Psychological and cultural systems of thought, language and belief that promote and nurture a core, selfish egocentrism are simultaneously the most fragile and prone to rapid, irreversible and catastrophic disassembly. There is much to be said here for the overtly pathological aspects of psychological self-identity that become encoded, validated, rewarded and celebrated as orthodox or aspirationally “normal” patterns of cognitive, cultural and social practice. Some of these unacknowledged pathologies exist, in essence, only to recreate themselves; as, that is, the functional transmission medium of their own continuity.
A persistent risk of catastrophic disassembly becomes the self-validating rationale for the presence of discontinuity in this context; this becomes the gravitational center of this system. The the core behaviours depend for self-validation upon the threats and negative experiences that they themselves are the causal instigators of. The most curious thing about such systems of personal or collective belief and behaviour is that they tend to be completely transparent and unseen to those that inhabit them. This transparency is a necessary cognitive (and logical) blindspot and – much as with the endemic omnipresence of the empty set in logic – it is irreducible.
At an individual level: Self-identity is always and already somewhat pathological. It is only in the manifest extremity of functional dissonance that this becomes evident. Dysfunctional or dissociative psychological experience exists on a continuum with healthy self-expression and experience. It is therefore a difference, not of kind, but of degree.