“Alienated Man” and Various Associated Personality Disorders

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Notice the word “Electro-Convulsive”

The use of the term narcissistic personality or character has been established in the psychoanalytic literature since the 1930s. Historically, it stems from Freud’s original division of clinical conditions into the psychoneuroses, the actual neuroses, and the narcissistic neuroses. Freud’s meaning of narcissistic neurosis subsumed some conditions which were later incorporated into yet an additional category of the character neuroses. In the early 1900s, however, the term “narcissistic neuroses” was used by Freud to include a number of regressive psychotic and conditions which were not amenable to psychotherapeutic techniques in use at that time (see Rosenfeld, 1964). These included some overt schizophrenic conditions as well as latent schizophrenia and what later would be considered schizoid or narcissistic personality. In the past 30 years, the meaning of the term narcissistic neurosis or narcissistic personality began to be more definitive of a borderline state of functioning typified by sever but no psychotic estrangement from both self and social environment.

Freud’s use of the word “narcissistic” carries the implication of narcissism in the sense of a primary, objectless ego state. Kohut and Kernberg have clarified the nature of what they define as pathological narcissism (Kohut, 1971); Kernberg, 1974). Additionally, Kernberg (1972) has depicted a series of stages during early childhood where faulty incorporation of internal objects occurs in certain selected varieties of narcissistic personality.

In common parlance as well as in its mythological derivation, the word “narcissism” is used to suggest a relatively superficial and fatuous self-absorption, which is more suggestive of hysteroid or immature adaptations. In these connections, the word is associated with demands for gratification and cherishment based upon the continuation of a compensatory overvaluation of self. Etymologically, of course, the problem is that the latter connotations of “narcissism” are distinctly different from those which are connected with primary narcissism. In centering on the semantic connected to the process of “splitting,” the Bleulerian term “schizoid” evades some of this confusion. Again, regardless of terminology, there seems to be a genuine consensus concerning the nature of these conditions. There also is agreement concerning the technical difficulties in the psychotherapeutic treatment of such states.

It is necessary to discuss some of the terminologies which have been applied to malignant states of isolation and self-estrangement. The clinical portrait of “Alienated Man,” with regards to psychoanalysis and psychiatry, is to be understood that I use the word “man” in its generic sense, so that references to “Alienated Man” and “his” experience of “himself” are abstractions that stand for individual men and women…..Other terms designating what I here call “Alienated Man” include “schizoid personality, narcissistic personality, Protean Man.(See definitions listed below) (Cf. Fairbairn, 1954; Kohut, 1971; Fromm, 1961; Lifton, 1971: Daly, 1968; Laing, 1960; Riesmann, 1961; Jourard, 1964.)

To clarify, it is my opinion “Alienated Man” refers to the schizoid personality or narcissistic personality disorder. It must be stressed that these individuals are not social isolates or alienates as the term “Alienated Man” suggests, rather these individuals can appear quiet gregarious and social in context. The term “Alienated Man” refers to the alienation the individual experienced in sublimating and incorporating “love objects” into their psychic apparatus. They become alienates because of their self-centered narcissistic states. “Internalized objects are held to be representations of outside experiences that are incorporated by the infant and child in the process of longitudinal development.” Estrangement from “self” and “other love objects” as described by the narcissistic state of development should not be considered “diseased” in and of itself. In proper balance, preservation of the self maintains a person’s ability to differentiate when and where love and care should or should not be given for the best possible outcomes of survival. It is the balance of this incorporated social awareness that creates a healthy narcissism. It is only when these estrangements become perverse and severely distorted that they are considered mentally diseased. These estrangements during “normal” development are necessary for one’s own survival, continuity of life, and balanced cooperation with “other.” During adolescence, or secondary narcissism, the distantiations of separating the internalized self, or self-identity, in the process of segregating those individuals and things we consider separate from ourselves can become quite pronounced.

“Alienated Man” is alienated to the extent that he does not seek cooperation through self-sacrifice, cooperation, and a feeling of unity. Rather, they seek manipulation through self-serving goals, discord, and chaos. Lack of intimacy, as in feelings of disconnected love towards “other” or a lack of feeling of brotherhood among men, because the “Alienated Man” has become disconnected toward loving “other(s)” as normal man is want to do for his continued survival. Delusions and fears may reek havoc on his mind and can drive his warped personality and perceptions toward malignant and malevolent ends. “Alienated Man” does not refer to avoidant personalities as seen in avoidant personality disorder and the tendency to confuse the two should be carefully scrutinized.

In addition, it becomes critical to differential between the schizoid state of the drug user versus the schizoid state of a psychopathic variant. For example the malevolent psychopath who does not use drugs or alcohol, with regard to the lack of difference in their conscious state of awareness and empathy toward others is more severe than the former. In the conscious state of a schizoid drug user or alcoholic, there exists only an transient state of acute lack of conscious awareness and empathy towards other. Once the drug user or alcoholic stops using, his conscious state of awareness may be re-intact. However, with the schizoid psychopathic individual there may exist a perverse lack of conscious state of awareness and empathy towards other. This state, in my opinion, is more chronic and is less easily fixed because they may possess a deep seated delusions about themselves and others that is not as readily corrected by just abstaining from drugs or alcohol. So the levels and the variants need to be carefully examined, analyzed, and addressed as one diagnosed variant may respond better to traditional psychotherapeutic remedies than the other.

