The Origins of Insanity
Pender Island, August 15, 2003
When I was undergoing a 'psychotic episode' in August, 1997, I was much struck with certain facts in the relationship between my current thoughts from 'inside of the episode' and their relationship to my past thoughts in my 'condition of normality' prior to my 'drifting in' to the episode. In particular, I was impressed by the feeling that I was in a hypersensitive or hyperaware state, much as is reported by those who use certain hallucinogenic drugs, and which recalls descriptions by Laing of the 'hypersanity' experienced by those undergoing spontaneous healing through collapse and replacement of the ego by 'cosmic fetalization' and 'existential rebirth' (inner-outer transformation in the manner that snakes shed their old skin, replacing themselves from the inside-out). In my case, I was fortunate in being supported by loving and learned others to the point that I avoided being either institutionalized or drugged by frightened 'normals' projecting their own fears onto me and, as a result, suspending me midstream in the process where I could neither complete the 'letting go' of the 'old me' nor yet reach out far enough to embrace the 'new me'. That this 'being suspended in midstream' and kept indefinitely in the limbo of psychosis by well-intending (but frightened) 'normals', who might otherwise lend their support and assistance to safe passage for those experiencing spontaneous psychic healing, is the self-fulfilling prophecy of the mainstream psychiatry of the 'normals', is an hypothesis that will be critically reviewed in this essay.
Being a student of the history and philosophy of science, I could not help but to cast these findings from my psychotic or 'self-healing' experience, into the terms of science and more particularly, in terms of the evolution of physics with its powerful influence on our conceptualization of the world. My speculations, which I have juggled and reviewed from outside to in and from inside to out over the past eight years, have been building continuously in coherency and self-consistency, to the point of my current attempt to articulate them in this essay.
To present a view that suggests that 'insanity', as in 'schizophrenia', 'bipolar disorder' and 'depression', are not independently arising pathologies in their own right through some kind of innate biogenetic or biochemical 'defectiveness', but are behavioural variations induced in healthy but hypersensitive individuals through their immersion within a 'pathological normality' and are thus the variant, recalcitrant 'children' who are resisting their own assimilation into a 'pathological normality', is a conclusion that has been arrived at by a number of psychiatrists, including Ronald Laing, Thomas Szasz and John Weir Perry.
Still, such a conclusion, even if well-founded, is unsatisfactory until the inductive source of pathology in 'normality', that brings out the contra-normal behaviour that we refer to as 'insanity', can be clearly exposed.
The search for an insanity-inducing source in 'normality' leads one to examine in depth, not only those experiencing 'abnormality', but the thinking patterns of the 'normal' majority who take their own normality for granted even as they judge the behaviours of others to be 'insane'. Since my profession is not 'psychiatry', though I have had much dialogue with those inside of psychiatric hospitals, through my relationships to loved others, judged and labeled with the DSM psychopathology brands, what I bring to bear is a life-long history of research into the manner of perception and inquiry of 'the normals' in our society.
When I say 'the normals in our society', I am referring to the western culture where the practice of 'diagnosis', incarceration in psychiatric hospitals and the involuntary imposing of drugs, electric shock therapy and surgical intervention to suspend disturbing 'psychotic behaviours' has become established practice supported by the psychiatric profession. As numerous anti-psychiatry authors have pointed out, the attitude towards variant behaviour in other cultures, Native American, Celtic etc. has been far more supportive and has acknowledge the gifted nature of the psychotic experience, the transcendent aspect of getting a glimpse into the invisible otherworld with its poetic rather than materialist essence.
