The Echoes of the Mind – Individuality


How a man rallies to life’s challenges and weathers its storms tell us everything of who he is and all that he is likely to be. ~ Augustine of Hippo

A mental acquisition that produces few sweet fruits, individuality can be a compelling psychological gyre, and, along with worry, is the greatest possible waste of mental energy.

A newborn human naturally assumes a oneness of itself with the world. A sense of separation gradually dawns, fostered by those long duped to the duplicity of duality.

Via socialization a developing mind constructs a sense of distinct identity. The body becomes construed as the physical porter of the mind. (In modern societies, the soul as vitalizing witness goes untaught.)

The intuition that the mind is an identity-conferring and body-independent entity persists into adulthood. ~ American psychologist Nina Strohminger & American philosopher Shaun Nichols

It is no small irony that the strengthening sense of self occurs through a process which entangles self-identity with affiliation to others. Individuality is an outgrowth of comparisons made via mind perception to those in one’s in-group.

The idea that you are a distinct individual, with a self that makes you different from everyone else, is an assumption that people rarely question. ~ American psychologist Vivian McCann et al


Our greatest illusion is the believe that we are what we think ourselves to be. ~ Swiss philosopher Henri Frédéric Amiel

Self is a mental image: a psychological entrapment via identification and attachment to one’s own symbolic identity construct. Self-image is an internal representation of uniqueness, moral character, emotional maturity, cognitive, and physical strengths and weaknesses.

We retain our personal identity over time because we retain many of our earlier mental features, such as our thoughts, memories, and preferences. We retain our personal identity even though our bodies and outward appearance change radically over the course of a lifetime. ~ American psychologist Kathleen Corriveau et al

Self-identity is not a representation in stasis. It is instead a moving picture ballasted by what we imagine ourselves to be.

The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self-image and you change the personality and the behavior. ~ American cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz

Self-image is shaped through social interaction. Identity develops from the reflective images that others have of you, internal comparisons between yourself and others, and self-evaluation in view of feedback, all within the context of gender and cultural environment.

Identities are socially bestowed. ~ Austrian-born American sociologist Peter Berger


How we think of ourselves is the result of the socialization experiences we have over a lifetime. ~ James Henslin

The evolution of identify transpires through interactions with others. Self-image gradually develops during the formative years of childhood.

Socialization is the process by which individuals learn the expectations of their culture. A role comprises the behaviors expected of a person at a particular status.

A norm is a behavior conforming with a culture. A folkway is a traditional norm. A more is a folkway of central importance.

“It is not reason which is the guide of life, but custom.” ~ David Hume

From early childhood socialization through parenting crafts a sense of identity while shaping personality. Internalization occurs as a value system, beliefs, mores, and taboos become so deeply embedded as to be axiomatic.

In the early 20th century American sociologist Charles Cooley coined the term looking-glass self for the concept that self-identity grows out of interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. Karl Marx had already noted that a person’s sense of self is shaped by his social being.

“People learn to be whatever their society and culture teaches them.” ~ American social psychologist Jennifer Richeson


Babies do not develop “naturally” into social adults. If children are reared in isolation, their bodies grow, but they become little more than big animals. ~ American sociologists Margaret Anderson & Howard Taylor

The criticality of socialization is most graphically illustrated by examples of its absence or neglect.

 Victor of Aveyron

“It is only in the heart of society that man can attain the preeminent position which is natural destiny. Without the aid of civilization, he would be one of the feeblest and least intelligent of animals.” ~ Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard

There are numerous stories of feral children. Some are hoaxes.

The best-known and well-documented is of the “wild boy of Aveyron”: a feral French lad of 12 years who was caught in the forest in 1800 and taken into custody.

The boy gave no indication of feeling cold when he should have. He would growl when he saw a small animal, pounce on it and devour it on the spot.

After passing through an institution and making little progress at socialization, a young medical student, Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard, effectively adopted the boy, naming him Victor. Itard believed (wrongly) that 2 qualities distinguished humans from other animals: language and empathy.

Itard’s efforts with Victor led to meager success. Victor never did learn to speak, though he did come to use gestures to indicate an understanding of certain actions.

In one notable incident, Victor did express the innate nature of empathy. When the housekeeper wept one evening over the loss of her husband, Victor stopped what he was doing and displayed consoling behavior.


“Orphanages are not safe places for children.” ~ American human rights advocate Laurie Ahern

Throughout history and to this day, orphanages all over the world are often houses of deprivation for children, where babies receive little stimulation or socialization, and are often left to lie about unattended if not abused outright.

