The quality of these organismic regulators modifies the power of the organism and depends on the adequacy of the thoughts. An inadequate thought is one that creates a partial or false representation of an event.11 When a person fully understands what is going on around him, the impact of the thoughts on the organism permits him to organize himself adequately and, consequently, to organize an adequate behavior. When a situation is perceived inadequately, the system of affective regulation becomes a passion that is, a form of inadequate regulation of the organism that will diminish its power and the relevance of the behaviors that an individual system activates.12 Misunderstanding what is happening in one’s family automatically engenders passions that deregulate the organism.
A thought is, by its very nature, inadequate to the extent that a thought is built on a partial perception of what is happening and is managed only by the tools of the mind. It is therefore predictable that from time to time the passions will take over the power in an organism. But there are moments, situations, and persons (e.g., trauma and abuse) who engender particularly inadequate thoughts. These deregulations inhibit the power of the organism, engender depressive moods, and increase the error of the initial capacity to understand. To the extent that organismic regulations influence behavior, there will also be dysfunction in the way the organism participates in the interactions of a group and influences the functioning of the group and the organisms that constitute the group. Thus, vicious circles can come about that increase the potential of a person’s passions within a group or even all the individuals in the group. If a psychotherapist can help someone better understand what happened and what is happening, not only will the mind be helped but the remainder of the entire system will be helped as well.
SPINOZA AND ANTIDEPRESSANTS
Clinical observation n. 5. A young family man is struck with a fast spreading melanoma already in multiple locations thus creating a serious risk of a brutal death caused by hemorrhaging. He refused to see his wife and children, and maintains a hostile attitude toward the staff because he deems his room unacceptable and his roommate disagreeable. Clearly, this man is extremely traumatized and in anguish. He is totally disconnected from his situation. He cannot reflect and adopt a mood to make better use of the time he has left. (Patrice Guex, 1989, An Introduction to Psycho-Oncology, p. 128; translated by Marcel Duclos)
Patrick Guex’s case illustrates the topic of this section if we admit that in this instance, the reactions of the patient were really irrational and were caused by an extreme dread, not only because of his reaction to having cancer but also by the impact of the disease on his psychophysiology. The example would be trivial if the extreme anxiety of the patient were caused only by a disagreeable roommate and the fears that cancer inevitably activates. We have here an example of the difficulty of evaluating clinical data. We must have confidence in Patrick Guex, who was at the time already a skilled clinician, and that what we have here is really anxiety amplified by the impact of the melanoma on the power of the organism