It is vital, then, that any therapist convinces the client that while the superbeing is a self-construction, and/or that the voices are hallucinations – this does not mean that the client is insane.
An effort should be made to help the client understand that errors of thought and belief are responsible for the condition – and that the removal of those erroneous beliefs can relieve the situation. The therapist should make it clear that he understands that the client is not lying, in ordinary terms, when he reports hearing voices from the devil.
According to the particular case in point, the therapist should then try to point out the errors of thought and belief involved, and also to explain their more or less habitual cast.
First, the ideas must be disentangled, and then the habitual behavior will begin to disintegrate. The therapist should also assure the client that on many subjects and topics of thought and conversation, the client operates quite well. The subject itself is so vast that, of course, an entire book could easily be devoted to it, so it is impossible to cover all the issues that may be involved with such cases here.
Some of the errors concern the misinterpretation of physical events. The individual – convinced he or she is being pursued by some secretive organization – again, may hear the sirens on a very real police car. The error is the assumption that the vehicle is pursuing the individual rather than some other party. The therapist can help the client learn to question his or her personal interpretation of such events.
All such cases can have their own peculiar complications. In the case of secondary personalities, the main operating portion who usually directs activity might be male, displaying all of the usual male characteristics. The secondary personality may seemingly be female, however, even speaking in a feminine-like voice. Or the opposite might be the case.
It is also possible for the individual to dress in male attire, while the secondary personality wears feminine clothes – or vice-versa.
What we are involved in mainly, however, are the characteristic periods of seeming amnesia, occurring usually involuntarily, often without any transition except perhaps for a headache.
In this category, I am not referring to individuals like Ruburt, who speak for another personality with a sense of ease and tranquility, and whose resulting information is excellent knowledge – the obvious products of uncommon sense that proves to be helpful to the individual and others.
Behind all of those instances we have been discussing, however, there is again the need for value fulfillment, that has been blocked largely by conflicting or even opposing beliefs.
Regardless of how unbelievable it might seem to some readers, it is true that even the most destructive events are based upon misinterpretations of reality, opposing beliefs, and the inability to receive or express love. In fact, that kind of rage is the mark of a perfectionist caught in what seems to be the grasp of a world not only imperfect, but evil.
This brings us to another most dangerous belief – that the end justifies the means.
The greatest majority of destructive acts are committed in line with that belief. It leads to a disciplined over rigidity that gradually cuts down the range of human expression.
You should be able to see, in fact, that the problems we have been discussing begin by limiting the field of available choices, and thus curtailing the range of expression. The individual will try to express himself or herself to the best degree possible, and so each individual then begins a concerted effort to seek out those avenues of expression still open. All of the constructive beliefs mentioned throughout this book should be applied to all of the instances in this chapter. The individual must feel safe and protected enough to seek its own development and aid in the fulfillment of others.
One of the most rare and extraordinary developments that can occur in schizophrenic behavior is the construction of a seeming superbeing of remarkable power – one who is able to convince other people of his divinity.
Most such instances historically have involved males, who claim to have the powers of clairvoyance, prophecy, and omnipotence. Obviously, then, the affected individual was thought to be speaking for God when he gave orders or directives. We are dealing with “god making”, or “religion making” – whichever you prefer.
In almost all such instances, discipline is taught to believers through the inducement of fear. Put very loosely, the dogma says that you must love God or he will destroy you. The most unbelievable aspects of such dogmas should, it seems, make them very easy to see through. In many cases, however, the more preposterous the legends or dogmas, the more acceptable they became. In some strange fashion followers believe such stories to be true because they are not true. The inceptions of almost all religions have been involved one way or another with these schizophrenic episodes.
The person so involved must be extremely disturbed to begin with: up in arms against social, national, or religious issues, and therefore able to serve as a focus point for countless other individuals affected in the same manner.
In a fashion, Adolf Hitler fell into such a classification. Although he lacked that characteristic mark of speaking for a superbeing, this was because he frequently regarded himself as the superbeing. The trouble is that while such religions can also inspire people to acts of great sympathy, heroism and understanding, their existence rests upon drastic misreadings of the nature of reality.
