My story is this.  I have been undertaking philosophical investigations since my ‘retiring’ from working as a geophysicist’ on my 55th birthday (feb. 28, 1996).  I was ‘champing at the bit’ to refocus my ‘philosophical physics’ investigations on understanding natural complexity (‘the way things work in a relative or relational reality).  This was partly inspired by my sense that Western culture based ‘organization’ is dysfunctional, and by studies of ‘exceptionally performing teams’ that I had undertaken on behalf of the organization I was working for, and which I was charged with putting into a ‘course’ for ‘managers’ (this was completed and received good reviews but was soon washed away by reorganization as the company was acquired and absorbed into a larger company.

What I was investigating in parallel was the link between Western culture and psychological distress of the type labelled ”bipolar disorder’ and/or ‘schizophrenia’, both of which involve struggles with a ‘split sense of self’.

I have continued these investigations over the past 22 years, and the findings along the way have continued to come into ‘connective confluence’ which, for me, provides a more comprehensive ‘relational coherence based’ understanding; i.e. the relational mode of understanding of modern physics, indigenous aboriginal cultures, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta.  This relational understanding is as described in modern physics (Geoffrey Chew, and John Wheeler) in terms of ‘The surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’. That is, this relational understanding has no dependency on abstract notions of ‘beings’ with notional powers of ‘sourcing’ actions and developments (aka ‘sorcery’).

I have looked for ‘consistency’, in the relational confluence of these ideas, with and ‘across’ the understandings of Nietzsche, Bohm, Wittgenstein, Lao Tzu (Taoism) and Advaita Vedanta.  An additional phenomenon that I felt had to be included in ‘solving for reality’ consistent with the relational confluence of these understandings was the notion of R. D. Laing that Western culture’s ‘normal’ is psychopathology in its adherents; i.e.;

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

My many contacts with those suffering from ‘mental disorders’ had led me, through my own direct relational experiences, to the same general view as Laing, in that those that ‘have psychological breakdowns’ are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as implied in the metaphor of the ‘miner’s canaries’ whose behaviour ‘shows up’ ambient problems in the ‘environment’ because of their more than typical sensitivity and thus ‘intolerance’ for the genral psychopathological ambience in Western culture; i.e. wherein the majority have been raised so as to fall into conformant compliance with the ‘psychosis-breeding’ ‘norms’ of Western society.

Just as ‘the majority has no monopoly on the truth’ (Giordano Bruno), the majority has no monopoly on defining ‘reality’ and ‘normality’.  In other words, Western ‘reality’ is an innately dysfunctional pseudo-reality (an intellectualized reality that has lost its grounding in relational experience wherein psychotic behaviour as the operative ‘normality’).

When psychotic behaviour becomes the operative ‘normality’, non-psychotic behaviour (miner’s canary behaviours that are disturbed by the psychotic ambiance) are seen by the psychosic-conforming majority as ‘disturbing’ and ‘no-conformant’, as is the case with the behaviours of sensitive ‘miner’s canaries’ in response to the ambient Western culture psychosis.  Thus it is the ‘miner’s canaries’ (those that disturb the Western culture’s ‘psychotics-that-deem-themselves ‘normals’) that are viewed by the psychotic majority as ‘the crazies’.  The response of a psychosis-compliant majority that define themselves as ‘normals’ is thus to label the ‘miner’s canaries’ as the ‘abnormals/psychotics’ and to apply all manner of bizarre treatments such as lobotomies, chemical lobotomizing drugs, electro-therapies etc. to (ostensibly) ‘restore them’ to what is, in fact, THE ABERRANT WESTERN NORMALITY, wherein left-brain analytical intellection is put into an unnatural primacy over relational intuition in conformance with Western culture’s ‘inverted’ cognitive values.

Everything in the real world of actual relational experience that I had explored in geophysics, team behaviour and life in general put me on the side of modern physics ‘relational reality’, indigenous aboriginal ‘relational reality’, Taoist ‘relational reality’, and Advaita Vedanta ‘relational reality’.   This ‘relational understanding of reality’ conflicted with the Western understanding of reality which is NOT EXPERIENCE-BASED but in terms of notional (abstract) ‘things-in-themselves’, notionally endowed with their own powers of ‘sourcing’ actions and developments.  This is the same abstract (psychopathology inducing) ‘sorcery’ as believed in in medieval times and which has figured in ‘knighting’ and ‘baptizing’ (Christening) etc. whereby ‘naming’ is understood as endowing relational form in the flow, such as a human form, or a nation or a corporation, with ‘persisting being’; i.e. intellectually and abstractly redefining a relational form in the transforming relational continuum, as a local ‘thing-in-itself’ with ‘persisting thing-in-itself existence’.

