Saturday, March 25, 2023

Comments by Tom Kelly

Showing 18 of 19 comments. Show all.

  • Having read this most superb piece of art, science and literature over and over, I have become more puzzled as to why Richard chose to refer to acute religious” experiences in the title, at least – especially when so many who have undergone or are undergoing such experiences would not consider them “religious” but refer to them as Peak, mystical, spiritual, numinous, noetic, visionary, self-realization/actualization, near-death, out-of-body, alien-encounter etc., instead.

    I wonder if Richard uses the word “religious” much as Jung did, when he wrote:

    “I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life – that is to say, over 35 – 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 that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”

    ― Carl Gustav Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul.

    Sincere thanks to Richard and also to MIA for such inestimable and unique treasures, now brought to us all freely at utterly unfathomable cost to so very many,

    Tom.

  • Thank you, Penni, and belated Very Happy Birthday wishes!

    Perhaps every day, or every moment can be a very happy birthday, too, though?

    “We are all meant to be mothers of God. For God is always needing to be born.” – Meister Eckhart.

    Jung, Rumi, Socrates, Jesus and Tolle: I doubt they or any of the greatest mystics would disagree about anything much, and, nowadays, at least, were they with us, and maybe they are, all the other “Christian mystics,” of old (Julian, Hilda, Francis, Teresa, both Johns et al) might also agree that we, like all of Creation, and more, can only be “God,” variously expressing and maybe exploring Herself – and this must, of course, equally include those regarded as and who do play roles as predators and perpetrators, until they – we see The Light?

    “Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.”

    ― Meister Eckhart

    But, even having very clearly seen The Light, once back inside the depths of The Cave, and re-infected by the dark fears and despair of those around them, we may see that even such as Socrates (we can read of his agonizing over whether it was nobler to try and escape or accept imprisonment – before he reportedly chose suicide!) and Jesus and Joan of Arc were far from immune from fear/indecision/suffering, when misunderstood and persecuted

    Leonard Cohen told us that he had tried various drugs and religions but that Cheerfulness kept breaking through.

    In “Hallelujah,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN8CKwdosjE , Leonard tells us that “It’s not someone who’s seen The Light,” but, actually, it is, isn’t it?

    A long time ago, according to Plato, Socrates told us what fate befell those returning to the Cave having seen The Light, and made it perfectly clear that this was the fate of every single human soul.

    Jung, Grof and Campbell, and now Sean Blackwell (of “Bipolar or Waking Up?”) and Hollywood in countless heroes’ and heroines’ journeys movies has made this still more clear, and yet we fail to understand and continue to persecute one another for our different visions: SURELY, we all play and have played Victim and Perpetrator in countless narratives until we emerge as healing heroines and heroes.

    And, thanks to the courage of women like you, Penni, and Brené Brown and countless, countless others, we have arrived at a place where we are forced to ask,

    If we refuse to see spiritual awakenings, no matter how abrupt and traumatic, as medical illness, and cannot in all honesty therefore ask states or insurers or employers to pay folks “sick pay” for something we refuse to call illness, what can we do to better support individuals undergoing such awakenings or emergences and “spiritual emergencies?”

    Jung, like Brown, seems to have managed to continue to keep working away throughout his, but it seems not everyone can.

    Like your brother, perhaps, Penni, as you probably know, Neale Donald Walsch and Eckart Tolle spent time homeless…and some might say that both Socrates and Jesus did, too, before both dying by cop and, arguably, even by suicide-by-cop.

    But, when we get it, we laugh, I guess, and, when we are not laughing, perhaps we just don’t get it, yet, or forget…and it is funny to see the evolution of “breakdown” into “spiritual awakening” in at least one influential therapist’s thinking – at least when the pressure came on her!:

    About 7:50 of this

    https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame/comments

    or 7:39 in the transcript

    ‘And I’m so worn out at this point in my life, I look at her and I actually say, “It was a fricking spiritual awakening.”‘

    https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame/c/transcript

    Min 10:50 – 12:00 of

    https://youtu.be/iCvmsMzlF7o

    Min. 11:13 -11:36 of this transcript

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

    Many Very Happy Birthdays, again, and very many happy thank-yous, again!

    Tom.

  • “…there is no coming to consciousness without pain.” – Carl Jung.

    If anything in the cosmos is Spirit, or Consciousness, then surely everything must be; and if any part of our individual and collective and individual human (at the very least…) evolution has been leading to our planetary spiritual awakening, surely everything must have?

    And nowadays we have not just the likes of Lao Tzu and Jesus, Buddha and Carl Jung, “Julian” of Norwich Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart and Eckhart Tolle to help guide us through less painfully, but also Penni and countless other modern mystics.

    Or maybe Consciousness merely is “that annoying interval between naps?

    In any case, heartfelt thanks for a magnificent essay, and for all those seemingly endless sacrifices which made it possible and inevitable – which manifested it and which I trust will ensure that most exciting thing of all, the Peace which must follow.

    Tom.

  • Delightful and refreshing to read such straight talking, thank you very much indeed.

    “Turner: I try to be transparent with them and tell them not to get their hopes up too much.”

