What insanity looks like


What insanity looks like!


Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?


Have you ever noticed how, over and over, people attribute that comment to Einstein? No matter how many times they say he said it, he still won’t say it.


Holy crap that line makes me hulk like. It is a self serving, illogical and ten dollar word method of saying, “it sucks, we don’t know the causes, but my argument from authority is better than yours.”

If the author wants to talk about quacks over the years, cool. If the author wants to talk about how quacks influenced the degradation of their patients, cool.

But mental illness is not elusive or evanescent. And to claim so belittles both the practioners and the patients.

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Gal-AX-y, we know the solution for 95%+ of mental illness. Biological, group therapy (for social binding), one on one therapy, positive ideation, and in some cases spiritual exercises (which is a subset of positive ideation).

The hard cases are hard because the balance of techniques are challenging. Not that we don’t know them.

Apparently, it’s from a Narcotics Anonymous book.

I find that much easier to believe. I don’t believe Einstein was a member.

Read it again:

Unnecessarily complicated way of putting it, but I believe the author was saying that the attempts to capture meaning were “elusive and evanescent”, not that madness itself is.

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What these well-meaning doctors completely miss, is that it’s a lack of conformity they are trying to restore, not sanity.


Okay, let’s parse the sentence.

Madness indeed has its meanings, elusive and evanescent as our attempts to capture them have been

Elusive and evanescent refer both to the primary subject, mental illness, and the study of it. It is a simile statement, inferring both parts of the comparison share common attributes.

I say bs, plus it is a shitty way of describing both the affliction and study.

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Dude, as someone that is waaay to close to this problem, your snark is both cynical and not cynical enough.

Tactical practitioners desire to lighten their case load. Researchers desire grants and speaking fees.

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Madness and civilization, you say?


Look, I am going to start off with a slightly funny anecdote, then plainly describe my problem with the thesis.

Ever read or written a STEM doctoral thesis? One very common trait is to ‘make yourself look smart’. One common way of doing this is to wrap easy, well understood in either jargon or unnecessary complexity.

Thus, we behold the awesome power of using calculus to… Perform basic arithmetic. It happens all the time, and is as annoying as it sounds. I trust you will understand why I inserted that anecdote and why it is relevant.

(End anecdote)

While the author is trying to convey the ‘look’ of insanity, the problem comes from the feeble attempts at describing it, describing the actual implications, and painting the problem with a wide flowery brush that contains no meaning.

Modern psychiatry seems determined to rob madness of its meanings, insisting that its depredations can be reduced to biology and nothing but biology.[/quote]


  • In the Paris Review, a fascinating, dense, and heavily illustrated history of how we’ve depicted insanity

Dense? Over wrought and laden with anecdata.

I enjoy the illustrations, and the critique of how we as a species have failed the alter minded for, well, just about forever. But this particular piece is obfuscated navel gazing wrapped in pseudo intellectualism.

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Gah, I am replying to myself. (Breath, don’t get worked up).

If this were true then why does every peer reviewed study on biological psychiatric agents (drugs) also have a footnote that basically says, “results improve 2x with group therapy”.

(Paging Randall Munroe) someone on the internet is wrong! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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On third reading, it looks to me as though “elusive and evanescent” refers to the meanings. Gah! It’s just a confusingly written sentence; who knows what the writer means?

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(Straightens tie)

Perhaps the writer is mad?

Thanks folks, I’ll be here all week! :slight_smile:

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