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.

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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 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.

Writing the Narcissist

Portraying believable narcissistic characters in your creative writing poses a set of challenges that are similar to those posed by writing psychopathic ones. This is because both types of characters are extremely selfish, but there are many differences nonetheless. This article looks at the typical qualities of the narcissist so that a creative writer can most realistically portray such a character.

In that the narcissist is arrogant, self-absorbed and exploitative they are similar to the psychopath. Where they are different is that the psychopath seems dead inside to those that really know them, whereas the narcissist is full of emotions and life.

For example, narcissists are highly prone to strong feelings of envy. If the protagonist of your story achieved a major personal milestone, and received adulation from all around them, this could be the plot point that drove a secondary narcissist character into action.

That character might feel so bitter about the positive attention received by your protagonist that they began to scheme to bring them down. This could result in anything from gossip, to spreading false rumours, to a false accusation or even to violence. The more likely it is that the narcissist would step into the shoes of the protagonist if they took them down, the more strongly the narcissist will be motivated.

Narcissists also have a marked tendency towards magical thinking. If the narcissist makes a mistake, or lets someone down, or has an embarrassing failure of some kind, they are likely to use all kinds of implausible and bizarre explanations to escape any feeling of shame. Often they will simply distort reality rather than admit to being at fault for anything, and distortions of reality can lead to all manner of problems.

They are also likely to project their failures onto others, as a way of dealing with the internal feeling of shame. They are extremely reluctant to admit to either failure or weakness, and experience admitting such things as very humiliating. An intelligent character will be able to use this tendency as a way of determining the narcissist’s secrets, because they tend to accuse other people of what they themselves are guilty of.

Perhaps the defining characteristic of the narcissist is grandiosity, which manifests as a deep sense of superiority. This frequently becomes difficult for other characters in short order, because in the mind of the narcissist this sense of superiority gives them the right to treat others with contempt or disdain.

For this reason, narcissists tend to upset other characters. The more narcissistic those other characters are, the more they are likely to get upset – which is why it’s often dynamite when two narcissists meet. The coming together of two narcissist characters could make a fitting climax to any story or comedy.

Similar to the psychopath, the narcissist is capable of engendering powerful feelings of hate in other characters. These other characters are bound to feel that the narcissistic character is arrogant and rude, and the narcissistic tendency to be completely oblivious to the damage they cause only makes it more aggravating.

The narcissist is also capable of engendering powerful feelings of hate in themselves. Not being the centre of attention and adulation can be extremely damaging to the self-esteem of the narcissist. They might find meeting someone like a famous politician or distinguished intellectual to be an extremely unpleasant and belittling experience, enough to cause them depression for a while.

A narcissistic character will not necessarily bring misery into your story world, and this is another major way they are different to the psychopath. They may have found a way to sublimate their narcissism into bringing a lot of joy to people, such as becoming an actor or professional sportsman. Such a character might struggle with the excesses of their narcissism at the same time as mostly succeeding in bringing people joy.

Usually, however, narcissists do bring misery to those they encounter. The nature of the narcissist demands that they try and get the most adulation possible, and this means that they are prone to aggressively seeking high-status positions, even when there is another candidate who is obviously better qualified (a narcissist is not likely to realise that someone else is better qualified).

The narcissistic character might have an unpleasant early history that partially explains why they themselves are not a pleasant person. Many theorists believe that narcissism in adults is frequently caused by a lack of empathy and respect towards them when they were children, leading them to overcompensate as adults.

Frequently the narcissist will have one, or both, parents who did not seem to treat them as valuable when they were children. This lack of a normal, healthy level of positive attention in childhood is what makes the narcissist so desperate to receive it in adulthood. The narcissist might reveal, in their behaviour and actions, the resentment they feel towards perceived neglect.

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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 2017/18.

Fellas – It’s (Almost Entirely) A Question Of Demonstrating A Capacity For Resource Acquisition

If you have the health, the strength, the brains or the will to do this, then you can get laid

Countless reams have been written about the question of what women really want. This question has bedevilled great minds going all the way back to antiquity, and not even Sigmund Freud had a clue. Recent advances in evolutionary psychology have given us an answer from a biological perspective – but only for those who dare to read on!