In one instance, infants in an orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia were drugged and hung in mesh baskets for up to 10 hours a day. Orphanage staff pocketed most of the money contributed for childcare by well-intentioned Westerners.

“The examples of cruelty and neglect are almost endless. Babies tied to their cribs. Children with disabilities who go without medical care and are left to die. Infants who don’t cry when they wake because they learn there is no point in crying because no one will come. Over and over, the world’s orphanages become dumping grounds for poor children and those with disabilities.” ~ Laurie Ahern


Early socialization is essential to produce a psychologically viable person. Without the conceptualization skills that learning language provides, social relations cannot be grasped. Without caring interactions, social bonding does not develop.

Further, socialization acts a mode of behavioral control. In embedding folkways and conforming to cultural expectations, socialization confers a degree of behavioral predictability.

Mass Media

“Growing up with unrestricted access to media violence is, in the least, very unhealthy for young people.” ~ American psychologist Joanne Cantor

Nowadays, mass media has an undue impact on developing minds, as caretakers let children indulge in television and video games.

The average American adolescent (8–19 years) spends 6.75 hours a day immersed in mass media. The casual violence portrayed has an impact, especially on young boys who are more prone to act out aggressively than girls.

By the age of 18, the average American child will have witnessed at least 18,000 murders on TV.

Children’s programming contains even more violence than non-children’s programming. Because of the amount and patterns of violence, children have an increased risk of modeling aggression or becoming desensitized to violence if they are exposed to typical children’s programming. ~ American communication scholar Barbara Wilson et al

“Violence viewing also induces intense fears and anxieties in child viewers.” ~ Joanne Cantor


In late adolescence, a social-psychological seismic shift occurs as the power of peers subducts that of parents. Juvenile delinquency is often a product of peer pressure.

“Not only do people live in society, but society also lives in people.” ~ Margaret Anderson & Howard Taylor

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People primarily define themselves and others in ethical terms.

“Moral traits are considered more important to personal identity than any other part of the mind.” ~ Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols

The 2nd-strongest sense of self is tied to emotional and autobiographical memory. This includes personality, desires, and preferences as well as life experiences. The combination of these provides an impression of uniqueness. All else, including physical traits, have a tenuous connection to identity.


The person of detachment sees that all this is an appearance. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

At some point in life most people experience moments of dissociation from mind and body: the sense of witnessing oneself. Depersonalization is detachment from sense of self.

Lasting dissociation is commonly caused by a severe traumatic event. Chronic depersonalization provokes anxiety in 2% of the populace: an emotional distress called depersonalization disorder. The problem is with the attitude toward dissociation, not with depersonalization itself, which is mentally healthy. There is no associated psychosis with depersonalization, as the distinction between self and the outside world is maintained.


Derealization is the sense that that external world is unreal. Unlike depersonalization, derealization has an organic cause, such as brain dysfunction or drug abuse, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, or cannabis, or stemming from alcohol or drug withdrawal.

Derealization is commonly a disorder with other symptoms, including persistent, intrusive thoughts and attendant anxiety. Derealization negatively affects learning and can invoke alienation.


Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves. ~ Nathaniel Branden

Self-esteem is the emotive valuation of oneself. It is an unhealthy exercise in which the Collective indulge, though in a self-deceptive way.

Life is the art of being well-deceived. ~ English writer William Hazlitt

Most people readily update their self-image upon being complimented. In contrast, to preserve self-esteem, criticism is met with internal resistance.

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. ~ Carl Jung

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The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself. ~ Mark Twain

Beyond knowing one’s functional abilities and limitations, self-concept is superfluous. People trap themselves within their own self-constructed cages of who they think themselves to be.

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul. ~ American author Henry van Dyke

Sense of identity also obscures the ecology of existence: that we are, at every moment, solely and only what we are doing or thinking. There is no self – there is only being.

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You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~ Buddha

The critical step to building better self-esteem is to abandon the effort altogether. Stop thinking of yourself as a piece of meat that gets graded.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become. ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Simply do what needs to be done as best as you can. Evaluate performance for improvement, not as a grade. Think functionally, not normatively.

Pay failure the tiniest toll toward self-improvement and move on. The past is immutable. Its only value in memory is as a reference for what may work better in the future: the acquisition of skill.

Your burden is of false self-identifications – abandon them all. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj


I cannot grasp all that I am. ~ Augustine of Hippo

Individuals vary greatly in their level of self-awareness, which is an intuitive understanding of oneself in light of social interaction. The Johari window illustrates concepts of self-awareness and self-disclosure.

