Writing Depersonalisation Disorder

Depersonalisation Disorder is a brutally surreal experience. Also known as Derealisation Disorder, this condition is characterised by feeling like an outside observer of one’s own body despite being in it, and feeling like one isn’t actually in control of that body’s actions. Also common are feelings about reality being vague, dream-like, or less real than usual. This article gives some hints for how writers can handle characters with Depersonalisation Disorder.

This condition is almost always the result of stress, but a distinction needs to be made between a person who is temporarily dissociating in the moment because of an intensely traumatic event that has just happened, a person who has an established pattern of dissociating when exposed to certain stimuli that should not themselves be distressing, and a person who has a tendency to dissociate under small amounts of stress owing to psychological damage from past trauma.

It has to be made clear that Depersonalisation Disorder is not the same thing as psychosis. A person in a dissociated state will be aware that their perceptions are altered (or, at the very least, that something is wrong). In other words, they will not have lost touch with reality, which is a necessary quality of a psychotic experience. They will just have dissociation.

Dissociation is when one starts to feel emotions and sensations that aren’t usually associated with the environment that one is in. For example, one might be in an extremely stressful situation but not actually feel any stress: one simply watches everything from the perspective of consciousness, as if floating outside the body. Things feel unreal, surreal, so that sometimes one feels as if one is watching a film with one’s life on it instead of actually living it.

This lack of connection with the body is the strangest and most difficult thing about the condition. A person with depersonalisation can look at their own hand and not feel like they’re looking at their own body, which is a highly disconcerting experience. It’s also disconcerting to look at yourself in the mirror and not really understand who it is or that it’s you, or to recall a past memory and feel as if it really happened to someone else.

If written from a first person perspective, and written well, the experience of a character with Depersonalisation Disorder might be terrifying to the reader. Dissociation is often terrifying to experience personally, especially for the first time, and may be difficult to distinguish from a panic attack. However, often it is more weird than frightening, especially when the alternative is genuine suffering.

If the dissociation is occurring in a character being observed by the protagonist, that character might seem distant, vacant and “spaced-out”. The protagonist might get emotionless, zombie-like responses from the character undergoing dissociation, which might be a problem if there is something that has to be done quickly. It’s very possible that the protagonist mistakes the person dissociating for being under the influence of a psychoactive substance.

Most readers don’t do a lot of drugs. If they do, they might find the experience amusing to read about. After all, dissociation is a common effect of many recreational drugs. For such an audience, a character’s bout of dissociation might come across as highly comical, and doubly so when paired with another character who is perfectly straight in all regards.

Like most psychiatric conditions, Depersonalisation Disorder is believed to have an origin in psychological trauma. It’s very possible that a character with the condition will have experienced repeated trauma in childhood (usually emotional) that was so relentless it caused the mind to dissociate with reality in order to protect itself. This could be abuse, or a witnessed tragedy, or even simply a realisation about the true nature of things.

The case of Depersonalisation Disorder might then be an ego protection response to extreme trauma so that the person suffering the trauma doesn’t become cruel as a consequence of the suffering. Essentially one goes mad, when under inhumane stresses, in preference to becoming evil. This might be a way of showing the inherent goodness of a character, or their inherent naivety, depending on one’s approach.

Writing about a character who has dissociation might not be very interesting if the story revolves around the dissociation itself. The story might be more interesting if your character is an otherwise mentally healthy person who becomes dissociated as a result of extreme circumstances. This might be a one-time event or it could be part of a pattern.

If it’s a one-time event, it might be a reaction to a grisly sight like a car accident or something seen on a battlefield. This need not, then, be the central role in the story, but might rather be something that befalls the protagonist at a particular juncture, possibly transforming them or causing them to grow.

If part of a pattern, it might play a more central role in the story. It may be that the sight of a certain thing triggers an episode of dissociation on account of being associated with what caused the initial trauma, or it could be that relatively small amounts of stress or uncertainty are enough to tip a character over the edge.

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This article is an excerpt from Writing With The DSM (Writing With Psychology Book 5), edited by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

21st Century Christianity and Its Manifestations

Opinions on how to treat homosexuals wax and wane with social fashion, but masochism is an eternal element of Christianity

Christianity hasn’t died yet, and it never will, for there will always be a niche for slave morality anywhere there is interpersonal conflict. Fittingly for the receptive, yielding principle that it represents, Christianity has morphed into a near-infinite variety of different doctrines depending on the time and place in which it was trying to be relevant. This essay examines the characteristics of 21st century Christianity.

The sort of person who finds themselves attracted to a slave morality such as Christianity remains the same as ever, much like human nature itself. Their essential characteristic is resentment, and their essential motivation is the destruction of that which inspires envy in them. They are like pathological horizontalists, who want to level every dominance hierarchy out of resentment for not being able to climb them.

The Christianity of our century has found an equivalent for all of its ancient tenets and dogmas. For instance, in this new manifestation of Christianity, America are the Romans. Representing the men of iron, America has a vast military empire that brings humiliation and subjugation to its rivals. Anything that happens in the world, no matter where and no matter who to, can be blamed on American influence.

