Who Voted for The Opportunities Party?

The Opportunities Party found the best reception among the young professional class that had previously supported the Greens

Gareth Morgan’s project The Opportunities Party (TOP) ultimately fell short of the Parliamentary threshold, but there is already enough data for us to know who voted for them in last night’s election. Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, has a look at the demographics of TOP voters in this article.

The most striking statistics are that TOP took a small number of votes off both the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and the Maori Party, and a huge number of votes off the Greens.

The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and voting Greens in 2014 was an extremely strong 0.81, which tells us that the vast bulk of TOP voters came from there. Most correlations between voting TOP in 2017 and voting for other parties in 2014 were not significant: 0.16 for the ALCP, 0.15 for the Maori Party, -0.13 for Labour, -0.14 for National and -0.17 for New Zealand First.

Only two significantly negative correlations existed here. These were -0.28 between voting TOP in 2017 and voting ACT in 2014, and -0.36 between voting TOP in 2017 and voting Conservative in 2014. The reason for this is probably because these are the two parties who most conspicuously lack the social conscience that TOP campaigned on.

Crudely speaking, that suggests that TOP voters came from two main groups of roughly equal size. The first were disaffected Green voters, and the second were disaffected voters from all over the rest of the political spectrum.

In what is perhaps a function of the degree of social media saturation they achieved, TOP did the best among the technophilic segment of society. The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and working as a professional was 0.64. The correlation between working as a professional and voting Greens in 2014 was 0.73, and this had collapsed to -0.10 by 2017, so it seems that the professional class almost wholesale shifted their loyalties from the Greens to TOP.

This is further underlined by the fact that there were moderately strong positive correlations between voting TOP in 2017 and having any university degree: 0.40 for having a Bachelor’s, 0.63 for having an Honours, 0.45 for having a Master’s and 0.58 for having a doctorate. These were all much more positive for TOP than for the Greens.

It was mostly white people who supported TOP. The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and being of European descent was 0.37, compared to 0.05 for being Maori, -0.25 for being Asian and -0.40 for being a Pacific Islander. Although Asians usually have better educations than Kiwis of European descent, professional Asians tend towards ACT and, increasingly, National.

Perhaps the most striking correlation was the 0.60 between having no religion and voting TOP in 2014. This may the natural result of appealing to people on the basis of evidence, which is another way of saying that they want people who can think for themselves, and people like this are the group that rejects religious dogma the most strenuously.

It follows from these numbers that the average TOP voter would be fairly young, and indeed they are. The correlation between median age and voting TOP in 2017 was -0.14, compared to 0.11 with voting Greens in 2017. Considering that the correlation between median age and voting Greens in 2014 was -0.17, this suggests that TOP took much of the student/university vote from the Greens.

Indeed, we can see that the correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and being on the student allowance was a moderately strong 0.45. Considering that the correlations between being on the student allowance and voting Green collapsed from 0.55 in 2014 to -0.10 in 2017, we can guess that this shift was largely due to the influence of TOP.

Related to this is the fact that the strongest correlation between voting TOP and being in any age bracket is 0.36 with being aged between 20 and 29. The next strongest were the two neighbouring brackets of 15-19 and 30-49, all of which reflects that young people tend to have more active online social lives, where TOP did most of its advertising.

There were also very strong positive correlations between voting TOP in 2017 and working in arts and recreation (0.70), public administration and safety (0.66), education and training (0.52) and professional, scientific and technical services (0.50). These are the same industries that are most likely to employ the forward-thinking, educated young professional that used to call the Greens home.

The negative correlations with voting TOP in 2017 and working in a specific industry came with those whose workers do not tend to spend a lot of time online: manufacturing (-0.38), wholesale trade (-0.35), transport, postal and warehousing (-0.19) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (-0.11).

TOP voters were also significantly more likely to be born in New Zealand. The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and being born in New Zealand was 0.26. Following naturally from the absence of sharp gender-based roles among the young professional class, the correlation between voting TOP and being male was only -0.02.

Going against the easy trend of a young elite is the correlation between voting TOP in 2014 and being a regular smoker, which was -0.05. One would expect it to be much more strongly negative considering the educational achievements of the average TOP voter (educated people smoke significantly less), but this weak correlation can be explained by the sizable number of cannabis law reform supporters who voted TOP, something also suggested by the collapse of the ALCP vote in the presence of another party who offered full legalisation.

Voting for TOP in 2017 had the same correlation with family income as voting National in 2017 did – 0.39 – which tells us that the average TOP voter is doing quite well. A picture starts to emerge of the average TOP voter as a person of either gender in their mid 20s to late 30s, university educated, probably with foreign experience and ambition, who is very rejecting of dogma and hierarchical thought and wants to make a clean break with the past, but who is also well-to-do in measures of social and mental health.

Some might say that this was the best sort of person that New Zealand has to offer, which is something for Gareth Morgan to consider if he wants to run again in 2020.


This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

Where Did the National Party Lose Their Majority?

Elections are won and lost by slim margins nowadays and subtle shifts have weakened National’s position compared to 2014

The drama may not be over, but we can eliminate one outcome even before negotiations begin: it is now clear that the National Party failed to get enough seats to govern alone or with support partners as suppliant as ACT, United Future and the Maori Party (the last two of whom were eliminated last night). If they are to govern, it must be with New Zealand First, which is a significant weakening of their position compared to the previous election. This article looks at where National lost support from 2014.

