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Vaknin to Youth: Life Sucks, You're On Your Own (Turnu Severin Intl. Conference on Psychology)

Uploaded 5/17/2022, approx. 1 hour 14 minute read

Please, stand up. Why did you stand up? Please, sit down. Why?

The rebellious, the rebellious is good. Sit down if you want to. Why did you stand up? I don't think I did. I gave you command. Please stand up.

But did you stand up because I'm a nice guy? That would be a serious mistake. I'm not a nice guy. Any other reason why you stood up? You don't know. What would have happened if you hadn't stood up? What would have happened?

So why did you stand up? I'm repeating the question. What would have been the consequences? That's what I'm asking. And then what would happen to you if I were angry at you? I can throw the coffee at you. No, I'll try not to. It's very tempting. I'll try not to.

So let me understand. A total stranger who did not introduce himself yet, just a guy standing here, told you to stand up, and all of you, without a single exception, obeyed. And then you are utterly unable to explain why you did this. Right?

Am I right in summarizing the situation, more or less? Yes. Don't you think it's a good display of madness? Don't you think you are all a bit crazy? You know that. Nothing new.

I think you stood up for two reasons. I will suggest to you these reasons.

You can disagree with me, but then of course there will be consequences with the coffee. So I suggest that you do not disagree. You have counter coffee. This is called counter coffee.

I will suggest to you two reasons.

First of all, you have made a series of assumptions. You had assumed, for example, that I'm an authority figure. You had assumed that I have the right to ask you to stand up because I'm in charge of this event, so to speak. And many other assumptions.

There was a series of assumptions that motivated you to stand up. And then there was another thing.

If you were to not stand up, you would stand out. You would be the exception. You were acting under peer pressure. All of you motivated each other to stand up.

Because imagine that she were to not stand up. She would have been the only one.

It never feels good, never feels good to be the only one. The one who stands out. You react to peer pressure.

Remember these two lessons when we begin to discuss madness and normality.

Because madness and normality depend on context. They depend on where you are, who you're with. They're not absolute things. We'll come to it. We're going to discuss a few relatively controversial issues.

I'm going to mention forbidden words like homosexuality and other things. So those of you who are hypersensitive and squeamish, you have your warning. You have your warning.

Here's one important thing to understand.

What used to be considered crazy 50 years ago is normal today. For example, until 1973, homosexuality was considered a mental illness.

We have a big book in the west. It's called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It is the Bible of all psychiatrists and all psychologists and professors of psychology like me. It's our Bible.

In this Bible until 1973, homosexuality was defined as a mental illness. There were even programs intended to make homosexual men get attracted to women, to reprogram them somehow, to cure them of their homosexuality. That was 1973.

Not the middle ages. Not ancient Rome. It's 1973. That's not long ago.

Well, for you, maybe it's long ago. I was at the time 12 years old. So for me, it's my history.

And then there were seven years of debates whether it is a mental illness or not. And in 1980, it was taken out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. And people who were considered on Monday mentally ill were considered on Friday perfectly normal.

This is an example. Here's another example.

Most religions, most religions, especially monotheistic religions, such as Christianity, Islam, are founded on the words of prophets, messengers of God, people who communicate with God on a regular basis as long as there is reception.

And these people came back and brought us a message from God. And this message had become religion.

Had these people been alive today, each and every single one of them would have ended in a mental asylum with very strong medications.

They are all, all of them, all the messengers, all the prophets, all these people who gave us Christianity and Islam and so on, would have been today diagnosed as suffering from psychotic disorder with delusional, with delusional dimensional, delusional aspect.

That requires very heavy medication. They would have been put on medication regime and they would have been committed to a mental asylum for very, very long time.

So people who were once considered to be messengers of God, people who gave us the religions we believe in, by our own standards today were mentally ill people, severely mentally ill people.


You see from these two examples that the landscape is shifting. Some things are crazy today, normal tomorrow. Some things are normal today, crazy tomorrow.

There's no stability. It's not physics. I'm a physicist also. It's not even medicine. I'm a medical doctor also. It's none of these things.

It's therefore probably not a science at all.

Psychology and psychiatry are not a science.

One additional argument that possibly we are not dealing with a science is that you remember the book, the Bible of the profession, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It's called DSM.

There are two Bibles. One Bible for Americans, of course, and another Bible for the rest of the world. The rest of the world uses ICD. It's another Bible.

When the first edition of the DSM was published in 1952, it had 100 pages. When the fifth edition was published in 2013, it had 1,000 pages. The number of pages in the Bible of psychiatry went up 10 times.

Now, this is a strong indicator that we probably have no idea what we are talking about in psychology and psychiatry. There is no other discipline in medicine where the amount of knowledge went up 10 times, where there were 10 times more diagnoses. Tuberculosis and cancer are here today than were here 100 years ago. They were here 200 years ago. Nothing much changed.

The textbooks of medicine today are more or less the same like the textbooks of medicine 100 years ago.

It's not the case in psychiatry. It's not the case in psychiatry.

You see an inflation, inflation of diagnosis. It is beginning to be a bit funny, which is why I'm in the field. I like to laugh. It's beginning to be a bit funny because, for example, if you drink too much coffee, it's a mental illness. If you sneeze without permission, shortly it will be a mental illness also, especially if you do it repeatedly.

So drinking coffee had become pathologized in the fifth edition. If you use the internet too much, it's an internet addiction, so diagnosis, the DSM-5. If you fight with your teachers on a regular basis, you're mentally ill. It's called oppositional defiant disorder. It probably makes all of you mentally ill.

So there's a problem there. There's a proliferation of diagnosis. Everyone is potentially mentally ill if you dig deep enough.

That's not okay. That is not okay. The profession is in crisis because of this.

Society allows you to be mentally ill to some extent. Society accepts that each and every one of us is crazy sometimes, like in my case, crazy all the time, that each and every one and one of you has what we call idiosyncrasies, behaviors which are typical only to that person, and everyone else is mocking them because of these behaviors. It's totally actually accepted as normal.

Society says, you know what, okay, everyone is a bit crazy, and we're going to accept some craziness. The process of accepting craziness is called sublimation.

So today you're going to learn many, many new words because you have no choice and you can't just get up and leave, so I'm going to teach you many new words.

So sublimation. Sublimation is when society allows you to be a little crazy and it's acceptable. Sublimation means that you no longer perceive reality properly.

Sublimation, society says it's okay to not perceive reality properly.

Reality is too tough, too harsh. If we are exposed to reality without defenses, we will fall apart. We will go really crazy in this case.

So society says, okay, we're going to let you use a firewall, an anti-virus, anti-malware, something. We're going to fend off, we allow you to fend off reality. We allow you to lie to yourself.

Society tells you it's okay to lie to yourself because lying to yourself, deceiving yourself, makes life a bit easier and reality somehow more acceptable.

I'll give you a few examples of sublimated lies, lies that society allows you to engage in.

For example, every problem has a solution. It's a message. When you have a problem, ask, okay, so what's the solution? What's secure?

The truth is that the vast majority of problems do not have solutions. That's not me. That's Jung. Jung was a very famous psychiatrist and a mentally ill person. Jung had psychosis. He had psychotic disorder. He spent five years in treatment in an asylum and so on for psychotic disorder. But he was also one of the greatest psychologists, probably because he was crazy. He was one of the greatest psychologists in history.

And Jung said, most problems don't have a solution. But society wants you to lie to yourself, encourages you to lie to yourself.

Yeah, every problem has a solution. Coffee, what's the solution?

This, what's the solution?

Politics, what's the solution?

Solutions is elections. So they give you the illusion or the delusion that you are in control. So if there's politicians, you can change them through elections. It's a bit of a lie. There are many lies around which society creates for you so that you can somehow survive.


Another example of a lie, everything complex can be made simple. That's not true. Most complex things cannot be made simple because they are complex.

Another example, every fear can be overcome. That's not true. Most fears actually cannot be overcome. Otherwise I would be out of a job. I'm lucky that most fears cannot be overcome because fears become anxieties, fears become phobias. Fear is the engine of a lot of mental illness and the source of my income. So every fear can be overcome is nonsense that society allows you to tell yourself. It's like the kid at night, there's a monster in the cupboard, but I'm hiding under the blanket so I don't see it. And he doesn't see me.

