Re: Jack Hickman Cult Shoresh Yashi
Date: November 11, 2007 10:34AM
I only was with Jack Hickman when he was preaching to a large group in 1973-83. I was not close to people who were close to Hickman. I did not keep in touch with people after I left. I do not have training in psychiatry. These are substantial limitations to my ability to understand him, and I do not have a satisfactory theological understanding of his impact. I'm not trying to condone, but to understand. I found possible precedents and psychiatric explanations.
Around 1985-90 I read Hervey Cleckley's book, The Mask of Sanity. Cleckley writes about the sociopath/psychopath. The full-blown sociopath is so dysfuctional that he cannot hold a steady job, and is in and out of the psychiatric hospital. There are also partial forms. With great artistry, Cleckley sketches a series of figures, culminating with the sociopath as psychiatrist. The figure sketched has completely fooled some people. The book ends with this partial sociopath/psychopath psychiatrist giving a lecture about.... the personality of the sociopath! The irony!
On p. 33 of the 5th edition (which I copied for my files), Cleckley gives a long footnote. The jumping off point was that exaggerating and falsifying, sometimes unconscious or half-conscious, is often seen in sane people, some of whom are able, intelligent, and highly successful. The footnote recounts a professor of physics who has often regaled acquaintances "with accounts of working his way through university by playing professional ice hockey at night, later setting type on a newspaper for several hours, rising before daylight to stoke tugboats on the waterfront, riding thirty-four miles to a high school to teach one subject and thirty-fours miles back, as well as keeping house in a three-room apartment shared with six aviators and relieving the janitor of the building one hour during each twenty four. All these activities were spoken of as being carried out simultanously and along with full time work at the university.
The same friend once came up from behind while another man and I were commenting on the height of a cliff on which we stood. The hazards of a dive from the position were being idly discussed. The newcomer at once estimated, probably with commendable accuracy, the height, and angle of landing, and all the technicalities of such a dive. He then launched into an astonishing description of a dive he had made in early youth from the bridge 167 feet above the Guadalquiver.
One of the students to whom this excellent scholar lectures stated that it is the custom for each succeeding class to tabulate his adventures and their duration in these pseudo-reminiscences and therefrom compute his age. The top figure so far is 169 years..... He is no part of a psychopath. He is, is fact, a character whose essential traits lie at the opposite extreme. The reminiscences ascribed to him are not told boastfully or for the purpose of shielding himself or of gaining any material end. He is strikingly free of arrogance, kind to a remarkable degree, and altogether worthy of his strong reputation as a good a reliable man."
I hypothesize that Jack Hickman started like the physics professor but changed over time, becoming more like the partial psychopaths/sociopaths analyzed by Cleckley. I do not have a religious/spiritual framework for accounting for such a change, but it appears conceivable from a psychiatric perspective. Some who know more psychiatry could perhaps demonstrate that such a change is highly unlikely, but I have not looked into it.