First of all, it’s apparent that the people who voted National last night were basically the same sort of person who always votes National. The correlation between voting National in 2017 and voting National in 2014 was 0.989. So the differences between the people who voted for them last night and who voted for them in 2014 are subtle.

The National Party did worse with white people this time around, although white people were still the overwhelming bulk of National voters. The correlation between being of European descent and voting National in 2017 was 0.51, down from 0.60 in 2014, balanced by an increase in the correlation between being Asian and voting National in 2017 (up to 0.17 from 0.09 in 2014) and between being a Pacific Islander and voting National in 2017 (up to -0.38 from -0.46 in 2014).

This is suggestive of a fairly large segment of both Asian and Pacific Islander people who have managed to rise above their previous economic situation. It also reflects the increase in correlation between working in wholesale trade and voting National in 2014 (0.19) compared to voting National in 2017 (0.26), because wholesale trade is itself an industry with a large proportion of Asian workers.

Because Asians and Pacific Islanders are more likely to be born overseas than Maoris and white people, this has led to a strengthening of the correlation between being born overseas and voting National, which was already moderately significant at 0.33 in 2014 but has since then increased to 0.39 in 2017.

South Islanders still support the National Party more than North Islanders, but the correlation between living on the South Island and voting National went down from 0.13 in 2014 to 0.07 in 2017. This is probably a reflection of the fact that National increased their support among recent immigrants at the expense of Kiwi-born voters, because a relatively higher proportion of recent immigrants live on the North Island.

The correlation between working in a particular industry and voting National in 2017 increased from 2014 in the case of manufacturing (up to -0.19 from -0.23), wholesale trade (up to 0.26 from 0.19) and transport, postal and warehousing (up to -0.47 from -0.51), and decreased from 2014 in the case of mining (down to -0.05 from 0.00), hospitality (down to -0.23 from -0.18), professional, scientific and technical services (down to 0.15 from 0.18), public administration and safety (down to -0.30 from -0.26), education and training (down to -0.31 from -0.27), healthcare and social assistance (down to -0.23 from -0.18) and recreation and arts services (down to -0.22 from -0.17).

This is perhaps interesting because it suggests that people are more likely to go from voting National to voting Labour if they have a social job, compared to being even more likely to vote National if they have a relatively unsocial job.

Related to this is that social occupations tended to leak support for National compared to unsocial ones. Although managers continued to strongly support National in 2017, as the correlation between working as a manager and voting National in 2017 was 0.52, this was weaker than with voting National in 2014, which was 0.56. A similar drop was seen in community and personal services workers, whose correlation with voting National in 2017 dropped to -0.58 from -0.53 in 2014.

Taken together, these correlations show that people whose jobs bring them into contact with the most people are the most likely to feel that the country needs a change in direction, perhaps suggesting that they have observed an increase in human misery to intolerable levels.

Some won’t be surprised to note that the correlation between living in a mortgaged house and voting National in 2017 increased to 0.05 from 0.01 in 2014 – perhaps an indication that people in this group are afraid of the market crashing and leaving them with negative equity. Tellingly, this group became much less willing to vote New Zealand First – the correlation between living in a mortgaged house and voting New Zealand First in 2017 dropped to 0.06 from 0.12 in 2014.

Taken together, those numbers suggest that a lot of people want the game of hot potato being played with house prices and immigrants to continue for a while yet.

Where the election seemed to be lost for National, at least in terms of their hopes of governing alone or with ACT only, is when the real elite class, despite still mostly supporting National, did so less overwhelmingly than in 2014.

The correlations between being in any of the four highest income brackets and voting National all weakened from 2014 to 2017. These were those earning $60-70K (down to 0.21 from 0.24), those earning $70-100K (down to 0.32 from 0.36), those earning $100-150K (down to 0.31 from 0.34) and those earning $150K+ (down to 0.31 from 0.35).

They also weakened noticeably among holders of postgraduate degrees. Voters with an Honours degree had a correlation of 0.22 with voting National in 2014 but only one of 0.17 with voting National in 2017. Holders of Master’s degrees (down from 0.20 in 2014 to 0.17 in 2017) and doctorates (down from 0.20 to 2014 to 0.14 in 2017) followed the same pattern.

The cohort of National voters is also younger this year compared to 2014. The correlation between median age and voting National decreased to 0.77 in 2017 from 0.81 in 2014.

What all this tells us is that there were three major trends in play last night.

The first one is that Labour won votes off the Greens, New Zealand First and National. Labour won a huge number of Maori voters from New Zealand First and the Greens – the correlation between being Maori and voting Labour in 2014 was only 0.42, but in 2017 it was 0.58.

The second is that National won a lot of votes from people who were educated and young and Green-voting in 2014, but who grew up to be wealthy, middle-class and incentivised to vote with their wealth interests in 2017. The Greens dominated this segment of the population in 2014 and lost most of them by 2017, chiefly to TOP and to National.

The third is that National lost a lot of votes from the sort of person who is the real power elite of the country. Although the rich, the employers, the owners of freehold land, Anglicans and educated people all still preferred National to Labour, they were markedly less keen in 2017 than 2014. Many of these people switched to TOP, which is ironic because they now won’t be represented at all (at least not directly).


