Author: Torsten Oettinger
2023-11-16, 9bth Edition
The `Summary table´ offers a very compressed textual and tabular overview. The links there allow the reader to quickly switch to the corresponding chapters and to keep the larger picture in mind.
In this part ‘METAPSYCHOLOGY’, I develop a general classification of everything that is psychically relevant.
What is new?
I assume an analogy between language on the one hand and the psychological relevant and the psyche on the other. More about this → Differentiations and Dimensions:
• Firstly, I hypothesize that everything that is psychically relevant is not only best expressed in language but can also be differentiated in analogy to basic language patterns. That´s what I name the `Differentiations´.
• Secondly, I assume that it is decisive what “fundamental meaning” the psychological Relevant one has.
Every psychological Relevant can have three fundamental meanings for us humans: absolute or relative or no meaning. This is what I call the ‘Dimensions‘ of the psychical Relevant.11. This is also the basic pattern of the classifications of all other chapters. 2. Because of their special role, I have capitalized the terms the psychical Relevant, the Absolute, the Relative, the Nothing, the It and the Self.
In the beginning was God,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God …(~ by John 1:1-4)2[Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
Definitions and Hypotheses
• Metapsychology is the theory of everything which is psychically relevant. 3I denote `everything that is relevant to the psyche shorter `the psychical Relevant´ (pR) to simplify matters. This is not exactly the same like the relevance
• Everything about which a person speaks or can speak is psychically relevant.
• The psychical Relevant is best expressed by way of language.
• General language structures are very suitable as analogies for the division of the psychical Relevant.
• Psychology is the theory of the personal psychical Relevant.
Based on the multiple meanings of the prefix ‘meta’ (above, between, behind, beyond),
I define metapsychology as a level of analysis above psychology, from which the latter can be surveyed and scrutinized. At the same time, metapsychology comprises and permeates all subjects which are associated with psychology. Among the disciplines connected with psychology are, first and foremost, psychiatry, as well as sociology, anthropology, biology, neurology, and linguistics. However, I also include philosophy and theology which are partly superordinate.
The main subject of psychology is the psyche. The subject of metapsychology is all that which is important for the psyche, which interrelates with the psyche, has an impact on it and is able to reflect upon it from a higher level. Therefore, metapsychology examines and reflects upon what I name the psychical Relevant (pR). The consideration of metapsychology and its subject-matter, the psychical Relevant, is very adequate since an isolated analysis of the psyche alone neglects very important connections.
In my view, the examination of all aspects of our human existence should be undertaken, rather than limiting our analysis to facts which are only accessible by scientific methods. This means that in addition to all scientific insights acquired by academic psychology, attention should also be given to that which transcends our experiences, which is beyond the demonstrable and perceptible. Thus, all relevant meta-psychical, meta-empirical, philosophical and religious phenomena of existential importance should be considered.4Mike Lüdmann therefore laments a loss of general theory in psychology. According to Thomas Fuchs, however, research areas for philosophical questions in psychiatry have been established in the last 20 years, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries. (Both see Ref.)
In contrast to this perspective, the notion “metapsychology” is used – following Freud – by scholars of psychoanalysis to describe the dynamic, topical and economic interrelations of psychical phenomena.
Regarding the area of topography, Freud was primarily concerned with the concepts of the Ego, Id and Super-ego; regarding the area of psychodynamics, he investigated the mental forces between these entities of the psyche; regarding the area of economics, he examined the benefits of specific psychical processes for the person concerned.
This study also discusses structural, dynamic and qualitative aspects similar to the psychoanalytic ones. However, these are merely a small part of metapsychology and psychology and are presented from a different perspective. 5In this perspective, Freud’s` topography´ appears equivalent to the representatives of psychically relevant (pr) nouns and subjects; the dynamics equivalent to the pr verbs and predicates, and the economics equivalent to the representatives of the dimensions in particular.
More generally, one might say, that none of the models provided by conventional medicine are able to transcend the anthropological perspective i.e. they look at the psyche and its illnesses only from a “horizontal point of view”, considerably limiting the possibilities of analysis and therapy. In particular, questions that are most important for a person and which have existential meaning are therefore not answered or only inadequately answered. Existentialists, in particular, have pointed this out.
The part “Metapsychology” (similar to the other chapters) will first be discussed in general and then in more detail using concrete examples. At the end of this chapter, I will briefly address some metapsychological topics that are important for this publication. This will only be a selection of a variety of topics, since all topics relevant to the person and examined especially in philosophy, anthropology, psychiatry and psychology, are psychically relevant.
• The first section (general issues of psychical relevance) is subdivided into a horizontal and vertical structure. Horizontal arrangement: Differentiation of that which is psychically relevant by presenting analogies of fundamental language structures. Vertical arrangement: The psychical Relevant in its dimensions/ fundamental meanings.
• In the second section, important topics are discussed which are psychically relevant.
The psyche itself is the focus of attention in the next chapter ‘Psychology’.
Introduction and Classification
In this chapter, that which is relevant to the psyche is investigated. 61. “Psyche” or “soul” is the personal form of the psychical Relevant (pR) .
2. A solitary “R” stands for Relative.
– The psychical Relevant = pR; or psychically relevant = pr.
Synonyms: psychic(al)/ psychological/ that which is significant to the soul/ psyche.
– Pseudoabsolute = strange Absolute (sA), The Absolute = A = +A or -A. The Relative = R.
Nearly all things are psychically relevant (pr). It is difficult to imagine an issue which might not be psychically relevant or which could not become so. The term ‘reality’ might come as close as possible to that which is psychically relevant. If reality were to be defined as that which affects us, then reality is not merely an objective but also a subjective matter.
It is about to differentiate the psychical Relevant (pR) and to arrange its meaning. More precisely, it is about an adequate classification of reality and world, person, psyche, and individual according to its importance for the human him/herself.
[Sometimes, I use in this work for world, person and individual/I the shortcut WPI.]
I divide the psychical Relevant (or the reality) in general after:
Concerning the differentiations I derive from the basic patterns of language both basic patterns of psychologically relevant forms and those of the psyche. I’m referring here to simple grammars of developed languages.
The differentiations represent the `horizontal classification´ of the psychical Relevant.
I use several stages of differentiation and would like to briefly introduce the first one:
The four “main aspects”: forms of being, life, properties and their connections are derived from the three main word classes: nouns, verbs, adjectives and fourthly from syntax.
These will be further differentiated in the course of the study.
The dimensions represent fundamental meanings of the psychical Relevant.
I distinguish the following fundamental meanings:
– the Absolute (A) = absolute dimension
– the Relative (R) = relative dimension
the Nothing(ness) (0). [For the special role of nothing, see later.]
I use these as keywords for similar fundamental meanings. (Later more)
The dimensions represent the `vertical classification´ of the psychical Relevant.
They show the meaning and position of a psychical Relevant or rather of a respective differentiation.
Taking differentiation and dimensioning together, the following picture emerges:
The psychical Relevant resp. the reality with its units is classified by differentiations and dimensions as by a horizontal and a vertical level. In the horizontal division, basic patterns of language differentiate the psychical Relevant in such as if one would lay a net with coordinates horizontally across that which is to be determined, to order it. This division is designated as horizontal since no evaluative assertion is to be made here as to a specific object’s importance and position. But, it is the vertical division, the ‘dimensions’, that provides information about this. (See `The absolute Perspective´ in part Metapsychotherapy).
Thus, this graph shows the classification of the psychical Relevant through language patterns in specific dimensions.
One can also say: The psychical Relevant is derived from what one can say about reality (persons, environment, etc.) and whether that has absolute or relative or no meaning.
I distinguish the following 3 stages in the classification of the psychical Relevant
(dimensions and differentiations).
|1st stage of dimensions:|
the Absolute (A), the Relative (R) and
the Nothingness (0).
|1st stage of differentiation:|
4 main aspects: being, life, qualities, connections
|2nd stage of dimensions:|
7 synonyms of the Absolute and Relative
|2nd stage of differentiation:|
23 single aspects
|3rd stage of dimensions:|
All terms listed in the overview table, concerning fundamental meanings or corresponding statements.
|3rd stage of differentiation:|
All terms listed in the overview table, concerning differentiations or corresponding statements.
Note: For the sake of simplicity, I usually only use the 1st dimension stage (AR0) in this script for the dimensions.
Concerning the differentiations, I usually use the 1st or 2nd stage. (More on that later.)
“Language is yet more than blood.” Franz Rosenzweig
The differentiation of the psychical Relevant (pR)7pR = psychically and personally relevant ((hereafter usually referred to as just psychically relevant). is based on the formation of analogies between patterns of language and patterns of that which is psychically relevant.
(This also includes the psyche itself → Grammar of the psyche.)
I repeat: the psychical Relevant can be classified horizontally or vertically. The horizontal division differentiates the psychical Relevant and the vertical division, with its dimensions, provides information about their fundamental meaning.
The differentiations resemble a grid, such as the one we use to zone the earth’s surface into longitudes and latitudes, so as to guarantee better orientation. In the analysis of that which is psychically Relevant, it is the language which offers these ‘longitudes and latitudes’ (‘horizontal division’), whereas the dimensions of the Absolute, Relative and Nothingness provide us with information about the ‘altitude’ (significance) of the subject-matter (‘vertical division’).
No other instrument gives us as much information as language about that which is psychically relevant. Language has not only individual but also general meanings and forms of expression. Language appears to be the best method to capture, describe, order according to its meaning and reflect on everything that is important for people in relation to the world, their fellow human beings and themselves.8I use for this the abbreviation ` WPI ´ = World, Person, I.
What does that mean in relation to psyche?
The psyche with its connections can only be determined indirectly. One can draw conclusions about the psyche and that which is important to it from the behavior of people, their dreams, from culture and art, from the history of mankind, or even from their language and many other sources – but especially from language.
[E.g. Victor Klemperer: “… language not only writes poetry and thinks for me, it also directs my feeling, it controls my entire soul being, the more self-evidently, the more unconsciously I surrender myself to it.” (LTI, p 24)]
The content of psychology should be everything that concerns people. That which concerns people, however, is primarily made orderly, understandable and communicable by language. Don’t we also learn most about the world and about ourselves as human beings through what we say? If we use language as the most important source to infer the soul life of our patients, then this also corresponds to the general practice that what our counterpart says, is in the foreground of the assessment of his person and situation.
The language is in this way, as I think, the most important medium of the people to express what concerns them. The language has also, in contrast to other sources, the advantage that it already has an outline and order which one can use to represent accordingly also contents and meanings of the psyche. Moreover, as a rule, all psychological findings from other sources need language to make their contents understandable and communicable.
For these reasons, isn’t language therefore best suited for drawing conclusions about our inner selves? I think so. Language thus appears as a first-rate metapsychological instrument/medium to structure psychic things and to make statements about their contents.
[The special importance of language for thinking and cognition of human beings was already emphasized by Nietzsche, Heidegger and Wittgenstein. Language as an “inescapable condition or matrix of thinking and cognition. Keyword: ‘linguistic turn’.]
Therefore, general, basic language components prove to be excellent analogies for the representation of general psychical relevant and psychical “basic elements”.
Regarding the analogy of language and psyche, Lévi-Strauss and Lacan already had a similar thought when they postulated a `homology’ of language structures and (but only) the unconscious without further differentiating this as I do. 9E.g., see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structuralism, 4, 2017.
• Basic characteristics of the language in relation to its structure, dynamics, and quality statements are similarly found in the psychical Relevant and the psyche.
• Regarding the psyche -This also means that the psyche shows similar characteristics to language in terms of its structure, dynamics, and meaning contents.
It seems obvious that in the development of language, general language components and rules of grammar can be understood as reflecting what has been psychologically important to people for thousands of years.
That which is important to humankind has not only been defined by means of words but also by means of corresponding language patterns. By using language in this way, humankind not only denoted specific terms with specific phenomena but also reflected whose connections and functions as expressions of our psyches and their world experience. Therefore, general, basic language components, such as the parts of speech, prove to be excellent analogies for the representation of general psychical relevant and psychical “basic elements” – and the syntax, in turn, gives us in form of subject, object, predicate and their functions point to analogous psychic forms and their functions, and the semantics shows their meanings. Like language, I also see the psyche as a highly-differentiated system that has certain characteristics on the one hand, but on the other is very flexible and always alive. In analogy to the grammar of the language, one could speak of a Grammar of the psyche.
As said, I use in this paper simple grammars of developed languages which are essentially the same in their rules. But here I can only briefly deal with this topic.
• On the analogy of language structures and structures of the psyche, see there.→ Differentiations.
• On the analogies between meanings in language and the psychically relevant, see Dimensions.
First stage of Differentiation
A basic classification which can be found in almost all developed languages is one which differentiates between nouns, verbs and adjectives, as well as, syntactically, between subjects and predicates. The table below shows the resulting psychically relevant analogies.
Therefore, what is both psychically and linguistically relevant can be divided into the following four main components: Being, life, qualities and their connections. In this book, they will be utilized as psychically relevant correlates. Their interplay takes place on different stages with different dimensions, which are particularized in a subsequent chapter.
By analogy with language, this differentiation is expanded to include 23 aspects. This is the “second differentiation stage” of that which is psychically relevant, and of the psyche itself. At the end of all differentiations, one would find what all possible pr words represent in their infinite variety.
Thus far, the following analogies were made in the first stage of differentiation:
I. Nouns = being (= forms of being or pr units)
II. Verbs = life (= dynamics)
III. Adjectives = qualities
IV. Syntax = subjects, objects and their connections. Abbreviation: (BLQC)
In the first stage of differentiation, these four main aspects of that which is psychically relevant have been determined.
I believe they also reflect 4 important themes of humanity:
I. Being or not-being, II. Life or death, III. good or evil, IV. subject or object.
These in turn are embedded in the theme of the Absolute.
(See also: Fundamental Problems in Metapsychotherapy).
Second stage of Differentiation
If we further differentiate the four main aspects mentioned above, a different number of aspects will accrue, depending on the method employed and the stage of differentiation envisioned.
In my experience, further differentiation to the following 23 individual aspects is very helpful:
The single aspects of differentiation are differently dimensioned. In the 1st-5th unit in the above table, the aspects with absolute meaning are named first, whilst aspects with relative meaning are shown behind the slash. Further explications can be found in the unabridged German version.
The 3rd stage of differentiation is presented in the Summary table.
The method employed here to categorize that which is psychically relevant or psychological, by determining analogies from language, has the advantage that the single aspects can be expanded indefinitely so that every psychically relevant term can be integrated into the system.
As said, in this study, I predominately use the 1st and 2nd stages of differentiation.
An objection raised against this kind of differentiation argues that there are languages with basic structures that are entirely different. In fact, even for the most advanced languages, there are very different grammatical theories, that differ from the usual simple “school grammar” used here. Doubtlessly, this is a valid objection. However, I believe that, from a certain point, every kind of language and grammar can be used to express what is most important to a person. (Otherwise, adequate translation into many different languages could not be possible.) Therefore, the classification used here is merely one of many possibilities to infer that which is psychically relevant from general forms of language. I intentionally use simple grammar (“school grammar”), since it best reflects the every-day use of language.
Alongside language, that what is psychically relevant is reflected in many ways: It is obvious in our behavior, gestures, facial expressions, art and much more. Yet, none of these forms of expression is as differentiated and yet comprehensible, as is language.
“If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.
If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.” (Confucius)
“The word, according to its nature, is the freest among the spiritual creatures but also the most endangered and dangerous.
Therefore, watchmen of the word are necessary.” Hrabanus Maurus 10Cit. by H. Cibulka: Tagebücher, Halle (Saale), 1976, p. 137. Emphasis by me.
Similar Ortega y Gasset: ” … it is by no means indifferent how we formulate things. The law of life perspective is not only subjective
but rooted in the nature of things … itself. … The mistake is to assume that it is up to our arbitrariness to assign things to their proper rank.”11[In: „Triumph des Augenblicks Glanz der Dauer“ DVA Stuttgart, 1983 S. 75ff. Translated by me.]
Explanation and Terms
In this work, the dimensions represent the hierarchy of the fundamental meanings of everything that is psychically relevant.
`Fundamental meanings´ (dimensions) means that it is about primordial meanings, about most fundamental, very first meanings of existence, behind which one cannot go back, which are not further questionable, but at most credible, and which grasp every psychically relevant thing in its respective most fundamental meaning.
Similar terms to `fundamental meaning´ are: primordial, very first, basic, existential, essential ranks, determining, meanings, significances, -reference systems, -scale, -positions, -standpoints, -perspectives, -importances, -priority, -order of precedence.
In the following, I will mainly use the term `fundamental meanings´ or basic meanings as collective terms for the dimensions.
I postulate in the first stage of classification three dimensions of existence and the psychical relevant: absolute, relative or nothing.
In language, too, similar differences in meaning are made with absolute words and absolute statements on the one hand and relative words and relative statements.
a) The Absolute is the most important, the most decisive, and the first-rate thing. The Absolute has the meaning of the very first, primary causes, to which all other causes can be traced back in the end. Therefore I try to reflect possible causes of mental illnesses from this last reason.
b) I use the term `meaning´ to denote the importance, rank and `sense of something.
c) What fundamental significance a single psychically relevant thing has is ultimately a matter of faith. As a rule, however, there is agreement on many points. For example, that money, status, externals, etc. have no absolute significance.
