Comments by achris

Showing 13 of 13 comments.

  • Regarding “rethinking psychiatry”, I do not believe it necessary to create a completely new narrative, as it already exist another narrative. However, this narrative is not well established in the Anglo-American world. It is the narrative of education and educational science. In the Anglo-American world, education is conceived in relation to schools and teaching and educational research is seen as the study of this conception by other disciplines; including psychiatry if necessary, wherease education in the continental world is an independent scientific discipline with different branches and a much broader field of view than schooling and teaching. As such, it serves as an alternative narrative to the discipline of psychiatry, seeing the same audience and problems from educational perspectives with educational solutions – including educational perspectives that is built upon an ethics of mutual caring for each other. So in “rethinking psychiatry” and broadening the goal, considering the continental discipline of educational science in its totality as an alternative narrative, in addition to others, may be profitable.

  • Another hypothetical reason that may be important to take into account is the modern transformation that has happened in “universalizing the logics of biomedicine to the whole social sphere” (Tröhler, 2015, p. 757). By this the modern organization of society, through what is known as New Public Management, as well as the empirical turn into a broader focus on evidence-based research even in the social science, has been powered by a biomedical logic:

    “Efficiency of a system implemented by management based on large-scale data from evidence-based research was the dominant paradigm that served as a cultural model for the modern medicalized world. “Monitoring”– a term originally used in hospital intensive care units – was to guarantee ongoing probation by regular “objective” data collection. [..] Medicalization had reached not only a large number of everyday practices but also the whole culture and, with that, the unwritten guidelines defining what “good” research is” (Tröhler, 2015, p.757-758).

    Tröhler, D. (2015). The medicalization of current educational research and its effects on education policy and school reforms. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 36(5), 749-764.

  • In addition to the medical and supernatural explanations, the ‘philosophical’ explanation, was a solid contributer in the classical times in regard “deviant” thoughts and behavior. This is illustrated by the force against Hippocrates and his supportes laid down by a great number of Plato’s dialogues (Levin, 2014). To write the history as a war between biomedical and supernatural explanations when there is clearly more to it than that, is unfortunate, and may favor the biomedical in lieu of other natural explanations.

    Reference: Levin, S. B. (2014). Plato’s Rivalry With Medicine: A Struggle and Its Dissolution. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • A very good and important point by Dr. Caplan. Coming from the discipline of educational science (not educational sciences), MIA has always felt a bit reinforcing of a given language and focus on medical and psychological approaches to human challenges, despite the existence of a long and rich history of educational and philosophical, among others, approaches. For ‘suffering’ does not need to have with health to do but can as much be ‘an’ educational prerequisite for the ‘flourishing’ of human beings (Guffey, 2017), given that one takes the position of Socrates (Levin, 2014) that health is not the highest good: “Suffering is pedagogical; it teaches virtue. Suffering, in short, teaches one how to endure” (Guffey, 2017, p. 225). This imply that different languages exist for the same phenomena, leading to different interpretations and utilizations of experiences, and this is often not perceived as clearly reflected on MIA. So, a more careful and conscious use of language as Dr. Caplan argue for, would be a great improvement of MIA.

    Guffey, A. R. (2017). Job and the “Mystic’s Solution” to Theodicy: Philosophical Paideia and Internalized Apocalypticism in the Testament of Job. In K. M. Hogan, M. Goff and E. Wasserman (Eds.), Pedagogy in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. (pp. 215-243). Atlanta, GA: SBL Press.

    Levin, S. B. (2014). Plato’s Rivalry with Medicine: A Struggle and Its Dissolution. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • The voices of the directly-affected does not need to be different than the voices of “sane-classed professionals”. With the harmful experiences from both the biomedical psychiatry and the neurodiversity movement fresh in mind, a direct consequence of once being labeled with autism, I support the effort of Sami Timimi. Because my challenges in life was, and is, what is to be expected of life to some extent. And the solution to this has not been to manage it with medical magic or to redefine myself as something too special for society to include in such a way that a dreamlike (as it felt when I was an activist in the neurodiversity movement) sub-culture must be created. Rather the solution for me has been to become aware of and accept 1) that a society, created by human beings, necessarily will inflict harm and violate some others as long as human beings themselves inflict harm and violate others, 2) that harm and violations done to me by human beings and society have created challenges in life, 3) that I, as a human being, has a political possibility and responsibility to contribute to a society free from the violence that excludes and create challenges in life.

