WEIRDLAND: Jim Morrison, Dissociative Identity Disorder

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Jim Morrison, Dissociative Identity Disorder

—Jim Morrison (original script of The Doors by Randall Johnson): You know the song You Are Lost, Little Girl? It's for my girl, Pam. She is kinda flakey like me. I mean she's just so vulnerable about everything. It makes me sad, man. But she's always kinda believed in something about me, her vision of me as the unsung poet, and it's a fantasy I dig, you know, instead of the one I have to live.

—RiderontheStorm1969: Oliver Stone made a hatchet job on Jim Morrison, and to some extent, to Pam Courson too. She was a more mysterious personality than her vapid film character. I think Stone didn't like Pam too much, and he was negatively influenced by the fraudulent Patricia Kennealy, who served prominently as contributor to the film. Salli Stevenson remembers Patricia Kennealy asking her to call Jim's motel room in Alta Cienega and demanding to speak to "that fucking idiot." Needless to say, the "fucking idiot" told Salli to hang up on her. Danny Sugerman said once that Patricia Kennealy was just "a groupie gone terribly wrong." Salli Stevenson had a beef with Patricia Butler because she was told that her interview tapes had been deleted and were not going to be used for Angels Dance and Angels Die. Butler's publisher also told Salli that she would not be mentioned in the book and she still persisted, by sending letters to the Legal Department at Simon & Schuster. My theory is that Salli Stevenson tried to enhance her personal story with Jim and talk of scabrous details about Ms Kennealy, but Butler didn't want the headaches and she ignored Kennealy's self-important mythology by giving her the silent treatment, as a means of counteract Stone's overinflated version of the witch & Jim. There is also the mystery of how Patricia Butler obtained a copy of the Max Fink manuscript, maybe from Jerry Hopkins? Or maybe from her former 'mentor' Albert Goldman. Anyway, it's funny the connection between the two Patricias (Kennealy and Butler), since both were associated with Albert Goldman. Also, both were good friends with Jerry Hopkins. At least, until Hopkins wrote his foreword for Butler's Angels Dance and Angels Die, and Kennealy called Hopkins "a turncoat". When Butler methodically dissected—and ridiculed—Kennealy's farcical Strange Days, Kennealy went mad with rage and asked Hopkins for help. Hopkins just said to Kennealy 'to get over it' and turned against her and her lies (maybe because Hopkins had gained compassion towards Jim & Pam in his last years.) Hopkins actually wrote Pamela Courson was "the only woman Jim had trusted. Jim wanted to settle down with Pam."

Margaret Fink's (Max Fink's second wife) shopped her manuscript around to publishers but there were no bites. So she understood she had to embellish it with outlandish stories. I am inclined to think Max Fink was a nut, even withouth the embellishment added by his wife. Ray Manzarek got the copy of the transcript from Patricia Butler. He'd never heard of it before that. Considering the kinds of things Max said about The doors (i.e., that Jim being involved with the other three was like putting a Rembrandt painting in a Woolworth's frame) in his manuscript, it's logical Manzarek disavowed it. For one thing, this manuscript was being shopped around before the Oliver Stone movie, when the market was not so receptive. Patricia Kennealy was also trying to sell her story with Morrison around that time. I think she had previously written what would become "Strange Days" in novel form long before the movie opened but she had been unsuccessful in getting it published. I remember Kennealy admitting to it herself in the section 'Notes on Sources' from "Strange Days": "Some materials have been reconverted to memoir form from my unpublished novel The Voice that Launched a Milllion Trips, a roman-à-clef about Jim Morrison and me that I wrote in 1971-72. I shopped it around to two or three publishers. Though interested, they all wanted major sleazoid changes--more sex, more drugs-- and I was just not up for it, so I put it away." No one paid attention to her story until Oliver Stone laid eyes on it in 1991 for his film and the following year, Kennealy publishes her memoir Strange Days at last. Really quick! In Strange Days, Patricia Kennealy said Jim had no use for sports.

