"Suffering-Abolitionist, Abolish Your Own Suffering!" - Adventures Through Obscure Conditions of the Mind, Part One

"Suffering-Abolitionist, Abolish Your Own Suffering!" - Adventures Through Obscure Conditions of the Mind, Part One

. 23 min read

There is an ancient Latin proverb: medice, cura te ipsum, or to use the Modern English translation: physician, heal thyself!, said whenever someone proposes a hypocritical prescription, as with the similarly-useful proverb do as I say, not as I do when confronted, again, with someone's arrogant hypocrisy (of which there is an abundance).

“I arrived at the Abolition of Suffering a somewhat troubled soul, and I came away from it an even more troubled soul. My suffering was certainly nowhere near abolished...it just got progressively worse.” - extracted from my journal.

Ever since my early teens when I first discovered British philosopher David Pearce's book-length (or, more accurately, Wikipedia-sized) online manifesto entitled 'The Hedonistic Imperative' (and it's endless hyperlinked rabbit holes), I became progressively more learned in what bioethicists call 'The Abolition of Suffering', which is self-explanatory (and achievable if we take into account the predicted near-future developments of nanotechnology, biotechnology, gene therapy, psychopharmacology, et cetera, and how they will potentially revolutionise medicine and pain management), and other related spheres such as hedonics, paradise engineering, philosophy of pain, utilitarianism, and so on. It is a movement that is very close to both my heart and my head, and I have learned much from a coalition of beautiful, intelligent and avant-garde friends and individuals both on- and off-line (and long may it continue).

However, Suffering-Abolitionism is one of those spheres that should come with a kind of 'cognitive hazard' warning sign. Being a member of the suffering-abolitionist community has brought me into contact with accounts and testimonies of extreme suffering, involving humans, animals and insects; descriptions that I arrived at thanks to my curiosity mixed with a misguided attempt at awareness-raising, and the psychological (and physical?) impact it all had on me needs no description, I’m sure you understand. However much bioethical abolitionism may be a mental health minefield for ultra-sensitive and hyper-empathic personalities like myself, it has given me a deeper, more high-resolution appreciation for my own body, brain and mind (and soul and spirit also, if we are to be so bold), which is beneficial and even therapeutic in itself. When the uncanny mysteries of mental health issues that cloud self-reflection and introspection finally lift, answers are revealed and it becomes clearer how one can help oneself and be reliable to others, and adjusting back into a normal, everyday routine becomes much easier, especially after reaching out for help. And after acquiring the painful burden of knowledge about the realities of suffering, one is then much better equipped to help others in dire consequences; wisdom presses down on one's back like a bag of rocks, but in the bag are not rocks as first thought, but actually tools being carried to help those in need, and to help the one carrying such wisdom effectively relieve the pain of oneself to better serve others in similarly painful circumstances. Let us not forget the tale about the happy pig and the unhappy Socrates!

“You have such an interesting/fascinating mind”, or simply, “I like your mind” is one of the greatest compliments one could ever bestow and receive.

The euphoria of witnessing a beautiful mind is rarely surpassed; the ultra-euphoria of having a beautiful mind, of being the proud owner of one, is so great it is difficult to put into words...it is at the top of the hedonic pyramid with other rarities, absolutely.

Here I present to you, dear readers, a compilation of written reports and descriptions of various conditions that myself and others have experienced (or rather, had to endure in the case of some episodes!) regarding our mental health; what was it we were suffering from, what kind of impact did they have, what was the outcome and were they valuable learning experiences during or after the fact? We will also look into the positives of some of these conditions ('silver linings' or 'rose-tinted glasses', or both? You know what they all say, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing”), where some of the afflictions correlated with, for example, increased creativity, novelty seeking, divergent thinking, heightened intelligence and/or greater empathy that could inspire the sufferer to follow a more altruistic lifestyle than their more neurotypical counterparts.

