A new Paradigm for a new Monetary System [3]

Read Part 1 here, and Part 2,or go to Part 4

These produced questions, that are counter-intuitive to how we often consider money: First: Could we, creative people, conceive of a money system that is like life? [Life is a gift] Second: What would money as gift look like?

Before damning this as totally unrealistic, playing games, think instead about breaking the paradigm, gostarting from what is in life that is indeed a gift: the sunlight, the seeds that know how to grow, the seasons, and ourselves with myriad capabilities, including those of death and destruction. This post is about real, not a fantasy wish-list.

People created money as we think of it at present, and most of us think about it as something it is not!! It is not concrete stuff, it is an idea, an artifact of mind, that we use to represent necessary relationships.

Look back at the foundation diagram (in part 2), and take it apart from different venn1perspectives, remembering that it is a whole. Or, at least an attempt to represent something holistically.

Leave out the exchange part, that has become so dominant in recent history.

Surprisingly, historical research[i] into money creation suggests that it first emerged as a combination from the Transcendent and the Rights sectors, not using exchange at all! And, it allows me to think about children, dependents generally, as well as those bugbears of power and authority, both inner world perceptions and beliefs as well as the outer world effects. These are so evidently part of the necessary debate about money and its uses and abuses that somehow it feels like a good road to take. [Reflexive thought, inner awareness of feelings plus outer observations, evidence, combination to assess truth or prejudice. Keep going.]

moneyaslaw

This brings notions about holistic think methods – basically the well-known brainstorm process. Brainstorm “money as gift” or “life as gift” or just “what kind of money do we want”? What do you get? What did I get? Words like money is relationships between people, payment for service or product, trust, risk, not enough, root of all evil, work reward, many things to many people…

I also discovered that brainstorming alone is not a great idea, so looked at the record of an earlier brainstorm process with others, at a recent Positive Money Retreat a brainstorm about good or bad groups, produced the flip-chart below. It seems to me that the “bad” group represents pretty well how our society has sleepwalked its way to the monetary system we have at present, and the good group processes have been pretty much absent when it comes to designing what we want from money, or monetary system.

goodbadflipchart

Using words from the ‘good’ group brainstorm – do they apply to money? Effective, common purpose, synergy, … why not use these alongside the other words that are more commonly used to describe the meaning and use of money.

Also, would the other parts of the diagram reveal interesting aspects of what we really want from “money for life”?

go to Part 4, or return to  Part 1 here, or Part 2.

[i] See Stephen Zarlenga, the New Science of Money

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A new Paradigm for a new Monetary System [2]

read part [1] here

How do we set about creating a system that would represent life better? Inadequate as it is, the Venn diagram below helps me think about how we can stop seeing money as only a means of transaction between people, helps me start from something more whole in human experience. There are three interlinked relationships within our life, expressed in many different ways and differently divided by other writers[i]. However they are expressed, all agree that without each and without each in combination, the picture of life fails in some important respect. Joseph Beuys[ii] proposed a basic foundation that encompassed what he called the Spiritual Life, the Rights Life and the Economic Life. A little differently, I consider the life of the transcendent, rights, and exchange[iii]. Suppose a foundation could look like this:

venn1

If we said the need was for a money idea that covered life needs, human and world in which we live, then it is not utopia to say this is a final objective, but on the way there will be lesser aims, transitional shifts. Whatever these are, they need to be seen to be stages in heading towards a monetary system that might be uncertain but would even so be more genuinely reaching for real requirements than the present pseudo-science that is too frequently taught as economics[iv]. The direction in which proposed change takes us matters.

In brief:

Could we, creative people, conceive of a money system that is like life?

