Options in a 'Mental Institution'
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22-09-2011, 12:42 AM
 
Options in a 'Mental Institution'
Historical fact: In the old Soviet Union dissidents were often locked into a mental institution to silence and punish them. Many of them actually developed mental problems due to being locked into a delusional environment.

All my life I have had to listen to arguments against idealism from pragmatists. Their argument usually goes like this: You live in a dream world, where people are perfectly rational and nice to each other. That world does not exist and if you live there, you give up any chance of making the real world better.

The problem with this argument is in the assumptions I would have to accept in order to be pragmatic.

Most clinical psychiatrists can tell you that schizophrenics often use perfectly sound logic and be consistent, though their actions are based on a central delusion.

Would I like to live in a mental institution, where everyone behaved sensibly, as long as one accepts the assumption that the water faucet is God?

And that is my problem with the human species.

Look at an example: violent crimes committed by fire arms. Canada is trying to solve this problem by gun registration. Enormous expense, red tape, administration, resistance, resentment. Violent criminals are not lining up to register their firearms. Very limited, if any, result.

The real solution to this unsolvable problem is foolproof and obvious: Stop manufacturing firearms and ammunition, destroy any we can lay our hands on. Sooner or later there won't be any left. An even saner solution: remove the causes that make most people use them in violent crime.

Whenever I suggest it, hearty laughter. I am obviously a funny man.

Why?

Because everyone knows that it is impossible.

Just like 'everyone knows' that the water faucet is God.

Now, as a good pragmatist, I could accept that and try to find another solution, based on the premise that assumes: it is impossible to stop manufacturing firearms. But do I want to participate in a society where the only sane solution is rejected out of hand as impossible?

Before I go on, let me admit: I know it is impossible. Not because of a natural law of physics, not because the Martians forced it on us, but because we humans (a sufficient majority of those in power) choose to make it impossible.

Crimes committed by firearms is just one example. Almost all of our unsolvable social problems have perfectly obvious, sane, simple solutions. All of them impossible.

So, do I want to participate in a society which is run by people who reject the only sane solution as impossible? Where the majority of citizens go along with this by refusing to consider and implement the required life style changes?

I can only see four basic choices:

1/ Escape from the mental institution to a place of sanity.
2/ Go along with the assumption that the water faucet is God.
3/ Try to convince the inmates they are wrong
4/ Ignore the inmates and isolate myself as much as humanly possible.

Looking at these options, I have to realize that: 1/ would require a space ship or a time machine; 2/ is repulsive and painful for a healthy mind; 3/ I have tried that - no chance in hell; 4/ is the only practical solution I have ever found.
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22-09-2011, 05:54 AM
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
The nice thing about outside of a mental institution is that thoughts vary more. Also most mental institutions are churches for the unhealthy, never been proselytized as much as when I was committed. The thing about "living in a dream world" is that every single person is doing the same thing because the basic facts of life are abominable. No one wants to think about the bare essential facts so they all find a crutch. Most people like their crutch to be the system. The system has been a crutch for well past recorded history. There is no way to convince people to give up the crutch and live in the real world.

In an insane asylum your only option is to escape.In order to prove anything about society you'll have to build your own. People want the system to be broken because life makes no sense. At least they can blame the system for slowly killing them off rather than life itself as the cause that they slowly die. You can only convince those who have no crutch to forget about the crutch. Once you have one that is how you plan to live your life. The only thing that can change the average person's opinion is being presented with an actual fully functioning version of the answer. even then they'll have issues with it.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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22-09-2011, 06:54 AM
 
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
PS. I used the caricature image of a 'Mental Institution' (like in jokes where inmates worship the water faucet) for a metaphor, to make a point.

That being said, I agree with your observation Lilith (as usual), about crutches. However, it is most of us crazy humans who make the basic facts of life abominable. Without our self-destructive impulses that are barely kept in check by our creative, productive, co-operating side, we could live in a paradise.
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22-09-2011, 08:33 AM
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
For me as a child realizing more than I should realize the real issue was that in order for life to exist it must extinguish much more life. There is a lot more death happening in the world than life because keeping one thing alive requires constant resources and many of these resources are consumption of life. Outside of plants that survive purely off of photosynthesis (most use other methods as well) there is no living thing that does not consume much more life than it lives.

