The Journey Part II

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Living life is difficult enough. Writing about that life is an entirely different issue. Over the years, I had thought that I was a fairly decent communicator. I subsequently realized that I was not as good as a communicator as I thought. I was a very good English student in grade school as well as in college. After many years of reading various different types of material, I had learned how to communicate well from reading other people’s words.

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It wasn’t until my first editing experience, that I realized that I was not as good a writer as I had thought. I thought that I had gone through enough red markings and need for corrections during grade school and college. I later found out that the learning process of writing is never truly over.

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It is one thing to place your thoughts via words onto paper, whether written or typed. It is another thing to be able to properly follow the basic rules of English. The one thing that I did have going for me was the fact that I was at the very least consistent. That consistency aided me in knowing that not all hope in being a writer was over. We are all good at some things. Other things we are not so good at. When you are honest with yourself, you can then realize that you need assistance. I may be many things and many things I accept that I am. One thing that I am not is afraid to admit when I am not good enough in one area or another.

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I had learned over the years that life is for the living. No matter how much you talk to others, how many books you read, how many things that you may think you know, experience is the best teacher. Experience is the qualifier or disqualifier. You will know what you are good at when it works for you consistently. It may not work always, but if it works the majority of the time, that will give you the confidence that you are good at it. Conversely,[1] you will know that you are not good at something when it consistently does not work for you. It is a way to let you know that perhaps you should try something else.

I am always willing to learn from others and do my very best to take others seriously. Especially if it is clear that they know well what they are doing. I do my best to learn from others’ mistakes as much as possible so that I can preserve my life as much as possible. Once you have been through some tough situations in life, you begin to look for opportunities to ensure that you will no longer waste time, effort, and money.

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As the last stages of Volume II of the Work culminates,[2] I have learned so much over the years about life. I have learned so much about people and how they work. This is a life long process. I do not in any way believe that I know all that there is to know about people. I don’t think that there is any we can know all that there is about anything in one lifetime. I do know much more about life and people than I knew before.

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I had no idea that during this journey I would through perusing the various material that I did, that I would stumble upon the focal point leading to understanding people. I had thought that this study was to learn about myself and what happens after we leave here, or at the very least the meaning of life. I do not attest[3] to know what the meaning of life is. I am still learning just as I am sure that many others, if not all of us, are doing so.

[1] Conversely – Introducing a statement or idea which reverses one that has just been made or referred to. Oxford Dictionary Online.

[2] Culminate – Reach a climax or point of highest development. Oxford Dictionary Online.

[3] Attest – Declare that something exists or is the case. Oxford Dictionary Online.

The Journey Part I

 

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Later than many would like too, I began attending college during a career shift, in my early thirties.  I had no idea that I would aspire to write about what I had begun learning by the time my exploration into religion and history began.  I was more concerned with learning on my own, in my own way, than one day taking time to sit and write about it.  While attending college courses, juggling a family, and attending church occasionally, I would study religion and history instead of focusing on my college studies.  All of this was quite a difficult feat to take on, which is why my family would later dissolve.  Once the house of morals began to fail (the idea of church being the teacher and demonstrator of what is right and honorable), other things began to fail as well.  This is not to say that I am not a moral person.  What changed in regard to my morals at the time was the focus.  All through the day and many hours into the late night, I would be searching for answers.  Unlearning what I had learned and re-learning.  In agony at times, and in tears at others, I marched through the material that I began acquiring over time. 
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Not only did I read the subject matter of the books that I had obtained, but I had began contacting the authors of those books to ask questions.  Some of those authors, I would talk to via e-mail while others I would talk to through social media.  I would eventually get the phone numbers of some of the authors while others I would develop quasi-relationships that still lasts today.  I took an out of the box approach in my studies mainly because I was not attending college for religious and historical studies.  I went to college for entirely different subject matter and into an entirely different field of study.  One of the major things that helped me become better at reading and understanding difficult subjects was through the practice of while reading utilizing dictionaries and asking questions.  I would listen to podcasts from various authors, lecturers, and even scholars for several hours daily.  I was also a very good English student all through high school and even in college.  I learned to listen to people and since I naturally have a photographic memory, I learned that I had the ability to retain information more so than the average person.  I never forget much, and if I do forget something temporarily, it somehow always at a later time crept back into my conscious. 