This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

The Three Main Forms of Virtue Signalling

The difference between virtue signalling and a genuine desire to help is that virtue signalling doesn’t demand any kind of sacrifice

Virtue signalling is when a person (usually male) makes an effort to signal to any prospective mating partners within earshot the quality of their reproductive virtue. Like a stag bellowing as loudly as it can during the roar, much of the communication made by the human male is intended specifically to let nearby females know about his reproductive capacity. This essay looks at the specific forms of it.

The female of every sexually reproducing species attracts the male through signalling her fertility, which is perceived by the male as beauty. The male counterpart is virtue signalling, in which he signals that any offspring produced by him would successfully be able to compete with those of other males. There are three basic virtues that a male can signal to attract a female: strength, intelligence and moral rectitude.

Strength relates alchemically to iron, and is mostly a function of height and weight. This is why men with a poor posture habitually straighten their backs up when they see an attractive woman walking in their direction. After all, a man is not very strong if he doesn’t even have the muscles to hold his body up straight.

What any given woman finds attractive along these lines is mostly a function of what physical qualities the men in her ancestry needed in order to survive. And so European women are attracted to strong arms, Asian women to a steady nerve, and African women to fast-twitch muscle fibers. All women, however, are attracted to a physical body that looks as if it can survive the rigours of life on Earth – one that metaphysically represents iron.

But strength is only part of the equation. It may be the most important factor for the majority of sexually reproducing species, because most of these species assert a right to exist primarily on the basis of their physical strength, but sheer physical strength is less frequently the prime determinant of success in humans (unless they are savages).

Intelligence relates alchemically to silver, and this could be considered the next level of virtue signalling. Many intelligent men have realised that, for the human animal, intelligence is a better predictor of future success than mere physical strength, and this has led many men to make displays of their mental health and strength instead of displays of physical health and strength.

Silver is softer than iron, and consequently the men who virtue signal their intelligence tend to be more subtle than those who virtue signal their physical strength. The usual way to go about it is to show off who knows the most about any given subject, or who has the greatest range and depth of general knowledge.

Another way to do it is by wearing glasses.

This form of virtue signalling often leads to petty arguments, in which the participants are unwilling to concede that their opponents have made any valid points because of a fear that this will be taken as a concession that those opponents are more intelligent or knowledgeable. Since the point of virtue signalling is to demonstrate to any observing females the reproductive quality of the signalling male, there is very rarely an incentive to concede a point to an opponent, because this will merely make them appear more attractive at your expense.

Humans are ultimately a social species, and no single individual is capable of dominating the collective. This means that an ability to get along with other humans and to behave correctly is the virtue that most strongly predicts reproductive success in our modern societies. The result of this is the importance of moral rectitude.

Moral rectitude relates alchemically to gold, because of its rarity, value and malleability. In this context, virtue signalling refers to when men act as if they are much kinder than they really are. Here a man might claim to have a will to perform a certain act in a certain situation, or to have a certain belief about the correct ordering of society, when the reality is very different.

One of the most common examples of this moral virtue signalling in 2017 is the expression of a desire to let refugees into the country, to be taken care of by general taxation. Inevitably the intent of this is to signal to all observing females that the male is kind and decent and morally upstanding. In other words, that he is in possession of the gold of being able to understand the Will of God as expressed through morality.

The reason why this is virtue signalling is that the males in question almost never have a genuine desire to look after these people. Those who virtue signal the most about refugees almost never live in the kind of neighbourhood that refugees are dumped in, and they almost never work the sort of jobs that are impacted by a sudden increase in the supply of unskilled labour.

Other common examples are going on about having a black friend to signal that one is not racist, or pretending to support women’s sport to signal that one is not sexist.

The whole point of all of this virtue signalling is to demonstrate reproductive fitness, which is why men will often end up fighting and arguing over who is the strongest, the smartest or the most good. Essentially there’s no real difference between a couple of rams butting heads in rutting season and two men trying to demonstrate that each is the most virtuous by claiming to support various political causes.

The Best Argument For Taking Thousands Of “Refugees”

If we let in a hundred of these a year, we’d soon forget about our petty differences

Ronald Reagan gave a very strange speech at the United Nations once. He spoke about how the nations of the world would settle their differences and come together if faced with an extraterrestrial threat. This is actually a reference to a law of human psychology, and this same law provides the best argument for increasing our refugee quota.

There no denying that social solidarity has steeply declined in New Zealand over the past 25 years. Ever since the Mother of all Budgets, as a consequence of which the rich and the poor learned to truly hate each other, we have seen a Labour Government open the borders to Pacific Island immigration, and then a National Government open the borders to Asian immigration.

After all this, New Zealand citizenship has been devalued so much that hardly anyone really feels like a Kiwi anymore, apart from in the most superficial ways.

There’s no longer any cultural value that defines us as unique among the cultures of the world. Some say we are “multicultural” but that’s just another way of saying that we have nothing in common with each other. Some say we have the All Blacks but for the majority of immigrants, who could just as happily have ended up in Australia, this is little more than a flag of convenience.

Seeing what’s happened in Europe in recent decades, however, gives us a clue as to how we can strengthen our national bonds.

