- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

The absurd and the alien as sources of serious enlightenment

In the old days of medical school and psychiatric training we used to say that schizophrenia was a secret society  of unknown members which rules changed from time to time. Well, even today we have not grabbed the essence of that ‘entity’.

That definition fell into the category of Helpful Absurdity (patent pending) which allowed us to rebel ( a bit) against established concepts and treatments ( a bit)  but above all sparked in me an unstoppable curiosity.

In the old days of the 70s my professor of Psychiatry  was still  an old school, but a rebel, who encouraged me to read Levy Strauss instead of pharmacology. No kidding: ‘Herrero (we were never addressed by our first names), read this’ – and he would hand out a book, one of many, which had apparently nothing to do with my day job of patient care ( with white coat) in the academic Psychiatric Unit. Certainly it did not help a bit when having to treat an acute schizophrenia.

Over the years I have formed a habit of getting into something in depth by exploring and reading first the edges, the things  I am not supposed to explore in depth. Not for nothing my French grandmother used to call me ‘l’esprit de contradiction’.  I am more interested in anthropology than in management studies, yet I have an MBA and help mangers in organizations, hardly mention anthropology.  But I have never been formally trained  in the discipline. Thanks God, how that semester in Papua Guinea could have been, I will never know. I am convinced that my interest ( and use of) anthropology is because I have never been in an anthropology class – although I have a very large part of my library dedicated to it.

I am digressing. I did not have formal training ether.

My point is that  you can call an absurd definition to understand the reality. And you also get easily caught into your disciplinary training, wearing those sandals for ever, and being blind to the fact that the answers are outside, perhaps next door.

Here is one I read recently. Brexit: The undefined being negotiated by the unprepared in order to get the unspecified for the informed.

I get it. I really understand Brexit now.

My old professor of Psychiatry would have loved it.