RE: Children and psychosis was: HEA report on religion and mental health

Chris Lofting (
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 16:59:48 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: Children and psychosis was: HEA report on religion and mental health
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 16:59:48 +1000
In-Reply-To: <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Bill Spight
> Sent: Thursday, 14 October 1999 1:39
> To:
> Subject: Children and psychosis was: HEA report on religion and mental
> health
> Dear Chris,
> > all children are born psychotic
> Let's give this meme a rest, OK?

I seem to have touched a nerve Bill but then note that you took this out of
context ... the fuller quote is:

"Fundamentalist thinking is child-like, and so is psychotic thinking.
Jamestown etc suggests a severe mental problem in fundamentalist groups
(heaven's gate (?)as well).

In this sense all children are born psychotic"

That is just a touch different to the way you reformatted it to become an
absolute assertion with no context. Very 'totalist' of you :-) What 'nerve'
did I touch?

> It might have fit with our understanding 50 years ago, but we
> have learned a lot since then

sure, and we have discovered exactly what I am saying in that fundamentalist
thinking, psychotic thinking and child thinking all have the same
characteristics and as such the statements made are valid. Note that I used
the phrase "IN THIS SENSE.." which for whatever reasons you have you cut

I suggest you study the neurology/psychology/psychiatry a bit more. It is
context that acts as feedback to reinforce or suppress/repress behaviours
but some behaviours can stay 'locked in' due to possible hardware (wiring)
or firmware (hormone) processes during development prior or just after
birth. This gives you 'hard' psychosis compared to 'soft' where the latter
is linked more to stress and so a possible recovery.

The general characteristics of singlemindedness (and so single context
thinking) etc etc are all shared by the three 'types' -- child,
fundamentalist, psychotic. This also includes belief in miracles, object
oriented 'them' vs 'us' thinking and a lot more (including elitism, 'secret'
languages etc etc) a whole world of fantasy (phantasy?) that is taken

> > tearing off the wings of chickens is 'understandable' for children
> Not friggin' hardly! Children are no angels, but children who
> mutilate animals are headed for trouble (not psychosis),

That is the point Bill, they are NOT treated as psychotics they just get
punished but the BEHAVIOUR is the same in child or psychotic; the child is
not confined to a psychiatric hospital (unless behaviour mod does not work)
The psychotic has either lost or never developed the feedback loops that act
as constraints.

Children have to LEARN socialisation, it does not come naturally other than
a rough animalistic form, if left to their own devices children can go very
feral (ferrel?).

In this sense the NATURAL state is what a 'refined' culture would call
psychotic in that the natural state is not the social state; natural state
behaviour is 'unacceptable'. If a person walks into a shop and starts to
urinate whilst waiting in a queue that person is treated as if psychotic
(unless a child, whereupon the behaviour is tolerated as long as some some
of reprimand is given). In the natural state that act of urinating is a
natural behaviour, there is no context sensitivity.

The natural state has only one context, that set by the individual; the
centre of the universe is 'in here'. From a social perspective the centre of
the universe is 'out there' (or 'in here' from a social context rather than
individual context). Socialisation 'moves' the centre, mellows it to include
feedback from 'out there'.

The natural state includes trying to understand 'out there' with only your
own feedback and so you project aspects of you onto 'out there' -- very
'primitive'. Mixing with likeminded acts to socialise, share meanings and so
shift from an individualist perspective to a more socialist perspective.

What you find as you socialise is the emergence of *neurosis* (depression,
obsessive etc all 'problems' that have a context that expressively links-in
'out there').

It is interesting to note that of all the models of mental development we
have, many neurologists favour Freud/Lacan perspective. This is because
Freud and others intuitively picked-up on the development process we find at
all levels of analysis -- self-containment (ID) through general interaction
with 'out there' (EGO) to particular interaction with other minds 'out
there'(SUPEREGO). Jung gets more into the SUPEREGO and cooperative
behaviours (group archetypes etc) but all cooperative behaviours are founded
on a structure that has an oppositional development history. In genetics you
cannot have Lamarck (cooperative perspective) without Darwin (oppositional
perspective) but you can have Darwin without Lamarck.

There are, I have, 'problems' with some of the details in psychoanalysis etc
but the general pattern is valid. Another model that takes on the SAME
pattern is Charles Peirce's semiotics with his concept of firstness (ID
like, totalist, fundamentalist - object oriented), secondness (EGO-like,
comparisons using analogy etc 'this' from 'that') and thirdness
(SUPEREGO-like; high context sensitivity, contextual influences on an
object -- relationships, rules and regulations and so social constraints).

Mathematics has the same general pattern where we start off with whole
numbers and 'end' up with Hamiltonians, *highly* context sensitive when
compared to the almost context-free whole numbers.

The patterns of development are the same at all level of analysis, from
neuron, to individual, to ideas; object oriented gives ways to relational
oriented that then 'jumps' to a new level, same distinctions,
objects-relationships, the 'what/where' dichotomy.

When you study the neurology so we see a development path that 'starts' with
reptilian behaviour characteristics and develops all the way 'up' to
neocortex where we find refined, but still reptilian like, charactertistics
(fundamentalist, object oriented, conservative, does not like change -- very
'infantile'). The feedback processes with their context sensitivity have
developed into more 'right hemisphere' relationships oriented bahaviours.

The development seems to follow complexity/chaos with 'new' brains emerging
from old (repillian-lmbic-neocortex). Within each brain you find the same
set of behaviours but more refined at each level.

*refined* thinking resulting from training does 'return' you to
fundamentalist thinking in that you just 'react', no need to consider
feedback, but there can be problems with this if the feedback process is a
bit 'off'.



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