Comments by sdunn

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  • I know I am late to comment here, but the topic hasn’t grown old, and I just read this post for the first time. Micheal’s posts resonate deeply with my own truth.
    I’m responding to the comment by Lawrence Kelmenson and to Michael’s reply. I agree with Kelmenson that even kind-hearted, well-meaning, psychiatrists and psychologists are culpable for the harm the whole system does because they benefit from that system, but I think this idea that they’re motivated by greed, which Michael objects to, muddies the argument. They profit in ways that have nothing to with money. Greed gets mixed up in it for some people, but I doubt its the primary motivation for the majority of psych workers. I think the motivation is often about identity and the desire to play an important role in society. The role of competent expert who also serves as cultural gatekeeper and savior is a pretty heady role to build your identity around, even if you earn a lousy social worker’s salary – and social workers are often mixed up in the harm being done. You’d be hard pressed to argue they’re doing it out of greed, but a shining identity is worth more than money. We are all searching for a way to matter in the society we depend on for belonging. The sin is believing that a desire to be good and do good can ever impart the right to wield authority over another person’s beliefs and autonomy. Sins done under the guise of good work are often done with real conviction. Good intentions aren’t enough to clear guilt, especially when there’s an extreme power differential like that created by huge institutions holding legal authority. They may make it easier to forgive, but the wielding of power requires deep humility and a willingness to recognize the potential for harm. Psychiatry hasn’t recognized its own potential for harm. I think psych workers tend to believe in their own myth because it reinforces the meaningfulness of their lives in way that is very self affirming. The harm they do still exists, no matter what their motivation is. The desire to be valued and valuable can’t be used as an excuse.

  • This is disturbing on so many levels. Yes, there is a big problem with the handling of intelligence in psych textbooks, but it isn’t about getting the definition wrong. Let’s start by questioning why we want an authoritative definition of intelligence at all. I’m kind of horrified to see this here. Gottfredson? Really? Should we try to standardize other potentials too? Maybe we need to measure spiritual potential, or muscle building potential, or empathetic potential so we can start ranking and sorting people on even more scales.
    It’s a pretty heady game, deciding how best to judge people.