Sunday Salon – Delusions Abound in this Psychological Study

It’s been a busy time around here. I got back from visiting my daughter and new granddaughter in Chicago a couple of weeks ago and hit the ground running.  Work and home keeps me busy and to add to that mix, I am in the middle of applying for the nursing program in our area. So far, so good; fingers crossed.

As I’ve stated before, flying is not my favorite activity so I brought several books on the plane to keep myself occupied. I won’t even mention the nightmare landing and takeoff in Chicago O’Hare. But I became obsessed with The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach. It is a true story of the psychological study that took place at the State Hospital in Ypsilanti, MI. Three men diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia were brought together for two years for an investigation into human identity. The kicker? All three believed themselves to be Jesus Christ.

Starting with the problems of institutionalized care the book turns into a log of the daily lives of three profoundly disturbed men. All came from vastly different backgrounds and spent various amounts of time at the institution. If you are wondering what kind of theology they spouted, well… none to speak of. Seriously, a five-year old has a better understanding of God than these guys did. The cross was described as “having two arms and a stem” while the closest thing they got to a debate was the argument they had about whether Adam was a black or a white guy.

Ethics were very different back then and laws have tightened up considerably since. Most modern psychological ethics fall under the rule “don’t eff with their heads.”  Back then they were allowed to do quite a bit of that. And I have to say, to tell the truth, when they did breach modern ethics laws, that’s when things got really interesting.

If you are tired of light reading or are just interested in psychology, this a good book for you.

I hope everyone has a great reading week!


2 Responses

  1. OMG I’m terrified of flying too!!!! Makes me queasy to even think about it and I need to plan a trip to visit my Mom soon.

    That book sounds really good. Adding it to my list. Thanks!

  2. Oh, I am endlessly fascinated with anything psychological, and when I first started my undergraduate studies as a psych major in the 1960s, the practices in the “mental health” field were appalling. I’ve seen many changes over the years, and I like seeing these. I’m not sure things have improved all that much, but practices are definitely different.


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