My own personal experience came up with the same understanding as Laing and the ‘miner’s canaries’ that the Western culture ‘normality’ was the source of psychosis, and the sensitive minority who could not find it in themselves to ‘comply’ were being labelled ‘psychotic’ by Western mainstream (psychotic) society.  As Bruno said before they burned him at the stake for ‘heresy’ in 1600, ‘The majority has no monopoly on the truth’ (i.e. no monopoly on’defining reality’).


Perspectives are innately ‘incomplete’ informants on ‘reality’; one must instead look to omni-perspectival webs of relations.

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

Nietzsche’s observation is supported by the findings of modern physics where the point is made that since we live within a transforming relational continuum, in which there are no ‘persisting beings’ of any type [persisting beings are the psychological artifacts of ‘naming’], we must understand ‘reality’ by means of ‘relations’.  Wittgenstein makes the same point with his ‘ladder’ concept wherein we must understand a ‘form’ in nature on the basis of its relations without imputing ‘being’ to the form.  Modern physics researcher Geoffrey Chew puts it this way;

[Geoffrey Chew]: “when you formulate a question, you have to have some basic concepts that you are accepting in order to formulate the question. But in the bootstrap approach, where the whole system represents a network of relationships without any firm foundation, the description of our subject can be begun at a great variety of different places. There isn’t any clear starting point. And the way our theory has developed in the last few years, we quite typically don’t know what questions to ask. We use consistency as the guide, and each increase in the consistency suggests something that is incomplete, but it rarely takes the form of a well-defined question. We are going beyond the whole question­and­answer framework.”

WESTERN CULTURE, ON THE OTHER HAND, has adopted as its common ‘operative understanding of reality’, the concept of ‘sorcery’ that is notionally attributable to ‘things-in-themselves’.  That is, Western culture uses language-based intellection to ‘INVENT REALITY” using the abstraction of ‘sorcery’ wherein ‘naming’ is used to impute the existence of ‘things-in-themselves’ with the power of sourcing actions and developments.  The concept of ‘ego’ is thus created as the seat of ‘sorcery’. Nietzsche refers to this as language-based ‘metaphysics’;

“In its origin language belongs in the age of the most rudimentary form of psychology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language, in plain talk, the presuppositions of reason. Everywhere it sees a doer and doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the ego, in the ego as being, in the ego as substance, and it projects this faith in the ego-substance upon all things — only thereby does it first create the concept of “thing.” Everywhere “being” is projected by thought, pushed underneath, as the cause; the concept of being follows, and is a derivative of, the concept of ego. In the beginning there is that great calamity of an error that the will is something which is effective, that will is a faculty. Today we know that it is only a word.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’


My observation has been that the ‘miner’s canaries’ are the ‘artists’ who, meanwhile, do not see themselves as the ‘source’ of their artistry but see themselves, instead, as relational ‘channelers’, as in the non-ego-based mode of participating in life’s relational dynamics encouraged by Michel de Montaigne;

“Bees cull their several sweets from this flower and that blossom, here and there where they find them, but themselves afterward make the honey, which is all and purely their own, and no more thyme and marjoram: so the several fragments he borrows from others, he will transform and shuffle together to compile a work that shall be absolutely his own; that is to say, his judgment: his instruction, labor and study, tend to nothing else but to form that. He is not obliged to discover whence he got the materials that have assisted him, but only to produce what he has himself done with them.” — -Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592  Of the Education of Children (1580) To Madame Diane de Foix, Comtesse de Gurson.


 * * * IN SUM * * *

The ‘finding’ in my ‘philosophical investigations’ has been this; Western culture is the cultivator of psychosis that is fuelled by the promotion of belief in ‘sorcery’ as in ‘ego-based belief’ in the power of a notional ‘independent being’ (instantiated by ‘naming’) to source his/her/its own actions and developments.  Western culture ‘beings’ can include ‘organisms’ and ‘organizations’ of various types and shapes, each one being given (by language and grammar) the notional (in the Western language-conditioned psyche) powers of ‘sourcing’ actions and developments.


