Knowledge is a tree, not a conclusion, and it has been a tree for all of time. Sometime, however, it verboten in the Bible with a didactic “tale” apparently by oligarchs telling the average religious person to view the tree of knowledge and its information as verboten. This is the beginning of the limits and control of information necessary for oligarchic dominance, as opposed to capital-type control which is more commodity-based --though information is now a commodity as “intellectual property.” (With “intellectual” being a strong word for the slurry capital pumps into the population.)

The most important extension of this type of information control currently exists as academia with its early revival of control as the dialectic and didactic by academy founders Socrates and Plato in ancient Athens, and recently by Hegel to fit current capital. Important is that these instructors specifically used sexual abuse to control, which survived to our time as, for instance, the Aboriginal residence schools openly, and covertly elsewhere.

Causality is a rational reduction of the complexity of life saying that “if something happens in relation to something else, that something else caused the first thing.” As a rational reduction, it is a “dumbing-down” of all the highly sophisticade life-system that affect us. Knowledge is naturally structured both in society and in our minds in tree structures, also called “complex data structures” Personally, I have never been “causal” (I believe) because I have been influenced by aboriginal knowledge organization, and also abstract art and music early on as a child with access to all of New York’s museums and libraries (access has since been restricted to children.)

If I something is unavoidably causal, I say “simple math” --this causes that, w/o making a bid deal about it.

Empiricism is the scientific method (and system) built from causality and is considered the only (measurement) science, even by scientist who should know better. It suffers from being highly-fractured, as it is built from independent causal conclusions that also tend to be ego-vehicles from empiricist scientists. Another widely-misused term is “objective” as a synomym for “cruel” such that normal human thinking, such as the recollection of experiences, is excluded from empiricist conclusions; only empiricist numbers are used, often as an output of highly-purposed statistical systems. Dependance on statistics is such that statistics now often produce hypothesis and theory, that is validated by the same statistical systems. Information from other sources such as experience and observation, no matter how detailed, cannot test well against conclusive information produced specifically to test well by statistical systems. This statistical reality is most true for current control of the mind (both human and animal) in cognitive-behavioral strategies of CBT. Interestingly, in CBT, the dialectic method as the socratic method is also key for (as they say) “thought control.”

Objectivism, such as Ayn Rand’s and (current-capital’s) Adam Smith’s objectivism simply “objectify’s” people to make then inanimate numbers rather than feeling people to allow for capital exploitation. As it happens, capital-supporting empiricism, as info-oligarchic, also leverages this, and fills its capital-supportive role by defining and maintaining it as its own from of exploitation, originally sexual abuse.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Heroin addiction explained in terms of neuro-adaptation (or plasticity)

In the widest sense, neuro-adaptation actually describes the plasticity of the entire neurological system that gives humans (and higher organisms) flexibility.  Permit me to focus on the underlying mechanisms of opioid agonist (heroin or morphine) tolerance and withdrawal as examples using Christie (2008).

In tolerance, adaptive mechanisms start at the target receptor for opioid agonists, MOPr; work within the cells to maintain homeostatic balance (K+ channels and voltage-gated Ca channels); and work at the synapses that connect neurons, upwards to the level of neural networks.  Long-term tolerance can adapt to ten- or hundred-fold increases in effective dose through these processes as the receptors shut down to compensate for the increased agonists.  Sudden cessation -- producing withdrawal syndrome -- impacts the same places in reverse, requiring re-adaptation to readjust to presumably normal levels.

Changes in the homeostatic mechanisms (K+ and Ca+) within cells affect the synapses of the motivational systems, including the reward systems that Jennie mentions.  Initial adaptation (tolerance) can happen quickly (in two phases:  immediate at the cellular level, and gradual throughout the whole system), whereas re-adaptation (withdrawal in these two phases) can take months.  Initial withdrawal peaks as the receptors have no agonists attached to them, causing homeostatic imbalances that users want to restore by filling the receptor with opioid agonists, in other words, a "fix."

Networks adapt in similar (homeostatic) ways but without the influence of opioid agonists, which contributes to long-term addiction issues.  It might be--this is purely speculation on my part--that the stimulus of the opioid agonist sets off a neuroplasticity chain-effect throughout the system, but that the opposite neuroplastic process towards normal restoration has no stimulant, and hence takes longer.


Christie, M. J. (2008). Cellular neuroadaptations to chronic opioids: tolerance, withdrawal and addiction. British Journal of Pharmocology 154(2).  Retreived Febuary 25, 2011 from

Emic and Etic approaches to assessment

Two words that I have found that describe how assessment tests are applied in the cultural context are etic and emic.  These describe looking at culture as an insider, which is emic, or as an outsider, which is etic (Lett, 2008).  Emic testing would then be deliberately based on a culture, and assessment would presumably have to do with issues pertaining to that culture.  Etic testing would then attempt to apply testing, presumably developed in and normed for one culture, to another culture.  To do so fairly, the testing results would have to be normed, but it may be better to attempt to redesign the test so that it equally applies to all cultures.  Many believe that no widely applicable and fully fair etic tests actually exist.

