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CHAT: wrapping it up (Re: Define mental illness?)

From:Joshua Shinavier <ajshinav@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 19, 1999, 8:54
I agree that this thread is no longer relevant to conlanging, so this'll be
my last post on the subject.

> > The Main Point: > > Mental illness is a bodily condition, not a personality problem. It ma=
>=20 > This is somewhat of a false dichotomy--at least, if one is a psychologica=
> naturalist. Example: some types of depression can be caused by low level=
> of seratonin. This can occur for any number of purely physiological > reasons; however, seratonin levels also decrease when external events > provoke sadness. Either one of these, or a combination of both, can caus=
> similar conditions in the brain. How then is it meaningful to call one > physiological and one emotional? >=20 > Of course, if one believes in a seperate mind/soul/whatever than your > argument is more valid.
Odd as it may seem, my work in AI has led me to a very useful dichotomy whi= ch parallels the mind/soul concept in some ways -- two distinct though intrica= tely intertwined components of consciousness. I can't prove it (my AI Hugh only makes use of the one, roughly speaking) and I won't ask you to accept it, but I've found it a productive way of thinking of the human mind. In the abscence of such a distinction then it's an especially hazy and unhelpful split between physiology and psychology -- and this isn't quite the split I'm talking about anyways -- emotions I see as a dichotomy in themselves. Of course, ANY and every generalization about the human mind is a simplification, just as any economic theory or any meteorological theory is a simplification, and no-one's ever going to entirely agree about what sort of model is best for describing such a complex system. There's no hard fac= t in intelligence theory (ok, psychology -- but intelligence theory is the on= ly aspect I'm very interested in; if an artificial mind can be made to behave = in a similar way as a human mind, based on a certain model, then the model's good enough for me!) like there is in, say, mathematics or physics, but tha= t's part of the reason I'm so attracted to AI -- it's as much an art as a scien= ce. Josh To Nik: yes, external events very often do trigger or worsen serious depres= sion (unfortunately they almost never alleviate it, at least not in a severe case), and thoughts and beliefs can have a strong effect on the illness, but it's the basic pre-disposition to become depressed which is physiolog= ical. Having an optimistic or pessimistic attitude about life can make the difference between a really soul-destroying and/or fatal experience, and a condition which can be dealt with as a physical ailment. The thing is that the physical ailment does not go away no matter how positive your outlook; there's a certain minimum component of the illness which is strictly a bodily phenomenon. =20 =20
> Ah, finally back to conlanging! :-) At the risk of starting a > flameskirmish, those "better and less problematic" languages are only > "better and less problematic" in our current culture. When our culture > changes (as it must, culture is never static), it will cease to be so > good and unproblematic.
No, no, no -- I'm talking about languages which are entirely independent of our current culture, like Aroven for example :-) Aroven doesn't name anything which isn't pretty much a constant for the Ear= th, everything else it *defines* (use the word if it fits, rather than invent t= he word to fit) -- if you read my Lingua Ignota post you'll recall that the language doesn't have any "native" names for real-world entities such as presidents, pastors and parliaments; these are all loan words. Aroven trie= s to sift out the fundamental elements which would be common to any human culture on planet Earth (moving to a planet where there are no oaks, limest= ones, zebras and such would be a problem!). It's also the language of the fictio= nal Aroel and that means a lot of extra words for specifically Aroel subjects, but that's different -- it's just an additional set of words to the base vocabulary of standard Danoven/Aroven. btw. my website just celebrated its first birthday yesterday! Would've bee= n a good time to upload a lot of new stuff to my page, including the Aroven Handwritten font but, well, I haven't. I'm finishing up some phonology (not phonology -- what do you call patterns which determine which sounds ca= n be grouped together -- for instance I've decided to forbid the [au] sound in words ending with [l] or [r]) revisions, I'll probably upload the new Danoven pages when I'm done with those. _/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/ Joshua Shinavier =20 _/ _/ _/ Loorenstrasse 74, Zimmer B321=20 _/ _/ _/_/_/_/ CH-8053 Z=FCrich =20 _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ Switzerland =20 _/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/ Danov=EBn pages: