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

Bill Spight (
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 10:34:33 -0700

Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 10:34:33 -0700
From: Bill Spight <>
Subject: Re: Children and psychosis was: HEA report on religion and mental health

Dear Chris,

Bill (quoting Chris):

all children are born psychotic


Note that I used the phrase "IN THIS SENSE.." which for whatever reasons you have you cut out.


I cut it out for two reasons. First, and less important, I didn't know what you meant by that phrase. You had said,

> 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).

"Severe mental problems"? I didn't think that you meant that all children are born with severe mental problems. But from that it was not clear to me what you meant by "in this sense".

The second reason that I quoted the unqualified statement is that that is the basic meme in question. It was psychological dogma 50 years ago.


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 literally.


Thanks for the clarification. :-)

Not that I agree, OC. ;-)

The modern meaning of psychosis is a "gross impairment in reality testing" ("Dictionary of Psychology", by Reber, Penguin Books). OC, the gullible are so impaired, but not grossly so, and children's reality testing skills are undeveloped, but pretty good, on the whole. As for fundamentalists, IMX, they are no worse than others. New Agers approach gullibility; many are gulled, IMHO.

Reality testing ability is a continuum. The distinguishing characteristics of psychosis, I believe, are flight of ideas (racing thoughts) and loosened associations (evidenced by word salad). (Producing word salad is a learnable skill, BTW.)


> 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


Are you claiming that dismembering chickens (or the like) is characteristic of children or psychotics?


The natural state has only one context, that set by the individual


Doubtful. That hearkens back to the musings of early modern European philosophers who were ignorant of aboriginal cultures, and who imagined that the natural state of man is like that of Adam in Eden before Eve.


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


OC, socialization is a learning process. I doubt whether the socialization process itself is learned, however.

"Feral" in what sense? If you are thinking of "wild" children, OC. How do you survive, running with the dogs? If you are thinking of "Lord of the Flies", I doubt it.



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