You Are Not Your Diagnosis

Analytic intelligence, while useful for purposes of manipulation and operationality, often ends up mistaking the abstract object for the concrete in a “fallacy of misplaced concreteness” (Whitehead). Out of habit or cognitive bias, we tend to believe that the parts, units, or functions that we distinguish and name are truly there in the real world, like cogs in a machine rather than metaphors. If we take the example of mental health diagnoses, such as bipolarity, depression, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the fallacy of misplaced concreteness pushes individuals to consider these diagnoses as describing their essential identity or inner nature. Seeing their soul as a psychiatric object rather than a site of self-possibility, these individuals are led to believe that other objects such as pills, via the mechanical law of causality, can regulate their being in the world.