I have always found the practice of diagnosing dead people through their writings to be a fascinating exercise. A recent example of this is Ian Osborn’s Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?: A Psychiatrist Explores the Role of Faith in Treatment (Brazos 2008), in which he diagnoses Luther, Bunyan, and Teresa of Avila as all being OCD. It makes me wonder what psychological disorders would be attributed to me if someone only had my writings to go by.
But, even more fascinating than diagnosing dead people is diagnosing people who were never alive in the first place. Talk about job security. So, researchers in France have concluded that Darth Vader had borderline personality disorder. As BoingBoing reports, they concluded:
He presented impulsivity and difficulty controlling his anger and alternated between idealisation and devaluation (of his Jedi mentors)….He also experienced two dissociative episodes secondary to stressful events. One occurred after his mother’s death, when he exterminated a whole tribe of Tuskan people, while the other one took place just after he turned to the dark side. He slaughtered all the Jedi younglings before voicing paranoid thoughts concerning his former mentor and his wife. Finally, the films depicted his quest to find himself, and his uncertainties about who he was. Turning to the dark side and changing his name could be interpreted as a sign of identity disturbance.
Poor Darth. If only psychiatric medicine had been as advanced in his day. Maybe he could have been saved.