Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology & The Work

Gaby

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Re: Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology

Altair said:
Aragorn said:
I don't quite understand, how can psychopaths have things like 'somatic markers' and 'mind-body connectedness' when they supposedly don't feel stress and fear, at least not the way normal people do? I'm sure they have their own 'markers', with the help of their excellent skill of "reading" people. I could imagine them having somatic markers in the way a predator feels aroused when they are closing in on the target.

Well, I probably should read the book first... :cool2:
Yes, that struck me, too. As far as I undertstood it is the case only for a minority of all psychopaths (successful ones). Functioning properly somatic markers mean better "gut instinct". I may be wrong, of course, but here is the full excerpt:
How I understood is that some people have "brain damage" from a myriad of factors with subsequent lack of impulse control. They're "running like headless chickens". That can be surmised indirectly with current technology (PET scans) and autonomic markers, other than their personal backgrounds.

Successful psychopaths can have "iron nerves" which can be seen indirectly from certain autonomic nervous system markers. For example, some can have the autonomic nervous system imprint of a "lizard" with very low basal heart rates and be "totally cool" in situations where a neurotic person would have tachycardia and be very nervous. Some of them don't have the "brain damage" hallmarks of those who lack impulse control due to low prefrontal cortex activity. They actually have super-brains with enhanced functioning in several key areas of the brain that make them good at so many things. It was interesting to see the example of a serial killer who was some sort of engineer and whose PET scan was completely lit up, including the prefrontal cortex.

I still have to read Raine's other book on psychopathy, maybe there is more background there.
 

Laura

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nature said:
Well, I probably should read the book first. So do I :) . We have got some basic knowledge but not enough to get the hole picture (mosaic view)
Indeed. Read the ensemble of books as suggested because that particular ensemble is suggested for very specific reasons. Each gives a slightly different angle and take on the issues. Just as when dealing with history we should know the historian, so when reading this type of text, we need to get to know the authors by reading about them and reading their works. In some cases, they provide correctives for each other.
 

Laura

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Re: Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology

Altair said:
Yes, that struck me, too. As far as I undertstood it is the case only for a minority of all psychopaths (successful ones). Functioning properly somatic markers mean better "gut instinct". I may be wrong, of course, but here is the full excerpt:

Now let’s turn back to our unsuccessful psychopaths. They have blunted emotions and lack the appropriate autonomic stress response. We can think of that as reduced somatic markers— a relative disconnection between mind and body. That mind-body dualism, according to Damasio, would result in bad decision-making, and certainly incarcerated offenders make many bad life decisions.

Turning to the successful psychopaths, we see that they show intact autonomic stress reactivity and anticipatory fear. They have a mind-body connectedness that allows for somatic markers to help form good decision-making. That translates into superior executive functioning. And I would argue that that is why successful psychopaths are successful.

Recall that we define success here in terms of not being convicted for an offense. Imagine that the successful psychopath is on the street, contemplating robbing a 7-Eleven store. His brain— consciously and also subconsciously— is processing the scene. He’s consciously checking up and down the street for specific signs of surveillance— but his subconscious is also forming a gestalt of the whole scene and putting it together. He’s about to proceed— but at the last minute he pulls back. There was something about the whole setup that he did not like the look of. He cannot put his finger on it, except that it just did not “feel good.”

A somatic marker warning bell had been rung, warning him that previously in a similar situation he was nearly caught. Perhaps it was the same time of day, the same number of people in the shop, the fact that he had also just had a couple of drinks, or a combination of these visual and somatic cues that triggered the warning bell. The heightened autonomic reactivity is giving him an edge over his unsuccessful psychopathic counterpart who does not hear the somatic warning-bell sound and instead ends up hearing the police siren. So the failed psychopath has reduced autonomic reactivity to cues that signal danger and capture. The successful psychopath has relatively better autonomic functioning and hence is better able to escape detection by the authorities.
Yup. Reading that was a game changer for me. It makes the problem of sussing out the psychopath all that much more difficult. And keep in mind here, he's talking about SUCCESSFUL psychopaths.

Curiously, while reading Ressler's book, Whoever Fights Monsters , I was struck by his accounts of interviews with some killers who were pretty clearly psychopathic, but who described feeling something akin to fear as they committed their first murder. But then, their success at not being caught would make them careless and eventually they did get caught. It's pretty fascinating.
 

