We have already presented a basic overview of psychology here. We will next explore several particular psychological mechanisms.
We first recall that the subjective consciousness is a nested set of 3 simulations (“nodes”): “I am”, “I am safe” & “I am worthy”. The “I am” simulation is the primary node, upon which the other 2 nodes manifest. The “safe” modifier is the secondary node and the “worthy” modifier is the tertiary node. The primary node is nested within the secondary and tertiary nodes (see diagram below).
Although conceptually more challenging, it is important to perceive of the mind as quantised, rather than some other manner. This means that we understand the mind as a single entity, which is an electromagnetic sphere/torus (read more here).
Once we accept the Quantum Mind Hypothesis, the causality of consciousness becomes far easier to discern. A geometric understanding of the quantum mind comes through proper application of imagination. The companion skill of of imagination is discernment, which gives a logical understanding of the quantum effects of mind. (Read more about panpsychism here). In order to help improve these skills for the reader, we’ll next study several special cases of quantum psychology.
Worth Codependence (Intimacy)
The consciousness simulates 3 projections: “I am”, “I am safe” & “I am worthy”. Identity, or “I-am-ness” is the individual personality, or ego; it is moved by a desire to create an environment that supports (i.e.: does not contradict / cause cognitive dissonance with) its sense of itself, safety and merit/worth. Identity is a complex entity formed by many causes including but not limited to: previous lives, social, economical and geographical conditions. Day to day, the “I-am” is driven by 2 main impulses: to create a perceptual experience reflecting both safety and merit. The safety need is mostly met by materialism while the worth need is mostly met by spiritualism. When individuals contribute to our sense of merit, such people can be said to be in a codependence relationship with us.
Modernity induces many undesirable mind-states, including alienation (aversion to socialising) and marginalisation (ostracism from the mainstream). These undesirable side-effects of such mind-states serve as evidence that our codependence needs are not being fully met. We’ll next explore how to meet codependence needs.
Healthy codependence/intimacy hinges on 3 factors: recognition, acknowledgement and validation. Recognition is accurate perception of another’s qualities, acknowledgement is a stated preference for said qualities and validation is no-strings-attached acceptance/attention/focus. This signalling serves to minimise the cognitive dissonance experienced by the “I am worthy” node but are really only healthy when they are reciprocally symbiotic. The ratio of value proposition / effort per person (intimacy leverage coefficient) must be positive and experienced similarly for each participant, i.e.: the benefit of the relationship per unit effort per person are about equal. For example: a friendship can work if one person puts in a lot of effort and derives a tremendous benefit while the other puts forth minimal effort for a lesser (but not zero) gain, but it cannot work if these proportions differ too much.
It can also to be helpful to recognise relationships as transactional exchanges. Some are reticent to use this approach as it appears to “cheapen” the bonding process but it is prima facie unclear whether acknowledging or denying this reality actually diminishes the quality of codependence.
Phenomena of the mind are often counterintuitive, so we really can’t jump to too many conclusions without risking axiomatic kneecapping (where your suppositions exclude the possibility of reaching the truth of the matter). What seems reasonable to presume is that relationships are indeed transactional, it is simply a matter of what exactly is being transacted? Attention, recognition, acknowledgement, validation, time, money and knowledge are all examples of different things that can be transacted in codependence relationships.
There is no one-size fits all model to codependence relationships, all that can be said about them in a general sense is that they possess a measure of worth codependence: each participant fills a need for the other, either fully or partly.
How to Form Healthy Codependence Relationships
Expectation management is central to forming healthy codependence relationships. In spite of religious misgivings and creeping atheism, we must expect that in the core of our being is a void no human is big enough to fill, only God is. Expecting the God need to be filled by a human is a guaranteed recipe for disappointment and anguish. This is the same reason that expecting perfection, either in ourselves or others, is a bad idea. Unrealistic expectations are often disappointed, disappointment is undesirable and so the expectation of perfection, which is unrealistic, is undesirable. The art of psychic health therefore lies in the simultaneous striving for & non-expectation of perfection: a perpetual balancing act between potential and realisation. (‘psychic’ means ‘of the mind’)
The recognition of human frailty, specifically that we need others, is supremely important in forming healthy codependence relationships. Embracing awareness of one’s own need induces a vulnerability that facilitates the bonding process. Enhanced vulnerability also places one into a heightened state of awareness, which helps one discern whether another is worthy of their intimacy. Others will no longer be perceived as a burden to endure, but as potential conduits for psychic symbiosis.
Intimacy forms by recognition, acknowledgement and validation; it is the glue that holds relationships together. People experience intimacy very differently, so we should not expect it from everyone but rather remain open to the possibility of such connections forming with particular individuals.
