Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Comments by The Madness of Cledwyn, the Bulb, Bulbousons

Showing 100 of 111 comments. Show all.

  • I don’t know why they bothered to write the constitution. For many, it’s hardly turned out to be the bulwark against the tyranny of the state and the herd it promised. Whenever the Constitution or some such other charter of rights probably written for a joke (as an ironic statement, written by people who have had their fill of humanity, indirectly referencing the futility of appeals to absolute rights when your opponent is bigger than you) is in conflict with the interests of the State and dominant society, it is just liberally interpreted so as to reconcile the two.

    I don’t why they don’t just use the constitution as a design for toilet paper, that would accurately symbolize human society’s desecration of it. Perhaps the framers should have added the postscript, “ignore the foregoing if they in anyway conflict with the interests of the state and the herd.”

  • As Camus once said, to paraphrase, the evils totalitarianism promises to remedy are not as great as the evils of totalitarianism itself. Likewise, the evils psychiatric totalitarianism promises to remedy, are not as great as the evils of psychiatric totalitarianism itself.

    For every martyr the mental health movement invokes, I can invoke millions.

  • Also, never is any mention made of the role of the sytematic degradation of mental patients in all this, the cumulative effect of which is to leave the patient riddled with self-doubt and lacking in dignity, which are two of the psychological preconditions of resistence to authority.

    This was why in the show trials in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, Freisler and Vyshinsky would verbally degrade and humiliate the accused; because dignity and self-belief act as an impetus to resistence, so that with the diminution of each comes a commensurate diminution of his capacity to resist, hence why the rituals of degradation are such an important part of the administrative functioning of psychiatric hospitals.

  • Another rock on which such reasoning founders is it’s failure to take into account the immense social-psychological pressure to conform, be it on the ward, or at home. People will do anything to lubricate the wheels of interpersonal interaction, and if that means embracing the role they originally resisted, then so be it.

  • What about the role of oppression in all this? Such people start from the premise that oppression is like a mere historical curiosity. If they knew anything about oppression and its central determining role in all this, they would understand that the effect of oppression’s tyranny isn’t just felt on the plane of words and actions, but on the plane of thought as well.

    Many patients are psychological slaves, articulating their experiences in the terms imparted to and imposed on them by their oppressors, initially resistant to the role imposed upon them, but now fully socialized to that role so that it has taken over their identity, in deference to the simple human need to live a life without the unbearable emotional and psychological concomitants (trauma, fear etc.,) of rebellion against a much more powerful enemy, who has availed himself/herself of the means at his/her disposal to punish you for your refractory behaviour, and thus to influence your thinking in the desired direction (of the oppressor).

    I think that perhaps why on programs like World Strictest Parents, the children come round to their oppressors.

  • This selective appeal to the testimony of patients is preposterous. It brings into sharper relief the comments made by psychiatrists about how utterly meaningless the verbal productions are of their patients. Indeed, I think that one of the axioms of psychiatry is that the average mental patient deemed eligible for involuntary psychiatry speaks nonsense or says not what is in his true interests.

    With this in mind, I find it a little absurd that psychiatrists and psychiatric propagandists invoke the testimony of people who are supposedly retrospectively grateful (and to my mind, we should privilege the original testimony and interpretation of the coerced patient over that of this supposed retrospective gratitude) when it is they who spend so much time marginalizing their voices and spreading the notion that the patient is not fit to author his own experiences.

    The implications this has for so much of the so-called scientific evidence regarding the efficacy of a treatment could be disastrous for the profession. If patients can’t be trusted to bear witness to their own existence, why are we bothering to ask them about whether the drugs work or not? If their utterances only have meaning and significance within the context of their illness, then this makes a mockery of so much of the science, which lest we forget, rests on the anecdotes of the patient.

    They can’t have it both ways. Either patients can’t be relied on to speak or see the truth, or they can. It is no good oscillating strategically between the two positions in response to the circumstances, trying to rationalize this discrepancy by abusing your power and position to label some expressions as symptomatic of disease and others as symptomatic of health (which is of course, exactly what has been done by the profession, and which I am afraid is a logical corollary of the trust and power society myopically reposes in its psychiatric protectors).

  • Once again, thank you for your support David, which is most welcome considering my respect for you and your views.

    I wish I had the same faith as you in my writing. Sometimes I read back what I’ve written in horror and despair that I could have made such an obscene verbal spectacle of myself. I hope that’s more to do with my implacable self-loathing than it is with anything to do with my writing itself.

    Best,
    the Bulb

    (actually, my name is not Cledwyn at all. Nor is my surname Bulbousons. I just like silly names. I think I’ve taken a bit too much acid and watched a bit too much Monty Python.)

  • Fair enough Matt, that comment was pretty vitriolic. What can I say, I find it difficult to resist the temptation to make zoomorphic analogies when confronted with the behaviour of Torrey. As for my physiognomic analysis, I no more intended to dehumanize him through this means than did Balzac, Flaubert or Proust would when they would use similar means to shed light on a person’s psychology. I thought I would that just in case this was interpreted as an attack on his humanity (though, obviously, the part about the rat lends itself to such an interpretation).

    I can see why someone would believe I have fallen prey to the dehumanizing trends of the age based on what I have written, but I must say I wouldn’t brook any equation betweeen myself and this man, who utters his dehumanising words as a prelude to or as a post hoc rationalization of his despicable acts, that when shorn of their obfuscatory shrouds reveal themselves to be wholly compatible with common criminality, as I have tried to show in some of my posts comparing them to rogue tradesmen, cowboy builders, rapists etc., and other individuals who do not have the power and the prestige (unlike many criminals in the mental health industry) to escape legal and public scrutiny for their crimes.

    What can I say, I don’t believe in a just world. We could never have got rid of the Nazis through turning the other cheek; through rigid adherence to moral dogmas that make no allowance for the exigencies of the situation; or through the simple dissemination of moral and pacifistic tracts.

    Sometimes, the quest for absolute moral righteousness must be deferred to the long term out of respect for the urgent demands of the moment.

    The psychiatric dehumanization of its opponents (which by the way, I would have absolutely no problem with if it wasn’t for its practical and strategic import. Not everyone who sees his opponents as “vermin”, or who compares humans to animals, does so to lay the conceptual groundwork for the persecution of that group, which is a common fallacy, just like not every Misanthrope treats humanity badly) through the use of linguistic and cinematographic rhetorical forms must be offset by giving these people a taste of their own medicine sometimes.

    To put it in cliche, unimaginative terms, sometimes fire must be fought with fire, hatred must be countered with hatred. That’s my philosophy. I have no wish to be a martyr for virtue, nor some mug who turns the other cheek and gets slapped all the harder for it. I know my enemies, and I don’t tend to waste my finer sentiments on them. Fascists, thugs, careerists and con-men simply don’t appeal to my finer sentiments, and I tend to steer clear of bourgeois hypocrisy wherever possible.

    Nevertheless, I have obviously overreached the limits of what is considered acceptable on this site, and whilst in no way contrite, I accept the reason for removing my comment as it does violate the behavioural code for this website. I’ll have to try harder to suppress my hatred.

    As for Donna, thanks for your compliments, which I esteem as an honour coming from someone whose views so closely resemble my own and whose every comment commands my respect. I will also take on board the criticism.

  • That, of course, should be “weren’t”, not “wasn’t”, and “the grounds on which you have defended your own opinions in this regard.” It’s very hard to concentrate most of the time when you’ve got seroquel and effexor coursing through your bloodstream.

  • No offence, but your story is meaningless in this regards, contrary to what Sandy seems to be saying, just like the stories of chattel slaves who supported the system are meaningless in deciding whether or not they were slaves. Sorry if that sounds brutal, but it’s just the truth.

    The points of congruency between psychiatric slavemaster (that is the psychiatrist who subjugates his patient, a subjugation achieved through a variety of channels) and other slavemasters, between psychiatric slavery and chattel slavery are many.

    Regarding the former, the most obvious is that common thoughout the history of both is the subjugation of the subject through force, violence and degradation. The weapons and means employed differ, but this in no way should detract from the similarity.

    Another similarity is the imposition of an invidious status to deprive the individual of citizenship and the entitlement to the rights such a legal status implies, the freedom of both being narrowly circumscibed within the limits imposed by their masters, who view (views enshrined in the statute books, albeit in terms more flattering) their subjects as inferior people, to whom the rights (such as the right to be let alone) and liberties of the citizen do not extend.

    In both cases, the justification for the inequities and imbalance of power inherent in the relationship is justified on the grounds that the psychiatrist/slavemaster is the custodian of his subject (deemed unworthy of liberty) and the arbiter of his true interests.

    This is my dad’s computer, so I don’t get to use it much, so time does not permit me to further elucidate and enumerate the similarities between involunatry psychiatry and involuntary servitude, yet I think what I have written is sufficient to give you at least the embryo of an understanding into why I believe it is a species of slavery.

  • No one is comparing your experiences to those of an enslaved african. They are comparing two institutions. The experiences of many American chattel slaves wasn’t neccessarily that brutal compared to what many psychiatric patients have suffered over the past two hundred years, but the former are still slaves, regardless of the suffering involved, which has little bearing on whether or not one is a slave, hence the existence of happy slaves throughout history.

    I have read many histories of slavery, and am under no illusions that some of the worst crimes of lese-humanite have been committed by slavemasters towards those whom they oppressed. I am also aware, from reading histories of chattel slavery in America, that lots of enslaved peoples were extremely happy with the system, and were in no way tortured by their masters, and can make no greater a claim on our sympathy than many psychiatric patients who, likewise, have no wish to throw off the yoke and break free, and at least claim that they don’t suffer.

    You cannot efface the continuities between two institutions on the grounds on which you defend your own opinions. A person can be a slave regardless of whether they have undergone the most extreme suffering.

  • I’m not surprised they didn’t print your letter. You absolutely demolished his claim about psychiatric diagniosis in the first paragraph, and I don’t think the New York Times are looking for such a demolition.

    As Szasz once pointed out, it is simply a term of derogation. Our culture bears witness to this, so that to not know this is either to be very stupid, or very voluntarily blind.

    No-one congratulates you on having a “mental illness”. No one says, “I love you, you are so schizophrenic!”. It’s an insult, masquerading as a diagnosis, which the more powerful party in an interpersonal conflict avails himself/herself of both for the psychological pain it inflicts and for its strategic function in various situational contexts as a weapon freighted with often disastrous consequences for the sod to whom the imputation of “mental illness” is made.

  • Dr Pies is a figure in whom all the most sickening aspects of the psychiatric-totalitarian ethos are concentrated to an extreme degree. He’s like a cross between Iago (for his sliminess), Robespierre (for his insufferable messianism and pretensions to moral authority) and Tartuffe (for his hypocrisy). There is just no reasoning with the man.

    I like what one letter said about “touting opinion as scientific fact.” This has a very long pedigree, though such risible claims to the scientificity of opinion range especially widely over the historical landscape of psychiatry.

