RE: memetics-digest V1 #1329

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon 12 May 2003 - 10:35:45 GMT

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    Good God not more interpersonal sparring instead of reasoned discussion? And the same culprits?

    Anyway, on the issue of personality disorders, and their definitions, did nobody spot the the obvious flaws in the first part of that definition?

    Here's the line:

    <An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from the expectations of an individual's culture>

    So you have a 'personality disorder' if you do not conform to cultural expectations? Does Noam Chomsky have a personality disorder therefore, for being counter to the prevalent political ideology of the US? Maybe the claim that the likes of Einstein and Newton had Asperger's syndrome, carries weight in such circles too? Who decides what the 'expectations' of the culture are?

    Where once people were simply locked up as subversives, or non-conformists, and before then burned at the stake for being heretics or witches, now in our post-freudian capitalist democracies people are labelled with personality disorders and given prozac, ritalin or some other drug.

    I quote Rosenhan & Seligman 'Abnormal Psychology' ,3rd edition, 1995, on the definitional problem of the antisocial personality disorder:

    'There is often debate about whether or not a person is actually suffering a personality disorder, and that debate arises from the very nature of the disorder itself. The antisocial personality disorder is a disorder of will, and will is not an all-or-nothing matter. One does not either have or not have will. Rather, like most other psychological functions, will exists on a continuum: normal people have more or less of it, but those who suffer this disorder have even less. The line that divides those who suffer disorders from the rest of us is arbitrary.' (p.571)

    I guess 'will' here is equated with willingness to conform to society, as opposed to willingness to do what you want to do regardless of others, in which case the deliberately anti-social would seem to have rather a lot of

    In this culture of disorders, probably half the list have oppositional defiant disorder. (BTW if you disagree with this, then you've definitely got it, and if you don't care either way you've probably got a dissociative disorder instead :-).)

    From someone suffering from 'interested in memetics disorder'....


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