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The more time that you put into anything right, wrong or indifferent, the better you become at it.  Diligence is key to becoming a master instead of just a jack of the trades.  My quest for understanding grounded me in the determination that I had to learn and the amount of intelligence that I had naturally, which I was largely unaware of for most of my life, is what perhaps sealed the deal on me grasping the information and being able to speak from the top of my head at a moments notice.  It seemed that those late nights reading the bible and practicing scripture memorization (I had for a time memorized verbatim two scriptures daily) was just a peak into what I would be doing many years later. 

 

There was not a single author that I contacted that did not at the very least get back to me if for no other time but once.  Just like then, even now I care about getting as close to the source as possible.  The horses mouth if you will.  So, if I was going to be wrong, then that would mean that the person who I was reading and using in my own source material had to be wrong as well. I had learned how to separate my opinion and leave it out of the discussions when it came to explaining another’s position, whether I agreed with them or not. 

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Over time as I began to share with those that were close to me what I had learned, I was disheartened to know that many of them were not interested in the same things.  It took some time to accept this reality.  Everything is not for everyone.  The mundane just didn’t interest me anymore nor did the latest trends in fashion, movies, etc.  I, then, began to look at life from a different perspective.  Everything became serious.  Except for some of the most important responsibilities that I had.  Too much of anything is not good and not enough of what should be is just as bad.  I take full responsibility for my decisions and I don’t make excuses for what I have done, nor do now.  I accepted that the people that I had wronged for whatever reason have every right to tell me to go to hell or treat me like a stranger.  I understood and understand that.  I included that within my analysis after some time.  They owe me nothing and at the end of the day I knew that that door swings in both directions. 

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Due to taking this new path, most things just no longer mattered.  If they no longer mattered, then talking about them, stressing over them, complaining about them made little sense.  If it doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter.  In an effort to remain relatable with others to some degree, I would force myself to remain aware with what was going on in the world.  So, I utilized my ability to find those who knew more or less what they were talking about when it came to the major issues.  We all have limitations.  But some people are ‘expert’ in some matters so to speak.  When it comes to the environment and what direction the world is going, I kept up with economics, politics (national and geopolitical), real estate, male and female relationships, religion, and occasionally sports.  There were other subjects of course that I kept up with as well.  I developed a care for knowing what’s going on around me and in the broader society.  Some things we have solutions for and others we do not.  Some things we have to accept that they are that way and there is little that we can do about it.  We have to accept those things.  No matter how good we have it, some things we are going to have to deal with, whether we like them or not.  Perfection is obtainable in some things, good or bad, and other things just take longer to tackle. 

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I ended up losing many friends and walked away from many relationships if those did not end because the other person chose to end it.  We all grow differently.  Trust, too, is a fragile thing.  It can be easily broken, and some people are just not for each other for one reason or another.  In my relationships with women, I found that in general, we just did not want the same things out of life.  After having been married for many years, time becomes a much more precious and expensive commodity.  The last thing I want to do is hold anyone back and I sure abhor being held back, myself.  We all come to our own conclusions and there is little change in regard to anyone unless major life events take place.  Perhaps the next time around, if there is in fact another one, will be different.  Perhaps better.

 

Studying the Past

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             Studying the past had become a most interesting thing for me over the years.  Once I realized that human beings have not changed within the last 100,000+ years, it brought me to the realization that we are not better, or worse for that matter, than our closer or distant ancestors.  We are very much them, with different environmental conditions, technology, language, etc.  Some would like to think that we know more than those in the past or are better.  I have found this not to be so.

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                Many of us still seek to be fulfilled in the different areas of our lives, even in the same ways.  Culture, I found, is paramount in how we deal with one another, regardless of ethnicity.  Culture is far too important to ignore.  Along with culture, a premise is needed to operate from that can give us a basic understanding of respect, trust, and safety in dealing with one another.  That is why government was important as well.  To ensure that the basic rights of people, not be violated at will.  The beauty of the idea of America, United States, as a free society, is freedom of association, freedom to choose one’s own path in life.  We have the freedom to deal with one another, and the freedom not too.  Freedom brings a certain level of responsibility as well.  If one person’s expression of freedom doesn’t infringe upon another’s expression of freedom, then we should have no problem living in relative ‘harmony.’  Whether or not this plays out, well, you decide.

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                In the writings, monuments, and other relics from the past, we have a window into the lives of those who have gone before us.  Whether we are reincarnated, as some believed, or not, one understanding was the passing on of genes, i.e., offspring.  If people could reproduce, they could have a certain level of comfort knowing that they would live on through their offspring.  The mating games today are no different than in the past.  We see it play out all the time.  Many of our laws are biologically driven.  One thing that I found out over the years, is that no matter what your spiritual preference or otherwise, it will never account for or trump biology.  Self-preservation is more of a reality than many would like to sit down, think about, and admit.  Our ancestors were no different.

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                Peace is something many say that they want.  Yet, when you study the past, the only time peace came, was after a period of war.  Some believe that violence will cease to exist.  I am of opinion, that there will be periods where violence will increase and periods where it will decrease.  But if nature is a duality as some of the ancestors suggested, then you cannot have one without the other.

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                In learning through studying the past, I have had the privilege of being able to look back over my own life, have experiences to test my learning, and have come to many realizations about life.  You cannot get it all in one life.  Perhaps therefore some of the ancestors believed that we had to come back.  Or another reason could be that they were afraid of dying so that they had to create something in their minds to help them cope with the fact that they one day will have to pass on like those before them.  Some teach against defense mechanisms.  I believe that some mechanisms are healthy, while others are not.  I still hold true to myself what M. Scott Peck stated in “The Road Less Travelled” and in “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil”,

 

             “Mental health is the ongoing dedication to reality at all costs”

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                I had seen where some ancestors state that the world and time were created together, and that time would cease to exist when/if the world ceased to exist.  I had seen some modern ones’ state that time is not real or to be regarded as important.  If it is true that time isn’t real, then one would have to accept that the past, present and future are the same and that studying the past is key to understanding that.  Regardless of this, the past is too important to ignore in my estimation of things.  I have escaped many ills, saved much time and money, and have become a better person overall while studying the past.  The past records have everything concerning the lives of those who lived before us.  It’s not just about reading history.  No, it’s about learning what was important to those before us as to why they went through all the trouble to pass it down to us, even to the point of death.  If someone was willing to give their life for me to know something, then I think it is more than admirable to see what they had to say.  Especially if it’s a chance that that person or persons blood has travelled over the ages and into my veins. 

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Update on the Project…..The Work Volume II

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The project is coming along just fine. It has taken quite a bit of money and time to complete. I will be the first to state, that writing a book of this type, is not for the faint at heart. I will venture off to state that writing a book period, is not for the faint at heart. Nevertheless, the marching continues down the road, and not a yellow brick one.

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We have decided to remove the podcast/youtube audio series from this project. We initially wanted to add such. This research and writing portion has taken up the bulk of the time and energy for this project. We wanted to ensure you that those who were interested in this project, would receive the best possible written material from a lay scholarly perspective. We are taking our time to well source and cite what we have learned over the years, as well as what we have learned having gone back over the same and even new material. We desired to place this material in written form instead of audio or other media for now. Video and audio places one in a more passive state, while reading allows one to be in an active state.

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We hope to release this material by the end of the year, if not, then it will be early next year. The first book, Volume I : The Life of Benjamin Samuel Brasford, was to introduce you into the life of Ben. The next book will be a much more dense book that needs to be studied and researched during the reading of it. We do indeed hope, that those who are interested, will be well pleased with what we have therein. Until next time……

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Always Forward, Never Reverse

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At this time, there is an estimated 7.47 billion people on this planet.[1] That would account for, ideally, 7.47 billion different ideas, personalities, experiences, and a mixture of similar and different 7.47 billion backgrounds.

We at times come together, for a short while, and at other times a longer while. We are born alone, and we die alone. We still, to date, from my estimation have no real idea of how we got here, and we, in my estimation, have no real idea of what happens after we die. We believe, know, understand and do different things.

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In varying degrees, we are different, and the same in many areas. There are no two people who agree across the board on everything. Many of us want others to be like us, who are a part of our lives. There are those of us who welcome the differences and try to work with them.

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There are different types of governments, economic systems, educational systems, etc. How do we live in relative ‘harmony’ on a planet with so many differing views and backgrounds? How do we allow differences and at the same time celebrate the similarities without imposition? I don’t have the answers to all of these questions. I’m not so certain that harmony can be obtained all the time. Division and harmony both exist on this planet. Good and evil. Right and wrong. Is all good from good intentions? Is all evil from evil intentions? Some don’t like the terms. To effectively communicate, the ancestors developed writing after languages, in my opinion, to support languages. Along with differing views from individual uniqueness, harmony must be maintained at least some of the time. I have found that the more you study the past, the more you understand the present. The truth is, we haven’t changed as human beings as much as many of us would like to think, over the last several thousand years. Thanks to the physical sciences and the knowledge passed down in books, human behavioral patterns, and the spirit realm, we are able to look back and understand many things.

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The important thing is that we keep learning and keep growing. Since we are unaware of the origin as in timing of the beginning of this planet, I have taken the position that we are unsure of it’s ending if it in fact has one. So we move forward.

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[1] https://www.census.gov/popclock/world

Human Evil, Spiritual Evil, and their relationship to Modern Mental Disorders

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It amazes me that people are okay with going to the doctor, i.e., a medical doctor for medicinal purposes and other things of course, yet they look down on others who visit psychiatrists and psychologists.  What are medical doctors?  Are they not experts when it comes to medicine?  What are psychiatrists and psychologists?  We are, or should be, aware of the fact that Psychiatrists focus on mental illness, while Psychologists focus on human behavior.  Human behavior is rooted in biology, which means “The study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin, and distribution.” [1] Behavior is important when it comes to people.  I have learned to not put much merit, if any, on what people say.  I have learned that people do what they believe.[2]  Belief, in my view, is expressed through actions.  Not words.  Words are learned through a social context.[3]  You hear something that appears good to you or something that you perceive that is good from the person from whom you’ve heard it from.  You, in turn, repeat those words because they appear to you or to the person that you are speaking with, in your mind, to have merit.  You are doing this to benefit from the particular person’s company in some way for whatever reason.

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Why focus so much on behavior? It is because those that lack decent or what is perceived as decent behavior, are said to either be deliberate in their pursuits, or to have a mental illness.  Mental illness shows the lack of a personality or capable mind to deal with things in a more normal way.  Normal, of course, can be relative based on the current societal context and conditioning.  However, that does not negate the fact that “bad” behavior still shows a relationship with some form of mental illness, whether minor or severe.  Medicine might help your physical, non-mental illness, but what can it provide for your mental illness, or mental well-being which is rooted in personality?  What is personality? Personality is defined by the Oxford Dictionary Online, “The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character”.  What is character?  Character is defined as, “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.   So Psychiatrists focus on the mental part of a person, and the Psychologists focus on the behavior of a person, which is a result of the mental part of a person.  What does this say about a person without morals?  Could it be that a person that lacks “decent” morals lack good character due to their mental state?  I do believe that it is possible that a person who can be made aware, however they can be made AWARE, that they have a problem, in other words, convinced that they need to change something, that they are capable of correcting their problem.  They may need help, but they can ultimately change their mental issue.  Others, who are unable to be convinced that they, in fact, have a problem, are perhaps unable to change.  Perhaps, this is why our mental health professionals, i.e. psychiatrists, state that there is no cure for some common personality disorders, though there are forms of treatment.  The specific personalities being, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc., are those which are being spoken of. (Association)  For example, let’s take a look at Narcisstic Personality Disorder.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, states that those with Narcisstic Personality Disorder: “A sense of entitlement is evident in these individuals’ unreasonable expectation of especially favorable treatment (Criterion 5). They expect to be catered to and are puzzled or furious when this does not happen. For example, they may assume that they do not have to wait in line and that their priorities are so important that others should defer to them, and then get irritated when others fail to assist “in their very important work.” This sense of entitlement, combined with a lack of sensitivity to the wants and needs of others, may result in the conscious or unwitting exploitation of others (Criterion 6). They expect to be given whatever they want or feel they need, no matter what it might mean to others. For example, these individuals may expect great dedication from others and may overwork them without regard for the impact on their lives. They tend to form friendships or romantic relationships only if the other person seems likely to advance their purposes or otherwise enhance their self-esteem. They often usurp special privileges and extra resources that they believe they deserve because they are so special.” (Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

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Now, from what was stated above concerning treatment being available yet no cure for the above stated mental disorders, I would say that healing begins in the mind.  I take the position that if you are unable to be convinced that you have a problem, mental or otherwise; then no healing can come.  Accepting that you have an issue is the beginning of the realization that there might be aid somewhere if you in fact desire to receive it, if you decide to search for it, or somehow it comes to you in some other way.  It all comes down to choice.  But if you are convinced that you are fine where you are, for whatever reason, then nothing will change other than your “condition” will perhaps get worse.

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Let’s take a look at a work done by M. Scott Peck, M.D.  In his work entitled, “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil”, he discusses human evil and spiritual evil.  There are differences between the two, yet I see that there is also a relationship between them.  I understand the “problems” or “issues” that some might have with the concept of good and evil. [4]  Whether you are religious or not, it might help explain things from a different perspective.  If one, good or evil, does in fact exist, then there is a possibility that one is the opposite of the other.  In the above stated work of M. Scott Peck, M.D., he states that Satan, as a personality, has pride and narcissism.  If this is true, then Narcissism can be human and spiritual.  One thing related to Satanic Narcissism as explained by Dr. Peck, is that sacrifice is a foreign concept to this particular personality. (Peck)  What is sacrifice? Oxford Dictionary Online defines sacrifice as, an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy”.  Sacrifice is an act of love, which is defined, “A strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone”, or “A great interest and pleasure in something”.  Affection is defined by the Oxford Dictionary Online as, “A gentle feeling of fondness or liking”.  In an ideal world, love would mean that if you had that for someone, you would not do anything to harm another person, even if you desire for them to make a decision that you want, though they may not want to make that particular decision.  Ask yourself, “Would you harm something that you had a gentle feeling of fondness or liking for”?  Would you be adversely affected if someone were willing and did harm you?  Would you feel that they “loved” or had a gentle feeling of fondness or liking for you?  Lastly, what about the things that you love to do or just love as a thought?

 

An aspect of science that is discussed by Dr. Peck that I found quite interesting is that he states that one assumes a profound human tendency to self-deception, employs the scientific method to counteract it, and holds truth higher than any personal human desire. (Peck)  If what he states about science is in fact true then, perhaps this is why psychiatry and psychology are indeed considered sciences, just as much as medicine, etc.

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                   After much time, it has become apparent to me, due to the cruelty and lack of empathy, sympathy, common decency, and even courtesy in general throughout my own personal life through much experience, that many people, men and women alike, perhaps fall under the categories of personality disorders that are described within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It is my opinion, that if you find that this is true after putting in whatever amount of effort that you desire, in developing and maintaining relationships with such people at any capacity, then the best thing for you to do would be perhaps to let them go and move on with your life.  A person is made up of their own preferences, views, opinions, feelings, etc.  If a person shows lack of compassion for you and refuses to respect you in regards to your own individual preferences, views, opinions, feelings, etc., then they do not truly care about you.  They will only bring about destruction in your life.  You could perhaps be left with much anger, regret, and disappointment.  Your views on life, and people in general could be greatly altered due to encountering such individuals if you are unaware of what you are dealing with and fail to get out of situations with these people as early as possible.  I, personally, take the position that if I love you, I will let you go if I have to.  Love is about detachment, if necessary.  Not control or possession.  I will leave you with a quote from Plato’s Phaedo, page 94, section 88. from “The Works of Plato Volume I” A New and Literal Translation, translated by Henry F. Cary, M.A. of Worcester College, Oxford (1892)……

“That we do not become,” he answered, “haters of reasoning as some become haters of men; for no greater evil can happen to any one than to hate reasoning. 88. But hatred of reasoning and hatred of mankind both spring from the same source. For hatred of mankind is produced in us from having placed too great reliance on some one without sufficient knowledge of him, and from having considered him to be a man altogether true, sincere, and faithful, and then after a little while finding him depraved and unfaithful, and after him another. And when a man has often experienced this, and especially from those whom he considered his most intimate and best friends, at length, having frequently stumbled, he hates all men, and thinks that there is no soundness at all in any of them. Have you not perceived that this happens so ?”

“Certainly,” I replied.

“Is it not a shame ?” he said, ” and is it not evident that such a one attempts to deal with men, without sufficient knowledge of human affairs ? For if he had dealt with them with competent knowledge, as the case really is, so he would have considered that the good and the bad are each very few in number, and that those between both are most
numerous.”

 

[1] Oxford Dictionary Online

[2] Ibid. “Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof” “Hold (something) as an opinion; think”

[3] Ibid. “The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood”

[4] Oxford Dictionary Online defines, as a philosophy, Concept as, “An idea or mental image which corresponds to some distinct entity or class of entities, or to its essential features, or determines the application of a term (especially a predicate), and thus plays a part in the use of reason or language”

Association, American Psychiatric. “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” Association, American Psychiatric. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiactric Association, 2013. 670. Book.

—. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Book.

Peck, M. Scott. “Of Possession and Excorcism.” Peck, M. Scott. People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. New York: Touchstone, 1983. 208-09. Book.