Une perception

To amuse myself while sick, I took a personality test. I am 70% extroverted, compared to most women who are 67% extroverted and most men who are 51% extroverted.

I am also 45% “emotional” (I think they mean something more like histrionic – they say “emotional” means “reactive to emotions and mood swings”). Most men are 74% emotional, and most women are 76% emotional.

I have a very balanced way of dealing with emotions, says the test, and my significant variance from the norm is part of my signature, a “guiding part of [my] personality,” they say.

It was this Zen balance that Reeducation considered to be a sign that I could not “feel my feelings” or perhaps did not have feelings.

I have tried to be more histrionic since then and it has been rather exhausting. At the same time, it seems not to have affected me, since this test says I’m so Zen.

Axé.

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32 responses to “Une perception

  1. my current tests (see my blog) are giving me some misreadings. In a sense, these are not misreadings at all, but I am a little bent out of shape through excessive study, and I realise that I’ve attained a certain temporary adaptation, which isn’t really how I am. I am, for instance, not really an introvert, but a moderate extravert. Also, I am very oriented towards language and expression, but at the moment seem much more concerned with logic, linguistics and how systems limit or facilitate communication. I’m more interested in this than whether I am expressing something well in any particular instance. This current shape of me represents a deadly seriousness that isn’t really who I am. I need to loosen up more.

  2. That definition of emotional — the pejorative interpretation — is very mind-body dualistic. The hidden logic of this is that emotions that are repressed become poison. So “emotional”– in Western culture — has attracted a negative connotation, which we would all do well to be aware of. Emotions, however, are objectively just a part of the human make-up. Also, as you have pointed out, there is a seeking after emotions, in this mind-body dualistic culture. There is a hunger for ‘the passions’. But that, too, relates to being starved of emotion, starved of passion.

  3. People also confuse impulse with passion … and so on.

  4. Impulse can be a way of freeing the emotions when they get trapped — such trapping is very common in mind-body dualistic culture. Sparring, for instance, teaches you to react upon impulse — TRAINED impulse. When my mind feels unfree, I go sparring. Untrained impulses are less pleasant to behold, though, especially anti-authoritarian impulses, for the sake of being impulsive.

    But I think so much is linked to the mind-body dualism. The systemically entrenched nature of this approach/perspective makes it necessary to go along with the programme, by repressing a great deal of one’s personality. Otherwise, others find a way to attach aspects of their poisoned (because long-term repressed) unconscious to you, and they will drag you down. “Thou shalt not relate” is therefore the main principle for maintaining peace of mind and psychological hygeine. But this, in turn, leads to emotional/spiritual starvation.

    Today is the boxing day holiday (since boxing day – the day after Christmas — was on the weekend). The gym does not open for about another week.

  5. More on a general note, people also confuse:

    1. lizard brain operations

    2. perception (actual awareness) of lizard brain operations

    with “emotion” in its pejorative sense.

    This is also a result of confused thinking based on the idea of the mind-body dichotomy (whereby the body is wrongly assumed to be aligned with “emotion”).

    Actually, pure lizard brain operations are rather bleached of emotional content. There can be a red hot rage, but somehow in the pure lizard brain consciousness it seems more akin to frozen 80 degrees below centigrade rage. Survival mentality, in its purest manifestations decouples itself from the other parts of the mind — not JUST higher thinking, but also emotions and emotionalism. But often there are no emotions involved in lizard brain thinking; just unconscious processing of awareness concerning power relationships and how one is oriented towards them, in one’s immediate environment. Cognitive dissonance is directly linked to lizard brain processing, since one will rarely permit to enter consciousness that which — should it enter there — would put one at odds with the powers that be, and thus directly threaten one’s survival. But there is no consciousness of emotion regarding this type of processing, and it would be logical to say that mammalian emotions are not directly important, in terms of making these kinds of calculations.

    • Well, I’ve got the red hot rage and the cognitive dissonance, and my core issue as I have said before is the fatal danger of going against the authorities so I can exist (where you can’t win: if you exist they’ll kill one, so to avoid that one must exist less, which displeases oneself and everyone else). So I believe you, the lizard brain is about power relationships.

      • I had it once, really badly, but it was cold rage. That was when I joined the military. And really, when you are suffering from cold rage, you are externally very calm. You are so preoccupied with power and power relationships that there is no room for any kind of emotion.

  6. I mean the mammalian brain is “emotional” because it has to do with nurturing. That is the raison d’être of its emotionality. But issues concerning power relationships may or may not be processed on a directly emotional level. Most often they are not, and most often the processing occurs unconsciously.

    So therapy that orients itself towards repressed “emotions” will be at best superficial or arbitrary. Real therapy goes all the way to the deepest level of the brain, which I have argued is concerned with power relationships, and processing them. At this level of depth, there is no association with gender. Gender only appears at the mammalian level of consciousness.