Johari Window

The Johari window is a self-awareness examination heuristic created in 1955 by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. This tool is used primarily in self-help and corporate groups. A participant chooses among a list of adjectives which are considered self-descriptive. Peers then choose adjectives from the same list that they think signify the participant. The result is a diagram with 4 panes, indicating information known or not known by oneself and others.

Information that others know about you changes depending upon who you are interacting with. The result is an exposure that is both intentional and unintentional.

The open self is the part of you that is an open book. The hidden self is information you know about yourself that you have kept to yourself. The difference between the open self and hidden self is self-disclosure.

Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. ~ Mark Twain

The blind self is the self-awareness blind-spot. This is information others have gleaned about you which you are not aware of.

The unknown self is the subconscious that does not overtly reveal itself. Introspective insight shrinks the unknown self.

The 4 Johari selves are an integrated whole: the size of an individual’s inner world through social reflection. Individual Johari selves grow or shrink with emotional and spiritual maturation or regression.

The known-to-self portions are under conscious control and vary by audience. The not-known-to-self portions may represent opportunities for personal growth.


Revealing yourself to others does more than enlarge the open self. Through listening to yourself and insight via reflection, it may also reveal personality facets previously unknown to you, especially with feedback.

You can learn about yourself by listening to others, and by trying to see yourself as others do. Comments that amount to unsolicited advice are especially telling.

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To reiterate: the idea of self – looking at one’s mind-body as an object, rather than seeing being as a process – is without benefit but carries a cost. Thinking of oneself as a character lessens fluidity, as one artificially crafts behavior to fit a role rather than spontaneously acting appropriate to the situation.

The act of definition is of delimitation: defining what is not as well as what is. Don’t do that to yourself – you only curtail your own potentialities. Consider instead your learning ability and possibilities arise. Framing matters.


In order to have a conversation with someone, you must reveal yourself. ~ American novelist James Baldwin

Self-disclosure is the revelation of new information to someone. Personality type and culture, including religion, influence self-disclosure. Obviously, gregarious extroverts spill more beans about themselves than those that are less sociable or more introverted.

Pervasive American narcissism means that these people typically disclose more about themselves than in other cultures, including Europeans. By contrast, Americans are more reserved when communicating interculturally, as they feel less sure-footed.

East Asians – Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans – are generally circumspect in their self-disclosures, especially with acquaintances or those of other cultures. Indians are especially reluctant to self-disclose, for fear of reflecting negatively on their reputation and family.

Fear usually drives reluctance to self-disclosure: not wanting to project an undesirable image. As image is so important in society, such fear is understandable.

The Mexican culture emphasizes discussing everything in a positive mode. This complicates dealing with personal and social problems.

Communication skill affects self-disclosure. People comfortable talking often end up talking about themselves.

The topics of self-disclosure tend to be similar across cultures: hobbies, personal interests, attitudes, and political and religious opinions are more readily discussed than finances, sex, personality, and relationships.

The dynamics of self-disclosure expose the social inferiority of men. Women are more expressive when talking with other women than with men. As a relationship becomes more intimate, women open up while men do not change their self-disclosure level. Women disclose more to extended family than men do.

The exception is in initial encounters. Here men disclose more intimately, to control a relationship’s development.

Self-confident people more readily talk about themselves, as negative reactions are a lesser concern than for those less sure of themselves. Self-confidence and competence are often found together.

Competent people engage in self-disclosure more than less competent people. ~ American psychologist Joseph DeVito


Character is the result of a system of stereotyped principals. ~ David Hume

Personality comprises the patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of an individual. The term personality derives from the Latin persona, which means mask. People adopt strategies for their behaviors in different situations: analogous to putting on a mask, but the representation is a reflection of one’s self-image rather than a false face.

Personality is commonly characterized by type or by trait. The idea of personality types is popular because of its relative simplicity in slotting people into categories.

People perceive much greater consistency in others’ behaviors than actually exists, mostly because it simplifies the task of typecasting, and thereby renders predictability. Despite behavioral tendencies, such as aggressiveness, humans demonstrate considerable inconsistency over time, or in different emotive or social contexts.

A large part of the reason that we expect personality consistency in others is that we expect it in ourselves. Under the end-of-history illusion people underestimate how much they will change in the future.

Experiences often alter a person’s outlook and behaviors. While personality changes only gradually, it may be quite different in late adulthood than it was in childhood.

Personality changes are strongly related to changes in well-being. ~ English psychologist Chris Boyce

Life-changing circumstances can have a significant impact. Military service is frequently a catalyst for personality change.

One of the goals of the military to break down the mentality you had in the outside world, and they’re going to build you up as a soldier. ~ American psychologist Joshua Jackson

Through the seasonings of experience, people generally get better at dealing with the ups and downs of life. The typical person tends to become more responsive and more caring with age.

