Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Psychopath attorneys  (Read 27447 times)

pobis

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: PI
« Reply #120 on: February 13, 2012, 07:03:27 PM »

[...] People have no rights and he, the psychopath, has no obligations that derive from the "social contract." The psychopath holds himself to be above conventional morality and the law. The psychopath cannot delay gratification. He wants everything and wants it now. His whims, urges, catering to his needs, and the satisfaction of his drives take precedence over the needs, preferences, and emotions of even his nearest and dearest.

Consequently, psychopaths feel no remorse when they hurt or defraud others. They don't possess even the most rudimentary conscience. They rationalize their (often criminal) behavior and intellectualize it. Psychopaths fall prey to their own primitive defense mechanisms (such as narcissism, splitting, and projection). [...] The psychopath projects his own vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and shortcomings unto others and force them to behave the way he expects them to (this defense mechanism is known as "projective identification") [...]


As to the mechanism you mention - I have read about a similar concept in social psychology - that of self-fulfilling prophecy, a process in which we find confirmation and proof for our stereotypes by creating stereotypical behavior in out-group members through our treatment of them. Word, Zanna & Cooper in 1974 conducted a set of experiments that shows such. In the first study, they asked white students to interview job applicants who were either white or black. The students tended to display discomfort when interviewing the blacks; for instance, they sat further away, stammered, and ended the interview earlier. In a second study, the researchers varied the behavior of the student interviewers so that the latter acted towards a job applicant either the way that the interviewers had acted towards whites or the way they had acted towards blacks in the first study. They found that those applicants who had been interviewed in the way that blacks had been interviewed were judged to be more nervous and less effective than the others.


No kidding, Violet Bear - PI appears to be "the man" - here it is a related post on how groups rely on the phenomenon to function


Fight/Flight mentality and the choice of a leader in the Fight/Flight group

As to the choice of a leader for a fight/flight group, Bion says:

Quote
"It is usually a man or woman with marked paranoid trends; perhaps, if the presence of an enemy is not immediately obvious to the group, the next best thing is for the group to choose a leader to whom it is."
 

This statement is important for several reasons. First, it makes it obvious that, according to Bion, it is not the leader who chooses his group -- neither according to his own needs or his perception of the group's needs -- but much more the basic assumption group which seeks and chooses its appropriate leader according to its (unconscious) needs. And second, the group's need to find an enemy, against whom they can either fight or from which they can flee, exists even before that enemy has been found, discovered or, indeed, invented. In other words, one might say, that if the Jews hadn't been there already for the Nazis to identify as the enemy, responsible for their miserable plight, the Nazis would have had to invent them! And as for the leadership role in this fight/flight dynamic, the German people were highly successful in picking a personality from among their ranks (who was, of course not even a German, but an Austrian!), and whose capacities as a leader of the fight/flight basic assumption have remained virtually unparalleled in history, Adolph Hitler. According to Bion, leadership is a product of the group mentality, not its origin. He writes:

Quote
The leader, on the basic assumption level, does not create the group by virtue of his fanatical adherence to an idea, but is rather an individual whose personality renders him peculiarly susceptible to the obliteration of individuality by the basic group's leadership requirements.

And here Bion links this phenomenon with the Kleinian theory of projective identification:

Quote
To me the leader is as much the creature of the basic assumption as any other member of the group, and this, I think, is to be expected if we envisage identification of the individual with the leader as depending not on introjection alone but on a simultaneous process of projective identification.


This "loss of individual distinctiveness" applies to the leader as much as to anyone else.

Thus the leader in the fight/flight group, for example, appears to have a distinctive personality because his personality is of a kind that lends itself to exploitation by the group demand for a leader who requires of it only a capacity for fighting or for flight; the leader has no greater freedom to be himself than any other member of the group. Bion compares this leader with

Quote
"an automaton who has ceased to be guided by his own will. He is leader by virtue of his capacity for instantaneous, involuntary combination with every other member of his group and only differs from them in that, whatever his function in the work group, he is the incarnation of the basic assumption group leader.


