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« Igbos Must Heal their Tendency to Jealousy | Main | The Igbos are my Teachers »

April 15, 2006

Is mental Illness a Product of Choice to be Evil?

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- In Biblical days, what is now called mental illness was seen as a result of possession by evil spirits.

The nineteenth century liberal movement rethought the etiology of mental disorders and closed with observers like Sigmund Freud (1961) claiming that mental illness is not a result of devils but a psychological variable to be understood and healed through psychotherapy. This new “scientific” approach to mental disorder seemed to relegate to the bust bin the Biblical Jesus Christ who was said to have cast out evil spirits from the demon possessed (what we would now call the mentally ill).
The contemporary psychology and psychotherapy establishment is a liberal school that teaches that the environment is responsible for what people do. B.F. Skinner (2002), and his behaviorism school, for example, contend that people’s behaviors are stimulus response shaped.
In the extant world, the mentally ill are seen as victims of bad internal and external environments: internal (biochemical imbalances) and external (bad upbringing). Having rooted the causal factors of mental illness in the environment, psychotherapists strive to heal the mentally ill by altering their internal and or external environments (via medications and or changed external environment).
The patient is seen as negatively impacted by his environment; and these days that environment is most likely to be seen as internal, biological; the patient is likely to be deemed to have inherited biochemical imbalances and he is treated with medications.
If the patient is schizophrenic the current hypothesis is that somehow the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is not balanced in his central nervous system; may be there is too much of it, and he is treated with the various neuroleptic medications to reduce putative excess dopamine in his brain and hopefully reduce his hallucinations and delusions.
If the patient is bipolar (manic) he is treated with anti manic medications to reduce the presumably elevated norepinephrine in his brain.
If the patient is depressed, he is treated with antidepressants, particularly the serotonin reuptake blockers to increase the presumed low serotonin in his brain.
If the patient is anxious he is treated with anxiolytic medications to increase the presumed low GABA in his brain.
If the patient has personality disorder, well, the various personality disorders (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, narcissistic, histrionic, borderline, antisocial, avoidant, possessive-compulsive, dependent and passive aggressive) are not yet correlated with specific problematic neurotransmitters hence are treated primarily through talk based psychotherapy.

Whereas medication and psychotherapy seem to reduce the symptoms of mental disorders, so far, they do not heal them. No known secular psychotherapist has found a way to heal any mentally illness.
Any profession with the dismal track record of the mental health establishment ought to be reexamined to see whether its operating premise is realistic or false.
Could it be that the operating hypothesis that mental disorders (which are thinking disorders) are what happen to folks against their wishes is wrong?
Could it be that mental disorders are a product of unloving hence evil patterns of thinking?
Could the Bible be accurate when it represents mental illness as a function of evil and wickedness? Could it be that liberal progressive views of human nature, and in this case, the genesis of mental illness, is wrong?

I ask these questions because some of my recent experiences with people have led me to rethink my understanding of the nature and cause of mental illness. These people engaged in behaviors that, at first, gave me the impression that they are deluded and paranoid. But as I reflect on their apparent wicked and evil behaviors I came to the realization that these people are plain evil persons. This realization placed me in a quandary as to whether mental illness results from choice to be evil and wicked?
Let me briefly examine the nature of paranoia and delusional disorder and see whether it can be explained with the evil choice paradigm.


The term paranoia is derived from Greek; it means to be besides ones self; to be who one is not, in fact. As it were, the paranoid person has identified with a different person and thinks and behaves from that person’s perspective, rather than from his own true self.
Apparently, each human being has a true self. According to some religious schools, the real self is the same and equal in all people; the real self is joined with all people; the real self knows itself to be one with all people and works for the good of all people; the real self loves all people as it loves itself. (See Helen Schucman, A Course in Miracles, 1976.)
On the other hand, in paranoia, the individual seems to make a choice to have a different self from his real self. Generally, he seems to see his real self as not good enough, as inadequate and inferior and do not like it. He then seems to use his imagination and thinking to come up with what seems to him an ideal self.
The ideal self is seen as superior to other people and as more powerful than other people. (See Karen Horney Neurosis and Human Growth, 1991.)
What Karen Horney called the false ideal self, Alfred Adler called the fictional superior self. (See Alfred Adler, The Neurotic Constitution, 2003.)

