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« Be a Miller President Obasanjo, but Grind not the Faces of the Poor | Main | The Nature of Sanity and Insanity (Part 2) »

December 13, 2005

The Nature of Sanity and Insanity (Part 1)

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- The mentally ill hate what is: hate their real selves and society and replace them with their own self invented ideas of what should be, their ideal selves, ideal other people, ideal social institutions and ideal world. (See Karen Horney’s Neurosis and Human Growth.) They invent alternative selves, alternative society, alternative everything and try very hard to make their alternative reality, mere mental constructs hence fantasies, come into being. Their alternative reality is an illusion and is not going to come into being. Their alternative reality is mentalistic, a product of thinking. Mental constructs cannot be used to replace reality.

Reality is rooted in the laws of space, time and matter. Reality cannot be replaced with that which is only a product of mentation. What the mind invents is abstract. In mental abstractions, we can see things in perfect and ideal states. Mental perfections cannot replace the imperfections of the world of matter.
In the meantime, mentally ill persons struggle, mightily, to make their cognitions seem real. They employ the various ego defenses that psychoanalysts (see Anna Freud, The Ego and its Mechanisms of Defense) talked about to defend their imaginary reality. Mental illness results from misguided efforts to make the imaginary constructs of the mind seem real. Mental illness results from misguided efforts to substitute reality with the individual’s wished ideal reality. Alas, no matter how much the individual tries to make his ideal self and ideal world real by rigidly defending them, they are not going to become real. Illusions cannot replace reality.
There are reasons why the mentally ill reject reality and strive to replace it with fantasy. The mentally ill person did not wake up one fine morning and say to himself that he is going to hate and reject himself, other people and the world and replace them with his own wished self and world. He did what he did for a reason. The mission of science is to find out why he did so. In as much as science studies things as they are, not things as we want them to be, and there are always people who, for some reasons, reject the real world and seek an idealized world it behooves science to find out why they do so and to design a technology, in this case, a cognitive behavior technology to help them correct their mistakes in thinking.
The real mission of the mental health profession ought to be figuring out why the mentally ill hated and rejected what is and quest for what could become that will not come into being and helping them give up their idealism, their wishes for fantasy to replace reality. The Mental Health profession ought to help the mentally ill give up their wishes to make illusions real and instead learn to accept reality as it is, imperfect.
The problem of mental health is mental and must be addressed at the mental level. Cognitive reorientation, that is, changing the individual’s habitual thinking pattern, is the proper role of the mental health profession. Of course, biological and sociological factors play roles in disposing the individual to certain thinking patterns and we ought to understand these factors and correct them. Where there is mental disorder there always are biological and sociological disorders.
Mental illness, though rooted in problematic biological and sociological disorders, is healed at the mental level. Learning how to think differently, how to think realistically is what cures mental illness.
Mental health lies in having no illusions about ones self, other people, social institutions and the world; it means not struggling to defend the unreal, illusions, so as to make them seem real; it means accepting reality as it is.


