Mysticism and Mania: Are they related? : LUSENET : Mental Health : One Thread

The great Indian saint Ramakrishna once said of the dark periods in civilization the Hindus call Kaliyuga - "in those periods one does not hear the voice of God except in the mouth of a child, a madman, a fool or some such person".

I read a collection of writings by the mentally ill a few years ago (A Mad People's History of Madness, Dale Peterson ed.), and what struck me then was that virtually every single account invoked a spiritual agency or referred to their experience in theological terms e.g. God, the Devil, Angels, Heaven, Hell etc. Having cared for several sick friends over a number of years, I always thought it strange that they talked of "spiritual" matters despite having no previous interest in the subject (indeed one dear friend of mine had previously been a committed atheist, he's not so sure now!).

Is Mania the secular mirror of Mysticism? Does psychiatry recognise the validity or even the existence of such a thing as a mystical experience?

-- Chris Sallis (, March 05, 2002

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