Monday, December 5, 2022

Comments by Antipsychiatric ReprisOwl

Showing 21 of 23 comments. Show all.

  • rasselas.redux,

    Let me explain why poetry and science use diametrically opposed types of language.

    Science is basically common sense applied with an extreme level of rigor. The langage of science is rigorous. Its logic ought to be flawless: as per the law of identity, once the meaning of a term is given, the term retains its meaning beyond subjective, relative, arbitrary considerations. Science works with “statements”, not “sentences”, and the meaning of statements depends on “enunciation” – that is, the “context” in which a statement is formulated. The context must be declared in a way that leaves no room for uncertainty and randomness. No stone must be left unturned at every single step of the scientific inquiry. The fact that science uses analogies, models and fancy wordings, is no contra-indication to the implied rigor of its method.

    Poetry leaves full room for interpretation and creativity. Meaning imparted to words is expected to vary with the subjective context. The poet uses figures of speech to play dough with the linguistic material. The art of poetry works with “sentences”, whose meaning depends on grammar. In poems, grammatical rules can be loosen up at will, notably by syntactic tweaking and inversion. The litterary sense usually serves as a background to evoke a more subtle, profound message, picture, feeling, understanding. The fact that poetry can aptly convey reliable truths about the world, is no contra-indication to the implied laxness of its ways and means.

    To help cut on prospective confusion, it’s not a case of all-or-nothing between the two. There are such notions as interdependency, structuralism, dialectical reasoning, etc. Order, homogeneity, stability, determinism, are conditions for novelty, creativity, originality, freedom. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, the proverb says. Determinism, emergence, contingence, are natural principles of this mysterious, albeit lawful, Universe. Scientific knowledge is arrived at with its share of imagination, adventure, trial and error, boldness, madness. Think of mad geniuses who revolutionized our understanding of the world, or successful artists who exhibit self-destructive patterns, only to trap their own gifted and prolific minds into a phenomenological dead end.

  • Slaying_the_Dragon_of_Psychiatry,

    You are speaking properly.

    Psychiatry, as enantiology, does something and its opposite. It creates real illnesses while treating fictitious ones. It attempts to cure victims of alienation and oppression by subjecting them to a system of downright oppression. It combats stigma while creating it from scratch. It lacks insight into its own anti-dialectical schizophrenia condition. Mental illness exists: it is the one inside the heads of psychiatrists (double entendre). And so on and so forth.

    Psychiatry, as a reflection of our social organization, fills the need of the wider society, not their enslaved patients. (Anti)psychiatric survivors are psychiatry’s, and society’s, scapegoats. The mad of us have the prophetic burden of helping the common of mortals to come out of Plato’s cave and realize their insane normality.

  • julia26,

    As Oldhead pointed out, you need only a few pages of history to know what evil you are dealing with precisely.

    Psychiatry served both as the ideology and the infrastructure for what was recognized as the most evil enterprise in the history of mankind. “Without psychiatry, says Dr. Peter Breggin, the holocaust would probably not have taken place.”

    Gas chambers were built in psychiatric facilities prior to their implementation in Nazi extermination camps. Psychiatrists sterilized, euthanized, starved to death, walled up alive, thousands of patients for whom “lives were not worth living”. Psychiatrists had eugenic protocols before the Third Reich, and kept their agenda up for years after the fall of the Hitlerian regime, by their own initiative inside psychiatric institutions.

    Maybe you have heard of the theory of the multiverse proposing that the Universe might have up to ten or eleven dimensions, but no more. At this number, it appears like we have described all possible universes in all possible states in all conceivable space-time continua. Any additional dimension does not help figure out anything more than what was already described with ten dimensions. Another similar exercise would be to find out how many criteria it takes to define the absolute evil. One criterion would be that evil is more so when it deceives by showing itself as good, and indeed must do at least some good to deceive efficiently. The greatest evil is an optimum between maximum harm and total innocuity (think: 80/20 rule). If a serial killer made a new victim of every next comer, he could not carry on for long before being caught, so he needs to spare a lot of potential victims in order to avoid detection and to make the highest number of victims in the long run. Another condition: those who could stop this evil, who see it going first-hand, are the very ones who are deemed untrustworthy, insane, mentally ill, crazy. If we add up as many criteria as necessary so there is no more logical conditions we could think of to make it a tad worse, and look for a real-world example that comes closest to such definition, it shall be psychiatry.

