Saturday, October 21, 2017

Comments by David W. Oaks

Showing 29 of 29 comments.

  • SAMHSA program is four years long. We all need to ask Professor Saks, exactly how long is this “first shot”? Even a first involuntary shot is of course wrong, but the duration of this “first” is very up in the air.

    Please note that when Walter Freeman in the 1950’s gave tens of thousands of lobotomies, a few recipients were grateful and even sent him fan letters and gifts. Some even had a second lobotomy. Really.

    Just because some folks are so pressured does not mean that others should lose their rights! I was forcibly drugged, and I am still not grateful about 40 years later.

    Thanks, everyone for this interesting discussion.

  • “And let’s not talk about ‘morality'” Really? Truly?

    In terms of “weaponizing” language, as a quad in a powerchair I guess I should be kind of honored to be falsely accused of violence, however as a psychiatric survivor for the past few decades I can tell you that a lot of us are falsely accused of violence. Fact is, I do not support violence. Also, I do not use psychiatric language such as “disorder” or the common phrase “mentally ill” even though a few folks elsewhere have complained about my use of that phrase… I do not use that phrase “mentally ill” because medicalizing mental health labels gives the industry more power.

    Just trying to silence the general public of the world as we look at President Trump and see obvious, undeniable, repeated moral and mental and emotional problems, seems to fly in the face of community organizing strategy. For decades I have seen a few of the groups in our mental health field tell the public they cannot use words ever, ever, ever such as: Nuts, cuckoo, crazy, mad, bonkers, etc.

    My feeling has always been that such shushing is the opposite of what we need. It is fine and dandy to have a crazy shirt, to be crazy in love. There is a whole website that uses the phrase “Mad in America” and this movement calls itself the Mad Movement.

    Should we instead call ourselves the normality movement? Is that the goal of recovery? To recover normal?

    Fact: President Trump has severe mental and emotional problems. Now, if someone wants to debate me about that particular sentence, without making up falsehoods about using the phrase “mentally ill,” without any psychiatric language at all, try and do it.

    And, yes I will continue to talk about “morality” and to try to prevent anyone from talking about “morality” is an example of very challenging community organizing.

    I am proud to think outside the box of normality, and there are millions of us, both labeled and not labeled, who are proud to think outside the box of normality. All of us are always “mad” if that word is used at all.

    The President could easily be a more difficult opponent, by hiding his challenges with false language. For example, he could pretend to be rational about the climate crisis, while doing nothing. I am not saying this pretend sanity is better.

    On the other hand, I could very easily imagine a President who obviously thinks outside of the box in a positive way: Perhaps she might wear bizarre clothing, talk now and again in riddles, discuss challenges she has had. Nothing wrong with that, in fact this would make her far more human.

    For another third time, or fourth time, all of us are always mad all the time. The choice is what kind of mad. I am the kind of mad that will continue to talk about morality.

    If anyone says I should be silent, if anyone claims my reasonable points are “weapons,” then may I ask questions? What about you right now, this moment? It seems to me this attempt at silencing is kind of a pretend “normality,” am I correct? Right now are you “mad” or so-called “normal”? And I mean that question with respect, I would never accuse someone of exercising free speech to make reasonable points as “weaponizing,” I am just asking a question. Are you “mad” or do you think you are “normal”?

    Right now?

    Thanks, everyone, for contributing to this fascinating and I hope ongoing dialogue. It is OK to have differences of opinions and discuss this difference in a mutually respectful way.

  • Thanks Ron, you are a thoughtful and caring person. There is a very good point of concern that calling anyone a name, anyone, does not truly help them. The peace movement has long warned us all that the ends and the means are connected.

    I note that some folks have used words on Mad in America discussions in the last few days calling Trump the following: clown, buffoon, asshole, motherfucker.

    Perhaps it might help to think of this dangerous president for a moment as a troubled relative or friend. Many of us have family members who actually support Trump, or deny climate crisis. How should each of us feel with a troubled relative or friend? However, calling for silence about the mental and emotional state of Trump is a surprisingly-futile and odd request. Much of the whole world knows that he has overwhelming challenges. Perhaps some other politicians hide them better, but the public resonates generally with understanding that Trump has mental and emotional problems that threaten us all.

    As a psychiatric survivor myself, I see breaking the silence about truth to be part of Mad Pride. Yes, let us do this in as peaceful ways as possible, but really is this silence a top priority for our movement? For decades I have seen hundreds of great psychiatric survivors doing great projects, but funded by the mental health system on a state and national level.

    The chickens are coming home to roost on this, with Trump’s mental health czar, and many other examples. I will end by pointing out that the moment witch-burning in the USA became unpopular, was when the young accusers began to point their fingers at judges!

    Fingers may not always be pointed correctly, but let us not be the movement of wagging fingers of shame at folks who are pointing out the obvious.

    I am proud to have Mad Pride and pursue “positive craziness.” Thanks again for advancing a respectful dialogue. Let us continue to show that is okay to disagree and chat about that. After all, that is part of mental wellness right?