Perhaps, it takes many characteristics to be a human being. But one undeniable characteristic of human beings is their belief that they have selves. Each human being has a self concept, an idea of who he thinks that he is. That idea of self generally is that he is separated from other selves. Each human being sees himself as a separated, individuated self living in space, time and matter (body).
No human being is aware of having a self before age two? Typically, the idea of the self is known by age six.
It seems that upon birth on earth, each human child experiences his inherited biological constitution and social givens in a certain manner. Apparently, his biological and social experiences combine to give him an idea of who he thinks that he is. By age six, generally, the child has a sense of self in place.
George Kelly (Psychology as Personal Construct) tells us that each of us is responsible for constructing his self concept. As he sees it, each human child is like an engineer and takes his biological and social experiences and uses them to construct a self for himself. The self, according to Kelly, is a personal construct.
I believe that Kelly is right. I constructed my self concept, using my inherited biological datum and social experience to do so. I believe that each human child is the one who constructed his self concept. I believe that he did so building on his inherited biological and social experiences. Biological and social factors, therefore, influence the self the child constructed.
Alfred Adler (The Neurotic Constitution) pointed out that each human child experiences the human condition as painful. (There are children born without the capacity for pain, who have CIPA, congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis. These children tend to die early, for not feeling pain, they tend not to anticipate what could hurt them hence get injured, and usually die from injuries. Pain has survival value: it enables us to anticipate what could hurt us hence avoid it, and in doing so survive.)
As Adler sees it, each child experiences his physical environment, and sometimes his social environment, as adverse to his survival. He feels his life threatened and feels powerless to do what it takes to adapt to his world. He develops an initial sense of deficit. But, sooner or latter, the child recognizes that he cannot accept a sense of deficit because if he were to do so he would die.
The environment is tough. To survive in it, one must strive to be strong. Nature seems impersonal and does not care for human beings survival. At this very moment virus, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms are trying to feed on our bodies and our immune systems are trying to destroy them. Simply stated, nature attacks the human child and he feels threatened and inadequate. He reacts with initial sense of being attacked and is defensive (hence all human beings have some paranoia in them).
Adler hypothesizes that the human child feels inferior vis a vis his environment, and that since it takes power to survive the exigencies of the environment, tries to convince himself that he is superior to his environment, other people included.
The human child feels inferior and compensates with superiority, Adler postulates. He feels attacked and compensates with self defense.
The child who experiences more than average level of attack, may be due to inherited organic deficits, develops what Adler calls neurotic constitution. Such a child posits a fictional superior self and tries to “Act as if” he is that fictional superior self.
As Adler sees it, the neurotic is a human being who hates and rejects his real self and posits an alternative unreal self, a superior self and acts as if he is that superior self. He uses the various ego defenses described by psychoanalysts to defend his imaginary superior self.
The neurotic is a person who has rejected his real self and attempted to replace it with a false superior self and wants that false superior self to be real. He defends the false superior self. He wants people around him to collude with him and tell him that he is the imaginary superior self he wants to become. If they collude with him and validate his imaginary superior self, he gets along with them, if they do not confirm his imaginary superior self, as whom he is, in fact, he feels threatened, anxious and angry. Thus, the neurotic engages in a neurotic dance with other people, asking them to validate his false superior self.
To Adler, neurosis and psychosis is the wish to become a false fictional superior self. Sanity is being ones real self.
Adler sees the real self as a loving and socially caring self. The healthy person, Adler thinks, serves social interests, that is, works for the common good of all mankind.
Karen Horney (Neurosis and Human Growth) essentially rephrased Adlerian psychology. Her causal analysis, however, is strictly sociological, hence deficient, for man is both a biological and sociological phenomenon.
As Horney sees it, the human child could be hated and rejected by what Harry Stack Sullivan (Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry) called his “significant others” (parents, siblings, peers, teachers etc). The child, recognizing that he needed to survive and that only the adults in his life would make that possible, resolves to do what they ask of him, for them to provide for him.
As Horney sees it, neurosis comes into being when the significant others of a child expect him to live up to high standards, that he could not, before they accept him. The child, wanting to be accepted, fears not being accepted. To be socially approved and accepted, the child, therefore, rejects his real self and posits an alternative ideal self, the self that seems to be like the self his society would accept. Subsequent to positing the ideal self, the neurotic child pursues becoming it, with the hope that he if he succeeds that he would be socially accepted hence provided for and survives.
The neurotic child is afraid of not becoming his idealized social self. He experiences what Horney called Basic Anxiety, from his fears of not living up to his ideal self.
To avert making children neurotic, Carl Rogers’ (Client Centered Therapy) advices parents to love and accept their children in an unconditionally positive manner. As he sees it, doing so would dispose children not to hate and reject their real selves and help them accept their real selves hence become normal in their growth.
In sum, it seems that the neurotic hates and rejects his real self and aspires after becoming a different self, an ideal, superior and powerful self. He takes pride in his ideal self and is ashamed of being his real self. He struggles to actualize his ideal self. This is in contradiction to normal Growth. The normal person tries to, in Abraham Maslow’s terms, actualize his real self, not his imaginary ideal self. The attempt to actualize the fictional self is what neurosis and or its more severe form, psychosis is.
Since the ideal self is a mental construct, it really cannot be actualized in the real world of matter, space and time. The purely mental cannot exist in the empirical world. If one wishes that one could fly, ideal self, one is not going to fly in the real world, for in the real world the laws of physics operate. One cannot fly unless one understands and follows the laws of aeronautics.
Simply stated, the neurotic’s wishes for an ideal self, ideal other people, ideal social institutions and ideal world is not going to be gratified, for what he wishes for are mental constructs, which are not possible in the physical and social world. Thus, the neurotic is bound to be frustrated from not realizing his wishes. He feels anxious from failure to realize his wishes (has neurotic anxiety).
To free him from neurosis and its anxiety, Horney recommends that the neurotic give up his quest for an idealized self and accept his real self. As she sees it, the healthy person tries to actualize his real self. Neurotics try to actualize their false ideal self. Neurotic pattern of growth is self defeating, for the wish to realize an imaginary ideal self is not going to happen.
The problem with Horney’s thesis is that she did not tell us what the real self is. However, it should be noted that she died a sudden death and probably would have eventually grappled with what constituted the real self. Towards the end of her life, like Eric Fromm, she flirted with Zen Buddhism. Perhaps, if she had pursued that line of inquiry, she probably would have learned to meditate and in meditation let go of her self concept and experienced what Gautama Buddha called no separated self, or undifferentiated self, or life. Nirvana (unified self) is experienced when the individual lets go of his separated self construct, the ego. In unified life, the individual feels the peace and joy that Saint Paul says, passes human (ego) understanding.
Neither Adler nor Horney told us what the real self is. Carl G. Jung intimated that the real self is spirit. He made incursions into Oriental religions and philosophy. On the whole, Jung contributed useful insights into the human psyche. He helped us understand the nature of individuation and the various types of individual personalities (personas, masks worn to adapt to the exigencies of life on earth), such as introversion and extraversion. (In Horney’s terms, moving away from other people, moving towards other people.) Jung’s ideas on the collective unconscious are fascinating but not proven as true.

Behaviorists like Watson, Pavlov, Skinner, Bandura, Milligram, Zimbardo, Seligman etc tell us that the human personality is learned. B.F. Skinner went as far as to boast (Walden Two) that if given a bunch of children that through his behavior technology, operant and classical conditioning, he could train them to become whatever he wants them to become.
Behaviorists descended on our schools, prisons etc and tried to modify people’s personalities and behaviors. Needless to say that they had not one single instance of success. To the best of my knowledge, behaviorism has not transformed one single anti-social personality into a pro-social person.
Philip Zimbardo wrote on how shyness was learned but had no track record of making the shy person outgoing. (Jerome Kagan thinks that shyness and temperament, in general, is inherited, that is, is biological.)
Obviously, we do learn many things. Without social learning there probably would be no need for schools. But to say that all that we are is a product of learning seems infantile reductionism.
What is the self in us that does the learning that behaviorists talk about? Who is learning what? Who is positively or negatively reinforcing whom? Who is doing the behavior modification?
Clearly, there seems a life force, ala Henry Bergson (Creative Evolution), in us that takes our social and biological experiences and combine them into our personalities, our habitual patterns of responding to stimuli from our environment.

Behaviorism had told us that psychoanalysis was not able to change people; it, too, is not able to change people. So observers were back to the drawing board.
Observers took a look at the possible biological etiology of human personality. We are now in the era of neuroscience.
Neuroscience believes that human thinking and behavior is epiphenomenal, is a product of the activities of neurons in our central nervous system: brain and spine. It studies the nature and behavior of nerves. It claims that biochemical imbalances in the nervous system are largely responsible for mental disorders. Schizophrenia, it reduces to problematic dopamine; mania, it reduces to problematic excitatory neurotransmitters like norepinephrine; depression it reduces to low serotonin; anxiety, it reduces to low GABA. It then designs medications to correct the assumed biochemical imbalances it thinks that it has identified. Thus, these days, patients’ bodies are filled with psychotropic medications.