One of my intentions with this piece is to raise awareness of some of the more obscure afflictions that could be used to help readers who may be suffering from something that they cannot put a name to, until now; or indeed recently, like if a vague idea was had before which becomes much clearer now thanks to the testimonies featured in this piece. This article also commemorates those without a voice who, unfortunately, suffer in silence. For instance, let's imagine a young boy around the ages of 6 to 11 years of age. He was born already at the mercy of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a condition that forced him to move or touch objects and parts of his body in very specific ways repetitiously, as well as having to say the same sentence or ask the same question over and over again as well. The 'ritual' that affected him the most was having to loop the same question until the person he is asking responds with a particular answer, said in a particular tone of voice with a particular cadence; if these strict conditions were not met, he had to go back to the beginning and ask the question all over again, and then again, constantly and as many more times as it took until the 'demon inside' was satisfied that not only was the correct answer given, but also that the correct answer was given with a specific inflection, intonation, modulation and rhythm.

Being in the age range that he is, articulating these troubling mental and physical processes can be an almost impossible task, for the average 6 to 11 year old is unlikely to use vocabulary that includes words such as anxiety, obsessive, compulsion, serotonin, dopamine, neurotransmitter, frontal lobe, prefrontal cortex, and so on. All that he can muster in desperation is, “I think something is wrong”, or “do you think I am going mad?”, because even the word 'anxiety' is still not part of his vocabulary just yet; he would sooner use the much stronger term 'insane' before something far more appropriate like 'anxious'. And anxiety was most definitely the usual outcome from all of the aforementioned scenarios, be they rituals of highly repetitive movements, physicalities, mentalities, obsessions, thought loops, conversational loops, demands, inquiries; and long would such anxiety linger if the end results of any of these rituals and repetitions during an obsessive-compulsive episode did not match what the condition's 'spirit' demanded. Of course, episodes involving others caused some of the worst feelings of anxious misalignment, as you try to explain to others why it is so important that they answer your questions in a certain way, why they must look a certain way, why they must move something in a certain way, as their own awareness of the mechanics and dynamics of certain mental conditions might not be that much greater than the pre-teen sufferer of OCD, regardless of how much older the loved ones of those afflicted are.

But whilst the sufferer of OCD itself is afflicted with it, those closest to them, like loved ones, are still affected by it like ripples on a pond, of course. And no matter how understanding they try to be even after a proper explanation that involves neurology, physiology, endocrinology and so on, their noble and caring participation in the rituals of the OCD sufferer can only go so far before they feel like it has gone on for too long, past a line in the sand after which they begin to feel manipulated, coerced, forced and bullied even.

You, the reader, may have correctly realised by now that the aforementioned boy was, and still is, me. But even when loved ones and close friends are not involved in the actual ritual, other people, like strangers, can still witness you struggling to quieten that incessant anxiety and dread that the repetitions will never end, or if they do, then just simply return again soon enough, as they point and laugh and ask themselves and each other, “why is he constantly touching his right foot every time he puts his right foot forward as he walks?”.

A few months back, some very interesting people in an OCD-support group on Facebook introduced me to a kind of OCD that I had never heard or read about before until then, a type called 'Existential OCD'. I typed up a post in the group so I could share some problems I was having with intrusive thoughts about the nature of memory, forgetfulness, oneiric semblances and so on. For instance, one variant of this Existential OCD that frequently made its way into my head was one where intrusive thoughts took my mind to a place where I’m told that I was always asleep before today, and that the life I thought I had from birth to yesterday was just the dreams I dreamt during this long, long sleep. Sometimes it felt like I ‘woke up’ on the very same day rather than yesterday, where the morning or noon or even afternoon of the current day was part of the dreamscape from this long sleep, and I had only just snapped back into waking consciousness at some point in the last hour or so! The ‘analysis paralysis’ I feel over my memory and the fuzziness/haziness of memories triggers it. Many people can accept that memories fade, disappear, become cloudy and vague because that is what memories for many people eventually do – erode! So they just go about their business without caring about it; and why should they? It isn’t so easy for me to just dismiss this issue, however. Think of these particular processes as being like the trope of “it was all just a dream”, when a fictional character in a book, film, TV programme etc, wakes up at the end of the story, the story being 'all just a dream', of course. With the particular kind of Existential OCD/intrusive thoughts as described above, it can feel like you have woken up from a dream, only to wake up again (in a few hours, or in a few minutes even) with the previous waking up experience being part of the dream you are waking up from right now – all during waking consciousness!

