Global Psychiatry’s Attempt to Excommunicate the Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health

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Between 2014 and 2020, the UN published three reports on mental health, prepared by the special rapporteur on the right to health (Dainius Puras). These called for a radical change in the practice and organization of mental health care across the world. The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights declared the work “groundbreaking”:

In 2017, the Special Rapporteur issued a ground-breaking report addressing the “global burden of obstacles” in mental health settings and in the field of psychiatry. The obstacles are: 1. the dominance of the biomedical paradigm; 2. power asymmetries which impact all levels of the decision-making in mental health policies and services, and 3. the biased use of evidence in mental health. (UN OHCHR)

UN flag against cloudy background

The reports were generally well received by country representatives at the UN Human Rights Council. The work sparked various news headlines across the world such as “Austerity and Inequality Fueling Mental Illness, Says Top UN Envoy” (The Guardian, UK); “Why Combatting Depression Involves Addressing Inequalities” (The Wire, India);  “Why Mental Health Is a Human Right” (The New Statesman, UK). They also sparked various academic commentaries, some more skeptical than others, such as the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry: “Responding to the UN Special Rapporteur’s Anti-Psychiatry Bias.”

Our new study “Conflict and Antagonism in Global Psychiatry,” published in Sociology of Health and Illness, systematically examines more formal responses to the report. The responses we examined tended to be in the form of open letters addressed to the UN High Commissioner or to Puras directly, unsolicited. Using discourse analysis—a method of analyzing strategies used in texts to assert or claim power—our study shows how psychiatric organisations attempted to undermine the special rapporteur and his detailed country-based inspections which led to his call for a radical change towards rights-based care in mental health.

We searched extensively for any formal written organisation level responses. We found and analysed 13 responses, most of which were hostile criticisms of the reports, written in open letter form by medical or psychiatric organisations such as the World Medical Association, the European Brain Council, the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology and so on. One very positive letter was written jointly by the British Psychological Society and Mental Health Europe, and included signatories from over 50 organisations representing psychology, psychotherapy, user-survivor organisations and charities. A fairly neutral comment from the Canadian Ministry of Health is the only explicitly governmental response we found; and the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry published a relatively balanced statement. The majority of organisations were based in Europe or were global such as the World Psychiatric Association and World Medical Association. We found no formal responses from organisations representing USA, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, The Nordic Region nor any responses from the Global South.

Although it might be argued that the UN mental health reports reflected a fairly middle-ground position and that the call for rights-based approaches in mental health was not novel at the time, the overwhelming tone of the letters from psychiatric and medical organisations was hostile. The UN reports seem to have provoked anger and disdain, reflecting a longstanding broken dialogue within the mental health professional field.

A common linguistic strategy across these letters was to set up a stark contrast between the scientific and the unscientific. The special rapporteur himself and, by association, the United Nations, was consistently represented as unscientific while current practice in psychiatry was presented as intrinsically scientific and inherently ethical. The special rapporteur is frequently accused of presenting his claims in a biased, unscientific fashion.

…[The] lack of a consistent view leaves the reader baffled, and reinforces the sense that statements are made for inflammatory rhetorical effect, with no systematic or disciplined link to the scientific evidence. (European College of Neuropsychopharmacology)

Citations of the scientific literature are largely biased in the direction of purely ideological perspectives, again with no scientific evidence. (European Brain Council)

In turn, the letters argue forcefully that the true scientific position in fact favours current biomedical practices in psychiatry—those practices which the special rapporteur criticises. Yet in doing so, the claims made in these letters often fail to meet their own scientific standard in their failure to cite evidence:

Treatment with psychotropic medications is presented as useless if not harmful, ignoring the bulk of evidence on its effectiveness [no citations]. (European Psychiatric Association)

It has been robustly demonstrated that the introduction of antipsychotic, mood stabilizing, and anti-anxiety medications in the 1960s enabled many people with chronic mental illness to leave the asylums and, for the first time live productive recovery-oriented lives… [no citations]. (International College of Neuropsychopharmacology)

As well as rejecting the scientific basis of the special rapporteur’s claims, the letters we analysed went on to suggest that the UN recommendations were in fact likely to cause harm themselves:

These statements… taken on their face, would significantly—and recklessly—limit the treatment options available to patients and considerably increase the sum total of patient suffering. (European College of Neuropsychopharmacology)

They claim that the proposed move away from biomedical models and towards rights-based care would damage patient trust in psychiatrists. Moreover, the criticisms of psychiatric practice presented in the UN reports are described as “slanderous”, lacking nuance, unfair, implying that the UN had been captured by a dangerous anti-psychiatrist, a nefarious ideologue.

We fear that the personal views of the Special Rapporteur, which are not reflective of the vast majority of his colleagues in the mental health professions nor of the extensive body of data that has been collected about the efficacy of psychiatric treatments hold the potential for causing substantial harm. (World Psychiatric Association/World Medical Association)

This assumption [that Psychiatry is reductionist, enslaved to industry and guilty of human rights violations] is absolutely slanderous as it attacks an entire professional community without distinction and—what is more—is absolutely not evidence-based. (European Brain Council)

The biopsychosocial model is instead held up in these letters as an overarching solution to disagreements in psychiatry; depicted as a model which can unify all forms of mental healthcare under one church without the need for dissent or conflict between different schools of psychiatry. If only the special rapporteur were reasonable, he would agree. In using this idea as a unifying trope, any criticism of the biomedical model is presented as a kind of wicked betrayal of an otherwise united psychiatry.

Biological, psychological and sociological approaches are, of course, complementary, and biomedical hypotheses do not, at all, contribute to coercion or abuse. (European Brain Council)

Psychiatrists worldwide recognize the invalidity of this dichotomy [medicalised vs non-medical treatments] and the necessity for a combined biopsychosocial model for understanding and treating mental disorder. (World Psychiatric Association/World Medical Association)

The binary structures deployed in these open letters are strategic. Scientific versus unscientific. Ethical versus unethical. Evidence-based versus ideological. Psychiatry united under one banner versus individual deviants (the anti-psychiatrist). These rhetorical strategies deflect criticism and have been commonplace in mental health debates for some time. Some of the tactics are well-rehearsed.

In our article, we try to characterise some of these familiar strategies. We can see tactics we might describe as the “martyr and the enemy” in which the special rapporteur is characterised as the real enemy of mental health and psychiatrists as his victims. We also see a form of “excommunication” in which the powerful psychiatric organisations rhetorically position the defector as a rogue, an anti-psychiatrist, an internal threat to psychiatry that needs to be weeded out and put in his place. The special rapporteur appears to pose a particular threat in this instance because he was given a voice by a recognisably powerful organisation, the United Nations, triggering particularly defensive responses.

To have their efforts [psychiatrists] so carelessly disparaged, and stigmatised as a “culture of coercion, isolation and excessive medicalization” (para. 88)—by no less than the Human Rights Council of the United Nations—is a grave injustice, and one that cannot be allowed to stand. (European College of Neuropsychopharmacology)

We also see forms of “circular argumentation” in that to be classed as scientific you must cite evidence; but evidence is only scientific if it is produced by or approved of by members of biomedical psychiatry organisations which are, by default, scientific organisations who do not need to cite evidence themselves because they are scientific authorities.  Similarly, the psychiatric organization is authoritative (by virtue of a large membership and important scientific mission); the individual criticizing them is unscientific and unimportant with no authority; yet this unimportant, unknowledgeable individual is victimizing psychiatric organisations.

