2018 | 2 | 2(4) | 27–37
Article title

The Gift of Insanity. The Rise and Fall of Cultures from a Psychiatric Perspective

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This paper argues in favor of two related theses. First, due to a fundamental, biologically grounded world-openness, human culture is a biological imperative. As both biology and culture evolve historically, cultures rise and fall and the diversity of the human species develops. Second, in this historical process of rise and fall, abnormality plays a crucial role. From the perspective of a broader context traditionally addressed by speculative philosophies of history, the so-called mental disorders may be seen as entailing particular functional advantages, and thus have a great impact on the course of human history. Nowadays, however, we live under a threat of cultural uniformity. While the diversity of the human species is cherished at the political level, it is being slowly eradicated through medical means. This paradox is a dangerous feature of contemporary globalized society that can lead to highly problematic consequences.
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  • Department of Social Sciences, Poznan University of Medical Sciences
  • The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford
  • Res Publica Foundation, Warsaw
  • Department of Psychiatry and Department of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center
  • Department of Philosophy, University of Louisville
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