The Divided Self Analysis

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Sanity is a cozy Lie: From the perspective of R.D. Laing In his book ‘The Divided Self’ , R.D Laing aims to make ‘madness and the process of going mad understandable.’ While doing so, he puts sanity and madness on the same spectrum. He articulates that the degree of sanity or madness is dependent upon the relationship between the two parties. Understanding sanity in such a construct, the concept of sanity itself can be questioned. This paper substantiates that sanity is merely a façade by analyzing Laing’s text, ‘The existential-phenomenological foundations of understanding psychosis.’ R.D Laing wrote extensively on mental illness, and through his writings, his aversion towards psychopathology could be easily sensed. The heading of the chapter itself is ‘The existential-phenomenological foundations of understanding psychosis’ and not ‘the psychopathological foundations of understanding psychosis’. A reason for this might be the backdrop in which the text was written. R.D Laing’s ‘The Divided Self’ comes forth in the early 1960’s. This was a time when existentialism and the philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre articulates one to think much more individually and philosophically about the ‘I’ and…show more content…
Laing’s concept of insanity is analogous to that of Michel Foucault. In the book Madness and Civilization , Foucault contends that the society constructs one’s experience of madness. In Laing’s view, similar happens when sanity is judged upon the basis of the relationship between the psychiatrist and the psychotic. When sanity and madness is analyzed through this relationship, the binary distinction between the two words, that may have been, is lost and sanity is but a matter of degrees. Moreover, every person’s perception of sanity differs from the other. In this light, it would be right to imply that the question of sanity is subjective in its terms and is nothing but a
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