Thursday, April 22, 2021

Comments by oldhead

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  • A collective society is nothing but a communistic society.

    And….? So were the early Christians.

    We are here on earth to be interdependent not dependent on each other.

    “Dependent on each other” is another way of saying interdependent.

    Recognizing and respecting each other’s individuality is not individualism; individualism is putting the interests of the individual above those of the collective. This is what psychiatry reflects when it identifies the problem as originating within the individual rather than resulting from systemic oppression inherent in the external power structure. If this is what Megan means I support her general thrust.

  • The search for an “alternative” to psychiatry/mental health is misguided and destined to repeat the same patterns and assumptions, and serve the continued reign of alienation as our humanity becomes more and more commodified. The only true alternative to human suffering will come about not as a result of programs or techniques but of our values becoming more than dollar values, which can become possible only through revolution. (Just a reminder.)

  • Wrong. What Szasz rejected was the phony “antipsychiatry” then being pushed by psychiatrists such as Cooper and Laing, who were not anti-psychiatry at all, but a “chic” school of psychiatry, and Szasz wanted nothing to do with them, understandably. Additionally, as a libertarian Szasz rejected outlawing psychiatry, nonetheless he rejected all the false premises on which it is based.

    Your attempt to “redefine” anti-psychiatry is what is known as “revisionism,” and is nothing new. Banning forced psychiatry would be a big first step towards abolishing abolishing psychiatry altogether, but if it is the only goal this is simply reformism. Anti-psychiatry is dedicated to eliminating psychiatry altogether, and we don’t need that watered down.

    Regardless of how he parsed certain terms, Szasz remains the godfather of the anti-psychiatry movement.

  • Well, I don’t consider you “schizophrenic” either. “Mad” and “schizophrenic” are two sides of the same coin, and are both forms of “othering.”

    I’m not trying to persuade you to change, just exploring the implications of the term”madness,” which are different for different people. I’m more of the “mad as a hatter” persuasion, or of seeing “madness” as a state of inspired creativity — not describing the characteristics of a “special” sub-class with a separate “culture.”

    While I know there are always exceptions, most “mad ” people don’t originally define themselves as “mad,” though many grew up feeling weird and ostracized. Almost always those who claim to be “reclaiming madness” have initially been labeled by psychiatry then, rather than rejecting labels altogether, adopt new “mad” labels and call “madness” their new “identity.” The “othering” remains constant; only the label changes.

    So what’s in a phrase? I also remember an old movement slogan “Women aren’t mad, they’re angry.”

    Anyway thanks for all the energy, I know this is hardly an adequate response.

  • oldhead, saying “no theory is needed” is a little over the top. Alternatives frameworks for are needed simply to convince so-called professionals that the current paragigm of care for bizarrely behaving individuals is harmful

    What I do is anti-psychiatry. I’m not a “caregiver” or interested in convincing “mh professionals” of anything. I’m more interested in helping people make connections that may lead to them rejecting the whole “professional/client” paradigm, and the political structures which perpetuate the alienation and pain that provide an endless stream of such “clients.” Psychiatry like slavery and genocide requires no “alternative,” it just needs to be rejected and abandoned.

    That doesn’t mean I reject “caregiving,” any more than I reject auto repair; it’s just not my focus. As for theory, how about “Oppression Theory” — could delineating that get me a job as a critical psychiatrist? 🙂

  • I am not sue if psychiatry mistakes the BRAIN for the MIND. Maybe, the entire general public is. Maybe, we are by definition, “splitting hairs.” I would like to think the BRAIN and the MIND are as one.

    Steve is right, at least as this relates to psychiatry (though I don’t consider it a “mistake”). This is a vital point — Rebel I think you’re missing this, if you don’t mind me saying so. Maybe parsing this will be my self-“assignment” for the afternoon, as it’s way more than “splitting hairs; within this contradiction lies the key to deconstructing psychiatry for once and for all. (None of this is my “opinion” btw; it comes straight from Szasz).

    Let’s start with a basic principle you presumably are familiar with already:

    “Mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

    The conflation of “brain” and “mind” is the basic deception of psychiatry. The misleading idea that thoughts and perceptions channeled by the brain and nervous system are caused by the latter is like saying that the content of phone conversations is “caused” by the switchboards and cell towers used to transmit them. Szasz said that calling a “doctor” to “cure” unwanted thought or behavior is like calling a TV repair person when you don’t like the program. (This is sort of a simplification.)

