A Psychologist’s Notebook

Table of Contents:

September 2012: Living Life with Feelings: Anger Management?
September 2012: The Joy of Theft–free of guilt, regret, remorse, and shame!
December 2011: Pioneer psychology and a Dr. Bill
October 2011: Retroactive Genetic Transcendence: the politicians’ disease
May 2011: Dictators and Oligarchs
May 2011: The marvelous, burdensome gift of common wisdom

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September 2012

Living Life with Feelings: Anger Management?

The judge was attempting to be lenient with the man and lectured sternly, scolding him. The offense was roughness with his wife in an argument that had started as a rather happy discussion of details of their planned vacation. The husband and wife had become insistent about something. Then he shouted and pushed his wife into a chair. He then became enraged, blaming her for ”making him lose his temper.” He had not injured her but frightened her because this had followed a series of similar episodes.

Convicted, the man was sentenced to a course in anger management. That judge had been persuaded by well intentioned psychologists who did not recognize the distinction between emotions and actions—in fact, did not understand the nature of emotions—what they are and are not. But all current mental health schools of thought damage themselves by including erroneous common wisdom and resulting erroneous basic premises. Therefore false wisdom that blighted the human race over the ages continues operationally as built-in error—preventing any of current treatment systems being useful for cure of neuroses.

What has happened to all of us? Humanity has existed with a highly developed and greatly ramified misunderstanding of emotions. In some degree, that false wisdom creates an uneasiness with emotion, whether it appears in oneself or in others. That unease apparently has been part of our ancestors’ lives beginning in dim prehistoric days. Unfortunately that unease (now more properly termed as either affect phobia or emotion phobia) creates the many varieties of neurotic problems: New understanding of actual emotion functions and processes changes much about health and illness. Unheralded, it is the only knowledge that has ever brought full and lasting cure of neuroses in the thousands of years of attempts to do so. It does so simply and rapidly, and most often without treatment.

Affect phobia, although remaining quite unnoticed even after my writings decades earlier, has impact on human life of greater importance than being the basis of creating neuroses in many millions of sufferers worldwide. It hampers everyone’s moment-by-moment experiencing of life. That misunderstanding of emotion interferes with spontaneity, interferes with what should be the natural comfortable use of all emotions. The result is loss of the broad awareness, creativity, and comfort of feelingful lives.

Error in understanding brings the belief that emotions, or at least some emotions, must be confronted, dealt with, managed, modulated, or suppressed. That, in turn, goes with a belief that there are positive and negative emotions (with lists of “good” and “bad” emotions varying from person to person). It therefor goes with the belief that emotions are an unfortunate burden on human life.

Nature is quite generous in providing us with a large array of autonomous processes that we neither have to keep track of nor can adjust. None of those processes can be managed by us. A few processes can be slightly altered with great effort. Most processes ordinarily are left out of our awareness. There are so many of such autonomous processes within each of us that even maintaining consciousness of their many functions would not be possible.

Sensory processes continuously detect what is going on in situations and conditions (in and around us) and send information of events or situations to our perceptual system. What follows can be described as the perceptual processes translating sensory information into two modalities:

1) Description of facts of inner and outer events, conditions, and situations.

2) The implications and consequences for us.

The factual translation is provided in modality of thought. The meaning and significance is separately provided in modality of feelings with selection of specific feeling telling what an event means to us and the intensity of feeling telling us how important it is to us.

A judgmental process then considers the event’s implications and creates a decision. All of that occurs in nanoseconds and a decision/judgment is made as to whether or what action is called for.

When we comprehend that emotions and thoughts participate in our perceptual system we gain the important understanding that neither thought or feeling alone commands our actions. This awareness makes a great difference in our lives.

Comparison with vision processes, which also participate as another aspect of our perceptual system, illustrates the folly of attempting management of autonomous processes. Visual sensory process of our vision sends messages of color, for instance, just as it does with size, shape, and movement. These are comparable to other information sent to our perceptual system to process and inform our judgmental process.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t see that color as blue, see it as orange.” as guiding wisdom? Have you encountered anyone who believes they can and should manage their color vision? When we understand that both color vision and emotion are autonomous, we know that neither can be managed, modulated, controlled, or have a way of being dealt with. They cannot be managed. Each can be used for informaton they provide us.