Clearly, biology and social factors play some role in the genesis of mental disorders. Biosocial factors, however, are building blocks employed by an unknown life force to construct a self concept for the individual. An unknown life force in the child uses the givens of his body and social experience to construct a self concept for him. When the self concept is constructed, that life force images it. The self concept is seen in image form, hence the self image.
Each human being has a self concept and a self image. The self concept/self image is the same as personality and ego. The self concept is constructed during the first twelve years of the child’s existence.
There is a life force that we come to the world with. That life force is originally undifferentiated, but in the temporal universe is differentiated into each of us. That life force individuates into each of us. It then uses the biological constitution that it is born into and its childhood social experiences to construct a separated, individuated self concept/self image for each of us.
Once the separated, individuated self concept/self image is constructed, the human child identifies with it.
The human child is the constructor of his separated self concept and, as such, is very proud of what he constructed. The self concept is his idol. He made his self concept and takes pride in his invention. He wants his separated self concept to survive and defends it with the various ego defense mechanisms.


The separated self is a false self. It is an illusion. The self we know ourselves as, our individuated self is unreal. Unreal or not, we want it to be real. We defend it. Defense of it makes it seem real in our awareness.
That which must be defended to seem real is obviously not real. If the separated self concept is not defended it dies. That is correct, if one did not defend ones self concept and the body that houses it, it dies.
That which dies, is changeable, obviously cannot be real; it is at best an illusion, a temporary reality. The separated self concept is an illusion, a dream self. When it is not defended, it disappears. (Only that which does not change, that which is permanent is real.)
There is an undifferentiated life, real self, in us. That life force seeks separated existence and in space, time and matter seems separated and defends itself.
In meditation, as Buddha recognized 2500 years ago, one can consciously decide not to defend the separated self. One voluntarily lets go of ones self concept, self image, personality, ego. One tells ones self that one is not ones self concept, not ones self image, not ones personality, not ones ego, not ones body. One lets go of the self one is aware of. As it were, one consciously accepts the death of the self concept and the conceptual world.
When the conceptual self and its world are let go, one experiences ones self as part of a universal self: one life that is simultaneously all lives.
There is a real self, a formless, non material, aka spirit self. That real self is eternal, immortal, all knowing, changeless, permanent, same and equal and is everywhere.
That undifferentiated, unified self cannot be understood with the categories of the differentiated, separated self.
Our extant world is a separated place, with separated selves, you and I, seer and seen, subject and object, and a world of language.
In the unified world, there is no you and I, no seer and seen, no subjected and object. The unified world is ineffable; it is beyond the categories of matter, space and time.

In our extant world, each of us has a separated self concept. That self concept is imaged: human beings think in concepts and images.
The separated self is housed in a vulnerable material medium, body. It sees itself in space, time and matter. It sees things trying to eradicate its puny life (virus, bacteria, fungus; people who attack it). The separated self feels constantly attacked and constantly defends its self. Without defense, it would not survive in this world of mutual attack.
Each person has a separated self concept/self image that he is defending. All separated selves are false, unreal. All separated selves are illusions. In Hindu categories, all separated selves are dream selves.

Insanity is the construction of a false, separated self housed in body and efforts to make that false self seem real.
The insane person is trying to make an unreal self become real. He constructed a fictional superior, ideal self and wants to make it real, via defending it and asking other people to acknowledge it.
The mad person is in a loosing struggle to deny his reality, unified self, and replaces it with a false reality of his making, separated self and has it become real.
Sanity lays in giving up the separated self, giving up the illusory self, giving up ones self concept, self image, ego and personality and accepting ones real self, the undifferentiated unified self.
Give up the self you made to replace the real self nature (and nature’s God) made you as. If you can do so, you become sane.
Sanity lies in having no separated self concept/self image, no self you are defending. What is real does not require defense to make it seem real. Only the unreal requires defense to make it seem real.
Unified self does not need defense to be real. All you have to do is give up defending your separated ideal self and you experience your real self.
But as long as you identify with the separated self and defend it, you cannot experience your unified real self.
Alas, if you stopped defending your separated self, as this world sees it, you would die, and return to the unified world.
Obviously, you do not want to die to this world yet. You still want to live in this world. Therefore, you must have some defenses to live in this world. You must, at least, have defense of your body to live in this world. If you did not defend your body with food, medications, clothing and shelter you would die within minutes. If you did not wear clothes in Alaska’s minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you would die within minutes. Our physical bodies require defense to exist.
The separated self is an imaginary self; it does not exist in reality. You can remove the psychological defense mechanisms with which you defend it. If you can do so for an hour, you would escape from this world and return to the undifferentiated unified world, a world of harmony, peace and joy.
The real world is a world where there is no separated self, a world where there is only one self, one self that is simultaneously infinite selves.

One is not asking you to give up all defenses and die. One is not a nihilist who negates this world. We are here to live and ought to live until at least a hundred and twenty years (the current outer limits of how long we can survive in human body before the body, like all mechanical contraptions, wears down).
What one is asking you to do is to examine your self concept and decide not to defend it, at least sometimes, and see if you would not experience a different self.
Insanity lies in constructing an imaginary, fictional separated, superior and ideal self, identifying with it and defending it.
Sanity lies in giving up the imaginary fictional self, and in not defending it. Defenselessness is sanity.
To be sane is to have no separated self that one is defending; to be insane is to have a fictional separated self that one is defending.

