y real immersion in what optimistic delusions really mean to everyone involved, came from the one experience I had that also really confirmed my suspicions on cultural norms that say that we’re all plainly and simply response-able for our own welfare, so no matter what problems others cause for you, no matter how bad or evil they chose to act, etc., you’re just going to have to take life on life’s terms.  This is the basic idea of self-help books for victims, since the victims’ problems are simply to be solved by the victims helping themselves.  On both my My Story webpage and my Victim Correction as a Panacea web page I mention the experience that taught me of this panacea-like giving response-ability to victims, and on my Candace Newmaker’s Experience webpage I tell of how victim-correcting psychologists tend to have an attitude in which “According to this sort of ‘thinking,’ quite literally there is no such thing as recklessness, since anything that wasn’t done malevolently is minimized as a ‘mistake’ or ‘accident.’”  The webpage Hyperthymic Personality Disorder defines this as, “tend to be rash and show poor judgement,” which means that HPD is the only personality disorder that, for the most part, could be excused away with, “Oh, well, everyone makes mistakes,” though since HPD is diluted mania, it’s actually a lot more selfishly impaired than are most personality disorders.

Here I might as well tell you exactly what that problem was that taught me all this.  This started just a few months after, due to my fondness for giving moral support to chronically depressed guys,

My beloved spake,
and said unto me,
Rise up, my love,
my fair one,
and come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land:
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise my love, my fair one,
and come away.
O my dove,
that art in the clefts of the rocks,
in the secret places of the stairs,
let me see thy countenance,
let me hear thy voice,
for sweet is thy voice,
and thy countenance is comely.
Take us the foxes,
the little foxes,
that spoil the vines;
for our vines have tender grapes.

[Song of Solomon 2:10-15, the Bible]
 

I got a book for medical doctors by some psychiatrists, Antidepressant Treatment—the Essentials, by John H. Greist, MD and Thomas H. Greist, MD, which includes “According to National Institutes of Mental Health figures, 20,000,000 people or approximately 15% of the U.S. adult population suffers from a serious depressive disorder in any given year.”  To say that as doctors treat the million of Americans who suffer a serious depressive disorder in any given year, they should know this rate since it would help the doctors treat each individual as if their depressions simply are their problems, completely ignores the fact that this involves an unnaturally high rate of helplessness, happening to millions of people, year in and year out.  It seems that the magnitude of this social problem could just be brushed aside, and would be by those who are gutsy enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just after I saw the enormity of this social problem in a book written to tell people how to treat each case separately as if The Problem is inside of each victim, I had the experience that I go into on my Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008 webpage.  I talked about this with enough Americans that I thought of these discussions as an “informal anthropological survey.”  I’m most compatible with other hyperthymics, not only in the sense that my lovers always are hyperthymics, but also that I’m most at home working for them, since that way we could both engage in creative pursuits.  This bad experience was that a hyperthymic guy with a bad case of optimistic delusions, told me very sincerely that he’d give me a great job as soon as the building for the subsidiary of his company is built.  This was my first experience with hyperthymic optimistic delusions, which really gave me a feel for how glaringly pathological they are, so that when my friend Jim calmly but somewhat sarcastically told me of his girlfriend’s dysfunctional adult son feeling certain that if he went into business for himself the money would just start rolling in, to me this screamed, “OPTIMISTIC DELUSIONS!”  This boss put my job offer in writing,
 

 


and for the next year, as I kept assertively calling him and asking when the building would be ready, he kept sincerely telling me that there are all sorts of bureaucratic delays and the like that are delaying the completion of the building, until finally, after a year, I gave up.  I kept hanging on because I was trying to start a career in mechanical engineering, and in engineering school they kept telling me that to start their careers engineers have to “pay their dues” by taking relatively unskilled jobs, being transferred all over the country, etc.  I figured that the time that I spent waiting for that job would constitute my having had “paid my dues” only if I stayed at that company.  The book Influence, Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini says that one way to influence (i.e. manipulate) people is by giving them something that they didn’t ask for, and then they’d naturally feel obliged to reciprocate by giving you what you ask for, since the functioning of even the most primitive society requires that people be able to count on others to reciprocate.  “Cultural anthropologists Lionel Tiger [The fact that this is his pseudonym should let you know just how utopian he is.] and Robin Fox (1971) view this ‘web of indebtedness’ as a unique adaptive mechanism of human beings, allowing for the division of labor, the exchange of diverse forms of goods and different services (making possible the development of experts), and the creation of interdependencies that bind individuals together into highly efficient units.”

Counting on this boss to reciprocate my waiting for this job, by giving me the job, especially since he’s the one who set the terms of this reciprocation, was hardly utopian or manipulative.  He seemed so sincere when he told me his nonsense that near the end of my dealings with him I gave him a nickname that reflected the fact that intuitively he came across as would someone who’s on drugs, which is exactly how someone whose brain is producing too much “uppers” that are giving him the same distortions in thinking as would artificial uppers, would act.  Much of this boils down to a lack of a normal sense for the consequences of one’s own behavior, both consequences to oneself and consequences to others, though when I told my minister about the entirety of the broken promises (By this time the boss had told me that he had foreign investors waiting to invest millions, I think it was $50,000,000, in his company.), the minister could tell that it was “pathological,” and said that he hopes that I wasn’t blaming myself for the boss treating me that way.  To a realist, the only thing that really matters is that the person with the problem take care of her own problem, since she has the most reliable motivation to do that.  Everyone knows that well-adjusted people serenely accept whatever they can’t change, and that whatever anyone chooses to do is therefore normal or slightly excessively normal human imperfection.  Those who try to suppress such freedoms, look pretty scary.  It seems that we must fear the untermenschen and their victim-power, and mustn’t fear the übermenschen and their freedoms.

 

The “seven propaganda devices” that the Institute for Propaganda Analysis observed in the 1930s being used by those such as fascist Father Charles Coughlin, which were then described in The Fine Art of Propaganda in 1939, were: Name Calling, Glittering Generality, Transfer, Testimonial, Plain Folks, Card Stacking, and Band Wagon.  That’s exactly what you’d expect to hear from the untermensch-phobic victim correction as a panacea, whether or not the person who caused the problem had Hyperthymic Personality Disorder, or even sociopathy.  In that experience of mine, naturally the Name Calling involved attributing various untermensch attributes to me.  Naturally the Glittering Generalities involved freedom for businessmen and self-reliance for the people who have the problems.

While I didn’t hear any explicit Transfers or Testimonials, these would likely require a certain amount of staging.  If I’d read the right books, though, I could have heard plenty of success stories of, and testimonials from, those who’ve succeeded by successfully taking response-ability for their own problems.

Of course the loveable Plain Folks love this sort of self-reliance, and those who question it are unpragmatic intellectuals.  Both concerning this situation, and in a therapy group for codependency that I’d attended just before it, I heard so much of the Card Stacking that before I was even finished with the codependency group, I’d gotten to think of it as “sophistry.”  How else could everyone involved believe that all those women subconsciously “let themselves in for trouble,” that we should just take the destructive men’s destruction as a given and focus our attention on how the women could better take response-ability for their own problems, etc?  This involved pressure to conform, to join the bandwagon, especially since this was just after the Reagan era, when there was a very real bandwagon to accept this sort of unconditional self-responsibility.  In essence, it was as if what he did was just slightly excessively normal human imperfection, and everyone knows that something’s wrong with you if you don’t simply deal with whatever normal or slightly excessively normal human imperfection, happens to impact your life.

Unfortunately, there may be a good reason why the sort of rationale that would further fascism, and the sort of rationale that would seem to justify the behavior that one would expect from Hyperthymic Personality Disorder, match.  Many have said that the Romantic Era of Central European culture had greatly shaped Nazism, and hyperthymic genius was a big topic in the Romantic Era.  This era also made a virtue out of exactly the sort of vibrant gutsiness that makes hyperthymics so attractive, and it’s exactly this gutsiness that gives a Wagnerian outlook its excitement.  The romanticism of the Romantic Era is probably the only romanticism that works, in that no matter what problems the free-spirited übermenschen cause for the untermenschen, they have the motivation to solve their own problems, and they don’t want to look as if they’re manipulatively “finding blame,” playing the victim role, evading their response-ability for their own welfare, etc.

(This calligraphic font is the German style of calligraphy, and is actually called “Fraktur.”  Its fluid dynamism is exactly the sort that you’d expect from hyperthymics, but its sturm und drang, especially with its name Fraktur, is also what you’d expect from German culture.  Also, to most people “calligraphy” has connotations of a Medieval formality, though Fraktur has a fluid dynamism that might even look hellacious to some, all of which is very similar to the German culture, involving both the “good German” authoritarianism, and the aggression for which no one really takes responsibility since “That’s human nature,” and those who object would seem very untermensch: vindictive, resentful, whiny, manipulative, repressive, etc.)

 

 

This pretty much included all 29 of the rationales on my Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea webpage.

