"The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout

Re: "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout

I started reading this book two days ago, and find it difficult to put it down. It is making quite a bit of sense, and encouraging my understanding of dissociative states. Her examples make the psychology very understandable and approachable. When "The Myth of Sanity" is finished, I have "The Sociopath Next Door" to look forward to.

The more of the recommended reading that I do, I can see how the concepts are connected, and these books are making a clearer picture(for me) of what is discussed on the forum. I can understand how "The Myth of Sanity" explains/connects to parts of "In Search of the Miraculous", which I am also reading right now. I found it interesting that they would be similiar or helpful to my understanding reading both, as I wasn't expecting them to relate to one another. The "many I's" and "programs" of Gurdjieff , with Martha Stout's "dissociative states", and the thread Buffers, Programs and "the Predator's Mind
(http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=6419.0) , are helpful and motivating. I realize I may have a bit of work and effort ahead of me.
 

genero81

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Re: "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout

I made the decision not long ago (a month or so) to re-read the 4 psychology books. And it it just so happens that I am on the third book, Myth of Sanity. I am about half way through. I have been wanting to share this with you all because it has been absolutely amazing this time to read them. The psychological insights are in abundance. I'm in awe of all three authors. And yes, I see the correlation of Myth with G. But I am also reading Horns of Moses (65% done) and Through a Glass Darkly (32%) I switch between the three. I love it! Learning is most definitely fun.
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
Re: "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout

genero81 said:
I made the decision not long ago (a month or so) to re-read the 4 psychology books. And it it just so happens that I am on the third book, Myth of Sanity. I am about half way through. I have been wanting to share this with you all because it has been absolutely amazing this time to read them. The psychological insights are in abundance. I'm in awe of all three authors. And yes, I see the correlation of Myth with G. But I am also reading Horns of Moses (65% done) and Through a Glass Darkly (32%) I switch between the three. I love it! Learning is most definitely fun.

That's great - I think most, if not all, of the psychology books are best read several times because as we change and learn, we grasp different things - and forgetting is all too easy - so reminders are really important.
 

Zadius Sky

The Living Force
Re: "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout

genero81 said:
I made the decision not long ago (a month or so) to re-read the 4 psychology books. And it it just so happens that I am on the third book, Myth of Sanity. I am about half way through. I have been wanting to share this with you all because it has been absolutely amazing this time to read them. The psychological insights are in abundance. I'm in awe of all three authors. And yes, I see the correlation of Myth with G. But I am also reading Horns of Moses (65% done) and Through a Glass Darkly (32%) I switch between the three. I love it! Learning is most definitely fun.

Fantastic! Likewise, I have chosen to re-read all the psychology books and gaining new insights from each reading that I've missed the previous times around (I'm on Trapped in the Mirror now).

:)
 

genero81

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Re: "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout

anart said:
genero81 said:
I made the decision not long ago (a month or so) to re-read the 4 psychology books. And it it just so happens that I am on the third book, Myth of Sanity. I am about half way through. I have been wanting to share this with you all because it has been absolutely amazing this time to read them. The psychological insights are in abundance. I'm in awe of all three authors. And yes, I see the correlation of Myth with G. But I am also reading Horns of Moses (65% done) and Through a Glass Darkly (32%) I switch between the three. I love it! Learning is most definitely fun.

That's great - I think most, if not all, of the psychology books are best read several times because as we change and learn, we grasp different things - and forgetting is all too easy - so reminders are really important.

I have no doubt that if I read them again, I would get more out of them. For some reason I just love Unholy Hungers. It was my favorite the first time too. I think it's pure genius. My least favorite is the last, The Narcissistic Family. I've read the first have twice and failed to finish it both times. I will make myself read all the way through this time. Maybe I will see it differently.
 

SMM

The Living Force
Re: "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout

SovereignDove said:
The more of the recommended reading that I do, I can see how the concepts are connected, and these books are making a clearer picture(for me) of what is discussed on the forum. I can understand how "The Myth of Sanity" explains/connects to parts of "In Search of the Miraculous", which I am also reading right now. I found it interesting that they would be similiar or helpful to my understanding reading both, as I wasn't expecting them to relate to one another. The "many I's" and "programs" of Gurdjieff , with Martha Stout's "dissociative states", and the thread Buffers, Programs and "the Predator's Mind
(http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=6419.0) , are helpful and motivating. I realize I may have a bit of work and effort ahead of me.

