personality shaping
© Red Pill Press
This week on Behind the Headlines, Joe and Niall were joined by Harrison Koehli to discuss the work of Kazimierz Dabrowski and how his ideas apply on the personal and global level. A psychologist whose ground-breaking contributions to psychology turned many 20th century assumptions about 'psychological issues' on their head, Dabrowski's excellent book on human development, Personality Shaping Through Positive Disintegration, is available through Red Pill Press.

This episode of Behind the Headlines aired Sunday 28th February 2016

Running Time: 02:01:06
Download: OGG, MP3


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Here's the transcript of the show:

Joe: Hi and welcome to Behind the Headlines on the SOTT radio network, I'm Joe Quinn and my co-host this week as usual is Niall Bradley.

Niall: Hi everyone.

Joe: We're also joined by the Truth Perspective host or co-hosts Harrison Koehli and Shane LaChance.

Shane and Harrison: Hi everybody.

Joe: And we are also delighted to have in our company Bahar Azizi.

Bahar: Hey everyone.

Joe: She's a SOTT editor on English SOTT and Dutch SOTT and she's also a fairly regular contributor to our show so, that's our lineup for this week, we're going to have a scintillating conversation no doubt.

Niall: I believe so.

Joe: And the topic of conversation this week is personality shaping, why it's OK to break down once in a while. That's a bit of a pun to a certain extent, in part we're going to be talking about the work of Kazimierz Dabrowski. He's a Polish psychologist, or was a Polish psychologist.

Niall: He's deceased, he died in 1980.

Joe: He died in 1980 and had published books, wrote papers and all sorts of things on a psychological theory, that speaks to or tries to define and explain the process of development of what he calls personality, the human personality, how it happens and what it involves and the positive and negative directions it can take in developing personality.

Red Pill Press actually published it for the first time in a while, or republished, and Harrison is in the process of making some of his works available. The first book you published was "Personality Shaping Through Positive Disintegration", published by Red Pill Press last year, and Harrison who's on the line obviously, I think was the editor of that book to a certain extent right?

Harrison: Yes, that's correct, I didn't have to do too much, just get it ready for print basically.

Joe: Getting it ready for print and making it available, so it's a very interesting book, and we recommend people buy it. If anybody has read "Political Ponerology"...

Niall: You'll recognize the flavor.

Joe: Of course, that was another Polish psychologist, so there's something about Polish psychologists and the way they write, or maybe it's the way it's translated, but I think it holds to the original text. You know, at the time that this was being written and talked about in the 50's, 60's and 70's there was a certain way that people in that field wrote, and spoke in a somewhat arcane, academic language. But it's still very understandable and there's some very interesting things in it. The overall theory behind it is very much in keeping with those who are aware of Gurdjieff, his theories and ideas and the kind of things that we talk about on our forum in part.

It's very much in keeping with that although it's from Dabrowski's perspective, but if you read the book or even just parts of the book you can see parallels between what he's saying and effectively esoteric work, work on the self and working to grow yourself, grow your being in the Gurdjieffian language.

So we wanted to deconstruct or explicate the theories in this book, some of them are quite interesting. Talk about it a little bit and also try to apply it to individuals, people that are listening to the show, how that applies to you. How it's relevant to you, but also how it works, how it might apply to the world in general and maybe use some examples from well-known personages in this world as examples of these theories.

So maybe Harrison you could give us in 20 words or less, you can go to 21 If you want, but 20 words or less, an explanation or concise description of what positive disintegration is, or personality shaping through positive disintegration.

Harrison: OK I'll do you one better and say it in even fewer words.

Joe: Cool.

Harrison: I'll try to sum it up as shortly as possible and simply by saying that in order to become more human we have to suffer.

Niall: Now stop there... I'm kidding.

Harrison: Yep, I've filled the requirements and now I can just go on for as long as I want.

But really when talking about Dabrowski's theory it's actually really hard to sum it up in any kind of concise manner because there's so many aspects to it. They all relate to each other and if you talk about one thing you're missing out on so many others that might give some more context to what you're saying. So I'll do my best to give some of the basic ideas, but I really recommend all our listeners to check out the book. There are articles online, if you just search Dabrowski's name or positive disintegration you can find more resources because there is so much to it. It's so expansive, and one of the reasons that it's so expansive is because that really was Dabrowski's goal in developing his theory.

He was inspired at a very young age when he was about 10 years old I believe. He was walking around with his father during WW1; it was a battlefield and he saw all these dead bodies. He was looking at the expressions on these men's faces and he saw some who were afraid, some who were determined, some who were peaceful, and it was a huge shock for him at such a young age to see all this death. It inspired the question and the deep motivation in him to understand human nature and what it means to be human and the meaning of existence. And that was the inspirational germ that grew throughout his life.

He actually wanted to be a musician, he wanted to play piano but the course of his life led him to choose psychology and psychiatry as a profession and so that's the direction he went. Throughout the whole course of his life he developed this theory which really had the widest scope possible. He didn't want to just understand one little aspect of human nature, he wanted to understand human nature in all of its variation. So the end result of that was the theory that encompassed what he might call or what we might call the lowest of the low of humanity to the highest. What many say is the ideal form of humanity, of just being human, of human nature, of conscience and so the theory ended up developing as one of positive disintegration. By the end of his life he'd developed it in such a way that he saw human nature as being multi-levelled.

So there were not only multiple layers, levels of being within a person but between people as a whole as well, so you might have people at a low level of development and he identified several features of that, called it primitive integration and then that proceeds through a uni-level disintegration.

Now a disintegration can range from the most basic inner conflict, to the most painful existential suffering or psychosis even, or suicide. There's a whole range of types of inner conflicts that people have and these are the conflicts that psychiatry and psychology have called a lot of mental illnesses. In his time, he called them neuroses or psycho neuroses and these can be depression or have bipolar episodes or even types of schizophrenia or hysteria and these are all symptoms of what's going on in the person's psyche. The conflicts and the things that are conflicting within them lead them to the end of these periods of mental suffering, often accompanied by physical suffering as well. He'd classify more of the physical suffering associated with the lower level of neuroses but that's kind of a clinical detail.

But the point about the suffering and the disintegration is that inside humans who have this capacity for disintegration fall apart on the inside, there will be a conflict, a struggle and then that can result in either a positive or negative result. A negative result will be either a person will have this inner crisis and then just quickly get over it. It's like they won't have learned their lesson or learned anything from it and they just go back to the way they were. They don't really change, like a temporary blip or disturbance and then they go back to normal, and nothing has substantially changed in their lives. Or they might spiral even deeper into a full blown psychosis or even a suicide and so he calls those examples negative disintegrations because they haven't come out of the struggle with anything new or anything higher.

And then on the third level that he identified was a multi-level disintegration where within you have more of an identifiable hierarchy or structure of what is in conflict. So you'll see that when you're having a struggle or a moral struggle there's a conflict between the way you've been doing things in your life, the way you've been behaving or thinking or beliefs that you've had, or the way you emotionally react to things and then there's a conflict where for some reason that's not enough anymore. There's just something wrong with the way that you've been doing it, and you see that in yourself, and you become disappointed in yourself or dissatisfied with yourself; there's something that you should be doing better or differently or more. Then that can re-integrate at a higher level where you will lose those old habits and develop new ways of interacting, ways in which you're not acting in ways that harm the people around you. That of course could be in ways which you weren't even aware of at the time, but once you become aware of it that inspires the desire to change, disintegration of the mental structure and the way that you've been behaving in your life and then hopefully reintegrate that new level where you behave in different ways and in what Dabrowski might call 'higher ways'.

And then at the highest level, Level 5, Dabrowski said that that would be the personality that Joe's talking about where you are completely controlled or totally in control of who you are and how you behave. And your behaviors are totally in line with your ideals, and of course that is a very difficult thing to do and Dabrowski himself would say that he hadn't achieved that level, it was a for him a theoretical ideal that he could see traces of in his study of other individuals and of famous people. If I was just going to put that part in a nutshell that's the way I'd do it.