Divide by Zero

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Laura said:
There is one thing that comes up repeatedly in Samenow that bears mentioning and that is the danger of dissociating into thinking errors. This comes up again and again in another book I just finished: "Whoever Fights Monsters" by Robert K. Ressler, the famous FBI criminal profiler. It seems that "fantasizing" can be deadly in more ways than we can imagine and highlights the Cs statement that the achilles heel of STS is "Wishful Thinking."

Never before has this been so clear to me, and exactly how it works. So anybody who has problems with dissociation into wishful thinking about ANYTHING should read Samenow and Ressler.

It's not that imagination is the bad thing but it's the "taking of the self into a fantasy world" that is damaging to the psyche. This is also discussed in some detail in Stout's "The Myth of Sanity".

So, after a few of you have these books under your belts, we can discuss that, too.
The idea of a fantasy world sounds like what leads STS into an infinite hierarchy in 4d and opens up people to be servants to this possible "future". The C's said that STS seeks infinite knowledge infinitely for power. It's clear that this goal is not attainable to common sense, but it sure does sound like an addiction. I guess an addiction to knowledge negates the good of it, like if one was addicted to bacon and over ate- they would get sick too!

The fantasy world includes the positive love and light daydreaming that clearly ignores the facts on the ground. I recall that Haffner mentioned how despite the obvious craziness going on with Hitler gaining power, the German people were thinking positive and ignoring the obvious issues.

It seems like this "electronic" world that is becoming so prevalent today reinforces this fantasy world in order to keep people from seeing the facts. The trans humanism movement of being integrated with AI seems to be leading to the dystopia from sci-fi where people retreat into their own worlds, while the outside world crumbles or is controlled by the "enlightened elites".
 

Anthony

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Re: Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology

Laura said:
Altair said:
Yes, that struck me, too. As far as I undertstood it is the case only for a minority of all psychopaths (successful ones). Functioning properly somatic markers mean better "gut instinct". I may be wrong, of course, but here is the full excerpt:

Now let’s turn back to our unsuccessful psychopaths. They have blunted emotions and lack the appropriate autonomic stress response. We can think of that as reduced somatic markers— a relative disconnection between mind and body. That mind-body dualism, according to Damasio, would result in bad decision-making, and certainly incarcerated offenders make many bad life decisions.

Turning to the successful psychopaths, we see that they show intact autonomic stress reactivity and anticipatory fear. They have a mind-body connectedness that allows for somatic markers to help form good decision-making. That translates into superior executive functioning. And I would argue that that is why successful psychopaths are successful.

Recall that we define success here in terms of not being convicted for an offense. Imagine that the successful psychopath is on the street, contemplating robbing a 7-Eleven store. His brain— consciously and also subconsciously— is processing the scene. He’s consciously checking up and down the street for specific signs of surveillance— but his subconscious is also forming a gestalt of the whole scene and putting it together. He’s about to proceed— but at the last minute he pulls back. There was something about the whole setup that he did not like the look of. He cannot put his finger on it, except that it just did not “feel good.”

A somatic marker warning bell had been rung, warning him that previously in a similar situation he was nearly caught. Perhaps it was the same time of day, the same number of people in the shop, the fact that he had also just had a couple of drinks, or a combination of these visual and somatic cues that triggered the warning bell. The heightened autonomic reactivity is giving him an edge over his unsuccessful psychopathic counterpart who does not hear the somatic warning-bell sound and instead ends up hearing the police siren. So the failed psychopath has reduced autonomic reactivity to cues that signal danger and capture. The successful psychopath has relatively better autonomic functioning and hence is better able to escape detection by the authorities.
Yup. Reading that was a game changer for me. It makes the problem of sussing out the psychopath all that much more difficult. And keep in mind here, he's talking about SUCCESSFUL psychopaths.

