"Paranoia is 'like' knowledge." I read that puzzling statement, attributed to Gregory Bateson by Morris Berman in The Re-enchantment of the World. I wrote to Mr. Berman to ask exactly where Mr. Bateson had written that, but he didn't remember where he'd read it.
This post is about an essay that William Paul Cone wrote, Paranoia and the Paranormal. I discovered it a few decades ago when I was experiencing a strangeness in my life that altered every facet of my life. The author describes very accurately my experience with 'strangeness'. This 'strangeness' seemed to me, to overlay, and to personalize every event in my life, but only for a span of years, at that point in Time. I was dizzy at times, I felt weird for no reason I could see. As time passed, I read books that caused me to know that this 'strangeness' is a fact in life, about a process that has been identified long ago:
"The muses can say what is true or what seems to be true..." Hesiod , Theogony, 620 BCE. He wrote that he was taught by the muses while he tended his flock. Life events taught me, in the same form, which Emanuel Swedenborg probably used in his writings, he wrote about the 'goods of truth' and the 'falsities of evil'. William Blake wrote about the 'mundane shell' and as I understand it, these two men experienced this 'strangeness' in their lives, although I don't claim to have their level of intelligence and abilities. I named the intelligence that informed me, the Larger Domain until I realized other names for the same intelligence existed, it was a 'voice', others have heard, but this voice spoke to me before I knew such a 'voice' existed, in my physical location, where ever I happened to be.
There is a process of life that individualizes experiences in that life, so specifically that science will never validate it. It is a pattern that in my experience, synchronized my unspoken thought with events that really happened, over a span of several years, in circumstances that were unique, at times when I was alone, then with specific groups of individuals who gave evidence in their speech and actions that we were somehow mentally linked. Its a pattern that the ancient Greeks recognized, it created a movie like story but also I experienced a real life re-view literally. In my opinion the idea of deja vu can be understood in a new way., it needs to be reversed: inner content meets its exact content somewhere outside of the body. Inner content precedes outer world content for a period of years and this is a confusing experience. "Thought broadcasting" is the name of one of the 'symptoms' for that experience in psychiatric texts. Mirror neurons may explain this 'encounter' of inner content with its exact content in the outer world. I had to recognize that a kind of conversation was being created, by a mechanism of mind.
This author describes exactly what the individual experiences on the simplest level of' the journey into the 'next' level.
I've experienced what I write about without knowing much about history, or other ideas but I learned from the thing itself. That in my opinion means the pattern is a process that generates information that individual can recognize because it is so personalized. I've also experienced what some other authors have written about; that's the only true way to understand my individualized life as an event: a story told to me that identified me and told me what I was really doing! That attribute is difficult to describe. There is a collective life and an individual life, that's a fact I had to experience and discover all by myself, in my actual lived life. This essay is unique in that it describes a truth about 'paranoia' as an aspect of the individuation process. Time is not linear in that process.
At the end of this essay, Paranoia and the Paranormal I write something about my experiences with the pattern Dr. Cone described as pathological but which I know can be explained in relation to a natural process of life that creates ultra personalized experience over a span of time, an intimate process and personalization of events. Depersonalization is the opposite side of that process. I hope you will want to read it several times and think about what he believes about paranoia. This is one man's thinking but its typical.
Paranoia And The Paranormal; William Paul Cone, PhD
The existence of paranoia in the field of paranormal and fringe science has been vastly underrated and often overlooked. To the uneducated, paranoia is often mistaken for science. They are not the same.
The birthplace of an idea is in the mind. Both science and paranoia have played a major part in the development of man. The reign of terror implemented by Adolph Hitler and the rampant paranoia created by McCarthy are two outstanding examples. Recent happenings, such as the Jim Jones massacre and the David Koresh tragedy show clearly that a charismatic person with a highly intact delusional system can exert a tremendous influence over people. Researchers in the paranormal and UFO community are not immune to this influence, and should tread with great caution when listening to the reports of people who claim to have had extraordinary experiences.
Paranoia is not research, it is not science, it is a malfunction of the ability to reason. The difficulty we face when dealing with the paranoid person and his data is that, unlike the true psychotic, whose delusions ramble incoherently and sound crazy, the true intellectual paranoid tells a story that makes sense.
When lay people think of the word paranoid, they think of a crazy person. When paranoia becomes severe, it is clear to all that the person is ill. But the problems of the paranoid are not always readily apparent. In fact, it's often difficult to tell the difference between a paranoid and a dedicated researcher. A paranoid can have a very stable, systematized, tight delusional system.
