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DOUBLE BIND: Mind Control in the TTI

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....... not that I am dead set on the term' Projectipant', but I CANNOT sit there and listen to the troubled teen industry to spew statistics under the label 'Teen'.  To me that is an absolute joke, and anyone who is desparate enough to buy it, with their own child, deserves ...... a little more effort on their part.....


--- Quote from: "Awake" ---“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing  I see the game.”
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Agreeable in its entirety am I of this statement. This is partially how I made it out of the program, but I was also a brainwashed graduate until returning home and having been home for a couple months and reality hit. While the program got me away from drugs and aided me in meeting good-hearted people, it also stripped me of my self-confidence. :beat:


--- Quote from: "DannyB II" ---
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--- Quote from: "Awake" ---Truthfully, Danny, if I have made it sound easy it is because I am only regurgitating the ideas of some very smart people that happen to be at the root of the epistemology of the TTI. I touched on the answer to your question in my post NLP: Evolving the Double Bind, a truly powerful skill within that context.  viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30591&p=364699&hilit=nlp#p364699
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Thanks Awake for responding. EpistemologyResults:
The study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity.
Some points of interest I pulled out.

A. study or a theory of the....

B. nature and grounds of knowledge......
nature results: The inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing : essence,  disposition, temperament

grounds results: 1. A basis for belief, action, or argument  - ?  for complaint  - often used in plural  - sufficient ?s  for divorce.

2. A fundamental logical condition.
3. A basic "metaphysical" cause especially with reference to its limits and validity......

[metaphysical results: 2a.Of or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses  b. supernatural 3. Highly abstract or  abstruse also theoretical]

C. especially with reference to its limits and validity.
A basic "metaphysical" cause especially with reference to its limits and validity......
Your answer comes from Watzlawicks first axiom of communication, ‘One cannot not communicate’. I’m glad you asked the question Danny because it does go far beyond this simplistic little statement, but it is also the answer to your question… no, one cannot not learn from their situation. They have written in detail about this, but for starters check this out.

Pragmatics of Human Communication
A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes
Chapter: Psychotherapy


Paul Watzlawick, Janet Beavin Bavelas, and Donald D. Jackson
Published by W. W. Norton and Co/NY in 1967
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2007

Axiom: One Can Not Not Communicate. "Behavior has no opposite; one cannot not behave," the authors say, "if it is accepted that all behavior in an interactional situation has message value, i. e., is communication, it follows that no matter how one may try, one cannot not communicate." (from page 48) One need only watch the police psychiatrist on the tv program Law & Order interview reluctant suspects as to their state of mind during a criminal act to confirm that one cannot not communicate. Whatever the suspects do or say during the interview, the psychiatrist develops a diagnosis of their state of mind during the act in question.

[page 50,51] The impossibility of not communicating is a phenomenon of more than theoretical interest. It is, for instance, part and parcel of the schizophrenic "dilemma." If the schizophrenic behavior is observed with etiological considerations in abeyance, it appears that the schizophrenic tries to not communicate. But since even nonsense, silence, withdrawal, immobility (postural silence), or any other form of denial is itself a communication, the schizophrenic is faced with the impossible task of denying that he is communicating and at the same time denying that his denial is a communication.

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@ Danny

As a follow up to your definitions, that is relatable to this post (Neuro Linguistic Programming, or NLP, in particular, we can also define ‘Epistemology’ as ‘ how we think about our thinking’. It  appropriately incorporates the ‘meta’ concept in that respect.

Double Bind, Alcoholics Anonymous, Gregory Bateson, Esalen

I have selected a couple parts from this article. This is of particularly important historical relevance in terms of program history and Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m adding the intro for history’s sake.