    Despots, people who worship at the altar of power, cannot afford to be intellectually humble. Their use of force in assimilating reality to their megalomaniacal fantasies demands an ideology that does not allow of scepticism or disagreement. The protestations of conscience can only be silenced through dogmatic assertions of righteousness and absolute intolerance of any view to the contrary. In the age when the dominant worldview was theological in character, the despot rationalised his Inquisitorial and despotic impulses in terms of some sort of apostolic mission conducted at the behest of god, giving himself freedom to tyrannize without let or hindrance through the invocation of such divine justifications. He was merely the vessel into which were poured the fruits of God’s sacred deliberations.

    In our age, where science and reason are the deified objects of mass veneration, the despot articulates the earlier mentioned impulses in a manner becoming to the age, acting as if he were a mere repository of scientific truth, who in tyrannizing his fellow man, does so not for his own psychological gratification or social and economic advancement, but out for respect for the absolute, incontestable truth, and out of a sense of his apostolic and historic mission to bring the light of reason where hitherto there has only been the darkness of unreason and lunacy.

    It is hardly surprising then that psychiatric totalitarians and Nazis encase their opinions in a carapace that fools themselves as well as others that their opinions are facts. The use of force and violence renders such arrogance inevitable. How else could they silence their conscience, other than through appeals, made for their own benefit as well as those whose thinking they seek to control, to the supposedly apodictic certainty of their beliefs, beliefs that in reality are mere ideological adjuncts justifying the acquisition and consolidation of power and the violent means they take recourse to in the pursuit and attainment of these ends?

  • These scientific studies are so stupid. As if you could ever scientifically prove a nexus between violence and a belief. It’s absolute nonsense. They say anger “due to delusions”, but how can you possibly prove scientifically that someone is angry due to a delusion? It’s always the same with this ghastly profession. Anger doesn’t come from the indignities and the petty tyrannies of social existence, from oppression etc., it’s from a delusion, as if they had put this delusion under a microscope and observed “it” secreting anger like a liver secretes urine.

  • Yeah, the fatuous hubris of many in this industry, I’m afraid, is a natural consequence of the myopic conferment of power and privilege, with which accrues arrogance, corruption and delusion.

    Far too many psychiatrists have become used to being the objects of a veneration that deems them to be some sort of enclave of super-rational, omniscient Ubermenschen within a society of irrational, benighted Untermenshen, in need of the guidance of the these infallible scientists of the human mind and human nature (as exemplified by the esteem accorded to their testimony in criminal trials), these arbiters of the best interests of their subjects.

    They are just intoxicated on the power so injudiciously entrusted to them by society, it has gone to their heads. They think they have these natural rights to get away with things that the rest of us can’t, that their useless education confers some sort of esoteric insight into the nature of everything, inoculating them against them against lunacy, delusion and unreason, investing in them the right to decide what is sane and what is insane, mentally ill and mentally healthy, to go around allocating the rights and liberties they steal.

    Power and privilege are the tracks that lead man ineluctably down the path to hubris and corruption. As a rule, such people should be deemed unworthy of the trust they expect as a natural right.

  • To be honest with you, the more contrarian impulses in me are starting to impel me to embrace any identification made by others of myself as a scientologist, even though I’m not, and have never even met one.

    It’s the spirit of contradiction you see. I have no use for the approbation of people I generally find to be an annoyance, whose hatred I willingly court, and anyway, a society complicit and in my opinion at the root of psychiatric tyranny (a tyranny whose scope is far greater than that exercised by powerful scientologists on their believers) is in no position to be sitting back in smug collective judgement on scientologists from the Olympian heights of its own misplaced moral self-regard and self-esteem.

    My attitude towards scientology is credit where credit is due. They have probably done as much as anyone to stem the tides of psychiatric/Pharma/Nami misinformation, descending on society like a tsunami of excrement, and to offset the effects of its propaganda campaign. Credit where credit is due.

    To me, scientological bigotry is the bigotry du jour of modern western society, a bigotry so firmly rooted in hatred and intolerance that it renders the bigot impervious to the corrective influence of reason.

    It occupies the same moral and logical status as anti-catholic bigotry or anti-semitism. Sometimes in history, anti-semitism has become so deeply rooted in the cultural and collective-psychological landscape of certain nations, it became something of a cultural axiom in such societies that all Jews were evil, and that there could be no greater a mark of virtue, honour or moral purity than hatred of the Jew (lamentably, the purview of a majoritarian tyranny all too often extends to morality, so that morality becomes little more than a popularity contest).

    The same phenomenon is to be found in our culture. From my point of view, the weight of evidence behind the indiscriminate hatred of this group of individuals is about the same as it has been with indiscriminate hatred of Jewish people throughout the ages.

    It would be much better if people were to simply endorse the arraignment before a court of law the individuals for whom there is evidence of criminality. Yet instead, society, in its boundless hypocrisy and fatuous self-righteousness, applies the principle of collective responsibility to scientologists (which would to my mind be much more applicable to society’s central determining role and acquiescense in psychiatry’s mass slaughter and abuse), which is little more than a rationalization of this most viscerally rooted, glorified prejudice.

    Anyway, I’m getting so sick of these people who go around accusing others of being scientologists (the tacit assertion that you are therfore the lowest species of evil vermin to have ever sullied the cosmos with your presence), that if they ACCUSE (I emphasize the word “accuse” because in our society, criminality and depravity are deemed to be intrinsic to such an identity) me of being a scientologist, I think I’ll just say, “yes I am a scientologist, as well as anything else you hate.”

  • None are forced to keep quiet. No psychiatrist operates under external compulsion. They are not literally captives of the system. True, the role of an individual within oppressive, hierarchical institutions is carefully circumscribed as to often deny scope for individual choice and discretion, but no one’s forcing them at gunpoint to keep quiet.

    What’s the worse that can happen? Well, they might lose their job. Unlike those of us who have been consigned to the quasi-leprous, socially dead community of “mentally ill” unpeople, there’d be employers willing to take them on in some job which, although it perhaps wouldn’t bring the psychological gains that accrue to power and privilege, would perhaps allow them to exist in good conscience.

    Personally, I think there are far too many psychiatrists paying a purely verbal homage to the need for change, whilst leveraging the system for all its worth, keeping humanitarian, liberal principles ostentatiously on the end of their tongues without feeling the emotions they evoke.

  • Common-sense is a contradiction in terms, merely that which seems sensible to those who have no sense, or those for whom sense is at least in short supply. Common sense? Common nonsense more like. Sense has never been common property, nor shall it ever be.

  • To avoid confusion, that should be “AND such social-psychological pressure wouldn’t exist… “, not “because”, in paragraph 4.

  • I think there are many reasons why more psychiatrists and their subordinates don’t speak, social-psychological, economic, ideological, careeristic, situational and institutional in character.

    Social-psychological and institutional pressure can never be discounted. Although it cannot be said that they operate under external compulsion (they might lose their job, but that hardly qualifies as external compulsion), or that they do so at pain of death, there is nevertheless great pressure to conform. Psychiatrists and their subordinates are essentially members of a group whose membership is contingent upon the espousal of the official doctrine.

    Latitudinarianism is alien to the institutional environment of psychiatry, just look at how Mosher and Szasz were treated. Their dissension only served to ensure their eternal place in the profession’s demonology, along with heretical patients. Therefore, the social-psychological pressure to conform must be great in such an oppressive, intolerant institutional environ, though I say this without the intention of exculpating the perpetrators of psychiatric crimes, after all, the same could be said of people who worked in Nazi death camps. There is a moral imperative to speak out against these crimes, and no situational factors can literally deprive you of the capacity to make important moral decisions and responsibility for your behaviour.

    In some cases this peer pressure may be sufficiently oppressive enough to shape the decisions and thinking of the few whose moral principles and sense of decency hasn’t been entirely corroded by ideology, but social-psychological reasons perhaps have only limited explanatory capacity in this context, because such social- psychological pressure wouldn’t exist if most people possessed principled objections to orthodox psychiatric practice.

    This is where we come to the role of institutional pressure. Much like in the film industry and the print media industry individuals have very little latitude for self-expression (for example, all Hollywood films are edited in the same way, have the same narrative structure etc., betokening the lack of creative freedom of the so-called artist, who is really just an assembly-line worker taking orders from above), the same phenomenon is to be found in institutional psychiatry.

    The institution is structured in such a way as to filter out individualism. This is partially done through the imposition of an ideology and rules from above, so that the advancement or security of your career depends in such an environment on a willingness to observe the rules of the institutional game, so that careerists and apparatchiks are favoured in such an environment, and such people will think whatever way they are told to think. It is these people who put the pressure on the more principled to conform, these people who will believe whatever in furtherance of their own interests, those who unthinkingly obey authority.

    As Steve and Alice rightly point out, one of the ways in which this intolerance of deviationism and peer pressure manifests itself is through the use of certain rhetorical devices. This is a very effective means of subtly enforcing and extorting conformity.

    In the preceding paragraphs, I have also alluded to some of the psychological and instinctual preconditions of a general willful blindness and refusal to say that 2+2=4. Important in this regards is the herd instinct; in their desire to be liked, to gain the approbation of the herd of which he/she is a unit, there are no limits to what man will believe or how he will behave in pursuit of the sanctuary of popular approval, and all its concomitant psychological gains.

    Another explanation for this conspiracy of silence is that most psychiatrists and their subordinates, or at least a large percentage, have long since crossed the moral and psychological rubicon, they have gone past the point of moral and psychological return. Having committed themselves to their morally dubious path, they have little option but to spin webs, woven of casuistries and sophistries, around their conscience, their perpetrations and the morally dubious elements of their past.

    Last, but certainly not least, these people need to think well of themselves. When defending psychiatric orthodoxies, many psychiatrists and their subordinates are defending their need to think of themselves as decent people, as healers and carers, as saviours. If reality doesn’t accomodate these needs, then you turn your back on reality.

    Far too many people are psychologically invested in the continuation of this delusion and tyranny to expect anything else than what we are seeing. In many respects it represents the self-preservation instinct at its basest.

  • Excellent comments Nijinksy.

    The casuistries spun in support of this perversion of proper medical treatment (which depends for its character upon the informed consent of the patient) will sound absolutely absurd to any generation whose collective psychology hasn’t been infiltrated by the kind of nonsense generated by the institution of forced psychiatry, just as it would sound absurd to our generation if state-employed, messianic-egotists were to similarly start literally raping us on the grounds that we supposedly have a libidinal illness which they are ordained by mercy and compassion to save us from!

    Forced “treatment” belongs in the armoury of the torturer, not the physician, and can be neither justified on moral grounds or the grounds of neccessity (only the most unconscionable, conceited messianic-psychiatrist would claim that there is a moral imperative to forced drug etc. any patient, and the same applies to those who claim there is a need to do it, and this is no mere ivory tower philosophizing).

    The analogy is a strong one, although, as with any analogy, there are contrasts as well continuities bewteen the two. Nevertheless, I believe if you perform a kind of eidetic reduction on the two phenomena of forced treatment and forced sex (reducing the two phenomena to their essence), then you are left with a similar essence.

