The Sociopathology of Mental Disorders in Science


     Most people adhere to the cumulationist conception of cultural progress assuming that the European history of science is one undivided spiritual tradition in which new knowledge accumulates and grows to reach higher ad higher syntheses. Modern philosophers of science (T. S. Kuhn 1965, 1970; P. K. Feyerabend 1989; I. Lakatos 1971) refuted cumulationist views by proofs that human knowledge does not march forth in linear curves but waves in the same rhythm of rises and declines as other phenomena in nature. As there are periods of ‘shadow’, ‘grey’, ‘dark’, ‘black’ and  ‘brown economics’, there are perpetual returns of ‘shadow’, ‘grey’, ‘dark’, ‘black’ and ‘brown science’, fully corresponding to the wealth and health of the social body. Science can prosper only in countries with bright healthy economics when accelerated by rapid industrial growth. In dark ages it periodically dies and gives way to religious scholastics marching hand in hand with black occult sciences. Occult science is a disease of scientific thought that infects the social brain in several gradual phases and distorts its texture to the extent of reaching the lethal stage.

     Cultural streams in literature and methodology do not arise as inventions of geniuses lasting in an eternal tradition but form periodically repeated waves that reflect changes in social and economic values and guide human collective behaviour in the same way as our glands and hormones. Methods change together with attitudes, opinions, tastes and manners, appearing successively as incubation phases of an epidemic disease. This recipe for treating metaphysics was proposed by one of its most remarkable rebuilders Carl Jaspers, who later assisted Heidegger in founding Existenzphilosophie as an influential stream of modern German cultural thought. In his young days he published a study Psychologie der Weltanschauungen (1919) in which he recommended to study political ideologies as mental disorders. He noticed that cultural opinions tide and ebb and spread like epidemics of contagious diseases. They plague human thought with the same atrocity as real pestilence and cause also similar fatal catastrophic disasters.

     As different cycles of economic growth   As different cycles of economic growth in the post-war science have shifted the focus to social engineering (eunomy), aesthetic design (esthonomy), industrial technology (technonomy), consumers’ masses (demonomy) and finance (plutonomy), so the progress of science shifts its focus on universal encyclopaedic knowledge (eusophy), aesthetics (esthosophy), applied technology (technosophy), sociology (demosophy) and financial magic (idolosophy). Science always concentrates on truth and objective knowledge so its cultural contribution does not consist of ideologic lies but rests in different epistemic models of deforming reality. Religion and science seem to fight as irreconcilable enemies but they both move the hand of the historical clock to go clockwise, the former by devising false illusions and the latter by disclosing true knowledge. They do exert energy in opposite directions but their forces act on opposite ends of the lever and help rotate it in the clockwise direction.


Classicism, Physicalism, Normativism


    The psychopathology of mental disorders in science must naturally start from the state of their absence when the patient is in a perfect healthy state. As is made clear by examples from Classic Greece, the Renaissance or Enlightenment (autarcheum), rational creative science may exist undisturbed only in state-controlled societies with a state-supported system of school education. In such bureaucratic societies the state supports ‘royal academiesand can afford contributing subsidies to education and academic research. The state-controlled school system promotes secular science and impartial objective knowledge where the church-controlled school systems of dark ages subordinate these to religious faith. The first stage of every bright age brings political regimes of centralist state bureaucracy (eucracy) displaying academic systems of science called eusophy (good wisdom, rational knowledge). Eusophy is a philosophical paradigm exhibiting several standard symptoms:

·         Euphoria utopistica: social engineering and utopian dreaming about an ideal planned, state-controlled society serving effectively the natural needs of the collective public wealth and all common people. 

·         Euphoria pantheistica: cosmic optimism combined with a fervent love for the physical and material nature enlivened by human and divine energy.

·         Euphoria encyclopaedica: enthusiastic love of objective knowledge, rationality, science, education, literature and arts as vital instruments of humanitarian enlightenment, spiritual illumination and human perfection.  

·         Pamphilia humanistica: all-embracing love for the unbroken and unspoilt human nature, belief in emancipation proclaiming equality between all nations and human races, ideals of a healthy mind in a healthy body.

     Eusophia is a stage of healthy cultural conditions known in the Renaissance humanism or French encyclopaedism in the mid-18th century. Its science is characterised by humanism, historical optimism (belief in historical progress), encyclopaedism, physicalism (emphasis on cosmic physics), materialism (the primacy of the material nature), uniformism (all areas of social life observe prescriptions, regulation, standardisation and uniformity) and normativism (all phenomena should have their standard moderate measure). Humanists tended to write political utopias about ideal monarchs and states and compiled manuals instructing young princes how to rule, run their estates and practice animal husbandry. Encyclopaedists wrote compendious manuals, handbooks and encyclopaedias giving instruction in universal knowledge.


