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My older sister Rose (1942-1988) was schizophrenic and Bi-polar. She died in 1988 of kidney failure brought about by lithium toxicity. They said she didn't drink enough water; which caused her kidneys to malfunction because of the amount of lithium they were injecting in her. They couldn't control the depressive phases of her bi-polar disorder.

Rose used to say all kinds of weird things like she used to be a ballerina and she was a concert pianist. She was neither. She was a 300 lb mess. At the time I didn't know what to say when she said bizarre things. She also had a picture of Elvis Pressley up on her wall over her couch and she told people he was her husband. I do remember Rose used to just start crying for no reason. It was so sad.

Knowing what I know now I would have treated Rose very differently than I did back then. I didn't even start to become enlightened till around the year 2000 when I started reading books about life after death and the holographic universe theory. Before then I pretty much didn't believe in anything. I wouldn't have said I was an atheist because it just wasn't something I bothered to think about. I figured we were all just flukes of the Universe and life was just an accident. Of course I no longer think or feel that way but back then the only thing that mattered to me was whether I was happy and whether I got my way or not. Whether I felt good or not.

I'll say one thing, life sure is funny. The older I get the more weird it seems to me. I think my mom was right, "truth is stranger than fiction."

Here is another book by a psychologist who treats psychological problems that seem to be caused by spirit possession:

The Unquiet Dead, published in 1988.

"Noted psychologist Dr. Edith Fiore explains how to detect spirit possession in yourself and others, how to protect yourself from entities, how to release your home from displaced spirits, and how to perform a depossession. Filled with shocking case histories."

Michael,

Brilliant post, thanks!

Yes, your conclusion: they are functional entities, but, as you say, so are we. There may be differences, however, in history, stability, etc.

There is a famous case study by the Society for Psychical Research on a possible obsession, Gifford-Thompson case:

http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/art_directed_by_spirits/

At present, most psychiatrists would say that Thompson was schizophrenic, but the fact is that Thompson visited three mediums independently and the three mediums agreed that he was obsessed by the spirit of someone interested in painting, to be expected if mediums were genuine and Thomson was really obsessed by a spirit of a deceased. Unfortunately with people who "hear voices" is to hear voices of several individuals and not usually get anything constructive to these voices, unlike the case Gifford-Thompson.

Would be interesting to make experiments of this kind, they are doing mediums and people who claim to hear voices to see if the mediums can say something about the individuals who carry those voices.

Ok, ahh do I want to get in to this? Art your sister sounds like she had Bi-Polar disorder, of the which the manic phases are treated with Lithium Carbonate. She would have had manic and depressive states. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder and treated with major tranquilizers. That would have been hard Art to have seen your sister struggling.

Schizophrenia in my day was seen as a "functional disorder". The tranquilizers don't cure, but simply control symptoms, such as labile emotions, disordered thinking, agitation, hallucinations, delusions etc. Basically symptoms are sedated. They have a number of side effects unfortunately, and do not always suit everyone, as many psychotropic drugs, or control all symptoms sometimes.
Recent research (which is still in its infancy) has shown some ventricular enlargement and decreased cerebral (cortical and hippocampal) volume in first diagnosed patients with no treatment. Studies at uni which I covered, also showed that pregnant dutch women during the war who were isolated and ill nourished, had a higher incidence of schizophrenic offspring. So overall research is leaning to structural changes which then may affect function-

http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/122/4/593.full

Schizophrenia patients differ a lot, some are more chronically affected than others.

A disordered mind is by nature, fraught and negative, and I think anything that helps would be useful. To endeavor to make friends with ones voice, or see the positive, could only help. In the past treatment has concentrated on controlling symptoms, and I see for many patients this is still going to be needed. But it makes sense to me, to give patients tools to help them lead more positive lives and feel they have some control over it.

Spiritually, I guess, negative spirits could well take advantage of those who are out of control. So yes, sometimes I guess they may be in the mix. And a few may have been misdiagnosed.

Cheers Lyn.

Off topic- but a book I have recently read, is a great guide on staying healthy. Dr Angus is an Oncologist at Cedars Sinai Hospital and actively involved in research.

'The End Of Illness' by Dr David B. Angus.

It is full of research and gives a glimpse into the latest medical science. Including genetic research which will soon mean drugs can be quickly identified, that suit our genetic makeup. And will be a much needed help for psychiatric patients. Lyn x.

Hmm.... What about imaginary friends?

Sorry Dr David B, Agus. Enough said. Lyn x.

Thanks Michael, very interesting post!
There are also those milder cases where people is hearing voices but the phenomenon is not so intense to disable them, nonetheless this can cause all sorts of issues and limitations, sense of being "not-normal" and difficulty in telling to other people, even closer relatives.

I know of several groups in Italy that deal with this problem at this level (i.e. not an overt psychiatric issue), unfortunately the spiritual side is not included and improvements are rare. Not that I think that the spiritual approach is the only solution, but essentially what they do is allow people with the same issue to meet and tell their respective stories. It definitely helps not feeling an outcast but doesn't propose any specific approach to relieving the problem.

I've always been fascinated with this issue because my wife had some of these experiences and after struggling for a few years she found help and realized she has mediumistic capabilities.
Actually she's not interested in being a medium, at least for now, and with the help of a professional medium she is now able to shut down unwanted communications. It's been quite a journey!

