[ExI] control - a few thoughts

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sun May 26 20:28:43 UTC 2019

One of the most tragic and frightening things about schizophrenia is the
loss of control.  The person experiences delusions, which he often knows
are false, and hallucinations which, again, he may know at some level are
not real.  The intrusions of these into consciousness is totally out of the
control of the person and they can be very frightening. Think also of minor
mental disorders:  anxiety neurosis, depression (which can be major),
obsessiveness and compulsions.  All of these feature loss of control to
some degree with attempts, sometimes by any means, to regain control or to
escape to a mindless state.  Some addictions do the same.  Medical
conditions such strokes, palsy, loss of limbs and many others, generate
pity in all of us.  All forms of dementia are progressive losses of
control, and feared by all of us.

We see lists of human needs. You may remember from a college course the one
devised by Maslow.  He constructed a hierarchy consisting of physiological
needs at the bottom and self-actualization at the top.  Where is control?
Only control enables a person to move to more abstract needs.

I think that in some ways it is the most basic need.  When control is
largely removed, such as in imprisonment, the person acts quickly to
establish some control over their lives, which could be established by
getting drugs smuggled in, joining a gang to avoid physical attack, and so

In social psychology we have a concept called locus of control.  If it is
internal, it means the person feels that they are generally in control of
their own lives.  If it is external, the person feels that powerful others,
such as parents and bosses, rule over their lives.  Medical conditions,
such as those above, do the same. These latter people feel helpless to do
anything about it.  They feel powerless - no way to gain control except
perhaps to leave the relationship - run away from home; quit the job; get a
divorce.  In the medical field the person leaves all decisions to the
physicians.  If inner-controlled the person takes over his therapy,
diagnosis, etc. through internet research, for one.

  The more we move up in an organization, the more control we have, such as
over the behavior of those under us.  Slavery is an awful state in which
control is largely absent - no ability to choose food, travel, housing,
even one's mate, and all the rest.

Libertarians value freedom, and mainly that means free from being
controlled.  Laws, rules for children, constitutions for countries, and
many more attempt to control our behavior.  Is there a more libertarian
concept than control and freedom from it?

Well, you may say - so what - that's the world for you - the strong
survive, the weak are dependent on others to survive.

Control is the very basis of power -practically synonymous.  But not
everyone attempts to gain power and control.  Perhaps their self-image is
at fault; or negative feedback from others.  Thus they attempt to attach
themselves to power by being willing helpers and workers, perhaps joining
various groups which try to gain power, such as the prison gangs above.
They worship what they do not have (plenty of room here for a big
discussion of the role of religion).

Just a few thoughts.  Perhaps the above is too obvious, and more nuanced
and subtle examples are needed.  Comments, criticism welcome.

bill w
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