The Unknown Island

Returning to the question of an organized persecution of autists or “modern-day inquisition,” there are several questions that are mostly beyond the scope of my inquiry but which I should at least mention at the get-go. The question of Lanza’s culpability, for example, of his acting alone and without incitement, training, or direction from any outside agency, or even of his existence (as one poster pointed out, see comments section of last post), is going to have to stay open for now, since I can do no more than touch upon it here. (I’d like to address as wide an audience as possible, and for many, alternate readings of historical events are still considered to be “whacked out conspiracy theories”).

There is also, just as crucially, the question of Lanza’s diagnosis of autism and its accuracy, which I will likewise put aside for now (since we don’t even know if Lanza exists). My interest is more general, having to do with the extent to which autism is being linked to violent behavior, and the possibility of a deliberate (though perhaps unconscious) agenda to strengthen this association in people’s minds. I want to look at both the how and the why of that, and also at the degree to which such (mis)perceptions might prove “prophetic,” in the sense of being self-fulfilling. Specifically, I want to explore the degree to which the social implementation of beliefs (such as the belief that alienated or autistic teenagers are prone to violence), even when these beliefs are mistaken, can be used to generate an actual reality.

As mentioned in the comments section, the scope of this project is growing the more time I spent on it, rather like an unknown island that appears smaller than it is, so that the nearer I get to it,  the further away (and the bigger ) it starts to seem.

Meanwhile, here’s a quote of relevance to chew on:

“Just as psychiatrists have found the motivations for murder involve extremely low self-esteem — the murderer saying ‘I never got so much respect before in my life as I did when I first pointed a gun at somebody’— and just as suicidal individuals are found to have inner parental voices that tell them they are ‘bad’ and demand their deaths, so too nations that commit genocide are in fact punishing themselves. They are not just ‘being aggressive’ or ‘being greedy’ as realist theories of war claim. Wars, I have shown, result from fear, not ‘greed’ or ‘aggressiveness’ as most theories of war claim. They are outcomes of early childhood fears of helplessness — creating a ‘time bomb’ set to go off when adults believe too much freedom is resented by the inner parental voices. These voices that command them to kill — whether they are labeled ‘God’ or ‘Providence’ or “Motherland’ — are implanted during childhood in their dissociated early fear network. The voices tell them they are bad for wanting things for themselves and must be punished, and the child —rather than losing the parent’s care (usually the mother’s care, since historically fathers were mainly missing during the child’s early years) — fuses with the persecuting parent and punishes someone else as a ‘Bad Self’ scapegoat. This group-fantasy of a fusion with the Powerful Motherland always takes place before wars and genocides, showing itself in the familiar grandiose feelings of being swept up and transformed by the nation and then accusing enemies of what you were accused as a child.”

—Lloyd deMause, “The Childhood Origins of the Holocaust


9 thoughts on “The Unknown Island

  1. I remember Michael Tsarion mentioned in Architects of Control the the introverted personality can not be mind-controlled (swayed by outside influence) anywhere near to the extent of the extrovert. I did an online test and it diagnosed me as ‘officially’ having Aspergers. I’m introverted and am pretty much wrapped up in my own thoughts 24/7, never comfortable with small talk and socializing. My twin brother is extremely social and dependent on associations with other people for his sense of identity and well being, shamelessly indulging in alcohol and lies to be a part of a group. In my experience with my brother, family, and people I’ve gotten to know quite well, it tends to be the more social and extroverted types that are aggressive and violent. And the violence seems to stem from a hidden lack of self confidence, a strong sense of self or a desperate attempt to make an impression in other people. Violent/extroverted types tend to be completely focused on making an impression, where as I couldn’t care less in that regard, most the time.

  2. It may be that extroversion – at least the more obvious kind you’re describing – relates to “negative identity”: which is when people define themselves by what they are not. The US – maybe the most “extrovert” nation and people in the world – has a negative identity, which is why its foreign policy is so aggressive. (“All forms of violence are quests for identity,” Marshall MacLuhan). According to Morris Berman, negative identity “has enormous advantages, especially in terms of hardening of psychological boundaries and the fortification of the ego; one can mobilize a great deal of energy on this basis…” A lack of a sense of a core self means that a person (or nation) needs to constantly assert itself in order to feel real, to see that it is affecting its environment. It will be forever trying to change, influence, impress, and control others to feel safe and powerful, or simply “real.”

    Introversion isn’t the answer either, though, since withdrawal from the world or an indifference to making an impression suggest dissociation, a passive as compared to aggressive defense against feeling powerless or unreal. It’s easy to tell ourselves that, since we aren’t psychopaths, we are sane. But the problem may be less the kind of identity we have than identity itself…?

  3. ‘Introversion isn’t the answer either, though, since withdrawal from the world or an indifference to making an impression suggest dissociation, a passive as compared to aggressive defense against feeling powerless or unreal. It’s easy to tell ourselves that, since we aren’t psychopaths, we are sane. But the problem may be less the kind of identity we have than identity itself…?’

    That got me thinking. Sometimes I think a part of my Ego is that ‘I am not egotistical’, so I end up indulging in too much passivity. The answer isn’t black or white. We need to keep our egoes in check without limiting ourselves in silence and denial.

