Having DID is, for many people, a very lonely thing. If this book reaches some people whose experiences resonate with mine and gives them a sense that they aren't alone, that there is hope, then I will have achieved one of my goals. A sad fact is that people with DID spend an average of almost seven years in the mental health system before being properly diagnosed and receiving the specific help they need. During that repeatedly misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated, simply because clinicians fail to recognize the symptoms. If this book provides practicing and future clinicians certain insight into DID, then I will have accomplished another goal. Clinicians and all others whose lives are touched by DID, need to grasp the fundamentally illusive nature of memory, because memory, or the lack of it, is an integral component of this condition. Our minds are stock pots which are continuously fed ingredients from many cooks: parents, siblings, relatives, neighbors, teachers, schoolmates, strangers, acquaintances, radio, television, movies and books. These are the fixings of learning and memory, which are stirred with a spoon that changes form over time as it is shaped by our experiences. In this incredibly amorphous neurological stew, it is impossible for all memories to be exact.But even as we accept the complex of impressionistic nature of memory, it is equally essential to recognize that people who experience persistent and intrusive memories that disrupt their sense of well-being and ability to function, have some real basis distress, regardless of the degree of clarity or feasibility of their recollections. We must understand that those who experience abuse as children and particularly those who experience incest, almost invariably suffer from a profound sense of guilt and shame that is not meliorated merely by unearthing memories or focusing on the content of traumatic material. It is not enough to just remember. Nor is achieving a sense of wholeness and peace necessarily accomplished by either placing blame on others or by forgiving those we perceive as having wronged us. It is achieved through understanding, acceptance and reinvention of the self.
Cameron West
Centuries of navel-gazing. Millennia of masturbation. Plato to Descartes to Dawkins to Rhanda. Souls and zombie agents and qualia. Kolmogorov complexity. Consciousness as Divine Spark. Consciousness as electromagnetic field. Consciousness as functional cluster.I explored it all.Wegner thought it was an executive summary. Penrose heard it in the singing of caged electrons. Nirretranders said it was a fraud; Kazim called it leakage from a parallel universe. Metzinger wouldn't even admit it existed. The AIs claimed to have worked it out, then announced they couldn't explain it to us. Gödel was right after all: no system can fully understand itself.Not even the synthesists had been able to rotate it down. The load-bearing beams just couldn't take the strain.All of them, I began to realize, had missed the point. All those theories, all those drugdreams and experiments and models trying to prove what consciousness was: none to explain what it was good for. None needed: obviously, consciousness makes us what we are. It lets us see the beauty and the ugliness. It elevates us into the exalted realm of the spiritual. Oh, a few outsiders—Dawkins, Keogh, the occasional writer of hackwork fiction who barely achieved obscurity—wondered briefly at the why of it: why not soft computers and no more? Why should nonsentient systems be inherently inferior? But they never really raised their voices above the crowd. The value of what we are was too trivially self-evident to ever call into serious question.Yet the questions persisted, in the minds of the laureates, in the angst of every horny fifteen-year-old on the planet. Am I nothing but sparking chemistry? Am I a magnet in the ether? I am more than my eyes, my ears, my tongue; I am the little thing behind those things, the thing looking out from inside. But who looks out from its eyes? What does it reduce to? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?What a stupid fucking question. I could have answered it in a second, if Sarasti hadn't forced me to understand it first.
Peter Watts