Monday, March 17, 2008

schiz·o·phre·ni·a

I just watched the video from this link... http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/229 by a doctor who's specialization is brain anatomy, and this is her account of her personal conscious experience of having a stroke. Found it fascinating, especially in relationship to the idea of schizophrenia. It really brings up some questions about where the line is drawn between some mental disorders and spiritual emergence.

"The DSM-IV has included a new category called Religious or Spiritual Problem (Code V62.89). This code was included to detail a spiritual condition as a process that mimics a psychiatric disorder. Basically, this code allows for the possibility that not all psychiatric crisis is a mental disorder or evidence that something is wrong. Spiritual emergence is a transformative and growing personal experience, with characteristics of other DSM-IV types of behavior present."

schiz·o·phre·ni·a (skĭt'sə-frē'nē-ə, -frěn'ē-ə) Pronunciation Key n.
Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.

"The mystic, endowed with native talents... and following... the instructions of a master, enters the waters and finds he can swim; whereas the schizophrenic, unprepared, unguided, and ungifted, has fallen or has intentionally plunged and is drowning."
Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By
Not only does this relate with the work done by mythologist Joseph Campbell about the 'heroic journey' that humans and humanity embark upon during their lives, but it also closely relates with Dabrowski's theory of positive disintigration -
The Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) by Kazimierz Dabrowski describes a theory of personality and personality development. Unlike mainstream psychology, Dabrowski's theoretical framework views psychological tension, anxiety, and depression as necessary for growth. These "disintegrative" processes are therefore seen as "positive," whereas people who fail to go through positive disintegration may remain for their entire lives in a state of "negative integration," unquestioning and unaware. The strongest potential for tensions that lead to advancement through positive disintegration stem from mental overexcitabilities, above-average reactions to stimuli.
I hope you're still with me. This is the sort of thing that happens when I have an energy drink and watch something that I find exciting!

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