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able of Contents  

Have you ever noticed that some people have an extra warmth and sparkle that most people don’t have?  This is the sort of spark that either you’ve got it or you don’t; you can’t fake it.

Experiences I’ve had that are typical for those like us

How even when I was a baby, I already had some traits of this sort, with an intense photo of me at age two

How when I was eight years old, I really got into wild earthy stuff, especially wild hick music, energetic folk-dance music from everywhere, which comes from the same spirit as the trendy Latin and African music

How when I was a teenager I became aware that either someone is my soul-mate or isn’t, that this isn’t just a relative difference that everyone has to different degrees

When I was a teenager I thought I wanted to become a psychologist, but then I discovered that the main train of thought among American psychologists was oriented toward re-programming each client to be whatever happens to be most pragmatic.

When I started college, my desire to share all of the life that I felt inside myself led me to give moral support to chronically depressed guys, and at that very time I discovered a part of the Bible, in the book Song of Solomon, where an earthy guy feels motivated to do the same for his emotionally injured wife!!!!!!!!

How at age twenty I discovered my favorite wild hick music, Hassidic Klezmer, anarchic like Dixieland jazz, and with the energy of the music associated with mystical religions

Just after I graduated college I discovered that according to National Institutes of Mental Health figures 20,000,000 people or approximately 15% of the U.S. adult population suffers from a serious depressive disorder in any given year, and since in knowing all those chronically depressed guys I knew how major this is, so I read and discovered more along these lines.

After I got out of college I saw American psychology grow even more explicitly toward re-engineering people toward the pragmatic, and since the energetic willful people I knew tended to create more problems than usual, the mental contortions I had to engage in, in order to adjust mentally and adapt physically to these realities, were rather extreme.

Combine these two, and you get self-blame for devastation, the characteristic difference between modern Western depression and all other depression.  Depressed people who’ve lived in developed areas outside of the modern West have tended to feel paranoid, but modern Westerners tend to figure that even if someone did “get you,” that would mean only that you lost the battle so you’re a loser. 

More skepticism about what I’ve always been told about human nature



          Have you ever noticed that some people have an extra warmth and sparkle that most people don’t have?   These people could be described as perpetually enthusiastic and outgoing, so they’re exactly the sort of person you’d want to surround yourself with. This is the sort of spark that either you’ve got it or you don’t; you can’t fake it.  This is something like the infectiously full-of-life character of the facial expression of Nikola Tesla in his Victorian-era photo below, and that ain’t no typical Victorian-era portrait.  You also may have noticed that these people tend to be not only smarter than most, bright brilliant and sharp, but they also tend to have both a warmth and a deep-level awareness that most people are clearly lacking, so these people could seem unusually idealistic and cosmopolitan.  Their entire personalities can have an intense, expressive, deep quality that could be called “histrionics of the soul.”  They could also be unusually successful in life, as enthusiastic bright people tend to be.  You may have wished that you could be like that, or maybe, perhaps, you are.  Maybe you’ve always felt that compared to you, most people seem dull, square, obeisant, unimaginative, and basically half dead, and you just couldn’t figure out why.  Well, this may be it.


This website is basically an illustration of what a hyperthymic personality looks like.  In a cheeky sort of way, I think of this as a “chronically manic” personality in the same sense that a continually depressed but not radically distorted disposition is called a “chronically depressed” personality.  I have a hyperthymic personality myself.  Some people have given me strange looks when I smile and say, “Ever since I was a teenager anyone who didn’t have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me!” as if I’m saying that I like something strange, though most smile as if they could see that I have a good reason.  Yet a sizable fraction of the American population, and probably of those you know, have either hyperthymic or chronically depressed personalities, and not only are they not strange, but unless you were savvy about recognizing the signs of either, you couldn’t tell them from everyone else.

In essence, what hyperthymics tend to look like, is the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies, charismatic smart creative and idealistically caring, but also tending to have plenty of artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, such as boozing, doping, irascibility, flamboyant eccentricities, and irresponsibility.  If you surrounded yourself with all of the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies, you sure would tend to associate with people who have artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, so you could very easily seem to have a subconscious codependent attraction to artistic-temperament-style behavior problems.  Yet the only groupies who are attracted to the boozing and doping, are those who want to share the booze and dope.  It might seem strange that the very same hyperthymic person who’s very attractive most of the time,


could also be very problematic some of the time,

but that’s the reality.


One description of hyperthymics, in Dr. Peter Kramer’s book Listening to Prozac, is, “Psychiatrists have begun to recognize a normal or near-normal condition called ‘hyperthymia,’ which corresponds loosely to what the Greeks called the sanguine temperament.”  The Merriam Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines sanguine as: “having blood as the predominating bodily humor; also : having the bodily conformation and temperament held characteristic of such predominance and marked by sturdiness, high color, and cheerfulness.”  Sounds exciting, don’t it?

Dr. Kramer goes on, “Hyperthymia is distinct from mania or hypomania, the disorders in which people are grandiose, frenetic, distractible, and flawed in their judgment.  Hyperthymics are merely optimistic, decisive, quick of thought, charismatic, energetic, and confident.”  Later on, Kramer quotes Dr. Hagop Akiskal on hyperthymics: “These people are described by Akiskal with a series of adjectives, not all of which apply to any one person but the listing of which creates the image of a recognizable ‘type’: hyperthymics are habitually ‘irritable,’ ‘cheerful,’ ‘overoptimistic,’ ‘exuberant,’ ‘overconfident,’ ‘self-assured,’ ‘boastful,’ ‘bombastic,’ ‘grandiose,’ ‘full of plans,’ ‘improvident,’ ‘impulsive,’ ‘overtalkative,’ ‘warm,’ ‘people-seeking,’ ‘extraverted,’ ‘overinvolved,’ ‘meddlesome,’ ‘uninhibited,’ ‘stimulus-seeking,’ and/or ‘promiscuous.’  They are habitual short sleepers, even on weekends.”  While I don’t want to put down chronically depressed people since I’ve known plenty, I can say that hyperthymic personalities like mine are attractive for reasons that are basically the opposite of the reasons why many find chronically depressed personalities unattractive.  While to many chronically depressed personalities seem infectiously glum, shy, pessimistic and unmotivated, we hyperthymics tend to be infectiously enthusiastic, outgoing, optimistic, and unusually motivated.

Not only that, hyperthymics tend to be very smart creative and intuitive, our most prominent intuition tending to be our ability to read people.  As Arthur Schopenhauer wrote in The World as Will and Representation, “Learning does not take the place of genius, because it also furnishes only concepts; the knowledge of genius, however, consists in the apprehension of the (Platonic) Ideas of things, and is therefore essentially intuitive,” so such intuition could play a big part in any great thinking, especially that based on flashes of insight, such as panache.   Martin Buber, in Ecstatic Confessions, his collection of quotes from the followers of various mystical religions describing mystical experiences, uses the German word

to describe the ineffability of mystical experiences, a word that also means flash-of-insight thinking.

A CNN special on genius, ended with Dr. Sanjay Gupta saying, “The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said that talent hits a target that no one else can hit, but genius hits a target that no one else can see.”  Here you could see both creative thinking, and flash-of-insight thinking.  This must be what “flash of genius” means.

And regarding how a group of artists could find that they can “read” each other, R & B singer Teddy Pendergrass, in his autobiography Truly Blessed, wrote, “The [Philadelphia International Records] magic was simple: Gamble, Huff, Bell, all the arrangers, musicians, and singers knew one another so well that in the studio they communicated almost telepathically—or, as we called it, vibing....  It wasn’t long before the PIR musicians were able to lay down tracks that anticipated my phrasing and dynamics and those track-closing ad libs.”

19th Century composer Robert Schumann had overt bipolar disorder.  Fellow composer Franz Bendel wrote about him, “He could be extremely lively and excited, and again quite introverted, sunk in revery and apathetic, gruff and peevish.  Then again, when he awoke from his dream world, he could be a perfectly fascinating heart-winner, full of the most devoted amiability.”

And here’s a nice, decorous Victorian picture of the woman who married him after they were in love for a lo-o-o-ong time, fellow renowned pianist Clara:

She certainly didn’t have the sort of disposition that those unfamiliar with hyperthymic temperaments, would associate with “snob music”!  If she were alive today and her portrait appeared on the cover of a heavy metal album, that would have conveyed exactly the right sort of dynamism!:



The website The Hedonistic Imperative says, “A small minority of humans do in fact experience states of indefinitely prolonged euphoria. These states of involuntary well-being are usually pathologised as ‘manic’.  Unlike unipolar depression, sustained unipolar mania is very rare. Other folk who just have high ‘hedonic set-points’, but who aren’t manic or bipolar, are sometimes described as ‘hyperthymic’ instead.”  Especially when you consider that you could avoid those with the behavior problems, you could see that compared to them everyone else seems half dead, and if you’re one of us, especially, everyone else would seem half dead in comparison to your own internal norm.  Also, to whatever degree some things on this website might seem weird to the un-savvy, hyperthymics are at their best when they dare to break new ground in ways that seem crazy at first but end up being very useful to a lot of people.  Finding out more about charismatic, attractive movers and shakers like us should benefit everyone.  For more on this you could see my own About Us series of webpages, or, in summary, my About Us, the Summary webpage.



          This website is also to illustrate some experiences that I’ve had, which are probably pretty typical  for hyperthymics.  To many of us, anyone who doesn’t have a chronically manic personality seems half dead.  Since those with whom we have an affinity in all sorts of ways, are other hyperthymics, we can have a steady diet of both the good and the bad things that hyperthymics tend to do.  Some hyperthymic personalities come with some pathologies, just as the chronically depressed personalities that came with pathologies used to be called “neurotic,” but I don’t have any pathologies.  The pathologies that some of us have, tend to be obliviously selfish in the short-sighted sense, so a lot of us look like the character Sportin’ Life from Porgy and Bess, charismatic, able to read what others want to hear, and wanting to use this exploitatively.



A good example of what a hyperthymic personality looks like, though I don’t really know that this guy has a hyperthymic personality, is the web page giving the alcoholism life-story of Sober Joe.  This is because of his histrionics in middle age, 113 exclamation points in 872 words (Possibly a good way to find hyperthymics on the Net is to do a search on Metacrawler or your favorite search engine, for “!!!!!!!”.), along with his charm, intelligence, costly hedonism, cosmopolitanism (You might notice that in the inter-racial couples you see, other than maybe in Latin America where inter-racial marriages between all three of the world’s major races have long been the norm, both partners have an unusually energetic demeanor and disposition, and it doesn’t matter which gender is of what ethnicity.), alcoholism-prone tendencies on both sides of his family which seem to have given his parents personalities that without Joe’s father’s alcoholism were compatible with each other (Why else would people with these same family histories have matched up?), and rebellious tendency to be “much too ‘cool’” when middle-aged and probably also even when he’s geriatric.  Despite the fact that this guy lives in Mexico City, he sure does like folksy old-fashioned American colloquialisms, which just goes to show you that you don’t need to shock people to be free and spontaneous.  And even before I saw this web page, when I first saw Joe’s alcoholism home page, I knew he looked hyperthymic to me, with all the bold bright colors here despite the dismal topic, along with its own overuse of exclamation points.  Also, I’ve read that the two American ethnicities which have the greatest percentage of hyperthymics are the Italians and the Jews, and both “acting Italian” and “acting Jewish,” including the folksy warmth of both, should give you a good idea of what a hyperthymic personality looks like.

Some of what I’m about to say might sound narcissistic, except that I’m not claiming credit for being born like this.  I’m trying to let those out there who know that they have some level of bipolar disorder, and who feel socially stigmatized because of this, know that you’ve probably got more to offer society, and probably have more attractive personalities, than normal people do.  I mean, I can just imagine someone in my family saying about this website, “You’re going to say WHAT about yourself in public?” though most of what I’m about to say about myself would probably look like narcissism, and whether it’s good or bad, this simply is my niche.  This website is also to let people know that we’re out there, that we’re 3-6% of the population, and that we’ve got this much going for us.  This should open up whole new worlds for people, especially those who are hyperthymic but don’t know it, since they’d have even more of an affinity with us than most people would.  In other words, many would respond to this web page by thinking, “Where have you been all my life?”

Yet some of this website is also to discuss the negative side that comes with many (though not all, not mine) hyperthymic personalities, probably the most common of which is alcoholism and other addiction that results from a lot of impulsivity and a rebellious desire to be true to themselves, meaning to whatever they feel like doing at the moment.  In several ways I’ve seen this treated as if, if you’ve got a considerable amount of alcoholism in your family, this is a sign that your mental disturbances could be bipolar disorder, and both alcoholism and other addictions have done so much damage to the lives of so many people, including some with plenty of soul who could have contributed a lot, that they could be treated accordingly.  So before I get to writing this, let me just get out my aromatherapy candle.  Now let me put a few drops of ylang ylang oil on it.  Now, let me put a drop or two of musk.  Okay, now I’m ready.

Here, I’ll write about my own hyperthymic personality and how I grew up feeling different, but thrilled with the differences.  Many others out there have also grown up feeling different, either chronically depressed, or anxious in some way, or something similar.  I’m sure that my story would sound a lot like yours.  With all the stories I’ve heard about many gays growing up feeling different, and the fact that many gays could recognize whether or not people are gay by looking at their demeanors just as, to varying degrees, I can recognize whether or not people are hyperthymic by looking at their demeanors, even gays might be able to relate to this.

The web page MEDLINE search on Soft Bipolar Spectrum - Hyperthymia, by Ivan Goldberg, MD says that hyperthymics could make up “3-6% of the general population.”  The web site Hyperthymic Temperament* describes the “hyperthymic temperament” as: Cheerful and exuberant, Articulate and jocular, Overoptimistic and carefree, Overconfident boastful and grandiose, Extroverted and people seeking, High energy level full of plans and improvident activities, Versatile with broad interests, Overinvolved and meddlesome, Uninhibited and stimulus seeking, and Habitual short sleep (less than 6 hours/night).  The On Being Bipolar - Home Page describes hyperthymics as “bright, intelligent, intuitive and creative creatures.  My psychiatrist jokes that people wish that they could experience hypomania so they could feel the energy that oozes from you.”

Let’s just say that I have all of the good qualities listed by Dr. Akiskal and none of the bad, and his list doesn’t even include some of the worst ones, such as the prima donna irritability that, due to the fact that hyperthymics have an extraordinary tendency to be smart and creative, is known as the “artistic temperament.”  I’ve basically always felt like I was different from the norm and could spot who was and who wasn’t my kind of person.  Just before I found out that our personality was the hyperthymic personality, when I was about 30 years old, I ran an international ad for pen pals describing myself as “primeval, deep, passionate, sensitive, and soulful,” and knowing that others out there would fit that exact mold.  Right now I just say with a smile that anyone who doesn’t have a chronically manic personality seems half dead to me, and most people can see I’ve got a good reason for this.  Since I have a very evident hyperthymic personality, I’ve recognized that two of my professors, one Asian-born male and one New Yorker female, are fans of hyperthymics (and probably are some themselves) since, when they assigned partners to work on term projects, as they got to me the professors’ eyes lit up and they broke into a big smiles as they partnered me up with fellow obvious hyperthymics.

This is my grandmother Clara.  I look a lot like she did:


          I was born on May 24, 1961.   Of course, a bit of my family history would be relevant here.  My great-great grandfather

was a nobleman in Poland.  Once when he was taking a walk, he first saw the woman he was to marry, drying her hair in the sun.

He went home and told his dad that he just saw the woman who he would marry.  His dad didn’t really like this because she was of a lower class, but eventually they married, and she fit in with that family very well.  Then when the Germans took over that land which the family controlled, this couple immigrated to the United States along with their daughter Anna, my great-grandmother.  OK, anyone who knows anything about hyperthymic people, the bluesy nuances of their movements even when they’re just drying their hair in the sun, etc., would know that that’s what must have been what immediately won my great-great grandfather over.  No one’s hair, etc., could do that.  And naturally, even the

  Victorian Era

couldn’t stop this.  That’s really very similar to how Lana Turner was discovered simply from her movements as she drank a soda at a drugstore soda bar.  And supermodel Iman was discovered in a very similar fashion, with Western photographer Peter Beard spotting her during a traffic jam on the streets of Nairobi where she attended university, and considering how compatible she is with David Bowie, she can’t be entirely normal.

When I was a baby, my grandpa said that he’d never seen such a happy baby.  When I was five months old, my dad, a chiropractor, was selling a machine to someone else, who was waiting in the living room as I lay on the sofa close by.  I wanted to play with a magazine at my feet, so picked up the magazine by tweezing it between my feet, swinging it up over my body, and grabbing it with my hands.  This basically freaked out the guy who was the only one to see me do this, so when my parents came back into the living room, he told them in amazement what he’d just saw me do.  When I was seven months old, I saw my grandma dressed in a fancy dress that she just bought, and though I’d never seen that dress before, I could tell by the fanciness of her dress makeup and hairstyle that we were going somewhere fairly dressy, so I asked, “Out?”  So when I was a baby I was already showing two hyperthymic tendencies, enthusiasm and intelligence.

And here’s me, intense at age two. 


Probably the most momentous event of my childhood occurred when I was seven years old.  I was in the car parked in front of a classmate’s house, who I then thought of as just “shy” but who I now realize was so shy that she must have been chronically depressed.  As I talked with her, her younger sister came up to the car just outside where I was sitting, and leaned on it.  When my mom started to drive off, she fell toward the car at an angle that, though I didn’t see if any part of her ended up under the car so she’d get run over, it seemed so likely that some part of her, most likely her head, would have ended up under the car.  My reflexes told me to shout, “Stop!” and my mom could tell from my tone of voice that I meant business.  So after she slammed on the brakes I told her what I saw the sister do, and my mom told my friend to pick up her sister and pull her back from the car.

