The dark self…

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Both world history and everyday life are full of examples of people acting ruthlessly, maliciously, or selfishly. In psychology as well as in everyday language, we have diverse names for the various dark tendencies human may have, most prominently psychopathy (lack of empathy), narcissism (excessive self-absorption), and Machiavellianism (the belief that the ends justify the means), the so-called ‘dark triad’, along with many others such as egoism, sadism, or spitefulness.

Although at first glance there appear to be noteworthy differences between these traits – and it may seem more ‘acceptable’ to be an egoist than a psychopath – new research shows that all dark aspects of human personality are very closely linked and are based on the same tendency. That is, most dark traits can be understood as flavoured manifestations of a single common underlying disposition: The dark core of personality. In practice, this implies that if you have a tendency to show one of these dark personality traits, you are also more likely to have a strong tendency to display one or more of the others.

As the new research reveals, the common denominator of all dark traits, the D-factor, can be defined as the general tendency to maximize one’s individual utility and disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others, while accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications. In other words, all dark traits can be traced back to the general tendency of placing one’s own goals and interests over those of others even to the extent of taking pleasure in hurting other’s – along with a host of beliefs that serve as justifications and thus prevent feelings of guilt, shame, or the like. (1)

Darkness is always the result of darkness.

But you can never have darkness without a tiny speck of light.

A light pointing towards the path we need to take.

While we walk away into the abyss. The Sun still shining.

All the shadows are the same.

Do not be afraid of them.

For there are no shadows.

It is just you.

Blocking the light…

OCD. Living. Loving. Dying.

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No one knows what drives people with obsessive-compulsive disorder to do what they do, even when they’re aware that they shouldn’t do it, and when it interferes with normal life. That lack of understanding means about half can’t find effective treatment. But a new analysis of brain scans from hundreds of people with OCD, and people without it, may help. Larger than previous studies, it pinpoints brain areas and processes linked to OCD’s repetitive behaviors. The largest-ever functional imaging study of the brains of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and healthy comparison volunteers, shows significant differences in activity in regions involved in error processing and inhibitory control. The study suggests that the brains of OCD patients get stuck in a loop of “wrongness,” that patients can’t stop even if they know they should, because the brain responds too much to errors, and too little to stop signals. (1)

Stop.
Wrong!
Stop!
Wrong again!

Trapped in a loop of error. Unable to stop while wanting to. Does this sound familiar? No, its not only OCD. It is life itself. How can you stop doing anything if you have already started doing it? Do you stop eating? Do you ever stop breathing? Sure, these are not the same as checking the oven over and over again. But why do we limit our analysis on specific actions alone? Surely the closing of the oven is trivial. We should not worry about it. But what about thinking of your loved one? Is that more important? Yes it is. But why? Because you say so. Is working day and night for a career that will cost you your family important? Yes. Because they say so. Is checking for ways to please others important? Sure. If you are giving importance to what others say. Is looking for ways to save the planet important? Sure. If you really believe that you are important and that it is you who kills the planet and not the big corporations.

At the end, it is us (or the others) who define what is mundane and what is not.

And there is no way to stop if you believe that what you doing is important.

Check the oven.
And again.
And again.
Accept the importance of what you are doing.
And stop when you are ready to.
Not before. Nor after.

The oven is closed now.
And I can go play with my kids.

Look at all those people without OCD.
Working. Saving the planet.
Free of error loops.
Able to stop when they say so.
No, they did not check the oven twice.
But not because they were more certain.
But because they didn’t even care.
And in the same manner they leave with the oven closed, they can leave with the oven open.

Check the emails.
Go to a meeting.
Speak with your boss.
Over and over again.
Can you accept the unimportance of what you are doing?

Look at all those people with OCD.
Checking the oven.
Will you ever be able to focus on such a mundane thing?
Will you ever be able to see the importance of a single button?

The world is here and now.
Check it out.
Again.
And again.
And again…
And again…

Society. The forest. The river.