I mean that everything that is psychically relevant has one of these three meanings (rank): either something has absolute or relative or (almost) no meaning. In the broadest sense one could say: Our existence, our world, every social and personal system and every person at all with its psyche has these three basic dimensions.
This is a classification that involves every psychically relevant aspect and also says the most important thing about it. In contrast, for example, the categories ‘right or wrong’, ‘pleasant or unpleasant’, ‘mature or immature’, ‘logical or illogical’ and the like would not capture every psychically relevant thing, nor its most important, fundamental meanings.
If fundamental meanings are changed, all meanings in the system concerned change.
(More see Inversions of these meanings, in section Metapsychiatry.)
As mentioned before, I distinguish in the first stage of classification between these dimensions of the psychical Relevant (pR):
• the Absolute (A)
• the Relative (R) 12Abbreviation: Relative = R.
I deliberately set the R in italics in order to distinguish this symbol from the abbreviation which denotes the (psychical) Relevant (R).
• the Nothing (0).
The nothing plays a special role, which I will come back to. It only exists as a Pseudo-nothing (no²), because there is no ‘real nothing’ (nothing1). (In my opinion, this would be a consequence of −A).
As said, I use these terms as guiding concepts for the later named `7 synonyms´ (2nd stage of dimensions). More on Nothingness later.
The dimensions represent the ‘vertical classification’ of that which is psychically relevant.
[`Vertical´ means: from the highest and most fundamental point of view. See `The absolute Perspective´ in part Metapsychotherapy].
They attribute the respective fundamental meaning to the pr units and differentiations: an absolute or relative meaning.
Comparison of the most important fundamental meanings.
|first-rate / primary)||second-rate /secondary|
The absolute dimension is the decisive factor. The Absolute and the Relative have thoroughly different characteristics and effects. This fact is important when considering the theory of the genesis of mental disorders.
The Absolute (and the Nothingness) have a primarily “spiritual nature”, whereas the Relative is more material. (See also the corresponding representatives later).
Absolute or relative adjectives prove helpful in representing the nature of the respective dimensions. They provide information on whether forms of being and forms of life, qualities and their relationships have absolute, relative or no significance. In this study, the relative dimension is marked by gradable adjectives, whilst absolute adjectives serve to identify the absolute dimension.
[An absolute adjective is an adjective with a meaning that is generally not capable of being intensified or compared. The gradable adjective means we can have different levels of that quality.]
Overall, I classify the dimensions according to the following categories:
• their `spheres´ (absolute, relative, null = 1st classification stage;
or to the corresponding 7 synonyms = 2nd classification stage),
• their ‘rank’ (first-rate, second-rate)
• their ‘orientation’ (pro/+, contra/‒, null)
• their place of occurrence (e.g., dimensions of the world, the person, the psyche, etc.)
(More on that later.)
In this way, each pr phenomenon can be classified according to the following categories:
absolute, relative or null (0); first-rate, second-rate; pro/+, contra/‒ or null, and by its place.
Motto: The ground of things is the unconditioned, the Absolute. 13This is based on the following quote from Novalis: “We seek the unconditioned everywhere and find only things.” (NS II: 412, Nr. 1).
What concerns us absolutely? What is the original reason, the original cause of everything? What determines us the most? What is of the greatest importance for us and absolutely necessary? Hunger and love? (F. Schiller). The drives and the unconscious? (S. Freud). The “chow”? (B. Brecht). 14B. Brecht in `Dreigroschenoper: ”Chow comes first; morality second.” Religion? (P. Tillich). Genes? Pleasure or reality? Ideologies? The laws of nature? The views differ. I call it the Absolute (A).
– I believe: The Absolute is the determining spirit of everything psychical Relevant (pR).
The Absolute is the decisive instance according to which everything in its sphere of influence is ultimately directed. It is primal reason and primal matter of everything. Therefore, everything is ultimately to be traced back to an Absolute. Since it is the foundation of our spiritual life, it is always with us. Our live rests upon it. We stand or fall with our Absolutes. We live or die through them. But, it is (like the nothing) neither provable nor comparable, in the best case credible, but nevertheless of existential importance. But if the Absolute is most important, why not put it at the center of a theory and practice that deals with humans?
This idea is not new, but it has been forgotten.
In the past, the Absolute played a major role in the history of ideas: in Greek philosophy (Plato), in the Middle Ages with Anselm of Canterbury, Nicholas of Cusa, Thomas Aquinas and in the “modern era” with Spinoza, Jacobi, Moses Mendelssohn, Lessing, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Søren Kierkegaard and later Adorno (to name just the most important). At present, however, the Absolute hardly seems to play a role in philosophy – apart from sporadic “rescue attempts” by individual philosophers such as Gunnar Hindrichs15Hindrichs, Gunnar in `Das Absolute und das Subjekt´, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2008.
(Statement: `In contemporary philosophy, metaphysical thinking seems to be outdated´, p. 8ff.)) and Sergi Avaliani, who philosophized about the pseudo-absolute.16See References.
And it is not without reason that only a few people still listen to theology that is directly related to the Absolute.
However, what is most important to people, or even the Absolute, is very diverse. I believe that every person has their own Absolutes. Subjectively and individually, we have thousands of Absolutes: Gods that we love with all our heart, or devils and enemies that we fear and hate. Some people think safety is paramount, whilst others believe that health is the greatest good. A third group might say that the meaning of life is realized to be good people, whilst yet others are convinced that progress is of the highest significance. Others consider certain individuals to be the most important etc. In this way, every one of us has its own outlook on life and a frame of reference, in the center of which there is an Absolute. Mostly, an individual’s parents and the environment have a great influence on the development of this `framework´. Some of these worldviews are known by a certain name, as is the case regarding religions and ideologies but others are not. I have experienced that even individuals who are members of a particular church have a variety of private beliefs which often strongly contrasts with their relevant confession. Therefore, a formal profession of belief in God due to an individual’s affiliation with a Church might not be specifically meaningful. Besides their formal religion, they may also believe in money, power, progress, a political party, their father, mother, their wife or simply themselves – and is there someone of us who does not?17F. Nietzsche: „There are more idols than realities in the world …“ (Twilight of the Idols)
However, the most important may also be negative. It may seem most essential to a person not to be immoral, unfaithful, dependent, or not to become like another person. This negative goal then needs to be avoided at all costs, it is considered to be the worst possible outcome, an unacceptable condition, the unforgivable, mortal sin, or the like.
– In my view, all approaches to life, all worldviews, whether formalized or private, conscious or unconscious, have different Absolutes which are the basis of these worldviews and ideologies.
– Furthermore, the simple conclusion follows that these Absolutes determine also to which extent an individual is able to cope with their own person, with other people and the world around them. Therefore, these respective Absolutes are also crucial for the genesis and therapy of psychical illnesses.
– Considering the Absolute as the core of the psyche is not a new concept. The philosopher Karl Jaspers claimed that the kind of God a person believes determines his true being. (More precisely, one might say that the kind of God and the kind of devil a person accepts determines their true being.) S. Kierkegaard expressed similar thoughts. 181. Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, p 37–42.
2. Before this time, Plato, Kant, Schelling, Hegel, and Fichte discussed the `Absolute’.
3. In materialism and similar systems, there is little scope for the Absolutes. (Schischkoff and The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy). Especially psychotherapists of the “Viennese School”
(W. Daim and I. Caruso) were convinced that misabsolutizations are decisive of the emergence of mental disorders. Unfortunately, their work is little known.
• first-rate, actual Absolute (A) 191. I know that many people do not believe that there is such a thing as a positive absolute (God?). I think that is unwise, because the positive absolute, as I understand it, is the only thing that is not other-determining to us and does not demand anything.
2. The terms ‘actual´, `real’ and ‘first-rate’ as well as the terms ‘strange’ and ‘second-rate’ and the abbreviations : sA or A² are used synonymously. For the sake of simplicity, A usually stand for A¹. [Hint: I partly write God1 to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
• second-rate, strange Pseudo-Absolute (sA).
• subjective Absolute (this is often, but not always, a Pseudo-Absolute).
• objective Absolute (if it exists, which I assume, then it is always an actual Absolute).
All types can have positive or negative connotations. (The sA can also be ambivalent.)
That´s why I distinguish
• an actual, positive/ or negative Absolute (+A/ ‒A)
• strange, positive or negative (or ambivalent) Pseudo-Absolutes (+sA, ‒sA or ±sA).
(More in the section `Metapsychiatry‘.)
The Absolute (A) also determines the identity of a person.
(This concept can be summarized in the mottoes:
“I am like my A” or alternatively, “my A is my life”). In addition, the A is the ultimate creative sphere. Whatever a person places above themselves becomes an Absolute. Though the Absolute cannot be proven, it can be experienced and it is more or less apparent and plausible. It is not possible to prove the Absolute in general, nor is it feasible to prove the Absolute of a person (their Self). It is only possible to believe in it.
In principle, the Absolute is a metaphysical or spiritual category, which means that we can only describe it in words or portray it by using analogies or metaphors, etc. In this sense, it is unspeakable, elusive. It is a priori, a basic assumption. The Absolute is only defined by itself. It is self-explanatory. 20Thus, it appears reasonable that God should say of himself “I am who I am”.
Hint: I partly write God1 to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. Different rules and characteristics apply to the sphere of the Absolute than to the sphere of the Relative. (This statement will prove particularly relevant when examining the effects of Inversions and the genesis of illnesses, as will be explained in the following chapters.) An investigation of the causes of mental disorders is ultimately (!) a quest for the Absolute. Similarly, the main and most important answers (therapy) are also found in the area of the Absolute.
The 7 Synonyms of the Absolute (2nd stage of differentiation)
The character of the Absolute (A) becomes more apparent when looking at the origin of the word:
It originates from the Latin word “absolutus” and denotes a matter or subject which is detached and independent.
In this study, I use the following 7 synonyms:
1. absolute 21 The term `absolute´ is the keyword.
4. whole, complete
6. primary, first-rate
Short Systematic Overview
Rank of the Absolute
After the rank I distinguish actual first- and strange second-rate Absolutes.22 [Hint: first-rate and actual, and second-rate and strange are synonyms! I use these different names depending on the topic.]
• To the first-rate Absolutes (A¹):
– the first-rate positive Absolute (+A¹)
– the first-rate negative Absolute (‒A¹)
– Especially: the personal “attitude toward the Absolute”, which I will discuss later. 23 For the sake of simplicity, I often identify the first-rate A instead of A¹ only with A.
For further details on the + A¹ and ‒A¹, see the chapter `Special metapsychological topics’
• To the second-rate, strange Absolutes (sA) = the Pseudoabsolutes
– positive/pro and negative/contra-sA (+sA and ‒sA)
– strange nothingness (s0 or only 0). 24I use the terms `positive’ and `pro’ as well as the terms `negative’ and `contra’ synonymously.
They play an essential part in the emergence of mental disorders and will be
discussed in greater detail in the later chapters.
Spheres of the Absolute
The first-rate actual Absolute (A¹) has the following parts:
The first-rate actual Absolute (A¹) left,
has the following parts:
A-center = the core-Absolute is only and exclusively-absolute.
A-external = the external Absolute is relative and also-absolute.
In the first-rate reality, the Relative is co-absolutized by the Absolute, so that this Relative is here `also- absolute.
Preview: Areas of a second-rate strange Absolute (sA) resp. Pseudo-Absolute.
The core and relative spheres of the sA are divided and distorted. More details can be found in this section of ‘Metapsychiatry‘.
Representatives, Places of Occurrences
• Representatives of the 3 actual Absolutes
– Representatives of +A¹: God1/ love 25 [Hint: I partly write God1 to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.] and its choice.
– Representatives of −A¹: `the absolute evil’ and its choice.
– Representatives of the `absolute attitude´: the absolute sphere of person (see later).
[Also-absolute are: spirit, life, absolute qualities, subjects, everything, transcendence, people, the individual – in contrast to these Relatives: matter, function, relative qualities, objects, something, immanence, things, others. I will discuss their inversions later.]
• Representatives of strange Pseudo-Absolutes (sA)
+sA: general or individual +sA parts e.g.
ideal of itself = ‘Ideal-I’ or ‘Self-Ideal’,
ideal of others (e.g. ideal of other people, of the world as idol, ideologies, etc.)
‒sA: general or individual ‒sA-parts with absolutely negative connotations (e.g. taboos etc.)
0 : negated or repressed first-rate matters.
Overview and Preview of Important Terms and Abbreviations
A = the Absolute
sA = strange Pseudo-Absolute
sS = strange Self (= the personal sA)
∀ = strange All (in an all-or-nothing relations)
0 = Nothingness
It = complex of strange All and 0 (`dyad’) or of pro and contra and 0 part (`triad’) in the core.
C = general abbreviation for complexes that dominate personal and other areas of reality. 26The complexes range from the simplest complexes, the sA, sS, ” and 0, up to the Its, which consist of them and further to complexes, which consist of two or more Its, or as ‘hypercomplexes’ of very many Its.
(See also the section on complex formation in the part `Metapsychiatry’.)
Pro-sA and +sA on the one hand and contra-sA and ‒sA on the other hand will be viewed as equal throughout this book.
The terms will be explained in detail in the section ‘Metapsychiatry”.
The Meaning of the Relative 27Unless otherwise stated, this is about the first-rate Relative.
The Relative is created by the Absolute. The Relative is subordinate to the Absolute. It has a relative meaning in relation to it. Other than the Absolute, which only has one meaning and is first-rate, the Relative has a great variety of meanings. Relative would, strictly speaking, only be described in comparative terms. It could be compared to the interpretations of dreams or of symptoms, which are also not limited to one single specific meaning. So basically, you cannot think of the Relative as an independent. When we use the term “the Relative”, we should actually say “the Relative of the Absolute”. (Or something Relative of a Relative of an Absolute). Therefore, the Relative is not as independent as the term might have you expect. The word relative mainly describes a relation. The Relative cannot exist without the Absolute, in a similar way as there is no part without the whole – just as no illness exists in isolation from the affected person – or it is said, it would have a relatively independent existence. The Relative can be proved, the Absolute may only be believed. 28One might formulate more precisely: the Relative is ultimately only relatively good to prove, whereas the Absolute is absolutely believable. But the (actual) Absolute is more credible than a Relative one.
The Relative is best defined from the Absolute.
The first-rate relative sphere forms a continuum with its components but our language divides this continuum into separate entities. This also applies to the classification of diseases, which are also something Relative.
Contrary to the Absolute, the Relatives can only be in a relative opposition. I.e., two Relatives can only be set in relative opposition to each other. Therefore, there is no dualism or absolute opposition of body and soul, health and illness, subject and object and so on in the first-rate reality.
Absolute opposite and separation only exist between the positive and negative Absolute +A and ‒A. (More on this later).
The Relatives as strange Pseudo-Absolutes (sA) however, can be of absolute relevance to the individual. Then they are not only ambiguous but often appear to be contradicting and paradoxical.
The qualities of Relatives are not absolutely distinct, which means that something that usually has a negative meaning, can appear positive (and vice versa) – i.e. everything Relative has one relative positive (+) and one relative negative (‒) side, or several of these sides. There is no Relative that is solely positive or negative. Then it would not be relative but absolute. The sayings: “Everything (Relative) has two sides” and “Everything has its advantages and disadvantages” are well-known. This fact is also important when it comes to mental disorders, which are also Relatives. It relativizes the statement that illness and its causes are solely negative and health and its causes are only positive. Only God1, more or less also the first-rate Self, spirit, and life can be seen as actual Absolutes. The terms “person”, “personality” and “self” can be used best to show the Absolute part of a person. Also, terms such as sense, truth, fairness, dignity, freedom, and love are indicators for the actual Absolute.
Terms such matter, body, thing, object, the worldly or functions are important representations of the Relative. 29[Hint: I partly write God1 to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
7 Synonyms of the Relative (2nd stage of differentiation)
Just as I named 7 synonyms of the Absolute in the 2nd stage of differentiation, I also name 7 synonyms of the first-rate Relative:
The Relative (compared to the Absolute) is:
- relative 30The term `relative´ is the keyword.
- dependent 31Relative properties should always be presented in the comparative form, however, for the sake of simplicity, I will portray them in their base form in this study. More on later.
Preview: For comparison, the most important characteristics of second-rate Relatives (R²).
(See also in the Summary table columns I and L, lines 1-7. Character of the sA ibid. Column K, lines 1-7).
For their identification I mostly use the left, first mentioned forms here.
1. inadequate/ hyperabsolutized/ unrelated
2. strange/ hyperidentical/ without identity
3. unreal/ hyperreal/ essenceless
4. split/ one-sided/ detached
5. accidental / determined/ undetermined
6. second-rate/ extreme/ unconnected
7. too heteronomous/ pseudoautonomous/ detached.
More on that later.
Assignment of certain absolute and relative aspects.32(More about ‘The Absolute and Relative in comparison’ – in the unabridged German version.)
Symbols which Show the Relations between A and R
These pictures show the priority of A compared to R (from left to right):
The Absolute is the center/ the superordinate/ the basis/ the primary/ and the comprehensive.
According to it, the Relative is the peripheral/ the subordinate/ the superstructure/ the secondary and the limited.
The Nothingness is outside of AR.