Temperament is considered the innate part of personality. Taking his cue from Hippocrates, Galen suggested that temperament resulted from the balance of the 4 humors.

Though the idea that personality flows from bodily fluids lost favor centuries ago, typecasting by temperament remains a popular pastime for both lay personality prognosticators and psychologists.

The two streams in the human being combine to produce what is commonly known as a person’s temperament. Our inner self and our inherited traits co-mingle in it. Temperament is an intermediary between what connects us to an ancestral line and what we bring to us. Temperament strikes a balance between the eternal and the ephemeral. ~ Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner

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Types exist not in people or in Nature, but rather in the eye of the observer. ~ Gordon Allport

Whereas personality typing is qualitative, attributing traits is quantitative in ascribing aspects of behavioral preferences by degree. Statistically inclined modern psychologists prefer characterizing personality by behavioral traits.

Psychologists derive personality traits from expressions related to mental constitution (e.g., calmness, neuroticism), emotional stature (i.e., emotiveness, moodiness), focus (e.g., impulsivity, conscientiousness), ecological interactivity (e.g., curiousness, creativity), and sociality (e.g., gregariousness, agreeability). It is an academic exercise which reinforces the idea that individuality is somehow important in and of itself.

Personality is less a finished product than a transitive process. Any theory that regards personality as stable, fixed, or invariable is wrong. ~ Gordon Allport

And yet… as creatures of habit, both physical and mental, living in ruts is personality.

Individual inclinations are apparent in early childhood. Though socialization molds us, personal disposition also shapes attitudes and values.

The more distance we get from our early influences, the more idiosyncratic factors hold sway over our beliefs. ~ Walloon psychologist Vassilis Saroglou

By adulthood one’s belief system results from a mixture of personality and social environment. Religiosity is exemplary.

Certain personality types are predisposed to land on different spots of the religiosity spectrum. Personality determines religiousness. ~ Vassilis Saroglou


“Time is an illusion.” ~ English writer Douglas Adams

There is only the present moment, which for us is a mental construct within the current 2.5 seconds: just long enough to create a comprehensible context.

The human auditory system can distinguish 2 sounds 2 milliseconds apart. The demands of visual processing require tens of milliseconds for scene construction.

Detecting order takes even longer. 2 events must be at least 50 milliseconds apart before sequence can be determined.

The mind takes various sensory inputs and sews them together using predictive heuristics, creating a representation that we consider a single moment in time. The experience of now is an ever-emerging fabrication of the mind.

Tiny temporal discrepancies are glossed over in the subjective interest of making sense of a moment. Only insistent repetitions of nonsynchrony jar what otherwise constitutes the smooth moment-by-moment flow of time.

Sensory acuity affords flexibility in uptake detail. This comes across as altering time: having it appear to run more slowly or speed up. This is an evolutionary device: when attention to the moment is focused, such as during danger, events appear to occur more slowly, allowing improved reaction opportunity. Such events are also remembered in more detail. Conversely, continued concentration on a task or stream of thought makes time whiz by.

“Time is

Too slow for those who Wait,

Too swift for those who Fear,

Too long for those who Grieve,

Too short for those who Rejoice,

But for those who Love,

Time is not.”

~ American clergyman Henry van Dyke

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“The subjective now can be longer for meditators than for non-meditators.” ~ German psychologist Sebastian Sauer

Living in the present moment stretches out time. Those with a higher level of awareness live a fuller life.

“If you are more aware of what is happening around you, you not only experience more in the present moment, you also have more memory content.” ~ German psychologist Marc Wittmann

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“The experience of the passage of time constitutes itself through an event that is first anticipated, then experienced, and eventually remembered. Taken together, phenomenal consciousness consists of an island of presence in the continuous flow of time related to what is happening right now.” ~ Marc Wittman

Rough sketches of experiences are stored in memory. The future is a cognitive template framing fears, wishes, and goals.

“Our sense of now can be viewed as a psychological illusion based on the past and a prediction of the near future.” ~ American psychologist David Melcher

That only the present moment exists is not how most people consider time. Instead, now is thought of as a point on a line, with vectors to the past and future that fuzz or sharpen via one’s orientation. Those vectors, and not right now, are more compelling to many.

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future.” ~ Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh

The way that people perceive and use time is termed chronemics. Coordinating time with someone else is called interactional time. Synchronized interactional time is important in maintaining relationships.

A person’s perspective on time greatly influences their motivations and behaviors. Emphasis may be in the past, present, or future.

