Saturday, January 25, 2020

Comments by verticalman56

Showing 16 of 16 comments.

  • I believe that, when it comes to depression, sadness, and all manner of despair and suffering, we lose sight of the fact that, since childhood, we were all culturally conditioned by narratives and we unwittingly internalized them as absolute truths. As ego developmental psychologist Dr. Susanne Cook Greuter said

    “The ego’s task is to turn experience into a coherent narrative about the world and make us thereby feel safe, important and to belong. How does it do that? It does so by telling a culturally influenced story about who we are and why we’re here and for what purpose. When we are not able to tell a good story about ourselves, our past and our future we feel lost and anxious. Ego is all about denying our mortality therefore facing and embracing this is a part of late stage realization. Human development moves from the newborn’s unconscious union with the mother to a conscious union with everyone and everything. As we grow up we construct meaning by learning the vocabulary and the scripts available to us from our languages and our cultures. Languages divide the seamless experience into separate objects with distinct boundaries and evaluative attributes. We are so totally immersed in a sea of symbols that we hardly notice the way it lose us into the dream of knowledge. The idea of a separate self in western cultures is just one result of this phenomenon. It is ironic that concepts such as purpose and soul as well as ego are symbolic abstractions that do not exist outside of language and our agreed-upon definitions. Yet we treat them almost always as if they were palpable real thing”

    In his book, “The Struggle for Your Mind: Conscious Evolution and the Battle to Control How We Think” Dr Dennis Kingsley said that

    “Throughout our lives we are subjected to indoctrination by a systemic structure of processes and institutions. Within this conditioning environment beliefs almost “grow” into us. And once they are a part of our socially constructed selves they are sustained, reinforced, and protected, often unconsciously, by psychological processes of perception. With few rare exceptions, all people are brought up within specific culturally defined environments (or templates). A person’s dominant social milieu then attempts to offer a variety of accepted socio-cultural norms of thought and behavior. These may operate through various forms, such as personal faith, religion, science, language and emotions, denial and doubt, happiness and fear, safety and security (identity and belonging), well-being and materialism. Once ingrained, a person is liable to perpetuate such traits, believing them to have been obtained through “free thought.” In the end, we reinforce beliefs that have grown into us, accepting and defending them as our own. So when we say, “I don’t believe,” what we often in fact mean to say is, “I automatically reject everything my brain is not wired to receive.” The end result is that for most of us we only believe those things we want to believe or that fit within our perceptual paradigms and/or experiences”

    So the question arises, is there a difference between biological, psychological, and existential depression? If so, I believe it is the latter that underlies the others and if we continue assuming its a difference that makes no difference, all manner of human suffering will continue. Would it be true to say that what Dr. Fidel actually did was to question his own existence in a profound way? i.e. all that he knew about himself and his place in the world? As Magdalene said “he was socialized to adopt to fit into his family of origin, education system, society, and the political economy at large” As I understand it, this was a narrative he unwittingly adopted as so many of us do believing it would make us happy. In this, Dr. Fidel reminds me of Dr Josef Breuer depicted in the film “When Nietzsche Wept” based on Irvin Yalom’s book by the same name. Free to watch here As historically inaccurate though it may be, the film nevertheless dramatizes the truth about our false self and how it torments us in countless ways. And as painful as it may be in letting go of all that we believe ourselves to be, in the end it is also liberating. It is what Dr. Jung referred to as legitimate suffering.

  • Hi Magdalene,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on Dr. Fidel’s book..I’m this close from buying it. I’ve been trying to get Robert Whitaker or someone else in MIA to do a book review on Dr. Steven James Bartlett’s book “Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health: the need to look elsewhere for standards of good psychological health”
    I sent this book to Robert a few years ago but it seems he’s a very busy man. Anyway, I believe Dr. Bartlett is a must read for anyone who believes in the MIA mission. In this, perhaps you or someone you know could do a book review on Bartlett’s book. I’ll even send a hard-copy -free of charge- for anyone interested.

