Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Some identical twins behave so similarly that, to a casual observer,
they seem to share one identity, one personality.
by Paul Sieveking
CHAPLIN TWINS OF YORK
Incredible though it may seem, identical twins who reared completely apart often exhibit more similarities of behaviour than those who grow up together. But when they reach their early teens most twins begin to develop a desire to be individuals, even if this is expressed only by dressing differently. Some, however, fail to do this, and grow up as if they were one person.
One of the most striking examples of this phenomenon became known in 1980 when the 38-year-old Chaplin twins, Greta and Freda, were brought before magistrates in York, England, charged with behaving in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace.
They had, it was asserted, been harassing Mr Ken Iveson, once a neighbour of theirs, for 15 years: following him about, waiting for him outside the glassworks where he was employed as a lorry driver, shouting abuse at him and even hitting him with their hand-bags. This extraordinarv fixation, however, was not the reason that psychiatrists, social workers and journalists were so fascinated by the case - for the twins spoke in what appeared to be precise synchronisation.
They exhibit other signs that seem to indicate that they are effectively one person. They are so alike in the wav they think. speak. move and dress that children, believing them to be witches, have thrown stones at them in the street and adults have spat in their faces. They are a familiar sight in York - and are generally given a wide berth.
They wear identical grey coats, but as one originally came with green buttons and one with grey, they cut off two buttons each, and now both coats have two green and two grey. When given two different pairs of gloves they simply took one from each pair. Similarly a gift of two different coloured bars of soap caused them real anguish. Thcv burst into tears, then solved the problem by cutting the bars in half and sharing them. When Greta got a prescription for bronchitis, Freda demanded the same medicine.
SPEAKING AS ONE
The twins eat in unison, slowly raising forks and spoons together, finishing up one item of food before starting on the next. But most uncanily, they speak the same words at the same time, especially when excited or under stress; careful listening, however, reveals that the words of one come out a split second later than those of the other.
They also exhibit 'mirror-imaging', which is characteristically found in monozygotic twins. In typical cases one twin is right-handed. the other left-handed; the whorls of the hair grow clock-wise in one and anti-clockwise in the other; the left thumbprint of one almost matches the richt thumbprint of the other, or similar wrinkles appear on opposite ears. Photographs of twins are most similar if one negative is flipped to produce a reversed image.
The Chaplins dress in mirror image of each other, although a casual observer would say they dress identically, and eccentrically, in their long skirts, clashing colours and headscarves. When Greta wears a bracelet on her left wrist, Freda wears one on her right, and if one breaks a shoelace, thc other pulls a lace out of her opposite shoe.
Although the twins are difficult and unpredictable to interview, some journalists have managed to talk to them. Sue Heal from Woman's Own elicited this telling statement from them: We're so close that we're really one person. We know exactly what each other is thinking because we're just one brain.' Sue Heal remarked, "You go gently for fear they'll disappear and leave you thinking you dreamed them up, like some-thing from Alice in Wonderland. She must have gained their confidence, however, because she did find out that they wear different underclothes.
And they do argue, sometimes hitting each other lightly with their identical hand-bags, then sitting sulking together for hours. If they believe they are the same person then how can an argument happen?
A closer examination of their history shows that their extraordinary togetherness was actively fostered by their parents, especially by their mother, who dressed them identically and allowed them no friends. They were not mentally abnormal and attended a secondary school near their York home. Teachers and fellow pupils remember them as neat, clean and quiet - and although among the slowest students they could read and write as well as the others in their class. The deputy headmaster of the school has no doubts about what turned them into the disturbed adults they are todav: Jt was clear that they had a doting mother who never allowed them any separate identity. . . . The other kids just saw them as a bit quaint. I don't think they were acutely isolated then or maladjusted.' They had not, at that point, begun to speak simultaneously.
Clearly their mother's attitude towards them had triggered off a pattern of abnormal behaviour, perhaps aided by their biological affinity. Both parents seem to have been uncommunicative and friendless and Mrs Chaplin is said to be obsessively houseproud. This emphasis on cleanliness may explain why the twins' only apparent pleasure is bathing together, grooming each other, washing each others long hair. They are said to use an average of bars of soap and three large bottles of shampoo each week.
The unfortunate Ken Iveson had grown up next door to the Chaplins; he married when the twins were two years old, but continued to live at his parents' home with his wife and children. Neither he nor his parents had ever set foot inside their neighbours' house; they were never asked in and never saw anyone else pay social calls. Iveson would pass the rime of day with the girls, who, isolated from the outside world, obviously took this as some kind of romantic encouragement. They rapidly became a nuisance and eventually, after 15 years, Iveson could take no more of it. Their case came to court.
