There is something which I call the “is sickness”. This name comes from the “is” (I have spoken of this in an article called “Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self“). The “is sickness” is a particular quality of experiencing the “is” that can create ailments and conflicts.
THE CONFLICT OF SELFS
The “is sickness” is primarily a conflict between selfs:
The pre-self. This “self” experiences existence as the “is” primarily because there is no self.
The self. This refers to the self, in general, and the many forms of the self, that are created after the self is created.
Basically, it seems that the “is sickness” comes after the formation of our self and is when the “is” comes to us unprepared and in which our self is unprepared for. As a result, it creates a dilemma in the self, as if it is unable to react or determine what to do. This shows that the “is”, in its more pure form, is actually alien to our later self. Because of this, the self can have difficulty dealing with it and relating to it. In many ways, we could say that our ‘pre-self’ is impinging on our ‘self’, causing a great dilemma within us.
When the “is sickness” manifests itself in various reactions.
Reactions coming directly from the Pre-Self:
Never-endingness. Feelings as if things or a crisis will never end.
Permeation. A sense that things or a crisis is in everything and everywhere (from the sense of the ‘all’ that is found in the sense of the “is”).
- A sense of another. It may seem that there is ‘someone else there’.
These can appear as a generalized ‘sense’ and be quite harmless and even beneficial at times. But if they continue on, and are strong, they can create symptoms and conflicts in a person.
Reactions from the Self’s conflict with the Pre-Self:
Helplessness. A sense of having no control.
- Instability of self. That things ‘hit to the core’ of ones being making one feel ‘not together’.
- A sense of loneliness. We feel that there is nothing or no one there. This comes from the great sense of ‘all’ associated with the “is”. This ‘all’ gives a sense of ‘no one there’.
- A sense of unreality or unrealness. With the confusion between the self’s, reality does not seem real. This is because the “is reality” conflicts with the selfs reality.
One can see that, oftentimes, the ‘purely pre-self’ reactions are often not a problem, though they can turn into conficts. Because of this, the “is sickness” can have both good and bad qualities, often coming from the same sense. When a conflict appears it can often seem like one is ‘driven up the wall’ or something similar. But it can come in other ways as well, such as paranoia, depression, and such.
Sometimes, the “is sickness” seems to affect a person all their life. In other words, it can have a traumatizing effect and can lead to other problems, particularly if it came on forcibly or under unusual conditions.
HEALTHY ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN THE SELFS
There are healthy and unhealthy ways the selfs can associate with one another. Because they are both a part of who we are, the self’s must associate, at least to some extent. It seems that there are a number of ways that this association takes place:
- Developed association. Normal growth.
- Forced association. This is when a situation, oftentimes, forces the two selfs to associate with one another when they normally wouldn’t.
- Clashed association. This is when a situation forces the two selfs together which causes a clash or conflict between the two.
Sometimes, there is no fine line between them. In fact, its not uncommon that, in normal growth, there is a degree of clashed association that appears creating ‘normal conflicts’ as well as ‘normal trauma’ that many of us suffer from. These are generally of a lesser sort that we are able to manage. As a result, they do not turn into a crisis. Oftentimes, these ‘normal conflicts’ and ‘normal trauma’ help create various unique traits and qualities found in peoples character which, at times, can be beneficial.
PROJECTION AND EXTENSION – THE ‘WORLD VIEW DISTORTION’
The pre-self and self display two qualities in their relationship with the world which has a bearing on the “is sickness”. They are both variations of ‘seeing oneself in the world’.
- Projection – the pre-self projected onto the ‘is’.
- Extension – the self projected onto the world.
Projection of the pre-self onto the ‘is’ creates’ a sense of “god” oftentimes, of ‘something there’. This, in actuality, is a sense of ones self, before one has a self, that is projected onto the world. As a result, it creates something like a ‘perception of a self in the world’. It gives a sense of ‘another’ that is ‘out there’ somewhere. Because of this, the “is sickness” often creates a number of different senses, such as:
- A sense of ‘god’.
- Various religious-like feelings.
- A sense of paranoia, of ‘someone watching’.