The only available option to natural use of emotion is a detrimental repression of awareness—shoving it into hiding where it continues to exist within. Intention to manage anger developed from flawed thinking based in false premises. Fatuous misunderstandings of emotion and its processes make treatment of neuroses based in theories of our many schools of psychotherapy wasted time and money. The sophistic thought over the ages has brought nonsensical, irrelevant rituals of virtual therapy. We can change that

The misinformed judge was sold on an imaginary solution to bullying. He innocently followed fictitious guidance from sophistry of misguided professionals. The knowledge of the only effective approach to disturbances that are better described as “emotion storm disorders” is particularized in my one dollar e-book volume “Two Little Books: Cure at last”. A few thousand people with neuroses have been fully cured by use of of these ideas. Many were self-cured. Approximately 90% of in-office patients were full and lastingly freed of neurosis.

Thus when effective knowledge is generally adopted, neuroses will disappear as a problem. The task then becomes dispersal of awareness of uses of emotion to free everyone from the sophist misunderstanding. That will better the life experience of humanity.

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September 2012

The Joy of Theft–free of guilt, regret, remorse, and shame!

How is it that some people are not only comfortable but proud and gloating about outdoing another by the bold cleverness of their scheming or the power of their muscle that enabled them to succeed in their venture? Whether those are vocational or part time avocational activities how can they be comfortable with themselves as thieves, robbers, pickpockets, burglars, deceivers, swindlers or embezzlers?

A young couple visited their aging aunt who was pleased to have a rare bit of fellowship with her young relatives. She welcomed them and they chatted for a while. Then the elderly lady, conscious of her age, decided to point out an antique bureau and told them that she planned to leave it to them someday. She also showed them another bureau that she told them she was leaving to their cousin.

The young woman said, “No, I want this one!” The immediate answer was a firm, “No, I decided this one will go to your cousin Maria.” The young woman persisted, ”I will have this one.”

The aged one said, I have made my decision. Realizing that discussion was hopeless, she told them she would cut some flowers in the garden for them and left the house to pick a bouquet for the niece and nephew to take with them.

When she returned, her visitors were not there. She found them in front of the house. In the interim they had loaded their choice of the antiques into their car and were driving off with their chosen, but premature inheritance—They did not wait for her death for if they did they might not get what they decided belonged to them. They did not wait for the bouquet.

Their attitudes about theft gave them a righteous sense of triumph for obtaining something that was theirs for the taking. Over the years after their theft, they might look at the bureau with pride in their determination and efficiency in securing something that justifiably belonged to them. That sharply differs from the attitudes of most of us who believe possessions pertain to persons and are not transferred by whim of others. Most of us are shocked by such dishonesty: we condemn corrupt activity and disapprove of the persons engaging in it. We sympathize with auntie who did not call the police and would never come to peace with the brazen theft by her sister’s children.

There could not be a workable degree of civilization If a plurality among us did not respect the person and property of others. If on occasion our admiration leads us to envy someone’s possession, we neither covet nor plan how to take that possession. Rather than considering stealing something, our admiration might lead us to a “maybe someday I could have something comparable to it.”

This important difference results from the inhibiting influence of anticipatory feelings of shame, guilt, regret or remorse. Those restraints are aspects of our individual conscience: As illustrated by the niece and nephew, not everyone has a well developed conscience: Not everyone develops a mature internal guiding function.

Maturation arrives as six stages of increasing complexity of awareness of self and others. These are transforming steps in the quality of interpersonal relations quite separate from intelligence. Reaching the third stage (Delta) by a majority of population, meets the requirement for participating in a clan, tribal, monarchic, oligarchic, or other dictatorship forms of societies dominated by a “superior” elite.

Only with the individuality of a preponderance of population able to function at the fourth stage (Gamma) of development can there be a societal organization in which citizenry are in charge of their own government. In the past, that development has led to rebellious citizen take-over. But some rebellions have resulted in merely a new oligarchic takeover.

