Duck! and Gather

Archive for the ‘Personality and the Brain’ Category

Well, I dip into a story, write it up in a post, and then the old brain just keeps on ticking with more thoughts. Here is my next one: The three perps of this sordid story — Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede (see my previous post) — represent America, Europe, and Africa. What I mean is the following.

Amanda, a visually striking young girl, with a noticeable pathological streak, is the perfect symbol for America. From the outside, from the PR-crafted image, this is a perfect being. Helen of Troy, to quote Amanda. But underneath that shining image, poking out in every direction, is profound disturbance. Underneath the virginal image is one deranged girl.

This is America. Probably circa 2007, rather than 2009. America circa 2009 will be Amanda six months into the 30 year sentence she will be getting. Then, the pathology will be much clearer in her, as the pathology in America is obvious to all today. America is rotten to its core. But unlike Amanda, we Americans will reinvent ourselves, and redeem ourselves within 20 years. Amanda will still be in jail in Italy.

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This is a story about how three different personality types, in a rather unhealthy state, came together to produce a tragedy so horrific that it would not have happened absent the presence of all three. This post uses the Enneagram theory of personality to explain this tragic dynamic.

Trolling YouTube, I came along the following story:

Since I haven’t had TV in my home in over a decade, and since I don’t follow “Entertainment” or “Crime” stories, I hadn’t heard of this murder case before.

But this 5-part “Dateline” video series was kind of interesting to watch. Below, I’m assuming you’ve watched it.

Point of this post is to give my Enneagram interpretation of this one. My basic theory is that this murder occurred only because three different damaged personalities came together on one fateful night. In Enneagram terms, the perps were a Two, a Five, and a Seven, all in unhealthy states.

In names, these three people are Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede. In nationality, an American, an Italian, and an Ivory Coastian, respectively. In gender, female, male, and male. In race, white, white, and black. In occupation, student, student, and drug dealer. In relationship, girlfriend, boyfriend, and drug supplier to both. In age, all between 20 and 24.

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This blog is where I discuss semi-random theories of mine about American society, politics, sports, etc. — all with an eye toward a predicted impending collapse and coming renewal.

I suppose I also talk a bit about my unfinished book Personality and the Brain here too.

In addition, I started up a website called Holonation a year ago. Among other things Holonation is a community blog. There, I (and others) discuss theories and pose questions on health, both physical and mental.

One interesting dynamic with Holonation is that users are finally starting to sign up who were not contacted my me or by friends of me and it turns out … they’re all women! Indeed, over 80% of the (small) Holonation user-base seems to be women.

Contrast that with the folks who read this blog and/or listen to the accompanying podcast. Except for my sister Kathy (who doesn’t count for these statistics), I suspect that the vast majority of Duck! and Gather readers are men.

Then for Personality and the Brain, interest seems to be split pretty evenly along gender.

When I get a chance, I’ll try to get rigorous on these statistics.

Anyway, if you’re in the mood for some Oprah-like dialog (albeit from a man), here’s a blog I just posted on Holonation: Transforming Grief into Joy.


So I was surfing for stories on Steven Kazmierczak and SSRIs when I came across Illinois Shooter was Treated with Psych Meds Prior to Shooting Rampage written by some fellow named Mike Adams. Finding myself agreeing with upwards of 90% of the “far out” things Mr. Adams says in that piece, I figured I’d try surfing to learn more about the author.

Since I launched this blog in late 2004, whenever I have come across someone espousing the sort of off-the-wall ideas about which I write and speak here, almost invariably that person turns out to seem sort of weird.

Of course, when just about everybody who agrees with your own unconventional ideas is weird, than can mean only one thing about you: You are weird. And indeed I am. Just ask my wife.

Anyway, weird me goes looking to find out a little about Mike Adams. Turns out, he’s the self-proclaimed Health Ranger. He looks to be a fellow in supreme health, quite pleased with himself about that, and eager to share his good news.

I ask myself: Who does that sound like? It sounds like me! Mike being Mike, he starts up his Health Ranger business. Me being me, I start up Holonation.

Finally, check out his Health Tips. That’s my life right there.

Kind of interesting that this fellow has pretty much the same unconventional approach to health as I do, and also seems to harbor some of the the same unconventional thoughts about Steven Kazmierczak and even the coming collapse of America. Gotta love the web.

