Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mind Parasites, Divine and Human

Covering 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution in 300 pages is not that easy. For one thing, unlike God, I didn't have 13.7 billion years--plus who knows how many supra-ontological aeons--to gestate the Word in the womb of my infinite being. Inevitably you have to cut some corners to round an absurcular book that meets itself in the muddle of the mount.

There are two main areas that I wish I could have expanded upon. One would be on the history of child rearing and its impact upon culture, politics and history. The other would be the related concept of "mind parasites," which I'm going to talk about today. Although I tried in the book to be as clear as possible in describing the concept, it's probably easy to misunderstand. I also provided footnotes for additional reading, but even the most basic reading on the subject is probably going to be pretty dense for the average reader, because a lot of it is frankly for professionals.

As an aside, whenever I read a book--at least a book from which I have learned something new--it always provides me with new "leads" to follow up on. A case in point is the book A Different Christianity, by Robin Amis, which totally opened up the world of Christianity for me and gave me more additional leads than I can count. If I hadn't tapped into that more esoteric but still traditional vein, then I wouldn't have been able to make my book compatible with Christianity.

In discussing mind parasites, there are several thinkers who had a profound impact on shaping my ideas. One of the problems is that most psychologists are completely unfamiliar with these thinkers. In fact, most psychoanalysts are even unfamiliar with them. For example, ShrinkWrapped--who is entirely sound, as I probably don't have to tell you--was trained in an entirely different tradition than I was. Although I am not a psychoanalyst, I attended a psychoanlytic institute, and all of my training was specifically in psychoanalysis. But psychoanalysis is as riven by various sects, movements, schisms, heresies, and orthodoxies as any religion.

I personally believe that Freud made the "big discovery," but that the discovery was so vast that it cannot possibly be "contained" by any orthodoxy. This in itself is instructive, because it segues into one of the main points I want to make about mind parasites.

Traditional metaphysics always makes a distinction between the God-being and the God-beyond-being--between the personal God that can be named and thought about and the Supreme Reality that is beyond name and form. The former is the cataphatic God about whom we may talk, debate and theologize, while the latter is the apophatic God that so utterly transcends our categories that the most we can say about it is what it is not. Various formulations are "fingers pointing at the moon," and although they are "doorways" into the divine mystery, one should not mistake the finger for the moon.

As another aside, as always, this blog is not really aimed at people who are “at peace with God.” I have no desire whatsoever to try to change or to proselytize to those individuals. Rather, it is aimed more at people who are already esoterists such as myself, or at sophisticated people who are not at peace with God because they have difficulty finding a plausible or compelling point of entry into exoteric religion as it is usually presented.

Most rank-and-file religious people have never heard of the God-beyond-being and might even be offended by the idea. They have a clear conception of what God is like, and don't want to be reminded that the real unconditioned God blows away those mental idols like a tornado through a Buddhist sand painting convention... which, by the way, is the whole point of a sand painting. A Buddhist would enjoy the irony, for it would be a reminder that the tornado is more real than the sand painting.

Anyway, you might even think that I made up the idea, but this distinction between the God-being and God-beyond-being is actually a distinction within God himself. It is not a bobmade principle, but one that is inherent in the inner life of the godhead. It is easy to prove that it exists, more problematic to prove that we or anything else exist outside it. As a matter of fact, the God-beyond-being is the only thing that cannot not be. Ultimately it is the distinction between Brahman and maya, between reality and appearance, between absolute and relative, between necessary and contingent.

It is also the distinction between the symmetrical and the asymmetrical, which is the point I wanted to make about mind parasites. For, being that we are made in the "image of God," we have the same distinction within ourselves that God has within himself. That is, we have a conscious ego that "floats" upon, or is entirely surrounded by, an infinite ocean of unconsciousness. But "unconsciousness" is not the appropriate word, since it has some misleading connotations.

For the ego represents one type of consciousness, and is surrounded by another type of consciousness. To qualify it as "un" is to miss the point. It is perhaps "over", or "under," or "around," or "before," or “within,” but it is definitely not un. Nor is there really any bright line between the ego and the unconscious. Rather, like the distinction within the divine between God-being and God-beyond-being, there is in reality no distinction. Actually, we didn’t so much invent the distinction--again, it is real--as place a dividing line at an arbitrary juncture.

After all, being inherently absolute and infinite, there is no line we can draw within God, and say to him, "you stay on that side." No. This is the secret of God's utter transcendence and his unfathomable immanence. This is precisely why we can say with a straight face that everything is in God, but that, at the same time, God is in everything. Relying upon normal Aristotelian logic, we would have to say that one of these statements precludes the other: you can either be in something or something can be in you. Both statements cannot be true. It makes no sense to say that "I am in California" and that "California is in me."