    The “mind” is an abstraction, like the “ego,” and does not conform to physical laws. This doesn’t mean that it’s not “real,” but it can’t be conceptualized in physical terms, which is problematic given that we’re focused in a material continuum. “Minds” do not have colors, shapes, textures — or diseases; once one starts ascribing material characteristics to a non-material concept such as “mind” one leaves the sphere of science and enters that of metaphysics, bad poetry and psychiatry. Even Torrey once said (in his younger, less sold-out days) that one can no more have a “mental illness” than a “purple idea.”

    I would add that arguments about whether “mind” and “brain” are the same, different or “part of” one another, or the mind “leaving” the body, or moving around in physical space, are also rooted in physical experience, viewing “mind” from a material frame of reference, as a “thing”; but the consciousness or energy known as “mind” does not obey physical laws, by definition. And unlike “brain,” definitions of “mind” are considerably more subject to subjectivity. [sic]

    It is the essential deception of psychiatry that “mental illness” is not a figure of speech (such as “spring fever’) but a literal disease. This saddles the “diagnosed” with an internalized self-identification as being “defective,” which in the long run is likely to be as destructive as are SSRIs.

    Going back to the above principle, therefore: once the workings of our mind — including our perceptions, thoughts and emotions — are seen as being “caused” by the neural networks which channel them, it’s a short leap to the conclusion that “bad” thoughts and feelings are the product of defective brains.

    Defining what the “mind” or “soul” comprise would be a highly abstract, philosophical, metaphysical discussion/debate, which I imagine has been had over & over over the years. [sic] Though an interesting one, no doubt.

  • I know Peter is one of the “good guys,” nonetheless I don’t comprehend why we are now on the 5th installment still belaboring what was more or less agreed upon after the first installment — that simply having “evidence” does not connote legitimacy to the conclusions based on that evidence, and is essentially meaningless without considering evidence to the contrary. So the question “is psychiatry evidence based?” is really the wrong question to begin with, which should be something more like “does psychiatry interpret its proffered ‘evidence’ in a legitimate manner?”

    But the real question is always “How can psychiatry conduct ‘research’ on a figure of speech with a straight face?” And maybe also “should high school writing and literature classes contain mandatory warnings about the manipulation of metaphor in everyday life?”

  • I hear you absolutely, and you courageously break down some crucial contradictions. But I don’t consider you a “mad person,” unless you “identified” that way before psychiatry labeled you something else. We shouldn’t “other” ourselves by internalizing the projections and othering of others. But that’s another conversation.

    All I can say is that you’re brave to even broach the questioning of various narratives you bring up here. I will abstain from the debate, as this is something that women and gay people will ultimately have to resolve amongst themselves, other than to note that the conflation of “sex” and “gender” leads to similar confusion as the conflation of “brain” and “mind.”

    Also I’m not clear how this piece is related to psychiatry. I’m not about to engage in a long contentious thread, my main concern here involves romanticizing the term “madness,” which can be positive in some circumstances but I believe overall perpetuates the same myths as psychiatry, but using “identity” terminology.

  • Psychiatry is not a noble cause gone wrong, catering to a systemic and epistemic need. It is not a bad theory that needs to be replaced.

    Hear! Hear!

    Exit just summarized my instant reaction to all this.

    No theory is needed because there is no mystery. And this piece is so steeped in acceptance of the psychiatric mentality, and its implicit assumptions about human thought and behavior, as to be hardly worth responding to or arguing about.

  • Many people were helped including myself but for the most part the responses were insults, lies and logical fallacies followed by censorship. Turns out being pro-science to most people is defined as ignoring the evidence and covering up with illogical assumptions. Many people also view it as stigmatizing if you do not tell people they are mentally defective. It is a brave new world

    Well, this is the state of modern “discourse,” with Newspeak being a major component. “Science” is defined by what “all the cool kids” think — not based on repeatable experiments and bias-free interpretation of data, but determined by taking polls of selected people with “official” credentials of “scientist.”

  • Still far from anything remotely ruling class. Plus the publisher often picks up the tab for those tours.

    50 years ago investors who “only” had 10 million to play with were called “Wall Street beggars.” That’s probably increased at least tenfold.

    Not that I get the drift of this generally odd thread anyway. Should we start discussing Michael Moore’s financial situation while we’re at it?

  • Once there is any kind of “training” required to be a “peer” it sets up a power relationship of “expert” (or “baby expert’) vs. “regular person.” Which negates the meaning of “peer.” There are no experts that can teach us to be human; we all live in a sea of alienation and need to help each other reclaim our humanity.