What would money as gift look like?

read Part 3 here, then part 4

or return to Part 1

[i] Interactions: see French, R. B., and P. Simpson. ‘The “Work Group”: Redressing the Balance in Bion’s Experiences in Groups’. Human Relations 63, no. 12 (1 December 2010): 1859–78; The Threefold Social Impulse: see Roesch, Ulrich. We Are the Revolution!: Rudolf Steiner, Joseph Beuys and the Threefold Social Impulse. Forest Row: Temple Lodge Publishing, 2013; add your own knowledge from whatever perspective e.g. ecology, religion, sociology, philosophy, etc.

[ii] Beuys, Joseph, ed. What Is Money?: A Discussion. Forest Row, England: Clairview Books, 2010.

[iii] This is roughly comparable to Wilfred Bion’s unconscious theory of group behaviours, pairing, dependency and fight/flight. see French and Simpson above for development of this idea as basic interactions.

[iv] References, many include:

Rowbotham, Michael. The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery, and Destructive Economics. Charlbury, Oxfordshire : Concord, MA: Jon Carpenter ; Distributed by Paul and Co, 1998.

Jackson, Andrew, Ben Dyson, and Herman E. Daly. Modernising Money: Why Our Monetary System Is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed. London: Positive Money, 2014.

Ivo Mosley, and Positive Money websites.

A new Paradigm for a new Monetary System [1]

Equity, Fairness and Worth

We, or our governments, spend time talking of economics and money, and even more esoteric things like fiscal policies, and when some idea is proposed, there is an instant antoinettequery about “resources” which usually means, “Where is the MONEY?” Our societies and their institutions are made up of people, made by people, they may seem fixed, but are, like our minds, more plastic than we may wish to acknowledge. The word “money” is also not concrete, not fixed, it is in fact an idea rather than a thing, and throughout history has had many forms. However, when the talk is of values, what is valued, it is the future that is envisaged in many different ways, with all its uncertainties, and over and over again, the wishes, for something fair, and something worthwhile, something equitable. “Be the change you want to be” is now a mantra, a useful one. What it may mean is that things will be different, will become different, when we are different in both thought and action, when our minds have changed along with our behaviours. We do now know that body, mind and action are not separable, but interlinked.

Thinking, the process or the way people think, has many forms, patterns if you like. It often seems natural, indeed often is instinctive, to start with parts, and build towards a whole, understanding the organism by seeing what each bit does, and then trying to find relationships. This is classificatory, cognitive, rational, and has often been mistaken for the “scientific process”[i]. However, this is only one aspect of scientific thinking, indeed only a part of any kind of thinking or thoughtfulness. There is another equally important, probably more important aspect to thought. This more inclusive, but more uncertain, way of thinking starts with the “whole”, allowing perception, feeling, intuition, experiment, and allows the parts themselves to show their enfolding into each other, so that understanding follows the actuality of their relationships. A better idea of whole emerges into the thinking mind.[ii] This is creative thought, reflexive, situated in the reality of observation, aware of bias in the self. Reflexive thinking moves mindfully between subjectivity, feeling experience, and logical connections, towards a stronger more enduring objectivity. This fluid thought process properly acknowledges that understanding is a matter of direction and probability, never complete, but what it grasps, is real. The parts, and logical patterns previously observed will fit in somewhere if the idea, so far, so good, matches reality. If parts don’t fit, if the process becomes mired in confusion, complication, anomaly, contradiction, then it does not matter how rational the theory sounds, it is a mess, not fit for purpose. The history of science, and politics and human endeavour is full of paradigm shifts, as theories were seen to fail, rather than succeed. In science, think Copernicus, Galileo, the wave theory of light, and in human interactions, remember the Berlin Wall, the Industrial Revolution, the outlawing of slavery, all the way back to the iron age replacing the stone age. Thought shifts towards the future, based in reality, when something whole is grasped, even if at first it is not at all understood.

Anyone attempting to follow modern 21st century economics theory, economics policies, government fiscal and monetary understanding, boom and bust, austerity, debt bonds, scarcity and wealth, the deficit, the borrowing, etc.etc. can see that economic theory, in particular neo-liberal economic theory, is not fit for purpose.

Economics is a study of a very important aspect of life, how people interact to produce the goods they and others need or want, how governments enact policy in particular ways to enable people to interact within markets to get what they want or accomplish certain goals. Or not, sometimes. It purports to study the production and consumption of goods and the transfer of wealth to produce and obtain those goods. Within the theories there will be parts that are in tune with real lives, as they are lived, and parts that are plain wrong. Without a new frame we cannot at the moment tell which is which.

Economics requires a rethink, a different paradigm, emerging from the sense of life. We may seek equity fairness and worth, but they can be put aside, temporarily, while life is observed as it is lived by all, not just some, not just in general, but by particular people each of whom lives their own story, connected to the stories from others. Life is a gift. We forget. How can we remember?

The next posts will look for the forward aspect of economics, that would happily not require too many major shifts in many of the ways we use money and production, as those parts of thinking and practice that do work well, will find a better home, and those that do not become redundant. Much of the detail and analysis, especially the details of economics and its history, owes a lot to Positive Money, to Ivo Mosley and to all those people who by active enabling listening and thoughtfulness have helped me to think. Positive Money ask that anyone who comes to see this need for a new way forward in economics, sign petitions here, asking that quantitative easing be directed towards the productive economy, and here, asking for a money commission.

Read part 2, then parts 3 and 4

[i] This is actually only the justificatory aspect of science, the checking out if the theory works, to see what evidence supports it, see by reasoning and logic if the theory stands up in practice. To create a theory, explore uncertainty, scientists also use a heuristic process, and this is more often than not an emotional and instinctive, highly subjective way of engaging with the world being explored.

[ii] Charles Darwin’s wife reported in the appendix to his autobiography that he had stated “it is fatal to reason whilst observing, though so necessary beforehand and so useful afterwards” Collins Edition, 1958. p.159. To work holistically from the real world of observation and experiment, not being afraid to see contradiction and anomaly, is how real understanding of anything has proceeded – and there is no “total” real understanding, no “certainty” just perspectives from which one can go outside of one’s mind and thought into the world, and find a fit with what is there. [Psychological references from Wilfred Bion, Learning from Experience, Daniel Seigal, Mindfulness, and Bessell van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score, and many others.]

Will: what is it?

WILL – a noun, something we have. Dictionary definitions stress the consciousness, and this is a puzzle for those who understand that we are human with our unconscious not the opposite of consciousness but the deeper unknown dynamic states of emotion, impulse and body, from which our separate consciousness arises. So – is ‘WILL’ any of these?
  1. the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: the freedom of the will.
  2. power of choosing one’s own actions: to have a strong or a weak will.
  3. the act or process of using or asserting one’s choice; volition: My hands are obedient to my will.
My definition: Will is indeed an outcome of conscious deliberate action, but not any old action, a very particular one, that has effect on all the other subsequent choices we make, consciously and unconsciously determined. We can make a conscious decision to attend to the self and observe what we can of its impulsive reactions.We are being willing to look at and distinguish two processes in our states of mind, that affect both inner and outer world view: the processes which Bion called “truth” and “lie” (the first primarily interested in what is actually there, the second primarily interested in gratification of what is wanted, as if it would be there). This willingness to look increases the probability that unconscious urge and conscious intent are in tune with each other, or indicates when and how they may not be. Then, to me, the notion of deliberate action in other spheres of decision making and choice makes sense. We have WILL because we have been willing in a particular way that is more interested in ‘truth’ than in ‘want’.
I find that this definition addresses problems of unconscious determinism, as though we could not be consciously responsible for our actions, and also addresses the problems of relativism: if everything is in part subjective how can anything be consciously willed?
It is of course an act of being: what is now called “mindful”. I have written about it previously as “use of self” an everyday use of the psychoanalysts’ “transference and counter-transference”.
If one is not mindful, then unconscious force, reactivity to circumstance, takes the place of willed aware intent. “Willy nilly” – what a really good word for this unhappy process. Willy nilly we are in it whatever it is, up to our necks, fooling ourselves that we know what we are doing. This is the state where “the road to hell is paved with good intention” because the mindful intention is not present.
In mindfulness, Will is taking a risk on the future, deliberately trusting interaction with the world. Truth will out, whatever I want. It is a promise. I will.

