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Religious fundamentalism could soon be treated as mental illness

SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

She said new developments in neuroscience could make it possible to consider extremists as people with mental illness rather than criminals.
She told The Times of London: "One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated. Someone who has for example become radicalized to a cult ideology -- we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance."

http://kachetiendg.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/religious-fundamentalism-could-soon-be.html

Comments

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited June 2016

    Do I hear a hundred drunken Irishmen chorusing, "You see? I told you so! The devil made me do it!"

    It may not be the perfect social response, but it may be the best human beings have got -- to judge the action and not muddle too much in the "why" that may precede it. Poor old Jim Jones suffering from a mental illness that claimed the lives of over 900 people.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Hmm, I wouldn't put it past them to classify all extreme phenomena experienced during meditation as mental illness as well.

    The DSM-V already went a big step in that direction by declaring almost half of all Americans as mental health patients by expanding the categories of what could be called an illness.

    herbertodhammachick
  • GlowGlow Veteran
    edited June 2016

    I like what's being called by Dr. Steven Hayes et al. "the theory of destructive normality" -- in which psychological dysfunction is seen, not as an aberration, but as a normal extension of human mental faculties. In this system, extremism isn't an "illness", but something that any human being is capable of falling into given the right causes and conditions. This dovetails well with the Buddhist perspective on the universality of suffering as a consequence of our relationship to our experience. Here is a decent explanation of the distinction between the "healthy normality" perspective and the "destructive normality" perspective:

    the kind of Psychology I studied during my undergraduate and graduate days was based upon (and to the greatest extent still is) an assumption that there is something called “a healthy normality”; that is, by nature we humans are psychologically healthy, and if we have the right ingredients e.g. environment, life-style, social context etc. we will be mentally healthy and happy. You may have noticed by my general tone, that I question this. I’m not sure that a degree of psychological pain is entirely abnormal. After spending 70 years as a human, and over 40 as a psychological clinician I’m not entirely sure that psychological pain is abnormal. I have begun to question whether psychological difficulties are really disease processes fueled by pathology.

    Check this out! Take a moment to ramble around your “googler” and you may be surprised to find stuff like this: Pick a year, any year, and you’ll find that approximately 30-33% of the world’s population is suffering from clinical levels of Depression (depending upon which site you pick). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression is consistently among the top 3 psychological problems in terms of cost and patient debilitation around the globe. It is thought that within the next couple of years it will move into the top 2. This would suggest that within any week, go ahead and pick one, fully one tenth of the world’s population is suffering from this clinical mood disorder. Moreover, one fifth of us (globally) will suffer clinical depression at some point during our time on this planet. If you think that is “jaw dropping” check this out…..one in four of us will become addicted to drugs or alcohol at some point during our lives. Statistics for the US, alone, suggest that there are now approximately 22-25 million alcoholics in that country (no wonder Donald Trump is such a ……..but I digress). To continue, in support of my earlier statement, and again depending upon whose numbers you use, it seems that at least half of us will seriously consider suicide in our life time. In short, there seems to very little correlation between our standard of living (that continues to rise) and our psychological health.

    I recently completed some postdoctoral study (can you tell?) that makes a strong case for a destructive normality vs. the old healthy normality perspective. This (well considered and researched) approach suggests that our language is the culprit. Not the particular language we speak (e.g. English, French, Italian) but our ability to speak (in any language) a system of complex symbols including words, images, grunts, facial expressions, physical gestures etc. This ability can be used in a couple of ways; the public and the private. When we use the ability publically we are speaking, writing, singing, gesturing and such. In the private domain we are thinking, imagining, planning, visualizing and so on. When you refer to “cognition”, this is the stuff you are speaking of.

    While useful, our ability to speak has a downside. On the up-side it allows us to “play nice” by cooperating with each other in community, to plan, to predict, to create stuff, to share knowledge, to learn from others, and the past, and to communicate with one and other. However, as I am hinting, there is a downside as well. The mind can be used for a list of anti-social purposes ranging from mistreating to killing each other in a variety of ways. We use it to obsess about the past, to rehash painful events, to catastrophize about the future, to judge, to condemn, to criticize others and to create unrealistic and crippling expectations.

    Source

    This is the theory that undergirds Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a relatively new therapy that doesn't buy into the pathological model of human suffering.

    herberto
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Religious fundamentalism could soon be treated as mental illness

    It's about bloody time........and throw in the Creationists too....

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Where is the line between a fundamentalist and not? Are political ideologues fundamentalist? If a political party gained 2/3 control could they pass laws saying the Tea party or Occupy members are fundamentalist enough to treat?

    I don't know how you could ever come up with a diagnostic model that properly identifies dangerously brainwashed people without trampling on an individual's intellectual freedoms.

    dhammachicknakazcid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    O.o Insanity is the new sanity?

    Or rather being moderate, educated, sensible, psychologically coherent etc is a very subtle form of acceptable brain moderation?

    If we apply the standards of mental illness to the labeller, we find convincing pathways to absolve them/us of insanity. After all that is the purpose of psychological alignment ... or so I read in the official propaganda ... or was that a delusion ...