Since then I have researched similar stories and found that this is not uncommon at all, most mediums all have experienced similar issues in discovering their abilities. But this also extends to other sensitive people whose "antennas" can tune into something we don't know exactly what it is ... other people's thoughts? higher self? deceased people? I also had my own small set of highly strange experiences and I am still scratching my head :D :D

Cheers

"This new grassroots movement is called Hearing Voices. Practitioners encourage patients to interact with the voices, treating them with respect and civility, as if they were real, independent entities. This approach, of course, stands in stark contrast to the conventional wisdom on the subject, which holds that the patient should not be encouraged in his belief that the voices are real."
Judo!

real yes discarnate personalities all part of the same oversoul

Some of us never outgrow our imaginary friends, we just learn not to talk about them in polite company.

BTW, Zerdini has been busy:
www.zerdinisworld.com

:)

I guess if a therapy works or provides relief and reduces the need for drugs this has to be a good thing, whether the voices are 'real people' or not.

At least in some cases it looks like the spirit-hypothesis is one potential explanation at least for some sufferers, unless of course we know for a fact that this isn't possible :)

"Practitioners encourage patients to interact with the voices, treating them with respect and civility, as if they were real, independent entities."

Interesting post, Michael! And, without trying to put too fine a point on exactly what those voices are or where they come from, I think the sentence I've quoted is common sense of the most profound kind.

It's one of my most important learnings, really (though I don't hear voices, literally). And since I'm on vacation, I have time to think and write about this, and to subject you all to my musings and personal revelations. :o)

Whenever I find myself struggling to make a decision, large or small, I've learned that I need to listen to ALL the parts of myself, because they're all important!

I've come to accept that like most people (I suppose)--and certainly like the people in your post--I'm a man of many minds, pulled this way and that by needs which seem hopelessly in conflict with each other.

And since it's painful to FEEL that internal tug-of-war, it's oh-so tempting to quickly grab onto one side of the argument, and to say, yes, that's the side I "should" go along with, that's the right point of view. I need to go THIS route, and simply ignore any impulses telling me otherwise.

Then I can find some peace.

The problem is, this approach doesn't work very well. How can I stick with path A, if the voice demanding that I follow path B is still clamoring for my attention and distracting me at every moment?

So instead, I've learned to say, OK, I need to really listen to what each of those voices is asking for. I need to give each inner Bruce my utmost respect, because like it or not, they're all me.

This can be a lengthy process taking weeks or months, or it can happen within a few moments. But somehow, I need to LISTEN, and sometimes, to negotiate, as this guy did:

"He told his voices that he would read a book on Buddhism every day for one hour–but no more. He would say one Buddhist prayer every day–but no more. And if he did this, he told them, they had to leave him alone."

I like that a lot.

As to pinning down the origin of the voices people hear, I keep remembering what Seth says: "there are no closed systems".

So my soul is ultimately not separate from your soul, and neither one is fundamentally distinct from the collective consciousness we all share. There are only temporary divisions we/God devise for recreational purposes in this recreational universe.

(Can you tell I'm on vacation?)

So are those voices external? Yes. And no.

I struggle with the mental illness, dementia, Alzheimers, etc. when it comes to how these diseases relate to Spirituality. Its an interesting perspective.
I guess in our quest for progress, we should think more about what we're leaving behind before we move forward, and not forget to bring some of the old along with us.

My personal matters (regulars here understand the reference) having just resolved, unexpectedly, suddenly and quite favorably I feel ok to participate again in comments. One big monkey off my back.

I earned a bachelors in psychology and had originally planned on going through a PhD in the clinical area; though, even at that time, with an interest in eventually leveraging credentials and experience toward some aspect of paranormal studies.

At any rate, i worked my way through undergrad as a "psych-tech" (read 'glorified orderly') on a locked down seriously mentally ill unit in a county hospital. Actually there were two units, totalling around 38 beds. Most of the patients were admitted against their will, either pending, or under, court order.

later, after the university dropped it's graduate clinical psychology program and before my decision to alter course into the grad business school, I worked as a case manager for this population, post discharge from the hospital. I worked closely with hundreds of seriously mentally ill people and got to know some of them pretty well.

This is an interesting post and the linked material is provocative and I am experiencing a lot of ambivalence after reading.

Again, even way back then, I had some paranormal theories that I wanted to explore related to mental illness; possession/obession being a prominent one. IMO it would have been a serious ethical violation to suggest - or even hint - such a concept to a patient (they have enough problematic thinking of their own in that direction), though I did ask questions and secrectly assess the answers to test conformity or lack thereof with my theoiries.

My first ambivalence has to do with suggesting to a patient that the voices are perhaps actually from outside themselves; particularly from spirits, demons, etc. Many patients, at least in the last 30 years, already believe this is the case. Many patients already attempt various homegrown methods of "shocking" or otherwise exercising the demons. Some favorites are jumping in front of speeding cars on the hiway, lighting oneself on fire, playing Russian roulette.........

Another ambivalence is the notion that the voices can be respected and reasoned with. True, many patients fight a losing war with the voices ( and/or controlling forces) and the war is agonizing for the patient. So strenuously fighting the voices is not normally a winning long term strategy. OTH, giving in to the voices is usually not a winning strategy either as the voices demand, sooner or later, the patient to harm himself or others either directly or indirectly such as self neglect.

Generally, the voices are overpowering and absolutely controlling. They are very real to one experiencing them. They've been described to me as "realer than when you talk to me". It's nice that someone like Hans could have voices encouraging him to be a part time buddhist practicioner. I think this is not typical.

Wickland describes patients under the influence of confused lost selfish disincarnates who did not realize they had died. Maybe that is the case sometimes. Maybe. However, I find Wickland's perspective at odds with many of the patients I encountered where a) the patient himself already believes he is under attack from disincarnate entities and b) where the alleged disincarnate entities are seeking the death of the patient and/or the death of others in the patient's life. Why would a confused disincarnate entity want to kill its host? Why would it want to kill anyone for that matter.


