The History Of Personality Disorders
Well into the eighteenth century, the only types of mental illness - then collectively known as "delirium" or "mania" - were depression (melancholy), psychoses, and delusions. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the French psychiatrist Pinel coined the phrase "manie sans delire" (insanity without delusions). He described patients who lacked impulse control, often raged when frustrated, and were prone to outbursts of violence. He noted that such patients were not subject to delusions. He was referring, of course, to psychopaths (subjects with the Antisocial Personality Disorder). Across the ocean, in the United States, Benjamin Rush made similar observations.
In 1835, the British J. C. Pritchard, working as senior Physician at the Bristol Infirmary (hospital), published a seminal work titled "Treatise on Insanity and Other Disorders of the Mind". He, in turn, suggested the neologism "moral insanity".
To quote him, moral insanity consisted of "a morbid perversion of the natural feelings, affections, inclinations, temper, habits, moral dispositions, and natural impulses without any remarkable disorder or defect of the intellect or knowing or reasoning faculties and in particular without any insane delusion or hallucination" (p. 6).
He then proceeded to elucidate the psychopathic (antisocial) personality in great detail:
"(A) propensity to theft is sometimes a feature of moral insanity and sometimes it is its leading if not sole characteristic." (p. 27). "(E)ccentricity of conduct, singular and absurd habits, a propensity to perform the common actions of life in a different way from that usually practised, is a feature of many cases of moral insanity but can hardly be said to contribute sufficient evidence of its existence." (p. 23).
"When however such phenomena are observed in connection with a wayward and intractable temper with a decay of social affections, an aversion to the nearest relatives and friends formerly beloved - in short, with a change in the moral character of the individual, the case becomes tolerably well marked." (p. 23)
But the distinctions between personality, affective, and mood disorders were still murky.
Pritchard muddied it further:
"(A) considerable proportion among the most striking instances of moral insanity are those in which a tendency to gloom or sorrow is the predominant feature ... (A) state of gloom or melancholy depression occasionally gives way ... to the opposite condition of preternatural excitement." (pp. 18-19)
Another half century were to pass before a system of classification emerged that offered differential diagnoses of mental illness without delusions (later known as personality disorders), affective disorders, schizophrenia, and depressive illnesses. Still, the term "moral insanity" was being widely used.
Henry Maudsley applied it in 1885 to a patient whom he described as:
"(Having) no capacity for true moral feeling - all his impulses and desires, to which he yields without check, are egoistic, his conduct appears to be governed by immoral motives, which are cherished and obeyed without any evident desire to resist them." ("Responsibility in Mental Illness", p. 171).
But Maudsley already belonged to a generation of physicians who felt increasingly uncomfortable with the vague and judgmental coinage "moral insanity" and sought to replace it with something a bit more scientific.
Maudsley bitterly criticized the ambiguous term "moral insanity":
"(It is) a form of mental alienation which has so much the look of vice or crime that many people regard it as an unfounded medical invention (p. 170).
In his book "Die Psychopatischen Minderwertigkeiter", published in 1891, the German doctor J. L. A. Koch tried to improve on the situation by suggesting the phrase "psychopathic inferiority". He limited his diagnosis to people who are not retarded or mentally ill but still display a rigid pattern of misconduct and dysfunction throughout their increasingly disordered lives. In later editions, he replaced "inferiority" with "personality" to avoid sounding judgmental. Hence the "psychopathic personality".
Twenty years of controversy later, the diagnosis found its way into the 8th edition of E. Kraepelin's seminal "Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie" ("Clinical Psychiatry: a textbook for students and physicians"). By that time, it merited a whole lengthy chapter in which Kraepelin suggested six additional types of disturbed personalities: excitable, unstable, eccentric, liar, swindler, and quarrelsome.
Still, the focus was on antisocial behavior. If one's conduct caused inconvenience or suffering or even merely annoyed someone or flaunted the norms of society, one was liable to be diagnosed as "psychopathic".
In his influential books, "The Psychopathic Personality" (9th edition, 1950) and "Clinical Psychopathology" (1959), another German psychiatrist, K. Schneider sought to expand the diagnosis to include people who harm and inconvenience themselves as well as others. Patients who are depressed, socially anxious, excessively shy and insecure were all deemed by him to be "psychopaths" (in another word, abnormal).
This broadening of the definition of psychopathy directly challenged the earlier work of Scottish psychiatrist, Sir David Henderson. In 1939, Henderson published "Psychopathic States", a book that was to become an instant classic. In it, he postulated that, though not mentally subnormal, psychopaths are people who:
"(T)hroughout their lives or from a comparatively early age, have exhibited disorders of conduct of an antisocial or asocial nature, usually of a recurrent episodic type which in many instances have proved difficult to influence by methods of social, penal and medical care or for whom we have no adequate provision of a preventative or curative nature."
But Henderson went a lot further than that and transcended the narrow view of psychopathy (the German school) then prevailing throughout Europe.
In his work (1939), Henderson described three types of psychopaths. Aggressive psychopaths were violent, suicidal, and prone to substance abuse. Passive and inadequate psychopaths were over-sensitive, unstable and hypochondriacal. They were also introverts (schizoid) and pathological liars. Creative psychopaths were all dysfunctional people who managed to become famous or infamous.
Twenty years later, in the 1959 Mental Health Act for England and Wales, "psychopathic disorder" was defined thus, in section 4(4):
"(A) persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including subnormality of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the patient, and requires or is susceptible to medical treatment."
This definition reverted to the minimalist and cyclical (tautological) approach: abnormal behavior is that which causes harm, suffering, or discomfort to others. Such behavior is, ipso facto, aggressive or irresponsible. Additionally it failed to tackle and even excluded manifestly abnormal behavior that does not require or is not susceptible to medical treatment.
Thus, "psychopathic personality" came to mean both "abnormal" and "antisocial". This confusion persists to this very day. Scholarly debate still rages between those, such as the Canadian Robert, Hare, who distinguish the psychopath from the patient with mere antisocial personality disorder and those (the orthodoxy) who wish to avoid ambiguity by using only the latter term.
