Sunday, September 09, 2012


I wish I understood craziness better. Perhaps I want to understand it because I wish I could help. Once in a while some acquaintance or other slips into a bout of madness, the kind of state where they can't be reasoned with. Once there, they often lash out darkly at friends, revealing what seem like huge long-simmering resentments.

Thomas Szasz, somewhere or other, said that it was important to learn to say "no" about small things, that otherwise you might end up holding onto all your small noes and saying one big NO that will actually prove calamitous.

In my youth, I was very impressed by Szasz's critique of the "mental illness model". I still think there is a lot of overrated science involved in the whole DSM approach to the categorization and diagnosis of mental disturbances.

I thought this was interesting from the Wikipedia article on Szasz:
Szasz argues that only mental illnesses are defined based on consensus and symptom clusters. It has been argued this is not the case. Critics claim physical illnesses such as Kawasaki syndrome (a disorder of the heart and blood vessels)[33] and Ménière's disease (a disorder of the inner ear)[34] are similarly defined.
We know so much more
than we did before,
but the detailed workings of the brain,
whether sensible or delirious,
mostly remain


Charlie McDanger said...

Modern academics love to trash Freud, but I find his texts compelling.

"Civilization and its Discontents" fairly nails it, I think.

JohnJEnright said...

Maybe I should give it a look! I know there's a copy on the shelves here... (Marsha has an MA in psych.)