1.5.2 Self-Esteem

In the previous post, I’ve shown that dominance is a two ways amplifier of thought. Quantitatively, it increases its throughput and qualitatively, it catalyzes its connections which are established on an anarchic basis during a manic episode. The neocortex is unable to cope with the flight of ideas. Therefore this sentiment of losing control leads to the feeling that thoughts are not under the mind control any more. Manic mood has also a significant amplifying impact on another part of the self. Up front, it could be argued that it would be possible to neutrally observe the whirling ideas and wait for them to end. You could somehow get used to the storm thinking it’s not really real. This is made impossible by a well-known psychological trait: Self-Esteem. From an evolutionary psychology perspective, it is linked with the “mating value” or, more poetically, the “romantic desirability”. Science confirms what we know intuitively: Women are attracted by self-confident men.

Source: Evolutionary Psychology – ISSN 1474-7049 – Volume 9(2). 2011. / An Implicit Theory of Self-Esteem: The Consequences of Perceived Self-Esteem for Romantic Desirability
The present studies provide additional support for the existence of an implicit theory of self-esteem such that an individual’s level of self-esteem influences how he or she is perceived by others. The results of the present studies found that individuals with ostensibly higher levels of self-esteem were generally viewed more positively on domains related to romantic desirability than those with lower levels of self-esteem. However, important exceptions to this pattern emerged such that women with high self-esteem were not always viewed positively on dimensions such as Warmth-Trustworthiness and attractiveness.

Let’s be more specific than the study. For males, self-esteem is a key factor in access to reproduction. It is more important in males than in females as it is pointed out in the study. Self-esteem follows the fluctuations of the mood level in bipolar patients. So the more you are dominant, the more your mood is elevated, the stronger is the self-esteem. This is again a pure logic statement that self-esteem depends on dominance or mood. And manic symptoms just demonstrate it. “Inflated self-esteem” is located on top of the pdoc check list.

Psychologists have a slightly differing definition of self-esteem. It is more mind centric in the sense that it is an external evaluation of the subject vis-à-vis his own set of values. When this evaluation has a positive outcome, self-esteem follows the same positive path. In between the psychiatrist and psychologist views, a more neurologic oriented definition would underline the link between self-esteem and dominance brain chemistry. Dominance does not depend on the subject decision otherwise the evolution game will be flawed. Likewise I cannot decide suddenly to be self-confident. To me, Self-confidence is a neurologic mechanism that evaluates the self vis-à-vis… himself. Dominance and self-confidence are not the same though. I had racing thoughts without increased self-esteem. So it demonstrates that self-esteem doesn’t take command. Dominance is the highest system level that controls the manic symptom like self-confidence and racing thoughts.

To make things a little bit clearer, let’s try to derive the definition from experience. We all know these people that we reject because their self-esteem, their evaluation of themselves compare to themselves, does not match their actual capacities. This does not prevent the subject from keeping on acting like a braggart. You can talk to him, you can show how stupid he is, he will nonetheless goes on and on although the milieu is rejecting him. In order to explain this appalling perseverance, you need to understand self-esteem as a neurologic function. Paradoxically it does not “estimate” or “evaluate” because the dominance system does that and decides the self confidence level. When the dominance is up, there is an increase in the perception that you are right whatever the external conditions. That is exactly what I mean by increased self-esteem. This is a self-protection system that supports thinking and action. It protects them for external aggression like the judgment of others and the danger of the milieu. To summarize, self-esteem enables you to be you without doubt. The more you reduce the doubts about yourself, the more you are self-confident. This completely sounds at normal level of dominance. You can be sure like 2 + 2 = 4, or that you’re usual workplace is not going to move suddenly 1000 miles away. All these information were learned and are part of you. This is reasonable self-esteem at work. So you may ask how we can affect self-esteem. The more relevant question is why mood has ups and downs or why dominance fluctuates. The answer is not simple as you may think.

When dominance shifts to overdominance (mania), the self-esteem protection goes stronger and stronger until a point where the maniac is isolated from the milieu. He won’t be fit anymore because his self-esteem, which is usually a reasonable guarantee that what you are is true, has reached a level that locks him up in a mental jail. He will think that he’s absolutely true or fit for reality while he has already lost grip on it. Craziness is not only delusion. It is also the total absence of doubt which triggers absolute agreement to whatever is flying in a manic mind. Delirium should be separated from its manic agreement if you want to understand self-esteem as I do. The more incredible is the delusion, the stronger the self-esteem needs to be so that the madman can believe in what he says. At high level of dominance, believe me, his sincerity cannot be challenged!

Self-esteem has a fascinating effect on thought. All people think that thought is neutral. In fact it has a taste which can only be detected by bipolar. An indeed normal person does not feel variation of dominance as it is small and slow. Only a sudden change in dominance makes it possible to feel the self-esteem induced taste. I will always remember these 40 seconds where my thoughts were racing. The speed was not the most impressing phenomenon. The most amazing was the absolute belief that those thoughts were true. I don’t even remember their contents. Only the sentiment of absolute truth would remain carved in my brain. Racing thoughts and self-esteem can be separate phenomenon even if they are triggered by elevated mood (dominance). You can handle the pace of the ideas but it is very hard to stay sane if self-esteem stay at a high level over a long period. I had racing thoughts without being absolutely convinced so these phenomena are distinct. Self-esteem makes everything within the range of your inner self a Truth irrespective of the environment. It seems these things happen to the cleverest people even if they are not bipolars. This demonstrates that there is an underlying cause behind all this which makes mood disorders a proximate cause. The ultimate cause is a dominance fluctuation which is short and devoid of dire aftermath.