 "Nature, Mind, and Consciousness: Gregory Bateson and the New Paradigm" was published in Phoenix: Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 5/2/31:72, 1981.   --Stanislov Grof

 In the early 1960s, when I was working at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Czechoslovakia, I became interested in the work of Gregory Bateson and other researchers at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. I wrote a paper that introduced the work of this group to Eastern Europe. It was entitled "New Approach to Some Psychiatric Problems (Schizophrenia, Hypnosis, Play, Ritual, Humor, Psychotherapy, et alia): Synopsis of the Views of the Palo Alto Group." In Czech, published in Csl. Psychol. 8:121, 1964.

In the years following my arrival in the United States on March 7, 1967, as Clinical and Research Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, I made several attempts to meet Gregory, but to no avail. When my journeys took me to places where he was expected to be, I kept missing him, since he himself traveled at that time to other places. Last time I missed him (by two days) was when I traveled to Honolulu where he was conducting research with dolphins. It was a series of very frustrating experiences, considering how much I wanted to meet him.

This pattern changed unexpectedly and radically when I was invited to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, by its co-founder Michael Murphy. In the spring of 1977,

Gregory was diagnosed with cancer of the size of a grapefruit sitting on his vena cava and was given four weeks to live. Michael Murphy invited him to spend the last weeks of his life at Esalen. Everybody who had any healing ambitions, descended on Gregory and he survived two-and-a-half years. My dream to meet Gregory came true, albeit under very sad and unexpected circumstances. I had the extraordinary pleasure and honor to spend countless hours with him as his close friend and colleague. Our friendship included our families – Gregory’s wife Lois and his daughter Nora, Christina and our children Nathaniel and Sarah. Gregory came many times as guest faculty to the monthlong seminars that Christina and I conducted at Esalen and we spend many hours in fascinating discussions.

The following paper is a summary of a seminar that I gave at Esalen after Gregory’s death, trying to convey his most important ideas to interested audiences. The article, entitled Nature, Mind, and Consciousness: Gregory Bateson and the New Paradigm, was published in Phoenix: Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 5/2/31:72, 1981…..

The Double Bind Theory of Schizophrenia.

In human beings, the satisfaction of basic and derived needs and security is critically dependent on their relation to the group and thus on the quality of their interpersonal relationships. This fact is further accentuated by the excessive duration of biological, emotional, and social dependence in humans, which is unparalleled in nature. With a few exceptions, plants are typically independent of other plants and can survive on their own, using minerals from the soil, water from the environment, and the energy of the sun. Many animals can survive independently from the time of their birth, other species show varying length of dependency on the parents; however, the dependency is much shorter and less exclusive than in humans. Since under these circumstances the quality of the relationships with others is of such critical importance, it is essential for the individual to master metacommunication. To assess correctly the type of relationship that one has with another person and to behave appropriately, it is mandatory to decipher accurately the messages coming from the other person and to label accurately the messages one is sending.

In view of the critical importance of the quality of interpersonal relationships for satisfaction and security that one experiences as a human being, disturbances and breakdowns of meta-communication can have very serious consequences. In his study of animal communication, Gregory Bateson discovered that animals do not exchange signals about things, but about relationships; as a matter of fact, they communicate about things by defining relation-ships. His favorite example was that of a cat trying to get food from its owner. He or she is emitting sounds that the owner interprets as requests for food or milk. However, careful observation and analysis of cat behavior shows that these are sounds that characterize the relationship of a kitten to a cat. They are defining the owner as a maternal organism who is expected to provide food.

Humans have developed the ability to communicate quite specifically about things. However, human language still contains the kinesic and paralinguistic elements from the earlier stages of evolution. While we are sending concrete and specific verbal messages, we are also defining through metacommunication what relationship we have or would like to have with the person involved.

Gregory Bateson illustrated this quite explicitly in a lecture, which he gave on communication among dolphins. During this talk, he said to the audience: "I stand here and talk, while you listen and watch. I try to convince you, try to get you to see things my way, try to earn your respect, try to indicate my respect for you, challenge you, and so on. What is really taking place is a discussion of the patterns of our relationship, all according to the rules of a scientific conference about whales. So it is to be human." While animals communicate about things by defining relationships, humans send messages about relationships while seemingly discussing things.

