Saturday, March 25, 2023

Comments by oldhead

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  • I just got this message from Cindi, please pass it along:

    It’s day 16 without any solid food. Please go to my website and make a call Monday July 16! And then please share! I am losing weight but I am healthy and strong! I plan to be around and kicking to help my son recover from the abuse and Trauma of hospitalization! My website is

    Thanks for connecting!

  • Not sure exactly what the point of printing this is, other than to demonstrate that MIA has some Black contacts (sorry, had to say it). But if the purpose is really to provide a “forum” what I’m basically taking away from the discussion is a) “Somebody kill me today or tomorrow, I don’t give a shit”; b) “Mental health is bullshit”; and c) “You don’t survive, you’re a dead bastard. The last word is survival. That’s it. It’s over. The interview is over.”

    I empathize with Carlton and admire his insight, which is shared by many others who have been imprisoned, psychiatrically and otherwise, and forced to live on the streets. It is indeed a question of survival. But nothing here is the sort of crisis that can be addressed by “rethinking psychiatry”; psychiatry can only get in the way, as Carlton makes clear. What he actually does very well is make a circumstantial case for revolution.

  • Cindi you know that the cadre of anti-psychiatry survivors stands behind you completely; you’ll be hearing from me, and from us. Unlike symbolic hunger strikes conducted by white academics enamored of Gandhi, this is truly a matter of life and death.

    I’m also wondering what social or political influences Siddharta may have been exposed to recently, as there seems to be some sort of abrupt personality/identity issue at play. Regardless, if Sidd is not being violent or repeatedly disrupting the lives of others there is no cause for incarceration, under any name.

    Everyone reading this should do everything Cindi asks and more.

  • Actually psychedelics are very cheap if you can find them. In the 60’s LSD cost about $1 for a tab, maybe a little more for mushrooms.

    The problem here seems to be that the “middleman” thinks he/she should be paid as a “therapist.” Ridiculous — the last thing you need is for your dealer to be hanging around during your trip.

    And no this has nothing to do with “medication” — I even hesitate to call psychedelics “drugs.”

  • Hi Mad — We never resumed our email conversation. Let’s take some of this up there (at the group address) as I prefer not to splash what should be primarily internal survivor discussions all over MIA — especially as much of this can get pretty nuanced.

    As for “Alternatives” XX — let’s cut to the chase: who have the primary funding sources been for all this “free” money (aside from SAMHSA)? Who pulls the strings? (I stand by my characterization btw.)

    Btw the International Conference On Human Rights & Psychiatric Oppression also was funded entirely by the individuals and groups which attended. The last conference in Vermont was disrupted by at least one person I would describe as a provocateur (who later became a honcho in the “consumers’ rights” movement). This has been portrayed as “infighting,” but in retrospect can be seen as part of a premeditated assault on our integrity, motivated by our growing success.

  • The concept of “alternatives” itself is basically a scam which upholds the unwarranted legitimacy of psychiatry in the public mindset.

    This should not be a major leap of logic for those who understand what psychiatry is. But it seems to require an “aha” moment for many to grasp: that something which is designed as a tool of repression does not need an “alternative,” it just needs to be rooted out and excised.

    To say that anything which addresses true human needs in a positive manner is an “alternative to psychiatry,” which is inherently destructive and oppressive, is an absurd characterization.

    To say that the anti-psychiatry movement — which is designed to eliminate psychiatry — must simultaneously satisfy the needs that psychiatry falsely claims to satisfy is equally absurd. Only revolution can do that.

    This is not to say that people can’t explore ways of addressing their personal pain (as the system which creates it continues to grind on relentlessly and without serious challenge). But even were they to be successful these would not represent “alternatives to psychiatry” but temporary “band-aid” strategies to weather the ongoing assaults on their humanity. Psychiatry exists to reinforce disempowerment and alienation, and should be dismembered before it has another opportunity to rear its head. The last thing we need is an “alternative,” any more than we need “alternatives” to slavery or to drinking arsenic; we just need it to STOP.