The paranoid person seems to reject his real self (which is the same and equal to all people and which is a loving self) and posits a superior, all powerful self that wants to be better than other people and seeks to become this imaginary self. He seems to deny his true identity and seeks to become a different person: an all powerful self. Most of his subsequent behaviors seem motivated by his efforts to approximate the all powerful, superior self. (See David Swanson et al, The Paranoid, 1970.)

Adolf Hitler would seem a case in point demonstrating the paranoid personality. He apparently denied his real self (which he construed as inadequate and hated) and posited an ideal all powerful self and sought to become that alternative self. He was willing to kill many people, indeed to destroy the world in his efforts to realize his ideal all powerful self. He was instrumental in killing, at least, fifty million persons in his effort to prove to himself and the world that he is the all powerful fuehrer prince he wanted to become. (See Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 2002.)
In the not so famous instances paranoids do all sorts of evil things in their pursuit of their ideal, all powerful self. Consider the man who beats up his wife because she does not treat him as the all important self he wants to become; the employer who fires his workers because they did not respect his grandiose self concept; the man who generally maltreats other people, particularly those he perceives as not respectful of his dignity. These are manifestations of paranoia. (See William Meissner, The Paranoid Process, 1980.)
There are different types of paranoia. Psychiatry has at least three distinct types of paranoia: schizophrenia, paranoid type, delusional disorder and paranoid personality disorder. (See the American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 1994.)

Let us briefly review these nosological categories.
Schizophrenia, a psychosis, is characterized by the presence of hallucinations in one or more of the five senses (auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory and feeling) and delusion (believing what is not true as true; such as believing ones self to be important, to be better than other people when one is not; a schizophrenic, paranoid type may see himself as god and want other people to treat him as if he is god, that is, as if he is better than them). The schizophrenic, paranoid type has the symptoms of schizophrenia (hallucinations) and paranoia (believe in what is not true as true).
Delusional disorder is characterized by belief in what is not true as true, usually in certain areas of the individual’s life, whereas other areas seem normal. There are five types of delusional disorder: grandiose, persecutory, jealous, erotomanic and somatic. Briefly, in grandiose type the individual believes himself very important and superior to other people; in persecutory type the individual believes that other people are out to get him, do bad things to him, even kill him and he defends himself from them, even though they have no ill intentions towards him; in jealous type the individual believes that his spouse is cheating on him and may watch her behaviors and falsely accuse her of doing what she did not do and even beat her up for being unfaithful when she is faithful; in erotomanic type the individual believes that a famous person is in love with her or even is her husband; in somatic type the individual believes that she has a sickness that medical science and technology fails to prove as there.
Paranoid personality disorder is considered a neurosis. Schizophrenia, paranoid type and delusional disorder are psychosis; psychotics have lost ability to test reality well. The neurotic is able to test reality well but does not like what he sees, and wants to change it and make it what he wants it to become, ideal. The paranoid neurotic is characterized by desire to be seen as a very important person, while he still recognizes that he is not so. This person so wants to be seen as important, perfect and powerful that he perpetually scrutinizes what other people do to ascertain whether they treated him as he wants to be treated or not. If he thinks that other people did not see him as all powerful, that is, if he feels disrespected and demeaned by other people, he feels angry and accuses them of not respecting him. He is always accusing people of not respecting him. He wants to be seen as a dignified, important person. Generally, he is rigid, inflexible and stiff and lacks a good sense of humor. His whole life and activities are geared towards doing whatever he could to seem ideal and superior. He tends to work hard in an effort to attain his desired sense of importance and may even become his country’s head of state. An example is Adolf Hitler, a paranoid personality. Paranoid personalities are found in all walks of life: medicine, law, engineering, teaching etc. These people are normal persons with heightened desire for prestige and importance. I say normal persons because all people seek specialness, superiority and power but at a less obnoxious level. (See David Shapiro, Autonomy and the Rigid Character, 1999, also see his Neurotic Styles, 1999)

What runs through the various types of paranoia is a sense of inadequacy and inferiority and compensatory desire for a sense of power, importance, superiority and perfection.
The paranoid feels incomplete and wants to seem complete by seeming powerful over other people. As noted, if his level of paranoia is low, such as paranoid personality, he may, in fact, accomplish a lot in life, all in an effort to approximate his desired importance.
On the other hand, if his paranoia is psychotic, such as in schizophrenia, paranoid type, he does not accomplish any thing productive, he merely posits a grandiose self concept and believe it and act as such when he is not it, such as claim go be god and behave as if he is god and in the meantime is unable to feed himself and eats from garbage cans (he is a god that eats from the dustbin, a god, indeed).
In delusional disorder, what we might call partial psychosis, for it has only one leg of the two legs of psychosis, delusion, but not hallucination, the individual may be a professional, such as be an engineer and does well on his job but still has a fixed and systematic delusion in some areas of his life, such as believe that other people want to kill him and hide from them (while alienating them by writing degrading materials about them).

