Liberation of Schizophrenia
Pinel Ordering Chains Removed in Paris – 1795

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 intention is directly communicating with the patients mind.  These patients perceive that a vivid portion of their thoughts are emanating from outside of them.

Following the view of mental illness I have pursuing in this blog, all mental illnesses are portions of normal behavior that escape from being modulated and regulated and spin out into uncontrolled hyperactivity (feedback reverberation.)  Assuming that this analysis is correct, what would be the normal function of thought that is spun into hyperactivity in Schizophrenia?

A logical answer would be that our normal thought process involves communication from external sources.  What are these external sources?  They are the BELIEFS of the nested groups within which we all are embedded.  Beliefs are emotional attachments to relational values that are continuously communicating to us from these groups.  Republicans groups are communicating belief in loyalty while Democratic groups are communicating belief in compassion.  When we think, these beliefs are like the rules and referees in a game both within and between the groups within which we navigate our lives.    

We normal ones have no awareness of the degree to which our thoughts are determined by the beliefs of our communities because together we are all immersed inside them.  Belief is like the air we breathe in common and the water in which we all swim. 

The question before us then is this.  Are there transcendent beliefs that exist by virtue of being part of the group called Homo sapiens, and, furthermore, if there are such communications that guide our every thought, what is the name that you would render for their source?

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5 Comments on “Emotional Fossils III – The Sacred Disease”

  1. Many are questioned but few answer. And one might well ask whether one must rage or submit.

    I am working on my answer, at last, but am torn between the poles of resentment and gratitude. Intellectually, I know, the only way out is through. Those I most admire move most in tune with the source. Which may make them radicals, after all, though different from those that rage. Who was more radical or more humane both than Jesus?

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