Joe: OK that's a good summation, this isn't just all of what you've said but basically Dabrowski was obviously looking at people, looking at himself and trying to make sense of the differences in human personalities and the differences in human behavior and character. How some people behave in more let's say ideal ways, ways that are more beneficial to the community and others that behave in more destructive ways, and also the effects that life in general and life experiences and suffering have on people. Effectively he seems to have been defining that the experiences people have in their lives is a process, and that at least potentially anyway, it's a process of human evolution effectively, of becoming a better human being I suppose, for want of a better term.

Harrison: Yeah, and one of the key aspects of that is that if you think about it in terms of the evolution of humanity, think about evolution in terms of the animal life that we see on the planet of which we are a result, that evolution is automatic in the sense that the beings being evolved and evolving have no direct control over it. But Dabrowski would say at the human level that's when our evolution gets put in our own hands and it's really the efforts that we make towards ourselves that furthers our own evolution. So it's not like some automatic process that just happens, it's something that we are intimately involved in, and it has to do with the way in which we analyze and react and feel in response to the world and the inner experiences that we all feel as human beings, and there's a variety of responses that humans give in those situations.

So from the basic level of a psychopath who has no reaction or even awareness of human nature, like a psychopath can't experience and can't get into someone else's suffering, it just isn't there, it's not a part of them, so they can't grow, they can't learn anything from that experience because they don't experience it. From within humanity there are differences in our basic structures and the way we react to things and our capacities for taking in reality and for seeing aspects of reality and aspects of ourselves. So there's this kind of gradient along humanity, so much of reality is blocked from their inner perception to the ones that see a lot of the more subtle aspects of human nature. That has to do with the emotional component of life and human experience because that's the central part of Dabrowski's theory, the supreme importance of emotion and feeling because that is how we understand so much of reality and human nature, it's on an emotional level. And so this really is a theory of emotional development.

Niall: The introduction to the book is written by a guy who was then president of the American Psychological Association, Orval Hobart Mowrer. It's a great introduction because he writes a lot more plainly and he nicely summarizes at least some of Dabrowski's ideas in his own terms. This was the then head of the APA in the US, saying that Dabrowski's model if you like, is antithetical to the dominant model of the time, and probably still is today. Namely the Freudian view of psychological issues, when people have such ideas in the Freudian view then, "Oh somethings gone wrong, let us deal with it, let us treat it, it's a dis-ease, the person is not at ease, it's an illness, it must be fixed". Dabrowski takes a very very different view of everyday run of the mill psychological issues. Let's put aside the extreme case for a second.

That was sort of a question for Harrison just to develop on that, do you see where I'm going with that?

Harrison: Absolutely, one of the ways in which Dabrowski would put it is that psychiatry then and now even, more often than not sees any kind of mental disturbance or any kind of inner crisis as a disease, as something to just fix, and so it's like having symptoms and you treat the symptoms. So Dabrowski thought that was a totally wrong-headed way of looking at it. It ignores the experience and the causes and the reasons why a person is experiencing these things; if you look at them as symptoms. Well there's some really important process going on in this person's life that has the vast potential for growth, and the dis-ease that this person is going through is not something that should just be eradicated either through pills or through some Freudian analysis that's all about just re-initiating an equilibrium. This is something that has to be worked through so as to really get into it and see the deeper meaning of it.

We did a couple of shows on Dabrowski several months ago with some clips; if listeners just search on YouTube there's some videos that were made in the 70's, I believe, that include some interviews with Dabrowski and there are some clips of him actually working with some of his patients. There's this one woman who was in a deep depression, it's just a few little interactions between them, but first of all you can see Dabrowski's compassion for the people that he interacted with but also the way he approached it. It's not very conventional, he didn't approach this woman as if she was sick or "we just have to find a way to make her not depressed". First of all he established a rapport with her, he tried to start conversations and then he tried to get her, and I think he achieved it, to first of all acknowledge her suffering, acknowledge what she was going through, and then to ease her out of it in the sense of getting her to shift her focus onto other people.

This woman was in a deep depression for years, when you look at her she was almost catatonic. So this was a case where today people would undoubtedly say that she was mentally ill, and so the first step for him was to get her to redirect in her mind to start thinking about others and to start thinking about the things that interest her and then essentially he took her along the path of seeing that in her depression there was something very significant. That there's always a reason why a person is depressed or there can be, and to actually try and figure it out, and see that depression can lead to this reappraisal of the persons' own values and their inner life. And what that person says about what's important for them, and then to take steps and move in that direction as opposed to staying in the depression.

So Dabrowski would say, just to go back to the question, that suffering actually is an essential part of human development, it's not something that's necessarily gone wrong, it's a process through which people have to proceed in order to get anywhere.

Niall: Yes, indeed, he would suggest it was a positive development, it's part of a development of a person and what strikes me about it is that in some form or another it's a person coming into conflict with a previously held belief that they realize is illusory, and here I'm using terms more familiar to the Fourth Way, Gurdjieff. It's easy for us to bleed in and out of both because Dabrowski's psychology, if we can abbreviate it to that, is almost a map it matches so closely. From its foundation all the way through to this idea of there being multi-levels or beings of people, at the most foundational level Dabrowski is saying you're not born with a soul in effect, you're not born with a preformed personality it grows and it can grow in dramatically different ways at any stage in a person's life.

Joe: What Dabrowski describes is that this suffering people experience, mental illnesses, or what are described as mental illnesses that people experience are effectively positive reactions, at least in potential, and that was so out of sync with the dominant psychological belief or approach at the time, and still is today obviously. People today still go to the doctor with depression or other psychological issues; you'll get some pills, so that belief still holds. It's interesting because the fact that that is the dominant discourse, the dominant belief in medicine in the world today suggests that with the majority of people on the planet, or majority of the people in power of the planet, the dominant belief is that you should just be happy all the time, that nothing about life and society should EVER really upset or disturb you to any significant degree.

But obviously that does happen to a lot of people and I think it's been glossed over and covered up, but they still try to solve people's problems, "you're depressed about life, well that's obviously wrong, because why should you be depressed about life, there's nothing to be depressed about."

Harrison: Dabrowski was a big fan of a philosopher named Unamuno, and I've just got a couple of books here that I think speak directly to what you just said Joe, so Unamuno wrote:
"There's no true love save in suffering, in this world we have to choose either love which is suffering or happiness, and love leads us to no other happiness than that of love itself and its tragic compilation of uncertain hope...

"The satisfied, the happy do not love, they fall asleep in habit, near neighbor to annihilation, to fall into a habit is to begin to cease to be, man is the more man that is the more divine, the greater his capacity for suffering or rather for anguish"
I think the reason Dabrowski really liked Unamuno is for that kind of outlook. The only sane reaction to the world and the reality, the objective view of what goes on in the world and human suffering is one of suffering; willing to suffer with those that suffer this tragic existence of life on this planet.

So it is the only sane response in order to be depressed and suffer when we see that suffering. To be a truly happy individual in the way that people think about it, how it's portrayed in society in general as a goal worth achieving would mean to shut your eyes to all that suffering. To Dabrowski, Unamuno, Gurdjieff and several others, that was a tragedy. That's absurdity to block out that much of reality and be happy in the face of that much suffering.

Shane: This idea of taking on suffering and really digging into allowing yourself to feel it; it's so absent in the United States and in Western culture. It's interesting to me that a lot of the Freudian ideas and the pill-popping and so on, has emerged as the dominant idea or way to deal with these things. It makes you wonder what is it in the American psyche that allowed that to happen, what were the driving forces, and I think in part it is just part of human nature to want to move towards what's comfortable and move away from what's uncomfortable. For whatever reason in the United States, particularly there's this pursuit of happiness while there's not an understanding of how to really achieve that. We think we just need to be happy and when we do have all these conflicts, that's not really a healthy approach. We immediately deny any type of bad feeling we have about particular things and in that we deny the aspects that can actually help us grow.

Niall: Gurdjieff would say you tell yourself lies, you buffer, and you end up going back to sleep. Dabrowski might put it similarly, he would say you're not being honest with yourself, and a result is you're actually buffering, blocking or not allowing the disintegration to follow through.

Maybe we should talk about these three basic terms Dabrowski uses, I mean there are many, but the basic model is: primary integration, positive disintegration and then a re-integration on another higher level, can you just talk people through that for a second Harrison?