In modern times the use of electro-magnetic therapies have been suggested as a curative medicine. Medical personnel have to watch more carefully if using these technologies. They may be doing more harm than good completely stripping an individual of their basic human rights. Historically speaking, the use of electro-magnetic shock therapy was used as a means of controlling diseased behavior and has come to be viewed as inhumane and any further use of these types of technologies should be carefully considered. I often wonder who the sicker party is, the medical practitioner wielding the therapy or the patient?

***Terms Defined

Schizoid Personality is characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, and apathy. Affected individuals may be unable to form intimate attachments to others and simultaneously demonstrate a rich, elaborate, and exclusively internal fantasy world.

Narcissistic Personality is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding others’ feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.

Protean Man as described by Robert Jay Lifton (1971) is an analysis of the psychological patterns emerging in contemporary life. The Protean style is characterized by constant shifts in identification and belief, and results from such broad factors as the velocity of historical change, the revolution in mass media, and the effects of 20th-century holocaust. The self can no longer be considered a fixed concept in psychiatry, and the term self-process is preferable.

 

The Human Brain and Aggression

 

The parts of the brain brought to you by two cartoon lab mice; Pinky and the Brain.

Human aggression is so wide spread in the Western world it’s prompted research into the effects of brain stimulation with electrical stimulus. Research has shown us stimulation of the amygdala in cats results in attack behavior. The physiological signs of rage, as well as erection of the hair, elevation of blood pressure, increased respiration also occur. What is striking about the behavior is that it is directed. A cat will attack a rat in a cage and even stalk it. The behavior is not automatic or inflexible. In monkeys, this effect is even more striking. Unlike cats, monkeys are social creatures. Stimulation elicits attack behavior only if a safe object is present. A rhesus monkey will not attack a social superior, but it will attack an inferior or stuffed toy tiger. Stimulation that will elicit aggressive behavior of a dominant monkey toward a subordinate or submissive one will altogether fail to induce such behavior in the same animal in the presence of a newly introduced dominant animal. Indeed, the formerly dominant monkey now exhibits all the signs of submissive behavior. The animal simply does not react in an automatic manner, but evaluates the situation and responds with the appropriate behavior. In humans, stimulation in certain areas of the brain produces feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, fright, and horror, but it does not elicit attack. One woman reported she wanted to slap the experimenter, but she did not do so.

This information is of particular interest and it is provocative to ponder. It should be emphasized the production of aggressive attack behavior by brain stimulation in experimental animals does not presents a good model for what goes on in the human brain. What can be concluded is the presence of a higher governing executive authority known as “social conscious awareness.” Human beings are more likely to respond to social situations with socially acceptable behaviors, even under the duress of stressors like artificial stimulation.

The laboratory findings show that in experimental animals fear, rage, and attack can be evoked in many, but not in all subjects by stimulation of specific locations in the brain. And this is possible because stimulation bypasses the normal sensory channels and directly activates parts of the brain that would be activated if the individual actually were in a frightening, unpleasant, or dangerous situation. However, the reason why stimulation can elicit these responses is that the individual has had such experiences in the past – that is, he or she has been in frightening, unpleasant, or dangerous situations – and these particular areas of the brain were activated on those occasions. Subsequently one can fool the individual into thinking that the same environmental events are presented by electrically stimulating the regions of the brain that were active on those earlier occasions.

It is important to note that even when one taps right into the system of stimulation, the resulting behavior is by no means automatic. The cat attacks the first thing it sees. It makes the “logical” inference that if it is experiencing fright or anger, and possibly even pain, whatever it sees near it is responsible, and it acts accordingly. The monkey may draw the same inference, but its decision to attack or not is based on the social status of the other monkey who is present. A human carries this process further. A human may recognize the fact that the individual who is present is not necessarily responsible for the unpleasant sensations; and, second, even if that individual is seen to be responsible – for example, the experimenter who turned on the current – even then, social constraints prevent a direct attack. It is clear, then, that definite parts of the brain are involved in aggression, and it is equally clear that stimulation of these areas does not result in automatic, thoughtless aggression divorced from the animal’s past experience.

Conscious awareness and the extended time required for human beings to rear their offspring provides humanity the function and time needed to help install conscious awareness, also known as the superego, in their individual offspring. Even at the end of eighteen or twenty-two years of age, we still are not finished practicing. We have spiritual practice to help aid, guide, and further facilitate the necessary equipment for strong social bonding.

Human Aggression and Destructive Game Play

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Image of two female boxers.

“So important to group living to the higher primates that when individuals are separated from their groups, they suffer. R.A. Butler, in a study of “Curiosity in Monkeys,” has demonstrated that to a monkey the simple sight of another monkey is more welcome than food.”

This was proven by a Duke University Research study. “Rhesus macaques at Duke University Medical Center’s monkey colony are able to trade fruit juice for peeks at photos of female perinea (the scientific term for “bright pink monkey butt”). Researchers led by neurobiologist Michael Platt have consistently found that males are willing to trade juice to view these images and will trade more juice to look at monkey erotica than any other image, including powerful males or friendly female faces.”

In many important studies with rhesus monkeys, researchers have found that deep psychological harm can be inflicted on the young of these species if they are separated from their parents. This can and does sometimes happens in the wild and Jane van Lawick-Goodall has told of “a little male chimpanzee who had lost his mother and who became progressively more isolated, neurotic, stunted in growth, and who eventually died of a polio infection.” This sometimes happens with married couples who have enjoyed a period of longevity together. After the death of one of the spouses, the other spouses soon succumbs in death as well.

