant’s primary attachment figure may not be the mother.”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    Two interesting facts spring to mind as I read the above explanation of the generational nature of trauma’s “affect” on our individual ability for empathy. 1. My father and my grandmother were the primary caregivers, in the early childhood I remember. 2. I cannot remember a single occasion in my life when my mother has initiated contact with me, certainly not once in my adult life, including the periods of illness I‘ve suffered. There was a period in my early 20’s when I tried to broach these fundamental questions of family relationships with both my parents, only to meet the “double-bind” response of a subconscious “shame” reaction, rationalized as an assumption that I was blaming them, for my own weaknesses.

    In line with new understandings from neuroscience research, it was not me they were really defending themselves against, as it appears at the surface of our conscious sense of self. Our explicit-self. It was their own core, non-conscious self, in an avoidance of negative sensations, such as our internal sense of shame. “Shame-Humiliation” understood within Family Therapy, as the social emotion, of our rank and status, family and society, groups. My parents subconscious reaction was one of anger, as mother nature’s antidote for sensations of shame. We can’t feel shame and anger at the same time, it’s literally a physiological impossibility, yet this non-empathic and defensive response, affects sensations of shame in the other. That was the double-bind trap of this traumatized, and unwanted child, and later experience of an “affective disorder.” (Bipolar Disorder Type 1) And the subconscious reality, of this strange an very uncommon phrase, “the transmission of affect.” Please consider;

    “Nervous Entrainment, as a Mechanism for the Transmission of Affect/Emotion:

    If “contagion” of affect/emotion exists (and the study of crowd/group behavior, says it does), how is it “effected?” If one walks into a room where one “could cut the atmosphere with a knife,” and that “affect” contained within the room is a profoundly social thing, how does it get there? There are indications of social science interest in research on “electrical” or nervous entrainment, “the driving effect one nervous system has on another,” affected by touch, sight, smell and sound.

    Nervous entrainment may also depend on bodily movements and gestures, particularly through the unconscious imitation of rhythms. In understanding the aural rhythmic component of the vocal interactions of a parent and child, Richard Restak suggests we attend to “prosody” the melody, pitch, and stress of speech, where auditory cues have priority over visual ones. Rhythm is a tool in the expression of “agency,” just as words are. Rhythm, literally conveys the “tone” of communication, and in this sense it unites both word/symbol and affect/emotion. Rhythm also has a unifying or dys-unifying regulation role, in affective exchanges between two or more people.

    The rhythmic aspects of behavior are critical in establishing a collective sense of purpose and common understanding. In addition, there is a sense of well-being which comes with a rhythmic entrainment with one’s fellows (in dancing for instance) . By contrast, non-rhythmic or dissonant sound also separates. It leads people to stand apart from one another and generates unease.

    While the auditory has priority over the visual, the visual has a place in this process of nervous entrainment. Firstly, registering an image is rooted firmly in brain physiology. The registration of an image in the minds eye is part of such nervous entrainment, yet the image has been transmitted as sound waves or valence register physical effects on the ear drum. Words and images are matters of vibration, vibrations at different electrical frequencies, but still vibration. In addition, the social, physical vibrations of images are critical in the process of nervous “electrical” entrainment, even though they lack the rhythm of auditory entrainment.”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    What Teresa Brennan is alluding to, is passive and active “energy states,” and how they are subconsciously stimulated. For example, when I asked my father “what’s wrong?” Because his habitual explosive temper, has been subconsciously triggered by a small insignificant incident, and I’m trying to understand why his response is so outrageously out of proportion to the offence. His response “your breathing aren’t you!” Stimulates an extreme “passive” energy state within me, because of the sense of contempt, not just in the words used, but the “tone” transmitted by facial gesture, staring eyes, and prosody of his voice. Please consider;

    “Human beings rely extensively on nonverbal channels of communication in their day-to-day emotional as well as interpersonal exchanges. The verbal channel, language, is a relatively poor medium for expressing the quality, intensity and nuancing of emotion and affect in different social situations … the face is thought to have primacy in signaling affective information. (Mandal & Ambady, 2004, p. 23)

    In the developmental attachment context, right brain– to– right brain auditory prosodic communications also act as an essential vehicle of implicit communications within the therapeutic relationship. The right hemisphere is important in the processing of the “music” behind our words. When listening to speech, we rely upon a range of cues on which to base our inference as to the communicative intent of others. To interpret the meaning of speech, how something is said is as important as what is actually said. Prosody conveys different shades of meaning by means of variations in stress and pitch— irrespective of the words and grammatical construction (Mitchell, Elliott, Barry, Crittenden, & Woodruff, 2003). These data support suggestions that the preverbal elements of language— intonation, tone, force, and rhythm— stir up reactions derived from the early mother– child relationships (Greenson, 1978).”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    * * * * * * *

    What I’m trying to convey here, is the subconscious, emotional foundations of what we consciously, and defensively, presume to be a mental illness in others. What is becoming increasingly understood from all the recent neuroscience discoveries, is how the foundations of our sense-of-self, is laid down in, “subconscious & sensory,” emotional interactions, between caregivers and the child, in the first years of our lives. Those crucial early years when our brain-nervous systems are maturing by way of interactions with a social-emotional environment, and all taking place at the subconscious level of an implicit-self. A subconscious, implicit-self, which guides motivation throughout each individual’s life-span, and drives the generational nature of family relationships. From this “subconscious” perspective on human behaviors, there is no blame or shame, this is simply the real-life nature of being human. Unconscious functioning, so little understood, and only now, with the aid of technology, beginning to see the light of true reason.

    Chaos theory is playing a huge role in understanding just how complex chemical systems within the human organism, stabilize in defense of our survival. In practical terms, this can be seen in the chance and circumstance of my birth. In the real-life circumstance of time and place, bad luck affected such a pain fueled void between my mother & I, that we’ve never managed to resolved it. We’ve suffered from the generational nature of pain/shame fueled emotional cut-off too. If my mother had had an optimal birth experience, which had allowed her to bond in the “subconscious” sensory nature of emotional attachment, it more than likely would have helped to heal her abandonment by not only her own mother, but an entire family. I would have ended up with a different “implicit-self,” which would not have needed the subconscious process of psychosis, to stimulate a new and more positive sense of self. Psychosis, as a need of re-wiring those early forming neural networks within my brain-nervous systems. Euphoric psychosis, which was a need of mature orientation to the world of reality, as it is. I needed, at a subconscious level, to dissolve the conditioned, “autonomic,” nature of my predominately “negative” internal states. Internal states, stimulated by my hearts reflex orienting responses to reality, along with my brain and nervous systems, of course. I needed to grow beyond, an implicit “freeze” reaction to any new challenge, in the social environment. (As explained here)

    Just as I am now estranged from my family, my mother was estranged from her family of origin, and entirely dependent on another’s extended family, my father’s. This unbalanced emotional arrangement played its part in the further chaos, chance and circumstance, which resulted in my first episode of bipolar disorder, mania. Essentially, the current estrangement with my family, which is following the same generational pattern as my mother’s estrangement from her family, is based on a subconscious need for movement, both physical and emotional, towards or away from. A subconsciously stimulated movement towards support and protection, and away from a subconscious sense of threat. Like the threat my public airing of mental illness within the family, posses to my mother, my brother and my children, its embarrassing. Embarrassment, being a milder expression of shame, yet nonetheless stimulating a need to move away from the threatening source. Consider Franz Kafka’s brilliant critique of the human family, and our need for support and protection:

    “The Metamorphosis

    “We have to try and get rid of it”, said Gregor’s sister, now speaking only to her father, as her mother was too occupied with coughing to listen, “it’ll be the death of both of you, I can see it coming. We can’t all work as hard as we have to and then come home to be tortured like this, we can’t endure it. I can’t endure it any more.” And she broke out so heavily in tears that they flowed down the face of her mother, and she wiped them away with mechanical hand movements. “My child”, said her father with sympathy and obvious understanding, “what are we to do?” His sister just shrugged her shoulders as a sign of the helplessness that had taken hold of her, displacing her earlier certainly when she had broken into tears.

    “If he could just understand us”, said his father almost as a question; his sister shook her hand vigorously through her tears as a sign that of that there was no question.

    “If he could just understand us”, repeated Gregor’s father, closing his eyes in acceptance of his sister’s certainty that that was quite impossible, “then perhaps we could come to some kind of arrangement with him. But as it is …”

    “It’s got to go”, shouted his sister, “that’s the only way, Father. You’ve got to get rid of the idea that that’s Gregor. We’ve only harmed ourselves by believing it for so long. How can that be Gregor? If it were Gregor he would have seen long ago that it’s not possible for human beings to live with an animal like that and he would have gone of his own free will. We wouldn’t have a brother any more, then, but we could carry on with our lives and remember him with respect. As it is this animal is persecuting us, it’s driven out our tenants, it obviously wants to take over the whole flat and force us to sleep on the streets. Father, look, just look”, she suddenly screamed, “he’s starting again!” In her alarm, which was totally beyond Gregor’s comprehension, his sister even abandoned his mother as she pushed herself vigorously out of her chair as if more willing to sacrifice her own mother than stay anywhere near Gregor. She rushed over to behind her father, who had become excited merely because she was and stood up half raising his hands in front of Gregor’s sister as if to protect her.

    He did not turn his head until he had reached the doorway. He did not turn it all the way round as he felt his neck becoming stiff, but it was nonetheless enough to see that nothing behind him had changed, only his sister had stood up. With his last glance he saw that his mother had now fallen completely asleep.

    He was hardly inside his room before the door was hurriedly shut, bolted and locked. The sudden noise behind Gregor so startled him that his little legs collapsed under him. It was his sister who had been in so much of a rush. She had been standing there waiting and sprung forward lightly, Gregor had not heard her coming at all, and as she turned the key in the lock she said loudly to her parents “At last!”.

    “What now, then?”, Gregor asked himself as he looked round in the darkness. He soon made the discovery that he could no longer move at all. This was no surprise to him, it seemed rather that being able to actually move around on those spindly little legs until then was unnatural. He also felt relatively comfortable. It is true that his entire body was aching, but the pain seemed to be slowly getting weaker and weaker and would finally disappear altogether. He could already hardly feel the decayed apple in his back or the inflamed area around it, which was entirely covered in white dust. He thought back of his family with emotion and love. If it was possible, he felt that he must go away even more strongly than his sister. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful rumination until he heard the clock tower strike three in the morning. He watched as it slowly began to get light everywhere outside the window too. Then, without his willing it, his head sank down completely, and his last breath flowed weakly from his nostrils.” An excerpt from Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka Translated by David Wyllie.

