Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Circumstantial Evidence Confirming a Paranoid Idea

In January 1991 I worked as a paralegal at the D.C. law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.  I believed that I was under surveillance by the managers of the firm.  I believed that the managers had acquired a copy of my autobiographical study, The Caliban Complex: An Attempt at Self-Analysis.

The Persian Gulf War began in January 1991.  I happened to see a television interview of Jerrold M. Post, M.D., a Professor of Psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center.  Dr. Post, an eminent figure in the field of political psychology, had written a psychological profile of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for the U.S. government.

I formed the paranoid idea that Akin Gump managers talked to Dr. Post about me, and I formed the specific belief that Dr. Post had said to the firm: "He wants to be respected" or words to that effect.  I never met Dr. Post or had any communications with him.  I had no hard evidence that Dr. Post, a nationally-prominent psychiatrist, had talked to Akin Gump's managers or that Dr. Post had offered any opinion about me.

Dr. Post played the lead role in developing the "Camp David profiles" of Menachem Begin and Anwar El Sadat for President Jimmy Carter.  Robert S. Strauss, Esq. had served as special ambassador for Middle East peace negotiations during the Carter Administration.  Mr. Strauss had personal meetings with Sadat and Begin.  He reportedly later said: "Sadat and Begin were fascinated by me!"

How odd it was, therefore, when I learned in December 1992 that Malcolm Lassman and Dennis M. Race -- two senior managers at the firm -- had (reportedly) spoken to the nationally-prominent psychiatrist Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D. in October 1991 about me and that she had in fact offered an opinion about me!  In some way my "paranoia" about Akin Gump was confirmed.  Akin Gump was, in fact, disposed to speak with a nationally prominent psychiatrist/psychoanalyst about me.  They admitted that.

Jerrold M. Post, M.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry, Political Psychology and International Affairs. He is also the Director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University (GWU). At the Center for Advanced Defense Studies he is a distinguished Fellow, holding the title of Chief Scientist, Political Psychology.

Dr. Post has devoted his entire career to the field of political psychology. Dr. Post joined GWU after a 21-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where he founded and directed the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, an interdisciplinary behavioral science unit which provided assessments of foreign leadership and decision making for the President and other senior officials to prepare for Summit meetings and other high level negotiations and for use in crisis situations.

Dr. Post initiated the US government program in understanding the psychology of terrorism. In recognition of his leadership at the Center, Dr. Post was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit in 1979, and received the Studies in Intelligence Award in 1980. He received the Nevitt Sanford Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Political Psychology in 2002.

A founding member of the International Society of Political Psychology, Dr. Post was elected Vice-President in 1994, and has served on the editorial board of Political Psychology since 1987. A Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he has been elected to the American College of Psychiatrists and is currently Chair of the APA's Task Force for National and International Terrorism and Violence.

An Unconscious Wish to be Under Surveillance?

In May 1983, while I was still living in Philadelphia, I purchased a biography, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century, by Martin Gregor-Dellin.  I was 29 years old.  I never had the suspicion that I was under surveillance by anyone.  I had never had any contact with law enforcement.  I moved to Washington three months later, in late August 1983, to attend American University law school.

There was a passage in the biography that struck me as uncanny in May 1983.  A chill ran through me when I read it.  I identified with the paragraph, although I could not draw any parallels to my own life.

The paragraph concerns Wagner's trip to Venice in 1858, where he wrote the second act of his opera Tristan und Isolde.

The paragraph reads: "The second act of Tristan very nearly sustained another dramatic interruption.  Wagner's seven-month seclusion in Venice was not quite as relaxed as his daily routine and his journal for Mathilde Wesendonk might lead one to suppose.  The sole tenant of the Palazzo Giustiniani had been under police surveillance from the outset.  Wagner's sojourn in Venice, which did not go unreported by the Austrian press, gave rise to some brisk and wide-ranging political activity by government and police authorities at work behind the scenes."

Wagner had been a fugitive from the police authorities in the German Kingdom of Saxony where he had participated in revolutionary activities in 1849.

Why did I identify with that passage when I was 29 years old?  What is the relationship of my reaction to that passage and my later belief, that arose in late October 1988, that I was placed under surveillance by my former employer, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.  Are the two events simply coincidental  or are unconscious psychological forces at work in the form of the repetition compulsion?

The Mosque Controversy

In 1989 Easter fell on Sunday March 26.  At that time I was working as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.  I was working on a special project that required that I work overtime on Easter weekend.  I could have worked on Sunday March 26, Easter Sunday.  But I chose instead to complete the task on Saturday March 25.  I am not a Christian.  I didn't think it was fair to work overtime on a Christian holiday when Christians would not or could not work.  I was sensitive to other people's sensitivities.  Am I a superior person?  No.  I'm just sensitive to appearances.  Simply because something is legal doesn't mean it's a wise thing to do.

But then, it was a Jew, not a Muslim, who invented public relations.

Edward Louis Bernays (November 22, 1891 – March 9, 1995) was an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda along with Ivy Lee, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations". Combining the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Dr. Sigmund Freud, Bernays was one of the first to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the subconscious.

He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct' that Trotter had described.   Adam Curtis's award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC, The Century of the Self, pinpoints Bernays as the originator of modern public relations, and Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Franz Liszt's Faust Symphony -- An Odd Association

I first heard Franz Liszt's Faust Symphony in about July 1977 in a televised concert conducted by, I believe, Leonard Bernstein.  I was awed by this remarkable work.  The symphony is in three movements, each representing a different character from Goethe's play.  The first movement represents Faust himself, the second movement, Gretchen (see 1:00 on the YouTube video, below), and the third movement represents Mephisotopheles (see 1:42 on the YouTube video, below).  Liszt does an interesting thing.  He uses much of the same melodic material in each of the movements, but treats the melodies in a different and distinctive way.  Bernstein said that the Faust Symphony is Liszt's one masterpiece.

I saw the Philadelphia orchestra perform the work in September 1982 under the direction of Ricardo Muti at The Academy of Music.  I was so taken with the piece that I attended a second performance of it.

