General Question

seekingwolf's avatar

Do you think those with personality disorders are born or made that way? (or both)

Asked by seekingwolf (9737 points ) April 27th, 2009

This includes a lot of people….borderlines, sociopaths, etc. (I am still learning about psychology and stuff, so please forgive me if I am naive.)

To my knowledge, many personality disorders like borderlines are not really that treatable by medication or therapy. It seems that the person is just not “wired” right and can lack basic emotions, like empathy for others. Some may seem to lack a “moral centre” and they can be manipulative. Many are not aware of their pathology and cause many problems for themselves and others.

That aside, are people like this born this way, or is there something in their childhood/infancy that may make them have this pathology? If you think it’s different for different disorders, feel free to explain?

Please correct me if I am wrong about anything. I’m still learning and I’m curious!

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59 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

What makes you think there is only on explanation? It could be nature for some people, nurture for others or any combination of the 2.

asmonet's avatar

It depends on the person and the disorder.
It’s just not that easy.

seekingwolf's avatar

Well it was sort of open ended…you can definitely say “both” if you’d like and even give examples. I didn’t mean for it to sound black and white (I’ll modify it)

seekingwolf's avatar

Okay fixed the question. Sounds a little more open-ended (how I wanted it to be)

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i think there’s very little that is exclusively nature or nurture. most people with personality disorders for the most part have them due to genetics, but sometimes the environment does play into it. also, as said before, i think it varies a lot depending one the situation. schizophrenia, for example, is genetic, but there are certain things that can increase the chance of a child growing up to be schizophrenic – viruses during…i think mid-pregnancy…, and. well i can’t think of the other factor. both only add a very small chance, but it does show that the environment slightly affects it.

i’m taking a psychology class too, so i’m not an expert, but that’s what i’ve gathered so far. i feel like there’s a lot more i can add, but it’s just not coming to me right now ):

cwilbur's avatar

One of the things that really resonates with me is something a medical student friend of mine said. He said that what we call “depression” is probably at least a dozen different diseases. Some of them are pure brain-chemistry dysfunction, while others are behavioral, and yet others are probably a mix. But because the symptoms are the same, we call them all “depression,” and then struggle to treat them. This lines up perfectly with what I’ve observed, as a layman, among people whom I know have been diagnosed as depressed.

So I don’t see why any other personality disorder shouldn’t be the same way. Especially since when we say, for instance, “borderline personality disorder,” we are talking about a disorder that is diagnosed when someone meets more than a certain number of criteria on a list. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that some of the criteria could be symptoms of brain-chemistry run amok, while others are symptoms of trauma or learned dysfunction, and so there might be both a biological and a psychological cause for borderline personality disorder.

skfinkel's avatar

Well, there’s always nature v. nurture, but I believe so very strongly in the mitigating influence of really wonderful parents who can probably take some potential problems and help resolve them for the better. There are real genetic tendencies. But I think it would be very useful to do a deep examination into the background of all kinds of sick people and see the stresses they were put under as babies and children. Alcoholic parents? nobody ever paying attention? And, a little known result of the child-care study is that baby boys in child care full time do not do so well. Combine that lack of mothering with a tendency towards any psychological problem, and it might well get worse—but is it nature?

So, let’s help parents to be wonderful parents (which I believe just about all parents want to do—but may not know how), and we can then look again at this question.

emperorofcali's avatar

Here’s an exercise that you can do that might give you a little more insight into the psychiatric profession and, consequently, the answer to your question:

Pretend you are a modern day mental health worker, a therapist if you will. You depend on making a living, just like anyone else. A child’s parents take said child to your office and give you a list of behavioral problems that their kid is going through that is driving them absolutely mad. As a trained professional, you realize that many of these “problems” are the sad result of the type of parenting that is prevalent throughout modern day culture: sexual repression, self-loathing, fear, etc. You also realize that to inform the child’s parents of this will likely offend them and risks some rather profitable repeat business. You know what they are here for. And it’s not to help their child. It’s for a nice prescription of tranquilizers, Obedience Tablets and Shut Up Pills.

Now: what do you do? Wait until the parents are gone, losing a potential client? Or wait until the pills are gone and schedule another appointment for them?

There is a literal mountain of psychological research that indicates that most “pathological” behavior is due a repression of basic “drives” that society has regarded as “taboo”. Sex is one. Attraction to the mother is another. There is also a great deal of theory that suggests that when these and other drives are frustrated, secondary drives form, which are usually very ugly, sublimated manifestations of the original drives. One of these is violence. Now think of society, and its attitudes towards sex and violence. Which one is taboo…and which one is glamorized?

The space here is not sufficient to elaborate, but I’m sure this will provide some fertile ground for understanding where most – not all – but most cases of psychological pathology originate, and why it is beneficial for the psychology profession to treat the symptom rather than the defect. This will not change as long as the majority of children are being raised by a neurotic, fearful, clueless culture.

seekingwolf's avatar

Thank you all for your wonderful answers!
I want to be a psychiatrist someday so I’ve been trying to get more insight into the field.

@emperorofcali I found your description to be very helpful. I think sometimes people (including me) get caught up in the idea that every pathology is caused by some chemical balance or disturbance and can be treated with medication. However, this isn’t always the case. American society (well, society anywhere I suppose) has its faults and I can definitely see it breeding pathology, dysfunction, and repression of emotions in people, which can lead to all sorts of problems. Thank you so much for reminding me (and others) of this!

I don’t really have a set opinion on this yet. I tend to think that borderlines are born that way (I’ve known one since she was a child with amazing parents and she was abnormal even in our childhood.), however I’m not sure about sociopaths and others. It’s just something I’m curious about I suppose.
It’s an interesting question!

Thanks everyone :D

Linda_Owl's avatar

Generally an individual is born with a tendency to have a personality disorder. However, circumstances can contribute to the individual being able to avoid falling prey to the disorder, & other circumstances can contribute heavily to the individual falling victim to the disorder.

emperorofcali's avatar

@seekingwolf I respect your opinion. To me, the theory of people being “born that way” is perfect analogous to the religious “original sin”. The flaw in that theory is the overall lack of documented neurosis (or, “borderline personalities”, a relatively recent term) in other animal species. The racoon species doesn’t need ritalin to function, nor do giraffes line up at the pharmacy for their prozac supply.

Even more notably: many anthropologists have noted a complete lack of such neurotic symptoms in pre-industrial tribes (most of whom don’t enforce the taboos that modern culture does). They merely go about their lives, work, live and thrive, and don’t curl up into a fetal shell every 30 days when their pill supplies run out. Note that this isn’t just on a large “sociopathic” scale, but holds true for so-called “borderline” personalities, “bi-polars” and other such questionable diagnoses. Even Freud taught the pitfalls of sexual repression. Wilhelm Reich cured thousands of people – those far more crippled than so-called borderline personalities – with his sexually liberating vegetotherapy and orgone treatments. No drugs. Just the restoration of what we were born with.

To me, that sounds like the Original Bliss.

Lastly, even the best looking parents have their sexual hangups. I have seen many a parent have all the attributes that Western society values, i.e., reading to their kids when they are still in the womb, rushing them through toilet training, freaking them out about sex and getting them to obey out of pure fear. These make them wonderful parents in the eyes of many.

And make their children’s therapists wonderful amounts of money.

RedPowerLady's avatar

In most countries outside of the United States and Europe the “disorder” commonly called Schizophrenia is treatable and even curable. We don’t understand why it isn’t treatable (especially curable) in the US yet. There can be a variety of reasons for this. This may give you some insight into your question. It can in fact be treated but we don’t see that in this country.

I sincerely believe these are not in-born “disorders” but rather products of nasty environments. Some obvious, some not so obvious. Also we have to take into account culture. In some cultures what would be considered a symptom of a personality disorder (such as seeing visions) would be considered normal. It is all relevant.

Now sociopaths on the other hand are a whole separate category. This seems to be what you are referring to mostly. Especially since you talk about lack of empathy and a “moral center”. I’m not sure that anyone understands this disorder quite yet. But sociopathic behavior can be seen in children who are quite young. Many of which have had nasty childhoods. Have they all?? That would be a good starting point for some research.

Editing to add: You might want to hold off on being so judgmental about “Borderlines”. Do you realize that “Borderline” is a personality disorder that is labeled primarily when there is no other label that will fit?? And that it based upon a disorder that used to be called “hysteria”? Look up how they treated that and what the actual causes of “hysteria” were.