It is my opinion that the psyche of the adult human primate can be just as delicate than that of newly born offspring. The isolation and stunted growth that comes with the onset of disease which can further isolate and alienate individuals, and with the capabilities man has harnessed with the manipulation and use of electro-magnetic frequency can further complicate matters and our very delicate psychological health. This technology can illicit outward symptoms of apparent illness causing further isolation and alienation among adult male and female humans and the use of this technology is enough to spark public outrage to its possible sinister uses! Proof this technology is being used  can be summed up as follows: the brain works on two signatures, one chemical, and one electrical.

In this light, human beings are very similar to the ancestral forebears: “the most severe punishment short of death our society metes out to wrongdoers is solitary confinement. And loneliness is widely considered the most severe malady one can suffer. We are true primates in our emotional reliance on each other.” So what am I suggesting? I am suggesting that man has harnessed the capability to thin his heard, thereby getting away with murder except making it look like illness. Call me a conspiracy theorist, I don’t care. What I do know, is that this has been happening and it is happening to me and the people around me that I love.

Evolutionary biologists have repeatedly stressed that human evolution could not have played out as much as it did without our reciprocal mutual respect, mutual aid, and mutual cooperation. Our development of linguistic skills and higher problem solving capabilities have also allowed for the formation of highly sophisticated technological advancements as well as advancements in game play with all its destructive possibilities. Strategic operations and securing resources we need for our preservation and survival which has evolved the mutation we have come to know as the psychopath. Much like gender identity, the roots of psychopathy are both biological and social. That is to say, psychopaths have a predilection located on their DNA which aid in their personality formation as well as social reinforces that help promote behavior. Those internal lights that light up the brain and reward a person for behavior.

The anti-thesis to this argument of course is that hatred, conflict, and obstruction facilitates the “other’s” survival. Eliminating a perceived threat, even if that threat is delusional, seeks a grander purposes of self-preservation and here in lies the roots of man’s psychopathy. No longer living in closely knit packs on the open plains of the African Savannah, we now live in fragmented packs living in the tightly closed spaces of the concrete jungle where jobs and resources are scarce and competition fierce. Today, even more than ever before in our primate ancestral history, we have become hard pressed to seek and secure without empathy those things required for our survival. No longer enjoying unconstrained time structures, we have sacrificed some of the most important things we require for healthy living; bonding time with our family, being present in nature, and accepting and being happy with less than more. The ever elusive dollar and need for accumulated wealth has forsaken our basic primate needs. If we were ever to place an actual dollar value on these commodities I wonder what economists, lawyers, and financiers would recommend as a price tag? Also, how much would it be worth to destroy your enemy? Just ask MI6 what they dole out for sharp shooter when one is required.

Quotes taken from “The Nature of Human Aggression” by Ashley Monagu and “A Billion Wicked Thoughts” by Ogi Ogas
Disclaimer: The use of sports related performance drills, like the ones found in boxing and kick boxing, can be a fun way to relieve stress and help provide health benefits, provided that you don’t turn these skills on to your neighbor when he or she parks in your parking space or accidentally takes you newspaper.

 

For The Love Of Alcohol (edited)

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“Alcoholic beverages were a by-product of civilization, not central to it. Even the website of the German Brewers’ Federation takes the line that beer was likely an offshoot of bread making by the first farmers.” ~Andrew Curry

For more than 9,000 years humans have maintained a long-term relationship with alcohol. More than just a mind altering substance, alcohol has fueled the development of arts, language, and religion. “Our ape ancestors started eating fermented fruits on the forest floor, and that made all the difference, we were pre-adapted for consuming alcohol,” says Nathaniel Dominy, a biological anthropologist at Dartmouth College. This “drunken monkey” hypothesis suggests that monkeys who could get to the fermenting fruit at the bottom of the forest floor faster had higher chances of survival and copulation rates. Fermenting fruit has more sugar calories making it a high calorie food source and, one that would have served our active primate ancestors well. The ethanol properties, although low in concentration, would have had antimicrobial properties to help fight diseases as well. There is very little scientific evidence of animals in the wide ever getting enough alcohol from fermented fruit to exhibit “drunken behavior.” It would be more along the lines of a “satisfied glow.”

Evidence suggests that a critical gene mutation that occurred in our last common ancestor of African apes, dated at about 10 million years ago, made it possible for humans to digest ethanol at a rate of 40 times higher than before. This gene, ADH4, created an enzyme that made it possible for our bodies to break down alcohol faster and enjoy more of the overripe bounty on the forest floor, without suffering ill effects. “You could say, we came out of the trees to get a beer.”