  • There is a question if both of these forms may be called empathy, as the two forms can be experienced as having much in common with the distinction between empathy and induced suffering: “When we suffer contagiously over another’s pain, it is tempting to call it empathy. It makes our reactions seem noble. But induced suffering instead can make us withdrawn, angry, and even dangerous” (Breggin, 1997, p. 45).

    From my own experience of written victim narratives I have become aware of at least two possible ways of reading them. One of them is to seeing the beauty in it, the values of another’s humanity as a person and their rights to respect and social support. In this kind of response the reader come forward with deeply respect for the other and his/her way of trying to do something active about his/her situation, and become empowered to join the journey of the other for the support of the other. In contrast to this, there is a way to read it that looks rather negative and angry, as if the victim narratives adds to a collective suffering that become lesser being buried and hidden. In this kind of response the reader come forward with criticism of the other for writing about the negative experiences of his/her life, and sometimes also an assumption about the other’s own emotional and cognitive response to his/her story that may as likely be totally wrong as correct; like an assumption that the other suffer more in writing the narratives when the truth may be that writing them is a process of healing.

    My experience from written victim narratives are confirmed in Diana T. Meyers (2016) book: Victims’ Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights, and it point to the crucial distinction between empathy and other reactions that looks like empathy but is different and maybe also absolutely opposite to empathy. In being helpful, this distinction, either if it is seen as different forms of empathy as ISPT and IOPT, or as different kind of reactions, is import to acknowledge and be aware of. But this acknowledge and awareness may not be enough, as they pose the question: “What is it behind that make one respond with ISPT rather than IOPT?”

    Breggin, P. R. (1997). The Heart of Being Helpful: Empathy and the Creation of a Healing Presence. (Kindle Edition). New York: Springer Publishing Company Inc.

    Meyers, D. T. (2016). Victims’ Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights. (Kindle Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Then I am not sure I understand what you mean, and I am sorry if I once again misunderstand you.

    My understanding of the word ‘term’ is that it is a word always related to something, and in this case the word insanity has a historical relation to psychology and medicine, making the word insanity a scientific term. As such a term it is not necessarily useful to other sciences, nor it is necessarily compatible with scientific terms in other sciences, despite that the field of study may be the same.

  • It has a history of being used in the legal system without that making the concept more neutral to its origins. And this origin, as for many terms, is of importance when it comes to understanding, or possibly explaining, different experiences or phenomena since different sciences can approach the same problems with different terms and concepts, possibly resulting in very different understanding or explanations.

  • It basically has a history of being used as a scientific concept primarily in medicine and psychology (Galt, 1846; Gillett, 2007; Bergson, 1920).

    Bergson, H. (1920). Mind-Energy: Lectures and Essays. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
    Galt, J. M. (1846). The Treatment of Insanity. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers.
    Gillett, G. (2007). The paralogisms of psychosis. In M. C. Chung, K. W. M. Fulford and G. Graham (Ed.), Reconceiving Schizophrenia. (p. 151-167). New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

  • Insanity is a scientific terminology used for understanding a given set of experiences or phenomena from a given scientific perspective in a given scientific framework. It is not the only possible terminology used for understanding the same given set of experiences or phenomena, as it exist other scientific perspectives and other scientific frameworks. And that is maybe the good thing with insanity, as it does not need to be used for understanding if other perspectives or even sciences make for a better case.

  • What does it mean to be called crazy in a crazy world? The book possibly make a good answer to it, as my first thought is that it mean what people make it mean.