An Islamic suicide bomber who walks into a mosque in Pakistan and kills a hundred other Muslims has nothing to do with America. But neo-Christians will say that it’s still America’s fault because they “destablised” the country somehow, or because America gave money to some unsavoury politician somewhere alsong the line, or because the CIA financed the bomber, or equipped the bomber etc.

The neo-Christians rarely know anything about the Sunni-Shia divide and how murderous it has become. They don’t appreciate that a Muslim has a hundred times more to fear from a fellow Muslim than he does from the average American. It doesn’t matter to them. All Muslims are low status, and therefore they are elevated above the wealthy, c.f. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Similarly, the Original Sin is no longer sexual desire, because that has been fully monetised by now. The Original Sin is now racism, with racism being defined as solidarity with white people. All (white) people are guilty (of racism), and all have fallen short of the glory of (the colour-blind) God. We have all had thoughts about how we liked white people better, therefore we are all guilty of Original Sin, and are thereby associated with the Great Adversary of 21st century Christianity: Adolf Hitler.

The only solution for this Original Sin is self-flagellation. However, because corporal punishment isn’t fashionable in the Soy Era, this self-flagellation has to take a metaphysical form, and so the 21st century Christian gets their masochistic thrills from disparaging their own family, nation, race, class etc.

It has to be emphasised that Christianity doesn’t care for material concerns, and it never has. Inherent to Christian dogma is the meme that the cult comes above all other considerations, such as family, nation or class. So it’s natural for the 21st century Christian to say things like “White people have a uniquely brutal history of imperalism and racism.”

It’s therefore no accident that Christian churches are often behind the political impetus to allow hordes of Muslim and African refugees – who will never integrate – into the West. For thing, the Muslims also worship the God of Abraham, so they’re fundamentally on the same side as the Christians anyway, but more importantly, their arrival degrades the strength of the national bonds that people have with each other.

These national bonds are competing paradigms of solidarity to neo-Christianity and therefore have to be attacked so that it can take a central role in everyone’s life. Like its Abrahamic brothers in Islam and Judaism, Christianity is a totalitarian ideology, and it seeks to control every last aspect of the people under its thrall. This is why Jesus is quoted as saying in Matthew 10:34 that “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

All other culture must be bulldozed out of the way to make sufficient space for Abrahamic universalism. This belief is as common among the 21st century Christian as is was of the Taliban who erased Afghanistan’s history of Buddhism, or of the Jews who rewrite Western history to glorify themselves and to hide their own crimes. All other bonds of friendship or brotherhood must be smashed, so that the God of Abraham stands unchallenged above the world.

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How to Tell If A Political Ideology Has Failed

The genesis of the Soviet failure was the failure of their philosophers to accurately understand, and to account for, human nature

All political philosophies, when first expounded, claim to have a special and unique insight into the truth of human nature. This claim is the basis for the legitimacy of each one. However, this also gives us a limit point at which a political ideology can be said to have failed – when those expounding it will be trying to change human nature instead of change their philosophy.

Machiavelli was correct – human nature never changes. It is the one constant through which the rest of the world can be understood. Human nature is the same in all times and places and therefore anyone who understands it might as well be able to see into the future. This gives immense power to those who do understand human nature. They are able to flow with the waves of it, instead of being dashed upon the rocks.

Communism failed because it did not account for the masculinity within human nature. The assumption was that, after the structures of cruelty and capitalism were dismantled, we would all go back to a bonobo-style level of caring, sharing and free love. Everyone would have what they needed because those able to provide it would simply do so out of inherent kindness.

It did not account for the chimpanzee within us, the hypermasculinist who desires verticalisation. The fact is that resources are extremely limited in a state of Nature, which means that when times of scarcity roll around, some have to go without. There is an immense evolutionary incentive, for obvious reasons, for social creatures such as humans to evolve to fight like hell rather than go without, and so primates have evolved dominance hierarchies.

This means that a state of perfect solidarity, and full sharing totally free of resentment, is unnatural. Humans are a hierarchical creature in a state of Nature, and the attempt to reform humanity and the nature of humanity – as if it was a field that could simply be sown with a higher grade of crop – was the folly that killed a hundred million people last century.

Nazism failed for similar reasons. Their great error was to assume that the nature of the German people was more morally upright than what it really was, which created a cognitive dissonance that found resolution in the scapegoating of the Jews. Externalising the blame for personal failure is typical of the sort of person who finds merit in Nazism.

Neo-Communism, in its manifestation as social justice warrior culture, is failing because it failed to account for how unwilling young people are to be programmed into parroting utter bullshit, especially when that bullshit denies aspects of human nature that even children can observe. The neo-communist attempt to reform human nature into some kind of non-racist, non-sexist and non-judgmental perfect niceness is doomed to fail, as all people smarter than dogs can see the distinctions between the various types of humans everywhere they go.

