Pink Floyd's "madness"...in modern textbook terms?

General discussion about Pink Floyd.
ZiggyZipgun
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Pink Floyd's "madness"...in modern textbook terms?

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

Where's David Smith when you need him?

Lots of rock music is about being "insane" or "crazy" or "deranged", and even Roger Waters threw these terms around from time to time. Some artists built their whole careers around a fairly cartoonish/glamorized approach to mental illness, but since a lot of the Pink Floyd's songs are about actual people and events, can we update our terminology when discussing their work?

And full disclosure: I'm no expert! I took one psychology course... maybe twenty years ago.

Dark Side of the Moon is almost always referred to as being about going crazy, but it really just focuses on the stress of everyday life - the things that drive one "insane"! I know all of those things can be triggers for people that are already susceptible to mental illness, but can stress actually cause mental illness? Substance abuse can, which may have been true in Syd's case, whether or not he had an underlying condition. "Shine On" is alluding to whatever happened to Syd - possibly undiagnosed schizophrenia, but more likely just the side-effects of substance abuse. Roger has even stated that he himself had a "nervous breakdown" in the EMI canteen while going through his first divorce during the Wish You Were Here sessions, and that it changed his life - but "nervous breakdown" isn't a clinical term, and just implies being temporarily overwhelmed by stress.

Anyone care to weigh in? It appears all of the psychology debates that have sprung up on the forum over the past decade or so were just trying to pin down what happened to Syd, but I'm curious about what exactly is discussed in the songs.
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Re: Pink Floyd's "madness"...in modern textbook terms?

Post by mosespa »

Whether or not stress can "cause" mental illness is something I'll leave for Dr. Smith to answer; but it is my understanding that stress can exacerbate an underlying illness, perhaps even trigger it in the same way that substance abuse can.

Makes sense to me. *shrug*