Could a Different Approach to “Mental Health” Be Part of Solving the Climate Crisis?

Ron Unger, LCSW
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Earth Day 2013 is a good time to reflect on how problems in our mental health system reflect deep flaws in “normal” conceptions of what it means to be a human being.  These flawed conceptions then contribute in a critical way to the climate crisis that threatens us all.

In noticing the connection between flawed ideas about “normality” and the environmental crisis that threatens to bring down our civilization, I’m following in the footsteps of David Oaks, director of MindFreedom, who would likely be writing about this himself if he wasn’t too busy working in rehab, trying to get back functioning after breaking his neck last December.  (By the way,  MindFreedom really needs donations right now to take it through a period of financial crisis:  read why here , or go to http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate to make donations.)

A key problem is that within most of the mental health system, individuals are seen as healthy when they “fit in” or adjust to the overall society.  To the extent that they don’t adjust, they are seen as “having issues,” and those most out of adjustment are seen as “psychotic.”

At times, it seems to make sense to look at things this way:  adjustment seems to solve problems, and not fitting in, or being maladjusted, gets in the way of solving them.  People who are severely maladjusted may endanger their own lives or those of others.

Unfortunately, humanity is finding out that in the absence of wisdom, people can fit in with each other and be socially “well adjusted” and yet be causing catastrophic problems, such as by undermining the health of the ecosystems they live within and depend on for survival.  Or, as David Oaks likes to put it, “normal people are destroying the planet!”

R.D. Laing once said “It is of fundamental importance not to make the positivist mistake of assuming that because a group’s members are in formation this means that they’re necessarily on course.”  Of course, those who break from formation are not necessarily on course either, but if the crowd is heading over a cliff, it is important at some point to break away and start experimenting with other directions.  Unfortunately, in our society, young people who experience trouble while they experiment with new directions are simply labeled as “ill” and are seen as in need of being drugged back to some semblance of what is “normal” within the culture, even though the culture itself is headed straight for environmental catastrophe.

It seems we need a more complex idea about what constitutes health, and sickness.  I think the notion of “creative maladjustment” as described in Sophie Faught’s previous Mad in America post, “Taking Martin Luther King Jr’s Call For Creative Maladjustment Seriously” is exactly what we need as the foundation for a definition of “mental health” that would lead us towards both a functional mental health system and a functional society.

There seems to be little question that being maladjusted to something that is healthy is problematic.  So for example the person who has healthy food but thinks it is all poisoned will have difficulties.  But being adjusted to something that is not healthy is also problematic, and can be a much bigger problem.  The notion of “creative maladjustment” addresses both sides of this dilemma, suggesting the use of creative discretion in when and how to be maladjusted, rather than either supporting either blind conformity and adjustment, or reckless and undiscriminating maladjustment.

When mental health workers become able to recognize the possible value of maladjustment, they become less sure they have complete answers, and become able to relate to those they intend to help from a position of being fellow human beings searching for positive approaches to life rather than from a role of being authorities in what it means to be “sane.”   Mental health workers who recognize the value of searching, and of being maladjusted, can see possible value in “mad” experiences, and can connect on a peer level even when they are relating to people who have experiences that are very different from their own.  Being able to connect in this way is, I think, a precondition to being able to be genuinely helpful.

Of course, if one talks about seeing something positive in psychotic experiences, one can expect to be accused of “romanticizing madness.”  But somehow, those who worry that people will go too far in seeing something positive in mad experience never worry about the opposite, the possibility that people will “awfulize” madness, that they will see only the negative in it, and so will increase fear of madness and mental health stigma.  (It’s actually pretty bizarre that our mental health system will work so hard to convince people that mad experience is nothing but bad, and then turns around and tries to run “anti-stigma campaigns”!)

Recognizing “creative maladjustment” as a better definition of mental health allows mental health workers to honor the spirit of mad rebellion as being of potential value, even if not every manifestation of that spirit is helpful, and even if some manifestations can be highly dangerous!  Young people need to know that their efforts to be maladjusted to much of what is going on makes sense, even as they also need to know that it typically takes work and reflection to refine that maladjustment into something that is usefully creative.

Another part of making maladjustment creative is finding ways to come together with others in carrying it out.  This need to reconnect with others can seem paradoxical, because there is always the danger that if one connects too much, one will be right back “in formation” with a dysfunctional way of being organized, and a dysfunctional society!  The trick is to find a way to be autonomous enough to find a direction based on something deeper than just fitting in or being normal, while also being connected enough to cooperate with others in getting support and in sharing ideas and perspectives.  This is much easier to do when the culture, or at least a subculture, supports the idea of something like creative maladjustment.