A high functioning paranoid is not insane in the legal sense of the word, or crazy in the lay sense of the word. There may be no outward signs of paranoia. A good paranoid, even though he has an internal delusional system, may still be able to collect data in a very succinct manner and perform experiments with great skill. He may even be aided by the fact that he's withdrawn from social contact, which gives him a lot more time to collect data to validate his theory.
Like the scientist, the paranoid's belief system is developed logically. The beliefs are well systematized and carefully thought out. The emotional response to the delusions appears appropriate for the material. Because of this, it's easy to get pulled into the delusional system. You find yourself accepting some of the premises that the paranoid posits. His meticulous notes, voluminous documentation, and objectively verifiable bits of evidence, weave themselves into a coherent picture of altered reality.
What is missing is the capacity to entertain alternate explanations for the phenomena, and the rejection of the obvious. Although other explanations may be more cogent and more logical, suggesting these to the paranoid results in their including you in the conspiratorial process, and flying into a rage of indignance.
Scientist Daniel Goleman has said of the paranoid, "He looks so keenly that he does not quite see; he hears so astutely that he fails to listen. In other words, his deficit is not in his attentional powers, which are often brilliantly attuned. His attention is off because it is guided by lack of interest in the obvious. The surface of things for him is far from the truth of the matter; he seeks to piece through plain facts to the hidden reality. He listens and looks not to gather what is apparent, but what it signifies."
The most fundamental difference between science and paranoia is that scientific research has always been based on curiosity, while paranoia has always been based on fear. To be curious about something means that you invest time and energy exploring it, and being fascinated by the discovery of new knowledge.
Research is fun. To the paranoid, research is not fun; it's a life or death endeavor based on suspicion, anger, and self righteous indignation. Unlike the scientist who is fascinated by his discoveries, the paranoid fears his discoveries. The more time the scientist spends on his research, the more fascinated and excited he becomes. The more time the paranoid spends on his discoveries, the angrier and more frightened he becomes. As he gathers data about the conspiracy that surrounds him, he anticipates a terrible fate. The paranoid is not trying to gain knowledge. His energy is focused on gathering enough data to protect himself, and to exact revenge against his imagined persecutors.
The scientist and the paranoid both do research, and both explore unusual phenomena. But the similarity stops there. The scientist has a genuine interest in what he or she is investigating. She spends many hours reading, researching, making observations, and gathering data. However, the scientist is able to put her research aside and become absorbed in other things in life, such as family, hobbies, and other interests.
But unlike the scientist, the paranoid's endeavor is the central focus of his life. The paranoid's focus is not an interest, but an obsession. Every waking moment is consumed with collecting data to verify his theory. All other parts of the paranoid's life are secondary to this.
Paranoid people keep volumes of meticulously recorded notes. Last year I treated a young man who believed that the airport was sending planes over his house to observe him. He arrived for his first session with several thousand pages of notes, written in small, cramped letters. He spent hours each day documenting every one of his observations and conversations. He told me that he recorded his thoughts every time he smoked a cigarette, because he believed the inhaled tobacco contained molecules that implanted messages in his brain. At the end of the day, each bit of data was carefully studied to determine how it fit into his theory.
Although a good researcher and a good paranoid both collect meticulous notes and observations, they approach the task differently. When a true researcher gathers data, he has no preconceived bias, no investment, and no agenda regarding the data. He is merely gathering information. At some point and time, when enough information is gathered, he forms a hypothesis. If data accumulates that doesn't fit the hypothesis, the researcher either discards the hypothesis or reformulates it to fit the new observations.
Unlike the true objective researcher, who has no emotional investment in his theory per se, to the paranoid the theory is everything. The paranoid begins to weave the theory before the data is collected. Once the theory is in place, it's considered true. From that point, all data that can be assimilated into the theory becomes part of the theory, and all data that doesn't fit the theory is rejected as invalid.
The belief system of the paranoid is unshakable. In 1987, I was treating a man who believed that everyone in his company was trying to kill him by painting his tools with an invisible poison. When his family members tried to show him that this wasn't true by actually licking the tools, he decided that the poison must be genetically engineered to affect only him.
Any data that contradicts the paranoid's theory is rejected with vehemence and anger. A truly paranoid individual displays suspiciousness and hypersensitivity to any criticism, and has a hostile, arrogant attitude towards anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of the data. It's important here for researchers to remember that the amount of emotional investment that one has in a theory does not correlate with its reality.
