Friday, June 22, 2012

Mad Visions or Mental Illness? Part 2

Metaphor-Myth & Life's Deeper Meaning?
Parting a Red Sea? Or The Brains Twin Hemispheres?
From Gut Instinctual Reactions to Metaphysical Mind?
At the height of manic euphoria the Christian Bible and the Meaning of Life always consume my minds attention. Its been that way since 1980, on or off medications, regardless of the trigger and my more normal, rational desires.

A gushing sense of spiritual oneness overwhelms me every time, even though between episodes, a return to normality wishes it would just leave me the hell alone. I just want a normal life!

Objectively it makes no sense that Biblical references should flood my over emotional experience when I'm high. Euphoria is treason to any normal sense of reason?

I've been a democratic socialist for Christ's sake, with an Atheist disbelief in God during long periods of my everyday social sense of normality. Yet in times of manic flight, biblical stories mesmerize me with their sense of something deeper, something beyond their literal setting in external reality. In heightened states of euphoria I catch sensation glimpse's of deeper meaning, in these metaphor'd stories of human existence.

In the Belly of the Whale. William Blake.
Our Shadow Taller than our Cosmic Soul?
Sometimes it feels like I'm right back there under those star filled, dark desert sky's, filled with a sense of awe and wonder? A trick of the light perhaps? An illusion of form, and an earth bound sense of time? How could this current moment be an eternal now, for God's sake? Isn't everything separate, isn't this just my dream? You go and do your own video log, as Jake Sully advises in a very popular movie? Yet inside this belly of a cosmic whale, just what is dreaming within our collective perception of life?
Is the task of maturing self awareness best described in Joseph Campbell's defining of the hero's journey, upon which so much movie making is based. Jake's journey to a heart felt maturity begins in the belly of a spaceship. Is this an objective dramatization of a subliminal metaphor? In William Blake's painting of the belly of the whale, we see the cosmic serpent so universally described in primitive creation mythologies. (see Mad Visions part 1)

"And as we wind on down the road. Our shadows taller than our souls." _Led Zeppelin. Is it only the instinctual shadow of our evolution that prevents the transcendence of our Cosmic Soul?

Part 2 of an analysis of a month of manic euphoria; its metaphors & meaning?

When coming down from a euphoric high, with its impulsive energies of thoughts and behavior, I'm left to ponder just how and why? Wonder how my experience fits into a theory of chemical imbalance which somehow fuels these flights of time enfolding illusion? Most Doctors agree, discussing the mindful content of a manic episode is unhelpful, preferring to observe physiological patterns. "How’s your sleep, your appetite and your libido" they ask, choosing to ignore the universality of existential content and heightened instinctual senses.

I wonder why even after I‘ve learned to identify the physical needs of an easier approach to myself and others, I fall into such a mesmerizing fascination with biblical stories? And why is the savior motif so common in madness experience? Is it about subliminal expressions of meaning and our place, or immersion in the very fabric of the Cosmos? Are we not, its manifest form of perceiving its own quantum formation, through this sentient life form? When my family ask me to get back to normality, are they speaking of the social adaptation through suppression, of our vital instinct for life?

"Its about reactive energy states, not objective labels (metaphors)?" I wrote at the top of part 1 of "Mad Visions or Mental Illness?" In part one I pointed to the recent discoveries of the body/brain's hidden regulation of metabolic energy states which includes our thoughts. Going on to challenge the medical definition of delusion and altered states of mind, and suggesting there is a double bind in our mind/body split which actively prevents a holistic self awareness? A socialized double bind too, in our common agreement to deny the raw emotive energies of our unconscious motivations, just as a medical model of disease, denies what may be spiritual content in experiences like manic euphoria.

I described metaphor and its non obvious meaning as a metaphysical transformation of our internal energies, using a language evolved to describe the external world? The words (metaphors) of Led Zeppelin's song "Stairway to Heaven," was compared with William Blake's famous painting of "Jacobs Ladder," and the double helix in our DNA, to show that words can have both obvious and hidden meanings? I suggested that this classic rock anthem is an ode to Gaia, mother nature, and how she's buying a stairway to heaven via our hidden metabolic processes and the evolutionary code in our DNA?

In states of mind so many classify as a "mental illness," do we fall prey to heightened existential stress, acting on a mind flooded by primitive survival sensations, with its archetypal imagery and for some, a strange sense of oneness? Perhaps its the hidden and wider sensory awareness of our evolved nature which plugs us into a sense of oneness? A state of no separation, which quantum physics try's to describe through the mindfully detached perspective of mathematical equations?

Its difficult to articulate the sensations of madness here, in this black and white field of the written word. How do I use a learned vocabulary which tends to describe the universe and our own body/brain, in the parts like perception of clockwork motivation? A this thing leads to that, of 1 + 1 = 2, cause and effect rationalizations. A perception which I used to take for granted as a normal objective insight? Yet here I'm trying to get past an impulse of narrowed focus which leaves so much sensory awareness in a vague limbo, somewhere beneath a conscious sense of object separation?

How do I write about a free flowing nature of all at once sensations, as slower breathing finds deeper sensory awareness, with a fleeting minds eye observation? No combination of my learned vocabulary can find an objective description without pulling this holistic experience apart? Here is the paradox of experience, as a larger matrix of sensory awareness is squashed into narrowly focused attention, in my objective to write? Is my normal sense of objectivity really an insight, or a narrowed mind sense evoked by instinctual impulse and frustrated by its social denial?

Can you sense a foreground of object like attention as you read these words, or look at your surroundings? Is there any sense of a hierarchy of perceptual awareness, with vision taking precedence over hearing, touch, taste and smell? Try the 7/11 breathing exercise of inhale to a count of seven, then exhale to eleven? Notice any changes of nervous sensations within and any shifts in your overall sensory awareness? Notice too how varying degrees of muscular relaxation affect the flow of any thinking?

Is our evolved sense of social normality, based on the fear of anarchy, as our instincts retain their ability to sweep aside a reasonable state of affairs, in any given instant of time? When instinct safes us from mortal threat its accepted and forgotten as a "just so" experience, yet when instinct plagues the mind with the abyss of existential isolation, its denied. "Its illness, a disease, its just crazy?" Yet if those five senses of perceptual awareness are not evolved instinct for the preservation of our soul, what are they?

Questions about our learned, socialized sense of reality?

Does instinct lie at the root of our human emotions?

"INNATE AFFECT/EMOTION & SOCIETY:
Because the free expression of innate affect is extremely contagious and because these are very powerful phenomena, all societies, in varying degrees, exercise substantial control over the free expression of the cry of affect. No societies encourage or permit each individual to cry out i.e, rage or excitement, or distress or terror wherever and whenever they wish. Very early on, strict control over affect expression is instituted and such control is exerted particularly over the voice, whether used in speech or in direct affect expression. (p, 93)

If all societies suppress the free vocalization of affect, what is it that is being experienced as affect? It is what I have called backed-up affect, it can be seen in children trying to suppress laughter by swallowing a snicker, or by a stiff upper lip when trying not to cry (anti affects?) or by tightening the jaw to suppress anger. In all these cases, one is holding one’s breathe as part of the technique of suppressing the vocalization of affect. (p, 93)

We do not know what are the biological and psychological prices of such suppression of the innate affective response. It seems at the very least that substantial psychosomatic disease might be one of the prices of such systemic suppression and transformation of the innate affective responses. Further there could be a permanent elevation of blood pressure as a consequence of suppressed rage, which would have a much longer duration than an innate momentary flash of expressed anger. (p, 94)

Even the least severe suppression of the vocalization of affect must result in some bleaching of the experience of affect and therefore impoverish the quality of life It must also produce some ambiguity about what affect feels like, since so much of the adult’s affective life represents at the very least, a transformation of the affective response, rather than the simpler, more direct, and briefer innate affect. (p, 94)

With anger the matter is further confused, because of the danger represented by this affect and enormous societal concern about the socialization of anger, what is typically seen and thought to be innate is actually backed-up. The appearance of the backed-up, the simulated, and the innate is by no means the same. (p, 94)

Details of the difference in socialization concern, differences in tolerance or intolerance of the several primary human affects - excitement, enjoyment, surprise, distress, contempt, shame, fear and anger - which in turn determine how positively or how negatively a human being learns to feel about themselves and about other human beings. Such learning will also determine their general posture towards the entire ideological domain. (p, 168)" Exerts from "Exploring Affect" by Sylvan Tomkins.

Our Normal Socialized Sense of Reality?

Our normal socialized sense of reality cannot imagine altered states of mind, without the aid of a very different experience. Millions seek altered states of mind as the gift of escape from a detached sense of reality, inherent in our learned and socialized sense of normality, “something is missing,” they decry of it. Is it the vitalizing affect of an instinctual life, and its spontaneous flow of sensation, in that sense of something missing? Was it not the impulsed avoidance of threat that saw us band together in early human groups? Is it not the adaptation of our evolved instincts which fuels our socialized sense of normality?

In my own experience of madness states it seems to be an existential isolation from my fellow human beings, that so torments my soul. Yet when lost in this torment of flooding emotion, I've often been tortured further by the cognitive disconnect of what feels like a crazy making, objective logic, with its mechanistic notions of cause and effect?

"I see You!" - An Object & Metaphysical Meaning?
In choosing to dismiss or perceive madness as a medical illness, do we deny a common challenge to deeper understanding and a maturing of self awareness? There are few experiences that plumb the depths of our existential nature like altered states of mind, whether substance induced or in spontaneous states of psychosis? An experience that challenges each individual to redefine their sense of being alive, and from such a perspective the challenge is both universal and eternal?

In October last year I'd written the first draft chapters of a personal memoir, which had challenged me to go beneath my minds quick and dismissive rationalizations, and feel the actual energizing of pain, loss, grief and anger as well as elation. During the last days of that month I started to get a sense of being immersed in an eternal now, constantly emerging? All amid a background of mounting relationship stress which threatened me with loss and isolation?

Our Self-Interpretation? And an Exercise in Existential Metaphors?

"Trying to bring to mind one's deeper nature is an exercise in existential metaphor, no matter the age or times," I'd said to myself. "Surely this is just self soothing though? - Just a fantasy of self nurture, in reaction formation to a new threat of isolation," I'd questioned. Relationship stress was threatening me with separation from the grounding presence of an intimate other, my precious lover.

The onset of my mania's have always been about a need to shift into a less fearful approach to life, to move into a new way of being. To let go of a constriction that holds me in a trance like state of fearful withdrawal, holding me back from spontaneous social engagement. Not that I didn't or don’t engage other people, but I do it with more of a premeditated acting, than with any easy joyous flow. I use a learned routine of one liner jokes, a host of anecdotal stories and interesting observations, yet always delivered with a background nervous frizz of "get me out of here," humming away inside my body.

My very first experience of this need for a new way of being, was a spontaneous letting go of a muscular constriction that somehow provides containment for an unconscious sense of fear/terror. Lifelong patterns of behavior were energized by early traumatic experience which had become an internalized threat. A sense of threat unconsciously contained by a "holding in," of habitual muscular contraction, which simultaneously counteracts a need to escape, to take flight or to faint? I lived in a kind of never-land of dissociation from feeling my embodied sense of self, and a dulled sensory awareness of life beyond my skin.

There was a vicious cycle of unconsciously ingrained avoidance always thwarting my conscious desires for approach and the visceral experience of being alive. Most importantly, avoidance was and still is about the sensations of my own body. Where never conscious trauma experience had become frozen as an internalized state, within me. Over a three decade period, no medications or reasoning therapy logic came close to dissolving this energized sense of internalized threat.

What is difficult to grasp, is the unconscious nature of the threat though, with a mind always seeking to certify its separate and superior powers of observation. What many refer to as ego, seems a double bind split between mind and body, which affects a seeing without knowing? A disconnect between heart and mind, with subjective awareness, not knowing that its ultimately the heart which gives tone to both body and mind? When body and mind are in harmony we feel knowing as much as we think it? That knowing sensation we feel in the gut, caused by a perfectly logical, yet denied coarse of evolution? "I'm not an animal," we all collude? Consider;

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

I had to learn to go beneath a double bind trap of avoiding my own internal sensations, in order to identify and accept the overwhelmingly unconscious conditioning, underpinning my posture and the escape from feelings, in my intellectualized, cognitive functioning. Many people acknowledge that more than 80% of our motivation is unconscious, and I’ve had to learn to stop paying a simple lip service to that awareness, with a quick rationalization of mind, and learn to feel for the nature of my unconscious motivation.

A Need of Lifetime Medications or Mindful Meditations?

So in November 2011 the threat of loosing my attachment to a heart felt other, had triggered another spontaneous need for a new way of being me. After many, many months of self imposed isolation trying to write. Becoming aware of one’s unconscious conditioning and learning to be mindful of its trickery, is a bit like being on lifetime medication though? As soon as I drop my mindful guard, old stress patterns of motivation can creep back under absent minded, or taken for granted awareness.

As relationship stress built to solid threats of separation I began to feel that common experience of an unusual sense of wellness, which precedes a manic energy swing for so many people. I became aware of a now familiar sense of ease and a rising desire in both thoughts and movement towards approaching more people. Sentimental thoughts and feelings for past relationships always emerge during this early phase too, and I reminded myself that its about deep attachment need, and I should stay with the feelings of body movement and its sensory experience, resisting the rise into imaginative fantasy.

Is Euphoric Mania about Primary Narcissism?

