Author of the Month

Further Reflections on Psychotic Knowledge
By Shunyamurti

Books by Shunyamurti

The Transformational Imperative

The Transformational Imperative: Planetary Redemption Through Self-Realization

US - UK - CA


Shunyamurti is the founder and director of the Sat Yoga Institute, located in Costa Rica. The Institute is now building a residential ashram and eco-village. Shunyamurti leads retreats and offers individual transformation sessions, as well as providing professional training in Clinical Atmanology, a healing modality involving dreamwork, energywork, guided meditation, and spontaneous expression. He is the author of The Transformational Imperative. For more info, go to

This article publication is part of a cooperative effort by and to promote cross pollination of thoughts and ideas between the two sites.

(This essay is an effort to respond to comments on the previous essay, "The Ascendancy of Psychotic Knowledge," and to carry forward the implications of the ideas expressed in that text.)

The line that separates sanity from madness has never been clear. In fact, it is not clear that such a line ever existed. This is because what passes for sanity today is in fact still a kind of madness. Even the psychoanalysts admit that normality is neurosis, a form of mental illness. They also admit that one of the most tenacious forms of psychosis is what they call normotic disease, meaning the insane need to appear normal. What if all normality is really normotic? This underlying insanity of the normal is becoming more evident every day as normal people and societies fail to adapt to reality, fail to respond to the climatic and other changes in our natural and social world that should put us all on red alert. Instead, we are being terrorized by propaganda regarding conspiracies that are themselves delusional. Reality-based discourse has become impossible.

What is clear is that the concept of psychosis is a political category, not a medical one. Such disparate visionary thinkers as Thomas Szasz, R.D. Laing, John Perry, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari have all accepted this. That does not mean that there are not people who are suffering with what can descriptively be called paranoid delusions or other symptoms of great psychic suffering. But we need to enter more deeply into their inner worlds in order to understand the true nature of their suffering, and recognize that they are mirroring back to us our collective delusions and sadistic impositions of pseudo-realities. We need to recognize our interbeing, as Thich Nhat Hanh has phrased it. Otherwise, we are simply punishing the Other for our own sin of hegemonic collective egocentricity. In the old Soviet Union, political dissidents were routinely diagnosed as psychotic and locked up in mental institutions. Obviously, if one was not satisfied with Stalinism, clearly the best of all possible social arrangements, one had to be mad. But we need to explore the possibility that all psychotic symptoms are, among other things, passive political acts of resistance to a world order that is itself psychotically unbalanced.

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