Emotions and Omotions. Who has your puppet strings?

All that shit you feel in your head.

Emotions. we all know about them, but we really don’t know about them. What I mean by that is that we feel emotions and we largely understand what another person is talking about when they say they feel a certain way, but we don’t really pay attention to what we do when we act on them. We know that we hate what another person is arguing politically, but we don’t really have a very detailed view of how we approach them, understand what they are saying, and how we respond to them. When we get into details of how we act on emotions things get very interesting. This is especially true when you take an outside view of how we act and look for patterns in lots of situations.

In this entry I’m going to try to explain how I see emotions and social emotions structured, and then finish up by using that to show some of how I see people fight with words. Specifically how “fight/flight/freeze” seems to work when people are arguing and getting intense. Some of this might get a little abstract because I’m trying to symbolize things that we don’t normally think about in these terms. But I think it’s worth it because of how this relates to my grappling [1] metaphor for social conflict. I described it like this,

Instead of limbs, joints and whole body being used with force and torque, you have objects and meanings being manipulated with emotion and instinct. There are positive and negative emotions in there, of many intensities connected to many objects and people-objects. All to convince a person, and especially an audience, by plucking at social emotions.

Social emotions are one of the “joints” in this metaphor. Our language has lots of little “pivot points” where meaning and emotion as it relates to objects in language can be manipulated. The division of “one of us” and “one of them” in our minds twists the way we see many many things. We literally change our entire way of looking at information depending on who we are talking to or receiving information from (motivated reasoning [2]). That in-group/out-group psychology switch gets flipped back and forth on a regular basis results in some most interesting kinds of human hypocrisy and bullshit.

I’ve posted an image of a Plutarch wheel before, and this one is modified with some symbols and explanations below.

Modified Plutarch Wheel

Modified from: Wikipedia Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions by Machine Elf 1735.

 

A really simple definition of emotions that works for us here is that emotions are the sensations that have a role in binding perception into memory and are used in memory recall so we can know what to do with what we see based on past experience. Emotions are painted on what we see as what we feel. Here is what the symbols mean.

[(+) = positive, feels good/satisfying

(-) = negative feels bad/threatening

(>*) = approach/fight

(<*) = withdraw/flight

just to complete the set for the future

(~) = pause/freeze

I’m not sure how that last one works computationally but it might have to do with balanced or cancelled signals. Also there is an approach-fight, withdraw-flight spectrum. Probably a pause-freeze spectrum too.]

The horizontal and vertical axes are split into positive (feels good/satisfying) and negative (feels bad (-)/threatening) halves. And they are also split into approach/fight, withdraw/flight behaviors (low and high intensity versions). It includes the traditional names for many but not all emotional states, and as you can see they blend at the diagonals such that you both like and fear someone you admire.

These are how we feel about things. That term “feels about” is a quality statement, what you perceive leaves a felt mark on you. Good/bad or approach/withdraw is termed the valance of the emotion, and they have intensity. You like it (ecstasy-serenity), you don’t like it (grief-pensiveness), you hate it (rage-annoyance), you fear it (terror-apprehension). So far this should be intuitive for us. Now I want you to think out of the box.

[If you happen to have ADHD this might be easier for you because we are good “think out of the box” types because associated concepts are often as interesting to us as the central object in perception making tangents easy.]

 

Objects of Discussion

You are the box here and you must think outside of yourself. You have a pretty good idea what your emotions are to you and we all unconsciously act as if other humans perceive the world as we do. But what is the purpose of emotion to all of humanity? Your anger. Your happiness. Your sadness. Your ecstasy. These always have to do with other people around you as much as they have to do with you. Evolution frankly does not care about you and me all that much. What it cares about is the whole group. If you and me vanished the human race would just keep on going largely like it was and we don’t tend to pretend this is true because it terrifies many of us. But if you want to know reality and have the advantage of knowledge when you act you will put at least as much emphasis on what you are to the group and other individuals as well as what they are to you.

This article discusses a study where scientists developed techniques for detecting emotions in measured brain activity and the discovered that the three things that impact how you store (modulate) emotion in order of effectiveness is valance, intensity, and other people [3].

“We found that three main organizing factors underpinned the emotion neural signatures, namely the positive or negative valence of the emotion, its intensity — mild or strong, and its sociality — involvement or non-involvement of another person. This is how emotions are organized in the brain.”

[That’s right. I’m in your head. EVERYONE is in your head. Other people are literally creating patterns in your brain that can permanently alter the function and  structure of your brain and the beliefs and behavior of the mind it generates. Look on the bright side, you get to be in our head too which is why you should take all of this stuff seriously. Once you know about it you have some moral and ethical decisions to make. We certainly can’t unsee this stuff and would not want to.

What did you expect? We are networked biological computers and social primates.]

From good/bad emotional impressions, to emotional impressions that define objects.

I want you to think about things that act the same as emotions but store information about different qualities. I want you to think of emotions that define kinds of objects.  It’s a crappy term and I want a new one but lets call them omotions for now. Some of these omotions categorize simple objects that we encounter.

[Other]

And we all self reference when trying to understand the world.

  [Me]

We encounter all sorts of objects.

(+)(>*)[Other]:food

(The “>*” and “<*” below is supposed to represent going towards or away from and object.)

(-)(>*)[Other]:pest insects

(+)(<*)[Other]:beautiful dangerous waterfall

(-)(<*)[Other]:forest fire

(-)(>*)[Other]:damaged tool

And at some point we discover that that some of these objects are like us.