The progress of the individual development of awareness can be capped in people for any of a number of reasons. The two major reasons are inherent limitation of genetic structure or cultural (family) experience that curtails growth. Few people reach the last two stages. It does seem clear that the majority of the world population has reached the fourth (gamma) stage over a few thousand years. It is the stage of civilized cultures—It creates dissatisfaction with curtailment of individual liberty and naturally leads to disrupting unrest in various oligarchies.

It is those people who progress no further than the third stage (Delta) who have been ideal as both leaders and followers in tribal organizations. But they fit poorly within equalitarian societies. Paradoxically, they think of themselves as entitled to share anything others have, but remain free of generosity that would lead them to share their own possessions with others outside their circle.

The step in moving from Delta level to Gamma level involves recognition of a boundary where their self stops and another person’s starts. Until that is achieved, people remain with the childhood uncertainty of individuality, in which the psychic assurance remains that others may merge with them as if one is psychologically an appendage of the other. Others are viewed as part of self or dangerous enemy. They have not mastered the leap in epigenetic steps to fit with the equalitarian (gamma) societal level.

The key to this is a crucial developmental task that each of us must make in childhood. A clusters of elements belong together and so they invariably move together. We build a self image with defined boundaries of self. Without self clearly defined, interpersonal emotions remain limited. Pity carries a tone of superiority and a bit of contempt and belittling. With discrimination of self separate from other, sympathy and compassion are added to the repertoire of feelings.

Uncertainty about self makes for uncertainty about others. If we are uncertain about our self, we don’t trust, we don’t become trustworthy. The same uncertainty about self makes us struggle to master, to be in charge whether we know what we are doing or not. As group members we thus view relationships as master or slave.Of great importance, those remaining at Delta level see others and their property as belonging to anyone who can take it. Moving to Gamma level enables us to respect others and their property. At Delta level, others are not quite the same level of human as they. For them life has a natural righteous joy in harvesting whatever they covet regardless of others’ wishes, regardless of laws.

It is part of the reality of the world in which we live.

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May 2011

The marvelous, burdensome gift of common wisdom

That gift of spoken and written language is one of the important advantages we humans have over all other creatures on earth. These allow each of us to learn a vast amount without having to think it out for ourselves, invent, or learn by trial and error.

A great treasure of available wisdom passes from generation to generation as a store of knowledge advantageously guiding and protecting our lives. We use our extended childhood to learn, accept, and adopt what we are taught and then we adapt ourselves to that knowledge. We develop our potential by systematically appropriating what others have accepted as true and factual.

Compared to all other creatures on earth our ability to learn in that way is a wondrous advantage. On the other hand, because common wisdom carries an authoritative persuasiveness from its aura of truth, we tend to suspend skepticism. Does passage of knowledge through several generations validate it as factually correct? It would be wonderful if that were always true.

Unnoticed by most, harm to the human race has come from false “wisdom” about the interplay of thought and feeling. Erroneous wisdom starting at least as far back as the earliest written history has, passed from generation to generation, and misguided millions of people. No one seemed to notice the errors and no one seemed to notice the connection to the troubles those caused. Those unrecognized falsehoods have been and continue to be the cause of neurotic disablement and have wasted lives of millions of people.

We can speculate about how it started. We see it in Homer’s story of Achilles, in a distraught state, sulking in his tent; also in his story of Medea and her repeated rage state driven deceitful and murderous conduct.
Years later, Socrates in the Trilogy makes his denigrative declaration that sweeping emotion out of his mind enabled his clarity of thought. Later, Aristotle stated that emotion is a slave of the intellect. Such examples of false wisdom over the ages are many.

Those latter two icons of ‘lovers of knowledge’ had not created this false wisdom. However, by omitting thoughtful examination, they had endorsed long existing views of emotion. Before and after them it was passed on, generation after generation, by loving parents who had learned it from their loving parents as important guidance.

That “truth” unfortunately has pervaded popular knowledge and scientific beliefs. It also has created the paradox that emotion is trivial but also significant as an interference with mind. We can only speculate why this had not been thought through.

It is high time to correct our knowledge of emotion to bring us the wonderful benefits of freedom from neurotic troubles and the benefit of a full span of felt emotion.