In the previous two postings of this series, I explained why I passionately favor Mr. Obama for U.S president. There isn’t even a second choice. Not just this year — for at least the past 20 years.

But in this posting, I’m going to explain why I don’t much care for Mr. Obama as a man. My personal reservation boils down to my beilef that he is a self-styled messiah.

In short, me, Peter, doesn’t need a messiah. But I firmly believe that this nation does. And I firmly believe that Obama is that messiah.

So in this posting I’m going to explain why I think Obama sees himself as the messiah. But this posting is going to sound like criticism of Obama. And of course, children can’t understand the subtle distinction between criticizing a man qua man, and at the same time, promoting the same man for president.

For you children, perhaps it will help if I say a few words about Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards. First, with Mr. Edwards, I believe that he is a personal fraud who is speaking a poignant national truth. As between a self-styled messiah (Obama) speaking the truth, and a fraud (Edwards) doing the same, my beliefs choose the former for America.

As for Mrs. Clinton, all I can say is that when I woke up this morning and checked the news, my first reaction was: What is wrong is the people of New Hampshire? Are they blind? Moronic beyond hope? Are they incapable of understanding the scourge of Clintonism?

My second thought was: I’m glad the dark avatar otherwise known as Hillary won. This victory will keep it/her in the national spotlight long enough for the nation’s other children to learn from the mistakes of the New Hampshire children. Because if Obama had won New Hampshire yesterday, it/she would have crawled back into the computer which generated it/her, and Clintonism would have died a loathsome death, before even the sleepy children of America could wake up to face the new dawn. And that just wouldn’t do.

OK. The rest of this posting is for the 3 or 4 other people in this country with an academic interest in, and true understanding of, a personality theory known as the Enneagram. To you 3 or 4, it goes without saying that insanity and enlightenment are relatively rare, whereas the vast bulk of our consciousness is spent in the middle of these two extremes. And in that vast middle, people are people, Christ is a myth, we all shit, and our shit stinks.

What is Mr. Obama’s shit? He’s a Seven. As I’ve explained elsewhere, the Enneagram is a theory based on what we find unattractive in others; NOT in what we find attractive.

With Mr. Obama, it’s pretty difficult to find things about him that are personally unattractive. But if he is a Seven, one would expect to find pleasure addictions, taking more credit than he is due, receiving flattery as manna from heaven — basically, the messiah toolkit.

A year ago, I explained how, if one looked close enough, one could find these attributes as a theme in the life of Mr. Obama.

Fast forward a year, and we have that famous Iowa victory speech of last week. This was a profound speech because it attracted favorable commentary from not only the liberal media, but from the sort conservative commentators who eviscerate Mrs. Clinton. This speech showed clearly what Mr. Obama is for America: The Great Uniter.

So when I first watched that video, I got goose bumps. (11:58-13:05) It felt good being a Canadian in America heading for my citizenship interview next week. I still get that feeling when I watch the video again.

But me being me, I also look a little closer than most. For example, I noticed a couple Seven things about Obama during the 15 minute speech. On “receiving flattery as manna from heaven” I draw your attention to the moments during the speech when the crowd interrupted Mr. Obama with chanting or cheering. Specifically, notice two different such moments: in one, the crowd interrupted with chants of “U-S-A” (3:50-3:58); in the second, with chants of “O-ba-ma” (4:56-5:10).

Notice anything about Mr. Obama’s reaction to these two interruptions? During the U-S-A chanting, Mr. Obama waited patiently for the audience to quiet down, with little expression on his face. But during the O-ba-ma chanting, Mr. Obama beamed that 10,000 watt smile of his, and seemed to milk it all in. I see that and I see I a guy who suckles flattery like a babe on a tit. Bingo! Seven.

Now, on the issue of “taking more credit than he is due”, I draw your attention to the point in the speech when Mr. Obama said something to the effect: “Years from now, when we have made progress fighting global warming, getting past the oil-based-economy, ending the war, etc., you will say that you were here on this day in this place where it all began.” (8:48-9:30) Wild cheering ensued. Hell I got goose bumps.

But think about it. Who won the Nobel peace prize in 2007? Al Gore. For what? Raising world consciousness about global warming. Now, of course, Al Gore’s work stood on the shoulders of a great many others who have been working on these issues for decades.

