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Mind  Loops

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Life is a round of Circles

A favourite occupation of the subconscious mind is to go round in circles or loops. Perhaps this is a reflection of the repetitive and stereotyped activities of daily life. Or perhaps it signifies that people prefer familiarity rather than whatever is new and strange.

Mental loops do have a purpose. Most people are not willing to learn from life. Hence the necessity of endlessly repeating subconscious responses until the person does learn.

These loops have not been identified in the past because normally the average degree of self-awareness that a person has developed is not  deep  enough to detect them.

Sub - Headings
Loop 1 - Jealousy
Loop 2 - Guilt
Loop 3 - Schizophrenia
Loop 4 - Kundalini

Assume that a person is feeling emotionally balanced. He then encounters anxiety in a social situation that he finds difficult to handle, and acts from primitive emotions and beliefs first generated in childhood. When the unpleasantness passes he resumes his balance. Why does he enact this pattern?  To go from the present to the emotional past, and then back to the present when the difficulty has been avoided, all this indicates that an emotional loop is likely to be operating.

I worked out four such loops, based on my empirical experience. No doubt there are more loops waiting to be discovered. The first loop is triggered by alienation. So I explain what this term means.

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A recurring feature of my adult life, and one which intensified during my self-analysis, was alienation or estrangement. Alienation results when a person cannot feel any rewarding satisfaction from his social involvements.

Alienation can produce isolation. The person's values have become different from the norm. However, since his values are more advanced than the norm, he is not willing to level downwards so as to gain social acceptance. Hence he is often an outsider (like the early beatniks).  [ This situation is not the same as when the person's values are lower than the norm – here he can be rejected because he is an outcast, and not because he is an outsider.]

He comes to view all personal contacts as links in an impersonal social system. ‘ The system’ is impersonal, and so his life becomes ‘impersonalised’. There is nothing that he can take responsibility for. His work is not valued by anyone. He feels that he has no choice over some major aspect of his life ; he feels that he has been compelled into something that he finds very unpleasant. For example, he may find that the only employment that is open to him is unfulfilling, does not utilise his abilities and is just degrading. He feels that there is no escape from his predicament. His quality of life is poor.

Alienation generates social guilt in the individual. What is social guilt?  This form of guilt operates in two ways, depending on how the person regards society and social relationships. When the person despises society, when he feels that society and social relationships offer him nothing more than a sense of degradation, then social guilt becomes alienation. If, however, the person accepts the necessity of social relationships and the value that they can have for him, then social guilt becomes shame.

The primary difference between alienation and shame depends on the ways that society and social relationships are viewed. Shame denotes a positive regard for society, whereas alienation denotes a negative regard. This difference in perspective affects the way that social guilt can influence the person. Shame can be attached to isolated events and then be buried in the subconscious mind. Alienation is an outlook on society and hence is usually a dominant and regular influence within consciousness.

A secondary difference is that alienation intensifies the effects of mental confusion. Alienation causes mental symptoms to become florid, as well as causing the compulsive pressure to phantasise and daydream. [¹]

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Loops derived from Depression

Each mental loop begins from a trigger or arousal condition. This is a dominant mental state – mood, attitude or belief – that is activated by the current situation that the person finds himself in. The mental state is always a devaluing feeling or view about oneself.

The first two loops focus on depression.  I consider the two types that arise either from jealousy or from guilt.  Loop 1 features jealousy-based depression, and loop 2 the guilt-based one. In the first loop the trigger that begins it is an external one (the person is aroused by something in the external situation or environment), whilst in the second loop the trigger is an internal one (arousal comes from within the person's mind).

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Loop 1.  Based on Jealousy

Alienation is the external trigger for this loop. Social guilt is generated in me by external circumstances. This loop operates by the concept of the transfer of blame.

The first step is the induction of guilt (mode of self-hate) in me by authority. [²]. Guilt in the form of self-hate creates internal violence in me ; this self-hate destroys my self-image. So I become depressed, switching to jealousy. Now I see myself as a victim of the system, irrespective of whether it is managed by conservatism, capitalism, communism, etc.

I switch out of this mood into narcissism by the production of mania. Mania enables me to transfer blame to society and makes me willing to help victims. Eventually I feel that I am the target for ridicule. Narcissism dissolves and I switch to pride (mode of hate).  I may feel violent towards people who ridicule me. Now I criticise myself for my weakness in letting people upset me ; this prepares the way for me to change back to guilt as I blame myself for this predicament.