The separated self is a mental construct, a construct mediated by body and social experience. In as much as the self is a mental construct, it can only be understood through mental activities. One can think about the self, understand and change it. One can change ones pattern of thinking and relating to other people.
When cognition is reconstructed and reoriented (ala Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck), when the self concept is reconceptualized from separated to unified (ala Helen Schucman) though still conceptual and defended, one is normal.
The neurotic defends a wished for false separated self; the psychotic not only defends a false superior self but believes it to be real. The normal person defends a false self but one that, in Adlerian terms, is used to serve social interest.
The normal person has an ego and uses that ego to help other egos. He uses a false self to serve all false selves in his community. Because he puts his imaginary self to social use, it is normal.
When one wants to be totally healthy, sane, one must give up all self concepts and self images, give up the ego self and personality housed in body and escape to unified spirit self. (This is accomplished in what Orientals call Samadhi, Nirvana, and Satori; what Christian mystics call mystical union with God. See William James, Varieties of Religious Experience and Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism.)

Normal mental health lies in shrinking ones swollen ego self to a minimal self concept. To attain complete mental health, one must completely give up ones self concept/self image, ego, personality. When the conceptual self and the body that houses it is voluntarily relinquished, one attains awareness of being part of unified self, aka Christ self, Buddha self, atman self.


The neurotic and or psychotic person saw the exigencies of this world, and does not like what he saw. He hated and rejected the world as is. He then uses his thinking, aka mind, to construct an alternative ideal, perfect self and tries to become that strictly imaginary mental self.
The ideal self is a replacement self, a substitute self. It is used to replace the real self. (The so-called normal self is also a replacement self; it is used to replace the unified spirit self.)
We came to the world by rejecting our real self, which is not material. The world began in opposition. The part opposed the whole; the son of God opposed his father.
In the world, just as we rejected and opposed God, we reject and oppose whatever self we made for ourselves. All that exists must constantly be replaced.
We came here in opposition to union, and must oppose whatever we made. We oppose our separated normal selves with our separated ideal selves, normal self with neurotic and neurotic with psychotic selves.
Ours is a world made in opposition and must oppose everything in it; a world made out of defiance of union and must defy everything in it. People invented heterosexuality to procreate with, and now defy it with uncreative homosexuality.


A neurotic is a person who feels inferior and wishes to seem superior to other people. He invents a self concept and self image that wishes to be superior to his environment. He compulsively wants to become that fictional superior self. Sometimes, he lives a lie by presenting himself as a superior person. As it were, he has an obsessive compulsion to be superior, to be who he is, in fact, not.
The neurotic invents a superior self and identifies with it and talks and acts from that imaginary person’s stand point.
The neurotic wants to be an imaginary important, ideal self. He takes pride in that imaginary perfect self. He is proud to be a fictional, mythical self and is prone to shame feeling. He is anxious, fearful, given to depression and paranoia.
However, the neurotic is still able to test reality. He knows that he is not his imaginary important self. Though he desperately wishes to be important and superior to other people, he knows that he is just like every body else. He is unhappy with his real self, his ordinary human being-ness and hankers after a picture of himself that seems perfect in his imagination. Thus he lives a life of perpetual discontent, for he is always comparing himself and those around him to an ideal and perfect self/world that no human being could ever become and is dissatisfied with his truth, and other people’s imperfect reality. In Henry Thoreau’s terms, the neurotic lives a life of quiet desperation; he is unable to accept his imperfect reality (Vis a Vis his imaginary perfect self) and is unable to become his wished for impossible perfect self. (See David Shapiro, Neurotic Styles, also Autonomy and the Rigid Character.)
The psychotic, unlike the neurotic, not only wishes for an ideal, perfect self but thinks that he has already become it. For any number of reasons, the psychotic to be child does not like who he is; he hates and rejects his body and real self. He uses his imagination and thinking to invent an imaginary ideal and perfect self. This process begins right from birth and is complete by age thirteen. He identifies with his ideal perfect self. He thinks and behaves as if he is the fantasized ideal self he wished to be but is not in fact. That is, he has lost ability to test reality. He now takes fantasy as reality. He has escaped from our shared world and is now living in his own world. People around him notice the gradual slip into fantasyland and judge him insane.
Let me give you an example. A nineteen years old college sophomore began telling those around him that he is God. They laughed and said to him: “Get out of here, man; you are old John, not no God”. He persisted on being seen as God and his peers began to make fun of him, and say to him, “Yoo, god”. This making fun of him infuriated him and he began to quarrel with them. Eventually, his issues came to the attention of his parents, who took him to the nearest psychiatric hospital. Diagnosis: Schizophrenia, paranoid type. Why so? It is because he feels like he is god, but he is not god. He has delusion of grandeur, that is, sees himself as god. He also heard voices telling him that he is God (auditory hallucination).
The man feels that he is god when he is not god. In other words, he believes what is not true as true (this is delusional mental status).
The more critical question is why he believes what is not true as true.
The answer is that he did so because he felt weak and inferior and restitutes with a desire to be powerful. God is the most important inventions in the world, so he identifies with it and in so doing felt like he was powerful. He has now gratified his desire to be somebody very important, albeit it imaginarily.
The young man is a black man in America. His racist society tells him that he is inferior, a lie. This socially induced sense of inferiority interacted with whatever biological predispositions made him feel inadequate to produce a feeling that he is an inferior person. Like all human beings, he does not like to be inferior, so he restitutes with an imaginary superior self, hence has a delusional important self.
In psychosis, the individual sees himself as who he is not, and does not know that he has done so. He presents himself as a very important person, god, and expects other people to see him as such. He is not god hence has delusion.
The neurotic, too, wishes to be all powerful, a god, but knows that he is not all powerful and is not god. So, he is able to distinguish between reality and his wishes for reality to be changed and make him all powerful. Since he still hankers after an imaginary all powerful self, even though he is not it, he is constantly anxious, from not becoming that all powerful self.
The neurotic has anxiety; the psychotic has transcended anxiety by making a leap of faith, believing in the unreal as real, seeing himself as all powerful when he is eating from garbage cans.
A manic depressive person, in florid stages of his mental illness, will believe that he is the most powerful man in the world, the richest man in the world, the most beautiful woman on earth (even though he is poor and penniless and she is, as the world judges these things, ugly).
In psychosis, the individual takes the wished for ideal self as the real self and since he is not the ideal self he is insane. A grossly fat and ugly woman who sees herself as the most beautiful woman on earth, a Cleopatra, obviously, is not testing reality well. She is deluded, as in mania (bipolar affective disorder).

