Tag Archives | madness

Watch a ‘Lost Interview’ With Philosopher Michel Foucault on Madness and History

Courtesy of the always entertaining Open Culture blog (Bookmark it for more awesomeness.) comes what’s being billed as a “lost interview” with philosopher Michel Foucault. Lost or not, we’ve got it to watch.

Via Open Culture:

An introductory shot that might be an outtake from A Clockwork Orange opens this interview with Michel Foucault, “lost,” we’re told by Critical Theory, “for nearly 30 years” before it appeared on Youtube last week. In it, Foucault discusses madness and his interest in psychology and psychopathology, repeating in brief the argument he made in Madness and Civilization, his 1961 work in which—through impressive feats of archival research and leaps of the imagination—Foucault attempted, as he wrote in his preface, “to return, in history, to that zero point in the course of madness at which madness is an undifferentiated experience, a not yet divided experience of division itself.”


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Obsessive Rationality Disorder: Adbusters-Diagnosis

Pic: Vanity Fair (PD)

Pic: Vanity Fair (PD)

From the brilliant annals of the technocratic analgesic, Adbusters in Nov-Dec ’13….fictional, but so resonant I think DSM-V should revise to include it!!

-Obsessive Rationality Disorder-

History and Identity:

Formerly known as cognitive compartmentalization syndrome, ORD is a condition wherein emotion and feeling become detached from cognitive processes and social interactions.  Sufferers are driven by progressively irresistible impulses toward exactitude, order and logic.  Daily tasks and household chores are inspected and refined.  Efficiency in all aspects of life becomes an obsession.  Originally thought to be a condition unique to the West, mass social manifestations can now be located throughout the world.

Characteristics of the Disorder:

In early stages, ORD manifests itself in the desire to suppress existential uncertainty with scientific and mathematical exactitude.  Fascination, mystery and the unknown are repressed-first consciously- then unconsciously.  Over the course of the affliction, the coping dimension of the disease transforms from extreme discomfort to mild pleasure, making withdrawal painful and neurologically degenerative.  Those with advanced symptoms often seek out positions of power and influence.  Empathetic and altruistic pleasure centers of the brain shutdown.  In economic and political circles, unhealthy and destructive fixations with profit margins, scientific certainty and mathematical proofs substitute intuitive, ethical and moral considerations,  At this stage, detachment from the natural and experiential wold is complete and successful treatment outcomes are rare.  If not for the pervasiveness of acute-stage ORD, mass institutionalization would be recommended treatment.  Rapture is the only known cure.

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Manifesto for Disorder

Picture: Public Domain

R: Will you test me as my Fool, so that all may understand?

C: I will.

R: Will you test me as my Jester, if none else will criticize?

C: I will.

from “The Insubordinate Ritual”, Liber Kaos by Peter J Carroll.

Chaos and disorder are to be embraced by Governments, Bureaucracies and Businesses who seek to become ‘Antifragile’. This, according to a new book, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Antifragile: Things that Gain From Disorder. Disinfo towers awaits its complimentary copy. In the meantime a particularly interesting review has surfaced in The Daily Beast where, The Goddess Discordia, is celebrated in all but name:

Taleb maintains that living things and complex systems are all antifragile to some degree. Our bodies, for the most part, thrive as a result of regular interaction with stressors in the environment just as “firms become weak during long periods of steady prosperity devoid of setbacks” and “[s]mall forest fires periodically cleanse the system of the most flammable material, so these do not have the opportunity to accumulate.” The process of biological evolution, technological progress, and economic growth all rely on some sort of messy, undirected trial-and-error process that is fueled by regular exposure to uncertainty.

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The Exegesis Of Philip K. Dick

Philip K DickPhilip K. Dick’s innovative science fiction is best-known for its portrayal of characters trapped in Gnostic false realities which they may unravel by way of divine or god-like helpers, mystical experiences, and active paranoia. As his career progressed, his novels became increasingly bizarre—and increasingly autobiographical. By the time he died in 1982, he had come to regard his collected work not as the production of his own fertile imagination, but as a kind of Scripture; the novelization of essential truths revealed to him in a series of visionary experiences with a higher intelligence.

A new window into the intense process of dizzying introspection by which Dick struggled to explicate his mystical experiences has recently opened with the publication of a 900-page collection of his private papers. As Daniel Karder of The Guardian puts it, “…if you want to know what it’s like to have your world dissolve, and then try to rebuild it while suffering mental invasions from God, Asklepios or whomever, you should read The Exegesis:” 

Philip K Dick rewired my brain when I was a mere lad, after I plucked Clans of the Alphane Moon at random from a shelf in my local library.

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The Mad Scientist: A History

Movieland_Wax_Museum_Buena_Park_CA_Vincent_Price_House_of_Wax_1962_60618BBeginning with Faustus of Milevis, covering the historical association between genius and mental illness, mad alchemists of the Renaissance, grave robbing and organ snatching, io9 has a rollicking look at the mad scientist in Western culture:

The mad scientist can be usefully defined as an individual who conducts scientific experiments, invents something scientific, or does original scientific research, all while suffering from both psychological and moral insanity.

Historically the mad scientist has fallen into one of two modes. The first, what literary critics have variously labelled as “Promethean” or “utopian,” roughly follows the model of the figure of Prometheus from Greek mythology: the scientist is not inherently evil, and in fact is usually portrayed as either a self-sacrificing idealist or a deluded comic figure. The scientist’s mad science is morally ambivalent and ultimately degrades the moral sensibilities of the humans it comes in contact with. The Promethean/utopian mad scientist has noble goals but fails through human weakness, both his/her own and others’.

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Reefer Madness May Be Real

Can smoking marijuana heavily make you psychotic?

Legitimate studies point to marijuana use as a risk factor for developing schizophrenia. Filmmaker Bruce Mohun made The Downside Of High after his pot-smoking nephew descended into severe mental illness.

A person who uses marijuana regularly is twice as likely to become schizophrenic as someone who doesn’t, with those smoking before the age of 16 being four times as likely.

Acknowledgment a link between marijuana and paranoid schizophrenia does not necessarily bolster the argument for prohibition; one could argue that legalizing pot in fact help the problem, by leading to regulation, quality control, standards, and warning labels.

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