    As Nijinsky says, both involve an intrusion into the body, and by extension, a usurpation of an individual’s self-sovereignty. Of course, according to psychiatric casusitry, this is sanctioned by the ture interests of patient, or is rationalized along the grounds of the patient’s presumptive anosognosia, which is little more than an adjunct to the exercise of psychiatric power, as well as a medical mystification of a phenomenon best understood through a moral and criminological framework.

    Yet there are admittedly points of incongruency between the two, yet they don’t neccessarily cover psychiatry’s willing executioners in glory.

    The rapist figures prominently in contemporary demonology, as he should, yet in reality your average rapist is a small-time criminal in comparison to his medical counterparts.

    For example, it is one thing for someone to stick something into your body, but what the psychiatrist sticks into your body can cause immense harm not just psychologically, but physically, often imperilling your very existence, and afflicting tortures on you which I, as many others will testfy are amongst the most horrendous and frankly nightmarish experiences of our lives.

    In forcing you to take some of these drugs or some other forced “treatment”, the psychiatrist is not only performing a crime similar to rape, but often compounding the sheer depravity of this crime, through abuse, torture, and sometimes even murder!

  • Ha, very droll, cannotsay2013! When I used to go and see my coercive psychiatrist (the current one has never used coercion, perhaps because I have learnt the rules of the interpersonal game), I used to feel like a rape victim going to a group therapy session for rape victims run by my own rapist; like a person of Jewish ethnicity in Nazi Germany, going to see Julius Streicher for treatment for his racial-biological illness!

  • Or maybe you are just resorting to the “you’ve misunderstood me” position to escape the burden of accepting responsibility for what you’ve said and the implications of what you said, so you displace responsibility on to your critics? Just thought I’d add that, because we all do it some time.

    You claim what some of us say is belittling, insulting etc., and for some reason feel the need to capitalize the YOUR. Well, this is equally applicable to some of your more patronising comments, the gist of which is that we shouldn’t be interloping on the territory of the educated elite. Of course, because you haven’t used exactly those words, you’ll be able to deny it, but this is what you imply in a number of your comments about certain individuals lack of education etc.

    At one point you said “behaviour is a manifestation of brain function” and one of the threads running throughout your commentary is that the brain is the problem and the real causal agent, so I disagreed with that, availing myself of the demystifying, elucidative power of analogy, in this case “accent”, which like behaviour is picked up by a kind of process of cultural osmosis or through conscious training. This analogy was merely made in response to the foregoing comment and others of a similar essence.

    My point about behaviour was that, if we perform a semantic autopsy on the word, if behaviour is merely the manifestation of brain function, then it is not behaviour, but merely a neurological reflex, like the spasms consequent to iatrogenic extrapyramidal perturbation, merely, as you said of all behaviour, a manifestation of brain function, though I will make an allowance for the possibility that the language you have used in this regard perhaps doesn’t accurately convey what you are trying to say, which is of course one of the great limitations of language.

    Coming back to my other point about behaviour, my point is is that it is not merely a manifestation of brain function, but, like accent, something we inherit from the immediate environmental and wider cultural context, something we learn, which is expressed through the medium of the brain. It seems we are in agreement about this, and the confusion arises from the different ways in which we would articulate this truth.

    I would appreciate it if you would be more specific when claiming we are being unconscionable in our responses. Just in case this accusation is aimed at me (obviously, ignore it if this isn’t the case), all I have done is express my opinion, and would protest if you were to consider my conduct on this particular forum to be any more reprehensible than yours, which for the most part, I would agree, has been exemplary, as is the case with everyone else.

    You subsume us all to the noun “anti-psychiatry”, yet there are hardly any people on here who are “anti-psychiatry”, just anti-coercion, anti-insitutional psychiatry in its most pervasive historical and contemporary usage as an institituion of gratuitous social control. Practically the rest of it I, like I believe most on here, am not opposed to. Maybe on this issue, when you talk of the “anti-psychiatry club”, it is your thinking that lacks nuance.

    Nevertheless, I am sceptical that institutional psychiatry can be reformed, that the profession can ever be exorcised of the demons of coercion and fraud. Both are two of the threads out of which the vast historical tapestry of psychiatry has been woven.

    You also say that many of us believe we are the spokespeople for all who are “mentally ill”. In the year or so I have been reading and commenting on here, I feel confident that I have never once encountered anyone whose remarks would warrant such an accusation. On this and many other issues, I think it is you who have misunderstood the commenters on this site. I think everyone is quite aware that it is likely that a very large portion of patients have internalized the desires and narratives of their psychiatrists and family members, and that even many others who are more discontent go along with the current system on sufferance, for numerous reasons.

  • Layla, a brain disease is a brain disease, the treatment and study of which is firmly anchored in the purview of the neurologist, and it’s no good saying mind is brain, brain is mind. Just in case you are inclined to make such an equation, I would remind you that mind is an abstract concept, not an organ, and therefore cannot be susceptible to pathology, although most believers in the secular faith of psychiatry when speaking of pathology are going by a definition that is a metaphorical extension of literal pathology, which allows for accomodation within the semantic bounds of the word just about anything psychiatrists decree to be a disease.

    Hence the reason why no-one any longer describes epilepsy as a mental illness, even though, for example, an epileptic in the build up to a seizure may hallucinate. Yet the concept of epilepsy as mental illness has long since fallen into desuetude, because as soon as an organic substratum was discovered for epileptic experience, it rightly ceased to be seen as “mental illness”.

    No-one on here is that ill-educated as to live in ignorance of the brain’s susceptibility to pathology. It is just that “schizophrenia” does not occupy the same empirical status as neurodegenerative disorders like “Alzheimer’s”.

    As for your neurodeterministic view of human behaviour and perception, such notions are reductionistic and implictly advance a dehumanizing, degrading, as well as monocausal view of man and his behavioir respectively that impedes our capacity to see the enitre causal network, to see the interplay between man and the phenomenal world, the culture and immediate environment in which he/she is reared which are both formative in regards to thought, perception and belief.

    Why for example do I speak in a Welsh accent? Is it simply because I am programmed to by my brain? No, but because of immediate and wider cultural programming, because of engagement with the world around me. This is one of the reasons why I reject the “mind/brain” equation, because “mind” is much more than just a property of brain, but a property also of experience and engagement with the phenomenal world, shaped also by education and the community of minds in which I have developed.

    You say, “what do you think causes these changes, if not changes in the brain?” Talking in such a way obscures the fact that the brain bears the impress of experience. Yes the brain plays a role, but in many regards I think you are confusing causes with effects.

    You talk about not being taken seriously in the mainstream, as if the approbation of those who are inextricably caught up in the web of the regnant prejudices, secular superstitions and assumptions of the age were a precondition of a love for truth!

    As for your assertion of the neuroscientistic dogma, that brain is merely a manifestation of brain function, conspicuous by its absence is the role we as people, and not merely automata, play in all this. Anyway, your theory has nothing to do with behaviour, to you there is no behaviour seemingly, only neurological reflexes.

    She puts forward the case of Phineas Gage in support of her argument, as if the case of someone who had had his brain stabbed and mutilated with a steel rod were applicable to those who hadn’t, as if the seeming personality transformation (which it has been said by some has been exaggerated greatly) consequent to this freak encounter with a steel rod proved anything beyond the now established fact that brain damage and disease, especially if severe enough, can sometimes reduce the latitude an individual has for exercising self-control in whatever sphere of his being.

    She also talks of delusions, yet where are all these non-delsional people? It is one of the supreme delusions of the age, that there is such a thing as a man free from the psychological tendencies that predispose us to delusional thought, something which, contrary to the view held by some egocentrics and ethnocentrics, knows no temporal, cultural, national or individual boundaries. It is as intrinsic to human nature as desire, which I would argue is often causally related to delusion, but that that is another issue.

    I would continue, but spatial and temporal cosiderations dictate otherwise.

  • Dem po po kids. Consigned to a slow death by pharmacological strangulation, sitting in front of a tv, staring through it with a lobotomized mien, into the pharmacological void, as you drown in your own drool and accumulate more and more layers of fat that you’ll never be able to shed, with no hope of legal retribution, no prospects, and an early death to look forward to.

  • “We need to talk as a society about mental illness.”

    I hardly think there’ll be any real progress on this issue if we leave the solution to whatever the problem is to the demotic horde. No wonder our age is characterized by the supercession of the rule of law by the rule of man, because statesman like Obama are too busy doing what is politic and not what is right, and in mobocratic society it is politic, even obligatory, for the modern statesman to pander to the prejudices of the herd, as part of the quid pro quo demanded by society of its leaders, which can be summed up as, “we give you power, and you give us power”.

    It is contradicted by reason and the experience of our species that the discussion of this issue should fall within the sphere of influence and authority of the herd, it would be like committing moral suicide, leaving to the discretion of the oppressor what to do with their victims. The institution of forced psychiatry is a corollary of the intolerance of society, and intolerance knows no national, cultural and temporal boundaries, being as much a feature of modern society as it is of others, ergo I think this is one debate where the will of the herd must not prevail.

  • Some people say the DSM is the world’s greatest work of fiction. These people are wrong. It is the world’s worst work of fiction. Page after interminable page of impenetrable guff, like a bad Finnegan’s Wake. What I want to know is, is there really anyone who ever got to the end of this massive cowpat of a book?

  • Music today is, at best, a moribund artform, less an artform than a species of perpetual annoyance, pseudo-euphoric, mass audio-prozac (I mean prozac not in the sense of a drug that makes you feel better, but in the sense that it drives you nuts!). Every song crystallizes around the same three or four themes. If it isn’t about love, it’s about the frickin sunshine, and anyone who tries to write a song about death or the absurdity of the cosmos, is medicalized. I blame psychiatry for this cultural degeneracy.

  • Psychiatry is a secularised religion, with its own preachers; its own intolerant dogmas inimical to the true spirit of free scientific inquiry; its own demands of unthinking, unwavering adherence to its doctrines; its own persecution of heretics; its own messianic rhetoric; its own gods; its own martyrs; its own bible; its own ideology designed to facilitate and legitimate the acquisition, exercise and consolidation of power; and its own sacrifices of truth and humanity at the altar of its deities. It is essentially a species of secular religion.

    Much like with Nazism, perhaps the prototypal secular religion and another Trojan horse, like psychiatry, its leaders and believers have usurped the idiom of the medical profession and science for its own beliefs, as much as anything in the latter case to confer upon the beliefs a veneer of apodicticity, thereby preventing dissent and facilitating the process of indoctrination, whilst discouraging latitudinarianism.

  • That Malasangra’s comments afford us much insight into the mentality of the apologist for psychiatric coercion, torture and slavery.

    First off, we have the untenable analogy. He/she compares the rituals of the coercive psychiatrist to taking car keys off a drunken man, which bears neither distant nor close scrutiny.