Unless you are employing a different mode of logic. This is called "symmetrical logic" in contradistinction to "asymmetrical" Aristotelian logic. As it so happens this is precisely the logic that governs the Freudian unconscious, and it is also what makes mind parasites so troublesome. If mind parasites obeyed normal logic and reason, it would be a simple matter to eradicate them. It would be just a matter of education. In fact, the more superficial forms of psychotherapy adopt this cognitive approach to do battle with mind parasites. Sometimes it helps, but in my experience, it is more palliative than transformative, and cannot touch more deeply rooted mind parasites because it specifically avoids the problem of symmetry. Being that the unconscious partakes of symmetrical logic, it is has certain qualities, such as being "timeless" and "infinite." Likewise, the part can contain the whole, while the whole can symbolize the part.

You may be surprised to hear this, but most psychological problems are not "emotional" problems per se. Nor are they problems of faulty thinking, of ineffective or pathological defenses, or of learned behaviors.

Rather, they are problems of logic. Not "logic" vs. "illogic." That is only how it appears on the surface. Rather, it is a problem of symmetrical logic vs. asymmetrical logic. For, just as God is in everything and everything is in God, our mind parasites are in us but we are equally in our mind parasites.

Is this getting too weird? Is anyone still following me?

Simple introspection or observation of others will confirm the truth of what I am saying. I can think of so many clinical cases that I can't think of just one to make my point. Take the case of a woman whose mother was moody and unstable. She would frequently verbally and sometimes physically lash out at the patient in a frightening and unpredictable way. But she is a child. She is emotionally dependent upon her mother. In order to maintain the bond of loving attachment, these frightening aspects of the relationship are shunted off into the "unconscious." A mind parasite is born. It is actually an internalized relationship with an emotional tone linking the two parties.

In taking a clinical history, I can see obvious evidence of this mind parasite shadowing this woman's life, sabotaging relationships, generating "propaganda" that she confuses with her own thoughts, persecuting her from within. She is currently in a crisis because things aren't going well at work. She is being criticized, picked on. This resonates with the mind parasite.

But again, it would be inaccurate to say that something is being awakened "within" her. This is not at all what it feels like. Rather, it is as if she has been plunged into a different mental space altogether. This is what is so confusing. Now the very distinction between "inside" and "outside" starts to be blurred. Is the persecution coming from my supervisor? Or is it coming from me? In reality, she is simply in an infinitely persecutory “symmetrical” space that surrounds and suffocates her on all sides. She can run but she cannot hide. She goes out on disability to get away from the problem, but that doesn't help, for now she has no place to project her mind parasite. She begins to realize that the problem is not ultimately outside but inside. And she's inside it!

This brings up an interesting point. That is, does God have divine mind parasites?

Oh yes. I’m afraid so. For what is a mind parasite in the final analysis? It is a relativity that partakes of, and confuses itself with, absoluteness. God being God, he cannot help being present in all relativities. But being God, he cannot help being beyond them as well. A divine mind parasite is a relativity that steals from the absolute and then forces itself upon others absolutely.

A nodding acquaintance with history, both past and contemporary, will demonstrate the menace this poses.



What an outstanding link sent to me by reader J.R.:

The Left, Online and Outraged
Liberal Blogger Finds an Outlet and a Community

This is one of the most vivid accounts of leftist mind parasites I have ever read. The idea that this has only to do with George Bush strikes me as somewhat preposterous. After all, we all have George Bush as President. And yet, not all of us are plunged into an infinitely malevolent psychological space as a result:

"In the angry life" of this blogger, "the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in," she is "out of bed and heading toward her computer."

In the persecuted world of the Angry Left, she has the reputation "as one of the angriest of all. 'One long, sustained scream' is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day."

"Should it be about Bush, whom she considers 'malevolent,' a 'sociopath' and 'the Antichrist'? She smokes another cigarette. Should it be about Vice President Cheney, whom she thinks of as 'Satan,' or about Karl Rove, 'the devil'? Should it be about the 'evil' Republican Party, or the 'weaselly, capitulating, self-aggrandizing, self-serving' Democrats, or the Catholic Church, for which she says 'I have a special place in my heart . . . a burning, sizzling, putrescent place where the guilty suffer the tortures of the damned'?"

Ah, the truly AWESOME power of the symmetrical unconscious!

"'I feel like I'm being molested everytime I hear [Bush's] voice,' one person writes on the Daily Kos Web site while watching a Bush news conference."

You ARE being molested, my leftist friend! But I'm afraid it's an inside job.

"Powerlessness" is one weak explanation. "This is born of powerlessness."

Yes, powerlessness in the face of something that absolutely envelops and smothers the conscious mind.