The illness is not just voices or thoughts that seem to be originating outside of the patient's own mental processes [e.g. as with an obessing spirit]. It's what the voices have to say that is the problem and what they say involves ****very addled thinking**** which seems to me to be above and beyond the mere confusion of a disincarnate "ignorant" soul.

One example I remember clearly to this day is a young paranoid schizophrenic man who would not eat and apparently had not for weeks. I was tasked with trying to coax him to eat on his own lest a nasal feeding tube be forced on him by physician's order. After the usual "hi how u doin'" openers I got around to, "I'm hungry and it's about lunch time, how about you?", The kid said he was really hungry. Great. "What's your favorite food?" "Chile verde burrito". "Hey. No kidding. Mine too! [actually the truth] What do you say I pick one up for you while I'm out getting mine?"... "I'd like that. I'm Hungry".... "Alright. See you in a few". So I bring the kid the burritos. I let him choose which will be his. He picks one. I take the other and starting eating. Hmmmmm delicious. He stares for a while....eventually takes a bite...stops..spits out what's in his mouth....."what's wrong? Not the way you like it?"...."no, it's fine. I can't eat this"..... "why not?" ......."They're telling me that it's Roberto [a friend of his]. When I take a bite I'm killing Roberto. I just ate a piece of Roberto's leg".

So this is not a lost or confused spirit. This is **addled thinking**. Period. Or, if spiritual in origin, a truly malevolent spirit that wants to kill a young man slowly through starvation. Either way, I have difficulty accepting that such a thing can be reasoned with.

In my experience, the young man I just described is very typical.

Otherwise, agreed that pharmaceuticals do not cure, but only mask and control the illness to some limited extent and with related nagative side effects.

I would say that in my experience I might have encountered only five or six patients where there was anything that convinced me that something like possession was occuring. All of these patients demostrated some remarkable verifiable psychic abilities and, qualitatively, there was something different about them from the other patients. One of them even verbally ripping into me telling me all of my naughty little secrets beginning in childhood and ending that very week. That was scary at the level of "The Excorcist".

Otherwise, I think that schizophrenia is a most unfortunate condition, mysterious and poorly understood and thus lending itself to supernatural explanations, but best controlled through accepted modern medical approaches.

no one,

Overjoyed to hear that things have improved for you!

Re your points... as usual... we agree. Funny, right?

"Addled thinking." Yes. Schizophrenics are not normal people with voices tacked on. They are people f***ed in the head at the deepest level (obviously, there is a range of severity, but you know what I mean). It's literally as if all the wires in their head have been crossed, and they are just barely surviving with such a messed up system.

In 1999, I did my MBA internship at a drug company in NJ and did a report on anti-psychotic drugs as one of my projects. By coincidence, there was an older guy with really bad schizophrenia who lived in town and was walking the streets a lot. I talked with him several times. He was pretty interesting. But he could only talk about himself. Himself. With maybe some paranoid delusions thrown in. Circling around and around.

You just can't fix that through "therapy," and even drugs don't seem to work very well. They can tone down the symptoms, but you are left with some still very messed up people. It's heartbreaking.

As for the voices, I think bits and pieces of the various theories are correct. It *is* the brain, but the brain as a tuner. I think schizophrenics are tuning into "junk consciousness," the mental equivalent of the background radiation of the universe. Just as we tend to see faces in random dot patterns, they are tuning into this psychic detritus and trying to make sense out of it and probably forming functional entities out of it. So it is neither totally internal nor external but a mixture of both.

Anti-psychotic drugs can numb that tuning function. For some people who are on the border, that might be enough. There are people who have milder diseases like "schizoid personality" who can be helped and live pretty normally. For some, their tuning mechanism is so strong that you'll have to numb them into submission to turn it off.

I think similar tuning problems are at work for other problems. I think with depression, for example, people are "tuning into" negative energy.

This reminds me of my own problem I overcame. I had OCD pretty bad as a kid. I didn't hear voices per se, but I would be "told" that if I didn't do such and such, a family member would die. Classic stuff. I found the best way to fight back was simply to tell the "originator" of the thought, "Go ahead. They'll have to die then." That shut them up.

So I guess I am a sort of success story myself. :)

By the way, I definitely think there is a connection between "tuning problems" and psi. Psi is tuning we like to have, as it gives us information and power. I have also found depressed people to be powerful psychics in their own way. They have an incredible ability to project negative energy and push people's buttons. To spread the bad cheer, as it were. My father was horrendously depressed, and I learned lots of unfun lessons from that. (I'm adopted by the way, so no genetic connection between that and my own OCD.)

I have worked extensively in this area also, thanks for the input "no one", nice to hear you are still around, and all is well. I was reluctant to get too "heavy" on this one.

To be honest, Schizophrenia is a little more complicated for the most part, than a few nuisance voices. And like "no one", I can see the part medication has to play.

Having said that for along time now, patients have been sent home without much in the way of tools to work with to help them cope in life.

It would be great to see a change in thinking in the world about mental illness, i.e. acceptance that we are not all born the same. It was great to see the athlete with leg prosthesis in the olympics. Allowing people to take part in life in some capacity would go a long way in helping those with disability feel that they can lead a life of purpose. Lyn x.

no one, I'm very glad to hear things have gotten better for you. Your perspective on MPs post is very interesting to me. You probably could guess as someone who has seen and heard things all my life that other people don't, that I've often worried if I was ill. I still worry.

I once went to a counsellor who asked me what the voices said to me and then wanted to know how much importance I gave to those messages. I told him they say various things just like anyone else and I make judgement calls on what they ask me to do, just like I do with what anyone else tells me. He said not to worry so much about it then. He was open to the idea psychic functioning, but he said the main thing he looked at was how functional I was.