For the vast majority of its history, the kings and tyrants who wished to unite Europe faced a particular problem. Europe is an extremely culturally diverse continent, and the vast majority of Europeans hate basically everyone else. So they have never been inclined to unite under the banner of “European” because they identify with their village above all and then their shire and maybe at a stretch with the idea of a nation.

The idea of a “European race” is really a New World idea, applied retrospectively by American, South American and British Empire thinkers to the old continent, to describe how it appeared in contrast to their own racially heterogenous societies. Europeans aren’t fond of it.

However, the rulers of the European Union know one thing about the fundamental laws of human psychology: nothing brings a disparate group of people together faster than a common enemy. To that end, the last twenty years of mass Muslim immigration has been a godsend.

It’s inevitable, given the tenets of the faith that they follow, that if large numbers of Muslims immigrate to a particular locale, they will end up clashing with the incumbents. There’s simply no way that an ideology that commands its followers to seek out non-believers and kill them can co-exist with its neighbours, any more peacefully than Nazism could.

So now, a curious phenomenon has arisen in Europe. Any two Europeans (or Western Europeans at least) can meet and share a common story of how much they hate Muslims. Every European now has a story about being robbed or beaten, or their car set on fire, or their girlfriends sexually harassed, by a Muslim.

This has led to bonds of intra-European solidarity first starting to appear all across the continent, and now – as more stories are shared – starting to strengthen. An astute observer of history can see the battle-lines being drawn already.

If New Zealand lets in a large number of Muslim refugees, such as the 5,000 per year that the Greens and The Opportunities Party are proposing, then it’s only a matter of time until the first Truck of Peace attack kills a significant number of Kiwis. The terrorists, when they make their move, will not discriminate between types of Kiwi: we will all be infidel.

It is then that we all – Maori, Pakeha, Islander and Asian alike – will have, for the first time since World War Two, a mutual enemy. Therefore, it may be that the country needs mass Muslim immigration so that Kiwis – as the Europeans have been forced to do – can come together in mutual rejection of the hate ideology of Islam, as we once did against the hate ideology of Nazism.

However, this is also very close to the worst argument for taking in thousands of refugees.

Over a century ago, it was prophecised by high-ranking Freemason Albert Pike that World War Three would involve the mutual annihilation of Israel and the Muslim world, leaving the Christians in charge of the planet.

If one looks at the mass Muslim immigration that Western political leaders have pushed on us over the last twenty years, it’s possible that the West is being conditioned to hate Muslims with the intent of making Westerners psychologically ready to wipe them out if they should annihilate Israel. If this is the case, it might not matter what we do.

However, taking in a large number of Muslims may, in the short term, bring Kiwis of all races together in mutual rejection of infant genital mutilation, abuse of women, abuse of homosexuals, hatred of Jews and hatred of outsiders. We should keep in mind, however, that doing so is truly to play with fire.

The Four Feminine and the Four Masculine Elements

Most readers are familiar with the concept of there being four classical elements, and that those classical elements are fire, air, water and earth. Those four elements do indeed form a complete quadripartite system, but this system is itself a feminine perspective on the ideal of a quadripartite system. This essay looks at its masculine counterpart as well.

The difference is that both sets of four flow from only one of from what can be described as The Fundamental Masculine Orientation and The Fundamental Feminine Orientation. Fundamentally, a masculine orientation will see the world in terms of differences, and a feminine orientation will see the world in terms of similarities.

This is because the masculine tends to measure itself against other men in a hierarchy, and to struggle to become greater than other men, whereas the feminine tends to smooth differences over for the sake of group solidarity, and in doing so implicitly asserts that no-one is any greater than anyone else.

The four feminine elements are known as the four classical elements of fire, air, water and earth. These are feminine elements because they all have equal value – the world and life could not exist without any of the four.

They are also known as feminine elements because they directly correspond to the natural, physical world, which is feminine in contrast to the masculine world of ideals. The earth refers to the clay underneath us, the water refers to the rain, the oceans and the rivers, the air refers to that which we breathe and move around in and the fire refers to the light of the Sun and the stars.

More precisely, it can be said, as Aristotle did, that fire represents that which is hot and dry, air that which is hot and wet, water that which is cold and wet and earth that which is cold and dry.

The four masculine elements have been known for as long as the four feminine elements – but this fact is not understood by all. They are even more esoteric and secret than the four feminine elements because they refer to the spiritual world that modern people have become blind to, whereas the feminine elements refer to the material.

They can be described as clay, iron, silver and gold. These are masculine elements because they refer to an explicit hierarchy in which the latter three elements are the result of a refinement process performed on the element previous.

Firstly, one has a state of clay. This could be considered analogous to the natural proportions of fire, air, water and earth in the material world, i.e. those that were present without any conscious effort to refine them.

What naturally happens after then is a hardening of some part of the clay, into iron. In the natural world this has taken the form of the development of bones, muscles, horns, spikes and fangs. These developments were a masculinisation in that they made the extant chaotic and potential-rich element of clay into something of defined shape and application, like a tool.

The correct balance of clay and iron represents a further refinement of the natural world, this time into silver. This has a greater value than both iron and clay because of its optimal balance of both. Silver is harder than clay but softer than iron, and because of this more intelligent utility it shines with higher value.

The highest refinement is that of gold, which is the correct balance of clay, iron and silver. This is considerably more complicated than just balancing masculine and feminine, and as a result gold is the rarest of all of the masculine elements.