Curiously, while reading Ressler's book, Whoever Fights Monsters , I was struck by his accounts of interviews with some killers who were pretty clearly psychopathic, but who described feeling something akin to fear as they committed their first murder. But then, their success at not being caught would make them careless and eventually they did get caught. It's pretty fascinating.
Indeed, I used to think that it was a lot simpler, but Raine, Samenow and Fallon show that psychopathy is quite a complex subject as there are differences within the disorder that can involve both nature and nurture.
 

whitecoast

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I'm making my way through Anatomy of Violence and Psychopathy, so I don't have much to contribute specifically about either, other than mentioning that it was interesting how successful psychopaths have more intact executive function and fear conditioning. But did anyone else get goosebumps from reading this?

The central thesis in his landmark book was that “successful” genes are ruthlessly selfish in their struggle for survival, giving rise to selfish individual behavior. In this context,
human and animal bodies are little more than containers, or “survival machines,” for armies of ruthless renegade genes.
These machines plot a merciless campaign of success in the world, where success is defined solely in terms of survival and achieving greater representation in the next gene pool.
That word containers always brings me back to the first C's session:

[quote author= 16 July 1994]Q: (L) Bob Lazar[5] referred to the fact that aliens supposedly refer to humans as containers. What does this mean?
A: Later use.
Q: (L) Use by who? How many:
A: 94 per cent.
Q: (L) 94 per cent of what?
A: Of all population.
Q: (L) What do you mean?
A: All are containers; 94 per cent use.
Q: I don't understand.
A: Will be used. 94 percent.
Q: (L) Used for what? You mean eaten?
A: Total consumption.
Q: (L) What do you mean by consumption? Ingested?
A: Consumed for ingredients.
Q: (L) Why?
A: New race. Important. 13 years about when happens.

{snip}

[5] Bob Lazar is a fellow who claims to have worked at Area 51 on retro-engineering alien space craft that had been captured by the U.S. government. He talks about his experiences in a video presentation that is well worth watching. In this video, he mentions having read a Top Secret-Eyes Only file on the subject of aliens, in which it was said that they repeatedly refer to human beings as "containers." This struck me as extremely curious, and I didn't think that the standard explanation of a body as a "container" for the soul was exactly what was meant. We had been discussing this video while sitting at the board earlier in the evening, so that is why the question was asked[/quote]
 

Laura

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Andromeda said:
Just finished Samenow's Inside the Criminal Mind and this song came to my head. An abridged but accurate and catchy version! :P


https://youtu.be/9CDs067081E
Yup. That song pretty much nails down some of the Thinking Errors that plague not just criminal minds, but the ordinary person's mind.
 

stellar

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Re: Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology

Laura said:
Altair said:
Yes, that struck me, too. As far as I undertstood it is the case only for a minority of all psychopaths (successful ones). Functioning properly somatic markers mean better "gut instinct". I may be wrong, of course, but here is the full excerpt:

Now let’s turn back to our unsuccessful psychopaths. They have blunted emotions and lack the appropriate autonomic stress response. We can think of that as reduced somatic markers— a relative disconnection between mind and body. That mind-body dualism, according to Damasio, would result in bad decision-making, and certainly incarcerated offenders make many bad life decisions.

Turning to the successful psychopaths, we see that they show intact autonomic stress reactivity and anticipatory fear. They have a mind-body connectedness that allows for somatic markers to help form good decision-making. That translates into superior executive functioning. And I would argue that that is why successful psychopaths are successful.

Recall that we define success here in terms of not being convicted for an offense. Imagine that the successful psychopath is on the street, contemplating robbing a 7-Eleven store. His brain— consciously and also subconsciously— is processing the scene. He’s consciously checking up and down the street for specific signs of surveillance— but his subconscious is also forming a gestalt of the whole scene and putting it together. He’s about to proceed— but at the last minute he pulls back. There was something about the whole setup that he did not like the look of. He cannot put his finger on it, except that it just did not “feel good.”

A somatic marker warning bell had been rung, warning him that previously in a similar situation he was nearly caught. Perhaps it was the same time of day, the same number of people in the shop, the fact that he had also just had a couple of drinks, or a combination of these visual and somatic cues that triggered the warning bell. The heightened autonomic reactivity is giving him an edge over his unsuccessful psychopathic counterpart who does not hear the somatic warning-bell sound and instead ends up hearing the police siren. So the failed psychopath has reduced autonomic reactivity to cues that signal danger and capture. The successful psychopath has relatively better autonomic functioning and hence is better able to escape detection by the authorities.
Yup. Reading that was a game changer for me. It makes the problem of sussing out the psychopath all that much more difficult. And keep in mind here, he's talking about SUCCESSFUL psychopaths.

