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Posted by Spratley on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 at 13:39:44 :
In Reply to: insanity posted by johngudaitis on Monday, October 28, 2002 at 23:22:28 :
: a measured behavior pattern outside the limits of
: proscribed dictates of society
Professional psychology defines a disorder as an abnormal behavior pattern which is somehow damaging or deliterious to the disordered person or others in contact with them.
This is a slightly better means of trying to objectify insanity or otherwise pathological psychology. It attempts to keep insanity out of the realm of the simply-different and ad a measureable quality to it -damage, pain, undesireable. But, of course, this doesn't extricate it from the normalism inherent to all psychological judgements. What if the damage being done is to another person, and the nautre of the damage is discomfort caused by the abnormality of the behavior 9in otherwords, the fact that the behavior makes the person uncomfortable because it is different from what they are used to dealing with? What if the damage being done to the "crazy" person is that they can't hold their corporate job, can't pay rent on an apartment and can't afford to eat the same things we eat? Are these bad things in any universal sense? If they are then the indigenous tribes of South America are all crazy, Native North Americans are all crazy, anyone who isn't firmly installed in the culture of civilization is crazy.
Crazy, then, seems to be a state of being in which a person does not conform to the scaffolding that civilization has erected around us in order to shape our lives. A person that does not order their lives in such a way as to hold down a job, join themselves in a reproductive family unit, buy and consume at a rate sufficient to keep them clean, neat and in style. . . this person is crazy.
So we have a scientific system, which is itself a product of the cultural scaffolding we live around, defining madness as a state of being in which a person does not resemble the majority of humans. When we lok at the behavior of the majority of humans the scaffolding is revealed --jobs, consumption, property ownership, interest in politics and events.
Is it clear yet? If I can personify the set of values and beliefs which make up the overall culture which all of the civilized workd belongs to, I am saying that Culture defines what madness is, and it defines it as anything which does not conform or respect the authority of itself! What purpose could culture have in marginalizing, pathologizing and therefore devaluing behaviors which do not conform to its tenets? Well, perpetuating itself of course. The act of invalidating differing opinions is an act of control, of dictation, or coersion.
This is different than an entity or organization wanting to be the best it can possibly be. If this were what our Culture is doing, then it wouldn't automatically define any behavior unlike it as diseased and therefore pariah. It would consider these points of view, and if they were found to have value Culture would adapt itself to include them rather than adapting them to be excluded.
I don't beleive Culture wants to adapt itself in order to improve itself. I belive Culture wants to remain exactly as it is, and have 100% membership (just like Saddam), because it beleives it is the perfect system as is. Anything or anyone that beleives they are absolutely right will be intolerant of disagreement. See for yourself, its all around in the world. Something that beleives itself absolutely right will demand assent, will wage war against dissent, will do horrible things and never even realize it because they feel absolutely justified.
Whoa, how did I get here? I didn't mean to take this topic here. Oh well.
I do beleive in organic insanity, when the brain and mind don't function as an organized, effective information processing unit. But I think there are many valid mental and neurological states. And I think the Culture they occur in keep them form working properly. Schizophrenia is rampant in the Native American population. Is it posible that the way their minds work --which must have been okay since they survived for 40,000 years before white man arrived-- simply don't work in a civilized society? Is it possible that the Culture that calls their minds sick or malfunctional is causing the malfunction, not only be defining and naming it as such but by not allowing it the conditions it needs to be healthy?
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