There is a growing public awareness about how thin the line is between the descent into serious mental health problems and the sometimes illuminating states of consciousness that can run alongside such a descent. Or the confusion that results when illumination and mental illness become indistinguishable. Movies such as Take Shelter, for example, do a wonderful job of looking at how the onset of mental illness can be enmeshed with genuine pre-cognition. Articles such as this one in the NYTimes demonstrate that being diagnosed as schizophrenic need not signal an end to a meaningful life.
The broader social context currently in play - one where political corruption, scarcity, environmental disaster and financial chaos are playing a larger and larger part - all contribute to the growth of altered states of consciousness (ASC) amongst people, many of which will be in the form of debilitating mental illnesses. So it is particularly important, and timely, to strengthen awareness of and understanding of ASCs. Understanding the vulnerability they bring can lead to the humility we’ll all require to navigate through often unwanted accelerations in our personal, political and social lives.