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Complete Psychological Topics 2: Chapters 1-2 - Part 3


by Ben Huot

July 10, 2018

in more formats

Table of Contents

Growing Up

Insights from Childhood

I was Odd

One of the reasons I did so well, after developing Schizophrenia, was that my childhood was happy and healthy. It was also an odd childhood, because I was odd: I read encyclopedias and maps in middle and high school; I was in 3 sports in high school, but was terrible at all of them; I was involved in 12 extracurricular activities at one time; and I started my own club.

Normal Childhood

But everything my parents did for me was done very well and helped me be balanced and stable: they made sure I participated in Boy and Cub Scouting, sports (I did Cross Country, Track and Field, and Cheerleading), learned how to do catering, and was in advanced classes in school. The one thing, that still bothers me, of what my parents did to me, as a kid, was that they spanked me.

Social Values

My family is several generations behind in terms of social values. When I grew up, my parents required us to address them, as Sir and Mam. My parents required us, to do what they told us immediately and without question. We had to do chores, like weeding the garden, and cleaning the house, especially in the summer. We were also expected to work hard. We could only watch TV after we finished our homework. One of the worse things you could do was lie. We were always spanked for that. The spankings were especially painful, as my dad used a special kind of wood, that he made for a living, that was as strong as steel.

Parenting Style

One of the things my parents did, that was really wise, was to gradually let us have more and more freedom, as we got older. Too many parents and the legal system these days expect kids to grow up, in a day, as they cannot get in trouble at all, and then when they have a birthday and then nothing is tolerated. What is allowed in schools verses what is allowed in schools verses what is allowed at a typical job are night and day.


One of my parents strengths and the greatest gift they gave me was a love of God, scripture, and theology. Both my parents went to a Christian college, where they met, and so knew the Bible very well. My parents faith was one of the few things they had in common as they had opposite personalities. I grew up in a really interesting church, which we went to every Sunday, that was very much a paradoxical, as half the church was Evangelical and the other half was Mainline Protestant.


My parents encouraged me, to read as much, as possible, and develop a love of learning. We were expected, to get at least Bs, in every subject (and they considered this lenient). I was very good, at writing papers and tests, but I rarely did homework. I thought of much of school as indoctrination and had little interest in studying what we learned in school. But, just like I understood that God and the Bible are not the same as the local church, I realized that learning and school were not necessarily related.

Community Service

Another thing I learned growing up was a duty and a desire to give back to others, as I was treated well and was gifted in numerous areas. The source of this example was mostly Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I later staffed at several summer camps and became an Eagle Scout (the highest rank/award in Boy Scouts). In Boy Scouts, you do not advance in rank, if you do not do community service and becoming an Eagle Scout involves planning and leading a large service project.


When I was in Middle School and High School, I was fairly immature and silly, but after a week in Basic Training, I was dead serious about everything I did, until very recently. I didn't put this together, until recently, but I now know, that my silliness was my way of coping with an anger problem. In school, I was very friendly and out going, but later became more sensitive and emotional, after the military. My family on both sides have a public and private self, where we tend to be easy going in public, but in private we are high strung.

Self Improvement

This may sound funny and hard to understand, for people who know me, but self improvement stresses me out. I do try to improve myself, but whenever I decide to work on learning something, that I am bad at, I get discouraged very easily. One of the big motivations for the activities I got involved with in High School and one of the major reasons why I joined the military was to improve my abilities in activities, that I did not do well at. These experiences were some of the things that emphasized the importance of humility for me: failure.

The list of my activities in Middle School and High School was a list of things I have little ability in: Boy Scouts (summer camp counselor and finally Eagle Scout), long distance running (cross country and track), cheerleading, speech and debate, peer counseling, French, viola and trombone (in Middle School), and shop (in Middle School). Even one of my favorite classes, English literature, was not exactly an optimal topic for me, as I did not like Shakespeare and did not what to learn about Greek mythology, as it was, from my point of view, basically demonology.

One of the things that made me so bad at these activities was that I was involved in way too many things at once. My junior year of high school, I was involved in 12 extracurricular activities, at once. I was a terribly irresponsible student, as I rarely did homework, partly because I was so tired, after Cross Country or Track practice. I was constantly late to classes, as well. I had been late so many times, I had to stop out of Track my senior year and do Saturday schools, to make up for my late arrivals. I also missed about 10 days each semester, due to extracurricular activities.