    No longer a source of support and protection within the family group, Gregor is shunned, even by his sister, who had benefited most from his, father-like support. In Murray Bowen’s seminal ideas on family therapy, this paternalistic nature of the nuclear family group, becomes the structuring force of mainstream society. Hence, we often describe government and other institutions as “paternalistic and condescending.”

    The Motor Act, Is The Cradle of The Mind? Sir Charles Sherrington.
    Hence our implicit, subconscious-self, is based on the survival need of physical movement.

    Just as my mother’s family physically “moved” away from a source of family embarrassment. A family secret my mother had kept to herself for so many decades, until we sat down to review our “family tree,” in 2006. Perhaps she was hoping that those sharing moments together would help to heal the void created between us, in our mutual experience of birth trauma? I’m certain she’d never spoken with my father about our family secret. Such emotional intimacy was not the “style,” on that side of my family tree. Perhaps she’d recalled the mother-child relationship which briefly blossomed between us, in Wallingford, England, when I was the responsible, caring son, on a day when she almost died. Or perhaps my deceased father’s lost presence allowed a more sensitive and open emotional “style,” indicative of our shared genetic heritage, from the maternal side of my family tree?”

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/understanding-my-psychoses-improved.html

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • From the perspective of “unconscious” nervous system regulation, not just the brain alone, is psychosis a spontaneous need to “re-orientate to “reality as it is,” within the anxiety of the lived moment? My own birth trauma & subsequent life experience, conditioned an “internalized” sense of threat, to which my nervous system adopted a non-conscious “wary” defense of my self-preservation. Yet how to become “aware” of a defensive motivation, which happened before I ever learned to think?

    Please consider;
    UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS & IMPROVING YOUR SELF-REGULATION:
    Is Mental illness – An Existential Crisis & Right of Passage?
    Please consider a comparison between a rather poetic conception of existential crisis, and the science of human development, which informed my new understanding;

    “So, we finally arrive at the final and perhaps most important question in this discussion:
    “Why would an individual’s psyche intentionally initiate psychosis?”

    In other words, how can something as chaotic and as potentially harmful as psychosis act as a strategy to aid someone in transcending an otherwise irresolvable dilemma? To understand this, it helps to use as a metaphor the process of metamorphosis that takes place within the development of a butterfly. In order for a poorly resourced larva to transform into the much more highly resourced butterfly, it must first disintegrate at a very profound level, its entire physical structure becoming little more than amorphous fluid, before it can reintegrate into the fully developed and much more resourced form of a butterfly.” _Paris Williams. (read more here)

    Yet how do we understand this common metaphor “psyche” and how can I explain how neuroscience gave me clues to understanding the internal NEED for my experience of “mania?” Please consider;

    “A second core assumption of systems theory is that self-organization is characterized by the emergence and stabilization of novel forms from the interaction of lower-order components and involves “the specification and crystallization of structure.” This mechanism also describes how hierarchical structural systems in the developing brain self-organize. Developmental neuroscience is now identifying the “lower” autonomic and “higher” central brain systems that organize in infancy and become capable of generating and regulating psychobiological states.

    Developing organisms internalize environmental forces by becoming appropriately structured in relation to them, and by incorporating an internal model of these exogenous signals they develop adaptive homeostatic regulatory mechanisms which allow for stability in the face of external variation. The regulation of the organism, which maintains internal stability and output regulation and enables effective response to external stimuli, therefore depends on the formation of a dynamic model of the external environment. Self-organizing systems are thus systems that are capable of generating new internal representations in response to changing environmental conditions. (p, 94)

    The human is a nonlinear dynamic system, an inherently dynamic energy-transformation regime that coevolves with its environment, one that self-organizes when exposed to an energy flux. The infant becomes attuned to an external object in its environment who consistently responds in a stimulating manner to the infant’s spontaneous impulsive energy dissipating behaviors. (p, 95)

    The nonlinear self acts “iteratively”, so that minor changes, occurring at the right moment, can be amplified in the system, thus launching it into a qualifiedly different state. Indeed energy shifts are the most basic and fundamental features of emotion, “discontinuous” states are experienced as “affect responses,” and nonlinear psychic bifurcations are manifest as rapid “affective shifts.” (p, 96)

    One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism’s efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). (my mania in 1980) I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

    Vagal tone is defined as “the amount of inhibitory influence on the heart by the parasympathetic nervous system.” (p, 301)

    In light of the principle that birth insult and stress interact and impair later stress regulation , early right-amygdala function, including olfactory contributions to proto-attachment communications, should be evaluated in the perinatal period. (p, 304)

    Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).

    Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child’s increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking. Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a “rushing” of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411).” (Schore, 2003)

    Please note the my reference to mania and its implications for Paris Williams more eloquent formulation, of psychic transformation. There is even a reference to vagal-tone and birth insult, as the hints which enabled my transformation of a birth-trauma, and family dynamic, conditioned FEAR response, within the subconscious functioning of my nervous systems, into a more joyful approach to life. Yet the difficulty in sensing unconscious processes, in a culture, now addicted to Descartes famous error, of “I think therefore, I am,” is compounded by our “instinctive” underpinning of our intelligence, with a NEED for quick and easy phrases and statements. Hence, although Paris and others like him have contributed much towards re-framing the mental health debate, in America, little will really change, until we address our common, subconscious functioning, and really makes us tick.

    The positive energies of elation, as a metabolic resource for brain/nervous system structure, is what was missing in my childhood. Hence my first experience of psychosis, was a right of passage need to face the social world, as it really is. Managing the excitement of spontaneous social engagement, had always been my downfall, in relationships, where my “frozen” facial expressions met with an equally “defensive” response. All, occurring at speeds, to fast, to breech the threshold of conscious awareness. Hence, only a “sensate” approach towards understanding the sensations within my body, has helped me to re-connect with my mind’s creator, and heal a wound, long forgotten, because it happened, before I ever learned to think.

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/understanding-my-psychoses-improved.html

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Great essay Sera, with an interesting mention of feedback?

    “That said, it was a difficult talk. First, we discussed the negative feedback and ‘concerns’ that had arisen following the RLC’s sponsorship of a couple of ‘Withdrawing from Medication’ workshops offered by David Cohen.”

    In my opinion, what is missing from the conscious dialogue is an awareness and understanding of our unconscious and autonomic function?

    Is there a misperception in our “cause & effect” diagnosis & its “mechanistic paradigm” of faulty logic? Consider my response to a question about trauma causation: The key to understanding, is to stop thinking in “external” images, as I used to, when it was suggested to me that trauma had played a part in my bipolar experience, and realize, that trauma “happens” unconsciously within the body/brain and its “feedback” nervous systems.

    We are not OBJECTS, and we cannot analysis our organic nature with a cause & effect logic, as if, we were fixing a problem with a machine. There are multiple organic systems. within us, which function “all at once,” and we cannot “affect” one system without affecting all. Hence the unforeseen side-effects of medications.

    Unfortunately, what gets lost in the rational dialogue, is the self-preservation needs of each individual, and way we habitually cover-up this unconscious motivation, with rationalizations? Hence, the civil-debate will continue to revolve around the Cartisian Circle of old, and researchers will demand more research, in aid of their own survival, IMO.

    In the meantime though, there are honorable people, less driven by commercialism and doing great, non-pharma research into human development, rather than pathology. People like Professor Stephen Porges and his groundbreaking “The Polyvagal Theory,” which IMO will transform mental health completely in the coming decades.

    Also, in the meantime, the internet has transformed our ability to gain self-education and be less reliant on fulfilling our paternalistic needs, by way of an expert, and too often indoctrinated subjective opinion? Please consider my own self-educated research on my Bipolarity;

    MANIA & OUR MASK OF CONSCIOUSNESS?
    A readers timely comment & my response;
    “How do you propose you approach a person when their emotional desires or needs have either been unseen or misunderstood to the point they have a break with reality? Could you perhaps be wrong in thinking it is a social disorder? It’s hard to argue against your thinking: because I don’t know enough about the genetic underpinnings of mania and if it were something we were born with then it’d have to be a structural difference which it doesn’t seem to be. Leading up to my manic break I was extremely depressed, harassed, and had trouble vocalizing my needs because I felt I shouldn’t have to. I was stubborn in addressing this because my own condition told me everyone should be respectful and compassionate towards each other, but I had an experience which shook that worldview by being isolated from the entire school. I had no one to talk to, so I broke down and was diagnosed with schizophrenia now schizoaffective but it still doesn’t really solve the problem and my rational mind still gets upset about it, while pills help calm me I guess, I don’t exactly accept the idea that it was a random chemical misfire or imbalance I was born with because there’s no scientific explanation for something like that.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    “Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    The timing is interesting, as I find myself in a month, of grappling with how to explain, in simple commonsense terms, that are easily digestible.

    In terms of our “unconscious” functioning, where “structure” is our brain, heart, lungs, intestines and our nervous system organization of metabolic energies, which create our “states” of “attention,” within our mind’s. The experience of mental illness, is, IMO, “a right of passage.” It is, our nervous systems need, for us to face reality, as it is. You write;

    “Leading up to my manic break I was extremely depressed, harassed, and had trouble vocalizing my needs because I felt I shouldn’t have to. I was stubborn in addressing this because my own condition told me everyone should be respectful and compassionate towards each other, but I had an experience which shook that worldview by being isolated from the entire school. I had no one to talk to, so I broke down and was diagnosed with schizophrenia now schizoaffective but it still doesn’t really solve the problem and my rational mind still gets upset about it, while pills help calm me I guess, I don’t exactly accept the idea that it was a random chemical misfire or imbalance I was born with because there’s no scientific explanation for something like that.”

    From a subconscious perspective of survival needs, your depression before your manic break, was about using too much of a “passive” energy mode, to get your basic survival needs met. Then in order to take the challenge of a more mature approach to reality as it it is, your nervous system, needs to correct its previous imbalanced mode, and allow you to face the external environment, without a fearful expectation of needing to be “passive,” to get what your needs met.