While the primary goal of the researcher is discovery, the primary goal of the paranoid is validation. That is, while the researcher is looking to add to the storehouse of human knowledge, the paranoid is looking to be believed. In fact, for many paranoids, the central focus of the paranoid's life is to be believed.
If a researcher can be convinced that his data can be explained by another method, he becomes more curious and starts to examine his assumptions. When another scientist disagrees with him, he sees it as a source of stimulation and an opportunity to learn. In fact, the basic philosophy of science is to present your findings to your peers, so that they may evaluate and criticize them. This is how knowledge is gained.
If the paranoid is faced with data that doesn't fit his theory, he becomes indignant and angry. Anyone who disagrees with him is the enemy. They are the coconspirators who are out to discredit or invalidate him. In fact, at some point many paranoids abandon research completely and spend all of their time attacking
people who disagree with them. Last year I worked with a lady who insisted that her case was so spectacular that we should make a movie of it. When I declined her offer, she flew into a rage and left my office. For the next two years I got angry, threatening letters from her.
The characteristics of paranoia are:
6.fear of loss of freedom
Delusions. Simply put, paranoids believe something that isn't true. The primary symptom of the paranoid is delusional thinking. The delusions are centered around ideas of persecution and grandiosity. Every paranoid believes that they possess some special quality or have some vitally important information that is the center of interest of some conspiratorial group. Once this delusion is in place, the paranoid spends most of his time gathering evidence to verify it.
Paranoids sometimes incorporate friends and relatives into their delusional system. This is called shared paranoia. The term used to describe two people who share a delusional system is folie à deux. When an entire family shares the delusion the term used is folie à famille. When a larger group is involved, the term used is folie collective.
This kind of shared delusional system increases the paranoid's feelings of grandiosity. This is often seen in religious cults. In a cult, the delusional system of the paranoid is accepted by those around him, and becomes selfverifying. As the grandiosity increases, the paranoid convinces the cult members that anyone outside of the cult is the enemy. Soon, the only way to escape the danger is suicide.
Suspiciousness. It is the inability to trust that is the root cause of most paranoia. Epidemiological research on paranoids shows that the majority lack the ability to form the basic bond of trust. Studies reveal that most of them have a history of being physically beaten, many had mentally ill or erratic parents. The fathers of paranoids are distant, rigid and sadistic or weak and ineffective, while the mothers are seductive, overcontrolling and rejecting. The soothing voices of parenthood were absent, and the bond of trust was never formed.
Because of this, paranoids suffer a feeling of deep inadequacy. They fear interpersonal and social interaction. These feelings cause them to have a difficult time with intimacy. A true paranoid may even find social intimacies such as shaking hands uncomfortable.
A significant portion of paranoid people have no sexual contact at all. Sex is seen as much too intimate. Adolph Hitler, one of the most famous paranoids in history, was reported to have a deep fear of sexual intercourse. I find it interesting that many people reporting anomalous experiences have sexual problems.
Suspiciousness leads the paranoid to guard his discoveries. Unlike the true researcher, who is willing and eager to share his discoveries with the scientific community, the paranoid keeps his findings secret. While he may share some of his information, certain things cannot be revealed, because they come from secret sources. This is one way to spot paranoid thinking. True science is based on disclosure, while paranoia is based on secretiveness.
No matter how hard you try to befriend a paranoid, sooner or later you will be accused of an injustice. Once this happens, you are labeled as an enemy and become part of the conspiracy. For this reason, paranoids have few long term friends.
Projective thinking. Projective thinking is the psychological process of making internal events external. The basic problem that the paranoid has is misinterpreting internal anxiety as external harassment. When the frustrations of everyday life exceed the limit that he can tolerate, the paranoid withdraws from social activity and looks for an external explanation for his problems. The focus is always on the outside world.
Projection protects the paranoid from his anxiety. By projecting the internal turmoil into the world, he absolves himself from responsibility. All of his problems are caused by others. He is disturbed because he is being followed; being watched.
A good example of this is the paranoid's interpretation that every noise on a phone line is evidence that the phone is tapped. It is possible that the government is tapping phones or looking at the mail of people involved in paranormal and UFO research. I just can't figure out what it is that they could possibly be looking for.
Personally, I posses a great deal of information about abduction experiences, UFO sightings, contactees, and anomalous phenomena. I would be glad to share this information with anyone at anytime. You don't have to tap my phone or open my mail to get it. Research data is public knowledge.
While I was attending the MUFON conference in Richmond, a young man came up to me and said, "You know, there are CIA operatives all over this place. They really want to know what we know."
