Double Bind

In this post i want to look at organized stalking from psychiatry, anti-psychiatry and Zen view. Psychiatry would most likely define organized stalking claims as schizophrenia, where depending on the description of situation by the victim(patient) the diagnosis would be narrowed further down with persecutory delusions, auditory hallucinations, etc. At the moment it’s not important the definition itself, but the conditions that would precipitate such point in time where victim is pushed to the stage where he might even think that he deserves this label or the pain is so unbearable that he might capitulate in form of surrendering towards mental help professionals. Psychiatry and science is aware that schizophrenia is not a brain disorder – there is nothing wrong with the brain of the patients – all kind of advanced scans do not show any differences between ill person and healthy individual.

Schizophrenia can’t be tested and confirmed in a lab. If it’s a cognitive disorder it’s logical to think that environment could be artificially arranged so that necessary defining patterns of the thinking will be induced into victim to manifest in diagnosis. Schizophrenia with it’s all encompassing symptoms is hard to define not that long ago before invention of PTSD soldiers from Korea war and WWII used to be given schizophrenia diagnosis to label their symptoms of PTSD. As Gregory Bateson (local copy) said “I’m not sure that I’ve ever met anybody that doesn’t suffer from “schizophrenia P” more or less”. He also articulated a related theory of schizophrenia as stemming from double bind situations. What is double bind and how it might apply towards targeted individuals?

In a somewhat modified and expanded definition, the ingredients of a double bind can be described as follows:
(1) Two or more persons are involved in an intense relationship that has a high degree of  survival value for one, several, or all of them.
(2) In such a context, a message is given which is so structured that (a) it asserts something, (b) it asserts something about its own assertion and (c) these two assertions are mutually exclusive. Thus, if the message is an injunction, it must be disobeyed to be obeyed . The meaning of the message is, therefore, undecidable .
(3) Finally, the recipient of the message is prevented from stepping outside the frame set by this message. Therefore, even though the message is logically meaningless, it is a pragmatic reality: he cannot not react to it, but neither can he react to it appropriately. A person in a double bind situation is therefore likely to find himself punished for correct perceptions, and defined as “bad” or “mad” for even insinuating that there should be a discrepancy between what he does see and what he “should” see.

see wikipedia for some examples

Double binds are often utilized as a form of control without open coercion—the use of confusion makes them difficult to respond to or resist.

A double bind generally includes different levels of abstraction in orders of messages, and these messages can be stated or implicit within the context of the situation, or conveyed by tone of voice or body language. Further complications arise when frequent double binds are part of an ongoing relationship to which the person or group is committed.

I don’t know about you, but i feel double bind closely describes the state that targeted individuals find themselves trapped in. So at this point is not so much about denying or accepting psychiatry as valid science – it’s about finding a way that would transcend into solution. Neither psychiatry nor anti-psychiatry can provide answers – they can only provide insights and labels as to why specific stimulus is used to create discomfort and stress. Psychiatry research can’t be discounted since they are official gatekeepers of the problem either they realize it or not. So their interpretations and field notes could be valuable as to how organized stalking is used as social control.

Strangely enough similar technique is used by Zen Buddhism as a positive tool to achieve enlightenment, where student is given self-contradictory question and has to find an answer eg:

If you say yes, I will beat you. If you say no, I will beat you. Go and find out the answer, find out whether a dog has a Buddha nature or not. And whatever answer you come back with, I am going to beat you!

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

So how does one solve a puzzle that is impossible to solve without transcending it into higher level of understanding? Zen Buddhism rejects the notion that the problem can be solved with the mind, logic and thinking alone, but in organized stalking case I think it’s important to learn and understand the construct of the problem since it comes from western bureaucratic and technological model of thought instead of eastern way of thinking geared towards enlightenment. Of course you might say Zen students are not trying to survive and their lives are not threatened if they don’t find the answer to the question and you’ll be right (the most they risk of losing is time and money – they are taken for a ride by scammers they like it or not)… At the same time you have to understand that driving force for Zen student to reach enlightenment is similar as it’s existential kind. By Zen students i had in mind westerners who try to better themselves, the situation might be entirely different for all those Tibetan little children abducted by force from their families, imprisoned in these monasteries as some sort of tabula rasa material cattle and raised with these evil dogtooth methods, probably with good dose of bacha bazi pedophilia mixed in. So in reality the sound of one hand clapping is probably the assault by using open hand slap on your one cheek with non verbal demand expecting the target generating non violent resistance to turn the other cheek around.

another closely related concept: wicked problem

wikipedia entry on double bind

Bateson book “Steps to an Ecology of Mind”



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