Emotions exist within us, and presumably have existed from the beginning of human history. All current mammals share at least some of the same emotions—would not our pre-hominoid ancestors also have been likely to have had some emotions? Can we notice that emotions help survival in various animals? Should we believe that emotions in animals are helpful but in humans are not useful? Would not structures and processes that interfere with life have been dropped by evolutionary process over the ages? Logical support for emotions as anything other than a wonderful benefit will have hard going.

Denigration of feelings impels us to attempt manage those by ignoring, suppressing, or controlling emotion. But management of an autonomous process is impossible. Any aim to manage or modulate feeling cannot succeed.

What can happen and has frequently happened has been a spectacular reduction of consciousness of feeling by use of repression. That achievement has created distorted psychological functioning in masses of people.
Regarding emotion as second-class thought clouds the distinction between thought and feeling so that in common parlance we hear people say, “I feel that—” when they truly are not talking about feeling, but rather an opinion, judgment, or belief. When people say, “I feel frustrated” they are not talking about feeling, for frustration means to be blocked in some way. They are trying to say they have some kind of emotion response to being frustrated (balked).

Such wanderings of meaning and mixed statements are numerous. Consideration of emotion as imprecise, second-class thought is noticeable in, “It is only a feeling, I don’t really know for sure.” Such statements are also part of our unfortunate inheritance—of considering feelings as indefinite and thoughts precise.
We all reached a stage of confused understanding of emotion because we have learned to push emotion aside, denigrating it as inexact, less important, and less useful than intellect. We have learned not to let ourselves know what are true feelings versus pseudo-feelings or para feelings.

Straightening out our understanding of all of this brings psychological health. New knowledge has now brought only a few hundred to feelingful freedom, but will free the world of the whole category of neuroses.
We need to examine both thinking process and feeling process, recognizing that they are equally important, equally useful, and equally complex. Our ancient ancestors must have had the full use of emotion and thought, as do our current animal distant cousins who reside on this planet.

Comprehension of the complex processes of thought and feeling is well worthwhile for anyone wishing to cure and prevent neurotic disorders. That will be the subject of future notebook articles.

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May 2011

Dictators and Oligarchs

She said, “That man sounds so dumb! He doesn’t understand the situation. His words are not even relevant to the protests of the people. He doesn’t comprehend that the people really don’t want him.”

I, seeing the same event had thought, “What a remarkably revealing view of the dramatic world situation we have had these last few months. It is an opportunity to view personality attributes of some dictators in their reactions to citizenry. There are, after all, commonalities among people in each profession—and alas, tyrannical dictatorship is a profession.

These protests were made by people attempting to achieve the effect that in democracies would be accomplished by vote.

Modern technology gave us the unusual opportunity to form opinions with prompt information from both opposing forces. I thought the lady right about the tyrant not understanding the situation. However, that he is dumb was harder to believe. “Cruel, aggressive, domineering, and self-serving” are automatic categories for most dictators; but could anyone become and remain top boss of such a giant, hazardous enterprise without both intelligence and cleverness along with scornful disdain for ordinary folk? His confusion had to have a different basis.

Protesters were declaring their wish for their (formerly “dear”) leader to resign, to go away, or to disappear. The first reaction of each dictator was to instruct people to return to their previous condition and continue to accept him as leader so that order could be maintained. The impassioned people were noncompliant.

The dictators gave speeches and presented stern informational edicts declaring the uprising was unacceptable, unpatriotic and must stop. Each tyrant wanted everything restored to how it had been for years. The people were noncompliant.

That unrest is an urgent call from the multitudes declaring themselves to be individuals who should have the prerogatives of individual liberty. They are people who believe they are entitled to freedom to make choices about their lives. That attitude supports their impertinence in believing the government should work for them instead of the reverse.

In their view of reality, their country’s social order must include individuality and freedom of choice with personal decisions made by them instead of for them.

The dictators gave more speeches in which requests were replaced by threatening edicts. The people were noncompliant.

Then there was a distinct change in the words and tone of commands. The discernible perplexity continued. The dictators seemed confused about the situation and how to return to their status of leader cheered by the crowds.