This kind of statement demonstrates the fundamental flaw found in the paranoid thinking process. To be spied on requires that you are hiding something of value. Presenting information at a conference open to the public is not a good way to hide something. What is actually being hidden is the paranoid's inability to deal with his own anxiety.
Hostility. The paranoid's impetus for research is the belief that they have been wronged by someone. The paranoid is always looking for enemies. They tend to be overfocused and very intense, while trying to ferret out any perceived danger in the environment. They soon begin to see malicious intent in trivial and unrelated actions by people around them. Nothing is taken at face value. It's the hidden meaning and interpretation that's important. Everyone is a potential enemy.
Paranoids often spend hours writing hate letters to their perceived enemies. They may spend considerable time filing law suits about supposed injustices that their enemies have committed. Sadly, some paranoids can become truly dangerous. It is not unusual for a paranoid to be obsessed with weapons. Some of them have extensive gun collections. Many paranoids are also obsessed with technology, and have an extensive knowledge of surveillance equipment.
Centrality. Every paranoid eventually comes to feel that they are the center of attention of some large group. This belief in being the center of attention is a perfect defense against the paranoid's inner sense of unimportance. He alone has been singled out because of his special talents and abilities.
Paranoids create an imaginary community, populated by people who focus only on them. Researchers of paranoia call this imaginary group the paranoid pseudocommunity.
The paranoid believes that the people in the pseudocommunity have organized a complex conspiracy which is designed to plague him. In her later years, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, believed that fifty thousand people were trying to kill her by projecting evil thoughts. As the disorder progresses, the conspiracy may include both real and imagined persons, and may include extraterrestrial and paranormal beings. Paranoids in the United States tend to use the CIA, the government, communists, or aliens as their psuedocommunity.
The internal pseudocommunity serves two purposes. First, it gives the paranoid an external explanation for the anxiety that he is feeling (although this anxiety is actually internally generated). He will claim that anyone would be anxious if they were placed under this unrelenting scrutiny. Second, the delusion becomes
encapsulated and internalized, so that social interactions can be maintained with people outside the pseudocommunity. The delusional belief system and the imaginary community become a container for the anguish and anxiety that he feels. When this container is closed, it allows the paranoid to function in the real world. The delusional system becomes a deeply buried secret. Many paranoids spend years without divulging their secret beliefs to anyone.
In the early stages of paranoia, the paranoid may merely be suspicious, self-righteousness, angry, and indignant. He may feel that he is persecuted by only a few individuals. But as the disease progresses, the power of the psuedocommunity grows. Eventually, the lid comes off of the container Soon he begins to find hidden meaning in every conversation. Strangers on the street are talking about him. Newspaper stories, radio, and television programs contain hidden messages directed at him. These delusions are called ideas of reference. At this point he begins to go public with his delusion, in hope that he will find allies in fighting the conspirators.
Finally, he may deteriorate into true psychosis. At this point, he may experience visual and auditory hallucinations. He may hear voices that compel him to do things. These are called command hallucinations. He may even hear voices coming from inanimate objects like air conditioners, car engines, and showers. Psychologists call these functional hallucinations. At this point the paranoid may become dangerous. Many of the mass murders reported in the news recently have been committed by paranoids.
Fear of loss of freedom. Because the paranoid is worried about loss of freedom, he is constantly on guard. Every thought and movement is designed to avoid detection. Even his facial expressions are carefully preplanned and controlled. There is no spontaneity in the paranoid, and warm feelings and empathy are severely constricted. This truly is loss of freedom.
Paranoids project their fear of loss of freedom onto the world. They spend a great deal of their time trying to convince others that they too are soon to be taken over by some inimical force. Whether it's the government, a secret society, or an alien race, the problem is always the same. We are all soon to become slaves to our persecutors. This theme is so common that it has become part of our culture. Many science fiction movies are based on this idea.
Grandiosity. To protect himself from the feelings of being helpless and powerless to stop his life from being monitored, the paranoid develops an inner core of grandiosity. A true paranoid is convinced that he has been singled out by his persecutors because he has some special significance. This feeling of importance is known a paranoid illumination. As the disorder progresses, he often comes to believe that he has a vitally important message to bring to mankind. Many paranoids eventually become convinced that they are a new messiah. There is always some startling truth that will be revealed at any moment. We have been waiting for that moment for several thousand years.
Time telescoping. Researchers have noticed that the paranoid uses time differently than a normal person. Paranoids claim to have excellent memories for detail, and they do. But the material is remembered out of sequence.