One of the major reasons why I joined the military and went enlisted was that my parents could not afford to pay for my college tuition. My dad made about the same I do now, adjusted for inflation, but had to support 2 kids and a wife. He worked in the mill for 12 years, and, when I was going to Middle School, went back to school, to become a teacher and later became a school administrator. One of the things that really impresses me about my dad is that he constantly improves himself. He has made himself a much better person and put huge effort into mastering not only his job but improving his understanding of me and just general self improvement.

The other major the reason why I joined the military and went enlisted was that my grades were not high enough, to get any scholarships. ROTC is a program in the military, where you train to be an officer, while your are going to college and the military pays for your college tuition, and then you serve a certain number of years in the military, after college, as an officer - I think it was 6 or 8 years. I needed a higher GPA, than I had in high school, to get into this program. There is another kind of ROTC, which you get less money for, but you can do after you start going to college, that has much lower requirements - I had a friend that became an officer that way.

I did the same in college: I majored in business administration, with a minor in Chinese. Later, I found out I could not learn Chinese fast enough, to pass the class and I both hated business classes and was terrible at them. I had to take accounting (the basic book keeping required class for business majors) 5 times, to pass it. I ended up finding out I liked and was good at philosophy, as I took Chinese Literature, because I was studying Chinese and I used it for my business breadth requirement.

I had not passed so many classes, that I had to take some in the summer, and some of the few, that were still available were an Existentialism class and a class about Ecofeminism. Later, I switched my major to journalism, but could not figure out the grammar class. Just before I was supposed to take a grammar test, for Journalism, I had my psychotic episode and ended up, voluntarily, in the psych ward, of a local private hospital. I was then diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia.

I decided, after that, to focus on things I was good at and that is why I pursued learning about the humanities, which was my favorite class in high school and included my favorite activity in high school: Model United Nations. I was always interested in religion and history, as many of the books I read were non-fiction and I even the fiction I did read was often historical novels.

I always was very religious, partly because of my parents, but also because of my personality and spiritual sensitivity. I always enjoyed crafts, like we did in Cub Scouts, which is likely why I enjoy web design. I was also good at writing, as I won the first prize in my state for a Peace Essay Contest in high school and usually got As in my advanced literature classes.

When I have tried learning something I was bad at, since then, I have always failed and gave it up, after being really stressed out and later felt bad about it. I tried going back to college (local community college, local university, local Christian liberal arts college, and local Bible college), learning another language (Chinese and programming languages including C++, Perl, and Javascript), and I tried learning to play the guitar. I have read a number of self help books, to understand how I think better and improve my ability, to communicate, to others. I also read more books about ideas I strongly disagreed with.

I tried many activities, to meet others, like Church young adult groups, volunteering (as technical support for an ISP, web design for non-profits, and a local music venue) a writing group in town, speech club, and other things like that. One of the things that really stresses me out is having to do things repeatedly, over and over again. Some other major things that stresses me out is having to finish something, by a certain time or having to do work, on the same thing, every day.

Sources of Obsession with Humility

Let me begin by saying that I realize the following is not completely rational, nor is there a clear chain of cause and effect. The following is written from an emotional perspective. Much of my written work is about humility, but it has been tough to trace down where the obsession started with me. One important thing to remember first is that humility is associated with failure and submission (also in Taoism, Sufism, and Christianity). Jesus Christ was the only truly humble person and the most understandable aspect of God (although also fully God, in His own right).

I obviously was obsessed, with humility, after my experiences, in the military, from the very beginning of training. After going through basic training, I had absolutely no interest, in ever being a leader, of anything or anyone. I understood, from then on, the importance of unions and the labor movement. I would never vote conservative again.

But this all started, before then, because I had no interest, in joining the Marines, because I could not stand their arrogance (and I didn't think I could make it through their training). The Army appealed to me most, as I saw it as the everyman's branch, of the military services. The key to me understanding where this started was to first think of anyone, who made me extremely repulsed, because of their arrogance.

But, I could not find any, in middle school or high school, and I also enjoyed high school quite a bit, so I instead started looking, for internal reasons. I remember a key realization, while in the military, about how I constantly chose endeavors, that improved myself and I constantly ran into failure, so I decided, in the future, to focus only on things I was good at. I now still take on challenging projects, but they are in areas where I am good enough - they are difficult, but still achievable by me.

I saw high school and specifically clubs, as I way to improve myself, so that I could get an edge, in getting into college and then the workforce. I remember my absolute failure at speech, cross country and track, French, and to a large extent Boy Scouting (although I did eventually become an Eagle Scout and staffed at several summer camps). One of the reasons, for my failures, was that I was doing too many activities and did not spend enough time, on some of them, to do better than I did.

