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Questions for Further Study: mental illness and evolution, religion, integration and dissociation

what are the evolutionary benefits of different forms of mental illness?  Is there a sickle cell population genetics explanation whereby some bipolar genes in a population give you greater creativity?

What are the different strategies societies have for letting the psychologically abnormal interact with the psychologically normal– from venerAtion of yogis and crazy poets at one extreme to medicalization on the other?  What are the pluses and minuses of these strategies for a societies long term health?

How does dissociation work and when is it a good thing?  Is accessing different ways of coping through semi autonomous ego structures (alters) a better way to achieve success ever?  What are the pluses and minuses for different strategies of integrating and coordinating alters?

What role does religion play in a society’s cultivation of normative structures of the psyche and ways of structuring and integrating different psychological subsystems?

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3 thoughts on “Questions for Further Study: mental illness and evolution, religion, integration and dissociation

  1. Mikey says:

    I’ve got friends with Messiah complexes and I always think “I wonder if Jesus had a Messiah complex. If he did, it would explain partly why he was such a big success”. Also “If Jesus didn’t have a Messiah complex, maybe he would have kept his lovely ideas to himself and no one would have found out about them.”

    I guess military leaders probably can benefit from being mentally unwell in some situations too. But the huge disadvantages that come with mental illness mean that you have to have a lot of them about so that they pair up with someone who is lucky enough to have sane ideas (in the case of religious leaders) or to stay alive against the odds (in the case of military leaders).

      • Mikey says:

        But there’s got to be something a bit funny about you to stand in front of 5000 people and tell them all to share their food with each other and that the meek will be blessed and stuff.

        Another interesting question is why we have psychosomatic illnesses and why the placebo effect works. But perhaps they happened first for whatever reason and people who believed they could heal people came along and suddenly instead of being crazy they actually could heal people.

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