The Nothingness (0)
I believe that the actual nothingness is a result of the actual negative Absolute.
The strange nothingness may be seen as a result of a strange Pseudo-Absolute (sA) and as a category of second-rate realities. E.g. Something became worthless, meaningless, nothing, null, void, negated, etc.
See also the `Genesis of the nothingness´.
General Units/ Systems
I distinguish the following pr systems/units that will be described more specifically later on:
(I denote the more absolute before the Relative).
- Everything, All – Something
- God – World
- People – Things
- I – Others
- Spirit – Body, Mind.
If you look at the dimensions, there is an absolute and a relative area in every system/ unit.
If it is a first-rate pr system, there is only one actual Absolute.
Is it a strange, second-rate pr system however, there will be at least two if not multiple strange Pseudo-Absolutes.
Shortcut: system, unit = Σ
(The terms unit and system are used synonymously here for the sake of simplicity.)
World, Person and I
“That I recognize what the world holds together in the innermost.” Goethe, Faust.
The world, the person and the I (= WPI) are made of one first-rate reality and a lot of second-rate realities. Whether our world is „the best of all possible worlds“, as Leibniz said, or whether one is, as Schopenhauer (and Buddha) said, stricken by “the sorrow of life“, or the person is considered good or bad – philosophers have very different opinions about that. I think everything from ‒A to +A is represented, although most of them are probably somewhere in between. I.e., people live in a world between heaven and hell – sometimes belonging more to one side than the other. This is a world that will always be in need of redemption, just as we are.
A commonality of all realities/ systems (Σ) is that they are determined by different Absolutes (actual A or Pseudo-sA).
For more details on the following topics see the unabridged German version:
Basic relations in pr realities / systems.
Relations between spirit, psyche and matter.
Interplay of general language forms and differentiations.
Relations between various pr units.
Human between +A / ‒A and R.
In the chapter ‘Metapsychology’, you will find the introduction of the classification of any kind of psychical relevant topics.
The classification has a vertical and a horizontal axis.
The vertical axis indicates fundamental meanings (key concepts: absolute, relative and nothing).
The differentiations make up the horizontal axis. These are deduced from fundamental forms of language.
All psychical relevant realities have specific dimensions and differentiations, where the absolute dimension determines the specific reality. It is divided into first-rate and second-rate, strange dimensions and thus, into a first-rate and second-rate realities.
The first-rate and second-rate realities have very different properties. Thereby, the second-rate strange realities (especially the second-rate psychical ones) are the most important basis for the development of psychical disorders.
One can say:
1. In general (after the `first classification stage´): Metapsychology, or what is psychically relevant, has to do with existential, fundamental meanings whose main representatives are the Absolute, the Relative and the nothingness, and with what nouns, verbs and adjectives represent – i.e. with “structures” (forms), “movements” and “qualities”. And psychically relevant connections have something to do with what subjects, objects and predicates represent (1st classification stage).
2. The `2nd classification stage´ corresponds to the first vertical column of the Summary table.
In keywords: Metapsychology or the psychical Relevant (as well as the psyche) has to do with: actual or strange Absolute, Relative or Nothing, with sense, identity, truth, unity (wholeness), unconditionality (security), causes, independence (a1-a7); Further with: All and nothing, God and the world, I and other people, spirit, mind and body, gender, conditions, aspirations, ownership, necessities, obligations, rights, new and old, actions, information, portrayals, meanings, mistakes, past, present and future, with qualities and with all `movements’, i.e. actions and processes that are connected to them – all that can have actual or strange absolute, relative or no importance.
3. To the `3rd classification stage´, one could allot all pr terms of the Summary table.
4. Infinitely differentiated, one could say: Metapsychology and also the psyche have to do ultimately with every word and sentence.
For me, it was most useful to use the usual grammar as a basis for analogies in order to differentiate psychically relevant things. Thus the used classification appears, like the language itself, as an open but ordered system, which can be extended or changed if necessary.
It seems to me that this categorization, therefore, offers considerably more possibilities than the usual classifications in psychology and psychiatry to represent something psychically relevant in general or the psyche in particular.
The attention to the existential basic meanings of the psychologically relevant (“dimensions”) and the presentation of their confusions is, in turn, beneficial for understanding the genesis of mental illness. (⭢ Metapsychiatry)
Summary of the Dimensions and Differentiations and their Classification
Here, I focus on the topics of the `2nd classification stage´. I will try, in particular, to find answers to the following questions:
Which are the most important psychical relevant (pr) topics? What is reality, truth, freedom, the Self, the I and so on?
Is there only one reality, just one truth, one freedom, one Self, etc.? Or are there a lot of them: a lot of realities, a lot of truths, a lot of freedoms, many Egos and Selves? And if so, what are they?
In this chapter, I distinguish with regard to every specific, psychical relevant topic between absolute and relative forms and between first-rate (= actual) and second-rate (= strange).
• The first-rate forms consist of only one +Absolute, which comprises many relative forms.
• The second-rate forms consist of many strange absolute and strange relative forms. Here, the strange absolute forms are separated into two opposites and one zero part.
(Why this is so, I explain later.)
So I distinguish between
– one first-rate Absolute (+A), which forms with its Relatives (R¹) a manifold unity: one first-rate reality/ world (W¹)
– and on the other hand many second-rate, strange Pseudo-Absolutes (sA) with many second-rate, strange Relatives (R²) which create diverse second-rate realities/ worlds (W²).|
These statements are basically statements of belief, although a lot of the specific literature gives the impression that this is not the case..
Phrases like “there is no absolute truth!” can be found often. However, these authors should say: “I believe, that there is no absolute truth!”
In the following section, the 7 aspects of the dimensions are sequentially ordered (`2nd stage of dimensions). The division is the same as in the Summary table.
What applies to first-rate Absolute and the second-rate Pseudo-Absolutes (sA), also applies to first-rate or second-rate identity (a2), first-rate or second-rate actuality, truth (a3), first-rate or second-rate unity (a4), first-rate or second-rate unconditionality/ safety (a5), first-rate or second-rate causes (a6) and first-rate or second-rate autonomy and freedom (a7). At each first-rate aspect, I mention a `Meta’-term. So I want to make it clear that this first-rate meta-stage is the highest, includes everything Relative and is stronger than any sA, which have only relative importance from this perspective.
The Absolute and the Relative were discussed above in chapter `Dimensions‘ (1st stage).
In relation to the (main?) function of the Absolute (from Latin absolutum, “the solved”) one can say:
• There is one first-rate absolute solution (= salvation and redemption) and many first-rate relative solutions.
• In contrast, there are many second-rate solutions: second-rate (pseudo-) absolute, when a relative solution has been absolutized, or second-rate relative, when other solutions have been derived from a pseudo-absolute solution. (For details, see section `Solutions´)
Identity can be understood as the ‘inner unity of a person’ or as ‘essential likeness’.
I distinguish first-rate, actual identity and second-rate, strange identities:
• The first-rate, actual identity encloses all possible relative identities, no matter if they are positive or negative. It is based on a positive Absolute.
I think that the identities we give ourselves, such as ‘a good person’, our profession or our status, are not the absolute identity but more relative/ attributive identities. I believe the highest identity is the identity that God1/ love gives to us, (theomorphism), which also continues to even if we are not at ease with our own idea of our identity. 33Hint: I partly write God1to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.
It represents itself personally as the positive Self. It also integrates our second-rate, strange identities. That means, that I can always feel identical to myself, even if I am strange to myself or can’t see who I actually think I am. Even from that perspective, entirely alienated, I receive a fundamental, indestructible identity.
One can identify this identity also as `meta-identity´ because it stands above and integrates all other relative or strange identities.
• In contrast to that, there is a lot of second-rate (pseudo-)absolute identities. They consist of one hyper-identical and one contrary, strange and one zero part. They are fixed on specific identities and exclude other, mostly negative ones. In this case, the affected person has either the sense of a strange or even unacceptable identity, of a hyper-identity, or no identity at all.
Example: If my status as psychotherapist establishes my absolute identity, then I would feel as if my entire identity is lost when losing this status. Also, relativistic over-identifications may lead to a strange or non-existent identity, although many authors see it differently,
e.g.: “The structure of the complete Identity is a reflection of the whole social process”. 34de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolischer Interaktionismus
The definitions by the Self of Kernberg and others goes into the same direction.
It appears good, to define the above named attributes (nationality, profession …) as something that is part of one’s actual Self. More powerful, however, is the first-order core identity, which is found deep inside a person and leads me to always be myself. But whenever relative identities become absolute, the person is confronted with a lot of different, sometimes paradoxical identities, that cannot be integrated anymore. Isn’t that one of the main problems of our clients, that the free and unshakable identity is being limited and bound to severe requirements, so that we can only feel comfortable and identical with ourselves if these internalized requirements are met? Isn’t it obvious, how vulnerable, questionable, delicate and potentially pathogenic such an image of man is? But we need an indestructible identity.
(See also `Disorder of the person’s identity´ and `a2 Identity and otherness´).
I am convinced, that there are several “truths”.
I distinguish between first-rate, actual truth and “second-rate, strange truths”.
• The first-rate, actual truth includes all relative truths. It is based on a positive Absolute.
The first-rate, actual truth is an entity with a variety of relative sections of truth. I also count logic and rightness as part of this. More specifically: Every relatively true statement is connected to a relatively opposing statement, which is also relatively true. Both “truths” are neither absolutely true nor absolutely untrue. 351. An example: Although the statement is generally (mainly) correct that one should not hurt other people but the opposite can be also correct in individual cases (for example, surgery). I use here the terms correct and true, respectively, false and untrue synonymously.
2. Therefore, the often endless discussions about who is right are mostly senseless because usually neither side is absolutely wrong.
Sometimes, a relative untruth can be truer than a relative truth. E.g.: Although the statement is generally right that one should not hurt other people, the opposite may be more right in individual cases (e.g., surgery).
Those relative truths only stay true if they are embedded in the first-rate actual truth. The first-rate truth does not only include objective truths but also subjective truths. One could identify it as ‘meta-truth’.
Also: objectivity will be the most truthful if it does not attempt to be solely objective but also includes subjectivity. And subjectivity will be the strongest and truest if it involves objectivity.
The first-rate truth is stronger than the second-rate, strange truths, and can compensate those.
• In the case of “second-rate, strange truths”, a relative truth is turned into an absolute truth, and a relative opposite becomes an absolute opposite. Then, there is only absolutely true or absolutely untrue, right or wrong, black or white etc.
What someone has absolutized will also determine what he thinks is true and right. So a capitalist will believe true and right is that what increases his capital, or a moralist, what serves morality, etc. Also: If a (relative) truth will exaggerate, a relative untruth arises. Similar to the realities, the various truths also depend on the Absolute. They are subordinated to an Absolute and this Absolute determines if they are first-rate or second-rate. Those statements go hand in hand with the conceptions of the modern logic. For example: “The correctness or falsehood of a system can only be determined from outside of the system”
= Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. 36Logik Wörterbuch p. 189
Truth and Rightness
Truth is stronger than rightness because the latter is often “short lived”. (P. Bamm)
Here are just a few keywords: We need to differentiate between truth and `rightness’. Truth is an important topic in philosophy, rightness/ correctness in sciences. The truth one can believe, the rightness one can prove. Truth first and foremost captures the essence, rightness the thing in itself. Similar statements: truth is a semantic category, rightness a syntactic category.
Truth is believable, the rightness is provable but the credible is stronger than the provable. “The dignity of man is inviolable” and similar statements are truths to me. But one cannot prove that they are right.
Although the truth is often defined as accordance between reality and intellect (“Veritas est adaequatio rei et intellectus”), I see no accordance because reality is only partially logically comprehensible.
The rightness should be embedded in truth and the search for truth should not be independent of the search for that which is correct. To me, rightness appears as a kind of relative truth.
I distinguish between first-rate, actual unity and second-rate, strange “units”.
• The first-rate, actual unity may be absolute or relative.
There is only one first-rate unity, in which all relative units are embedded.
Personally, I believe that the unity of a person with God1 is an absolute unity. This unity contains all the (positive and negative) Relatives, also splittings and dissociations. From that standpoint, nothing can separate us from God1 and there cannot be any kind of dissociation within us because we are always protected and secure in that unity. Therefore, I believe that this is the strongest force against any psycho-pathological division and dissociation because every society and every individual tends to split off the negative, and our human power is often not strong enough to overcome these splittings.
This first-rate, actual unity is a kind of `meta-unit´
• In contrast, there are many second-rate, strange “units” that are determined by strange Pseudo-Absolutes (resp. ‘It’). These It and their units are self-contradictory (→ The It as a nine-sided triad), have a contradictory dynamic (see, e.g. `Disorder of the person’s identity´) and are found in all mental illnesses (e.g., schizophrenia).
I distinguish between first-rate, actual safety and second-rate, strange safeties.
• The first-rate, actual safety may be absolute or relative. There is only one first-rate absolute +A based safety with a large number of first-rate, relative forms of safety. One can speak of a `meta-safety´ because it is higher than all relative safeties or uncertainties and compensates these. That means, that in spite of uncertainties, a person might still feel safe at a “higher level”.
• In contrast to that, there are many second-rate, pseudo-absolute and strange relative safeties.
The pseudo-absolute safeties have one “over- secure” variant, one opposite too insecure and one zero variant.
Example: Something can cause a person to feel absolutely safe: such as being absolutely sure, to reach a certain goal. However, if this safety is questioned lost, the safety may become a big uncertainty. Anything in-between is missing. Also, there is no awareness of other safeties (zero variant).
I distinguish between:
a) first-rate, actual causes, which can be first-rate and absolute (“primary cause”), or hereinafter relative (“first-rate relative causes” from R¹).
b) second-rate, strange causes (“strange causes”), which emerge first from strange Pseudo-Absolutes (sA), or hereinafter from their Relatives (R²).
To be more exact:
• To a)
One may think of one first-rate, actual cause with a large number of relative causes from R¹.
Personally, I see the first “primary cause” in God1.
[Hint: I partly write God1 to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
A second, “primary cause”, corresponds to the basic attitude of a person, which can be the foundation of multiple other causes. For our topic, it is important, that people do not only see themselves as victims of a complex interplay of conditions and requirements but also as a person who can primarily and independently bring new positive to a system.
• To b)
Second-rate, strange causes emerge if relative causes are given pseudo-absolute importance. These are causes for certain behaviors, perceptions, etc., that often not correspond to the actual fundamental attitude of a person. They are products from It/sA or their systems. Those have two opposite parts and one zero part. That means, that the second-rate causes, such as a heteronomous desire, are divided into a pro-part (“I want this”), into its opposite (“I want the opposite”) and into a zero part (“I want nothing”).
The It/sA are typical second-rate causes. 37Remined: sA = strange Absolute, It = sA, Contra-sA and 0sA as three-part “unit”. Hint: I partly write God1 to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. They create second-rate worlds/realities, second-rate personal and individual changes (WPI²). Those may become further second-rate causes, especially of illness. The It/sA as second-rate causes have very special characteristics and effects, which will be listed in detail later on (s. Emergence of strange, second-rate Realities). It is worth mentioning that they mainly have indirect and ambivalent effects. They also extend far beyond the original range of action (s. Spreading and compression). They are the cause for vicious cycles. 38Since vicious cycles occur in the relative range, they are best resolved from an + absolute range. (See later)
Six Hypotheses on Cause of Changes of the Psychical Relevant (pR)
1st hypothesis: The primary causes of a pr occurrence come from the absolute sphere of a subject.
That “subject” may be a person or +A or ‒A (see later). Put otherwise: The above-named subjects are able to bring something totally new into pr systems. The Person is not the only cause of any changes. So, as said before, the person is not just a product of some relationships but may add something new to his own healing process.
2nd hypothesis: In a pr system, any pr cause may have any relative result. That also means, that, put the other way around: Any relative result – negative or positive – (such as health or sickness) may come from every kind of cause. But with very different probability! (Exceptions s. below.) That also means, that any psychical symptom of illness, may have a large number of different causes, even if the probabilities are very different.
E. Bleuler said something similar to that: “It took very long until one realized that a psychopathological disorder can be caused by very different noxas and that one noxa may lead to different disorders.” 39Bleuler E. Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie. Springer-Verlag Berlin-Heidelberg-New York, 1983, p. 132.
That also means there is no absolute clear interpretation of symptoms, dreams and other kinds of pr phenomena but interpretations may only have high or low validity. (In that context, it is good to mention that opposite interpretations of second-rate realities are more likely than one would assume.)
When it comes to therapy, that means that: There is a great variety of therapeutic possibilities, even if the quality is very different.
3rd hypothesis: Is about an exclusion of the 2nd hypothesis: An absolutely positive cause has no absolutely negative result, and the other way around: An absolutely negative cause has no absolutely positive result.
Expressed in religious terms: There is nothing absolutely negative coming from God1 but something relatively negative sometimes (something that feels negative, such as sorrow and illness). Also, there is nothing absolutely positive that can come from ‒A but something relatively positive. God1 focuses on the +A, whereas the goal of ‒A is the absolutely negative.
4th hypothesis: Results of causes may become causes for other results. These can occur as circular or systemic causes, or as web or bundle of causes.
5th hypothesis: First-rate causes originate from the spiritual sphere.