But Frank Lisciandro took a photo of Jim in 1969, lacing up his sport shoes just before joining his friends for playing football on the beach. Jim liked to play football, followed basketball, and attended tennis matches with Pam. Also he'd participated on his high school swim team, and he was quite good, according to Jeff Morehouse, despite his chronic ashtma. Maybe Kennealy was confusing Jim with another one of her fantasy husbands. The Morrisons answered Patricia Butler's questions about Jim's childhood medical history, about his relationship with Pamela Courson, about the child abuse rumors, about his time in Paris and their telephone contact with Pamela, about how they found out about his death, and about their dealings with the Coursons.

Empathy, Guilt, and Depression: Despite its adaptive nature, empathy may contribute to depression under certain conditions (Zahn-Waxler, Cole, & Barrett, 1991). O’Connor and her colleagues (2007) describe depression in adults as a disorder of concern for others. The moral system is on overdrive; empathy becomes coupled with pathogenic guilt and anxiety, culminating in submission and depression. Anxiety typically develops earlier than depression. Because it involves dysregulation of limbic, vegetative, and autonomic systems, this high arousal eventually taxes these systems, causing a person to shut down, withdraw, and become depressed. Thus, anxiety may be one early antecedent of depression. Children who are overwhelmed by their parents’ needs are likely to experience anxiety and guilt, especially pathogenic guilt (O’Connor, Berry, Weiss, & Gilbert, 2002; O’Connor et al., 2007; Chapter 2 by O’Connor, Berry, and Lewis) is also implicated in depression. What makes humans different—dangerously so—from other species are the novel ways in which we represent in-group favoritism and out-group antagonism, and the fact that in-group biases or prejudices are often implicit or unconscious (Banaji, 2001; Richerson & Boyd, 2005). These are psychological accessories that are magnets for pathological altruism. Once deception has reached this adaptive edge, there is pressure for self-deception. Self-deception arises when unconscious processes have manipulated conscious processes to gain control over behavior. Thus, not only does it pay to deceive others, it pays to deceive oneself, to really believe that one is tougher, sexier, and more caring. But, as discussed by Turvey, self-deception is a form of cognitive distortion that can become pathological if unchecked. Trust is really a way of emphasizing the importance of moral universalism as a trait of individualist societies. In collectivist societies, trust ends at the border of the family and kinship group. Morality is only defined as what is good for the kinship group. This lack of ability to develop a civil society is the fundamental problem of societies in the Middle East and Africa, where divisions into opposing religious and ultimately kinship groups define their political landscape. The movement of the West toward multiculturalism really means the end of individualist Western culture.

Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition argues that ethnic influences are important for understanding the West. The prehistoric invasion of the Indo-Europeans had a transformative influence on Western Europe, inaugurating a prolonged period of what is labeled “aristocratic individualism” resulting form variants of Indo-European genetic and cultural influence. However, beginning in the seventeenth century and gradually becoming dominant was a new culture labeled “egalitarian individualism” which was influenced by preexisting egalitarian tendencies of northwest Europeans. Egalitarian individualism ushered in the modern world but may well carry the seeds of its own destruction. I have a chapter on psychological mechanisms that have resulted in so many Westerners accepting the current regime of displacing White populations in favor of massive non-White immigration. This brings in much discussion of evolutionary psychology. For example, I present data that White people are more empathic towards others because we are less ethnocentric than other peoples. This tendency toward empathy has been manipulated by the media to make Westerners empathic to suffering Africans and Asians and make them willing to make these people into citizens. Source:

It fascinates me to see the regularity with which Jim Morrison brought out sensations, perceptions, and consciousness in his work which clearly illustrate Dissociative Identity Disorder from an inner perspective. Among professionals, a questionnaire was developed to help identify children with DID. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics Vol 5, April 1996, by Lewis Putnam: "The topic of imagination leads naturally to questions about the child's ability to fall into a trance-like state and remove him/herself from hurtful situations. One of the most useful questions in our repertoire also was suggested to us by an adult who suffered from DID/MPD. Many kids who have been through a lot or have been hurt are able to space out and go to a special place in their heads and not feel it.' Jim Morrison: "Once I had a little game/I liked to crawl back in my brain/I think you know/the game I mean/I mean the game called Go Insane/Just close your eyes/Forget your name/Forget the world/Forget the people/Back past the realm of pain/Urge to come to terms with the 'Outside,' by absorbing it, interiorizing it/I won't come out, you must come in to me. Into my womb-garden where I peer out. Where I can construct a universe within the skull, to rival the real." Lewis and Putnam: "People with DID/MPD often have extremely vivid imaginary friends with whom they talk and play. Over time, in many cases, these imaginary characters become the matrices around which alternate personalities form; they acquire a life history of their own." Therapists working with men who were sexually abused in childhood have conducted clinical case studies and consistently reported findings on long-term problems including: Guilt and self-blame (pre-requisites of a martyr), Low self-esteem and negative self-image, Problems with intimacy, Substance abuse and depression, Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc. A number of clinicians' case studies indicate that male survivors of childhood sexual abuse may experience: Attempts to "prove" their masculinity by having multiple female sexual partners, or engaging in dangerous or violent behaviors. Sense of lost power, control, and confidence in their manhood. Jim's apparent tendency toward martyrdom may have been an intellectualization of his low self-esteem, dissociation, and suicidality tendencies. The song "Hyacinth House" lyrics suggest a vague feeling of homophobia, or fear of being molested.

For example, certain cinematic techniques replicate changes in perception that accompany a dissociative trauma response--slow motion or stop-motions, sound of heart beating, shutting down the sound track or blacking out the screen, etc. James Douglas Morrison's poem, The Lords: Notes on Vision. Look where we worship. We all live in the city. The city forms--often physically, but inevitably psychically--in a circle. A Game. A ring of death with sex at its center. Drive toward outskirts of city suburbs. At the edge discover zones of sophisticated vice and boredom. But in the grimy ring immediately surrounding the daylight business district exists the only real crowd life of our mound, the only street life, night life. Diseased specimens in dollar hotels, low boarding houses, bars, pawn shops, burlesques, in dying arcades which never die, in streets and streets of all-night cinemas. When play dies it becomes The Game. When sex dies it becomes Climax. All games contain the idea of death. The streets of all-night cinemas are an interesting image. A haven of escape, a place of refuge. Twice an escape--from the streets, and to a dream world. Cinema, introduced here, will finally become a significant theme in this poem. "When temptation is full grown, it gives birth to sin. When sin is full grown, it gives birth to death." This fits in with the first line, "Look where we worship."  Jim, I think, alludes to the Bible sometimes. In the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental illness which came out in 1980, called Multiple Personality Disorder by a new name, Dissociative Identity Disorder. This change in language is by way of emphasizing that the person who experiences DID does not truly have many completely different personalites, but that each distinct personality state is a necessary part of the whole person. Those with DID spend an average of seven years in the mental health system before the diagnosis is made. They are usually mistakenly given either the diagnosis of rapidly cycling bipolar disorder because of extreme mood swings, or schizophrenia, because they hear voices.