We also see in these letters a tactic known as “strategic ignorance”, in which the psychiatric organisations appear to be completely ignorant of any evidence that psychiatric medicines do harm—a tactic enabling denial of liability; alongside an apparent unknowing of the many financial conflicts of interest among authors of the evidence that they selectively cite. It is unlikely that evidence of harm from psychiatric treatments or financial conflicts of interest among psychiatric researchers are unknown to the letter authors. Yet rather than engage with this, the authors strategically construct arguments as though they are unaware of any such issue.

Finally, we see a tactic we might call conceptual “bullshitting” in which “rituals of politeness are foregone entirely, and we are faced with the raw assertion of power or authority in brusque gestures and commanding tones”.  The insistence on the redemptive qualities and widespread acceptance of the biopsychosocial model and psychiatric pluralism seem to fall into this domain, given that psychiatry has, in practice, remained dominated by biomedicine going under the guide of the biopsychosocial model—referred to by some as “bio-bio-bio” model of madness.

In spite of these hostile reactions to the special rapporteur reports, nearly all of the letters also express a wish to be involved in leading the development of good mental health practice. Indeed, in 2020, the World Psychiatric Association published a position statement “Implementing Alternatives to Coercion: A Key Component of Improving Mental Health Care” which is broadly in line with the UN recommendations. The statement recognises “the substantive role of psychiatry in implementing alternatives to coercion in mental health care” and “the WPA wishes to emphasise that implementing alternatives to coercion is an essential element of the broader transition across the mental health sector toward recovery-oriented systems of care.” Not long after this, in 2021, the WHO published “Guidance on Community Mental Health Services: Promoting Person-Centered and Rights-Based Approaches”.

Why lambaste the UN and the special rapporteur if these reforms were already in the pipeline? Perhaps the UN reports shamed psychiatry into speeding up an agenda which was taking too long to implement; perhaps these organisations would have liked to have been the ones seen to be leading the way. Whatever the reason, the dramatic demands for the special rapporteur to “withdraw his report” or for the report not to be “allowed to stand” do not appear to have had any impact: the special rapporteur reports continue to be held up by the UN as “groundbreaking” and gradually (if perhaps not fast or widely enough) many of the recommendations are beginning to bear fruit.

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Susan McPherson
Susan McPherson is Professor of Psychology and Sociology at the University of Essex. Her research spans medical sociology, psychology and disciplines concerned with mental health and social welfare including psychotherapy outcomes as well as critical approaches to diagnosis and evidence-based practice.
Jeppe Oute
Jeppe Oute is an associate professor in mental health care and research group co-director at the University of South-Eastern Norway. His research spans from care policy, critical governance studies, medical sociology and welfare ethnographic studies on institutionalization, stigma, ideology, professionalization, power, gender and subjectivity and patient- and relative involvement processes in psychiatry and drug treatment systems.

30 COMMENTS

  1. “Biological, psychological and sociological approaches are, of course, complementary, and biomedical hypotheses do not, at all, contribute to coercion or abuse.”

    Yes. In theory. But in practice, when social problems are treated biologically and disease-mongering comes into play, it definitely does contribute to coercion and abuse.

    “We fear that the personal views of the Special Rapporteur, which are not reflective of the vast majority of his colleagues in the mental health professions nor of the extensive body of data that has been collected about the efficacy of psychiatric treatments hold the potential for causing substantial harm.”

    Good. Now give us a list of names of all those colleagues, and the list of all the patients each of those people has had. Let us see the lives of those patients, what socio-legal problems they ended up with, what categorisations they were labelled with over a period of their lives, how many drugs they were on, what kind of work they are able to do (not just “art”), how much money they earn relative to the average wage in their country, how many of them are on disability and have been for how long.

    But of course, the revelation of such information is problematic due to laws surrounding patient privacy (which are necessary of course). So, we can never really know the truth properly in that way except when patients write about them or psychiatrists talk about them. So, we’re left with word games and back and forth trash talk.

    “To have their efforts [psychiatrists] so carelessly disparaged, and stigmatised as a “culture of coercion, isolation and excessive medicalization” (para. 88)—by no less than the Human Rights Council of the United Nations—is a grave injustice, and one that cannot be allowed to stand.”

    The lives screwed over by psychiatry and its indoctrinated followers is also unjust.

    Anyway. All these are just word games.

    Psychiatrists will defend their profession. People with mental health/social issues who have suddenly come out of their suffering due to a drug or a kind talk (temporarily at least) will also support these psychiatrists without being able to see the larger picture (if anything, simply due to a lack of experience).

    I can understand that some people benefit from some psychiatrists (and medication) in some ways for some particular issues. That does not invalidate others.

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      • Defensive indignation differs from righteous indignation. The defensive type requires no footnotes if it comes from an advantaged position. The danger for point-persons who repeat demands to punish differing experience is that the consensus they assert may be ephemeral. Consensus can dry up. If careful polling was not done, those assumed to be in consensus can come out as opposed. The point-persons might do well to prepare for possible adverse outcomes.

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  2. Unfortunately, I was not able to read your article, possibly since my computer is too old, or maybe since those of us who speak too much truth on the internet, are being majorly censored?

    Nonetheless, thank you Susan and Jeppe, for this easily accessible blog. I do appreciate, and think it is important, to properly point out the systemic ways in which psychiatry has historically, and still today, marginalizes it’s patients and other critics. Thank you.

    I can’t help to think how disgusted I was, when a few years ago, my childhood church invited me to a meeting because a local philanthropist was donating a lot for public arts. And the systemic child abuse covering up “mental health” “partners” of my childhood church, declared all mosaic (tile) art to be bad public art, and unworthy of anyone ever financially supporting.

    Enough of my disgust at the staggeringly hypocritical, and attempted career destroying, Lutheran “mental health” systemic child abuse cover uppers, of whom I’ve had the misfortune of dealing.

    I will say, as a critical psychiatry person, who was forced to give psychiatry another chance recently, since a loved one was – against my will and advice – put on an antipsychotic, which as I expected, did result in a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis, within three days.

    My male loved one’s care has been much better, than was the care given to a mother, whose goal in life was to protect her children.

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  3. Great article. If you want to see all these strategies being employed on a daily basis, have a look at the Twitter responses to UK critics like me, James Davies, Joanna Moncrieff, Peter Kinderman, John Read… and anyone else who is unwise enough to question the sacred core tenets of global psychiatry. Dainius Puras is a brave and principled man.

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    • I believe that “sacred” is indeed the operative term here, Lucy, contemporary, state-sanctioned coercive psychiatry bearing so much resemblance to its Judeo-Christian (or Judeo-Pauline) genetic predecessor – The Holy Inquisition.

      Much as, previously, Western governments endowed trusted, traditional, erudite authorities, doctors of The Church and Inquisitors with a sacred duty of judging and then rooting out conversos, heretics, witches and cross-dressers (like Joan of Arc) and, where appropriate, stretching them on racks, burning them at stakes etc. in time-honored fashion to save their immortal souls, so, nowadays, those we trust to say, with sacred precision, who – which avowedly MORTAL “soul”/psyche/mind – has and who has not got some supposed “mental” or “personality” “disorder,” and to “treat” them accordingly, whether or not those deviants possess the “insight” to agree with them.

      Worse still, arguably, doctors do not just have a right to have locked up and drugged those law-abiding citizens whom they argue may be a danger to themselves or others OR may “need” hospitalization to best treat their supposed disorder/s, they actually have a legal obligation to have locked up and drugged those law&abiding citizens whom they consider/suspect to…ditto!

