One Script to Rule Them All

David Healy, MD
6
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So Long and Thanks for all the Fish portrayed doctors in a rather flattering light – the victims of a tragedy. They were portrayed as losing out in a Faustian bargain when they failed to realize the hazards in making all new drugs available on prescription only. The bargain offered them a chance to entrench themselves inescapably in healthcare as the only legal source of all treatments that worked instead of having to achieve this position because of their professional values or the benefits they, rather than their drugs, might bring to the table.

Forcing people into coming to see you rather than having them come because of something distinctive you offer turns out to have been a first unwitting step toward tyranny. In the process medicine has lost its soul.

Before 1962, the acme of the medical art lay in a concern for the safety of patients. Once doctors were made the conduit for new drugs, all of which were supposedly efficacious, they lost sight of safety.

Doctors now report as few as 1% of the fatal adverse events that happen on treatment. Doctors take 10-15 years after new and notable hazards of prescription drugs are first described to finally concede that these risks may be real. Even after treatment hazards come flagged up in Black Boxes, many doctors still deny that treatment could cause the problem. Many doctors have patients who are on 10-15 drugs at the same time and for indefinite periods, a recipe for treatment induced injury and death, so that unsurprisingly Pharmacosis – treatment induced injury and death – has become a leading cause of death.

But is the Lord of the Rings saga a better analogy for what has happened than the Faust story? Prescription-only privileges are the Precious that Gollum-Smedicine clutches tightly to itself, unaware that prescriptions are the key element in the route to power of the most powerful force on earth – the pharmaceutical industry.

The marketing departments of pharmaceutical companies focus in on the ring-bearers just as the Eye of Sauron focused in on Gollum and later Frodo. Once the Eye fixes on a ring-bearer, it hypnotizes him into submission. If any demur, it directs its Black Riders (Medical Academics) to enforce compliance with its Will.

At present the focus is to the tune of roughly $60,000 per doctor per annum in the United States. Under the intensity of this gaze doctors have learnt to shun the light of disclosure and are complicit in letting the industry get away with non-disclosure of clinical trial results. Doctors have visibly shrunk the way Gollum did.

In recent years prescription-only privileges have fallen into the hands of nurses and pharmacists – a set of hobbits. They are as yet less affected by the influence of Sauron. They still hope they can put things right.

The lesson from Lord of the Rings though is that Hobbits cannot save us. However good their intentions, they too succumb to the power of the Ring. In the end it was Gollum-Smedicine desperately trying to reclaim his Precious who tumbled into the chasm of Mount MooD and in so doing saved us all.

One Script to rule them all
One Script to find them
One Script to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them
in the Land of Mordough where the shadows lie

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David Healy, MD
Data Based Medicine: David writes of his ongoing work as a founder of RxISK.org, whose mission is to capture the data that is missing for anyone receiving drug-based treatments in order to help make medicine safer for all of us.

6 COMMENTS

  1. “In recent years prescription-only privileges have fallen into the hands of nurses and pharmacists – a set of hobbits.” Priceless!

    Described as ‘a fictional diminutive race who inhabit the lands of Middle-earth’ by Wikipedia. Or a ‘separate branch of humans’ according to Tolkein. Like the fantasy world of psychiatry that some of us are well used to being characters in. Populated by other worldly creatures, assaults, battles and escapes.

  2. Its a wonderful, witty analogy and the in-group laps it up of coarse?

    Is it a true critique of a prevailing reality though?

    Is it just as much a need to differentiate a unique sense of “I” from all that “otherness,” out there?

    “The marketing departments of pharmaceutical companies focus in on the ring-bearers just as the Eye of Sauron focused in on Gollum and later Frodo. Once the Eye fixes on a ring-bearer, it hypnotizes him into submission. If any demur, it directs its Black Riders (Medical Academics) to enforce compliance with its Will.”

