Thoughts on “male suffocation” – the need for the male to be away from the female – a unique character trait in the male

There is something which I call ‘male suffocation’.  This is a term that I use when the male feels “suffocated” by the female.  In other words, it basically states that the males need to have time away from the female as well as to have his own ‘male space’.  This seems to be critical for male development and growth.  It is also something that seems unique in the male as nothing like this exists in the female.  Because of this, females are generally unaware of this situation and, as a result, will often behave in a way that actively causes suffocation.  The effects of suffocation can have drastic consequences causing, in some cases, an impairment of the male and his functioning in society.  In some cases, it can practically incapacitate the male turning him into something like a vegetable.  From my own personal experience and observation, I can see that this can be a serious problem.  Interestingly, its a problem seldom mentioned or, as far as I know, acknowledged.

I should point out that this, in no way, says that the female is to blame or that its a result of some ‘bad’ quality in the female.  ‘Male suffocation’ is just a naturally appearing phenomena, just like female over-emotional tendency for example, and is part of the way of things.  It describes a naturally appearing quality of the male character.


I first began to notice this phenomena when I noticed a particular quality in male behavior that was dramatically altered by the female presence.  I noticed it both in myself and other males.

‘Male society’

The ‘male society’ is an aspect of the male and only the male.  It reflects a side of his character.  In many ways, it can have a quality of a ‘whole other world’ to it set apart from the female and society.  It makes it so that the male tends to bounce from several different societies (such as ‘male society’, the ‘marriage society’,  ‘social society’, etc.) during the course of the day and not really realize it.  It is not far from the truth to say that ‘male society’ is a world unto itself.  It has qualities such as:

  • It is often like a club.
  • It often has defined images, symbols, and meanings in it.  Sometimes they are delineated and sometimes they are unconscious.
  • If it is large it is often organized, such as with definite leaders and such.
  • It is often hierarchial or, at least, everyone has a place in it.
  • It is often exclusive, entailing males, and sometimes only males of a certain character, relationship (such as ‘work buddies’), or association (such as a shared hobby).
  • It often entails a form of respect or love between its members.  This often appears as a comradery.

This creates a form of ‘society’ that is separate from greater society as well as other societies.  It also has quite a range.  It can go from a simple friendship between two guys to an organized system, like a government.  In fact, ‘male society’ is actually the basis of civilization all over the world.  All organized societies and social systems seem to have origin in the ‘male society’.

The female disruption of ‘male society’

The female presence tends to disrupt ‘male society’.   In fact, it can put it to a halt and hinder its functioning.  Its so powerful that the female doesn’t even have to do anything . . . they just have to be there in the room!  I, myself, have noticed that and seen it in myself.  Many times have I noticed the difference in male behaviour when a female is in the room compared to when a female is not in the room.   In general, when a female is not there the male is more ‘free’ and open and there’s more of an open expression of bond with other males.  As a result of its ‘hidden appearance’ from the female, the female often never see’s this.  Its because of this that I’ve always felt that, because the female never sees this side of the male, they are usually unaware that it exists.  Some females do know, though, as I’ve heard them mention it.  They will use expressions like “when he is with the boys” and such.  In general, they know only that they are different but they’re not generally not sure how.  This is one of the reasons why females often seem to know so little about the male character (which is not what many claim).  What they see is a ‘modified’ or ‘altered’ aspect of it, which is the male-in-the-presence-of-the-female side of them.  In actuality, this tends to be a restricted and limited image of the male.  In many cases, I tend to think that the male is more open and free in ‘male society’ than in the presence of females, even his own wife, even though his wife may think he is most open toward her.  I’ve always seen most males association with their wife as a slightly ‘modified’ aspect of their self which is only open and free in some respects.  There are some males, though, who are more open and free with their wives but I don’t think its as great as it may seem.


In general, the primary effect of ‘male suffocation’ is a halting or stopping of the male or, rather, an inactivity both mentally and physically.  Even my observation is that when females are permitted in ‘male space’ the males seem to, in some cases, become almost incapacitated.  This is not because females distract them, necessarily, but because a female is ‘there’ . . . just their presence is interfering.  Having a female in the room can greatly impact how males behave.  That shows how powerful it is.  I’ve even heard quite a few males state that when a female is there they can’t ‘do their job’ as effectively, or concentrate effectively.  I’ve even seen evidence of this, of how male job performance deteriates when a female is around.  As a result, the female presence is damaging in the work, and play, environment.  I’ve noticed this in myself as well.  As a general rule, I find I don’t like females there when we’re ‘doing something’.

Some of the effects of ‘male suffocation’ include:

  • Apathy.
  • A lack of initiative and drive.
  • A stunted growth and development if its over a long period of time.
  • They are not as effective in doing things.
  • They cease to be a ‘man’ or ‘male-like’.
  • A dislike or apprehension of the female.   I’ve found that, often, when a male dislikes females it is often associated with suffocation.  In other words, its not that they dislike females but they dislike the suffocation the female causes.
  • Being pussy-whipped or a ‘yes man’ to the female.
  • They become effeminate (and possibly turn into homosexuals if it is extensive – acquired homosexuality).

Because of these, the male can be greatly affected.  To be frank, many males are destroyed by the suffocation, though they don’t realize it.  In actuality, much of male life entails aspects of dealing with the suffocation.


At first I thought that ‘male suffocation’ is primarily a reaction to the female presence in ‘male society’.  As I began to inquire further I began to see that there is another side to ‘male suffocation’.  The disruption of ‘male society’ is just a social manifestation of the phenomena.  In actuality, ‘male suffocation’ is felt individually and personally at the deepest level by the male.  This creates two forms of ‘male suffocation’:

  1. ‘Personal male suffocation’.  This is primarily caused by a persons character and disposition.  Some males feel suffocated more easily than others, and for a wide variety of reasons.
  2. ‘Social male suffocation’.  This is the social manifestation of the disruption of ‘male society’.  As a result, its more a socially sensed generalized suffocation.  Despite this, the suffocation they feel socially is based on forms of ‘personal males suffocation’.

Many males, on a personal level, struggle with ‘male suffocation’.  Some of the more personal reactions include:

  1. Avoidance of the female.
  2. A contempt for the female.
  3. Harsh feelings toward the female if they have no choice but to be around them.

These reactions show the need of the male to have his time away from the female, to avoid the difficult feelings caused by suffocation.  In fact, many of the husbands jokes and jibes against his wife have origin in this sense of ‘suffocation’.  The many jokes about females, in general, also have origin in the suffocation.  In addition, many attacks toward the female, as well as poor views of the female, are often based in it.


There are a multitude of causes of the ‘male suffocation’, from purely female causes to purely male causes.  There is usually a combination of the two, with guys tending to lean to one side or the other, depending on their character.

Male causes and origins

There are a number of qualities in the male that cause this:

‘Mother separation dilemma’

Much of this phenomena is a result of a naturally appearing quality in the male.  It has origins with the male and his mother.  Unlike the female, the male must be ‘removed’ from the mother.  The female does not have this problem because they have the sense of the mother within them and, accordingly, feel a connection with the mother, which the male does not have.  In other words, the female is never ‘removed’ from the mother and they do not have to ‘break away’ from them.  The male, on the other hand, has to be removed from the mother.  This can cause great conflict for some males.  It causes a unique problem the male experiences:  the ‘mother separation dilemma’.

This dilemma is caused because the separation conflicts with a naturally appearing attachment to his mother.  In other words, it shows a deep rooted desire to be attached to his mother.  To put it another way, the male loves his mother too much to be removed from her.  This desire can be so strong that it can cause some reactions such as:

  • A feeling of being swallowed up by the female (who represents the mother).  This often creates a sense of ‘suffocation’, hence the name.
  • A feeling of losing ones self.  In effect, they want to ‘lose themselves in the mother’, often reflecting a desire to be an infant again.

These create the basic traits of the ‘mother separation dilemma’.  At the base of all these is a sense that the male tends to feel that he will lose who he is.  This is because these feelings are really based in feelings of when he was an infant.  In other words, these feelings tend to create a sense of regression in the male and this regression means he must lose who he is and has become.  So we see that the ‘mother separation dilemma’ is really a battle between the desire and need to maintain who he is and a desire to regress to an infant again so as to be attached to his mother again.  Generally, males want the attachment to the mother (or mother substitute such as a wife) but they don’t want the regression this desire creates in them as they will lose all that they are.  This creates a dilemma that probably exists, at least in some form, in every male.

In actuality, it seems that much of ‘male suffocation’ is an avoidance of wanting to regress, coming from the ‘mother separation dilemma’, for many males.  This is no doubt why many males will emphasize ‘being a man’ or doing ‘male things’.  By emphasizing a ‘man’ (as separate from a female) they actually as if avoid this desire to regress and lose who they are.  Its like they must choose:  one or the other.

The sexual element

Its no secret that the sexual element plays a big part with the male.  This is because, in some respects, the male is ‘suffocated’ by his own desire.  This is because he knows he cannot satisfy it.  He must ‘gulp it down’, so to speak.  Having a female in the room can literally stop all the males in their tracks and interfere with their concentration and performance.  It will also make them behave differently.  It can go so far that some of the males may start to argue and fight with another.  I’ve seen this first hand.  I’ve also felt its effects as well . . . it is nothing to look at lightly.  The female presence is a powerful force for the male!  This is because the sexual force is so powerful.

I tend to feel that the males in the U.S. have become somewhat apathetic and ‘pussy whipped’ because the female is “around too much”.  Not only that, the females are dressed, oftentimes, in a sexual or exposing way.  This makes it so that the males are continually being “enticed” but can do nothing about it.  As a result, the American male has to continually ‘gulp down’ his desire.  Its practically become a way of life.  As a result, the American male has become a ‘suffocated male’ as a result, showing many of the signs of ‘male suffocation’:  apathy, becoming effeminate, ‘pussy whipped’, etc.  I tend to feel that this is far more serious than it may at first appear.  This is further complicated by the fact that its practically a crime, in this country, for the male to have his own place . . . everywhere he must ‘gulp down’ and everywhere he is suffocated.  In general, I feel it has had devastating effects.  In some respects, its probably very instrumental in why the American male has become like a ‘vegetable’ nowadays.

One of the things that have stunned me is how females seem to think that the male will not behave differently when they are around guys or that nothing will happen.  I’ve been continually stunned how females seem to never realize the effects of their presence on the male.  Many females don’t realize the power of the sexual force in the male.  They seem oblivious to it.  But the fact is that the sexual force is powerful and plays a great role in the association between the sexes.  After all these years I can see that there is a reason why the male and female have been segregated in all the societies the world over since earliest recorded times.

