Daily Archives: May 12, 2009

Mental Diversity?

Mental illness  - sketch 2The Icarus Project is a network of people living with experiences that are commonly labeled as bipolar or other psychiatric conditions. They believe they have ‘mad gifts’ to be cultivated and taken care of, rather than diseases or disorders to be suppressed or eliminated. The Icarus Project is built around a belief that joining together as individuals and as a community helps to overcome alienation, and aids in tapping into the true potential that lies between brilliance and madness.

This group of activists has a membership of approximately 8,000 people across the U.S. and they are questioning reliance on medication and repression of behavior of those deemed “not normal.”  They want to change the treatment and the stigma attached to mental illness.  They call their actions, “Mad Pride,” and they choose to celebrate their unusual ways of processing information and emotion.  They fight the notion that mental illness is something to be rid of and argue their conditions can be made into “something beautiful.”

Read the story of Will Hall in this Newsweek article titled, “Listening to Madness.”  He tells his story and blames the humiliation of what he experienced and the failure of medication for his challenge to traditional treatment. Hall promotes the idea that mental-health diagnoses like bipolar disorder are “dangerous gifts” rather than illnesses.

The ‘Newsweek’ article asks, “After all, aren’t we all more odd than we are normal? And aren’t so many of us one bad experience away from a mental-health diagnosis that could potentially limit us? Aren’t “normal” minds now struggling with questions of competence, consistency or sincerity? Icarus is likewise asking why we are so keen to correct every little deficit—it argues that we instead need to embrace the range of human existence.

Do you think this community of ‘Icaristas’ (as they call themselves), is creating an atmosphere whereby we might accept or even embrace “mental diversity,” or is it instead endangering not only those who are mentally ill, but others?



Filed under Healthcare, Psychological Disorders

My Favorite Crimes of All Time: The Forgeries of Mark William Hofmann

I wonder why famous criminals always get remembered by their full name?  That may be a subject for another thread, but Mark William was a more or less smart criminal who had a good idea about what his “market” needed and he was adroit at using his skills that could exploit that need.  Hofmann was an expert in old documents, and was an expert in 19th century cursive writing.  He also knew the various ends and outs of Mormon history and the controversies the LDS church hierarchy would  not be thrilled about embracing.

Hofmann’s crime was easy for him.  He wrote documents and then “found” them in convincing places and sold these documents to the Church of Latter Day Saints.  Hofmann received $20K per document.  His “finds” became potentially more and more embarrassing as time when by.

[I should note that Joseph Smith had a real criminal record for spiritual scams before he became a “legitimate” religious leader].

Wiki describes one of Hofmann’s more outlandish “finds”:

“Perhaps the most notorious of Hofmann’s LDS forgeries, the Salamander letter, appeared in 1984. Supposedly written by Martin Harris to William Wines Phelps, the letter presented a version of the recovery of the gold plates that contrasted markedly with the church-sanctioned version of events. Not only did the forgery make it clear that Joseph Smith had been practicing ‘money digging’ through magical practices, but instead of an angel, ‘a white salamander’ had appeared to Smith.

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Filed under Creativity, Crimes

Tuesday, 05/12/09 Public Square


I hope today is a peaceful day.  Is there anything special anyone wants to discuss or share?



Filed under The Public Square