Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Assessment of the Law of Attraction from Oprah's Interview with Larry King

A friend just sent me this video clip of Oprah speaking about her experience with the Law of Attraction (LOA). These are my comments following her remarks: http://www.mindmovies.com/inspirationshow/index.php?episode=10002


Oprah is one of the few promoters of the Law of Attraction I have heard who seems to recognize that the so called "Secret" is just one psychological or spiritual law among many--not the only or even the primary law. As she said so well in the interview, "I think that the mistake that was made with The Secret was that they tried to let that be the answer to all questions."

I think some advocates of The Law of Attraction run the risk of cherry picking a particularly memorable event that happened to coincide with the fact that they had been thinking about it, and then taking complete credit for "creating it" or causing it solely by their own thoughts and intentions. The ancient Greeks called that hubris, which is defined as "an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power." For the ancient Greeks, hubris was the ultimate sin--ignoring the roles, powers and influences of the Gods. Do we really have that much to do with "attracting" the event or object?

Let's consider an alternative or more complete possibility that some Higher Power (or Powers) has a larger role to play, beyond my own thoughts. Perhaps this Higher Power, working in alignment with my soul's unique destiny, plants that particular idea and feeling in me because the idea holds soul-making power for my individuation. The "event" or manifestation may indeed be coming my way, but I am not at all convinced that I alone created or attracted that event without divine influence, or what William Blake called "divine influx". It appears to be more true that we humans are allowed to co-participate in a coming event because that particular event furthers our soul-making destiny. It is more like a prophetic image or idea that is given to me, or Oprah, than a thought I, or Oprah, alone decided to make come true. 

One ought to ask why that particular book, The Color Purple, seized Oprah's notice so deeply. Surely it wasn't her doing. She had likely read hundreds of books before that particular book, none of which seized her with such intensity. Do we think that we are the sole instigators of our obsessions with certain ideas or desires? Do we think that certain movies, people, places, and fantasies recur in our imaginations for no good reason? I doubt it. Contrary to popular science, the mind does not just out of the blue create thoughts and feelings from chemicals leaping across synaptic reception sites in the brain. And to say that my so called "ego" manufactures all of my thoughts is just as arrogant. "Something" more than neurons or tiny egos are at work in our thoughts and feelings. "Something" or "Someone" whispered to Oprah through the Color Purple, "Your soul-making is somehow tied up with this story. These impressions will not leave your mind until they are done with you." Getting the role in the movie was a very tiny part of the whole process. Taken in its entirety, Oprah's process caused her to face her food addiction and problems with self will. Those of us who fixate on the human role in manipulating the Universe by the Law of Attraction run the dangerous risk of taking credit for a small slice of a much larger spiritual enterprise. The Gods are at work in our souls--the external manifestations are a distant second to the work done on our internal psyches.

The key to Oprah's interview comments is in her song where she finally "surrendered all". The subsequent phone call from Stephen Spielberg didn't show up because Oprah was repeating her Color Purple affirmation during an ecstatic moment at a meditation retreat, but when she was depressed and miserable, surrendering her hopeless situation on a jogging track on a Fat Farm. She finally realized that she was powerless over her addiction to food and finally recognized her need for Help. Her mental obsession about the Color Purple movie role was nothing but an avenue to her surrender, facilitating the more important project of soul-making. If the Law of Attraction attracted anything to Oprah, it was her need to relinquish control, and to surrender to her destiny which is creating her. To believe that my puny little mind discovers and creates my reality based on my desires is extremely dangerous, in my opinion. The message that we are being created is much more significant than the message that we create our realities. Both are true, but the second is infinitely dwarfed by the first. But in this culture, hubris is the rule rather than the exception.