Moreover, these nebulous constructs resulted in co-morbidity. Patients were frequently diagnosed with multiple and largely overlapping personality disorders, traits, and styles. As early as 1950, Schneider wrote:
"Any clinician would be greatly embarrassed if asked to classify into appropriate types the psychopaths (that is abnormal personalities) encountered in any one year."
Today, most practitioners rely on either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), now in its fourth, revised text, edition or on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), now in its tenth edition.
The two tomes disagree on some issues but, by and large, conform to each other.
Some of the best persuasion techniques have been developed from NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) methods. For example, if you hear a person saying, "I see," a few times, they are probably processing information visually, according to NLP. To influence them then, you would use phrases like, "You can see how..." or you would actually show them things. A more auditory person would be influenced by, "I hear what you're saying," and "Listen."
Notice if they use visual, aural, or kinesthetic words. If you want to convince your spouse to go to the Bahamas, it makes a difference which words you use. "We'll be feeling that sun on our backs," is not the same as "We'll see sunny beaches," or We'll listen to the waves at night." You may use all of these, but one of the three types of words will be more influential for most people.
More Persuasion Techniques
1. Use a person's name. You have undoubtedly heard salesmen use and abuse this technique. Maybe a statement like "Look Steve, you can see the benefits of this..." just turns you off. Using a person's name IS a powerful persuasion technique, but there is more subtlety and art to persuasion than just following simple rules.
People do love to hear their own name, but you have to be careful how you use it. First of all, use it how they want to hear it. Ask how they prefer to be addressed. A Mike may not like "Michael," and a Joseph may be irritated by you calling him "Joe."
Second, use it at the right time. Unless you are great at reading people and know it is okay, don't say "Hi Betty!" the moment she walks into your office. Wait until there is a bit of rapport, and sometimes even ask permission ("Is it okay if I call you Betty?").
2. Use motivating words. Say "think about," they'll do that. It is not a call to action. Use words like "today," and "now," and "do this." Many subliminal experts will tell you that even using "by now," repetitively, as in "By now you can see that this car is luxurious," is subconsciously taken as "buy now."
Remember to use THEIR words. If they use the word "efficient" often, then it's an important word to them. Start using it: "You can see how efficient this RV is in it's use of space." Pay attention and pick out any words they use often. Persuasion is easier when you speak the same "language."
3. Be a chameleon. Change your language to more closely match theirs. Slow or accelerate your speech to match theirs. Sit in the same position that they sit in. Use the same facial expressions. Laugh when they laugh.
This technique is called "mirroring and matching," and, when done well, you can establish rapport quickly and easily with most people. Most people will never notice you're doing this, but don't be too obvious. The person will just feel like you're like they are, that you can "relate" to them. A bond will begin to develop between you, and you can test this bond by "leading."
This means that once you have established the bond, you can change your body posture, to see if they unconsciously do the same. If so, they are ready to follow. You continue to mirror and match, but you also start to lead them right to the bottom line on the contract, or to whatever action you want them to take. This is one of the more powerful persuasion techniques.
Countess Erszebet Bathory was a breathtakingly beautiful, unusually well-educated woman, married to a descendant of Vlad Dracula of Bram Stoker fame. In 1611, she was tried - though, being a noblewoman, not convicted - in Hungary for slaughtering 612 young girls. The true figure may have been 40-100, though the Countess recorded in her diary more than 610 girls and 50 bodies were found in her estate when it was raided.
The Countess was notorious as an inhuman sadist long before her hygienic fixation. She once ordered the mouth of a talkative servant sewn. It is rumoured that in her childhood she witnessed a gypsy being sewn into a horse's stomach and left to die.
The girls were not killed outright. They were kept in a dungeon and repeatedly pierced, prodded, pricked, and cut. The Countess may have bitten chunks of flesh off their bodies while alive. She is said to have bathed and showered in their blood in the mistaken belief that she could thus slow down the aging process.
Her servants were executed, their bodies burnt and their ashes scattered. Being royalty, she was merely confined to her bedroom until she died in 1614. For a hundred years after her death, by royal decree, mentioning her name in Hungary was a crime.
Cases like Barothy's give the lie to the assumption that serial killers are a modern - or even post-modern - phenomenon, a cultural-societal construct, a by-product of urban alienation, Althusserian interpellation, and media glamorization. Serial killers are, indeed, largely made, not born. But they are spawned by every culture and society, molded by the idiosyncrasies of every period as well as by their personal circumstances and genetic makeup.
Still, every crop of serial killers mirrors and reifies the pathologies of the milieu, the depravity of the Zeitgeist, and the malignancies of the Leitkultur. The choice of weapons, the identity and range of the victims, the methodology of murder, the disposal of the bodies, the geography, the sexual perversions and paraphilias - are all informed and inspired by the slayer's environment, upbringing, community, socialization, education, peer group, sexual orientation, religious convictions, and personal narrative. Movies like "Born Killers", "Man Bites Dog", "Copycat", and the Hannibal Lecter series captured this truth.
Serial killers are the quiddity and quintessence of malignant narcissism.
Yet, to some degree, we all are narcissists. Primary narcissism is a universal and inescapable developmental phase. Narcissistic traits are common and often culturally condoned. To this extent, serial killers are merely our reflection through a glass darkly.
In their book "Personality Disorders in Modern Life", Theodore Millon and Roger Davis attribute pathological narcissism to "a society that stresses individualism and self-gratification at the expense of community ... In an individualistic culture, the narcissist is 'God's gift to the world'. In a collectivist society, the narcissist is 'God's gift to the collective'".
Lasch described the narcissistic landscape thus (in "The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an age of Diminishing Expectations", 1979):
"The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety. He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life. Liberated from the superstitions of the past, he doubts even the reality of his own existence ... His sexual attitudes are permissive rather than puritanical, even though his emancipation from ancient taboos brings him no sexual peace.
Fiercely competitive in his demand for approval and acclaim, he distrusts competition because he associates it unconsciously with an unbridled urge to destroy ... He (harbours) deeply antisocial impulses. He praises respect for rules and regulations in the secret belief that they do not apply to himself. Acquisitive in the sense that his cravings have no limits, he ... demands immediate gratification and lives in a state of restless, perpetually unsatisfied desire."
