25 | CR Book IX, Chapter 3

ever since men thought about life and death. Almost everybody
experiences occasionally a fleeting mood, in which he wishes to die, or
be dead and extinguished, or in which he desires to murder himself, or
be killed. But the desire for extinction is more than a passing mood. It
is a normal and regular component of our mental life. Normally it is
half-hearted, proceeds "by inches" and is covered up. The compromise
with life-preserving tendencies may render the self-destruction abortive,
distorted, chronic. It is usual to justify it to oneself and to society by
the benefits to society it may entail, or by patriotic and family motives,
or by a great cause, or by a desire for power, or by the narcissistic self-
gratification of daredevils, or by shifting the responsibility for getting
rid of oneself on to some outward agency, and outward opportunities
for self-destruction, on Fate, enmity, circumstance. Self-negating
attitudes are not beneficial merely because they are voluntary, and self-
imposed. It is often regarded as a virtue when we give ourselves up
voluntarily, renounce ourselves, abase, humiliate, sacrifice ourselves, or
throw ourselves away, as when we take undue risks. It is true that, if
voluntary, self-negating attitudes may be more accepted. But we may
also rush into them as into a compulsion.

In all mental disorders, in addition to mental conflict, and to self-
destructive attitudes, egocentricity, or isolation, plays an important
part. This is obviously so in schizoid disorders of the shut-in type. In the
cycloid disorders, too, it is egocentricity which conditions the disintegra-
tion on varying levels of profundity. An egocentric does not acknowledge
the fact that he is an insignificant part of a greater whole. In his
perspective he is in the centre as the only full reality with which he is
really concerned, and which is surrounded by more or less shadowy and
relatively unimportant secondary realities. Other peoples count for less
than he does. They can be largely disregarded. Unable to see other
people on the same plane as himself, degrading persons into means to
a personal end, the egocentric is incapable of the give and take of social
contacts. Unable to share, as between equals, he is cut off from the
social whole, and thereby* from reality itself.

The mentally ill are also blind to reality. A direct definition of
reality is impossible. We distinguish: (1) My world, or the "object-
", the environment as I shape and co-create it, and which is not
wholly outside me, the "world-with(in)-me", or "I-with-world". This
may become problematic, and a concern of mental conflict. (2) Our
world. The "matter-of-fact", fully-socialised world of "things" as
against a sentimental, passion-distorted and dream-infested world, or a
partly socialised (tribal, etc.) world. (3) The world, "reality" simple,
or being.

Reality can be described only by the state of mind which arises
when outer reality (a thing as it is itself) meets inner reality (the self as
it really is itself) like a long lost friend. Being as such then becomes the
object of thoughts and actions which involve neither fear, hatred, nor
bondage, but evoke bliss, joy, serenity, ease, and liberty. Without even
a special effort, separate selfhood is always to a certain extend diminished
by absorption in things, so that we forget about ourselves. Inability to
surrender ourselves lovingly to things leads to acute mental pains, and
disorders. The element of regression in all mental disorders points to a

*Book IV