Instead of accepting that the bonds of solidarity and philia that held society together have now been shattered by relentless waves of mass immigration and the ruthless application of neo-liberal ideology to every facet of life, the neo-communists try to brainwash everyone into denying their natural instincts by browbeating them into submission with terms like “Racist!”. This is clear evidence of failure.

Likewise, the neo-nazism of our age serves to misdirect blame rather than accept that its conception of human nature is inaccurate. The neo-nazis often have intelligent and accurate criticisms about how the current system has failed, and how the Marxists have failed, but their downfall lies (as with the Marxists) with their solutions.

The neo-nazi solution is still, as it was, to fundamentally change human nature by exterminating those who don’t fit in, the belief being that the remainder will become something like the perfect human. This was, and remains, a failed philosophy for the reason that human nature does not and will not change in response to human meddling.

Liberal democratic capitalism, for all of its flaws, tried to change human nature much less than either Nazism or Communism, and that’s why it defeated them both last century. The Anglo-American system accepted from the beginning that Nature will throw up a wide range of variance among her children, an acceptance made easier by the brilliant insights of Charles Darwin into the subject.

This meant that the Anglo-Americans, and those influenced by them, focused on building a system that would accommodate the widest variance of human behaviour. Their version of liberal democratic capitalism was able to account for both noble and debased natures, and find a place for both to contribute, meaning that it wasted much less energy on fighting itself and imposing order upon itself, relative to the competing philosophies.

The Anglo-American system deserves much criticism, particularly when it comes to how willing it is to sell its own people for small amounts of money, but it is less bad than anything hitherto attempted, on account of it making more accurate assumptions about human nature. This has minimised the desire of its political rulers to attempt to reshape human nature, which has minimised the risk of gulags and gas chambers.

Future political philosophies, when they arise, will not and must not be mere throwbacks to the 20th century way of doing things. The political philosophies of the 21st century will take into account an extra century’s worth of insights into the reality of human nature, and the reality of the Nature that spawned us, and they will be more accurate and more humane as a consequence.

The risk of the 21st century is that this new psychological knowledge inspires new attempts to remodel human nature under the delusion that “we know enough now to get it right this time.” The possibility of mass non-consensual medicating with psychiatric drugs cannot be discounted, and neither can some kind of virtual reality system created with the intent of brainwashing people more effectively than ever before.

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Writing Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is characterised by repeated temper tantrums, pointless arguing, vicious outbursts and rulebreaking for the sake of rulebreaking. It’s what used to be known as “being a little shit.” The name comes from how a person with it sets themselves up defiantly in opposition to authority figures or anyone else trying to impose rules upon them.

If it is the protagonist of your story who is the character with ODD, they are extremely unlikely to think that the problem lies with them – but this is where their story gets interesting. If your protagonist has ODD you will be able to show someone whose thoughts twist through all manner of justifications for their behaviour, but who will not willingly take the blame themselves.

After all, your protagonist might actually have a point. Unlike the pure malice exhibited by a psychopath, someone with ODD might have a legitimate grievance against an asphyxiating rule-obsessed bureaucracy, or a surveillance state. This might make for an interesting story about an antihero who came into conflict with authority for the sake of his people or family (or for great justice).

For other characters in your story, a protagonist with ODD might appeal to them as a lovable rogue, or as a troubled soul with a heart of gold. The protagonist likely has a like-minded group of friends, as people with ODD often share the same grievance. This group of friends might have made a mission out of their shared grievance – and then you have a story ready to go.

In this sense, characters with diagnoses of ODD are especially well suited to fiction that appeals to the outsider, such as cyberpunk. Kris Smashtonati of The Verity Key is probably one such character. After all, any person with this condition is going to have some difficulty adjusting to live as a gainfully employed citizen, and that will put them on the margins, where life is more precarious (and dramatic). A properly integrated character with ODD might be better suited to comedy than to drama.

For the antagonists of your story (who are inevitably authority figures of some kind) ‘vindictive’ is a word they might describe the ODD character with. They would say that this character has difficulty regulating emotions or tolerating frustration. Such antagonists would dismiss the protests of the ODD character that the rules were too onerous – the rules are there for everyone’s good, like it or not.

In many ways, telling the story of ODD is really telling a story of an environment. There are believed to be biological factors involved, such as unusual neurotransmitter function or amygdala damage, but a person with ODD rarely develops it in the total absence of family or environmental factors.

Mood disorders are extremely common among the children of parents who have ODD, which gives a major clue about the etiology of the condition. If the protagonist of your story had ODD, it’s possible that his father was a real unpredictable sonofabitch, and the mother likewise. Inconsistent punishment is usually found among the childhoods of people with ODD.

ODD is capable of manifesting in a variety of different settings. Generally speaking, the broader the range of settings in which it manifests, the worse the ODD is. The most common is for oppositional and defiant behaviours to begin in the family home, so that the damage is done long before their first classroom experience.