Difference in character

Because of the difference in character there are natural ‘clashes’ or inconsistencies between the sexes.   In actuality, it seems that the male character will often ‘clash’ with the female character when he is doing something productive, personal, or meaningful.   One of the effects of this is that its natural for society to segregate or separate the male and female activities.  This is one reason why females often have their ‘work’ to do and males have their ‘work’ to do and in which there is little association.  You put them together and nothing often gets done.

Not only that, it seems that the more informal the situation, the more problems there are between the sexes (unless they are married or intimate in some way).  The more formal, the less problems, which is probably why, all over the world, there are strict codes of behavior between male and female in their association. This shows that a lot of ‘etiquette’ and ‘codes of behavior’ are rooted in creating a ‘working association’ between the male and female hinting to the fact that, without them, problems are created.

Another interesting aspect is that, because of their different characters, the female is often like a fish-out-of-water in ‘male society’.  This makes it so that they stand out like a light.  They can become the ‘black sheep’ and are often targeted for ridicule or other things that different people in a group are often treated.  In so doing, they interfere with the male ‘comradary’ and cohesion in the group.  In effect, the female difference in character actually tends to breaks apart ‘male society’.  Regardless of how much they think they are ‘one of the boys’ the female will always be ‘separate’ in ‘male society’.

The ‘other mistresses’

The comradery and social hieararchial tendencies of the male tend to not have a place for females.  The fact is that the male tends to create bonds that does not entail the female.  There also develops a particular uniquely male “love” that exists between other males (and no, it is not homosexual) and their activities.  In some respects, it can be compared to a ‘mistress’.  In fact, it would not be a lie to say that most males have many ‘mistresses’.  In fact, the male actually has a spectrum of ‘other loves’ than does the female.  I sometimes speak of this as the ‘other mistresses’.  Its not uncommon for these to become a form of ‘love affair’ of a sort.  These ‘other mistresses’ include things such as:

  • A ‘bond’ with someone specific, such as a friend.
  • A group.
  • An activity.
  • A belief.

The fact is that things, such as these, can command more attention, concern, and love than does a female, wife, or lover.  As a result, ‘male society’ can entail deeper feelings and emotions than are given to a female.  Many can entail feeling of great emotion, attachment, devotion, and love that are the strongest in a males life.  This fact is largely unknown by females and would probably get many of them upset as many females like to think that they have the males deepest emotions which, to be frank, they usually don’t.

Female causes and origins

From what I have seen, the female generally does not make an active contribution to male suffocation.  That is, they don’t deliberately do anything to suffocate the male typically.  This is why many females are unaware of its effect.  But, the female character tends to cause a condition in which the female is continually threatening the male with suffocation.  This is because, the female character tends to need and ‘hang on’ to someone.  This can very easily have a suffocation quality on the male.  In fact, many males complaints about the female are of various versions of this ‘hanging on’.  Many of the jokes of marriage actually involve this issue.  As a result, it can have an impact on relationships and marriage.  It can make males complain of “bitching” or “nagging”, and that their wives are a “ball and chain”, as well as a frowning on romance and even a general contempt of the female.  Many female emotional and other demands are often perceived as a form of suffocation by the male, as well.


I’ve seen a number of female reactions to ‘male suffocation’:

  • Some females  will ‘threaten’ the male with some form of suffocation to get their way!  In other words, its often used as a form of manipulation.  Because of things like this it often makes some girls think they have power over the male.
  • Because ‘male suffocation’ makes males become removed from female society, it can make some girls envious.  Many girlfriends and wives will become jealous, even, because of the males ‘other life’ and his ‘other mistresses’.   They will see many males doing things, having associations, and achieving things that they don’t have or do.  This can get so bad that it can create what I call the ‘female envy culture’ where females make a life out of being envious of the male (I wrote an article on this called “Thoughts on the female and Victorian society – “being Victorian green” – the females envy of the male and the ‘female envy culture’“).  They will often want to be like a male, emulate males qualities, or even try to intrude into ‘male society’ in some way.  Recently, females have even used law and politics to do it too!
  • Some females will be understanding and give the male his space.  They will let their husband, for example, “go out with the boys” or have his special “man cave”.
  • Many females are oblivious to it and completely unaware of it.  Many females, it seems, are unaware of the ‘suffocation’ that they may cause.


The active intrusion on ‘male society’ in this society by females (nowadays, usually in the name of equality, and such, or as a result of the ‘female envy culture’) has had devastating effects on the male.  This is because ‘male society’ is intended to get away from the female.  Therefore, her presence destroys it and negates the whole thing.  And, because females are generally oblivious to ‘male suffocation’ they don’t realize what they are doing.

Overall, I would say that the female intrusion has a quality of making ‘male society’ less effective and even deteriorate or even destroying it.  In effect, the active intrusion of the female into ‘male society’ is actually creating a less human world for the male and is an unseen element in male dehumanization.  As mentioned above, the ‘suffocation’ causes apathy, stunted growth, and such.  Without the male having his ‘male space’ he is stopped in his tracks.  This, I think, is far more serious than it looks and is one of the many hidden crisis’ in this society.


The suffocation is so powerful that it has made great impact on male/female relationships.  In many ways, one could say that the association between the sexes is very much influenced by the suffocation.  It makes a major impact on how male and female associate with one another.  Some of the ways this is done include:

  • The need for ‘controlled association’ between the sexes (etiquette, codes of behavior, etc.).
  • The need for the male to be away from the female and to have time away as a person.
  • The need for the male to have his ‘male society’ with other guys.
  • The need for the male to have his own activities.

This all encompass a need for various forms of a ‘niche’ for the male exclusively.  The formation of the ‘niche’ allows the male to his ‘male space’ away from the female.  This allows them to be away physically and mentally.  This ‘niche’ is seen in every society in the world since earliest times and has been there for a reason.


In many ways, ‘male suffocation’ shows that the male needs both worlds, of a life with the female and a life without a female, in order to grow properly and be a person.  In this way, the male actually lives in two worlds and has two separate lives.  Because these are two diametrically opposed they can create problems though.  As a result, ‘male suffocation’ requires conditions that allow for both of these worlds to exist side-by-side, such as a social condition that makes this possible.  This social condition has existed for centuries all over the world since earliest times.   Unfortunately, nowadays, this is being threatened causing a dilemma for males.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Society, The male and female | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on ‘mental fabrications’: intelligence, insight, “smarts”, and all that, with special emphasis on intelligence

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I was thinking about ‘intelligence’.  Because this term has been used too much, and in too many ways, I have begun to see it in a particular way.  In general, I see intelligence as having qualities such as:

  • Intelligence is a “seeing beyond things”.  It’s a way of seeing something that isn’t there.  In this way, it is almost magical and appears, at times, to be miraculous.  I tend to feel that it is more related to insight and intuition than “smarts” and being knowledgable, as is often done.  This, I feel, is one of the big differences between my interpretation and others.
  • Intelligence is a “creation of something out of nothing”.  This means that intelligence tends to build and make things.   This also gives intelligence a magical quality.  In some cases, it amounts to ‘pulling a rabbit out of a hat’.
  • Intelligence “causes a change”.   Unlike things like knowledge, intelligence tends to do something in one’s life.  In often leads to a growth of a person.  It also tends to make a person live better in life.
  • Intelligence is a “manifestation of a greater awareness”.   In other words, it isn’t just “because you took a class on it” or “read a book”.  It is primarily a result of greater awareness.
  • Intelligence “tends to lead to a greater world view”.  That is to say, it leads a person to a greater conception of life.  It also tends to create a more holistic way of looking at the world.
  • Intelligence is a “bringing together of ones self”.  What I mean by this, is that intelligence seems to make the self more whole and one.  Because of this, intelligence is often a means of growth and development.

So we see that intelligence is an ability a person has that makes one ‘function’ in the worldIn this way, intelligence is an ever dynamic and ever-changing phenomena.  This means that there is really no “end” to it but it goes and on in one’s life.

Intelligence is just a form of what I call ‘mental fabrications’.   These are ‘fabrications’ we create in our mind that help us to conceive of the world.  By this, I mean that ‘mental fabrications’ allows us to do things such as these:

  • Fabricate an image of the world.
  • It allows us to be able to use the world and the things in it.
  • It allows us to predict what will happen in the world, allowing us to plan for things.
  • It allows us to make the world meaningful.

These all contribute to create a condition of being able to live in the world, what can be described as a ‘livableness’.  As a result, one can see that ‘mental fabrications’ are critical for life and living.

There is something which I call the spectrum of ‘mental fabrications’.  These refer to the fact that there are many forms of ‘mental fabrications’, not just one form.  They as if blend together much like the colors in a rainbow.  If I were to try to describe some main attributes, or ‘colors’, of this spectrum, or rainbow, it would go something like this:

  • Intuition.  This is an innate ability to ‘sense’ or ‘understand’ things.  In general, intuition is not something ‘learned’ but seems to be an innate ability.  We all display it from time to time and it is a normal part of life.  Like any ability, though, some people can display it more strongly than others.
  • Insight.  This is the ability to see beyond what is immediately there.  In some ways, it’s a form of ‘foreseeing’ or an ability to see what will happen before it happens.  This allows us to design things, plan for things, and sense if something may have bad consequences.  In the same way, it can allow us to see if something is good before it is or even tell the meaning of things that happen.
  • Intelligence.  This is as I’ve described it in this article.
  • “Smarts”.   This the ability to put things together, almost like a jigsaw puzzle.  It allows us to take something and put in a useful design.  In this way, it is like a creation.
  • Knowledgeable.  This is knowing information or details about things.
  • Imitative.  This consists primarily in imitating things that other people have done in particular.  For example, in reading a book and ‘learning it’ we are primarily imitating what the author said in our minds.  Imitation is very much involved in the development and creation of the other ‘mental fabrication’ but, by itself, is very hampering.  Being too imitative restricts the other forms from developing.

The extremes of this range from ‘mystical’ (intuition) to ‘what is obvious’ (imitative).  As one can see, intelligence is “sort of in the middle”.  In this way, it is actually like a ‘blending of the extremes’ which is one of the reasons why it is so powerful, critical, and important.   Because of this,a person who is intelligent, in my opinion, is someone who ‘blends the two extremes’ and, accordingly, creates a holistic perception of things.  Intelligence makes them “stand in the middle” and, in so doing, they have the “best of both worlds”, that is, they have both extremes. 

