“We could use a little Christmas, right this very minute!” declares Auntie Mame in the award-winning hit musical, “Mame.” Mame, often portrayed by Angela Lansbury on stage, was looking for an out-of-the-box way to change some financial hard times she and her young nephew Patrick were suffering.
With the unprecedented, drastic, and relentless change that’s occurring on planet earth right now, could we use a little crazy right this very minute?
Gary Douglas, founder of Access Consciousness® and best-selling author, brought craziness to the forefront with the latest advanced 7 Day workshop in New Zealand in April. It was titled, “From Crazy Stupid to Crazy Possible.”
The craziness referred to in the workshop’s title, which perhaps seemed crazy itself at first glance, referred to the craziness of trying to fit into this “normal” reality and the craziness of going beyond it. Believing the lies of this reality and trying to fit yourself into them is what Douglas called “crazy stupid.”
Going beyond the limitations and fixed points of view of this reality is the invitation to create your own reality with what is (from the point of view of this reality) crazy…but possible for those willing to go there. At the 7-Day in New Zealand, five days of dissecting the craziness of this reality were required before the crazy possible could be explored.
A recent book of psychiatric case studies by Nassir Ghaemi, director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts University, argues that craziness is not the detriment it is made out to be in this reality. The book is titled A First-Rate Madness.
(In 1972 Thomas Eagleton, vice-presidential running mate of George McGovern, was disqualified because it was discovered he had received psychiatric treatment for depression decades earlier. That’s how wrong mental illness is from the point of view of this reality.)
“What sets apart the world’s great leaders isn’t some splendidly healthy mind,” says an article about the book in last year’s Newsweek magazine by Tony Dokoupil, “But an exceptionally broken one, coupled with the good luck to lead when extremity is needed.”
Writing during last year’s election, Doukoupil continued, “What we need for these calamitous times is a calamitous mind, a madman in chief, someone whose abnormal brain can solve our abnormal problems.
“The good doctor isn’t saying that all mental illness is a blessing. Only that the common diseases of the mind—mania, depression, and related quirks—shouldn’t disqualify one from the upper echelons of public life, and for a simple reason, they are remarkably consistent predictors of brilliant success.”
The book by this eminent psychiatrist found that handling things the way a “normal” person would; in other words, according to the expectations of this reality, leads to failure. During Watergate, Richard Nixon “handled it the way an average (normal person) would handle it: he lied, and he dug in, and he fought.” George Bush was “middle of the road in his personality traits,” which led to his “simplistic, unwavering and above all, ‘normal’ response to the September 11 attacks.”
Many leaders in business, politics, and social change, on the other hand, were distinctly not normal, according to this psychiatrist author who bases his study on the latest psychiatric research. He ties particular forms of craziness to developing certain personality traits.
Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill both suffered from depression, which Ghaemi says “makes one more clear-eyed, fit to recognize the world’s problems, and able to face them down like the noon-day demon (sic).” In other words, depression can be a sign of awareness.
How well does this fit with the Access Consciousness® tool, “Who does this belong to?” and the observation that at least 98% of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are not ours? Were these depressed leaders (actually Churchill was mildly bi-polar) depressed because of what they were aware of? Is that surprising, considering the long grueling wars that were occurring while they were in office? Would not being depressed at times during those conflicts not be a sign of mania, inappropriate euphoria or pure delusion?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were examples of persons with mania, which “helps one learn from failure, often with enough creativity to make a new start.” Again, hints of Access tools emerge here. Isn’t the person with mania abnormal from the point of view of this reality because he’s focusing on the question and asking “What next?” and “What else is possible?” instead of trying to do the same old thing or create the future based on the past?
Outside of the realm of politics, CNN founder Ted Turner, social activists Mahatma Ghandi and military commanders like the victorious US Civil War General William Sherman suffered from similar “mental illness.”
“Should we bring on the crazy in 2012 (when this article was written)?” the author asks. “At the very least, we should rethink our definitions and stop assuming that normality is always good, and abnormality always bad….that is far too simplistic and stigmatizing, akin to excluding people by race or religion—only possibly worse because excellence can clearly spring from the unwell, and mediocrity from the healthy.”
This is exactly what Gary Douglas has been saying for years. He also extends the awareness of “the gift in the diagnosis” to disorders so often diagnosed in children—ADD, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and autism. “These are not disabilities, they are abilities,” he has said. “They represent a mutation of the species, a capacity we need to develop to survive.”
The Newsweek article, in keeping with its political emphasis, notes that, “The challenge is to get voters (to recognize the excellence possible in psychiatric diagnoses). Amid multiple wars and lingering recession, maybe that time is now.”
As so often happens, what Gary Douglas discovers through question and consciousness turns out to be just what the world requires. Or, what Access Consciousness® discovers, the rest of the world eventually catches up to. Where on the wave of discovery would you like to be?
A number of classes dealing with diagnoses in children, titled “X-men Classes,” are available from the accessconsciousness.com shop, and many certified facilitators also offer classes on these subjects. They can be found by searching for classes on the website.