This generalisation, or one like it, might be the key to understanding your ODD character. Usually the condition arises in response to the perception of unfair treatment from a parent, which may generalise into a belief that any and all authority figures are likewise unfair (and so to be defied). We can then predict that a character with this condition might have conflict with any other character that metaphorically represented a parent (teacher, policeman, bureaucrat etc.).

There is a sense in which ODD is on a spectrum that continues onto Conduct Disorder and, in the worst case, Antisocial Personality Disorder. In this regard, someone with ODD is likely to be much easier to get along with than someone with either of the latter two disorders. They might even be surrounded by such people so that they seem calm and reasonable by comparison.

Esoterically speaking, a character with ODD could be considered a chaotic element. It is unlikely that such a character will contribute to the good order of your story world, and their entrance might even be the spark that gets your story going. Indeed, it’s well possible that the ODD character has taken exception to a particular manifestation of order, and has resolved to break it up at any cost.

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This article is an excerpt from Writing With The DSM (Writing With Psychology Book 5), edited by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Ultimate Power is to Make Peace With Death

Socrates was not wrong when he said “those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.” The best thing a person can ever do is to accustom themselves to the fact that they are mortal and therefore that time on this planet is limited. To the extent that this can be achieved, a person can be liberated from a tremendous range of miseries.

All fear ultimately comes from a fear of death. The reason why pain is frightening is because we have evolved an instinctual appreciation that pain is a harbinger of death. When you are in pain, it means that Death has you in its sights. Pain gives us energy because we can instinctively appreciate the seriousness of the threat.

When kids fight each other in the playground, and they learn to force each other’s wills through violence, the natural fear of death possessed by each child makes this easy. A little bit of pain from a twisted arm, in the mind of someone young and inexperienced, is tantamount to a near-death experience, and so compliance is easily given. A little bit of social disapproval in the form of a stern teacher likewise.

It’s expected that adults will be a bit braver and harder to manipulate. Adults have had longer to come to terms with death, and in that time they might have overcome their fear of it. Failing that, they might have learned to behave in ways that hide their fear of it. Failing that, they might at least have found a way to trick themselves into going forward with some semblance of dignity.

The less fear of death any given adult has, the more powerful they will be. This is fundamentally a spiritual power, but it works its magic by way of its gradual effect on the people around its possessor (much like gold does). Someone unafraid of death will have charisma, they will inspire confidence, people will follow them, and people will respect them for having found existential solace. It’s a power more subtle than silver, but at the same time one with a much greater reach.

On the other hand, no-one is expected to make peace with death, or at least not entirely, for there is no public consensus of any kind as to what befalls consciousness upon the expiration of the physical body. Conviction in the matter of what does befall consciousness is reserved for a very few, most of whom are readily and fairly dismissed as some kind of religious fanatic who is merely parroting what they have been brainwashed with.

The gnosis of those who have seen beyond and know what lies beyond death is almost never accepted by the masses, and for good reason: the vast bulk of the people claiming to know are patently scammers, and so distrust is necessary and natural. Selling tickets to an afterlife in exchange for worldly goods has always been the default con job of the black priesthood, and one that may even have been practised in prehistory.

The Tao teaches us that, even in the time of the total triumph of yin, there is invariably a tiny speck of yang that will grow to impose a new order upon things. In a similar manner, all of these religious scammers have, in common, certain insights about the nature of life as a material being that remain true despite the horseshit layered on top of them. We all die, and we’re all afraid of it, and we’re all willing to take action to ameliorate that fear.

This column is willing to give you gold for free: once you make peace with death you are invincible, for all psychological weakness flows directly from the fear of it. Without a fear of death one cannot be threatened with torture, because death would simply mean a sweet release from such, and no other physical threat is as bad as torture. Without a fear of death, one cannot be intimidated in any way, for there is no reason to bow the knee to an oppressor if they are not able to materially hurt you.

A person who has made peace with their mortality will stand, on the metaphysical plane, like a great boulder of granite, which cannot be moved or damaged. The winds and waves of fear and dread will not impact such a person; they will barely change the expression on the face of one. A person who has made peace with death knows that there’s nothing more but to sit back and watch as the wave breaks upon the shore. The dissolution of the wave is something to be experienced, not feared.

However, there’s a risk.

The more you look into the face of death, the deeper you look into the void. What happens then is not necessarily up to you, not even with all the will in the world. As Nietzsche warned us, the void will also look into you. When it does, you might come to decide that life itself is evil on account of the inevitable suffering it promises and that death is to be welcomed and encouraged as a release from same and as a reunion with God.

And at that point it’s extremely easy to make a terrible mistake.

Do you have the courage to look into the very back of the void, with nothing more than a hope that one will be rewarded? This column can give no assurance that any person who does look will be the better off for it. Madness is an ever-present threat for those who do, for one might find that one’s will disintegrates under the weight of this hidden knowledge. All we can say is that one ought to prepare oneself thoroughly, for one is staking a claim to godhood and ought to expect that it will be commensurately challenging.