Unfortunately, this society tends to take certain views that, in my opinion, tend to hinder the development of intelligence, at least as I am describing it here.  These includes things such as:

  • This society tends to consider someone intelligent who only has the three lower qualities.  This means the emphasis is on imitation, being knowledgeable, and in the ability to put things together.  This is only half the spectrum.
  • This society tends to be particularistic, only emphasizing certain things and abilities, and not in creating a holistic attitude and development.  We must ‘learn this’ and ‘learn that’.  Once we do that it is considered ‘enough’.  This particularistic attitude tends to only reflect social attitudes at the time, which determines what needs to be emphasized.  In other words, its a ‘seeking of social approval’.  Because of this, most of the seeking of any intelligence is, in actuality, nothing but a seeking of social approval.  In that way, its like an illusion . . . that is to say, not a true seeking of intelligence.
  • This society tends to use intelligence for money, social prestige, or some other menial or mundane thing.  For many people, intelligence is associated with these things.  This also gives intelligence an illusion . . . intelligence is only a means for something else.
  • This society also tends to look down upon the ‘mystical’ and insightful qualities which even further hampers intelligence by not allowing a more holistic viewpoint.  Avoiding these qualities tend to give intelligence a ‘mechanistic’ character.

Intelligence, because of its blending nature, is quite unique in the spectrum of ‘mental fabrication’.  All the other abilities entail a specific ability or quality.  Intelligence, on the other hand, requires more than just an ability or quality.  It requires additional traits such as:

  • The ability to put things together to create a holistic image.  This requires the ability to not only put things together, and make things make sense, but to ‘connect’ all the other ‘mental fabrications’ together.  In this way, intelligence becomes like a ‘head’ or ‘leader’ of the spectrum of ‘mental fabrications’.  In addition to this, intelligence requires the ability to make sense out of contradictory things.  My experience is that most people have a problem with ‘holistic interpretations’, of making a whole image out of many parts, especially when they are contradictory.
  • The development of other forms of ‘mental fabrications’.  Intelligence requires an ability to ‘expand’ into many other areas of the spectrum.  That is to say, many other qualities must be developed as well.  Typically, because of the wide range of qualities found in the spectrum, its only natural that most people will find that they have an ability in one area or another.  As a result, people will tend to focus on the area they are best at and tend to neglect the other areas.  This makes it so that most people tend to become specific and particular about the ‘mental fabrication’ they develop.  In order to fully develop intelligence, though, a person must go beyond this tendency, and develop many other traits in the spectrum.  This appears to be somewhat rare.

Many people are hampered in intelligence because they lack one or both qualities.  This quality I call ‘unachieved intelligence’.  One could say that the main hampering is a result of the ‘tendency to be specific’ that we all tend to do.  We all tend to focus or be specific about things like:

  • The abilities we develop.
  • The image or fabrications we create.

By doing this, we actually restrict ourselves and neglect or don’t develop other areas of the spectrum.  Overcoming the ‘tendency to be specific’, I feel, is far more difficult to do than one may think.  This is because it is very natural and normal thing to do.  Since intelligence requires the ability to go beyond this natural tendency, it shows some other interesting traits associated with it:

  • Intelligence requires a tendency to go beyond ones natural tendencies.  Because of this, intelligence has a quality of ‘going beyond ones self’.
  • This ‘going beyond ones self’, I think, takes far more courage than one may think.  This shows that intelligence is associated with courage. 
  • Because one must ‘go beyond ones self’ it often has a quality of ‘bordering on madness’ and, in some cases, ‘losing ones self’.  As a result, intelligence is associated with madness, eccentricity, ‘weirdness’, alienation, conflict, despair, and so on. 

Particularly as a result of the last trait, intelligence may actually end up harming a person.  I sometimes jokingly refer to this as the ‘anti-intelligence tendency’ as it tends to contradict or negate the purpose of intelligence.  This is one of the reasons why I have always felt that one must be careful with intelligence.  In other words, I tend to see that intelligence is something that must be ‘cultivated’, ‘grown’, and ‘looked after’, much like a garden.  This fact shows that there area actually ‘additional stages to intelligence’ that go beyond just ‘learning’ or ‘developing’.  In fact, one could say that intelligence grows in these stages:

  1. Having intelligence.  This refers to having the intelligence character trait.
  2. Discovering intelligence.  This refers to the discovering of the intelligence character trait, usually as a result of the normal course of living.
  3. Displaying intelligence.  This reflects a tendency to display or use intelligence in our lives.
  4. Developing intelligence.  This refers to an active development of the intelligence we have discovered.  Typically, this refers to a ‘learning’ or a ‘practicing’ of this ability.  Often, it is only a specific quality or ability as a result of the ‘tendency to be specific’.  For people who may go further it can become a source of problems as a result of the ‘going beyond themselves’ creating the ‘anti-intelligence tendency’.
  5. Cultivating intelligence.  This stage takes a person ‘beyond themselves’ and, therefore, bypasses the ‘anti-intelligence tendency’.  This requires a culture typically (see below).
  6. Integrated intelligence.  This is when cultivated intelligence is ‘blended’ with our personal intelligence.  In this way, it as if ‘goes full circle’.

It seems that people usually stop at developing intelligence, at least in this society.  They ‘learn’ and ‘practice’ and that’s it . . . and a few border on madness or become very weird and alienated in life.  One of the reasons for this is that cultivating intelligence requires a social element to exist.  This element tends to be absent in this society.  All the former stages tend to reflect personal tendencies and, as a result, are primarily personal in orientation.  Even when they are used for social ends, such as with an occupation, it is still rooted in ones personal qualities.  The only difference is that they are ‘harnessed’ for that function.  In actuality, cultivating intelligence tends to appear as a result of a culture.  In other words, the culture allows the ‘going beyond ones self’ tendency to continue.  It does this by permitting a person to ‘go beyond ones self by transferring to the culture’.  In this way, a person goes from their self, so to speak, to the culture.  This shows an interesting thing about the ‘anti-intelligence tendency’.  It shows that there is a point when a persons self has ‘ended’ . . . something more than the self is needed.  This is supplied by the culture.   The culture allows a ‘transferring’.  I speak of this effect as the ‘going beyond transfer’ One could also refer to this as an ‘extension of self’ as well.   When there is nothing to transfer or extend to, a person remains in their self causing the many problems associated with the ‘anti-intelligence tendency’In some respects, is like getting stuck in a hole unable to get out.   

This shows certain qualities about the self such as that the self is limited and that intelligence is not rooted in the self.   My experience is that most people think that things like intelligence are based in the self and sprout from it.  I generally think that they are really speaking of their ego and, therefore, are displaying an intellectual pride when they say this (that is, they are confusing their ego with their self).  Its my opinion that intelligence is actually rooted in one’s character, which can be described as an ‘overall manifestations of all of ones traits’.  In other words, it is ‘something one has’.  Many people display intelligence and don’t even know it nor integrate it into their self, which can be described as a sense of who one is.  Because of this, a person may not integrate the intelligence into their self showing that intelligence is not a part of the self.  Instead, intelligence is something that the self ‘acquires’ from ones character traits (assuming one has it).  We must keep in mind that each one of us has a number of character traits that we don’t know we have or that we have not integrated into our sense of self and who we are.  When this happens we tend to neglect this character trait.  This is often done with intelligence.

What this shows is that intelligence is ‘beyond the self’ and not inherently a part of it.  Because of this, when we only know intelligence in respect of the self then we only see a small aspect of it.  This can be described as the ‘intelligence-in-self aspect’ which is only a specific way of knowing of intelligence.

As a result, a way to develop intelligence is to bring on new aspects of intelligence which as if ‘open up’ other aspects of intelligence one normally would not see.  An important way to do this is with the use of culture.  In this way, the self is not used bringing up a whole other aspect of intelligence.  This can be described as ‘intelligence-in-culture aspect’.

Culture brings in new qualities involved with intelligence that the ‘intelligence-in-self aspect’ could not bring out.  Some of these include:

  • Authority.  There is a sense of a ‘greater power’ than ones self.
  • A greater perspective.  It makes one see that one is a small part of a bigger picture.
  • Direction.  Seeing ones self as part of a bigger picture tends to make a person feel that they have a place in that picture and a specific purpose . . . a direction.
  • Depth.  Seeing that there is life beyond ones self one see’s that there is ‘more’ than who one is creating a great sense of depth.
  • Support and belonging.  The culture creates a sense that one is safe and belong in one’s place in the world.
  • Seeing ones self as part of a group . . . a ‘group self’.  In some respects, one could call this ones ‘extended self’, of a self that is made up of a ‘self that is not ones self’.
  • Mysticism (if it is religious).  This often gives a greater dimension to intelligence and world perception.

Whats interesting is that many of these qualities do not describe intelligence at all but, rather, the development of ‘senses’.  The fact is that there is great importance in these ‘senses’.  This is because they ‘support’ intelligence’.  In fact, these supports are practically as important as intelligence itself, even though they display no qualities of intelligence at all. They as if buttress and keep intelligence in its place.  One could compare it to the structural steel work of a skyscraper.  It holds the building up but is not seen. I speak of this ‘senses’ as the ‘intelligence support senses’.  And so, what we see is that culture doesn’t necessarily increase intelligence but it supports it.  But, in supporting it, it allows it to grow and develop.  One of the interesting fact this reveals is that the self is limited in its ability to ‘support’ intelligence.  This is primarily because the self ‘uses’ intelligence like a tool.  Culture supports it.

One of the effects of the ‘support’ is that it often creates something like a ‘falling back’ or what seems like a ‘regression of intelligence’.  This is because, at this stage, we are no longer centered on our self but in the culture.  We as if ‘give our self up’ as a result.  This makes it so that we seem to lose hold of it all.  I sometimes speak of this as ‘regressive intelligence’.  When this happens the ‘power’ is ‘transferred’ from the self to the culture.  If one does not grow into the culture then one may stay in the ‘regressive intelligence’ state, which some people do.  But when one grows into the culture one moves out of the ‘regressive intelligence’ phase and continues on with a different intelligence for it has passed from the personal intelligence to cultural intelligence.  Because of this there is actually something like a ‘transition period’ for this to happen, the ‘personal to cultural transition’.  If one succeeds then one ‘goes beyond ones self’.

But, at this stage, though, there is a tendency to get ‘stuck’ just like with the ‘anti-intelligence tendency’.  Basically, we tend to become ‘handmaidens’ to the culture.  That will stop a person in their tracks as much as anything else.  What we do is tend to forget our own intelligence and adopt the culture as if it were a replacement.  This makes it so that we abandon our intelligence.  This is the ‘abandoning intelligence tendency’.  When this happens we as if become like ‘robots’ to the culture, repeating what it wants, viewing things the way it wants, etc.  In actuality, many people reach this point as a result of ‘formal education’ and going to the University oftentimes.

