A Liberal Awakening - Part III

Human Nature – Part III: The Evolution of the Invisible Hand

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Justice, Mental illness

Third in series: click for first or second (two more coming) I entered the field of psychiatry forty-seven years ago imbued by Jung’s theory of a collective unconscious. Jung felt that Freud’s concept of his superego was an attempt to make the collective unconscious personal instead of “universal and deeply historical.” As I began to think …

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First Psychiatric Hospital: A Study in Contrast

Schizophrenia and the Meaning of . . . .

Filed under: Belief, Evolution of Emotion, Mental illness | 2 Comments

I have chronicled how in my study of clinical depression I gradually came to the conclusion that the basic mechanism of all major mental illnesses is similar to cancer in that it represents the escape from regulation into unrestrained pathological hyperactivity. In cancer, the hyperactivity is the growth of cancer cells; in mental illness, it …

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Mental illness stigma

Hidden Evolutionary Benefits to Mental Illness?

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Mental illness

I recently got a note from someone about Old Mind, New Mind who has suffered from mental illness. As soon as he found out that the book was about the relationship between mental illness and human evolution, he assumed that I thought that mental illnesses are adaptive in some way and expressed his reservations about …

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What we caught from Neandertals

SAD is an STD (and we caught it from the Neandertals!)

Filed under: Mental illness

major mental illnesses are an epiphenomenon—or “side effect”—of the major adaptation that bestowed upon us the miraculous capacities of reflective self-consciousness and the deep complexity of syntactical language that has enabled our rich symbolic culture. Therefore we should look at the mentally ill as paying the price for our extraordinary capacities.

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Religion and Mental Illness

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolutionary psychology, God

Religion is present in two of the illnesses I treated and studied. I am fairly certain that, in both of these mental conditions, it had to do with the patients’ belief system prior to the illness—with whether the individual was primarily motivated by money and status or by religion and morality. In a small number …

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Philosophical Journey – Discovering the Mystery of Creation in the Mind – a memoir; #6: Schizophrenia, Group Beliefs, and the Chasm of Politics

Filed under: Belief, Group Selection, Summary of Philosophy

Schizophrenia is the most mysterious major illness in all of medicine, made all the more fascinating to me because my own family’s secret was an afflicted aunt who had been banished to a sanatorium for her entire life. In a small room in the mortuary, I spend a half hour with her corpse meditating upon …

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God and Mental Illness

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology

Religion presented itself primarily in two of the illnesses I treated and studied. I am pretty sure that in both cases it had to do with the patient’s belief system prior to the illness—whether the individual was primarily motivated by money and status or by religion and morality. In a minority of cases, melancholia would …

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Schizophrenia and Normal Communication from Our Groups (eg: cable news)

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection

First and foremost, as stated above, the diagnosis of Schizophrenia is made when the patient reports that their thoughts are perceived as deriving from an external source.  As well as the emotional turmoil created by this strangest of experiences, I came to the conclusion that the other dramatic symptom associated with Schizophrenia, hearing voices, was …

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Emotional Fossils III – The Sacred Disease

Filed under: Belief, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology | 5 Comments

In Hippocrates’ time, epilepsy was known as the sacred disease, because it was if the gods had seized the patient’s body.  Schizophrenia could have also been called a sacred disease, because it is as if the gods have seized the patient’s mind.  The most central symptom in Schizophrenia is the unshakable belief that an external …

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