Curiously, while reading Ressler's book, Whoever Fights Monsters , I was struck by his accounts of interviews with some killers who were pretty clearly psychopathic, but who described feeling something akin to fear as they committed their first murder. But then, their success at not being caught would make them careless and eventually they did get caught. It's pretty fascinating.
It also strikes me that information and knowledge equally seems to protect the psychopaths in the sense of not getting caught out. That's when what they 'do' with that knowledge needs to come under scrutiny to be able to recognise them by the fruit of their deeds. Makes me question how they got to where they are, what motivated them, how they are utilising that success, what kind of trail did they leave behind them in forms of impressions/affects on others. I think they are hugely underestimated which points to a lack of knowledge and information about them in society which seems deliberate.
 

stellar

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Divide By Zero said:
Laura said:
There is one thing that comes up repeatedly in Samenow that bears mentioning and that is the danger of dissociating into thinking errors. This comes up again and again in another book I just finished: "Whoever Fights Monsters" by Robert K. Ressler, the famous FBI criminal profiler. It seems that "fantasizing" can be deadly in more ways than we can imagine and highlights the Cs statement that the achilles heel of STS is "Wishful Thinking."

Never before has this been so clear to me, and exactly how it works. So anybody who has problems with dissociation into wishful thinking about ANYTHING should read Samenow and Ressler.

It's not that imagination is the bad thing but it's the "taking of the self into a fantasy world" that is damaging to the psyche. This is also discussed in some detail in Stout's "The Myth of Sanity".

So, after a few of you have these books under your belts, we can discuss that, too.
The idea of a fantasy world sounds like what leads STS into an infinite hierarchy in 4d and opens up people to be servants to this possible "future". The C's said that STS seeks infinite knowledge infinitely for power. It's clear that this goal is not attainable to common sense, but it sure does sound like an addiction. I guess an addiction to knowledge negates the good of it, like if one was addicted to bacon and over ate- they would get sick too!

The fantasy world includes the positive love and light daydreaming that clearly ignores the facts on the ground. I recall that Haffner mentioned how despite the obvious craziness going on with Hitler gaining power, the German people were thinking positive and ignoring the obvious issues.

It seems like this "electronic" world that is becoming so prevalent today reinforces this fantasy world in order to keep people from seeing the facts. The trans humanism movement of being integrated with AI seems to be leading to the dystopia from sci-fi where people retreat into their own worlds, while the outside world crumbles or is controlled by the "enlightened elites".
The scary part for me is that in some 4D reality they do succeed in this imagined future and the majority of people become 'servants' but I sense that such a reality would be limited anyway by default of cosmic balance and a 'natural' rebalancing would take place. Not sure I'd like to experience the lesson of that reality but then maybe I have/am/will and that's why it seems so unattractive.
 

whitecoast

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This is just a copy-paste of the neurocriminology reading list Laura provided in the Collingwood thread on Speculum Mentis and Idea of History, since I thought the list should go here as well.

Laura said:
Raine: The Anatomy of Violence
Samenow: Inside the Criminal Mind
Samenow: The Myth of the Out of Character Crime
Ressler: Whoever Fights Monsters
Fallon: The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain
Waite: The Psychopathic God: Adolph Hitler


The Raine and Fallon books are more about the architecture of the brain and where and how stuff goes wrong. Of course, Fallon gives you a bit of an insider view of his own thinking processes which mesh well with what Samenow and Ressler describe. This "fly on the wall" perspective on his mental processes is fascinating even if you know - and he tells you plainly - that he is not revealing everything.

Samenow and Ressler don't give a hoot about the mechanics of the brain in technical terms; they are interested in its output. They don't even care about emotions; they are only concerned with thinking processes. As they point out, it is thoughts that trigger emotions and many - if not most - people operate with serious thinking errors. In many cases, these thinking errors grow and develop over time. That's the scary part.

These "thinking errors", from our perspective, are pretty much just "wishful thinking" and serious dissociating into fantasy. On this, "The Myth of the Out of Character Crime" is the clearest exposition. He uses his notes from interviews to illustrate actual case histories.

