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The Spiritual Gift of Madness


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Kate Millett



Discovering the Higher Sanity within Madness

Part One
The Failure of the Psychiatric System and the Biomedical Myth

1 Interview with Peter Stastny, M.D.: The Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Complex and Its Critics
2 The Mind Freedom Hunger Strike
3 Interview with David Oaks: From Harvard to the Psychiatric Survivors' Movement

Part Two
The Intellectual Background of Mad Pride

4 Mental Patients' Liberation
5 R. D. Laing, John Weir Perry, and the Sanctuary for Visionaries
6 Interview with Chaya Grossberg: Spiritually Informed Social Activism
7 Interview with Caty Simon: The Communitarian Vision

Part Three
Dangerous Gifts

8 The Roots of The Icarus Project
9 Interview with Sascha DuBrul: The Reluctant Warrior, May 2009
10 The Warrior in Retreat
11 The Icarus Project and the Future of Mad Pride

Part Four
Prophets of Madness or Messiahs among Us?

12 The Messianic or Postmodern Paradigm?
13 The Relationship of Mad Pride to Messianic Transformation
14 Interview with Dr. Ed Whitney: Finding Oneself at the Age of Forty-five; Messianic Visions

Part Five
Awakenings in History and Social Activism

15 Cultural Revitalization Movements
16 Interview with Paul Levy: "They May Say I'm a Dreamer"
17 Revitalization and the Messianic-Redemptive Vision of Sri Aurobindo
18 Whither Mad Pride?

Beating the System

Extracts from Sri Aurobindo's Savitri




About the Author

Seth Farber is a psychologist, public speaker and a founder of the Network against Coercive Psychiatry. The author of several books, including Unholy Madness and an editor of The Journal of Mind and Behavior, he lives in New York City.


"By reclaiming their rightful role as prophets of spiritual and cultural revitalization, the mad--by seeding new visions for our future--can help humanity overcome the spiritual crisis that endangers our survival and lead us to a higher and long-awaited stage of spiritual development." * Earth Star Magazine, June 2012 *
"The book will appeal to devotees of spirituality and/or metaphysics." * Linda F. Petty, Library Journal, July 2012 *
"This book rightly points out the need to reevaluate our classifications of madness and open the door to the sometimes visionary rantings of our fellow citizens." * Lotus Guide, July 2012 *
"A fine pick for any mental health collection seeking different perspectives on the idea of insanity and its treatment." * Midwest Book Review, July 2012 *
"Seth Farber is one of the most provocative and original thinkers in America. He brings us to the threshold of the only questions that really matter: the demarcation lines between imagination and objective reality and between 'madness' and 'sanity'. The Spiritual Gift of Madness is an important book that could revolutionize the way progressive religious people regard what is called mental health. " * Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religi *
"Farber critically considers the role of madness in culture and sees it as a positive force for change rather than a disease needing treatment. At the same time he does not play down the difficulties encountered by those experiencing such 'initiations,' but believes we need to cherish them and appreciate their visionary role in a world gone insane." * Robert Black, New Dawn, January 2013 *

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