I was introduced to someone a while ago who also claimed to see ghosts. She used it as an excuse to break the law and do self destructive things. As much as I wanted to have a friend who could understand what I experience, I couldn't maintain a friendship with her because what she did seemed very sick to me. She did harmful things and blamed that behavior on evil ghosts. I was sure she would end up either in jail or locked up as being mentally ill and a danger to others. What shocked me the most was that she thought I would support her bad behavior as an a sister experiencer. I was horrified and told the counsellor I knew she had been seeing about what she was doing. She was furious and I never saw her again. Nothing about her actually suggested that she was psychic. She made huge claims about PK, ghosts and reading minds... but it never rang true. The only thing I was ever convinced of was that she might hurt herself or someone else.

I'm sure there are people who would say the same thing about my experiences. I've made claims about RSPK and seeing ghosts. I could be nuts too.

Sandy,

Half the population is on anti-depressants, but that's "normal" and hence OK, but we seers are, you know, kinda weird. Mm hmm.

I know how you feel, but perhaps I have just lost all sense of caution in talking about my own experiences.

Cheers,

Matt

Matt, I've dodged too many bullets when it comes to saying the wrong thing about my experiences to the wrong people. It also frightened me to meet someone who claimed to be like me, but who isn't like me at all.

I found her sickness way beyond anything I could deal with. I was also pretty upset with the individual who first introduced me to her, because he was so caught up in the idea that she could be psychic that he ignored the dark stuff completely. He told me that I had to meet this girl who was "just like me". The comparison scared the hell out of me when I found out what she was actually like.

I know people can be psychic and mentally healthy. But I've also seen a pretty good example of the dark side. Not everyone can tell the difference.

Speaking of the dark side, here's a news item that Matt pointed out to me:

http://www.paranormalreview.com/articles/healer-stabs-twin-daughters-and-himself

Congratulations on the happy outcome of your personal problems, no one!

Sandy,

I was asking Michael this too, and maybe you could both provide your opinions here:

Is the dark side directly connected to psi/the paranormal or separate?

I vote for "separate." There are plenty of evil people who are not psychic or pretending to be, and I don't see any particular correlation. If anything, I think most self-labeled psychics/healers/etc. are self-consciously trying to be *better* people than average.

Thoughts?

"If anything, I think most self-labeled psychics/healers/etc. are self-consciously trying to be *better* people than average."

I think it is a mixed bag, Matt, even if setting financial motives aside. Most people want to be accepted as special in some way. For various reasons - not all of them "good" - some people choose to the persona of the "psychic". This is certainly special and mysterious and may even confir some aura of "power". I note many self professed psychics in this category. It's an ego trip for these people; albeit an unusual one in modern society.

OTH, there are real psychics who often struggle with living with their abilities, but who do genuinely want to be better people - almost have to try to be based on what they have experienced - and who genuinely want to help others for goodness sake.

As for the dark side and truly evil people, I think these come in a variety of shapes and sizes and the proportion that are psychic is about the same as the proportion that are psychic amongst good people.

The difference is a matter of focus.Truly evil people are very focussed on spreading badness, especially among people they meet that are weak or sitting on the fence and most especially regarding people who are trying to be good and better.

Focus in life increases psychic power. The more intense the focus the more intense the power. Evil people are not distracted or weakened (as in energy dissipation) by the kinds of concerns and responsibilities that decent people are, thus their power can appear stronger.

My two cents, anyhow

Interesting discussion!

I'm currently in a doctoral program in psychology and a few weeks ago I attended a conference where Robert Whitaker was a guest speaker. He was invited because of his two recent books - "Mad in America" and "Anatomy of an Epidemic" which discuss the wild over-prescription of medication for treating mental illness.

Whitaker pointed out in his talk that doctors don't even know what the natural, untreated course of schizophrenia is thanks to it being treated with something or another for nearly all the time we have been collecting data on it - going decades and decades back. The data on untreated schizophrenics that he showed strongly suggested that medications (across the board) should only be used in the short-term, if at all, and that many schizophrenics, so long as they are not bombarded with medication, will eventually pull out and be able to live very fulfilling lives at a full recovery or near-full recovery level. A lot of the assumptions about medication in general are blown out of the water in Whitakers books.

The guy's speech blew me away. The room must have had well over 2,000 people in it and everyone gave him a standing ovation.

In any case, I'm glad to hear other approaches are being pursued, grassroots or not, mediumistic or not. Most approaches, to my way of thinking, have to be better than medicating these poor people to death.

When I was in college and shortly afterward, I suffered from two or three lengthy bouts of unremitting depression and anxiety. I went on some medications at the time and gained a ton of weight and lost my sex drive entirely. I hardly cared about anything. Luckily I had some friends who realized what was going on and I ended up flushing those meds down the toilet.

Shortly after that began my foray into defeating my depression/anxiety/existential angst through devouring books on spirituality. I started finding blogs and websites like this one and learned a lot and began to feel a sense of community with a lot of other people out there. In any case, I no longer feel depressed and rarely feel the type of unremitting panic/anxiety that I used to feel. My world today is a very different world than the one I knew ten years ago.

Anyway, I highly recommend those two books if they are of interest to you.

no one,

Excellent points. I also have to keep in mind that I try to hang around good people and think I mostly succeed. It could be selection bias on my part.

Michael mentioned to me Joe Fisher, who wrote "The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts" and subsequently killed himself. He really seems to have just been soaking in some pretty horrible psychic soup (not his own psi, but that of others around him).

I was reading this one book by a psychic/medium that my girlfriend of the time had. It was by a woman who read for people, and she said she'd see people come in whose souls had long departed (calling Nanci Danison!), whose souls had been replaced by aliens, etc. She encountered evil spirits and had a special method for destroying/dispelling them, etc. Kinda freaky.

