Friday, July 28, 2006

Why are the Earth Monkeys so Out of Control? Answer Hazy, Click Again.

This is interesting. Amazon finally added the "search inside this book” feature to my book, so now the curious and sample-minded but fiscally prudent among you can actually see what it looks like and sample a few pages--the back cover, the table of contents, the first six pages, and a “surprise page," which turns out to be page... no, wait a minute. I just discovered that a different page comes up each time you click on “surprise me!” That’s surprising. I had no idea. I always thought it was just one page.

You know what this means, don't you? It means that you can now use this function as a sort of “magic eight ball” to answer any cosmic or personal question you might have. You won’t need me anymore. Just approach your computer screen in a humble and submissive manner with head bowed--don’t intitially make eye contact with the screen. Meditate on your question while clicking on “surprise me,” and repeat the mantra, “Oh Petey, merciful and compassionate, [insert some sort of heartfelt blessing here], if it wouldn’t inconvenience you terribly, what is the answer I seek?”

Here, I’ll try it now. Let’s think of a question, something everyone wants to know the answer to.... Okay, how about, “What’s going to happen in the damn Middle East? Is this really WWIII?”

“Oh Petey, merciful and compassionate, panties be upon your enemies, if it wouldn’t inconvenience you terribly, what is the answer we seek?”


Page 73! Hmm. Hmmmm. Interesting. Very interesting. Let me just say that Petey sometimes works in mysterious and oblique ways that not everyone is going to understand. Perhaps some day you will understand, but not now. Nothing personal, but frankly, you may not even be worthy of knowing the answer just yet. Either way, the connection to your question will not always be obvious. Petey is not going to just hand you the truth on a silver platter. You probably couldn’t handle it anyway. You will first need to demonstrate that you are a worthy receptacle of truth. Hell, I don't know, you may even need to buy the book. That's between you and him.

But just in case there are some bugs in the system, let me try it again, same question. “Oh Petey, mirthful but curmudgeonate vertical ambassadoor, may a diseased yak squat in the sock drawer of your corner imam, if it wouldn’t inconvenience you royally, will you throw us a freaking bone and give us the answer we humbly seek?”

Mmmm, very interesting. Petey is showing us the settings on God’s Mixing Board, located on page 35. These are the narrow restrictions placed on every mathematical variable that governs the universe in order for a lawful and ordered, and yet unpredictable and evolving cosmos to exist. Knowing Petey as I do, I believe he is hinting that there is a similar but unknown mixing board that governs psychohistorical evolution. In the West, it took us hundreds and thousands of years to find those settings, e.g., free markets, democracy, individual liberty, science, rule of law, female literacy, humane child-rearing practices, the Bo Diddley beat, etc.

Unfortunately, the psycho-cultural console in the Muslim Middle East is completely out of whack. Just look at it--female literacy is set at only three, child-rearing at one. Liberty is at two, and in most places democracy is zero. But anti-Semitism is at freaking eleven. Apparently, this war is about recalibrating the dysfunctional Islamic consoul in order to set conditions that make historical, psychological, and cultural progress possible.

Thank you, Petey. May a love-starved fruit-fly molest the nectarines of your enemy's sister.

I probably shouldn’t say this, but if any of you out there are particularly lazy or cheap, or just don’t like reading, you could probably get the whole drift of the book if you just read and meditate on the Table of Contents very slowly and patiently. You will notice that each chapter is mysteriously titled, e.g., “Cosmogenesis: The Gospel of Matter,” or “Biogenesis: The Testimony of Life.” Meditate on these, as well as the cryptic subheadings, which include a short little quotation that tells the cosmic story with even more outlearndish bobfuscation.

If you read and deeply understand each of the quotations--provided you truly do so on a deep level--then you can probably skip the book. For example, this one, about the Big Bang, from Robert Wright: “In the beginning was, if not a word, then a sequence of encoded information of some sort.” Or this one, from Leo Tolstoi, regarding psychological development: “From the child of five to myself is but a step. But from the newborn baby to the child of five is an appalling distance.” Or this statement of theoretical biology: “Our universe is not contingent at all, but a necessary consequence of the fact that we are alive.”

Or how about this one--you can pretty much sum up the endless notmore! of human history with a single sentence: “This was a very nice neighborhood until the monkeys got out of control.” Of course, if you want to know why the monkeys are so out of control, you’ll have to read the book. And if you do go to the trouble, bless you. May a weird new-age holy man dangle his shrivelled figs into your mother-in-law's bisque.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In Search of the Lost Entitlement

We’re still discussing the issue of narcissism, in response to CY’s question about how it relates to evil in families and to society at large.