Bion points out that it is incapable of tolerating frustration in the long run, because in the sphere of basic assumption phenomena, time itself is not a relevant, not even an existent dimension of reality. Flight offers an immediately available opportunity for expression of the emotion in the fight/flight group and therefore meets the demand for instantaneous satisfaction -- therefore the group will take flight. Alternatively, attack offers a similarly immediate outlet -- then the group will fight. The fight/flight group will follow any leader who will give such orders as license instantaneous flight or instantaneous attack.

[...]

Containment as a leadership style -- where does it come from?

How containing the style of the leader and how given to blaming others when things go wrong (paranoid/schizoid position) versus acknowledging one's or one's institution's contribution towards the trouble one is in (depressive position), depends to a very large degree on the individual's capacity to maintain a relatively mature stance as opposed to falling into a defensive/paranoid one, and this capacity is based on early experiences and their later reworking as the life-cycle progresses. The assumption underlying this aspect of psychoanalytic theory suggests that the conditions necessary in order for a proper Container-Contained relationship in the Bionic sense to come into being are:

a) when an individual has him/herself had sufficient experience of containment in the course of his or her personal development, and
b) when s/he has thereby developed a capacity to identify both with the container as well as with "being contained" and then, through the process of introjective identification, has been able to include this as a significant and stable aspect of his or her own internal life.

This developmental process thus enables one to increase one's capacity to contain, and to employ containment of anxiety as a psychic tool, which can then be utilised as necessary in the authoritative execution of leadership roles.


Very interesting, the-Q-card, but there's another post, an even more interesting, post on this whole thing -

pobis

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Psychopath attorneys
« Reply #121 on: February 13, 2012, 07:04:10 PM »

[...] We could think of two or three things which might rescue us from experiencing Freud's reductionism as hopelessly ignorant of the importance of social causation. The first is to look deeper and investigative how certain public values and structures get into the unconscious before they get projected and rationalized as the public interest. [...] Bion takes us further into the lowest depths -- the most primitive and most refractory defences of all. He put the point clearly in the conclusion to his essay, "Group Dynamics -- A Review," which was more explicit about the Kleinian inspiration of his ideas than his better-known collection of essays, "Experiences in Groups" Bion says, "Freud's view of the dynamics of the group seems to me to require supplementing rather than correction" [...]

[...]

Following on from Bion's experiences in groups, Elliott Jaques and Isabel Menzies Lyth conducted research in various organizations and found the same mechanisms at work, with the defences embodied in the mores and structures of the institutions. I believe that this model is at work in innumerable situations -- neighborhood gang, school, workplace, country club, religion, racial, political and international conflict. When one comes into contact with the group, subculture or institution, the psychic price of admission is to enter into that group's splits and projective identifications.

In her classical paper on "The Function of Social Systems as a Defence Against Anxiety," Menzies Lyth describes the link as it applies to student nurses: "[...] I have used the term "social defence system" as a construct to describe certain features of the nursing service as a continuing social institution, I wish to make it clear that I do not imply that the nursing service as an institution operates the defences. Defences are, and can be, operated only by individuals. Their behavior is the link between their psychic defences and the institution'. There is a complex and subtle interaction, resulting in a matching between the individual's defences and the institution's. The processes 'depend heavily on repeated projection of the psychic defence system into the social defence system and repeated introjection of the social defence system into the psychic defence system. This allows continuous testing of the match and fit as the individual experiences his own and other people's reactions.

'The social defence system of the nursing service has been described as a historical development through collusive interaction between individuals to project and reify relevant elements of their psychic defence systems. However, from the viewpoint of the new entrant to the nursing service, the social defence system at the time of entry is a datum, an aspect of external reality to which she must react and adapt. Fenichel [...] states that social institutions arise through the efforts of human beings to satisfy their needs, but that social institutions then become external realities comparatively independent of individuals which affect the structure of the individual. The student nurse has to adapt her defences to those of the institution.