  • Varun,
    So you want to reveal the truth about the university mental health system? Why not reveal the truth of our ENTIRE mental health system? Dr Steven James Bartlett’s book “Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health: the needs to look elsewhere for standards of good psychological health” just might help your cause.
    Says he,

    “As a result of human recalcitrance to acknowledge our own pathology, in the history of behavioral science, and in particular in the history of psychology and psychiatry, almost no effort has been made to gain an understanding of human pathology that has its roots in normal–as opposed to abnormal psychology. Primarily among psychiatrists there have been a few notable exceptions, including Menninger, Fromm, Peck, Milton Erickson, and others whose observations are discussed in Bartlett (2005), all of whom have had the courage to recognize the pathological constitution of the ordinary person who so often is a willing participant in inflicting suffering, death, and destruction. But despite the work of these few researchers, psychology and psychiatry have doggedly reserved the term `pathology’ exclusively for application to individuals and groups judged to be abnormal, that is, whose psychology deviates from the norm. This, as Bartlett (2005) attempts to show, is short-sightedness in the extreme”

  • Robert said that

    Robert said that

    “this blaming ultimately prevents us from acknowledging the obvious truth: the regular presence of mass murders in our society needs to be seen as a societal failure. Blaming it on the “mentally ill”—whoever that mythical group may be—simply helps perpetuate that failure”

    I believe that this failure in our society resides in the pathological narratives created by political extremist, politicians, and especially Donald Trump who has an Authoritarian personality par excellence along with his shameful administration who follow him blindly because they are intoxicated by keeping power.

    In this, Hannah Arendt said that Eichmann was no madman but instead he was just “following orders” because he had “curious, quite authentic inability to think”. The same can be said of any leader of any country who have too much power and the US is certainly no exception as the Republicans become subservient to Trump’s whims hence complicit in his malignant and racist narratives that appeal to the irrational emotions of the masses and especially those who are sleepers.

    “With the exception of many criminals, bullies, and other people who have already behaved violently or abusively, the majority of psychologically normal people are “sleepers”-that is, they are dispositionally inclined, when the situation is right, to aggression and destructiveness. Their patterns of thought and behavior are to be understood dispositionally, that is, in the conditional sense that, if an adequately provoking situation arises, then the behavior that results will tend to be malignant: they have a pathogenic willingness to inflict harm, which remains latent until an appropriate situation arises. Such a situation may, for example, come in the form of war, ideological conflict, unrestricted power over others (as in an inadequately supervised prison), narcissistic injury, or in many other ways. Such “adequately provoking situations” unfortunately, as we know, arise with great frequency and prevalence”

    From Steven James Bartlett’s book “Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health:the need to look elsewhere for standards of good psychology health

    I wish someone in MIA would do a book review of Bartlett’s book

  • Hi Zenobia,
    I hope you are reading this.
    I gave a book to Robert Whitaker titled “Normality does Not Equal mental Health: The Need to Look Elsewhere for Standards of Good Psychological Health” Written by Dr. Steven James Bartlett. I sent this book to Robert about a year ago in hopes he -or someone he knows in MIA – would do a book review. Much of what Bartlett is arguing for ties in with Dr. Dalal’s many concerns. Ideally, I wish someone in MIA would do a 3 part video interview with Dr. Bartlett because his findings puts into question the whole of psychiatry as we know it. Anyway, I have an additional hardback copy that I’m willing to part with for anyone in MIA who will do a good book review. So if you are up for it, let me know where to send it.

  • Dr. Johnson,

    Dr. Deepak Chopra pointed out that

    “Suffering is when you are attached to your pain. But pain needs to be witnessed (embraced). When you lock up your pain, it becomes anger; anger is nothing but remembered pain. What is anxiety and fear? It is anticipated pain. What is guilt? It is redirected pain (towards oneself). What is depression? It is the depletion of energy when you don’t know these things. These are the sorrows of our society, when we do not embrace our pain”

    Would it be true to say that when you refer to trauma, you are referring to remembered pain? If so, would you say that it is adequately dramatized in the film, Good Will Hunting where Will is being told repeatedly, “it’s not your fault” to the point where he breaks down in abdominal sobbing?