    “I believe psychiatry epitomizes what’s evil.”
    “You have no idea how cruel psychiatry is.”
    “This is really a battle between good and evil.”
    (Peter Breggin, a.k.a the conscience of psychiatry)

  • I know an AP adept who is a synesthete, too. But it is irrelevant.

    “Purple idea” is a metaphor. “Mental illness” also. The problem is that psychiatrists make a litteral use of this figure of speech. As Ron Leifer explained, “The basic problem with the medical model is that people take it literally rather than understanding it as the metaphor it is.”

    Metaphor is a central figure in poetry. It basically consists in comparing things by changing without prior warning the ordinary meaning of words. Poetry and science use diametrically opposed types of language. Thus, using the metaphor of mental illness in a scientific context is awkward.

    You know, mad people typically use a poetic/symbolic/religious parlance, which is filled with metaphors. The irony is, they are being diagnosed by failed scientists and failed poets. The psychiatrized are often failed artists themselves, although the maddest ones might well be some of the rational and curious human minds, two essential qualities of the scientific worker. Well, like the French existentialist psychiatrist Eugène Minkowski (of Polish origin) remarkably said (translated):

    “The mad are not out of their minds as often as we think, perhaps even they are never out of their minds.”

  • “It used to be a political tool and still is to some degree”

    For me, it always was, and all that it is.

    I consider the DSM to be the “grail” of psychiatry. Without the possibility to make diagnoses, psychiatrists lose their relevance in clinical work and medicine.

    Medication is the “Holy Grail” of psychiatry. Without the possibility to prescribe remedies, psychiatry not only loses its pertinence as a medical specialty, but also its financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry.

    But we are missing the point completely. The “Holy Spirit” of psychiatry is coercion, treatment, coercive treatment. Beyond bogus diagnoses and miracle pills, what really matters is treatment, care, taking charge of. Treatment is not prevented by diagnoses however uncertain, nor by therapies however ineffective and harmful.

    COERCION is the cornerstone of the whole psychiatric edifice. As David Cohen (UCLA professor of social work, also MIA writer) argued, coercion gives an intellectual free-pass for psychiatry’s outlandish theories. Power supports psychiatric knowledge, not the other way around. Psychiatrists don’t need a shred of evidence to ascertain the efficacy of emprisonment. They don’t need sophisticated biological theories to account for the high level of success of industrial grade electric shock to the brains of those who have to be subdued unlawfully or their memory erased. The be all and end all of psychiatry is behavior control.

    And since psychiatry claims to act benevolently, and proceeds against the will of people, then psychiatric treatment has been for centuries, and still is today, torture. It always will be so, because unwanted help amounts to torture. Psychiatry is inherently tyrannical.

    Basically, it serves nothing to criticize psychiatry on scientific or medical grounds. The theoretical foundations of psychiatry have been thoroughly dissolved in past decades, but psychiatry still survive as pure power. While it may help to terminate the modern Inquisition by exposing its “grail,” it must always be accomplished through the perspective of total annihilation, not reform. Did you happen, Lawrence, to read some of Philip “Behavoriator” Hickey’s articles? “Stigmatization of Psychiatry and Psychiatrists” is undoubtedly one of his best.

    David Cohen, again, suggested in a French conference (he’s perfectly bilingual, and I am French-speaker myself) to stop criticizing psychiatry, just label it as pure propaganda, and then see who profit from it.

  • registeredforthissite,

    I happened to finish writing elsewhere that there is nothing more political than the subject of psychiatry. I’m also well aware of the judicial and economical aspects of the problem. But if we enter into these considerations, we are going off-topic.