The latter are relatively immutable, so she shapes hers until they are congruent with the institution's. [...] Thus, the individual cannot bring the content of the phantasy anxiety situations into effective contact with reality. Unrealistic or pathological anxiety cannot be differentiated from realistic anxiety arising from real dangers.

Therefore, anxiety tends to remain permanently at a level determined more by the phantasies than by the reality. The forced introjection of the hospital defence system, therefore, perpetuates in the individual a considerable degree of pathological anxiety.


pobis

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Psychopath attorneys
« Reply #122 on: February 13, 2012, 07:16:13 PM »

[...] Crucial to understand how a person comes to think and feel like a racist or a virulent nationalist or a member of a street gang or a religious or psychoanalytic sect. The mechanisms are the same and that the process of taking in the values as 'a given', adapting one's own primitive anxieties to that group's particular version of splitting, projection, stereotyping and scapegoating, leads to the same kind of impoverishment that nurses experience -- of the ability to think and feel with moderation and to deal with reality and anxiety.

It is projected into the structure or the Other and given back -- not detoxified, but -- as an injunction to behave inhumanely toward patients, Lacanians, Jews, Armenians, 'the Evil Empire' or whomsoever. It is by this means that we became certain, without thinking about it or meeting many, if any, of the people involved, that Germans are sadistic, Japanese cunning, Italians sexist, Mexicans lazy, French romantic, English decent, Scots dour, Canadians boring, Swiss efficient, Dutch tidy, Scandinavians cold, Spaniards romantic, Russians passionate, Turks depraved, Arabs fanatical, Jews avaricious, Hawaiians friendly, Australians gauche, Chinese inscrutable, Africans rhythmic, White South Africans racist and authoritarian. We have been sure of all these things all our conscious lives, but we do not recall learning any of them.

We are dealing with a whole new level of grip. It's done with superglue -- cemented or bonded with the most primitive level of feeling that we have. [...] Members do it with projective identification.' Members of families, couples, groups, institutions, tribes, cultures and so on. [...] What is true of worms served up as food for birds is also true of people with respect to prejudices and other deeply held beliefs. They become so deeply implanted or sedimented that they are 'second nature'. [...] First we project our destructiveness into others; then we wish to annihilate them without guilt because they contain all the evil and destructiveness. When we read accounts of the genocide of the Conquistadors, the Stalinists, the Germans, the Kampucheans, the Americans or the Iraqis, we must ask what has been projected into these people from the most primitive parts of their tormentors. [...]

[...] What is being a fan of a movie star or a groupie of a rock star other than romantic, idealizing projective identification? Where positive aspects of the self are forcefully projected similar degrees of depersonalization occur, with feelings of personal worthlessness and with dependent worship of the other's contrasting strengths, powers, uncanny sensitivity, marvellous gifts, thoughts, knowledge, undying goodness etc. This is the world of the devotee, cults and hero-promotion.

It is also a world in which people will do anything a Bagwan or a Rev. James Jones tells them to do -- from sexual license to mass suicide. The same suspension of one's own sense of right and wrong is at work in the followers L. Ron Hubbard in the Church of Scientology as in the minds of the devotees of Charles Manson, killing rich Californians, and in the convictions of bombers and perpetrators of sectarian murders in Northern Ireland or terrorists from Lybia, though the ideologies of the respective group leaders may have utterly different apparent of real justifications.

[...] A further group presence in the unconscious is in the notion of 'pathological organizations' in borderline psychotic states, the subject of a burgeoning literature. In discussing this, Herbert Rosenfeld explicitly describes the individual as in projective identification with a 'gang in the mind': "The destructive narcissism of these patients appears often highly organized, as if one were dealing with a powerful gang dominated by a leader, who control all the members of the gang to see that they support one another in making the criminal destructive work more efficient and powerful.

However, the narcissistic organization not only increases the strength of the destructive narcissism, but it has a defensive purpose to keep itself in power and so maintain the status quo. The main aim seems to be to prevent the weakening of the organization and to control the members of the gang so that they will not desert the destructive organization and join the positive parts of the self or betray the secrets of the gang to the police.


entitatitivity

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Psychopath attorneys
« Reply #123 on: February 15, 2012, 03:42:32 PM »

[...]