Positive thinking aficionados would say that those who could be on the receiving end of problems had better think positively, since fears could be self-fulfilling prophecies.  Yet it would seem too judgmental, controlling, etc., to talk about how moral bankruptcy or the fatalistic reasons given for it, could also be self-fulfilling prophecies.  Those who shrug off destructive behavior as long as it’s not malicious, would be very quick to say that some people are inherently reckless.  It would seem that to whatever degree someone has “emotional instability, impulsiveness of behavior, lack of customary standards of good judgment or a failure to appreciate the consequences of personal acts,” he can’t really be held responsible for the reckless things he does, because he didn’t really choose to act recklessly.  But that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, since it says that as long as someone has a sense of impunity, he’ll be even more immune from responsibility than impune, without punishment.  He’ll also be without responsibility for making good on what he did, since he wouldn’t seem morally responsible in that regard either.  Webster’s Dictionary defines mistake as “a wrong judgment” and “a wrong action or statement,” and accident as “an event occurring by chance or unintentionally.”  If someone chose to do something emotionally, impulsively, with unusually bad judgment, and obliviously to consequences, this could be called a wrong judgment action or statement occurring unintentionally.  And we all know what’s wrong with people who hold others morally responsible for their mistakes and accidents.

Yet the above quote comes from Minnesota’s law from 1939 allowing the civil commitment of sexual psychopaths, which defined a sexual psychopath as, “a person exhibiting any or all of the following: emotional instability, impulsiveness of behavior, lack of customary standards of good judgment or a failure to appreciate the consequences of personal acts—which render the person irresponsible for personal conduct with respect to sexual matters, if the person has evidenced, ‘by habitual course of misconduct in sexual matters, an utter lack of power to control the person’s sexual impulses, and as a result, is dangerous to others.’”  When someone is reckless like that, in such a way that doesn’t inflict bodily harm, then that seems to be just the way that some people are.  And just as Westerners often associate Islamic culture with accepting whatever happens as matters of fate, modern Western culture accepts as inevitable human nature, whatever anyone does that could tenably be accepted as such.  Violent crime, no, but recklessness that doesn’t cause bodily injury, yes.

This self-help, quite literally, was inspired by the self-help of Al-Anon.  This takes the “resiliency” approach of AA’s transcendent spirituality, and applies it to teaching alcoholics’ family members how they could be well-adjusted, i.e. adjust well to their own realities.  Since AA founder Bill Wilson was a stockbroker, and the Big Book was written during the Great Depression, AA-style self-help is basically a stockbroker lecturing those living in the Great Depression that they should just take response-ability for their own welfare, and stop whining.  Typical of the Al-Anon approach to those in trouble, is the following, out of their vintage comics:

Yes, that pamphlet that she’s reading, which she got from her first Al-Anon meeting, is titled “Living with an Alcoholic.”  Learning how to live happily with an alcoholic, is what would constitute self-help for her, since that’s the reality that she must deal with.

 

 he Tragedy of Victim Correction as a Panacea~

 

 

As the above says, this is Al-Anon approved literature,  for Alateen.  You couldn’t make this stuff up!  Persuading people to think like this works best with Groupthink, but if you, on your own, must deal with a devastating reality in order to fit in and function, then you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, and our self-responsible cultural norms (“Everybody knows that The Serenity Prayer is good.”) would provide the Groupthink.  As Addiction: Why Can’t They Just Stop?, by John Hoffman and Susan Froemke, says, in a survey of addicts’ family members, “...the words that everyone used were powerfully negative: ‘devastating,’ ‘abusive,’ ‘horrible’.”  Yet no concerns that would interfere with the victims’ self-responsibility could matter, since in the long run, caring about them would only mollycoddle and weaken the people who’d have to take care of themselves optimally.  Victim-blaming is incentives-based.  George Vincent wrote, “To survive growing up in an alcoholic family is second only to surviving the Holocaust,” but the big difference is that despite the fears that addicts’ kids feel, they aren’t really in mortal danger, so Buddhists, etc., could say that these fears are only illusions.  Victim correction as a panacea could be called chicken soup for the soul, unconditional serenity and courage.  If that’s stooping to the lowest of the low, then sometimes we’ve got to stoop to the lowest of the low in order to make sure that problems get solved by those who have the most reliable motivation to solve them.  Moral relativism becomes amoral absolutism; “Your righteous objections are only your opinion!” becomes, “Your righteous objections are only your self-righteous, resentful, manipulative, controlling, unpragmatic, whiny, judgmental... opinion, and you simply can’t afford those disgraceful victim attitudes!”

Yet though it might seem only natural to want to feel better by practicing Buddhistic self-discipline and self-re-education, and this doesn’t involve any medication, this is hardly natural.  In the words of Ayn Rand, “We the Living” could very much object to this sort of de rigueur coping with helplessness, Stoically!  Yet though a Marxist mentality of, “Love your brother,” is supposed to degrade the natural human spirit, a requisite mentality of, “As long as it’s your problem, ‘self-responsibility’ means courageously changing whatever you can and serenely accepting whatever you can’t,” mustn’t, or you might have problems coping with reality.  (Everybody loves The Serenity Prayer, right?)  In general, we do revere self-responsibility for one’s own welfare, and don’t revere self-responsibility for how one’s own choices affect others.  Victim-power seems to be the tyranny of helplessness, though, “But look at how helpless I am about what I did!” is the ultimate tyranny of helplessness.

In general, this sort of self-help is cognitive therapy, the modern version of behaviorist psychology, so this can be given the title of behaviorist B. F. Skinner’s classic book, Beyond Freedom & Dignity, pragmatic in such a way that’s far more important than such abstract niceties.  This represents what is good, what most motivates people to do what must get done, which is what those who have the problems should want.  If, instead, the advisee insisted on drawing his own honest well-founded conclusions about what was happening to him, he’d be told that he’d better realize how important it is that he think in whatever ways would maximize his chances of self-reliant success in solving such big problems.  What else could Alateen members, etc., be told, “Go right ahead and fail to deal with your problems adequately.”?

This self-help logic could be used interchangeably for all sorts of problems, including exploitative lovers of every variety, unemployment, and literally even cancer and getting up the mettle to fight it.  Responsibility for one’s own choices means blame, naiveté, and controlling (As Niebuhr wrote in Moral Man and Immoral Society, “The power necessary to control the wicked is the danger, not the wicked,” and chances are that most of what contributes to our very unnaturally high rate of depression, isn’t even truly malicious.), while response-ability for one’s own problems means self-reliance, realism, and freedom.  Claiming, “You caused your own problem,” makes Victim Correction as a Panacea sound the most justifiable, while, “You’ve simply got to take response-ability for your own welfare, your own problem,” is the fallback position, since all problems must get taken care of.  The self-help formula for conflict resolution is for general public consumption, and it works.  If such sophistry weren’t so predictable and absolutist, just think of how often people could: lose faith, play the victim role, not do what needs to get done (by those most motivated to do it), etc.  Like Sarah Palin, this has both the appeal of going rogue, and the appeal of conformity.  America’s latest, most trendy, patriotic song begins, “If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life.  And I had to start again, with just my children and my wife.”

In theory this means self-responsibility, self-reliance, gutsiness, anti-controlling, good coping skills, realism, conventionality, respectability, etc., but in practice this means that nothing except, “Can I change this?” including the most basic morality and concern for the weak, can really seem to matter.  Sure, you could recognize that destructive sinfulness is destructive sinfulness, but in the end you’d have to forgive it, or you’d be maladjusted and suffer the consequences of this weakness.  (“YOU VILL ENJOY!”)  Frank Buchman, leader of the Oxford Groups, the club on which AA and then Al-Anon was based and until recently was called “Moral Re-Armament,” (Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, from 1935, includes Buchman in its list of currently trendy “Messiahs.”) said, “D’you know Heinrich Himmler?...  Say, you ought to know Heinrich.  He’s a great lad....  [Hitler] lets us have house-parties whenever we like.”  Anti-Nazi British travel-writer and journalist Robert Byron, who got a chance to observe Nazism up close, wrote in his diary, “Himmler apparently dotes on the Oxford Group [How cute.] and writes to its English members discussing their troubles with them,” so he was their Dear Abby.  This was the same Himmler who said, in his speech on October 4, 1943 to the SS Group Leaders in Poznan, “Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand.  To have stuck it out and at the same time—apart from exceptions caused by human weakness—to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard,” but that personal strength concerned one of the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like.  It’s pretty obvious what the “Dear Abby” version of that would advise those in trouble, who are members of an honored group of people who are working on their own resolute and impassively accepting attitudes.  Anything less than, “Happiness is an inside job,” (in general), or, “Things happen.  It’s what we do when they happen that’s key,” (in general), would have been too weak-spirited and blaming for Himmler, so he was their perfect “Dear Abby.”  The only suggestions that Himmler would have made in a Dear Abby letter, including one to an addict’s family member, would have been, (1) courageously change what you can, and, (2) serenely accept what you can’t, since anything else would have mollycoddled WEAKNESS.

Himmler Logic, after all, would focus on whether the person with the problem seems to have a weak (as in literally WEAK) character, and would be quick to interpret inadequacies in problem-solving as weaknesses of character, so the weak seem contemptible, blameworthy, and, possibly, insidiously dangerous.  This self-responsible self-help approach is also like the “exemplary dualism” of the Militia Movement, like classifying people as redbloods or mollycoddles, or as übermenschen or untermenschen; this preaches that those who seem to have (literally) strong characters are the allies of decent people so are at least forgiven, and those who seem to have (literally) weak characters are the enemies of decent people.  This leads to some predictable distortions in our conceptions of right, wrong, shame, etc.  Take the Nazi might-makes-right ethos, remove the racism and war crimes, and you’d have what Western culture considers to be the only conception of personal responsibility that works, which is what Hitler’s Wagner’s and Nietzsche’s main inspiration, Schopenhauer, actually wrote about.