    How many moral philosophers, humanitarians and activists have written on the mistreatment of inebriated citizens by other citizens in taking away their car keys? Such an analogy seems to have been formulated a moral, historical and empirical vacuum. The writer, like the rest of his ilk, seems to be living in a moral abyss.

    How many potential drunken drivers have ended up with a diseased brain after having their car keys removed; or with their brains mutilated; or morbidly obese in an insanely health conscious society prejudiced against fat people; or with the configuration of their physiognomies grotesquely altered by the neurological disorder occasioned by the removal their car keys? Of course I could on and on, but I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

    Such people, when they make these risible analogies (which implicitly mocks the suffering consequent to the myopic conferment of power upon rogue medical professionals), strategically disjoin the rituals of the coercive psychiatrists from their consequences and from the disastrous history, from a human rights perspective and the perspective of the patient, of psychiatric coercion,in order not to undercut their prescriptions, because any indivdual non-selectively au fait with the history of this profession understands that psychiatrists simply can’t be trusted to use that power responsibly.

    The prescription to invest in these intolerable, power-hungry quacks parens patriae power vis-a-vis thier victims occupies about the same moral status as prescribing that children should, if the maggot was still alive, be left in the hands of odious creeps like Jimmy Savile; that we should trust the care of rape victims to their rapists!

  • Yeah, things are pretty bad over here. That lostgirl’s comment pretty much echoes my own, in that she seems to share the same incredulity as I on the issue of the stubborn unwillingnness of many in regards this issue to avail themselves of their mental endowments in discussion of the issue of the possibility that family-members aren’t always impelled to abandon their loved-ones to the predations by misguided good-intentions.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not stating that they are simply evil, but am referring more to the often contradictory currents of a person’s nature, and the role of familial conflict in corrupting intent. Nevertheless, some family-members, in their treatment of “loved-ones” are just plain wicked.

    Whenever there is discussion of the possibility that many family-members are both abusing the system as well as the blind trust invested in them by the generality of people (and such trust inevitably leads to abuse), your comments are dismissed as if they were lese majeste, whcih onlys the injustice.

    The statistics she sights pertaining to the prevalence of child abuse, rape and murder should serve as a chilling warning to those who hallucinate pure intentions wherever they see man and whose critical faculties seem to be in an advanced stage of metaphorical putrefaction, that bad intentions do exist, and are far more commonplace than most people’s world view and conception of human nature allows for!

  • One person said, “The reality (his reality I think he means) is that many people suffering with psychotic symtoms have an aversion to medication, often rooted in delusional beliefs…”

    Oh but of course, he doesn’t have any delusions, as proven by the fact that he isn’t on the mental health register! He talks as if his powers of comprehension on this matter range over the entire landscape of the human psyche, as if he was some sort of objective, inerrant investigator of every aspect of human nature, mentation and experience. If he isn’t a psychiatrist, then he surely has the requisite lack of intellectual humility!

    It is, of course, my contention, that such utterances bear the stamp of his own delusions, but unlike all these arrogant Mental Health control-freaks, I don’t expect my utterances and beliefs to entitle me to privileges, or expect them to be heeded in the halls of legislation and administration.

  • One commenter talks about how, in the vulgar, self-righteous phraseology of the Mental Healther, we need to coerce more quickly because this allows the “mentally-ill” person to deny his illness (and of course, we can’t have that, can we?) and carry on ruining the lives of those around them. Such is the intolerable self-centeredness of these people; it is all right for them to ruin the lives of “mentally-ill” unpeople, but woe betide that it should be the other way round. This gives off an almost palpable odour of a sense of entitlement, that they should be allowed to do unto others what certain others shouldn’t be allowed to do to they!

    Such people talk of ruined lives, whilst articulating the ruins of their victims lives in pseudo-medical and therapeutic terminology. Yet if we were to weigh the aggregate of the evil committed against mental patients (by psychiatrists, their lackeys and those whose interests they advance), against the aggregate of the evil committed against psychiatrists and family members (by the “mentally-ill” person), we would soon realize the sheer poverty of their presumptuous claims to moral authority and righteousness on this issue.

  • Ah, the comments on a Guardian article critical of psychiatry! I may as well be reading my own obituary, it’s that depressing.

    One family member (in this case, code word for stakeholder in the system of psychiatric slavery), tries to justify the continued existence of this institution.

    The reaction to her comments is typical. Whenever we are confronted with a family member talking of their “mentally-ill loved ones”, this is accompanied both by an aberration of our reasoning and critical faculties, as well as a prejudgement of the “mentally-healthy” family member as the omniscient narrator of their “loved-one’s” existence, as if being the occupant of that particular status (that of “family-member”) somehow purges them of those influences that lead human beings to lie, manipulate, cheat, self-deceive and embellish, that releases them from the shackles of human nature and vaccinates them against the forces that might prejudice their judgement of reality.

    Yet anyone who questions much of the conventional wisdom about many family members regarding their “mentally-ill loved-ones” is suddenly exposed to the fulminations of self-righteous “mentally-healthy” family members. It is as if there was no historical basis for this concern many of us have about psychiatry’s role as an instrument in family-sacpegoating and tyranny.

    Has it ever occurred to people that, although often operating in the family-member beneath the threshold of consciousness due to the intervention of the mechanism of self-deception, maybe one of the reasons why there is so much confusion and fantasy on the issue of the behaviour of “mentally-ill” people, is because we have allowed parents, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, as well Mental Health Professionals, to monopolize the interpretation and narration of the lives of “mentally-ill” people, even though, considering the history of families abandoning their “loved-ones” to the medically-disguised predations of psychiatrists, we have sufficient grounds to be paranoid of the scheming parent or offspring, especially when one is cognisant of how invested the foregoing often are in the continued existence of the relevent institution, as well as in the manipulation, distortion, mystification and embellishment of reality?

    Maybe it is about time that we refocus our attention on the patient, even though it is true that many patients, in their confusion, lack of self-respect and self-belief; their eagerness to tranquilize the interpersonal disharmony in their lives and to gain admission into the group and the respect of others; to get benefits and support, often embrace the degrading identities attributed to them and internalize the desires and beliefs of their oppressors.

  • What I find most disturbing about all this is the cynical opportunism of psychiatric propagandists and demagogues, playing on the spectre of the dangerous mental patient, capitalizing on the chaotic ferment of fears, anxieties, frustrations and other primitive emotions stirred up by the recent shooting, painstakingly setting the scene for the white knights of psychiatry to gallop into the chaos to deliver the patient and society from the evil of “mental illness”, all in pursuit of a reduction of individual freedom and the corresponding expansion of the scope of their power and control.

    Yet this cynicism, luckily for them, is adequately matched in its proportion by the facility with which these mental health maniacs deceive themselves of the nature of the emotional, psychological and instinctual currents that carry them in their thinking, attitudes and behaviour. The wish to abuse the scapegoat, to have someone on whom we can concentrate our anger and lust for revenge, is rationalised as the need and inescapable obligation to “treat” the “mental illness” of the patient, a “treatment” where, supposedly (and conveniently), the patient and society are both beneficiaries (a rationalization, of the “everyone’s a winner” variety, that serves to disencumber the administrators of this putative treatment of the burden of conscience).

    By mobilising fear of dangerous, untreated mental patients, institutional psychiatry benefits in much the same way that the inquisition benefited from the ubiquitous fear of the agents of the devil, and in much the same way as the Nazis benefited from the ubiquitous fear of the plague-carrying, transcendently evil Jew (all of the foregoing are, of course, little more than the chimeras generated in the popular imagination through the propaganda and demagogy of authority in conjunction with an en masse abdication of the faculties of independent thought and reason of the populace, attended upon by a limitless credulity in relation to authoritative opinion characteristic of chaotic times).

    All this fear-mongering by the aforementioned serves/served to create a cultural, mass-psychological and social climate conducive to the erosion of liberties, to the enactment of discriminatory laws and enforcement of barbaric policies which in other less turbulent times, not as distinguished by mass fear and lunacy, would be recognised for what they are.

    Not so in our societies (I live in Wales) which, like all collectives, remains pertinaciously opposed to an honest reckoning with its own history and own institutions, instead preferring the time-honored method of scapegoating which of course doesn’t imply the dreaded introspection demanded with the former, whereas the latter will bring the desired purge of the fears and anxieties occasioned by the perceived threat. Yet you can’t solve a problem without confronting the problem and confronting it honestly.

    I think scapegoating is sadly a corollary of group formation, because groups, like individuals, loathe to attend to their own control and to look inwards, preferring to control others and look outwards instead. The world is full of willing judges but no-one chooses to be judged.

    Just like with Laura and Kendra, the mental health movement has commandeered the recent tragedy in promotion of its beliefs and interests, making the victims into martyrs of their movement, silencing dissent and rendering their unjustifiable prescriptions justifiable through appeal to these tragedies.

    As for the accusations that comparison between the two situations is not credible, just because there are differences, doesn’t mean we should ignore the linking mechanisms between two institutions, epochs or situations. Thomas Szasz was accused of this when he compared institutional psychiatry to the Inquisition, or when he compared psychiatric slavery to chattel slavery. The fact that he enumerated and elucidated the similarities over hundreds and hundreds of pages in many publications, whereas his critics could only muster a couple of lines in defense of their poorly defended position, humbled them not.

  • That’s a fallacy of moral equivalency, Rossa. Comparing having an opinion that offends others to coercing, illegally incarcerating, poisoning, abusing, mutilating and even killing people will stand neither distant nor close scrutiny.

    Just for clarification, I don’t have any problem with psychiatrists and other people believing I am “mentally ill”. I am a libertarian. I have no problem with people diagnosing me in and of itself. My beef is with the discriminatory laws and policies, as well as barbaric practices exercised upon the basis of psychiatric diagnoses; with the practical and strategic import of psychiatric diagnosis, and its use in numerous situational contexts to deprive people of their rights and liberties.

    As for saying we’ve all become armchair psychiatrists, simply taking an interest in motives that impel people to a certain course of action does not, in my opinion, warrant the appellation “armchair psychiatrist”.

  • Awesome post, Stephen. Yeah I hate those moments, formative in regards to my perception of psychiatry as a force for evil, when one has to suffer the nauseating bigotry and arrogance of some self-righteous non-entity who is sufficiently stupid and ignorant enough to believe he/she is some sort of bastion of sanity and reason.

    I was in a proper hospital the other day, and I heard this absolute buffoon ridiculing some nurse about going to work with the “loonies”, as he so eloquently put it. Such experiences are epiphanal in that they reveal to me that Mental Health ideology is a supremacist ideology like any other, allowing bigoted mediocrities the pleasure of feeling superior to those designated “mentally ill”.

  • Be fair to some of the commenters, at least there is none of this Jaffian guff, this pendular swing between the irreconcilable extremes of individualism and collectivism, fascism and libertarianism. These people are unabashed collectivists who believe, as their ghastly vomitings evince, that the herd should recognize no moral or legal obstacles in its search for a scapegoats.