Their responses became either of two alternatives: offers of gifts as pacifying bribes, or harsh, punitive responses inflicted by underlings. The people were noncompliant.

Regardless of chosen method, the words and tone of the despotic leaders expressed puzzlement. It was as if they were saying, “Don’t you understand that I own this country, that I am a superior being, and I own you? That is the way it is supposed to be. What is the matter with you? You know this to be the way it has been for decades. How could you forget this?”

Each of those dictators , in these several ways had demonstrated their primitive (Delta) level of interpersonal awareness. That is an egotistic stage of personality development that most people reach and pass through as a child. It is the level at which the important distinction between I versus a not I — but is another. That crucial awareness, that forms an important psychic boundary enabling complex interpersonal relations has only partially formed. Remaining at that primitive relatability stage appears to be a job requirement for dictators. Mature persons need not apply.

Most of us develop a step or two beyond that stage, enabling us to relate to others quite differently. Step by step, increasing complexity of interpersonal awareness brings more complex, more civilized relationships. Not everyone fully achieves that realization.

Until we make that distinction within ourselves, we may perceive others in either of two ways:

One way is to perceive others as if they are a part of our self, an extension of our being— not completely separate, yet not fully integrated with self. It is a perception of others as if they are functioning extensions of themselves. In the view others are somewhat like extra arms and legs to facilitate whatever is wished for. The egotistic demand or expectation is they will always be and do whatever is wanted.

The alternative perception at that stage of development is to see others as separate, potential dangers — but as enemies and not as mere competitors or opponents.

Thus for Delta level persons the world is perceived as filled with people who fit into categories as either extensions of themselves or competitive enemies. That is is quite appropriate and natural thinking in primitive personalities whose “ego boundaries” are not firmly formed.

In contrast to the dictators’ reality, the unrest of the public demonstrated a different view of reality. It is an uprising of people who have developed at least a step beyond the personality level of the dictators.

Because those others are thought of as “not quite as human as I,” sympathy is not experienced in relation to them. The concept of master to slave relationships implies power over, but responsibility for the “little people” they own or being subjected oneself as slave to another master.

Those dictators were trying to work out some way of repairing the situation. They wanted people to recover their memory of how things are supposed to be — they seemed to be thinking, “How could so many of you have forgotten that because you are my possessions you must comply? This country and all within it is mine. All of you must obey my command.”

In these dictators we see their comprehension that their citizenry are comparatively unimportant as individuals, therefore the simple expedient of killing some of them is a relatively easy expedient to help others recover their memory of the greatness of the dictators being.

In contrast to the dictators’ reality, the unrest of the public demonstrated a different view of reality. It is an uprising of people who have matured at least a step beyond the personality level of the dictators.

That unrest is an urgent call from the multitudes declaring themselves to be individuals who should have the prerogatives of individual liberty. They believe they are entitled to freedom to make choices about their lives. That attitude supports their impertinence in believing the government should work for them instead of the reverse.

In their view of reality, their country’s social order must include individuality and freedom of choice with personal decisions made by them instead of for them.

History tells us there are reasons to believe that such an urge is built into each human. In many social orders of the past, that press for individual liberty became suppressed and even forgotten over many years — to return again.

Suppression of innate aspects of humans is a requisite in all tyrannies. It comes with the fact of a perception within dictators that they as persons are generally more advanced personalities than their population. In actuality it seems invariably the opposite. They need their population to regress to a submissive, less evolved status to submit.. A preponderance of citizens with personality development beyond that of any who would be dictator creates conflicts.

Not all Delta level persons become government turnarounds. Some appear as little tyrants in our lives at work or play. Usually we manage a way of not being under their rule.

In terms of this analysis there will be continuing unrest until excessively strong central governments, and the tyrannies that are their natural development, have been aside. Then, governments by, of, and for the people can arise everywhere.

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October 2011

Retroactive Genetic Transcendence:

The politicians’ disease

Of course, the illness is not restricted to politicians. Retroactive Genetic Transcendence may manifest among people in any occupation. It actually afflicts only a small percentage of politicians. But, that small percentage has had a momentous effect by distorting the workings of government at all levels. We see celebrities in sports and entertainment who are just as afflicted, but with little effect on lives of the general public. Among those not in the public eye, the illness can be just as severe when it appears in various work and organizational situations.

