I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
May 07, 2012 - 12:39 a.m.
I'm going to try and go back to writing every day. The timing won't be as regular as it was. I'll write from my office when possible. It won't be the every morning thing like I had been doing.,
I'm thinking of writing about the rabbit hole. I'm being too mysterious. You know I'm having problems, that much should be clear. Now I could just sit here and write about politics or religion or baseball and you'd be none the wiser. I still spend a lot of time thinking about those things. I should add music to the mix. Damn I should be writing about music this second as I had an insight about "the Act," the pseudonym of my musical bête noire. My biggest objection is that "the Act" never makes you think. "The Act" goes for pretty and pleasant. "The Act" is the musical equivalent of a Keane painting. I'm not sure which is worse that people whose taste I otherwise admire like "the Act" or that people think that I do.
So that's what I'll write about today, the concept of mental health and mental disease. I spent a summer intensely studying psychology as part of an NSF program when I was in high school. We did the equivalent of three or four college courses. It was something like eight hours a day five days a week for eight weeks. One of the things I got out of it that I didn't expect to, was realizing that it isn't a given that we should treat anything mental as a disease; that the reason we do is that Freud was a medical doctor and that's the lens he saw things through.
The way I tend to view things now is the brain as a computer. That isn't an analogy, the brain is a computer. The fact that it doesn't use the same technology as the one I'm writing this on is irrelevant. It does what a computer does. An electron microscope is a microscope even though it doesn't work at all the same way a light microscope does.
Looking at the brain as a computer there are three ways something can go wrong. There can be a hardware problem. In human terms that's physical damage or chemical problems based on damage to whatever creates the chemicals. The problems can be caused by trauma or pathogen or simply parts wearing out. I'd consider any of those a physical illness with psychological symptoms.
Then there is the analogue of a computer virus. A biological virus doesn't work the same way. I already included them as hardware problems. A computer virus is virtual, something that insinuates itself into the coding. The closest thing I can think of is mass hysteria. People start calling other people witches and it spreads. That does happen and people imagine all sorts of things because everyone else does. I was going to say it is rare but it isn't. I bet we've all done it at least once but it usually about something unimportant.
Then there is the bulk of what is called mental illness which is the analogue of program instability. When you get a brand-new computer, it runs so fast. The more you add to it the slower it gets. Look how old you are. You've been adding programs since you were born. Some are built into you. Is would be surprising if there never were conflicts between them. One program tells you to do one thing and another program tells you to do something else. Sometimes the operating system has problems handling this.
The thing is nobody knows our operating system but then again techs fix computer problems without going into the details either. There are fixes we all know, like rebooting. Sometimes we need a hard reboot. If you look at it this way a therapist isn't a doctor but tech support. I think that's how I'm going to look at it. Sure, they don't know why things work even if they think they know but that doesn't mean it won't help. I've fixed computer issues and know nothing, but sometimes I have a feel for it.
Now I should go to bed. I'm supposed to get up in eight hours and sleep is important.
Raisins and Reasons - May 06, 2017
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