    My best period of life has been after I made it mean nothing. When I took the step to never rely on medical science for interpretations of my experiences any more. This conclusion did I make on the background of my own education, that gave me another science (continental educational science) fit for interpretations of my experiences. And that also made me aware of Jacques Rancière’s work on the politics of aesthetics:

    “The police, to begin with, is defined as an organizational system of coordinates that establishes a distribution of the sensible or a law that divides the community into groups, social positions, and functions. This law implicitly separates those who take part from those who are excluded, and it therefore presupposes a prior aesthetic division between the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible, the sayable and the unsayable. The essence of politics consists in interrupting the distribution of the sensible by supplementing it with those who have no part in the perceptual coordinates of the community, thereby modifying the very aesthetico-political field of possibility” (Rockhill, 2013, Kindle Locations 158-162).

    In connection to my own discovery, of different kind of science working with the interpretation of the same kind of experiences, it made me understand science in itself as such an ‘organizational system’ that ‘establishes a distribution of the sensible’, making it weak for the possibilities of ‘politics’. In other words, where in medical science a distribution of the sensible may be classified as ADHD, in another organizational system the same distribution of the sensible may be classified as the natural state of human beings. So to be crazy in a crazy world is to me to interpret a distribution of the sensible according to a given organizational system, and the solution to break free from it is through a personal useful political action that modifies the very aesthetico-political field of possibility.

    Rockhill, G. (2013). Editor’s Introduction: Jacques Rancière’s Politics of Perception. In J. Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics. (Kindle Edition). New York: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

  • What I am concerned with is that the fact that he attacked a gay club risk reduce the discussion to a discussion of homophobia in its popular understanding. The problem with this approach is that it risk to miss important cultural factors that may contribute to a useful understanding for violence prevention.

    In example is there, in my country (Norway), according to the news, a fear of same-sex people to hold hands and hug each other in multicultural areas. In contrast to this, one have cultures that has a more negative view toward homosexuality where this kind of behavior is accepted and considered normal. The difference is that in my country it is “advertised” as homosexuality, whereas in the other cultures it is “advertised” as a non-sexual friendship (Way, 2011).

    Studies (Way, 2011) has pointed to the possible fact that the social pressure to follow the western standards of classifying this kind of behavior as part of ones sexuality, when it is in reality nothing other than a classical non-sexual friendship, has led to suicide. Of that reason alone is it important to take cultural differences into account in discussions of homophobia, because too much pressure alone may lead people to irrational actions.

    All in all, the possibility of different complex factors may make it unsound to reduce it to a set of classifications, as it in worst case end up with a hate against hate discussion instead of a discussion of useful violence prevention strategies.

    Way, N. (2011). Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

  • A great article with good points!

    There has not been so much talk about ‘mental illness’ in the news I have come across yet. Terrorism and homophobia has primary occupied the news I have read, and made it to an effective way of explaining it away to an independent label. It is a simple solution that does not take much into account, and make it part of a political fight. And fights does not necessarily lead to great solutions, and may even constitute a great deal of emotional violence.

    The problem with the homophobia classification is that it often include all kinds of arguments made against the terms of homosexuality, both the violent ones and the constructive ones. Then making it into a political fight against homophobia risk to shadow the reasons in the construcive arguments, arguments that may hold the key to understanding cultural differences. The same problem may be seen in the classification of ‘mental illness’. It is a medical classification that does not take into account other possible classifications of the given experience or phenomenon.

    Without being open for the possibilities of scientific, philosophical, cultural and social differences, a political fight may be the result. Unlike peace education that seek to take into account the complex truth of structural and cultural violence, the political fights feeds the violence. It feeds clash between different groups, and may even make it hard to navigate through ones own experiences. As such, there is nothing to gain from making this case into or a part of a political fight. And despite that we may never come to an understanding of the complex factors behind this tragedy, working toward democratic solutions that see through the structural and cultural complexity with respect and understanding may be a good strategy for violence prevention.