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Positive Illusions and The Total Perspective Vortex

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posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 02:40 PM
I wasn't quite sure where to put this thread but I thought this would be the best place as it pertains to mental health and yet can branch off from there into a variety of subjects as the relate to the collective human experience. Mental disorders and their treatment are not something that I automatically list among my favorite things to research but long ago I was placed in a position to observe the inner workings of that which is often deemed





and anything else you wanna throw in that wacky group of lovable characters. Now I will say in advance, none of the language I use is meant to offend anyone in said group, in fact, I firmly believe that looking at certain subjects with a bit of humor can be empowering. So relax. Anyway..Years ago, I came across a pretty interesting post written by a man named Christopher S. Putnam that talked about mental disorders

Most people think of the “mentally disordered” as a delusional lot, holding bizarre and irrational ideas about themselves and the world around them. Isn’t a mental disorder, after all, an impairment or a distortion in thought or perception? This is what we tend to think, and for most of modern psychology’s history, the experts have agreed; realistic perceptions have been considered essential to good mental health. More recently, however, research has arisen that challenges this common-sense notion.

in the above he is referring to an article published by Shelly Taylor and Johnathan Brown via the Departments of Psychology in University of California, Los Angeles and University of Washington in 1994 entitled Positive Illusions and Well-Being Revisited: Separating Fact from Fiction


Its a really interesting article that I am only just sinking my teeth into. Im also a long time Douglas Adams fan. Here is some info on the Tech of the Perspective Vortex

Total Perspective Vortex

Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown published an article saying that positive self-deception is a normal and beneficial part of most people’s everyday outlook. That average people hold cognitive biases in three key areas:

a) viewing themselves in unrealistically positive terms;

b) believing they have more control over their environment than they actually do; and

c) holding views about the future that are more positive than the evidence can justify.

The theory of Depressive Realism puts fourth the idea that depressed individuals actually have more realistic perceptions of their own image, importance, and abilities than the average person. That there is still the possibility of bias but they are also responding to the events around them with a rationale that many others choose to deny.

Its funny because reading another thread on here is what inspired me to write this one in the first place. It was one of those America threads and of course it had degenerated to an US vs Them thing without too many people stepping back to look at the WHY. This may shed a bit of light as to why some people may choose to stick their fingers in their ears and hum a tune as new Babylon crumbles.

From the original article:

Those with paranoid disorders can sometimes possess a certain unusual insight as well. It has often been asserted that within every delusional system, there exists a core of truth—and in their pursuit of imagined conspiracies against them, these individuals often show an exceptionally keen eye for the real thing. People who interact with them may be taken aback as they find themselves accused of harboring some negative opinion of the person which, secretly, they actually do hold. Complicating the issue, of course, is the fact that if the supposed aversion didn’t exist before, it likely does after such an unpleasant encounter.

And where there is perceived sickness...there's someone ready to treat it. But how?

How does one convince a depressed person that “everything is all right” when her life really does suck? How does one convince an obsessive-compulsive patient to stop religiously washing his hands when the truth of what gets left behind after “normal” washing should be enough to make any sane person cringe? These problems put therapists in the curious position of teaching patients to develop irrational patterns of thinking—patterns that help them view the world as a rosier place than it really is. Counterintuitive as it sounds, it’s justified because what defines a mental disorder is not unreasonable or illogical thought, but abnormal behaviour that causes significant distress and impairs normal functioning in society. Treatment is about restoring a person to that level of normal functioning and satisfaction, even if it means building cognitions that aren’t precisely “rational” or “realistic.”

So is the help really helping? Or is it twisting the mind even further so that is better equipped to conform to that which is deemed acceptable by society? Even if it means hiding from the truth?