Those with a past orientation are sentimental and nostalgic. Experiences capture specimens for later reminiscence.

A person with a present orientation lives in and for the moment. Those who exist on a subsistence level develop a keen sense of the present. The struggles of the past provide no solace, and future prospects appear circumscribed.

“Present-oriented people, especially fatalists, tend to see their world as one in which rewards are controlled by others. Men and women who are future oriented, especially those high in work motivation and goal seeking, see themselves as in charge of their own destinies. In an industrial, technologically based society such as ours, a present-oriented time sense dooms most people to life at the bottom of the heap. There is no place for fatalism, impulsivity or spontaneity when the marketplace is run on objectives, deadlines, budgets and quotas.” ~ American psychologists Alexander Gonzalez & Philip Zimbardo

A materialist mind-set motivates a future orientation. Desire for comforts and fear of what may lie ahead form a preoccupation with the future. Historically, savings, insurance, and investment only became viable after people had developed a sense of an extended future.

Even before a clock was first used to synchronize labor in 18th-century England, time has been equated with lucre. Industrialization spread the mechanization of time throughout northern Europe and the United States.

“Time is money.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

An individual’s temporal perspective influences disposition, emotion, motivation, risk-taking, spontaneity, problem-solving, and creativity. Behavior may be regulated by subjecting the present to the attitudinal demands of the past and future.

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” ~ Greek philosopher Theophrastus

Dimming the value of the past lessens the feeling for one’s liabilities and obligations. Without an articulate sense of the future, expectations diminish. Ambition dwindles. Goals become less important. One may comfortably be in the moment.

“Time is of your own making;

Its clock ticks in your head.

The moment you stop thought

Time too stops dead.”

~ German Catholic priest Angelus Silesius

Age and occupation shape time orientation. Conversely, personal temporal perspective influences job opportunities and choices.

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, you fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.” ~ English musician Roger Waters in the song “Time” (1973)

The young naturally enjoy the moment. In contrast, adults who struggle to make ends meet exist in the present with more sufferance than exuberance.

“You run to catch up with the Sun but it’s sinking; racing around to come up behind you again. The Sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older, shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.” ~ Roger Waters in the song “Time”

Those in occupations dealing with the impending are themselves focused on the future; managers and teachers are exemplary. Their work lives are heavily scheduled. The fast pace of a future-oriented life has people feeling rushed, as if there is never enough time.

“Our sense of time seems subject to the law of contrast.” ~ William James

Economists once thought that economic and technological progress would allow future generations to live lives largely of leisure. In 1930, John Maynard Keynes reckoned that “our grandchildren” would work around “3 hours a day.” Instead, with time as money people work their lives away. When people are paid more to work, they tend to work longer hours because it is a profitable use of time.

“The more cash-rich working Americans are, the more time-poor they feel.” ~ Gallup Poll (2011)

When people see their time in financial terms, they typically grow stingy with the former to maximize the latter. Workers paid by the hour volunteer less of their time and feel more antsy when not working.

In one experiment, participants were asked to listen to a minute-and-a-half passage of music. Those asked their hourly wage before the music played were less happy and more impatient as the soothing music poured over them.

“They wanted to get to the end of the experiment to do something that was more profitable.” ~ American psychologist Sanford DeVoe

A rising value of time at labor presses upon all time. Leisure time becomes stressful as people feel compelled to use it wisely or not at all.

In contrast, the past shines for those whose best times are there and have time on their hands. Their best days behind them, retired folks love to reminisce.

Workers’ conceptions of time align with job satisfaction. Hectic demands stimulate some, exhaust others. Personal time perspective and employment interactional time do not necessarily mesh.

As with other facets of worldview, personal temporal perspective is one angle from which people judge others. Those with a strong future orientation may consider those not so hedonists. Conversely, those fluid enough to savor the moment consider futurists uptight.

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Bertrand Russell

Time Through Life

Older folk tend to perceive time as having a quicker gait. This stems from how we perceive time.

Humans estimate the duration of an event from 2 quite distinct perspectives: prospectively: while an event is occurring, or retrospectively: looking back. Further, the experience of time varies with how we feel about what we are doing. In fact, time does fly when we are having fun.

While time passes quickly during pleasurable events, in remembering that activity later it will seem to have lasted longer than more mundane experiences.

Memories are made of new experiences, not familiar ones. Hence, retrospective judgment is based on how many new memories were created over a certain period. The more novel memories made the longer an experience will seem in hindsight. This phenomenon was dubbed the holiday paradox by English psychologist Claudia Hammond.