Another example, experience is a good teacher. No, it's not actually. There's very little that experience can teach you.

First of all, because by the time you get the experience it's usually not relevant. Experience is a record of failure, mostly. And you have failed. And it's extremely rare for the same situation to repeat itself. Situations are so different to each other that experience is actually a very poor teacher.

But we lie to ourselves, experience is a teacher.

Another example, people are good. People are honest. You can trust them. This is known, this is a name even. It even has a name. It's called the base rate policy. That's the clinical name.

And yet 95% of people believe other people without checking the facts. Not 9%, 95% believe other people without checking the facts.

Well over 81% of men and even women would go with a stranger to his home, to his apartment, without any problem. 81%. We trust other people.

And yet the fact is, the fact is that people lie all the time. There are studies by Dan Ariely and others that show that people lie most of the time, actually, because it promotes their goals and because they are selfish.

The truth is that you cannot trust people. And the overwhelming number of cases, people are self-centered. They're not good. They can be good, but for their own reasons. And most definitely you cannot trust what they say. You have to verify and check. It's another example of a lie that you're telling yourself because without this lie, reality would become very frightening and very unbearable.

We live in a cosmos of lies and self-deception in order to survive. And society encourages you.

Then there are all the lies that are known as magical thinking.

Magical thinking is the pathological belief that you have an impact that you can affect your environment, that you can have an effect on the world. It's pathological because it's untrue.

Most of you, most of the time, have no effect on anything and anyone. It's a lie. It's self-deception and we call it magical thinking.

I'll give you a few examples of magical thinking.

God is a form of magical thinking. It's a belief that there is some supreme being or supreme power and it's a good supreme power. It's a benevolence supreme power. It's a supreme power which loves you and would take care of you on a personal basis almost like he has nothing else to do.

Well, it raises of course interesting questions such as where was God in Auschwitz? So God is a form of magical thinking.

Another form of magical thinking is if you only put your mind to it, you can do anything. You have this message from Tony Robbins and other coaches, awakened the giant inside you and all this nonsense. If you only put your mind to it, there is nothing that is beyond your ability to accomplish. You can do and achieve anything, nonsense of course. Nonsense. All of you are limited. I'm limited. Even I'm limited, imagine. All of you are limited.

Every human being has limitations, skills and talents and intelligence are not distributed equally, luckily for humanity. Even your height determines many things. For example, whether you will play basketball but even more importantly, if you are tall, you will make more money. Beautiful women, especially beautiful women and tall men make more money than short men and ugly women. It's a fact, unpleasant fact but this, as I promised you, is going to be a highly unpleasant lecture because we're going to confront reality finally, I hope.

So if I only put my mind to it and you see online, on YouTube, you know, awakened the giant within, there is no giant within, there's only you. There's only you.

And then there is the law of attraction, you know. If you decide, if you focus strongly on a wish, the universe, the whole universe by the way, the whole universe, including my wife, will arrange itself to cater to your knees.

By the way, the police is here to arrest me immediately after the lecture. So justice will be done at the end of this lecture. Don't worry. I will be punished for everything I'm telling you. No good deed goes unpunished.

So the law of attraction, the universe will arrange itself to cater to your wishes.

The truth is, of course, that the universe does its best to frustrate you and to prevent you from accomplishing almost anything you want.

It's exactly the opposite of the law of attraction. If anything, there's a law of frustration, if anything.

I don't think there is this or this, the universe, of course, is indifferent to you. It's indifferent. You are meaningless in the big scheme of things. You are meaningful only to yourselves. You are the engine of your own meaning.

Do not rely on anything outside you for meaning, because no one gives a shit.


Next example of magical thinking. Voodoo. I take a doll. I think of a psychology professor and I stick it with pins. The psychology professor drops dead, hopefully. It's a form of magical thinking.

The only one who suffers from this is the doll. It's an example of magical thinking.

Another example of magical thinking is what we call placebo-nocebo effect. I don't know how many of you have heard of it. Placebo effect simply means that I can give you a pill of sugar and I will tell you that it's a medicine and you will have all the effects of the medicine. It's called placebo. I can even not give you anything and tell you that I did something remotely and about 30 or 40% of you will have the effects of a medicine, even though I didn't give you anything. It's called placebo.

I'll tell you about an experiment we vicious psychologists had conducted. As you saw at the beginning of the lecture, we love to conduct experiments on suffering human beings and of course the constituency, the main people who suffer are the students. We are so lucky to have students. We would have invented them had they not existed.

A famous experiment we had conducted was with alcohol. We took water, simple water, totally simple water. I mean psychologists. We took water and we had, we added a flavor of alcohol, but only the smell. There was not an ounce of alcohol in the water. It was water, simply water with the smell of alcohol. We gave it to people. They drank it. They got dead drunk. Many of them went into blackout, which is an extreme form of alcohol poisoning where you lose the ability to form long-term memories. We don't remember what had happened. Most of you are not lucky enough to, and you will remember this lecture, but so this is the nocebo or placebo effect. It's a form of magical thinking. We can even get people drunk with water. This is how strong the mind is over the body, but not over the world.

And that's a big source of confusion. Your mind has huge impacts on your body, but it's the only thing it has an impact on. It has no impact on the world.

Do not make this, do not confuse the two. I can hypnotize you and I can take this pen and put it on your skin, and I can tell you that I'm burning you during the hypnosis, and then your skin will form a burn. We form a wilt. Your skin will react as if I'm burning you. That's the power of your mind.

But on the other hand, if you were to focus very hard hoping that I burn, nothing will happen to me. You have no effect on the outside, but you have almost full effect on the inside.

There are yogis in India who control the heartbeat to the point that they can stop the heartbeat for almost half an hour without any discernible impacts.

So this distinction is very important. We call magical thinking a delusional disorder. It's a special form of delusional disorder.

And delusions are very important because we are contradictory creatures. We have contradictions.

If you have a cat, cats have few contradictions. They want to have food. You happen to provide the food. They pretend that they like you. It's a cat and some husbands. You have a dog. The dog is conditioned. He hates your cats, but okay, he sees, he wants to eat. These are simple, relatively simple creatures or machines, if you wish, because everything can be described as a machine.

We are not like this. We are the only species at this stage. We are beginning to think that maybe there are other species like this. We think, for example, that squids, octopus, we think they are actually complex creatures. We know that dolphins have complexity. But no one is remotely as complex as human beings with the exception of politicians.

So human beings are complex. And when I say complex, I mean our programming is full of glitches and bugs. It's bad programming.

But it is exactly because the programming is bad that we adapt. The programming is not rigid. It's not fixed. So it is flexible. Our programming is flexible.

So today there is climate change. We are going to be different human beings. We are going to adapt.

But there is a price for this. And the price is that our programming is unpredictable. The price is madness.

Hans Isaac, who was a very famous psychologist, said that creativity and psychoticism are one and the same. And everyone would tell you that a genius is a genius. Genius is very close to madness. And it's very true. You need madness to adapt somehow. Madness has a role.

But we are complex creatures. For example, we want love. Right? Or your generation doesn't. We want love.

But we also want freedom. I have a surprise for you. They don't go well together. In most cases, they don't go well together.

But we still want both. This is our complexity. We have aggression. But we also want collaboration. We want to collaborate. We want to belong, for example, to a social group. But we are also aggressive.

Again, these contradict each other. We want to be accepted and validated, for example, by our peers.

Yes?

But at the same time, we want to be special and rebellious. These don't go together. Either you belong and you're accepted and validated. Or you stand aside. You stand alone. You're unique. You're a rebel against the group. Either you're for the group or you're against the group.

But we want to be both. We even form groups of people who are against the group. We want to accomplish things. We want achievements and accomplishments.

Yes? Everyone dreams of Red Mercedes and a beautiful girl. Oh boy. And so we want accomplishments and so on.