Harrison: Well, maybe one way to do that will be to introduce some other terms that he uses, because when speaking of disintegration, what Dabrowski's really talking about is a whole range of different inner experiences basically. He called them dynamism's; what most people would think of them just in terms of certain emotions, but Dabrowski's list was longer than most, so he'd include for example guilt as one of these emotions that is part of disintegration.

But he also had some other phrases that he used and I'll just read something from a paper by Marlene Rankel who was one of Dabrowski's students in Edmonton. She wrote this paper summing up some of the thoughts about Unamuno and Dag Hammarskjold and their relation to the theory. So she talks about these three aspects of it, the first is astonishment with oneself; this is an intellectual experience in which one is shocked to suddenly see a behavior in the self which causes pain or suffering to others. The second is disquietude in the self; this is an emotional experience as the thought is allowed to penetrate the heart and act on the feelings. This is very difficult to pursue as one wants to run away from the painful self-awareness. Third, discontent with the self, this is a lengthy period of time during which thought under the direction of feeling eradicates harmful behavior, so here we have in a really small nutshell a disintegration followed by a re-integration. The disintegration is first an intellectual astonishment at one's self, so this is when you see a part of yourself that you haven't seen before, and it's the first moment of realization that your actions, the way you've been behaving in your life towards the people around you have caused them pain and suffering. Then this can activate the emotions and then you really feel it, that's when remorse sets in.

But like Marlene writes in this little piece, it's very difficult to pursue as one wants to run away from the painful self-awareness. This gets into what Shane was just talking about, the desire to turn away from suffering and on one level humans tend to turn away from suffering in the world. We don't want to see the suffering of other people because that makes us uncomfortable, but I think more importantly we ignore having negative or so called bad feelings about ourselves. We don't want to think that we are bad people or that we have done bad things so we lie to ourselves. We buffer as you put it Niall, so those parts of ourselves don't get brought to conscious awareness, and if they aren't brought to conscious awareness we can't do anything about them and we will simply continue to be the way that we've always been.

So then by having these so-called bad, negative experiences and feelings about ourselves and our behavior, that is actually what prompts the re-integration. Things get rearranged in ourselves where now we act under another prime imperative, we act under another value system. It shows itself in the change in our behavior and in the way that we act with others. In a nut shell that's a disintegration followed by a positive reintegration at a higher level because our actual actions have changed, we've broken an old habit and developed one that is based in conscience. Our new way of behaving, our new way of being encompasses not only our very narrow range of self-interest but the interest of others, and we learn new ways of behaving that take the feelings and well-being of others into account.

Shane: A little earlier Harrison you mentioned this interview that's online between a patient that Dabrowski had and in that you can see the woman was clearly suffering, she's very very depressed as you mentioned and what strikes me is that Dabrowski may have redirected that suffering to that astonishment with oneself, in seeing how her inwardly directed suffering is affecting other people.

Harrison: He even pointedly said to her, I can't remember the exact words that he used but in such a way he told her that her suffering was totally selfish, that she was completely focusing on herself. Watching that you think "Oh well I think that maybe if you just take a person off the street and ask them to watch that they might be horrified that this psychologist would say such a thing to this poor suffering woman." But it actually worked, just in those few minutes of talking with him she actually opened up and was smiling and engaging with him, actually being a human being in interaction with another human being as opposed to totally focusing on herself and her own suffering.

So there's also this range of suffering, it's not like Dabrowski idolized or idealized this navel gazing or totally self-centered suffering. If anything that suffering is a bad thing in a sense that it has to be transcended, it has to be gotten through. If you stay at that level, there's nothing really positive or good about that inward focus, self-centeredness and focusing on one's suffering. The goal is to get past that and to actually be able to use that experience for the good of others.

Shane: It seems pretty similar to what Gurdjieff talked about in terms of conscious suffering verses unnecessary suffering. It seems that a lot of people do suffer but it is often just inward. Being able to direct that towards how this is affecting others can be a way to work through that when we're just in our own bubble, it's continual and it's spiraling downwards.

Joe: One thing I wanted to mention was when Harrison was referencing Dabrowski saying that the process involves coming face to face with some aspect of yourself that shocks you that you're horrified by. Life can throw those up at you but I think the natural tendency to self-justify can override that and stall that process or prevent anything positive from coming from that. That's why I think it's very useful to have other people who will actively and not be afraid to set you straight, to tell you those things about yourself. That really increases the chances, increases your abilities by proxy of being able to see parts of yourself that you weren't aware of, hadn't seen before or when you get glimpses of them, dismiss them or justify them and they go away.

You mentioned guilt and its association with shame, in the book the quote is:
"The feeling of guilt, as we have already pointed out is an indispensable developmental element for every moral individual and is strongly manifested in persons capable of accelerated development. Guilt forms an indispensable creative tension which lies at the root of true self educational work"
I don't think in the book, correct me if I'm wrong, he goes into the idea of other people helping you with your self-education, there's a bit here where he says:
"Self-education is an impossibility but each of us has to make a choice, the choice to be open or closed to the...
A son cannot educate himself, that is his father's responsibility, but the son can and must choose either to accept or reject his father's tuition."
I think while that could obviously apply to other people and a group of people giving feedback to someone, it also applies to life in that we do not engage in self-education ourselves. Most people simply go through life and have life experiences, they suffer to a certain extent. They either respond or don't respond to that suffering in a positive way, or in a not so positive way, but it's almost like life in that sense is the teacher, human existence and experience in this planet is the teacher effectively. Those experiences are the teacher and then it's up to the person to decide whether or not they will accept or reject that teaching.

Of course the key point in that is to understand that that is effectively the meaning of life, the meaning of human existence. Life experiences serve as a teaching tool, as lessons, these experiences are lessons for individuals to learn from, and if you don't realize that then you're less likely to actually engage with the process of seeing experiences, in particular painful experiences, as something as an opportunity presented to you to learn from. If you have that in your mind and you actively engage in that process then you have a much better chance of getting something from all experiences, in particular painful experiences, because they're felt more keenly.

There's the one thing on shame on guilt that I wanted to say, I mean he mentions guilt but there was a story on SOTT a few days ago about shame. The title is an academic study from the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the title is "Study finds that shame allows us to anticipate social devaluation and can motivate us to be better people".

So it's an article that basically confirms what Dabrowski is talking about. They said the function of shame is to prevent us from damaging our social relationships or to motivate us to repair them. They say in this world your life depends on others valuing you enough to give you and your children food, protection and care. The more you're valued by the individuals with whom you live, the more weight they put on your welfare in making decisions.

They're talking about ancestors but it applies today, they're explaining the purpose of shame today. Life in our ancestors' world selected for a neural program, shame, that today makes you care about how much others value you, and motivates you to avoid or conceal things that would trigger negative reevaluations of you by others.

So it's the function of shame and how it is effectively a positive human response to keep you in line, like you were saying earlier on Harrison, because you value community and being part of your local tribe or your local community. But the problem I think with that is that today so many people in the world don't really live in a community. That aspect of feeling a motivation to act in a proper way so that you don't get shamed or guilt-ed or kicked out by your community isn't really there in a lot of situations because people can live, and are encouraged to live isolated lives where as long as they've got enough money they can feed themselves and they can entertain themselves. Most importantly, the previous function of community life where people would find entertainment and happiness and joy from other people in their community has been to a certain extent done away with and replaced with the same kind stimulation, but you can engage in it in complete isolation with video games and other distractions provided by technology. Of course I would think this has a negative effect in that it dampens down the opportunity for people to feel shame or feel motivated to aspire to improve themselves and be better people; correct the false traits within themselves that are not community oriented. They don't have the motivation to do that anymore so those kind of traits will remain in people and they'll miss the opportunity to develop in the way that Dabrowski describes.

