Indifference takes over the individual, expressing itself in irritability. All the individual remains aware of is the justification for his anger reaction, and it readily slips into mindless rage. The taking over of the personality by irritability underlies sadism and the socially supported compulsive patterns in general. The individual gives himself over to being out of control, but justifies this reaction by seeing only the frustration that provokes him.
Irritability has a play acting structure because the individual ceases to be a whole person. It is as if he were an actor reading lines on a stage, portraying a part written by forces outside himself. Under these conditions guilt is neutralized. Similarly, hate in a dominant personality cannot be kept internal and therefore fails to act as a signal. It effaces the whole range of manipulative energy toward the frustrating situation.
Withdrawal takes over the self in the form of self-righteous indignation. The only aspect of the situation the individual deals with is the justification for his indignation, and he is swept with intensity of feeling which readily overflows into irrational fear.
The taking over of the personality by indignation underlies masochism and the socially supported obsessive processes in general. The individual gives himself over to intense awareness of disorder without a sense of control, accepting the situation automatically as an act of resignation to fate. Indignation has a dream like structure, and in this nightmare the individual no longer functions as a whole person. He gets no more information from outside himself, remaining in the grip of an internally structured perception.
Under these conditions, choice disappears and shame is neutralized. Hate can only maintain its constructive function in submissive personalities when it activates a partial withdrawal, and anger in dominant personalities gains its constructive nature by leading to partial indifference. The motivating drive toward using withdrawal and indifference in this way is nothing more or less than the protection of the mental health of the individual.
He must make a choice which involves putting aside the obvious justification for submissive anger and dominant hate in favor of the recognition that such reactions undermine both his independent access to the esthetics of living and his ability to develop self-knowledge and self-control. Hatred is an effective warning sign to a submissive person that they must withdraw from something which frustrates their will to understand, while anger is an effective warning to the dominant person that they must make themselves indifferent something that frustrates their will to find the right.
This is a self-protective response.
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If instead a submissive person seeks to justify their hatred through a theory of the person's misbehavior developing anger , or the dominant person becomes so pervasive and unreasonable in their anger that the frustrating action of the other becomes an intrinsic property developing hatred , then this will make them miserable, and undermine their self-understanding or self-control.
The sensitive individual who needs anger to avoid helplessness and phobic anxiety cannot avoid turning this anger against himself. This is true because understanding the self brings the individual up against the unknown in a potentially overwhelming way. Self-knowledge is the key to the building of a science of human nature.
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If the individual is consistently overstimulated by his struggle for self-understanding, compulsive irritability at the self must enter as a defense against overwhelming anxiety. He cannot remain at peace with himself if he cannot accept the incompleteness of the truth seeking process. He must be able to read the signs of an oncoming state of psychological oppression, and use partial withdrawal from his own problems as a remedy.
The vigorous individual who needs hate to avoid recklessness and depersonalized restlessness cannot escape from hate for himself, because controlling the self brings him up against the chaotic in a potentially overwhelming way. Self-control is the arena in which human engineering is developed and expanded. If the individual cannot avoid entrapment in overstimulation by his struggle for self-mastery, obsessive indignation at the self must enter as a defense against overwhelming restlessness. He cannot remain in a natural and spontaneous mental state if he cannot accept the incompleteness of the reaching for the right.
He must be able to perceive the oncoming loss of access to simple pleasure and enjoyment in the flow of the life process, and use partial indifference toward his own problems as a remedy. When men undertake to define what is mental health for themselves, they must cast aside the socially supported compulsive and obsessive mechanisms which society has declared to be normal. The first step in this process is the reduction of the overstimulation by the human scene which takes the form of feeling overloads in submissive personalities and motor overloads in dominant personalities.
At this point the individual must change his perception of what constitutes a psychological reward. To win peace of mind and spontaneity of spirit he must learn to value his independent access to the esthetics of living, turning toward the simple and ordinary surface phenomena of life with the capacity to endow them with pleasure and enjoyment. To do this he must understand what is underdeveloped in himself. When submissive personalities no longer have a compulsive access to zestful and embellished experience, they must face the fact that the ordinary flow of simple experience is not real to them.
When dominant personalities give up obsessive access to falsely intense dogmatic feelingfulness, they find themselves in a place where pleasant and surface feeling is hard to find or value. The individual moves toward a better developed two dimensional life because he knows that in this direction lies mental health, but he cannot avoid the sense of psychological letdown which such growth entails. He perceives this phase as a minimal state of being, or as a limbo, or as a nothingness progressing into nothing special, and the key to passing through it successfully lies in his ability to minimize the suffering which it brings.
If he resists the tendency to regard this greyness of spirit as an intolerable crisis, he is in a position to expand his acquaintance with his psychological world, bringing novel perceptions of the spirit of romance and adventure into simple and ordinary things. It is of the essence of this reaching for an expanding acquaintance with the commonplace that he be able to use withdrawal and indifference toward the hardships which growth brings.