An example of an etic test being applied outside of the culture in which it was created would be the crystallized memory portion of an intelligence test, as it relies on vocabulary (Neukrug, 2010).  Someone from another culture might not have the same vocabulary usage as used to create the test, even if they speak the same language but with regional differences (Dana, 2000).  Also, parental educational support which might be linked to parent education and financial resource availability, might influence vocabulary testing outcomes.  However, along with new testing paradigms for neurological problems, such as ADHD, has come a variety of tests specifically for working memory, which is closely related to executive function, and hence some of the factors of  intelligence.  It is said that working memory tests are actually impervious to cultural biases, such as language, and environmental biases, such as family finances (Alloway, 2009; Alloway & Alloway, 2010).  It may be that the future etic testing is really at the neurological level so that potentials and problems can be assessed, rather than early successes.  Emic testing would then be applied within cultural or regional contexts so as to resolve problems in their own right.


Alloway, T. P. (2009). Working memory, but not IQ, predicts subsequent learning in children with learning difficulties. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25. Retrieved from

Alloway, T. P., & Alloway, R. (2010). Working memory: Is it the new IQ? Nature Precedings

Dana, R. H. (2000). Handbook of cross-cultural and multicultural personality assessment. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lett, J. (2008). Emic/etic distinctions. Retreived from

Neukrug, E. (2010). Essentials of testing and assessment: A practical guide for counselors, social workers, and psychologists. Australia Belmont, CA: Thomson/Brooks/Cole.

More etic and enic assessment issues

I am beginning to think that assessment issues don't get the scrutiny that they deserve from ethical and ethnic perspectives, and from my learning about genetic research that is supported by imaging (fMRI, for instance) we are on the verge of many new psychological concepts--assessment will have to catch up.

The irony is this; you will see in the research methods class evidence that assessment is the opposite side of the research coin.  In the Handbook of Multicultural Counseling,  Ponterotto, Suzuki, Casas, and Alexander (2009) seem to reach the core of assessment ethics (in an ethnic context) with language that requires several readings to fully comprehend.  By showing that assessment is a research method that actually studies assessment itself from a moral perspective, they show that the ethical assessment process is not what we believe subjectively to be moral, but what is shown to be moral by research itself (p. 148).  This connects ethics and morals in an objective way that seems to assure us that morals are a real thing, and, as such will ultimately show up as in imaging.  From this visual evidence will come assessment instruments, and I suspect that these instruments will look much different than the instruments we have been using for decades. 

What is interesting is that is that they feel compelled to give this view in the context of ethnicity, and it is certainly the experience of Margaret-Lynn, existing assessment is inadequate for stressed multicultural environments.  They suggest that there is an etic (Lett, 2008) future for assessment (based on the scientific study of morality), and, as such, my conclusion is that present-day assessment that is etic, has to be applied in a emic way at the discretion the counsellors.  In other words, assessments have to be used as tools, just like any other tool, to solve issues rather than reach high-minded conclusions.  To make matters more complicated for multicultural assessment, emic strategies may have to be developed that may not be directly culturally linked based on previous research, but have to be based on current experiences with the types of newly fused cultures that immigrants, especially youth, create themselves as part of normal human experience.  From my perspective, we are waiting for Science for better etic assessment in ethic environments, and have to make the best of what we have by creating our own emic applications and strategies from existing etic assessment instruments.


Lett, J. (2008). Emic/etic distinctions. Retreived from

Ponterotto, J. G., Suzuki, L. A., Casas, J. M., & Alexander, C. M. (2010). Handbook of multicultural counseling. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications.

Metacognition and the current dialectic: A "FaceBook" interview


The following is a conversation that takes a question and answer approach to metacognition, the dialectic in the context of research done by the occupy critical inquiry group on FaceBook.  She happens to have a high-ranking executive position in a very large (and often hated) consumer goods corporation. The conversation was initiated by research of the Occupy movement that revealed the dialectical method as the core process of both societal change (or revolution) and societal homeostasis (oligarchy).  Metacognition is the dialectic of the future, but there are subtle and important differences between them.

Small talk
John Bessa:
Thanks for "liking" occupy critical inquiry -- based on what I learned (and learned for my psych masters) I have extended the dialectic to metacognition, which is basically the same but different in subtle ways. Dialectic is 2-3 K yrs old, and metacognition is future "thought control" (seriously).

Hi John thanks for the invite to merge our worlds. 1 thing you should know about me is I'm a very simple thinker. By this I don't mean that I'm shallow but because I am aware of how the power of persuasion can alter my ability to perceive, I constantly challenge myself (and others) to understand our assumptions.

The Meat: Metacognition and the current dialectic

It is a pretty simple concept: the dialectic is the "method" of civilization which is the "process" of controlling society for the benefit of the wealthy (Socrates and Plato 500 BC), and ultimately communism (control w/o the wealthy, 1850-1990). Fortunately communism failed, but it will be back in another format, and that method will be metacognition, and the name will be the (soon-to-be-late Aaron Beck).

Are you familiar with this guy: Edgar Schein?

He scares the shit out of me.