  • Judi did make the comment that those who called themselves “antipsychiatrists” did not have the interests of the average “mental patient” at heart, however this was not a reference to anti-psychiatry survivors and psychiatric inmates, but to Laing, Cooper, and other “radical” psychiatrists who did nothing to actually try to eliminate psychiatry:

    Although the terms have often been used interchangeably, “mental patients” liberation” (or “psychiatric inmates’ liberation”) and “anti-psychiatry” are not the same thing “Anti-psychiatry” is largely an intellectual exercise of academics and dissident mental health professionals. There has been little attempt within anti- psychiatry to reach out to struggling ex-patients or to include their perspective.

    Actually Judi’s focus on “alternatives” (i.e. addressing human needs on an individual level) contained the seeds of the basic contradiction that has historically undermined the anti-psychiatry movement, which is the assumption that the purpose of psychiatry is to help people, and that it just does a bad job — instead of the recognition that the actual purpose of psychiatry is to accommodate individuals to the inhuman demands of corporate culture. Which is closer to genocide than “help.”

    Today I would consider true anti-psychiatry and “mental patients’ liberation” (a term seldom used anymore) to be essentially the same thing.

  • To be mad is to be human!

    Which sort of demonstrates the point — if “madness” is a characteristic of all humans, there’s nothing special about being “mad.” So what’s the point of a “movement”?

    Rachel777 has posited that “madness” describes a state of mind, like sadness or confusion — it doesn’t define a person’s essence. How about a “sad pride” movement, wouldn’t that be just as logical?

  • No hopelessness here at all, unless you believe that this governmental and class structure is a given and will never be cast off. But it must be, for everyone’s survival; this is not optional or subject to personal convenience. As Che once said, “A revolution is not a garden party; in a revolution one wins or dies.”

    I didn’t say that the “Alternatives” setup was in itself what ended the movement, but it was part of a COINTELPRO-like scheme in my view, strategically put in place to take advantage of the vulnerabilities, doubts and growing pains to which growing movements like ours are subject. Also to identify and enlist opportunistic movement “leaders” (I think you know what and whom I mean) who would jump at the idea of “official” status and government funding.

    Now the “mental health consumer” industry is morphing into the “peer” industry, which is yet another effort to make human support a commodity best trusted to “certified” experts.

    It was not “infighting” that led to the movement’s initial demise, but a failure to identify, confront and analyze internal conflicts in an organized, intelligent, dispassionate manner, combined with a lack of political experience and historical precedent when it came to fighting psychiatry. I’m not blaming specific people (there are one or two exceptions) but more the tendency of disempowered people to feel important and be taken in when they are given attention by the system that has long oppressed them; they mistake this for actual support or respect. Overcoming this is less a moral matter than one of discipline and experience, and — once people agree on their objectives — of strategy.

  • Can you please tell us all about any currently-existing group that is in your view working well for human rights in mental health?

    Posting comments on websites does not count.

    I’m interloping here because I can’t help pointing out that the problem is with the question — specifically the idea that there can ever be such as a thing as “human rights in mental health.” “Mental health rights” is an oxymoron, and an inherent contradiction. The correct question would be more like “what groups are working to expose and defeat the psychiatric system?”

  • The portion of survivors who identify as having had a misunderstood spiritual experience is SMALL compared to those of us who were desperately trying to survive extreme depression, panic attacks, dissociation, perhaps physical illnesses, intense anger, nightmares, etc.

    Agreed again, for what it’s worth. (Not to imply that those who have had what they consider spiritual experiences invalidated as “pathological” have not also been violated.)

    And yes, it is disingenuous to insert an ideological narrative — here in support of the concept of “mad” pride and “mad” culture — into an unrelated discussion of SAMHSA, then disregard the response as irrelevant.

  • Moving beyond the issue of so-called “madness” to other attitudes and positions which are strategically and practically counterproductive (for those whose goal is to defeat psychiatry and not “reform” it):

    SAMHSA is one of the biggest federal agencies in behavioral health, and of course where a lot of the mental health consumer movement gets its money.

