The Borderline Within

Every since my teens when my best friend told me I was a psychopath, I have believed it. The more I learn about psychopathy, the more it looked like the truth. I got a personality appraisal and was diagnosed ASPD and NOS. And yet…

A year or so ago, a friend, also a Path, once suggested I might to Borderline instead of Psychopath. I was much too emotional to be a Path. True, I was more emotional than he was. But, of all the Cluster B “disorders,” I scored lowest on the tests for BPD. I don’t fear abandonment. I don’t love-hate anyone. Well, he other day, I replayed the video about BPD that I have on my Borderline page. I’ll display the video here for convenience.

I realized that I have displayed some signs of BPD in my past. I have cut myself a couple of times. It’s wasn’t like the Borderlines in the video who did it because they needed to get relief from their feelings. In both my cases, it involved a fucked up attempt at communication. One time, I cut myself in order to write a note to a guy I had been dating in blood. (How Borderline is that?) I wasn’t even in love with the guy. Just buttsore. I changed my mind and begged him to destroy the note without opening it. He assured me he had done so. The other time was when I was living with my parents and cut to win an argument. It didn’t work. The negative reaction I got probably dissuaded me from ever doing such a thing again. The exhibitionist nature of the acts seem kinda Histrionic in a way.

Another behavior the people in the video described was getting so angry with a frustration as to throw a phone across the room. I have actually done such a stupid thing at work, of all places. I mostly get so mad when the technology isn’t working properly. People occasionally but not often piss me off that much. I guess I deal with people who piss me off by just being directly rude to them. Of course, ‘Paths can get plenty angry too.

For years, Nine Inch Nails was my favorite band. I still love Trent’s music but not the way I used to which was a typical rock fan kind of worship. I don’t know enough to venture a diagnosis but Trent does show a lot of traits in his songs that could be considered borderline.

clusterbs.jpgThe video shows a man talking about have a “camillian-type” persona. That sounds similar to Narcissists (false self), Psychopaths (the mask) and even Histrionics (all the world’s a stage). Maybe having a fluid sense of self is a Cluster B trait. 

beeIt’s funny how many of the same traits keep showing up in each of the Cluster B “disorders.” Histrionics want all the attention. So do Narcs. Psychopaths, Narcs and Histrionics are detached from emotion, each in a different way. Psychopaths just don’t feel that much. Narcs have a “false self” which fight their battles while the “true self” is tucked away safely. Histrionics feel a lot but the emotions are shallow and change quickly. Borderlines are the only ones who feel deeply. That makes them so different from the other Bees that one wonders if they are even in the same cluster. But my recognition of my own Borderline traits informs me that there is a connection.  I would welcome the insights of others on this question.


Definition of BPD in the DSM

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Borderline-Personality-DisorderFrantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
  5. splittingRecurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms.

Symptoms & Criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder

According to the DSM-5, there are four diagnostic criterion, of which Criterion A has seven sub-features.

A. Disregard for and violation of others rights since age 15, as indicated by one of the seven sub features:

  1. Antisocial+Personality+DisorderFailure to obey laws and norms by engaging in behavior which results in criminal arrest, or would warrant criminal arrest
  2. Lying, deception, and manipulation, for profit or self-amusement,
  3. Impulsive behavior
  4. Irritability and aggression, manifested as frequently assaults others, or engages in fighting
  5. Blatantly disregards safety of self and others,
  6. A pattern of irresponsibility and
  7. Lack of remorse for actions (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

The other diagnostic Criterion are:

B.antisocial_personality_disorder_by_theunisonreturns-d6peppj The person is at least age 18,

C. Conduct disorder was present by history before age 15

D. and the antisocial behavior does not occur in the context of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

Well, one out of three. But these “recovery” sites often accuse us of idealization followed by devaluation in our relationships. And the fluid sense of self, discussed above, is certainly a characteristic of Psychopathy, if not ASPD.

So there are three characteristics Psychopaths share with Borderlines. I used to think there weren’t any.