John Bessa:
I think he did pop on the radar once for school in terms of group organization -- question is, is he dialectic? if so, in the trash. Is he anti-dialectic, if so he is an ally. I suspect that as an academic he follows the synthetic path and not the understanding of nature (the physic)

Can you explain that - synthetic versus nature? Ive never heard the term synthetic path so I want to make sure I understand it.

John Bessa:
Path away from nature towards chemical substitutes, gives you cancer, destroys the whales.  In economics, inflation outpaces growth making growth actually economic decline.  The basis is the Hegelian dialectic:

  1. a thesis (a good idea, or abstraction)
  2. antithesis (good idea is attacked)
  3. synthesis (outcome that reverses good idea)

So synthesis is really not a path but a method or process that is like a chemical process.

Designed to destroy and destruct the natural?

John Bessa:
Synthesis processes nature for resources w/o concern for consequences -- including people, and I am specifically thinking about aboriginals who live in nature, or in balance with it.  Synthesis reveals itself as native extermination, the extermination process belongs to people with a specific genetic signalling errors, like Hitler and Stalin (Hegelian followers).

Yes, this describes Schein who believes management should use coercive persuasion to keep workers aligned with the goals of the Org.  Schein was given free reign in the 70's to do psych experiments on prisoners.

John Bessa:
This makes Schein dialectic (cognitive) and didactic (behavioral); he probably got them to do what he wanted in exchange for cigarettes, then they went back to whatever they were doing before the study.  I call that the negative behavioral feedback loop as, in this case, the prisoners create a metacognition to make the dialectic-didactic researcher think he/she is in control.  The researcher then creates a metacognition from the feed back loop to help with the synthesis that is the civilization process.


John Bessa:
So I assume you don't like that guy.

No. Not in the least.

John Bessa:
That is good. I have been working exclusively with empathy (as emotional communication) until occupy came along -- in a few months I had a name for the flip side to empathy, the dialectic, and saw it in revolution, which explains why we get nowhere each time.

My cognitive behavioral therapy class (masters in psych) keyed me into metacognition as the new dialectic (I learned about the dialectic from the Occupy movement), and I have been finding subtle but important differences between metacognition and the dialectic. I believe metacognition will be the future battleground, but typically dialectics (now cognitivists) keep things hidden from the people, which is typical of academia.  Academia tends to change meanings of words (often to opposites) to complicate issues, and is also able to charge amazing tuition for the material that they hold in monopolistic ways.

At 1st I loved Schein because he is the only to understand that a separate culture exists for the Operations level in Manufacturing {my employment}, then I realized his goal is to exterminate my free will.

John Bessa:
Metacognition is already "naturally" in place as maladaptions to life's stresses, such as the use of "sliver linings" to make one feel better or rationalize past mistakes -- little white lies we tell ourselves, really minor cases.  Television, and similar media, is the major case -- total synthesis, pure didactic and dialectic, and increasingly purely metacognitive.  It seems your work environment is precisely Plato's republic:

  • executive class,
  • enforcement class, and
  • workers 

In Plato's republic, only workers have fully functioning ~natural~ minds, which explains mind control.  The two top parts of his (and our) pyramid is un-empathic and hence sadistic (psychotic, asperger-ed, and often schizophrenic).

The bottom portion, or workers, typically suffer from trauma, though many are dialectic themselves and attack meaningful change as "abstract" (from Hegel and Trotsky).

I am hypothesizing that Plato's Republic might have come to Greece from the Pharaoh's influence on the Israelites when they were Egyptian slaves; the concept then spread through the Middle East to Athens. Natural growth, as an extension of guiding evolution, tends to be democratic.  Aboriginal democracy is always find it circles, such as that tribal council circles that are ubiquitous for North American natives.

I am hypothesizing that three DNA signalling errors are governing synthesis (as it is counter-evolutionary):
 are probably the three DNA signalling errors:

  1. aspergers
  2. psychosis
  3. schizophrenia

The first two lead to trauma in others -- combine them and you have a sociopath.  Schizophrenia is harmless by itself, but creates intense problems when combined with the other two (eg. Caligula).

The forth category of illness results from aspergers and psychosis, which together create sociopathy or psychopathy (depending on the context).  I think that in PTSD, the neurons that act as sensory inhibitors, especially for fear, get fried from too much cycling.  Drugs such as cocaine and meth have the same effect as  fat (white matter that is an electrical insulator) melts off the neurons from too much heat making them slower and thus less effective for the brain's important (and ancient) modelling processes.

I am curious to know more: specifically how to recognize and resist.

John Bessa:
Resist what?

Mind fuck, believing the dialect.

John Bessa:
It is a metacognition, which is in the front part of the brain, reality, or consciousness is in the deep part of the brain -- the two are connected by pathways that include empathic neurons.

Ask yourself (as Carl Rogers might): "what does your true natural self believe?"  Get away for a few days and the cognitive "voices" (TV, work, family, sales people, bosses, dialectic sub-workers) will quiet down and your natural voice will emerge from within, as a sort of personal mythical self (from CG Jung).

