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What does a psychiatrist-philosopher who does not believe in mental illness have to say about the mind? Quite a lot, as you might expect. In his book, The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality and Neuroscience, Thomas Szasz explains his concept of the mind.
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In a debate, recorded in 1977, Thomas Szasz and Albert Ellis argue over the concept of mental illness. Szasz argues forcefully and humorously for his position that mental illness is a sort of metaphor for problems in life. Albert Ellis maintains that mental illness is a useful concept that should not be dismissed.
Continue reading “Thomas Szas vs Albert Ellis: Is Mental Illness a Myth?”
Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning documents his experiences in concentration camps during Nazi occupation. During this time, Frankl lost his wife, his brother and parents in concentration camps. The first half of the book is a disturbing tale about how Jews should find meaning through Nazi dehumanization, while the second half of the book entitled, Logotherapy in a Nutshell, is a sales pitch for Frankl’s pseudo-religious therapy called, Logotherapy.
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Can a person live a flourishing, purpose-filled life in spite of chronic illness and near constant pain? According to author Suzy Szasz, the answer is a resounding, “yes”. Szasz’s book, Lupus. Living With It: Why You Don’t Have To Be Healthy to Be Happy, is written with an enthusiasm for life. Despite her constant battle with the exhausting chronic illness, Lupus, Szasz retains her meaning in life by refusing to become a victim of her disease.
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The book, Stoicism: A Stoic Approach To Modern Life, is a fantastic introduction to Stoicism. It is short (a good thing in my mind) and introduces the reader to the Stoic concept of how to live well despite the inherent struggles in life. I asked the author, Tom Miles, a few questions about what drew him to Stoicism in an interview below.
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“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
At its core, Stoicism is the idea that we control our mind. For the Stoics, achieving tranquility wasn’t about changing what was going on in our external world, but rather, changing our internal world. Feelings such as depression and anxiety, are to a large extent determined by our underlying philosophy.
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