Schizophrenia produces the epitome of madness. It generates wild ideas of contact with the metaphysical and supernatural, compelling hallucinations and utter strangeness, which made it seem to pre-modern societies divine or satanic possession. It deranges meme production (see “The Atoms of Thought“) and their creative source, language (see “The Split Mind” in Chap.2 of “Welcome to the Loony Bin“). In effect schizophrenia strikes at the mental abilities that distinguish humanity.
Research, admittedly contested in recent years, on the genetics of schizophrenia gives another perspective on what our ancestors could only explain as divine inspiration. Outstanding minds, artistic talent and creative genius cluster in the close relatives, and even among those possessed by the madness. They share a potential for meme superiority as well as its linkage to meme psychosis. The paradox gives a clue to the essence of human brain action. To take a modern parallel, in software design the most advanced new package brings bad news with the good. With the hope of a new advantage comes the potential danger of bugs that produce disastrous failure. Schizophrenia could be regarded as the bug, the cost of the trial and error process of evolving human brain action. When eventually psychiatry turns to the study of the essential reason for the existence of its profession, that is human thought, and takes into account the dynamics of idea formation, schizophrenia will open new portals for understanding the experiential riddle of brain action.