Plato’s reading suggestions, episode 74

Here it is, our regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

The long and complicated, and, well, maddening, history of madness.

The uneasy blurring of work and play.

The philosopher’s toolkit, useful for everyone.

The strange persistence of guilt after the death of God.

Touch: a personal history, with notes on its evolution and neurobiology.

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39 thoughts on “Plato’s reading suggestions, episode 74

  1. I’ve been playing video games since high school and would describe myself today, as a gamer, with RPGs being my favorite. I have never had any of the sorts of problems that Alan describes, and I would be very hesitant to generalize from them or draw any general conclusions from them. Like virtually everything else that is fun, video games can be enjoyed in ways that are healthy and ways that are harmful. Unfortunately, there has been an alarmism spread around about video games — again going back to the 1980’s — based on a handful of egregious cases that have tainted the public’s perception of this particular form of entertainment in ways that other forms of entertainment have not been.

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  2. Re the “madness” article, I wonder sometimes why I never hear R.D. Laing mentioned. He was a figure in the so-called anti-psychiatry movement in the ’60’s and 70’s. I suppose he’s come to be viewed as a minor figure or crackpot. But I’ve a vague recollection of reading one of his books in the early 70’s.

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  3. Thomas Jones,
    There’s a film set to be released soon about R.D. Laing, starring David Tennant as The Doctor. That’s tongue in cheek; but it’s a real film: Mad to Be Normal. Expect a wave of Laing related articles to follow….

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  4. On “madness” and my previous mention of Fuller Torrey opposing deinstitutionalization of schizophrenics, Americans should remember that drive started when Ronnie was governor of California, and for political reasons — it was thought to be an easy way to cut the budget while simultaneously looking humanitarian by releasing people from allegedly barbarian places AND appealing to libertarians at the same time. More here:

    https://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2011/01/greenwald-builds-straw-man-on-de.html

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  5. R. D. Laing, author of “The Myth of Mental Illness.” I picked that up in the library around 1967, when it first came out. My then-wife (breaking up with me at the time) was undergoing psychiatric treatment, and she was not at all amused that I was reading it (just going by the title). He made an interesting case, but not very convincing to me, as I had two cases of mental illness in my mother’s family, both diagnosed as (somewhat) functional paranoid schizophrenics at the time; possibly considered autistic now. Shock therapy didn’t seem to help either of them.

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  6. The article on touch, I’m just reading now; the sexual stimulus of Chinese footbinding, phantom feet, etc., reminds me of the Tanakh/Old Testament, where in a number of passages, such as Ruth’s uncovering of Boaz’s feet, and Isaiah’s seraphim covering their feet, the foot is a euphemism for genitalia.

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