Although the primacy of a spiritual (or ideational) causation cannot be proved, nor the primacy of material causation, there is presently the danger of one-sidedly searching for causes of mental illness in the material-somatic sphere and, accordingly, of treating them unilaterally (KW Psychotropic drugs).
[Since it is known that traumatization can cause brain and gene changes that are hereditary, one must also relativize some notions of heredity.40 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgenerational_trauma.]
6th hypothesis: If the principles (axioms, apriori) are wrong, then their derivatives too.
Further see `Causes of mental disorders´.
We, as humans, are only total independent when it comes to our absolute ability of choice. Otherwise, we are more or less dependent. I believe that only God1 is absolutely free in all matters. We are free only in relation to the Absolute. 41What I denote the `choice of the Absolute´ or `primary virtues´.
S. Kierkegaard said something similar. Therefore, I believe that the goal of absolute autonomy and independence, that a lot of people and therapists have, is unreal and overexerts us.
I distinguish between first-rate, actual freedom and second-rate “freedoms”.
• The first-rate, actual freedom may be absolute or relative. There is only one first-rate, absolute freedom with a lot of first-rate, relative forms of freedom.
• In contrast to that, there are a large number of second-rate (pseudo-)absolute and relative² “freedoms”. Those are split into one too free, ‘libertarian’, one strange and one unfree part.
Freedom is first-rate if it is connected with responsibility and embedded in +A (in love, in God1). Whenever freedom is isolated from responsibility and love and still put as absolute, it becomes a second-rate, strange Absolute.
First-rate quasi celestial freedom also exists, when I can say that I am free, even though I am actually not. Put in other words: I also have the freedom of being dependent/ not free.
The first-rate freedom is stronger than the second-rate freedoms/ unfreedoms.
An important sign of second-rate freedoms is the limitation of choice.
In this section, I want to contrast forms of being that represent Relatives (matter, etc.) to those which are close to the more absolute (spirit, soul, etc.).
I assume that in the first-order reality there are fluid transitions between these entities, without the respective entities losing their own characteristic features. Limitations and divisions only occur in the second-rate realities on account of the strange Pseudo-Absolutes (sA). That´s why I believe that the human person is only unity in its first-rate reality. But since we also live in a large number of second-rate realities and also exist as such ones, we, like our environment, are more or less torn.
That also means that there are usually splittings, contrasts, disassociations (and other sA-results) between spirit and body or within the psyche or the spirit. Put in other words: There is a great variety of forms of being in the first-rate reality which together form a single entity. In the second-rate realities, however, there are a large number of forms of being, which are partly strange or opposite to each other. Therefore, they might become incompatible and the cause of illness.
They are, however, relativized and integrated by the +A. In other words: No matter how torn and broken a person feels, he can still feel as unity and secured on a higher level.
Matter and spirit: Which one is the dominant one? I assume that the spirit is dominant in relation to the matter, i.e., the first-rate spirit determines the matter and not the other way around. As mentioned, spirit and matter are not necessarily opposites, since the matter may be a possible expression or result of the spirit. Surely, the matter can also determine the spirit but only the relative sphere of the spirit, not the absolute spirit. But matter can dominate a person as a strange Pseudo-Absolute. The actual absolute spirit, however, remains free and can be chosen at liberty.
I think of a similar hierarchy when it comes to humans. The hierarchy would be: spirit > psyche > body.
In the best case, there would be no kind of contradiction between those “parts”.
The latest findings of natural science raise doubts about the primacy of the spirit in relation to the matter. But it will probably depend on a person’s belief, what is seen as the primacy. I have little doubt as to the fact that the spirit has the most power (positive and negative).
The following questions are of great relevance when it comes to practical aspects and everyday life:
Is the body more important than the spirit or vice versa? Is the matter more important than the spirit or vice versa? Is the soul more important than the body or vice versa? Is the outside more important than the inside or vice versa? What are the top priorities of therapy and analysis of mental disorders? Are the priorities mostly found in the spirit or in the somatic area?
Can one not be happy, although one’s body is “broken”, whereas it seems to be impossible to be happy when one has a broken soul but a body that is perfectly in shape?
Doesn’t the spirit eventually determine the personality and not the genes? Fanatic ideologies that took millions of lives; children of Nazis, such as the son of Nazi Borman and others, who lived in an absolutely different way than their parents, are important examples of the power of negative and positive mindsets, that cannot be explained with the genes alone. 42In this work, ‘ideology’ is the guiding concept for all inversive attitudes, including the individual ones.
But: Every ideology has positive sides too. It is all the better, the more it resembles the positive Absolute (+A) which is discussed later, and the worse and more morbid, the more opposing it is to +A.
(See also later Relations between Spirit, Psyche and Body).
Life is a characteristic of the first-rate reality/ world (W¹). In W¹, the functioning is subordinated to life.
The first-rate reality lives essentially (in the core) on its own accord.
In the second-rate realities, the functioning dominates the life of the individual. If we have the feeling that we are only functioning and not living, then we are in a second-rate, strange reality.
The question of good and bad or of right or wrong is one of the most central questions of our soul life. It is not without reason that we have lost Paradise after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad / of right and wrong. [n the following I sometimes only use the terms `positive´ and` negative´.]
What is objectively good or bad or right or wrong is ultimately a matter of belief.
In general, there should be a consensus that what is good/ right promotes people and that evil/ wrong harms people. Subjectively good and right or bad and wrong is how the person feels it or what he thinks it is. The subjective and objective assessment can agree, but often does not agree. We consider some things to be negative even though they are positive (→ Resistance). And conversely, we consider some things to be positive, even though they are objectively negative and harm us. We can sometimes hate the same person too much and love too much (including ourselves), even if the “object” has not changed in principle. These and many other ambivalences or paradoxes are ubiquitous.
What one thinks is positive or negative does not only play a role in general with regard to the question of ‘war or peace’, but is also relevant as ‘inner war’ for the development of mental disorders. Because what is considered to be evil, diabolical, hostile, etc., is usually hated and fought against. You cannot identify with it, integrate it. That which is the positive, beloved, divine etc. for one, without being it, is usually too much loved, promoted and one over-identifies with it.
What we take to be absolutely positive (+sA) or absolutely negative (−sA) forms the corresponding opposite: Whoever has idols (+sA) with which he identifies and is addicted, also has corresponding devils, enemies (−sA) who threaten him.
If we continue with the above-mentioned classification, we could say:
• There is the one, first-rate absolute good / positive (see +A below) and a large number of first-rate relative good/ positives. And there are many second-rate “good” / positives.
• There is the one, first-rate absolute evil/ negative (‒A) and many first-rate, relative “evils” / negatives. And there are many second-rate “evils” and negatives.
• The good is not necessarily associated with well-being.
• The +A integrates everything relative negative or absolutized.
• After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good/ right and bad/ wrong, we are now “cursed” to do the good/ right and to avoid the bad/ wrong.
• The first-rate qualities are unsplit and represent a multifaceted unity.
The second-rate qualities are split into two opposite parts (all or nothing) or three (pro, contra or 0 part).
A positive pro-part (= positive hyper-quality) causes over-strong positive emotions, which are usually felt more strongly than the emotions caused by the actual +A. (→ Addiction, Seduction). And negative hyperqualities produce over-strong opposite emotions.(→ Defense).
See also: The Emergence of the It, The Opposites and their Dynamics).
Terms that express absolutely positive are: God, love, Holy Spirit, absolute good, etc.
I distinguish the following first-rate positive Absolutes:
1. “God” – as quasi unconditional, comprehensive, positive absolute personal – as far as a “definition” is possible here at all.
Hints: – Because these are my conceptions of God and there are many other or no conceptions besides, I partly write God1 in part to indicate that these are my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.
– God1is of course more than the +A. He includes as +AR also the Relative. +A alone without the relative is absolutistic.
2. The `absolute attitude of a person´ towards the +A.
(For more information, see section: The absolute attitude of the I).
Both of these together express a loving relationship that includes the possibility of free choice. (Such as it is in human relationships.)
This +A (God1, love, and the Self) cannot be proven. If it was provable, it wouldn’t be absolute. No proof is necessary. They are self-explanatory and self-evident. “I love you!” and not “I love you, because…”. That means that love is basically absolute. It is causeless, unprovable, not disputable. It cannot be ‘produced’, but wanted and given. It appears by itself. So it is basically very simple but does not mean that you should not put effort into keeping the love. Love, at its core, is something spiritual. (It is also something spiritual and physical – but first and first-rate spiritual.) Love represents something godly and heavenly.
I believe, man was made for love and freedom (God1), that is also: the man has the freedom to reject God and love.
Also the universal human rights are not provable but obvious such as love, the Self or God1 and therefore it can only be believed.
I think, the Ten Commandments, morality, good deeds, etc., are, compared to God, only of relative, albeit first-class, positive relevance, as are all the positive aspects of worldly life in general. Those and other first-rate +Relatives such as +realities, truths, freedoms and so on, create only a unity with the +A.
As positive Relatives, you could also say: they are also-love, also-in-God1.
Important: +A integrates anything Relative and also the strange Pseudo-Absolute (sA).
(See also `Absolute and relative will´ and `Right and wrong´.)
Terms like: Mortal enemy, absolute evil, devil, demon, etc. would most likely denote the negative Absolute.
The negative Absolute (‒A), also seems basically to be an actual Absolute. 43Although I consider the ‒A to be very important for the development of diseases, I have limited myself mainly to the pathogenic effects of sA in this work, since these are alterable and the former (‒A) is not.
However, it is ‘weaker’ than the positive Absolute. Therefore, one could call it, in comparison to God, the ‘weaker actual Absolute’.
One could make the following distinctions:
1. An outer- or supra-personal negative Absolute (which was formerly called the devil).
2. A personal negative Absolute.
About 2: I believe that the personal negative Absolute is a fundamental, unrevoked, destructive attitude of an individual in favor of the absolute evil. I also believe that it is justifiably unforgivable because such an individual does not want forgiveness. In the bible that is called mortal sin. (→ The absolute attitude of the I).
Unfortunately, a large number of people, theologians included, view some other negative behavior or attitudes as unforgivable, as a mortal sin.
So: No fear of mortal sins, which are not mortal sins.
For details, see also `Right or wrong – To the guilt question´.
On the topics: Is there evil at all? And to dualism. See the unabridged German version.
Note: Although I consider the ‒A to be very important for the development of diseases, I have limited myself mainly to the pathogenic effects of sA in this work, since these are alterable and the former ‒A is not.
Does evil exist at all?
Some people believe that evil does not exist. That man is good in himself.
But: Could you pull a plastic bag over the head of a human being, an innocent one at that, tie it at the neck and enjoy how the human being suffocates agonizingly in front of you? Some people can do that! Could you grab a small child, who has done nothing to you, by the feet and bang its head against the wall until it is dead and listen with good feeling how it screams for its life and watch how its skull cracks open … ? Some can do that!
The list of these cruelties is long and don’t tell me that there is no primary evil in the face of these and many other brutalities on this earth. However, I do not mean that all atrocities represent “absolute evil” and are unforgivable. Much is the result of negative environmental influences. And I also do not imagine to be able to distinguish the one from the other and to rise up to the judge. However, I have no doubt about the fact of a primary evil.
Nowadays, besides the false deadly sins on the one hand, the loss of evil in people’s thinking on the other hand is to be deplored, because the loss of this negative absolute causes other, relative negative things to take its place.| Moreover, and this is perhaps even more serious, if I assume the non-existence of a primary evil, I have to show understanding to all perpetrators who do evil to me and, if necessary, pity them even more than their victims. Such a view, to which there are strong tendencies today, carries the danger that then the perpetrator is helped more than the victim and thus the facts are perverted. (Other keywords: “all reconciliation”, wrong localization of evil, everything must be understood and treated, etc.).
About the Subject
I am dealing here above all with the person (P) as a subject. 44God1 is for me a `first-rate personal subject’ also. Hint: As said, I partly write God1 to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.
• We can distinguish between two parts of the first-rate person (P¹) as the subject:
– P¹ as an absolute subject = the absolute
te I-self, with an absolutely free choice of the A and with absolute attributes such as uniqueness and singularity.
– P¹ as a relative subject.
A first-rate subject (P¹, God1) compensates or integrates all relative and absolutized objects without becoming identically with them.
• As a second-rate subject, P² is a surrogate-subject because it is determined by an It/Pseudo-A and acts as such. Therefore, I also call it “Sobject” because it is half subject and half object in its core.
Mentally ill people often see themselves as an object because they are determined by a strange subject (It/Pseudo-A) as a sign of second-rate personality (P²). Also S. Freud, like most secular psychotherapists, only saw humans in their second-rate dimension – that is, only as a secondary subject (“sobject”), which itself is only an object of strange Pseudo-Absolutes or super-ordinate instances (especially Id and Superego) is.
About the Object
As first-rate object, the object can probably not be first-rate absolute but only first-rate relative.
As second-rate object, it will be controlled by an It/sA , or it is absolutized itself.
– In the second-rate P² there is either a subject-object-split, a subject-object-fusion or a subject-object-negation.
– The first-rate person P¹ is a first-rate subject at its core; otherwise, in its relative sphere, it is subject and object at the same time. Here, there is no subject-object-split, no dualism but only a difference between a subject and object. (But a superiority of the subject over the object).
That also means, that as long as the subject is connected to +A, it can integrate all objects, even the negative ones, so that it will not come to a subject-object-split or fusion. That is very important for the therapy of psychoses.
However, the subject-object issue is not only relevant for psychiatry but it is also a superordinate philosophical problem. Therefore, it is briefly mentioned here because the problem’s solution offers practical consequences.
“The subject-object issue is a major problem of epistemology and of the occidental way of thinking in general, which consists of the question, as to determine the, in principle, two-parted relation between subject and object.” 45Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon, keyword: Subjekt-Objekt-Problem, 4. edition, 1992.
In my opinion, dualisms and monisms prevail in the second-rate realities – but in the first-rate reality, peaceful diversity dominates. Because our world is both, first-rate and second-rate, the question of what is dominant can only be answered with regard to a specific situation.
Can I, as a subject, view the world completely objectively? Only in part.
Can one objectify a subject completely? Probably just as little as you can turn an object into an actual subject. And: subjective things can be captured best using subjective methods. (→ Subject-object-reversal)
“Cogito, ergo sum“ or „Credo, ergo sum“?
“Nil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio.” (“Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than too much cleverness.”) Seneca
A question of priority, similar to the one of matter and spirit, is one of belief and knowledge.
Belief pertains to spirit and knowledge seeks provable facts. The borders between belief and rationality are fluent.
In the first-rate reality, there is no conflict between both of them but rationality and knowledge are subordinate to belief. Every bit of knowledge is based on specific fundamental ideas. Belief, on the other hand, is not ultimately based on the fundamentals of knowledge or logic. How absurd would it be if a person were to demand: “Prove to me that you love me; that I am lovable; that I have a basic right to live, etc.?”
Belief moves the heart, the core, the absolute area of a person, more than knowledge. Belief is stronger but per se not better than knowledge. But: A good belief is better than good knowledge.
On the other side, negative or destructive belief can be much more dangerous than negative knowledge:
The belief in some sort of ideologies, leaders or idols killed innumerable people, more than anything else. Goebbels once said something like: `You don’t have to understand the leader (Führer, Hitler) but you do have to believe in him.´ Therefore, inhuman ideologies are the most dangerous.
Why should we not use belief in a positive way if it has so much power?
It seems, that we paradoxically renounce to talk about problems of belief, due to an exaggerated belief in science. It is not only good knowledge that should help our patients but also a good belief, that helps the patients to get better. I experienced that patients have more trust in a believable therapist than in an intelligent one.
Some catchwords referring to that topic:
– Belief and knowledge are like brothers – but belief is the most powerful, the most prolific and is said also to be the most terrifying.
– You may believe anything. Beliefs have a great variety – knowledge is limited.
– Belief contains knowledge but pure knowledge per se does not contain belief. One can say: “I believe this or that because there is proof.” But one cannot say: “I know this and that because I believe in it.”
– Knowledge is not accessible to everyone but belief is. Example: “The mother is talking to her baby … and nobody says: ‘What are you saying? The baby doesn’t even understand anything you say!'” 46[CIt. from Y. Cohen: `Das misshandelte Kind´, Brandes und Apsel-Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 2004, p.31].
But the mother believes that her child understands, even if it does not know what she is saying because the mother imparts the most important: love that you can only believe in.
Similar thoughts in `Adieu Sagesse´ (Daphne Du Maurier); `The Delusions of Certainty´ (Siri Hustvedt). See also `Trust and knowledge´.
Examples of unilateral attitudes of belief and rationality:
Fideism: Overemphasis of belief associated with the undervaluation of knowledge.
Scientism: “Over-evaluation of science, that makes appear that all … problems can be solved through science.”
Positivism: Philosophy … assuming the priority of data of experience … and viewing metaphysical consideration as useless and impossible. (Cit. correspondingly by Schischkoff).
I distinguish between first-rate, actual sense/ meaning and second-rate, strange sense/ meanings:
• The first-rate, actual sense/ meaning can be absolute or relative. There is only one first-rate absolute sense/ meaning and many first-rate relative forms or definitions of sense/ meaning.