    Psychiatric survivor, David

  • Thanks, Frank, you are a great friend and I miss you. It is okay to talk about issues such as the mental and emotional problems in the White House. My friend Patch Adams, MD, by coincidence, wrote me a little message that arrived just now. I will blog about this later, but we need to howl at so-called normality! Peace to you, the President and everyone who reads this. Patch is a psychiatric survivor, who is not normal and would be a far better President than Trump! It is not the craziness, we are all crazy, it is the kind of craziness. Thanks for your Positive Craziness!

  • Thanks for your comment. And I appreciate being thought of as “enlightened.” The name of this website is “Mad in America” and many of us bloggers refer to the “Mad Movement” and even “Mad Pride.” Yes, of course we do see that vulnerable folks can be hurt and seek a solution that our society may call mad. If we use that phrase at all, may I ask a question? What about the individual standing on a ledge threatening to jump to their death many stories below. It is interesting to me that we collectively can view that individual as “mad.” But what about the presidential figure who obviously lies every day, denies a reality that hurts their own family and kids, obviously is not in touch with reality. Yes, if we use the phrase “mad” at all in any sense that is commonly accepted, I do believe that 100% of everyone all the time matches that criteria. We need to educate society that we are the 100%. We had better educate quickly, because our society is standing on the edge of a ledge right now. Thanks again, I look forward to other comments. There is no easy answer but we sure need to address climate crisis throughout our world, and I would like to see global revolution. Sounds like you agree with that, and I think many readers do. How do we make that more likely? How would the year 2192 hear us?

  • As well as to my 2 US Senators for Oregon, I have sent a copy of the below message to several Senators in the HELP Committee who might be interested, such as Senators Sanders, Franken, Warren and Paul:

    As a member of the HELP Committee you are being asked right now to examine a President Trump appointee to a powerful new mental health position. The questions being proposed have been fairly easy.

    For the past 40 years I have worked on human rights and mental health. My blog entry about 9 questions for the HELP Committee to ask right now is urgent! Here is the brief essay, broadcast by a popular website:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/07/9-questions-mccance-katz/

    Next week should be interesting, perhaps revolutionary, for those of us who care about human rights, disability and mental health. I heard from leaders at the National Council for Independent Living (NCIL) that the US Senate HELP Committee will be quizzing Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, the psychiatrist appointed by President Trump to a powerful new mental health position in the federal government.

    This new job is commonly now known as “Mental Health Czar” — if you are new to this little-known controversy, see my blog from a few weeks ago.

    9 Questions that Should Be Asked that Haven’t Been

    Technically, Dr. McCance-Katz is being recommended by Pres. Trump to be Assistant Secretary for the huge US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). Mental health agencies are mainly asking about her positions regarding “recovery” and “peers,” important topics for sure, but here are some tougher questions:

    Do you support or oppose SAMHSA Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), such as court-ordered coerced psychiatric drugging? (Yes, in the last few years, some of your US taxpayer millions have gone to support court-ordered psychiatric procedures, mainly to enforce involuntary drugging. This has been done for decades by laws changing quietly on the state level. Now your US federal government has thrown its weight behind this atrocity.)
    If you do support this, then about how many more million Americans do you feel should get court-ordered drugging? (Fanatics for IOC, which they call Assisted Treatment to hide what it really does, are a bit shy about the number of Americans they would like to see involuntarily drugged.)
    Do you endorse the current use of federal money for IOC? (Let us hear about how many millions have already been spent by federal agencies to promote IOC. Easy enough to find out. How many more millions are planned for, how many more millions would Dr. McCance-Katz want?)
    Do you admit that court-ordered involuntary electroshock on an outpatient basis can be done? (Find this incredible? Very occasionally, on the state level, IOC has reached the bizarre extreme of court-ordered involuntary outpatient electroshock, where the subject has to report regularly to a local hospital for another forced outpatient electroshock or face re-institutionalization. For more proof, use your web search engine for these phrases: ray sandford electroshock, elizabeth ellis electroshock. An attorney confirmed federal support for IOC could conceivably mean more forced outpatient electroshock. Even one more American forced shock is wrong. Outpatient forced shock is horrible. So is inpatient forced shock, which has gone on continuously in the USA and most countries for decades, including now!)
    What is the long-term impact of psychiatric drugs?
    Did you know that neuroleptic psychiatric drugs, commonly called antipsychotics, are often used during IOC?
    Did you know that infants and children in the USA and globally are given off-label neuroleptics?
    Did you know that these drugs are well known to cause brain damage, such as tardive dyskinesia (easily viewed on Youtube) or an actual lobotomy effect, shrinking the frontal lobes?
    Why aren’t non-drug alternatives offered to Americans, including the millions of vets?
    And many other questions!

    You may suggest more questions here in the comment section. My last blog about this topic led to a flurry of predictable controversy about Hillary vs. Trump vs. whoever. But this is far deeper than who is in the White House. Whether it is Vice Pres. Pence or Barack Obama, the signer of the 21st Century Cures Act (one of his last acts as President), can we discuss that later?

    Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian (which has had a plank for years against government-forced psychiatry, of course), a Berniecrat, Green, whatever, okay. For more than 40 years I have worked for human rights and mental health. I have seen Americans and people from other countries of all political stripes speak up. For example, we psychiatric survivors warned about the undue power of the drug industry to SAMHSA, in 2010.

    Come on, especially we who are survivors of psychiatric coercion! Let us have a revolution. Certainly no one can stop us from speaking up with the truth!

    Mad with the truth!

    Speak out against this violation, speak out for freedom!

    NCIL is holding their annual conference during this same week that the US Senate should be asking tough questions. NCIL’s theme is Revolution.

    The last time I was able to attend this great conference, I heard one of the last speeches from my late, departed friend Justin Dart, Jr., known as the father of the ADA. Justin called for revolution, and both he and his amazing widow have known that psychiatric survivors tend to have the fire in our bellies for freedom, love, and revolution!

    Lead on!

  • Reaching your US Senators to oppose this nomination is easy but very urgent!

    1. If you do not know who your two US Senators are or how to reach them, go here: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

    2. Send a web note to each Senator, it takes just a moment: “I oppose the Trump nomination for the new, powerful mental health position, Assistant Secretary to SAMSHA. The US Senate HELP Committee is supposed to ask psychiatrist Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz questions, here are 9: https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/07/9-questions-mccance-katz/

    3.Add your own questions, if any. Copy and post your message, so we all know you speak out for human rights!

    4. If your US Senator is on the Senate HELP (Health Education Labor Pensions) Committee, you have extra weight. The list of members is here: https://www.help.senate.gov/about/members

    5. For extra, phone up your US Senators. They have both local and D.C. offices. Get to know the staff people who work on health by their first name.

    6. Spread the word via email, FB, comments on blogs, Twitter, etc.

  • Please note that I have never used the phrase “mentally ill” for the duration of my many decades in this field. In fact, one of my most popular essays is on this topic. Please direct your search engine to this phrase:

    david w oaks says stop saying mentally ill

    That search should lead you to my essay against saying the phase “mentally ill.” I wrote this years ago, and folks seem to like it. If anyone has feedback about it, let me know. I may do a revision, but I still very much oppose using this phrase.

    Also, I was one of the hunger strikers that demanded that the mental health industry stop lying to us about this phrase, search:

    mindfreedom hunger strike

    Yet, I had just a moment this morning, but in one of the comments to my new blog entry that claims that I called our President “mentally ill.”

    False.

    I assume everyone, including everybody who comments, is deep down a wonderful, loving, beautiful, fantastic being! But as a wise person once said, “Answer falsehood with truth.”

    I have not called anyone “mentally ill.”

    In terms of logic, debate and rationality, saying that I called anyone “mentally ill” and then arguing with that point is called a “straw man” argument. Fascinating discussion, but let us focus on liberty.

    For more than 40 years I have watched amazing, authentic, loving, brave Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Berniecrats, Trump-lovers, yes even Scientologists, and even folks wearing Guy Fawkes masks in Anonymous, even some Unitarians (I am UU), speak out and stand up for Free Speech, for human rights, for the First Amendment! I have watched spectacular folks in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa stand up to the bullying by the mental health industry and psychiatry.

    Yes, I wish it was a much larger number of allies.

    My point is, I have seen Freedom Lovers of all sizes, shapes and varieties.

    If folks want to argue politics, this is not ideal. But if anyone wants to, please be accurate.

    My Dad was in D-Day (day 5, MP). I do not recall people asking each other if they were Republicans or Democrats as they charged the beach, ran up the hills into machine gun nests, faced off with machine guns, and then headed to Berlin.

    Oh, there were mistakes, in fact some repeated mistakes. Plenty of decades to think about that. During D-Day, the focus was remarkable.

    Yesterday, July 7, 2017 was the first day of “Creative Maladjustment Week.” This celebration was created by MindFreedom to honor the idea that was first championed by MLK.

    The theme yesterday was “Creativity.”

    How do we re-ignite this very important social change movement?

    Instead of our movement dividing along political lines, we should unite for freedom.

    Groups promoting forced drugging should have a little discussion about divisions between Libertarians, Big Government, Small Government, Christianity, science, etc. etc.

    Everyone, reach out to the US Senate! Americans, we each have two Senators, please post a copy of your message to your US Senator here on this Mad in America blog, my blog comments, facebook, anywhere.

    Please ask everyone for a copy of their message.

    Outside the USA, you can ask the World Health Organization in Geneva to speak out.

    Keep your eyes on the prize!

  • Thanks. I remember a few years ago, Bonnie, when you encouraged those of us attending a Toronto conference to hear each other without necessarily feeling that we had to convert each other. That helped us listen to the real diversity at that event, including those who called themselves ‘anti-psychiatry’. I assume this piece is along the same lines, and I hope to read it soon. In the meantime, I know there were some folks eager to post comments, and posting to a 2017 article should be more doable than to an older piece, which tends to have closed comments. So you may get some more comments here before the individual reads the whole piece. As I said, I will strive to do that soon.

