Tag Archive: psychology

Not much in the way of punctuation up in here but regardless enjoy this essay by William S. Burroughs. It originally appeared in Telos magazine in the 70s and can be found as an appendix in most copies of ‘the ticket that exploded’ – my copy of which is somewhere in Cardiff.


what we see is determined to a large extent by what we hear
you can verify this proposition by a simple experiment – turn off the sound track of your television set and substitute an arbitrary sound track prerecorded on your tape recorder street sounds music conversation recordings of other television programs
you will find that the arbitrary sound track seems to be appropriate and is in fact determining your interpretation of the film track on screen
people running for a bus in piccadilly with a sound track of machine-gun fire looks like 1917 petrograde
you can extend the experiment by using recorded material more or less appropriate to the film track
for example take a political speech on television shut off sound track and substitute another speech you have prerecorded
hardly tell the difference isn’t much record sound track of one danger man from uncle spy program run it in place of another and see if your friends can’t tell the difference
it’s all done with tape recorders
consider this machine and what it can do it can record and play back activating a past time set by precise association
a recording can be played back any number of times
you can study and analyze every pause and inflection of a recorded conversation why did so and so say just that or this just here
play back so and so’s recordings and you will find out what cues so and so in you can edit a recorded conversation retaining material which is incisive witty and pertinent
you can edit a recorded conversation retaining remarks which are boring flat and silly
a tape recorder can play back fast slow or backwards you can learn to do these things record a sentence and speed it up now try imitating your accelerated voice play a sentence backwards and learn to unsay what you just said . . . such exercises bring you a liberation from old association locks

Click to continue reading The Invisible Generation


Psychopathology and Wealth

it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family, you’re likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family, you’re likely to go to business school.

It’s true!

Extraverted rational types


“…characterised by the supremacy of the reasoning and judging functions.”

but is yet

“…influenced in almost equal degree by unconscious irrationality.”


From the outside, with no consideration of “unconscious manifestations” this type may in fact appear more irrational than most.

“…the case with the psychologies of both Freud and Adler. The individual is completely at the mercy of the judging observer, which can never be the case when the conscious psychology of the observed is accepted as a basis. He afterall is the only competent judge, since he alone knows his conscious motives.”

Here Jung lays down the reason (or one of them) for this split with Freud, the split itself seemingly focussed around Jung’s insistance upon the importance of individual subjectivity and Freud declaring that such a perspective was not valid, was meaningless as it belonged to the realm of the sub-conscious (Jung uses the term unconscious to highlight its importance, that it wasn’t merely a sub-set of consciousness as Freud declared).
Of course Freud would say that. Dude wanted to kill his father and sleep with his mother and he found the idea abhorrent. It was only by projecting this desire onto everybody else (the Oedipus complex) that Freud was able to deal with it.


“…life in both these types [reasoning/judging] involves a deliberate exclusion of everything irrational and accidental… a force that coerces the untidiness and fortuitousness of life into a definite pattern, or at least tries to do so… restriction of sensations and intuitions is not absolute… but their products are subject to the voice made my rational judgement.”


“For them nothing is rational save what is generally considered as such. Reason, however, is in large part subjective and individual. In our types this part is repressed… Both the subject and his subjective reason, therefore, are in constant danger of repression…” at the whims of ‘objectivity’ and the object “…and when they succumb to it they fall under the tyranny of the unconscious, which in this case possesses very unpleasant qualities… primitive sensations that express themselves compulsively, for instance in the form of compulsive pleasure-seeking in every conceivable form; there are also primitive intuitions… everything sniffed out and suspected, in most cases it is a half truth calculated to provoke misunderstandings of the most poisonous kind… the individual becomes the victim of chance happenings, which exercise a compulsive influence over him either because they pander to his sensations or because he intuits their unconscious significance.”

