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  1. #1

    Default Mental Illness and Wisdom

    There are many people who assign a specific sigma to mental illness. The basic idea amounts to not listening to the mentally ill. If someone is mentally ill, the notion is that their thoughts, their beliefs, and their observations should be ignored to protect ones own.

    There was a rumor about Dale Carnegie spread to discredit his book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" that he committed suicide. There were articles after Robin Williams' death about how people were uneasy with his humor, pointing to his illness as an explanation for this ill ease.

    This notion is tied to the idea that wisdom leads to necessarily to total emotional health. The logical consequence is that a lack of total emotional health means a lack of wisdom.

    What do you think about this notion?

    What is your opinion of the mentally ill, and the wisdom that they may or may not have?

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    Funnily enough I saw a book in the airport the otherday correlating the mentally ill with leadership. I forget what its called now otherwise I'd provide the Amazon link. But a quick peruse posited that people with mental illness can actually become exceedingly wise because it opens the floodgate on empathy, lateral thinking and other leadership traits.

    Found it.. A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness: Nassir Ghaemi: 9780143121336: Amazon.com: Books

    Aside from that title which I found interesting (wish I'd bought it now) I do think society over stigmatises not just mental illness but also any kind of divergent thinking that does not reflect the consensus of the masses. Until that divergent thinking of course amounts to something like (say the Apple Corp) and then of course it suddenly lauded as genius. But the small acts of genius that happen everyday get by and large ignored or shouted down.

    Humanity is a herd following thing I've come to realise and the genius of many will not be realised until they have long perished. Normalisation of society is I think the greatest illness of them all.

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    I think it's like people like ducks but they also pretend to like roosters. and as long as someone is a duck it's wonderful everyone listens to the duck. but as soon as they see a rooster they say they think the rooster is all right but often discards what the roosters says and put them on the out skirts of society. So if you can look like a duck even though your rooster you will be fine. but if you're a rooster and can not appear to be duck no matter how hard you try or how smart you are you will end up largely ignored by society.

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    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so
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    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    There are many people who assign a specific sigma to mental illness. The basic idea amounts to not listening to the mentally ill. If someone is mentally ill, the notion is that their thoughts, their beliefs, and their observations should be ignored to protect ones own.

    There was a rumor about Dale Carnegie spread to discredit his book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" that he committed suicide. There were articles after Robin Williams' death about how people were uneasy with his humor, pointing to his illness as an explanation for this ill ease.
    I think the notion that the mentally ill are not to be trusted is a remnant of ages past in which the mind was so poorly understood that one could be something as undefined as 'crazy'. If one is either sane or insane, then, of course, the insane are not to be trusted. Fortunately, we now know that there are countless ways in which one mind differs from all others and countless ways to be mentally ill, all of which deserve to be viewed and treated according to their specific qualities. To think of the mentally ill as a cohesive group of individuals sharing some defining quality which makes them 'mentally ill' runs counter to our current understanding of evolution, human society, and the mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    This notion is tied to the idea that wisdom leads to necessarily to total emotional health. The logical consequence is that a lack of total emotional health means a lack of wisdom.

    What do you think about this notion?
    I think the former notion, that wisdom leads to emotional health, does exist, if only because wisdom is often understood as the knowledge of how to live a good life (which would seem to involve emotional health). I do not think I have come across the opposite notion, though. No surprise there, as few people care about logical consequences, particularly of underdetermined cultural notions.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    What is your opinion of the mentally ill, and the wisdom that they may or may not have?
    That depends entirely on the individual and the illness in question. My opinion of the mentally ill in general is about as defined as my opinion of people not named John.
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    Junior Member Recktor's Avatar
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    I've always assumed that mental illness resulted as an amalgam of emotional isolation, singular focus, and extreme intelligence (save for those genetically predisposed to such problems). Not the other way around

    Often times the people who 'go insane' had above average intelligence. E.g. A science presentation by James Holmes in 2006 - YouTube

    And from Wikipedia:

    Kaczynski's lawyers, headed by Montana federal defender Michael Donahoe, attempted to enter an insanity defense to save Kaczynski's life, but Kaczynski rejected this plea. A court-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed Kaczynski as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia,[89] but declared him competent to stand trial. Kaczynski's family said Ted would psychologically "shut down" when pressured.[90] In the book Technological Slavery, Kaczynski recalls two prison psychologists, Dr. James Watterson and Dr. Michael Morrison, who visited him almost every day for a period of four years, who told him that they saw no indication that he suffered from any such serious mental illness, and that the diagnosis of his being paranoid schizophrenic was "ridiculous" and a "political diagnosis." Dr. Morrison made remarks to him about psychologists and psychiatrists providing any desired diagnosis if they are well paid for doing so.