The narcissist's pronounced lack of empathy, off-handed exploitativeness, grandiose fantasies and uncompromising sense of entitlement make him treat all people as though they were objects (he "objectifies" people). The narcissist regards others as either useful conduits for and sources of narcissistic supply (attention, adulation, etc.) - or as extensions of himself.
Similarly, serial killers often mutilate their victims and abscond with trophies - usually, body parts. Some of them have been known to eat the organs they have ripped - an act of merging with the dead and assimilating them through digestion. They treat their victims as some children do their rag dolls.
Killing the victim - often capturing him or her on film before the murder - is a form of exerting unmitigated, absolute, and irreversible control over it. The serial killer aspires to "freeze time" in the still perfection that he has choreographed. The victim is motionless and defenseless. The killer attains long sought "object permanence". The victim is unlikely to run on the serial assassin, or vanish as earlier objects in the killer's life (e.g., his parents) have done.
In malignant narcissism, the true self of the narcissist is replaced by a false construct, imbued with omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The narcissist's thinking is magical and infantile. He feels immune to the consequences of his own actions. Yet, this very source of apparently superhuman fortitude is also the narcissist's Achilles heel.
The narcissist's personality is chaotic. His defense mechanisms are primitive. The whole edifice is precariously balanced on pillars of denial, splitting, projection, rationalization, and projective identification. Narcissistic injuries - life crises, such as abandonment, divorce, financial difficulties, incarceration, public opprobrium - can bring the whole thing tumbling down. The narcissist cannot afford to be rejected, spurned, insulted, hurt, resisted, criticized, or disagreed with.
Likewise, the serial killer is trying desperately to avoid a painful relationship with his object of desire. He is terrified of being abandoned or humiliated, exposed for what he is and then discarded. Many killers often have sex - the ultimate form of intimacy - with the corpses of their victims. Objectification and mutilation allow for unchallenged possession.
Devoid of the ability to empathize, permeated by haughty feelings of superiority and uniqueness, the narcissist cannot put himself in someone else's shoes, or even imagine what it means. The very experience of being human is alien to the narcissist whose invented False Self is always to the fore, cutting him off from the rich panoply of human emotions.
Thus, the narcissist believes that all people are narcissists. Many serial killers believe that killing is the way of the world. Everyone would kill if they could or were given the chance to do so. Such killers are convinced that they are more honest and open about their desires and, thus, morally superior. They hold others in contempt for being conforming hypocrites, cowed into submission by an overweening establishment or society.
The narcissist seeks to adapt society in general - and meaningful others in particular - to his needs. He regards himself as the epitome of perfection, a yardstick against which he measures everyone, a benchmark of excellence to be emulated. He acts the guru, the sage, the "psychotherapist", the "expert", the objective observer of human affairs. He diagnoses the "faults" and "pathologies" of people around him and "helps" them "improve", "change", "evolve", and "succeed" - i.e., conform to the narcissist's vision and wishes.
Serial killers also "improve" their victims - slain, intimate objects - by "purifying" them, removing "imperfections", depersonalizing and dehumanizing them. This type of killer saves its victims from degeneration and degradation, from evil and from sin, in short: from a fate worse than death.
The killer's megalomania manifests at this stage. He claims to possess, or have access to, higher knowledge and morality. The killer is a special being and the victim is "chosen" and should be grateful for it. The killer often finds the victim's ingratitude irritating, though sadly predictable.
In his seminal work, "Aberrations of Sexual Life" (originally: "Psychopathia Sexualis"), quoted in the book "Jack the Ripper" by Donald Rumbelow, Kraft-Ebbing offers this observation:
"The perverse urge in murders for pleasure does not solely aim at causing the victim pain and - most acute injury of all - death, but that the real meaning of the action consists in, to a certain extent, imitating, though perverted into a monstrous and ghastly form, the act of defloration. It is for this reason that an essential component ... is the employment of a sharp cutting weapon; the victim has to be pierced, slit, even chopped up ... The chief wounds are inflicted in the stomach region and, in many cases, the fatal cuts run from the vagina into the abdomen. In boys an artificial vagina is even made ... One can connect a fetishistic element too with this process of hacking ... inasmuch as parts of the body are removed and ... made into a collection."
Yet, the sexuality of the serial, psychopathic, killer is self-directed. His victims are props, extensions, aides, objects, and symbols. He interacts with them ritually and, either before or after the act, transforms his diseased inner dialog into a self-consistent extraneous catechism. The narcissist is equally auto-erotic. In the sexual act, he merely masturbates with other - living - people's bodies.
The narcissist's life is a giant repetition complex. In a doomed attempt to resolve early conflicts with significant others, the narcissist resorts to a restricted repertoire of coping strategies, defense mechanisms, and behaviors. He seeks to recreate his past in each and every new relationship and interaction. Inevitably, the narcissist is invariably confronted with the same outcomes. This recurrence only reinforces the narcissist's rigid reactive patterns and deep-set beliefs. It is a vicious, intractable, cycle.
Correspondingly, in some cases of serial killers, the murder ritual seemed to have recreated earlier conflicts with meaningful objects, such as parents, authority figures, or peers. The outcome of the replay is different to the original, though. This time, the killer dominates the situation.
The killings allow him to inflict abuse and trauma on others rather than be abused and traumatized. He outwits and taunts figures of authority - the police, for instance. As far as the killer is concerned, he is merely "getting back" at society for what it did to him. It is a form of poetic justice, a balancing of the books, and, therefore, a "good" thing. The murder is cathartic and allows the killer to release hitherto repressed and pathologically transformed aggression - in the form of hate, rage, and envy.
But repeated acts of escalating gore fail to alleviate the killer's overwhelming anxiety and depression. He seeks to vindicate his negative introjects and sadistic superego by being caught and punished. The serial killer tightens the proverbial noose around his neck by interacting with law enforcement agencies and the media and thus providing them with clues as to his identity and whereabouts. When apprehended, most serial assassins experience a great sense of relief.