Flying Monkeys

May the Flying Monkeys keep our house safe. Amen

Although flying monkeys are not strictly speaking part of Cluster B, they can be used by Bees so they have a place in this blog. I love the name and concept. It’s such good fun!


What would politics be without flying monkeys?


Sometimes you’d like nothing better than to give them a good scolding, especially if they’re on the other team:


flyingmonkeytshirtThey appear on t-shirts. There is even a line of fashion named Flying Monkey. You can find the cutest shorts by Flying Monkey at Bloomingdales so you know it’s gonna be good. Too bad they are so pricey.

To be serious, for a minute, a flying monkey can be a well-meaning relative who tells you you are breaking your mother’s heart by not speaking to her. They don’t know the whole story, why you went No Contact. But they are right there with all the heart rending emotions and probably get a warm glow in their hearts thinking they are helping. They can also be malicious gossips who know they are being snarky and don’t give a damn. Sometimes a flying monkey will be your faithful champion and servant for a while and then turn against you. Maybe they are flying monkeys for your enemy now. Keeping a flying monkey loyal can be a matter of skill and perseverance.

Another thing one can do is accuse people of being flying monkeys whether they are or not. Many people seem to thrive on believing the worst about others and passing on nasty rumors. Then those people who heard and believed the rumors become flying monkeys themselves.

Perhaps the media is a center for flying monkey activity. A newspaper or news show can make a dandy back yard fence over which you can get and spread information.




She’s Got the Blood of Reptile #2

I think it’s silly the way some people love to call psychopaths “reptiles.” Denying our very humanity, as many more like to do, isn’t enough for this select group. Of course, if we’re reptiles, we aren’t human. And it means we’re not even mammals. I guess they can’t take our detachment so they are mentally detaching us from all categories of beings they feel any connection to.

The association of reptiles to evil is an old one in our Judeo-Christian culture. The first eveandsnakeevil invaded the paradisaical Garden of Eden in the form of the serpent. Eve was a mammal, a member of the human species. So, I guess she was intrinsically good. But the evil serpent made her do something wrong. That’s the equation. Human = good. Reptile = evil.

slytherincrestAnd so it has been from time immemorial. Look at Harry Potter. The students are divided into four houses. One of them is identified with reptiles. Slytherin.


bruceleeI like reptiles for their stillness, their concentration, their readiness for action. These are the same traits Bruce Lee advocates for his students. That’s the stance of a warrior. Not that we always have to be at war. Just living life on my own terms is a worthy goal. For this, some people want to read us out of the circle of humanity. Says some interesting things about these people’s values. Happy to be one of me rather than one of them.


All About Evil

trumpdontcareIn the past, I have written about the concept of “evil.” I just read a new article that tries to tackle the question: Is There Such A Thing As Evil — And Is Trump It? The article starts quite sensibly with defining evil.

What is evil, actually? The dictionary definition has it as “profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force.”

immigrant-childrenTrying to define “evil,” by calling it “immorality, wickedness and depravity,” is just saying evil is evil. These words are pretty much synonyms for “evil.” Perhaps evil is a matter of degree. Bad things become “evil” things when they reach a certain level of intensity. If so, can it be measured?

As I have said before, “evil” is subjective. It’s about what upsets us so much we think such a thing shouldn’t even exist in the universe we believe in. Of course, it does exist. So we need to call it something. We call it “evil.”

childdetainedThroughout the centuries, religious leaders and morality pundits have defined what is good and moral and differentiated it from what is bad. We call those who do bad things “sinners” as a way to suggest these people can improve, clean up their act. We only call them “evil” when we have written them off, given up hope of redemption.

Psychiatry has tried to remove judgement from people who did bad things but calling them “sick.” Now, some psychiatrists are trying to re-insert moral judgment into the psychiatric paradigm. Of course, many people have been chomping at the bit in their eagerness to call psychopaths evil.

evilice.jpgDonald Trump did a terrible thing tearing babies out of the arms of their mothers on the ground that the mothers “broke the law” by daring to come to this country without all the right paperwork. Empaths are mortified and Mr. Trump is going to have a hard time living this down. It’s just this kind of thing that arouses the emotions of the electorate like nothing else.

