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I was reading Maps Of Meaning by Jordan Peterson and in one chapter he shares this letter a friend of him sent him (a time later comitted suicide) I was wondering if depersonalized individuals would relate to this, at least in some things, as I found it somewhat similar to my experience being depersonalized but don't know exactly why. If you will, please, comment whatever you think of this. Thank you.

Today is Christmas day, and I have just come home from Julie's. While I
was there it struck me, as I sat on their couch between the two girls, just
how foolish and idiotic I have been in this my only life. I hope you will
have patience while I unburden myself on you, because I need desperately
to confess my sins to someone, and I know that if I were sitting in a little
cubicle talking to an unseen clergyman I wouldn't do a proper job of it.
You fit the definition of a religious man as someone who gives careful
consideration to the demonic and irrational in humanity, so I think you
will find my confession interesting.
Imagine if you can a grown man who harbors in his heart the most
vicious resentment for his fellow man, his neighbor, who is guilty of
nothing more than embodying a superior consciousness of what it means
to be a man. When I think of all the black, scathing thoughts I have
directed at those who I could not look in the eye, it is almost unbearable.
All of my lofty disdain for the "common" man, who, so I thought, was
guilty of the sin of unconsciousness, was, I now realize, founded on
nothing more than jealousy and spite. I hated, I absolutely loathed anyone
who had wrestled with their fear of leaving the maternal confines of a
childish mentality and won their battle, only because I had not done so. I
equated independence and success with egotism and selfishness, and it
was my fondest hope, my highest ambition, to witness and participate in
the destruction of everything that successful, independent people had built
for themselves. This I considered a duty. In fact there was a decidedly
fanatical element in my urge to cleanse the world of what I perceived to
be selfishness.
Maps of meaning 340
Think what would have happened if I had been in a position to realize
my fine feelings! The memory makes me fear that any moment the earth
will crack open and swallow me up, because if there is any justice it
would. I, who had not the faintest inkling of a capacity for moral
judgment, traipsing around passing judgment on anyone who dared cross
my path. It makes me wonder that I have even one friend in this world.
But of course I had friends before. Anyone with enough self-contempt
that they could forgive me mine.
It is fortunate for humanity that there are few saviors of the caliber of
myself. Did you know that I used to identify with Christ? I considered
myself entirely, immaculately free of aggression and every other form of
antisocial feeling. But what about the hatred I have just now confessed,
you ask? That didn't count. Those feelings were based on sound common
sense, you see. After all, there are sons of bitches in the world, and one
needs to be ready for them. (Do I smell ozone? They say you get a
tingling sensation just before the lightning bolt strikes.)
That is a very apt phrase, son of a bitch. There is a passage in Jung's
Phenomenology of the Self which runs: "Often a mother appears beside
him who apparently shows not the slightest concern that her little son
should become a man, but who, with tireless and self-immolating effort,
neglects nothing that might hinder him from growing up and marrying.
You now behold the secret conspiracy between mother and son, and how
each helps the other to betray life." This insight would be useful for me as
an excuse, being a perfectly accurate description of my situation, were it
not for the fact that I am almost daily presented with a residual bit of
undiluted evil in myself. For example, when I am faced with a frustrating
situation I do not ask myself what I am going to do about it. I ask myself
who is responsible for it-and I am always ready to conclude that if the
other person were to act properly then the problem would not exist. What
is evil about that, you ask? Obviously if I am determined to overlook my
own part in the failure to resolve my own frustrations, if I am determined
to find a scapegoat for my problems, then I am just a stone's throw away
from the mentality that was responsible for Hitler's final solution, or for
the Spanish inquisition, or for Lenin's cultural cleansing.
What was it you told me when I complained about the flaws in
capitalism, about the fact that so many people take advantage of the
capitalist system? Something like "the fact that people go on
consolidating their financial position ad nauseum is another problem, but
it is no reason to conclude that there is anything virtuous in refusing to
even try to consolidate one's position in the first place." But it is so much
easier to crown one's cowardice and laziness with the accolade of virtue.
Just ask Lenin's henchmen, who swaggered around the countryside
robbing every farmer who had managed any success whatever, and called
themselves friends of the common people and patted each other on the
back for their moral uprightness! I wonder if I have changed so much that
I would not join them when put to the test. The idea that morality stems
The Hostile Brothers 341
from a lack of personal interests is thoroughly ingrained in my mind.
"Good people are those who don't want anything for themselves" is the
way I think. But I never ask myself why such a person should put any
effort into disciplining himself, or take any pains to keep his motives clear
in his own mind, because there is nothing of value to him in this world.
In his essay Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious Jung says
that in an unconscious state the individual is torn by the conflict of
opposites, and that achieving consciousness involves resolving that
conflict on a higher level. (I understand that this particular state of adult
unconsciousness is different from the original state of child-like
unconsciousness, in which there is no long-term conflict.) Just last week I
was stuck in that dead-end again. I was sitting and thinking about what
course my life should be taking, and at every imagined scenario of a
fulfilling or meaningful activity I was met by a counterpoint coming from
somewhere in my head, showing me how this or that aspect of my
scenario was wrong because it would result in this or that problem, to the
point where it was unacceptable to consider any career at all because just
by being alive I would contribute to the destruction of the planet. And as
badly as I wanted to refute this echo of wrong to my every imagined right
as an irrational chimera, the fact is, so I told myself, that we see daily in
the newspapers how the activities of humanity, which are also the
activities of individual men and women, are causing incalculable harm.
It is of course due to my being influenced by yourself that I do not
remain stuck in that particular bog too long these days. If our
industrialism is causing problems, I now answer myself, then I should
hope that there are people out there working to solve those problems, or
perhaps I should try to do something about them myself, but by sitting
idly by I do not solve a thing. Of course what is most daunting, and also
most snivelly, about being stuck in that bog is the fact that the rational
mind wants to be absolutely sure about the successful outcome of its life
plan, and obviously there is another part of the mind that knows that such
certainty is impossible, so one is then faced with the need to accept on
faith that things will turn out for the better with some luck and
perseverance. And being a fine upstanding modern mouse with an
enlightened rational mind, I have no use for faith and other such religious
sounding claptrap and nonsense. Faith is obviously irrational, and I'll not
have any irrationality influencing my behavior.
Previously my solution to this problem was to allow chance to make
my career choices for me, letting my own interests influence my decisions
as little as possible, and I then believed that I had somehow avoided
personal responsibility for the state of the modern world, because I was
not really responsible for the state of my life, and that I had escaped from
the possibility that my plans wouldn't work out because I had no plans. It
was on this rock-solid foundation that I looked out at the world, and saw
around me people who were stupid enough to add their own selves into
the equation. To put this kind of faith in oneself, to believe that there exists inside of