With extension the self is projected onto the world. In other words, we see aspects of our self in the world so that it, in actuality, is nothing but a perception of our self. In effect, the world becomes our self. Because of this, any disruption of our self is generally portrayed or, rather, extended, onto the world. This makes is so that how we perceive the world, and our association with it, is often a reflection of our own self-crisis. We may see the world as a threat, for example, or feel that society won’t accept us, which is really nothing but a reflection of how we perceive our self. These, of course, vary with a persons character and problem.
Because of projection and extension there is often confusion of ones self with the world that basically creates a world view based on that. As a result, this world view becomes a dominating factor in ones life and world which, in effect, affects how one see’s life. In some cases, the world view is so powerful that it becomes more of a conflict than the “is sickness” itself. This can be described as ‘world view distortion’.
It seems that, in many aspects of the “is sickness” there is some form of ‘world view distortion’ which, if adhered to, will continue the problem. As a result, a big part of dealing with the “is sickness” is looking at the world view and trying to change it to a more healthy and realistic form.
Changing this world view is not as simple as it sounds. You don’t just ‘teach’ a new world view. Because this world view is based on aspects of the pre-self and ‘is’ it entails some of the deepest aspects of our mind, before our self has developed. As a result, the effects of the self is out of its reach. Because of this, things that alter the later developed self, such as learning, don’t often work.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF THE “IS SICKNESS”
It seems that the “is sickness” can come in several ways:
- As a result of a traumatic event or events.
- As a result of an unusual event or events.
- A character trait. Some people are prone to having “is sickness” problems. Typically, it creates continual dilemma’s and conflicts within a person, making these people seem neurotic, nervous, or eccentric in some way.
- As a sickness or psychological ailment.
There are many ways this conflict can manifest itself in a person, ranging from beneficial to harmful and normal to psychotic. As a result, one cannot look at the “is sickness” as a ‘single problem’ (such as the flu or pneumonia). It, rather, describes a general condition which can cause problems and the mechanisms that create it. Because of this, it encompasses many ‘single problems’ (such as some forms of battle trauma, depression, schizophrenia, etc.).
MY FIRST CONFRONTATION: A BARKING DOG
I first confronted the dilemma of the “is sickness” way back in the mid-late 1980’s. I had to listen to a dog bark next door, often almost all night long, or so it seemed. He had a loud forceful bark (he was a german shephard) and was about 30 or so feet from my window. Though I told people about it no one seemed to care. In fact, some people seemed to think it was funny or ridiculous that I made a big deal about it at all. This seems to be a common reaction when someone complains of noise I’ve found. Even recently, when I tell people about the problem I have with noise, people seem to chuckle like it is some sort of a joke.
I recall figuring that he barked for most of the night about 4 days a week. Overall, this was a problem for about 6 months, then he suddenly seemed to stop.
Though I knew it had great effects on me I did not begin to realize the extents of it til almost 20 years later. I’d hear a dog bark and I would ‘jump’ in terror or put my hands out as if to protect myself from it. Because of this I found myself admitting that this was a ‘traumatic event’, and that I reacted to it in that way too. Its affects are still with me today. I will probably struggle with it, in some form, to the end of my life.
Over the years I’ve found that it has had effects on me that include:
- I notice that hearing a dog bark makes me sort of jerk back, often in a terror. One time, while on a walk, I actually put my hands up as if to defend myself against the noise.
- After I hear a dog bark, or other irritating noise, I have this fear that it will never end. I have a great fear that it will go on and on and on and on til the end of time.
- Irritating noise makes me feel helpless, as if I cannot do anything.
- Irritating noise makes me feel a prisoner unable to escape. I often described irritating noise as a ‘cage’.
- This often created a sense of something like a ‘claustrophobia’, as if the world is going to close in on me. Irritating noise seems to make the world get smaller and smaller. It can also create a sense of suffocation. I often feel that the ‘suffocation sickness’ I’d describe later is a result of this.
- It made me feel vulnerable. Often, it makes me feel like I am completely exposed.
- I often felt that I would not be able to endure it if it continues.