    In many respects it is quite comforting to encounter some comments that don’t reeks of the usual pious hypocrisy, good to encounter members of the Mental Health Movement who don’t wrap themselves and their every vomit-inducing utterance in the cloak of Christian virtue and the garb of messianic-humanitarianism.

    Nevertheless, I wish these rabid collectivists would kindly sod off and spread the debris of their throwback minds somewhere else, like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, their natural habitats. At least then I wouldn’t have to listen to any more of their disgusting babble.

    Delivering medicine to a patient at home? This distinctly savors of psychiatric rape and poisoning.

    Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the fact that people commit acts of violence whilst on these drugs. I say this not to advance some reductionistic, monocausal, pharmacological-determinist explanation of human behaviour, but simply to point out that the drugs aren’t doing a very good job at curbing the violent instincts of some people and that, like alcohol, there are effects that do tend to clear the path to acts of depraved violence in those of a more violent, sadistic disposition.

    Yet such considerations are in no way allowed to impinge on the general debate. The spokespeople for the “the society of the Just” (Sartre) are only using the recent tragedies as a pretext allowing the punishment of a group of people who are sufficiently hated enough to warrant their selection as scapegoats, sacrificial offerings made in appeasement of a sanctimonious, vengeful, paranoid herd, the spokespoeple of which ever mindful of some pretext justifying the unimpeded, unfettered exercise of the herd’s rapacious instincts.

  • “The vast majority are dedicated and hard working people with a genuine desire to help.”

    That is a claim impossible to prove, and sounds like an advertisement. My attitude is simple; it is better to err on the side of distrusting too many people than too few. Trust is something individuals earn, and the same applies to collectives.

    Considering the history and what we know about the contemporary state of the Moloch that is the mental health profession, it would be contrary to reason to invest the kind of trust many mental health professionals expect as a natural right from the objects of their questionable solicitude.

    Would you say the same about most psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses?

    It is my contention that the preponderating weight of evidence is against and not for the supposition that psychiatrists and those beneath them are predominantly motivated by the will to help, and I worry that encoded in such statements alluding to the presumptive purity of intent amongst the majority is the prescription not to be judgemental about the people whose cooperation this cancerous system depends upon for its continued existence, and who in my opinion are primarily motivated by self-interest, shirking their moral responsibilities in furtherance of their own careers.

    How much this applies to other mental health professionals I would find difficult to say because I tend to concentrate the greater part of my energies on the activities of the perpetrators of psychiatric violence, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, as well as the social institutions that ordain this violence.

    Another problem as I see it is that the impulses around which psychiatric practices crystallize are dependent for their character upon the interpersonal context. Different psychiatrists may respond differently to different people, depending on the nature of their interactions and interlocutions. One of the most intolerable evils of coercive psychiatry and the social relations it engenders is that psychiatrist and nurse could enact a heinous revenge on the patient, perhaps unconsciously, and all they have to do is articulate their actions and impulses in therapeutic terms (terms adaptable to a diverse range of iniquities and barbarities, as psychiatric history shows us), but I digress.

    Nevertheless, all this is of only subsidiary importance. No amount of good intentions can possibly compensate for the harm done by psychiatry, and perhaps some of the other mental health professions.

    Also, and I think from reading Users and Abusers I was able to glean that you understand this particularly well, the very survival of employees within this particular institutional environment demands the espousal of the official ideology generated partly by its rituals, and partly rooted in the feelings of intolerance, hatred and fear of the wider society. It is an environment that fosters unthinking conformance, which entails corruption even amongst the best, who inevitably become entangled in the web of institutional prejudices, assumptions and values.

    It is such considerations as the foregoing that contribute to my scepticism about these people who, regardless of their professed benevolent intentions, are nevertheless captives of the system.

  • The Moloch that is the mental health system constitutes a manufactory of the very problems it professes to be in the business of ameliorating or curing.

    For example, they claim that their patients have problems with their brains, assertions that rest entirely on the ipse dixits of psychiatrists, no independent verification being needed, because psychiatrists have undergone an education at the university of Mount Olympus that imparts to the recipient of this education special insight. The very “treatment” leads to the problems it is meant to be curing. I could furnish you with many more examples but for the sake of brevity, I’ll leave the rest to the imagination of the reader.

    I am not surprised Spkliewer hasn’t responded. Out of the materials of ignorance and dogma, those who believe in and profit from psychiatric ideology have constructed an impregnable fortress, impenetrable to the facts, within which “facts” are generated in support of the ideology; where beliefs are continually reinforced within the community of believers; where sacred mantras (such as “the drugs are safe and effective”) are chanted in perpetuity; and against this backdrop more and more sacrifices are made.

    People in Spkliewer’s inenviable situation just tell themselves that they are there to help their victims to gain their conscience as an ally and to escape the guilt feelings inextricably intertwined with an honest appraisal and articulation of what psychiatrists and their subordinates do. Language can mystify, but it does not have alchemical powers; it cannot transmute the base materials of coercion, fraud and violence into therapeutic gold.

    Stephen Gilbert is right. The mental-health workers in this cancerous system don’t know about the damage they are doing because they do not want to know. Their careers must come first, which depend for their existence on the espousal of the official doctrine. Some people say they are victims of a misinformation campaign. I say that in an age of unprecedented access to information, ignorance is a choice. In our age, ignorance subsists upon the will and desire of those who profit from it. In claiming that they are victims, they are merely trying to exonerate themselves of responsibility for their beliefs.

  • All those brains mutilated, damaged, diseased and fried because of belief in this idea, lives destroyed etc., yet I’ll be damned if I can find one article pertaining to the fact that the very idea itself and belief in it is predictive of violence. No matter how well meaning the writer of this article may be, it is still more of the rhetoric of oppression, because it focuses not on the behaviours of the oppressor, but those who are oppressed.

  • Yes, there is a link between mental illness and violence. This link exists between the idea of mental illness and the violence perpetrated against the people who are the victims of this invidious labelling. Yet you won’t find any articles pertaining to this fact buried beneath the rhetoric of therapeutism.

    It is the idea of mental illness that is a predictor of violence, not some entity.

  • If such persons do have a problem, then that is their business until they accept the offer of guidance, and without the customary extortionary measures resorted to by institutional psychiatrists. This is not so much aimed at you Miss/Mrs Steingard (although you are implicated in this as someone who, as a heteronomous psychiatrist, sometimes simply has to play the tune you’ve been paid to play, after all you are a captive of a system that moulds your thought and practice, at least to some degree, and not the other way round) as it is at the more fanatical believers in the faith of messianic psychiatry.

  • You say you have known people who are convinced people are talking about them and plotting against them. The problem is that no empirical investigation is done to see whether or not the individual really is being persecuted.

    In all paranoia there is a grain of truth. A human being’s view of the world is the end of product of his experiences and the complexion he has given those experiences, a complexion itself informed by experience. In being paranoid, that individual is likely showing fidelity to his experiences of an unjust world.

    Paranoia isn’t neccessarily a bad thing, because it sensitizes us to danger in a dangerous world.

  • Awesome article, as are the comments made by David Bates.

    The belief that ‘minds’ can literally be susceptible to pathology is a logical extension of the pervasive equation of ‘mind’ with bodily organ. Although tellingly there are no mind-imaging techniques (just like there are no ego-imaging or libido-imaging techniques), people still talk about the mind as if it literally exists, as if there is such an entity locatable in space, to which I always say “Alright, show it to me”.

    “Mental illness” is generally believed by people who in this regard are logically and linguistically challenged, not because of some underlying neurological defect, but because they are predisposed to such a delusion by desire, desire being the great solvent of the critical faculties (hence why delusional thought patterns make no distinctions as to whom they afflict, because desire resides within us all, and can give concrete substance to our most nonsensical fantasies).

    In reality, as Szasz once pointed out, it is a concept that occupies the same empirical and logical status as witchcraft. The proofs are each wholly subjective, the validity (be it of witchcraft or mental illness) of the diagnosis resting entirely on the authority of the one who pronounces it.

    The logic informing the determination of its existence is the same as well. Just as skin lesions and anatomical variations were deemed sufficient proof of witchcraft, delusions and disordered speech etc. are deemed sufficient proof of mental illness, regardless of the ubiquity of the foregoing amongst “normal” people.

    Yet such is the intensity and ubiquity of mental-illness mania, some people, often learned individuals, say that you “can’t define mental illness out of existence”, which is kind of like a ghosthunter saying you can’t define ghosts out of existence; kind of like Jimmy Stewart’s character in Harvey saying you can’t define my friend the giant rabbit out of existence; kind of like someone saying you can’t define the human ego out of existence. All of the foregoing are ideas and delusions, mistaken by the believers for real entities.

    It is absolutely preposterous that people are attributing these shootings to psychopathological determinants. Such people who believe these reductionistic theories are in the midst of a mania, and one of the worst evils of psychiatry is that it confers upon the maniacal masses honours (such as the honour of being designated “sane”, “rational”, and “in touch with reality”) that it is contrary to reason and experience to confer. To paraphrase Ibsen, the majority are always wrong!

    To even begin to understand human beings, one has to understand that conduct and experience crystallize around a complex of aetiological factors, and can almost never be traced to one single determinant. Once again, this is a hangover from a past supposedly more superstitious than our own, when all evils were attributed to demonological entities, entities projected on to a scapegoat.

    Psychiatry and its mistreatment of those who don’t want to or can’t fulfil the normative expectations of the society they are subject to, promotes the very problems it proffers a solution for. Through its persecution of the individual and the concomitant imposition of degrading, invidious roles, done in appeasement of the conformist majority and the family, and in consolidation of the majority ethic, as well as in promotion of its own self-interests, it sows the seeds of vengence and hatred amongst those it oppresses, hatred for psychiatry and the society for whom it is the agent of.

    What is the solution? The time-consecrated custom of scapegoating, in its medical guise, to allay the fears mobilized by events such as the recent shooting, which are seen as threatening the disintegration of the social order, the kind of events psychiatrists like Torrey and PR men like Jaffe opportunistically exploit, capitalizing on the atmosphere of fear, paranoia and anxiety in promotion of their own agenda.

  • God that article’s depressing. Like most of what you read and watch in the print and mass audio-visual media respectively germane to this issue, it is simply designed to mobilize the thought of the psychologically enslaved masses in a direction amenable to the interests of organised psychiatry. Such cynical opportunism.

    He says, “In our concern for the rights of people with mental illness, we have come to neglect the rights of ordinary americans to be safe from the fear of being shot…”. In our furor diagnosticus and furor therapeuticus, we have come to neglect the rights of those labelled mentally ill, this is the real problem. How do we know these people are mentally ill? Because the quack said so, and because, according to conventional wisdom, you’d have to be mentally ill to do what these people did.

    He defines “psychosis” as a loss of touch with reality. Whose reality? The reality of people like him, whose beliefs about human nature and behaviour are little more than an adaptation to a secular world of past superstitions. Hardly surprising that he failed to list ideology as a cause of loss of touch with reality. Reality and psychiatry parted company a long time ago when they could no longer rely on it as an ally.