I realized in my heart, I don’t really feel empathy for those kids. Sure I know they went through something horrible. I feel sorry for them — cognitively. Is that possible? To feel cognitive pity? Nevertheless, I was shocked to learn that Melania Trump went to one of the internment camps wearing a coat that boldly proclaimed her indifference to the children’s suffering. The Trumps are many things but hardly ever dull.


My Sovereign Self

A Child‘s Saga

rottenWhen I was a little kid in elementary school, we kids had a rotten principle, Mr. Wiener. Had I been as fluent with words as I presently am, I would have dubbed him Mr. Weenie.

Mr. Weenie had a pet project: collecting funds for veterans. He pursued his project by trying to induce the kiddies to donate money. I don’t know how much money he got from all of us. After all, it was a middle class neighborhood and we were just kids. But the idea of children donating their pennies to a noble cause seemed to be just the right expression of altruism to make everyone look good and feel happy. Something for Bristol Palin to write about.

nopeI decided I was not going to donate. In the first place, I didn’t want to give away my money. Frankly, I didn’t care about veterans. In fact, I scarcely even knew what they were other than something patriotic, in other words, something I have to pretend to respect. Anyway, the fact that it was my money seemed to mean something.

I will never forget the assembly in which the weenie addressed the student body with what he probably thought was a fine motivational speech. What this speech really accomplished was to show just how deeply he loathed meanmanus kids. He pictured each of us with money in our pockets contemplating various places we might spend it. He vocalized words like “movies” and “candy” with a voice that dripped contempt. He made it clear that he thought spending our money on such unworthy things, things that might probably give us pleasure, disgusting. The loathing he expressed for children’s diversions was easily transferred to loathing for us kids, ourselves. I knew he hated us. He hated us but he wanted something from us.

I discussed the thing with my father who said this man was probably working on his political future. In other words, our donations would make him look more virtuous in the eyes of future political constituencies. So I’m supposed to sacrifice my pleasure to make a man who hated me look like a good person? I’m to make the sacrifice and he’s to get the credit for it?


There was a lot of pressure. I think the teacher made sure everyone knew who donated and who didn’t, an attempt to use peer pressure, in other words, using us against ourselves. The other kids didn’t seem to care much who made a donation. And, yet, many years later, I read my mother’s account of the incident, made to a social worker at the nuthouse I had lived in for two years of my teenage life. According to my mother, kids waited for me outside of class and beat me up for refusing to donate. I have no idea where she picked up this idea. The only cross words I even heard came from the principle and teachers. I can’t ask her where she got that from because she is dead. Maybe she felt I deserved to be beaten up. She certainly revealed some animosity I had never known existed.



patrobertsonI caught a glimpse of Pat Robertson and I was amazed and appalled at who I saw. First I thought of the scabby hobbit-like creatures who worked for Glory in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But then I saw even more clearly, Peter Pettygrew, AKA Scabbers on Harry Potter. His demeanor suggests he could be crawling through a tunnel. That combination of cowardice and unction is priceless!

Some more evangelical preachers:



The Ugliness of Hate


Everyone knows about the Tate/La Bianca murders by the Manson Family. Three girls were given the death sentence, later commuted to life imprisonment. Now Leslie van Houten is about to be paroled.

Sharon Tate’s mother, Doris Tate, has visited all the parole hearings of the family members to argue against it. She has said she regrets the fact that the death penalty has been abolished. She calls this murder “one of the most infamous murders.” It’s understandable the mother of a murdered person would feel this way. But it’s less logical for society at large to talk this way. I think the reason the Manson killings are considered so heinous is the fact that they were so bloody. The victims were not tortured. Shouldn’t murder with torture be considered worse? Shouldn’t rape and murder of little children be considered more worthy of condemnation?

dorisDoris Tate has devoted her entire life since the death of Sharon to making sure the Manson killers suffer. Her lifetime devoted to hatred shows on her face. It’s sad that a tragedy like the Tate/La Bianca killings should become the focus of this woman’s entire life.