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Lies Are Far More Toxic Than Drugs Ever Could Be

Illegal drugs are illegal, so we are told, because they harm the brain. Drugs such as cannabis are apparently toxic enough to cause brain damage in those who use them, rendering them mentally defective and often permanently so. One notable thing harms the brain more than cannabis though – lies.

The brain is an extremely plastic organ, and it has a number of defences against injury and poisoning, notably the blood-brain barrier which prevents poisons reaching the brain from the main blood supply (contrary to popular belief, smoking cannabis doesn’t cause psychoactive molecules to enter the brain directly through the lungs). It’s a terrible idea to mistreat your brain, but the fact is that the brain can deal with a lot.

The human mind is also extremely plastic, but, also like the brain, there are circumstances in which it is not. Under these circumstances, suffering can cause part of the mind to solidify so that it fixates on a certain belief or impression. This is very common in the case of trauma, because there is a clear biological imperative to learn quickly to avoid it.

A great example of this is how a religious upbringing often leads to people who hate religion with a passion. It is traumatic to be subjected to the heavily guilt and shame-based psychological manipulation that is a cornerstone of many religions (particularly the Abrahamic ones). Many women and homosexuals grow up hating themselves because of religious abuse, and if/when they realise as adults that this abuse was unnecessary, they come to hate the culture that abused them.

When people are told that, for example, male infant gential mutilation is a good thing, or that Johnny from down the street is going to hell forever because his family are the wrong denomination, they learn to hate and fear. When these people grow up and become adults, and realise that they now need Viagra because of lost penile sensitivity from the mutilation in infancy, the natural response is to hate the religious and anyone who claims to speak for the spiritual.

Perhaps the most disgusting, harmful and shameless set of lies are those stemming from the War on Drugs that the Government is conducting against us. These lies have been destructive in two major ways. Not only have they obscured the truth about the medicinal value of the cannabis plant, but they have also eroded public trust in institutions that society relies on to function.

For instance, many people who distrust and despise Police officers do so because they had a Police officer come to their school and lie to them about the alleged negative effects of cannabis use. It’s distressing to have an authority figure and representative of the state come and lie to you in order to justify their War on Drugs, and doubly so when you have family members who benefit from the medicinal use of cannabis, as many people do.

Many people have similar feelings towards, psychiatrists, who have also been willing tools in the Government’s war against drug-using members of its own population (i.e. us). It’s an awful feeling to be told, by a supposed mental health authority, that cannabis only causes psychosis and brain damage, while also being aware of the reality that medicinal cannabis is helpful for a range of psychiatric conditions – a reality that is becoming ever more apparent as research progresses.

It’s hard to overstate the amount of psychological damage that such actions cause. Many of the students who see a Police officer lying to them about cannabis – like the patients who hear a doctor lying about cannabis – come to lose trust in all authority figures. This makes it harder for the Police to find witnesses to crimes, because any witness who also happens to be a cannabis user will not want to volunteer their contact details, and it makes it harder for psychiatrists to convince patients to take medicines that do benefit them, because the patients suspect that the doctor is lying.

Much of the antagonism that Police officers face on a daily basis is a consequence of the lies that their authority upholds by virtue of upholding the drug laws. In the Netherlands, where these lies are not told (at least, not about cannabis), relations between the Police and their communities are much warmer. Dutch people don’t have to worry about the insult of getting arrested from using or cultivating a medicinal plant, and so they have little reason to see Police officers as enemies.

Another extremely damaging set of lies relates to the “Wir schaffen es!” mentality of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats with regard to the hundreds of thousands of allegedly Syrian refugees that have poured into Germany in recent years. We were told they would integrate, work, learn the language, pay taxes, abide local laws, but these promises turned out to be lies also.

They should have told us the truth about all of these things. Lies generalise, so that when a person suffers trauma from believing one they learn to distrust not only the person who told the lie, but also any other people who belong to groups that the liar also belonged to. And so, one doctor lying about cannabis one day leads to a parent refusing that doctor’s advice to vaccinate their children on another day.

The real danger for the West is that authority figures have told so many lies now, and for so long, that no Westerner has cause to trust any authority at all any more. If the masses decide that religious, political, academic, scientific and business authorities are all just liars, they will be primed for the coming of a demagogue and the catastrophes that demagogues bring with them.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VI

This reading continues on from here.

Part Four of Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of the Individual’ and is comprised of three essays. The first of these, the sixteenth in the book, is called ‘The Dual Aspect of Anonymity’. Railing against the “collectivism, mechanization, standardization, and soullessness οf modern existence,” here Evola attempts to find an answer to the question of what is worth saving.

It’s at this point that Evola finally gets to the esotericism. Individualism is part of the problem facing us, he contends, because it has led to the atomisation of society. Worse, it has no spiritual basis. What is taken by Westerners to be the individual is not what a person really, fundamentally is.

In esoteric terms, Evola is here talking about the difference between silver and gold. Here the men of silver are decried for their pomposity and hypocrisy, for this has obscured the light of spiritual truth and made it more difficult for the men of gold to play their part. The false self must be transcended and the true self reconnected with, otherwise we will continue to flounder.