Here's a girl who says she sees demons (sounds more like the Shadow People, actually):

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/j571u/iama_person_who_sees_demons_ama/

Michael has quoted Bob Monroe before, who saw some pretty negative things in his OBEs.

Then you'll have many psychics (including IIRC the Monroe Institute graduate who runs the excellent site www.afterlife-knowledge.com, though I don't think he characterizes himself as a "psychic") who who say flatly there is no such thing as an evil spirit and that they have never encountered anything threatening in the Astral.

How do I put all these data points together, including the stuff about mental illness? I'm not super confident, but here is my tentative synthesis:

1. I have my own theory about evil, its origins, and how it works that I've talked about here. In a nutshell, negativity is mathematically "baked into" the structure of reality but takes different forms in different dimensions. Its origin is not some devil or god of evil. In fact, there is no such being. Negativity is diffuse in the Universe but can be channeled like an electric charge. Not all negativity is evil; evil is just one form of it. We all know people who are negative and hard to be around but who are not evil. Similarly, some spirits are characterized by negativity (e.g., ghosts of murdered people) but are not malevolent or evil.

2. Higher beings in higher dimensions can't be evil--there are no fallen angels in that sense. (In the higher dimensions there is no "time" in which they could transform into an evil being and the dimension itself cannot existentially contain an evil being for vibrational reasons.) I think the data points bear this out: people don't talk about encountering Lucifer IRL; they talk about encountering grungy spirits in the etheric. These spirits can clearly use psi and can have some cunning to them, but they do not seem powerful in their own right.

3. There are no "demons" in the Christian sense (i.e., fallen angels), and I do not think there are beings created by higher powers just to be bad.

4. So the evil spirits that people encounter could be various things:

A. Spirits of the malevolent departed. Humans, ETs, could be anything. The point here is that these are at a vibrational level that is lower than average human functioning (i.e., you have to tune down to get it).

B. Functional entities created by people from junk consciousness and background negativity. I think a lot of the Joe Fisher stuff was like this (not having read the book, admittedly). This is the standard phenomenon of mediums creating guides, but in this case they are bad guides.

C. Living entities projecting *up* into the Astral. I get my psi from seeing into and through the Astral, and I find it to be pretty clean. But I think things like alien abductions are evil ETs using Astral psi to get to people in dream states (where they are in the Astral too). Most bad dreams are people processing their own negativity in the Astral.

D. Living entities projecting right into 3D. Most poltergeists are probably this. The Shadow People could be this (or they could be a malicious race that lives in a parallel 3D reality, but then the question would arise why they don't dominate our reality if they get a kick out of tormenting us).

That's how I process it all. Thoughts?

no one,

Also, re

||As for the dark side and truly evil people, I think these come in a variety of shapes and sizes and the proportion that are psychic is about the same as the proportion that are psychic amongst good people.||

Right.

||The difference is a matter of focus.Truly evil people are very focussed on spreading badness, especially among people they meet that are weak or sitting on the fence and most especially regarding people who are trying to be good and better.||

I think most bad people don't know that they are bad--they make up some justifying excuse or narrative (you might agree thus far). Of course, there are some outlaws and serial killers, etc., that revel in it. I think evil is also very savvy about how to spend its resources, and it will instinctively go where it will get the best results. Sometimes focusing on toppling one good person is the best bet, but I think it is more usual to leverage the evil of others or corrupt a few fence-sitters. E.g., Hitler seemed to have an amazing ability to find the worst of the worst and help them to be at their very worst. Not so much disagreeing as riffing on your thoughts.

||Focus in life increases psychic power. The more intense the focus the more intense the power. Evil people are not distracted or weakened (as in energy dissipation) by the kinds of concerns and responsibilities that decent people are, thus their power can appear stronger.||

And, per George Lucas, I think it really is quicker and easier to channel the Dark Side, especially if one is naturally in tune with it. The weakness of evil is that it is inherently self-destructive. You can't have a 1,000 year evil Reich, but you can have one that blows the shit out of the planet for 12 years.

Matt, I know you bought The Cosmic Game? Did you read it?

One of its many strengths is Grof's explanation of evil:

"The various manifestations of evil are expressions of the energy that makes the split-off units of consciousness feel separate from each other. Since the divine play is unimaginable without separate protagonists, the existence of evil is absolutely essential."

Did you get that far in the book? I'd love to get your reaction to what he says.

Your book report is past due, as is Michael's by a couple of years. :o)

My concept of evil is part what Matt said, the "baked in stuff". However, I also have a simpler view of evil when it comes to human beings. Often it starts as laziness. The lazy person is then willing, consciously makes the choice, to have his needs met at the expense of others. There is a conscious decision made to ignore the pangs of guilt that arise as he uses others. At some point the mindset becomes habitual. From there it moves further to becoming a kind of identity, the guy who gets others to do his bidding and, at that point, the person is pretty much evil because he is only satisfied when taking from others and watching them realize what he has done to them (an affirmation of his identity).

I think this is why all religions/spiritual systems that strive to mold a better person emphasize charity and service to others. Satanic practices emphasize self gratification.

Getting back to psi and darkness, I think we often over-associate psi ability with spiritual realization. While psi can manifest as a result of spiritual growth, the spiritual growth isn't necessary for it. Strong kundalini (for lack of a better term) can and will cause the psi powers to occur.

BTW, my remarks about being a psychic sometimes being associated with ego gratification were not in reference to anyone here. I was more thinking about some people I have personally known and my younger self.

I think the dark side is separate from psi. Psychics can be good or bad, just like anyone else. Some of that is just making choices and people take different paths.

