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The Distortion-Interference-Crosstalk Model of Mental Disorder

April 22, 2012

This is a scribbled idea from when I was in a rather extreme place mentally, and is meant to convey a conceptual understanding of how my more extreme mental states can appear.

Consider an audio signal passing through a nonlinear device such as a tube-based amplifier (or distortion/overdrive pedal).

  1. At low levels, no distortion occurs: this is dry, linear and boring.
  2. At reasonable levels, some musical distortion occurs, which is nice and warm.
  3. At high levels, too much distortion occurs, and the signal becomes lost in a noisy mess.

Bipolar people are those capable of pushing their mental faculties past level 1, through level 2 all the way to level 3.  Others appear to have some level of self-limitation.  Level 2 feels great, until one reaches level 3 whereupon disorder sets in.The art is to manage the level without forcibly confining yourself to level 1, and without getting too far past level 2.

Now consider lots of signal carrying cables in a confined space.  There will be crosstalk, the ‘guitar’ signal bleeding into the ‘bass’ or the ‘keyboard’ signals.  One solution is well known to audio professionals: balancing which is, in effect, adding an awareness of crosstalk.  This is achieved by having a reference ‘cold’ wire next to the ‘hot’ one, the idea being that both will pick up the same interference and crosstalk which then allows one to subtract out the interference.  Thus with sufficient awareness of the problem you can do something about it.  (This view is my guess as to roughly what goes on in the brain of someone with synaesthesia or some aspects of what is know as schizophrenia, and I firmly believe that developed awareness is a key technique in the recovery from the latter, and the beginning of a journey of self-understanding, reaching a point where the condition is no longer a problem, but a fun and interesting aspect of life to be loved and enjoyed.)

It is thinking such as this which first began my interest into working with mind in various ways, such as mindfulness and the mental side of Taiji.

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From → Mental Health

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