Homo Sapien Turns Homo Imbibens

After our discovery of the pleasant side effects to fermenting fruit, it’s highly probable that we then made the transition from nomadic life to a more settled existence. You could say we “settled down to start farming for booze,” and food. Thus, Homo sapien turns Homo imbibens. The discovery that wild grasses could be turned in to ripple pushed humans fast to plant and breed high yielding barley, wheat, and other grains we know today. This places us at about 9,000 years ago when the transition from wondering nomad to agricultural based farming was established. At an ancient site known as Göbekli Tepe located in southeastern Turkey, T-shape pillars dated to around 11,600 years ago were discovered. This site showed evidence of hunter-gatherers congregating to the location for religious ceremonies and were driven to settle down in order to worship more regularly. Large barrels that could hold 40 gallons of liquid were discovered with trace evidence they were used for fermenting wild grasses. Evidence of oxalate residue, a crusty whitish chemical left behind when water and grain mix, was discovered in the tubs. In addition, one vessel contained the shoulder bone of a wild ass, just the right size and shape for stirring a foaming liquid. Some of the oldest firm evidence of alcohol fermentation took place by 7000 B.C. at a site called Jiahu, China. Evidence found at this sight suggest that a cocktail made out of rice, hawthorn berries, honey, and wild grapes was produced for imbibing. It is the earliest evidence for a beer, wine, and mead concoction all in one. But it turns out that even the nomads of Central Asia made up for their lack of fermented fruits and grains by fermenting horse milk. The result is koumiss, a tangy drink with the alcohol content of a weak beer.

The historical roots for imbibing alcohol remained the same for our more modern ancestors as well. People drank alcohol for the same reasons primates ate fermenting fruit. It was good for them. Yeasts produce ethanol, a chemical used in fighting biological warfare. Ethanol is toxic to other substances like microbes that compete with them for sugar inside the fruit. The antimicrobial effects benefits the drinker. This helps explain why people in antiquity drank alcoholic beverages in mass quantity. It was safer and more beneficial than drinking the water. In addition to these medicinal properties the kinds of beer produced in antiquity were not pasteurized, filtered, or hopped out. This resulted in a drink that was fortified with B vitamins, folic acid, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin and in the Near East beer was a sort of enriched liquid bread.

The ancient Sumerians over 4,000 years ago had a simple recipe for producing a micro batch of brew that incorporated toasted barley cookies, crushed barley malt, milled emmer, an ancient grain, and three quarts of water. Allowed to “rise” for about 24 hours what you end up with is an ancient Sumerian grain alcohol that was safer to drink than water. It’s provocative to ponder the possibility that ancient language may have developed out of a need to transcribe and preserve this recipe for future generations. Eventually ancient Egyptians progressed away from home brewing towards large scale mass production. These denizens of industry and knowledge maintained industrial scale breweries that were used to supply their slave labor force, which built their monuments, temples, and pyramids with this life sustaining form of liquid bread. Even ancient Babylonian sources from 500 B.C. reflected dozens of types of recorded beers; red beer, pale beer, and dark beer.

Adelheid Otto, an archaeologist from Munich thinks the nutrients that fermenting added to early grain made Mesopotamian civilization viable, providing basic vitamins missing from what was otherwise a depressingly bad diet. “They had bread and barley porridge, plus maybe some meat at feasts.” Other than that nutrition was very bad. But as soon as you have beer, you have everything you need to develop really well. “I’m convinced this is why the first high cultures arose in the Near East,” says Otto.

Homo Imbibens Re-tells An All Too Familiar Faustian Theme And Explains The Roots Of Our Drunken History

Human beings never seem to know when to stop. We always go too far, at least that was Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s prime thesis in his stage play “Faust.” The ancient Romans proved this with their mass over-consumption of wine before battle. This suggests that ancient humans felt is necessary that one must get “properly deluded” before picking up a weapon and charging off to war. At a site called Corent, located in central France, archaeologists have uncovered the foundations of a major Celtic ceremonial center and regional capital dated to the first and second century B.C. At around 140 B.C. Corent inhabitants developed a ferocious taste for expensive Roman wine. From the unearthed remains at this site it has been determined the population at this time in history drank 28,000 bottles of expensive Italian red a year. The cites estimated population, 10,000 people. At this period in time, “…wine was primarily drunk by elites,” says Matthieu Poux, a Franco-Swiss archaeologist. “We have to assume lots more beer and mead was drunk by commoners.” That’s a lot of alcohol!

The spiritual and intellectual connections between humans and alcohol can be re-told by the ancient Greeks. In a symposium fueled by wine it was believed, “The first bowl of wine is for health, the second for pleasure, and the third for sleep. When this bowl is drunk up, the wise guests go home.” The comic poet Eubulus warned people during the fourth century B.C. about the down fall of over consumption. “The fourth bowl is ours no longer, but belongs to violence; the fifth to uproar; the sixth to drunken revel; the seventh to black eyes. The eighth is the policeman’s; the ninth belongs to biliousness; and the tenth to madness and the hurling of furniture.”

“Millions of years ago, when food was harder to come by, the attraction to ethanol and the brain chemistry that lit up to reward the discovery of fermented fruit may have been a critical survival advantage for our primate ancestors. Today those genetic and neurochemical traits may be at the root of compulsive drinking,” says Robert Dudley.

So what does this have to do with global climate change, the melting of Antarctica, Trump as president, and the deforestation of the rain forest? “Hmmmmmm.” Maybe we’re all just over performers?

To read more about the our historical roots with ethanol check out the February 2017 edition of National Geographic “Saving Our Oceans,” The Birth of Booze, page 30.