When I was an alienated young man, it helped me greatly to find others who were maladjusted in their own ways and to find that we could work together in ways that were a lot of fun!  It was extremely helpful for us to support each other’s ability to move and create independently, even when the creativity was more silly than serious.  A long time friend of mine, John Law, coauthored a book coming out in May on the Cacophony Society, an organization closely related to the Suicide Club, which was the group he and I participated in together back in the 1970’s.  For me, it was the coordinated maladjustment in the events we created that helped me reconnect with the larger world, and I think we need to give greater recognition to the value of such ways of connecting.

MindFreedom’s current promotion of a “Creative Maladjustment Week” can be seen as just one small step toward the creation of a new ideal in our culture, the ideal of always aiming to be maladjusted toward what is destructive, rather than the flawed idea of mental health as “adjustment.”  Communicating the ideal of creative maladjustment to the public can also be a way of increasing awareness about how the process of being “mad” may be part of exploration toward new ways of being, with some of those new ways being possibly that which may ultimately save us from catastrophe.

It will be of little long term use to reform society and the mental health system if the ecological crisis then completely undermines civilization, leading to massive famine, die offs, migrations and wars.  Any mental health reforms would likely get lost in the chaos.  But I believe mental health reform is still worth working toward at this point, because changing the aim of mental health work, from adjustment to creative maladjustment, could shift the mental health system toward actually supporting exploration in new ways of thinking and being instead of always attempting to suppress it.  We need such exploration at this time more than perhaps any other.

I also want to point out that a key part of creative maladjustment is balancing personal fun, joy, and humor with activism and attention to the larger realities.  E.B. White is famous for having said ““I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”  David Oaks helped me learn how to approach life this way, and I think it is key to being an activist and not burning out.  It is true that finding the balance can be difficult, but each step of the way can also be incredibly rewarding, and every other way of being in the world makes a lot less sense.

I’m hoping in the near future to write about how to create public events or spectacles that communicate to the public both about the role of creative maladjustment in cultural evolution and renewal, and about the vital necessity of doing something different before the climate crisis escalates into something that kills most all our possibilities.

Till then, I hope you persist in your own forms of creative maladjustment, and in connecting with others on that wavelength, and I also hope that you support MindFreedom International in continuing to do its work of linking together groups all over the planet which work to support people’s access to  human rights and to creative maladjustment.  Like I said earlier, it is a tricky period financially for MindFreedom as it copes with David being in rehab, but it’s vital we keep this group going that has done so much for keeping these issues alive all over the world.  Again, you can read why here , or go to http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate to make donations.

Thanks for all that you do to support mental health reform, creative maladjustment, groups like MindFreedom, and all the actions you take in support of insuring a future for the human race on this beautiful planet of ours!

44 COMMENTS

  1. The only connection that I see between psychiatry and so called “global warming” is that both are scams perpetrated in the name of science to advance “society’s interests” by interest groups. What keeps the global warming scam at bay, unlike its companion psychiatry, is that the economic interests are stacked up against it. Let’s not forget that the IPCC was created during the late 80s at the behest of Margaret Thatcher, and other political leaders, to fight the theory that the world was cooling in order to promote, ironically, the interests of Big Oil. Big Oil walked away from them once they began to produce reports against their own interests.

    Global warming doomsday believers came up with mathematical models that were able to match the temperatures collected during the 50 years prior to 2000. Based on that model they predicted increasing temperatures for the next 10 years if no drastic action was taken. Guess what, no such drastic action was taken and now we have the measurements for 2000-2010. They are way off their predictions http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8U6KlexiFGw/UUuT33pPRQI/AAAAAAAADNU/T8jB1cDvzJM/s1600/image001-751538.jpg .

    Anybody familiar with how psychiatry spins pass events (like mass shootings) to ask for more powers should see the similarities. Both these endeavors, psychiatry and global warming doomsdaying, do great damage to science because of their reach in popular media. Normal people incorrectly come to believe that real science is like psychiatry or climate prediction instead of looking at exploration of Pluto (sending New Horizons to a meeting with the distant dwarf planet is an incredible feat) or the design of planes for inspiration. Both possible because of the extremely accurate predictions of classical Newtonian mechanics. This accuracy is missing in both climate science and psychiatry.

