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Hell knots: RD Laing, politics, and the West

RD Laing was a Scottish psychiatrist who was best known for the way he applied “double-binds”, a concept developed by the cybernetician Gregory Bateson, to family situations and schizophrenia; for Laing, there is a “mystification” in metacommunication within schizophrenic families that causes the schizophrenic to throw up a false self to defend themselves from manipulation. Double-binds are not necessarily pathological, but they definitely can be; here is an example from Laing’s book Knots (1972):

“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.”

Pathological double-binds occur when an authority figure initiates a contradictory instruction, so that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t—usually the bind works because it excludes a third option; for example, a salesman might say to you, “Will that be cash or credit?” and so excludes the third option, “I don’t want to buy it”—it’s called “assuming the sale”, and can also be seen in pick-up lines, “Your place or mine?”.

In politics, it can also be seen in the left’s assertion—from a position of power in the media and education system—that “white people don’t exist but they bear a unique historic guilt for their actions in the past”. This is relevant because one way to resolve a double-bind is with violence, so that a third-party will be shocked at the victim’s outlash—and, indeed, it will be taken to confirm the double-bind “another example of white supremacist violence”.

Another strategy, basically the one seen in the West, is to retreat into a schizoid state, hence Europeans have created a protected “inner core” and communicate in a coded manner—as schizophrenics do—about “forces” that want to destroy them (the ideas put about by David Icke about a “reptilian elite” who rule the world should be taken in this sense—outsiders call them “mad” much as outsiders treat a schizophrenic who says “my mother gives me poisoned tea” as mad, since they have suffered no physical ill-effects from literal poison; and yet the “tea is poisoned”—whether the schizophrenic “really means” tea or reptiles can only be resolved at the metacommunication level).

“No exit”

The coded communication provides a means to express the subject’s helpless situation in an acceptable way, although to the outsider it seems “mad”; and it also protects their inner core from the constant forces of dissolution that seek to trap it in a double-bind, unable to be real with anyone—and yet the cost is that the person in a schizoid state has created a parallel “reptile” reality in which they function.

The reason the Western double-bind exists is because the mass media and education systems in the West are dominated by the Jews (their allies in Freemasonry). They are in a position of authority and yet it is forbidden to say they are in a position of authority because apparently if you say that there will be “genocidal” consequences. This is the double-bind: “I’m in charge, but you’re not allowed to say I’m in charge—in fact, I’m the powerless victim; if you say I’m in power, you’re an all-powerful persecutor”. This means that the West, particularly America, is fed contradictory communications from authority figures—as with a schizophrenic whose mother sends mixed messages. It also means that all Western political communication is schizoid and has to be decoded to make sense.

It is vaguely acceptable for Kanye West to state this fact, per his anti-Jewish outburst, because he is not a European; actually, West’s true double-bind position is to white Americans who say to him, “You’re just another American like me,” when he is not treated that way and never will be. West has projected his ambivalence towards the whites into the Jews—he should really return to his real position, “You call me an American, but I’m just a nigger to you” (factual statement—release from double-bind).

To return to Laing, he suffered depression throughout his life—partly because he was a typical drunk Glaswegian Scot—because he was dominated by his mother. He understood double-binds very well because his mother dominated his household and she dominated with double-binds. Hence his father was relegated to a small bedroom called “the dog kennel” and Laing slept in the same room as his mother until a late age.

His mother was schizoid; she would take long detours round town to avoid areas where people “had negative thoughts about her”, she secretly burned all their rubbish so the neighbours couldn’t go through it, and she later bought a little doll called “Ronald” (Laing’s first name) and stuck pins in its heart (Laing later died of a heart attack, this was straightforward magic—although the Laings didn’t believe in that).

To understand what his mother was like, consider this poem about her: “You don’t love me…Believe me! You don’t love anyone. How could you? And no one loves you. How could they? Except me, it’s only because I love you that I’m telling you all this. I love you etc…”. It just went on and on in this way.

Laing remained miserable throughout his life because he never “told the bitch to fuck off” and so he remained dominated, as many men are in the West today, by his mother—and his mother happened to be particularly psychologically manipulative; and so he felt detached from the world—always grey and blurry—because he never made contact with reality (except through drink and LSD). He could analyse the situation in an intellectual way but he couldn’t break through the “soft wall”.

“So…they put me on this ward for ‘observation’ as regards ‘that thing’ I did. But…you look awful, why are you here?” “Why am I here?…I’m your fucking psychiatrist.”

When Laing said, “What we call ‘normal’ is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being,” he was entirely correct. For the most part, people are asleep—this is what it means to be asleep. Laing did spend some time in a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka, but he didn’t stick with a spiritual path (his mother’s influence was too strong, he fell back into atheism).

However, the above paragraph refers, in a scientific way, to what it means to be “awake”—the “doctrine of awakening”. It’s to not push reality away with “repression, denial, splitting, projection, interjection, and other forms of destructive action on experience”—and that is, in fact, how most people live (asleep); and if you try to wake them up, the reaction can be explosive (or they just go silent, it’s a way to control the narrative).

At one point, Laing had a daughter who contracted a terminal form of cancer. Nobody wanted to tell her that she was going to die, except Laing. Although other family members thought he should “rot in hell” if he did it and his daughter’s boyfriend almost had a fight with him, Laing did it anyway “to give her her death back”. He didn’t say she would die, he just said that so far as they knew nobody had recovered from the illness she had.

The point is that most people do not even experience their own death; even their own death is taken from them—I myself was once misdiagnosed with terminal cancer and the doctor said to me, “It’s treatable,” even though, in the next cubicle, I could hear them say the same thing to another patient and then another thing to his wife (just like they told my relatives I would die). You don’t even get to be there when you die, you’re just “being treated”.

A doctor later said to Laing that he had only told two patients in his career that they would die: one was an old hospital porter who used to set bodies out in the morgue—he thought he would be used to death; the other was a Catholic priest—he assumed his faith would be so strong he would be able to deal with it. Both men “took it terribly”. What this exposes is that the “tough guy” indifference to death feigned by the porter was a sham—he just shut off and pretended the bodies were objects; and it also exposed that the priest was a sham, he had no faith at all—and they’re mostly like that, I think (forbidden to say—just like it’s forbidden to say they fuck choirboys).

The double-bind is inherently feminine; it’s what men mean when they say “women have no logic”—what they have is paradoxes, so they’re weak but strong (like the Jews); if you get angry with the double-bind and hit them (pogrom) you just confirm the logic—you’re the persecutor and I’m the victim (except you’ve victimised me in a way people can’t say, with Freudianism and Marxian ideology; you took my freedom away—you covered up reality and said there was no God).

I don’t like this quote, but James Joyce said that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” and this is one example—the double-bind causes a pogrom, like a schizo who claw-hammers someone in an underground car park to resolve the double-bind, and then the guilt from the pogrom is used to re-establish the next double-bind cycle.

Double-binds aren’t always negative; it’s only if there’s an authority figure who misuses them. Evolution is a double-bind, in both its Darwinian sense and its generic sense (to grow); and so, “If we don’t change in this adverse environment, we will die; if we change to survive in this adverse environment, we will no longer be the same; hence we must die to survive—and the only way to stay the same is to change.” The more we change the more we stay the same—that’s a lesson from Mother Nature, since it’s fundamentally feminine; but to break away from Mother Nature you have to awaken to reality.


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