Rationality then is handed down via consensus; What has been called Consensus Reality. What the majority agree, either consciously or unconsciously, to be reality. This world view, however, does not take into account either subjectivity or the unconscious. What i think Jung is saying here is that when you ignore subjectivity and and unconscious you can become enslaved by them. This enslavement takes place through the lens of ‘rationality’. When you ignore sensations and intuition then intuition and sensation present themselves to the conscious mind as in fact being rational thoughts. This is of course posited on the fact that the mind in question is lacking equilibrium. When everything is running smoothly everything is cool.

This type brings to mind the ‘character’ of the paranoid conspiracy nut – everything he does and thinks/feels he considers in the upmost as Rational. He checks constantly to see if anyone is following him because it is reasonable for him to assume somebody is because of what he knows or at least thinks he knows. You could have a lot of fun with this type in a narrative watching their sense of reason and logic eeat them alive. In fact I would argue that many a screenplay/novel turns on this idea of a protagonist’s rational world view being turned on its head. The idea of this reversal is a strong impetus for the dramatic.

fung in the jung

So, true to my word, i took myself off to the library to make notes from Psychological Types for the next installment of my series on Jung’s models and theories. I’ve had a thing for mister Gustav since i first learned of his ideas of the collective unconcious and synchronicity when i was but a wild eyed highschool student and have the vague intention of owning and studying his complete works at some point. I have a few volumes but that fucker sure did write and think alot! I’m thinking also of writing a general outline of Psychological Types because I feel like there isn’t enough on jung online that draws directly from his work. There’s alot in that book that explores the idea of psychological types through different lenses and from different perspectives of philisophical history. What do you think?

And this is all I wrote. There was much more to get through. I mean, i was in a university library making notes from Jung because i couldn’t get the book out. Now I own the fucking book. Guess I’ll have to continue the series 😉


“In precisely the same way as extraverted thinking strives to rid itself of subjective innfluences, extraverted feeling has to undergo a process of differentiation before it is finally denuded of every subjective trimming. The valuations resulting from the act of feeling either corresponds directly with objective values or accord with traditional and generally accepted standards.
This kind of feeling is very largely responsible for the fact that so many people flock to the theatre or concerts, or go to church, and do so more over with their feelings correctly adjusted… In these matters extraverted feeling proves itself a creative factor. Without it a harmonious social life would be impossible” [596/355]

The extraverted-feeling attitude is directly responsible for the dominance of consensus reality. Does this make extraverted feeling the norm?

“[as soon as the object gains ascendancy] The force of extraverted feeling then pulls the personality into the object, the object assimilates him, whereupon the personal quality of the feeling, which constitutes its chief charm, disappears. It becomes cold, “unfeeling”, untrustworthy. It has ulterior motives, or at least makes an impartial observer suspect them… one suspects a post, or that the person is acting even though he may be quite unconscious of any egocentric motives. Over-extraverted feeling may satisfy aestheitc expectations, but it does not speak to the heart; it appeals merely to the senses, or worst still – to reason.” [596/355]

When the extreme extraverted thinking model is faced with a ‘problem’ requiring a certain subjective/introverted perspective to truely understand and grap a thing, he authomatically reduces the problem to his own accumulated objective/extraverted knowledge and experience. Viewing the ‘problem’ through this filter gives an extremely narrow view of the ‘problem’, with only a few molecules of understanding beingh attracted to and sticking to his pre-existant knowledge/experience. This personality type appears quite often in the short stories of Franz Kafka.

“it is a fact of experience that the basic psychological functions seldom or never all have the same strength or degree of development in the same individual. As a rule, one or the other function predominates in both strenth and development.” [584/346]

The basic psychological functions are split into 5 groups under the two headings: Extraverted / Introverted

These are: Thinking/Feeling/Rational/Sensation/Intuition

Thusly is Jung’s model of being mapped.