Afflicted politicians not only influence other politicians but by doing so create significant problems that affect great numbers of people or even the entire country. This actually is a worldwide illness among humans: it includes some heads of state of whatever title, but also nobility, chieftains (so designated), or those undesignated commissars, agents, bureaucrats, and any others in position to decide or prescribe for individuals or groups of citizenry.

Many Americans are fascinated, irritated, or dumbfounded by the actions of some of our public servants in Washington and throughout the country. For instance, conduct of a portion of those servants (but not all of them and regardless of political party) show their disregard for the wishes of constituents whom they are either hired or elected to represent and serve. Having any such officials in office is unfortunate but whenever there are enough of such “servants” to sway legislative and executive actions, our democracy is damaged.

We are denigrated as being incompetent by those with Retroactive Genetic Transcendence. Their view is that with their superior wisdom they protect us from the brutishness of life and from our own limitations: They do that by taking over small as well as large decisions for us.

For self-serving, unethical, and illegal activities that are revealed with shocking frequency as perquisites of status, we rely on self-regulating mechanisms within our executive and legislative branches. We would not accept that in financial, business, or any industry; not in local restaurants, shops or businesses. Why do we accept self-regulation by public servants?

Our entire citizenry should have recognized that such continuing disdain toward the populace is a manifestation of a serious psychological disease. Until this illness is more widely acknowledged and dealt with, our unique democracy is critically vulnerable. This disorder arrives surreptitiously and then insidiously develops into a chronic, rarely curable disorder. Because it harmoniously resonates with the personality of the afflicted persons, the illness pleases rather than distresses them. It may also please those close to the transcendent person —for a while.

Typically, the disease manifests shortly after the sufferers perceive themselves achieving a meaningful “step up” in status—a sense of “having arrived.” Being elected to office, appointed to an important committee, or gaining general notoriety from especially pleasing public recognition might suffuse anyone with pride. But in those who are susceptible, that pride may serve to trigger illness. Manifestations may be delayed for months following the trigger event. Either way, it is as though that pleasing event brought infection with it. But logically, the flowering of illness seems to be a response to an indwelling hunger for recognition, an insistent craving for importance. That response is likely to be a countering of lifelong dissatisfaction. Comparable “arrivals” do the same for people in any walk of life.

This illness, Retroactive Genetic Transcendence, is not rare even though it has not been credited with the degree of destructiveness it produces. It is not from the field of activity but from the intense, unsatisfied craving for status of individuals that is the root of susceptibility to it. In most fields of activity the effect is less likely to touch so many other people. Sick politicians create more widespread damage with lasting effects than a similarly sick athlete, factory foreman, movie actor, or financier. We would be wise to look searchingly at our “servants” and appraise their health.

As the disease develops, hidden mental changes within a person commence. Changes in attitudes about self and others coalesce. A new self-concept surmounts long existing uncertainties and doubts about sense of worth; any residual questioning about self has lost its force. In effect, it is as though those persons see themselves as completely transformed beings—as would be if they had a changed genetic structure. Their perception of self is as though genes they inherited were supplanted by transcendent genes. In a sense it is as if in the “rise in their status” they have been transformed, reborn as elite. Magically they are nobility or royalty. They (as if with new and better genes) are superior to all ordinary folk, even superior to their own families with whom they previously shared genes and personal history. They see themselves as raised to perfection. The rest of us also see a transformation but as a regression into unfitness for office.

Politicians’ Disease when rampant is damaging. Any persons confident they possess ideal wisdom and judgment in all matters within their purview means to them that everyone should accept their judgment, even their inclinations and submit to their judgment — unquestioningly following their lead. “You will see what is in the bill after we pass it” is a wonderful, transparent example of transcendence. It demonstrates in simple, concise wording how Politicians’ Disease brings condescension paired with loss of sense of responsibility to rights of their constituency.