If one can go beyond the ‘abandoning intelligence tendency’ they tend to occasionally abandon the culture from time to time.  In some ways, they can appear to go against it.  In actuality, though, what they are doing is rediscovering their own personal intelligence.  As a result, they are reintegrating their own personal intelligence into themselves.  This is ‘integrated intelligence’.  In this way, we as if make a complete circle back to our personal intelligence.  In some cases, we may have to start to discover it all again.

In actuality, what happens is a continuous ‘circle of intelligence’:

personal intelligence-cultural intelligence-personal intelligence-cultural intelligence, etc.

This cycle goes on the rest of ones life (that is, if one develops ones intelligence).  We continually alternate between personal and cultural intelligence again and again in our life.

It seems, though, that most people get ‘hung up’ somewhere in the cycle.  That is to say, there are all sorts of places in the cycle that stops or hinders a person.  Some of these have been described above, such as the ‘anti-intelligence tendency, the ‘regressive intelligence’, and the ‘abandoning intelligence tendency’.   They can be described as the ‘intellectual hang ups’.  Because of this I tend to think that the big battles of intelligence is not in developing or learning intelligence but in overcoming the ‘intellectual hang ups’ that appear in the cycle.  This seems to get more prevalent as one gets older.  When one is younger one tends to be mostly developing and learning intelligence.   The ‘intellectual hang ups’ have not appeared yet.  As a result, overcoming the ‘intellectual hang ups’ is more of an adult thing.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Culture, cultural loneliness, etc., Education and learning, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A dream about death – themes of contemplation

I had a dream involving contemplation:

I dreamt that I was walking around in a certain town on the sidewalk.  Between the sidewalk and a building I noticed what looked like a grave.  There was a sarcaphagus or coffin on a large slab of stone.  The slab of stone was wide enough for two sarcaphagus or coffins.  The one that was there, though, was on the left side.  I looked and noticed it was my grave.  I realized that I had died.  Some things happened and I ended up laying down on the right side, next to my sarcaphagus or coffin.  I remember a feeling of surrealness thinking that my body was in the sarcaphagus or coffin next to me.  While I was there it was if both the sarcaphagus or coffin and me were encased in a larger sarcaphagus or coffin.  Oddly, I was able to see through it and see what was outside.  I saw some people walk around.  Then this family came and looked at the grave next to me.  They had some stuff (perhaps some flowers?).  They didn’t know where to put it but I saw the mother say to one of the kids, “it’s OK, just put it on that grave”, which was my grave.  With this my grave was as if covered for a while.    Once they left I as if layed there casually watching things and people go by.

- This dream woke me up.  It wasn’t a nightmare nor did it frighten me in any way. I woke up and seemed to say almost automatically, “that’s contemplation!”, as if it reflected some sort of a revelation or something.  I knew that it was but didn’t quite know in what way.  I was tired and wanted to fall back to sleep but reminded myself to remember it.

The town, in this dream, originates from a statement I made a day or two earlier.  I said that I was thinking about going somewhere, getting a hotel, and hiking around the area for the weekend.  This way I would not be restricted by how far I could drive that day.  I’d have whole days to do things unstead of part of the day and I wouldn’t spend half the day preoccupied with driving.  One of the towns I thought of was Park City, in Utah, which this town resembled.

This dream refers to this idea of spending time in the middle of nature, with trees, birds, and bugs everywhere.  Being that spring is coming (this dream happened in February of 2014) I am looking forward to this (I guess an early spring fever).  The reason why this is so important is that it refers to being in solitude and by myself as well as contemplating.  In effect, its a reference to an anticipation of contemplation.  In so doing it shows some interesting themes associated with contemplation:

  • Death.  In all contemplation, I’ve found, there is a death.  This is seen in the coffin already there.
  • Another self.  Contemplation, to me, is the ‘awakening’ of another self.  Its this self that creates the power and insight of contemplation.  This is seen in the coffin and me laying next to it showing that these are describing my ‘two selves’.
  • Being removed from the world.  This is referred to my being covered by the flowers.
  • Looking at the world from a distance.  This is referred to by me watching people from within the sarcophagus.

Its interesting that this dream refers to symbolic representations of contemplation.  This, I think, shows the deep inner nature of contemplation which I love so much.-


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Dreams and their interpretation, Stuff involving me | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Some thoughts on Conceptionism

There is something which I call ‘Conceptionism’.  This a term that I use to refer to something that has always fascinated me:  how and why we, and all living creatures, conceive the world and reality.  What is it that makes us see reality and the world the way we do and create an ‘image’ or ‘conception’ of reality and the world?  In order to be in reality and the world, and to survive, we must have a conception of how the world works and what it consists of.  An ‘image’, of sorts, must be created within us that allows us to live in the world.  No living thing can live in the world “blind”, so to speak, and without any idea of the world in which it lives in.  In fact, I’ve often said that conception is one of the defining traits of a living creature or thing All living things show conception in one form or another.  Inanimate things, such as a rock, is just ‘there’ wherever it is, and does not require any conception of the world it is in to survive.

But a living creature needs a conception to survive.  Conception allows it to live in its world, to know it, to react to it, to defend itself in it, and to sustain itself in it.  As a result, conception is a reflection of the world it lives in, for which it was designed.  As a result, conception is a result of the design of the creature.  Therefore, conception is really a reflection of the ‘design’ of the living creature.  As a result, conception is ‘design specific’.  This condition of ‘design’ creates a number of conditions for the living creature:

  • A pre-established image of a ‘reality’.
  • The means to live in that pre-established ‘reality’.

These qualities make up the conception of the living thing.  Through conception, the shape, abilities, attributes, etc. of a living creature is created and, in so doing, a living thing living in a specific ‘reality’ is created.  Its conception must, therefore, reflect its design.


Conceptionism implies a certain set of conditions in its creation.  These are:

  1. The unknown reality-beyond-conception.  The full reality of existence is like a blackness to us and all living creatures.  It is controlled and moved by things no one can comprehend, nor will ever comprehend.  It is far more complicated (or simple perhaps?) than any one of us can possibly imagine.  As a result, all creatures live as if in a dark room, with a reality of existence that they cannot grasp.
  2. The ‘design’ of the living creature.  The ‘design’ sets the creature up for a specific reality and world.  In so doing, it allows the creature to be aware of, and know, of a small segment of existence, that in which it lives.  As a result, a fish is prepared to live in the sea, the bird to fly in the sky, and such.
  3. The ‘worldly flashlights’.    The ‘design’ of a creature gives it an ability to see in the blackness . . . ‘worldly flashlights’, so to speak.  These allow it to see in the darkness of existence.   These encompass things like senses, abilities, intuitions, and such.  But these ‘flashlights’ only see a small part of existence.  They consist of that part that is relevant to it as part of the design of the creature.  As a result, all creatures only see a partial image of existence . . . that part of existence the ‘worldly flashlights’ allow it to see.  No creature has the ability to see all of existence.
  4. ‘Conceptions’.   The ‘design’ of the living creature and ‘worldly flashlights’ create the conception of the creature.  It determines how it lives and what it does in the world.  It dictates the creatures ‘reality’ or ‘truth’.   Because of this, the ‘conceived world’ is the only world a creature knows or is aware of.  But, we must remember, the ‘conceived world’ is not the totality of existence.

These show certain facts:

  • That all creatures have a limited conception of the world.
  • The conception of the world is based on the ‘design’ and the ‘worldly flashlight’ of the creature.
  • We ‘live’ in the ‘conceived reality’ that nature has designed us for.  That is to say, we live in a world nature has already delineated and determined for us.  In effect, we do not “create” our world.

I should emphasize that I am not only viewing ‘conception’ from a human angle, but in all living creatures.  Each living creature lives in its own ‘conceived world’, which is a world only it conceives.  An ant lives in an ant ‘conceived world’, a bird lives in a bird ‘conceived world’, etc.  Because these creatures have the ‘design’ and ‘worldly flashlights’ to live and see in their specific world, it means that they live in the conception given to them, which is different than what other creatures conceive.  As a result, they see the world differently than other creatures creating a ‘creature-specific conception’. This makes it so that no two different type of creatures see the world the same.  This is because they are living, in effect, in two different realities.

I should point out that there is great power of the ‘design’ of the living creature and the ‘worldly flashlights’.  Through it life is lived.  Imagine if you had the ‘worldly flashlights’ of other creatures:  different senses, different instinctual tendencies, different abilities, different capabilities.  Your whole conception and image of the world would change.  You’d see things you didn’t know were there.  You’d have tendencies you never had.   A whole new reality would opened up to you.  In this way, conceptionism actually shows how little we know of the world.  But, since we cannot gain the ‘worldly flashlights’ of other creatures, it also show that we will NEVER know as well.


There are, really, three forms of conceptions:

  1. Conception-by-design:  non variable conception.  This refers to innate qualities within the living creature.  It includes things like physical attributes, abilities, instincts, etc.  It generally implies a pre-defined and already established conception of the world.  As a result, it does not require a ‘brain’ or a ‘mind’.  This would include things like plant and bacteria.  In these, the physical design is its ‘design’ and its ‘conception’.  Typically, if you take a living creature out of its conception-by-design condition then it will die.
  2. Conception-by-experience:  variable conception.  These refer to conception of the world that originate from experiencing the world.  It entails something like a learning.  This requires things like a ‘brain’ to achieve.  This would include things like insects and fish.  These creatures generally participate and react with their world as part of their ‘design’ and ‘conception’.  These creatures generally cannot adapt to other conditions that is dictated by their conception-by-experience condition.
  3. Conception-by-character:  individualistic conception.  This refers to creation of conception by the individual character of the living thing.  This requires a larger ‘brain’ and a ‘mind’ to perform.  As near as I can tell, all the creatures that have conception-by-character are mammals which include human beings.  These creatures are able to adapt to a wide variety of conditions and are, therefore, the most versatile of creatures.  This is because they are able too develop very individualistic traits and qualities and can alter or change their conception.

These three forms create like a pyramid with three levels.  On the bottom level is conception-by-design, as all creatures have this form of conception.  Built upon this are a smaller group of creatures that are conception-by-experience (which also have conception-by-design).  Built upon conception-by-experience is even a smaller group that are conception-by-character (which also has conception-by-experience and conception-by-design), making this the smallest group.  The groups higher up the pyramid have the conception traits of the one below it.