 

Ressentiment – unjust suffering

Ressentiment is an effect of detriment that is unjustly suffered, by an individual or group, or by labeling a person as ‘group’ (like black, or disabled, or mentally ill) and thus denying their own experience of how they do and do not belong. Anyone who thinks they, and not the sufferer, can decide on the quality of “detriment” is not able to learn the nature of what is suffered. The sufferer, as well as experiencing damage, however tiny that damage may seem, also suffers RESSENTIMENT (coined by Nietzche, no less).

This is cousin to the better known resentment. They are both affects, or feelings, arising from human emotional process. We think we know ‘resentment’ – the angry feeling a person or group has when it feels it has been wronged. This feeling is directed towards the source of the wrong, or the injustice. The sufferer of wrong may not be able to get redress, or revenge, but they do know they deserve better. They can voice something, even if they cannot act, and their sense of self is valid. This happened, I experienced it.

Ressentiment arises when people react to a perceived injustice by repressing their feelings of resentment and revenge. The feelings, the facts, can be inarticulate, the person can be without the verbal capability to own knowledge of what is happening (too young, too shocked, too oppressed, too bullied…). The repression occurs because of the impotence of those not only holding, but also unable to express their feelings openly, out of fear of the powerful, the authority of the oppressor. They remain passive and powerless… an abiding affect … a lasting mental attitude … ressentiment … becomes a pronounced dimension of social suffering  … that is lived experience of domination and repression and the feelings of humiliation, despair, shame and resentment … that are hidden injuries internalised because they cannot be expressed.

Well, quite. What is damaged is the core of the self. Later, even much later after changes in society may have happened, how is such a person (or people within a social suffering group) to know if they can now trust their own feeling or perception of the context that others believe – rightly – has changed? It is a nameless constellation of ??? something feeling ??? not right. NOT RIGHT. Damaged. The self’s capacity to repair has also been damaged (that follows if you can’t trust self feelings).

The politics, the authority, culture and  context change. Thank goodness it sometimes does. Then, if a sufferer is told that ‘it is all right now’ or ‘get over yourself’, insult is added to injury. How can people trust themselves to express the previously nameless and inexpressible?

Try to imagine how you would re-establish a validity in your soul, in yourself. Maybe anger and tilting at any windmill in sight helps, I do not know. I do know one thing that helps:

Acknowledge damage is done.

It is present, in the present, activated by a word or act. Compassion honours this reality.

To imagine how to re-establish validity, first see what people do. Observe, try not to think.

Get curious about what is it that is happening. Are those parts of a person that have been denied, that have had no voice with which to speak finding space? Or are they being shut down …again?

Can parts that have ‘felt they feel what they should not’ and ‘not felt what they feel they should’ reverse their enfolding into experience? (think child abuse, brutalised soldiering, victim of domestic violence, groups experiencing discriminatory treatment, etc.)

First, see what people do. Let yourself see, and be touched by what is then felt.

What is ‘culture’? How does it change?

When teaching about the possibility of change (especially being realistic about changing strong opinions and prejudice) Thompson: Promoting Equality had a very useful concept – PCS – which stands for personal – cultural – structural. Roughly speaking, if the interaction was ‘personal’ there was some probability of change, each of us could have influence; if it was ‘cultural’, change would be possible but less likely; and if ‘structural’, then change can happen, but the probability is low and change in this arena seems slow. (Internet, communication and social media may be making a difference here, we have more contact with different parts in a system.)

We feel hopeful when we think that we can act – whether on our own or on others’ behalf.

We feel despairing when we think our actions are useless, that they have no effect.

