This post is in response to Why Corporations Are Psychotic by David Niose

In his recent interesting blog post, "Why corporations are psychotic", David Niose  writes:

Corporations are psychotic. If corporations are indeed "persons," their mental condition can accurately be described as pathological. Corporations have no innate moral impulses, and in fact they exist solely for the purpose of making money. As such, these "persons" are systemically driven to do whatever is necessary to increase revenues and profits, with no regard for ethical issues that might nag real people.

Niose makes a common mistake by conflating psychotic with psychopathy. Unfortunately, this only adds to erroneous and dangerous stereotypes about people who have psychosis. Not all stereotypes are true, and this one certainly is not.

Psychosis is an umbrella term to describe the mental state of losing touch with reality. A number of things can cause psychosis, from schizophrenia to depression to sleep deprivation.

Psychopathy, is a personality disorder which consists of a lack of empathy, impulsivity, recklessness, scrupulousness, callousness, and lying.

Based on the content of his article, I think a more appropriate title would be "Why corporations are psychopathic".

As I have mentioned before, there are a lot of inaccurate perceptions of psychotic people as immoral people. This is simply not true. While some bad people such as serial killers have psychotic episodes (and those are the ones that end up on the news), the vast majority of psychotic individuals are not immoral. In fact, many people who are psychosis-prone contribute positively to society. Without psychosis, art would suck and imagination would run dry. Psychosis says nothing about morality, whereas psychopathy does.

This is one of the shortest blog posts I've ever written, but I felt this had to be said, before inaccurate stereotypes are further perpetuated.

***UPDATE*** I appreciate Leon Seltzer's reply to my reply, in which he comes up with a very reasonable middle ground between my position and Niose's. However, in one of his notes, he objects to my statement about the linkage between psychosis and art and remarks that losing touch with reality is not a rerequisite for art and saying so is insulting to artists. I clarify what I meant here.

© 2011 by Scott Barry Kaufman

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Contact me here!

Be sure to read the following responses to this post by our bloggers:

Recent Posts in Beautiful Minds

New Sensitivity Gene Discovered

A new gene was discovered that is highly sensitive to supportive conditions.

Social and Mechanical Reasoning Inhibit Each Other

The brain can't engage social and mechanical reasoning at the same time.

The Pesky Persistence of Labels

Just because a label has been lifted doesn't make it disappear.

Interview with Author and Magician Alex Stone

Interview with Author and Magician Alex Stone about his book "Fooling Houdini."

Social Rejection Can Fuel Creativity

Social rejection fuels creativity for people with an independent mindset.

The Cognitive Psychology of Pick-up Lines

How perception and cognition influences receptivity to pick-up lines.