Niall: There's a great quote in the introduction of the book I'd like to read at this point. This is from Dr. Mowrer, so he writes:
"Individuals who live openly and under the judgment and with the counsel of their fellows make on average far better and better disciplined decisions than do persons who operate secretly, evasively, dishonestly. If we are committed to the practice of hiding certain of our actions and thus avoiding the consequences they would have if known, we are inevitably weak in the face of temptation, in that now impulse is easily dominant over prudential concerns, will power it seems is much more a matter of being 'in community' than of having a special faculty or strength in oneself"
Then of course you add the caveat to that important point about having people you can trust, but what if the community grew for society is itself wrong, isn't it then a folly to submit to its virtues and disciplines? And here we get the importance of why SOTT for example exists, because this is where knowledge of the world and how it works comes in.

Harrison: That caveat that Mowrer made there is probably the most Dabrowskian part of it, because I think Dabrowski would agree with everything that Joe said, but I'd say the thing about shame is that it's context dependent. Depending on the environment you're living in, the people surrounding you, then that shame can be either a positive or a negative thing. If you're surrounded by people who are not only knowledgeable about human development and who have achieved a certain level of development themselves, then they can guide you through the process and perhaps shame you in a positive way.

But if you're surrounded by people who aren't very developed, if you're part of a social group that routinely and habitually engages in shameful behavior, you might be shamed for not doing so. And we see this in all kinds of situations where people are shamed for doing the right thing.
Maybe in a job situation, in a corporate situation, where if you make what you see based on your value system, what you see as the right choice, then you might be shamed for it. Rape victims are often shamed for coming forward or even shamed for being raped in the first place, and this is a total perversion of shame because it is still in a sense being used in its original purpose to get people back in line, but it's getting people back in line into a system that is fundamentally wrong in and of itself. So I think that one important thing is that it really depends on the type of community you are part of; there are universal positive aspects of being part of a community and what that community can do for every individual in that community, but it really depends on the nature of that community. I think in our modern society we have developed really dysfunctional societies and that means communities on every level, from the family structure where we can have this narcissistic family dynamic, that book by the Pressman's, to entire societal distortions of what it actually means to be human to the extent where people are shamed for doing the right thing or for having higher values that come in conflict with the dominant values of the society, or lack of values.

So yeah, just to add that caveat that shame is important in that it does depend on the nature of the community in question.

Joe: I just want to go to a call here we have an Andres on the line. Hi Andres can you hear us?

Andres: Hi, yes if you are speaking to me?

Harrison: Hi Andres.

Andres: Hey how are you doing?

Niall: Very good, welcome.

Andres: Thank you, can I make a comment?

All: Yes.

Andres: It's a reflection I had, when I remember when I was a child and I had this kind of naive idea of what happiness should be like, and I realize now it was largely shaped by what you see in the media. So if you watch a movie, like a Hollywood classical movie, the Hero makes a lot of money, defeats the bad guy, gets the girl and so on and then at the end of the movie he's just happy forever and you sort of imagine that he is going to carry on his life you know, in a consistent string of smiles and laughter forever.

And you think, yeah that's what I want to do, that's what I want to have, I want to have something that makes me have smiles and laughter for the rest of my life, and that's what happened.

So obviously this is not right, it's not true, I have come to realize that happiness is not that, in fact it's probably unhealthy for the human brain I would imagine to be all the time on a high, like even bio-chemically. I think your brain probably needs to go down a few times you know, and then from a spiritual or psychological point of view, the things that you're explaining made it quite clear that suffering is involved in the process. So, it's like a few questions or a request for your reflections on this.

First of all it seems like when you have a new definition of happiness, to one that doesn't just include smiling all the time that somehow encompasses the ups and downs of life, how could we define this new sort of happiness?

And secondly how could we sell this new concept to other people who are still under the impression that somehow they should just have a good time while they are alive, you see what I mean?

Joe: Yeah.

Andres: So for example, for me, if I were to answer this question I would say, a good life, a happy life would be one with meaning, and then you feel that it has a purpose, and that this purpose motivates you, and obviously throughout the act of following this purpose you're going to have a few bruises along the way but that's OK because it's part of the ride. So this is how I would say it, but have you guys thought about it?

Oh and something else, just in case I don't have a chance to ask, considering that I've spoken about Hollywood movies, how it portrays a fake image of what happiness should be, can you guys think of any media presentation that is more accurate to what real happiness would be like? So a movie, a play, a book, something that you think yeah, this actually shows more objective more realistic, achievable sense of fulfillment for a human being.

Joe: Well, on the suffering and happiness thing, whether we should all want to be happy and laughing and jolly forever, I think that's pretty obviously wrong, in the sense that the only reason that we feel happy is because we have the comparison of suffering. So if you don't suffer you don't even know what happiness is. Imagine an existence where you're happy all the time and you never suffer, if you lived in that state long enough you'd forget what any suffering you'd experienced, you'd forget what it's like, so that would no longer be called happiness because you've not had anything to compare it to.

We only know the high points, the elation the joy in comparison to the down times when we're unhappy when we're sad, so it seems at this level, suffering, if you want to be happy you have to suffer. So you should be thankful for your suffering because it provides an opportunity for you to have some joy.

Harrison: Joy is also an essential part of living. In-case anyone is getting the idea that Dabrowski thought that everyone should just be miserable all the time, that's not the case either. I think Andres got to a very important part of it, to have a sense of meaning or purpose in life that one is actively working at because, as Dabrowski would or did say, joy and creativity were just as important as the suffering. But like you were saying Joe, then they come together and often they are intertwined with each other. I know me personally, when I'm reading some news stories or even watching a movie where there is something that I think is just genuinely good, or happy, there is a suffering that is just intertwined with that joy and it just mingles, more complex and exists side by side with each other where there is even joy in the suffering and suffering in the joy.

As for the movie, I'm still trying to think of one and if I think of one I'll come up with it.

Joe: Yeah, I'm not surprised that it's hard to think of one. Andres we're going to let you go. Thanks for calling.

Andres: Thank you, take care.

Joe: Bye. We have another call on the line here and I'm going to go straight to it. Hi is that TC?

TC: Yeah, Hi guys.

Joe: How are you?

Niall: Hey TC.

TC: Yeah I'm ok, can you hear me now?

Joe: Yep.

Bahar: Yes.

TC: Great, yeah on the subject of how we actually cope with suffering, because we were saying it's something that we're going to face, or it's something that we have go through but it's incredibly tough and difficult to deal with, difficult to face. So something I've been experimenting with myself recently is just how you change your attitude towards it. It reminds me in a way of anyone who's familiar with the book "Political Ponerology", Lobachevsky describes a time when I think he was locked up and being continuously interrogated and over time, until it got to the point for him where he managed to raise some level of will against his interrogator and changed his attitude towards his interrogator. During one of the interrogations they were hounding and hassling him, questioning him, and he just sat there not really saying anything and not reacting and when they said "what's the matter with you?", he just said "Well I'm just wondering why it is that so many of you guys end up in asylums."

Niall: After doing that kind of work.

TC: Yeah exactly, but it was only when Lobachevsky had gotten to a point where he'd accepted what was happening to him that he was able to change his attitude towards it.

One of the terms I like to use, if we're talking about God or something higher than yourself or whatever is the idea, the universe, how we experience the universe and what the universe gives to us, in quite difficult moments of suffering I've started changing my attitude towards it and seeing it as a gift, and as painful as it is, thinking to myself, this is a gift and being grateful for it even though it hurts. Well sometimes I do anyway, sometimes depending on how that days been in particular my attitude might be "bring it on, do your worst, is this all you've got?"

Niall: Good one.

TC: Say it's your attitude towards it, how you view it, if you can muster up the ability to change the way you view it and rather than see it as something to be avoided or something to even be battled or fought against. I watched a video recently of someone who was talking about impulse control and it being like a tug of war sometimes, and actually one response it to choose is to just let go of the rope rather than actually battling against it, and I think that comes under this heading of how you change your attitude towards suffering.

So yeah, if you can welcome it in a way, knowing that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and what might light the other side could be even better than what you've got now, and maybe that can help you go through it.