In the animal world from which we have climbed, survival is primarily a matter of meeting metabolic needs. Every creature that lives has a need to eat, because only by eating are most animals capable of acquiring the necessary nutrients to keep breathing, to stay warm, and to have the energy to keep moving and find a breeding partner.

This is why the animal world has been described as “red in tooth and claw”, but there’s more to it than that. Whether a creature eats or dies, and therefore whether its genes are selected for in the next generation, is primarily a question of its capacity for resource acquisition.

Getting laid is all about demonstrating a capacity for resource acquisition. Why? Because this is by far the most accurate way for a female onlooker to determine if your genes are likely to produce offspring that are themselves capable of acquiring resources – in other words, if your genes are likely to produce offspring that can survive.

Whether an individual woman realises it or not, the females of every sexually reproducing species don’t care about anything else – and why would they? Compared to the need to gather resources to meet your metabolic needs, there’s little else that really matters for a sexually reproducing creature.

If one thinks about it, almost all of the qualities that women find attractive in men relate directly to his capacity for resource acquisition, and, by extension, the capacity for resource acquisition of any potential offspring.

There are four major ways that women determine a man’s capacity for resource acquisition, and all four of them correspond directly to major evolutionary challenges in the biological past of the human species (they also correspond to the four alchemical stages of clay, iron, silver and gold).

The first is to be healthy. After all, ill health in animals is often a consequence of not getting enough food, because without enough food it’s difficult to maintain an immune system that can keep the body free of diseases.

Having diseased skin or a rancid body odour will turn a woman off faster than anything, which is why men spend so much time washing and showering before they go into town. Both of those things suggest strongly that the man in question has failed to acquire the necessary resources for maintaining healthy bodily function. In other words, they appear to be dying, and nothing is less sexy than that!

The second major quality is to be tall and strong. Everyone knows that women are attracted to this, but fewer have thought it through to the next stage. Being tall and strong is extremely advantageous to the degree that resource acquisition has historically been dependent on the physical strength of the male in question.

This is apparent when one considers that males spent most of their time in the biological past hunting, which sometimes required hitting animals with sticks and bones or throwing rocks at them, and then carrying the prey back to the rest of the tribe on his shoulders, which are all matters of physical strength.

Arguably even more important is that fact that height and strength correlate very strongly with a male’s position on the social dominance hierarchy, which is the prime determinant of future mating opportunities. The stronger a man is the easier he will be able to defuse threats to himself, to his breeding partner or to their offspring.

The third major quality is to be intelligent. Not everyone appreciates the intense degree to which women are attracted to intelligence in breeding partners, which is probably because most people don’t really understand what intelligence is.

In the biological past, humans were able to acquire resources far more effectively if they were intelligent enough to notice and memorise certain patterns of nature. For instance, the first humans to figure out that large herbivores frequented watering holes were able to ambush those large herbivores, club them to death and thereby feed the entire tribe.

Ancient bushlore contains thousands of little patterns like this, unique to each locale in which they developed, but all with one thing in common – whoever possessed this bushlore was more effectively able to predict when and where the food was going to be.

The fact that intelligence has historically been an extremely important indicator of a man’s capacity to acquire resources can be seen from the manyfold increase in brain capacity in hominids over the past few million years, which is evidence of an extremely strong selective pressure in favour of it.

The fourth major quality is to be brave. This quality relates alchemically to the level of gold. Like the gold it is more subtle than the other qualities, and because of its rarity not quite as obvious.

Bravery relates to resource acquisition in ways like not letting another man take away the food that you have successfully hunted, or not letting the size of an animal scare you away from trying to club it to death. Essentially it’s the quality that allows a man to reduce the fear that makes him weaker and less intelligent.

In the modern world, resource acquisition has basically been reduced to having a job. If you have a job, chances are excellent that you have the capacity to acquire the necessary resources to feed a wife and children until those children are themselves capable of acquiring resources.

This is why being unemployed is extremely unattractive to women. Most women will naturally assume that a man without a job is either too lazy, too weak, too stupid or too cowardly to work or to hold down a job, and all of those four things correlate very poorly with the capacity to acquire resources.

Chris Rock joked about this in a stand-up comedy special, when he said “Fellas! If you lose your job you will lose your woman.” The reason why he had observed this pattern play out in his social circles is because a man losing his job has also lost his capacity for resource acquisition.