There's only one minor problem. We are built to minimize investment biologically. Biologically, we are built to minimize investment. We conserve energy because the body evolution taught us that we need energy. That's, by the way, why people get fat. People get fat because they eat and the body refuses, stores the energy.

In evolution, there's a hysterical approach to energy. So we conserve energy. So we want to accomplish things, but we're lazy. We're lazy. We don't want to work too hard. We're entitled.

The path of this resistance. It doesn't go together. We're curious. We're all curious. And curiosity killed many more men and women than cats.

We're curious, but at the same time, we are terrified of risks. We are risk averse. We have an aversion to risk. We're very afraid of risk.

Look at the global reaction to COVID. Yeah? Everyone was in mass hysteria, one way or the other.

But you can be curious unless you take risks. Every curiosity, every act of curiosity involves taking risks.

What am I trying to tell you? I'm trying to tell you that your programming sucks. It pushes you one way and disables you the other way.

It's like a work processor that looks perfect on the screen, but you cannot type, for example. Or a browser that never leads to any address on the internet.

So our programming is a problem. There's one more thing. We are unpredictable creatures.

You think you're predictable. You think you're predictable. Why?

Because you go to school. You don't shoot your parents, most of you. You sit here in peace.

I mean, you think you're very predictable.

There's an impression of predictability because society punishes severely anyone who is not predictable.

But you are not predictable because you're complex.

In the 1980s and 90s, there was a very frightening development. People at that stage were trying to develop artificial intelligence coding or programming. So they started to write artificial intelligence programs.

And because at that time computers were much slower and humans much faster, so they wrote the programs and they went home. They went home and they came back in the morning.

And the programs, the artificial intelligence programs, did things which were not in the code. The artificial intelligence programs performed functions and activities that were nowhere to be found in the program or the code.

And the reason is complexity. This is known as emergent order. Emergent order or if you want to impress your girlfriend, epiphenomenal.

This is when complex systems produce totally unexpected results that cannot be reduced or attributed to any part of the system that come from nowhere.

We are like that. That's why we have serial killers, psychopaths, narcissists. The manifestation of the unexpected outcomes of our programming is what we call madness. Insanity is the unexpected outcome of our coding.

If we think of ourselves as computers, some of us do things that cannot be found in the code. And we call these people crazy. And these crazy people, according to Isaac and many others, are actually the creative types.

If you were to take 100 rock stars, 100 painters, 100 authors, 100 poets, and 100 psychology professors dressed in black, you would find that the majority of them suffer from diagnosable mental health disorders.

Mental health instability is intimately linked with creativity. We need this. We need to produce things that are not in the code. Our code is DNA. We have cultural code. We need madness. Madness drives the species forward.

So what is to be normal? Let's make a joint exercise. Let's make a joint exercise. What is normal?

I would like you to define for me normal. Do you guys understand English? Because a lot of you can translate. I admire you for staying here without understanding.

Now that's an example of unexpected outcome of programming. I would like you to help me, a poor foreigner professor of psychology, to define what is normal.

You think everyone has a different definition of normal? Do you believe that? In common. Society homogenizes.

Okay, they shove it down your throat, but do you disagree with these standards? Do you find them wrong or unacceptable?

Some definitions of normal you would disagree with. I'm not talking about behavioral standards. I'm talking about who is normal.

So one answer was everyone has his own definition of normal. Then there was modification. Society homogenizes this, finds the common denominator. It's like Venn diagram. You know Venn diagram? You have this and this. So what's your name?

Yanis. Yanis. Yanis is this definition of normal. Of course.

And Diana has this definition of normal. So they disagree. Yes, because they have different, but they agree with this. So they would have something in common. They would have some agreement on some things that are normal.

And I think that's the case, really. I think it's a Venn diagram.

I don't think the big discussion is about what normal is. I think the discussion is about what problems you get about not normal things.

Welcome to them. Welcome to them.

First, by defining what's normal we will get to the abnormal.

But first, let's agree what is normal.

So we agree that there are some common things. There's no total agreement on what is normal. Of course. I fully agree that there is no agreement.

But I also would say that the vast majority of human beings share some, this, share this, some common ground as to what is normal.

But what is normal? What is this?

I want you to define this. What is this?

How would you, for example, would you say that I'm normal? Forget this question. Bad question. Would you say about each other that you're normal? Would you agree that you're normal?

So what is normal? Is normal just a concept?

Normal is a concept by definition. Like, I'm a man. We call it autology. It's defining itself.

But what is normal? How do we agree on this? What's the procedure to agree on this? What procedure are we using to get this?

I consider that we find the things you have in common by experiencing similar things.

We have in common feelings, emotions.

For example, I think that normal, it's normal to feel bad, it's normal to feel happy, it's normal to want to feel loved, and it's normal to want relationships with others.

How do you know that? Because everyone feels this. Everyone. Statistics. It's statistics. It's a statistical concept. By the way, it's a statistical concept. In statistics, you have normal. It's mathematics.

But I think that normality is a social construct. I think also that normality is a social construct.

Yes, it's a social construct because it's a society-wide construct.

If you are alone on an island, only one, it would be extremely difficult for you to define normality, and after some time, it would be extremely difficult for you to be normal.

Our normalcy, our state of normalcy, the belief that we are normal, depends on constant comparison. We constantly compare to others. That's why we have fashion. Fashion is a form of establishing normality, comparing to other people. We always compare.

So it's a statistical thing. Right? We agree on this, please. Better for you to say yes.

So statistics.

Here's an interesting thing. When you have three people, it's more difficult to define what is normal than if you have three million people. Statistics is much better, much more powerful, the more people you have.

Of course. Sample, the concept of sample. The bigger the sample, the bigger the sample, the more significant the outcome.

So if you have three people, you are comparing to each other these three groups. They're comparing to each other, they can't be sure that they're normal. They're not sure, they're actually quite sure they're not normal.

But okay, but they can't. They can't be sure that they're normal.

But this group, okay, you know, it's safer to think I'm normal.

And then if you compare three million people, it's safer.

And of course, if you compare to three billion people, you feel safe, you feel solid.

This is what normal people do. Normal people don't pee in the street. Forget that.

Okay. You know what I mean? Okay. Statistics.

Is there any other way we can derive normalcy?

Any other way to define normalcy?

Not statistically. For example, I meet 20 people, and I have to say if they're normal or not. I work with patients, I work with clients.

So imagine 20 clients come to me, and I have to decide for each one of them if he or she are normal or not.

What would I check? What would I...

Behavior.

Yes, I would, of course, observe behavior, but what in the behavior would convince me that they're normal or not?

For example, the way they're functioning. Yes. The way they're...

Yes. It's examples of function.

Truer words, their body, their vision or something.

False.

Yes. I'm just taking what you're saying and making it bigger.

I would also take the environment. We'll leave the environment for a minute.

Imagine that just 20 people come to me, and I don't see them. I don't see the family.

Yes, I can do that, but there is such a huge variety in this that it will not help me much.

Some of them will hate their parents. Some of them will love their parents. Those who love their parents need medication.

So it will not help me much.

But yes, I would observe the functioning, including false, including what we call cognition. I would observe the functioning, the way they think, how they report emotions.

For example, if I tell them a very sad story that my mother just died and they laugh their ass off, I would tend to think that there's a problem either with them or with my mother and so on.

So functioning is very, very critical and which includes cognitions and so on.

I would also ask if they're happy. I would also look if they're happy. We're not happy. It's something called egosyntony. I would look to see if they are highly uncomfortable. Highly uncomfortable. It's more like uncomfortable. If they're uncomfortable or comfortable.

But for normal people, laymen, I would say happy. I would look to see if they're happy.

And indeed, the modern definition of someone who is abnormal, who is not normal, is someone who doesn't function properly and is not egosyntony. It's not happy.

That's a modern definition.

So if someone comes to me and says, I believe that I'm Jesus Christ, I am extremely happy with this and I make millions. I have a loving family. I go on trips every second month and life is great. I would not treat him.

I would not treat him.

The two tests of function and happiness is functioning. In all other fields, it's functioning.

