“where are we going?” It is a classic question, but as most people now know from the “on-track” SVT program. That was the question I asked myself as I read a number of pages of Michael Landin’s first book. Mikael Landin is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Gothenburg and chief physician at the University Hospital Sahlgrenska.
I immediately imagined that it was all about what you know and don’t know about one of the primary areas of psychiatry: insanity. It is, too, but not in the textbook-like way I imagined. The book isn’t about insanity in and of itself – a word that has many meanings: from a dangerous psychotic illness to some kind of fun prank. Insanity can also, in a figurative sense, refer to perverse group thinking. The book, as the subtitle says, is ultimately about science; About scientific concepts, about methodology, about how to interpret scientific results, and about what is meant by evidence, not the least of which is about the potential and importance of science. But the book is also about the special conditions of psychiatry, especially diagnosis.
The reason I questioned the direction of travel early on in reading was a rather intense reflection on religion, and then mainly characteristics of Catholicism, at the beginning of the book. Soon, however, it enters the main track, with many interesting – think – stops during the flight. What makes the book interesting is that difficult definitions, difficult questions, and above all incorrect ideas are often illustrated with funny, sometimes very bizarre and sometimes bizarre examples of events and phenomena. The question arises: where does the author get everything from? From the web, of course, but also from magazines and books. Lots of things most of us have never seen before, or missed out because we haven’t thought about the content.
Sometimes, of course, I think discussing a particular issue ends up a bit sideways or, in my view, becomes a bit monofocal. And suddenly a sentence came up saying that, of course, it could also be this way. But sometimes the author gives examples that not only illustrate but can also lead to generalizations that go too far. Psychotherapy is generally unaffordable because Thomas Kwik confessed to 29 murders. Or is it that, as with vaccinations, every single but very rare side effect needs to be counted? In any case, it can be comforting to hear an adult’s voice echo from the little boy in Hans Christian Andersen’s saga, and then you have to take what is being said whether you like it or not.
Although there is a lot of information on its barely 200 pages, it is easy to read. Mikael Landen writes excellently. Read, meditate and laugh in your loneliness. Or suggest to a seminar or educational seminars and laugh together about all the weird things that non-psychopaths can have for themselves and talk about being serious. Where are the boundaries between the reasonable and the unreasonable? There are many arguments in the book that need to be taught or discussed in order to educate and educate.