The loop ceases. I await the next input of alienation.

There are four steps to the transfer of blame.
Initially, alienation induces guilt in me.
1). The transfer of blame to the system signifies that I am a victim.
2). The transfer of blame to society signifies that I can help victims.
3). The transfer of blame to individual people results from my sensitivity to their hostility, whether real or imagined.
4). The transfer of blame to myself sensitises me to the next feeling of alienation.

I represent these ideas in diagram 1, with alienation being the external trigger which generates the loop.
The arrow symbol  "leads to"  means  " leads to " ;
for example, " guilt  leads to jealousy "  means that guilt leads to jealousy, or that after guilt fades away then jealousy is the next emotion to arise.

Diagram 1
Loop of Manic Depression

loop of manic depression

There are two possibilities here.
The first one is that this loop is an optional variation from a straightforward oscillation between jealousy- based depression and mania (though this oscillation stills starts from alienation and guilt, in order to initiate the depression, but the stage of pride is missed out).

this loop is the true cycle of Manic Depression  (or Bipolar Disorder).

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Loop 2.  Based on Guilt

This loop centres on the depression that arises from guilt (mode of self-pity). This type of depression often generates intense anger in me. I want to break chains : the chains of materialism, the chains of outdated social morality, the chains of any form of external control. This loop operates by the concept of the restriction or loss of freedom (or even, sometimes, by the loss of honour).

The internal trigger to the commencement of the loop is the feeling of being trapped. I am trapped every way I turn. My fatalism distresses me. At a deep level of awareness this feeling of being trapped generates fear. But at a more everyday level of awareness it generates guilt, which soon intensifies into depression. [³]

I then switch to anger and feel destructive ; in short, anger is my escape route from depression. I later change to pride (mode of vanity) so as to justify myself. Eventually I accept defeat, and return to guilt.

Diagram 2 shows the loop in operation ; the feeling of being trapped is the internal trigger.

Diagram 2
Loop of Loss of Freedom

loop of loss of freedom

Loops 1 and 2 are binary, or complementary, to each other. Alienation is the restriction to freedom caused by external factors (such as the overall low level of ethical development of society) ; feeling trapped is the restriction to freedom caused by internal factors (such as social conditioning).

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Loops derived from Trauma

The other two loops centre on infancy trauma. Infancy trauma is my name for psychological trauma that occurs in the first years of childhood. This distress occurs when the stresses and negative states of mind of the parents’ own lives are transmitted to the fledgling ego of the infant. [4]

The two loops feature schizophrenia and kundalini psychosis. To make the loops work in a symmetrical fashion I factorise the initial responses to infancy trauma into two binary components, those of compliance and rebellion. Here the triggers are the hatreds generated by social relationships, with one trigger being external and the other one being internal.

Trauma intensifies fear, and one way to neutralise this fear is to generate excitement. Schizophrenia is a reaction of fear towards sexual problems, whilst kundalini psychosis is a reaction of excitement towards the same sexual problems. So these two loops have two groups of binary components involved in the sequences : compliance- rebellion and fear- excitement.

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Loop 3.  Based on Schizophrenia

In the schizophrenia loop, hatred from others (especially authority figures) is the external trigger that induces compliance in me. Then I switch to guilt (in self-hate mode).

Next I escape from my self-hate by changing to jealousy in love mode. However, this is no solution. I have fled from self-hate only to become immersed in sexual problems. Now fear begins to arise and I have to reject jealousy. Whence the problems produced by the inability to handle jealous love switch me to narcissistic love and activate my schizophrenic mentality. My narcissistic love is not strong enough to withstand the impact of reality. So eventually I sink back into compliance.

Diagram 3 shows the loop in operation, with the hatred that comes from other people being the external trigger. Here the central difficulties are compliance and jealous love.

Diagram 3
Loop of Schizophrenia

loop of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is an issue derived from a weak individual identity.
Both the sensual love modes of narcissism and jealousy produce the problems of absorption or identification. Jealous love focuses on the identification with another person. The schizophrenic individual is trying to reject this love mode since he will lose his personal boundaries. [5]

The person can interrupt the production of this loop in its fullness by stopping at guilt. He then becomes the type of person who is dependent on authority. He obeys orders without question, in exchange for emotional support from the authority figures. If eventually this psychological anchor is removed then he may sink into schizophrenia.