This was the original middle-class going rogue with conformity.  As It Can’t Happen Here says, “Why, there’s no country in the world that can get more hysterical—yes, or more obsequious—than America,” and devotion to anything that would imply, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” would require obsequiousness of Biblical proportions.  The question of whether “it” can happen here, all depends on whether or not “it” includes the aspects of Nazism and Himmler that Buchman’s formula for living didn’t include; if not, “it” happens every day.  The “it” in It Can’t Happen Here included merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude racism (“It was understood... that all Jews of all conditions were frequently to sound their ecstasy at having found in America a sanctuary, after their deplorable experiences among the prejudices of Europe....  The allegiance of all such Negroes as had the sense to be content with safety and good pay instead of ridiculous yearnings for personal integrity Sarason got by being photographed shaking hands with the celebrated Negro Fundamentalist clergyman, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Nibbs, and through the highly publicized Sarason Prizes for the Negroes with the largest families, the fastest time in floor-scrubbing, and the longest periods of work without taking a vacation.”), so the “it” in modern America could include merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude form of the strong horrifying the weak.  A classic cliché expression is, “There is no alternative,” to the power dynamics of our economy, and another way to say this is that there is no alternative besides dictatorship and/or Zimbabwe-style economic failures, so every time that these power dynamics horrify us, we should be grateful that we’re not instead dealing with dictators’ outrages, and/or economic failures including massive unemployment, irrespective of any indefinable abstractions such as integrity.  If you’re in a Wagnerian conflict, and you simply must deal with your realities, then you simply must deal with them as Schopenhauer prescribed.  The psychology of, “You don’t want to think/act like a weak person, do you?” could be called a form of neo-Nazism.

 

 

Yet, in a society with rampant depression, one could just as easily call that “pragmatic logic”: the weak courageously change what they can (themselves) and serenely accept what they can’t (everyone else), and what one deserves is completely irrelevant.  You can’t change your enemies, except for one.  Yet the limits of the threshold of human endurance are a fact, and if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.

“Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” is all about what the weak should do, believe, and take responsibility for.  Even sophisticated psychology tends to classify people, aspects of human nature, desires, etc., into categories that are very German, Freudian: übermensch means ineradicable so at least forgivable, while untermensch means true shamefulness, suspiciousness.  (And, of course, treating this moral bankruptcy as necessary for realism seems a lot better than does treating this as admirably open-minded and gutsy.)  These Oxford members no doubt tended to take his ideas about coping skills, to heart, since they wanted self-improvement that would build fiber.  After all, we must accept that if you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose.  That self-responsible self-motivation is also how, and why, market discipline works; we must discipline even perfectly innocent failures.  The more that the weakness of the weak is blamed (What exactly is to blame when someone doesn’t protect himself well enough to succeed?): the more that they’d be motivated to take responsibility for taking care of themselves, the more hope that they’d have that they could change what causes their problems (themselves), and the more that we could all have faith in this red-blooded worldview.   Prejudice against the weak means an optimistic and patriotic faith in The System, and focusing on how the weak could hopefully solve their own problems if only they made themselves worthy, changed what they can.   Übermensch imperfection such as sinfulness would have to seem at least forgivable, while untermensch supposed imperfection would have to seem to be an insidious (as in “the hidden lie,” and, “We are all victims of victims.”) expression of weak people’s SELF-WILLS.  Dictator or no dictator, just about all of those in any society must define “personal responsibility” in basically the same predictable way and truly believe it, or different people would play by different rules, and plenty of people wouldn’t take the rules to heart when fortitude would be most necessary.  No doubt plenty of Oxford members who weren’t Himmler’s advisees, could have been just as easily, since they were just as free of whiny resentment; all “good” members followed the same school of psychology.

 

 

As far as self-help is concerned, the bottom line is that you’re simply going to have to deal with your own problem whatever it may be, and expectations that one simply deal with normal problems are interchangeable with expectations that one simply deal with an addict in the family.  “Personal strength,” “strength of character,” etc., tend to mean literally strength, transcending “weak” but natural and warranted feelings.  As Langdon Gilkey’s On Niebuhr says, “Thus transcendence is perhaps the key word in Niebuhr...”  For anyone in trouble, this would be: self-help, self-responsibility, self-care, self-protection, self-actualization, self-empowerment, etc.  As any conservative social analysis would say, you, that teen who looks like Archie, etc. could think productively, or think counterproductively (though if you’re the problem person, then probably we’ll just have to accept your counterproductive thinking, since people aren’t perfect and we mustn’t try to re-engineer human nature).  The effects of “Archie’s” dad’s actions are short-term (since others are motivated to resolve them), but the effects of Archie’s reactions are long-term (since others aren’t).  Twisting reality in “positive” ways is realistic, since it increases people’s chances of success.  Archie’s non-addicted parent (who’d really have to have a Gelassenheit “productive” attitude, what with all that she must do to make her family as normal as possible), has just as much autonomy as does the typical adult, since addicts’ power over others is physical, not authoritarian.

In general, motivation is everything; irrespective of moral responsibility, addiction or lack of it, etc., the only personal responsibility that we could count on is one in which those held responsible for problems are those motivated to take responsibility.  Charles P. Pierce’s Idiot America, How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, says, “The [conservative] movement swallowed whole the quack doctrine of supply-side economics, adopting it with almost comically ferocious zeal,” and self-help, also, must follow this pattern, since in a gutsy and as-uncompromising-as-reality fashion, it holds that no matter how much others are responsible for your problems: if you win you win and if you lose you lose, that’s what’s realistic (what most reliably works), and that stupidity is a virtue in the name of freedom.  (We all know where intellectualism leads.)  Idiot America also says about a Cuban-American refugee who worked with AIDS patients in the early 1980s, “The situation reminded her a little of the way things had worked in Cuba, where the government would tell you something that you knew from your own experience could not possibly be true, yet people seemed willing to believe that it was, and to act upon that belief, until the manufactured reality displaced the actual one [which is also the classic definition of brainwashing, washing the brain of “bad attitudes”].  She felt she was working in parallel worlds.  There was the world of the disease, and of the people who had it; and then there was another world, in which everything was a symbol and in which her patients stood for something,” and one could say the same thing about this sort of self-help, where there’s the world of what people like Archie must actually deal with, and then there’s the world of what they symbolize: our duties regarding the never-ending virtues and necessity of response-ability for one’s own welfare, which shape what we should believe irrespective of what we’ve learned from experience, e.g. that Archie looks at himself.  (Marxism applies how cultural conditioning works, to shaping “the ideal society,” right?)

 

 

It’s amazing which moral norms could (i.e. must) seem less important than whether or not the person with the problem is doing what’s necessary for him to overcome it successfully.  That seems good; “whining” seems bad.  What’s most important in practical terms, might go very much against what we’d like to believe is important.  Banalities get things done.  Realism is the ultimate mandate.  This is the sort of Populism that H. G. Wells called “magnificent stupid honesty,” adamantly anti-manipulative-morality, so this sort of supposed populism would adamantly accept what causes 15% of the adult population to suffer serious depressive disorders in any given year.  (This “honesty” often has big unintended consequences, but could seem all-important.)  “Stop doing that, since it’s judgmental and controlling!” would probably make you at least hesitant, but, “Stop doing that, since that sort of thing has been proven to contribute to our very unnaturally high rates of depression and anxiety disorders!” would probably seem judgmental and controlling to you.  If this weakness-anathematizing conception of personal responsibility weren’t that absolutist, plenty of problems wouldn’t get resolved well enough, yet the fact that this is that absolutist, is pretty scary.  (Yet, the fact that so many stupid and reckless people got such important jobs on Wall Street, shows that even this very costly way of motivating winning could fail in very important ways, though they could always be excused as “inevitable human imperfection.”)  Sure, on Larry King Live on August 11, 2009, economist Ben Stein said, “Big government is a terrifying subject” (i.e. the kind that you could openly and proudly get terrified about), but you don’t dare say, “Big depression is a terrifying subject,” even if you’ve been there, or, “Big Wall Street greed is a terrifying subject.”  Also, on an interview on a Christian radio network, Stein said, “...science leads you to killing people.”  Magical thinking like this could seem more acceptable to economists, since they could always figure that consequences don’t really matter, since those who have the problems are always motivated to solve them; that “works.”  Self-help’s conception of which freedoms, self-determination, personal rights and responsibilities, etc., do, and which don’t, seem to matter, sounds like something right out of The Communist Manifesto (and certainly plenty of others in the 19th Century noticed this, too), “...in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade,” and since someone must take responsibility for the consequences of adversarialism, “self-responsibility” must mean that in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered forms of personal responsibility, we have set up that single, unconscionable personal responsibility—response-ability for one’s own problems.  (A better word than freedom might be right, i.e., “I have a right to expect something better!”  “No, the only right that you have is to become a winner by protecting yourself better, with proud self-reliance!”)

