Mental illness as Exorcism - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Mental illness as Exorcism


if I understand it correctly, Alan Watts' view on mental illness (using schizophrenia as an example) is that it's basically an exorcism process.
A grueling re-adjustment to the "Real World" (and i interpret this to mean that he claims that schizophrenia is 100% "reversible"). He also says that "mentally ill" people might just have a different perception of reality, no less valid than anyone else's - that "sanity is mob rule".


i find both of those opinions, while not completely compatible with each other, extremely fascinating. it just feels very plausible, but i'm not eloquent enough to explain why it resonates with my "metaphysical logic".

I may be slightly misremembering his stance, the actual thing: youtube.com /watch?v=CKAXMyid3NI

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 02:47 PM
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It must be nice to have such a limited experience of mental illness as to be able to think that it might be reversible - or even to think about it in just intellectual and metaphysical terms.

A few weeks ago a guy with schizophrenia murdered his girlfriend and left her leaning up against a wall in one of the streets in Chinatown in my city. I wonder how socially acceptable our friend Mr Watts would find that?

(I obviously only listened to a minute or two of that nonsense - any more would have made me want to break something)
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 06:07 PM
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Ignoring the fact that the definition of mental illness is very variable and there are a wide range of things considered mental illness I'll just focus on the example you used in the OP.

I've seen the stance in literature that schizophrenia is the complete or near inability to form a distinction between internal reality and the external, then conditions such as schizoid are milder variants where you managed it to some degree but not well enough which is supposed to explain why schizoids are rarely psychotic but prefer to live in their head/fantasise/do their own thing while maintaining a 'false self' that engages with the world.

Quote:
Here we turn to Winnicott for his unique and deep insight into the schizoid state. Winnicott’s understanding was based on extensive pediatric work, experience with “severely regressed patients,” and soul-searching of his own personal condition (Rodman 2003, pp. 289–291). Like Freud, he believed that psychopathology was a manifestation of something gone awry in healthy human potential—that the abnormal could be comprehended through better understanding of the normal. Thus, Winnicott (1960) believed that the schizoid state—with its problems in relationship—has its origin in the early infant’s first attempt to relate itself to the “maternal environment.” He describes this as the “gesture” that, as a “spontaneous impulse” from the True Self, needs to be met by a receptive, non-intrusive mother, thus encouraging the infant’s further exploration into “Not-Me” space (pp. 144–146). [This explication of the infant’s first distinction between inner and outer “worlds,” self and other, is reinforced by Mahler et al.’s (1975) pediatric observations of what she calls the “differentiation subphase” of early human growth (pp. 52–64)].
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When the infant’s spontaneous gesture is not well enough received, distinction between the subjective reality of the self and objective outer reality is unsure. The schizophrenic significantly fails to master this crucial developmental task. The schizoid personality, however, has been able to make a workable differentiation, but not securely. Depending on the degree to which the early experience has been wanting, the schizoid personality will regard the separateness of inside and out, self and other as a risky business. Winnicott, it should be noted, although he tends toward an inclusive description of the origin of schizoid states, clearly distinguishes between schizophrenia and characterological forms of the schizoid condition.
https://link.springer.com/article/10...615-017-0629-2

I think the range of experiences are somewhat like what psychedelics do in that they seem to dissolve mental/ego boundaries and cause you to identify with objects outside of yourself, and that's probably why various schizo-spectrum disorders involve feeling like you're being psychically invaded or people can take stuff from your mind or are controlling you and things in the environment have specific and special relevance to you etc.

Also I'm really tired right now so this post isn't very good. Yeah I have to go to bed so I can't listen to all of that also probably wouldn't anyway, I notice he brought up Ronald Lang at the beginning who wrote The Divided Self. I have read various parts of that before.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 04:00 AM
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Using religious like language to insinuate that mental illness is something that needs to be purged or is an evil is nothing new. It's one of the first mental health theories that existed. I'm not a fan of this throwback, since it leads to some pretty terrifying treatments.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ideasunlimitedonline View Post
Using religious like language to insinuate that mental illness is something that needs to be purged or is an evil is nothing new. It's one of the first mental health theories that existed. I'm not a fan of this throwback, since it leads to some pretty terrifying treatments.
I don't mean excorcism in a literal, biblical sense.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by versikk View Post
I don't mean excorcism in a literal, biblical sense.
You might not mean it, but an exorcism is a religious word. It literally means to purge one of demons. Perhaps likening it to a transference from negative to positive behaviors would be a better descriptor, or releasing held onto mental shackles. But exorcism has a pretty specific meaning and connotation within mental health.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 11:18 AM
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everyone gets cured when they die.

and yeah neurodiversity is a thing.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ideasunlimitedonline View Post
You might not mean it, but an exorcism is a religious word. It literally means to purge one of demons. Perhaps likening it to a transference from negative to positive behaviors would be a better descriptor, or releasing held onto mental shackles. But exorcism has a pretty specific meaning and connotation within mental health.
we talk of demons when referring to maladies of the brain, but it doesn't mean that we genuinely believe we are possessed in a fantastical, religious sense. figures of speech.

also why can't you be poetic damnit

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yes that is an interesting connection to make.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 12:23 AM
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Do you mean more so of merging or reconciling the two worlds together? If so, I think that's a fairly accurate assessment. I'm not sure that mentally ill people think that radically apart from other people, aside from their illnesses, but I'm sure there's this compromise happening in their minds all the time. Which is crazy.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by coeur_brise View Post
Do you mean more so of merging or reconciling the two worlds together? If so, I think that's a fairly accurate assessment. I'm not sure that mentally ill people think that radically apart from other people, aside from their illnesses, but I'm sure there's this compromise happening in their minds all the time. Which is crazy.
that's not what i infer, but sounds perfectly plausible as well IMO.

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