Archive for November, 2018

Understanding Psychosis in Western Culture Adherents





This essay is dedicated to the ‘miner’s canaries’ who intuitively sense ‘something amiss’ in the ambient Western culture social dynamic.  By excitedly signalling, with strange behaviour, a warning of dysfunction in the social dynamic, these miner’s canaries succeed only in rallying public response to ‘resolve the problem’, NOT as if it were environmentally induced, but INSTEAD, as if it were internally incipient in the ‘canary’.  Some who ‘speak for the canaries’, like Franca Ongaro-Basaglia of Psychologia Democratica, argue that the ‘assistance’ given them is not so much for ‘them’ per se as for (a) the ‘peace of mind’ of the ‘normals’ (subscribers of the ‘aberrant normality’) who are disturbed by the ‘miner’s canaries’’ behaviour, and (b), to limit the miner’s canaries’ disrupting of ‘normal social functioning’ by such ‘wild and unruly’ behaviours.

As Giordano Bruno said, before they took him to be burned at the stake for ‘heresy’ in the Campo dei Fiori in Rome, in 1600, … ‘The majority has no monopoly on the truth’.  But as it turns out, the majority does have a monopoly on ‘how we do things around here’, and what the majority establishes is not easy to change, as underscored by expressions such as ‘pioneers are those who ‘get arrows up the arse.”

Changing established patterns, even those that may breed dysfunction, tend to be held off indefinitely because of ‘lock-in’ and ‘high switching costs’.  For example, the people ‘we put in charge of change’ may benefit from keeping things as they are.  This is a familiar ‘systems anomaly’ termed ‘suboptimization’ as friend and former ‘systems sciences’ colleague Martine Dodds-Taljaard describes in a paper (authored jointly with György Jaros) entitled The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’.

The point is that Western culture’s manner of ‘optimizing living conditions’ (for some) tends to be ‘cannibalistic’, benefitting some at the expense of others, hence the derogatory implication of the term ‘suboptimization’ (it is necessarily derogatory if the ‘system’ for which the optimization is performed is a relational feature in the transforming relational continuum.  Of course, change can be undertaken in a manner that comprehends ‘interdependencies’).

The Name of the Devil is Suboptimization’

“The above aphorism, attributed to Kenneth Boulding, points to the inherent weakness characterizing the mindset and socio‐economic, political, educational and managerial practices of Western Industrial society as it developed over the past 300 years. It has its basis in the analytic‐reductionistic scientific paradigm, which, despite the remarkable technological applications it spawned, is inappropriate, conflict‐generating and dysfunctional in a world characterized by global interconnectedness and mutual interdependence …” — György Jaros and Martine Dodds-Taljaard

In other words, in the ‘real world’ of our actual experience of inclusion in a transforming relational continuum, ‘everything is related’ (or, as the indigenous aboriginals have expressed this; ‘mitakuye oyasin’).   Western culture has incorporated the habit of ignoring this connectedness and it is literally ‘driving people crazy’.   If a person ‘intuits’ what is going on with this suboptimization, and starts emotionally resisting, like the ‘miner’s canary’, things get even ‘crazier’ because that person will be considered ‘crazy’.  The pressure is thus upon everyone to ‘keep their mouth shut’ and go along with the inherently dysfunctional (psychosis inducing) Western culture modus operandi.

“They are playing a game.  They are playing at not playing a game.  If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me.  I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.”  – R.D. Laing

In other words, Western culture is using language and grammar to psychologically cultivate an ‘Invented Reality’ that eclipses the innately relational reality of our actual experience.  We are doing this by intellectually/linguistically ‘wallpapering over’ the reality of our relational experience, with the abstract concept of ‘independently-existing-things-in-themselves (‘beings’), notionally equipped with powers of ‘sourcing actions and developments’.