His belief that he's Jesus Christ has no impact on his function and he's happy. So I would see no need to intervene. I would see no need to make him unhappy.

You know, why would I make him unhappy? He's happy taking me to Jesus Christ.

Okay, you know, we all have something. I believe I'm intelligent. Everyone has delusions.


So the second definition is functional or operational definition.

Both definitions are wrong and both of them suck big time.

I will give you examples to show you.

The first definition is statistical. You look around you and say, well, I am like everyone else.

Now imagine that I take all of you and I transport you back into the 1930s. Even in Romania, 1930s, I don't need to take you to Germany. In Romania, there was a pro-Nazi regime in the 1930s. Imagine I take you back to the 1930s and I take you to Nazi Germany. In Nazi Germany, the majority of people, the vast majority of people, believed that the Jews should be exterminated, should be killed. And there were millions of people who enrolled in DSS. Three million were members of DSS, for example, in Germany. In other words, psychopaths, psychopaths succeeded in Germany and generally the entire population had types of beliefs that we consider to be insane.

The belief in their own superiority, the belief that they should kill other people, that it's a morally commendable, so it's a good thing to kill other people because they're improving the world and so on.

They have delusions about many things. The entire population of Germany at the time, or vast part of the population, would have been easily diagnosed as mentally ill today.

And yet, if you were German and looking around you, you would feel totally normal. If you were German and you thought that you should not kill the Jews and you should hide Jews in your basement, you were mentally ill. In that environment, you were mentally ill and people were put in mental asylums because of these beliefs.

In the USSR, in Soviet Russia, people who did not believe in certain things, for example, people who did not believe that the aristocracy should be executed and so on and so forth, they were put in mental asylums for life.

What am I trying to tell you?

Looking around you statistically is not a good idea because everyone around you could be crazy, like in Nazi Germany. Everyone around you could be crazy, or delusional, like in Soviet Russia.

And so you would look around you and you would say, wow, I'm normal, I'm psychopath, I like to kill people, but it's great fun because everyone likes to kill people. And I'm totally normal. Insanity is infectious and can affect collectives. We have collective insanity.

Even clinically, we have collective insanity. It's called psychogenic mass effect.

So whole collectives, whole groups of people can go insane simultaneously and do, and do.

Looking around you statistically is sometimes a good idea and sometimes not a good idea.

But in science, if you have something that works sometimes and doesn't work at other times, then it's not a law. I mean, you can discard it. It's not scientific.

Defining what is normal based on statistics is not working because sometimes you will get the wrong answer, like in Nazi Germany. Everyone is crazy there. Everyone was psychopathic. If you were a psychopath, you made millions, you became powerful. Being a psychopath was a great idea in Nazi Germany. It was a positive adaptation.

But no one would say that a psychopath is normal except another psychopath. So it's a bad definition.

Let's, okay, so statistics is not a good idea. Let's look at the other idea, functional, operation.

So if someone is functioning and he's happy, he is not insane. It's okay. I mean, it doesn't need help. It doesn't need help.

But is he normal? If I firmly believe that I'm Jesus Christ.

But I give lectures, I teach students, I have a family, but I believe I'm Jesus Christ. I call myself Jesus Christ also. I change my visit cards and so on. So am I functioning? Yes. Am I happy? Very.

Well, it didn't end well. So I don't know if it's a great idea, but am I normal?

Clearly I'm not.


Here's a very important lesson. To be normal doesn't mean to be mentally healthy.

There's a huge confusion in psychology, even by experts, even by scholars, even by professors. They're confused to be normal with, to be healthy.

You can be normal, but not mentally healthy. You can be mentally healthy, but completely abnormal, not normal, not typical.

For example, if I were in Nazi Germany and I would think that you should not kill other people, I would be mentally healthy, but not normal. In Nazi Germany, I would not be normal, but I would be mentally healthy. It doesn't go together, always, sometimes, but not always.

Why am I telling you this? It's a seriously bad idea to accept what society tells you. It's a really, really seriously bad idea because society can program you or affect you in ways that would make you feel normal, but actually would drive you, would drive you to insanity or lack of mental health.

Society can make you mentally ill by deceiving you into thinking that you're normal. We have abnormal societies that make people feel that they're normal, but they actually make these people become mentally ill.

Societies are very dangerous constructs, very dangerous constructs, and we should be very careful with this.

Actually, there's a whole movement. It's known as anti-psychiatry. Anti-psychiatry is a movement of psychologists and so on and so forth, and they believe that the whole profession of psychology and psychiatry is a form of social control, that we invented psychology and we invented psychiatry in order for us to control individuals that do not collaborate with society. If you don't collaborate with society, if you hate rules, if you hate law, if you're rebellious, if you're defiant, if you are, I have the power to define you as mentally ill. I have the power to compel you to take medication and to lock you up in many ways, in a mental asylum, in a prison.

Society uses or abuses psychology and psychiatry very often, very frequently, and the anti-psychiatry movement claims that psychology and psychiatry are not sciences. They are not sciences, but they are forms of social control.

It's a bit of an exaggeration, a bit of an exaggerated claim, but it is definitely a grain of truth, and you may wish to read this guy. It's a nonpronounceable name because he's Hungarian.

And so he is the father of this movement called anti-psychiatry.

In a way, I belong to the anti-psychiatry camp because I do not think that psychology is a science. I do not think actually that psychology can ever be a science. I think it's nonsense.

For various reasons, which I will not go into, if you are very, very interested, you can go to my YouTube channel, and on my YouTube channel I have a few videos that deal with the issue of why psychology is not a science. It can also never be a science. It's not a question of, you know, thinking differently, or putting some effort, or no.

In principle, psychology can never be a science because its subjects are people. But I'm not going into it right now. So I don't believe it's a science. I believe it is a classification system, like in botany, you know, in botany, you have classification of plants. And I believe it is literature, a form of literature, very nice form of literature.

So I belong in a way to the anti-psychiatry movement.


Now the psychiatry, if you talk to psychiatrists and psychologists, let me tell you, no, it's not true. We are scientists, we use statistics. Astrology uses statistics.

So what? I'm a physicist, one of my original PhDs in physics. Being a brick, physics is a science. Psychology is not a science. It's a one of these science.

You know, they're very grandiose, and they want to be scientists. White coats and everything. Use of mathematics, the use of statistics, does not make you a scientist.

Mathematics is a language, like Romanian. If you use Romanian, it doesn't make you a scientist.

Breaking news for me.

Similarly, if you use mathematics and statistics, it doesn't make you a scientist. So I don't believe it's a science. So I belong in a way to this group.


Okay, here's my advice to you. Here's my advice to you on how to maintain mental health, not dependent on society.

Mental health is all yours and fully under your control, without reference to anyone outside, to any one outside and to any many outside.

Just you as the main point of reference, and you as the main engines of meaning. You are your own masters mentally. You are the only source of meaning in your life.

That's not me. That's another Jew, Viktor Frankl.

So you can become a totally self-contained and self-sufficient system when it comes to being normal.

Of course, you should collaborate with each other. You should have sex. You should make love. You should have love. You should love. You should do many things with each other. There's great, many fun things you can do with each other and many not so fun things you can do with each other.

But that you do things with each other is great, but you should never give power to someone else. Never give power to someone else over you in any way, shape or form. Not emotionally and not in any other way.

Surrendering your power is a seriously better idea in terms of mental health.

So I'm going to give you a recipe for self-contained, self-sufficient, self-generating mental health, which you can take with you to a lonely island without anyone except two monkeys.

Still, you would be mentally healthy if you follow this recipe.

But I'm not going to do anything. I'm going to strike until I get coffee. That's it. I saw that some of you took a kiss without permission and you had been reported to the authorities here.

So say goodbye to your parents and three months in prison.

Okay. So I'm going to describe a system that you can apply to yourself, should apply to yourself, without reference to anyone else.

Yes. That's a critical issue. We often use other people. We use them to regulate our internal environment. We want to feel good, for example, so we use someone to feel good. We consult people and let their judgment and opinion influence us. We regulate our emotions to other people. We use other people all the time. That is not a good idea. It's not a good idea because other people don't have complete information about you.