Dorkgirl's avatar

I can’t speak for all personality disordered individuals, but my sister has several personality disorders and she’s been this way since day one. So, I’ll go with “nature” over “nurture” in her case. However, she has also made a boatload of choices that have exacerbated her symptoms and perhaps even added some to the soup (drug and alcohol abuse, abusive relationship with her husband, poor nutrition, lack of medical and mental health care). She may not be as bad as she is today if she’d taken better care of herself, had a loving & supportive husband, had health insurance, had not abused drugs.
It’s difficult at this point to tell where the personality disorders end and all of her other stuff begins.

seekingwolf's avatar

@emperorofcali

That’s interesting that people don’t find neurotic symptoms in pre-industrial tribes, but I can understand that. Have you thought about the possible role that genes play in this? I’m not talking merely about genetics, but epigenetic factors. Perhaps the reason why pre-industrial tribes don’t have such disorder is not only because they lack an oppressive society, but that they (generally) are not exposed to certain things that would could affect gene expression….this may include man made chemicals, pollution, uber-processed food, etc. I have no idea. Epigenetics is new. I’m starting to think that it’s both a combination of nature AND nurture. I think both their culture and life styles are contributing factors…I can’t ignore the evidence from either side; both are compelling.

@RedPowerLady I’ve known a few Borderlines (diagnosed) and they did seem to lack a “moral” centre in a similar way that sociopaths do. They would “split” people apart with their constant manipulations and lies. While I didn’t feel it was on the same scale as a full-blown sociopath, they didn’t feel their lies were bad or harmful, and didn’t seem to really care if people got hurt from them. (however, they WOULD care if it was bad for them for the person to be angry/upset with them)...I hope that makes sense.

The one woman I know (my age) who is a Borderline, really didn’t have any sense of personal morals in high school and she struggled a lot. Now she’s in a strict school and she’s doing MUCH better because the ambiguity is gone and she’s given a set of rules to follow, which she does well. The rules give her structure and she knows exactly what she can and can’t do. I don’t think many sociopaths would benefit from this as she has.

You’re right…Borderline disorder personality has a long way to go in terms of being defined. I’m just speaking from personal experience and what I have seen…I don’t think I’m being judgmental, of those people at all when I’m just reporting what I’ve observed.

casheroo's avatar

I believe people are born with personality disorders, and sometimes…no matter how much therapy and medication, they cannot be helped. It takes a lot of will power to try to get yourself better, but I still don’t blame a person or their illness. No one wants to be sick like that….
I know people see that bipolar people enjoy being manic, but when they get out of their mania, they usually regret the choices they made.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf I understand what you are saying. I just think there is a more dynamic way to approach personality disorders. And that begins with understanding how we define them. I think labeling someone as having a disorder from birth is quite harmful to them. Personality disorders are not a medical disorder and therefor saying someone has it from birth carries different connotations. I do believe it is possible to have something chemically wrong in your brain causing you to be “different”. But I don’t think that would necessarily mean that someone has a “personality disorder”. It all depends on what we define as the norm and what we define as bad and wrong. And how we treat those who vary from the norm. That is why in other countries Schizophrenia can be treated and here it cannot. They approach these things in a way that is beyond our comprehension. I think it has more to do with society and culture and how we shape and cause these illnesses than it does something being inherently wrong in the individual.

And the biases within the labeling system are profound. For example. Do you know how many Men are labeled borderline???

Actually it bothers me quite a bit to see how many people think that this is nature rather than nurture. We are all naturally inclined one way or the other but it is nurture, our environment, that pushes us over the edge into “disorders”. (now there are always odd exceptions to the rule).

Well there you have it. That is my two cents. I understand it is not the same as yours but I think it is important to consider dynamic ways of thinking about such issues. Not that you haven’t, just that I think it is important.

emperorofcali's avatar

@seekingwolf Sure, I’ve not only considered genetics, I’ve studied it. Epigenetics is a new term for me, but the idea of environmental effects on genetic structure has been kicking around for quite some time. Is it viable? It seems so to me, perhaps moreso now than ever. Is it the first thing we should suspect in the treatment of the afflicted? I would hope not. To summarize my feelings precisely and (hopefully concisely lol): I would never rule out the possibility of genetic malformation/deformation as an originating cause of neurosis. However, I have yet to see one documented example of a neurotic individual who has been raised in an environment that is not sexually repressive and refrains from teaching fear and self-hatred. To this example, even Norman O. Brown has said that we are, in some way, neurotic. Those who show a more pronounced affliction are those who have been subjected to exaggerated forms of repression. In short, we will never be able to tell what is genetic and what is environmental until we live in a non-punishing, sexually permissive society that rewards rather than castrates the individual. Only then can we say that it is not environment. I would suspect however at that point, we really won’t be having a whole lot of people taking trips to their drug-dealing charlatan therapists. To target genetics first just pushes the important findings of Freud and Reich further back into obscurity, where they are fading every time someone gags another pill down their 4-year olds throat and then proceeds to beat the hell out of them for touching themselves. There is a cure for environment, and the sooner it is cured, the sooner we will have the compassion, dedication and commitment to concentrate on the suspected minority who really are genetically affected. Otherwise, we’re just going to perpetuate the amount of people who want to scream, “I was born this way!” (a defense mechanism, triggered by repression), so they can hurry off to the drug dealer, gulp down some more feel goods and believe they have a label that allows them to be pitied and tolerated rather than treated.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@emperorofcali I think this point is fantastic!

There is a cure for environment, and the sooner it is cured, the sooner we will have the compassion, dedication and commitment to concentrate on the suspected minority who really are genetically affected

seekingwolf's avatar

@RedPowerLady I can understand what you’re saying too.
I also think that some disorders, like bipolar disorder, can be caused by chemical imbalances like you described. Heck, I have a serotonin imbalance which gives me depression and I have to take pills. I never said that all these people with pathologies have “personality disorders”...I think there’s a line between “personality disorder” and something like depression. Sorry if it sounded like I was pathologizing too much; I didn’t mean to sound that way.

I’m really starting to believe that these are caused by a combination of nature/nurture. We are starting to see more and more cases of all sorts of mental disorders…why is that? Is it something in the environment? Is our society getting more neurotic, esp in handling these illnesses? Is it something epigenetic? I have no idea. I don’t think it’s my place to say, just theorize.

@emperorofcali Wow, that’s a really good point!

Sadly, our attitude toward the mentally ill has never been good or beneficial for them, I can agree with that. However, how do you think this has affected/caused the rise in mental disorder diagnoses over the decades? I think our treatment of these people has stayed equally bad, but number of cases keeps rising.

Is it really our increasingly neurotic society that causes this in people so that MORE people are affected with such disorders (nuture)?

Or is that people are so obsessed with pathologies that they are diagnosed with something that they don’t have?

Or is it really something in epigenetics or otherwise? (nature)

Just curious! :) I don’t have a theory myself yet but I’d love to hear what you think.

seekingwolf's avatar

I’m really glad you guys are writing such thoughtful responses! I really appreciate it! I have a lot to learn thus far but these sort of things are making me think and I like it. :)

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf I think a lot of the reason why we are seeing more disorders is because we are choosing to label more things as “wrong”. And because of our culture. One thought about some of these personality disorders is that they are caused by the lack of one to “fit in”. Of course that is oversimplification. There are just so many ways to live in this world and some people can’t deal with their inability to “fit in”. Especially since we are more narrowly defing what is okay and what isn’t okay, somewhat like what @empororofcali is saying. There was a great study on it and if I could think of the correct way of phrasing things beyond saying “fit in” i’d probably be able to find it, lol.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf

Also

Or is that people are so obsessed with pathologies that they are diagnosed with something that they don’t have?

Yes!!!

seekingwolf's avatar

@RedPowerLady

Yeah I can totally agree with that, especially with children. Parents seem so eager to slap their child with some diagnosis.

You know, it really makes me mad. My bro has Aspergers and my sis has autism…it was so obvious that they weren’t developing normally when they were young and needed help…lots of therapy and meds. they still aren’t totally functional on their own. It was so sad and hard. It hurts to think about the future sometimes.

Then I see kids with bogus diagnosis, pills all the time, with parents in the “poor parent” victim role and it’s just…GRRRRR. If the kid didn’t have a pathology then, then they are going to have one for real later in life with all of this crap.