Even Ray Manzarek wondered in 1998 if he could attempt to give a name to the malady known as Jimbo: "a multiple personality disorder, or unsoundness of mind". More recently, Robby Krieger remarked on a podcast with Adam Carolla he thought Jim suffered from "a split personality." I'm sure that child trauma was a subject of Jim's "Lords & The New Creatures". His creative depiction of the subject matter, to me, reveals that he was well acquainted with classic trauma response. Essentially, DID is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which begins mostly in infancy. During normal development, everyone experiences the sort of compartmentalization of memories. It's called state-dependent memory. What it means is that we're more likely to recall a memory when we're in the same mood we were when the incident happened. Researchers find this is a very strong memory factor in infancy. Most of us grow out of this stage between three to five years of age, when the greatest percentage of our memories become accessible to us, and our personalities become "integrated". In DID this process is blocked, probably by repeated trauma. Holding those memories of trauma inaccessible most of the time becomes a defense mechanism for a young child living in a situation he does not have the skills to cope with. Researchers don't think there is a specific gene that leads to DID, however neuropsychiatrist Bruce Perry, MD, writes on trauma response in his article "Incubated in Terror" (1997), where he mentions that repeated trauma produces genetic changes; a fact which I find fascinating. Several authors who write about Jim Morrison have used the anology of multiple personalites, perhaps without knowing how well the description seems to fit. There are frequent references to "sides" of Jim, or "parts" of Jim. I don't necessarily infer that they intend these references as literal descriptions of Jim in the light of DID. However, Break on Through's authors James Riordan and Jerry Prochnicky have four entries in their index, under Morrison: James Douglas, Multiple Personalities. Those with IQ scores in the gifted to genius range, like Jim, if they suffer DID they tend to be able to access a high percentage of all of their different selves' abilities by switching from one part to another as needed, or by sharing information between parts. Wild swinging moods accompanied by eye color changes are not uncommon in those who suffer Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Jim did seem to explain the experience to a degree in his poetry: "A shaman, a poet with the soul of a clown. Which of my cellves will be remembered?" One of his alter egos in his film Highway was Clown Boy. I think this part could correspond to the part Ray Manzarek calls Jimbo. The role of the clown is a provoker. Some people have trouble understanding how provoking behavior could be a protective device. It takes some of the incentive, and the element of surprise, away from your opponent. Similarly, some parts of people with DID might protect the inner person by being sexually provocative toward others. DID causes repression of memory of certain events, but a heightening of imagination. And while the mind fails to process events as memory, the body still remembers the experiences as pain, or other sensory experiences of trauma. These sensations become a "memory" of their own. The mind sometimes works overtime to "explain" these remembered sensations, in the absence of processed memories. After the Miami trail, Jim wrote a poetry letter to his fans in March 1969, which was published by Creem magazine. "It's a matter of demolishing experience, just a question of gathering up all fragments into one zone of awareness, then pulverizing them sufficiently to expel from the system through its tiny doors, leaving behind the mind stripped bare, devastated and stark as ground zero. (A description of a nuclear holocaust. Ground zero--we see the same theme in The Lords and the New Creatures) Look at these capillaries! Lit up like emerald peacock feathers! You gotta hook your brain fibre on the spike of a distant star and let it stretch you at the receding speed of the primal explosion. All the way, brothers and sisters, to the breaking point, and pray for a glimpse before the tissue tears. (The tone of exhortation begins. Brothers and sisters. . . pray! This resembles some parts of the Bible, especially the New Testament.) The extension of the human mind, the structure of technology slides on the surface area of collective consciousness. Get out from under the antientropic plumbing; (I guess Jim is telling people to "get out from under the plumbing" that causes them to lack the ability to hold their changes) become not just the source of energy but the receiving substance as well. Rediscover selfprogramming! (from the perspective of a healer, Jim is actually throwing off some interesting and meaningful comments here, through his prescription for positive change). It's more than likely that a little self-abuse will be necessary to bruise away the dependence on bad habits. A little hootch, a little cootch, even a bloody brawl will keep you tainted in the understanding of Pilate's apostles and off their provendor menu. (Obvious reference to the Scriptures, here-- probably throwing it back at the "good Christians" aimed at punishing Jim for Miami. Pilate was the official who ordered Jesus to death at Christ's trial. Jim tends to identify with Christ in this instance.)

Keep yourself honest until the day you got the karmic warhead primed and can explode in their faces, (This section starts to resemble the Bible, in the tone of exhortation as well as the pace and phrasing, which seems roughly paraphrased: "Keep yourself pure until that day.") leaving them gasping around mouthfuls of powdered teeth. For now, take it as a delight. My brothers and sisters, consider it all delight when you are faced by trials and tribulations of many kinds to be nothing more than a stab of flesh with the total mathematical content of a pleasure quotient. Use your brain as an instrument for appreciating sensual input with its developed intricacies only as experiments in methods of acquiring better pleasure. Ache on through to the other side! Kill the image! Create the essence! (Jim talks about this kind of transformative experience in The Lords--the "image" seems to represent the trance-like inactivity forced on us in the spectator role.) Antientropic is a rare and very interesting word. Anti=against, entropy=describes the process of breakdown of society or a system. So the meaning, in context: "Get out from under the antientropic plumbing" may be translated to an exhortation to stop living in harmony with the corrupt system that pervades society (the "Establishment"?) —"Living in the Dead Zone: Jim Morrison—Borderline Personality" (2010) by Gerald Faris


grinningear said...

very interesting information, thanks for sharing!

Elena W said...

thanks, you're very welcome, grinningear!