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?
Millions of poor people do want a better life. But that does not mean they will demand changes the fiscus can’t afford — research shows that, because the poor are engaged in a battle for survival, they are pragmatic and aware of the limits to change. Poor people have been on the streets protesting for eight years and the demands that emerge are hardly extravagant. Often protesters simply want politicians to listen. Or they want tarred roads or better housing or that officials leave people to live and trade where they please. The militant voices are not those of the poor but of the organised middle class. The poor are not organised — this is why the grass-roots protests don’t produce detailed demands. Protests are often organised by ambitious local politicians who know people are unhappy but are not interested in bargaining to improve their lives. They are often a symptom of a lack of organisation. – Steven Friedman in Business DayBACK TO TOP