I suppose that when any one person is alone and in a vulnerable or emotionally unstable mood, spurred on by a hard day at work or school, that they invent a sort of philosophy all to themselves. The question then is are these personal philosophies simply a tool which people rely on to stay sane or do they lead into darker more delusional scenarios in which people become detached from what is real and true in the world. Then again, how can one know that what is real and true is universally true, or is simply another personal theory used to make the world seem like a nicer place to him or her. This sort of recursive thought only leads to a head ache.

Speaking as someone who has suffered delusions, I feel it's a myth that any particular kinds of thought can lead to madness or more precisely to any psychotic illness. Medicine isn't fully clear yet on the causes of schizophrenia, psychotic depression or other kinds of delusional illnesses, but the evidence suggests that the causes aren't really what you think. My personal experience backs this up since when I contracted schizophrenia I was busy doing a physics degree and not thinking any recursive thoughts. Unfortunately mental illness as a subject is very laden with myths which are backed up by films, the media and people generally, This "slippery slope" idea where a person looks into dangerous aspects of reality and then slowly degenerates into madness is, I think, wrong. The trouble is that many of these myths are so ingrained that to consider the truth (that we don't properly understand the causality of mental illness) can almost feel counter-intuitive.

It is likely that the sort of endlessly reflexive recursive thoughts frequently associated with mental illness are a symptom of structural psychological problems, rather than a cause of them.

Psychological studies have demonstrated amply that mental disorders, both chemical and physical, tend to produce certain aberrant (but frequently creative and insightful) patterns of thinking, and that these patterns develop according to the particular disorder involved.

For example, the work of Dr. Oliver Sacks illuminates the fascinating (and often tragic) parallels that exist between the biological effects of post-encephalitic Parkinson’s disease and the internal thought-processes of afflicted patients. Though the mental mechanisms of thought in sufferers often yield profoundly philosophical, artistic, and mathematical ideas, one should not deduce from this that these sorts of ideas (relating to temporal deconstruction, exponential fragmentation of perception, synaesthesia, and so on) precipitate mental illness.

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