So, there you have it - the degrees of the closet - or "outness" - if you like. It is controversial whether outing a gay person is beneficial to the society and/or that person himself. Personally I think it does not make sense to out plain folk people, while it does to out public figures/people in authority.

Usually, the outed gay individual would go after a journalist and his newspaper who outed him. But even such lawsuits have proved unsuccessful in the long run. Here it is the Cruise's case with South Park:


The relevant "South Park" episode -- entitled "Trapped in the Closet" -- self-consciously skirts the outermost edges of the First Amendment's protection for parody. A court would probably deem it constitutionally protected, but only barely. Defamation requires a "statement of fact" -- and for this reason, most parody, because of its fictional nature, falls outside defamation law by definition.

But this is the rare parody that, fairly read, does make a statement of fact. In the episode, the animated version of Cruise literally goes into a closet, and won't come out. Other characters beg him to "come out of the closet," including the animated version of his ex-wife, Nicole Kidman. The Kidman character promises Cruise that if he comes out of the closet, neither she nor "Katie" will judge him. But the Cruise character claims he isn't "in the closet," even though he plainly is. No one could miss that the episode's creators are taking a stance and making a statement -- that the real Cruise is gay and hiding it.

The use of the euphemism "in the closet" -- used to refer to someone who is homosexual but who has not admitted his or her homosexuality to friends, family, or the public -- is transparent. Interestingly, the episode itself indicates that its creators know well that they may be defaming Cruise, and they know of his litigious history. The joke disclaimer preceding the episode announces that "All characters and events on this show -- even those based on real persons -- are entirely fictional."

At the end of the episode, the Cruise character threatens to bring a suit (not on the gay issue, but in defense of Scientology) "in England" -- which lacks a formal equivalent of the First Amendment. And all the credits at the end use the pseudonyms "John Smith" and "Jane Smith." Since the episode does indeed make a "statement of fact," the parody exception to defamation law won't save "South Park." Thus, the creators' only weapon against a possible suit by Cruise is a First Amendment defense. Fortunately for them, the Supreme Court has interpreted the defense very broadly.

[...] It's one thing to co-opt part of a song, or use a trademark, in a parody: Without using part of the original, the parody won't work at all; no one will know what its target is. But it's another thing to embed what would otherwise be a defamatory statement in a work of fiction: This is defamation in satire's clothing, and it's only in order to protect true satire that that the Constitution has been held to also protect this lesser creature. Generally, courts don't want to get into the business of picking out nuggets of fact from an otherwise fictional account. The upshot, though -- and courts know this, and accept this cost in the service of free speech -- is that parody and satire inevitably may become a refuge for rogues who seek to defame without liability. That seems to me to be just what's happening with respect to the "South Park" episode.


I'm not sure I understand the "statement of fact" thing stressed upon by the lawyer here - SP maintains that the whole thing is a parody, characters are all fictional - everything seems OK, with the FA protection in mind.

I mean, you have tabloids (papers) claiming outright that Cruise is gay - I just don't get the overanalyzing kind of thing that the Yale lawyer is doing in the case of SP.



http://www.celebitchy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/enquirer_tomssecretlife-798x1024.jpg

entitatitivity

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: About "Common Sense"
« Reply #124 on: February 15, 2012, 04:10:19 PM »
This is the kind of analyzing that you do only when you are a law student with your law professors:

Burglary = The breaking and entering the house of another in the night time, with intent to commit a felony therein, whether the felony be actually committed or not.

- Breaking can be either actual, such as by forcing open a door, or constructive, such as by fraud or threats. Breaking does not require that anything be "broken" in terms of physical damage occurring. A person who has permission to enter part of a house, but not another part, commits a breaking and entering when they use any means to enter a room where they are not permitted, so long as the room was not open to enter.

