‘I, Psychopath’

‘I, Psychopath’

I’m just watching a fascinating documentary and wanted to share it with you.

‘I, Psychopath’ is about a man who admits that he’s psychopathic (and narcissistic) and gladly presents himself for this documentary. The documentary maker, together with us, is about to find out just how difficult and gut wrenching it is to be dealing with someone with this deeply pathological afflication. Tables get turned and yes the psychopath stays true to his nature.

Classic psychopaths could be characterised as having been born without a conscience, lacking basic care about other people’s well-being and often consciously and intelligently manipulating others for their own interest without hints of remorse, sense of ethics of morals.

In this amazing Australian documentary we travel to Skopje to meet Sam Vaknin and his wife. He undergoes psychological testing and we get to see his disturbing persona in action. We follow the crew around Europe visiting various psychologists and we learn about both Vaknin’s sadistic cold blooded nature, his inability to regulate his emotions (which becomes apparent when he gets a brain feedback exercise through functional tomography) and also how his wife’s psychological profile fits that of a professional victim, though not nearly as much as the researchers expect it to.

Psychopaths can be viewed as social predators. They are often not physically violent and their methods vary, tending to the complex psychological. They often deceive, emotionally manipulate and end up using and abusing others. They can be charming, charismatic and psychologically deadly. Vaknin illustrates this in disturbingly rich detail even when he’s manipulating his own filming (or especially when!). As many of you probably already know, there is evidence that many psychopaths find a cozy existence inside corporations that favour the bold, narcissistic and ruthless. 1 in every 100 people are psychopathic and when they are born to middle-class families instead of becoming bank robbers, they often end up becoming the CEO of banks!

This doco is both disturbing and fascinating and I have a deep recognition of Vaknin’s traits as I have grown up with a sociopathic psychopath myself. For those of us with intimate knowledge of psychopaths this is a partially reassuring if disturbing film, for the rest of you I hope it’s riveting though without the personal resonance. You may recognise and understand a psychopath better after this film, however, you may not be better equipped in dealing with him/her. As one of the psychologists says: everyone can be a victim, it just means that you are a normal human being.

So there’s little final consolation, but plenty of rich insights ripe for further thinking and discussion!

*If you are in Australia, you can see this program through the ABC television’s iView website, for the foreseeable future*

You can also watch it online for free here.

.. and can discuss it on the film’s own website here.

Letting off some steam…

Letting off some steam…

Been pretty busy with work, sometimes pretty stressed too, so much so that’s it’s been getting to my health.. so it’s time to let off some steam for me. Monday night at home: playing violin, watching silly videos, catching up on housework and email, and mucking around.

Here’s a Venn diagram that really caught my attention, an entry from the “25 lease useful self-help books” and a couple of Dan Savage videos that cracked me up :)

Very funny witty gay comedian-speaker-activist. Lost of funny moments but also lots of moments of truth…

raw food week!

raw food week!

I’ve been experimenting with some raw food days for a few months and then decided to go raw for the weekend. Thought this would go really well with a raw food course I did with Chris on Sunday. Now it’s Tuesday and I’m still on it and can’t seem to stop! :P And so is Chris. Neither of us expected this!

First of all, raw food is a bit weird when you eat it first. Preparations consists of blending, chopping, juicing, freezing and dehydrating. Or just eat things as they are. The ingredients range from your everyday fresh/raw things such as fresh fruit, fresh cut up veg, avocado, nuts and seeds, oils and dried fruits. Then there are the less well known, more specialty ingredients that are both costly and unusual to deal with: lucuma powder (fruit), coconut oil, raw cacao products, mesquite etc. Some of these are not particularly essential, though coconut and cacao are amazingly rich, nutritious and nourishing additions. They can also provide a lot of calories that makes up for the lack of these in fruit and veg.

For purists nothing ever goes over 44 C, either in preparation or in the presentation of the ingredient. So out goes canned coconut milk (though I still use it), cocoa powder (which is heat treated and therefore loses a lot of nutrients) and canned tomatoes. Of course you are also not allowed any grains, sugar, condiments, processed food, meat, dairy and even beans and potatoes that require cooking to be digestable.