So if, 5 or 6 years from now, America and the world have made improvements on this score, it would seem safe to say that these improvements began long before the Iowa caucuses, having nothing to do with the political aspirations of the junior Senator from Illinois. But there he was last week, pre-emptively taking more credit than will be due him, even in the best case in which he ends up playing a central role in moving the issue ahead. Bingo! Seven.

Finally, having “trashed” Mr. Obama, let me conclude by trashing myself. This is a four-part blog posting in which I all but declare myself as the “Obama-boy”. I explain why I am passionate about this fellow’s political candidacy. I really, really want this guy to win.

Also, I’m smart enough to know that, if the above analysis resonates, his enemies could use it to harm the very candidacy that I promote.

What gives with me? Returning to the Enneagram, I am an Eight raised by a Five father. As an Eight, my attention is tuned toward spotting weaknesses in phenomena outside of myself. So watching the Iowa speech, I not only got swept up in it all, I also (subconsciously) watched for signs of weakness, error, and excessive aversion/attraction.

Being raised by a Five dad served to channel my weakness spotting energy into an academic sensibility. About any phenomenon that interests me (and a great many do), I ask questions like: Why did that happen? How does it work? What are the patterns? How does it relate to other phenomena?

As you can probably guess, I am terribly boring to most people in my own life, including my wife. So instead of boring all of these people, I instead bore you. But since few if any of you actually read my blog, my speaking may as well be a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear.

Which brings me back to my Eightness. Yeah, I’d like it better if “you” existed and we could have a dialog over these matters. But even if you don’t exist, I get pleasure merely from speaking, whether or not anyone is actually listening.

In other words, speaking my mind — no matter what sort of shit is floating around in that bowl — trumps promoting my own interests. I would not have done well in the Russia of Solzenitzen, nor in the China of today — where my only blog readers would have been the thought police.

I realize this is an odd existence. Perhaps even a bit damaged. Whatever the case, it’s a blissful existence in this blessed free country of ours.

Over the past few days, I got busy again with my Personality and the Brain work. On Thursday, I noticed that some self-appointed Wikipedia policeman had deleted links to any info on the Enneagram and brain research, including the link to my work. After two years of sitting on this project, that incident gave me the shot in the arm I needed. So I whipped up a quick paper that summarizes the book. Then I sent that paper to the key researchers cited in the book. In the paper, I identify two remaining research questions that are needed to confirm my hypothesis. It will be interesting to see if I get any response from them. Here are my latest updates on the book page:

12/15/07: The Wikipedia Police

After two years of a Wikipedia link to this page, a Wikipedia “policeman” has taken upon himself/herself to delete any mention of brain research on the Enneagram. For your entertainment, here is the discussion thread between this person and myself:

12/15/07: Eric Lombrozo’s Paper

If you find my paper and/or book at all interesting, you’ll definitely be interested in the paper Prefrontal Cortex Dissociation from Amygdala and Personality Types by Eric Lombrozo. Check it out.

12/13/07: Paper

After two years, I finally got around to writing up a short paper summarizing the main points of the book. Basically, I started with the abstract of the book, and fleshed that text out into a (hopefully) readable paper. Happy reading.

Well, after nearly six months, I’ve finally gotten the chance to clean out my backlog of podcasts. As you can see, the earliest goes back to January 12 of this year. Some of them concern my new startup. I’ll discuss those in a separate posting. But here are the other ones:

  • (118) Seth Roberts and the Shangri-La Diet: My Experience. My podcast = intellectual masturbation. Time to become a prof? Anyway, the diet sort of seems to work.
  • (119) Marriage and Enlightenment. For better or worse, we tend to marry a proxy for one of our parents. Gives us a chance to work out childhood aversions and obsessions and thus move toward enlightenment.
  • (120) Centrality of Feelings. I’m sort of retarded when it comes to feelings — my own and those of others. How do I overcome this? Focus awareness on my own, thus enabling me to accept others.
  • (121) Sports and Enlightenment. Sports as a path to enlightement? Evidenced in the Superbowl no less? Peyton Manning, for chrissakes? I assure you, nobody else who watched that game had these strange thoughts.

for the money has gone too far

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