  • Thanks for the comments, please keep up the feedback, I try to read the main idea of every post. Yes, let us USA folks contact our US Senators. Win or lose, here is a chance to communicate on these issues. I am also calling my congressperson, Rep. Peter DeFazio, to ask their help in reaching our US Senators. And yes, Peter is a Democrat and he helped the Murphy Bill through, as one of the many co-sponsors, so both Democrats and Republicans need information about this industry. Note that one of Oregon’s US Senators, Ron Wyden, lost his only sibling a number of years ago, Jeff Wyden, who experienced involuntary shock and psych drugs. Let us all speak up, because this repression impacts everyone. If society had more free thought, perhaps it would produce alternatives to carbon pollution more quickly: Nonviolent revolution! Now!

  • Thanks for the round of applause, Dr. Steingard. I have been reflecting a great deal about our 40th reunion at Harvard. Yes, a few very minor corrections, but important to me: I co-created MindFreedom, there were a bunch of other folks. Also, please note there is no space between “Mind” and “Freedom” which can be read metaphorically.

    But mainly I do very much appreciate the encouragement. Yes, I do focus more on the environment, and this is because I seriously am exploring how to support nonviolent revolution. I have spent my career on the first amendment, but if this one doesn’t work I do believe there are some people working somewhere on the second amendment. I would prefer to launch the revolution via the first amendment, if at all possible. Please note that my reference to the second amendment is general, and I have no specific info about people and their guns. However, I will note that one of the popular songs on YouTube features African-American singers who dance to the song, “You Better Run, We Got the Guillotine!”

    Seriously, back at Harvard I experienced being locked into a psychiatric facility about five times. I am proud that I decided to throw my lot into the under class and marginalized groups of those of us considered “psychotic.” This is a very challenging closet to come out of!

    I used to blog at Mad in America, and many of the bloggers are friends. However, because of my interests I have needed to suspend submitting blogs there. I do not have time right now to explain, however, a root for my decision is because of my concern about religious discrimination. I am a Unitarian Universalist, so I tend not to experience a lot of prejudice. However, there are some individuals who may experience discrimination here who follow excluded, minority religions. Again, I do not have time at the moment to adequately explain my concerns, but I will note that I encourage dialogue about this and other topics.

    In the meantime please find my blog by googling the phrase, I like to use Search Engine Term Inquities or SETI rather than URL’s: david w oaks blog

    Thanks again for the support. I would like to be there in Cambridge for our 40th, but that would take bringing into the 1% and/or getting a camera onto a drone I guess during the ceremonies.

    In the meantime, thanks to Phillips Brooks House, as you probably know they have helped place many interns, and their placement of me in my senior year led to my career, they have posted a brief summary of that a few years ago.

    You or others who are supportive, or just want to have dialogue, are encouraged to contact me via email at [email protected] or via Facebook (which is a bit less reliable).

    I would like to read your whole column and reflect on this, which I hope to do very soon.

  • Thanks, for many decades I have been saying that we need quality “revolution” in mental health, and it fact the whole planet. For one thing, the mental health industry has grown via a cycle of having catastrophes and then reform. The mental health industry eats reform and grows and grows.

    Briefly, we must also consider the way our world is not responding adequately to emergencies such as climate change. It takes decades for excess carbon to impact our environment. And because of this delay the public needs to use our minds to understand the threat. Also, the butterfly effect means that once we enter chaos, there is a great deal of uncertainty about exact outcomes.

    Therefore, we certainly need quality revolution on a planetary scale. Unfortunately, centuries of mental health oppression has helped harm the human spirit into the death of conformity.

    Thanks again for calling revolution!

  • Thanks everyone who commented. I note there was a concern that my talking about MLK, the Pope, etc. that I am for mild reform. However, one of the reasons I have used the word “revolution” is to move beyond reform. My mentioning people like Ike is of course not to imply at all about them being ideal, yes of course our nation has had huge problems about imperialism, however I do think it was a good idea to defeat Hitler and many people agree. Thanks again.

  • Thanks, these are good ideas! I like the idea of asking a Vermont activist. I used my search engine and found contact info for one. Will you please email to me at [email protected] and I will include you in the email exchange, if one develops. Since my major fall, I am moving much more slowly, so I am a bit surprised that this info is not out there. Maybe it is? Someone in Vermont must have asked Bernie and his staff where they stand on some of these issues? I asked one contact a few weeks ago and got nowhere. I will also ask on the FB page to stop the Murphy bill.

  • Thanks for the quick replies from many folks to this blog! Presidential politics can heighten interest, this particular primary is getting a lot of attention, plus it is curious what each of the mainstream candidates thinks about forced psych drugging, outpatient coercion, and the Murphy bill.

    I would remind everyone that we need to stay civil with each other. It is totally okay to very much disagree with each other. But if anyone goes after the motives of anyone else, I need to ask them: Is there some kind of crystal ball into the inner soul of anyone? If not, then please keep comments to civility about differences, facts with evidence, etc.