However, there are some easy fun additions such as the raw coconut and its flesh and water. The diet is essentially vegan, but this is a social construction, as is the whole diet, of course. I think raw fish could easily be consumed with the other raw ingredients, and I certainly do so myself.

I’m already noticing some interesting effects: my digestive system works differently, my hunger is quite different (I get neither very hungry nor very full), my energy is quite stable and comfy, my taste and smell have become sharper, I don’t have cravings like I thought I would. There is also a lot of investment: in terms of time, money and effort. I enjoy looking at food and my body from a very different angle.

To top it off I have noticed improvements in several illnesses and symptoms and some of these are amazing. I suggest this isn’t placebo as I was neither expecting them nor was believeing in this possibility. This is very exciting. I have the feeling it’s not so much the raw food, but the additional ingredients of raw cacao and coconut oil that do the trick.

I certainly have no desire to either be a purist or to go 100% raw as many people have done so. I generally recoil from fads and religious adherence to anything and I dislike radicalism of all sorts. I do see raw food as a lovely change though, a bit like fasting that can be done occasionally, and I’m certainly learning new things about my body and food preparation. I also want to find out whether coconut and cacao are creating the awesome effects I’m observing in my symptoms, and how I can add these to my normal diet.

Now back to work and my delicious raw gazpacho soup… mmm

Future of psychedelics at Evolver

Future of psychedelics at Evolver

Evolver is a global social networking group with local ‘spores’ and monthly topics. Smart, switched-on, progressive people drive the self-organising local groups who meet up once a month to discuss topics from polyamory to dreaming to hyper-localisation to organic farming.

Evolver

I got involved when I was invited last month to talk to the Sydney group about polyamory. It went down beautifully.

This month I turned up to discuss the future of psychedelics. We had two expert guests, one via a video link-up from Mullum, Rak Rasam, who discussed where current psychedelic movements are going and took some deliciously complex questions from the group. The other was an ayahuasca community leader who was there to relay info about local activities and chat about this wonderful sounding South-American psychedelic plant that’s used for ritual healing.

More info on this plant and its uses here: Ayahuasca.com

It is wonderful to open your mind to new ideas and find such a lovely group of progressive smart people locally to have lovely discussions with… next month’s topic is dreaming. Get involved, come along and hook up! :)

If you aren’t in Sydney, perhaps you want to start a local Evolver spore in your city.

Some basic things I learnt on the night (and some I already knew):

* There is a serious psychedelic revival happening in the West, semi-underground. While we are waiting for official research to catch up, these groups just go on doing their thing, which is a blend of traditional tribal knowledge and new agey ideas channeled through a progressive liberal outlook and small-scale self-evolving groups

* psychedelics are a wonderful way of exploring your own consciousness and pushing this exploration into new territories

* there are lots of wonderfully engaged, adventurous individuals out there who are more than happy to share their experiences and ideas

* ayahuasca is a South-American plant with strong psychedelic properties, it is used in shamanic rituals, traditional tribal and neo-shamanic both, in order to explore, discover, open your mind, inspire and most interestingly help you heal yourself on a psychic, spiritual, psychological, emotional level. Ayahuasca contains DMT which is a bit of a scary sounding substance.

* psychedelics are just as illegal as they have been for several decades, but 1) fortunately this doesn’t stop individuals from obtaining them for personal use and benefiting from their various wonderful qualities and 2) there are some promising signs, even if they are few, that official psychedelic research might make a slow come-back

* there are many more sociological, anthropological, philosophical, psychological etc insights to be had relating both to psychedelics, people who use them today and new neo-shamanic movements that combine their use with traditional ways of exploring yourself and the world, and constantly fermenting new ideas on how this can be connected to our modern lives today

* I’m ready for some new adventures in my life! ;)

another great weekend

another great weekend

My blogging is getting sparser due to two things… a pretty full working life and a very happy personal life! :)

Had a wonderful weekend of vegging, cuddles, housework, violin practice, cooking, photography and catching up with friends in and around the poly social. This was both a large and a very boisterous event with ropes and floggers coming out for a play. Having lots and lots of friends around makes me very happy.

Also my interview on polyamory was just broadcast by Byron Bay Radio and despite it being chopped up pretty thoroughly it came out really well. Might upload this soon if I can.

Enjoy the piccies, there’s more on Facebook here (please don’t link back, thanks!).