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Loop 4.  Based on Kundalini

In the kundalini loop, my failure to be social generates self-hatred. Self-hatred is the internal trigger which initiates rebellion ; I rebel against anything (such as the need for social relationships) that induces self-hatred in me. This rebellion switches me to pride and hatred of other people.

Then narcissism in love mode follows. I generate phantasies of what my relationships should be like ; these phantasies are very exciting, but they remain just subjective phantasies. Some of the phantasies turn into sexual ones. Soon the sexual excitement switches me into the love mode of jealousy. The excitement continues to make me obsessed with sexual phantasies. Now I may enact them, if possible, in the privacy of my solitude. I may begin to cross-dress. I am living out subconscious compulsions and blurring the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity. As the excitement finally fades I end up back at rebellion.

In kundalini psychosis the phantasies become intense enough that the distinction between reality and phantasy becomes very blurred and may even disappear. The madness becomes the ultimate act of rebellion – the absorption of the external world into a sexual dream !

Diagram 4 shows the loop in operation, with the self-hatred being the internal trigger. Here the central difficulties are rebellion and narcissistic love. In this loop, narcissistic love is used to stretch my boundaries to infinity : everyone becomes identified with me.

Diagram 4
Loop of Kundalini

loop of kundalini

Kundalini disorder is an issue derived from a weak social identity.
The person is trying to reject the love mode of narcissism since he will lose his social boundaries.

The person can interrupt the complete production of this loop too by stopping at pride. He then becomes the type of person who is a rebel (but not a revolutionary – to be a revolutionary requires a dynamic of envy as well, since envy provides the theme of destructiveness). If this psychological anchor is removed then he may gravitate to an obsession with sexual phantasies that are defiant to contemporary norms. For example : de Sade.

During the period that I experienced kundalini psychosis, I began cross-dressing when transvestitism, a rare aspect of my childhood sexual identity, was re-awakened in me. [6]. So the psychosis brought a fringe aspect of my sexual identity into prominence. This result is a product of the excitement. Anything about sexuality that interests the person in any way, especially that which is considered to be immoral or amoral, is likely to incorporated into the phantasies. The psychosis denotes that the repression of forbidden sexual interests has ceased.


The number in brackets at the end of each reference takes you back to the paragraph that featured it. See Links page for the addresses of my websites.

[¹]. There is a longer article on Alienation on my websites  The Strange World of Emotion and  Discover Your Mind. [1]

[²]. A summary of the factors of some important emotions is :
Guilt = self-pity + self-hate.
Pride = vanity + hatred of other people.
Narcissism = love + vanity.
Jealousy = love + self-pity.
Anxiety = fear + vanity.

My definitions, descriptions, and analysis of emotions are given in the three articles on Emotion. See Basic Ideas page. [2]

[³]. The feeling of being trapped is described in the article Sensitivity and the effects of Fear, on my website  Discover Your Mind. [3]

[4]. An article on Bonding focuses on some problems of a sensitive child and explains an unintentional source of infancy trauma. This is on my websites  The Strange World of Emotion, or  The Subconscious Mind, or  Discover Your Mind.

In more detail, infancy trauma is explained in two articles. The first article, Vulnerability of the Ego, focuses on the origins of violence. And the second one,  Guilt & Meaning - part 2, centres on why trauma can occur unintentionally. [4]

[5]. The idea of having two identities – social identity and individual identity – is introduced in the article, Confusion and Identity.  A more detailed analysis is given in the article Two Identities, on my website The Subconscious Mind.

Identification is described in the article  Identification & Absorption, on my websites  The Subconscious Mind and  Discover Your Mind. [5]

[6]. Cross-dressing, or transvestitism, is described in the article TV/TS, on my website  The Strange World of Emotion[6]

Home List of  Articles Links Top of Page

The articles in this section are :

Guilt and Meaning - part 1,  Catatonia and Faith

Guilt and Meaning - part 2,  Trauma and slow-onset Catatonia

Narcissism and Schizophrenia

Narcissism - Mania and Manic Depression

Jealousy and Kundalini Psychosis

Pride and Paranoia

Depression and Autism,  and other States of Despair

Mind Loops

Copyright @2003  Ian Heath
All Rights Reserved

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Ian Heath
London, UK

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