Friday, August 25, 2006

The Excluded Included Middle

I have made a major conceptual breakthrough with my ongoing philosophy of BiPolar.

Last month I posted about "Telling the Difference" which basically related to the eternal BiPolar Dilemma of how to know when things are your own fault and when things are your condition's fault.

The Dilemma: You have to make a personal choice about each action in your life:

It is pre-determined, governed by my chemical condition


It is totally up to me, and controlled by my free will.

The Either/Or structure is one of the most fundamental building blocks of Western logic, something I learned in Philosophy 101. It is governed by the Excluded Middle - i.e there is no overlap between the two options it is either 100% of the one, or 100% of the other.

And maybe this is how I've been thinking about events in my BiPolar life up to now. Sitting puzzling about where the responsibility  and blame lies.  When you look at it that way there is always a DILEMMA - a forced split that cannot be bridged.

Well, I've finally seen that it's Bullshit. There is an overlap! Let's call it the Included Middle. In this view instead of a Y-junction, the responsible/ non-responsible issue lies on a spectrum.  So that there is ALWAYS a combination of the two. At one end of the spectrum things might be particularly tough for the BiPolar where his/her chemical make-up accounts for 90% of their behaviour and only 10 % of their determined effort. At the other end of the spectrum might be 90% free will, 10% pre-determined.

Viewing things through this paradigm has big ramifications.

  1. You can NEVER completely absolve your responsibility for your actions. In the either/or paradigm, once you had decided that an action was totally pre-determined by your  pre-condition, you could just throw your hands in the air and yelp "It's not my fault - not one bit of it."
  2. You can NEVER totally blame yourself for your actions. There will always be some latent  force at work which is beyond your control. So no, you never need to go through that excruciating guilt about not measuring up to the non-BP Muggles.
With this new paradigm there is ALWAYS a glimmer of hope. We can ALWAYS try our best, even if we don't always succeed. And when we don't succeed we needn't think ourselves as abject, miserable failiures.

I'm thinking that this new way of looking at things is much healthier. BiPolars need to be wary of extremes and EXcluded middles force EXtremes.


  1. What a muddle of middles this makes. I think you have something here.


  2. I like this. It makes perfect sense to me. We as humans always try to box things into perfect containers, but life is messy and there's always something slopping over at some point. Not everything can be neatly boxed and presented, wrapped in a bow. Good job.

  3. begin with hopelessness (and blame buddhist chick pema chodron for saying that), subtract thousands of years of philosophical bullshit over the existence of free will, add countless billions invested in manufactured theories of chemical imbalance and arrive at the wuantum theory of bipolar labeling.

  4. I agree. We have to take responsibility for actions and our illness. BUT they comes a point where it is out of our control obviously, and at that point we cannot be held responsible. The main thing is to try and do our very bests to not get to that point. To recognize the signs that we are getting there and to take steps toget help before its too late. Hopefully we have other responsible people in our lives watching also who can take these steps for us when we cannot do it ourselves.

  5. i absolutely love your blog do you mind if i add your link to my site??

  6. Sounds good. Now the protruded middle, that must be done away with! The anitbiotic regimen I'm on for a mild pneumonia is keeping me off the beer, but I do feel a bit like a Raging Bull era De Niro with all the pasta I've been scarfing. I'll get back on my bike when the typhoons clear out and the humidity is back down below 120%.

  7. Socrates (not your dog) says, "Nobody does anything wrong". This is a statement of logical truth. What ever decision you make is the right thing for you to do and that moment in time. So if you do nothing wrong why get too involved in the reasons for your decisions in the aftermath?


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