Another sub-variant still is similar to the one described above, but instead of sleeping for decades and dreaming my life 'before today/the present moment’, intrusive thoughts suggest that I didn’t even exist before today/the present moment; I wasn’t created yet, I wasn’t born yet and my memories from the first thirty years of my life (I am thirty-one years of age) are just memory implants and that I’m actually just one hour old, or ten minutes old. At least with the previous oneiric version, you can be more assured that you have already existed for a while (almost certainly longer than just ten minutes anyway) as dreams require an existing dreamer, of course; until consideration is focused on (and forces upon you) the idea that these dreams and moments of dream recall could also just be mere implantations of synthetic memories.

Here is the exact post that I uploaded to the aforementioned OCD-support group on Facebook, the replies of which gave me my first introduction to the term 'Existential OCD', recalled thusly:

Hi folks, I was wondering - do any of you get intrusive thoughts and OCD along the lines of; that you are somehow “less of a human” when compared to parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on, because of screens, phones, computers, social media and all of the ‘dulling’ effects on the modern consumer that can come with these devices? You could argue that all these generations had more freedom than our generation in some respects, and generations to come, especially now with Covid and the Great Reset looming over the horizon. But also, even before then, older family members used their senses more, held deep conversations, went to a wider variety of places, dressed better, maintained more eye contact, and had stronger family bonds compared to us. It is almost as if modern living is turning our forebrains into mush. I’ve been getting these thoughts a lot; I’m witnessing (or am even a part of) devolution, not the other way like we’re supposed to. How can I remedy these, what thoughts could I think to balance these out more? Thank you.

My obsession with memory and memory problems and disorders continues. Insanity can cause memory problems, but I wonder if memory problems can cause insanity, or worsen madness already present? Especially if the person suffers from something like OCD already, and they become obsessed, going round and round in their heads asking themselves, "did that really happen, or was it a dream; was it deja vu, dreamja vu, hallucination, hypnopompia, hypnagogia, sleep paralysis, or just simply imagination and fantasy, or a mixture?". People close to you confirming that something did or did not happen is sometimes not enough to put these intrusive thoughts to rest, because now the person just thinks, "I don't remember this, have I slipped into another timeline?", or "I'm certain this happened, but loved ones say it didn't. Have I slipped into another timeline, or was it any of the previously listed phenomena?".

Another disturbing intrusive thought is knowing that something definitely happened in the past, but the memory of it has become so vague and smudgy that OCD gaslights you into thinking, "yes, this did happen and it stayed 'happening' in the past whilst you had a good recollection of it, until you started losing your memory of it, and now it is being erased from the past bit by bit. What was an actual event in your past now turns into a dream, and when you have completely forgotten it, even the dream itself dissolves into nothing. What was a past occurrence degrades into an old dream, then the occurrence of the dream itself (along with the past real-life occurrence represented within said dream, of course) dissolves into the abyss, as if you went back in time to change events in such a way that what did happen suddenly becomes something that never, ever happened in the first place". You pick up a photograph of a much younger you, but you cannot remember it being taken or where it was or when...and so begins more onslaughts of intrusive thoughts: “that was me when I could remember this picture being taken (one timeline), but ever since I became unable to remember, the person looking at the picture and the person in the picture split into two separate versions of that person (one timeline becomes two timelines)”. This kind of episode ties in with a self-explanatory phenomenon I like to call the '2012 effect', which can be expressed thusly: "we all died in 2012 and this is Hell; the transition was so smooth, that hardly anyone noticed. By the time it became more apparent, it was already far too late", or have we seemingly transitioned from one Hell into another Hell?

I remember remembering a memory; I remember being able to remember dreams; I remember having good dream-recall; now I cannot recall what it is like to have good dream-recall, because I have forgotten. I have forgotten what it is like to remember. Other times, I remember having a bad memory, sometimes - am I repeating myself?

