[ExI] A Small Request [was Re: Impressive book: Farewell toAlms]

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sat Feb 9 09:27:50 UTC 2008

On 09/02/2008, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> In that case I would likely try to have him apprehended by the authorities,
> who could only hold him temporarily.  If he left a note, I think they can
> hold patients for a short time.  Then I would likely round up my brother and
> Shelly's brothers, and take and hold him at the ranch in Oregon, against his
> will if necessary, recognizing that I would be breaking the law in so doing,
> and hope for the best.  I would make use of whatever medical help was
> available.
> During his captivity, I would point out that Jesus Christ didn't jump.
> Matthew chapter 4 verses 5-7 sayeth:
>         5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him
> on a pinnacle of the temple,
>         6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:
> for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in
> their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot
> against a stone.
>         7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the
> Lord thy God.

It won't work, because the nature of a delusion is that it bypasses
reasoning altogether - any sort of reasoning, even faulty reasoning.
The belief is instilled fully formed into the brain by the disease
process. A delusion is in general more certain to the deluded person
than the belief that the sun will rise tomorrow or even that 2 + 2 = 4
is certain to you. It is not different in degree from an ordinary
belief, it is different in kind.

> Might or might not work, but I won't always be with him, as I am 46 years
> his senior.

Hopefully you will always be with him, despite this age difference.

> You can be sure I would try everything I know.  If a person
> wants to die, there is no practical way of stopping them.

Yes, but if they want to die due to a treatable mental illness, you
can stop them wanting to die. The problem is, mentally ill people may
refuse to believe that they are mentally ill no matter what evidence
is presented to them, because lack of insight is one of the symptoms
of the illness. Everyone else can see that they are ill, and they can
see that they were ill in retrospect once they have recovered, but
they can't see it whilst in the middle of it, no matter how
intelligent and normally rational they are. It's like trying to use a
mirror to see what you look like with your eyes closed. Many people
don't believe this and think that if they started developing psychotic
symptoms they would realise what was going on, but they are proved
tragically wrong when it happens to them. It is this deficit in
insight that makes mental illness different from other illnesses, and
why almost every legislature makes provisions for the involuntary
treatment of the mentally ill under at least some circumstances.

Stathis Papaioannou

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