However, when "resisting," keep in mind that the "revolution" is dialectic and that the low-end dialectics strictly attack the abstract (which is thesis or any new ideas) to create the antithesis (attacks against good ideas to create stupid ideas) to prevent evolution (with synthesis).  The process is pretty simple if you think about it and very common.  It is everywhere -- metacognition is more general than the dialectic (especially Hegelian) and can sometimes be quite different as it involves large chunks of information that have been injected as small pieces on a minute-by-minute basis by media, teachers, bosses, etc.

The fear that all this information causes by replacing naturally derived experiential information (from Carl Rogers) is able to repress the conscientiousness (ancient and inner part of the mind) to convert it into an unconscious that is as disturbed as the dialectics' are making us brain dead, and much like them.

The current strategy involves attacking the abstract as the Hegelian dialect (1800s) that was reinforced by Marx and Engels (to fight Utopian socialist worker ideals) and made "real" by Trotsky in the 20th century as Soviet communism.

This is was a big turning point for me because I always believed that Trotsky is held as the "good" and "true" communist, who was victimized by the traitor Stalin -- but not so.  He and Stalin were on the same page, there combat is consistent with dialectical behavior, as dialecticians tend to be egotistic.  If the dialectic is threatened, however, then dalecticians tend to bond to fight the threat, while conspiring against each other.  This behavior is also typical of capitalists (such as we read about in the New York Times business section) and provides evidence (along with Plato's republic) that capital is dialectic, because it is not specifically described as such by Adam Smith, for instance.  (Smith, however, influenced Hegel's economic views.)

Understanding Trotsky was the big leap for me, as suddenly, all that I had been told about the Left and revolution during my time on the streets (of the Lower East Side [LES] of Manhattan during the homeless crisis of the 80s) was lie, not just some of it: an ancient and well-organized metacognitive plan that even included Emma Goldman, the founding LES anarchist.
 The plan dates back to 2500 BC and, as dialectically designed, is able to keep adapting to attempts to put humanity back on an evolutionary path.  The final adaption is apparently  and independent metacognition strategy that will combine the mass-teaching strengths of the didactic (which can be subverted by the negative behavioral loops that the prisoners probably used to confound Shein's research).  So the upcoming metacognitive thought control strategies will be different,  and I hope to popularize these differences before they get into full swing which should be in upcoming decades: 2040-50.  Science fiction seems to accurately describe metacognitive societies, such as Orwell's 1984, yet we, as society, fail to make the connections perhaps because of the strength of  metacognitive efforts.

It is being predicted by various studies that by 2050 we, humanity, will be experiencing mass starvation resulting form over population, resource depletion, and atmospheric warming (Dalhousie University studies, and others).  Continuing the processes which are causing these problems will require metacognition, and the process itself goes back to the initial purpose synthesis, which is to which is to enable aristocrats and empires to process (other people's) resources for the purposes of becoming wealthy and further building empires.

I think Im getting close to being on the verge of "getting it"( is part of the dialect because its the antithesis to the original thesis which is essentially to keep the Rich rich so in effect has no affect because its still the same mind fuck game.?

Is Anarchy the antithesis to the Occupy thesis OR is it outside the boundaries of the "game"?

John Bessa:
That was my very thought when I first looked at revolution and antithesis; it would seem that antithesis, as the "Hegellian" a struggle that Trotsky describes, would be the attack of the "thesis" that is civilization.  In fact, it would make a lot of sense, and could show that revolutionary activity is beneficial.  But that is not what is happening at all.  First, anarchy is poorly defined; it can be socialistic and hence prone to communist take-over, or it can be individualistic, egotistic, and hence capitalistic.  Or it can be completely discordian, having no social effect at all.  It's anti-thetical nature seems to be so destructive as to prevent synthesis, but as it lacks a foundation of abstract (or thetical) structures, it fails to restore the natural evolutionary path that Kropotkin, for instance, apparently hoped it would when he reinforced Darwin's ideas with Mutual Aid.

As I live in the "sticks," I don't meet many occupiers face-to-face.  The last occupier that I talked to made no attempt to hide his dialectic, and made absolutely no attempt to comprehend the good advice I was giving him (to avoid the dialectic), so my present position is "fuck occupy" as it is  apparently purely dialectical.  This occupier openly supported Neitze and the "ubermensch," or "superman."

So how does one throw a monkey wrench into the metacognitive process to prevent thought control?  Are you familiar with Jacques Ellul?  A friend posted this on FB this morning. Let me know what you think...

John Bessa:
In the cognitive article you provide, the authors write that "rejecting information actually requires cognitive effort." In response to this, the way that I am writing about metacognition is that there is a "soft" mind inside the "hard," or real mind mind (which is the brain).  The soft mind is like a computer software emulation which makes other software think it is hardware.  So, in other words, the metacognition resides in the "current control" or "executive function" section of the brain (also called working memory) as a type of mind which is independent form the brain (and its consciousness) and thus does not access natural morality (from Darwin's evolution) but instead control directives, such as ethics, laws, and perhaps metacognitive or didactic "guilt routines" that are interjected from the outside.  These are often shared experiences that are not experiences at all, but metacognitions (that are synthetic by definition).

If I understand what your saying about metacognition, our cognitive process can be manipulated til the point we accept 'truths' about 'reality and we become zombie lab rats who will respond in expected ways.  If so is there a way now to fight fire with fire and use the cognitive response to resist allowing future control to occur?