Now that Leslie van Houten is finally getting out of prison, Sharon’s sister, Deborah, has taken up the vindictive cause of making sure the Manson girls suffer. It looks like Deborah’s face shows the same ugly hatred her mother’s face shows. I love my sister but I can’t imagine devoting my life to avenging her murder, should such a tragedy befall her. Sorry, Jennie!

Deborah has put up a web site that rallies people to sign a petition to ask the governor to prevent Leslie from getting paroled. As old as she is now and as many good deeds she’s performed since she’s been incarcerated, Deborah considers her an irredeemable “monster.”

She calls Leslie a “domestic terrorist,” a monster and a sociopath. As a psychopath, I wonder if Deborah thinks I belong in prison as well even though I never killed anyone. I have attempted murder once. That would probably mean I don’t belong at large. Good thing the system is nicer than people like Deborah and Doris.

lesliecharlieShe claims to believe in rehab except for these “monsters” who were once under the influence of Manson. Imagine what it’s like for any convicted felon trying to get parole. They go up before the Parole Board again and again. They offer signs of their rehabilitation only to hear that the heinousness of their crimes means they are to be rejected over and over. WTF! The board knew about their crimes before the hearing. Why have a hearing? Yet, at long last, now that Leslie is an old lady and far from the person who committed her crime, she is finally getting out. She will not “walk free.” She’ll still be on parole, under the supervision of the parole officers, under restrictions of curfew. But that’s just too good for the murderer of Deborah’s sister.

Deborah goes on and on, listing the virtues of Sharon and the other people in the house that night. They were “young, productive, happening” folk. Hey! Nobody is defending murder. It’s clearly “wrong.” But the perps have spent most of their adult lives behind bars. They have hardly gotten away with it.

But the crowning irony of it all is that Leslie wasn’t even along when Sharon Tate was murdered. She only participated in the killing of the La Biancas. Moreover, she didn’t kill them. She only stuck a fork in them after they were dead. Not nice, to be sure. But does it make her a “monster?” Or a “terrorist?” Terrorism is an act of violence committed for political purposes. She calls these people “terrorists,” not “former terrorists,” as if they can’t wait to got out and do it again. No rational person thinks they are a threat today. Maybe Manson was until his death. He seemed to be in the same place he was in then. But the girls have moved on. Perhaps the Tates should do the same.

The Idol

loveLove takes many forms. There is romantic love, agape love, love of a mother for a child, love for an ideal. One kind of love is the love for a person we only know from afar, the love of a fan for a star. That kind of love can be very intense. Most often, the fan is female and the star a man. He can be a movie star or a rock star. More unusual was my love for a 19th Century composer, Richard Wagner. I discovered him during my college years. I think such infatuations involve marriage of an ideal with the image we have in our minds of the object of our love. It has religious connotations. It is a kind of worship. The fact that we have never met the person makes it easier to create our own personal god/goddess. Personal interaction with this deity can never spoil hir perfection. It is a very special kind of love.

elton-john-abc-ml-180125_4x3_992This morning, I woke up with the thought of Elton John’s song, Candle in the Wind. I went to You-Tube and watched the video. I was struck by the expression of love that came through. The video showed some pictures of Norma Jean as a young child, lots of shots of Marilyn Monroe in movies and some of her dead body being wheeled out of her house, covered with a sheet, as is customary with corpses. The song depicts her as a victim, perhaps unfairly. People didn’t “crawl out of the woodwork, put her on a treadmill and make her change her name.” She chose her career, after all. Elton John sang, “I really wanted to know you but I was just a kid.” Do we ever know these objects of our worship? He sang, “Loneliness was the hardest role she played.” It seems to me that it was her very image that made her unknowable and, I guess, lonely. Who was she behind the myriad images controlled by the movie industry. We see her in so many movie roles, playing a fictitious person in a fictitious story.