Those of us who think our thoughts alone create reality, without any inspiration from a Higher Authority, remind me of Bilbo Baggins comments at the end of Tolkien's book, The Hobbit. After his battles with Orcs, the slaying of the dragon and his gold gathering adventures, Biblo asks Gandalf how much he, Bilbo, had to do with bringing the whole affair to realization. Gandalf wisely replies: “Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

The way the Law of Attraction is often presented runs the risk of making us, like Bilbo, over estimate our roles in the soul-making endeavor. We are very fine people, and people to be fond of, but we are quite little follows in a wide world after all. Before you start "attracting," find out which God is whispering to you, acknowledge that divine voice and move out of the way.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A SOLDIER’S DHARMA: The Death of My Son in Afghanistan

The Bhagavad Gita is a book of War, as nearly all sacred scriptures are. Puzzling to some, it was the favorite text of Ghandi and R.W. Emerson, both avowed pacifists. Dharma is the topic, specifically as it relates to Arjuna whose dharma or call is to be a heroic warrior. But Arjuna is a hesitant warrior, doubting his call. Lord Krishna, God incarnate, convinces Arjuna that it is his duty to kill the enemies of justice, even his own family members in the great civil war of the Mahabharata.

In September of 2007 I took my twenty four year old son, a member of the 173rd Army Airborne, to the airport for his third deployment to Afghanistan. We knew he was heading into a bad place. During the weeks leading up to that departure, his mother, two older sisters and I begged him not to volunteer to be reassigned. We were Jason’s Arjunas, saying with the Arjuna of the Gita, “Our limbs sag, our mouths feel parched, our bodies quake…our minds are in a whirl.” Don’t go to war!

The night before our trip to the airport, I tearfully embraced Jason in the driveway. For the last time I held his six foot tall frame, his broad shoulders and rubbed my right palm across the back of his buzz-cut scalp. I wept as he whispered, “Dad, I know you don’t understand, but this is something I have to do.”

I thought of Krishna’s conversation with the hesitant Arjuna, reminding him of his dharma, his duty, his vocation. After much instruction and a soul-altering vision of Lord Krishna, Arjuna concludes, “O Krishna, my delusion has gone. My faith is firm. I am aware of my true Reality and committed to my dharma.” The soldier is called to fight for justice, to protect the innocent and uphold civilization. Jason sent home many pictures of children living in intolerable situations.

No other human can understand another person’s call to make soul. Dharma transcends family ties, and religious and political ideologies. James Hillman observes, “…soul knows neither morality nor mortality."

After Jason was killed in the infamous Battle of Wanat, July 13, 2008, we received this letter that he wrote a few days before his death:

“I pray to God no one will have to read this, but death is all around me in this madness we call life. Never have I felt as strongly as I do that I am doing the right thing. It is understood and accepted by my God - thus death is easier to accept. To prepare myself to take life without hesitation has been a very difficult thing. To take away another woman’s son or husband - a man’s son or brother has always bothered me, but through my eyes it is understood by my God and I am forgiven. The man that may take my life likely feels the same way. My love for you motivates and brings me comfort. Carise, my dear sister, let your new baby son know of me, and that even though I was never able to see him grow up, I love him more than he could imagine.”

At the Memorial Service, my second daughter Micael, a progressive Democrat completing a masters degree in Conflict Resolution said this:
"I didn’t want you to go Jas. I told you not to go. I am proud of you. I know you were a damn good soldier & fighter. We had lots of practice. You have just the right mix of heart and guts. You went to war, not to blindly fight but to learn and grow and help. You knew the world was a much bigger, more complicated place than the stretch between I-5 and I-405 -- and that while war is not the ideal solution to our problems, you sitting in Seattle installing electrical cables and drinking beer wasn’t getting us anywhere."
At Jason's service, I met and talked with over twenty other soldiers -- companions and brothers who had served beside my son. The list of honorable warriors enumerated by Sanjaya in chapter one of the Gita came to mind.
Dressed in mottled Army fatigues, berets in hand they lined up, many with tears, to express their condolences. They were the most compassionate men I have ever met – yet men whom, like ‘lion-hearted Arjuna,’ would fight mightily for the welfare of others.

This reflection is neither a justification for war nor a call to pacifism. It is the recognition that through personal and social action souls are made. That is what I see in the life of Arjuna and in my son’s willingness to follow his heart’s call. The French author Camus said, “If there is a soul, it is a mistake to believe that it is given to us fully created. It is created here, throughout a whole life. And living is nothing else but that long and painful bringing forth.”
With love, pride and admiration for Jason Michael Charles Bogar
K.I.A. July 13, 2008
Wanat, Afghanistan
Click for: NPR Report on Jason's Life
Click here Seattle Times story: Corporal Jason Bogar
Click for book about the battle: The Chosen Few

