What mentally ill animals can teach humans

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My ex adopted a cat who had lived with a hyperactive child and she most definitely had PTSD. It took me years to get that cat into my lap.


Imagine studying mental disorders in humans without observing them.


There may be a simple reason for that: maybe animals with mental
disorders don’t make it in the wild. They do not necessarily get the
care or support that mentally ill humans do, so if they can’t perform
critical tasks they may not survive long.

At least they didn’t ignore or glaze over something relatively obvious. Ideally humans would use all our wonderful emotions, like compassion, to care for each other but I guess in terms of human history we are still new to the idea of not having to bust our asses every day just to keep food on the table and the predators at bay.


All mental disorders, from depression to schizophrenia, involve abnormal behaviours. Those behaviours are influenced by genes just like other behaviours.
So the idea is to identify genes that can cause abnormal behaviours in humans and other animals.

yeah, if you could get on that, that would be super.

I don’t know what I’ve got, but I know for damn sure it’s genetic. via both my mother and father. not really all that hyped on it, so as soon as you can isolate the genes, holler at me because it’s getting fucking old, yo.


It should be glaringly obvious to anyone who’s ever watched a tiger endlessly pacing back and forth against the bars of an undersized cage in an old-fashioned zoo that animals can suffer trauma-induced mental illness.


Hmmm, maybe research on chimps could explain why I hurl my feces at coworkers.

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I don’t like the implication of "there’s a strong genetic component’ here. There is a very strong genetic component to being female, but it would be pretty silly to point out that there is a genetic propensity to be paid less for the same work. A person in a wheelchair, born with non functioning legs, may not be able to go up a flight of stairs to get into a restaurant, but we aren’t going to say there is a strong genetic component to being able to get into that restaurant.

Almost all mental illness is going to be an interaction between the mind and the environment it exists in. There are different ways of being and different ways of seeing the world. Some of those ways interact very poorly with our current culture, and sometimes we could probably do a lot better and understanding how that is and what we could change to make it better. We know the genetic cause of Down Syndrome, but the “solution” to Down Syndrome isn’t gene therapy, it’s respecting people with Down Syndrome, ending discrimination against them, and welcoming them fully into our society. Mental illness is the same.

Sounds like normal behavior…

Most of the domesticated primates of Terra did not know they were primates. They thought they were something apart from and "superior" to the rest of the planet....

Benny had actually read Darwin once, in college a long time ago, and had heard of sciences like ethology and ecology, but the facts of evolution had never really registered on him. He never thought of himself as a primate. He never realized his friends and associates were primates. Above all, he never understood that the alpha males of Unistat were typical leaders of primate bands. As a result of this inability to see the obvious, Benny was constantly alarmed and terrified by the behavior of himself, his friends and associates and especially the alpha males of the pack. Since he didn’t know it was ordinary primate behavior, it seemed just awful to him.

Since a great deal of primate behavior was considered just awful, most of the domesticated primates spent most of their time trying to conceal what they were doing.

Some of the primates got caught by other primates. All of the primates lived in dread of getting caught.

Those who got caught were called no-good shits.

This metaphor was deep in primate psychology because primates mark their territories with excretions, and sometimes they threw excretions at each other when disputing over territories. [ink-n-bombs]

The term no-good shit was a deep expression of primate psychology. For instance, one wild primate (a chimpanzee) taught sign language by two domesticated primates (scientists) spontaneously put together the signs for “shit” and “scientist” to describe a scientist she didn’t like. She was calling him shit-scientist. She also put together the signs for “shit” and “chimpanzee” for another chimpanzee she didn’t like. She was calling him shit-chimpanzee.

“You no-good shit,” domesticate primates often said to each other.

— Robert Anton Wilson

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