This language-and-grammar based ‘Invented Reality’ has become the ‘operative reality’ of Western society which is continually cultivating a psychotic ‘normal’ wherein those ‘miner’s canaries’ that attempt to break out of it, are classified as ‘psychotic’ and given chemically lobotomizing ‘medications’ to restore them to the Western culture ‘aberrant normality’.  That which qualifies as ‘normal’ in Western society may be anything but ‘natural’.

Since Western culture ‘lock-in’ has been firmly established and its gatekeepers have been elevated into positions of power over what gets changed, switching costs continue to rise.  As Henri Laborit, author of ‘La Nouvelle Grille’ (the new ‘philosophical framework waiting in the wings’) observes;

‘We’ who explore such topics, cannot easily share them because the humanism  implicit in trying to share them is not seen as “a humanism of real worth” since it undermines, besmirches or topples the esteemed icons, pillars of society, founding fathers, and celebrities of the culture-in-place. — Henri Laborit

Nevertheless, Western culture employs the means necessary to sustain ‘lock-in’ to that which (however aberrant) is defined as ‘normal’ behaviour in Western society.  This lock-in to Western aberrant normality persists even as we are experiencing a rising tide of psychosis in spite of the increased incidence of employing medications to stave it off.  The Western culture ‘normal’ is looking more and more like a ‘collective psychosis’, as psycho-social investigators are finding;

“What we call ‘normal’ is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience.” – R. D. Laing

This essay explores the psychosis-inducing workings of ‘Western culture’ and its ‘Invented Reality’.

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My personal experience grounded philosophical investigations’ inform me that ‘bipolar disorders’ are manifestations of ‘lock-in’ to psychosis-prone modes of cognition that involve ‘high switching costs’ to withdraw from, as would be required for one to ‘re-ground’ in more competent, non-psychosis-prone modes of cognition.  The most globally prevalent psychosis-inducing mode of cognition is otherwise known as ‘Western culture’. (i.e. certain ‘salient features’ of Western culture as discussed herein).


The level 3 (‘nature’) and level 2 (‘nurture’) modes of cognition [as classified in Erich Jantsch’s ‘Design for Evolution’] are both ‘psychosis prone’.  Both of these modes of cognition are based on ‘sorcery’.  By this I mean; — to impute the powers of ‘sourcing’ actions and developments to notional ‘independently-existing ‘things-in-themselves’ (‘beings’); i.e. abstractions such as ‘human beings’, …  is to prepare and pave the path to psychosis.  Western culture’s endemic psychosis is rooted in a belief in ‘sorcery’.  There is no such dynamic as ‘sourcing’ in modern physics ‘reality’, there is only ‘relational transformation’.  This modern physics understanding of ‘reality’ as a transforming relational continuum is also the indigenous aboriginal  ‘reality’, Taoist ‘reality’ and Advaita Vedanta ‘reality’.


The notional ‘independently-existing-things-in-themselves’ that are notionally equipped (by grammar and language) with the ‘powers of sourcing actions and developments (the ‘producer-product’ concept) are the makings of ‘INVENTED REALITY’ .  What one experiences [whether human, wolf, eagle, etc.] begins with the sensory-experiencing of ‘relational forms’ in the transforming relational continuum.  When the Western human uses his intellect to ‘capture the essentials’ of his relational experiencing with language and grammar, he reduces his relational experiencing in the continually unfolding present to the abstract language and grammar terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ [abstractions ‘invented’ by ‘naming’ relational forms in the flow] which he linguistically (and thus cognitively) ‘animates’ by abstractly ‘inventing’ movements with grammatical language’, cognitively setting the invented ‘things-in-themselves’ in motion.


PSI 23: Post Stroke Impressions No. 23


Relational Versus Rational Understanding: Pathway to Dimensionlessness

“English compared to Hopi is like a bludgeon compared to a rapier.” – Benjamin Whorf

There is a way of ‘homing in on understanding’ that recalls modern physics and “the surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’, … that is very different from the Western ‘rational’ approach to understanding.

One might call it the ‘holographic’ approach to understanding.