The other major quality that a man can possess to demonstrate his capacity for resource acquisition is to own a house. Females of all territorial species intuitively understand that the creature that dominates any given territory naturally controls all the resources within that territory, and so a man that controls a house appeals to very deep and powerful instincts.

Essentially, if a man is unable to get laid he needs to either become better looking, stronger, smarter or braver, because those are the qualities that correlate with a capacity for resource acquisition and are therefore the qualities that woman have evolved to select for in their breeding partners.

The Closer the Election Gets, the More Degraded Political Discourse Becomes

We’re fortunate that no campaigning is allowed on Election Day – if there was, it would just be the candidates throwing feces at each other

There’s a psychological heuristic about the effectiveness of logical arguments compared to emotional ones. In essence, rational arguments weigh more heavily in the long term, often producing permanent changes, but emotional arguments weigh more heavily in the short term, often producing immediate action. This simple rule explains why the quality of political discourse has degraded so sharply in recent weeks, and why it will degrade further in the next two.

This human tendency was demonstrated with a study that examined tooth brushing habits. Two groups listened to two different lectures from dental health professionals. The first lecture used calm, reasonable, logical arguments to explain why people should brush their teeth, the second used fire and brimstone and tried to scare the listeners into doing so.

Although people who heard the first lecture only made a small increase in how regularly they brushed their teeth, the change in behaviour lasted for a long time. This was in stark contrast to the emotional lecture. People who heard this one made a sharp increase in tooth-brushing behaviour immediately after the lecture but, over the long term, this then fell away to much lower levels than the people who had heard the logical arguments in the first lecture.

Our political class and their advisers, highly sophisticated in the art of psychological persuasion, know all of this and are using this knowledge against the plebs right now. The rule they are operating by is: the closer we get to the day of the election, the less effective logical arguments become, and the more effective emotional arguments become.

One year out from an election, there’s no real reason to get emotional. The voters themselves have not yet been whipped into hysteria by the mainstream media, and so any politician that noticeably becomes emotional will look unstable and lose support.

That far out, it’s much better to focus on calm, logical arguments that a potential voter can ruminate over at their leisure before making a solid commitment to a party on the basis of reason. This is because, as with the toothbrush study, this influence will be minor but permanent.

The day before an election, by contrast, is not the time for calm and logical arguments. It doesn’t make psychological sense to aim for a moderate but long-term gain when the election is the next day and the preferences of voters in one year’s time doesn’t count for shit. At this point, it only makes sense to appeal to the heart (and almost always to fear), in the hope that this wave of raw emotion will not have subsided by the next day.

Right now, two weeks out from Election Day, fewer logical arguments are being made. “Let’s Do This!” is not a logical argument, and that is why we have seen expressions of it much more often over the past week. Neither is whipping up fears about being taxed into the poorhouse.

Here the political discourse can already be seen to have degraded, but things will only get worse over the next two weeks as the miserable calculus of persuasion shifts the balance ever-further towards whipping up hysteria and fear.

In two weeks’ time, the discourse will have degraded so far that National supporters will simply be yelling “COMMUNISM!!!”, Labour supporters will be screaming “SOLD DOWN THE RIVER!!!”, New Zealand First supporters will be bellowing “NEOLIBERALISM!!!” and Greens supporters will be shrieking “POO IN THE WATER!!!”

And it will take us three years to get over the shame of how low we all stooped before we can do it again.

Writing The Psychopath

Psychopaths make for fascinating characters in creative writing because they are dangerous, ruthless and unpredictable

The psychopath, sociopath or person with Antisocial Personality Disorder has for centuries been one of the most interesting subjects for creative writers. Something about their nature reliably invokes a sense of horror in the reader – perhaps the ruthlessness, perhaps the callousness, perhaps the deep and smouldering hatred for life. This article looks at how you can believably portray a psychopathic character in your own creative fiction.

It’s important to note that ‘psychopath’ and ‘psychotic’ are two entirely different things. A psychopath is seldom a madman – there is usually a distinct logic and methodology to their actions, even if those actions are considered abhorrent by the majority of people around them.

Psychopaths are primarily characterised by a lack of shame or remorse. Essentially this means that they don’t feel bad about causing suffering to other sentient beings. If they do cause suffering to another person or animal they will rarely accept that they shouldn’t have done so, and even when they do they are never sincere.