Narcissistic Abuse and Dealing with Boundaryless Behavior (edited)

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A good read on the “exhausting mind screw” of the Narcissist which I had fallen victim to many times in the past. More than I’d care to talk about. So, I started reading books and recognizing how to use knowledge and wisdom over emotion to gain leverage and support with tactics to combat the unconscienceless behavior which diminishes good will and trust. Understanding the tactics employed by this type of psychopath is important if you are to recognize how they play you like a musical instrument. Techniques like “gaslight,” making one self-doubt and question what’s really happening. Other strategies like projecting on to you their responsibility, “You owe me!” and unsubstantiated claims like, “You’re just like me!” Narcissists are creatures of habit just like you and I. Listening and watching for the “repetition behaviors,” those words and phrases frequently used in conversation will help to analyze and understand their strategies and assist in formalizing your own personal strategy in combating them and changing outcomes.

“As a result, we don’t feel heard, which diminishes trust and goodwill…we are frustrated, don’t feel listened to or more importantly heard. Our concerns go unresolved. They mount. Our emotions are nearly completely shut down just as the narcissist is. We explode which gives them justification in their eyes to abuse us further saying “see! YOU really have a problem with anger!” (projecting their emotions onto us because WE CAN FEEL them). It’s an exhausting mind screw. No other way to put it. And why over complicate it by using some textbook term to describe it?! It’s a Mind Screw! It’s exhausting, burns us out and makes most of us never want to argue like this with another person again in our lives.”

At some point along the way we “allowed our rights to be violated by not standing up, (protecting ourselves) walking away (holding the narcissist accountable) and refusing to remain (respecting our own worth) in the company of someone who doesn’t respect us.”

Common to Narcissistic abuse is an “extreme power imbalance, punishment & reward system, Stockholm syndrome and brainwashing, as all victims of abuse we “allow” things to happen due to the abusive schema.”

As victims and caregivers “we’re used to putting ourselves last to please others and we constantly acquiesce. This is the “boundarylessness” of narcissistic abuse and what we call “forced codependence”. It’s the lowest point in the narcissistic “relationship”; having none of our own needs met, having the narcissist demand that theirs are or else they punish us with rage or silence,  having hatred, blame and shame projected upon us with no defense (no boundaries) and accepting all of it while feeling  hopelessly worthless, loveless, lonely and stuck in a cycle of learned helplessness.”

My question is this, “How do you stop the boundraylessness and unconscienceless behavior of a narcissist who is using technological means, like electro-magnetic frequency (radio-waves), to sicken his/her victims and punish them for a perceived narcissistic injury?” Contrary to popular belief, this is the “lowest point” in narcissistic abuse because he/she has systematically shut the victim down and prevented them to perform work, well at least only the work he has deemed suitable. To read further please click the link below.

Narcissistic Abuse and Dealing with Boundaryless Behavior

Human Aggression; Cooperation Versus Indifference (edited)

Police stand near burning limousine during protest against  Trump on sidelines of inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S.,
Violence erupts in the streets during Donald Trump’s Inauguration, Washington, D.C.

So I don’t live in the nicest town in New Jersey. In fact, Trenton has seen its fair share of corruption and criminal activity and to top it all off, last night was one of the spookiest nights of the new year. The Northeast is experiencing a Nor’easter and it’s been rainy, windy, cold, and unpleasant for the last 48 hours. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to have been awaken by a rapping on my back door at 3:00 am in the morning, except for the fact that no one in their right mind comes knocking at that hour. A gentle rapping signaling “Please let me in” increased in crescendo to a full blown pounding and rattling with intermittent bursts of shoving on our securely locked back door. Who in god’s name could it be at this hour? A gentleman dressed in black that’s who, who also declared to our neighbors in a narcissistic rage, “She said she LOVED me and now she won’t open the door for me!” and also declared “Mom I’m at the back door! Let me in! I’m at the wrong house!?” Despite this last declaration he still continued to shove the door open. Why is it when you are waiting for the police to arrive at your most desperate hour every moment seems like an eternity? By the time the police did arrive, which wasn’t too long afterward, the mysterious man in black had vanished and further searching yielded no results.

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With my interest in human aggression this night might be considered serendipitous, however, the completely frightening, helpless terror one feels when one is confronted on the side of the unexpected and unknown is indescribable. Human aggression has demonstrated that the way people behave is a reflection of what has happened to them, not a reflection of their innate drives. Peoples forced into a consignment they are not prepared to deal with can have catastrophic results. Individuals who were once generous, compassionate, and honest, once deprived of their traditional way of life, the only life they knew how to live, can turn indifferent and even hostile to others and to outsiders. Environmental changes can force individuals and people to scramble for themselves in order to survive.

Violence & Culture.jpgWhen whole groups are forced into a situation they can not handle, the response has been to split wide open, to neglect their children, to abandon their earlier habits of compassion and cooperation. And as a result they will soon be extinct. Indifference is not conducive to human survival. It’s very likely that this has happened before in our human history when groups were not able to handle their misfortunes together, perhaps they died separately and the group vanished. If that has happened, and there is no reason to suppose it has not, then those of us on earth at this moment are the descendants of people who had first of all a certain amount of good luck in the condition of their lives: not too much famine, not too much natural catastrophe, not too much sudden climate change, and at least so far not irremediably too stupid and blind a government. And we are also the descendants of those people who, given that certain amount of luck, helped each other through whatever did come to them.

There could be no claim made that humans beings are innately generous and helpful, any more than they are innately hostile and violent. There are within all of us potentialities to be helpful, just as there are within us potentialities to be violent. But the point is that cooperative drives have helped play a vastly more important role, during the five million or so years of evolution from ape to human being, than have our potentialities for violence. Let’s pray we’re all a little smarter than we look.