“[the extraverted-thinking] type will, by definition, be a man [Or woman. Use yr imagination peoples!] whose constant endeavor – in so far, of course, as he is a pure type [if such a thing exists in the world] – is to make all his activities dependant on intellectual conclusions, which in the last resort are always orientated by objective data, whether these be external facts or generally accepted ideas.” [585/346]

I think what Jung is trying to say in his use of the term ‘last resort’ is that if the individual can’t think it out for himself he will rely on preconceived external data.

The objective-thinking type seems, to me, to embody the personalities of the majority of politicians/right wing nut jobs.

“Their best aspect is to be found at the peiphery of their sphere of influence. The deeper we penetrate into their own power province the more we feel the unfavourable effects of their tyranny.” [586/348]

“The thinking of the extraverted type is postivie i.e., productive. It leads to the discovery of new facts or to general conceptions based on disparate empirical material. It is usually synthetic too. Even when it analyses it constructs, because it is always advancing beyond the analysis to a new combination, to a further conception which reunites the analysed material in a different way or adds something to it. One could call this kind of judgement predictive. A characteristic feature, at any rate, is that it is never absolutely depreciative or destructive, since it always substitutes a fresh value for the one destroyed. this is because the thinking of this type is the main channel into which his vital energy flows. The steady flow of life manifests itself in his thinking, so that his thought has a progressive, creative quality. It is not stagnant or repressive. But it can become so if it fails to retain prior place in his consciousness. In that case it loses the quality of a positive, vital activity. It follows in the wake of other functions and becomes Epimethean [an afterthought]. Plagued by afterthoughts, contenting itself with constant broodings on things past and gone, chewing them over in an effort to anlyse and digest them. Since the creative element is now lodged in another function, thinking no longer progresses: It stagnates. Judgement takes on a distinct quality of inherence: It confines itlsef entirely to the range of the given material, nowhere overstepping it. It is satisfied with more or less abstract statements which do not impart any value to the material which in not already inherent in it. Such judgements are always orientated to the object, and they infirm nothing more about an experience than its objective and intrinsic meaning.” [592-593/351-352]

“Its habitual mode is best described by the two words “nothing but”. Goethe personifed this thinking in the figure of mephistopheles.”

Everything in its right place.

“Whenever somebody defends or advocates a cause, negative thinking never asks its importance but simply: “What does he get out of this?””

“The trick [to pure extraverted-thinking] is to make it appear dependant on something quite common place.”

the parenthisised doohickies at the end of each quote refer to the page numbers in C. G. Jung’s Psychological types. The first number refers to the page, the second number refers to the paragraph. As each edition has varying page numbers yr best bet is to refer to paragraphs numbers if you wanna reference the original work.
I shall be embarking on a series of posts concerning Jungian Psychological Types for the purposes of character development in fiction. The notes for which i shall be uploading here for safekeeping and for anyone else to make use of. Afterall, not everybody can just go down their local university library and look through The Collected Works of C. G. Jung for their own personal satisfaction. As I am reading them in the library, and therefore having limited access to them, i will be updating the posts as new information and reflections become available.

The Extraverted/Introverted Type

So, it seems, according to Jung, that your one or t’other, and that the extraverted type relates his entire existence to external objects; be they people, projects, shiny things, whatever. He has no time for the subjective, merely the objective. He lives an ‘objective’ existence (if such a thing can exist in our post-post-modern times) : 

“this is the extraverts danger: he gets sucked into objects and completely loses himself to them.” (565/336)
the subjective/introverted world becomes manifest in his unconscious, in a kind of mirror. This is all fine and dandy, as long as the individual in question doesn’t ‘completely lose himself’ to his objects: 

“It is an outstanding peculiarity of unconscious impulses that, when deprived of energy by lack of conscious recognition, they take on a destructive character, and this happens as soon as they cease to be compensatory. Their compensatory function ceases as soon as they reach a depth corresponding to a cultural level absolutely incompatible with our own. From this moment the unconcious impulses form a block in every way opposed to the conscious attitude, and its very existence leads to open conflict.” ( 574/340 )
( It should be noted that Jung goes on to make further distinctions between types of Extraverted and Introverted types, little sub-groups if you will. I ain’t got to that bit yet. In fact, I ain’t even finished the Extraverted section. ) 

What does this mean for the screenwriter if the extraverted reacts to external objects, and the introverted with his own internal subjectivity? Surely, within a film script, protagonists must be of the extraverted type because, according to the screenwriting guru types, Protagonists are defined by action/reaction? (Okay, this may not be the complete truth, but stay with me here).