The recommended reading has the same effect on me. The glossary has been very helpful too. I finished Myth of Sanity last night for the first time, what a delightful book! It did motivate me to re-read certain parts of ISOTM because the comparisons are uncanny. Surprised I didn't read Myth of Sanity before, if anything before ISOTM.. Martha Stout's explains the concepts so explicitly.

This book came to me at a strangely appropriate time. Her words invoked reflection; a lot of work ahead of me.
The "Dr. Colin Ross Interview" SOTT Talk show was really timely too ;)

Working through Trapped in the Mirror, which goes well with the thread Negative Introject (http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=6989) & Castaneda's concepts osit, then In Sheep's Clothing & The Sociopath Next Door. The Narcissistic Family reminds me of some articles read a few years back on narcissistic/borderline personality disorders, think I may have to re-read somewhat.
 

Mal7

Dagobah Resident
I finished reading Martha Stout’s “The Myth of Sanity” today.

Recently I stayed 12 nights in a college dorm in Colorado while attending a seminar. The first 4 nights, I was the only person staying in the entire dorm, so it was somewhat like being the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in the Stephen King movie/novel “The Shining”.

The first night in particular, being uncertain of the general safety of the neighbourhood, I had a high level of fear, which I think led to something like a dissociative state. This was after 17 hours or so of travel time on plane and bus, arriving at night in a foreign country, and being dropped off at the Dorm by College Security who waited around to see I got safely inside the building, as when they dropped me off there was a man of uncertain disposition wandering around the dorm carpark, enquiring of Security what the building was and whether he could stay there.

What I remember experiencing is a distinct uncomfortable mental state, which I think was something caused by the fear I was feeling. It was not exactly nausea, or dizziniess, or feeling “spaced-out”, but, like those feelings, it was an uncomfortable and distinct non-ordinary state, like I was losing my mind. It was a similar feeling to what I had felt two or three times before on waking up from an anxiety-like bad dream. If there had been a 24 hour medical clinic nearby, I think on that first night I probably would have wandered in and said “Help me, I am going insane!”(Luckily there wasn’t. :) )

So anyway I made it through the first night, doing some pipe breathing, and clutching a pocket knife in my hand as I fell asleep. So I related to the stories in Stout’s book about people hiding knives in their shoes. As a self-protective mechanism, though I normally wouldn’t hurt a fly, I think fear caused me to become someone who was perfectly capable of defending themselves with a knife if necessary.

The next few nights were not so bad. The following day I checked my windows to see if they could be fully opened to provide an alternative exit from my room, asked at the College when other people would be coming as it was “a bit scary” being there on my own, and got my laptop internet set up.

Of course when the other attendees turned up a few days later, everything was just fine. I think this shows, for myself anyway, that we are sociable beings, who like to know where we fit in with other people in our social environment, and being uprooted from one society and arriving in another where we have no roots can be unsettling.
 

Keit

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Mal7 said:
Of course when the other attendees turned up a few days later, everything was just fine. I think this shows, for myself anyway, that we are sociable beings, who like to know where we fit in with other people in our social environment, and being uprooted from one society and arriving in another where we have no roots can be unsettling.

I can relate to what you wrote, because I had a somewhat similar experience when I stayed almost alone in the dormitories during my first winter recess. It appears that there is something very unsettling in living alone in a large building with lot of empty rooms and dark corridors (especially when you are still adapting to a new environment) :scared: :) Because I am sure there wouldn't be the same level of discomfort if it was a small house. And yes, even if just knowing that there are people nearby helps.
 

SMM

The Living Force
Keit said:
Mal7 said:
Of course when the other attendees turned up a few days later, everything was just fine. I think this shows, for myself anyway, that we are sociable beings, who like to know where we fit in with other people in our social environment, and being uprooted from one society and arriving in another where we have no roots can be unsettling.