The currently accepted etiological hypothesis is that paranoia, particularly psychotic levels of it, is caused by problems in the individual’s biochemistry. The current hypothesis is that the schizophrenic, paranoid type has a problematic dopamine, a neurotransmitter, has too much of it or is unable to break it down once produced. Medications are designed to enable him neutralize his excess dopamine. The various neuroleptics tend to reduce hallucinations.
An argument can be made that delusional disorder probably has biological correlates. For example, when some folks ingest cocaine and or amphetamine, even caffeine and other nervous system stimulants, they tend to exhibit paranoid suspiciousness, lack of trust of other people, a feeling that people are out to get them, guardedness, scanning of the environment looking for danger signs that threaten the individual. However, it should be pointed that not all persons who take these drugs exhibit these paranoid symptoms; invariably it is those already predisposed to paranoid thinking and behavior that have that life style exacerbated by introduction of central nervous system stimulants into their bodies.

There is no question about it: paranoia has biological correlates. Whereas we may not yet fully understand it, in the future we shall find out how the workings of the body are correlated with paranoia.
But having said this, one is also aware that thinking does change body chemistry. If one wakes up in the morning and indulges in wishes for self importance, one could stimulate ones body (make it release excitatory neurochemicals). That is to say that it is difficult to tell which comes first, inherited biological tendency to over stimulation or stimulation of ones body by ones wishful thinking patterns. This is the familiar chicken or egg question, which comes first? It is not easy to tell which comes first.
Perhaps, they came into being in a simultaneous manner? Thinking and biological behavior associated with it probably came into being at the same time, with thinking, perhaps, preceding changes in our bodies by nanoseconds?

The thesis of this paper is that paranoia and, by generalization, all mental illnesses, is probably caused by unloving and evil thinking and behavior patterns. That is to say that the Biblical notion that the mentally ill are evil and wicked persons may be true! (See the Christian Bible, King James Version.)


Let me explain how I came to this seeming retrogressive conclusion. My wife and I started a business, and registered it as a partnership. Subsequently, we ran into a fellow and talked to him about our business and he indicated interest in joining us. We welcomed him with open hands. He then suggested that we invite other people to join us. We agreed. He brought three of his friends to join. He then suggested that we turn it into a corporation, and we did that too.
At business meetings a pattern began to emerge. He and his three friends would be against my wife and me. At a point, he asked why my wife was a member of the Board since his own wife was not members of the Board. I reminded him that my wife and I had started the business before he came on board ant that, at any rate, his wife is welcome to join us.
After a Board meeting at which he was particularly nasty towards my wife, she told me that this man and his friends are out to take control of the business, that since they are now the majority that they could vote me out and take it over at any time. I told her that she was exaggerating the situation but, nevertheless, began to pay attention to these folk’s shenanigans. To protect myself, I got some other persons into the Board to balance things out.
We applied for approval by the state to perform certain services. My wife and I did all the work, including depositing the required money to prove that we are financially able to do what we proposed to do. We got approved. I called the members of the Board to tell them of our approval. I called a meeting to discuss what next to do. At that meeting this man went off on my wife and abused her in the most despicable verbal manner. I could not believe the filthy things coming out of his mouth. Luckily, I kept quiet but at some point I tried to calm him down and he redirected his apparently “staged anger” at me, telling me how I allowed my wife to control me and how he does not allow a woman to tell him what to do. I tried to dismiss that assertion and he, in fact, got up and tried to shove me, to have a physical fight with me. This is a man who claims to be a former university professor, incredible. (I have never permitted another human being to place his hands on me and when he did that that was the end of our relationship.)
My wife and I left the meeting. But upon thinking about his behavior it occurred to me that a man who could be that angry could harm those around him. He has a wife and a little child living with him, so I thought: this man is probably intimidating those in the same household with him. I called the police and reported the matter, hoping that, perhaps, investigating it would lead him to recognize that he has an anger problem and go take an anger management course, so as not to kill any one during his fits of rage. In his anger, he turned into a menacing gorilla, a beast, ready to kill. It was an amazing transformation, from his usual lying self (most of his talking is calculated to make him seem very important in the listeners’ eyes, he is always boasting about his accomplishments etc) to violent criminal behavior.
I got home and began to think about this man’s personality. What became obvious is that he has paranoid personality disorder, delusional disorder and intermittent explosive behavior disorder.