  7. Hmm — well I don’t have cold rage, I have it unhinged and hot. I don’t seem to have repressed emotions, though, although I would say I have had trouble naming them and also letting them be my guide in a purposeful way.

  8. Hmm… my rage as hot for several months, and then one day it suddenly turned cold. It was very strange. I felt like I’d moved into the calm in the middle of the storm; my awareness concerning everything around me (particularly power dynamics that I hadn’t noticed before) was heightened. My reflexes seemed much more sharp, because it was as if I could see the fractions of seconds in which time took place in an actual concrete way, rather than observing “meaningful moments” (“meaningful” in the sense of being mediated by higher parts of the mind). Somehow the shift had transformed me into a fighting machine. I no longer wore any part of my personality on my sleeve. Everything I did became strategic. I remember walking across the road to work in this state of heightened awareness/calmness when an old Greek lady crossing the road ahead of me began to trip and fall. I incresed my pace and caught her by the elbow when whe had barely touched the ground.

    This is as pure as lizard brain can be.

    You could consider going in that direction if you wanted to separate your emotions from your will to live. There is a kind of purification that takes place when you allow this to happen. At the same time, it’s not a long term solution — not to have emotions is impoverishing. You would have to put yourself in a situation where you can invite them back again — and some may be reluctant to return after so long a leave.

    • I don’t know, my red hot rage is at boundary invasions and if I can get cold on those (if I can identify them clearly enough soon enough to go cold, or be confident enough that the red rage is justified so I can take control over it and turn it cold), it could be a good weapon and not take away other emotions.

      • That is another aspect of becoming shamanised. Basically, you are pushed over the edge. But once that has happened once, (and that takes a lot of doing because going ‘beyond anger’ is like going beyond the sound barrier), the next times take no effort at all. But then you are truly in war mode, and out of synch with the way everybody else is. You feel incredulous at their blindness and innocence, when you see everything through Terminator computer imagery. You are not on the same wave length anymore — a problem in itself, if you want to feel like you belong.

  9. Anyway, my comment’s in moderation, again…

    I think that you would have trouble allowing feelings to guide you (I would prefer to refer to these as “visceral sensations”, but probably because my feelings are always cool…) if your unresolved issues are at the level of power.

    My experience has taught me that one must grab this nettle by the thorns to get any reprieve — and even then the reprieve is only internal and irregular, due to the rest of the world remaining as it is. One must realise that one is opposed to the way things are in total, and that one is a revolutionary. This gives internal peace, in many ways, but one also needs to take genuine holidays, or a perpetual state of war can wear you down.

  10. I am a revolutionary, but don’t think I should be, there is the thing! ;-)

  11. Also true — esp. given that this is a Sandinista blog and is named after Eden Pastora — http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/446051/Eden-Pastora-Gomez — nom de guerre “Commandant Zero” — I don’t necessarily agree with him but I do like his name and one cannot deny he is interesting and revolutionary. Wikipedia reports he now has a shark fishing business, which I did not know. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed%C3%A9n_Pastora

    I think all these warriors have the cold rage, it is what makes them unafraid. I know they go on vacations and are aware that they need them.

  12. I will read those texts once I am more fully awake. In actual fact, the “cold rage” tends to firm into a state of mind, and is no longer exactly rage, but rather a condition of consciousness that had been formed by the absolute certainty that one is absolutely right, with regard to what is just and what is unjust. The earlier initiation into “cold rage” tears away anything that is superficial, frivolous or non-essential to promoting justice both inside and outside of the subject’s psyche. It is a state of mind of absolute equilibrium and even-handedness in judging right from wrong. Also, it is beguilingly uncontentious — it can be underestimated by being seen as not participating, and not contending for its rights. In fact, the opposite is true — it is a state of mind that demands the absolute — all of its rights, as has been already decided. Community participation is relativised in relation to this stance of absolute inner rectitude. It may happen or it may not, but only ever in one’s own time.

    Cold rage.

  13. Interesting. I sometimes envy people who are or seem to be like that, and sometimes I find them insufferably egotistical — or perhaps there are two types.

  14. There might be many types, but this way of being is definitively non-egotistical. To operate from the perspectives of ego leads to something entirely different. Ego’s perspectives are quite small and self interested, whereas what I am talking about is operating from the part of the mind that is prior to ego.

  15. Yes. I’m going to think about all of this, it is quite interesting.

  16. When I think about it, the great mistake that I think Nietzsche’s followers make is to conflate ego with this kind of knowledge. They are actually two very separate things, and so much so that I have used the trope of “shamanic doubling” to try to bring this out. It produces a very naive outlook to conflate the two, for instance in this position: “We, male Nietzscheans must attack you, (as a female), and undermine the values you uphold, which are maintained by your ego-stance. Only that way will a quintessentially male ego-stance be able to come into predominance, and we will have the value-system that we like!”