Note that the four masculine elements are abstractions, and as such they do not directly correspond to anything in the material world. Thus, what counts as gold and silver is often a matter of opinion (value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder).

Thus we can see that the four masculine elements relate to a kind of alchemy, in that they describe in metaphor a willful attempt to raise one’s level of consciousness (where clay = completely unrefined, iron = partially refined, silver = mostly refined and gold = completely refined) whereas the four feminine elements relate to materialist science in that they are a description of the natural world (for example, fire = plasma, air = gas, water = water and earth = solid).

Essentially, the masculine is concerned with up and down, and the feminine is concerned with in and out. This is the ultimate difference between the two fundamental orientations.

If Speculative Fiction Genres Were Psychoactive Drugs

Every genre of speculative fiction has its own signature atmosphere: often a combination of fantastic, awesome, terrifying and bizarre. So do psychoactive drugs – and the two match up. This article looks at which drugs give a vibe that best matches the vibe from a genre of speculative fiction.

High fantasy fiction matches up to cannabis. Lord of the Rings contains a couple of sly allusions to cannabis use, most notably when Saruman admonishes Gandalf for his “love of the halfling’s weed” while explaining how Gandalf missed a clue that he should have noticed. The scene in the film Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf and Frodo sit above the drunken revellers and smoke some magical substance from a pipe is one familiar to most stoners.

Some of the experiences that Elric has in the Stormbringer series of novels by Michael Moorcock were also very likely to have been cannabis-inspired. There’s something about Elric’s experience of having an extremely powerful ally that couldn’t really be trusted that speaks to the paranoia that sometimes comes with the cannabis experience.

The sword and sorcery style of low fantasy matches up with psilocybin mushrooms. It’s unlikely that Robert E Howard took any magic mushrooms before writing any of the Conan the Cimmerian stories, but the protagonist’s many adventures in dark, subterranean caves and inside fantastic towers and castles are reminiscent of the depth and range of sometimes terrifying personal insight that often comes with mushrooms.

The Forgotten Realms universe of Dungeons and Dragons adventures, with their massive, dark forests full of elves and goblins also relates closely to the vibe of the psilocybin mushrooms experience. The reason why magic mushrooms enthusiasts are encouraged to try taking five grams in silent darkness is because it leads to exploration of a fantastical inner world, and going down into the subterranean to arise wealthier at some later point is a regular theme.

Most of what sells as science fiction could have been inspired by LSD. Stories like The Demolished Man, with a very strong psychological content, harken to the disintegrative effect that psychedelics can have on the personality. The main character of The Demolished Man, somehow between protagonist and antagonist, ends up having his personality completely demolished (and then rebuilt) as punishment for his crimes, reminiscent of how the psychedelic experience can destroy a person and then build them back as something stronger than before.

This sense of twisted psychology comes through also in the writings of Philip K Dick, who had himself tried LSD. Psychedelics might have inspired the plot of Ubik, in which the character Glen Runciter experiences a believable but bizarre reality while his physical body is “on ice” in a cryogenic chamber. Wondering if you’re really dead or alive is the kind of thing that LSD can make happen to you.

The almost schizophrenic belief in a hidden real world outside of this merely simulated one is a mainstay of cyberpunk literature, and is similar to the impressions one gets on DMT or salvia divinorum. For thousands of years, human shamans have been having experiences of dying to the physical world and being reborn to the real one, like Neo did in The Matrix. In that regard, The Matrix is really a retelling of the ancient mystery school teaching of death and resurrection, reclothed in 21st-century technology.

A description of what might be the spirit of the DMT experience is given in the ANZAC cyberpunk novel The Verity Key. In the chapter Mindknife, the protagonist Jonty Gillespie has his perception altered by ingestion of a drug called Cinque Nuevo, which briefly blasts his consciousness out of his physical body and into an entirely external dimension that is occupied by beings that take the form of balls of light, while mechanical constructs that might be metaphors churn around him.

The datura experience is pretty similar to what befell many of the unfortunate researchers in the Cthulhu mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. A disquieting sense of things not being quite as they should be grows into an intense paranoia that leaps at every shadow and from there to total psychological collapse at the raw horror of reality itself. Alien beings that seem to have come to Earth just to torment you is the kind of thing you’re dealing with in either case.

Datura is also the kind of drug that fits the background of weird horror stories such as those in His Master’s Wretched Organ. Talking to grotesquely deformed entities like Mr. Creamfeather and eating tobacco cakes are the sort of horror that, once experienced, leaves a person never quite the same again. The concept of ordeal rituals that leave you wiser for having suffered come to mind here.

Others are arguable. The steampunk of The Rocketeer might suit opium, the boo-yah aggression of Starship Troopers might suit mescaline, and the gritty military noir of the Altered Carbon series might be the old classics of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

It might be hard to read any speculative fiction on most of these drugs, because a person on them is more likely to be occupied with the inner theatre of the thoughts in their head than a book in the external world. However, it might be possible to have a richer experience of reading speculative fiction after having tried some of them, because they could open your awareness to realms of thought previously unimagined.

Writing the Schizophrenic

The literary medium offers vast scope for portraying the perceptual and cognitive oddities characteristic of schizophrenia

There are a tremendous number of misconceptions about schizophrenia – a combination of a cultural reluctance to confront the reality of mental illness and prior inaccurate portrayals in popular media. Avoiding these misconceptions and cliches is crucial to creating a believable and engaging schizophrenic character.

