Stathis, Yes, it is frightening, especially since (I think) I am an "engineer, married with adult children, own the house you are living in and the car in the driveway, and so on."
That is a vivid description. But even as I am being hauled away to the psychiatric ward, can I not logically cling to at least one belief? According to Wikipedia, Rene Descartes said, "But I have convinced myself that there is absolutely nothing in the world, no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Does it now follow that I too do not exist? No: if I convinced myself of something [or thought anything at all] then I certainly existed. But there is a deceiver of supreme power and cunning who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me. In that case I too undoubtedly exist, if he is deceiving me; and let him deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. So, after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that the proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind." (AT VII 25; CSM II 16–17) Norman ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "If I am sane, it is impossible to know for sure that I am sane." Everybody believes he is sane, whether he is sane or not, and nobody can prove he is sane. In psychiatry, this is the key problem with delusions. If it were possible in general to prove one's own sanity, then deluded patients, who more often than not retain their ability to think logically, would be able to demonstrate to themselves that they were deluded. But by definition of a delusion, this is impossible. If you want to know what it is like for a psychotic patient to have forced treatment, imagine that people from the local psychiatric facility knock on your door tonight and, after interviewing you, politely explain that your belief that you are an engineer, married with adult children, own the house you are living in and the car in the driveway, and so on, is actually all a systematised delusion. All the evidence you present to show you are sane is dismissed as part of the delusion, and all the people you thought you could trust explain that they agree with the psychiatric team. You are then invited to start taking an antipsychotic drug which, over time, will rectify your deranged brain chemistry so that you come to understand that your current beliefs are delusional. If you refuse the medication, you will be taken to the psychiatric ward with the help of police, if necessary, where you will again be offered medication, perhaps in injection form if you continue to refuse tablets. Frightening, isn't it? Stathis Papaioannou