Serial killers are not the only objectifiers - people who treat others as objects. To some extent, leaders of all sorts - political, military, or corporate - do the same. In a range of demanding professions - surgeons, medical doctors, judges, law enforcement agents - objectification efficiently fends off attendant horror and anxiety.
Yet, serial killers are different. They represent a dual failure - of their own development as full-fledged, productive individuals - and of the culture and society they grow in. In a pathologically narcissistic civilization - social anomies proliferate. Such societies breed malignant objectifiers - people devoid of empathy - also known as "narcissists".
The Nature Of Soul
It is the nature of soul to grow, to heal, and to love. As we enter into the world, we emerge as a tiny child. We are open. We do not have conditions placed on us by our parents or ourselves. We have not closed ourselves off from any possibility. It is though the world lay at our feet. We are a bundle of unconditioned purity.
As we age, conditions are placed on us to direct us along our paths intended to keep us from harm. Even if we manage to stay out of harms way, we move into a state of stimulus-response reactions toward life. This draws us further and further away from the natural state of pure being we came into the world with as an infant.
How can we return to our natural state of being? How can we call our soul back and gain a sense of spiritual well-being? The following are ways we can return to the wholeness and healing we seek as spiritual beings incarnated into the human race:
1. Do Something Creative.
Creativity engages our heart, our mind, and our imagination. These activities allow us to utilize our whole being. Our attention moves from outer expressions of the world and enters the inner dynamics of living giving rise to our heart and our imagination. When our heart and our imagination are given attention, we enter into the realm of insight. Insight is our ability to see from within just how sacred and magical our lives really are.
In the realm of soul, our humanity becomes sacred. Through creativity we are aware how life flows through us and not from us. The more we identify with these qualities of attention flowing through us, the more we are identifying with qualities residing in us that are whole and healing. It is our natural state.
2. Spend Time With A Child.
Children have a way of drawing our attention away from activities and responsibilities defining us as adults. All a child wants to do in this world is have fun. They seem to never tire of such activities. Children are constantly motivated by play.
As adults, we tend to think of play as wasted time. Adults who lose a sense of play and joy in their lives are in danger of losing self-motivation. The kind of self-motivation I am referring to involves the desire to have fun in life. This can lead to a depressive state lacking creativity, spontaneity, and the heart of a child.
Each of us has the heart of a child within us that never tires. It is the part of us fully participating in and with life. As our imagination and heart begin to guide us over the mind, we are in soul. In soul, our mind is in its proper perspective. This part of us is our inner awareness not bound by the pressures of the world. When we return to soul, the possibility of living whole and healed becomes a reality.
3. Become A Child.
The next time you look into a child's eyes try to feel their heart. Notice the difference and similarities of your heart and their heart. Is there a difference? Is this awareness a long or short distance from where you were as a child?
What happened to that little boy or little girl inside you? Since we cannot retrieve childhood physically, maybe we can from within. Remember your past as a child - the good times and the bad times. As you look at your life through the eyes of a child, recall how active your heart and imagination were. Embrace it. Let this inner vision penetrate your entire awareness. Let go of your adult interpretations of your childhood and view it with innocence and love.
Our true nature is to live in the world without being fully of it. Inside us are endless avenues that can move us toward the experience of joy. When we let go of our tendency to view the world as right or wrong, good or bad, we leave behind dualism and enter into Unity.
This Unity behind all appearances of diversity is a healing state of unconditional love. It is the part of us bringing all life into being, leading us through life, and what will lead us home. It is the force of nature giving us life. It is our soul.
Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living"
Power We Want It We Have It We Don T Use It
If power begins in controlling something, then are we powerless prior to controlling?
Yes and no.
We have potential, which is a power in itself, but unused and undirected potential is NOTHING.
Are we powerless prior to controlling?
I would say we are not powerless, but ignorant (Which is a version of powerlessness, I guess.)
We don't know that we have power and don't know to know to test it.
The end of all powerlessness begins with awareness.
A Samurai Warrior would learn this by practicing a meditation of sitting on the top of a mountain with his arm extended and sword pointing skyward in a position ready to fall. He would meditate on that fleeting moment when a balanced piece of metal would turn into an unpredictable falling/killing weapon. His awareness was on the potential of the weapon. When he learned that then he could study the application of it's power.
What is power?
What is power like?
How great is power?
Where is power now?
To Know. To Will. To Dare. To Keep Silent.
These were the powers of the Sphinx and they remain dormant in all of us to one degree or another.
You don't know what you don't know. Thus you must seek knowledge in whatever realm you wish to control.
You must Will and Dare to use that knowledge.
To keep silent. This is where power turns to craft. It is the most subtle application of power. So subtle it may seem that things are all happening in your favor when in fact they happen by your design.
A bolder resting precariously on a cliff, a bow string pulled tight, these have a quality of potential force, What the Chinese strategist, Sun Tsu, called "shih". With just the right action and the force is unleashed.
The silent art of power and control is to see the potential force in everything and arrange it so that, if released, it works in your favor.
The keys to this power are first to know what you want far into the future and to know it in rich and glorious detail. The next step is to develop a precise and detailed plan to your goal and to meditate upon it day in and day out. By having this constantly on your mind you will function with the greatest efficiency toward your goal.
You will see the world about and know "This action will lead me to my goal. This action will lead me nowhere."
This task that is unnatural for most of us because of our natural tendency to focus on the thoughts of the present and to respond to the urgencies at hand. To master this skill we must alter our thinking and see every action that we perform as an act of manipulating "shih".
To do this is the height of Sphinx-like power and makes mere men to seem magical as if they controlled the forces of nature.
The Shattered Identity
In the movie "Shattered" (1991), Dan Merrick survives an accident and develops total amnesia regarding his past. His battered face is reconstructed by plastic surgeons and, with the help of his loving wife, he gradually recovers his will to live. But he never develops a proper sense of identity. It is as though he is constantly ill at ease in his own body. As the plot unravels, Dan is led to believe that he may have murdered his wife's lover, Jack. This thriller offers additional twists and turns but, throughout it all, we face this question:
Dan has no recollection of being Dan. Dan does not remember murdering Jack. It seems as though Dan's very identity has been erased. Yet, Dan is in sound mind and can tell right from wrong. Should Dan be held (morally and, as a result, perhaps legally as well) accountable for Jack's murder?