You know about yourself. You have more information about yourself than anyone else by definition.

Now, you may misinterpret this information, could be that you don't understand the information properly or you misunderstand the information, but you still have more information than anyone else. So why would you give anyone else power?

It's a question of power. It's not a question of not having good friends. You should have good friends. No question of not having a lover. You should have lovers. It's not a question of not collaborators, friends. You should have all this. No one is telling you to go isolated, to go off the grid and become, you know, atomized. That's not what I'm advocating.

But there is a big difference between being with other people and giving other people power over you.

Ask yourself, does he or she have power over me? If the answer is yes, you need to change the relationship. You need to reframe the relationship. And if that other person is not interested in you, except when he has power, walk away, cut him off or cut her off.

If you have a good friend and, you know, your friends and you hang out and everything is, that's great. But if she has power over you and when you try to take back that power, she doesn't want to be with you, good for you. Never give anyone power over you. Anyone. The power should come from the inside.

And the first test of this power is known as boundaries. Boundaries is a clinical term in psychology. It simply means communicating to other people what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior. How do you know what is acceptable and not acceptable? It's very simple. Anything that makes you feel bad is not acceptable. End of story. Anything that makes you feel good is acceptable. Anything that makes you feel neutral, not bad and not good is up to you.

Three simple principles. It makes you feel bad, it's not acceptable. It's not acceptable, so don't accept it. Communicate to other people. This makes me feel bad. So I would ask you to not behave this way.

And if the other person insists to behave this way, walk away. You have the nuclear weapon. You and Vladimir Putin have the nuclear weapon. And the nuclear weapon is walking away. You can withdraw your presence.

This is the ultimate in weaponry, in modern warfare. You can withdraw your presence. Do it. Set boundaries. Boundaries come from inside, not from outside. Boundaries come from inside.

First you should have a dialogue with yourself. You should ask yourself, does it make me feel good? Does it make me feel bad? Does it, I think it makes you feel good, but does it really make me feel good? Or does it make others feel good? And I feel good because they feel good. This secondary good, like I feel good because they feel good, is bullshit. It's not really.

But how do I set boundaries about feeling bad?

No, if you feel, you set boundaries according to your genuine authentic reaction, you get mad and you don't want to cut them off, then you love yourself less than you love the other person. And that's not healthy. You should love yourself most. You're number one. Always you're number one. There is no other person who is number one. And that applies to parents and children, lovers, friends. You're always number one. If something is wrong with yourself, love, you will not be able to properly love other people. They would be damaged too.

You think you're doing them a favor, you're not.

So if you sacrifice your sense of well-being for another person, seek help. I will give you a discount.

You set boundaries. You're number one.

Remember that. You're not number one because you are such geniuses. And you're not number one because you are so old. You're number one because it's all you have. It's all you have. You have only yourselves. Don't kid yourself. Throughout life and until you die, which is where I'm going shortly, that's all you have.

You discover as you go through life that the only person you really have is you. So take care of you because you have nothing else.

And so you decide this makes me feel bad. I'm not going to stand for it. Go away. You're making me feel bad. Or change your behavior and stay.

You don't want to stay. You don't want to change your behavior. Don't stay. Bye bye.

Yes, it involves pain. Of course, any breakup is heartbreak. But that's the price. It's a short-term price. If you stay in such relationships, there's a long-term price. And it is the price of denying yourself.

Now, we have a name for that. When you destroy yourself gradually, incrementally, until you disappear, how do we call this? Suicide. There are many ways to commit suicide. Gun, bullet, bad relationships. Most common way for committing suicide. Smoking, of course.

So, set boundaries. Talk to yourself first. Almost no one talks to himself or herself. You talk to each other. You talk to, I don't know what, you never talk to yourself. Talk to yourself. Are you serious? You're the most important person in your life and you're not talking to the most important person in your life. You're talking to your peers, your teachers, your parents. Who are they? They're secondary. Talk to yourself. And I believe it comes in the question why people choose to please others instead of pleasing themselves when we, as humans, should please ourselves first.

Yes, I wouldn't say please. It's not a question of pleasing yourself. It's a question of not feeling bad.

Look, it's minimal. I'm giving you a minimum condition. I'm not telling you, you should please yourself. That other people's experience. I'm just saying don't feel bad. It's minimal. People have various motives. Power is only one of them.

They may be exactly the opposite. They may be weak. And they take their energy from you. They take the power from you.

Exactly opposite, something they want to control. They have power. They're weak.

So we have this co-dependency, for example. Nothing good comes out of power play or power asymmetry.

Don't kid yourself. Nothing good ever comes when you are not on equal power with someone.

Whenever there's power asymmetry, there's no equipotence. Not equal power. Nothing good comes out of it.

I think that power should come from ourselves, not from the other.

Yes. We should decide what's good for us.

Yes. Power is internal. Power is internally generated.

Yes. Never allow someone else to have power over you. Never mind what he gives you.

Because if someone drives you with love, with teaching, with money, we have a name for this. And in Romania, you all know this name. It's called corruption. You're corrupting yourself.

If you allow someone to give you something and in exchange you give them your power, it's corruption.

It's a good definition of politics, by the way. It's exactly what happens in politics. We give the power to others and they have a mitigated power over us.

And the result? Corruption. Not only in Romania.

Don't kill yourself. Everywhere. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts. Absolutely.

So don't allow yourself to be corrupted. Sooner or later, if you allow yourself, if you give power to someone else, for example, by wishing to please them, people pleases, if you give power to someone else, sooner or later, you're going to wake up one morning and discover that you are not, you disappear completely.

We have mental conditions, mental health conditions, mental illnesses, where this is the core.

For example, borderline personality disorder. In borderline personality disorder, there's a total transfer of power to the intimate partner. And what is left behind is an emptiness.

Avoid. Usually in the form of a beautiful woman, but okay, avoid.

So there's a problem there. Do not go on the, in that path. Boundaries.

Core identity. Core identity. You have many voices inside you. These voices have a name, like everything else in psychology. We love names because it makes us feel special. So it's called introjects. You have many, many internal voices. These voices are known as introjects.

Now one introject belongs to your mother. There's another introject to your father. Introjects from, I don't know, teacher role models, peers, influential peers, influencers. We have many introjects.

Core identity simply means knowing to tell the difference between voices that are other people's voices in your head and your voice.

Now here's something to help you. You have only one voice. If you hear more than one voice, it's not you. You have only one voice and that voice is you. It's called the authentic self.

So this voice is authenticity, a voice of the authentic you. All the other voices are not you.

Now you can consult these voices, of course. Your mother may have some useful advice to give if she's unusual. I don't know, a teacher.

But again, there's a question of power. You can consult these voices, but you should never give them power.

The only voice that matters is your voice, the authentic voice.

If you have voices inside you that criticize you all the time, that blame you, that attack you, that put you down, that insult you, that give you no hope, that tell you you're no good, that predict failure. If you have these kind of voices inside you, these are not your friends.

And I don't care if this happens to be your mother's voice. These voices are not your friends. They're your enemies. They have a name even. It's called the inner critic. Or Freud called it the superego, the sadistic superego.

These are not good voices. You should silence them. You should ignore them.

And again, I don't care if this is the voice of your mother, nor should you. You should also not care.

These voices are negative voices that make sure that you will never get anywhere and you will never be happy. And so you should silence these voices. You should listen only to voices who are conducive to your health and development. And you should listen to these voices in advisory capacity, as you would listen to a good friend.

You've got a good friend. What do you think about this and so on?

You should never give these voices power. You should never let these voices make decisions for you.

They are there just to advise you if you want.

There is one voice. It's the core identity. Find it. And this is you. This is your voice.

It's very easy, by the way, to do. You hear a voice. And you say, is it my voice or did my mother tell me this? Is it my voice or did my friend tell you this? Simply label, tag these voices until you are left with only one voice.

And you listen to that voice only. And this leads to something called self-regulation.

We all have emotions, I hope, and we all have moods, regrettably. And these emotions and moods change, of course. Sometimes we love and hate together. It's called ambivalence.