    All I meant to say is that science is an essential component for our revolutionary endeavor. We don’t need “god”, “angels”, or other unprovable Santa Claus theories to defeat Behemoth. The Occam’s razor is all it takes to slay the monster of psychiatry, plus the shield of dialectical magic.

  • registeredforthissite,

    There are many definitions of “science”. I usually retain three levels of scientificity, as well as a distinction between science as: 1) acquired knowledge; 2) research method; 3) social institution; 4) expert opinion.

    My preferred definition of science is “rational study”. In this sense, psychiatry must be combatted with real science, good holistic medicine, and non-coercive psychotherapies and counselling.

    Below is a relevant excerpt:

    * * *

    Dawkins was “fed up” with those intellectuals who argued that science alone could not answer ultimate questions about existence. “They think science is too arrogant and that there are certain questions that science has no business to ask, that traditionally have been of interest to religious people. As though *they* had any answers. It’s one thing to say it’s very difficult to know how the universe began, what initiated the big bang, what consciousness is. But if science has difficulty explaining someting, there sure as hell is no one else who is going to explain it.” Dawkins quoted, with great gusto, a remark by the great British biologist Peter Medawar that some people “ ‘enjoy wallowing in a nonthreatening squalor of incomprehension.’ I want to understand,” Dawkins added fiercely, “and understanding means to me scientific understanding.”

    (John Horgan, “The End of Science”, Little, Brown and Company, London, 1997, p. 119.)

  • truth,

    The answer to your question of what is “this”: this is “madness”.

    “Madness” is the generic concept in philosophy to study a class of human and social phenomena that challenge rationality and common sense.

    Our problem with psychiatry is that it describes madness (= exaggeration of one’s usual character, amplification of one’s grey zones that are kept below the surface in normal people), nevrotic behaviors (obsessions, phobia…) and abnormal states of mind (depressive, anxious, psychotic) as forms of “mental illness”. Such concept is fatally flawed, deceiving, and dangerous, being used as a sociomoral sleight of hand to remove misfits from society on the ideological grounds that they are “ill”.

    While antipsychiatry sacralizes madness, psychiatry trivializes it. For AP, madness is an integral part of human nature that should be celebrated in a positive, creative, passionate, intelligent way. For biopsychiatry, madness is an illness like any other; still a very mysterious one indeed, but psychiatists are going to understand it sooner or later. Traditionally, psychiatry has interpreted madness as an illness like any other, whereas antipsychiatry has interpreted it following an existential/phenomenological approach, viewing it as an understandable reaction to insane/untenable social relationships.

  • Thanks for your input.

    I mentioned the name of Dawkins only to help refer more specifically to the concept of “meme” as originally defined by him. People can learn about it on Wikipedia.

    Now, more to the point, Dawkins is a missionary of science, while psychiatry is a paramount pseudoscience. I think the “fervent supporters” you’ve heard about don’t understand the difference.

  • Lawrence,

    I agree that the notion is something like a “meme” (cf. Richard Dawkins) that has proven useful for social regulation. The theory of the levels of organization, as well as cybernetics, could give excellent insights into the functional role of this notion in terms of survival of human groups.

    By the way, I appreciated much your article about how psychiatry evolved into a religion. I quoted a whole paragraph from it. Thank you!

  • The contents of this article makes sense.

    My own preferred perspective is to see “mental illness” as a social construct whose utility is to “explain” disturbing behaviors for which causes are ignored.

    When physical, biological, psychological, social or spiritual causes are unknown (intentionally or not), we resort on the idea of “mental illness”. Such idea has the same sociomoral purpose as witchcraft in religious times. Explaining abnormal/strange/disturbing behaviors by “mental illness” is analogous to explaining meteorological woes by “Aeolus”.

    Labeling someone as mentally ill has the effect of ontological/experiential nullification. It’s a way to manage the fear and anguish originating from the realization that other fellow humans are all a reflection of our own mad/sinful nature.