  2. I don’t want to get into a debate about the faulty claims of the climate change doomsday believers either, but just for the sake of completeness, I recommend the work of former IPCC member and MIT professor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lindzen for those interested in the matter.

    I don’t like you using the word “denialist” so lightly. When Robert Whitaker published his “Anatomy of an Epidemic” he took issue with being put in the company of AIDS denialists and rightly so. So do I take issue with being called a denialist. I have looked at the evidence provided by both sides of the climate change debate and I cannot, in good scientific conscience, believe the doomsday scenarios. “Consensus” is not “science”, as the survivors of psychiatry are reminded daily when they are labeled with the result of the “consensus” called DSM labels.

    “There are no comparable, powerful “special interests” that would have any investment in biasing science toward belief in climate change.”

    There you are mistaken. There is the livelihood of those who make a living out of publishing the doomsday scenarios, ie, the academics themselves (not to mention people like Al Gore who made untold amounts of money out of “An Inconvenient Truth” despite the gross unscientific claims it contained). I can give you specific examples of “research centers on climate change” established by wealthy donors at America’s top universities.
    You also have this problem in psychiatry. The reason the psychiatric scam continues is not only Big Pharma, it’s the psychiatrists themselves and their livelihoods. What climate change doomsday believers don’t have going for them for now is an economic interest as powerful as Big Pharma or Big Oil.

    I also want to make it clear that I don’t believe in a conspiracy, either in psychiatry or climate change. It’s just that there are many individual interests colluding. There might be individual cases of conspiratorial conduct (climategate, Martin Keller/study 329/GSK) but I don’t think that there is a “vast conspiracy” in either case, just too many people who make a living out of marketing pseudoscience.

  3. Ron,

    I reply here to make it easier,

    “I hear you have your opinion, and that you aren’t interested in changing it: but it seems to me you are holding it more like religion than science, you aren’t very interested for example in the links I provided that show that the sources you provided have all been thoroughly debunked!”

    The difference between you and me is that I am a hard scientist and you are not. So what passes for you as “debunking” doesn’t fly with me. I repeat. With the temperature data up to 2000, they made predictions about what the temperature increase would be in 2000-2010. Those predictions didn’t materialize. Now, you can always, AFTER THE FACT, fix the model to match the new data, but that is not how true science works. Fixing the models this way is a prime example of so called “hindsight bias”.

    The reason why these “climate science” people are so bad at predicting the future is not even hard to explain. The underlying phenomena that affect changes in climate are not understood in the same way that gravity is understood. In addition there are many uncorrelated variables that play a role, so reducing everything to a few variables will in addition fail to account for everything that is going on that will have an impact in temperatures. So at the end of the day, what these climate scientists are doing is fitting mathematical models to data and they are subject to the same problems of any endeavor that does things this way such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overfitting , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_dredging , etc. These are very technical terms that somebody without the appropriate training will not readily grasp.

    It’s the same problem that people who try to predict the movements of the stock market have. The most successful quantitative traders operate short term, not long term. To make an analogy, it’s the reason why short term weather prediction is more successful than long term climate change prediction.

    “I think I can make a strong case that disbelief in human caused climate change and belief in bio-psychiatry arise out of the same dynamics. ”

    Well, and I think that I can make a very strong case that the reason people believe in climate change AND biopsychiatry is the same: lack of significant scientific training. By “scientific” I don’t mean “economics”, “political science”, “psychology”, “sociology”, etc. I mean hard science such as physics, chemistry, and the mathematics that underline these endeavors. Once you spend a significant time doing it, you are immune to confusing “correlation with causation”, “cherry picking”, anecdotal reasoning or “after the fact” -aka hindsight- bias.

    Usually when the best reasoning that one can make is to “appeal to consensus”, the alarms should be raised. “Appeal to consensus” is nothing more than the classical logical fallacy “appeal to popularity”. There is no need to appeal to any consensus when it comes to using classical mechanics to design planes or cars. The first fly, the second don’t crash. With HIV/AIDS the same thing. We have those taking the antiretrovirals that are alive and those who refused to take them that are dead, etc.

    Climate science has had its opportunity to make its case when it comes to predicting catastrophes. It has failed miserably. The doomsday scenarios that they predicted have failed to materialize. If you want, I can give you the type of catastrophic predictions that were made during the 80s-90s that just did not happen.

