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'mental illness' as a maladjustment to reality

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posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 09:31 PM
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What happens in the mind of someone who is paranoid ? The answer is that he has false ideas of what-is-really-happening. If we use the glorious analogy of the map(ideas) and the territory(reality), the paranoid is using as reference a set of maps that is far from being in accordance with the territory. On his map he has drawn dragons that are not really there, he has drawn pits and traps that don't really exist. And when he sets foot on the territory that the map is meant to represent, he realises that there are no dragons and no traps, but that doesn't convince him. His problem is that he is confusing the map and the territory, he is convinced that whatever is drawn on the map must be real. Moreover, his problem also resides in the fact that he is always projecting himself in the future, thus he can never assert what is happening in the present, and only the present could show him that there are no threats.

In other words, paranoia is a space-time disorder, because the paranoid imagines things that must be there and things that will be there. However, reality can only be found here and now, this is the only way we can experience it. If I am never here and now, how am I supposed to confront my map against the territory, my ideas against reality, how am I supposed to adjust ? It then becomes a constant escape into the future, and the experience of the present can never happen, thus ideas/maps take all precedence as if the map became the territory.

This experience of the present implies one thing : when I experience something, I become the experience. If I listen to music, I become the experience of the music, right at this moment there is no "I" who says to himself "I am listening to music", and I can't experience the music and at the same time say to myself "I am listening to music", because we can't experience two things at the same time. Which is to say that in reality, "I" is just an experience like any other. And because there is a "I" who thinks that events are happening to him, there is a division between the experience and the experimenter, and there is apprehension, there is fear. Then the problem deepens : if I experience fear, and "I" is frightened of this experience, then the result is fear of fear, and we can't defeat fear with fear. The solution to this problem is to accept fear and to become the experience of fear, to become fear; and then this experience of fear becomes just that, an experience like any other and there is no "I" who can be frightened. But this can only happen if we live in the present, if we have learned to let the present become an ongoing experience with each passing moment.

What about someone who is arachnophobic, or agoraphobic, or phobic of anything : the same applies, it is a problem of having maps that don't represent reality as they should, and maps that are confused with the territory, and not living in the present thus having this "I" who is frightened of everything.

Saying that "mental illness" is maladjustment to reality means one thing : we are all more or less "mentally ill", because we all use maps, and using maps is the only thing we can do. A map can never become so precise that it represents the territory with perfection, an idea can never replace the real thing and an experience is just an experience "of something". All we can do is make sure that the map we use is as precise as possible.




posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 10:21 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn




Saying that "mental illness" is maladjustment to reality

I think much of the mental illness we see these days is not an illness as such, its a symptom! A symptom of living in a screwed up world!
If the world wasn't such a nasty place many of these mentally ill people would not have the SYMPTOMS.



posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 10:28 PM
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Analyze your thoughts there, guy. "messed up world". That's the world you created in your mind. The world is. You perceive the world, and assign values, and beliefs onto it. The world in itself is incapable of being "messed up". That statement is pure projection of your internal terrain. It's the same as "things are crazy". No bub, you would be experiencing a craze in expressing the statement. A bout of emotional instability as a result of maladjustment to reality as it is.

Interesting OP. I think the end may need some fine-tuning, but I'm mostly in alignment with it.

S + F



posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 10:34 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn

Nicely elucidated; but if I see another exhortation to people to 'live in the present' in order to deal with their problems of adjustment to reality, I'll puke.

'Live in the present' just means 'don't think'. It amounts to abandoning (more correctly, trying and failing to abandon) the evolutionary advantages conferred on us by the development of the brain's frontal lobe. It is neither laudable nor — unless one is willing to perform damaging experiments on one's own brain, such as lobotomy or meditation — feasible.