People do not all experience intimacy in the same manner (learn more about “love languages” here). For some, receiving a gift is the most awesome thing in the world whereas others perceive gifts as dust collecting junk with an obligatory “thank you” attached. Some wives like it when their husband cleans the kitchen while others feel offended that the sovereignty of their domain has been violated. Unreciprocated intimacy can lead to spiritual souring through perpetual disappointment of expectation and ensuing cognitive dissonance. These mismatches force us to communicate and resolve misunderstandings as well as adjust expectations if we are to retain the connections.
It is important to remember that people aren’t usually friends with each other, they are friends their their perceptions of each other. Most of us, if not all, practice “projection”: a falsely exaggerated presumption about the degree to which one’s mind-state is shared. Predictably, when relationships start to break down, there has been some mismatch between expected and actual behaviour, which has resulted in cognitive dissonance. The realisation that an intimate relation “wasn’t who you thought they were” is never a pleasant one.
Cognitive dissonance occurs whenever expectation differs from reality. Our intelligence adaptation allows us to anticipate the future with considerable accuracy, but it isn’t perfect. The mechanism which allows us to predict the future with greater accuracy is cognitive dissonance, which we experience when expectations don’t line up with reality. Cognitive dissonance is generally an unpleasant experience, which we seek to avoid, both consciously and subconsciously. Our drive to minimise cognitive dissonance is thus the vehicle for our intellectual superiority, but superiority does not equate to perfection!
Humiliation is a form of cognitive dissonance in the secondary node (“I am worthy”). Consider a situation of humiliation where many people laugh at an individual. This can create a serious sense of loss of worth for the individual and is just a step away from ostracism. The “I am safe” node recognises ostracism as a threat to survival, a most stressful and undesirable mind-state. Clearly, humiliation undermines the stability of codependence relationships. Humiliation results from shaming and the mechanism for shaming is to use one’s status to compel particular behaviours in others by expressing disapproval of their mannerisms/actions. Humiliation has its uses but it should be employed sparingly as it appears sadistic to those outside of the codependence relationship, which impedes one’s ability to form new codependence relationships, which is undesirable.
This revelation may shed light upon the motivation of behaviour of people who struggle to have consistent principles. Their actions are not guided by consistent principles, but rather by a desire to avoid humiliation (this is essentially the mechanism of political correctness). For most NPC’s, their only consistent principle is a desire to avoid humiliation! (read more about NPC’s here & here)
All animals have a dominance hierarchy, including humans. Human social hierarchy is far more complex than animals’, but dominance hierarchy still forms the basis of our social interactions. Since our consciousness consists of positive simulations, we seek to influence our environment in such a way that these simulations are reflected. Part of this need is met by entering into dominance relations, a particular form of codependence relation where there is some form of power exchange.
In our search for identity, security and meaning, we enter into power exchange relationships. While it is certainly possible for a ‘relationship of equals’ (one with no power exchange) to form, the majority of relationship involve some degree of power exchange. The price of the heightened control obtained by of assuming power over another is the additional responsibility over the outcome of the imposition of your will. Conversely, the price of avoiding the consequences of making decisions is the deferral of your willpower to another. On the microsocial (interpersonal) level, power exchange relationships enrich our sense of identity and improve the quality of our lives. On the macrosocial level, reciprocal power exchange relationships are simply the most effective delegation of duties. Dominance relationships are difficult to master and thus people often suffer some from of negative psychological patterns because of a failure to distinguish between the perceived need (desire) and actual need.
One such instance of negative psychological patterning is “Stockholm Syndrome” and associated pathologies. Such behaviour is curious because it seems self-destructive (and often is), yet it can be persistent. This is because the behaviour manifests as a result of false association, which operates on a subconscious level. For instance, if you grew up in a home where your parents yelled at each other daily, you might come to associate love with yelling. A person with such an association would therefore feel unloved if the pattern failed to repeat itself in their own relationship. We can now see why people will engage in behaviours that can appear quite sadistic to the untrained eye because such people falsely associate such behaviours with intimacy.
Sadism is stronger than no emotion at all. Passion underlies all emotions up to the most extreme hatred. Attention in the form of sadism is still attention, after all. Apathy is non-focus, love is positive focus and hatred is negative focus. Hate is therefore not the opposite of love, apathy is. Both love and hate are underscored by focus and so cannot be true opposites. Learning to make this distinction makes it easier to make more sense of the highly complex phenomenon of human dominance hierarchy.
In summary: the emergent phenomena of the mind are often counterintuitive. Improving one’s knowledge of mental processes allows for awareness of subconscious patterning to manifest. Awareness then leads to greater understanding and greater understanding leads to greater ease in overcoming. We must also remember that continual effort is required for meaningful self-improvement and that change must be gradual in order to be lasting.