Such supportive and even appreciative attitudes have not vanished, as my own experience indicates, and as the written and spoken accounts of people like Alan Ginsberg ('Howl') testify, ... but there is no 'critical mass' and the formal institutions of our culture have been built up on the basis that psychologically abnormal behaviour stems from biochemical and/or biogenetic defectiveness, rather than from hypersanity, hyperawareness and spontaneous inside-outwards, snake-like self-healing cycles. Thus, if a friend of mine undergoes the type of psychotic episode as myself, for any crisis phases within the episode, I would have to provide a safe-haven for him where he is supported on a round-the-clock basis (e.g. by a team of friends). If, meanwhile, he decides to make a tour of the neighbourhood in the nude or exhibiting some bizarre behaviour, ... the whistles will be blown and he will be taken away to an institution and subjected to involuntary incarceration and drug etc. interventions. The point here is that it is a moot point that the supportive friends of someone undergoing a psychic healing cycle are prepared to provide safe haven and the appropriate nurturing space for the cycle unless the person undergoing it is capable of managing his external interfaces to the point of not inciting others to 'blow the whistle'. Were the 'normal community' more like the community within the 'asylum', the whistle-blowing tolerance bar for bizarre behaviour would obviously rise several-fold.
The background above reviews the current fact that while there are split views within our society as to whether 'psychotic behaviour' stems from hyperawareness and self-healing in reaction to emotional pressures to assimilate within a pathological normality, or whether it stems from innate biogenetic/biochemical defectiveness, the formally established law-supported systems, that respond when psychotic behaviour results in a 'disturbance' to the smooth functioning of society (the established psychological health-'care' system is not rallied into action for non-disturbing psychotic behaviour situations) are based on the latter assumption.
Here, I shall present the core finding that supports the origins of insanity as being resident within a 'pathological normality'.
'Behaviour', according to western traditions of perception and inquiry, is attributed to the 'physical agent' (individual, corporation, nation) rather than to the enveloping (crazy-making) space that envelopes the individual. The worldview of western 'normals' is constructed by mentally modeling what goes on in terms of the behaviours of the 'independent' material agents that populate space, ... a one-sided view of behaviour that fails to see space as a participant in behavioural phenomena.
This assumption, that individuals have 'free will' and that space is a non-participant in physical phenomena (though Einstein and Poincaré and relativity theory suggest that space is indeed a participant in behavioural phenomena) is so deeply and thoroughly imbued in the fabric of our western-minded thinking, that it is difficult to even 'make room' in our minds for reflecting on the feasibility of other mental models.
The suspension of your (the reader's) disbelief in the alternative view that 'space is a participant in behavioural phenomena' may be helped by a couple of familiar examples;
1. The skier and the avalanche.
Would you say that the skier 'causes' the avalanche when it erupts from beneath his skis?
2. The smoker and the forest fire.
Would you say that the smoker who throws an incompletely extinguished cigarette into the forest 'causes' the forest fire?
The short answer in this different way of visualizing 'behaviour' is that, 'no', the skier and the smoker simply 'trigger' the release of stored energy and it is the release of the stored energy that causes the avalanche and the forest fire.
For a more in-depth look at how the oversimplified use of the concept of 'causality' gets us into trouble, a more technical discussion that follows in green that the reader may pass over, depending on her interest.
How Our Use of the Concept of 'Causality' Gets Us Into Trouble.
(excerpted from 'Pyro-terrorism in McLure', a reflection on the psychology of accusing an individual of 'causing' the McLure forest fire)
Causality is a Newtonian concept that associates particular actions with particular results. It is very much a cornerstone of the way we 'rationally' mentally-model the world, but it is not the way we 'intuitively' mentally model the world.
The rational approximation associated with causality is that the future is constructed from the immediate past, ... so when the particular Hatfield shoots a particular McCoy, rationality says that that Hatfield 'caused' the death of that McCoy, ... a simple cause-and-effect transaction, end-of-story, full stop.
But our intuition tells us that it would be an over-simplification to consider only the actions of the immediate past and the results of the immediate future, since the Hatfields have a history of terrorizing the McCoys and the McCoys have a history of terrorizing the Hatfields; i.e. the killings can be seen more comprehensively as emergent behaviours within a historically tensioned atmosphere.
George W. Bush (rationalist) and Nelson Mandela (intuitive) see the world very differently in this regard, ... but what is the essence of this difference?
When the snow builds on the mountain slope, 'tensions' build with the accumulation of snow towards a critical threshold where no more snow can be supported without a catastrophic release of the tensions; i.e. an avalanche. Thus the skier does not really 'cause' the avalanche, he merely 'triggers' the avalanche, since the avalanche is the release of accumulated tensions. Does he know exactly where he should not put his ski? No, because the buildup of tensions is invisible and there are only rough guidelines to go by.