    Last night I saw a rather fascinating documentary about low-level mind control, compared to forced drugging, but even low-level is bad. I saw “The Brainwashing of My Dad” last night. Frankly, I feel like we need to be careful about talking about our opposites politically. After all, even though some folks have tried to pigeon-hole me as left-wing, I have often seen folks considered libertarian or right-wing do some great stuff in the field of human rights in mental health.

    Yes, our issue can be overwhelming. But, a silver lining is that people for us, such as opposing forced outpatient psychiatry including electroshock, can be from all political stripes. On good days, our topic can be an amazing unify-er.

    With that, here is the URL to hear more about the documentary, and watch the trailer. I have seen a great group divided when one of their key people went extreme and negative because of this problem. The website is here, even if you are right-wing please give this a chance (after all, even right-wing people have expressed very honest and positive concern about the extreme bigotry and irrationality displayed by Donald Trump recently):

    http://www.thebrainwashingofmydad.com/

    Again, please view this by still respecting folks on the other side of politics. Remember, in the past few years some of the best fighters on childhood psych drugs has been so-called right-wingers. The Libertarian Party and the Green Party are some of the few parties that have ever had official planks in their platform in recent years for our folks!

    Please focus on uniting! I agree with Micah White, PhD, who helped start Occupy, that we need innovative right-wing/left-wing unity right now! Yes, that might be surprising but to have a real global revolution we need both right-wing and left-wing and libertarian. When my dad went to Normandy on day five of D-Day, no one asked soldiers charging Nazis if they were Democrats or Republicans or anything. They just ran up the hills at great personal sacrifice, and won!

    Now, we need something many times bigger than D-Day, and global.

    You can read about the unique and refreshing views of Micah here:

    https://www.micahmwhite.com/

    Please tell people you trust about this!

    Yes, in a few weeks I intend to announce that I am running as a write-in in November to symbolically challenge my friend Rep. Pete Defazio, unless he wakes up and opposes the Murphy bill! Surprising? The element of surprise is something we often have. When we are not quite considered human, in a way we have a shield of invisibility, and that often means surprise!

    AdBusters, which Micah used to work for and which launched Occupy, once did a special issue about Mad Pride. They called MindFreedom the epicenter of the Mad Movement! Micah now lives in Oregon near the coast. He knows that I am in his corner. Yes, I hope folks reading this will also be in our corner, both right-wing, left-wing, and all kinds of wings. Let us unify for global peaceful revolution! Even the Pope is calling for that!

    Millions of us in the world are calling for that! We might not win, but we can make the fact that we are trying undeniable!

  • Thanks, but by the end of my blog I was precisely talking about looking at more important topics than Trump. I do think we must do a one-time good response to people who promote fascism and torture, which Trump has done. Thankfully the people in D-Day did not “ignore” Hitler, and I am only bringing this up because it is not always obvious who to ignore, I am not saying that Trump is the same as Hitler. Bottom line, is that some advise zero attention to Trump and others advise very little attention to Trump. That is does not seem like a big distinction. Frankly, I kind of wish to ignore the whole topic of choosing the amount of de-emphasis!

  • Thanks, I try to like everyone. I do not have time at the moment for lengthy and back-and-forth on complex topics. Since I, like the vast majority of Americans, am for both gun rights and safety, this would take more than bumper sticker to discuss. I will say that some of the folks pushing hard for absolutely zero regulation, are actually for some obvious regulation. For example, many are for regulating improvised explosive devices and shoulder launched heat seeking missiles that could knock out a plane. They just want to be the ones to decide where the line should be drawn. I believe we, the people, in a democracy should decide where that line is drawn. The two words missing from “nuts for guns” tends to be the words “well regulated” in the Second Amendment which reads: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

  • Thanks for the remarks from several folks. About my listing of groups that are resisting the Murphy Bill: in no way was I trying to create a comprehensive list! At one point I do note that all, repeat all, of the groups led by people who have been through the mental health system are opposed to the bill, as far as I know. The lack of dialogue between Murphy and such groups is part of the problem, and this lack of dialogue has always been a problem with the psychiatric industry. However, it is very revealing to me that for years I have noted that survivors of sexual abuse by the catholic church have several groups that bring them together, as far as I know fairly effectively and powerfully. However, while mental health consumers have a few groups, organizations specifically set up for psychiatric survivors are difficult to find. MindFreedom is great but our goal has always been to unite a large diversity of groups with psychiatric survivors. There was in the USA a National Association of Psychiatric Survivors run by the late Rae Unzicker, however it only lasted a few years. Solidarity, unity and skill are needed to unite and maintain a group. It is not too late and I really think we need a major international group by and for psychiatric survivors. I realize there is a World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, I have not been in touch with them for a while. As great as it is that users and survivors have such a group, I see a need for groups that are focused on survivors of human rights violations by the mental health industry. Thanks again!