    I was cheered up immensely when I managed to drive up close enough to the car ahead of me to read the second, and much smaller line of the bumper sticker the larger upper half of which read

    “SINCE I GAVE UP HOPE”

    and to see that it read “I feel a lot better,”

    for much the same reason I was cheered by the one which read

    “I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE I AM:

    I was lost here before:”

    Straight talking often cheers me up.

    And I applaud Daniel Carlat for trying to do it, too, as here, https://youtu.be/XOCM88LzCOY , as well, of course, as the late Thomas Szasz and Loren Mosher, and also Joanna Moncrieff, Pat Bracken and others.

    However, if one sees “depression” as being hopelessness rather than as causing it (and one does, doesn’t one?), then the long-term cure becomes obvious…and the obvious reason why psychiatrists like Viktor Frankl (and there are some, aren’t there?) understand that, when underlying physical causes of malaise have been as thoroughly ruled out as possible, what gives life meaning is hope…and vice-versa.

    Dr Howard Schubiner has done immense work to relieve chronic pain, including emotional pain, aka “anxiety and depression.”

    And he has come clean and admitted that he does so as a faith healer.

    Howard has shown that simply (not necessarily easily) restoring folk’s faith in themselves, that they are not broken, can bring about seemingly miraculous and lasting cures in countless men and women.

    Howard admits he is a faith healer about Minute 38 here,

    https://youtu.be/qINdA6E14Sk ,

    and the laughter indicates that he has just done some faith healing – once again.

    You may agree that we can see another example of it at Minutes 36-42 here,

    https://youtu.be/kYK7utae7Cg

    (Some believe, of course, that a couple of millennia ago another ordinary, humble kind of guy suggested that anyone can and should heal (dissolving the demons of Fear) using the precisely that which Howard seems to me to freely deliver – hope/faith/love. Well, I believe it, anyway.)

    Howard, as far as I know, has not yet come right out and declared that peripheral nociceptors in humans are a myth, that physical pain consists of sensation + fear, and emotional pain of fear, alone, even if this fear, itself, sometimes can reactivate neural pathways which can produce feelings of physical pain, too…

    I would urge any doctor wishing to become a powerful healer to study Howard Schubiner and Eckhart Tolle, if they have not already.

    As for peer review processes, it has been said that the credibility of any piece of research is in inverse proportion to the magnitude of the ego of the researcher, although its momentum might be a better indicator?

    When I called up a peer review editor (whom I happened to know) to query his publication of a bizarre piece of work in his journal, he apologized, explaining that

    1. the peers remained anonymous;
    2. the pool of potential peers competent to adjudicate just such a paper was very small;
    3. that of those willing was smaller still;
    4. that of and those available to him at the given time again still smaller;
    5. and that a minimum of just two peers was required.

    He then led me to believe that, in this case, both peers came from the same organization/s as many of the nine authors involved, and shared a common interest in perpetuating the same deceit.

    I was stunned, having up until then revered peer-reviewed science, never suspecting why and that one might or “would not be convicted by jury of my [or of one’s] peers.”

    My first letter-to-the editor calling into question the extraordinary reasoning and conclusions was printed in full, as was the authors’ subsequent rebuttal of it, but the journal in question simply refused to print my follow-up, and that was the end of it. I believe this cover-up may very well have led or contributed to the squandering of many millions of taxpayers’ euro/pounds sterling.

    Scientists collide particles at speed to see what they are made of.

    To see what Science is made of, we need only observe what happens when it collides with power, pounds, payola, politics or promotional prospects, perhaps?

    I thank Erick, Ayurdhi and MIA for yet another magnificent interview – and for HOPE!

    Wishing all joy,

    Tom.

  • Steve, thanks a million for that!

    Fascinating!

    At Minutes 3:37-6:37 of this,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U ,

    Ken maps an epidemic of something, while reminding us that humorlessness may remain the only aspect of our human experience which we need never fear professionals will attempt to psychopathologize. Mind you, as long as they cannot satisfactorily define our “psyches,” it’s rather wonderful that they can tell which ones are “pathological.”

    From Minute 52:17 and especially 54:17 (and possibly up to about Min 60, especially) of this,

    https://youtu.be/rKS_HhdSJ_4 ,

    Ken speaks of “ADHD,” as he does

    at Minute 3:37-6:37 of this,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U .

    And, even if you have watched it often before, you may like to review Minutes 14:17 – 17:20 of Ken’s first TED talk,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U .

    Perhaps the greatest contribution the late, great Ken has bequeathed us all is his endless demonstrations of the unifying power of humor, the healing power of laughter and his endless reminders that we, all of us, all our children and successors (and maybe all our ancestors, too) are all always in all this together, and that our only true foe is fear, and then only until we all help one another over it, together?

    But to get desperately forgetful and therefore serious and humorless and therefore stupid again, even if in an attempt to help us regain our sense of humor and of perspective and prevent us poisoning our kids any longer than we are destined to (yeah: I happen to believe that, any Creator of this cosmos presumably being a self-respecting sort of a one, She probably created this the best of all possible or impossible worlds, all often seemingly overwhelming evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, so we will remain forgetful, humorless and stupid no longer than we need to), as far as trace elements/minerals/metals go, at least according to this,

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd ,

    the prevalence in adolescent males is – meaning that the prevalence of the diagnosis of “ADHD” was – more than three times that of the prevalence in adolescent females.