The 'less-than-human' variant of the Existential OCD experience, as outlined above, reminds me of when I was younger at a time when the intensity of my OCD in general was really bad, or at it's worst rather. As a teenager, I became orthorexic because I was so excessively repulsed by anything edible that I thought was unhealthy, even just marginally so; why? Because I thought at the time that junk food consumption made the person eating it less than human in my eyes and in my mind, and that was something I certainly did not want to risk happening to myself. It was a similar case for many musicians, producers, filmmakers and artists whose lives and creative outpourings I was interested in becoming more acquainted with. However, if any of them were photographed with even just a cigarette in their hand, then it became very difficult to put that to one side and enjoy their body of work. Again, as well as affecting the person with the condition itself, it can and does affect others if the condition influences your perception of them, which in turn influences how they are treated (or mistreated, as the case may be). This could be a recipe for hurt feelings, ruined relationships, heartbreak and guilt for all involved. Even for me, if I produced something creative and artistic during a period where bad habits ruled over me and I swung back and forth between abstinence and relapse, then I would find it very difficult to want to share such creative endeavours with any friends or family because it seemed to me that these productions were somehow 'tainted' with the bad energies of addiction, and that my audience would be able to tell just from reading, listening or looking at my work that I was addicted to something and that my last relapse happened very recently. This problem is related to the kind of anxiety you can feel when you think that your problems, vices, bad habits and so forth can be surmised by members of the public and strangers in the street just by simply looking at your face, posture and body language (which is actually true to some extent, but not as much as many anxiety-ridden people tend to think, and certainly not by every other member of the general public who walks passed you): “my problems and my weaknesses are written all over my face for everyone to see; even strangers can read me like a book. God knows what my friends and family must think of me if I am that easy to figure out”. Furthermore, even I could not bring myself to enjoy some of my own artwork because I knew all too well what issues I was struggling with during the making of these works respectively (as well as how powerless I was and how much I was at the mercy of these bad habits and addictions, especially at the very beginning of my journey towards health and wellbeing when self-control, motivation, long-term foresight and discipline were, admittedly, at their most weak and ineffective). These memories are painful reminders of my experience with Imposter Syndrome (not helped at all by so-called 'friends' telling me that they thought I was a 'fraud' – how charming!), as well as the aforementioned OCD.

OCD is one of those conditions that can branch out, causing domino-like knock-on processes that lead to other effects, such as anxiety, depression, self-sabotage, anorexia, orthorexia and ironic-process theory. What is ironic-process theory? It is where desperate attempts to NOT think certain thoughts only makes those thoughts more vivid, more frequent and more unforgettable, the opposite of what the sufferer wanted and tried to achieve with will-power, meditation, and reasoning, which are characteristics that are compromised by the disorder anyway, unfortunately. Furthermore, the nature of OCD means that the sufferer risks extra layers of obsessional self-referencing without adequate coping strategies, where the beast is fed until it grows to fill one's entire headspace. These kinds of feedback loops and self-referencing cycles can very quickly snowball to the point where the sufferer becomes trapped in obsessive, compulsive and disorderly thoughts about obsessive, compulsive and disorderly thoughts - meta-OCD! On the bright side, however, this particular effect also endowed me with a greater appreciation for the art of paradox, as illustrated in works by great minds like Douglas Hofstadter in particular. Thus, caution is advised for anyone with OCD contemplating the ingestion of psychedelic substances, as thought loops are of course one of the (numerous) effects caused by hallucinogens for trippers regardless of whether they have OCD or not! And thought loops can be frightening for anyone even if they are relatively free from mental health afflictions; perhaps, counter-intuitively, people affected by conditions like OCD and other 'weird' mind-states might be better prepared for the similarly weird effects of psychedelics. Whatever the case may be, I emphasise once again; proceed with caution and care!

Whilst we are currently occupied with the subject of psychedelics, I would like to share with you an entry from a journal written as a reflection of my feelings after my own personal psychedelic adventures came to an end (for now):

“I got terribly depressed during the tail end of my psychedelic exploration phase, because the realities of their legal status and cultural taboo started to make themselves known, and so I then came down with what I call Astronaut’s Homesickness; like the spaceman stuck on Earth after having been to the Moon because the space programme got shut down. Always looking up at the moon, wanting to go back, a yawning and unignorable feeling of ‘unfinished business’, because there was so much left to explore. All the entities, ecstasies, telepathy, time travel, ancestral memories now in the past as normal memories, but at least I got to experience them. It’s not really something most people can relate to or understand. You know what they say, first world problems and all that; actually, it’s not even that! It’s higher, but it is a cause of some mental suffering. I now understand why people use the expression “knowledge and experiences not meant for us”, like the scientists who gave octopi MDMA during a research experiment. Lucky octopi, certainly...but how can an octopus land safely back onto ‘terra firma’, metaphorically, after such an intensely alien and pleasurable experience? It would live the rest of its life asking itself, “what in Neptune’s oceans WAS that!?”

