Quote of the day

By my husband who is a professional writer:

Puritans, ideologues and extremists all share the same blind spot: the inability to experience delight in ambiguity.

In this failing is contained the most profound constraint on human freedom: the failure to recognize that the world is bigger and richer than the representations through which we attempt to understand it.

He is a political writer and is talking about standard politics here, but I think it applies very nicely to all of us in the mental health realm of politics too.

10 thoughts on “Quote of the day

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  1. Duane: “Suppose it might be better to argue over what model works best…” – I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, it seems that people even in regard to this can’t/won’t drop their blinkers. Especially the mainstream. Just look at what happened to Mosher. The outcomes taken into account, I’d say each and every alternative on its own has already shot down the medical model a long time ago.

    Spirituality and story-telling: Maybe it’s because spirituality often expresses itself through pictures, symbols, rather than abstractions, and story-telling is somehow painting pictures with words instead of with paints.

  2. Gianna,

    Hope these symptoms pass for you soon – know that you are in my thoughts….plenty of peaceful ones going out to you….


    Recovery groups…..yeah, there are different theories for sure….over the root causes…..Suppose it might be better to argue over what model works best….with an attitude of “may the group who finds the most peace and happiness win”!

    By the way, I really enjoyed the parable about the broken pot on your site…..a wonderful Irish priest I’ve known for over 20 years just passed away……He was quite a story teller – a common denominator amongst those who master the spiritual-side of life, I’m becoming convinced…..Nothing teaches a spritual lesson like a good story….

    Enjoyed your quote by Ghandi…..quite a man.


  3. Duane: “… sometimes, I think our own passions can get us into trouble, if we aren’t willing to see past them – at least open to dialogue…..”

    I can’t but keep on thinking how to do activism in a way that isn’t self-/destructive. I find it a very difficult thing to speak up against something, and at the same time to avoid to create enemies. On the other hand, I believe, enemies are only created if one becomes emotional – afraid, angry, aggressive, violent. Usually, people become that, when they’re not aware of their filters, their biases, their triggers. At least, that is the case as far as I am concerned.

    Someone once said to me, he experienced those who are critical of the mental health system as a bunch of individuals with nothing much in common but a disaffection for the system, and thus often even fighting each other (“It’s spiritual!” – “No, it’s psychological!” – “No, you’re all wrong, it’s social!” etc.).

    Personally, I’ve reached a point where I’d say it’s a combination of, an interaction between everything – but genes. I can easily bring myself into trouble by drinking too much coffee, or consuming too much sugar. I don’t see this isolated as a caffeine- /sugar-allergy, something, though. I bring my body and brain out of balance with these stimulants, the psychological and spiritual stuff adds to it, and bang! (Not so much social stuff involved here, luckily.)

    I fully acknowledge that some people’s metabolism doesn’t even allow them to have one single cup of coffee once a day. No doubt that biology enters into it, on equal terms with all the other stuff. This maybe hasn’t become clear from my comments – and doesn’t always become clear from my blog, neither – with my main focus there being on psychological, spiritual, and sometimes social factors. For two reasons:

    1. I’ve figured out the coffee-/sugar-, i.e. the biological, thing for myself, but not altogether the psychological-spiritual(-social) dimension.

    2. I see the biological aspect acknowledged some places, and at least to some extent, while I don’t see the psychological-spiritual(-social) aspect acknowledged at all.

    Yet, I still do reject genes, because I can’t see anything but harm done by the idea. No matter from which angle I look at it. Nevertheless, I’ve wondered a lot whether and, in case, how to speak up against it. I found this quotation by Gandhi very helpful:

    “If one has no affection for a person or a system, one should feel free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection so long as he does not contemplate, promote, or incite violence.”

  4. yes Duane,
    I had the discussions on genetics in mind when I posted this, and I just as you, feel that mental distress is extremely complex and while I think much of it is spiritual and psychological, I like you, agree, that the physical enters in…trauma changes us physically…but through neuroplasticity it’s not a life long sentence….

    I’ve been writing very little…wish I could write more, but I’m so tired…

    starting the rapid withdrawal of the emergency meds now, but still feel all messed up…

  5. Gianna,

    Interesting that you put this post up today – following quite an exchange yesterday about “genetic” theory….

    I found myself thinking about so many of the other comments today…..they bounced around in my head all day…..and, I started seeing what some of your readers were trying to say….as I did my best to see things from their angle….their own life experience….

    There were so many good thoughts and opinions……different from my own, and some, even opposite of ones I hold dearly….

    For instance, on the one-hand, I reject the biological model of mental illness, and yet, believe there might be a predisposition involved of sorts, and a variety of things that might attribute/contribute to symptoms that are primarily “physical” in nature….

    Does this mean I was talking out of both sides of my mouth?….maybe so….I know one thing for sure, discussions like the one yesterday help us all learn and grown – and that’s a good thing…

    I dunno – sometimes, I think our own passions can get us into trouble, if we aren’t willing to see past them – at least open to dialogue…..

    Still learning,


  6. But isn’t certainty boring? Once one knows something as a “fact,” all discussion ends, and one may not question further. Much more satisfying is the notion put forward by my Human Rights professor, Costas Douzinas, who declared that we could be certain of nothing, and when challenged that it could not be argued that water was anything other than two parts Hydrogen, compounded with one part Oxygent, he replied “only to the extent that that theory has not been disproved!”


  7. hi froscha,
    So nice to meet you…please do use the quote any way you’d like with attribution back to this site…

    thanks for taking time to made a comment…I always like to hear from readers and there are so many whom I know nothing about!!


  8. I think it “applies very nicely to all of us” period. I do believe in this principle of ambiguity quite strongly. (…although it’s reassuring to be sure of things sometimes!)

    Gianna, yours is one of my favourite new blogs. I discovered it about a month back. Thanks so much for continuing to post.

    With the proper credits (“giannakali’s husband”? 🙂 ), I’d like to quote/link to this post on my own blog. Maybe today, or some magic day when I can organize my thoughts better… I’m guilty of posting quotes with little of my own commentary the last few times, because I’ve been living in too much chaos so far this year to finish writing anything much of my own. Original thoughts and some semblance of reasoning skills apparently require getting enough sleep.

    Thanks again,

  9. So true. It just strikes me, that we all have these perception filters (cf. Bruce Lipton) through which we try to understand the world. And most of us are more or less identified with our filters – thus incapable of identifying them as what they are: a limitation to our true being – i.e. most of us are puritans, ideologues and extremists (Buddha wasn’t 🙂 ).

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