Games Of Mass Delusions: The origin of religions, ideologies, and their resulting conflicts

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  1. Chapter 15. Religion
  2. Forest Grace, Author at Cicero Magazine
  3. Introduction
  4. 15.1. The Sociological Approach to Religion

Though these traditions were originated at various times in our history and from different parts of the world, most importantly, they share the same core message. Here, the best way for one to live is to experience his or her being. But, this must be done with complete genuineness. Elegantly expressed by the symbol of the forever coexisting Yin and Yang, such being is a state of duality in which individual human experiences timed and finite self coexisting with an eternal and infinite Self——more simply termed as the body self coexisting with the spirit Self.

When one is genuinely experiencing this duality, he or she is enlightened according to Buddha, or in transcendence according to Hinduism, or in the Kingdom of God according to Jesus.

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Though named differently, these states of mind are all the same. In every state, the given participant is imbued by the same bliss——the exact bliss of oneness with Tao——and by the same peace: the very peace of spiritual Islam. Games of Mass Delusions: The origin of religions, ideologies, and their resulting conflicts. Religions and ideologies are increasingly becoming the fundamental cause of conflicts, pushing humanity ever closer to World War III; yet little has been revealed about their true origin.

Religions and ideologies are actually originated from a mental disease. This disease thrives deep in the human psyche as a symbiosis between delusion and addiction. This may be expedient for the therapist and acceptable to the patient. Against what? Against oppression, or what the patient experiences as oppression. The oppressed speak in a million tongues—the myriad symptoms of hysteria and mental illness. They make use of all the well-tried languages of illness and suffering and constantly add tongues newly created for special occasions.

They need these mar-velously complicated linguistic devices, for, at a single stroke, they must reveal and conceal themselves. What of the psychiatrist or of others who wish to help such a person? Should they amplify the dissent and help the oppressed shout it aloud? Or should they strangle the cry and reoppress the fugitive slave?

It is such considerations that led Freud to develop the psychoanalytic method and others to refine it. The psychoanalytic therapy of hysteria was thus a moral, rather than a purely medical, breakthrough in psychiatry. Because hysteria is a form of rhetoric, it tends to evoke one of two responses: acceptance or rejection of the idea and action that the patient seeks to impose on the doctor. Psychoanalysis seeks to avoid this interpersonal impasse by offering the patient another level of discourse.

It substitutes dialectic for rhetoric and discursive language for nondiscursive. Other relevant material may be found in Psychoanalysis ; and the biographies of Charcot ; janet ]. Abse, D. Wilfred Hysteria. Volume 1, pages in American Handbook of Psychiatry. Edited by Silvano Arieti. New York : Basic Books. Volume 2: Studies on Hysteria. London: Hogarth; New York : Macmillan.

Chapter 15. Religion

Psychiatry London: Staples. Langer, Susanne K.

Spiritual, Not Religious: Why?

New York: New American Library. New York: Wiley. Szasz, Thomas S. New York: Basic Books. New York: Harper.

Forest Grace, Author at Cicero Magazine

American Journal of Psychiatry Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. July 1, Retrieved July 01, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Through most of its long medical history, however, the concept was interpreted as a disorder purely of the body, with specific causes, symptoms, and treatments that were organic.

Inherent in these simple etymological facts is the meaning of the earliest views on the nature and origin of the disease. According to some historians, an Egyptian medical papyrus dating from around bc — one of the oldest surviving documents known to medical history — records a series of curious behavioural disturbances in adult women. As the ancient Egyptians interpreted it, the cause of these abnormalities was the movement of the uterus, which they believed to be an autonomous, free-floating organism that could move upward from its normal pelvic position.

Such a dislocation, they reasoned, applied pressure on the diaphragm and gave rise to bizarre physical and mental symptoms. Egyptian doctors developed an array of medications to entice the errant womb back down into its correct position. Foremost among these measures were the vulvar placement of aromatic substances to draw the womb downward, and swallowing foul-tasting substances to repel the uterus away from the upper parts.