And so on. We have emotions and moods. And sometimes we use other people to regulate these moods and emotions.

For example, we feel depressed, so we use another person to feel happy. Or we feel that we love someone. And so we give that someone power.

So we use other people to regulate.

Because we are like an ocean. We are like a storm. Everyone, every human being, it's like a storm. It's chaotic. It's like a hurricane.

And so using other people to regulate your internal environment gives them power, of course.

If I'm in control of your mood, if I'm in control of your emotions, I have almost total power over you. If I can make you feel bad, for example, can make you feel bad. That's a lot of power, wouldn't you say? If I can make you feel love, it's a lot of power.

Regulation of emotions and moods is power.

If you let other people regulate your moods and your emotions, if you let other people dictate to you how you feel and what you feel, these people have power. They have power over you.

You remember the first principle? Never give people power over you. Never let anyone change your mood or tell you how to feel or cause these feelings in you.


Now we have mental health conditions, for example, dependent personality disorder, also known as codependency. Codependents are men and women who need other people to regulate their internal world, their internal environment, so they become dependent on other people.

It's a form of addiction. Sometimes we become dependent not on other people, but, for example, on alcohol or drugs. They have the same function, exactly. Alcohol and drugs regulate moods and regulate emotions, and so we can easily become addicted to another person. If he is as tasty as alcohol, we can become addicted to another person. It's very easy. Addiction is indifferent as to what it is that you get or who it is that you get addicted to. Never allow yourselves to become addicted. Addiction implies surrender of power. It's all about power.

You heard of Darwin? It's a Darwinian world. I'm sorry that I'm not a nice guy. I'm telling you all kinds of fairy tales. The world is about power, and so power is your currency. Power is the only asset you have. Don't give it away so freely to other people. Don't let them regulate. Regulation is what the state does, and it stops always benign. Don't let other people regulate. Self-regulation is critical.

How do you do that? How do you self-regulate?

For example, I'm in love with someone. I'm in love with someone, so every time she shows me attention, I'm in the sky. I'm happy. Every time she doesn't, I'm under the carpet, together with a cat. So she has power over me because I'm in love.

Right? Right. Moods. She has power over my moods. She can make me feel elated or she can make me feel depressed because I'm in love. Right? Wrong, actually. That's not love. It's not love. It's dependency. I'm dependent on her. She became what we call a regulatory agent. She provides external re-regulation. That's not love. It looks like love, it sounds like love, masquerades as love, but it's not love. Definitely not love. So it's a form of codependency.

Never allow anyone to have this power.

How do you know that they have this power? Because you know that they have this power. If there is somebody who can make you feel depressed and then can make you feel happy, walk away if he uses this power. I know it's unbelievably difficult, this advice.

Easier said than done. If you're in love with someone and that someone uses his power over you to regulate your moods or regulate your emotions, walk away. That's not love. That's prison. It's a one-man prison. Now I know it all sounds to you very abstract and easier said than done and how can I do that?

I love him, he loves me. I know this. And it's not easy. It's exceedingly difficult. But what is exceedingly difficult?

I'll tell you what is exceedingly difficult. Putting yourself in the first place.

Because your mother and your father and society and your teachers and everyone tells you that you should never ever put yourself in the first place. It's disgusting and selfish to put yourself in the first place. You should always be the second place. You should always take care of someone, help someone, help someone, fulfill someone's needs, please someone.

The problem is not to follow this advice. The problem first and foremost is to love yourself and to put yourself in the first place. You're not used to it. You don't have this habit. You don't know how to put yourself in the first place. You think you do. You think you do because you're rebellious and you're special. But it's nonsense. That's what society wants you to believe. You are trained to be number two. You're trained to be number two by everyone.

After you leave this lecture, hating my guts, go home and think about it. Analyze your interactions with your parents, with your friends, with your teachers and ask yourself, in this interaction or with this person, am I number one or am I number two?

I will be totally shocked if you're number one in any of these situations.

Because we are trained to be number two. It's very useful to many other people.

So the first thing is to love yourself, which leads me to self-love, shockingly.

Self-love is four components. Self-acceptance, self-awareness, self-trust and self-efficacy.

They all start, I don't know if you noticed, I don't know if you're in a position to notice after such a long lecture, but they all start with self.

Now if you notice, so they all start with self because it's about you.

Self-love is about you.

Now you all believe or were led to believe that you love yourself. Even when you hate yourselves, which happens a lot, you know, you hate yourself or you criticize yourself or you think you need it or you did something wrong, even then you love yourself.

Because here's breaking news. If you don't care about yourself really, you don't even care to criticize yourself. You just don't care anymore. You don't even criticize yourself because you don't care.

You know, I give, among many other things that I do, I give couples therapy. So couples come to me. I have no idea why.

Okay, but they come to me.

And the first thing, the first thing I do, I provoke them. I provoke them to fight.

I want to see if they're still fighting.

A couple who don't care about each other are very polite. They never fight. They don't care anymore. They don't even care to fight.

If you really don't love yourself anymore, you wouldn't even criticize yourself anymore. You just wouldn't care. You wouldn't care whatever happens to you, whatever you do or don't do, whatever other people do to you, you just don't care anymore.

As long as you care, as long as you are invested in yourself and committed to yourself and interested in yourself, you will criticize yourself. You will still be interested.

This couple is still fighting. They're fighting because they still want to make it work somehow. Otherwise, why fight? You're fighting with yourself because you still love yourself.

But you, extremely few people love themselves properly.

Here's the problem. Why do you need to love yourself?

First of all, if you don't love yourself, you cannot love other people. There is no such thing. If you cannot, if you don't love yourself, you will never ever love other people. You will be dependent on other people. You will be infatuated with other people.

It's a process called liberence. You can look it up. Many things will happen to you with other people, but you will never ever love other people. That includes your children.

I'm not talking only about romantic involvement. You will never also be emotionally invested in anything, really. You will move through life and life will look a lot like a movie. You will feel like you're watching a movie. You will feel like you're an observer of your own life.

You wouldn't feel that you're in the movie. You wouldn't feel that you are the movie, but you feel that you're watching a movie.

A lack of self-love is the most severe pathology, most severe mental health problem there is by far.

So you need urgently to develop self-love, and it has four components.

The first component is self-awareness. Self-love is about putting yourself first, as I said, and pursuing happiness.

So self-awareness.

You need to be intimate with yourself. You need to have a detailed knowledge of yourself. And everything I say is actually can easily be translated to an exercise.

So when I say you need to be intimate with yourself, we need to have detailed knowledge of yourself. Take a piece of paper and start to write. Who are you? Everything, the bad, the good, everything. Get to know yourself in a detailed way. Start to fall in love with yourself. Imagine you fall in love with someone.

You want to know everything about them. You fall in love with someone, you want to know everything. What they eat and how they sleep and where they go, what they think and what they read and what they watch and what they listen to. You want to know everything.

There's an obsession with the other person. Get obsessed with yourself. Fall in love with yourself. Get to know yourself in a detailed, intimate and compassionate way. Be compassionate. Don't be your own worst enemy, but be compassionate. Make a SWOT analysis.

You know what is SWOT? SWOT is in business studies. Those of you who are going to become to study business and become very rich people and then politicians and even more rich.

So the SWOT is used in business studies. SWOT is an acronym. It is strengths, weaknesses, others, threats.

Study your own strengths. Study your limitations. What you can and cannot do. It's important that you know what you cannot do. Not only what you can do, but what you cannot do so that you don't frustrate yourself and you don't set yourself up for failure.

Write and write and write. This process is called journaling. Get to know yourself.

Jordan Peterson has something called self-authorship, which incorporates all these elements.

So get to know your weaknesses. Get to know others. Not others, but how you relate to others.

Ask yourself, am I trying to please people? Why am I getting out of it? Why am I with other people? Who am I with? Why am I with this and this person? Should I continue to be with them? Is it healthy for me?

It doesn't make me feel bad. It doesn't make me feel good. Do they control how I feel? Etc.

All the questions that I mentioned.

