The Echoes of the Mind (116) Mental Illness


The neurotic is nailed to the cross of his fiction. ~ Alfred Adler

Mental illness is a chronic disturbance in mental functioning, beginning with perceiving actuality in a distorted way. Internal dysfunctions commonly show pronounced behavioral symptoms, though their exhibition may be suppressed in some instances.


One aspect of mental illness is malformed mind perception. The mentally ill either under-perceive or over-perceive minds in others. While autistics are sensitive to others’ emotional discomfort, they have difficulty representing other people’s mental states. Schizotypy typical involves promiscuous mentalizing: perceiving nonexistent minds. (Schizotypy is a continuum of mental illnesses characterized by dissociative and imaginative mental states (in place of perceiving actuality). Schizophrenia is an extreme schizotypal disease.)

The mental illness of the Collective is well illustrated by the commonness of distorted mind perception. Sexual violence is predicated upon misattributed mentalizing: either projecting that a woman would enjoy an assault, or not thinking or caring that a physical attack would also be a psychological one, with scars lasting long after the event. The social callousness of exploitative capitalists and conservatives lacking compassion owes to deficient mind perception.

The foregoing are merely egregious behavioral examples of the ubiquity of asymmetric mentalizing: such as that we know others better than they know us, and that others are biased whereas we see things as they really are.

Living healthily requires knowing which entities have minds and which do not, and respectfully appraising the qualities of others’ minds only as need arises. Mentalizing is no substitute for communication.


Mental dysfunction may have a physiological basis, as in autism and other disorders where inheritance is instrumental. Derangement may come from chemical pollution. The desire to cloud the mind is itself a mental illness which can be deepened through chemical application toward that end, such as by drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana.

The mind-body is an integrated gyre. What chronically affects the mind invariably has a physical consequence. Conversely, the best mental exercise is physical exertion.

Psychological stress has a mental origin and is not physiologically based. The root problem is believing anything that comes from a freewheeling nattermind, which revels in deception and troublemaking.

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Freud distinguished between neurosis and psychosis by ascribing the degree to which perception is divorced from actuality.

In neurosis, the break is with that portion of actuality found intolerable. Overall apperception remains more or less intact. The impairment only affects a limited realm of mental functioning.

In contrast, Freud thought that psychotics found actuality in toto too painful to bear: the break is global. Actuality is largely replaced with a paracosm.

A transference neurosis corresponds to a conflict between ego and id, a narcissistic neurosis corresponds to that between ego and superego, and a psychosis to that between ego and outer world. ~ Sigmund Freud

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Modern psychology assigns 3 major categories to mental illnesses: anxiety, mood, and schizophrenia.

Anxiety is an intense feeling of fearful distress. An anxiety may be a generalized sense of tension or panic, or be limited to a situation, object, or activity. Hesitation may be a mentally healthy response. Anxiety is not.

A specific anxiety is a phobia, which is a fear of a certain object or situation. Phobias arise from fabrications by nattermind which are believed.

Feeling unease when at a height where a fall may be fatal is a natural biological response. Feeling intense distress at the mere thought of being at such a height is a phobia.

An obsession is a persistent mental construct which may incite stress. A compulsion is a repetitive, ritualized behavior performed to reduce anxiety.

An obsessive-compulsive disorder is an obsession coupled to a compulsion. Frequent, physically uncalled-for hand washing is exemplary. Hand washing is a distraction emblematic of the desire to cleanse oneself of a mental state.

Mood disorders involve dramatic swings in mood. Depression is commonly involved. Some mood disorders involve mania. A person suffering bipolar disorder swings from a jaunty manic state into a debilitating depression. Like the ups and downs of roller coasters, these states episodically alternate.

Schizophrenia is what Freud termed psychosis: a crippling break with actuality. Delusion is the hallmark of schizophrenia. Schizophrenics may repeatedly experience hallucinations, especially hearing voices (nattermind taking pseudo-physical form). Men are more commonly afflicted with schizophrenia than women.

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All therapies aimed at validating emotions and conceptual constructs as psychologically healthy are espousals of ignorance – the blind leading the blinkered. Such psychological therapies of all sorts are rubbish, as their assumptive foundation is that the mind makes a positive contribution to life beyond perception and problem-solving (beyond enjoyment and skill).

We all talk to ourselves. Those we call mad just talk a little louder. ~ Marty Rubin

The source of madness is bothering to listen to the mind’s “talk,” regardless of its volume. One cannot begin to have “peace of mind” until one realizes that the mind offers no peace.

A critical element in mental disorder comes in holding onto the past. To reminisce is to be remiss to mental health.

Let the past be content with itself, for man needs forgetfulness as well as memory. ~ Irish novelist James Stephens

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Only by understanding the nature of the mind can one suss the source of suffering and vanquish it. To effectively do this, one must recognize reality: a feat very few achieve.

(Though it may be intense and sustained, pain is physical discomfort: the body insistently telling the mind of a physiological problem. In contrast, suffering is always a malady of the mind.)