In the ‘sharing circle’ approach to understanding that is characteristic of the indigenous aboriginal tradition, there is never a point where there can be an explicit articulation of the ‘sharing circle understanding’.  Nietzsche points to this same mode of understanding in ‘A genealogy of Morality’;

There is only a perspectival seeing, only a perspectival ‘knowing’; the more affects we are able to put into words about a thing, the more eyes, various eyes we are able to use for the same thing, the more complete will be our ‘concept’ of the thing, our ‘objectivity’.– Nietzsche


PSI-22: Post-Stroke Impressions No. 22


Two Types of ‘Sorcery’ That Underlie Western ‘Invented Reality’


Western culture serves up Invented Realities of two types, both of which are ‘sorceror’-based ‘invented realities’ commonly termed ‘nature’ and ‘nature’, which are obscuring the relational reality of our actual experience.  While the ‘real’ reality of our relational experience is still the primary reality in the cultures of indigenous aboriginals, Taoists and Advaita Vedanta, … this ‘real reality’ is being ‘eclipsed’ by the intellectual ‘Invented Realities’ of Western culture [‘nature’ and ‘nurture’] which have become the two competing ‘operative realities’ of the globally dominant Western culture.

There is much psychosis and cognitive incoherency that stems from this misplaced popular ascendance to primacy, as ‘operative reality’, of the two ‘invented realities’ commonly referred to as (3) ‘nature’: —  (based on a notional ‘sorcery’ (locally incipient authoring power) that is inside-outward asserting as can be depicted by a ‘whorl’ that is ‘sourcing’ ‘flow’, and (2) ‘nurture’: — based on a notional ‘sorcery’ (authoring power) that is outside-inward inducing as can be depicted by a flow that induces a whorl.  [*N.B. In Erich Jantsch’s three levels of reality as defined in ‘Design for Evolution’, these levels of ‘cognitive precedence’ in perceiving reality are numbered from lowest (3, ‘nature’ and  2, ‘nurture’) to highest (1, relational ‘appearance’)]

The question of whether (the ‘invented’) reality derives from bright and distinct explicit ‘sources’ with inside-outward asserting powers of originating actions and developments (as in ‘nature’), or whether (the ‘invented’) reality derives from dark and obscure implicit ‘sources’ with outside-inward inductive powers of originating actions and developments (as in ‘nature’) has divided the reality conceptualizing babits of Western culture adherents.  This division that arises from such language based abstractions has been parodied by Jonathan Swift in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ in multiple ways, including the story of a people who divide into opposing factions over disagreement on whether a boiled egg should by opened from the more rounded end or from the more pointed end.


PSI 21: Post Stroke Impressions No. 21


Western Society Nuttiness ‘In a Nutshell’

The basics of understanding the nuttiness in Western culture based ‘social dynamics’ can be captured in point form as follows;

-1- The world of our natural experience is of inclusion in a transforming relational continuum; i.e. a ‘flow’ (Tao) inhabited by relational forms.

-2- There is no such thing as ‘being’.  It is pure intellectual abstraction signaled by a ‘name’ or ‘noun’ in language

-3- There are no such things as ‘beings with action-authoring powers’.  This is pure intellectual abstraction contrived by conjoining a ‘verb’ and a ‘noun’.

-4- ‘Ego’ derives from attributing ‘authoring powers’ to ‘oneself’ perceived abstractly as an ‘independent being’ defined [given imputed persisting stand-alone existence] by a ‘name’.]

-5- ‘Lock-in’ due to ‘high switching costs’ is a phenomenon affecting the social relational dynamic; e.g. once one has attributed ‘authoring powers’ to beings’ (as in the Western culture psychology), the inflating of the ego (sense of being-based self-authorship), gives rise to notional ‘high achievers and low achievers’.  ‘High achiever’ and ‘low achiever’ are abstract concepts depending on the abstract concept of ‘being-based-authoring’ that have no ‘reality’ in the relational world of our actual experience (since there is no such thing in relational-experiential reality as being-based authorship).

The above 5 points capture the basic psychologically aberrant underpinnings of Western culture.  (more…)

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