The basic idea of Gregory Bateson's theory of schizophrenia is that this disorder basically represents a breakdown of metacommunication.  Psychogenetically, this problem can than be traced to a specific disturbance in the communication between the mother and the future schizophrenic which involves what he called a "double bind.” The basic characteristics of this situation are the following:

1. The child is in a relationship of vital dependency, where it is critical to identify correctly the communication from the mother.

2. He or she is receiving from the mother messages which are contradictory, since the qualifying metacommunication denies the verbal content or is otherwise incompatible with it.

3. The child does not have the opportunity to ask questions to clarify the communication.

4. The child cannot leave the field. Under these circumstances, he or she is forced to distort his or her perception of the outer world and of the inner feelings, and is incapable to develop meta-communicational skills.

 The concept of the double bind as developed by Gregory Bateson was an important step beyond the descriptions of the personality of the "schizophrenogenic mother.” It not only defined the specific type of interaction between the mother and the child, but by showing its deleterious effect on metacommunication, it connected it to certain essential aspects of schizophrenia. In this context, it also became clearer how the mother's own problems generate specific difficulties for the child. The mother has a very powerful emotional relationship with the child, but it is a relationship of a particular kind. Because of her own complicated history, she has great problems with intimacy. Intimate contact with the child generates anxiety in the mother and is intolerable. She thus has to withdraw from any situation that comes too close to an intimate emotional encounter. However, at the same time, she has a strong concept as to how a mother should behave and how she should behave as a mother. As a result, her own behavior becomes unacceptable to her; she has to deny this aspect of her behavior to herself and she will also deny it in her communication with the child.

Under these circumstances, the child will be receiving two levels of messages: verbal messages which are various forms of assurance of love and non-verbal metacommunication expressing the specific negative aspects of the relationship. Since one set of messages denies the other, it is in principle impossible to decode the communication properly until and unless the individual is mature enough to master metacommunication. It is important to emphasize that the child is in a vital relationship; it is impossible to be caught in a double bind situation with a milkman delivering milk in the morning or some other easily replaceable relationship. The only solution to this situation would be a metastatement clarifying the communication, such as: "Wait a minute ..... you are saying one thing and acting another way... what do you really mean?" This is, of course, not available to the child. In addition, correct decoding of the messages would be too frightening and unbearable for the child. It would reveal that his mother on whom his survival depends does not love him, is inconsistent, and that he cannot rely on her.

Gregory's favorite example was a situation in which a mother, annoyed by a child who is active and noisy, tries to get rid of him by saying: "Darling, it is very late and you must be terribly tired; mommy will put you to bed. You know I mean well for you." The message misrepresents the truth about the matter. It says "you are tired and need to sleep" instead of "I really need some space for myself." Messages and situations of this type force the child to deny or disregard his or her inner clues and accept what the mother is saying.

Metacommunication is extremely important in human communication and individuals who do not master it tend to have great interpersonal difficulties. Metacommunicationally inept persons who are incapable to read subtle signals, understand jokes, and decode hidden meanings become easily victims and scapegoats of their peers. There has been much discussion, whether this mechanism is sufficient to explain serious psychopathology encountered in schizophrenic patients. Gregory Bateson himself believed that much of schizophrenic symptomatology can be understood as a total breakdown of metacommunication.