  • Thanks to everyone who read this blog entry about mental health activism, revolution and climate justice. This has led to a bunch of great discussions, including a comment today! Yes, of course I very much agree that there are special interests who have a bizarre amount of influence compared to their numbers. However, what Kari is talking about, I think, is something far bigger and more general. Her book about Norway discusses the fact that this fairly-progressive country gets one heck of a lot of money from their extraction of carbon fuels. Rather than giving the lions share to a very few people as in some poorer countries, my understanding is that Norway spreads around this good financial fortune among its citizens. As with anything, no doubt there are imperfections, but from what I have read the citizens of Norway are fairly prosperous and a bunch of their wealth comes from selling fuel. This more general corruption plays a role in the silence about climate crisis, compared to the outcry and activism that ought to happen right now. In other words, while we might blame Rush here in the USA, this book is really not about him and folks like him. The book and work that Kari does is much more about everyone, me included. I have heard a prominent leader in climate justice who is also an author say that we are all in denial. That sounds much closer to Kari’s analysis, though of course the elite undue influence is an enormous problem. I believe that if we the people really flexed our collective muscles, we would see that we are far more powerful than the Rush’s of the world, and we would instead focus on the emergency task right now of creating a revolution of empowerment, and addressing the climate crisis as if life itself might be at stake.

  • Thanks for this dialogue. I encourage others to add their voices!
    Because of this discussion I have visited the websites for two fascinating centers over in the UK:
    1. http://cser.org/ Here is their info from the about section:
    An existential risk is one that threatens the existence of our entire species. The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) — a joint initiative between a philosopher, a scientist, and a software entrepreneur — was founded on the conviction that these risks require a great deal more scientific investigation than they presently receive. CSER is a multidisciplinary research centre dedicated to the study and mitigation of risks that could lead to human extinction.

    2. http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/ From their about area, their mission;
    The Future of Humanity Institute is a leading research centre looking at big-picture questions for human civilization. The last few centuries have seen tremendous change, and this century might transform the human condition in even more fundamental ways. Using the tools of mathematics, philosophy, and science, we explore the risks and opportunities that will arise from technological change, weigh ethical dilemmas, and evaluate global priorities. Our goal is to clarify the choices that will shape humanity’s long-term future.

    I will explore these web sites and their centers later, but I wanted people to know about them. A number of years ago I became interested in the risk of having a big, huge object from a sky land on Earth. You know, bigger than the Manhattan-sized object that wiped out most of the dinos about 65 million years ago (I guess leaving birds). Large topic, but my point is this:
    After dinos were wiped out mainly, there were these little rodent sized creatures that burrowed a bit in Earth, so they were able to survive and thrive. Our ancestor!
    Well, an alien observer from far away might think that Earth as an organism got a lot smarter in a few million years, because if a big object headed toward Earth, as long as it did not surprise us directly blocked by the sun, Earth would now have a chance to send up a rocket and deflect the sucker. Hell, that sure would excuse humanity doing a lot of bad stuff during our history, if we guarded and stopped some object from the sky wiping out future life!
    Well, today, a lot of very, very smart/wise folks are warning that wiping out the future of humanity and maybe life itself is on the table. Sure, feel free to argue about the percent of risk and the exact sharpness of the blade. But we could our butterfly wings right now and maybe end up with a horrible disaster instead of a complete obliteration in the near future. So please make your revolution visible, now.
    What is mistakenly called normal is not given to the planet by some God. What is mistakenly called normal is co-created each day by us all.
    So if we are to have a new normal, let us choose it!

  • Thanks again. I read this comment: “but do not see such a direct link between ‘severe mental problems’ and global warming. We’ll have to disagree on this.”
    Yes, I guess we will have to disagree. For the record, if a state of mind leads humanity to greatly harm our one and only collective habitat, then yes indeed I feel that state has a “severe mental problem.” But we will have to disagree.
    One other point: Because the comment by Stephen Hawking where he warned that Earth could become like Venus was made about nine years ago, apparently there is a need to hear something more recent.
    Here is an interesting article from a highly-respected magazine, Scientific American, just a couple of years ago. Note that the author says that such discussions are essentially an “academic point.” That is because the nightmarish possible hit on humanity and life is so enormous, that arguing about whether Earth tips into a Venus-like planet or destroys all of human species before that moment, becomes a bit ridiculous: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-runaway-greenhouse/
    Fact: We cannot predict the exact future.
    Fact: Climate crisis has gone on for so long that we are entering chaotic feedback-loop situations.
    Fact: At this point we are not only to be concerned about things like losing some coastal cities and some worse hurricanes; we wisely ought to be concerned about the possibility, impossible to predict exactly, but the possibility of extreme catastrophe for humanity and life on Earth.
    All this proves my point exactly, that we very much need the global revolution that even Pope Francis is calling for! While Kari Norgaard is in the field of sociology and not psychology, her study of human behavior/thinking appears valid. In fact, it is a big relief to hear from academic professionals who are outside of psychology and who analyze behavior/thinking.
    So humanity risks destroying our one and only planet, but severe mental problems are not a challenge for 100% of that humanity.
    Yep, I guess we just will need to disagree here.
    In the meantime, I am glad that this dialogue helps provide more of a focus on this topic!
    Call me crazy, you certainly would not be the first if you did, but every breath we take needs to be pulling in the direction of this visible, global revolution!
    If I have just spent my whole adult life working to peacefully overthrow the mental health industry, then I sure hope that this work was relevant to topics such as confronting this environmental issue.
    Our generation has done pretty good remembering the two words “Never Again!”
    Now that we are at risk of something literally billions or even trillions of times bigger, let us be strong enough to act!
    While the enormity of the risks might help explain the paralysis we see, we are all in this together.
    Make your climate crisis revolution visible now, now, now, now, now!!!!