      Dementias, developmental and other proven “organic” diseases/disorders need to be differentiated here from so-called mental and personality disorders, of course…

      The UN/WHO, like Amnesty International and the ECHR, has thus far failed to come out and agree with Thomas Szasz that coercive psychiatry does not commit human rights abuse: it is human rights abuse.

      They may all continue to fail to do so until we have amply argued and demonstrated beyond doubt that the reason “mental health” and, likewise, every single “mental disorder” and “personality disorder” defies scientific definition is because they are purely imaginary, existing only in the imagination of those who believe in them:

      I loved Susan and Jeppe’s magnificent analysis, and especially that, in true MIA tradition, its power, I believe, comes not from ego or from bitterness so much as from a refusal to demonize, and a vision that we truly ARE all in this together – that we are ALL “sinners” and ALL “saints,” andALL heretics and capable, even leaving all our mercenary and selfish motives aside, if we even want to or can, only of perceiving Truth as we perceive it, and not a single one of us qualified to say who are the good guys and who the bad:

      “For there is so much ‘good’ in ‘the worst’ of us,
      and so much ‘bad’ in ‘the best’ of us that it ill becomes any of us to chat about ‘the rest’ of us,” and no sacred power enables any of us to decree how or when or in or by whom any “disorder” might be diagnosed…when not a single one of them has ever been proven to exist, nor can be.

      MANY thanks, Susan and Jeppe for the brilliant analysis and Lucy and the other contributors and MIA for reminding me, at least, that ALL our emotional states lie on “complex continua” forever in flux – for everyone of us, and that, as such, no definitive lines can drawn – by anyone of us:

      “Mental health,” like, “mental illness,” and “righteousness,” “virtue” and “sin ” is concept, a human construct, an opinion, and one which defies objective definition because “nothing’s either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so ” and we all think differently.

      “Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. It is an integral component of health and well-being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. Mental health is a basic human right. And it is crucial to personal, community and socio-economic development.

      Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders. It exists on a complex continuum, which is experienced differently from one person to the next, with varying degrees of difficulty and distress and potentially very different social and clinical outcomes.

      Mental health conditions include mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities as well as other mental states associated with significant distress, impairment in functioning, or risk of self-harm. People with mental health conditions are more likely to experience lower levels of mental well-being, but this is not always or necessarily the case.”

      – The WHO, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

      Tom.

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  4. Not only this in canada and around the world coercion deception manufactured evidence falsification of scientific evidence extortion denial of human rights to and to stay unaccountable irresponsible in medical malpractice etc in do no harm no compensation or punitive damages for botched birthing malpractice to pathologize the victim of psychiatry enforced and political dissidents failure to inform all used in breaches of 53 nuremberg issues on consent without consent without and against our bodily integrity criminal lawyers doing mental health law not very aggressively cowtowing to the huge backing of psychiatric diagnosis and lies use of collusions of courts of law if not without any burden of proof by passing the courts of law using police state and medical mafia use of enforced psychiatry on the disabled physically and those sterilized by force uninformed and enforced abortions and malpractice victims premeditation using the poor oppressed as lab rats to MICROBIAL experimentation enforced without consent medical procedures without informing and to take innocent citizens out of political voice to rights to market rent clothes food medical cover up of effects of serious toxicity of psychiatric chemicals, education higher education apprenticeship for employment and to give excuses for discrimination prejudice and internment in second rate slum lord housing by ministry of heath disempowered by state govt that refuses all human civil constitutional rights particularly excessive intrusion of state and security of person to freedom of thought freedom of belief and freedom of expression sec 13 on right not to incriminate oneself and the use of fraudulent emails and court files of defrauding victims writing etc to ellicit their evidence in falsifying use of new communication technology all rights denied…etc etc and I’ll state lastly it was German psychiatry that began formulated the death camps of mass murder of those deemed mentally ill which is questionable even today without our consent without proof with classist prejudice biased no basis in science and never to heal of trauma issues as to fraudulent practices and flooding their markets with hatred propaganda and agenda of mass incarceration to flood the pharmaceutical chemical labotomies of the poor and those made poor by victimization in its many forms to invalidated by goons in malice and therefore excuse fact that innocent victims denied the criminal justice system and access to courts of law in our laws the right to cross examine one’s accuser in a court of law the right to due process and redress in a court of law the right to redress wrongs all denied particularly with backing of statutes and laws brought in just like nazi Germany in the commercialization of death cover up of crimes and obstruction of justice . I am the one who experienced all of the above snd am evidence of it…43 years of libel slander by emissaries of govt criminality and Cover up for wheel heeled white collar criminals and well connected rapists etc …psychiatry in ww2 that so many died to stop this psychiatry under hitler brought in the death camps…and of course the Iron curtain crimes in 1960 9000 paranoid schizophrenics emmigrated to usa from russia and never again had symptoms as to lies of state against its own citizens using psychiatry as torturers in this one world order there is no escape from false leading diagnosis in which anyone can look like a subject to their diagnosis manual by the crimes committed against them like movie is it safe marathon man. the geneva convention breached in pows and we are powed by war against the poor and disempowered in mixed housing of patients male and female to be raped incarcerated as to mental health units running common bawdy houses invalidating all.contensions of criminality on outside . .truly.

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  5. Good article, thanks :

    “We also see forms of “circular argumentation” in that to be classed as scientific you must cite evidence; but evidence is only scientific if it is produced by or approved of by members of biomedical psychiatry organisations which are, by default, scientific organisations who do not need to cite evidence themselves because they are scientific authorities. Similarly, the psychiatric organization is authoritative (by virtue of a large membership and important scientific mission); the individual criticizing them is unscientific and unimportant with no authority; yet this unimportant, unknowledgeable individual is victimizing psychiatric organisations.”

    Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts said Richard Feynman. Richard Feynman had a Nobel prize in physics. He also called psychiatrists witch doctors and used this statement as a prime example of why we live in an unscientific age.

    Physics is the king of the sciences and maths is the queen. Therefore, Feynman has more credibility than all psychiatrists combined even though he is dead.

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    • Ah, Kevin, if Richard did say that, and if only psychiatrists WERE to act as “witch doctors,

      “https://www.britannica.com/topic/witch-doctor – as I am hoping and praying that they and we all may very soon so for one another – as faith-healing, hope-inspiring shamans (and shawomans) who knows that by deep, compassionate, understanding, loving listening, we can all help one another heal if and when we want to enough, then, this world of ours might not already be a better place (it may already be the very best of all possible worlds, and better, being endlessly more and more rapidly perfectible by us), but we might hace a great deal more faith and hope in ourselves and in others.

      I believe that psycho pharmacologist mean as well as any of us, but have been largely misled by false science and that we can thank many very brilliant and some very arrogant scientists for having led us to where we are…and for having shown us how our massive egos can persuade us of our own expertise in areas where we have not yet ourselves made all the mistakes.

      The ghost of Richard, if he is humbler by now, might agree that it is the arrogance of scientists which blinds them to their own ignorance, and that it is ego which we must endlesssly identify in ourselves and in others as we make ever more rapid progress.

      Another Nobel laureate in physics also demonstrates this, I believe, particularly in his closing paragraph here:

      https://www.ted.com/talks/murray_gell_mann_beauty_truth_and_physics/transcript?language=en

      Bohr

      (“An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.” -https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Niels_Bohr ),

      on the other hand, with enormous humility, seems to me to provide many deeper, trust and more workable insights into human affairs, and into how our very presence “alone” can and does heal:

      “Not often in life has a human being caused me such joy by his mere presence than you did!”

      I read that again and again, Kevin!:

      “Not often in life has a human being caused me such joy by his mere presence as you did.”