It is interesting that, at the same time psychoanalysts began noticing an increase in narcissism (as opposed to more analyzable, garden variety neuroses) among their patient population, there was a very influential movement in the wider field of psychology to eliminate the whole notion of psychological diagnosis or even of mental illness as such. This movement began just as leftist thinking started to insinuate itself into psychology, just as it eventually did into virtually every other academic discipline.

This is another sinister meme that has led directly to the “defining down” of deviancy, for if we cannot say what is wrong with someone, we cannot say what is right. Rather, everyone was free to selfishly “do their thing,” as the slogan went. Therapy often consisted in facilitating the doing of this thing without the inexplicable guilt that followed. Diagnosing was pejoratively defined as “labeling,” so that “patients” became “clients.” By the time I underwent my internship at Camarillo State Mental Hospital in 1986, violently psychotic patients who had to be drugged with major tranquilizers in order to prevent them from bashing their head on the floor were called “consumers of mental health services.”

I was interested in psychology long before I actually entered graduate school in 1981. Although I didn’t major in psychology for my undergraduate work, I read fairly widely on my own, and I can see now that so much of it was utter nonsense--people such as R.D. Laing, Carl Rogers, N.O. Brown, Thomas Szasz, and Eric Fromm. Laing, for example, thought that people weren’t actually mentally ill, but that their symptoms represented creative responses to an oppressive capitalist society. As I recall, he even considered schizophrenics to be mystics that can communicate great truths about reality. Szasz wrote a best-selling bunk entitled “The Myth of Mental Illness,” in which he “debunked” the idea that mental illness existed at all. This is a very appealing idea to a raging narcissist, or even just a raging, immature, beer-guzzling, post-adolescent lunatic such as myself.

“Diagnosing” someone with a mental condition became analogous to “judging” them, and judging is something we must never do (another strange perversion of Christianity). So this entire self-serving movement gave cover to a lot of narcissistic snookeroil salesmen. To this day, most self-help books basically involve one kind of narcissist helping another (probably healthier) kind by appealing to one of the two poles of narcissism discussed yesterday--grandiosity or idealization. The books either flatter your narcissism: “you’re great, you’re a giant, you’re enlightened!,” or allow you to merge with, partake of, and bask in, the teacher’s greatness, e.g., Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Dr. Phil, Deepak Chopra, and the whole new age traveling salvation show. Billions of dollars are made in the gap between infantile entitlement and parental failure. In many ways, it is what makes the world go 'round--in reverse gear.

But once I entered graduate school, I became fascinated with the whole idea of psychopathology. In a certain limited way, the critics are correct in stating that there can be an arbitrary or culturally conditioned aspect to pathologizing someone. For example, I suspect that most little boys who are on ritalin or other drugs actually suffer from a disease called “being a little boy.” I remember how hyper I was as a child, especially in kindergarten and elementary school. Most boys simply weren’t designed to sit still in a classroom for six hours. I certainly wasn’t. I’m still not. Apparently, the whole educational establishment in America was designed in the early 20th century with the idea of training children to get used to the drudgery of factory work. Thus, the whole system revolves around punching in on time, suppressing your normal human impulses, sitting still, learning mindless drivel, and obeying authority. Your report card is your paycheck.

I eventually came to regard the mind as analogous to any other organ, except that it is a “virtual” organ that exists in a hyperdimensional manifold of holographic space. You might say that the mind is the first multidimensional organ in the cosmos. Natually, it still has a lot of bugs that must be worked out. Just like every other organ, it has a proper function--in fact, that is what defines any organ. Therefore, the properly functioning mind is designed to do and/or be something, and anything that interferes with achieving that process is a priori pathological (perhaps tomorrow I will delve into the question of what it is the mind was designed to do.)

Again, the infant cannot be studied in the absence of the “mothering person” or "caretaking environment." It is in the intersubjective space between mother (in the generic sense) and infant that our narcissistic needs for mirroring, idealization, and twinship emerge, and where empathic failures inevitably occur. Our mental pain is first discovered in this intersubjective space, but the question then becomes, what to do with it? For it is very difficult for the infant to bear this pain. Thus, it can be split off, projected, broken into disconnected bits, or somatized (projected into the body), and become a sort of semi-autonomous subjectivity within the psyche, something I have called a “mind parasite.”