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, though we’re supposed to take addictive behavior as a given since addiction is a disease, the law certainly doesn’t treat addicts as not guilty by reason of insanity, one can’t be brought out of real legal insanity through “hitting bottom” or an intervention.  Addicts’ family members, who can’t change them, must minimize their responsibility and magnify the responsibility of their own reactions, but the law, which can change most addicts with whom it comes into conflict, doesn’t have to minimize and magnify.  As the publishers’ notes of Gene M. Heyman’s Addiction: A Disorder of Choice says, “He shows that the causes of addiction, its control, and its potential reduction are the same as the causes, control, and reduction of all voluntary behavior.”  (Certainly you could imagine what would result if someone said at an Al-Anon meeting, “But when he relapsed, it was because he got angry and chose to, not because he saw something that triggered a compulsion to drink!  That means that my objections are legitimate!” or even, “But the person who caused this problem, whom I can’t change, isn’t addicted!”)  Yet whether or not addiction is involved, you could always find some sophistry to make courageously changing what you can and serenely accepting what you can’t seem legitimate, and ignore any facts that would disrupt this pragmatism; form follows function.  This, also, could be called “pragmatic logic,” applicable to any realities that contribute to our rampant depression.  Both an acceptance of an addiction, and an acceptance of aggressive human nature, are fatalism about unrestrained desires, what the pleasure centers of our brains make us do, etc.  What works for AA is what works for addicts, i.e. for addictive personalities, which would single-mindedly insist on: excuses to do what one pleases, stopping righteous indignation and “controlling,” etc.  The more that we serenely accept übermensch, active, imperfections, the more that we can’t afford to accept the untermensch, passive, imperfections of those hurt by them, and who, therefore, must deal with them in order not to be maladjusted maladaptive and dysfunctional.  If this wasn’t as simplistic and resolute as Reagan, their awareness that they’re victims would leave them both too weak by feeling helplessness and making unrealistic expectations, and too strong in that they could insidiously get the benefits of victimhood.

 

 

Your realities are whatever they are, and either you deal with them or you suffer the consequences.  NOTHING CAN LIMIT HOW MUCH ALL THIS COULD AFFECT YOU.  To paraphrase a Catholic riddle: “What’s the difference between a victim corrector and a terrorist?  You can negotiate with a terrorist.”  As pioneering behaviorist John B. Watson wrote, “The raw fact that you, as a psychologist, if you are to remain scientific, must describe the behavior of man in no other terms than those you use in describing the behavior of the ox you slaughter, drove and still drives many timid souls away from behaviorism,” and the only real difference between behaviorism and cognitive therapy is that it credits humanity with self-control abilities that animals don’t have, such as the ability to choose to serenely accept hardship and sinfulness; training people who are motivated to be trained is a lot easier.  (This self-control would benefit the person who serenely accepts the hardship, sinfulness, etc. that he’s helpless to change, whether or not the person who caused the problem is addicted. )  As Paul Krugman wrote, “The truth is that good old-fashioned demand-side macroeconomics has a lot to offer in our current predicament—but its defenders lack all conviction, while its critics are filled with a passionate intensity,” and one could say the same for debates between those who stress personal responsibility for the consequences of one’s own choices, which could usually be called “blaming,” “guilt-based,” “controlling,” etc., and the gutsy people who stress red-blooded personal response-ability for one’s own welfare, which could always be called “self-help,” “self-empowerment,” “realism,” etc.  As the Great Crash of 2008 shows, some things will never change.

 

THE GREATEST RISK IS NOT TAKING ONE, AIG ad from 2001, so if you tried to restrain this you’d seem profoundly: weak, whiny, defeatist, controlling, unrealistic, counterproductive, opinionated, manipulative, negative, moralistic, etc.  Sure, post-scandal AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy said, “I have seen the good side of capitalism.  But over the past six months, since agreeing to take the reins of AIG and reviewing how it was run in prior years, I have also seen instances of the bad side of capitalism,” but one could also call the gutsiness of AIG in its PIG era, “character-building,” giving plenty of backbone and fortitude.

♦♦♦♦♦

 

Sure, Rush Limbaugh is more unpopular than Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright, and conservatives could be afraid that such aggressiveness looks “ugly” to the public.  Yet, especially if you’re in big trouble, if you thought like Limbaugh and the other attack politicians then you’d face up to your problems more serenely and courageously, and we dare not care how profoundly ugly is coaching Archie, etc., into having attitudes of, “I’ve stopped blaming others and I’m looking at myself!”  If Himmler had sent you some “Dear Abby” letters that didn’t mention the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like, the advice that the letters would have given would have helped you become more resilient, courageous, self-responsible, realistic, and abiding by Gelassenheit (a fatalism that teaches that willfulness leads to self-defeating frustration if you’re helpless to get what you want or need), so you would have ended up with a stronger character.  Victim Correction as a Panacea, is Gelassenheit and similar all-encompassing attitudes about physical response-ability for one’s own problems, exactly what a society with rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., would most need.

Sure, Niebuhr wrote that he was shocked about Buchman’s admiration of Hitler, though The Serenity Prayer summarizes the book that most shaped Hitler’s thinking, Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation:   As with a panacea, we must see the entire world in terms of the ineradicable SELF-WILLS of the sinful, the ignominious and surreptitious SELF-WILLS of victims who don’t represent their own bad experiences to themselves as being as innocuous as possible (“Those manipulative whiners want to believe that someone owes them something!”), and, therefore, our responsibility to do this.  Niebuhr wrote that Buchman’s faith that dictators, business tycoons, etc., should use their power to push Christianity, vapidly ignored how realpolitik would affect the outcome, “The slightest acquaintance with the history of Christian thought on the problem of the relation of the absolute demands of the gospel to the relativities of politics and economics would prove its childishness,” but the same could also be said about applying a simplistic sloganeering spirituality to the situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than, “Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”

The wave of the future, the “new economy” of self-responsibility, requires that we want to be responsible members of society, take response-ability for our own welfare.  With that approach you’d be more likely to succeed, and that’s good, maybe irreplaceable.  Your natural objections to this would be counterproductive (though you’re free not to hold others personally responsible by these standards, as long as you hold yourself responsible by them).  The same would go for minimizing any “whiny” lessons we might learn from the Great Crash of 2008.  If we can’t change wretched excesses on Wall Street but can change victims’ not fixing the consequences adequately, then either we correct the victims or we’ll have a dysfunctional society.  Since we simply must solve our problems, our perceptions must be distorted in order to fit in with this; there is no alternative.

 

 

 

(Cartoon generated by “Build Your Own Meat”)

 

Nothing can drive anyone away from this sort of cognitive therapy, just as nothing can drive Archie away from his unconditional and immoderate, contrived serenity and courage, though Gelassenheit is very unnatural social engineering.  In self-help books about codependency, stories in which the problem spouses are addicted are absolutely interchangeable with stories in which the problem spouses simply choose to act like buttheads, since in both cases the victims are equally unable to change the victimizers’ behavior.  Whatever you must do to take care of yourself, is whatever you must do to take care of yourself, so you must look at yourself when you’re looking for things that you could correct in order to solve your own problems.  Sure, the Financial Times on March 10, 2009 quoted Bernie Sucher, the head of Merrill Lynch operations in Moscow, as saying, “Our world is broken—and I honestly don’t know what is going to replace it.  The compass by which we steered as Americans has gone.  The last time I ever saw anything like this, in terms of the sense of disorientation and loss, was among my friends [in Russia] when the Soviet Union broke up,” but Americans have been culturally conditioned to serenely accept economic difficulties, and not to accept supposedly manipulative whining about them.  Those with plenty of “personal strength” would tolerate Wall Street Darwinism and its effects.  Archie could “get on with life” since folk wisdom, common sense, says that that’s what everyone must do; everyone could “stick it out.”  (On June 19, 2009 [just before the threatened bloodshed began, “On 9/11 we were all Americans, and tonight we’re all Iranians.”], when Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that they were going to crack down on the protests of the election fraud, he said, “If the political elite want to ignore the law or break the law then they are taking wrong measures...,” so dogmatists of all stripes excite their followers by condemning the supposed intellectual elite.)  Archie, and others who are powerless, couldn’t afford the dysfunctionality of feeling disoriented or lost.  Realism requires that this self-responsibility be the lynchpin, so any concern that would conflict with this must be shrugged off.  (Of course, this self-response-ability must include the same self-justifying, fatalistic, conformist, simplistic, “upbeat,” absolutist, unconditional, predictable, illusions that got our economy into such trouble; after all, people will do only what they feel motivated to do.)  We all must adjust to and deal with reality, and others determine what is reality for you, which tends to mean that the strong (whether or not they’re addicted) determine what is reality for the weak.  Resiliency is everything.

 

 

 

Wall Street, August 23, 1929,  “As I wrote last March, those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself especially, are in a state of shocked disbelief….  That’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”—Alan Greenspan, testimony before Congress, October 23, 2008

 

 

That’s why self-help in general tends to admire Al-Anon, The Serenity Prayer, etc., and this self-reliant ethos.  The only thing that really matters is what you do and don’t have the power to change.  This is how the ideal American faces his own problems.  Since Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA who wrote much of their Big Book, was a stockbroker around the time of the Great Depression, one could call this The Great Depression Stockbroker’s Approach to Self-Responsibility; we’d have to be firm with those victims and whiners who object to productivity that involves strong character, such as “creative destruction,” and, “Your problem is your problem.”  The economist who, just after the Great Depression, came up with the concept of creative destruction, Joseph Schumpeter, also wrote during the Depression that recovery from it, “is sound only if it [comes] of itself.  For any revival which is merely due to artificial stimulus leaves part of the work of depressions undone and adds, to an undigested remnant of maladjustment, new maladjustment of its own which has to be liquidated in turn, thus threatening business with another [worse] crisis ahead.”  Daniel Gross’ Dumb Money says that Maestro Alan Greenspan, in an interview, “had an abstract fervor for the glories and potentials of creative destruction,” and, in the abstract, saying that alkies’ teens, etc., should have an attitude of, “I’ve stopped blaming others and I’m looking at myself!” sounds just as proudly productive.

