Monday, July 6, 2015

Two Minds, one Lumberjack

Back when I was about 12 or so I occasionally went out to a particular little batch of trees near my parents place to smash stuff.  For some reason a grove of trees near the road grew between 3-5 meters tall and then died, producing a forest of 3 cm thick trees that were dry, brittle, and easily smashed.  I was strong enough to tear them out of the ground and swing them around like gigantic baseball bats, using them to smash other dead trees to smithereens.  Eventually my bat would be broken into bits and I would have to find another.

The memories I have of doing this are fascinating.  I remember swinging my weapon into a dead tree and having the tree shatter into many pieces with the force of the blow.  Bits of dead tree ranging from twigs to big chunks a meter long would fall from the sky, landing on my head, shoulders, and arms.  I never suffered any damage from this as the pieces falling from up high were tiny, so although I certainly noticed the impacts it wasn't dangerous.

The most powerful part of the memory though is the trance like state I was in.  I cut loose, allowing myself to revel in destruction and exertion, sinking into a frenzy where nothing of my usual self existed, where the only things in my world were fury and adrenalin.  After twenty minutes or so I would come out of it, stop breaking things, and begin to feel the strain in my arms from my labours and the soreness from where I had smashed into trees or where they had smashed into me.

At the time I had no idea why I did this.  I had no explanation for what came over me.  Now I do.

These episodes were the earliest memories I can currently recall of an obvious division in my personalities.  In these circumstances Passion was fully in charge, truly released to whatever he wanted, and he absolutely loves uninhibited physical exertion.  Director couldn't have fully given up control if there was any danger to anyone else or even if I was doing something wasteful or wrong to plants or animals but no one was going to be hurt and the only victims were trees that were already dead anyway.  Because that was true and there was no risk, no worry, Director could fade very far away and let Passion roar and rage.

Thing is, I remember what a relief it was to have done this.  I recall with certainty how much calmer it made me and how enjoyable it was to bask in the afterglow.  It wasn't a sexual thing at all, but the feeling afterwards was definitely comparable to the feeling after sex that I would experience many years later.  Smashing trees like that didn't get me riled up and angry afterwards, didn't make me worse off, but rather it allowed me to calm the beast, to give Passion free rein to get what he needed.  Doing that let him be quiet, settle down, and gave me a deep sense of cool satisfaction.

This gives me a better sense of why I am such a sexual creature now and why sex is so important to me.  When Passion has his chance to be fully in control and go berserk it grants me as a whole a sense of completeness and joy that I simply cannot replicate otherwise.  Sex clearly isn't the only way to achieve this but it is definitely the easiest way.  Also probably one of the healthiest since while the risk of falling trees actually hurting me was pretty small it was still there.  Sex, on the other hand, is a net positive to overall health with the cardio benefits outweighing any risk of injury.

I wonder a lot about how this division in my brain occurred.  Why do I have a beast inside me with a conscientious bureaucrat minding him?  Did Director evolve to keep Passion in check, to let me fit in with the world and not break myself against its rules?  Or did Passion come to being because Director was deeply unhappy and needed to go away and have someone indulge my more base desires?  Have I always been this way?

What is clear is that I need both bits.  Director, left to himself, would sink into depression.  He would spend all his time worrying about the future, counting pennies and preparing for disaster, and never properly enjoy the present.

Passion by himself would go paintballing every day and try to spend the remaining hours of the day in frenetic sexual liaisons.  I would go broke and cause everyone in my life to shun me... maybe not in that order.

Each of my halves needs the other desperately.  They function well as a team, and absolutely require teamwork for my life to work at all.  I guess one answer as to why I am this way is simply "Because I have to be."


  1. I see this a bit differently and I suspect that you might be too in your own perspective to see what's going on (not saying that's what it is for sure but I think it might be a "MY experience is THIS so THAT").
    I doubt that one side formed to compliment/offset the other. I think that you're just having a normal brain experience that, for whatever reason, you view as two halves. Really, the binary nature of it is what's very different from me. What you described (feeling the joy and adrenaline rush of running, jumping, playing as well as having that feeling leave) are totally normal experiences for me. I feel the same way about it except I don't view it as a binary... my experience is more of a gradient. If you asked me to try to find where to slice my experience so that I was carving my personality into distinct bits I couldn't tell you where to make the divisions. I DO have big differences in the sides of my personality that come out, and the 'in-brain' experience is different but it's totally a sliding thing. I can't divorce the pieces like you can.
    So.... I don't think that it's the different sides of you emerging or your emotional experience that is, in any way, unusual ... To me it's just the clarity of the division - that you could say there are exactly two sides and that they are distinct rather than things just sloshing into and out of one another on a gradient.
    I'd be interested for you to try asking around (if you have the interest) to see how others experience this. Is your experience of a clear binary unusual or have you just though about it more than most? SCIENCE!

    1. I had always thought about it the way you describe it. I knew I did these things, but never really thought about it as multiple personalities. Then when I read books about Dissociative IDentity Disorder that described what it felt like to switch between personalities I thought 'wow, that's me!' It is the intensity of switching, the fact that it is a physical sensation, that really makes the big difference and which most people don't seem to share.

      There is also the fact that I don't clearly glide from one state to the other but jump in big chunks that people also don't find familiar. I actually have four distinct states of anger, two for each personality, that I will write about sometime.