Would the answer to this question still be the same had Dan erased from his memory ONLY the crime -but recalled everything else (in an act of selective dissociation)? Do our moral and legal accountability and responsibility spring from the integrity of our memories? If Dan were to be punished for a crime he doesn't have the faintest recollection of committing - wouldn't he feel horribly wronged? Wouldn't he be justified in feeling so?
There are many states of consciousness that involve dissociation and selective amnesia: hypnosis, trance and possession, hallucination, illusion, memory disorders (like organic, or functional amnesia), depersonalization disorder, dissociative fugue, dreaming, psychosis, post traumatic stress disorder, and drug-induced psychotomimetic states.
Consider this, for instance:
What if Dan were the victim of a Multiple Personality Disorder (now known as "Dissociative Identity Disorder")? What if one of his "alters" (i.e., one of the multitude of "identities" sharing Dan's mind and body) committed the crime? Should Dan still be held responsible? What if the alter "John" committed the crime and then "vanished", leaving behind another alter (let us say, "Joseph") in control? Should "Joseph" be held responsible for the crime "John" committed? What if "John" were to reappear 10 years after he "vanished"? What if he were to reappear 50 years after he "vanished"? What if he were to reappear for a period of 90 days - only to "vanish" again? And what is Dan's role in all this? Who, exactly, then, is Dan?
II. Who is Dan?
Buddhism compares Man to a river. Both retain their identity despite the fact that their individual composition is different at different moments. The possession of a body as the foundation of a self-identity is a dubious proposition. Bodies change drastically in time (consider a baby compared to an adult). Almost all the cells in a human body are replaced every few years. Changing one's brain (by transplantation) - also changes one's identity, even if the rest of the body remains the same.
Thus, the only thing that binds a "person" together (i.e., gives him a self and an identity) is time, or, more precisely, memory. By "memory" I also mean: personality, skills, habits, retrospected emotions - in short: all long term imprints and behavioural patterns. The body is not an accidental and insignificant container, of course. It constitutes an important part of one's self-image, self-esteem, sense of self-worth, and sense of existence (spatial, temporal, and social). But one can easily imagine a brain in vitro as having the same identity as when it resided in a body. One cannot imagine a body without a brain (or with a different brain) as having the same identity it had before the brain was removed or replaced.
What if the brain in vitro (in the above example) could not communicate with us at all? Would we still think it is possessed of a self? The biological functions of people in coma are maintained. But do they have an identity, a self? If yes, why do we "pull the plug" on them so often?
It would seem (as it did to Locke) that we accept that someone has a self-identity if: (a) He has the same hardware as we do (notably, a brain) and (b) He communicates his humanly recognizable and comprehensible inner world to us and manipulates his environment. We accept that he has a given (i.e., the same continuous) self-identity if (c) He shows consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in doing (b) for a long period of time.
It seems that we accept that we have a self-identity (i.e., we are self-conscious) if (a) We discern (usually through introspection) long term consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in our manipulation ("relating to") of our environment and (b) Others accept that we have a self-identity (Herbert Mead, Feuerbach).
Dan (probably) has the same hardware as we do (a brain). He communicates his (humanly recognizable and comprehensible) inner world to us (which is how he manipulates us and his environment). Thus, Dan clearly has a self-identity. But he is inconsistent. His intentional (willed) patterns, his memory, are incompatible with those demonstrated by Dan before the accident. Though he clearly is possessed of a self-identity, we cannot say that he has the SAME self-identity he possessed before the crash. In other words, we cannot say that he, indeed, is Dan.
Dan himself does not feel that he has a self-identity at all. He discerns intentional (willed) patterns in his manipulation of his environment but, due to his amnesia, he cannot tell if these are consistent, or long term. In other words, Dan has no memory. Moreover, others do not accept him as Dan (or have their doubts) because they have no memory of Dan as he is now.
Having a memory is a necessary and sufficient condition for possessing a self-identity.
Yet, resorting to memory to define identity may appear to be a circular (even tautological) argument. When we postulate memory - don't we already presuppose the existence of a "remembering agent" with an established self-identity?
Moreover, we keep talking about "discerning", "intentional", or "willed" patterns. But isn't a big part of our self (in the form of the unconscious, full of repressed memories) unavailable to us? Don't we develop defence mechanisms against repressed memories and fantasies, against unconscious content incongruent with our self-image? Even worse, this hidden, inaccessible, dynamically active part of our self is thought responsible for our recurrent discernible patterns of behaviour. The phenomenon of posthypnotic suggestion seems to indicate that this may be the case. The existence of a self-identity is, therefore, determined through introspection (by oneself) and observation (by others) of merely the conscious part of the self.
But the unconscious is as much a part of one's self-identity as one's conscious. What if, due to a mishap, the roles were reversed? What if Dan's conscious part were to become his unconscious and his unconscious part - his conscious? What if all his conscious memories, drives, fears, wishes, fantasies, and hopes - were to become unconscious while his repressed memories, drives, etc. - were to become conscious? Would we still say that it is "the same" Dan and that he retains his self-identity? Not very likely. And yet, one's (unremembered) unconscious - for instance, the conflict between id and ego - determines one's personality and self-identity.
The main contribution of psychoanalysis and later psychodynamic schools is the understanding that self-identity is a dynamic, evolving, ever-changing construct - and not a static, inertial, and passive entity. It casts doubt over the meaningfulness of the question with which we ended the exposition: "Who, exactly, then, is Dan?" Dan is different at different stages of his life (Erikson) and he constantly evolves in accordance with his innate nature (Jung), past history (Adler), drives (Freud), cultural milieu (Horney), upbringing (Klein, Winnicott), needs (Murray), or the interplay with his genetic makeup. Dan is not a thing - he is a process. Even Dan's personality traits and cognitive style, which may well be stable, are often influenced by Dan's social setting and by his social interactions.