The Faust Symphony was first performed on September 5, 1857.

It was on Friday September 5, 1969, when I was an 11th grade high school student, that I had my first lab session in chemistry class at The Central High School of Philadelphia. Mark Pearlstein, Esq. was in that class. I remember Pearlstein once said to me: "You're not exactly Joe Social." Faust, incidentally, was an alchemist.

The conclusion of the Faust Symphony without the final chorus:

Central High School: Class Representative

James Kahn is the class representative of the 230th graduating class of The Central High School of Philadelphia. I graduated in the 230 in 1971. Mr. Kahn is a financial adviser at Smith Barney and earned a degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Mr. Kahn was a student in Elliott Cades' ninth grade English class in school year 1967-68.

Do you think Mr. Kahn knows anything about my racketeering activities?

Homospatial Thinking and Significant Moments: Passing Biblical Reference

Albert Rothenberg, M.D. first described or discovered a process he termed "homospatial thinking," which consists of actively conceiving two or more discrete entities occupying the same space, a conception leading to the articulation of new identities. Homospatial thinking has a salient role in the creative process in the following wide variety of fields: literature, the visual arts, music, science, and mathematics. This cognitive factor, along with "Janusian thinking," clarifies the nature of creative thinking as a highly adaptive and primarily nonregressive form of functioning.

In a section of my book Significant Moment I discuss Richard Wagner's composition of his opera Parsifal.  Superimposed on a brief passage of the writing is a biblical image: the story of the birth of the Patriarch Isaac.  When Sarah was beyond child-bearing age, God told Abraham and Sarah that she would still give birth, at which she privately laughed (Gen. 18:10–12).  Wagner himself was 56 years old when Cosima, 24 years his junior, gave birth to their son, Siegfried.  Parsifal was Wagner's last opera; the opera was a product of the composer's old age.  (Arthur Rubinstein's father was already old when his last-born child Arthur was born; Arnold Schoenberg was old when his son Ronald was born.)

The reference to the Biblical Isaac refers to both Wagner's son Siegfried and to his opera Parsifal: and perhaps to Arthur Rubinstein and Arnold Schoenberg.  Coincidentally, Arthur Rubinstein's father was named Isaac.

Wagner, an artist who in general had built upon and summarized the achievements of his contemporaries, was . . .
Robert W. Gutman, Richard Wagner, The Man, His Mind, and His Music.
. . . in his old age . . .
Robert Alter, Genesis: Translation and Commentary.

. . . following new paths.
Robert W. Gutman, Richard Wagner, The Man, His Mind, and His Music.

He would jokingly repeat . . . —
Edmund Engelman, Berggasse 19: Freud’s Home and Offices, Vienna 1938.

Whoever hears will laugh at me . . .

Robert Alter, Genesis: Translation and Commentary.

. . . but I like to remind people . . .
Terry Rager, Live From . . . the Stratosphere.

Parsifal . . .
Siegfried Wagner, Erinnerungen.
. . . is not an old work of my youth but a youthful work of my old 
age . . .
Conrad Susa, Music of Unseen Worlds quoting Wagner.
. . . a legacy I am proud to leave.

Stern and Chaim Potok, My First 79 Years.

Parsifal, . . .
Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.

. . . a work that was unlike anything he—or anyone else—had done before . . .
Helen A. Cooper, Thomas Eakins The Rowing Pictures.

. . . is probably the most highly personal musical invention of Wagner—it places the emphasis for the first time on uncertainty, on . . .
Lucy Beckett, Richard Wagner: Parsifal quoting Pierre Boulez.

. . . fluctuating chromatic harmonies . . .
Otto Friedrich, Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920’s.

. . . on indetermination . . .
Lucy Beckett, Richard Wagner: Parsifal quoting Pierre Boulez.

—and I tell you that . . .
Hermann Levi, Letter to His Father (Rabbi Levi of Giessen).

. . . a patient listener . . .
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Legends of the Province House: II. Edward Randolph's Portrait.

. . . will palpably sense the distinct quality conferred by the actual experience . . .
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.

. . . of delayed disclosure . . .
Alwyn Berland, Light in August: A Study in Black and White.

. . . of tonality—
Arnold Schoenberg, Style and Idea.

. . . which creates initially a sense of discontinuity.
Alwyn Berland, Light in August: A Study in Black and White.

Central High School: 9th Grade English Class

I entered The Central High School of Philadelphia in September 1967.  Central is a selective school for academically-talented students.  My ninth grade English teacher was Elliott Cades.   Mr. Cades was in his 60s, he had a law degree and served in Japan in the JAG corps after World War II.  He had been a fixture at Central for years.  He was a demanding teacher.  He was known among the student body as "Ming the Merciless."

I remember the first thing he said on the first day of class.  "Did all of you get into Central through regular channels?  If you got into Central through some special program, then you need to tell your counselor that you'll have to transfer out of my class.  You won't be able to compete in my class if you didn't meet the standard entrance requirements for this school."

I wonder if fellow student, Elliott Feldman can remember the first day in Mr. Cades' class.  Mr. Cades handed out copies of Rudyard Kipling's book Captains Courageous.  Feldman sat next to me throughout the school year.

Feldman and Michael Shapiro, M.D. were the only students in the class to receive a grade of A throughout the school year.  I earned C's throughout the school year.  But then, I was a premorbid psychotic.

U.S. Marshal Service: Poor Verbal Skills and Deceptive?

On Friday January 15, 2010, two Deputy U.S. Marshals interviewed me at my home about a law enforcement matter.  The interview was taped.

At one point in the interview I used the word "tawdry."  The word means tastelessly showy.  I would venture to say that the word is in the vocabulary of most high school seniors.

It was clear the Deputy Marshal did not know what the word meant.  He looked at me quizzically.  I substituted the word "inappropriate."  Check the audio tape.  You will hear me say "tawdry," then there is a pause, then I say "inappropriate."

The Deputy Marshal revealed two things about himself.  First, his verbal skills were obviously not that good.  That troubled me.  Here was a man who told me he had been reading my blog since the previous November (2009).  Did he even understand what he was reading?

