A property is “essential” if the subject could not exist without that property. So let’s look at the question, “Can humans exist without mental health?”
Every human uses his/her mind to function within a dynamic society. If a living person lacked an active mind, he/she would exist only in a vegetative state. So if the question was “Can humans exist without a functioning mind?” The answer would have to be, “For all practical purposes, no.”
Now let’s refine the question a bit. “Can humans exist without healthy mental health?” Unfortunately, the answer here is, “Emphatically, yes.” This is all too obvious on a daily basis. Look at the front page of any newspaper to find an article about cybersecurity (hackers have poor mental health when they maliciously interfere with the sense of accomplishment of others while enhancing their own). Another example is terrorists activity (terrorists have poor mental health when their beliefs lead them to instill fear, intimidation and death to others, the ultimate insult to human dignity). Hackers and terrorists are not mentally ill because they do what they do, but they certainly have extremely poor mental health when they interfere with the inbornintentions of others. Of course, hackers and terrorists have basic beliefs unrelated to hacking and terrorizing and these can be as mentally healthy (or unhealthy) as anyone else’s. A list of all activities stemming from poor mental health would be endless but these two extreme examples serve to illustrate the point.
There are probably very few hackers or terrorists reading this post. But, what about the quality of your own mental health? What is your own self-concept? How are your relationships going? Are your accomplishments built on win-win arrangements? Are the choices you make beneficial to both yourself and others? Your overall mental health will fluctuate depending on the relationship between your basic beliefs and each of the four inbornintentions.
So, in answer to our original question, no, you cannot exist (and still function) without some level of mental health, but its quality depends on which basic belief comes into play. Interestingly, the mental health of someone with a diagnosable mental illness will still range somewhere between excellent and poor.
What can you do to improve your mental health? Notice any area of your life that is causing problems or is uncomfortable. Then, through introspection, bring up to consciousness the responsible basic belief(s). Next, form a new basic belief in your thinking brain that is more in line with an inbornintention. Finally, construct experiences and make choices based on the new belief, and continue doing so until the new desired behaviors become automatic. That’s when you know that you have the new belief solidly in place in your feeling brain.
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