A PSYCHIATRIST AND AN ECONOMIST LOOK AT GOLLUM.

A PSYCHIATRIST AND AN ECONOMIST LOOK AT GOLLUM. Ilya Somin on the Volokh Conspiracy blog discusses here this analysis of Gollum’s mental health. The analysis points out that an internet search turned up more than 1300 sites discussing Gollum’s “mental illness.” The analysis begins: “Sméagol (Gollum) is a single, 587 year old, hobbit-like male of no fixed abode. He has presented with antisocial behaviour, increasing aggression, and preoccupation with the ‘one ring.'” The author of the analysis consulted 30 medical students and 25 of them diagnosed Gollum as schizophrenic. Nevertheless, the analysis casts doubt on that diagnosis because Gollum’s preoccupation with the ring is not delusional. The Ring has real power. The analysis concludes that Gollum exhibits seven of the nine criteria for schizoid personality disorder and that this is the most likely diagnosis. Ilya Somin comments, as a law and economics scholar, that: “If we assume that Gollum valued long life, power, and wealth above companionship, socializing, and conventional morality, his actions seem perfectly rational.” Somin suggests: “Maybe Gollum is an example of Bryan Caplan’s thesis [Caplan is also an economist] that many seemingly insane people are not irrational, but merely have unusual preferences.” I have to say that I never thought of Gollum as anything but rational, taking into account that he was subject to the consequences of being the ring bearer.

This entry was posted in Economics, Literature. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A PSYCHIATRIST AND AN ECONOMIST LOOK AT GOLLUM.

  1. Nick says:

    I suppose he is rational in the sense that there are clear, concrete motivations that he possesses, and that his actions accord with those motivations. The causes for these motivations are clear.

    Perhaps based on your preferences argument I am trying to draw conclusions from it, and the only one I seem confident in so far is: Rationality is not a guarantor of sanity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.