So, the buildup of 'potential energy tensions' towards a critical threshold value is not considered in the causal model (our western rational mental modeling 'default') since causality assumes that the development of the immediate future derives from the actions of the immediate past. This is an approximation that does not hold true in nature, as has been pointed out by philosophers of science. For example, Henri Poincaré describes this simplistic 'causal transaction' based way of describing space-time evolution one of the foundational approximations of classical science that effectively 'disqualifies' it for use in complex natural systems.
"First, with respect to time [the first foundational approximation of mainstream mathematical physics]. Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon, we simply try to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past. Thanks to this postulate, instead of studying directly the whole succession of phenomena, we may confine ourselves to writing down its differential equation ; for the laws of Kepler, we substitute the laws of Newton."
So, if you are a science minded 'rationalist', you are more likely to say that the skier 'caused' the avalanche and the smoker 'caused' the fire, rather than the skier 'triggered' the avalanche or that the smoker 'triggered' the fire, since the 'historical' buildup of potential energy tensions is ignored in the rational 'causal' model.
The same factors apply in the case of what is labeled 'terrorism'. The buildup of tensions to the catastrophic release point are ignored in the rational model of causality and we consider only the catastrophes, taking the catastrophic result and associating it with the actions that immediately precede it (in mathematical terms, 'differentiating with respect to space and time'). Once we have uttered the word 'terrorism', our rational-causal model obliges us to seek out the 'causal agency' aka 'terrorist'. Once we have identified the causal agent 'responsible for' the terrorist result, we have all the necessary facts in hand and this is where the rational model terminates its inquiry. As the adage goes, ... ''facts' simply mark the spot where our investigations cease.'
The oversimplification innate in the causal model is splitting us into opposing views on many issues. Should the parents of the children whose teenage friends were drinking at the party, be seen as being responsible for 'causing' the ensuing death of a teenager in a car crash on his way home from the party? Should smoking be held responsible for 'causing' cancer? Should man's greenhouse gas emissions be held responsible for 'causing' global warming? Should HIV be held responsible for 'causing' AIDS? Should the CEO be held causally responsible for the results of the company or should the employees? (in this latter case, the answer hinges on whether the results are good or bad, and who is making the judgement call).
The simplistic recipe for establishing 'causality' is, whenever an outstanding result outwells, seek out those immediately preceding actions that seem to be causally related. This is often a statistical undertaking and even in the case of strong correlations, one tends to find exceptions which are termed 'false positives' (i.e. smokers that never get cancer, HIV-positives that never get AIDS etc.).
The split between the 'rationalist' world view and the 'intuitives' world view gets into full swing in 'genetics' where the rationalists argue, on the basis of statistical correlation, that there are particular DNA structural deviations that 'cause' homosexuality, violence, mental illness etc. and that amniocentesis can be used to suppress the birth of these 'genetically flawed' individuals. In actual studies, in fact, in identical twins having the 'gay gene' in the lower portion of the X chromosome, if one twin is gay, there is only a 52% chance of the other (i.e. both) being gay, suggesting that whatever is going on is not quite so simple as the 'genetic causality' model would suggest.
The implication is clearly that a hard rational dependency on the 'causal' model leads to a purificationist ethic wherein the causal agencies of undesirable results are seen as something that should be identified and somehow suppressed/punished or eliminated.
Meanwhile, the intuitives, recognizing the oversimplification in the 'causal' model, intuit the existence of a deeper, more fundamental process that gives rise to 'emergent' behaviours that appear, superficially/approximately as 'cause-and-effect' relationships; i.e. if the causal agents of terror (i.e. the 'terrorists') are eliminated, the very act of eliminating them may induce the emergence of new forms of disturbance in which case rational purification attempts become caught up together with terrorism in a 'vicious cycle'.
