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October 11, 1985

Delusion: Internal Dimensions of Political Life

Author Affiliations

Community Mental Health Council Inc University of Illinois School of Medicine Jackson Park Hospital Chicago

JAMA. 1985;254(14):1999. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360140161049

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This book sets out to perform a very difficult task, ie, to show how the delusional system of schizophrenic patients is relevant to the understanding of political theory. The result is a very philosophical text that is at times difficult but at other times easy to read.

The author looks at delusional thought from a psychoanalytic perspective and successfully argues that delusions are not meaningless utterances but rather are steeped in profound meaning that forms a necessary basis of being for the patient. The delusional patient follows rules of logic and language that are wholly egocentric, however, and thereby rejects society in a political fashion. An excellent description is given of the process of schizophrenia, starting from the initial trauma that occurs in infancy, through the severe regression and development of delusional thought, and, finally, to the long road of recovery, to which the author refers as the "therapeutic demystification