    The challenge, for our Western educated mind’s, is for others to see the “body language,” in the experience, and the individual, to feel sensations within the body, and discern what they mean. For decades, I got lost, in a subjective interpretation of my “right of passage” experience, in manic periods. I got stuck, in trying to decipher the internal need, within my mind, instead of just enjoying the sudden “un-freezing” of my sensory nature.

    I understand, that you can’t see a scientific explanation for your experience. Like so many people, I tried my hardest to accept the “chemical imbalance,” metaphor of a diseased brain. I did this, more for the sake of others, than myself. Yet when I first started reading Allan N Schore and the science of human development, I began to see a different picture, of what others assume, is a “pathology.” Yet, if all we focus our attention on, is pathology, what are we likely to see?

    In Silvan Tomkins view of our “innate” nature, we have six negative “affects,” and only two genuinely positive affects. So from this viewpoint, we are hardwired with a “wary” expectation, to maximize our chances of survival. These negative, innate affects, energize our fearful and “passive” responses, while the positive innate affects of “interest-excitement” and pure “joy,” energize our positive responses to life. Hence, the experience of so-called mental illness, is, in most cases, a need to reconfigure, our “unconscious” orientation to life, as it is, in the anxiety of the lived moment.

    A right of passage, misunderstood, by psychiatry, because of the general fear of madness, which desperately needs to keep it out of sight and out of mind.

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/understanding-my-psychoses-improved.html

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Moderator note: This is not a forum for unsolicited character analysis and psychospiritual advice. Please keep comments on topic to the ideas being discussed in the article and attend to the MIA posting guidelines. Personal conversations belong in the community forum (if both parties agree) or personal correspondence.
  • Hi _Anonymous:))

    As a counterpoint to your usual paranoid, inflated generalizations, please read this and maybe we could a real-life discussion on this webzine, about what actually happens to the majority of people.

    About 8pm a female nurse came to offer me the prescribed pill and I explained my decision. We talked about it for while and she advised me I could be restrained and given medication by injection. I acknowledged the procedural issue for the nursing staff and told her I would not resist such action, but on principle I could not place a pill in my mouth and swallow it. She accepted that was I sincere, even commenting that I was surprisingly calm about the issue and left to prepare an injection needle. Fifteen minutes later she returned with three others, two male and another female nurse and asked me to lay face down on the bed. After the talk we’d had I thought it was a typical example of the assumptive and suspicious nature of the mental health environment, rules, regulations, procedures and no trust in personal judgment about another human being.

    I complied with all instructions and was complimented on my reasonable demeanor, soon to become the only acute patient on friendly conversational terms with most of the nursing staff. The next day I started to comprehend the difference in an aspect of mental health I never seen before, the bare minimum environment of acute care. It started with talking to one of the male nurses from the previous night, when I teased him about needing four people to administer one injection.

    ‘You just don’t know what will happen these days, especially on an acute ward,’ he said. Explaining that there had been a ten fold increase in assaults on hospital staff in the previous few years.

    ‘Is that why your all barricaded behind locked doors and a plate glass window?’

    ‘Only for this side, its not like this on the normal ward.’

    ‘So were all these people sectioned too?’ I asked, gesturing around the recreation room at the half dozen or so patients. He looked up from his clipboard assessment sheet, and glanced around the room.

    ‘Afraid so, most I’ve seen in here before, people who go off their meds and become the revolving doors.’

    ‘Non-compliant like me huh?’ He just smiled and gestured that he needed to complete his assessment duty.

    It was a tough day, another when I should have been working and I tried to be productive by reading a book, “Family Therapy in Clinical Practice,” by Murrray Bowen. Bowen’s seminal ideas about the family emotional system, and the generational transmission of emotionality, had been a big influence on my belief in emotional development issues. Ideas that a certain young psychiatrist obviously didn’t give much credence to. I remember watching the nursing staff do their assessment trips into the ward, sitting off to one side observing, ticking boxes and writing a few comments. It made the place feel more like a zoo than a hospital ward, with people making field trips to observe the specimens. It was bizarre considering that most patients sat around and watched TV all day, or chain smoked out in the courtyard.

    ‘Wouldn’t it be better to talk to people, to find out how their doing?’ I asked one female nurse, “best not to antagonize” was her curt response, a thin smile of contempt reminding me that there is always at least one power junkie on a ward. She was true to form a few days later too, when I watched a young female forced into the isolation room. The girl had become hysterical when her room was searched just after a friends visit, presumably on suspicion of drugs.

    Please read more here: http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-2.html

    Perhaps Robert should re-title this site Medications in America? Although I do understand the need to remain in denial, least we stumble upon the inconvenient truth, of our evolved nature.

    You must have had a really, really bad experience, _Anonymous? Perhaps you could point the readers here and myself towards some writing about the reality of your actual experience?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Perhaps your unaware of the innate responses, of which shame-humiliation is one, Kermmit?

    Soome suggest that shame is the great “social affect,” by which societies form into hierarchical groups of rank & status? Are we suffering from a need to deny our own nature, when we assume that shame belong’s only to “them?”

    Consider Tomkins description of nine innate affects, as the root of our emotions and their physiological/psychological manifestations;

    These are the nine affects, listed with a low/high intensity label for each affect and accompanied by its biological expression:[3]

    Positive:

    * Enjoyment/Joy – smiling, lips wide and out
    * Interest/Excitement – eyebrows down, eyes tracking, eyes looking, closer listening

    Neutral:

    * Surprise/Startle – eyebrows up, eyes blinking

    Negative:

    * Anger/Rage – frowning, a clenched jaw, a red face
    * Disgust – the lower lip raised and protruded, head forward and down
    * Dissmell (reaction to bad smell) – upper lip raised, head pulled back
    * Distress/Anguish – crying, rhythmic sobbing, arched eyebrows, mouth lowered
    * Fear/Terror – a frozen stare, a pale face, coldness, sweat, erect hair
    * Shame/Humiliation – eyes lowered, the head down and averted, blushing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affect_theory#The_nine_affects

    One of Tomkins pupils is Donald L. Nathanson, M.D. A Philadelphia-based psychiatrist with a lifetime interest in the nature of human emotion. Well known for his brilliant understanding of our compass of shame, and how it functions both consciously and unconsciously.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZr5hSW65Vo

    The hit TV show Lie to Me, is based on Tomkins research;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXytQOkNaq4

    and another of his pupils, Paul Ekman;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ekman

    Sadly, most people don’t seem to want to know much about this stuff, when their in subconscious need, of unloading an emotional projection. “Its not me, its them!”

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Great post Douglas, I think your right on the money, using meditation to ground your chaotic thoughts and feel your inner nature. An instinctual nature which certainly does feel like possesion when we are confused by tales of myth & legend, which project our own nature onto external reality.

    Having faced that same internal compulsion to escape so many times, I now understand the impulse as a need to escape the trauma conditioning within my nervous system, and I sooth the impulse and its stimulated chaotic thoughts, with a more mind-less meditation, which grounds my mind within its creator, my body. Please consider my experience with suiciality and the impulse to escape a trauma conditioned trap;

    I’d been thinking about using a rope, when the aftermath scene of who would find my body came to mind.
    “Would it be the Princess or the cleaning lady?”
    “I can’t do it here!” I told myself. Then I started thinking about doing it somewhere I couldn’t be identified, no documents found with the body. I thought about taking a trip up country, to the other end of Thailand, thinking if I found a rural area with limited police resources, maybe they’d just cremate the body and forget about it?

    “Be better for the Princess and my boys back in Australia,” I thought, “I’d just be missing.”

    “Jesus! I haven’t thought about suicide for at least four years!” Burst into awareness.
    “What the hell has triggered this?”
    “Your depressed!” Another inner voice advised.

    The flight of thoughts went on for at least ten minutes I’d say, until a sudden sensation of fatigue deepened my breathe.

    “Soften,” I said to myself, triggering a practiced shift into feeling for tensions around my heart. It broke the thought bubble state long enough to bring a more balanced mind/body awareness.

    Sure enough there was a shit load of anger in my jaw, and I felt my lips pressed together with my tongue pushing against the back of my teeth. “Unspeakable anger,” came to mind and I whispered “soften,” out loud, falling into another wave of body fatigue.

    It was enough to trigger the “whole body” sensation that I’ve been practicing in my efforts to re-adjust a lifetime tendency for dissociated mind space awareness, over and above awareness of sensations within my body. For a couple of minutes I did the deep breathe exercise which brings oxygen into my blood stream and the enhanced body awareness so lacking throughout my life. The added oxygenation of my blood and the rise in body sensation, stimulated a rate and temperature change of blood flowing through my brain, and a state shift in mind space awareness.

    “Let go,” is the last thing I remember of conscious awareness before slipping into whatever proceeds REM state dreaming.

    Read more here: http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/bipolar-disorder-suicide-ideation.html

    More recently too, there was an old familiar impulse to escape, as bad news triggered body memories, in that strange unconscious way that the body keeps the score of real-life experience. As one of worlds leading experts on truma writes: http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Networker.pdf “The Body keeps the Score.”

    Please consider;

    Bipolar Dis-Ease – Its Trauma Reenactment Urges?

    An overwhelming urge is seizing control of my limbs as I walk along the pavement. A large bus is rushing towards me, securing its passage through time just a few centimetres to my left side. I can’t believe how strong the physical urge is to step off the pavement and into its path.

    In a by now well practiced mindful observation of inner sensations, I let the urge and the moment pass, yet can’t really comprehend the reason. For the life of me I can’t rationalize this apparent desire for death, this involuntary urge, with an everyday psychological explanation. I’m shocked anew, at the very nature of my own subconscious motivations, and just how powerful they can be.

    All the learning, all my recently acquired knowledge about the subconscious stimulation involved in what’s happening to me right now, afford me no conscious control, in terms of prevention that is, with this reenactment of an original trauma. As I continue to drag myself along, feeling all the old familiar sensations of a depressive reaction, I can only take the opportunity to mindfully observe these overwhelmingly negative sensations. The weakness in my legs as I try to walk, a living example of the “freeze” reaction and a urgent desire for collapse.