    Got that folks? Anti-psychiatry activists please take note, as it is a clear indictment of the so-called “mental health consumers movement” (which was always and remains a ruse designed to undermine the anti-psychiatry movement). It also demonstrates the true purposes and motives of neoliberal agencies such as SAMHSA, which are similar on a domestic level to such imperialist groupings as the Agency for International Development (AID). Why on earth would survivors who truly want to eliminate psychiatry have anything to do with SAMHSA at all?

    Since 2016, SAMHSA, the large US mental health agency, has quietly supported this rise of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) through two major grants impacting hundreds of American citizens, and this endorsement can carry a lot of weight throughout the nation.

    Demonstrating again that SAMHSA is our ENEMY…

    In 1985, SAMHSA funded the first Alternatives Conference, and continued to bring together thousands of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors each year for decades.

    Confirming what every serious AP activist and historian already knows — that the so-called “Alternatives” conferences were instituted by the psychiatric establishment, as an “alternative” to the Mental Patients Liberation Movement, and have always been a treacherous betrayal of what the movement stood for. I am stunned that David would use his prominent status to endorse its continuation in any form. As for SAMHSA, what the devil gives he takes away — why should we bargain with it in any form or take its money?

    A growing number of survivors who oppose psychiatry completely have been quietly organizing for over four years to resurrect the Mental Patients Liberation/Anti-Psychiatry movement and return to the true goals of the movement. There are currently close to 20 active members united around some basic anti-psychiatry principles. While there has been some resistance to announcing ourselves publicly I hope this will be resolved soon. Meanwhile if you are a survivor who wants to abolish psychiatry give us a shout at [email protected]

    It is and always will be a losing proposition to waste our energy “convincing” totalitarian government agencies and their bureaucrats to do anything simply because it would be in the peoples interest. The grip of the psychiatric system will be ended only by exposing it and rejecting it completely, and educating others to do the the same. Only then will there be sufficient pressure for such agencies to act in a non-oppressive manner (which will of course only be a tactic on their part). The idea that such people can be “talked into” ending something as basic as involuntary “treatment” is absurd, and ignores some basic realities about what psychiatry is in the first place.

    The sole purpose of psychiatry in any society is control and regimentation, whether on a physical level of incarceration, drugging and other restraints, or a psychological one, by convincing dissatisfied citizens that their dissatisfaction is the result of individual “pathology,” rather than an understandable reaction to a dehumanizing society. The obvious benefit of this to the prevailing order is to keep its subjects blaming themselves for their unhappiness, rather than engaging in political resistance to the conditions which engender it.

    Why on earth would the government ever support ending forced psychiatry? In the end coercive force is the only thing propping up the psychiatric system — if there were a true choice involved psychiatry would wither away within 25 years on its own merits, or lack of such.

    Paraphrasing Frederick Douglas, power cedes nothing without a demand. If our demand is confined to begging mh bureaucrats for favors and cash the results will be predictable. This also applies to hunger strikes and other traditional guilt-based white liberal actions which miss the point over & over — that psychiatry cannot be reformed, and must be abolished.

  • Whole purpose of my blog was to challenge a major federal agency about their support for involuntary outpatient commitment. Rather than discuss that topic, there has mainly been a discussion here about the “proper” use of certain words. Let us get back to the topic at hand.

    The absurd strategy of seeking justice by appealing to and/or complaining about totally illegitimate agencies such as SAMSHA and the mentality that “identifies” as being “mad” — are part & parcel of one another.

    “Mad” is the liberal psychiatric counterpart of “Negro.”

    By citing preliminary sections of the 1982 Principles (which are very similar to the 1976 principles btw) you seem to be attempting to deflect from their crowning pronouncement regarding psychiatry:

    26. We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.

    Any attempt to “reinstitute” the International Conference which does not put the abolition of psychiatry at the forefront would be as illegitimate as the so-called “ALTERNATIVES” conferences. And it would be unrepresentative without the participation of the anti-psychiatry survivors’ movement. It would be in name only (a favorite tactic lately).