Happiness is not exactly a chimera, but it is not an appropriate human goal either. Nature does not intend us to be happy; she intends us only to live long enough to reproduce and rear our young to the point where they are independently viable. Thus we are equipped with needs and desires, which we are motivated to gratify. Slaking them offers temporary satisfaction, but the appetite revives after a while, as it must, and then the search for gratification recommences.

Happiness is never attained by direct pursuit. It is a by-product of other feelings and sensations and it is always ephemeral. This is just as it should be. Well-adjusted people don't worry about happiness. They worry about what to do next.



posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 10:37 PM
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a reply to: VoidHawk

It's a vicious cycle, a snake biting his own tail. Which came first, the egg or the chicken ?

This planetary human society didn't create itself alone. It's a mirror of ourselves, of how we see ourselves, others and the whole of the universe and our place in it. Thus the problem is : how well do we understand this thing we call existence and everything that it encompasses ? Are our maps adapted to the territory ? Because if they are not, we might send ourselves sailing in dangerous waters every time we navigate thinking we are on the safe route.



posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 11:08 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

On the contrary, I interpret this differently from the OP. There is a lot of new-age phooey that seems to amount to not-thinking, but meta-cognition, or being aware of your awareness, is something which can be strengthened through developing an anchor to the present, from which to cast out your focus on the goals you are describing as the real key.

For an example, I have had issues in the past that amounted to not well adjusting to reality as is/was. It involved a lot of rumination and wishful thinking, mixed with beliefs that do not bend the reality in the least. They were maladaptations. What I found, through a moment of insight and "living in the now" if you will for a moment, was an ability to tune my focus elsewhere.

Specifically, I had an addiction to a substance. There was no treatment facilities necessary to end my long-term battle with this substance. I visualized my psyche as having strengthened neural networks which no longer were useful for my goals. I accepted my bad habits as they were, and decided to point focus elsewhere. The circuits still activated, but I allowed them to atrophy, and strengthen new circuits which proved beneficial to my long-term success of goals I set.

I actually think this could be succinctly summed as strengthening metacognition from learning to "live in the now". It really was this way for myself. I could see how, perhaps, someone with a natural knack for this might not appreciate what is going on in their psyche, so not give it proper dues and instead focus on the cheaper expression of it from laymen looking to make that dolla.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 12:09 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Thought is an experience like any other, and experience can only be made in the present. Which means that when I think, I live in the present, thus living in the present cannot possibly mean "don't think" as you say.

You have misunderstood what living in the present really means. It means being aware at every moment, experiencing everything that can be experienced moment after moment, it means to understand that each new moment is a unique moment, each experience is a unique experience, each thought a new and unique thought. Living in the present means not living in the past, thus leaving all prejudices and ruminations behind. Living in the present means not living in the future, thus not clinging to any particular expectation or anxiety. In my book, this is the definition of a sane mind.

Happiness, if such a thing exists, can only be found in the present, nowhere else. If you don't live in the present, you will never sense it, and you will keep running after it, like a carrot dangling in front of you that you will never touch, unaware that with each passing moment, you're leaving the chance to experience happiness behind you.

If being well-adjusted is to worry, then we should just all kill ourselves.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 12:14 AM
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a reply to: gosseyn


Thought is an experience like any other, and experience can only be made in the present. Which means that when I think, I live in the present, thus living in the present cannot possibly mean "don't think" as you say.

In reality, everybody lives in the present (more accurately, in the very immediate past). But thinking is always about the past or the future. When people say 'live in the present', they mean 'stop thinking and experience the moment.'


You have misunderstood what living in the present really means. It means being aware at every moment, experiencing everything that can be experienced moment after moment, it means to understand that each new moment is a unique moment, each experience is a unique experience, each thought a new and unique thought. Living in the present means not living in the past, thus leaving all prejudices and ruminations behind. Living in the present means not living in the future, thus not clinging to any particular expectation or anxiety. In my book, this is the definition of a sane mind.