After a thirty one year experience with this phenomena of wellness and its brand new me, rebirth sensations, I was aware this may be a fall into primary narcissism;
"Primordial narcissism
Psychiatrist Ernst Simmel first defined primordial narcissism in 1944. Simmel's fundamental thesis is that the most primitive stage of libidinal development is not the oral, but the gastro-intestinal one. Mouth and anus are merely to be considered as the terminal parts of this organic zone. Simmel terms the psychological condition of prenatal existence "primordial narcissism".

It is the vegetative stage of the pre-ego, identical with the id. At this stage there is complete instinctual repose, manifested in unconsciousness. Satiation of the gastro-intestinal zone, the representative of the instinct of self-preservation, can bring back this complete instinctual repose, which, under pathological conditions, can become the aim of the instinct.

In other words he is referring to the natural state of an infant as a fetus and in the first few days of its life, before it has learned that other people exist besides itself, and therefore cannot possibly be aware that they are human beings with feelings, rather than having anything to do with actual narcissism."

Its impossible to have conscious awareness of our pre-birth existence, or the early days, weeks, months and years of our lives. Since improving my education and learning of my three day struggle for birth and its complications, I wonder if this pre-conscious state of being is not a factor in my altered states of mind? Do I fall into an instinctive sense of life, which lies beneath our normal focus on human relations and sentiments. With all that external object oriented discourse, in our common sense understanding about life and each other?

Consider this exert from Roland Fischer's brilliant paper on hallucination, delusion and our autonomic nervous system;
“A discernible communication between the “Self” and the “I” is only possible during the dreaming and hallucinatory states, whether drug-induced or “natural.”

During the ”I”-state of daily routine, the outside world is experienced as separate from oneself, and this may be a reflection of the greater freedom (that is, separateness or independence) of cortical interpretation from subcortical activity.

With increasing ergotropic (sympathetic nervous system) and trophotropic (parasympathetic nervous system) arousal, however, this separateness gradually disappears, apparently because in the “Self”-state of ecstasy and samadhi, cortical and subcortical activity are indistinguishably integrated.

This unity is reflected in the experience of Oneness with everything, a Oneness with the universe that is oneself.” _Roland Fischer.

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Another exert from Roland Fischer’s brilliant paper, may further illuminate the issue of our awareness of existential reality & our judgments and perceptions about mental disorder?

“Moreover, subjects with a large standard deviation on handwriting area at T1 (that is, “variable” subjects), tend to be “perceivers,” whereas volunteers with a small standard deviation at T1(“stable” subjects) tend to be “judgers,” in terms of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

This self-reporting, Jungian-type personality indicator yields simple, continuous scores on four dichotomous scales: extroversion-introversion, sensation-intuition, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving.

The perceivers also overestimate or contract time more than judgers do at the peak of a psilocybin-induced experience: this implies that perceivers move faster and farther along the perception-hallucination continuum than do judgers, who apparently require a larger dose for a comparable experience.

Space and Increasing Hyper and Hypoarousal

We call man’s symbolic interpretation of his CNS activity “perception-behavior” and regard creative, “hyperphrenic,” and ecstatic states, as well as Zazen and samadhi, as perceptual-behavioral interpretations of ergotropic and trophotropic arousal, respectively.

We may now consider some of the perceptual-behavioral changes, or transformations, that gradually develop as the level of arousal increases and decreases along each continuum.

One of the most conspicuous transformations is that of “constancies”, which in the normal state of daily routine form a learned structure of primary ordering of space and time “out there.”

Although the newborn infant’s only reality, in the beginning, is his CNS activity, he soon learns, by bumping into things, to erect a corresponding model “out there.” Ultimately, his forgetting that his CNS activity had been the only reality will be taken by society as proof of his maturity, and he will be ready to conduct his life “out there” in (container) space and (chronological) time.

This gradually learned and projected model, then, is the representation of a world ordered and stabilized by self-programmed invariances.

The adult interprets his CNS activity within this structure of similarity criteria, or “constancies,” and thus experience can be said to consist of two processes: the programmed (subcortical) CNS activity; and the symbolic or perceptual-behavioral (cortical) interpretation, or metaprograms, of the CNS activity.

It should be emphasized that the projection of our CNS activity as location in the physical dimension of space and time "out there" was learned at, and is hence bound to, the lower levels of arousal characteristic of our daily survival routines.

That this projection is gradually learned can be supported by Bender's observation that schizophrenic children "do not experience hallucinations of the projected type like adults, but only of the introjected type. They hear voices inside their head or other parts of the body, feel that they originate inside themselves and do not feel persecuted by them".

The constancy of corporeal awareness also undergoes transformations as one moves along the perception-hallucination continuum. For instance, phantom sensations [that is, readaptation phenomena compensating for and correcting distortions of corporeal awareness in physical space-time gradually diminish and disappear as one moves into the mental dimension under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.

Depersonalization phenomena, on the other hand, manifest themselves as changes in body image, and usually accompany the dissolution of ego boundaries during creative, psychotic, ecstatic, or meditative states--whether "natural" or drug-induced--as well as while falling asleep.

All of this is to say that the constancy of the "I" is interfered with as one moves along the perception-hallucination continuum from the "I" of the physical world to the "Self" of the mental dimension; Analogously, the perception-meditation continuum also involves a departure from the "I" to the "Self."

These two continua can thus be called "I-Self" continua. As will become clear later, the "Self" of ecstasy and the "Self' of samadhi are one and the same "Self."

The further we progress on the perception-hallucination continuum from the normal through the creative, psychotic, and, ultimately to the ecstatic state, the more complete is the transformation, or "unlearning," of the constancies of the physical dimension. Input, or outside information in general, is gradually reduced along this continuum.

Thus, Saint Teresa of Avila tells us in her autobiography that, at the peak of a mystical experience, "... the soul neither hears nor sees nor feels. While it lasts, none of the senses perceives or knows what is taking place". Space, then, which was gradually established in ever widening circles during childhood, gradually contracts with increasing arousal and ultimately disappears.” _Roland Fischer. A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States.”


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A Trance like State of Rapture? or Self Hypnosis?

As the days passed with increasing joyous celebration turning into overactive imagination, I caught myself in survivor savior mode again, wondering just how much I'd fuse with the motif this time? Would it be another King David theme and how much conscious awareness of a trance like state would I manage to hold onto? "I'm not some individual character from Biblical prophecy, come to usher in the Messianic Age," I admonished myself. I kept telling myself to stay with the physical needs of easy movement and new sensory awareness, "let time integrate new experience and don't amplify these body sensations by thinking to much." I told myself. "And why does it feel like the auditory stimulated self hypnosis, I wrote about in "The Music of Trance State Mania?"

The sense of rapture and fuzzy awareness of a pre-verbal state of being is intoxicating though, with an overwhelming desire for an exploration of this new territory and its pre-verbal meaning. Its as if a void opens in my usual, socialized sense of normality, into which my whole life experience begs for re-interpretation? A different narrative story of a life, not of dialogue and language, but of a deeper and unspeakable symbolic meaning? A search for the God of my creation who's name cannot be uttered, as the Old Testament cautions?

The Right & Left Hemispheres of the Brain
Right Regulates Emotion - Left Cognition?
Yet what leads me to associate my brains neural development, with Moses parting of the Red Sea though? Surely that's history not metaphor? Is it simply a messiah complex, a fixation I've had since childhood, a deep need for love, a wannabe need for status, a psychologist might suggest? I agree with that, yet there is also an awareness of my minds need for security in a sense of certainty, with its all to quick dismissal of a deeper urge?
Does the Book of Exodus story of The Crossing of the Red Sea, tell an inner story of the human body/brain and of cellular urges for a mind needing to understand its own birth in Africa and its journey to a mature awareness? (the promised land?)


Think twice? The Evolutionary journey of a hidden process?


Are all our great legends, existential metaphors for the hidden journey of our maturing self perception? Why are I/we here? Where do I/we come from? Where are I/we going?
Just what is this daily perception awareness we call Mind? Is it all about the brain in our head and our taken for granted sense of ourselves and others? Or is there a more holistic and deeper reality involved in the nature of our mindful perception?

Our 2nd 100 Million Neuron Brain?
Think Twice: How the Gut's "Second Brain" Influences Mood and Well-Being. The emerging and surprising view of how the enteric nervous system in our bellies goes far beyond just processing the food we eat By Adam Hadhazy Scientific American

"Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, or alimentary canal, which measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus. The second brain contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system"


"The second brain informs our state of mind in other more obscure ways, as well. "A big part of our emotions are probably influenced by the nerves in our gut," Mayer says. Butterflies in the stomach—signaling in the gut as part of our physiological stress response, Gershon says—is but one example. Although gastrointestinal (GI) turmoil can sour one's moods, everyday emotional well-being may rely on messages from the brain below to the brain above. For example, electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve—a useful treatment for depression—may mimic these signals, Gershon says."

In evolutionary terms it makes perfect sense that the gut has such an influence on mood, when survival depended on instinctual movements and food and water resources. With its 100 million neuron cells equaling the stellar performers in our head, it would not be such a stretch of intuitive interpretation to label the gut the first brain, not the second? This kind of science research into the nature of human development, is perhaps challenging our taken for granted perceptions of our self sanctifying mind? Is the flood of new information provided by our technology age, begging us to re-define our nature and the origins and stimulus of our mindful perception?

Consider a more recent blog post on MadinAmerica.com Heaven, Hell, and Psychosis and a comment I made in response to Paris Williams, new book "Rethinking Madness," and blogger Ron Unger's post on the Mad in America webzine.

"The shift Paris describes is from a hellish experience to a heavenly one:

An Existential Crisis

Several years ago, I had fallen into a deep existential and spiritual crisis, and I found myself grappling with the theme of organismic wisdom in what felt like a fight for my own existence. While several paradigm-shattering epiphanies led me into the depths of this crisis (the details of which fall outside the scope of this paper), the final epiphany that ripped the carpet out from under my feet was a deep experiential realization of the fact that my perception of the world is seriously distorted by my own cognitive constructs. This epiphany put me into a space in which I felt I had very little to cling to as a way to make sense of the world, and I found myself perpetually on the verge of being overwhelmed by powerful emotions and other anomalous experiences for many months."

"I noticed that the fiery coal that had been burning in my solar plexus constantly for the past 3 months was completely gone." _Paris Williams.

“The first seat of our primal consciousness is the solar plexus, 
the great nerve-center situated behind the stomach. 
From this center we are first dynamically conscious.” _D. H. Lawrence.

As well as his awareness of the solar plexus, Lawrence also wrote;
In the Beginning, before the Word, was Consciousness. The primal consciousness in man is pre-mental, and has nothing to do with cognition. It is the same as in the animals. And this pre-mental consciousness remains as long as we live the powerful root and body of our consciousness. The mind is but the last flower, the cul-de-sac. _D. H. Lawrence.

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Beneath our Socialized Sense of Normality?

Towards the middle of November 2011 I started to fall deeper into this trance like state of mind, and make impulsive posts on facebook.com:
"That wistful sense of spiritual oneness, love & light & "them." Something does not compute in my sad old brain when I try to read "them" as not right, while I am. Makes me feel ashamed with my childhood memories of what Jesus said & if not him then some collection of fine spirits? Above that famous cave are the words "Know Thyself" do we sight the words in a flash, yet fail to feel presence of the cave? I know at times my posts can look totally off the wall, maybe you might look twice sometimes? All you stunningly beautiful Adam & Eves? Her clever little cracked pots, half empty cup of life or half full? Its a Mystery Alright!" November, 17th, 2011.

A Metaphor of Neural Evolution?
Life imitates Art because it is Art & We have reached the Age of Mythology? We can NOW interpret the meaning of ALL METAPHOR? In this Chemical Universe? Noah's Ark & Evolution? Would that be in Ur Head?

Welcome to the FLOOD of Tears? The Tears of Pure Joy as we Realize the Dream is REAL? U can always look it up on Steve's Book of Job & Use That Apple to Eat from the Tree of Knowledge? November, 19th, 2011.


I was in the third week of an unfolding psychosis that many see as a spiritual emergence, or unfolding of the deeper aspects of our cosmic soul. Consider Dr. John Weir Perry's comment on the psychosis process in schizophrenia;
"The acute hallucinatory phase, during which these contents go through the reordering process, usually lasts about six weeks. This, by the way, corresponds to the classical description of visionary experiences in various religious texts, such as the proverbial "forty days in the wilderness" often referred to in the Bible. Anyway, six weeks is roughly it."

This was my third episode of manic euphoria, un-interrupted by medical intervention and coincidentally running true to Perry's six week timescale of psychosis experience. Increasingly less fearful of these spontaneous experiences and less prone to feelings of shame, within a socialized sense of self, I try to document the experience as best I can. In referring to a socialized sense of self here, I'm inviting both myself and the reader to examine our learned and taken for granted awareness of being, in our normal daily routine?

Consider Dr R D Laing's comment on our socialized sense of normality;
"True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality... and through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer."

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Beneath our Simple Cause & Effect Perceptions of Normality?

Developmental neurobiology now tells us the brain and nervous systems build an unconscious, cyclic pattern of survival expectations, constantly matching current experience with past survival responses. It is suggested that living becomes an unconsciously learned expectation of what should be, rather than an open, non-judgmental experience of what is happening "here and now?" A double bind split in body/mind awareness that is self deceiving, as unconscious multiple feedback signals prevail over a perception that this is a brand new moment?

Normal commonsense learns of a simple linear cause and effect to our behaviors, while in fact dynamic feedback systems interlace a much deeper reality to our nature. Our hidden cellular nature has a surprising parallel structure to a cosmos in which we are firmly embedded, even though survival instinct stimulates a perception of separation? Perhaps our infamous sense of insight and objectivity, has more instinctual foundation than our egoic mind is capable of acknowledging?  Consider;

The Ego as Subjective "I" is not the Self/Soul?