It is reasonable, for example, to do good things, to stay healthy and fit (and so on). However, I believe, that these are not of absolute but of relative importance and are embedded in a greater sense/ meaning, which I believe, is the unconditional love of God1 to us. That love still exists and causes happiness within us, when all the other sense/ meanings seem to be lost.
I call this first-rate sense `meta-sense´ because it is more important than all strange sense/ meanings but integrates them.
• In contrast to that, there are a large number of strange, second-rate, pseudo-absolute and -relative forms and aspects of sense/ meanings. These have two opposite and one zero component.
Example: If success has first-rate meaning for a certain person, then it has a strange, pseudo-absolute meaning and then it also seems reasonable, to fight or oppress other people if those are endangering the success. Besides: The pseudo-absolute sense tips over into senselessness at a certain point, if it is overused.
Relativity of Illness and Health (resp. Death and Life)
Only a few notes:
– We should free ourselves from viewing illness as something solely negative, something that has to be eliminated. Health and illness are only of relative relevance. That means, that illness also has positive aspects and health also has negative aspects. Experience shows the same: illness can have important functions for the protection, resistance, relief or identity of a person.
Although disease is predominantly negative and health predominantly positive, however, health can be predominantly negative and disease can be predominantly positive. Therefore, I also use terms such as “positive depression”, “positive psychotic phase”, “positive anxiety” or “positive compulsion”.
Examples for positive suffering/symptoms: withdrawal of drugs, surgery, compassion, detachment-processes.
Examples for ‘negative well-being’: well-being through drugs, symbiotic relationships, of flow experiences.
– There are connections between good/bad and healthy/ill: The good is correlated more with health, and the bad with illness.
– There is a fluent transition between illness and health. There are probably very few people that are completely healthy or completely ill – that also applies to the psychical sphere. We all have something neurotic and potentially psychotic in us.
– If health or illness is taken too seriously (absolutized), distorted theories and therapies may occur.
Against the Absolutization of Health
Our society not only has an idealized perception of health – looking at the WHO definition – but it also persuade us to believe that this ideal can be reached and that everyone is entitled to it. 47Keyword: „Healthismus“.
If we, as doctors, absolutize health, there will be disorders. Absolutized health can make people ill or charge another high price. If we enforce health at any price, the probability is high that it will disappear. That is a well-known mechanism we also experience on a daily basis. 48S.a. dynamic between Pro-sA and Contra-sA.
There is also the general trend that our society tends to absolutizing the entire worldly life.
(See also: “Role and Meaning of Illness and Health” in `Metapsychiatry‘.)
As mentioned, I distinguish between the following pr units:
[The more absolute unit is mentioned first, then the relative one].
1. All /Nothingness and something
2. God and World
3. People and things
4. I and others
5. Spirit, soul and body
Short: 2-4 = WPI (frequently used abbreviation)
1. All /Everything, Nothingness and Something
I distinguish between first-rate and second-rate all/ everything, something and nothingness.
I use the terms `all´, ‘everything’, `reality’ and anything that is psychical relevant, as synonyms in this publication. Here about reality.
One hypothesis is: There are a large number of realities: one that is first-rate and many which are second-rate.
So there is one first-rate reality, which is manifold (W¹), and on the other hand, there are many second-rate, strange realities (W²), which are fashioned according to the all-or-nothing principle. That is, the second-rate all/ everything is opposed to the nothingness.
(For details, see Emergence of strange, second-rate Realities or in the unabridged version).
2. God and the World (Transcendence and immanence)
I defined God1 as the unconditional, positive personal Absolute – provided a definition is even possible.
From the first rank perspective, it can be said that there is God1 only one , and with him, an immeasurable diversity of life and being, for God1 embraces all that is not ‒A without having to be completely identical with it.
There is a large number of things which are taken to be God1 or stand for God1 . They can resemble God1 in parts or be quite dissimilar to God1. Unlike the ‒A, however, they do not stand in absolute opposition to him. (That is why I name them `strange Pseudo-Absolutes´).
God1 is best and directly to be experienced through Jesus. He is thus directly “testable”. God1 permeates the world with the Holy Spirit but he is not identical with it. Unlike other Gods, he lets all of us decide freely if we want to be with or against him.
Therefore, the world is also ruled by other spiritual powers and not solely by God1 . That is why God1 is only partial (albeit always) effective, although he is omnipotent.
For further characteristics, see section `+ A ‘.
3. and 4. People, Individual (I)
One can specify human existence as follows:
I distinguish between first-rate, actual human existence, and second-rate, strange forms of human existence.
• There is one first-rate, absolute form of human existence with many first-rate relative forms.
• In contrast to that, there are many strange, second-rate forms of human existence.
Since, by nature, every human being has the potential to be relatively positive and negative, man encounters problems when he idealizes his relative positive parts or taboos his relatively negative parts because then second-rate personal forms arise and then he lives against his original nature.
But this, I believe, affects more or less all humans. That is, every person has one first-rate as well as many second-rate forms of existence (such as otherworldly forms of existence). The latter are divided into two different or opposite parts and one zero part.
Regarding the question of the unity of body, soul and spirit, this implies, that if those have a first-rate, actual character, they are a diverse entity. But in second-rate forms of human existence, man is more or less divided, unreal and alien. The split is not only between body, soul and spirit, but can also be found within the body, soul or spirit itself.
Briefly more to the following questions:
Does the human person have free will? Can the human person be the creator of something absolutely new?
I believe so. Otherwise, every new creation, every kind of creativity, every invention would be a combination of old components only. Anything really and completely new would not exist. There would not be anything that is completely one’s own. Wouldn’t innovation and progress be only a better, new use of something old in that case? Do artists just combine familiar things only in a new way? Are there no real inventions?
Those questions are connected to the individuality of one’s personality. Otherwise, everything would only be a new composition of old components (genes). Then, the human person would only be a product.
The Human and the Absolute
Hypothesis: The human is designed towards an Absolute.
People definitely need an Absolute. And: people want to be absolute themselves, too.
Every person has one or many Absolutes that can be actual or strange. Humans often try to find their Absolute in the Relative. With that, not actual but strange Absolutes are created which elevate a person but also cause the person to break down.
The human is also `AR-dimensioned´ i.e. with absolute and relative parts. However, other than the rest of the world, every human has it’s special and specific Absolute, here stated as ‘Attitude toward an Absolute‘. (Look there).
The absolute sphere of a human person has two parts:
1st The mentioned individual choice/ attitude of the Absolute,
2nd The absolute attributes which are given to the human person by God1 such as first-rate freedom, personal integrity, the right to self-determination, absolute identity and dignity.
The world gives a person just something Relative, and therefore only an ephemeral existence which can be manipulated and suppressed – in my opinion, that is a situation which can cause mental disorders. So the human person is only completely absolute in his choice/ attitude of the actual Absolute. That means, man as a whole is never completely absolute, nor absolutely himself, nor totally identical with himself, nor completely real or true, nor totally consistent, nor absolutely unconditional, nor fully independent, and so on. Instead, the human person is always somewhat paradoxical or senseless, a little strange, split, chaotic, fixated, crazy, extreme, uncertain, pseudo-autonomous etc.
What does the human need?
It seems that the human person needs a large number, especially love and food. But what is more important? I believe that love is more important for a person than food. People have a great longing for love. In our earthly sphere, in shape of the search for a partner; ; for religious people in the form of the search for God. The experiment of Friedrich II of Staufen is well-known. To find the primeval language of the human person is, he commanded women to take care of orphaned children without talking to them. The children received anything but no love. They died sadly. And there are still a large number of people nowadays that are experiencing the same dilemma. They have everything that they need in their lives, yet they kill themselves. That’s why I believe that man needs love. I believe that our souls carry the pain of the loss of paradise throughout the entire life and they are longing for paradise to be back. F. Nietzsche said: “… all joy wants eternity”. 49 Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Part IV: Chapters 10–20 (p. 3)
Modern psychology however, views the human person primarily only as immanent. According to Rudolf, “the goal of the ego’s activities is to assert its own interests while at the same time ensuring the necessary social relationships.”(p. 67)
The Human and the World
The person differs from the impersonal world as follows:
– The person has access to the sphere of the Absolute. Therefore, the person has an absolutely free choice – the impersonal world does not. The person has the potential of self-determination and free choice absolutely only in relation to the Absolute and relatively towards the Relative.
Thus each person has his own individual Absolute and is so individual (indivisible and unique).
– The human person has the potential to create something which is not derivable.
Those possibilities are being disputed by some psychological theories. Some neuroscientists are trying to persuade us to believe that the ‘I’ is only a product of neuronal processes and does not have its own will. (So also some theologians like already Augustinus and Luther).
– The human person has the ability of self-reflection and has self-awareness.
– The world (W) and person (P) interrelate with each other. P is embedded in the world, is a part of the world and is influenced or even determined by it – on the other hand, P also changes and determines the world.
These pr units are of great importance when it comes to the possible causes of mental disorders.
Because the structures and characteristics of societies and states are essentially the same as those of all pr systems, they are therefore, only mentioned briefly..
Such as all the pr systems, they represent as a mixture of one first-rate and many second-rate realities. Every society, state, community or any kind of group has positive or negative influences on the individual person. The second-rate units/ systems, which are dominated by different ideologies, have a predominantly negative influence. The dynamics in societies and states are quite similar to the psychodynamics of humans.
The goodness of a society or a state is recognized above all if it is able to integrate its weak or ill members.
[Person/ Psyche and I → `Psychology´]
5. Personal Mind, Soul and Body
Especially for the therapy, it seems to me important that the spirit not only has a much greater influence on the psyche than the body but also that the spirit is considered much freer, more variable for therapeutic interventions and/ or is most important for personality changes. Therapies that emphasize the material-somatic sphere (e.g., the psycho-pharmaceuticals) are of course still relevant.| More see Relations between Spirit, Psyche and Body.
Embedding of pr Units
The graphic shows:
1) that the different pr systems/units have similar fundamental structures.
They consist of noun-representatives, verb-representatives, representatives of the adjectives and their connections (syntax), especially in form of subject- and predicate- or object-representatives (horizontal level).
All these aspect may have an absolute or relative or no meaning (vertical level).
The respective Absolute determines the respective system/unit.
2) Further the graphic shows how smaller systems are embedded in bigger ones.
I A indicates that the individual has its own `attitude toward the absolute´ – contrary to non-personal areas – and thus cannot be determined automatically from other units.
The illustration of the connection of the different units/systems is important to understand, how certain changes, especially disease-promoting influences, can be transferred from one system to another one.
The same classification for all the pr units, shall make it easier to understand the connections.
In this part ‘PSYCHOLOGY‘, the general classification of ‘METAPSYCHOLOGY‘ is transferred to the person.
Again, I start from an analogy between language and psyche. This leads to some new interpretations of person and psyche.
Note: The `Summary table´ offers a very compressed textual and tabular overview. The links there allow the reader to quickly switch to the corresponding chapters and to keep the larger picture in mind.
In this chapter, the terms, definitions and dimensions of the person and psyche are explored.
Since the terms ‘psyche’ and ‘person’ are rather similar, both of them will be discussed together in the following paragraphs (whereby the concept of the person is more comprehensive). Both notions will be abbreviated by the letter ‘P‘, unless further specified. While the term ‘human’ comprehends the spirit, soul and body alike, the concepts of the person and psyche emphasize spirit and soul. Therefore, the concept of the person appears better suited to discuss the topic at hand than the notion of the human.
Previously, the similarities between the ‘structures’ of the world and those of the person in their respective psychological relevance were discussed. These are similarities between the ‘outer’ world on the one hand and the person with their ‘inner’ world, their psyche, on the other hand. Due to these similarities, a repetition of certain parts already presented in the chapter ‘metapsychology’ cannot be avoided.
• The psychical Relevant (pR): Everything that is relevant for to psyche of a human.
• World (W): human and environment.
• Human: Entirety of the spirit, psyche and body.
• Person (P): The individual human especially with its psychical-spiritual dimension.
• Psyche: The personal psychical Relevant.
• I (I): Individual person in its entirety. (For more details see: Own definition of the I) 50The term `I´ stands mostly for the first-rate form and the term `Ego´ stands mostly for a second-rate form.
• Ego: second-rate, strange I.
• Self: The Absolute of person.
• Personal something: The personal Relative (relative dimension of a person, e.g. body of a person).
The definitions of the term ‘person’ vary in specialist literature:
– “An individual in his unique character.” (Schischkoff)
– “The human as cognitive individual.” (Brockhaus)
– “The human as individual in his physical and mental whole with the capabilities of an Ego which is conscious of itself.” (Psychology)
– “Human as an individual spiritual being, in his specific peculiarity as the bearer of a consistent, conscious Ego.” (Wahrig)
I define the person as described above: Person (P) = “the individual, particularly as seen from the perspective of their mind and spirit.” Or: Person = “Totality of all forms of personal being, life and qualities in their contexts, represented by analog personal nouns, verbs and adjectives (and other language components) and their syntax in various dimensions.”
Definitions of psyche also vary widely. Two quotations show that:
1. “The prevailing understanding of psyche today refers to the ‘total system’ of all those (life) ‘impulses’ that ‘the vernacular’ has long termed as inner life or soul life, there subdividing the same into rational mind and emotional life, as does academic psychology too. This refers first to the totality of such ‘life expressions’ or self-reactions that are primarily or exclusively accessible to self-perception, and thus can only be observed and described from the subjective or today’s so-called ‘first-person perspective’ … “. 51https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psyche 6/2015.
2) Psyche = “Entirety of subject-linked appearances of reflection of the environment caused by higher nerve functions.” 52http://www.dwds.de/cache/shortcuts/Psyche 12/2010.
While the first definition is quite in line with my conception, the second is more in line with the neuro-biological tendencies of today’s academic psychology. Their main problem, however, is that the psyche of a human being is inadequately captured by purely scientific methods.
A number of authors, including myself, attempt to overcome this shortcoming, including Frank A. Gerbode:
“In this sense, `metapsychology´ restores the original meaning of `psychology´ as `the study of the soul, or spirit´, and the applications of metapsychology reflect the perennial common goal of both therapy and religion, whether one calls this goal the attainment of sanity, of enlightenment, of happiness, or of salvation.“ 53Frank A. Gerbode in http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?5935-Introduction-to-Metapsychology
It is the objective of this discussion to facilitate an extension of perspective, rather than to exchange the one one-sidedness by another. Not: brain on the one hand and spirit on the other. Not: psychology on the one hand, and philosophy or religion on the other and still to set emphases.
New Definition of the Psyche
I define psyche as the personal psychical Relevant. 54In this publication, the terms ‘psyche’ and ‘soul’ are used synonymously.
[Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
And I define psychology as “the study of the personal psychical Relevant.”
Psyche is the sphere of a person that contains, represents and reflects everything that is relevant to it.
That includes all, which affects the inner of person itself, as well as that which is meaningful to the person outside of her/him.
That also means:
1) In terms of location, the psyche is not limited to one person. While it has a core (the Self ), which is individual and unique, it is also connected to the environment and transcends the physical boundaries of the person. Thus, the psyche of each and every person is embedded in a metapsychological sphere.
2) The psyche cannot be limited to certain topics or aspects. It can include, contain, process and reflect all that is relevant to a person. This fact is important, since there has always been a tendency of bounding the psyche to certain aspects. As I said, at present there is a tendency to limit the psyche to what can be objectified and scientifically proven.
3) For the human psyche, something may be of absolute, relative or no importance. The most important for a psyche is, what is of absolute importance.
4) Since the human is able to reflect upon himself, he simultaneously occupies the role both of a subject as well as that of an object. Here is a danger of subject-object-division, as well as subject-object-fusion or dissolution of the two. (More details in `Subject-Object-Problem´ and in `Subject-object-reversal´).
In a vein similar to all the other psychical Relevant (pR), the psyche has distinct dimensions and differentiations.
(Compare also with the explanations in The General Psychical Relevant)
The dimensions of the psyche are the following: absolute, relative (and zero) dimensions, or their 7 synonyms.
In this study, the differentiation of that which is psychically relevant, as well as the differentiation of the psyche, are deduced from the forms of language portrayed above, leading us to the define four main differentiation aspects of the psyche (`1st classification stage´):
I. Psychical forms/structures – deduced from personal substantives.
II. Psychical dynamics/ “movements” – deduced from personal verbs (and predicates).
III. Psychical qualities – deduced from personal adjectives.
IV. Psychical connections, subjects, objects, predicates – deduced from the personal syntax. The term “personal” means that the form, dynamics or quality of a matter are related to a particular person.
Examples of “personal verbs” are words such as: to identify, commit, allow, believe, feel etc.
That is to say: Psyche has something to do with what person-relevant nouns, verbs, adjectives express in absolute, relative, or void importance.
And psychic connections have something to do with what, for the person relevant subjects and predicates resp. objects represent.
A further differentiation is the `2nd classification stage´. 55As stated in the Summary table.
This 2nd classification stage´ corresponds to the second vertical column of the Summary table. A summary involving relevant keywords might say: The psyche comprises: the personal sense, identity, truth, union (wholeness), the unconditional (security), causes and triggers, freedom (a 1-a7). Furthermore: personal All and nothing, God and the world, other people and me, mind and body, gender, conditions, aspirations, possessions, possibilities, necessities, obligations, rights, new and old, actions, information, representations, meanings, past, present, future, wrong and right (individual aspects) and all related personal `movements’, thus actions and processes – which are dominated by the dimensions, i.e. with their absolute, relative or negligible role.
