Madness Challenges Our Sense Of What It Is To Be Human


In The Lancet, psychiatrist and MIA Blogger Andrew Scull discusses the themes in his book Madness In Civilization. “Mental illness haunts the human imagination,” he writes. “It challenges our sense of the limits of what it is to be human, and, perhaps as a consequence, the mad have all-too-often been treated as less than fully human.”

Scull argues that though not proven to be a biological disesase, madness is also not a social construct. “In my view, madness is a phenomenon to be found in all known societies, one that poses profound challenges of both a practical and symbolic sort to the social fabric, to the lives and happiness of both those affected and their families, and to the notion of a stable social order.”

Scull, Andrew. “Madness in Civilisation.” The Lancet 385, no. 9973 (March 2015): 1066–67. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60591-8. (Full text)