Question: How is it that individuals who are totally wrapped up in irrational thinking can be energized to think in goal-directed, flexible, creative, problem-solving modes?
When in the psychotic mode the cognitive resources are invested, to an exorbitant degree, in the delusions and hallucinations. Because of the quote “tunnel vision,” the individual is unable to question the validity of the false beliefs, to think of alternative explanations, and to relate adaptively to the external world.
It is as though the individual has a limited amount of “psychic energy” and this is absorbed by psychotic thinking.
None the less, individuals with paranoia are able to conduct normal appearing lives, apart from their circumscribed beliefs, such as “the government has stolen my inventions.”
Given that in schizophrenia the limited resources are absorbed by the delusional thinking, etc., it seems that additional resources are available (that is latent) but not immediately accessible.
When the individual, however, is inspired by group processes, this additional energy becomes available and the individual is able to focus on the objectives of the group, think flexibly and creatively, and exert will power.
It is interesting that in the very cases of those who can get mobilized in a group activity may show minimal amounts of will power. For example, attending to personal hygiene, etc. where there is no obvious reward.
Being engaged in a group process, however, does seem to be rewarding in and of itself. There is a sense of solidarity, collegiality, etc., which I assume constitutes the rewarding aspects of the initiative.
The additional resources that may become available in a group process or emergency may be considered to be constituting a reserve source of resources (energy?).