The man and his gang tried to take the business over, by meeting without me and voting me out of office. Even though he was the one who attacked us he said that we attacked him and wanted to kill him and take his money. (This is outright delusional thinking for he has no money; he is unemployed and is, more or less, dependent on his wife, a nurse, to support him.)
Of course, they could not take over the business since I made all the arrangements for its approval. But what became obvious to me was that right from when this man and his gang joined me; they had their eyes set on taking the business over. He laid low and waited for me to do all the work that would get us state approval and then they would push me out and take it over. They made their move by assaulting my wife, knowing that that would get any man angry if they assaulted his wife, and that he would try to defend his wife. When that failed, they tried to vote me out of the Board as the president. Unfortunately, for them only the four of them did so. The other members of the Board did not participate and they did not have a majority to accomplish their design. Moreover, since I made all the arrangements necessary to get us approved, I simply pulled them off and they had nothing to go with other than make noises that as a corporation that they could vote me out and take it over. They had nothing to take over. Their hostile take over plan had failed. Failed or not, they set the business back.

Initially, I had pity for this man and his gang. I had sympathy for him for I was trying to explain his behavior from a mental health perspective. Since it is clear that he has paranoid personality, I felt that he did what he did out of mental disorder and was motivated to understand and have compassion for him.
But as I reflected on what this man did, it occurred to me that he consciously chose to be wicked and to act in an unloving and evil manner. He was a thief, for he wants to reap what he did not sow. His behavior was hostile towards my wife and I. He wanted to take over what we worked for and he did not work for. He deliberately brought in his friends so as to make the move he made to take our business over.
What he did he did consciously and deliberately, even his verbal assault on my wife, and later me, was deliberately done and calculated to scare us off, so that he would take over our business. The man is like a terrorist. He believes that human beings are prone to fear. Therefore, that if he intimidated us, aroused fear for our safety and that we would permit him to take over our business. Terrorists deliberately arouse fear in people by randomly killing a few persons and use fear to obtain the social policy of their choice.
What all these taught me is that his paranoia, his choice to seek superiority over other people, his quest for a grandiose self and behaviors attendant on it, though having biochemical correlates is, in fact, an evil, wicked behavior. This man, though mentally ill, chose to be evil.
Thus I began to wonder whether the mentally ill are wicked people. Is mental illness a function of the individual’s choice to be evil?
Could it be that the mental health establishment is putting the cart before the horse and do not have a clue as to the cause of mental illness?
Could mental illness be a product of choice for evil behavior, as the good book, the Bible said? Hitler, a paranoid personality killed millions of people in pursuit of his paranoid grandiose goals. This man, a paranoid personality attempted to take over my business and wrought destruction, all in pursuit of his paranoid grandiose goals. These paranoid persons are evil, heartless persons.
It is time to rethink what liberal environmentalists told us about the etiology of mental disorders and examine the possibility that mental disorder is a function of thinking and behavior that emphasize hatred and evil over love and social interest.


As I began to ponder this hypothesis, Helen Schucman’s metaphysical poem, A Course in Miracles, came to my mind. In her book, she claimed that the world came into being when we, the children of God, chose to separate from God and from each other. As she sees it, in eternity, in God all are one. God created us and we are his children. God is the whole and we are his parts. God has infinite children, the whole has infinite parts.
The whole and its parts are the same and are coequal. The difference between the whole and part is that the whole produced the parts; the parts did not produce the whole,
Anthropomorphized, God, the whole, created us, the parts. We did not create God, for logically the part cannot produce the whole; only the whole, by logical necessity, can produce the part.
Apparently, the fact that God created us angered us. We wanted to create God, create ourselves and create each other. She called this desire for self creation specialness; I would call it desire for power, a power that exceeds God’s power.
Naturally, there can be only one source of creation. Our parents produced us; we do not produce our parents by wishing to do so, though we do become parents in our rights and produce our own children. God created us and we do create other children of God, with the creative power of God in us, but not with our own power. We cannot create God and create ourselves. Creation has to emanate from one source, for if the created can create its creator there would be chaos.
Still, desiring to create God and ourselves, but unable to do so in heavenly reality, Dr Schucman said that, as it were, we cast a magical spell, on ourselves and went into deep sleep and in the sleep dream a world where we seem to have created ourselves.
(Cross check Dr Schucman’s myth of creation with Hinduism’s story of creation. In Hinduism, God, called Brahman, cast Maya, a magical spell on himself and went to sleep and in his sleep dream that his parts, his children, Atman, now seem separated from him. The goal of religion is to enable the various Atmans to realize that they are one with God. The realization of oneness is called enlightenment; illumination of unified reality. It is attained in what Oriental religions call Samadhi, in Hinduism, Nirvana in Buddhism and Satori in Zen. Buddha is the human being who realized that his separated ego self is a puff of smoke, that his real self is Atman who is one with Brahman, he is one with one life.)