In medicine, this philosophical/ethical split has been around at least as long as the era of Louis Pasteur, who conceded on his deathbed, what his contemporary Antoine Bechamp had been long arguing, that 'le microbe n'est rien, le terrain est tout' (the microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything). That is, while the bacteria had been accused of 'causing' the illness/death of the patient, a mental model which suggests the purificationist approach of eliminating the guilty aggressor (i.e. an 'anti-biotic' or 'anti-life' philosophy/ethic), Pasteur's concession was that the story was more complex and that the condition of the 'terrain' was the over-riding factor and the dramatic blossoming of the particular 'aggressor' microbe population was not a 'cause' in-its-own-right, but was instead 'the result' of the condition of the physical terrain. This inverted notion sees 'health' in terms of the resilient dynamical balance of the diverse consituents in the system and 'illness' in terms of a falling out of dynamical balance. Only recently has the science of 'pro-biotics' come along to work the 'terrain' side of things as an alternative to the purificationist attack against the causal agents. One can imagine similar alternatives in the case of the purificationist 'war on terrorism' (e.g. 'le terroriste n'est rien, le terrain est tout' as the pro-peace slogan 'drop money, not bombs' suggests).
The message is simple, if one wants to use causality as the cornerstone of managing the dynamics of life, then it follows that one will adopt a purificationist approach which seeks to resolve disturbance by suppressing or eliminating the identified 'causal agencies'.
But if one wants to view life dynamics in the less approximative terms of 'complexity' and 'emergent behaviour' where 'le terrain est tout', ... then the response is to work on reducing the tensions in the enveloping terrain below the breaking threshold. This could be applied to mental distress, criminality, terrorism etc., and in the case of a smoker accused of 'causing' the forest fire, it suggests community programs analogous to 'buddy diving' where, for example, in space-time regions of hair-triggered potentials for energy release (tinder-dry forests), people would 'buddy up' to assist one another in such ways as wetting down hazardous areas that one's fellows were working on, or camping out in.
The difference in the two philosophies is that while managing on the basis of lowering the tensions in 'the terrain' means that catastrophic disturbance never emerges in the first place, the purificationist approach ignores the tensioned condition of the terrain and operates after-the-fact of catastrophic disturbance, focusing instead on identifying and punishing the 'causal agents' so as to suppress the possibility of recurrence, an initiative that, in the case of complex community social dynamics, may further increase tensions and thus further increase the likelihood of catastrophic disturbance.
as in the case of smoking and cancer and in all these 'causal relationships', ... since the causal view focuses 'healing' energies on the elimination of the causal agency, ...there is no research effort into an investigation of 'false positives' in the context of their more resilient 'terrain' that would shed clues on how to shift healing towards the cultivation of more resilience in the terrain.
instead, 'bigger bounties' are placed on the eliminating of the causal agents while 'holistic' healing opportunities through improving the resilience of the terrain are passed by.
The suggestion is, then, that the historically evolved 'tensions' or 'potential energy configurations' of space can play a larger role in 'behaviour' than the behaviour of the individual assertive agent. Rather than thinking of 'behaviour' in terms of the individual as a 'causal agent' that is 'responsible' for the behaviour, one can generalize the alternative scenario in which the individual simply 'triggers' the release of potential energy stored in space, so that the deeper view of 'behaviour' is in terms of 'the release of energy stored in space'. When the rock rolls down the mountain, we naturally focus on the behaviour of the rock, but the deeper view of this behaviour is in terms of the transforming shape of the mountain and thus, the transforming shape of the potential energy stored in space. This view of the behaviour of space (the spring-loaded energy configuration of space) is complete in that it also includes the kinetic energy tapped into by the rolling rock since the sum of potential and kinetic energy is always conserved (by the experience-validated principle of conservation of energy).
What if we 'go with' this deeper view of 'behaviour', seeing 'behaviour' in terms of the release of energy stored in space, ... down-playing the notion of behaviour in terms of 'causation' by the independent assertive agents and ascribing to them instead, a 'triggering' only role?
If I walk naked into a public elementary school, my behaviour will come under attack and the teacher may call the police and I may be prosecuted for my 'unacceptable behaviour'. I might even be 'roughed up' on the spot, by angry parents.
