Search for the Real Self: Unmasking the Personality Disorders of Our Age


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Outwardly charming, confident, and successful individuals may in fact be caught in a knot of self-destructive behavior. This book looks at case histories and delineates appropriate treatments for each disorder--offering a real hope for cure.

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Markus Youssef

Mar 28, 2019

The Route 66 of the 1870s

Masterson's fine book, The Search for the Real Self, I think would be a good follow up to the TV series Have Gun Will Travel.

One reviewer referred to the series as the Star Trek of the old west and another as the James Bond of it. My first impression was it more resembled the sixties TV series Route 66. Instead of two men in a car honourably saving the day, it's one man on a horse teaching others about ethics and morality. Paladin would often quote "fancy writers" to help him process his experiences, introducing the viewer to them as well. In one episode he encourages a woman who had given up on life and love to read less Shelley and more Shakespeare to help her become more accepting of lost love. One of my favourite episodes, starring Peter Falk, entitled Poker Fiend, is an abbreviated metaphorical tribute to Goethe's play Faust regarding a bet over a man's soul. Roughly half of the episodes were written more for general distraction and "entertainment" while the other half offered smart and compact stories on the human condition during the 1870s.

This "thinking man's" 225 episode TV western series that ran from 1957-61 asks some interesting questions. The following contains spoilers.

Ep2 To what degree does a moral disability lead to "regressive masculinity?"
12 How can "infantile megalomania" challenge "the human side of being human?"
16 How is love and marriage the same around the world?
17 To what degree does it take courage, "a rare, honest kind of courage that lets you look in the mirror and change what you see there?"
18 In what way is "ambition in a man without morality is a dangerous thing?"
20 To what degree does everybody have a burr under their saddle?
22 To what degree is humility and understanding needed to be a good artist?
23 To what degree can empathy and reason stimulate cooperation? - "The grape with logic absolute shall all the warring tribes confute." Paladin quoting Khayyam
24 To what degree does loneliness make us do foolish things in the name of love?
26 To what degree are lies used by some to pit others against themselves?
27 How can history be taught promoting emotional understanding and critical thinking?
28 As roses to water, to what degree do positive outcomes depend on feeling?
33 To what degree does estrangement from tenderness compound its value?
34 To what degree does "reaction formation" manifest itself in partner choices?
35 To what degree do bully fathers create frightened sons in order to feel continuously important?
36 To what degree are there those who, "... make a mockery of everything a decent man holds valuable ... a vulture that can't wait to prey on the dead ...[who] prey[s] on the living!" To what degree is there a difference between a mob and a town?
43 Does unmourned grief encourage transference?
44 To what degree is an attitude of peace a sign of human evolution?
46 To what degree is maturity "making yourself into someone you would trust?"
48 To what degree can holding a grudge become a defense against mourning?
51 To what degree can literature diffuse emotions?
54 Can a theatre play address hidden grief?
57 To what degree does literature "tickle contents in the pre/sub/unconscious" into consciousness?
67 To what degree can luxury and comforts be used as a defense against, or substitute for, love? To what degree do people use the system to hide crimes?
71 How does the golden rule support humanity?
77 "Through all the drama, whether damned or not, love guilds the scene and women guide the plot." Paladin quoting RB Sheridan
85 To what degree can progress be seen in a cheerful light where "peace brings plenty?"
87 To what degree is lying to yourself not respecting yourself?
89 To what degree can a story mixing unconscious revenge fantasies, psychological processes, metaphor and coincidence help portray the mother complex?
101 Can an artist's painting address the need to be seen?
114 To what degree can ethics and profit co-exist?
116 To what degree is civilization enriched where there's tenderness and empathy?
118 To what degree does corruption diminish an environment? - "Where there is no law, there is no bread."
122 How does one change their wrong ways? - "He who takes the wrong road, makes the journey twice."
123 To what degree does "greed increase by what it feeds on?"
130 If a man sells his soul and ends up becoming a cynic "in search of the darkness," how can he find redemption? Or, to what degree is encouraging evil a defense mechanism against awareness of having lost one's soul?
131 How is each person's path to personal freedom unique to them?
132 Can a play ever have the ability to bring up the truth?
133 How shall one deal with a part of himself that he finds difficult to accept?
134 What is "hostility is a failure of identity?" Fereshta Ludin
136 To what degree is life about nobly accepting one's limitations?
137 Can you recognize doublespeak? - "Turn a right-hand glove inside out, it fits the left. Some folks can do that with words."
140 To what degree does childhood abuse turn a person against humanity - "I learned a lesson when I was knee-high. Evil walks alone. It's self-sufficient." Why is expressing honest feelings sometimes so difficult? - "You think you've looked virtue in the eye and thumbed your nose? Just remember this: Even Satan has to pay his dues."
142 To what degree can equivocation be put to good use?
147 To what degree are a lack of ethics and morality a reaction to reckless parenting?
149 Is it cowardice to live with a lie?
150 To what degree does being a good Samaritan represent man's humanity toward man?
151 How can a person begin to heal a hole in their psyche?
154 Is love compatibility finding - "someone with a laugh and a loneliness that matches mine?" To what degree does confidence come about from "walking in your own light?"
157 Can a therapist help facilitate the end of intergenerational trauma?
161 "He who shuts out love in turn shall be shut out from love, and on her threshold lie howling in the outer darkness." Paladin quoting Tennyson Is the part of the brain that responds to attachment and separation the same part that's responsible for identity?
164 To what degree do we create art in order to self soothe?
173 How much life do we spend blaming the world for personal mistakes?
177 To what degree does all or nothing thinking animate romantic love?
185 Is technology humanity's Hobson's choice?
186 To what measure can learning, culture and the arts create peace?
187 To what degree do love and cooperation facilitate human evolution?
188 Is there a link between the trauma of childhood love deprivation, including breastfeeding trauma, and a later on symbolic reversal reenactment of it onto others?
189 To what degree is black humour a symptom of childhood abuse?
192 To what degree can a mother complex become an obsession? Can one find their gold in the resolution of it?
194 To what degree can taking a personal inventory help a person find their ethical compass?
200 To what degree is there the idea that guilt and grief can be wished away? - "The shadow a man stands on at noon rises up to meet him at evening."
206 Do men experience a "second emotional adolescence" around midlife?
207 To what degree does the legal system promote reason over emotion?
210 "A man stands 'naked, though locked up in steel, whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.'" Paladin quoting Shakespeare
213 To what degree can a person be "rich in spirit, through knowledge and acceptance and understanding?"
216 To what degree does each person have to fight for their true identity?
218 To what degree is asking for help the beginning of the healing journey? Can family constellation work assist in the healing process?
225 To what degree is the soul a gypsy?

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