There is the same thread of "thinking errors" highlighted in Ressler's book about FBI profiling. In this book, the crimes are a LOT worse than the ones that Samenow writes about. But the same basic cause is highlighted: wishful thinking and dissociation, i.e. thinking errors; the person comes to prefer or believe their fantasies over reality.

Waite is writing about not just the psychology of Adolf Hitler, but the psychology of a nation. He sort of brings all the things together that you will have picked up from Collingwood down through Samenow, and it is excellent background for the "Hyperdimensional Politics" thread.

Carr's book "What is History", could also be added to the list. It's not a weighty tome, but it is packed with insights and clarifies some things beyond Collingwood.

Going back to Fallon, he concludes at the end of his account of his life that he isn't really a psychopath, but rather has bi-polar disorder. You may or may not agree with him. I'm still not convinced.

Waite concludes at the end of the Hitler book that he thinks Hitler had borderline personality disorder. I'm not sure I agree with that, either. And I think that, with the Raine, Samenow, and Ressler books one might be better equipped to offer an opinion on that. As Samenow says, again and again, it's not the emotions being expressed that make the difference, it is the THOUGHTS that generate the emotions that matter. And, of course, we now have a lot better idea of thoughts and thinking thanks to Collingwood.

I would say that, after finishing this series of readings, many of you will be well equipped to understand a LOT of what is going on around, and better able to spot what is historically important in the present day, and what is not. What is more, I think that the frontal cortex efforts that are made to comprehend and connect these things will do some great things for your brain transceivers!
 

fabric

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Laura said:
Yup. That song pretty much nails down some of the Thinking Errors that plague not just criminal minds, but the ordinary person's mind.
I’m about halfway through the book and this passage really highlighted the kind of thinking that seems at first so benign but is plagued with thinking errors, as Laura says, not just for the criminal but for anyone:

[quote author=Samenow]Consider the likelihood of frustration and disappointment if you lived with the following expectations. Driving to work, fellow motorists should give way and allow you to move at your own pace. Arriving at work, everyone should be delighted to see you, and throughout the day your colleagues, customers, and supervisor should be agreeable. Going out to lunch, you should be seated immediately and enjoy great food and fast service. Returning to work, the remainder of the day should proceed without conflict. After work, if you arrive at the service station to pick up your car, dropped off earlier that day, it should be ready to drive home with a reasonable price assessed for repairs. Upon arriving home, your spouse should be in a cheerful mood with a great meal on the table, and after dinner your children should remain quietly occupied, allowing you to recline in an easy chair and watch television uninterrupted. Whatever you ask of family members, they should accommodate you. This scenario reflects how many criminals think. Their self-image rises and falls based upon whether others meet their expectations.[/quote]

I’m mean sure, who wouldn’t like to have a day like that but expecting everyday to be like that? I’ll admit I’m guilty of having the same thoughts every now and then but it doesn’t take into account that when you interact with others, things aren’t just gonna always go your way! It does look so far that the underlying theme is that of entitlement combined with wishful thinking. In the examples he gives throughout the book, they are so disconnected with reality it kind of blows you away (like the guy who wanted to run his own company but didn’t want to work a day in his life to get it). When looked at on a degree of scale, it’s very applicable to the non-criminal. One thing that came to mind is the SJW/millennial group seem to embody this thinking in all they do. While they are not criminals in the strict sense, their sense of entitlement and narcissism, combined with their “victimhood” are a recipe for enabling the kind of aggression we are seeing today. It’s not a far jump now for that aggression to become violent.

One thing that he also repeats throughout is that most of these criminals were already ‘like that’ before they did their crimes, but when they get caught they blame it on society, drugs and/or anything else external to them. Basically nothing is their fault cause they think nothing's wrong with them! However that also goes for the normal person. I also think there’s a grey area where most people who wouldn’t normally do criminal things end up doing them, and those thinking errors are what led them to do it. So you don't necessarily need to be predisposed to it. And that's what I think makes it so dangerous, since it can override any moral or logical reasoning unless we get a handle on it. An extreme example would be what happened in Nazi Germany. Although there are several factors, this would be something underlying them and our controllers know that and use it to achieve their goals. I think we are seeing a similar thing unfolding with all the gender/social justice/harassment stuff going on at the moment and the hysteria surrounding it.
 