To a `3rd classification stage´ one could attribute all terms found in the`Summary table´.
A most comprehensive definition could formulate the concept as follows: A person’s psyche includes everything that concerns the person. All things can concern a person, but a person is most affected by what has absolute meaning for him or her. That which affects the person finds its most important and nuanced expression in language ((individual and general).
Thus, all things about which persons speak are expressions of their psyches. In this respect, what is expressed in language correlates with what concerns the psyche, and the patterns of the language used correlate with the patterns of the psyche. 56I would like to emphasize again that, whereas I do not regard language as a person’s exclusive way to express themselves, I consider it to be the most important and nuanced way of expression.
Advantage of this definition:
One can well classify psyche by using analogous language forms (differentiations) and their meanings by different dimensions. Thus we get different personal resp. psychical relevant units or subunits. Thereby the term ‘psyche´ is not limited to the realm of the mind and soul but includes the body, which is also ‘inspirited’.
In this way, the body belongs to the psyche. In my opinion, this definition expresses much more clearly that these are not two separate entities (body, psyche) but rather, this is a union with different accentuation.
Moreover, as I said, the definition of psyche is even broader, for it includes not only the person himself but also everything outside the person, which is of some significance to him.
Overview of the Classification of Person and Psyche
In this study, the terms “person” and “psyche” are discussed in the same paragraphs and used synonymously due to their general congruence.
At times, for the sake of simplicity, merely one of the two terms are explicitly mentioned. The terms first-rate / actual or second-rate /strange are used synonymously. Often, I use only one term.
The readers may apologize that I only present this extensive problematic in a nutshell.
This classification is to comprehend all aspects of the person and the psyche. (See Summary table. Here only the second classification stage).
The differentiation aspects of the person and the psyche are to be portrayed in such a way that they include all potentialities of their use, such as in everyday language.
The dimensions, in turn, indicate whether these aspects have absolute, relative or no meaning. They provide information about the position of the individual aspect in the order of priority, i.e. whether their form of appearance is a matter of first-rate or second-rate (strange), personal/ psychic forms. This distinction is important since the second-rate, strange forms play an essential role in the emergence of mental disorders. In other words, that which is second-rate, strange, personal/ psychic, is more prone to develop a disease, in particular whenever these strange parts dominate.
The dimensional orientation plays also a role in the personal dynamics in the part ‘Metapsychiatry‘.
Thus, similar to The General Psychical Relevant also the ‘classification’ of person and psyche is undertaken according to the following categories:
– their spheres (absolute, relative or 0-range)
– their 7 synonyms
– their order of priority (first / second-rate)
– their orientation pro +/ contra ‒).
• Differentiation by means of analog patterns of speech which are relevant to P.
• Units that may be relevant to P.
Note. That which is personal and Absolute will be termed the ‘Self’. In the first-rate personal sphere, the relative sphere of P is at the same time an also-self-sphere because the relative personal is enclosed by the Self. This is not the case with the second-rate, strange personal to be discussed later in the `Metapsychiatry‘ section.
(For more information, please ether see the table on the right and in the following]
Unlike the classification of the `general psychically relevant’, here the person and the psyche are entirely central. Thus, individual new terms or terms that have to be defined more specifically, have appeared and need to be defined with accuracy. These are, in particular, the terms ‘Self’, ‘I’, and ‘It’. In order to remain rather close to reality in my study, I have attributed to these terms the meaning they are given in everyday language. However, further clarification of these terms is necessary, since they are also terms which are central in psychoanalysis. There is a considerable degree of congruence with the concepts discussed in psychoanalysis, however, there are also some differences.
The structure of the person and the psyche shall be described more specifically in the following paragraphs. 571. In the place of the terms: `person’ or `psyche’, the notion: `I’ could be inserted.
2. Person and psyche are used synonymously here.
I derive the psyche (= the personal psychical Relevant) in the same the way I derived The General Psychical Relevant (see part `Metapsychology’) because the structure of psyche resp. person resembles the structure of the world as that of the world in its perception by man.
However, there are decisive differences: The person has absolute freedom of choice, the ability to create and to reflect upon himself/ herself.
Similar to the dimensions of the ‘world’ resp. the psychical Relevant in general, I distinguish with regard to the person between the Absolute, the Relative and the Nothingness. That which is the personal Absolute will be termed the ‘Self’, that which is personal Relative shall be termed the ‘personal something’, and the individual person will be referred to as the ‘I’.
(As mentioned above: `Ego´ is the second-rate I; we will return to this matter at a later stage).
Thus, what concerns psyche/person can also be divided with the help of the linguistic analogies into the four main areas and the 23 individual aspects with the corresponding dimensions.
Derivation of the four main aspects of person in their absolute and relative dimensions
(1st classification level):
Analogous to this, psyche is, classified according to the IV main aspects, the personal psychological Relevant with their being, life, properties and their contexts in absolute, relative and 0 dimensions. (The 0 dimension is not drawn here.)
Further derivation into 23 individual aspects
(→ 2nd classification level):
Illustration of the derivation of the psyche from analogies of the language with the central Absolute and peripheral Relatives.
The main forms of language of the upper row are equal to the psychically relevant aspects of the lower row.
On the right hand side you can find a list of the 23 aspects of differentiation.
This illustration should also clarify that any aspect, that is not 0 (nothing), has an absolute and a relative (grey) part.
Each form (noun) is related to certain dynamics (verbs) as action (action verb) and/ or process (inchoative verb) with corresponding quality (adjective) in a corresponding context (syntax). The syntax gives us information about the functions and relations of the named personal “elements”. We can differentiate here according to the function: personal subject, predicate / object and depending on the direction of the “dynamic”: active, passive and reflexive.
All this on the basis of different dimensions.
This categorization has the advantage that nothing personal or psychical or psychical Relevant is excluded but also taken into account the fact that everything psychical Relevant can become an absolute importance and than determines a person.
There are the following 2 (or 3) areas of dimensions of person and psyche: 58There are two dimensions if we look merely at the absolute and relative dimensions; however, there are three dimensions if the nothingness is considered to be a separate dimension.
1. personal Absolute (pA) = the Self (S).
2. personal Relative = personal something. 59This stands In contrast to the `It’ – the absolutized Relative – which dominates a person and will be discussed later.
(3. personal nothingness). 60A nothingness which is personal² however, seems to be exclusively assigned to the second reality.
Besides, there are still the second-rate, strange Selves, which I discuss more precisely in ‘Metapsychiatry‘.
„What lives is ineradicable, remains free in its deepest form of servitude, remains one even if you split it to the base,
remains unwounded even if you pierce it to the marrow and its being flies victorious from your hands.“ (F. Hölderlin)
Questions about the Self
Is there a Self? And if there is, what exactly is it? Does every person have a Self? Even a new-born? Is the Self an entity which is given at birth or is it developed with time? Is the I-self an unity, as Hölderlin wrote, or is it split, for instance into “I” and “me” (G.H. Mead), or else, as Lacan wrote, into “je” and “moi”? Or is the I-self, in line with Nietzsche’s beliefs, with regard to morals, always a “Dividual” – an entity which is divided within itself? Is the Self and therefore also the ‘I’, thus never an individual, undivided, a whole?
Self-Definition in Literature
In modern psychology, the Self is generally considered to be: 61Point 1-3 adapted from articles in: Brockhaus Encyclopedia, Mannheim, 1996, keyword `self ‘
1 – “System of conscious and unconscious knowledge of what a person believes to be.” Similarly: The Self is understood as the awareness of oneself.
2 – a “term to describe the coordinated control of these knowledge processes, frequently referred to as ‘ego’.” (S. Freud). 62A similar definition can be found in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/self?s=t (Philosophy)
3 – a “term to describe an inherent principle of a person’s development, whereby the Self represents the cause and the purpose of the maturing and differentiation of the personality in the sense of self-realization.”(C.G. Jung, C. Rogers et al)
4 – The Self as “the sum of self-representations”. Similarly, O. Kernberg wrote: “The Self is an intra-psychic structure which is constituted by multifarious self-representations and corresponding emotions. Self-representations are affective-cognitive structures that reflect the self-perception of a person.” 63„Borderline-Störungen und pathologischer Narzissmus.“ Suhrkamp, Frankfurt, 1978, p 358.
Similarly in G. O. Gabbard: Psychodynamic Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. 2005, p. 45.
5 – Kohut speaks of “the realization through action of the (life) plan laid down in [man’s] nuclear self.” 641. A similar definition can be found in A Dictionary of Psychology (4 ed.)
2. Nuclear Self and core Self are the same in this publication.
6 – Similarly, Tilmann Moser: “No-one has an innate self which could come to maturity by its own efforts … However, all men are born with a desire to develop a self …”. 65Tilmann Moser by Alice Miller: „Das Drama des begabten Kindes” in DER SPIEGEL 29/1979 of 16.07.1979, p. 141.
7 – Psychology Lexicon: Self – “The entirety of all qualities, behaviors and attitudes which one believes to be characteristic for one’s own person.” 66 In: http://www.psychology48.com/deu/d/selbst/selbst.htm
8 – Rudolph: “the self can be defined as the moment when the Ego, on a quest for an object, comes to take itself for an object.” 67Rudolf p. 63.
9 – Today’s philosophy of the mind explains it in the following way: “If by `self´ one refers to an essential, immutable nucleus of the person, some modern philosophers of mind believe that no such thing exists. The idea of a self as an immutable essential nucleus derives from the Christian idea of an immaterial soul. Such an idea is unacceptable to modern philosophers with materialist orientations … However, in the light of empirical results from developmental psychology, developmental biology and neurosciences, the idea of an essential inconstant, material nucleus … seems reasonable …. The following conception is the most widely accepted: The ‘self’ is not to be understood as an immutable, essential nucleus; rather, the ‘self’ is itself constantly changing … In this respect, striking similarities between some ideas of the modern philosophy of the mind and traditional beliefs of non-European cultures (such as Buddhism) come to light …”. 68https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophie_des_Geistes, 2016.
Most of the authors do not point out the difference of the actual Self and the strange Self, or the difference of the core-Self and the relative Self (also-Self).
Also therefore, there are a lot of different definitions.
Further to the different definitions presented above:
Ad 1 – A definition of the Self is certainly a matter of belief. But I believe that there is something universal and objective behind the concept of the (actual) Self. If, for instance, a person is convinced that he/she is worthless on account of an illness, then the respective person would be suffering from an inferiority complex which, in turn, convinces this person to believe that he/she is worthless. However, in reality, this person’s value is equal to that of all other individuals. This person is clearly wrong in their beliefs. They believed in that which I termed the strange Self.
Ad 2 – The term described in this definition is categorized as ‘I’ in this study.
Ad 3 – In this definition, the (actual) Self is clearly to be regarded as cause and purpose. This definition is very similar to Aristotle’s concept of entelechy, meaning that there is something within us, “which has its own purpose within itself.” 69(Schischkoff, KW `Entelechie´.)
If this metaphysical reality transcends the individual person and yet envelops him or her in a loving manner, then this would appear to be the best self-definition. However, if “maturing, differentiation and self-realization” have to be accomplished primarily by the person themselves, then these are, in my view, rather functions of the ‘I’. This, in turn, would merely identify a part of the Self (the relative Self) would be described, not the nucleus of the actual Self which is effective by itself.
I, for one, wish my children a stable sense of self-worth, whether or not they have reached their full potential, stagnated in their maturation or personal development, or even regressed to a previous state – and don’t we all have this adverse experience?
A Self dependent on any progress, however, would be subject to constant fluctuations, which would permanently endanger the person.
Ad 4-6 – The Self of Kernberg is also a limited, weak Self. In my opinion, it would merely be the sum of numerous strange Selves. The actual Self however provides the humans with a sense of an actual Self. This Self encompasses the entire breadth of an individual’s life, thus giving the person identity, dignity and strength, regardless of all people or an individual’s own conscience.
Ad 7 and 8 – While these are clearly definitions of the whole-Self, they do not distinguish between the nuclear Self and also-Self, nor do they provide any information about an innate nuclear Self.
Ad 9 ‒ Thinking the Self as the immutable core of a person’s being corresponds, to a large extent, with my beliefs. However, this definition describes solely the nuclear Self and does not take into account that its deselection is possible. Much as we acknowledge that the individual has absolute free choice of the Absolute in general, so we should also concede that they have a free choice of the personal Absolute, the Self – this means that we can confirm or reject the positive absolute nuclear Self given by God¹. This can be an, at times unwitting, activity or attitude of the absolute I-self-nucleus and would also mean that, having been given an innate nuclear self, we also possess the innate option to confirm, change or even reject the nuclear self. Thus, even the Self which we obtain from God¹ is not imposed upon us but offered to us. I consider this to be a sign of an unconditional love which neither leaves man to the necessary to find himself, nor imposes a Self upon him. 70In this study, this relationship has been characterized before as a loving relationship between God¹ and people. It is also my belief that the innate, actual nuclear Self urges the individual to further develop their personality, however it does not make this by itself but requires our co-operation. Will the actual nucleus (given by God¹) disappear whenever we are not growing? I believe that it can be suppressed but that the actual nuclear Self is continuously active as a discreet and caring companion, in such a way that we notice a certain tension and feel challenged to courageously be ourselves.
It is good to know that, notably in the Christian conception, the innate Self is inviolable, indivisible and even stronger than an individual’s active I. (Further see in Self-strength and Ego-strength).
This conception of an innate Self corresponds to the beliefs upon which the universal human rights are based, expressly ascribing in the preamble, an innate dignity, freedom and equality with all others to every individual.
Therefore, in my opinion, there is an innate nuclear Self, such as an innate dignity exists too. If it were otherwise, every person would be easily manipulable.
Is there an immortal, eternal Self resp. I-self?
Is there a constant Self or merely a Self that is temporary and inconstant?
Academic psychology will deny the former, since it ultimately starts from an atheistic position.
However, experience shows that, alongside our inconstant self-image, we feel that we are always the same person. While I might feel different from day to day or in various periods of life, nevertheless, I have the impression that I am always myself, always Torsten Oettinger and no other person. In my opinion, both of these self-images persist alongside one another: on the one side, there is a temporary, inconstant self-image, which corresponds to the relative Self, and, on the other side, we have a constant, deeper self-image/ sense of Self that is equivalent to the nuclear Self. Reducing the person or the Self to the relative Self (or its self-representations), leads to the exclusion of the most important thing.
Contemporary psychology does not view the Self as an indivisible whole but as an entity that consists of many self-representations (see Kernberg). One might also say that a person is not thought to be an individual (indivisible) but a ‘dividual’, one who is composed of parts. [One of the exceptions in German literature: Luise Reddemann)71: “Würde – Annäherung an einen vergessenen Wert in der Psychotherapie”. Klett-Kotta, 2008.]
This view is not conducive to the treatment of mental illness, especially schizophrenic psychosis, because it is based on a concept in which the various, self-representations are not held together by a larger whole, but have weak points and fault lines that leave the affected person too exposed and broken. This can also affect groups, families, or societies. In conclusion, one might say that if the client is not granted a nuclear self resp. an absolute personal Self but merely a conditional, relative Self, the client will be much more unstable and vulnerable than a person who is conscious of their unconditional, absolute and inviolable Self.
Therefore, the therapist’s self-concept seems to be an essential factor in psychotherapy.
Overview of Criticism
Prevailing opinion in psychology/psychiatry today.
The Self is:
It is made of many self-representations, that are not
connected to each other by an indivisible whole.
Those self-representations can be lost at any time.
They, and the Self in general have to be maintained by making efforts.
The self-image is equivalent to a relative attributive Self and does not know the characteristics, of the described core-Self.
In my opinion, it is a weak, stressful self-image,
that is not an ideal basis for psychotherapy.
Christian image of Self
The core-Self is:
not dividable, indestructible.
It exists on its own, functions by itself and does not have to be constituted nor maintained by the I.
Also, the person has the free choice supported the actual Self or to establish a new one.
Since the person does not have to strive to sustain the self, it saves a lot of energy.
It is much more suitable to be used for therapeutic purposes
To me, the term ‘self´ includes, in general, any use and meaning of the word ‘self´ in the colloquial language.
Self = anywhere, where one can say ‘self’.
In order to limit the Self to the personal Self, which is our topic, we can define as it as follows:
Wherever one can say ‘self’ in meaningful, person-related sentences, it is a personal Self.
(When I speak of the Self in the following, I mean this personal Self.)
I distinguish between an actual, first-rate Self (a) and those which only appear thus so – the strange Selves (b).
1. To make it easier to understand, I will usually identify the whole actual Self (core-Self and also-Self) as ‘Self’ and name other kinds of the Self differently. As said before: Nuclear Self and core Self are the same in this publication.
2. The strange Selves are explained in detail in the section ‘Metapsychiatry’.
The issue of the Self of a person is above all an issue relating to the identity of the human person and an issue relating to the underlying Absolute or the underlying spirit.
That means that the image we have of ourselves tells us who we are.
There are many questionable answers: You are what you have! You are what you know! You are what you do! etc. And there are a lot of questions: What is self-realization? What does it mean to trust yourself? What is that kind of Self? Who am I?
