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Old 08-07-2019, 09:37 PM
monstro is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,911
Originally Posted by you with the face View Post
Some of them are. Depressed people who commit suicde often rationally know killing themselves is bad. The person who is unable to resist the impulse to grab and stab also might know this is bad. Where things breakdown is not their comprehension of reality; itís their ability to regulate their behavior. The mental checks and balances that keep normal people in line are faulty in the mental ill.

I'm going to quibble with you here, as someone who has experienced suicidal ideation.

When I was in the throes of depression, I intellectually understood that my suicide would hurt others and thus was "bad". But did I emotionally understand this? Nah. The idea of dying felt good. Really, really good. The idea of my family being stricken by grief registered very little emotion in me. It was something I needed to be regularly reminded of because it was easy to forget (please don't hate me! I was sick!).

I don't know why I didn't kill myself. But I suspect it was because my suicidal ideation would come and go. I would experience it for a several minutes (like while sitting in a dreadful staff meeting) and then it would fade. And when it wasn't there, I could usually look back and see how much I was buggin'. I suspect if my suicidal thoughts had been persistent and not paired with the afterwash shaming thought of "You are buggin'!", I probably would have done...something..

So I don't think that mentally ill people just have a problem with regulating their behavior (which is a facile argument, if you think about it). I think their behavior would actually make sense if it was possible to look into their thought processes and see the decision tree their brains used to make that choice. I think thought processes are what distinguish so-called sane from so-called insane brains. For the latter, their thoughts aren't connected to the kind of emotions that coerce "sane" behavior, and the content of their thoughts is more disinhibited. They don't think "cute animal" when they see a goat, but instead think "Satan coming to kill me". A less crazy person may have thoughts like this sometimes, but their brains don't bother "tagging" them with any emotion. So the thought just disappears harmlessly. But a crazy brain hangs on to these crazy thoughts and actually treats them like they are "regular" thoughts by associating them with strong emotions. The behavior that follows is thus logical, given the programming they follow from.

This is why I think it is wrong to conclude that so-called normal people have free will but so-called crazy people don't. So-called normal people behave according to the thoughts+feelings that coerce them (whether consciously or subconsciously) just like so-called crazy people do. The difference between them is in the content of their thoughts and the rapid post-processing of those thoughts (i.e., which emotions get attached to them). There is no little/no difference in the degree of "impulsiveness" because none of us are really spending a lot of time thinking before we act. We all act then tell ourselves a "just so" story after the fact that explains our reasoning...and even then, we only do this for acts that we are called out on. For 99% of the acts we perform, we do them seamlessly, without any conscious deliberation and with no Monday morning quarterbacking afterwards.

One gets called "impulsive" when they commit an act that defies (apparent) reasoning. However, if an act makes sense to everyone else or the act winds up having a positive outcome, then the actor gets called wise and contemplative.