The mentally ill thinks and behaves in a manner that is not congruent with empirical reality. It is his thinking and behavior that is problematic. He thinks and acts in a disordered manner. Therefore, to heal him, he must be persuaded to think in a realistic and ordered manner. He has to change his thinking patterns. He has to change his behaving patterns. His thinking must be in alignment with empirical reality.
Mental disorder is exactly that, mental, that is, thinking disorder. Mental health is exactly that, well ordered thinking, thinking that is in alignment with empirical reality.
The neurotic wishes to be perfect and ideal. He is not perfect and ideal. If he accepts that he is ordinary, like every one else, and gives up hankering after perfection, his thinking and behavior would be in alignment with reality. He must stop asking people to validate his imaginary wished for ideal self. He must want them to validate his real self, a self that is the same and equal with all selves.
The psychotic must stop thinking that he is all powerful; he must accept that he is not god, not the richest man on earth and not the most beautiful woman on earth. He must accept his reality as a powerless, ordinary human being and give up the quest of perfection.
Mental health lies in thinking in alignment with empirical reality, whereas mental illness lies in thinking in non-alignment with reality. Therefore, to heal the mentally ill, we have to teach them to think and act differently. Mental health professionals must aim at correcting peoples disordered cognitions.
This is not to say that there are no biological correlations with mental status. When a person thinks that he is god, when he is not, he is thinking falsely. He uses his thinking to excite his body into producing, say, dopamine (as in schizophrenia), or producing norepinephrine (as in mania). Conversely, when a person thinks that he is not good enough; his thinking causes his body to reduce its production of serotonin. If a person wishes that he was very important and fears not becoming so, his thinking produce the physiological state seen in fear and anxiety (less GBA and more excitatory neuro chemicals like acetylcholine).
There seem biochemical imbalances in mental disorders but psychiatrists tend to place the cat before the horse. The biochemical imbalances are probably produced by disordered thinking, not the other way around.
Of course, some persons may have inherited certain types of bodies that dispose them to certain biochemical traits conducive in mental disorders.


If, as a six year child, I was psychologically assessed, I would probably have been assessed as having separation anxiety (I felt anxious at school and wanted to go home and be with familiar persons, my parents and siblings), and as a teenager, as having avoidant personality with oppositional defiance.
I was shy. I felt that I was not good enough. I felt that if other children came close to me that they would see that I was not good enough and, as such, reject me. To avoid being rejected, I kept to myself.
In social isolation, I imagined myself the important person I wished to become. I feared not becoming the important person I wanted to become.
Shy and introspective as I was, if any one dared tell me what to do, I would ask him who the hell he thought he was? I resented any one telling me what to do. This would make me oppositional defiant.
As a thirteen year old secondary school boy, if some one had given me a complete psychological battery, the assessment would have read, I think: Axis 1: Social Anxiety; Axis 11: Rule out avoidant personality and oppositional defiant personality; Axis 111: Rule out medical issues like Spondilolysis, physical allergy etc; Axis 1V: psychosocial stressors, fear of social rejection; Axis V: highest level of social functioning, good. Intelligence: superior. (On the WISC or WAIS, IQ over 132 is considered superior.)

In ordinary language, avoidant personality is called shyness. This person feels that as he is, he is not good enough. He feels that other people would reject him if they came close enough to him to get to know him. He is operating under the social reality whereby we tend to reject people who are not good enough and accept people who seem good enough (as defined by society). His assessment of social reality is realistic; hence he is neurotic and not psychotic.
The avoidant person, while fearing social rejection, secretly wishes that he were a superior person. In Adlerian terms, he rejects his presumed inferior self and juxtaposes a fictional superior (in Horney’s terms, ideal) person. He wants to accept himself as an ideal, superior and perfect self. He wants other people to accept him as an ideal superior self.
His fear of social rejection is not really motivated by fear of the rejection of his real self but fear of rejection of his imaginary ideal self. The fear of social rejection is rooted in fear of rejection of the ideal, perfect superior self.
The shy child’s social withdrawal is motivated by effort to preserve the ideal self for he knows that the ideal self is false and that other people would see it as false.


To relate to other people, one must be the same and equal with them. Any time one wishes for special, superior, ideal, perfect self, one has interfered with good relationship. If you want to be superior to other people, you cannot relate well to them.
The only way to relate well with other people is to accept the truth of your and their perfect equality.
The avoidant personality does not want to accept the truth of our equality; he wants the illusion of his personal superiority to seem true; and since it is not going to be true in the empirical world, he avoids people and in social withdrawal retains the illusion that he is better than other people.
What is the cure for avoidant personality disorder? Is it giving such persons anxiolytic medications, as our confused Western psychiatrists do? Medications, of course, have temporary calming effect. If you are fearful and anxious and take any of the anti anxiety medications, you feel calm (and get addicted to them and when you try to withdraw from them experience visual and tactile hallucination).
The individual does not need medications. What he needs is change in his thinking and behaving patterns. He has to give up the wish to seem special and superior to other people; he has to accept all human beings perfect sameness and equality. He has to accept the equality of all races, black, white and oriental, the equality of the two genders, man and woman and the equality of adults and children.
We are the same and equal. Any time the idea of inequality enters ones mind, one has escaped from truth and is now temporarily insane.
Sanity lies in accepting truth and operating from its parameters. We are all the same and equal and whoever relates to other people as if they are the same and equal with him is operating from the standpoint of truth hence is sane.