My experience with orthorexia first began in my early-to-mid teenage years. Since long before adolescence even, I was guided by a constant chain of obsessional patterns of behaviour, focusing mainly around the organisation and collecting of certain things and their classes and sub-classes, types and sub-types including rarities and one-offs, alongside the aforementioned repetitious actions. By the time I was around 13 or 14 years of age, I had encountered various schools of thought relating to the future: futurism, posthumanism, transhumanism, singularitarianism and, of course, bioethical abolitionism (more commonly known as 'the abolition of suffering'). Sure enough, I had a roster in my mind of influential individuals active in these movements who I became quite fixated with and would constantly talk and think about, to the puzzlement of my friends and family; they were people like Aubrey de Grey (a memorable case of “don't meet your heroes”, the guy was very rude), Robert Ettinger, James Hughes, Martine Rothblatt and Ray Kurzweil in particular (who was very cordial and polite to me and the friend I was with when we met him, unlike pompous de Grey). Around that time, Kurzweil had published a book he co-wrote with a gentleman named Terry Grossman, called 'Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever', an allusion to the 1966 science fiction movie about the miniaturised submarine traveling around the innerspace of the human body. As per the subtitle of the book, it was a guide about what foods, nutrients, drinks, supplements etc, that the human body should consume in order to be as healthy and as long-lived as possible, so that the likelihood of readers and immortalist enthusiasts benefiting from more advanced anti-aging strategies is increased substantially. I invested so much into the predictions and promises written in this book (as well as other books and articles by/featuring him), and I took Kurzweil's futurist forecasting in general (along with their many revisions!) as gospel, with very little questioning. Looking back, much of his career seems to have been spent saying what's going to happen in 2020 (the predictions for which I remember about 15 years ago, and it's 2021 now of course!), as well as 2030, 40, 50 and then round and round again with just enough alterations each time to keep his audience hooked, until now it seems. It looks like he has been laying low for the past couple of years, tinkling the ivories on one of his very own Kurzweil synthesizers (synthesizers and electronic music being yet another fixation of mine; actually this was what me and Ray chatted about for most of our brief interaction – as I said, he was nice enough to me, so the memory of that encounter is a happy one). One memory that stayed with me like a thorn in my side was from having just half an avocado for breakfast before school and then feeling very light-headed and dizzy. This happened frequently, and I soon started to binge on handfuls of cereal, biscuits, granola bars, chocolate, until I felt ill. I had a bit of a Marcel Proust moment earlier this week when having dinner at home (see involuntary memory - "...the taste of a madeleine cake dunked in tea..."). I was chewing on some vegetables, and I could really taste the olive oil. It took me right back to about fifteen years ago, as my immortalism-fuelled orthorexia began to tighten its grip around me. The first part of the book was all about diet, supplements, green tea, hydration, exercise and so on. And of course, olive oil was mentioned in this book, so that aforementioned mouthful really took me back; back to a very weird part of my life as well. So yes, orthorexia plus OCD was a challenging combination to say the least; the orthorexia is well and truly behind me, however the OCD is not, nor will it ever be.

On the subject of writer's like Marcel Proust and the afflictions that either plagued or blessed them the most (or both), I wish to bring forward something called the Sylvia Plath effect.

As a writer myself, I became very familiar with the kinds of phenomena that are mostly associated with creative writer's, with one of them being called the Sylvia Plath effect. Now, the Sylvia Plath effect is a phenomenon named after Plath (RIP), denoting the unfortunate reality that not only are those who suffer from mental illness over-represented in the creative sphere, but more specifically, writers tend to suffer the most thus leading to higher rates of suicidality compared to those active in other artistic endeavours. This effect so named is used to refer to writers of either gender, so I wonder for argument’s sake; what could the male-specific equivalent be known as? The Ernest Hemingway effect? The Hart Crane effect? May Hemingway and Crane also rest in peace.