    “Did I set myself up for this,” I wonder as I continue along, rehashing the phone conversation and its “shock” affect. Only thirty minutes previously I’d received news that a job application I’d been 95% certain of succeeding in, had gone to another. I’d gone numb with shock as the affable human resources person went through all the appropriate responses, while delivering his bad news. For a good twenty minutes my reaction continued in shock mode as I stayed within my thinking mind, disbelieving of reality as I tried to fend of awareness of its implications. “I’m trapped in poverty now, my stupid desire to understand stuff nobody wants to know about anyway, will be the ruin of me,” I tell myself as the noise of the passing bus recedes.

    I try to catch the double-bind though, aware that the thoughts are an avoidance of a felt-sense of what’s actually happening to me. I steal myself to really feel these sensations, as bad as they are, and not think. There’s an instant of sensation awareness that shocks me to the core, a violent collapse, a fall, falling straight down through the pavement in darkened despair, “or is it disappear?” I feel it in the pit of my stomach and my legs have gone to jelly as I struggle to stay with sensation awareness and not think. It happens in flash now, a confusing, crushing, drowning sensation that is instantly gone. Displaced by the automatic urge of my mind, in nature’s kind dissociation trick of “what was that?”

    “A body memory?” Springs to mind triggering a stream of thoughts about my birth, “how did I survive it, those three days waiting for birth, is that the great mammalian trick of feigning death, was that the urge toward the bus, or was that the undirected fight/flight urge of trauma exit energy.” Yet I know from experience that there is no point in a reasoned analysis right now. Know too, that there will be days of this depressive reaction to come, as the energies of traumatic reenactment wash through my nervous systems. Know too, that there will come a time for calm reflection and the positive processing of such a seemingly negative experience. Know too, that I wont be crippled with months of depression and a dreadful sense of hopelessness and helplessness, now that I’m not as ignorant of my internal makeup, as I once was. Neither am I as afraid of my sensation experience as I once was, nor desirous of staying with the denial inherent in my cognitive capacities, even if I do think I’m fairly intelligent.

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/bipolar-dis-ease-its-trauma-reenactment.html

    As Judy said “Suicide is not chosen,” Judy said emphatically. “It comes when emotional pain exceeds the resources for coping with the pain.”

    And our unconscious nervous system reactivity of freeze/flight/fight, does its instinctual thing. Although I understand how some people may view such talk of our evolved nature, as an insult to a supernatural father figure. Perhaps, its time to consider how we project our own nature with a super-natural immagination, and begin to wind back centuries of religious superstition?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Sorry, I meant to paste this too, yet time pressured my senses;

    Please consider how we get stuck in moment we can’t get out of, because we “judge” with an expectation from what we’ve been taught? Hence we suffer from psychological blindness as Michael puts it, in his brilliant essay.

    Of course, people have read his essay and paid him the stereotypical social compliments, but how many of us paused long enough to really perceive his lived wisdom and understand why he waited so long to publish this piece?

    Perhaps destiny, is about time and the unfolding of an eternal now?

    As I’ve said elsewhere on this webzine, do people believe that Michael was moved to make an incredibly generous comment to me, because he’s a fool, because he was being irrational?

    Or like wiser churchmen, does Michael perceive the nature of Faith.

    A sense of self, based more on belief than reason?

    Sometimes I wonder if the folks in this community believe their own rhetoric.

    Or have they misplaced their faith in their own nature, and become psychologically blinded by the light of imagined reason?

    People may want to re-read Michael’s brilliant essay again and try to peer through their psychological-veil?

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/

    Best wishes to all,

    David.

  • Seth,

    I understand the time pressure and have stated here many times, how we scan posts and comments, and subconsciously seek threats or resources for our established sense of self.

    I understand how we all read different sources, and I understand your statement above;

    Its vision is a gift from God, its calling often requires it to enter into spiritual combat.

    I share your vision and I’m trying to show you how YOU are the mechanism of transformation as the generational tide of humanity rises to a realization, that we are in fact, the Universe perceiving and acting upon itself. We are, the very mechanism, by which the Universe IS eternal.

    Although I hate endorsing Descartes mechanistic logic and his perception of a clockwork Universe and a clockwork sense of self.

    Please consider how you come to the moment of your own actions and how;

    “we can only be aware of what we currently know and our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

    Hence: The fantasies of your thought are not real. They are generated by your attachment, and therefore by your desire, your hate, your anger, your fear.

    The fantasies of your thought, are generated by yourself” _Buddha.

    We suffer because we mistake the fantasies of our mind for reality.

    It is fundamental, therefore, that we learn to distinguish between reality and the fantasies of our mind.

    There are two worlds:

    1. The world of the mind.
    2. The world of reality.

    The world of reality is real, the world of the mind isn’t real.

    Of the objects which present themselves to our consciuosness, in fact, some belong to the reality that surrounds us , while others belong to our mind – that is, to our memory. (the body/brain and its nervous stimulation).

    We tend to falsly believe that “both” kinds of mental objects are real, yet this is a false assumption based on our past, not the present reality, by which we are surrounded and unknowingly immersed in.
    Only the mental objects which belong to the surrounding environment are real, not those which belong to our memory ( the body/brain nervous energy of the past)”

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/building-the-mental-health-vanguard-reflections-on-the-new-mad-in-america-directory-psychiatric-drug-withdrawal-and-hopes-for-the-future/#comment-26582

    Please consider how we get stuck in moment we can’t get out of, because we “judge” with an expectation from what we’ve been taught? Hence we suffer from psychological blindness as Michael puts it, in his brilliant essay.

    Of course, people have read his essay and paid him the stereotypical social compliments, but how many of us paused long enough to really perceive his lived wisdom and understand why he waited so long to publish this piece?

    Perhaps destiny, is about time and the unfolding of an eternal now?

    As I’ve said elsewhere on this webzine, do people believe that Michael was moved to make an incredibly generous comment to me, because he’s a fool, because he was being irrational?

    Or like wiser churchmen, does Michael perceive the nature of Faith.

    A sense of self, based more on belief than reason?

    Sometimes I wonder if the folks in this community believe their own rhetoric.

    Or have they misplaced their faith in their own nature, and become psychologically blinded by the light of imagined reason?

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/building-the-mental-health-vanguard-reflections-on-the-new-mad-in-america-directory-psychiatric-drug-withdrawal-and-hopes-for-the-future/#comment-26611

    Some time ago I suggested to members of this community, that if I had an hour in room with Stephen Fry, he not see mental illness in same way again. And of course I was judged as being egoistic and stupid.

    Perhaps because people do not understand their own and group emotional systems, or how it projection works?

    As I’ve suggested above “the appearance of the FOOL is within the eyes of the beholder.”

    Yet how did this apparent fool know how to trigger Robert’s sense of threat, in his response above. And like Barry on another thread, does the silence towards a tough real-life question, speak volumes?

    Is your reductionist viewpoint, a knee-jerk reaction, from all you’ve learned, thus far?

    In Jungian terms, are you judging or perceiving?

    Reality, is there in every breath you take, Seth.

    I guess, our perceptions our colored by our physiological state and our learned psychological posture? And of course, in my worldview, the two are not divided. There is no separation.

    Regards,

    David.

  • And exposes their “psychological-blindness,” David? Although;

    “I love when creative genius meets average (Joe).”

    I hope your not in need of judgement David:))

    I hope you are contemplating metaphor’s about last shadows?

    Metaphor’s like;

    “And as we wind on down the road
    Our shadows taller than our souls…..

    And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.” _Led Zeppelin.

    Reminds me of what the shaman said to the journalist historian.

    “And you read that stuff, literally?”

    Please consider;

    “So here are people without electron microscopes who choose, among some 80,000 Amazonian plant species, the leaves of a bush containing a hallucinogenic brain hormone, which they combine with a vine containing substances that inactivate an enzyme of the digestive tract, which would otherwise block the hallucinogenic effect.

    And they do this to modify their consciousness. It is as if they knew about the molecular properties of plants and the art of combining them, and when one asks them how they know these things, they say their knowledge comes directly from hallucinogenic plants.

    Consider Narby’s double bind predicament as a western educated man with a rational and objective view of delusional content?

    “Colleagues might ask,

    “You mean Indians claim they get molecularly verifiable information from their hallucinations? You don’t take them literally, do you?”

    What could one answer?

    There is nothing one can say without contradicting two fundamental principles of Western knowledge.

    First, hallucinations cannot be the source of real information, because to consider them as such is the definition of psychosis. Western knowledge considers hallucinations to be at best illusions, at worst morbid phenomena.

    Second, plants do not communicate like human beings. Scientific theories of communication consider that only human beings use abstract symbols like words and pictures and that plants do not relay information in the form of mental images.

    For science, the human brain is the source of hallucinations, which psychoactive plants merely trigger by way of the hallucinogenic molecules they contain.

    It had become clear to me that ayahuasqueros were somehow gaining access in their visions to verifiable information about plant properties. Therefore, I reasoned, the enigma of hallucinatory knowledge could be reduced to one question:

    Was this information coming from inside the human brain, as the scientific point of view would have it, or from the outside world of plants, as shamans claimed?”

    http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/mad-visions-or-mental-illness-part-1.html

    But hey, what would I know, I’m a certified psychotic, it still says so in my notes.

    Best,

    David B.

  • Dear Jonah,

    The polyvagal perspective and my six year journey to find the science of human development, has allowed me to understand why my experience of so-called mental illness and psychosis, is not a brain disease.

    Jonah, in your haste to judge my comments, are you seeing with a presumed expectation, and not trying to perceive?

    You write;
    David, of course, you may not want to share even that reasoning — of why you aren’t, to this point, openly sharing, in writing, what you do; and, you may just go on insisting that it can’t be verbalized; and, that may be that.

    And IMO sanctify your psychological-blindness, because again your taken for granted rush to judgement, missed the reality of this;

    we can only be aware of what we currently know and our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

    Hence: The fantasies of your thought are not real. They are generated by your attachment, and therefore by your desire, your hate, your anger, your fear.

    The fantasies of your thought, are generated by yourself” _Buddha.

    We suffer because we mistake the fantasies of our mind for reality.

    It is fundamental, therefore, that we learn to distinguish between reality and the fantasies of our mind.

    There are two worlds:

    1. The world of the mind.
    2. The world of reality.

    The world of reality is real, the world of the mind isn’t real.