    To finalize. I think that we are all better served if we focus on what unites us instead of on what separates us. Introducing belief in global warming as a prerequisite to be a MIA community member in good standing is not helpful, neither is calling “denier” those like me who don’t buy the climate change orthodoxy. Using your same logic, we are all “deniers” of science for not buying into the psychiatric orthodoxy that is defended as such by the “consensus” at America’s top schools and America’s top professional association for psychiatry, the APA. We have a “religious belief” in opposing psychiatry’s “scientific results”.

    • “Introducing belief in global warming as a prerequisite to be a MIA community member in good standing is not helpful…”

      @ cannotsay2013,

      As you well know, I disagree with you at times.

      🙂

      However, I fully concur with your consistent rejections of psychiatric coercion, and I greatly appreciate your participation in the comments, on this website, at *least* for that reason.

      But, moreover, you offer a number of unique and challenging perspectives — which undermine popular ‘status quo’ assumptions.

      In that way, your comments frequently lead me to think more deeply, and I highly value that effect.

      Because you often do so with much sound reasoning, I enjoy reading your comments.

      Ron can, of course, speak for himself; but, I believe, neither Ron nor anyone else can make “belief in global warming” a prerequisite to be a MIA community member; and, I don’t believe Ron’s blog or subsequent comments go so far as to attempt doing that.

      In my opinion, this is a well-reasoned reply you’ve offered; and, imo, *every* “orthodoxy” (of every kind) deserves serious questioning.

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

      • Hi Jonah,

        Yes, I also enjoy reading you as well even if we have our disagreements :D.

        With respect to “Introducing belief in global warming as a prerequisite to be a MIA community member in good standing is not helpful…”

        Using language like “people who want to deny the threat of climate change” or “but it seems to me you are holding it more like religion than science” is not helpful.

        We have people like Nobel Prize winner in physics Ivar Giaever, renouncing his membership in the American Physical Association for saying that

        “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

        http://www.climatedepot.com/2011/09/14/exclusive-nobel-prizewinning-physicist-who-endorsed-obama-dissents-resigns-from-american-physical-society-over-groups-promotion-of-manmade-global-warming/

        Note that the typical ad hominem attacks that are thrown at people with my opinion do not apply to him. Because of his Nobel Prize, Ivar Giaever cannot get any more professional prestige. He is at the top of his profession already. Nor is he funded by Big Oil. Finally, as somebody who endorsed Barack Obama for President, he cannot be accused of “playing politics”. He did what he did because as a physicist he could not, in good conscience, continue to be a member of an association that made such statement.

        Now, before somebody does, I am sure that Kary Mullis’ name is going to be brought in the context of AIDS denialism. The two cases could not be more different. 1-) Kary Mullis is basically a chemist making assessments on immunology. While Kary Mullis invented the PCR technique that is currently used to measure viral load in HIV patients, immunology is not his area of expertise. 2-) Ivar Giaever is addressing a statement by Physics’ top professional association in the United States about what the “official” position of said association is on the matter of catastrophic global warming. What Ivar Giaever said is, sorry, from a pure physics reasoning point of view, you cannot make that statement.

        So please, let’s focus on what unite us and resist the temptation of labeling those with whom we respectfully disagree as “religious believers” or “denialists”. I already have enough with my OCD label coming from the DSM :D.

  4. I can’t understand what the
    purpose of this site is. Is
    There anyone on here that actually,
    you know…deals, or has ever dealt with, mental illness? Because everything I’ve read seems to come
    from people who haven’t. Also,
    I’m confused, are you stating
    that being suicidal is a “maladjustment?”

  5. And another more general comment that I want to make. From my interventions here, many might have reached the correct conclusion that I have a libertarian streak. I am not 100% libertarian since on some issues I lean more conservative but I am 100% committed with individual freedom. In any case, the point that I want to make is this. I think that the cause of fighting psychiatric abuse is doing a disservice to itself by introducing red herrings, like global warming or gun control, that have nothing to do with psychiatry’s intrinsic evilness. These two scare away many people who could otherwise help us greatly in exposing the psychiatric scam.

    Take the issue of gun control, for instance. Psychiatry has somehow convinced right wing politicians and the pro gun lobby that theirs is such an accurate endeavor that they can predict who will become violent and thus, rather than endorsing gun control, they should endorse “taking away the guns from crazy people”. If only these politicians and lobbies understood that “taking guns from crazy people” can be used as a proxy to “take guns away from anybody” because of psychiatry’s sloppy nature. So when these right wing politicians are pushed to have a quick answer to gun violence they resort to “take away guns from crazy people”.

