Losing your mind - The greatest fear known to mankind.

Jan 2009
104
0
Melbourne Australia
When researching fear and paranoia it becomes obvious that the greatest fear we all struggle with, whether we are living neat organised lives or are on the fringe of society and metaphorical madness is the fear of losing our mind. In a nut shell, it is the fear of going crazy. The fear of chaos, and most importantly the fear of losing control of our own lives especially our own bodies.

It seems that every minute of the day is spent ensuring order in our lives is mainatained. It appears that a great percentage of our energy is devoted to this constant task. For some it is relatively easy being blessed with great circumstances and life style with adequate support and nurturing. For others it can be extremely difficult when living in precarious surrounds, little certainty about what the future holds and self destructive relationships.
The fear of losing your mind is the driving force behind serious states such as Schizophrenia, manic depression and various other significant mind/body issues. IMO

When interviewing an elderly gentleman [68] the other day I asked him what was his greatest fear [regarding aging and body] and his response surprisingly wasn't cancer or heart attack or even dementia it was quite simply the lose of bowel and urinary control in a public place. He would always go into a shopping centre for example terrified that he will "drop his bundle" right in the middle of the mall. So he avoided public places and areas where this could possibly happen. Yet both bowel and baldder are extremely receptive to fear and fear itself can cause a loss of control of both vital aspects of human bodilly function. So I ask is it the fear of losing control that is causing the loss of control?
It is something we have as part of our human desire to build our lives and maintain them, but most of all it is the ability to "see" and comprehend what we have actually acheived and will acheive that is the greatest desire. The loss of self and cognitive powers is something that defeats the very purpose of our existance.

It seems though strangely enough that the loss of control has more to do with the fear than the actual loss of control. In other words it is teh fear of losing it that forces the mind into excessive worry, thus fatigue and then on to actual loss of control not due to anything else other than the fear of losing it.

So I ask the question:

"Is it the irrational fear, the paranoia, the fear driven thinking and imagining that is our greatest concern or is the fear real, founded in reality and actual?"

One thing I have found though out all my research and interviews of chronically ill patients and aquaintenances is the following motto:
"Insanity does not exist as it is only people struggling with what they sense and the deisre to rationalise what they sense that gives the appearance of insanity"

Thus I have yet to meet a single person that I could infer to be "insane" as I believe that sanity is inevitably an irreducable concept and something we all have as a birth right.

care to discuss?
 
Jun 2009
531
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I agree, to an extent, with your view on sanity. Psychology (especially prior to cognitive psychology) had acquired a nasty habit of trying to tell people how they should live their lives instead of how they can live their lives. It's an outdated term though, since noone is actually diagnosed with "insanity" anymore, so in a medical context the point is largely moot - but I do agree in a "popular usage" context.

However, I'm not sure on what basis you're connecting "the fear of losing your mind" with schizophrenia, manic depression and unnamed others, so it's difficult to discuss this point. There doesn't appear to be any real connection, at least not that I can see.

Regarding your central question, "Is it the irrational fear, the paranoia, the fear driven thinking and imagining that is our greatest concern or is the fear real, founded in reality and actual?", I have no idea, because I don't understand what you're asking.
 
Jan 2009
104
0
Melbourne Australia
Basically I am asking the question and suggesting an answer to it:
"Is it the fear of loosing control of our minds and body that creates the loss of control of our mind and body?"
"Is the paranoia of losing control, going crazy the basic causation for the loss if control?"
 
Jul 2009
142
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Please define insanity better.

If you mean a loss of hold on reality, I don't believe the fear itself can cause that. Rather, the fear would be an emulation of the unknown. I suppose you could just plainly have a fear of losing your mind, causing trauma, but even then, to have that irrational fear would be a sign of another problem all together. No healthy person would have a fear from nothing that causes them so much distress they lose their "sanity".

I suppose you could say that the fear can certainly make the situation worse, but it's not a cause within itself.
 
Jan 2009
104
0
Melbourne Australia
[quote author=Karaten link=topic=924.msg4652#msg4652 date=1248055871]
Please define insanity better.

If you mean a loss of hold on reality, I don't believe the fear itself can cause that. Rather, the fear would be an emulation of the unknown. I suppose you could just plainly have a fear of losing your mind, causing trauma, but even then, to have that irrational fear would be a sign of another problem all together. No healthy person would have a fear from nothing that causes them so much distress they lose their "sanity".

