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Save-The-World Factor: Part 2 (Part 3)

Pathological Grandiosity in Schizophrenia and Other Disorders

 Please read Part 1 before tackling this section.

NOTE: After the following was written, Peggy Claude-Pierre had her first interview (CTV's Canada AM, Sept. 22, 1997) related to her newly released book, The Secret Language of Eating Disorders. In the interview, she noted that these near-death kids somehow felt "responsible for all the ills and pains of the world." This is the save the world factor which kills kids in many ways. Unfortunately, Peggy is doing much the same as Darlene Walker did (Part 1): with such highly distressed altruistic youth because society makes it impossible for these kids to survive if they continue to have a save the world attribute. Eating Disorders are, for some individuals is a form of self-killing. Related information is compiled in Peggy Claude-Pierre's Anorexia Observations: A "Save-The-World" Explanation. Also see: Introduction to Save-The-World Kids.

Understanding them save the world factor inadvertently began as an effort to save my life and the encounter with Darlene Walker was a death postponer (maybe a life saver), especially because the existence of the problem was validated in a nonpathological way even if it was deemed lethal. Many Alberta Native youth seeking addictions services manifested a save the world problem associated with a high level of distress generally characterized by depression/ hopelessness, serious alcohol and/or drug abuse problems, a history of being suicidal and having attempted suicide, and a likely history of having been sexually abused. The sexual abuse experience(s) had often resulted in positive responses, or a combination of positive and negative responses which had produced "forbidden knowledge" in the socially denied category.

As a part of the venture into the therapeutic process I was tested with a number of instruments, after which a psychologist had used the word "grandiosity" for the first time, but he did this in such a way that I did not quite know if it applied to me. I nonetheless immediately recognized that anyone with a save the world attribute in western cultures could easily be accused of having a "grandiosity" problem given traditional beliefs. Jews are still waiting for such a God-sent special individual to arrive, and Christians believe that the God-promised one-of-a-kind save the world super-entity (Jesus) was on Earth about 2000 years ago. Eventually, the time came to investigate the concept of grandiosity as rendered by psychiatrists.

"Grandiosity" has been a widely recognized - but little studied attribute in many major psychiatric problems such as schizophrenia (1-14), bipolar disorder, also called manic depression (14-19), a number of personality disorders (20-30), alcoholism (31-33), and it would surely apply to the anti-society attribute characterizing David Wojnarowicz, Arthur Rimbaud, myself to a certain extent, and others (Note l). Grandiosity states may also be induced with drugs (35-37), and from having attended certain self-awareness seminars (38) (Note 2).

Levels of grandiosity vary from one individual to another, vary for one individual over a period of time, and grandiosity is not present in all individuals in the listed categories. The nature of grandiosities varies and they may range from being associated with highly altruistic save the world attributes (including the belief that one is a save the world individual such as Jesus) to being egocentric or narcissistic, and therefore self-serving. The latter grandiosities are usually socially defined and relativistic in nature, as was the murderous high self-esteem producing psychopathic grandiosity delusion manifested by the Nazis and by most white people over the last 500 years. These grandiosities are generally devoid of empathy for others or result in behaviors neurotically/delusionally believed to be altruistic when the opposite applies as was the case for Christians during the Inquisition. The same also applies for the Christians who developed residential schools for North American Native children. In this section, however, only the altruistic related grandiosities will be addressed given their relevancy to the save the world factor being addressed and related problems, including suicide.

Since 1993, I had often noted that the situation described in Part l was not survivable and worried that, if I ever dared to live up to the save the world mandate, a highly negative result (if I did not terminate my life) was likely. My brain could short (as I often felt it would, and often wished it did), thus probably becoming like some people deemed to be seriously "mentally disordered." Many of these individuals are now on our streets and, as I told my psychologist: "They approached me often enough, some of them fretting about the state of the world. Could it be that they were once save the world kids who did not make it? Could it be that the attribute they were manifesting was the same factor which caused their mind/brain to short? Could it be that some of the "mental disorders" are caused, to some degree, in this way?" (Note 3)

By this time the knowledge acquired about psychiatrists had taught me to beware, especially with respect to their highly distorted (and unscientific) descriptions of human groups deemed to be "mentally disordered." This certainly applied to their descriptions of homosexuals until 1973-74 (Note 4), and a similar scandalously "bias" situation had become apparent in youth suicidology (Note 5). Somehow, the thinking/investigative abilities of suicidologists had been rendered so impaired that they appeared unable to seek the information needed to understand the youth suicide problem. Psychiatrists had also become like a priesthood which had produced a "mental disorder" bible greatly troubling the souls of some professionals truly concerned about their clients.

The American psychiatric bible is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which has been the Object of severe criticism. This occurred, for example, in a 1994 review by Joe Hudson (Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary) of the book The selling of DSM: the rhetoric of science in psychiatry by S. Kirk and H. Kutchins (Aldine de Gruyter, NY, 1992. Book review is published in Community alternatives International Journal of Family Care, 6(2), 1994, 149-51.) Dr. Thomas Szasz's description of the book is quoted: "a well-documented expose of the pretense that psychiatric diagnosis are the names of genuine diseases and of the authentication of this fraud by an unholy alliance of the media, the government and psychiatry." The book review contains the hint that psychiatrists have somehow failed to learn anything from the abuse they had inflicted homosexuals and others, and that similar fraud/delusion-based abuses of people remain to be ferreted out. It is also likely that, as the book's authors suggested from the available evidence, scientific psychiatry ... is an oxymoron." Near the end of the book review, Hudson presented an altruism-related warning to many professionals: "The fact that the DSM system is being used in child welfare reveals the extent to which many of us have a need to appear professional, l use fancy words to describe 'clinical' phenomena, while disregarding the likelihood that we are engaging in a kind of fools paradise, practice a sham under the guise of being professional and clinical and in the process likely doing damage to those we ostensibly aim to heal (p. 151)."

As I was writing the second edition of The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problems, the available knowledge was suggesting a "social construction" explanation for major youth problems commonly given a "disorder" label by mental health professionals. The concept certainly applied for coming-out-related anxiety, depression, and even the suicide problems of homosexually oriented children, adolescents, and young adults. Furthermore, mental health professionals had also proven themselves to be at the causal end of these problems by having harmed distressed homosexually oriented clients instead of helping them. I had also suspected/recognized, for more than a decade, that "my people," as I often referred to the ones most resembling me, were not located in the communities of gay-identified males. Instead, they were mostly located in the second place where homosexual activity between males has been the most common: juvenile and adult prisons. Many males in our prisons have an adolescent history characterized by challenging society and also having been given the psychiatric diagnosis known as "Conduct Disorder." (Note 6).

This information, the available knowledge about homosexually oriented adolescents, and case history information related to "mental disorders" such as epilepsy and manic depression, had led to the proposal that problems such as "suicide," mental disorders," and "juvenile delinquency" were, in large part, social constructions. The concept was highlighted by addressing it in the "Preface to Second Edition" of The Gay Lesbian, and Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem. To emphasize the concept, it was rendered visually by using a diagram consisting of three overlapping circles (representing the three problems) under the heading "Consequences of Social Denial."

Society has had a tradition of stating that certain realities should not exist, thus placing the individual embodying the apparently non-existent reality in a very dangerous situation. Not long ago, the nascent "homosexual" who was recognizing his homosexual desires (usually at a young age) had been socially indoctrinated to believe this attribute of Self was "a sin" as dictated by Judeo-Christian religions, "a mental disorder" as dictated by psychiatrists and psychologists, and that society would label him "a criminal" and send him to prison if he acted out his desires with another male. Therefore, the underlying articulated socially created/imposed concept was: Homosexuality (or homosexual people) should not exist!

A heavy price (such as suicide and related mental health problems) is still being paid by homosexually oriented adolescents and young adults as a result of the ongoing anti-homosexuality attitudes existing in society. Unfortunately, only the most overt aspect of the war WE have traditionally waged (with the help of OUR psychiatric collective) has abated, and children are still being socially set up to not anticipate having a homosexual orientation, much less to believe that, if such an outcome occurred, they would be "socially acceptable" - or even celebrated - as is the status accorded to most people having a heterosexual orientation. This socially constructed situation therefore produces in an Ego-alien response for most individuals recognizing their homosexual desires, the results often being socially induced self-hatred, low self-esteem, repression, splitting, projection, anxiety, depression, becoming suicidal, attempting suicide, and even becoming a suicide statistic.

Similarly, an altruistic-based save the world attribute welling up from within would not be welcome by an individual's socially constructed Ego because, in Judeo-Christian societies, the concept is intimately associated with "the messiah" who has come (or is to come) from an extraterrestial location to save the world. Few people would ever want to be a messiah because individuals thinking/believing they are Jesus, the equivalent of such an entity, or something like him, would probably be given a "psychotic" diagnosis and be placed in mental institutions or the equivalent: a hospital's psychiatric ward. Although the messages received from one's socio-religious education/indoctrination informs everyone about OUR predictable negative responses to anyone having (especially revealing or manifesting) a save the world mandate, a survey of related psychiatric beliefs by save the world individuals would likely produce nothing less than terror in their minds. Not long ago the same terror was produced in homosexuals who sought out what psychiatrists - the social experts - reported "homosexuals" to be (Note 4).

The fate of save the world individuals was rendered in Goldwert's 1993 paper, The messiah complex in schizophrenia in which Rokeach's infamous "three Christs" are referred to. The three males were deemed "schizophrenic," had been institutionalized, and their story was rendered in the book The three Christs of Ypsilante published about 30 years ago. Goldwert wondered why "the messiah-complex surfaces so often in (schizophrenic] psychoses," or in about "a third" of cases (Note 7), noting that "the delusion of being Jesus Christ is common both in Christian patients and Jewish patients in predominantly Christian communities." "The messiah complex may [also] erupt with striking intensity in disturbed adolescents," and "claims of messianic or grandiose religious missions may often define the rough parameters of 'normalcy' and psychoses." Goldwert's paper ended by emphasizing that little research had been done "on both the messiah-complex and religioegocentricity," and that the door was open "for further investigation." The puzzling reality has been, as Goldwert reported by quoting Wright (1980), that "religion is not discussed in the scientific and professional literature," and that this understanding may be needed to understand and possibly help many schizophrenic individuals. Unfortunately, not even the generalized or generic concept of "grandiosity" has been the object of studies needed to understand the phenomenon.

Harris' 1977 paper, "Psychotic Grandiosity," situates the "lack of study" reality in a historical contest. "Surprisingly little has been added to our understanding of psychotic grandiosity in the past 50 years, and our knowledge of it has not advanced appreciably beyond the early descriptions provided by Bleuher, Kraepelin, Freud, and others (p. 344)." Given the knowledge acquired about the attribute, this state of affairs in psychiatry was nonetheless predictable. If the "grandiosity" psychiatrists have been seeing represents or reflects a reality to remain hidden, unacknowledged, or denied because it is socially (thus professionally) threatening, psychiatrists will surely avoid investigating it. They will also especially avoid any understanding-producing venture as they did with respect to homosexuality until gay males and lesbians began demonstrating against psychiatrists often labeled to be quacks, abusers, torturers, and even murderers (40).

Harris (1977) presented the three major forms of grandiosity associated with "paranoid psychoses:" (1) "grandiose identity" (such as claiming "that they were God or Jesus Christ," more rarely "the Holy Ghost," including other famous individuals, and hallucinations and/or hearing voices may be present. (2) "grandiose role" (such a believing that one has a "save the world" mission or mandate), and (3) "grandiose ability" (such as someone having a "high opinion of his abilities and wisdom" or " believes he has some special talent or genius," which may be manifested by "I can control people's minds" as "X" somewhat claimed to do. An example of the third type of grandiosity is given. "His grandiosity was expressed somewhat by his high opinion of his abilities and wisdom, but much more by his ward behavior. There he was considered somewhat of a pest because of his big-brother 'helpfulness,' the constant offering of unsolicited advice to other patients (p. 347)." This description, minus the negative value judgment, almost exactly renders the "X" self-description in his suicide note; the only difference is that "X" apparently avoided offering help to the ones not wanting to be helped, thus causing him to develop non-detectable way of doing the same thing.

The information available in the "X" suicide note could lead to a "schizophrenia" diagnosis especially if a psychiatrist determined that a save the world attribute existed. Would such an individual, however, have sought a cure for his condition? Although "X" knew that he possibly could find a psychiatrist who could rid him of what he had become, he chose death instead because becoming anything else was also equivalent to death. The gifted adolescent reported in the Addendum (Part 1) experienced a similar dilemma. "The only other alternative [to my self-imposed death] is to make me ignorant again. There is no way I am going to allow someone to strip my knowledge (insight) away (39)." This "knowledge" (related to insight, one's understanding abilities, and the resulting understanding) is not like knowledge/understanding of how a motor works. It is Self-related knowledge (with implication for all humans) beyond what is generally known. Having acquired this "knowledge" also sets an individual apart from others to such a degree that it could be labeled "extreme anomie" known to be implicated in suicide. This "knowledge" was described in Part I and the prognosis is death if a regression to a past state of mindless ignorance is not possible. The alternative is a major event occurring in the brain as it happened to a friend of mine. After bequeathing his possessions, he had his first "psychotic episode: a euphoric hypomanic state opposite to the death-inducing depression he had been feeling, thus making the outcome a "life-saving" event.

Individuals subjected to the save the world attribute/mandate welling up from within have not been socially prepared for the (often slowly occurring) invasive event, and a "secret" quest will likely begin to understand what has been happening to them, the secrecy existing because they would fear talking to anyone about this. The concepts acquired from one's socioreligious indoctrination combine with the conclusions made from related studies will determine the interpretation given to the experience, and few individuals would have the understanding skills and knowledge I had somehow acquired. Thus, a likely initial interpretation may be that one is becoming like God is supposed to be, or a "Jesus." If not, one is certainly being mandated to "save the world" which may be rendered by believing that one's obvious super-abilities are to be used in a saint-like manner: to help and not harm others.

Under incredible stress, many individuals may not be able to handle what has been happening, and a "psychotic episode" could result. As summarized by Hafner & Wolfram (1997) "the first psychotic episode ... in three-quarters of tile cases... [was] preceded by a predromal phase of several years' duration, during which nonspecific symptoms predominates." The almost universal interpretation is that the "psychotic episode" reflects the "progression" of the disease (an assumption) often believed to be "genetic" in nature (another assumption). Therefore, disease-related mainstream psychiatric interpretations predominate to explain "psychotic grandiosities" occurring in about one-third of paranoid schizophrenics. The general assumption is that "psychotic grandiosities" are delusions without any reality foundation, and they would therefore not be related to an intrinsic (maybe innate and now unrepressed) attribute such as altruism dominating and greatly troubling the individual before the "psychotic" break occurred.

The apparently delusional grandiosities manifested by these individual, however, reflect the (probably) Id/inner-child-related altruism attribute, but most (all?) psychiatrists have not been able to recognize this. Therefore, they have not been able to recognize/understand the most significant attribute of paranoid schizophrenics: their refusal to take anti-psychotic drugs which may end grandiosity states. Paernik et al. (1975) reported poor therapeutic results for grandiose compared to nongrandiose hospitalized paranoid schizophrenics. The "feeling" was that "a patient's grandiosity creates a barrier that keeps the therapist and members of the therapeutic community at a distance and makes him less accessible to therapeutic intervention."

The problem was best rendered by Van Putten et al.'s 1976 paper Drug refusal in schizophrenia and the wish to be crazy. For a sample of 33 paranoid schizophrenics, there were 15 "drug refusers," 12 having "delusions of grandiosity" and three with "delusions of persecutions or influence." Out of the 18 "drug-compliers," only one had delusions of grandiosity and 17 were in the latter category. Therefore, 12 out of 13 paranoid schizophrenics manifesting delusions of grandiosity refused to take their antipsychotic drugs. These individuals were also more likely to not perceive themselves to be ill and tended "to relapse into an egosyntonic grandiose psychosis," meaning that a state of grandiosity is somehow a very important integral part of Self for these individuals labeled to be "crazy" by psychiatrists (Note 8. This psychiatric belief may be grossly incorrect.

The factor involved in the suicide of "X" and the gifted adolescent noted above, combined with information rendered in Part 1, permits a better explanation to be formulated. Both youths chose death instead of ever returning to an ignorant state, meaning that they had somehow acquired "advanced" knowledge/understanding about something. On the other hand, what they had recognized/understood themselves to be - which made living in OUR world near-impossible - also resulted in their well thought out "suicide" decision. Others, however, may have been lucky, as my manic friend was. His brain reacted to the death decision (threat) in a lifesaving manner, but the event was labeled "a mental disorder" by psychiatrists, resulting in treatment with antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs. These drugs (including lithium) do counter the manic state but the net result has only been repeated returns to psychiatric wards lasting from two to three weeks. In a way similar to that experienced by my friend, the first major psychotic episode for a certain group of paranoid schizophrenic individuals may also have been a life-saving mind/brain manifestation. Furthermore, the "psychotic" grandiosity outcome also embodies the element - the save the world attribute - which was so alien to (and the antithesis of) their socially constructed Ego, but all manifestations of save the world attribute are interpreted to be delusions of grandiosity and therefore "pathological."

Why would paranoid schizophrenic individuals manifesting delusions of grandiosity refuse to take antipsychotic drugs? An answer to this question may lie in understanding the save the world attribute and its relationship to the most inner part of Self. To lose their related "grandiosity" manifestations by taking antipsychotic drugs would probably also mean losing contact with their most important part of Self: the one associated with their wonderfully altruism-based save the world attribute. Such a severance, however, would result in major anxiety - even depression - and a feeling akin to one's death. This outcome must be avoided because they would then become like other schizophrenic individuals who accepted their "sick" status (as dictated by psychiatrists, believed by friends and also their families) and take their prescribed medication. Paranoid schizophrenic individuals manifesting a grandiose state, however, are commonly said to have "no insight into their illness" because they do not perceive themselves to be "sick," or "mentally ill," as psychiatrists (carrying their DSM bible) demand that they accept if, apparently, any possible cured is to occur.

Schizophrenic individuals are a heterogeneous group, as are the ones labeled "paranoid schizophrenics," and this fact has created many problems related to the understanding and development of treatments for individuals labeled to be "schizophrenics."

Pause, for a study of schizophrenia and synthesis of findings.

An interesting concept as articulated in "The Madness of Adam & Eve: How schizophrenia shaped humanity" - 2001 - by David Horrobin: Schizophrenia 'helped the ascent of man'. - Book Review N/A: (Archive Link) . Book Review: Eccentric origins of creativity N/A. - Creativity, Brilliance and Madness. - Review.

"How to Become a Schizophrenic: The Case against Biological Psychiatry" (Second Edition) by John Modrow (Apollyon Press, 1996). Review by Matt Lee on Mar 1st 2001.


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Note 1: In Note 31 of Part 1, Arthur Rimbaud was described to have a social adjustment disorder causing him to pile every anathema he could imagine on society, and David Wojnarowicz was in the same category. The attribute, however, would likely produce the response "Who the fuck do you think you are?" and a resulting assumption that the individual is delusional in a "grandiose" way.

Note 2: These associations became apparent when I searched Medline index of papers published in over 300 journals directly or indirectly relating to medical issues. Medline services may be accessed free of charged via Medscape: http://www.medscape.com. Acquiring many of the paper related to "grandiosity" was made possible thanks to a therapist who was interested in the concept and the knowledge/understanding possibly resulting from this challenging endeavor.

Note 3: Craig

Note 4: A good example of what psychiatrists believed - as in severely biasing whatever information they have to support a particular diagnosis - is rendered by one of the major psychiatric authorities on homosexuality in the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Edmund Bergler, in his 1956 book Homosexuality: disease or a way of life? (Collier Books, NY, 1962). "'Scratch a homosexual and you will find a depressed neurotic (p. 19).' ...I can say with some justification that I have no bias against homosexuals; for me they are sick people requiring medical help (p. 25). ...A number of my papers and books have dealt with homosexuality. I have received a good many compliments for lectures and publications on the topic. ...Still, though I have no bias, if I were asked why kind of person the homosexual is, I would say: 'Homosexuals are essentially disagreeable people, regardless of their pleasant or unpleasant outward nature. ...Like all psychic masochists, they are subservient when confronted with a stronger person, merciless when in power, unscrupulous about trampling on a weaker person. The only language their unconscious understands is brute force (P. 26)." The full import of this citation is realized when it is read by substituting the word "homosexual" with "Jew." The statement then becomes remarkably similar to Nazi propaganda, thus revealing the kind of acceptable minset - also acted on - which existed in psychiatry.

Note 5: Generally, research in suicidology, including youth suicidology, has moved in the direction of 'proving' that mental disorders are most implicated in the problem, and the obsession in the "mental disorders" field has been to prove that "mental disorders" are usually associated with so-called "brain dysfuctions" probably genetically related. Psychiatrists have moved so far in this interpretation direction that it would be extremely embarrassing for them to begin even recognizing that the homosexuality factor" and the save the world factor may be implicated in youth suicide problems, and also in many of the (predictable?) varied human responses deemed to be "mental disorders" by psychiatrists. For information related to the situation which has existed in youth suicidology see all the relevant information available in or via my homepage at .

Note 6: Quoted from: Desk Reference to Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-III-R, 1987, p. 58-9.

Conduct Disorder

A disturbance of conduct lasting at least six months, during which at least three of the following have been present:

1. has stolen without confrontation of a victim on more than one occasion (including forgery)
2. has run away from home overnight at least twice while living with a parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning)
3. often lies (other than to avoid physical or sexual abuse)
4. has deliberately engaged in firesetting
5. is often truant from school (for older persons, absent from work)
6. has broken into someone elsels house, building, or car
7. has deliberately destroyed others' property (other than by fire-setting)
8. has been physically cruel to animals
9. has forced someone into sexual activity with him or her
10. has used a weapon in more than one fight
11. often initiates physical fights
12. has stolen with confrontation of a victim (e.g. mugging, pursesnatching, extortion, armed robbery)
13. has been physically cruel to people

Note:The above items are listed in descending order of discriminating power based on data from a national field trial of the DSM-III-R criteria for Disruptive Behavior Disorders.

B. If 18 or older, does not meet criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Criteria for severity of Conduct Disorder

[Described in terms of being "mild," "moderate," and "severe" in nature.]

Note 7: Harris (1977) reported that 32 out of the 100 "consecutive admissions to the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute" (32%) "displayed grandiosity in one form or another (P. 346)." In Van Putten and Crompton's 1976 study, 13 out of 33 paranoid schizophrenics studied (40%) had "delusions of grandiosity (p. 1445, Table 4)" and Papernik et al. (1975) had 12 out of 25 paranoid schizophrenics (48%) deemed to be "grandiose" on the basis of high scores for these attributes: "The patient's attitude towards others is one of superiority. he exhibits fixed beliefs that he possesses unusual powers. He reports divine missions and may identify himself with well-known historical personalities (p. 88)." Howard et al. (1993) study of 470 cases of early-onset and late-onset schizophrenia reported grandiosity to exist in 24.1% of the 336 early-onset cases compared to 14.9% in the 134 late-onset cases.

Note 8: The article title Schizoaffective Disorder: Mixing Mood and Madness by Ronald Pies, M.D. (available from a well known mental health information source on the Internet at: http://www.mhsource.com/edu/psytimes/p960126.html) again reflects how some psychiatrists perceive schizophrenia. The part which may be equivalent to believing that one has to save the world is equated with "madness."

Email:   Pierre Tremblay: ----- pierre@youth-suicide.com ----- (403) 245-8827

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