Sensualism, Civilism, Elegism


     All utopists dream about constructing future ideal societies (Aufbau) but all economic cycles had an alternative program of a gradual erosion of utopias, their perpetual deconstruction (Abbau). In due course every ‘positive utopia’ painting blissful idylls expires and decays into a ‘negative dystopia’ that depicts the world as a nightmare. The first stage of this metamorphosis are ‘sentimental utopias’ that lose the cosmic historical perspective and plunge into everyday personal life. The humanists of the Augustan Age (Virgil, Horace, Varro) faced the opposition of the Gilded Youth and young elegiac poets (Tibullus, Propertius, Ovid) who wrote elegies about fictive beauties and poetic epistles about ars amatoria. Such periods pay attention to aesthetics, court revels, naval adventures and elegant rhetoric skilled in ars poetica. Their paradigm is esthosophy with these symptoms:  

·         Sensualitas amatoria: the disease of love manifested in desire for an   idealised sweetheart, the courteous cult of a beautiful noble lady in the medieval Minnesang and Provensal courtoisie.

·         Sensualitas aesthetica: focus on aesthetic pleasures, ideals of beauty, pleasure-seeking Epicureism and voluptuous sensualism.

·         Sensualitas intima: intimism as a philosophy of everyday private life.

Formalism, Geometrism, Technicism

     The second step in overcoming utopism is made by ‘zero utopias’ that indulge in scientific formalism. Technocratic antiutopias turn attention to applied sciences because the rapid industrial growth requires transition from universal science to applied technology. Their scientific philosophy may be called technosophy because it meets historic demands of technocracies and technocratic engineering elites that come to the rule in the heydays of industrial revolution. Technosophy loves logic, mathematics and geometry because it has lost a sense of beauty, reality, cosmos and history. Young technocrats signal their ascent by a deep methodological scepsis, by depolitisation, weariness and fatigue from social utopias. Their “vision du monde“ (L. Goldmann 1964) has abandoned natural idylls and frozen into geometric abstractions and cold numbers. Their mind suffers from a loss of all social and historical illusions, a loss of sensibility and sense of historical progress. It is vexed by a syndrome of stupor with several symptoms:

·         Stupor formalis: formalist artism and an unhealthy admiration for empty forms, cold abstractions and formal signs.

·         Stupor geometricus: the loss of historical perspectives accompanied by a descent into the world of abstract geometric figures and numbers.

·         Stupor antiutopicus: the loss of utopian perspectives, disillusionment in utopias and their absurd deformations (Orwell’s Animal Farm).

·         Stupor nonsensualis: formal signs lose their natural meaning and become absurd puns (E. Lear’s and Ch. Morgenstern‘s poetry of nonsense).


Realism, Demotism, Populism


     If eusophy pursues universal knowledge detached from applied technology and industrial production, technosophy meets their demands but remains blind to human society and common consumers. Booms of consumers’ goods turn attention to ordinary needs of common people and adopt populistic views of social emancipation typical of demosophy. Demosophy implies a philo-sophical sociologism that strives for social and cultural materialism and analyses phenomena in their historical, geographic and social profiles. Its methodology definitely proved prolific in Aristotelian Peripatetics, Huguenot historiographers and modern Positivism. Its goal of impartial and objective universal knowledge suggests J. A. Comenius’ ideal of pansophia.

·         Pansophia comparatistica: a comparative approach to social phenomena and a tendency to analyse them on large statistic samples.

·         Pansophia sociologica: a tendency to visualise phenomena on their social background and depict them in the setting of a large social panorama.


Traditionalism, Personalism, Historicism


     Demosophy brings a culminating peak of scientific prosperity but also announces the first tokens of a coming rapid decline. The crisis of economic stagflation stupefies science by a strong conservative counter-reaction and turns it into a sort of sterile religious scholastics. The bloom of scientific studies is regularly terminated by rehearsals of St Bartholomew’s Night, one of fanatic campaigns conducted by the Catholic League. Science has to give way to metaphysics, a mental disorder manifested by blindness to reality, evolution, society and logic. The final result is idolosophy showing several symptoms:

·         Idolatria scholastica: science collapses and degenerates into religious scholastics, it turns into a cult of saints and an exegesis of their texts.

·         Idolatria sectae (sectarianism): scientific sectarianism conceiving research as persevering in an orthodox doctrine developing an esoteric wisdom founded by sacred texts of a prophet.