The hypothesis is that 'I caused a disturbance', but is it not more true that 'I triggered the release of stored energy (energy stored in the relationship amongst things/people) and that the bigger view of 'behaviour' is in terms of the role of space?
Had I walked naked into a public elementary school in a nudist colony, such behaviour would not have caused any 'disturbance'.
It is a general principle that energy dynamics can always be seen in either of two ways; (a) the kinetic energy transactions associated with the assertive behaviour of material agents acting as if in-their-own-'independent'-right, or (b) transformation in the potential energy configuration.
The relationship between the two can be seen by the analogy of a computer screen where different colours may be stored in the matrix of pixels that render images on the screen. If a particular pattern formed by the different colours stored in the pixels, for example the little cursor icon on the computer screen, is seen to move, this behaviour of 'movement' that we attribute to the cursor icon can also be seen as a transformation of what is stored in space.
In fact, the latter 'transformation of space' view is a more comprehensive view of behaviour since it reflects dynamical changes in relations amongst all of the pixels composing the screen space, the full dynamical context, whereas, the view of behaviour in terms of the movement of the cursor icon focus in on the dynamical content and ignores informationally more comprehensive view in terms of dynamical context.
The more comprehensive view of behaviour in terms of dynamical context; i.e. in terms of the transformation of the stored energy in space, casts a different light on the notion of 'normality' and 'abnormality'.
For example, it says that a 'normal behaviour' is one that avoids triggering humongous releases of stored energy. This recasts 'behaviour' of the individual relative to the culturally evolved configuration of energy stored in space, the 'social tensions' that we can all feel that are different in the intimate space of lovers than they are in the formal space of church on sunday etc.
The behavioural trajectory of the individual is thus 'shaped' by considerations of triggering releases of stored energy in space; i.e. by the 'bigger view of behaviour' in terms of contextual dynamics rather than contentual dynamics.
This is a very different view of behaviour than that of the psychiatrist, since the psychiatrist's assumption is that 'behaviour' is energized by the individual rather than by energy releases from the space that he is immersed in (i.e. the psychiatrist would attribute behaviour to the rock rolling down the mountain rather than to the transforming configuration of the (stored energy of) the mountain).
The psychiatrist taking 'normality' for granted equates to his focus on contentual dynamics, watching the person's movements like the cursor on the computer screen without seeing that such movement is the shallower view that blinds one to the deeper view in terms of the transformation of what's stored in space (contextual dynamics and their 'evolutionary drift')..
Now, suppose that what's stored in space, the energies that are spring-loaded in social tensions, evolve so that 'normality' in terms of those movements of the individual that avoid triggering inordinate amounts of energy stored in these spring-loaded social tensions, ... becomes more and more constraining. For example, supposing that criticism of the government starts triggering the release of enormous quantities of negative energy, then 'normal behaviour' automatically takes up this adjustment so that behaviour critical of the government comes to be viewed as 'abnormal'. As many historians have observed, this was the case in the USSR where political dissidents were diagnosed as 'mentally disordered' and incarcerated in gulags where they were subjected to involuntarily taking neuroleptic drugs (anti-psychotic drugs) such as haloperidol, thorazine etc.). [See the very informative essay 'Shrinking the Freedom of Thought: How Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Violates Basic Human Rights', by Richard Gosden, Journal of Human Rights and Technology, Vol. 1, February, 1997 at http://www.hri.ca/doccentre/docs/gosden.shtml ]
My 'Psychotic Episode'
My own psychotic episode, lasting roughly a month (while the crisis phase in the middle of the episode is clearly definable, the transitions in and out are curves or 'warps' rather than discrete bounds) was observed by a Jungian analyst I was visiting ('buddy-diving' with, into the depths of my psyche) who gave guidance throughout, and was also chosen, due to its 'classic geometry', as a central theme for a Ph.D dissertation in depth psychology'. As already mentioned, because of the particulars of my 'support system' (children, friends, animals, nature, buddy-diving Jungian analyst), I was supported in my experience of going through this self-healing snakeskin-like ego replacement, without being stopped and held suspended in limbo by institutionalization and neuroleptic drugging etc. Meanwhile, knowing how my sensitive self would have responded to such treatments, which are far more likely to befall individuals in similar circumstances, ... I can only breathe the deep sigh of relief and the flood of empathic compassion for others who the fearful 'normals' have kept suspended in the pain zone, in the realization that 'there but fortune, go you or go I..