I suppose you could say that the fear can certainly make the situation worse, but it's not a cause within itself.
[/quote]
fair comment....

Firstly the word Insanity is only used to indicate Chaos or irrationality leading to chaos in a persons life.
Secondly it is proposed that the chaos is actually more to do with paranoia than actuality.
Thridly, it is proposed that the fear of chaos of mind and body that drives the worry that drives the intense fatigue that leads to further irrationality and severe conditioning that leads on to a state of chronic disability.

The test notion I am proposing is that the Fear of losing control governs about all our behaviour and our relationships and if that fear of loosing control is intense then dysfunction can be the only result.

So in essence paranoia is our greatest issue when it comes to mental health. As it is the paranoia that drives the decline of our mental health due to the damage the irrationality it generates causes to our lives.
 

SWM

May 2008
2,314
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so would this only be relevant to disorders that involve paranoia, ie schizophrenia, paranoid psychosis.

my experience does not bare testimony to that hypothesis. i was diagnosed with paranoid psychosis which later devloped into schizophrenia. my fears where never related to losing my mind or chaos because ( and this is true for many psychotic patients) i believed i was completely sane. one of the defining features of psychosis is the concept of insight, the psychotic individual does not have insight into his problem. the fear that was driving my paranoia was the fear of being killed and the fear of my symptoms. not knowing what was happening to me was confusing and frightening, not having a reasonable explanation of my experiences that gave my experiences a context was frightening. but i was not afraid of going insane because i believed i was sane. it was my reality that did not make sense.
 
Jul 2009
142
0
[quote author=SWM link=topic=924.msg4654#msg4654 date=1248100394]
so would this only be relevant to disorders that involve paranoia, ie schizophrenia, paranoid psychosis.

my experience does not bare testimony to that hypothesis. i was diagnosed with paranoid psychosis which later devloped into schizophrenia. my fears where never related to losing my mind or chaos because ( and this is true for many psychotic patients) i believed i was completely sane. one of the defining features of psychosis is the concept of insight, the psychotic individual does not have insight into his problem. the fear that was driving my paranoia was the fear of being killed and the fear of my symptoms. not knowing what was happening to me was confusing and frightening, not having a reasonable explanation of my experiences that gave my experiences a context was frightening. but i was not afraid of going insane because i believed i was sane. it was my reality that did not make sense.
[/quote]

I believe "greatest fears" are too subjective realistically to define in a objective sense, considering the different mind sets people have. In a evolutionary sense, the greatest fear would most likely be death or inability to preserve one's genes, in a behavioral sense, it would most likely be pain, or a negative response.

On the other side, we have suicidal people, and masochists, who add a whole other aspect, defying the ability to define the above in objective terms.

The notion of insanity being a greatest fear seems strange to me, as sanity is usually something we feel we have a fair grasp on until it is in danger, which makes it firstly a bit less irrational and secondly most likely not the cause.

Let us not forget cause and correlation relativity, in which fear of insanity is a symptom of potential insanity, rather than the cause.
 
Jan 2009
104
0
Melbourne Australia
Normally my style of posting is to consider a notion frame it as best I can and then test it in a public forum.
anyways,

The notion that "losing your mind" would be the greatest fear known to mankind is premised on "root" or fundamental philosophies such as Descartes ergo sum "I Think Therefore I am" and understandings regarding ego and self esteem.
In some ways we feel this fear only in hindsight when we make a sudden realisation that we have made a terrible error of judgement or a shocking mistake and we feel that incredible anxiety well up hoping that we can recover from it and possibly not make that error or mistake again.
It is something we always live with and take for granted as part of our desire to stay rational and orderly in our lives. I would suggest that it is only when evidence presents itself, that we are receptive to, that indicates a slippage of reality that the fear takes on a profound paranoia, based on fearful speculations as to what may happen in the future.
This I would suggest then clouds our ability to perceive and make judgements even more so as we slip into a twilight zone of not knowing and severely doubting our own judgements about ourselves and our surroundings.
The current [and ancient] debate in philosophy about "objectivity not being available due to subjective sensing" also heightens that anxiety as we are toying with the idea that every thing is a creation of our own making any ways.
It is I guess the inherent anxiety of modern life to consider whether we can "get through the day" or "survive until the weekend" or "manage to get through the latest family crisis" etc etc...and if we do all is well and if we don't possibly a trip to see a Doctor is in order. [to placate our fears]
From an evolution perspective I would suggest that at no time has evolution of this universe from day one ever truly been "insane" or irrational. [A nebula of exotic particles is still attempting to find order for example]
True we have seen chaos rising to order and that itself indicates what I mean. However the fear of order becoming Chaos is a different matter and I would suggest that it is the fear of Chaos that maintains that order in a larger and more profound sense.
Therefore I am tempted to conclude that "Sanity" is a immutable and irreducible concept even if on occasions as SWM has mentioned we loose insight into our own situation and reflect it or project it onto our surroundings instead.