  • Thanks again for this respectful dialogue between different perspectives. Making this topic more visible is of course one of my main goals. Very brief comments:

    1. I noted that an individual who objected to my topic “seeks” to silence this point of view here. I never said this individual will succeed because the human spirit will never, ever be silenced. However, it is obviously true that a complaint is more about the appropriateness of me bringing up this issue as a focus. I add that the origin of appropriate is the word proper. I am with Groucho Marx about approaching proper.
    2. Stephen Hawking warns us that the Venus effect is a possibility. Note that the person who disagreed with me has moved over to whether this worst case scenario is likely or unlikely. Hey, the undeniable fact that this nightmare is on the table at all is the thing I am bringing up. I have no idea of the percent risk. No one does. That it is on the table at all is the emergency!
    3. Finally, where I differ most with many people in our field is that I believe that if severe mental problems exist at all, this is a one hundred percent thing, every moment, womb to tomb. This is why making our climate crisis revolution visible is directly relevant here! Mental health is not about the 10 percent or the 20 percent or the 30 percent:
    We are the 100 percent!

  • Thanks for this interesting, respectful dialogue between you two. Note that the individual who finds a problem with my blog entry, mainly seeks to silence my voice, rather than opposing particular points with evidence and logic. In a way this response that seeks to silence me is a very good example of mental health oppression, which I have spent about 4 decades of my life resisting. I will make one comment: The individual who opposes my having platform here, said that my review of worst case outcomes is shallow, but actually I have spent many hours on that topic. I will end here by quoting a disability leader who is more famous and is well known as a scientist: You may watch the YouTube of Stephen Hawking as he warns us out of control feedback loops may indeed reach a worst case, though of course we hope for the best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weHr1aTC5-o

  • It is hard to have a mind or even a brain, if the sea begins to boil! And yes, one of the worst case scenarios in global warming, the risk of runaway climate change, Normalgeddon is boiling seas. One of the smartest scientists alive, Stephen Hawking, said that he was worried about the risk of boiling seas. After all, the main difference between our planet and Venus is greenhouse effects. Venus has a temperature of several hundred degrees.

    A few months ago, I blogged about mental health activism and global warming here. Strangely, I did see a reply that tried to deny the reality of global warming. This response gave a citation, and I actually looked this up and looked through the document. Unfortunately, this document was simply a several hundred page pdf of amateur statements, more like a petition of interested people. I could not find much or any research, science, logic, evidence, etc. I went onto the web itself to try to find what was fueling the denial. Yes, I understand that weather and climate (two different things) can be very complex and therefore lend themselves to debate. However, there is such overwhelming proof about global warming that denial is rather odd. One of the great thinkers about this crisis, has pointed out that more of the public believes that Elvis Presley is still alive, than the minority who deny the climate crisis. The author Naomi Klein says that in a way, all of us in the whole world are climate crisis deniers, because none of us are doing enough. Sadly, as global warming becomes more and more obvious, many deniers will experience some of the worst emotional harm, in my opinion. We ought to have compassion for the suffering deniers will tend to experience, but we probably should not get distracted by this. For decades, I have worked for people’s right to have strange beliefs, for example, it is okay if you talk to space aliens. However, when people try to impose strange beliefs like that on others, I have a right to ask for the evidence. A few years ago, there was debate about the Dust Bowl and the hole in the ozone. Is there such a debate today? No. By the way, President Ronald Reagan actually helped sign off on addressing the hole in the ozone. It is a tragedy that his party today has chosen to be a party of climate crisis denial. Even they are now cushioning some of their denial by saying, “We are not scientists.” Well, that is enough space by me for now about denial. How about the vast majority of us work on saving nature, let us simply have compassion now for deniers.

  • Thanks for your post and your disclosure about your grief. I like to say there is a possibility and even an increasing possibility of a worst case scenario. However, more incremental catastrophes, such as sea level rising, is certain. When it comes to worst case scenarios, as I call it, Normalgeddon, that is harder to predict because when a complex system such as nature itself is pressured with enough monkey wrenches, we are in a chaotic state and this is an uncharted territory, we can reach a tipping point, we are in a non-linear space where it can be very hard to see into the future. However, the way humanity is acting, the worst case scenario is becoming more and more likely. In other words, it is difficult to predict the more uncertain worst case scenario, and therefore I think this adds to the tremendous denial we are seeing today. As we in the Mad Movement can see, a big problem is the complacency of normality. I have worked in the field of psychiatric industry overthrow for 40 years, and it has only been in the last few years that I can take more than a glance at this overwhelming phenomenon. To put it simply, we are saying the same thing many wise people have said for many millennia, which is that the whole world is mad. However, we are adding our own unique and hopeful twist, which is that the whole world being mad is not hopeless, that those of us who have experienced what is considered madness and have reached some level of recovery, have a lot to offer humanity. As I said in the blog entry, I like what we heard about hope: let us act from our highest principle now, without certainty about the final outcome. I sure hope for a climate miracle! But I will continue to do what I consider to be helpful, without knowledge of the exact final outcome.