  • Judi was a friend of mine, and I was there when she was writing On Our Own. She never meant for her use of the word “peer” to be co-opted by psychiatry the way it has. The so-called “peer movement” is a new iteration of the “mental health consumer movement,” which was the first effort to co-opt the anti-psychiatry/mental patients liberation movement. In her younger (and more radical) days Judi spoke often of “consciousness raising,” not “peer counseling.”

    Unfortunately Judi did get somewhat entangled with the reactionary “Alternatives” conferences and other system-friendly enterprises as she got older — a tendency we all need to recognize in ourselves as we age, and try to nip in the bud. Bonnie Burstow was the first to bring my attention to this, which I disputed at the time. But to refer to things that are natural, good and healthy as “alternatives to psychiatry” gives psychiatry way too much legitimacy, i.e. as the standard against which everything else should be measured, rather than something to avoid at all costs.

  • Good to see you back Rachel, hopefully certain people will have more respect for you this time around. Not sure what you’re saying I have bee “venting” about. But I just noticed this (with which I heartily disagree):

    With real support and training based in the “peer” movement, peer supporters can work in “acute” hositpal settings and should definitely be present there

    No, those who realize that psychiatry is a criminal enterprise should refuse to lend it legitimacy with their presence. And the “hospitals” should be razed.

  • I believe that someone mentioned that Peterson did not respond intelligently, to these drugs, etc. That may be true, but as soon, as he started taking one of these drugs, the ability to respond intelligently is basically thrown out the window; like the baby with the bathwater analogy.


    Not sure if the “baby & bath water” reference is a response to an earlier post of mine. However the phrase is often used with the claim that abolishing psychiatry (the “baby”) altogether rather than just the “bad” parts (the “bath water’) would be a mistake. I say throw them both out together.

  • “Mental Health Czar”??? This is supposed to be a credential? Sounds like Peter should re-read The Communist Manifesto.

    We need a spiritual life — you cannot expect to have the human interior life just be stimulated by a screen and pushing buttons on a screen. It involves participatory activities, playing music together, singing together, and a sexual life.

    Correct. However spirituality is not recognized by psychiatry (or by traditional leftists) as legitimate.

  • @Steve — What are you planning to do in the streets? How will you know when it’s time? Just make sure you don’t get hurt. 🙂

    Actually the time never “comes” until we decide to seize it. Meanwhile the whole country can be in the streets “demonstrating” and “protesting” — but to whom and why, if everyone already agrees?

    “Protesting” is essentially a demonstration of weakness, pending the attainment of the power to make and enforce structural changes.

  • Got your “vaccine passport” yet?

    Many are saying that to call this a “vaccine” is a misuse of the term, and that what it actually amounts to is experimental “gene therapy” being tested on a global scale. Apparently there are too many “side” effects being reported to keep track of — curiously, more in younger than older people. Maybe because the old people COVID has passed over have stronger immune systems?

  • COVID has nothing to do with the KGB, it’s a joint US-China creation from what I can see. However you are rightly disturbed that no one seems overly concerned about its origin. A couple more “mainstream” articles for your consumption:

    Plus the original study, I believe, by Peter Breggin:

  • @KS I was not involved in that debate, other than to reaffirm that anyone has the right to indulge in any “self-help” technique or program they choose, and that this poses no inherent contradiction to the movement to abolish psychiatry. They’re simply two different things. Psychiatry is a tool of repression based on fraud, not a failed attempt to “help” people. It needs no “alternative.”

  • Our home is our “Feelings”. Its roof, that protects us from external elements, is our “Thinking”. Both are needed. But a roof, or mind, that is to heavy or oppressive or overbearing demolishes the “Feelings” inside.

    This is good. Or you could maybe call the soul “home” and the mind the “house” in which it “resides” in the material world. Of course enlightened intellectuals aren’t supposed to take the idea of a soul seriously. But Marxist materialism still hasn’t accounted for quantum theory, which is a major failing — though I believe there probably is a valid synthesis out there that could reconcile quantum physics with Newton, Einstein and Marx. (If any of this makes any sense to anyone out there please let me know.)

  • Getting back to the concrete — Psychiatry will not be defeated by feelings alone, but through the skilled application of words on many levels, combined with strategic actions. In other words work. Part of the Western ethos into which we have been incarnated involves compartmentalizing feelings and temporarily “sublimating the pleasure principle” in order to meet objectives in the material world; this applies as well to defeating psychiatry, which is a science, and work; it will not happen as the result of good vibes (though there’s no contradiction between the two).