    “Oh my God! We have a predatory nature, who knew?”
    And of coarse we all cry “not I, but them!”

    And in all this amazing perceptiveness about the nature of power, where stands each individual and their responsibility for themselves?

    The nature of reality is both beautiful & brutal, and until we accept the projection of our own, we will never fix the so-called system “out there,” because all perception is created from within, where lies the real territory of human power.

    “Of course there is ruthlessness throughout history and you can’t blame any one people for it: a peculiar thing about all our various mythologies – each of them horizon bound – is that love is reserved for the in-group and disdain, hatred, and brutality for the out-group.” _Joseph Campbell.

  3. Joseph Campbell tells us this in “The Hero With A Thousand Faces:
    ” For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source.”

    In the myth Dr. Healy has employed here, I don’t perceive an actual description of separateness, duality that evokes both a battle cry and a quest to conquer or destroy the enemy *other*. Myths carry us into the experience of wholeness within ourselves and in relationship to the external world, including others. The problem seems to lie in our disconnection from the power and beauty of myths; that we may only intellectualize and fail to experience both the lesson and the release from the tension that is simply a product of our ignorance and innocence.

    I immersed myself in another reading of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero..” quoted above, just for the *experience*. There is no easy route to the triumph of the spirit over the woes of living in this world–is there? And all varieties of examples to warn us of the greater woes that have come from a 100 years worth of ways and means for streamlining the process and removing the perilous obstacles! Yet still— we seek these delightful diversions…

    We are hardwired for these myths and archetypes as Campbell points out, and bound to suffer for lack of access to their transformative power. BUT, I am inclined to add what I perceive as the one and only obstacle to victory. It is the efficacy of a myriad vicarious experiences to offset the temporary relief of each that has diverted us from a path that requires full participation and personal risk taking in our quest for fulfillment. Or put another way, we are on the horns of this dilemma:

    “The thing that demands your full attention will occur simultaneously with a compelling distraction.”

    The interconnectedness piece of our existential puzzle lacks the dimension of *others* as the key to our own well being. Caring for or even sacrificing ourselves to help *others* is where personal bias is most evident— choosing who is most deserving, or for whom we feel the most compassion. We have thus limited our sphere of influence and activity to the *victims* of psychiatry/PHARMA. We cannot perceive that those doing the harm are actually in the greatest need— the most dire straights. We perceive their plight as NOT our own, as their actions are aversive to our way of being, and we continue to attend to the wounded and needy… and— We become fully disconnected from our mythology…

    Joseph Campbell tells the story of the five sons of the Irish king Eochaid, who found themselves astray— Thirsty, they set off one by one, to look for water….

    Each encounters the most grotesque and repulsive old woman guarding a well. All but the last son refuses to meet her demands for water; that he bestow a kiss upon her disgusting cheek. The 5th son, Niall, who possessed the quality of *gentle sympathy* replied to her demand for a kiss : “forby giving thee a kiss, I will even hug thee!” After which he beheld her transformation into a beautiful young maiden and returned to his brothers with a generous supply of water.

    Campbell says. “Such is life itself. The goddess guardian of the inexhaustible well—requires that the hero should be endowed with— ‘gentle heart’.”

    I am certainly not suggesting an intellectual or literal meaning here, in terms of the appropriate method for transforming the evils wrought by the rising tide of pharmageddon— I am only praising Dr. Healy’s use of mythology. Hoping to rekindle our primordial fire and keep our gaze directly upon the monster- guardians until the transformative power that resides within us is evoked and utilized.

    “—the hero and his ultimate god, the seeker and the found— are thus understood as the outside and inside of a single, self-mirrored mystery, which is identical with the mystery of the manifest world. The great deed of the supreme hero is to come to the knowledge of this unity in multiplicity and then to make it known.” —Joseph Campbell

    Needless to say. we will hold on to hopes for our hero to arrive, but perhaps we will realize that each of us is the hero— already on the scene.