THE WONDERFUL AND HORRIBLE PARADOX OF THE HUMAN CONDITION? John Read speaking about the placebo affect of expectation that ECT would cure or heal a brain problem describes the tempory lift in mood that people experienced as “a wonderful and horrible paradox.” And here’s the thing. The lift in mood and behavioral capacity to function normally for a while appears to both the person who received the ‘treatment” and those who observe a return to normal function is based on the paradox of human motivation and perception. The existential paradox being that none of us can give a first-person account of ‘how’ we do being human. None of us can say how the two quintessential human behaviors of walking and talking are orchestrated by internal processes that cannot cross the threshold of conscious awareness, because our nervous system functions at millisecond speeds that defies any mechanistic, cause and effect explanation. But we can, by studying the mounting evidence concerning the structure and function of our nervous system, learn a better form of self-regulation through a sensation awareness and acceptance of the muscular tensions and vascular pressures that underpin our human motivation and perceptions. We can, in fact, become aware of brain motions and understand how ECT treatment might provide its short-term relief of re-traumatizing memories. Please consider this questioning of inner motions and the possibility that our famous intellect is a self-defense against feeling our body’s powerful and disorienting sensations: “We would object less to the irresponsible brain operations and lobotomies which are performed to kill the devil in the organism if they served to disclose the dynamic functions of the brain. Such questions as “Does the brain move? Does it contract and expand when working, just as other organs such as the heart, intestine, glands, etc., do?” are of the utmost importance for medical pathology and the understanding of the organismic functions. It would be highly important to invent a device which would enable the brain specialist to observe the brain in its natural state. THE INTELLECT AS DEFENCE FUNCTION It is commonly assumed that the human intellect has a solely objective function and that it is directed toward the world; ethics and philosophy in particular conceive of reason and intellect exclusively in the sense of an absolute non-emotional activity capable of comprehending reality “incorruptibly.” Two things are overlooked here: (1) the intellectual function itself is a vegetative activity; and (2) the intellectual function may have an affect charge whose intensity is no less than any purely affective impulse. Over and above this, character-analytic work reveals another function of the intellect which ties in very well with the inversion and opposition of drives discussed earlier. Intellectual activity can be structured and directed in such a way that it looks like a most cunningly operating apparatus whose purpose is precisely to avoid cognition, i.e., it looks like an activity directing one away from reality. In short, the intellect can operate in the two fundamental directions of the psychic apparatus: toward the world and away from the world. It can function correctly in unison with the most lively affect and it can also take a critical stand toward the affect. There is no mechanical, absolutely antithetical relationship between intellect and affect but, rather, a functional one.” Reich, Wilhelm, Chatacter Analysis (pp. 305-306) I suggest, with all due respect of course, that if the 67th Maudsley Debate concerns the same motion, we will hear the same arguments from my Lord’s and my Lady’s Academia, who while presenting good word formulations about what they did and do to make a living, will not be able to acknowledge that they are as clueless as to how their thoughts are energized as the rest of us.