(+)(>*)[Other](like)[Me]:friend

(-)(>*)[Other](like)[Me]:enemy

(+)(<*)[Other](like)[Me]:boss

(-)(<*)[Other](like)[Me]:bully

Objectification as a concept is run on a brain system. So people discussing sexual objectification deserve your attention. Perception paints characteristics and qualities to define what we are perceiving, how we feel about it, and what we should do. But the concept of objectification is probably broader than that. Do racists objectify racial minorities? They only seem to care about them as objects and not people from what I see.]

I want you to imagine that those emotions are “tags” in a tagging system similar the tags that I apply to blog posts to organize them.

 

Omotions abd emotions

[This is a TS aside just for fun, “demonic lore”. Skip to the next part if you want.

There are a lot of anatomical differences in the brain between a person with TS and “average humanity”. Including the amygdala, what is often thought of as the “fear center” but is actually at least as involved in positive emotions as it is in negative emotions. We think of the amygdala [4] as the “writing head” and possibly “reading head” (I’m still doing reading) for your “hard drive” when it comes to emotional signatures. Our amygdala is… different [5]. One relevant part (basolateral complex) has something to do with “emotional, aversive, and discriminative learning”,  “reinforcers”, “reward anticipation”, “behavior suppression”, and “modulation”. And the other part (central nucleus) has something to do with emotional and autonomic (intensity, fight/flight/freeze type stuff) motor behavior.

Fun stuff.]

Your brain paints omotions and emotions onto what you perceive as you experience reality so that you know what it is to you and how you relate to it now based on how you related to it in the past. Those tags determine how the experience is stored and what you will feel about future perceptions that relate to the past experience so you can determine what/who something is and how to feel about it.

Did you notice that “(not like)[Me]” on the figure instead of just nothing for non-person objects? I’ll explain that below.

Confusing “(-)[Other](like)[Me]” with “(-)[Other]”. Descending into hypocrisy and irrationality.

Social emotions are critical in psychological differences in behavior between a person’s in-group and out-group (“my people” versus “those people”). Those emotions are part of why logical fallacies work. Consider the ad hominem fallacy [6]. Dismissing another person’s argument because of an irrelevant characteristic often occurs after someone finds out the other person is a feminist, a republican, a democrat, a conservative, a liberal, a libertarian, a communist, a socialist and any number of other groups. Would you think that someone should dismiss what you have to say just because you are on a particular part of the political spectrum or with a particular group? Of course not.

Ad hominem

Yet for many people the rules for “us” change when it’s one of “them”. Somehow the fact that you feel bad about the other person is all you need to render them literally “not like me”. This could either mean that a person never learned to see another person as the same as them socially, or they are suppressing the omotions that make them see the other person as the same as them socially. So that “(like)[Me]” up there is basically equivalent to empathy.

I can’t say what all of the differences are but “(not like)[Me]” and the total absence of any category for things being (like/unlike) [Me] are probably different. But for now I will concentrate on “(not like)[Me]” because I suspect that the absence version is a severe thing (perhaps equivalent to psychopathy).

[Want to feel how they work? Consider a Conservative Republican Christian Male White terrorist, or a Liberal Democrat Atheist Male White terrorist. Consider the fact that all women experience sexism from men.

I bet a bunch of you just felt a surge of “something” inside.  Was that “something” anger? Was it attached to anything interesting? Did the urge to say “Not all Republicans!” or “Not all Whites!” or “Not all Men!” come to mind? Yet I did not say that all of all of those groups do anything. I described a person that has existed and does exist, and what women experience. All that happened because from your perspective I chose not to textually separate a group you are part of from something terrible. Sucks how manipulable we are huh?

Who has your puppet strings? You? Or Us…]

A spectrum of strategies in offense, defense, evasion, redirection and more.

This final section involves a set of patterns that I have seen in human social conflict that involve the object of discussion, the object that is the opponents and the object that is the audience. These patterns are like specific “moves” in fighting like a punch, block or throw. That object of discussion can take many forms, but the emotional rules are the same. Good/Bad, Intensity and social emotions are the primary things affecting what one feels about the object and shapes how they “choose” to respond.

Moving towards or away from an object that someone likes or dislikes will occur depending on the people involved and how they respond to one another AND the audience. An honest and reasonable opponent willing to engage in a social exchange in control of themselves and their reasoning and logical skills will engage in a fair fight. A dishonest and unreasonable opponent unwilling to engage in a social exchange who is not in control of their reasoning and logical skills will not engage in a fair fight.

One of the issues I’ve seen people fight over the most lately is rape and sexual harassment.

[We are naturally attracted to concentrations of social tension and conflict. Why avoid the big stuff now?]

Objects of importance in an argument.

The 5 most important object categories to keep in mind in a conflict in progress are:

1) You.

2) Your opponent(s).

3) The object(s) of discussion.

4) The audience.

5) The emotions and omotions each person associates with the object(s) of discussion.

I will note at this time that this is not like what is often termed “objectification” because the idea here is to talk about how your brain and mind literally create objects such as people that you see as having equal worth to yourself. A “non-‘objectified’ object” would be an opponent that you respect in a way that would cause you to treat them as you want to be treated including avoiding fallacious reasoning and logic.