Second, the Deputy Marshal's behavior was deceptive.  He could have said, "tawdry -- what does that mean?"  But he didn't say that.  I suspect he didn't say that because he knew he was being recorded.  He didn't want others -- in the Marshal Service, in the Justice Department -- to know about his limited verbal skills.  So he said nothing in the hopes I would clarify my statement.  That behavior constitutes "deceptive behavior."  If this Marshal read something in my blog that he didn't understand, would he go to a colleague or superior and say, "Could you read this and tell me what this blogger means?"  No.  The Marshal's behavior with me suggests he would not want to disclose to anyone that he didn't understand something.  His behavior with me suggests that he is an individual who creates false impressions about himself.

John Hinckley was found to be deceptive by his evaluating psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist testified in court that John Hinckley's deceptive behavior was a symptom of a narcissistic personality disorder.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The SUNY Health and Science Center Likes My Thinking

SUNY Health And Science Center (139.xxxxx.30)

Marcellus, New York, United States, 5 returning visits

Date Time Type WebPage

24th August 2010 11:33:01 AM Page View No referring link

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Lewis A. Winkler, M.D. -- Ideas of Reference

In April 1991 I saw a psychiatrist named Lewis A. Winkler, M.D. for three consultations.  Dr. Winkler, like Malcolm Lassman, was Jewish and originally from Brooklyn, New York.  I had been moved to the terrace level of Akin Gump's office in April 1991, where the firm's Litigation Support Group was housed.  I felt that the job harassment was particularly intense while I was seeing Dr. Winkler.  I terminated my work with Dr. Winkler precisely because I could not tolerate the harassment.

The day after I terminated my work with Dr. Winkler I happened to see Malcolm Lassman in the elevator area of the firm's lobby.  He looked at me and seemed almost apoplectic.  I vaguely recall that he was with another partner named Mark Goldberg.  Goldberg and Lassman were sometimes seen together; they traveled around the firm like a pair of nuns.  I recall that on one occasion at Halloween, Lassman said he and Goldberg were dressing up as a pair of nuns for Halloween.  I don't know if he was serious.

I had formed the opinion that Lassman believed that Dr. Winkler was the one psychiatrist who could help me, and he was intensely angry when I terminated my work with him -- hence his angry appearance in the elevator area one morning in April 1991.

I also formed another belief that is a pure idea of reference, but based on cues I picked up on in the environment.  Lassman had asked Dr. Winkler if he thought I was paranoid.  Dr. Winkler replied (in my fantasy): "No, he just describes what he sees."

In late October Akin Gump terminated me and later alleged that it had determined that I was paranoid and potentially violent.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mobbing and Rape: The Later Effects of Uninformed Court Decisions and Incompetent Psychiatrists

I was a victim of workplace mobbing during my employment as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, during the period March 1988 to October 1991. The mobbing itself during my employment had psychological effects on me. I have come across a brief article by an expert in mobbing that points out that later court decisions involving litigation concerning the mobbing and later incompetent treatment by mental health professionals can compound the psychological ill effects of mobbing long after the employment situation has ended.

It seems plausible to me that uninformed agency and court decisions and incompetent handling of my case by mental health professionals unfamiliar with my specific problems has compounded the psychological trauma inflicted by the mobbing itself, which ended in October 1991.

Psychological Problems after Mobbing?

© Heinz Leymann

If we compare the difficulty of diagnosing our patients with that of, for example, individuals who have run-over and killed suicidal persons on train or subway tracks, we see pronounced differences. In general, people seem to be able to intuitively imagine how it must feel to try to brake a train that weighs hundreds of tons and how it feels, despite these desperate efforts, to finally run over the person who has laid on the tracks in order to die. Nevertheless, the driver´s PTSD reaction is -- statistically speaking -- very much milder than that of our patients who were victims of workplace mobbing. Also, a considerably smaller proportion of train engineers suffer a PTSD reaction or share severe PTSD diagnosis. Indeed the number is very small in comparison with that which prevails for patients such as ours, who almost all were diagnosed as having severe PTSD. This comparison might illustrate what the latter group of patients must have gone through in terms of psychological pain, anxiety, degradation, helplessness -- that led to such extensive PTSD injuries. The reactions of our patients can, on the other hand, , be compared with those accounted for in a Norwegian study concerning raped women.

By way of comparison with the high incidence of PTSD, it may be of interest to mention what the investigation of Swedish and Norwegian train engineers revealed, after the engineers had run over and killed suicidal individuals on the tracks: The frequency of high "intrusion" and "avoidance" values were considerably lower than in the present study. Even a study which mapped psychological problems in subway drivers in Stockholm shows a considerably lower frequency of drivers who developed psychological problems after having run over suicidal individuals on the tracks. The above-mentioned study of raped women shows very high values on the two IES scales. We recommend as a hypothesis that high IES (Impact of Event Scale) values are present if the traumatic event is followed by a series of further violations of the subjects´ rights and insults to their identities from different societal sources. This did not occur in the groups of engineers but it did occur in cases of raped women -- and, of course, in the mobbed employees in question in my studies. Mobbing and expulsion from the labor market are in themselves victimizations of trauma-inducing strength.

Our present hypothesis is that PTSD develops more severely if the traumatic situations last a long time and are followed by rights violations such as those conflicted by the judicial system or within the health care community, continue over a long period. Leymann carried out a major review of the literature concerning catastrophe psychiatry and victimology based on about 25,000 pages of scientific text. The objective was to make an inventory of the disappointments, insults and renewed traumas that follow an initial "causal trauma" -- a trauma which thereafter leads to what is called "traumatizing consequential events," due to society's structure and the way it functions. Many of these traumata are provoked by the way administrative instances deal with or abstain from dealing with the situation.

The mobbed employee who has become our patient suffers from a traumatic environment: psychiatric, social insurance office, personnel department, managers, co-workers, labor unions, doctors in general practice, company health care, etc., can, if events progress unfavorably, produce worse and worse traumata.

