Anyone who has ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only its own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them. In this respect the psyche behaves like the body with its physiological and anatomical structure, of which the average person knows very little too. Although he lives in it and with it, most of it is totally unknown to the layman, and special scientific knowledge is needed to acquaint consciousness with what is known of the body, not to speak of all that is not known, which also exists.
What is commonly called “self-knowledge” is therefore a very limited knowledge (most of it being delusionally dependent on socially condoned or socially conforming artificial constructs) of what is truly going on in a individual’s psyche.
As can easily be seen, “community” is an indispensable aid in the organization of masses and is therefore a two-edged weapon. Just as the addition of however many zeroes will never make a unit, so the value of a community depends on the spiritual and moral stature of the individuals composing it. For this reason one cannot expect from the community any effect that would outweigh the suggestive influence of the environment—that is, a real and fundamental change in individuals, whether for good or bad. Such changes can come only from the personal encounter between man and man, but not from communistic or Christian baptisms en masse, which do not touch the inner man. How superficial the effect of communal propaganda actually is can be seen from recent events in Eastern Europe (around 1957). The communal ideal reckons without its host, overlooking the individual human being, who in the end will assert his claims.
If emotions are constructed from limited data rather than direct perception, similar to the way vision and memory are constructed , then, as with perception and memory, there must be circumstances when the way the mind fills in gaps in the data results in your “getting it wrong.” The result would be “emotional illusions” that are analogous to optical and memory illusions.
For example, suppose you experience the physiological symptoms of emotional arousal for no apparent reason. The logical response would be to think, Wow, my body is experiencing unexplained physiological changes for no apparent reason! What’s going on? But suppose further that when you experience those sensations they occur in a context that encourages you to interpret your reaction as due to some emotion—say, fear, anger, happiness, or sexual attraction—even though there is no actual cause for that emotion. In that sense your experience would be an emotional illusion.
To demonstrate this phenomenon, Schachter and Singer created two different artificial emotional contexts—one “happy,” one “angry” —and studied the physiologic aroused volunteers who were placed in those situations. The researchers’ goal was to see whether those scenarios could be used to “trick” the volunteers into having an emotion that the psychologists themselves had chosen.
Subliminal, How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Leonard Mlodinow 2012
Cribb Comment: Several experiments have been performed to explore and examine the validity of this theory. The results have strongly suggested that most people are not perceptive or engaged enough with reality to even accurately understand the root cause of their emotions. In other words, they make shit up that fits into the “reality” that they prefer to believe or that happens to be pervasive in the herd so that they can comfortably conform. It further logically follows that this psychological maneuver is the linchpin enabler of withdrawal and withdrawal is the primary means of avoiding auto-corrective objective reality to maintain persistent excusable or justifiable delusion.
She was always the victim. It did not matter how much effort I willingly expended to be with her or how many uplifting and supportive direct compliments I gave her which she simply refused to hear or how much I stabilized her entire pack. She was always the victim unless she got to be the silent bully and do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, without complete consideration of the ultimate consequences to the entire pack, the pack that she said she loved. She was broken. I knew why and I had pity and empathy and resounding faith in her fractured spirit that it would choose to heal itself instead of slinking deeper into false excuses of fear and victimization; deeper into withdrawal from objective reality so that she might rule her own universe without question, without balance. . . without her having to expend the vulnerable effort and posture of maintaining respect for someone she could not control.
I said “I need you to do this for me. Name one time, anytime at all in his whole life, that your father hasn’t considered himself the victim. Just one time, anytime, that he wasn’t always running around doing whatever the hell he wanted to despite the wishes of and responsibilities to his wife and children. Even as he was over-dominating you and breaking your spirit as a little girl, he was always the victim, always, right? I’m not talking about blame right now. I’m just talking above his behavior and his perception. If you can just answer that question, you’ll break through, you’ll see it. So, tell me please, tell me one time in your father’s entire lifetime that he wasn’t the victim in his own mind while he bullied everyone else around him.”
She started crying, but she refused to answer the question and in doing so, in turning away from her fear of reality, she reset the cycle to continue in its revolutions of delusion, madness, and suffering.
If you have to look down to a more dependent or submissive entity to believe in love, what is it that you can’t see, appreciate, or find, when you look up?
And if you can’t believe in love by perceiving and acknowledging the worth and grace of a more independent stable dominant entity, how in the hell can you believe that you can genuinely love something of less existential vivacity and grace?
You may choose to love or not to love. That is your choice, your willful choice, but you may not, you may not bastardize love into a force or energy that you personally control and apply to creatures who are only dependent on or submissive to you. That isn’t love. So, don’t get that energy or force that you are conveniently attempting to rewrite and market as “love” confused with genuine love.
An energy which is only applied unilaterally to lesser or submissive creatures, no matter how much you want to advertise it as the exact polar opposite, is nothing more than fear.
To choose fear or love for all, that is the question.
William James widely considered the father of American psychology and a co-father to the philosophy of pragmatism, received a MD from Harvard Medical School in 1869. James had always been exceptionally bright and was well educated since his earliest youth. He suffered from severe depression and insecurity (self-loathing) which apparently hit a high point in his life after his graduation from Harvard and as a result he checked himself into an asylum for treatment.
James left the asylum in an improved state and perspective, but not as a result of the therapy he had received at the institution. He experienced a self revelation of awareness and understanding after reading an essay on free will by Charles Renouvier, a French philosopher. His epiphany has been referred to as “A Promethean Act of Free Will” and in essence lead to his profound belief that mental illness could only be accurately addressed and/or cured via the free will of personal choice.
Though James continued to struggle with his mental illness in some form for the rest of his life, his approach to his depression improved his quality of life significantly and kept it from crippling him severely anymore in the future. He went on to teach physiology and psychology at Harvard, published significant data and theory on human emotion (now referred to as the James-Lange theory), and eventually settled on the in depth contemplation and study of philosophy and spiritual energy in the later period of his life. He published numerous books of ongoing significant relevance including The Principles of Psychology (1890), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), and a groundbreaking work on education, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals (1899).
The sketch is a self portrait James produced around the age of 24 and the year 1866.
Information borrowed and paraphrased from:
1) Subliminal – How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, Leonard Mlodinow 2012
2) Introduction Notes for The Varieties of Religious Experience, Wayne Proudfoot 2004