Re: crazy people/Re: explination of feminist perspective

Gary F. Blanchard (
Wed, 09 Apr 1997 12:26:28 -0700

Dear Bob-

Thanks for your interesting and informative response.

1) For me, 'crazy' is simply a characterization, formulated in language
as either an opinion or a fact, made by an observer, of some aspect(s)
of themselves or another. What that suggests to me is that we should
turn our attention from the conundrums of naming.
~Instead, as I believe you agree, we might better focus our attention
on grounding or operationalizing the distinction, 'crazy.' I believe
this will require that we posit some standards of assessment we can
agree upon, regarding observable actions / behavior, which we say
constitute the presence of'crazy.'
~Even then, we are left with the possibility that what we come up with
will be distinctions of opinion vs. distinctions of replicable,
inter-subjectively reliable fact.

2) Regarding another of your points:
> 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".

Does this mean that you believe that behaviour/speech are 'psychic'
events, hence are intrinsically less able to be observed / measured
than swimming or rock weight? Would you say more on this?

3) Regarding the nature of constructs:
> 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
> discriminations..
I, too, appreciate Tim's contribution. But I'm curious to know where
the notion arose that...
> >
> >Bipolarity refers to the presence of an opposite pole (whereas a
> >concept does not necessarily imply its opposite)....

I am concerned that we are likening linguistic interpretations
(bipolarity) with physical dimensionality (...there must be some idea of
what constitutes its opposite....) I'm not very clear on this, but take
a look,will you? As best I can see, there is no 'opposite pole' that
exists or can be logically-determined as a function of the establishment
of an initial 'pole.' Rather, we are simply constructing an
interpretation of both the distinction 'construct,' and of its
anatomy.Or is my ignorance simply showing here?

4) Regarding your final point:

> 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"?

I look forward to continuing to inquire with you, and our other
interested maillist colleagues, as to the answers to this excellent

Best, Gary                           
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   "All knowing is doing; all doing is knowing."	
   "Everything that is said, is said by an observer."
	-Humberto Maturana & Francis Varela,
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