The Prevalence of Self-Inflicted Wounds

Created July 15, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

We’re not happy about Putin for very good reason. Yet he is one of us and we can learn from his mistakes. Might be a tad easier than learning from our own mistakes, until we get the hang of the latter, which is a good thing to do.

Here he was trying to contain NATO and instead his actions taken in that regard had a boomerang effect. Making him more unstable and dangerous no doubt.

Let us consider my argument that there is a common cause, or mechanism, within all of us that is responsible for his having done that.

And that same phenomenon in you connects to the things you have done in your life which were akin to shooting yourself in the foot or other necessary appendage.

What is that thing that is dragging us all down, then?

It is a miscalibration of one function of the mind.

This function has been miscalibrated by the history (we ought to say hisandherstory) through which we have passed as if through a gauntlet.

The long and short of it: thugs took over and still rule in most places. Here in the few democracies the thugs are actually a mixture of all kinds of people, which is an improvement. We average citizens like that someone else is watching the unbelievably complex store. When we are born, we are immersed in a degree of complexity that is baffling to our capacity, and then it gets ever more intense. It was not always that way. My theory is that the Acceleritis started with written language. Nowadays Acceleritis has reached fever pitch, with the average person multitasking during virtually every second of the day.

That was how this particular mental function came to become miscalibrated.

Well, what is that darn function, then?

Freud gave it a name which I’ll cite in a moment. But first let’s talk about why the function was validly necessary.

In a world in which many agents have free will and one is only a single member of this cloud, it is inevitable that there will be conflicts of interest.

This function is specifically designed to be useful in preventing and overcoming these conflicts of interest.

Freud, in Civilization and its Discontents, one of his greatest books, said that this function starts up when the baby has its first experience of needing something and not having that something delivered instantly.

At that point, he wrote, a new function of mind arises, to deal with such situations.

He called it the ego.

He characterized it as a managerial function, to get the self what it wants or needs through the use of specific tactics that were not inherent in the original self.

What existed of the self/mind before that point he called the id. I call the id the Me That Was Born. Same thing whatever you call it.

I also call the ego by another name. I call it the robot. Because I see it as a set of coded instructions that creates further coded instructions, mediated by electrochemical reactions in the nervous system, which arise subsequent to birth and therefore are not the original self.

I see the original self as an extremely valuable thing, of cosmic significance, and worth distinguishing from the programs that the original self subconsciously creates.

So the ego is sort of the patient’s caregiver, the client’s press agent, the client’s advocate, the function that tries to make sure that the self gets credit where it is due.

Miscalibration of the Ego

In a supposed “normal” world, in which the input stream does not overwhelm the central processor immediately, causing inforush paralysis and then Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), the ego would be as pragmatically useful as the thumb.

However, when the ego is confronted by excessive information, it becomes a danger. One moves quickly into a hasty acceptance of supplied defaults. This is how mental self-enslavement occurs. The ego over-reacts and exaggerates threats, causing hormonal changes we sense as our own fear or anger whenever something – even trivial – appears potentially capable of challenging our security. It’s the survival-driven fight or flight reaction in situations which do not rationally justify such a reaction, when reacting that way is childish and vain.

In an ideal and yet pragmatically possible future, individuals will pull themselves up by their bootstraps to deal with information overload, without giving in to the impulses sent from the ego.

What can you do?

Be on guard. Getting stressed out is a sign that you slipped gears and are internally dominated for the moment by the ego in you. Take that sense of dilemma as a signal to stop, breathe, press the reset button hard, reject recent emotional reactions, go to neutral. Look at the situation objectively and scientifically.

Let’s take an example. Say that you’re having a conversation with your significant other. Assume that they say something that bugs you. While noting your hormonal release effects and keeping them separate from your true self, notice the fact that “feeling like making sharp retorts to unworthy statements” shrinks you back into the contracted ego you.

Understanding Your Ego

In its inflamed state due to the inforush, your ego makes bad decisions trying to serve your interests. It’s only a biological AI, so it’s imperfect, not built for the volume of complexity rushing at you each second. In order to be master of your own castle you have to be aware of these things and to take control of them.

You can’t allow yourself to be pulled under by the force of your amygdala and the rest of your limbic alarm system. You must maintain control of the ship despite these powerful waves washing you in hormonal takeover.

The secret is that your vulnerability lies in your attachment to certain outcomes. You have become obsessively hypnotized and enslaved by terror of certain outcomes (e.g., death, mortification, loss of loved ones, terrible illness, etc.) and desire of others (money, fame, etc.). Only by confronting these feelings on the stage of your consciousness can you gradually readjust the control to favor your true self.

My book Mind Magic was written to provide more detailed instructions. With or without my further advice, it was always you that it comes down to, you must do this for yourself in any case, no matter what tools you select to help you, this is the challenge that the Universe presents to you at this moment of truth in a world at climax.




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