These three forms also create a spectrum of conceptions, from incredibly simple and unaltering (conception-by-design) to incredibly complex with great ability to change (conception-by-character).  In actuality, neither is better than the other, necessarily.  That is to say, complex is not necessarily better than simple as you’d normally think.  The “best” conception is actually based on the ‘design’ of the creature and where the creature is living.  If a creature remains in the world for which it was designed then it is ‘perfect’, so to speak, in that world and may exist there for millions of years.  Many creatures fit this scenario.  What this shows is that some creatures develop a ‘conception perfection’, of having a perfect conception of the world they live in.  Amazingly, the great bulk of the creatures in the world live this way.  What’s even more amazing is that they are mostly from the more simpler forms of conceptions.  In other words, the creatures that are conception-by-character (the most versatile) are the least prevalent of the creatures.  This, in a way, suggests that the simplist form of conception is actually the “best” simply because there are more creatures living that way.


An interesting point is that, though the world is massive and has a reality that we will never know, and principles we will never conceive of, it actually takes very little “knowing” to live in the world.  In other words, “knowing” the world does not determine if you will be able to live in the world or not.  Most of the living creatures of the world only “know” what the ‘worldly flashlights’ allow them to “know”.  Some creatures don’t really “know” at all (such as bacteria), but yet they survive.  In fact, some of the known oldest creatures of the world have no “knowing” at all.

This has always stunned me as I always felt that, for a creature to survive in the world, it needs to “know” a lot of the world.  The evidence that I see is that a creature does not need to know.  Unstead, a creatures has to be DESIGNED for the little part of the world it lives in.  A fish on land will drown.  An elephant jumping off a cliff, and trying to fly, will fall to its death.  This shows that what a creature is designed for is everything, not how much it “knows” about the world and how it works.

But we could also say that design is a ‘form of knowing’.   In many ways, it’s an “innate knowing”.  When we speak of “knowing” we generally speak of an“acquired knowing”, usually of an intellectual sort.  But, we must remember, that “acquired knowing” is really nothing but an application of design that already exists.  In other words, “acquired knowing” is a part of the design of a creature.   It allows certain creatures to better adapt to the reality of the world they live in.  That is to say, “acquired knowing” allows for variability and is, therefore, a trait of the conception-by-character form.


Nature gives us the living creature the ‘worldly flashlights’ to conceive the world and its reality.  It has “assigned” each creature with specific ‘flashlights’.  As a result, the how and why nature ascribes the ‘wordly flashlights’ to each living creature is a major element in conceptionism.  Modern biology would ascribe it to evolution and the evolutionary process.  Though the point of view sounds good, and seems to make sense, I have had reason to question it (as I’ve written in an article in this blog called, “Thoughts on my doubt about evolution”).  In many ways, its at this point that the question becomes:  how far am I going to consider my “conception of conceptionism” through scientific eyes?  This is like a cross roads.  If I am scientific then I could easily ascribe it to evolution.  But, being that I’m not, I don’t.  This would show that the conception of conceptionism a person uses varies ones view of conceptionism.  Its a good example of how varied our conceptions are.  One person will say this and another will say that . . . which is right?  Both usually are and aren’t.  Such is the example of how we can never get the ‘full picture’ which means we can never create a complete conception of things.  It reveals the fact that conceptions are for a specific creature in a specific situation.  They are not generalized in any way.  This goes down even to the conception of each individual human being and how they interpret the world.  It shows that the idea of conceptionism is a way of conceiving the world from ones own reality and not a statement of ‘ultimate fact’ (as science tends to try to do).  A person who would agree would be someone with similar conceptionistic perspectives.  A person that does not have similar conceptionistic perspectives would disagree.  In a way, it just shows an example that we live in ‘different realities’ more than anything else.  This same situation is found with almost all ideas, philosophies, and beliefs.  The many disagreements, disputes, conflicts, etc. between different perspectives only show that we are all living in different realities.  As a result, none can profess to be the ‘ultimate’ explanation, meaning that there is no ‘ultimate truth’ but only the truth accepted by the person, which is based on their ‘personal reality’.  This shows how design of a creature extends even to our views of the world and our conception of how the world works.  Wherever we turn we see this fact:  Any conception is rooted in a specific reality.  In addition, we find that a conception out of its reality doesn’t work anymore.  This is one of the basic truths of conceptionism.  The term “fish out of water” (conception out of its reality) could apply to a fish out of water down to a person of one culture living in another culture they can’t relate to.  Once we are in a condition, physically or mentally, that does not fit our conception then our conception tends to fail.


When a living thing goes out of its conceived world, or something from a different conception invades its reality, then we have the condition of ‘conception-out-of-reality’.  When this happens the living creature becomes out of its conceived world, hence, out of its design framework.  There are a couple of ways this happens:

  • Environmental.  This is when a creature is put in an environment it isn’t designed for, such as a fish being out of water.
  • Other creatures.  This is when one creature ‘imposes’ itself onto another creature.  A good example of this is when one creature tries to eat another creature.  In this way, a creature imposes its ‘carnivore’ nature upon, say, a ‘herbivore’ nature causing a conflict.  For humanity, it could entail something like imposing a belief upon a people.

Conception-out-of-reality can do a number of things to a creature:

  • It can kill it.
  • It can weaken it, make it ill, or hinder it.
  • It can cause a form of confusion or disorientation.
  • It can cause a battle between conceptions (such as carnivore versus herbivore).

But conceptions aren’t always in conflict. Because many creatures live in different realities their conceptions generally do not collide with each other.  In some respects, the different conceptions of creatures are like lanes in a road:  as long as everyone stays in their lane there are no collisions and everything runs smoothly.  In some respects, the myriad forms of conceptions, found in all the different creatures, make the world of the living work smoothly.  It gives each creature a ‘place’ to be and live, unhindered by other creatures.  As a result, it shows the fact that creatures having a specific ‘design’, which limits their abilities and world, actually helps them to survive with other creatures.  In other words, the limited conception of creatures limit conflict and are, therefore, beneficial for life.  This is ‘co-conception living’ as it allows many conceptions to live together, without conflict, next to one another.  If it were not for this then there would probably be more conflict.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Existence: Awareness, Beingness, Consciousness, Conceptionism, and such, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Science and technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the ‘mystical grandparent’ and other things associated with it

Recently, my Grandma died.  As I reflected on her a memory came to me about her that got onto some important things:

- I was in my late teens.  I was alone in the front of her house.  I may of been mowing the lawn, trimming her trees, or some other chore.  A relative happened to came over and asked me “Is Martha home?”  I said, “Who’s Martha?”  She replied, “Isn’t that the name of your Grandma?”  Stunned, I replied, “Grandma has a name?” -

I never knew Grandma had a name!  To me she was “Gramma”.  That was the name I knew her as . . . I knew of no other name.  This bewildered me.  You must remember that I was in my late teens when this happened.

Some years later I was even struck by the word “Grandma” which I had seen written down somewhere.  I realized that it wasn’t just a word or, rather, name.  I always saw it as “Gramma”.  I saw that I actually it consisted of two words:  “Grand” and “Ma”.  This stunned me yet again.

These interesting alterations of name made me realize that there was something more about the idea of a Grandparent than what I thought.  I began to find that I tended to view grandparent in a specific way.  I saw a Grandparent as more than a Grandparent.  To put it another way, the image of the Grandparent transcended the individual person.  This made it so that there were actually two “Grandparents”:

  1. The ‘actual Grandparent’.  This, of course, is them as an individual person.
  2. The ‘mystical Grandparent’.  This is a more profound sense of the Grandparent that transcends their person.

The best way to describe the sense of the ‘mystical Grandparent’, I think, is to describe how I often felt it.  When I was around my Grandparents I often had this ‘sense’.  There seemed to be ‘something’ that hovered over them and surrounded them like a cloak.  I could ‘feel’ it.  When I focused my mind on it I often had these images that came to me.  I as if saw other people.  I as if saw other times.  I as if saw other places.  There were even times that I could swear I could even hear horses and carts!  I knew this was a reference to my ancestors, the people who came before me.  I could as if “feel” them through my Grandparents.  In this way, it made the Grandparent sort of like a “doorway” to my ancestors.  In short, the Grandparent was not a Grandparent but all my Grandparents put together.  This is the ‘mystical Grandparent’.

Its interesting that I often remarked that it seemed as if my Grandparents have always been there there since the beginning of time.  That is to say, I felt as if my Grandparents were always existing, that they were always there like the sky and the earth.  No doubt this is because, in my life, they were always existing . . . they were always there since my earliest memories.  I’ve never known life without them.  The Grandparent seemed timeless and beyond time.  This, I found, gives the image of the Grandparent some of their greatest power.

I often liked to be around my Grandparents because I loved the sense the ‘mystical Grandparent’ gave me.  Now, as I look at it, I can see that it had great influence on me.  I feel that it was instrumental in my interest in history, culture, and the idea of being part of a people.  This sense gave me a sense of who I am and placed me in the world.  This made the Grandparent as more than just a person.  It made them ‘mystical’ and powerful and influential with a sense of who I am in the world.   This made the Grandparent have many special qualities, traits, and ‘senses’ such as:

  • A sense of ancestors – it placed me as being part of a family.
  • A sense of belonging to a people – it gave me belonging to a group of people and culture.
  • A connection with life – it connected me with reality.
  • A sense of continuance – it made me feel that I was a part of all creation.
  • A sense of eternity - it connected me with timelessness.

So we see that the actual Grandparent and ‘mystical Grandparent’ created like a spectrum:

the individual person—family—ancestors—creation—life—eternity

This makes it so that the sense of the image of the Grandparent ranged from a person to a deep religious sense making the Grandparent more than a Grandparent.  This sense varied.  Sometimes I couldn’t tell the difference between the actual Grandparent and the ‘mystical’ Grandparent and sometimes I could. 


Because of the ‘mystical Grandparent’ I began to feel that the image of the Grandparent is very much associated with religion.  Its probably no surprise that, in some cultures, they speak of ancestors as Grandparents with similar religious senses I described.  These are usually older smaller societies which is where it seems the most common. 

It seems that, as societies grow, the sense of the ‘mystical Grandparent’ starts to wain and finally disappears.  We no longer speak of Grandparents but of Father and Mother, which is more immediate and authoritative.  When this happens it seems that the sense of ancestors and eternity also fades.  This shows that the ‘mystical Grandparent’ is very much related with a form of world awareness particularly found in smaller primitive-like societies.  In this way, the ‘mystical Grandparent’ seems a basis for many religions in these types of societies.  One could even speak of ‘mystical Grandparent religions’ if one wants.