This sequencing problem is called paranoid connectivity. It stems from a defect in the paranoid's ability to distinguish past, present, and future. The paranoid's memory is like a video editing machine gone mad. Unrelated events become connected in improper temporal order. Instead of information being stored as it actually occurred, the paranoid stores data in an "everything now" holding bin, and puts the memories in his own sequence later. A paragraph he read on Tuesday gets spliced in after a conversation that occurred on Thursday. What the grocer said at the checkout stand today neatly dovetails with a television news story that occurs a week later. In the jumbled mind of the paranoid, imagination, dreams, and actual occurrences run together. It is a short leap from REM to reminiscence. In this way, a conglomeration of disconnected events is experienced as a seamless series of related incidents. It is this sense of uncanny coincidence that weaves itself into the fabric of conspiracy. Theodore Millon, a prominent scientist who studies personality, states,
"Little difference exists in their minds between what they have seen and what they have thought. Momentary impressions and hazy memories become fact. Chains of unconnected facts are fitted together. An inexorable course from imagination to supposition to suspicion takes place, and soon a system of invalid and unshakable belief has been created."
Hypochondria. Over half a century ago, Freud wrote about the intimate relationship of paranoia to hypochondria. Hypochondria is the irrational fear of having a deadly disease. Paranoids become overfocused on bodily sensations and symptoms. To the paranoid, every ache and pain becomes evidence of a deadly illness. Every scratch, scar, and bruise is interpreted as evidence that their body has been tampered with. Ronald Siegal, in his excellent book, Whispers, tells of a woman who is convinced that her dentist has implanted small radio transmitters in her fillings. Chess player Bobby Fischer had all of his fillings removed before an important match because he believed that the fillings contained electronic devices.
Paranoids often have extensive medical histories. They may have dozens of diagnostic tests done, and then develop contempt for the doctors who find nothing amiss. They run from doctor to doctor, never satisfied with the results.
Researchers of unusual phenomena complain that traditional scientists reject their work. Most mainstream scientists avoid the field of the anomalous, saying that they don't want to be linked to the "lunatic fringe."
The realms of the paranormal and unusual have always attracted the open minded and curious. Unfortunately, these realms have also attracted the mentally unbalanced. People who have difficulty telling reality from fantasy are prone to believe the unbelievable. Research in borderland sciences would fare better if those involved became better able to recognize the unbalanced people that are attracted to this field.
Why do the fields of UFO studies and borderland sciences attract paranoids? The idea of extraterrestrials and super normal beings watching us is the breeding ground for paranoia. The invasion of an omnipotent alien race is the ultimate conspiracy. Superior beings can watch you at all times, whisk you away at will, and wipe out your memory for the event. No one can prove that these things are not actually happening.
Also, it's here that paranoids find a forum to express their delusions. Those interested in unusual phenomena are by nature predisposed to believe the unbelievable. In their zeal, they sometimes suspend critical thinking. These people are willing to listen to paranoids.
Some paranoids in this field have developed a huge following. This bolsters the paranoid's feelings of self righteousness, and perpetuates their delusions. Attendants at UFO conferences generally have little or no training in science or psychiatry. Curious, enthusiastic, and gullible, they are willing to believe anything they hear. They become devoted participants in the delusional system. When research becomes religion, its practitioners indeed become members of the lunatic fringe.
It's vital for the adept and educated researcher to understand the paranoid thinking process, the paranoid personality, what a delusional system is, and how delusions can be transferred from one person to another.
One of the difficulties that many investigators have when exploring stories and experiences from people is they underestimate an individual's capacity for paranoid and delusional thinking. The reality is that most of us, to some degree, have some delusions about reality that we very seldom discuss with others. As a psychologist, I have hundreds of people tell me their own private, internal lives, which sometimes include elaborate delusional systems. Outwardly the person appears normal.
The difficulty then is sorting out what is real and what is delusional. Unfortunately, when it comes to talking about unidentified flying objects, aliens, abductions and government conspiracies, we have entered into the realm of unverifiable hypotheses. Because all we have as data are eyewitness reports, these things can never be verified or disproved.
It remains for the researcher to wonder whether what he is hearing is a story of an actual experience, or the result of a delusional system. How do you tell what's what? It can never be discounted that someone who is actually being picked up, subjected to abduction experiences and harassed by the government, would not have the same symptoms.
Based on the material that I've shown you, you can see that indignance, grandiosity, suspicion, and most of all, the steadfast unwillingness to look at alternate explanations, are indicators of paranoia.