Because of the nature of unconscious logic, the internalized mind parasite is always polarized, with an affective link between subject and object, so that, at different times, we may identify with either pole--e.g., we may become the “victim” in search of a victimizer, or the victimizer in search victims with whom to engage in the intersubjective dance of projective identification. This is the stuff of most dysfunctional relationships. We tend to think of the “abuser” as the sicker individual in such relationships. Not so. Their pathology is just more visible.

I can't tell you how many times I have evaluated a female consumer of mental health services who somehow managed to get involved in five consecutive relationships in which she was mistreated and/or physically abused by some brute. If you asked me how to locate and identify such a beast, I wouldn’t know where to begin, but these women seem to possess an unconscious “preydar” that assures they will repeatedly find their abuser. Am I blaming the victim? Er, yes. So she can actually be empowered in a meaningful sense, instead of just the leftist sense, which is only a defense mechanism that indulges collective grievance, teat for tot (if you're abreast of what feminists are mouthing).

Now CY made the important observation that “I'm still trying to crawl out from under” the “malignant influence” of a narcissistic parent: “Sometimes I feel beset by a sense of oppression or downright evil that's hard to define but feels very real, even though both of these people have been dead for several years. I suppose a Freudian would say it's either just signal anxiety or free-floating anxiety, but that type of ‘horizontal’ explanation just doesn't fit. I'm sticking my neck out and asking about this because you must have encountered some patients over the years who had to pick up the pieces of their lives after a relationship with a narcissist.”

I believe this phenomenon has to do with the internalized affective link between the child and parent--love, hate, anger, greed, rage, titillation, envy, etc.--which may at times become the “ambiance” around them--the very psychic air in which the narcissistically wounded person lives and breathes. Therefore, it is possible for us to enter--or, more accurately, to be engulfed by--eery mental states that can suddenly or subtly descend upon us like a cloud.

Everyone experiences these states at one time or another (often in a positive sense--for example, I often experience one of the mildly blissful ones around Christmas time), but some people live their entire lives immersed in a negative infantile mental state--say, bitterness and rage at symbolic stand-ins responsible for the Lost Entitlement of Infancy. I’m thinking, for example, of someone who wastes their life obsessed over “slavery reparations,” or “the right of return,” or “gender inequality.”

These people do not realize that they are indeed victims--victims of a mental state that actually represents the primordial link between them and their disappointing intersubjective Other. But it is only by reclaiming and becoming reunited with our lost selves that we may grow. We cannot grow by projecting them in relationships or acting them out politically or culturally. In my experience, most monomaniacal “activists” are lost in one of these mental states, looking for “payback” or cosmic justice. They are trying to balance the scales of infancy, but since the original injustice was "infinite," so too is the political solution. Leftists always want to put us out of their misery.

At the same time, in order to grow, we must forfeit our belief in omnipotence--or at least reserve it for its proper object. For both idealization or demonization are the “vapor trails” of infantile omnipotence. Omnipotence must be “mourned” as we gradually accommodate ourselves to the dictates of reality. But this is much more difficult to do if our normal need for omnipotence was never indulged, or if it was prematurely or traumatically impinged upon, or even if the illusion was allowed to continue, thereby interfering with the reality principle.

This seems to happen a great deal in Muslim culture, what with the narcissistic overindulgence of boys, which is likely where the idea of the omnipotently evil Jew is hatched. In attempting to genocidally eliminate Israel, Arabs are not trying to vanquish a state but a mental state. Unfortunately, they are centuries away from the independent discovery of psychic reality as enunciated by Freud and his followers. This is not to say that we cannot speed up the calendar, as we are attempting to do in Iraq. (Too bad--if only the mullahs were as eager to get their barbarous hands on modern psychoanalytic books as they are to parasitize our nuclear technology. They are trying to obtain the latter in the exact degree to which they desperately need the former.)

Well, I better end this prematurely. For whatever reason, the Gagboy is having a bad day, and it looks like I'd better help out. He’s had some kind of bug for the last couple of days, and it’s clearly interfering with his grandiosity. He’s in kind of a bad mental space that’s infecting the whole house. "If I can't enjoy my grandiosity, then neither can anyone else."


More on narcissism today from the grandiose Dr. Sanity. (I guess it's not really grandiosity if she can back it up.)