    Imagine for a second if we were able to convince the NRA of the evil nature of psychiatry. Neither the APA nor Big Pharma would stand a chance in a fight against the NRA. So I suggest that we are more open in our movement and restrict ourselves to fighting the evilness of psychiatry instead of introducing other irrelevant red herrings.

  6. Corporate power seems one of the fundamentals of the problem of the drug based paradigm of treating mental distress.

    I’m with Ron, the bio-psychiatry idea gets pushed by Big Pharma and the fossil fuel industries puts huge ammounts of money into dening the seriousness of climate change. The billionaire Koch brothers being well know for this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

    It hardly seems a new analysis. Dorothy Rowe pointed out the power of Big Pharma in influencing psychiatry 20 – 30 years ago. While those who campaign against the excesses of corporate power have been slow to pick up on the issue of psychiatry I find that once they have been introduced to the issue they are very sympathetic. They seem likely allies, and indeed they have been in the UK where they have provided training to survivors of psychiatry activists.

    I think there is likely to be a wide range of political opinions amongst those who decry current mainstream psychiatric practice. So I’m all in favour of a variety of articles looking at different angles on this. So while cannotsay has his opinion on climate science, and one I am familiar with, I’m pleased to see the article here and see no reason to reduce the range of debate.

    Whether you see climate change as the biggest threat to human existence (as I do), a mere inconvenience or a hoax invented by money grabbing scientists the issue of corporate power seems very relevent. I for one would like to hear more arguments around that subject. That seems very far from a red herring.

    • “Whether you see climate change as the biggest threat to human existence (as I do), a mere inconvenience or a hoax invented by money grabbing scientists the issue of corporate power seems very relevent. I for one would like to hear more arguments around that subject. That seems very far from a red herring.”

      The problem that I see in introducing a discussion about global warming is that for many people who might be otherwise interested in hearing this side of the story of the psychiatric scam is that it is a gateway issue. Once they hear “global warming”, they just close their minds to whatever else we have to say. I am not saying that it is fair, I am saying that it is a fact. And let’s not forget that Big Pharma is only part of the reason psychiatry has the power it has. Psychiatry already enjoyed undue power and influence before the era of “biopsychiatry” and “drugging” as the “treatment” of choice. And even if/when we get rid of “drugging” as the first “treatment” of choice, psychiatry will invent some other scam to justify itself. The fight against psychiatry is way bigger and larger than a fight against Big Pharma. We could significantly expand the base of those interested in joining by sticking to it.

      • And the counter argument is also true, that those who are interested in corporate power and it’s influence on climate politics will be heartened to see it debated here. As I said anti-corporate activists have shown an interest in campaigning for the human rights of survivors of psychiatry and for a less drug based model of care. My personal experience is that they understand thie issues very quickly unlike the general population.

        There are plenty of issues debated on this website that cover a wide range of subjects. Many people have had problems with quite a few articles and they have lead to lively debates but that hasn’t stopped the site growing or becomeing a useful resource to many people.

        There are other articles on this site that look at corporat power and it’s influence on psychiatry. So it appeals to people with many different interests. Sometimes I find article on here objectionable, but I don’t say they will put people off.

        Opposing corporate power is not the only relevent issue or the only way to approach the problem but it is one that many people see as relevant and one that potentially draws in many allies.

        That doesn’t mean that those who do not appreciate this line or argument should be excluded or that potential allies who dislike this argument should not also be provided for in the articles on this website, or in other communications.

        • There are several issues with your argument,

          1- Corporate power is here to stay. You might not like it, but it is a fact. In addition, the idea that there are no corporate interests behind global warming alarmists is ridiculous. In the US, they have the backing of companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft or Bloomberg (the company of Michael Bloomberg). These companies rival in revenues, profit and market cap Big Oil or Big Pharma.

          2- You seem to conveniently forget that the evilness of psychiatry predates the involvement of Big Pharma. In fact Big Pharma is now in retreat mode (see my point 3-) because, I think, their executives might have reached the conclusion that it might be only a matter of time before one of them goes to jail. It is one thing to use shareholder money to pay fines as a way of doing business that still makes drugs profitable (as Eli Lilly has publicly admitted), quite another to end up in jail. So far, these executives have avoided jail even though criminal charges have been settled but they have been put on notice.