- I found that I continually anticipate it, as if it is going to appear at any time. This often made it seem as if I was “waiting” for it to come. This continual anticipation, I found, allows for a defense against it. What it did is make my ‘self’ ready and prepared for it when it came. This shows that, when it came with me unprepared, I as if lost my ‘self’ and as if ‘lost control’. This shows that the loss of self is a big part of the terror. But its side-effect was that it always made me aware of it, causing a ‘heightened tension’ within me, and a continual worry and dread. This could get so bad that I was relieved when it came, as it revealed the dread and tension. This sense of anticipation created what I call the ‘dread illness’, which became a problem in itself.
THE ‘BRIDGING BETWEEN SELVES’
Some time in the 1990’s, when I became interested in WWI, I was stunned how my reactions were, in many ways, similar to the soldiers who had ‘shell shock’. Because of this I jokingly called it ‘bark shock’. I saw some familiar themes between ‘shell shock’ and ‘bark shock’:
- A repetitive happening. It goes on and on and on. Generally, you don’t know when its going to end or when its going to start.
- A ‘tension’ or ‘flinching’ everytime the happening occurs. In other words, deep down you have a ‘reaction’ toward the happening. Since this is repetitive, this ‘reaction’ is happening regularly and, perhaps, constantly. It may go on for hours at a time.
- That you had to sleep during the happening. I felt that it is during sleep where the damage is really done. It is here, I think, that it hits to the depths of ones mind causing a “bridge”, so to speak, between the pre-self and self. Its really no surprise that I’ve often heard that the real damage of ‘shell shock’ was when the soldiers had to sleep through a bombardment repetitively.
- The happening lasts over a long period of time. It could be days and into weeks.
The effect of this was to cause something like a “bridge between selves”. That is to say, the two selves, which are distant and incapatable, are now connected as a result of the happening. The problem is that these two selves are so different that they can’t relate with one another face-to-face or directly. This causes a dilemma between the selves. Because this is done under unusual circumstances it causes an unusual reaction. The pre-self and self coming together abruptly and forcibly causes a great clash, one so strong that it can be traumatic and deeply affect a person.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘TENSION’
It seems that the ‘flinching’, whenever the happening occurred, is very important with this problem. This ‘flinching’ reflects a ‘tension’ that takes place within ones self. With repetitive happenings the ‘tension’ is happening again and again. In many ways, one of the difficulties of the “is sickness” is with continual repetitive experiencing of the ‘tension’.
The ‘tension’ is an inner ‘tightening’, often appearing as the ‘flinching’ when the happening occurs. In actuality, it is a defensive procedure, as if one is preparing to ‘respond’ physically to the threat. It tends to affect a person a number of different ways:
Self suspension. It as if ‘suspends’ the self and brings it to a halt. This creates something like an apathy of self to take place.
Pre-self surfacing. It forces the pre-self to appear and overpower the self. This can be forceful and can be traumatic-like.
- A mixture of the two.
So we see that the ‘tension’ causes a ‘forceful’ change in the self and an altering of ones self. In many ways, this condition predisposes and causes the ‘bridge between selves’ to happen. In some respects, its like a ‘breaking down the walls’ between the selves. In this way, it is more than just a ‘flinching’ . . . it is much more.
There appears to be two forms of ‘tension’:
Sporadic ‘tension’ – when ‘tension’ takes place from time to time.
Constant ‘tension’ – when ‘tension’ is more constant and continuous.
Which form it takes, of course, depends on the happening that creates the ‘tension’. A bombardment or barking dog is sporadic. A continual strain, such as from being in a war for a long period of time, is constant.
“GOING OUT OF MY MIND”
Ever since the ‘bark shock’ I have had this sense of ‘going out of my mind’ with noise, particularly repetitive noise. Its been a problem ever since and has caused great problems for me. I sometimes jokingly call this problem with noise the ‘noise panic’ as I often react like its going to kill me or something. This sense of ‘going out of ones mind’ is one of the effects of the ‘bridging between selves”.
It seems that many people who describe a sense of “going out of ones mind” are experiencing a version of ‘bridging between selves’, often caused by some form of ‘tension’ that happens and causing a similar sense of ‘clash of selves’.
VARIOUS VERSIONS OF THE “IS SICKNESS”
The “is sickness” is found in many ailments and mental disorders, I’ve found. Some of these include:
Shell shock seems an aspect of the “is sickness”. But this is also true of many forms of battle trauma.