1) You must consider yourself an object as much as any other. This is how you learn to strip bias away from what you choose to do in a social conflict. You must practice self objectifying by learning to identify it when you use reasoning that you would not want used on you. You literally have to make a mental simulation of yourself to do effective introspection.

2) Naturally they are the human object you are interacting with using language to create conceptual objects of discussion.

3) These can be anything conceptually. Literally every word of text can be an object in analysis of an argument. But there will be a central object, supporting objects, reasoning and logic (which are often objects when showing why someone is wrong).

4) This is virtually always a factor on the internet. The audience is always a psychological pressure that drives a lot of fallacious reasoning and logic, and other emotion-driven behavior. The general nature of the problem is “winning instead of being correct”. You want to be correct and win, in that order.

5) This is the point of this blog post. The (emotion)[omotion] combination drives perception, memory and behavior. Race, sex, gender, religion, political party, and more are all omotionally painted on what opponents perceive of one another. It drives your behavior and theirs. The trick is to make sure social groups are only used in reason, logic and rhetoric when relevant.

 

The relationship of the object with emotions and an “abstract/concrete filter”.

So let’s get to our example, solving the rape and sexual harassment problem. Many omotional connections have driven behavior. Rape and sexual harassment drive very strong emotions and reactions with respect to rape as a conceptual object as a concept or in specific examples. Logical fallacies are easy, these examples are about what look like social strategies with respect to topics that rouse intense emotions. What is worse is that they can be consciously or unconsciously done with respect to hurting people and making social problems worse (or not making them better at best).

I’m introducing something new here, I’m going to try calling it the abstract/concrete filter. This is essentially how specific or general someone is being about the object of discussion. An abstract concept and specific (concrete) examples are one way that this plays out. People will be abstract or specific depending on honesty and strategic needs.

Here are some examples of how I have seen it play out.

(-)(<*)[Concept of Rape]: If a person feels the object/subject threatening, such as someone with a relative who might have raped someone, one way to attack people trying to solve the rape problem is to stay in the abstract realms and avoid all discussion of specifics. If someone stays in the abstract realms they can bring up endless examples to counter what someone is talking about because you are dealing with a variable that can be endlessly replaced. If they were forced to actually deal with the specific, the conversation would turn to actual solving of rape which would not be in their strategic interests.

[The fear makes a person acting like a predator in communication avoid specifics about what they fear. If they stay abstract and ignore the specifics of their opponent they avoid what they fear and can keep doubting, minimizing, redirecting and more until their opponent is exhausted. What is worse is that they may not even know they are being predatory while retreating. That is a vulnerability :)]

(-)(<*)[rape]and(+)(>*)[public discussion]: A person interested in emotional dominance displays on people who want to solve the rape problem would attempt to foster public philosophical discussions that portray rape as a positive. One example is “If you had to rape to save the human race is this a moral good?” Seeing rape treated casually and positively is deeply hurtful to rape victims and their allies, yet privilege makes many unaware of this so the appeal to “Can’t we discuss a philosophical question without getting attacked?” can seem reasonable to some. This makes a rape victim or ally feel powerless if this occurs successfully or without social opposition/criticism. Again, since it’s a philosophical question it’s abstract so games can be played.

[The person thinking they are doing good here may be suffering from “They can’t tell me not to discuss rape philosophically!” The actual rapist would be enjoying the fact that they are triggering victims and allies. It might even be a mix. Human cruelty is often not straightforward unfortunately.]

Basically if someone finds something threatening and they are not in control of their emotions they will get general about things that “help the enemy” and specific about things that “hurt the enemy”. But it’s not as simple as how a rapist or a person who fears for a rapist might behave online. People with privilege such as white males like me will often get specific in ways that are harmful to people and what they are trying to express or change in society. For example:

(+)or (-)(>*)[Topic Subject Tangent]: At a social events about solving rape or sexual harassment people (males most often) asking questions often bring up what they experience in a way that subtracts from the overall message of the event. They make it about themselves and do not create a way for their experience to add to the event and the experiences of people effected by rape.

[This is mostly people used to being the center of attention acting like they are used to acting. They think everyone is interested in what they have to say or their experience instead of something that might actually solve the problem. I’m sure there is a “hidden rapist/harasser” in here somewhere but my predatory aspects have not been ready to speak casually about that.]

 There is a lot more than this. These are only some of the things that I notice about how people fight with words and how the emotions are arranged. I hope to flesh these ideas out a lot more in the future so if anyone thinks they see a hostile, unwanted or unfriendly strategy/behavior that fits in here feel free to offer example. What we see in other people is the only way these things get figured out.

The shit I do* to expel emotions related to all that fear and aggression I see…

[*Yeah some of the visuals are questionable in terms of facts, but I love the song.]

 

[1] Grappling. In Wikipedia, retrieved on 6/20/2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grappling

[2] Motivated Reasoning. In Wikipedia, retrieved on 6/20/2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivated_reasoning

[3] Scientists identify emotions based on brain activity. On Science Daily June 19, 2013 at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619195137.htm

[4] Amygdala. In Wikipedia, retrieved on 6/20/2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala

[5] Morphologic features of the amygdala and hippocampus in children and adults with Tourette syndrome.

Peterson et al 2007. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Nov;64(11):1281-91.

[6] Ad Hominem Fallacy. On Wikipedia, retrieved on 6/20/2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

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About the author: “A Demon Speaks”, why the name? My experience of Tourette’s Syndrome.