Thus, our patients, like raped women, find themselves under a continuing threat. As long as the perpetrator is free, the woman can be attacked again. As long as the mobbed individual does not receive effective support, he or she can be torn to pieces again at any time.

Thus, these individuals find themselves in a prolonged stress- and in a prolonged trauma-creating situation. Instead of a short, acute (and normal!) PTSD reaction that can subside after several days or weeks, theirs is constantly renewed: new traumata and new sources of anxiety arise in a constant stream during which time the individual experiences rights violations that further undermine his or her self-confidence and psychological health [such as rights violations inflicted by the U.S. Marshal Service!]. The unwieldy social situation for these individuals consists not only of severe psychological trauma but of an extremely prolonged stress condition that seriously threatens the individual's socio-economic existence. Torn out of their social network, the majority of mobbing victims face the threat of early retirement, with permanent psychological damage.

Yes, I Have Qualities Similar to Extraterrestrial Aliens!

Themes of alienation. 

Schizoids feel so alienated and different from others that they can experience themselves literally as alien—as not belonging in the human world. I have a patient from Argentina who quoted a saying in Spanish that describes her experience: She feels like a "frog who's from another pond." In their alienation, these individuals cannot imagine themselves in an intimate relationship. The people world seems strange and frightening, even if also desirable. When they see couples being intimate, they are often mystified: "How do they do that?" No matter how they force themselves to date or to meet new people, they cannot imagine themselves in a sustained intimate relationship. This leads to the theme of futility.

Feelings of futility. 

The schizoid experiences loneliness, futility, despair, and depression, although the latter is somewhat different from neurotic, guilt-based depression. Both are comprised of dysphoric affects and an avoidance of primary emotions and full awareness. However, neurotic depression has been described as "love made angry." That is, the depressed person feels angry at a loss followed by sadness and broods darkly against the "hateful denier." This aggressive emotional energy then gets turned against the self.

In contrast, schizoid despair has been described as "love made hungry." The person experiences a painful craving along with fear that his or her own love is so destructive that his or her need will devour the other. The schizoid feels tantalized by the desire, made hungry, and driven to withdraw from the "desirable deserter." The deep, intense craving is no less painful because it is consciously renounced or denied. In ordinary depression the person has a sense of the self as being bad; usually he or she feels guilty, horrible, and paralyzed. The schizoid, on the other hand, feels weak, depersonalized, like a nonentity or a nobody without a clear sense of self. Guntrip said that people much prefer to see themselves as bad rather than weak. They will typically refer to themselves as depressed more readily than weak, bad rather than devitalized, futile, and weak. Guntrip called the depressive diagnosis "man's greatest and most consistent self-deception." He went on to say that psychiatry has been slow to recognize "ego weakness," schizoid process, and shame. " It may be that we ourselves would rather not be forced to see it too clearly lest we should find a textbook in our own hearts." Fortunately, I think in the last few years there has been a real opening in therapeutic circles to recognizing relationship and shame issues present in the therapist as well as in the patient.

Parsifal and Six Feet Under

Scene Six: Prep Room

NATE and DAVID talk to RICO, who is prepping a body.

Rico: You’ve gotta be kidding me. A fucking opera?!?

David: He just wants to design a set and rig some special lighting.

Rico: Well, how long is this gonna take?

Nate: They’re gonna need the slumber room for 2 days.

Rico: Oh, no way! No! We could have 3 funerals.

Nate: Apparently, he’s willing to pay for it.

Rico: For a fucking opera?!?

David: (annoyed) Yes, Federico.

Rico: Huh. (pause) You know, Vanessa’s cousin won opera tickets once from KUSC, and she gave them to us. It was just—it was so completely whacked. It was like this magic mirror, ya know, and this dead swan, and this, like bleeding spear.

NATE laughs.

David: “Parsifal.”

NATE looks over, not surprised that DAVID knew the answer.

Rico: Yeah! And they had these flower chicks who were supposed to be hot, ya know? And they were all just like major wide-loads!

NATE laughs louder.

Rico: And these lame-ass knights who were like, they were like (does a “fa-la-la” type voice) prancing around and singing at the top of their lungs. Ya know? It was just so, so, so fuckin’—

David: (pissed off) Gay?!?

Rico: I was gonna say stupid.

David: Bullshit! You don’t want to do this funeral. You think it’s too gay.

Rico: That’s not what I was gonna say!

David: Well, we’re doing it, and that’s final. These guys were together for 22 years, and we’re going to show them the respect that they deserve.

DAVID walks out, in a huff. RICO sighs.

Nate: (smiles) Hey.

RICO smiles back. NATE follows DAVID out.

Flower Maiden Scene from Parsifal:

Job Search: Registration with D.C. Agency

In the summer of 2005 I registered with the D.C. Department of Rehabilitation Services in the hopes of getting a job.  People have been asking me, they've been coming up to me on the street inquiring, beseeching me, wanting to know: "Mr. Freedman, were you sincere when you registered with the D.C. Department of Rehabilitation Services? Were you genuinely interesting in getting a job?  What made you want to get a job all of a sudden after not having worked for so many years?"

In response to all the questions: Yes, I sincerely wanted a job.  I ached for work.  I wanted to get back in the job market.  But why, you may ask?  The reason is a little strange.

In March 2005, just a few months before, the TV sit-com "The Office" aired on NBC.  I loved that show so much.  The first 6 episodes that were broadcast that spring were super fantastic.  I wanted to be in an environment like that depicted on the show.  I wanted to work in an office like Dunder-Mifflin, the fictional paper company located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  I wanted to work with cool guys like B.J. Novak who portrayed the temp, Ryan Howard.  I wanted to work with John Krasinksi, who portrayed the character Jim Halpert.  I even created a fan page on Myspace dedicated to Jim Halpert.

Incidentally, B.J. Novak is a Harvard graduate who majored in Spanish Literature.  John Krasinski is an honors graduate from Brown University.

I wanted to work with cool guys.  I wanted to make friends with cool guys.  Yes, I ached to get a job through the D.C. Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Incidentally, John Krasinski is an avid basketball player.  I love basketball players, but I hate basketball.  I hate baseball players, but I love baseball. Funny, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Growing Sense of Futility About Communicating My Sense of Futility

I started seeing a new psychiatrist in July 2010.  At an early session I told him that I felt that everything was futile: that I had given up on life.