A striking lack of remorse after the psychopath did something that harmed someone might be the clue that lets other characters realise that they’re dealing with someone who is a bit different up top. The psychopath might be unaware that they’re supposed to feel remorse (depending on their level of sophistication) and may appear to become confused when another character acts as if remorse would be expected.

Lying is another essential characteristic of the psychopath. From the perspective of the author, this presents an interesting challenge, because the characters that interact with the psychopath are unlikely to realise (at least, not initially) that they are being lied to.

This isn’t just a question of telling a lot of lies. Psychopaths are good at lying as well. They stay cool when telling lies – even if initially disbelieved, and this means that the microsignals that people subconsciously use to detect liars are present less often.

A character who encountered a psychopath might find themselves slowly figuring out that they’re being lied to. They might be so taken in by the glib charm of the psychopath character that they are reluctant to accept that that character has been misleading them, and only by thinking hard about the facts do they realise that something doesn’t add up.

These two traits combine as well, in remorseless lying. The psychopath does not care about the consequences of telling lies, neither when it comes to the suffering caused or the risk of being caught out. The lack of shame means that even if they are caught with indisputable proof that they are lying, they might continue to insist that their accuser must be mistaken, possibly mentally ill, or that they should just “get over it”.

These characteristics might be of more interest to psychological fiction than a psychopath who is just a remorseless killer. Although, if they are a remorseless killer, they no doubt will have developed a fantastic web of lies to divert attention from the fact. Keep in mind that some serial killers were even able to keep their streak of murders a secret from their own wives!

Another personality trait that typifies the psychopath is a constant need for stimulation. It seems that psychopaths do not derive the same satisfaction from everyday activities that non-psychopaths do, and this has leads to an increased incidence of risk-taking behaviours, such as sexual promiscuity, violence and drug use. The psychopath tends to be impulsive, on account of that they don’t have much in the way of inhibitions.

This means that a psychopath character will almost certainly not practice meditation, for example. Neither will they be fond of long walks on the beach, hiking, chess, Test cricket, gardening etc. They wouldn’t be able to sit still for long enough to partake in pastimes such as these.

A history of irresponsibility also characterises the psychopath. It’s common for psychopaths to be incapable of holding down a stable job or relationship because of the need for constant stimulation and because their lies and callous behaviour tends to limit social opportunities. Some other characters in your story might find this history a warning sign.

Another decision that the author will have to make is whether their character is a psychopath or a sociopath. Although both conditions generally fall under the rubric of Antisocial Personality Disorder, there is a distinction in that psychopathy is innate whereas sociopathy is a learned condition from the environment.

Depending on the needs of the story, the character might have been “born bad” or they might have lost their natural empathy as a consequence of massive physical, sexual or psychological abuse. The author will have to decide this once they decide what emotional reaction they want to reader to have, because a character who has had everything good beaten out of them in childhood will be more engaging to some readers, particular those with a higher demand for psychological realism.

Taking these considerations into account when writing a psychopathic character should allow the author to make an accurate portrayal of someone with the condition while avoiding the common cliche of mindless, uncalculating sadism.

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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 2017/18.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto X

This reading carries on from here.

In this section (c. pages 776-847), titled “A Declaration of Pre-emptive War”, Breivik discusses how “Christian/conservative/nationalist” forces can organise themselves to best resist the coming chaos. Here he is particular about making sure that the work is seen as hypothetical and fictional, apparently for the reason that he is concerned about potential legal consequences from being too explicit.

Here again Breivik demonstrates that he is not a neo-Nazi, at one point by demanding that the national governments of Europe issue a statement in support of Israel against Muslim aggression, at another by calling Hitler a “twisted mass murderer.”

Here also he holds European politicians accountable for every single crime committed by Muslims in Europe, a crime rate that he describes as “an average 1000 atrocities per 100 000 Muslims annually.” The line of reasoning Breivik pursues here is that, without Muslims being in Europe, none of these crimes would ever have happened. This is perhaps the most untenable of all the claims in this document.

Although it’s literally true that none of the crimes committed by Muslims against Europeans would have happened if there were no Muslims in Europe, the absolute numbers of crimes in a particular country is primarily a function of the absolute numbers of people – after all, America manages to maintain an extremely high rate of crime (by developed world standards) with far fewer Muslims than Europe.

