Wisdom - Per-Erik Larsson - ebook

Wisdom ebook

Per-Erik Larsson

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Opis

The book is about my past 22 years as a schizophrenic. It is divided into three parts. Part 1 is about my understanding of psychology. Part 2 presents my bird view of society and history and Part 3 is all about schizophrenia.

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CONTENTS

Preface

Part 1: An Excursion in Modern Psychology

Introduction

Human Nature

Consciousness from a Developmental Perspective

Dependent Origination: A Buddhist Concept

Oneness

The Creation and Path of the Universe

A Complex World

Ideas that Make Up Our Reality

Society is a Machine

The Unconscious

How to Program Your Unconscious

Emotions

Personality

Stress

Habits and Compensatory Behaviors

Anxiety

Neuroses

Psychosis

Theory for Hearing Voices

Depression

Suicide

We All Sit in a Prison

Power and Decision-Making

Women: The First Sex

Structural and Cultural Violence

Theory for Evolution within an Animal Species

A Buddhist View

Happiness

Happiness Step by Step

Personality Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Part 2: Psychology, History, and Society

Introduction

Society, Politics, and Reality

The Authoritarian Archetype

A Historical Perspective

Society as a Reflection of Our Instincts

Society as an Organism

Society

Egypt

Western Societies of Today

A Society Based on an Unsustainable System

How to Manipulate and Control the World

The Past and Future of Western Societies

Components that Make Up Western Society

In Closing

Part 3: Schizophrenia

Introduction

My Childhood

How I was Set Up

How Schizophrenia Works

A Short Account of What Schizophrenia is Today

What Psychiatry is All About

Famous People with Schizophrenic Personality

The Effect of My Life on Society

My Experience of God

Afterword

PREFACE

This book is divided into three parts. Part 1 is the manuscript that Part 2 is based on. Part 1 is based on my model of the personality, which to a large extent is based on introspection and to a lesser degree on observation. I begin with presenting my view of the personality, which I a bit presumptuous call human nature. After that I continue with an investigation into the creation of the Universe. After that I start to explain everything that is psychological to its nature that I have learned as a schizophrenic over the past 20 years. That includes a new theory for evolution. I round off by looking at how well personality disorders can be explained using my personality model. Part 2 is all about applying the theories presented in Part 1 to the institutions of society and history. It is all about holistic thinking. Part 3 covers schizophrenia a little bit more in detail from my perspective.

Most of Part 1, especially the structure and outline were done between 2000 and 2005. In the second half of 2005 I was heavily medicated, and this medication lasted until 2010. From 2010 to 2019 I used my time to improve and expand the manuscript. The reason I had to use so much time improving on the manuscript was that the original was written in a manic state and as such I was not able to reflect over the content at the time. Part 2 was written during the first half of 2005. Part 3 was written in 2011 after my last hospital stay and material has been added from time to time.

So now you know I am schizophrenic. You wonder perhaps if that does not mean that the personality has broken down. That is correct. Normally the label schizophrenic is given to someone who has suffered a breakdown of his or her personality. However, as we will see later the label schizophrenic is also attached to normal functioning individuals in order to give God a go ahead to persecute the individual in question. From this we understand that psychiatrists are nothing more than modern day witchdoctors. Psychiatrists’ uses different labels as curses and the most powerful curse at their discretion is schizophrenia. Considering the meaning of schizophrenia, you may wonder what I can know about personality. Actually a lot, the truth about schizophrenia is that it is a test designed by God and psychiatry. The purpose of the test is to see if the schizophrenic has a strong enough personality to withstand the worst that God and psychiatry can come up with. Psychiatrists know with 99% certainty who is a schizophrenic when you are admitted to a psychiatric clinic. If they have some reason to believe you are going to be a hard nut to crack, they label you a schizophrenic. That was the case with me back in 1997. The reason for this is that most people try to adapt to new circumstances they are put in by adopting the behavior expected from them. This is called labeling theory. So, this is the first test to see if your personality is going to hold up. After that follows test upon test of the personality, all meant to break it down. As you might understand from the above, I am extremely well-suited to write about psychology and especially about personality psychology. The only thing that historically bears any resemblance to psychiatric practice is New Orleans Voodoo.

You will be the judge whether I have suffered a breakdown or am the victim of structural violence. Now you can read my book and hopefully appreciate it.

Part 1

An Excursion in Modern Psychology

33RD VERSE FROM TAO TE CHING

One who understands others has knowledge;

one who understands himself has wisdom.

