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Philosophy and Schizophrenia

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TryingMyBest
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Joined: November 29th, 2018, 4:34 pm

Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by TryingMyBest » December 5th, 2018, 11:59 pm

Thank you for reading. This is my story of the past few years.

First, it's under control. Second, I don't expect this to happen to you. (There are many factors to it; it wasn't ONLY the philosophy.)
While finishing my final paper for my German Idealism class, I experienced a moment of pure ecstasy. This was the moment my life changed. I was absolutely certain that the combination of my theories had the requisite information and arguments necessary to save the world and that the proofs would reach and harmonize all communicating societies. I sent my paper off on social media, to consortiums of journalists, to news media, to government officials, and to whoever I thought it would assist. When one group failed to respond, I would send it out to three more. That was three years ago.

My personality changed. My senses were heightened. I spoke with conviction and power and had no fear. Each moment had a special significance, I knew that I was special and it was just a matter of time to see the results. Then I began to see what I thought were the fruits of my labor. News media would (I now am completely aware that this is false) hide secret messages in their broadcast for me. I listened to politicians use and spread "my" logic, at times I thought that news media was openly quoting me. I lost the need for regular sleep as my energy levels never seemed to diminish. I went out and shared my insights with others who either immediately loved me or wanted to fight me. My loving family had me hospitalized but I refused to admit any fault; I attempted (I thought successfully) to convince everyone I came across of how I was right and what effect my work would have.
I eventually went way off the map with my beliefs, even thinking that the ducks and turtles were animatronic and I was being monitored constantly. I had no fear because I eventually even believed that a benevolent subset of society had the power to read minds. I felt like a god. I even believed that the reported deaths were being faked and people were getting younger and not dying. Anyway, to make a long story short, I am doing much better now and am successfully being treated and have let go of all (or at least most) of the delusions.

Back to reality... So why am I here? First, my psychiatrist recommended it (because he said that online forums "tend to be brutally honest.") Second, I am @TryingMyBest to get feedback on what I thought were seemingly magical philosophical theories. Third, I am also hoping to get referred to other philosophers' works so I can learn in an organic way.

I realize I'm putting myself out there but I don't mind; just try to be respectful. -TMB

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ktz
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Favorite Philosopher: right now it is Tim Wu

Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by ktz » December 7th, 2018, 6:58 pm

I'm not an expert, but your description of what you went through sounds to me closer like a bipolar I manic episode than schizophrenia. Both present with psychotic features like the ones you described, but the high energy with no sleep sounds to me like something specific to mania rather than schizophrenia. But as long as you found a solution that works for you to keep you from having more psychotic episodes, it doesn't matter too much what you call it. I only bring this up because bipolar disorder has earned the nickname "CEO's disease" -- the reason being that the creativity and energy attributed to states of hypomania can be an asset to entrepreneurship or creative disciplines. While obviously your condition comes with its share of challenges, there have been many historical examples of individuals wiwth similar presentations possessing the advantage of a natural ability to see difficult and unusual connections, which can prove to be an asset if you can keep it tethered to reality. Kurt Godel, John Nash of A Beautiful Mind fame, and Joan of Arc are examples of high achieving individuals who also struggled with psychotic features later in life. I am glad it seems like you are not letting your past tribulations hold you back from your personal intellectual development.

My mother suffers from psychotic episodes on a regular basis, so I have done a fair bit of reading on the topic of mental illness in general. I want to commend you for successfully getting your symptoms under control, because it is quite a difficult process and requires a considerable amount of rational thinking, humility, commitment to treatment, and consideration for others. Not everyone manages the condition successfully. You might be interested in the book, A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi, which examines achievement and leadership through the context of mental illness.

I wish you the best of luck, and hope you can forgive me in the last some more pointed commentary. There are no magical shortcuts to the triumph of good over evil -- philosophy and insight, in my opinion, are underpowered tools for changing the behavior of others, but can be very effective for improving our own lives. Let yourself be your own philosophical guinea pig and lead by example, rather than believing that anyone can see what you can see.
You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.

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h_k_s
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Joined: November 25th, 2018, 12:09 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Aristotle
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by h_k_s » December 7th, 2018, 9:32 pm

TryingMyBest wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 11:59 pm
Thank you for reading. This is my story of the past few years.

First, it's under control. Second, I don't expect this to happen to you. (There are many factors to it; it wasn't ONLY the philosophy.)
While finishing my final paper for my German Idealism class, I experienced a moment of pure ecstasy. This was the moment my life changed. I was absolutely certain that the combination of my theories had the requisite information and arguments necessary to save the world and that the proofs would reach and harmonize all communicating societies. I sent my paper off on social media, to consortiums of journalists, to news media, to government officials, and to whoever I thought it would assist. When one group failed to respond, I would send it out to three more. That was three years ago.

