The double bind

9. The double bind

Opinion

The double bind

The Geneva conventions are often mentioned in human rights literature as being able to protect a person in war time for various situations like prisoner-of-war camp abuse.

The following is an illustration of how a psychological process could be used as a form of hate crime by one group of people against an individual, in peace time, as opposed to in war time, and why the Geneva conventions in such a situation would not apply, and how various references to such conventions could confuse.

The double bind is a situation in which there is a requirement that a person will behave one way, while making it impossible for them to behave that way at the same time.

It is a phrase used in psychological literature.

It could be used to conceal hidden hate crime. Here is one way:

A common phrase is to ‘take it at face value’. Meaning that a person has to accept situations as normal. They are not allowed to look for hidden interpretations, extrapolate inappropriately, or attribute situations to things like events that have a cause-and-effect link that involves a line of thought using unacceptable levels of suspiciousness, the level, being defined, in this example, and in the following illustration, by the group that has set the conditions.

 

The conditions

If the group that has set the conditions for what is considered acceptable is the same group that applies any double standard when there are exceptions to these conditions that an objective observer from a different group or country would consider suspicious, it could be an indication that a deliberate double bind is being applied by this group towards an individual, and it is actually hate crime that is occurring.

 

One example of hate crime: the use of the’ face value’ argument. This is psychological or possibly not psychological, depending, it could be argued, on the motivations for it being applied. So, if an individual is too suspicious of events occurring around them, and makes connections in their thinking that link one event to another, they can be argued as being paranoid or having paranoid tendencies and that they should learn to take events at face value.

 

An alternative argument is that it is hate crime that is occurring: the group that has set the conditions is deliberately applying a double standard to the individual for their own reasons and it has nothing to do with psychology, except that psychological reasoning is being used as a tool.

 

The ruling group is using political persecution in this case to conceal what is actually hate crime by themselves against an individual for reasons unsaid. The use of psychology in this situation is illegal, unethical, and cruel. It would damage the reputation of the profession because the profession is allowing itself to be used for political purposes.  In this case, a psychologist who used political methods for hate crime, would be either ignorant of what hate crime is, or is knowingly using it, is aware that he or she is breaking ethics agreements in using it, and does not care. Psychology is not a political tool, and if it is used in this way, it would damage the psychology profession’s reputation, it could be argued, as the next client who went to a psychologist would not know if they, too, were going to be used as a political tool.

 

 

Awareness

With regard to psychology, it can be argued that the concept of ‘the double bind’, being in the psychological literature, should make a defense that a psychologist does not have awareness of the implications of ignoring a ‘face value’ application of logic, questionable. It could be suggested that it is more difficult for a psychologist, perhaps, to argue they do not understand the implications of an unfair application of a double bind, than maybe for a person in the street.

 

If the combination of political intimidation from another country towards a client of theirs is known to that psychologist, or from their own country toward that client, and it is known by the psychologist that a 'take it at face value' argument is being applied to that client, but the psychologist knows that many events are in fact not coincidence and the client is, in fact, correct when they argue that they are being picked on or harassed,  then maybe that psychologist could be argued as colluding with the ruling group and consenting to the use of hate crime against that client.

 

Similarly, it could be argued that a lawyer should be aware of the double bind, as they should have legal awareness of such things because they argue cases in courts, often using psychologists, to advise them. Lawyers make logical arguments to defend clients or question witnesses. It could be reasonable to argue a lawyer should be aware of the double bind also, so if they know of situations in society where the client is actually being treated unfairly and they have knowledge that this is true, and if they then do not advise their client of this knowledge, it could be argued they are colluding with the ruling group.

 

Similarly, a judge, although perhaps slightly differently. They have to understand difficult arguments from opposing lawyers in courts, or listen or read different perspectives, so it could be argued they should be familiar with a double bind concept, or at least understand the concept of the double standard. For example: in criminal decisions rape is commonly argued as involving a double standard in that the victim is often blamed, and it is said that women are equal, but actually in rape, women are often blamed. Judges probably listen to this double standard being argued all over the world, as this is a frequent argument: the double standard is used as the defense in such cases often. In civil decisions, it seems reasonable to expect judges also have to listen to difficult arguments or read perspectives from different lawyers. So, it seems reasonable to argue that a judge must be at least aware of this concept: the double standard, if not aware of the double bind.

 

Similarly with authorities, but again, maybe differently. The double standard is well known, as regards to crimes against females, for example. It could be argued that it would be very difficult for anyone anywhere in law enforcement to argue they were not aware of the concept of the double standard, but the double standard it could be argued, is not the same as the double bind.