·         Idolatria heraldica: ardent idolatry as a cult of idols, icons, emblems, coats-of-arms, relics, ossuaries and sacred texts.

·         Idolatria aboriginalis: sciences adopts a primitive savage mind’s optics by failing to see essential but invisible meanings (real genetic categories) and managing to see only accidental but visible signs: icons, idols, flags, relics.

·         Dyslogia lombardica: scientific dogmatism as an utter inability to beget a meaningful thought or to understand foundations of any science, typical of all scholastics, the disease of ‘ritualistic absent-headedness’ manifested by the first great scholastic philosopher Petrus Lombardus or by the first scholastic Marxist philosopher Mikhail Lifshitz who wrote florilegia of their prophets’ sentences but failed to utter a single sentence of their own.

·         Jesuititis emblematica: the disease of jesuitism resting in a blindfolded demonisation of all heretics, infidels and apostates of faith manifested in an unsound cult of religious orthodoxy and unwavering loyalty to church.

·         Intolerantia satanica (exorcism): rational science, protestant heretics and progressive social theories are demonised as devilish devices worth wiping out of the world’s surface.

·         Obscurantia irrationalis: scientific irrationalism waging pogromist campaigns against scientific objectivism under auspices of irrational cults.

·         Calumnia pogromistica (inquisitionism): witch hunts, practices of hidden terror and illegal trials abused by secret lodges against all heretics

·         Calumnia coprophilica (calumnism): efforts of right-wing tabloids to throw dirt, dung and shit on all positive progressive social values (impregnative tabloid journalism, ‘hovnomazalská euforie’, graffiti terrorism)


Catastrophism, Apocalypticism, Balladism


     Idolosophy is only the maturing incubation phase of a deep cultural crisis that continues with cacosophy (bad knowledge) or mystosophy (occult, esoteric, mysterious wisdom). In dark ages they may occupy three or four 7-year cycles while in bright ages they are contracted into one cycle. Cacosophy is a convenient catchword for fates of science in the era of cultural cata-strophism (apocalyptism), a trend symptomatic of culminating social and eco-nomic criminality and growing negativism in culture, art, politics and morals.

·         Paralysis regressiva (regressivism): a belief in regressive (Spengler), apocalyptic (Derrida) or catastrophic future (Stoic Chrysippus, Buffon). 

·         Xenophobia nauseatica: an anti-humanist philosophy of xenophobia, physical disgust and contempt for all alien races, or for all humankind.

·         Nausea alienans: the philosophy of nausea as a universal sentiment vexed by mean anti-humanist xenophobias, an inveterate hatred against all immigrants and foreigners seen as ‘impudent aliens’ and ‘slimy monsters’.




Symbolism, Hermetism, Esoterism


     The inflexion point of cacosophy is followed by a period of hermetic spiritualism manifested in astrology and occult sciences. Their designation as mystosophy indicates predilection for the mysterious and the esoteric.

·         Pestilentia hermetica (hermetism): a radical turn from objective knowledge of outer reality to the transcendent supernatural world.

·         Toxoplasmosis semiotica: a semiotic plague indulging in interpreting irrational signs and tokens in different ambiguous allegoric connotations.

·         Claustrophilia infernalis (infernalism): the myth of a subterranean cave combined with belief in a hollow globe and a hollow underworld inhabited by a subterraneous race of mysterious over-men.


Militantism, Monumentalism, Heroism


     The final phase of dark ages is represented by ‘sacred wars’ that cause large-scale destruction and necessarily result in periods of peaceful reconstruction. Its characteristic ideology may be termed monumentalism as it combines religious fundamentalism with military heroism (Carlyle’s hero worship).

·         Obscurantia militans (crusaderism): calls for ‘a bloody bath’ and ‘a sacred war’ (Christian crusade, Islamic jihad, Greek hagios polemos) waged against all aliens, heretics and heathens, calls for conquering the land stolen by barbarian infidels (Bernard de Clairvaux, Ignatio de Loyola, Joseph de Maistre and Adolph Rosenberg).

·         Inflatus heroicus (exaggerated bonapartism, caesarism and hero worship):  the theory of a higher race of over-men dwelling in a subterranean cave or a higher race of ‘nazists surviving in the cosmic space’; their outer appearance may take shape of astronauts, extra-terrestrials, ufonauts, slimy monsters or subterranean supermen.


Extract from Pavel Bělíček: The Postmodern Crisis of Humanities and Goals of their Recovery, Prague 2004, pp. 70-76