That dream world, an illusion, Dr Schucman said is our world. The illusion of self creation, she said is represented in our invention of self concepts for our selves.
Upon birth on each, each child invents a self concept for himself and translates it into a self image (we see ourselves in pictorial forms in our mental and physical eyes). Also see George Kelly, 1955.
The self concept and self image, she says, is a substitute self we made to replace the self God created us as.
God created us as unified with him and each other, as Holy. We invented separated selves.
God created us as the same and equal with each other and him. We invented ourselves as different from each other, and see ourselves as unequal, some superior to others.
God created us as spirit, for only the spiritual can unify, join, and only the same and equal can be connected to each other. We remade ourselves in bodies and in bodies seem different from each other, some white and some black, some tall and some short, some handsome, and some ugly. Our goal is to make us seem different and better than other people. (Those who seem better in one life time may alternate and seem worse than others in different life times.)

In sum, Helen Schucman’s thesis is that the empirical world came into being because of our wish for specialness and separation, because of our desire to seem superior to God and to one another. She calls our world an evil dream.
The world of God is the world of love, and the world of union. We chose the opposite of that world; we chose the world of evil and separation.
She goes on to tell us that our world is a dream and, as such, has not occurred, that it is only in the mind of the dreamer; she says that ideas leave not their source, leave not the mind of the dreamer; that the world is in our minds, as we are in the mind of God.
Her whole book is devoted to enabling folks to overlook our world and in doing so awaken from it and return to the consciousness that they are unified with God and one another.
As she sees it, forgiveness is the best way to ignore the world and awaken to the world of God, the unified world. The empirical world began when we mutually attacked each other. We attacked each other to push each other away from us, to separate from them. In the world itself we are still attacking each other and separating from each other. She says that attack and defense maintains our world.
If you are attacked by others and you defend yourself, you are now an attacker on the attackers who now see themselves attacked and justify attacking you in self defense and that way attack continues without end.

To overcome this world of mutual attack, Dr Schucman said that we have to stop attacking each other and must forgive those who attacked us rather that counter attack them and separate from them. The balance of her book is teaching folks to forgive the wrongs people do to them.
As she sees it, salvation is return to the awareness of union with God and all people and it can only be attained when we overlook the world’s attack on us, hence overlook the seeming reality of the world of separation.
We need not get bogged down with the specifics of Helen Schucman’s interesting metaphor on the origin of this world and what to do to escape from it (her theology sees this world as a slaughter house, a purposeless, meaningless world that she wants us to negate and escape from; her Gnostic religion is akin to Hinduism and Buddhism for it calls for rising above this world of pain and suffering).
What we need to extrapolate from Dr Schucman is her thesis that our original state is love and that love is union; and that we came to be in this world to experience the opposite of our true self.
We are love and want to experience hate. We are unified and want to experience separated selves (egos, self concepts, personalities). We are formless spirit and want to experience life in form, in bodies. We are immortal and want to experience mortality, birth and death.
As Dr Schucman sees it, the world is a dream, an illusion. The world exists only as in a dream; otherwise it does not exist, in fact. The world exists only because we believe that it exists, and want it to exist.
If we took away our desire for the world to exist it would not exist. Because it does not exist and we believe that it exists, we are deluded. Indeed, since it does not exist and we see ourselves in it, we are hallucinating.
As Dr Schucman sees it, the world is mass psychosis where we see what is not there, hear voices that are not spoken and believe what is not true as true.
We are unified and we now believe that we are separated; we are formless and we see ourselves in forms.
The world is a place we come to attack each other and to hate each other. We came here to do evil things to each other (except that the evils we do on earth were done in a dream and have not really been done).