The twins' parents had, it transpired, forced them to leave home. When asked about this, Freda and Greta reply as one: "Something must have happened. Yes yes yes. Something strange. Must have happened.'
Mr and Mrs Chaplin refuse to talk to the press, and exactly why the twins left is not known. They now live in a hostel for the mentally handicapped.
Curiously. the local psychiatrists, called in by the court as expert witnesses, were baffled by the twins' case, describing it vaguely as 'a personality disorder'. Yet their behaviour towards Iveson matches the textbook symptoms of erotormania, a form of schizophrenia that has been recognised as a clinical condition since the mid 1960s. Dr Morgan Enoch, of the Maudsley mental hospital in south London, has discovered that if one identical twin is schizophrenic then the other is also likely to suffer from the disease.
But does erotomania or any form of schizophrenia - entirely explain the Chaplins' behaviour, especially their strange way of speaking? In their case there seem to be many highly influential factors - genetic, environmental, social - that have made them the objects of sympathy and derision that they are today.
Perhaps the Chaplins' peculiarity of speech is just one aspect of the way twins communicate with one another. Better known is ideoglossia, the phenomenon in which two individuals, most often twin children, develop between them a unique and private language complete with highly original vocabulary and syntax.
It is, however, commonly confused with a sub-category, twin speech - a private collection of distorted words and idioms used. it is estimated, by 40 per cent of all twins because they feel isolated, or secretive, or both. Most twins tend to give it up at the age of three, although twin Robert A. Nelson wrote to the New York Times in 1932 that 'It is a matter of record in my family that when my brother and I first started to talk, and until we were well past six, we conversed with each other in a strange tongue of our own.' The only other person who could understand their particular speech was their brother who was eight years older.
THE KENNEDY TWINS OF GEORGIA
Identical twins Grace and Virginia were born in 1970 in Columbus, Georgia, USA, to Tom Kennedy and his German-born wile Christine. The day after the girls were born, Grace suddenly raised her head and stared at her father. Virginia did the same thing the next day. These strangely precocious acts, labelled convulsive seizures by doctors, continued periodically for six months, in spite of treatment. At 17 months they apparently developed ideoglossia, beginning to speak rapidly in a language of their own -their only concession to English being 'mommy' and 'daddy'. They called each other Poto and Cabenga.
When the twins were two years old, the family moved to California, but there were very few other children in the neighbourhood for Grace and Virginia to play with. They were left to themselves or entrusted to their maternal grandmother, Paula Kunert, a stern disciplinarian who still spoke only her native German.
In 1977 the speech therapists at the Children's Hospital in San Diego, Califor-nia, began to study the twins, taping their conversation in the hope of learning some-thing about the mysteries of developing language. Is it, they wondered, predomin-antly a product of genetic programming or a learned response to the world around them? A typical conversation between the girls would run:
~Eebedeebeda. Dis din qui naba.'
~Neveda. Ca Baedabada.'
When the study began the twins spoke no English, but gradually the therapists coaxed some out of them - which they spoke with a curious high-speed delivery. Anne Koenecke even tried to talk to them in their own language but they just looked at her as if she were crazy. 'Snap aduk, Cabenga, chase die-dipana,' said 'Poto' masterfully. Having apparently issued a command she and 'Cabenga' instantly began to play with a doll's house.
Analysis of the tapes showed that their communication was something less than true ideoglossia. Many of the apparently new words turned out to be mispronounced words and phrases from German and English jammed together and said at high speed. However, a few words, such as 'nu-nukid' and 'pulana', remain unidentified. As the twins grew older they suddenly began to speak English - but they remain silent about the meaning of their once private language.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
its really long, i wouldnt read it
Before beginning, I would like to make the following statement:
I am in no way qualified to make the statements I am about to make, I am not even sure if my thoughts to follow are valid arguments, or if they hold true when assessed logically. Furthermore, I am more than certain that if this essay were to be presented to any one of the Existentialist writers I am about to criticize and analyze, that they would without so much as batting an eyelid, be able to refute my claims and tell me that I am, in fact mistaken, and present me with a far more compelling argument than the one I am about to present. Nonetheless, I will continue with my thoughts, for they seem true and authentic, in my eyes – and it is this authenticity which gives me the courage to make these claims.
