Blog / Self-Splitting Psychology and the Power of Purpose
Self-Splitting Psychology and the Power of Purpose
January 31, 2024

Postmodern culture has replaced scientifically derived “reality” with a broader and more compelling quantum perspective in which meaning is found in the future (Johnson, 2001; Shawver, 1966). In this context, “future” is literally thought to be rendered from the matrix of the person, with the changing fluctuations of consciousness, interpretation, and experience.

In commenting on the global popularity of Harry Potter, Bloom (2001) suggests that the book reflects a postmodern hunger for unreality, a time when the foundations of “identity” are determined by an externalized fabrication of authentic experience. The concern here is not simply with biological drives and wishes stemming from childhood, but the hunger for what is false.

Freud (1911) knew nothing of Osama Bin Laden- 911, when he published his original study of self-splitting in the case of Dr. Schreber, a physician who suffered from unreality symptoms. This case was actually Freud’s first formulation of self-splitting, which revealed the importance of power in the parent-child relationship. For Freud, the postmodern phenomenon of globalization and the events of terrorism (a period in “non-history” characterized by self-splitting and the fragmenting of consciousness), and the libido of global power, had not yet appeared on the stage of civilization. While Freud (1964) emphasized the importance of “inner reality”, the transpersonal and archetypal links to language, metaphor, movement, sound, and other modalities of consciousness could not have been integrated into a complete meta-psychology (Gill, 1975; Gill, 1984).

Most of us would agree that the teleology of “purpose” necessitates “future”, but few of us would venture to guess how one goes about rendering reality. What could be the nature of future events that do not yet exist? Hawking (1988) provides a glimpse of some possible answers to an impossible question. He tells us that while the universe of quantum physics is becoming increasingly disordered, there are, at the same time, unexplainable (“impossible”) “pockets of order and coherence”. Like other postmoderns, he tells us that linear concepts of time (and therefore history) should be discarded. He also tells us something about the nature of the impossible in our cosmos as well as in ourselves.

Although their domain of expertise has been the cosmos, quantum physicists have had much to say about the human unconscious and the power and purpose of self (Wilber, 1984), and numerous popular works have appeared on the topic (Zukav, 1979; Capra, 1991). In this context, I have come to understand the term “quantum singularity” to refer to an unconscious inner power of purpose, which renders a creative reality, out of impossibility. In this regard, quantum events occur only because they are impossible! This postmodern principle suggests that reality comprises a world in which the “future” may literally be remembered, and the past may never have existed!

Postmoderns suffer from the self-splitting malaise of “false mirroring”-a form of unreality, which stems from individuals having been “incorrectly” or having “not been seen” as a child (Lieberman, 2000). These false realities (unrealities) are forms of self-splitting which consists of “false implants” and “false cognitive maps” caused by the effects of false mirroring. We become, now who and what we want to be but the false (and often poisoned) “version” of who someone wants us to be. While these constructs, formed by “traumatizing emotional quantum events” occur at any time in the human life cycle, they occur most readily throughout childhood, due to the emotional vulnerability of early childhood development. In fact, the capacity for creative thinking may be destroyed permanently, when sufficient fracturing enters the developmental scene prior to adolescence (Erickson, 1950; Lloyd & Rossi, 1992). The cumulative effects of these traumatizing events engender a libido for what is false.   

In the politics of globalization, power and purpose have become inversely equated with self-splitting and “hyper-vulnerability”, in the workplace (Gill, 1989; Gill, 1991; Gill 1992) as well as in communities, as even nations presume themselves to have no integral borders. What happens on an individual as well as collective level when power and purpose become equated with self-splitting and hyper-vulnerability? The result clinically, is a devastating, resistant, hybrid postmodern personality consisting of two seemingly contradictory aspects. The first personality aspect, (relational) can be characterized as a seeking of purpose inversely, in joining with the disavowed, unconscious, destructive aspects of “Other”, rather than the authenticity of “Other”. This consists of a false libido- a hunger for what is destructive and false. These “shared” disavowed aspects of self (called “excluded self-objects”), externalized in the form of false and destructive relationships, they originate from hatred, and from an inner “hunger” for what is transpersonally false (Lopez-Corvo, 1995). The second personality aspect (internal) characterized as, “object as virtual evil”, refers to the postmodern attachment to the “non-reality” of evil and destruction. Some authors suggest that postmoderns lack any capacity for discernment of evil or its transparency (Baudrillard, 1996)! Among other things, virtual evil refers to the global depiction of violence in a Kafka-like way, so as to dissociate the experience from its actual horror. Curiously popularized politically as “super-predation” (Bush, 1999), hyper-vulneralbility reflects a disavowal of the relational and internal power to render reality purposeful.    

Unreality, and the hunger for what is false, may operate at biological levels, in the quantum events thought to manufacture false molecular space and time in the body. Bion (1957; 1959; 1963; 1967), tells us that self-splitting events at the molecular level (caused by a traumatized nervous system), constitute “high speed particles”, or “beta elements” that cannot be metabolized or used as material for consciousness and creativity, but can only be acted-out or expelled from the unconscious system in ways that are counter to the power and purpose of the living organism (i.e., human destructiveness). These lifeless, self-splitting mechanisms are believed to manufacture false space and time, and the eventual destruction of the organism.    

At this point, one might view the entire question of purposeful human events as hopeless! And this might be true, were it not for the integrative place of creativity, intentionality, and authenticity, in the human condition (Gill, 2004). Creativity holds a prominent place
in the cosmos and in relation to power and purpose of self because it is antithetical to many of the causes and damaging results of self-splitting and false mirroring: (1) Creativity represents an “expansive” spatial form, inner movement, and the capacity for cognitive permutation, (2) Creativity re-centers and re-integrates consciousness, and (3) Creativity re-connects the human organism with a transcendent (spiritual) memory of origin- the power and purpose of future.

