Healing the Insanity of
Psychiatric Medicines and Practice
for artistic perceptions see these videos:
Side effects of
It is one thesis of this small paper that
common sense thinking, applied to the question of the efficacy of modern
anti-psychotics and similar medicines, will reveal that such drugs cannot generally be healthy
for either the mental or physical health of the human being. They only seem to work, and then only if you
define the goal of the application of such medicine in a quite limited, and anti-human, fashion (behavioral modification
instead of healing).
supportive details from a self described "dissident psychologist"
This is not to say no good at all comes
from the lifetimes of effort put out by many professionals in these
fields, but rather that the picture we have of this work is spun, just
as politicians spin their versions of the truth. Spin is not the
truth, and in this essay we are trying to come nearer to the social
reality represented by our institutional mental health systems.
They are mostly not about mental health (those problems of the mind are not being adequately
researched or solved), but rather about power, wealth and social
It may help some possible confusion in
the reader to distinguish the psychiatric profession, from the
psychological profession. Most psychiatrists no longer
participate in talk therapy (classical analysis on the couch), but by
and large engage in the practice of diagnosis of mental illnesses
according to the DSM* V (a system of labeling various symptoms into a
name that can be recognized by the mental health system for purposes of
insurance payments and other institutional processes). Following
such a diagnosis the psychiatrist (being also an MD) prescribes
medications designed to adjust the behavior of the patient. More
will be said about this later.
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V,
for interesting details look it up on Wikipedia.]
Psychologists almost universally engage
is some form of talk therapy, although often in connection to some kind
of prescription medicine, and as well often using the same
classification system as the DSM V.
The important point above concerns the general method of thinking involved in the practice of this discipline (psychiatry), for that is where the
failure begins and ends. It is not so
much the individual thinking, but rather the institutional thinking -
the generalized paradigm which serves as the context and background to
all the rest. Let us begin the examination of
this method of thinking, by first looking at something with which most of us today
are quite familiar: the movement toward organic food.
Some history ...
In the 19th Century natural science reached a kind of pinnacle of
advances in knowledge were seen everywhere, and technical devices of all kinds were being created in
the hope of solving any number of humanity's pressing problems. The industrial
revolution was a seeming success, and not a week went by without some scientist somewhere
knowledge or in some practical art.
In agriculture the plant had been studied in the laboratory very
how it was composed of basic elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen (plus a few trace elements) was
now assumed to be quite clear. Farms as a result
started to become more and more modeled after factories, where what is now called
mono-culture started to flourish. Machines planted the seeds, watered the plants and artificial fertilizers were added
to the soil to make up for any missing elements such as are related to
the plant's need for clay, silicon or calcium.
Large corporations grew into existence, many of them chemical
factories creating pure and ofttimes synthetic substances that were
applied at the farm or then later during procedures by which food was
to consumers via grocery stores.
Needs of commerce became
important and shelf life required new chemical methods of preservation. Foods were enhanced, adulterated, preserved, and supposedly purified. Flour was bleached. Sugar was too (keep in mind you wouldn't, yourself, directly drink bleach).
In many places, however, things were not coming out so well. Large farms using
mono-culture and artificial fertilizers found themselves more and more
attacked by insect life (nature, sensing something dead or dying or ill, sends its littlest
workers to take it apart, and return it to the whole). This required the application of poisons to kill the
also to kill any weeds (unwanted plants). The farm became essentially a chemical factory siting
astride the land. Ordinary farmers couldn't compete, and the whole of
of life, changed
Eventually, people began to question whether this was sane. After some time organic
farming (which is
really only a return to the pre-industrial farm)
became important, as ordinary common sense was applied by ordinary people
to examine the assumptions of mono-culture and corporate industrial
food processing and practices.
This is a brief, but I believe quite worthwhile picture. What is the nature of
the thinking that produced this history of farming practices that
ultimately have failed on such a huge scale to provide healthy food?
The first step was in natural science
has followed primarily a method of analysis (taking things apart). For example, the plant was burned in the laboratory to produce ash. Then the ash was
analyzed to see what were the basic elements of which it was made (the burning only eliminated
the water from the harvested plant - although that is not precisely true, for the combustion
process creates many products such as light and heat, but which come from where - the burning takes something
less quantifiable away from the once living plant.).
In any event, the modern scientist looks at plant biology on the farm
as a process by which the plant was created by the DNA of the seed out
of certain basic elements available in the soil. Already, before DNA, if the soil was lacking
added later (fertilizers
This turning of the farm into a chemistry
factory was before the need for ecological or holistic thinking was understood. Pure analysis needs to
be followed by wise synthesis. After you take something apart, you have to know how to put it back together, in order to prove you
actually learned something. The later discovered flaws of mono-culture have pretty
much proved that the original thinking about plants and foods was
To this analytical thinking was added the
thinking involved in mass production. Machines were seen as useful replacements for physical
labor and the farm became large and mechanized
(leading to mono-culture or farms sowing and
reaping only one plant, such as wheat or corn). The profit motive was added to the search for scientific
the whole thing becoming a bit distorted because as agricultural
colleges grew in size (and developed more research capacity),
a great deal of the funding for
research in these schools was provided by business (and sometimes government), neither of which had pure agendas and motives.