Joe: Absolutely, having a bit of faith in the process, and that's where I get back to. This has been on my mind recently, that the awareness that it's a process and that life in general is a process. Any period of suffering or pain or hardship or introspection is also part of that process, it's a focused part of that process. And to have that understanding I think helps an awful lot, and I think that it almost makes the difference between conscious suffering as Shane was mentioning earlier, Gurdjieff's conscious suffering verses unconscious suffering, or useful suffering vs useless suffering.
If you're not aware that there is a reason why you're suffering, and that if you engage in it you can actually learn something from it and even speed up the process that helps. That is basically conscious suffering, where you actually accept the suffering, you're aware of it, you bring your conscious intention to it and you realize that it's happening.

So many people just suffer unconsciously and the only thing that they do is try and find a way to immediately stop the pain from happening, stop the feeling, dissociate, engage in some sensory or dissociative pursuits to take their mind off. And it's like slapping away a very valuable opportunity, when you do that it's missing something that's crucial, especially for people who are actively, or at least intellectually understand that they made a statement and they're living their lives for the purpose of trying to evolve and become better human beings. People who have made that decision and are aware of that should understand also the suffering part of it is something that needs to be engaged in and understood for what it is.

Of course you're entitled to get some help and look for some relief from the suffering as well, but not to the point of completely excluding it and running away from it.

TC: Yeah, and I think this is where the importance of the Gurdjieffian term, the moral bankruptcy or the psychic bankruptcy comes into it, when you've lived a normal life in that primarily integrated state, it's only a moral bankruptcy that can lead you to the understanding that, I think the best quote from Gurdjieff about suffering is "There is suffering and you cannot avoid suffering, but you can choose your suffering." Whichever route you take, I don't know, was it Socrates who had the discussion about what is the best way to live your life, whether it's the pursuit of pleasure and happiness in the hedonistic sense, or whether it's the pursuit of knowledge. I think that's a good way of summing it up in terms of either primary integration or multi-level integration. Either way suffering comes with it, because if you spend your life living to try and be distracted and living to try and pursue pleasure and happiness, you end up with a lot of blind spots and that creates chaos in your life and suffering. So either way you can't escape it, but you have to hit that bankruptcy first of all, to think well, ok, if it's suffering either way then maybe there's a better way to choose.

Joe & Niall: Yeah.

Joe: Alright, thanks TC.

TC: Thanks guys.

Joe: Hope to talk to you again soon.

Joe: I just want to go to Bahar here, Bahar are you there, are you receiving us?

Bahar: Yes, I was just listening with lots of interest, so I haven't read his book but I've been reading some articles that we have on SOTT about him, and since you guys were talking about mainstream psychology there was this one thing that I read and I wanted to share it with you guys and the listeners.

So there's this Dabrowski scholar and he explained in a video that in mainstream psychology having a strong or positive self-concept or self-esteem is the goal. Whereas the goal in the theory of positive disintegration is rather different. In TPD, we need to disintegrate, even destroy the self to split our self into subject and object so that we see the higher and lower, the way the world ought to be verses the way it is, but also the way I ought to be versus the way I am as part of that inner conflict. And he says the way I viewed myself wasn't really me, that's what other people said I was, that's what other people say I am.

So like you guys said he's saying that feeling pain and feeling like you're in the deepest depths of the world and you're in hell and you feel like you've been destroyed, it doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. It's good to stay there for a while and to really look at why you're feeling that way and to find ways to get out of it as a better person. And like you said Joe, it's also important to be in a community and to share about your struggles and to ask for help. That was just one thing I wanted to share and reading about it I do have one question for you guys and that is, once positive reintegration takes place, is it stable and lasting or is there still a possibility for a relapse?

Harrison: Well, I'll take a stab at that one. I think what Dabrowski would say is probably it can be both, he'd say that there probably is a time when it is completely stable but that was what he called level five - the highest level of development that very few people ever achieve, and that for everyone else that it is a process and it is probably a lifelong process. In the book Personality Shaping I believe he gives five little biographies of individuals, like case studies that he does. One is Beethoven, one is Saint Augustine and then in this edition we included a few others that weren't included in the original edition as special appendices, so that included I believe Unamuno and I think Kierkegaard.

Niall: Yes.

Harrison: He included Beethoven, so there's several in there and every one of those cases even though it's obvious that Dabrowski had a high regard for these individuals, in reading their life stories they did engage in a high degree of self-work relative to the vast majority of people, they were still uncompleted personalities. One of the most fascinating for me was Beethoven's story because I didn't really know a lot about Beethoven.

Niall: Yeah, I had not considered Beethoven a developed man, Beethoven was not a nice guy but anyway go on.

Harrison: That's the point, I knew very little about him, just a few anecdotes but reading this, Dabrowski talks about how much of a difficult and ornery and just nasty person he could be, but at the end of his life, through all that struggle he achieved a lot relative to where he started out but never ended up getting to that point of total integration. In fact, just from the reading I've done and the interviews that I've seen with Dabrowski, the few people that he's speculated about, some of them were kind of dodgy because two of the examples he gave were Socrates and Jesus. But being such ancient personalities, ancient people, we can't really know a lot about their lives. In fact, probably Jesus didn't actually exist as depicted in the gospels and Socrates, we only know him through Plato. The only contemporary people that he even speculated about were perhaps Abraham Lincoln and Dag Hammarskjold and even then he's said he couldn't go very far in his determination of those because he didn't know all of the details of their lives.

So really even then I think that at least for Dabrowski, level five was more of an ideal, it's hard to even know how many people if any get there, I might include Gurdjieff in there. But again I can't get inside of Gurdjieff's head so it's hard to know exactly everything that he experienced in his life even up to his death.

Joe: Yeah I mean the only thing I know about Socrates is what I learned from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, you know I'm kidding.

Niall: I think in the end if you're in this place you're here to suffer and if you're not suffering here anymore, poof you're gone.

Joe: Poof you're gone, but the thing is this is a great book and there's a lot of very good things in it, and a lot of very good concepts that make a lot of sense to us and to people who like what we do and are part of what we do. But I think there are obviously a few aspects where it's clear that, like everybody Dabrowski did not have the whole potato, the whole enchilada.

Niall: The whole legume.

Joe: The whole pot of bone broth. For example, there's one part when I was annotating / writing in the book where he's talking about love, it's all good you know, loving one's neighbor, he says most people don't really get to that point even, they usually only do something for their close family and friends.

Niall: They only love to the extent of suiting their self-interests.

Joe: Exactly; what they can get from it, but he says love of our fellow creatures should also be extended to our enemies. By looking at a man not as someone who's our personal enemy but as someone who acts erroneously because of inherited inclinations, environmental influences and low level of self-educating consciousness we assume an impersonal attitude to that man, and such an attitude to an enemy is a clear sign of one's advance towards the ideal personality. And I just wrote alongside that - WRONG. Because I think he's gone a bit too far in the Jesus direction in the sense that that idea of loving your enemies as he's described, isn't (at least from our perspective) the way to go. If you go that route where you see people who are attacking you or out to get you and have bad intentions towards you, you should not love them, you should first and foremost defend yourself and defend your right to be and do what you're doing, against what others are trying to stop you from doing.

But that's just a small point because regardless of the people that we like and we think very highly of in terms of what they wrote about and what they taught like Gurdjieff or Mouravieff or Dabrowski or whatever, not the confined little things in their work that were maybe slightly off, they're just small points.

I wanted to just introduce a concept here that part of this idea that suffering that we've been talking about and how that leads to positive integration, disintegration on a higher level etc., becoming a better person you know. All of that esoteric stuff. We see in the world that everybody suffers let's say, so everybody suffers to some extent but it seems to me that there are a lot of people in the world who don't suffer so much, you could take one person and observe them having a certain experience or subject them to a certain experience of suffering, and to a certain extent it would apparently not really affect them, it wouldn't provide any kind of shock it wouldn't provoke in them the same kind of reaction it would provoke in another person.

So my question is does suffering affect different people in different ways according to Dabrowski? And to that extent do some people suffer less than others even when those two people experience externally the same level of suffering?

Harrison: Yeah, absolutely and in-fact Dabrowski would say those that suffer less are the less developed and the least developed and he talked about psychopathy in the same regard, so psychopaths are the epitome of not suffering. If you want to be a totally happy individual and smiling and laughing for the rest of your days, then that's pretty much what psychopaths are like because they have no capacity for that kind of internal suffering that we're talking about. Of course they can feel pain but that's not the kind of suffering I think we've been discussing.