The ‘successes’ of Western society AS LINGUISTICALLY DEPICTED IN TERMS OF THE SOURCING OF ACTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS, are ‘illusional’ (or ‘delusional’) as pointed out by ‘systems scientists’.  For example, to impute ‘thing-in-itself being’ to a ‘nation’ simply by ‘naming it’ is, as with transforming a pauper into a prince, pure abstraction that is far from the reality of our actual relational experience.  Western society compounds the initial error of the abstract creating a ‘being’ by ‘naming’, by imputing notional powers of sourcing actions and developments to the named entity.  This is ‘sorcery’ indeed!.  It is termed ‘suboptimization’ in systems theory; i.e. it is impossible, in the relational world of our actual experience, to find a ‘thing-in-itself’ with its own powers of ‘sourcing actions and developments, but it is devilishly clever of those who use language and grammar to ‘engineer’ such abstractions and pass them off as ‘reality’, to do it and get away with it, as is characteristic of the power structures of Western society, in spite of ‘put-downs’ by systems scientists and philosophers, such as the following;

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’ and ‘everything is in flux’ (or, as the indigenous aboriginal cultures have expressed this; ‘mitakuye oyasin’ — ‘we are all related’).   Western culture has incorporated the habit of ignoring the innate interconnectedness of Nature and it is literally ‘driving people crazy’.   If a person ‘intuits’ what is ‘really’ going on with this suboptimization (naming-based instantiating of ‘being’ and grammar based imputing of sourcing powers to the ‘naming-instantiate being, … and starts emotionally resisting, like the ‘miner’s canary’, things get even ‘crazier’ because that person/s ‘resisting’ will be considered ‘crazy’ and subjected to ‘remedial procedures’ (including lobotomy).  The pressure is thus upon everyone to ‘keep their mouth shut’ and go along with the inherently dysfunctional (psychosis inducing) Western culture ‘normal’ modus operandi which promotes belief in ‘beings’ with ‘powers of sourcing actions and developments’ that are seen to ‘do their thing’ within an ‘INVENTED REALITY’.

If we ‘catch on’ to what is going on, we are not going to be popularly received (by the compliant majority) by ‘speaking out’ about it and pointing out its ‘psychosis inducing impact’;  As R.D. Laing suggests, social pressures are in place to keep us all ‘playing along’ and feigning ‘belief’ in the ‘Invented Reality’;

“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 — ‘Knots’

There is what is called, in ‘the science of complexity’, ‘lock-in’ that is perpetuated by ‘high switching costs’.  In other words, those who benefit most from this psychosis-inducing self-deception, are those who have been given most influence over what changes will be made to the system as it is.  This ‘lock-in’ wherein those who have the most to benefit from the ‘system as it is’ have been given the most power and authority over what changes will be permitted, has not gone unnoticed by those coming more from philosophy than from ego.

We’ who explore such topics, cannot easily share them because (a) they do not fit into the typical dinner conversation format of our present culture, since to express them takes a lot of relational connections that can’t fit into a rapid-fire repartee, and (b) 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, ‘La Nouvelle Grille’



Western culture’s cultivating of belief in ‘ego’ and ”sorcery’ as the notional basis for societal advancement/development, gives rise to the ‘nature’ – ‘nurture’ dichotomy which sets one half of the population at odds with the other half of the population.  The entire Western culture population (at least the vast majority) have ‘bought into’ the abstract notions of ‘ego’ and the ‘powers of sorcery’, with the TWIST that some (the ‘nature’-over-nurture’ faction) believe that the ‘sorcery’ of actions and developments originates in, and asserts from the individual ‘being’ (the abstract entity created by ‘naming’, whether ‘human being’, ‘nation-being’, ‘corporation-being’ etc.).  Meanwhile, roughly equal numbers of others (comprising the ‘nurture-over-nature’ faction) believe that ‘sorcery’ derives from group dynamic; e.g. the ‘nurture belief’ is that the source of the ‘child-soldiers’ murderous activity derives NOT from his own internal self-asserting ‘sorcery’, as the ‘nature’-over-‘nurture’ faction believes, but from the the inductive influence of the social collective he is included in.

NOTE THAT BOTH OF THESE ASSUMPTIONS OF ‘NATURE’ AND ‘NURTURE’ REST DEPENDENTLY ON THE BELIEF IN ‘SORCERY’; i.e. the belief that ‘named entities’ are locally-existing ‘things-in-themselves’ endowed with the power of sourcing actions and developments.  This is pure intellectual abstraction that has no physical ‘reality’ in the world of our relational experience.  Nevertheless, the ‘nature’ vs ‘nurture’ squabble divides the Western social collective in an interminable dispute that, in the satirical ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ reflection of the absurdity of Western society, was captured in the imagery of a community that ‘divided’ into two factions who were continually ‘warring’ over whether one should open the ‘pointy’ or ’roundy’ end of a hard-boiled egg s to extract the egg.