From the onset of my dealings with existentialism, there has been something that has simply seemed off about their view of existence. The primary view which did I felt counter-intuitive to what existence presents itself to be, to me, was the extreme alienation felt by these writers. More specifically, the way they viewed each person as an individual, and fail to see the eternal, infinite oneness of the universe. It seems that they, through their self-consciousness, do have the potential to see this oneness, as this potential is inherent to all beings. However it is due to the idea of existential alienation, that they feel separate from the universe, which thus hinders this ability. If able to get beyond that barrier, they would see what has been seen by countless mystics over countless years, and countless traditions – that we are all the infinite one, we are not by any means separate from each other, and any sense of isolation or alienation is merely a hallucination. For in reality, as presented by near all mystic tradition, this life we live is somewhat of a game, of which the ultimate objective is the realization of the game, and with that, seeing yourself as you truly are, as one with every existing being ever, for you are not the you, you are thinking of, you are not a separate individual, confined to your skin. You are the real you, the you you find – as Alan Watts puts it, “the inmost Self which escapes inspection because it's always the inspector”, which is God. However, in the present world this simply does not fly with most, as God is taught to us as being an all powerful king, a being in conscious control, of the universe. What one must realize is that this view of God is misguided, and it is this view that stops the Existentialists from seeing God within everything. As the Vedanta's teach, there is nothing that exists, except God, and it is upon this realization that life ceases to be a futile experience, experienced alone inside our skin.
Now that I have stated my basic point, granted without much supporting evidence, I will continue on. First we will glance at existentialism in general, so as to understand and cement basic terms and concepts, we will then turn our attentions to the mystic experience, clairvoyance, and other such related things. Although the understanding of all things I will discuss of mysticism are not essential to understanding the basic points I wish to bring forth in this essay, they are nonetheless aids in understanding my reasoning behind why I feel the way I do about existentialism, and in turn provide answers to the questions faced within this essay.
Within the existentialist writers I plan to cover (Sartre, Camus and Tillich) several themes seem essential to talk about: authenticity, alienation, absurdity and anxiety.
Authenticity, in the most basic sense, deals with ones choice to do something for one's own self, and not for any external reasons. To be authentic one must have the ability to chose to do things as such, and if, one cannot make a decision for reasons that pertain to ones personal choices, and instead must refer to, for example, propriety derived from social or religious convention, then one is being inauthentic – you must claim responsibility for your own being and your own decisions. This, along with self-consciousness (albeit, somewhat misguided), seems to be where existentialism looks in the right direction, as they understand the importance of being as ones self, free from pretensions, taking responsibility for ones actions.
Alienation, which we will discuss in more detail later through Sartre's The Look, is the essential principle which separates existentialism from it's potential convergence with mysticism. Existential alienation is the feeling of being estranged from both the world, and ones self. The world is looked at through ones being-in-itself, comprehended by the for-itself, and ultimately, through this process, we feel estranged, as we are unable to reach any sort of connection between ourselves and the surrounding world, or of other for-itself's, as we are perceiving them as separate beings and objects, not sharing any connection. It is here that, I feel, one causes oneself to be alienated from ones true self, the reason being that if you are perceiving the world as a place filled with other separate beings, you are in turn causing yourself to be alienated from yourself. For if all is one, and you feel separate from others, you are in turn separating yourself from the one, in which yourself is also held – this is not an essential condition. When looked at from mysticism, it is, rather, a condition imposed on oneself, only defeated by dissolution of the ego, in which one ceases to see things as separate, and instead, as one.
Anxiety, which is similar to fear, takes place when one feels threatened. Within fear there is a direct object which threatens ones being, however in anxiety there is no direct object, which is what distinguishes the two from each other. From this anxiety, one may find himself unengaged, and detached from the world, which brings on the feeling of absurdity of ones existence and of the world. However, through mystic experience, one may shed these feelings – as one will not feel threatened by the world, existence, or anything definite, or indefinite, as one will not be estranged from, but rather connected to the eternal oneness of everything existing.
Until now, I have spoken of eternal oneness, but I have not proven it, however as far as my knowledge goes, the oneness is inexplicable, it requires faith, but this faith is not blind. Not at all. It is, in fact, clearly visible, but only upon experiencing it. Nonetheless, I will attempt to explain it, like attempting to explain color to a blind man.
