I use the term “eigenstate” to refer to the different self-states or
personality states that each person occupies at different times. Eigenstates are
bundles of thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviors. One eigenstate may be
remarkably different to another producing a splitting of personality effect.
Human descriptions tend to split the world into two-state sets or dichotomies;
good-bad, high-low, happy-sad, peaceful-violent, introvert-extrovert, euphoric-dysphoric,
and so on. We can make use of two-state descriptions without really believing
that the world is split into two opposing camps. In our moments of clearest
understanding, we realize that the world is really an integrated, seamless,
whole-system in constant flux.
Molecular signals and switches are useful devices when we try to explain how
and why a person will change mental and behavioral states abruptly. Many
patients describe splitting as if they had two or more personalities. Each
personality may be thought of as an eigenstate or a collection of states that
tend to merge. The transitions between the eigenstates can vary from abrupt to
smooth. Transitions occur at different frequencies. Eigenstates can be stable or
unstable. States and transitions have different energy values from hot to cold.
Abrupt transitions between two opposite eigenstates are "flip-flops". The worst
person to be or to deal with has hot, frequent transitions among unstable
A "normal' eigenstate is the most stable, integrated state a person has. A
"normal" person will occupy this state more often than not and will develop
smooth, regular transitions to other eigenstates. Anger is the most common
mechanism of abrupt eigenstate change. If transitions are more or less
predictable, a person is thought to be stable and reliable. To remain normal,
consistent information must be passed from one eigenstate to another to assure
continuity of the person. This information may be limited but usually includes
enough general self-identity that the person is recognizable. If
eigenstates become totally disconnected, multiple personalities emerge. There
are remarkable examples of multiple personalities; two or more eigenstates
become stable and strong enough to take over completely. The transitions are
abrupt and recall of experiences from one state to another is limited or
completely blocked. Hypnotic suggestion can induce eigenstate shifts with
similar blocks to information exchange producing hypnotic amnesia.
Rather than pretending that humans are perfectly integrated, rational
creatures, totally in control, we can acknowledge that all human beings are
irrational, compulsive, unstable and vulnerable to environment changes and
incoming molecular influences. Several two-state descriptions are helpful,
although no single two-state description is ever completely true. We will
notice, for example, that most people will move between an adult and a child
personality, depending on the context. An adult can read this book and develop
an interest and understanding of health-seeking transformations. A child is
resistant to change, petulant, irrational and demands instant gratification.
Molecular switches may be obvious or concealed. An agitated, sick,
belligerent alcoholic in withdrawal will switch to a more stable, reasonable
eigenstate by drinking more of the alcoholic beverage that made him or her sick.
Other drugs will act as obvious molecular switches and drug users are explicitly
aware of the eigenstates they seek. LSD is a dramatic example of a molecular
switch that changes eigenstates abruptly and sequentially, leaving you little or
no control over your experience. An LSD trip takes you through a variety of
states, so different and exotic that the whole sense of a coherent reality is
dismantled in favor of a random assortment of interesting and novel experiences.
Food and beverages contain a variety of molecular switches that are usually well
concealed in the course of day-to-day living.
In children on controlled diets with parents and teachers monitoring closely,
flip-flops are obvious and can often be related to eating or drinking specific
foods. To keep matters simple, we refer to a "food reaction" which triggers
behavior change, but we infer that many changes are going on at the same time in
the child's brain. A child's entire identity shifts, complete with different
attitudes, thoughts, and personality characteristics. Younger children have less
ability to smooth their transitions than adults. The 4-year old child who spends
10 minutes screaming loudly and then bites her mother, shouting "I hate you"
will be excused by most loving parents. However, adults displaying the same
behavior in the wrong context may end up in jail or the psychiatric ward. The
child's behavior was triggered by chocolate cake, jelly and ice cream at a
birthday party. The adult's outburst may be triggered by lasagna, red wine,
cheese, and chocolate mousse at an expensive restaurant. What is surprising is
that the shift in eigenstates can be as dramatic as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
shift. In Robert Louis Stevenson's story of flip-flop transitions between two
states, Dr. Jekyll swallows a liquid potion (might as well be rum and coke) and
undergoes a startling metamorphosis. He painfully transforms into Mr. Hyde, a
sociopath who kills women in fits of rage. In movie versions, the transformation
includes a physical change with rapidly growing hair, muscle hypertrophy and
enlarged canine teeth. In real life, the transformation occurs invisibly in the
This is not just a fictional story of an improbable transformation, but is
also a dramatization of a common path to violent behavior – by the ingestion of
molecular switches. The children we observe doing flip-flop, food-triggered
personality shifts, also have fits of rage, and the worst afflicted display
frighteningly aggressive behavior, attacking other children or their parents.
Children's temper tantrums can be fully developed rituals of hate, violence and
self-destructive behavior and often contrast remarkably with the "normal" state.
The children who continue to be volatile and flip-flop in an uncontrolled
fashion soon get the reputation for being "bad" and tend to develop negative,
antisocial personalities. The tragedy of these destructive outcomes is that it
may be preventable by an early change in the child's food supply.
Similar shifts from eigenstate A to state B occur in adults. Adults report
different sets of thoughts and feelings in the different states. More insightful adults will
describe distinct personalities. An angry, gloomy side may alternate with a
happier, more affectionate, generous personality. The most obvious eigenstate-modulators
in adults are alcoholic beverages. At low doses, the effect may be pleasant and
socially useful, but at high doses, the worst sociopathic, destructive behavior
emerges. We are used to thinking of the alcoholic as a split personality who
flip-flops between a sober state and a drunken state. If you look more closely,
you will find more food-dependent states. A sober, recovering alcoholic may
continue flip-flopping by drinking Coca-Cola or coffee with 3 teaspoons of sugar
per cup. High doses of coffee with sugar induce unstable eigenstate shifts.
Food dhrmicals are milder versions of cocaine and amphetamines that
cause dangerous flip-flops and paranoia in chronic users.