John Bessa:
I think they ARE manipulated every single minute of every day so that we have a synthetic conception that suggests that the end result of synthesis, which is the cooking of the planet through global warming (in parallel with population explosion that is part of economic growth is simply an evolutionary effect of humanity.

The way to get away from the metacognitive process (the dialectic) is to get out to the woods, let the metacognitive voices quiet down (especially NPR or other "liberal" sources for us) and resume the natural (evolutionary) path allowing our senses (including common sense) to guide our intellect.

So when I tell dialectics that I am an "EVOlutionary," I imagine they should get really nervous, because evolution, by extending Darwin, should, through natural selection, remove the mental illnesses that cause dialectical behaviors from future generations (such as in Stalin, Hitler, and Mao had). The anti-Darwin social Darwinists saw this, as did the various churches, and have been thus working (sometimes together) to create a metacognitive form of evolution to replace the natural, empathic one validate synthesis and civilization.

As an aside, the "traditional" view of psychology-psychiatry comes to us from (one of the) Aristotle(s). This gives IQ as the primary intellectual function (because it can be measured empirically with an IQ test and only tests cognition and not consciousness and related creative functions), emotion as psychosis (rather than emotional intelligence) because emotion causes irrationality, and schizophrenia as creativity, because random disconnected signals from the brain (hallucinations) are the creative process.

In the dialectical view only, Uncontrolled emotion and hallucinations are the only liberating forces. I consider this a pretty neat control strategy.  I also see it as core to dialectical control as an easy way to say that normal rebelling people are crazy, and thus crazy people should be in control of rebellious change--dialectics.  This way, any threat to the oligarchy can be put in an insane asylum while being described as a contributing part of the process.  This is precisely how that Soviet Union reacted to serious dissent.

(Nonetheless, it is important to note that the genius of the dialectic is that it encourages its students (or other victims) to seek alternatives [that have been pre-described] that that students will reach conclusions on their own that are precisely what the teacher, or dialectician, wanted them to reach, but the students have been deceived into thinking they reached these conclusions on their own.  If they fail to reach the predetermined goal, then a search for more alternatives are encouraged (until the predetermined "alternative" is chosen.  This also describes metacognitive education, but in metacognitive education, the student will probably be failed as in didactic "behavioral" education.  Metacognitive education intends to leverage computers systems such as the "Moodle" education web system.")

The idea that schizophrenia and psychosis are the sole creative forces that are also forms of mental illness strongly suggests that psychiatry and psychology are dominated by mental illness that is neither of these two.  It suggests that psychology-psychiatry has been historically (and probably still is) dominated by the third DNS signaling error disease: aspergers.  Aspergers is defined as "no emotional interrelation." The cause of it is a disconnection from the control part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) from the consciousness parts of the brain because of missing connecting neurons, or simply dead consciousness.  (It is also considered to be the core of autism, or high-functioning autism; this is a concept I have fought partly because of the official metacognition of autism as I learned it in an autism institution.  I now accept it as I have seen autistic behaviors and physical markers in people who are unquestionably cruel.)

In society dominated by this type of person (aspergers), which would be civilized society (aspergers empire), then the only true escape from metacognition (the norm) is, in fact, schizophrenia because schizophrenia allows mental signalling in the form of hallucinations that cannot be controlled dialectically, meaning cognitively --or didactically, meaning behaviorally. (Hans Eysenck, the creativity and intelligence expert, still promotes this schizophrenia/creativity idea, has many younger followers.  He also helps preserves Aristotle's personality theories based on "colored biles.") So, in civilized dialectical society, only the crazy are free being either psychotic or schizophrenic. Missing, of course, is the normal human who is chafing under control that is often traumatic-- and, of course, media broadcasted and educational metacognitions.

What we have instead is the "normalized" human, which is an important statistical, empirical mathematical function which, in short, means moving the bell curve that statistically describes normality to fit eccentric data. Thus eccentricity becomes normality, and as it happens, Catholic education is specifically called "normal" but is anything but natural. And of course, "Mother Mary sightings" (or Elvis for that matter) are considered messages from Heaven.

As an aside, statistical normalization is usually applied with respect to ethnic diversity which means both native-ness (aboriginals) and immigration with the norm being capitalized, civilized (normal) society, which in the metacognitive model is itself eccentric as it is metacognitive.

Thanks for the questions, they really help clarify things! Hugs

No, thank you for letting me ask questions and for realizing that I am only asking them so that I can learn about metacognition and not because I'm trying to refute or minimalize it's existence. I appreciate that you are also open to me using the work of others to help me sort out in my mind that metacognition is 'like this' or ' not that'. etc.. Will you read this article I suggest 'The Obstacles of Communication Arising from Propaganda Habits'. It is located near the bottom of this webpage .. ..

Also I hope that you are not offended by or will discount the use of Christian Anarachy Theology because it is either decidely insignificant if you are an atheist or because it is decidely offensive due to a particular religious dogma you might have.
Btw..Jacques Ellul is my man of the hour but I am a knowledge whore and will cling to him only to the point that I find some other source of thought that attracts and intrigues more.
Is there a difference between native, indiginuos, and aboriginal? I notice youve used aboriginal a few times so I want to know what that word means to you.