And so the way Dabrowski phrased this was in terms of what he called over-excitabilities. So this is basically an inherited capacity for different types of experience or response to certain kinds of stimuli. So he divided that into five different kinds but one of which was the one that I think we're referencing which is emotional over-excitability, and this is basically the amount of reaction you'll get out of a certain stimulus. In practical terms this can be just like the example I used of watching a movie, you can sit down with a hundred people to watch a movie that can involve some really kind of deep stuff, like really intense and complex relationship dynamics, or..

Niall: Or metaphors

Harrison: Metaphors yeah, and it can really deeply move certain people and other people, it won't provoke any reaction and they might just say "well that was a bad movie", but that applies to so many levels and so many different situations even just in regular life. And the most obvious one to me is people's reactions to torture and murder. For example, for the last years we've had ISIS in the news and the videos of these horrendous tortures and murders, and if you think about the individuals involved who were doing this, they're not disgusted by their own acts, they're not moved in any way. In fact, they get some enjoyment out of them. But you'll get another person, I think the majority of people first of all, who are just horrified by that and can't watch it, can't see it even, they can't even look at it. And not only can they not look at it they can't comprehend themselves doing that sort of thing, and they would never have and never will do such a sort of thing.

And then there's the people that do it and enjoy it. So there is that wide range among humanity of their ability to be affected by certain things, I think you just said it pretty well there, some who can be subjected to the exact same experience, some will suffer deeply and some it will just fly right off like Teflon.

Niall: Dabrowski was quite clear wasn't he that he was talking about a minority of people who have the developmental potential. He said so explicitly which already puts him on the fringe of psychology because that's a no no. You know we're all basically the same functional units and the goal is to extract the maximum happiness, or elevate them all as much as possible to a certain level of happiness. But he comes along and says "No no no, that's impossible" with his reasons and then he hones in on really a small class or set of classes of people who have sufficient over-excitability, potential within them to respond to external stimuli and develop from them.

Shane: And I'm not sure if I remember correctly but Dabrowski's definition of what it is to be a psychopath was a lot more broad than the usage that we use today I believe. I think he would classify anybody who basically exists at this primary level with these basic instincts and drives, and who can't really go beyond that level as somebody who is a psychopath.

Harrison: Yeah, in his English works the distinction is pretty close to the way we think about psychopaths. He was Polish so I guess sometimes he didn't use the English words precisely according to the way English speakers do, I've heard in conversation he would call any person at level one psychopathic. Because in essence they had, in his mind, a sick mind or a diseased mind which is what I think psychopathy means. But in his later English works it's more clear that he does use psychopath more often than not in terms of the way we think about it, and that Robert Hare has developed this kind of specific personality type which is a small minority.

What's interesting I think about his theory is that he points out just how much in common the dominant psyche of humanity is to that of a psychopath. So he basically shows all the things that a lot of people, maybe even most people, like maybe 50% or a bit more have in common with psychopaths and it shows in the way that they react to the world and the way that they live their lives and the capacity, or lack of capacity that they have for development.

So he doesn't talk about it in his books, but again I've heard and read that in conversation he said that he thought that perhaps maybe 30% of people in his clinical practice seemed to show sign of positive multi-level disintegration. So these are the people with developmental potential and 50-60% or more were basically at that lowest level. That doesn't necessarily mean that they didn't have any potential but they didn't show any signs of it, if they had the seed, or the spark of that within them, it had never been provoked, never been brought out in any way. I think a lot of that perhaps has something to do with the general trend of society because the society that we live in, worldwide, isn't conducive to personality development.

Joe: That's seen in what we were talking about earlier in the fact that the people in control of the psychological community or the science of psychology, when someone comes along with an illness of this description where they feel disconnected or unhappy with the world in some way and it's affecting them, they're depressed or whatever, the response to that by the psychological authorities in this world is to say there's something wrong with you, i.e. "What could possibly be wrong with this world, there's nothing possibly so horribly wrong with this world that it would cause you to have such a bleak view of things. So we obviously need to fix you, you're broken." And they are the authorities, so that says that we live in a society that is at the primitive level of integration

Niall: Yeah.

Harrison: Not only that, Niall you pointed out that the guy that wrote the introduction for this book was the then president of the APA. Well nowadays the people involved in the APA and other American psychological institutions are the guys working at Guantanamo and figuring out ways of torturing people. That's where our psychological community has gone, to the facilitation of torture, that's one of those things that just leaves me speechless.

Joe: There's a couple of things I just wanted to point out from the book that he subscribes as the questions, feelings or emotions that would come up in someone who had the potential to possibly disintegrate and be reintegrated on a higher level.

He talks about the fundamental query of "Who am I and where am I going, what is it in myself that is not me, what is it that I'm becoming although it is not yet crystallized, and what should I strive with persistent will to make myself, although it is not yet myself, through meditation, contemplation and continuous effort." And also things like "I can no longer live like this, I must find for myself, a new form of life and not a new form of cognizance i.e., not just another way of looking at life but a totally new way of living and being."

So those are the kind of questions that if they come up in you, if you have had them come up in you in the past and they've led you to look for something new in that respect, then that's a good sign from our perspective. So many people in this world never really ask themselves, or pose those questions to themselves because they don't feel anything in the right way, or in a way that would cause that kind of disquiet or discontent in themselves to a sufficient extent that they would really think about those things and start on a new path.

Niall: It's the first mistake of such people to assume that everyone else is asking the same questions. That's the first danger, that's where you run into trouble.

Joe: There's a lot of points in the book where he describes the process, and the process does seem to be one where you have these questions and you try to find a new way of being, a new way of living, a new life effectively. You don't educate yourself in a certain sense, you don't create anything new within yourself, it's a process which seems to come from without and your part in it is to simply keep on keeping on. To persist in your drive and your determination to change yourself in this way, or to find a new way of living, a new perspective that you can't live the way you lived before and you take action to change that. As a result of those persistent efforts, then something that is going on as a result of those efforts within you, that you do not have conscious control over or even awareness of, something changes.

There's a process there that goes on beyond your conscious awareness and it ultimately can provide you with what you're seeking which is a new perspective on life and a new way of living and something fundamentally can change within you as a result of those consistent and persistent efforts in that direction.

Niall: You mentioned conscience earlier Joe, I think that's the change, and maybe Harrison can develop this for me. Doesn't Dabrowski talk specifically about conscience when he talks about self-education and auto-therapy, he's referring to your voice of conscience and listening to it and becoming more in line with it?

Harrison: Yeah, and just developing it and finding it in the first place too, Joe listed those questions like "What direction am I heading?" or "Where am I going?" There's a direction to the positive disintegration and there seems to be these universal features of it. One of them is the direction away from self-centeredness and towards more of an altruistic or other centered approach. This is part of conscience and again part of conscience is this over-excitability, this reception of the information that we see when we look around and we feel what others are feeling. So it's this intellectual and emotional awareness of the world and it is tied to a value system. So when we're speaking with conscience, we're directing our attention towards others and directing our actions towards doing something better for those around us, being a positive force in our lives and for others; taking into account other people and the wider situation that we find ourselves in and doing everything that we can for this higher purpose which takes into account other people.

In Dabrowski's work he comes at conscience from all kinds of different sides and ways of looking at it, but they're all on this direction away from that lower level and to that higher level and everything associated with those levels. One of which is going away from the self-interest and self-centeredness towards that other centeredness, and part of that also has to include an intellectual understanding, so an analysis of the world and of values and the right choice of action.

Joe: I forgot what I was going to say.

Harrison: Were you going to get into the bigger picture stuff?

Joe: Yeah go on. That'll do.

Niall: Say what Joe was going to say.

Harrison: I'm going to read Joe's mind here and he can correct me if the transmission fails.

I think one of the ways of looking at this and applying the theory is on the wider social level. Because reading "Personality Shaping" for example, it's very much focused on the inner process of an individual towards personality. All aspects of this theory and of human nature in general will affect the wider social atmosphere and environment. So we already talked about some of the aspects of society in general that not only aren't conducive to positive disintegration but also are totally at odds with it. If we can ask the question why, and I think that first of all "Ponerology" by Lobachevsky gets into some of these more macro-social issues.