      Albert Einstein in a letter to Bohr (1920),also according to Wikiquote.

      May the ghosts of Richard, of Carl Sagan, of Murray and of Kevin of Glendalough all forgive me and help me better deal with my own arrogance and ignorance, please, and for my gratitude to them for theirs.

      Thank you, Kevin!

      C’mon the witch doctors, and the female scientists!

      Tom.

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  6. Excellent post.

    There are recent positive jurisprudence advances in Mexico, and given the timing and some UN resolutions possibly related to the Human Rights Special Procedure report by or lead by Mr. Puras it does suggest that said report had beneficial effects for me. Or eventually will in the not so distant future.

    At least now coercive treatments in Mexico are by jurisprudence unlawfull, based on the Covention of Persons with disabilities, and apparently in part by Mr. Puras courage and competency, given the timing. The work of an outside the UN and independent expert in disagreeement. A minority, a dissenter. Given a megaphone at the UN, nonetheless.

    Mexico now needs enforcement and deterrence beyond the mere long due recognition that before arguing about science, ethics, effectiveness, etc., the first thing practitioners should do is abide by the Law.

    Simple as that for me.

    And the Law includes the binding treaties signed by countries, and I guess sometimes even states within countries.

    Instead the discourse that I’ve read speaks about effectivenes, “no other thing to do”, and moral dilemmas, like in “let’s publish it as an ethical issue, morals cannot be enforced you know”. And if morals could be enforced, well, you know who they are gonna call to address the “deviants”, the “abnormals”, the “dissenters”. They’ve done that for centuries.

    Even if ultimately, dissenters in human rights issues are, from my experience usualy correct. But not always on time, sadly.

    To land on relevance:

    I think the fact that the WPA appears to align with the special report is nothing more than a fake show of good faith. An attempt to buy good will from legislators to whom they most decidedly ran to first, before promoters of human rights in mental whatever.

    Hence the apparent proliferation of coercitive laws in the US, and the feet dragging of the mexican congress to fully abolish involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations, by making it specifically prosecutable. Not just kidnapping.

    To remove at least the pseudoscientific jargon applied by such promoters before and without addressing the legal issues in accordance to the constitution and the binding legal treaties.

    Law comes first.

    And in fact, fundamental laws, are not evidence based, are values based, and from around 20yrs or so, human rights based. Regulations and secondary laws might be based on evidence, but fundamental ones are not.

    Sounds like a straw man attack on Mr. Puras pretending to address the science.

    The complainers to the report attacked something that was not part, I asume, of the point: the human rights come first. The evidence, its uses and the practice comes later. But, I have not read the report. But apparently writes about the damages by medication and some other things.

    So, I think that without national jurisprudence or fundamental legislation nationally binding in many countries what we are going to see is a rabbid proliferation of state laws that are contrary not only to the spirit of human rights, but against the meaning of the United Nations.

    There is geopolitical evidence for that, so a few groups of practitioners having the ear and heart of a few dominant legislators in a given state is not gonna rock the boat by much.

    And with dysfunctional federal congresses in the US and Mexico it’s going to take a while, but there are advances, at least for Mexico.

    Now here, in Mexico, they require enforcement and follow up with more comprehensive, harmonic if you will legislation making specific, typified, prosecutable offenses: covert medication, covert diagnoses, deceitfull treatments, deceitfull diagnoses, psychiatrical diagnoses by proxy, coercive/therapeutic contracts and psychiatrical diagnoses outside the facilities authorized to such effect.

    All of which are in fact illegal, are against the law, only covert or forced psychotropic legislation is punishable, but I haven’t read of any relative or practitioner being charged with it. Hence the need for specific typified offenses related to mental illness and it’s practitioners, their solicitors and sadly even their recurrents.

    Reminding myself that without specifically targeted legislation psych pros are not gonna by bound by them.

    As an example: They had the obligation of reporting crimes known to them to have been comited and hiding behind professional secrecy to never report them as the law mandated like, forever. They became cover-ups of serious crimes against children and the garden variety, prevalent and widespread among mental health practitioners: crimes against honor.

    I can hear the whaaambulance when such legislation will be introduced, just for analysis.

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  7. A commenter “Kevin Burke” wrote about Richard Feynman’s experiences with Psychiatry.

    I’m not sure if I’m allowed to publish Feynman’s excerpt regarding Psychiatry from his book, “Surely, You’re Joking Mr. Feyman!”, but I’m writing it below:

    Uncle Sam Doesn’t Need You!

    After the war the army was scraping the bottom of the barrel to get the guys for the occupation forces in Germany. Up until then the army deferred people for some reason other than physical first (I was deferred because I was working on the bomb), but now they reversed that and gave everybody a physical first.

    That summer I was working for Hans Bethe at General Electric in Schenectady, New York, and I remember that I had to go some distance-I think it was to Albany–to take the physical.

    I get to the draft place, and I’m handed a lot of forms to fill out, and then I start going around to all these different booths. They check your vision at one, your hearing at another, they take your blood sample at another, and so forth.

    Anyway, finally you come to booth number thirteen: psychiatrist. There you wait, sitting on one of the benches, and while I’m waiting I can see what is happening. There are three desks, with a psychiatrist behind each one, and the “culprit” sits across from the psychiatrist in his BVDs and answers various questions.

    At that time there were a lot of movies about psychiatrists. For example, there was Spellbound, in which a woman who used to be a great piano player has her hands stuck in some awkward position and she can’t move them, and her family calls in a psychiatrist to try to help her, and the psychiatrist goes upstairs into a room with her, and you see the door close behind them, and downstairs the family is discussing what’s going to happen, and then she comes out of the room, hands still stuck in the horrible position, walks dramatically down the stairs over to the piano and sits down, lifts her hands over the keyboard, and suddenly –dum diddle dum diddle dum, dum, dum–she can play again. Well, I can’t stand this kind of baloney, and I had decided that psychiatrists are fakers, and I’ll have nothing to do with them. So that was the mood I was in when it was my turn to talk to the psychiatrist.

    I sit down at the desk, and the psychiatrist starts looking through my papers. “Hello, Dick!” he says in a cheerful voice. “Where do you work?”

    I’m thinking, “Who does he think he is, calling me by my first name?” and I say coldly, “Schenectady.”

    “Who do you work for, Dick?” says the psychiatrist, smiling again.

    “General Electric.”

    “Do you like your work, Dick?” he says, with that same big smile on his face.

    “So -so.” I just wasn’t going to have anything to do with him.

    Three nice questions, and then the fourth one is completely different. “Do you think people talk about you?” he asks, in a low, serious tone.

    I light up and say, “Sure! When I go home, my mother often tells me how she was telling her friends about me.” He isn’t listening to the explanation; instead, he’s writing something down on my paper.

    Then again, in a low, serious tone, he says, “Do you think people stare at you?”

    I’m all ready to say no, when he says, “For instance, do you think any of the boys waiting on the benches are staring at you now?”

    While I had been waiting to talk to the psychiatrist, I had noticed there were about twelve guys on the benches waiting for the three psychiatrists, and they’ve got nothing else to look at, so I divide twelve by three–that makes four each–but I’m conservative, so I say, “Yeah, maybe two of them
    are looking at us.”

    He says, “Well just turn around and look”–and he’s not even bothering to look himself!

    So I turn around, and sure enough, two guys are looking. So I point to them and I say, “Yeah–there’s that guy, and that guy over there looking at us.” Of course, when I’m turned around and pointing like that, other guys start to look at us, so I say, “Now him, and those two over there-and now the whole bunch.” He still doesn’t look up to check. He’s busy writing more things on my paper.

