Psychiatry’s Oppression of Young Anarchists — and the Underground Resistance

Bruce Levine, Ph.D.

June 16, 2013

Many young people diagnosed with mental disorders are essentially anarchists with the bad luck of being misidentified by mental health professionals who: (1) are ignorant of the social philosophy of anarchism, (2) embrace, often without political consciousness, it’s opposite ideology of hierarchism, and (3) confuse the signs of anarchism with symptoms of mental illness.

The mass media equates anarchism with chaos and violence. However, the social philosophy of anarchism rejects authoritarian government, opposes coercion, strives for greatest freedom, works toward “mutual aid” and voluntary cooperation, and maintains that people organizing themselves without hierarchies create the most satisfying social arrangement. Many anarchists adhere to the principle of nonviolence (though the question of violence has historically divided anarchists in their battle to eliminate authoritarianism). Nonviolent anarchists have energized the Occupy movement and other struggles for economic justice and freedom.

In practice, anarchism is not a dogmatic system. So for example, “practical anarchist” parents will use their authority to grab their child who has begun to run out into traffic. However, practical anarchists strongly believe that all authorities have the burden of proof to justify control, and that most authorities in modern society cannot bear that burden and are thus illegitimate — and should be eliminated and replaced by noncoercive, freely participating relationships.

My experience as a clinical psychologist for almost three decades is that many young people labeled with psychiatric diagnoses are essentially anarchists in spirit who are pained, anxious, depressed, and angered by coercion, unnecessary rules, and illegitimate authority. An often-used psychiatric diagnosis for children and adolescents is oppositional defiant disorder (ODD); its symptoms include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules” and “often argues with adults.”

Among young people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychologist Russell Barkley, one of mainstream mental health’s leading ADHD authorities, says that they have deficits in “rule-governed behavior,” as they are less responsive to rules of authorities and less sensitive to positive or negative consequences. A frequently used research tool that distinguishes alcohol/drug abuser personalities was developed by Craig MacAndrew (commonly called the MAC scale), and it reveals that the most significant “addictive personality type” have discipline problems at school, are less tolerant of boredom, are less compliant with authorities and some laws, and engage in more disapproved sexual practices.

I have encountered many people who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychoses, and who are now politically conscious anarchists, including Sascha Altman DuBrul, author of Maps to the Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer. DuBrul, several times diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has lived in rebel communities in Mexico, Central America, and Manhattan’s Lower East Side, worked on community farms, participated in Earth First! road blockades, demonstrated on the streets in the Battle for Seattle, and he reports that many of his anti-authoritarian friends also have been diagnosed with mental illness.

Teenagers, as evidenced by their musical tastes, often have an affinity for anti-authoritarianism, but most do not act on their beliefs in a manner that would make them vulnerable to violent reprisals by authorities. However, I have found that many young people diagnosed with mental disorders — perhaps owing to some combination of integrity, fearlessness, and naïvety — have acted on their beliefs in ways that threaten authorities. Historically in American society, there is often a steep price paid by those who have this combination of integrity, fearlessness, and naïvity.

While DuBrul and his friends have political consciousness, my experience is that most rebellious young people diagnosed with mental disorders do not, and so they become excited to hear that there is actual political ideology that encompasses their point of view. They immediately become more whole after they discover that answering “yes” to the following questions does not mean that they suffer from a mental disorder but instead have a certain social philosophy:

  • Do you hate coercion and domination?
  • Do you love freedom?
  • Are you willing to risk punishments to gain freedom?
  • Do you instinctively distrust large, impersonal, and distant authorities?
  • Do you think people should organize themselves rather than submit to authorities?
  • Do you dislike being either an employer or an employee?
  • Do you smile after reading the Walt Whitman quote “Obey little, resist much”?

Young people who oppose inequality and exploitation, reject a capitalist economy, and aim for a society based on cooperative, mutually-owned enterprise are essentially left-anarchists — perhaps calling themselves “anarcho-syndicalists” or “anarcho-communitarians.” When they discover what Noam Chomsky, Peter Kropotkin, Kirkpatrick Sale, or Emma Goldman have to say, they may identify with them. These young people have a strong moral streak of egalitarianism and a desire for social and economic justice. Not only are they not mentally ill but, from my perspective, they are the hope of society.

There is another group of freedom-loving young people who hate the coercion of parents, schools, and the state but lack an egalitarian moral streak, and are very much into money and capitalism. Some of them may have been dragged into the mental health system after having been caught drug dealing, and are labeled with conduct disorder and/or a personality disorder. While these young people rebel against  being controlled and exploited themselves, many of them are not averse to controlling and exploiting others and so are not anarchists: but some have spiritual transformations and become so.

An Underground Resistance for Oppressed Young Anarchists

There are at least two ways that mental health professionals can join the resistance: (1) speak out about the political role of mental health institutions in maintaining the status quo in society, (2) depathologize and repoliticize rebellion in one’s clinical practice, which includes helping young anarchists navigate an authoritarian society without becoming self-destructive or destructive to others, and helping families build respectful, non-coercive relationships.

If a nonviolent anarcho-communitarian (politically conscious or otherwise) is dragged by parents into my office for failing to take school seriously but is otherwise pleasant and excited by learning, I tell parents that I do not believe that there is anything essentially “disordered” with their child. This sometimes gets me fired, but not all that often. It is my experience that most parents may think that believing a society can function without coercion is naive but they agree that it’s not a mental illness, and they’re open to suggestions that will create greater harmony and joy within their family.

I work hard with parents to have them understand that their attempt to coerce their child to take school seriously not only has failed — that’s why they’re in my office — but will likely continue to fail. And increasingly, the pain of their failed coercion will be compounded by the pain of their child’s resentment, which will destroy their relationship with their child and create even more family pain. Many parents acknowledge that this resentment already exists. I ask liberal parents, for example, if they would try to coerce a homosexual child into being heterosexual or vice versa, and most say, “Of course not!” And so they begin to see that temperamentally anarchist children cannot be similarly coerced without great resentment.

It has been my experience that many rebellious young people labeled with psychiatric disorders and substance abuse don’t reject all authorities, simply those they’ve assessed to be illegitimate ones, which just happens to be a great deal of society’s authorities. Often, these young people are craving a relationship with mutual respect in which they can receive help navigating the authoritarian society around them.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on May 17, 2013, in “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States, 2005–2011,” reported: “A total of 13%–20% of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year, and surveillance during 1994–2011 has shown the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing.”

Is there an epidemic of childhood mental illness, or is there a curious revolt? My experience is that many young Americans—feeling helpless, hopeless, bored, scared, misunderstood, and uncared about—ultimately rebel; but given their wherewithal, their rebellion is often disorganized, futile, self-destructive, and appears to mental health professionals as a disorder or illness. Underlying many of psychiatry’s diagnoses is the experience of helplessness, hopelessness, boredom, fear, isolation, and dehumanization. Does society, especially for young people, promote:

  • Respectful personal relationships — or manipulative impersonal ones?
  • Empowerment — or helplessness?
  • Autonomy (self-direction) — or heteronomy (institutional-direction)?
  • Participatory democracy — or authoritarian hierarchies?
  • Diversity and stimulation — or homogeneity and boredom?

Emotional and behavioral problems are often natural human reactions to a society that cares little about:

(1) autonomy—self-direction and the experience of potency

(2) community—strong bonds that provide for economic security and emotional satisfaction, and

(3) humanity—the variety of ways of being human, the variety of satisfactions, and the variety of negative reactions to feeling controlled rather than understood.

Young anarchists are especially sensitive to American society’s absence of autonomy, community, and humanity — and this can result in overwhelming anxiety and depression.

While giant pharmaceutical corporations promote psychiatry’s authority as a vehicle for increased drug sales, the whole of the corporate state supports psychiatry so as to maintain the status quo. In the old Soviet Union, political dissidents were diagnosed by psychiatrists as mentally ill, then hospitalized and drugged. Even more effective for those at the top of the hierarchy is what now occurs in the United States: diagnosing and treating anti-authoritarians before they have reached political consciousness and before they have created communities of resistance.

One reason that there is so little political activism in the United States is that a potentially huge army of anti-authoritarians are being depoliticized by mental illness diagnoses and by attributions that their inattention, anger, anxiety, and despair are caused by defective biochemistry, not by their alienation from a dehumanizing society. These diagnoses and attributions make them less likely to organize democratic movements to transform society.

In the early nineteenth century in the United States, a network of secret routes, conductors, and safe houses were utilized by African-Americans to escape from slavery. This network was commonly called “The Underground Railroad,” organized by runaway slaves, free African-American abolitionists, and white abolitionists. Today, communities of ex-psychiatric patients (see, for example, MindFreedom and the Icarus Project) are helping young anti-authoritarians resist their mental illness labeling and coercive treatments. There are also a handful of mental health professional dissident organizations that, while not promoting the social philosophy of anarchism, do oppose dehumanizing diagnoses and coercive treatments (for example, the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry).

While there are career risks for modern day mental health professional dissidents, these are small risks compared with those taken by slavery abolitionists. So as a mental health professional, I find it quite embarrassing that there are so few professionals involved in the current resistance.

In American history, there have been several shameful periods where groups — including Native Americans, homosexuals, and assertive women — have been pathologized, dehumanized, and meted out oppressive treatments by mental health professionals in an attempt to alter their basic being. Today’s psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors would do well to recognize that historians do not look kindly on those professionals who participated in institutional dehumanization and oppression.

Bruce Levine, Ph.D.