 

The double standard not the same as the double bind

The double bind, is more psychological.  While a crime- solving person, or a judge might not be aware of it, or might not be expected to consider it, it could be argued a lawyer or a psychologist should be, as arguments from different perspectives  is what they have to prepare and deal in, as part of their work: for a lawyer, written logical argument, that involves thinking of defenses to argumemets, using evidence, seeing the opponents perspective and thinking of arguments against it and writing them and giving them in courts, being cross- questioned by lawyers who may not agree with them, and being treated with a level of suspiciousness in what they say as part of their presentation. They should, it could be argued, have some awareness of the use of psychology and possibly, the double bind. A psychologist, also, and more so, for reasons mentioned earlier, could be argued as expected to have understanding of the double bind. It is in the literature of psychology; it is well known.

 

 

Hate crime

Hate crime: it is defined in various ways. The following is an argument that the double bind is one way hate crime could be used, using psychology. It could be argued that psychology used this way, is not psychology.

 

The ‘take it at face value’ argument could be used for political purposes, to prevent a victim from complaining about harassment or persecution, and to prevent them from complaining also about things such as being used illegally for medical experiments. They are placed in a double bind by the ruling group who has said they must accept all events as normal. They are actively punished by the ruling group for not doing this.  For example, the essence of the argument that the person is reacting inappropriately to situations, as a basic perspective they have on reality, is what the ruling group argues. This argument, which may not be true, and which uses the double bind, is then applied to the person for every situation and all events.

 

The person, it can be argued, is actually being abused as a form of hate crime in this situation.

 

Hate crime can involve things such as discrimination against a person for their race, sex, or possibly external characteristics only, or maybe also in such a way as in what is termed  ‘racial profiling’, where a person can be picked on just for their external physical or racial characteristics or origin.

 

Can hate crime also be due to hidden motivations on the part of the ruling group that are personal to that group and therefore not to do with the characteristics of the individual? Can this still be classified as hate crime? As a possible example: the persecution of the individual is political, in such a case, although the motivations are not known to everyone. The double bind, in this example, is used maliciously by the ruling group to justify persecution, attack and even for illegal medical experimentation. The hate crime is evident in the use of unreasonable antagonism toward the individual: such as painting their fence with graffiti just after a book is finished by them about fence graffiti- painting, then telling them it is co-incidence, and to take it at face value - this is to use the double bind.

 

The  double bind used as in way is psychological abuse as the person knows the event is directed against them, but they have to make themselves believe it is not. They are put in a double bind. They cannot believe it. But they are told they have to. The result is likely to be unhappiness at least, and misery at worst. Possibly anger, depending on how bad the situation of the double bind is. It is a form of laughing in the victim’s face, to apply the double bind in this way, because the group who has done it knows the indivual will not be able to take it at face value and that as a result, they will suffer.

 

 

Differences between the double bind and the double standard

This is why the double bind is different to a double standard: it is psychological. It uses psychology against the victim to torture them. It could then, be considered, if done in the context of a ruling group against an individual: to be collective use of torture, and hate crime, possibly using psychologists, lawyers or others to do it, if such professionals have reason to believe it is going on, and do nothing. They collude, by implication with the ruling group’s methods. It could be argued that this would be unethical or a crime as their socially-understood and known duty is to put their client first, and the government or political process of any country, theirs or foreign, second.

 

 

Collective delusional psychosis

There is also the possibility of brainwashing, or collective false belief. For example, citizens of a country who persecute one individual may suffer a false belief; they may consider themselves to be part of a war crimes tribunal, for example, or a prisoner- of- war camp, or believe they are judge and jury in some way for some political group’s views. In their thinking, they might believe they are justified in what they are doing in some way.  If this happened, it could be argued as a form of shared delusion, or ignorance, because in peace time, the Geneva convention does not apply so the victim cannot get help using it, and prisoner- of- war camps are usually run in declared wars, often with international knowledge, and generally not covertly in peace time, and in peace time international aggression using hate crime or torture is banned.

 

So, there would be no reasonable or logical argument that could allow citizens to use these methods to justify to themselves what they are doing, except perhaps a delusional psychosis of believing they are in some sort of known fight, but such fights have to be declared. In this case, it could be argued that some or maybe many of these people suffer from a shared delusional or unexamined belief:  the belief that they somehow have the right to apply wartime torture tactics in a situation of peace time: this could be argued as shared psychosis, or shared false belief.

 

Can a society suffer from delusions? Perhaps not delusions, but it has been known that a society can make mistakes, and can be influenced by others inaccurately and believe things that are not true.

 

In this case, to continue the previous illustration of the double bind, is it hate crime, or a form of societal madness at work if some or many citizens in a country are following instructions from a ruling group against an individual in a context where a double bind is being used unfairly and they know it is?

 

Torture versus madness

Knowledge and appreciation of reality are what can be used to determine madness or not. The people applying the double bind in the above example of the graffiti fence know and enjoy the suffering of the victim. They are not mad. They are indulging in deliberate calculated torture. This then could be said to be hate crime, not madness.

 

The double bind then, used in a context where it is known to be unfair, where it is applied unfairly, with knowledge by those who apply it of what they are doing, could be considered to be the use of torture, and arguably, also hate crime.

 

By Katrina Wood

Written by Katrina Wood, 2014

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