posted on Mar, 29 2015 @ 06:41 PM
I've heard now a few different speculations about Andreas Lubitz and the 'mental illness' he dealt with, but none of the analyses I've read thus
far sound to me as plausible or sophisticated enough to help the general public understand how someone could do what he did.
First and foremost, what he did was something that most people in their ordinary state of mind couldn't even fathom doing. That's probably obvious
to most of us.
I watched a CNN interview in which a flight trainer simulated the scenario Lubitz was in but couldn't allow himself to 'crash' into the mountains.
It was an interesting demonstration - though completely lost on the interviewer and the pilot - on how self-states operate in the human unconscious.
In this situation, just as the plane reached closer and closer to the virtual mountain top, the pilot pulled upwards: he couldn't even pretend to let
his plane crash - such was the influence of his self-awareness on the meaning of that action.
The issue at the heart of Lubitz action is dissociation. Instead of concentrating upon this mental state on Lubitz body and mind, we've heard stories
about his depressiveness or his anxiety - both of which, mind you, were probably present in his personal history, but they do not factor much into the
action itself. It takes more than depression to commit an act as grisly as this. It's takes not knowing what you're doing.
The two aspects of dissociation most probably present in Lubitz mind-state was derealization and depersonalization. Undoubtedly, Lubitz must have
considered the world around him - the plane, the cockpit, and the open window from which he saw a birds-eye picture of the world before him - as
somehow 'unreal'. Derealization is the subjective experience of the objective world as somehow seeming 'fake' and 'unreal'. Depersonalization on
the other hand is the same sort of experience but with ones own body. One's hands, one's viscera, ones limbs: all connection between higher-cortical
consciousness and the body is 'blocked' and 'dissociated' from conscious awareness. Without a feeling of being 'rooted' in ones body, with
affects which one can reflect upon, one is faced with a dreamy sense of self and being in the world. Depersonalization tends to subtend feelings of
Obviously, though, fatigue and tiredness, probably from his job, played a big part here in allowing his mind to fall into such morbid dissociatio.
Anxiety and paranoia as well must have been an additional element to Lubitz deciding upon this action. But in carrying the act out, his other
self-states, states in which he likely knew anxiety about the thought of killing himself and others - the presence of an AWARE consciousness which
KNOWS the MEANING of his action (and the horrific consequences) on other lives, had likely vanished from his attending mind.
Somehow - probably because of fatigue - a previous fantasy image he had (of killing himself and others by crashing it) took over his mind and
possessed his awareness. Other self-states which may have become present (such as an awareness of what he was doing) were as 'locked out' from his
mind as the pilot from the cockpit. Imagine, for a moment, the pilot slamming on the door begging Lubitz to open it. Were told that from within the
cockpit, all we hear is Lubitz slow breathing - relaxed even! This is the posture of a man who sees the world not from within, but from without: who
doesn't feel or experience the screams and wails of the captain and others with fear and anxiety, but is eerily removed from it; from the sounds
without; from the meaning of his actions generated within.
A depressive state of mind increases the odds of these sorts of psychotic dissociated enactments from occurring, and it likely that he has had this
thought - of killing himself and others - before, since one can imagine that a pilot could experience such morbid thoughts from time to time,
particularly if they're in the midst of a depressive episode.
Perhaps the hardest thing for us to tolerate is the fact that this man, in a better state of mind (maybe a more normal one for him) would have been
shocked at what he did. Of course, he can't nor can anyone know that outcome. What we're exposed to - is the result. His death and the murder of 148
innocent people with him.
Was he at fault? Certainly. But there's also a strong sense of how tragically preventable this would have been had Airline companies appreciated how
vital it is that their pilots be psychologically able to tolerate the stresses that come with flying commercial airplanes.
I asked myself - and others - would it be so bad for pilots to be required to attend psychotherapy sessions monthly or bi-monthly? Besides the general
well-being that a responsive other can provide, it would absolutely bring to the forefront any fears and ideations a person may have; and if not, a
trained psychoanalyst would be able to discern the presence of a gap where something feared is hidden.
Psychological testing, from the beginning, is not enough, as anyone can fall into a depression. Whats required - and what really should be demanded
from the public - is that pilots be in a position to tolerate the stresses that go into their jobs without succumbing to states of mind where they can
no longer meta-cognitively 'observe' what they are doing.