  • I knew Tom, a little bit from my work. He sure reached a lot of people, and comparing the DSM to the Malleus Maleficarum is not just a metaphor, it is accurate. I have a copy of that book MM a few feet away and it is still very chilling to me.

    I would like to make a brief comment about the word “failure.” A few years ago, when I directed MindFreedom, in fact just before its name changed when we were called Support Coalition, we directly addressed that topic. For three years in a row, we hand invited about forty folks based on diversity and working well together, realized we had to limit the numbers because our purpose was that we could all talk together directly in a circle. As I said for three years we met annually for a few days and they were very helpful for me and very supportive. We did this because as we said we knew that we were facing a huge tsunami of oppression. What strategy do you take in the face of such a juggernaut?

    Two of the three times we met at the Highlander Center, which is where MLK and Rosa Parks among other people in the poor south civil rights movement met. Though the center itself moved a bit from those days, the spirit is still the same. For example, I was delighted to hear that apparently when the song “We shall overcome” produces royalties, that is apparently where the royalties go. They actually helped produce that song, even if the story about royalties proves an exaggeration. Until then I kind of thought the song came from thin air!

    If you want to see one of the results from these gatherings, here is a link to the second year statement:

    http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/history/highlander-2000

    My point is this: a few years ago I saw a black congressman respond to the many people who bitterly pointed out that obviously the civil rights movement has a long way to go, so was it a failure? But he ticked off many wins including the fact that there are now hundreds of black elected leaders in the south.

    A few years ago, I realized that we need to do the same thing when our people feel a little down and negative. Failure? Over the years I have head many bitter people talk about failure. But I remember years of phone calls from Ray Sandford of Minnesota to me. He would say that he had jokingly not gotten forced electroshock, about every time we had a phone call. If you google his name with the phrase forced electroshock, you will see that he got many forced shocks, but we at MindFreedom stopped those! His psychiatrist said that he would never make it! But years later after the forced shock he was still doing well, and may still today.

    So, yes, in a way right now our whole movement and everybody who works to peacefully overthrow psychiatry is having a “failure.” After all, today there are people in solitary confinement in psychiatric facilities getting forced drugs, as I once did.

    But for Ray Sandford, is it a failure? Every Wednesday morning, they told him in his group home that he could not have any food, because a court order required him to get a forced shock at the hospital every Wednesday morning. But our social change movement came to his aid, and Ray is a hero who impacts many people.

    By the way, my last lock up in 1977, the MAD movement came to my aid, helped me get out of the institution, and helped me get over the trauma of forced psychiatry. Failure? The MAD movement did not fail me, either.

    Let us remember the folks who are still there, but if we are truly serious about revolution in mental health, let us remember the many successes!

    I also remember that it took 75 years or up there abouts for US women to get the right to vote. Some struggles are multi-generational.

    And one more thing: MLK said over and over “Beware the paralysis of analysis!”

  • Thanks for your comment, however I hope you read my actual words in my blog again, because I think you have gotten the wrong impression. It helps me, especially when there is a disagreement, if we can both agree on at least what the other is saying. We may not convince each other, but at least we can understand one another more. You use quote marks several times in your comment, but I guess you are not quoting me. You also suggest that I research the topic more. Here is what I said in my blog entry: “Do not get me wrong, I will not join that religion, I read one of the main books analyzing Scientology (Inside Scientology, by professional journalist Janet Reitman, 464 pages), and it’s not my cup of tea.” By the way, 464 pages is a lot, but the main value of Ms. Reitman, is that she is a journalist, so even if people might disagree with a lot of her point of view, she at least tried to provide interviews and source material.

    My two replies: 1. You recommend “the whole web” for your source, but I would caution people that the Internet often has rumors, but I thought everyone knew that already. 2. You seem to imply we psychiatric survivors might be a bit gullible, but actually I find a lot of diversity among us, and some of us are quite good at standing up to power (without using words that I find abusive such as “stupid”).

    My main point is to praise the work of Marcia who I do not think “fell” for anything in quite a long time!

  • Dear Rev. Epperson and other friends,

    Thank you very much for your work in connecting the Unitarian Church of Vancouver with liberation in the mental health industry! I have heard of your superb work already from my friend Marcia who speaks highly of your efforts! One little thing you may have already done, but I welcome anyone interested in this topic to join: Please search within Facebook for our new group, join it, and post to it. The name of this group is UU Mental Health Justice. Yes, I know that many people avoid Facebook, but this new group is a quick way to connect the many UU folks who care about this topic, and people do not need to be a UU member to join. That group, which you may already have joined Rev. Epperson, is totally independent of any church. Again, I really appreciate your work and leadership! Lead on! And to you and the many others who help our movement, much love!
    David
    David W. Oaks