- Entering can involve either physical entry by a person or the insertion of an instrument with which to remove property. Insertion of a tool to gain entry may not constitute entering by itself. Note that there must be a breaking and an entering for common law burglary. Breaking without entry or entry without breaking is not sufficient for common law burglary.
   
- Although rarely listed as an element, the common law required that entry occur as a consequence of the breaking. For example, if a wrongdoer partially opened a window by using a pry bar and then noticed an open door through which he entered the dwelling, there is no burglary at common law. The use of the pry bar would not constitute an entry even if a portion of the prybar "entered" the residence. Under the instrumentality rule the use of an instrument to effect a breaking would not constitute an entry. However, if any part of the perpetrator's body entered the residence in an attempt to gain entry, the instrumentality rule did not apply. Thus, if the perpetrator uses the prybar to pry open the window and then used his hands to lift the partially opened window, an "entry" would have taken place when he grasped the bottom of the window with his hands.

- House includes a temporarily unoccupied dwelling, but not a building used only occasionally as a habitation
   
- Night time is defined as hours between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise

- Typically this element is expressed as the intent to commit a felony "therein." The use of the word "therein" adds nothing and certainly does not limit the scope of burglary to those wrongdoers who break and enter a dwelling intending to commit a felony on the premises. The situs of the felony does not matter, and burglary occurs if the wrongdoer intended to commit a felony at the time he broke and entered.


NOW, we all know, that out there in the real world things are not handled this way - stressing upon each word like crazy! What I am saying is that in practice - for lawyers too - common sense is the one that applies. Or to put it in those other words, KISS!

pick

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Psychopath attorneys
« Reply #125 on: February 15, 2012, 05:28:37 PM »

But of course - these are the kinds of nihilistic killers - there is a movie "Mr. Brooks" which depicts a guy who killed people for the hell of it..


Examining his modus operandi, from the fastidious preparation and cleaning up of the crime scene before departing, it looks like Brooks was obsessed with not getting caught (he responds to Smith's inquiry as to whether the person they would agree on killing could be someone who he knew, by saying, that you never kill someone you know, that's the surest way to get caught) - and yet, as Smith lies dying, Brooks reveals that he used many different MOs before becoming the meticulous Thumbprint Killer.


Serial offenders modify and perfect their MO as they become more adept at what they do. The improvement or slight adjustment to an offender's MO is something for investigators to bear in mind in analyzing a criminal pattern over time and formulating a behavioral profile. This is especially true in the first stages of profiling when the investigator begins his or her profile from the paradigm of the Organized/Disorganized continuum.


L Liberty, how about copy-cat crimes - offenders that copy the MO/signature of other offenders reported in the media or described in fiction?

Metodi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Psychopath attorneys
« Reply #126 on: February 16, 2012, 05:37:37 PM »

[...]

There are, however, other ways that similar types of defenses against the homosexual self-label can be articulated. These males to be "homophobic, gay-bashing hoodlums who pick up or are picked up by a gay male, have sex with him, and they exorcise their own homosexual guilt by assaulting and maybe killing him. The "exorcist syndrome" which is a version of the "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" nature manifested by people like Cardinal Spellman and Roy Cohn. The phenomena is also similar to a "split personality" situation. One of the personalities is "the grand inquisitor," as McCarthy and Cohn had become in a spectacular way, and it needs to punish the homosexual part of their 'personality'. This internal war is also projected outward causing these socially created monsters to harm other gay males by ruining their careers or, as other males will do, punishing them may include physical assaults and even murder.

[...]


Here's another parallel from poster maj:

Quote


[...] The "grandiosity gap" - the painful and narcissistically injurious gap between their grandiose fantasies and their dreary and humiliating reality - becomes emotionally insupportable. They decompensate and act out. [...] Unbeknownst to them, they seek self punishment. They are at heart suicidal. [...] This is called "projective identification". They attribute evil and corruption to their enemies and foes. These forms of paranoia are called projection and splitting. These are all primitive, infantile, and often persecutory, defence mechanisms.

