Re: crazy people/Re: explination of feminist perspective

Bob Green (
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 22:07:38 +1000


Regarding your comments.

>Dear Bob-
>Thanks for your note.
>By way of response, I want to tell you --- I hope without being
>offensive --- that I am concerned about our conversation. I'm getting
>the feeling of being cross-examined, not talked with. You may not
>intend this but it's the case for me. Perhaps a factor is that while I
>am as fully responsive to your questions/concerns as possible, I still
>have no idea what your agenda is/views are. So would you please
>enlighten me in your next reply?

No offense taken. Certainly I have been attempting to try and understand
your views by having you elaborate upon them. My questioning probably
follows on from frustration in having my initial question answered with a
question. I don't have a particular agenda. My motivation initially was
trying to understand what seemed to me a very broad description of what
constitutes "craziness".

To an extent we all inhabit our own worlds, however some folks' views seem
to me far harder to comprehend and are more likely to attract the label of
"crazy", than others. Whether this is a biochemical, sociological or
psychological phenomena is a question that keeps the texts rolling out. Jim
Mancuso posted some interesting comments on reality to this list which
relate to this question.

In my private discussions with Jim I think the notion was discussed of some
events being more readily verifiable than others (e.g can I swim or is a
rock heavy?), whereas psychic events (behaviour/speech) is far more
subjective and less readily agreed upon, in terms of what it "means".

Even if I suggested that people could be construed as crazy if they hold
unswervingly onto ideas which all external reality does not confirm/their
predictions of what will occur in life are continually invalidated, there are
exceptions. For example, what sense can one make of the Heavens Gateway
crew? I don't necessarily expect an answer on that one.

A project I would like to undertake would be to explore the construing of
people considered "crazy".

>Secondly, I am not a PCP-trained professional. I am concerned with the
>genus 'constructivism,' not the species 'PCP.' Hence I am openly
>ignorant of many of the basic methodological distinctions of PCP. But I
>recognize their role and know that they will come up on a list such as
>this. So it is essential that I attend to them.
>That's why I noted that 'I am not sure what you mean by 'construct....'
>Your reply, 'I am referring to a construct in terms of a bipolar
>construct as defined by George Kelly,' left me still unclear. Please
>tell me, in your own words, perhaps with an example or two, what you
>have in mind, so I can share your understanding.

Tim Connor gave a very succinct and to the point description of what a
constuct is in Kelly's terms. If Tim has supplied some references these
would be a useful way to see what the term 'bipolar construct " refers to.
In the context of our discussion, crazy is one pole (way) to describe
people. Bipolarity refers to the presence of an opposite pole (whereas a
concept does not necessarily imply its opposite), for some people it may be
"not crazy". I thought you were suggesting the opposite of crazy was
"effective communicator".
To describe someone as crazy there must be some idea of what constitutes its
opposite, otherwise evreyone is seen as crazy becuase discriminations
between people can'rt be made. Constructs are tools used to make these

>Demonstrated incapacity, to me, means that one simply cannot, for the
>life of them, produce an action, recurrently. I find it useful to
>distinguish between capacity and performance. Capacity refers to the
>potential for producing action; performance refers to the quality and
>quantity of action produced, from within
>some explicit or implicit capacity. I can give examples if you wish,
>but perhaps the point is so elemental that you would prefer to move on
>to other aspects of your query/conversation.

An example in terms of someone you would see as crazy/having demonstrated
incapacity would be helpful, because I am a bit confused, because in the
above terms demonstrated incapacity = demonstrated potential for producing
action or not producing action (in the case of incapacity). What can't
someone who is "crazy" do/perform?

>I hope you find this responsive to your questions, and look forward to
>learning your views in these matters.
>Incidentally, I am somewhat familiar with the work of Szasz and
>recognize that the term 'crazy' often has been misapplied as an
>instrument of oppression. And I realize that, ultimately, all evidence
>(such as, of what constitutes 'crazy,' and who is producing it) is
>eyewitness evidence, hence is completely open to misinterpretation and
>distortion, benign or not.

This comment I believe touches on the post by Devi, and your question to Tim
regarding solipsism. This is the core of the issue, is there some shared
understanding of what "crazy" refers to, is it a useful construct/concept
and what is the process of labelling people as "crazy"? These are not
questions I expect answers to, but are important in understanding people who
see the world in ways defined as "crazy".


Bob Green