Soul-making and the Colorado Shooting: James Holmes as the Joker, Trickster, Savior

"There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites."
~ Carl Jung

          In 1965, a broadly published debate was held between two philosophical adversaries named Arnold Gehlen and Theodor Adorno regarding the nature of suffering and violence in the world. At one point Ghelen questions Adorno about the necessity of suffering, incredulous that one would doubt that the aim of human existence is to emancipate people from all suffering. Here is part of that debate:

Gehlen: “Mr. Adorno, you see the problem of emancipation here once again, of course. Do you really believe that the burden of fundamental problems, of extensive reflection, of errors in life that have profound and continuing effects, all of which we have gone through because we were trying to swim free of them—do you really believe one ought to expect everyone to go through this? I should be very interested to know your views on this.”

Adorno: “I can give you a simple answer. Yes! I have a particular conception of objective happiness and objective despair, and I would say that, for as long as people have problems taken away from them, for as long as they are not expected to take full responsibility and full self-determination, their welfare and happiness in this world will merely be an illusion. And will be an illusion that will one day burst. And when it bursts, it will have dreadful consequences.” (Safranski 407-08 italics mine)

          Perhaps 24 year old James Holmes who killed 12 and wounded 70 people at a Century movie theater in AuroraColorado on July 20, 2012 is a current example of what Adorno is talking about—"a burst[ing] forth with dreadful consequences" in a world that expects to avoid all discomforts in life. Or perhaps Ghelen is right when he suggests that the aim of human existence is "to swim free of them [problems]". This controversial debate addresses not only the issue of "violence" but the larger role that violence plays in the cosmic scheme of things. Is it possible or even desirable to end violence? Does violence play a necessary role in human existence? Ghelen and Adorno hold two very different positions. Let's explore these positions from a depth psychological perspective.
          First off, such "bursting forths" of violence and public mayhem may be found throughout recorded human history. Mythically, the perpetrators of such antisocial actions have been labeled "Trickster" by academics.[1] Tricksters appear in stories and rituals from every culture as socially disruptive characters who might defecate in public, engage in inappropriate sexual liaisons, deceive without shame, or commit felonious acts of violence and other lawless exploits. The trickster's demeanor covers a broad continuum--ranging from slapstick comic to homicidal-rapist, with many variations in between those two extremes. Paradoxically tricksters are also frequently portrayed as cultural hero/heroines--pulling the rug out from under the established order so that something revelatory and innovative might appear in its place. One such character in popular American culture is The Joker, Batman's archenemy appearing in comics, television shows and movies. The Joker is a highly intelligent homicidal psychopath, always smiling during his antinomian escapades. He, like most tricksters, is a strange concoction of despairing anomie mingled with manic extroverted energy, [2]  which is how James Holmes was described just before his violent outburst in the Colorado movie theater as it premiered The Dark Knight Rises. In fact some sources reported  that Holmes told the police, as they arrested him without a struggle, that he was Batman's nemesis, the Joker.[3]
            In the comic books, Joker makes it clear that he will never kill the Batman because the caped crusader is the necessary counterweight that keeps the Joker animated and thriving. Batman stands for complete law and order, while the Joker stands for lawlessness and chaos. Neither can meaningfully exist without the other. This is an archetypal pattern that can be traced back to ancient Egyptian mythology. The Egyptians imagined two contrasting deities named Isfet and Ma'at  who personified the cosmic drama between chaos and order. Isfet represented injustice, evil, chaos and “socio-political unrest, forming the necessary counterpoint to Ma'at who personified justice, harmony and socio-political law and order. The two Gods formed a complementary and paradoxical dualism that kept each other and the cosmos in balance. According to Maulana Karenga in his book, Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt, the role of the Egyptian pharaoh was to destroy Isfet in order to attain and maintain Ma'at (71-73). In the Batman comics Gotham City is like Egypt, a dwelling where people are trying to carve safety and cultural order (Ma'at) out of terror and chaos (Isfet). The Batman (Bruce Wayne) is akin to the pharaoh working incessantly to attain and maintain law and order. As a boy, Bruce Wayne's parents were killed by the forces of evil, and Wayne grew up to become the Batman, a wealthy corporate billionaire who developed personal discipline and technological inventions to secure an orderly existence in Gotham by subduing all disorder and instability. In both the Egyptian and Batman mythologies there is no possibility of one without the other. As with Aristotle's notion of a great plot, there is no drama without conflict. A similar idea is found in the Hebrew Bible and Hesiod's Greek Theogony  where primordial Chaos is a murky void from which night and day, light and darkness and all created order emerge. Similarly, the Chinese yin/yang symbol portrays light and dark swirling (like gas or air) together as the primeval elements of creation from which all order emerges and returns. Even the secular Freud eventually identified Eros and death to be the two most basic instinctual constituents of the human psyche, locked in a perpetual struggle for obliteration or civilization. Freud writes:
After long hesitancies and vacillations we have decided to assume the existence of only two basic instincts, Eros and the destructive instinct...The aim of the first of these basic instincts is to establish ever greater unities and to preserve them thus--in short, to bind together; the aim of the second is, on the contrary, to undo connections and so to destroy things. In the case of the destructive instinct we may suppose that its final aim is to lead what is living into an inorganic state. For this reason we also call it the death instinct. (Standard XXIII. 148)