It’s certainly easier to think of the mentally disordered as lunatics running about with bizarre, inexplicable beliefs than to imagine them coping with a piece of reality that a “normal” person can’t handle. The notion that we routinely hide from the truth about ourselves and our world is not an appealing one, though it may help to explain the human tendency to ostracize the abnormal. Perhaps the reason we are so eager to reject any departure from this fiction we call “normality” is because we have grown dependent on our comfortable delusions; without them, there is nothing to insulate us from the harsh cold of reality.

I dont think its an accident that America is a nation that is in seriously trouble as well as seriously doped up on pharmaceuticals. Those who cannot deny the truth will be given a pill to help them. But why? Well...if many people knew the grim reality of their situation they would probably become very depressed...and sad sacks don't come to work.

Can't have that.

Those who don't get sad might get angry....REAL ANGRY

Those chickens are coming home to roost as I type this.

Id be curious to see the percentages of people in wartorn countries or places that have had mass uprisings who were on anti depressants prior vs. the numbers in countries where conditions are awful...but there are no riots, no uprisings and just how many of the citizens are on happy pills. This is ATS after all...where else can I find out about a massive plot by the government and big pharma to keep the masses doped up all the way down to the toddlers in order to keep them functioning while the boat sinks...or maybe Im just one of those tin foil delusionals

edit on 22-1-2012 by irsuccubus because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-1-2012 by irsuccubus because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 02:46 PM
And make no mistake, its not that I believe every random guy yelling into a plastic bag in the middle of traffic is privy to some great truth...or that all who are happy are denying reality...I am instead pointing out that there is a lot of gray when it comes to gray matter...and we are only JUST beginning to take it apart. Even the mad men are still men. Men who happen to see the world differently.
edit on 22-1-2012 by irsuccubus because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 04:09 PM
I would also like to know how much influence pharmacuticals have on society and it's breakdown. The idea that it's o.k. to be psycotic as long as its controled in an approved direction is, to put it bluntly, crazy. It brins to mind musings on exactly who is in the asylum and who is in charge of it. Myself, being a Waylon Jennings fan, I have always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane. Thank you for this thread

posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 04:28 PM
I've been out of work as a plumber and heating engineer for over a year now, I had problems before being made unemployed. I had OCD in it's extremist form, which I battled myself without any help or medication from the doctor. I don't know how I did it but I over came that.

During my period of unemployment my self esteem is very low. I can't stand in a line at a super market with out feeling uneasy and thinking that people are thinking bad thoughts about me. All someone has to do is look at me and I think they are instantly thinking 'hes this hes that' . I've not felt like this before, I've given in and received medication from the doctor.

He put me on serotonin- I was on it no less than a month- I became very aggressive and my attitude was terrible which was completely out of character for me ! . I stopped them

Need to get working- thats the problem

edit on 22-1-2012 by lukeUK because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by irsuccubus

Fascinating info & thoughts & links you've gathered together for this intriguing hypothesis. I'll be mulling this one over in my own gray matter for sure!

Reminds me of the old saying: "There's a fine line between genius and insanity."
I always thought that quote referred to the iconic eccentric genius being off-beat and out of step because of his intensely focused super-brain. Maybe it goes a little further than that. Maybe the genius glimpses beyond the veil occasionally, and the stark reality he experiences (which he cannot begin to share with the average doofus) drives him to the brink of insanity. Hmmm...

posted on Jan, 26 2012 @ 08:20 AM
I agree with what's being said here. Our existence is subject to our perspective, and our perspective is subject to our existence. I'm of the constitution where I believe a lot of these "disorders" or disabilities are conditions where the individual has been subject to an environment where they've been badly affected; which could have been from abuse from other people or some other negative experience.

In my brief experience I've become acquainted with people who have in their lives been diagnosed with everything from alcoholism to bi-polar disorder to those with psychotic tendencies; and this is all within my narrow cross-section of the urban demographic I'm familiar with. regarding the alcoholic, he was in my extended family and shortly prior to this he and his first wife who he had a child with had a complicated divorce and he lost his house. During this downward spiral he reverted to drunkenly humiliating himself in front of his friends; alienating his close family to the point where he was locked off from his child, and then turned to self harm... fortunately for him his family weren't prepared to see him descend any further and he entered into a few stints at rehab clinic and he was given a new lease of life in a new environment. The last time i saw him (around christmas) he'd not had a drink for over a year and a half and he's now a councilor and helps out people who are in similar situations to what he was in..."experience is the best education".