Typically, though, there is usually an absence of nature with the ‘mystical Grandparent’.  That is to say, its religious sense generally does not connect us with nature and the natural world.  This gives it a very “exclusively social” tendency.  It primarily tends to create a sense of family-people-life-eternity.  In other words, its an almost exclusively human spiritual sense, not a natural world spiritual sense.  In this way, it creates what can be described as a ‘people-oriented religious sense’ which develops a strong sense of spirituality and religion based on things like this:

  • Us as a people.
  • Our ancestors.
  • Our connection with our gods.

Because of its strong sense of people this point of view often creates a number of stances such as:

  • An ‘us-versus-nature’ stance.  In other words, it tends to not see humanity-in-the-midst-of-nature but a humanity-opposed-to-nature or humanity-removed-from-nature.  This may of helped to cause very abstract and human-removed-from-nature points of view such as found in science and intellectualism.  It may of also created the stance of not respecting nature or of seeing nature as inanimate.
  • An ‘us-versus-others’ stance.  This makes it so that ‘our people are against your people’.  In other words, there’s a strong sense of ‘your different’.  This creates a very strong tribal sense in people.  It creates a great belonging for the members of the tribe but if you are not part of the tribe you can be treated bad and even killed.  This tribal sense can get so bad that people thing that they are better than others in some way.  The worst form of this is the idea of being a ‘superior race’ or ‘superior people’.

These qualities are seen a lot in Norse/Germanic society, showing that Norse/Germanic culture is, no doubt, based in a ‘mystical Grandparent’ sense.  This may be why I ‘sensed’ it so strongly as well, as I am from Norse/Germanic descent and culture.  But what these show is that the ‘mystical Grandparent’ sense can greatly affect how one views nature, other people, and ones bond with other people in the tribe.


It seems, to me, that the ‘mystical Grandparent’ is associated with the fear of old age.  I, myself, have said some interesting things about this over the years.  For example, I have said that when people get “too old” they “cease to be people”.  In other words, they don’t seem to be human anymore.  Its almost like there is a point where old people begin to ‘blur’ with the sense of the ancestors, so to speak.  This, I think, is a frightening sense as it refers to ‘leaving life’ or, rather, dying.  To put it another way, when this happens the ‘mystical Grandparent’ becomes too real . . . eternity is too real, timelessness is too real.  These things have become more than a ‘sense’.  In that way old people are perceived as ‘no longer being us’ but passing into eternity, like a doorway to eternity.  For many younger people, especially, that is scary.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen


Posted in Death and dying, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the historical stages of Christian conversion in Western society and other things associated with it

While thinking one day I began to mention that there appears to be stages in the history of Christian conversion in western society.  It goes something like this:

  1. The pre-Christian world.  This, of course, is the pagan world.  During this time most people were living with beliefs, gods, and traditions that may of been there since their origins.  As a result, these pagan customs are very deeply ingrained into the peoples lives, way of life, world perception, and identity.  We may, perhaps, say there was a definite ‘pagan identity’ in the people.
  2. The conversion.  This is when the Christians converted, or tried to convert, the pagan people.  The way in which this was done could range from brutal to a matter of teaching people.  In general, though, I get the impression that most people were not all that ‘receptive’ to Christianity nor were all the people all that willing to ‘convert’.  This makes sense as it means to abandon ones beliefs and ways.  Because of this, there was a great ‘conversion resistance’.  This resistance generally made the Christians have to resort to great measures in order to guarantee conversion, such as emphasizing the torment of hell if they didn’t.
  3. The Christian climax.  With the growth of Christianity, its association with politics, and its partial success with the people, Christianity reached a climax for many centuries.  During this time it appears that Christianity “won”.  In actuality, though, it did not.  One could say that it “won” only in respect that it became associated with political and social power in the society.  Without this association there probably would never of been a Christian climax.  In other words, the “powers that be” became associated with Christianity thereby making it a force in society.  What this means is that the “power of Christianity” was not found in belief and conversion, as is generally claimed, but in its being used by the “powers of society” which gave it its power.   In this way, really, Christianity failed as a belief and a conversion creating what can be called a ‘conversion illusion’ . . . the conversion only ‘appeared’ to work.  The truth of this would become apparent in the later stages.
  4. The failing Christianity.  Despite its climax there was always the ‘conversion resistance’ from the very beginning.  This became more and more apparent after Christianity reached its climax.  Not only were there differing viewpoints about Christianity but Christianity, itself, began to split apart.  There began to appear Protestants, Calvinists, Anglicans, etc. with whole other points of views and belief systems.  In many ways, this is a sign that Christianity didn’t quite “convince” everyone (the ‘conversion illusion’).  As time went on, there even began to appear alternate viewpoints having nothing whatsoever to do with Christian belief and which opposed it, such as science.  With all this, Christianity, as a power, began to falter and fail.  In many ways, though, these alone did not necessarily bring on the failure of Christianity.  The real failure was when Christianity began to no longer be associated with power and society as a result of these new happenings.  Once this happened the base of Christian power failed.  This shows, again, that the “power of Christianity” was not in belief and conversion.  After this happened other points of view would appear that would push Christianity into the background and almost unseen.
  5. Post-Christianity.  Once Christianity failed it lost its power and influence but, being a part of our life for so many centuries, much of its influence is felt in many of our attitudes and points of view.  Many Christian points of view and beliefs continued on but without the belief, creating what I call ‘blind Christianity” (I wrote an article on this called “Thoughts on Blind Christianity – some effects of the post-Christian era“).  In general, the belief of Christianity is gone but its “customs” continue on in a variety of ways usually without any reference to Christianity at all.  People, for example, speak of “loving one another” (a basic teaching of Jesus), or in the importance of the “people” (humanity was called the “body of Christ”), there is a worship of knowledge (originating from having to learn as part of the conversion process), and such.  Very few people realize that many ideals and customs we have today actually originated in Christianity.

These stages show some interesting points:

  • It shows that conversions don’t work that well.  People don’t just ‘understand’ and ‘believe’ as is claimed.  In other words, preaching doesn’t automatically make a person believe.  It shows that it takes a lot more to believing than ‘understanding’ the belief system.
  • It shows that the real ‘power’ was not in peoples belief, conversion, or understanding but in social power, such as politics.  In other words, social power defined belief.
  • It shows that this social power, and not belief, was so powerful that it created stages or ‘phases’ in the history of Western society.  It determined things for centuries, in some cases, and affected how everyone thought and did things.
  • It shows that peoples ‘understanding’ or belief, by itself, isn’t as powerful as it seems nor is it as influential as we think.  It took more than a persons belief to create the “power of Christianity”.  In other words, a person’s belief isn’t the great power that it has been claimed.
  • It shows that forcing a foreign belief system into a society tends to split it in two or disrupt it.  From the very beginning of Christian conversion there has always been a ‘conversion resistance’ . . . some people just did not believe or convert.  Its always been there and, in the end, it won out.  In effect, the forcing of a foreign belief system caused a lot of tension and conflict in society which, in the end, helped Christianity fail.

Looking back on it now, Christianity was more like a foreign intrusion into Western society, an alien element that, though it did affect some things, it never could, or did, become fully integrated into the society.  In many ways, this set the stage for much of the behavior of Western society in these past some odd centuries as, since then, Western society has done that repetitively, not only to itself but with the rest of the world.  In so doing, Western society has spread the basic dilemma’s started by the Christian conversion to much of the world.  Now, much of the world is now dealing with the same issues the Christian conversion did to Western Europe many centuries ago.  Some big issues include:

  • Having foreign and alien things and beliefs forced upon them.
  • Being forced to change in some way.
  • Being disrupted or split apart.

In effect, the Christian conversion has started a number of social processes in Western society that continue to this day.  They have become ongoing systems because they have become an accepted part of social functioning.  They have been there for so long that they have become ‘normal’.  In some ways, one could compare them to ‘bad social habits’.  I speak of a social system that was started by a unique condition and which is continued because it has become ‘accepted’, even though the condition may no longer exist, as an ‘ongoing social process’.  Christianity has started such a social process.  In fact, its started a number of them. Some of these processes include:

  • The creation of a ‘system of disruption’.   In other words, a system that repeatedly disrupts the existing state of things and treats this disruption as ‘no big deal’.  This has appeared in many different ways, such as politically and socially.  Western society continues this process, both in the world and itself, to this very day. 
  • The creation of a ‘system of intrusion’.  This is a system that tends to intrudes upon areas that it otherwise would not intrude upon, such as peoples individual beliefs.  Christianity started a process of ‘accepting’ the monitoring and control of what people think, for example.
  • The creation of the ‘belief/way of life dilemma’.  What this means is that it has made is that we have to ‘understand’ things in order to believe.  In this way, belief is not based in a way of life, as usually happens, but by what we ‘think’.  In this way, Christianity has made belief center too much on our own understanding and belief.  This has made it so that any belief or understanding is ‘abstract’ and ‘intellectual’.   
  • The creation of the ‘individualistic dilemma’.  Because of the emphasis on what a persons understands (to determine that a belief is ‘right’, which is the basis of conversion) it has created a condition where there is too much emphasis on the individual.  In other words, it has made the individual the ‘center of the world’. 
  • The creation of an ‘authority/belief dilemma’.  As I said above, the ‘power of Christianity’ was actually rooted in social and political power, not on what a person believed.  But we are told that what we believe is what matters.  This discrepancy as  caused a basic dilemma of belief . . . where does the power of belief really fall?  In the post-Christian world, many people have found that personal belief has no power and that, because of the fall of social authority, there is no greater authority to determine belief either.  As a result, both social and personal authority have failed.  The result is a general ‘no-belief’ stance Along with this is a general sense that there is no authority causing a ‘no-authority’ stance.  This has basically created a large power vacuum and a sense of ‘something absent in society. 

As one can see, these themes are familiar themes in the post-Christian era.  In many ways, they dominate this later era.  These processes are being passed down to the younger generations, and the rest of the world, almost like an inheritance.  In some respect, it is the inheritance of the Christian conversion.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christian conversion, Historical stuff, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on aggression and frustration, its assocation with the self, the idea of death, and other things

Recently, I was thinking about the origin of the idea that aggressive feelings tend to cause death.  Oftentimes, aggressive feelings tend to create a desire of “wanting to kill”, “wanting so-and-so dead”, or something similar.  But why?  We have no experience that aggression will cause death, particularly as a lot of this thinking originates when we’re very young.  No doubt this association is a result of an innate and automatic response of an inner process. In addition, we must point out that there is a difference between the idea of death as a result of aggressive feelings and the idea of death from observation.  Only a small number of us will witness death in action, particularly from aggression.  This means that death by aggressive feelings is assumed.  Where, then, does this assumption originate from?   This assumption is certainly not observation-based.  It appears, to me, that it is a result of our early development which, therefore, entails early stages of growth as a source of its thinking.  The idea of death from observation, on the other hand, is typically seen in later life and is observation-based.  This shows that we actually have two origins for the idea of aggression and death:

  1. An inner origin.  This is a result af an inner process.  This is what I will talk about below.
  2. An outer origin.  That is, based on observation and experience.