All mental and personality disorders are efforts to make a false special self seem true, to make an illusion seem real. Let us briefly look at the various personality disorders.
The paranoid personality wants to seem superior to other people and see them as not accepting his imaginary superiority hence sees people demeaning him…this person is close to delusional disorder, a psychosis. He must relinquish his wish for superiority and accept our equality.
The schizoid personality withdraws from people and in his social isolation believes that he is special. He is close to schizophrenia and needs to see himself as the same and equal with all people and go relate to them.
The schizotypal personality gratifies her wish for superiority by believing in weird matters, such as claiming to have sixth sense etc; her oddity and eccentricity is really an effort to seem superior to other people; she is close to schizophrenia.
The narcissistic personality fancies himself special and worthy of other people’s admiration and often exploits people and uses them to get what he wants without caring for them. His illusory superiority must be given up. He is close to mania.
The histrionic woman fancies herself beautiful and worthy of other peoples admiration. Her histrionic, dramatic behaviors are quest for superiority and specialness. She is close to mania.
The antisocial personality fancies himself better than other people and from that erroneous standpoint steals and does other antisocial things and does not feel remorseful for his criminal activities (the narcissistic cum antisocial slave master so felt superior to blacks that he justified using them and did not feel remorseful or guilty for his iniquitous behaviors). This person is a psychopath.
The borderline personality gratifies her wish for superiority and specialness through getting other people to take care of her. She refused to grow up and become an adult. In the adult world one must give love to get love from those one gave it. She is close to mania.
The obsessive-compulsive personality gratifies his wish for specialness by seeking perfection and fearing being imperfect. He is close to having anxiety disorder (Neurosis).
The dependent personality gratifies his wish for specialness by having other people take care of him. (This is a neurosis)
The avoidant personality gratifies his wish for specialness by fearing and separating from other people. Some have social phobia. This is a neurosis.
The passive aggressive personality gratifies his desire for specialness by not asserting himself, by permitting others to walk all over him, feeling like a good boy, read, superior boy, then feeling angry at them when they go too far. (This is a neurosis.)

All mental disorders, be they psychosis, neurosis and personality disorders, are rooted in peoples wish for specialness, superiority and separation from other people, in a misguided effort to retain the imagined ideal self. If people changed their thinking, from desiring superiority and specialness to desiring sameness and equality and working for social interest, ala Adler, they tend to become normal persons.
Schizophrenia, mania, delusional disorder, depression and the other psychoses are maneuvers to separate from people and in isolation manage to retain the illusion that one has a special, superior self.
If you change people’s thinking and behavior (through cognitive behavior therapy), from wishing specialness to wishing sameness and equality and union, you heal them. The insane person thinks and behaves in a disordered manner and can learn to think and behave in a well ordered manner, in a manner congruent with the reality of the empirical environment. When he does so, he is mentally sane.
We are all the same and equal; whoever sees him self as the same and equal with all people and serves all people is mentally healthy.


Neuroscience has the delusion that mental health can be reduced to biochemical balances; it sees thinking as epiphenomenal, as a product of the configurations of particles, atoms and elements in our brains. Where there is chemical imbalance, mental disorder supposedly results.
The amazing part is that no one has dared tell these reductionisms that it is only a fool who says that there is no God.
We may not know what God is but to dismiss him and see people as only their bodies is arrant nonsense.
People kept quiet as Soviet era psychiatrists used their pseudo scientific views to abuse those who opposed the evil empire; today, people keep quiet as know nothing American psychiatrists abuse people with their so-called psychotropic medications.
Man is more than his body. He is spirit having physical experience. Therefore, he cannot be healed by merely focusing on his body. We must address his mind, his psyche, his thinking and behavior.


No one on earth can explain God aka spirit in human language. Speech came into being to adapt to the world of separation, space and time.
The world of separation is the world of you and I, seer and seen, subject and object. Language and perception are adaptive to the world of separation. Language is not needed in the world of unified spirit.
In Spirit, literally, there is only one self, God. That one self has infinite selves, all of whom are it. There is one God who manifests in infinite us. God is all of us and all of us are God. But each of us is not all of God. Please note the difference, before you go psychotic and call yourself God. You are a part of God but not all of God, for God is all of us.
The whole is in all the parts and the parts are in the whole and in each other but the part is not the whole.
In as much as we need a story of creation, a mythology as to how we came into being; consider this mythology, it is not the truth but it approximates the truth.