Usually, this kind of worship involves a sexual fantasy. Girls have it for boys, less often, boys for girls. Elton John is gay which, I guess, makes it even more unusual. I decided to try to find out more about Marilyn Monroe/Norma Jean. I remember a few things I had marilynmonroeheard about her in the past. I saw The Seven Year Itch as a child and a few other movies over the years. I remember a friend of mine dissing her during the troubled time in her life when a picture of her coming from a hospital,  unmade-up and far from glamorous. My friend gleefully declared that this was what she “really” was. I never figured out why she was so hostile toward this person she didn’t even know. I also remember hearing mutterings about how Arthur Miller was to blame for her problems. She should have stayed away from that left-wing intellectual, according to the mutterers.

bernietaupinIcons lend themselves to the many fantasies myriad people weave about them, from conspiracy theories to something more personal as was the case of Candle in the Wind. But Elton John didn’t write the lyrics. They were written by Bernie Taupin, Elton’s song writing partner. He wrote the lyrics first and Elton John set them to music. About his part in writing the song, Taupin said,

“I think the biggest misconception about ‘Candle In The Wind’ is that I was this rabid Marilyn Monroe fanatic, which really couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not that I didn’t have a respect for her. It’s just that the song could just as easily have been about James Dean or Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain. I mean, it could have been about Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf. I mean, basically, anybody, any writer, actor, actress, or musician who died young and sort of became this iconic picture of Dorian Gray, that thing where they simply stopped aging. It’s a beauty frozen in time.

In a way, I’m fascinated with that concept. So it’s really about how fame affects the man or woman in the street, that whole adulation thing and the fanaticism of fandom. It’s pretty freaky how people really believe these people are somehow different from us. It’s a theme that’s figured prominently in a lot of our songs, and I think it’ll probably continue to do so.”

Fame separates the celebrity from the fans. “I really wanted to know you…” but the image prevents us from truly knowing them. However, isn’t it the very unknowableness of them that makes such a love from afar phenomena possible?

To be continued…*********************************************************

I had been expecting more information about the dynamics of fandom but, instead, I came upon a lot of the stories I had heard of vaguely in the past when I wasn’t really interested enough to follow up on them. Today, I found a lot of stuff on You-Tube about a long-term affair between MM and JFK. Her singing to JFK on his birthday at Madison Square Garden was so suggestive, Kennedy called the affair over to protect his reputation. She threatened to give a “press conference” and Bobby Kennedy came to calm her down. Then she and Bobby started an affair. When Bobby called it quits, MM threatened to expose both of them. She was allegedly murdered to keep her from exposing them. There were all sorts of stories about what really happened but it looks like she was probably murdered. I’m not going to reiterate all I heard and saw and it really isn’t the subject of this post but here are some links for those who are interested.


The Power of Stupidity

Don’t Feed the Troll


Intelligence is usually an advantage. But sometimes it’s just the opposite. Stupid people have a weapon. Their weapon is their very stupidity. Stupidity is more than the mere inability to think or understand wit. It’s the point blank refusal to even acknowledge anything of value. You could be the smartest person on earth. Einstein could be walking down the street. Some stupid, trollish bozo picks up a handful of mud and flings it at him. The only intelligent response would be to get out of his line of fire. Fight him and you might win. But you’ll still end up covered with mud. As the Bible says, “Don’t caste your pearls at swine.” To a stupid troll, everything you have to offer the world is a pearl and the troll or swine turns everything of value into mud.

The most stunning expression of stupidity is bigotry. A bigot doesn’t have to prove that the object of his bigotry is inferior. He just shouts out his prejudice loudly, over and over. holocaustThe noise blots out everything in the universe. Hitler knew this tactic and called it “The Big Lie.” His big lie motivated a whole nation to round up Jews and take them to concentration camps. There, they were abused so badly, they became degraded versions of themselves, scarcely recognizable as human beings. World War II is over and the Third Reich is just a period in history. But Jews are still vulnerable to bigots who want to wage war on them psychologically. All they need to do is invoke the name of Hitler in a way that denies all nazi-chicthe hurt he caused, effectively denying the humanity of his victims and he has mentally trashed anybody who identifies with the victims of the past. As a child, I grew up knowing about the Holocaust, knowing that a group I happen to belong to was dehumanized. Whenever you value something, the troll has a weapon. He attacks the thing that you value. He has nothing of value so the fight will always be uneven. In the case just mentioned, the thing of value is our humanity. The bigot doesn’t have to prove Jews are inferior or defective in any way. The fact of the Holocaust speaks for itself.

