Writing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Frequent handwashing can be a sign of a person who is struggling with OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterised by the compulsive and repetitive performing of ritualistic behaviours intended to reduce anxiety. It’s a relatively common condition, and may not be as distressing as some of the others in this book, but a character with it will still be a striking one. This article looks at how to write believable and engaging characters with this condition.

An obsession is a pattern of thoughts that persists despite a conscious effort to get rid of it. These obsessions frequently cause anxiety, especially when they relate to lurid sexual or violent content, as they often do. Some other obsessions can border on the schizophrenic. God and the Devil are frequent subjects for obsessions, especially as pertains to future punishment for some misdeed.

These sort of thoughts can become highly intrusive and maddening in their persistence and the degree they distract from a normal life. If your protagonist has OCD, they might have a distressing interior monologue where anxiety and thoughts of decay and contamination are commonplace. Intrusive thoughts can be just as unpleasant as physical intrusions, especially when they come into the head when you’re trying to sleep or relax.

Compulsions are similar, only they relate to behaviours instead of thoughts. The classic example is compulsive hand washing. Others are compulsively checking that a door is locked, or that a stove is turned off. The person with OCD tends to worry about whether or not something is in correct order and this anxiety increases until that thing can be checked.

A person with OCD will usually be aware that they have a problem. This makes them different to psychotics, narcissists and psychopaths. A character with OCD might not necessarily be an outcast (or at least, not a true outcast), in contrast to the vast majority of characters inspired by this book.

Psychologists talk about a four-factor theory for understanding people with OCD. Essentially this is based on four groups of behaviours. There is a “symmetry” factor, a “forbidden thoughts” factor, a “cleaning” factor and a “hoarding” factor. If the protagonist of your story is or encounters a character with OCD, they will quickly notice one of these groups of behaviours.

The symmetry factor relates to an anxiety-driven compulsion to make everything balance in terms of symmetry. For instance, they might make sure that they take exactly the same number of steps to cross each segment of a repeating pattern of cobblestones. They might also be very fussy about books on a shelf or paintings on the wall lining up perfectly. Every left needs a right and vice-versa.

The forbidden thoughts factor relates to compulsively thinking about things only because one knows one isn’t supposed to. A character with OCD might start having frequently, intrusive, obsessive thoughts about a particular sexual fetish or situation, despite not finding it arousing (more the contrary). Thoughts of incest, pedophilia and homosexuality are all very common here.

Cleaning is probably the best-known of the common symptoms of OCD. The cleaning factor refers to how people with OCD are prone to quickly decide that something is contaminated and needs to be cleaned. For instance, just touching the ground might cause immense anxiety until the OCD sufferer washes their hands. Because there are thousands of potential contamination vectors, people with OCD often end up washing their hands dozens of times a day.

Hoarding is common but not often understood to be a symptom of OCD. Underlying this is often an anxiety about information being lost, and so the hoarder might hoard, for instance, a daily newspaper. The really clinical OCD comes into play when that person doesn’t want to get rid of what they’ve hoarded, even when it becomes a hygiene or fire risk.

It will be easy, if desired, to write sympathetically about a character with OCD. Usually people with the condition are regarded as eccentric rather than malicious. People with OCD don’t tend to take their suffering out on other people, although they can do if those other people prevent them from acting out their compulsions. Hoarding can, of course, lead to malicious behaviour, especially if the space in which the hoarding occurs is contested.

OCD can certainly feel malicious to a person with it, however, especially if the impulsive thoughts don’t give the person any peace. It’s common for impulsive thoughts to come at times that feel especially intrusive, like when trying to sleep or when making love. When this happens for long enough it’s possible to consider that a malevolent demon or entity might be causing them, although this is uncommon.

In contrast to most of the conditions in this book, OCD is not believed to be caused by trauma. The most generally accepted belief is that people with OCD have likely inherited an unusually high genetic propensity towards certain behaviours that were associated with survival in the past, such as checking for dangers and being meticulous about hygiene. A person with OCD is, by this reckoning, usually just hyper-vigilant.

For this reason, a character with OCD is likely to be doing considerably better than the a character with most other conditions described in the book. They might even be in a form of gainful employment where an extremely unusual level of meticulousness and cleanliness were advantages, such as surgeon. Certainly it is more likely that they will have a circle of compassionate friends than people with most other psychiatric conditions.

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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.

VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VII

This reading continues on from here.

Part Five of Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of Consciousness and Relativism’ and is comprised of two essays.

The first of these is called ‘The Procedures of Modern Science’. Here Evola begins by describing how the Western idea of Western supremacy upholds itself by appeal to its achievements in materialist science. Evola thinks that this is a gross error, and goes as far as to say that “None οf modern science has the slightest value as knowledge.” It is concerned with statistics and probability rather than truth.