    “Schizophrenia is a physiological disorder caused by changes in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain essential for language, abstract thinking and appropriate social behaviour.”

    By appropriate social behaviour, I assume he means this term to be inclusive of raping people’s biology with pharmacological agents, as well poisoning, mutilating and abusing people, as long as this is consequent to a diagnosis of “mental illness”. This is like reading an article deploring sexual abuse written by Jimmy Savile, or an article about the evils of propaganda written by Joseph Goebbels.

    I like how this complete prat speaks as if he was some sort of neurological savant, a preponderant pretension amongst the particular species of prat we call the institutional psychiatrist. If only he knew that it was the drugs responsible for those changes. Such evidence couldn’t be found in all the autopsy studies done before the advent of neuroleptic medication.

    He tries to intimidate the reader into conforming with his point of view by encasing his gibberish in a veneer of neurological terminology, unintelligible to the lay reader, the tacit assumption seemingly being that the brain, at least not for people like he, isn’t actually a very complex organ at all and he has all its secrets sussed.

    He talks about voices commanding people to jump out of windows (as if he had heard these voices himself). So what? If someone told you to dive into a bath of acid, would you do it? Even if these people can hear voices that aren’t subvocalizations, you don’t have to heed these commands.

    “People with schizophrenia are unaware of how strange their thinking is…”

    Nor do psychiatrists seemingly.

    “Too many people with acute schizophrenia have gone untreated. There have been too many Glocks, too many kids and adults cut down in their prime. Enough already.”

    Too many people afflicted by the miasma of psychiatric ideology have gone untreated. There have been too many poisonous drugs, too many kids and adults cut down at their most vulnerable. Enough already.

  • The comments section for that article is hilarious and disturbing in equal measure.

    Here’s some of my favourite quotes, chosen for how representative of public opinion they are as well as/or how utterly inane they are:

    “Antipsychotics do more good than harm. Sorry it’s true.”

    I particularly like the last part, which is designed to give a semblance of scientific impartiality to what is a completely random speculation in no way susceptible to proper independent empirical corroboration. It is like when people lard their discourse with adverbs such as “certainly”, “definitely” or “truly”, in order to give substance to pure wind, in a pathetic, desperate attempt to assimilate reality to their despotism. “This is certainly one of the greatest films ever made (the kind of claim made by millions but in no way allowing of proof)”, or, “things are truly the way I say they are.” I’ll leave the reader to think of other variants of this kind of debauchment of language.

    Sadly, because of the mutally-reinforcing relationship that exists between stupidity on the one hand, and smugness, arrogance and shamelessness on the other, the person who made that paltry comment thinks that all he has to do is advance the comment “Sorry, but it’s true” in support of his argument, and that makes it so!

    Personally, and the following statement reposes not only on learning but also direct experience, I think it overreaches the limits of credibility to say such a thing and that, if we exhume the actual research findings from underneath all the propaganda, it might be fair to say that the evidence is preponderately weighted in favour of an entirely different reading. Yet such people, by erecting an impermeable wall between their minds and all the disconfirming evidence out there, evidence that is much more substantial, at least from my perspective, than the ipse dixits of psychiatrists, sit blissfully ensconsed in their own delusions. I need do nothing more than point to all the research Whitaker has gathered and presented on this site for our perusal in support of my assertion that the evidence is far more substantial for a reading that the drugs are doing more harm than good.

    I won’t quote directly anymore, but I will say that that one of the unifying themes amongst many of the comments seems to be that the drugs are good, that the PR fraud that was the pharmacological revolution attests to the progress psychiatry has made. Who shoulders the burden of this complacency and ignorance?

    One commenter, moralizing with a backwards gaze (Szasz), deplores the use of lobotomy and ECT, completely ignoring just how prevalent the usage of ECT is today, shielded against the reality by his/her ignorance of the epidemic of brain damage and disease, as well as many other medical conditions, that have resulted from the often forced administration of these drugs, rarely administered with the informed consent of the patient.

    One critic of psychiatric drugs is accused of being Tom Cruise, which is little more than a thought-terminating cliche and a rhetorical strategy adopted by people ossified in their thinking. One toilet-mouthed commenter even hurls expletives at the heretic, trying desperately it seems to extort conformity from the heretic through aggression and intimidation, a commonplace strategy amongst the protectors of the pharmacological paradigm and of the reputation of organised psychiatry.

  • Psychiatry isn’t interested in our “mental-health”, it is only concerned with dealing with society’s emotional, psychological and moral lepers. To them we are little more than contaminants that society must vaccinate itself against, so that we don’t get in the way of dominant society’s single-minded quest for happiness. To them we are little more than receptacles of undesirable emotions, thoughts and beliefs that must be denied, trivialized and medicalized, and the individual who carries them must be ostracized, just in case his/her misery and fear begins to spread and diffuses throughout the collective consciousness of those who have supressed and live in denial of the fear, lunacy and misery that all human flesh is heir to.

    “On more than one occasion I have reached out to mental health providers, convinced something was wrong with me and only they had the power to ‘fix’ it.”

    Inevitable, because of the inculcation from infancy of ideas that lead to false-consciousness. People wonder why the medical-model exerts such authority over the popular imagination, unaware of the role power plays in the construction and dissemination of knowledge. The belief that we have these “mental illnesses” requiring treatment by psychiatrists is the end product of years of intellectual and perceptual programming in a direction favourable to the interests of the most powerful social groups.

    Most humans are little more than ventriloquist dummies operated by the ascendent ideological forces of their society, the conditioning process subtly facilitated by the fact that the medical-model and its implicit prescriptions allows us to delegate responsibility for dealing with our problems to doctors, whilst also offering us hope that despair, misery, tragedy and lunacy are merely the paroxysms of an illness, and not ineluctably a part of living in a world mercilessly, pitilessly indifferent to our wails of despair, our self-flagellations and supplications for mercy. Instead we place all our hope in psychiatrists as if they were like existential alchemysts, who as it turns out, are only in it for what they can get out of it.

    Of course, as you imply, this leaves the mentally-distressed a prey to the many different species of anthropomorphic vultures circling over and crapping on our heads, such as the rogue medical professional aka psychiatrist, aided and abetted as they are by their happy slaves, the collaborationists, the obedient mental patients, who shirk their moral duties in propitiation of their psychiatric masters, such as your Kay Jamison Redfields and your Elyn Saks’s.

  • Typical psychiatrist. Thinks he or she is deserving of privileges that don’t extend to the rest of us. It seems to me that in your concluding paragraph there, you have unwittingly characterized exactly what you have been doing to people recently.

  • It would be helpful if in future, Lesfleurs, you did some research preparatory to making such untenable analogies.

    You can’t compare cancer to “mental illness”. There is no evidence of histopathology that could be adduced in support of a claim that someone has “mental illness”. “Mental illness” is contingent upon cultural context; not so with cancer.

    One of the obvious differentials between psychiatric diagnoses (brown-standard diagnoses) and diagnoses made by mala fide medical professionals (gold standard diagnoses) is that conflict is not an important determining factor with the latter species of diagnosis.

    A diagnosis of cancer does not function in situations of conflict as a linguistic instrument employed in furtherance of ignoble interests. In an acrimonious dispute between two individuals or groups, people don’t assail each other with insults disguised as physical diagnoses like diabetes or cancer.

    As for your support of this vast pus-filled canker in the existential and biological decay of millions we call the “mental-health system”, if I want to slag off slavery, con-artistry, exploitation, hypocrisy and torture, then I will do so, and in good conscience.

    What we call the “mental-health system”, has grown out of soil fertilized with the blood of countless millions of people, and I couldn’t possibly support it without bartering my principles.

  • Superb article.

    The problem I have with the principle of parens patriae, amongst other things, is it depends for its legitimacy on an unjustifiable supposition; that the history of state psychiatry sanctions that state psychiatrists should be the arbiters of the interests of the patient.

    History protests against such lunacy. Power should not be a right, but something earnt through, in this case, collectively responsible usage. If psychiatrists were to be examined in a court of law to test the legitimacy of their claims to power vis a vis the psychiatric slave, no more persuasive testimony could be offered than by history itself against the conferment of such power, though, unsurprisingly, the wisdom imparted by history has no bearing on deciding the legitimacy of psychiatric power, because the history has been conceptualized, by experts promoting their own interests, as a teleological process leading to medical and scientific enlightenment, and the current generation are too much more enlightened for there to be any point in heeding the ordinances of history.

    The fact that psychiatric butchery and totalitarianism, albeit mystfied by the medical propaganda, obscured by the symbology of medical practice, and mitigated by the self-serving rhetoric of good intentions, is justified on constitutional grounds not only shows how that particular document yields divergent interpretations, but alludes to the wisdom of that old axiom, where there is a will there is a way.

    The problem with the application of the principle of parens patriae in psychiatric cases is that it is used perfidiously as a fraudulent pretext for controlling, incarcerating and punishing the supposed beneficiary of the tenderness and benevolence the state so shamelessly makes a pretence of in pursuance of the aforementioned real aims.

    The state understands only too well that to render something unconstitutional as constitutional one needs recourse to verbal deception. Psychiatric slavery and torture are not constitutional, but psychiatric-legal doctrines of mass deception can easily render them so. This is the only way base impulses and institutions can thrive and survive in our age, by describing them untruthfully. Where there is will, support and power, there is a way.

    Maybe one day the state will rape some of its citizens and justify it as treating the libidinal illnesses of those whose purported libidinal infirmites, occasioned by sexual frustration, have rendered them violent and irresponsible. Sounds mad? It is no madder than the justification for forced psychiatry. It would shock people at first, but soon it would become absorbed into the legal, social and collective psychological fabric of the age, as so many other lunacies have through out history as a result of the psychological enslavement of the generality of human beings to their masters. The war on drugs would have seemed absurd in the nineteenth century, but how many people consider it so now that the general populace have been so successfully operated upon by the forces of mystification and obscurantism?

    As for that commonplace justification, “dangerousness to self and others”, if only that were apllied equitably and without discrimination, then it might it at least bear a semblance of credibility. If it were, there wouldn’t be many psychiatrists on the planet who wouldn’t be incarcerated and forcibly drugged in their own hospitals. It is a token of the corruption of the age that it is left to the discretion of the most dangerous people in western society to decide who is dangerous and who isn’t. Controller, control thyself!

    Has anyone ever read the book ‘Sane in America; A History of the Enduring Mistreatment of the Sane by the Mentally Ill’? Or what about ‘Psychiatrists in America; A History of the Enduring Mistreatment of Psychiatrists by their Patients’? No? Well, that’s because they don’t exist, because most of the harm in relation to mental patients is done against them by “sane” people and psychiatrists, not by them, yet there is all this guff about the dangerousness of mental patients!

    How far we haven’t come.

  • Which poses the question, are the intentions of those in the field, in the majority of cases, quite so unimpeachably pure and noble? A lot of people seem all too willing to take comfort in thought-terminating insipidities about how “most psychiatrists and nurses are well meaning” and about how they mean well etc.