    Of the objects which present themselves to our consciuosness, in fact, some belong to the reality that surrounds us , while others belong to our mind – that is, to our memory. (the body/brain and its nervous stimulation).
    We tend to falsly believe that “both” kinds of mental objects are real, yet this is a false assumption based on our past, not the present reality, by which we are surrounded and unknowingly immersed in.
    Only the mental objects which belong to the surrounding environment are real, not those which belong to our memory ( the body/brain nervous energy of the past)

    I’ll repeat it again, so that the neo-rationalist’s, might begin to sense their subconscious processes, with a felt sense of reality within the lived NOW.

    we can only be aware of what we currently know and our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

    Please consider how we get stuck in moment we can’t get out of, because we “judge” with an expectation from what we’ve been taught? Hence we suffer from psychological blindness as Michael puts it, in his brilliant essay.

    Of course, people have read his essay and paid him the stereotypical social compliments, but how many of us paused long enough to really perceive his lived wisdom and understand why he waited so long to publish this piece?

    Perhaps destiny, is about time and the unfolding of an eternal now?

    As I’ve said elsewhere on this webzine, do people believe that Michael was moved to make an incredibly generous comment to me, because he’s a fool, because he was being irrational?

    Or like wiser churchmen, does Michael perceive the nature of Faith.

    A sense of self, based more on belief than reason?

    Sometimes I wonder if the folks in this community believe their own rhetoric.

    Or have they misplaced their faith in their own nature, and become psychologically blinded by the light of imagined reason?

    Best wishes to all,

    David.

  • Have people seen Russell Brand’s great interview on TV, about mental illness & our Messiah Complex?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2eDj39q0Fo

    Is the complex, a collective one?

    “The Messianic Age is a theological term referring to a future time of universal peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty. Many religions believe that there will be such an age; some refer to it as the consummate “kingdom of God”, “paradise”, “peaceable kingdom”, or the “world to come”.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianic_Age

    Perhaps the “world to come” has always been right in front of our eyes, we just need to learn how we do this phenomenon we call perceiving?

    Perhaps we get stuck in a need for “judgement,” unaware of its subconscious process?

    Best wishes,

    David. B.

  • To the readers who have contemplated this thread and what I’m struggling to articulate in such a limited format as this, with my limited education and poor grammar. (please don’t autonomically, subconsciously judge me)

    Jonah, now helps to demonstrate that we can only be aware of what we currently know and our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

    Hence: The fantasies of your thought are not real. They are generated by your attachment, and therefore by your desire, your hate, your anger, your fear.

    The fantasies of your thought, are generated by yourself” _Buddha.

    We suffer because we mistake the fantasies of our mind for reality.

    It is fundamental, therefore, that we learn to distinguish between reality and the fantasies of our mind.

    There are two worlds:

    1. The world of the mind.
    2. The world of reality.

    The world of reality is real, the world of the mind isn’t real.

    Of the objects which present themselves to our consciuosness, in fact, some belong to the reality that surrounds us , while others belong to our mind – that is, to our memory. (the body/brain and its nervous stimulation).
    We tend to falsly believe that “both” kinds of mental objects are real, yet this is a false assumption based on our past, not the present reality, by which we are surrounded and unknowingly immersed in.
    Only the mental objects which belong to the surrounding environment are real, not those which belong to our memory ( the body/brain nervous energy of the past)

    Read more here: http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/managing-mental-illness-symptoms-with.html

    Yet the paradox of traumatic experience, is an escape, into the refuge of the mind, IMHO.

    Yet we need a through knowledge of our nervous systems, to understand this perspective, and how we orient in a defensive world;

    http://condor.depaul.edu/dallbrit/extra/psy588/Orienting%20in%20a%20Defensive%20World.pdf

    Its essentially about our tenth cranial nerve, also known as the wanderer, and absolutely nothing to do with Biblical mythology, of course. That would a silly reductionist, and un-educated worldview.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Well, what can say to this confusion about our body/brain/mind experience. Apparently its ok to blame the chemicals introduced into the food chain over the last 50 years, for all sorts of behaviors, but the the chemical imbalance metaphor, is utterly and completely wrong? No paradox here of course?

    Having lived with someone else’s child, who exhibited ADHD behaviors, controlled reasonably by his mother’s constant vigilance towards his diet. And having argued against his use of ritalin with the prescribing Doctor, I witnessed his explosion of motor activity, whenever we needed to let him be normal and eat McDonald’s food, at a friend’s birthday party. After which his mother told me, quiet rightly, to shut my mouth.

    So having spent six years studying my internal neurochemistry, to help me master psychosis, I suggest the real issue is in learning how, to see that most people are right in some way, rather than reacting with our taken for granted social politics of blaming & shaming.

    Consider a statement from a rather famous rebel;

    “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.” _Wilhelm Reich.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich

    And of course he was labeled crazy by the establishment too.

    Please consider an excerpt from my own writing;

    I must admit that a “chemical imbalance” notion of mental illness, had initially given me a plausible “how” and “why” explanation for my experience of mania. Yet by 2007 I’d experienced decades of medication failures to control my recurring psychoses. On or off medications, I still experienced episodes of manic euphoria and crushing depression, with the confusing affect, that my only auditory and visual hallucinations, occurred while taking high dose anti-psychotic medication. I’d also been exposed to a range of alternative views of psychosis, which seek to understand its emotional and mental dynamics, rather than fearfully judge the experience as pathological. View’s which advocate taking the time to understand the nature of psychosis, and resist an unconscious urge to keep madness firmly out of sight, and safely out of the consensus mind. Like many in the psychiatric survivor community, I’ve experienced the very palpable fear and loathing, that states of madness invoke in other people. Like many I have been overwhelmed by the core emotional energies, at the heart of my humanity, and I’ve witnessed the denied fear of “emotional contagion,” both within myself, and others. In my humble opinion, a strictly medical model provides a container to sooth our consensus fear of madness, rather than seeking a causal explanation. Although, only a reading of the history of madness brings such a view to mind, beyond a matter of fact acceptance of the current, medical paradigm.

    Please consider your post, in light of our subconscious compass of shame and our business as usual social politics;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZr5hSW65Vo

    Sorry, if feels like a personal attack, its not meant to be, and I’m not trying to devalue your perspective, simply broaden it.

    With respect and deep admiration for your courage to speak up, and take back your life,

    David Bates.

  • Seth,

    Please explain to me where I’m being reductionist and not taking into account “the multiplicity of the Divine, the diversity of self-expression,the variety of the manifestations of Ignorance.”

    And how I’m not serving the cause of human liberation, by calling for a deeper realization of what we are? How does my experience and self-expression in my blog post cause, in your words.

    “Such imposition of uniformity does not serve the cause of liberation.”

    Are you possibly being myopic, in your rather tribal view of human life? Please explain to the readers just how my view is reductionist and irrelevant, please.

    Please consider my personal quest for guidance and its conformation by those strange coincidences, Jiung calls, meaningful, or synchronicity;

    “Is it time to re-address the tribal metaphors of life’s meaning, to a species understanding? In a Universe of 96% dark matter/energy. Life is “The Resurrection.” That great symbol of sacrifice we see in Christ on the Cross, as all the Light Matter Energy, sacrificed to create your life? How does the Universe become Eternal? By evolving into a form which can act upon itself, YOU & your children’s, children’s children, forever & ever, Amen! Or whatever metaphor of gratitude you use.”

    Excerpt from:
    A Messiah Species? Existential Meaning in Metaphors?

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/a-messiah-species-existential-meaning.html

    I wonder if you spotted this;

    King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    “Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? and do you not remember?”

    http://biblehub.com/mark/8-18.htm

    Do you not remember a time before birth, when you understood a sense of ONENESS?

    Can you comment please?

    Respectfully,

    David.

    P.S. The sense of oneness, is felt via my nervous systems, not understood via my subjective experience. Imo there is, as with all human experience, much paradox in the statement, “we are all different,” can you describe just how different your internal organs are to mine, please?

  • Hi Jennifer, I liked your comment about tapering off and finding support from families and friends, although I wonder about individuals who are not fortunate enough to have such support.

    Having tapered slowly and done it cold turkey many times over my 27 year experience with so many different psychotropics, I found that an education into how my body/brain/mind functions, has been the most helpful approach for me.

    Although, after wading through the mind numbing jargon of neuroscience (a socially taboo subject for many here, I know), only the somatic approaches of people like Peter Levine, gave me the keys to know myself internally, and begin to undo past traumatic experience, and the many re- traumatization’s inflicted by trauma’s misunderstood internal dynamics, within mainstream psychiatry.

    Hence I write for those who are isolated by fear, and the bewildering experience of a post trauma life. IMO it is our general lack of self knowledge, in terms of how our body’s work, which sees such confusion about what trauma looks like, externally, and what is happening inside us, when we experience the nervous system sensations of its, awful affect.

    We can say the word trauma but does that mean we understand the substance of that label, that metaphor which is trying to encapsulate a world of pain and suffering? After 3 years in Thailand, practicing how to find the middle path of my own “in the now” experience, I find myself trying to walk a middle path here, between science knowledge and social need.

    I haven’t had time to check all the links yet, but I’m sure there will be links to trauma centers like;

    http://www.traumacenter.org/

    with Dr. van der Kolk, who is an internationally recognized leader in the field of psychological trauma. Who outraged the APA hierarchy (like many here do) with his paper;

    http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Networker.pdf The Body keeps the Score.

    And of course I’m sure there is a reference to our own Laura Van Tosh and her wonderful articulation of a journey Towards Trauma Relief and Resolution

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/08/towards-trauma-relief-and-resolution/

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah, in response to your confusion about psychological blindness and its imagined reason, from which I suggested the term neo-rationalist’s. Perhaps, in your haste to fix a bead on me, you missed my reference to previous wisdom on this webzine? I’ll post it again in bold type, to make easier for you to read;

    It seems obvious that when faced with the choice of allowing a realization that Jung either was singularly psychologically blind to the identity of his own benefactor Dionysus, or a realization that Jung deceptively hid the identity of the phallic maneater Dionysus– that Jung’s followers were in so much cognitive dissonance, were in such a bind that they unconsciously chose the third alternative. They went into a collective trance. Like the throng in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale, they couldn’t see the reality before their very eyes.

    Orwell famously affirmed this psychological axiom –’To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.’