  • Cheers to Kindred Spirit (whether she needs them or not) for her continuing deconstruction of the notion of “Mad Pride.”

    The only thing I would add is that the slogan of the original mental patients liberation liberation movement was NOT “Mad Pride” but “Abolish Psychiatry.” This is documented in the Principles of the 1982 Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, which can be found in the archives of Mindfreedom.

    To imply that the vast majority of anti-psychiatry “mental patients” have historically regarded themselves as “mad” is a distortion of history, pure and simple. The term is a euphemism for “mentally ill,” with flowery “woke” trappings. This is demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority of those who consider themselves “mad” never saw themselves as such until they had been diagnosed as “mentally ill,” then defined themselves as “mad” as a substitute label — but a label generated by psychiatry nonetheless.

  • Just responding to a question about evidence. I said before I won’t respond to vague assertions about “the science” but will address specific studies, etc.

    “Conspiracy theory” is just a label used to sabotage discourse and avoid serious consideration of the issue at hand. Any time two or more people agree about something it can be considered a “conspiracy.” Capitalism itself is an open conspiracy.

    Any time W.H.O. is mentioned in any context from now on people will remember its complicity in obfuscating the facts surrounding COVID. This is not RW’s fault but it should nonetheless be taken into consideration, as it would be unrealistic to expect people to ignore the elephant in the room.

  • Democrats & Republicans are a pendulum of sorts, swinging from Coke on one end to Pepsi on the other. Some might call it good cop/bad cop. Right now the Democrat/neoliberal end of the spectrum is in sway, and is the more totalitarian of the two (and looks like it will be for some time) but this changes from time to time and is mostly a question of style. The only way out is to sweep them all away.

  • I believe we were discussing the origins of COVID, no?

    I did post some evidence — how much more do you need? Not that it’s my job to do the research but you might try (in addition to what I posted already):

    Also (mainly because John Stewart is hilarious):

  • The theory of ‘mental illness’ is do obviously flawed, it hasn’t a single compelling line of reason to defend it

    “Mental illness” CANNOT exist. Attempts to prove that it does or doesn’t both miss the point. This is a linguistic issue, not a medical one. Abstractions (such as “mind”) do not and cannot have physical characteristics such as disease period.

  • “Conspiracy theory” is simply a derogatory term for an unpopular belief.

    Let’s forget about Trump, the election and other “straw man” arguments and focus on the origin of the virus. When that’s resolved THEN we can move on to considering whether or not it was intentionally released by China and/or its U.S. partners.

    As for the HOW — I still recommend Peter Breggin’s report from last October, much of which info has since been repeated in numerous “mainstream” publications: It details Fauci/NIH involvement in the “gain of function” explorations which likely led to COVID.

    This is only one domino in a chain of lies that are about to fall. (Next to be exposed in my mind should be the manipulation of PCR tests to produce such seemingly staggering death counts.)

    I’ve been studying and watching this since COVID killed my mother in 2020, and my work is pretty much done for now — at least until the rest of the world catches up to the “conspiracy theorists.”

    Jail Fauci!

  • All of Lawrence’s points are basically accurate, despite the “blame the victim” attitude many understandably sense (or think they sense). Nonetheless we ARE all responsible for self-discipline, which includes not being sucked into exploitative situations and grabbing at easy “solutions” we know at some level are exercises in denial and self-delusion. Even if a professional assures us it’s ok.

  • I’m not clear what you mean re: the linkage between WHO’s handling of COVID and abolishing psychiatry — maybe just the irony of WHO screwing up everything it sets out to do (assuming it’s really a screw-up)? And I’m sure you harbor no personal illusions of “reforming” psychiatry.

    But I do share your distrust of WHO and think that this article is poorly timed in that sense, as the many lies of the past year are finally being seen for what they are, and WHO’s collaboration with U.S./Chinese “gain of function” viral engineering is being exposed, along with Fauci & Co. I’m guessing you and other MIA commenters who have gone against the grain on COVID over the past year and have been attacked for doing so are feeling a sense of vindication as more & more “conspiracy theories” are being borne out — with more to come. I know I am.