There is God. God is spirit. God is everywhere and everywhere is him. God extends his one self into many selves. Each of us is an extension of God.
Since God is extending his already existing self into each of us, it follows that each of us has existed for as long as God existed, which is forever.
Yet God created each of us. In creation, God gave all of himself to his son, to each of us. God gave all of himself to you. He remains as God and yet is you.
God extended himself to you and me. He is in you and me. God is in us and we are in him and in each other.
There is no space or gap between God and his children and between his children. We all literally share one self, the self of God and share one mind, the mind of God.
God is eternal, changeless and permanent. As parts of him, we are eternal, changeless and permanent.
God is all knowing. As parts of him, we are all knowing.
In God, all are joined together as one self and one mind.
Only the non material can join. The physical must be separated, at least in appearance, not reality. God is spirit, that is, non material. His creations, as part of him, you and me, in our true self are spirit and not material.
Only the same and equal can join. Though God created his children, he is the same and equal with all of them, as they are the same and equal with him and with each other.
If you like the word heaven, use it and say that in heaven there is perfect union, sameness and equality.
While in eternal sameness, equality and union, (heaven) the idea of heaven’s opposite entered our thinking, mind.
What is, union, produced the idea of its opposite, separation. Equality produced the idea of inequality. Sameness produced the ideal of its opposite, differences. Eternity produced the idea of its opposite, time, immortality produced its opposite the idea of mortality and changelessness produced its opposed change.
In heaven, we are perfectly unified, the same and equal. The idea of separation, differences and inequality entered our minds.
We pursued it. We sought separation, differences and inequality. Another way of putting this idea is that God created us and that we did not create God or ourselves. The idea of creating God and ourselves entered our minds. It is impossible for the part to create the whole, for the child to be his father’s father or his own father.
What cannot happen in reality can be dreamed of? We, therefore, seemed to go to sleep and dream a world that is the opposite of God’s world. In Hindu categories, we cast a magical spell, Maya, on us and seem to go to sleep and in our sleep dream that we are separated from God and from each other and that we created ourselves.
Another way of putting it is that the son seems to have killed his father and usurped his throne. Yet another way of putting it is that the son has chased his father out of his throne and is sitting on it.
We entered the zone of illusions, Maya. In that dream world, our wishes seem gratified. We set it up in such a manner that our wishes for specialness are gratified.
We broke eternal union into fragments (Big Bang) and each fragment of God split off from him and from each other, not in reality but in illusion. In reality, we remain unified, we remain as God created us, but in our present awareness, we seem separated from God and from each other.
We separated from God and each other. The invention of separation is what science means by Big Bang, the invention of space, time and matter.
Space preceded time by nanoseconds and time preceded matter (particles, atoms) by nanoseconds.
The moment space came into being, it was logically inevitable for time to come into being, for now it takes time to traverse the distance between two selves; space time inevitably produced matter and energy (it takes energy, effort to go from one self to another, one point to another in space; energy and matter are the same).
In time, we perfected matter into biological forms and housed ourselves in it. All these took millions of years to accomplish.
We are now in the world of space, time and matter; we seem housed in bodies. Bodies give us the impression that we are separated from each other, just as space and time also give us the illusion of separation.
Separation is an illusion and an illusion must end, bodies must die. Thus, those who seem to live in body must die.
We are, as it were, born, to die. The moment a child is born on earth he starts dying. Death is the opposite of eternity. We came here to experience the opposite of immortality, to be mortal and die, we must. In truth, in unified spirit we do not die. But in illusion, in our world we do die. In realty, we are not born and do not die, but in illusion we are born and do die.
On earth, each of us uses his physical and social experiences to construct a separated self concept for himself, for other people and for everything he sees. We live in a conceptual world.
Concepts are not permanent and always change. So our self concepts are always changing. In one moment we feel inferior to others, in another moment we feel superior to them.
We chose bodies, space and time that enable us to invent our desired self concepts. For example, I chose a very vulnerable body. Feeling easily hurt, I formed a self concept that I am vulnerable. I formed an avoidant self concept, an avoidant personality.
You chose the body you are born in and chose your social experiences and combined both to form your self concept and personality.
We think in ideas and images. Thus we form concepts of who we are and image them. Each of us has a self concept and a self image.
The self concept, self image is the individual’s personality. The self concept, self image, personality, is an ego self, it is a self that sees itself as separated from God and other people. On earth, in the dream, Maya, each of us has a separated self concept.
The separated self concept, your personality, is a dream figure, a self you employ in dreaming, in being on earth. The self concept, self image, personality, ego is not real; it is a false dream self. We defend it and in defending it make it seem real to us. Defense makes the unreal seem real to us.
Upon birth on earth, each human child uses his chosen body and social experiences to form a self concept, self image, personality and ego and uses the various ego defense mechanisms to defend it. Defending it makes it seem real to him. He does so for a hundred or so years and his body seems to die and decompose. He leaves his body, for he was never in his body.
He returns to the world in different bodies and in different circumstances. You may call this reincarnation, but since one is never born or dies one really has not reincarnated, all that one did is sleep and dream several times.
In the dream, one forgets ones true identity, unified spirit. One sets the terms of ones remembering of ones true self. The dreamer writes his dream script and enacts it out.
Each of us decides when he is going to wake up and the manner he is going to wake up. There are no accidents in God’s world.
For example, I chose a very sensitive body. That body made it impossible for me to adapt to this world. I failed to adapt to this world. Having failed, I began to wonder what to do with myself. Kill myself and get it over with or explore the possibility of another world? I threw myself first into Western philosophy, then psychology and, finally, into the study of comparative religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. At some point, I took Buddha’s teaching seriously and did what he asked us to do.
Buddha asks us to let go of our identification with body and ego. He tells us to relinquish the ego self. In meditation one consciously accepts that one is not ones ego, separated self, self image, personality, body. If one is none of these things, then who is one? The ego, the earthly intellect rushes in to suggest answers as to who one is. Buddha said: ignore the suggestions of the ego, they are mere noise, the chattering of a fool, just try to keep quiet and the answer will come to you; if you are a sincere seeker after the truth and do what the truth requires of you: forgive, love and have compassion for all people, it will eventually come to you.
Stop all ego intellectual thinking. If, in fact, you can stop thinking, which requires that you give up wishing to be this or that, and be silent for one hour, you would escape from this world. Suddenly, you leave your body and disappear into a world of no forms, no bodies, no you and I, just one self that is simultaneously all selves. There is no space, time and matter in the world of spirit; it is a world of oneness, literally, not figuratively. There is still a you and I but each of us simultaneously knows himself to be all of us and as part of God.
After you experience oneness, you return to the world of separation. If you stayed in the world of unified spirit, as people consider these things, you would drop off your body, die. But you cannot be permitted to stay in eternal union, while some folks are still dreaming that they are separated. So you voluntarily return to our world. You come back and teach the lesson of our unified nature in your own way. Perchance, the manner you teach it will appeal to a few persons out there and they will take the message seriously and try to experience union.
There are as many teachers of union, teachers of love, and teachers of God as those who have experienced union. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Bahaullah, Ramakrishna being a few of them. Each teacher teaches the same truth: union, and forgiveness as a means to it. But each teacher teaches that truth in his own manner and, as such, appeals to certain persons, but not to all persons.
Jesus, for example, appeals to poetic and worshipful persons, those Hinduism call Bhakti. Jesus could never appeal to rational, philosophical persons. Buddha and his rationalism reach thinkers, what Hinduism calls Jnana. (See Patanjali’s Yogas: Jnana, Bhakti, Karma, Raja, Tantra etc).
All those who have experienced union become what Buddhism calls Buddhavista, that is, enlightened persons, avatars, come back to teach the eternal gospel that God created us unified and that we are always as God created us, unified, though we dream that we are separated. (Helen Schucman taught that message in a combined Bhakti and psychological manner. She tells her students, as she called what in old fashioned religion was called followers that we are unified and in union are innocent, guiltless and sinless; that we only seem to do bad things in separation, in dreams of separation and that what is done in dreams has not been done, hence we are still innocent. We must learn to forgive each other and stop trying to punish each other.)
I teach the gospel of union, the gospel of truth in my own way and if you choose to learn it in the manner only I teach it (philosophical, psychological) you will learn from me. But if you have decided to learn it from other folks, so it is for you.
Actually, you made the choice of how you are going to learn about your truth before you were even born on earth. You have already decided when you will learn the truth, today or a thousand years from today.
My function is not to force feed you the truth but simply to restate what Aldus Huxley called the perennial wisdom of mankind in my own inarticulate way and leave it to you to decide to pay attention to it or not. As noted, you have already decided when to learn and practice it, and like the prodigal son return home, reawaken to your real self, the unified self, the Christ. (In time, those who will meet will meet, and those who will not meet will not meet. Although in eternity we are the same, in time we are different. We have different, unique personalities, different dreams. Those whose dreams, personalities will appeal to each other will meet and learn from each other and move on, or stay together.)