Commonsense Rebellion: Bruce E. Levine, a practicing clinical psychologist, writes and speaks about how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His latest book is Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite. His Web site is www.brucelevine.net

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50 thoughts on “Psychiatry’s Oppression of Young Anarchists — and the Underground Resistance

  1. Dear Bruce, are rationalizing the instinctive mechanism’s of shame here? You write;

    “Many young people diagnosed with mental disorders are essentially anarchists with the bad luck of being misidentified by mental health professionals who: (1) are ignorant of the social philosophy of anarchism, (2) embrace, often without political consciousness, it’s opposite ideology of hierarchism, and (3) confuse the signs of anarchism with symptoms of mental illness.”

    I understand how this resonates so well with your audience, yet perhaps you may consider that your immersed in a culture of violence, and unaware of the “subconscious” nature of a taken for granted view of life, which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Consider the roots of culture and the history of societies, through the lense of an “internal,” stigma producing, compass of shame;

    “Mental Illness Stigma is entwined in the compass of shame which binds us all together. Shame is the emotional force which shapes society. Shame is the glue which keeps us together in structures of social order, underpinning social rank and status.
    At the North end of the Compass is Withdrawal. At the East end of the Compass is Attack Self. At the South end of the compass is Avoidance. And at the West end of the compass is the Attack Others pole.

    Compass of Shame
    by Harold Grossman, MD, FRCP(C)

    In the 1960′s, Dr. Sylvan Tompkins investigated, through the use of video tape analysis, the primary instinctual affects (emotions of the moment) of infants. He described nine innate primary affects which he said were truly constitutional rather than learned responses. Two are positive: Joy and Excitement. One is neutral: Startle. The negative six affects that one can observe are: Fear, Disgust (tongue out), Dissmell (lifting away of the nose), Rage, Despair, and most importantly, Shame (eyes averted, head down). Shame is supposed to be a protective response to keep us connected to the group rather than wondering off dangerously by ourselves.

    It has been given to us to help us survive and to eliminate it would not be safe.
    When confronted with shame in our adult years, those of us with good self esteem and a background of being loved and accepted, process the experience differently then those who do not have these inner resources. The most mature of us begin an inner search of memories for times when we felt truly accepted and loved, and are able to recover our equilibrium and even learn something more about ourselves and about the part that was exposed.

    Those of us that cannot digest the shame in this way respond in one of four different defensive directions,a concept organized by Dr D.L. Nathanson, he calls “The Compass of Shame”. Each pole represents a scripted set of things to say to oneself and ways of behaving towards others.

    At the North end of the Compass is “Withdrawal”. It is hiding from others and living in fear of exposure of what we perceive as a defect or weakness. It leads to isolation and gradual absorption into a darker insulated world. It would tend to defeat our human need to belong, for sake of survival.

    At the East end of the Compass is “Attack Self”.
    With this set of behaviors we diminish ourselves in the presence of others. In a sense it is “heading off at the pass” the fear of rejection. Unlike Withdrawal, we can stay connected, as it is not hard in this competitive world to find a person who wants to feel like a winner by connecting to a loser. In its safety it just worsens the pain and degrades the soul. There is a danger in living at the North and
    East poles. Because the feelings are not processed, they can build up inside and can lead to explosions or extreme violence (a notable example was the story of the murderous teens in the shootings at Columbine).

    At the South end is the opposite of “Withdrawal”, what Dr. Nathanson calls “Avoidance”.
    The goal of this strategy is to hide the feelings of shame entirely from consciousness, if possible. The use of alcohol and other illicit drugs leading to addiction is a way of avoiding the feelings. It is said that shame is dissolved in alcohol, melted by narcotics and boiled by cocaine and amphetamines.

    Another strategy used at this pole of Avoidance is to call attention to oneself in ways meant to distract others by “showing off” or being an exhibitionist. It is also at the core of a theory about the development of Narcissistic Personality Disorders, whose self aggrandizement is seen as an avoidance of shame to the point of complete unawareness. Like the East pole, people remain connected with others, although in a way that is devoid of true intimacy (i.e. the sharing of vulnerabilities). It creates a hollow, false sense of self and, like the addiction strategy, seems never to be enough to satisfy the underlying need.

    At the West end is the “Attack Others” pole. Simply put, this strategy refers to the bully who metes out their own inner sense of shame on another. It is these people who prey on the vulnerable, leading to damage that scares people, often for the rest of their lives. Even the most stringent of rules to contain their behaviors does not solve the problem that promotes these actions. Until the matters of shame are addressed, these people remain a risk to those in their sights.

    At all points in this “compass of shame” there is significant damage to the individual and to others around them. Humility can be a path leading away from the poles of this compass and bringing us to healthier ways of living and relating. We can move from shame to humility when we allow ourselves to feel accepted and loved with all our flaws, all our vulnerabilities and failures. Humility can enable us to preserve our attachment to relationships and groups that mean safety and security to us. By striving for humility, we can make the choice to be autonomous and authentic, without diminishing ourselves or destroying the possibility of relationship in our interpersonal worlds.”

    Personally speaking, it took me decades to begin to sense my internal motivation. Sense the paradox of my internal defense against pain and sensations of fear; a flight to the refuge of my mind. To understand how we’re all raised to suppress sensations, in order to secure our mature sense of objective rationality. To understand why I felt lost in a sea of unconscious emotional reactivity, my social reflexes not quiet in-tune with normal social adaptation. Decades and the invention of the internet to begin to really understand, how traumatic experience had frozen my innate ability for spontaneous social communication. I had to leave my own culture to escape the built-in complications of a projection process, in which I felt trapped. So trapped that I’d found myself acting out a well meaning, projection of paternalistic care and concern, towards my therapy clients. So I went in search of my own “built-in” processes, in search of personal transformation. In my opinion, we are so immersed in the “autonomic” nature of our socially evolved humanity, asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

    As you so rightly point out;

    “In American history, there have been several shameful periods where groups—including Native Americans, homosexuals, and assertive women—have been pathologized, dehumanized, and meted out oppressive treatments by mental health professionals in an attempt to alter their basic being. Today’s psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors would do well to recognize that historians do not look kindly on those professionals who participated in institutional dehumanization and oppression.”

    Yet where on earth, will this subconscious process of blaming & shaming cease? Or to put it in the Bard’s word’s, we suffer the slings (rage) and arrows (shame) of outrageous fortune, without knowing the subconscious projections of the how & why, involved?

    Regards,

    David Bates.

    • To expand on my suggestion that we may suffer from an “illusion” of rationality, and why society needs to keep “madness” out of sight and out of mind.

      Please consider the subconscious mechanism’s of “affect,” as articulated by the founder of “affect” theory;

      “A second critical discovery occurred when my son was born. Beginning shortly after his birth, I observed him daily, for hours on end. I struck by the massiveness of the crying response. It included not only very loud vocalization and facial muscle responses, but also large changes in blood flow to the face and engagement of all the striate musculature of the body. It was a massive total bodily response which, however seemed to center on the face. (p, 32)

      A deep concern with either mind or body or both appears historically to lead to concern with affect. (p, 34)

      The contraction of no other set of muscles in the body had any apparent motivational properties. Thus if I were angry, I might clench my fist and hit someone, but if I simply clenched my fist, this would in no way guarantee I would become angry. Muscles seemed to be specialized for action and not for affect. Why then was the smile so easily and so universally responded to as an affect? Why did someone who was crying seem so distressed and so unhappy? (goes with porges head & face)

      Further, from an evolutionary point of view, we know that different functions are piled indiscriminately on top of structures which may have originally evolved to support quiet different functions. The tongue was an organ for eating before it was an organ for speech. The muscles of the face were also involved in eating before they were used as vehicles for affect. (p, 90)

      Fatigue to the point of extreme sleepiness seems to be localized in the skin around the eyes? (p, 91)

      INNATE AFFECT/EMOTION & SOCIETY:

      Because the free expression of innate affect is extremely contagious and because these are very powerful phenomena, all societies, in varying degrees, exercise substantial control over the free expression of the cry of affect. No societies encourage or permit each individual to cry out i.e, rage or excitement, or distress or terror wherever and whenever they wish. Very early on, strict control over affect expression is instituted and such control is exerted particularly over the voice, whether used in speech or in direct affect expression. (p, 93)

      If all societies suppress the free vocalization of affect, what is it that is being experienced as affect? It is what I have called backed-up affect, it can be seen in children trying to suppress laughter by swallowing a snicker, or by a stiff upper lip when trying not to cry (anti affects?) or by tightening the jaw to suppress anger. In all these cases, one is holding one’s breathe as part of the technique of suppressing the vocalization of affect. (p, 93)

      We do not know what are the biological and psychological prices of such suppression of the innate affective response. It seems at the very least that substantial psychosomatic disease might be one of the prices of such systemic suppression and transformation of the innate affective responses. Further there could be a permanent elevation of blood pressure as a consequence of suppressed rage, which would have a much longer duration than an innate momentary flash of expressed anger. (p, 94)

      Even the least severe suppression of the vocalization of affect must result in some bleaching of the experience of affect and therefore impoverish the quality of life It must also produce some ambiguity about what affect feels like, since so much of the adult’s affective life represents at the very least, a transformation of the affective response, rather than the simpler, more direct, and briefer innate affect. (p, 94)

      With anger the matter is further confused, because of the danger represented by this affect and enormous societal concern about the socialization of anger, what is typically seen and thought to be innate is actually backed-up. The appearance of the backed-up, the simulated, and the innate is by no means the same. (p, 94)

      Details of the difference in socialization concern, differences in tolerance or intolerance of the several primary human affects – excitement, enjoyment, surprise, distress, contempt, shame, fear and anger – which in turn determine how positively or how negatively a human being learns to feel about themselves and about other human beings. Such learning will also determine their general posture towards the entire ideological domain. (p, 168)

      MODERN EDUCATION & ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT COGNITION:

      This is the most recent instance in history of favouring man’s ‘reason’ as his distinctive glory. Although Genesis equated ’knowing’ with carnal knowledge, that fateful loss of innocence that exiled him from the Garden of Eden, in both theological and secular thought reason has been glorified as the divine spark in man. This perennial idealisation of the cognitive function has prejudged its definition.