    As for CRPD — it is often the international community which initiates moves to remediate crises and human rights violations when the nations affected are unwilling to do so on their own, and I see CRPD as a positive development, despite being wrapped a little too tightly in the language of “disability.” However I see no reason to bring the World Health Organization into this, as, for one, psychiatry is not about health (except for destroying it); and secondly because the World Health Organization over the past year has demonstrated its complete incapacity to safeguard the well-being of the world’s population.

  • Good to see you again Lawrence, especially with Breggin “mysteriously” missing…

    A few notes:

    a) Psychiatry does not “have” a medical model; it is the embodiment of the medical model. If it had a “non-medical model” it would be something other than psychiatry; psychiatry cannot choose from an array of “models.” (In addition it is rarely specified what we are evaluating “models” of.)

    b) our huge brains enable us to flexibly, infinitely work on and adapt to the issues upsetting us.

    Even though this was an afterthought it sounds like you’re on the verge here of validating the equation of mind and brain, also of brain size and brain function — any thoughts or comments?

    c) Psychiatry said the mentally ill suffer from and bravely battle real physical illnesses.

    Psychiatry has simultaneously maintained that, although the mind is an intangible abstraction and the brain is material and palpable, the metaphor/figure of speech “mental illness” is nonetheless a “real” disease which can be “treated” with very material drugs.

    In the end however this is a far more complicated matter than the advantages of “old school” psychiatry over “modern” psychiatry; they both arise from the same contradictions and attempt to address the individual’s reaction to societal corruption and alienation rather than the systems responsible for same. The goal of psychiatry has always been social control; only the tactics have evolved.

  • We all will be struggling until this system is overthrown, and humanity will remain alienated on a collective level at least until that point, no matter what limited compassion or support may be proffered to those most desperately affected by the ravages of corporate tyranny. Objectively speaking it’s not overly relevant what “matters” to me, but I certainly don’t judge those who reach out for whatever emotional band-aids may be offered (though I hesitate to use such a medical metaphor). Nor do i consider any “programs” or “techniques” to be more than that; my standard of legitimacy pending victory is “whatever gets you through the night.”

    The political problem presented by the “peer” label can easily be ameliorated by all of us engaged in direct support of fellow humans — without compensation or hierarchical power relationships — NOT using the term “peer” to describe the sorts of interactions and interrelationships we are involved in. This would help disarm and neutralize “mental health” careerists and others who use the “peer” concept to mystify and exploit.

    I see the development of the “peer” industry as paralleling the manipulation of language and symbolism by those who started the diversionary “mental health consumers movement” in the 80’s & 90’s, when the first incarnation of the AP movement was defeated using similar Trojan Horse tactics.

    Eliminating the “peer” label would eliminate “peers” (i.e. survivors) being subject to “accreditation” and “training,” by shrinks or other “greater than peers.” It would highlight and smoke out some other contradictions inherent in the “peer” word as well. I think it’s something we all should consider.

  • ps. I am operating from non-believe of power in mental health, diagnosing of human emotion and making some emotions into monsters and others to friends and also from the point view of peer support is more than just those who had experienced the system but those who also learned how to become independent in their mind from the system

    Why do we even need to define what “peer support” is or “should be”? It’s one of those concepts that no one needs in the first place, and certainly a far cry from what people such as Judi Chamberlin were talking about during the early days of the mental patients liberation movement. People who are sincere can always find ways of extending genuine mutual support to their friends and comrades — no labels, fees or corporations needed.

    Psychiatry is not a legitimate form of medicine and cannot be reformed, nor should it be; it must be abolished, not mimicked. Survivors (“peers”) working in the master’s house is not a “step up.”

  • It was not intended for your consumption, and frankly isn’t really your business to critique, IMHO.

    ??? I’m responding to your response to my comment, how is that “not for my consumption”? This sounds defensive, or something.