If we just look at it in terms of positive disintegration, I think what we see first of all is that the people in positions of influence in all aspects of society are at this low level of development. If we look at it in terms of countries, well if we look at the United States for example we have prime examples of that. When we look at the candidates for president in this upcoming presidential election, none of them are a personality.
(Audio recording of booing)

Niall: We have a situation between a baboon, a witch and a donkey.

Harrison: Yeah, just look at Trump, a month or two ago we had an article on SOTT on why Trump is the textbook narcissist. And you could just see this in everything he says and does. He has no capacity for self-reflection or self-criticism or admitting that he's wrong, he's totally self-assured, everything he says is right, he's got an immediate answer for everything, he puts no thought into his policies or his opinions or just anything he says in his speeches. If you look at his history, he's a practical business man. Well Dabrowski gives a lot of examples of primary integration and how these individuals operate fairly well in the business world and in regular jobs, and this guy's been a snake for his entire career. He hasn't even been very successful, most of his projects end up failing and yet he's got an ego the size of his hairdo, he's just a reprehensible human being in general.

Joe: I'll tell you what Trump is; Trump is a [BEEP]. I mean that guy, if I could get a hold of him you know what I'd do? I'd bloody well [BEEP] [BEEP] and you know, he would probably not be able to run for president after that because I would just have taught him such a lesson he wouldn't be able to [BEEP] for a week. Was there interference there? Did you not get all that? I think there might've been a sensor, that's terrible, I'm going to have to say all that again now. No I'm not going to say it all again, anyway.

Niall: Even more broadly than the specific examples you give of candidates for the next presidency Harrison, the US power structure as a whole is a regime, is a classic case of primary integration on a macro-social scale. This is how revolutionary this idea is that far from being the pinnacle of civilization, the lofty city on the hill that the US projects itself to be to the whole world, actually in developmental terms the scale is completely reversed and it's the least developed. The least, not sort of in the middle, the least, it's the exact opposite. In terms of civilization it's actually at the lowest point, it's not even at entry level. Just in these terms it needs to go through a profound disintegration, just to get on the ladder of really becoming, and actually having what it projects of civilization matching with what it actually is as a civilization.

Harrison: Yeah, and first of all any society is made up of the individuals within it and I think that you can get the temperature of a society. Well you can look at the society itself and get a reading on the individuals, or vice versa, so that's why I think that when you look at a society like American civilization, so called, there's a rich wealth of material from which to draw, to get clues from and that's where looking at the individual cases can help out. I just think of the State Department briefings that you can see highlights from daily, it was Psaki for a while, and now we've got people like Mark Toner and John Kirby, and if you look at the level of discourse in communication it's absent, it's not there. The level of hubris and arrogance is just striking.

Niall: The evasiveness and dishonesty, it's primary integration 101.

Harrison: You can see that there's no consideration, no depth of thought, like when Matt Lee asks Kirby a question and he either just won't answer it, or he'll get angry and snitty at Matt Lee for asking the question. A real human being would look at the question and consider it and give a real answer to it, and we don't see that, we don't see that on the level of international diplomacy and the way the American government as a whole interacts with other nations. We can see that in the way they interact with Russia and the Russian representatives and that's an interesting case, to see the difference in the level of discourse between the Russian side and the American side. The Russian side has shown so much more civilization in the way they communicate, not only with other countries but with the world, that it's just striking. I think that has something to do with the history of Russia and on the macro-social level; what Russia as a large nation, a large geographic entity has gone through over the past hundred years. I think it's safe to say that the first Soviet Union in Russia went through a massive disintegration and there was a huge amount of suffering that accompanied that disintegration.

From the individual to the social, at every level and that gives a certain perspective that American people do not have because for so many years the American people haven't gone through anything that even closely resembles that as they have fought no wars on their own land for generations. So I think there's a few things, one that American society, in order to achieve the first level, the entry level of civilization has to go through a disintegration. On the other hand, we have Russia who's gone through a disintegration and there is that sense of looking and striving and long suffering. There's that sense of "We will have to make a sacrifice if we want things to be better in the future," we don't see that attitude in the States, and that's the attitude that will be needed.

America I think would need a leadership and not just one individual person but an entire structure of leadership that is willing to ask the questions, "What is wrong with America, the United States as it is, what we need to do, what hard decisions do we have to make, what do we have to give up in order to get somewhere?" Because I think that American's in general don't want to give up anything, they don't want to make any kind of personal sacrifice, and if that's the case then nothing good will come out of it because that's essential, there has to be this disintegration, there has to be a leaving something else behind in order for something better. I don't think we'll see that without an external cause to this, things will disintegrate not through their own will, not through any kind of conscious suffering towards a future goal for the entire society, but through something imposed on them, which will lead to a huge amount of unconscious suffering. From that, who knows what's possible, it can go either way, but I think that's the direction things are going in in US society.

Shane: The scary thing is in thinking about how Americans will deal with this type of disintegration. At least with Russia in the collapse of the Soviet Union, they had a long history of basically knowing how to deal with suffering, and within the United States that's been completely absent. We're so entrenched in these ideas of entitlement and American exceptionalism and self-esteem and all these ideas are so deeply entrenched in the minds of Americans and how we deal with things that when this disintegration does happen, is it just going to be this psychosis that people go into and people basically break-down because they don't know how to deal with it?

Harrison: Well one example that I saw in the news that made this stand out for me was Maria Zakharova, the foreign ministry spokeswoman for Russia, and her interview on RT. She gave a few insights into the Russian mind-set, one of which was on war. I think I've seen this expressed in many different ways, Russians know what war is and they don't want war, they don't want it. It's not something they're actively pursuing but they will fight it. Essentially I think that what that is saying is that, I as an individual, or we as a nation as a people will suffer through things that are inevitable and we will do so as it becomes necessary, but it's not something we're seeking. We're seeking something different. Whereas from the American position, the American establishment is seeking war, they are seeking destruction. And they're not willing to go through any kind of other suffering voluntarily. These two positions are just diametrically opposed, these two different positions.

Joe: Yeah, well I was thinking we might just change topics, and briefly look at another topic I suppose. Some people wanted us to talk about earth changes, we'll talk a little bit about earth changes soon, but we just wanted to give a brief run down on Syria because you know, same old same old really. Ceasefire, yeah, everybody likes a ceasefire now and again.

What's going on with the Syrian ceasefire, we've had some questions about that recently.

Niall: What's going on and what's going to continue happening, the next stage is that the US will successfully and is already doing it, encourage one of its 69 proxy groups to break the ceasefire as much as possible, which is exactly what they did through their forces in the Kiev regime in Ukraine. And they'll use it to provoke and provoke and provoke the Syrian Army, the Syrian Kurds, the Russians, to respond and retaliate so that they can hold the Russians as having broken the ceasefire. Even if Russia doesn't respond what we will probably see are blatant ceasefire violations that will be simply portrayed in the media as the Russian side breaking it. So that's what's going to happen.

Joe: Yeah, my take on the situation is that the whole ceasefire obviously has been brokered or negotiated by Russia. Russia has pushed it through, and it has also given the hot-line to the US, John Kerry sitting down there, at like a base. He's got a little piece of sovereign US territory on the Russian base, and he's got the hot-line. There's a big red phone in front of him and he's picking up the phone and monitoring the ceasefire and any calls coming to him about who broke the ceasefire; then he has to agree that Russians will then bomb whoever broke the ceasefire, from the words of John Kerry, via their hot-line information and they'll have to be happy with it, you know.

So that's the situation, Russia brokered the ceasefire, everybody who is real, everybody who is for peace, the whole point about this is that it's propaganda, it's a propaganda initiative by Russia. We're all talking about this war is terrible and we need to stop it, and refugees, and it's all horrible, let's have a ceasefire, everybody who's into peace, let's have some peace and a ceasefire. Obviously all the people in the Western democracies, including Turkey, they all obviously see a ceasefire as good. Because nobody likes war, even though they all love it, they all have to say it's not.

