[ExI] A Small Request

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Feb 12 17:14:11 UTC 2008

Stathis writes

>You contract with entity X that if you become mentally ill, a risk to
> yourself and insightless, X will treat you against your will. X will
> decide if you are mentally ill and require involuntary treatment; or
> perhaps X with a second opinion from Y plus a trusted family member Z,
> or whatever you choose to put in the contract.

Very well.

> Now, if you do become mentally ill it will seem to you that you
> have come to your conclusion or formulated your plan [behavior]
> for sound and logical reasons. The only hint that there is something
> wrong will be that X, Y and Z will come to you and explain that
> they think you're crazy. So if, say, after very careful consideration
> you decide to sell your home and move to another state, X, Y
> and Z may come to you and tell you that you're crazy and
> force you to have psychiatric treatment, for as long as the
> allegedly psychotic thinking lasts and perhaps indefinitely
> thereafter to prevent it returning.

Well, that's what I would have contracted for. Sounds
perfectly reasonable so far.

> And you can't put a clause in the contract allowing you to
> revoke it in case you decide that X, Y and Z are obviously
> misinterpreting perfectly reasonable behaviour as psychotic,
> since that would make the whole thing worthless.

Of course.  Yes, that would be pointless.

> You are thus in the position where either you have to accept that
> someone else is better able to judge than you if you are being
> rational, or (in a perfect libertarian society) accept the risk that
> you may become mentally ill and be left untreated.

I understand. So what is the problem?  I don't think that I 
misunderstood you.  Indeed, I've often thought that I would
trust the combined judgment of several of my friends (forget
family) more than I trust my own judgment. 

>From your earlier post, perhaps your point was:

     > You see, if you sign such a contract you are effectively
     > allowing that *right now* you might be delusional. 

Perhaps I was not acknowledging that from a totally
objective viewpoint I may be delusional at any point?

Yes, it's always possible!  But *extremely* improbable,
especially if *currently* none of my friends or family
is suggesting anything of the kind.  So I see nothing
whatsoever wrong with the idea of such a contract.


> The lifetime incidence of illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar
> disorder is around 1 - 2%, but as Rafal pointed out, if you include
> organic disorders such as Alzheimer's the incidence approaches 50% and
> continues to rise once you are into your 80's.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list