For those who fear loosing their minds and are reading this thread consider the fact that it is impossible to do that in total and that recovery is always a possibility as "Order" is always the primary objective of evolution. Thus that fundamental fear/paranoia can be mollified a little even if the journey through the haze of temporal chaos can be so painful.

How often to do you hear the phrases "I must be going crazy!" or "I would be crazy not to " or when someone projects their own version of sanity [ normality] on to some one else using the same words "You must be crazy to think that" or "You would be crazy not to". No doubt you would agree that it is very common indeed as we all self check each others "order" position all the time.

I would contend that paranoia is based primarily on ignorance and that understanding placates and rationalises unfounded fear into something more real and realistic.

On a side note an example I believe that is relevant:

How many times do you think the people of the USA attempt to deal with the paranoid reaction to the crisis in Iraq?
How many times have they considered how much money has been wasted due to the poor decisions of it's leadership?
How do they the American People deal with the anxiety of knowing the mistake their nation is currently embroiled in?
then...
How much effort is going in to avoid repeating the same mistake?
The irony about all this is that if the Iraq issue was primarily about stable oil supplies, then wouldn't the enormous amounts of money invested in the Iraq situation be better spent ridding the USA of oil dependency by coming up with renewable energy alternatives. A few trillion dollars could surely develop alternative renewable energy platforms yes?
If it was about WMD's they found none.

So paranoia has significant implications is all I am suggesting. Whether or not my point about Iraq is founded or not is a matter of debate.

So to protect the "order" of the USA the invasion of Iraq was deemed necessary. However as no WMD were found that decision was basically one premised in paranoia.
So the USA has declined in to a "crazy" situation simply because of paranoia and not actual reality based fear and it has taken the rest of the world with them.
 
Jan 2009
104
0
Melbourne Australia
[quote author=SWM link=topic=924.msg4654#msg4654 date=1248100394]
so would this only be relevant to disorders that involve paranoia, ie schizophrenia, paranoid psychosis.

[/quote]
No IMO it is relevant to just about all human behaviour and is a sigifcant part of the "Human condition" Dysfunction generated by paranoia such as Schizophrenia which is invariably paranoid based are just extreme examples of the issue.
 
Jan 2009
104
0
Melbourne Australia
Karaten: snip;
the greatest fear would most likely be death or inability to preserve one's genes, in a behavioral sense, it would most likely be pain, or a negative response.
yet in all cases the fear is premised only on speculation and not fact. [ therefore paranoia in genesis]

The irony is that the fear of death which we all know is inevitable is in itself quite bizare when you think on it. "Why fear something you have absolutely no control over?" is the strange approach I am contemplating.
It is the fear, not so much of death, but of what happens possibly leading to death [ pain ] and what may happen after death. In fact most religions are evolved on a platform of paranoia.
Certainly Christianity is a classic and obvious example of paranoia based religion. And in extreme cases religion leads to severe chaos [ Twin Trade Tower collapse/ destruction due to religious orientated terrorism]
So in essense I could argue that paranoia is indeed the fear of loosing control not only of our minds but what out minds create.

Side note:
Are you familiar with the stage play "The Forbidden Planet"?
I f I recall properly, it is about a evil genius who creates, with his fearful ego things that he can't control. Inevitably those things destroy him, thus demonstrating how it is the fear of losing control of what we create [I think there fore I am or I create therefore I am] and slipping into chaos due to that fear [that creates the problem] A state of our fear manifesting itself into our reality.

Let us not forget cause and correlation relativity, in which fear of insanity is a symptom of potential insanity, rather than the cause.
And that is exactly what I am wanting to see discussion on, as i am proposing that it is only paranoia that drives the potential for "insanity" or "Chaos" as the simple awareness of what would happen if chaos came into our lives drives the fear and when extreme and irrational drives the decline into Chaos.
Thus fear or paranoia is self perpetuating and self justifying hence damn hard to solve.