          3- Much of the ammunition that has fed both MIA and Bob Whitaker’s work came from the investigation by Republican US Senator Chuck Grassley http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/05/senate-watchdog-questions-nih-award-to-controversial-psychiatrist.html . It was meant as an investigation into the practice of ghostwriting and conflict of interests by academics receiving NIH funding and it turned out exposing mostly psychiatry’s corrupted practices. That included uncovering that 3/4ths of NAMI funding came from Big Pharma. Charles Nemeroff, Alan Schatzberg or Joseph Biederman have become poster children of the survivor movement thanks to him. I don’t understand why anybody interested in exposing psychiatry’s evils would want to run away from such a powerful ally.

          4- If this becomes a proxy for anti corporate crusaders, global warming alarmists, anti gun activists, psychiatry has already won. Back in the day when Scientology was about the only organized movement opposing psychiatry -using arguments that have been recycled here many times over- psychiatry had a very effective defense: oh!, those concerns are just Scientology nonsense. It was such a powerful defense that even to this day, questioning psychiatry opens one to being accused of being a Scientologist. I can perfectly see psychiatry’s perfect defense: oh!, don’t take those people seriously, they are just your typical anti corporate, anti gun fringe groups.

  7. I think this is a very important essay on a very important topic. Mental Health activism has not really been involved with the environmental issue which I think is problematic. On Bill Moyers’ latest show he had an environmental activist a science professor from New York on fracking. She made a very eloquent metaphor for the interaction between genetics and environment. She described genetics as the keyboard and the environment as the section of music that is played on the keys. I really wonder with the high rates of Autism, ADD.ADHD and other mental health issues how many are influenced be our current environment? I don’t know if any studies or research has been attempted. I think it may be possible that there is a missing link. Has anyone ever researched the mental health issues of those families that lived on in Love Canal? Just some thoughts.

  8. I think Charles Dickens did a wonderful job of creating literary masterpieces about such a correlation in the Victorian era. In the American suburbs Mental Health issues are usually masked though depression has been now deemed acceptable. However, the suicides that take place are covered over and forcibly forgotten. There have been many I have known in my life. I really wonder about the environment. I also am very aware that there are “cancer belts” in different areas of the states. I live in one and the number of cancers are high. One women just started walking up and down her street and asking folks and found out that there was a large amount of families dealing or who dealt with this disease. Now that cancer is a designer disease cancer belts and CDC investigations of cancer clusters are routine. It would be very interesting to be able to get to this point with Mental Health. I know the very unlicked E. Fuller Torrey did something like this in the 1980’s but linked it to genetics and viruses.
    My guess is that there are environmental factors – they just have been given the time and the effort for proper research. We need both a Rachel Carson and a Charles Dickens today.

  9. WARNING: This post could be triggering for people with no sense of humour. If this is you, look away now.

    @Ron

    I think you could be onto something. There is a precedent. The worlds most famous voice hearer was of course Jesus and he managed to change the course of history with his do unto others message. He met all the main criteria for schizophrenia, god knows what would have happened if they had largactil in Galilee 2000 yrs ago. Things could be looking a lot different….

    Flip side he did kick off a massive expansion in trade with his do unto others ditty. Providing as it did an easy means of doing trade based on trust rather contract law which is based on the idea that someone is trying to rip you off. Point being he rather gave capitalism a kick start as well…..maybe he didn’t see that far into the future to see Exxon mobile growing up. Either that or he underestimated what a bunch of shits human being can be when they put their minds to it….

    Btw do you think Lazarus had mental health problems after he was brought back to life….it would be a bit of shock i’d guess…..

  10. Ron,

    I reply here for lack of space above.

    “There’s a difference between corporations which would only be motivated to do something if they believe something is true, and corporations which have a strong financial motivation to pretend to believe something is true even if/when they know it is not.”

    What’s this? Corporate power itself is not bad, it’s only bad if it promotes issues to which I am ideologically opposed? Note that this is the same argument that psychiatrists make to defend Big Pharma! In their eyes, Big Pharma is not promoting a scam, but “something” that “they believe” “is true”. They are improving the lives of millions of people who couldn’t live without the drugs! I hope you get the irony here.

    Corporations are motivated by making profit, period. Be it current profit or future profit opportunities. That is not bad onto itself since Microsoft/Apple/Google/Cisco/Amazon pursuit of profit gave us the personal computer, internet, easy shopping, etc.

