We’re all mad here.
The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland
If we all lived in an asylum where everyone was neurotic, those behaviors would seem for the most part normal. We do!
A psychologist would define a neurosis as a functional disorder of the mind or emotions without obvious organic disorders and involving anxiety, phobias compulsions, depressions or other abnormal behavior symptoms. This psychologist would be defining the human condition or at least they would think that they were. They would not be!
Mental health professionals live in a wing of the asylum all their own with a delusion unique to them; they think they can help the neurotics in the main building. Some of the inmates are more seriously ill than others. To appreciate what a shrink has to deal with we have only to look at the definition of what are called dissociations. A dissociation is a split in the conscious process in which a group of mental activities breaks away from the mainstream of consciousness and functions as a separate unit, as if belonging to another person. It is an abnormal separation of related ideas, thoughts or emotions.
Jungian analyst, Eugene Pascal describes dissociation as a “psychic crucifixion—[it] is the product of un-integrated negative complexes interacting through dialogue—what Jung called active imagination—[which] is how we can hope to deal with an identified complex often with results that lead us to more self-assuredness and more satisfying and compatible relationships with others, because we no longer project complexes onto them. The results may also offer more opportunities to do and to choose more freely in life.” Sounds good. But what if we don’t know what the choices are?
“You are quite right: the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neurosis, but rather with the approach to the numinous [the glowing divine awareness within our psyches]. But the fact is that the approach to the numinous [i.e. the sacred] is the real therapy, and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experience, you are released from the curse of pathology [psychic suffering]. Even the disease takes on a numinous character.”
We don’t have time nor would it be productive to get into the over 600 identified and defined types of mental illness. We will take a much simpler approach. A metaphysical definition in harmony with Simple Reality would characterize neuroses as involving afflictive emotions resulting from resistance to reality or failure to attain present-moment awareness. A mentally healthy person would be one who is able to transcend the conditioned false-self behaviors by choosing to respond rather than react to that conditioning. This is not normal!