    The “adequacy of your communication” is not my concern, but your addressing the “peer” concept in terms of individual character rather than its inherent contradictions.

  • I think peer support to believe they are “equal” while working and have obligation to a system, organization or other authority is not really equal anymore and forget if there is even payment involved…

    I hope I am not coming off as semantic expert but I think the equality of the peer support and a patient/client can only be real if both actually speak of it as negotiation in such that the client/patient can say something like (and allowed to say)…I do not want that code in billing…

    And to be a “peer” situation, as previously defined by Webster et al., both ends of the relationship would have to receive equal compensation.

    Semantics are what they are — but you are obviously adept at logic and consistency of definition. I don’t know which of us posted first but we’re in synch on this issue at least — I could have highlighted practically all of your comments, not just the the ones I chose. You’ve put your finger on some the multiple contradictions involved in “peer counseling.” Thanks for expanding.

  • Peer support specialists are individuals who have had experience with emotional distress, trauma, or other emotional challenges and have been trained to assist others experiencing emotional distress.

    This makes them “mental health” workers in essence, which is part of a power hierarchy, hence the term “peer” is an oxymoron essentially.

    Who does this “training”? — and what objective standard of correct thought and behavior do the “trainers” base such “training” on?

    If one end of a “peer” relationship is getting compensated and the other end is not this is, again, a power relationship, not a “peer” relationship. It is in the end based on ideology, not humanity.

  • When evaluating the value and effectiveness of programs and campaigns to liberate people from the evil of psychiatry it is necessary to look at the results. Given the miserable track record over the past 50 years of efforts to secure “rights for mental patients” it’s probably a good time to ask what has actually been accomplished and to what degree and how much longer people are content to pat themselves on the head and say, “well we tried” — rather than take a hard look at WHAT WENT WRONG?

    Are we going to continue to accept psychiatry as inevitable and be content to settle for fancier handcuffs or are we ready to finally make a united demand to DEFEAT and DEFUND PSYCHIATRY?
    [email protected]

  • Hmm…I would think their liberalism (and racism) is likely showing in their need to quote an Asian person to promote their own views (it’s relatively easy to find anyone of any race to support a given position). But I don’t want to overgeneralize either.

    And if by “identity politics” they actually mean Asians being concerned with and discussing self-determination they are using the term in a racist way. “Identity politics” has other iterations as well, which CAN be divisive. So it’s hard to say more without some working definitions.

  • To no one (in particular) — yes, true socialism would feature a centralized economy; the difference between socialism and centralized capitalism (fascism) is the element of democratic control; the inability to sustain such in most socialist states to date has been one of the key factors in their demise.

    By “socialism” I don’t mean the “democratic socialism” of Bernie Sanders, AOC, etc., who are basically diversions at this point.

  • Staying away from Google would be a good start. The argument that the “mental health” system is “broken,” rather than inherently fraudulent and oppressive, actually feeds into the false hope that it can be changed for the better. It also makes the assumption that “helping people,” rather than controlling them, is the system’s function. But your experience seems to contradict all this — coincidence?

    PS The Treatment Advocacy Center — founded by the late and evil D.J. Jaffee — is a den of vipers (no offense to vipers) viewed by just about everyone here as one of our most despised enemies. (Someone had to mention it first.)

  • I think it is fair to say that the system works quite well for a certain kind of person, in particular, a person who is gaining money or prestige by pretending to know things about “mental illness”

    This is an individualist argument, not a systemic one — it limits the pernicious role of psychiatry under capitalism to that of private profiteering and individual gain. Pharma similarly will gladly cooperate with mass drugging for a cut of the action, but the ultimate function of all this is keeping the social facade intact, perpetuating and reinforcing the mass hallucinations needed to keep the assembly lines running.

  • There never have been any “communist regimes;” the term is an oxymoron, as communism is the absence of a state, and this has never happened, yet. What you’re talking about are in many cases socialist states, which precede communism theoretically, and are always imperfect. Also I wouldn’t define all the oppressive situations you mention as “racism” per se.