Of course, not every person who is convinced of the reality of UFO's and paranormal phenomena is paranoid. On the contrary, I've spoken with many people that appear to be very much psychologically and emotionally intact. But to be a responsible investigator, one must be able to recognize this syndrome when it exists.
...the ongoing debate about memory is concealing a more fundamental problem: the emergence of conspiracy theory as the nucleus of a consistent pattern of clinical interpretation. Conspiratory mentalities are concrete, potentially lethal social processes which are constructed around a limited repertory of stories (Mulhern, 1994).
...mind control spinoffs are clearly a re-workings of an archaic, preChristian cluster of ideas which link secret organizations with nocturnal rituals, sexual depravity, and human sacrifice (Mulhern, 1994, p269).
Bates, E.S. & Dittmore, J.V. (1933) Mary Baker Eddy. The Truth and the Tradition George Routlege and Sons, London
Colby, K.M. (1975) Artificial Paranoia: a Computer simulation of Paranoid Processes Pergamon Press, NY
Fried, Y & Agassi, J. (1976) Paranoia: A Study in Diagnosis D.Reidel, DoerdrechtHolland/Boston
Keehn, J.D. (1979) Origins of Madness Pergamon Press, Oxford
Keen, S. (1986) Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination Harper & Row, San Francisco
Kraepelin, E. (1921) Manic Depressive Insanity and Paranoia E. & S. Livingston, Edinburgh
Meisner, W.W. (1978) The Paranoid Process Jason Aranson, NY
Meisner, W.W. (1986) Psychotherapy and the Paranoid Process Jason Aranson, NY
Nack, W. (1985) Bobby Fischer Sports Illustrated July 29 63:70
Neiderland, W.G. (1974) The Schreber Case: Psychoanalytic Profile of a Paranoid Personality Quadrangle, NY
Oltmanns, T.F. & Maher, B.A. Delusional Beliefs John Wiley & Sons, NY
Porter, R. (1989) A Social History of Madness: The World Through the Eyes of the Insane E.P. Dutton, NY
Raterstöl, N. (1966) Paranoid and Paranoic Psychosis Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Ill
Raterstöl, N. (1970) Prognosis in Paranoid Psychosis Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Ill
Shapiro, D. (1965) Neurotic Styles Basic Books, NY
Shapiro, D. (1981) Autonomy and Rigid Character Basic Books, NY
Siegel, R. (1994) Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia Crown Publishers, NY
Swanson, D.W. et al (1970) The Paranoid Little, Brown & Co., Boston
Walker, I. & Brodie, K. (1983) Paranoid Disorders in The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry/IV H. Kaplan & B. Sadock, eds. Williams & Wilkins. Baltomore
Unknown (1959) Radio Transmission Through Fillings Journal of the American Medical Association 169:1271
Html by Glenn Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org), 1/16/96 Posted with permission of author.
What follows is this comment from me, a female who is at this point in time nearly 73 years old. I have experienced 'synchronization of inner content with events in the exterior world' for several decades and that's what I'm writing about. It began to influence me in a way I could notice, through a very commonly experienced 'bond', the 'marital bond' with a very specific person and an unsuspected perfect timing of events had to be discovered, for a long span of time. Eventually I came to understand that Time is non-linear. Events that happen throughout a life do happen in a sequence but the process operates freely in using the memory to produce its own material, and contexts. Many events that had happened when I was less than 13 years old were intended to be understood in the future, particularly timed for 1984. In 2004 it does not require the mind of a 'rocket scientist' to know that chemistries exist between individuals, between the ear and words, between the eye and 'events', and even between words heard and words written. Interpreting events with the 'psychological sense', in an individual's life is what psychiatry is all about. In 1984 I didn't know that. I've learned what I understand now as a result of a marital bond basically but beyond that bond I began to hear another kind of voice that used the events in our lives, to create a conversation. It was fragmented in Time as we understand Time, but to simply describe how this voice created a conversation that described to me what I was doing many times exactly, I want to mention the bibliography in the back of most non-fiction texts is an example. The author experiences certain content in a book and selects it to use, this is a function of mind, a 'self referential mechanism'.