The oneness of which I speak, encapsulates everything. As we attempt to define things, we are in essence, limiting and comparing them, so as to fit a definition. As there is no limit to everything, it cannot be defined. Thus the oneness of everything escapes definition in the same way color escapes those who have not experienced sight – there is no grounds for comparison, no black to juxtapose the white. As everything escapes definition, I turn now to the limits of our perceptions, to the fact that we cannot perceive anything with our five senses which are beyond them. It is thus, impossible to refute anything which cannot be perceived by our five senses through limiting and comparison.
For example, let us look at computer programming. Assume you are a media playing software, you have the capability to play .MP3, .WAV, .FLAC, .WMA and .M4A files, and these are all you know. If then someone would attempt to open a .JPEG image within you, you would not know what to do with it, you could attempt to comprehend it using the 5 file formats you can understand, but at best you may produce some unrelated gibberish, as it is not within your capacity to understand .JPEG images. Similarly, if we rely only solely on our five senses we block out the other possible modes of perception, which as they are not in our current capacity, we have no way of judging using our physical capacities to prove whether or not anything beyond the 'physical' is possible. Thus, to refute something which is 'metaphysical', which is beyond our five senses, is an egoistic assumption that nothing may exist outside of what is possible for us to perceive. For all we know, we could only be experiencing a fraction of reality, but there is no concrete way of proving it if one only relies on these five, rather limiting senses.
To the mystic, and the clairvoyant, we are doing just this, as we are not single, individual computer programs, but the entire computer itself, we are the infinite, experiencing our Self finitely. However, these capabilities, the escape of our perceived finiteness, are not as effortless as the five which we currently employ, and in order to perceive higher planes of existence, we must hone our inert capabilities through various forms of meditation and Mind-expansion (which differs from the brain in the same way a generator differs from electricity – but this is beyond the scope of this essay).
In the book Homage to The Sun, Kyriacos Markides, a professor of sociology, studied the acts of Dr. Stylianos Atteshlis, also known as Daskalos, a Christian mystic and healer. The book is written completely objectively, as Markides, who states within the first pages of the book, that until observing Daskalos perform the marvelous acts he does, Markides was a firm believer in the Nietzschean ideal that 'God is dead', and thus a complete non-believer in mysticism and clairvoyance. He merely reports on what he sees, and what he sees is irrefutable. Within this book, Daskalos explains that what has been described as 'metaphysics' by many is actually just as physical as the world as we currently experience it, simply within higher dimensions of existence. The gross material, being the third dimension, the one we are currently experiencing, the fourth dimension to be the psychic dimension (also known as the astral plane), where space, as perceived within the third dimension, does not exist, and the fifth dimension being the noetic, where both space and time are transcended. It is claimed that each being exists simultaniously within these planes, and each is just as material as the next, simply at “different levels of vibrations”. To refuters of this claim, Daskalos very simply stated “Just because we cannot see hydrogen does not mean that there is no such thing. We employ a wider conception of reality which is beyond the senses yet it is quite tangible for purposes of research...Our difference from those who call themselves materialists is this: our laboratory is broader.”
Although what I have stated above does not constitute as a logical proof of the existence of the eternal, infinite, one, I hope that I have elucidated that it is larger than definition, and the finite rules of logic, and can only be perceived and understood through experience. With this we shall move on to critique and analysis of certain elements of the existentialist philosophy.
Within Sartre's “the Look”, it is noted that as long as I am unreflective, I rely upon the others appropriation of me as an object to become conscious of my nature – as long as I am absorbed in my actions, I will be oblivious to their nature. As for this realization of being as an object within the eyes of the other, though Sartre claims you are alienated from that dimension of your being. We must realize that your nature was always present within the world, available to your perceptions if you chose it to be. As your nature is ever-present, it is apparent that the alienation is self-imposed, and thus easy to break free from. Thus the solution to break free from existential alienation is self-consciousness and introspection, the former being stressed by most existentialists as a part of authenticity, and both being stressed by mystics as a means of understanding one's Self. Sartre comes close the mystic point of view, as he realizes that it this situation holds true only as long as one is unreflective, but sees this unreflectiveness as an essential part of our existence within the described situation. This is not so. As I have said, existentialists have been looking in the right direction, but have been misguided.