It is clear from my copious notes on my internal feelings and external observations going into, through and coming out of the psychotic episode, embodied in my internet dialogues, that the release of transformative psychic energy triggered in me, was triggered by my inability to continue to stay within the behavioural constraints set up by enveloping social tensions and the need to avoid triggering their energy-releasing collapse. In fact, my writings at the time specifically mentioned this 'double bind' where I was unable to behave so as to avoid triggering the energy-releasing collapse of social tensions, but yet could not be true to myself were I to avoid doing so. This double bind became more apparent in my growing estrangement from others in formal social settings such as at work due to my sharings on the nature of the pathology in what we were calling 'normal' behaviour. One friend came up to me during a workshop I was giving on 'The Nature of High Performance Teams' and told me that while he understood and agreed with my views, he was finding that to openly share them was distancing him from his associates, something he could not endure emotionally, and so he advised me that while he agreed with me, he could not longer openly share his agreement, as it incited anger in his associates.
While my friend had not yet passed the point of no return, I already had, and had become a declared and known 'rebel' whose rejection of many behaviours deemed 'normal' and whose characterizing of 'normality' as 'pathological' had become a part of who I was. But I was in an untenable position that was sustained only by my powers of status in a senior position in a large corporation and my financial independence. .That is, the power one has over others, or is seen to have over others, can be used to suppress the release of energy associated with 'abnormal behaviour'. An illustrative example was the case of a senior manager who was discovered by a security guard in his office in the 42nd Street NY headquarters, having sex with his secretary. When the security guard told him that he was not allowed to do this in the office space, he retorted that he could do whatever he pleased in the office and to punctuate his remark, unzipped his fly and urinated on an electric typewriter in the secretary's area. This behaviour, that recalls the 'droits de seigneur' in medieval times whereby 'noblemen' were allowed to 'have their way' with the village virgins, can be seen in terms of a particular form of social tension that suppresses the triggering of the release of energy that might otherwise transpire 'under normal circumstances'. The security guard, fearful of losing his job, did not 'blow the whistle' on the manager, just as the parents of the virgin in medieval time did not 'blow the whistle' on the nobleman, suggesting that 'behaviour' is neither attributable purely to the assertive agent nor to the energy tensions of the enveloping space but that the two are entangled with one another: i.e. behaviour emerges from the tensional relationship between the individual and the enveloping collective. Should the 'nobleman' try to have his way with the village virgins subsequent to being disowned and therefore disempowered by his family, he would likely have triggered the release of stored energies resulting in his being tarred-and-feathered or worse.
In a sense, then, my ability to 'afford' my rebel behaviour that I had grown accustomed to and had become part of me (a rebel behaviour that was in my case used to bluntly and openly expose the pathology of 'normality') was, in effect, synthetically supported by my 'position' coming from my professional and managerial status. That is, my position allowed me to the freedom to behave with impunity in a way that 'under normal conditions', might have triggered an avalanche or blazing inferno of of negative energy release. When I 'took the package' and left my profession and synthetic status, bound for the 'greater freedom' of the world outside the synthetic power structures of business, while I was financially equipped to live in the manner that I had become accustomed to, ... I could no longer strut my rebel stuff in the same way and was in some sense like a disempowered nobleman whose cultivated taste for village virgins has become a part of him.
Thus is the stage set for a collapse of the ego which I interpreted at the time as the portending collapse in others' belief in a 'normality' that was essentially a 'house of cards'. Instead, it was myself that had been, by virtue of the social power-of-position base, liberated from having to feign belief in the soundness of 'normality' so that I was able to speak freely and openly of the very different truths I saw, without triggering avalanchine releases of negative energy.
