Who are You?
In childhood we can be anything, and then in our twenties and beyond the reality of our disposition kicks in and we recognise our consciousness to be the result of feedback loops from our sensory and material experiences which are then channelled through our thought processes.
Basic life forms like bacteria don’t understand who they are; they are just chains of nucleotides made from Nitrogen, Phosphate and the sugars that form RNA molecules. Bacteria have no eyes, they have no cognitive library and their structure has been the same for billions of years.
By comparison we humans have a huge sensory system and a vast storage capacity whose only limitation is the extent of our brain’s consciousness.
Each of us are born with unique genetic make-ups that express themselves in daily thoughts and feelings - sometimes acting, sometimes reflecting, while in between, the moments drift in the currents of situation.
All is perspective - the art being to find a rock from which to view the world.
How much is you?
How much do you know?
A mass of parts in confusion,
Beating their own little paths,
Unaware of illusion.
When our individual perception of human relatedness radically differs from group values and societies norms, we can be categorised as having a personality disorder. Distinct from transitory lapses of logic, personality disorders create conditions that muddle cognitive processes. They tend to start in the formative years and may eventually turn into lifelong traits; or they can be initiated and influenced by seminal moments of triumph or crisis.
There is currently no consensus about what constitutes a personality disorder as distinct from a mental illness, although the latter is often used when a medical ‘cure’ appears.
Most of us experience cognitive muddles at some stage of life’s journey and the key to disentangling them is to know who you are; this being an ongoing fluid state of personal development.
The Briggs/Myer personality questionnaire (adapted from Carl Jung’s theories) was designed to indicate how people perceive the world and how they make decisions as a result of their psychological preferences.
Briggs/Myer uses four dichotomies: extroversion/introversion; sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perception, which slot you into one of sixteen boxes and indicate the strengths and weaknesses of your inherited disposition.
Close friends are those with whom we share common interests and personal values. The normality of our ‘group’ being a majority consensus that aligns with our group’s culture.
There are many personality tests such as Psychology Today’s - Big Five Personality Test, that you can choose from if you want to know yourself better.
There are many online IQ tests if you’re interested - but does a high IQ facilitate friendship and the association of normality?
Psychologists divide intelligence into five categories: social intelligence; athletic intelligence; linguistic intelligence; logical intelligence; spatial intelligence. We all have these to varying degrees and we adapt them to the acceptable norms of our particular culture.
The distinction between a mental disorder and a mental illness is unclear as exampled by the 44 year old French man who had 90% of
his brain missing, had an IQ of 84 and managed to live a normal life.
There are over 200 classified forms of mental disorder and one in five Americans will have one of these in any given year with the onset being related to things such as: stress, bereavement, relationship breakdown, physical and sexual abuse, unemployment, social isolation or physical disability.
Some of the major types of mental disorder are: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, narcissism, sociopathy, psychopathy, obsessive/compulsive disorders and even the innocuous empath which is a disorder of overly nice people.
Mental disorders do not involve physical brain damage or intellectual disability; disorders are a state of ill direction contrary to the individual’s makeup; and these condensate out of our ephemeral understanding of life’s journey.
In his book The Age of Insight (2012), Neuroscientist Eric Kandel expressed the Freudian view that ‘most of our mental life, including most of our emotional life, is unconscious at any given moment …and that normal mental life and mental illness form a continuum’.
In modern times the connection between ourselves and the world has given way to physical interventions that have an indirect effect on the mind such as Prozac, exercise, meditation, diet, etc, while the experience of our thoughts has been relegated to a safe place behind a wall of culturally correct behaviour.