I & OTHER:
So every ego is continuously struggling for survival, trying to protect and enlarge itself. To uphold the I thought, it needs the opposite thought of “the other.” The conceptual “I” cannot survive without the conceptual “other.”

The others are most other when I see them as my enemies. At one end of this scale of this unconscious egoic pattern lies the egoic compulsive habit of faultfinding and complaining about others. Jesus referred to it when he said, “Why to do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

At the other end of the scale, there is physical violence between individuals and warfare between nations. In the Bible, Jesus' question remains unanswered, but the answer is, of course: Because when I criticize or condemn another, it makes me feel bigger, superior.”

SUBJECTIVITY:
Every ego confuses opinions and viewpoints with facts. Furthermore, it cannot tell the differences between an event and its reaction to that event.

Every ego is a master of selective perception and distorted interpretation. Only through awareness – not through thinking – can you differentiate between fact and opinion.

Only through awareness are you able to see: There is the situation and here is the anger I feel about it, and then realize there are other ways of approaching the situation, other ways of seeing it and dealing with it.

Only through awareness can you see the totality of the situation or person instead of adopting one limited perspective.

THE EGO'S NEED TO FEEL SUPERIOR:
There are many subtle but easily overlooked forms of ego that you may observe in other people and, more important, in yourself. Remember: The moment you become aware of the go in yourself, that emerging awareness is who you are beyond ego, the deeper “I.” The recognition of the false is already the arising of the real.

For example, you are about to tell someone the news of what happened. “Guess what? You don't know yet? Let me tell you.” If you are alert enough, present enough, you may be able to detect a momentary sense of satisfaction within yourself just before imparting the news, even if it is bad news.

It is due to the fact that for a brief moment there is, in the eyes of the ego, an imbalance in your favor between you and the other person. For that brief moment, you know more than the other. The satisfaction that you feel is of the ego, and it is derived from feeling a stronger sense of self relative to the other person.

Even if he or she is the president or the pope, you feel superior in that moment because you know more. Many people are addicted to gossiping partly for this reason. In addition, gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgment of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone.

In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever. That alert attention is presence. It is the prerequisite of any authentic relationship. The ego always either wants something, or if it believes there is nothing to get from the other, it is in a state of utter indifference: It doesn't care about you. And so, the three predominant states of egoic relationship are: wanting, thwarted wanting (anger, resentment, blaming, complaining), and indifference.”

THE PATHOLOGICAL EGO:
In a wider sense of the word, the ego itself is pathological, no matter what form it takes. When we look at the ancient Greek root of the word pathological, we discover just how appropriate that term is when applied to the ego. Although the word is normally used to describe a condition of disease, it is derived from pathos, which means suffering. This is, of course, exactly what the Buddha already discovered 2,600 years ago as a characteristic of the human condition.

For example, anger or resentment strengthen the ego enormously by increasing the sense of separateness, emphasizing the otherness of others and creating a seemingly unassailable fortress like mental position of “rightness.”

If you were able to observe the physiological changes that take place inside your body when possessed by such negative states, how they adversely affect the functioning of the heart, the digestive and immune systems, and countless other bodily functions, it would become abundantly clear that such states are indeed pathological, are forms of suffering and not pleasure.” Exerts from “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle.

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So is our infamous sense of "I," Intellect or mostly Survival Instinct?

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

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

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

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Beneath our everyday instinctual sense of "I" lies a Cosmic Soul-Self?

Feedback effects characteristic of non-linear dynamic systems? Like You?

Paralleled cellular structures of Brain & Universe?
The Universe within, reflects its background Origin?
Do unconscious urges represent a much deeper Urge?
The Savior? The Messiah? Our cosmic sense of Oneness?
The 1990's brought us unprecedented advances in knowledge of electro-chemical stimulation within the body/brain, as the likely source of human perception. Advances in technology allow a deeper view of the cosmos too, showing parallels in structure? "Although fragile, on the cosmic scale of energies, the complexity of life is the supreme culmination in complexity of the interactive quantum process initiated in the quantum symmetry-breaking. The interaction between the wave-particles emerging from the cosmic origin results in distinct effects on microscopic and cosmic scales."
BIOCOSMOLOGY by Chris C. King


"There is now clear evidence for the optimality of many prebiotic and biological molecules, giving life as we know it a cosmological basis as a culminating interactive structure. This paper explains how the origins of chemical life, major aspects of biological evolution and the elaborate emergent structures of tissues, from biomolecules up to cellular organelles and even to the doors of perception of the conscious brain, are a fractal interactive consequence of the non-linear laws of nature established at the cosmic origin.

Traditional chemistry, despite its quantum foundations, treats molecules as arbitrary building blocks, which can be arranged in almost any combination using suitable reagents and energetic conditions as driving forces. However this view is incorrect when non-linearity and dynamical feedback are taken into account. The origin of life is dependent on dynamical processes of free interaction, not forced reactions and involves fundamental interactive quantum bifurcations and feedback effects characteristic of non-linear dynamical systems." _Chris C. King.

This is the kind of reading education that provides the background to my flights of intuitive imagination, during six week long psychosis experiences. Nothing comes unnaturally to mind beyond my past and present experience during high flying mania. Imaginative associations are all within the bounds of my life experience, as unchained interest and excitement power increased synaptic connections within my brain.

The metabolic energy unleashed from its former diversion in maintaining my defensive containment of internalized threat, is suddenly available for higher purpose. It is the normal regulation of interest and excitement through social interaction, that was never adequately learned in my life, due to an overriding defensive need.

Beneath our learned social rituals of meet and greet civil discourse, our conversations about this, that and the other, lies a hidden stimulation of electro-chemical activity, within our body/brain. Is there a microcosmically intertwined nature lying beneath our surface and socialized sense of normality, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality, as Laing puts it?

In going through a psychosis episode that can be seen as illness or existential crisis, depending on your point of reference, am I and others like me experiencing a misunderstood process of metamorphosis?

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Metaphor and Meaning within a Personal & Cosmic Metamorphosis?

In early November, 2011 I wrote about my sense of an eternal now, using Franz Kafka's famous novella to communicate my ideas to others. At least that is the assumption of a rationalizing mind, or was I acting out an unconscious need to unfold my own inner process? Looking back in analysis I’m reminded of the old therapist maxim, “its always about you!” The many times I’ve offered an interpretation or advice to a client, only to have that familiar feeling later, “was that about them or me?”

Metamorphosis: Evolution & The Eternal Now? Posted: TUESDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2011.
The Metamorphosis is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of short fiction of the 20th century and is widely studied in colleges and universities across the western world.

Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation. References to "metamorphosis" in mammals are imprecise and only colloquial, but historically idealist ideas of transformation and monadology, as in Goethe's Metamorphosis of Plants, influenced the development of ideas of evolution.

Chaos Theory Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Can the nature of chaos and the butterfly effect be understood by the thinking mind alone? And what is the TRUTH about Nature, about Metamorphosis & Evolution?

As the world descends into apparent chaos, are we witnessing a shift in the dynamic systems of an underlying reality, including our own? Will we emerge from this current period of apparent crisis (chaos) into a new systemic view, a new awareness of dynamic balance, a new stability of order in our evolving social systems? Are we in Metamorphosis - In Transition?

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Does a Thinking non Feeling mind get Lost in Translation? 
In Self Interpretation?

Are we entering the FALL into REALIZATION of an Eternal Now? Will we emerge form this current phase shift, understanding that our great texts from the past have always been about the nature of the eternal, not history? Are we about to realize the true meaning of our metaphor making existence? A metamorphosis of the mind, in awareness of this eternal now & what we really are?

Think of all the great teachers & prophets, were they aware of evolution, of history, or the reality and true nature of an eternal now? What happens when we sit alone under a star filled night sky & open our hearts to the reality of nature? What happens as we mature and learn to walk the line between immediate needs & wants and the divine? What is Metamorphosis & Evolution?


How euphoric mania helps unfold a deeper mystery of our Cosmic connection?

Are we NOT, Children of the Light?

Oh those Is-an Girls? how do the Khmer descendants of the Great Temple of Angkor Wat say YES! to LIFE! Say Yes to it all, both Good & Bad, when we Share, Share Alike?

Just Like the Sons & Daughters of Abraham - They say Ur, Ur in the pre-verbal sound of Yes! Sounds a bit like AOM in this Age of Mythology. X-MASS! What is IT? The Light in Ur Eyes? Abraham's UR November 22, 2011.

"Silvan Tomkins & 9 vital affects of a reactive life, could be the sparks that light the burning bush of our emotional immersion in an electro-chemical, organically digital Uni-verse? What is that mythical beast the Uni-Corn really about? 6 affects r (-) 1 is neutral & 2 are + The Egyptians had a theory about the transmigration of souls? So do the people of a lost Khmer Empire @ Angkor Wat, with their descendants celebration 5 years after father dies, with a "Papa go the Moon" consumption of organic matter? If you simply stand in front of Buddha's images, you can see his real message in symbolic posture's, just as all the great teachers did, like Jesus? The Cross symbolizes how we constrict the body to flame the higher reaches of the brain? Yet you will sight these words & dismiss them, because you don't feel the real presence of that oceanic depth within? The hero with 2 billion neuronal faces? The Milky Way is our patch of the Garden? Soon some brave soul will read what I've written, more than twice & think again? This is about WE not Me?" November 22, 2011. See The Nine Affects/Emotions

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My 1st Psychotic Dream 31 years Ago? A moneyless,classless,stateless communities of humanity expressing our freedom in creative harmonious cooperation for a world that is so POTENTIALLY AND ACTUALLY nourishing. Capitalism in any form, Statist or Corporatist is the denial of our common humanity in a politically manipulated, tyrannical armed MARKET SYSYTEM of artificial scarcity that is designed to perpetuate the enslavement of immense humanity for material interest of the criminal ruling elite. The Mistake is NOT Seeing the System Inside Us ALL?


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Look/Listen/Feel with your heart in the organic process of Buddha being? See & Feel the Well of the Body, as it rings the Bell of Consciousness inside Ur Head? True awareness is Gut Instinct because its 100 million cells of Reactive Unconscious Reason send feedback signals to the 100 million cells in the head, with a figure this out & keep feeding me or I'll die? November 23rd 2011.

From the Cosmic Egg of Oneness Evolves the 
Blind Instinctual Nature of Buddha Being & 
Cosmic Awareness, after the FALL of Onemess?


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An Electro-Chemical Spin?
THE REAL SPIN DOCTOR: Our Cosmic Mothers Milk & The Reality of the Electro-Chemical Stimulation of Ur Dreams as She Rocks U in the Cradle of Oneness & the Eternal Dream. We can Keep up the fighting in an objective illusion of "Us & Them" Or See the True meaning of One in of Evolution Intelligence.
Check out a REAL Spin Doctor & FEEL the Source of Oneness beneath the Mask of One Hell of a Mess? The term "Milky Way" is a translation of the Latin for "milky road", Via Lactea, in turn derived from the Greek kyklos galaktikos or "milky circle", "milk" also being the root for the Greek word for galaxy, γαλαξίας (galaxias). Please read "neuroception" a politically correct term for Animal Instincts & True Reason beneath our simplistic cause & effect logic? Neuroception November 24th 2011.


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Ur - Ur. THE RISE OF ZIGGURAT'S & THE RISE OF AN UNCONSCIOUS X-MASS? An example of a simple ziggurat is the White Temple of Uruk, in ancient Sumer. The ziggurat itself is the base on which the White Temple is set. Its purpose is to get the temple closer to the heavens, and provide access from the ground to it via steps. The Mesopotamians believed that these pyramid temples connected heaven and earth. In fact, the ziggurat at Babylon was known as Etemenankia or "House of the Platform between Heaven and Earth". The descendants of Abraham know Ur as a Temple lost in time, while the descendants of Angkor Wat know Ur as the pre-verbal sound of YES? Ur urge to Life? November 24th 2011.

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HISTORY IS CONSEQUENTIAL NOT RATIONAL? IT LEADS TO DESTINY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ETERNITY? WHY IS THE WORSHIP OF FALSE IDOLS & IDEAS COLLAPSING BEFORE OUR EYES IN THE 21ST CENTURY AD? November 24th 2011.

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Ur rises to aggressive righteous knowing in the West? Ur rises to passive understanding in the East? NOW 2 systems join hands in the MASS begetting of Wisdom? Wat do we really want for x-mass? To see the Body as Temple & the Head as the division of Oneness? Why is the Power Paradigm of Fear fading NOW? Beneath the mask of reason lies the true nature of LOVE & the Reality of Oneness? November 24th 2011.

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The other Ur? Angkor Wat & the struggle to free ourselves from the Tyranny of Self Doubt? As East meets West with the two great rivers of Life blending together? Its there Hidden "Affects" within the Auto Nervous System that have brought to this point in time, when knowing our true nature & purpose can dissolve the illusion of objectivity & bring us together in a real unity of holy matrimony? Join the head to the heart with true knowledge & beauty & we can all be Buddha (awake) NOW! November 24th 2011.

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Did we cross a threshold in 1969?
Starting to leave our Instinctual Shadow Behind?


Please Stop & Look Around YOU? The beauty of Eternal Art is Flooding through Ur mind, as a mass unconscious need for Freedom from Self Doubt? FEEL the Goddess inside you? ALL IS ONE - THERE IS NO SEPARATION? Objectivity is simply mechanistic survival, its not DEEP & certainly not MEANINGFUL! FEEL the simple reality of LOVE inside ALL of US? Turn the cosmic water into wine & know the "Ark of the Covenant" as a symbol of Ur Universal SMILE:))

Are we not, Children of the Light?

