WEIRDLAND: Daydreaming Disorders, Researching Jim & Pam

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Daydreaming Disorders, Researching Jim & Pam

Frederic Bartlett demonstrated in his book Remembering (1932), no two people will repeat a story they have heard the same way and why, over time, their recitations of the story will diverge more and more. No ‘copy’ of the story is ever made; rather, each individual, upon hearing the story, changes to some extent – enough so that when asked about the story later – they can re-experience hearing the story to some extent, although not very well. This means that each of us is truly unique, not just in our genetic makeup, but even in the way our brains change over time. It is also depressing, because it makes the task of the neuroscientist daunting almost beyond imagination. For any given experience, orderly change could involve a thousand neurons, a million neurons or even the entire brain, with the pattern of change different in every brain. Worse still, even if we had the ability to take a snapshot of all of the brain’s 86 billion neurons and then to simulate the state of those neurons in a computer, that vast pattern would mean nothing outside the body of the brain that produced it. This is perhaps the most egregious way in which the IP metaphor has distorted our thinking about human functioning. Whereas computers do store exact copies of data – copies that can persist unchanged for long periods of time, even if the power has been turned off – the brain maintains our intellect only as long as it remains alive. There is no on-off switch. Either the brain keeps functioning, or we disappear. What’s more, as the neurobiologist Steven Rose pointed out in The Future of the Brain (2005), a snapshot of the brain’s current state might also be meaningless unless we knew the entire life history of that brain’s owner – perhaps even about the social context in which he or she was raised. To understand even the basics of how the brain maintains the human intellect, we might need to know not just the current state of all 86 billion neurons and their 100 trillion interconnections, not just the varying strengths with which they are connected, and not just the states of more than 1,000 proteins that exist at each connection point, but how the moment-to-moment activity of the brain contributes to the integrity of the system. Add to this the uniqueness of each brain, brought about in part because of the uniqueness of each person’s life history, and Kandel’s prediction starts to sound overly optimistic. Recently, the neuroscientist Kenneth Miller suggested it will take ‘centuries’ just to figure out basic neuronal connectivity. Meanwhile, vast sums of money are being raised for brain research, based on faulty ideas and promises that cannot be kept. The most blatant instance of neuroscience gone awry, documented recently in a report in Scientific American, concerns the $1.3 billion Human Brain Project launched by the European Union in 2013. Convinced by the charismatic Henry Markram that he could create a simulation of the entire human brain on a supercomputer by the year 2023, and that such a model would revolutionise the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders, EU officials funded his project with virtually no restrictions. Less than two years into it, the project turned into a ‘brain wreck’, and Markram was asked to step down. We are organisms, not computers. The IP metaphor has had a half-century run, producing few, if any, insights along the way. The time has come to hit the DELETE key. Source:

It has been suggested that Maladaptative Daydreaming may be a dissociative disorder, a disturbance of attention, a behavioral addiction, or an obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder. Relating to the first possibility, although phenomenological descriptions of MD and the suggested diagnostic criteria of the condition include symptoms that are pathognomonic to MD and different than the characteristics of existing dissociative disorders, MD does indeed seem to contain several dissociative elements. Specifically: (a) detachment from external reality in favor of internal experience; (b) absorption—a state of total attention; and (c) via their daydreams, individuals may temporarily adopt alternative (non-self) identities (while acting out characters' behaviors or dialogues in their minds). Additionally, some individuals have described the initiation of excessive daydreaming during childhood to avoid an intimidating or traumatic social environment. In other words, individuals suffering from an abusive environment or those who suffer from social anxiety disorder may develop MD as a means for escaping from the harsh reality into their safe internal worlds. Indeed, one study found that social anxiety and childhood trauma were correlated with MD. Such findings may point to a stress-diathesis model for MD, whereby individuals who have an innate talent for immersive and fanciful imagery may develop MD if they are burdened with stressful life events. Source:

"There is nothing more spectacular as a rainbow/and nothing more mysterious than the absence of color./This other world seems by far the best/till its other jaw reveals incest and obedience to a vegetable law/I prefer a feast of friends to the giant family." -Jim Morrison