The seventeenth essay is called ‘Destructions and Liberations in the New Realism’. Here, Evola gives us for the first time a specific sense of what it might mean to “ride the tiger”. For him it is a life lived at the limit, in a way that actualises the “absolute person”. Most people who discover this do so through warfare, for it is here that an extreme lucidity stripping away all extraneous concerns can be achieved.

Evola makes vague hints at a gross feminising process that, he warns, will make any individualisation impossible. Crucially, however, this feminisation is necessary, to destroy the corruption of the old order. He continues to emphasise that any true revaluation of values must come from that “minority” who retain a sense of the transcendental. Anyone else will merely make the same mistakes that the other non-spiritual people have made.

What is necessary to move forwards from here is “a clear, detached, objective vision οf existence” and “a positive, existential incapacity to submit to ‘myths’ οf any kind whatsoever”. The new mythologies (such as Marxism) are not only doomed to fail, they are in fact signs of systemic failure.

The eighteenth essay is called ‘The “Animal Ideal” – the Sentiment of Nature’. Here Evola talks about the two fundamental spiritual orientations – the first being the hermit who lives without company and the second the wanderer who lives without fixed abode. Incredibly for an essay published in 1961, here Evola talks about the isolation and detachment that can be caused by modern communication technology and city life, foreshadowing contemporary sentiments about the Internet and smartphones.

Anticipating – and pre-emptively decrying – the hippie movement as a bourgeoisie failure, Evola rejects a return to primitivism as being merely a naked form of materialism. Conceding that athletics and sports may be useful (although he decries professional sport), Evola once again asserts that spiritual needs must come first. The true aristocrat of the soul must feel as comfortable among dams and skyscrapers as among trees and streams, for the former is an expression of human nature and thereby of Nature itself.

Fundamentally, a person needs to accept that “nothing extraordinary exists in the beyond”. Only the real exists and only the real can be said to exist. To this end, there is a lot of wisdom in ancient traditions, especially Zen. These allow us to cultivate an appreciation of how reality consists of both the immanent making itself transcendent and the transcendent making itself immanent.

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Truthophobia

A new mental illness has been observed in the modern world. It’s found among people who have irrational, fear-based responses to hearing true statements. Instead of responding to these statements like rational adults, and acknowledging their truth value, they tend to have abusive outbursts: they have truthophobia.

We can define truthophobia along the lines of other phobias, which are defined as: “exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fears of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”. In short, truthophobia is an exaggerated, inexplicable and illogical fear of statements of truth.

It may have a second meaning, along the lines of homophobia and Islamophobia, which is to say a political meaning alongside its linguistic meaning. In this sense, truthophobia refers to the act of denying the truth specifically because that truth is politically inconvenient.

Characteristic of a truthophobe are theatrical displays of moral outrage intended to distract from good points made by truth-tellers. For example, they like to scream “Racist!” when statistics about the sexual assault rates of Muslim and African immigrants to Europe are brought up. They also like to scream “Racist!” whenever criticisms of Islam are made, even when those criticisms have nothing to do with any racial distinctions.

What’s telling here is that truthophobes don’t ask questions about these true statements in an effort to understand them, like an honest person would do. The truthophobe simply reacts, on the basis that the truth might harm a belief that they hold, and that this belief needs to be defended by any means necessary. They are dishonest as well as cowardly.

Any learned Buddhist could quickly determine what was wrong with the average truthophobe. Clinging to material phenomena causes suffering, and clinging to a particular interpretation of reality so tightly that expressions of any alternative interpretation are taken as threats is a fitting example of such. The more truthophobic a person, the harder they dig in; the harder they dig in, the more suffering they cause themselves and others.

Why do people become truthophobics? We can group them into three major groups.

The first are the simply dumb. Being dumb is not enough by itself to be a truthophobe, but it can be a major contributing factor, especially if the dumb person has already been brainwashed into believing something untrue. Dumb people mostly are truthophobic because of the cognitive dissonance arising from really thinking about things properly. Consequently they prefer comfortable lies to truths.

This first group are arguably the least malicious of the three, because they are the most likely to admit the truth once it is evident. Being dumb doesn’t necessarily preclude one from being honest, and dumb people are often capable of seeing the truth if they are given the time and space in which to do so. The other two groups lack the shame to admit the truth no matter how evident it is, but this first group will often change their mind if the truth is presented to them correctly.

The second group of truthophobes are the fanatics. This group believes fervently in a particular doctrine, usually political, and so much so that any statement contradicting it is aggressively attacked regardless of any truth value that statement may possess. This group is worse than the first, because not only do they refuse to accept the truth when it’s presented to them, but they actively talk a lot of shit and thereby obscure the truth from those honestly seeking it.

Fanatics are also dumb, because their fanaticism invariably creates more suffering than their ideology would prevent, even under the best possible circumstances. Fanatics degrade the quality of public discourse by being unreasonable and dishonest, which makes the truth harder to see. In this group can be found a large number of Marxists as well as the religious fanatics that they resemble.