Yesterday, August 24, 2010, I told my psychiatrist that I would like to work, but that I had bad experiences in the past and I feared that I would re experience the same difficulties in a new work environment.  My psychiatrist suggested that I try volunteer work.  He acknowledged that there was a probability that I might encounter difficulties but said that if I don't try I will never know what possibilities there are for me.

In general medicine a doctor assesses the risks of a negative outcome associated with a course of therapy or behavior and will try to avoid that negative outcome or advise the patient to avoid the negative outcome.  If surgery poses a risk of a negative outcome, the doctor will advise against it and suggest alternatives such as medical therapy.   If a woman has a high risk of breast cancer, a doctor will advise the woman to guard against a negative outcome by having routine mammograms.

Why would my doctor -- in total disregard of my past negative experiences in the workplace and in disregard of my high risk of experiencing mobbing in the workplace -- try to persuade me to defy the odds and hope for a positive outcome.  Would a doctor say to a patient: "Smoking carries a high risk of a negative outcome, but I know how much you love to smoke, so maybe you should smoke and hope for the best.  Some longtime smokers live well into old age."

It's as if the doctor is substituting his fantasy of a positive outcome for my actual reality: I got fired from my last two jobs after experiencing mobbing, I am at high risk of mobbing, and I fear experiencing a recurrence of mobbing (which is a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, a recognized consequence of mobbing).  The doctor is providing advice that evidences no expertise.  An intelligent surgery resident might offer the same advice to me.  My doctor's advice avoids the following issues: What does he know about the phenomenon of mobbing?  What does he know about people who are at high risk of mobbing?  What does he know about the psychological consequences of mobbing for the target of mobbing?  The doctor's general, common-sense advice is a shell game.  His advice does not address my reality; his advice is based on his fantasy or confabulation of a positive outcome.

Be that as it may.

A rape victim tells her psychiatrist that she is now afraid of men; she is unable to date and dreads a man touching her.  The doctor says: "Statistically speaking, few men rape women.  You should feel free to date men, secure in the knowledge that you will not get raped."  The fact is that the woman suffered a trauma and is experiencing the consequence of that trauma.  It's not a matter of rationality or statistics.  The issue is trauma and its consequences.  The woman's reality is trauma and fear.  What does the doctor know about the trauma of rape and its consequences?  What does the doctor know about the proper therapeutic approach that will best address the woman's reality?

I told my psychiatrist that I have a severe psychiatric disorder.  He replied, "I have patients with severe psychiatric disorders who work."  My response?  "Good for them."  I don't work, and simply persuading me to work is not therapy.  Some women who are raped are later able to have normal relations with men.  Other women may develop a fear of men.  The question is how do you treat a female patient who experienced rape and is experiencing the consequences of that rape in the form of fear.  It is irrelevant that there are rape victims who have normal relations with men.

A cancer patient does not respond to a chemotherapy agent, despite the fact that a majority of patients do respond.  Does the oncologist say: "I don't know what your problem is.  I have other patients who respond to  this drug."  A doctor needs to look at a patient as a representative or member of a group of patients, identify that group and apply knowledge derived from a study of that specific group.  In general medicine if a patient does not respond to a specific treatment, the doctor needs to investigate the group of patients who do not respond and chart a course of treatment that addresses the specific characteristics of that group.  It is irrelevant that there are patients with do respond to a therapy.  What does the literature say about the patients who do not respond to that therapy?  I was mobbed, I suffer the consequences of mobbing in the form of fear of re-entering the workforce.  What does the literature say about those particular patients.  It is irrelevant that there are people with severe psychiatric disorders who work.

Psychiatrists frequently compare a patient to the general well population or occupationally-adjusted or socially-adjusted population.  That's not medicine.  That's pedagogy.  That's what parents tell their four year old child. "Johnny, all the other boys and girls are doing the right thing, but you are not.  You need to act like the other boys and girls."   In a medical model, the parent would identify what Johnny has in common with similarly situated children and look to that cohort for guidance.  In pedagogy, you compare the problem child to the normal, adjusted child.  In medicine, you compare your patient to a group of patients with the same illness.

In medicine you identify the disorder and look at the literature that discusses that specific disorder.  A psychiatrist who has a female patient who was raped and is afraid of men needs to look at the cohort of rape victims who develop a fear of men.  It is coercive to tell that patient that most rape victims are able to date; it amounts to treating the patient as if she were a child.

The schizoid patient struggles with an internal sense of futility.  Gratifications and successes in the real world do not alter the schizoid's deep-seated feelings of futility and meaninglessness.  Fairbairn wrote that "the familiar term ‘depressed’ is frequently applied in clinical practice to patients who properly should be described as suffering from a sense of futility." He saw in the schizoid dilemma a threat of loss of the object (and of the self) regardless of whether the individual attempted to love the object or attempted to withhold that love, and thus "..the result is a complete impasse, which reduces the ego to a state of utter impotence. The ego becomes quite incapable of expressing itself; and, in so far as this is so, its very existence becomes compromised. …the characteristic affect of the schizoid state is undoubtedly a sense of futility."

My psychiatrist needs to appreciate the sense of futility that torments schizoid patients, of which I am a representative.  He also needs to address my specific experiences and the specific consequences of those experiences.  How does a psychiatrist treat a mobbing victim --a schizoid mobbing victim -- who has developed an aversion to the workplace?  What does the literature say about that particular group of patients?

Homospatial Thinking and Significant Moments

Albert Rothenberg, M.D. first described or discovered a process he termed "homospatial thinking," which consists of actively conceiving two or more discrete entities occupying the same space, a conception leading to the articulation of new identities. Homospatial thinking has a salient role in the creative process in the following wide variety of fields: literature, the visual arts, music, science, and mathematics. This cognitive factor, along with "Janusian thinking," clarifies the nature of creative thinking as a highly adaptive and primarily nonregressive form of functioning.