To come to God, you must be God like. God is union. Union is love. To come to God you must seek union with all people. Since love is the glue which glues people together, to come to God, you must love all people.
God created love and uses it to join all his children to him; we invented fear and use it to separate from each other.
In our world, we attack one another. We hurt one another. I have hurt you. You have hurt me. Our mutual inclination is to bear grievances and seek revenge against those who hurt us.
As a black man, nothing would give my ego more perverted satisfaction than to enslave white people, so that they feel what it feels like to be slaves and discriminated against. But who are white people? In time, they seem separated from me, a black man. In reality, we are unified and what I do to them I do to me. We are merely in dreams in which one is white today and black tomorrow; the slave master today is the slave tomorrow. Therefore, there is no use punishing any one, for one merely punishes ones self, if not now, in the future.
The best thing to do is to overlook the hurt other people inflicted on one. In doing so, one overlooks the hurt one inflicted on other people.
To forgive is to overlook the past. To forgive is to see what is done on earth as if they were done in a dream and overlook them. To forgive is to recognize that what was dome on earth was done in a dream and, as such, has not been done. The person who enslaved you, or raped you, did so in a dream and, as such, has not done so in fact. Nothing has happened to you in reality.
Moreover, it is your dream and you actually made what happened to you to happen to you. Nothing can happen to a son of God without him wishing to experience it. There in lies the justice of God. If what one did not want to experience could happen to one, then the universe and its God, temporal and permanent, is unfair.
Forgive and love all people, and then meditate. Give up all wishes to be a separated self, give up your ego, give up your self concept, give up your self image, give up your personality, and give up thinking in concepts. Then sit quietly for one hour.
Do this every day. Choose a convenient time and sit quietly for one hour. Stop thinking in ego terms. Return your mind to God, return your self to God; accept the self God created you as, unified self, not the self you made yourself as, separated self. Stay quiet. Have an open mind, be a void. Do not accept your ego’s efforts to write another fairy tale in your mind about the nature of reality. Read this material but forget it, for it is not the truth. The truth is beyond what any one can write or talk about.
I must warn you that if, indeed, you take what is being said here seriously, please find yourself a spiritual guide. I had a Hindu Swami as my guide. You need someone to guide you. Why so? If you truly forgave and loved people and tried meditation, you would have experiences that could result in psychosis in you. How so?
Now listen, my boy. Your separated self and body are false; they are illusions. They do not exist. If you enter into meditation, you would experience your self concept die. This is literal, your personality will seem to die and you would seem to have no self. This is the most terrifying experience you will ever go through on earth. We do not like to die to our separated selves and will make insane efforts to seem to have them.
To re-convince yourself that you have a separated self, you may invent a different self for you, a more outrageous self, like the psychotic’s self. You go from merely wishing for a big self, as neurotics do, and believe that you have a big self, as psychotics do.
In clinical language, you would experience ego decompensation (your normal ego defenses….repression, denial, suppression, displacement, dissociation, projection, rationalization, reaction formation, sublimation, avoidance, fantasy, intellectualization, fear, anger, paranoia, pride, shame etc will fail) and you try to recompensate with a grandiose ego….employ psychotic defenses like delusion and hallucination. You can make your false ego seem to talk and see things, hence hallucinate; the mad man made his delusional self seem to talk and see things, to make it seem real in his awareness. In short, you could experience transient psychosis.
To avoid this from happening, you need a person who knows about God to guide you. I do not mean a regular corner store minister, for those are practical idiots and know nothing about the God they talk much about. They are egotists. I am talking about a relatively egoless person. A Hindu or Buddhist priest (Swami, Roshi) is probably your best bet.

In meditation, you experience your self concept and self image dissolve and illusions play themselves out in your mind. In my own case, I had what people call out of body experiences; literally, see myself outside my body. I saw myself fly to a point of light, through a dark medium etc. All these are illusions for there is no place to fly to. The real experience is simply disappearing into unified self that I cannot describe.
Without making much ado about it, there is a different self, a unified self, and a different world, a unified world. Call it what you like, it is nameless, for names apply to the world of separation and multiplicity. To go there, you must die to the self and world you know, the world of separated self living in space, time and matter.
(The ego and its world are not left by physically killing your self. Suicide is not an option. If you kill yourself, all that would happen is that you would come back to try again, until you get it right: live as unified self via forgiveness and love. The ego and its world are left by overcoming them via learning to love at all times.)
In the meantime, learn to see all people as related to you, forgive and love them all. Learn that you are joined with all selves. The payoff of forgiveness and love is peace and happiness. Forgiveness and love rewards us with internal peace.
Peace is the definition of joy and both go together. Peace and joy are the best rearwards one can ever get on this earth. Forgive and love and your earthly dream becomes like a happy dream. As it were, you would be at the gate of heaven, but not inside it, for you are still in form and heaven requires that you be formless. Forgive and love and you would approximate your real self, unified spirit self, that you might as well be said to be living out of your real self and is in the real world (hence real self living, of real self psychology and real self fellowship).


Posted by Administrator at December 13, 2005 05:12 AM


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