Monday, December 27, 2021

Define "Crazy"

***I am not a doctor. This essay is presented for entertainment purposes.***

Straight-jacket and spit-hood. Fashionable attire for the sophisticated blogger

"Crazy" is when a person's response to stimuli is outside the cloud of "expected" responses.

Consider the responses that are available to you when somebody crowds your space:

  • You could step back
  • You could tell them to back-off
  • You could explicitly ask them why they are "testing" you
  • You could scream and rage at them using a big voice and big motions
  • You could step closer to them
  • You could throw your arms around them and give them a deep, soulful kiss
  • You could put your hand on your wallet
  • You could spray them with pepper spray
  • You could shoot them multiple times with a firearm
  • You could stitch together an progression of these responses that escalate

The expected response is sensitive to context. If the person moving into my personal space just invaded my home the response or escalation will be different than if I am attending a St Patrick Day party or in a Diagonal Slice meeting with the company's founder.

You will notice that this definition has nothing to do with how a person thinks.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud noted that most of our behaviors are directed by an entity he called "our sub-conscious". That is, the part of our brain that is not immediately accessible to our "conscious" self.

That is an awesome observation. The person who is ALWAYS cruel and mean is able to rationalize, after-the-fact, why they are so nasty. But those reasons are intellectual back-fill. Think of it as the cook who trowels in frosting to mask the pock-marks in the top of the cake. We see the frosting and the words written with icing but we really have no comprehension of the ingredients the cook used to make the cake.

Sigmund Freud Part II

DIP Switches
Then Freud stepped on his dingus when he proposed that therapists can "fix" defective people by plumbing the depths of their sub-conscious and resetting the DIP switches.

This is almost always doomed to failure because the model of Thoughts===>Actions is fatally flawed. Many times it is more accurate to say Actions===>Thoughts.

So my perception is that the universe of "counsellors" is populated with therapists who slept through intro Freud and perked up later on. They were enchanted with the superficialities but really did not look at the foundation or seek mastery.

Back to the shrew

The toxic shrew described above is very resistant to therapy because her brain always supplies reasons after-the-fact. Addressing those after-the-fact explanations will NEVER change the behavior.

Everybody lies. We are all chocolate-dipped liars and the person we lie to the most often is ourself.

Sadly, most of us live our lives in this mode. We do what we do and only when challenged do we enunciate the reasons WHY we did something. And most generally, the reasons that pop our of our mouths are embarrassingly inaccurate.

1963 Community Mental Health Act

The CMHA with its goal of "mainstreaming" crazy people into "the least restrictive environment" fails to explain why crazy people is a rich-country problem.

The hypothesis that "crazy" is behavior-based and that poor-countries can not afford, nor do they tolerate crazy behavior does.

An analogy

I just looked in our cupboard. We have a stack of nine cereal bowls, and a stack of six 8" lunch plates on top of six 10" dinner plates. Behind the cereal bowls we have a stack of four condiment bowls and the same number of ice-cream bowls.

Most days, I am the only one who uses a cereal bowl. I eat my oatmeal and then rinse out the bowl and place it next to the sink. Dobie the house-elf cleans it overnight and returns it to the cupboard.

Something similar happens with the plates but more plates get used over the course of the day.

Behaviors exhibit "stack" or "LIFO" characteristics. When confronted with a problem that requires a cereal bowl, it is a near certainty that I will grab the same cereal bowl that I used the last time I had this problem.

It is less certain that I will grab the exact-same plate but it is highly likely that I will use one of the three I used the last time.

"Crazy" as Behavior

Suppose there was a teleprompter running on our forehead that continuously displayed the stream of thoughts running through our heads.

What are the odds that you would make it through a week without being labeled insane based on your thoughts?  Pretty low, I would guess. So if everybody is "Crazy" when cognitive processes are used  as the metric, how can that model have any utility or any ability to discriminate between CRAZY/NOTCRAZY?

The main advantage of the Crazy as Behavior approach is that it works. Another advantage is that you don't require a medical degree or a Ph.D. to apply it. All you need is a society that authorizes the general population to enforce conformance when they encounter "wild" stimuli/behaviors.


  1. And this is why I come here. You just explained something succinctly that I have been scratching my head over and finally understood late last year.

    Thank you for independent verification of an issue you had no idea I had come to a conclusion on....

    WOW, that sentence is a bit.... strange.

  2. You are correct. Both my ex-wife and one of my sons have mental issues. When off their meds, they act irrationally. My ex attempts to come up with some bs after-the-fact rationalization. My son doesn't even bother because he recognizes that what he was doing wasn't rational and can't be rationalized away. Fortunately, both now take their meds regularly. I think the meds may have been the thing that doomed my marriage. Prozac lowers dopamine levels and about 1 month after starting prozac a woman will turn to her husband and say "I love you but I'm not in love with you," which is another way of saying "you haven't changed but I no longer feel long-term affection for you because the chemical that is responsible for feelings of long-term affection is no longer circulating in my blood stream." We tried to make it work but, ultimately, she filed for divorce. All in all, however, she's better off being on the meds even if it meant the end of our marriage.
    The Phantom

  3. Where the e-goes, we-goes.


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.