Math vs. Paranoid Schizophrenia

I asked a friend yesterday what I should write about, and she said “paranoid schizophrenia”.     I think she had some suspicion what I would do with this sort of instruction, so if you take offense… blame J–.   I know the strangest people.     It’s quite awesome, really.

Paranoid Schizophrenia vs. Study of Mathematics

The study of mathematics is a mental process that is marked by visualization of unreal systems, feelings of of persecution from instructors and textbook writers,  spending obsessive amounts of time analyzing bizarre systems, and anxiety.   Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can cause auditory or visual hallucinations, delusions, paranoia,  bizarre thought patterns, and disorganized speech and anxiety.

Trying to understand either what a math textbook or a schizophrenic may be telling you is frequently an exercise in futility, unless you have some greater context with which to try to make sense of it.   Even so, the internal logic of a mathematician may break down and you may find them staring blindly into space for a long time.    Bouts of depression are common.

The treatment of schizophrenia is often at institutions which are in danger of defunding.

Ahem… (do I even need to say it?)

Fortunately, the outlook and prognosis for both mathematicians and schizophrenics is depends largely on their social support  network.   With adequate socialization (and sometimes medication), mathematicians can be integrated into the workplace and will lead healthy, productive lives.    Schizophrenic also enjoy this outlook, although the role of medication is somewhat more important.

While schizophrenia and the study of mathematics are often misunderstood, feared and frequently avoided, both will benefit from greater social acceptance and support.



 This is satire.   In reality schizophrenia is a disorder that affects about 1% of the population.   People with schizophrenia can live active and healthy lives with treatment, and treatment for this illness has come a long way in the last few decades.   Untreated, this is a scary disease… both to its sufferers and to their loved ones.   Mental illness is stigmatized to a terrible degree.   Having a mental illness is no more shameful than having blue eyes or red hair… it is the result of biological processes.  But like many uncontrolled biological processes, many people seem to have an unreasoning fear, and discomfort around the subject.


My opinion, as with a lot of social issues, is to educate yourself.   Schizophrenic people are people, deserving of dignity and respect.   Whereas the study of mathematics is more of a choice, and for many folks just as scary and offputting.

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