Quote of the week

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?

Nathaniel P.Morris
Scientific American
6 September 2010

[ANC spokesperson Jackson] Mthembu is upset that the Mail & Guardian has not accepted the official version of events: that the president enjoys full and unequivocal support, that his travel was part of a wider NEC mandate for senior leadership to prepare for the National General Council and that the president’s strike intervention was a logical follow-up to ANC calls for a resolution. What is interesting about his criticism is that he seems upset that the M&G has not simply taken at face value the ANC’s official explanations for these things, but added their own interpretation, analysis and reporting. Is this conscious naiveté, is it just bluster, or does he seriously think that political journalism is about reproducing ANC statements? What is one to make of this sweeping statement: “The ANC NEC, including President Zuma, enjoys the full confidence of the entire members, its branches, its regions and its provinces”? This is a claim so ludicrous, so patently ridiculous, that it stretches Mthembu’s credibility way beyond its limits. Does he expect the media just to repeat that? – Anton Harber

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