    That’s why Perry’s patrician jaw dropped and I saw him for the first time at a loss for words when I spoke my Jungian blasphemy about the big secret hidden in plain sight. When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness. Perry became almost giddy–he kept repeating–”Of course Michael, yes, you are right, you are right–I never saw it, none of us did–oh, you must publish this, must publish this!” And so I am right now. see more of Michael’s heartfelt wisdom here:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/

    I understand how difficult it is to get this “felt” sense of one’s own nature and the meaning of this unusual term “affect” and how it relates to “affective psychosis,” as I suggested in previous comment to you;

    Can you think affect?

    No, you can only feel it!

    Its in your nervous system’s sensations

    See here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/psychiatrys-oppression-of-young-anarchists-and-the-underground-resistance/#comment-26496

    I understand too how difficult it is to grasp the following concept and how it relates to Michael’s wisdom his interpretation of Jung’s first dream, please consider again;

    ““WE CANNOT PERCEIVE WHAT WE CANNOT CONCEIVE:
    We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

    Example: When Magellan’s fleet sailed around the tip of South America he stopped at a placed called Tierra del Fuego. Coming ashore he met some local natives who had come out to see the strange visitors. The ship’s historian documented that when Magellan came ashore the natives asked him how he had arrived. Magellan pointed out to his fully rigged sailing ships at anchor off the coast. None of the natives could see the ships. Because they had never seen ships before they had no reference point for them in their brains, and could literally not see them with their eyes. Therefore, it is to our advantage to expose our brains to varied stimulus so that the proper neuronal connections are forged. In this way we expand and enrich our ability to experience more of our environment in a meaningful way.”

    Again I suggest that we scan these symbols on screen here, unaware of our “neuroception,” and its subconscious activity, and as we scan, we can only take in, what we already know.

    As for the neo-rationalist’s and their well educated and well meaning leadership, perhaps an excerpt from a post about our knowledge economy, in which I use a very astute comment from a wise young man, our own David Ross, please consider;

    Knowledge Economy?
    Is PhD research into mental health about the livelihood of researchers, more so, than the mental health of other people?

    In a hierarchically structured society, which group of people does the knowledge economy serve?
    Like the money markets of the worlds stock exchanges, can knowledge be the basis of a real economy?

    “We’re in a knowledge economy and it is about being able to demonstrate that the most capable staff are on the books to give the best possible experience to students,”

    Professor Marshall added. But such capabilities could equally come from expertise gained outside the research degree track, she said. “I would argue it is about what’s fit for purpose.

    Different discipline areas will require different skill sets to deliver the best outcomes for students.” New universities are just as likely as those in the Russell Group of large research-intensive institutions to require academic staff to have PhDs or the equivalent relevant experience.

    UK universities are increasingly pushing for academic staff to hold PhDs, an investigation has revealed. Almost 30 per cent of the 113 universities that responded to a Freedom of Information request by Times Higher Education say they have aims or commitments to increase their proportion of academics with doctorates, whether by hiring new staff or by providing training for existing employees. See: Doctoral-level thinking: non-PhDs need not apply By Elizabeth Gibney.

    Does higher education provide more perceptive insights than real-life wisdom? Especially in Mental Health where PhD’s always cry, “we need more research?”
    Please consider this important message of hope in Mental Illness Recovery;

    “A Message of Hope in Mental Health Care: There IS an Alternative
    By Sophie Faught, MindFreedom International Communications Coordinator.

    In the previous MindFreedom blog, we presented some data from our Hope in Mental Health Care Survey (download the full survey summary here). This data showed that extremely negative prognoses and messages of hopelessness abound in mental health care. Often, these messages come directly from mental health providers. And very often, these messages turn out to be untrue.

    Across the board for every diagnosis, a majority of respondents to part two of the survey who had received a psychiatric diagnosis and were told by a mental health provider that recovery was impossible described themselves as “recovered” or “fully recovered” (equivalent to a ranking of 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point recovery scale).

    Furthermore, many individuals who were told by a mental health provider that they would need to be on medications “for the rest of their lives” are currently not taking psychiatric medications. A significant number of them have been off psychiatric medications for at least one year.

    We ask again: why send messages of hopelessness when they are so often untrue?

    Is the Knowledge Economy deeply conflicted, in the daily reality of Self-Preservation?
    Do we really need “experts” to teach us how to heal ourselves?

    Please consider another excerpt from MindFreedom’s message of HOPE

    “During one of my many hospitalizations during a dark and confused period a fellow patient whom I’d never seen before looked over at me, saw my distress and said to me “It all flows back to peace” and he shook his head emphasizing “yes it does”.

    Find the people who have got better and learn from them. We are living in a time when the road to recovery has been walked and marked and there are people living wanting to illuminate this for others.”

    An important comment followed:

    “This survey is not inconsistent with the Smith & Glass meta-analysis of 36 years ago (Smith, M. L., & Glass, G. V. (1977). Meta-analysis of psychotherapy outcome studies. American Psychologist,32,752-760). An individual’s expectations when coming in for help and the characteristics of the person(s) in the position of helping are far more important than counseling theory/technique. The great news, well at least from one point of view, is that years and years of formal training are not necessary to be an effective helper to someone experiencing distress/problems of life.

    When I look at the survey, I don’t see too many services/interventions requiring an MD, PhD, or Master’s Degree with independent licensure. We all have the capacity to be an effective support/help to someone else. We always have had. It has taken a truckload of money and messaging to convince so many that that is not the case anymore. _David Ross, M.Ed., LPCC. See here:

    Is there a MisConception about the true nature of Mental Illness & Civil Society?

    Do we all collude in this Perception of Civilization? We don’t have instincts and there is no predator/prey axis in human relationships? Well, maybe in “them?”
    The bad things in life are about others, not “I?”

    Consider the thoughts of a now famous PhD, Ram Dass;
    “In 1969, the beginning of March, I was at perhaps the highest point of my academic career. I had just returned from being a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley: I had been assured of a post that was being held for me at Harvard, if I got my publications in order. I held appointments in four departments at Harvard–the Social Relations Department, the Psychology department, the Graduate School of Education, and the Health Service (where I was a therapist); I had research contracts with Yale and Stanford. In a worldly sense, I was making great income and I was a collector of possessions.
    I had an apartment in Cambridge that was filled with antiques and I gave very charming dinner parties. I had a Mercedes-Benz sedan and a Triumph 500CC motorcycle and a Cessna 172 airplane and an MG sports car and a sailboat and a bicycle. I vacationed in the Caribbean where I did scuba-diving. I was living the way a successful bachelor professor is supposed to live in the American world of “he who makes it.”

    I wasn’t a genuine scholar, but I had gone through the whole academic trip. I had gotten my Ph.D.; I was writing books. I had research contracts. I taught courses in Human Motivation, Freudian Theory, Child Development. But what all this boils down to is that I was really a very good game player.
    My lecture notes were the ideas of other men, subtly presented, and my research was all within the Zeitgeist–all that which one was supposed to research about.

    In 1955 I had started doing therapy and my first therapy patient had turned me onto pot. I had not smoked regularly after that, but only sporadically, and I was quiet a heavy drinker. But this first patient had friends and they had friends and all of them became my patients. I became a “hip” therapist, for the hip community at Stanford. When I’d go to the parties, they’d all say “here comes the shrink” and I would sit in the corner looking superior. In addition, I had spent five years in psychoanalysis at a cool investment of something like $26,000.

    Before March 6th, which was the day I took Psylocybin, one of the psychedelics, I felt that the theories I was teaching in psychology didn’t make it, that the psychologists didn’t really have a grasp of the human condition, and that the theories I was teaching , which were theories of achievement and anxiety and defense mechanisms and so on, weren’t getting to the crux of the matter.”
    Excerpt from “Remember, Be Here Now” by Ram Dass.

    As for this comment Jonah;

    Just realize: You are the one and only person actively commenting on this site who embraces that label.

    How exactly do these “labels” the words, cause the sensations we experience, when suffering emotional distress? How does this happen inside you Jonah?

    Be well my friend,

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah,

    Perhaps you may care to take a breath and FEEL how you thoughts are stimulating a positive physiological state within?

    Perhaps you are suffering from an understandable psychological blindness, as to how your mind “affects” your body, and how your body “affects” your mind?

    You accused me of being foolish in the past, for labeling my blog Bipolar Disorder Batesy, did you stop to consider how the title is trying to score a higher ranking on google?

    Just like your efforts to out-rank me, here?

    Consider how the mental health system is so often paternalistic and condescending? Is that because, from an emotional systems view, that’s how so-called civilization works?

    Hence the neo-rationalist’s here will continue their psychological blindness, in their superior sense of an intelligent self & their same old same old, leadership.

    Perhaps you might ask an experienced Jungian about archetypes, Jonah?

    Always respectfully yours,

    D.B.

  • Hi Laura, perhaps we are not yet in fellowship because you misread my input to the debate, which is framed by a need feel the organic energies within rather than psychologically analysis our experience?

    Please consider my comments on another thread where I’ve challenged Robert to explain to this community, his use of the term unconscious and I’ve cited Michael Cornwall’s moving comment to me, as having an understanding of madness beyond compare;

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/the-vatican-ritalin-and-a-canadian-study-of-long-term-adhd-outcomes/#comment-26503

    I understand your need to belong and “act-out” the same attachment urge we all have, and I understand your need to “affirm” psychological sense of self, yet please consider that we may be psychologically blind to our true nature, in our need to conform to the thinking of whichever group we belong to?

    Please consider;

    WE CANNOT PERCEIVE WHAT WE CANNOT CONCEIVE:
    We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

    Example: When Magellan’s fleet sailed around the tip of South America he stopped at a placed called Tierra del Fuego. Coming ashore he met some local natives who had come out to see the strange visitors. The ship’s historian documented that when Magellan came ashore the natives asked him how he had arrived. Magellan pointed out to his fully rigged sailing ships at anchor off the coast. None of the natives could see the ships. Because they had never seen ships before they had no reference point for them in their brains, and could literally not see them with their eyes. Therefore, it is to our advantage to expose our brains to varied stimulus so that the proper neuronal connections are forged. In this way we expand and enrich our ability to experience more of our environment in a meaningful way.