This shows that each of us has an innate ‘idea’ of death as a result of aggression, coming from an inner origin.  We ‘assume’ it to be correct, even though we have nothing to base it on.


Aggression, really, is a result of frustration that causes us to ‘out lash at the world’.  But frustration does not necessarily lead to this.  In normal frustration the ‘buildup of energy’ is small and, therefore, does not lead to any aggression or out lashing.  We could call this ‘normal frustration’.  We may feel flustered, uptight, tense, and so on.

But when the frustration becomes more intense it becomes an ‘intensified frustration’ that is so strong that it creates something like a ‘buildup of energy’ within us that as if creates a tendency to ‘out lash at the world’.  We may bite, hit, yell, scream, and so on as ways of ‘lashing out’.  Because we are reacting to a ‘buildup of energy’ we could call this ‘reacted frustration’.  This reaction is really the beginning of aggression.

‘Reacted frustration’, though, is just an impulse.  The ‘out lashing’ is almost like a reflex action . . . it just happens.  It is not necessarily directed and does not necessarily have malicious intentions.  Many so-called aggressive or violent acts of children are forms of ‘reacted frustration’.  There is no ‘deep inner aggression’ that they feel.  Typically, they react and its forgotten.  In that way it is more like a “venting”.  This means that it is not aggression, at least as I use the word.

What, then, creates aggression?

It seems to me that actual aggression is something that develops later in life.  In this way actual aggression is ‘reactive frustration’ transformed by something.  Some of the things that transform it include:

  • An event requiring an aggressive response.  Sometimes, in life, there are events that require us to become aggressive.  Even these, in actuality, are really nothing but reacting to a frustration (such as someone abusing you) or a potential frustration (your ‘loss of life’ when someone threatens you).
  • Experience.  This usually consists of bad or frustrated experience of a long-standing or a particularly deep emotion.
  • Character.  Some people have a naturally aggressive character that predisposes them to aggression later in life.
  • The mixing of other impulses with frustration.  Various events in life make it so that other feelings becomes mixed with the ‘lashing out’ of ‘reactive frustration’.  These generally entail deep feelings such as love.  Typically, these feelings tend to intensify the frustration causing a greater tendency to ‘lash out’.
  • The release of tension caused by ‘lashing out’.  Because the original ‘reacted frustration’ is a “venting” it creates a ‘release of tension’ which can be soothing and calming.  Some people may find this particularly appealing which may make them more inclined to want to be aggressive.
  • The discovery of an enjoyment or satisfaction in ‘lashing out’.  Some people will find that this ‘lashing out’ causes a satisfaction of some inner need.  Oftentimes, though, this satisfaction is of a malicious sort and is reflective of a deeper conflict.

Things such as these often cause people to display aggression from time to time in the course of their lives.  Seldom, though, does it become that ingrained in a persons psyche.  They are generally sporadic and temporary but, for some people it does become a prevalent quality in their life, even defining it.  The path to this condition, I think, is quite revealing.

For aggression to become particularly established and strong in a person tends to require that it must be something that makes it relevant, meaningful, and important to them.  A way this is done is by a ‘cycle‘, a repetitive process of a number of emotions that become associated and connected to each other by repetition.  This cycle is done over and over again in one’s life until it becomes a part of ones self.  In general, a ‘cycle’ usually means that there is a conflict of some sort, often an inability to ‘grasp’ or resolve somethingThe repetition is done over and over again as an ‘attempt’ to deal with the conflict.  In some cases, it is done so much that one “digs themselves into a hole” making it a dominant trait in one’s life and character, even to the point of an obsession.  When it reaches this point the problem is often more the fact that one has “dug themselves into a hole” than the original conflict itself.

What implants aggression into a person’s character seems to be the ‘cycle of aggressive development in the psyche’.  This cycle is something that is repeated again and again.  In so doing it gets firmly ingrained in a person.  The cycle goes something like this:

  1. ‘Normal frustration’.
  2. ‘Reacted frustration’.
  3. An extensive experience with ‘reacted frustration’, often a specific frustration.
  4. An association of ‘reacted frustration’ with some other thing (such as one of the things described above) causing an aggressive reaction.
  5. The discovery of some form of satisfaction in aggression.
  6. The satisfaction causes a want of repeating aggression – deliberate intention.

We see several important points with this cycle that is revealing:

  • It begins as a “blind” impulse (‘normal frustration’, without aggression).  It is undirected reaction, a reflex action.
  • It ends with deliberate intention.  That is, a person wants the aggression.
  • It shows that aggression is, in a way, instigated in the person by the creation of a ‘deliberate frustration’.  In other words, the cycle causes a tendency for someone to continually frustrate themselves, or want to be frustrated, in order to invoke their own aggression.  This makes many people with aggression have a tendency to be “self-frustrating”.
  • The cycle needs to be repeated.  In this way, it becomes ‘practiced’ even to the point of becoming almost an art form for some people.  I’ve seen many people who are ‘well rehearsed’ in becoming aggressive.
  • It needs to hit something deep within, making it important to the person.
  • It shows that it is something developed over time and not just a reaction, an emotion, or an event.  This shows that it is something “grown”, so to speak.

Oftentimes, once it becomes deliberate it creates a sadistic-like tendency in a person.  That is to say, they will seek the satisfaction that aggression entails.  Because aggression is often associated with death (see below) it can appear as an ‘unemotional aggression’:  a desire to kill something.  The satisfaction is in killing or the death of something.

Where, then, does the idea of death originate from?


The earliest idea of death, it seems to me, is a result of a tension within the self.  In other words, death is a reference to a condition that ‘tears the self apart’, so to speak.  It is often a natural result of growth and the process of growing where the self is having to change and form itself anew.  This, of course, happens repetitively throughout our life.  It’s particularly felt strongly in our younger years when we are “green” and completely open to the pain and conflict that it causes.   This naturally appearing tension within the self creates what can be described as a ‘self dying tendency’.  This causes sensations such as:

  • A ‘deep inner pain’.
  • A sense that the ‘world is turning upside down’.  When the self changes the world seems to change as well which, at times, can be dramatic and painful.
  • A sense of loss or damage.
  • A sense of being unprepared.
  • A sense of lack of ability or being unable to do something.

These create, I feel, our earliest sense of the idea of death.  In effect, the effects of the inner tension of the self create the idea of death.  Because of this the ‘self dying tendency’ creates ideas of death with traits such as these:

  • That the world will ‘end’.
  • That we will ‘cease to be’.
  • That there will be a nothingness.
  • That we are not in control.

These, in actuality, are describing the natural changing of the self.  In this way, the idea of death actually originates from the natural dying of the self and its being remade as a part of growth.  Accordingly, the ‘pain and horror of death is based in the pain and horror of our changing self.

Because of the importance of the self the idea of death is associated with a growing self-awareness.  In other words, as our self grows so does our sense of death. 


Our self, though, is naturally associated with frustration (which ultimately leads to aggression).  Much of our earliest frustration begins as a result of hunger, which is a repetitive concern every day.  The constancy of this frustration tends to help create a self.  It does this by doing a number of things such as:

  • It makes us feel ourselves over time.  In other words, it creates a sense of ‘constancy of self’.
  • It forces us to maintain ourselves in order to control our frustration.  This causes a ‘maturity of self’.

As a result, what we see is that there is an association between frustration and the self.  This is the ‘frustration/self association’.  Because of this, the development of the self becomes very much associated with frustration.  One could say that frustration develops the self.  Even in our later years frustration plays a big part of ‘growing up’ and ‘being an adult’ and in maturing.  We have to learn to accept disappointments, deal with pain, and so on.  So we can see that frustration actually develops our self, making us develop as people and human beings.

Accordingly, it shows several potential problems such as:

  • That the inability to handle frustration can become a problem for the growth of the self.
  • That not having a stable self will make us unable to handle frustration.

With these problems frustration can easily get out of control.  As mentioned above, frustration is associated with aggression.  As a result, a person with problems, as described above, can become predisposed to aggression as a common trait and can reflect them frequently.  Most people, though, don’t have this problem to any great degree.  In other words, frustration helps the development of the self.  Once there is a stable self, though, there is a lack of a tendency to show aggression.  This shows that the self “stands” in-between frustration and aggression.  With a stable self the leap from frustration to aggression is less likely.

Since the self plays such a critical role, the conflicts of the self figure prominently in the frustration-to-aggression leap.  There develops, over time, an association between the conflict of frustration with the pain of the changing self (as described above).  The pain of the changing self, as I’ve said, become the basis of the idea of death.  As a result, frustration becomes associated with the idea of death which, in turn, becomes associated with aggression, which is nothing but a further development of frustration.  So we see this association:

  1. The conflict of frustration.
  2. The pain of the changing self.
  3. The idea of death.
  4. All these merge with aggression.

In this way, the idea of death becomes identified with aggression.  It is like a natural progression and association . . . it just happens.


It’s a normal process to identify ourselves with the world and others initially.  That is to say, we do not see ourselves as separate from the world and other people.  They are perceived as the same as ‘us’.  This is a normal perception in our early years.  As a normal part of growing we begin to see ourselves as separate from the world and other people over time.  This sense of separation, in actuality, is the sense of self.  But this separation is never fully complete.  Because of this, it’s not uncommon for people to not fully sense the separation of themselves with the world or people at certain times for one reason or another.  This often becomes very prevalent when there is some conflict, particularly with the self.

Because one identifies themselves with the world or people we see ourselves in them.  That is to say, we see our impulses and feelings in them.  This is ‘projection’.  As a result, its natural to take our most ‘impassioned’ feelings and ‘project’ it onto the world or people and see it as a reflection of our self.  In this way, the world and people ‘becomes us’ . . . we see ourselves in the world and people.  As a result of this, it’s not uncommon to take our conflicts and ‘project’ it onto the world.  Because of this, frustration conflicts and the pain of the self, aggression, along with their idea of death, are also ‘projected’.  This can appear in two ways:

  1. ‘Passive projection’ - see death in the world and people:  a victim of aggression.  Here they see the conflict of frustration, pain of the self, and death in everything.  They always interpret things in this way.  Typically, these people do not show aggressive tendencies.  Often, they seem themselves as the ‘victims’ of aggression, frustration, death, and such.  In this way, ‘death comes to them’ or that’s how they perceive it.
  2. ‘Active projection’ - force death on the world and people:  an aggressor .  Here they act aggressively.  In other words, they enact it out.  They ‘inflict death’.