John Bessa:
It's regional -- Native in the US means aboriginal in Canada -- Native Canadians are non-immigrants. Aboriginal simply means original, according to the best mind on the topic. Saying you are a White native in the US means you are nativist which is a branch of NYC racism that died out 100 yrs ago (but sticks, metacognition) and is the theme of the movie Gangs of NY. Its academic...
Historic trauma and aboriginal healing. Wesley-Esquimaux & Smolewski
It gets into transgenerational PTSD, but its core to me is the death of the tribes when the beaver business (London hats) caused the aboriginals to stop apologizing to the beaver for killing it (short version). Fantastic writing, I wish she, or they, would write more.
Aboriginals are universally defined as having an emotional relationship with the environment, meaning the animals are their friends and emissaries to the "creator" (in North America) which is really the entity that is the earth, sky, etc. Also, it is a United Nations charter right to "go native," so the World community does not necessarily count genetics as a factor. I write that we are all aboriginal inside as that is how we evolved.

Transgenerational PTSD...thats an intriguing new thought for me, though entirely plausable and I think evident amoung many social groups.
...the way our blame game world view is part of megacognition

John Bessa:
most definitely -- group/world version
most call that rationalization, which links to cognition but not sense, morality, or consciousness

...rationalization or metacognition isnt linked to sense, morality, & conciousness. My understanding of MC is that it most definately is which is the whole fucking point

John Bessa:
Nope, rationalization is the in prefrontal cortext, sense is throughout the whole body/mind, metacognition is in the prefrontal cortex and includes one part of the lymbic system -- the part that makes you complain and cuss

John Bessa:
yeah in CBT therapy you are supposed to control emotional impulses from the lybmic system with thought control in the prefrontal cortex lymbic makes you cry, laugh, etc -- emotional intelligence occurs in the main part of the brain as does empathy.

What is CBT?

John Bessa:
Cognitive behavioral therapy, which will become metacognitive therapy and bring metacognitive education through thought control -- TV is already there

Through advertising?

John Bessa:
Rational comes from latin ratio which is mathematical thinking, not very appetizing, but how it is done used to mimic reality like a play such as All in the Family or Taxi but now seeks to replace reality like CSI or documentaries, or reality TV tv is for advertising, or for the people swayed by advertisements -- nobody I know, so we are not a consideration

Oh God Help us...reality tv!  But children are swayed...they can recognize logos before they can read.

John Bessa:
Ah ha! metacognition.  "Re-cognize" is a minor thought process but becomes dominant cognizance is the only interrelation for the metacogntive
the mind is made into a small percentage of its true self including -- silver linings, etc -- comfort zones.

Two words you have used that Im not fitting in the picture yet; silver linings and empathy. What do mean in the 1st and how does the 2nd play in?

John Bessa:
well, in short, empathy is emotional communication, where sympathy is inside your head -- empathy can use the imagination to feel for others from other lands, such as starving Africans, sympathy is sort of "pooh pooh."  Finding a silver lining in every bad situation, or rationalizing that you were forced to do the wrong thing because the right thing would cause problems, or "painting a pretty picture" of a person or situation so as to get that person to meet the expectation, which they may, but cannot maintain as they are not what you want but abusive assholes all metacognitions that don't even rate as fantasies because they are not in the consciousness but in the executive function part of the brain (prefrontal cortex)

In the US right now, voter suppression is the hot topic and people will talk about it being unfair to certain demogrsphics but no-one will call it racist. As a matter of fact everyone seems to preface thier statements with..Im not saying its racist. WHY? Rationalization? MC? Something else?

John Bessa:
I am willing to bet a million dollars that the activism ITSELF iis a metacognition -- that a full disclosure of the racism and other bias is actually a pathway to furter bias of some other kind synthesized by the activists -- all that is political that is not natural, or aboriginal, is metacognitive, such that activists know that to create a new alternative (antithesis, and synthesis) they need to emulate abolitionism, animism,and animal rights: PeTA
aborignialism, not abolitionism (spell checker accident), but both work
when I was a kid I was ostracized and attacked by black kids for being a slave-owner

Did it make you resentful or did have empathy?

John Bessa:
What make me resentful?  Metacogntion is disease, pity if anything, but it has to stop as it is killing us the end date is projected at 2050

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stages of Change in addiction

A Stages of Change model describes human behavior changes in terms of five stages, and is usually applied to substance abuse recovery.  One model, the transtheoretical model, or TTM, is designed to help clinicians understand the different types of difficulties clients face during each of several distinct phases that are meant to show a client's acceptance of his problem, resolve to act in changing it, ability to stay free of the problem, and possible regression (Donovan & Diclemente, 2004).  The model's proponents stress that the model is as much for the clinician in that it is meant to help organize the therapeutic process partly to help the clinician identify--and empathize--with the client's distinct challenges at each of the stages (Donovan & Diclemente, 2004, p. ix).