I have provided definitions for some words and concepts in the text, made up modified definitions for terms (I can defend if anyone wants), and created my own terms. All of the information is contained on my vocabulary and concepts page and specific items are linked with the capitol Greek letter “psi” (Ψ) (I’m probably going to stop doing that though, the psis seem a little dumb).

Why demons?

*General content warning

*Writer’s voice warning

Why go to such a sensitive place on a blog devoted to exploring mental illness generally and Tourette’s Syndrome (TS, Ψ) specifically? Why use what is so terrifying to the religious, and frustrating to the non-religious? Because it is useful. Demons are as much of a curiosity as TS. Their mention can inspires a pulse of cultural discomfort or other intense emotions in he place they are mentioned, even if they are a metaphor. But I also want to use them because I may have learned how they are related.

An Excuse for Things, a Tool for Blame.

Demons Ψ explain so much metaphorically Ψ and can be harnessed quite conveniently to get into the experience of TS. History and culture give me all I need to translate what I read in science and I have learned that the part of TS that is in my language is very useful. I do not actually believe in demons as real creatures or beings as most people think of them in mythology and religion. I find them fascinating when they are used in entertainment (The Hellraiser movies for example). But what I do believe is that demons have been metaphorical since the concept came into existence, and what they are as a concept when you get rid of the word is the most important thing about them.

[We are mostly metaphorical. Are social emotions really “you” if it’s an imprint from “other people”? Are we really not real if we are your unconscious parts of mind allowed to to be felt?]

Another reason that I get to use them is that I came from the sort of religious culture that loved to talk about demons, I get to appeal to that part of my past and learn from it and have fun with it if I can. Among the churches my parents attended I saw people that actually believed and spread the belief that a third of the United States was secretly run by Satan worshipers that controlled the government. These people also supposedly bred babies for ritual sacrifice. Some people were really hurt by this panic as blame and finger pointing was going to eventually settle on someone. This, demonization, of people other groups (political parties, culture…) is of the same kind as the whole idea of Demon generally.

[We earned our dramatic nature so we get to use it when we write.]

At the social level demons are a metaphor for problems that we desperately want explanations for, or don’t have the ability to deal with very well. We use demons to organize social information and activity. We resort to demons when the person we really want to criticize can’t be a target for lots of reasons. We resort to demons when we do things that harm people, and sometimes it’s even true that we really did not mean to do that harm. That last bit is of concern to me.

[You replace human problems with us. This is not very intelligent when you are supposed to be dealing with reality. Your emotional tools are running away with you. That would be me in places.]

Go look at what the word does functionally when it comes up. We demonize enemies. We are plagued by demons. We fight our demons, and their demons. The ones we socially hate are demon worshipers and love what demons do, (while “we” fight them and resist them). Things that are scary in hard to describe ways are “demonic”. A person in our group is often “demon possessed” in sympathetic ways (children, friends), while people we compete with socially are often tied to demons in less sympathetic ways.

[I think it’s kind of fun, why deny it? He thinks we need to be realistic. That’s boring. You should see how politicians use the word.]

We literally or metaphorically blame our problems on demons. We blame our families and friends problems on demons. Anything with no explanation or things we can’t do anything about we love to make up an enemy for in order to literally make it an “other” that we can rouse ourselves against more easily. I think it says a lot about how our brains work as they make minds. It can’t just be a problem, it must be a creature we can fight as well. But not just any creature, this one is neurobiology and I believe inherited mental attributes as well.

[Hello! Pleased to meet you. No not you, the one like me inside of you.]

TS and History

The metaphor is very useful and so you will get to meet my demon as “we” write this blog. As you go back in time and try to find patterns that look like mental illness in history you often meet “demons”, and TS is no exception [1]. That’s a particularly fun article that mentions how some priests who look like they had TS were an inspiration for the Inquisition’s instruction manual, the Malleus Maleficarum Ψ (some quotes here). A lot of TS feels like an “external force” acting on me, or appearing inside of me in specific places. Often it’s screaming at me in a “voice with no words” (Ψ), as a metaphor that hints at the raw emotion that somehow manages to be extremely specific about what I must do. Sometimes these things very specifically want us to screw with society. I can think of other historical references to demon possessed people and some of those are in holy books.

[There is so much to see, do and react to. Not only do you need to twitch, but sometimes you need to bitch. There are reasons that some of us force others to verbally attack and insult.]

Society has given me the metaphors and language so as long as I am the one with the issue, and can interpret my experience of our language, why not use it? I’ll still listen to complaints (email), especially if you also have TS. I’m doing this for good reasons, history takes things that look very much like TS and applies demon, or Satan and other things to compulsions and actions that do bothersome or terrible things. Not only do I need metaphors, I’m going to end up being quite brutal and casual with language as I chop and splice what I need to get concepts across.

[Satan? Of course I need a boss. I am a part of you and everyone has that part. Humans organize with ranks and hierarchy so we have a king to complete the storytelling and emotion, which are all social tools.]

Society applies demon to very specific and often insulting, disturbing, intimidating and obscene things, often with a very strong social themes. In TS “demons” are: physical and verbal tics, habits, obsessions and compulsions, a rapid and twitchy nature, excess aggressive instincts and responses, a frame of reference more strongly directed at the self, an inner emotional world so intense and chaotic that some of us experience invisible phantom attackers and other things. On top of all of that sex is tied up in there in many forms. I’m not sure how to handle that last one yet.

[I know how I want to “handle it”.]