The issue of mental illness is a bit harder to consider. The individual I mentioned earlier didn't demonstrate any signs of being psychic as far as I could tell. My impression of her was that she felt powerless in this world, so she constructed a fantasy world where she had these incredible powers. She also seemed to think that those powers entitled her to do anything she wanted to others, because they were just "ants" compared to her.

I don't think she actually believed in her own omnipotence. When I suggested that we could try some experiments for fun, she immediately became hostile and went on a rant about "evil scientists" trying to hurt her. I'm not sure if she even believed in the possibility of psi, because when I tried to share some of the results of my own experiences with researchers with her, she also became very abusive and suggested it was all phony.

I'm pretty sure she was just a self-destructive individual with no particular talent for psi.

That being said, I do see the potential for people who are psychically sensitive to have mental health issues. It isn't so much that we are somehow weaker or predisposed to illness, it just happens that we have a unique set of stresses to learn to cope with. There are not many mental health professionals trained to help us through those issues. When my first marriage ended badly, I was able to go to a counselor and talk about that. He knew what to say to help me. But not many counselors are able to discuss ghosts.

Bruce,

I do have Grof, and I will be reading him soon! And I will report back. :)

Matt

Michael,

Very interesting. As you probably know, such treatment is widely practiced in Brazil by Spiritists. A recent excellent book on the subject, though expensive, by Emma Bragdon, Ph.D., is titled "Spiritism and Mental Health." Emma has been visiting Brazil and studying their methods for some years now. She wrote only two chapters of the book, however, the others by a dozen or more M.D.'s and psychologists including several American physicians and academics.

Sandy, I understand your questions and concerns. Some mentally ill (psychotic) people do exhibit *some* true psi ability, IMO, though it's pretty much hit & miss (with a very small minority of exceptions). Most do not.

However, a huge proportion of them *believe* they are psychic or otherwise tapped into paranormal realms. I think this is a rationalization of what they are experiencing and a denial of their mental illness. Though I like Matt's concept of a broken tuner picking up psychic detritus - it fits.

Certainly most who are not medication compliant seek to avoid the side effects of the medication, but I have also heard a number of patients state that the medication "takes my powers away". Sometimes being psychotic is a real high. And it feels real. To me, this is what is so interesting about mental illness. It forces us to scrutinize those often murky boundries between objective and subject reality, individual experience and concensus reality. It forces us to realize that much of what we consider valid human experience is actually just an arbitrary segment on a continuum.

There is another class of mental illness, the personality disorders, where one finds the borderline diagnosis. I found that many of these people adopted the persona of the psychic as I mentioned in a previous post. Some of these are indeed sensitive to the emotional states of others, but it's more in a cold reading sense and it's used for manipulation. These people are rarely truly psychic.

At the end of the day, one is only deemed mentally ill and in need of treatment if the "reality" that one is experiencing makes one disfunctional and destructive at an unacceptable level.

Michael Tymn, I have another Emma Bragdon book which is less expensive but seems to cover some of the same territory. Haven't read much of it yet, though. I forget the title and am too lazy to Google it.

Regarding the other symptoms of schizophrenia, the Hearing Voices movement seems to feel that the distraction and fear generated by the voices account for the patients' confused thinking and irrational behavior. The movement acknowledges that many voices are harsh and cruel, but claims that if a patient addresses even these voices respectfully, they will become less abusive and eventually fade away.

Personally I wonder if some schizophrenic behavior - such as barking, growling, snapping at people and even biting them - could be attributable to possession by extremely low-level spirits that are at an animalistic level of development. And if bizarre repetitive patterns of behavior, such as walking in circles all day, could reflect the influence of the same kind of entities (earthbound spirits? astral shells?) that are sometimes observed as apparitions endlessly repeating the same ritualized actions night after night.

no one,

I had my heart ripped out by someone with Borderline Personality Disorder--and two close friends who did, too. Our own diagnoses, but they were like textbook cases. It was only after the relationship that I understood what Borderline Personality is all about.

They *do* have special powers! The closest analogy I can think of would be the Sirens of Greek legend. They have this incredible ability to rope people in and make them feel loved and appreciated, yet they also have this wounded quality that makes you want to take care of them like nothing else. It's a potent double punch.

It's something different from standard psi, yet a power nonetheless. :)

"....the Sirens of Greek legend."

Yep, that's them. Glad you now put a ' :) " after remembering your painful experience.

"Regarding the other symptoms of schizophrenia, the Hearing Voices movement seems to feel that the distraction and fear generated by the voices account for the patients' confused thinking and irrational behavior."

I'm skeptical of this explanation, though I can appreciate the movement's heartfelt efforts to bring some relief to these unfortunates and that, in some cases, the approach may be associated with a cure.

I don't think you can parse out the voices as the key feature of the illness; in fact I'm sure you can't. IMO the voices are just one possible symptom in a cluster and one can be psychotic without hearing voices. Some patients only have visual hallucinations.

Some have neither auditory nor visual hallucinations, but suffer from severely impaired thinking that includes delusions.


Delusions are at least as prominent a symptom as auditory hallucinations occuring in 90% of patients - and the delusions are usually very fixed, not dependent on the voices for maintenance and very resistent to rational discussion.

I spent countless hours talking to patients about their delusions and trying to get them to rationally overcome them. The delusions cannot be reasoned with. The pretzel logic that a patient will use to maintain the delusion is amazing - if they use logic at all. Sometimes they just angry at take a swing at you.

Here is a pretty good brief overview of common delusions:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/90170-common-schizophrenic-delusions/

Even after the voices have stopped (or been toned down to a dull roar) the delusions can continue.

