Archive for the ‘Conspiracy’ Category

The Myth of Mental Illness Part 5: CONCLUSIONS

Monday, May 22nd, 2017


I have tried to show that the notion of mental illness has outlived whatever usefulness it might have had and that it now functions merely as a· convenient myth.  As such, it is a true heir to religious myths in general, and to the belief in witchcraft in particular; the role of all these belief-systems was to act as social tranquilizers, thus encouraging the hope that mastery of certain specific problems may be achieved by means of substitutive (symbolic-magical)  operations.   The notion of mental illness thus serves mainly to obscure the everyday fact that life for most people is a continuous struggle, not for biological survival, but for a “place in the sun,” “peace of mind,” or some other human value. For man aware of himself and of the world about him, once the needs for preserving the body (and perhaps the race) are more or less satisfied, the problem arises as to what he should do with himself. Sustained adherence to the myth of mental illness allows people to avoid facing this problem, believing that mental health, conceived as the absence of mental illness, automatically insures the making of right and safe choices in one’s conduct of life. But the facts are all the other way. It is the making of good choices in life that others regard, retrospectively, as good mental health! Read the rest of this entry »


Monday, May 22nd, 2017


While I have argued that mental illnesses do not exist, I obviously did not imply that the social and psychological occurrences to which this label is currently being attached also do not exist.  Like the personal and social troubles which people had in the Middle Ages, they are real enough.  It is the labels we give them that concerns us and, having labelled them, what we do about them.  While I cannot go into the ramified implications of this problem here, it is worth noting that a demonologic conception of problems in living gave rise to therapy along theological lines. Today, a belief in mental illness implies — nay, requires–therapy along medical or psychotherapeutic lines.

What is implied in the line of thought set forth here is something quite different.  I do not intend to offer a new conception of “psychiatric illness” nor a new form of “therapy.”  My aim is more modest and yet also more ambitious. It is to suggest that the phenomena now called mental illnesses be looked at afresh and more simple, that they be removed from the category of illness, and that they be regarded as the expressions of man’s struggle with the problem of how he should live. The last mentioned problem is obviously a vast one, its enormity reflecting not only man’s inability to cope with his environment, but even more his increasing self-reflectiveness. Read the rest of this entry »

The Myth of Mental Illness Part 3: THE ROLE OF ETHICS IN PSYCHIATRY

Monday, May 22nd, 2017


Anything that people do — in contrast to things that happen to them (Peters, 1958) — takes place in a context of value.  In this broad sense, no human activity is devoid of ethical implications. When the values underlying certain activities are widely shared, those who participate in their pursuit may lose sight of them altogether.  The discipline of medicine, both as a pure science (for example, research) and as a technology (for example, therapy), contains many ethical considerations and judgments.  Unfortunately, these are often denied, minimized, or merely kept out of focus; for the ideal of the medical profession as well as of the people whom it serves seems to be having a system of medicine (allegedly) free of ethical value. This sentimental notion is expressed by such things as the doctor’s willingness to treat and help patients irrespective of their religious or political beliefs, whether they are rich or poor, etc.  While there may be some grounds for this belief — albeit it is a view that is not impressively true even in these regards — the fact remains that ethical considerations encompass a vast range of human affairs. By making the practice of medicine neutral in regard to some specific issues of value need not, and cannot, mean that it can be kept free from all such values. The practice of medicine is intimately tied to ethics; and the first thing that we must do, it seems to me, is to try to make this clear and explicit.  I shall [p. 116] let this matter rest here, for it does not concern us specifically in this essay,  Lest there be any vagueness, however, about how or where ethics and medicine meet, let me remind the reader of such issues as birth control, abortion, suicide, and euthanasia as only a few of the major areas of current ethicomedical controversy. Read the rest of this entry »


Monday, May 22nd, 2017


The term “mental illness” is widely used to describe something which is very different than a disease of the brain.  Many people today take it· for granted that living is an arduous process.  Its hardship for modern man, moreover, derives not so much from a struggle for biological survival as from the stresses and strains inherent in the social intercourse of complex human personalities.  In this context, the notion of mental illness is used to identify or describe some feature of an individual’s so-called personality.  Mental illness — as a deformity of the personality, so to speak — is then regarded as the cause of the human disharmony. It is implicit in this view that social intercourse between people is regarded as something inherently harmonious, its disturbance being due solely to the presence of “mental illness” in many people. This is obviously fallacious reasoning, for it makes the abstraction “mental illness” into a cause, even though this abstraction was created in the first place to serve only as a shorthand expression for certain types of human behavior. It now becomes necessary to ask: “What hinds of behavior are regarded as indicative of mental illness, and by whom?” Read the rest of this entry »

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