I was actually good, at several things including: writing, politics, and international relations (I actually started my own political club and I won the first place, in state, for a national peace essay contest, and was one of the youngest ones, to do so, in the nation, that year). In one of my first research projects, was when I first studied philosophy and my favorite class, in high school, was a humanities class. I found out much later on, that I was good at acting too, but I did not get the first part I tried for, so I did not continue that.

The failure was not lifelong and it happened, again, after I was unable to complete my military enlistment and my bachelor's degree. This was what drew me to Taoism, which I first discovered in my Chinese Literature. This was also when I first found out, that I liked Asian philosophy and religion.

I took Chinese literature, because I was trying to learn Chinese, at the time, (which didn't work well for me, as I could not learn the vocabulary fast enough) and also needed a breadth requirement, for my business major (and literature was one of my favorite subjects in high school). I was actually pretty good at economics, but I had a real tough time with basic accounting/book keeping, although I did better at the managerial aspects of accounting.

I also started to learn about web design and Linux, about this time. I hated business, but I believed I could get a good job, with a BA in Business Management. Later on, I switched to Journalism. Shortly after this, I was first diagnosed, with Schizophrenia, and ended up, in the psychiatric ward, of a local private hospital, voluntarily. I have not been to a psychiatric hospital, since then and have lived, with less and less help, and for a number of years, with very little assistance. My parents don't even live, in the same city, as I do.

My outlook on life would have been much different, if I decided not to go, into the military enlisted (non-Officer), or had decided not, to go into the military, at all. One of the motivations, for going into the military, was to pay for college and even though I was only in the military, for 13-1/2 months, I actually earned enough for college, so that I have never been in debt. If I had not been approved, as a disabled veteran, with a 100% service connected disability with a 100% pension, until a few months later (from June 2001), I would have been forced to re-enlist in the military (following the terrorist attacks on September 1st, 2001) and would likely still be in the military now.

One of the big factors, in making my time, in college, not much fun had to do with my constant allergy caused pink eye, which I had since the end of basic training, in the military. 10% of my veteran's disability still comes from that. Most of the pain was lifted, after getting on my first ant-psychotic, for a couple week, after I was first diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia (many times allergies are affected greatly by stress).

My Recent Past

The Beginning of the Website, the Studies, and the Books

When I started my website back in July of 1998, my objective was to share poetry with my uncle and the world. I was back from the military, for about a year and I felt I had failed, because I did not complete my tour of duty. I did get an honorable discharge, even though my first sergeant didn't want me to, because I had no disciplinary action made against me. I didn't even have a very minor one, which most soldiers get, by that point.

At the same time, I was going to school, at the University or Oregon, as a Business Major, which I thoroughly hated (because it was a practical degree). I had to take accounting 5 times, to get a high enough grade, but got A's in economics. I also bombed my test, to get into the upper division business school. At this time, my math ability started to disappear and I did terrible in an advanced Economics class and a Statistics class, as I became unable to perform simple math operations.

I also tried learning Chinese and taking an upper division History of Western Philosophy course. I did terrible in Chinese, because I couldn't learn the characters fast enough and I have a kind of speech impediment, so that I couldn't hear or make the tones, that distinguish between different words, that sound similar, correctly. I had to withdraw, from The Western Philosophy course, as I did not remember, to turn in my paper the first week and was told I could not pass the class without it.

I then ended up moving out of my parents house and ended up coming back later that year, as I was running through my college money. I actually did receive some college money from the military, since I got an honorable discharge and was in the military, for over a year. The federal financial aid didn't count in my parents income, because I left the military with an honorable discharge. I also saved $5,000 of my military pay, while in the Army.

Then I went back to college, that summer and fall, and changed my major to journalism. I took classes that summer and fall quarter, including some philosophy ones, which I did quite well in, as it was one of the few classes that were not full. I also had enjoyed my Chinese literature class, that I had taken the previous year.

By the end of the quarter, I thought I had an emotional breakdown and my parents found me walking down the street. The hospital gave me a drug test, and then sent me to the psychiatric ward, of a local private hospital. I was there for 10 days, until the insurance ran out and then left with my parents. I was voluntarily committed, as I was not a harm to my self or others, nor did I commit any crime.

At this point, I felt I had failed, in both the military and college, as I was not able to complete either one. It was not until I published many books, that I finally felt I had accomplished something. I had a desire, to return and complete my degree, until the last few years. Whenever I tried signing up, I had severe paranoia and depression, which was accompanied with physical symptoms, as well.

My life is very different, than many people with Schizophrenia, because: I have never committed any crime, I had an honorable discharge from the military, the veterans decided that my Schizophrenia was directly caused by my military service; my parents and sister were actively involved in helping me; I have never taken any drugs or abused prescriptions; I have a strong personal faith in Christ; and I do not give up easily and have successfully leveraged my creative abilities, to solve or avoid life problems.

