Friday, January 11, 2013

Paranoia

Contemplating my greater concentration of paranoid people on my current caseload, I am struck by how many of them cannot accept blame for even the smallest of infractions.  I am not suggesting, not by a long shot, that character traits are driving schizophrenia.  But I do wonder if we have misunderstood which part of the brain is broken.  At present, we see the self-observation and considering-alternative-narrative areas of the cortex as the culprits.  But those areas are also exactly the ones we use in mediating discomfort about taking responsibility.  Accepting blame/consequences/responsibility means envisioning how we might have acted in a better way. 

Yet which part broke first?  Dealing with discomfort or entertaining competing narratives?

In truth, I think I am running well beyond the data here, and going all blue-sky on you.  But a smarter person than I might benefit from the different angle.

1 comment:

William Kristol said...

I'll make no claims to scientific knowledge, but something that amazes me the more I think about it is how pervasive the cult of victimhood, as Christopher Lasch termed it, has become in the West. You are hard pressed to come across anyone these days who doesn't subscribe to some victimology or other--whether by feeling personally victimized or through identifying with other victims, and frequently both.

Our society is so paranoid, indeed, that one is reminded of Kurosawa's observation that in a world where insanity reigns, the man looking for sanity might be best off associating with the putatively insane.