Another wise book Bessel Van der Kolk: The Body Keeps the Score shows over and over that being able to act, in some way, physically or psychologically, enables us to come through difficult circumstances, but NOT being able to act where the power of the circumstance is overwhelming, is traumatic. At the time of trauma, the difference between “can” and “can’t” has effect , then later, when circumstances have changed, the outsider sees “won’t” that is actually “can’t”.  The effect lasts.

This is one of the messages from Black: Psychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires, that the effects within cultures and structural institutions last. History repeats, long after the initial lurch to destructiveness. It seems to be “can’t” rather than “won’t” that ties the actions of politicians and decision makers.

What would allow a change from “can’t” to “can” and then to “will”?

As one thing known is that future cannot be planned and controlled (though the notion that it could be is one of the toxic cultures that ruins planning of all kinds) the question is more “What will increase the probability of the change we want?”

Where does any one ordinary person have the greatest effect? First, within self, often neglected as the space for action towards change (who is this for?). Second, within their own sphere whatever that sphere is as related to this change (understand your role and your power here, means see how others see you). Third, look what just happened, where did the ripple from this go, how did it spread beyond oneself.

However small this seems to be, this shifts despair into hope, and that is a big change.

From here, the process becomes “can”, and the what, becomes where one works. Push the boundaries there, influence as one can. Remember, memo to me: others may see me differently from the way I see myself, so I take what they say – not as gospel but as information, feedback about what is going on in the holosphere that is a h**l of a lot bigger than I am.

 

Resilience or Resistance to Psychopathy

Not being drawn in to psychopathy?

The influence of a psychopathic person, or the influence of a psychopathic culture (I have just read Will Black: Psychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires and found Steve Becker’s blog.). I am thinking of other ideas that may or may not mean similar things, such as Hoggett‘s perverse social structure, the “as-if” culture, institutionalisation, and hegemony.

I found “Five Steps to Tyranny” on you tube, one of the best ever documentaries.

I think I like the word TOXIC to describe this human thing. I think we all either do it or are involved somehow. It is as much a part of the human condition as breathing. that is the message contained in five steps. It is ordinary. But I do not think it is the only part of the human condition that matters, so we should not be afraid of toxicity.

  • Just, learn to recognize it.
  • Then, learn how to put it back on the shelf: Toxic, Poison, not needed except for very specific, careful, use, if at all.
  • Look at each of the five steps
  • At each one, there is an option, to proceed differently.

I am going to take this post further tomorrow.

Twist, or, psychopathy

This post is made up of excerpts from a paper “Making and Mistaking Reality” written 2003.

Systemic thinking can be defined as not looking for statements about a situation, but for provisional and partial explanations (or images) which illuminate the here-and-now. The idea of being inside or outside a system is recognised as being itself a thought construction. In systemic thinking, the need to decide inside or outside disappears. Accepting that the whole is discernible in each part and that each part is influential in the whole, the experience in the here-and-now is of a tension between separateness (e.g., personal identity) and relatedness (e.g., belonging to a group). Freud’s methodological discovery, now encapsulated in the concepts of transference and countertransference, was that this tension could itself be attended to. Expressed as here-and- now, the multi-layered dynamic experience of the present is the crucial material for thought and thinking. In the present, the concept and practice of “Mindfulness” is a clear expression of this focussed, but freethinking awareness.

I am indebted to Anne MacDonald (2002), a forensic psychiatrist from Glasgow, speaking at a conference on “Counter-transference” for her representation of the effects of different kinds of breaks and joins, using a simple ring or a mobius strip, though she is not responsible for the following.

Beginning with the ring, there is an inside and an outside, a blackknot1
and white say, two surfaces connected only by whatever is in the depth between them. A ring can turn into a mobius strip if it breaks and is twisted, so that when rejoined the separate surfaces have become one. Different breaks and joins, with or without the twist, make all kinds of knots and tangles, or helices, depending on what is found as the broken ends seek a rejoin.

