An anti-dromedary??

An antidromedary? (Negative of picture from Wikipedia.)

Not quite. Enantiodromia is the tendency of the psyche to counteract change. Rather than passive resistance, enantiodromia implies an actual movement in the opposite direction of the recent changes.

A common phrase describing this is “two steps forward, one step back” (and sometimes, by the more exasperated, “one step forward, two steps back”.) Whenever a constant effort of change is put upon the psyche, there is a resistance. When one presses forward, it is a bit as if walking in a bubble of some invisible elastic material, which pulls one back as soon as one stops moving forward, or even if not. To make progress, one must drag this whole two-ton bubble forward with oneself.  This is because the conscious self is only a small part of the psyche, most of which is subconscious.

The lecher who gives his life over to sexual pleasures will after a while find that he no longer takes pleasure from them, even in quantities that he formerly found enjoyable. But at the same time, the monk who tries to devote himself to celibacy finds himself burning with unrequited lust.  (I am not talking here about the normal feeling of satisfaction or hunger in the short run, but over a longer span of time. As a tide compared to a wave, perhaps.)  Likewise the fervent believer will inevitably experience doubt, and a doubt that shakes his convictions to the core; but the ardent skeptic will suddenly be given to irrational superstition.

The greater the force by which one tries to move the psyche, the greater the force by which it strikes back. In many cases this has caused a whole new personality to emerge, one that is opposite to the personality one displayed before.  A revolution of the mind, as it were.

But reading about it, it seems to be another case of what Boris Mouravieff calls the “General Law”. Or in everyday speech: “Don’t rock the boat.” Don’t move too fast, don’t move too far, or the automatic mechanisms to stop insanity will kick in and drag you back. Or you could overcome, I suppose, with sufficient force.

Besides reducing the incidence of madness, the General Law also helps avoid cultural flutter. You would not like to go on a vacation to Malaysia and come back a Muslim.  So we have a defense against changing far and fast.  Although it seems to me that people who fall in love can punch through this barrier. Then again they are, in my eyes at least, already insane. ^_^

It is extremely rare that a voice in my head says a word I don’t know, for the obvious reason that the voice is not actually a voice but more like a current of thought in my greater flood of thought (or perhaps it is the other way around). In fact, I would still not have known how to spell it if not for Google’s helpful “Did you mean to search for…” feature.