    Then he says, “Do you ever hear voices in your head?”

    “Very rarely,” and I’m about to describe the two occasions on which it happened when he says, “Do you talk to yourself?”

    “Yeah, sometimes when I’m shaving, or thinking; once in a while.” He’s writing down more stuff.

    “I see you have a deceased wife–do you talk to her?”

    This question really annoyed me, but I contained myself and said, “Sometimes, when I go up on a mountain and I’m thinking about her.”

    More writing. Then he asks, “Is anyone in your family in a mental institution?”

    “Yeah, I have an aunt in an insane asylum.”

    “Why do you call it an insane asylum?” he says, resentfully. “Why don’t you call it a mental institution?”

    “I thought it was the same thing.”

    “Just what do you think insanity is?” he says, angrily.

    “It’s a strange and peculiar disease in human beings,” I say honestly.

    “There’s nothing any more strange or peculiar about it than appendicitis!” he retorts.

    “I don’t think so. In appendicitis we understand the causes better, and something about the mechanism of it, whereas with insanity it’s much more complicated and mysterious.” I won’t go through the whole debate; the point is that I meant insanity is physiologically peculiar, and he thought I meant it was socially peculiar.

    Up until this time, although I had been unfriendly to the psychiatrist, I had nevertheless been honest in everything I said. But when he asked me to put out my hands, I couldn’t resist pulling a trick a guy in the “bloodsucking line” had told me about. I figured nobody was ever going to get a chance to do this, and as long as I was halfway under water, I would do it. So I put out my hands with one palm up and the other one down.

    The psychiatrist doesn’t notice. He says, “Turn them over.”

    I turn them over. The one that was up goes down, and the one that was down goes up, and he still doesn’t notice, because he’s always looking very closely at one hand to see if it is shaking. So the trick had no effect.

    Finally, at the end of all these questions, he becomes friendly again. He lights up and says, “I see you have a Ph.D., Dick. Where did you study?”

    “MIT and Princeton. And where did you study!”

    “Yale and London. And what did you study, Dick?”

    “Physics. And what did you study?”

    “Medicine.”

    “And this is medicine?”

    “Well, yes. What do you think it is? You go and sit down over there and wait a few minutes!”

    So I sit on the bench again, and one of the other guys waiting sidles up to me and says, “Gee! You were in there twenty-five minutes! The other guys were in there only five minutes!”

    “Yeah.”

    “Hey,” he says. “You wanna know how to fool the psychiatrist? All you have to do is pick your nails, like this.”

    “Then why don’t you pick your nails like that?”

    “Oh,” he says, “I wanna get in the army!”

    “You wanna fool the psychiatrist?” I say. “You just tell him that!”

    After a while I was called over to a different desk to see another psychiatrist. While the first psychiatrist had been rather young and innocent- looking, this one was gray-haired and distinguished-looking–obviously the superio r psychiatrist. I figure all of this is now going to get straightened out, but no matter what happens, I’m not going to become friendly.

    The new psychiatrist looks at my papers, puts a big smile on his face, and says, “Hello, Dick. I see you worked at Los Alamos during the war.”

    “Yeah.”

    “There used to be a boys’ school there, didn’t there?”

    “That’s right.”

    “Were there a lot of buildings in the school?”

    “Only a few.”

    Three questions–same technique-and the next question is completely different. “You said you hear voices in your head. Describe that, please.”

    “It happens very rarely, when I’ve been paying attention to a person with a foreign accent. As I’m falling asleep I can hear his voice very clearly.

    The first time it happened was while I was a student at MIT. I could hear old Professor Vallarta say, ‘Dee-a dee-a electric field-a.’ And the other time was in Chicago during the war, when Professor Teller was explaining to me how the bomb worked. Since I’m interested in all kinds of phenomena, I wondered how I could hear these voices with accents so precisely, when I couldn’t imitate them that well . . . Doesn’t everybody have something like that happen once in a while?”

    The psychiatrist put his hand over his face, and I could see through his fingers a little smile (he wouldn’t answer the question).

    Then the psychiatrist checked into something else. “You said that you talk to your deceased wife. What do you say to her?”

    I got angry. I figure it’s none of his damn business, and I say, “I tell her I love her, if it’s all right with you!”

    After some more bitter exchanges he says, “Do you believe in the supernormal?”

    I say, “I don’t know what the ‘supernormal’ is.”

    “What? You, a Ph.D. in physics, don’t know what the supernormal is?”

    “That’s right.”

    “It’s what Sir Oliver Lodge and his school believe in.”

    That’s not much of a clue, but I knew it. “You mean the supernatural.”

    “You can call it that if you want.”

    “All right, I will.”

    “Do you believe in mental telepathy?”

    “No. Do you?”

    “Well, I’m keeping an open mind.”

    “What? You, a psychiatrist, keeping an open mind? Ha!” It went on like this for quite a while.

    Then at some point near the end he says, “How much do you value life?”

    “Sixty-four.”

    “Why did you say ‘sixty-four’?”

    “How are you supposed to measure the value of life?”

    “No! I mean, why did you say ‘sixty-four,’ and not ‘seventy-three,’ for instance?”

    “If I had said ‘seventy-three,’ you would have asked me the same question!”

    The psychiatrist finished with three friendly questions, just as the other psychiatrist had done, handed me my papers, and I went off to the next booth.

    While I’m waiting in the line, I look at the paper which has the summary of all the tests I’ve taken so far. And just for the hell of it I show m paper to the guy next to me, and I ask him in a rather stupid-sounding voice, “Hey! What did you get in ‘Psychiatric’? Oh! You got an ‘N.’ I got an ‘N’ in everything else, but I got a ‘D’ in ‘Psychiatric.’ What does that mean?” I knew what it meant: “N” is normal, “D” is deficient.

    The guy pats me on the shoulder and says, “Buddy, it’s perfectly all right. It doesn’t mean anything. Don’t worry about it!” Then he walks way over to the other corner of the room, frightened: It’s a lunatic!

    I started looking at the papers the psychiatrists had written, and it looked pretty serious! The first guy wrote:

    Thinks people talk about him.

    Thinks people stare at him.

    Auditory hypnogogic hallucinations.

    Talks to self.

    Talks to deceased wife.

    Maternal aunt in mental institution.

    Very peculiar stare. (I knew what that was–that was when I said, “And this is medicine?”)

    The second psychiatrist was obviously more important, because his scribble was harder to read. His notes said things like “auditory hypnogogic hallucinations confirmed.” (“Hypnogogic” means you get them while you’re falling asleep.)

    He wrote a lot of other technical-sounding notes, and I looked them over, and they looked pretty bad. I figured I’d have to get all of this straightened out with the army somehow.

    At the end of the whole physical examination there’s an army officer who decides whether you’re in or you’re out. For instance, if there’s something the matter with your hearing, he has to decide if it’s serious enough to keep you out of the army. And because the army was scraping the bottom of the barrel for new recruits, this officer wasn’t going to take anything from anybody. He was tough as nails. For instance, the fellow ahead of me had two bones sticking out from the back of his neck–some kind of displaced vertebra, or something–and this army officer had to get up from his desk and feel them–he had to make sure they were real!

    I figure this is the place I’ll get this whole misunderstanding straightened out. When it’s my turn, I hand my papers to the officer, and I’m ready to explain everything, but the officer doesn’t look up. He sees the “D” next to “Psychiatric,” immediately reaches for the rejection stamp, doesn’t ask me any questions, doesn’t say anything; he just stamps my papers “REJECTED,” and hands me my 4-F paper, still looking at his desk.