Renaissance

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Samenow's book opens the doors to looking at our programming and 'struggles' in a specifically focused light. While there are many elements that have been discussed here before, I think the work structures things in such a way that leaves no wiggle room for lies. That said, the book can still be read in two different ways. It can be read as applying to criminals only and you can check off how this or that thinking error doesn't apply to you. If there are deep seated programs and issues that you live with, this method of reading can be a thinking error in itself, in part coming from the maintenance of a self-image as a good and decent person. Admittedly, that is how I started the book. Samenow remarks in the preface of the book how this is a major barrier to change:

"No matter how much physical, financial, or emotional damage he causes, the criminal believes he is a good person. Maudlin sentiment can savage brutality reside side-by-side within the same individual. "I can change from tears to ice and back again," commented one violent predator. It is important to understand how a criminal fortifies his good opinion of himself so that he can do a kind of deed for someone and then, shortly thereafter, wreak havoc. The criminal's view of himself as a decent person constitutes a major barrier to change."
In my opinion, the game-changing aspect of this book in application to the work is how it highlights thinking errors among the extremes and how those same seeds exist within many people who are 'damaged' in one way or another. The description of the 'damaged individual' doesn't really work here because these thinking errors are what cause damage. A better term is 'damaging individual'. Reading in terms of the extreme result is very helpful to see what these thinking errors are aligned with and how the progression builds. In essence, it is an arm of ponerology and identifies how narcissistic programming is rooted in power and control rather than wounds and victimhood. Many people may have been a victim of some type at some point or another. But out of those people, not everyone turns out the same and it would seem that for some people it really doesn't take much or perhaps any outside influence at all for them to seek control and power. 'Coping mechanisms' (fantasy, dissociation, addiction, etc.) so often used as an excuse for damaging people are not used to escape pain or conflict. They are used purely to exert and feel control and power. First it is through fantasy/dissociation and then through actually causing damage leading to greater and greater extremes.

Samenow makes a solid case early on that we simply don't know what the causes of the 'criminal mind' are, and most of the theories built on figuring out why just end up supporting the continuation of such behavior and thinking. Many of those theories identify the damaging individual as the victim, and that is exactly how the damaging person will also identify himself after committing a damaging act. The damaging person may very well feel shame after such an act, but this shame is rooted in the shallow victimhood which continues to drive the thinking error. This thinking error actually provides the damaging person with an excuse for greater power and control which continues the cycle. That might say something about those who have created such theories because in essence this idea preys on people's good natures. It seems power, control, and deception are major drivers of thinking errors, along with fantasy and the delusional image of self within the fantasy.

I'm close to being finished with Samenow's book. The content and ideas of Samenow's work are not complex, but the application is disturbing and in that respect it is one of the difficult books I've read. That said, I think there's some major potential here for unlocking programs that have seemed inaccessible.
 

Laura

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Thank you, Renaissance! That is exactly the perspective that is the desired effect of reading these books! There is so much in there that is applicable and helpful to everyone. And one of the major take-home messages is that dissociation and addiction to ANYTHING is not about being a victim, it's about power and control. Understanding that, naming it, is the first step to dealing with it. Once you understand that, if you want to continue to think you are a good person, you have to eliminate those behaviors. They are harmful and unsavory for very different reasons than system 2 has rationalized them to be.
 

luc

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Renaissance said:
I'm close to being finished with Samenow's book. The content and ideas of Samenow's work are not complex, but the application is disturbing and in that respect it is one of the difficult books I've read. That said, I think there's some major potential here for unlocking programs that have seemed inaccessible.
I'm currently reading Raine's book (still at the beginning), and I feel the same about him - after Collingwood, at first I thought it will be an easy read, but while it's not very demanding intellectually, there is something deeply disturbing about these topics. Notably, I sense a direct connection between my own shortcomings, my own automatic behavior that may be damaging to others if I'm not aware enough all the time, and the murderous, psychopathic cases discussed in the book. It's really horrific to think about it that way, but there it is - it's the same thing. It's the dark path that lurks behind every little act that we commit if we don't pay strict attention and that we then rationalize away. I guess we need to face this horror, and these books seem to facilitate that greatly.
 
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