Mastering others requires force;

mastering the self needs strength.

If you realize that you have enough,

you are truly rich.

One who gives himself to his position

surely lives long.

One who gives himself to the Tao

surely lives forever.

INTRODUCTION

Philosophy’s purpose is to improve the quality of people’s lives. In doing so a philosopher proposes some entity such as happiness and describes a logical way to reach this state. This first part mainly deals with the idea of happiness and tries to give a foundation for psychology by putting forth a theory for human nature. Socrates dealt with the importance of doing the right thing to be happy with yourself. All later Western philosophers deal with how to keep the masses happy; some examples are John Stuart Mill (utilitarianism) and Karl Marx (communism or Marxism).

Happiness or for that matter any other feeling is simply a state of mind. Any philosophy that proposes to increase happiness for mankind must take this into account. For a philosophy to have any real effect it must focus on the individual and his state of mind. The science that works with the mind is psychology, and it is therefore reasonable that any philosophical idea of happiness uses psychology as its tool to accomplish this.

I see Buddhism strictly as a philosophy that comes with a toolbox of psychological tricks to help the individual become happy and content with his life. This book will not deal with every aspect of Buddhism. I will only bring forth some psychological theories in support of already existing axioms and recommendations within Buddhism. My purpose in doing so is to validate these axioms and recommendations by Buddha, and somewhat more clearly explain the importance of adhering to those recommendations. This is done based on the theory of human nature and its functioning.

A new theory for evolution will be proposed; a theory which says that evolution is a psychological process. I will also propose a theory that tells mankind its purpose, which is to make our mind beautiful, which is done by becoming happy (beautiful thoughts). This last theory has been added because Albert Schweitzer points to the necessity for mankind to have a theory of the universe or world-view that has a connection to civilization. This ultimately made me produce a theory for the creation of the universe that is a merger between psychology and quantum cosmology.

Finally, I will look at personality disorders and see how well they can be explained using my theoretical model of human nature.

HUMAN NATURE

This account of human nature does not claim to be complete or correct in every detail. The purpose has been to try to find the foundation of our personality. That is what all humans have in common. I have used introspection to do this and it started as a top-down process but developed to become a bottom-up process. This all reminds me of one of the inscriptions at the Temple of Delphi, “Know thyself.“ For some behavior I have used strictly observations to determine their existence. My conclusion is that human nature can be divided into four distinct levels: instincts, emotions, ego needs, and philosophical insight. Instincts produce emotions which in turn produce complementary ideas which in turn produce behaviors. Behaviors produce new complementary ideas and so on. To quote a line from the first verse in Tao Te Ching: Names can name no lasting name.

Instincts

Instincts are the lowest level from where one can organize higher behaviors. It is my standpoint that all higher organisms including man’s behavior have its roots in instincts.

Emotions

This level has developed with the purpose to enhance our capacity for survival. Complex learning becomes possible through conditioning (this is further developed in the section “Consciousness from a Developmental Perspective”). This means that emotions function as stimulus and reward for behaviors that gives gratification to the instinct it is paired with. Emotions stop functioning as stimuli/reward as soon as the desired behavior has been established. Anxiety is used to indicate that the instinct is not being satisfied. This force the development of ego needs as the environment changes. One could say anxiety is the result of a changing society and that Nature use anxiety to kick mankind along. Basically, I agree with those who say that emotions range from unpleasant to pleasant. I would like to say that I see pleasant emotions as being in support of the current thought or behavior and the opposite is true for unpleasant emotions. You are supposed to do (think) what makes you feel good.

Ego Needs

This level has a similar appearance as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The major difference is that I conclude there is a self-realization for each ego need. This view adds much more complexity to human nature. It also puts focus in how many areas as we humans can grow and develop our approach to life. Learning is accomplished through conditioning and modeling, with emotions serving as positive or negative reinforcement. I have split this level up in three different sub-levels, need for security, need for appreciation, and self-realization. It should be noted that ego needs are the sublimation of instincts. To move upwards in ego needs, the instinct must not be easily satisfied. That is, anxiety or adversity forces development on us, or we cognitively learn a more mature way to satisfy the instinct. If a person too easily satisfies their needs, the development of those needs will be arrested. This is basically the case when life is to easy. We need adversity to evolve.