When coupled with narcissism - the inability to empathize, the exploitativeness, the sense of entitlement, the rages, the dehumanization and devaluation of others - this mindset yields abysmal contempt for the narcissist's victims. The overriding emotion of terrorists and serial killers, the amalgam and culmination of their tortured psyche - is deep seated disdain for everything human, the flip side of envy. It is cognitive dissonance gone amok. [...] To justify this apparent contradiction, the mass murderer casts himself as an altruistic savior of a group of people "endangered" by his foes. [...]

[...] Their cosmic significance is daily sustained by newspaper headlines, ever increasing bounties, admiring copycats, successful acts of blackmail, the strength and size of their opponents, and the devastation of human life and property. Appeasement works only to aggravate their drives and strengthen their appetites by emboldening them and by raising the threshold of excitation and "narcissistic supply". Terrorists and killers are addicted to this drug of being acknowledged and reflected. They derive their sense of existence, parasitically, from the reactions of their (often captive) audience.

Erich Fromm suggested that both Hitler and Stalin were narcissistic mass murderers. Hitler and Nazism are often portrayed as an apocalyptic and seismic break with European history. Yet the truth is that they were the culmination and reification of European history in the 19th century. Europe's annals of colonialism have prepared it for the range of phenomena associated with the Nazi regime - from industrial murder to racial theories, from slave labor to the forcible annexation of territory. [...] Moreover, Nazi Germany innovated by applying prevailing racial theories (usually reserved to non-whites) to the white race itself. It started with the Jews - a non-controversial proposition - but then expanded them to include "east European" whites, such as the Poles and the Russians. Germany was not alone in its malignant nationalism. [...] Nazism - and Fascism - were world ideologies, adopted enthusiastically in places as diverse as Iraq, Egypt, Norway, Latin America, and Britain. At the end of the 1930's, liberal capitalism, communism, and fascism (and its mutations) were locked in mortal battle of ideologies. [...]

[...]

What was the role of the Jews in all this? [...] The Jews constituted a perfect, easily identifiable, reification of all that was "wrong" with Europe. They were an old nation, they were eerily disembodied (without a territory), they were cosmopolitan, they were part of the establishment, they were "decadent", they were hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, they were different, they were narcissistic (felt and acted as morally superior), they were everywhere, they were defenseless, they were credulous, they were adaptable (and thus could be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They were the perfect hated father figure and parricide was in fashion.

[...]

citifax

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Psychopath attorneys
« Reply #127 on: February 24, 2012, 03:03:12 PM »
Is the the "devil's advocate" role that you call "stance," Habibe? I didnít even know the word Ė you could definitely make a great writer!

Quote



http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/index.php?topic=3006869.msg5398330#msg5398330


B Ashton

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Psychopath attorneys
« Reply #128 on: February 28, 2012, 02:57:36 PM »

Delusional Disorder is indeed horrible - I remember some years ago when my neighbor, a twenty-nine-years old male, approached the authorities (the police) and asked them for protection; he told them his life was in danger because of a group of individuals who were following and harassing him on a daily basis for over a year or so. His wife told the police no actual threat had been made by anyone. He was functioning rather satisfactorily in work and his social relations and did not appear to have any other complaints. The police believed him initially and had several people watch him for a time period, only to discover that no one was, in actuality, following the guy. He was referred for psychiatric evaluation and found to suffer from delusional disorder.


Mental breakdown is all too common during times of war, anarchy and turmoil. I remember when I was once in Africa people were suffering from all kinds of stress-related disorders when all of a sudden there was no rule of law, with the State not functioning at all. The country descended in anarchy and violence, the goverment was toppled and some 2,000 people were killed. The entire country fell under the control of rebels and criminal gangs.

Guns became available to just about anyone, with fears on the part of people that old scores were going to be settled. In fact, rebels took even control of 19 combat aircraft type "MiG," let alone military vehicles and tanks.

c o l o m b u s

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: PI
« Reply #129 on: February 29, 2012, 05:36:04 PM »

Very interesting! Here it is a more complete summary of Bion:

Come follow, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow me!
Whither shall I follow, follow, follow,
Whither shall I follow, follow thee?
To the greenwood, to the greenwood,
To the greenwood, greenwood tree!