Living in the present means living like an animal, or like a tree. Indeed, those who urge us to 'live in the present' often draw their examples from zoology and botany.


Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

The entire Sermon on the Mount can be read an exhortation to live in the moment.


Happiness, if such a thing exists, can only be found in the present

On the contrary, it is my experience that one is only ever of one's happiness in retrospect.


If being well-adjusted is to worry, then we should just all kill ourselves.

Is that how you define happiness? The absence of worry? Interesting.


edit on 17/7/15 by Astyanax because: of more to say.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 12:20 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: gosseyn


Thought is an experience like any other, and experience can only be made in the present. Which means that when I think, I live in the present, thus living in the present cannot possibly mean "don't think" as you say.

Thinking is always about the past or the future.

Thought speaks now about other - where is this other? Where is the past? Where is the future? Where is other?
There is only what is happening.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 12:23 AM
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a reply to: pl3bscheese

Well done. I mean that most sincerely. However, you weren't living in the present when you embarked upon that course of action: you were working towards a future goal.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 12:38 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: pl3bscheese

Well done. I mean that most sincerely. However, you weren't living in the present when you embarked upon that course of action: you were working towards a future goal.


The future is a development of the present, you cannot plan for the future if you're not paying attention to the present. It's simple : if you're not living in the present, you're just left with your thoughts to experience, memories and expectations, as if you were buried in a subterranean bunker with no light.




On the contrary, it is my experience that one is only ever of one's happiness in retrospect.

Memories are not the past, memories are but memories, traces of the past, traces that you are accessing in the present.
edit on 17-7-2015 by gosseyn because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 01:15 AM
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a reply to: gosseyn


The future is a development of the present, you cannot plan for the future if you're not paying attention to the present.

Sorry. As you said earlier, you can only experience one thing at a time. If youi're living in the now, you aren't planning for the future. Put up a better argument, or concede.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 01:42 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: gosseyn


The future is a development of the present, you cannot plan for the future if you're not paying attention to the present.

Sorry. As you said earlier, you can only experience one thing at a time. If youi're living in the now, you aren't planning for the future. Put up a better argument, or concede.


Are you denying the fact that the future is a development of the present, and that if you're blind to the present, you're also blind to the future ?

I can have many thoughts that follow each other very rapidly, and that is why we sometimes believe we are able to have more than one experience at a time. And there is also non-verbal thinking. However, serene planning is not worrying. Worry is useless, worry is fear of fear.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 02:09 AM
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Is it even possible to go through life without ever thinking of the past or planning for the future?

I'm inclined to think that even if we aren't capable of experiencing more than one thing at a time, that we are able to experience the present with our minds and senses and delve into the past and future through thought in such rapid succession that it paints a larger cohesive picture that we can work with.

I doubt it's possible to never think of the past or plan for the future but I also doubt its possible to fully dwell only in the past or ponder the future.

I also think it's folly to assume that thinking of the past or the future can only lead to something that doesn't equal happiness, just as living in the present can sometimes equal any mix of emotions other than happiness.

We have the capacity to use all three types of awareness, so why would we shut any of them off?



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 02:44 AM
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originally posted by: Hephster


We have the capacity to use all three types of awareness, so why would we shut any of them off?


Because sanity of the mind is a question of adaptation to reality, and only the present can enable you to actualize your maps. There is no such thing as "awareness of the past", all there is is memories that are not the past but only traces of the past which are accessed in the present. And there is no such thing as "awareness of the future", all there can be is thoughts that are happening in the present made of what-might-happen, of expectations. Thoughts of the past are full of prejudices, which is not good in terms of actualization. Not understanding that there is the present and nothing else is what leads to insanity.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 03:03 AM
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a reply to: gosseyn

So, remembering good times with loved ones is prejudice that should be avoided?

If I know that I have to be somewhere in a couple of days at a certain time, that is not awareness of the future?

Why can't the past and future be part of reality?

What is the point of experiencing anything if you intend to forget about it immediately?