 

 

 

For More On Correcting Archie,
Click Here

 

       

 

“One [Mississippi] preacher let me into his church,” said Bobby Kennedy’s administrative aide James Symington, “and told me, ‘You represent a tyranny.’  I said, ‘How do you think black people feel living in Mississippi with no rights?’  He said, ‘Well, it’s better to have a lot of little tyrannies than one big one.’”  Control based on one person having power over another, is only a little tyranny.

 

“You can trust the Americans to do the right thing after they exhausted all other possibilities.”—Winston Churchill

 

“Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”—ancient Roman maxim

 

 

 

 

Not only are we supposed to hold to:

 

 

but also we’re likely to figure that helplessness is the price that we have to pay for the redbloods, the übermenschen, to have their sacred freedoms, even in a society with rampant depression.

Here you could see the truth of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s statement, “There is a way of speaking which is... entirely correct and unexceptionable, but which is, nevertheless, a lie....  When an apparently correct statement contains some deliberate ambiguity, or deliberately omits the essential part of the truth... it does not express the real as it exists in God.”  The pragmatic perspective would say that even in the case of addicts’ kids (who certainly aren’t just playing the victim role), we must include the ambiguities that involve how vital expediency may be, and omit the truths that would distract from this expediency, in order to be productive.  Übermenschen would love this stolid self-responsibility, and untermenschen would hate it.  This transcendence is often called “spirituality.”

The Fine Art of Propaganda quotes Hitler’s Mein Kampf as saying, “A lie is believed because of the unconditional and insolent inflexibility with which it is propagated and because it takes advantage of the sentimental and extreme sympathies of the masses.”  It should be obvious to anyone that the problems of the victims of alcoholic parents (or anything comparable) aren’t inside of themselves.  Yet the sentimental and extreme sympathies of Americans tend to insist that one take personal response-ability for his own welfare.  If he doesn’t, he could be insolently and inflexibly accused of having “pity parties” and the like.  A stolid self-reliance with self-empowerment simply seems good, while passivity simply seems bad.

With all cognitive therapy, the more impressionable that one is, the more that he could learn to think pragmatically.  Since cognitive therapy arose in the 1960s based on the then-popular Eastern transcendence, this could be called “Calcutta survival skills.”  While you might think that this is pretty unusual, it really does have to be systematic, for any situation in which those who are expected to be self-reliant, can’t change some very important factors but can change others.  As the Philadelphia Grand Jury report on their Archdiocese’s enabling of pedo-priests put it,

Al-Anon’s approach was based on AA’s approach, in which the more impressionable a recovering alkie is, the more that he could get rid of his pathological thoughts.  Something very vital is missing.

That Alateen comic is part of a series that begins, “At least one child in thirteen lives in an alcoholic home...,” shows visitors from Alateen telling an assembly at the high school, “Alateen taught me how to let go of my father’s drinking problem and still care about him!” and, “I learned that alcoholism is a disease and that I can be happy in spite of my mother’s drinking!” and ends by saying that though two of the three alkies’ kids in this series go on to get inner peace and confident feelings by letting go and choosing to be happy, the other kid, a contrarian degenerate hippy drug-pusher, ends up in big danger because he refuses to accept this self-improvement. When his dad temporarily sobered-up, the teen is shown wearing a square-looking sweater with a herringbone design,

and with his hair neatly combed.

Obviously he enthusiastically “let go” of any resentment he may have felt about past drinking, but he wouldn’t seem good enough unless he also “let go” of his feelings about present and future drinking.  The alkie father didn’t have any addictive cravings compelling him to relapse, but all are simply to accept that his disease made him do it.  The whole idea is that at least one child in thirteen lives in an alcoholic home, so at least one child in thirteen would benefit greatly if he learned to deal with such realities in such an unconditional, failsafe fashion.

Among the hyperthymics I’ve known, whose behavior problems have been for the most part moderate, the one behavior that I’ve seen their non-violent sociopathic tendencies lead to most, is the breaking of commitments.  The textbook Essentials of Abnormal Psychology by Benjamin Kleinmuntz, copyright 1980, says in its chapter outlining sociopathy, “Unreliability and Irresponsibility.  In a society that emphasizes integrity and reliability, sociopaths pose a special problem, for they do not feel bound by the rules that govern most people,” so expecting people to take their voluntarily made commitments seriously can’t seem to be just a utopian dream, or just a manipulative trap for those who made the commitments especially if they initiated them.  As Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said about public reaction to Enron’s frauds, “I think that it tells us that, because the whole structure of American business is so fundamentally based on trust, that any evident abrogation of that trust creates a real furor, which it should.”  Yet in reality there are just so many potential excuses for breaking commitments, especially if this is a matter of unreliability and irresponsibility rather than maliciousness, and those who are lacking a sense of others’ rights and personal boundaries would think in a way that’s very much in the spirit of these excuses.  (I tell of the consistently victimizer-minimizing, victim-magnifying, scrutiny that a rather extreme instance of business commitment-breaking that I was involved in, on my Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008 webpage.)

This is especially true after that book was written, when a psychology textbook’s judgments of people would have been inspired by the thinking of the Reagan/Thatcher era, so could have said instead, “In a society that emphasizes resiliency, perseverance, vigilant survival skills, and self-reliance, sociopaths’ victims who don’t meet these expectations pose a special problem, for they do not feel bound by the personal responsibilities that govern most people.  Non-violent sociopathic behaviors, on the other hand, are merely surmountable obstacles; these, too, shall pass.”  (Likewise, in the Stanford prison-simulation experiment in 1975, the male subjects were chosen at random to be either “prisoners” or “guards” and were told to moderate their behaviors but the experiment had to be ended after 6 days when the “guards” became too sadistic and the “prisoners” too sheepish, and the “prisoners” nicknamed a more sadistic guard “John Wayne” just as some Nazi concentration camp inmates had nicknamed one of their more sadistic guards “Tom Mix,” an American cowboy actor of that era, but a few years after 1975, calling someone “John Wayne” could only have been a compliment.  As Bobby Shriver said on Larry King Live on October 13, 2006, “And we were reading this poll the other day that the number one movie star, Larry, in America today is still John Wayne.  He hasn’t had a movie in the theaters, as you know, in 40 years.”)

We’re to have the same faith in this failsafe sort of self-responsibility, that we’d have in any other cultural norms, as if it’s a universal truth that will work forever.

Typical of the recent psychological approach are self-help books, which, like the above ideal of alkies’ kids resolving to stop blaming others and look at themselves, figures that problems are solved by those who have the problems, helping themselves self-reliantly.  Even women partnered with men who are addicts or their functional equivalents, are treated as if this is the women’s disease of codependency.  As I’ve said, in essence, what hyperthymics tend to look like is the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies, charismatic smart creative and idealistically caring, but also tending to have plenty of artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, such as boozing, doping, irascibility, flamboyant eccentricities, and irresponsibility.  If you surrounded yourself with all of the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies, you sure would tend to associate with people who have artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, so you could very easily seem to have a subconscious codependent attraction to artistic-temperament-style behavior problems.  Yet the only groupies who are attracted to the boozing and doping, are those who want to share the booze and dope.  It might seem strange that the very same hyperthymic person who’s very attractive most of the time,

could also be very problematic some of the time,

but that’s the reality.

As you could see in the life stories recounted in the book Robin Norwood Answers Letters from Women Who Love too Much, of those men who make their partners seem codependent, either they’re addicted to something, or they have “idiosyncrasies” in which they’re way too impulsive, are prone to uncontrollable anger, and/or tend to do what they feel like as if anyone who tries to stop them is trying to trap them.  And, of course, the only reason why these behaviors on the part of the men, is supposed to indicate that the women are codependent, is that the women are attracted to these troublesome men, and, therefore, seem to be attracted to trouble.  Yet people with Hyperthymic Personality Disorders could cause big problems, yet seem extremely attractive, and not only to their lovers who could therefore seem masochistic.  One of these life stories in Robin Norwood Answers Letters from Women Who Love too Much, tells of the father of the women who wrote it.  He also molested his kids, and had several “idiosyncrasies”:

Many times, we children (and my mother) had experienced his irrational anger, his drastic mood swings, not to mention his peculiar habits.  Returning home for visits was not always as pleasurable as it should have been.  It’s no wonder that we all have anger inside; we were never supposed to talk back or be angry with our father because we never knew how he would handle it.  My mother has told me of times when he has banged on walls with his head or his fists.  She, too, has been frightened by him since the early days of their marriage.  The times when he was calm and relaxed can only be likened to the quiet before the storm.

The catch in all this, as I’m sure it is in similar cases, is that many people think my father is perfect; they think our family is perfect.  We, as a family, have even held on to this view as we have grown up.  Dad is a minister, now retired.  His father was a minister, as are two of his three brothers.  My friends have often bragged about what a “cool” dad I have.  My mother’s friends have told her how lucky she is to be married to such a wonderful man.  His congregations have practically worshipped him more than their gods.  And many women have tried to seduce him.  Yet none of these people had to live with him as we did.

I have no idea how it could be possible to attribute masochism, to all those who considered him “cool,” etc.  According to the current zeitgeist, if a woman keeps finding guys like this to be attractive, then she must be attracted to pervs or those with rage problems, but if the public in general finds them attractive, that doesn’t mean anything.  That’s “the catch in all this, as I’m sure it is in similar cases.”  And as is typical for the current zeitgeist, this letter goes on to say that once he and his wife got divorced after thirty-five years of marriage, “What hurts me so is that my mother feels that most of those years were wasted on trying to make this man into what she wanted and needed,” as if her expecting his rages to stop was her expecting this sinful world to be as she’d have it.