I can relate to what you wrote, because I had a somewhat similar experience when I stayed almost alone in the dormitories during my first winter recess. It appears that there is something very unsettling in living alone in a large building with lot of empty rooms and dark corridors (especially when you are still adapting to a new environment) :scared: :) Because I am sure there wouldn't be the same level of discomfort if it was a small house. And yes, even if just knowing that there are people nearby helps.

I agree - wanted to add people nearby we feel comfortable with, who don't further set us right up & out into a dissociative state osit.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
SMM said:
I agree - wanted to add people nearby we feel comfortable with, who don't further set us right up & out into a dissociative state osit.

If some person causes us to dissociate, does it have more to do with us or the other person? One of the things Martha Stout emphasizes in "Myth of Sanity" is to take responsibility for our own healing. That imo would include seeking a qualified therapist's help to sort things out and help us find the answer to the question in the first sentence. It is easy to fall into "magical thinking" providing special significance to other people if we try to figure it all out in our head - osit.
 

SMM

The Living Force
obyvatel said:
SMM said:
I agree - wanted to add people nearby we feel comfortable with, who don't further set us right up & out into a dissociative state osit.

If some person causes us to dissociate, does it have more to do with us or the other person? One of the things Martha Stout emphasizes in "Myth of Sanity" is to take responsibility for our own healing. That imo would include seeking a qualified therapist's help to sort things out and help us find the answer to the question in the first sentence. It is easy to fall into "magical thinking" providing special significance to other people if we try to figure it all out in our head - osit.

It has more to do with us.
& we are responsible for our own healing - in case what was written above sounds like shifting blame onto the other, it's not what was intended. Talking openly to others can help re-engage socially.
 

Mackenzie Farm

The Force is Strong With This One
SMM said:
SovereignDove said:
The more of the recommended reading that I do, I can see how the concepts are connected, and these books are making a clearer picture(for me) of what is discussed on the forum. I can understand how "The Myth of Sanity" explains/connects to parts of "In Search of the Miraculous", which I am also reading right now. I found it interesting that they would be similiar or helpful to my understanding reading both, as I wasn't expecting them to relate to one another. The "many I's" and "programs" of Gurdjieff , with Martha Stout's "dissociative states", and the thread Buffers, Programs and "the Predator's Mind
(http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=6419.0) , are helpful and motivating. I realize I may have a bit of work and effort ahead of me.

The recommended reading has the same effect on me. The glossary has been very helpful too. I finished Myth of Sanity last night for the first time, what a delightful book! It did motivate me to re-read certain parts of ISOTM because the comparisons are uncanny. Surprised I didn't read Myth of Sanity before, if anything before ISOTM.. Martha Stout's explains the concepts so explicitly.

This book came to me at a strangely appropriate time. Her words invoked reflection; a lot of work ahead of me.
The "Dr. Colin Ross Interview" SOTT Talk show was really timely too ;)

Working through Trapped in the Mirror, which goes well with the thread Negative Introject (http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=6989) & Castaneda's concepts osit, then In Sheep's Clothing & The Sociopath Next Door. The Narcissistic Family reminds me of some articles read a few years back on narcissistic/borderline personality disorders, think I may have to re-read somewhat.

I've just finished to read The Mith of Sanity and I too noted the connections of this book with Ouspensky's ISOTM and Gurdjieff concepts that I've read before. I've to say I've always sort of avoided the " Narcisism Big Five " of the recommended books list in favor of other section of the list like neuroscience, cognitive science, hidden history, forth way. This was a mistake, I didn't know the meaning of dissociation and a lot of other things discussed in the book and so discovered I too dissociate from time to time.

During reading I remembered some occasion when I did it, like when I'm embarrassed but also when I'm reading or doing something that really interest me. I remember some years ago returning home from university I was mentally revising all the thermodynamic notions for the physics exam I would have to sustain the next day, and simply found myself home but I've no memory of the journey :scared:.

I've really loved this book where the reader is encouraged to take action and be responsible for himself, why books like this can't enter in the schools for lectures and discussions, I think many difficult and suffering would find answers and relief but I think this could be called daydreaming :(.
 