    Would the film, “Prince of Tides” be another dramatization of remembered pain where Tom is gently confronted with the trauma he experienced when he was 13? In both cases, we see how they try to avoid feeling what had actually happened to them in the past. It is as if the body remembers what the mind tries to forget.

    I’d appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you

  • Hi Marigold,
    You may already know this but any kind of psychotherapy has its benefits and its limits. Mainly because most therapist do not have the deep experiential awareness needed in helping others. All they have are theories that are turned into ideologies -unbeknownst to themselves. Any person can have a PhD ten times over and it would not make a particle of difference because it’s all head stuff. As Dr. Alice Miller said in her book “Free from Lies: discovering your true needs”

    “I AM FREQUENTLY asked what I consider to be the decisive factor in successful psychotherapy. Is it realization of the truth and the liberation from the injunction to keep silent and idealize one’s parents, or is it the presence of an “enlightened witness”? I believe that this is not a case of either-or, since both are essential. Without an “enlightened witness,” it is simply impossible to bear the truth of early childhood. But for me an “enlightened witness” is not just someone who has studied psychology or been through primal experiences with a guru. In my view, “enlightened witness” are people who have found the courage to face up to their own histories, thus achieving autonomy without having to compensate for their repressed impotence by exercising power over others”

    I believe Dr. Miller’s observation is true. Of the 4 psychotherapist I had in my lifetime, only one I regard worthy of being an enlightened witness. Unfortunately these days, it’s near impossible to find such therapist since their diploma hanging in their office says nothing about being an enlightened witness.
    And when it comes to DBT, BPD, and many other forms of therapy, I believe they are far removed from addressing our most pressing inner conflicts at a deep level. This is not to say that all of them are useless, rather, we need more than just theories to free ourselves from all manner of suffering.
    In this respect, and as I reflect on my own path to inner freedom, what has saved me is the sudden realization that we, as humans, are not self realized i.e. our creative potential for emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth have not yet been fully realized. Why? because we are stuck in a rut, confined within a social economic environment that have adverse effects towards self realization.
    Take, for instance what Dr. Mari Ruti said in her book, “The Case for Falling in Love: Why We Can’t Master the Madness of Love

    “The French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir famously states that “one is not born a woman, but becomes one.” What she means is that none of us enters the world with an instinctive understanding of what being a woman means. We gather this understanding gradually, through being immersed in a cultural environment that holds particular views about men and women. We begin to learn how to correctly “perform” our gender well before we learn to speak. By the time we are adolescents, the codes of appropriate femininity are so deeply ingrained, so automatic, that we consider them as innate. We don’t recognize them as cultural constructs, but rather take them to be an accurate reflection of our “nature”; they are simply who we “are.”

    As I understand Dr. Ruti, she says that we are culturally conditioned beings, programmed, -literally-, by the culture in which we live. Hence we have unwittingly buried our authentic self. This means that we must begin exercising the virtue of self awareness and find within ourselves our true self, trying though it may be.

  • (apparently, my first reply shown below did not go through -good thing I made a copy)

    So I’m watching Dr. Sheldon Solomon’s lecture
    Titled “Election 2016 Fatal Attraction 092216” and he has a lot to say about the problems we are facing today. Whether it’s climate change, crony capitalism, immigration, and mental health. In his lecture, he quotes from Erich Hoffer’s book “The True Believers” and Hoffer’s description of a leader fits Trump to a T:

    “Charismatic leaders, need not be exceptionally intelligent, noble, or original. Audacity and a joy in defiance; an iron will; a fanatical conviction that he is in possession of the one and only truth; faith in his destiny and luck; a capacity for passionate hatred; contempt for the present; a cunning estimate of human nature; a delight in symbols (spectacles and ceremonials)…the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world [and] some deliberate misrepresentation of facts”