Ultimately, regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration became less the
defenders of the public interest, and more the creatures of the lobbyists for big
agricultural and chemical corporations.
Everyone today is more or less aware of
these facts and tendencies.
As common sense was applied, it became clear that the
earth in which plants were grown was itself alive with microorganisms
and worms etc. The
fertilizers and anti-weed and insect poisons were added
to the farm, the
more “dead” the soil became. A kind of vicious
cycle arose, which
and more chemicals on the farm,
that has since resulted in more and more a
denaturing of the food itself. We could try to look for laboratory evidence for this, but since it was the
human population itself upon which the experiment (denatured and processed food) was conducted, we need only look at
people to see the results.
Now it is not usual to relate to this
certain other facts, but it is clear to a holistic thinking that modern
diseases of the heart, and many cancers began to arise at the same time as
changes in farming. In fact, the so-called obesity epidemic in America is clearly
related as well. True experts in nutrition realize that the real reason so
many people are fat is because there is no actual nutrition in the food
you get at the grocery store. As a consequence the body keeps telling people to eat
more, but the
only thing in the food is empty calories which the body then stores (converts the excess of sugars
into fats) if one
has a certain body-type (an endomorph). Other body types burn all the calories, but need stimulants such
as caffeine and cigarettes in order to function at work and in home.
What is worse is that many today in the
medical field want to castigate the consumer, and leave aside or ignore the responsibility of the
producer of the food, as well as the role of the government (or absence of a role, might be a better way to
phrase it). Wealthy corporations and
corrupt government officials get a free ride, but the fat person has to take the whole blame for his
to be able to overcome corporate and
government power, and the influence of
same time raising the children and creating through our work all
So to the flawed excess of analysis
without synthesis, and the flawed excess of corporate greed, we must now add the
flawed reasoning which wants to blame the consumer for buying products
that should never have been sold to him in the first place.
Now why did we bother to look at this, in an article partly on
problems with mental health medications.
The reason should be clear to the
reader with common sense: the same flawed thinking that debased the food supply has
come alive in the realm of soul-healing, and is currently debasing the physical and mental health of
Natural science remains locked in an
excess of analysis, and an absence of wise synthesis.
Corporate greed in the creation of
pharmaceuticals has led to a need to force the sale through
advertising of products after products whose side effects kill
and injure. If these so-called medicines were truly healing,
there would be no need to sell them - they would sell themselves.
Government has become corrupted, as are
many universities and hospitals where research is conducted. In
the absence of holistic thinking, suffering is produced directly on
many minds. Lets look at some examples.
The writer of this essay has 18 years experience in the
trenches of the mental health field, including ten years as a mental health worker in a
for-profit psychiatric hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire. I could tell a lot of stories, but I'll just tell one, after making a few basic observations.
First of all it was clear, to my observation and
at the hospital were basically poorly supervised
a diagnosis made at the beginning of an admission remain the
same over the whole course of treatment (unless the patient had been in the system for years).
It was routine to order one medication (or more) in the beginning, and then change that as
treatment went forward. The goal, of course, was not to heal the patient, but to modify behavior. The diagnosis defined certain behavior as socially
psychiatrist experimented using various medications until the
desired behavioral result was reached.
During this process the subjective inner
life of the patient was often not a factor, although many patients came seeking help with their inner
states of being. Of course, such inner states often led to deviant social behaviors, such that people would
come recommended by various agencies (social services, the police, the family etc.). The new patient would have a complaint, of sorts, but the social matrix
surrounding this person would also have its own separate complaint.
The patient was worried about their state
of mind, and
the family or job was worried about their behavior. What we did was
modify behavior, often by what was essentially a chemical restraint on
some aspect of the patients subjective state of mind. We pressed down the
personality with drugs in order to make them more easily fit into their social
with this process a number of side-effects
(physical and mental
collateral damage is probably a more accurate term), some of which were more or less permanent (such as tardive dyskinesia).
Now in appreciating what I write here
about the psychiatrist as an experimenter, the reader should be clear that I am pointing out a great
deal of ignorance and some degree of arrogance
(just as was done to the farms we need for the food we eat).
At the same time it is the
institutional system of mental health that perpetuates these problems, because these flaws are
well known and are everywhere criticized, although unsuccessfully
(Google: psychiatric polypharmacy; psychiatric and organic
anti-psychiatry, for example). Psychiatry is a “soft” science, not a “hard”
science. It is more art than science, and a lot of people practicing it clearly don't have any
Lets do the horror story now ....
The hospital where I worked had a Chief
of Psychiatry (a
different job than the business head of the facility).