It would seem that having a memory is a necessary but insufficient condition for possessing a self-identity. One cannot remember one's unconscious states (though one can remember their outcomes). One often forgets events, names, and other information even if it was conscious at a given time in one's past. Yet, one's (unremembered) unconscious is an integral and important part of one's identity and one's self. The remembered as well as the unremembered constitute one's self-identity.
IV. The Memory Link
Hume said that to be considered in possession of a mind, a creature needs to have a few states of consciousness linked by memory in a kind of narrative or personal mythology. Can this conjecture be equally applied to unconscious mental states (e.g. subliminal perceptions, beliefs, drives, emotions, desires, etc.)?
In other words, can we rephrase Hume and say that to be considered in possession of a mind, a creature needs to have a few states of consciousness and a few states of the unconscious - all linked by memory into a personal narrative? Isn't it a contradiction in terms to remember the unconscious?
The unconscious and the subliminal are instance of the general category of mental phenomena which are not states of consciousness (i.e., are not conscious). Sleep and hypnosis are two others. But so are "background mental phenomena" - e.g., one holds onto one's beliefs and knowledge even when one is not aware (conscious) of them at every given moment. We know that an apple will fall towards the earth, we know how to drive a car ("automatically"), and we believe that the sun will rise tomorrow, even though we do not spend every second of our waking life consciously thinking about falling apples, driving cars, or the position of the sun.
Yet, the fact that knowledge and beliefs and other background mental phenomena are not constantly conscious - does not mean that they cannot be remembered. They can be remembered either by an act of will, or in (sometimes an involuntary) response to changes in the environment. The same applies to all other unconscious content. Unconscious content can be recalled. Psychoanalysis, for instance, is about re-introducing repressed unconscious content to the patient's conscious memory and thus making it "remembered".
In fact, one's self-identity may be such a background mental phenomenon (always there, not always conscious, not always remembered). The acts of will which bring it to the surface are what we call "memory" and "introspection".
This would seem to imply that having a self-identity is independent of having a memory (or the ability to introspect). Memory is just the mechanism by which one becomes aware of one's background, "always-on", and omnipresent (all-pervasive) self-identity. Self-identity is the object and predicate of memory and introspection. It is as though self-identity were an emergent extensive parameter of the complex human system - measurable by the dual techniques of memory and introspection.
We, therefore, have to modify our previous conclusions:
Having a memory is not a necessary nor a sufficient condition for possessing a self-identity.
We are back to square one. The poor souls in Oliver Sacks' tome, "The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat" are unable to create and retain memories. They occupy an eternal present, with no past. They are thus unable to access (or invoke) their self-identity by remembering it. Their self-identity is unavailable to them (though it is available to those who observe them over many years) - but it exists for sure. Therapy often succeeds in restoring pre-amnesiac memories and self-identity.
V. The Incorrigible Self
Self-identity is not only always-on and all-pervasive - but also incorrigible. In other words, no one - neither an observer, nor the person himself - can "disprove" the existence of his self-identity. No one can prove that a report about the existence of his (or another's) self-identity is mistaken.
Is it equally safe to say that no one - neither an observer, nor the person himself - can prove (or disprove) the non-existence of his self-identity? Would it be correct to say that no one can prove that a report about the non-existence of his (or another's) self-identity is true or false?
Dan's criminal responsibility crucially depends on the answers to these questions. Dan cannot be held responsible for Jack's murder if he can prove that he is ignorant of the facts of his action (i.e., if he can prove the non-existence of his self-identity). If he has no access to his (former) self-identity - he can hardly be expected to be aware and cognizant of these facts.
What is in question is not Dan's mens rea, nor the application of the McNaghten tests (did Dan know the nature and quality of his act or could he tell right from wrong) to determine whether Dan was insane when he committed the crime. A much broader issue is at stake: is it the same person? Is the murderous Dan the same person as the current Dan? Even though Dan seems to own the same body and brain and is manifestly sane - he patently has no access to his (former) self-identity. He has changed so drastically that it is arguable whether he is still the same person - he has been "replaced".
Finally, we can try to unite all the strands of our discourse into this double definition:
It would seem that we accept that someone has a self-identity if: (a) He has the same hardware as we do (notably, a brain) and, by implication, the same software as we do (an all-pervasive, omnipresent self-identity) and (b) He communicates his humanly recognizable and comprehensible inner world to us and manipulates his environment. We accept that he has a specific (i.e., the same continuous) self-identity if (c) He shows consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in doing (b) for a long period of time.
It seems that we accept that we have a specific self-identity (i.e., we are self-conscious of a specific identity) if (a) We discern (usually through memory and introspection) long term consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in our manipulation ("relating to") of our environment and (b) Others accept that we have a specific self-identity.
In conclusion: Dan undoubtedly has a self-identity (being human and, thus, endowed with a brain). Equally undoubtedly, this self-identity is not Dan's (but a new, unfamiliar, one).
Such is the stuff of our nightmares - body snatching, demonic possession, waking up in a strange place, not knowing who we are. Without a continuous personal history - we are not. It is what binds our various bodies, states of mind, memories, skills, emotions, and cognitions - into a coherent bundle of identity. Dan speaks, drinks, dances, talks, and makes love - but throughout that time, he is not present because he does not remember Dan and how it is to be Dan. He may have murdered Jake - but, by all philosophical and ethical criteria, it was most definitely not his fault.
Critique And Defense Of Psychoanalysis
"I am actually not a man of science at all. . . . I am nothing but a conquistador by temperament, an adventurer."
(Sigmund Freud, letter to Fleiss, 1900)
"If you bring forth that which is in you, that which you bring forth will be your salvation".
(The Gospel of Thomas)
"No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we cannot get elsewhere."
(Sigmund Freud, "The Future of an Illusion")
Harold Bloom called Freud "The central imagination of our age". That psychoanalysis is not a scientific theory in the strict, rigorous sense of the word has long been established. Yet, most criticisms of Freud's work (by the likes of Karl Popper, Adolf Grunbaum, Havelock Ellis, Malcolm Macmillan, and Frederick Crews) pertain to his - long-debunked - scientific pretensions.