Why should they listen to ordinary folk who cannot be expected to understand what is best for them? They have reached the lofty attitudinal level of dictators, emperors, and kings—they own the country and its people. Being superior means they admit making no mistakes. But they make mistakes and when they do their mistakes are not to be considered as serious as those would be if some ordinary person made exactly the same mistakes. There is no good reason for holding them responsible or exacting penalty for their errors—or perhaps it is rude of us even to notice such. The disease brings them a sense of entitlement to perquisites to whatever they are inclined to wish for and a ready rationalization related to their own importance for why those perquisites are appropriate. They declare rules for others but exempt themselves from any limiting effects. For instance, insider trading in the stock market is a very serious crime for everyone except for Congressmen. Others are held to account for illegal, unethical or inadequate performance.

However, because those affected by transcendence have none of the greater wisdom they believe they have, unintended consequences abound. Because they consider themselves transcendent, they shrug off responsibility for disasters they cause. Yet, they are as fallible as any of us!

Politicians’ disease may seem to some like a psychosis; it differs in that their reality sensing continues to operate, even though that reality is ignored or denied. This disease is not like typical narcissism in which there is a rather innocent self-admiration, a concentration of focus on self with little or no regard for others. Such disregard is what most often happens among entertainment and sports celebrities who become inflated by their admiration for their own being. Those sufferers mainly focus on themselves, pamper themselves, quarrel with individuals about petty demands for entitlements and perquisites but usually have a limited effect on most other people: Others are condescendingly ignored. That dissimilarity between a sense of superiority with indifference to the wishes, needs, and rights of others versus self-serving (often whimsical) activity to master, control, and direct the lives of masses of population is what makes the politicians’ disease so much more menacing than mere narcissism.

We may find such people unpleasant to be with for they do not consider us as the individuals we are. Instead we are viewed as either an extension (or a part) of them and therefore presumed to be in complete accord with them; alternatively we are seen as an opponent (or enemy) to be kept at arm’s length. In general, others are seen as a tiny part of an undifferentiated mass of people. In this, they are like Mafia characters who are often thought of as loving because they love their families, but it is actually self-love for extensions of themselves. They are, within their own minds, larger than life. Their condescending view in both categories appears to include the idea of ordinary folk having insufficient judgment to know what they want or need. Why do we place and keep such people in office?

Since we never seem to recognize or predict which of our officials will succumb to this disease, it is important that we start noticing its appearance as soon as it arrives. We urgently need to understand the implications. It may yet be realized that it is far more important than party affiliation. We need to decide how to deal with it and what to do about it promptly enough to reduce danger to the country. Would shortening time in office be enough? We earlier set rules for the executive office when we wanted to prevent this (at that time, unnamed) illness from enduring in office

Our country was formed to protect us from highhanded actions of rulers. Information on deviations from ethical and legal principles, and ignoring popular wishes in our congressional and executive branches and in various local government units is distressing. Self-regulation of ethics has not been impressively effective enough to assure us that we have patriotic service. Can we get that?

Is there a good reason for our citizens to tolerate people fecklessly gutting our country? Currently, our most efficient tool is election process. We have not used that as effectively as could be. Individual responsibility includes voting thoughtfully— could we do that? Recognition of the importance of voting might well become different if everyone knew of the existence of the Politicians’ disease and that voting is a sure remedy for it.

Our American ideal has, from the beginning, been that of having citizen patriots as our officials, serving for brief periods with little reward other than satisfaction of protecting our country and preserving our heritage. We need modern day patriots? Who will create a better solution?

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December 2011

Pioneer psychology and a Dr. Bill

For just a few minutes I watched a TV show last evening and then turned it off because it was so disturbing to me. Although Dr. Bill has been on TV for quite some time, I knew little about him. He appeared on my monitor with a disturbed young woman, her concerned husband, and her worried, somewhat distraught appearing mother. They were to have psychotherapy with the famous psychologist in exchange for exposing their lives and troubles to whatever number of TV watchers might have tuned in for education or entertainment.

This family trio suffered an assaultive disparagement and the TV audience observed a charade of psychotherapy. It was a very serious performance of a psychotherapist who assertively displayed 16th or 17th century misunderstandings of a psychological problem, but also insufficient general understanding of personality, human emotions, and of the tormented young lady’s simple, minor pathology. He made, in my judgment, a startling, initial, brutal verbal assault on the suffering patient and her family.