    Here are Trump’s blind followers

    “faith in the future via identification; the process by which the individual ceases to be himself and becomes part of something eternal. The primary impetus for all populist movements is a critical mass of frustrated and disaffected citizens subject to grave economic and/or psychological insecurity “in desperate need of something…to live for.” Such citizens are thus prone to unwavering dedication and loyalty to a leader who confidently espouses a cause that infuses their lives with a sense of “worth and meaning”

    “Mass movements also require an external enemy to enable the charismatic leader to direct/deflect the rage and righteous indignation of the frustrated and disaffected followers toward a tangible scapegoat, an individual or group of individuals designated as an all-encompassing-repository of evil who must be subdued or eradicated”

    “All active mass movements strive…to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth nor certitude outside of it…It is the true believer’s ability to “shut his eyes and stop his ears” to facts…which is the source of his unequaled fortitude and constancy. He cannot be frightened by danger nor disheartened by obstacles nor baffled by contradictions because he denies their existence”

    As far as I’m concerned, the above quotes are the definitive diagnosis to one of our many major social ills that makes all social movements for change near impossible. The vast majority of the masses are vulnerable to credulity and are willing to believe anything especially in troubled economic times.
    The 24/7 propaganda machines in politics, advertising, education, and religious organizations are keeping the masses dumb and stupid -to put it bluntly- and the worst part that they are clueless of their conditioning. It is the very ideas and beliefs that they internalized that prevents them from realizing they are being royally duped. So how do you wake them up from their delusions and fears? This is not so much about the changes need in our mental health field, what we actually need is a transformation in consciousness that can then change everything for the better. But we can’t do it if the masses continue think, feel, and believe in things that keep them programmed -literally- to behave like automatons.

  • Hi Emily,
    Glad you found Fromm’s quote meaningful. I have all his books and read them religiously. Mainly because much of what he says and the way he writes carries with it a humanistic, existential, ethical, and social approach to the perennial problems of human existence.
    He looks at human suffering from within but also from without since the world we live in has adverse effects to our well being. I’ve also been reading a few of Dr. Steven James Bartlett’s books. “The Pathology of Man” and especially “Normality does not equal Mental health: The Need to Look Elsewhere for Standards of Good Psychological Health”
    According to Wikipedia, Dr. Bartlett is the author or editor of more than 20 books and research monographs as well as many papers published in professional journals in the fields of epistemology, psychology, mathematical logic, and philosophy of science.
    I sent this book to Robert Whitaker last year in hopes he or someone in MAD would do a book review. Ideally, it would be great for MAD to have a 3 part interview with Dr. Bartlett because much of what he says is very much in accord with MAD’s mission in
    rethinking psychiatric care and if there is anyone who has done that with depth and aplomb, it’s Dr. Bartlett. I’d be willing to donate $50 to anyone in MAD to help defer the cost of getting Bartlett’s book reviewed. Or can also send another free hardback copy to you or anyone you know who is willing to get Bartlett”s book noticed and with the attention it deserves. His book is not for the fainthearted, but I’m sure anyone at MAD would have no problems with that.

  • “Today, millions of people in America and Europe try to find contact with tradition and with teachers who can show them the way. But in large part the doctrines and teachers are either fraudulent, or vitiated by the spirit of public relations ballyhoo, or mixed up with the financial and prestige interests of the respective gurus. Some people may genuinely benefit from such methods in spite of the sham; others will apply them without any serious intention of inner change. But only a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of the new believers could show how many belong to each group” Erich Fromm, from his book “To have or To be?” 1976

  • “Hold your fire, colleagues. We don’t have the evidence we thought would show up. We’ve stumbled and have relied on opinions rather than evidence. It’s time to reboot, to rethink things, to go back to basics and use the scientific method to debunk a lot of what we’ve been saying”

    Dr. Warme, I sent to Bob Whitaker a copy of Dr. Steven James Bartlett’s book “Normality does not Equal Mental Health” in January of last year in hopes he would review it (or someone he knows would be willing to) I believe this book was made for MAD. I still have an extra hardback copy I can send you should you be interested in writing about it on MAD. I have not found any reviews of this book yet I believe it has profound insights and meaning as to how our mental health institutions have lost their way. I offered this book to the psychology department at the University where I work but they won’t touch it because it most likely puts into question their profession. One which, you would think, should be an antecedent to the truth and even to the future of humanity.

