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Berlin's analogy with cut off legs.

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Berlin's analogy with cut off legs.

Postby chimera » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:27 pm

In Isaiah Berlin's article "Two Concepts of Liberty" there is a chapter called "The retreat to the Inner Citadel", in which he says:

I determine myself not to desire what is unattainable. The tyrant threatens me with the destruction of my property, with imprisonment, with the exile and death of those I love. But if I no longer feel attached to property, no longer care whether or not I am in prison, if I have killed within myself my natural affections, then he cannot bend me to his will, for all that is left of myself is no longer subject to empirical fears or desires. It is as if I had performed a strategic retreat into an inner citadel - my reason, my soul, my ‘noumenal’ self - which, do what they may, neither external blind force, nor human malice, can touch. I have withdrawn into myself; there, and there alone, I am secure. It is as if I were to say: 'I have a wound in my leg. There are two methods of freeing myself from pain. One is to heal the wound. But if the cure is too difficult or uncertain, there is another method. I can get rid of the wound by cutting off my leg. If I train myself to want nothing to which the possession of my leg is indispensable, I shall not feel the lack of it.’ [my italics] This is the traditional self-emancipation of ascetics and quietists, of stoics or Buddhist sages, men of various religions or of none, who have fled the world, and escaped the yoke of society or public opinion, by some process of deliberate self-transformation that enables them to care no longer for any of its values, to remain, isolated and independent, on its edges, no longer vulnerable to its weapons.

I feel like this is the attitude a lot of schizoids take on. They cut off their wounded leg that is their ability to relate to people, or to get something out of the company of others, to take part in the social life of society, and create a life where that leg isn't needed. I think a lot of schizotypes do this too. But is it really necessary?

"But if the cure is difficult or uncertain..." Not "impossible"...

I keep clinging to that leg, hoping to find a way to heal it, even though it's difficult, even though I am not sure there is a way to heal it. And this hanging on to it is what's driving me insane. I know that if i just settled for it and cut it off, that would solve a lot of problems. But I just can't. I don't want that life I have to build without that leg. And it's like the disease of the leg is spreading and infesting me and making me too sick to even find a cure. It's double the insanity because the sickness of the leg makes me insane in itself, and it makes me insane that I can't deal with this situation.
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Re: Berlin's analogy with cut off legs.

Postby Always_Question » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:39 pm

That is a miserable situation when you are stuck with what seems to be two options. But, maybe it isn't like that. I think I can hear what you are feeling, especially with the use of that quote. Going with that, do you think you can, say, cut off the leg for now, and hope for it to be reattached later? There will be rehabilitation (uncomfortable practice socializing and making a fool of yourself sometimes), but for now, might it be better to cut it off to avoid the suffering you are feeling? To mitigate the risk of the wound spreading, perhaps only for now?

That is what I think I have done, anyway. It may not be the best approach, but I am waiting for a time where I can build my social skills in a safer space. So, it's like I cut off the leg and am keeping it on ice, in the hope I can find a way to reattach it and heal the wound with new techniques, in a clean environment, etc.

I hope it made sense, I am not good with these things, but I like to try.
If my post does not make sense, is too vague, or incoherent, ask for clarification if it would be helpful.

Dx's: Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizotypal PD, Boarderline traits, and Anxiety disorders
Rx: Gabapentin and Clonazepam.
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