I started out by drawing my own human nature, which is shown in table 1. Later I have tried to generalize this model. My generalized model is based on Hegel’s thesis-antithesis. The same idea as the dialectical method exists within the texts of Tao Te Ching. There it is expressed in a slightly different way: “Is and is not produce each other or being and nonbeing produce each other or existing and not existing produce each other.” This means that for each ego need there are two approaches that are opposites, or as I prefer to say, complementary. Using this approach to explain ideas and behaviors in human nature might look something like in figure 1 where the instinct “conquer/explore” from table 1 has been outlined. Human nature as a generalized idea is outlined in table 2.

Philosophical Insight

To reach this level one should live a life in moderation (this could be called the golden rule of ethics), be accountable, have self-discipline, and respect for all living creatures. To see an outline of my human nature, see table 1. That which is written in the boxes of table 1 is an idea that could be called a behavior. These ideas are subjective and open to change, not like Plato’s ideas, which were supposed to be objective and final. There are only different perspectives no definite reality. As can be seen in table 1, we as human beings continue to grow throughout our lives and we are sensitive and emotional beings.

Figure 1: How ideas for the instinct “conquer/explore” develop

An Unconscious Entity

We need to look closer at the instinct, “value.” This is because the positive emotional reward is so great that it needs an opposite pole to balance it, self-hatred.

Self-hatred is such a negative feeling that it is not acceptable. This means a defense mechanism will act. In this case it is repression. This happens according to my observations between two and three years of age. The repressed self-hatred lies as a gravitational center in the unconscious. The unconscious thoughts are drawn in and bent around this center. Our instincts that are sublimated to needs in the unconscious are bent (distorted) by the center, hence our inability to satisfy our needs. Since the needs are distortions of the underlying instincts it becomes impossible to achieve need satisfaction. This is the reason why we create new needs in the hunt for lasting well-being. This inability to identify our needs correctly puts us in a constant search to satisfy ourselves with different substitutes. This is the foundation for progress, as we know it.

Many times, when the emotion of self-hatred is experienced it is rationalized to be hatred and projected onto someone else. Hatred could also be considered the combination of the emotions fear, you fear what you do not understand, and anger. From this perspective hate is nothing but anger laced with anxiety. The principle of Occam’s razor states, “Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” If one were to conclude that hate is a mixture of anger and anxiety one could conclude that hate is irrational, since anxiety itself is a response indicating lack of rationality. Self-hatred might from this perspective be nothing more than one being angry with oneself together with anxiety (doubts about value).

CONSCIOUSNESS FROM A DEVELOPMENTAL PERSPECTIVE

I have looked at consciousness as something that develops through life. Starting with the infant and slowly moving to adolescence. I will present two theories (natural and adaptive conditioning) for the functioning of emotions. I try to answer what consciousness is and why it exists. The whole theory gives a new perspective on what consciousness is and it might also explain a little bit about our past.

Background

It is well known that behaviors are aimed towards feelings of pleasure and away from feelings of discomfort. This knowledge has however never been used for suggesting a mechanism for learning behaviors that involve emotions. This I propose to do by examining and reinterpreting some old conclusions. I will start by refreshing the reader’s memory regarding classical conditioning and operant conditioning. These theories are about learning behaviors.

In Pavlov´s experiment on classical conditioning a light is turned on in front of a dog. After a few seconds, some meat powder is delivered to the dog and the light turned off. The dog is hungry and salivates. This procedure is repeated several times. The dog learns that when the light comes on it gets food and therefore starts to salivate as soon as the light is turned on. This gives the following sequence: Light (conditioned stimulus)-Salivation (conditioned response)-Food (unconditional stimulus). My interpretation is the following: Hungry (emotional stimulus)-The dog knows it gets food when the light comes on and salivates (behavior)-Food (need)-The dog is satisfied by the food or experience pleasure (emotional reinforcement). I argue that if it had not been for the emotional reinforcement, the dog would not have learned to respond with salivation so quickly, if at all.

In operant conditioning desired behaviors are rewarded with food or praise. For example, a hungry rat is placed in a box with a bar that releases food when pressed. Soon enough the rat has learned that it gets food when it presses the bar. The following interpretation is done: Press the bar (desired behavior)-Food or praise (positive reinforcement). This is how we raise our children and dogs nowadays. My interpretation for the rat is as follows: Hungry (emotional stimulus)-Press the bar (behavior)-Food (need)-The rat is satisfied by the food or experience pleasure (emotional reinforcement). As can be seen I have the same interpretation of both classical and operant conditioning, this indicates that my explanation is more fundamental. Also, in the case of the rat I argue that if it had not been for the emotional reinforcement, the rat would not have learned to press the bar, except by chance. I argue that this interpretation of the experiments is correct, since I have incorporated the subjects’ internal states in my explanation.