    As regards the fact that mental illnesses are not real illnesses because no biomarkers were found, well I consider this an indirect verification of the myth of mental illness, in the way Szasz explained it. The problem with “it” is essentially a linguistic/logic one. I have two ways to formulate the problem:

    1. There is no such thing as “mental illness” except by metaphor; we can no more have a “mental illness” than we can have a “salty light”, a “jealous courtyard”, a “depressed pair of pants” or a “sexually transmitted career”. Those are linguistic category mistakes, which could be demonstrated by set theory, lexical combinatory, or simple Porphyrian trees.

    2. The concept of mental illness is self-contradictory in the context of a positivist medical science abiding with a Virchowian standard of disease. Again, we could analyze the validity of this statement with the tools of philosophy of language.

    I guess we need some bit of epistemology, or theory of knowledge, to understand why “science” could nevertheless appear to find some confirmation for phenomena loosely defined as “mental illnesses/diseases/disorders/conditions”.

  • Oldhead,

    The reason for sending an e-mail to a dependable intermediary and then posting a text is to validate that the person who sent the e-mail is really the one who is posting under his/her username. The intermediary can use the time and date from e-mails and posts to confirm the identity of the persons asking to have the contact info. If I sent an e-mail containing the code “9kkxAqIw” and then post the same code five minutes later with my username, it is a sure proof of my identity.

    Basically, I am making this proposal to ensure equity and trust. But since I am not much worried to reveal myself to a potential troll or infiltrator (not you as much as a nobody who is following the conversation), then I will gladly follow your more simple and convenient plan. We can still use the validation trick after we get in touch via e-mail.

    Who is the moderator I have to contact?

  • Oldhead,

    I can’t figure out how to get in touch without revealing our personal infos publicly. This website does not seem to have a private message functionality.

    However, I got a clever idea. If you have an acquaintance at, or MIA, or elsewhere, it might be possible for them to serve as an intermediary. The trick is to send e-mails to the chosen intermediary, then post comments in this thread. Both of us are going to e-mail the intermediary and post texts here under our respective names. The e-mails sent to the intermediary will contain exact copies of the texts that we will post here. The intermediary just needs to verify that the texts (just any text or code) are the same as the ones they received in advance in our e-mails. Then they can allow us to get in touch by sharing our personal e-mail addresses, all without “blowing our cover”.

    This looks foxy enough, but, in any case, I hope you have a better idea!

  • Well said, oldhead.

    Critiques of psychiatry need to know the meaning of war, and tackle with the problem in a political perspective, thinking in terms of power and ideology.

    In years or decades to come, we should aim at organizing a huge protest event to catch the media attention, send a clear and uncompromising message, and write a manifesto presenting major elements that we can hopefully agree on prior to acting out.

    The manifesto shall include chapters such as:
    — Mental illness is a myth
    — Psychiatric diagnoses are invalid
    — Psychiatric drugs are not medication
    — Coercive treatment is the cornerstone of psychiatry
    — Institutional psychiatry ultimately is a secular inquisition, a pseudoscience, an expedient of the pharmaceutical industry, and a fascistic ideology

    How to replace biopsychiatry will be more troublesome. This part of the manifesto should include:
    — Replacing the biomedical model with a psychosocial model, as proposed by Peter Kinderman in “A Prescription for Psychiatry”
    — Closing psychiatric hospitals, and making prisons more hospitable for all offenders, mad or not; prisoners have the right to medical care and psychotherapy, none of which is compulsory as this would constitute torture
    — Barring psychiatric testimonies from courts, since the “experts” have no scientific tools to explain or predict behavior
    — Opening a discussion on the need to reform the justice system because one cannot overthrow the pervasive culture of biological psychiatry without calling into question the moral values and the legal apparatus as a whole

    Talking of stigma, in the context of microresistance, we will keep up with the principle of grinding, or wearing down, by stigmatizing the profession of psychiatry so that fewer and fewer students are interested in joining the cult. The knowledge currently held by the medical Gestapo has to be reclaimed by general practitioners, emergency physicians, neurologists, pathologists, pharmacologists.