To illustrate this, he used to refer to the following formula characterizing a typical situation in which a message is sent to another person:

I communicate


to you

in this situation

 When we study schizophrenic symptomatology, we will find that much of it can be explained by assuming that the schizophrenic is systematically trying to avoid defining the type of relationship that he or she has with the person with whom he is communicating.  This can be done by denying any of the four elements in the above formula describing communication. The fact that it is he or she who is communicating can be negated in many different ways. It is possible to assume a different identity and refer to oneself as Christ, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, or a misplaced extraterrestrial. Another variation would be to indicate that what is being done, is done under the influence of hypnosis, a diabolical gadget, noxious radiation, or some brain-influencing chemical. This is a mechanism frequently used by people who have drunk alcohol or have taken LSD ("this is not me, it is the drug doing it"). It is possible to refer to the fact that what one is doing reflects role, position, or duty rather than being a personal act. One can also present oneself as a channel of God or some other entity, simply mediating somebody else's will. A behavior that reflects the orders of persecutory voices is another example from this category.

 The second item in the formula, the fact that something was communicated, can also be denied in different ways. It is possible to make another statement suggesting that nothing was communicated, denying explicitly what was said before, or indicating that it was meant to be a joke. One can also pretend that nothing was communicated at all, as for example by showing amnesia. Another way of denying that communication occurred is to qualify it as soliloquy. A characteristic schizophrenic manifestation serving this purpose is the use of neologisms.

 The third element in Gregory Bateson's communication formula refers to the person to whom the message is addressed. A schizophrenic patient can achieve such negation by pretending that he is talking about doctors or people in general rather than to his psychiatrist. He can assign a delusional identity not only to himself, but also to people in his environment. The fact that he is talking to falsely identified, hallucinated, or fictitious persons then relieves him from full responsibility for his communications.

 The last line of the formula describes the situation in which communication occurs, or its context. A patient can deny the consensus context of the situation – the geographical place and historical time - and talks about the fact that he or she is in a concentration camp, in Nazi Germany, on a death row, on a different planet, or transposed to the past or the future. In this way much of schizophrenic symptomatology can be seen as a result of a total breakdown of metacommunication. As a result, the patient is incapable to distinguish between fantasy or metaphor and their literal meaning in the context of consensus reality.

Weakland, one of the researchers in Gregory Bateson's Palo Alto group, described a patient who kept talking about a world full of spaceships, cosmic journeys, rockets, alien planets, goldmines, and submarines. Had he been a science fiction writer working on his novels, his preoccupation and his language would have been perfectly normal.  However, his communication was not properly defined and framed; he was not indicating that he was telling interesting stories to amuse people, but pretended that he was describing everyday reality. One of his statements, "I was born and brought up on Mars", was psychotic when taken literally. However, as a metaphor, the planet of the god of war was a very appropriate description of the family environment in which this patient grew up. Similarly, there is a fine line between Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland, which is full of witty neologisms, and the writings of a schizophrenic patient.


….and another selection from  the above as this relates to Alcoholics Anonymous and the Double bind.

  A Theory of Alcoholism: The Cybernetics of "Self."

Another major psychiatric problem that Gregory Bateson explored in his original way, was the logic of alcoholic addiction and the mystery of the good results achieved by the organization Alcoholics Anonymous.

He came to several surprising conclusions:

l. To understand the dynamics of alcoholic addiction, psychiatry needs an entirely new epistemology based on cybernetics and systems theory, which would involve a radically different understanding of the mind, of the self, of human relationships, and of power.

2. The addicted alcoholic is operating while sober in terms of an epistemology, which is conventional and widely accepted in Western civilization, but is not acceptable from the point of view of systems theory.

3. Surrender to alcoholic intoxication provides a partial and subjective shortcut to a more correct state of mind.

4. The ideology and theology of Alcoholics Anonymous reflects quite closely the epistemology of cybernetics.

Gregory Bateson's basic premise was that the sober life of the alcoholic drives him to drink, or contains the reasons for his drinking. His state of sobriety must, therefore, contain some error or pathology, and the intoxication must provide some, at least subjective, correction of this error. As a result of it, it is not to be expected that any procedure that reinforces his particular style of sobriety will be successful in controlling his alcoholism.