Consider;
Has There Ever Been a Paradigm Shift?

Thomas Kuhn gave us an interesting and provocative book in his Nature of Scientific Revolutions, in which he described science, under the stimulus of new discoveries, as making a radical change in its philosophy or basic assumptions.

The idea is appealing and it did seem that there were several such shifts, beginning with the Copernican "revolution," in which, supported by the labors of Tycho Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, it was realized that the earth revolved around the sun and not the contrary.

But as I've elsewhere shown, this was rather the beginning of Western science, the emphasis on experiment and fact as the basis for theory, instead of authority.

However, it was assumed by Kuhn, and we all agreed, that Planck's discovery of the fact that light is radiated in quanta of action all of the same "size," rather than as energy, created a new paradigm. This discovery was the first clue to the true nature of light, previously thought to be waves in an ether. These waves were thought to spread out in all directions and diminish as the square of the distance. The change was revolutionary, and dispensed with the need for a medium (the ether) to carry the waves (much as sound is carried by waves in the air). It introduced quantum physics, and the quantum was found to account for other enigmas." _Arthur M. Young. Perhaps a conscious shift is underway, in this 21st century A.D.

Music, Metaphor & Meaning? What really stimulates these creative words?

Our shadows taller than our souls
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all, yeah
To be a rock and not to roll
Ooooooooooooh


And she's buying a stairway to heaven. _Led Zeppelin. See: Mad Visions or Mental Illness? Part 1

Often the millisecond conservation urge of human homeostasis (comfort zone) need, stimulates conservative thought, rushing over these words too fast, to assume its about human form & a woman? Yet is the gold she seeks an object or deeper meaning? Is the lady a human woman or Gaia mother nature?


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What is Madness/Mental Illness?

Are the above impulsive posts on facebook.com, in November 2011 simply the product of a diseased brain process, as my Bipolar type 1 medical diagnosis would have the general public believe? Or can I show a skeptical, critical, left-brained scientific community that there is indeed more to PSYCHOSIS than meets the eyes of a rational, intelligent, instinctual sense of "I" A sense of I mediated by our autonomic nervous system and its stimulation of the heart, in our reflexive orienting responses, which are the very foundation of the mind.

Using the language of Science, can I show our deep immersion in a Cosmic reality, within? Our deeper Self/Soul. Consider;
The capacity to anticipate and predict movement is the basis of what consciousness is all about. Any animal that is able to modify its behaviors (in response to changes in its situation) is imbued with some form of consciousness. In this way “mindedness” derives directly from improved organization and execution of bodily movement in time and space. The father of modern neuro-physiology, Sir Charles Sherrington put it this way; “The motor act is the cradle of the mind.” (p, 239)

Only man routinely becomes lost in regret for the past and fearful of what will happen in the future, causing us to be disconnected and adrift from the now. One might even call this lack of living in the present moment a modern-day malady. It appears to be a by-product of a loss of connection with our instinctual animal nature. (p, 240)

"We are exquisitely social creatures. Our survival depends on understanding the actions, intentions and emotions of others. Mirror neurons allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation. By feeling - not by thinking" _Giacomo Rizzolatti. (p, 241)

To facilitate survival in an increasingly complex and socially mediated world, a new mammalian adaptation evolved; feeling states. Feelings are never neutral; they exist along what is called a “hedonic continuum” designating affective spectrum from unpleasant to pleasant. We never feel a neutral emotion. Whereas the amoeba either reflexively retracts when poked (avoidance) or moves towards something nourishing (approach), higher animals “feel into” such movements as being either pleasurable or painful. (p, 242)

Feelings and emotions have evolved, at least in part, to amplify the hedonic sensations of approach and avoidance. (p, 243)" _Peter Levine PhD, "In an Unspoken Voice."

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It was by using Peter Levine's understanding of our mammalian nervous system, as nature's gift to our survival, that I was able to free myself from a trauma conditioned expectation of threat "out there." Using Levine's practical methods of sensate awareness, I was able to feel into my body again, and integrate all the neuroscience education I'd been reading about.

Although I'd read and re-read Allan N Schore and Stephen Porges, groundbreaking understanding of the human condition, I had no way of turning "intellectual" awareness into a solid sense of knowing, without practicing an "embodied" sense of self. Peter Levine's unique, practical understanding allows me to remain medication free, and in conscious control of a classic thirty two year experience of so-called Bipolar Disorder type 1.

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

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

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My Fourth Full Term, Six week Psychosis:

May 8th 2012:
A no thrills hotel room in Laos, 2am and the mechanical hum of an old pedestal fan accompanies a grinding ache in my stomach, thoughts of defeat and a fraudulent sense of self won‘t stop buzzing around my head.

Almost two and a half years into my self discovery sojourn here in South East Asia, I fear I’m running out of time with dwindling finances and visa restrictions, becoming pressing concerns.

“I’m just kidding myself that I understand anything about the processes involved in mental illness. The fantasy of writing a book just rationalizes a life’s unconscious default pattern of withdrawal and isolation. Follow my heart notions are a mania fueled romantic joke, leading me to ruination not salvation.” After five years with no return to a cyclic pattern of depression and no need for medications of any kind, I’m feeling the old familiar sensations of defeat and collapse here. There‘s a pressured sense of doom inside my head, as a continual loop of disaster thoughts hold my mind in a vice like grip of driven compulsion. “It’s a physiological state and my mind is amplifying it,” I tell myself. “Then face it and stop running away from it, the negative thoughts are stimulated by a core feeling, its innate fear-terror.”

A Long Night of the Soul, an Invitation to Depression leads me into my fourth full term psychosis.


JUNE 2012:

Just as my public "coming out" was a series of posts on TheIcarusProject.net in 2010 and again on facebook.com in 2011. My fourth full term psychosis included a series of posts made on MadinAmerica.com. Alternative views of psychosis suggest a natural metamorphosis which requires safety, time, patience, support and understanding guidance.

My own guidance came from finding my way to the right books and articles to read, and a faith in something deeper within me than can be consciously recognized. These online posts are an attempt to document my own process and show that psychosis is not a brain disease, but a natural healing process, much misunderstood.

The rise into another manic euphoria begins to escalate in late May, although with a noticeable difference in impulse control and clarity of thought, as my fourth full term manic psychosis in five years begins to bare the fruits of a personal metamorphosis?

From these posts readers can judge the content and gauge the benefits of a five year self education drive?

“Sit in a room and read–and read and read. 
And read the right books by the right people. 
Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice,
 mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.” _Joseph Campbell.




David Bates on May 23, 2012 at 12:35 am said:
From a patient point of view I think the word “dependent” needs careful scrutiny and personal ownership, in the issue of informed consent? The rationale is that informed of all possible outcomes, the patient will choose the best option for their long term health, and will resist the temptation of immediate and sort term relief? If this is the reality of human functioning, why do we still take up smoking by the millions?

In my own journey, I’ve had to face up to a tendency to simply react and chose the easiest immediate option for distress relief, rather than invest my energy in the effort involved in lifestyle change and self-awareness.

Easier to pop a pill than go for a five mile walk. Easier to pop a pill than make the dietary changes necessary for a healthier metabolism. Easier to be advised by an “expert” than pursue a better self-awareness through the efforts of self education.

We all like to adopt a posture of reason, when perhaps we are far more reactive than we care to admit? Why do most Doctors find it easy to prescribe medication and shy away from the efforts involved in alternatives?

Is the average Doctor any more self-aware of their need for anxiety relief during a Doctor-Patient encounter, than the average patient? (write a script – mumble a few soothing words – usher out of office – anxiety of the moment relieved?)

Our we paying the price of a reasoned intelligence which stands in denial of our unconscious emotional reactions, as the motivating influence in our lives? Consider;

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

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

Bowen predicted that our innate and systemic emotional re-activity and easiest option need of anxiety relief would come to a head in the middle of this century. That we would be forced to come to terms with our innate nature, and give up much of our postured pretense, to intelligent and reasoned actions.

In recovering from over two decades of dependent awareness and a “cognitive” (I think therefore I am) understanding of my bipolar type 1 condition, its the innate and unconscious reactions of my nervous system that I’ve had to gain a felt awareness of, in finding ongoing relief from my internal Dis-Ease.

I’ve had to learn and practice an embodied self-awareness to overcome a trauma conditioning of my nervous system, and understand that most of my cognitive process is dedicated to the maintenance of “subjective harmony” as Bowen points out, rather than any deep personal insight.

Does a new paradigm in mental health, require a new paradigm of self-awareness rather than a new way of delivering health care?

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David Bates on May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm said:
Madness? An attachment awareness of the divine, a sense of eternity in a single moment.

Mania? I fall out of my braced muscular defense which habitually miss-regulated and thwarted my need of human attachment, and in the spontaneous shift in physiological state, sensory freedom reigns.

I’m suddenly born again to an awareness of so much, as if all five senses have come back online, after being stuck in the freeze mode of the post trauma trap. In my body, I’m suddenly so alive.

The positive states of interest, excitement & joy resume their biological process and begin to reorganize my brain stem neural networks to mediate a free and full engagement with the experience life.

So enraptured by this spontaneous shift towards positive affect/emotion experience, I subjectively feed this new physiological state of being with emotive scenarios of passion, glory and wonder.

I’m so overjoyed I can’t still my mind, and its role in my self-nurture during long periods of isolation, automatically continues and I overshoot the runway of my new physiological approach to the experience of life.

Its natural intent, as the non-linear biological system, which is the organism known as David Bates, is miss-perceived by subjectivity and the physiological need to BE in the here and now moment, is thwarted.

Thwarted because I confuse my minds sense of “I” the deeper consciousness of the sensate experience of the body. The subtle sensations, sensory vibrations and arising images that resonate in an attunement/attachment connection, as that oceanic feeling of oneness, some common to the mystic experience.

Attachment, Separation & Loss, perhaps the ultimate challenge to deepening awareness, for sentient species.

If I’d known what I’ve learned in the past five years, back in 1980 when I had my first experience of mania, I would have understood that the shift in state had gifted me the powers of “approach” and resolved the fearful “tonic immobility” which had haunted my life from birth and kept me in habitual avoidance patterns, no matter how much I learned to simulate the behaviors of approach. Inside, unconsciously my nervous system was always screaming “get me out of here, to the safety of isolation.”

Understanding that physiological state and the motor act is the pre-conscious awareness of being, I would not have poured my “subjective” sensations of mind, into the pure reality of being in the lived moment. These days, when I still the mind and feel for those subtle sensations of being, I suddenly realize I’m in heaven.

I understand my sense of “I” as a survival mode of being, while my sense of self, my soul, is a manifestation of the eternal now.

How else would the Universe become eternal, if not by evolving into a form which can act upon itself?

When we fall into this obvious perception of “us vs them” survival, are we really sure we understand the difference between “I” & Self?

Consider; The capacity to anticipate and predict movement is the basis of what consciousness is all about. Any animal that is able to modify its behaviors (in response to changes in its situation) is imbued with some form of consciousness. In this way “mindedness” derives directly from improved organization and execution of bodily movement in time and space. The father of modern neuro-physiology, Sir Charles Sherrington put it this way; “The motor act is the cradle of the mind.”

We are exquisitely social creatures. Our survival depends on understanding the actions, intentions and emotions of others. Mirror neurons allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation. By feeling – not by thinking” _Giacomo Rizzolatti.

Feelings and emotions have evolved, at least in part, to amplify the hedonic sensations of approach and avoidance.

**********

David Bates on June 4, 2012 at 9:10 am said:
Myths and their meaning indeed! Your reference to Greek gods reminded me of Julian Jaynes and his interesting view of that period. In Jaynes book about a bicameral mind he investigates the “Mind of Iliad,” and discusses its language, suggesting the epic is written with nothing like the conscious mind we have today. He says;

“The word for psyche is in most instances life-substances, such as blood or breathe; a dying warrior bleeds out his psyche onto the ground or breathes it out in his last gasp. The “thumos, “which later comes to mean something like “emotional soul,” is simply motion or agitation. The “thumos” can tell a man to eat, drink or fight. Diomedes says in one place that Achilles will fight, “when the “thumos” is in his chest tells him to and a god rouses him.”

The characters of the Iliad do not sit down and think out what to do. They have no conscious minds such as we say we have, and certainly no introspection. It is impossible for us with our subjectivity to appreciate what it was like. When Agamemnon, king of men, robs Achilles of his mistress, it is a god that grasps Achilles by his yellow hair and warns him not to strike. In fact, the gods take the place of consciousness.

When Achilles reminds Agamemnon of how he robbed him of his mistress, the king declares, “Not I was the cause of this act, but Zues, and my portion, and the Erinyes who walk in darkness; they it was in the assembly put wild “ate” upon me on that day when I arbitrarily took Achilles prize from him, so what could I do? Gods always have their way.”

Jaynes points out that this excuse for bad behavior was fully accepted by Achilles, for he too, had his gods who must be obeyed. He then says;

“If we erase all our preconceptions about poetry and act toward the poem as if we had never heard poetry before, the abnormal quality of speech would arrest us. We call it meter nowadays. The function of meter in poetry is to drive the electrical activity of the brain, and to relax the normal emotional inhibitions of both chanter and listener. A similar thing occurs when the voices of schizophrenics speak in scanning rhythms or rhyme.

Who then were these gods that pushed men about like robots and sang epics through their lips? They were voices whose speech and directions could be as distinctly heard by the Iliadic heroes as voices are heard by certain epileptic and schizophrenic patients, just as Joan of Arc heard her voices.