            With this background, let's return to the opening words of the debate at the point where Ghelen incredulously asks Adorno if he actually believes that all humans "ought" to go through problems reflectively rather than strive to create a world where we can “swim free of” all problems. Adorno argues that avoidance of problems will not make things better, but will actually bring about the opposite effect, resulting in what he calls “dreadful consequences”. Adorno believes that struggling with problems and overcoming them is the ultimate source of all real happiness. Similar to the struggle between the Egyptian Isfet and Ma'at, Adorno believes that life presents each individual with experiences of "objective despair" (chaos)  which have the potential to be turned into "objective happiness" (order) by taking " full responsibility and full self-determination". If humans do not personally or collectively enter into the grappling match between order and chaos, "their welfare and happiness in this world will merely be an illusion." In other words, if we humans were to live in a problem free world, the resultant "happiness" would be illusory and superficial. But then Adorno adds the troubling conclusion: Whenever humans do succeed in temporarily eliminating the struggles of existence, providing discounted happiness--such happiness "will be an illusion that will one day burst. And when it bursts, it will have dreadful consequences.” In other words, externally bequeathed happiness that is not achieved through personal effort is always ephemeral, and when real life (problematic life) catches up, the consequences will be "dreadful"--not just disappointing, but dreadful--filled with terror, fear, and what Mel Brooks called "high anxiety"!
            Let's consider this from a depth psychological perspective, psychologically--particularly with regard to the Colorado theater massacre perpetrated by James Holmes, as well as other acts of mind boggling social violence in the media these days. Ours is a culture obsessed with law and order, justice for all and equality without discrimination--and I concur that these are all virtuous and worthy goals. I am not for one second denigrating these righteous and humane intentions. Justice and order (Ma'at) are always noble and desired goals for any civilized culture--however, when viewed myopically, as the sole aim of human existence, we set ourselves up for increasing disasters and dreadful consequences.  If, as Adorno suggests, problems are required in the cosmic and psychological pattern of human development, then our efforts to eliminate them entirely sets us up for equilibrating and compensatory consequences that may be devastating. The attempt to eliminate all madness and disintegration from human existence is tantamount to making a bowl of plastic fruit that will never decompose. Everything appears perfect, until one is actually starving--then the happy artifice becomes a nightmare. Let's now apply this to the extreme situation of James Holmes homicidal appearance at the theater. What are we to make of this horrific "problem"? What are we to do about it, or with it?
            Law enforcement agencies, journalists, and politicians on both sides of the ideological aisle immediately made this horrific act a "problem" about guns, mental health, better security, political legislation, functional parenting, school bullying, moral values and 101 other important yet secondary literalisms. While all of these are legitimate concerns, perhaps the deeper unseen problem is our lack of comprehending the nature of cosmological and psychological development. External solutions provide comfort, for a time, but they do not grapple with the "objective despair" that permeates the individual and national psyche in the wake of these unimaginable atrocities. A more psychological solution would find our politicians, educational institutions, media talk shows, churches, community centers, and dinner table conversations revolving the kaleidoscope of imagination in order to "see through" the banal and literal and into the depths of our individual and cultural soul, or lack thereof. Perhaps these disasters arise from Isfet or Freud's death instinct in order to equilibrate our psychological indolence and cultural indifference. In addition to external solutions, we might also explore the effects of movies, movies theaters, shopping malls, university educations and culture in general do to the soul. Will we take this approach? Not likely. And the Joker/Trickster will strike again and again, doing what tricksters have done throughout mythic history--pull the rug out from under human stability—reminding us that we live in a cosmos where chaos and order are always swirling together to facilitate deeper soul-making experiences.  As James Hillmans writes, after berating the usual solution of "showing more love": "Love...[is] neither the goal nor the way, but...one of many means of putting our humanity through a complicated imaginal process” (Re-Visioning 189).
            The ambush from a "trickster" is not meant merely to be managed externally, but to be explored internally resulting in external results based on such reflections--in that order. The chaotic trickster exists to present us with "objective despair" in order to move us along in the soul-making experience toward real happiness and genuine joy. This developmental aspect of the trickster archetype is what makes him a kind of "savior". Jung's points this out by referring to the sociopathic trickster qualities of the biblical savior God, Yahweh:
 If we consider...the daemonic features exhibited by Yahweh in the Old         Testament, we shall find in them not a few reminders of the unpredictable behaviour of the trickster, of his pointless orgies of destruction and his self-appointed sufferings [of human beings], together with the same gradual developments into a saviour and his simultaneous humanization. It is just this transformation of the meaningless into the meaningful that reveals the trickster's compensatory relation to the 'saint'... (Radin 196).
This same trickster/savior paradox may be found in Jesus' frequent violations of the Jewish ceremonial laws, his associations with notorious tax collectors and prostitutes, his  felonious cleansing of the temple and his treasonous claim to kingship--resulting in his crucifixion between two convicted terrorists. Jesus is quoted as saying:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a    man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt. 10:34-37)