In this well-known old song, an English canon composed by John Hilton in 1652, we are encouraged to follow an invisible leader. But before we decide to do so, we ask him "whither shall I follow? Whither shall I follow thee?" The answer sounds tempting: "to the greenwood tree..." So,... off we go!... Or perhaps not?


Bion's Theory of Thinking -- "Container-Contained"

The theory or the "model" at the base of author's reflections is Bion's model "container-contained", also called his "theory of thinking". The relationship between container and contained is central to Bion's thinking seeing it as basic, a ubiquitous pattern of relationships which, as it were, biologically pre-programmed. In other words, it is one of nature's key patterns. It is at one and the same time: the model of conception (penis-in-vagina), gestation (embryo-in-uterus), alimentation (nipple-in-mouth) and elimination (faeces-in-colon).

This fundamental pattern -- 'one thing inside another', as Bion simply calls it -- in its many variations and permutations, forms the model for all human somatopsychological experience from the very beginning of life. Bion posits a "place" or an "object", which he calls the "container", whose purpose is to take up a "something" which needs to be contained. Through this process both container and that-which-is-to-be-contained are transformed, and something new, a "third" element comes into being. From this biological pattern, Bion develops his model of the origin of the ability to think, which, for him, is a precondition for his central developmental concept, "learning from experience" [...]

Fight/Flight mentality and the choice of a leader in the Fight/Flight group

As to the choice of a leader for a fight/flight group, Bion says:

Quote
"It is usually a man or woman with marked paranoid trends; perhaps, if the presence of an enemy is not immediately obvious to the group, the next best thing is for the group to choose a leader to whom it is."
 

This statement is important for several reasons. First, it makes it obvious that, according to Bion, it is not the leader who chooses his group -- neither according to his own needs or his perception of the group's needs -- but much more the basic assumption group which seeks and chooses its appropriate leader according to its (unconscious) needs.

And second, the group's need to find an enemy, against whom they can either fight or from which they can flee, exists even before that enemy has been found, discovered or, indeed, invented. In other words, one might say, that if the Jews hadn't been there already for the Nazis to identify as the enemy, responsible for their miserable plight, the Nazis would have had to invent them!

And as for the leadership role in this fight/flight dynamic, the German people were highly successful in picking a personality from among their ranks (who was, of course not even a German, but an Austrian!), and whose capacities as a leader of the fight/flight basic assumption have remained virtually unparalleled in history, Adolph Hitler.

According to Bion, leadership is a product of the group mentality, not its origin. He writes:

Quote
The leader, on the basic assumption level, does not create the group by virtue of his fanatical adherence to an idea, but is rather an individual whose personality renders him peculiarly susceptible to the obliteration of individuality by the basic group's leadership requirements.

And here Bion links this phenomenon with the Kleinian theory of projective identification:

Quote
To me the leader is as much the creature of the basic assumption as any other member of the group, and this, I think, is to be expected if we envisage identification of the individual with the leader as depending not on introjection alone but on a simultaneous process of projective identification.


This "loss of individual distinctiveness" applies to the leader as much as to anyone else.

Thus the leader in the fight/flight group, for example, appears to have a distinctive personality because his personality is of a kind that lends itself to exploitation by the group demand for a leader who requires of it only a capacity for fighting or for flight; the leader has no greater freedom to be himself than any other member of the group. [...]

Bion points out that it is incapable of tolerating frustration in the long run, because in the sphere of basic assumption phenomena, time itself is not a relevant, not even an existent dimension of reality. Flight offers an immediately available opportunity for expression of the emotion in the fight/flight group and therefore meets the demand for instantaneous satisfaction -- therefore the group will take flight. Alternatively, attack offers a similarly immediate outlet -- then the group will fight. The fight/flight group will follow any leader who will give such orders as license instantaneous flight or instantaneous attack.

[...]


I highlighted the part of the post I am not sure it's coherent with the rest - anyone cares to explain a bit? :)