Shortly after starting my website, I was very obsessed with humility (intensified by being enlisted in the Army) and because of what I saw as failures, I found Philosophical Taoism and Christian Existentialism, to answer many of my frustrations in life and help my deal with my situation. I had always been very unusual, in the way I did anything I was involved in and I was seeking a way, to explain to people why I approached life like I did. I had been introduced to these philosophies, in some of my college electives, and they helped me start putting together my own philosophy and my studies, that my books are now based on.

After just the first week of Western Philosophy, I thought Aristotle was a smart aleck and I had recently come to realize, that the key values of Christianity and Taoism were the same: humility and compassion. I sought to prove that Christianity was philosophically more Asian than European, but much later found that Christianity was primarily an Asian religion, for the first 1,000 years and so my focus shifted to history and liturgy.

One of the things that has made a big difference in my life, which I only discovered, in the last couple years is that I am very literal. I still think that way at first, but usually remember to filter that out.

Military and Self Esteem

When I left the military, it was because of a chronic allergic pink eye, but we later found out the problem was mostly mental and I was in fact mentally ill. The two most important things in the military is to do whatever they tell you to without hesitation and to always give 150% effort. In order to get people to do this, the military treats you like a piece of meat. In the Marines, they treat you better, after their boot camp. In the Army they just treat you horribly as long as you are in the military.

I remember, during the first two weeks of basic training, we watch a bunch of videos about things like Army law and sexual harassment. We had to drink huge amounts of water and then we had to wait, until the last second, to go to the bath room and we only had a few seconds, to go to the bathroom. For some reason, the drill sergeant thought we wasted too much time eating, so we had only 2 minutes to eat.

We were only given, at the most, 7 hours of sleep and got up at 4:30, in the morning the instant they turned the lights on and had to do extensive exercising, before we were able to sleep. We also had to do watch duty two hours, in the night, and kitchen duty (when we had to wake up even earlier), in rotation.

I remember, when we were practicing with the rifle, that both an officer and a drill sergeant were yelling at me, at the same time, and so I couldn't tell who was who, by their voice and addressing anyone, as anything other than their exact rank is not allowed. I tried looking around behind me, but was told I could not move.

I was told, to fire, with my left hand, even though I am right handed, because I was left eye dominant. I can fire, with both hands now. And, when they tested me, for qualification, in shooting I was assigned a lane that was rigged, so that when the farthest away targets counted, as if I hit them, whether or not I actually hit them.

I remember, after training, that it was hard to get medical help, because of the hours of operation. First of all, every office was closed between 11am and 1pm, no matter what. Then, each medical service had its own, completely different hours. When I came off the midnight shift and was sick, I had to then wait 4 hours for the medical clinic.

When I had the been diagnosed, for allergy problems, they wanted to perform major surgery, on my sinuses, that I found out later was completely unnecessary. It was also unclear, as the doctors are all at least a captain, was a commanding officer, so either I needed to follow orders from or I had a choice. I never got around to making the appointment.

When I had put on the an eye medicine, due to an eye infection, I had trouble putting it in my eyes, because it was a kind of gel and the end of it was metal and sharp. The military's solution was to hold me down and then shove it into my eye. Later, I found I could put it on my eyelashes and blink a couple times and it went on fine.

The military re-enforced both my obsession with humility and my pessimistic worldview. I don't trust anyone and always have the feeling that someone is trying to scam me. I plan for worst case scenario. as I have horrid luck. I now eat very fast and used to be able to get up in a split second, until very recently - me medicine is too sedating.

The thing that stressed me out the most was referring to people by the correct ranks, even though I had an easy time passing the test, because you cannot see the ranks on the leaders, until after you are supposed to salute them, or refer to them as a sergeant, and no you are not supposed to salute NCOs (sergeants). I have always been very literal, but didn't understand what that meant, until a couple years ago. This explains why the drill sergeants hated me at first, but then respected me greatly later on.

Experience and Faith

When many people think of the spiritual world and spiritual things, they think of some horror movie, with all sorts of special effects. They think that they will see God visually and He will speak to them, and have a one on one conversation with them. In reality, the Bible says if you see God directly, this will kill you, because the presence of God is so intense. Most believers will never directly experience a vision or hear the voice of God.

We understand God through faith, in that we believe, even though we cannot prove God exists, like we can prove Newton's or Einstein physical laws work. This means that we are asked to believe, without any direct experience, that we can document and explain. I think of my understanding of who God is by intuition, in that I am aware and know that the real God is the Christian God. I don't need the Bible or some sort of supernatural action to believe that the Christian God is real and Christianity is the one true faith.