Today it is widely accepted that psychoanalysis - though some of its tenets are testable and, indeed, have been experimentally tested and invariably found to be false or uncorroborated - is a system of ideas. It is a cultural construct, and a (suggested) deconstruction of the human mind. Despite aspirations to the contrary, psychoanalysis is not - and never has been - a value-neutral physics or dynamics of the psyche.
Freud also stands accused of generalizing his own perversions and of reinterpreting his patients' accounts of their memories to fit his preconceived notions of the unconscious . The practice of psychoanalysis as a therapy has been castigated as a crude form of brainwashing within cult-like settings.
Feminists criticize Freud for casting women in the role of "defective" (naturally castrated and inferior) men. Scholars of culture expose the Victorian and middle-class roots of his theories about suppressed sexuality. Historians deride and decry his stifling authoritarianism and frequent and expedient conceptual reversals.
Freud himself would have attributed many of these diatribes to the defense mechanisms of his critics. Projection, resistance, and displacement do seem to be playing a prominent role. Psychologists are taunted by the lack of rigor of their profession, by its literary and artistic qualities, by the dearth of empirical support for its assertions and fundaments, by the ambiguity of its terminology and ontology, by the derision of "proper" scientists in the "hard" disciplines, and by the limitations imposed by their experimental subjects (humans). These are precisely the shortcomings that they attribute to psychoanalysis.
Indeed, psychological narratives - psychoanalysis first and foremost - are not "scientific theories" by any stretch of this much-bandied label. They are also unlikely to ever become ones. Instead - like myths, religions, and ideologies - they are organizing principles.
Psychological "theories" do not explain the world. At best, they describe reality and give it "true", emotionally-resonant, heuristic and hermeneutic meaning. They are less concerned with predictive feats than with "healing" - the restoration of harmony among people and inside them.
Therapies - the practical applications of psychological "theories" - are more concerned with function, order, form, and ritual than with essence and replicable performance. The interaction between patient and therapist is a microcosm of society, an encapsulation and reification of all other forms of social intercourse. Granted, it is more structured and relies on a body of knowledge gleaned from millions of similar encounters. Still, the therapeutic process is nothing more than an insightful and informed dialog whose usefulness is well-attested to.
Both psychological and scientific theories are creatures of their times, children of the civilizations and societies in which they were conceived, context-dependent and culture-bound. As such, their validity and longevity are always suspect. Both hard-edged scientists and thinkers in the "softer" disciplines are influenced by contemporary values, mores, events, and interpellations.
The difference between "proper" theories of dynamics and psychodynamic theories is that the former asymptotically aspire to an objective "truth" "out there" - while the latter emerge and emanate from a kernel of inner, introspective, truth that is immediately familiar and is the bedrock of their speculations. Scientific theories - as opposed to psychological "theories" - need, therefore, to be tested, falsified, and modified because their truth is not self-contained.
Still, psychoanalysis was, when elaborated, a Kuhnian paradigm shift. It broke with the past completely and dramatically. It generated an inordinate amount of new, unsolved, problems. It suggested new methodological procedures for gathering empirical evidence (research strategies). It was based on observations (however scant and biased). In other words, it was experimental in nature, not merely theoretical. It provided a framework of reference, a conceptual sphere within which new ideas developed.
That it failed to generate a wealth of testable hypotheses and to account for discoveries in neurology does not detract from its importance. Both relativity theories were and, today, string theories are, in exactly the same position in relation to their subject matter, physics.
In 1963, Karl Jaspers made an important distinction between the scientific activities of Erklaren and Verstehen. Erklaren is about finding pairs of causes and effects. Verstehen is about grasping connections between events, sometimes intuitively and non-causally. Psychoanalysis is about Verstehen, not about Erklaren. It is a hypothetico-deductive method for gleaning events in a person's life and generating insights regarding their connection to his current state of mind and functioning.
So, is psychoanalysis a science, pseudo-science, or sui generis?
Psychoanalysis is a field of study, not a theory. It is replete with neologisms and formalism but, like Quantum Mechanics, it has many incompatible interpretations. It is, therefore, equivocal and self-contained (recursive). Psychoanalysis dictates which of its hypotheses are testable and what constitutes its own falsification. In other words, it is a meta-theory: a theory about generating theories in psychology.
Moreover, psychoanalysis the theory is often confused with psychoanalysis the therapy. Conclusively proving that the therapy works does not establish the veridicality, the historicity, or even the usefulness of the conceptual edifice of the theory. Furthermore, therapeutic techniques evolve far more quickly and substantially than the theories that ostensibly yield them. They are self-modifying "moving targets" - not rigid and replicable procedures and rituals.
Another obstacle in trying to establish the scientific value of psychoanalysis is its ambiguity. It is unclear, for instance, what in psychoanalysis qualify as causes - and what as their effects.
Consider the critical construct of the unconscious. Is it the reason for - does it cause - our behavior, conscious thoughts, and emotions? Does it provide them with a "ratio" (explanation)? Or are they mere symptoms of inexorable underlying processes? Even these basic questions receive no "dynamic" or "physical" treatment in classic (Freudian) psychoanalytic theory. So much for its pretensions to be a scientific endeavor.
Psychoanalysis is circumstantial and supported by epistemic accounts, starting with the master himself. It appeals to one's common sense and previous experience. Its statements are of these forms: "given X, Y, and Z reported by the patient - doesn't it stand to (everyday) reason that A caused X?" or "We know that B causes M, that M is very similar to X, and that B is very similar to A. Isn't it reasonable to assume that A causes X?".
In therapy, the patient later confirms these insights by feeling that they are "right" and "correct", that they are epiphanous and revelatory, that they possess retrodictive and predictive powers, and by reporting his reactions to the therapist-interpreter. This acclamation seals the narrative's probative value as a basic (not to say primitive) form of explanation which provides a time frame, a coincident pattern, and sets of teleological aims, ideas and values.