The essay came to my attention a few years ago. It is valuable because the author describes a condition that is viewed as 'delusional', which is in fact a natural process of life, one that has been erroneously understood since it splits reality to the core overall. . The process itself, develops 'self observation' and much more than that, leading towards 'individuation/regeneration' as well as an exposure to a real reality that is not easy to endure for a long period of time. It is a real 'life review' in the sense that a person is brought into contact with information about his/her life in a form that is not easily scientifically verifiable except that a pattern governs the process. It's even very well known, it was old even when Hesiod wrote Theogony, Work and Days (Religion, Labor and Time). Dr. Cone does a superb job of describing the process except that he cannot determine the urgency that propels the individual (for quite a length of time) to try to prove what is real. It's a viewpoint written by a professional who has described an inner experience that he obviously has not experienced himself except.
Kay Jamieson Redfield, a psychiatrist herself became aware that her 'bipolar' symptoms were the same problems her patients were having in their lives. (The Unquiet Mind) Imagine that a psychiatrist would not know that! So Dr. Cone in 'treating' his patients is not experienced himself in the depth levels that require personal knowledge and that can't be found in books. Yet.
If I were a patient of his and I told him in a session about something quite strange that had happened to me recently he would have the name of a symptom he'd learned was evidence of being 'outside' of the common paradigm. But in the early 1980's when this began to happen to me, he would not have told me the name of the symptoms, that was not how psychiatry worked then.
Quite by chance I asked to read what a counselor was writing as I talked one day in a session, drowsy from medication. I read the chart after she left, so I read the 'symptoms' for the first time. Not one word I said was recorded on that chart; only 'symptoms' which indicated to me immediately somehow that she had noticed a pattern that I didn't know about.
Almost immediately when I could do so, after reading the 'symptoms' I went to a library to find out what they meant: "ideas of reference: getting messages from irrational sources" was the one that made quite an impact on me because I had felt extraordinary sensations at times when I read a particular passage in a book or at times an entire book generated a strange sense of familiarity. . There were several varieties of 'strange events' that had caused me to go to a psychiatrist for the first time in my life, knowing nothing about psychiatry except what I'd gleaned incidentally from books, movies etc.
Example: I would be told I'm forming 'delusional associations' if I said this which follows in a session. I'm relating something that had really happened, saying: "I read a web site last week that had a reference to an essay that I wanted to read, 'Driving the other person crazy'. An Internet search resulted in finding the essay was in a book, Collected Essays on Schizophrenia by Harold Searles. It was available but it cost $85.00 so I put it out of my mind. Two days later I was checking out of a bookstore but while I waited I noticed a rack of books marked 75% off so I walked over to it. Laying on top of the rack was a rather thick book, which I picked up. It was Essays on Schizophrenia by Harold Searles, marked down to an affordable $18.00!
The 'event' had an effect on my body, I was surprised of course but because this has happened so often my mind wasn't 'boggled', it was familiar enough that I didn't feel 'dizzy' by the time this happened. It is not likely Dr. Cone would have told me the name of the 'symptoms' he would have written on my record. By the way I believe Dr. Cone has not read that specific book, in which Dr. Searles recognizes a clear interface between 'therapist' and 'patient'. It's an interface that I became aware of myself as a kind of 'stifling effect', it prevented me from speaking about my own 'self'. It took years for me to really understand why I could not say what I needed to talk about, not just in therapy but anywhere.
It took quite a long time to recognize this strange stifling effect and realize that it had begun to happen years before I went to a psychiatrist. One day in the early 1980's after Mt. St. Helens erupted, I remember thinking that I had to get my husband to say something different so that I could say something different!! The stifled feeling I had that day was just a point of change, as I found out later over a span of decades that included working at Boeing after 1985. The 'change' was in our lives, not just mine but the collective life. The ideas that I wanted and needed to talk about were not in the 'shadow' area of the psychiatrist, or the people I knew, it was in the collective past, I believe. The 'shadow' was an idea that had not yet been understood about the 'symptoms' that Dr. Cone believes are evidence of paranoia.
The fact is he has presented a truth in a perverse form because he does not know the 'symptoms' he describes are the effects of a pattern that individualizes the particular persons' life. It was a personal discovery of mine to find this 'missing link' between apparent 'symptoms of diseased thinking' (which can happen) and a process C. G. Jung identified and named as individuation; P. D. Ouspensky named The Fourth Way, Emanuel Swedenborg named perfectly as a process of 'regeneration'. I had been having a new to me kind of experience for several years and I was driven to try to understand what exactly this steady flow of a 'new kind of event' meant. But the oddest fact about this flow of events was that it really described itself, through what I had become aware are the 'symptoms' Dr. Cone relates to 'delusional formation of associations'. When it began to happen I felt many body symptoms and a mental confusion that can be described only as a feeling 'no compute' as though I'd been momentarily disconnected from 'normal' and this was what had happened.