          When I was 8 years old was when I really became interested in the wild hick stuff,  mainly what squares call “folk dance music” from all countries, and I call “wild hick music.”  (You know you’re a real aficionado of wild hick music when you’re out with a group of friends, one of them makes a joke about the tango Argentino, and you’re the only one who “gets it.”)  This could be called the time that one could say I really started to think differently from most.  This was in the late 1960’s, when the trendy were very aware of what was cool and what was square, and while African, African-American and Hispanic wild hick music have cool reputations, the rest seem square, but as far as I’m concerned, if I like something, then that’s just the way I am.  At about that time my mom repeatedly told my younger sister and me that when she was a young adult, during World  War II, when the USSR was our ally so Slavic dancing was trendy, she was in a theater group with two Kazatski dancers, and when they’d get drunk at theater parties they’d leap from the floor onto the tops of tables in one leap.  In the 1960’s, despite the wild strong pulsating rhythm of Slavic wild hick music, it was supposed to be the ultimate of square, but, of course, I didn’t care.  (Because of this presumed squareness, I’ve heard plenty of recordings of energetic Slavic wild hick music played by classical or Muzak orchestras, which end up sounding like classical or Muzak orchestras trying to play Charlie Daniels, and whenever I hear this all I could think is, “Give me a break!”.)  At that same time, my favorite rock band was Santana.

At age ten my family lived rural Arkansas during a summer, and though we didn’t live in the Ozarks, at that time my urbane mom kept saying negative things about hillbillies, such as that when we were wearing our work clothes and one of us wanted to go into a respectable business, “But if we go in there wearing these, we’ll look like hillbillies!”  Of course, I though that this made hillbillies sound like a bunch of spontaneous earthy fun, so I became a fan of hillbillies.  When I reached adulthood, I was able to establish a great rapport with an enthusiastic Ukrainian musician who, when I told him that I love all energetic folk-dance music, told me that he just loves the music of the Hutzul, a Ukrainian people who live in the mountains, are “isolated”and “independent,” and have their own very wild folk music.  I told him that the US has a similar people, those who live in the southern Appalachian mountains, who are also isolated and independent, and that’s where bluegrass, which sounds a lot like Ukrainian wild hick music, comes from!  He didn’t understand most of what I said, but he did understand “bluegrass,” which he loves, which isn’t surprising considering how much Ukrainian wild hick music sounds like it.  Hutzul music is therefore Ukrainian “high lonesome” music.


And here are some stills from the MGM movie The Cossacks, from 1928.  A few years ago I bought these for $3.00 each at a souvenir shop at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas.  A foot locker filled with extremely outdated black and white movie stills was simply put in the back of the shop, so that when anyone looked through the pile of unprotected photos they’d tend to get creased, fractured, scuffed, etc.  Since this was in Vegas, everything else that I saw in this shop looked overpriced and mentally vacuous, so I was really gloating about this find.  I get the distinct impression that if any men or women went to Vegas wearing clothes this ornate, they’d seem too ostentatious even by Vegas standards.


This wild hick culture has become my idea of a gesture of rebellion, something that would seem square to those who make modern films and TV shows with an attitude similar to the German attitude of “Liebestod” or “death love,” and think that anyone repulsed by that must be a repressive square.  Yet this love of hicks is certainly rebellious enough, when you consider that the classic headline of Variety magazine is, “Stix Nix Hix Flix,” so both decades ago and now the urbane have thought that my heroes are a bunch of coarse vulgar commoners who’ve been dropping out of society and getting in touch with nature for several centuries, as the urbane deal with their ennui through dark excitement in artistically respectable literature.

In rural Arkansas we bought our first dog Tootsie, a tuxedo-colored mutt, who was half smooth-haired fox terrier, and was about that size.  If she was a reincarnation of a person, it would have to be a hyperthymic person, since she was both very enthusiastically gregarious and very smart.  She was always very friendly, always willing to put her entire self into her interactions with people.  She was smart enough that she could even sneeze on command.  When my family got our Doberman, Dody, after someone broke into our house, Tootsie seemed to know why we got her.  Tootsie seemed to be training her to be an attack dog, coming up closer to her, biting the air, and then backing up, to egg her on to snap back, basically training her with simulated fights.

In 1972 I got to Tucson, and lived there until 1991.  According to the book Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes, by Fr. Thomas P. Doyle, A. W. Richard Sipe, and Patrick J. Wall, the big John Jay report on the pedo-priests, of 2004, found, among other things, that,

and that’s only the pervs whom the followers, who might even think that priests are literally channels for God’s wisdom and power, turned in.

The biggest scourge of the Tucson Diocese, former pedo-priest Robert Trupia. who was so predatorial that anti-pedo-priest activist Fr. Thomas Doyle called him, “a totally dishonest, probably sociopathic individual,” and, “This guy is one of the worst cases I’ve ever worked on,” yet Trupia looked very charismatic, not like the stereotypical pedophile:

          The awareness that either you’re my soul-mate or you’re not,  started when I was a teenager, when I first became aware that either someone was my type or he/she wasn’t, and that those who are like me are very charismatic and fun, along with, in many cases, having a lot of depth and compassion.  I got the feeling that if, hypothetically, everyone was like me, while we wouldn’t be living in a utopia, we’d all not only be a lot more cooperative toward each other, we’d also enjoy living like this.  I also was very aware that if I told most people (or, at least, most Americans) of my attitudes, along the lines of an understanding that human nature is more than the aggressive aspects of it, an extra respect for non-conformity along these lines, a total cosmopolitanism that doesn’t have to try to be anti-racist, and a love of nature and harmless spontaneity, they’d probably think that I sound like your classic idealistic artist.  Sure this is what all rebellious adolescence is supposed to look like, but even then I could see very clearly that some people are like me and most are not, and that most adolescent rebellion is actually very shallow and meaningless.



In fact, I thought that if only those druggies out there felt the earthy aliveness that I did, doing dope would seem abhorrent to them.  At this time I became very aware that there must be some right way to persuade people of this, going against the strange mores of the drug culture.  Later I became aware that quite possibly, this, rather than a desire for martyrdom, could be the main point of the thinking of those considered codependent.  The whole reason why the thinking of codependents seems self-defeating, is that some people are so lacking in self-regulation, that the tenderness that tries oh so dedicatedly and desperately to persuade them into stopping that self-destruction, doesn’t work.  Due to the great deal the damage that addiction does, this really does make me wonder what I could do to counter some of it.  It must be possible to do this in such a way that wouldn’t mean the ordeals of going on codependent “rescue missions.”





One’s wildest dreams would be that since addiction depends so much on choices made at different time, the addicts whose lives would be in danger don’t really have to die.  All we’d have to do is balance the medical model with the sociological model, and this wouldn’t seem like such a wild dream.



Since I’ve always been aware that my intelligence is so much higher than average, I was used to feeling different, but at this time I had a greater feeling of just why and how.  When I talked about my personality differences with people, including the fact that those who are like me, as well as myself, seem to have an unusually great ability to read people, I was told that everyone feels that they’re different from the norm.  When I got into college I was really trying to figure out what this was that made some people “one of us” in a way that clearly either someone was or wasn’t, not in a way that everyone’s like this to varying degrees.  I thought that if this was genetic that would explain why either you’ve got it or you don’t, but at the same time, the depth and soulfulness was so complicated and non-mechanical that I really couldn’t see it resulting from a biological mechanism that others don’t have.

When I was 14 years old was when I discovered Klezmer, East European Jewish wild hick music.  Klezmer originated in the Medieval era among itinerant bands of Jewish musicians that played for both Jewish and non-Jewish parties.  Klezmer is basically East European wild hick music, in the slightly cacophonic keys of mid-Eastern music, which gives it a bluesy dissonance like that of head-banging music, played improvisationally and anarchistically like Dixieland jazz.  The Jewish physicist in the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, Judith A. Resnik, was the one who, when she was hovering in mid-air in the zero-gravity simulation device, did the Kazatski. One day I was listening to religious radio programs for fun, and when a Jewish program came on, at the beginning and in the middle they played Klezmer, and I thought it was so cool!  Then at the end of the program the rabbi said that Jews aren’t stuck in the past and a lot of their music is modern, and to show this the program played some pop music in Hebrew that I thought was basically lifeless compared to the Klezmer.  Though I’m not Jewish, Klezmer immediately became my favorite.  That really convinced me of how much I loved the genuine earthy hick music.

A Bracelet I Designed at Age Sixteen


         When I was a teenager, I thought that I might want to have a career as a psychologist,  since I realized that I could read people better than most could, and I thought that I could develop a good therapeutic rapport with people.  Therefore, in high school I took some courses in psychology, and afterwards I took a few more at Pima College, the local community college.  What I learned there, though, really turned me off from becoming a psychologist.  One theme that I kept hearing over and over was that at that time, the late 1970’s, while psychoanalysis was the most popular school of psychology in Europe, behaviorism was the most popular in America.  While psychoanalysis, as well as humanism, the more sophisticated, intellectual school of psychology which evolved from it, are centered around what goes on inside the person and putting this in order, behaviorism is centered around what goes on outside the person.  As one of my textbooks put it, behaviorism treats each person as a blank slate, and then proceeds to create personality traits desires and aversions, etc., from the outside in, by rewarding and punishing people in connection with what they’re supposed to like or dislike.  From this, they develop conditioned responses.  This is along the lines of Pavlov ringing a bell when he feeds his dogs, and from this they develop the conditioned reflex to salivate when they hear a bell.  If this is the sort of thing that an American psychologist is expected to do, then I’d really be going against the grain if I was a psychologist and had an approach that was centered around what goes on inside people, rather than on programming them to have whatever likes and dislikes would be the most well-adjusted.

In one of these community college classes, I was told that just as humanism developed out of psychoanalysis as the more sophisticated and intellectual version of it, a new school of psychology, cognitive therapy, had developed out of behaviorism as the sophisticated and intellectual version of it.  While behaviorism tries to train people as one could train animals, cognitive therapy realizes that people also have the ability to think, and that this could also be put to use when treating them as if they’re blank slates on which character traits are written.

One of behaviorist B. F. Skinner’s books is titled Beyond Freedom & Dignity.  Since cognitive therapy has an even greater ability to re-engineer people’s thinking, and is far more able to be used in situations where “being well-adjusted” and “not being dysfunctional” would mean choosing to think along the lines of Yang Buddhism, cognitive therapy is far more likely to push people to go beyond freedom & dignity.  Which would you rather be, right, or happy?  Which would you rather have, the freedom to draw your own conclusions and the dignity of such self-direction, or being stolid enough to succeed in life and feel serene?  (Obviously, by “beyond freedom,” Skinner didn’t mean that the guv’mint would force anyone to do anything—only the demands of pragmatism.)  For example, the self-help book about cognitive therapy, Feeling Good, by David Burns, MD, copyright 1980,

begins, “Depression has been called the world’s number one public health problem.  In fact, depression is so widespread that it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disorders.  But there is a grim difference between depression and a cold.  Depression can kill you.  The suicide rate, studies indicate, has been on a shocking increase in recent years, even among children and adolescents.”  The chapter on anger management says:

Now we come to a truth you may see either as a bitter pill or an enlightening revelation.  There is no such thing as a universally accepted concept of fairness and justice.  There is an undeniable relativity of fairness, just as Einstein showed the relativity of time and space....

Here’s proof: When a lion devours a sheep, is this unfair?  From the point of view of the sheep, it is unfair, he’s being viciously and intentionally murdered with no provocation.  From the point of view of the lion, it is fair.  He’s hungry, and this is the daily bread he feels entitled to.  Who is “right”?  There is no ultimate or universal answer to this question because there’s no “absolute fairness” floating around to resolve the issue.  In fact, fairness is simply a perceptual interpretation, an abstraction, a self-created concept.  How about when you eat a hamburger?  Is this “unfair”?  To you, it’s not.  From the point of view of the cow, it certainly is (or was)!  Who’s “right”?  There is no ultimate “true” answer.





Since this sort of thinking arose in the 1960s based on the then-popular Eastern transcendence, this could be called “Calcutta survival skills,” or neo-Buddhism.  Yet this is the sort of coping skills that modern self-help tells us that we need, to deal with our own problems.  This is all very systematic.  As John C. Burnham’s How Superstition Won and Science Lost says, “Reductionistic, behavioristic psychology blighted humanism, complained one writer; it undermined ethics, reason, religion, and philosophy, complained another.”  The whole idea of going from behaviorist psychology to cognitive therapy was so that it could supersede the pre-existing, complex, personality even more thoroughly than can behaviorism.  Behaviorism can undermine something only if it’s possible to reward someone for undermining it within himself, and punish him if he doesn’t.  All that it would take for cognitive therapy to undermine a natural sense of right and wrong, would be for the person to decide that he can choose to believe whatever he wants, and sometimes choosing serenity means, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.  Wolves simply are the way that they are.”  Not only that, the reason for behaviorist reductionism in the Modernist era was an insistence that scientific psychologists believe in only what can be proven, which one can take or leave.  The reason for the reductionism of cognitive therapy in the post-Modernist era, is that pragmatic survival skills can’t be humanistic ethics-based or philosophical, which one can’t take or leave.  When a psychologist is talking to you about how you could most effectively deal with your own problems, you dare not respond, “But what about the humanistic ethical and religious principles of this, reason besides, ‘How can I most pragmatically deal with this?’, or even thinking for myself when the results wouldn’t be serene or courageous?”  You’ll simply have to wash your brain of your sincere but unpragmatic opinions.  In fact, you’d better not sound like you care too much about principles as versus pragmatism!

As the Philadelphia Grand Jury report on their Archdiocese’s enabling of pedo-priests put it,

Anton Checkov said that it’s important to know the difference between tragedy and burned potatoes.  Before the Reagan era, I simply assumed that what The Serenity Prayer, and the great faith that many Americans have in it, are all about, is expecting people to serenely accept burned potatoes, as well as one’s own personal responsibility to courageously change however they harmed his own life.  Actually, The Serenity Prayer, even its first sentence which most Americans think of as The Serenity Prayer, is completely unconditional, so it could just as easily mean expecting people to serenely accept tragedies, as well as one’s own personal responsibility to courageously change however they harmed his own life.  The Serenity Prayer, which in its entirety as originally written by Reinhold Niebuhr, says: “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next—Amen.”





“God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,” doesn’t necessarily mean, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” but is necessarily that unconditional, all-or-nothing, and

Niebuhr was a hell-raiser, before Stalinism made him fatalistic about human nature.  Yet if any organization preaches the Serenity Prayer at people, the final result would be the same, that self-reliant STRENGTH seems good, and weakness that tries to get persuasive strength from emotion and/or abstractions seems intolerably bad.  As the history of The AA School of Self-Help Psychology shows, Nazism, minus anti-Semitism and committing outrageous aggression, equals taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as you’d have it.

It seems that “everyone knows” that if you object to re-engineering your own thinking along the lines of The Serenity Prayer, then something’s wrong with you.  If you’re strong then naturally you’d courageously change reality, and if you’re weak then naturally you’d serenely accept reality.  Is “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” or even, “If it’s your problem, then you’re just going to have to deal with it by courageously changing what you can and serenely accepting what you can’t, notwithstanding how morally bankrupt that conception of ‘personal responsibility’ would be in your situation,” really that different from, “Here’s proof: When a lion devours a sheep, is this unfair?”?  In fact, Dr. Burns follows his sermon telling us to have a proper and noble attitude about the lion and the lamb, by saying that he’s not advocating either an anarchy that condemns social norms that would prevent some destructive behavior, or a Stoic self-abnegation that would condemn all anger even that which could inspire courageous changes.  The point of that logic is that we courageously change what we can, and serenely accept what we can’t.  Social norms and angry resolve can change some destructive behavior or its consequences, but the lamb can’t change the lion.  Not only that, the question, “Is it tragedy, or is it burned potatoes?” along with the well-adjusted and resilient moral relativism, is typical all-or-nothing thinking, implying that if you can’t unambiguously prove that your problem is a tragedy, then if you act as if it’s more than burned potatoes, that’s only your maladjusted, whiny, resentful, manipulative, judgmental, etc., opinion.

Even if the only part of this that you know is the famous first sentence, it should still be obvious that even this sentence alone, strains at resentment and swallows sinfulness.  No matter what are the problems that one might have to deal with, including hardship and/or others’ sinfulness, everything’s a matter of power.  The more powerless that you are, the more that you must serenely accept, and the more courage that you’d need to change what you must, so the more likely it is that you’d seem inadequate, maybe manipulative.  A central concept to Nazism is that even the most sincere fights for what’s morally right, reflect the aggressive but insidious SELF-WILLS of those who fight for this, but to see even such sincerity as self-serving is usually tenable, and much more likely to get productive results than would be holding the morally responsible people, morally accountable.  We must have coping skills that are

And as everyone knows, if you disagree with the zeitgeist of The Serenity Prayer, then something’s wrong with you.  No problem could really be a problem if the victim prevented solved or dealt with it well enough, so victims who don’t take care of their own problems well enough seem omni-responsible.  While “cherchez la femme,” look for the woman, had meant to suspect her since she’s the one who traditional moralism would morally condemn, now “look for the woman” would mean that since she’s the powerless one, for her to solve her own problems by correcting herself would mean: self-help, self-efficacy, self-empowerment, self-reliance, self-responsibility, self-motivation, anti-moralism, etc.  According to the Serenity Prayer school of psychology, the fact that the person who has the problem, would simply be held response-able for dealing with it by courageously changing what he could and serenely accepting what he couldn’t, would be a fait accompli.  Something very vital is missing.


 he Tragedy of Victim Correction as a Panacea~



As the above says, this is Al-Anon approved literature,  for Alateen.  You couldn’t make this stuff up!  Persuading people to think like this works best with Groupthink, but if you, on your own, must deal with a devastating reality in order to fit in and function, then you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, and our self-responsible cultural norms (“Everybody knows that The Serenity Prayer is good.”) would provide the Groupthink.  As Addiction: Why Can’t They Just Stop?, by John Hoffman and Susan Froemke, says, in a survey of addicts’ family members, “...the words that everyone used were powerfully negative: ‘devastating,’ ‘abusive,’ ‘horrible’.”  Yet no concerns that would interfere with the victims’ self-responsibility could matter, since in the long run, caring about them would only mollycoddle and weaken the people who’d have to take care of themselves optimally.  Victim-blaming is incentives-based.  George Vincent wrote, “To survive growing up in an alcoholic family is second only to surviving the Holocaust,” but the big difference is that despite the fears that addicts’ kids feel, they aren’t really in mortal danger, so Buddhists, etc., could say that these fears are only illusions.  Victim correction as a panacea could be called chicken soup for the soul, unconditional serenity and courage.  If that’s stooping to the lowest of the low, then sometimes we’ve got to stoop to the lowest of the low in order to make sure that problems get solved by those who have the most reliable motivation to solve them.  Moral relativism becomes amoral absolutism; “Your righteous objections are only your opinion!” becomes, “Your righteous objections are only your self-righteous, resentful, manipulative, controlling, unpragmatic, whiny, judgmental... opinion, and you simply can’t afford those disgraceful victim attitudes!”

