Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shattered Minds

Becca Clark wrote in a comment to a recent thread, “I do think we run a risk when we generalize from personal experiences.” I have given considerable thought to her assertion and still find myself wondering if it is as true as it sounds. I have to ask myself how much of our entire belief system actual comes from our experiences. I am aware that there is suppose to be something we call hard science. Knowledge developed from pure research that produces facts. I am also aware of all the folks who believe the Bible to be without error and the inspired Word of God. Therefore, there are sources that people believe facts can come from. However, we know that scientific facts are a moving target because almost no one still believes the earth is flat yet at one time that was the science of its day. We also know not everyone agrees the Bible is infallible and the ones who do disagree on what it says. So I ask what knowledge can we count on not to be tainted by opinion and personal experiences?
For example, looking at the question of how to define mind one runs into more curves and dead ends than almost any subject science tries to define. To be ethical I must tell you I have a personal interest in this subject because things have been done to me “in my best interest”, but my only crime is my shattered mind. However, those of us with a mental illness and other disabilities or unpopular behavior, gender, color, sexual orientation, or monetary situations are handled differently by simply creating laws to suit the purposes of the society at large.
When researchers are studying mice, they are looking at less complex creatures than themselves, but when they are trying to define mind with their own mind a problem arises. Are they able to look objectively at a mind with a mind?
Let me back up. If you agree that a mind is merely a brain to be studied as we study any biological part of the human body then you will not agree there is a problem. However, if you think the mind is more than a mere mechanical machine then we can go on. If we need to believe in God, pray to God, and have a soul, where is that connection made? In a mechanical machine or a mind which is more than a biological brain.
I firmly believe that when my mind is shattered and I am not functioning well that my brain disorder is part of the problem, but the solution is not found only in psychiatric medications. Yes, I have bipolar disorder (manic-depression), but that also causes other problems in my mind and soul. I know Ms. Clark cautioned about making a generalization from one’s personal experiences and maybe she is right, but my guess is that there are many hurting souls just like me brought to their knees by a brain disorder (mental illness) which usually causes mind and soul problems.
We can as the body of Christ respond with compassion to those whose only crime are shattered minds and share with them the Good News about God’s love for each one of them.

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