After a time a body of 'new experiences' accumulated so that a sense of 'new contexts for events' emerged beneath the ordinary 'normal for me' way I had understood everything. When it began to happen there were occasions when a fragment of ordinary conversation startled me because what was said had a kind of 'doubleness of context' and the second underlying context clearly referenced something I'd thought about but which the individual could not possibly know. Gregory Bateson wrote that 'paranoia' is 'like knowledge'. The 'appearance' of knowledge' is the term I would use. I read this remark of Bateson's in Morris Berman's book, The Re- Enchantment of the World. The way I understand the term 'like knowledge' is in the context that William Blake wrote about the 'false tongue of Beulah', and Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about 'goods of truth and falsities of evil." There is a truth that 'looks like' truth but it is only apparent truth.
Hesiod wrote that he learned from the muses while he tended his sheep, but he warned: The muses can say what is true or what seems to be true, as they please. The 'world of appearances' as William James remarked is separated from another world by a thin veil of language.
Many individuals read cartoons every day, I grew up reading them too. When the cartoon Dilbert by Scott Adams began, I read it then noticed an unusual connection in the daily cartoon to what was going on in my job at Boeing. It wasn't specific, but somehow generally there was a theme that coincided exactly with a theme at work. I began to grasp the idea that the funny cartoon was depicting truth about my reality at work.
Gregory Bateson wrote that 'paranoia' is 'like knowledge'. The way I understand the term 'like knowledge' is in the context that William Blake wrote about the 'false tongue of Beulah', and Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about 'goods of truth and falsities of evil." as well as the modern day version in Dilbert. Scott Adams wrote that he had to depict the insanity of the work place and I lived through it myself, recognizing the 'joke' wasn't funny really. A lot can be said if it's said as a 'joke'.
This essay is an accurate description of a process of life that I've experienced myself. It is pre-assumed to be delusional thought processes but that is because science demands repeatability by others, that casts individual experiences into the category of 'pathology'.. However it does accurately define what I experienced and learned from, by experiencing the symptoms: 'thought broadcasting/ideas of reference/magical thinking (synchronicities). Those symptoms began after a 32+ years marriage; they occurred as a result of a kind of 'role reversal' in a marital bond that went deep, forming a well known condition in the profession, as 'participation mystique'/a 'folie aux duex'. It's a condition (the same disease shared by two people) that I recognized myself because I recognized a 'role reversal' between myself and my husband at the time. This 'condition' as I found out later is commonly named 'transference' and it explains why so many of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung's patients later became psychologists themselves, and authors.
This essay is about 'paranoia' which is 'like' knowledge. That implies there is the appearance of real knowledge, but only an appearance, and that's an error. It's written by a man who does not know that 'paranoia' is the 'backwards view of one's life' that begins on a continuum of points of change, when the real 'individuation' process is initiated. It's an essay that defines a viewpoint about meaningful coincidence but without making it clear there's a life process of individuation. There is no connection made to individuation, which is C. G. Jung’s ideas, nor to the same process as it was named regeneration by Emanuel Swedenborg.
The viewpoint that needs to be stated and understood is that more information and better education about life as a process will put the ‘symptoms’ known as ‘paranoid thinking’ into the proper perspective, in the correct context! The ‘war’ is and has always been between the individual and the ‘status quo’. The author , Dr. Cone, believes that a paranoid individual seeks to be right, but a scientist is seeking truth. That is not true of me, I needed desperately to know both, whether I was right in my thinking and interpretations but more than that, I needed to know what is true and trustworthy in reality. Gregory Bateson's mention that 'paranoia' is 'like' knowledge caused me to think about why he enclosed the word 'like' as though it was necessary to make the point that its not real knowledge but it can seem to be. The search is basically identical if you accept that the blind spot of the paranoid is equal to, or even less than that of the scientist in the circumstances of change in the status quo. When old ideas cannot be erased because new information cannot be grasped by ‘professionals’ then it must occur that new information will be born in an individual life, growing in that individual’s mind and life then blooming to the extent the individual can formulate the new information into some form from which it can be conveyed to others. The ‘idea’ forms in the mind through experiences that may occur apparently randomly throughout that individual’s life before the individual is ‘waked up’ or ‘initiated’ into the process that is supposed to bring the idea into that individual’s consciousness.
I experienced what I write about, and I understand how it can seem that a scientist has pure insight, not colored by expectations or prior conceptions but the same is true of every mindset.