Its really no surprise that a lot of military training is to create what I often call the ‘façade self’. This is a self that they teach at boot camp, and as part of military culture, that is supposed to create a ‘tough’ self ready to endure the hardships of war. Though it seemed to of worked with previous generations what many soldiers find, nowadays, is that this ‘façade self’ tends to crack, often too easily, under the traumatic events of war. When it does fail it seems to cause a great and horrible cracking of the self. In other words, the ‘façade self’ actually weakens many soldiers, predisposing them to battle trauma. This seems to often be caused because the ‘façade self’ is not “genuine”, but a false self. As a result, it is not ‘rooted’ in the soldiers self at all. Like armor, it is something they ‘put on’ and wear. As a result of this, its failure exposes a fragile interior that is unprepared for the trauma causing a horrible cracking of self.
One of the effects of the “is sickness” is anxiety. As a result, the “is sickness” is often associated with anxiety in its many forms. In fact, many peoples anxiety is a result of this conflict of self’s. There are really two forms of anxiety:
- Specific anxiety – directed toward something specific.
- Constant anxiety – a generalized anxiety not directed toward something specific.
These are nothing but versions of the sporadic and constant tension mentioned above. Specific anxiety reflects a ‘tension’ toward something specific. Because of this, it tends to be sporadic. Constant anxiety refers to a constant tension.
In many ways, anxiety seems a version of the ‘dread illness’ (perhaps they are one and the same thing?), of anticipating the happening that causes the ‘tension’. It refers to a continual awareness and preparation. As a result, it becomes a ‘tension before the tension’. In other words, anxiety creates a tension all its own because it is anticipating tension. This makes it so that it is all pervasive in ones life.
Its probably no mistake that, after the ‘bark shock’ I went through a period of great anxiety. The things that caused anxiety were things that caused ‘great tension’. As a result, I find I avoid them. Even now, for example, I try to avoid noise for that reason, as it will cause anxiety.
Depression And The Idea Of Death
Depression shows many signs of the “is sickness”.
The ‘is’, not being part of our normal self, is often perceived as death. As a result, depression is often nothing but the self experiencing the ‘is’ as a sense of death. As a result of projection/extension (as described above), there develops a world view that the world is death or a death. And being that it is associated with death, there becomes a desire for death in depression, which may even lead to suicide. This desire for death seems to show the great power of the sense of the ‘is’, as if it sucks us into it. This quality of ‘being pulled toward death’ seems to suggest a weakened self that cannot stand up against the pre-self and ‘is’. Because of this, it is as if paralyzed by it and stands subjected to it. Perhaps this quality is a trait of the depressed self?
Its also interesting that, after my anxiety phase, I went through a depression phase. Its as if, after the ‘bark shock’, when the ‘is’ was forced upon me, I went through varying phases of experiencing the ‘is’.
Many of the symptoms of schizophrenia seem to show traits of the “is sickness” and the clashing of the self’s. It seems to me that schizophrenia is particularly associated with projection/extension of the self as many symptoms of schizophrenia are a result of projection of self in some way or another. This is what leads to feelings of ‘people talking to them’ or watching them or similar things. They basically “sense” their projected self as separate from them. Because of this, it appears that schizophrenia seems to be an ailment of projection/extension, as a reflection of the conflict between the self’s. This makes it very much associated with the “is sickness”.
THOUGHTS ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE “IS SICKNESS”
Oftentimes, the “is sickness” hits deep in a person. This is because it hits to the core of our self. As a result of this, it is often hard to ‘cure’ or get rid of its effects. There seems to be three things that can be done:
- A complete cure.
- A reduction of symptoms and toleration of what cannot be cured.
- A toleration of the symptoms (non-curable).
To me, it seems that a lot of the “is sickness” is incurable, though it may be lessoned somewhat. In many cases, it seems, the “is sickness” hangs over a person, at least in some way, all their life. This sort of shows how the “is sickness” as if ‘kinks’ a persons self permanently. One can compare it to a car that’s been in an accident that results in the bending of its frame. Though it is still usable the effects of the accident remain with the car. In many ways, that’s what the “is sickness” does to a person, some people worse than others.