My personality changed. My senses were heightened. I spoke with conviction and power and had no fear. Each moment had a special significance, I knew that I was special and it was just a matter of time to see the results. Then I began to see what I thought were the fruits of my labor. News media would (I now am completely aware that this is false) hide secret messages in their broadcast for me. I listened to politicians use and spread "my" logic, at times I thought that news media was openly quoting me. I lost the need for regular sleep as my energy levels never seemed to diminish. I went out and shared my insights with others who either immediately loved me or wanted to fight me. My loving family had me hospitalized but I refused to admit any fault; I attempted (I thought successfully) to convince everyone I came across of how I was right and what effect my work would have.
I eventually went way off the map with my beliefs, even thinking that the ducks and turtles were animatronic and I was being monitored constantly. I had no fear because I eventually even believed that a benevolent subset of society had the power to read minds. I felt like a god. I even believed that the reported deaths were being faked and people were getting younger and not dying. Anyway, to make a long story short, I am doing much better now and am successfully being treated and have let go of all (or at least most) of the delusions.

Back to reality... So why am I here? First, my psychiatrist recommended it (because he said that online forums "tend to be brutally honest.") Second, I am @TryingMyBest to get feedback on what I thought were seemingly magical philosophical theories. Third, I am also hoping to get referred to other philosophers' works so I can learn in an organic way.

I realize I'm putting myself out there but I don't mind; just try to be respectful. -TMB
The author Robert Prisig wrote about similar medical/mental issues in his first book "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance." If you are interested in Philosophy in addition to mental/medical conditions you may like his book.

The funny thing however is after his book became a bestseller in the academic and philosophical communities, and he became rich, he then wrote a follow up book to the first one in which he repudiated everything he said in the first book.

So if you do read his book or both of them, just remember you can't take any of it too seriously.

I myself do recommend them both. But of the two I think you will like the first one better than the last.

Plot summary of the first book: a man and his young son take a motorcycle trip across the Midwest and West Coast USA. During the trip he undergoes profound changes in his personality post-shock therapy.

Plot summary of the second book: a man who has become rich from authoring a philosophy book is now cruising his private sailboat down the Chesapeake and he picks up all sorts of harbor babes along the way.

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h_k_s
Posts: 107
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Favorite Philosopher: Aristotle
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by h_k_s » December 7th, 2018, 9:36 pm

ktz wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 6:58 pm
I'm not an expert, but your description of what you went through sounds to me closer like a bipolar I manic episode than schizophrenia. Both present with psychotic features like the ones you described, but the high energy with no sleep sounds to me like something specific to mania rather than schizophrenia. But as long as you found a solution that works for you to keep you from having more psychotic episodes, it doesn't matter too much what you call it. I only bring this up because bipolar disorder has earned the nickname "CEO's disease" -- the reason being that the creativity and energy attributed to states of hypomania can be an asset to entrepreneurship or creative disciplines. While obviously your condition comes with its share of challenges, there have been many historical examples of individuals wiwth similar presentations possessing the advantage of a natural ability to see difficult and unusual connections, which can prove to be an asset if you can keep it tethered to reality. Kurt Godel, John Nash of A Beautiful Mind fame, and Joan of Arc are examples of high achieving individuals who also struggled with psychotic features later in life. I am glad it seems like you are not letting your past tribulations hold you back from your personal intellectual development.

My mother suffers from psychotic episodes on a regular basis, so I have done a fair bit of reading on the topic of mental illness in general. I want to commend you for successfully getting your symptoms under control, because it is quite a difficult process and requires a considerable amount of rational thinking, humility, commitment to treatment, and consideration for others. Not everyone manages the condition successfully. You might be interested in the book, A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi, which examines achievement and leadership through the context of mental illness.

I wish you the best of luck, and hope you can forgive me in the last some more pointed commentary. There are no magical shortcuts to the triumph of good over evil -- philosophy and insight, in my opinion, are underpowered tools for changing the behavior of others, but can be very effective for improving our own lives. Let yourself be your own philosophical guinea pig and lead by example, rather than believing that anyone can see what you can see.
I agree about the "bipolar" (formerly known as maniac/depression). I used to date a lady who was like that. She was very calm and happy as long as she was on her meds. But whenever she went off them, which she did according to her for moments of clarity, she would swing between extreme mania and then extreme depression. She had 4 siblings of whom 2 others where just like her with the malady so it was/is genetic and runs in families.

The mania is not bad.

The depression is dangerous. During bouts of depression the greatest risk is harm to oneself.

To cope with her depression I kept her filled with hot coffee as a stimulant and I let her talk nonstop for hours on end while I listened.

Belindi
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Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by Belindi » December 8th, 2018, 12:43 pm

TryingMyBest wrote:
-------what I thought were seemingly magical philosophical theories.
I understand that some psychosis- induced theories are internally consistent models of reality. Thanks for posting your story, because it may lead to a discussion of the nature of the difference between a psychotic model of reality and a normal model of reality. I hardly know where to start , as this is a big subject. Perhaps we could begin by reading from Thomas Szaz. for instance here is a quote from Thomas Szaz: If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; if God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic.