  • Sorry to hear this, and congrats on your initiative. I would however add, as would many others, that the system is not broken, but doing what it is intended to do, which is marginalize those who express dissatisfaction with the smooth running of capitalist society and minimize the degree to which they disrupt business as usual. Those who have the nerve to express anger are even more of a “problem.”

  • we must feed the brain, physically, spiritually, mentally, etc.

    Let’s back up here. Again, this is feeding into the psychiatric conflation of brain and mind, even if in a “positive” sounding way. You can not “spiritually feed the brain.” The brain is an organ and needs the same nutrients as any other parts of our bodies. Most important, THE BRAIN IS NOT THE MIND — one is physical, the other an abstraction. If pressed I would say that the brain is the servant of the mind in the material world, but so is the entire body for that matter. The equation of brain and mind is at the heart of psychiatric deception and needs to be recognized and pointed out when it arises.

  • Even without opining on God, which is a personal and subjective matter for those who see the world in primarily religious terms, your point about being sucked into the “alternatives” trap is well taken. As long as our alienation is considered a personal rather than collective issue it will be channeled into some sort of “system” charged with mystifying it and interpreting it as an individual defect of some sort, either physical or moral.

  • Well part of my basic analysis is that psychiatry IS a branch of the prison system, set up to deal with areas of thought and behavior not normally addressed by prisons and judges, though there is also some overlap.

    What constitutes “crime” or “evil” is often relative and subjective, the issue is verboten thought and behavior, which varies from culture to culture but is suppressed, partially by psychiatry, across the board.

  • Wasn’t addressing my comments primarily to you, except in a positive sense.

    However if Laura has “assumed an abolitionist stance,” please tell me more — Laura was probably my singular inspiration for thinking it might be worth getting back into this stuff, but has been pretty remote since starting Inner Compass. I think we may have a political disagreement in that when we last spoke she seemed to think that psychiatry could be “made obsolete” by getting people off drugs and the like; in my view, while valuable, that just gets them back to square one to deal with the same system they started with. But whatever, she might need to keep me and AP at arms length for what she sees as strategic reasons. Not sure.

    I don’t remember arguing against education btw, if I did refresh my memory.

  • And the entire mentality is based on the fraud that the problem is to be found within the person rather than in the system which systematically produces people who are alienated from their humanity as a condition of survival.

    As for the Declaration, all well and good, but it is still addressed to those who consider themselves “professional” human beings, and change will not primarily come from the ranks of those whose self-esteem and livelihood are dependent on a particular narrative or approach.

  • Psychiatry and neoliberalism go hand in glove. What we are now and will be seeing in the immediate future are all sorts of agendas being pushed by major corporations, and the parties and media that support them, being dressed up as “anti-racist.” When they well know that the only way to eliminate racism is to eliminate capitalism itself, which requires racism as part of its divide and conquer strategy. They also know they can divert the ignorant from this realization by fueling the visceral satisfaction privileged liberals get from calling their peers “white supremacists.” And letting the masses define their angst and confusion in terms of “disorders.”

  • This is not the sort of extended back & forth I’m really up for these days in general; I mainly check out MIA when there’s a lull, or I’m avoiding something more stressful and need some more recreational conversation to indulge in. And if there are undercurrents of hostility I try to ignore them or consign them to the back burner, as the focus of my life is not MIA. It’s back to the thing of people thinking that your perspectives “hurt” them, which to me is a lethal impediment to honest discussion.

    But I digress, as I mainly have to address this one statement of DP (for whom I have always had a general fondness):

    I say this….Who is anyone to examine my language?

    Why would you post “language” for people to read if you don’t want them reading it for comprehension?

  • Yo Frank. Don’t hit too close to home.

    There’s a basic contradiction here. With the prison abolition movement, those who are objectively the immediate oppressors — i.e the guards and wardens — are pretty clearly identified and identifiable, and there is no pretense that they have your best interests at heart.

