A Letter

As I said in my post today, I didn’t enjoy church this morning, but the whole day wasn’t a loss. My books came by the mail and I got to flap through them. And yes I did get a CBT workbook. I looked at that one first and wasn’t really impressed. However, the Tarzan book is very nice. I skimmed four or five chapters in the middle of it, read the whole introduction, and glanced at the afterword. I was 12 years old when I first read Tarzan of the Apes, so it’s amazing to remember my experience upon reading it again now. Gore Vidal is right to say that Tarzan is a daydream of power and domination of your habitat and to refer to Alfred Adler, not so much Freud. I think it’s an individual’s answer to feelings of oppression by an over civilized society: this and over organized. At some point this morning I also thought of 1984 by George Orwell, about the dystopian future, though I’ve never read the book yet.

The other book doesn’t address cognitive therapy as much as it does behavioral therapy, but it cost only ten bucks and I might still use it somehow.

I think a lot of my feelings nowadays resemble the theories of Adler, who in turn is a bit like Nietzsche. I feel the need for empowerment, for control over my life. And when you have a disability like schizophrenia and its stigma, these feelings make good sense. The opposite of this, Christian abnegation, doesn’t have the same appeal and doesn’t really compute for me in my situation. I don’t know if you’re following my argument or not but I’ll keep writing about it.

I’ve got a couple of books of Adlerian psychology that I can examine. I doubt if a contemporary therapist could understand or help me with my puzzle. I’m trying to be my own therapist, as inadequate as I may prove to be.



Wee hours.

During the afternoon, something awakened me to the validity of other psychoanalytic theories than simply Freud, which I’d lived by ever since junior high school, namely Alfred Adler. He reminds us that we need security and confidence to carry out our lives, a skill to be proud of and do competently, etc. We need self esteem and a little bit of pride in ourselves. I’ve known some people who take this to the extreme of invalidating other people from their own feelings of inferiority, jealousy, or resentment. Perhaps even some therapists have done this to their clients. I feel I was shipwrecked by one such person four years ago, and the trauma still messes with me in the springtime. I never should have left my psychiatrist in the first place. Human relationships can be very delicate things. There’s always someone with a pellet gun to shoot down your balloon in order for themselves to rise. We say the good die young and nice guys finish last. But sometimes you have to protect yourself from predators. 


Quarter after one. Pastor called me before lunch and said I was missed on Sunday. But the real reason he called was because he needs help recording worship this Friday. So I’ll probably go ahead and do that… I watched myself reading the lesson in church again. Yes, my voice is meek sounding, rather mousy. But it’s not a bad thing, necessarily. I might as well get used to it. It’s easy to see why I chose bass for my instrument: compensation. And I like the story by E.B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan, very much. My voice has made me a pushover all my life, but I never realized what it was until recently. My family took terrible advantage of me because of it. Jeff was a bully, and Polly almost as bad. My dog didn’t take me seriously. Even professional people have picked on me for being timid and mousy. I guess the written word has been a way for me to assert myself without depending on my voice… The sun is out right now but the clouds are heavy. Yesterday’s mail came not until nighttime, so I don’t know what to expect today.

Quarter after five. I read The Lotus Eaters episode of Ulysses. It ends with Bloom going to the public baths. Next he’ll be going to the funeral for Paddy Dignam. There’s a lot of alcoholism in the book, but that’s not the reason Joyce wrote it. Then the mail came, bringing bones for Aesop but no book for me. He chewed on the first one until he was tired and thirsty, and chewed some more. Now he’s resting at my feet. Before I cut open the package, I found about three dozen black ants in and around the kitchen sink basin. I turned the water on them and sprinkled vinegar about the spot. They hate white wine vinegar. Now it’s time to eat my cottage cheese. Not much of a meal, but better than nothing. I will call Shasta tomorrow morning.

My Voice

Six thirty nine.

Aesop stayed in bed. He seems a little depressed. For my part, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. People jump to conclusions about me from hearing my tenor voice, which sounds kind of like Eric Woolfson on “Eye in the Sky.” Dominic assumed similar to Sheryl, and this time I asserted myself, to his embarrassment. I think my voice is my organ inferiority. Not even my dog took me seriously until I tethered him to a pillar once, making him feel helpless. A lot of people have taken advantage of me because of my voice, especially my siblings. One way I compensate for it is by playing the bass, and playing it aggressively. Another is to have built up an impressive vocabulary. According to Alfred Adler, we all have a weak spot, and spend our lives endeavoring to make up for it. James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, said in an interview that he’d been a stutterer. Maybe this theory doesn’t apply to everyone, but I can identify with it right now.

Bliss and Blundering

My thoughts devolve upon myself as a 19 year old. My head was full of philosophy that year. I remember the day I bought The Fountainhead at the Michigan State University Bookstore. My sister in law took me with her up on Campus and turned me loose for a few hours. One of my destinations was the natural history museum, where I saw a T rex skull and then an exhibit of the different eras and periods of the evolution of life. My other goal was of course the bookstore, which had a general section. I perused probably a lot of titles, but I narrowed it down to Being and Nothingness and The Fountainhead. I wasn’t very discerning at that age, so Ayn Rand won the day. Then I took my prize away to the student union and began reading it. At least Rand advocated for the cause of philosophy. In general, it fascinated me to consider the possibilities for original thought. I wanted to build my own philosophical system, an ethics centered on the idea of “security.” Even now, I’m not sure what I meant by the term. I think it referred simply to a condition of being ok. It had a lot to do with pride and self esteem, and the avoidance of guilt and shame. Years later I realized that my “security” philosophy was very close to the individual psychology of Alfred Adler. And my exposure to his ideas came from my parents. Mom always said that Dad had a “superiority complex” without knowing the origin of the term. I argued that Dad compensated for inferiority feelings by acting like a jerk. But my parents were sadly ignorant in matters of psychology. I grew up hearing them quarrel with each other after getting a snoot full of gin. So, when I reached the age of 19, my poor brain was trying to sort out the crap it had inherited. I have no clue where my parents picked up their meager inkling of psychology, but it was awfully sad in hindsight. What I had mistaken for original thought was really my mind’s endeavor to purge itself of a lot of abuse. For the record, anyone who believes ignorance is bliss is a moron.


Near seven o’clock. It’s good that I perceive how average I am in light of other people’s abilities. I’m just being realistic for a change. Alcohol used to make me feel superhuman, even godlike. I believed that at some skills I had no superior, and grudgingly admitted certain equals. I seriously deemed myself better than others, failing to acknowledge the glaring counter evidence. I’m getting more mature about ego, finally. My belief system in high school was pretty much Alfred Adler. It was a matter of superiority and strength over inferiority and weakness, the way my parents operated. This approach to the process of living appalls me now. I glance back at the drunk fights my folks got into over which one was smarter and worthier than the other and wince. Was it really important to be so much better than everyone else? Couldn’t they feed their self esteem in a constructive way rather than by shooting people down? My dad was a monster that way, a little Hitler. Mom couldn’t figure out a better way herself. Everything was a contest to both of them, and I took that with me to school. Like my parents, I pushed people around to establish my superiority for a number of years, maybe decades. It only succeeded in alienating my friends, and family outside of our nucleus. I don’t know if alcoholism was connected with the Adlerian behavior. I sort of doubt it because my sister’s family was likewise alcoholic but not small Hitler. I’m embarrassed and ashamed to share this information now, but it may serve as a moral teacher. If you want to have friends who love and appreciate, respect and honor you, then don’t do what my parents and I did. At the heart of such thinking and acting lives a demon of sheer treachery.