In Abnormal Psychology, we read about the case of Mr. Zell Kravinsky in light of how each define behavior as “abnormal.” His case is available online. Here are my thoughts about labeling him:
Power lives in the gift of self to others. For Kravinsky, we are shamed owning the difference between heroic ability to surrender what society makes important and most covet. The generosity written within this life is akin to a real saint’s love without direct cooperation with faith. Using who we are as a fulcrum for what might powerfully be, using gifts rising mountain-like from nothing, we divinely give when loving from wherever we are. Kravinsky witnessed that risking all to freely assume the nature of love. We are forever measuring ourselves letting the god-of-ownership-Lord-of-waste forge molded warlike chains to bind us.
The intelligence test discoverer Alfred Binet intended the test to close learning gaps, not to measure lifelong, epically insidious, imagined perceptions-made-real. Yesterday’s idea to help now prejudices 50 % of the population. If the DSM is used to open life, it can be good. But our society doesn’t take this approach. The lifelong stigma costs us all.
Classmate Funmilayo commented for himself about the case: “Zell Kravinsky’s behavior was abnormal and indicative of a mental illness. Going out of your way to help others should not be to the point where you subject yourself and your loved ones to extreme harm. He was willing to donate his other kidney and his whole body not thinking of his family. He went from being rational to irrational, no one in their right mind should do anything in excess as he was willing to do – his marriage was strained and his financial assets were gone.
Labelling, stigma and prejudice will always exist as long as people see others different from themselves. We still need education, awareness, research and treatment through the DSM-5 diagnostic system to let people know that mental illness is not any fault of those going through it. They need to be supported rather than be labelled or stigmatized. Our society should strive to accommodate them in their struggle so that their suffering may be alleviated.”
My Response was:
Who is not excessive practicing charity, Funmilayo? It always is too much or little. Where is goodness stupidity? When Christ called his apostles to leave families and follow him, were they all DSM-5 needing our understanding and pity? When a man or woman gives their life to humility, chastity, poverty and obedience, are they sick for choosing religious life? How about women who have multiple children or none to save the planet? I ask these questions with respect, and for respectful thought of the walls our own thinking erects, and with familiarity that the American Psychological Association and other professional associations have lots of inaccurate labels that imprison lives and even deny education.
Differences that are unique hide magnificent expressions of just humanity’s struggle patiently to find their way. Learning to accept differences is a challenge for hearts. When a person is dysfunctional physically or asks for help, then I see employing labels as a shorthand way to help treat. The “sick” person will have a different perspective, and that perspective is probably better informed by a different path than the normal person. We should learn from each other and presume competence.
And to Jordan I wrote:
Love is irrational. It gives us breath each day without expecting anything. Life manages kindness in face of our selfishness every day. Learning comes slowly for most of us even though we have magnificent brains. Maybe we are all sick in the normal world and guilty of imprisoning others. Think of spiritual people during the Nazi occupation or in mainland China today. Christians in Pakistan and other Muslim countries undergo terrific danger and suffering for the goodness of their beliefs. Maladaptive might be scientific code for
Love should guide us in this discussion. Seeing things through the eyes of a nonverbal autistic denied education most of my life because of DSM labels, I sorrowfully point to
many bright souls locked in bodies today and deemed incompetent by our society’s DSM labels and herd mentality.
Copyright 2018 John Smyth