From childhood into early adulthood, we have countless fresh experiences and learn many new skills. As adults, though, life becomes more routine and we experience less novelty. Thus, our early years tend to be overrepresented in our autobiographical memory, and so, upon reflection, seems to have lasted longer. This perceptual skew can be altered by staying mentally engaged through learning and exploration.

Cultural Time

Cultures have their own sense of time. Organizations have their own cultures.

There is no more powerful, pervasive influence on how individuals think and cultures interact than our different perspectives on time: the way we mentally partition time into past, present and future. Every child learns a time perspective appropriate to the values and needs of his society. ~ Alexander Gonzalez & Philip Zimbardo

American corporate culture is fixated on time: building a profitable future. In contrast, those south of the border are more relaxed about time. Their pace of life is more pleasant.

More generally, the root of cultural differences over time owes to different conceptions of how time flows, and its treatment. 2 spectral ends are monochronic and polychronic time.

In monochronic cultures, time is viewed as linear and divisible. Monochronic time is considered almost tangible.

Monochronic people talk about time as if it was money: something that can be “spent,” “saved,” “wasted,” and “lost.” Monochronic time is an unnatural cultural perspective which must be learned, as it violates the natural rhythms of biology and sociality.

The blindness of the monochronic organization is to the humanity of its members. ~ American anthropologist Edward Hall

In contrast, polychronic time is socially oriented: people take precedence over appointments. Polychronicity prioritizes completing social events, such as conversations, over adhering to a schedule.

Clocks slay time. Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life. ~ American writer William Faulkner

Interpersonal information flow is much higher in polychronic cultures than in monochronic ones. Meetings occur to create consensus. Most attendees, if not all, know beforehand what will be discussed.

Polychronic people consider rigid meeting agendas an encumbrance, even an insult to one’s intelligence. Obtaining consensus and running a meeting like a production line are antithetic goals.

The French, Mediterranean, Arab, and Latin cultures are polychronic. The Japanese are inclined to polychronic life but have monochronic workplace tendencies which were adopted from Western industrial culture.

Time has everything to do not only with how a culture develops, but also with how the people of that culture experience the world. ~ Edward Hall

American women are more prone to depression than men, as are those living in America that come from cultures which emphasize social bonds over material gains. This is often the case among black Americans and Hispanics. Monochronic time contributes to the problem.

While men are more task-oriented, a woman’s natural inclination is to sociability. The American monochronic capitalist culture, with its demands at work and high employment turnover, is at odds with a life of caring relationships and lasting bonds.

The pursuit of wealth impoverishes quality of life. Worry about the future digs an early grave.

Life is long if you know how to use time. ~ Seneca


Throughout psychological history, a dominant position has maintained that the psychologically healthy person is one who maintains close contact with reality. ~ Shelley Taylor & Jonathon Brown

Though mental illness has long raised controversy in diagnoses and causes, there has been a remarkable consensus throughout history about mental health.

Psychological health is characterized by responsive awareness of what is going on as contrasted to interpretation reflecting perceived past patterns. Healthy behavior indicates spontaneous acceptance of actuality, regardless of how unappealing it may be.

The perception of reality is called mentally healthy when what the individual sees corresponds to what is actually there. ~ Austrian British social psychologist Marie Johoda

Visceral reactions illustrate mental health. However common, negative outbursts are never an exhibition of mental health. Being overcome with fear, anger, or hate signify mental illness. Healthy individuals are well-tempered emotionally.

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Overly positive self-evaluations, exaggerated perceptions of control or master, and unrealistic optimism are characteristic of normal human thought. These illusions appear to promote other criteria of mental health, including the ability to care about others, the ability to be happy or contented, and the ability to engage in productive and creative work. These strategies may succeed, in large part, because both the social world and cognitive-processing mechanisms impose filters on incoming information that distort it in a positive direction. ~ Shelley Taylor & Jonathon Brown

The mental health of those in the Collective is relative. An ongoing quest for happiness, facilitated through fictions, indicates subdued angst – in other words, a façade of mental health.

The absence of mental illness is not a sufficient indicator of mental health. ~ Marie Johada

Abiding mental health occurs only when one is not a slave to one’s own mind. “Exaggerated perceptions” are not mental health, even if they “distort in a positive direction.”

The mind’s proclivity is to obscure clarity for positivity where possible, and to believe that actuality is reality. The naïve realism that the Collective subscribe to under the banner of matterism is ignorant nonsense, not mental health.

Matter and mind are not separate. They are aspects of one energy. What you think to be the world is your own mind. The real is experienced in silence. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Psychically embracing economic materialism is also detrimental to mental health. A focus on materiality may inadvertently trade away love.

Can’t buy me love. ~ English musician Paul McCartney in the song of the same name (1964)

Materialism is not an isolated life priority; as the pursuit of money and possessions are prioritized, other dimensions of life, such as relationships, are de-emphasized. ~ American sociologist Jason Carroll


As altricial creatures, nurture plays a definitive role in fortifying or degrading natural mental health. The parenting process is essentially an intense, sustained transmission that is received as a signal of self-worth.

Mom and pop will fuck you up for sure. ~ Scottish musician David Byrne in the song “Sax and Violins” (1991)

As a generational psychic ripple through time, parental upbringing typically seats within the psyche of offspring a sense of inadequacy in some facet of being.

To be human means to feel inferior. ~ Alfred Adler

Peer influences may reinforce the feeling. When social interactions make inferiority itch, that sense is scratched by compensating in some way: typically, by some bluster of imagined superiority, even if only in an internal bucking-up.

The problem is grasping at a self-identity in the first place. Mental illness comes with self-objectification: regarding oneself as an entity as opposed to an ongoing learning process.

Beyond physical needs, what infants and children require foremost to become healthy adults are affection and the feeling of being safe. Those needs are biological and are an essential aspect of nurturing. Pathetic parenting begins by not lavishing affection. To feel unwanted is to feel unworthy.

The value of education about the cultural milieu cannot be understated in learning to navigate the shoals of society. But the most important lessons are those that shape the inner shell, especially cultivating reserve: to control impulse and suspend the urge for instant gratification. Self-discipline is a key element for a satisfying life.

The ability to regulate impulses and desires is indispensable to success in living and working with others. ~ American social psychologist Roy Baumeister


The epitome of mental health is spontaneity in an appropriate, positive, constructive manner. This comes via awareness attuned to instant actuality: a state of consciousness in which nattermind has no role.

Mental health necessarily involves inner silence. Quieting the mind is a discipline involving meditation and resolute living in the immediate moment.

Prolonged meditation practice has significant effects on brain functioning. Meditators show both short-term and long-lasting changes in brain activity. ~ German neurobiologist Sebastian Philipp et al


The neurotic is nailed to the cross of his fiction. ~ Alfred Adler

Mental illness is a chronic disturbance in mental functioning, beginning with perceiving actuality in a distorted way. Internal dysfunctions commonly show pronounced behavioral symptoms, though their exhibition may be suppressed in some instances.


One aspect of mental illness is malformed mind perception. The mentally ill either under-perceive or over-perceive minds in others. While autistics are sensitive to others’ emotional discomfort, they have difficulty representing other people’s mental states. Schizotypy typical involves promiscuous mentalizing: perceiving nonexistent minds. (Schizotypy is a continuum of mental illnesses characterized by dissociative and imaginative mental states (in place of perceiving actuality). Schizophrenia is an extreme schizotypal disease.)

The mental illness of the Collective is well illustrated by the commonness of distorted mind perception. Sexual violence is predicated upon misattributed mentalizing: either projecting that a woman would enjoy an assault, or not thinking or caring that a physical attack would also be a psychological one, with scars lasting long after the event. The social callousness of exploitative capitalists and conservatives lacking compassion owes to deficient mind perception.

The foregoing are merely egregious behavioral examples of the ubiquity of asymmetric mentalizing: such as that we know others better than they know us, and that others are biased whereas we see things as they really are.

Living healthily requires knowing which entities have minds and which do not, and respectfully appraising the qualities of others’ minds only as need arises. Mentalizing is no substitute for communication.


Mental dysfunction may have a physiological basis, as in autism and other disorders where inheritance is instrumental. Derangement may come from chemical pollution. The desire to cloud the mind is itself a mental illness which can be deepened through chemical application toward that end, such as by drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana.

The mind-body is an integrated gyre. What chronically affects the mind invariably has a physical consequence. Conversely, the best mental exercise is physical exertion.

Psychological stress has a mental origin and is not physiologically based. The root problem is believing anything that comes from a freewheeling nattermind, which revels in deception and troublemaking.

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Freud distinguished between neurosis and psychosis by ascribing the degree to which perception is divorced from actuality.

In neurosis, the break is with that portion of actuality found intolerable. Overall apperception remains more or less intact. The impairment only affects a limited realm of mental functioning.

In contrast, Freud thought that psychotics found actuality in toto too painful to bear: the break is global. Actuality is largely replaced with a paracosm.

A transference neurosis corresponds to a conflict between ego and id, a narcissistic neurosis corresponds to that between ego and superego, and a psychosis to that between ego and outer world. ~ Sigmund Freud

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Modern psychology assigns 3 major categories to mental illnesses: anxiety, mood, and schizophrenia.