That was a scary thought at 6.

I knew the mental institution was a metaphor but I felt like fleshing it out a little =p

Humans are destructive, but the reality of everything is that reality has always been much more destructive than prolific. In order to keep life from extinguishing everything that cant survive well has to produce insane amounts in order to not die out. As less endangered species humans get to have long lives and don't tend to have litters. The sacrifices that even made it possible for us to be in the easy situation we can get in are staggering. I would definitely call reality abominable.

Just remember that life is a big bonfire. In order to keep it from dying out you need to constantly add more fuel, and the only things that get any real benefits from the bonfire are the ones that supply it.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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22-09-2011, 09:01 AM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2011 09:18 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
Shudder!

"Human kind cannot bear very much reality." - T.S. Eliot

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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22-09-2011, 09:06 AM
 
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
(22-09-2011 08:33 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  Just remember that life is a big bonfire. In order to keep it from dying out you need to constantly add more fuel, and the only things that get any real benefits from the bonfire are the ones that supply it.

Lilith, you just blew me away with this post. Incredible insight and courage to name our deepest secrets and fears.

I would take my hat off for you but that, too, blew away!

Smile
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22-09-2011, 09:44 AM
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
i quit life and never looked back. isolation may be somewhat lonely at times, but it's much more tolerable than other options

even the smartest man in the world is an idiot
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22-09-2011, 02:16 PM
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
(22-09-2011 05:54 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  The only thing that can change the average person's opinion is being presented with an actual fully functioning version of the answer.

Disagree. The only way to change the average person's opinion is changing the public opinion.

Because on average, people have no opinion at all. Harsh but true.

Nowadays, the public opinion is provided by the same people who supply the bonfire. But the situation can, and thus should, be changed.
If Germans can have their government agree to quit nuclear power, what can't be done?

So about isolating yourself, that's the last thing one should do. Try as long as you are alive. Start with convincing those who listen to you. Stick to the like-minded and build your social circle.
And eventually, you will be able to change things around you.
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22-09-2011, 03:08 PM
 
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
(22-09-2011 02:16 PM)evilflower Wrote:  And eventually, you will be able to change things around you.

Noble sentiments, evilflower. If I were a lot younger, I would even agree with you. I did agree with you when I was a lot younger.

History is a great teacher in these matters. You see changes made an unmade time after time, while everything remained, essentially, the same. As it should if you believe in the theory of evolution. We are the same species today as we were a thousand years ago, and will be the same another thousand years from now.

Juts watch what will happen to Obama’s pitifully inadequate health care law if the republicans get in.

I lived under a communist dictatorship for 27 years. When I left, I became a criminal in my own country. Now I am a hero who voted with his feet.

I hate to be a wet blanket but the best we can hope for is keeping our heads above the water. The tide of stupidity and evil is rising at the moment, it will recede again, if we are lucky. The cycles will go on.

The real problem we face now is our technology: its unprecedented power can now destroy us overnight, or by slow, painful strangulation.

I have been lucky, lived most of my life in a bubble and it may last a bit longer.

However, if you are young, you have no choice but hope and fight for a better world and you have my full support and admiration.

Smile
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23-09-2011, 03:24 PM
RE: Options in a 'Mental Institution'
I do fight even if sometimes it doesn't sound like I do =p But I will stand by the fact that people are comfortable with their answers wrong or right. They will only change their minds if presented with the solution and even then they won't be all that willing to change. Look at what people do when they want big change, generally they do the same stuff they did previously. Most revolutions have a mirror version 40 years before them. Yes some things do eventually progress, but they never reach a point where they really become different. About 20 years ago there was a growing number of women complaining about the women's rights movement, and their sentiments have slowly been growing about how much easier it is to be a housewife. People want the proven answer, and generally they will look to the past for proven. that's why religion has such a hold.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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