Perhaps the most glaring misconception is the belief that having schizophrenia means having multiple personality disorder. Many people still seem to believe that having schizophrenia is like Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which a powerfully suppressed evil nature sometimes breaks through to the surface and takes over the mind of the patient.

It’s certainly possible that a schizophrenic might have powerful struggles with inner demons, but they are not werewolves. A psychopathic alter ego is more characteristic of the psychopath. Powerful mood swings might make the schizophrenic seem like different people, and might make them difficult to deal with, but the characteristic of multiple personality disorder is that the personalities are not aware of each other, and schizophrenics are not afflicted by this.

It’s also not true that a schizophrenic will just babble nonsense all the time. Although psychological disorganisation is characteristic of schizophrenia, and although this disorganisation makes it more difficult to speak and converse coherently, speaking in word salad is more characteristic of an acute state of psychosis. This is a common state for a schizophrenic to fall into, but is different to schizophrenia itself.

Schizophrenics usually spend much more time in non-psychotic states than psychotic ones because it’s extremely difficult to maintain the state of acute agitation necessary to become psychotic. This state requires so much emotion and energy that in practical cases the sufferer either wears themselves out or ends up becoming convinced (or forced) to take medication.

So it’s relatively rare for a schizophrenic to act truly crazy all of the time.

What is characteristic of schizophrenia are what is called positive and negative symptoms. These don’t mean ‘good’ and ‘bad’ symptoms but whether the loss of touch with reality is the result of something being added to the “normal” experience of reality or something being taken away from it.

Dramatic visions, delusions and hallucinations, such as those portrayed in the film A Beautiful Mind, fall under the rubric of positive symptoms. The most common form of positive symptom is that of hearing voices. This is very difficult to imagine for anyone who has not experienced it, but a character who suffers this symptom might think that someone is talking to them when no-one is really there.

Sometimes when a schizophrenic appears to be rambling, they are having a coherent conversation with someone who doesn’t appear to be there. This naturally sounds like rambling to an outside observer although the schizophrenic themselves might believe that they are having a perfectly reasonable conversation with someone right next to them.

Likewise, when a schizophrenic appears to be staring into space, it may be because they believe themselves to be in a part of the Great Fractal that is different to where the outside observer is. Much like in a dream, the material world might not be making much of an impact on the consciousness of the schizophrenic.

This means that writing a story from the perspective of the schizophrenic is likely to be a cross between surreal and terrifying. Because what other people take for granted as firm laws of reality do not seem to apply to the conscious experience of the schizophrenic, it’s very difficult for any other character to understand what the experience of a schizophrenic is like.

It’s also terrifying because having original ideas about the nature of reality brings out some powerful emotional responses in other people. It isn’t easy to have other people profoundly disagree with you about things that you take for granted. Experiences like this might go some way to explaining why a schizophrenic character would also suffer from negative symptoms.

Disengagement with society, flattened emotions and an inability to maintain routines are the characteristic negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and if you can present realistic positive symptoms to your reader then some of these negative symptoms should be easy to believe.

For example, the reader might understand why a schizophrenic character feels the need to disengage with society if they read about how frustrating and frightening is to constantly be told, by everyone that character meets, that reality is actually very different to how that character perceives it.

Likewise, they might understand why schizophrenics have flattened emotions when they read about how a schizophrenic character has to compensate for the apparent fact that many of the things they perceive to exist aren’t really there. There are good reasons to not react strongly to things, even when those things are extremely bizarre or unusual, if one ordinarily sees a series of bizarre things that aren’t really happening.

The experience of being unable to maintain routines is a natural consequence of having an unusual amount of chaos in the mind, and it could be the routines in a character’s life falling to pieces that gives the first sign to those around them that a mental illness is developing.

Generally speaking, schizophrenia is an extremely difficult condition to portray accurately because of its complexity and because the experience of a schizophrenic is often fundamentally different to the experience of other people. Often the schizophrenic character will react reasonably and logically to the impressions that come into their mind and it is how those impressions get there which is the truly strange thing.


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 2017/18.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto XII

This reading carries on from here.

In this section (pages 949-1067), Breivik continues to evaluate strategies and tactics for terrorist acts. Chillingly, here he writes specifically about the benefits of targeting a party conference of social democrats, for the reason that security will probably be poor, as well as expounding on why this would be so excellent a propaganda move for the cultural conservatives.

This section continues the high detail discussion about how to best carry about a terror attack. Given the comprehensive nature of the rest of the document when it comes to listing Islamic crimes, one is left with the impression that an extreme amount of thought went into the planning for the massacre that Breivik did carry out.

The idea that the ends justify the means comes through very clearly in this section. On the subject of attacking a left-wing party gathering with a flamethrower, he writes that “A severely burned category A or B traitor will in reality become a living symbol of what awaits individuals guilty of trying to sell their own people into Islamic slavery.”

There is something grimly medieval about mutilating living people to let them serve as a reminder of what befalls traitors, and this section is much darker and more demented than the sections about history. One is reminded of the admonition not to lose one’s own humanity in the course of warfare.

Again the paranoid nature of the rest of the document shines through when Breivik writes, of the largest annual conference of Norwegian investigative journalists, “98% of them are considered quality category B traitor targets”. With a worldview like this, Breivik could justify killing almost anyone.