The other letters in this book don’t show this pattern so clearly.  Yet the fact still remains that though the problem guys do things that most would call “selfish,” most people would have no desire to do these very same things, since the costs and risks so obviously outweigh the benefits.  At least something similar to Hyperthymic Personality Disorder, must be motivating them to do things that most people would feel uncomfortable doing.  This would include any booze or dope problems that led to any of the addictions.

Psychoanalysis doesn’t have a way to include the effects of a disinhibiting impulsivity that makes certain people’s choices, radically different from most peoples’.  If psychoanalysts looked at such behavior patterns, they’d probably think that they must have plenty of subconscious sadistic and masochistic desires behind them, since the consequences to oneself and others are so obvious, yet people choose to do them anyway.

Or, if the intent of certain destructive behavior doesn’t look particularly malicious, the person could seem to be subconsciously in denial.  The obliviousness of Hyperthymic Personality Disorder comes from an impairment of the frontal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for our self-reflection and awareness of how we interact with the world.  The disinhibition from booze, also, comes from its impairing the frontal lobes, so the disinhibition from HPD really does operate just like the disinhibition from booze.  On an intuitive level, the two look very similar.

And the section on denial, in Psychotherapy of Addicted Persons by Edward Kaufman, includes, “For example, an AA member with 10 years of sobriety described how great his denial was before he became sober.  He had shot one of his fingers off when intoxicated.  He stated that he had not been concerned about the loss, but had begun eating starfish to grow back his missing digit (because echinoderms can regenerate missing limbs)!”

Likewise, when active alcoholics deny that they’re alcoholic though that fact should be obvious to anyone, most would say that they’re “in denial,” but what’s really going on with them could be agonosia, the same radical lack of self-reflection that leads people with other obvious mental illnesses to insist, “But I’m not sick!”  The lack of reality-testing, awareness of consequences, etc., that comes with HPD, isn’t usually as extreme as thinking that one could grow back his own lost fingers, or that an obvious mental illness doesn’t exist.  Yet that obliviousness would still be more extreme than anything that a rational person would freely choose to have.  One who has the same sort of malfunction in the brain without having to drink booze, would have the same thinking distortions that he couldn’t be talked out of.  And while you might think that these distortions are rare, they’re about as different from the norm as is chronic depression, and everyone knows that that isn’t unusual.  Hyperthymic personalities in general are fairly common among those who are charismatic, driven, smart, and creative, so they’re especially common among decision-makers and celebrities.  And yes, this includes all those celebrities who attract all those groupies, yet if they actually lived with the celebrities, THEY’D DRIVE THE GROUPIES CRAZY!!!

     

You’ve probably wondered about certain types of sane people, such as bikers, hobos, and basically dysfunctional career criminals, “Sure, most people would think of their lifestyle as ‘selfish’ and ‘sinful,’ but why would anyone really choose to live like that?”  The same goes for pre-addiction boozers and dopers.  As The Socio-Economic Impact of Amphetamine Type Stimulants in New Zealand, Final Report, says, “Many frequent users of methamphetamine reported pre-existing mental health problems including tendencies to self-harm.  Use of methamphetamine increased these individuals’ levels of psychological problems such as ‘anxiety’, ‘mood swings’, ‘short temper’, ‘paranoia’, and ‘depression’ and the level of suicidal thoughts and attempts.”  Yet the American Family in Crisis Brochure says, “Methamphetamine is an incredibly dangerous substance because this drug appeals to kids who love their life!  Kids who have a very active schedule and a high standard for their academic performance are intrigued by the apparent endless energy and mental acuity that are characteristic of the ‘high’ of meth.”  The poor judgments of those with impairments in their frontal lobes, could be very similar to the poor judgments of “kids.”

As I went into on webpage #7 of this series, if a few of your friends (and it would always be the same people who’d fit this very distinctive pattern) got agitated about something trivial by going hysterical for a few seconds to a few minutes, and then suddenly acted like everything’s normal again as if they suddenly snapped out of something, you wouldn’t conclude that those particular good-natured people are all in the same strange habit of concluding that something trivial was an outrage, then, a few seconds to a few minutes later, suddenly changing their minds and deciding that it’s trivial after all.  You could at least sense that their brains are malfunctioning.  Well, a delusion that one could re-grow fingers by eating starfish, also comes across as a brain malfunction.  The lack of reality-testing, awareness of consequences, etc., that comes with HPD might not have this quality to the same degree, but you could still sense it.  For example, typical for HPD is that, “But he thought that he was doing the right thing!” means what someone under the influence of booze would think constitutes “doing the right thing,” i.e. he could probably come up with plenty of sophistry to “prove” that what he was doing cared about others’ rights, but it was glaringly ON HIS OWN TERMS.  Like someone who’s under the influence of booze, he’d likely find it hard to understand why others don’t accept that.  He’d likely think that they were being unfair to him, “We are all victims of victims,” etc.

The psychoanalytic concept that might prove the most relevant to Hyperthymic Personality Disorder, is that of infantile selfishness.  This selfishness doesn’t look like any cold-blooded personality disorder.  Rather, as the baby or tot proceeds to do what would help him learn and otherwise mature, he doesn’t have the awareness and other inhibitions that would stop him from doing what he wants at others’ expense.  That’s what HPD “mistakes” look like, caused not by evil tendencies, but by the sort of disinhibition that booze causes.  Yet as Treating Substance Abuse, by Frederick Rotgers, John Morgenstern, and Scott T. Walters, begins its chapter “Theoretical Perspectives on Motivation and Addictive Behavior”:

Without an appreciation of the role of motivation, substance abuse treatment can read like a mystery novel with a missing page: How did the butler get that knife in his hand and what does he plan to do with it?  Indeed, addiction counselors are often frustrated with exactly this sense of missing something.  Laments one: “My client came in last week desperate to make a change.  He finally got off parole and was really going to make it work this time.  We spent the whole session talking about his plan for avoiding relapse, and now I found out he nearly OD’d this weekend!”  The irony is clear: Why would a person persist in behavior that is clearly harming him- or herself and others?

All that it takes for one to do things leading to his own death, and/or horrors to others, is to have this infantile impulsivity.  The tenderness of those considered codependent, that tries oh so dedicatedly and desperately to persuade them into stopping addictive self-destruction, would work with those who have a normal capacity for self-regulation.  Yet simply because even recovering addicts with this much personal support, pose this much of a danger, those who try to help them seem undoubtedly to be wanting to let themselves in for trouble, endeavoring to go on codependent “rescue missions.”

More objective psychologists would probably say that such oblivious behaviors look antisocial.  Violence isn’t necessary for any of the “Characteristics and Typical Behavior of the Antisocial Personality” listed by Dr. Benjamin Kleinmunst in the textbook Essentials of Abnormal Personality: “Inability to form loyal relationships,” “Inability to feel guilt,” “Inability to learn from experience, special attention, or punishment” (I’d suspect that sociopaths do learn from experiences that didn’t result from their own behavior.), “Tendency to seek thrills and excitement,” “Impulsiveness,” “Aggressiveness,” “Superficial charm and intelligence,” “Unreliability and irresponsibility,” “Pathological lying,” “Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior,” “Egocentricity,” “Poverty of affect,” “Lack of insight,” “Casual but excessive sexual behavior,” and “The need to fail.”  Since Hyperthymic Personality Disorder means thinking and acting like someone who’s under the influence of stimulants that have the same disinhibiting effects that booze has, this could mean exactly that sort of oblivious aggressiveness.  Some of the above could look more like the person is radically in denial, than that he’s cold-bloodedly malicious.

Psychotherapy of Addicted Persons says in its chapter on personality disorders, “Kosten et al. (1982) further suggested that the 32% of opiate addicts who did not meet diagnostic criteria for a personality disorder might in themselves represent a unique character disorder for which no diagnostic category as yet exists.  These addicts tended to be better educated and employed, to have less Axis I psychopathology, and to demonstrate higher social functioning.  Further research should be done on all [substance abusers] who do not meet criteria for Axis II disorders, in order to determine whether they represent a previously unnamed personality disorder.  Perhaps they follow several clusters of personality traits, with none sufficiently differentiated to meet criteria for a personality disorder.”  Soon after, this book goes into several ways in which a patient of Dr. Kaufman’s, “David,” fit this pattern.  His story appears in the chapter “Defense Mechanisms in Addicted Persons,” along with the section about being in denial.  The main issue with him was the chaotic sexual relationships he had with women who had some ornery tendencies, including one with his vengeful secretary, so his employer referred David to Dr. Kaufman.  When this book tells David’s story, it includes, “He had recently seen a psychiatrist, who had diagnosed him as having bipolar disorder; he had been on lithium and Prozac for 6 months, without benefit.”

The chapter on personality disorders gives him as an example of someone who fits the pattern of showing several clusters of personality traits, with none sufficiently differentiated to meet criteria for one particular personality disorder.  When discussing how likely addicts are to have Antisocial Personality Disorder, the book says, “The case of David, described in the Chapter 3, would certainly fall into Cluster B.  Although he demonstrated several characteristics of ASP (early sexual relationships, inability to maintain monogamy, criminal history, recklessness), this disorder would not have been the most valid personality diagnosis for him.  David did experience considerable guilt and remorse; he maintained a job and a permanent residence; and he was capable of making a therapeutic relationship even when not coerced to do so by the law or employers.”