I wish I had the article, but when I was 14, I read an article in a magazine about the increase of teens on antidepressants….some psychologist said that this was because a) society and increased pressures on kids and b) it’s kind of considered “cool” to be depressed and angsty (think emo). I found it sickening that when the article polled some teens, they reported a desire to be on antidepressants because their friends were. SICK.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf

In reference to my earlier post. I finally thought of the “right” way of talking about what I am trying to say.

So with schizophrenia and even borderline. Some people are starting to think it has to do with a form of cognitive dissonance. It is the inability of these people to solve that dissonance that is causing the personality disorder. Essentially these people are walking in two worlds, the “correct” world and then their world. Most of us figure out how to mediate the two. But for some of these people “their world” is too far from the appropriate world. A similar thing is seen in people who come to a different country and just can’t seem to mediate the cultural differences.

I think you said this very well If the kid didn’t have a pathology then, then they are going to have one for real later in life with all of this crap.

I am sorry about your brother and sister not being diagnosed soon enough. I have a close friend who works with an Early Detection agency in town. She works within the Autism spectrum and is always talking about that issue. It is so important!

And you know the worst part of the kids being overmedicated on antidepressants? For many teens it actually exacerbates depression and leads to teen suicide. Now many antidepressents have to have a warning about this.

Now what I believe in is post-modern. I don’t believe in labeling. I think we should be dealing with people on an individual basis. And I think a lot of treatment that is effective could come from traditional cultural practices. In fact when I was getting my degree I focused most of my papers on just that (and did quite well may I add).

seekingwolf's avatar

@RedPowerLady

cognitive dissonance huh? When you say “their world” do you also mean “their own set of rules”. I sort of see that some borderlines and schizophrenics are very detached from aspects of life and society. Am I right on this?

I know that “schizophrenia” has greek roots, and literally means “split diaphragm” or “split soul”. Now I don’t mean this in the MPD sense at all, but rather their “split” and separation from reality. I hope I’m right on this.

Well my bro and sis were diagnosed when they were…3–4ish I believe? yeah, I was 6–7ish at the time. I wish they were diagnosed when they were young toddlers, then the treatment could have started earlier and we could have found out what was wrong. Unlike many parents with diagnoses, my parents (doctors) DREADED to hear them. It was a real tragedy.

I know exactly what you mean about the antidepressants. I think what happens (in a nutshell, forgive me I don’t know the exact terms or details), but when a child/teen has depression, there is a mental lethargy that many times stops the child from actually going through with suicidal acts or whatnot. The excessive antidepressant doesn’t rget rid of the depression, just that “mental lethargy” so the child is more likely to follow through with the acts.
When I was 14, my doctor increased my prozac from 20mg to 40mg in a short time (before the warnings). I almost took a LOT of tylenol to go into a coma but my friend stopped me and I was put on suicide watch for weeks. No one should have to go through that. I’m soo glad they have those warnings now.

While I am not for labeling people and think that they can be harmful to the patient, I can see how maybe they can be helpful. I think labels could helpful to the doctor only, to perhaps pinpoint some common symptoms and help him narrow down appropriate treatments. But that’s it. It’s not good for a patient to get into a strict “label” mindset, nor is it good for the doctor. There needs to be flexibility and understanding the patient.

What was your degree in? I’m still a freshman in college, I’m working toward one in Neuroscience. :)

emperorofcali's avatar

@seekingwolf You know, it’s funny because I just participated in a question involving the correlation between mind and body, and I think it’s a great place to go in addressing your questions. One of the best models I have used to understand the mind is to use the example of the body, because there is more materiality there, whereas the mind can be very abstract, very symbolic. Even Freud knew that his terminology was just a map, just arbitrary descriptions, not concrete. And so goes the labels of “bi-polar”, “borderline personality”. These are just descriptions, but unlike Freud’s terms, they are descriptions of what is happening on the surface, not on the inside. It’s like if you went to the doctor with a brain tumor. You said, “Doctor, my head sure hurts like hell and I might be going blind.” And so the doctor gave you some morphine to knock your blinding headache out and upped your eyeglass prescription. Happy now? Dead yet? You get the point. The tumor is still there, it’s growing, and shortly you will need more pain medication, perhaps some anti-nausea meds, and soon a gurney. This is the way society is treating the mentally ill. They are treating symptoms, rather than disease. And the reason why? Because we live in a sexually repressed society – so the cure is not allowed. It is discouraged. Similarly, no parent wants to go through the horrible pains of having to be patient, loving, permissive and attentive with their kids. They simply want pills to treat all the problems that they themselves have caused. Do they want to be told this? Of course not. The guilt that would result would probably cause them to require meds, too.

So I don’t think the mental health industry is treating people any better than a shepherd would treat a sheep if he figured out a way to get twice the wool off of it for half the effort. People are lining up, taking pills, and being sold an early death, and having known people from both backgrounds, act exactly like crack addicts when their meds “stop working”. This is exactly what the drug dealer wants. When the surface is all that anyone requires to be fixed, then the root of the problem will not only stay untreated, it will just get worse.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Ahh.. But what I am “arguing” is that the Identify the Symptom – Label – Identify the Treatment route does not work. What I am suggesting is post-modern thought. It doesn’t have to happen this way and it is only helpful because it is the norm.

I received a B.S. in psychology. I gained 12 credits of grad school in Mental Health Counseling before going through some trauma that stopped me from completing that. I also have a certificate of concentration in Substance Abuse Prevention. Along with some work experience in the social service field.

In reference to the schizophrenia i would say “split soul” is very much what I am mean. I could use my own culture as an example. Native American people are often thought to walk in two worlds because our culture is so drastically different from the predominant culture. So there are two lives occurring simultaneously. Some argue that when a person has to walk these two lifestyles they have a cognitive dissonance that is too much for them to deal with. This could also occur if “their world” is just personally different from the norm. Say someone who actually does see visions. In traditional days they would have given honor to this and given this person a respected but defined job in the community. Today it is called abnormal and a psychological illness. It is all about perspective.

Also I agree that we are treating the symptoms and not the root problem. And all that modern labeling system does is work with the symptoms.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@emperorofcali Do you really think it is all about sexual repression?? I have agreed with most of what you have said except the part involving the “treatment” for the “root problem” which is sexual repression. So you are suggesting that children should be having sex??

seekingwolf's avatar

@emperorofcali

You’re totally right about the symptoms being treated but the real problem isn’t being treated…I see that a lot too. It’s so sad.

@RedPowerLady

What if it was identify the symptoms—> identify the actual disorder that is causing the symptoms—> identify treatment…? Would this work? Then the problem would be treated.

Wow, that’s a lot of education! Well, no wonder, you are really knowledgeable about all of this.

I don’t think Native Americans (or anyone) should be labeled with a disorder for seeing visions. I think the difference between personality and pathology is whether it BOTHERS the person and interferes with life and the ability to function.
In this case, the visions are spiritual right? They are beneficial and not interfering badly with the person’s life. So it’s not a pathology…pathology can’t be defined by the symptoms alone, but how it affects the person as a whole. It really is all about perspective, I totally agree with that.

I just want to say that it’s been my dream to be a psychiatrist since I was 7…I don’t ever want to be one of those pill-poppers and wouldn’t medicate anyone who didn’t need it, even if it made me more money. I would have to carefully do research and make sure that the child actually needed it to be happy and function…and I’m not giving into some pathology-obsessed parent who THINKS that it’s needed when it’s not. And therapy is always an option too!
I promise I won’t be the stereotypical psychiatrist. :) I’ve had so many of those and I’m tired of it.

RedPowerLady's avatar

It wouldn’t work because there isn’t likely an “actual disorder” causing the symptoms. The cause of the symptoms is life itself, not a disorder. It is childhood abuse or living in a culture that doesn’t accept you for who you are. See the difference?? Now there are some small amount of cases where there is an actual disorder but as stated above, first we have to be able to weed these cases out to be able to pinpoint the actual disorders.

You are right. That is the clinical definition for whether something is a pathology. However it still doesn’t make it normal. And for most psychologists/therapist saying you see visions will automatically trigger a label. Something like visions does not fall under the category of “whether it interferes with your life” for most therapists/psychologists although I believe it should. Also you would have to define “interfere” with your life. Because if you told your boss, for example, that you see visions you aren’t likely to keep your job long so therefore it would interfere with your life in a drastic way.

I promise I won’t be the stereotypical psychiatrist. :) I’ve had so many of those and I’m tired of it.

I really believe you :)

BTW I’ve known a few non-typical therapists and they are amazing. I’ve also known some traditional healers. They are amazing as well.

emperorofcali's avatar

@RedPowerLady Great question. It depends on what you define as “children” and what you define as “sex”. I really don’t think a 5 year old has much inclination to go out and have sex with anyone. But it can, does and will touch him/herself for pleasure. And how many adults allow this? And by allow, I mean “do not show their own neurotic behavior in response to”. Watch most adults and you will see them flip out in some nervous manner – even if they allow it, they will have to comment, lower their voice, make some remark. And most will simply not tolerate it.

Freud was the first to say that a frustrated libido was the root cause of neurosis. He found this to be true because sexual pleasure is such a primary drive, and a very forceful one. Reich went a step further and found that the sex drive was actually electrical in nature, and that in order to regenerate itself in a restorative feedback loop, one had to have a lack of tension in the pelvic/abdominal muscles. Sexual shame causes tension, which keeps the electricity in a static condition, which in turn causes chronic muscle rigidity. This is why you will see that most schizophrenics have severe muscle rigidity, especially noticeable around the jawline. Anyway, Reich found that since sex repression is taught at such an early age, and because the drive is so strong, kids who are the most repressed start to develop secondary drives as a way to let out the energy; this is where you get the violent kids, the anal/compulsive kids, oral fixations, bulimia, etc. This is both the root and the reason for what is called “sublimation” (which you are probably familiar with). And the frustrated sex drive (along with Freud’s frustrated Oedipus complex) is the root cause.

And this doesn’t end with the parents, nor does it end with adulthood. There are plenty of reinforcements if anyone actually tries to seek any real (read: non-medicated) help. Look at the top websites today. What are they? Why? Because people are obsessed with what is forbidden. Sex. The entire pornography industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world, and it is all because of sexual repression. How would they react if people were sexually free? Even a bigger business will encourage sexual repression. Studies have shown that people can be controlled more efficiently when they are sexually repressed. This is why the government will keep people in a state of hysteria (watch your kids! Sexual predators abound! Teach abstinence! AIDS!) This is all hysteria invented for one reason: to keep people sexually repressed, mentally crippled and in a perpetual, terminal state of anxiety.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@emperorofcali

First I want to say that:
Freud’s beliefs on sex have long since been outdated. He provided some fantastic groundwork but was a bit neurotic himself. He was also very gender biased. You seem to be a complete Freudian. Am I wrong? I am more post-modern and accept the fact that most psychologists today understand Freud as a starting point for psychoanalysis but don’t take most of his theories seriously.

I agree that we are sexually repressed society. Also we must note that sexual freedom is absolutely not safe in this culture. I would also say that I think a lot of oppression does start with our bodies, including sex. But I do not think that allowing children to have sex is a cure for mental illness. I’m not sure if you are suggesting this or not. In fact I think that a lot of mental illness is caused by sexual abuse to children. (which I’m sure you will say that abuse comes from sexual repression, am I right?). I believe that dealing with creating safe atmospheres for sex and moreso for our bodies would help quite a bit but I hardly believe it will be a cure for personality disorders. There are more forms of oppression and repression and trauma that cause personality disorders and other mental illness. So how do you propose the cure to sexual repression come about??

seekingwolf's avatar

@RedPowerLady

Ohh okay, I understand.
so the ones with the actual “disorder” would probably be those with a chemical imbalance of some sort, right? (that’s what I have) Those are easily treatable…I wonder how you could possibly sort out those cases from the rest. Hmm I’ll have to think about that.

Well, abnormality doesn’t necessarily = pathology, right? I mean, I think people/doctors worry when they see someting “abnormal” because it COULD indicate something is wrong, but it doesn’t always.
In the boss example…if you told your boss that you saw visions and you prob wouldn’t keep your job for long because he’d fire you…well, it’s not a pathology.

My father used the “hopeless slob” example. A slob rooms with a neat freak. The neat freak is HORRIFIED at the mess and may even cuss the roommate out. But the slob doesn’t care. It’s not a pathology. Even if your “traits” or “symptoms” bother others, if they don’t bother you or make you angry/sad or irrational/crazy/manic, then it’s not a pathology. It all depends on what the person feels…not the people around them.

My first experience with a psychiatrist was when I was 14. He sat me down and looked at me, and asked if I knew Latin. I said “yes” and then he asked me if I knew the word for “boy”. I said “yes” and told him (puer). He wrote it down and said “HMMmMMM” and then talked to me for a while. hehe.
he was a good psychiatrist though. He put me on a great antidepressant combination that keeps my imbalance in check and I feel great!

emperorofcali's avatar

@RedPowerLady Can you explain exactly which of Freud’s beliefs are outdated, and why? I would be curious to know. I know that this is a popular refrain nowadays, but really no one has been able to follow up on that theory and refute that theory at all. I am strictly not a Freudian at all, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t acknowledge a very key basis for the understanding of all neurosis that hasn’t once been scientifically disproven, nor has a better model for the basis of neurosis even been introduced. Other than of course the “original sin” concept. Other Freudian concepts such as the “death instinct” and the function of the unconscious are certainly outdated. But to assume he was incorrect about the sexual basis of neurosis is to discredit the man’s most important contribution to psychoanalysis, which to my knowledge still exists as the foundation for understanding the root causes of neurosis to any serious student of psychology.

Rather, I have strong ties to the findings of Wilhelm Reich, who diverged from Freud not in the root of neurosis but in the treatment. Reich observed that treatment is through the soma (body) and not the psyche (mind). You likely won’t find many who practice this theory, of course, because it offers a cure for the ailment. Why cure something that you can simply perpetuate, when it stands to produce A) money, and B) a crippled, obedient society?

The cure is very, very simple: stop repressing sexuality in children. This is very difficult and I will admit, completely idealistic. It isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. Parents are so repressed themselves, and consequentially exhibiting so many secondary symptoms, they have neither the patience, the emotional stability, the courage or the compassion to be raising children. They are crippled, no matter how well-meaning they are. They imitate the same authority figures they themselves fear, and only serve to cause fear, anger, guilt and self-loathing in their kids. All this pornography that is fed to everyone by the media is just that: pornography. Hide your kids! Tell them to tell you when someone looks like they might rape them! Kids are freaked out, scared, violent, hyperactive, overstimulated invalids. The cure is simple, but the people who must be relied on to effect the cure are anything but simple. For now, the only cure I can suggest is that people simply stop having children until they undergo intensive psychotherapy. And most definitely not the type of “psychotherapy” you see today. Not bandaid psychotherapy. They need to lose their hysteria and fear over sex, and then the violence, fear, and desire to dominate and control – all of which are secondary drives based off of sexual repression – will fall away, too. They are not needed, other than to provide a defense. Until that happens, society will continue to have its sick attitudes towards sex, continue their secret titillation and fascination at hearing about the next child who gets raped and stuffed into a suitcase – and I’m talking about the moralists and the “great” parents, not the so-called “pedophiles”. Those that wear their perversion on the inside, because that’s exactly what it’s become. A perversion. People with perversions, raising kids that have perversions.

Until this ends, there is no realistic cure.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf _Ohh okay, I understand.
so the ones with the actual “disorder” would probably be those with a chemical imbalance of some sort, right? (that’s what I have) Those are easily treatable…I wonder how you could possibly sort out those cases from the rest_

Yeppers. You can’t really sort them out from the rest within the system we have right now. There are too many inherent problems.

You are right that it doesn’t really equal pathology. But that is not the case in practice as it is today. Today abnormality does equal pathology and as I see it that is quite a bit of the problem.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@emperorofcali In regards to how it is outdated this is a good article:
http://www.fww.org/articles/congres1/drmpuig.htm

It uses Freud as a point but moves beyond him. Freud was quite sexist and quite centered on sex as a self-centered act vs. the possibility of sex as an expression of a relationship and possibly of love. This is too simplistic and most people understand this. Life isn’t all about sex. That just isn’t true. He placed too much emphasis on it.
The point here is not to completely invalidate his theories but to move beyond them.