I was trying to come up with an accessible but still relatively deep book on narcissism. The best I can come up with at the moment is this one, "The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization":

In all honesty, it's been awhile since I read it, but I seem to recall this person having a pretty sophisticated and insightful grasp of the issues, especially for a layperson, although I would probably disagree with some of the spiritual implications, which at times seem a bit new-age cultish, and I don't believe the cure is quite as simple as I seem to remember him making it out to be. Nevertheless even if it is new age-y, it's still considerably deeper than the typical stuff of that genre.

And if you ever want to really get deep into it, not just into narcissism, but the whole enchilada, try my brand:

A more accessible summary:

Another good comprehensive survey, but without all the empirical science:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Narcissism, the Grandiose Left, and the Missing Strawberries

We're continuing from yesterday with our discussion on narcissism. If it looks as if I’m not addressing the questions directly, it’s because I’m probably not. Gotta set things up first.

By the way, it seems to me that Both Dr. Sanity and ShrinkWrapped have written some excellent posts on this subject. Perhaps I can just direct you to their sites and take the morning off. Let’s see.... This looks good. Here’s one from Dr Sanity, entitled Narcissism and Society. And here’s one from ShrinkWrapped, a little thing he calls Narcissism, Malignant Narcissism, and Paranoia: Part I.

Whew, after that, what’s left to say? I don’t know, because I don’t have time to carefully read them at the moment. Probably nothing. So here goes.

Besides trying to outdo Dr. Sanity and ShrinkWrapped, what is narcissism, anyway, and why is it here? Obviously animals don’t suffer from it. It’s something that can only afflict humans, so there must be something about pathological narcissism that touches on the essence of our humanness. In other words, it must be a pathological transformation of something that, in itself, is healthy and normal.

Narcissism in itself is simply “self regard.” Seems like an obvious need, but it really wasn’t until the 1970’s that psychoanalytic theorists began to understand its developmental basis, and how the innate need for self-regard can go awry. There is still some confusion, because the same word--narcissism--is used to describe a fairly varied population. In my opinion, it is probable that the truly malignant, antisocial narcissist is explained by a different theory than the more garden variety narcissist. One way to think of it is that narcissism can be situated on a vertical developmental axis, with very primitive aggressive and antisocial types, borderline types, and neurotic types. Most people have some narcissistic issues, but they’re more of the neurotic type.

I hope this isn’t getting too pedantic, but the breakthrough in understanding narcissism came with the evolution away from "ego psychology" to a "self psychology" model. There was a time, not so long ago, when it was assumed that infants came into the world in a state of what is called “primary narcissism,” in which they are completely “self-absorbed,” so to speak, and incapable of relating to others beyond havng their immediate biological needs met. In part because of advances in infant observation, we now know that this is untrue. Rather, the baby is not only capable of relating to others from the moment it is born, but this is its primary need.

In the old model, it was thought that the baby was just a sort of instinct-driven machine, a matrix of primitive drives out of which the ego only later emerged. Now we know that there is a subtle “reciprocity dance” between infant and caretakers from the very beginning, and that the infant is building its model of internal and external reality based upon these interactions.

It seems that narcissism is built around two main axes: on the one hand, a need for grandiosity and exhibitionism; on the other hand, a need to merge or fuse with an idealized person. We now know that, unlike the adult narcissist, the baby is entitled to these things, just as he is entitled to food, warmth, and nurturing. Oddly enough, this means--especially from the infant’s point of view--that he owns the breast--as well as whatever it is that the breast happens to be attached to. (The word “breast” is a term of art to describe the infant’s perception of things. Do not think of it as a literal breast, but much more like the “source of life” or of “all that is good.”)

Given “good enough mothering,” the baby will be gradually “disillusioned” and be able to relinquish the breast, but only after it has been internalized, thus assuring a cohesive foundation in the personality. In other words, it is now understood that healthy narcissism is, ironically, built on a foundation of entitlement, grandiosity, and omnipotence, without which the self never becomes secure, vital and robust. Instead, the person may spend his or her life searching for what they missed out on in childhood: a sense of entitlement, mirroring of their grandiosity, omnipotence, etc. These are all things that the pathological adult narcissist craves or acts out in one way or another.