In the first phase, precontemplation, the client is in denial of his problem, yet he has come to therapy; the clinician understands from the nature of this first phase that patience is necessary as the client may leave therapy if too much cognizance of the problem is expected.  In the second stage, contemplation, the client is only grasping the problem and that concrete change will happen in the next two stages.  In this context, the other steps in the model are somewhat self-explanatory: preparation, action, maintenance, and relapse.  Clients will cycle through stages, but always with a positive approach to change (Noar, Benac & Harris, 2007). 

Validating the model's effectiveness is not the same as comparing it to other treatments as it is not a treatment.  It can be used as an abstraction of the process to provide, for instance, demarcations for client progress (Callaghan, 2008), though a recent study suggested that the model needed further refinement as clients were having positive outcomes before reaching the action phase.  The model can also be used to "tailor" intervention strategies to meet clients' unique needs within each of the model's phases (Noar, 2007).  At least one study shows the effectiveness of this use of the model, and there has been commercial implementation.


Callaghan, R. C., Taylor, L., Moore, B. A., Jungerman, F. S., Vilela, F., & Budney, A. J. (2008). Recovery and URICA stage-of-change scores in three marijuana treatment studies. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 35(4), 419-426. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2008.03.004

Donovan, D., & Diclemente, C. (2004). Substance abuse treatment and the stages of change: Selecting and planning interventions. New York: The Guilford Press.

Noar, S. M., Benac, C. N., & Harris, M. S. (2007). Does tailoring matter? Meta-analytic review of railored print health behavior change interventions. Psychological Bulletin. 133(4).

What is the difference between state and trait?

Here, I attempt to use material about a state-trait anger test, the STAXI-2, to describe state and trait in real terms that we can apply (Borteyrou, et al. 2008).  I chose anger because it is often a component of personality disorder (Varghese, et al. 2010), especially Borderline PD.

Trait anger is measured as temperament and reaction (Varghese, et al. 2010).  State anger is measured as angry feelings, verbal expression, and physical expression--or violence.  Trait here can be described as a personality construct that consists of cognitive and motivational factors that describe how a client thinks and what he believes; his thinking (state) may be distorted because of problems in the underlying constructs (traits) (Owen, 2011).  As construct implies permanence, a therapist would want to find ways to alter or replace those permanent constructs (traits), that, in turn, would improve behaviors (state).  Reconstruction of traits to provide better states (behaviors) is a way to describe the cognitive strategy of CBT.

Pharmacology seeks to manage traits as vulnerabilities and states as symptoms (Bellino, 2008).  This implies that a defective trait needs to be fixed by making it less vulnerable with medicine. Topiramate is an anticonvulsant that can be used to manage anger in Borderline PD clients, and especially shows improvement for trait anger using the STAXI-2 (Varghese, et al. 2010), implying that it makes the clients less "vulnerable" to angry outbursts.


Bellino, S., Paradiso, E., & Bogetto, F. (2008). Efficacy and Tolerability of Pharmacotherapies for Borderline Personality Disorder. CNS Drugs, 22(8), 671-692. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Borteyrou, X., Bruchon-Schweitzer, M., & Spielberger, C. D. (2008).  The French adaptation of the STAXI-2, C.D. Spielberger's State-trait anger expression inventory. Encephale. 34(3) (pp 249-255).

Owen, J. M. (2011). Transdiagnostic cognitive processes in high trait anger. Clinical Psychology Review.31(2) (pp 193-202). 

Varghese, B. S., Rajeev, A., Norrish, M., & Bin Mohammed Al Khusaiby, S. (2010). Topiramate for anger control: A systematic review. Indian Journal of Pharmacology. 42(3) (pp. 135–141).

Personal experiences of ethnic learning in an urban environment

My life experience as a life-long New Yorker has been a continual ethno-cultural learning experience, and not always for edification, but for survival as I lived most of my life on New York City's Manhattan Island.  Cross-cultural interrelation is not an option there, success depends on it; and it is a pretty much limitless number of cultures that are encountered.  (Recently I remember seeing a Chinese-language movie with another Chinese language in the subtitles.) 

Manhattan has unquestionably been a multicultural success story at every socio-economic level with no significant cultural or racial friction in recent memory, the African-American civil rights struggle of the 60s-70s being the last significant event that could be termed a struggle.  (I cannot say this is necessarily true for the other boroughs, such as Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or the Bronx, or nearby Connecticut or New Jersey--I can only speak for my cohort.)  I think it is a very good question to ask why Manhattan has been uniquely culturally harmonious.  On the surface of it, I think that New York City's feminist (and other gender-related movements such as GLBT rights) have provided guiding influence.  I get this "feeling" from my psychological and counselling feminist reading (Collins & Arthur, 2007), where the writers have shown male-female inequities and disparities, but have faithfully gone on to look at underlying causes, which can then be applied generally to resolve all inequities.  The historical white-male dominance becomes obvious if you try to quickly name a few famous psychologists or psychiatrists.  Only Satir comes instantly to my mind who was not male; though Ruth Benedict who defined Synergy (in terms of First Nations) and mentored Abe Maslow is never far from my mind, she was a sociologist (Young, 2005).

