Schizophrenia (was RE: A Boring Movie)

From: E. Shaun Russell (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 11:51:51 MST

Dr. Smigrodzki wrote:

>### As a neurologist rather than a psychiatrist I am not quite sure about
>the persistence of schizophrenic delusions, but I have the impression they
>might be more disorganized than the relatively simple ones in the movie. I
>guess the director wanted to surprise the viewers with the sudden
>revelation of the true nature of the events shown.

I'm no expert on the subject, but I can attest to the apparent reality of
schizophrenic delusions. One of my grandmothers was paranoid
schizophrenic, and until the time she died last year, she would call as
many as a dozen times a week (from New Zealand, no less) to warn my father
of things such as the planeload of criminal psychiatrists en route to our
home, or the doctors doing black witchcraft on my mother's gall
bladder. She heard about all this "over the intercom" (of which, of
course, she never had). When I would answer the phone, she would ask "Open
the door and let Daddy in, dear...he's outside being whipped." Obviously,
to us they were just delusions (annoying ones when we had to face them via
3 a.m. phone calls) but to her they were as real as anything
else. Unfortunately, she never had the realization that they weren't
"real" to other people.

During the late fifties and early sixties (roughly contemporaneous with
Nash) she was committed to a mental hospital where she received shock
treatments, which ultimately didn't do her any good, though New Zealand's
medical system at that time was a bit more archaic than that of other parts
of the world.

What I have always found fascinating is how one's perspective of reality
can be so obviously skewered, yet the vast majority of the mind still works
as it should. They know left from right, know sunshine from clouds, can do
complex mathematical equations or create great works of art. Yet they
don't see the same thing we see. It's a bit disconcerting that reality
itself doesn't play as big a part in a person's mind as we often
think. Functionality can be largely unmarred (in the case of my
grandmother as well as the movie depiction of Nash, at least) while they
see things that aren't there.

E. Shaun Russell Operations Officer, Extropy Institute
                  ~K i n e t i c i z e Y o u r P o t e n t i a l~

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