Memory or psychosis?

Martin Knopman mknopman at
Sat Sep 11 01:01:09 EST 1999

F. Frank LeFever wrote in message <7rchgp$gmf at>...
>I didn't have the patience to do more than just skim through this, but
>I think I caught a glimpse oof the old "different view of reality"
>One needs to be psychotic (well, no, maybe just naive) even to imagine
>a room full of schizophrenics all agreeing on some view of reality
>which you do not share. At "best": two schizophrenics, two views of
>reality; three schizophrenics, three views of reality..and so on...

I don't mean to argue the other side, but the idea of a cult is not unusual,
is it?  Their views of 'reality' might well be termed insane by many, many
people and yet you could get 200 of them in a room pretty easily.  I
understand that you might not call them schizophrenic (I would, in the
definition I know of it) but getting a bunch of terribly deluded people to
agree on a ridiculous delusion is not that hard.  (e.g. politics)  So, by
extension, one can assume a few 'natural' (untrained) schizophrenics in a
room who happen to agree on their twisted worlds.

>But even this mis-states the case.  While a paranoid schizophrenic may
>have a well-developed and "consistent" view of a reality different from
>the rest of the world, it is the tragedy of most schizophrenics that
>they HAVE no consisttent view of reality,

Unfortunately, I know of no one who has a consistent view of reality.  I'm
sure that if I were to quiz you about all of the beliefs you tend to carry
around with you (most simply your thoughts on religion and meaning versus
your occupation and lifestyle) you would almost surely fail the test of
consistency.  I certainly fail that test, myself.  So, the question is not
one of inconsistency.

> have trouble completing any
>thoughts they begin, have excruciating doubts about what is real from
>moment to moment, etc.

Yeah, so what?  You're saying that schizophrenics seem to lead, generally,
dissatisfying lives ... tragic, even.  I don't see the relevance of that.
Besides, the point that those thoughts, and the others to be included from
the 'etc.', are necessary from time to time.  Society requires a certain
percentage of its people to think in far different manners, be driven by
different considerations, have different views of the world, etc.  Different
perceptual realities would seem to be an evolutionary requirement for a
vibrant, thinking population.

>(Not exactly the same, but someone discussing the broader implications
>of the Jewish tradition of talmudic analysis and dispute said "put two
>Jews in a room and you will have three opinions about---")
>There WAS a book, long ago, of three schizophrenics with the "same"
>delusion being put in the same room, but--well, actually, not exactly
>the same delusion: each one thought HE was the messiah.  Believe the
>title was "The Three Christs of Ypsilanti" (Ypsilanti VA hospital?).
>F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
>New York Neuropsychology Group

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