The Actual, First-Rate Self
As already mentioned, the term ‘self’ is used to describe the actual, first-rate, whole Self, unless indicated otherwise. 72By Self is meant below only positive Self, unless otherwise indicated.
Similar to the description of the character of the general Absolute (A), the character of the Self is absolute, too. It is the personal Absolute.
The Self also has 7 synonyms (2nd classification stage).
The Self is:
1- absolute, 2- identical with itself, 3- actual, 4- whole, complete, 5- unconditional, 6- first-rate, 7- independent.
Question: What is a `core-Self´ and an `also-Self´? What is absolute and what is relative?
1st answer: The `core-Self´ is exclusively absolute, exclusively itself, exclusively actual, exclusively whole, exclusively unconditional, exclusively first-rate and exclusively independent. (You could also say: It is absolutely absolute, absolutely itself, absolutely actual and so on.)
The `also-Self´ is also absolute, also itself, also actual, also whole, also unconditional, also first-rate, and also independent. But at the same time, it is also relative, also different, also possible, also partial, also secondary and also dependent.
2nd answer: The core-Self = In a sentence where you can insert nothing but ‘self’ or one of its synonyms (invariant).
Also-Self = Alongside the term ‘self’, you can also insert another term without risking mutual exclusion.
Examples of the difference between core-Self and also-Self = the absolute and relative dimension of P:
– I did not understand in the past when someone said: “I myself have done this and that” – or similar. Then I thought, who else than he did that? It was enough to say, “I have done this and that.” But it seems that people have an unconscious feeling that the statement “I do this or that” does not clearly define the subject ‘I’, as if there were many Egos in a person and one correctly has to differentiates between a certain “I-self” and other Egos, which obviously could not mean the I-self, but an `I-also´ or a strange Ego. (Which corresponds to the conception of this work.)
– One says: “I have arms, legs, a heart, I have a mind, a soul, a spirit, character” and so on. I have all that and I am it, too. But what I am exclusively? Where I am only myself and not me, too?
I have assigned further characteristics of the Self to these 7 synonyms.
I mention them here in parentheses. The Self is:
- self (identical with itself, unique, exists on its own, irreplaceable, unmistakable, individual)
- actual (per se, true, real, definite)
- whole (complete, inseparable, unrestricted, unlimited, one)
- unconditional (in any case, constant, definite, existential)
- first-rate (primary, centrical, fundamental, superior, most important, determinant, ultimate, direct, primal.)
- independent (autonomous, free, detached, indomitable but available for choice, untouchable).
The Self as the personal Absolute is spirit. It also permeates the personal Relative, especially the soul but also the body, that therefore become an also-Self. (→ Embodiment).
The Self is created through love. (Strange-Selves have other origins). The Self itself is not definable (such as is God¹). 73Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. However, it is evident, believable, plausible and can be experienced. One could say: It is defined by itself, it is self-explaining. Or: It is defined by love / from God¹.
I believe that especially parents have a natural feeling when they attribute a Self to the newborn (sometimes unknowingly). To me, it is hard to imagine that the newborn does not have a Self yet, or that it has to fight for it first or may lose it at any time. That only applies to the strange Selves or to the relative Self.
The true Self is of divine origin and a gift that can be accepted by the people. It is of divine and individual origin. One could also say: It is the sphere where God¹ and people are one; where the metapsychical and the psychical are united.
The Self in psychology is usually equivalent to the also-Self resp. relative Self that may also be called the attributive Self. That means, to the Self something is assigned that is making it a “Self”. That way, it only has a relative character, it is not constant, is not of a long duration and so on. (For details see if necessary in the German unabridged version.)
The `Self’ in Linguistic Usage
Amazingly similar conclusions about what the Self is and what its function is, you see if you consider the possibilities of the use of the term `self´: In the German language, it is connected with the noun or personal pronoun. Although it does not stand alone and grammatically leads rather a shadowy existence, it has, at closer inspection, extraordinary importance.
`Self´ stands for:
• Me and no other person resp. I myself personally. (e.g., “He said that himself.” “She has to choose by herself.”) – which means it stands for irreplaceability, individuality, uniqueness.
• Authority (e.g., “I decided that myself.”)
• Self also gives a person Identity (e.g., “I come to myself.”)
• ‘Of one’s own accord´ (e.g., “He does that by himself”) – i.e., it stands for freedom.
• ‘Effortlessly’, ‘automatically’ (e.g., “Something runs by itself.”), i.e., it stands for autonomy, easiness.
• Integrity (e.g., “He is the calm himself”).
• `Self-evidence´ (e.g., “It is self-evident”).
• `Alone´ (e.g., „Only he alone can make it “ = „To be oneself”) – it stands for independence and individuality.
• Reflection (e.g., “I come to myself”) = i.e., it stands for sense, identity.
• It stands for one´s own interest (e.g., “I am doing this for myself”.)
• Finally, ‘self’ is about ‘free choice’ (Fleischer). It has a free position in a sentence and accompanies the personal pronoun. Therefore it may be compared to a faithful and discreet companion.
• The language also shows that the (actual) “self” cannot be manipulated. It is sovereign.
• In the Greek language `self´ is called `autos’ and means there personally.
• Whenever we do or take something personally, it is related to the Self.
• There is per se no plural form of self – so the language shows that there can be only one actual Self. 74I hope these examples are just as obvious in the English language like in German
Summary (partly repetition)
– Every human person is unique, irreplaceable, once-only and individual. The Self gives a person identity. The Self is the actual and unmistakable core of the person. Although you can speak generally about the Self of a person and assign certain characteristics to it, the single I-self or You-Self, however, is unique and has its own identity if it is not strange. 75I have distinguished not strictly between the actual Self and the I-Self in this section.
To put it in a religious way: We are all God’s children but everyone is unique.
We have an identity due to our Self if that Self is actual. That well-known answer to God¹ 76Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. to the question: “Who are you?” “I am who I am”, also applies to us, no matter who we are. Therefore, it is something absolute, maybe even holy. It is of godly origin. We have the same attitude towards our own children feel themselves. They are always allowed to be true to themselves, they are always good enough, they can always trust in their Self, they never have to deny themselves. The above-named characteristics of the Self, state in general that every one of us is unique but they cannot define what exactly the individuality of every person is. Each individual characteristic is given only by everybody´s I-self.
– The Self is the actual, vital, existential sphere of a person.
– It is the cause of the being and living of people. It is their origin and foundation at the same time. It is also a goal; and it is an answer to the question: “Why do I exist and live?”
– It is free and has autonomy. The Self is absolutely free in its core-sphere and relatively free in the relative-sphere.
– It is potentially eternal = every human is created for eternity.
– It is worthy of love and wants to be loved without preconditions. 77For people with pronounced heteronomy, it is hard to believe they could be loved for their own sake. They yearn indeed for this, but also believe that they have to prove that they are worthy of love. In parallel, they demand that others prove their love. The strange-self says: You have to earn love. The self says: Love is free.
– It is already there, basically inherent. It is for free, a gift. You do not have to earn it or fight for it. The Self is self-evident. But anything Relative is not self-evident.
– The Self is self-evident. But anything Relative is not self-evident.
– In the beginning, you are not conscious about the Self. However, one should learn to know one´s own Self and live out of it.
– The Self is also made for self-protection.
– The most important signs of the Self are: “I am”, “I want to”, and “I am free”, the preservation of the right to self-determination, a life based on the voluntary principle. The actual, first-rate life is based on it.
– God¹/Love is the key to the Self.
– The Self is in its core a last piece of the paradise within us that we should keep and protect. Its core is beyond any kind of earthly responsibility. It is beyond away from right or wrong and good or bad. It is above conscience. It is in its core also beyond anything that is relative and therefore from most of our earthly problems. One can press it and suppress it but it is not to be destroyed, as Hölderlin wrote, – unless the particular person definitely does not want that self. Otherwise, it cannot be killed.
– The Self is also the best basis for the integration of all relative and strange things. So it integrates the wrong and the relative evil, such as immoral, abnormal, sick, hardly forgivable things, without being identified with them or being influenced by them.
– The Self lives by itself in its core, therefore it is also somewhat alone – separated from the Relative although it permeates the Relative.
– The Self is unfathomable and cannot be challenged like the Absolute, like love and like God¹. It is therefore only to be believed and not to be proved. It does not need to be justified. 78Religious: God¹ loves the man for his own sake.
– It is the personal, the resource/substance, 79This is what the proverb says: Catch not a shadow and lose the substance = Do not live by the substance. the child (of God¹) within us.
– Self-confidence is the process of becoming aware of the actual Self.
– The Self can be chosen by the I, like the Absolute but cannot or does not have to be produced.
– The Self is independent of our actions and performance.
– One absolutely needs an Absolute, a Self. If one has no true Absolute, a true Self, then he must “make” a Relative to a (strange) Absolute, i.e. to a strange Self.
In summary, you can say that the Self has the function of giving a person absoluteness and to be an absolute basis for the relative sphere of a person.
What are the “disadvantages” of the Self ¹?
The Self is not conscious from the start.
You cannot enlarge it. You cannot create it. But you can choose your own.
One cannot prove that this Self is “the right one”, one can only believe it.
A person with a Self does not have more worth than another.
These “disadvantages” are essential reasons for the Resistance within us to live from this Self.
Brief differentiation of the actual Self and the strange Self:
Strange-Selves may also be called conditional, second-rate Selves; or personal strange Pseudo-Absolutes.
They manifest, whenever a person sees something Relative as absolute. Then another strange Absolute arises alongside the actual Absolute, which may become a center where second-rate realities accumulate. These are very important when it comes to the emergence of mental disorders. Concerning the strange-Self see ‘The personal It and the strange Self´.
I distinguish between personal and non-personal Relatives.
Concerning the personal Relative:
a) actual personal Relatives
b) strange personal Relatives
c) absolutized Relatives within a person = strange Selves (sS).
About a) The actual personal Relative (¹) has an actual Self as the basis. It is also first-rate. It is an also-Self, a peripheral Self. The main representative of the personal Relative is the body of a person. More comprehensively, the personal Relative is mainly the dimension of ‘something’ (or ‘it’): of things, objects, functionalities, materials, parts of a person (physical and psychical).
The actual personal Relative is less important than the core-Self and depends on it.
About b) The strange personal Relatives have strange Selves as a basis.
About c) The absolutized personal Relative is called the strange Self (sS) in the following sections. As mentioned, it plays an important role in the emergence of mental disorders, as discussed in greater detail in ‘The personal It and the strange Self´.
Dedicated to my son Robert
The illustration symbolizes relations between body, psyche, and spirit in the first-rate personal sphere.
(I see the connections between spirit and matter or being and consciousness similarly.)
The borders between them act like semipermeable membranes: The spirit permeates and determines psyche and body, just as the Absolute penetrates and determines the Relative.
In the opposite direction, the spirit is neither dominated by the psyche nor by the body, however, it is influenced in the form of conditional feedback. (Symbolized by the broken lines).
To put it very simply: a good spirit is interested in its soul and body but one cannot manipulate the spirit.
The Self as the personal Absolute is spirit. 80The terms spirit and self, I use interchangeably here in and in the positive connotation.
The spirit has different characteristics in comparison with the body and psyche and determines those two.
Body and psyche influence each other. See also the Embodiment theories. 81E.g. J. J. von Uexküll, F. J. Varela, H .G. Petzold and others).
The body and psyche may influence the spirit (the Self) but they cannot dominate it. In other words: They influence the person (P) but do not dominate him/her, as long as the person is in the first-rate situation.
Body and psyche change, depending on which Self resp. spirit the person possesses. That means that something of P (such as a feeling) changes, according to whether he/she is self-determined by the Self or strange-determined by a strange Self. Changes in a first-rate body or psyche do not change the core Self but changes of a first-rate Self always change the body and the psyche. That means also that relative changes within a person only have relative consequences.
You cannot view the body and the psyche as absolutely separate from the Self because they are not detached; They may only be viewed as dependent or relatively detached.
In the second-rate personal spheres, the relations are different: Body and psyche may become (pseudo-) absolute, (e.g., in the case of an idolization of the body). If body and psyche dominate P, they assume the role of a strange Self (sS), and P is then no longer him-/herself in this case but is strange to him-/herself, a hybrid. Depending on which sphere or part of the person has become a strange Absolute/ resp. Self, this will determine the other P-components. Then, in contrast to the first-rate P, the body can determine the psyche or the spirit – or the psyche the spirit. That kind of strange Self, however, is also unstable and costly.
Every person has one Self and usually many strange-Selves too, which act as a basis or as centers. Therefore, the body and soul of people are usually only relatively actual and also strange, relatively whole and not whole or even divided.
In first-rate personal spheres spirit, soul and body are neither separated from each other nor fused with each other. They are a differentiated unity. In the second-rate personal spheres however splittings and fusions occur.
First-rate, spirit and body appear to be two poles of a whole (the human). The “pole” spirit is little structured but lighter, more variable and flexible, whereas the “pole” body is more structured, more firm and immovable.
The psyche has characteristics of both sides and is settled in between but belongs more to the spirit, depending on how one defines psyche.
To me, it seems very important to know, especially for therapies, that the spiritual sphere does not only have much more impact on the psyche than the body but also that the spiritual sphere should be viewed as more independent and variable. It should be the focus of therapeutic interventions for personality changes.
Finally, it is also relevant, that changes that are created by a good spirit, are basically free from side effects. But of course, therapeutic approaches that focus on the material-somatic sphere (especially psychotropic drugs) should not be excluded. Indeed they are often the first and most important measures, especially in acute situations. In the long term, however, they result in a symptomatic, less sustainable and less effective therapy with more side effects than therapy with the primacy of the spirit.
It is a concept of psychology and philosophy, which is defined and described differently depending on the school.
In psychoanalysis mostly `Ego´. I use the term `Ego´ only for the strange, second-rate I.
Otherwise I use the term “I” for every situation in which “I” is used in everyday language.
Examples from the relevant literature:
• “Term for the core of consciousness, the carrier of self-awareness of the physical-psychical wholeness of a person” (Schischkoff)
• “The itself self-aware origin and carrier of all psychical actions (thinking, realizing, feeling, acting) of an individual.”
• “In psychoanalysis, the Ego is an inner agent of the psyche (next to Id and Superego), that helps with its conscious ego-functions (perception, memory, thinking, planning, learning) as well as with its unconscious ego-functions (defense mechanisms), to mediate between the different requirements of the outer world, sexual drives, the Id and the moral requirements of the superego.”
• “In behavioristic theories – the total of all behaviors of an individual.” 82The last 3 quotes from: Brockhaus Encyclopedia, Mannheim 1996th.
a) The term ‘I’ has the same meaning as in common usage.
It stands for the individual person in its entirety, who speaks of itself in the role of the subject. That is, the term ‘I’ as a personal pronoun means everything that I can say about myself. The emphasis is on the active part of the personality, its role as a subject (I act, I perceive, I feel, etc.).
b) ‘The I´ resp. `the Ego’ as an object (for example, the I as a subject becomes the object of psychological examinations) – but then, in contrast to `a’, it is possible to say: someone examines me.
a) the actual I
b) the strange I (= Ego)
c) the Non-Ego
The actual I stands for a person, that has an actual Self as the basis. It is equivalent to an I-self, or else synonymously: first-rate I = I¹.
This term not only includes the first-rate absolute dimension but also the relative dimension of the I.
The term `Only-I-self´ includes only the absolute sphere of the I, its individual unique core of being, that also distinguishes it from other people.
The relative sphere of the I-self, which could be called the ` Also- I-self´, expresses parts of me (my body, my mind, etc.) or similarities with other people. (“I am also like you”.)
Structure of the actual, first-rate I:
The strange-I = I² or Ego. Their main feature is that these parts are controlled by strange Selves (sS).See also S. Freud: “The Ego is not master in one’s own house.” Freud described only what I called second-rate personal, the first-rate was unknown to him.
‘Non-Ego‘= I°. For details see Genesis of the Nothingness later.
Important: The normal human being, represented by the personal pronoun ‘I’, is made of its own, actual I-self-part and strange-I-parts (resp. Ego-parts), that overlay the actual I-self. The Egos are vulnerable and destructible but not the core of the actual I-self, even though this may be overlaid by Ego parts. That fact is very important for the therapeutic attitude.
The I needs an absolute basis. The basis may be either the actual Absolute or just an alleged, strange Absolute. So, the basis can either be the Self itself or alternatively a strange Self.
The I is too weak by itself, too incomplete and (except the `absolute-choice´) too relative, to be an entire, undivided I-self.
The I chooses its Absolute(s) (possibly unconsciously or intuitively). In this way, its Relatives are also determined. If the I chooses the actual +A, the I stays the actual I. It remains I-self. The only if the I chooses +A, then it is strong enough to prevent it from being dominated by absolutized Relatives, that is, by strange Pseudo-Absolutes.
If the I chooses a Relative (R) as its Absolute, then a strange Pseudo-Absolute (sA) with strange Self (sS) arises and on the basis of it a strange I (Ego) arises. Then, in addition to the actual I, a (or several) strange Ego(s) emerge.
Thus, the I can be actual and first-rate or can be an Ego, which operates on the basis of a strange Self. The I can thus be an I-self or a strange I (Ego) or also a “Non-Ego”. In the last two cases, I do something but what I am doing does not correspond to my real intentions, not to what I myself really want. In my opinion, this situation, which is the result of Inversions, is the most important basis for the emergence of mental disorders. (See later in ‘Psychiatry‘).