    If none of those females was receiving an iron supplement, then that would rather contradict what is said in your link and in this,

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212392/ ,

    obviously, whereas if all the females but none of the males were supplemented, then it might support the idea that lower ferritin levels in boys/all kids are associated with poorer school performances by those boys/kids. As females are likely to be supplemented more often, but also perhaps to be deficient more often than males, though, who knows?

    Notably, that above NIH paper omits pointing out that serum magnesium levels are a notoriously unreliable measurement of the true Mg status on any individual, a point emphatically made at Minute 1:04-1:44 here,

    https://youtu.be/GIVqou1znMQ .

    Then again, this,

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/is-adhd-more-common-in-males-or-females#differences-in-children

    further complicates things.

    And all that aside, my own hunch would be that that diets producing iron deficiencies tend to be lacking in Mg and in Zn also, and that the former is suspect # 1 when it comes to the frequency of adverse effects on cognition…at least in the US.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146276/#:~:text=Though%20iron%2C%20zinc%20and%20magnesium,13%2C14%2C15%5D.

    I cannot be alone in sensing that there has to be more behind the growing North American (Type 2) diabetes epidemic than obesity/high carbohydrate diets/lack of exercise alone

    https://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101022.html ?

    However, an understandable, predictable intensifying deficiency of trace elements such as Mg, Fe and Zn might help explain this a lot?

    If so, any work done to find associations between poorer-than-expected school performances and diets lacking in trace elements might find that blood/brain glucose levels and/or brain trace mineral levels may be involved on a wide scale…and might prove immensely rewarding for society in general, all age groups included?

    And then, as you say, there is the question of sleep, and of early school starts for adolescents…

    Steve, thanks a million again to you and to everyone at MIA for the incalculable good you all do, and apologies if I am overworking you.

    Rest ye merry, all.

    Tom.

  • I find the story of what Yaakov Ophir has already achieved most immensely heartening and inspiring, and all the more so because, much like Robert Whitaker, he appears to have accomplished so much by refusing to allow himself to become embittered and instead showing us all how much more can be accomplished by remaining resolutely positive and trusting that the facts, the truth, when we carefully unearth it, can and will do all that is required.

    As far as the iron goes, Steve, I presume you mean in those menstruating? Perhaps you can point us to data, please?

    As for sleep problems, you persuaded me to google “Bucky Fuller’s sleeping patterns” to read about his “Dymaxion sleep schedule.” etc. Some say it was in deference to his wife, others to his business associates that he gave up his habit of sleeping for 30 minutes every six hours, round the clock. It seems Bucky perceived a falling off in his focus after some ?five-and-a-half to six hours of work…

    My hunch would be that if a dietary deficiency of any metal were to play an extensive role in lowering Americans’ consciousness levels, it might more likely be one of magnesium than of iron, and, whole I know of no relevant connection between Fe and Mg, although a possible one between Mg and Li (lithium), I doubt if dietary deficiencies often come singly.

    I suspect that we will one day discover that the very greatest cause of Americans’ exhibiting impatience and relatively short attention spans/poor focus will turn out to be iatrogenic: we will realize that folks no longer try to remain as steadfastly focused on any lesson or task once they have been labeled or decided that they “have ADHD” or “are ADHD.”

    One great thing about our “ADHD epidemic,” I hope, may be that it provides a wonderful lens through which to view other “mental disorders,” and a key tool to help dismantle them – all.

    You know how Asperger’s seems to have evolved from being “a disorder/disability” to becoming “a syndrome”…to becoming “a spectrum?”

    Well, how hard is it to see that human beings’ patience, focus, motivation/attention spans and powers of concentration naturally vary from those of folks like Bucky towards one end of a spectrum or continuum to those of panicking students convinced that they have or are “a really severe case of ADHD” towards the other end?

    And can similar not be said of “mood swings/bipolar,” “hopelessness/depression,” and “fearfulness/anxiety,” for examples?

    While any such patterns of behavior may be prompted or exacerbated by real, underlying, organic diseases, nutrient imbalances etc., who is qualified, and how, to draw a precise line at any point on any continuum for any individual at any time?

    If neither their own medical colleagues nor court judges will step up and judge the judges, the self-appointed arbiters of “normal human thinking and behavior,” then who will judge the judges, or guard the guards?

    Well, brave and determined men and women like Yaakov and Yaffa and Bob Whitaker, obviously.

    And, of what an unimaginably braver and happier new world we must inhabit as more of us find it within us to follow their shining examples.

    Heartfelt and soulfelt thanks for this most magnificent story to Yaffa and to Yaakov, to you, Steve, and to MIA.

    Comfort and joy.

    Tom.

  • ‘But when the “scarab” came flying in through the window in actual fact, her natural being could burst through the armor of her animus possession and the process of transformation could at last begin to move.’ – Carl Jung, as quoted under “Examples” in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity.

    This, like his life’s work, I think, suggests that Carl Jung, like most other psychoanalysts, I believe, was all about trying to help suffering humanity, and, certainly in the case of Carl Jung, preferably by bringing about a “transformation of consciousness,” or to Consciousness, “a spiritual awakening” in anyone seeking help from him.