They all have to agree that a ceasefire is good, and then they all have to abide by it and all the different factions that are being supported by NATO and Turkey and the West inside Syria, they all have to decide whether they will be party with the ceasefire or not. They have to say, OK we'll engage in the ceasefire because yes we're good people and we want to have Russia holding out the carrot that anybody who participates in the ceasefire and holds it might get an opportunity to have some kind of power in the government afterwards, after new elections turn out. So that's the carrot and they're all going for that. Any of them that hold out and say no, to hell with your ceasefire we're not a part of it, then Russia gets to bomb them legitimately and justifiably. It has to be US and Turkey who would technically have to agree with that because people that won't abide by the ceasefire are clearly saying that they are not interested in being part of any political process in Syria, therefore they're illegitimate.

So I think that's mainly what the ceasefire is about. Of course the US will attempt, as you just said Niall, to undermine that ceasefire and have various different people, their agents, their mercenaries in Syria break the ceasefire. They may even engage in different provocations to make it look like Russia had broken the ceasefire in a certain sense. I mean they could have US planes or covertly they could be bombing hospitals or certain areas in Syria and then claim it was the Russians, so there's all sorts of dirty tricks behind the scenes. I'm sure the Russians are very well aware of that possibility or that it might be.

But apart from that, Turkey is still nuts, the Erdogan government are crazy, and getting crazier by the day. How anybody in their right mind, anybody in the West can justify aligning themselves with Turkey or even talking to them at this point is ridiculous because they're so discredited that they've more or less come out and said we love terrorists, or terrorists are us, we are ISIS, and apparently it's ok to call them a NATO member state and our partners but then when you've been partners with the head choppers in Saudi Arabia for decades it's not hard to pass that one off on the gullible Western public.

So that's Syria for now, I'm sure thing will change in the coming weeks, but earth changes, somebody wants us to talk about earth changes. Are there any earth changes? Has the earth changed?

But before we do that let's go to our Earth Change desk.

(musical interlude)

Niall has just changed hats again; he's now got on a volcano shaped hat, no, it's a tornado shaped hat on his head. That means he's going to be talking about earth changes next. Take it away Niall, blow us away.

Niall: Yeah, I'm not actually aware of anything in the last few days, I'm afraid I haven't been paying attention to that.

Bahar: I know there have been trumpet sounds again in West Island, Montreal so they're coming back here and there.

Joe: There was a really creepy screeching or squeaking high pitched squealing sound just about a week ago or less, that was in Canada as well wasn't it?

Bahar: Yeah I think so.

Joe: That was in Canada I think and it was just a bizarre high pitched tone, apparently in a neighborhood, I mean these things are very very strange, they seem to all be ultimately be electromagnetic in nature through various types of rays that are coming in and interacting with the planet or maybe just being produced by the planet itself as it undergoes changes.

I mean they've been going on for several years these kind of strange noises in the sky, and apparently science is not interested really, it's not big news even though somebody should've documented them by now. It's about 3 or 4 years since I did that SOTT report on that. Nobody takes them seriously really, it's probably one of the most interesting or fascinating scientific areas of investigation and "No, don't really want to know about that because we can't explain it or an explanation for it might be a problem for some of our scientific theories. We're just going to pretend this is not happening."

Shane: In terms of people who are interested I think that particular video has a huge number of hits.

Joe: Which one?

Shane: The strange sounds in the sky.

Joe: Yeah like half a million people, it's not that big for YouTube, 500 million maybe. Well it's quite a lot of people, but I think the reason that it got so many hits is because I put the word 'apocalypse' in the title and out of those half a million people 499,000 were all fundie Christians, because they thought I was saying something about Jesus, Jesus is coming.

Niall: That could be it.

Joe: The trumpets of Jesus! He's coming back to play us a jazz tune or something, usher in a rapture apocalypse, whatever. "As long as Jesus comes back I don't care. I'll watch any video that tells me Jesus is coming back. Even if he never existed he can still come back, that's the power of Jesus."

In fact, Harrison said earlier on in the show that Jesus probably never existed as is described, but does that not just testify to his power, that a man of such importance in history could've had such an effect and never actually existed in time. Think about it, he obviously is the son of God because he never existed. Anyway.

So there's nothing really from our changes desk for this week, unless Harrison or Shane have something to add.

Niall: I need to know before the show.

Shane: I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been following the earth changes.

Joe: Well I have but it has been very quiet. Obviously for us so many of the things that happen have become common. There have been a few meteorites seen in the skies since the last time we were on the show, but we're not even going to report on them because they happen all the time. And it's not notable almost at this point; we're noticing it but you know, we report on it on SOTT.net but I don't think there's any point in talking about any particular ones.

There have been meteorites, we're in a kind of a lull between coming out of winter and I think there's this kind of transition period between winter and moving into spring. Apparently there's going to be a lot of storms coming up now in the next few days and the next week or so in the US. March is going to be ushered in with some pretty major storms across the US, so that's something to keep an eye on.

But you know crazy and wild weather is par for the course at this point, and I think many people out there have actually normalized it to a large extent, they think it's the new normal, so for us to say this is crazy, people will say no but this has been happening for years. Well yeah, it has been happening for years but before that it didn't happen, so it is a shift.

Niall: There's one event this week that stands out, there was an outbreak of tornadoes in Virginia.

Joe: Right in the south.

Niall: Two days ago, and it's the earliest known tornadoes to ever hit Virginia this time of the year. Completely putting to rest the idea that there's a distinct tornado season even for the US south, it just happens all year round now.

Shane: Yeah that's really bizarre really, it usually happens in the fall, that's the tornado season.

Niall: It's like a band that moves across, it starts earliest say, March, April in the warmer south and then migrates north-wards as far as Iowa, Illinois, Michigan. But I think there were tornadoes in Michigan last month. See it just cycles all year round now. It doesn't matter what time of the year it is.

In terms of flooding, you can't get much worse, in fact you cannot get any worse flooding than the Mississippi basin got in January. It's not supposed to flood at all in winter. In some areas it beats their worst ever flooding for summer months but it typically happens in April/May. There are things happening that are extraordinary in a sense that there's no paramount to explain them. This is why we call them earth changes, this is why they stand out as being noticeable to us.

Whereas for many people they simply expand the existing explanations to incorporate them, and they feel justified in doing so because day to day it's not that much of a change. Because their mind is only so big, their attention span is only so large they don't have a fuller range of what is possible and what is not.

Joe: Well, nobody is listening to us.

Niall: No.

Joe: No, because we're boring, "You're boring us now." We said that because there isn't a lot to say right now about earth changes but everybody in the chat room is talking about water. They're talking about what they've done with their water because of the recent session from a few weeks back where we talked about the properties of water and the unusual properties of water. People have been experimenting with water, drinking it and bathing in it for the first time.

They've been using their intent to change the water or to imbue it with certain properties and seeing what effects they have. We have a thread on the forum about it. Maybe the floods are an effect, that's a lot of water coming down at once. Maybe there's some kind of connection between the collective consciousness of certain people and groups in parts of the world and the effect they have on water, unconsciously they're calling down the floods on themselves you know. It's possible you know, but we'll have to experiment more as we have been doing with water and see where it takes us.

Well I think we've run out of topics for this week folks, we hope you enjoyed our discussion on Dabrowski and all of that. We did, I learned some things. But we're going to call it a night at this point. Thank you to Harrison and Shane and to Bahar of course for being on and sharing your knowledge and wisdom and everything else with us.

Shane: Thanks for having us on.

Harrison: Thanks guys.

Bahar: Thank you.

Joe: Ok and again thanks to our callers and to our chatters, the chats been very active, everybody seems to be having fun, I think it's because they can all see each other's faces because they've got their avatars, they know who it is now, most of them have their real names.

Harrison: Funny looking faces.

Joe: Well yeah, that's some that aren't faces, but they've all got their names on there, which is a lot better than Blogtalk radio.

Shane: Cool platform that was put together.

Joe: Yeah it's excellent, it seems to be appealing to the peoples, so we'll leave it there for this week folks, thanks for listening and we'll be back next week with another show, until then have a good evening or day or morning or night, wherever you are!

Niall: Thanks for listening see you next week, bye bye.

Bahar: Take care everyone.

All: Goodbyes