“Bursting the Neuro-Utopian Bubble”

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The New York Times‘ Opinionator page includes a meditation on the limits of brain research, with the reflection that “The real trouble with the Brain Initiative is not philosophical but practical. In short, the instrumental approach to the treatment of physiological and psychological diseases tends to be at odds with the traditional ways in which human beings have addressed their problems: that is, by talking and working with one another to the end of greater personal self-realization and social harmony.”

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“We know, for instance, that low socioeconomic status at birth is associated with a greater risk of developing schizophrenia, but the lion’s share of research into schizophrenia today is carried out by neurobiologists and geneticists, who are intent on uncovering the organic “cause” of the disease rather than looking into psychosocial factors. Though this research may very well bear fruit, its dominance over other forms of research, in the face of the known connection between poverty and schizophrenia, attests to a curious assumption that has settled into a comfortable obviousness: that socioeconomic status, unlike human biology, is something we cannot change “scientifically.””

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this great article and all the others you’ve been posting lately Kermit. They sure call into great question the current paradigm of biopsychiatry and any other horrific 1984 Orwellian offspring of it as portrayed in this enlightening article as a supposed future Utopia.

    Biopsychiatry with its gross corporate corruption of so called “science,” which is even worse than the theories of the Greek and Roman gods in terms of its conclusions shows that any so called science funded and controlled by cut throat competitive “scientists,” hidden government/corporate interests to deny basic equality, democracy and fairness to the vast majority and other nefarious goals is doomed to sacrifice the vast majority of mankind to special interests regardless of the pretense of human advancement. Given the so called science marketed by the NIMH, the APA and other corrupt organizations, such supposed utopian “brave new world” agendas make me literally ill.

      • Hermes,

        I just meant tongue in cheek that such ancient pagan gods were arbitrary, capricious and acting out like teen agers, so the only thing their “victims” could do was to attempt to pacify, appease and placate them to try to avoid their wrath. Of course, depending on one’s spiritual views, this can also be the case with any religion in terms of fearing and pacifying a supposed wrathful god.

        Given that biopsychiatry has set itself up as the god of our society and they are equally wrathful, arbitrary, capricious, immature, narcissistic, self serving, dishonest, dangerous, immoral and other nasty traits, it is obvious that psychiatrists are the gods/priests of the current enforced state religion/cult of The Therapeutic State with their own witch hunts, inquisitions and burning their victims at the stake as described by Dr. Thomas Szasz. This is just my impression and observation, which I don’t mean to force on anyone else.

        http://www.bookwormroom.com/2012/01/05/arbitrary-and-capricious-gods-from-ancient-times-to-modern/

        I just quickly googled and found this article to show what I meant about Greek and Roman gods being cruel, arbitrary, capricious and immature in their behavior. Please don’t read anything else into my using this article to only make this point because the same can be said about most religions and their gods.

        • Thanks for clarifying your point, Donna. I just asked because I’m quite interested in these old pagan gods, the ancient culture of Greece, Rome, Egypt, etc, the ancient philosophers, and generally what happened at the time. There is infinite amount of parallels to the modern, or should I say post-modern world, and metaphors to derive from there, etc. For instance, when I travelled in Pompeii and Santorini, I noticed they were quite packed cities, with one kind of temple for Venus (Aphrodite) who was a patron for love and many woman qualities. Walk 20 meters and there was a main street with statues of Zeus and Mars. Turn right, and there’s a temple for Isis, the Egyptian mother god. Of course these kinds places were for the elite and soldiers, etc, not for the slaves, but at least among them there seemed to be a great good-will towards worship of other gods.

          Nietzsche and other people have written interesting comments about the polytheism of pagan cultures. I just love to think about the ancient system. I just asked because in many ways, the world of those Greek and Roman gods was also totally different from the Orwellian/biopsychiatry world. For one, there were many different gods to choose from.

          Your explanation of the capricious, teen age, etc, nature helped to figure out what you were referring to. 🙂

          • Oh, and of course I forgot to mention places like Delphi. Delphi is located in a mountaneus place next to sea. There are the ruins of the places where the oracles used to see things and direct decisions of other important people. (You can also take a taxi ride up the mountains to the ancient cave of worship of Pan and take a walk down to Delphi through the old path. It’s a great day-hike.)

            I also traveled to the place of Eleysian Mysteries, an hour or so bus ride from Athens. Prominent people from Athens would travel there yearly to get an initiation of a kind, an initiation which perhaps involved visions, etc.

            Much of what took place there would maybe be considered as schizophrenia in today’s world.

  2. I would like to see the same amount of time and money put into other areas of brain research:

    1) Researching Neuroplasticity – discovering more about how the brain heals
    2) Researching Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy- for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and “PTSD” – especially for veterans
    3) Neurofeedback, mindfulness, stress reduction research
    4) Nutrition and the brain – for “mental” illnesses

    These areas would give people hope.

    Duane

  3. schizophrenia. I still think: check the brain fluid. And YEAH, actually, I changed my mind. Nodding YES YES YES about “chemical imbalance”. BUT, I think “imbalance” isn’t the most accurate term but maybe toxicity is. What’s toxicity PLUS deficiency?

    My environment was very toxic. I *always* felt sick. Children’s Hospital in Boston diagnosed me with bronchial asthma. I don’t have it anymore (not since I moved out of Massachusetts… )

    From the article: “aren’t these scientists once again trying to play God?”

    They would be wise to pray, ask and obey.