That was just my example on how badly situations can affect people, no doubt there are many of you on here who are familiar with people who are/were in similar circumstances; if only it weren't for his caring family then who knows where he would've ended up. I know men and women who went through bad times and they've regressed and ended up being diagnosed with mental disorders and even been sectioned into mental hospitals, though after a short stint they've recovered and gone on to carry on and succeed with their previous lives.

I think it's self determination coupled with your environment. It's what makes these conditional disorders distinct from all-pervasive mentally debilitating diseases. I don't believe anyone is born too completely different from one another, and these schizotypal/personality disorders (as all encompassing as the spectrum is) are the result of badly conditioned (through no fault of their own) children in negative environments that may even reinforce their behaviour in some cases. Giving these people medication programs with drugs designed to sedate their brains or to give them a dose of 'happiness' is insanity to me. What they need is councilling, to be assured that they are in fact not that much different from regular people.

We throw around perceptions of "good and bad" behaviour too much and associate them with "personality" which is in itself again a misleading construct. What's more worrying is how we often bundle together negative perceptions of people (either indepentally observed or from an outside source) and pack them into an all in one disorder, such as "aspergers syndrome" or "adhd" and then label young people with them; perfectly normal kids who just display some out of the ordinary behaviour (as we are all predisposed to at certain points) and then to have it reinforced by their parents who often see the diagnosis as a way to rationalise why their kids aren't "perfect kids" and are either too negligent, lazy, or out of touch or just unwilling to make a change to wake up to their ignorance. I've observed this many times in my personal experience, although separating the autism spectrum is a whole other controversial debate in itself; although it's something I've always tried to understand as my younger brother suffers from severe autism (couldn't live independentally, limited speech, very narrow behavioral pattern) and I believe that the way we treat autistic individuals is just as negligent of their specific needs on reflection...

posted on Oct, 22 2012 @ 03:02 AM

Originally posted by educatedhick
I would also like to know how much influence pharmacuticals have on society and it's breakdown. The idea that it's o.k. to be psycotic as long as its controled in an approved direction is, to put it bluntly, crazy. It brins to mind musings on exactly who is in the asylum and who is in charge of it. Myself, being a Waylon Jennings fan, I have always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane. Thank you for this thread

I just mentioned something similar in a previous post.

If you ask me the reason (other than the exuberant amount of profit seen by pharmaceutical companies) people continue to create more and more labels for various kinds of "mental illness" is because it gives those not diagnosed with a mental illness the absurd notion they are sane.

But seriously psychiatry has become a joke. Another reason they do it is because after so many years the patent on said medications goes bad, at that time generic forms can be made and introduced into the market so the company loses money. Then they pay a Dr. to support and diagnose/prescribe something new that they have a patent ($) on.

Meanwhile, funds for mental health are being cut across states. It is one of the least funded programs in my home state, and I would fathom the same for much of the United States.

For instance

PSYCHIATRIST “soul healer” (ψυχή, psukhē, meaning “breath; spirit; soul”); and (ἰατρεία, iatreia, meaning “healing”) Quite a disparity between the literal meanings of the words and meanings the mental health profession imbues them with today. What is the significance of this gap between historical meaning and present-day usage? Eduardo Duran attempts to answer the question:


We can heal a lot with modern medicine, I for one doubt the Soul is one of them. I have been wrong before though.

Thank you for the post, I know this is an older one but it is right up my alley.

posted on Oct, 22 2012 @ 03:06 AM
reply to post by educatedhick

Forgot the important part, you can find clips of the film on YouTube. This is the full documentary.

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