      If human beings share sensory and motor equipment as well as drives and passions with other animals, and if reason is represented as both the distinctive and most valued function in man, then the cognitive aspects of the sensory and motor functions are denied by definition. Further, ‘irrationality’ is thereby also denied to be inherently cognitive.

      ‘Superstition’ and mysticism are prejudged to be different from cognition rather than to be special cases of knowing. In the extreme derivative of such idealisation, even science would fail to meet the criterion of true cognition, in-so-much as today’s science can be tomorrow’s superstition. In some theologies just this inference was drawn so that only God knew truly and fully.

      Yet if all cognitive theorists would resonate with Socrates dictum that an unexamined life is not worth living, they would part company as soon as ‘examination’ was scrutinised more closely. Are daydreaming and thinking equally ‘cognitive’ ‘inner’ processes that had to be both objectified and operationalized”

      Ideology and Affect/Emotion:

      Now let me introduce the concepts of ideo-affective postures, ideological postures and ideo-affective resonance. (1) By ideo-affective postures I mean any loosely organized set of feelings and ideas about feelings. (2) By ideological postures I refer to any “highly organized” and articulate set of ideas about anything. A generally tolerant or permissive attitude would be an instance of an ideo-affective posture, whereas a progressive or democratic political position would be an example of an ideological posture.

      (3) By ideo-affective resonance we mean the engagement of the loosely organized beliefs and feelings by ideology, when the ideo-affective postures are sufficiently similar to the ideological posture, so that they reinforce and strengthen each other.

      Ideo-affective resonance to ideology is a love affair of a loosely organized set of feelings and ideas about feelings with a highly organized and articulate set of ideas about anything. As in the case of a love affair the fit need not be perfect, so long as there is sufficient similarity between what the individual thinks and feels is desirable, to set the vibrations between the two entities into sympathetic resonance.”

      Excerpts from “Exploring Affect,” (1995) by Sylvan Tomkins.

      When Tomkins speaks of “sympathetic resonance,” he did so before recent advances brought a deeper awareness of our “autonomic nervous system” with its management of sympathetic and parasympathetic, outflow from the heart.

      And as Allan Schore points out, in his articulation of our human development, from a neuroscience perspective;

      “In physics a property of resonance is sympathetic vibration, the tendency of one resonance system to enlarge & augment through matching the resonance frequency pattern of another resonance system”

      Excerpt from “Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self”

      Hence my curiosity; “Do our nervous systems resonate together in unconscious attunment or misattunment?”

      And I wonder if the average “intellectual” ever pauses to “catch the gap between the spark & the flame,” as Buddists suggest?

      Perhaps the “gap” is synaptic? The spark is within the heart? and the flame is the mind? Most people take their mind’s for granted, perhaps with a Biblical sense of an “immaculate conception?”

      Which reminds me of the esteemed Harvard PhD, who travels to India and meets a Guru. He spends three days explaining his theory of mind to the Guru, and asks ‘what you THINK?

      ‘Feels like intellectual masterbation to me,’ says the Guru.

      And of course the PhD is outraged, he doesn’t even hear the “operative” word, “feels.” And he remains rather “anal” about correct spelling & grammar, as his sense of insecurity, is masked by his need to feel superior.

      What lies beneath the mask of consciousness?

      Best wishes to all,

      David Bates.

        • I understand your resistance to, as Damasio puts it, “the feeling of what happens.” I understand your “intelectual” position, and do suggest what is missing form your “artful” articulation of “social politics” is an awareness of the internal dynamics of human motivation.

          The resistance WE all exhibit, is a learned “social-phobia” to emotion and the feeling of what is happening inside us, in the reality of the lived moment.

          What is missing in your “critique” of what appears to an objective view of the “system” out there, is an appreciation of the system within, and our individual NEED of emotional projection.

          Tell me Bruce, why is it so difficult to raise awareness of human rights violations in mental health? Why, even as we see an event discussing the rights of the child as a patient, at the Vatican no lees. Why is there so little mainstream attention, even in the Catholic press?

          Is it because, there is a subconscious dynamic of cover-up inside each and every one of us? A subconscious dynamic which we in the survivor community continue to resist and therefore collude with the forces we think we are opposed to?

          Perhaps because we all suffer from a socially necessary rational illusion about the nature of our own reality.

          Perhaps you can write a post addressing just why it is, that Dr Michael Cornwall’s more potent question, “if mental illness is not what psychiatry say it is, then what is it,” is rarely addressed by individuals like yourself, who play to understandable needs of your audience.

          Again I suggest we ALL suffer from a rational illusion about the “objective” nature of own reality, for the sake of social harmony.

          Perhaps you could write a post addressing your own left-hemisphere functioning, and show your audience just how self-aware you really are?

          Please consider McGilchrist’s view of the average PhD;

          “Interpersonal and Relational writers largely have endorsed the idea that we are in fact confronted with a paradigm change and have conceptualized it as a transformation from a one-person to a two-person psychology. I feel that this formulation is accurate, and that three central clinical shifts are intrinsic to the conceptual shift: A shift from the primacy of content to the primacy of context, a shift from the primacy of cognition to the primacy of affect, and a shift away from (but not yet an abandonment of) the concept of “technique.” (p. 126)

          The current radical expansion of knowledge and paradigm shift has wider implications beyond the mental health professions to the cultural and political organization of societies. In my 2003 volumes I argued that the right hemisphere nonconscious implicit self, and not the left conscious explicit self, is dominant in human adaptive survival functions. Offering data at the neuropsychological, cultural, and historical levels, McGilchrist (2009) echoes this principle:

          “If what one means by consciousness is the part of the mind that brings the world into focus, makes it explicit, allows it to be formulated in language, and is aware of its own awareness, it is reasonable to link the conscious mind to activity almost all of which lies ultimately in the left hemisphere” (p. 188).

          He adds, however, “The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless” (p. 174). In contrast, “the right hemisphere … yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known— and to this world it exists in a relationship of care” (p. 174). Indeed, the “emotional” right hemisphere “has the most sophisticated and extensive, and quite possibly most lately evolved, representation in the prefrontal cortex, the most highly evolved part of the brain” (p. 437).

          An essential tenet of McGilchrist’s volume (2009) is expressed in its title: the right hemisphere is the master, and the left the emissary, which is willful, believes itself superior, and sometimes betrays the master, bringing harm to them both. Offering interdisciplinary evidence that spans the sciences and the arts, he convincingly argues that the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. I agree that especially western cultures, even more so than in the past, are currently overemphasizing left brain functions.

          Our cultural conceptions of both mental and physical health, as well as the aims of all levels of education, continue to narrowly overstress rational, logical, analytic thinking over holistic, bodily based, relational right brain functions that are essential to homeostasis and survival. It is ironic that at a time when clinicians and researchers are making significant breakthroughs not only in right brain social-emotional models of optimal development but also in right brain models of the etiologies and treatment of a wide range of psychopathologies, strong economic and cultural inhibitory restraints and cutbacks are being felt by practitioners. How can we understand this? We are constantly told that the reason for this lies in objective economic factors. But the paradigm shift in psychology and neuroscience suggests subjective unconscious forces are at play here.” Excerpts from:

          Schore, Allan N. N. (2012-04-02). The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) (p. 347). Norton. Kindle Edition

          What my long comments are attempting to draw attention to is the “subjective unconscious forces are at play here.”

          When we live in a rationalized denial of what makes, both ourselves and therefore society work.

          The rationalized illusion about reality, and the real “internal” motivation of so many in this community is summed beautifully by a comment below:

          “All glory!” writes FYI, in a taken for granted and self-fulling illusion of “us vs them” and society composed of winners and losers.

          What’s missing though, is, self-knowledge and therefore a deeper self-realization.

          Respectfully

          David Bates.

  2. I’m not sure whether “anarchist” is a good word, because there seems to be a push by many for more government involvement, not less, with social programs, housing, etc.

    With more government involvement comes less autonomy, less freedom, etc. I’d prefer not to get into a lengthy discussion on politics, but that’s my observation.

    Re: “… historians do not look kindly on those professionals who participated in institutional dehumanization and oppression.”

    I agree wholeheartedly.
    History will “not” be kind to psychiatry.

    Duane

  3. great article to spread far and wide. I think here in Arizona there is a disproportionate amount of indigenous people in the mental hospitals, revealing an age old trend of assimilation by the mental hell system. I am still in the system myself, due to the fact there are medication withdrawal syndrome problems they are not addressing and human rights abuses I experienced and witnessed within the system has disabled me more. I am still seeking help within the system as there is no other place to go right now. I know some genuinely want to help people in there, but there needs to be major reform and alternative healing methods. Viva la resistance!

    • Thanks, Nancy. Excellent point about indigenous people, many of whom just a few generations back did have closer to anarchist societies, where people cared passionately about NOT having coercion, as they were aware of how much resentment that created and how poisoned a society. Of course, not all indigenous tribes were the same, but many did grasp the psychological/societal importance of NOT having coercion much more than modern societies, and so it is even more depressing for indigenous people to live in coercive, authoritarian societies. Good luck, Bruce

  4. Great post. I’m kicking myself. Now why haven’t I written anything comparable. Must I forever be a closet anarchist. Oh, well. I’m working on that one, one peek at a time.