What if the external objects are in fact manifestations of the protagonists subjectivity? That everything within the diagesis can in fact be mapped, directly or indirectly, back to the protagonists unconscious? What if that’s why they came into existence in the first place? If you map your protagonists’ conscious/unconscious first, then develop the story and sub-characters second, what kind of film are you writing? How does this effect everything? Does this open you up to new realms of creative expression, or just picking a way to filter that creative expression in the first place?

( i’m thinking outloud here, btw )


Consider the play of the extraverted/external and Introverted/internal outlook in both Julian and Gethin, with each sliding between the these two extremes throughout the plot, in a kind of counterpoint. A character in a film could be considered extraverted by the very nature of the medium i.e. external factors (preassures cause the actions of the protagonists and sub-characters) but this does not mean that these external forces cannot be, in actuality, manifestations of the internal.

As there are two Protagonists (Julian and Gethin) in this paticular narrative, and neither one supercedes the other, do they in fact become in actuality two sides of the same character? Is this a useful way of looking at them? Also, as they also represent a comedy double-act, is this what the comedy double-act can be viewed as?

FURTHER STUDY: psychological types of comedy double-acts

“A normal extroverted attitude does not, of course, mean that the individual invariably behaves in accordance with the extraverted schema. Even in the same individual many psychological processes may be observed that involve the mechanism of introversion. We call a mode of behavior extraverted only when the mechanism of extraversion predominates. In these caesd the most differentiated functions are in part unconscious and far less under the control of consciousness.” [575/340]

“…There is a constant influx of unconscious contents into the conscious psychological process, to such a degree that at times it is hard for the observer to decide which character traits belong to the conscious and which to the unconscious personality.” [576/341]

“Introverted thinking then appears as something quite arbitarry [to the extraverted thinker] while extraverted thinking seems dull and banal [to the introverted thinker]. Thus the two orientations are incessantly at war.” [581/345]

The Masturbation Gap

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photosvia mindhacks – Whacking off: a psychological history

…by tapping into the zeitgeist of a cultural shift, where concerns about privacy were becoming paramount. Masturbation, along with reading printed books–a new technology at the time–had become a symbol for the uncontrolled, uncensored private lives of individuals, including women. Such private power was felt to threaten the social order. The social keepers of the order–the politicians, aristocrats, and professional classes–hence hurried to proclaim the potential dangers embodied in this newly shamed and shameful act.

The Masturbation Gap | Psychology Today.

the Cognitive Bias song

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Food for thought:


I can’t keep up with my grandfather. Whenever I see him, he’s rushing off to the gym, going on a fishing trip or taking his “baby doll” out on a date. My grandfather is 87 (his baby doll is 90) and he’s one of the happiest people I know. At 32, my gleeful disposition seems to decrease in inverse proportion to my years, and I’m left wondering how my grandfather, who grew up poor in Hell’s Kitchen and fought overseas, is so much more youthful and energetic than I am.

Psychologist Martin Seligman conducted two studies in the 70s in which people of different age groups were asked about depression. Comparing the responses of different generations, Seligman found that younger people were far more likely to have experienced depression than older people. In fact, one study found that those born in the middle third of the 20th century were ten times more likely to suffer from severe depression than those born in the first third. So statistically, my grandfather is more likely to be happy than me.

I don’t get it. I was the first kid on my block to have a Nintendo. I got a car on my 16th birthday. I didn’t have to work a single day in college (unless you count selling homemade bongs at Phish concerts). My grandfather grew up with nothing. He had to drop out of high school during the Depression to help his family get by, earning money shining the shoes of drunks at a local saloon. Why is my generation, one of relative privilege and wealth, experiencing higher rates of depression than any previous generation?