If the major religions have been touched, then there have also been numberless smaller cults and sects throughout history into the present that bear that same stamp of great psychological power and energy, coupled with an inborn leaning toward self destruction and vengeance.
To varying degrees, other less striking individual cases can bear the same sense of magic and mystery.
There is certainly no need to romanticize schizophrenic behavior, for its romantic-like elements have long been coupled in the public mind in an unfortunate manner, seeming to place the madman and the genius is some kind indefinable relationship. Such beliefs are apparent in statements such as: “Madness is the other end of sanity”, or “All genius is touched with madness”.
Beneath these ideas is the fear of the mind itself, the belief that its abilities are fine and dependable up to a point – but if it goes too far then it is in trouble.
What does it mean to go too far in that connotation? Usually it means that knowledge itself is somehow dangerous.
In some cases, however, the constructed superbeing can deliver astute comments on national, social, or religious conditions.
Most such personages, however, begin to prophesy the end of the world, from which the chosen people – whoever they may be – will be saved. More than a few have rendered specific dates for this worldly foreclosure – dates which have come and gone. Many people still continue to follow the very same dogmas that seemed to have proven themselves wrong; the personage comes up with a newer excuse, or a newer date, and things go on as before.
Again, however, even in far simpler cases, the constructive personage will often make predictions that, incidentally, do not predict – and almost always give orders and directives that are to be followed without question.
There are many other deep psychological connections beneath schizophrenic behavior, but since this book is also devoted to other subjects, we will go on to other ways in which conflicting beliefs bring about mental or physical dilemmas.
Chapter 14: Nirvana, Right is Might, Onward Christian Soldiers, and the Human Body as a Planet Worth Saving
Few people are much concerned personally with the esoteric situations mentioned in our last chapter. Many people are involved, however with various religious ideas and philosophies, whose effects are quite unfortunate in personal experience. The majority of individuals have bouts of poor health now and then, from which they recover – so that all in all a fairly comfortable medium is struck.
It is unfortunately often – but not always – true that individuals who carry strong religious feelings are often bothered more than usual by poor health and personal dilemmas. The fact is that religions have been the carriers of some of the best ideas that man has entertained – but it has also held most stubbornly to the most troublesome concepts that have plagued mankind.
You cannot divorce philosophy from life, for your thoughts and opinions give your life its meaning and impetus. There are some people who believe that life is meaningless, that it has no purpose, and that its multitudinous parts fell together through the workings of chance alone. Obviously, I am speaking here of scientific dogma, but such a dogma is far more religious than scientific, for it also expects to be believed without proof, on faith alone.
Such ideas are bound to color any of their followers’ ideas about other subjects also: sexuality, economics, and certainly concepts of war and peace.
Again, each portion of nature is propelled by the inner vitality, energy, and life force within it. The physical body cannot flourish if the individual believes that it and its works are without meaning. Such philosophies do not give man a stake in nature, or in the universe.
All of life is seen as heading for extinction in any case. The entire concept of a soul, life after death, or even life from one generation to the next, becomes largely doubtful, to say the least. In such a philosophical world, it would seem that man had no power at all.
As mentioned earlier, those concepts can have a hand in the development of would-be suicides, particularly of a young age, for they seem to effectively block a future.
The same ideas are so dead-ended, however, that they often trigger a different kind of response entirely, in which a scientist who has held to those beliefs most stubbornly, suddenly does a complete double-take. This can propel him or her into a rather severe schizophrenic reaction, in which the scientist now defends most fanatically the same ideas that he rejected most fanatically only a short time before.
With some variations, the same kind of “sudden conversation” can occur when a person who has berated religious concepts and beliefs suddenly does a double-take of a different kind, ending up as twice-born Christian.
Both mechanisms suddenly line up the belief systems in one particular manner, knocking aside all doubts but accepting instead a strict obedience to the new belief system, and a new reorganization of life itself beneath the new cause.