    Jung also reportedly observed that “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

    And: “I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life – that is to say, over 35 – 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 that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”

    I suspect he might have accepted “spiritual” as substitute for that last “religious,” don’t you?

    Charlotte wrote: ‘(At this point, consider briefly the contrasting aim of psychoanalysis, which does not make it its first task to remove the symptom. “The analyst asks neither that the subject get better nor that he become normal,” wrote Anny Cordié. “The analyst requires nothing, imposes nothing.”)’

    Anny’s quote, it seems is from her book “LES CANCRES N’EXISTENT PAS” (“There are no dunces.”)

    This is debatable, given the French definition of a cancre as a bad/lazy pupil/student.

    An extraordinary Irish teacher was interviewed on Irish radio decades ago (in an Ireland where we say, “There are no bad students, only bad teachers; the worst students make the best teachers and ).

    Asked how on Earth she had managed to consistently get the most dazzling high school graduating (School Leaving Certificate Examination) results for her classes made up, as they were, entirely of “school rejects, dropouts, delinquents and problem kids” – what was her magic formula, her secret sauce. Her answer, as I recall, went very like this:

    “I have no magic formula. There is no secret sauce. All human beings are curious by nature. Everyone wants to learn. And, and, you know this “DO YOUR BEST!’? Well, sometimes, it can be really hard to do your best. And, and, I mean, say when a girl comes home from school, she doesn’t say to her mom, ”Whatever is for dinner, I HOPE YOU DID YOUR BEST!’ Does she?”

    I think she was simply saying that (1) she simply loved all the kids, and (2) she simply loved all the kids.

    My own mom had a way of saying “Just do you best, Lovey,” meaning, “Just give it a go, it’ll be fine!” Coming from others, of course, “DO YOUR BEST!” can mean something very different.

    My own belief is that what makes us human beings absolutely equal is that, actually, we are all always doing our best, at the time, under the circumstances, given our means, our motivations, and our levels of awareness or of “consciousness.”

    Put another way, given enough loving understanding and encouragement, there could perhaps be no “dunces.”

    Ironically (, Anny), any analyst who does not wish to help bring about a transformation in their analysand might be said to be acting the dunce, in the sense of one who has been so stupefied as to have forgotten that we come here to learn help one another, and to find our joy in knowing we do so.

    Or so I believe.

    Heartfelt thanks, once more. Comfort and joy.

    Tom.

  • I need to declare an interest. If mental disorders and personality disorders exist anywhere other than in the minds of those who believe them to, then I qualify for a very great majority of them, as previously I did for “sinfulness:” Obviously, I cannot allow any such myths to persist.

    While I hugely admire Peter C Gøtzsche’s passion, zeal and dedication, and the intensity, sophistication and extent of his long, hard work, when I read him, I feel his work, stripping them of their quotation marks, throws “psychiatric diagnoses/disorders” and so psycho pharmacology a spurious legitimacy, an unearned and unjustifiable validity which not one of those “disorders” or that psycho pharmacology deserves.

    Apart from any true neurological diseases (proven, irrefutably identified diseases of the brain/nervous system, various forms of dementia, as well as nutritional, infectious, parasitic, traumatic, anatomical, vascular, neoplastic etc. diseases included), and absent any objective evidence to support the notion that a single one of the so-called psychiatric or mental disorders exists other than in the minds of professional and/or other diagnosticians (their patients/those suffering and their cooperating families included), and while not one of these “conditions” – actually, better make that “disorders,” please, for the term “psychological condition” is used to describe burnout in physicians, I am not kidding you) has been shown to represent a demonstrable deficiency of any of the the neuroleptic agents used, it has been pointed out that “treating” any such “disorder” with any such drug amounts to inflicting a neurotoxin on people’s brains.

    ‘According to Ghaemi, one exception to the rule of psychiatry’s ineffective drugs is lithium.
    “Only lithium has been proven to improve the course of any psychiatric illness. Further only lithium has been proven to prevent completed suicide in randomized clinical trials in psychiatry […] It is the only drug in psychiatry which is proven to be disease-modifying.”’ – from https://www.madinamerica.com/2022/06/psychiatric-drugs-not-improve-disease-reduce-mortality/
    If it is true that, of all psychotropic drugs prescribed in those studies, lithium, alone, may be considered to possibly have shown some long-term benefit in terms of morbidity/mortality, one may wonder if any possible real benefits may have been thanks to some partial substitution by the lithium for the magnesium (and/or other metal/s) which people’s modern diets lack.

    Use of nicotine, alcohol, benzodiazepines or other sedatives and of monoamine oxidase inhibitors or serotonin re-uptake inhibitors etc. to try and help relieve grief, hopelessness or any manifestation of the angst involved in playing human (oh, and sometimes, nowadays, also animal) roles may be perfectly understandable and acceptable.

    To make the leap to assuming that any short-term alleviation of suffering, of unpleasant experiences, emotions or moods by any such drugs points to the existence of any elusive underlying disorder of the brain, let alone to any deficiency (in the usual medical/nutritional sense) of any such chemicals seems…well, brainless.

    “…for we are all as God made us, and many of us [sometimes translated as and frequently”] much worse.” – Sancho Panza, some four centuries ago, with the tongue of Cervantes, at least, in his cheek, and reminding me that I am invariably at my very stupidest when I have once again lost any sense of humor I ever had.