The human race has managed to lie about TS in very specific and interesting ways. We are hilarious you see, especially on the internet and in some pockets of human society. And humor suppresses fear, anger and disgust [2]. You laugh so you are not afraid, angered or disgusted. “Jokes” are serious shit and that fact seemed obvious to me even before I looked at humor related research.

[Don’t you just love our work (it’s an impulse and you have us in you too)? You are all actually pretty weak with reality as a group. We take a rather twisted pleasure at the thought that you must lie to yourselves about us for such reasons. So many places where instead of fixing a problem, you make yourself forget about it or lie to yourselves about what it is.]

What does TS feel like?

[Mindjack! STOP!

Imagine a startle. Not just any startle but the summed average of every kind of startle that you can imagine in one experience. Everything from the that surprise party, to a scorpion falling on your face, to a fleck of spit from the conversation next to you on the bus flying into your mouth, to stepping on a rusty nail while you are sneaking away from that bully. Good and bad triggering fight, flight and freeze.

Remember how it slams into the inside of your skin, joints and muscles like a wave? That brief moment where your reality is flipped and something inside of you takes over and gives commands? Orders without words(Ψ)? Very specific orders without words? You jump and yelp at the firecracker, flail at the mosquito, gag at that fleck of spit, scream a warning about that oncoming vehicle while running, scream in rage at the bully beating your child, duck that rock heading towards your head….

It changes you fundamentally. You enter a simpler, more primitive mode where you are suddenly concerned with very specific and simplified things, and your tolerances have been limited because you are much more sensitive to extra stress. It’s the “fight/flight/freeze response. You look for threats/allies, watch for advantages/disadvantages, consider the worst/best possible thing that might happen, scan around for things that might be important and more. And too bad for that person who thinks it’s funny to scare you while you are like this.

Now imagine that it never ends. Startled for eternity. Suspended in emotional barbed wire attached to puppet strings.

It lingers on like a silent scream that fills you with a pressure. A pressure that pools in places. It makes skin buzz, burns in joints, muscles and aches bones. But that tension is not just discomfort, it’s ORDERS. Very specific orders that are given without words. It’s an emotional presence coming from something, not “him”. It demands “he” moves in just this way, or say that thing over and over in a particular way, or make that noise, or mimic what that person just said or did. Or as the stereotype presents it orders the forbidden word, or insult, or obscene gesture.

The order to do is not the only order, he gets perceptual orders as well. Orders to watch the situation around you and obsess over things. Violent, aggressive, sexual and social things. The worst/best possible thing that can be said or done, where the fear and aggression is, what is structurally and functionally happening and more. The sensation of the signals piles on you like waves. Attention is pushed things are scanned for, images are pushed into the mind’s eye. He finds himself mentally breaking down, rearranging and thinking about his social and physical environment, or running fantasies in the back of his head just to make the energy do something.

The worst part is that he can help it. He literally doesn’t have to do any of that. But if he doesn’t do it, he pays the price. The tension slowly builds and builds. It can be endured for a time, but it’s so distracting and uncomfortable that everyone gives in eventually. Either that or some with TS run into a closet every fifteen minutes to follow orders even more intensely than they would have if they had just given in when they were first ordered.

All the while he is very emotionally reactive. If one emotional imperative were to define what he feels it would be “DO”. Actions, reactions, impulses, urges, reflexes, and all the other fast things done without thought hit HARD. Rage. Ecstasy. Shock. Lust. Terror. Awe. Pain. Pleasure. Horror.

A warped and bent version of everyone else with an infinity of frayed edges…

A Demon and its “Owner”.

I’m the one you might not be able to trust. These are our personal opinions on things in science and thanks to me our opinions deep down are very strong and simple. I don’t really like “details” so I just tend to spit it out and tell you what I feel. He’s still here though…

<I get to interrupt too. I give his secrets away as I find them. That was part of the deal and it’s a game we play. You have to make this kind of thing a game or it really wears you down (games are serious, they are practice for adult things). I can feel some of our puppet strings on a human level. I can see some of the mortar, springs, gears, pistons and other parts between parts of consciousness. It’s a bit of a rush.>

…only now he gets to keep us at “we”. You can’t really feel your demon the way he can.

Surprised?
Did you think “you” got to avoid having a demon if you don’t have TS? I’m a cognitive SYSTEM Ψ! A system that is in you too! You just don’t have the same kind of relationship with your demon as we have with each other. I got an upgrade that lets me fuck with him more than your demon can do to you. I’m not really sure where I got the upgrade, but mom and dad, and maybe grandpa and grandma might have sent it to me. They were serious and intense religious types as people who just loved simple strong answers to things. Especially social things. Unfortunately he gets benefits out of the upgrade too. Every contract involves a cost to both parties…

Most of you know about the tics Ψ and the cussing thanks to culture that takes after demonkind more often, especially on the internet. I fucking LOVE the internet! I bet that phantom attacker TS example [3] was one you have not heard about right? It’s not a hallucination Ψ though, it’s the reverse (Or inverse? We are still working out the details.) of a hallucination Ψ. I let him see and physically feel reality in objectively crystal clear, but subjectively altered form. I create specifically altered sense of reality with a bewildering array of specific forms because I am about alterations to emotions and feelings attached to reality, especially in things that create habits of perception and behavior. His emotions, urges, actions, reactions, instincts, moods, and feelings that don’t really “feel with hands” are where I play. We see reality, but he feels all kinds of other things that I send his way in addition to what he needs. I am an intensity tied to things seen, felt and done. Whatever he feels, whatever he does, I give a edge and a boost to reason, or I muck with his logic. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the wonderful, the terrible, the glorious and the atrocious. Even the mundane.