If you put all these together, what Dr Schucman is saying is that schizophrenia, delusion, mania and anxiety and all mental disorders are products of our wishes for evil, our desire to experience the opposite of love. That is to say that the mentally ill, which she defines as all of us, desire evil dreams and loveless dreams.
Whereas all of us are said to be mentally ill because we are dreaming and believing and seeing what is not there as there, there are more apparently psychotic persons. We do have schizophrenics, paranoids, manic, depressives, and anxious persons in psychiatric hospitals. These people, as it were, are more psychotic than the rest of us; they are motivated by more than average level of evil and wickedness. Their mental illness is a product of their evil thinking and evil behavior.
Consider the man who waited for me to do all the work, start a business and he came to take it over. That behavior is evil yet diagnostically this man is paranoid. His paranoia, his quest to have a grandiose self is thus a product of his evil nature, his evil thinking and behaving patterns. He does not love other people; he wants to separate from other people; he attacks other people; he steals what other people worked for.
In as much as it can be demonstrated that this man is paranoid as well as wicked, the two are correlated. He desired specialness and superiority and that led him to want to take over another man’s work, and he exhibited no conscience, no sense of right and wrong, hence is a sociopath, an antisocial personality. (Antisocial personality generally coexists with paranoid personality.)
I am forced to conclude that the mentally ill are those who exaggerate our human evil thinking and behaving patterns.

I will briefly look at other mental disordered states to show how evil thinking is present in all of them.

In schizophrenia the individual wishes to be very important and superior to other people. The wish to be superior to other people is evil wish for it often leads to doing what harms other people. Of course, he is not superior to other people, for in reality all people are the same. Hallucinations are probably wish fulfillment. If one wants to be God one can hear what one thinks is god talking to one, telling one that one is God etc.
In mania the individual wants to be very special and important and uses his mind to speed up the workings of his nervous system to put him into a manic mode where he is now all important and all powerful; wishful thinking can speed up the workings of the central nervous system. (The wish to be better than other people is a n evil wish, for if pursued it can lead to harming other people, indeed exploiting them without feeling guilty, for, after all, one is exploiting inferior persons of no consequence.)
In depression ones thinking depresses ones nervous system. Again, there may be an underlying grandiosity in depression, for to say that one is no good is as much an arrogant statement as to say that one is very good. Both statements presuppose that it is up to one to decide ones worth. In reality, we did not create ourselves, God created us, and, as such, it is not up to us to decide our worth. God has given us our value and worth and that worth and value is only found in loving relationships with other people and with God.
In delusion disorder it is apparent that one wishes to be important and that is the main issue involved here. Even in persecutory delusion the individual must have construed himself as very important, for other people to live to want to harm him. If all people are out to get one, one must be very important. If all men want to rape a woman then she must fancy her self, ego and body, very desirable. All these are of course delusional for not all people are out to kill one or rape a woman.
In anxiety disorder one must be very important for bad things to happen to one. The anxious neurotic generally has inflated self concept and self image and those false superior self conflicts with the reality of his ordinariness. The neurotic wants to actualize his imaginary ideal self concept, whereas the normal person wants to actualize his real self and is thus more likely to succeed than the neurotic trying to make the impossible self possible. (See Abraham Maslow, 1970.)
Only trust in God to protect one is realistic for by ourselves we do not have the power to do anything, not even to change the color of our hair.