politically-correctThese days, it has become fashionable to scorn sensitivity to victims of crimes of bigotry as “political correctness.” The term politically correct was not originally meant to be a term of derision. People who wanted to improve society by fighting oppressive systems struggled together to figure out what was worthy of their beliefs. The ideas they decided were right were politically correct. But even fighting oppression has become something to sneer at with the term social justice warriors or SJW. Sad to say, many of the people I Social-Justice-Weenie-667x500identify with, people with Cluster B personality “disorders,” are among those who cynically do the sneering. Is it really so wrong to fight for social justice? It’s easy and gratifying to stand with the “winners,” that is, people who are not being attacked (at the moment) and can luxuriate in the pain of the other.

OK. Maybe we are lacking in empathy or conscience. So we are free to disregard the pain of victims of social injustice. But just because we can shine them on, it doesn’t follow that we must do so. So many people are in the very groups that are targeted by bigots. Let’s list some of them:

  • Jews
  • Blacks
  • Latinx
  • Gays
  • Trannies
  • Women
  • Elderly
  • Psychopaths
  • Poor
  • Disabled
  • Mental patients

spotapsychopathYes, even psychopaths are smeared and it isn’t even “politically incorrect” to do so. Many “social justice warriors” casually name the oppressors they are fighting “psychopaths,” apparently oblivious  to the fact that they are denigrating a whole group of people. They name their enemies “psychopaths” without even knowing if those people are psychopaths. It’s just a convenient term of abuse. This blog has discussed the subject and exposed “haters” at length. None of my fellow Cluster Bs have complained about these articles nor called me a “social justice warrior.” But isn’t it? You know that old saying:

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Even Ayn Rand has spoken up in this regard. Nobody calls her a SJW but bigotry is an equal opportunity offender. In her novels, she has spoken about the Drooling Beast:

droolingbeast“Listen, what’s the most horrible experience you can imagine? To me—it’s being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drooling beast of prey or a maniac who’s had some disease that’s eaten his brain out. You’d have nothing then but your voice—your voice and your thought. You’d scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you’d have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you’d become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you’d see living eyes watching you and you’d know that the thing can’t hear you, that it can’t be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it’s breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own. That’s horror. Well, that’s what’s hanging over the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wanton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own.”

stablersmomThat says it all. Yesterday, I was insulted for being old. Probably the fact that I was an old woman factored into it. Women are only supposed to be young and sexy. Otherwise, we have no value. I could have pointed out that I only got old by staying alive for 75 years and those who denigrate the elderly might, with any luck, live that long themselves. Ageism is quite pervasive. For example, one of my favorite TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is full of it. But pointing out the logical absurdity of it is pointless. Stupidity shields the stupid from having to deal with reality.

Bigotry is a cheap, easy and shoddy form of one-upsmanship. It costs the bigot nothing. He has nothing to lose. The people he attacks are usually better than he is. What fun to take down someone bigger than yourself.

Be Here Now


backpainIt started with pain. I’ve had an ache in my low back for about a week and it has gotten tiresome. But it reminded me of a remedy I once discovered for pain that doesn’t involve drugs. It’s a mind game, if you will. I thought pain is a sensation. Why are some sensations pleasurable and some unpleasurable? A physical sensation can be neutral. What gives it value, positive or negative? I focused on the sensation to try to zero in to what quality makes it “painful.” The more I focused on it, the more it receded until it disappeared. I realized I had just discovered a way to make pain disappear. The trick is,  for it to work, you can’t be trying to make it disappear. You have to be wholeheartedly trying to feel it completely. chanceThis discovery of mine had implications. Deliberately focusing on a sensation or on any experience, for that matter, can only be accomplished if one is totally in present time. That means no future or past. Just here and now. That led me to a new definition of pain (or any unpleasant feelings). It is a denial of the present. Full acceptance of the moment is the antidote!