Although this is a simplification and there is much overlap, a neurosis is considered a psychological conflict that is more or less confined to one’s own head, whereas personality disorders, such as narcissism, always involve other people. In the case of pathological narcissism, it is thoroughly intersubjective, and therefore always involves disturbed human relationships. Because of the projective space we discussed yesterday, people with personality disorders are always looking for other people to enlist into their psychological dramas, with whom they can act out their conflicts (rather than simply being neurotically conflicted about them.)

Recall that the structure of our childhood narcissism involves the two drives described above--the need to have one’s grandiosity mirrored, and the need to fuse with a powerful, idealized other. Usually one pole or the other will predominate in a particular narcissist. However, because of the dance of projective intersubjectivity, he or she will often require the other type of narcissist in his life, in some form or fashion. For example, the narcissistically grandiose celebrity will require narcissistically damaged fans who wish to repair their own psychological damage by "fusing" with him. I’ve never thought about it before, but in extreme cases I imagine this can lead to an obsession, such as celebrity stalking. Often it is the dymamic between narcissitically driven politicians and the damaged hordes of people who idealize them. Bill Clinton comes to mind.

Remember, there is a healthy aspect to all of this. We never completely outgrow our narcissistic needs. We all need idealized heroes, people we can look up to. One of the baleful effects of modern education is that everything and everyone is deconstructed, leaving nothing left to idealize. Thus, the cynical drive toward deconstruction itself can be seen as a narcissistic mechanism that flows from bitter childhood disappointment and traumatic disillusionment. Likewise, if we do not give children heroes and institutions to idealize, we are actually committing child abuse--literally. The leftist is doing to them what was done to him. (I am especially thinking of "civil rights leaders" who teach black children that America is a racist country, that white people hate them, that they are victims, etc. This is a profound assault on the child's healthy narcissism.)

Obviously, this is a pervasive problem on the left, which cynically devalues everything it touches. Religious ideals are “fairy tales.” Marriage is an economic agreement. Sex is just an animal act with no spiritual connotations. Human beings are just motivated by material needs. The founding fathers were self-interested slave owners. America is a colonial empire. With everything spoiled and nothing left to idealize, the Left can rush into the void to save the day, so we can merge with the Great Collective.

That is one aspect of the Left’s narcissism. The other aspect is its grandiosity--its impractical and unworkable dreams of utopia, of a heaven on earth that is actually only possible (or desirable) in the eden of infancy. The great James Taranto had a hilariously astute take on this yesterday, John Kerry and the Problem of Evil:

“U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who was in town Sunday to help Gov. Jennifer Granholm campaign for her reelection bid, took time to take a jab at the Bush administration for its lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

‘If I was president, this wouldn't have happened,’ said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John's bar and grill in Detroit's Cass Corridor.

“Now, our first thought when we read this was: Yeah, if Kerry were president, he wouldn't spend his days moping around some bar in Detroit. But then we realized that's not what he meant. He meant that if he were president, Hezbollah wouldn't be waging war on Israel. Just like, as John Edwards said in 2004, ‘we will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases. . . . People like Chris Reeve will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again.’

“If Kedwards have the power to eliminate war and disease, why don't they use it? This is the age-old problem of evil:

“Why does John Kerry allow evil? If He is all powerful, then He should be able to prevent it. If He is omnipotent and does nothing about evil, then we suspect that there are limits to His goodness, that there is something wrong with Him, that He is not all good. Perhaps He has an evil streak, or is truly malicious and we are merely His toys--expendable and counting for nothing.”


What a beautiful description of John Kerry’s--and the left’s--malignant narcissism, always disguised as empathy or caring. There is an extremely silly book out now by an extremely silly man, John Dean, entitled Conservatives Without Conscience, that naively attempts to psychoanalyze the conservative movement, "proving" that conservatives and neoconservatives are all authoritarian, bigoted, irrational, amoral, and steal all the strawberries....

".... You know, we liberals tried to run the ship of state properly by the book, but selfish conservatives fought us at every turn. If conservatives want to walk around with their little flags on their lapels, that's all right, let them! But they encouraged the right wing talk show hosts to go around, scoffing at me and spreading wild rumors about contradicting myself. And then 'Old Yellow stain.' They said liberals and their appeasement were to blame for the rise of al Qaeda. President Bush was the perfect Commander in Chief, oh, but not Lieutenant Kerry. Ah, but the hat! That's, that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with, with geometric logic, that, that I was in Cambodia. And I would have produced that hat if only they hadn't Swiftboated me... and stolen the key to the Diebolds... I-I-I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow Skull & Bones guy and.... Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory... If I've left anything out, why, just ask me specific questions and I'll be glad to answer them... one-by-one..."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Exploring the Overundersidewaysdown of Mental Space

Being that I’m already short on time, I thought I would try to tackle a couple more reader questions from a few weeks back. That way I can save time and avoid the middle man by not having to think up my own question to ask Petey this morning. We probably won't have time to finish, but at least we can open the discussion. These questions touch on some vitally important issues that can be very difficult to sort out, both in the individual and the collective.

