The Longest Now


Asylums
Wednesday July 02nd 2003, 1:15 pm
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How do we deal with people who don’t perceive the same reality we do, or perceive it in wildly different ways?  An enormous amount of capital and energy is devoted to caring for the mentally ill in this country, and researching ways to connect with them and to help — sometimes to force — them into more comprehensible modes of interaction.


But only a small fraction of unusual perceptions qualify as ‘mentally ill’ in our society.  What can be learned from asylums that is applicable to everyday dealings with people whom we don’t understand?  Consider, for instance, the Anthropologist from Mars, or Goedel, or Neitzsche, or Hellen Keller.


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