    I hope a lot of kids are reading, and I hope they get turned on by what they’re reading. We can, and shall, overcome! We must…

    Frank

  5. Bruce,

    This is surely one of the best blog posts, ever, on this website, IMO.

    It’s truly awesome good (IMO).

    So many passages resonate with me, given my own youthful experiences with psychiatry — and considering many observations of others’ similar experiences with psychiatry.

    I would just add a bit (including a bit on libertarianism) to the mix, of your discussion…

    You write,

    There is another group of freedom-loving young people who hate the coercion of parents, schools, and the state but lack an egalitarian moral streak, and are very much into money and capitalism. Some of them may have been dragged into the mental health system after having been caught drug dealing, and are labeled with conduct disorder and/or a personality disorder. While these young people rebel against they themselves being controlled and exploited, many of them are not averse to controlling and exploiting others, and so are not anarchists, but some have spiritual transformations and become so.

    Certainly, I’ll not argue with that observation, of yours — even and especially, as you conclude that such individuals, “are not anarchists, but some have spiritual transformations and become so.”

    However, what you leave out (perhaps, inadvertently) is that some such individuals may become libertarians.

    That’s perfectly understandable, I feel, because Thomas Szasz was a libertarian, and no other individual on Planet Earth ever did more to publicly reject the ‘authority’ of Psychiatry.

    Thomas Szasz became — and remained — the world’s preeminent *dissenting* (i.e., anti-authoritarian) psychiatrist, from the time of his first publishing The Myth of Mental Illness (1974); he was a self-identified libertarian — not an anarchist.

    But, in fact, there are many kinds of libertarians (various schools of libertarian thought) and many kinds of anarchists; in fact, in some ways, the two groups seemingly merge and become more or less essentially indistinguishable, at points.

    I, personally, feel fairly comfortable with various ideals (but not all notions) that are frequently presented by those calling themselves “anarcho-syndicalists” — and, simultaneously, feel considerable resonance with the politics of some (not all) who call themselves libertarian.

    [Please note, as I say I resonate with some libertarians, I should add, that I echo Duane's sentiment above, when he says, "I support a safety net for people who are disabled, and strongly feel that psychiatric “treatment” causes disability in many cases."]

    Recently, I was introduced to the concept of “Minarchism”.

    From Wikipedia,

    Minarchism (also known as minimal statism) is a libertarian capitalist political philosophy. It is variously defined by sources. In the strictest sense, it holds that states ought to exist (as opposed to anarchy), that their only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and that the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police, and courts. In the broadest sense, it also includes fire departments, prisons, the executive, and legislatures as legitimate government functions. Such states are generally called night-watchman states.

    Minarchists argue that the state has no authority to use its monopoly of force to interfere with free transactions between people, and see the state’s sole responsibility as ensuring that contracts between private individuals and property are protected, through a system of law courts and enforcement. Minarchists generally believe a laissez-faire approach to the economy is most likely to lead to economic prosperity.

    …Some minarchists argue that anarchism is immoral because it implies that the non-aggression principle is optional, because the enforcement of laws under anarchism is open to competition.

    Just adding food for thought…

    And, again, great blog post…

    Respectfully,

    ~Jonah

    • Hi Jonah:))

      Have you heard about our left-brain tendency to repeat other people’s wisdom, in world where IQ is idolized over experience and EQ? Consider;

      “”The left-brain style is to verbalize, to fall back on what is already known in order to preserve the sense of self mastery.” _ Roz Carroll.

      “It may be that the “mind-body split,” is in effect a right-left split, with left-brain activation overriding the right-brain assimilation and regulation of sub-cortically generated emotional states.” _ Roz Carroll.

      It reminds me of watching Jill Bolte Taylor’s amazing Ted-talk, and her description of that state of “oneness,” some of us experience within seemingly possessed by the energy of euphoria?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU

      She describes in her book, how her brother had schizophrenia, and would try to tell her of his altered states of mind. Some in the community here, might be surprised how much we could learn from both sides, in the mental health debate, if we could only “turn the other cheek,” so to speak. Here’s an excerpt from her book;

      “Fortunately, how we choose to be today is not predetermined by how we were yesterday. I view the garden in my mind as a sacred patch of cosmic real estate that the universe has entrusted me to tend over the years of my lifetime. As an independent agent, I and I alone, in conjunction with the molecular genius of my DNA and the environmental factors I am exposed to, will decorate this space within my cranium.”

      Excerpt from; “Taylor, Jill Bolte (2009-03-19). My Stroke of Insight (p. 176). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.”

      You never did address this question I posed to you;

      “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.”

      Although, I do understand your need to ignore me?

      Be well my friend,

      Respectfully,

      D.B.

      • David Bates asks me, “Have you heard about our left-brain tendency to repeat other people’s wisdom, in world where IQ is idolized over experience and EQ?”

        David Bates,

        Is that your way of telling me that you believe you have an overly dominant left-brain? and/or, an under-developed, passive right brain?

        I watched that Youtube video, which you recommended (what you refer to, as, “Jill Bolte Taylor’s amazing Ted-talk, and her description of that state of “oneness,” some of us experience within seemingly possessed by the energy of euphoria”).

        It was truly appalling — and a perfectly horrifying example of pop-neuroscience gone awry.

        That you would find such a TED talk “amazing” is *not* a good sign, IMO — as it suggests to me that you really do not get what’s going on, on this MIA website.

        Nor do you read my comments, on this website, very often, obviously. (Nor could you have read much of my blogging.)

        The featured speaker in your video shows not the least bit of insight, into the life of her brother (who’s so-called “diagnosed with a brain disorder, schizophrenia”), despite the fact that his supposed “brain disorder,” as such, inspired her to become a neuroscientist.

        She explains, “I wanted to understand why is it that I can take my dreams, I can connect them to my reality, and I can make my dreams come true. What is it about my brother’s brain and his schizophrenia, that he cannot his dreams to a common and shared reality, so they instead become delusion? So, I dedicated my career to research into the severe mental illnesses…”

        She briefly describes how she wound up, in Harvard, comparing the workings of so-called “bipolar” and “schizoaffective” and “schizophrenic” people’s brains, with the brains of “normal controls” — and was simultaneously traveling as a national advocate for NAMI.

        Then (as the true subject of her talk), she describes having had a stroke.

        What does she feel that her stroke had to do with her brother? Who knows? She never refers back to him.

        She’s an effective story-teller, as she adds much comedy to the predicament of being a curious neuroscientist having suddenly had a stroke, but her story is not (IMO) even the least bit revealing, of the reality of her brother’s life — and why it is that he can’t make his dreams come true the way she can.

        Her enthusiasm for her career is obviously genuine; and, I don’t doubt she means well by her brother.

        But, she’s a classic case of the sibling who (perhaps, through a guilt complex) becomes a ‘mental health’ pro (in this case, a neurologist) who’ll — quite tragically — go far and wide reinforcing the horrible ignorance represented by the so-called “severe mental illness” diagnosis that a brother or sister received.

        She’s like a female clone of E. Fuller Torrey — likewise, doing time, stumping for NAMI.

        Why can’t her brother make his dreams come true like she can?

        (It’s such an obvious answer, IMO. He’s being called “schizophrenic” — whilst being pumped with neuroleptics, no doubt; she offers not the least sense of knowing how crippling that label becomes; and, she never says a thing about psych-drugs.)

        She offers a very entertaining view of the moments, of her stroke; but, really, she’s all fluff.

        I was truly shocked to realize that you found her talk inspiring.

        Respectfully,

        ~Jonah

        • P.S. — David, about your having now come to suggest that I am ignoring you:

          I am not ignoring you.

          Simply, I cannot pay as much attention to you as you seem to expect I should…

          Though I dialogue with you willingly, this does not mean I can do so endlessly.

          I’ve asked you (repeatedly) to please not overwhelm me with words.

          My life is about more than just being on the Web; and, when I am on the Web, it’s about more than just engaging with David Bates; you can understand that, yes?

          David, in that other thread (where you now indicate, you think I came to ignoring you), you wrote,

          “What does the metaphor ‘I see you’ from the movie Avatar mean to you, Jonah? According to Jake’s friend, it means ‘I see into you.’”

          You are presenting that same question and answer, to others, as well.

          What does it mean to you, I wonder?

          Does it mean that you think you can see into us?

          I don’t believe you can see into me.

          You have suggested a Youtube for me; with that in mind, now I am going to suggest a Youtube for you.

          This inspires me very much. Hopefully, it will not have the same effect on you, that your video had on me.

          Here’s the link:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4I60ZHdx5Og

          In case you haven’t time to watch it now, I leave you with these few lines, transcribed from that video…

          That which is, That which was, That which will be… World becomes nothing more than an image, stitched with gold thread on the tapestry, just the playful addition Drunk in love, the lover calls out in the one who resides in the heart but still seems so far Nobody wishes a heaven if the price is death Nobody will wish for immortality if the cost is death But this is what Love is — DEATH But from this arises the resurrection of anew you – pure, virgin, loveful And now the calls of heart gets answered Until the ego is alive, there is no possibility of love to happen When darkness of ego is blown away with longingness Urgency, search of the truth, this becomes possible For Jalaluddin Rumi, it happened, when Shams-e-Tabrizi arrived and stole his heart and mind And then love occupied this vaccum While someone asked Shams whose head was full of ideas and desires, he said, tell me about divine mystery. Shams said, I cannot tell you the mystery. I can tell this mystery only to someone in whom I can see myself. This mystery I will tell only to myself. I don’t see myself in you. I see someone else. The mind has to be emptied of all attachments, greed, passion, darkness and for this the teacher, the sheikh has to hit lovefuly, until the mind is shattered…

          Be well, my friend…

          Respectfully,

          ~Jonah

          • Dear Jonah, you write;

            “What does it mean to you, I wonder?