And Reich is largely considered to be controversial at best. Frankly I think encouraging adolescent sex is not a cure to medical illness and is surely not safe in society today. I also think that promoting this is a bit odd. Especially in the context of personality disorders. Many of which lye in dissociation of being sexually abused. And the fact that you keep saying stop repressing sexuality in children without defining what that looks like sounds quite a bit unsafe. And let me add that absolutely yes you want a kid to tell you when it looks like someone might rape them. Who would suggest otherwise. This is getting a bit over the edge for me.

emperorofcali's avatar

@RedPowerLady That article was amusing, and I predicted as much. Unfortunately, the “postmodern” dogma is similar to the dogmas that you will see in many other narrow belief systems, such as the Judeo-Christian belief that anything that is not “good” is inherently “evil”. In the post-modern dogma, anything that promotes a healthy sex economy is seen as “oversexed” or advocating sexual promiscuity. And like most dogmatic belief systems, this polarization is transparent. It attempts to “transcend” basic Freudian concepts by completely misconstruing them into a crude exaggeration. I don’t see one example in that entire article that professes a basis for neurosis that expounds on Freud’s theory at all. It’s not that profound, and it certainly isn’t arcane. It’s just sex. A very primary drive. It’s pre-linguistic, pre-semantic. Sex produces life, and life flowers from sex.

Now I understand that this theory is a bit unnerving. The only way you can see it is to assume that I am advocating a solution of having blind sex with every single thing that moves and forcing your two year old to get fondled by the mailman. I understand that is the postmodern, polarized reaction. This reaction, sadly, is the result of – guess what? Yes, sexual repression. Hate to say it, because I know you’re tired of hearing it, but if you ask me what the decimal system is built on, I will keep on telling you “ten”. Does that make “ten” outdated? No. It merely explains the foundation of a system, not to be exaggerated or overemphasized. Anyone who is likely to overemphasize it shows an unnatural reaction to something that is very basic and harmless. I’m not really sure what you mean by “moving beyond” a theory of sexuality. Either you accept it as a foundation for neurosis, or you reject it. Very simple. And then, your cure is either based upon it, or it isn’t. The only “moving beyond” is to establish a cure, and that’s all I’m involved with. Whether you consider Freud “outdated” (still not sure what that means, but I guess we should consider Einstein outdated too while we’re at it), or Reich “controversial”, the therapy that resulted from these scientists’ findings actually cured neurosis. They fixed the problem. Is there an argument to be had there? I don’t care if Freud hated women, or even if he beat them with a tire iron. His theories helped form therapies that saved lives. Reich, also contrary to hallucination, never advocated just “going out and having sex”, either. If you find otherwise, please direct me to the exact page number of the many books of his that I have, or the person who pretends to know what they are talking about. He is simply advocating raising children to make their own choices. And I already know that you will assume that the planet will go to hell if that happens, because you assume that if children are left to make their own decisions, they will rape fire hydrants and god knows what else. And while this may be true of sexually repressed children, it most definitely is not true of a child that has been raised to establish their own healthy views on sex – without interference from diseased parents.

Amongst the drug-dealiing Psychology By Prescription postmoderns that you see today, how many are “fixing” anything but their own patient’s drooling, suicidal, half-comatose drug addictions? That’s what I thought.

Lastly, the quest for a “safe society”. Are you assuming that society is safe nowadays as it is? I don’t see much “safe” in society. And I certainly don’t see that a permissive attitude towards sex is going to blow civilization into ruins. In fact, I see alot that has resulted from the repressive attitude towards sex – violence, greed, hoarding, selfishness, depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol addiction – that is driving the planet straight into hell. And yet, if a 14 year old girl has sex, we will – - what? Blow up faster? This fawning over the sexuality of children is a sign of sickness. A child is—get ready for this, because I’ll only say it once, lest I cause public panic and mass hysteria – - a sexual being. It wants to have sex. Even though this is all you hear, I am not saying, “Go out and bang a 7 year old today!”. I am saying, let your child do whatever it wants sexually and keep yourself and your own sexually dysfunctional, repressive sickness out of it, before you create another You for them to resent. A 5 year old kid isn’t going to rape the family dog because you let him masturbate. And a 14 year old girl isn’t going to – - god, to tell you the truth, I can’t find anything horrifying that a 14 year old girl would do, sexually, really.

In practice, if you leave a healthy organism to regulate their own drives, statistically it will do just fine. Remember that the only examples that you see are sexually repressed kids, and they will fail. But at least try to realize that won’t permit the type of condition to exist that would develop any other type of child (i.e., a healthy, self-regulating one), and therefore will prove both your assessment and your fear correct.

And you will be stuck with – – what? – - for your solution? More pills, anyone?

ohmyword's avatar

Genetic dispositions occur, of course. but I believe most personality disorders are definitely created by experience. Everyone copes differently and psychological disorders are some people’s brain’s/body’s ways of coping.

nikipedia's avatar

Behavioral geneticists have developed a couple techniques to try to get at the “born that way or made that way” question. The contribution of genetics to a given phenotype is called heritability.

Most techniques to study the heritability of psychological characteristics or disorders center around family history studies and twin studies, because we don’t yet have a reliable genetic marker for any psychological phenotype.

Some disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) are considered highly heritable, and therefore strongly influenced by genetics, because your risk of getting it increases as its prevalence in your family increases. Also, twins who share 100% of their genetic material are more likely to get these highly heritable diseases than twins who share only 50% of their genetic material.

Personality disorders are not considered highly heritable. There seems to be a small (but not absent) concordance between twins and a small (but not absent) increase in relative risk if you have affected family members. This suggests a stronger environmental component than in something like schizophrenia.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@emperorofcali I think you misunderstand the post-modern era and are projecting your own beliefs onto it. I know that what you said about post-modernism seeing things as oversexed is absolutely not true. Post-modernism is about not defining things even in the terms you are discussing them. You say that it is misconstrues and extends Freudian belief systems but isn’t that what you are doing for post-modernism?

Also saying that Freud or Reich cured neurosis is absolutely not true. You don’t cure neurosis by labeling someone hysteric. Also Freud’s method of treatment was psychoanalysis and had little to do with his theories on sex. He certainly did not “cure” anyone by having them go out and have sex. He worked with people through “talk therapy”. That is quite different from what you are suggesting.

Also your statement that you don’t care if Freud hated women thus proves your bias. Someone who hates women simply cannot come up with a “cure” that is safe for women.

Also once again you show proof that you don’t know what post-modernism is. Post-modernism does not rely on drugs and certainly advocates away from the use of drugs.

So what are the rules in your society? Anyone can have sex with anyone as long as it feels right?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@nikipedia Great information!

emperorofcali's avatar

@RedPowerLady I don’t profess to know anything about postmodernism other than the apparent aversion and fear for the basic human drive of sexuality that seems shared by both yourself and the pediatrician author of the link that you supplied. And as someone who is interested in healing illness rather than perpetuating it, any philosophy or approach that is based on fear really doesn’t have much use for me. It is to me just another form of puritanism and moral turgidity.

As for Reich and Freud: were you actually treated by either of these doctors? Have you employed any of their techniques on yourself or on others? To say that neither one has ever cured neurosis is an unfounded statement that is based on your own inexperience and unfamiliarity with much of anything that these men studied. You aren’t advocating building on the theories of either one. You are advocating leapfrogging them altogether, with no real knowledge about psychoanalysis or psychotherapy other than the dogma of the Postmodern Religion. There’s really nothing wrong with just admitting that you have no patience for it, and that accepting moral dogma is more your style. This is painfully evident when you use terms like “talk therapy”. You’re just referring to classical psychoanalysis which attempts to liberate unconscious repression through character analysis – and this is where I am most certainly not a follower for Freud. This has shown to have some measurable effect, but Reich’s approach of liberating neurosis through the elimination of what he called “body armor” was nothing short of revolutionary and in my practice – not my dogma, not my morality – in my practice, this has worked, and achieved results.

I also understand how that you attempt to discredit Freud on the basis of your perceived misogyny. I know it would be asking too much for you to cite anything that Freud has said – first-hand – against women, and show exactly how that discredits his entire psychoanalytic approach. You would likely prefer to just stick with your own impressions, with no investigation, and I expect as much. Blind feminism is yet another disease of sexually repressed society.