For me personally, a strong influence has been cultural appreciation of culture, such as in art, music, and ways of life through museums.  Museums tend to work hardest at bringing culture to you, albeit as scenes behind glass, and the scientists who brought that culture are the anthropologists, ethnologists, and, to a degree, archeologists--whom I have admired along with other sociologists who have leveraged their material.

Since starting at Yorkville, ethnology has shown itself to be the most useful "other" discipline to apply to counselling in this context.  By definition, ethnologists are psychically nurtured by learning about other cultures.  Just as we are learning to self-monitor internal functions such as transference, ethnologists learn to self-monitor bias and integrate it into their research, and therefore their thinking (Clark, 2000).

I happened to click on an article about a murder of a hip-hop rapper in Toronto on the Sun's website, and looked at the forum discussion.  I found a good number of posts that were anti-ethnic in nature if not racist, and also a number of posts responding in critical but positive ways.  There is no question that therapists are concerned about this in society outside of the privacy of therapy; both Rogers and Beck committed much time to the topic, with Beck's Prisoners of Hate (2000) coming to mind.  Rogers left me with the impression that "we are mostly normal people reacting to abnormal situations," such as cultural and racial inequity (Evens, 2009; Rogers, 1978).  I get hints from the CPA's Code of Ethics (2000) and its supporting documents that we should be activists in influencing how government should enforce policy, for instance, by legally challenging unethical laws and rulings that erode the the rights of the clients and hence their communities.


Beck, A. (2000). Prisoners of hate: The cognitive basis of anger, hostility, and violence. New York, NY: Perennial.

Bemister, T. B., & Dobson, K. S. (2011). An updated account of the ethical and legal considerations of record keeping. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(4), 296-309. doi:10.1037/a0024052

Canadian Psychological Association. (2000). Canadian code of ethics for psychologists. (3rd Edition). Ottawa, ON: Author. Retrieved

Clark, J. (2000) Beyond Empathy: An Ethnographic Approach to Cross-Cultural Social Work Practice. Retrieved from

Collins, S., & Arthur, N. (2007). A Framework for enhancing multicultural counselling competence.

Evens, S. R. (2009). Carl Rogers 1902-1987. Retrieved from

Rave, E. J., & Larsen, C. C. (1995). Ethical decision making in therapy: Feminist perspectives. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Rogers, C. (1978). Carl Rogers on personal power. New York: Dell.

Young, V. (2005). Ruth Benedict: Beyond relativity, beyond pattern. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

We are all aboriginal inside

Question:hHow do we get counsellors to understand the importance of qualities that aboriginal culture provides?

For my undergrad, I used a lot of Canadian sources, especially First Nation.  As my mentor and only professor is a sociologist, this meant the social/information crossover, with more social and less tech--which was fine with me as tech can be a headache. (I put his picture with me at graduation on my personal page.)

Far and away some of my influential reading has been from Cynthia C. Wesley-Esquimaux and Magdalena Smolewski's  Historic trauma and aboriginal healing (2004). This was an amazingly advanced document when I read it in 2005, and remains so, but has since fallen in search engine ranking, which is unfortunate.

A recollection of this paper's influence is that some of the colonial "players" cited in it happen to have been "acting" in Europe in much the same ways they were acting in the New World. Just as I was reading it online, I happened to pull off a seemingly old text from the library shelf called the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (Robbins,1959/1988). I saw the picture it painted of the witch-burning experience as a theme in the Da Vinci Code (Brown, 2003) novel where the inquisition was described as oppressing the herb-gathering culture with accusations of witchcraft. What this suggested to me, is that there actually are surviving aboriginal constructs in "modern man" that manifest, say, as picking berries and hiking. Along with Brown's fiction I recalled Tolkien's works describing his tribe of Hobbits as long-hair small people with furry toes who love mushrooms. I find this interesting because it seems he presaged the hippie movement, which, as far as I can tell, was/is attempting to attach itself to First Nations culture. It is almost as if Tolkien preserved historical memories, and in so doing, helped spawn a White aboriginal reconstruction.

My point here is that, if you extend this paper "objectively" in an evolutionary direction, then aboriginal can mean a universally natural thinking process that we should all have deep down because we all have aboriginal ancestors. As a product of evolution, aboriginal thinking must be fully-functional, and hence healthy. Aboriginal maladaptive behaviors would then be at least partly the result of colonial Europe's exploitation (and perhaps Asia's too in recent years). This is the point of the paper, but it stresses that the maladaptions are completely the result of colonial exploitation, especially the fur trade, and won't go away anytime soon.

Then the clue from this (and similar) writing is not to access the immature "inner child" (which might be a psychodyamic or humanistic approach) but rather the well-evolved "inner aboriginal" (which is my approach). How would I do this? For me this is easy: go for a hike, snowshoeing, XC skiing, etc. If I ever experience doubt, however, I will not hesitate to ask an elder as some live nearby and many use FaceBook.


Brown, D. (2003). The Da Vinci code: A novel. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Robbins, R. (1959/1981). The encyclopedia of witchcraft and demonology. New York, NY: Bonanza Books.

Wesley-Esquimaux C. C., & Smolewski, M. (2004). Historic trauma and aboriginal healing. Ottawa, ON: Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Retrieved from