Anxiety is an intense feeling of fearful distress. An anxiety may be a generalized sense of tension or panic, or be limited to a situation, object, or activity. Hesitation may be a mentally healthy response. Anxiety is not.

A specific anxiety is a phobia, which is a fear of a certain object or situation. Phobias arise from fabrications by nattermind which are believed.

Feeling unease when at a height where a fall may be fatal is a natural biological response. Feeling intense distress at the mere thought of being at such a height is a phobia.

An obsession is a persistent mental construct which may incite stress. A compulsion is a repetitive, ritualized behavior performed to reduce anxiety.

An obsessive-compulsive disorder is an obsession coupled to a compulsion. Frequent, physically uncalled-for hand washing is exemplary. Hand washing is a distraction emblematic of the desire to cleanse oneself of a mental state.

Mood disorders involve dramatic swings in mood. Depression is commonly involved. Some mood disorders involve mania. A person suffering bipolar disorder swings from a jaunty manic state into a debilitating depression. Like the ups and downs of roller coasters, these states episodically alternate.

Schizophrenia is what Freud termed psychosis: a crippling break with actuality. Delusion is the hallmark of schizophrenia. Schizophrenics may repeatedly experience hallucinations, especially hearing voices (nattermind taking pseudo-physical form). Men are more commonly afflicted with schizophrenia than women.

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All therapies aimed at validating emotions and conceptual constructs as psychologically healthy are espousals of ignorance – the blind leading the blinkered. Such psychological therapies of all sorts are rubbish, as their assumptive foundation is that the mind makes a positive contribution to life beyond perception and problem-solving (beyond enjoyment and skill).

We all talk to ourselves. Those we call mad just talk a little louder. ~ Marty Rubin

The source of madness is bothering to listen to the mind’s “talk,” regardless of its volume. One cannot begin to have “peace of mind” until one realizes that the mind offers no peace.

A critical element in mental disorder comes in holding onto the past. To reminisce is to be remiss to mental health.

Let the past be content with itself, for man needs forgetfulness as well as memory. ~ Irish novelist James Stephens

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Only by understanding the nature of the mind can one suss the source of suffering and vanquish it. To effectively do this, one must recognize reality: a feat very few achieve.

(Though it may be intense and sustained, pain is physical discomfort: the body insistently telling the mind of a physiological problem. In contrast, suffering is always a malady of the mind.)


Psychopathy is characterized by callous affect and interpersonal insensitivity. ~ Kurt Gray et al

Psychopathy is a mental disorder stemming from lacking reflexive empathy, which often hinders emotive social learning. (Though psychopathy has been known for millennia, is fairly common, and there are psychology associations with bibles of mental illnesses, psychologists have yet to concur on a definition of psychopathy.)

Psychopathy is commonly an inherited disorder, though it may develop in abused children who might not have been psychopathic had they a decent child-rearing. In the instance of developing non-hereditary psychopathy, selective emotional repression becomes habitual during early childhood.

Psychopaths do not naturally feel empathy or compassion, and so are bereft of reflexive altruism. The root problem is deficient mentalizing: under-perception of other minds. Failing to appreciate that others have sensitive minds makes it easy to manipulate people without moral consideration.

Despite the handicap, psychopaths who are not sociopaths may learn and practice appropriate social behaviors; such behaviors just do not come naturally. Owing to the emotional disability, psychopaths have diminished capability for intimacy, though they may render a decent imitation of it.


Sociopathy is antisocial psychopathy. A sociopath manipulatively exploits others without moral reflection or remorse. Someone may be a psychopath but not a sociopath and vice versa. With its intrinsic approval of profit-taking without moral regard, materialist (capitalist) societies inherently cultivate sociopathy.

About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience. The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound impact on the rest of us. ~ American psychologist Martha Stout


Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul. ~ Henry van Dyke

▫ Almost all people value their individuality. They maintain in their minds a self-image which they imbue with some level of self-esteem.

▫ Contrary to popular opinion, sustaining self-image is detrimental to mental health. Such self-absorption detracts attention from the present moment, and from the proper process of being (and being as a process) as opposed to treating everything as objects in space (the paradigmatic and problematic perspective from which self-image arises).

Our inner state creates the outer and not vice versa. ~ American author John Bradshaw

▫ Mental illness begins with believing whatever the mind presents which is not actually happening. All those who believe are mentally ill; the operational issue is only of debility.

The identity of one changes with how one perceives reality. ~ Sri Lankan-born Canadian writer Vithu Jeyaloganathan