"It has come to the point where the worst people on Earth are running the Earth." As a result, "I am this close to being one of those muttering people pushing a cart.. I'm insane with rage and grief."

badda-BING! It is so rare to stumble upon truth. When one does so, it is best to stop searching after it. Rather, try to digest it.

"The cigarettes are because of a personality that she describes as compulsive. The nonalcoholic beer is because for several years she drank to excess. The note [above her computer] that says 'Why am I/you here?' is because she is in constant search of an answer."

Oh baby. Compulsiveness. Impulsivity. Addiction. Molestation. Powerlessness. Rage. Splitting. Projection. Identity confusion. If you're a psychologist, this was a beautiful article, in the way I imagine the equations of quantum physics are beautiful to a physicist.


"The aion is a child playing with colored toys."


Dan Spomer said...

Well, that certainly helped a lot! I'd been wrestling with the concept for some time, and your post cleared things up (at least a bit). I'll have do a bit more thinking and re-reading now...

May I humbly request more follow-up posts on this topic?

LiquidLifeHacker said...

Romans 11:33-36
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Helene said...

Badda badda bing is right! Just read about that Sherman Oaks womanat LGF and thought that was a great example of MP.
Dealing With Mind Parasites and for Dummies by Gagdad Bob is a book I need
By the way, where did you do your PHD training and how is it different from Dr Sanity's?

LiquidLifeHacker said...

Ha Ha Bob, how can you not add O'Connor's picture here? That is too funny! Maybe you can get the "scream" art, you know the one where the "screamer" is holding their head and paste O'Connor's face into it? LOOOOOOOOOOL

You know, after reading that, can't we all admit that we know someone like this in our lives? It's so pitiful isn't it? And the worse part is they don't have a clue how pitiful it really is!

Lisa said...

It is funny at first, LLH. But when you are surrounded by nutjobs like that, it becomes depressing. I love living in southern California but sometimes I wonder if I should cash out(sell my house) and run as fast as I can to a saner state! You cannot have a normal conversation with people like that because it always ends in "Yeah, it's all Bush's fault. I hate him so much. We wasted all that money on warplanes and Iraq." The most frustrating aspect of it all is that they are usually wearing a Che Guevara shirt! (That was not a joke, it actually happened to me last week!)

LiquidLifeHacker said...

Lisa, by all means you don't have to explain to me about what it's like to be surrounded by lefties! I actually asked Bob for advice how to get through the holidays and oh Lisa, his reply was soooo funny but really helpful too!

The thing that I have noticed is this, we truly do stand out as light amongst them...I really don't argue with them, as you said it's just a waste of time, but Bob said we can still hold our position by being logical and asking them questions. For example asking them why they feel that way to see what you are really up against. Just as so many see Iraq as Vietnam and paint it all with past pain and baggage. So what I have learned to do is just not argue but ask alot of questions and watch them trip over trying to explain "why" they feel the way they do! Once they get started on that, then ask them "What evidence do you have of this conclusion that you have come to?" That one always trips them up in frustration and they will quickly change the subject! Ha Ha

P.S. (Bob...I sent you a pic via email)

Hoarhey said...

On posts like these that explain the structure of the cosmos I have to read real slow and try and comprehend with my mind AND body.
I've been just using God as my mechanic when I discover a mind parasite but I'm wondering if he hasn't slipped in a few "aftermarket" parts on me. Guess I'll have to have another look under the hood.

The sad part about that woman and her website is that little boy of hers. Just like with her father being killed in Vietnam, he has an absent mother when he needs her the most and a weak father who needs to yank that computer out of the wall. Poor little guy will be digging out from under this for the rest of his life if he ever does.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

Hoarhey--"and a weak father who needs to yank that computer out of the wall"

You know Hoarhey, I have often wondered why people that are so miserable or have had miserable experiences online that constantly complain about it don't just log off or as you said, "Yank the computer our of the wall"

That made me laugh when you said that cause it's sooooo true!

jwm said...

I, too read this article from the post at LGF. What surprised me is that I found it incredibly sad. On the large scale, these people are profoundly dangerous in that there are enough of them that some of our politicians are either among them, or have no qualms about pandering to their sickness for the sake of votes.
On the small scale I've been in that head space, and it ain't no fun.

But what I really want to comment on is the "point of entry" to the exoteric traditions. The blog, the book, and these exchanges* on line have provided me with that point of entry. There is a sea change going on within me. Where I once despised the very notion of religion, I now find the topic magnetized. Now I know what John Donne meant when he wrote:

And thou like adamant{lodestone} draw mine iron heart.

Sometimes I take stock. I ask myself, "Do I believe this, or that, now?"
I am amazed at the number of yes answers that were formerly no's, and the number of no's that were formerly yes's. Stuff is going on here!

*special thanks, Will, Ben, LLH


will said...