    But the point is that when you attack the ego, if the person is shamanised, you only serve to strengthen the ‘self’. Ego is associated with vanity, but self is associated with pride. So one strengthens the position of the one who is attacked.

    • And also the whole thing of opposing someone’s values on principle, because of their gender, is really the opposite of shamanistic seeing. I think that shamanistic seeing, to succeed, requires opening up as wide a gap as possible between the lizard brain “self” and the ego. This way one develops a broad soul, which facilitates seeing more than others do. To conflate the self with the ego, as some do, is normal, but it is not a recipe for vision or understanding of very much. To conflate the self with the superego, on the other hand, is a recipe for pathology. In this third case, one develops a very rigid character structure that adapts itself to nothing, and can perceive nothing at all, apart from its own imperatives, which act like a pressure on the mind and body. That is the opposite of shamanism, which opens up a channel of communication between the self and ego, and often minimised the effect of superego, to boot.

    • Very good point on Nietzcheans.

      Also, ego vs. self, yes.

      • And also on superego plus self as pathology — yes, and that’s Reeducation, replacing ego with superego and putting self under superego’s control!

        Taking notes: shamanism opens up communication between self and ego, and minimizes superego, check.

      • It’s significant that, according to my map of the neurological structure of humans, gender and gendered identity is not a feature of the way we humans think about survival. In other words, I’m not going to promote any “feminine agenda” in order to survive. I just want to survive. This is to critique gender essentialism, which sees us as gendered all the way down to our toe-nails. Gender essentialism would oppose even a very basic claim — the necessity to survive — so paranoid it is. And its picture of the brain is also wrong.

  17. It seems like shamanism opens up this communication by increasing the gap between self and ego. That is its paradox, which I have now put my finger on.

    Supposing someone is screaming in your ear, or manhandling you and making you go here or there with them? You cannot take them within your scope as a separate entity, because they have so much latched on to you. But shamanism increases the practical and conceptual distance between two parts of mind, and makes them easier to manage.

  18. Well, gender essentialism is based on patriarchal pseudoscience, as we and others know but too many people do not.

    Distance between self and ego, yes. Also, just because the reptilian brain is old does not make it retro, I remind myself.

    Is the grammatical subject the Cartesian subject and is it the ego? Is the reptilian brain the id? Is …? (I’m not really asking these tedious questions, I’m just stuck on a sentence off line about something entirely else, related to “race” and the Ucs actually, and realizing once again how weak my grasp on psychology is.)

  19. Much of writing my thesis has been to unravel the patriarchal pseudoscience from compelling evidence that speaketh otherwise. Much later down the track, after I have left my focus on literature (which doesn’t actually suit me, in the sense of the narrow disciplinary requirements), I will put together some of the evidence I have found.

    The reptilian brain is neither “infantile” or “retro” in any definitive sense of these terms. The important point is to become aware of it and be able to use it in effective ways, rather than have it use you.

    The question of whether the grammatical subject is actually the Cartesian subject is very interesting — one I am still thinking about. A valid rephrasing of the question might be: “Do those who have not been brought up under cultural circumstances that condition one to embrace Cartesian dualism (or idealism) experience “I” in the same way as those who have been so conditioned?” I am inclined to think they do not, and I wrote something about it here.

    I think the whole genre of magical realism (or “shamanic realism”) challenges this notion of the Cartesian subject as being the same as the grammatical subject always. The “magical” aspect of magical realism are from the lizard brain. But, whereas these aspects seem gratuitous, outlandish, extraneous, or whatever, to a Cartesian-conditioned mind, my feeling is that they simply convey another aspect of the “I” to those whose minds have been differently conditioned.

    The reptilian brain is not the id, though. The id may be SOME of the energy — desire for pleasure and enjoyment in the immediacy — that radiates from the lizard brain. But the lizard brain is broader than this — it is the will to survival, but not only that, it is the blueprint, the general neurological schemata for survival under extreme conditions. In other words, unlike the “id” (a mere force) it has “intelligence”.

  20. Under the conditions of industrial modernisation, the grammatical “I” is that which speaks. It is the Cartesian subject, and that alone. But this is not necessarily so under conditions lived closer to Nature. In that second case, both the egoistic “I” and the R-complex “self” may combine to express a version of subjectivity that is not limited by instrumental reason but ranges more broadly through the different levels of the mind, and nonetheless conveys important information about the subject to himself and to others.

  21. All of this is *massively* interesting & I think true. I’d say more except that I have fried my brain on some other patriarchal shadow boxing / strategies of denial (or, as you often remind me to notice, *idealist* b.s.).

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