    Now, since I am sure that you don’t see what could possibly motivate those companies to promote doomsday global warming, let me tell what it is. Their objective is that so called “alternative energy” is widely adopted. They don’t have anything against Big Oil per se -ie they don’t plan to become manufacturers of windmills any time soon-, they just see a humongous business opportunity in so called alternative energy replacing Big Oil in terms of the IT spending that would be necessary to make it a reality. They aspire to becoming the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlumberger of alternative energy. Assuming that alternative energy becomes cost competitive with respect to oil or gas (they are not there yet), they would need a huge IT infrastructure more complicated than anything that big oil currently needs to make it a reality. So where you see “idealism by altruist corporations” they, and I, see a “huge dollar opportunity”.

    “Piles of evidence that global warming is real and dangerous”

    As an aside, even former supporters of doomsday global warming are on record that it was exaggerated. Also, something that you fail to see is that doomsday global warming was ironically started with the support of Big Oil. I remind you that during the 70s the doomsday scenario put forward by climate believers was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling . They were asking for immediate rationing measures to prevent a worldwide catastrophe. Big Oil, afraid that their businesses could be intervened, started to fund research that showed warming. That planted the seeds for doomsday global warming.

    “I agree that in fighting for mental health reform we need to seek allies among conservative folk who typically don’t see big corporations as the enemy, but I think we can do that by emphasizing common ground, and we don’t need to blind ourselves to other social problems or corporate abuses in order to do that!”

    Bringing doomsday global warming, gun control into a discussion about the evils of psychiatry can only have the effect of “labeling” MIA as some kind of fringe group interested in “fringe issues”. I rather have on our side the NRA, with its political muscle, than any of the companies that promotes global warming doomsday. After all, the NRA is concerned by a fundamental constitutional right. Those companies are concerned by what concerns any company: their bottom line.

  11. I don’t think this is the forum to decide whether global climate change is real or not. Whatever one believes on the climate change issue, humans are polluting the planet, destroying ecosystems, screwing with the soil and creating runoff problems, creating artificial species while killing off genuine genetic diversity, and otherwise creating ecological havoc. Everything that Ron has said applies to all of these other situations as well. We need to resist the idea that mega-corporate growth is synonymous with progress, and that creative resistance is synonymous with insanity. It’s a short stride from deciding that psychotic people need to be locked up to deciding that anyone who makes too much trouble for the powers that be in society needs to be locked up with them.

    I love the essay and the concept. Thanks for putting it out there, Ron.

    — Steve

    • “Whatever one believes on the climate change issue, humans are polluting the planet, destroying ecosystems, screwing with the soil and creating runoff problems, creating artificial species while killing off genuine genetic diversity, and otherwise creating ecological havoc. Everything that Ron has said applies to all of these other situations as well. We need to resist the idea that mega-corporate growth is synonymous with progress, and that creative resistance is synonymous with insanity.”

      Steve,

      I *totally* agree with that statement.

      While many objections to “global warming” theory are based in legitimate, scientific observations, they are, nonetheless, demonstrably advancing a Straw Man fallacy.

      See: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html

      In fact, “global warming” is a meme that’s extremely popular — and misleading, especially considering all the potentially *fallacious* ‘doomsday’ scenarios attributed to many who have advanced it.

      It seems to me, that, far better than clinging to “global warming” theory is to *discuss* “abrupt climate change” — to *question* whether or not *that* is occurring — and to ask ourselves: what might it lead to (if it is occurring)?

      Along those same lines, we might wonder: how much control do we really have over abrupt climate change? …if/when we conclude it is occurring.

      See “Defining abrupt climate change” at the following link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/story1.html

      My best (and admittedly simplistic) understanding of evolution, is that those species that have survived best are those which have been most adaptable; hence, I believe it would be *wrong* to rule out the possibility of creatively adjusting ourselves to abrupt climate change (if it is, indeed, occurring).

      However, I fully agree with you, when you express your concerns, regarding humans, “polluting the planet, destroying ecosystems, screwing with the soil and creating runoff problems, creating artificial species while killing off genuine genetic diversity, and otherwise creating ecological havoc.”

      We should *not* simply adjust ourselves to such unfortunate human activities, as those.

      As far as Ron’s blog post goes, I agree with some of it — but disagree with some of it, as well.