    Psychiatric slavery cannot be reformed, only abolished. The only logical answers to the problem of psychiatry is to keep it as is (i.e. coercive treatment, torture), or to hasten its self-destruction.

  • Pardon me, oldhead, but there is a fundamental confusion here pertaining to the philosophy of antipsychiatry.

    Madness is real. Psychiatry treats it as a “mental illness”. Mental illness is a myth, not madness.

    Mental illness and psychopathology are the modern counterparts of witchcraft and demonology. Acting crazy is universal, but when it comes to explain and manage it, psychiatry is absolutely wrong, and evil.

    Of madness, antipsychiatry pleads for an existentialist understanding, as well as a scientific explanation (including biological), with an emphasis on social causes of psychosis – which is a real thing, unlike “schizophrenia”.

    For antipsychiatry, madness is not just a real human phenomenon, but an understandable, positive, sane reaction to untenable life circumstances.

    In short, let’s be careful with the meaning of words so as to focus on the war against psychiatry. Mental illness is the conceptual assumption that gives authority to the modern inquisition, the biomedical Gestapo. Mental illness is the myth to debunk, and psychiatry is the institution to abolish. The Mad Pride movement is one way to contribute to the demystification of madness – which, again, for antipsychiatrists, is also the apanage of “normal” people, not only the few who suffer the most from it.

  • Well, I said that there was an inherent “risk” to all forms of therapy. It’s a risk to be aware of. You are right to say that not all of them are intrinsincally paternalistic or coercive.

    Talking of client-centered, strength-based, consultant-like therapies, maybe we should refer to them as “counseling” or “coaching” rather than “therapy”. Therapy is about curing illness, fixing something wrong in people. Counseling does not work on the premise that people are reacting wrongly to problems in living, but teaches them new wisdom that may be helpful or not.

    I guess you will be interested in reading “Replacing Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists” by Eric Maisel* who argues in favor of a new helping class of “human experience specialists”. This article is top-quality, comparable in eloquence and clear-headedness to “Stigmatization of Psychiatry and Psychiatrists” by Philip “The Behaviorator” Hickey who went on a sardonic rampage against those lovely Doctators.



  • Good one, Emily Cutler. A wise woman has spoken.

    By the way, there is an inherent risk to any sort of psychotherapy, even the “humanistic” ones supposed to be more humane, compassionate and empowering, as shown in Jeffrey Masson’s book “Against Therapy”.

    That risk is a “therapeutic double-bind”, described in “Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution” by Paul Watzlawick and others. Watzlawick worked with Gregory Bateson, a bright and multi-skilled anthropologist who founded the “Palo Alto school” (as we call it in French), a body of research which could be considered the sanctuary of antipsychiatry.

    As a reminder, the double-bind theory is to antipsychiatry what the chemical imbalance is to psychiatry, so to speak. The double-bind mechanism is involved in the creation of madness or psychosis (so-called “schizophrenia”) in families.

    But double-binds can also be utilized for “therapeutic” purposes to force change. The typical scheme is to ask the client to commit to follow the rules of the offered program, failling which the therapy will not work as intended. If the client is willing to pay for the much-needed service and make the commitment to “obey” the therapist, then he or she can be trapped and abused eventually.

    This is a strong argument against psychotherapy in general, even the voluntary and contractual types. There is always a risk of abuse when someone claims that he or she knows best what is good for others, and that meaningful results can only come about if the therapist is trusted to the point of following their paradoxical injunctions (cf. prescription of symptom).

    Regarding involuntary therapy, we are talking about the therapeutic State, institutional psychiatry, coercive mental health. It is even more clear why the therapeutic State is inherently abusive and tyrannical, only good for abolition. Forced treatment can never be called “help”, “care” or “therapy”. It is really punishment and social control. Receiving unwanted help is not help, but torture. And we all know what law-abiding States and international law have to say about torture.