Whatever the complexity, there are essential differences between the single surface of the mobius strip, the double surfaces of the ring, or the multiple dimensions, and connections in the helix. On the strip, like Escher’s (1963) ants forever on one surface, living has no tensions between different worlds, only stop or go, following the rules. escherantsOn a ring, or more complex knot, ants on the different surfaces might continue forever in endless parallel worlds. However, they might also, through trial and error, like Popperian conjecture and refutation, learn slowly.
Recall again that in the notion of systemic thinking, one is oneself a part of the system. McDonald (2002) described the profound differences in her own feeling and sense of herself which occurred when she worked with disturbed and dangerous others in prison. People with “two surfaces,” however hard to reach, had strong passions and black and white views. They understood the rules, and why they had broken them, and why they were in prison. In out of prison terms, these people are moralistic, rather than moral, and in thought terms, they make mistakes of ignorance and assumption. These in the moment reactions in people, are emotionally immature, and so is the thinking process happening at that moment, however complicated its content. In spite of this, Anne McDonald said she found it relatively easy to work, even when individuals were wholly immature or violent, as she did not feel her own sense of self in danger of being overcome.

She declared the one-surface model (formed by making a twist) much more difficult, both to see, and to influence, because in making a relationship of any kind with such a person, or the twist part of a person, one had to join them on the single surface, whatever it was. One is sucked in to the existing system, drawn in by ones own ordinary needs in contact with others (e.g., assuming trust, making a living, etc.). Instead of being able to take part in a dialogue, one loses ones own vision or perspective. McDonald (2002) said it was essential to find other people who related differently, and get out of such a system, otherwise one would be seduced. A twist in response to a break includes the manipulative, the emotional blackmailer, the con man, and the abuser, as well as the workaholic portrayed by Escher (1963), because no other way of being can be seen. The idea corresponds to hegemony of belief which distorts everyone’s experience. Institutional and cultural examples are those firms like Enron where a profit motive divorced from value existed, or the evidence of the Macpherson report (1999) of institutional racism, and the Stevens report (2003) of institutional collusion in murder in Northern Ireland. To work well in such a context, one needs a sense of ethics, as ordinary response (especially rational response) will itself become twisted, and, more importantly, in emotional terms, our sense of self is betrayed by our own need for interaction with others.
McDonald’s comment was that the only way out was to see the break and twist for what it was, a distortion which seemed like a good idea at the time, and what one really needs is the totally uncomplicated view of someone ordinary with no axe to grind (e.g., the child who saw the emperor naked, or, in real life, the chat with the secretary at the photocopier). She purposely makes time for such ordinariness, so that there is room for seeing yourself as others see you, from a distance, as well as for relationship, dialogue, and understanding (2002). Then, the distortion which seemed like a good idea at the time can be finding the break, re-breaking, and trying a different kind of join. In therapeutic understanding, counsellors know that to help someone, they often have to be seduced into failure, so they are in the kind of failure this person has previously experienced. They, unlike their client, may know the way out, and, unlike most professionals, they have supervisors who are as interested in the process of failing as they are in the process of succeeding. From emotional education experiences, it seems to me that the twist is more difficult to find in organisations, as day-to-day experience of authority, especially that of hierarchy and tradition, hide its effects within what seems like good practice at the time.

So, that is the idea of the Twist.

Now, I want to combine this with previous ideas on thought process, to develop a notion of psychopathy that helps us to see how psychopathology infects organizations and cultures. I expect this will be closely related to Paul Hoggett’s concept of as- if cultures, or perverse social structures.

Most important in my aim is to explore the idea of the twist in ordinary everyday experience, that is indeed damaging, but is far from the perversities of paedophilia or criminality that have been the subject of MacDonald’s and Black’s work.

