My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
One consequence of such conspiracies and ructions, and the preoccupation with pure politics that they cause, is that a gap has opened up between the effective and the ceremonial parts of the Presidency. Mbeki and his crew used to form a bridge between policy and politics. Under Zuma, the practical and the symbolic aspects of the office have become increasingly divorced. The Presidency is in danger of becoming a symbolic institution, dedicated to projecting an image of a beloved national leader and obsessed with how the world looks rather than with how it is. If this continues, its practical work will increasingly fall away. The planning commission will plan and the monitoring unit will monitor. But ministers and premiers will do their own thing, oblivious to one another and unable to work towards a wider national good. – Anthony Butler in Business DayBACK TO TOP