Both these original theories do not consider the internal state of the subject and this is critical to how I view emotions and their function, as I have shown above. Note that some animals learn behaviors with praise as the need. This indicates similar emotions as in humans.

Consciousness

What is from a developmental viewpoint the first level of consciousness? According to my view the baby’s first experience is satisfaction/dissatisfaction; this is a type of emotion. It seems like emotions come together with the needs but note that the satisfaction of the need also leads to an emotion. For example: When the baby is hungry, it cries because it wants food, and it gets the breast. After it is full, the baby will experience a feeling of fullness. This gives us the following sequence of events: Hungry (emotional stimulus) – Cry (behavior) – Food (need) -Satisfaction (emotional reinforcement). This could be called natural conditioning. My view is that emotions in some cases precede needs, and that needs are created by emotions. Therefore, I will call emotions the first level of consciousness. The basic idea here is that emotions shape behaviors and I suggest one way this could be done, called natural conditioning. Emotions form the first level of consciousness. However, there is something that is needed in order to experience emotions and that is our senses that create what we call perception. Perception and emotions require a brain in order to serve any purpose. As we have seen from the previous discussion of consciousness behaviors are created. From this we can draw two conclusions. Firstly, behaviors are created by consciousness and secondly, since emotions are a part of this process everything we do, say, or think, are subjective.

If I were to summarize my understanding so far of what consciousness is, and if I were to add some behaviors that I believe will be of importance in the future it might look something like this where the degree of consciousness increases towards love.

Brain

Senses (perception)

Emotions (pleasant/neutral/unpleasant)

Curiosity

Empathy and sympathy

Morality (Golden Rule)

Inner and outer control (dignity)

Conscience

Intuition

Love (celebratory and compassionate love)

Libet’s Experiment

As we can understand from the above, emotions are to be seen as machine code that we are being programmed with and the language we use to think and speak is to be seen as some form of high-level computer language. In this fashion we can view the brain’s language center as a reverse compiler that turns machine code into understandable thoughts and speech. The compiler can also turn language into machine code by using affirmations for 4 hours. This has been known for a long time within psychiatry where it is called psychic driving.

I claim the above reasoning is enough to explain the delay Libet noted between the time of the readiness potential and the conscious decision.

All of this leads up to the conclusion that people with problems in the area of speech (stutter) or reading (dyslexia) would put a bigger importance on machine code (emotions) than the average person.

Emotions, Especially Love

To my understanding, love is to unconsciously recognize oneself in someone else’s behavior, needs or values and the emotions that are relevant. Love is made up by ideas and behaviors from all instincts in the human nature, that this is so I leave up to the reader to lead in proof. Most people know what falling in love means. It is a highly emotional state or turmoil of emotions that make you attracted to the person in question. Love is supposed to replace this initial turmoil and hopefully last the rest of your life. However, you cannot touch or feel love because it is so weak that it may as well be considered unconscious. To love someone means that you have behaviors that show your love and appreciation for the other person. These behaviors make us happy, but to be happy is a state of mind not an emotion. Loving someone means that that person brings out the best in you and therefore make you happy.

This kind of reasoning is valid for curiosity, empathy, conscience, and so on. They are all behaviors that contribute to our well-being or happiness if one prefers that word.

The Function of Consciousness

Perception give us the first interpretation of sensory information about reality and make it possible to move around and to learn.

Emotions serve the purpose of being stimuli and reinforcement to different needs according to this theory. As we all know, emotions continue to develop through adolescence. During adolescence, natural conditioning continues for behaviors or thoughts that are appropriate for a given situation. For example, a boy sees a girl he finds attractive, he walks up to her and says a nice thing, the girl smiles and the boy feels good. Attracted (emotional stimulus)-Flatteries (behavior)-Smile (need)-Feel good (emotional reinforcement). Together they form something that shapes behavior. I believe it is only the first few times we engage this natural conditioning that we experience emotions for real. After the behavior is established, the emotional stimulus and reinforcement cease and instead we experience a feeling of elevated mood, happiness or well-being, while performing the behavior.

One can also imagine that anxiety is a driving force to create new behaviors and needs during adolescence, anxiety-behavior-need-emotional reinforcement (this might be the ceasing of anxiety). Needs are meant to keep us safe and develop normally. To begin with, we have a need for food, warmth, and closeness. Later we develop needs for friends, fashion, and so on.