The above findings, which are really a collection of related findings as in the recommended recipe of Michel de Montaigne, which reflect on the fact that Western culture is the source of endemic psychosis which the majority (because they have been unsuspectingly born into it) quietly accept and live with. This birth-right buy-in is ‘reinforced’ in a carrot-on-a-stick (as afixed on the a donkey halter) that is offered in exchange for ‘buying in’ to the psychosis-inducing cultural system.  That is, it is profitable to go along with the psychosis-inducing belief in the language-based abstractions of ‘beings’ with the notional power of ‘sourcing actions and developments.  Ego plays a leading role here in entrenching the abstract concepts of ‘being’ and ‘sorcery’, while the imaginary nature-nurture dichotomy divides the Western populace in mutually opposing conflict [conservative/nature-over-nurture against liberal/nurture-over-nature] and keeps these two synthetic/abstraction factions in perpetual divisive conflict that distracts them from accessing the greater reality wherein the ‘nature’-‘nurture’ split is exposed as the artifact of the initial self-deception of the ‘Invented Reality’ of ‘being’ based ‘sorcery’.

As for the ‘miner’s canaries’, they continue to be ‘treated for THEIR psychosis’ in a manner that strives to restore them to Western culture (psychotic) ‘normality’ by such techniques as physical or chemical lobotomy.   Meanwhile, even if they ‘slip out of that tratp’, they are not ‘out of the woods’ until they are able to let go of the belief in their own ‘thing-in-itself-being’ and are able to embrace the understanding of self as a relational ‘appearance’ as in modern physics, indigenous aboriginal culture, Taoism, and Advaita Vedanat.  This ‘re-acculturation’ that is needed for the psychological stability of sensitive ‘miner’s canaries’ is not a simple task for those ‘canaries’ who have ‘grown up’ in Western culture and whose friends and families are all on board the Western medical ‘cure’ that is the equivalent of a lobotomy.

The miner’s canaries have the challenge of getting back into ‘pre-cultural touch’ with, and sustaining the purely relational sense of self.  This is not easily achieved while one continues to be in close relational bonds with Western culture-deemed ‘sane ones’ including lovers, family and friends who, because they love you, wish to help preserve both their and your status as ‘mentally healthy’ ‘independent beings with their own ego-based powers of sourcing actions and developments’.  The ‘recovering miner’s canary’ cannot expect the same ‘support’ from the loving family and friends that believe that ‘you’ are the sick one (not the Western culture) and that you must NOT fail to keep taking your chemical lobotomizing meds.  This situation is far from the supportive environment of the psychiatric ward and group therapy sessions populated by empathic ‘fellow miner’s canaries’ that put one back on the road to recovery, prior to being encouraged by friends and family to ‘suck it up’ and go back out into the same rat-race conditions that put you in the psychiatric ward in the first place.

Closing Words from a Western culture ‘miner’s canary’ in the wake of her sixth suicide attempt;

I recall a conversation with a psychiatric ward patient who was recovering from her sixth suicide attempt which this time, put her into a two week long coma. She said; “every time, after a few weeks in here, they say I am cured. Sure I am cured, for living in a highly empathic society such as the psychiatric ward tends to be, but I am not cured for going back into society which is a rat race made even tougher by my being marked as a defect and a loser. See, this bus pass is marked ‘handicapped’. I tried to get off handicapped and go on ordinary welfare even though it was $300. less but they wouldn’t let me.” She also expressed the view that society was moving in the opposite direction of ‘more empathy’.


Patty’s observations support the view that ‘mental illness’ is a socially-induced syndrome that science is misconstruing as a biological illness. In fact, the term ‘biological illness’ is a reflection of how ‘out of touch with experiential reality’ that the science of biology continues to be by modeling the ‘organism’ as an ‘independently-existing material ‘system-in-itself’ that is notionally capable of ‘sourcing’ its own actions and developments, and which resides, operates and interacts with other such ‘independent systems’ within an abstract absolute space and absolute time measuring/reference frame that is regarded as an ‘operating theatre’.  The ‘Invented Reality’ employed in the science of biology is radically at odds with the relational reality of our actual experience as reaffirmed within modern physics.