    It was Montaigne who once said, to paraphrase, that nothing is believed in so firmly as that which is least known. How do we know that they are well meaning, where are these good intentions that people talk about so much?

    We would do well to remeber that intentions are abstract nouns, ergo we can’t verify properly whether the intentions are good or not, yet anyone who claims that maybe, just maybe, bad intentions are in the ascendency in psychiatry, is usually dismissed as paranoid, although society in general rarely appeals to good intentions when it discusses child abusers, scientologists, rogue tradesman or burglars, because psychiatrists have the power to define the situation in terms most amenable to themselves, unlike the aforementioned, and it is one of the marks of power that the powerful define, and the powerless are defined.

    Don’t get me wrong, when I use the term “bad intentions”, this shouldn’t be seen as synonymous with malice or evil, but what about greed and a careeristic drive for seniority within your own profession to the detriment of the patient; a will to consolidate the power the profession exerts; prejudice; indifference and lack of empathy (the latter two both reinforced by an ideology that corrupts the thinking of those who are exposed to it)? Or are some people under the missapprehension that these can be subsumed under the rubric of “good intentions”?

    Whenever I hear mention of “good intentions” in relation to psychiatrists, much like with politicians who sanction illegal wars, I ask myself the question, who profits from this? Psychiatrists, politicians and other assorted morally irresponsible yet powerful people, that’s who.

    Well, I disagree with these well-meaning people who say that psychiatrists are mostly well-meaning.

    Many say, that psychiatrists and their lackeys are ignorant of the truth, they lack insight. Pish! A person who believes in the afterlife doesn’t merely believe in it independent of will and motivation, au contraire, he believes it because he wants to believe it, because he is terrified of eternal death. I would say that the same applies to at least most people in psychiatry. They are not merely ignorant, oh no, they are the agents of their own ignorance, and they must be judged.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at anyone, I am merely making a general comment, but psychiatrists aren’t the victims here, the patients are. In the main, I think they believe what they want to believe.

    For example, when they claim that one of the patients on the ward is “psychotically aggressive”, making the fundamental attribution error of attributing to the individual what is occasioned by the violence-promoting environment they are in (violence begets violence, although most of the violence on the psychiatric ward, which is committed by the staff, is mystified by the idiom and imagery of medicine, treatment and the hospital), they may originally be the victim of the ideology, but their unwillingness to think critically about these ideological phrasings is why they continue to believe it, and human beings hate to think critically about things they benefit from, hence why the powerful know so little in general about the role of power in human affairs, and why its victims know so much.

    The same applies to society in general. Society believes that the “pharmacological revolution” actually has happened, not because it doesn’t know the truth, but because it doesn’t want to know the truth, which should engender a lot of pessimism about the possibility of reform within the field of psychiatry, because psychiatry is litle more than a weathervane blown by the winds of popular opinion and prejudice, and can only be reformed if society and its attitudes towards dissidents and undesirables are reformed.

  • You are right, many psychiatrists don’t want to acknowledge the role of trauma. They prefer to trivialise trauma, which is understandable, considering they are in the business of traumatising people.

  • What is most intolerable about Torrey’s merciless guff is all that nonsense about the parietal lobe defect.

    First, he has done hee-haw to show that there is causation rather than just correlation. This reminds one of the idiotic notion he helped to popularize about ventricular enlargement being causative for the symptoms considered pathognomonic for this most elusive of diseases, completely ignoring that this enlargement of the ventricles was only seen in an infinitesimal amount of all the patients studied, whilst also ignoring the fact that this enlargment is seen in the brains of many so-called normal, healthy people, a blunder he and the profession has never properly acknowledged.

    The other problem is, how do we know Torrey is telling the truth when he shows us images of supposedly unmedicated brains where the parietal lobe displays damage? Given his reputation as a pseudologue, it would be sheer folly to rule out the very real possibility that Torrey is telling porky pies.

    For the sake of argumentation, let’s say he is telling the truth (which is highly unlikely). What’s his solution, forcing people with damaged lobes to take lobe damaging drugs? Of course, Torrey remains blissfully ignorant of the damage consequent upon the administration of these neurotoxins, in order not to undercut his position on forced drugging, as well as so he, like so many in his profession, can continue to esteem themselves as that which they are not; healers.

    Psychiatrists like Torrey are like Jimmy Savile; in contradistinction to their social reputations as humanitarians, they are actually predators. The truth about the latter has finally been revealed, but people like Torrey continue to prey on the vulnerable, the wretched, the powerless and the abandoned free from proper legal scrutiny and accountability for their actions.

    For Torrey, the medical-ethical injunction, primum non nocere, first do no harm, is meaningless. He operates under the tutelage of a different principle, one which more accurately describes what your average psychiatrist does; first, do harm.

  • Anosognosia is an integral component of the self-supporting, self-legitimating interpretative scheme of believers in the scientistic faith of psychiatry.

    Whenever the patient or potential patient says something to your average rogue medical professional they deem intolerable, or to be a monstrous irreverence, they conceptualize the individual’s obduracy and resistence to the gospel according to Mental Health Nazis in medical terms, in terms of the patient’s elusive disease.

    When on the other hand you say something they want to hear (such as “the drugs you forced me to take have saved my life”), this is met with an abeyance of their critical faculties.

    You say what they want you to say, your word is sacrosanct, and used to justify orthodox psychiatric practice. If the patient says, “I am glad you coerced me”, a psychiatric reason for this is not imputed to your words. If on the other hand the patient says “I’m not ill”, “I’m Saint Francis of Assisi” or “I defecate on your profession”, your words are meaningless, or only meaningful within the context of their symptomatic significance.

    For example, on that squalid little cyber-rag, the Guffington post, DJ Jaffe regularly draws upon, in support of his bigotry and prescriptions for medicalized violence, studies that have shown that the majority of patients are retrospectively grateful for their mistreatment, which bears eloquent testimony to the point I am making, namely, that your words only matter to these rabid Mental Health maniacs when your thoughts and verbal productions are aligned with the views and desires of the oppressor.

    How often does one hear an institutional psychiatrist claim that the patient’s claims that his/her life has been saved by the drugs they were forced to take (for which there is about as much proof as there is for claims made by some that Jesus Christ saved their lives) could be attributable to a “delusional system” or “lack of insight”?

    The concept of anosognosia performs the dual function of circumventing the obdurate psychiatric heretic and camouflaging the sheer injustice of psychiatric coercion and violence.

    Torrey’s remarks beg the question, where is the evidence of illness in the first place? Oh, I forgot, in Torrey’s world, the anomalous behaviours and beliefs themselves are evidence of illness, much like for people who believed in the existence of witches, certain bodily stigmata, such as a supernumerary nipple, were deemed irrefutable proof that the owner of that body was a witch.

    Torrey says, “a woman with schizophrenia sits daily in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, believing she is married to the President and waiting for him to call her to come over. She believes he has to wait to acknowledge her because of the interference of Israeli secret agents. She is very patient and, at night, sleeps on the streets, where she is regularly abused. When offered medication, she adamantly refuses it, saying there is nothing wrong with her. This is anosognosia.” Ipse dixit.

    Like many psychiatrists, Torrey ignores the many studies that show the damage to the brains of people because of neuroleptic mistreatment.

    Torrey says, “If we believe the woman with schizophrenia sitting in Lafayette park is merely exercising her civil rights to live as she chooses, that is a comforting thought, and we should defend her right to do so. If, on the other hand, we believe she has brain damage secondary to her schizophrenia, which impairs her right to choose, then that is an uncomfortable.”

    First off, I don’t believe she has schizophrenia, that is merely imputed to her. Also, note how Torrey concedes in this passage that this is merely a belief. I don’t care what Mr Torrey and his ilk believe. I fail to see why his beliefs should occupy such a privileged position in a hierarchy of beliefs that conveys to those who espouse them the entitlement to go around imposing them on other people. I expect no such privileges and entitlements for my own beliefs, why does Torrey and all the other psychiatrists who impose themselves on others expect them?

  • If schizophrenia is a brain disease, as Torrey confidently asserts, then why is the recovery (as in recovery from the problems misrepresented as a disease) rate so high? Obviously, you don’t see such a thing amongst people with established brain diseases like MS and Alzheimer’s.

    Torrey arrogantly asserts, in conclusion of a paragraph that amounts to little more than ventilating his prejudices, that “any Mental Health professional who doubts schizophrenia is a brain disease is probably restricting their reading to the National Geographic”.

    I’m not buying into the idea that he is an inerrant investigator of neuroimaging research. He examines the evidence in the light of his own prejudices, and passes it off as unquestionable proof that the brain disease hypothesis is correct.

    The first thing that must be said is that even if he is correct, and ‘schizophrenics’ have a brain disease, that doesn’t mean its study and treatment should fall within the purview of psychiatrists, who are not proper neurologists, and who as a group of people have the worst record in human history of damaging and diseasing the human brain.

    Confirmation of the brain disease hypothesis should only lead to the annihilation. We’ve already got neurology. Leave the brain to them. A proper neurologist does not treat brain diseases by giving the patient neuropathogenic drugs or by hacking at his/her lobes like it was a piece of dead meat!

    Anyway, the raison d’etre of psychiatry is to treat mental illnesses, not brain diseases. A brain disease is a brain disease, not a mental illness. We don’t say of someone who has a neurological disorder like epilepsy or a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s that that person has a mental illness or that their disease causes mental illness, and for good reason. Sure, individuals experience symptoms of these diseases, but the symptoms aren’t ‘mental illness’; yet the people who usually support the brain disease hypothesis do so in order to prove the existence of ‘mental illness'(for example, Rael Jean Isaac claims Szasz’s contention that mental illness is a myth is nonsense because the brains of such people are diseased, proving that there is such a thing as mental illness), as if denying the existence of mental illness is synonymous with denying the existence of brain diseases.

    What Torrey doesn’t mention in that paragraph is that the brain is not impervious to experience of the world and that trauma could account for structural abnormalities, as opposed to “the schizophrenia disease process”, a “disease” where recovery is common without treatment.

  • Dr Torrey, stop lying? Dream on Rob. The moral distinction between telling a lie and telling the truth has long since been forgotten by Torrey, if he ever understood it at all. He’s right up there with Goebbels as one of the world’s great liars.

    True, we all of us lie, but Torrey is just an inexhaustible fount of lies! Here we have a man who admits to giving perjured testimony in a court of law, yet he is the object of all this adulatory attention from many patients and parents!? Probably has something to do with the fact that they are all habitual liars as well.

    I like how you can’t leave any comments on the TAC articles, which is probably a sign of a closed system of thought, as well as intolerance of unflattering opinions.

  • Brutal! There’s no responsibility or accountability whatsoever, and where there is neither of these, there is a growing sense of entitlement.

    I’m getting blamed for the crap I’m going through since I reduced my dose of venlafaxine from 225 to 75 mg. You tell them about the spasms, the terrifying perceptual and physical shocks, the sensitivity to aural and visual stimuli, and the temporal relation of all this to the dose reduction of this drug, and they blame it on my supposed anxiety disorder, just like everyone else is doing, and all this was said in front of some student rogue medical professional, who I’m sure will learn from all this and do the same when she has patients.

