Thursday, July 7, 2011

100 Yrs Of Psycho Therapy - Take Cover - 2

In this post I would like to talk about the contrast, overlap, and difference between intelligence and sanity.

That "intelligence" and "sanity" are not the same can be at once seen with a simple quote from a recent Dredd Blog post.

That post concerned, among other things, mass-murderer James Whitman who went to a high building on a Texas college campus with a long range rifle, then killed 32 people:
Along with the shock of the murders lay another, more hidden, surprise: the juxtaposition of his aberrant actions with his unremarkable personal life. Whitman was an Eagle Scout and a former marine, studied architectural engineering at the University of Texas, and briefly worked as a bank teller and volunteered as a scoutmaster for Austin’s Boy Scout Troop 5. As a child, he’d scored 138 on the Stanford-Binet IQ test, placing in the 99th percentile. So after his shooting spree from the University of Texas Tower, everyone wanted answers.
(New Government ... Policy..., emphasis added). The guy was very intelligent, but he was also becoming insane, and if you read that post you will read that he knew he was going insane, so he sought professional help, but to no avail.

Many people are intelligent but are not sane, while many others are far less intelligent, yet they are sane.

It may seem obvious that intelligence and sanity are not the same, but many do not contrast the two concepts, instead they conflate them.

Some would even say that James Whitman was "stupid" to commit his crimes, but the mental tests, as well as his early life, show that he was anything but stupid.

The United States is going through what James Whitman went through, in the sense that many individuals express concern that we are morphing into something we have never been before, that we are becoming violent and inhumane in both our perception as well as our behavior, as a nation engaged in endless wars for oil.

Whitman noticed that violent thoughts were bubbling up into his conscious from somewhere, just like many writers, scholars, scientists, politicians, and activists are saying about the nation.

Whitman also knew for awhile that such thinking was not normal, before the not-normal became his final "normal" and he went totally insane.

Is our demise like his, that is, are we going to be unable to stave off our own national insanity, or the insanity of civilization itself, with mass psychotherapy or the like?

In the first post of this series we reviewed a book "We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy -- And the World's Getting Worse", authored by Hillman and Ventura, and published in 1992.

One interesting section of that post was:
In that book I came across this back and forth between them:
HILLMAN: There is a decline in political sense. No sensitivity to real issues. Why are the intelligent people - at least among the white middle class - so passive now? Why? Because the sensitive, intelligent people are in therapy! They've been in therapy in the United States for thirty, forty years, and during that time there's been a tremendous political decline in this country.

VENTURA: How do you think that works?
(ibid, page 5). Yes, how does that work? I think Noam Chomsky, a great scholar, gave us a hint when he said:
Throughout history it's been mostly the property holders or the educated classes who've tended to support power systems. And that's a large part of what I think education is — it's a form of indoctrination. You have to reconstruct a picture of the world in order to be conducive to the interests and concerns of the educated classes, and this involves a lot of self-deceit.
(Noam Chomsky, emphasis added). Chomsky indicates that our educational system is perceived to be controlled by the private sector. But there are other considerations ...
(100 Yrs Of Psycho Therapy - Take Cover, emphasis added). The "no sensitivity to real issues" and "indoctrination" can be said to be related both to education as well as to psychotherapy.

The psychotherapists are a professional group who are educated within a national system that has not only preconceived notions, it also has an agenda, and is part of the media world in significant ways (a system that wants to influence how and what you think).

Individual psychotherapists do not tend to deal with the mental health of civilization, nations, or groups, instead they typically deal with individuals or couples.

Further, as Chomsky pointed out, the educational system is controlled by an elite who tend to promulgate the "everything is fine" mantra, which is, whether we like it or not, pure propaganda, especially when it is perfectly clear that everything is not fine.

In the Peak of Sanity series we did not say that the peak of intelligence had been reached, but some readers conflated intelligence with sanity, thus they missed the point of that series.

In yesterday's post we broached the subject of how the media likes to sensationalize issues that are not real in the larger sense.

For example, the Casey Anthony case was mentioned, a case that had a jury verdict which drove thousands out of their mind, at the same time up to 30,000 children starved to death, but were not mentioned.

People are not incensed at the death of as many as 30,000 children each day, but are incensed at the death of one child on one day.

We need a psychology that faces national problems, as well as the problems of civilization, with a mature outlook dedicated and determined to stop such insanity.

Otherwise, like James Whitman, the nation and civilization are possibly going to become totally criminally insane without any real hope of recovery.

Ok psychotherapists, start your engines, end the administration of pabulum and tell the world it is going mad.

The previous post in this series is here.


  1. Previous comment by "anon nurse" from the Turley blog. I'm reading "The Authoritarians" -- I started it a little bit ago. Thanks again for posting the link...

    Maybe my previous comment didn't post??

    Anyway, I said that I should visit your blog more often, but find that there aren't enough hours in each day...

  2. Anonymous,

    No other post showed up from you today. I have no way of knowing how many Blogspot may miss ...

    Glad you enjoy the commercial free Dredd Blog!

    Turley Blog is way cool. I post there myself sometimes and read it.

    Like you say, when there is time ...

  3. Intelligence and sanity is really different.Intelligence is a manifestation of having a high mental capacity while sanity is a state of being healthy in ming.

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  4. Veronica,

    The "ming" was a Chinese Dynasty from 1368 to 1644, and like all empires, was a mixture of sanity, insanity, intelligence, and the lack thereof.

  5. Hello! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about psychotherapy in your area. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about psychotherapy. Keep it up! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well.
    While some psychotherapeutic interventions are designed to treat the patient using the medical model, many psychotherapeutic approaches do not adhere to the symptom-based model of "illness/cure". Some practitioners, such as humanistic therapists, see themselves more in a facilitative/helper role. As sensitive and deeply personal topics are often discussed during psychotherapy, therapists are expected, and usually legally bound, to respect client or patient confidentiality. The critical importance of confidentiality is enshrined in the regulatory psychotherapeutic organizations' codes of ethical practice.
    The psychotherapy practiced by therapists from these disciplines can come from any of the “schools” of therapy described above. While the dispensation of medication is reserved to psychiatrists and to some specially certified nurses, the quality of psychotherapy does not vary from one discipline to the next. It varies more as a result of the knowledge, experience and “style” of the individual therapist. Call us for help in locating a suitable therapist for your needs.

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  6. Jackie,


    I find it quite incredible that we have reached an apex on some intelligence/sanity issues without understanding how they came into existence in the first place (Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?). All things are possible with words.