Unsettlingly for us at VJM Publishing, this explicitly includes us – “90%+ of [writers] support multiculturalism and usually portray their world view through their works.” So we would also be marked for death if Breivik had his way, as those who work in the arts and recreational services tend to have broadly leftist sympathies.

The descriptions of how to break out from being pinned down by Police forces during an operation read like Breivik is writing about a video game. One passage describes how a car can be stolen and driven through any cordon that the first wave of Police officers might set up. This gives the impression that Breivik must have spent countless hours in dark plotting and fantasising.

Reassuringly, Breivik is able to demonstrate a sense of moderation. On the subject of using nuclear weapons in terrorism he writes that this “would normally inflict too many civilian casualties and it is therefore hard to imagine how nuclear weapons could benefit our cause.”

Breivik emphasises in this section the need to keep “civilian” casualties at a minimum. By this, of course, he means people who are not leftists. One is further reminded of the paranoid and oppositional nature of the document. It is also grandiose, which comes through in passages such as the description of how to blow up a nuclear reactor for the sake of financial damage to the “mutilculturalist regime”.

An unappreciated irony, at least on Breivik’s part, is that the document repeatedly emphasises how important it is that any prospective “operative” avoid getting flagged by the domestic security and intelligence services, yet it is possession of this document itself, with its voluminous advice for how to carry out terror attacks, which is most likely to get a person flagged by said spooks.

In fact, given that Breivik actually did go on to carry out a mass shooting, possession of this document is possibly the biggest red flag one could raise to the security services. Instead of being titled “A European Declaration of Independence” it could just as well be titled “A European Declaration of War.”

The Limits of Inclusiveness

Gay people are categorically unwelcome here

With news that Queensland Islamic authorities are urging their followers to vote “No” to same sex marriage, the levels of cognitive dissonance among many on the left are starting to become painful. It’s now undeniable that a grand coalition of everyone who isn’t a rich, straight white male is an untenable concept. This essay examines why.

For the past couple of decades, leftist groups across the world have looked for solidarity on the basis of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This logic has inspired the “tolerant left” to make a show of solidarity towards any and all groups that had a grudge against the people running the world – commonly agreed to be rich, straight, white men.

This has led to the left adopting the idea of inclusiveness as a moral virtue. Any and all alliances with people who hated the Establishment had to be entertained. It didn’t matter if they were women, gay, black, Muslim or anything else, just as long as they wanted to overturn the status quo.

However, this grand political dream to remake the world in one’s image fell apart, as such schemes inevitably do, because it ran into inexorable silver laws of psychology.

It can be stated as a psychological rule that, the larger and more diverse any given group, the weaker the bonds of solidarity that hold it together will be, and the smaller and more pure any given group, the stronger those bonds of solidarity will be.

This is obviously true if we look at the extremes. At one far extreme we could consider the nuclear family to be the smallest group with the strongest solidarity. Parents are often ready to kill if that is necessary to protect their offspring, and “brother” is used as a gesture of common bonds in all kinds of ideological movements, so it’s easy to see how this small, extremely exclusive group has the highest solidarity.

The reason why you can’t just let a random person into your family and have them considered one of you is because this would increase the degree of diversity of the group to the point where such extremely strong bonds of solidarity are no longer tenable because the necessary level of trust isn’t there.

The obvious reason for this is because the already existing members of the family have next to nothing in common with a random person, so there’s no special reason to trust them.

At the the other far extreme we could consider the human species to be the largest group with the weakest solidarity. Indeed, we can see here that people generally don’t care at all if they hear that someone on the other side of the world died, unless that person had something in common with them, such as a native language or racial origin.

Further evidence for this can be observed if we place the nation states along a line with a familial level of solidarity (highly discriminating and strong) at one end and a universal level of solidarity (undiscriminating and weak) at the other.

Here it can be seen that the nations that cast the net of citizenship over an extremely broad set of different people (USA, Brazil, South Africa, Russia) have the lowest levels of solidarity, measured by the unwillingness of the wealthy to contribute to the communal welfare in the form of taxes, and by the willingness with which the poor use lethal violence on other citizens.

It can also be seen that the nations that cast this net more exclusively, such as only over a small, homogenous ethnic group (Scandinavia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Canada), have the highest levels of solidarity, measured by an egalitarian culture and low levels of interpersonal violence.

Fitting this trend, countries with moderate levels of diversity (Argentina, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Chile) are in the middle.

There’s no escaping this silver law: the more inclusive the group, the weaker the bonds of solidarity, and the less inclusive the group, the stronger the bonds of solidarity.

The idea of trying to include as many people in the wider group as possible is essentially a feminine idea, and this is why it is generally associated with the left. It’s a form of horizontalisation that seeks to remove all distinctions from people in order to homogenise us into an easily malleable ball of putty.

However, we can now see the limitations of it. The motivation behind this idea is ostensibly to avoid making people feel bad on account of being excluded, but the flipside of it is that no-one ever feels good on account of being included.

This has led to a situation where Muslim immigrants, considered by the trend-setters among the left to be allies on account of a mutual Christian enemy, will vote against the rights of other leftist allies if those allies are homosexuals. It is a tremendous irony that these religious fundamentalists, allowed into the country because of a desire to display the virtue of tolerance, do not share the belief in the value of that tolerance, and so are now acting to maintain intolerance towards groups they consider outsiders.