Yet though it might seem only natural to want to feel better by practicing Buddhistic self-discipline and self-re-education, and this doesn’t involve any medication, this is hardly natural.  In the words of Ayn Rand, “We the Living” could very much object to this sort of de rigueur coping with helplessness, Stoically!  Yet though a Marxist mentality of, “Love your brother,” is supposed to degrade the natural human spirit, a requisite mentality of, “As long as it’s your problem, ‘self-responsibility’ means courageously changing whatever you can and serenely accepting whatever you can’t,” mustn’t, or you might have problems coping with reality.  (Everybody loves The Serenity Prayer, right?)  In general, we do revere self-responsibility for one’s own welfare, and don’t revere self-responsibility for how one’s own choices affect others.  Victim-power seems to be the tyranny of helplessness, though, “But look at how helpless I am about what I did!” is the ultimate tyranny of helplessness.

In general, this sort of self-help is cognitive therapy, the modern version of behaviorist psychology, so this can be given the title of behaviorist B. F. Skinner’s classic book, Beyond Freedom & Dignity, pragmatic in such a way that’s far more important than such abstract niceties.  This represents what is good, what most motivates people to do what must get done, which is what those who have the problems should want.  If, instead, the advisee insisted on drawing his own honest well-founded conclusions about what was happening to him, he’d be told that he’d better realize how important it is that he think in whatever ways would maximize his chances of self-reliant success in solving such big problems.  What else could Alateen members, etc., be told, “Go right ahead and fail to deal with your problems adequately.”?

This self-help logic could be used interchangeably for all sorts of problems, including exploitative lovers of every variety, unemployment, and literally even cancer and getting up the mettle to fight it.  Responsibility for one’s own choices means blame, naiveté, and controlling (As Niebuhr wrote in Moral Man and Immoral Society, “The power necessary to control the wicked is the danger, not the wicked,” and chances are that most of what contributes to our very unnaturally high rate of depression, isn’t even truly malicious.), while response-ability for one’s own problems means self-reliance, realism, and freedom.  Claiming, “You caused your own problem,” makes Victim Correction as a Panacea sound the most justifiable, while, “You’ve simply got to take response-ability for your own welfare, your own problem,” is the fallback position, since all problems must get taken care of.  The self-help formula for conflict resolution is for general public consumption, and it works.  If such sophistry weren’t so predictable and absolutist, just think of how often people could: lose faith, play the victim role, not do what needs to get done (by those most motivated to do it), etc.  Like Sarah Palin, this has both the appeal of going rogue, and the appeal of conformity.  America’s latest, most trendy, patriotic song begins, “If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life.  And I had to start again, with just my children and my wife.”

In theory this means self-responsibility, self-reliance, gutsiness, anti-controlling, good coping skills, realism, conventionality, respectability, etc., but in practice this means that nothing except, “Can I change this?” including the most basic morality and concern for the weak, can really seem to matter.  Sure, you could recognize that destructive sinfulness is destructive sinfulness, but in the end you’d have to forgive it, or you’d be maladjusted and suffer the consequences of this weakness.  (“YOU VILL ENJOY!”)  Frank Buchman, leader of the Oxford Groups, the club on which AA and then Al-Anon was based and until recently was called “Moral Re-Armament,” (Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, from 1935, includes Buchman in its list of currently trendy “Messiahs.”) said, “D’you know Heinrich Himmler?...  Say, you ought to know Heinrich.  He’s a great lad....  [Hitler] lets us have house-parties whenever we like.”  Anti-Nazi British travel-writer and journalist Robert Byron, who got a chance to observe Nazism up close, wrote in his diary, “Himmler apparently dotes on the Oxford Group [How cute.] and writes to its English members discussing their troubles with them,” so he was their Dear Abby.  This was the same Himmler who said, in his speech on October 4, 1943 to the SS Group Leaders in Poznan, “Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand.  To have stuck it out and at the same time—apart from exceptions caused by human weakness—to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard,” but that personal strength concerned one of the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like.  It’s pretty obvious what the “Dear Abby” version of that would advise those in trouble, who are members of an honored group of people who are working on their own resolute and impassively accepting attitudes.  Anything less than, “Happiness is an inside job,” (in general), or, “Things happen.  It’s what we do when they happen that’s key,” (in general), would have been too weak-spirited and blaming for Himmler, so he was their perfect “Dear Abby.”  The only suggestions that Himmler would have made in a Dear Abby letter, including one to an addict’s family member, would have been, (1) courageously change what you can, and, (2) serenely accept what you can’t, since anything else would have mollycoddled WEAKNESS.

Himmler Logic, after all, would focus on whether the person with the problem seems to have a weak (as in literally WEAK) character, and would be quick to interpret inadequacies in problem-solving as weaknesses of character, so the weak seem contemptible, blameworthy, and, possibly, insidiously dangerous.  This self-responsible self-help approach is also like the “exemplary dualism” of the Militia Movement, like classifying people as redbloods or mollycoddles, or as übermenschen or untermenschen; this preaches that those who seem to have (literally) strong characters are the allies of decent people so are at least forgiven, and those who seem to have (literally) weak characters are the enemies of decent people.  This leads to some predictable distortions in our conceptions of right, wrong, shame, etc.  Take the Nazi might-makes-right ethos, remove the racism and war crimes, and you’d have what Western culture considers to be the only conception of personal responsibility that works, which is what Hitler’s Wagner’s and Nietzsche’s main inspiration, Schopenhauer, actually wrote about.

This was the original middle-class going rogue with conformity.  As It Can’t Happen Here says, “Why, there’s no country in the world that can get more hysterical—yes, or more obsequious—than America,” and devotion to anything that would imply, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” would require obsequiousness of Biblical proportions.  The question of whether “it” can happen here, all depends on whether or not “it” includes the aspects of Nazism and Himmler that Buchman’s formula for living didn’t include; if not, “it” happens every day.  The “it” in It Can’t Happen Here included merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude racism (“It was understood... that all Jews of all conditions were frequently to sound their ecstasy at having found in America a sanctuary, after their deplorable experiences among the prejudices of Europe....  The allegiance of all such Negroes as had the sense to be content with safety and good pay instead of ridiculous yearnings for personal integrity Sarason got by being photographed shaking hands with the celebrated Negro Fundamentalist clergyman, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Nibbs, and through the highly publicized Sarason Prizes for the Negroes with the largest families, the fastest time in floor-scrubbing, and the longest periods of work without taking a vacation.”), so the “it” in modern America could include merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude form of the strong horrifying the weak.  A classic cliché expression is, “There is no alternative,” to the power dynamics of our economy, and another way to say this is that there is no alternative besides dictatorship and/or Zimbabwe-style economic failures, so every time that these power dynamics horrify us, we should be grateful that we’re not instead dealing with dictators’ outrages, and/or economic failures including massive unemployment, irrespective of any indefinable abstractions such as integrity.  If you’re in a Wagnerian conflict, and you simply must deal with your realities, then you simply must deal with them as Schopenhauer prescribed.  The psychology of, “You don’t want to think/act like a weak person, do you?” could be called a form of neo-Nazism.



Yet, in a society with rampant depression, one could just as easily call that “pragmatic logic”: the weak courageously change what they can (themselves) and serenely accept what they can’t (everyone else), and what one deserves is completely irrelevant.  You can’t change your enemies, except for one.  Yet the limits of the threshold of human endurance are a fact, and if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.

“Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” is all about what the weak should do, believe, and take responsibility for.  Even sophisticated psychology tends to classify people, aspects of human nature, desires, etc., into categories that are very German, Freudian: übermensch means ineradicable so at least forgivable, while untermensch means true shamefulness, suspiciousness.  (And, of course, treating this moral bankruptcy as necessary for realism seems a lot better than does treating this as admirably open-minded and gutsy.)  These Oxford members no doubt tended to take his ideas about coping skills, to heart, since they wanted self-improvement that would build fiber.  After all, we must accept that if you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose.  That self-responsible self-motivation is also how, and why, market discipline works; we must discipline even perfectly innocent failures.  The more that the weakness of the weak is blamed (What exactly is to blame when someone doesn’t protect himself well enough to succeed?): the more that they’d be motivated to take responsibility for taking care of themselves, the more hope that they’d have that they could change what causes their problems (themselves), and the more that we could all have faith in this red-blooded worldview.   Prejudice against the weak means an optimistic and patriotic faith in The System, and focusing on how the weak could hopefully solve their own problems if only they made themselves worthy, changed what they can.   Übermensch imperfection such as sinfulness would have to seem at least forgivable, while untermensch supposed imperfection would have to seem to be an insidious (as in “the hidden lie,” and, “We are all victims of victims.”) expression of weak people’s SELF-WILLS.  Dictator or no dictator, just about all of those in any society must define “personal responsibility” in basically the same predictable way and truly believe it, or different people would play by different rules, and plenty of people wouldn’t take the rules to heart when fortitude would be most necessary.  No doubt plenty of Oxford members who weren’t Himmler’s advisees, could have been just as easily, since they were just as free of whiny resentment; all “good” members followed the same school of psychology.



As far as self-help is concerned, the bottom line is that you’re simply going to have to deal with your own problem whatever it may be, and expectations that one simply deal with normal problems are interchangeable with expectations that one simply deal with an addict in the family.  “Personal strength,” “strength of character,” etc., tend to mean literally strength, transcending “weak” but natural and warranted feelings.  As Langdon Gilkey’s On Niebuhr says, “Thus transcendence is perhaps the key word in Niebuhr...”  For anyone in trouble, this would be: self-help, self-responsibility, self-care, self-protection, self-actualization, self-empowerment, etc.  As any conservative social analysis would say, you, that teen who looks like Archie, etc. could think productively, or think counterproductively (though if you’re the problem person, then probably we’ll just have to accept your counterproductive thinking, since people aren’t perfect and we mustn’t try to re-engineer human nature).  The effects of “Archie’s” dad’s actions are short-term (since others are motivated to resolve them), but the effects of Archie’s reactions are long-term (since others aren’t).  Twisting reality in “positive” ways is realistic, since it increases people’s chances of success.  Archie’s non-addicted parent (who’d really have to have a Gelassenheit “productive” attitude, what with all that she must do to make her family as normal as possible), has just as much autonomy as does the typical adult, since addicts’ power over others is physical, not authoritarian.

In general, motivation is everything; irrespective of moral responsibility, addiction or lack of it, etc., the only personal responsibility that we could count on is one in which those held responsible for problems are those motivated to take responsibility.  Charles P. Pierce’s Idiot America, How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, says, “The [conservative] movement swallowed whole the quack doctrine of supply-side economics, adopting it with almost comically ferocious zeal,” and self-help, also, must follow this pattern, since in a gutsy and as-uncompromising-as-reality fashion, it holds that no matter how much others are responsible for your problems: if you win you win and if you lose you lose, that’s what’s realistic (what most reliably works), and that stupidity is a virtue in the name of freedom.  (We all know where intellectualism leads.)  Idiot America also says about a Cuban-American refugee who worked with AIDS patients in the early 1980s, “The situation reminded her a little of the way things had worked in Cuba, where the government would tell you something that you knew from your own experience could not possibly be true, yet people seemed willing to believe that it was, and to act upon that belief, until the manufactured reality displaced the actual one [which is also the classic definition of brainwashing, washing the brain of “bad attitudes”].  She felt she was working in parallel worlds.  There was the world of the disease, and of the people who had it; and then there was another world, in which everything was a symbol and in which her patients stood for something,” and one could say the same thing about this sort of self-help, where there’s the world of what people like Archie must actually deal with, and then there’s the world of what they symbolize: our duties regarding the never-ending virtues and necessity of response-ability for one’s own welfare, which shape what we should believe irrespective of what we’ve learned from experience, e.g. that Archie looks at himself.  (Marxism applies how cultural conditioning works, to shaping “the ideal society,” right?)



It’s amazing which moral norms could (i.e. must) seem less important than whether or not the person with the problem is doing what’s necessary for him to overcome it successfully.  That seems good; “whining” seems bad.  What’s most important in practical terms, might go very much against what we’d like to believe is important.  Banalities get things done.  Realism is the ultimate mandate.  This is the sort of Populism that H. G. Wells called “magnificent stupid honesty,” adamantly anti-manipulative-morality, so this sort of supposed populism would adamantly accept what causes 15% of the adult population to suffer serious depressive disorders in any given year.  (This “honesty” often has big unintended consequences, but could seem all-important.)  “Stop doing that, since it’s judgmental and controlling!” would probably make you at least hesitant, but, “Stop doing that, since that sort of thing has been proven to contribute to our very unnaturally high rates of depression and anxiety disorders!” would probably seem judgmental and controlling to you.  If this weakness-anathematizing conception of personal responsibility weren’t that absolutist, plenty of problems wouldn’t get resolved well enough, yet the fact that this is that absolutist, is pretty scary.  (Yet, the fact that so many stupid and reckless people got such important jobs on Wall Street, shows that even this very costly way of motivating winning could fail in very important ways, though they could always be excused as “inevitable human imperfection.”)  Sure, on Larry King Live on August 11, 2009, economist Ben Stein said, “Big government is a terrifying subject” (i.e. the kind that you could openly and proudly get terrified about), but you don’t dare say, “Big depression is a terrifying subject,” even if you’ve been there, or, “Big Wall Street greed is a terrifying subject.”  Also, on an interview on a Christian radio network, Stein said, “...science leads you to killing people.”  Magical thinking like this could seem more acceptable to economists, since they could always figure that consequences don’t really matter, since those who have the problems are always motivated to solve them; that “works.”  Self-help’s conception of which freedoms, self-determination, personal rights and responsibilities, etc., do, and which don’t, seem to matter, sounds like something right out of The Communist Manifesto (and certainly plenty of others in the 19th Century noticed this, too), “...in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade,” and since someone must take responsibility for the consequences of adversarialism, “self-responsibility” must mean that in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered forms of personal responsibility, we have set up that single, unconscionable personal responsibility—response-ability for one’s own problems.  (A better word than freedom might be right, i.e., “I have a right to expect something better!”  “No, the only right that you have is to become a winner by protecting yourself better, with proud self-reliance!”)





In fact, though we’re supposed to take addictive behavior as a given since addiction is a disease, the law certainly doesn’t treat addicts as not guilty by reason of insanity, one can’t be brought out of real legal insanity through “hitting bottom” or an intervention.  Addicts’ family members, who can’t change them, must minimize their responsibility and magnify the responsibility of their own reactions, but the law, which can change most addicts with whom it comes into conflict, doesn’t have to minimize and magnify.  As the publishers’ notes of Gene M. Heyman’s Addiction: A Disorder of Choice says, “He shows that the causes of addiction, its control, and its potential reduction are the same as the causes, control, and reduction of all voluntary behavior.”  (Certainly you could imagine what would result if someone said at an Al-Anon meeting, “But when he relapsed, it was because he got angry and chose to, not because he saw something that triggered a compulsion to drink!  That means that my objections are legitimate!” or even, “But the person who caused this problem, whom I can’t change, isn’t addicted!”)  Yet whether or not addiction is involved, you could always find some sophistry to make courageously changing what you can and serenely accepting what you can’t seem legitimate, and ignore any facts that would disrupt this pragmatism; form follows function.  This, also, could be called “pragmatic logic,” applicable to any realities that contribute to our rampant depression.  Both an acceptance of an addiction, and an acceptance of aggressive human nature, are fatalism about unrestrained desires, what the pleasure centers of our brains make us do, etc.  What works for AA is what works for addicts, i.e. for addictive personalities, which would single-mindedly insist on: excuses to do what one pleases, stopping righteous indignation and “controlling,” etc.  The more that we serenely accept übermensch, active, imperfections, the more that we can’t afford to accept the untermensch, passive, imperfections of those hurt by them, and who, therefore, must deal with them in order not to be maladjusted maladaptive and dysfunctional.  If this wasn’t as simplistic and resolute as Reagan, their awareness that they’re victims would leave them both too weak by feeling helplessness and making unrealistic expectations, and too strong in that they could insidiously get the benefits of victimhood.