      He writes,

      “It will be of little long term use to reform society and the mental health system if the ecological crisis then completely undermines civilization, leading to massive famine, die offs, migrations and wars. Any mental health reforms would likely get lost in the chaos. But I believe mental health reform is still worth working toward at this point, because changing the aim of mental health work, from adjustment to creative maladjustment, could shift the mental health system toward actually supporting exploration in new ways of thinking and being instead of always attempting to suppress it. We need such exploration at this time more than perhaps any other.”

      My disagreement comes from this fact, that I realize the “mental health system” is largely a collective of governmental operations, designed for the purposes of administering ‘social’ control; hence, the “mental health system” is really all about maintain the status quo — at best.

      From that point of view, I feel it’s terribly naive of him to expect the “mental health system” to embrace *any* kind of revolutionary spirit, ever.

      Yet, I’m fully in accord with Ron, when he refers, with concern, to the kinds of man-made ecological hazards which you mention — and when he says our, “need to reconnect with others can seem paradoxical, because there is always the danger that if one connects too much, one will be right back “in formation” with a dysfunctional way of being organized, and a dysfunctional society! The trick is to find a way to be autonomous enough to find a direction based on something deeper than just fitting in or being normal…”

      Really, that is so true!

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

    • ” We need to resist the idea that mega-corporate growth is synonymous with progress, ”

      I never said that. All I said is that, in the context of alarmist global warming, there are equally powerful interests backing it as there are opposing it. Take Apple for instance. Today it announced that it made 9.5 billion dollars in profit in its most recent quarter. Pretty much what Exxon Mobile made during its last quarter. And to achieve such profitability levels, Apple (ie Foxconn) manufactures its gadgets in China because it can pay those workers less than what it would pay similar workers in America. If Apple were to manufacture its gadgets in the US, it would still be profitable but it wouldn’t as profitable. Now, I have nothing against this practice since along the way it improves the lives of many Chinese workers who would be living much poorer otherwise but it is obvious that at the same time certain American workers are deprived from job opportunities. My point is that Apple does what it takes to maximize its profits and many people benefit along the way. To think otherwise is extremely naive.

  12. So who and what is maladjusted? Maladjusted treatments disrupt neural/mental/social connections, creating “lone wolves” influenced by harmful psychiatric drugs. They traumatize communities with mass tragedies.

    Science, including real-time brainwave assessments, proves many creative, unconventional perspectives often arise from well-ordered minds. Their brainwaves harmoniously interact in creative, whole-brained experiences. Many psychiatric treatments are less well-adjusted to health than such minds naturally are.

    Health is excellent and feels excellent. So, it’s good. This shouldn’t be written off as a “judgment,” because we must recognize what’s healthy to protect health, which protects life. If we care about people’s lives, we care to acknowledge which treatments are well-adjusted to health.

    People who claim psychiatric treatments and diagnostic methods are well-adjusted, when they aren’t, are adjusted to corrupt/biased ways of thinking. They think people aren’t “mentally healthy” when they don’t think and act in the corrupt/biased ways that they do. When people’s neural connections have been disrupted by unhealthy treatments, they can become more open to going along with the corrupt ideas of corrupt authorities who promote corrupt treatments. They’re corrupt because they’re less healthy, but administered in the name of health. People believe corrupt authorities when they can’t think thoroughly enough to see the whole truth more clearly, because their neurons aren’t fully connected.

    Biased authorities don’t tend to see how maladjusted their treatments are. They naturally focus their minds for high performance in their professions. They must believe they’re not intentionally causing distress, which defines cruelty, through maladjusted treatments. They see people who object to their methods as not thinking in a well-ordered way. This confirms their idea their strong interventions are needed to maintain the healthy social order.

    Protecting health means clearly stating who and what is maladjusted, and who and what isn’t. This needs to be made clear to judges, so misguided authorities can’t force unhealthy treatments on people. It doesn’t further justice or social health to make minds out to be less well-adjusted to health than they are.

    Many people assume people are being honest and upfront about their positions when they promote social movements. So, followers believe a pure, heart-to-heart connection with their position is healthy. People’s openess to heartfelt connections is to be honored by being upfront about where people are coming from. That enables whole/healthy connections, which furthers the social health and harmony. Please see my post on MIA’s facebook page.

  13. It would be better to use the term “creative nonadjustment” because the word “maladjustment” is inherently negative: “mal-” means bad, inadequate, etc., so the very use of the word “maladjustment” biases people against the behavior being described.