            Does it mean that you think you can see into us?

            I don’t believe you can see into me.”

            Perhaps you may consider an unconscious process of “affective judgement,” and how it pertains to “affective psychosis” and the hidden nature of what “rationalists” label mental illness. Perhaps you may consider educating your sense of self, with an exploration of your internal environment?

            Please consider;

            “Education of The Senses:

            By examining the “affects” experienced in judging another, one learns a great deal about how the illusion of self-containment is purchased at the price of dumping negative affects on that other. The level of “affective transmission” is marked in terms of how one party carries the others negative affects; his aggression is experienced as her anxiety and so forth. By means of this projection, one believes oneself to be detached from him or her, when one is, in fact, propelling forward an affect the other will experience as rejection or hurt, unless the other shield’s themselves by a similar negative propulsion, in a passionate judgment of their own. (p, 119.)

            Discernment, in the affective world, functions best when one is able to be alert to the moment of sensation, which allows the negative affect to gain a hold within. Any faculty of discernment must involve a process whereby affects pass from a state of sensory registration to a state of cognitive awareness, this does not mean that the process of cognitive reflection is without an affect itself, just that this affect is other than the affect which is being reflected upon.”

            Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

            Perhaps, like most people, you are oblivious to, just how your affected by others, not really perceiving others, but rather, only being aware of your consciously taken for granted, response to “affect.”

            You may consider my quote from the movie Avatar, and contemplate why we don’t really “get” each other?

            What does ‘I see you’ really mean? Jake’s friend in the movie suggests it means ‘I see into you?’

            Can you contemplate the paradox of “we are all different?” Can you tell me just how different your internal organs are, to mine? Can you consider that on some level, we are all the same? One species, one family?

            As I have pointed out before on this webzine, we scan each others comments and blog posts, seeking “resources” to enhance our sense of self, and as adults, we seek a sense of mature function. We rationalize internal NEEDS, in our common expressions of cognitive function. Yet remain in denial of the reality of these “internal” needs, due to the way we are raised to suppress the expression of innate “affect.”

            What is missing in this rational debate about us & them motivations, is an awareness of projected internal needs.

            I understand how difficult it is to grasp what I’m trying to tease out, because real self-awareness is actively blocked by our western culture’s MindDominated sense of self.

            Because we don’t pause to catch the gap between the spark and the flame?

            You express your “limited” understanding of neuroscience with a perfect articulation of whats missing in this “us vs them” debate.

            “It was truly appalling — and a perfectly horrifying example of pop-neuroscience gone awry.

            I suggest, with all due respect Jonah, that this is the reality of the emotive-projection” which you and I have been trying to bring to life, right here, in black and white. The confusing element of pop-psychology, which lacks a deeper sense of self.

            I’m doing my best to articulate the dichotomy involved in this debate, with comments like this one, and do understand the resistance to deeper self awareness, and why the debate continues to circular. Please consider my previous effort to engage a deeper discussion with you:

            The “chemical imbalance” metaphor finds general acceptance, because it appears to provide a plausible explanation for our distressing experience. We crave a “self-soothing” stimulus for our need to “minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – (which) is the driving force in human motivation.” (Schore, 2003).” In brackets mine.

            How do I sum up six years of intense self-education and its transforming effects, in a simple statement of straight forward English, when the general language is mismatched to our internal reality?

            I understand how unfamiliar the language of neuroscience is, to you and other readers, and understand the “reaction” to my seemingly “arrogant” statements. All I can do, is ask people to ponder, how it might be that a reading of science has enabled my transformation?

            “So, we finally arrive at the final and perhaps most important question in this discussion: “Why would an individual’s psyche intentionally initiate psychosis?”

            In other words, how can something as chaotic and as potentially harmful as psychosis act as a strategy to aid someone in transcending an otherwise irresolvable dilemma? To understand this, it helps to use as a metaphor the process of metamorphosis that takes place within the development of a butterfly. In order for a poorly resourced larva to transform into the much more highly resourced butterfly, it must first disintegrate at a very profound level, its entire physical structure becoming little more than amorphous fluid, before it can reintegrate into the fully developed and much more resourced form of a butterfly.”

            http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/08/op-ed-schizophreniapsychosis-brain-disease-or-existential-crisis/

            Yet how do we understand this common metaphor “psyche” and how can I explain how neuroscience gave me clues to understanding the internal NEED for my expereince of “mania?” Consider (and yes Jonah, I do understand that this comment is read by others too);

            A second core assumption of systems theory is that self-organization is characterized by the emergence and stabilization of novel forms from the interaction of lower-order components and involves “the specification and crystallization of structure.” This mechanism also describes how hierarchical structural systems in the developing brain self-organize. Developmental neuroscience is now identifying the “lower” autonomic and “higher” central brain systems that organize in infancy and become capable of generating and regulating psychobiological states.

            Developing organisms internalize environmental forces by becoming appropriately structured in relation to them, and by incorporating an internal model of these exogenous signals they develop adaptive homeostatic regulatory mechanisms which allow for stability in the face of external variation. The regulation of the organism, which maintains internal stability and output regulation and enables effective response to external stimuli, therefore depends on the formation of a dynamic model of the external environment. Self-organizing systems are thus systems that are capable of generating new internal representations in response to changing environmental conditions. (p, 94) (1980?)

            The human is a nonlinear dynamic system, an inherently dynamic energy-transformation regime that coevolves with its environment, one that self-organizes when exposed to an energy flux. The infant becomes attuned to an external object in its environment who consistently responds in a stimulating manner to the infant’s spontaneous impulsive energy dissipating behaviors. (p, 95)

            The nonlinear self acts “iteratively”, so that minor changes, occurring at the right moment, can be amplified in the system, thus launching it into a qualifiedly different state. Indeed energy shifts are the most basic and fundamental features of emotion, “discontinuous” states are experienced as “affect responses,” and nonlinear psychic bifurcations are manifest as rapid “affective shifts.” (p, 96)

            One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism’s efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). (my mania in 1980) I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

            Vagal tone is defined as “the amount of inhibitory influence on the heart by the parasympathetic nervous system.” (p, 301)

            In light of the principle that birth insult and stress interact and impair later stress regulation , early right-amygdala function, including olfactory contributions to proto-attachment communications, should be evaluated in the perinatal period. (p, 304)

            Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).

            Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child’s increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking. Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a “rushing” of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411).” (Schore, 2003)

            I posted the Jill Bolt Taylor stuff above to highlight the nature of our “unconscious” reactivity, which stimulates from within, our sense of reason.

            Again, with all due respect Jonah, you reacted exactly the way an emotional systems view of human nature predicts you will.

            Please understand that not trying to attack you or your idealism, which I fundamentally agree with. I’m trying to shift the debate to where it belongs, in answering Michael Cornwall’s far more potent question.

            IMO as long as we continue to focus on “treatments” and the social politics of business as usual, we will continue to collude with mainstream society’s deep and denied need, to keep madness out of sight and out of mind.

            I understand the motivation for your perception of mr Jonah, as write;

            “That you would find such a TED talk “amazing” is *not* a good sign, IMO — as it suggests to me that you really do not get what’s going on, on this MIA website.”

            I also understand how long it will take, for most readers to understand my motivation, in trying to point out, our common tendency to suffer a rational illusion, as to the nature of reality, and our mind’s subjective confusion.

            Hence my posting of a Buddhist perspective of the mind’s confusion about itself, on a previous thread.

            Be well my friend,

            Best wishes,

            David.

    • Thanks, Jonah. You are certainly right that many libertarians are slso involved in the movement against coercive psychiatry. Yes, anarchists and libertarians have much in common in terms of disliking coercion and loving freedom. Where they split off is on is on libertarians affinity for laissez faire capitalism, for which arnarchists see would result in wealth in the hands of the few, which would result in power in the hands of the few, which would result in many people getting pushed around by that power and wealth — which is happening today as the very wealthy individuals (such as the Koch brothers) and gigantic corporations have corrupted and annexed government and have partnered together to coerce people. Now genuine intellectual libertarians despise coercion and lover freedom don’t believe that rich people should be able to use government in this manner but that’s the reason why many people want that much money — to have power, and disproportionate power results in coercion of others. At least that’s what most communitarian anarchists believe — Bruce

      • Dear Bruce, perhaps, as a now famous female psychic, in the the movie Avatar suggests, we need to cure ourselves of our rationalized “in-sanity?”

        With all due respect, your articulation of hierarchism stands in denial of our “internal” top-down and bottom-up processes?

        You may consider, as I suggested above, that your immersed in a culture which demands a rationality of denial, because the elephant in room, is perceived by so many God fearing people, to be an insult to their perception of God? Hence, your rationalization of group behaviors and group mind’s. Please consider;

        “The Appearence of Sanity?

        “The group can be apparently sane: a university department for instance, and yet occasionally irrational or persecutory in its dynamics. For the group can and usually is, organized around its work function.” What was Bion alluding to in this notion of percecutory dynamics? Please consider;

        Our Consensus Reality & Cognitive Dissonance?

