The Four Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathology III B- The World of Distorted/Inaccurate Views of Reality
One of us who was born in a small town, remember many ‘mad’ men and women wandering around in our neighbourhood. We had a few in our big family as well. None of them were restrained or treated. Nobody considered it a big deal. They were social deviants in their own ways, appearance and views living in their own worlds. Children used to be afraid of some of them as they seemed to be so ‘different’. None of the adults were treating them any differently. In the years that followed, there were many changes: new buildings and offices came up, men started wearing pants, schools and hospitals were founded in our community. There were more people, noticing and ‘calling out’ of madness. Physical appearance and viewpoints needed to be more compliant than deviant. Many were called mad and locked up at home. One of us remember a family member, who used to be forcibly taken to a hospital once in a while for a ‘shock’ treatment. The uncomfortable feeling still remains – remembering his shouts and screams as he was escorted to a waiting van. He was very quiet when he returned.
There were a few others who were very interesting to be acquainted with – they had no sense of obligation or responsibility or demands. They seemed to be free spirits, in spite of many social or family expectations. Yet, they were bullied and kept away as mad men. Like “Frank” from one of the essays by Bergquist, did some of them fall prey to the expectations of a ‘developing’ society?
While some of us struggled to fulfil our social and family expectations, while we toiled to keep our ‘imposter’ hidden from the public eye, while we upheld the non-existent self-image up against the equally ‘fake’ others, we sometimes wonder: who really is mad?
What we have highlighted is a just a drop in the ocean to the perspectives of the east. For those who are interested to explore more, a very good text to refer to is the Buddhist Abhidharma. This frames the psychological system of Buddhism explaining the workings of reality and the nature of the human mind. It is composed of detailed matrixes and lists that outline the interaction of consciousness and reality, the essence of perception and experience, and the reasons and methods behind mindfulness and meditation. Numerous psychoanalysts, psychologists, and quantum physicists are delving deeper into the text to discover the legitimacy of such first person (subjective) investigation of reality. The East has been doing such exploration for thousands of years.