    Yet from all this, all the countless millions of instances of organ damage, of often irreversible iatrogenic suffering, the modern psychiatric historiographer and ideologue has extracted a narrative of progress! Unbelievable.

  • What annoys one is when they go around talking as if there were an antipsychiatry movement, one single homogenous group which one can gain membership to, all members united by adherence to the same manifesto! It’s preposterous, yet these are the same people who set themselves up as supremely rational and sane, as being in touch with this elusive entity that we call reality. People get sectioned for what is essentially the same thing; distorted, delusional thinking.

    In an article I read by Rael Jean Isaac yesterday, she talks of an “anti-treatment movement”, as if there is a movement where people are opposed to getting real treatment for real diseases! This would be similar to myself claiming that people like her are part of an “anti-Bill of rights movement”, or “anti-Hippocratic Oath movement”.

  • You can add a fourth absurdist to that list; Rael Jean Isaac. She wrote a book, Madness on the Streets, in the early nineties, which now proudly sits next to my toilet in case of emergency.

    Just like Torrey, she tries to hijack the moral high ground, fulminating anathemas from her pulpit against men like Thomas Szasz, yet impoverishes her claims with the same demagogic nonsense, evoking stereotypes to justify her prejudices. One minute, it’s “oh, the poor mentally ill, oh the tragedy of not being allowed to have the lobotomy (she sees lobotomy as a viable treatment for this most elusive of diseases) that would deliver them from all mental evil, oh, what preventable tragedy”, and the next minute the usual steroetypes about the association between this so-called disease that only psychiatric Ubermenschen can see, and violence.

    In order not to undercut her Draconian prescriptions, she studiously ignores and avoids discussion of the tragedy of iatrogenic death and suffering, of being locked up in a facility where you are left a prey to the predations of the kinds of vultures that, historically and contemporarily, have existed and exist abundantly in these nominal hospitals, where some of the most brutal and inhumane treatments have been meted out, thereby making a mockery of the claims made by people like this odious woman and that rat in human form, Dr Torrey, that it is inhumane that so many of the so-called “mentally ill” are in prison (where they would have more rights and protection from staff than they would in a psychiatric prison).

    She believes that to support involuntary “treatment” would be a truly Libertarian policy! She has a monomaniacal obsession with Thomas Szasz, caricaturing the man, reducing him to her own intellectual level, so she can demolish him.

    No doubt she must hate Jim Gottstein, because in her squalid little book, of colonic origin, she denounces the civil rights lawyers in the most excoriating terms, blaming them for what is wrongly thought of as deinstitutionalization (actually, transinstitutionalization).

    She even believes in the existence of an “anti-treatment movement”!

    I hope this isn’t deemed too off-topic. I thought I would use this opportunity to unveil the presence of another psychiatric totalitarian in our midst, one whose views don’t seem to have elicited much critical response in comparison to those of people like Fuller, Jaffe, or even Satel, even though hers strike me as being the very quintessence of psychiatric extremist ideology. Her lies mustn’t go unchallenged, anymore than Torrey’s.

    As for the article, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more of a response, because in my unhumble opinion it is one of the best I’ve read on MIA.

  • Although what you say about psychoactive drugs influencing experience is true to a large degree, even then it is contingent upon the cultural, immediate environmental and interpersonal context to some degree as well.

    I am confident, even with all the experiential baggage I have accumulated from taking many different drugs, that differences in brain functioning occasioned by the consumption of a psychoactive agent, for example, don’t compel us to perform a complicated criminal and most importantly learnt criminal and non-criminal behaviours, even when the drug creates a strong stimulus for action (such as akathisia); just like I’m confident that even in situations that do not necessarily conduce to the exercise of self-restraint, man can resist his impulses through deliberation and training.

    Complex, criminal, learnt behaviours aren’t autonomic. The so-called behaviours (I say ‘so-called’ because the following are more like neurological reflexes) that result from brain disease and damage, such as the seizures of an epileptic and or the dyskinesias of someone with TD, do not prove, for example, that a person who robs a bank, does so because his brain compelled it, a preponderant misconception in my opinion used to buttress neurodeterminist theory.

    We don’t learn to have seizures; we simply have them. Nor do we learn to have dyskinesias; we simply have them. We do learn to perform complex actions, something acquired through interaction with the phenomenal world.

  • Jeffrey C subscribes to the reductionistic and scientistic view of human experience, knowledge and behaviour. Fine, but this desperate attempt to assimilate the rest of MIA to his ossified opinions on this matter is becoming power-sappingly tedious.

    He doesn’t see people, only meaty, pulsating receptacles for brains that, according to his theory (recast and redefined as fact), exist in an experiential and cultural vacuum, denying one of the essential constituents of what it is to be human, namely, the interplay between man and the phenomenal world.

    “That’s where personality comes from, right down to preferences for music and tastes for food and politics and beliefs and absolutely everything.”

    What can one say in the face of such invincible ignorance? Maybe Jeffrey has spent his life in a cardboard box or something, I don’t know.

    He says “absolutely everything”. So let’s get this straight; I speak with a welsh accent, not by virtue of a kind cultural osmosis or because I have been inculcated upon by the culture in which I have developed? I don’t care how dogmatic you are in your delivery, some of us are never going to convert to that way of thinking.

    In another of his comments, he almost surreptitiously sneaks in a concession as if it in no way contradicted what he had been peremptorily asserting in his other comments when he concedes that “experience plays a role in your brain’s development”, which is irreconcilable to the monocausal theory of human behaviour, opinions, aesthetic predilections etc., that he asserts elsewhere as if it were a truth imparted to him through divine revelation.

    As for the point about opinions, a man will most likely become a Hindu in India not because the belief is encoded into his brain but because of man’s susceptibility to the beliefs and opinions of the society in which he is reared, and from his indivdual experiences that inspire his thought in a certain direction and that engenders sympathy towards certain thinkers and streams of thought, as well as because he doesn’t want to espouse any beliefs that might interfere with his basic interests, amongst other things.

    Does the brain play a role in this? Of course, but his opinions are not innate, they are merely passively assimilated in the most, reason and judgement only playing a role in the few relatively independent thinkers who are not as preoccupied with the admission into and approbation of the herd.

  • You say that coercion is never pleasant for the staff. I wholeheartedly disagree. Some people derive a lot of pleasure from controlling and punishing people, and it is natural that this particular species of human would gravitate towards the jobs that offer them scope to exercise their will to control and punish.

    Also, whether or not a psychiatrist or his/her subordinates derives pleasure from coercing and meting out punishment to a patient is contingent upon the character of the relationship. If there is enmity between the two, then the one who has powers that he/she can use to his/her advantage in the struggle might derive pleasure where otherwise he/she wouldn’t.

    Your argument on this issue is transparent propaganda that makes me think that, well, you would say that wouldn’t you, I mean, after all, in order to adapt to your environment properly, you need to be constantly inventing casuistries to pacify your conscience and to think well of your actions, casusitries that have come to seem like self-evident truths to those who profit emotionally, psychologically and materially from them.

    By the way, I also don’t believe that there is anything psychologically deviant about the lust for power.

    To paraphrase Jeffrey Schaler from a recent debate about coercion on Cato Unbound, there is no postscript to the Bill of Rights stating “for mentally healthy people only”, just like there is no postscript stating that it should be left to the discretion of delusional psychiatrists (or to use your terminology, people who do what they do and think what they think by dint of some ‘delusional system’) who should be free and who should be allowed to own their own bodies.

    You say that, as a budding coercer, you were determined to do what is in the best interests of the patient. If that was what really motivated you, you would have quit, having long since realised that you are simply not at liberty to act always in the patient’s best interests, because it is the interests of the state, of society, of the family, as well as the economic interests of the institution, that prevail where coercion is being used, which is an elephant in the room ignored because acknowledgement of its existence would be less emotionally and psychologically rewarding for the kind of tyrant who likes to delude himself that he is the benefactor of those whom he tyrannizes.

    What you have not given us evidence of is why that gentleman underwent a change. Maybe it was because he recognised he was in a situation where he had no recourse to help whatsoever, so he changed his strategy, fully cognisant that more resistence to the busybodies who wouldn’t stop pestering the poor, hapless sod, would be an exercise in futility. Maybe this realization of the futility of resistence was the causative factor in this change of behaviour after all.

    There are two kinds of human beings in this world. The first are easily susceptible to despair and fear in the face of insuperable opposition and do whatever they have to do to rid themselves of such intolerable sensations; the second, are like springs, in that the harder you push them, the harder they come back at you.

    Whenever there is a discussion of the use of coercion in psychiatry by proponents of it, such considerations are conveniently ignored, and the change in a patients behaviour is wrongly attributed to the ‘treatment’ of that person’s illness, and the role of force in rendering the individual more manueuverable to behavioural change is consigned to oblivion.

    I think the gentleman whose story you have given a biased account of is of that kind, but even if he wasn’t, even if he was grateful from the bottom of his heart, doesn’t make the act of pharmacologic-biological rape any the less despicable, especially when it clearly traumatises so many people and has biological and existential repercussions worse than the victim who experiences literal rape could ever dream of.

  • “I would add that there is another group of people who we do not here from as much here and those are the ones who have had periods of extreme distress, were treated within the current system and had good outcomes. I know that from my daily experience. It is one of those that I struggle with since I do not know why it is okay to dismiss those people’s experiences.”

    What objective criteria are there for this? Psychiatrists are some of the most powerful people on the planet. The possibility of coercion pervades every relationship between a patient and a psychiatrist, its weight being especially felt in the verbal intercourse between the two, and it is whether or not the patient says he is better and at least outwardly professes to be happy with his treatment that is one of, if not the, cardinal criterion for determining improvement.

    How do we know that the patient isn’t simply saying what the powerful psychiatrist wants to hear, isn’t telling a judicious lie, which is only beginning to unravel the skein of possible ways in which damage can be mistaken for improvement?

    For example, I feel quite confident, based on my interlocutions with my current psychiatrist, that she would say that I had been helped by the drugs she peddles, because quite frankly I say what she wants to hear, cognisant as I am that the wrong words could lead to the deprivation of my liberty. Maybe sometimes this is paranoia, but it is paranoia with more than a grain of truth, given the ubiquity of coercion in the history of psychiatry as well as in the contemporary world.

    For many patients, outer (in terms of their verbal communications) and inner submission (in terms of thought and feeling) to authority is like a survival strategy, much as it was for the chattel slave, which is one of many reasons why psychiatric slavery must be abolished and psychiatrists must be forced to compete fairly in the marketplace of ideas and services. Patients must be allowed to speak honestly about their treatment and the profession without fear of reprisal, a fear that may not always be occasioned by the reality of the situation, but is nevertheless perfectly understandable, and reasonable considering the powers the psychiatrist can often use to his/her advantage.