Typing ‘RIP’ just then triggered old memories of an OCD-riddled childhood where I always felt pressured to be sympathetic and mournful every time I heard or read about a death. It encompassed anyone and everyone, and I would always feel guilty that I wasn’t mournful enough upon learning about the passing of a life. So, I would try really hard to make myself upset and distraught whenever I found out that a person, a complete stranger, animals, plants and microscopic life, had died. Very maddening. My heart broke many times during strolls in the evening after a spell of rain when snails and slugs would all emerge out into the dark and badly lit footpaths.

“Skin like alabaster...I always knew I would die young. Like Marcel Proust, who furiously wrote what was left in his heart before the feeling of imminent death became too strong to resist for much longer...”

I now wish to bring forward what I like to call the Marcel Proust effect (not to be confused with involuntary memories, a la the episode of the madeleine, as described above), a real-life character type where a young boy is sickly and weak right up until adulthood, where their conditions confined them to extended periods either bed-ridden or sat on a chair; this gives their imagination a license to set sail to creative antipodes of the mind, as well as time and space to bring back dispatches from these vistas that are raw materials for works of great genius, potentially. They will discover that their creative faculties are sharper and more productive at night time, and so their daily rhythms will become inverted, to the concern of family, friends, loved ones and colleagues, naturally. This has a ruinous effect on the person's already precarious physical and mental health, and their fiery creative inspirations often leave them hungry after forgetting to eat - but the work, the magnum opus, must be completed. The man will be close to his Mother, for she dotes on him, and her son's worrying habits brings their relationship closer, for she feels that she must keep an eye on him as he scribbles away. Even as a boy, he knew he would meet an early death compared to those with fuller lives, and so he hurriedly scrambles to finish as much of his work as possible before ill health consumes him completely. Eventually it does, and his grieving loved ones do him the honour of piecing together the final chapter of his book from the scribbled notes he left behind, with a secure place in literary history awaiting him posthumously. From Marcel Proust's Wikipedia entry:

"[Marcel] Proust had a close relationship with his mother. To appease his father, who insisted that he pursue a career, Proust obtained a volunteer position at Bibliothèque Mazarine in the summer of 1896. After exerting considerable effort, he obtained a sick leave that extended for several years until he was considered to have resigned. He never worked at his job, and he did not move from his parents' apartment until after both were dead.

His life and family circle changed markedly between 1900 and 1905. In February 1903, Proust's brother, Robert Proust, married and left the family home. His father died in November of the same year. Finally, and most crushingly, Proust's beloved mother died in September 1905. She left him a considerable inheritance. His health throughout this period continued to deteriorate.

Proust spent the last three years of his life mostly confined to his bedroom, sleeping during the day and working at night to complete his novel. He died of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess in 1922. He was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris."

Our modern lifestyles are often blamed for the ruinous state of so many people's mental health, however, I would like to offer a counterpoint to this cliche.

9-to-5 jobs, money, earning a wage, material possessions etc, are always at the receiving end of jibes spoken or written by people in mainstream psychedelic, spiritualist, aya-retreat and pop-Buddhist circles, and it always feels so jarring to me as I felt great pleasure many times from working a steady job, having a daily routine where I am useful, relied upon, and needed. It is crucial to have something to get out of bed for day after day; all of these were great feelings. Imagine a happy and positive situation involving steady employment in a buzzing city in a quarter where there is lots of beautiful architecture to behold on one’s lunch break. More people should embrace how some anxieties are lifted thanks to a regular, monthly wage of generous proportions, which also gives the earner more freedom than before when unemployed, more freedom to explore and to enjoy the things we love to do. This stands in opposition to the anti-work and alarmist “trapped-in-the-matrix” manipulation coming out of the mouths of rent-a-gurus who simply want people to give them money instead of earning it elsewhere and far away from the gaslighting of these fraudulent shysters. As strange as it sounds, I experienced spiritual fulfilment when in regular employment, including within 9-to-5 employment even (especially the 9-to-5s?) for the aforementioned reasons, as well as full-on mystical joy…it is the “part of the world, part of the future” euphoric interconnectedness, contributing to a significant improvement in mental health.

As both a wordsmith and a hopeless novelty-seeker, new words that I have never seen before bring me great joy, words like orthorexia (as described above), and others such as athymhormia, a word introduced to me very recently, whereas orthorexia has been part of my vocabulary for much, much longer. What is athymhormia?