Hysteria in ancient history This ancient Middle Eastern source furnished the basis for classical Greek medical and philosophical theories of hysteria. The ancient Greeks adopted the notion of the migratory uterus and embroidered upon the connections between hysteria and sexual dissatisfaction. As the female reproductive parts move or function irregularly — ascending or descending, convulsing or prolapsing — they cause dizziness, motor paralyses, sensory losses, and respiratory distress including globus hystericus , the sensation of a ball lodged in the throat as well as extravagant emotional behaviours.

Ancient Greek therapies included uterine fumigations, the application of tight abdominal bandages, and a regular regimen of marital fornicatio. Traditional historical accounts of the disease observe that ancient Roman physicians, too, wrote about hysteria. With the growth of anatomical knowledge, the literal hypothesis of the morbidly wandering womb became increasingly untenable. However, Roman medical authors continued to associate hysteria exclusively with the female generative system. Galen of Pergamon formulated a particularly popular theory tracing the origins of the malady to the retention of excessive menstrual blood.

Engraved in the Corpus Hippocraticum and the Galenic writings, these hypotheses formed a medical ideology that remained influential for millennia of medical history. Descriptive and theoretical details evolved, but the basic doctrine of gynaecological determinism — the crux of the classical heritage in the history of hysteria — endured until remarkably late into the modern medical period. Christian attitudes The coming of Christian civilization in the Latin West initiated a major paradigm shift in the history of hysteria.

From the fifth to the thirteenth centuries, naturalistic pagan construals of the disease were increasingly displaced by supernatural formulations. In the writings of St Augustine, human suffering, including organic and mental illness, was perceived as a manifestation of innate evil consequent upon original sin. Hysteria in particular, with its shifting and highly dramatic symptomatology, was viewed as a sign of possession by the devil. The hysterical female was now interpreted alternately as a victim of bewitchment, to be pitied, or the devil's soulmate, to be despised.

No less powerfully mythopoetic than the classical image of the disease, the demonological model envisioned the hysterical anesthesias, mutisms, and convulsions as stigmati diaboli or marks of the devil. This sea change in thinking about the disorder brought with it changes in treatment. The elaborate pharmacopeia of ancient times was now replaced by supernatural invocations — prayers, incantations, amulets, and exorcisms.

Furthermore, with the demonization of the diagnosis came the widespread persecution of the afflicted. During the late medieval and Renaissance periods, the scene of interrogation of the female hysteric shifted from the hospital and sick bed to the church and the court room, which now became the loci of spectacular interrogations. Early medical theories The late Renaissance, which witnessed the height of the witchcraft craze in continental Europe , also produced in reaction several substantial efforts to renaturalize the idea of hysteria. Advances in understanding the structure and function of the human nervous system provided a new model for many previously baffling nervous disorders, including hysteria.

Gynecological and demonological theories waned; in their place, new neurocentric theories combined with fashionable mechanical and iatrochemical ideas from the physical and chemical sciences. Robert Whytt thought the disorder was caused by a weakness of the nerve fibres, and William Cullen attributed it to a slowing of the nervous fluids through the brain. In the s, the famous physician Thomas Sydenham hypothesized that the condition was caused by an imbalance in the distribution of the animal spirits between body and mind, brought on by sudden and violent emotions, such as anger, fear, grief, and love.

English and Scottish medical literature about hysteria during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries offers memorable clinical descriptions of classic hysterical phenomena, including the hysterical attack in the arched back position and the clavus hystericus , or feeling of a nail being driven into the forehead. The s brought a multiplication of theories about hysteria, including new uterine, neurological, and characterological models. During the final quarter of the century — hysteria's famous heroic age — the centre of attention shifted to France.