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Two Ancient Stories Used In Psychoanalytics To Describe The Narcissistic Position (edited)

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Masochism is the love of self turned inward as hate to the point that it flirts with or succumbs to the death instinct.
Sadism is the love of self directed outward as hate at a love object that flirts with or inflicts the destruction of ‘other.’

The Masochistic Element and Ovid’s Metamorphosis

Ovid Metamorphoses.jpgOvid, one of Rome’s greatest poets, predicted that his fame would live on forever and he was right. It is the poem used to describe the highly narcissistic state of masochism found in childhood development. And so, at the heart of the narcissistic position of ego formation lies this very poem. It is a story that describes the life of Narcissus, a handsome young man who is self consumed with his own image and idea of self. When he spurns the love of a wood nymph who secretly tries to embrace him, she recedes into the woods and virtually disappears unable to speak and turns into the mythical creature known as Echo. The wood nymph pleads with the gods before her retreat to curse Narcissus, and so they do. One day after a particularly active hunt, Narcissus rests upon a shore and peers into the water. He sees his own reflection but does not realize it is his own. He believes it is a water nymph and pleads with her for her embrace. When the water nymph does not return the embrace, he slowly dies of starvation and thirst. Unrequited love and the misguided believe that he was not good enough for the water nymph causes Narcissus’ to self inflict pain (hatred of self) in the form of a masochistic tendency, starvation. Winnicott (1953) went on to describe “the not good enough” mothering that can create this ego state of the “not good enough realized self” and Spotnitz (1972) used the myth of Narcissus to counter Freud’s (1914) interpretation and description of narcissism. What it does not describe, and what further investigations in psychoanalytic study have shown, is that there are two character traits tied closely to primary narcissism and which can be prominently displayed in the secondary narcissistic phase of development known as adolescence; sadism and masochism. Common to all individuals is the formation of narcissism which results in formation of the ego, as well as the development of variant levels of both sadism and masochism. These two states, masochism and sadism, have been described by two completely different plays as far as there variant levels and fatality. It should be noted that these two traits, masochism and sadism, can become perverse if disturbances in early childhood are pronounced enough to cause the infliction of psychic pain to such a degree that the ego, acting out dysfunctional defenses and fantasies, allow for there entertainment.

“By contrast, Spotnitz believes that narcissism represents hatred for the outside world, or object, that is not permitted expression. The narcissist fears the consequences if that hate is ever permitted to be discharged outwardly [the roots of these fears lie in child rearing practices, social laws, and religious beliefs]; that it will kill.”

Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the Masochistic Elements Found in Mental Illnesses; Cutting; Trichotillomania; Obsessive Compulsive Disorders; Self Mastication; Anorexia; Bulimia; Other Somatic Disorder; Delinquency in Adolescence and Certain Criminal Behaviors; Narcissistic Personality Disorder; Bondage and Torture in Sex Games (50 Shades of Gray).

The Sadistic Element and Aeschylus’ Oresteia

The other poem that has been used to describe the perverse state of the highly narcissistic ego with strongly influenced tendencies towards sadism is Aeschylus’ Oresteia. The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus concerning the murder of Agamemnon by Clytaemnestra, the murder of Clytaemnestra by Orestes, the trial of Orestes, the end of the curse brought upon the house of Atreus. It describes the greatest repetition behavior known to man; War, and it is the Oresteia poem that is believed to help describe the state of matricide, the dead mother, at least according to Amber Jacobs’ theory (2007).

Aeschylus’ Oresteian trilogy opens in the royal palace of Argos, home of Agamemnon andaeschylus Clytemnestra and their four children. Agamemnon has been away for ten years leading the Greek army in the war against Troy, leaving Clytemnestra ruling in his absence. The first play dramatizes Agamemnon’s homecoming after the Greeks have successfully sacked Troy. Clytemnestra, who had taken a lover in her husband’s absence, murders Agamemnon on his return as an act o revenge for his murder of their eldest daughter, Iphigenia, at the beginning of the Trojan War. The second play in the trilogy dramatizes the return of Orestes, Agamemnon and Clytemnestra’s son, whom Clytemnestra had banished from Argos when he was a baby, afraid that he would avenge his father’s death. Orestes’ sister Electra has been waiting for her brother’s return in a state of excessive mourning for her father and hatred for her mother, her only hope being that Orestes will return and kill their mother. Orestes returns, and Electra helps him plan the matricide, which Orestes has been ordered to commit by the god Apollo. Orestes kills Clytemnestra and is immediately hounded by the Furies and flees Argos in a state of insanity and guilt. He seeks help from the goddess Athena, who establishes the first court of democratic justice, where Orestes is put on trial. The court case results in a split vote, and Athena is given the crucial casting vote. She sides with Orestes, and he is absolved from his crime. Athena persuades the Furies to give up their cause of fighting for the mother’s rights and instead become “the Kindly Ones” who will protect Athens and support Orestes’ rule.

“The Oresteia is the myth that can function as an analytic tool for women in its capacity to act as a structure that can be used to both interpret and counter the projections systematically forced on women through the workings of the male imaginary. The Oresteia has the potential to be used to analyze the male fantasies surrounding the mother and matricide, so that those fantasies are not repeatedly acted out and projected into women.” (Jacobs 2007) It is theorized to be at the heart of the paranoid schizoid personality constellation, the malevolent psychopathic serial rapist. Men who rape and kill women like the Atlantic City Eastbound Strangler.