With the recent wave of immigration having made our societies much more diverse, we have correspondingly lost much of the solidarity that used to provide us with a sense of society and community. The net has been cast so wide, thanks to a fanatical ideology that believes it can erase all human uniqueness, that it cannot keep hold of what it covers.

In other words, the inevitable consequence of trying to treat everyone like your brother is that your brother can no longer count on a brotherly level of exclusive solidarity from you, and will have to settle for much less. People who believe that inclusiveness is necessarily a virtue might therefore want to be careful what they wish for.

Stockholm Syndrome and Modern Society

Victims of Stockholm Syndrome might be a lot more common than is usually appreciated

44 years ago, two Swedish bank robbers took four hostages during a failed robbery attempt at the Kreditbanken in Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm. Although the robbers kept the hostages for six days and forced them to endure psychological torture, the hostages declined to testify against the robbers when freed and even went as far as raising money for their defence. This phenomenon gave rise to the term “Stockholm Syndrome“.

The psychological literature defines Stockholm Syndrome as “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” It appears to have similarities to battered wife syndrome and to learned helplessness, and is otherwise known as “capture bonding”.

This phenomenon appears strange to neutral onlookers because the expected emotional consequence of subjecting someone to the trauma of being taken hostage is hatred. Because one loses one’s ability to move and talk freely on pain of being shot dead, it could reasonably be expected that a hostage would feel, at first, fear and anger, and then hatred.

Stockholm Syndrome doesn’t only occur in cases of botched robberies. The specific phenomenon is probably related to behaviour that naturally occurs in dominance hierarchies – in other words, Stockholm Syndrome is a manifestation of a specific submissive strategy that probably had frequent application in the brutal biological past of the human species.

For the vast majority of the history of the human species there have been no laws, and nothing even approaching a justice system. The first ever code of laws is thought to have been introduced by the Babylonian King Hammurabi almost 4,000 years ago, which means that for 96%+ of our existence the only thing that passed for justice was what you were physically capable of beating out of other people with your fists.

Because humans are a social species, this environment of easy violence meant that a large range of behaviours relating to how to show aggression and how to show submission evolved over time. Of course, many of these behaviours would have evolved long before humans ever became a separate species, and many of them are so old that their expression is more subconscious and instinctual than a deliberate attempt to manipulate.

Stockholm Syndrome is similar to the phenomenon of learned helplessness, in which a creature that has been brutalised without hope of escape for long enough comes to “learn” that no escape is possible, and can consequently fail to take an opportunity to escape when one does arise. In this sense it could also be considered similar to clinical depression.

What most people don’t realise is that we, the people of modern Western societies, have also been brutalised into submission by our own ruling classes, and so badly that our relations to them are akin to a hostage with Stockholm Syndrome towards their captor. In the middle of an election campaign – as we can see all around us – it’s possible to observe the abject state of emotional submission to which the populace has been reduced.

This is partially achieved by the kind of sadism that is common in primary school students. Like Winston Smith in 1984, who had a form of Stockholm Syndrome deliberately inculcated in him by the sadistic O’Brien, we have been meticulously brutalised by a control system that has had 5,000 years to perfect its tactics for manipulating the peasantry.

From childhood we are forced to get up early in the morning so that we can be most efficiently conditioned into a life of factory work. Anyone who has not received enough sleep by this time, for whatever reason, is severely punished. Absolute submission to authority is rewarded, on a daily basis, for over a decade, and all instances of failure to submit are punished mercilessly.

After a decade, it’s generally assumed that the brains of the victims have been tenderised enough for the teachers to hand us over to the employers, with whom we remain until it’s time to throw us on the scrapheap.

If at any time during this period of servitude we get the idea that we would like to smoke a medicinal flower to take some pain away, or to take some magic mushrooms in order to bring us closer to God, then members of a group of enforcers specially chosen for their willingness to follow orders will come and put us in a cage with rapists and murderers.

It will not be possible to reason with this enforcer class. One cannot argue, for example, that this enforcer class has no right to put you in a cage for simply trying to heal yourself physically, emotionally or spiritually. If you resist you will be attacked, and if you continue to resist you will be killed.

Neither can one count on the support of your fellows to resist such laws. The vast majority of the people has been conditioned to bow their heads and shrug their shoulders when they hear stories about the crimes that the enforcer class have committed against them. Ideologies of freedom, like anarcho-homicidalism, are mocked and rejected.

Such arbitrary laws, against medicines and sacraments that have been used by humans since before the Code of Hammurabi, can only have the effect of demoralising the people who fall under their whip.

Most of the people who don’t find the current state of affairs appalling are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, where they are the hostages and the ruling class are the captors. Essentially they are those who have been brutalised so hard that they have lost all will to resist and can be directed by the ruling class as easily as sheep can be led to slaughter.

We can see them being led to the voting booths right now in order to show their consent to the whole ghastly procedure. Here we can see that the emotionally mutilated citizenry will not only cast a vote in favour of the Establishment that mutilated them, they will also cast a vote to give that Establishment permission to emotionally mutilate their children too.

That a random person suffers from Stockholm Syndrome is not the exception but the iron-fast rule in our modern societies.