    “Oh, what idiots we all have been. This is just as it must be.” – Neils Bohr. And, given the terms of/surrounding the last big bang, wasn’t Neils right, as usual?

    If “insanity” or folly (for the French, like the Germans and Hungarians, at least, have no word for “mind” and therefore none for “mental illness,” I believe) is anything, perhaps it may be said that
    “La folie, c’est de n’avoir pas d’autres normes que soi-même:
    Madness is conforming to one’s own norms, and no others”?
    And “sanity,” then, is an arising recognition of one’s own folly/madness?

    Many thanks to MIA, to Robert Whitaker and to Peter C Gøtzsche.

    Tom.

  • Dear Daiphanous,

    My very, very sincere apologies for my insensitive presumption. Please know that, far from being disrespectful, abbreviating your name so was an attempt at warmth.

    I love to believe – when I can – that “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness,” or of Consciousness, and I’m constantly intrigued by our names. Though I believe I was born in Ireland, this time, I have a huge affinity for all things Welsh and love the name Dai. Were your first name spelt Diaphanous, instead, then the first three letters would spell the Irish/Gaelic word for God.

    And, yes, I believe that all of Nature is alive and that, while “God” is surely more than Life or Being or Nature, Evolution or of this and any other cosmoses, and more than the Manifested and the Unmanifested and more than Source, itself, all things, including all subatomic particles/waves, I must believe that all creatures have Life/are Life, and are fully and equally divine, earthworms most definitely, included.

    I see (my) Fear as Resistance to What Is. “The Devil,” if you will, and no doubt a divine gift, too – as long as we need it.

    As for the Declaration, I believe it fell to previous ages to preach Liberty, Equality, Fraternity…”that all men are created equal,” and that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” but, nowadays, and even right here on these pages, we may offer humanity some explanation of how we humans may all be equal, for I am convinced that it is far, far from being “self-evident,” anymore than it ever has been. That explanation may involve attempting to explain our divinity?

    I think Carl Jung himself might agree with every word of Eckhart Tolle’s books and celebrate their ushering in of a new era when we can all understand and appreciate our equality, so that no laws are needed to uphold it.

    MANY thanks for your very thoughtful responses.

    Very best wishes.

    Tom.

  • Thank you for a beautifully crafted and most stimulating essay of the beacon-lighting, hope-kindling, Lord-of-the-Rings, kind.

    Lower levels of human consciousness, of thinking, have produced inquisitions, witch-hunts, frontal lobotomies and indiscriminate use of neurotoxins, as Robert Whitaker has so painstakingly and clearly revealed.

    This essay helps lift us all to higher levels, levels at which we can transcend not only our intolerance but even our cultures and our thinking itself – subjective or objective.

    For me, this article supports the opinion that contemporary, coercive, Western-style psychiatry (or state-sanctioned “psycho pharmacology”) may be said to be scientific in one sense, at least: Consistent with a prevailing Judeo-Pauline-Scientistic view of the world, it would have us believe that humankind is both unnatural and inherently hopelessly flawed – that we are miscreants rather than creatures, and so never, ever starting from precisely where we ought to be right now.

    I think this mad assumption is so blatantly obvious that it is easily and often missed, and that, certainly in “the First World,” we have all been victims of it.

    ‘Carl Jung tells in one of his books of a conversation he had with a Native American chief who pointed out to him that in his perception most white people have tense faces, staring eyes, and a cruel demeanor. He said: “They are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something. They are always uneasy and restless. We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad.’ – Eckhart Tolle.

    Even Kierkegaard and Szasz seem not to have been able to fully escape this kind of thinking.

    But, thanks to them and MIA and others, I believe we can.

    (Actually, I believe Yogi Berra did, too, with his “If this world was perfect, it wouldn’t be,” and “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”)

    If human suffering is finite and we are all now nearing the end of it and of ego as we become enlightened, then we must overtake even the likes of Kierkegaard and Szasz in their insights into human despair. I think this essay, like so many others offered us by MIA, helps us do so.

    “The most common form of despair is not being who you are.” ― Søren Kierkegaard. And, in his duck parable, does not the duck pastor waddle off home, too?

    “Classifying thoughts, feelings and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying whale as fish.” – Thomas Szasz, who told us that clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence, much as Einstein’s insistence that he, himself, was not smarter than those others who simply did not stay with the problem as long.

    Wherever I look, I see evidence that maybe we have all stayed with the problem, suffering, long enough, and perceive what I consider hints that our species is now readying itself to move beyond our oldest enemy, Fear, by finally fully recognizing it for what it is, and so no longer resisting but embracing, accepting, and thereby transmuting it.

    “Attention is the key to transformation – and full attention also implies acceptance.” – Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now,” Page 120.

    I believe Tolle illuminates for us the entire vision, parts of which so many others are beginning to describe, to point towards – namely, that Fear (mostly born of Shame) – rejection of or resistance to what already is, ourselves as we are included – lies at the root of all our miseries, anxieties and despair, but that we have the wherewithal to help one another overcome this.

    In the following, for instance, from about Min 2, Dan speaks of “the volume control setting in the brain.”

    https://youtu.be/B0EhNajqkdU .