    Did I go wrong again? :3

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I think I need a "check-up-from-the-neck-up" myself. :p

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Shoshin said: It's about bloody time........and throw in the Creationists too....

    Yeah, Westboro Baptist Church and Trump need locking up in a padded cell. :p

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @person said:
    Where is the line between a fundamentalist and not? Are political ideologues fundamentalist? If a political party gained 2/3 control could they pass laws saying the Tea party or Occupy members are fundamentalist enough to treat?

    I don't know how you could ever come up with a diagnostic model that properly identifies dangerously brainwashed people without trampling on an individual's intellectual freedoms.

    I think we all recognise Religious fundamentalists (emphasis on the 'mental') when we read about self-appointed judges who bear placards at the funerals of servicemen, deriding the deceased, or standing on street corners condemning gay people as works of the devil, 'ad alta voce'.

    It bodes the question: Why can some Christians embrace all others as fellow sinners and enjoy cordial relationships with them, no matter what their background (Thomas Merton) while others (Ted Cruz) cannot even tolerate a different PoV without coming down on it like a ton of bricks...?

    What makes one go one way and the other - the other?

    I think the diagnostic model has to be based on scientific and logic-oriented common sense.

    Which sadly seems to be anything but....

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Yeah, Westboro Baptist Church and Trump need locking up in a padded cell. :p

    Tee Hee!

    These people are in the upper hell realms. It is not easy to have compassion for bigots, racists, Christian Ku Klux Klowns and self serving politicians, gurus, bankers etc. It is not.

    However cultural and psychological imperialists, gentlemanly Buddhists and engaged, enraged zealous, punx dharmasists are a more subtle breed of 'common sense'.
    http://www.dharmapunx.com

    and now back to metta bhavna practice ...

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 2016

    @person said:
    Where is the line between a fundamentalist and not? Are political ideologues fundamentalist? If a political party gained 2/3 control could they pass laws saying the Tea party or Occupy members are fundamentalist enough to treat?

    I don't know how you could ever come up with a diagnostic model that properly identifies dangerously brainwashed people without trampling on an individual's intellectual freedoms.

    It's certainly not a call I would like to make but fundamentalism was coined to define Christians that took the Bible as completely literal.

    It could be argued that believing in spite of proof to the contrary is harmful to oneself and indeed others if we're talking about biblical morality police.

    That being said I actually know a flat Earther who seems like he would never hurt anyone but his logic is so flawed that I expect to see him on a street corner with a nutty sign any day now.

  • This is dangerous territory. Who will decide what extremist fundamentalism is? Who will decide what is classified as "cult" religion? People fear what they do not understand and besides isn't schizophrenia enough?

    person
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    What is truly dangerous is mental health workers acting as agents of social prophylaxis. Culling out those with social views not our own is unacceptable. Tolerance is a far better road to travel.

    person
  • Small problem: Who decides?

    person
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Round here, Linc does. I haven't seen him put a foot wrong yet.

    We should have more Lincs.....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Considering the state of the mental health system, I'm not too afraid it'll suddenly be abused. Mental health is still mostly a thing you have to seek out when you realize you have something wrong, and even then it's hard to get appropriate care. the only time you are forced into anything is after you've proven you are a danger to yourself or others, and again, even in those cases, help is often difficult to obtain and people fall between the cracks. Not at worried that suddenly we will have the resources to have people locking up everyone who has different beliefs. We don't even have the resources to help our most serious, dangerous mentally distraught people or the people who truly want help and can't get it.

    Keromeperson
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Good point @karasti, but the system does like to hand out 'community treatment orders' and such for care in the home, and psychiatrists casually prescribe mixes of three or four drugs to people and leave them on them for life.

    I think if some parts of big pharma were to come up with some pills to counter religious tendencies, then they would be widely prescribed.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 2016

    So do we regard somebody like the Orlando shooter as being mentally ill? And if so, is it an illness that could be treated?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 2016

    What's the connection/difference between brainwashing and mental illness?

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    So do we regard somebody like the Orlando shooter as being mentally ill? And if so, is it an illness that could be treated?

    I read that according to his girlfriend he was bipolar, which would be really sad. But certainly those with mental health conditions are often more vulnerable to brainwashing - they tend to be less balanced and less logically / pragmatically grounded, and more prone to sudden flights of fanciful thinking and behaviour. Although that's just from my impressions, I have some friends who have some of these conditions - I am not sure if there have been any academic studies to prove it.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I think anyone who commits such acts is mentally ill. Perhaps they are or aren't yet diagnosed with a medical term, but people with sound minds don't do things like that. But in another sense, we are all afflicted with mental difficulties that could take us down harmful roads were particular causes and conditions present. As uncomfortable as it makes us, we are all capable of the same acts committed by other people. It's best, I think, to look at those capabilities within ourselves. Perhaps not for mass murder, but in how we view and judge people and so on. It's too easy to use events like Orlando as a comparison to make us believe we are ok, at least we aren't like them! But I'm not sure that's the best way to look at it.

    lobster
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