Breivik tends to conflate all genuine criticism of European traditions and institutions into the category of the great Marxist/feminist conspiracy against Europe. He does this with the nature of the Church’s influence on European society – here Breivik can not tolerate any criticism of the Church on libertarian or humanist grounds. All criticism of the Church is a Marxist plot to destroy Europe.

The paranoid nature of some of the earlier parts of the document resurfaces when Breivik details a media-led conspiracy to deny the truth about historical Islamic violence. This also misses the mark.

The media doesn’t educate anyone, ever – it sells advertising. Breivik considers it a kind of bias for the media to be silent on, for example, the genocide of Hindus and Buddhists in the Hindu Kush, but that degree of historical detail is reserved for special and academic interests, not for a mainstream media which speaks to a twelve-year old intellect.

There is an eerie foreshadowing of the future when Breivik cites Jefferson as saying “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Indeed, later on in this section he goes as far as declaring that “The time for dialogue is now over. The time for armed resistance has come.”

The legal measures suggested in this section are those that Breivik appears to believe should be instituted by any genuinely patriotic European front, should any take power. Curiously, one of the policy points allows for the immediate release of all “patriotically-minded” individuals from Western European jails.

Perhaps Breivik himself, incarcerated as he is for life, is counting on such a policy in order to get out of jail himself.

When he writes that “Norway and Sweden are two of the world’s most repressive Marxist regimes,” he echoes a sentiment that is common among Scandinavian conservatives, especially Christian ones. This sentiment is grounded in a disbelief that the conservatives are in a genuine minority. Where majority opinion does not agree (and it’s far from agreeing with Breivik’s demands that all Muslims be deported on pain of execution), this is considered evidence of brainwashing.

Interestingly, Breivik lists all of Communism, Cultural Marxism, Islam and Nazism as “hate ideologies” which must be opposed by any European male who wishes to be accepted into what he hopes might become a renewed European chivalric order.

It’s apparent that anyone who thinks like this in contemporary European society is bound to experience a certain degree of social isolation. This might ultimately help to explain the reasoning that led Breivik to take the actions he did.

Why The Concept Of White Genocide Doesn’t Make Sense

The concept of white genocide, as popular as it currently is in some quarters, doesn’t make sense if seen from a biological perspective

The discourse in some quarters of the Internet appears to be obsessed with race rhetoric. Some hysterical people are talking about “white genocide” and “white replacement” – the idea that nefarious forces have conspired to completely rid the world of white people forever. As this essay will demonstrate, there are three major reasons why the entire concept of getting rid of white people doesn’t even make biological sense.

The first reason is natural selection. Because race is such a taboo subject in our societies, relatively few people are aware of the basic biological reality that the different races are merely different adaptations to different environmental conditions.

For example, everyone knows that black people tend to live near the equator and white people tend to live further away from the equator. The reason for this is that people whose ancestors lived in Africa evolved to have black skin on account of that black skin is much less likely to get damaged by the intense heat and light that characterises that continent.

The exact opposite is true of people whose ancestors lived in Northern Europe. In Scandinavia there is very little heat and very little sunlight. This has led to people whose ancestors lived there evolving to have white skin because white skin is much more sensitive to the light and therefore absorbs more of it.

The highest rates of skin cancer in the world are in Australia, New Zealand and the Southern USA. The reason for this is because these countries are mostly populated by descendants of Northern European immigrants, whose skin has evolved for much lower levels of sunlight. As a consequence, becoming sunburned is a very common experience for white people in these countries, and sunburn leads to skin cancer.

Black people who live in Northern Europe run a much higher risk of developing rickets, for the reason that the human body needs Vitamin D to stave off rickets and Vitamin D is mostly gained from absorbing sunlight. Because black skin has evolved to be insensitive to sunlight on account of there being so much of it in Africa, the low levels of sunlight in Northern Europe can mean that the bodies of black people don’t create enough Vitamin D to be healthy.

What all this means, from the perspective of natural selection, is that if you took millions of black people and moved them all into Europe, their descendants would evolve to be white, because black skin will always provide a relative selective disadvantage in latitudes with low levels of sunlight.

A “great replacement” is therefore impossible on account of that it goes against the will of Nature. People with black skin in Northern Europe will get sick relatively more often, which means they will die before reproducing relatively more often, and so over time the gene pool will whiten. This is, of course, very similar to what will happen to white people in Australia and New Zealand.