For Charcot, hysteria was strictly a dysfunction of the central nervous system , akin to epilepsy, syphilis, and other neurological diseases. Like these ailments, hysterical neuropathy, he held, was the result of a lesion of an undetermined structural or functional nature that could be studied through the methods of pathological anatomy and that resulted from defective heredity.

Charcot lavished his attention on the descriptive neurosymptomatology of his cases. Culturally, the character of the nervous invalid figured prominently in fictional prose writing of the time. By the time of Charcot's death in , medical thinking about hysteria had reached an impasse. The search for the missing lesion of hysteria, and therefore for its somatic basis, remained fruitless. As a consequence, physicians turned to alternative conceptualizations of these mysterious, multiform disorders, including to psychological theories.

The psychologization of the hysteria concept a century ago is associated foremostly with Sigmund Freud , who worked in Vienna in the late Victorian mould of the private nerve specialist. Psychoanalysis began as a theory and therapy of hysteria.


In a series of essays and monographs written between and , Freud radically reconceptualized hysteria. He reversed the previously projected direction of mind—body causality, claiming that hysteria was a psychological disease with quasi-physical symptoms. Furthermore, Freud placed the emphasis on the psychological mechanism of hysterical symptom formation. According to his formulation, hysterogenesis rests in the repression of traumatic memories. These memories are usually remote in the emotional past of the individual and invariably libidinal, or sexual, in content.

Because these remembrances are painful or unpleasant, they are unable to find conscious psychological expression. Moreover, in this process of hysterical conversion , symptoms are not arbitrary and meaningless phenomena but complex symbolizations of repressed psychological experiences. In psychoanalytic psychology, the body is the physical field on which the wishes, anxieties, and traumas of the hysteric are dramatized.

Recent trends The most consequential development in the history of hysteria in the last century was the rapid decline in the medically recorded incidence of the disorder. In part, this diminution is due to the liberalization of gender norms, permitting freer social, emotional, and sexual expression among women. It also traces to a process whereby many symptoms and behaviours formerly constitutive of hysteria have been reassigned to other diagnostic categories, including organic disorders, psychoses, and psychoneuroses.

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Since the s, hysteria as an independent diagnostic entity has been deleted from the official manuals of medical diagnosis. In Anglo—American psychiatry, much of what was characterized as conversion hysteria in psychodynamic psychiatry is now classified under the more scientific-sounding rubric of somatization disorder. An exception to this rule can be found in French medicine, which continues widely to employ the concept of hysteria in psychological theory and clinical practice.

Conclusions Several conclusions may be drawn from hysteria's long and colourful past. First, it is most likely impossible in this instance to project a single, unchanging pathological entity through history. The clinical descriptions lumped under the heading through the ages have been highly diverse, and the theoretical structures for understanding these behaviours have varied enormously. Second, what has been called hysteria in the past may clearly be read as a kind of cross-gender portraiture in the field of medicine. Hysteria theory literally embodies these ideas, attitudes, and biases.

A third conclusion concerns the distinctive blend of science, sexuality, and sensationalism in the story of hysteria. Given the extravagant physical symptoms, emotional outbursts, and erotic undercurrents involved in many cases carrying this label, it is hardly surprising that hysterics have often been forced into lurid roles and vaudevillian performances.

In short, hysteria has been the vehicle for astute clinical observation, pioneering neuropathological research, and brilliant psychological theorizing; it has equally been the site of much misogyny, sensationalism, and mistreatment. Fourth and finally, hysteria's history may be read as an ongoing attempt to theorize the mind—body relation within the medical sciences.

Is hysteria fundamentally a psychological disorder with physical manifestations; an organic disease with mental and emotional epiphenomena; or some inseparable intermixture of the two? Studying the subject through the ages has involved a continual, relational reconfiguring of the role of psyche and soma in human mental life. Within the clinical human sciences, hysteria represents the shifting and diversely theorized interface between the history of the body and the history of the mind. Some scholars have argued that hysteria is the oldest and most important category of neurosis in recorded medical history.