After leaving work, and as I entered into the beginning of the slow parabolic curve leading into the full warp of my psychotic episode, I was emotionally caught up in concern and compassion for others and how they were going to deal with what seemed like the oncoming exposé of the unworthiness of what we had all embraced as 'normality'. But what happened instead was a collapse of my ego and the fetalization of a new ego that was 'more humble' and less interested in the synthetic freedom of rebelhood that derived from the power of position and status. In the wake of my 'existential rebirth', I moved out of the rich suburb and the married environment I had been living in, in Dallas, into an apartment in downtown Montréal and into a far more down-to-earth culture that I became entangled with in bars and pool-halls. After two years, in my continuing search for even deeper levels of non-synthetic freedom to stop pretending that 'normality is a good thing', ... I moved from Montréal to Pender Island where I am now living, as I write this note.
What is apparent to me is that the nature of the social 'space' that one is immersed in; i.e. the subculture one is included in, with regard to its stored energy tensions and energy-release triggering characteristics is of over-riding importance in shaping 'who one is'. I certainly do not 'blame' the people who suppressed their own energy-release triggering because of their fear of my power that came from my position, as I was doing the same sort of suppressing in deference to the power that others held over me. Could I imagine suppressing the triggering of my energy release if the president of the US together with a bevy of secret servicemen drove up to claim the maidenhead of one of my daughters? That depends upon the configuration of stored tensions at the time; i.e. if the era was akin to that in the time of Hitler or Stalin, then I might try to 'hold back' in the moment so as to not to provoke retaliation that could endanger my daughter's life (making that decision for her) and that of the entire family (the film 'Braveheart' explores this resistance to the 'droits du Seigneur'.) but this would depend upon how her 'spirit' was prepared for, or not prepared to endure the event.
Overall, my experience including my existential rebirth, informs me that 'behaviour' is a property of 'space' beyond being a property of the 'individual' (i.e. behaviour as a property of space includes, as an incomplete view special case, the behaviour of the individual) and that 'normality', rather than being given by a list of 'appropriate assertive behaviours' on the part of the individual, is instead shaped from the outside-in, by one's manner of moving relative to the enveloping dynamical social space, so as to avoid triggering an avalanchine release of antagonistic energies. 'Normality' for the nobleman with a taste for village virgins, is not the same as the normality of the serf with a taste for village virgins due to fact that 'behaviour' is not the property of individuals, but the property of 'space'; i.e. the manner in which energy tensions are stored in the enveloping-including space that we move through and the manner in which their release is triggered. Thus 'normal behaviour' is a function of our unique situation within the enveloping 'stored energy field' of space.
'Insanity' and its Healing Needs
As soon as one deepens one's view of behaviour, from seeing it in the content-ual terms of the property of a dynamic constituent of space to the contextual terms of the dynamical property of space itself (e.g. the transformation of the configuration of energy stored in space through the triggered release of energy), a very different view of 'insanity' becomes possible that 'fits' with the notions of 'hypersanity' as the property of the 'mentally disordered' as used by researchers into the nature of psychopathology such as Ronald Laing, and indeed as intuitively felt by those in the midst of a psychotic warp.
Sensitive people who are unable to constrain their behaviour so as to avoid triggering the release of stored energy tensions reactive/antagonistic to them can become focused upon as a source of disturbance that must be suppressed. If they can keep moving and pick up 'empathic blocking', as street people do, or people in countries where the supply of 'disturbance-suppressing' agencies are in short supply, they can avoid being hunted down, encircled and seized. The 'hunting down' and 'controlling' processes that ensue when 'someone blows the whistle' on 'abnormal behaviour' are processes energized by the triggered release of energies in the enveloping social space which polarize the hunted and the hunters, inciting continued escalation of the triggered release of energy that continues to be projected by the hunters ('the normals') onto the hunted and seen in terms of a 'normal response' to the 'abnormal behaviour' of the hunted..