Patricia Butler: The stress of the Miami trial, together with a viral infection, had triggered Jim Morrison’s childhood asthma, leaving him with a deep cough that he was making worse by chain smoking. John Densmore has never addressed ex-wife Julia Negron's claim that Jim Morrison didn't phone called him from Paris. Pam's sister Judy had been running the Themis store for quite some time before Pam moved to Paris. Letter to Bob Greene, The Doors' accountant (received on July 3, 1971): Hello Bob, how are you? Paris is beautiful in the sun, built for human beings. Speaking to Bill Siddons a while back I told him of our desire to stay here indefinitely. Will that be possible? Could you write and give me an idea of how long we can stay on living at our present rate, a sort of financial statement in general? Also, a copy of the partnership agreement, if it was ever completed. We have decided to turn the shop (Themis, Pamela's boutique) over to Judy and Tom (Pamela's sister and her husband). Eventually, we'd like to be completely clear of any involvement. Any luck on the credit cards? We could use them made out in both our names. Please send us $3,000 for the bills. Give our best to all, later, Jim. 

Like many of the rumors about Jim and Pam, when you trace them back to their source, they're invariably nonsense. Danny Sugerman did admit to me, shortly after his cancer prognosis, he had concocted part of his story with Pamela. In my knowledgeable opinion Danny and Pam were not friends. All of my sources made it clear that Pamela would no more hang out with some starstruck teenager than Jim would. Of her family, Pam seemed closest to her dad, she often liked to torment her mom, and was often tormented by her sister Judy. In fact she'd had such a major falling out with her sister that she wasn't planning to go home for what turned out to be the last Christmas of her life because she said she couldn't bear to be in the same room with Judy. Pam was declared Jim's legal wife by the State of California in 1973 and was awarded a stipend of 1500$ per month. There's tons of evidence to contradict Kennealy's contentions about Pamela, but she conveniently chose to overlook all of it. Instead Kennealy took the most obscure stories and pumped them up to suit her own purposes. Kennealy is a delusional egotist. Not to mention that her actions pretty much confirm that if Jim Morrison had been just as smart and handsome, but hadn’t been a rock star, she wouldn’t have given him the time of day. Pamela gave Jim attention, care and love when he was an unknown misfit. My agent for about 10 years Jonathan Dolger (Jim Morrison's editor at Simon & Schuster), is still laughing about the nonsense attributed to him. Mr Dolger said that he did receive a telegram from Jim about the cover of his poetry book The Lords & The New Creatures. But he said everything else written about Jim's uncontrollable moods is complete fabrication. No one ever called him asking for the telegram which, Dolger says, is still in the file in New Jersey. Both Dolger and McLure attest of Pam Courson's importance in boosting Jim's poetry talents. Modestly, I think my book is the most comprehensive published work on Jim's and Pam's lives to date. Jerry Hopkins said it was. Despite my exhaustive research, I'm afraid Pam Courson will remain an enigmatic and elusive figure, due to the scarce documentation about her whereabouts. For what I deduced from her psychiatrist, Pam was an unstable woman whose emotional wounds were caused by a dysfunctional home life. When she first met Jim, she felt suddenly connected to a very wounded artist who she could identify with. For Jim, it was fate, and they would only separate by death. And this was not your typical rock and roll publicized affair like Sid & Nancy or Kurt & Courtney. Theirs was a real love story, and for that reason Pam Courson is maybe the only case in the annals of rock and roll who could keep her anonymity and mystery intact alongside Jim Morrison. Diane Gardiner didn't discard the idea of a suicide pact between Jim and Pam in Paris. Nobody can demonstrate such thing, but it's possible Pam decided to wait to be 27 to reunite with her soulmate.