The third group are evil. The unfortunate truth is that a particularly malicious strain of truthophobes exist – one who tell lies and deny the truth specifically because to do so brings suffering into the world. Many in this category spread confusion and fear because they directly profit from it. Invariably they don’t simply reject the truth but actively seek to destroy the reputations of anyone speaking it, so as to discourage them from trying to speak the truth again.

People in this third group are mostly afraid of the truth about themselves, because it’s this fundamental fear that motivates their evil. Their ultimate fear is that they are truthfully not worth very much themselves, and the key to defeating these people is to never let them suspect otherwise.

Anyone trying to speak the truth in today’s environment will certainly encounter all three of these types in short order.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Medicinal Cannabis Advances in 2017 – A Review

This literature review was conducted using Google Scholar, which was used to find citations of academic papers that referenced “cannabis medicine”, “cannabis psychosis”, “cannabis schizophrenia” and “medicinal cannabis”.

The strands of research that interest us here include: research undermining cannabis prohibition, with reference to psychiatric concerns; research supporting use of cannabis medicine, with reference to psychiatric conditions; evidence for cannabis as a substitute for opioids; other evidence supporting the use of cannabis medicine.

Research undermining cannabis prohibition, with reference to psychiatric concerns

This paper in the Biological Psychiatry Journal was notable for containing the sentence “Meta-analyses suggest that individuals with schizophrenia who use cannabis show better cognitive functioning compared to those who are non-users.”

Another paper in the Schizophrenia Bulletin makes a point of distinguishing between the effects of CBD and the effects of THC, noting that “THC is responsible for the psychotogenic effects of cannabis.” This directly contradicts the received psychiatric wisdom that “cannabis” causes psychosis.

This paper even notes that “independent evidence that CBD has antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties in patients with mental health disorders has been accumulating.” Indeed, doctors in California have been advising people for at least 10 years now that high-CBD strains (such as Northern Lights) were better suited for calming and sleeping purposes than high-THC skunk.

Although this paper is not titled with a journal of publication, it is worthwhile for at least conceding that many of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia are ameliorated by cannabis use.

This paper in the Acta Psychopathologica argues against the prohibition of cannabis on the basis of the Precautionary Principle. According to this paper, almost everyone tempted to smoke cannabis already has, regardless of the law. Moreover, prohibition prevents very few cases of schizophrenia, even assuming a direct causal link. Therefore, the deterrent effect of prohibition is outweighed by the positive effects of making it legal.

Research supporting use of cannabis medicine, with reference to psychiatric conditions

This paper in the the Clinical Psychology Review performed a meta-analysis of recent discoveries about the relationship between medicinal cannabis use and positive mental health outcomes. Perhaps the foremost result of this analysis was “Cannabis has potential for the treatment of PTSD and substance use disorders.” Among cannabis users this is well-known to be one of the main reasons why people smoke it in the first place. It was also noted that “Cannabis use does not appear to increase risk of harm to self or others.”

What is striking about this paper is the absence of Drug War rhetoric. Cannabis use, instead of being described as cannabis abuse (as in the majority of prohibitionist papers), is here given the acronym CTP (cannabis for therapeutic purposes). In the past, a paper that referred to cannabis in this manner would not have been funded or published, so the appearance of the phrase suggests that attitudes are changing.

A comprehensive overview of recent advances in medicinal cannabis science can be found in the Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies Chapters 90 and 91, ‘The Use of Medical Marijuana in the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders’ and ‘Beneficial Effects of Cannabis and Related Compounds on Sleep’.

Unfortunately, much of the literature continues to make the fundamental error of confusing cannabis extracts and pharamceutical preparations with the actual cannabis plant itself (as seen here). The authors of these papers frequently draw the conclusion that cannabis is not helpful for treating certain conditions because some extract was found to not be helpful. Others (as seen here) fail to make any distinction between THC and CBD, lumping all 100+ cannabinoids under the rubric of “marijuana”.

This paper notes that anxiety is one of the top five reasons given by patients in North America for using medicinal cannabis. It doesn’t go into why, but it’s likely that the calming effects of CBD are involved, as they may also be in the case of schizophrenia. Other papers also support the notion that cannabis has use for treating certain mental conditions, such as social anxiety.

Evidence for cannabis as a substitute for opioids

One of the most promising directions of future medicinal cannabis research appears to be in the direction of using cannabis as a substitute for a variety of other medicines that might have worse side-effects or addictive potential.

One of the most astonishing pieces of research was a study of how usage of pain, anxiety and sleep medication decreased when medicinal cannabis was available. In a survey of New England dispensary members, “among respondents that regularly used opioids, over three-quarters (76.7%) indicated that they reduced their use since they started [medicinal cannabis]…” and “…Approximately two-thirds of patients decreased their use of anti-anxiety (71.8%), migraine (66.7%), and sleep (65.2%) medications following [medicinal cannabis]…”.

Another example can be found here. The linked study is a literature review of 2897 medicinal cannabis patients that found “Respondents overwhelmingly reported that cannabis provided relief on par with their other medications, but without the unwanted side effects.”