It seems apparent that in all mental and personality disorders that there is inflated self concept. Consider the narcissistic personality with his grandiose self concept and belief that other people ought to see him as special and worthy of admiration. The narcissist feels inferior and masks his underlying sense of inadequacy and worthlessness with his outward sense of importance.
It seems apparent that if the individual shrinks his self concept to normal proportions, sees himself as not different from other people, is the same and equal with all people that he would not be prone to mental disorders, particularly if he also loves all people and forgives, as much as impossible, those who do bad things.
(I do not see how one can have total forgiveness for evil doers, as A course in miracles advocates; that would mean forgiving murderers, rapists, pedophiles, thieves etc. If we forgave them, overlooked their heinous behaviors with the idea that they did nothing, or that what they did was done in a dreamland has not happened hence over look their behavior to see their innocent Christ self, as the Course advocates, then we would be responsible for pedophiles etc running around and raping children. That is socially intolerable, so we must arrest and jail these people who harm other people. Much as one appreciates the philosophy of not punishing bad people, as the course teaches, one does not see how we can live on earth and not punish evil doers.
It should also be noted that if one forgives evil persons that forgiveness does not guarantee that they would no longer be evil. Jesus Christ forgave the world two thousand years ago but there are still evil people on earth who are still killing each other despite his forgiving them. If you forgive a murderer he could still murder other people and that is not desirable, for even if this world is a dream, folks ought to have happy dreams where they love one another rather than harm one another.
I must, however, observe that if one wants to exit this world that one can forgive all people. You can forgive your murderer, as Jesus did, and move on to other worlds. You would be saying that you do not want to defend your life in body. That would return you to life in bodiless, formless spirit.
Still that fact does not detract from the fact that for those living in this world the forgiven murderer could still be a threat to them hence their need to arrest and incarcerate him. As long as folks want to be in this world they must not have blanket forgiveness as their policy, they must punish evil doers, in the least, put them in jail and while in jail teach them to love and care for all people. I see nothing wrong with my death and other people’s death. I do not fear death. Therefore, a murderer ought to be killed, as in capital punishment, to prevent him from murdering other people. He should be killed not because one fears death and want him not to kill one but because he has no business running around killing those who want to live in body.
If you say that the murdered chose to be killed by the murderer, okay, the killed murderer chose to be killed by society.)

As one sees it, mental illness seems a sign of evil, wickedness and hatred of people. It seems that Dr Schucman is in the right direction when she claims that we came to this world to live the opposite of love, that we came here to experience hate. As she sees it, we hate God, hate other people and hate our real selves. We came here to destroy oneness, love and union so as to live as special separated selves. In effect, we live on earth because we are evil and that our evil desires account for our mental illness. The mentally ill have evil desires; they do not love their real selves, do not love other people’s real selves and do not love God. Our real self is unified spirit. Hatred of unified spirit and preference for separated existence in bodies seems to be at the root of mental illness.


The thesis that mental illness may be rooted in evil and wicked thinking and behaving has implication for our efforts to heal the mentally ill. So far, we attempt to heal them through talk based therapies that see them as victims or through medications that assume that there is something wrong with their bodies. Clearly, neither conventional psychotherapy nor pharmacotherapy has healed the mentally ill (reduce their symptoms yes, heal them, no).
The implications for psychotherapy are that to heal people we have to inject religion and spirituality into therapy.
True religion is not the elaborate ceremonies seen at churches. True religion is any effort to reconnect people to their source, their creator. True religion is that which teaches us to love one another and love our creator, God.
A Course in miracles talks about the Holy Spirit as the true psychotherapist (see Psychotherapy, its meaning and purpose, a track that applies the teachings of the Course to psychotherapy).
From a practical point of view what seems salient is that when we deliberately accept our true self: unified spirit self, Holy self, Christ, Buddha self, Krishna self, Atman, Chi, call it what you like, provided that you mean by your term a self that sees itself as unified with all selves and at base spirit, not body, although temporarily having physical experience, when we accept that unified spirit self and see all selves as parts of us and love all of them, as we love ourselves and work for our common social good (what Adler called social interest) we tend to be peaceful and happy.
In other words, good psychotherapy, in addition to what secular therapists do with their clients, and the medications they give them, must include efforts to reconnect folks to their creator and to all people.
Spiritual aspects of man must be addressed if man is to be healed. Spiritual psychology and psychotherapy must complement secular psychology and psychotherapy. This seems to be the only way that we are going to be able to heal the mentally ill.

Mental illness, among other things, lies in a choice not to love and care for other people, not to work for our common good, but to work only for ones self and to seem better than other people. These choices are then reflected in people’s bodies, particularly their nervous systems, thus disguising their root in their thinking, in their minds.
Mental health lies in working for the common good, and in loving all human beings, black and white, man, woman and children and in seeing them all as the same and equal and unified as one.