The gods were organizations of the central nervous system and can be regarded as personae in the sense of poignant consistencies through time, amalgams of parental or admonitory images. The god is part of the man, and consistent with this conception is the fact that the gods never step outside of natural laws. Greek gods cannot create anything out of nothing, unlike the Hebrew god of Genesis.” _Julian Jaynes.

Its interesting note the role this book played in the formation of the “Hearing Voices Network,” through the work of Marius Romme?

One wonders about existential metaphor in our ongoing search for an accurate interpretation of our self/soul, and our species role in the wider scheme of things? Greek gods always remind me of Sylvan Tomkins nine innate affects/emotions, and arousal theories about the heart, brain & nervous systems, although the language of science is far less poetic than the Greek classics.

What are we really trying to say about the nature of our overwhelmingly chemical, internal environment and our species evolution? Moses burning bush, couldn’t possibly be a metaphor for the brain and the electro-chemical firing of neural networks, surely?

Hearing voices is a disease process in brain like any other physical illness, apparently? One wonders why we shy away from any research or scholarship which points towards natural cause & particularly the body’s role in states of profound dis-ease?

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David Bates on June 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm said:
I guess when we finally understand our nature & our emotional projection process, so well articulated by Murray Bowen, we will come to understand that we are God becoming, or whatever metaphor we use for the Universe within.

Alas, when Jesus suggested we turn the other cheek, we said “yeah, yeah, understand that,” and unconsciously moved on. Was it just a throw away line he used after dinner one night, and hadn’t found any awareness of in his forty days & nights in the desert, when fought for deeper awareness of his own nature, just as Prince Siddhartha did?

Will we ever change the system by projecting an unconscious expectation of “I” & otherness, “Us & Them,” onto the moving picture show before our eyes?

Have the great leaps forward come from revolution or realization? Those brave individual souls who defied a consensus understanding of reality & dared to think their own thoughts? Strangely, they only show us what is always right in front of our eyes?

Is it a new way of doing or a new way of being, which is required to move us forward? As long as we still “react” against “the system” are we still part of the system?

Bowen’s concept of “the identified patient,” works in a reciprocal, dynamic emotional system, and the “patient” volunteers for a role. Rationally counter intuitive, unless you take into account the need for survival by any available means.

Hence people “want” the diagnosis and health care payments, in their need of self-preservation? And of coarse we can argue about how the system works, till the cows come home, although, is that you & I communication, as much about differentiation & the individuation process, as any in depth critique of “the system.”

We like to rationalize being “spiritual,” and yet so often we condemn “them.” And the wheels on the “us & them,” bus go round & round, while we assume “this is me being reasonable?”

Is the “system” out there, or within? What does “awareness” really mean?

“Deepening awareness is a challenge. It isn’t a challenge because my parents didn’t love me enough. It’s a challenge because it’s a challenge. I don’t need to take it personally. I’ve spent years excavating my past, sorting and cataloguing the wreckage. But who I really am, the essential truth of my being, can’t be grasped by the mind, no matter how acute my insights. I’ve confused introspection with awareness, but they’re not the same. Becoming the worlds leading expert on myself has nothing to do with being fully present.” Exert from: “In an Unspoken Voice.” by Peter Levine, PhD.

“This whole psychic organism corresponds exactly to the body, which, though individually varied, is in all essential features the specifically human body [and mind] which all men have. In its development and structure, it still preserves elements that connect it with the invertebrates and ultimately with the protozoa. Theoretically, it should be possible to “peel” the collective unconscious, layer by layer, until we came to the psychology of the worm, and even of the amoeba.” _C. G. Jung.

“The left-brain style is to verbalize, to fall back on what is already known in order to preserve the sense of self mastery.” _ Roz Carroll.

“It may be that the “mind-body split,” is in effect a right-left split, with left-brain activation overriding the right-brain assimilation and regulation of sub-cortically generated emotional states.” _ Roz Carroll.

I do fervently hope that this web-zine can start to come to grips with the potent question "if madness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it," and not just spout the endless “us vs them,” rhetoric about treatment regimes. A hope which is not meant to dismiss or diminish anyone’s experience or pain.

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David Bates on June 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm said:
Identified with everything Paris Williams describes, and this desperate need for “others” to stop projecting their own fear & assumptions about a bad experience, onto the person going through these profound states of existential crisis.

There is a great need for us to learn about our emotional projection process, in how we enhance our own sense of functioning, by adopting a “pitiful creature” stance towards the sufferer.

Currently in the 5th week of an active psychosis, which only an escape from Western medicine & a mind-set culture, allows me to be in a safe place to let the organic process of psychosis unfold.

Coming to terms with paradox, I’ve had to slowly develop a more embodied sense of self through meditation, and feel that escape into the painless area of my brains synaptic gaps, which trauma experience energized, and trapped me in a post trauma heaven & hell.

Developing a sensate awareness & getting “out” of my head has been key to “containing” the paradox of a mind-body split.


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David Bates on June 7, 2012 at 10:10 am said: 
“I noticed that the fiery coal that had been burning in my solar plexus constantly for the past 3 months was completely gone.” _Paris Williams. PhD, "Rethinking Madness."

As I move through fifth week of my own organic process, this “straining” of the solar plexus, is very much a part of what seems to be trying to rise to conscious awareness. Reading Peter Levine’s unique understanding of our inherent susceptibility to trauma & thwarted natural responses which result in PTSD, allows me to go through the psychosis process, with less & less fear & confusion. Consider;

TUMMY TALK:
The enteric nervous system is our oldest brain, evolving hundreds of millions of years ago. It produces many beneficial hormones, including 95% of the serotonin in the body, and thus is a primary natural medicine factory and warehouse for feel-good hormones. Amazingly, as much as 90% of the vagus nerve that connects our guts and brains is sensory. In other words for every one motor nerve fiber that relays commands from the brain to the gut, nine sensory nerves send information about the state of the viscera to the brain. Many of our likes and dislikes, our attractions and repulsions, as well as our irrational fears, are the result of implicit computations in our internal states.

It can be said that humans have two brains; one in the gut (the enteric brain) and the “upstairs brain,” sitting in the vaulted dome of the cranium. These two brains are in direction communication with each other through the hefty vagus nerve. And if we go with the numbers – nine sensory/afferent nerves to every one motor/efferent nerve – our guts apparently have more to say to our brains (by a ratio of 9:1) than our brains have to say to our guts. (p, 121)

When aroused to fight or flight (sympathetic arousal), our guts tighten, and the motility of the gastrointestinal system is inhibited. After all, there is no sense in spending a lot of metabolic energy on digestion, when it is best used to speed up the hearts rhythm and to strengthen its contraction, as well as to tense our muscles in readiness for impending action. (p, 122)

THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE:
Our nervous system assesses threat in two basic ways. First of all, we use our external sense organs to discern and evaluate threat in the external environment. We also asses threat directly from the state of our viscera and our muscles-our internal sense organs. If our muscles are tense, we unconsciously interpret these tensions as foretelling the existence of danger, even when none actually exists. (p, 123)

Tight muscle in the neck and shoulders may, for example, signal to the brain that you are likely to be hit. Tense legs, along with furtive eyes, may tell you that you need to run and escape, and taught arms may signal that you are ready to strike out. (p, 124)

“The first seat of our primal consciousness is the solar plexus, the great nerve-center situated behind the stomach. From this center we are first dynamically conscious.” _D. H. Lawrence. (p, 125)

In distress and trauma, I believe that a positive feedback loop, with extremely negative consequences, is set up. Indeed, most of us recognize that primal negative emotions readily turn into self-reinforcing, runaway positive feedback loops. Here trauma is the ouroboros, the serpent swallowing its own tail, eternally re-creating itself.

In the reciprocal enervation discovered by Sherrington, the nervous system operates primarily as a negative feedback system, much like a house thermostat. Self regulation of the complex nervous system exhibits what are called emergent properties, which are often somewhat unpredictable and rich in nuance.

While the nervous system operates under the principle of self-regulation, the psyche operates under the emergent properties of creative self-regulation. We might say that as the nervous system self-regulates, the psyche engages with these emergent properties: that is, to creative self-regulation. (p, 130) Exerts from “In an Unspoken Voice” by Peter Levine PhD.

People may become irritated by my continuing reference exerts from this book, yet I do believe its important to point people towards knowledge that is already available to suggest natural cause & resolution to so-called mental illness.

Perhaps its time to turn René Descartes on his head, as Daniel Fisher suggests. Le Superior, “I think therefore I am,” might need to be re-examined soon, if we are to really shift to a new paradigm & not repeat more of the same clockwork universe logic, in our “intellectual” realism?

As well as his awareness of the solar plexus, Lawrence also wrote;

In the Beginning, before the Word, was Consciousness. The primal consciousness in man is pre-mental, and has nothing to do with cognition. It is the same as in the animals. And this pre-mental consciousness remains as long as we live the powerful root and body of our consciousness. The mind is but the last flower, the cul-de-sac. _D. H. Lawrence.

I understand that many find very difficult to accept the instinctual underpinnings of our cognitive capacity, yet is it totally unreasonable to suggest that mental torment, is both unconscious, suppressed & denied nature, “acting out?” Would this be to simplistic for a “cognitively” invested, need of maintaining group harmony? Or would it be to fearful?

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David Bates on June 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm said:
Another black & white “Hero” article?

Is there a false assumption about human nature in your article & your exposure of the predatory nature of “them.”

Where’s the justice! People scream, as if this is some statement of fact about human nature & its motivation? For those interested in a meta-analysis of the human condition, do the maths on the overwhelming humanitarian response to Jim’s predicament.

As long as we’re stuck fast in such black & white logic about us & them, and deny our own functioning, nothing will change.

Our aspiration ideals are wonderful, and well projected into a better future, yet will we realize these ideals by “acting out” the same old us & them reactive nature? As long as we cling to an outdated “I think therefore I am,” view of ourselves, we will not address the feet of clay, Descartes error stands on.

As has been pointed out, its time to turn Le Superior Frenchman on his head & shake the cobwebs out of our subjective illusion about “them.”

What Murray Bowen says about our emotional projection process, is that for every action there is an equal & opposite reaction at an unconscious level, which either enhances or depletes one’s sense of self.

The emotional system of human societies is going through a chaos phase transition now, which will bring a new order of stability. The way forward is NOT more “us & them,” unconscious projection, its a deeper realization of what we are, and our common humanity.

The best thing we can do for psychiatry, is pile up the research and knowledge base which points out natural cause, to highlight the way forward. You cannot effectively shift a delusion by destroying it (by fighting), nothing will change until the solid platform of new ground & new direction is clearly articulated.

Yet instead of seeing this we get caught up in unconscious reactions of us vs them fighting & simply sustain the status-quo. We do this because we are less than honest with ourselves about our own self-preservation motivation, preferring to believe we are righteous, when we are simply projecting an emotional need, like everybody does.

To see how this “unconscious” self-preservation need works & is rationalized, browse the comments on any thread topic, & contemplate how people choose to take from an article/essay what they need, & leave the rest.

We do this by “scanning” for emotional resources that will enhance our sense of self, rationalizing our response as intelligence & critique? When the topic is “charged” we do what Bowen describes as emotional projection, or Fritz Pearls “one up, one down – top dog, under dog,” and we really need to be more realistic about our own functioning before we can hope to change anything.

Your nervous system unconsciously scans at millisecond speeds, seeking resources for survival, the reactive choice is made long before your reasoned rationalizations? See Stephen Porges “Orienting in a Defensive World.”

Why is the Oracles advise to “Know Thy Self,” written above a cave? The cave is your body & its instinctive nature, that constituted “matter” which is the shore on an ocean of being. Realization, is what is needed, not more bloody Revolution. More “being” and less re-actively doing?

When you feel the “black hat, white hat” need to “fight,” are you certain you “know” the reason why?

“Differentiation of Self: This concept is a cornerstone of the theory. The concept defines people according to the degree of fusion, or differentiation between emotional and intellectual functioning. This characteristic is so universal it can be a way of categorizing all people on a single continuum.

At the low end of the extreme are those whose emotions and intellect are so fused that their lives are dominated by the autonomic emotional system. These are the people who are less flexible, less adaptable and more emotionally dependant on those about them.

The concept eliminates the concept of normal, which psychiatry has never successfully defined. The concept of differentiation has no direct connection with the presence of symptoms.

People with the most fusion have the most of the human problems, and those with the most differentiation, the fewest; but there can be people with intense fusion who manage to keep their relationships in balance, who are never subjected to severe stress, who never develop symptoms, and who appear normal.

At the fusion end of the spectrum, the intellect is so flooded by emotionality that the total life coarse is determined by the emotional process and by what “feels right,” rather than by beliefs or opinions.

The intellect exists as an appendage of the feeling system. It may function reasonably well in mathematics or physics, or in impersonal areas, but on personal subjects its functioning is controlled by the emotions.

The emotional system is hypothesized to be part of the instinctual forces that govern automatic functions. The human is adept at explanations to emphasize that he is different from lower forms of life, and at denying his relationship with nature.

The emotional system operates with predicable, knowable stimuli that govern the instinctual behavior in all forms of life. The more life is governed by the emotional system, the more it follows the coarse of all instinctual behavior, in spite of intellectualized explanations to the contrary.

At higher levels of differentiation , the function of the emotional and intellectual systems are more clearly distinguishable. I used the term “undifferentiated family ego mass” to describe the emotional “stuck togetherness” in families.” _Murray Bowen.

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David Bates on June 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm said:
To see how this “unconscious” self-preservation need works & is rationalized, browse the comments on any thread topic, & contemplate how people choose to take from an article/essay what they need, & leave the rest.