But there are some things that can be done to help or alleviate the “is sickness”. What may be best would depend on the form of the “is sickness” and how it developed. Some of the things that can be done include:
- An avoidance of anything that causes the ‘tension’ to take place. This would be benefit those who have had the “is sickness” forced upon them by some traumatic-like event, like battle trauma.
- An attempt at trying to relax the ‘tension’ when it happens. This would benefit those who have the “is sickness” as a result of something specific happening to them. As a result, when this specific happening occurs they can try to relax and not the ‘tension’ take over.
- The creation of new world view and interpretation of life. This would benefit those who have developed a ‘world view distortion’.
- The development of a religious-like attitude. This would best benefit those who have developed a sense of ‘god’ and such as a result of the “is sickness”.
- The development of various forms of expression. It seems that trying to find ways to express ones deeper self can help.
- The seeking of an inner transformation, growth, or maturity. This would benefit those who have the stability of mind to be able to use it for these reasons.
Most certainly, these are only some of the things that can be done and there are many more. Even things, such as these, are not enough in some cases.
GOOD ASPECTS OF THE “IS SICKNESS” – ‘SITUATION-INDUCED “IS SICKNESS”‘ AND ‘ARTIFICIALLY-INDUCED “IS SICKNESS”‘
The “is sickness” often creates good effects. Because it bridges the selfs it can often bring great benefit and, sometimes, health to a person. Its good effects can include:
- A sense of depth.
- A profoundness.
- A creativity.
Many people who have the “is sickness” may display these good qualities in various ways, almost as a ‘side effect’. In some cases, they may even be quite miraculous or amazing.
But, oftentimes, its not uncommon that none of these good qualities appear in a person (who does not suffer from the “is sickness”) until there is a conflict in a their life. This causes a ‘tension’ that causes the “is sickness” to happen. Of course, depending on the conditions, it could create bad effects just as easily as good effects and, sometimes, they come together and, in many cases, you can’t tell the difference. This makes it so that situations of great creativity or insight often comes with great suffering. As a result, the good benefits of the “is sickness” often come with its bad effects. Because the situation of conflict causes this I call it the ‘situation-induced “is sickness”‘. Typically, the good aspects only lasts for as long as the situation that instigated it, often to never be recovered. This makes it so that many people have a ‘golden period’ that fades and never appears again.
Not only that, many religious rituals are meant to artificially create the ‘tension’ that causes the “is sickness” to happen and to as if ‘kick start’ the good effects. This often appears as ordeals, tests, stressful situations, painful acts, and such which are part of many religious customs all over the world. This is the ‘artificially-induced “is sickness”‘. Typically, it seems, the good benefits usually last for as long as the artificially-induced situation lasts and disappears when it no longer exists.
What the “is sickness” shows is a number of interesting things about our self. These are:
- That there are different parts to our self.
- That different parts of the self are incompatable.
- That there is a ‘clashing’ of different aspects of the self under certain conditions.
- That this ‘clashing’ can cause long-standing conflict and alteration of the self.
These show that the different aspects of our self is not ‘unified’ as much as it may seem and that some parts of our self have to be separated from each other to create a healthy homogenized self. Instead of all the different self’s working together as one unit, there are aspects of the self that must be kept apart from each other. Not only that, the way in which they are kept apart and associate with each other is very important and can influence our mental health. It particularly shows the power and influence of our deepest and earliest self and how it can develop great conflicts with our later self. In some respects, the ‘unified’ self is much like a magnet, with one part attracting and another part repelling our other self’s. In many ways, its shows three forms of self’s:
- The “positive” repelling self’s (which repels the “negative” self’s).
- The attracting self’s (which holds all the self’s together).
- The “negative” repelling self’s (which repels the “positive” self’s).
In other words, the attracting self’s hold the opposing repelling self’s together. What’s interesting is that the opposing repelling self’s, in the “is sickness”, is the pre-self and the world self (which is like our adult in-the-world self, which seems to control our life). This means that the world self is not an attracting self, which is what we often tend to think. In other words, the world self is not an attracting self that holds the different self’s together! This, I have always felt, is for the greater self and one of the reasons why the development of the greater self is so important.