UFOs of the Mind
Excerpts from Integration of the Cognitive and the Psychodynamic Unconscious by Seymour Epstein
The widespread prevalence of superstitious thinking provides compelling evidence that the human mind does not process information by reason alone. In a recent Gallup poll ("Behavior," 1991), 1,236 U.S. adults were interviewed about their superstitions. One in 4 reported that he or she believed in ghosts, one in 6 that she or he had communicated with someone deceased, one in 4 that he or she had telepathically communicated with someone, one in 10 that she or he had been in the presence of a ghost, one in 7 that he or she had seen a UFO, one in 4 that they believed in astrology, and about one half said they believed in extrasensory perception. It is evident from such data that even extreme forms of nonrational thinking are common.
Explanations of the traumatic neurosis and the repetition compulsion follow simply and directly from basic
assumptions in CEST [Cognitive-experiential self-theory]. The nature of a trauma is that a person experiences something of such great significance to his or her perceived well-being that it cannot be ignored, and is so discrepant with fundamental schemata in his or her conceptual system that it cannot be assimilated.
The compulsive repetitions in memory are abortive attempts at assimilation (for elaboration of this view, see
S. Epstein, 1991a; for similar views influenced by CEST, see Janoff-Bulman, 1992, and McCann & Pearlman, 1990. Also see Horowitz, 1976).
The experiential system is assumed to be intimately associated with the experience of affect, including vibes,
which refer to subtle feelings of which people are often unaware. When a person responds to an emotionally significant event, the sequence of reactions is assumed to be as follows: The experiential system automatically searches its memory banks for related events, including their emotional accompaniments. The recalled feelings influence the course of further processing and reactions, which in subhuman animals are actions and in humans are conscious and unconscious thoughts as well as actions. If the activated feelings are pleasant, they motivate actions and thoughts anticipated to reproduce the feelings. If the feelings are unpleasant, they motivate actions and thoughts anticipated to avoid the feelings.
According to CEST, material is dissociated when it cannot be assimilated. There are two kinds of dissociation: that between the experiential and rational systems, which corresponds to repression, and dissociation within the experiential system itself. If dissociated material is activated to the extent that a dissociation cannot be maintained, the unassimilable material can threaten the stability of the entire experiential system. The striving for expression of the dissociated material is not because it has an energy of its own that seeks expression, as proposed by Freud, but because there is a fundamental motive to
assimilate representations of emotionally significant experiences into a unified, coherent conceptual system.
Material that can neither be ignored nor assimilated keeps reemerging in abortive attempts at assimilation.
This process continues until (if ever) assimilation is accomplished. The process is essentially adaptive, as it promotes assimilation and therefore the construction of a coherent model of the world that is consistent with experience.
N.B. The above, from the paper cited, gives an overview of how Jose Antonio Caravaca's Distortion Theory should be addressed, in part.
The "external agent" of Senor Caravaca's hypothesis may be considered, in my view, as a mental construct with a psychical or psychological reality, and I'll provide more material, upcoming, to example that view.