In Ideology and Insanity, Thomas Szasz expresses concern over classifying people with mental illness. Szasz noted how classifying a person has a direct influence over their self-image, and what they believe is possible. Decades later, research by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, captured in Mindfulness, shows the extent people unconsciously adapt their behaviour to their identity. We are what we think, and the concept becomes reality, a lens through which we see the world.
Synchronicity signals something significant unfolding. Usually, that significance is an emerging insight. But occasionally, personal synchronicities relate to collective emergence. Recently, these synchronicities related to a process I was going through with reframing mental illness. I read Thomas Szasz’s Ideology and Insanity, discovered by chance at a bookstore, weeks before a significant review was published, which argues there is “no convincing evidence” the chemical imbalance theory of depression is true.
As my head touched the pillow last night, and I entered the halfway house between waking and dreaming, I heard a whisper: “Thomas Aquinas.” Aquinas was an influential theologian whose work I’ve encountered over the years, yet never dived into. The echo of his name in my half-conscious state made me alert, intrigued. The whisper arrived again, along with a sense of ‘knowing’ that I was him in a previous life.
Systems theory is a science of complexity. Multiple fields have applied its principles for deeper understanding, including sociology, medicine, economics, psychology, physics, and engineering. I’m particularly interested in how it can make sense of individual, collective, and cosmic consciousness, to unite spirituality and science.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand, And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, And Eternity in an hour.”William Blake
Dreams have been significant catalysts of my awakening. Some were revelations, etched in memory with more lucidity than events lived in the real world. Some were extraordinary; I’ve looked at Earth from the moon, explored unfamiliar worlds with pink trees and oceans of liquid bliss, had the chance to interact with beings of light.
Yet one dream has stayed with me due to its simplicity, and the way it changed my relationship to the ordinary. It was a lucid dream where I chose not to fly, or transform, or instantly manifest any desire. Instead, I explored the intricacies of the world itself.