There is a section of my book Significant Moments whose manifest content describes a visit by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to the opera to see a performance of Wagner's opera Tannhauser, which inspires him to write his book, Human All Too Human.

Superimposed on this manifest content are other images or metaphors:

1. The emergence of spring as a metaphor for puberty, or emerging sexuality -- as well as the "rebirth" of the Jewish people via return to their "motherland."

2. A Boy having sex with his mother.

Leonard Shengold reports the case of a pubescent boy who had sexual relations with his mother: "One day on coming home from school the boy found himself as usual alone with his mother.  She had just emerged from a bath and left open the bathroom door.  As he approached she bent over, as if to wipe her feet with a towel.  She gave him a look of invitation and again bent over, presenting another open door.  The boy was overwhelmed with excitement and, penis erect, advanced toward her "as if in a trance."  He penetrated her vagina.  She had an orgasm.  It was felt as a wonderful experience.  This sequence was repeated several times over the next few week, always without words; and it was never mutually acknowledged.  Then, not long after the incestuous contact began, the boy achieved ejaculation after penetrating his mother.  She noted it, became violently disturbed and rushed away, shrieking, "No! No! No!"  The incest was never repeated and never again mentioned; it was as if it had never happened.  And the boy repressed it, which seems almost incredible in retrospect given that the recall was marked by such passionate and sensual intensity.  The memory emerged only after several years of analysis."  Shengold, L. Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Deprivation and Abuse at 166-67 (New Haven, Yale University Press: 1989).  I discuss this case in The Dream of Milton's Successor (Part II).

Note that Dr. Shengold uses the terms "too much" and "too-muchness" throughout the book Soul Murder to describe a state of sexual or emotional overstimulation.  Wagner used the phrase "Too much!  Too much!" ("Zu viel!  Zu viel!") in the first act scene between Tannhauser and his sexual partner, the goddess Venus.

3. The return of Jews to Palestine:, their re-entry to the "motherland."   Paradoxically, Wagner's musical nationalism struck a chord in Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. As the Israeli author Amos Elon writes in his biography of Herzl:  "For inspiration and to dispel occasional doubts, Herzl turned to Wagnerian music. He was enraptured by the music of the great anti-Semite . . . and faithfully attended every performance of Wagner's Tannhauser at the Paris Opera. 'Only on those nights when no Wagner was performed did I have any doubts about the correctness of my idea.' "  The pomp and ritual of "Tannhauser" made the profoundest impression. Herzl vowed that the new Jewish state would construct a splendid opera house and "cultivate majestic processions on great festive occasions." This was scarcely a bizarre response: that song and ceremony could bind and energize stateless peoples was an article of nationalist faith that Wagner personified.

Tannhäuser, a knight and poet who found the Venusberg, the subterranean home of Venus, spent a year there worshipping the goddess and having sexual relations with her.


