The Right Brain and the Unconscious: Discovering the Stranger Within

By R. Joseph | Go to book overview

6
The Limbic System and the Most
Primitive Regions of the Unconscious

In 1966, Charles Whitman, a former Boy Scout and Eagle Scout, a model husband and overall "great guy," climbed a tower at the University of Texas and began to indiscriminately kill people with a high-powered rifle. Earlier in the day, he had brutally murdered his wife, whom he claimed, even after her death, to have "loved dearly."

For several weeks, he had been troubled by violent thoughts and headaches. He found himself thinking about killing and hurting people and had been increasingly overwhelmed by violent urges. As these were completely contrary to his nature, he became extremely worried and made an appointment with a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, after a two-hour session, the therapist was unable to provide him with any insight or relief.

Feeling increasingly frightened by what was occurring in his mind, and fearing that he might act on these violent impulses, he tried to turn himself in to the police. Because they couldn't charge him with anything, they sent him home. The impulses began to grow in intensity, and he finally sat himself down and wrote a letter:

I don't really understand myself these days. Lately I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts.

-107-

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