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    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    I've always asserted most mental illness is from childhood neglect or abuse. Say 93%

    And 7% organic.
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    I think it's a ridiculous stigma since a ridiculous number of artists, writers, musicians and other prominent thinkers (including mathematicians) suffered from some kind of mental illness, ranging from depression to schizophrenia, and let's not forget all of the supposedly smart people who are aspergergers or autistic. Some people are utterly frightened of autistics, comparing them to narcissist and sociopaths because of their lack of emotional intelligence, and yet many people online act like being aspie is cool because it's associated with people being good in math or science.

    External circumstances like drug related psychosis, fevers and permanent damage from things like meningitis can also effect a person emotionally or in their thoughts.

    I think we should look for the strengths in each illness. Like, why did this illness evolve genetically? Bipolar people tend to be creative, schizophrenic people were even more attractive on average than average people, sociopathic people are often over achievers, etc.

    Plus never rule out the possibility that our current social framework is part of the problem, contributing to sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. The way we live us just not natural. Put some bipolar people in Medieval Europe and watch them thrive?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AphroditeGoneAwry View Post
    I've always asserted most mental illness is from childhood neglect or abuse. Say 93%

    And 7% organic.
    No it depends on what it is. Personality disorders are often related to child abuse, but bipolar disorder travels in a similar genetic group as autism spectrum (both are spectrum disorders involving lack of emotional control, among other traits) and schizophrenia is found in nearly every culture.

    However many common problems like ADHD, and increase in depression and anxiety are due to things like the stress of modern life, isolation, watching television and being online simultaneously, spending too much time on electronic devices, traffic, over scheduling and over busyness, etc. Not to mention things like poor diet, lack of exercise or lack of sun (all organic but not genetic illness).

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    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    I respectfully disagree.

    That is a bunch of hogwash. I realize you are likely quoting modern psychology. And it is a bunch of hogwash.


    I agree with your second paragraph. But not for real disorders. This forum tend to want to downplay real disorders and lump them in with dysfunctions we all deal with. It's a form of denial for them.

    Real disorders are caused by child abuse or neglect.

    And most borderline issues like autism and ADD/ADHD can be essentially cured by a good family, and with therapeutic techniques applied by a loving family.
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    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AphroditeGoneAwry View Post
    I respectfully disagree.

    That is a bunch of hogwash. I realize you are likely quoting modern psychology. And it is a bunch of hogwash.
    You respectfully disagree with proven facts? It is not some strange theory or wild assumption that bipolar disorder is hugely genetic. Not only do we know this to be true, any idiot can also observe it for herself in the families of the people afflicted with it. Indeed, assessing family history is part of the diagnostic process in determining bipolar.

    Quote Originally Posted by AphroditeGoneAwry View Post
    And most borderline issues like autism and ADD/ADHD can be essentially cured by a good family, and with therapeutic techniques applied by a loving family.
    You are a painfully naive person. Have you ever been to a school or read a book that was not about religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chthonic View Post
    Funnily enough I saw a book in the airport the otherday correlating the mentally ill with leadership. I forget what its called now otherwise I'd provide the Amazon link. But a quick peruse posited that people with mental illness can actually become exceedingly wise because it opens the floodgate on empathy, lateral thinking and other leadership traits.

    Found it.. A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness: Nassir Ghaemi: 9780143121336: Amazon.com: Books
    I am about halfway through it. Very interesting, although not all cases he makes are convincing (particularly Gandhi and MLK). For people interested in mania and depression or, really, history, it is well worth the read. For instance, I was aware of W. T. Sherman's depression, but not of his mania, which seems to be far more essential to his personality. Nor did I know that Roosevelt and Kennedy were so obviously hyperthymic.

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