    So I went out and got on the bus for Schenectady, and while I was riding on the bus I thought about the crazy thing that had happened, and I started to laugh–out loud–and I said to myself, “My God! If they saw me now, they would be sure!”

    When I finally got back to Schenectady I went in to see Hans Bethe. He was sitting behind his desk, and he said to me in a joking voice, “Well, Dick, did you pass?”

    I made a long face and shook my head slowly. “No.”

    Then he suddenly felt terrible, thinking that they had discovered some serious medical problem with me, so he said in a concerned voice, “What’s the matter, Dick?”

    I touched my finger to my forehead.

    He said, “No!”

    “Yes!”

    He cried, “No-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!” and he laughed so hard that the roof of the General Electric Company nearly came off.

    I told the story to many other people, and everybody laughed, with a few exceptions.

    When I got back to New York, my father, mother, and sister called for me at the airport, and on the way home in the car I told them all the story.

    At the end of it my mother said, “Well, what should we do, Mel?”

    My father said, “Don’t be ridiculous, Lucille. It’s absurd!”

    So that was that, but my sister told me later that when we got home and they were alone, my father said, “Now, Lucille, you shouldn’t have said anything in front of him. Now what should we do?”

    By that time my mother had sobered up, and she said, “Don’t be ridiculous, Mel!”

    One other person was bothered by the story. It was at a Physical Society meeting dinner, and Professor Slater, my old professor at MIT, said, “Hey, Feynman! Tell us that story about the draft I heard.”

    I told the whole story to all these physicists–I didn’t know any of them except Slater–and they were all laughing throughout, but at the end one guy said, “Well, maybe the psychiatrist had something in mind.”

    I said resolutely, “And what profession are you, sir?” Of course, that was a dumb question, because we were all physicists at a professional meeting. But I was surprised that a physicist would say something like that.

    He said, “Well, uh, I’m really not supposed to be here, but I came as the guest of my brother, who’s a physicist. I’m a psychiatrist.” I smoked him right out!

    After a while I began to worry. Here’s a guy who’s been deferred all during the war because he’s working on the bomb, and the draft board gets letters saying he’s important, and now he gets a “D” in “Psychiatric”–it turns out he’s a nut! Obviously he isn’t a nut; he’s just trying to make us believe he’s a nut–we’ll get him!

    The situation didn’t look good to me, so I had to find a way out. After a few days, I figured out a solution. I wrote a letter to the draft board that went something like this:

    Dear Sirs:

    I do not think I should be drafted because I am teaching science students, and it is partly in the strength of our future scientists that the national welfare lies.

    Nevertheless, you may decide that I should be deferred because of the result of my medical report, namely, that I am psychiatrically unfit.

    I feel that no weight whatsoever should be attached to this report because I consider it to be a gross error.

    I am calling this error to your attention because I am insane enough not to wish to take advantage of it.

    Sincerely,
    R. P Feynman
    Result:”Deferred. 4F Medical Reasons.”

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    • Golly, thank you all that, Reg!

      Was it the same Richard who told the story of an eager (arrogant?) young physicist, newly arrived at some faculty or facility or conference or…who, presumably already having been a clever dick often enough, was gently taken aside (by B?) and begged,

      “You know, young man, we are all frightfully clever here…the thing is to try to be nice!”?

      I think Oppenheimer, too, stressed that once we get smart enough to really want to solve any serious problem, we tend to become smart enough to know that the nicer we are, the faster it gets solved – be it physics, “metaphysics” or any human problem?

      “Western civilization, it seems to me, stands by two great heritages. One is the scientific spirit of adventure — the adventure into the unknown, an unknown which must be recognized as being unknown in order to be explored; the demand that the unanswerable mysteries of the universe remain unanswered; the attitude that all is uncertain; to summarize it — the humility of the intellect. The other great heritage is Christian ethics — the basis of action on love, the brotherhood of all men, the value of the individual — the humility of the spirit.
      These two heritages are logically, thoroughly consistent. But logic is not all; one needs one’s heart to follow an idea. If people are going back to religion, what are they going back to? Is the modern church a place to give comfort to a man who doubts God — more, one who disbelieves in God? Is the modern church a place to give comfort and encouragement to the value of such doubts? So far, have we not drawn strength and comfort to maintain the one or the other of these consistent heritages in a way which attacks the values of the other? Is this unavoidable? How can we draw inspiration to support these two pillars of western civilization so that they may stand together in full vigor, mutually unafraid? Is this not the central problem of our time?”

      – Richard Fenman, according to Wikiquote,
      remarks (2 May 1956) at a Caltech YMCA lunch forum

      Thanks a million for Feynman, Reg!

      Tom.

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  8. Great article, an essential deconstruction of the animating machinations behind psychiatry’s desperation to maintain a shred of credibility. I’m grateful that there’s a theoretical framework for “strategic ignorance”, of which I didn’t know before reading this article, yet have felt, over many decades, rather exploited by like-professionals. I never knew if, when I felt this way, if the professional “expert” was genuinely obtuse or just ethically challenged. Given the meritocratic rot that comprises of our PMC, I suspect I’m hardly alone in this experience. But when it comes to psychiatry or mental health clinicians deploying this dynamic, the effect is utterly diabolical and doubly pernicious. Big thanks to Susan and Jeppe for bringing to light this term. as well as the other deceptive tactics used to keep people in the “dark”!

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      • “There is nothing more difficult than waking someone who is only pretending to be asleep.”
        – Desmond Tutu, reportedly.

        But who has not turned a blind eye, Birdsong?

        And which if us is not bigger than our biggest “sin” – in time?

        https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_the_dangers_of_willful_blindness?language=en

        Is it really ever essentially THEM and US, or are we not all absolutely equally to blame and equally innocent, but each capable of waking up only when we are fully ready and prepared to, and only then capable of truly taking our responsibilities and, yes. certainly, speaking out, but hardly most effectively by blaming THEM for all that has befallen US?!

        If psycho pharmacologists divide humanity into normal and annoy, ordered and disordered, so much as clerics did before them, are we going to find the quickest way out by seeing only wholly innocent victims and wholly mercenary perps?

        MUSTn’t there be a better way?!

        Thank you, as ever.

        Tom.

        “If I only knew them what I still don’t know now….”

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          • Fair point, Birdsong.

            And many thanks.

            But if not an excuse, then perhaps some explanation, at least?

            I guess what I am trying to figure out is what might make ANY “ordinary” person seemingly so cavalier about the fate of their fellows, so willing and able to seemingly deliberately, knowingly turn a blind eye to the seriousness of the consequences of their not speaking out about the conduct of their colleagues and so on.

            Why don’t family physicians call out psychiatrists, for instance?

            If we dismiss them as being in some way intrinsically different from “us,” their hapless, innocent victims (of whom I do assure you my family and I have been), then we may stop trying to figure out how and why any “decent,” intelligent and highly educated human being might act so?

            I love the attributed Einstein quote,

            “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer!”

            Can’t we ALL do that?!

            When I try to explain to doctors and other health professionals that we cannot and do not have “pain-receptors,” their eyes tend to glaze over.

            When I explained to an elderly woman check-out clerk yesterday, to my delight, she seemed to grasp it immediately.

            “Oh, mind over matter?!” Her eyes lit up.

            “Yeah, sorry of…but something ELSE over mind!”

            “Oooooh, you’ve made my DAY!” Her whole being now suddenly lit up and made my day and more.

            We can all be indoctrinated, especially as students, I think, by very naturally trusting experts and professors and traditions and textbooks.

