Mind Parasites, Divine and Human
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."