It is conceivable that the alcoholic is somehow more sane than the people around him and that the ordinary way of being in the world, accepted by many others, is intolerable for him. Alcohol could thus serve as an escape from personal enslavement to the false ideals of materialistic society. Some people obviously drink to find relief from grief, resentment, or physical pain. However, the relationship between sobriety and intoxication seems to be more specific than mere anesthesia. The intoxication may be seen as an appropriate subjective correction for some intolerable aspects of the state of sobriety.

Gregory Bateson's analysis of alcoholism is based on ontological and epistemological insights derived from cybernetics and information theory. Ontology is a discipline that explores the nature of the world and of human beings. Epistemology is interested in problems related to acquiring knowledge about the world: how we know what sort of the world this is, or what kind of creatures we are that we can know something. Ontology and epistemology are closely related. Cybernetics and information theory make the ontology and epistemology of Cartesian-Newtonian science untenable.

The world of cybernetics is not the world of separate and independently existing solid material objects. We never deal with material objects, but with their sensory transforms, or information about them ("There are no coconuts and pigs in the brain").

Information is based on differences and differences are intangible entities; they cannot be localized in time or space. Information travels and undergoes successive transformation in a circuit.

We can use here as examples the complex circuits of information involved in a situation where a lumberjack is cutting down a tree, the problem of the boundaries of a blind man with a white cane crossing the street, or the question as to where is located the information about a piece of paper that we see on a rug. Similarly, Shakespeare's Hamlet can be read as a literary piece, told in a sign language, staged in a theater, made into a film, or broadcast as a radio or television show. It is entirely independent of the media through which it is communicated.

Reality thus can be seen as an infinitely intricate system of information circuits of many different orders of complexity. In such a world any boundaries are ultimately arbitrary or illusory. This leads to an entirely new definition of mentation and mind. From this point of view any ensemble of events, which has the appropriate complexity of causal circuits and the appropriate energy relations shows mental characteristics. It will be responsive to difference, process information, and be self-corrective. All this is happening in the systems in addition to the operation of the ordinary physical "causes," such as energy, impact, and force.

Psychology and psychiatry in their effort to emulate physics, have put their thrust in the wrong direction. They have "bet on the wrong horse" by emphasizing energy instead of information which is characteristic for mental functioning. The use of the term "energy" in psychology is a sort of "fuss on the palate;" it is certainly quite different from what this term means in physics. It gives psychology a pseudoscientific flavor, but is entirely misleading. The clash between these two different approaches to reality - emphasis on substance and measurable quantities versus emphasis on form, pattern, and order (information) can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophy, where it found its expression in the conflict between the Ionic school of Miletos (Thales, Anaximenes, Anaximandros), on the one hand, and the Platonic and Pythagorean schools on the other.

Since in this new type of thinking and analyzing reality, mentation is a function of interconnection, interaction, and information exchange rather than an isolated property of specific highly developed components, it is conceivable in this context not only to attribute mind to individual cells, tissues, human societies and large eco-systems, but also to the entire universe. Cybernetics and information theory thus come close to a concept of immanent universal mind or God.

The major difference between this worldview and the great Oriental philosophies is the fact that the latter see God as both immannent in and transcending the phenomenal world and that they emphasize the primary role of consciousness in the universal scheme of things. The concept of a transcendental God and the role of consciousness are issues that cannot be accessed and explored by the methods of analysis characteristic for cybernetics and information theory and has to be reserved to approaches directly studying non-ordinary states of consciousness.

From the above point of view, it is absurd to talk about the individual (or "body ego), the family, or the species as independently functioning entities or Darwinian units of survival. At the same time, it is in principle impossible for any part of an interactive system to have unilateral control over the remainder or over any other part. The mental characteristics are inherent in the ensemble as a whole. The examples that we can use to illustrate this point range from a steam engine through an individual attempting "selfcontrol" to a demagogue such as Hitler or Goebbels trying to impose his will on a nation. In all these situations the "controlling" agent is himself controlled by feedback from the system.