Dr. Bill in his words, voice tone, and body language revealed himself as a bully. He obviously has that personal need always to be in charge (coming from his own pathology of incompletely evolved personality). That need besets those who worry about themselves being overpowered. They initiate each contact with a show of dominance (“muscle,” noise, or power). Such a display aims to subdue others before those others can take over the situation — because they presume others have the same attitudes as they do, each human contact is, for them, a contest. They repeatedly see themselves winning contests in which those of us who do not live in such desperate competition were only having a conversation.

Bullying proceeded. The mother was bewildered by her daughter’s conduct and psychic state. Dr. Bill castigated her years of bad parenting despite the obvious loving concern for her child, and hopeful of bettering life had brought her to this Kafkaesque trial. From his misunderstanding, he mistakenly declared the problem to be her fault for having badly raised her daughter. She looked stricken by guilt: Figuratively it was as if he had pounded her over the head with a club for she received the words as those of a great wise man: That great man’s wisdom must be true. Her response in attitude and stance showed her acceptance that she was a criminal.

Seeming to believe that she willfully put herself into a tantrum state and just as willfully behaved destructively, Dr. Bill turned his attention to the young lady. The assault continued. It could have been clear to anyone that she neither consciously, willfully intended, nor wanted that aspect of herself. I watched this satire for only those few minutes. By then, horrified by witnessing the mistreatment in a sad comedy of erroneous 16th or 17th century psychological thought, disgusted with the disgraceful mockery of helpful psychotherapy for a problem that any of my readers could have cured gently and promptly, I turned off the TV.

This was the first time I had actually viewed Dr. Bill in action, I could perceive no real good to come of it and imagined that it probably would end with a very self-assured Dr. Bill (in verbal parody of colonial day’s church” straighteners” of dozing congregants) he might righteously, condescendingly declare how all of them should mend their ways. Maybe he would, authoritatively, suggest therapy or group therapy for all of them. Whatever it was that he actually did after my departure, from what I had seen, it was transparent that neither he nor patient understood emotion processes and how misunderstanding of those processes lead to potentiation of emotion and in turn lead to emotion storms. All those careful readers of my writings would have understood the young lady’s problem, how it arose, and the simple information to explain and remedy the situation.

In general bullies and other sharp-elbowed, take-charge people do so because they have appointed themselves as being the one who should straighten out anything that might need straightening out. Many of those people fear being under the thumb of another person and rapidly leap into action to avoid that danger, rather than quietly, supportively offering real assistance. Dr. Bill has traded away the service of doing good in order to do well — I understand he does very well with his 16th or 17th century psychological beliefs.

The Dr. Bills in this world need more education that would enable them to actually help people with psychoneuroses. Any who have read my writings of the last fifty years would have quickly recognized that the turmoil in that suffering young woman was a small matter of potentiated affect creating affect storms. The disturbing conduct was a result of those emotion storms. They would also know that a simple bit of information conveyed to this patient in a quiet tutoring manner would have in a few minutes solved that issue for her, helped her husband and mother understand, and the TV audience also to understand and prevent such episodes for the rest of their lives. All those concerned were only guilty of ignorance, although Dr. Bill eventually should be answerable for worsening the trouble by selling ignorance as if a value.

The relevant important issue that was overlooked in pioneering psychology theories is the fact of emotion being equally important to thought: Emotion has uses, functions, and value. Everyone needs to know how troubles arise when people fail to use emotion instead of fighting it. The patient and Dr. Bill share the same problem — affect phobia. When everyone learns how emotions are friends rather than enemies they will be free of troubles with many Dr. Bills in this world.

I have received numerous comments from people who wish for greater detail about understanding of emotion as a friend rather than an enemy, along with how to achieve the (too briefly described here) rather easy remedy by self-cure. I continue slowly writing more, but any who wish greater detail than is now available on the website will find extensive information in my book “Uses of Emotion: Natures vital gift.” It is available either in your local University or public library and is also available for $15.00 from Sidney Press. Many people, after years of fruitless, expensive, standard psychotherapies for neuroses have cured themselves by studying the contents of this book.

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