    I regard this as merely another way of speaking of one’s levels of fear/anxiety/resistance.

    Similarly, in the following – as in all his talks on chronic pain that I have seen, I think – Howard speaks of ” the danger response,” which surely is also just another term for fear. Howard also points towards how deeply compassionate, empathetic, understanding, loving listening may be “all” it takes to encourage fellow creatures to heal, to transcend their pain/anxiety/despair, once they are truly, truly ready to do so, and they come into the presence of a person like, say, Howard, or Carl Jung or another therapist who, millennia ago, reportedly predicted something like that others, too, would “do such works as I have been doing, and greater, too…”

    https://youtu.be/XM5hdlEOSFM

    I believe contemporary Western medicine is waking up to the facts that

    1. we do not have peripheral pain-receptors or nociceptors: We only have sensory nerve endings;
    2. what once was called “demons/the Devil,” etc, we may now see simply as Fear (or as “psychological fear” or as “the emotion of fear,” resistance, non-acceptance or non-surrender;
    3. “Nothing is either good nor bad but thinking makes it so;”
    4. we are all rapidly evolving to a new way of thinking and of being;
    5. “To be or not to be” need no longer be the question when to suffer or to suffer no more can become our choice;
    6. we need no longer obsessive parsing/labelling/labeling of our human condition, of human suffering as “mental disorder” anymore than we as “sinfulness” when we can now transcend it;
    and
    7. as we have all been wounded so can we all be wounded healers, none less than any other who has ever lived, and all those who have suffered as recipients/patients/victims and/or as practitioners of contemporary psychiatry most definitely included.

    Heartfelt thanks, again, to Charlotte Beale and to MIA for an absolutely excellent and hugely heartening essay!

    “God” rest ye merry, all.

    Tom.

  • Thank you, Owen, Dhar and MIA, for reminding me that it may all be funny one day very soon, and that

    comedy = tragedy + time, “God” being that “comedian playing to an audience [as yet] too afraid to laugh.”

    On reading and re-reading, and listening and re-listening to this wonderful interview, Carl Jung, Robert Whitaker, Erich Fromm, Viktor Frankl and Eckhart Tolle kept coming to mind.

    Jung reportedly observed: “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: If there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

    I thought the interview itself was an example of how we can all bring out the best in one another, and birth new insights, by the quality and intensity of interactions, and of our listening to one another.

    Suffering from Paxil-deficiency or from Prozac-deficiency? Or from humanity – simply suffering from and for being or to be a human being? It can be really, really, really hard being human: Thank you for your sacrifice, your service, and most especially in these times!

    What is “mental illness” or “personality disorder” but human suffering, aka “sinfulness?”

    Did any of us ever get the wrong personality or personalities, some “sins/sinfulness” which were not “fore-given?”

    Or could it be that, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, “The universe is unfolding as it should” [“Desiderata,” Max Ehrmann] – and into our awareness?

    What pain or suffering is not mental? What pain or suffering can there be without fear? And what fear is not internal, mental resistance – “the Devil” or “demons,” within?

    “Life IS pain, Highness” – at least until we all learn to embrace and then transcend it?

    Speaking in Cork, Ireland, I believe, Robert Whitaker memorably observed that when one is having a bad day it can be hard to say if one is (?more) “?anxious?” or “?depressed?”!

    Erich Fromm has written wonderfully well, I believe, about our universal human urge to wish to give away our power – be it to external or to internal authorities – and even if “only” to the dictates of a socially-programmed “conscience,” perhaps the greatest enslaver of all.

    Historically, Christian societies have empowered church authorities to visit such horrors as the Inquisition, in its various forms, with its varying whims, on women and men.

    “Those who can make us believe absurdities can make us commit atrocities.”

    Need one add what Thomas Szasz made so clear – that Western democracies nowadays have handed similar power over [to that unseen, unrecognized religion which operates as] state-sanctioned coercive psychiatry?

    Instead of preaching or promoting the pursuit of happiness without, our societies may one day facilitate the finding of the Joy within.

    Thus far, did we get the (egoic, hubris-laden) systems “we deserved?”

    (I see that the Latin verb, deservire meant “to serve well; to serve zealously!”)

    From a cosmic point of view, at least, perhaps we can trust that we always get what we need most – not least when we mature enough to see through what no longer serves us best?!

    “What we fight, we strengthen; what we resist, persists; and what we cannot and do not transmute, we transmit.”

    Owen Whooley, it seems to me, has taken the suffering of his father, his own suffering, and, I believe, the suffering of many generations and offered us something of a glorious, golden transmutation.

    Like Viktor Frank who, in his “Man’s Search for Meaning” offered us not a hint of any feeling of bitterness, it seems Owen Whooley and Ayurdhi Dhar have sought to shine light into darkness rather than curse any (victim-perpetrators) who might seem responsible for it. In doing so, they have done us a great service, for we are all responsible for it who can now transform it.

    “The human condition: lost in thought.” – Eckhart Tolle in “Stillness Speaks.”

    Our human condition is a mental condition: We, who have all been victims of our own (unruly, unobserved, unconscious) minds (in the sense of thoughts and emotions) have for millennia or millions of years lived in states of fear/anxiety/angst/vigilance and, not trusting ourselves, handed over our authority to others when, in the words of Marianne Williamson (used in a speech by by Nelson Mandela,

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

    If the Emperor has any clothes, at all, I, like a child, cannot see them.

