We have many ideas for posts queued up that we never seem to get to, we swear someday we will review Everything, Everywhere all at Once, we promise. This idea of emotions, what they really are and how they work, has been eating at us for days now, we felt compelled to write about it. So this is an exploration of emotion, as experienced by a Psychedelic Psychopath.
We tend to sadly identify with what is colloquially called a “Functional Psychopath”. Psychology has many terms for this and getting a formal diagnosis is meaningless to us so we never pursued it. Still we read an article like the wiki linked above and just check all the boxes. This doesn’t mean we’re a murderer, on the contrary, we are a dedicated pacifist, fighting back is antithetical to our existence.
When we watch a show or film with a portrayal of a true Psychopath, it just seems like a matter of degrees to us. We could easily do those things, we just choose not to. When emergencies happen at our work we watch others run around screaming in terror as we calmly sit and fix the problem. If we encounter others like us we shy away and hide, we know the danger that we can pose.
Fighting this tendency, trying to live a normal life despite the way our mind works is a constant struggle. We never know how to react correctly, how to react like a normal human. It has prevented us from allowing any other person to get to know us further than a few carefully practiced anecdotes. Only Aunty has ever really known us, possibly our parents although we quickly learned to hide from them.
Six Basic emotions
That history is all a backdrop to what we really want to write about today: Emotion. You know, Sadness, Happiness, Fear, Anger, Surprise and Disgust. These are the six basic emotions. We call these basic as even a newborn human, or small animal is capable of feeling them. Even insects feel most if not all of these.
When we say the word emotion you may think of more complex feelings like Confusion, Jealousy, Hate, or even Love, but in fact these are not basic emotions. They only arise in a conscious mind, this includes complex animals like cats and dogs — but not insects, or reptiles. Why bother with the nuance here? Well, psychopaths have two interesting characteristics: we can block the basic emotions to a certain degree, and we do not feel the complex ones at all.
We simply don’t experience the complex emotions, at least not in the way that normal people seem to. We can mirror them by combining the basic emotions in various forms. For example Jealousy is a fear that somebody else will rise above you socially, mixed with an imagined happiness of having whatever they have but we don’t. Hate is as most of the world has spent the last few centuries showing us a mistargeted combination of fear, anger and disgust. Our Love for Aunty is deeply rooted in a fear of losing her, and the happiness of the time we spend together.
This is a key part of what being on the spectrum of psychopathy means, it means you see the basic emotions behind the complex ones that the other person is trying to present. A scared person trying to act tough will radiate fear to us like a flare on a dark road. A person lying about being happy will have no hope of maintaining that lie in the prescience of a psychopath. It’s worse than this though.
Since we don’t really deal with the complex emotions as if they were basic emotions, it makes the world of complex emotion seem like a playground to us. We can mirror and address any complex emotion, or we can manipulate the basic emotions underneath it to any end we choose.
To the normal mind the complex emotion and the basic emotion have equal weight. This is the core imbalance that allows a psychopath to so easily manipulate those around them, it’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight.
Basic emotions are real in the sense that they have chemical/hormonal changes associated with them that effect the body in predictable ways. Complex emotions can have some of that, but never the full dose. Complex emotions are mediated through the conscious mind and ego, this dampens the resulting chemical effects. Over time we’ve learned to suppress our basic emotions to a certain degree, although fear and anger still overtake us far too often.
How does any of this relate back to psychedelics? Psychedelics have a tendency to weaken or even strip the ego, the logical mind that tries to control us using these basic emotions.
In a lot of ways your ego is a full-blown psychopath that lives inside of you and is constantly manipulating you to its own end using your basic emotions. It is no different than what we would be doing to you if you were a colleague of ours at work and not doing the things we wanted you to.
mkultra?! are we really going there…
Pushing that idea a little further, maybe this helps us understand why alphabet agencies, like our own CIA, are so fond of using chemicals like this for torture or interrogation. These are not “Truth Serums” in the fictional sense, they do not force you to tell the truth, but at high enough doses they will absolutely strip your ability to respect your own complex emotions.
If you are only lying to your captor because of something complex like Love or Loyalty of your country — well we have bad news for you. Those complex emotions will fall away, you will no longer feel any need to lie to your interrogator if your only basis for doing so was a complex emotion. Especially if they are squeezing your basic emotions.
To resist, you must meditate on the concept of lying and tie it to a basic emotion like fear. In fact fear is the most powerful one we have, rooting something in fear can make it impossible to take away from you. Fox News would be an excellent example of this concept deployed at scale.
When you aren’t busy being tortured by the CIA, psychedelics can help you to explore and understand your true feelings. By stripping away the complex ones, it helps anybody start to experience the world a little bit like we do. Only basic emotion, nothing complex.
They also purify and amplify these emotions, listen to a sad song and you will cry like a baby. Listen to something happy and it becomes a cosmic beacon of joy and light in your life. Let’s not talk about fear, nobody wants to do that on psychedelics.
This stripping of complex emotion is the source of why so many come out of a psychedelic experience with a new found clarity for their life. This makes us happy, this doesn’t, it is very simple in the end.
Our ego is constantly weaving complex emotional wool to pull over our eyes and hide that simplicity from us. Being able to pierce that veil once in a while can have a profound effect on ones future life choices.
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