Source: Les démons de Gödel, the Gödel’s Daemons, Pierre Cassou Noguès
Between 1906 and 1910, Husserl had a psychological crisis…During this period, at a particular moment, everything became suddenly clear and he reached an absolute knowledge.

To Gödel, It seems not possible to “transfer this absolute knowledge to someone else. You cannot publish it”. You know why? Obviously because truth is not a discursive thought, it is a powerful feeling that makes your ideas feel like truth. In some twisted way, at dominance peak, if you think that you’re the next designated messiah then you are going to believe it courtesy of this powerful misleading feeling of utter clarity. Truth is not reached, but something else is hit. You don’t guess what? We’ll discuss that in a next episode.

The problem with this particular kind of certitude is that it can lead to paranoia essentially because the certitude object is you. You are absolutely sure of what you think and do. This inflates your ego in a pathologic way to such an extent where suspicion arise vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Everyone’s plotting against you to put an end to your exceptional life full of certitude. If one day, paranoia is to be seriously understood, then the neural self-esteem effect will have to be deciphered. As far as I am concerned I’ve never felt paranoia. However I can understand people going berserk if a peak of self-esteem last more than 40 seconds.

Nature is going to have a hard time trying to find a solution to this excess of self-esteem which disconnects you from the world. This breeze that whispers into your ears everyday: “You’re right being what you are, you’re right thinking what you think, and you are worth living your life” become a manic hurricane that vociferates: “you are god, you’re absolutely right, what you think is irrespective of the environment”. The maniac is sincere but he’s also way out of line. His truth is said without any sensible analysis of the external world: “I’m god, I’m Napoleon, I’m Mother Mary”. The Excess of self-esteem is fascinating. At a normal level, it is a dominant trait that is appreciated by the opposite sex. Thus this increases your selective value. However, it collapses during the manic excesses because you lose grip with reality. If your representation of reality is completely wrong, you will act in a way that will decrease your chance survival chances and leads you to an almost certain Darwinian death.

In the previous post r(evolution), I established a link between the selective value and dominance and we concluded that beyond a certain threshold, the fitness plummeted. Excess of self-esteem is the main culprit for that. This harmless sensation, that enables us to live and link concepts confidently at euthymia, becomes a mental jail during mania. Nature will have to solve this excess by counterbalancing self-esteem with superior brain functions (Doubt, deliberation, analysis…). However, it will surely not suppress self-esteem because it is necessary in the evolution game for it is the link between what is thought and what is done effectively. Millions years ago, crazy fishes needed a firm conviction to get out of the water. This was protected by some kind of self-esteem. Nature is logical. It creates new behaviors and isolates it from all what can interfere with it. It wants you to go down it. Dominance is what happens inside that push for novelty. Fishes will try until a mutation enables them to survive outside the water. The question is why would fish get out of the water whilst they are particularly well outfitted to survive in water? Nature needs crazy fish. Nature needs craziness.

The instinct that pushes people to adventure is related to Self-esteem. You should not reduce this trait to an automatic and visible capacity to brag. It can express itself in seemingly normal and humble people. It runs within the veins of famous French sailors like Tabarly. Our admiration for these people stem from the fact they are dominant. Courage is a form of self-esteem. Courageous people are confident that they will be able to overcome whatever obstacles are on their way. These people are not wannabe, they risk their lives and this fascinates us in some ways.

Self-esteem turns easily new connections into thoughts, new thoughts into will and new will into actions. Action is more based on certitude than doubt. This explains the legendary distractibility of manic people. Their uncontrollable thoughts are turned into certitude by self-esteem which is then acted upon. Hence multiple whimsical projects will flourish because of the exuberant creativity of the mind unconstrained activity. The maniac is sheltered from doubt and contradiction but keen on acting upon protean ideas. This will make him sink into his world. As far as I’m concerned, in my first manic episode, the idea of death was not longer frightening. To such an extent I wanted to know what was next and I found all this very amusing. Self-esteem just made the conservation instinct disappear. Did you doubt about the overdominance power? Mania is stronger than you.

Source : http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37010.php
EN: Thoughts come and go rapidly (racing thoughts). Sometimes, bizarre solutions come to the patient’s mind, and they are acted upon. This may involve, for example, attempting to re-wire the house or re-arrange everything that is in the fridge in order to solve a totally unrelated problem.

The maniac always chooses is own perspective, break all limits confidently. The social group excludes him. All information reaches the maniac, however the self-esteem filter interprets everything with his absolute ego. During my up, my emotions are no more affected negatively and I don’t suffer from the relationships with others. Things are easier because self-confidence shield me from the exterior. I feel like I’m really myself without fear or anxiety. Self-esteem is really something that turns you into a terminator. I’ve always been fascinated by the power of this character. It complies with a formal computer logic which is a sort of absolute form of certitude. No parasite emotions hinder the accomplishment of its objective. This is self-esteem at its highest: a caricature of yourself.

In the next post we will address one last ingredient necessary to get as mad as hell.

Green day / she
She’s figured out
All her doubts were someone else’s point of view
Waking up this time
To smash the silence with the brick of self-control

Steppenwolf / born to be wild
Get your motor running
head out on the highway.
Looking for adventure
in whatever comes our way
Yeah, darling
Gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once and
Explode into space
I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racing in the wind
And the feeling that I’m under
Yeah, darling
Gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once and
Explode into space
Like a true nature child
We were born
Born to be wild
We have climbed so high
Never want to die
Born to be wild
Born to be wild

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