So far, psychotherapy sees the mentally ill as a victim of either his body or society or both. Psychotherapists tend to see their patients and clients as victims, as good people unto whom bad things happen, bad things in the nature of inherited problematic bodies and or bad social experiences.
Clearly, some persons do inherit problematic bodies and or are affected by adverse social circumstances. There are people born with medical disorders that cause them pain and make them suffer. There are people born in abusive families and suffer. Thus, there is some truth in the liberal environmental position that external factors contribute to mental illness.
However, human begins are also choice making creatures. They can choose to seem big and act as if they are big. In pursuit of their imaginary superior self they tend to harm other people. Harming other people is an evil and wicked behavior.
Attributing their harm of others to mental illness is not enough explanation. To say that Adolf Hitler was paranoid and in pursuit of his paranoid goals for grandeur killed millions of people are only a partial explanation. The real explanation is why he chose to pursue a grandiose self. He may have inherited a problematic body that made him feel inferior and he tried to compensate with false superiority.
In addition to that, however, is the possibility that we are all unified in God and in God feel complete, perfect , worthy, adequate and worthwhile, and that when we separate from God, from eternal union, we felt incomplete, imperfect, worthless, valueless, inferior, little etc. We then seek completion in ego terms, in making ourselves seem important in other people’s eyes.

In the light of spiritual psychology, the only thing that can make us complete, perfect, whole, adequate, worthwhile, give us positive self esteem etc is for us to relinquish our desire for separated self, for us to give up the grandiose superior self concepts and images we made for ourselves and embrace our real self, which is unified self. We must return to the awareness of our unified spirit self. We must love one another. We must accept God as our creator and give up the illusion that we created ourselves. We cannot create ourselves; the whole, God, created the part, us.
When we love one another and, as much as is possible, forgive one another our evils and seek ways to correct our evils, not just forgive them but correct them, so that we live mostly loving lives, we tend to be peaceful and happy.

Peace, happiness and joy presuppose each other; where one is the other is. If you are peaceful you are happy and if you are happy and joyous you are peaceful. Conversely, where there is no pace there is no joy and happiness.
Peace is found only in loving relationships with all people and with our creator, God.
To heal the mentally ill we must teach them to love all people, love themselves and love God; we must teach them to love our unified spirit self and to work for our common social goals.
This teaching cannot just be at the intellectual level. The therapist, which is all of us, must teach the client, which is all of us, to love. We are each others teachers and students.
We must teach by example. The therapist must be a totally loving and forgiving person. A loving and forgiving person is a person who does not hold grievances and grudges for evils other people do to him. A person who does not seek vengeance for the wrongs the world did to him tends to be a peaceful and happy person.
The best therapist is a peaceful, happy, just and loving person. He teaches his clients to do what he does, not just what he says they should do.
In the final analysis, psychotherapy, it seems to me, must embrace spirituality to be of real therapeutic value to its clients. Emphasizing only secular, scientific psychotherapy is not enough, it is only a beginning. We must mix secular and spiritual psychotherapies if we want to truly heal mental ill people.
But we must fully understand who is to be healed, who has mental illness. The mentally ill is a person who separates from other people, who does not love his real, self, other people’s real selves and God; a person who does hurtful, evil and wicked things to other people. He is healed when he does only loving (joining) things towards all people.


Adler, Alfred. (2003) The Neurotic Constitution. In Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler. Ed. Henry Stein. San Francisco, CA: Alfred Adler Institute.

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. (1994) Washington DC: American Psychiatric Press.

Bible, King James Version. (1983) New York: Thomas Nelson Inc.

Freud, Sigmund. (1961) The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed. Ernest Jones. New York: Lionel Trilling and Steven.

Hitler, Adolf. (2002) Mein Kampf. New York: CPA Books.

Horney, Karen (1950) Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: W.W. Norton.

Kelly, George. (1955) The Psychology of Personal Constructs. New York: W. W. Norton.

Maslow, Abraham. (1949) “The Expressive Component of Behavior”, Psychological Review.
----------------- (1970) Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper

Meissner, William. (1980) The Paranoid Process. New York: Aronson.

-------------------- (1994) Psychotherapy and the Paranoid Process. New York: Aronson, Jason Publishers.

Rogers, Carl. (1951) Client Centered Therapy. New York: Houghton Mifflin and co.

Schucman, Helen. (1976) A Course in Miracles. Tiburon, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace.

Shapiro, David. (1999) Autonomy and the Rigid Character. New York: Basic Books.

------------------ (1999) Neurotic Styles. Basic Books.

Skinner, B.F. (2002) Beyond Freedom and Dignity. New York: Hackett Publishing.

Swanson, David. (1970) The Paranoid. Boston: Houghlin, Mifflin.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

Posted by Administrator at April 15, 2006 08:53 AM


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