        Cognitive Dissonance:

        This is the uncomfortable feeling that develops when people are confronted by “things that shouldn’t ought to be, but are.” If the dissonance is sufficiently strong, and is not reduced in some way, the uncomfortable feeling will grow, and that feeling can develop into anger, fear and even hostility. To avoid cognitive dissonance people will often react to any evidence which disconfirms their beliefs by actually strengthening their original beliefs and create rationalizations for the disconfirming evidence. The drive to avoid cognitive dissonance is especially strong when the belief has led to public commitment.

        There are three common strategies for reducing cognitive dissonance. One way is to adopt what others believe. Parents often see this change when their children begin school. Children rapidly conform to “group-think,” and after a few years, they need this particular pair of shoes, and that particular haircut or they will simply die. The need to conform to social pressure can be as psychically painful as physical pain.

        A second way of dealing with cognitive dissonance is to “apply pressure” to people who hold different ideas. This explains why mavericks are so routinely shunned by conventional wisdom. To function without the annoying psychic pain of cognitive dissonance, groups will use almost any means to achieve a consensus reality.

        A third way of reducing cognitive dissonance is to make the person who holds a different opinion significantly different from oneself. This is normally done by applying disparaging labels. The heretic is disavowed as stupid, malicious, foolish, sloppy, insane, or evil and their opinion simply does not matter.

        When we are publicly committed to a belief, it is disturbing even to consider that any evidence contradicting our position may be true, because a fear of public ridicule adds to the psychic pain of cognitive dissonance. Commitment stirs the fires of cognitive dissonance and makes it progressively more difficult to even casually entertain alternative views.

        “Without deep and active involvement in controversy, and/or a degree of philosophical self-consciousness about the social process of science, people may not notice how far scientific practice can stray from the text book model of science.” _Harry Collins.

        * * *

        Beneath the appearance of madness and our reactions to it, including our medical ways of treating it, are there instinctual roots of human emotions, Sylvan Tomkins observed and described as Innate Affects?

        Is there a huge “elephant in room” of human mental health? One which can be summed up in five simple words?

        I am NOT an ANIMAL?

        http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/madness-effects-of-its-fear-affect.html

        Sadly, in America, the reality of our evolution, needs to be denied, in favor of a social-harmony, which pays a huge price, for this confusion about a perceived dichotomy. Science & Religion, don’t mix well?

        Perhaps, we should all learn to think more in “metaphor,” when we address the nature of our own reality, and what appears to be “obvious” in our motivation to be an anarchist? Our Nature, rising up, from within, perhaps?

        Respectfully,

        David.

  6. Bruce’s blog post is 1,860 words.

    He’s attracted eight commenters, thus far .

    Here’s all but one commenter, in descending order of mass verbiage…

    BeyondLabeling: 583 words

    Discover and Recover: 147 words

    Nancy Pontius: 114 words

    FYI: 85 words

    Frank Blankenship: 58 words

    Philip Thomas, M.D.: 26 words

    Theinarticulatepoet: 16 words

    That’s 1,029 commenter words.

    Now the top mass verbiage commenter…

    David Bates: 2,760 words — nearly a thousand words more than the blogger’s blog (and almost double all other commenters’ word counts combined).

    :)

    • Well done again, FYI:))

      Although I noticed you made this comment about David Healy;

      “Blogger, David Healy, remains the very embodiment of MIA – in the old sense (‘Missing In Action’).”

      One wonders if a happy re-activist would direct the same comment to their “idolized” heros? How often does Bruce Levine respond to comments here?

      Did you miss my point about esteemed PhD’s, FYI?

      Do the faithful, not remember which section of Hebrew society wanted Jesus crucified? Was it not the ever present “educated-priesthood?”

      Reminds me of the Supertramp song;

      “”Crime Of The Century”

      Now they’re planning the crime of the century
      Well what will it be?
      Read all about their schemes and adventuring
      It’s well worth a fee
      So roll up and see
      And they rape the universe
      How they’ve gone from bad to worse
      Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
      Rip off the masks and let’s see.
      But that’s not right – oh no, what’s the story?
      There’s you and there’s me
      That can’t be right?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJJ7p5qZIU4

      You will need to try harder, in your attempts to shame me, FYI. I was shamed by a couple of experts, as a child. Society labels them parents. Sad, yet true, life is not a Hollywood Movie.

      Be well my young friend,

      Respectfully,

      D.B.

      • “How often does Bruce Levine respond to comments here?”

        Good question (but not half a day has passed since Bruce posted his blog, and no one’s yet challenged the integrity of his words, so he can hardly be compared to MIA David Healy).

        BTW, That’s an additional 214 words for you, in your comment to me. (You also added 314 words to your count when posting above, on June 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm.)

        Altogether, you’ve posted 3,288 words on this page.

        No one else even comes close…

        (FYI, including this comment, I’ve now posted 195 words on this page.)

        No shame!

        All glory!

        :)

        • Dear FYI, perhaps you think that your need for glory, will be obtained by way of mathematics or a further meta-analysis of treatment outcomes, as so many learned PhD’s suggest?

          Or perhaps your need for a victory in the mental illness debate, will be won with a deeper appreciation of how we all function, beneath the common mask of consciousness?

          You might ponder, just how much you understand your own internal dynamics, and a self-directing compass of shame within: Please consider;

          “When confronted with shame in our adult years, those of us with good self esteem and a background of being loved and accepted, process the experience differently then those who do not have these inner resources. The most mature of us begin an inner search of memories for times when we felt truly accepted and loved, and are able to recover our equilibrium and even learn something more about ourselves and about the part that was exposed.

          Those of us that cannot digest the shame in this way respond in one of four different defensive directions,a concept organized by Dr D.L. Nathanson, he calls “The Compass of Shame”. Each pole represents a scripted set of things to say to oneself and ways of behaving towards others.

          At the North end of the Compass is “Withdrawal”. It is hiding from others and living in fear of exposure of what we perceive as a defect or weakness. It leads to isolation and gradual absorption into a darker insulated world. It would tend to defeat our human need to belong, for sake of survival.

          At the East end of the Compass is “Attack Self”.
          With this set of behaviors we diminish ourselves in the presence of others. In a sense it is “heading off at the pass” the fear of rejection. Unlike Withdrawal, we can stay connected, as it is not hard in this competitive world to find a person who wants to feel like a winner by connecting to a loser. In its safety it just worsens the pain and degrades the soul. There is a danger in living at the North and
          East poles. Because the feelings are not processed, they can build up inside and can lead to explosions or extreme violence (a notable example was the story of the murderous teens in the shootings at Columbine).

          At the South end is the opposite of “Withdrawal”, what Dr. Nathanson calls “Avoidance”.
          The goal of this strategy is to hide the feelings of shame entirely from consciousness, if possible. The use of alcohol and other illicit drugs leading to addiction is a way of avoiding the feelings. It is said that shame is dissolved in alcohol, melted by narcotics and boiled by cocaine and amphetamines.

          Another strategy used at this pole of Avoidance is to call attention to oneself in ways meant to distract others by “showing off” or being an exhibitionist. It is also at the core of a theory about the development of Narcissistic Personality Disorders, whose self aggrandizement is seen as an avoidance of shame to the point of complete unawareness. Like the East pole, people remain connected with others, although in a way that is devoid of true intimacy (i.e. the sharing of vulnerabilities). It creates a hollow, false sense of self and, like the addiction strategy, seems never to be enough to satisfy the underlying need.

          At the West end is the “Attack Others” pole. Simply put, this strategy refers to the bully who metes out their own inner sense of shame on another. It is these people who prey on the vulnerable, leading to damage that scares people, often for the rest of their lives. Even the most stringent of rules to contain their behaviors does not solve the problem that promotes these actions. Until the matters of shame are addressed, these people remain a risk to those in their sights.

          At all points in this “compass of shame” there is significant damage to the individual and to others around them. Humility can be a path leading away from the poles of this compass and bringing us to healthier ways of living and relating. We can move from shame to humility when we allow ourselves to feel accepted and loved with all our flaws, all our vulnerabilities and failures. Humility can enable us to preserve our attachment to relationships and groups that mean safety and security to us. By striving for humility, we can make the choice to be autonomous and authentic, without diminishing ourselves or destroying the possibility of relationship in our interpersonal worlds.”

          Personally speaking, it took me decades to begin to sense my internal motivation. Sense the paradox of my internal defense against pain and sensations of fear; a flight to the refuge of my mind. To understand how we’re all raised to suppress sensations, in order to secure our mature sense of objective rationality. To understand why I felt lost in a sea of unconscious emotional reactivity, my social reflexes not quiet in-tune with normal social adaptation. Decades and the invention of the internet to begin to really understand, how traumatic experience had frozen my innate ability for spontaneous social communication. I had to leave my own culture to escape the built-in complications of a projection process, in which I felt trapped. So trapped that I’d found myself acting out a well meaning, projection of paternalistic care and concern, towards my therapy clients. So I went in search of my own “built-in” processes, in search of personal transformation. In my opinion, we are so immersed in the “autonomic” nature of our socially evolved humanity, asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

          Respectfully,

          David.

    • Well, I did like reading David Bates’ long comment on another article, which discussed somatic experience, with information from Peter Levine. I’d read a book on that before, but Bates’ comment was an excellent refresher to further ground in sensory experience!

      • Thank you Irena, I’ve done my best to articulate the relevance of Levine’s notion of subconscious “postural attitudes” here:

        “Our Postural Attitudes?

        These bodily reactions are not metaphor’s, they are literal postures that inform our emotional experience. For example, tightness in the neck, shoulders and chest and knots in the gut or throat are central to states of fear. Helplessness is signaled by a literal collapsing of the chest and shoulders, along with a folding at the diaphragm and weakness in the knees and legs.