    Psychiatry is also a branch of the prison system, however Orwell has helped it construe those who are objectively our oppressors — those charged with rearranging our thoughts and behavior to conform to those deemed appropriate — as friends and “peers” who care do care about us and have our best interests at heart. This role confusion lies at the heart of psychiatry’s power, and makes it hard for us to define our political targets. But they’re there.

  • Thanks for the link Maddie, I might follow this up with you.

    While Jay & I represented different “wings” of the mental patients liberation movement (which for the record maintained in its principles since 1976 that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished) I was certainly aware of his presence. As I didn’t know him well it would be presumptuous to say much more than that I respected his commitment, and to give him a tip of the cosmic hat.

  • First, I know of VERY FEW true anti-psychiatry activists who come from the “mental health” or “critical psychiatry” worlds, and their opinions are secondary to the true struggle, which is largely in opposition to the “professional” milieu in which they operate. This is regardless of whether they’re pleasant people to “have a beer with.” Those who respect the concept of survivor self-determination have no problem acknowledging this. And as Steve is indeed one of our very few true “allies” I’ll proceed:

    I don’t hesitate to lay out facts for people to hear, and I don’t for a minute buy that doing so is somehow “shaming” people who don’t want to know the information.

    This is my essential point. How someone “feels” about the information you give them is largely beyond one’s control. Once presenting such info is construed as “making” someone feel a certain way the conversation is no longer reasonable, but based on emotion. Further

    I try to meet people where they are and help them take whatever next step seems right for them.

    Which is often nothing at all for the moment. Simply presenting people with the truth is sufficient, if they don’t want to hear it there’s no need to argue. When people are ready to assimilate the information they will; often they’ll come back with more questions.

    Anyway I think we all agree that the logical end result of rethinking psychiatry would be to conclude that it should be discarded. Though I think it’s more than a matter of psychiatry being “unscientific”; history is replete with occurrences which were clearly “based on science” but nonetheless evil. Think Hiroshima.

  • Can’t turn off the Universe.

    People need to sort out this whole thing about feelings vis. a vis. material reality, and this manifests on other levels as well, beyond simply the psychiatric narrative per se.

    You seem to think that people are trying to denying your feelings, but I don’t see that happening. They’re examining your language. Nor do I see your right to define your feelings any way you want being challenged, even if you take your cues from the psychiatric narrative.

    I don’t if “I” have a mind, or if “self” and “mind” are the same thing. I don’t conceive of the mind as having feelings; feelings are channeled through the body, and in a natural state the mind interprets them. But the mind isn’t an object; it’s an abstraction that people bound in 3D material frameworks often can’t conceptualize other than in material terms, as a “thing” inhabiting the brain or something. Nor would I conceive of the mind as lifeless, as it’s at the heart of all living activity.

    Not trying to imply I have this all figured out.

    If you think of “mental illness” as a tired metaphor, rather than as a literal disease, that’s consistent at least (though you’re obviously creative enough to conjure up some far more poetic paradigms). I’m sure any objections have to do with people feeling wary that you’re generalizing your “personal” definitions beyond your own experience and potentially projecting the “mental illness” identity onto others.


    Right guys. This is an example of why I am tempted to give up hope sometimes.

    The most problematic aspect of the “mental health system” is that IT EXISTS. Repeat after me (and after thousands of AP psychiatric survivors and others over the past 50 years): The psychiatric system cannot be reformed and must be abolished.

    And when you ask “the media” (i.e.the propaganda arm of the corporate empire) to give serious credence to the movement to END PSYCHIATRY you are demonstrating the sort of (at best) naive compliance system shills know they can count on in the end.

  • How many times have you used psychedelics Rebel?

    Don’t get me wrong, articles on MIA talking about “psychedelic therapy” are opportunistic career-minded bs. But psychedelics magnify some aspects of consciousness to which most Westerners have been blinded by the crass materialism and emotional repression of corporate culture. They are not “drugs” in the usual sense of distorting or blunting reality, and can help unlock some self-perpetuating fixations and mental blocks for those who are able to use them properly.