Your realities are whatever they are, and either you deal with them or you suffer the consequences.  NOTHING CAN LIMIT HOW MUCH ALL THIS COULD AFFECT YOU.  To paraphrase a Catholic riddle: “What’s the difference between a victim corrector and a terrorist?  You can negotiate with a terrorist.”  As pioneering behaviorist John B. Watson wrote, “The raw fact that you, as a psychologist, if you are to remain scientific, must describe the behavior of man in no other terms than those you use in describing the behavior of the ox you slaughter, drove and still drives many timid souls away from behaviorism,” and the only real difference between behaviorism and cognitive therapy is that it credits humanity with self-control abilities that animals don’t have, such as the ability to choose to serenely accept hardship and sinfulness; training people who are motivated to be trained is a lot easier.  (This self-control would benefit the person who serenely accepts the hardship, sinfulness, etc. that he’s helpless to change, whether or not the person who caused the problem is addicted. )  As Paul Krugman wrote, “The truth is that good old-fashioned demand-side macroeconomics has a lot to offer in our current predicament—but its defenders lack all conviction, while its critics are filled with a passionate intensity,” and one could say the same for debates between those who stress personal responsibility for the consequences of one’s own choices, which could usually be called “blaming,” “guilt-based,” “controlling,” etc., and the gutsy people who stress red-blooded personal response-ability for one’s own welfare, which could always be called “self-help,” “self-empowerment,” “realism,” etc.  As the Great Crash of 2008 shows, some things will never change.


THE GREATEST RISK IS NOT TAKING ONE, AIG ad from 2001, so if you tried to restrain this you’d seem profoundly: weak, whiny, defeatist, controlling, unrealistic, counterproductive, opinionated, manipulative, negative, moralistic, etc.  Sure, post-scandal AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy said, “I have seen the good side of capitalism.  But over the past six months, since agreeing to take the reins of AIG and reviewing how it was run in prior years, I have also seen instances of the bad side of capitalism,” but one could also call the gutsiness of AIG in its PIG era, “character-building,” giving plenty of backbone and fortitude.



Sure, Rush Limbaugh is more unpopular than Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright, and conservatives could be afraid that such aggressiveness looks “ugly” to the public.  Yet, especially if you’re in big trouble, if you thought like Limbaugh and the other attack politicians then you’d face up to your problems more serenely and courageously, and we dare not care how profoundly ugly is coaching Archie, etc., into having attitudes of, “I’ve stopped blaming others and I’m looking at myself!”  If Himmler had sent you some “Dear Abby” letters that didn’t mention the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like, the advice that the letters would have given would have helped you become more resilient, courageous, self-responsible, realistic, and abiding by Gelassenheit (a fatalism that teaches that willfulness leads to self-defeating frustration if you’re helpless to get what you want or need), so you would have ended up with a stronger character.  Victim Correction as a Panacea, is Gelassenheit and similar all-encompassing attitudes about physical response-ability for one’s own problems, exactly what a society with rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., would most need.

Sure, Niebuhr wrote that he was shocked about Buchman’s admiration of Hitler, though The Serenity Prayer summarizes the book that most shaped Hitler’s thinking, Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation:   As with a panacea, we must see the entire world in terms of the ineradicable SELF-WILLS of the sinful, the ignominious and surreptitious SELF-WILLS of victims who don’t represent their own bad experiences to themselves as being as innocuous as possible (“Those manipulative whiners want to believe that someone owes them something!”), and, therefore, our responsibility to do this.  Niebuhr wrote that Buchman’s faith that dictators, business tycoons, etc., should use their power to push Christianity, vapidly ignored how realpolitik would affect the outcome, “The slightest acquaintance with the history of Christian thought on the problem of the relation of the absolute demands of the gospel to the relativities of politics and economics would prove its childishness,” but the same could also be said about applying a simplistic sloganeering spirituality to the situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than,“Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”

The wave of the future, the “new economy” of self-responsibility, requires that we want to be responsible members of society, take response-ability for our own welfare.  With that approach you’d be more likely to succeed, and that’s good, maybe irreplaceable.  Your natural objections to this would be counterproductive (though you’re free not to hold others personally responsible by these standards, as long as you hold yourself responsible by them).  The same would go for minimizing any “whiny” lessons we might learn from the Great Crash of 2008.  If we can’t change wretched excesses on Wall Street but can change victims’ not fixing the consequences adequately, then either we correct the victims or we’ll have a dysfunctional society.  Since we simply must solve our problems, our perceptions must be distorted in order to fit in with this; there is no alternative.




(Cartoon generated by “Build Your Own Meat”)


Nothing can drive anyone away from this sort of cognitive therapy, just as nothing can drive Archie away from his unconditional and immoderate, contrived serenity and courage, though Gelassenheit is very unnatural social engineering.  In self-help books about codependency, stories in which the problem spouses are addicted are absolutely interchangeable with stories in which the problem spouses simply choose to act like buttheads, since in both cases the victims are equally unable to change the victimizers’ behavior.  Whatever you must do to take care of yourself, is whatever you must do to take care of yourself, so you must look at yourself when you’re looking for things that you could correct in order to solve your own problems.  Sure, the Financial Times on March 10, 2009 quoted Bernie Sucher, the head of Merrill Lynch operations in Moscow, as saying, “Our world is broken—and I honestly don’t know what is going to replace it.  The compass by which we steered as Americans has gone.  The last time I ever saw anything like this, in terms of the sense of disorientation and loss, was among my friends [in Russia] when the Soviet Union broke up,” but Americans have been culturally conditioned to serenely accept economic difficulties, and not to accept supposedly manipulative whining about them.  Those with plenty of “personal strength” would tolerate Wall Street Darwinism and its effects.  Archie could “get on with life” since folk wisdom, common sense, says that that’s what everyone must do; everyone could “stick it out.”  (On June 19, 2009 [just before the threatened bloodshed began, “On 9/11 we were all Americans, and tonight we’re all Iranians.”], when Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that they were going to crack down on the protests of the election fraud, he said, “If the political elite want to ignore the law or break the law then they are taking wrong measures...,” so dogmatists of all stripes excite their followers by condemning the supposed intellectual elite.)  Archie, and others who are powerless, couldn’t afford the dysfunctionality of feeling disoriented or lost.  Realism requires that this self-responsibility be the lynchpin, so any concern that would conflict with this must be shrugged off.  (Of course, this self-response-ability must include the same self-justifying, fatalistic, conformist, simplistic, “upbeat,” absolutist, unconditional, predictable, illusions that got our economy into such trouble; after all, people will do only what they feel motivated to do.)  We all must adjust to and deal with reality, and others determine what is reality for you, which tends to mean that the strong (whether or not they’re addicted) determine what is reality for the weak.  Resiliency is everything.




Wall Street, August 23, 1929,  “As I wrote last March, those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself especially, are in a state of shocked disbelief….  That’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”—Alan Greenspan, testimony before Congress, October 23, 2008



That’s why self-help in general tends to admire Al-Anon, The Serenity Prayer, etc., and this self-reliant ethos.  The only thing that really matters is what you do and don’t have the power to change.  This is how the ideal American faces his own problems.  Since Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA who wrote much of their Big Book, was a stockbroker around the time of the Great Depression, one could call this The Great Depression Stockbroker’s Approach to Self-Responsibility; we’d have to be firm with those victims and whiners who object to productivity that involves strong character, such as “creative destruction,” and, “Your problem is your problem.”  The economist who, just after the Great Depression, came up with the concept of creative destruction, Joseph Schumpeter, also wrote during the Depression that recovery from it, “is sound only if it [comes] of itself.  For any revival which is merely due to artificial stimulus leaves part of the work of depressions undone and adds, to an undigested remnant of maladjustment, new maladjustment of its own which has to be liquidated in turn, thus threatening business with another [worse] crisis ahead.”  Daniel Gross’ Dumb Money says that Maestro Alan Greenspan, in an interview, “had an abstract fervor for the glories and potentials of creative destruction,” and, in the abstract, saying that alkies’ teens, etc., should have an attitude of, “I’ve stopped blaming others and I’m looking at myself!” sounds just as proudly productive.




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“The aim of the Gam-Anon program is to aid the individuals involved with a compulsive gambler to find help by changing their own lives.... Living or being associated with a compulsive gambler creates its own kind of hell. For most people, it is a devastating experience... At any moment the house might be lost or the furniture repossessed. There may not be enough money to put food on the table or clothe the children.... The meeting is opened with a moment of silent meditation and closed with the Serenity Prayer.”—from the Gam-Anon chapter of Gamblers Anonymous’ handbook


“What are we talking about here?  We’re talking about the fact that most people see what they expect to see, what they want to see, what they’ve been told to see, what conventional wisdom tells them to see, not what is right in front of them in pristine condition.”—Vincent Bugliosi, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder









Not only are we supposed to hold to:

but also we’re likely to figure that helplessness is the price that we have to pay for the redbloods, the übermenschen, to have their sacred freedoms, even in a society with rampant depression. Social Darwinism seems to protect us from untermensch dangers such as manipulation quitting whining and cowardice, and it seems that a society simply can’t afford to do without the “strong characters” that would put things back together again.

We’re to have the same faith in this failsafe sort of self-responsibility, that we’d have in any other cultural norms, as if it’s a universal truth that will work forever.  Right now, it may seem only natural to respond to one’s own society’s having rampant depression, by figuring that the millions affected had better take antidepressants and/or learn to think right.  Yet a society could take to that sort of “solution” for only so long, especially since, if the socially-sanctioned causes aren’t addressed, they could only get worse.

The Fine Art of Propaganda, by Alfred McClung Lee and Elizabeth Briant Lee, quotes Hitler’s Mein Kampf as saying, “A lie is believed because of the unconditional and insolent inflexibility with which it is propagated and because it takes advantage of the sentimental and extreme sympathies of the masses.”  It should be obvious to anyone that the problems of the victims of alcoholic parents (or anything comparable) aren’t inside of themselves.  Yet the sentimental and extreme sympathies of Americans tend to insist that one take personal response-ability for his own welfare.   If he doesn’t, he could be insolently and inflexibly accused of having “pity parties” and the like.  A stolid self-reliance with self-empowerment simply seems good, while passivity simply seems bad.

It could probably be proven empirically that most alkies’ kids could choose to have such thoughts as, “I’ve stopped blaming others, and I’m looking at myself!” that this makes them feel more serene and well-adjusted than if they let their thoughts come naturally, and that this is the most reliable way to keep things functioning.  We’re to practice the spirituality of, “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference....   Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” since this self-discipline would give us more confident outlooks.


Quite literally, it can’t matter how much someone else is responsible for your problem,





since if people’s response-ability for their own welfare weren’t unconditional, then those in situations for which others are clearly responsible, wouldn’t strive to become better happier people, which they’d probably need to do to deal adequately with their own problems.


“I do not want the peace that passeth understanding.  I want the understanding which bringeth peace.”—Helen Keller


Just imagine what it would look like if cognitive therapy gave equal time to re-engineering any aspect of human nature that might give us problems:

This series of comics includes Jane’s husband getting violent at home,

and giving her a black eye.  After she sees their kids getting violent, she thinks, “I just can’t take anymore!”  When she goes to an Al-Anon meeting, one member tells her, “Welcome.  We were lonely and troubled, too.  We can understand as few can,” and another tells her, “You can be happy even if your husband doesn’t stop drinking.”    When she goes home, as she reads a pamphlet titled “Living with an Alcoholic,” and looks very beleaguered, she thinks, “Those women are so happy.  Maybe if I do what they say, I can be like them.”




So this “better, happier person” stuff was inculcated to her, by the heroes of self-help.   I’ve never heard anyone call this sort of inculcation “extremist,” and it really is literally the same as when those around us tell us that no matter what your problem is, you should courageously change what you can and serenely accept what you can’t.

And many AA slogans ridicule those who don’t have what Niebuhr (disapprovingly) called “Buddhistic” spirituality like this.  (Yet I could make the following guarantee: The very same all-American types who’d be the first to condemn Buddhistic spirituality as alien, extinguishing people’s autonomy and selfhood, brainwashing, etc., would also be the first to practice what Buddhism calls “mindfulness” when they’re in situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than,“Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”  After all, their chances of coping with them would be a lot higher if they chose to contrive a serene acceptance of whatever they’re helpless to change, than if they drew their own honest conclusions about it.)

The homepage of the Mental Illness—What a Difference a Friend Makes website, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says, “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older—about one in four adults—suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.”  As the title suggests, this website is about getting the friends of the 26.2% of the American adult population, to support these people rather than stigmatizing them.  The ways in which one friend treats another, is one of the few sociological factors of this huge social problem, that we could honorably take seriously.  If we take the other sociological factors seriously, we could seem to be trying to manipulate like untermenschen, and/or to restrict the übermenschen.

If you’re overpowered, you might think that power does matter.  His having more power than you, is what determined the outcome.  Yet if you act as if this fact does matter, you could seem to be playing the victim role, manipulatively using victim-power, self-defeatingly acting passive, etc.  It seems that we must fear the untermenschen and their victim-power, and mustn’t fear the übermenschen and their freedoms.  Naturally, we can’t do anything about the social problems that contribute to our rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., unless we proceed as if power does matter.

Ironically, Niebuhr wrote, in The Nature and Destiny of Man, in the subchapter, “The Sin of Pride,” wrote, “Descartes, Hegel, Kant, and Comte, to mention only a few moderns, were so certain of the finality of their thought that they have become fair sport for any wayfaring cynic.”  The ultimate fair sport for any wayfaring cynic, moral relativist, etc., has got to be our culture’s victim-blaming conception of “personal responsibility,” that so loves the expectation that no matter how much your problem involves hardship, others’ sinfulness, etc., of course you’ll take care of yourself, deal with your own problem, etc., by courageously changing what you can and serenely accepting what you can’t.  If you don’t, you’d seem to be having a “pity party,” playing ignominiously cunning manipulative tricks,


With all cognitive therapy, the more impressionable that one is, the more that he could learn to think pragmatically.  Al-Anon’s approach was based on AA’s approach, in which the more impressionable a recovering alkie is, the more that he could get rid of his pathological thoughts.  Yet if you were a therapist, you called a destructive client “self-obsessed,” and he responds by not having anything more to do with you, you’d probably be called unrealistic, moralistic, whiny, controlling and demanding.

(This is the heading of the section of Al-Anon’s workbook Blueprint for Progress, Al-Anon’s Fourth Step Inventory, for those who seem to be codependent to take a fearless moral inventory of behaviors, including helpful ones, that are labeled as “controlling.”  Frankly, just about any helpful behavior in a relationship that’s considered codependent, would be considered “controlling,” as in, “Sure, you think that what you’re doing is trying to help, but supposedly trying to help someone is a great way to control him.”  This morality-based “control” is in the same sense of what the Mississippi preacher mentioned by Bobby Kennedy’s administrative aide James Symington, meant by tyranny, “One preacher let me into his church, and told me, ‘You represent a tyranny.’   I said, ‘How do you think black people feel living in Mississippi with no rights?’   He said, ‘Well, it’s better to have a lot of little tyrannies than one big one.’”  Control based on one person having power over another, is only a little tyranny.  Of course, if those driven into depression, anxiety disorders, etc., by such behavior, instead fixed themselves by taking antidepressants, choosing to think positively, eating more omega-3 fatty acids, etc., that wouldn’t seem controlling, anti-freedom, manipulative, resentful, etc.)


If you called someone in trouble “self-obsessed” since his hurt feelings mean that he thinks that he deserves better, and he responds by not having anything more to do with you, he’d probably be called unrealistic, moralistic, whiny, controlling and demanding.  This reductionism seems good, since the more that such a conflict is reduced to how the person with the problem could most effectively take care of his own problem, the more that the personal responsibility for the problem would go to the person who’s the most motivated to deal with it effectively.

The “seven propaganda devices” that the Institute for Propaganda Analysis observed in the 1930s being used by those such as fascist Father Charles Coughlin, which were then described in The Fine Art of Propaganda in 1939, were: Name Calling, Glittering Generality, Transfer, Testimonial, Plain Folks, Card Stacking, and Band Wagon.  That’s exactly what you’d expect to hear from both attack-politician-style pundits, and the untermensch-phobic victim correction as a panacea.


The Fine Art of Propaganda clearly suggests that the best antidote to propaganda is to ask questions concerning what would be the real, practical effects of what the propaganda is trying to cast in a good light.  For example, telling people that “personal responsibility for one’s own welfare” means courageously changing what one can and serenely accepting whatever one can’t, even when this means, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” could be painted as a failsafe formula for unconditional coping skills.  Yet all you’ve got to do is ask about the effects of that sort of moral bankruptcy, and this could set you free.  Questions are the ultimate form of thinking for yourself.  (However, those who have a stolid definition of manipulation, such as Schopenhauer’s “The concept of good is divided into two subspecies, that of the directly present satisfaction of the will in each case, and that of its merely indirect satisfaction concerning the future, in other words, the agreeable and the useful.  The concept of the opposite, so long as we are speaking of beings without knowledge, is expressed by the word bad, more rarely and abstractly by the word evil, which therefore denotes everything that is not agreeable to the striving of the will in each case,” would have to believe that for the untermenschen to think for themselves sincerely, is manipulative!)


A statement in Treating Substance Abuse, by Frederick Rotgers, John Morgenstern, and Scott T. Walters, in the chapter on cognitive-behavioral therapy for addicts, says a lot about just who cognitive therapy, in general, is most likely to correct: “Although behavior therapy has often been equated with a rigid, mechanistic, and authoritarian approach to behavior change, nothing could be further from the truth in practice.  Behavior therapists, and those who adhere to a cognitive behavioral theory of substance abuse treatment, by and large adopt an approach to the therapeutic enterprise that insists on rigorous, but humanistically based, application of well-validated principles to help people change unwanted behavior that is standing in the way of a more fulfilling life.”  So those whose thinking is fixed, are those who could thereby live more fulfilling lives, not those who could thereby cause less problems for others.  You’d get a lot of consciousness-raising, if you asked, “Is an idea that does not serve my best interests and the best interests of society, as I see them, being ‘sold’ to me merely through its being treated as if it’s synonymous with self-reliant self-responsibility?  The person whose thinking might interfere with his leading a more fulfilling life, gets corrected, while correcting the thinking of those who make others’ lives a lot less fulfilling, would seem to be the definition of attempts to re-engineer human nature!”