        All these “postural attitudes” represent action potentials. If they are allowed to complete their meaningful course of action, then all is well, if not, they live on in the theatre of the body. Trauma is the great masquerader and participant in many maladies and “dis-eases” that afflict sufferers. It can perhaps be conjectured that unresolved trauma is responsible for a majority of the illnesses of modern mankind. Trauma is transformed by changing intolerable feelings and sensations into desirable ones. This can only happen at a level of activation that is similar to the activation that led to the traumatic reaction in the first place.

        My approach to healing trauma rests broadly on the premise that people are primarily instinctual in nature – that we are, at our very core, human animals. It is this relationship to our animal nature that both makes us susceptible to trauma and, at the same time, promotes a robust capacity to rebound in the aftermath of threat, safely returning to equilibrium. More generally, I believe that to truly understand our body/mind, therapists must first learn about the animal body/mind because of the manner in which our nervous systems have evolved in an ever changing and challenging environment.

        Inner Conflict & Our Postural Attitude:

        The bases of conflict are oppositional or incomplete motor patterns. The significance of this for therapy (and life) is monumental.

        It is the ability to hold back, restrain and contain a powerful emotion that allows a person to creatively channel that energy. Containment (a somatic rooting of Freud’s “sublimation”) buys us time and, with self-awareness, enables us to separate out what we are imagining and thinking from our physical sensations. The uncoupling of sensation from image and thought is what diffuses the highly charged emotions and allows them to transform fluidly into sensation based gradations of feelings.

        This is not the same as suppressing or repressing them. For all of us, and particularly for the traumatized individual, the capacity to transform the “negative” emotions of fear and rage is the difference between heaven and hell. The power and tenacity of emotional compulsions (the acting out of rage, fear, shame and sorrow) are not to be underestimated. Fortunately, there are practical antidotes to this cascade of misery. With body awareness, it is possible to “deconstruct” these emotional fixations.

        Through awareness of interceptive sensations (i.e., through the process of tracking bodily sensations), we are able to access and modify our emotional responses and attain our core sense of self. A first step in this ongoing process is refusing to be seduced into (the content of) our negative thoughts or swept away by the potent or galvanized drive of an emotion, and instead returning to the underlying physical sensations. At first this can seem unsettling, even frightening. This is mostly because it is unfamiliar, we have become accustomed to the habitual emotions of distress and our (negative) repetitive thoughts.

        We have also become used to searching for the source of our discomfort outside ourselves. We simply are unfamiliar with experiencing something “as it is,” without the encumbrance of analysis and judgment. As the sensation-thought-emotion complex is uncoupled, experiencing moves forward toward subtler, freer contours of feeling. In particular, you begin to notice what various sensations (i.e., tensions, contractions, aches, pains, etc,) tend to emerge in sequences or in groups. For example, you may notice that a “knot” in the belly or tightening of the anus is associated with a suppression or holding of breath.

        This experiential process involves the capacity to hold the emotion in abeyance, without allowing it to execute in its habitual way. This holding back is not an act of suppression but is rather one of forming a bigger container, a larger experiential vessel, to hold and differentiate the sensations and feelings. “Going into” the emotional expression is frequently a way of trying to “release” the tension we are feeling, while avoiding deeper feelings. With containment, emotion shifts into a different sensation-based “contour” with softer feelings that morph into deepening, sensate-awareness of “OK-ness.” This is the essence of emotional self-regulation, self-acceptance, goodness and change.

        From a functional point of view, bodily/sensate feelings are the compass that we use to navigate through life. They permit us to estimate the value of the things to which we must incorporate or adapt. Our attraction to that which sustains us and our avoidance of that which is harmful, are the essence of the feeling function. All feelings derive from the ancient precursors of approach and avoidance; they are in differing degrees positive or negative.”

        http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/mental-illness-psychological.html

        Readers may note how this follows on from the Tomkins stuff above, which try’s to explain our ideology in terms of resonance and the hidden nature of “affect” which lies at the heart of this debate, IMO.

        A further articulation of the somatic approach, and the healing of “development trauma,” is here:

        “Do we shy away from internal awareness, falling prey to the body’s instinctive nature, in our experience of mental illness?

        This post seeks to further explore the latest neuroscience research from the perspective of “body psychotherapy,” and its approach to resolving traumatic experience.Trauma induced behaviors, often described by medical doctors as symptoms of a mental illness.

        Are we converging on a much needed multidisciplinary approach towards the experience of mental illness, which does not give precedence to the disease model of mental suffering, favored by our hierarchically structured, healing professions?
        Body therapists have understood the body’s role in mental suffering for many decades, yet their often “intuitive” knowledge has been dismissed as unreliable compared to laboratory study.

        Despite the 100 years that has passed since we first began to suspect a brain disease process and classify discrete mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, no empirical evidence of an actual disease has been discovered. Even the great advances in neuroscience research, enabled by a rise in technology have still not been able to confirm a brain disease process, yet they may be confirming body therapists “intuitive” knowledge by revealing the neurobiology of the nervous systems and bodily based feedback to the brain.

        Below is excerpt from a paper by one of my favorite authors in the field of body psychotherapy, and a wonderful articulation of neuroscience and somatic psychotherapy. Please consider;

        NEUROSCIENCE IN SOMATIC PSYCHOTHERAPY
        ALINE LAPIERRE, PSY.D.

        “The brain is a complex organ that constructs experience from many channels of sensory input, regulates our responses through thoughts and emotions, and controls our actions. Its raison d’être is to learn from experience so that we can adaptively meet the ever-changing challenges of our environments. In Part I we noted that we humans have a unique dual perspective on the brain; whereas neuroscientists grapple with the workings of the physical brain from an external viewpoint and examine its neural firings objectively with increasingly sophisticated instruments, psychologists study it subjectively from the position of what it feels like to be such a system.

        This dual viewpoint applies equally to the body. Whereas traditional medicine evaluates and investigates the functions of the body objectively and treats them with increasingly sophisticated instruments, contemporary somatic psychotherapy studies the body subjectively, from the position of the experience of being one. Understanding the biological nature of perception, learning, memory, thought, feeling, and consciousness has emerged as the central challenge of the biological sciences.

        The work of neuroscientist John Ratey suggests that, in order to approach psychotherapy more effectively, we need a new, multifaceted paradigm. Because the body’s neuronal memory is the ground within which our life experience is imprinted, Ratey proposes that psychological treatment begin with tracking experience. A clinician, in his opinion, should begin by investigating how a patient experiences the world, focusing the primary diagnostic inquiry not on “How do you feel?” but rather on “How do you perceive and comprehend the world?” He believes that because emotions are created by the physical firing of neurons, clinicians should delve below the emotional surface of feelings, first considering their biological cause and effect.

        The approach Ratey recommends has been in development in our somatic practices since Wilhelm Reich who understood that the body’s communication goes beyond the symbolic representation of verbal expression. Reich and his followers taught us how beliefs are bound in posture and movement; inner realities emphasized, masked, or betrayed by facial expressions; and emotions revealed by the rate and pattern of breath. Thus, in somatic work, posture, movement, breath, facial expression, and vocal tone provide important clues about the congruence between embodied inner experience and its outer expression. This legacy finds itself renewed and refined in the new generation of neuroscientifically informed books that bring current findings to somatic clinical practice.

        For somatic psychology, the body is not separate from the self. From a body-centered perspective, our innovative therapeutic objectives seek to elicit a sensory dialogue that sets up a meeting point and establishes a conscious unity between mind and bodily self. One of our principle goals is to help our patients develop the ability to observe the bodily activities that reside on the fringes of sensory awareness and that are difficult to put into words—that is, experiences such body heat, involuntary and voluntary muscular contractions, organ vibrations, and skin sensitivity.

        Our body-centered approaches focus on felt sensory experiences as they rise, bottom up, from the implicit realms. Somatic methods use sensory tracking and the recognition of movement impulses to access the interactive links—or lack thereof—between sensation, behavior, affect, and cognition. Somatic work encompasses not only experiences processed in the neocortex, but reaches into experiences processed through the limbic, mid and lower brain centers. We could say that somatic work intends to harness the plasticity of the brain and nervous system, that it seeks to stimulate dendritic growth and neural connectivity by supporting the biological completion of developmental tasks and disruptive traumatic events.”

        http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/dis-eased-minds-body-mental-illness-pt-1.html

        I understand how this appears “off-topic” to people concerned with the social-politics of the debate, yet I again respectfully suggest, that we all suffer from illusions of subjective rationality.

        Best wishes,

        David.

  7. where psychiatry meets counterterrorism…

    The responses of our nervous systems are part of the rules governing all of life, which relate whether we are in healthy/harmonious situations or their opposite! Scientific knowledge of this order, reported by Robert Whitaker, has helped our nation to recognize the need to align better with healthier treatments. What’s healthy for humans is healthy for the nation composed of them. Improved health can come from working harmoniously with people, many of whom work in government.

    Liberal, progressive causes that already have widespread support may gain more unopposed momentum if they aren’t made out to be anti-government. A huge segment of the population already opposes inequality and exploitation — and desires justice without wanting to overthrow the government. Many business endeavors are cooperative and mutually owned in some ways (e.g. they have many investors and work with other businesses). People can be productive in healthy, heart-based ways.

  8. The first day’s POOV® scores are in! ^

    David Bates: 7,799 words = 100%* (Congrats David!)