The first one is from Bubba, who asks, “as a ‘spiritual psychologist,’ how do you clearly identify what is your patient's ‘stuff’ vs. your ‘stuff’ (i.e. how do you avoid projection)? I think this is especially important in the blogosphere as we comment on other's writings."

A related question was asked by CY about “the relationship between narcissism and evil in families (not just society at large). I grew up in a nuclear family with one parent who met the DSM-IV criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.... I'm still trying to crawl out from under (or recover from--maybe a better metaphor) their malignant influence. Sometimes I feel beset by a sense of oppression or downright evil that's hard to define but feels very real, even though both of these people have been dead for several years. I suppose a Freudian would say it's either just signal anxiety or free-floating anxiety, but that type of ‘horizontal’ explanation just doesn't fit. I'm sticking my neck out and asking about this because you must have encountered some patients over the years who had to pick up the pieces of their lives after a relationship with a narcissist.”

In order to understand or even properly think about such questions, we must have a reliable model of the mind--an accurate way to “think about thinking,” without which many subtleties will elude our grasp.

First of all, as discussed a few days ago here, it is a mistake to think of the mind as being confined to individual heads. If the mind worked that way, we could never have become human to begin with. But at the same time--except for purely genetic and biological brain conditions--it is specifically within the realm of our intersubjectivity that virtually all psychopathology lies.

(I’m having to simplify matters a bit here, so I am specifically excluding a couple of important areas, first, purely existential issues that afflict every sufficiently conscious human being, plus purely spiritual issues that arise from our “fallen” nature.)

It is difficult to say what consciousness is. As you know, any two philosophers or psychologists will have three opinions on the matter. But one thing we can say with certainty is that consciousness is not a bag. And yet, many people naively picture it as such, either explicitly or implicitly. Even many psychologists have only a slightly more sophisticated view, picturing the mind as a bag, only with some of the most important contents hidden from view--i.e., the unconscious.

That’s true as far as it goes, but the mind is much more analogous to a multidimensional projective space, with content constantly flowing up and down, inside and out. And perhaps “flow” is the wrong word, because it’s closer to the mathematical concept of transformation, through which, in the flow of content, some things are altered while others remain constant.

For example, when you are looking for evidence of projection in a patient, you are looking for something that has obviously “escaped,” so to speak, from his or her mind to the outside world or into other people. But it is not a literal projection. It’s more like, say, an abstract impressionist painting.

For example, place one of Van Gogh’s paintings side by side with what it was he was painting. The painting is in some sense a projection of the scene, filtered through the artist’s mind. In examining the two, you will notice a correspondence between them, but it won’t be a “one to one” correspondence. Rather, the scene will have been transformed, sometimes in obvious ways, other times in very obscure ways. You might say that the psychotic mind is like an extremely abstract painter, so much so that you can no longer recognize what it is that the artist was trying to paint.

But one of my mentors, W.R. Bion, believed that we are all inhabited by a more or less psychotic painter. One of the purposes of therapy is to understand this painter and what it is he is painting. Often it is like going to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. You look at a piece and say to yourself, “that’s supposed to be flower? I don’t get it. It just looks like an explosion in a paint factory to me.”

The truly psychotic mind is an explosion in a paint factory. So too is the infantile mind. You can see this in interacting with an infant. They have 1) no fixed boundary between inside and out, and 2) no way to modulate their intensity. Imagine such a world, and you can imagine the parents’ role in helping their infant learn to contain and adapt to that frighteningly infinite space.

For the space is literally infinite, or as close to infinite as we are capable of imagining. It is within this space that the most basic mechanisms of the mind are rooted: projection, splitting, projective identification, envy, greed--as well as empathy, love, and fusion.

You know what? I am plumb out of time to get any further into this discussion. I have to be in Ontario in a couple of hours, and it’s probably already 80 degrees outside. I better get moving.