To get rid of pain, getting into present time is necessary. Suffering involves rejecting the moment. The body experiences the sensation of pain. Normally, one doesn’t like it. You want to escape it. You want to escape the present moment. The way out is to accept it. Accept the moment which includes accepting the sensation. But when you truly accept it, the sensation is not pain. It is neutral, like the shit on the beach and the rotten food in the oven. It was such a revelation to find this out.

be-here-nowI have experienced the state of being totally in present time several times when I wasn’t doing the above exercise. Once it was through meditation. I was at work and decided to focus on a single spot in the room and making no motion whatever. I suddenly had a sense of having woken up. Everyone else in the room was asleep. It was a heady feeling, being the only one in the room who was awake. (Of course, they weren’t literally asleep. it was a relative state of awareness.) The other times were through drugs, once LSD and once heroin. What I noticed was a complete absence of disgust. One of the experiences was on the beach. There was shit in the sand. I guess a dog let loose. But, what normally would have disgusted me was completely neutral. The other time, I was in a kitchen where the oven had something rotten. Gross. Or it would have been normally but it didn’t bother me at all. Speed never gave me that imperiousness to disgust but it put me in a more rational and freer of emotions than otherwise. As a psychopath, I am already less emotional than the average person as well as less attached to sentiment. But the state I achieve on speed is more so. The consciousness I have achieved on speed is illustrated in the following video.

The TV series, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, had a humanoid monster created by an evil scientist. This monster, named Adam, was a perfect example of someone who was constantly in present time. The video shows his detachment, his lack of emotions. He tells a human, Riley, that his creator, Maggie, also “created him.” Riley reacted emotionally with aversion to the suggestion. A man tries to control Adam the way one would control another person. He said, “Maggie would have wanted you to stand down.” Adam replies, “I seem to have a design flaw.” When Riley continues to emote, Adam says, “That’s pain, isn’t it? Why? Because your feeding schedule has been interrupted?”

Four-Noble-Truths-2Buddhists value detachment from emotion. They say, for the unenlightened, “life is suffering” due to attachment. “Desires are endless. I resolve to end them.” Being in present time, one is free of attachment. The consciousness of psychopaths is said to be close to Buddhism. That makes sense since psychopaths are detached. Our detachment involves a lack of empathy which seems to drive the rest of the world crazy as Adam’s detached statements drove Riley crazy. We are not free of desire, however. The reward center of our brains is very active. Dopamine feeds the drive for reward.

damnedI know two psychopaths who have said psychoactive substances don’t really do it for them. I suggested my above theory to one of them. Perhaps, I hypothesized, you don’t get high from substances because you are already high in your normal state, by virtue of being in the moment. But he pointed out that such a possibility is inconsistent with boredom which is notoriously our Achilles Heel. He’s right, of course. Being in the moment is an antidote to boredom just as it is to pain and other forms of malaise. I confess, I cannot, at this time, explain the paradox of how we can be so detached and, at the same time, so averse to boredom and so driven to thrill-seeking. If anyone reading this has an idea, please share it in your comments.

one-does-not-become-enlightenedI tried consciously embracing the here and now yesterday. I didn’t do very well. Detachment from my back pain was difficult to achieve. Then Life intervened. I had a problem with my Smart Phone and needed to call Technical Support. I hate having to deal with Technical Support. The first “expert” I talked with was pretty clueless and too stubborn to let go of his rigid ideas which were wrong. I called again and got someone much better. Eventually, we solved the problem. But I let annoyance get in. Then anger. Too bad. Better luck the next time. I guess I’m not enlightened yet. I guess I still have things to learn in this life.

“If I told you what it takes to reach the highest high
You’d laugh and say nothing’s that simple
But time and again, you’ve heard before
Messiahs have pointed to the door
And noone’s had the guts to leave the temple”
“I’m Free,” Tommy by The Who