Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Science Does or Does Not Advance Soceity?

Last post I wrote about a certain type of mental illness, Borderline Personality Disorder. Mental illness is a label given to the individual by psychological science. Psychological science has "defined" what is normal or abnormal behavior and developed a system that defines what is proper behavior in society. Deviant behavior is labeled as socially disturbing and undermining.

Interestinly enough, some who have been labeled with Manic Depressive Disorder are known to be the most creative and productive individuals throughout history. A prominent psychologist from a major research institute revealed her own "diagnosis" and then revealed how many "creative spirits" would have been "eliminated" by the "system" if medical science had medicated them. These were well know writers such as, Emerson, Dickinsom and painters, such as van Gogh, Rembrandt, and artists such as Beethovan. Creators of many of our "great humanitites". What would the world be like without their contributions?

But, what about moral reformer and revolutionaries, which circumvented the "norm" for something of higher value? These reformers were not seen as society's supporters, as these were ones who saw a more universalized way of understanding the world, tradition, society, and culture. These were usually killed by those they sought to reform or change. These would have been labelled by sociologists as deviants.

The previous blog entry got me thinking about the film I saw about this subject and it made me wonder of what us is medicating those whose "disease" "helps" their creative bent. Most of the geniuses of the past have been deviant in one way or another.

I hope somehow to resolve in my thinking how social norms and values, which are important, at the same time, undermine some of the ones amongst us that would otherwise contribute greatly. How can we know?

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