    Bruce Levine: 2,220 (1,860 blog + 360 comments) / 28.5%*

    BeyondLabeling: 1,618 / 20.7%*

    FYI: 325 words / 4.2%*

    Discover and Recover: 226 / 2.9%*

    Irenecardenas: 187 / 2.4%*

    Nancy Pontius: 114 / 1.5%*

    Frank Blankenship: 58 / 0.7%*

    Philip Thomas, M.D.: 26 / 0.3%*

    Theinarticulatepoet: 16 / 0.2%*

    Remember our motto, folks: “It’s quantity of verbiage (not quality) that counts.” Optimum performance is always determined by whoever produces the most verbiage.

    ^ Update: David Bates posted 643 more words in the time that the above calculations were being made! (They’ll be included in tomorrow’s tallies.) The latest O.V. (optimum verbiage) is 8,442 words.

    *P.O.O.V. ® (‘Percentage of Optimum Verbiage’)

    :)

    • My response, for the sake of other reader.

      Is the above effort about reason or is it a reaction?

      I hope my comments are enabling your self-esteem, young FYI.

      Others may question your need for anonymity?

      I’m sure you are, no doubt, a brave soul.

      Respectfully,

      David.

      • Thank you Master Bates. Hey, here’s a couple of question for you.

        If there are ten people in a room, who should do most of the talking?

        Do you think it’s right for you to take up more than half of all the space on this page?

        (FYI, you’re currently at 55%.)

        :)

  9. To FYI, you could consider the following & think about your automatic assumptions?

    “Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives. It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.” _Rollo May.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Rollo_May#Quotes

    Are you stuck in moldy thinking, my friend?

    Be well,

    David.

    • The sad thing about David Bates’s long postings is that few people will take the time to read them. He’s talking to himself. Also, for someone who’s critical of “repeating other people’s wisdom,” he quotes others (supposed “experts”) quite often, sometimes at length. His usual response to criticism is to attempt to disarm the critic by psychologizing about the latter’s “unconscious” motivations, which Bates thinks he has a bead on.

  10. Hi Bruce.

    Thanks for this piece. Something i could relate to in my own life, being an anarchist and someone who has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act here in the UK. I’m also really interested in how the trauma of the psychiatric system works as a form of depoliticizing anarchists but also how police and state repression can lead to mental health difficulties. So your piece has helped unpack some of the thoughts i’ve been having with/about this.

    You maybe interested in my performance piece Mental – http://www.thevacuumcleaner.co.uk/mental – which explores this area and for me personally attempts to move beyond both the trauma of the police surveillance i have received and difficult experience of being in acute psychiatric wards that i’ve been forced and volunteered to be admitted to.

    Can i find you on twitter?

    Thanks again.

    James

  11. “I understand how unfamiliar the language of neuroscience is, to you and other readers…”

    David Bates,

    What?

    I offered you what is, for me, a most inspiring video — (above, on June 18, 2013 at 7:19 am) — and even concluded by echoing these words, of yours, “Be well, my friend…” You said nothing about that video, in your reply. I won’t presume to know why you didn’t; yet, it seems you may have taken offense, at something/s I said — especially, as your reply opens with a line that can be read as condescending toward myself (and toward other readers?).

    Or, maybe you were just aiming to be understanding?

    However, nothing is unfamiliar in the language of Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk. Based on her experiences with her so-called “schizophrenic” brother… and upon her many inferences drawn from her personal experience with a stroke, she speaks in terms we’ve all heard before, as she comes to embrace (whole-hog) nearly all of the major, modern myths of her profession (if not all of them).

    Not only has she joined the quest to find *supposed* inherent defects of brain, which ostensibly leave her brother unable to make his dreams come true, she’s ultimately developed a way of viewing herself, as one (who, upon suffering a stroke) is to become heroic emissary for what she expects shall become a new wave of “right-brained” thinking, in the world of neuroscience.

    David, that’s all nonsense — on various levels.

    Already, I’ve emphasized my view, that: Surely, it’s the psychiatric *labeling* and the psychiatric *drugs* which are crippling her brother (thwarting his ability to manifest his dreams); and, about the rest of her theorizing…

    See the following (quite brief) blog post, titled, “‘Creative right brain’ myth debunked”: http://www.kurzweilai.net/creative-right-brain-myth-debunked. Likely, you’ll brush off that blog post…

    I suspect, probably, you will find a way to quickly reject it — as you’re becoming such a big fan of Shore…

    You present Shore’s theorizing,

    “Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).”

    David, IMO such so-called “disorders” and “illnesses” are mainly manufactured by psychiatry (and, not by genes); so, I cannot even begin to agree with his views, as stated…

    Similarly, I can’t help but find myself questioning his way of speaking about left v. right brain phenomena. (I am aware he views himself as a great champion of the right-brain.)

    IMO, of his writing samples which you’ve offered — and from from reading reviews of his writing – he goes overboard, on the ‘left v. right’ brain theories.

    This notion that the right brain should dominate does not appeal to me. IMO, the two hemispheres work in tandem, ideally — with neither one being subsumed by the activities of the other; I expect, almost certainly, you’ll object to that… and object to my — now repeated — very strong sense, that Jill Bolte Taylor demonstrates, in that TED talk, of hers, not even the least little ability to think objectively about all the latest, tragic pitfalls, of failed reason, in the field of neuroscience…

    Again, I emphasize: IMO Taylor (like most pros in her field) means well; but, she’s promoting *much* professional ignorance.

    Here’s another good link (“Why The Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Will Probably Never Die”): http://io9.com/5923595/why-the-left+brain-right+brain-myth-will-probably-never-die

    David, the real problem with, perhaps, a *majority* of academics is that they rarely get out of their heads long enough to enter *fully* into their hearts, at work (which, of course, includes while they’re writing); you and I can probably agree on that point.

    But, we may disagree on this next point…

    IMO, though some do, to a substantial extent, get into their hearts (e.g., maybe a life-changing event forces them to think differently, and Taylor is one example of such an individual), nonetheless, most will *not* be led to develop the kind of totally ‘breakthrough’ thinking, which those who possess outstanding critical-reasoning skills can attain to.

    Such is to say: IMO it may be absolutely *necessary* (for cutting through the mythology of their field) that academics (including researchers) develop an ability to think for themselves — and think *well* — *reasoning* clearly. Yet, if I am to judge her work from that TED talk, then I conclude: Taylor simply hasn’t (yet) accessed and exercised such *overview* and *clarity* as is needed to become a truly adept free-thinker, in her field.

    But, she’s relatively young; her reasoning skills may kick in; meanwhile, she has a lot of company — and an ability to think freely, with clear overview is missing, amongst countless academics — especially, throughout most of the field of neuroscience (IMO). They ascribe to what they’ve been taught.

    And, such is why so many neuro-scientists will, sadly, buy into the many blatantly bogus ‘diagnoses’ of psychiatry, which countless study ‘subjects’ receive – as though such labels represent real illnesses.

    (Note: You yourself cling to your ‘diagnosis’ — and call it “illness”; I am still unsure why you do that; but, it’s OK by me, that you do. And, I needn’t understand your reasoning, after all; for, as mentioned in another comment to you, recently: I do accept that I won’t always understand why people do what they do. And, I already took that conversation as far as it would go, with you, in MIA comments, months ago.)

    David, I have nothing more to say, on any of this… just, you should not take this comment — nor any of my comments — as any kind of knock; it isn’t meant to be one.

    My sincere aim is to maintain a respectful, friendly dialogue; I am just being honest, offering my views; and, sometimes my directness may seem like it calls for a counterpoint — a defense; but, actually, you needn’t feel compelled to reply; if you haven’t anything novel to add, it might be best to simply let this conversation go now.

    Really, I pray that, as you read this, you’re not taking offense at anything I’m saying.

    Respectfully,

    ~Jonah

  12. Dear Jonah,

    I never take offence, to your responses, as you help me to bring to life, the concepts I’m trying to articulate, in this very limited format, of black & white symbols.

    I do worry though that some readers, may be having rather paranoid thoughts about collusion between us, and I’d like to take this opportunity to stress how much we both believe in transparency, by categorically stating that there is no private email exchange, between us.

    Heaven forbid that, either of us, would want to enter into such secrecy, and promote an image of “us & them.”

    Best wishes,

    David.

  13. Thank you for this article, Mr Levine. It admost made me cry.

    I really like your point out that being an anarchist is something related to the spirit. This feelings of despair and anxiety are quite real to me, this feeling of “not belonging” to society, getting weird looks and even laughter and scorn when you talk about how you feel things should be are extremely frustrating, and you end up believeing you are the one to be wrong, that maybe there is something in your head that is not working propperly. In the best cases, you receive sufficient looks, people who tells you that you will grow up and realize that some ideas are childish and unrealistic. But then you look at them and see how desperate and sad look their life, and it’s so confusing! You know that you’re feelings are not “wrong”, but then everyone who is supposed to guide you through life in your early years is unconsciously despising you and telling you to drop your deepest feelings, and it really hurts. I never came to the point of being diagnosed, but actually the worst diagnose is the one you give yourself. I guess even when you are not diagnosed by a psycologist, the whole society around you keeps diagnosing you all the time…

    Being anarchist is hard even here, in Barcelona, the city that witnessed a full Anarchist revolution less than one century ago, so I cannot imagine how hard it must be in USA. I hope this ideas in your article spread, and I truly hope that there are more professionals around there who think like you. Not only among psychologists, but everywhere.

    And again, thank you.

    P.S: I’m afraid my english is not as good as I’d like it to be. I hope I have not commited too many grammatical sins!

    • Your English is quite excellent, better than many for whom it is supposed to be their native language … no need to apologize for it ,,

      But I reply principally to thank you for writing – your post reminds me of a young man I had a conversation with not too long ago – he sounded much like you …

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