In the meantime, here is your scrawny old Gagdad trying to keep cool while joyously fused in the infinite space inhabited by him and his psychotically happy Gagboy (don't be fooled, people. Like Barney Fife, it is all muscle):

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fighting With Terrorists Mano-a-Monologue

You know what? It’s entirely possible that it’s just too hot to come up with anything new to post today. No, check me on that. It is too hot. Yesterday it actually reached 119 degrees in these parts, but it felt like 120. I walked the dog at 7:00 last night as the sun was over the horizon, and it still felt as if the rays were burning some of my parts.

I was going to get away from politics and post an old “weekend sermon” from the past--you know, one of those occasional raids on the wild godhead. But as I was rummaging around looking for a suitable one, I came across some old gags that gave me a chuckle. Some of them have never appeared here, having been left as comments on other sites by me or Petey.

What is it with the Left, anyway? Why is there so much worldwide sympathy for the terrorists? Everyone thinks Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of the "military-industrial complex." Not true. What he said was "beware of the mullah-terror and nasty-old-leftist complex."

Amazingly, a lot of these terror supporters are Jews, like Noam Chomsky. At least if Chomsky becomes a little more self-hating, he won't recognize his own right to exist, and then we'll be rid of him.

Apparently, there are Hizballah cells all through America. And not just in the prisons, er, Islamic gated communities. I say the FBI needs to infiltrate some of these radical mosques and do some basic ignorance gathering. Maybe its a cliché, but the federal pen is mightier than the jihadi sword.

I don’t know. If Gaza and Lebanon feel so threatened, here's an idea: why not just build a big fence to keep all the Jews out?

All the liberal boneheads are talking about sending some kind of high-level emissary to the region to broker a peace deal, like Jimmy Carter. Ironic, because we wouldn't be in this mess with Iran if it hadn't been for Carter's little pills back in 1979.

I hate to say ayatollah ya' so, but it looks like Iran is well on their way to having a nuclear weapon. Frankly, I wasn't so worried until they detected large shipments of leather crossing the border. This can only mean one thing. The mullahs are trying to build a suicide belt large enough to deliver a bomb.

But at least the nuclear watchdogs at the UN are on the case. After much debate, they told Iran in no uncertain terms that if they should ever develop a nuclear suitcase bomb, it will have to be small enough to fit into the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of them.

It's pretty odd when you can be less than five years away from the nuclear bomb but more than five centuries away from the nuclear age.

Of course, some people say that Israel has nukes, so why can't Iran? Yes, but blurring the distinction between terrorists and their victims is clearly anti-semantic. Or is it allahgory? Anyway, it's a farce only a mullah could love.

But at least this is triggering a debate in the Muslim world. Mainstream Muslims are outraged that so-called moderates are trying to hijack Islam and reduce jihad to a mealy-mouthed internal struggle with oneself instead of a glorious war of conquest and colonization to impose a worldwide caliphate.

Don’t you think we need a moratorium on the inane "hijacking Islam" phrase? Instead, we ought to consider LoJacking Islamists, so we know where they are at all times.

People say that Islam and Judaism are similar, since they're both based on the inerrant word of God, but I'm not so sure. After all, thinking critically about the Torah makes you Jewish, whereas thinking critically about the Koran makes you dead. Apparently there are other differences as well. I saw a sign at a pro-terror demonstration that read "Jesus saves. Moses invests. Mohammad plunders."

Some people say we need to be more culturally sensitive, perhaps teach the Koran in our schools. After all, it's only fair, since they teach Mein Kampf in every Muslim country. I have a better idea. I think we might begin by showing deep respect and sensitivity to the Islamic tradition of blowing up people with whom we disagree.

Personally, I do think we've got a wrong-headed approach. Instead of questioning terrorists and flushing the Koran down the toilet, how about questioning the Koran and flushing terrorists down the toilet?*

And Kofi Annan is very concerned about the situation in Lebanon. This is bad, because you know what happened the last time he was this upset--he nearly skied himself senseless in Switzerland. Plus he's already busy dealing with his son's misbehavior. The other night he had to send Kojo to bed early without his oil-for-food. And of course he denies any knowledge of his son's misdeeds. In fact, Annan acknowledged that "I got my Kojo workin', but he just don't work for me."

What good is this Kofi Annan? Someone asked him about the allegations of UN peacekeepers trading candy to children for sexual favors, but he said he didn't know anything about the oral-for-food program. Much less any UN piece-copping mission.