How then, does one render “purpose”? We consciously render purposeful moments, and observe their accomplishments, when we intentionally and authentically create them, the way an artist passionately renders a true painting or sculpture. At the risk of over-stating aesthetics, purposeful events are rendered as blossoms in the wind, every moment as breathlessly important as the next! Blossoms are those meaningful events “between” meaningful spaces.   

Often, the overwhelming presence of one or more traumatizing events of history (and their fragmenting effects) may seem to necessitate the impossibility of a future. Yet we each possess an inner “pocket of order”, a “quantum singularity”, from which we literally render quantum realities with the power of creativity, intentionality, and authenticity. We are at those moments, more than the result of the impossible situations that seek to deny a power of purpose.

This has much to do with spatial boundaries. When we are elevated emotionally and spiritually by someone, it is invariably based on these character attributes. It is what renders purposeful movement (evolution) in us by an “Other”. It is also how we move others purposefully. These purposeful quantum events may seldom be seen because they are seldom noticed. Few of us would have difficulty in recognizing inner power and purpose in Washington’s enduring the impossibility of a winter at Valley Forge, and the accomplishments of his “pocket of order”. Yet every day countless ordinary individuals reach into their spiritual depth to render a creative reality out of their personal impossibility.  

One who purposes dignity to the spatial boundary between one’s personal power and the personal power of “Other”, defines purpose of self, no less than a nation defines itself! It renders a quantum “pocket of order”, and the capacity for shared higher purposes. In this status, individuals or entire nations succeed or fail in rendering a purposeful future.

What is the role of “intention” or “will” in the psyche’s purposeful rendering of reality? The American psychologist, James (1899), defined will as attention and effort. He believed intention could over-ride objective reality! Other scholars have also noted the importance of intention in purposeful goals (Adler, 1929; Maslow, 1971), underscoring the importance of the preservation of will and its freedom. An intention, void of authenticity must be void of true purpose. Authenticity connects person to nature, with recognition of emotional integrity.   

If we do begin life with an elevated spirit, a “power of purpose”, what is it that “splits” such a poetic light of humanity and consciousness? And in the context of postmodernism, what is it that replaces this light of consciousness with a mimic of itself; a fabricated design, which will “recognize” only false realities within the self or Other granting a codified or contrived reality, as though they were true realities? The trickster here may be history itself, which binds us to a past and obscures the purpose of our future. Those limited to learn only from history, may be doomed to its repetition.      

The poet John Keats used the phrase “negative capability” to describe this inner “pocket of order”, as a space of paradox, requiring restraint of libido, attention, and access to
inner, dystonic points of consciousness. The psychologist Silberer (1955) used the phrase
“aperceptive insufficiency”, which has always suggested to me, an inner emotional precursor to creativity and the purpose to render our next moment. Here, the libido of self-preservation, refers to preservation of self in the context of culture.    

The term “neuroscience” has acquired increased postmodern usage, in a resurrection of biochemical determinism, as we are tempted to reassure ourselves that the workings of consciousness and purpose are after all, a limited three dimensional certainty. Yet our popular search for inner codes of consciousness and meaning suggests a deeper hunger for an understanding of purpose (Brown, 2003; Cox, 2004). However understood, postmodern culture will undoubtedly play a dominant role in the formulation of new paradigms concerning the creation and dissolution of consciousness, as culture determines personality, as well as theories about personality.   

In the global self-splitting of “culture”, one finds what has been previously implanted: (1) Over-emphasis on the biological and material sources of human behavior (Horney, 1937), (2) Pathogenic (unsafe) conditions of everyday living, (3) Thematic inconsistencies of peace and “national glory”, (4) Edification of competitiveness, (5) The presumption of kindness as weakness, and (6) Over-valuation of rationality. Global “culture” has replaced “human purpose” with unequal and non-mutual power.

The postmodern hunger for false mirroring, serves a false cultural purpose of concealing the destructiveness of national shadow (von Franz, 1975), while sustaining the alienating experience of aloneness (Kohut, 1971; Lacan, 1977).

Disavowal of purpose, and its postmodern hybrid (hyper-vulnerability), denies a transcendent, creative “Other”, while sustaining a false dialectic of cultural traumatizing and re-traumatizing, as in the form of terrorism and counter-terrorism, representing the tricksters’ false dharma- a collective attachment to the limits of history.

The postmodern “non-existent” inner space of purpose, which requires the personal rendering of future, against all possible odds, assures us that creative consciousness (as an aspect of all culture) may yet determine our personal and global future. It assumes a “quantum singularity” beyond the determinant events of history. The quantum energy of singularity, renders a purposeful future out of the temporal impossibility of our global and personal reality. 

Creativity and purpose require a non-mechanistic understanding and culture, and often disturbing tolerance for a subjective enterprise that may defy “self-evidence”. The temptation to confuse perseveration and intensity of feeling with true valuation and emotional clarity can be persistent. The emulsifying bond between “Object (representation) and “Subject” (consciousness), always turns out to involve more than casual discernment.

There are signs at the crossroads for the postmodern traveler. Whether in the status of “deficiency” or “peak” (Maslow, 1968; 1970), “quantum singularity” and its “pocket of order”, transcends (moment-to-moment), what appears to be an increasingly disordered universe. Creative “acts” (“e-vents”, as I have come to refer to them in quantum terms), form the true basis of the impossibility of human power and purpose. Quantum sparks offer a glimpse of identity and purpose as it may have originally been factored into the cosmos, requiring subjective synthesis in the character of person.


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