Saturday, May 03, 2008

Organic Robots

Selwyn Duke in Psychology: The Hard Truth about a Soft Science:
[...]As to this, I recently read about psychiatrists who are labeling the desire to engage in excessive text messaging a mental disorder. Then there is "Muscle Dysmorphia," or the obsessive belief that one isn't muscular enough; "celebriphilia," the strong desire for amorous relations with a celebrity; "Intermittent Explosive Disorder," or road rage; "Sibling Rivalry Disorder"; "Mathematics Disorder"; "Caffeine Related Disorder"; and "Expressive Writing disorder," to cite just a handful of the hundreds of made-up conditions in the DSM. And every time a new variety is conjured up, psychology's market and earning potential increases. I have to wonder, though, what do they call the obsession with labeling behaviors mental disorders? Some might call it greed.

Yet, as ridiculous as this seems, it's also very consistent and understandable. Whether a religionist or atheist, one can't help but notice that these organic robots don't operate the way most of us would like. The Christian explanation for this is that we're all sinners, but this is religious terminology and quite inappropriate for a machine. So psychology says we're all mentally ill; it's just a malfunction in the CPU, you see. Then, because a machine cannot commit sins but can be "out of order," it calls them disorders. Thus, a defiant child or employee isn't ruled by pride but has "Oppositional Disorder," a person with a lack of gratitude isn't just that but one who suffers from "Chronic Complaint Disorder," and a man who is shallow and vain isn't just that but one plagued by "Muscle Dysmorphia." So there is a limit to the number of disorders that can be "invented," and it's roughly equivalent to the numbers of ways in which people can sin.[...]
I've known several people that suffered from what I called 'Intermittent Explosive Disorder.' That, however, was most often successfully treated with a change of diet and gastro-intestinal medication.

(H.T. Mindful Hack.)

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