We do this by “scanning” for emotional resources that will enhance our sense of self, rationalizing our response as intelligence & critique? When the topic is “charged” we do what Bowen describes as emotional projection, or Fritz Pearls “one up, one down – top dog, under dog,” and we really need to be more realistic about our own functioning before we can hope to change anything.

Your nervous system unconsciously scans at millisecond speeds, seeking resources for survival, the reactive choice is made long before your reasoned rationalizations? See Stephen Porges “Orienting in a Defensive World.”

“The triangling process in a large family will help illustrate the process in society. It may begin with conflict between a parent and child. When another takes sides emotionally, he is potentially triangled. When he talks (to influence others) or he takes action based on feelings, he is actively triangled.

Each person who becomes involved can involve others until a fair percentage of the group is actively taking sides. The controversy is defined on “right” and “wrong” issues, and often as victimizer and victim. In societal conflict, those who side with the “victim” are more likely to demonstrate and take activist postures. Those who “feel more responsible” for the total group will side with the parental side. They are more likely to stay silent or take action in letters to the editor, or to actively counteract the activists.

One interesting group of activists is made up of members of professional and scientific organizations who attempt to use knowledge and social status to further entangle the triangular emotional system. To summarize the process, it begins with emotional tension in a bipolar situation, it spreads by involving emotionally vulnerable others, it is fed by emotional reactiveness and response to denial and accusation and it becomes quiescent when emotional energy is exhausted.

There are several ways it can be started, intensified, deintensified, or stopped. It can be started by one person who, intentionally or unintentionally, touches an emotional trigger in the second. The triggered person characteristically defends or counterattacks which adds emotional fuel. It can be deintensified or stopped by a calm person who stays in “low key” contact without defending self or counterattacking.

The words used in triangular emotional exchange, based on rational thinking, are usually not heard by the other except to defend or prepare a rebuttal. The words can be heard only after the emotion is reduced. The triangle emotional system is most intense when anxiety is high. It disappears when the system is calm.

There is fair evidence that man functions at his best under adversity or when he is challenged. Until the mid 1960’s, I considered society’s slump to be functional, and perhaps a cyclical phenomena related to the depression of the 1930’s or to World War II, and that after World War II man became lazy and greedy as he luxuriated in the greatest period of material plenty and freedom from want in his existence.

I was guessing he would meet another challenge and rise to the occasion. After the mid 1960’s there was more evidence of an even lower level of societal functioning. There was more feeling-oriented action and less long-term principle planning, more “rights” thinking than “responsibility” thinking.

The overall pattern was closer to that of a family with a problem child, giving into emotional demands, hoping the problem would go away.

Society appears to be much more similar to a family with an intense “undifferentiated family ego mass,” than the less emotional fusion of previous periods. The members of society are fused into each other and are more emotionally dependant on each other, with less operating autonomy in the individual.

Emotional events are more similar to those “within an ego fusion” than to events between relatively autonomous people.” _Murray Bowen.

“People see what is, instead of seeing what could be.” _Albert Einstein.

The “cerebral tone,” of subjective awareness is set by a “postural attitude,” a “stance,” the body comes 1st not the mind?

I understand its very difficult to grasp this concept in our cultural heritage, which is now so over-invested in Cartesian clockwork logic, the mind has become detached from the nature of being.

There also the sage advise to the feuding couple, “do you want to be happy or do you just NEED to right?”

Please think about your postural “stance,” as you prepare to perpetuate the “us vs them,” nature of human functioning, in this sea of “unconscious” emotional re-activity we call society?

Is your feeling for a “fight,” about your unconscious metabolic arousal needs? It sure does help get us out of bed in the morning?

How much do you take your daily functioning for granted? How many “facts,” do you know about your hidden inner nature? How self-aware are You?

“Deepening awareness is a challenge. It isn’t a challenge because my parents didn’t love me enough. It’s a challenge because it’s a challenge. I don’t need to take it personally. I’ve spent years excavating my past, sorting and cataloguing the wreckage. But who I really am, the essential truth of my being, can’t be grasped by the mind, no matter how acute my insights. I’ve confused introspection with awareness, but they’re not the same. Becoming the worlds leading expert on myself has nothing to do with being fully present.”


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David Bates on June 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm said:
“People see what is, instead of seeing what could be.” _Albert Einstein.

We are emerging into the 21st century A.D. & I understand all the references to the “past.” Yet is our typical “cause & effect” logic changing towards a “systems” understanding of our own nature?

Are we, as Bowen predicted, falling into a chaos period of “challenge” when our awareness needs to rise to this systems understanding.

As a species, are we emerging into our “coming of age” century? Do the past existential metaphors such as the Christian Bible need re-examining in light of new discoveries like “The Polyvagal Theory?” Or;

“This psychoneurobiological developmental model views the brain as a self-organizing system. It also fits particularly well with a number of essential tenets of nonlinear dynamic systems (chaos) theory. This powerful model is now being utilized in physics, chemistry, and biology to explore the problem of how complex systems come to produce emergent order and new forms. A fundamental postulate of this conception is that there is no dichotomy between the organism and the environmental context in which it develops. The physical and social context of the developing human is more than merely a supporting frame, it is an essential substratum of the assembling system. Of particular importance to chaos theory are the transitions from one developmental stage to another, when the organism encounters instability while it shifts from one stable mode to a new mode.” (Page, 63)

It is well established that the transfer of emotional information is intensified in resonant contexts. At the moment when a system is tuned at the resonant frequency it becomes synchronized – vitalized. (P,71)” Allan N Schore, “Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self.”

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David Bates on June 9, 2012 at 8:21 am said:
What Are Hallucinations and How Can They Be Measured?

Along the perception-hallucination continuum of increasing arousal of the sympathetic nervous system (ergotropic arousal), man–the self-referential system–perceptually-behaviorally (cortically) interprets the change (drug-induced or “natural”) in his subcortical activity as creative, psychotic, and ecstatic experiences.

These states are marked by a gradual turning inward toward a mental dimension at the expense of the physical.

“Self”: The Knower and Image-Maker; and “I”: The Known and Imagined:

We have seen that the departure from the physical dimension during a voyage on the perception-meditation continuum is accompanied by a gradual loss of freedom, which is manifested in the increasing inability to verify the experience through voluntary motor activity.

At the peak of trophotropic arousal, in samadhi, the meditating subject experiences nothing but his own self-referential nature, void of compelling contents. It is not difficult to see a similarity between the meditative experience of pure self-reference and St. Teresa’s description of her ecstasy: in both timeless and spaceless experiences the mundane world is virtually excluded. Of course, the converge is true of the mundane state of daily routine, in which the oceanic unity with the universe, in ecstasy and samadhi, is virtually absent.

Thus, the mutual exclusiveness of the “normal” and the exalted states, both ecstasy and samadhi, allows us to postulate that man, the self-referential system, exists on two levels: as “Self” in the mental dimension of exalted states; and as “I” in the objective world, where he is able and willing to change the physical dimension “out there.”

In fact, the “I” and the “Self” can be postulated on purely logical grounds. See, for instance, Brown’s reasoning that the universe is apparently … “constructed in order (and thus in such a way as to be able) to see itself. But in order to do so, evidently it must first cut itself up into at least one state which sees, and at least one other state which is seen. In this severed and mutilated condition, whatever it sees is only partially itself… but, in any attempt to see itself as an object, it must, equally undoubtedly, act so as to make itself distinct from, and therefore, false to, itself. In this condition it will always partially elude itself.”

In our terminology, the “Self” of exalted states is that which sees and, knows, while the “I” is the interpretation, that which is seen and known in the physical space-time of the world “out there.”

The mutually exclusive relation between the “seer” and the “seen,” or the elusiveness of the “Self” and the “I” may have its physiological basis in the mutual exclusiveness of the ergotropic and trophotropic systems.

A discernible communication between the “Self” and the “I” is only possible during the dreaming and hallucinatory states, whether drug-induced or “natural.”

During the ”I”-state of daily routine, the outside world is experienced as separate from oneself, and this may be a reflection of the greater freedom (that is, separateness or independence) of cortical interpretation from subcortical activity.

With increasing ergotropic (sympathetic nervous system) and trophotropic (parasympathetic nervous system) arousal, however, this separateness gradually disappears, apparently because in the “Self”-state of ecstasy and samadhi, cortical and subcortical activity are indistinguishably integrated.

This unity is reflected in the experience of Oneness with everything, a Oneness with the universe that is oneself.” _Roland Fischer. “A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States.”

“What we’re learning in our schools is not the wisdom of life. We’re learning technologies, we’re getting information. There’s a curious reluctance on the part of faculties to indicate the life values of their subjects.” _Joseph Campbell.

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David Bates on June 11, 2012 at 12:54 am said:
Another exert from Roland Fischer’s brilliant paper, may further illuminate the issue of our awareness of existential reality & our judgments and perceptions about mental disorder?

“Moreover, subjects with a large standard deviation on handwriting area at T1 (that is, “variable” subjects), tend to be “perceivers,” whereas volunteers with a small standard deviation at T1(“stable” subjects) tend to be “judgers,” in terms of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

This self-reporting, Jungian-type personality indicator yields simple, continuous scores on four dichotomous scales: extroversion-introversion, sensation-intuition, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving.

The perceivers also overestimate or contract time more than judgers do at the peak of a psilocybin-induced experience: this implies that perceivers move faster and farther along the perception-hallucination continuum than do judgers, who apparently require a larger dose for a comparable experience.

Space and Increasing Hyper and Hypoarousal

We call man’s symbolic interpretation of his CNS activity “perception-behavior” and regard creative, “hyperphrenic,” and ecstatic states, as well as Zazen and samadhi, as perceptual-behavioral interpretations of ergotropic and trophotropic arousal, respectively.

We may now consider some of the perceptual-behavioral changes, or transformations, that gradually develop as the level of arousal increases and decreases along each continuum.

One of the most conspicuous transformations is that of “constancies”, which in the normal state of daily routine form a learned structure of primary ordering of space and time “out there.”

Although the newborn infant’s only reality, in the beginning, is his CNS activity, he soon learns, by bumping into things, to erect a corresponding model “out there.” Ultimately, his forgetting that his CNS activity had been the only reality will be taken by society as proof of his maturity, and he will be ready to conduct his life “out there” in (container) space and (chronological) time.

This gradually learned and projected model, then, is the representation of a world ordered and stabilized by self-programmed invariances.

The adult interprets his CNS activity within this structure of similarity criteria, or “constancies,” and thus experience can be said to consist of two processes: the programmed (subcortical) CNS activity; and the symbolic or perceptual-behavioral (cortical) interpretation, or metaprograms, of the CNS activity.”

_Roland Fischer, “A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States.”

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David Bates on June 12, 2012 at 6:50 am said:
I just finished typing this exert from Jaak Panksepp’s “Affective Neuroscience – The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions,” into my laptop.
Sleep, Arousal, and Mythmaking in the Brain:

Shakespeare proposed one possible function of sleep when he suggested that it “knits up the raveled sleeve of care.” Each day our lives cycle through the master routines of sleeping, dreaming, and waking.

Although we do not know for sure what the various sleep stages do for us, aside from alleviating tiredness, we do know about the brain mechanisms that generate these states.

All of the executive structures are quite deep in the brain, some in the lower brain stem. To the best of our knowledge, however, the most influential mechanisms for slow wave sleep (SWS) are higher in the brain than the active waking mechanisms, while the executive mechanisms for REM sleep are the lowest of the three.

Thus, we are forced to contemplate the strange possibility that the basic dream generators are more ancient in brain evolution that are the generators of our waking consciousness.

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

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

There seem to be two distinct worlds within our minds, like matter and antimatter, worlds that are often 180 degrees out of phase with each other.

The electrical activity in the brain stem during dreaming is the mirror image of waking–the ability of certain brain areas to modulate the activity of others during waking changes from excitation to inhibition during REM.

In other words, areas of the brain that facilitate behaviors in waking now inhibit those same behaviors.

Many believe that if we understand this topsy-turvy reversal of the ruling potentials in the brain, we will better understand the nature of everyday mental realities, as well as the nature of minds that are overcome by madness.

Perhaps what is now the REM state was the original form of waking consciousness in early brain evolution, when “emotionality” was more important than reason in the competition for resources.”

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When I go through a spontaneous shift into the early phase of mania, it builds to that common experience of a dream like state, although while awake.

What I think it enables is a “container” for the deeply unconscious “fear – horror” of a birth trauma, which had conditioned my nervous system, with a default activity of avoidance.

Interestingly, although the brain & nervous systems continue to mature with environmental experience, over the first three years of life. The amygdala, which is the “smoke alarm,” for fear & danger, is online at birth.

During my periods of euphoric psychosis, I dream while awake? The Siren does in indeed sing, during these heightened states of “powerful transformative experience.” Mind you, if all words are metaphors for our “hidden” processes, she has been doing it all along, in the arts and some amazing song lyrics.

Maybe its a right-brain to left-brain thing? Or as this brilliant paper suggests, maybe its a whole body/brain thing;

“A discernible communication between the “Self” and the “I” is only possible during the dreaming and hallucinatory states, whether drug-induced or “natural.”

During the ”I”-state of daily routine, the outside world is experienced as separate from oneself, and this may be a reflection of the greater freedom (that is, separateness or independence) of cortical interpretation from subcortical activity.

With increasing ergotropic (sympathetic nervous system) and trophotropic (parasympathetic nervous system) arousal, however, this separateness gradually disappears, apparently because in the “Self”-state of ecstasy and samadhi, cortical and subcortical activity are indistinguishably integrated.

This unity is reflected in the experience of Oneness with everything, a Oneness with the universe that is oneself.” _Roland Fischer, “A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States.”