It is also possible to imagine that behaviors are created without an emotional stimulus. An adolescent can for a given situation show a behavior that is successful; hence he/she experiences a positive emotion. We then have the following: Adaptive behavior (behavior)-Socially successful (need)-Feel good (emotional reinforcement). I call this adaptive conditioning. It remains to be investigated which type of conditioning is dominant in adolescence. Curiosity makes sure we never stop evolving.

Empathy and sympathy have developed because of the need to interact with other humans. It makes it possible for us to understand different points of view from the speaker’s perspective and feel with the speaker. The ability to form deep relationships is dependent upon empathy. Marriage in Western societies for example has become dependent on a strong bonding prior to marriage in the late 20th century.

A conscience might be created in response to the question: How would you feel if the positions were reversed? This makes the Golden Rule an excellent choice as moral rule.

Inner and outer control is necessary to move around in the world. To have inner control enough to not stick one’s nose in other people’s business and behave morally correct gives dignity.

Intuition is necessary for one to develop one’s wisdom beyond book smarts. It is my understanding that intuition is when the heart-brain becomes conscious of us (our brain) and we (our brain) become conscious of the heart-brain. This consciousness rewards us with love of self and others.

Love for mankind probably serves the purpose of allowing us to live in peace together and co-operate across borders. I would like to end this by stating that emotions are thoughts and thoughts result in behaviors. We are thoughts and behaviors. We are consciousness. Put differently you could say EQ (emotional intelligence) always trumps IQ (intelligence). EQ leads to happiness. IQ leads to adaption. One could also say that the meaning in life is to learn to think correctly, in such a fashion that we love (become happy). Remember that words and thoughts are the bridge between our world and the quantum world of limitless possibilities, since words and thoughts are connected to emotions.

Consciousness and Thoughts

I would say our state of mind (happy, sad, angry, anxiety, and so on) is dependent on our perception, perception, emotions, behaviors, but mainly on our thoughts. Our thoughts have its origin in complementary properties/ideas. That thoughts arise depends on the polarity between these complementary pairs. A complementary pair always activates our emotions. This means “all” words or better all thoughts are carrier of emotions and as such influence our state of mind. I am convinced that thoughts are the bridge between our physical world and the quantum world. I do not know if this depends on that thoughts are entangled with emotions, but it might be. Perhaps it is not too farfetched to assume that our state of mind also influences this bridge. The quantum world has unlimited possibilities. This brings to mind the environmental issues of our time, which are stark reminders of the fact that nature and earth are not eternal. A word that comes to mind is moderation, which should remind us of that it is best to have everything in moderation. All of this means that as the influence from emotions decreases the state of mind improves. That is the well-being or happiness increases.

Psychopaths’ Influence on History

Psychopathic personality is nowadays called antisocial personality disorder and is characterized as a lack of empathy and sympathy for other humans and no conscience. They also seem to lack emotional nuances that normal humans have, they appear to be less emotional than normal people. They only seem to experience stronger emotions and to a lesser or no extent weaker emotions. This I suggest made them more rational historically than normal humans, because they did not have so many conflicting emotions and needs to obscure them from what were the main problems. Note that only a small part of those diagnosed with antisocial personality are criminals the rest live normal lives.

I imagine that people with antisocial personality were able to advance to high positions, as advisors to the rulers or high positions within the church, which in past times was a force to be reckoned with. The reason I believe that the clergy was an attractive career for these individuals is because of its hierarchy and bureaucratic organization. Within such an organization, their rational mind would be recognized, and they would be promoted to high positions.

Nowadays people with this disorder live a dwindling existence. This is because normal people have learned how to be rational and that we today have democracy and equality between the sexes. There is no denial that there still exists opportunity for these people to advance within big companies and within the government’s bureaucracy, but the competition with normal people is much harder today. Against the background of the different levels of consciousness I would like to call this personality disorder infantile. At the end of Part 1 is a more elaborate discussion of what characterizes this personality.

Discussion

The theories of natural and adaptive conditioning are best left for psychologists to investigate. These theories suggest that our behavior is strongly influenced by our environment, since new behaviors are created in a certain environment to be effective in it. This is nothing new, but it suggests the mechanism by which we adapt to a certain environment. Another consequence of this would be that the philosopher’s zombie would be a memory of the past, since emotions are needed for us to develop certain behaviors.

The theory of consciousness indicates a social functioning of consciousness. This might be of interest to evolutionary theorists.