Won Jun Lee
March 5th, 2013
The Imagination of Cause and Effect
Arguably the most powerful tool of perception, our mind has two distinct ways of understanding. One way of understanding is objective perception. Using our five senses, we perceive things as they are explicitly. Alternatively, we have our imagination to guide or assist in our understanding. In the case of paranoiacs, however, there is a thin line between these realms of perception. Hallucinations may dominate the patient into believing that what he’s experiencing is real, causing him to perceive imagination and reality to be the same. As example of this, Daniel Schreber becomes subject to his paranoid condition and under its influence, he begins to project his hallucinations as truths upon his objective reality; Elyn Saks, however, convinces us that this thin line is discernible through will power and that the collapse of these two ideas of thought need not be inherent in the patient. While, Saks argues that patients of paranoia are not entirely bound to the irrationality characteristic of the mental illness, Schreber ironically strives to rationalize the paranoia, consciously constructing an uncanny reality that attempts to explain his delusions. In the editorial, Saks rejects her prognosis and fights the popular notion that her condition will not improve. “Conventional psychiatric thinking and its diagnostic categories say that people like me don’t exist,” she states. However, she presents herself and a number of other colleagues as evidence against this type of psychoanalysis. Nonetheless, she does acknowledge the limitations of her schizophrenic state, but Saks argues that suffering from schizophrenia is not synonymous with suffering from irrational thinking. Emphasizing the importance of “finding the wellness within the illness,” Saks maintains that her intellectual capacities were intact mostly because she found the courage to keep the hallucinations at bay and indulge in...