Yes, I see what you are saying. In certain historical circumstances people do possess inherently psychotic beliefs, during the 3rd Reich for instance, there are many other instances in history, but the 3rd Reich is an outstanding example. Thus an individual's psychosis has to be put against this backdrop or the backdrop of their own society and the ideas and beliefs that find common formulation in it. Psychosis exists within history and that history may not necessarily always be a nightmare, as you imply. History can also have a liberating effect, uniting the common strands of individual desiny with the lives of others. Psychosis exists in a society that has radically disoriented its sense of history in regard to a rupture so profound that psychosis is the only way to articulate the individual's sense of dismay at the happenings around him/her. When this rupture ceases to exist, the psychosis ceases to exist. It is not, in essence, an 'illness' - because it is no more an illness than the Muslim religion differs in regard to the Christian one - that exists outside history, there is no need to escape history either, but to unite the fragile bond with the past that existed in regard to a later intrusion or Imperialism even. But you are right to specify a historical analysis as part and parcel of your analysis of psychosis,
best wishes,
Paul Murphy

> from: PsycheCulture@xxxxxx
> date: Tue, 03 Jun 2003 01:40:40
> to: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> I recently was re-reading James Glass' book, Delusion: Internal Dimension
> of Political Life, one of the best books ever written on psychology and
> politics (it is available on-line from Powell's Book Store at
> Glass
> There is one clinical report in his book (a study of the relationship
> between schizophrenic thought and political thought) that I found particularly
> interesting.
> Professor Glass delineates the symptoms of a patient called "Mary." He
> notes, for example, that she once told him that "she kept Stalin, Mao, and Lenin
> alive in a crypt located deep in the Kremlin wall." He then goes on to say
> that "What it meant for Mary to keep Stalin, Mao, and Lenin alive in a crypt
> lacked any consensual validation."
> What is implied by this statement is that if this idea did have
> consensual validation it would no longer be psychotic.
> Indeed, a similar idea does possess consensual validation. For nearly
> eighty years, Lenin has been buried in a mausoleum. It is as if the belief and
> faith of the Russian people (and all of us) function to "keep Lenin alive in a
> crypt located deep in the Kremlin wall."
> In some sense we don't "really" believe that Lenin is alive. Yet in
> another sense we do. The discipline called "history" (and many other disciplines)
> articulate our fantasy that we can KEEP CERTAIN HUMAN BEINGS ALIVE THROUGH OUR
> In a post a few weeks ago I said, "Just because something exists, that
> doesn't make it real."
> The first step in awakening from the nightmare of history consists of
> deciding that just because many persons believe and embrace a cultural idea
> doesn't mean that this idea is not psychotic.
> With regards,
> Richard Koenigsberg
> Richard A. Koenigsberg, Ph. D.
> Library of Social Science

Paul Murphy
Tel: 0044 02890 659866
Fax: 0044 02890 322767

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