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Epilogue:  So, What’s Next?

My feeling is that the understanding captured in this essay; ‘My Personal Foray into Western Culture ‘Invented Reality’ could be helpful to others caught in the circle of dysfunction that underlies recurrent bouts of what Western culture defines as ‘psychosis’.

The ‘message’ is fairly simple, but there are ‘many messages’ circulating on the topic of ‘psychological illnesses’ as they are called, and most of these titles point to ‘sick individuals’ within a ‘healthy community’.  This essay is about ‘miner’s canaries’ who serve as ‘whistle-blowers’ that are warning of incipient sickness in the mainstream Western social dynamic.  Bringing about transformation of the prevailing Western culture ‘community dynamic’ seems like a next to impossible challenge, like transforming a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

The problem is that there is no way to ‘modify’ Western culture to correct this deficiency because its existing ‘structure’ is inherently inadequate, as Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Geoffrey Chew and others have pointed out.  That is, in an intrinsically relational universe, the only role for notional ‘things-in-themselves’ to play is in ‘throw-away’ ‘Wittgenstein ladders’ that can be used to induce relational understanding, as in ‘The surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’; i.e. implicit understanding of one’s experience of inclusion in a relational universe transcends the capabilities of explicit rational intellectual constructs of language and grammar.

In order for the sensitive ‘miner’s canaries’, whose orientational primacy is to the relational universe, to sustain their sensual-relational balance, they must include themselves within a relational (‘design-for-evolution’) ambiance.  This means ‘avoiding’ the Western culture’s psychological commitment to (notional) ‘beings’ with ego-based powers of ‘sourcing actions and developments’.  Such ‘avoidance’ is a ‘culture-changer’; i.e. it opens the way to the relational mode of ‘culture’ that manifests among recovering inmates in the psychiatric wards that ‘Patti’ is referring to in her above statement; i.e. the society that is ‘designed for evolution’ is relational and without fixed structure; i.e. the sustaining of relational harmony is the ‘operative, evolutionary dynamic’.

As Schroedinger has noted, the human individual is a relational form in the transforming relational continuum and therefore an ‘appearance’ or ‘apparition’ in the manner of a ‘boil’ in the ‘flow’ [the ‘boil’ and the ‘flow’ may be identified by two separate ‘names’ but these ‘names’ do not represent two separately existing natural phenomena]

Being able to sustain oneself as a relational form in harmony with other relational forms is ‘where the miner’s canary’ needs to be.  She is ‘there’ in the empathic collective during the psychiatric ward recovery phase and she may be ‘there’ whilst continuing her recovery within a circle of empathic friends and family, PRIOR to their expecting her to ‘RECOVER’ in the sense of re-entering the psychosis-inducing ‘Invented Reality’ wherein she becomes, once again, a Western culture ‘thing-in-herself’ notionally endowed with powers of sourcing actions and developments.

At this point in ‘her recovery’, she is once again expected to demonstrate ‘her own capability of sourcing-of-actions and developments’ [psychological delusion] in order to ‘pay her own way’ in Western society.  This is the recipe for recurrent breakdown since it forces her to reconstitute her ‘ego’ sense of self which is the aberrant, psychosis-inducing premise of Western culture (the following Nietzsche quote is repeated for emphasis).

“In its origin language belongs in the age of the most rudimentary form of psychology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language, in plain talk, the presuppositions of reason. Everywhere it sees a doer and doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the ego, in the ego as being,

This concept of ‘ego’ that underpins the abstract concepts of ‘being’ and ‘sourcing’ of actions and developments’ is ‘deadly’ for the sensitive ‘miner’s canary’ whose natural sensual instinct is ‘mitakuye oyasin’, ‘we are our relations’.

It may be difficult to ‘find’ or to ‘co-cultivate’ her needed relational situation, but the miner’s canary must avoid the trap of believing that ‘she has been cured’ [implying that ‘the fault’ lay within her].  The fault was never within her, it lies in the madness (psychosis) innate in the Western culture social dynamic with its foundational belief in ‘being’ and ‘sorcery’.  The recovering ‘miner’s canary’s challenge is thus to co-transform the web of relations she is included in; i.e. to co-cultivate, with like-spirited others, a ‘design-for-evolution’; i.e. a matrix of relations that are mutually supporting, akin to not only the empathic relations of patient collectives in the psychiatric ward and recovery programs, but similar as well to the natural relational affiliations within the (traditional) indigenous aboriginal and Taoist cultures.


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