I have always felt closer to God, in times of crisis, like the entire time I was in the military. I think we don't experience closeness with God, because of how easy it is to get distracted and that God acts both subtly and quietly. I can tell God constantly intervenes rationally, because we are protected from spiritual forces that only God could hold back and also that we are so foolish and careless that it is only God's direct intervention that keeps us from literally destroying all life on earth.

God wants to have us believe in Him, by our free choice and I think He wants to give people just enough information about who He is to comfort His people, but also give those who choose not to believe reasons for their unbelief. I think God chose to allow us to superficially convince ourselves of His non-existence, so that people would have a valid free choice. Everyone has a conscience and free will, so we all know the truth and there is no need to prove anything about who God is.

I feel very close to God and am aware of His power, when I read the Bible, as it just speaks with such authority and intensity, that I feel like I am going to get burned up. I think God may have showed me more about Himself, more in a visual or audio manner, with me, but I have asked Him not to, because I don't want to mix that up with my hearing of voices and delusions.

I am one of the few people, who believe that there are both mental illnesses, that are caused by chemical imbalances and that there is a real spiritual world. I believe that modern psychology actually comes from the Bible. Paul was the first Existentialist. One of Christ's official titles is Wonderful Counselor.

I see no conflict between psychology and Christianity. The whole concept of God being both 3 and one is most understandable, from the point of view that we have multiple parts to us, which we all consider completely us. God the Father is like the mind of God, Christ is the body, and the Holy Spirit is the spirit. When we have personal problems, they can be caused by many things, like: sin, brain chemistry, and our physical bodies. Depression is a good example of something that can be affected and treated, by all 3 of these factors, and more.

One of the obvious miracles, in my life, is my entire experience in the military. I was very blessed to never have to go through torture training, be captured by enemies, or even have to be deployed into combat. I got out after a little over a year and not only got an honorable discharge, but the process was completed within 5 weeks total. I was in Hawaii, at my permanent duty station, and having Mono, so I was off work. I went to my unit commanding officer and asked to get out of the military and said I didn't care if it was honorable. This is a horrible idea and never try it, under any circumstances.

I didn't know that my discharge was, because of having Schizophrenia, but rather, I thought it was about my chronic allergic pink eye (conjunctivitis), caused by an over sensitivity to cleaning chemicals. Luckily, I filed for disability pension, for my pink eye and got 10% disability pension, because of that. My parents helped me fill out all the forms, when I filed again, for veterans pension, which processed much faster, because of my previous filing. I was awarded an additional 90% disability, 3 months before 9/11.

The way the military works, that few people are aware of, is that your enlistment is not ever 4 years or 6 years but 8 years. Part is active duty or reserve, whereas the other is inactive duty. In this 8 year period of time, if there is any war, you will be recalled, without any special extension of your tour, or any additional decision by your command.

I swore in to the Army on 2 July 1996, so I could easily have been re-called and been required to serve up until 2 July 2004. Diagnosis with Schizophrenia would probably be enough to keep me from being recalled, but being a disabled veteran with 100% pension guaranteed I would never be recalled, even during a general draft, in a world war.

Many Christians are waiting to get some divine message of what job they should do. God asks one thing of us: follow our conscience. God doesn't care what we do, but rather who we are. There is no need for special instructions, as even without the Bible, we know what is right and wrong. What greater miracle and show of support could God give, then coming to earth as a poor person, dying a very painful death, going to Hell, and breaking out, to save us from eternal torment?

My Personality and My Art

Reason for this List

I think very differently, in my life, than anyone else and I have spent many years trying to explain my point of view, to others. I thought that I was not just opposite of every one else for no reason, but thought that there was some sort of explanation, for this, so I would be more predictable, for myself and others.

I found that Taoism and Existentialism explained how I thought well, but no one understands any of this. Some people may say I am a highly sensitive person, or an artistic person, but that is to simplistic and simply not accurate. I have been thinking about what personality attributes that I have that explain how I approach art, people, and direction.

Working with Differences

Don't share an interest in related activities

Do not identify exclusively with or exclusively value others that share my interests

Interested in seemingly opposing things

Interested in doing things for unusual reasons

Not trying to be different

Approach to Art/Projects

Skip "necessary" steps

Don't create by following a sequence of steps

Do better work if I have more freedom on how to approach project

Constantly thinking about latest project

Design Related Activities

Like control over circumstances

Don't like planning

Not interested in ceremony

Defining Personality Traits

Mind follows tangents

Emotionally attached to creations