Similarly, perhaps no non-fatal disorder boasts a richer metaphorical and mythological past. Over the centuries and in many different cultures, thinking and writing about the subject has mirrored dominant attitudes about health and sickness, the natural and the supernatural, the sexual and the spiritual, mind and body, and masculinity and femininity.

Now, it appears, hysteria — construed variously as a term, theory, and behaviour — is vanishing. Given the remarkable cultural indispensability of the concept in the past, readers can only speculate on what will take its place in the future. Gilman, S. Hysteria beyond Freud. University of California Press, Berkeley. Micale, M.

Approaching hysteria: disease and its interpretations. Princeton University Press, Princeton. Veith, I. Hysteria: the history of a disease. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Hysteria refers both to a personality type and to a cluster of psychoneurotic symptom formations.

Its manifestations — dramatic, physical, and affective — may be viewed as an attempt to express and symbolize a psychosexual conflict and, at the same time, to defend against acknowledging that conflict. Symptoms range from mental anxiety and phobia to the physical signs of conversion disorder. The term derives from hustera , the Greek word for uterus, and was historically considered a female disorder. Writings on hysteria date to ancient Egypt and the Kahun papyrus ca. Greco-Roman doctors continued to associate hysteria with the uterus and to treat it as a female complaint.

From the end of antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Inquisition, recourse to supernatural explanations made it possible to consider hysteria a form of demoniacal possession or witchcraft. Hysterics and their putative victims were often burned at the stake. Broadly speaking, conversion hysteria led to the discovery of psychoanalysis as a method of understanding and treating psychopathological symptoms.

Freud, who famously attended clinical demonstrations by Charcot, was struck by the indifference that hysterical patients displayed toward their suffering. Although for a time he suspected traumatic childhood seduction to be at the root of hysteria, he came to view such patients suffering "mainly from reminiscences" d, p. The death of his father in and subsequent self-analysis with Wilhelm Fliess led Freud to the discovery of his childhood passion for his mother and of his hostile feelings toward his father.

Although the Oedipus complex did not appear as part of Freudian theory until later, he abandoned the theory of traumatic seduction; his key discovery was the notion of infantile sexuality, together with the importance of fantasy as a force that was both creative and disorganizing. At the same time he developed the concept of psychic defense and discovered in dreams and dream-work a link with hysteria. In psychoanalytic theory, a hysterical crisis might be thought of as the embodiment of a dream.

Its symptoms included the same mechanisms of condensation, displacement, symbolization, and disguise through censorship. Hysteria expressed a conflict that, incapable of being elaborated mentally, is translated in altogether enigmatic fashion into physical symptoms.

The associative method of psychoanalysis could be used to identify the fantasies and symbolic pathways within it. Thus Freud described a hysterical woman who, with one hand, tore off her clothes, and with the other, held them against her body, simultaneously expressing the struggle between impulse and defense, enacting in effect a sexual scene in which she represented partners of both sexes a.

15.1. The Sociological Approach to Religion

Hysterical neurosis and hysterical relationships involve identification, constant repression, and counter-cathexis that uses the Other as the theater of conflict. Due to the absence of an organic lesion and the tendency for symptoms to disappear without a trace, as mysteriously as they came, hysterical conversion represented a provocative challenge to medicine. In general, hysterics have historically triggered irritation, accusations of lying and malingering, and rejection. Hysteria has always defied medicine and the social order because sexuality is mixed up in it — in particular, female sexuality and the associated desire for sexual pleasure.

Freud, in , referred to the "repudiation of femininity" p. Symptomatically, hysteria is an illness of repudiated femininity. More specifically, the anxiety that leads to this repudiation reflects the considerable libidinal energy required by the constant pressure of libido, a pressure that may be destructive of the ego. Jeanneau, Augustin. Schaeffer, Jacqueline. Le rubis a horreur du rouge. Le refus du feminine.

Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Britton, Ronald. Getting in on the act: The hysterical solution. International Journal of Psychoanalysis , 80 , Halberstadt-Freud, Hendrika. Studies on hysteria one hundred years on: a century of psychoanalysis. International Journal of Psychoanalysis , 77 , Kohon, Gregory. Reflections on Dora: The case of hysteria. International Journal of Psychoanalysis , 5 , The term "hysteria" has been in use for over 2, years and its definition has become broader and more diffuse over time.

In modern psychology and psychiatry, hysteria is a feature of hysterical disorders in which a patient experiences physical symptoms that have a psychological, rather than an organic, cause; and histrionic personality disorder characterized by excessive emotions, dramatics, and attention-seeking behavior. Patients with hysterical disorders, such as conversion and somatization disorder experience physical symptoms that have no organic cause.

Conversion disorder affects motor and sensory functions, while somatization affects the gastrointestinal, nervous, cardiopulmonary, or reproductive systems. These patients are not "faking" their ailments, as the symptoms are very real to them. Disorders with hysteric features typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood. It begins in early adulthood and has been diagnosed more frequently in women than in men.

Histrionic personalities are typically self-centered and attention seeking. They operate on emotion, rather than fact or logic, and their conversation is full of generalizations and dramatic appeals. While the patient's enthusiasm, flirtatious behavior, and trusting nature may make them appear charming, their need for immediate gratification, mercurial displays of emotion, and constant demand for attention often alienates them from others.

Hysteria may be a defense mechanism to avoid painful emotions by unconsciously transferring this distress to the body. There may be a symbolic function for this, for example a rape victim may develop paralyzed legs.

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Symptoms may mimic a number of physical and neurological disorders which must be ruled out before a diagnosis of hysteria is made. Hysterical disorders frequently prove to be actual medical or neurological disorders, which makes it important to rule these disorders out before diagnosing a patient with hysterical disorders. These tests may be administered in an outpatient or hospital setting by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

For people with hysterical disorders, a supportive healthcare environment is critical. Regular appointments with a physician who acknowledges the patient's physical discomfort are important. Psychotherapy may be attempted to help the patient gain insight into the cause of their distress. Use of behavioral therapy can help to avoid reinforcing symptoms.

Psychotherapy is generally the treatment of choice for histrionic personality disorder. It focuses on supporting the patient and on helping develop the skills needed to create meaningful relationships with others. The outcome for hysterical disorders varies by type. Somatization is typically a lifelong disorder, while conversion disorder may last for months or years. Symptoms of hysterical disorders may suddenly disappear, only to reappear in another form later.

Individuals with histrionic personality disorder may be at a higher risk for suicidal gestures, attempts, or threats in an effort to gain attention. Providing a supportive environment for patients with both hysterical disorders and histrionic personality disorder is key to helping these patients. Charcot attended the University of Paris, earning his medical degree in Charcot's research and work on psychoneuroses and hysterical disorders untimately helped to dispell the belief that hysteria was a disorder found only in women.

Charcot also explored the possibility that physiological abnormalities of the nervous system played a part when behavioral problems were exhibited. He became known for his ability to diagnose and locate these abnormalities of the central nervous system. Finally, Charcot's most notable contribution to the field of psychiatry was his successful use of hypnotism in the diagnosis and treatment of hysteria.

He found that, while hypnotized, the patient recalled details, which were not readily available to the individual in a conscious state. In addition, Charcot found that the therapist could more easily influence the hypnotized patient during therapy. In , Charcot presented his research findings to the French Academy of Sciences with favorable results. Charcot was a prolific writer and a talented artist. Between and , his complete works were compiled into nine volumes. His most noted work Lectures on the Diseases of the Nervous System was published in Charcot died on August 16, Conversion disorder — A psychological disorder that alters motor or sensory functions.