"Personally I wonder if some schizophrenic behavior - such as barking, growling, snapping at people and even biting them - could be attributable to possession by extremely low-level spirits that are at an animalistic level of development. And if bizarre repetitive patterns of behavior, such as walking in circles all day, could reflect the influence of the same kind of entities (earthbound spirits? astral shells?) that are sometimes observed as apparitions endlessly repeating the same ritualized actions night after night."

That and/or something like Matt's idea of the perception tuner picking up psychic detritus from the same. Though I hadn't thought about schizophrenia in years until this post, I have to say that I still haven't completely set aside this explanation.

No one, I think what bothered me the most about the non-psychic, self destructive individual I mentioned was that a supposedly well-trained professional couldn't see the difference between us. That scared me a lot, because I could see how sick she was.

I was actually introduced to her by a counsellor we were both going to for help. I now know that isn't usually something counsellors do, for good reason. He decided we were both psychic, so I could just mentor her and she would be fine. That let him off the hook in terms of dealing with her.

At the time, I was pretty horrified. If we were the same and she was so sick... what did that make me?

I now understand the counsellor wasn't doing a very good job and was in fact doing a number of things that were extremely unethical. I think he was kind of taken in by the "dark side" himself. He didn't want to be my counsellor, he wanted me to see him socially. He stopped showing up for my scheduled appointments, and then would show up in the campus pub where I was having drinks with my buddies so he could hang out with me in a social context instead.

He became obsessed with psychic stuff. I used to spin a pk wheel for him during our sessions and he was more interested in that then in the problems I was having at university. I went to this guy with concerns about being sexually harassed by a member of my thesis committee and his answer was to ask me out on a date himself. He didn't see me as a university student needing help, he saw me as a psychic that could prove all his belief in such things was totally justified. He lost all objectivity and did things I'm sure he now regrets.

So the dark side doesn't just affect psychics. It can affect the people around us too.

"I'm skeptical of this explanation, though I can appreciate the movement's heartfelt efforts to bring some relief to these unfortunates and that, in some cases, the approach may be associated with a cure".

"Ditto no one"

Simply trying to have a conversation with a person in the throws of psychosis, with disordered thinking or systemized delusions, would be impossible.

A number of patients also come through the courts, because when deluded and hallucinating, these people can't function and are often violent if restrained. It is also common to have indiscriminant sexual behviour when manic.

One of the women I treated killed her two children when deluded, and she is such a lovely caring woman, and you can imagine how distraught she was when she realized what she had done.

For a few people like 'no one' suggested , and particularly those who when medicated are still troubled by a few voices, I can see where this would help. cheers Lyn.

re: Borderlines & Special Powers

Matt Rouge & no one,

Everyone here is pretty aware of how mainstream academia is opposed to psi. HOWEVER, that said, one of the most incredible psi-like ideas I've ever encountered has come from my own doctoral program. It's called "projective identification." It's one of the "special powers" ascribed to borderlines from the psychodynamic camp within psychology. Basically, the idea is that a borderline can actually put unwanted feelings about themselves *into* you, forcing you to act out their unwanted garbage in what is called an "enactment." In this way, they get to relive their childhood abandonment by getting new lovers to leave them, over and over, which sort of "hurts so good" for them.

Weird stuff. Definitely way more out there in my mind than a lot of the ideas in the psi community. Seems like something you'd see in an episode of the x files.

Philemon,

Yeah, that *is* way out there--but totally believable. But it's "science," lol.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projective_identification

Wow, fascinating. I learn so much on this blog, thanks!

Matt

I read a column by the journalist Patrick Cockburn documenting the downward spiral of his schizophrenic son. Nobody could get though to him that he was acting and thinking irrationally and ought to heed the advice of others. So I wrote the following, which proposed showing such people videotapes of others in their condition, to make them see themselves from the outside. However, a couple of knowledgeable people told me it would do no good—schizophrenics are too deep into their delusions. But I still wonder if it might help in mild cases. What do people here think of it? Here it is:
------------------

Schizophrenics are sometimes frustratingly “well-defended.” Here’s a possible way to soften that resistance: Show “deniers” a tape of other schizophrenics defending their delusions & behavior. (Ideally, such a tape would also show these extreme cases behaving floridly in the outside world.) The tape should conclude by asking if:

• The taped subjects are wise to act as they do: going shoeless, sleeping under bridges, badgering passersby, eating improperly, etc. (No.)
• Their justifications for doing so seem apt. (No.)
• Their word-salads make sense. (No.)
• They “need help” and ought to accept it. (Yes.)

There are probably already tapes of schizophrenics irrationally defending themselves that could be melded into this production. If not, a project to collect them shouldn’t be difficult, especially if done under the auspices of a prestigious sponsoring organization.

A second tape could possibly also be made and shown, this one of recovering schizophrenics saying they are grateful for their meds and explaining how they couldn’t see how crazy they were while they were in the grip of their illness.

PS: If it wouldn't work for schizophrenics, might it work for persons with milder conditions? If so, which?

Well said Matt "But it's "science," lol".

In particular, Psychology- the study of human behaviour. Lyn

I am supposed to have schizoprehnia. I never heard voices in my head or had hallucinations but what i did have was a kind of delusion where i seemed to be thought broadcasting. I believed people knew what i was thinking and feeling, even people on TV. I thought i could control events with my mind, like a supernatural power, and i could feel what atmospheres in crowds were, like the collective feelings of the people, a kind of empathic thing.

I used to experience so many strange coincidences it felt like chaos. In hindsight i think i was experiencing synchronicity, but in my mind these experiences were mixed up with the basic delusion so i couldn't seperate them from my inflated ego (i thought i was God).

I had some psychic experiences too. So i do think there is some connection between abnormal mental states and psychic or spiritual phenomena. Something happens to the brain where the filter mechanism opens up and allows more right-brain stuff in.