You said yourself in your opening post that someone who's "insane" might imagine there to be pitfalls where none actually exist, wouldn't it be possible that someone could be in the present and still be delusional and believe that things were currently happening to them that weren't?

I once read a book by a guy who is schizophrenic and at one time he was convinced that he was in the middle of a war zone in Sydney Australia. Not that there had been a war, or that there was going to be a war, but that it was presently going on around him.

I don't think that simply being in the present is a cure-all for mental disease, nor do I think it necessary to avoid the past or future entirely in order to be sane.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 03:11 AM
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originally posted by: VoidHawk
a reply to: gosseyn




Saying that "mental illness" is maladjustment to reality

I think much of the mental illness we see these days is not an illness as such, its a symptom! A symptom of living in a screwed up world!
If the world wasn't such a nasty place many of these mentally ill people would not have the SYMPTOMS.



I thought the same thing when watching some clips from miss Jenner's speech the other day. He is a symptom and a symptom of the entertainment culture that promotes him.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 03:29 AM
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a reply to: gosseyn

Had to come on board this ship of fools.

OP, your thread is so naïve it borders on ridiculous. You are not dealing with mental illness as an issue at all. You are only describing one SYMPTOM of certain mental illness, that is paranoia. OP, I am bi polar and I never suffer paranoia. I am more aware of reality than you for sure if we take your thread as evidence of who is relating better with reality. Paranoia can be a symptom of mental illness, so can drugs or any kind of emotion of fear.

I have no issue with paranoia. If anything I am too aware of reality. How dare you throw your amateur bs and purport to diagnose mental illness in one foul swoop. I'm disgusted at you. I think you have delusions of grandeur and think you are some kind of gifted genius psychologist when in fact you have been an ignorant man, labelling all people with mental illness as paranoiacs and out of touch with reality. Screw you for that. What a lot of drivel you have written. Very very pissed off at you.

edit on 17-7-2015 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 03:38 AM
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a reply to: Hephster

Whatever you're aware of, that awareness can only happen in the present, because only the present exists. The only way the past has been able to manifest itself was through the present, and the only way the future will be able to manifest itself will be through the present, so there is really only the present and the rest is fiction.

Like I said, we are all more or less insane, which is to say we are all more or less adapted to reality, we all have past memories and expectations of the future. Those should not clog our vision of what-is-really-happening-in-the-present to the point that we confuse the map with the territory. Remembering in itself is not bad, but when memories become a course of action, it can lead to disaster : "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result".

"You know that you have to be somewhere in 3 days", but you really don't know if you will be there. That is an expectation. You can have expectations, but to keep them to a minimum will spare you disappointments.

You seem to forget that the topic is "mental illness", so to ask me why I think if it is good or bad for you to remember your dog who died when you were 10y old is not really what I am talking about.

See this thread about expectations
www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 03:49 AM
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originally posted by: Revolution9
a reply to: gosseyn

Had to come on board this ship of fools.

OP, your thread is so naïve it borders on ridiculous. You are not dealing with mental illness as an issue at all. You are only describing one SYMPTOM of certain mental illness, that is paranoia. OP, I am bi polar and I never suffer paranoia. I am more aware of reality than you for sure if we take your thread as evidence of who is relating better with reality. Paranoia can be a symptom of mental illness, so can drugs or any kind of emotion of fear.

I have no issue with paranoia. If anything I am too aware of reality. How dare you throw your amateur bs and purport to diagnose mental illness in one foul swoop. I'm disgusted at you. I think you have delusions of grandeur and think you are some kind of gifted genius psychologist when in fact you have been an ignorant man, labelling all people with mental illness as paranoiacs and out of touch with reality. Screw you for that. What a lot of drivel you have written. Very very pissed off at you.


What are you talking about ? I never said every mental illness resulted in paranoia, I just used paranoia as an example, a case study. And I will stop there...



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