I suggest that the discussion begins from the usual medical criteria of alleviating pain and saving lives. As has been said already, clinical depression is painful and may cause self destruction so requires alleviation.

The more unconventional manic or hypomanic models of reality such as Trying My Best describes , while they sound like fun, are likely to be destructive because the person who holds these theories will be unemployable.



As philosophers know there is no way we can attain absolute truth , and so the next best approach to problems of reality is the pragmatic approach.

I agree with ktz that this sounds more like mania than schizophrenia. I thought, but may be mistaken,that schizophrenia always included hallucinations.

Fooloso4
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Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by Fooloso4 » December 8th, 2018, 1:29 pm

Belindi:
Thanks for posting your story, because it may lead to a discussion of the nature of the difference between a psychotic model of reality and a normal model of reality.
When I read the OP is was reminded of Louis A. Sass’ “Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought”. https://www.amazon.com/Madness-Modernis ... 0674541375

There is a revised edition available that allows some browsing of the text: https://www.amazon.com/Madness-Modernis ... ET8X4BAFRT

I am somewhat hesitant to discuss such matters because it may give some the impression that mental illness is nothing more than a novel way of looking at things rather than an illness that requires medical attention. Having said that, the work of those who are afflicted has influenced the way the rest of us see things.

The absolute certainty with which we see some here and elsewhere defend their highly idiosyncratic views has led me to conclude that rational argument is not going to be a helpful response. Typically they blame others, no matter their competence, of being small minded and not able to grasp the profound truth of what is being claimed.

Belindi
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Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by Belindi » December 9th, 2018, 2:18 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
I am somewhat hesitant to discuss such matters because it may give some the impression that mental illness is nothing more than a novel way of looking at things rather than an illness that requires medical attention. Having said that, the work of those who are afflicted has influenced the way the rest of us see things.
There are objective facts regarding states of consciousness and the naturally-occurring brain chemicals that induce the several non-pathological states of consciousness. Those are waking awareness, deep sleep, and dreaming sleep. Consciousness varies according to information source which may be either memory or environment. Consciousness varies also according to activation.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-316-36754-7 (Regarding Hobson's book which deals with pathological states of consciousness and their physical- chemical correlates.)

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h_k_s
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Favorite Philosopher: Aristotle
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by h_k_s » Yesterday, 11:20 pm

In the movie (moving picture show) Pirates Of The Caribbean there is a scene where Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp are using an inverted rowboat as a diving bell.

Bloom comments, "This is either madness or genius!"

Depp replies, "Funny how those two characteristics are often intertwined."

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Burning ghost
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Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by Burning ghost » Today, 12:22 am

These kinds of episodes happen. I guess if you’ve been diagnosed as “schizophrenic” then it is not really anyone’s place on this forum to suggest a qualified person is wrong.

It is, of course, quite, quite possible to have psychosis that ticks all the boxes and never have a recurrance. That is not a brain disorder though. I wouldn’t listen to most of the nonsense out there suggesting schizophrenia is some kind of “gift”. It is deeply irresponsible to do so even if the intent is “good”; usually such “theory” crafting is nothing more than clutching at straws or an attempt to make sense of a horrible condition.

Good luck to you. If you’ve not already got a second, third andforth opinion do so asap! This will annul any possibility of slipping into state of denial/delusion about your situation. If your experience was a one off then PLEASE get a second opinion. The issue with brain disorders is that the common symptoms can develop due to stress and strain - some trigger latent conditions and others simply happen due to trauma and are not necessarily indicative of a brain disorder.

As for suggested reading I’d simply go for the one thing I read that taught me how to read - Kant’s A Critique of Pure Reason. I recommend this because it takes concerted effort to read it and understand it. Plus it’s also a very important text in the history of philosophy being one of the most acclaimed analytical works in philosophy (understanding what prompted him to write it is also worth taking a look at as well as the historical context - so you don’t read too much into the more “theistic” parse! Haha).

Enjoy and explore ... within reason ;)
AKA badgerjelly

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TryingMyBest
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Re: Philosophy and Schizophrenia

Post by TryingMyBest » Today, 3:24 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful and intriguing responses. I started reading Szasz at the library as his works would not currently be appreciated in my home. You have given me a lot to think about... and thank you for the good book recommendations.

I realize the thread is no longer just about me, but I feel compelled to say this: I am interested in Truth, regardless of source, much more than am I interested in being right. But I have the right to be right when/if I'm right. The core of my philosophic beliefs is that (just as true as one being equal to one) no evil entity exists in reality and therefore, once realized, humans will stop committing evil acts as a means for exterminating evil... for all this does is perpetuate into more evil acts. I believe that this idea will save humanity from itself. I think the idea is objectively true and therefore will organically spread until it becomes common sense. I wonder if I am deluded into wishful thinking or whether I am right.

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