Get to know yourselves. What threatens you? What are you afraid of? What are you anxious about? Why do you limit yourself? Why don't you do some things?

You will discover to your shock that there are more things that you don't do than things that you do do.

You will discover a process called constriction. You will find out that you are constricting yourself.

There are many, many, many things that you will never ever do because you have assumptions, hidden assumptions about yourself. These are known as ant, automatic negative thoughts.

So if I think I'm ugly, I will not try to date. If I think I'm stupid, I will not go to university.

There are assumptions about ourselves. Limit what we do. Make a list of threats. Make a list of negative thoughts and then see how these limit you.

Now, of course, you need to know your limitations. If you are mid to 60, do not aspire to be in the NBA. It's a seriously bad idea. You cannot be a basketball player.

But limitations are not the same as anxieties. Limitations are not the same as threats. And limitations are not the same as constricting yourself.

So get to know yourself.

And it is the opposite of magical thinking. Don't think magically. Be serious. Be practical.

This is a process of getting to know yourself. And then whatever you find, the good, the bad and the ugly, like the famous movie, whatever you find, accept.

You need to accept yourself. And that's the second thing most people don't do.

So some people are self-aware, but when they become self-aware, they develop self-rejection, self-loathing. They say, I'm aware of myself and I'm a seriously black person. I'm disgusting. I can't stand myself.

So they begin to drink and worse. Self-awareness must go hand in hand with self-acceptance.

Now, why should you accept yourself? Not because you're such great guys or great girls. In all probability, you're not actually. In all probability, you're not great guys and great girls.

You will find that you're pretty mediocre, pretty negative sometimes. You will find that you're pretty limited.

Yeah, that's reality. The vast majority of you are common and average.

So you should accept yourself not because you're special. That's narcissism. That is grandiosity.

I'm not advising you to be grandiose. I'm advising you to accept yourself.

And I will give you an excellent reason why you two accept yourself. Actually, I give you two.

Number one, no one else will. Simple.

Number two, that's all you have. It's all you have.

You're egad. You're stuck. That's the hand that nature gave you. Accept it. It's like you're sitting in a poker game. You're playing poker. You get a hand.

You look at the hands. What a bad hand.

Okay, but that's the hand you have. What are you going to do? Walk out of the poker game? That's called suicide. That's seriously stupid.

So you need to accept yourself also because no one else will. Now, there will be many people in your life who will pretend that they accept you.

For example, you will find someone and you will want to get married, or if you're intelligent, you will just want to be together, and so on and so forth. And then you will convince yourself that you are being finally accepted as you are.

Don't kid yourself. You're not.

There's only one person who has the capacity to accept you as you are, and that's you. All other people will try to change you. All like all. A-L-L. All will try to change you.

Your future wife, your future husband, your own children, and if you have cats, they too will try to change you. No one will ever accept you as you are, so you better get to work and accept yourself as you are. Accepting yourself as you are is not in a stupid way.

Like that's the way I am, and that's it. I'm not going to change. I'm not going to prove. I'm not going to study. I'm not going to work hard. That's self-acceptance. That is stagnation. That is suicide, in effect.

I'm not talking about this. Self-acceptance simply means these are my potentials. These are my strong points, my weak points. This is what I can do, what I cannot do. This is what I won't be afraid of, and I will never give my power to anyone else, and that's it.

So self-acceptance is unconditional, but it's life-enhancing. It's not life-limiting.

So how do you know if your self-acceptance is healthy or not healthy?

Because there are two ways to accept. Again, I repeat. I can say this is the way I am. I really suck as a person. I'm a horrible person. I accept myself. I'm a horrible person. That's it. I don't have to do anything more. That's not self-acceptance.

How do you know? That is the wrong kind of self-acceptance, because it doesn't enhance life. It doesn't push me to grow, to develop, to evolve, to learn new things, to be exposed to new people, to travel, to create.

Self-acceptance that doesn't lead to these things is not self-acceptance. It is a form of self-criticism. It's a harsh inner critic. The inner critic, this harsh voice inside you that tells you that you are nobodies, you are zeros, you are unworthy, you are bad, you are stupid, you are failure. This voice inside you, everyone has one. This voice inside you, he knows you. Otherwise, you wouldn't have any power. This voice knows you. He knows you well. And this voice inside you accepts you. Why?

Because this inner critic, this harsh enemy inside, wants you to remain the way you are. Otherwise, it has no power. If you change, this voice becomes powerless.

So it wants you to be the way you are. It accepts you the way you are.

But it's a voice of death. It's a voice once you did, mentally at least.

So you ask yourself, having developed self-awareness and having developed self-acceptance, you ask yourself, am I accepting myself in the right way? Am I accepting myself in a way that will make me change and grow and develop and evolve? Or am I accepting myself in a way that will keep me stuck and dead in effect?

If it's a second, it's not you. It's the inner critic. It's that other voice.

You must be very careful because that was the first lecture I gave in Romania to another group of victims.

So in that first lecture, I discussed the concept of the self. And I explained in that lecture, I tried to in that lecture, that the concept of self is bordering on idiotic. There's absolutely no such thing. We are collections. We are collections of voices. We are collections of voices, collections of selves. We have self-states.

So here's the problem. You're not one person. You're a zoo. There's a whole zoo, the zebra, elephant, giraffe. And you're in the zoo and you say, am I the elephant? Or am I the giraffe? You have a giraffe self-state and you have an elephant's self-state. And you're not sure which of these is you. It's a lot of work to find you, to find you in this crowd because it's a crowd. It's a lot of work. And many of these people, they look exactly like you. They're copies. They're clones, like identical twins.

So you say, that's me. Yeah, I recognize myself in the mirror. That's not you.

So many of these voices masquerade. They pretend that they have your best interest in mind. They pretend they love you. They pretend, you know, but I'm providing you with simple tests.

Do they have power over you? Bad. They're wrong. They're not real voices. They're not authentic. Do they drive you to stagnate? Do they drive you to not grow? To not develop? These are enemies. They're not voices. Even if they look like you, even if they tell you, I love you, no, I love you.

No, I love you. No, I love you.

There is a concept of tough love, you know? It's a mother, for example, who would tell you horrible things about yourself. And she would tell you this for your own good. Telling you all this for your own good. So that's not for your own good. I know it's tough to accept, but even the people with the best intentions around you, which include your parents, are not always your friends. Not always your friends.

You must be very, very careful. Sometimes it is exactly the people with the best intentions who are your worst enemies. You must be careful. And sometimes you are the enemy. I have seen the enemy and it is I. It's a minefield. Life is a battlefield to quote a great mind.

Okay. Self-trust and self-efficacy. Self-trust, after you develop self-awareness, after you develop self-awareness and self-acceptance, you become your own best friend. Not only you become your own best friend, but in many ways you become your only friend.

Not, again, I'm not advocating social isolation. I'm advocating intimate self-recognition and for you to have the only power.

So at that point, you can trust yourself because you have your best friend. You can trust that you have your best interest in mind. You can trust that you have your back. If you're in trouble, you can trust yourself.

You become self-sufficient. You are not controlled by anyone. No one has power over you. You are self-sufficient.

So you begin to develop self-trust. Many of you don't trust yourself. That's why you go to friends and to family and you're never sure. You're indecisive. Many of you.

The minute you self-accept and become self-aware, that is resolved automatically. Self-trust becomes automatic. It comes automatically. You don't have to work on it. You simply learn that you know yourself well and you know what you need and that you pursue your best interest.

Having done this a few times, you begin to trust yourself. And then when you trust yourself, you develop self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is when you obtain the best outcomes. You extract the best outcomes from the environment.

Self-efficacy simply means that when you want something, you know how to get it.

Not everything. Againeverything.

Again, if you're a meter 60, you will never be in the NBA.

Except if in Pygmyland, you will never be in the NBA.

So when I say self-efficacy, it doesn't mean that any goal you set your mind to, you're going to achieve. Actually, you're going to achieve very little. And very few of your goals will come true. Most of your life, you will spend in frustration and defeat and failure.