Conventional individuals cannot tolerate the greyness which is an inherent phase of the growth process because they do not understand what is underdeveloped in themselves. The only solution of the problem they can find is to reinforce their compulsive or obsessive embellishments. Without access to psychological growth, there is no way to deal constructively with the suffering which greyness brings. The danger point in navigating through a grey period comes when the individual accepts a heavy burden of blame for his condition.
Submissive personalities perceive a lack of order in themselves and instead of exercising partial withdrawal from that part of themselves which brings oppressive stress, a reckless anger at their own psychological nature is released. Burdened with irritability toward themselves, they can no longer experience the life process in an enjoyable way.
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Access to simple pride is lost, and conditions are set up for free floating anxiety and a potential phobic reaction to their own natures. Dominant personalities perceive a lack of control of their own psychological apparatus and instead of exercising partial indifference toward that part of themselves which is not working as well as they would like, a helpless hate reaction takes over toward their own inner natures.
Burdened with an indignant self-righteous disgust with themselves, they can no longer face life with an assured capacity to find a pleasurable warmth in whatever place they are in.
Access to surface acceptance of what is pleasant in the life process is lost, and they become trapped in free floating restlessness and a potential depersonalized reaction to their own natures, converting the inner self into an impoverished object. The individual who undertakes to assume full responsibility for his own mental health must unmask society's pretensions to have access to human truth and right. Society's models of so-called normal and successful personalities are constructed out of the ability of these models to conform to social beliefs and authority, using these compulsive and obsessive mechanisms to increase their adaptive capacity in ambitious ways.
Because they are recognized to be successful in reaping financial and prestige rewards, they are able to shift the attention of mankind from the independent search for self-knowledge and self-control toward the kind of conformity which supports their success. They manage to brainwash others into the belief that reaching a high level of social acceptance automatically means access to what is true and right in the human scene.
The first step to be taken by an individual who seeks to make the pursuit of human understanding and responsibility the mainstream of his life is the refusal to accept the lies and pretensions of a monolithic social system. By this act he throws off the sense that his difficulties in dealing with the human world are his own fault. Instead he perceives the fact that he is ill equipped to be the independent person he wants to be, and undertakes to build the kind of self-knowledge and self-control he needs to emerge from the crippling defenses which growing up in such a society has imposed on him.
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Anyone entering an independent psychological growth process must recognize he bears honorable scars, and as he accepts this fact he learns to avoid irritability and indignation toward himself because he increasingly declares aspects of himself to be unhealthy. He cannot afford to confer a sense of equality on others unless they are similarly involved in a growth process.
This does not mean that he takes a critical or polemic position toward the conventional world in general. His sense of the superiority of the quality of his life goals is not snobbish in nature. He maintains his capacity for surface warmth and pride interactions with others, but he also knows that his position is essentially revolutionary in the human scene and that if he allows conventional social forces to evaluate his personality he will automatically be put in an inferior position.
It is not enough to identify ignorance and immorality in the conventional world. The psychologically mature individual accepts the responsibility of finding human truth and right on his own, and the primary aspect of this search is the protection and promotion of his own mental health. There is no way to conduct this search without the ability to make a clear distinction between two and three dimensional phenomena.
Beliefs which keep people comfortable are part of man's esthetic life and are quite different from the scientific pursuit of truth. In the search for truth there is always incompleteness which has the potential of bringing psychic exhaustion in its wake. Truth is not the personal property of the truth seeker. It is not something he brings into being, but rather something he discovers, and when it is recognized it becomes a fact that it has always existed. Truth cannot be found when the need of the thinker to reduce the data of experience to a conceptual order takes its origin in a defense against helplessness, because then the perception of order has a compulsive structure in which the expansion of experience loses its value and the only thing that counts is to quiet anxiety.
Such compulsive structures seem to originate in the brain of the thinker, but their real source is the institutionalized belief s of society. In a similar way, standards of acceptable and conventional moral conduct exist to keep people comfortable and are part of man's esthetic life, changing with the fashions of the day, and those who do not conform may be required to run the gauntlet of adaptive difficulties. At this level an act may be considered moral if the individual can get away with it. Human engineering requires objective techniques and skills of mastery which reach the status of the right no matter whose hands exercise the control.
The reaching for the right is inherently incomplete, and the threat of exhaustion always exists. The right is characterized by its ability to exploit opportunities in such a way that the human materials being manipulated fulfil their own nature in the process of being used.
go here Such control enriches everything that submits to its influence. The right cannot be found when the need of the leader for a smoothly operating process of control takes its origin in a defense against recklessness, because then the perception of information coming from the things he manipulates shrinks, and obsessive dogma takes over.
The expansion of awareness loses its meaning and the only thing that counts is to overcome depersonalizing restlessness. Although the individual may think such fixed images of reality come from him, their real origin lies in the customs of a monolithic social system. There is no way to find truth and right without overcoming the helplessness and recklessness which lurk behind the exposure to the unknown and the chaotic, and this accomplishment must be brought into being without the use of compulsive and obsessive mechanisms.