André De Carvalho

The Force is Strong With This One
Hello all,

I've just finished reading Stout's book and it was allarmingly clarifying in many ways. I've come face to face with quite a few examples of the book, without having any idea of the dissociation in process, probably like many here.

I've had many traumas in my life from when I was a kid, have been through abuses of violence of an angry father that would beat me and my brother up out of rage attacks, and I was also beaten up in my school because I was the smaller and weacker, phsically speaking, i my class.

My Father, just like Stout says on the book, was also the product of a violent childhood, having grown up with violence since very early from his own father. So the chain went on.
My mother, in face of these hard reality, would stay quietly in fear, and in wasn't rare to see her talking to herself in a clear dissociative state of mind. She also gained something around 10 pounds.
Our religious background would alow her to divorce, as it was a sin.
I myself got this habit of talking to myself like my mom, and became very timid and insecure, and some people started joking me, saying I was an autist. I liked very much staying alone, and I remember feeling the same crushing fear everytime my father was coming home from work.

He wasn't always mad, he was some times loving and patient, but sometimes he would just turn out to become sothing else, it didn't even look too human sometimes, and in other moments, he would just act like he was a baby.
My brother, who is older then me, would suffer more then I did, and when my father died, a part of him took over my brother, and he started reacting in the same furious ways in many moments. Alcohol and drugs came right after that.
He is a lot better now, have quited drugs, and I have never heard of any rage attacks no longer, but that took a while to leave him.
My mother is altogheter a different person now too, completly independant and definetly stronger.

I've also seen similarities in some of Stout's story with my wife. She have been abondoned in the streets, late at night, by her father more then once while she was very young, and when he left the house, she was the one that had to work to provide for her mother and her younger brothers. She's got a lot of sense of responsability thanks to that, but also some sense of being persecuted for no reason.
She will sometimes become very quiet, and even spend weeks witout speaking a single word, it feels like she is 'empty' when it happens. Needless to say that it makes me mad...I have no idea of what to do or how to act. Makes me feel like I'm invisible.
She has been pretty better now, after realizing that our relationship would simply colapse if things kept going, but she still have her moments, and I guess it's not an easy thing to overcome. Even my own dissociative behaviors are not completly gone.

There's also the case of my neighbours, who reminded me very much the 'Mathew' character from the book. They are a couple that keep fighting all the time, and it's simply discusting just to hear. They shout out very loud horrible names to each other, no respect for themselves, and they have this small kid, listening to everything all the time...I wonder what will happen to him, if he is gonna turn into to 'Mathew'. How can people actually live like that? Don't they ever get tired of it? I guess they don't want to live, just surviving is good enough.

There are many other cases, I could spend hours talking about it, and I know many of you have seen and lived similar things.

But apart from that, the most interesting part, for me, was when Martha explains the importance of self responsability in someone's healing process, and it made me think about the STO x STS issue, and how it relates to a dynamic between control over self x control over others.
It seems that people that do not wish to take responsability for their actions tend to throw it in other peoples laps. So, by trying to control, or influence power over others, they end up losing control over themselves, while people that want to assume their own responsabilities, do not wish to control other people, therefore gaining more control and power over themselves.

The book also made me think about a lot of movies i've watched, like 'Vals Im Bashir', where the main character suffers from a lost of memory of a particularly traumatic conflict, 'Rambo' (many are loughing now!) that is mainly about a guy that comes back home from war and can't seem to fit reality anymore, so ends up triggering a bunch of violent situations related to past traumas, 'Falling Down', which is the story of an ordinary man, that in a very stressful day, becomes a dangerous criminal, and even 'Twin Peaks', whose main character is abused by a father that aparently becomes 'someone else' during the nights (or even something else, as the show was kind of paranormal)

Thank you for the wonderful list of to-read books, and for such a decent learning space that is this forum. Not an easy thing to find in this world.


André
 

Meechel17

Jedi
FOTCM Member
I recently purchased this book and it's sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read. After reading this thread, I'm excited to start reading it. I read her other book "The Sociopath Next Door " and found it wonderful as well. Very informative and enlightening.
 
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