A webpage about Hitler, A Born Soldier, says, “Hitler’s favorite writer during the war was the early 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer....  Hitler, like Thomas Mann, was greatly impressed by Schopenhauer’s book: The World as Will and Idea.  Hitler read the book over and over again during the war and was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer’s teaching.”

That book was Schopenhauer’s magnum opus, the title of which has also been translated as The World as Will and Representation.  The Serenity Prayer could just as easily have been titled The World as Will and Representation.  Another way of saying “The World as Will and Representation,” is, “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.”

The sinful WILL seems ineradicable, which is also a main theme of psychoanalysis.  To deal with this and other strife in the material world, we’re to represent the world to ourselves Stoically, as Buddhist self-discipline does, and cognitive therapy will if this is what would be necessary for a client to become well-adjusted and functional.  He wrote that he defined the word translated as “Representation” or “Idea,” Vorstellung, as an “exceedingly complicated physiological process in the brain of an animal, the result of which is the consciousness of a picture there,” what cognitive therapy would call an “outlook,” or “a person’s views and perceptions about their life,” even when this life includes a lot of others’ sinfulness.  The whole idea was to choose to put positive pictures into one’s own mind even in the face of hardship and/or sinfulness.  Both Buddhism and cognitive therapy would be just as effective re-engineering aggressive human nature as they’d be in re-engineering people’s hurt feelings, but cognitive therapy is far more likely to be used in re-engineering the human natures those who have the problems, than those who caused them.  The stronger you are, the more likely you are to have what’s exciting, pro-freedom, übermensch, red-blooded, self-reliant, etc., on your side.

If the person who has a problem isn’t Stoic about it, then that would seem to be his craven and cunning SELF-WILL expecting the world to be as he’d have it.  According to the self-help zeitgeist, a powerless person wouldn’t have to be cunning or exploitive, in order to be labeled “manipulative,” and, therefore, seem cunning and exploitive.  Though sinfulness must be forgiven, supposed manipulativeness mustn’t be.  This sort of character defect involves mollycoddle ignominious cunning, which might be harder to defend oneself against than would be open and honest aggression, and is insidious rather than explicitly WILLFUL, so an untermensch-phobia could become popular.

Will and representation would seem to be all that there is to the world, since he can’t care about anything besides whether or not he has the power to change each aspect of his problem.  No problem could seem to be a social problem if it seems to result from the ineradicably aggressive WILLS of those who cause it, and/or the (possibly masochistic) ignominiously cunning WILLS of those who have it.

(Nazi poster saying “EUROPAS FREIHEIT,” or “EUROPE’S FREEDOM”)

The entry on Niebuhr in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001, says that he “defended Christianity as the world view that best explains the heights and barbarisms of human behavior,” so we’re simply supposed to accept the existence of barbarity, and change our vulnerability to barbarisms.  Only in some situations, to varying degrees, does the Serenity Prayer become the Barbarity Prayer, and does serene acceptance mean in the words of Shakespeare, “like patience on a monument smiling at grief,” but in those situations, unvaryingly, the response-ability goes absolutely to the person whose welfare is at stake.  More on this is on my webpage on Niebuhr’s book set The Nature and Destiny of Man.

Martin Seligman, the cognitive therapist who’s known for discovering learned helplessness, wrote in his book Learned Optimism (The difference between learned helplessness, which is learned through experience, and learned optimism, which is learned by contriving one’s own observations and washing one’s own brain of sincere observations that aren’t optimistic, should tell you something.), “Behaviorism takes an enormously optimistic view of the human organism, one that makes progress appealingly simple: All you have to do to change the person is to change the environment.  People commit crimes because they are poor, and so if poverty is eliminated, crime will disappear.... It is more than happenstance that the two countries in which behaviorism flourished—the United States and the Soviet Union—are at least in theory the cradles of egalitarianism.”

And all you’ve got to do is look at what constitutes cognitive therapy, as the more sophisticated and equally all-American version of behaviorism, and you could see strong parallels with Soviet mind control.  Cognitive therapy’s idea of egalitarianism is that no matter how impoverished anyone is he shouldn’t allow himself to think resentful thoughts and this way we all could (and should) have equal serenity, and that even a woman whose husband abused her so she left home so now she’s poor, mustn’t allow herself to think of herself as a helpless victim and this way we all could (and should) have equal courage.  Pierre J. Proudhon wrote, “In communism, inequality springs from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence,” and in the rules of cognitive therapy, inequality springs from placing little hassles on a level with real problems.  Both a woman with normal problems, and a woman with the problems that would arise from the man who is now her husband choosing to act like a butthead, would be expected to have enough serenity and courage to deal with their realities like well-adjusted, equally self-efficacious people, equally confident that they have self-determination.  These rules would be against thinking for oneself, and though in America these rules wouldn’t have the law backing them up, they would have people’s beliefs that they’d better think this way backing them up, and if you end up having a contrived faith in The System, you end up having a contrived faith in The System, you end up having a contrived faith in The System, no matter how it got there.  My Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea webpage gives exactly these rationales, which are as predictable as any panacea, with one of them, Marxist Tactics, showing many ways in which Marxist attempts to re-engineer human nature while having faith that this is, plainly simply and absolutely, what should be, are similar to the ways in which victim correction as a panacea attempts to re-engineer human nature while having faith that this is, plainly simply and absolutely, what should be.

The only difference between using behaviorism to achieve these ends, and using cognitive therapy, is that behaviorism can’t contrive beliefs at odds with one’s experiences, so the only way that one could with behaviorism eliminate the criminality that comes from poverty, would be to eliminate the poverty.  But just as Oriental culture tends to be one step more sophisticated than Western culture, and cognitive therapy is one step more sophisticated than behaviorism, Behaviorism is like the Soviet behavior modification, while cognitive therapy, thought reform, is like Communist Chinese brainwashing.  Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, who wrote a book on Communist Chinese brainwashing techniques, gave as one of these techniques “Doctrine Over Person,” in which if the ideas that a brainwashee is supposed to believe, disagree with his own honest conclusions that he independently drew from his own experiences, he’s to wash his brain of his own conclusions and replace them with what he’s supposed to believe, which is why brainwashing is called brain-washing.  The rest of the techniques either make the brainwashee more vulnerable or remove exposure to conflicting ideas, but as the subtitle of Learned Optimism says, “A LEADING EXPERT ON MOTIVATION DEMONSTRATES THAT OPTIMISM IS ESSENTIAL FOR A GOOD AND SUCCESSFUL LIFE—AND SHOWS YOU HOW TO ACQUIRE IT.”  If you’ve got that motivating you to wash your brain of skepticism, you don’t need food and sleep deprivation.

Once again, this really didn’t sound like the sort of thing that I’d like to do.  So, since I thought that inventing hulking behemoth machines would be fun, I decided to become a mechanical engineer.  Just before I got to college I took the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and scored in the top 1% of graduating seniors on both the math and verbal parts, in the top 1% of college-bound seniors on the reading comprehension part, and as I took the reading comprehension parts of the test, I realized that the main skill used there is an ability to read between the lines, both literally and figuratively.  Therefore, I had no problem getting into the mechanical engineering program at the local university, the University of Arizona.  In my classes were plenty of studious mid-Eastern and Malaysian Muslims, so I can tell you how most Muslims are very peaceful.

 (Engineers and scientists aren’t a bunch of nerds.  This Victorian-era photo is of Nikola Tesla, born in 1856, inventor of the AC motor and plenty of other things.  One could compare that picture to those more typical of the Victorian era.)

(and let’s not forget)


         There I began to meet many chronically depressed guys  whose depression had at least some connection with the authoritarian religion that they were brought up with.  I truly enjoyed giving them moral support.  At that very same time, I found a part of the Old Testament Bible, in the book of Song of Solomon, in which someone got exactly the same enjoyment out of doing exactly the same thing as I was doing, and even though this was supposed to be the sort of thing that codependent women did to serve their men, in this ancient account it was a husband helping his wife!

Starting out in Chapter 1 Verses 5 & 6, this tells what her state of mind is:

I am black, but comely,
O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
as the tents of Kedar,
as the curtains of Solomon.
Look not upon me, because I am black,
because the sun hath looked upon me:
my mother’s children were angry with me;
they made me the keeper of the vineyards;
but mine own vineyard have I not kept.



And then here’s Chapter 2 Verses 8-15, my song:

The voice of my beloved!
behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains,
skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a roe,
or a young hart:
he standeth behind our wall,
he looketh forth at the windows,
shewing himself through the lattice.
My beloved spake,
and said unto me,
Rise up, my love,
my fair one,
and come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land:
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise my love, my fair one,
and come away.
O my dove,
that art in the clefts of the rocks,
in the secret places of the stairs,
let me see thy countenance,
let me hear thy voice,
for sweet is thy voice,
and thy countenance is comely.
Take us the foxes,
the little foxes,
that spoil the vines;
for our vines have tender grapes.


I thought that that was just so kewel.  That’s what primeval deep passionate sensitive and soulful looks like, and in the ancient world most people were more afraid of nature than they are now.  I was still looking for what exactly could cause such a personality, that some people have and some don’t.  Through my young adult years I simply got used to the fact that either you’ve got it or you don’t, and I knew I belonged with those who do.  I talked about this with one of my hyperthymic boyfriends, who said that he noticed this too and thinks of our kind of people as “the beautiful people” because of our soulfulness, depth of insight, compassion, earthy folksy warmth, freedom of spirit, and the celebrating of all this by trying to share it with others.  As Dr. Athanasios Koukopoulos wrote in 2003 about the hyperthymic phases of cyclothymic personalities, “All at once he sees the rosy side of life and at the same time feels a desire to have others partake in his joy, to help his fellow men and carry out activities that frequently bear fruit in the fields of charity and humanitarian interests.”

If the guy who wrote Song of Solomon were alive today, I can’t imaging him trying to help her feel better by treating her character as being a blank slate on which happy, positive, character traits are simply written, whether they’re written through reward and punishment, or cognitively.  Once when I discussed my sort of people with a middle-aged female kindred spirit, she said that she though of our sort of people as simply “aware,” and those who are aware of more than just short-term expediency would see the problems inherent in trying to solve any and every problem like that.

         As I started in college I also spent a considerable amount of time in the university’s Hillel Jewish center, asking about which Klezmer is the wildest.  One day, a woman there said that the wildest is Hassidic Klezmer, which is now my very favorite.  Hassidism is the ecstatic mystical sect of Judaism, like Pentecostal Christianity and Sufi “whirling dervish” Islam, so you could say that Hassidic Klezmer is basically like a strongly pulsating slightly cacophonic combination of Dixieland Jazz and Black Gospel.  The Black Gospel group The Soul Children of Chicago did a song “Look Where He Brought Me,” which sounds to me like it was such an intentional Hassidic Klezmer imitation, with the unhinged anarchy, Slavic head-banging rhythm, and spontaneous whooping and cheering at the end, that it must have been recorded just after the Crown Heights Affair as this group’s way of saying, “To heck with this conflict with the Hassidim!”  Hassidism is even wilder than most mystical religions.  Hassidic folklore (and Hassidism tends to produce a lot of folk tales) says that the founder of Hassidism, the Baal Shem Tov, had his followers use alcoholic beverages for some of their mystical experiences, and now sometimes Hassidim use other mood-altering drugs.  I set up my own webpage, The Romance of Hassidism, which consists of excerpts from that book, by Jacob S. Minkin, about how wild many of the founders of Hassidism, got!



Formerly, the website of the Chabad-Lubavitch, the biggest sect of Hassidism, had a web page titled The Mystical Experience, about mystical experiences in general, which started out to say that William James wrote that the four identifying characteristics of mystical experiences are Ineffability, Noetic quality, Transiency, and Passivity, but then goes on to say that despite the general passivity, “To be sure, the experience can be induced by voluntary operations as, for example, fixing attention (meditation), bodily performances (e.g., yoga exercises), or intoxicants (alcohol, drugs) that will stimulate the mystical consciousness.”  Also, Tom Wootton’s The Bipolar Advantage includes, “Part depression, part manic delusion is a state common to many mystics, especially saints in the Catholic church.”

Hassidic philosopher and theologian Martin Buber compiled an anthology of quotations from followers of various mystical religions titled Ecstatic Confessions, and these don’t even include the Pentecostals and the hillbilly snake handlers who run around holding poisonous snakes with wild bluegrass, or the more traditional Appalachian music (which sounds like a jazzy version of bluegrass) blaring in the background, etc., and I’d really like to find out what percentage of these use drugs.  (The Sufis certainly don’t even use alcohol.  Just before the Koran was written Arab chemists discovered how to distill alcoholic beverages, and the local culture was so apprehensive of the horrors of alcoholism that Mohammed banned the drinking of all alcoholic beverages.)

Author Chaim Potok, who says that he grew up in a “secular Hassidic” (which must be the Hassidic version of “cafeteria Catholic”) family, said that Hassidism was originally intended as a “gesture of rebellion” against Jewish intellectualism.  What you’d likely most associate with the Hassidim is the cute outfits that their male members wear along with their unique grooming, the old-fashion black hat and coat, the beards and side-locks, etc., and among the Hassidim, and exactly which style of coat and hat a man wears depends on the strength of his religious devotion, which is measured by how intense he gets during religious devotions.

Hassidic Klezmer sounds a lot like Ukrainian wild hick music, both the original Ukrainian music which sounds like bluegrass and the Ukrainian music influenced by German immigrants.  (If you thought that German wild hick music sounds as anthemic as you’d expect from Germans, you really should hear how anthemic is the music you get when you add the strong pulsating rhythm of Slavic wild hick music, to the German stuff.).  On the one traditional instrumental on my first Hassidic Klezmer record album, near the end someone shouts “A-a-a-a-a-a-a-ah!” and then the musicians suddenly start picking like bluegrass.  Just after I found Hassidic Klezmer, at age 21, I was looking through a Hassidic music catalog that described one of its records as “the beloved words of our ancient prophets, set to music,” and since one of the verses in one of the prophetic books of the Old Testament, Malachi 2:3, says “Behold, I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts,” I thought that the words of the ancient prophets set to strongly pulsating Hassidic music could be, “Be-hold I-will cor-rupt your-seed and-spread dung-in your-face, HEY!  (One big part of the entire Klezmer tradition is fans writing their own Klezmer off the tops of their heads, maybe forgetting it in a few minutes.)



I’m into all wild hick music, since the European stuff, despite its square reputation, isn’t that different from the stuff that has the wild reputation.  Yet what seems old-fashioned to some people, would seem good ’n’ gutsy to the fans of wild hick music.  Alcohol Problems in Native America: The Untold Story of Resistance and Recovery—“The Truth About the Lie,” by Don Coyhis, says that some Elders prophesized that during a “new springtime” of Native American culture that would inspire many alcoholic Native Americans to become sober, “They said you would begin to see young people sitting at the drums—young women and young men alike—and that is what is happening now.”  When you consider that American Country music was inspired partially by Native American music, and plenty of gutsy Americans like Country, you could see that sitting at the drums really isn’t that old-fashioned.

         One day soon after I graduated in 1988, when I was hanging around the university bookstore just after going to something at the university to help new graduates find jobs, on the table of outdated books selling for very discounted prices, I saw the book Antidepressant Treatment—the Essentials, by John H. Greist, MD and Thomas H. Greist, MD, that was there probably because it was written before Prozac.  A father-son psychiatrist team wrote this book for general practitioners, but I’m not phobic about science, and I was looking for what could give me some ideas in my helping of chronically depressed guys, so I bought it for $2.00.  When I got it home, I read in it, “According to National Institutes of Mental Health figures, 20,000,000 people or approximately 15% of the U.S. adult population suffers from a serious depressive disorder in any given year.”  To say that as doctors treat the million of Americans who suffer a serious depressive disorder in any given year, they should know this rate since it would help the doctors treat each individual as if their depressions simply are their problems, completely ignores the fact that this involves an unnaturally high rate of helplessness, happening to millions of people, year in and year out.  It’s as if the magnitude of this social problem could just be brushed aside!






That truly did make my head spin, since I’d known all those chronically depressed guys, my own doves that art in the clefts of the rocks, who were functional enough to go to college, yet they were in bad enough shape.  To think that in any given year 15% of the American adult population is suffering like that or worse, really let me know that this couldn’t be the natural result of deviant genes that could crop up anywhere.  For example, about 13% of the American population prefers country music radio stations, and while this isn’t the norm, it isn’t deviant, either.  This deserves to be treated as a social problem.  (Just imagine what the 1960s would have looked like if, instead, these social movements had said, “If racism, sexism, etc., bother you, then go to a cognitive therapist and learn how to think more optimistically about the opportunities that people have.”)

As Alan Greenspan wrote, in The Age of Turbulence, about conditions in 1975:

One thing that surprised everyone was the lack of public protest.  Coming off a decade of civil rights and anti-Vietnam War marches, anyone who could have foreseen 9 percent unemployment would have expected massive demonstrations and barricades in the streets, not just in the United States but also in Europe and Japan, where the economic problems were equally severe.  Yet that didn’t happen.  Perhaps the world was simply exhausted by the oil shock and the decade that had led up to it.  But the era of protest was over.  America was going through this period with what seemed like a new sense of cohesion.

Reaganomics made this acceptance of helplessness that didn’t come from the guv’mint, even worse.  Then, that acceptance became a well-adjusted resilient and productive virtue.  Yet someone simply has to take responsibility for every problem, and realists would figure that the person who’s the most reliably motivated to deal with a problem is the person who has the problem.  Certainly depressive disorders affecting 34,000,000 American adults is worth massive demonstrations and barricades in the streets, or a more subtle version of this, determined research on what causes that much depression, and efforts to let people know what that research proves about the usual assumptions about what helplessness you should just endure.