Pamela Courson's white dress she wore in 1968 for The Beard premiere at the Coconut Grove dinner party. -Patricia Butler: During my research I ended up being pretty shocked about how easily some people would lie, and for very little reason or return. There were people with different memories, who had differing impressions and different agendas for how they wanted their place in Jim Morrison's story to be written (or, in many cases, rewritten). About confusing memories, one example that comes to mind is Paul Rothchild, who told me that Pamela had ballooned up to nearly 200 pounds, and that he'd seen her in this condition within six months of her death. Now Pamela was 115 pounds when she died. That would've been one helluva big weight loss (not to mention the gain in the first place) in a short period of time. Then I talked to her friends. While Pamela was certainly heavier than she'd been pre-Paris, she was still at her ideal weight (she'd actually been 20 pounds underweight before Paris). There's a photo of her in my book that shows her in that six month period before her death, and she looks fantastic. I liked Paul Rothchild and trusted him; he had no reason to lie to me. So do I report that Pamela gained 75 pounds or so in the last year of her life, since I have a reliable witness to that fact? No, of course not. Was Paul lying to me? No, of course not. That's just how he remembered it. Somehow over the years that healthy gain multiplied in his head until Pamela was, in his memory, overweight. This example illustrates the main problem with relying on one person's memory of anything, even someone you know to be trustworthy. You cast the net as wide as you can, then try to find that "one true thing" in what you bring back. And it's helpful to find and talk to school teachers, classmates, roommates, neighbors -- all the folks whose names people don't recognize. They pretty much always have interesting things to say, just that no one's ever bothered to ask them. In the case of those things that remain murky, all you can do is present as many sides of the story as you can and let others draw their own conclusions. Try walking those myths backwards, painstakingly, step by step, and more often than not you'll find they'll disintegrate before you get very far.

In the spring of 1973, Pamela Courson was living in San Francisco with a man named Michael Verjaska. She had been friends with Michael for a few years but they became lovers after Jim died. She was also dating Randy Ralston. These images came from a personal home video from one of Pam’s friends in San Francisco. The submitter said “Pamela Courson and her boyfriend in the early 70’s” and asked to remain anonymous. Looks like she was growing out her bob at the time. My sources of information about Pamela not being a heavy heroin user before Jim Morrison's death are: the LAPD report; Pamela's autopsy report; an independent analysis of Pamela's autopsy; January Jensen and Ellen Sander's recollections; Ellen Sander hastened to refute Pamela's rumored heroin addiction while she was in Paris, and after. "When she stayed with me, I did not see her do anything like that. And if she was a heroin addict in Paris -- it's awfully hard to hide it. It's not like you can put it down for a week. I saw no evidence of any kind of hard drug usage while she was at my house, and I was with her almost constantly." January Jensen, who lived in nearby Sausalito and became Pamela's confidante, echoed Ellen's observations. 

"During the time that she was here in Sausalito, she wasn't doing anything but smoking pot every now and then." I know it's human nature to want to believe the worst of these characters, but in this case there just isn't any evidence to support it. It's also doubtful that Pamela would have bothered lying to her shrink, who she had been seeing for many years -- since the time Jim got famous. Due to the professional secret with his patient, to learn information about Pam's mental deterioration was like pulling teeth, but I gathered Pamela, like Jim Morrison, suffered from borderline disorder. Alcoholics, heroin users, and prescription pain killer addicts like to be down. They like to feel comfortable, warm, drowsy and unconscious. I doubt that any but the strictest sect of AA would classify Morrison as an "addict." People confuse his image with his reality. He experimented with a lot of drugs when he was younger. But by the time he went to Paris he was just your garden variety alcoholic. Now I'm not disagreeing that alcohol is a drug that people do get addicted to; but when someone says someone else is an "addict," that's not usually what they mean.

Diane Gardiner, The Doors' publicist and Pam's confidante, booked press interviews with Jim at the Phone Booth, the bar next to The Doors office. “Jim was interested in strip dancers and how they felt,” Diane said. “He had a real empathy for them. He would go to those places and he would applaud. He’d be a great audience.” Diane also remembered Jim's drunken advances towards her: “Jim had fallen across the bed drunk and he just looked up at me and he said, 'I want to fuck you.' There was that old part of me going, Gee whiz, 'I’d like to fuck you, too.' So I just said, 'Sure, Jim.' I found out he didn’t like women who weren’t feminine. He didn’t like it when women got kind of brash. Later I found he thought I was being too mechanized. Anyway, we didn’t fuck and he went back out into the front room.” Maybe that was the reason he appreciated Pam's femininity and not Patricia Kennealy's brashness. Source:

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