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature.” _Joseph Campbell.

“If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” _Joseph Campbell.

Perhaps the trick is to feel the slight of hand rationalization that stands in denial of our instinctual motivation. The “need” to share a consensus sense of “I think therefore I am,” state of belonging? Do we deny a cosmic soul within, to gain the support & protection of group think? Your instinctual/intellect “I” is not your deeper self/soul which you can only access through a “felt” awareness of being, which the mind “observes.” When you change your word metaphors to “chemical” it helps to feel the Universe within & the flow of being “in” the moment?

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David Bates on June 12, 2012 at 10:41 am said:
Yes I agree that the “flight” is a reaction formation, an avoidance of “pain” still trapped in the body, and as Roland points out the “flood” of manic emotion provides enough “metabolic energy to “fire,” the whole brain, “cortical and subcortical activity are indistinguishably integrated.” It could also be seen as the “terror” of existential isolation, in separation distress, for those of us who have never known real “attachment?”

Two paths to oneness awareness, using each branch of the autonomic nervous system. A nervous system normally balanced in healthy socially engaged people, by a third branch newly discovered by Stephen Porges, “the social engagement system.” Which I believe is the metaphoric “arc of the covenant.”

All that you describe can be understood with Peter Levine’s awareness of “trauma exit.” The thwarted natural response to trauma is re-enacted or triggered by the “traumatic memory trace, like “an anniversary.”

Its difficult to let go this cultural sense of a cognitive “I” that has led to our intellect becoming so disembodied? And is probably the real cause of an epidemic of mental illness, if we want to follow our traditional, left-brained cause & effect logic?

Its also difficult to let go one’s own life narrative, a left-brained sense of self, which copes with a sense of linear time “out there,” in the way Roz Carroll suggests.

“The left-brain style is to verbalize, to fall back on what is already known in order to preserve the sense of self mastery.” _ Roz Carroll.

“How I grieve for those whose madness processes were aborted before that healing, emotion fueled transformation could fully run its course.”

Cry if you need to, cry buckets of tears, and try to feel natures gift, this is her way of dissolving grief. Its “physiological,” and the body does come 1st or the word “evolution” makes no sense.

Yet just like with trauma & pain, the mind clings to its “I” sense and stimulates the re-enactment, over & over again. The mind does fear the raw power of instinctual energies, as they threaten it temporarily with death.

I understand your anger & rage at the “system,” yet the system IS inside everyone and its the “unconscious” emotional projection process described so well by Murray Bowen which keeps this endless treadmill going. As long as we keep pretending “we” are not like “them” this “mice” like treadmill will keep us on the path of “the more things change, the more….”

Why do I place the Joseph Campbell quotes in my response? What is metaphor and its timeless meaning?

“It may be that the “mind-body split,” is in effect a right-left split, with left-brain activation overriding the right-brain assimilation and regulation of sub-cortically generated emotional states.” _ Roz Carroll.

Using all the new discoveries about our internal chemical makeup, can we re-interpret Biblical metaphors with new meaning?

If you can “feel” that right-brain access to emotion, you see that your standing on the right hand of God, & that the left-brain is the metaphorical promised land, as we continue to “emerge” the Universe within?

“Anyone who has had an experience of mystery knows that there is a dimension of the universe that is not that which is available to his senses. There is a pertinent saying in one of the Upanishads: When before the beauty of a sunset or of a mountain you pause and exclaim, ‘Ah,’ you are participating in divinity. Such a moment of participation involves a realization of the wonder and sheer beauty of existence. People living in the world of nature experience such moments every day. They live in the recognition of something there that is much greater than the human dimension.” _Joseph Campbell.

“Eternity has nothing to do with the hereafter… This is it… If you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. Heaven is not the place to have the experience; here’s the place to have the experience.” _Joseph Campbell.

But hey, I don’t have a PhD or letters after my name, so perhaps an “unconscious” assumption & need of rank & status ordering, will make my comments look like total B.S. to most people? Still;

The ascension is not a rising to “above” it’s a Fall, just as its always been, when you seek awareness of the Universe within, & truly feel the presence of this Eternal Now. In Eastern mysticism, such experience is known as a Kundalini awakening, or in the “stillness” of the great Prince, Buddha being?

**********

David Bates on June 14, 2012 at 10:16 am said:
What is affect/emotion? The question, “what the hell is an affect?” Set me of on a five year journey to uncover and understand the organic nature of my Bipolar type 1 “affective” disorder.

Within a week of stumbling on Allan N Schore’s “Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self,” my body and its (homeostatic) feedback systems, as much as my brain became a major interest. Yet the commercially funded research we notice in the mainstream media is always focused on brain research alone?

Is there a cultural need of denying the raw power & the contagious affect of emotion, in our denial of the body’s role in mental anguish, our so-called mental illnesses? Is such a denial, part of the reason we “prefer” to focus on the brain, in our mechanically minded assumptions about mental distress?

How many in our survivor & recovery community have heard of Sylvan Tomkins, the father of affect theory? If not, is that because we get lost in HEADLINE focused, foreground attention, and don’t access a wealth of science research in the background? Why are all the great investigators of somatic experience and a holistic approach routinely ignored?

INNATE AFFECT/EMOTION & SOCIETY:

Because the free expression of innate affect is extremely contagious and because these are very powerful phenomena, all societies, in varying degrees, exercise substantial control over the free expression of the cry of affect. No societies encourage or permit each individual to cry out i.e, rage or excitement, or distress or terror wherever and whenever they wish. Very early on, strict control over affect expression is instituted and such control is exerted particularly over the voice, whether used in speech or in direct affect expression.

If all societies suppress the free vocalization of affect, what is it that is being experienced as affect? It is what I have called backed-up affect, it can be seen in children trying to suppress laughter by swallowing a snicker, or by a stiff upper lip when trying not to cry or by tightening the jaw to suppress anger. In all these cases, one is holding one’s breathe as part of the technique of suppressing the vocalization of affect/emotion.

We do not know what are the biological and psychological prices of such suppression of the innate affective response. It seems at the very least that substantial psychosomatic disease might be one of the prices of such systemic suppression and transformation of the innate affective responses.

Further there could be a permanent elevation of blood pressure as a consequence of suppressed rage, which would have a much longer duration than an innate momentary flash of expressed anger.

Even the least severe suppression of the vocalization of affect must result in some bleaching of the experience of affect and therefore impoverish the quality of life. It must also produce some ambiguity about what affect feels like, since so much of the adult’s affective life represents at the very least, a transformation of the affective response, rather than the simpler, more direct, and briefer innate affect.

With anger the matter is further confused, because of the danger represented by this affect and enormous societal concern about the socialization of anger, what is typically seen and thought to be innate is actually backed-up. The appearance of the backed-up, the “simulated,” and the innate is by no means the same.

Details of the difference in socialization concern, differences in tolerance or intolerance of the several primary human affects – excitement, enjoyment, surprise, distress, contempt, shame, fear and anger – which in turn determine how positively or how negatively a human being learns to feel about themselves and about other human beings.

Such learning will also determine their general posture towards the entire ideological domain.“

Exerts from “Exploring Affect,” (1995) by Sylvan Tomkins.

****************


Rationalized assumptions about how we really function?

Do we really “know” how we function at an “unconscious” affect/emotion level? Is there authoritive science research that could sway psychiatric understanding, away from pharma funded, “drug” oriented, research? Are there people out there like Allan N Schore & Stephen Porges, that we never bother to access, because we have been hurt by “science?”

“It is well established that the transfer of emotional information is intensified in resonant contexts. At the moment when a system is tuned at the resonant frequency it becomes synchronized – vitalized.

Sustained facial gazing mediates the most intense form of interpersonal communication. Eye to eye contact gives non-verbal advanced notice of the other. The temporal structure of gaze, the most immediate and purest form of inter-relation, provides clues to the readiness or capacity to receive and transmit social AFFECT. (capitals mine)

Face to face transactions may be registered in long term memory as inceptive ‘flash bulb’ memories. Flashbulb memories occur during high arousal states and are an important adaptive for survival.

Mirroring Gaze Transactions and the Dyadic Amplification of Positive Affect: Dyadic mirroring gaze transactions thus induce a symbiotic, physiobiologically attuned affect amplifying merger state, in which a match occurs between the expression of rewarding arousal.

This process of interpersonal fusion generates dynamic “vitality affects.”

“A nine month old girl becomes very excited about a toy and reaches for it. As she grabs it, she lets out an exuberant ‘aaah!’ and looks back at her mother. Her mother looks back, scrunches up her shoulders, and performs a terrific shimmy with her upper body, like a go-go dancer. The shimmy lasts about as long as her daughters ‘aaah’ but is equally excited, joyful, and intense.”

Exerts from “Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self,” by Allan N Schore.

The spontaneous, “unsuppressed” expression of affect/emotion in the scene between mother & daughter, is stimulated “unconsciously,” and the pure joy “acted out” is nature & her beauty personified.

We are really thrilled when we see “nature” acted out in this way, yet when we see nature’s negative expression we get “distressed,” the observer, as well as the sufferer. We move to shut it down because it upsets us.

Has there been an historical need to deny “emotion,” in order to suppress its capacity to create “chaos,” because raw affect/emotion, is contagious? Is it a societal suppression of our own nature, which blocks an honest and open approach to sufferers of mental anguish?

Is it our own mechanically minded “cause & effect” logic, that now needs up-dating to a systems approach, which is not so “black & white,” as “us & them?” Allan Schore, wants to take the profession back to its roots in psychoanalysis, by using new cutting edge science to make understanding the human soul, what its always been. An ART form?

The ART of Psychotherapy

**********

David Bates on June 14, 2012 at 12:20 am said:
Perhaps “cognitive dissonance” is an inability to “feel” what the eye sees & stimulates the “rationalization?” And thoughts gets stuck in a Cartesian “mechanical logic,” based on seeing separation, yet not feeling this sense of “oneness?”

Does our Western “I think therefore I am,” get stuck in a Cartesian circle?

Why is “Know Thyself” written above a cave? You sight the words at a millisecond unconscious level of nervous system activity, & the mind only “thinks” it “knows” because its unconscious to it own stimulus from within the cave/body?

Is the “something from nothing” question motivated by a desire to perceive, or a need to maintain homeostasis (comfort-zone) Human Homeostasis, via a sense of “I,” in the left-brained narrative of your life?

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

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

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

Words are only metaphors, metaphors for hidden processes within, that we are only just beginning to see & understand?

From the movie “Avatar,” what does “I see you,” really mean?

**********

David Bates on June 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm said:
MODERN EDUCATION & ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT COGNITION:

This is the most recent instance in history of favouring man’s ‘reason’ as his distinctive glory. Although Genesis equated ’knowing’ with carnal knowledge, that fateful loss of innocence that exiled him from the Garden of Eden, in both theological and secular thought reason has been glorified as the divine spark in man. This perennial idealisation of the cognitive function has prejudged its definition.

If human beings share sensory and motor equipment as well as drives and passions with other animals, and if reason is represented as both the distinctive and most valued function in man, then the cognitive aspects of the sensory and motor functions are denied by definition. Further, ‘irrationality’ is thereby also denied to be inherently cognitive.

‘Superstition’ and mysticism are prejudged to be different from cognition rather than to be special cases of knowing. In the extreme derivative of such idealisation, even science would fail to meet the criterion of true cognition, in-so-much as today’s science can be tomorrow’s superstition. In some theologies just this inference was drawn so that only God knew truly and fully.

Yet if all cognitive theorists would resonate with Socrates dictum that an unexamined life is not worth living, they would part company as soon as ‘examination’ was scrutinised more closely. Are daydreaming and thinking equally ‘cognitive’ ‘inner’ processes that had to be both objectified and operationalized?”

Ideology and Affect/Emotion:

Now let me introduce the concepts of ideo-affective postures, ideological postures and ideo-affective resonance. (1) By ideo-affective postures I mean any loosely organized set of feelings and ideas about feelings. (2) By ideological postures I refer to any “highly organized” and articulate set of ideas about anything. A generally tolerant or permissive attitude would be an instance of an ideo-affective posture, whereas a progressive or democratic political position would be an example of an ideological posture.

(3) By ideo-affective resonance we mean the engagement of the loosely organized beliefs and feelings by ideology, when the ideo-affective postures are sufficiently similar to the ideological posture, so that they reinforce and strengthen each other.

Ideo-affective resonance to ideology is a love affair of a loosely organized set of feelings and ideas about feelings with a highly organized and articulate set of ideas about anything. As in the case of a love affair the fit need not be perfect, so long as there is sufficient similarity between what the individual thinks and feels is desirable, to set the vibrations between the two entities into sympathetic resonance.

Exerts from “Exploring Affect,” (1995) by Sylvan Tomkins.

**********

David Bates on June 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm said:
Written in memory of Dr John Weir Perry’s “when the dream becomes real,” and the compassion of Diabasis.

SENSITIVITY-EXISTENTIAL ISOLATION & PSYCHOSIS:

“If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable Age of Darkness… They will see that what was considered ‘schizophrenic’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break into our all-too-closed minds.” _R.D. Laing.

“Who experiences a “schizophrenic break”? Well, there’s a lot of controversy about this! There is a constitutional element, which is often interpreted as a “genotype of pathology”, but this depends on how you see it. I see it as a genotype of sensitivity! Among adolescent siblings in a family, for example, it’s usually the most sensitive one who’s going to catch it.

So it starts with a feeling of isolation… “Yes. Now the symbolic expression of this is falling into a death – not only a death state, but also a death space – the “afterlife,” the “realm of the ancestors,” the “land of the dead,” the “spirit world.” The common experience here is for the person to look about and think that half the people around him are dead too. While in this condition, it’s very hard for one to tell if one is really alive or not.” _John Wier Perry.