            Newly out of vet school, I was told by a couple of German famers I respected that garlic cured bovine mastitis, or helped to. I was horrified. This could NOT POSSIBLY be true! If there were the slightest truth to it, then I could not possibly trust all my years of training! I felt most uncomfortable.

            Another highly respected dairy later tarmer told me he had bought some homeopathic mastitis prevention solution, expensive bottles of extremely dilute nosodes, and believed they had helped reduce the cell counts in his bulk milk. I was nonplussed, to say the least.

            When I’d torn a cow’s cervix in delivering a large calf, and the farmer’s wife yelled that she was racing off to phone “the healer with the cure for the bleeding,” so that s/he could operate her/his magic over the phone, you know, by remote healing, I seriously felt like throwing down my instruments in anger, and leaving them to it.

            When farmers protested to me that the “Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Scheme under which I tested their cattle was corrupt, their pleas fell on deaf ears – until, some twenty years on, they fell on ears which were no longer deaf. THEN I grew angry with my own willfully blind and deaf colleagues! (Not that I believe there is any place for anger.)

            You remember an institutionalized old guy released from “The Shawshank” in the movie…who was suicidal?

            I suspect that many released from weeks, months or years of being poisoned and institutionalized in locked psych wards may be at increased risk of suicide.I would hate to be the doctor responsible for locking them up and poisoning them – or for releasing them. And I do think “There, but for ‘the grace of God,’ go I!”

            If a person has spent many, many years of training IN good faith to become,say, a psycho pharmacologis (or even a psychopharmacologist)t, I can see how it might be desperately hard to face the facts which the likes of Joanna Moncrieff and Pat Bracken and Loren Mosher and (journalist) Bob Whitaker even Daniel Carlat

            https://youtu.be/XOCM88LzCOY?si=w0w-LBiOoVOSFmkT

            seem to have managed to so very bravely and tenaciously face.

            A conspicuous lack of ego seems to be a bit of a prerequisite, along with the courage, honesty and sense of honor which accompany that. So, too, may be an exceptionally high intelligence and a confidence and willingness to have original thoughts, to be a free and a critical thinker? But I think still more may be involved, too?

            “Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.” – Thomas Szasz.

            Spiritually speaking, I think we are all asleep until we are no longer, and the willfully blind and deaf are truly sleeping, in that sense, and so can’t help their stupidity and apathy: They KNOW not what they do, where “knowing” implies a full understanding and awareness of the consequence.

            I do not believe that any human being is more inherently “evil” than any other, – rather than simply being less enlightened, less “awake,” less “conscious,” spiritually speaking.

            Along with John Steinbeck, I do believe in the perfectibility of humanity, and for me that MUST mean of ALL of humanity: If one of us were inherently, innately, intrinsically, essentially more evil than any of the rest of us, then I did not believe humanity could possibly be perfectible – or capable of mass awakening.

            Under certain circumstances, I believe most of us are still capable of the most appalling savagery to one another, both actively or by neglect.

            I suspect I might still be, too, Birdsong, for all I know.

            When we have suffered quite enough, it seems we all become very compassionate creatures. Until then, however?

            Thank you very much for your frank responses.

            Bon courage.

            Tom.

            “Ah, but I was so much older then.
            I’m younger than that now.” – Bob Dylan, “Tambourine Man.”

            PS: Call me mad if you like but, nowadays, while I am trying to keep an open mind about the garlic and the nosodes, I would no longer be desperately surprised if some “remote/faith healers” do NOT have “the cure for the bleeding” and other “cures,” both in humans and in other animals…and, though I cannot yet understand why for so long I was not willing to suspect that a government scheme which was my bread and butter COULD be corrupt and ought not be served, I know I must try to…

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        • On your reply to BdS lower:

          Why is it that …?: In great part Banality of Evil.

          On your alternate remedies questions:

          People use them, in part, because it avoids more harmfull and less beneficial interventions since involves no NOCEBO.

          That’s why alternative remedies work for some people: it avoids calling the harmfull ‘doc’.

          Granted, you are not going to hear from those who could have benefited from calling the ‘doc’. But “wisdom of the crowds” might come in the middle. Particularly when brainwashed practitioners can’t learn from their mistakes.

          And if the market rathers call an alternative practitioners, as a a market tells me, the economic benefit of conventional veterinary treatment vs it’s cost (direct and indirect) might not be THAT different.

          Granted, superstition might come into play, but one would have figured if calling the vet and it’s treatments was WAY too favoring the vet over alternative would render anyones superstition moot.

          Money rules the world. Not always it’s superstition, tradition or lack of resources. Sometimes it’s resources more valued, more appreciated by the payee. Like I have no externality from MY decisions: I pay all the consequences of calling the vet… or not…
          On evil:

          Evil for me would be when confronted with facts and arguments and one gets. still, same response, no remorse, no second thought, etc. Granted, liability and stubbornes might explain, but you would think at least a concession, a ping of guilt, might point to no evil.

          And I haven’t seen that among some practitioners, honestly.

          Sorry if I intruded…

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          • Superstition comes into play in all forms of medical treatment. Placebo effect is acknowledged to deliver half the benefits of any treatment. Drugs become less effective the longer they’re around because people start to hear issues and concerns that were not talked about before. What people believe has a lot to do with what works.

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          • Far, far from intruding, 27, I wish you’d please say more!

            Can “evil” be banal?

            Can “evil” be absolute?

            Can “evil” truly exist?

            Apparently, Joan of Arc, threatened by an inquisition with stretching on the rack conceded that, in such extremis, she might well or probably would indeed finally break down and confess to her “wrongdoing,” to her “false” claims. However, she went on, at least in one movie and possibly also in the transcript of her trial, once removed from the rack, she would take back her confession!

            From what I have read of Joan and of her trial, this seems consistent with her attitude: She, perhaps as brave and as virtuous a human as has lived, recognized that, under sufficient physical/mental pressure she would probably break down, give in to “evil,” succumb to fear, don”the Devil’s” bidding.

            My own opinion is that, if Jesus sweated blood the night before his crucifixion it may not have been as much in fear of going through with it as in fear of so breaking down that he would be unable to forebear from crying out and blaming rather than forgiving his tormentors.

            I believe we all have our limits. But I think the more we have suffered and come to believe that we all suffer equally, eventually, then the less able we must become to blame anyone else for not yet having suffered enough to understand this.

            Many thanks for your response, and for reminding me of further parallels between my delinquent career and psycho pharmacology, too….!

            Tom, former cow hairdresser.

            “We think we are whom we think others think us: L’enfer, c’est les autres!”

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  9. Thank you for this important article. I served with Dr Puras on a committee and found his position to be thoughtful while holding the best interest of individuals, rather than industry, in the foreground. Of course, we can’t expect that from those who benefit from industry even if this is how, ethically, it should be.

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  10. Allow the freedom of speech and belief to stand example Bosnia and death penalty to the psychiatrist perpetrated crimes against humanity use of coercion deception organized crime of govt court and media to target the weak and disabled physically vulnerable by lack of education and victimization money talks bullshit walks and they do alot of talking as in libel slander falsification of evidence manipulation of facts omissions of x culpable evidence chapter assasination but only if they think they get can get away with it as to targeting the empoverished glory glory psychotherapy now we can be free…psychiatry like ww2 are starting again the death camps without courts of law due process or burden of proof not danger to self or others and victims of medical crime and shoddy malpractice premeditated experimentations and choosing wisely their victims like serial killers and serial rapists…psychiatry classist pseudo science to humiliate the dignity of the human mind to prey on those denied human civil constitutional rights and continue to torture the innocent to death glory glory psychotherapy

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  11. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth,
    Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

    “Superstition,” Steve is a fascinating word with an intriguing etymology/history and, acc. to the OED, ten definitions (at least). And, like the placebo and nocebo effects, if we seriously, but not too seriously study it, rather than dismiss it, we may be richly rewarded?