    But I can see countless children, women and men suffering acutely from the persisting powers of state-sanctioned coercive psychiatry, including hapless, well meaning women and men, my equals, who have devoted their lives to it.

    Thank you most sincerely to Ayurdhi Dhar, Owen Whooley and MIA for so very powerful a reminder that we can now, as never before, learn from history and endlessly evolve to solve human problems from new levels of consciousness beyond bitterness, hubris and ego, and higher than those levels at which we (and “our consciences!”) created them.

    Comfort and Joy – and still more heartfelt thanks!

    Tom.

  • Hi, Russell.

    I fully agree with you than countless people have been and continue to be grievously harmed by delusional, coercive psychopharmacology and the all the falsehoods which it has fed and continues to feed society.

    I certainly count myself among them, having lost my career and more to coercive psychiatry and its myths.

    Like what is called the “Judeo-Christian” – but might more accurately, I suggest, be called the Judeo-Pauline – tradition from which it has arisen, it seeks to divide humanity in two – those supposedly with and those without “mental disorders” and “personality disorders’ – very much as previous clerics/arbiters of correct human behavior spoke of “saints” and “sinners,’ any “There but for the grace of God go I,” statements notwithstanding.

    “Good” guys and “bad” guys. Them and us. Victims and perps. Demonizers and supposed evildoers. Wicked, mendacious, coercive psychopharmacologists and us, their hapless, innocent victims.

    Or are we all in this together?

    And, by endeavoring to remain as objective and nonjudgmental as Robert Whitaker, may we not hope to make best progress?

    A prominent colleague of Stephen Moffic’s, one who also frequently wrote to Psychiatric Times, continually insisted on the validity of “mental disorder” diagnoses.

    To persuade us just how mad folks could be, he once used the unforgettable example of one of his own early “patients.”

    That man “bled from his fingertips and nails” (as I recall) in trying to claw his way out of that psychiatrist’s office.

    It takes a lot to render me speechless. This did.

    Which of us is not a victim of the distorted point of view and conditioned responses we have inherited?

    Unlike H. Stephen Moffic, who habitually responded respectfully and courteously to all comments following blogs, his colleague tended not to waste his time on “the uncredentialled.”

    Stephen wrote a great deal about “burnout” in such away as to lead one to suppose he knew a great deal about it, and presumably had earned his understanding, and his compassion, the hard way.

    Stephen told us that he had a son a rabbi.

    Jackie Mason became a rabbi to please his dad, who, according to Jackie, thought everyone (and his dog) should be a rabbi.

    I reckon that, if we were all meant to be Jackie Mason or the Dalai Lama or Stephen Moffic or his rabbi son, we would be.

    The Dalai Lama asked us to be kind whenever we can…and knew and said that we (all) always can be.

    When the day comes that we are – soon – perhaps we will no longer have two kinds of people, those who divide people into two kinds of people and those who do not, and, thanks in large measure to Bob Whitaker and MIA, coercive psychiatry will have died a natural death?

    Comfort and joy.

    With supreme gratitude to MIA,

    Tom.

  • I expect forever to feel grateful to the humble Stephen Moffic for the extremely and typically candid response he so generously offered when I asked in the comments of some Psychiatric Times blog if “burnout necessarily includes depression as a symptom, and if depression is a mental disorder, supposedly, how come “burnout” (in physician or others) supposedly is not.

    Stephen frankly replied that they (doctors and psychiatrists, I understood him to mean) preferred to call it “a psychological condition” as to do otherwise might stigmatize those affected and inhibit colleagues from coming forward to seek appropriate treatment.

    There is no man I admire more than H. Stephen Moffic.

    And I thank him and bless him, daily, and pray “God” rests him and all his family very merry.

    How various European and other countries/jurisdictions view “burnout” is fascinating in itself…

    Tom.

  • Steve, many thanks.

    But I do not believe it is sophistry on the part of anyone, but rather than “they” – “we” – have all been duped into thinking we are miscreants, disordered, defective, broken, unworthy, having the wrong personalities, not being adequately fitted by Nature Herself for whatsoever purposes She intends us – exactly like the priests and clerics of old believed that they are we we sinful, and any serpents in any gardens believed the bs of which they persuaded any adams and eves: we are all equal victims of the delusion of being less than infinitely pluperfectly equipped to carry out whatever we need to do, so-called perps and victims alike, all equal, as I see it.

    Then we witness works by the likes of Robert Whitaker, Carl Jung, Cervantes, Seamus Heaney, Jesus, Ridley Scott, Stephen Spielberg, Joan of Arc, or Joanna Moncrieff, and remember that we are all equal, and so must have within us that which each of those personifies, and infinitely more, at least.

    “Nothing happens to anyone that he is not fitted by nature to bear.” – “The Gladiator,” and Marcus Aurelius, and every spiritual teacher, I guess?

    “In all chaos, there is cosmos; in all disorder, a secret order…” Carl Jung.

    “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” ― Eckhart Tolle.