Mental Patterns: Creativity and Psychopathy 1

All the possible sounds of the world’s languages are available to babies, but some atrophy as they do not belong to the particular baby’s cultural world. Consider the chinese “r”, essential in saying “ren, 人”  which is the word for person, and the mess made of this sound by westerners learning chinese. Or hear the tones of tonal languages, or the th of English, speakers who have not used these sounds as babies will be forever marked as having a foreign accent however language proficient they become.

Suppose that similarly all the possible processes of mental development are available to babies, but the circumstances of their interactions allow some to atrophy, some to strengthen. Some become “templates” or fixed patterns of mind. Within individuals some unconscious patterns are so strongly set that the neuroscientists have referred to them as “hard wired”. However we now know (neuroscience, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, socio-cultural studies, anthropology) that, possibly, hard wiring is changeable, the mind and its patterns have more plasticity than was thought earlier in the exploration of this complex science. (Nature/nurture is of importance in learning how to make development better for individuals and for society, but does not affect what can be understood about the characteristics of different states of mind nor the mental processes that brings these states about.)

I am interested in thought process. Or, the states of mind that lead to categorically different kinds of thought process, and different kinds of thinking. Further, I would like to understand why so many mistakes in thought flourish and influence the communities and organizations we live within. Why is change for the better not easier to achieve? Why is destructiveness, of people and planet, apparently so evident, not stopped?

The Nature of Thought is fraught with the complication that what we have to think with is the mind itself, the thinker is thinking about itself. To examine thought is to be by default subjective, and to know this as one thinks. There is no either /or in this study that allows rational to be separated out from the unconscious emotional origins of the thinking. (Panksepp et al). To be authentic, the work has to be both emotionally aware and rationally explored. Neither can take precedence.

For now, I am using the word “thought” to indicate the whole variety of mental patterns that end up as a ‘thought’ that can be articulated, or an idea, or impression, in consciousness.

Freud’s great discovery was the identification of a way in which this dilemma could allow moving forward. By acknowledging that one is IN the system one is in, and also that one can perceive parts of that system  by feel, by reaction, by bodily and mental sensations, one can then at the same time observe oneself as a subject to the system and begin to tease out the characteristics that belong to it. Solms and Turnbull (2002) say that the mind is knowable (though certainly not yet known) in two different ways: as experienced by itself as subject, and as a physical organ, an object viewed from outside.

Applied to analyst and analysand, the “system” is the two people in the analytic relationship, and the result is understanding of the nature of each. Applied in any other field, the same principle of exploration brings partial knowledge of the truth of the system. If this knowledge is accepted, new thought can emerge. (See history of science,  a Faraday or a McClintock, and many others. These two to my knowledge, gave credit to emotional awareness. See psycho-social studies of organizations, or politics, etc.and everywhere that “systemic thinking” is now acknowledged).

My work in Emotional Education was based on Wilfred Bion, who, following the insights of Melanie Klein, developed a theory of thinking. I have written about this elsewhere.

Basic**: PS ->D stands for “paranoid schizoid position” can move to “depressive position”. I have referred to this often as two different kinds of thought, the PS kind that might be benevolent prejudice or paternalism or other forms of ideology, akin to “Super-ego” thinking, using patterns that have gone before, so cannot be new. I have thought of this as Bion’s “lie”, the person in this state of mind cannot be open to new thinking or perception (see also Waddell, Inside Lives ). Or, as Faraday for example did when he experimented, observed and brought forth the wave theory of electricity and magnetism, the state of mind for thought can be in a depressive position, able to bear uncertainty, as Keats’ definition of negative capability. The mind is open to revelation, this is Bion’s “truth”, and the scientists capacity to discover.

But, when I am trying to explain, especially as in Emotional Education power point presentations, I refer to PS-> D as a process in itself, consisting of parts that are necessary for both survival and development. Martha Harris considered the process a dynamic spiral in which one endlessly traversed a) perception of other, b) split to cope with perception, c) feedback of split off item d,i) if feedback has become bearable, it is accepted and proceed to e) the depressive position and knowledge of ‘other’, d,ii) if feedback is still unbearable, splitting is maintained and knowledge of ‘other’ cannot be accessed.