    Finally words from my brother in arms, my kindred spirit;

    It seems obvious that when faced with the choice of allowing a realization that Jung either was singularly psychologically blind to the identity of his own benefactor Dionysus, or a realization that Jung deceptively hid the identity of the phallic maneater Dionysus– that Jung’s followers were in so much cognitive dissonance, were in such a bind that they unconsciously chose the third alternative. They went into a collective trance. Like the throng in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale, they couldn’t see the reality before their very eyes.

    Orwell famously affirmed this psychological axiom –’To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.’

    That’s why Perry’s patrician jaw dropped and I saw him for the first time at a loss for words when I spoke my Jungian blasphemy about the big secret hidden in plain sight. When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness. Perry became almost giddy–he kept repeating–”Of course Michael, yes, you are right, you are right–I never saw it, none of us did–oh, you must publish this, must publish this!” And so I am right now.

    God bless you Michael, for NOT being an intellectual rationalist.

    Perhaps the intelligent rationalist’s who lead this community, would consider re-reading Michael’s brilliant essay from the heart, and his decades of front-line experience, in actually healing emotional/mental distress?

    And do people here really believe that Michael was moved to make that comment to me, because he’s a fool?

    At least my writing got posted here, when tried to post the same real-life story on a Huff-Po piece by a well known blogger, no matter how much I complied with requests, my comment was denied. It does make one wonder about self-preservation agenda’s and psychological blindness?

    Here is the link for Tom Wotton’s piece:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-wootton/bipolar-disorder_b_3481481.html

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Of course we are not supposed to mention real-life metaphors on a webzine dealing with the very serious topic of misunderstanding mental illness & a knee jerk reaction of prescribing medications.

    What does metaphor & myth have to do with the human condition, cry the neo-rationalist’s from their secure position of superior intelligence.

    I mean, what would Dragons & Lions have to do with the human heart & metaphors about that label which should not be mentioned.

    PSYCHOSIS.

    Best wishes,

    D.B.

    P.S.

    Perhaps in the need to belong, to “act-out” an innate attachment urge, rationalist’s simply follow the group mind, in well known Cartesian Circle?

    And of course you & I have been around this this maypole before.

  • Interesting lack of response to my comment to Daune here;

    “It resonates well, in my heart, especially as I found an increased awareness of my heart’s role in energizing my sense of self, helped me to transform psychoses, by going through the processes, four times.”

    Especially since Daune makes this comment last year;

    Could the best way out of a “psychosis” be THROUGH the psychosis?

    Duane

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/#comment-5955

    To which my brother in arms, my kindred spirit replies;

    Madness is a the natural process of transformation you describe Duane if it is allowed to have a life of it’s own, and is received in a safe and loving way.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/#comment-5963

    To the many “rationalist” readers it might appear that use Michael’s name with an impolite lack of social etiquette in my response to Robert below;

    In 2012, Dr Michael Cornwall, was moved to write that David Bates has an understanding of madness beyond compare, and I do understand that what I write is generally dismissed, because it unsettles a consensus of human reason. Yet does Michael, with his decades of front-line experience, make this comment because he’s being irrational? With all due respect Robert, you may not really understand what the term “unconscious” means, and I suggest you will continue to be disappointed, by people’s NEED to cling to an image of reason, which is self-deceiving. Due to a historical need to deny our evolved nature.

    Yet does Michael understand that it is my deeper awareness of subconscious processes, which allows me to trigger Robert’s rationalized response to a “threat” subconsciously perceived?

    If readers follow this thread carefully, taking time to digest the comments I’ve made, and Robert’s own comment, they may see a personal challenge, at first ignored, and then made more real by my posting of the “inconvenient” reality, of some black & white statistics?

    Read this comment;

    Sorry, David – one more thing to say.

    Bipolar chick?

    “Bipolar chick
    Timeline

    Personal Blog
    Just one bipolar chick. But one is all you need sometimes! disclaimer: This page is for entertainment only. ”

    She’s a CULTURAL CONFORMIST, an “entertainer” – because technology (internet) has TRANSFORMED life.

    And you begin to understand our rational illusions about reality, as a NEED of positive physiological state (internal sensations)is stimulated by the mind?

    Please understand, that I’m not trying to attack or embarrass anybody, I’m trying to show people the subconscious processes which stimulate our sense of reason. When I use the term scan,/b> I’m referring to the subconscious processes, Shcore describes, as happening so fast, they fail to cross the threshold of consciousness. Please consider that we may have become so stuck in Descartes error, that we literally can’t see what is right in front of our eyes.

    Please consider;

    WE CANNOT PERCEIVE WHAT WE CANNOT CONCEIVE:
    We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

    Example: When Magellan’s fleet sailed around the tip of South America he stopped at a placed called Tierra del Fuego. Coming ashore he met some local natives who had come out to see the strange visitors. The ship’s historian documented that when Magellan came ashore the natives asked him how he had arrived. Magellan pointed out to his fully rigged sailing ships at anchor off the coast. None of the natives could see the ships. Because they had never seen ships before they had no reference point for them in their brains, and could literally not see them with their eyes. Therefore, it is to our advantage to expose our brains to varied stimulus so that the proper neuronal connections are forged. In this way we expand and enrich our ability to experience more of our environment in a meaningful way.

    Finally words from my brother in arms, my kindred spirit;

    It seems obvious that when faced with the choice of allowing a realization that Jung either was singularly psychologically blind to the identity of his own benefactor Dionysus, or a realization that Jung deceptively hid the identity of the phallic maneater Dionysus– that Jung’s followers were in so much cognitive dissonance, were in such a bind that they unconsciously chose the third alternative. They went into a collective trance. Like the throng in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale, they couldn’t see the reality before their very eyes.

    Orwell famously affirmed this psychological axiom –’To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.’

    That’s why Perry’s patrician jaw dropped and I saw him for the first time at a loss for words when I spoke my Jungian blasphemy about the big secret hidden in plain sight. When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness. Perry became almost giddy–he kept repeating–”Of course Michael, yes, you are right, you are right–I never saw it, none of us did–oh, you must publish this, must publish this!” And so I am right now.

    God bless you Michael, for NOT being an intellectual rationalist.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Another wonderful essay Laura, and I hope many in our community, who are struggling to come off med’s, find lots of useful information.

    Of course, as many here understand, I advocate a slightly different approach to self-regulation, one involving getter to know oneself, a little more intimately, through awareness of “unconscious” nervous systems activity. Although most here ignore my comments, perhaps due to my google friendly blog name? Some here, even suggest that words are the very stuff of our internal distress?

    Anyway, as Nelson Mandela points out, I do believe that education is key to recovery;

    To Know, Thy-Self?

    “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” _Nelson Mandela.

    Through the power of Self-Education, and Self-Exploration, we can come to know ourselves well, and free ourselves from the tyranny of Self-Doubt, poor Self-Regulation, and the curse of Mental-Illness.

    As a fellow Bipolar with 33 years experience, you may like to read my thoughts on;

    Bipolar Dis-Ease – Its Trauma Reenactment Urges?

    An overwhelming urge is seizing control of my limbs as I walk along the pavement. A large bus is rushing towards me, securing its passage through time just a few centimetres to my left side. I can’t believe how strong the physical urge is to step off the pavement and into its path.

    In a by now well practiced mindful observation of inner sensations, I let the urge and the moment pass, yet can’t really comprehend the reason. For the life of me I can’t rationalize this apparent desire for death, this involuntary urge, with an everyday psychological explanation. I’m shocked anew, at the very nature of my own subconscious motivations, and just how powerful they can be.

    All the learning, all my recently acquired knowledge about the subconscious stimulation involved in what’s happening to me right now, afford me no conscious control, in terms of prevention that is, with this reenactment of an original trauma. As I continue to drag myself along, feeling all the old familiar sensations of a depressive reaction, I can only take the opportunity to mindfully observe these overwhelmingly negative sensations. The weakness in my legs as I try to walk, a living example of the “freeze” reaction and a urgent desire for collapse.

    “Did I set myself up for this,” I wonder as I continue along, rehashing the phone conversation and its “shock” affect. Only thirty minutes previously I’d received news that a job application I’d been 95% certain of succeeding in, had gone to another. I’d gone numb with shock as the affable human resources person went through all the appropriate responses, while delivering his bad news. For a good twenty minutes my reaction continued in shock mode as I stayed within my thinking mind, disbelieving of reality as I tried to fend of awareness of its implications. “I’m trapped in poverty now, my stupid desire to understand stuff nobody wants to know about anyway, will be the ruin of me,” I tell myself as the noise of the passing bus recedes.

    I try to catch the double-bind though, aware that the thoughts are an avoidance of a felt-sense of what’s actually happening to me. I steal myself to really feel these sensations, as bad as they are, and not think. There’s an instant of sensation awareness that shocks me to the core, a violent collapse, a fall, falling straight down through the pavement in darkened despair, “or is it disappear?” I feel it in the pit of my stomach and my legs have gone to jelly as I struggle to stay with sensation awareness and not think. It happens in flash now, a confusing, crushing, drowning sensation that is instantly gone. Displaced by the automatic urge of my mind, in nature’s kind dissociation trick of “what was that?”

    “A body memory?” Springs to mind triggering a stream of thoughts about my birth, “how did I survive it, those three days waiting for birth, is that the great mammalian trick of feigning death, was that the urge toward the bus, or was that the undirected fight/flight urge of trauma exit energy.” Yet I know from experience that there is no point in a reasoned analysis right now. Know too, that there will be days of this depressive reaction to come, as the energies of traumatic reenactment wash through my nervous systems. Know too, that there will come a time for calm reflection and the positive processing of such a seemingly negative experience. Know too, that I wont be crippled with months of depression and a dreadful sense of hopelessness and helplessness, now that I’m not as ignorant of my internal makeup, as I once was. Neither am I as afraid of my sensation experience as I once was, nor desirous of staying with the denial inherent in my cognitive capacities, even if I do think I’m fairly intelligent.

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/bipolar-dis-ease-its-trauma-reenactment.html

    I do understand the need to dismiss my writing, although perhaps a comment from a reader may entice you, even though you will only scan, for what you already know. Time is such a pressure, these days.

    Thomas Grinley MBA,CMQ/OEJune 19, 2013 at 5:26 AM
    Wow, the first two paragraphs perfectly capture what it feels like.