    My guitar teacher/mentor was an excellent example of balance in this regard. An egotistical Aries, he was constantly talking about his history, himself, the good things in his life, expressing his nearly endless supply of happiness and smiling proudly about his hard-won accomplishments all the time. But never did it ever come across as arrogance. He was always focused on uplifting everyone, and enjoying himself all the time, always intent on setting the best possible example of a good human being, I tihnk, and showing that hard work and virue really do bring happiness. He’s dyslexic and pretty wacky, so he may be on the spectrum of autism.

    ‘It may be that extroversion – at least the more obvious kind you’re describing – relates to “negative identity”: which is when people define themselves by what they are not.’

    Hmm, negative identity, I bet, is more widespread than we might think. How many times a day do we look at a person or situation, or group and secretly revel in the belief that we are not them, we are better?

    • Sometimes I think a part of my Ego is that ‘I am not egotistical’

      Of course; the moment you recognize and identify with it, you’ve lost it.

      Negative identity seems pretty widespread I’d say, perhaps evidence of how the American ideology has spread through the many tentacled mass media to infect the western psyche in general? or maybe it’s more accurate to say that American ideology is itself a coming into form and expression of a “psychic plague” that predates the American psyche by thousands of years. The ego is negative identity.

      Your guitar teacher sounds like a blast. I wonder how his wife or kids experience him… Whatever qualities you are perceiving and valuing in him are probably ones you have latent within yourself; it’s also possible that you unconsciously help to bring them out in him.

      Happy holydaze.

      J

  4. The ‘psychic plague’ you describe reminds me of the Gnostic concept of a corrupt Demiurge.

    ‘Your guitar teacher sounds like a blast. I wonder how his wife or kids experience him…’

    Yeah he is, or was when I was a teen. He was usually in a lot of pain, physically and psychically, but it never stopped him from being kind and funny to anyone and everyone. He wouldn’t treat you any worse than family if you were a violent criminal and if the rare occurence occurred and he spoke negatively of someone, while struggling to help them, it was in a solemn tone. No self-satisfacory smile when speaking of bad things.

    I was a quiet, head-down fixture with a guitar at his place with his wife and step daughters always around. It was more like friends hanging out than formal family. Never any sentimental words like ‘I really do love you, and care about you…’ It was always understood that we loved each other. A house full of women drove him nuts, so he was always noticably more happy when I was there. I was a rarity that actually listened. But they had a lot of respect and everyone came to him for guidance. I imagine he always felt lonely, but he cured that pain by finding countless things that he loved about other people.

    Reading about Toltec Shamanism, I thought he exemplified Warrior flawlessly, and still do. Not bad for someone who can barely read and write.

  5. By ‘psychically’ I mean psychological and emotional. It hurt for him to see the young ones he was working so hard to guide to go down bad paths. I could tell because he talked about it a lot, and was candidly frustrated. I was even getting into bad things and neglecting school and my talents. Last year we talked, and he said ‘Ya know how many times I wanted to smack you?’. Most ppl would have ( I was frustrating at times), but he would always smile and be positive, and make us smile and laugh. It no doubt hurts to see your daughters go off partying and ‘doing bad things for bad things’. I remember his lonesome words to his wife ‘Why dont you look at me when I talk to you?’… that sums up a lot of his alienation.

    My guess is that it was more the physical kind that plagued him, though. Every once in a while he would pause, eyes widening and appreciate a good breath for up to a minute. “What?” I’d say. “No pain” he’d say. “Oh” I’d say… Prostate problems, back problems from hard construction work (doing push ups on breaks), body building and martial arts. He had an interesting dream though (involved men in suits carrying him and saying ‘we dropped him’), years ago, and the next morning for years he had extreme pain and could hardly get out of bed most days. After a few years of it, he went outside screaming “I’m f***ing walking if it kills me”. It was very slow and jerky, his movements. He’s doing better now, but needs minimal pain meds to function. (Weed used to help but he quit it as did I. The stuff seriously should be legal, it helps many good people).

    The psychic told him in the past, prophetically that an upcoming event (turned out to be spinal pain) was the test that would make him or break him. One night he went out to the garage, noose in hand, and cried out there, it was too much. He told me the reason he didn’t do it was because ‘they’ (devil, demons, evil, unseen forces, [he was using conspiratorial language to relate to me]) were anticipating it. ‘They’ were ‘licking their lips, rubbing their hands’ thinking ‘He’s gonna do it!’ So he didn’t give in. He also said that that stunt was a message to (points finger up ‘there’) that enough is enough and it’s too much. The pain went down significantly after the night he went to the garage. Pretty happy now, out in the country, away from the ghetto.

  6. Thanks for sharing that. The reason I asked is that I am an Aries and have suffered body pains and fatigue for more than half my life. I’ve recently discovered that chronic fatigue syndrome, which often includes body pain, is quite common among people on the autism spectrum. I believe it has to do with our bodies picking up “signals” and trying to pass them on to the conscious self. But then, maybe all body pain does, one way or another.

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