Anders Sandberg wrote:
> "J. Maxwell Legg" <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> > Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > > people with mental problems today have less mental flexibility than
> > > normal people - their repertoire of thinking and acting has been
> > > limited due to their illness, and they often get stuck in nasty
> > > attractor states (like in depression or paranoia).
> > >
> > Mainly because they have been unsuccessful in bucking social pressure
> > against their activities.
> No. Take a look at most major mental disorders and the lack of
> flexibility becomes obvious, even without any social
> context. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is obviously inflexible, as is
> paranoid delusions. Depressives cannot easily shift out of their black
> mood, borderline personalities seem to be unable to comfort themselves
> and need others to do it, frontal lobe damage limits the ability to
> switch strategies, schizophreniacs exhibit a whole range of
> stereotypal behaviors and lack of metacognitive control, and so on.
> It is easy to play games with the definition of mental illness, but
> these states are out there and have certain properties, whether you
> regard them as illnesses or not.
Sure people get caught in attractors which they can't get out of and an illness ensues, but what starts them on the downward spin is often environmental and actual damage is quite another thing altogether.
These definitional games are often the problem. I live in the extreme right wing dictatorial fascist state of New Zealand where people's life expectancy nowadays is almost the lowest in the developed world. In a recent poll, only 16% of the population expects the health system to be there for them when they really need it. Changing definitions of disability and illness are often used by the government when they fuck with the population and quite regularly, via the news media these days, decide who lives and who dies. So lumping problems together with illnesses and disabilities caused by damage is quite a negative aspect of the duck shoving and obfuscation that goes hand in hand with a society that will not own up to its own social ills, such as fascism, gangs, etc.