  • The above was a response to Jan, not KS. But in terms of maturity, for any group of people to effectively work towards a shared goal it must go without saying, as a prerequisite for discussion, that participants will have more respect for the process and each other than to react to intellectual disagreements as personal attacks. It is possible to be kind while at the same time demolishing someone’s argument, then everyone going out for lunch afterwards.

    On one level, as a famous philosopher once said, “Words are the ultimate in horseshit.” But on another, Rush Limbaugh was equally astute when he emphasized that “words mean things.”

  • OK, never knew that part. Sounds like Steve. 🙂

    Mainly I recall his controversial (with some) takes on privilege, “gender,” etc., in which he interspersed solid grains of truth with equally clueless lapses in logic — so this may represent a general pattern.

    But I still see him as a victim of psychiatry — meaning someone who was victimized by psychiatry. Even if he opened the door.

  • Reagan pumped billions into the policing and criminalization of drugs and drug users. In order to continue his public relations approach to the Drug War, he handed off the public-facing duties of the operation to the First Lady, Nancy Reagan. This would eventually culminate in the famous “Just Say No” crusade.

    Ah, sweet memories.

    My friends in the “marijuana movement” used to point out how rude Nancy’s slogan was, and remind people that the proper response would be “No THANK YOU.”

  • Well it sure explains some things.

    When “feelings” (such as for one’s political opponent) are allowed to enter into important discussions/debates, especially collective ones which must rely on logic in order to reach valid conclusions, it compromises their integrity and invites emotional manipulation. So to just back off from one’s convictions and say “it doesn’t really matter” when things seem to be getting “too intense” (or whatever) could be interpreted by your friends as treating their thoughts as frivolous, especially if it does matter to them.

    Being a kind person is always a nice goal, but you are essentially making an argument for individualism, which is the dynamic at the heart of psychiatry and “professionalism. But change isn’t made by individuals, even though it sometimes appears that way. Feelings and subjectivity have their roles, so does objective logic. There’s a time and place for each — not always the same time and place.

  • @Frobex — Your post is a better-written version of some of what I was trying to get at.

    I don’t know much about JP except that he’s an out-of-the-box thinker and drives the “woke” crowd nuts. I never thought of him as a “mental health professional,” just as a social commentator, and still have to ask whether he’s really a “clinical psychologist” in practice, or whether he just has those academic credentials and pulls them out to bolster his credibility on book jackets or whatever.

    Still what strikes me is the degree of “shaming” of JP for “not knowing better,” which in other contexts (“she should have known not to walk through that neighborhood alone”) would be considered inappropriate and blaming the victim. Actually I agree, he should have known better, and was blindsided to something he might have been able to see coming. But despite all that JP IS in the end a victim of psychiatry — no one who saw his daughter’s video reports when he was in Russia, and the obvious toll the situation was taking on her, can reasonably dispute that. (I would also note that MIA has lots of articles by mh professionals who have been victimized by the psychiatric system themselves.)

    Anyway I don’t know if there are “sides” here or what, personally I’m just pointing out what seem to be some curious anomalies in commenters’ attitudes that appear to have more to do with the celebrity than the person. Though it’s possible that some of this is based on JP’s mh credentials alone with no prior awareness of his being well known and controversial.

  • There is no “peer movement.” “Peerdom” was created to function as an adjunct of psychiatry and perpetuate the psychiatric mentality, and as such disempowers those it purports to help. It also encourages survivors to aspire to be baby shrinks, rather than throwing the whole system out with the bath water. Look up the word “peer.” If someone is your peer they shouldn’t need to constantly point that out to you, or be paid for being such — why aren’t YOU getting paid too?

  • Also Lorna — I would be totally remiss not to tell you about our recently passed comrade Stephen Gilbert, who worked for years as a “peer” at Arkansas State Hospital. He constantly exposed the bankruptcy of the “peer ” concept in the pages of MIA at night as he worked there by day, and also joined our budding anti-psychiatry organization and worked to defeat psychiatry till shortly before his death.

    Please set some time aside to read some of what Stephen had to say. I am including this link to his MIA tribute:

    More important, read some of what Stephen had to say personally in his voluminous MIA comment history. I suspect you’ll feel like he’s speaking directly to you at times:

  • Very interesting, well written and well considered.

