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Monday, January 3, 2011

Julian Assange is Nuts (part 1 of many)

I was originally going to write an entry about all the different ways in which people have described Julian Assange as mentally ill, but it's just too big a topic, so I'm splitting it up. I think it's cute when people pull out their textbooks from Intro Psych and try to make a diagnosis based on the incomplete and highly sensational information they get from the media, but I really am a psychologist, so I'm not going to do that. Instead I'm going to respond to what people have said and why it does or doesn't make sense.

First up is a genius named John Ward. He writes a blog in which he purports to deconstruct bullocks using evidence. In his entry about Assange, he does the usual "delving into X's childhood" thing that people like to do when they want to show that they're not just basing their analysis on bits of badly-sourced evidence, but instead are basing it on the solid foundation of X's entire life history.

Here's some of the evidence John cites, and on which he bases his analysis:
Friends consistently talk of a man who needs “only five hours sleep”, who “is often bemused and energetic. He can concentrate intensely, in binges, but he is also the kind of person who will forget to reserve a plane ticket, or reserve a plane ticket and forget to pay for it, or pay for the ticket and forget to go to the airport….” “Julian can deal with incredibly little sleep, and a hell of a lot of chaos, but even he has his limits.”

From this, our brilliant blogger concludes:
"You don’t have to be Freud to see these as classic symptoms of an obsessively manic personality."

My response:
Well no, you don't have to be Freud, and if you were Freud, this isn't something you'd say. Freud would have been more interested in a cause for this behaviour - something that lies in Assange's subconscious, which nobody - not even Assange himself - has access to. Further, I don't know that he'd think this was all that odd. Plenty of people go through every work week on 5 hours of sleep a night, and intense concentration on something quite engrossing will probably lead you to forget other things. See the math department of your local university for other examples of this - those people never sleep, and they can't all be crazy.

In conclusion, I don't have enough information to determine whether JA is crazy, but I can tell you that he's crazy sexy.

1 comment:

  1. Was that photo taken last summer, on your common camping tour?:-)