In particular there seems to be special promise for cannabis to help with the opioid addiction crisis. Several papers suggest promise for cannabis to help here, as well as act as a substitute for sleep medications.

Other evidence supporting the use of cannabis medicine

Soporific uses appear to be one of the most promising avenues for future research into the benefits of medicinal cannabis. This study found reason to support the idea that cannabis heavy in CBDs is better suited for sleep management than cannabis heavy in THCs.

This review in Clinical Psychopharmacology and Medicine suggested that there might be promise in using cannabis to treat Alzheimers’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases, among other neurodegenerative conditions.

Other studies suggest that there is promise for cannabis medicine in alleviating suffering associated with multiple sclerosis.

This study suggested that the savings from prescriptions that don’t get filled in legal cannabis states (because legal medicinal cannabis acts as a substitute for the prescribed medicine) could run into the billions.

What many of these studies have in common is a mention of the need for more research into the potential for cannabis to alleviate suffering, and a lament for the fact that this research has been hamstrung by cannabis prohibition. It’s clear that awareness of the benefits of cannabis medicine is spreading rapidly among the medical community, and that there is much excitement about future applications.

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Vince McLeod is a former Membership Secretary of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.

Have You Realised Yet That We’re The Bad Guys Now?

In order for a person to be found guilty of a crime, the Police first have to be presented with enough evidence to justify an arrest, and then that person has to be tried in front of an impartial jury summoned to examine the evidence. In realpolitik however, as this essay will examine, such trivialities can be cast aside at the first sound of the war drums – provided you accept you’re the bad guys.

The leaders of the Anglo-French alliance just started a war without the approval of the representatives of their people. The US Congress, by law, has to give its approval before wars can be started. The precedent set by George W. Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, is that the American armed forces will do whatever the fuck they’re told to do. Donald Trump, in ordering airstrikes in co-operation with British and French forces, is simply following this precedent.

Supposedly the reason for the missile strikes was to respond to a chemical strike allegedly ordered by the Government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the civilian population of Douma. The difficulty comes from the fact that the leaders of the Anglo-French alliance did not wait for widely accepted proof of the chemical attack to be made public. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has yet to complete its fact-finding mission, meaning that there is no expert opinion yet on who was responsible.

Proof doesn’t matter for those leading the Anglo-French countries. Proof only matters to those who care about their reputation, and bad guys have no need to care about their reputation, long since lost. Worst of all, these countries have no credibility when it comes to claiming that the actions of a second party were heinous enough to justify military action – they’ve gone to war on utterly fictitious casus belli several times before.

New Zealand says it “accepts” what has happened, on the grounds that any attempt to go through the United Nations Security Council for approval would have been vetoed by Russia. This threat of veto is considered justification for ignoring the UN entirely. No questions are asked by the mainstream media. Neither do they mention where the New Zealand special forces are right now, or what they are doing there, or how long they have been there.

Nobody in any of the countries whose armed forces just committed an act of war without Congressional or Parliamentary approval (i.e. legal approval) will take any action to hold the politicians who gave the orders to account. We don’t care that our countries are run by war criminals. We didn’t lift a finger to make either Bush or Tony Blair pay for Iraq, and we won’t lift one here either.

It’s time to chew on a bitter realisation: we are now the bad guys. The Anglo-French alliance is not fighting for freedom or liberty or human rights or anything like it. We’re not fighting to reduce the amount of human suffering in the world. Such considerations are inconsequential. What matters is silver and iron – i.e. money and strategic positioning.

We’re fighting for power, or what of it we can hold onto as the West slides into irrelevance from our own greed, hubris and crapulence. We’re not fighting for any higher moral value. Proof for this contention comes from simply reviewing the evidence.

The American soldiers who just fired cruise missiles into Syria don’t get paid in one decade what one of those missiles costs. Some American cities – Detroit the most notable – already look worse than Damascus, without having to get bombed. This decay of physical infrastructure simply reflects the decay in psychological infrastructure that is the root cause of our civilisational failure.

We know this because we can observe how poorly we treat our psychologically vulnerable. We don’t invest anything into healing them, and the collective psychological damage incurred by this negligence has grown to monstrous proportions. America regularly denies housing or benefit coverage to the veterans of its military adventures, and the thought of them getting proper mental health care for their PTSD is a bitter joke. There’s only money for defence contractors.

New Zealand is no better, spending $400,000,000 of its own citizens’ money every year (over $100 per adult) to persecute them for using medicinal cannabis, while thousands of its children go to school too hungry to concentrate on studies. In a double cruelty, many of those children going to school hungry are the same children of the parents imprisoned for medicinal cannabis growing. How could we possibly be the good guys?

This pattern of gross indifference to the suffering within their own borders is characteristic of the fading powers of the West and the cowardice of its population. The political class uses our tax money to build missiles to fire into Syria, and they use our votes to give themselves permission, and we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re too scared, too lazy, too weak – we’re the bad guys now.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).