Bob/the Bobbleheaded -

O yeah, that underscores the absolute fact that the psychological problem/disturbance is the metaphysical prob/disturbance. And meta, as we know, goes beyond the normal bounderies of time/space.

True story illustrating the above: Not long ago, in Chicago, an old mental institution was torn down, one of those nightmarishly institutional gray concrete monoliths that had been there since the turn of the 19th-20th century. It had been an institution specifically for the criminally insane. Didn't have pleasant vibes, as you can imagine.

So they tear it down in preparation for some new modern office complex or something. And what do they find under the old building? An Indian burial site. The archeologists and experts are called in to examine it. And it turns out that it was not an ordinary Indian burial site but a burial ground the Indians used to bury their own criminally insane. The fact of that particularly bad ground and its relation to disturbed souls seemed to have been recognized on some level, by Indians and whites alike.

In fact, many Indian tribes intuitively recognized the metaphysical nature of psychological disturbance, which is why those who were particularly disturbed were exiled and not merely segregated.isolated within the tribe. This often amounted to a death penalty. Sounds harsh but the Indians seemed to comprehend that one such soul could infect the entire tribe with, as Bob says, the mind parasite(s). Given the meta nature of human consciousness, the Indians understood the parasite could infect and damage the collective consciousness.

You can see this principle at evil play in these occasional incidents where, in a small town, there occurs a rash of inexplicable suicides among teenagers.

Gagdad Bob said...

Good idea for a post... "contagion" of mind parasites...

I do know this: "patient zero" for Bush Derangement Syndrome is ironically also responsible for inventing the internet through which it could propagate so rapidly!

will said...

Bob/Bobbleheaded -

Continuing with concept of divine mind parasites:

Eckhart says somewhere (as does J Boehme) that God suffers with us. Not merely *for* us, though I don't doubt that is true as well. But rather *with* us. In real time.

Now, one may reasonably arsk - hey, wait a sec, isn't suffering the result of spiritual trespass, of our fallen nature? How can God, He Who is transcendence itself, suffer? But given that divine transcendence might be said to be equal to divine imminence, how could He not suffer with us? As we are corpuscles in the body of God, and as we, for the most part, are in a deluded, fallen state, I think one could conclude that this "portion" of God is similarly deluded and is consequently suffering - or as Bob puts it, God suffers His own mind parasites.

Of course, God is without His Creation as well a within, just as we contain the spark of transcendence even as we remain in our deluded state. But the concept of the imminence of God - God experiencing Himself through us, however imperfectly thus far in the game - is certainly a far cry from the usual view of God creating His charges and then sitting back and rooting us on from a separate place on high.

The concept of "Gaia" - a.k.a., the Anima Mundi - fits into the notion of "divine parasite." Gaia is a kind of secondary god, she's the "soul of the earth", so to speak. Of course, Gaia is a refraction of the transcendent God, but is a rather large one.After all, we all move and breathe within the body of Gaia.

But Gaia is not the benevolent goddess the neo-pagans are fond of hailing. Gaia is conscious, in a sense, but is not self-aware. And the body of Gaia is plastic - it reflects, refracts, our thoughts and emotions. In short, the goddess Gaia is, for the time being, disturbed, insane, even. Gaia suffers from mind parasites, with which we have infected her. She has been so for a long time, but with recent weather disturbances, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, and the like, it wouldnt be unreasonable to conclude she is getting more so.

I think this could be at the root of the old Gnostic notion of the insane Demiurge under whose thrall we are all enslaved, to varying degrees. As Gaia is, at the core, a one-ness of meta-unity, (albeit not transcendent) I think it could be said she is an example of the divine being infected by mind parasites.

will said...

Ah, that would be Al "patient zero" Gore -

That guy is barking mad. And I don't doubt it's contagious.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

Isaiah 55:8-11

“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. “ For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

ben usn (ret) said...

Wow Bob!
I wonder, can asymmetrical logic and symmetrical logic ever work together, or mesh/interchange, or is that a paradox per se?
Perhaps an intercession ismore likely?

Thank you, JWM. You also have helped me.

Gagdad Bob said...


Why yes. In fact, the whole point of life.... or one of the points of life... is to live on that infinite shoreline where the roaring torrent of symmetrical consciousness pours into the feeble stream of our little asymmetrical ego.... It's where the action is--in that dialectical space. I've posted on this in the past, before you came on board.

ben usn (ret) said...

Thanks Bob!
I'm trying to catch up.
New terminology for me.

JohnR said...

A book which opened the inner dimension of Christianity for me was Jacob Needleman's Lost Christianity.

Jim Weaver said...

How can we free ourselves of mind parasites?
I see a lot of truth to the idea of mind parasites and the logic they use. It makes since, but how do we exorcise them? Or, at least, reduce their control over our lives?