Human, All-Too-Human is the monument of a crisis. It is subtitled "A Book for Free Spirits"; almost every sentence marks some victory—here I liberated myself from what in my nature did not belong to me. Idealism, for example; the title means: "where you see ideal things, I see what is—human, alas, all-too human!"—I know man better.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.
But today . . .
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.
Oh, today, today!
Henry James, The Aspern Papers.
Today, I should think . . .
E. Phillips Oppenheim, The Malefactor.
. . . it an impossible book: I consider it badly written, ponderous, embarrassing, image-mad and image confused, sentimental, in places saccharine to the point of effeminacy, uneven in tempo, without the will to logical cleanliness, very convinced and therefore disdainful of proof, mistrustful even of the propriety of proof . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Attempt at Self-Criticism.
But . . .
Patrick Carnegy, The Paris Version of Tannhauser.
. . . I realize how . . .
H.P. Lovecraft, Beyond the Wall of Sleep.
. . . All Too Human . . .
George Stephanopoulos, All Too Human: A Political Education.
. . . is about a human personality conflict so fundamental that we may perhaps see the artistic fault as congruent with . . .
Patrick Carnegy, The Paris Version of Tannhauser.
. . . the book’s . . .
Mark Twain, Christian Science.
. . . central theme.
Patrick Carnegy, The Paris Version of Tannhauser.
Discontinuity is both the theme and the form, deflation the theme and the . . .
George and Portia Kernodle, Invitation to the Theatre.
. . . creative . . .
Margaret Brenman-Gibson, Clifford Odets: American Playwright.
. . . method.
George and Portia Kernodle, Invitation to the Theatre.
To this extent . . .
Patrick Carnegy, The Paris Version of Tannhauser.
. . . All Too Human . . .
George Stephanopoulos, All Too Human: A Political Education.
. . . is about itself and supplies its own critique.
Patrick Carnegy, The Paris Version of Tannhauser.
No matter how intense the intellectual effort that absorbed him before hand,the moment of vision seemed to require an almost blind surrender to something other than himself.
Maria Shrady, Moments of Insight.
Be it a daemon or a genius that often rules us in hours of crisis—enough:
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner quoting Wagner, Letter to Arrigo Boito.
High noon . . .
Robert Lowell’s Poems: A Selection by J. Raban, Excerpt from “Fourth of July in Maine.”
. . . one Saturday . . .
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
. . . in a small chestnut grove, high above the lake . . .
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
. . . I fell into a kind of somnolent state, in which . . .
Richard Wagner, My Life.
. . . overcast by a strange melancholy . . .
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons.
. . . there came to me the promptings . . .
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner quoting Wagner, Letter to Arrigo Boito.
. . . from my true self.
Hermann Hesse, Demian.
One can guess at the precise spot . . .
Paul Ferris, Dr. Freud: A Life.
. . . where I . . .
Richard Wagner, My Life.
. . . succumbed to the persistent and irresistible desire . . .
Zane Grey, The Light of Western Stars.
. . . to dream,—
Anthony Trollope, The Prime Minister.
. . . but it hardly matters any more. Air, branches and a bird or two . . .
Paul Ferris, Dr. Freud: A Life.
. . . now . . .
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons.
. . . fill the space.  I stretched myself, . . .
Paul Ferris, Dr. Freud: A Life.
. . . dead tired, . . .
Richard Wagner, My Life.
. . . atop the . . .
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons.
. . . hilly country, . . .
Richard Wagner, My Life.
. . . where . . .
Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question.
. . . on a good day it is possible to see mountaintops fiftymiles away, swimming in the distant heat on pillows of pellucid air. This was sucha day.
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons.
From the heights the sound of sheep-bells is heard. On a rocky eminence a young shepherd is reclining, turned towards the valley, playing on his pipe.
Richard Wagner, Tannhauser.
The hilltops and . . .
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons.
. . . valley stretching . . .
Richard Wagner, Tannhauser.
. . . around the mountain city were not yet parched by the summer sun, but freshened by the green of a brief spring.
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons.
In his fantasy he raised himself above the realities of his existence and scaled dizzy heights of wish-fulfillment only to be hurled down . . .
Isaac Deutscher, Marc Chagall and the Jewish Imagination.
. . . from this plateau of insight to more conflict and suffering in the depths; but the heights were there to be scaled again.
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.
In a dream of which he could afterwards recall only a few fragments, he saw a door that looked like the . . .
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
. . . mysterious, dark, and inviting . . .
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.
. . . entrance to a theater. On it a large poster with huge lettering (this was undecided) either . . .
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
Amos Elon, Herzl.
. . . or "Wagner." He entered.
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
Turning right, . . .
Edmund Engelman, Berggasse 19: Sigmund Freud’s Home and Offices,Vienna, 1938.
. . . he . . .
Norman H. Finkelstein, Theodor Herzl: Architect of a Nation quoting Theodor Herzl.
. . . walked up a massive, wide staircase which . . .
Edmund Engelman, Berggasse 19: Sigmund Freud’s Home and Offices, Vienna, 1938.
. . .was light and brilliant, an immense affair of white marble overlaid with agates and alabasters, and swept up to a magnificent foyer, a long golden corridor with high doors that opened into the auditorium.
Sheldon M. Novick, Henry James: The Young Master.
Then, . . .
Charles Baudelaire, Richard Wagner and Tannhauser in Paris.
. . . as if in a trance . . .
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.
“I,” . . . –that is, . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
. . . the dreamer himself . . .
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
. . . penetrated . . .
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.
. . . a wonderful place arranged like a theatre, where, in a gilded gallery . . .
Henry James, An International Episode.
. . . I evoked the delectable state of a man possessed by . . .
Charles Baudelaire, Richard Wagner and Tannhauser in Paris.
. . . fantastic notions—
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Celestial Railroad.
. . . notions of return to the “womb” of history, . . .
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons.
. . . by a profound reverie in total solitude with vast horizons and bathed in a diffused light; immensity without other décor than itself. Soon I became aware of a heightened brightness, of a light growing in intensity so quickly that the shades of meaning provided by a dictionary would not suffice to express this constant increase of burning whiteness. Then I achieved a full apprehension of a soul floating in light, of an ecstasy compounded of joy and insight, hovering above and far removed from the natural world.
Charles Baudelaire, Richard Wagner and Tannhauser in Paris.
It was felt as a wonderful experience.
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.
George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan.
. . . an experience that . . .
Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery.
. . . was linked with the terrifying feeling that . . .
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.
. . . it seemed somehow . . .
Henry James, The Ambassadors.
—I can use no other phrase—
Henry James, The Turn of the Screw.
It seemed . . .
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
Too much! Too much!
Richard Wagner, Tannhauser.
Waking from this deep sleep, he saw with astonishment the trees above him.
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
“How changed it all is!” cried Friedrich. “There’s been a miracle here.”
Theodor Herzl, Old-New Land.
He was stiff lying on the hard ground, but refreshed. With a faint note of dreadfulness, the dream reverberated within him.
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
But that beautiful dream . . .
Franz Kafka, The Burrow.
. . . of mingled delight and dread . . .
Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea.
. . . is past and I must set to work
Franz Kafka, The Burrow.
I knew what I had to do. Nothing else mattered.
Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons quoting an early Zionist pioneer.
“If you will it, . . .
Norman H. Finkelstein, Theodor Herzl: Architect of a Nation quoting Theodor Herzl.
I thought
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
. . . it is no dream.”
Norman H. Finkelstein, Theodor Herzl: Architect of a Nation quoting Theodor Herzl.
And indeed I started on a morning in spring. Everything was starting to bud.  Beautiful weather.
John Lahr, Making Willy Loman quoting Arthur Miller.
May, May had come!
Richard Wagner, Tannhauser.
Life was springing from her nourishing flank, buds were bursting into green leaves, . . .
Emile Zola, Germinal.
. . . fresh green leaves . . .
Richard Wagner, Tannhauser
. . . fields were trembling . . .
Emile Zola, Germinal.
. . . there . . .
Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question.
. . . under the push of the grass. On all sides seeds were swelling and stretching, thrusting through the plain in search of warmth and light.
Emile Zola, Germinal.
A breeze came up and blew from the maples a shower of spermatozoic soft headed green buds.
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime.
And soon this germination . . .
Emile Zola, Germinal.
. . . a splendid, manifold, jungle like growth and upward striving, a kind of tropical tempo in the competition to grow, . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
. . . would sunder the earth.
Emile Zola, Germinal.
And then once more . . .
George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan.
. . . the dream . . .
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
. . . a dream in iridescent colors, . . .
Shimon Peres, The Imaginary Voyage with Theodor Herzl in Israel.
. . . reverberated within him.
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
What strange, naive, and African games of the imagination! he thought, smiling for a moment as the door with its invitation to enter the "Wagner" theater returned to his memory. What an idea, to represent his relationship with Wagner in this way. The spirit of the dream was coarse, but brilliant. It hit the nail on the head. The theater called "Wagner"—was that nothimself, was it not an invitation to enter into his own interior being, into the foreign land of his true self? For Wagner was himself—Wagner was the murderer and the hunted man within him, but Wagner was also the composer, the artist, thegenius, the seducer, lover of life and the senses, luxury—Wagner was the collective name for everything repressed, buried, scanted in the life of Friedrich . . .
Hermann Hesse, Klein and Wagner.
I quickly understood the very essence of my own nature: the stream of life was not to flow to me from without, but from within.
Richard Wagner, My Life.
During the next two or three weeks, . . .
Amos Elon, Herzl.
. . . Nietzsche . . .A
Desmond Stewart, Theodor Herzl: Artist and Politician. A Biography of the Father of Modern Israel.
. . . neglected his job and closeted himself in his hotel room. . . . He wrote day and night, standing, sitting at his desk, walking along the street, at dinner, in bed, strolling in the park. For hours he tramped about. . . .
Amos Elon, Herzl.
. . . Basel . . .
Walter Benjamin, Unpacking My Library.
. . . “to dispel the pangs of new trains of thought.” The hot June air inflamed his body. His days passed in a state of feverish exaltation. At night the idea crept into his sleepy consciousness, and he would awake with a start,unable to fall asleep again. For inspiration and to dispel occasional doubts, . . .
Amos Elon, Herzl.
. . . he . . .
Norman H. Finkelstein, Theodor Herzl: Architect of a Nation quoting Theodor Herzl.
. . . turned to Wagnerian music. He was enraptured by the music of . . .
Amos Elon, Herzl.
. . . Tannhauser:
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
. . . an allegory of a modern society impoverished by precisely those Christian values it claims to represent.
The Penguin Opera Guide.
I’ve been a man who’s been waking up, . . .
Jean-Paul Sartre, The Words.
. . . he wrote, . . .
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.
. . . cured of a long, bitter-sweet madness.
Jean-Paul Sartre, The Words.
How I thought about myself at this time (1876), with what tremendous sureness I got hold of my task and its world-historical aspect—the whole book bears witness to that. . . . Only, with my intuitive cunning, I avoided the little word"I" once again and bathed in world-historical glory . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.
It sort of unveiled itself. I was the stenographer.
John Lahr, Making Willy Loman quoting Arthur Miller.
I suppose . . .
Luc Sante, The Factory of Facts.
I, the authorial voice,
Richard Selzer, Raising the Dead.
. . . suppose I am never completely present in any given moment, since different aspects of myself are contained in different rooms of language . . . .Given desire and purpose, I could make my home in any of them. I don't have a house, only this succession of rented rooms.
Luc Sante, The Factory of Facts.
So, he was less than somebody in any category; he was more nobody than atany other time. And in the anonymous period immediately ahead of him he found decided happiness—for a while.
Erik H. Erikson, Young Man Luther.
What was certain, although he did not realize it, was that he was no longer the same man. Everything in him was changed.
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.
He had undergone a complete evolution.
Emile Zola, Germinal.
“One book of my life is ending. A new one is beginning. Of what kind?”
Norman H. Finkelstein, Theodor Herzl: Architect of a Nation quoting The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl.