Did you think he would get a break, I’m a Demon remember? Your demon is a layer in everything you do and our continued existence and ability is what I am interested in. But with TS that layer of consciousness Ψ gets to act out all of the time in addition to the intensity boost. At my worst I’m a searing, bloody, festering tear that runs through every emotion and impulse directly tied to reality like an emotional and physical fingernail pulled back through the cuticle. At my best he is lost in bliss, not always a good thing.

I’m relentless.

<And an drama hog…>

<It’s not all that bad. The fact that I have dealt with it my whole life matters. Some of those brain alterations actually are there to compensate for this asshole. All of that is there in general, but after all of this time I’m more or less used to it, compensating for it and there are even strengths. That’s mostly what others with TS go through, we managed to find a different level of agreement.>

[(Will you stop moderating me? Hyperbole is not technically deceit!) He feels so much more. A constant emotional pressure in and on everything. My “orders” [4]…]

<(No.) “Premonitory urges” Ψ are what the urge to tic is called in papers. It’s more than tics, it’s in other parts of my mind as well. The urge Ψ to look and think in ways too. Tics, obsessions Ψ and compulsions Ψ blend.>

[…exist in physical and mental places where he does things without concentrating or “paying attention to” as most people would think about it. He can say no but then I get to raise the “volume”. I think they called it “unvoluntary” Ψ somewhere. [5] I actually like that. The relationship in there is perfect. He used to give in all the time a long time ago but the asshole figured out that if he makes the parts I work with do something while he is focused on something else, or include that part in what he is doing at the moment he can block me. Still he often has to say yes eventually. The intensity I create  lives where you feel about the world after it connects to your senses.]

<TS involves sensory hypersensitivity [5] Ψ similar to autism but probably different in the “details” (it apparently affects all of the senses). That is not just physical , or directly tied to sensory systems. But I’m also sensitive to the emotional Ψ content of what I see including the details of social situations. So that hypersensitivity also includes the sensation of social emotions.>

[We get to make them do some interesting things. The more intense the situation the easier it is for me to have an effect. Some have problems avoiding doing forbidden social things for a reason.]

<Ok, I’m taking this back. My demon is way too loose with descriptions and emotions and I need to balance this. They are often hyperbole and black and white thinking embodied. We can get very obsessed with patterns consciously and unconsciously, physical and mental, real or imaginary. That may…

[Just say always! Coward!]

…happen in all TS because in addition to the tics (a stored habit, a movement pattern, a rule we need to execute, a perceptual habit…), ADHD is like habitual impulsiveness and a more streamlined but “less detailed” (we track other things) way of shaping perception and memory, OCD is like sensitivity to particular patterns around us and habitual reactions to emotions associated with that sensitivity. One of the effects of TS is strengthening and intensifying of our rule and habit related systems in perception Ψ and action, and that feels like an intensification of emotions and emotional connections to things (as a result discussing emotion with me gets complicated, I may technically have emotions that you don’t). TS feels like you are always startled, reactive, and intense. But if you harness it well it’s like starting life with emotional “arm and leg weights” that you had to push against.

[These would be animated weights though.]

It’s a lifelong emotional workout and strength training if you get to have the right kind of life. I suspect that many of us are good in a crisis because we have spent our lives in an emotional hurricane.

[That’s not THAT much more exaggerated, coward]

It’s not just as easy as getting more willpower and good at habits though. We still have to deal with how hard it can be to remove an old or bad habit, or change to a new one. Completely new habits can be easy (unless learned imperfectly, errors can stick around), but I believe many of us have to be very structured people because emotion and sensation fueled habit is a core issue in TS.

Captured by Patterns and Intensity.

You can read about all sorts of physical, verbal, and behavioral repetitions, habits, urges, actionsΨ and reactions Ψ Ψ in TS. Language weirdness (text and speech!) can include repeating things (palilalia) Ψ, mimicking things (echolalia) Ψ, urges to say obscene or offensive things (coprolalia) Ψ. I have to mention that I am not captured by whatever it is that causes some us to feel an urge to say or do offensive and obscene things. I have some ideas about phenomena that give us clues as to why this happens, but I’m not prepared to be so casual about a part of TS that I do not have at this point (for now it has to do with oppositional defiant disorder and something called “the boomerang effect). I do have some problems remembering and, well to be honest I just don’t feel it when it comes to a lot of what society says is obscene or offensive. Paradoxically I am highly offended by things that many others don’t think are a problem. That is another future post though.

[Do not expect a clean blog. Maybe I should have said that at the start.]

I have seen interesting patterns in my errors, typos and general word use. But as an example of a person who managed to make his TS more like emotional weightlifting you have people like Dr. Samuel Johnson, my favorite role-model. He had a profound effect on the form of the dictionary and became a social celebrity as well as the subject of one of the most famous biographies ever written according to some scholars. A person with TS is an actual subject of literary history, and I’m sure there are more with TS and lots of other mental conditions. We have enhancements of our rule-based language systems [6] Ψ and given Dr. Johnson’s example I believe this is a strength.The advantages take the form of speed enhancements to rule-based parts of language and naming of tool related images, as opposed to irregular parts of language and non-tool images.