  • Hi Mr. Spiegel,

    Should you be interested, I have a copy of Dr. Steven James Bartlett’s book

    “Normality does Not Equal Mental Health: The Need to Look Elsewhere for Standards of Good Psychological Health”

    I can also send it to you via Amazon, I just need an address.

    I sent this book to Whitaker in hopes he or someone else could benefit from it and hopefully write a review. Ideally, an interview with Dr. Bartlett would be great. If funds were to be raised to help pay for the cost of travelling to see Dr. Bartlett, I’d be willing pitch in $50.

    I read a lot of humanistic psychology and consider myself an autodidact on it because few schools teach it and I’m too far away from them. I like to think of Dr. Bartlett picking up where my hero, Dr. Erich Fromm, left off in his pursuit of that which our mental health institutions are unaware of- MAD’s supreme concern.

    My book donation to you (or anyone else you might know is interested in it) is my way of helping anyone at MAD make a greater positive difference in the mental health field than I ever could.

    George C.

  • “Why is it seen as an acceptable ‘answer’ to say someone was ‘mentally ill,’ when so many who are diagnosed don’t harm anyone?”

    That’s because most of us are asleep in our waking state. In the words of Dr. Arthur J. Deikman

    “So habitual is the trance of ordinary life that one could say that human beings are a race that sleeps and awakens, but does not awaken fully. Because half-awake is sufficient for the task we customarily do, few of us are aware of the dysfunction of our condition.”

    Dr. Bartlett picks up where Deikman left off…..

    “When I speak of “predispositions” or “propensities” what I mean is that, with the exception of many criminals, bullies, and other people who have already behaved violently or abusively, the majority of psychologically normal people are “sleepers”-that is, they are dispositionally inclined, when the situation is right, to aggression and destructiveness. Their patterns of thought and behavior are to be understood stood dispositionally, that is, in the conditional sense that, if an adequately provoking situation arises, then the behavior that results will tend to be malignant: they have a pathogenic willingness to inflict harm, which remains latent until an appropriate situation arises. Such a situation may, for example, come in the form of war, ideological conflict, unrestricted power over others (as in an inadequately supervised prison), narcissistic injury, or in many other ways. Such “adequately provoking situations” unfortunately, as we know, arise with great frequency and prevalence”

    Steven James Bartlett. Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health: The Need to Look Elsewhere for Standards of Good Psychological Health

    I sent this book to Robert Whitaker a few months ago in hopes he would pass it on to all in MIA as a book worth reading. I believe it is, especially for those who strive to make sense of the madness we see every day and want to do something about it. From what Dr. Bartlett said, it means that there are many Thomas Mair’s and Omar Mateen’s among us that will strike at any given moment and so how can the FBI or CIA stop them BEFORE they go on a killing rampage? There is just no way you can do it unless all the news media will stop contributing to the madness by all manner of propaganda that depicts Muslims, Christians, Gays, Blacks, Whites, as evil. The media must stop trashing all religions, not just Islam. They must stop the vitriol coming out of the mouth of the likes of Ann Coulter and Michael Savage. There is so much anger, so much lies,deceptions, and distractions that prevent the masses from knowing the truth, All this along with political and religious ideologies acts like a virus in the mind and it affects some more than others. Those among us who are more credulous, whose capacity to think critically and objectively has been severely impaired by so much lies, misunderstandings, confusion, in addition to any dire socio economic condition they may be in, are more likely to act out their rage but by that time, it will be too late. The words coming out of the airwaves can be just as deadly as the spread of biological viruses. We are good at addressing the latter but not the former and because of this I fear the worst.