These are forms of ‘projected death’.  In other words, they are different ways that the idea of death is ‘projected’.  Not only that, since the idea of death is linked with aggression, they both show a specific relationship with aggression in how its projected.

‘Passive projection’ tends to create neurotic people who think they are victims in some way.  ‘Active projection’ tends to actually create victims.  It has two main victims:

  1. Other people.  Because aggression usually entails something violent it does tend to cause ‘actual death’.
  2. The world.  Normally, this goes toward objects, usually in causing their ‘destruction’ or ‘ceasing to be’.

What ‘projected death’ shows is a confusion of the self:  people cannot tell the difference between them and the world and people.  In this way, the world and people are as if dragged into their personal problems.  In the process of doing this, it can create victims as a result.


An important point is that aggression is often not the intentional act it seems.  In some respects, it’s an interior conflict that tends to go ‘outward’ and which tends, by its nature, to do harm (such as even the biting of the breast by a baby does harm).  This would explain my experience which shows that many people who do aggressive acts don’t really “mean it” or “don’t realize” what their doing.  In other words, it’s a reflection of inner conflict that went ‘outward’ (that is, it was ‘out lashed’).  In this way, their self is not in control as the whole problem tends to be a result of a problem with the self.  One could call this the ‘self-deprived aggression’.  Because of this, this form of aggression tends to be reactive to a situation.  It generally appears to be a sign of how the self is weak in some way and cannot control itself for some reason.


For some people, though, the aggression becomes particularly satisfying to such an extent that their self “wants” it.  This is the opposite of ‘self-deprived aggression’ which is aggression with little or no self-control, often as a result of a lack of growth of the self.  With ‘self-satisfied aggression’ the self wills it.  Because of this, it is deliberate and intentional.  This implies a self that is more mature and has more control.

It seems that ‘self-satisfied aggression’ is a result of a success at dealing with frustration.   But another trait of this is that they only have repetitive problems with success.  They have many failures as well.  As a result, they are people who tend to have repetitive success and failure at frustration.  These are often felt in an extreme manner . . . success and failure.  As a result, their self has both a weak and a mature side.  The weak self has great difficulty with the pain of frustration.  The mature self naturally finds success with great pleasure and satisfaction.  This makes it so that success at frustration is particularly powerful and sought for.  There can even be a great drive for it.

People who display ‘self-satisfied aggression’ tend to seek victims, as if to ‘re-enact’ their success at frustration and thereby achieve satisfaction.  As a result, some of them may even seek ‘actual death’ as “proof” of their success.  This, though, is not how it seems to begin.  It begins like all frustration, as an ‘out lash’ which may starts out small and slowly grows as they find success and satisfaction.  Perhaps they may treat dogs bad, then kill rabbits, then hit someone, then kill someone.  As they do this the aggression/death theme remains.  They are basically repeating their ‘self dying tendency’ onto other people and things.  They want to see it “die” in some way.  As they begin to see the power of their success they continue to seek it.


The male character is more ‘designed’ to deal with the world.  This tends to put more strain on the male as a result.  His need to participate in the world causes great strain on his self.  This is because of the more prevalent frustration the male confronts.  As a result, the ‘self dying tendency’ is very prevalent with males.  One way this appears is through a tendency for males to fight with one another.  This can appear anywhere from a simple sports competition to actual fighting.  In actuality, what this often is about is nothing but a testing of their self.  In other words, its like a ‘taking themselves as far as it can go’ or ‘seeing how far they can go’.  Because of this, a lot of male aggression is not necessarily a result of aggression as it may at first seem, nor is it blind or ‘something they must do’.  Its probably no wonder, then, that this behavior is most prevalent when males are ‘discovering themselves’ (the teenage years and into the 20′s).  What this means is that, for some males, aggression is a form of discovery of who they are!  This discovery of self, interestingly, is reflecting self growth.  That is to say, it’s not “someone out of control”.  This shows that a lot of male aggression a reflection of and involved with self growth.  This is contrary to what is often supposed.  As a child it was blamed on ‘hormones’, bad characters, and such (which are not doubt involved at least to some extent).  I have always felt, though, that there was more to it.  There seemed something more to it.  This form of aggression I call ‘tested aggression’ as it is a form of testing ones self.

Oftentimes, though, ‘tested aggression’, which is a manifestation of self growth, may turn into a form of blind aggression and an ‘out lash’ against the world.  In other words, what was once a reflection of healthy growth can become the means for a deeper inner conflict.  As a result of this, sometimes this form of aggression can get out of control and become, blind, and even turn into something more sinister (such as becoming a form of ‘self-satisfied aggression’, a bully, or a serial killer).


Oftentimes, ‘tested aggression’ appears in a unique way:  frustration, the idea of death, and the conflict of the self, is absent.  In this case aggression appears more as an idea of “overcoming”.  In other words, it is not conflict centered.  Because of this, the conflict of frustration and self, as well as the idea of death, is absent or, rather, appears to be.  In actuality, frustration, the conflict of the self, and the death theme are there but ‘in the background’, often unseen or unnoticed.  This is because, as I said, the emphasis in on “overcoming”.  When this happens frustration, the conflict of the self, and the idea of ‘death’ generally entails symbolic representations.  Common representations are:

  • A concern over winning.   Here frustration, the conflict of the self, and the idea of death are “overcome”.
  • A concern over losing.  Here, frustration, the conflict of the self, and the idea of death are not “overcome”.

This point of view can range from actual fighting (such as a duel) to sports or even small squabbles between males.  In other words, it can range from a ‘actual fight’ (dueling) to a ‘symbolic fight’ (sports).  Probably the most prevalent, nowadays, are sports.  In all cases, the manifestation of aggression tends to be organized and often ‘symbolic’.  By this, I mean that it is not just ‘guys going at it’ but tends to have definite rules, regulations, and so on.  In some cases, it’s almost all symbolic and can resemble a ritual.  Because of things like this, this form of aggression tends to reflect a symbolic ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ which doesn’t necessarily harm a person (though it can in some cases, such as a duel).  I call this the ‘overcoming aggression’.  The emphasis is on the idea of overcoming not on the conflict itself or a reaction to the conflict.  This type of aggression tends to reflect a more mature mind that has had experience with frustration and self conflict.  As a result, it is really a form of ‘venting’.  Not only that, it often reflects a healthy desire to overcome ones conflicts.  This type of aggression can often be molded to productive means, such as with sports, and is often very healthy.


The ‘self dying tendency’ is very much related with the idea of ‘actual death’.  In other words, the idea of what death consists of is often a modified form of the ‘self dying tendency’ or, rather, the perceptions created by the changing self that one experiences throughout their life.  This means that many people’s view of death has nothing to do with death itself . . . it actually originates from the changing and growing self!

Typically, though, the idea of actual death is not associated with frustration/aggression.  In other words, these themes are absent.  But this does not mean that it completely disappears.  Since the ideas surrounding actual death involve the growing self, its only natural that the self, with all its conflicts, tends to ‘seep in’.  Because of this, traits of frustration/aggression still appear in different ways such as:

  • The idea of a ‘heavenly bliss’ or that there is a paradise after death.  To put it another way, heaven is perceived as no longer being in a frustrated state.
  • The idea that we become ‘perfect’.  This reflects the idea that the self conflict is no longer with us.  To be ‘perfect’ means to have no self conflict.
  • The idea that we will be ‘united’ with family, god, eternity, etc.  The self, as I said above, is a result of when we separate from our initial perception of the world-as-us (when we see our self and the world as one).  This separation causes pain and conflict which causes all the self conflict.  As a result, the idea of being ‘united’ is nothing but referring to when we did not have a self and, accordingly, did not feel our self with all its conflicts.  In other words, it’s referring to ‘not having a self’.

So we can see that many ideas of heaven entail this idea that the self is non-existent as well as the conflict of the self.  Or, to put it another way, the ‘self dying tendency’ is absent.  In that way, heaven is often perceived as a freedom of the burden of the self.

Because of this, we can see that the idea of what happens after death has little, if anything, to do with any ‘actual knowing’ as, frankly, no one knows what happens after death.   I should point out that this does not mean that these ideas are ‘wrong’ and should be ‘dismissed’.  These ideas are there for a reason.  Though they, at first appearance, refer to what happens after death this is not the case.  In actuality, I tend to believe that these ideas are more a reflection of the ‘self experience’ of people.  In other words, they portray a ‘human reality’ based on ones personal life experience and, since our experience of life rests with the self, we use the self as a basis for everything, even our idea of death.  In seeing life from the perspective of the self, we give life a ‘human context’.  Sitting here analyzing the ideas of death as it were a scientific fact that can be measured does not place it in the realm of ‘human context’ but places it in an abstract context . . . it has no meaning in the human reality.  So what we see is that the ‘self experience’, of interpreting the world from the context of the self, is what makes life ‘human’.  Since we are human its a natural process.  Knowing this fact, my observation is making no intention of ‘proving it wrong’ but, rather, to ‘expand its relevance’, that the idea of death goes beyond the idea of what happens after death to reflect deep inner aspects of the self.


The actual observing of death often reaffirms our ‘self pain’.  In other words, it ‘replicates’ it within us and can ‘revive’ it.  The difference, though, is that it was instigated from without us, independent of us.  In this way, we are generally unprepared for it.  As a result of this, observing death can reveal a lot about a person, of the state of their self and their maturity.  This lack of unpreparedness can cause a number of reactions such as:

  • It can be traumatizing to a person.
  • It can create a conflict within a person that, in the end, causes a maturity.

What we seen, then, is a big range, from unhealthy to healthy.

Actually observing death, particularly of someone close to us, often imitates our separation of self.  In other words, the death of the person is perceived as a ‘death of self’.  As a result, it causes a ‘forced death of self’, so to speak.  This is particularly so as, because of ‘projection’, we make the other person a ‘part of us’.  That is to say, ‘projection’ makes the other person an extension of us and who we are.  When that person dies we see it as a death of a part of us which is nothing but the death of a part of our self.  This makes it so that a part of us dies.  This sense-of-a-death-of-us-through-another causes what is generally called mourning.  This is the ‘death of the projected self’.  Naturally, the closer the person is to you (that is, the stronger the ‘projection’) the harder this death is.  The death of someone you don’t know may not instigate any emotion at all.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Death and dying, Life in general, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment