Happy New Year, and welcome to Issue Five of Third Factor! I’m very sorry for the delay, but I hope it will be worth the wait.
Each of the four articles in this issue is about some other topic, but each shows how Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration can enrich our understanding of other subjects—or how those other subjects can enrich our understanding of positive disintegration. Two of the articles feature interviews, while the other two introduce new authors whom I’m delighted to welcome aboard.
In How To Thrive In Our Dopaminergic Society—And Maybe How to Rescue It, I chat with the authors of a book that I’ve been recommending left and right since I stumbled across it last fall. It’s called The Molecule of More, and it illustrates the poweful role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in our inner and outer worlds. Why should Third Factor readers care about dopamine? Well, it’s relevant to understanding giftedness; it’s key to creativity as well as mental illness; it plays a role in our political divides; and it has both fueled human civilization and may be fueling it right off a cliff. Suffice it it to say, you won’t want to miss this book, or this interview, if you aspire to be a human catalyst.
In Order Out of Chaos: Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics of Positive Disintegration, Krystyna C. Laycraft shares an intriguing connection that she made as a physics student between chaos theory and the psychology laid out in the theory of positive disintegration. I had the opportunity to attend Krystyna’s presentation at the 2018 Dabrowski Congress, and it’s an honor to be able to bring her creative connections between the physical and social scientists to the Third Factor audience.
In There and Half-Way Back Again: How Openness Guided My Journey Through Politics, Andrea Lynn explores how her high level of openness to experience, a Big Five personality trait that has been described as analogous to overexcitability, has manifested itself on her winding political and intellectual journey. With the political environment causing many of us to experience disintegration these days, I hope you’ll find Andrea’s story a refreshing tale of growth through listening to people who see things differently.
In Where Intensity and Gender Dysphoria Meet: Some Exploratory Conversations, I talk to several sufferers of gender dysphoria about their experiences of overexcitability, including two transgender men and four women who formerly considered themselves transgender. It’s a hugely complex and individual topic, and I hope that this piece will offer food for thought for those seeking self-knowledge, regardless of their gender identification. For the record, my partner Chris Wells expressed concern that showcasing detransitioned women and discussing “rapid onset gender dysphoria” could be seen as invalidating transgender people as a whole. I sought to approach this subject in a way that is sensitive to this concern, but if I have failed in this respect, the responsibility is mine alone. Either way, I welcome your feedback.
Coming in Issues Six and Seven
It strikes me that we have spent a lot of time talking about overexcitability, but we have yet to really dig deep into why it can ultimately be positive when many manifestations of it appear decidedly negative. Looking forward to our March/April issue, we have several stories lined up that will showcase people’s disintegrative and growth experiences. We’ll also be looking at creativity and its pursuit, and are exploring spirituality and reintegration as the theme of an upcoming issue. Do these topics interest you? Do you have a story you’d like to share? Don’t hesitate to reach out! Drafts for Issue Six must be received by February 15; drafts for Issue Seven are tentatively due by April 15.
And if you’re wondering how the process works, stay tuned: in the coming weeks, I’ll post some guidance for how to submit article ideas and the process they go through before publication.
Thank you to all our contributors and thank you, readers, for being here!
Editor in Chief