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People with social anxiety avoid situations in which they are exposed to judgment by others. Those affected also lead a withdrawn life. Researchers have now found evidence for a gene that is believed to be linked to the illness. It encodes a serotonin transporter in the brain. Interestingly, this messenger suppresses feelings of anxiety and depressiveness. (1)

We love people participating.

We like people similar to us.

We despise people who are “withdrawn”.

Society hates anyone who ignores it.

And tries to find ways to ‘cure’ them.

Initially we were afraid of the forest.

But now we like it.

We did not know why we were thrown in it.

And now we cannot live outside of it.

But it is away from the forest that we feel less anxious.

It is away from society that we feel less depressed.

Listen to the riven.

And just follow it to the end.

Outside the forest.

There are no trees.

But there is something there.

Something making the trees grow.

Remember?

Curing depression with… mushrooms. [OR: How easy it is to forget yourself]

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A study looking at whether the psilocybin (an ingredient found in hallucinogenic mushrooms) drug can reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

The findings look more than promising…

Three years later, Mr. Mihai, now 25 and a physician assistant in Las Vegas, said, “I’m not anxious about cancer anymore. I’m not anxious about dying.” The session, he added, “has made my life richer.”

[…]

At N.Y.U., psychotherapists tried to layer the session into patients’ memories by asking them to write about their visions in a journal and discuss the experience in meetings. The Johns Hopkins study, led by Roland R. Griffiths, a psychopharmacologist, had monitors who urged participants to “trust, let go and be open.”

[…]

In 2013, Kevin entered the Johns Hopkins trial. During his session, he saw spirals of iridescent spheres that folded in on themselves. The experience did not restore him to his former life, he said, “but I have a greater sense of peace of what might come. I’m very grateful, beyond words, for this trial. But you have to approach the session with the right intentions of why you’re doing it. Because you’re going to meet yourself. ”

[…]

One theory is that psilocybin interrupts the circuitry of self-absorbed thinking that is so pronounced in depressed people, making way for a mystical experience of selfless unity.

[…]

Dr. George Greer, the co-founder of Heffter, does not see a commercial future for psilocybin, even if it is eventually approved for therapeutic use, because these patients needed only one dose. (1)

One dose and you forget about yourself. This is all it takes.

Do not try to read the details.

Focus on the big picture. It shows something truly remarkable.

It is not the details of the specific trial that are important. It is the easiness with which someone might lose himself that is important. We are one… mushroom away from the connection with the cosmos. One… mushroom away from letting go all these things that look crucial to us as we speak.

So fragile for something (Ego) that looks so important…

Be careful.

Yes, we are tossed alone in the forest.

But the forest is full of mushrooms…

Your problems only exist because there is a solution.

Just don’t forget the salt!

🙂

Freud. Imagination. Dead Polar Star…

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Freud discovered that the mere act of thinking (wishing and fantasizing) is itself gratifying. In fact, what therapists and psychoanalysts commonly observe is that the fantasy is more mentally and physically stimulating fulfilling than the actual, real life action the fantasy is organized around. Is it any wonder that reality doesn’t measure up to the intense, vivid fantasy? Freud’s observation that humans attempt to fantasize things into reality is today fully accepted by neuroscientists as the basis for imagination. (1)

Modern world has rejected imagination as something “weird/ interesting but totally unscientific”. Modern world sees the child with vivid imagination as something cute, but then rushes to teach that kid what “reality” is.

Once upon a time people with clear mind and turbulent souls looked upon the Polar Star and discovered new worlds. We now “know” the Polar Star is just a medium-sized star among thousand others.

Once upon a time we created life every time we closed our eyes.

Now we keep our eyes open and we have killed even ourselves…

But the polar star is there. Knowing…

We will never be alone.

Look up. It may be dark.

But a star is still shining.

Which is, as a famous mystic once said…

winking hideously like an insane watching eye which strives to convey some strange message, yet recalls nothing save that it once had a message to convey

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