Juan Rivera is right that Freud's claims about infantile life cannot be proven, not even with a Gedankenexperimental movie camera, as Robert Vaelder suggested. It is equally true that the theory's etiological claims are epidemiologically untestable, as Grunbaum repeatedly says. But these failures miss the point and aim of psychoanalysis: to provide an organizing and comprehensive, non-tendentious, and persuasive narrative of human psychological development.
Should such a narrative be testable and falsifiable or else discarded (as the Logical Positivists insist)?
Depends if we wish to treat it as science or as an art form. This is the circularity of the arguments against psychoanalysis. If Freud's work is considered to be the modern equivalent of myth, religion, or literature - it need not be tested to be considered "true" in the deepest sense of the word. After all, how much of the science of the 19th century has survived to this day anyhow?
Using Mind Control To Create An Addiction
With all the paranoia of mind control and how Neuro Linguistic Probramming (NLP) can be (and is) used to "mess with peoples heads" it's high time to pull the cat out of the bag and let people know exactly what is possible.
For example, can you create an addiction in someone using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)?
Yes, you can.
Before you learn the steps to do it and how to protect yourself, let me give you two warnings.
First, don't do this to people unless you are giving them a compulsion for something they want that will be good for them like exercize and healthy foods. Anything else and it may seem fun to think about but leave it at that. Only think about it, don't do it. It's just not a nice thing to do to people.
Second, To do this you have to be very good at NLP, report building and anchoring etc.
Start by eliciting what is called the NLP submodalities of a compulsion a person has. You can do this by asking what are some things they have compulsions for, like chocolate, and then asking "As you feel that complusion what sort of images is your mind making? Where do you see those pictures? How big are the images? Color or Black and White? " and so on.
Then begin to describe what you want them to have a compulsion/addiction for in exactly the same way. Describe the new compulsion as being seen in the same place, etc.
I'm not going to give you any more detail than that. It's more than enough to experiment with.
Using this pattern a person can create a compulsion for drugs, sex, money, perfection, driving fast, you name it, but you can also create compulsions for exercize, punctuality, orderlyness and many so-called "good" things.
There are ways to prevent someone from covertly creating a compulsion in you. First be aware of the mental and emotional states that people are asking you to describe and be on guard when they start to talk about compulsions.
If you suspect someone has helped covertly create an unwanted compulsion in you (good luck) the compulsion can be undone with what is called the meta yes/meta no process.
In Meta Yes/Meta No you'll start by thinking of something unrelated to the compulsion that you would say "No" to. Think of that item and bring up the very strong feeling and repeatedly say "No" in a very firm and congruent manner. Practice it until the "No!" and the feeling are deeply linked to one another. The next step is to begin saying "No!" repeatedly to the compulsion and do it with the same energy and conviction as when you started the process.
The Narcissist S Confabulated Life
Confabulations are an important part of life. They serve to heal emotional wounds or to prevent ones from being inflicted in the first place. They prop-up the confabulator's self-esteem, regulate his (or her) sense of self-worth, and buttress his (or her) self-image. They serve as organizing principles in social interactions.
Father's wartime heroism, mother's youthful good looks, one's oft-recounted exploits, erstwhile alleged brilliance, and past purported sexual irresistibility - are typical examples of white, fuzzy, heart-warming lies wrapped around a shriveled kernel of truth.
But the distinction between reality and fantasy is rarely completely lost. Deep inside, the healthy confabulator knows where facts end and wishful thinking takes over. Father acknowledges he was no war hero, though he did his share of fighting. Mother understands she was no ravishing beauty, though she may have been attractive. The confabulator realizes that his recounted exploits are overblown, his brilliance exaggerated, and his sexual irresistibility a myth.
Such distinctions never rise to the surface because everyone - the confabulator and his audience alike - have a common interest to maintain the confabulation. To challenge the integrity of the confabulator or the veracity of his confabulations is to threaten the very fabric of family and society. Human intercourse is built around such entertaining deviations from the truth.
This is where the narcissist differs from others (from "normal" people).
His very self is a piece of fiction concocted to fend off hurt and to nurture the narcissist's grandiosity. He fails in his "reality test" - the ability to distinguish the actual from the imagined. The narcissist fervently believes in his own infallibility, brilliance, omnipotence, heroism, and perfection. He doesn't dare confront the truth and admit it even to himself.
Moreover, he imposes his personal mythology on his nearest and dearest. Spouse, children, colleagues, friends, neighbors - sometimes even perfect strangers - must abide by the narcissist's narrative or face his wrath. The narcissist countenances no disagreement, alternative points of view, or criticism. To him, confabulation IS reality.
The coherence of the narcissist's dysfunctional and precariously-balanced personality depends on the plausibility of his stories and on their acceptance by his Sources of Narcissistic Supply. The narcissist invests an inordinate time in substantiating his tales, collecting "evidence", defending his version of events, and in re-interpreting reality to fit his scenario. As a result, most narcissists are self-delusional, obstinate, opinionated, and argumentative.
The narcissist's lies are not goal-orientated. This is what makes his constant dishonesty both disconcerting and incomprehensible. The narcissist lies at the drop of a hat, needlessly, and almost ceaselessly. He lies in order to avoid the Grandiosity Gap - when the abyss between fact and (narcissistic) fiction becomes too gaping to ignore.
The narcissist lies in order to preserve appearances, uphold fantasies, support the tall (and impossible) tales of his False Self and extract Narcissistic Supply from unsuspecting sources, who are not yet on to him. To the narcissist, confabulation is not merely a way of life - but life itself.
We are all conditioned to let other indulge in pet delusions and get away with white, not too egregious, lies. The narcissist makes use of our socialization. We dare not confront or expose him, despite the outlandishness of his claims, the improbability of his stories, the implausibility of his alleged accomplishments and conquests. We simply turn the other cheek, or meekly avert our eyes, often embarrassed.
Moreover, the narcissist makes clear, from the very beginning, that it is his way or the highway. His aggression - even violent streak - are close to the surface. He may be charming in a first encounter - but even then there are telltale signs of pent-up abuse. His interlocutors sense this impending threat and avoid conflict by acquiescing with the narcissist's fairy tales. Thus he imposes his private universe and virtual reality on his milieu - sometimes with disastrous consequences.
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