“Humans have three principal defense strategies—fight, flight, and freeze. The Polyvagal Theory describes three developmental stages of a mammal’s autonomic nervous system: Immobilization, mobilization, and social communication or social engagement. Faulty neuroception might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and Reactive Attachment Disorder. We are familiar with fight and flight behaviors, but know less about the defense strategy of immobilization, or freezing. This strategy, shared with early vertebrates, is often expressed in mammals as “DEATH FEIGNING.” (capitals mine) _Stephen Porges.

“Right away at the beginning, the death experience is accompanied by the feeling that you’ve gone back to the beginning of time. This involves a regression, a return to the state of infancy in one’s personal life history. But hand in hand with this is the feeling of slipping back into the world of the primordial parents, into a Garden of Eden. For example, it’s a very common experience to feel one is the child of Adam and Eve, say, at the beginning of time. This is very symbolic, obviously. It’s pretty much a representation of the psyche at the start of one’s individual career after birth.” _John Wier Perry.

Metaphorically speaking, Adam & Eve, would be the Sun & Earth, with the world taken from Adam’s rib? Can we really have any “cognitive” concept of what our nervous system is “aware” of, pre & post birth. What unconscious level of awareness is Stephen Porges “neuroception” referring to? Consider Roland Fischer’s suggestion about what we may once have “known” yet need to forget in our social/survival mode of functioning?

Space and Increasing Hyper and Hypoarousal: “Although the newborn infant’s only reality, in the beginning, is his CNS activity, he soon learns, by bumping into things, to erect a corresponding model “out there.” Ultimately, his forgetting that his CNS activity had been the only reality will be taken by society as proof of his maturity, and he will be ready to conduct his life “out there” in (container) space and (chronological) time.” _ Roland Fischer.

Are we not composed of star dust & all those chemical elements?

Is the typical “self-referential” ideation in a “psychotic break” a rationalized “hyper-sensitivity” to nature & all that lies beyond Eve’s protective atmosphere? A sensitivity which is non-verbal, non-cognitive and is a more refined integration of all five physical senses, when we fall beneath our normal nervous system orientation of “social engagement.” An overwhelmingly “unconsciously” stimulated experience, “rationalized” by the mind as “the TV is sending out hidden messages, just for me?”

Stephen Porges groundbreaking discovery of a third branch of our autonomic nervous system, shows our unconscious orienting responses are like two different operating systems, to use a computer analogy. (1) Social Engagement, an evolved nervous system responsiveness “innervated” by the feedback signals of head & facial muscles, with their vagal control over the heart. (2) Survival Orientation, an evolved nervous system responsiveness, shared with all other mammals and heightened due to our “sensitive skin,” which under hyper-vigilant threat attains a higher “resonance,” with background sensory information.

Consider Sylvan Tomkins ideas about affect/emotion and our sensitive skin; “The face appears to me to be the central site of affect/emotion responses and their feedback., but I have come to regard the skin, in general, and the skin of the face in particular, as of the greatest importance in producing the feel of affect/emotion. Three of the most compelling states to which the human being is vulnerable arise on the surface of the skin. Torture via skin stimulation has been used for centuries to shape and compel human beings to act against their own deepest wishes and values. Sexual seduction via skin stimulation has also prompted human beings to violate their own wishes and values. Fatigue to the point of extreme sleepiness appears to be localized in the skin surrounding the eyes.” _Sylvan Tomkins.

******************

SYSTEMS THEORY is now being used to understand the complex non-linear feedback systems which integrate our human experience, particularly the early maturation of brain and nervous systems, via environmental feedback. It is becoming increasingly clear that human inter-subjectivity, is more resonant affect/emotion than left-brained linguistics and dialogue.

Consider Allan Schore’s understanding of our non-linear bio-metabolic-energy transformations, which turn matter into “meta” within the human mind; “In physics a property of resonance is sympathetic vibration, the tendency of one resonance system to enlarge & augment through matching the resonance frequency pattern of another resonance system.

In contemporary bioenergetic theory, information is conceived of as ’a special kind of energy required for the work of establishing biological order’. The processing of all forms of information by the brain, including that embedded in internal representations, occur through transformations of metabolic energy.

The extraordinary power of the concept of energy transformations derives from the fact that these fundamental phenomena occur on each and every level of living systems, from the molecular to the societal.

The growing postnatal brain, the physical matrix of the emerging human mind, is supplied with a continuous supply of energy from metabolic processes. A fundamental tenant of this theory states that the assembly of complex systems occurs under conditions of thermodynamic non-equilibrium (a directed flow of energy).

This energy is utilized to facilitate the cooperativity of simpler sub-system components into a hierarchically-structured complex system that expresses the emergent functions of organizing and maintaining stability.

Bioenergetic conceptualizations thus need to be implanted into the central core of psychoanalytic and psychological theory, a position they now occupy in physics, chemistry, and biology. Thermodynamics are not only the essence of biodynamic, they are also the essence of neurodynamics, and therefore of psychodynamics.” _Allan N Schore.

****************

If the word “evolution” is to make sense on a felt level of experience, where life actually occurs, should we not consider that it is the body, its five physical senses and the motor act of orienting responses, which informs the subjective awareness of the human/animal mind? Consider;

“My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than the intellect. The body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos” _D. H. Lawrence.

“The motor act is the cradle of the mind – The capacity to anticipate and predict movement, is the basis of what consciousness is all about” _Sir Charles Sherrington.

“The brain is waking and with it the mind is returning. Its as if the Milky Way entered upon some cosmic dance. Swiftly the head-mass becomes some enchanted loom, where millions of flushing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern, though never an abiding one: A shifting harmony of sub-patterns.” _Sir Charles Sherrington.

**********************

In Buddhist art, one must find the stillness within, which allows the movement and thought bubbles of cosmic inspiration to flow. Is there so much more to hallucination, delusion and psychosis than meets our “pathologizing” and fearfully judgmental eyes?

Consider my recent posts as five weeks of “psychosis” peaked with these “subjective” interpretations;

“Madness? An attachment awareness of the divine, a sense of eternity in a single moment.

Mania? I fall out of my braced muscular defense which habitually miss-regulated and thwarted my need of human attachment, and in the spontaneous shift in physiological state, sensory freedom reigns.

I’m suddenly born again to an awareness of so much, as if all five senses have come back online, after being stuck in the freeze mode of the post trauma trap. In my body, I’m suddenly so alive.

The positive states of interest, excitement & joy resume their biological process and begin to reorganize my brain stem neural networks to mediate a free and full engagement with the experience of life.

So enraptured by this spontaneous shift towards positive affect/emotion experience, I subjectively feed this new physiological state of being with emotive scenarios of passion, glory and wonder.

I’m so overjoyed I can’t still my mind, and its role in my self-nurture during long periods of isolation, automatically continues and I overshoot the runway of my new physiological approach to the experience of life.

Its natural intent, as the non-linear biological system, which is the organism known as David Bates, is miss-perceived by subjectivity, and the physiological need to BE in the here and now moment, is thwarted.

Thwarted because I confuse my minds sense of “I” with the deeper consciousness of the sensate experience of the body. The subtle sensations, sensory vibrations and arising images that resonate in an attunement/attachment connection, as that oceanic feeling of oneness, so common to the manic/mystic experience.

Attachment, Separation & Loss, is perhaps the ultimate challenge to deepening awareness, for a sentient species.”

**************

“The ascension is not a rising to “above” it’s a Fall, just as its always been, when you seek awareness of the Universe within, & truly feel the presence of this Eternal Now. In Eastern mysticism, such experience is known as a Kundalini awakening, or in the “stillness” of the great Prince, Buddha being?

Is it time to re-address the tribal metaphors of life’s meaning, to a species understanding? In a Universe of 96% dark matter/energy. Life is “The Resurrection.” That great symbol of sacrifice we see in Christ on the Cross, as all the Light Matter Energy, sacrificed to create your life? How does the Universe become Eternal? By evolving into a form which can act upon itself, YOU & your children’s, children’s children, forever & ever, Amen! Or whatever metaphor of gratitude you use.”

Perhaps a culmination of a 32 year journey with classic manic-depression & its resolution as a felt awareness of madness, in my sensitive human animal nature, “acting out?” Or complete B.S. Although there is five years of research about my body/brain & its homeostatic feedback systems, to complement these in-sane statements. Yet, are we not, children of the light?

When we make the effort to see the bigger picture, can we understand and accept that science & spirituality are converging in this 21st century A.D. Because this is how it happens, as the Universe within, dreams itself awake? In the strange notion of an “Eternal Now” it already did, and we’re just remembering it ALL?

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

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

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

“I always feel uncomfortable when people speak about ordinary mortals because I’ve never met an ordinary man, woman or child.” _Joseph Campbell.

**********

Do the  above posts on MadinAmerica.com, from my recent six week psychosis suggest a metamorphosis process when compared with earlier posts? Online posts like those made on The Icarus Project.net and Stephen Fry's website in October 2010, under the user name batesy57. See: bipolar delusions

Now at the end of June 2012 I'm involved in an email exchange about the nature of our hidden motivation, which we ferociously deny? Consider;

"The reason I posted the private email was in the interests of transparency. The very reason that stigma and myths about the mental illness experience persist, is this conservative reaction of sweeping under the carpet and keeping real issues private.

I ask you to consider that your concern about privacy and civility is a homeostatic response to maintain a hierarchical status-qua? We are dealing with the most emotive issue in our human experience and this underlying need to maintain homeostasis, is what drives concern about civility and privacy, while inadvertently maintaining a status-qua of little to no change.

As I've explained, I post to reach the thousands isolated by their own innate fear, and ask you to consider how many were cut-off by the recent decision to move to registration?

You say your concerned about truth in your efforts to un-mask the private and hidden dealings between big business and the stakeholders in mental health. All that real-life information which is kept away from public eyes, yet are you not doing the same thing here, for your own interests? Are you rationalizing your need, with this concern about good faith and civility?

There are comments on the site about murderers and Nazi's, yet my response to an article was pulled because I overstepped your standards of civility towards your invited blogger. Yet I challenge you to make public on the website your concerns about my awful comments?

Please consider what drives a deep concern about civility and sweep it under the carpet privacy, in life?

"INNATE AFFECT/EMOTION & SOCIETY:

Because the free expression of innate affect is extremely contagious and because these are very powerful phenomena, all societies, in varying degrees, exercise substantial control over the free expression of the cry of affect. No societies encourage or permit each individual to cry out i.e, rage or excitement, or distress or terror wherever and whenever they wish. Very early on, strict control over affect expression is instituted and such control is exerted particularly over the voice, whether used in speech or in direct affect expression. (p, 93)

If all societies suppress the free vocalization of affect, what is it that is being experienced as affect? It is what I have called backed-up affect, it can be seen in children trying to suppress laughter by swallowing a snicker, or by a stiff upper lip when trying not to cry (anti affects?) or by tightening the jaw to suppress anger. In all these cases, one is holding one’s breathe as part of the technique of suppressing the vocalization of affect. (p, 93)

We do not know what are the biological and psychological prices of such suppression of the innate affective response. It seems at the very least that substantial psychosomatic disease might be one of the prices of such systemic suppression and transformation of the innate affective responses. Further there could be a permanent elevation of blood pressure as a consequence of suppressed rage, which would have a much longer duration than an innate momentary flash of expressed anger. (p, 94)

Even the least severe suppression of the vocalization of affect must result in some bleaching of the experience of affect and therefore impoverish the quality of life It must also produce some ambiguity about what affect feels like, since so much of the adult’s affective life represents at the very least, a transformation of the affective response, rather than the simpler, more direct, and briefer innate affect. (p, 94)

With anger the matter is further confused, because of the danger represented by this affect and enormous societal concern about the socialization of anger, what is typically seen and thought to be innate is actually backed-up. The appearance of the backed-up, the simulated, and the innate is by no means the same. (p, 94)"

Exerts from Silvan Tomkins "Exploring Affect." Silvan Tomkins

Obviously we have different views about good faith and privacy and trust, you may consider that my attempt at transparency, was in good faith towards the mass of individuals not so fortunate by way of isolation, as others?

Who are you concerned about serving here on MadinAmerica?

Are we locked in unconscious assumptions about the nature of society, the real value of education and a deep reluctance to examine our own functioning? I do not post Murray Bowen's insight into human nature for my own self-promotion, and I ask you to consider this brilliant American's fearless contribution to society, even though we resist its conscious awareness ferociously.

"A core assumption is that an emotional system that evolved over several billion years governs human relationship systems. People have a “thinking brain,” language, a complex psychology and culture, but people still do all the ordinary things other forms of life do. The emotional system affects most human activity and is the principal driving force in the development of clinical problems. Knowledge of how the emotional system operates in one’s family, work, and social systems reveals new and more effective options for solving problems in each of these areas." The Bowen Center

Your reaction towards me and this reply, will be rationalized as reasonable, intelligent and right, while actual functioning is driven by an unconscious stimulus that has not disappeared because we are seemingly civilized?

Am I more right than you, or visa-versa in this action? Perhaps only open transparency will bring bring such a reality to light? You may consider for just one moment, that I'm trying to show people their hidden motivations? Ask yourself about your own "judgment" of this rank outsider and your desire for truth and wisdom, in the service of a better future?

In the meantime, we carry on down this, "the more things change, the more they....."

Sincerely,

David Bates."

Am I just acting out & seeking attention now? What do you think?

My Psychotic Mania's lead me on to >> Science, Spirituality & Psychosis

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