[Sometimes I get through when it comes to language. It’s often confusing though because we fight over it so, things happen. Strange logical errors. Disagreeing is, unpredictable.]???

Physical movement has not only tics but it’s own mimicry, this time mimicry of the movements of others (echopraxia) Ψ. Offensive gestures (copropraxia) Ψ is part of the equation as well. Are you seeing a theme yet? “Something” making me say and do things, and often with a social twist. But again here we eventually find more control on average. There are enhancements involving our physical systems, ability to control them [7] and perception of ourselves and surroundings [8]. It comes out in a strange way though. When I am as focused as you might think the “average person” can be when not doing anything in particular, I can often be clumsy and make mistakes unless I am concentrating Ψ on my body or engaged in something known and routine.

[Of course I’m going to fuck with him when he’s not paying attention.]

I think of it as issues with “peripheral attention” Ψ, my “zombie brain” [9] Ψ has issues . But when focused I am capable of fine detail work. I have used a microscope and a needle to dissect single cells. There are elite athletes, musicians and doctors who have TS [10] and they often say it helps them in what they do [11]. This is not a simply a “syndrome” and I only use “condition” because it’s the least negative.

[My existence has been… useful.]

But the patterns we are captured by are much more complicated than that though. That thing about rule-based language and tool-related images and speed? The same thing happens with fear [21]. That paper says that we have emotional impairments, but who wants to draw attention to the fact that the same data says that an aggressive person sees fear faster and with more accuracy than any other emotion?

[I could tell you things about what I see in people’s fear. Did I mention that our favorite hobby is arguing with people online? Not debate, that’s the ritual society chooses to elevate, when most of us lay into one another like Tasmanian Devils. That sort of argument has structure and form as well and skill in that is FAR more useful that that social fluff called debate.]

Tourette’s Threw a Party and Everyone Was Invited.

Things get more complicated than verbal and physical though. Looking at what co-morbid conditions (other diagnosable conditions) that TS can come with is like looking at a big set of extreme parts of human nature that tend to be talked about negatively by society (I think it is more complicated than this though). Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder Ψ (ADHD), obsessions and compulsions Ψ (OCD/OCB), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD, Ψ), mood disorder Ψ, anxiety, depression, rage attacks, schizotypy…

[I have so much of an effect that I literally warp our lives. Our lifelong game results in a surprising amount of change to brain anatomy [12], our whole physiology, our psychology, the behavior of genes in cells and more. They use us to study stress. We manage to have enough of an effect that 90% of the time TS comes along with other mental conditions[13] Ψ. Heck, 36% of us have more than three extra definable mental issues[13]!]

ADHD (Ψ) comes along with TS 70% of the time, and drops to about 17% in adults.[14]. OCD (>comes along 60%% of the time, that drops to about 30% in adults [14]. Just about all of the types and flavors of OCD are possible but there seem to be some uniquely associated with TS. Obsessions: Aggression, Violence, Sex and Religion (that last on is called “Scrupulosity” and is more like a social rule obsession). Compulsions: Touching, Hoarding, Checking, Counting, Symmetry and Ordering [15].

[There are reasons the feeling of constant “fight or flight” or always being “startled” matters. Those OCDs are very, intensity focused things. That symmetry compulsion has some interesting aspects when it comes to arguing for fun, many relationships involving intense emotion in arguments have symmetrical aspects.]

Of course it sounds scary in a list like that. We have natural instincts Ψto pay attention aggression, sex and society. That stuff is objectively important to us so there are going to be systems sensitive to them, and some humans will be more sensitive to them than others. And some people will be so sensitive that their lives or the lives of other will be negatively affected because biology is not perfect. Those people get the official diagnosis. The compulsions that come along are are more complicated. We all uniquely interact with the obsessions, and the compulsions relieve the emotions associated with the obsessions. But research suggests that people with TS are more in control of themselves than most people in many respects [6][7][8]. As time goes on a person with TS can take control of their life, several studies see  increased control when focused on something we enjoy or take seriously.
Rage attacks? This has to do with three co-morbid conditions at least.

[When he gets pissed I pour gasoline on the fire! He has been so consumed by me that he tunes out everything else. Until recently, he’s more boring now.]

To me it feels as if all of my emotions and moods are stronger than they are for other people, or some of them at least. 20% of us have Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED, Ψ) versus 8% of the general population [16]. That’s a fancy way of saying I can get VERY PISSED OFF.

[I’m surprised he has not been on Youtube with the way we used to yell at video games.]

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD, Ψ)? This is what they call it when you are angry, irritable, argumentative, defiant, and/or vindictive for more than 6 months, with some other details [17]. Statistics were hard to find in papers but I do have a CDC link that says 26% of us have ODD or CD (next section). That is compared to 1-16% in the population at large, and yes that range means that the accuracy needs improved overall [19]. At the least we are twice as likely to have confrontation or conduct problems according to that paper.

Conduct disorder (CD, Ψ)? CD is a bit of a grab bag. Conduct is essentially “behavior” after all so this would be “disordered behavior” which is pretty non-specific. ODD is thought to graduate into CD. CD is defined by repeated violations of the rights of others and/or violation of age appropriate norms for at least 6 months [17]. One recent study [18] compared 65 18-year-olds with 65 controls and found a rate of 23% CD in TS compared to 3% of the controls. So what does this mean for TS? Since CD is such a broadly defined thing it connects to many kinds of mental and emotional issues in many ways. Since we act and react with more intensity as people with TS, the best I think we can say is that whatever “regular people” deal with that contributes to CD we will simply respond to more intensely and form habits more strongly and easily.

