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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
or "How Tabitha Nearly Killed Me When She Tried to Fix My Life"

Anyone old enough to remember a USA 1960's TV show called "Bewitched" knows little Tabitha (the little girl born to a witch-mom and mortal-dad).

When she turned 3, her magical powers started kicking in (much to the mom's family's delight, and causing ulcers in the mortal folks)....she was so little that she certainly didn't understand the concept of "maybe you shouldn't use magic in front of regular people, dear..." so she'd make objects float across the rooom, turn her friends into frogs for the afternoon, and/or when she hears her Dad complain that "nothing is going RIGHT today" she comes up with a well-meaning solution. Being a tiny child and therefore, very literal, she waves her magic spell and makes EVERYthing in Dad's world start leaning to the right for the day!!

Chaos ensues, laughs happen (with the help of the laugh track of course) and the whole thing gets resolved in the end.

Point is this: a little 3-yr. old magical child who is developing powers way beyond what she can understand (and who doesn't even comphrehend adult vocabulary, nuance, metaphor, etc...) is VERY much like the human unconscious mind.

When our Unconscious minds make poor choices (like creating symptoms to serve as defenses, etc.) it is NOT that our brains are trying to cause us agony. We are not "torturing ourselves" on purpose - but if the symptoms are psychologically based, they are like the result of Tabitha's toddler-magic - In this case, part of the mind may have invoked DP because it seemed like a great idea to the highly literal, enormously powerful, yet UNsophisticated and childish Unconscious.

"I need to get out of here!" as a thought might make Tabitha churn up a spell that would take you completely out of your own body. Horrible result, but her heart was in the right place.

"I can't be ME anymore..." made my own unconscious create a dissociative state - and when my real life didn't fit well with who I believed myself to be, I'd ...well, no longer be myself. The fact that it also sent me into abject terror was an unfortunate by-product that just hadn't occurred to little Tabby.

Point is: don't let yourselves freak out thinking that your own mind is evil and/or hates you and/or is doing odd stuff in efforts to make you miserable. Not so.

The Unconscious mind is the equivalent of a 3-yr. old well-meaning kid with enormous powers at her fingertips - she just doesn't know the power of her own magical strength, and she has no sense of how outlandish some of her "helping" can be.

The "magic" that results can be astounding. Welcome to the world of psychologically-based symptoms.


Discussion Starter · #2 ·
"I need to get out of here!" as a thought might make Tabitha churn up a spell that would take you completely out of your own body. Horrible result, but her heart was in the right place.
Thanks for posting your little Tabitha-story here, its been on my mind for the last two days.
I realize its so incredibly important to see my DP as a way to
protect me, instead of judging 'doing' it, harshly.
I need to learn to be soft with myself on this.

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The Unconscious mind hears the TOPIC not the 'negation' and it will keep the topic fresh in mind's reserve.
Not quite comfortable with "The Unconscious" as an entity rather than part of a more mundane process--but that?s just speculating and not the point of this post. We can all create, together, the definitive model of human nature another time (and only half kidding here :D ) The topic of this post is ?negation.?

Flashback: I am sitting around a graduate seminar table with several fellow students and a world- class linguist, the real thing, a modest scholar in Systemic Functional theory. It is the first time I have been busted for ignoring class prerequisites. Fortunately, the other people in the class are as dumb as I am, and the Prof. is adaptable enough to get more basic than he would have liked.

I am scribbling indecipherable notes, mostly to the point of : ?God this is good stuff,? when I stop, momentarily close my eyes, then look up and say, ?I?m sorry, Dr. F. Just a really quick question.?

We both smile a little, since he had said during the last class, with some self-depreciating humor: ?you ask a ?quick question? but you don?t realize that I don?t have a quick answer.? And then he had, with good natured resolve, went through another digression on some topic that, were we the kind of students he deserved, we would have learned years ago as undergraduates. God I love this guy.

"Polarity is part of the interpersonal metafunction?? I ask.

A quick explanation: in Systemic Functional theory, there are three ?meta-functions? (although some debate this) that are ?realized,? concurrently, through grammar, at the level of the clause: Interpersonal, Ideational, and Textual. And ?polarity? ( meaning negation or affirmation, whether something ?is? or ?is not,?) resides in the interpersonal structures of the system, and not the ideational.

What struck me at that moment in class was this: here is a simple explanation for the fact that people?s statements about what is or what isn?t, what exists or what doesn?t, and even what happened and what didn?t, are so consistently unreliable. We were working with maps of choices in the system (mainly mood) and polarity was just a little inconsequential + or - in the diagram. Switching it back and forth changed none of the other systemic structures, and therefore, in practice, would require little thought or effort.

And, more importantly, even profound metaphysical statements about the existence or non-existence of anything are, at least in their grammatical origin, social and not factual. Statements about truth or falsehood may have more to do with defining ones self in relation to others (most of this in hierarchical structures of power) then they have to do with the world.

At any rate, Janine, I thought you might find it interesting that there is a linguistic, a grammatical, foundation for your observation about negation. And this occurs not only in internal talk, but is hard wired, at the level of the clause, in language itself, in the systems that evolved to construe(as they say) reality itself, in the mechanisms that evolved to create meaning itself.

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I love that story! Too good and yes, I love him, too!!

I agree by the way that the Unconscious is not a separate part of the brain. I was just misusing it that way, as often happens in the psych literature, to make a point.

But the Unsconscious is not a place in the brain, it's a type of thinking, a process, as LamaOne said. We have different ways of processing thought, and thoughts are conscious or unconscious depending upon the type of energy we've invested in them. But it is so complex, I didn't want to confuse more than clarify, lol
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