I am just now thinking of a new to me thought. Coming from Will Black‘s work on psychopaths, one question is “how can people not know?” (is the answer not d,ii above?), Also from my own previous thinking around the idea of ‘twist’ or the person who is like the ‘mobius strip’ with only one surface (Anne MacDonald*), I am thinking there is a different reaction if the PS splitting has NOT coped. Suppose the perception has impact resulting in a break, rather than a split, and survival in a break forces a rejoin without feedback from ‘other’. Such a rejoin would have to twist so that there is no other existing in the mental state. The template for future development is that everything perceived is claimed for the self, and interactions in the world are always first brought in to the claustrum where the mind exists. To an outsider, it looks as if the person interacts, but for this person, there is no interaction, no other. [Is this is that Black calls “psychopath”?] Here instead of PS-> D the process could be PS -> T where T is this response to splitting that did not work.  From psychoanalytic writers such as Steiner or Meltzer and their concepts of psychic retreat and claustrum, I start to see that I have indeed seen this process but not recognized it, as I thought of it as being a reversal, or a being stuck, a sort of D-> PS or PS standstill. My daughter-in-law calls it “living in a bubble”.

And, I have written about it before!! At that time I was thinking about ideas like “institutions in the mind”.

Now I want to write a post: Develop the idea of The Twist, a kind of mind set where “other” is never real, so the person floats through the world as if – always as if – in a bubble. Will update when I have written it!

*referenced in this previous paper, p. 62

**Process described here, also in a previous post that now seems a bit muddled:

 

 

 

 

 

Splitting, and states of mind

How does a mind cope with experience, its experience of itself and the body that it is in? Especially, as is the case at birth, with new experience, with a mind that is just at a beginning stage of development?

a) perception has impacted on mind or body or both.

b) Mental discomfort too great, Self splits:

  • Keep perception of the ‘good’, comfortable enough, and get rid of perception of the ‘bad’, too uncomfortable, Short-term survival, I am OK and can manage, But, the experience deemed bad can no longer be perceived, it is lost to feeling and thought. The ‘good’ is unqualified, more ideal, less real.
  • Splitting” is a word for biological process – the creation of emotion states in the mind/brain, and is both necessary and natural. It can be considered a process of psychic economy whereby the complex perception of a situation impacting on a mind that does not yet know the thought needed to think the perception, creates thinking capacity by attributing all its ‘x’ characteristics to one of a pair, and all its ‘y’ characteristics to the other.
  • Pleasure vs pain; Security vs threat; Seen before vs never seen before, etc.
  • The part of perception that can be kept is a goody, goodies are all-good and wear white hats, and the baddies are all-bad and wear black hats. We often add a defense such as denial or projection to the ‘baddie’ characteristics.

In hindsight, a stunningly obvious revelation to which this leads is that we never know ALL about a context, nor can we predict all consequences. Certainty is not a real quality, but an ideal one. Certainty is regrettably often confused with security needs, where in fact security arises from capacity to deal with the second part of the process, the acceptance of feedback.

c) Different states of mind, previously written and thought about version: (as here)

  • Splitting takes place, then, following feedback from “other”
  • EITHER – Transcends splitting, bad recovered, to become integrated, open to experience, adapts to change, engages in creative play and thought, empathic to others, copes with real world anxiety and trouble, enjoys life, secure
  • OR – Maintains splitting according to circumstances, defensive, repeats behavior, seeks certainty, almost everything we know people do…
  • Both states carry an AUTHORITY picture, how authority is seen unconsciously – a transference picture

Anyone, BABY, CHILD, ADULT in age, can be in either state of mind, some of the time, all of the time, none of the time, momentarily, or for quite a while.We are connected to each other and dependent on the kind of feedback received. This can be from outside the self, form another, or from one’s developed inner world, another part of the self.