Athymhormia is a disorder of motivation, one of that class of neuro-psychiatric conditions marked by abnormalities or deficiencies in motivation. Symptoms include the loss or reduction of desire and interest toward previous motivations, loss of drive and the desire for satisfaction, curiosity, the loss of tastes and preferences, and flat affect. In athymhormia, however, these phenomena are not accompanied by the characterizing features of depression nor by any notable abnormality in intellectual or cognitive function.

Do I have athymhormia? Well, I did...sometimes, and this article would've been finished much sooner without it! I jest, of course, partially anyway. But whilst I hate the idea of telling on myself (for I find this condition particularly embarrassing in it's own way, for, as a creative personality-type, motivation is crucial!), I have to be honest and sincere for the sake of the integrity of this article - a problem shared, and all that. For fellow sufferers of athymhormia, I bring you some soothing words of wisdom from Confucius:

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

Whilst I get incredibly frustrated and put off by this condition, naturally, my attempts at finding a  silver lining to this problem leads me to consider how episodes of admitted laziness, procrastination and addictive internet consumption send me 'floating downstream' through the net where, to my surprise, I almost-always stumble across new knowledge, new ideas, and new discoveries just by surfing from one place to the next and coming across interesting and compelling content. Following a trail of search engines and hyperlinks almost always leads to lillypads and golden nuggets of once esoteric knowledge and information. However, with that being said, I know I must improve my self-discipline. But talk is cheap; results, as well as monies, 'talk' far more reliably and effectively!

Bonus word: morosoph

Noun: morosoph - a learned fool. Fool, muggins, saphead, tomfool, sap - a[n educated, knowledgeable] person who lacks good judgment, like the 'absent-minded professor/scientist' stock character trope, or, alternatively, the 'nutty professor' caricature.

Bonus condition: hyperthymia

Another favourite obscuro term of mine is hyperthymia, the name given to another medical condition that makes the person affected ('sufferer' would be rather inaccurate in this case - you will see why very soon!) chronically happy, extremely happy, or inappropriately happy even, and this would certainly be the case in some social situations where excessive happiness would be seen as inappropriate; callous, even! The very nature of hyperthymia makes it a frequent topic of discussion in suffering-abolitionist circles, who refer to hyperthymia in many discussions and debates, as well as in rebuttals against critics of suffering-abolitionism, paradise engineering, the Hedonistic Imperative, which are subject to an abundance of criticisms and controversies. Topics like hyperthymia demonstrate the possibility and feasibility of engineered paradise for all, and are useful rhetorical tools for those making a case in favour of bioethical abolitionism.

Did you know that paranoia has a positive counterpart? Not just an opposite, but a friendlier opposite: it is called pronoia. Where paranoia is the belief and conviction that forces are conspiring and working against you to hinder and sabotage you and your life, pronoia is the belief that forces are working to help you, to assist and aid you! I feel that I have had such experiences involving pronoia; there were so many times in my life where my recklessness, impulsivity and lack of consideration for long-term consequences nearly derailed my life irreparably. I didn't exactly get through unscathed, but I came out in better condition than many other people who have suffered worse consequences as a result of being involved in far less serious and numerous incidents. So I say Thank You to whoever or whatever was out there looking over me, helping me, guiding me...they worked overtime, double time, triple time, nights, weekends, holidays and Christmas to save my ass. Perhaps they knew that I had to endure these experiences, as unpleasant as they were, for the necessary wisdom that I wouldn't have earned any other way, or with very few other ways. Because of all this, I am determined not to waste my life. But one thing bothers me; I hope that I am the only 'Adam', the only Me, out of all the universes that may exist out there...because the alternative is that in many universes, across the multiverse, there were other Adams who weren't so lucky, and the sins they committed destroyed not only them, but also all the other 'Adams’ families' and beyond, and that breaks my heart.

I would like to conclude this instalment closer to the positive and optimistic beacons of pronoia and hyperthymia as described above, and I cordially invite you all to join me for Part 2 next upon its eventual completion. I hope you enjoyed this edition, and that you found it useful and inspiring. Best wishes to you all, dear readers; until we meet again!