Lastly, my rules of society are non-existant. I am not a politician, and therefore have no interest in society. I believe in the individual. Society is nothing more than a collection of individuals. This is where postmodernism differs, with its emphasis on society, and social functioning. This is of no importance to me. Society is dysfunctional because the individual has been forced to repress his (oops, I mean her, of course) drives. You are attempting to draw morality into the domain of psychology, and this is where you exit the mind of a scientist and you enter the mind of the politician. Morality is simply unnecessary in the healthy individual who is not forced to repress their drives. The fact that you feel that all of these repressed drives must be perverted and sick and that, left to ones own devices, every dear little child in the world would be raped, is not only uninformed, uneducated and unscientific, it reveals your complete lack of understanding of the principles of the id/ego/superego structure (elementary psychology) – and possibly only serves to reveal your own repressed urges.

RedPowerLady's avatar

And as someone who is interested in healing illness rather than perpetuating it, any philosophy or approach that is based on fear really doesn’t have much use for me.

I agree with this sentiment whole heartedly.

I believe what I said was that Freud did not cure anyone by having them go out and have sex. He used psychoanalysis which I do believe is a helpful tool in the field of psychology. I know little about Reich except for what I have read has been quite controversial. I do not disagree that there is sexual repression. Or that getting rid of negative self images of body etc.. are very useful tools. I just don’t think the cure is for all mental illness is sex. And I don’t think the cure for mental illness is sex by children.

Freud wasn’t a perceived misogynist. He was a misogynist.
Here is one source. I’m sure you won’t like it but here you go anyhow:
http://www.religiousworlds.com/fondarosa/freud.html
Skip to the part: FEMININITY, MISOGYNY, PATRIARCHY

Also I am not a feminist so I hope you are not implying that I am. Although I do greatly respect feminism.

You are attempting to draw morality into the domain of psychology, and this is where you exit the mind of a scientist and you enter the mind of the politician.

I absolutely disagree. Psychology is not a hard science. It is a social science. Morality is absolutely necessary.

Morality is simply unnecessary in the healthy individual who is not forced to repress their drives.

Simply untrue. Morality is necessary in all societies. Name a functioning society past or present that exists without morality? And you should not argue that you don’t care about the society because the fact is that is how we live, in societies.

Also I find it hard to believe that you advocate for child sexuality without advocating for any safety around the issue. So who is allowed to have sex with the 14 year old girl you mentioned previously. Yourself?

emperorofcali's avatar

I believe that you have perfectly identified just where your approach to psychology and mine differ. You did a great job isolating it:

Psychology is not a hard science. It is a social science. Morality is absolutely necessary.

I don’t need to name a society that has existed without morality. I need only to point out to you that every single one that has tried to enforce a group “morality” on the individual has failed, failed hard, and looked quite ugly in the process of failing hard. And there is no better example than the one that currently exists today. When has society had more moralizing than today? More of a fight to force value down one another’s throat? If you absolutely must subscribe to a morality, how about the one that grants everyone the right to do with their bodies and minds as they see fit, as long as it doesn’t directly involve the direct involvement of an unwilling participant? Even that morality will not work, because sooner or later you and I will disagree on what constitutes an “unwilling participant” – can I paint my house dayglo orange and purple? No, because it might offend someone’s sense of “morality”. And so on.

You define the postmodern ethic in claiming that psychology is a social science. By taking science out of it, you make it subjective, more open to personal bias than trial-and-error and therefore just another method of controlling the individual. I know someone who was dragged by her mother from “therapist” to therapist in the hopes that one of them would declare her “bi-polar”. It took four trips to finally find the right one. The mother was thrilled with the diagnosis and immediately proceeded to get her daughter on meds. This is exactly what she wanted, and thank god that someone saw psychology as a social science, rather than a hard science, hmm? Exactly where and how does this differ from Christian puritans who took their children to see exorcists because they were convinced that there were demons running around inside their skulls? That was very much a social science, too. And with the exact same purpose: to control behavior. Not to increase the happiness and restore the well-being of a person. Merely to control behavior.

So to summarize: you believe that psychology is for the benefit of society, so that it can force a legion of homogeneous human beings who have no instinct for rebellion, deny their instincts, buy what advertisers tell them to, continue to repress their sex drives, have their self-esteems obliterated with the latest trendy mental-handicap label pulled out of DSM-IV, and just stop by and chat out their problems when their pills run out. Oh, and behave. Obey. That for you is the apotheosis of mental health: obey.

My vision is the emancipated individual, the one who doesn’t fear having their own thoughts and their own actions, the one who needs no morality whatsoever, for their heart and will are in conjunction with one another. You believe in the original sin, whether you are religious or not. You believe that we all need to be controlled. I believe in the original bliss, that we are not born with the urge to screw each other over, rape and destroy, maim and persecute, nor are we “perfect”. We also do not desire perfection, nor even understand it. We live, we thrive, we live by our own rules. Though I am not concerned with “society”, a civilization composed of such people would not experience the bloodshed, the pettiness, the drama and the self-loathing that this society does.

A socially-based psychology will only breed more misery. It’s doing a great job right now. Are you enjoying what it is producing?

Lastly, I knew you would go there with the whole 14 year old girl thing. That’s why I used her as an example. Hysterical character types always flip out, start hallucinating and projecting their own pedo-erotic feelings when adolescent sex is mentioned. Did I ever mention anyone doing anything to the 14 year old girl? No. I suggested letting the 14 year old girl do whatever she wants. But you read it the way that you want to read it. Just like you consistently seem to wish to believe that I suggest that “sex is the answer for everything”. That was never said. I said that liberating ones sexuality will restore their organic biological, and consequentially psychological, functioning to a healthy level.

Does the fact that you consistently fantasize reading about such titillating topics such as teen sex and sex being the ultimate cure-all (things that were never mentioned) tell you something about yourself? Right about now, I could point out a prime example of how sexual repression causes one to see things that don’t exist. But I’ll wait for you to get it. :)

RedPowerLady's avatar

Ahh but social sciences still have to conduct research using the scientific method and still have to used evidence based practices (which I think is crud but it’s true anyhow) meaning we are not then taking science out of the question.

You are beginning to make me laugh. You overgeneralize pretty much everything to suite your own interests.

So to summarize: you believe that psychology is for the benefit of society, so that it can force a legion of homogeneous human beings who have no instinct for rebellion, deny their instincts, buy what advertisers tell them to, continue to repress their sex drives, have their self-esteems obliterated with the latest trendy mental-handicap label pulled out of DSM-IV, and just stop by and chat out their problems when their pills run out. Oh, and behave. Obey. That for you is the apotheosis of mental health: obey.

Case in point of overgeneralizing. I believe psychology is there to benefit BOTH the individual and the community/society. I also believe in REAL healing vs. drugs and labeling as I have stated repeatedly. I don’t believe in people as homogeneous as I have stated and if you read other responses you will realize i don’t believe this.

A socially-based psychology will only breed more misery. It’s doing a great job right now. Are you enjoying what it is producing?

I am quite certain the problems of society today do not have much to do with the fact that the practice of psychology is socially based.

Ah so not only do you think it is okay that Freud was a misogynist but you freely attribute women as hysterical for having viewpoints that differ from yours?

You have mentioned several times that “the cure” is allowing free sexuality. Therefore I am not attributing my beliefs that you said it is a cure-all. You have in fact stated that. Also you also stated quite clearly that you believe teens having sex (with whomever might I add) is fine and dandy. Both points you have in fact clearly stated.

Now on to the point. And that is that I have never argued against the idea of sexual repression. What I have argued is that sexual repression is not the problem for everything. And that “sexual freedom” must end somewhere because there are necessary “rules” or morality that needs to be put in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

And BTW even if a 14 year old girl consents to having sex, i’ll even go as far as to say s he WANTS desperately to have sex, with an adult male it does not make it okay. This is true for many reasons. And there are reasons of morality and safety and not reasons of sexual repression. If you were arguing that we should allow two 14 year olds to have sex with each other I think you would have a firmer leg to stand on, so to speak.

emperorofcali's avatar

I don’t view women as “hysterical” for having viewpoints different from mine any more than you view men as wanting to molest 14 year olds for having viewpoints different from yours. But again, that would be silly me thinking in terms of the symptoms that you portray, and that would be you thinking in terms of the morals that you worship that I have no use for.

As far as “social science” goes: that seems an oxymoron to me. Society is political, not psychological. There is no social “psychology”, and the only thing that I can think of that comes close is a Jungian collective unconscious, which has little to do with this discussion. Society is political, not psychological. Psychology is individual, and the only role that society plays is to attempt to “adjust” that psychological state to fit its mores and value system. Was Hitler using “psychology”? Of course not. He was using political power, and the people who gave that power to him were psychologically flawed. This is your analogy for the current society. Psychology begins with the individual, and ultimately ends with him.