Once seized, the 'abnormal' person may be incarcerated against his/her will (or even give themselves up to voluntary institutionalization to avoid the stress) and given neuroleptic drugs to arrest the psychosis. In any case, they are put 'under surveillance', which means that they are put in a space where the triggering mechanisms for the release of stored antagonistic energies are even more delicate (hair-triggers). If they are put into an institution, they are buffered by the dull-triggered tolerance of their fellow inmates, but on their release, they are once again put under surveillance and thus find themselves within a space that is more suffocating than the 'normality space' that they started out in, where they may inadvertently trigger the release of energy in those watching them, kicking of a vicious cycle of suppression and attempt to escape from suppression that culminates in further incarceration and involuntary drug administering.
Passage through a cycle of 'existential rebirth' can be suspended in midstream for an indefinite period by this dysfunctional situation.
Speaking from personal experience, what the 'spirit' wants is liberation from this hair-triggered energy-release space which makes one feel as if one is swimming in the midst of a school of sharks while in the self-conscious hysteria of feeling a nose-bleed or a menstrual cycle coming on. What one desires is to be amongst 'other crazies' who have similarly lost their belief in 'normality' and lost their fear of 'abnormality' and whose energy releases are thus not easily 'triggered' by 'suspicious behaviours' on each other's part. In this non-judgemental social environment, the spirit can return to innocent childlike exploration that it was denied in the tensioned environments of formal western society. Sexuality can be reexplored and rediscovered without the stress of having to find out 'what is normal' and having to work seriously developing 'good technique'; i.e. behaviour that is goal oriented to the achievement of results. Pleasure comes instead as 'emergent behaviour' during the sustained building tantric tensions. Thus, instead of seeing sexual behaviour as an attribute of the individual, it is instead seen as an attribute of the configuration of energy tensions in space, a configuration that is co-creatively shaped by the participating individuals so as to co-harvest the avalanchine releases of tensions.
The sexual aspect is of special interest because it is an area of high energy tensions and the sexuality of the enveloping space has an embodied potency in terms of exciting potentials that can make the mind and body tingle. But the more general point is this desire to return to innocence and earthy honesty and escape the behaviour-shaping synthetic tensions of formal social space. In other words, the individual in psychosis seems to want to 're-ground' his 'self' in a new, more innocent and earthy social codynamic, and avoid returning to the 'school of sharks', rediscovering with the innocence of a child how he, as a strand in the web of relationships, can pluck the web so as to make music pleasing to himself and the enveloping collective (a 'new' enveloping collective that he may have to move around to discover although transformation can also be inspired in-situ, particularly if a critical mass of those wishing to re-ground naturally can be assembled.)
And so the person who is 'mentally disordered' digs in his heels like a stubborn mule, resisting the efforts of psychiatrists and loving 'normals' (friends and families) who are trying to pull him back out of the twisted-off free-space of psychosis to 're-ground' him in the shark-school of normality.. Instead of helping him through his existential rebirth, they suspend him in the painful narrows midway in the passage.
The individual, once he sees 'behaviour' as a property of space rather than as a property of the individual, can never again accept the judgement of 'the normals' that it is 'his behaviour' that is the 'cause' of the 'disturbance'. Like the skier who triggers the avalanche or the smoker who accidently triggers the forest fire, he knows that the disturbance he is accused of causing is more fully seen as an emergent behaviour of space, an accident-waiting-to-happen due to the manner in which energy-tensions are stored in space and the manner in which they are triggered (i.e. not by the behaviour in its own right, but by behaviour seen in the context of the web of stored energy-tensions, as illustrated by the allegory of the nobleman and the village virgins).
The behaviour of a collective transcends deduction from models of inquiry that start from the behaviours of the constituents. Not even the behaviour of a flock of geese can be understood in terms of the behaviours of the individual constituents since the constituents co-creatively condition the dynamic of the enveloping space that they are referencing their behaviours to; i.e. their behaviours are subservient to the behaviour of the enveloping dynamical space. The principle, the relativity of behaviour of the collective and the constituent, can be applied to nature as a whole.
There is profound humility and compassion in this view of life, with its powers having been breathed into space by 'the wind that was always there', and our individual breathing, participation in the co-creative evolution of an endless outwelling of forms most beautiful and wonderful.
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