oneself a motive force, call it an interest, which will respond to life and
carry one through uncertainty and adversity is an irrational attitude
without equal, and it is with this irrational approach to life that the conflict
of the opposites is resolved, it seems to me. But the problem now is this:
in order to have this faith in one's irrational nature one needs proof that
personal interests and passions are capable of sustaining one through the
uncertainties and adversities of life that the rational mind foresees so
clearly, and the only way to get that proof is to risk oneself and see the
result. It is a very exceptional person who can take such an undertaking on
their own. Most of us need guidance and support from others, from
believers, so to speak. Strange, isn't it, that religious terms should become
useful for this discussion?
As I wrote that last paragraph I was suddenly reminded of your idea
that the devil as he is represented in Milton's Paradise Lost is a metaphor for the rational intellect, placed in

the position of the highest psychic authority. "Better to rule in hell than to
serve in heaven." Hell, then, is a condition in which the rational mind,
with its acute consciousness of the many perils of life, holds sway over
the individual and effectively prevents him from engaging in life, which
results in the morally degenerate state of weakness that I described in the
first pages of this letter. And heaven, I presume, would be a condition in
which the rational mind subordinates itself to faith in…in God. But what
is God?

You have a chapter in the manuscript of your book titled The Divinity Of
Interest. Your ideas are starting to make sense to me now-at least I think
they are. Faith in God means faith in that which kindles one's interest, and
leads one away from the parental sphere out into the world. To deny those
interests is to deny God, to fall from heaven and land squarely in hell,
where one's passions burn eternally in frustration. What was it God said
when he cast Adam out of Eden? Something about working in the dust to
the end of his days, with the spectre of death always looming in the future.
I can certainly relate to that. One of the most vivid impressions I get from
recalling all those years I spent moving from one job to the next is the
pointlessness of my daily life back then, and the glaring knowledge that
the end was drawing near. But when I'm doing something that has
meaning for me, something that interests me, as I am right now, death
seems far away, and work seems quite agreeable, even joyous.

· Administrator
230 Posts
Not really, except for one thing, perhaps it is worth sharing.

When depersonalization is due to dissociation from trauma, which is my case, an individual is prone to believing that there are all-good and all-bad parts to themselves. It is a result of dissociating, detaching from certain bad experiences, but most of all from overwhelming emotions that a person at a young age has no capacity to process.

It can result in seeing everyone else as strictly good or bad, and therefore judging people harshly, out of a desperate attempt to live up to a set model of perfection, which usually just has to do with a thought (that basically belongs to a small child, and not an adult): "If I behave this way, they will see me as good, and they (parents, parental figure) will love me."

· Registered
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Not really for me either other than he does seem to have existential/non-existential thoughts. For me I don't have feelings of being superior I have feelings of being inadequate for my family and for me. This throws me into a tail spin of is my life really happening? that sort of thing.
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