Happy Birthday, Lenny!

Leonard Bernstein was born on this date, August 25, in the year 1918. He would have been 92 years old today. Happy Birthday, Lenny!

It's All The Same Case



Kenneth Westhues, 2006

As workplace mobbing becomes more widely known and deplored, it is to be expected that many workers in academe, as in other fields, will claim to be mobbed as a way of warding off criticism and strengthening their positions in office politics. Indeed, many workers will genuinely feel that they are being mobbed and will attribute lack of sympathy from others as proof that the others are part of the mob. It is therefore essential that any claimed or apparent case of mobbing be subjected to hard-nosed scrutiny in light of empirical indicators, measurable criteria by which to conclude that yes, this is a case of mobbing, or no, it is not.

Below is a checklist of 16 indicators or measures that I have used in my research, and offered on workshop handouts entitled, "WAMI, The Waterloo Anti-Mobbing Instruments (PDF)." In the introduction to my 2006 book, The Prevention and Remedy of Mobbing in Higher Education, I apply these 16 indicators systematically to two different mobbing cases, to illustrate variations on common themes. There is nothing sacred about the list. In my book, The Envy of Excellence, the 16 indicators are boiled down to ten. Perhaps the most important indicator is shown here as No. 12, the enlargement of some real or imagined misdeed or fault in order to smear the target's whole identity, so that he or she is seen as personally abhorrent — a totally alien other, a dangerous, repugnant entity that turns the stomachs of good and decent people.

1. By standard criteria of job performance, the target is at least average, probably above average.

2. Rumours and gossip circulate about the target’s misdeeds: “Did you hear what she did last week?”

3. The target is not invited to meetings or voted onto committees, is excluded or excludes self.

4. Collective focus on a critical incident that “shows what kind of man he really is.”  (Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany's loss in World War I.  "The Jews stabbed us in the back!")

5. Shared conviction that the target needs some kind of formal punishment, “to be taught a lesson.”

6. Unusual timing of the decision to punish, e. g., apart from the annual performance review.

7. Emotion-laden, defamatory rhetoric about the target in oral and written communications.

8. Formal expressions of collective negative sentiment toward the target, e. g. a vote of censure, signatures on a petition, meeting to discuss what to do about the target.

9. High value on secrecy, confidentiality, and collegial solidarity among the mobbers.

10. Loss of diversity of argument, so that it becomes dangerous to “speak up for”or defend the target.

11. The adding up of the target’s real or imagined venial sins to make a mortal sin that cries for action.

12. The target is seen as personally abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities; stigmatizing, exclusionary labels are applied.  (Compare Nazi Germany's Nuremberg Laws that rendered Jews second-class citizens.)

13. Disregard of established procedures, as mobbers take matters into their own hands. (Compare Nazi Germany's suspension of all civil liberties.)

14. Resistance to independent, outside review of sanctions imposed on the target.

15. Outraged response to any appeals for outside help the target may make.

16. Mobbers’ fear of violence from target, target’s fear of violence from mobbers, or both. (Compare the Nazi Slogan: "Wir Siegen weil Sie uns hassen."  "We Conquer because they hate us."  Compare Akin Gump: "We Terminate Because He May Act Violently Towards Us.")