You claimed that I said that having sex cured neurosis. This is what you – the staunch advocate of not generalizing people’s comments – said. You were wrong, and now you are saying “sexuality”, which is a step in the right direction. Here is the general point again, and I’ll bold it up for you so you can come back to it again and again:

Sexual freedom and permissiveness is essential to the product of a neurosis-free human being. This does not mean, go out and have random sex and you will be cured of everything. This is a proactive recommendation to new parents who actually want to produce a healthy child. If treated properly, the child will not cause harm. The child may have sex at a young age, it may not have sex until 20. That is not for you to say. But when it does have sex, it will be less likely to make the horrid decisions that are a hallmark of today’s sexually-repressed youth who decisions are oftentimes marred by their own sexual repression.

Do you understand now? Did I use the word “cure-all”? Did I advocate running out and having immediate sex with anything and everything? If you’re just going to follow your typical pattern, please just skip to the comment box now and enter your next reply, because I won’t state it again. You will believe what you want to believe, and right now you’ve pretty much corrupted virtually every point that I have attempted to clarify for you.

As for societies rules, most of them are completely contrary to human health and in fact sacrifice a healthy psyche for the collective repression of the whole. Repressed people do not have a good reaction to those who are not repressed, for the simple fact that they are made aware of the origins of their own neurosis. I hope you can see this but it wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t. You are already society’s pawn, and that’s unfortunate but everyone makes their own decisions (or just abides by someone else’s decisions). Sexual freedom taking a back seat to morality is the worst thing possible for humanity; once again, I have tried to explain the secondary drives that result from this, and you don’t get it, or just choose to reject it for some unstated reason. “Ensuring everyone’s safety” is a motto of the dead and quite possibly the scariest thing I’ve read today. I don’t want my safety ensured. I love the danger and spontaneity and lust of life. Only the dead are completely safe, and any attempt to secure life into a safe little box is life-negative, self-loathing and, sadly, futile. Life – and its inherent chaos – will always, always win. The fearful have lost a long, long time ago.

On the 14 year old situation, I will say things that will alert the Dogma Police, and if you have issues with something as basic as sexual liberty, you will surely have major problems with my views on teen sex. Teen sex. The hot phrase of the day. If anyone is even reading this far, they will skip over every single word, but will stop on teen sex. And these aren’t the perverts that you want so desperately to save all children and unicorns from. These are the people who stand there gaping at the next child rape.

Secretly wishing they could get a piece, too.

RedPowerLady's avatar

At this point I believe you don’t want to hear my viewpoints. You want me to understand yours and it is supposed to be as simple as that.

I will say that sex needs to exist with morality. For safety purposes. And even in traditional times when rape was nearly unheard of, that was because there were morals in place. The morals were accepted by the community. This is the second scariest thing I’ve read today: “Ensuring everyone’s safety” is a motto of the dead and quite possibly the scariest thing I’ve read today. Since when should safety come second to anything??

And of course the scariest thing I’ve heard today is that you truly believe it is okay for teens and adults to have sex. Secretly wishing they could get a piece, too.
That’s only in your world buddy. Most of us don’t live in it. I think this is your way of justifying your perverse thoughts.

emperorofcali's avatar

You’re right about one thing: rape was unheard of at one point in time. And do you know why? It was because the established morality at that time was for a woman to Simply Lie There And Take It. Now what do you think of morality? Does it smell quite as fresh and invigorating? Your morality is only valid until enough time has passed for humans to evolve to the point to where they see it as sick, degrading and life-denying. If we were back in those days, I have little doubt that you would be one of those people saying that women need a good beating and raping, just to settle em down a little and make them better cooks. Or whatever else that morality was founded on.

Morality has justified the burning of “witches”, the incarceration of the innocent, the starting of countless wars and the misery of millions. But <i>your</i> morality is the only one that won’t, right? Wrong. It has, it is, and it will continue to cause grief from the very fear that it was founded on. And one day, it will be seen as barbaric by the masses who wonder why people like yourself had to live in such abject terror all the time.

I apologize if I gave you the impression that I wasn’t interested in your thoughts. The only thing that bored me honestly was the whole Freud/misogyny thing, which like most PC issues, just puts me to sleep as being weak grounds to discredit someone. Other than that, just because I disagree with your views on psychology doesn’t mean that I am not interested. Thanks for the discussion. You at least bother to think about things, and perhaps with a little more effort in that direction, the world will not be such a frightening place to you someday.

Lastly, I knew the last sentence of my post would probably make you itch a little. If you can’t see how captivated and obsessed people are when the words child and sex get withing two spaces of each other, then you haven’t been watching very closely. Just because something exists in a newspaper or on a news site doesn’t mean that it isn’t being sold to you as pornography. The fact that you have such a reaction to it indicates some very repressed drives. If it comes out on a child someday, I hope you at least don’t hurt it. I hope that’s not the case with you. But to assume that everyone who is obsessed with child-rape stories in the news is in any way reacting in a healthy manner is very, very naive.

If that seems a perverse thought to you, then so be it. Reich and many, many other revolutionary minds were also thought of as “perverse”, and in my translation of the word as applied by a sick, fearful society, I will most assuredly take it as the highest complement.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@emperorofcali It was because the established morality at that time was for a woman to Simply Lie There And Take It.

I know for a fact this is incorrect. I am particularly educated about my own culture and know this is not true for my own culture. And that we did, indeed, have astonishingly low rates of any type of abuse. BECAUSE of the way communities were shaped at the time.

I do see your point that morality changes. But the fact that morality changes or has been used for bad things does not make it useless. How does a human being even function without morality??

I don’t understand what you are saying. The fact that I am concerned about the welfare of children makes me a predator. That is sincerely warped.

And the words child and sex together are alarming when they are coupled with phrases like Secretly wishing they could get a piece, too.. Of course their are some freaks who see child-rape news and aren’t concerned as much as are perversed. But that is certainly not the majority of society. People don’t react strongly against such things because they are repressed. It is because they are mortified anyone could hurt a child in such a way. Is that so hard to believe?

I just want to say that I have just got to stop following this discussion. If you would like the last word so to speak you may comment me but don’t expect me to reply. I am quite annerved at the response previous to this one about allowing adults and teens to have sex. I really do not see how that could be justified by any means. Society may be sick and fearful. And I probably agree with both those sentiments. But when it comes to protecting a child from sexual abuse then I say A-OK.

emperorofcali's avatar

How does a human being even function without morality??

How? You’re currently looking at words that are being typed by a human who functions quite well without morality. Sorry if that offends your…morality. lol

That’s cool, it’s been fun. Sorry that you are having such a negative reaction to my lack of need for morality, and for the disturbing revelation that people in today’s society are obsessed with the topic of children and sex. I have never seen a society as obsessed as this one. Do they get as titillated when they hear a child has been maimed by a pit bull? No. They just yell, “Shoot the dog!” and it’s over. Children have and are still being beat senseless, and what is the reaction? Oh well, that’s terrible! Some people even condone it. But throw sex into the picture, and watch the crowd build up. I guarantee you that if the news was allowed to show footage of a child getting raped on the Internet, you and every other moralizing “child lover” would have their nose pressed to their monitors, drooling like a rabid dog. Oh, of course in horror. You would essentially be watching child pornography. And you know what?

You’d justify it. Every. Single. Oneofyou.

Hope you read this, and really don’t care if you didn’t. I knew at the very outset of this conversation that it would wind up with you being horrified. This is very formulaic and predictable. To you, I am an immoral pervert. To me, you are just another statistic with moderate hysterical symptoms. I will continue to live without the need for morals. You will continue to preach morality. And while all this is happening, society will continue to cannibalize itself.

Shuttle128's avatar

Whew….that was a heck of a lot of reading…..

So…..Morality in a nutshell:

Morality is caused by empathy and values. That’s it. The things we value are learned through socialization through our early childhood. We can learn to value new things throughout our lives and hence our individual morality changes. When you start talking about social morality you are talking about the things that many individuals agree with, not necessarily what is “correct.” However, what is correct if social morality is simply the norm?

I think the fundamental misunderstanding between you two is that one values the good of all, while the other values the freedom of the individual.

