CHAPTER XI:  The Second Bad Result

The second kind of effect will be noticed while young, but not understood

The second kind of effect can be examined by viewing the distress mis-storage as a recording. Carrying this distress-experience recording, we are now “booby-trapped.”

When we are confronted by a new experience that is similar enough to the recorded distress experience we are compulsively forced to meet it with an attempted re-enactment of the old distress experience.

One might say that, “reminded too much of” the old distress experience, we are forced to behave as if we were some kind of walking “juke-box.” In effect, the new experience “pushes the button.” The recording of the old, miserable experience then rolls out as if from a rack onto a “turntable in our head.” The recording now plays us!  (Fig. 9)

The person now in the grip of this recording of an old distress experience says things that are not pertinent, does things that don’t work, fails to cope with the situation, and endures terrible feelings that have nothing to do with the present. This is sub-human behavior, quite unlike the creative, capable behavior of a thinking person.

We are all familiar with these occurrences as we observe them in other people, though we have not understood them. We can almost (almost!) say that we have never had any trouble with another human being except for just this sort of occurrence; i.e., except for the irrational way people behave when they are upset.

Otherwise, we get along fine with everyone, don’t we?

The “almost” above allows for the times when we become upset and we behave irrationally. We can accept the existence of such times logically, but we are not capable of observing them at the time.

The experience which “reminds us too much of” the old distress experience and thus triggers the distress recording into “taking over” may be itself a distress experience. It may contain occurrences intrinsically distressing to us. This may be one of the strong points of similarity to the old one. It does not, however, have to be intrinsically distressing to have this effect.

All that is necessary is that it be similar enough in enough ways, that it smell enough like the old one, have enough of the same voices, colors, characters in it. When this requirement is met, then distress feelings indistinguishable to the person feeling them from current ones are supplied by the re-stimulated recording. The present experience feels and affects us like a distress one, even though perfectly innocent in its actual content.

In the grip of the re-stimulated distress recording, the person talks foolishly, acts inaccurately and unsuccessfully, and feels terrible feelings that have no logical connection with what is actually going on.


Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07