I will only briefly look at this topic since the differentiations of the psyche/ person were already described in greater detail earlier and they are very similar.
(→ General Differentiations)
Concerning the main differentiations, it is mainly about:
I. Forms of being of the I (my forms of being).
II. Forms and manifestations of life of the I (my life-forms and manifestations).
III. Qualities of the I (my qualities and characteristics).
IV. The I as a subject, object and in contexts (predicate).
As mentioned, I am guided by the words of everyday speech and not by the psychoanalytical or behavioral-therapeutic definitions of the I. That is, everything is said after “I …” or “My …”, I count to the I-sphere.
And everything where you say ‘I myself’ is only part of the I-self area.
Overview: Classification of the I
I and Self
Overview: Comparison of the Self and I
In my opinion, the use of language provides the best answer to the question of which connections there are between the I and the Self. In any sensible statement, where the first-rate I is used as subject, it is possible to replace the “I” with “I myself”. You can say, “I am doing it”. You can also say, ” I am doing it myself”. The latter formulation is used whenever one wants to emphasize the irreplaceability of the person by anything else, “I and no other, I and only I am doing that.” Adding the (my-)self shows that something is individual, non-exchangeable.
Later on, we will realize that the I can only work together with the actual Self without problems and not with the strange Self. The I and the actual Self create a natural union if the I affirms the actual Self. It is then the I-self. It is an original desire of the I to be I-self. Why we do not fulfill this need at many times, will be described later on. (→ Resistance)
The Self itself cannot act as a subject. You cannot say “(My-)self answers”, or “(My-)self acts”. The Self needs the I (and God¹) to act, such as the I needs a Self. The actions of the I would be inconceivable without some connection to something like a Self. Who else should be acting if not myself? Whenever a person does not say “I myself” but only “I”, it seems to be a simplified formulation, as if people were always acting themselves.
Or does the leaving out of `self´ show, that it is not always clearly ourselves acting, even if it seems to be obvious? I think it is so. Sure, we seem to always be the ones, which act but sometimes there are so many strange powers and emotions within us, that there is not much left of the actual Self. These other, different, strange things that also cause us to act the way we act, are called the strange Self (sS). Sometimes, we realize that kind of heteronomy. If I for example only fulfill the expectations of other people, then I am determined by others. Though I still act it is not the actual but a strange Self which determines me.
So the I can act with the intentions of the actual Self or the strange Selves. Most of the time, that will be actions and processes that happen unknowingly and unconsciously.
The I and the Self are connected but not identical. I and Self are a whole if the Self is quasi-divine.
The I-self and God¹ are then one, without loss of identity or individuality. One could also say: The I has its roots in the Self and the Self in God1 – and myself. The I finds most of its strength, its inner peace, indeed the possibility of fulfillment of all aspects of life in the actual Self, in God¹. But man must confirm the actual Self that he wants it. As said, therefore, the I is entirely absolute when it comes to the decision of affirming or declining the actual Self – so, for or against God¹– or “the good principle”. But only there.
For details, see section: “The absolute attitude” of the I”.
Besides that aspect, the I cannot be absolute without disorders occurring. In that case, it would try to be its own Self, its own God¹ and would be unable to cope.
But the actual Self can integrate all I-types – no matter how the I is: Whether it is right or wrong, responsible or irresponsible, whether it is healthy or ill, successful or inefficient, also whether it is based on a strange Self (!) or not, the person may always be identical, may feel worthy and well.
The I-self is always worth the same and basically identical to itself because it is not determined by a Relative. We cannot raise the value of the I-self and also do not have to do so. What the I-self is doing has ultimately only relative importance. The I-self is by no means free of errors. The person who lives their Self may also make more mistakes than others, the Self (God¹) will compensate for everything. The breath of life that is provided by the actual Self is almost unlimited. It is only in the case of the above mentioned absolute decision for absolute evil that the person loses itself.
“The facts of life do not penetrate to the sphere in which our beliefs are cherished; they did not engender those beliefs,
and they are powerless to destroy them …” Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way.
I, Self and something (of me) are all connected to each other. They form an undivided wholeness in the first-rate personal.
The I is rooted in the Self. I and Self form the I-self. My ‘somethings’ are like relative part(s) of the I-self. The structure of the psyche can be compared to a tree: The tree has roots, that form the basis (the Self), it has leaves (something) – and the whole thing is the tree (I-self). The concept of the I-self involves the something like the concept of the tree involves foliage. However, the term leaves does not include the tree but a tree remains a tree without the leaves. So, the term ‘something’ does not enclose the I-self but conversely the I-self remains the I-self even without the something.
So, the I can have an actual Self as a basis or as roots but it can also be based on a strange Self. Then it is like a tree with strange roots. It is a hybrid, a hermaphrodite, or a mongrel. The individual is not in-dividual (indivisible) anymore but `dividual´ (divisible). Its I is a strange-I, based on a strange Self.
In the best case, when the I is based on the actual +Self, it is identical to itself and integrates whatever is personally relative (the something). The I-self can integrate (all) something(s), everything that is relative even if it is wrongly absolutized, without being identical. The following icon shows the first-rate status of the Self towards the something.
I postulate that mental disorders can arise by inverting the roles of the Self and any something. Then the actual Self becomes some kind of something and something becomes a kind of a Self – a strange Self. It is about: Who dominates? Do I have something, or does something have me? In other words: Am I I (and also something), or am I mainly something and only a little bit of the I? (In the latter case I call the dominant something the `It’.)
Concerning mental disorders, the absolute-sphere of a person, the Self, is deranged. That is why the protection and the strengthening of the Self should be mainly focused on.
The conflict dynamism mainly occurs between the I, based on a Self and the I-parts, based on strange-Selves.
There are parallels to the general dynamics of the human person between the Absolute and the Relative or, in other words: It shows the human caught between heaven, earth and hell.
The Absolute Attitude of the I
Synonyms: absolute I-Self with the absolute basic or existential attitude/will, absolute point of decision, fundamental decision of the heart, highest absolute responsibility of the I and the absolute right of self-determination.
It seems as the personale absolute subject, too.
Short: IA, PA. In the positive case: primary virtue, absolute good will in principle.
This `absolute attitude of the I´ is similar to the ‘absolute I’ of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the `absolute spirit ‘of Hegel but not identical to both.
This absolute I-Self cancels the object-subject opposition but distinguishes both and gives priority to the subject.
The center point of the I-self and thus of the person is constituted by an absolute decision point for + A or for −A on the basis of an inviolable dignity and an unconditional right of self-determination.
As a completely independent center of a person or an individual, it only corresponds to a “pure” absolute personal / individual subject, because otherwise person and individual are more or less subject and object at the same time. See also terms `subjectoid´ and `objectoid´ as terms of second-rate subjects or objects.
In this point, the highest or the most actual absolute of a person is directly confronted with the opposite actual Absolute (+A # ‒A). I already mentioned the following actual Absolutes: God¹, as the positive Absolute (+A) 83 God is still more than the + Absolute. on the one side, the negative Absolute (‒A) on the other side and the free attitude/ will of a person toward those. 84G. Herder calls man the “first freedman” (Phil.TB)
I think at least in this point, the person is completely itself and completely free. That means that the I only has an absolute relevance when it comes to the absolute, existential decision of choosing the absolute good or the absolute evil. I see here, such as Kierkegaard, Herder and others, the person in an absolute free attitude towards the Absolute (which must not be a conscious decision!). 85This `absolute attitude of the I´ is similar to the ‘absolute I’ of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the `absolute spirit´ of Hegel but not identical to both. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
The choice of +A or ‒A is an existential right of self-determination of humans. Freud may have thought with the distinction of `libido´ and `destrudo´ (destructive instinct) in a similar direction. (Goethe saw, on the other hand, the fundamental conflict of man in the “conflict between unbelief and faith”.)
Those are only hypotheses, that perhaps appear irrelevant. But in the positive case, as I will explain later, this decision is the “only one” prerequisite for the acceptance of a fundamental, positive, absolute Self. The existence of an absolute decision-making point is also important because I believe that love, or God¹ leaves us this free choice and does not determine deterministically, which are the “good” and the “evil” humans. The individual stands on this point on the same level as God¹ and can in principle (!) want the good (+A) or the evil (‒A).
If a person is fundamentally (!) well-intentioned, then, in my understanding, he has decided on an absolutely positive, indestructible (core) Self. All of these people, I believe, go to “heaven” whether they are religious or not. Together with God’s unconditional love for the person, his own Self forms something that can also be called the ‘divine Self’ or ‘heavenly Self’. At this point, the person concerned not only has absolute freedom, but also absolute identity, security and eternity. If a human being is wise, then he/she lives from this center.
However, if a person fundamentally and irrevocably wants the absolute evil, then I believe that leads to his own destruction (the so-called “mortal sin”).
86I postulate here the primate of a free will over the absolute instead of a act of faith in contrast to Martin Luther, but also in contrast to legalism (do good works).
[Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.] See also `Right and wrong´.
In all other cases, the I has only relative options and makes only relative decisions. This has a favorable and an unfavorable side. Favorable is that I have to meet, even in an absolute sense, only one (perhaps unconscious) decision, to feel basically free and redeemed. This gives the person freedom and relief! I have not to do anything. 87It is not without reason that people have decision-making difficulties without this free ‘metaposition’.
The “unfavorable” side is: I cannot redeem myself or increase my value through certain actions. Since the I is only relative (besides the absolute decision), it can become a strange Self. The I-self then alienates from itself.
A free absolute or relative will should not be confused with a will which is determined by a strange Absolute and which forces us to want to do something that we actually do not want. (“Protect me from what I want!”). (→ Obsessive-compulsive disorder)
The described choices are similar to the theses of the standpoint theories. However, those only mark relative (earthly) standpoints, whereas I assume the possibility of the existence of an absolute standpoint.
“Primary and Secondary Virtues”/ Relativity of Morality?
“The secondary virtues included in particular diligence, loyalty, obedience, discipline, sense of duty, punctuality, reliability, orderliness, politeness, cleanliness, and so on. mostly from the catalog of Prussian virtues … Instead, [later] post-materialistic values such as humanity, creativity, and self-realization were emphasized … Immanuel Kant allows only one primary virtue to be valid: `There is everywhere nothing possible to think of in the world, indeed even apart from it, which could be considered good without qualification, but a good will alone.’ If this were lacking, all other virtues could `also become extremely evil and harmful.” 88https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardinaltugend
Similar to Kant and Kierkegaard, I believe, it is primarily a matter of the person’s conscious or unconscious absolute will (or attitude) toward the absolute, in the sense of a basic attitude toward absolute good or evil (→ absolute basic attitude), which in this work I call, in the positive case, principled goodwill. In this sense, questions of morality would be subordinated to this “primary virtue” and, in contrast (!), of relative importance.
In my opinion, a distinction between situational (relative) will and a principled existential will as an attitude towards life would also make sense. For me, the “primary virtue” in this sense would be a primarily positive will/attitude toward the good. (→ absolute good will)
A choice of literature
• “The principle of individuation[…] generally describes the way, in which a thing finds identity, that distinguishes itself from others. The concept […] can be found in publications by Carl Jung, Gilbert Simondon, Bernard Stiegler, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, David Bohm, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Manuel De Landa …” 89https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation#Carl_Jung, 2020
• “In Jungian psychology, also called analytical psychology, `individuation´ names the process in which the individual self develops out of an undifferentiated unconscious – seen as a developmental psychic process during which innate elements of personality, the components of the immature psyche, and the experiences of the person’s life become integrated over time into a well-functioning whole.” 90https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation#Carl_Jung, 2020
“Jung regarded the process of individuation as a lifelong, incomplete process with a steady approximation to a ‘distant goal’: the Self. … The person is always being asked to actively confront itself with problems occurring throughout the way of its individuation and to take responsibility for the decisions of the Self. Individuation means, not to follow ‘what someone should do’ or ‘what would be generally right’ but to listen to ones Self, to realize what the inner wholeness (the Self) wants to achieve ‘with me or through me’ in that certain situation.”91 https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation, 2020.
• Example for a sociological concept: Bernard Stiegler, who considers “the psychical individuation always as a collective process.” 92https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation, 2020.
Individuation in the sense of the above is, of course, a very important process of personal self-development. In my opinion, it will be best to succeed if it takes place on the basis of a personal Absolute, which not only has to be constituted by the individual himself but already exists from the outset. This primary Absolute, this primary innate Self is rarely considered in the literature. But in fact, it corresponds to human experience, as reflected for instance in the universal human rights or in love relationships. There, the individuation is subordinated to an already existent absolute self-being, a first-rate dignity, freedom and uniqueness of the human.
In the first place is not the “becoming” but “being” and the “you are already !” An already existing absolute individuality is assumed thus and superordinated to the individuation. This innate, absolute individuality and identity does the person concerned not have to establish.
This is it which has unconditional, vital meaning, not the mentioned above individuation-processes, no matter how important they might be. However, if the latter are of absolute importance, we are fundamentally overstrained because the individual should always be on the way to find and reach the “ultimate goal” (as described by C. Jung) to feel identical with himself. (Maybe many people with identity disturbances, like above all schizophrenic patients have resigned and have given up the fight for such a self-becoming or have never got to know that primary absolute innate Self). Though, the absolute, inherent individuality does not convey the illusion of a feeling of total being identical to the Self but more realistically, the feeling of a fundamental deep and indestructible self-being, which is the best requirement for individuation.
An absolute, actual individuality and identity of a person is not provable. It is an apriori. Only relative identity – what you also are, or what you make of yourself – is provable. One should maybe say it as God¹ does: “I am, who I am”, or: “I do not have to become different. I might even regress, without losing myself.”
PS: As already mentioned, a newborn would not have any individuality without an inherent Self. However, with that Self, every newborn is already born as unique, irreplaceable, individual, endearing personality.
According to my theory individuation is a process with relative importance. The person is in the core-Self from another people totally different, whereas the relative self-areas displays similarities with other people. This theory shows the person neither as completely different from other people nor as a collective product but also integrates both concepts.
(See also “The journey is the destination” in Buddhism).
How does the concrete person present himself in this context?
Looking at the analysis of language, you could say: What the person concerned says about himself and the world, or what others say about him gives the most concrete conclusions about the person concerned.
The most important is, what is of absolute relevance for the person.
This is recognizable again in absolute statements in sentences or words.
(See also `How are inversions expressed? (Linguistic Analysis)´.
Thus it is likely that a person who uses, for example, often formulations like „I must absolutely” or “I may not”, if relative needs are absolutized (Asp.11) or if another expresses that his life aim consists in becoming once a millionaire, or if ownership (asp. 9) will be absolutized.
In this respect, an individual language analysis brings important clues to the psychological situation of the person concerned, as indeed in practice, usually what the person says about himself or what is said about him, is the most important source for the assessment of an individual. However, the thinking and the spoken words do not always match, so that such an analysis of speech has to be viewed as imperfect since the Absolute often cannot be absolute defined. But I believe that the present concept for diagnostic purposes is also very suitable, although this is not the main intention of this script. In this case, it would be the primary task to consider the respective individual Absolutes of the person, as I have tried to express in the sketchy sentences of Hölderlin at the end of the part `Metapsychiatry’ in the unabridged German script.
Abbreviations of all Parts
+ = positive
− = negative
¹ = first-rate or primary
² = second-rate (or secondary) not to be confused with coordinate
→ = ‘see or `result is´.
* = Sign for absolutizing and / or dominance. (Often used to point to an absolutizing.)
| = a sign that the German original version has been shortened at this point.
# = contradiction
A = the Absolute (+A = positive Absolute, −A = negative Absolute)
All (∀) = here strange everything, which stands in opposition to the nothing(ness).
asp. = aspect
BLQC = being, life, qualities, connections
C = general abbreviation for complexes that dominate personal and other areas of reality.
D = Dynamism D¹ = first-rate D., D² = second-rate D.
DM = Dimensions
DM = Defense-mechanisms
e.g. = exempli gratia (for example)
etc. = et cetera
God¹ = I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. → “Christian” One-Sidednesses and Misinterpretations.
I = I in general ( I¹ = first-rate I, I² = strange I = Ego)
i.e. = id est (that is)
It = dominating entity/instance, consisting of 2 or 3 cores:
2 parts: all and nothing (∀/ 0) = `dyad’ or
3 parts: pro-sA or + sA, contra-sA or -sA and 0 = `triad’
It/sA resp. It/sS: if I want to emphasize the absolute role of an It-part.
KW = keyword = headword
ns = new-strange/ new-second-rate (new secondary)
No. = Number
P = Person; P¹ = first-rate personality; P² = second-rate personality (often only P labeled)
pr = psychically relevant
r = relative
R = the Relative (R represents everything that is not A or 0.)
R* = Relativistic
resp. = respectively
s = strange = second-rate (²)
sA = strange resp. second-rate Absolute
pro-sA and contra-sA = opposing sA.
asA = absolutistic strange Absolute
rsA= relativistic strange Absolute
s0 (or 0) = strange, determining nothing(ness) = nihilistic
sS = strange Self
syn. = synonym
W = World, reality
WPI = world, person, I.
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Last update 2023/01/27