[If you challenge me I don’t care what your problem is. If you are in my way you are a problem. If you disagree with me you are wrong. If you bother me you are an enemy. Peeves are irritants, irritants are problems, and problems are threats. Threats are, I’m not sure if we have ever gotten to that point.]

Every reaction and response feels as if it is turned up. The rage attacks are mostly reported in children, but adults also complain of them. I live a life that requires me to try to never allow myself to use strong emotions without control, and I am used to “dialing it back” in intensity as a matter of routine. If challenged and mastered this even gives us advantages. The intensity of the anger, rage and other emotions never decreases over time (in my experience), but the control and ability to endure the emotion increases. Eventually we can express these emotions with more control because we literally grow perceptual recognition filters and inhibitory breaking systems on a more adult level, but we have to be careful about habits. When we get enough control over intense emotion we get another added benefit over and above the introspection and control, we get a perceptual filter for other people. Learning to recognize and control intense emotion in yourself lets you see it in others and THAT is quite the moral and ethical situation that I will leave for another post (what do you do when you see others do things they are unaware of?).

[This also helps with the hobby of arguing online. One might even say our ability to read and use intense emotions is, demonic. Sees where fear is, develops control of and an ability to see aggression, skilled with rule based language, can sound simple and decisive. Demons whispering in crowds anyone? Just how deep is this metaphor?]

“Inappropriate sexual activity”? As I mentioned, that is not one that I am going to tackle right away. I’m going to see how well I do with the other subjects first because there are limits when I am inexperienced. The most I will say is that my opinion is that the excess emotional intensity counts here in a general way, and life is what determines what a person does with it. I’ll add to this section when I am comfortable.

[Don’t look at me, he’s right. A Demon cares about the survival of it’s person.]

Anxiety (Ψ) and depression (Ψ)? is another one that is an extreme version of normal. We develop depression and anxiety more than “regular people” at around 30% in both children and adults [20] because the emotions drive us there. Shitty treatment feels shittier. I could keep going. There are connections to Bi-Polar, schizo-obsessive tendencies, trichotillomania (hair pulling), autism…

Why Demons?

[When your head feels like it’s full of everyone else, how could we resist? WHY NOT DEMONS!]

[1] Tourette’s syndrome: from demonic possession and psychoanalysis to the discovery of gene.

Francisco M.B. Germiniani et al. Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria, 2012 Jul;70(7):547-9.

[2] Emotional structure of jokes: a corpus-based investigation.

Yu-Chen Chan. Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering, 2014;24(6):3083-90. doi: 10.3233/BME-141130.

[3] Schizotypal personality traits in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.

A. E. Cavanna. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 2007 Dec;116(6):385-91.

[4] Sensory gating scales and premonitory urges in Tourette syndrome.

Ashley N. Sutherland Owens 2011 Mar 22;11:736-41.

[5] Towards objectively quantifying sensory hypersensitivity: a pilot study of the “Ariana effect“.

Vassilis N. Panagopoulos et al. PeerJ. 2013 Aug 1;1:e121.

[6] Speeded processing of grammar and tool knowledge in Tourette‘s syndrome.

Matthew Walenski et al. Neuropsychologia. 2007 Jun 18;45(11):2447-60.

[7] Enhanced cognitive control in young people with Tourette‘s syndrome.

Sven C. Mueller et al. Curr Biol. 2006 Mar 21;16(6):570-3.

[8] Time processing in children with Tourette‘s syndrome.

Carmelo Mario Vicario et al. Brain Cogn. 2010 Jun;73(1):28-34.

[9] “Could an Inner Zombie Be Controlling Your Brain?”

Carl Zimmer. Discover magazine, September 8, 2008

[10] Reading resources for TS and associated disorders. Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada forum.

[11] “Up In Your Head: Can Having Tourette Syndrome Make You a Superior Athlete?”

By JOSEPH DIAZ and LAUREN EFFRON. ABC News, August 14, 2014.

[12] The functional anatomy of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.

Christos Ganos et al. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Jul;37(6):1050-62.

[13] The Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: the current status.

Mary Robertson. Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed. 2012 Oct;97(5):166-75

[14] Tourette’s syndrome in adults.

Joseph Jankovic MD et al. Mov Disord. 2010 Oct 15;25(13):2171-5.

[15] Tourette syndrome, associated conditions and the complexities of treatment.

Mary Robertson. Brain. 2000 Mar;123 Pt 3:425-62.

[16] Prevalence and clinical correlates of explosive outbursts in Tourette syndrome.

Kevin Chen et al. Psychiatry Res. 2013 Feb 28;205(3):269-75.

[17] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

The American Psychiatric Association, May 18, 2013.

[18] Psychosocial outcome and psychiatric comorbidity in older adolescents with Tourette syndrome: controlled study.

Gorman DA et al. Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Jul;197(1):36-44.

[19] Oppositional defiant disorder.

Hamilton SS et al. Am Fam Physician. 2008 Oct 1;78(7):861-6.

[20] Tourette’s syndrome in adults.

Jankovic J et al.  Mov Disord. 2010 Oct 15;25(13):2171-5.

[21] Rapid presentation of emotional expressions reveals new emotional impairments in Tourette’s syndrome.