The cult of scientific objectivity that Evola decries is all too willing to discard currently-held theories in favour of ones that, if adopted, provide temporary gains in terms of political power. This supposed objectivity, instead of leading to ever-refining truth, has merely caused science to lose itself chasing shadows. Einstein’s theory of relativity comes in for special criticism, being notable only for producing the bomb.

Scientism has only led to a kind of cult of quantity, which has made people obsessed with numbers and formulas and abstractions, so that we have forgotten what reality actually is and what it’s about. It’s a false logic, and it’s grossly unsuitable for anyone with spiritual pretensions.

The twentieth essay is called ‘Covering Up Nature – Phenomenology’ and continues the theme of the inadequacy of the scientific culture. Science hasn’t really got us any closer to the nature of reality, and each new “advance” merely takes us further away. After all, the world of our actual experience is still made up of fire, air, earth and water, and mathematical abstractions tell us nothing about how to deal with these.

Modern man is destructive because scientism has conditioned him to see everything as soulless. Our compulsory education system brainwashes children with this perspective from when they are very small. Even worse is the popular delusion that science can replace religion in the sense that it might give humanity a promised path to future happiness. This delusion has caused much misery.

Alchemically, this essay continues the theme of decrying the men of silver, whose preoccupations have not and can not lead to spiritual absolution. Evola gives credit to the concerns of the men of silver in so far as the discipline of mathematics cultivates clarity of thought, but all of these intellectualisms ignore the spiritual. Once one has seen the “great illusion” it’s apparent that science cannot be sufficient to solve human needs.

The twenty-first essay is called ‘Sickness and the European Culture’ and comes back to the subject of European decadence. This essay is very short, at only three pages.

Here Evola reinforces the contention that European culture has become sick because it has lost its spiritual centre. With no shared sense of spiritual tradition, the forces holding society together have weakened, and some parts of it have broken away. The tragedy of World War II is considered a natural consequence of this process of technical and scientific advancement at the expense of spiritual knowledge.

Part of the problem, Evola holds, is that politics has become separated from an intellectual and cultural class that, in its conceit, has decided it’s above the political. This is not the fault of that class so much as it is a symptom of the collapse of the unifying, transcendent and spiritual ideas that lie underneath cultural expressions such as politics and the arts.

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Moral Outrage is a Crude Thrill But an Addictive One

It’s evident from the body language of virtue signallers that they exult in the feelings of moral superiority provided by their aggression

It’s possible to become addicted to a wide range of different thrills. Adrenaline, oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine and a slew of other neurotransmitters all create a very specific kind of pleasurable buzz that a person can easily become hooked on. This essay examines the most fashionable addiction in current year: the addiction to moral outrage.

Moral outrage belongs to the class of ego thrills. Within this class are all actions that lead to pleasure on account of letting you think, even if only for a short moment, that you’re better than other people. Belonging to this class are a large number of activities relating to competition and domination.

Alchemically speaking, there are three ways that one person can dominate another person, and these correspond to the three orientations of bravery. One can dominate physically, one can dominate mentally, or one can dominate morally.

Dominating physically is generally looked down upon as an activity befitting children and thugs. Dominating mentally is the obsession of the young adult learning to be a man of silver, and incredible amounts of energy are expended to this end at universities, but most people soon grow out of that.

Dominating morally is where the real self-aggrandisement comes into play, because if this can be achieved then the other forms can be dismissed as less worthy or meaningful. It doesn’t matter if someone dominates you physically or mentally, because you can claim that the act of domination is itself immoral by virtue of being aggressive, and that therefore you, in fact, dominated them where it counts – morally!

As it happens, the modern world gives us plenty of opportunity to get a kick out of moral outrage. So much so that some people may have become clinically addicted to the thrill. Much like smoking cigarettes or snorting cocaine, working oneself into a towering moral fury has a near-immediately gratifying payoff and is therefore more likely to become habitual.

Signs of addiction can be seen in the compulsive bleating of “Racist!” whenever someone criticises a group of people that contains some black or brown individuals. Here, the person getting a buzz off moral outrage doesn’t bother to wait to make sure that the person they’re attacking really is a racist, because that might mean that they don’t get to accuse anyone and so don’t get the buzz.

Other signs include getting outraged at things that are entirely natural, such as the gender pay gap. Taking something that’s clearly the result of female choice and spinning it to make out like there’s a massive anti-female conspiracy to drive down wages is the kind of thing that could get someone a diagnosis of paranoia in other contexts, but when politics are involved no pile of bullshit is too high.

In truth, moral outrage is a form of bullying. It’s a way of running another person down because of their perceived lack of virtue, and this moral shaming is little different to shaming someone for being fat, poor or slovenly. The main distinction is that it is more passive-aggressive than physical bullying.