And France? Forget about it. Everyone thinks they're anti-Semitic, but they're actually quite evenhanded toward Jews and Palestinians. True, they want the Palestinians to have a homeland, but they also clamored for the return of Jews to their homeland in Germany during W.W.II.

Hey, at least we won’t have to suffer through "Gunga Dan" Rather popping up in Lebanon, doing a kiss-ass interview with the head of Hizballah. You know, after he was fired from his anchor job, CBS said they'd let Rather do sixty minutes. Yes, and not a second more.

Too bad, we almost got "number two" in al Qaeda, the infamous Dr. Zawahiri. He's an Islamic pediatrician, which means that he cares for children from the time they're born until the day they blow up. He still gets the occasional call from a worried parent, asking for a psychiatric referral for a teenager obsessed with not killing himself. He usually just offers reassurance, telling the parent, “don’t worry. He’s probably just a late kabloomer.” If it’s worse than that, he always has the same prescription: "Take out two infidels and call me when you're mourning." By the way, did you know that Zawahiri graduated summa boom loudly from Holy Martyr Medical School?

Speaking of which, did you know that when the kids "play doctor" with each other in the Arab world, the little boys perform mock clitoridectomies on the girls? I read a study that says that in some Muslim countries, sixty percent of the girls are forced to undergo clitoridectomies. I like to look on the bright side. This means that forty percent of the girls can run faster than their brothers.

They recently held a counter-terrorism conference in Saudi Arabia. In fact, they say that never has so much evil been arrayed at one table since Yasser Arafat dined alone. Where else can the president of Libya hobnob with the president of Iran? "Mr. Gadhafi, meet Mr. Godawful." They're calling it an "Arab think tank." Now there's an oxymoron. Shouldn't it be "rage tank," "seethe tank," or maybe "shark tank?" Or how about "whine cellar?" I wish Muslims would have a civil war with each other, but all they ever do is snivel more about Israel.

But I don't know if they can solve the terror problem so long as Saudi banks are funding it. That's right: the loan arranger is a mosqued imam. Where else but a Saudi bank can you visit your moolah and mullah at the same time? True, Muslims are not supposed to charge interest, but their loans have cost many people an arm and a leg. In order to get one, you have to provide a lot of collateral. Damage, that is.

That Ahmadinejad is a few goats short of a harem. Either that or a few nails short of suicide bomb. Amazingly, he doesn't believe the Holocaust happened. That's right, he even recently suggested working with Germany to investigate the matter. He's actually open to a change of heart. If their scientific conference “proves" the Holocaust really happened, he'll be saying "hey, I think I can work with these people."

I read a story the other day about China selling arms to the Sudan, which, last time I checked, was committing genocide against Christians. That reminded me of some of the lost sayings of Confucius:

--Confucius say Chinese government like peeping Tom--enjoy watching Christians get screwed.

--Confucius say Euro who feed allahgator get eaten last.

--Confucius say man who do business with Muslim must beware of evil in tent.

Unfinished song parody: In the Ghetto, by Elvis Presley:

As the sand blows
On a hot and gray Ramallah mornin'
A poor little Muslim Boy is born
In the ghetto
And his mama schemes
Cause if there's one thing that she sure wants
Its another little suicidal dunce
In the ghetto

People, don't you understand
The child needs a crazed imam
So he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
Are we just too PC,
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way?

Well the world turns
And the Jew-hating beast dressed all in black
Lobs rocks in the street as his dad hides back
In the ghetto

And his anger burns...

And new lyrics for an old Neil Young song, Ohio:

Tin beanie on Neil Young's noggin,
He’s finally off his nut.
Big bummer his mind is crumblin’,
Brain dead old stoned psycho.

Crosby warned Neil 'bout it,
Agents are tapping his phones,
Should have been stopped long ago.
But now that Bush found him, and
Put a chip in his brain,
How can he sleep when it glows?

Tin beanie on Neil Young's noggin,
He’s finally ‘round the bend.
Much dumber'n a bag of hammers,
Poor dude’s an ol' psycho,
Poor dude’s an ol' psycho,
Grandpa is plum loco,
Old geezer is stone wacko,
Gray doddering AARP nutso,
Old babbling freak schizo,
Self-meds don't work no mo',
Gives ammo to all drug foes,
Steals lyrics from dailykos...


*Yes, I know we didn't really flush any Korans down the toilet.

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