    I detect some mild hostility to Peterson here and in the comments, as contrasted to the endless sympathy generally extended to other victims of psychiatry and psych drugs, and the frequent concern about not “shaming” people for their decisions to partake in “mh services.” I think this attitude is likely due to Peterson’s social & political writing and general reputation.

    It’s not hard for me to understand someone concerned with “order” suddenly peering into the abyss and realizing there is no such thing, and grabbing at every straw possible to make sense of this, including (or especially) psychiatry. Many people are initially relieved by a “diagnosis” since it seems to make the chaos make sense, at least until the artifice crumbles further. And once one accepts the psych narrative it’s logical to believe that it makes sense to look for the “right” combinations of “medications” to address the “symptoms.”

    Anyway Peterson clearly has a lot to more to work out than he once thought, and needs a few more epiphanies — including about the nature of psychiatry. Unfortunately he seems to have a need as a writer to do this figuring out process in public, in the form of making pronouncements to others, which guarantees that he’ll start out spouting half-truths combined with complete contradictions, then be adjusting and retracting things for some time to come.

    I do question the motivation of someone concerned with formulating “rules for life.” Nonetheless Peterson is a serious thinker with a conscience, and thinking about anything too hard these days will make you crazy, at least for a while. Maybe a little stupid too. The Humanity.

    Good article.

  • Goddamn what an excellent article, and perfect expose of the “peer” scam!

    Psychiatry is a branch of law enforcement, not medicine. And “peers” serve the same role as “trustees” in the prison system (or “overseers” during slavery). You were turned into a pawn to do the system’s dirty work under the guise that you were to be helping others navigate the bullshit. However it can’t be “navigated,” it has to be abandoned. I’m glad you walked away — just hope that “research” isn’t “mental health” research, which is the same scam in different clothing.

  • I thought of this and think it’s somewhat relevant, so I’m going to cram it in.

    A well known chiropractor and natural healer had this to say on the general subject:

    When singer Warren Zevon was diagnosed with lung cancer, doctors gave him three months to live. He refused chemotherapy because it would have interfered with working on his last album. He said in an interview, “I didn’t want any drastic alterations to my health – other than dying.”

    Warren lasted a year. And he kept right on smoking, till the end. Not exactly a holistic approach, but he quadrupled their estimate without treatment. Using their logic, I guess someone could actually make a case that cigarettes are four times as effective as chemotherapy for terminal lung cancer.

  • This is a vital campaign worth supporting, which should unite not only supporters of MFI but also those in the anti-psychiatry/abolitionist movement, as well as human rights advocates in general. With a united AP movement we would be able to do better than plaintively waiting for editors to print our letters — we might even force them to look up from their work and realize there’s something happening here (even if what is it ain’t exactly clear). 🙂

    This is like announcing the date of an execution and daring people to respond.

  • I think you’re deflecting the issue. First of all these places shouldn’t even exist so there’s no “correct” solution. But beyond that, being born into privilege (if this is indeed the case) is not a crime, and Ektarina should not be held personally accountable for the sins of capitalism. (Not that it’s a bad thing for people to be aware of their privilege.) If her shit is being stolen by the employees of the operation supposedly in charge of her well-being and security I don’t see why that should be written off based on her class status.

  • I am neither “mentally ill” nor A-OK, and I need that to be OK.

    Is that really the choice however? Does there need to be a choice? Of course you’re not “mentally ill,” no one is. And only you can decide what “A-OK” is, or whether that’s a goal you even want to aspire to.

    I need it to be ok to have the agency to choose the supports I need without losing agency on the one hand and without being turned out of the AP community as a “reformer” on the other.

    If you feel that sort of pressure coming from “the AP community” it’s sure not coming the “community” I belong to, and I wonder if there have been specific comments made which have encouraged you to feel this way. If so I’d like to know, preferably on a different forum, for as you know I consider many survivor issues “internal” and not grist for MIA consumption.

    However it’s important for all to understand that NO ONE affected by this toxic alienated culture should feel “shamed” for grabbing at whatever straws the system purports to offer. Our critiques and actions are directed at the system, not it’s victims. And anyone who says or implies otherwise is acting in detriment to the movement.

    In regard to Matt I still firmly believe that, while he may have felt the sort of pressure you describe — primarily self-imposed in his case — I see his demise as being ultimately caused by his inability to break away internally from the chains psychiatric ideology had clasped on his mind and spirit. It was in fulfillment of some shrink’s prediction about “personality disorders” that he ultimately took his life — maybe to preempt what he considered the inevitable. And I still want to know that shrink’s name for the record, and the AP Wall of Shame. 🙁