A touch of wisdom can work wonders

Bloodletting to apparently prevent or cure disease

As a student in the 1980s, I came across a young person in a pretty bad situation. For convenience, I’ll call them Sam (not their real name).

I had volunteered to host the weekly movie night at the psychiatric wing of a hospital. Sam was an in-patient and one evening we got to chatting after I ran a video on the VCR.

The more I got to know Sam the more I realized s/he was just like anyone else but with experiences quite unlike most others. When I shared some of my personal stories with Sam, s/he became relaxed, friendly and animated. Unlike Sam’s stony-faced doctors who probably sounded more like telephone answering machines than real people, someone on the outside could at least partially relate to how Sam felt. Sam then asked me if I had I also experienced this or that unusual experience.

I hadn’t, so had to tell Sam who suddenly looked disappointed and alone again.

I’ve always remembered Sam as a fresh, beautiful soul in an unfortunate situation.

Since moving on and studying for my Master’s degree in Comparative Religion (Santiniketan, India) and Ph.D. in Religious Studies (Ottawa, Canada), I did encounter more unusual experiences along the way. And I often wonder if some suffering souls learned about world mysticism and didn’t fully accept psychiatric reductionism, could they make better sense of their interior life and avoid an alienating ordeal like Sam had to endure?

Maybe not everyone. But some might benefit from a more holistic approach to understanding psychological differences that don’t fit within current statistical norms.

I would even suggest that trying to be a good person instead of merely playing the role of ‘good patient’ could help some overcome depression and even instability. Some medical doctors will chafe at this. For them, there’s a ‘chemical imbalance’ (now recognized as a bogus theory about depression) or a need to ‘firm up’ the cell walls of the brain with substances like lithium salts (which are potentially toxic and have harmful long-term side effects).

Ciro di Marzio returns from his seclusion in Season 3 of Gomorrah because he’s “tired of being in hell alone.”

Factors like ethics, spirituality, and how we choose to behave in life seem to have taken a backseat to neurology in the psychiatric model of health and wellness. A patient might behave like an absolute monster but the right pills will make things more manageable, Tony Soprano style.

To me, some medical explanations and treatments for psychological suffering are about as satisfactory as the old-fashioned ideas of balancing humours and bloodletting. There’s almost no understanding of how souls interact and how ignorance, sin and spiritual impurity can bring us down.

To effectively face the future we need to explore the fullness of our human potential. People are people and should never be robotically addressed by insensitive practitioners who only excel at memorizing and regurgitating medical textbooks.

The old idea that four humours affected health and illness
The old idea that four humours affected health and illness

One thought on “A touch of wisdom can work wonders

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.