An essential characteristic of the  alcoholic is pride  which is not based on past achievements, but on obsessive acceptance of a future challenge:  "I Can." The challenge component of alcoholic pride is linked with risk-taking. Once sobriety is achieved, it ceases to be a challenge and has to be violated in order to become once again a goal which is worthy of one's efforts. This creates a vicious circle where drinking leads to efforts to be sober, but sobriety invites resuming of drinking. The second important dynamic aspect of alcoholism is related to interpersonal interaction and maneuvers. There is a very strong tendency toward symmetry in the Western drinking patterns - matching each other drink for drink. With the development of addiction, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain this social pattern. The alcoholic becomes a solitary drinker; at this point, he is usually labeled as weak. His struggle to resist the bottle changes into a more deadly symmetrical conflict; he must now prove that the bottle will not kill him. At the same time, his relations with the boss, wife, children, and others are now changing into complementary ones that his pride cannot tolerate and he responds to them in a rebellious fashion.   In sum, the relationship between the alcoholic and his real or fictitious "other" is clearly symmetrical and schismogenic - creating progressive changes toward escalation of the conflict.

The "treadmill of symmetrical pride" is just half of the picture in alcoholism. It is the alcoholic's battling with the bottle and with the unrealistic and absurd epistemology of self-control imposed on him by his relatives and friends. The other half of the picture is the alternative provided by the alcoholic intoxication. It involves a complementary surrender when the entire epistemology of the alcoholic changes. His anxieties and resentments vanish as if by magic and his self-control is lessened; he feels psychological warmth and becomes once again part of humanity. Much of the success of Alcoholics Anonymous can be understood in terms of the above observations.

 The need to test self-control by drinking is eliminated by AA's basic credo: "An alcoholic is incapable to control his drinking; once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." In this context, maintaining sobriety is a great achievement under any circumstances. Great emphasis is placed on "hitting bottom," which is considered almost a conditio sine qua non for success in rehabilitating an alcoholic. This can be brought about by many sorts of disasters in the alcoholic's life, such as delirium tremens, injury or accident, amnesia for certain important events and periods of time, rejection by wife and children, or hopeless diagnosis. This is an important move toward a complementary epistemology.

The alcoholic is encouraged to go and test his inability to control his drinking by starting and ending abruptly; this certainly represents a therapeutic double-bind. The bankruptcy of the epistemology of self-control leads the alcoholic to surrender to a bigger system than himself. This prepares him for accepting an even greater surrender, surrender to the supreme power of God. This can be greatly accelerated by hitting bottom. The God of AA is personal and is intimately linked with each person - "God as you understand God."

favorable relationship with this divine power is achieved through surrender; by resisting this power, alcoholics and people in general bring disasters upon themselves. This is all understandable in terms of the epistemology of cybernetics, according to which the ego is only a small part of a much larger trial-and-error system that does the thinking, deciding, and acting. The ego is a false reification of an improperly delimited part of a much larger field of interlocking processes. The idea of personal power and unilateral control is foreign to AA; the organization is democratic and is seen as being greater than any of its members.

Anonymity is an essential characteristic and grabbing the spotlight and selfseeking is considered great spiritual danger. The single purpose of the AA is a noncompetitive relationship to the larger world. The symmetrical life-strategy of the alcoholic and his effort for unilateral control is just an exaggeration and caricature of the situation which is characteristic for Western culture. If we believe that our relation to the world and to the largest system which concerns us - the "Power greater than self"- is symmetrical and can be emulated, we are in error and deep trouble. Thinking and operating in terms of Cartesian dualism of mind versus matter leads to a world of irreconcilable polarities and conflicts - God versus man; elite versus commons; chosen race or religion versus others; nation versus nation; and humanity versus environment. It was Gregory's believe that it is questionable whether a species with advanced technology and this strange epistemology can survive. In his own words, such a species has “the chance of a snowball in hell.”



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