    “Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them.” Niels Bohr.

    You know of “the Pauli effect,” perhaps?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauli_effect

    “Of course not…but I am told it works even if you don’t believe in it.” – Niels Bohr, in
    reply to a visitor to his home in Tisvilde who asked him if he really believed a horseshoe above his door brought him luck, as quoted in Inward Bound : Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World (1986) by Abraham Pais, p. 210, acc. to Wikiquote.

    When asked by psychiatrist Howard Cutler if our every thought was not just the product of some biochemical reaction/s in our brain/s, the Dalai Lama, as I recall, asked if it might not be the other way around?

    Might it not be either, or both?

    Thinking about this may make one dizzy. But perhaps thinking about a human infant’s first learning to (repeatedly, deliberately) make a clapping noise by slapping her hands together may persuade us that, until they become as jaded as the rest of us, both she and her mom sense the magic, the miracles involved in learning to manage to muster the wherewithal to experience and then to harness the desire to produce the sound – by figuring out how to move about mountainous molecules of neurotransmitters in the brain in order to bring about the depolarizations of the resting membrane potentials in the appropriate nerves to the appropriate muscles in order to flex or extend them so as to be able to bring the palms together with sufficient force, AT WILL…I mean, rather than just instinctively finding and sucking a teat etc. etc.

    Later, hopefully, that same infant magically learns to miraculously control defecation and urination, gradually transforming each from an unconscious, involuntary happening to a conscious function.

    Might it be like that with “faith-healing?”

    Nowadays, our species seems to be seizing many functions long instinctual, or “on automatic” and increasingly bringing them under manual/conscious control. Hydration, nutrition, exercise, rest, sleep, stress, meditation, “mindfulness,” even breathing, heart rate and overall health may be neglected or attended to in varying degrees.

    Elements of that consciousness or awareness or sensitivity or imagination which can instigate any motor activity, or line of thinking, may previously have been completely overlooked or ignored or denied…or dismissed as superstition or hyper-religiosity or delusion or paranoia or “mere” imagination.

    Can one feel it when someone else is staring intently at the back of one’s head? How?

    Can one feel it when the other party is still holding their phone but has stopped listening?

    What do you see, or sense, when you look deep into a fellow creature’s eye?

    Can you anticipate that someone from whom you haven’t heard in a long time is about to contact you?

    Can we “send energy” to an identical twin, family member, loved one or “random” but named someone on the other side of our globe and expect them to feel it, simultaneously – like some “entangled particle,” even if they have no idea we are sending it? Are we willing to try and do that, anyway, just in case?

    Don’t some of our eyes make a % of us highly susceptible to the photic sneeze reflex, others less to, others seemingly not, at all?

    Don’t all our eyes (and birds’ noses) contain quantum structures which render us sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field?

    Could it be that our eyes and our ears are sensitive not just to light, color, sound, magnetism, heat, humidity and orientation/spin/balance…but also to some as yet undefined aspects of the “auras” or “energy fields” or “fields of consciousness” of others, and/or to their brainwaves, moods, thoughts or intentions?

    Is this all mere superstition, whatever THAT might be?

    The following two stories entertained me, not least because they came from two of my most intelligent, efficient, down-to-Earth, no-nonsense, unreligious, pragmatic and credible farmer clients, as far as I was concerned, both about forty-years-of age when they told me their tales.

    John’s sheep, like many of his neighbors’, used to get orf, or viral contagious pustular dermatitis in spring. In healthy, well nourished lambs, this was often self-limiting, clearing up within a few weeks. However, if lambs’ muzzles became so affected that suckling was much diminished, the course could be prolonged and deaths occur.

    “What do you do about orf, John?”

    “Oh, I phone up a woman with the cure in Castlederg!”

    “You WHAT?”

    “Oh, yeah! I do! I phone her up. She asks is it the orf or the ringworm and how many are affected, and I tell her, and that’s it!”

    “But, but, but, John, surely you don’t believe in that, do you? I mean, how could that possibly work?!”

    “No idea, Tom. But, I tell you, it seems to! And that first year I phoned her, and she asked me how many, and I told her a dozen…well, there must have been 13, ‘cos, right enough, there was one left over! So now I do give her plenty!”

    I may still have been reeling from my torn cervix/bleeding uterus experience at a nearby farm in Ardara when I told Joseph, a mile or so away, about the nonsense of that farmer’s farmer’s wife calling up someone to stop the bleeding, remotely. Joseph laughed, sympathetically.

    “A few years ago, I had a vet out to dehorn half-a-dozen cattle for me in the morning before I went away to work for the day. [Joseph worked at flooring as well as farming.] When I came home in the evening, one of the bullocks was bleeding. So I called up this guy who was supposed to have the cure for the bleeding, and he said ‘That’s alright, don’t worry, I’ll look after that,’ and I swear to God, Tom, AS I was talking with him on the mobile phone, I could see them fountains of blood coming down and down, getting lower and lower, and then stopping altogether!”

    When cattle bleed again for any reason following any method of hemostasis at dehorning, any resulting fall in blood pressure may help clotting to occur, of course, and I can’t recall whether Joseph said both sides had been spurting blood or only one, only that it was many hours since the dehorning had been done. In any case, obviously, n= 1, at most. And, following “the healer’s” assurances, at best, it didn’t NOT happen!

    I’ve come to believe that, leaving out any Middle-Man-in-the Sky (and, if indeed he spoke of it, then by “the Kingdom of the Father/of Heaven,” I believe Jesus meant the Realm of the Skies, of Spaciousness, of Formlessness, of Consciousness) there are different ways in which prayer, or sending loving intentions directly to another creature being may help, just one of them being along the lines of “spooky action at a distance”…and that as Science advances more and more of what we have considered not just science fiction but also magic and superstition may turn out to be every bit as real-and-virtual as…our abilities to move neurotransmitter molecules, depolarize resting membrane potentials…or choose our thoughts, if any, and the levels of consciousness from which we operate, or think.

    Sitting down with his analysands, I believe therapists (some other psychiatrists included) such as Carl Jung have enabled – empowered – their interlocutors to heal themselves simply by harnessing and applying the (?infinitely healing) potential of the (or of a) placebo effect – of the effect of so deeply and compassionately and empathetically listening to another than that they regain the healing faith, hope, love which lay trapped within them.

    I believe such an effect works on other animals, too.

    And, superstitious of not, the notion that the reach of any such healing might be strictly confined within the walls of one room, or limited either in space or in time, seems a bit of a stretch to me: Perhaps it is merely my imagination, but I think I can feel Jung’s healing here, now.

    “Among all my patients in the second half of life—that is to say, over thirty-five—there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost what the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.” – Carl Jung, reportedly.

    Personally, I suspect that by “living religions” Jung meant those whose followers had a spiritual rather than a “religious” outlook…

    Tom.

    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

    – Albert Einstein, ‘In answer to the question, “Do you trust more to your imagination than to your knowledge?” From an interview with G.S. Viereck, “What Life Means to Einstein,” “Saturday Evening Post,” October 26, 1929; reprinted in Viereck, “Glimpses of the Great,” 447,’ according to Alice Calaprice in “The New Quotable Einstein,” 9.

    “Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.” ― Eckhart Tolle.

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