What is interesting is the similarities between schizophrenia and the hypnagogic state.

It seems i must have got lucky because my outward behaviour was normal and i didn't hear voices etc. I think those people who are that bad, i just feel sorry for them. They must be going through hell. I've had many years to ponder the fact that i'm really a pretty normal person after all and that the difference between me and normal people is just a slight degree. They will experience the synchronicity and believe it is their higher self or the universe saying hello, whereas my higher self is my self anyway, so i tend to take it personally.

Lately i started challenging these deluded perceptions in various ways and it is obvious to me that i am not personally involved in the events that happen as i used to consider. I consider myself cured. I always did question them but i never believed fully in the doubt. 15 years of living a waking nightmare very quickly left me and i am back to what i was before i became ill. The trouble is, i have no life now! I have wasted my life.

The good thing is that i spent all my time thinking and reading and i got over the anxiety that accompanies the fear of death. Most people worry about death when they retire i suppose. I have been retired for the last 15 years and i am only 32. All that free time gives you plenty of things to think about concerning life and death and boredom. I know now that i will never get bored and afraid of death in my old age. I also spent 12 years meditating, so i have had some spiritual experiences, which i know are different to the delusions of mentally ill persons.

Hi David, controlling others by thought and receiving thought through TV etc; would have been seen as some what delusional by health professionals. But great to see you feel you have control now. You said you have not been working for some 15 years, I gather since you were a teen. It would be interesting to hear your journey, or experiences since then.

Lyn x.

David,

Good to hear you're doing better. 32 is still pretty young. I would not consider my life a waste yet if I were you!

Cheers,

Matt

I agree with Matt. At 29, I was in a head-on collision that pretty much had me starting over from scratch again too. I was 31 by the time I was finally able to walk up and down stairs like other people do. By my mid-30's I had walked up the side of a mountain, something I had never even tried before the accident. It's never too late to live your life, David!

Agreed. you have plenty time... go out and grab life. 32? If you think your life is over at 32, then that is a left-over from a teenage mindset - ditch it!

Thank you all for your comments. YOu are right Douglas, i think it is a left-over from my teens. I just worry about not being able to get employment. Then there's the issue of having no qualifications and knowing what to do, procrastination etc. You say go out and grab life - yeah, if you have money i guess.

Lynn, i don't know what you want to hear. When i was 17 i smoked tons of pot and started getting paranoia which then turned into those delusions i mentioned. That was 15 years ago and i have spent all this time trying to understand my experience, trying to make sense of what happened to me, trying to rationalise it all. I started to meditate in 2000 after reading Autobiography of a Yogi. Outside of meditation i had some synchronous experiences and precognitive experiences. So i dreamed about something and later it unfolded before me in a flash so quick i was able to predict what would happen "again" just before it happened. It was like watching a movie for the second time.

In meditation i had a few hypnagogic visions which seemed to be like solutions to problems in my life, flash before my mind's eye in an almost hallucinogenic colour, split into segments and not a continuous flow of an image. Or one time when i saw an alien looking being standing before my minds eye on what appeared to be a beach, where i looked into its eyes and was shocked to see her and could tell she was shocked to see me and could tell it was a she. How can i have known it was a female and felt it and its reactions to me? It must be intuition.

I had another experience while meditating where i thought i could hear the voice of the famous medium Gordon Smith, where a kind of two-way communication was occuring where he seemed to be giving me a reading, of all things! I could feel him and "hear" him saying things like, "you have had some kind of mental problems" etc.

I had similar experiences of other people. While meditating once i thought i somehow could feel James Randi and i would have like lightning quick thoughts and he would be responding to them with some kind of sneering and jeering, almost shouting kind of expression. Very hard to articulate these kinds of experiences.

I had an experience where i thought i saw the word "Gala" in bright white light appear in my mind's eye, tiny font. I had no idea what this word referred to, i only knew it meant a kind of celebration and was the name of Salvador Dali's wife. I googled it and found that it is the name of a place in Tibet, which could have made some sense to me because back before i started meditating i had a strange visionary experience. I was lying in bed at night, probably stoned, and suddenly a wispy, cloud-like thing appeared to be coming from the wall opposite, spreading out and widening out in a spiral kind of way, and then in the middle of it i could see Tibetan monks or Buddhist monks sitting in a circle and smiling and laughing. Except what i was seeing was not a flat 2D picture, it was 3D and spherical and i was somehow inside of it so that if i wanted to look left, say, i would be looking at the face of one of those monks. And then the whole thing just disappeared in a kind of cloudy misty way with some of the wisps going smaller and fading out. So i thought maybe Gala and this early experience could go together in that i could have been a Buddhist monk in my last life and lived in Gala, Tibet. But that would just be wild speculation.

I recently started to experience my body moving by itself when attempting to meditate. But i am not sure if this is something that is happening to me or some kind of ideomotor effect.

My girlfriend says she feels inner energy currents and chakras, and she also seems to be a magnet for ghosts. I have experienced ghostly activity in my house when she came to stay with me. It doesn't involve any altered state of consciousness, it is objects disappearing, funny smells and funny noises.

But for 12 years of meditation i don't have much to show for it. Admittedly i have been drinking alcohol every evening since 1999 and i didn't meditate regularly, i started to get panic attacks and i had to make the bad feeling go away by drinking. It turned into panic 24 hours a day until i started taking anti-depressant medication and trying to figure out why my anxiety is so acute, with tremendous pressure in the head like it is going to explode and heat, pins and needles and "bubbles" inside the brain constantly for 13 years. It has been about a month now where i started coming out of this anxiety because i rationalised the delusions away.

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