The driving force behind moral outrage is a combination of slave morality and mob mentality. The slave morality is always a feature because people susceptible to moral outrage have inevitably been told what their morals are, and usually told early enough in life that, by adulthood, they’re convinced their behaviour is natural. The mob mentality, likewise, is always a feature because people need to whip each other up into a frenzy to generate the self-righteousness necessary for a truly gratifying state of moral outrage.

The question then arises: should crude expressions of moral outrage be banned, or at least socially discouraged? It’s possible to combat them by making the virtue signaller look bad themselves.

For instance, virtue signallers shrieking “Racist!” when they hear criticism of Islam could be discouraged by being told how stupid they are for not being able to see the difference between dislike of a religion and dislike of a race. After all, the two concepts are radically different – the first is a meme complex, the second is a gene complex. It could fairly be pointed out that someone unable to tell the difference is pretty thick.

Even better, when someone is aggressively expressing their moral outrage at you, is to ask that person if they think they’re better than you on account of their beliefs. Of course they think they are, which is why they’re outraged in the first place – but if they admit that, they immediately lose their moral high ground on account of confessing to egotism.

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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).

The Masculine Approach, the Feminine Approach, and the Four Elementary Perceptions

If one wishes to divide the world into two halves, a problem immediately arises: on what basis does one make the division? There seem to be an infinite number of dimensions that a division can be made along. This essay argues that there are two orthogonal, fundamentally different ways to divide the world in two, and this leads to four elementary perceptions.

In its initial state, perception is untrammelled. When consciousness is united with God, one is aware of everything. From this state, the only way that change is possible is for this perfect perception to become occluded somewhere. Somewhere, consciousness must turn to unconsciousness, light to dark, warm to cold.

There are two ways to look at this inevitable fall from union with God. The first way is to simply perceive the change; the second way is to judge the change. This dichotomy is true of all distinctions between feminine and masculine, as the feminine is associated with the perception end of the perceiving-judging spectrum, and the masculine with the judging end.

This first way, making the choice to perceive, is the feminine way. This way divides the world into light and dark or hot and cold, where no judgment is made about one of the two being better than the other. The feminine way of dividing the world does so horizontally, in that the halves are seen as interdependent and as feminine and masculine.

The second way, making the choice to judge, is the masculine way. This way divides the world into good and bad, where good and bad are different to (but overlapping with) the feminine division of yin and yang. This way of dividing the world does so vertically, in that one half is judged to be worth more than the other half. Good is set above bad.

These two perceptions are just perceptions. Neither of them is right or wrong, and that isn’t important in any case. What is important is when these perceptions are useful, because either is useful in some situations and not in others.

Masculine is good when you have just come inside from the rain. Then, masculine is a warm cup of coffee. Feminine is good when you have just come inside from a hot day of playing sport in the Sun. Then, feminine is a cool beer. So either masculine or feminine can be good or bad in the moment, without a moral judgment needing to be made.

Likewise, judging is good when deciding whether to let a person into your house. It’s important to make sure that a person is not bad before opening your doors to them. Perceiving is good when trying to enjoy a piece of music, because it’s enough to just experience the sound and to let oneself by raised and lowered by it. Judging might take the fun out of it.

So the decision whether to perceive or to judge in any given moment depends on the environment a person is in and the situation around them. Generally speaking, if things are relaxed then people are inclined to perceive and if they are stressful people are inclined to judge. It also depends on inherent personality characteristics: women are more likely to break towards perceiving if in doubt, while men are more likely to break towards judging.

In all, this means that there are four different perspectives that one can take to anything in the world. Any other thing can be treated as either good, evil, yang or yin, depending on whether one chooses to primarily judge it or to primarily perceive it. Whichever of the four is chosen only makes sense in reference to the other three not chosen: bad is non-perceptive, non-good; good is non-perceptive, non-bad; feminine is non-judgmental, non-masculine, and masculine is non-judgmental, non-masculine.

This way of thinking (of dividing four elementary perceptions into two groups of two, based on approach) represents a middle point between the vertical, masculine logic of clay-iron-silver-gold and the horizontal, feminine logic of earth-water-air-fire. It might therefore claim to be a way of thinking that represented a higher degree of balance than the other two.

It also leads to them both after a small amount of extrapolation, because the distinction between good and evil is essentially identical to the distinction between precious (gold and silver) and base (iron and clay). Here gold distinguishes itself from silver by being double good, because silver is relatively bad as far as precious elements go. Likewise, iron is good in comparison to clay, because it is hard and can be used in tools, and is therefore relatively good as far as base elements go.

Likewise, the distinction between masculine and feminine is essentially identical to the distinction between warm (fire and air) and cold (water and earth). Here, fire distinguishes itself from air by being double masculine (i.e. it is hot and dry, not just hot), and earth distinguishes itself from water by being double feminine (i.e. it is cold and unyielding, not just cold).

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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).

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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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).

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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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).

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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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).

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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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).