    “…for we are all as God made us, and many of us [sometimes rendered “and frequently”] much worse.” – Sancho Panza, with Cervantes’s whatever about Sancho’s tongue firmly in cheek, presumably, for how can any of us ever have been “made” or be any worse than any divinity of which we are an inseparable part, and always have been, with neither beginning nor end?

    “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

    “PersonALity disorder?! Ya can’t have a personALity disorder! Your personality – that’s, like, who you ARE! That’s, like theee rudest thing – eh-vur!” – Our then-16-year-old Liz, making me laugh, again, even if I think we all manifest many personae, as well as being Being or Awareness, Herself, including that endless medium into which this last big bang is expanding, and much more I cannot yet begin to imagine.

    When we are laughing, we get it. When we are not, maybe we simply don’t – yet: “God is a comedian, playing to an audience too scared to laugh.”

    Comedy = Tragedy + Time.

    Let’s keep on laughing, Steve: “God” rest you and all of us merry.

    And thanks, again, Steve McCrea: I am so glad that you were just what I needed just now, to return me to right back again towards Heaney’s “From the Republic of Conscience,” from which I stray, daily.

    Beir bua.

    Tom.

    Tom.

  • Does “depression” cause hopelessness?

    Have we all been led to believe this?

    Or is not “depression” simply hopelessness, itself?

    And is hopelessness (whether we consider it “endogenous” or “exogenous”) not always a symptom, never a disease?

    Thomas Szasz (The Myth of Mental Illness) suggested that what has come to be called “mental illness” is “problems in living.”

    I believe Joanna Moncrieff put it, in one of her presentations, “human suffering.”

    If so, I agree.

    “The human condition: lost in thought.” – Eckhart Tolle in “Stillness Speaks.”

    Left to its own devices, our minds, defense/survival mechanisms, are, for the most part, anxious and depressed” as well they might be, pretty much entirely preoccupied with our physical survival/reproduction, so that “happiness” or “peace of mind is fleeting and hardly worth pursuing (thank you, Founding Fathers), whereas the joy within, peace from mind, may provide us with lasting peace.

    What organic illness or injury might not cause depressive symptoms?

    Which nutritional imbalances might not?

    Which acute or prolonged stresses might not?

    Which underlying “pathologies” might not?

    “The psychiatric research community has long known that the low-serotonin theory didn’t pan out and that, in fact, the field long ago moved on to new theories about the possible pathology that gives rise to depression.”

    I doubt anyone can feel more grateful to and admiring of Robert Whitaker for all the magnificent, meticulous, painstaking and uniquely inspiring work he has carried out for such a great cause.

    Not least, I have admired how he has so consistently emphasized that what he is about to say is “as seen through the lens” of Psychopharmacology or of the authors of any works he is referencing – the medical model.

    And perhaps this unspoken proviso was implied or intended to preface that above quotation, too?

    If we blandly, carelessly, thoughtlessly or unwittingly accept that “pathology underlies depression” we have already missed the point, I think, and, I hope, strayed from Joanna Moncrieff’s own opinion, too?

    Psychopharmacologists (I do love that term) may have succeeded in persuading so many folks to drug themselves primarily by persuading them/society that “Depression/Major Depression/Clinical Depression/Bipolar Depression/Double Depression/Dysthymic Disorder/Psychotic Depression” or, nowadays, “PGA/Prolonged Grief Disorder” may cause hopelessness, a sense of hopelessness, or feelings of hopelessness.

    They may avoid the terms “despair,” or “sloth,” perhaps anxious to avoid drawing attention the fact that what has been seen in Judaic, “Judeo-Christian” (or, perhaps more accurately Judeo-Pauline) and other traditions as “Sin” is now largely regarded as “mental disorder” and/or personality disorder.”

    To suggest that “depression” or “schizophrenia” or “psychosis” is a disease without a shred of scientific evidence to support it is absurd.

    Those who have persuaded us and our justice systems and judiciaries to believe absurdities have indeed persuaded us and our justice systems to commit atrocities towards one another.

    “Coercive psychiatry does not commit human rights abuse: coercive psychiatry is human rights abuse.” – Thomas Szasz.

    Thanks to men and women like Robert Whitaker, Carl Jung, Thomas Szasz, Loren Mosher and Joanna Moncrieff, it seems this may soon cease.

    Heartfelt thanks.

    Tom.

  • 1. Lithium citrate and carbonate may be a great deal cheaper than any other routinely prescribed psychotropic drugs.

    2. Any (perceived) adverse effects of either salt are relatively unlikely to be “treated” with further prescriptions of more expensive drugs.

    3. It has been suspected that perceived improvements in the condition of at least some of those whose diets have been supplemented with daily doses of some salt of lithium may occur because those people were suffering from deficiencies of magnesium which lithium may be capable of at least partially offsetting.

    If this is so, then those appearing to respond positively to daily supplements of salts of lithium may (alone?) have been exhibiting signs of true brain (or “neurological”) disease, supporting Szasz’s assertions that, absent any true diseases of the brain, what are called “mental illnesses/disorders” may be better calked “problems in living” – even if the problems are perceived to be problems not by the person’s themselves but by others…

    Awfully grateful for most magnificent MIA , lectures and books by Robert Whitaker, as well as for his unique exhibitions of how to somehow manage keep ego out of the most intense discussions, all provocations notwithstanding.

    Thank YOU!

    Tom