Aeschylus’ Oresteia and the Sadistic Elements Found in Mental Illnesses; War; Murder; Rape; Battering of Women; Various Other Violent Crimes Against Women; Delinquency in Adolescence and Certain Criminal Behaviors; Anti-Social Personality Disorder; Variants in Psychopathy (paranoid schizoid position and the malevolent psychopathic killer); Bondage and Torture in Sex Games (50 Shades of Gray).

The normal psyche has an equal distribution and balance between these two tendencies, masochism and sadism in normal ego formation. However, no where near to the point of when it approaches the death instinct  or the belief in the concept of self-preservation and defenses where these instincts and fantasies are acted out in completion. However, I believe there to exist an overlapping between the two myths, and one in which, the overlapping tendencies can seem to converge.

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Carol Kohn “lucidly demonstrates an aspect of the lethal results of the social embodiment, or the acting-out, of unanalyzed phantasies belonging to the male imaginary. Writing the article after she attended a workshop on nuclear weapons, nuclear strategic doctrine, and arms control conducted by distinguished “defense intellectuals,” Kohn shows how the “rational” language of nuclear strategic analysis is blind to its source in unconcscious phantasies arsing from a male wish for parthenogenesis.” (Jacobs 2007)

“There is one set of domestic images that demands separate attention – images that suggest men’s desire to appropriate from women the power of giving life and conflate creation and destruction. The bomb project is rife with images of male birth….This idea of male birth and its accompanying belittling of maternity – the denial of women’s role in the process of creation and the reduction of “motherhood” to the provision of nurturance – seems thoroughly incorporated into the nuclear mentality….In light of the imagery of male birth, the extraordinary names given to the bombs that reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ash and rubble – “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” – at last became intelligible. These ultimate destroyers were the progeny of the atomic scientists – and emphatically not just any progeny but male progeny. In early tests, before they were certain that the bombs would work, the scientists expressed their concern by saying they hoped the baby was a boy, not a girl – that is, not a dud….The entire history of the bomb project, in fact, seems permeated with imagery that confounds man’s overwhelming technological power to destroy nature with the power to create – imagery that inverts men’s destruction and asserts in its place the power to create new life and a new world. It converts men’s destruction into their rebirth.” 

Since Freud’s issuing a navel as signifier or metaphor for the blind spot of the unconscious is of great significance when we think about the navel as the scar that signifies the cutting of the umbilical cord. It is the point of connection and disconnection with the maternal body – that is, it is the point of contact and severance with the unknown.

“Interpreting the [primitive] register of mythical delirium in the embodied social [patriarchal] world aims to put the world back in touch with what has been split off, disavowed, and repressed, with a view to countering the effects of those unconscious mechanisms that result in the denial of women’s ontological status, if not the destruction of the planet.” (Jacobs 2007)

It is these very unconscious primal, bloody, aggressive, fantasies and imaginaries towards women that are played out, in either defense of the ego, or in conscious fantasies stemming from this disconnection as Carol Kohn had observed in the rational world of defense intellectuals. From this idea a whole range of ideas could be inferred and interpreted. I certainly can see where these primal bloody roots of rage in unconscious fantasy can be inferred not just in men, but in women as well. There lies a marginalized group of women, that is ever growing larger today, who by all accounts share similar fantasies. They have been termed by some social scientists and psychologists as “Deadly Women.” 

The Narcissistic Condition (edited)

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“Narcissus weeps to find that [her] Image does not return [her] love.” ~Mason Cooley

“The Narcissistic Condition,” a book published in 1977 begins with the analysis and observation of the highly narcissistic attitudes found in certain marginalized religious cult groups of its time. Almost forty years later, I’m struggling to see the difference between these religious groups and some mainstream political groups. I fail to see the difference in the narcissistic attitudes possessed by marginalized religious cults, mainstream Roman Catholic Orthodoxy, and our national leadership groups found in various cultures and societies. Aren’t they really all a mirroring of each other? A mirroring of what is really going on in the interior landscape of the psychic mind?

Today, there are even higher degrees of narcissism found in our modern ethos. The troubled-personinternet, social media, selfies all express, “Look at me!” “Look what I’ve accomplished!” Computer technology has spawned the same desperation and attempts to dissolve feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression through its uses and exploitations. Societies have always had there share of troubled, unhappy, disillusioned, isolated, and alienated people; “the kids who never quiet fit in.” The only thing that changed was the world’s population. It grew larger and with it troubled unhappy youth.

In the 1960s “real hippies” were the pan handlers, the runaways who crashed in different pads every night, ate rarely, and used drugs almost constantly – rootless drifters, in essence, whose only ties wee to the vague community of fellow wanderers. The causes of these patterned troubled children revolved around early losses, inconsistent parenting, and troubled latency period. Hippies.jpgOne research team who studied young residents of Haight-Ashbury reported that their subjects experience a high degree of “chaos and continual over-stimulation including separation, divorce, and death resulting in broken homes all through childhood and adolescence.” (Pittel et al., pg. 18) Many researchers blame the on-set of the hippy culture to post Korean War social issues. The disconnect that occurs in the minds of soldiers returning home after war has had and will continue to have a direct impact on the families of these individuals.