    Am I just seeking attention dear readers? Or have I come to understand Bipolar Disorder, even type 1, from the inside out?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • P.S. Jonah,

    In a face to face meeting, I could show the reality of your unconscious affect regulation. And this this relates to better self-regulation. Yet of course we all “fight” for our individual sense-of-self, in 1st world cultures immersed in Descartes error;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descartes'_Error

    And until we meet face to face, you and I, will continue to go round and round the same old may pole, in a Cartesian circle;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_circle

    Can you think affect?

    No, you can only feel it!

    Its in your nervous system’s sensations

    Best,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah,

    I never take offence, to your responses, as you help me to bring to life, the concepts I’m trying to articulate, in this very limited format, of black & white symbols.

    I do worry though that some readers, may be having rather paranoid thoughts about collusion between us, and I’d like to take this opportunity to stress how much we both believe in transparency, by categorically stating that there is no private email exchange, between us.

    Heaven forbid that, either of us, would want to enter into such secrecy, and promote an image of “us & them.”

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Seth, in response to your comment;

    Demons are not ALWAYS “families of affective energy patterns that can be undone {by self-awareness].” Just as often they are servants of Ignorance who are inflicting great harm upon their fellow human beings. As someone aware of the power of Psychiatry you ought to realize this, and take it into account in your
    writings. Even yogis like Jesus and Gandhi (despite his personal limitations) realized their sadhana involved conflict.
    At stake is the salvation of the earth…

    As I’ve written before, our rational illusion is contained within our need to deny our evolved nature. We project from within, what becomes rationalized as the system out there.

    Yet the system, IMO is within us ALL. Its within the subconscious activity of our mutual autonomic and central nervous systems. Which IMO are symbolized in the Cross & Crucifiction.

    As Brennan alludes to, in her writings, although it takes a familiarity with this strange term AFFECT, to grasp the meaning;

    ” Vertical and Horizontal Chains of Meaning:

    The linguistic chain is split from other chains of life meaning and logic–hormones, genetic codes, solar systems–by the insertion of the subjective “I” where it does not belong. It does not belong in an order whose logic is at right angles to that of the human perspective, as if the codes of living logic, together with the chemical senses, communicate on a horizontal axis, while the human historical viewpoint functions on a vertical one. Without the insertion of the subjective “I” position into the original codes of the flesh, the structure of the linguistic chain is homologous with that of other living chains within. With this insertion, the structures of living meaning are more or less at right angles.

    Life meaning is the result of interweaving–yet diverse–chains, capable of transformation from one order of symbolization to another. Symbolization dependent on understanding the proportionate and rhythmic intersection of numbers of vast and small internally consistent chains that are all communicative and in this respect like languages. If sensory energy is composed of fleshy codes that parallel those of language, this explains why the body seems to do its own thinking, so to speak. (p, 145.)

    It behooves us, as a species, to reconnect conscious language and understanding with the fleshy and environmental codes, from which our consciousness has been split by subjective fantasy and illusion. Those natural codes do their best work in the dark, although bodily physiological and chemical processes do push for admission to consciousness, past the blocks of a self-obsessed linguistic gateway. For us speaking beings, consciousness has been changed into parallel systems of signification; the linguistic, the sensitive, and the affective.

    They belong in a certain natural configuration, and a correct alignment appears necessary for an unimpeded or less impeded flow of nature’s energy. Correct alignment might be described as a symbolic transformation, meaning that the different alphabets of the flesh could be aligned in such a way that life is released from one order into another, yielding more freedom, intelligence, and energy. Symbolization is the means for transformation as the process whereby energy locked up in an alphabet in which it cannot speak (such as traumatic grief) is released back into the flow of life by words, or by the strange chemistry of tears. (p, 149.)

    The notion of aligned codes, like that of the transmission of affect, is at odds with subject/object thought and the “visualization” basic to “objectification.” The gateway between linguistic consciousness and codes of bodily sensation is manned by visual images. Which is to say, to make itself conscious, a bodily process has to be imagined–given an image. Our unconscious ego acts as a visual censor blocking bodily information surfacing to conscious awareness. It is a visual censor because it identifies objects from the standpoint of the subjective “I.” Images are stored from the three dimensional standpoint of a subject arrayed against an object. It is only when we depend on visual perception that we are led astray, into the subjective thought that takes the human standpoint as central. Such thought requires that one stand apart to observe the other and reduce it to predictable motion, the better to study it as an object. It also requires the intention of the body’s life energies, be prevented from fully connecting, in an embodied process. (p, 150.)

    “Hallucinations tend to make the abstract concrete and visa versa. This reflects the ambiguous position of image in Western epistemology, generally. Image has been assigned an inferior function, somewhere between sensation and thinking. On one hand, images are the “dregs of sensation,” carriers of information about sensations, on the way to the summation of sensations into concepts. If, on the other hand, it is realized that sensations cannot account for the formation of concepts, imagery may be granted the function of illustrating autonomous and immaterial concepts in sensuous terms. In ancient times, images were gods or messengers of gods versus sensuous misrepresentations of the unrepresentable.

    The status of image was much higher before we discovered the intellect. The idea of man as slave to his senses was a later transformation of the subjective enslavement to the power of the image. Perhaps this was necessary as a long transitional defense against the image. Distance was gained from the image by seeing it as immediate and concrete. Indeed, it is likely that the very birth of intellect was associated with the cognition of image as image (rather than, say, an idol).”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    Perhaps, the best way to grasp the nature of “affect,” is to imagine how we can stare at a stranger across a street, and how they will become aware of sense of being stared at?

    Perhaps the Cross as an enduring symbol, has resonated down through the ages, because it represents a hidden reality within each of us? Hence I write of a Messiah Species;

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/a-messiah-species-existential-meaning.html

    On a blog with a fool’s title, although I do understand the nature of archetypes.

    Regards,

    David.

  • Hi David,

    I know we should not mention religion and mental illness, in the same sentence. It does generate some very HOT emotional reactions.

    Yet, knowing how much you enjoy, as I do, a good movie and metaphor.

    What do think the wild Red Dragon which Jake learns to Master, in the movie Avatar, represents?

    I went to Thailand with a phrase ringing in my head, “Know Thyself.” Although not comprehending its deeper meaning. I thought you might like, what popped up first, on my facebook feed, this morning;

    “And just as in the past each civilization was the vehicle of its own mythology, developing in character as its myth became progressively interpreted, analyzed, and elucidated by its leading minds, so in this modern world—where the application of science to the fields of practical life has now dissolved all cultural horizons, so that no separate civilization can ever develop again—each individual is the center of a mythology of his own, of which his own intelligible character is the Incarnate God, so to say, whom his empirically questing consciousness is to find. The aphorism of Delphi, ‘Know thyself,’ is the motto. And not Rome, not Mecca, not Jerusalem, Sinai, or Benares, but each and every ‘thou’ on earth is the center of this world, in the sense of that formula just quoted from the twelfth-century ‘Book of the Twenty-four Philosophers,’ of God as ‘an intelligible sphere, whose center is everywhere.'”

    Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Volume IV: Creative Mythology, p.36

    Interestingly, there are a few historical interpretations;

    Ancient Egyptian
    There are two parts of the ancient temple of Luxor; the outer temple where the beginning initiates are allowed to come, and the inner temple where one can enter only after proven worthy and ready to acquire the higher knowledge and insights. One of the proverbs in the Outer Temple is “The body is the house of God.” That is why it is said, “Man know thyself.” In the Inner Temple, one of the many proverbs is “Man, know thyself … and thou shalt know the gods.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_thyself#Ancient_Egyptian

    Hence I write of how I learned to “catch the gap between the spark and the flame,” as Buddhist’s suggest.

    The gap being synaptic (on a cellular level) the spark being a heart stimulated orienting response, and the flame being our God (Cosmic) mind. Similar to, Mosses burning bush metaphor?

    Best wishes,

    D.B.

  • Dear Barry,

    I applaud your efforts and your tireless work to get what we all need, a clearer perspective on the reality of so-called mental illnesses. I understand, the very rational perspective adopted by the council and its good intentions, for issuing guidelines. As you point out;

    We were told at the conference that the Council is planning to issue guidelines (not dictates) that would be the direct result of the study meeting and proceedings. If the guidelines even approximate the sentiments of the participants and the deliberations of the moderators with the Council representatives, then this endeavor holds incredible promise to alter prescriptive practices.

    We are very grateful to the Vatican, the Pontifical Council of Pastoral Health Care Workers, and especially Archbishop Zygmond Zymowski, president of the Council for the courage to host this conference despite its controversial nature and all the viewpoints that he had to represent.

    Let’s sing it together: You can’t always get what you want…

    I question, however, whether we will, in fact, get what we need.

    Like the the well intentioned reasons in our common view of informed consent, did the conference address the reality of subconscious human functioning within the real-life moment?

    Or, as we all do, did the participants fulfill their self-preservation needs, and rationalize the reality of the real-life experience, in Catholic Institutions?

    Has this need to rationalize, to cover-up, our true motivation, in the stress of each lived-moment, been witnessed on this webzine, when, perhaps, inconvenient questions and truths, were deleted from the post covering the conference, live?

    These are tough, real-life questions, I know, yet as I suggested in my first comments on this webzine. Nothing will change, until we honestly and openly address the reality of how we actually function, in the anxiety (stress or call what you will) of the lived moment.

    With deep respect for your efforts,

    Regards,

    David Bates.

  • Great comment FYI, perhaps you could ask David Ross, M.Ed., LPCC, how we became friendly, with a previous experience, to yours?

    David & I share a common interest in metaphor & meaning, David understands that the appearance of the FOOL is within the eyes of the beholder.

    You might also ask him about this question above:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/leading-experts-to-speak-at-vatican-about-the-controversy-of-children-and-psychotropics/

    The trouble is, the comments from this post seem to have gone away. I’m not sure why that would be.

    As I pointed out to Kermit last year, the owners of a website are entitled to censor & delete whatever they wish. Its a matter for their conscience, not mine.

    Be well my young friend,

    Respectfully,

    David.

    P.S. It will be interesting to see if this gets censored, although the great thing about the internet, is its memory, like an elephant?

  • Please excuse the Freudian slip, I meant to write flame not fame

    The younger readers (emotionally speaking) can now have a field day, with their rationalized interpretations of my intentions.

    But I do understand their NEED to create a positive affective state within.

    As Allan Schore points out;

    “The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation. (p, 85)”

    Best wishes to all,

    David.