When discussing Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the book says,

Closet narcissists may also project their own grandiosity into idealized love objects, so that they idealize others who unconsciously represent themselves; thus they often present with highly “codependent” relationships.  This was quite true in the case of David, described in Chapter 3.

[Substance abusers] with NPD expect to be noticed as special without warranting it.  They feel that their problems are unique and will be appreciated if only they can find a special person who will understand and mirror them.  They feel justified in exploiting others to meet their needs and alleviate their frustrations (American Psychiatric Association, 1987).  Again, this behavioral cluster was clearly evident in David.

and also goes into some other details about him.  When discussing Borderline Personality Disorder and the extreme instability of emotions that it’s known for, the book says, “Thus individuals with BPD exhibit a protective shallowness in emotional relationships.  David demonstrated these extremes  and this ‘psuedodepth’ in all of his close relationships, but in a most exaggerated way with his lovers.”

The section on Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder includes, “As is true of most [substance abusers], many of David’s maladaptive ways of dealing with the world could be labeled passive aggressive.”

And these are all of the personality disorders of addicts, that this chapter includes.

Yet if those with these attitudes went to psychologists, they’d be very hesitant to tell these clients how problematic these red-blooded attitudes are, giving the benefit of any doubt to the “redbloods” over the “mollycoddles.”  For example, when discussing their inability to maintain monogamy, it would seem that we mustn’t try to “trap” them.  Maybe when they insist that they’ve got to leave their current relationships, they really aren’t very compatible with their lovers.  And even if it could be proven that their desires to leave are based purely on their own idiosyncrasies, expecting them to stay would seem to have all the negative consequences of trying to “trap” and “repress” those who have very strong aggressive desires.  John Wayne said, "Republic...it means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose,” and while those who treat addicts would be especially afraid of this gutsy talk about the right to get drunk, it still could seem repressive to go against the sort of red-blooded freedom that we associate with John Wayne.

After all, that webpage selling that pro-pedophile pendant,

said, “A magnificent jewel with forms, both gentle and strong, that can express the intensity and the deepness of a feeling as well as the balance and the harmony of a relation.  The open line formed by the two hearts represent duration and liberty, a link that holds and sustains without attaching.”  A non-pedophile version of this, which has that same inability to maintain monogamy, would tell a psychologist, “What I believe in, is a link that holds and sustains without attaching.”  Of course, the psychologist would never think that he has a right to pass judgment over someone holding to those values. 

Psychologists and others who believe in self-help self-responsibility, would then tell the women hurt by this, that of course they’re supposed to:

Of course, if the women don’t, passing judgment on that would seem perfectly appropriate, even beneficial and self-empowering.  Just like the above alkies’ kids, these women are simply supposed to courageously change what they can, and serenely accept whatever they can’t.

As a good example of the sort of supposed fair balance that our culture in general would expect people in general to accept if they’re not whiny and resentful untermenschen, the following GIF (so the words in it couldn’t be found by a search engine), appears on the Zoloft website, where Zoloft has given it the file name “fairbalance.gif”:

And, in fact, that normalcy could be proven dangerous.   The Learning About Depression webpage on the Zoloft website says, “If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated.  Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw.  It’s a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully treat depression....  Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults.”

 

 

 

So it seems only natural to treat that rate of depression as if it’s just one of those biological diseases that are parts of the natural order, so the only question that we might have is whether that consists of 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions, or 34,000,000 rather severe character flaws.  Everyone knows that what’s at fault, is inside the millions of victims.  You’d be amazed how many appeals to higher loyalties would seem more moving than would a concern about such rampant depression: expectations that we be pro-freedom, not try to control or restrict others, not seem emotionalist, be forgiving, love an anti-resentment spirituality, be stolidly rock-ribbed, avoid those intellectualist social sciences, etc. If you really do care how scary this rate of depression is, it would be you who’d seem scary, because of all the untermensch victim-power you’d have.

And not caring is exactly what we’re supposed to do.  If, to a degree and with a persistence that would be worthy of this social problem, an American did care that depressive disorders affect about 34,000,000 American adults, you could bet that a wide variety of untermensch attributes would be attributed to him, such as: weak, passive, whiny, bitter, resentful, manipulative, insidiously self-interested, counterproductive, troublemaking, controlling, restrictive, blaming, excuse-making, anti-freedom, intellectualist, self-righteous, self-pitying, subjective, unrealistic, immature, negativist, defeatist, melodramatic, emotionalist, and judgmental.  Just like Jane’s efforts to become well-adjusted, he’d be pressured to become a better, happier person by courageously changing what he could and serenely accepting whatever he’s helpless to change.  If instead we compromised, and cared to a degree that’s only a fraction of what our rampant depression deserves, that would still be quite weak-spirited and whiny.

And, naturally, this means...

Certainly you could imagine what would happen if you responded to one of those who figured that naturally you’re simply supposed to adjust to the norms that cause our rampant depression, by saying, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Sure, for depressive disorders to affect about 34,000,000 American adults is a very serious social problem, but in order to fit in, you’ve got to minimize the problems around you somewhat.  Therefore, I’ll treat this as if it were just a moderately severe social problem.”  After all, if you could care somewhat, then that would make you somewhat discouraged, maladjusted, thinking like a victim, etc.

Of course the “character flaw” in the Zoloft ad means the kind that depressed people might seem to have, untermensch character flaws which are hard to disprove, rather than the übermensch character flaws of those who cause the traumas which cause the excessive depression.  If instead, this were treated as a social problem in the same way that many social movements in the 1960s treated social problems, it would seem very strange to talk about millions of Americans suffering from depression, as millions of Americans who’d better get fixed through antidepressant medication, cognitive therapy, etc.

Let’s say that, hypothetically, someone in the business world  initiates a commitment with you, and you invest a lot in that commitment just as he had intended, so for him to welch out on the commitment would certainly be violating your rights and personal boundaries, as well as the expectations that we’d all have that we could rely on freedom of contract.   The more condemnable that you could prove him to be, the more ridiculous you’d be proving yourself to be if you expected someone like that to do his part of the bargain.  When it’s time for him to keep his end of the bargain, he could honestly believe that you, by expecting him to keep it, are the one who’s trying to violate his rights and personal boundaries.  He could tell you, “Go take care of yourself instead of counting on this abstraction,” and could act like a victim of manipulative guilt-trips if you don’t.  You sure have some chutzpah expecting him to give you something or do something for you, instead of you just shutting up and accepting that life’s not perfect.  This would seem especially true if you’re of a lower social status than he is.

That could sound plausible for several reasons.  When it’s time for him to keep his part of the bargain, the time in which he made it would have happened in the past, so he could insist that for you to care about the commitment would be holding a grudge about past history; as my potential employer put it, I seemed to be “carrying a chip on my shoulder.”  Also, things have changed since you made the commitment, and we all must accept the results of things changing, though what changed was hardly unpredictable, and didn’t make it impossible for him to reciprocate in a way that was roughly proportional.  Not only that, the more time that he’s in default, the more that he can say, “But look at all the time that’s passed since I made that commitment!  Boy, are you ever dredging up past history!”  The Reaganites who’d talk like this would also be the most likely to encourage deferred gratification, earning in the present what you’ll get in the future, but if the passage of time could make anything just water under the bridge, then what you think you’re earning now in a businesslike manner, could mean nothing in the future, when it will be just past history, so if you expect the “gratification” in “deferred gratification,” this would make you seem like a demanding whiner.

Dr. Kaufman, probably to show how David didn’t really fit the mold of sociopathic, narcissistic, borderline, or passive-aggressive, gives the following poem, which David wrote during his first hospitalization.  This is also a good example of the real effects of what both many hyperthymics, and the John Wayne and trendy elements of Western culture, regard as selfishness and freedom:

People Always Say

People always say,
“I got over him,”
“Oh, I quickly forgot her.
It was just a sexual thing.”

But they’re all fools and liars,
those people who say
they can forget their lovers.
They really never do.

They spend too much time staring out the window,
and making senseless trips to the store
to buy greeting cards for nobody.

In their deepest selves
they remember the sweetest parts
of the most selfish sex,
the bittersweet echoes of hope and disappointment
behind the angriest words of rejection.

They lay awake at night and wonder,
“Should I have tried harder?”
“Was it right to walk away?”
“Why was it so intense and so shallow
both at the same time?”

They turn to the wall
sleeplessly asking
why sex felt so much like love,
why they feel separation anxiety
over a person who was no good for them
to begin with.

It’s because there is a sweet river
forever in the heart
that flows from an impossibly high mountain top
and you climb it every night in your dreams
hoping to find someone there.

Chances are that those celebrities who, as that woman described her father in Robin Norwood Answers Letters from Women Who Love too Much, seem radiantly healthy at a distance but are impossible to live with, “And many women have tried to seduce him.  Yet none of these people had to live with him as we did,” also sometimes fit some patterns of personality disorders such as Antisocial, Narcissistic, Borderline, and Passive-Aggressive, yet they also have plenty of exquisite vitality and soul!