Everyone knows that what’s at fault, is inside the millions of victims.  If instead, this were treated as a social problem in the same way that many social movements in the 1960s treated social problems, it would seem very strange to talk about millions of Americans suffering from depression, as millions of Americans who’d better get fixed through antidepressant medication, cognitive therapy, etc.  All this devastation can’t be just a matter of, “Oh, well, biological organisms have biological problems, so this is among the biological diseases that are parts of the natural order,” or when blatantly destructive behavior caused the traumas, then “That’s just the way that our imperfect human nature is,” or when the people had horrible experiences that aren’t the fault of particular people, then “You’ve just got to accept that life isn’t perfect,” and “The only way that we could avoid all risks is to do nothing,” ad nauseum.  The might-makes-right that our culture is willing to accept, even adulate, can get pretty extreme.  The Wikipedia webpage on Ayn Rand says, “When asked in a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club what the most influential book in the respondent’s life was, Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was the second most popular choice, after the Bible.” 

This is what natural and inevitable problems would look like, and that much depression isn’t natural or inevitable.  Problems outside of victims are what they’d see in their “outlooks,” and they believe that they should have positive outlooks.  All this devastation also isn’t a matter of each individual needing to have his brain chemistry, thinking, survival skills, etc., straightened out, since that would mean that all those individuals naturally are that faulty, have deficiencies that are that dire, and anyone who thinks that this many individuals are that much in need of being re-engineered has an extreme lack of faith in the individual.  I could also see that this minimization of what’s wrong outside of victims and magnification of what’s supposedly wrong inside of victims, is pretty much ad infinitum as long as it wouldn’t seem preposterous, so those who think like this don’t have any sense of what the threshold of human endurance really is.

All this got me interested in reading book after book about depression.  Since then I’ve read similar facts, such as in the April, 2001 issue of Psychology Today magazine, in an article about how people could better manage the psychiatric disorders of family members, “More than 100 million Americans have a close family member who suffers from a major mental illness.  Of the 10 leading causes of disability, half are psychiatric.  By the year 2020, the major cause of disability in the world may be major depression,” so to many this seems to be simply the victims’ families’ problems which should be fixed up through technical fixes.

The book When Madness Comes Home, also about how family members could resolutely clean up the messes, says that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV says that affective disorders affect 20% of the American population, anxiety disorders affect 25%, substance abuse disorders affect 27%, schizophrenia affects 0.7%, and sociopathy affects 3.5%, and it seems that the only controversy that the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has to face is how problematic someone has to be before he’s committed, not how so many people got to be this problematic in the first place.

Add all of those with anxiety disorders, etc., to all of those with depressive disorders, and you could really see that assuming that it’s the victims who are faulty, deficient would mean that a whole lot of individuals naturally have faults, deficiencies that are that dire, and anyone who thinks that this many individuals are that much in need of being re-engineered has a pretty extreme lack of faith in the individual.  I’m basically a hick at heart, and this seems totally unnatural.

The web page by Paxil (Seroxat in the UK), Social Anxiety Snapshot says, “It is estimated that over 10 million Americans have social anxiety disorder.”

The web page from Zoloft, Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, says, “Although most people who experience an extreme traumatic event will not develop PTSD, as many as 1 out of 13 Americans will get PTSD at some point during their lives. Slightly more than 1 out of 10 women in the U.S. will get PTSD.”

The webpage What Are Anxiety Disorders? says, “Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric condition in the  United States. About 25 million Americans experience anxiety disorders at some time during their lives; the lifetime risk for an anxiety disorder is nearly 25%.”

The webpage A Drug for Drinking Less? describes alcoholism as, “a disease that affects some 14 million Americans.”

The webpage Lost in the Mirror says, “An estimated one in ten American women and a smaller number of men suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder on some scale...  About ten percent of borderlines die of suicide.”

Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, “And then I heard a voice say: In our youth our hearts were touched with fire.  It was given to us to learn at the onset that life is a profound and passionate thing,” and that’s something like the difference between my pre-1988 life and my post-1988 life, before 1988 believing that we could each build a fulfilled life inspired by the fire in our hearts, after 1988 seeing that what happens outside of ourselves could make a big difference in the most basic qualities of our lives.

         Along with this, I also saw that the victims are simply told to take personal responsibility for their own welfare,  since someone has to take responsibility for completely seeing through the resolution of any and every problem.  (By “the culpable,” I mean all of those who the Serenity Prayer would encompass as those who cause the problems that it would give the solution for.  By “the victims,” I mean all of those who have a problem caused by someone else, and such self-help would tell them to solve it by helping themselves.)  William Ryan’s classic Blaming the Victim was about blaming the poor for their own poverty, yet it would seem pretty subjective to say that poverty equals victimization.

With other unnaturally high rates of disease, such as cancer, our society tries to lessen the causes, often, as in the Delaney Amendment, erring on the side of caution.  Yet anything that our society might do to give us hygiene to protect us from our unnaturally high rates of depression, anxiety, etc., would, by the standards of our culture, seem anti-freedom, or, at the very least, naïve about human nature.  No matter how unnaturally high our rates of depression, anxiety, etc., may be, we could always attribute the causes of each instance of depression or anxiety, to “human nature.”  Regarding the depression caused in our personal lives, if the behavior that caused it is outrageous, we’d be told “That’s just the way he is, so don’t try to transform him,” and if it wasn’t outrageous, we’d be told, “Don’t try to trap/control him.”  Stopping the causes of the depression caused in our careers, would seem to be trying to control the rich, and/or manipulatively getting more for the poor than they’ve earned.  As our Declaration of Independence says, “all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed,” and the norms that cause the rampant depression, are the norms to which we’re accustomed.  In fact, I could only imagine the percentage of Americans who’d read this, who’d think, “If our status quo causes 15% of American adults to suffer a serious depressive disorder in any given year, then that’s just what we’ll have to accept, and anyone who doesn’t accept it is a...”

Given this, the only way in which we could deal with such problems, is to tell those who have the problems to take response-ability for their own welfare.  They simply must serenely accept whatever they can’t change, and courageously change whatever they can and must.  This is even if the only thing that they could change is their own brain chemistry, through medication, or their own outlooks, through contrived optimism.  That has the advantages of being pragmatically self-motivated, honorably self-reliant, and peacefully forgiving.  No matter how unnaturally high our rates of depression, anxiety, etc., may be, we could always figure that each instance is a deficiency of medication, contrived optimism, better survival skills, etc., so as long as each sufferer gets this, that would solve his problem.

Around 1990, I had my two big experiences with victim correction as a panacea, which jibed so much with each other that they each confirmed the conclusions that I drew from the other.  On my Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008 webpage, I describe this in detail, but here I’ll summarize:  The Serenity Prayer, as the ultimate guide for self-help, sets forth a formula where all problems are solved through each person taking response-ability for his own welfare.  The Christian forgiveness that it refers to is very absolute, as one could see in the Prayer of Saint Francis.  It seems that, in very absolute terms, counting on each person to take response-ability for his own problems seems reliable red-blooded and forgiving, while counting on moral responsibility to solve problems seems idealistic mollycoddle and judgmental.  About a century ago, William James wrote that Americans tend to classify people as either redbloods or mollycoddles.  Redblood is pretty much synonymous with übermensch, and mollycoddle is pretty much synonymous with ignominiously cunning untermensch.  It’s very clear who would usually be the redblood and who the mollycoddle when one person is culpable for another’s problem.

This could lead to some very obvious double standards, where those culpable for causing problems get the rights of the redblood (We must understand their sinful transgressions, erring on the side of caution means presuming them innocent until proven guilty, we mustn’t try to re-engineer the thinking of John Wayne’s soul mates, etc.  As Bobby Shriver said on Larry King Live on October 13, 2006, “And we were reading this poll the other day that the number one movie star, Larry, in America today is still John Wayne.  He hasn’t had a movie in the theaters, as you know, in 40 years.”), while the victims get the response-abilities of the mollycoddle (Understanding their wimpy character defects would be dysfunctional, erring on the side of caution means erring on the side of correcting them so that they could protect themselves more cautiously, we must try to re-engineer their maladjusted maladaptive thinking, etc.).  One could see this by looking at the legal standard for what constitutes negligence.  The webpage The ’Lectric Law Library’s Lexicon, On *Negligence*, begins, “NEGLIGENCE - The failure to use reasonable care.  The doing of something which a reasonably prudent person would not do, or the failure to do something which a reasonably prudent person would do under like circumstances.  A departure from what an ordinary reasonable member of the community would do in the same community.”

Of course, the standard for how negligent someone has to be before seeming morally responsible for a problem that he caused others, is a lot higher than is the standard for how careless a victim of anything, even violent crime such as domestic violence, has to be before seeming personally responsible for letting it happen.  Sharon Lamb, in The Trouble with Blame, Victims, Perpetrators, & Responsibility, which is all about “probing the psychological dynamics of victims and perpetrators of rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence,” wrote, “In all but situations involving extreme coercion or extreme youth we cannot completely excuse victims for their passivity, however much we would like to, for to do so would necessitate excusing the perpetrator of his impulsivity.  Nor can we support a view that a victim is not responsible at all for her symptoms or any disorders that develop from the abuse or from her prior history or from the social response to her victimization.  In excusing this kind of responsibility we would also be lending perpetrators a handy excuse: ‘I was poor,’ ‘My father abused my mother,’ ‘I was raped as a child.’”

Yet for these women to be held responsible like that, they probably wouldn’t have to be proven guilty of asking for trouble.  Rather, this would be based on rationales like, “Your intuition felt uncomfortable with him, so you knew he was trouble,” “You should have recognized what the things he did, implied,” “You keep getting involved with problem people, so obviously you’re subconsciously attracted to that problem,” etc.  To an optimist, before a victim seems responsible or accountable, all he’d have to seem is able to respond or able to account for not doing enough, and an optimist would see plenty of opportunities where he could have made things better if only he responded more pragmatically.  This zeitgeist seems pragmatic since the victims have the most reliable motivation to solve the problem, honorable since its nemeses are control of the strong and possible weakness-for-fun-and-profit from the weak, and forgiving.

Because of my affinity with hyperthymics, I got into a group for codependents, and became familiar with the ideas connected with codependency theory.  Hyperthymics are something like the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies.  Hyperthymics tend to have the same attractive qualities that make these celebrities so attractive to groupies, charisma, intelligence, creativity, soulful warmth, etc.  Unfortunately, hyperthymics also tend to have the same artistic-temperament-style behavior problems that celebrities who attract hordes of groupies tend to have, boozing, doping, irascibility, irresponsibility, etc.  If you surrounded yourself with all of the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies, you’d sure tend to associate with people who have artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, so you could very easily seem to have a codependent attraction to artistic-temperament-style behavior problems.  Also, the “love” as in “peace and love,” is certainly a lot colder than the committed romantic love that those who insist on their independence, would likely be very hesitant, even phobic, with.  Yet this is the kind of love that “Love conquers all,” refers to.


That’s basically what happened to me, what with my surrounding myself with hyperthymics.  In fact, since I have a hyperthymic personality myself, I have a special affinity with their attractive qualities, so I have a greater than usual tendency to surround myself with hyperthymics.  Since celebrities tend to be hyperthymic and therefore most compatible with other hyperthymics, the biographies of female celebrities could very easily read like biographies of codependents, getting involved with one problem lover, or problem person in general, after another.  (Lana Turner is one of the more obvious examples of this.)

And since my experiences were with hyperthymics, I’d think that the sorts of things that they’d do, wouldn’t be so quickly accepted as just slightly excessively normal human imperfection.  The webpage “hyperthymic personality disorder,” defines this as, “Individuals with a hyperthymic personality disorder are persistently more happy and optimistic than normal.  They have marked enthusiasm for life but on the other hand tend to be rash and show poor judgement.”  You’d be amazed how much this looks like the specifics of overt mania, diluted to the degree it seems to be within the normal range, just as dysthymia looks like overt depression diluted to the degree it seems to be within the normal range.  Those who insist that you minimize others’ destructive behavior since then you’d be more well-adjusted, would also insist that rashness and poor judgment constitute mistakes, not a personality disorder.  Yet since hyperthymic personality disorder involves the specific thought distortions of mania, it really is different from normal human imperfection.  The people have the sort of disinhibition that you’d expect from someone under the influence of booze, along with the high energy level.

Yet our culture could also encourage this sort of behavior, since, in the short term, it’s fun, and those who care about long-term consequences could always be condemned as being square.  Aussie bipolar FyrenIyce, on her Self-Medication and Bipolar Illness webpage, has a section about The Romantic Renegade, which includes, “We tend to be renegades by nature and not by design,” and, “So, if you find you’re often the charismatic leader of the pack, perhaps it’s a combination of your genetic birthright and an abundance of legal and illegal chemicals that made you so.  Beware the bravado doesn’t land you in jail or the hospital--it’s done both for me...but I always had my fans cheering me on.  And you know what?  Sometimes it was awful goddamn fun too!”

Naturally it seems bad to conform, to be

To illustrate this, is a cartoon captioned, “Live Fast... Die Young.”  Some recovering alcoholics have called such beliefs the “-ism” behind their alcoholism, since that consists of pro-freedom ideals that they aspired to.

Sure, as Native American leader Tecumseh said, “Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise men turn to fools and robs the spirit of its vision,” but to the “romantic renegade” and the impulsive, only squares would be too hung-up about such things.

Theoretically, a symptom of behavior problems that could be called “antisocial,” is that the person thinks and acts as if there are two sets of rules, those that apply to himself, and those that apply to everyone else.  In practical terms, if one acts as if the rules that apply to everyone else don’t apply to him, and he feels a strong need to break those rules, then liberals would figure that expecting him to follow them would be moralistic, and conservatives would figure that expecting him to follow them would be whiny restrictive passive and manipulative victimology.  Either way, they know how to scare people about the supposed suppressors.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary’s definition of reckless, is, “lacking caution : RASH.”  So the choices that arise out of the HPD would tend to be reckless, yet they wouldn’t have the choosing to flirt with danger quality that the word reckless may imply.  Naturally this would raise the risk of the booze and dope problems that lead to addiction, and other behaviors that one might associate with “the Hollywood lifestyle.”






Yet if one is to practice the sort of spirituality that both The Serenity Prayer and the Prayer of St. Francis describe, it would be good to minimize how offended you are at anyone else’s destructive behavior, and that includes behavior with the sort of rashness and poor judgment that you’d expect from a personality disorder.  And if moral responsibility has to be minimized, the victims’ response-ability for their own problems has to be magnified, since someone has to get every problem under control.  Here you could see the victim-blaming that has to result from victim correction as a panacea.  It would seem that if a woman keeps getting involved with butthead guys, then she must have a subconscious codependent attraction to their behavior problem.  Of course, she’s not presumed innocent until proven guilty of this, since if she were, she’d have no hope that she could solve her problem by correcting what she can, herself.  She wouldn’t have to show real signs of a tendency to “let herself in for trouble,” as did Robert Blake.  He grew up in an abusive home, painted “The Mata Hari Ranch” on the outside of his house, Mata Hari being a woman known for aggressively manipulating men, and then was very attracted to Bonnie Bakely, who had a big history of conning men.  If a woman grew up in an abusive home, paints “The Casanova Ranch” on the outside of her house, and later—surprise, surprise—gets into a bad romantic relationship with someone who characterologically cons women, people would have no problem telling her, “You let yourself in for it, since that’s what reminds you of when you first experienced love.”  And he also complained of having had many lovers try to con him, but in his case, that really does mean that he let himself in for it.

No one in my codependency group said anything about having any such tendencies, only how they could more resolutely take care of their own problems.  In fact, as I listened to these discussions, I figured that the slogan of this group should be “Self-Determination Through Fight or Flight.”  The basic idea was that the wives of men who keep choosing to act destructively, could achieve a proud self-determination, by either getting out of the way or fighting back.  They’d thereby be courageously changing what they could, and serenely accepting what they can’t, even if this were to mean hardship and/or sinfulness.  Those husbands sounded like they at least came close to having the sort of rashness and poor judgment that you’d expect from a personality disorder, but even if their behavior were even more rash than that, their wives’ problems are still their problems.

Susan Faludi wrote in Backlash, in the chapter “It’s All in Your Mind: Popular Psychology Joins the Backlash,” of a codependency group that she attended as an investigative journalist.  At that group, the women were directed more toward fatalistic acceptance, than were the women in the group that I attended.  Faludi even wrote of a woman who came to the group wanting to divorce her husband for very good reasons, but after attending the group, as she said, “See, the thing I learned in this group is, it wasn’t really his fault.  I allowed it to happen.”  Faludi wrote that this viewpoint came from the viewpoint of AA, though clearly codependency theory more reflects the viewpoint of Twelve-Step groups for addicts’ friends and family members, such as Al-Anon.  That’s where the Serenity Prayer really does literally mean accepting the reality of hardship sinfulness and surrender ad infinitum.

The group that I attended wasn’t so fatalistic as to what the women had to serenely accept, but was fatalistic to the extent that whatever anyone else chooses to do, you can’t change it, so you’ll just have to work around it.  If that woman who should have divorced her husband, had instead attended my group, she would have been told that she certainly should divorce her husband.  Yet if that means that she and their kids have to live in poverty, that he wouldn’t make his child support payments, etc., she’d just have to accept this reality and deal with it as real Americans deal with the imperfections of the real world.  Whatever happens to you is life on life’s terms, and we all know how mentally healthy, as versus mentally unhealthy, people deal with life on life’s terms.