Sorry. But if you learn to accept yourself and to trust yourself, it will not matter. You will not care. You will keep trying. And sometimes you will succeed. And that is called life. Life is about losses and failures.

Life, I repeat, is about losses and failures. These are the engines of growth. There is no other engine of growth.

Accomplishments are not conducive to growth.

Ask any rock star. Ask Kurt Cobain from Nirvana. Accomplishments do not help your growth and do not make you happy.

Loss and failure make you grow. Accept yourself and accept this. Be self-efficacious in the sense that you set realistic goals, you pursue them with your own power, and whatever you obtain, whatever you accomplish, it's 100% yours. It's not your mother's, it's not your husband's, it's not your partner's, it's not your children's, it's not your cats. It's yours. And only yours.

And this is called self-efficacy, the belief that you are capable of setting realistic rational goals and then achieving them, goals that are beneficial for you.

It's a simple recipe. Sounds very complicated, but it's actually pretty simple.

Start writing, get to know yourself, start accepting yourself the way you are. Imperfect. You are imperfect.

Start accepting yourself. Then start taking the power back from anyone you gave it to.

Then you become powerful. Start acting. The more you succeed, the more you trust yourself, the more you develop self-efficacy.

And above all, embrace loss. Embrace loss. Embrace failure.

There are no better friends in the whole world than loss and failure. They drive you forward.

I know this from personal experience, bitter personal experience.

So this is the message I have for you as young men and women. It's not an uplifting message. It's not optimistic.

No coach would tell you this because then you will not make money. And many, many adults will lie to you because they want to protect you. You're innocent. They want you to have a modicum of happiness until you discover reality.

Adults are trying to isolate you from reality. They're trying to protect you from reality. They're trying to firewall you. They don't understand these adults, that it prevents you from growing. They prevent you from growing.


Today, the definition of adolescence had been extended. And we consider people under the age of 25 adolescents. These are studies by Twenge and others. We redefine adolescence under age 25.

One third of people under age 35 live with their parents and have no intention to move out. People don't want to grow up anymore. People don't want to grow up. They don't want to become adults. And they don't want to grow up and become adults because we, the adults, we had been way too protective of you. We need to throw you to the lions. We need to throw all of you to the lions because reality is about lions and you need to learn how to fight in the arena like gladiators.

Life is tough and harsh and will not give you any concession. Life is indifferent to you. It doesn't care.

Only one person cares about you. You.

Only one person cares about you. You.

I'm not saying that no one loves you. Many people love you. Your parents, hopefully. But only one person is invested in you for life. There's only one person, only one person you are stuck with. Only one person you cannot divorce. Only one person you cannot say goodbye to.

It happens to be you. So it's like a roommate, you know? A roommate you cannot evict. Better get used to the guy or to the girl.

Thank you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. You will make all the others angry because they want to go away.

So I'm open if you have any.

You all seem to be in a state of shock.

Constellation, considering to jump from the window.

It's a kind of information that I don't think you will get anywhere else.

It's not that people are trying. A lot of people are lying to you. But as I said, I think they're protected. They don't think you're capable. I find it insulting. I find it demeaning.

They don't think you're capable of coping with reality. I think you're capable of coping with reality. Absolutely. I respect you. What I did today was an act of respect.

So I told you what I think to be the truth because I think you're capable of doing it. If I had been a typical coach or a typical psychologist, I would tell you a lot of bullshit.

Love, this, that. Yes, there is love, of course. The world is full of things. It's full of love. It's full of genocides. It's full of many things. There's movies and music. There's serial killers. It's like another part, a thing part.

But all in all, life is tough and life sucks, especially if you're not your best friend. Then it really sucks. And you will discover that you're stuck with yourself. Whatever happens, you're stuck with yourself.

In the West, for example, your chances of divorce are 50 percent almost. And second marriage is 70 percent. And third marriage is 90 percent. 31 percent of people in the West live alone until they die. They're lifelong signals.

Another, more or less, 17 percent in between so-called relationships and so on. Longliness has become the norm.

And so we have to acknowledge reality. People are much more lonely than they used to be.

My mother, no, my mother's mother, my grandmother, she grew up in an extended family. There were multiple generations in the same, in the same household. So there was a small community.

My mother and father lived only with us. And I lived only with my wife and I could have easily been single. It's pretty typical today.

I think it's not okay that we are not teaching people to be alone. This is becoming the standard. And it's not okay that we are pretending, you know, we're pretending there's no elephant in the room. There is no elephant in the room.

We need to teach loneliness skills. And we need to teach self-love. And we need to teach everything I just tried to convey to you.

And we are not doing this. We are betraying. We are betraying your generation in any case. We are betraying your generation with the environment. We are betraying your generation with gender roles.

We have made a mess of things. My generation made a huge mess of things for you. And I will exit soon. I'm on my way out. And you will be stuck with the garbage. You will have to clean the party. I had the party and you will clean the...

And this is how things stand, I'm sorry to say.


And one of the major betrayals, one of the major betrayals of your generation, by my generation, is that we are pretending that everything is fine. We are pretending that there had been no party. We are pretending that everything is...

It used to be in the 50s or 60s or 70s. And it's not. It's not. And it's not. And we are not giving you the basic skills. We are teaching you everything you don't need. Everything you don't need you can study. Universities, schools, even on YouTube. Everything you don't need, for example, 99% of all the material online is about relationships.

And yet, the vast majority of people spend most of their time alone, not in relationships.

It's a fact. It's a physical fact. It's like teaching a quadriplegic how to run. It's not... It's inappropriate. There's no mention.

So I decided in this lecture not to sugarcoat. Not a sugarcoat. Not a rule.

Because I respect you. And I'm talking to you as I would talk to adults. You're not adults. I'm not an idiot.

But... But I think you deserve honesty. I think so. And I think anyone who is dishonest with you, you should show off the window.

Next up.

Because this is an act of self-love. Do not accept disrespect. Do not allow anyone to disrespect it. And not telling you the truth is the ultimate form of disrespect. It's called gaslighting.

That is why you gave your life that you are realistic with us.

Because all this protective side of most of the adults doesn't really help us to prepare for the future.

As you said, life isn't easy.

And we are...

Not that everything is pink and rainbows are everywhere in the sky. But this lecture really helped me to realize that it won't be that easy, but instead you told us how hard it will be, but a way to cope with everything that works in our life.

You have a huge weapon. You have a huge weapon.

You have your best friend with you. It's an enormous gift. You just refuse to be friends with the guy, you know, with the girl.

But you have already with you. Everything you need. Everything you need to survive and everything is there inside.

But you don't grant yourself access.

Because you are focused on other people. You are focused to please other people, to love other people, to let other people have power over you and so on.

When actually you have inside everything you need. The total is not sufficient.

This whole concept of society and children and these whole new things, you think these are like as old as humanity. That's not true.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, there was no such thing as a child. There was no concept of child.

Louisa May Alcott wrote a book about six-year-old girls. So today we would call them children, yes? The book is called Little Women. That's the book. It's called Little Women because there were no children.

Even the concept of children is totally new. Romance is totally new concept. It's about six years old.

All these things that you think are forever and like since the cavemen, you know, romance with them. This is new. This is all new. People didn't get married because of romance. People got married for such interests, for economic reasons and so on.

Love, the concept of love is very, very, very new. There was love in the 13th century, 14th, but it was chivalric love. It was a form of social signaling. So for example, in the 13th and 14th century, if you were in love, you never ever had sex. Absolutely not. The knight was in love with his lady, but he would not dream in his wildest dreams to have sex with him.

Love and sex are nothing to Louisa. It was a form of social signaling.

We, many of the things we take for granted, like they are totally, they are very new, extremely new, and probably temporary, probably temporary.

And so if you have a historical perspective, you realize that social institutions and all this is nonsense. It's passing. It's fashions. These are fashions.

And so if these are fashions, why would you invest everything you have in transient things? And why would you give power to other people?

Invest in yourself, empower yourself, and then you will be in the position to share, collaborate, and so on. But not before.

Not before. That's the message I have for you.

Okay, guys, I wish you a better continuation of the day. And thank you for coming. I appreciate it.

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