Within the writing of Albert Camus, I have always felt him as less misguided than the rest – there have been glimpses of an understanding of the eternal infinite oneness, although never explicitly stated. For example, in the short story Jonas, or The Artist at Work, the struggle of the artist, and the eventual self imposed exile within his loft leads to his discovery of the indistinguishable nature of independence and interdependence of our world. This shows us that we as human beings are similar to an ocean, as we may all be individual molecules of water, we are ultimately a large body with each molecule indistinguishable from each-other, constituting the one ocean. Furthermore, we may look at The Myth of Sisyphus as a metaphor for the eternal wavelike nature being. The uphill struggle for Sisyphus may be looked at as the crest of the wave, life on earth in which we must play the game of realization of the Self. Upon realization of the Self we reach the node of the wave, which may be looked at as the peak of the mountain, at which point the struggle is alleviated, the boulder begins to roll down, and we are able to continue our existence unencumbered by the struggles faced prior to Self-realization, this is the trough of the wave. As we are unencumbered by existence, we become lucid, and conscious (as Camus too, points out), and are able to see things as they really are – eternal, infinite and one.
We now come to Tillich, whom I find the most interesting of all cases, as he seems less misguided and more distorted. Of all the Existentialist literature I have read, he is the only one who addresses mysticism directly, whereas most others merely refuse to look at it (Within Being and Nothingness, Sartre dismisses the mystic experience as unknowable). However, this may be attributable to Tillich being the only one who views religion as a possible mode for authentic existence. Nevertheless, within addressing mysticism not only does he make statements of mysticism that seem distorted so as to fit his argument, he argues that mysticism “in its extreme positive and extreme negative aspects is a comparatively rare event”. Firstly, within my understanding of mysticism, there are no negative aspects of mysticism which I have ever come across, and such a conjecture seems almost ridiculous, as when mysticism, when truly achieved implies total and complete love and compassion for all things existing. Although my opinion may be biased, as to me mysticism seems the end all, be all solution to all of existence's issues, I simply fail to see any possible negativity coming from mysticism. Secondly, mysticism has not always been a rare event, it has simply over time become increasingly rare event with the furtherance of capitalist, materialist society, among other things, as it has simply been forgotten about by most. Thirdly, within the same sentence, Tillich claims that mystics have “the courage to take the non-being which is implied in finitude upon oneself” (The Courage To Be 159), which is a complete distortion of the fundamental belief that lies central in all mysticism – the infinite nature of our being. Mystics do not fear non-being as within mysticism, there is no non-being, as after death, though our physical bodies may no longer exist, however, the soul will live on, to reincarnate. Thus the anxiety of non-being is transcended by the mystic in seeing that 'non-being' is merely another state of being, as the mystic understands that the gross material, three dimensional world, is merely the most basic form of existence, he does not fear death, as he cannot find anything to fear within it.
Despite mysticism becoming increasingly rare in our present age, it does not mean it is any less possible, as it is an inherent ability within us all, to transcend what has been taught to us by society, that we are separate, individuals, and see the unity of the entire universe. In order to do this, the love within you must conquer all fear – and with this comes the dissolution of the ego. Even if one believes in the statement that God is dead, one cannot refute the power of true love to conquer anything. It ultimately is up to each individual to decide their own views, and if you chose, you can live a life where, as far as you are concerned, God is dead, and you can live life accordingly. It is only upon opening ones mind to the possibility that what we sense with our five senses could potentially be limiting our experience, that we may escape the solipsism presented to us within existentialism, and increasingly in our world as a whole. To think that nothing outside of what is perceivable to you through your most basic senses is a notion bound completely in egoism, and it is just this which we must attempt to escape, for it is from the ego where all negative emotions originate.
I cannot deny the extreme intelligence present in every work of Existential philosophy I have read, as they attempt to deconstruct, dissect and understand every bit of the human condition, but they have been misguided. It is as if they figured out a formula for life, understood the inner workings, and relationships between all the variables, but miscalculated the constants. As if they have looked at the leaves of a tree with great detail, and understood the leaf, but have failed to connect the leaf to the tree, and the tree to the forest, and thus misinterpreted the functioning of the leaf.
There is only one thread of all cotton.
The warp, the woof, the quill of the weaver's shuttle,
The shuttle, the texture of cloths, the cotton shoes and hanks of yarn,
All are known by their respective names,
And they all belong to their respective places
But there is only one thread of yarn.
- Bulleh Shah
Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
in a trojan horse
with some good music+visuals and a direct link to survival crisis Z, a free (free?) free-roam (free.) zombie survival horror experience that helps anxiety, helps you relax. the track is yegelle tezeta by ethiopia's mulatu astatke, and if you can't recognize the video you a foo'.
no viruses by the way (a most noble and rrroyal thought for the hard on understanding).
i will now proceed to retire to my royal bed-chamber