I see some Objectivism in emerorofcali’s responses that points to individual freedoms as being most important. This assumes that individuals will be most happy when they are free.

However, RedPowerLady has a very important objection: that of a functioning society. It is well documented that healthy social atmosphere is extremely important in individual happiness. Agreed upon morality helps to achieve this by allowing those who value different things to operate on the same playing field, so to speak.

I don’t think that rigid morals are the answer though, I think that the application of moral judgment by refraining from harming others using empathy is what we should seek.

emperorofcali's avatar

The morality you speak of isn’t based on an individual’s own values. It’s based on the values that society enforces on them, via reward/punishment. This is known as “conditioning”, and has nothing to do with mental health. To the contrary, it has to do with molding a person’s behavior to conform to pack/tribal values. And, in a sexually repressive society, this molding requires the individual to stifle and suffocate their own healthy sex drives. This results in the bio-electric short-circuiting of the body’s natural sexual current, manifesting in neurosis which is clinically defined as the tension that exists between the release of a drive and its constant frustration.

The theory is, we have to remember that the human being is just a sophisticated mammal. That’s all. A sophisticated, well-groomed animal. No other animal race stifles their urges like the human race does. No other animal species suffers from the horrid mental illnesses that plague humanity. And so the theory goes as such: if we trust that humanity will self-regulate its own urges, we don’t have to worry about all this inculcation of good/evil. This dichotomy wasn’t exactly devised by a group of well-meaning citizens down at the local library, by the way. The good/evil, us vs. them, you’re-evil-if-you’re-not-moral idea was enforced by the leaders of nations, to keep its people in a perpetual state of anxiety and, consequently, powerlessness. This is what gives me tremendous compassion for “society”. There is no society. We are all just individuals in pursuit of pleasure and meaning.

However, when a human’s basic drives are thwarted, secondary symptoms develop. This is what morality does. It teaches original sin, that we are f’d up by nature and need to be controlled. Do you see why governments enforced this? Do you see why they no longer need to enforce it? That’s right: we make it easy on them now. Anyway, when these secondary symptoms form, the primary drives are repressed. And this is where humans can no longer be trusted, and they feel the need to enact morals. The secondary drives are truly miserable, and quite dangerous. The problem with the moralists is that they believe that the secondary drives are primary. They believe that violence is a basic human character trait, for instance, rather than a sublimation of the powerful sex energy that gets repressed at a very early age. They see anal-compulsion as being “born into us”, rather than formed by pathological parents and their horror over fecal matter. This is the illusion of the need for morality. There is no more original sin in the human than there is in the orangutan, and any insistence otherwise amounts to animal chauvinism. Which is pretty laughable when you consider how alive most other animals are in comparison to humans.

I don’t know you, but I have this feeling that you actually read practically every word of a post that you’re interested in, unlike some people in this thread. Which is really admirable. And so hopefully I’ve been coherent enough to lay out exactly what my attitude is towards morality. I don’t believe that freedom is the apex of human existence. To the contrary, it is the prerequisite to said human’s ability to make the most of his/her life and the right of all. Morality must be eradicated for this to happen. Will many humans flip out and go on a rampage without it? Of course, because these are the very humans that were damaged by it in the first place. But in order that we may invite a population into a world free from such diseases as morality, that sacrifice is worth it. The people who need morality are already dead. Let the living experience life, and no less.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Shuttle128 Great summary. I could come to a happy medium with this

I don’t think that rigid morals are the answer though, I think that the application of moral judgment by refraining from harming others using empathy is what we should seek.

I do personally believe that morals in society do become a little more defined than this and still allow for individual freedom. I am, of course, not thinking of current society but of societies that have functioned well in the past. BUT I am happy with the compromise above. LOL

Also I would argue that you can have a functioning of society and free individual will. But you know that is an argument for another place and time.

Really what bothers me most is not the freewill argument or even disagreeing over psychology and how it is used. It is the talk about sexual repression and how the “cure” is to allow teens (as young as or younger than 14) and adults to have sex. This is what has fueled most of my arguments so far even though I try to be objective. Honestly I can’t get around that little bit.

Shuttle128's avatar

@emperorofcali
Truthfully, I see a lot of important aspects in your arguments. While I agree with RedPowerLady that some of the classifications that you use are a bit oversimplified (ie. anal fixations etc.). I do agree that human nature should be left as just that, natural. Indoctrination is certainly something I am against, but there is no possible way to raise a child without instilling some of your values into them. I believe it is best for the child, and society, to allow them to choose what they value as much as possible (but really, these chosen values are a product of their environment anyway….as RedPowerLady hinted at in her bit about free will).

Civilization requires that people be on the same page, otherwise we get the “two souls” problem on a much larger scale. People need to be connected to society enough that they can function. A set of normalized beliefs will happen, and will be needed, regardless of if you call it morality or not. People will always have values and these values when shared with others form a social “morality.” There is no such thing as true morality. The only reason I proposed an application of moral judgment is to preserve the freedoms of others.

@RedPowerLady
In order to define morality any more than that, you would have to make a value judgment on what the goal of humanity should be. You would have to say that, for example, humanity’s goal should be to pursue supreme economic wealth, or to create the most overall happiness, in order to establish what is “right” and what is “wrong.” When you determine what is the goal, you are forcing a value upon society. Aside from the extreme usage of Freud, emperorofcali is spot on with a lot of his assertions.

Sex is a natural part of human life. Society has changed this…..a lot. We’ve been hammering into everyone’s heads for the last 200 years here in the US (thousands more in other countries before then) that sexuality is bad or perverse. Humans are animals, we just have highly complex social constructs that have caused us to behave very differently. There really is an inverse correlation between violent crime and receptiveness of sexuality. Receptiveness of sexuality is taught at a very young age. It is not necessarily about experiencing sex at a young age but of allowing children to discover without placing your own values on them.

When you say it is “bad” for a child to have sex with an adult, you are applying your values to someone else’s decision. It has been pretty well ingrained in our heads that this is bad…..but why? If the child wants it and the adult wants it, why do we have the authority to determine what they should value? Yes, we may have had experiences that we believe we can pass on as instilled values to influence someone’s decisions, but how does this effect their mental well being in the long run?

Really this comes down to a few important things.

Free will: If there is free will and people can self determine things outside of the influence of others then emperorofcali’s ideals might hold. However, it appears as though there is no such thing as free will and all decisions are products of a person’s upbringing. To instill your beliefs is not much different from learning from experience….the only difference is that your experience will never be the same as their experience. Such shortcuts are nice and easy, but can be damaging and aren’t always necessary in today’s culture (personal safety being one of the major exceptions).

Psychology: What is psychologically damaging? Is it more psychologically damaging to repress sexuality, or to allow a person to discover (possibly painful) things on their own? Can we really make this judgment? Far more study is needed on the subject than I believe exists.

RedPowerLady's avatar

You lost me here:

When you say it is “bad” for a child to have sex with an adult, you are applying your values to someone else’s decision. It has been pretty well ingrained in our heads that this is bad…..but why? If the child wants it and the adult wants it, why do we have the authority to determine what they should value? Yes, we may have had experiences that we believe we can pass on as instilled values to influence someone’s decisions, but how does this effect their mental well being in the long run?

This is intrinsically not okay. It isn’t my choice or my beliefs or my values. It is common sense. Not common sense based on sexual repression but common sense based on well being a human being.

How about either of you pose this to the general public so you can get some more educated responses about exactly why you are wrong.

Shuttle128's avatar

What is intrinsically wrong about it, and why do you think that just because the majority believes it, it is true? No other animal does what you suggest. If humans are animals, what is intrinsically wrong about it? You believe it is wrong. Many, many people believe it is wrong. Why is it okay to tell someone that what they value is incorrect? Don’t get me wrong, I believe that without enough experience no person should make an important decision, such as having sex, by themselves. If the child is able to think and reason for themselves, why is it okay for you to tell them what they value is wrong? Is this not impinging on their freedoms? Obviously personal safety is paramount compared to sexual freedom. I never suggested that we not teach safe sex practices.

christineheartstokiohotel's avatar

i think that people can be born with certain genetic issues that can either be hindered or encouraged based on how their envoirnment treats them.

YCLYHO's avatar

in short (compared with all your other replies):)
i think they are born with some more prevalant traits, but also their environment and parents also have a huge influence

zen_'s avatar

Born that way. Fact.

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