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Surprising Science

Mentally Ill Pay for Others’ Sanity

"Mentally disturbed people are not merely paying a personal price for our social sanity, but are sometimes gifted too in their own peculiar way."

“People with mental illness are effectively paying a personal price for our species’ collective cognitive adaptations. What they experience in lonely pain, anguish, and alienation, the rest of us enjoy as the fruits of civilization, the comforts of culture, and the consolations of society, friends, and family.” “No one is completely immune to mental abnormality, and that what passes for sanity is nothing other than a precariously poised compromise between the extremes of autism and psychosis. Trauma, insult, infection, brain injury and—if the hygiene/old friends hypothesis is to be believed—immune dysregulation, and many other causes can tip the balance for anyone, at any time.”


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