June 13, 2007
My visits to the Informedia lab have consistently generated futuristic ideas (and corresponding posts), and my trip this spring was no exception.
This time I was thinking alot about what kinds of schemas will be employed after their prototype moves beyond watching grandma? When this kind of a system is inevitably rigged up to a school or a prison, or fed raw streams from live surveillance cameras?
My money is on the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an instrument that is arguably becoming the de-facto catalog for the full range of human behavior and experience.
In some respects, this progression parallels the notion that nobody dies of old age anymore – they die of heart failure, cancer, or other diseases. And, as the title of this post cheerily states, we are all dying, we are all sick, and we are all crazy.
As crazy as it sounds, the DSM is poised to become the lens through which we interpret all of human behavior. Given its breadth of coverage, I challenge anyone to find me a normal, healthy individual. It’s ambition reminds me of William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, except in our generation, the full range of human experience has been radically pathologized.