She’s to think optimistically.  When problems would come up in her new independent life, she’d believe that she had the opportunities to have gotten them under control if only her self-responsibility were more effective.  Therefore, it would seem that she allowed the problems to happen continue and/or bother her.  Since we’re all to be optimistic in order to motivate ourselves, the “wisdom to know the difference” really means that if she can’t know whether or not she can change something, she’d feel more confident, and be more resourceful, if she believed that she could succeed if only her tactics were good enough.

The leader of my group, a man, responded to my objections to this fatalism, by saying that if I saw a tree falling towards me I’d run away, right?  Well, this is the same thing.  Natural events such as falling trees are called “acts of God” because they’re beyond human control or responsibility.  Buttheads’ destructive choices are supposed to be the same as the destruction that would result from “acts of God.”  Whether your problem resulted from an act of God or an act of a butthead, you’d be just as unable to change it, so you must serenely accept it and courageously change the consequences.  Codependency has been compared to an addiction to drugs, so this treats buttheads’ destructive choices as chemical properties of abused drugs.  The Words Universe webpage on the word “bankruptcy” defines it in the sense of “moral bankruptcy,” as, “a state of complete lack of some abstract property; ‘spiritual bankruptcy’; ‘moral bankruptcy’; ‘intellectual bankruptcy’.”  Treating people’s destructive choices as if they might as well result from acts of God or the physical properties of drugs, is certainly a state of complete lack of moral responsibility, other than the women blaming themselves for letting it happen.

Those who don’t simply take care of themselves like this, get basically the same labels that Reaganomics put on those on welfare, that if they don’t take care of themselves we’ll end up with dysfunctional parasitism, people will get what they want by talking about what they deserve, we’ll naïvely rely on people being nice, etc.  All over the place, we see ads such as the Learning About Depression webpage on the Zoloft website, which says, “If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated.  Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw.  It’s a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully treat depression....  Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults.”


When you’ve seen ads and other guides that say things like this, you may have thought, “So how am I supposed to fit in with all this?  So those to whom what produces this depression seem normal, also believe the following: Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults, and that’s simply among those biological illnesses that are parts of the natural order.  It doesn’t really matter why they have the problem, only that they could do something about it.  These 34,000,000 American adults should take antidepressants, or learn to have optimistic outlooks.  The question that we should ask about this is whether it consists of 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions, or 34,000,000 rather severe weaknesses of character.  Everyone knows that we must accept the helplessness that this culture regards as normal, since all must deal with the normal vicissitudes of life.  No one has an inalienable right to endurability.  If you really do care how scary this rate of depression is, it would be you who’d seem scary, because of all the untermensch victim-power you’d have.  Yet a true awareness of how unnatural are both this and what causes it, would be the ultimate shock and awe!

“So what happens if I disagree with this?  What if I think that this isn’t just a part of the natural order, or that the solution isn’t mega-medication or mega-thought-reform, or that the problem isn’t inside of 34,000,000 individuals, or that what causes this unnatural depression isn’t natural imperfections of life, or that depressive disorders affecting 34,000,000 American adults, and similar rates in other Western countries, is one of world history’s greatest social problems?  I’d certainly have problems fitting in!  The Missing Question is, ‘But what about the fact that these social norms accept helplessness that provably leads to an unnaturally gargantuan rate of depression?’

Of course, it’s very easy to figure that this rampant depression is just one of many realities that we must deal with, so if we truly do care about this then that’s just our own whiny and deviant opinion, until we remember that:



and that depressive disorders affecting 34,000,000 American adults, is quite a lot of be immersed in!  In the light of this rampant depression, most of our conflicts look different.

Manic-Depressive Illness, Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, by Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin and Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, says, in its chapter on personality differences, “Character has been defined as ‘personality evaluated’—that aspect of an individual which bears a moral stamp and reflects the person’s integrative and organizing functions.  The concept of character is employed less frequently in the United States than in Europe, although it is often used interchangeably with that of personality.”  Actually, the word character is used plenty in the United States, whether it be in comments on depression or from the likes of Pat Buchanan and Frank Buchman, to pass judgment on how integrated and organized are traumatized people.  After all, such judgments aren’t moralisticSomeone absolutely has to provide our society’s homeostasis, since things simply have to remain integrated and organized.

If, to a degree and with a persistence that would be worthy of this social problem, you care that depressive disorders affect about 34,000,000 American adults, you’d be treated as if what you’re supposed to do is NOT CARE.  If you do, then you’d be very likely to have untermensch attributes attributed to you, such as: weak, passive, whiny, bitter, resentful, manipulative, insidiously self-interested, counterproductive, troublemaking, controlling, restrictive, blaming, excuse-making, anti-freedom, intellectualist, self-righteous, self-pitying, subjective, unrealistic, immature, negativist, defeatist, melodramatic, emotionalist, and judgmental.  If instead we compromised, and cared to a degree that’s only a fraction of what our rampant depression deserves, that would still be quite weak-spirited and whiny.

And, naturally, this means...

Certainly you could imagine what would happen if you responded to one of those who figured that naturally you’re simply supposed to adjust to the norms that cause our rampant depression, by saying, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Sure, for depressive disorders to affect about 34,000,000 American adults is a very serious social problem, but in order to fit in, you’ve got to minimize the problems around you somewhat.  Therefore, I’ll treat this as if it were just a moderately severe social problem.”  After all, if you could care somewhat, then that would make you somewhat discouraged, maladjusted, thinking like a victim, etc.

It seems that the helplessness that causes our rampant depression, is just some of the inevitable imperfections of life and/or human nature.

Blaming the Victim says, “Now no one in his right mind would quarrel with the assertion that social problems are present in abundance and are readily identifiable....  The problems are there, and there in great quantities.  They make us uneasy.  Added together, these disturbing signs reflect inequality and a puzzlingly high level of unalleviated distress in America totally inconsistent with our proclaimed ideals...,” “[Social problems] become social problems only by being so considered.  In Seeley’s words, ‘naming it as a problem, after naming it as a problem.’” and, “The social problem of mental disease has been viewed as a collection of individual cases of deviance, persons who—through unusual hereditary taint, or exceptional distortion of character—have become unfit for normal activities.”

When something is described as showing “weak character,” that means that the culture’s mores condemn it, and our culture is obviously far more likely to refer to a lack of stolid fortitude as “weak character,” than to refer to morally weak characters like this.  As of yet, I haven’t seen any ads for antidepressants ask what is the link between rampant depression, and others’ morally weak characters.  It also seems very normal to treat rampant depression as if this is just one of the diseases that are parts of the natural order, and the only question that’s to be asked is whether this consists of 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions, or 34,000,000 rather severe character flaws.  Because of this, my great interest in the rampant depression, and the German-style moral bankruptcy that probably leads to it, might seem somewhat unusual. You’d be amazed how many appeals to higher loyalties would seem more moving than would a concern about such rampant depression: expectations that we be pro-freedom, not try to control or restrict others, not seem emotionalist, be forgiving, love an anti-resentment spirituality, be stolidly rock-ribbed, avoid those intellectualist social sciences, etc.  It’s pretty safe to say that there’s always an out, in that if the person who has the problem wants to be well-adjusted and non-passive, then she’ll see how what caused the problem is at least excusable, and how much she plays an active role.

If our culture were just as willing to recognize social problems as it was in the 1960s, caring about 34 million American adults being affected by depression, would seem only natural.  If the rabble-rousing classics of the 1960s had talked about rates of depression and anxiety, that look a lot more like an unnatural level of hopelessness than parts of the natural order, these books would have sounded a lot less intellectual philosophical and theoretical!

After all, the inspirational patriotic song that was emblematic of the Reagan era, was Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, which begins, “If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,” I’d simply take responsibility for my own welfare by rebuilding.  The first verse ends, “and they can’t take that away.”  The unspecified “they” sounds almost paranoid.  As the textbook Abnormal Psychology, Clinical and Scientific Perspectives, by Barclay and Martin, says in its section on paranoid schizophrenia, “People with delusions of persecution, believe that they are threatened and persecuted by various people or groups: neighbor, competitor, boss, communists, the FBI, or some vague ‘they.’...  The controlling agents may be God, the devil, parents, political groups, or again a vague ‘they.’”  Yet one who believes in resilient resourceful and independent self-help, would also believe that no matter what “they” might do, the outcome would be the result of how well the victim took response-ability for his own welfare.  He’s to focus his attention on that, rather than on his own victimhood.

At that time, I figured that I’d really like to see plenty of researchers do studies on the threshold of human endurance, meaning the real point at which we couldn’t safely expect people to just deal with their own problems, treat them as if they have weak characters if they don’t, etc.


Paul Gilbert’s Depression, the Evolution of Powerlessness, says, “When [biological] differences are more clearly understood, debate will continue as to their etiological significance and most theorists now speak in terms of ‘threshold’ rather than some autonomous internal disease.”

This social problem is very much a matter of our social norms and expectations.  After all, every society must have norms that pressure its people into maintaining its homeostasis, self-stabilizing.  “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” is a good example of what our society considers to be realism.  Even if someone was unambiguously victimized by another’s sinfulness, the victim is far more motivated to provide the required homeostasis, by courageously changing what he could and serenely accepting what he couldn’t,



than the person who’s morally responsible for the problem, would be to take personal responsibility for resolving it.  If this allocation of who is and isn’t personally responsible for what, leads to rampant depression and anxiety disorders, then we just figure that since the victims are motivated to resolve the problems by changing their own brain chemistries through drugs, but those who contribute to the unnaturally high rates of depression and anxiety probably aren’t motivated to keep these rates within natural limits, the victims are responsible.

Of course, those around us would have a lot less of a problem expecting those around them to live up to expectations of, “Courageously change what you can and serenely accept what you can’t, when you encounter imperfections that really are inevitable, ineluctable parts of life,” than they’d have expecting those around them to live up to expectations of, “Courageously change what you can and serenely accept what you can’t, when hardship and/or sinfulness ad infinitum, or any other realities, impact your life.”  Likewise, those around us would have a lot less of a problem expecting those around them to live up to expectations of, “Of course if you don’t cope with what happened to you then you have a weak character, since that’s among the imperfections that really are inevitable, ineluctable parts of life,” than they’d have expecting those around them to live up to expectations of, “Of course if you don’t cope with what happened to you then you have a weak character, even though researchers have proven that that what happened to you is among the traumas that contribute to our rampant depression.”  At the very least, with that research, the victims would have a comeback, rather than engaging in the victim-self-blaming that’s characteristic of the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression.  The Reagan era, especially, had given a strong impetus to this unconditional self-help conception of personal response-ability.  James Bryce wrote in 1888, in The American Commonwealth, that public opinion is “The master of servants who tremble before it,” and in a society with rampant depression, a lot of that public opinion would qualify as untermensch SELF-WILL.






Christopher Lasch wrote in his article in the New Republic of August 10, 1992, For Shame, that our culture has,

a cult of the victim in which entitlements are based on the display of accumulated injuries inflicted by an uncaring society.  The politics of “compassion” degrades both the victims, by reducing them to objects of pity, and their would-be benefactors, who find it easier to pity their fellow citizens than to hold them up to impersonal standards, the attainment of which would make them respected.  Compassion has become the human face of contempt.

One needn’t be a sociologist to see in this, the crux of Reaganomics, that if only those who keep talking about victimology and victimhood, or sue businesses because their pain and losses (rather than objective achievement) entitle them, or evade their personal response-ability for their own problems, etc., thought like Lee Greenwood instead, that would solve our problems.

Sure, that’s impersonal, but it would make people more respectable, if we consider those who seem to be übermenschen/redbloods to be respectable, and those who seem to be untermenschen/mollycoddles to be contemptible.  Just as in old Wagnerian Germany it was the weak who seemed “ignominious,” in modern America it’s the weak who get the “contempt.”

If instead we tried to have a balanced approach that differentiated the real victims from the fakes, showed contempt for the victimizers, etc., that would seem too: unpragmatic, abstractly analytical, idealistic, equivocal, iconoclastic (Just look at the unequivocal personality types that were icons during the Reagan/Thatcher era, and that still inspire profound admiration, which would include the pro-freedom and red-blooded, “hold them up to impersonal standards, the attainment of which would make them respected.”), moralistic, opinionated, unrealistic about how much real victims must deal with their own problems, restrictive, unforgiving, potentially manipulative, etc.  Even if all that someone did was set limits as to how much victim-correction he’s willing to accept, that could seem to be choosing not to impersonally become adequately correct, and, therefore, respectable.

A society with rampant depression will have plenty of real victims.  In order for it to keep functioning, it must pressure them into simply dealing with their own problems objectively and self-reliantly.  In all societies including those with rampant depression, no one could seem self-reliant enough unless he’s self-reliant enough to succeed with whatever realities and risks he must deal with.  (Of course, if he showed some self-reliant responsibility, but not enough, that loser would get contempt rather than respect.)  Before the Reagan era, these social pressures and cultural conditioning were usually done more subtly than anything that implied, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.”  Reaganomics couldn’t exist without these unequivocal conceptions of: personal rights, personal responsibilities, supposedly manipulative, mollycoddle victims, why responsibility should (predictably) be projected onto victims, which entitlements seem respectable, which “defects of character” we take seriously, etc.

Black street slang for victim-blaming is “The Flip Game.”  It was no wonder that I fell so short of the expectations of the self-help ethos.  You can get a good idea of the thinking concerning codependency, that buttheads’ choices are simply realities that their victims can’t change and therefore must deal with emotionally and physically, on the newsgroup alt.recovery.codependency, always changing yet always the same.

Soon after that, I had that problem with the delusional employer, who promised me a job that he wasn’t able to deliver on.  Since my career was to be in mechanical engineering, I had to “pay my dues” by going through a period of second-class status, for my first job.  I figured that the time that I spent waiting for this job would constitute my “paying my dues,” but only if I worked for this particular employer.  If I worked for anyone else, the sacrifice that I’d made for this job would mean absolutely nothing, so I had to stay for that one.  The big problem was that what with The Flip Game, the more that I waited, the more that I’d seem to be a codependent sacrificing for someone with a delusional level of irresponsibility.  Here I heard plenty along the lines that the legal standard for negligence would be too demandingly strong for the culpable: that we’ve just got to accept that some people are unreasonable and unordinary, that you’re utopian if you expect anyone to use any care toward your interests, that his opinion about what’s negligent must be different from my prudent opinion, etc.  Of course, I heard plenty of the usual ideas that the legal standard for negligence would be too unrealistically weak for victims.  This was no different from what I heard in that codependency group, that if something is reality then it’s reality, and real Americans mustn’t fail to deal with their own realities, irrespective of everything else, including reasonability.



         As I heard all that in my codependency group, I couldn’t help but think that all the guilt feelings of the chronically depressed guys  I knew, had to have come from such Western practices as holding victims responsible rather than victimizers.  Holding victimizers responsible seems judgmental bitter mollycoddle vindictive controlling blaming accusatory opinionated harping utopian defeatist and dispensable.  Holding victims responsible for their own welfare, and victims holding themselves responsible for their own welfare, seem pro-forgiveness constructive self-reliant vindicating self-determined persevering self-improving objective single-minded pragmatic self-empowering and indispensable.  Sure, the guys’ guilt feelings concerned religious doctrine about “sin,” but still, something about seeing guilt feelings being incorporated in depression, struck me as being about as natural as self-criticism being incorporated in fear.

My own earthy sense told me how wrong this is, and Thomas Jefferson also could see this problem developing as Colonial America, which consisted mainly of self-sufficient farmers, was becoming industrialized, in query 19 of his Notes on the State of Virginia, “But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman.  Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement, or that one half should be called off from that to exercise manufactures and handicraft arts for the other?  Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.  It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth.  Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phaenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example.  It is the mark set on those, who not looking up to heaven, to their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman, for their subsistance, depend for it on the casualties and caprice of customers.  Dependance begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.  This, the natural progress and consequence of the arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by accidental circumstances: but, generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any state to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good-enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption.  While we have land to labour then, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a work- bench, or twirling a distaff.  Carpenters, masons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry: but, for the general operations of manufacture, let our work-shops remain in Europe.  It is better to carry provisions and materials to workmen there, than bring them to the provisions and materials, and with them their manners and principles.  The loss by the transportation of commodities across the Atlantic will be made up in happiness and permanence of government.  The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body.  It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour.  A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.”

Just before this, for query 17, he wrote that he was afraid that if an authoritarian tried to take over, “Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless.... They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights.”)

If he took that one step farther, he could have seen that if dealing with this corruption is simply how things are taken care of in an industrial economy, then people would simply have to take responsibility for their own welfare.  This would include however the corruption may affect them, so the “personal responsibility” that’s taken seriously, not the kind in which if you do it that would be nice but we can’t expect people to be nice, goes to the person whose welfare could be affected.  The era of the American revolution is called The Enlightenment, but our modern conception of what constitutes enlightenment, could best be expressed by the Alcoholics Anonymous slogan, “The most important part of enlightenment is to ‘lighten’ up,” in any and every circumstance.

         And sure enough, intercultural studies have consistently shown  that sometimes suicidal guilt feelings as a symptom of depression are unique to Western and Westernized people.  Soon after this, I read in the book The Good News About Depression by Dr. Mark S. Gold, that Dr. Emil Kraepelin, alive at the time of Freud, observed that his Western depressed patients had the guilt feelings and self-blame while his Japanese depressed patients felt “fear” and “suspicion.”  Since then, intercultural studies have consistently shown that sometimes suicidal guilt feelings as a symptom of depression are unique to Western and Westernized people.

 That book said this not to show how Western definitions of “personal responsibility” as responsibility for one’s own welfare including if this welfare is devastatingly bad, cause this difference, but simply to show that psychiatrists who immigrate to the US from Eastern countries may not be able to relate to their depressed patients’ beliefs.  Since then I read the same thing in the book Beating Depression by Dr. John Rush, which says that intercultural studies have found that depressed Easterners living in developed areas tend to have “anxiety” and “ideas of persecution,” and that depressed Easterners living in undeveloped areas tend to have only physiological symptoms.

While that book doesn’t mention this, the book The Anatomy of Melancholy written in Elizabethan England by Robert Burton described the typical depressive of his era as, “He dare not come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in gesture or speeches, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him, aims at him, derides him, owes him malice,” and otherwise as suspicious, jealous, fearful maybe even terrified, and solitary.  Phillippe Pinel’s A Treatise on Insanity from 1806 describes someone with bipolar disorder in a depressive episode, “he withdraws from society, shuns the plots and inveiglements which he imagines to surround him, and fancies himself an object of human persecution and treachery, or a victim of divine vengeance and reprobation.”

A webpage of the World Health Organization document Conquering Depression, Historical Background, includes:

Much of what is known today about symptoms of depression and related disorders was described by the ancient Greek and Roman physicians who coined terms like ‘melancholia’ and ‘mania’ and noted their relationship.  In the fourth century BC, Hippocrates made an early reference to distress and melancholia.  He described melancholia (black bile) as a state of “aversion to food, despondency, sleeplessness, irritability and restlessness”. Later, Galen (131-201 A.D.) described melancholia manifesting in “fear and depression, discontent with life and hatred of all people”.  Subsequent Greco-Roman medicine not only recognized the symptoms of melancholia in the form of fear, suspicion, aggression and death wishes, but also referred to environmental contributions to melancholia as immoderate consumption of wine, perturbations of the soul due to passion, and disturbed sleep cycle.  Many of the original Greek texts on melancholia were transmitted to posterity through medieval Arabic texts in which connections between two major mood states were suggested, and the causes of the disease were speculated to be interactions between temperament, environment and the four humours (i.e. wind, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile).

If the average Westerner were to see someone reacting to his own helplessness by acting irritable, malcontent, hateful, suspicious and aggressive, the typical Westerner would probably respond as if this is aggressively self-serving, so instead he should show some personal responsibility for his failures to courageously change (and prevent) what he could have, and serenely accept what he couldn’t.

In current times, the Drug Counsellor’s Handbook, A Guide for Everyday Use, on the United Nations website, for drug counselors in Africa, says and highlights,




Paul Gilbert’s Depression, the Evolution of Powerlessness, from 1992, says, “Murphy (1978) has pointed out that guilt was also absent from western clinical descriptions of depression until the sixteenth century.  He suggests that guilt and self-blame are more likely to arise in cultures that emphasise individual differences, self-control, predictability and personal responsibility for pain and pleasure.  These cultures separate mind and body and demote the importance of social context and relationships in the causation of distress.”

In the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression, what you end up with is that depressed people who’ve lived in developed areas outside of the modern West have tended to feel paranoid, but modern Westerners, whether depressed or not, tend to figure that even if someone did “get you,” that would mean only that you lost the battle so you’re a loser.  Once you’ve lost, it would seem, you should choose to solve your problem as expeditiously as possible, and not to have a pity party about it.  Even if everyone’s out to get you, if you had strength of character you’d find a solution rather than finding blame and surrendering.  Since the only thing that really matters is how effectively you’re dealing with whatever your realities are, you’d be amazed by the degree to which how powerless you are, determines how your actions or inactions are labeled, as successful or failing, etc.  Our most recent inspirational patriotic song, says that even if tomorrow all the things were gone you worked for all your life, because an unspecified “they” took them away, you’re simply to rebuild.  And of course, if you’re a woman who has to rebuild alone because you had to escape a problem husband, then that’s what you have to do.

Sacrilege, Sexual Abuse In the Catholic Church says that ravenous pedo-priest James Janssen was able to manipulate his psychologist since Janssen “knew the categories in which the psychologist thought and told his story in such a way that the psychologist concluded that Janssen wanted to be celibate, but needed help, especially the help of a good psychologist,” obviously the sort of skepticism that social conservatives would have toward intellectual social scientists, a skepticism that seems perfectly acceptable.  The category in which typical psychologists would have predictably classified Janssen, would have been, “someone who looks like an aggressor (so if you’re greatly offended that’s whiny resentment), but is actually the helpless one,” helpless since he’s under the sway of his own human nature, and/or at present he’s completely helpless to undo what he did whereas the victim isn’t helpless to solve his own problems, etc., a very German-sounding conception of aggressors’ and weak people’s responsibilities.  Since our usual conceptions of mental health, survival skills, self-responsibility, etc, must be in line with psychologists’, a good way to know that you could get away with something is to know that it fits favorably into psychologists’ categories of forgivable, red-blooded, anti-repression, etc., which have the same categorical, black-and-white qualities that you could see in the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression (of which no realists could be skeptical, since reality’s demands tend to be this absolute).  Of course, that’s also the category in which the bishops who enabled pedo-priests put them, based on the same unconditional, “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” traditions.

And if you want to see plenty of self-blame for being hurt by others, that isn’t connected with depression, Al-Anon has a book of sufferers’ personal accounts titled ...In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work For You, which on one hand gives instance after instance of Al-Anon talking clear-cut victims of alcoholics out of blaming themselves for seeming to fail in having normal relationships with the alcoholics in their lives, but on the other hand expects these people to make their crises work for them in all their affairs, so when victimized they’d likely fall short of expectations in a big way.  Dr. Fredrick Goodwin, of the first Bush administration, lost his job because, when he said that violent criminals in the ghetto should be treated biologically since they’re like monkeys running around in the jungle, that sounded racist.  Actually, what he said was more dangerous than that, that no matter what caused the problem, the solution is to fix the victims, since that’s what’s most pragmatic.  As he said, “You are going to leverage it through individuals, not through large social engineering of society,” so no matter how much you could prove that the victims aren’t to blame, you could still prove that they’re the ones who have the most reliable motivation to solve their problems. 

Of course, too much leverage, with aggressive emotions backing it, leads to bubbles that eventually pop, since just because people keep pushing things in a certain direction using leverage, doesn’t make it sustainable.  Eliot Spitzer said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, on March 22, 2009 about Wall Street, “...it’s kind of odd, because everybody derided leverage in public, but in private, participated to the hilt,” though Dr. Goodwin obviously had no problem with honoring it in public, or even with not setting risk-benefit limits, as long as the leverage is the pragmatism of people taking response-ability for their own welfare.  (Possibly, talk about leverage is like locker-room talk: both sound offensive most of the time, but when it’s time to act gutsy, both seem ideal.)   The Great Crash of 2008 showed how dangerous a reliance on inadequately limited leverage could be.  Sure, now leverage seems to be “the L word,” but at one time leverage seemed to be a great way to get a free ride in the name of pragmatism.  (As Henry Paulson testified in 2000 before the Security and Exchange Commission, about allowing investment houses to use more leverage, “[W]e and other global firms have, for many years, urged the SEC to reform its net capital rule to allow for more efficient use of capital.”)  Both leverage in the investment world, and the leverage that comes from re-engineering victims, mean that those who pay the costs aren’t the ones who make the real decisions, which is where the dangers come from.


On my own webpages on this book and similar sources, I have the most telling excerpts, so you could go there if you want to see them all.  Also, on my webpage on an excerpt of AA’s Big Book anathematizing resentment anger and fear, I go into how much this ideology has shaped gutsy, self-reliant post-Reagan psychology.  And on my Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea webpage, I’ve listed the rationales I’ve run across, and numbered them, so that when you hear them applied to a certain situation, you could respond by saying, “Oh, yeah, right, that’s standard rationale #7...”  So far, especially with the help of the Internet and the Virtual Community, I’ve managed to collect quite a bit, and some of the most powerful is on that webpage!

The web page Surprising Risk Factor For Suicide by Dr. Dean Edell, says about suicide, “It’s the eighth leading cause of death in this country, and in 1997 claimed about 30,000 lives - by comparison, only 19,000 people died as a result of homicide.”

A web page of the Centers for Disease Control, Suicide in the United States, begins with, “Suicide took the lives of 30,575 Americans in 1998 (11.3 per 100,000 population).  More people die from suicide than from homicide. In 1998, there  were 1.7 times as many suicides as homicides.  Overall, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death  for all Americans, and is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24.”

A web page by the American Association of Suicidology, U.S. Launches Anti-Suicide Plan, says, “Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, killing 30,000 people each year. More than 650,000 people make the attempt.”

The web page Facts About Suicide mentions, “The actual number is probably significantly higher, because many suicides are recorded as accidents.”

Malignant Sadness, the Anatomy of Depression, by Lewis Wolpert, says, “A recent report, Global Burden of Disease, published by the World Health Organisation, states that depression was the fourth most important health problem in the developing world in 1990 (accounting for about 3 per cent of the total burden of illness) and predicts that it will be the number one health problem in the developing world in 2020 (accounting for about 6 per cent of the total burden).  Over the same period the annual number of suicides will increase from 593,000 to 995,000 in the developing world.”





         Since I’ve always been told how changeable the passive parts of human nature are supposed to be,  and I could see just how unchangeable they are, I’ve also been beginning to doubt all that I’ve been told about the active parts of human nature being unchangeable, being something that we’re supposed to just take as Jesus did.  For example, we’ve always been told that war is simply an inevitable part of human, especially male, nature, but the whole idea that war is a part of people’s “territorial imperative” completely ignores the fact that, if a tenant who was just evicted from his apartment should attack his landlord, or a homeowner whose house was just foreclosed on attacked the banker, and the attacker said, “But I couldn’t help myself!  This person just threw me out of my territory, so I couldn’t help but fight back,”  this wouldn’t be accepted as “only natural” the way that domestic violence sometimes is.  It seems that inevitabilities of human nature never make it inevitable that the powerful get hurt.  Joe Kennedy Sr. said when he was campaigning to keep the USA out of World War II, “War is the work of men, and being the work of men is not inevitable,” but that seemed to apply only to war against the Nazis.

I have two webpages giving examples of psychologists who took incredible risks to propound this sort of ÜBERMENSCH = GOOD,  UNTERMENSCH = BAD, ideology.  One of these, Candace Newmaker’s Experience, tells of how one psychological center ignored the suicidal threats of a young girl who was just molested and then the next day she killed herself, and years later smothered a young girl to death in a contraption they invented though she was screaming that she was suffocating, since this clinic so anathematized the possibility that what these girls said, could have been manipulative machinations.  The other, Breaking Important Confidences for Your Own Good, is a document from a lawsuit about one marriage counselor “revealing the most confidential of information disclosed to him by each individual,” which mentioned another psychologist who did the same, though obviously this didn’t benefit the psychologists.  Clearly they so believed that maintaining a marriage by keeping secrets was too moralistic, that they were willing to put themselves at obvious risk of such lawsuits.  When it comes to battling such passivity, psychologists could really become crusaders.

Also, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, in his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, told of how the American military, just after World War II, discovered from the soldiers that only about 15% of the soldiers fired their weapons at the enemy, and those who did tended to feel remorse.  The rest intentionally fired over the enemies’ heads and the like.  After this, researchers were able to find both that this is pretty universal among armies, and that through de-sensitization training such as practicing firing guns at targets much like playing violent video games, soldiers can be trained to actually kill without thinking much of it.  Lt. Col. Grossman was a West Point Psychology Professor and an Army Ranger, so he’s not some sort of idealist who wants to believe that killing in war isn’t an inevitable part of human nature.  He calls this field Killology, and his group has its own website.

And the extent to which the Wagnerian zeitgeist would do its best to at least excuse the pathologically hyperthymic behavior that I keep encountering, may not be just coincidence.  George Becker wrote about the Romantic era, “The aura of ‘mania’ endowed the genius with a mystical and inexplicable quality that served to differentiate him from the typical man, the bourgeois, the philistine, and, quite importantly, the ‘mere’ man of talent; it established him as the modern heir of the ancient Greek poet and seer and, like his classical counterpart, enabled him to claim some of the powers and privileges granted to the ‘divinely possessed’ and ‘inspired.’”  This was the era of Arthur Schopenhauer, a pioneering philosopher of the Romantic era, who wrote the above quote about flash-of-insight genius.

That cultural epoch liked the hyperthymic nature, which could include some rashness and poor judgment.  Even if it liked simply the sort of spontaneity that hyperthymics have, then that would have to include having judgmentalism as its nemesis.  Whether or not hyperthymia is involved, that attractive spontaneity could take the form of, “And on the stuff again!”  That cultural epoch was centered in GERMANY, so you know that it included aggressive rashness and poor judgment!  Yet all that one has to do is look at the consequences of hyperthymic personality disorder (as well as the consequences of Germany’s recent aggressions), and he could see that though the Romantic Renegade appeal might look as all-American as the free-spirited Texas appeal that once made people feel good about Enron (which ended up showing a lot of rashness and poor judgment, and was based on a pro-freedom “-ism,” to be practiced with an absolutist “intellectual purity”), the Romantic appeal could lead to big problems.


And the Wagnerian German influences on our zeitgeist, should be very obvious when you recognize the fact that the two biggest influences on modern psychology were German-speaking Austrian Freud, and German-American Niebuhr.  If we adopt German-influenced priorities, then that’s exactly what we’ll end up with, even if we do this in the name of, “going beyond good and evil, morally-based shame, etc.,” “pragmatically accepting aggressive human nature,” “a respect for self-reliant strength and fortitude, that all-American cowboys would love,” “preventing mollycoddle cunning,” “getting unconditional inner peace by unconditionally forgiving those who hurt us,” etc.  Not to mention the fact that this would give the self-responsible victims, a lot of shame based on their failures, since they have a lot less power to right their failures, than they have to right their own morality.  (But then again, that’s what the untermenschen seem to deserve.)

(Otto Ambros, production chief of I. G. Farben’s Zyklon-B poison gas facilities)


In Niebuhr’s magnum opus, The Nature and Destiny of Man, unquestionably the unusual word that he used the most often, was transcend.  If you think that it should be easier to let go of desires to do or get more, than it would be to let go of an insistence that one not lose what he already had, then it would seem that you’d better learn the Wagnerian ideas regarding what thought reform does, and what thought reform doesn’t, constitute attempts to re-engineer human nature.  In the 1960s, it would have seemed only natural to question that level of much-beloved moral bankruptcy, especially since the weaker you are, the more that it would hurt and blame you.


As for my own personal pursuits, right now I’m still not married, mainly because of that problem that I keep having with guys being obliviously irresponsible and the moral relativism I keep hearing in response to this, that our society is willing to pray that God grant them the ability to accept hardship as a pathway to peace and take as Jesus did this sinful world; it seems their irresponsibility is excused and the only problem is that I’m not serenely adjusting.  As I do, I realize that those who I regard as “my people,” the hyperthymics, are probably the ones who feel the most hesitancy about marriage, since, in essence, it seems un-hip.

When you look at modern movies, television, and the like, you might see a glorification of evil for evil’s sake, of what the Germans call “Liebestod” or “death love,” and what Hitler would call “representatives of manly strength.”  When I see stuff like that, all that I could think is, “Milton Berle’s G-rated stuff was a lot more interesting than this, and he had a lot more energy and spontaneity than those guys [He also was honestly reputed to be one of the world’s greatest lovers.], so WHY BOTHER with this destructive stuff?!”  (If you like hyperthymics, you’ll like a lot of stuff that previous generations found to be vivacious!)  It seems that by modern standards, the most exciting personality is that of a sociopath: self-centered, impulsively angry violent and aggressive, remorseless, and living as if might makes right.  Despite the many parallels between this and what the Nazis glorified as “strength,” those who produce such films tell us that this unhealthy nonsense means freedom of expression, and that acceptance of this is de rigueur if you want to be modern.

This is the same sort of thinking that would figure that marriage necessarily violates freedom, even though it’s been proven that marriage lowers the likelihood of suicide.  The web page Regional Variations in Suicide Rates—United States, 1990-1994, from the Centers for Disease Control, had said, “Suicide rates are inversely related to level of education, and are substantially lower among married persons than among persons who are single, separated, divorced, or widowed.”  The Australian Broadcasting Company, on their web page Suicide rate on the increase, says that also in Australia, “Married people are less likely to die from suicide, with unmarried and divorced people more likely.”  Rather than cheering for some New Left anti-marriage ideals, I’d rather be among those who enjoy hillbilly music on a hot summer night, or exploring nature, or being with those I love, or cheering for something that will do people a lot of good.  And on my own Men Dying for Love webpage, I have a set of suicides notes taken from the appendix of a general book on suicide notes, in which several of the men kill themselves because of the ending of one romantic relationships, the only woman to do this was a lesbian, and the other women needed some pretty big, generalized hopelessness to kill themselves.

In that, I’m trying to make use of my aptitudes that often come with hyperthymic temperaments, the intelligence, creativity, intuition especially ability to read people, etc.  I also know that I have a personality which is good enough that I shouldn’t have to put up with such irresponsibility, but it’s amazing the degree to which this irresponsibility is visibly just a diluted version of the irresponsibility that you’d see in flat-out manic episodes, and even a Siren or a Don Juan couldn’t talk someone out of that.  I’ve pretty much accepted that this dilemma will be with me for the rest of my life, but at least I know how to make the best of it.

This time next year, let’s be laughing together!












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Oh, Yeah?” Upbeat Echoes from the First Great Stock Market Crash

Victim Correction as a Panacea, the Summary (Page 1)

(Page 2)(Main Page 3)

Cancer Victims Corrected Too

The Main Victim Correction as a Panacea

 Documentation On the Social Problem of Unnaturally Rampant Depression

 Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea

 Schopenhauer on Predators

 Emphasis on Victim-Self-Blaming

Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Sales Tips

Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Introduction to Management Book

Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008

Message for Intellectuals in the Islamic World

Candace Newmaker’s Experience

Breaking Important Confidences for Your Own Good

A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction

Cigarette Industry and Victim Correction

Niebuhr’s Ideas on Our Nature and Destiny

Herbal Experiences for Women

Some Ideas for Rapport