Theologians and ministers often soften these antisocial trickster activities of the "savior", but in Jesus' day they garnered him the epithets of madman, sinner, demon possessed and felon--appellations worthy of all savior-tricksters. Here my point is not to say that Yahweh and Jesus are just like James Holmes, but rather to  suggest that all psychological and social change arrive via some kind of chaotic disintegration. Trickster/savior, Isfet/Ma'at, Batman/Joker, Eros/death always work in tandem in a soul-making universe.
            Chaos is not the problem. How we view chaos is the problem. Chaos is the source of all creativity and psycho-spiritual transformation. I believe that is what Adorno is getting at when he says he sees a world that wields “a particular conception of objective happiness and objective despair”. Without the objective despair, there is no happiness; without the objective chaos, there is no creativity; without necessary destruction, there is no development. Adorno’s point is that when we fail to creatively integrate this dualistic nature of reality into our lives by attempting to eliminate chaos and disintegration, the destructive experiences will burst onto the scene in a compensatory fashion. Pushing the hellish nature of re-creative chaos away from us is like jamming a clown back into the proverbial jack-in-the-box. Eventually the tension will cause the joker to pop out and terrify all who are nearby, calling each to examine his or her existential priorities. Is this a pessimistic view? If we are able to rid ourselves of all suffering and create a legislated Utopia, yes, I am a pessimist. However, if chaos is as necessary to this human existence as is order, then I am providing a very optimistic reminder. If all chaos and suffering exist as part of the package in order to call attention back to the soul-making endeavor of human existence, then to believe we can eliminate all chaos is the real insanity. If we have been put on this planet to conquer all disease and eliminate all chaos, then I am a gloomy naysayer. But if the basic cosmic pattern is that of perpetually moving from chaos to order, and then into more chaos and subsequent order, I am a providing a necessary reminder—that the ultimate and primary aim of human existence is not to end suffering, but to make soul at the personal, cultural and cosmic levels. I am proposing a view that will not end all suffering, but it will help to end the kind of suffering which results from the illusion of ending all suffering. I am arguing that if this Colorado event and others like it are unheeded by the psyche, and if we place all of our energy into “solving the problem” rather than seeing the event as symptomatic, events like it it will be repeated over and over. Such occurrences may become pandemic--perhaps even some rogue nation will take on the role of the World-Trickster as did Nazi Germany in 1939.  
            It would be appear that the tacit assumption, of modern Westerners at least, is that our politicians can eliminate all pain and suffering, creating a society and eventually a world of ease and abundance from the cradle to the grave. Our television shows are filled with Law and Order, CSI, hospitals fixing all medical problems, Judge Judy and half a dozen other court programs distributing perfect justice. We are obsessed with social justice, fairness, equity, and never hurting anyone's feelings. We have come to expect our leaders to make us 100% safe and secure all of the time. We elect politicians who promise to make us free from all possible chaos. Laws proliferate—from wearing seat belts to whom we may marry, dictating what we can smoke or eat. There are often noble and good intentions behind such aims, but when legislated without recognizing the necessary experiences of their opposites as inevitable and even oddly beneficial, we are inviting Trickster to show up with a vengeance in order to equilibrate our hubris and arrogance. The Game of Life will always have two opposing teams, internally and externally. Our primary goal ought to be to find the most creative and humane ways to allow for this necessary process of psychological isometrics to occur. The ancient Greeks did this by creating the Panhellenic Games from which our modern Olympics derive. Jung states that most people will look outside for a savior to correct calamities--to politicians or moralists to "fix" things, but this is looking in the wrong place. He goes on to say:
 In the history of the collective as in the history of the individual, everything depends on the development of consciousness. This gradually brings liberation from imprisonment in agnoia  [agnoia], unconsciousness, and is therefore a bringer of light as well as healing. As in its collective, mythological form, so also  the individual shadow contains within it the seed of enantiodromia, of a conversion into its opposite. (211)
            The role of the trickster in all cultural myths is to fracture the pervading psycho-social structure--to bring fragmentation into the logical order by yanking the civilizing rug out from under us. Trickster's aim is always to overturn the established rules, laws, order, norms, safeguards and the security of a people trusting solely in the laws of the socio-political routine founded on human ingenuity--as if the aim of life were to never experience any distress. Even our medical profession has become a system that aims at pharmaceutically induced orderliness via drugs -- "keep em flat-lined and unaffected" so they can go to work and buy more stuff or pay more taxes. The goal of the trickster archetype is to return us to raw Nature--to creative chaos--to the untidy disorder that precedes new ideas and attitudes of soul. If we fail to see this event with James Holmes as a kind of cultural trickster event--as a collective dream (nightmare) with myriad symbols and a plethora of images for us to gather insights from--such incidents may escalate in frequency and scope. The next Joker may not toss a smoke bomb into a theater while wielding an assault weapon, but a dirty radioactive bomb into a shipping container, or launch a nuclear missile into a major urban center.
            Lastly, let me state clearly that I am neither justifying nor excusing Holmes' or any other heinous acts of violence. I am not minimizing the unimaginable losses and grief of the families. I lost a son to war in Afghanistan and know the reconstructive hell of the trickster pattern. I am not asking people to stop seeking justice as they perceive justice, or to cease seeking cures for deadly diseases or the end to war. Our aim as humans, in my view, is to love and care for others--to bring healing and order to life. However, I am asking that we look more deeply into the significance of cultural and personal tragedies. If Adorno is correct, then this "bursting forth" in Colorado may carry a revelation from the unconscious—that life is comprised of  "objective happiness and objective despair",  and that "as long as people have problems taken away from them... their welfare and happiness in this world will merely be an illusion. And will be an illusion that will one day burst. And when it bursts, it will have dreadful consequences.” If we continue to deny or ignore the necessity of problems by numbing ourselves with distractions and by insisting on creating utopian external solutions—then we can expect greater and greater compensatory nightmares to get our attention. If the pain of ordinary events does not call us to reflective soul-making, the pains of extraordinary events will escalate, forcing us to do what we must do for our psycho-spiritual development.

[1] In the study of mythology, folklore and religion, a trickster is a deity, spirit, human or anthropomorphizedanimal who violates social standards and plays tricks on others. According to George P Hansen in The Trickster and the Paranormal, the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this context by Daniel G. Brinton in 1885.

[2] This is a state of mind officially designated by modern psychiatry as "Dysphoric Mania". In this state a person may feel depressed and hopeless, while feeling activated and energetic at the same time. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/dysphoric-mania-james-holmes-mixed-mania-bipolar-disorder_n_1836744.html)

[3]New York Post. July 20, 2012 by Kate Sheehy.