Of these children who would grow-up and turn to drugs in an attempt to “drop out” did so to escape their backgrounds “less with a feeling of anger than with disillusionment and the sad conviction that their parents were unable to offer relevant models of competence.” (Allen and West, 1968, p. 366) It seems important to observe, though, that the use of drugs among adolescents and youth is and was probably much more prevalent than a lot of people would like to believe since fairly large groups of people from all over the country have come in to contact with and used drugs of some kind at some point or another. Another point, the use of drugs in religious ceremony has had historical roots since antiquity through the native American experience to the use of sacramental use of acid during the hippy lifestyle of the 60s and 70s right on up to modern day. The parallel between these kinds of practices found in religious cult mysticism and its association with feelings of loneliness, isolation, alienation, and disillusionment screams of detachment from the loving body of the “god-head” and thus seeks transcendence through the use of mind altering substances, which as stated earlier has been a problem solving strategy for centuries, in an attempt to re-establish a connection with their “higher power.” This “higher power” can only be viewed as one thing, an attempt to reconnect with the “parental god-head” so as to resolve issues surrounding fear of abandonment, the lack of love lost due to inattentiveness, or lack of empathy, or just plane ignorance from parenting during early childhood years. It screams of our very human inequity.

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Book Jacket Image for “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

The essence of these spiritual experiences cries, in all too familiar collective child’s voice, of one weathering the struggle against the backdrop of a straight world. It is no more different than that of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community’s struggle for identity and need for place in the same straight world with all its chaotic, over-stimulating, and unsuspecting elements. Everything the authors discuss in the first chapter of “The Narcissistic Condition,” the underground classic “Stranger in a Strange Land” (Heinlein, 1961) which mimicked social communism on a physical and psychic plane with its shared telekinesis and supernatural powers touches on the separation between reality and fantasy. This classic went on to influence the 1960s hippy commune, with its lose controls on sexual behavior, no individuality, no privacy, and no leaders and “free life attracted precisely the kind of unstructured, poorly integrated person who was least able to function in the setting.” “The Lord of the Flies,” a 1954 classic written by the Nobel Prize winning author William Golding, is another book that express a similar theme of loss of identity experienced by a group of ship wrecked young boys forced to establish rules and come to term with the responsibility of leadership and making progress.

Modern day society is still producing these same “disillusioned” people, just at a higher rate. Except that today, it seems the hippy commune has been replaced with more radical, isolated means of attack, random mass shootings. The random mass slaughter through the use of automatic and semi-automatic weapons has increased exponentially. It seems some of us not only have a desire for mind altering substances, but also possess ad desire to wield automatic and semi-automatic weapons. In 1972, one author commented on the “flower children” of the 1960s:

“[They] reject the usual problem-solving techniques and replace them with problem-solving via mysticism, astrology, and magic. They are disillusioned with the culture’s solutions, but they are going to share a further disillusionment unless they can bridge the abyss between the reality and the fantasy.” (Speck, 1972, p. 112)

Sound familiar? On July 20, 2012, James Holmes dressed as the Joker, during a midnight We're all mad here.jpgscreening of the film The Dark Knight Rises, aimed fire at the occupants seated inside a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. James Holmes had taken 100 mg of Vicodin prior to executing his plan, the same drug that was found in Heath Ledger’s body when he died from an accidental overdose. Then on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, 20 year old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between the ages of six and seven years old when he entered their first grade classroom. It was discovered later that it was highly likely that Lanza suffered feelings of isolation and loneliness stemming from various diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illnesses. And then on June 12, 2016, in one of the worst mass shooting in recent history, Omar Seddique Mateen, 29, a first-generation American born to Afghan Muslims parents in Queens, took random shots at the occupants inside a Florida nightclub with a handgun and a military style rifle. Who pledged his allegiance multiple times to the Sunni militant jihadist group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and identified himself as “Mujahideen” or “Islamic Soldier.” Is this not just another screaming of our very human inequity? I don’t even want to get started about Donald Trump being elected as president of our country and the implications to what that means to psychoanalytic thought!

The fact of the matter is, psychopaths use similar techniques in their problem solving strategies. Instead of approaching the problem with real solutions, they approach the problem to further compound it with there use of illusion, misinterpretation, and flat out lies, which ultimately are designed at harming and destroying their targets instead of seeking solutions and creative ideas where everyone will benefit from the transaction. The subtle difference between the “real hippies” and the “poor leaders” is a simple difference. It’s roots lie between the two character traits of masochism and sadism.

Ink Blot Test

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This is a fun test to take, one that provides a pleasant distraction from your everyday work boredom. I don’t know if you should place too much faith in the test though. I read these types of tests use a Forer/Barnum effect which is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them but are, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some beliefs and practices, such as astrology, fortune telling, graphology, aura reading, and some types of personality testing. Some people swear by them and report they really do represent their true personalities while others discredit them for their art of magic making. See if you can decide where you fall in your opinion and take the test. What do you have to lose?

Ink Blot Test On Personality

The Quiet Narcissist (edited)

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“The “quiet narcissist” is the brain ninja that creates self-doubt, self-loathing, and spreads depression like curdled cream cheese on the bagels of our lives. A variant of the narcissistic personality disorder, the quiet narcissist will reek havoc on levels you won’t even understand.” Do you have one in your orbit?

The Quiet Narcissist

Disclaimer: Image is not intended to imply that card loving individuals are Quiet Narcissists. The image implies the tactic of “game play” as in the Games People Play.