The symptoms inherent in the mentally ill differ from the general population only in degree or intensity, not in their actual presence. This is why, in times of great turmoil, we would profit from taking a long look at the inner workings of our psyches, as well as that of our broader society.
Rather than seeing the mentally ill as having a disorder, what if we turned this equation around and looked at those members of society as being incredibly tuned in to the very imbalances in our culture that modern-day psychotherapy is trying to adapt them to? In other words, what if society itself is disordered?
When viewed this way, these emotionally afflicted specimens become the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, sounding a warning before we swing too far in a given direction.
It’s no secret that mental illness is on the rise, that record levels of money are being thrown at the problem, and that the mental health care system is powerless to do anything about it. It is obvious that until we create more consciousness around what mental illness is, we don’t stand a chance of being able to treat it effectively. And if we continue to live in a toxic culture, these statistics will keep getting worse over time. To this end, we are not having a mental health crisis at all, but rather, a political, cultural and spiritual one.
The world is not in the trouble it’s in because of pollution, global warming or terrorism. These are merely the symptoms of the disowned and shadow elements of the collective human psyche. The world is in trouble because as a species we have gotten so out of balance that we are on the verge of a cultural nervous breakdown.