And as Steven Carter’s self-help book about commitment-phobic men, Men Who Can’t Love, says, one big reason for the commitment-phobia is a belief that as long as they keep hoping to find a partner who suits them better than their current partner, someday they’ll find her, so they don’t want to become “trapped” with anyone else.  David could very easily be following the same path of the suicidal men who end up killing themselves because of the ending of one romantic relationship.  On my Men Dying for Love webpage, I have all the suicide notes that were put into the appendix of a scholarly book on suicide.  Of the notes that happened to end up in that book, several of the men killed themselves because of the ending of one romantic relationship, while the only woman to do that was a lesbian.

These notes from the men, tend to give the impression that they acted toward their relationships in ways that could be called pettily dysfunctional, though the price of that independent John Wayne and/or trendy willfulness ended up being way too high.  If, before their relationships ended so they killed themselves, someone told them that it would benefit them to act more responsibly, he might as well be telling John Waynes or hippies that it would benefit them to act more responsibly.  People like that will decide for themselves what they think they are, and aren’t, responsible for.

Bobby Shriver went on to say that he thinks that the reason why the American public still likes John Wayne so much, is, “You know, people like, Americans like that guy who just goes out and stops injustice and does it, you know, doesn’t wait for the government to do it.  We just go out and stop it ourselves...”  Yet even if that really were all that John Wayne meant, that’s exactly the sort of “thinking” that led to the invasion of Iraq and all that has resulted from it.  An episode of CNN Presents, Donald Rumsfeld, Man of War, quotes him as quoting Teddy Roosevelt, the original redblood, “Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords.”  Yet this same Rumsfeld, during the Reagan Administration, arranged for the export of many kinds of deadly germs to Iraq, including some to be shipped to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission!  This is described in detail in a section of the American Congressional Record, from just before the invasion of Iraq, when making this public served the purposes of the Bush administration.  Also, as Americans could see in our aggressive conservative radio pundits, one of whose slogan is, “The Savage Nation,” even though the claims that Saddam had contacts with al Qaeda and still had weapons of mass destruction, were unfounded, and even though the reason why President George Bush, Sr., didn’t invade Iraq during the Gulf War (when Saddam really did have WMD) was that he wanted to prevent the sectarian civil war that obviously would result, it’s very easy to get excited and angry when someone opposes what you did.  (On the other hand, Dubya probably has Karl Rove telling him that if anyone holds him responsible for Iraq’s sectarian violence, he could always act like a victim of those who are trying to make him look guilty.)

If you’re going to “fight for what’s right” in the spirit of John Wayne, then this could very easily lead to defending some pretty disruptive behavior, since it seems “pro-freedom.”  This sort of patriotism truly is the last refuge of the scoundrel, since it suits scoundrels perfectly.  As could be seen in the “romantic renegade,” as is described on a webpage about the reasons why those with bipolar disorder are unusually likely to have booze and dope problems, not only could the defense of some destructive behavior seem “pro-freedom,” but one could get very excited adamant and self-righteous about defending it like this.  One can defend “duration and liberty, a link that holds and sustains without attaching,” pretty adamantly and self-righteously.  It’s very easy to get excited and angry when someone opposes what you did.

Especially when you consider how emotionally unstable those suicidal men were, they probably had strong feelings that they’re “trapped,” “repressed,” etc.  Everyone knows that if pressuring one to act more responsibly makes him feel trapped, repressed, etc., then of course that means that he should snub and flout those expectations!  In some ways being mentally half-baked must be accepted, as in, “Oh, well, that’s just the way that he is,” but if one is mentally half-baked in ways that could be called “weak and inadequate,” that probably wouldn’t be accepted.

Very much related to those cultural norms, is how the cigarette industry, as shown on my The Cigarette Industry and Victim Correction webpage, has used the chronological excuse.  They say that decades have passed since they wrote certain incriminating documents.  Also, before someone starts smoking they insisted to him that smoking is safe and/or isn’t addictive.  After he’s at death’s door they abdicate responsibility by holding that when he started he assumed the risk.  It seems that the passage of up to a few decades seems more important than all the deaths that were obviously involved, not to mention the fact that the only thing that’s changed since time has gone by is what they can get away with claiming without sounding totally ridiculous, not what their attitude toward honesty has been.)

The subtitle of the book Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul is “101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness,” and it would seem strange if you expected members of the general public in the market for chicken soup for the soul to buy this book in an attempt to get rid of their resentment toward convicts.

People didn’t have the same acceptance of the harmlessly bizarro stuff though, which was a mild version of prison inmates’ attitude that it doesn’t matter how evil was a fellow inmate’s crime, but if an inmate is a “skinner” or sex criminal, especially a child molester, he’d get attacked, since he’s disturbingly weird.  This attitude reminded me of the saying about those who botch pre-meditated crimes, “To be criminal is bad, but to be foolish is worse,” or as French Revolutionary Antione Boulay de la Meurthe said about an execution, “It is worse than a crime; it is a mistake.”  A webpage says, “I remember one thief who was inconsolable because the papers mentioned that he had foolishly overlooked a large sum of money in a burglary.”  We’re supposed to take as Jesus did this sinful world, but it’s a lot harder to think of bizarre behavior as something that well-adjusted people would naturally adjust to.  This despite the fact that the bizarro stuff would have made him less blameworthy, since without the delusions what he did to me would have been conscious disregard that he actively perpetuated for a year, with the huge consequences to me very obvious.  This situation certainly imposed on me greatly, taking away a year of my career, a lot of my sense that I could rely on people who I really have to be able to rely on unless I want to just live as a self-reliant hermit, etc.  I had to take a relatively unskilled temporary job, for a fairly idealistic guy who was the first person who I’d ever seen routinely getting angry about something that wasn’t calamitous by hitting the roof, going on and on like that for a few seconds to a few minutes, and then suddenly acting like everything’s normal again.  (As I said, as I became attuned to the differences in some of the feelings that come naturally to different people, I’ve remembered some people I’ve met whose usual states of mind, or emotional responses, were clearly different, including him.  One night soon after I read that this is a possible symptom of hyperthymic personalities, in a paragraph with a tone of Believe it or not, some people actually do this sometimes, I woke up realizing that this is what was happening to him.)

This extreme dearth would mean that Bill, the suicidal “free spirit,” would really be in trouble if he went to a psychologist looking for how he could get his life together, when what he needed was to have meaning in his life. AA’s Big Book  says in Chapter 5, “How It Works,” “Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else,” then goes on to show a model “moral inventory” consisting of confessing one’s resentment, with the first column titled “I’m resentful at:” rather than “Things I’ve done that would deserve others’ resentment:,” the second column titled “The cause:” rather than “What each caused:,” and the third titled “Affects my:,” rather than “Affects their:.”  The confessed resentment is about: someone telling the writer’s wife of his mistress, his friend’s wife having him committed, the writer’s employer threatening to fire him for his drinking and padding his expense account, and his wife wanting their house put in her name, without confessing his drunken affair, his insensitivity for the need for his friend being committed, the writer’s showing up at work drunk and padding his expense account, his doing what makes it necessary for her to have their house put in her name, and the like.  (You could find this model “moral” inventory both on the Net, and on page 65 of the latest hard cover edition of the Big Book.  You’ve got to see this “moral” inventory to believe it.)  The Big Book then goes on to say that anger and fear are also problematic, and “Perhaps there is a better way, we think so.  For we are now on a different basis of trusting and relying upon God.  We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves.  We are in the world to play the role He assigns.  Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.”

This is why Narcotics Anonymous has a pamphlet that calls resentment anger and fear the “triangle of self-obsession,” though what I could see of Bill gives me the impression that he didn’t feel much resentment anger or fear, he was plenty self-obsessed, and that a part of his self-obsession was regarding the resentment anger and fear of those who objected to what he did, as the triangle of self-obsession.  That must mean that writers of “moral” inventories should also include among their confessions such things as, “I feel anger because my friend just told my wife of my affair,” and “I feel fear because the boss might catch me padding my expense account and fire me,” and, of course, “I feel resentment/anger because someone shafted me,” and “I feel fear because of all this de rigueur amoralism, which if I’m victimized would criticize me for acting like a victim, if I’m wronged would criticize me for not forgetting about it, if something deserves a finger being pointed at it would criticize me for pointing my finger, etc.”  It wouldn’t matter that we’d have a lot more self-determination in taking responsibility for our proactive volitional acts than we would in taking response-ability for our emotional responses to distressing experiences.  The closest thing that Bill could get to meaningfulness with this sort of thinking is joining an actual twelve-step group and thereby getting moral support from others and giving moral support to those who otherwise might lose their lives to booze or dope, but otherwise this sort of thinking wouldn’t give much of a chance for saving him from the brink.

 
 


 

 But wait.  There’s more...

 Go To the Next Page, which Tells of How Judging Anyone’s Responsibility for Letting Himself Into Trouble, Has to Keep in Mind the Context In Which He Seems to Have Done So.

 



 

 

 

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   My Story

   To The [Abuse] Survivors ♥♥♥♥♥

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  On Doping

  “Oh, Yeah?” Upbeat Echoes from the First Great Stock Market Crash

    Victim Correction as a Panacea, the Summary

(Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3)

     Cancer Victims Corrected Too

   Victim Correction as a Panacea

   Documentation On the Social Problem of Unnaturally Rampant Depression

   Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea

   Schopenhauer on Predators

   Emphasis on Victim-Self-Blaming

  Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Sales Tips

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  Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008

   Message for Intellectuals in the Islamic World

   Candace Newmaker’s Experience

  Breaking Important Confidences for Your Own Good

    A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction

   Cigarette Industry and Victim Correction

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   Herbal Experiences for Women

   Some Ideas for Rapport

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