Why Can’t I Feel What I See? | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters.

From Boing Boing:

When some religiously devout people hear a charismatic healer speak the word of god , the regions of their brains involved in skeptical thinking and vigilance appear to shut down. Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and his colleagues scanned the brains of Pentecostalists while they listened to recorded prayers from non-Christians, “ordinary” Christians, and a healer. The brain activity changed only in response to prayers they were told came from the healer. According to Schjødt, the same deactivation may occur in response to the words of physicians, parents, politicians, and other charismatic leaders. The researchers published their results in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. From New Scientist:

Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian.

Schjødt says that this explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness.

“Brain shuts off in response to healer’s prayer”

Hearing prayer shuts off believers’ brain activity – Boing Boing.

Mental health problems and creativity have long gone hand in hand. It seems as if the very kernel of what it means to create, in what ever arena, is instrinsincly tied up with being fucked up in the head in some manner. Of course, being fucked up in the head doesn’t mean your going to be a creative nexus of greatness. Sometimes I take great comfort in this fact. Sometimes I don’t. It might just mean your fucked up in the head.

Not that ‘Neurological’ indicate mental health exclusively. The article actually focusses mainly on other things such as massive physical trauma as a trigger for neurological problems. I just got mental health on my mind I guess. Teehee.

Scribd has the entire facinating essay and Mind Hacks, where I found the link, has this to say:

I’ve just re-read an interesting biographical study from last year on the ‘Neurological problems of jazz legends’ and noticed a interesting snippet about Charlie Parker:

As a result of a car accident as a teenager, Parker became addicted to morphine and, in turn, heroin. Contemporary musicians took similar drugs, hoping to emulate his playing. Through the 1940s, Parker’s career flourished. He recorded some of his most famous tunes, including ‘‘Billie’s Bounce’’ and ‘‘Koko.’’ Yet, he also careened erratically between incredible playing and extreme bouts of alcohol and drug abuse. This deteriorated in 1946, when after the recording of the song ‘‘Lover Man,’’ Parker became inebriated in his hotel room, set fire to his mattress, and ran through the hotel lobby wearing only his socks. Parker was arrested and committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital, where he stayed for 6 months. This stay inspired the song ‘‘Relaxin at Camarillo (1947).’’

The track Relaxin at Camarillo is available on YouTube and it has a wonderfully rambling swing-backed sound. As far as I know, it is the only song about a stay at a mental hospital, but as musicians have had more than their fair share of hospital stays, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were any others, so do let me know if you know of any others.

And here’s that track.

Oh yeah, and that massive physical truama being a trigger thing? I can relate.

But that, my dear reader, is a tale for a completely different blogpost at some point in the distant future.

from Technoccult:

It turns out that there is a striking similarity between how the human brain determines what is going on in the outside world and the job of scientists. Good science involves formulating a hypothesis and testing whether this hypothesis is compatible with the scientist’s observations. Researchers in the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt together with the University of Glasgow have shown that this is what the brain does as well. A study shows that it takes less effort for the brain to register predictable as compared to unpredictable images.

Alink and colleagues based this conclusion on the characteristics of responses in the primary visual cortex. It is known that the primary visual cortex is critical for vision and that responses in this brain area create a map of what we are currently looking at. Alink and colleagues, however, for the first time show that images induce smaller responses in this area when they are predictable. The implication of this finding is that the brain does not just sit and wait for visual signals to arrive. Instead, it actively tries to predict these signals and when it is right it is rewarded by being able to respond more efficiently. If it is wrong, massive responses are required to find out why it is wrong and to come up with better predictions.

I wonder if the brains of religious types work more on a dogmatic and faith based mechanism?

Brain Naturally Follows Scientific Method | Technoccult.

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