There is absolutely nothing that puny humans can possibly do to stop this from happening. The Will of Nature will out.

The second reason is sexual selection. Even people who know about natural selection often don’t understand sexual selection very well. The short of it is that any phenotype that is more sexually attractive to the people around them will have an evolutionary advantage as long as that perception of sexiness exists.

Let’s say that the white nationalist’s nightmare scenario came to pass, and Europe opened its borders entirely to the third world, which led to hordes of Muslims and Africans males flowing into Europe to inseminate white women. Not only would this fail to wipe out the white race, but it could actually backfire completely, thanks to something called genetic drift.

If the borders between Europe and Africa were erased overnight, and black people and white people started intermixing, the result after two generations would be a population of strongly varying phenotypes. There would be people with light skin and light eyes, people with dark skin and dark eyes, people with light skin and dark eyes and people with dark skin and light eyes.

Sexual selection would mean that the most attractive of the resulting offspring would come to reproduce at a higher level, on account of having a wider range of mating opportunities.

It is believed that all of the blue-eyed people in the world are descended from a single common ancestor, who lived between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.

It’s possible that blue eyes have a selective advantage over brown eyes for reasons of sexual attraction. When a person becomes sexually aroused by another person, their pupils usually dilate. This dilation is one way that humans signal a readiness for mating. This means that the more noticeable the dilation, the more likely it is that any such dilation will be picked up by a potential mating partner and lead to copulation.

Because the contrast between the dark iris and the pupil is greater for blue eyes than for brown, sexual arousal is more apparent in a blue-eyed person than in a brown-eyed one. As detailed above, this increased ability to communicate sexual arousal leads to a greater number of instances of copulation, which – all other things being equal – leads to more offspring and therefore genetic drift that will increase the proportion of blue-eyed people in the population.

Essentially what this means is that increased instances of interracial reproduction will simply lead to increased opportunity for any phenotype with a meaningful selective advantage to drive out the other phenotypes.

This process doesn’t necessarily favour white people, even if it did favour blue eyes. For example, it could be that white skin has a selective disadvantage compared to black skin because it makes it easier for an onlooker to notice the presence of disease, so that diseased lighter-skinned people would come to reproduce less than diseased dark-skinned people, leading to genetic drift that favoured the dark-skinned phenotype.

It’s even possible that these two processes are both occurring simultaneously. This might mean that increased racial mixing will simply create a new race of dark-skinned, blue-eyed people.

Ultimately, much like the case of natural selection, the will of Nature will out. There’s nothing that the will of malicious anti-white racists could do about this because the sexual response to physical signs of fertility occurs almost entirely at a subconscious level.

Genetic engineering is the third reason why the idea of a race war doesn’t make sense. Technology is already at the point where designer babies are starting to become possible. Although genetic engineering has so far been mostly limited to aborting fetuses that have genetic diseases, there’s every chance that future technology will allow parents to make more specific decisions about how their children look.

When this technology becomes advanced enough, it will become possible for parents to essentially choose the race of their offspring, even if this meant that the child was a different race to either of its parents.

What would likely happen in a scenario like this is an increase in people choosing the phenotype of their offspring for reasons of fashion.

It’s already common among South Korean and Eastern Chinese women to have a procedure called a blepharoplasty, which is surgery to change the shape of the eye fold to look more Western. This suggests it isn’t long until parents get the procedure done for their children before birth by genetic engineering.

Once such things start happening then the entire concept of race will start breaking down. After all, when a phenotype can simply be chosen out of a number of faces in a catalogue, then it no longer represents any kind of link to one’s genetic ancestors. Indeed, the idea of genetic ancestors stops making sense after a certain degree of genetic engineering.

This could even mean that as-of-yet unknown races will show their faces in the human phenotype in the future. It could be that future environmental conditions mean that human skin becomes engineered to be capable of photosynthesis, as this would mean much less pressure on the environment for agricultural land, and so all skin colours are replaced with green.

We could easily end up with a world where the majority of us have blue eyes, green skin and a wide range of different hair styles depending on what was fashionable to who that month, and it would be an entirely logical and natural progression from where we currently are.

In summary, thinking in terms of white genocide is not meaningful for reasons of biology. Nature will select those who she favours, and any human schemes to the contrary are destined to fail.