He was also paid outside money by
various pharmaceutical companies to manage research projects. When a new experimental
drug had to be tested, we were one place such tests were done. This process costs
a lot of money (the
drug company paid the full admission costs of all patients in the study
as well as additional staff time needed to support the study, such as through frequent
blood tests, physicals
The Chief of Psychiatry maintained “professional” relationships with the
Nashua community, and was in fact already the “doctor” for a number of individuals with chronic mental health
these individuals were provided living support through local social
services agencies, as they couldn't work and often needed help just with
basic living skills.
A new drug for schizophrenia was to be
shortly thereafter a number of regular patients of the Chief of
Psychiatry were admitted to the hospital to participate in the study. They were not in
were admitted solely for the study. Because the study was a double-blind study, some would get a placebo, instead of the
One patient, clearly receiving a placebo, began in a couple of weeks to show severe symptoms. He had been taken off
the medication that helped him live (with aid) in the community, and brought into the hospital for the study. He was, in the jargon we used, decompensating.
He began to be awake for 50 hours at a time, and then crash for about 16 hours and then be awake
again (I know this
because I was the one who went carefully through his chart to develop
these and other facts in order to confront the Chief of Psychiatry with
the torture of this individual). He wasn't eating and existed mostly on coffee and
his speech pressured (speedy and incoherent). He pestered staff and other patients constantly. Fortunately he was
not violent, just
nuisance to others, and of course miserable inside himself (for which his “madness” - as it were - offers him no understanding).
We forget, or ignore, that the world seen from inside such a mind is not the
same world we see at all.
Lets look at what happen here -
the reality. People with known mental
health issues were brought into the hospital to suit the convenience of
the Chief of Psychiatry and the drug company, and used as guinea pigs. This is not only shameful, but it ought to scare us that such callous and
indifferent impulses fill in the structural nature of the mental health
that no one objects on an institutional level.
Of course, the professionals put a good face on all such activity, because as anyone knows, we can with our thinking
Even today in the food industry, that system still lives
in denial of what has been done (and is being done that is worse)
to the food supply.
The same attitude is rampant in the
field of mental health. Natural science does not understand what it is doing. Commercial interests
mine this field of confusion for profit making purposes. And, the human beings, the patients and their
families (as well
as society) are
not being well served.
One really doesn't need to be an expert, but just use common sense; and, in fact recognize that the expert has his own agenda, which is often the
preservation of his status and his income.
The only way to stop the insanity of
the mental health institutional system is for public opinion to marshal
its common sense, and ask of their representatives in legislative bodies to
use their common sense as well.
Human beings shouldn't be the subject of
experiments by psychiatrists no longer interested in their subjective
inner well being, but only in changing the behavior, all supported by a
pharmaceutical industry which has proven it will lie and cheat in order
to make money. There
as everyone who looks at this question knows.
To come at this from another direction ...
There is a field of science that is called (or was called) coal tar chemistry. Basically this field (and its related industries) took something that was
already quite dead (petroleum in the ground) and killed it some more (took it apart on a massive scale). Those smelly gasoline making plants you drive by were at
one time called “cracking
what they do is heat the oil to very high temperatures, while keeping it under
pressure (crack the
petroleum coal tar into pieces that don't exist in nature) and then as the various
vapors rise, they
and make gasoline, kerosene etc. (a kind of distillation process). From this same chemistry
we have ingredients for plastics, cosmetics and even medicines. These are all synthetic, which among other things means nature didn't make them, man did (with all his selfish motives, and his ignorance and
We are aware today of all those allergies
that comes with the proliferation of these products throughout human
of this stuff. It
has a lot of uses, of which one is that it makes some people a lot of money. Lets make a synthesis, a common sense picture.
As science matures in knowledge, human impulses everywhere
look for personal advantage. The industrial revolution includes a chemical or synthetic revolution where all kinds of
substances are created that never before existed in nature. Human beings now swim in
a sea of synthetic (artificial) chemistry, for which their bodies
were never originally adapted. Nature made us, we made synthetics and synthetics are ruining our food, changing the climate and
torturing mental patients.
Seen as a whole social process, we've essentially
conducted a huge set of experiments on the human population of the
right, we are
the experimental subject of a lot of badly thought out theories, acting in collusion with
profit making industries.
We played with the world in ignorance and arrogance and now must reap the consequences. Yes, a lot of the time we were trying to solve problems and meet genuine human needs. But at the same time we were not humble. We believed we could try anything and fix any mistake. We were childish, and as all of us learn growing up, when you are impulsive and childish, you screw up, and sometimes ruin the rest of your life. Humanity, as a group, has been doing the same thing on a very large scale for some time.
Here's the rule that is frequently
violated: Just because you can do a thing, does not mean
you should do a thing.
At the beginning of this small paper I
made an off-hand remark regarding modern psychiatric medicine, which now needs some
said: “They only seem to work, and then only if you define
the goal of the application of such medicine in a quite limited, and anti-human, fashion.”
I have watched all kinds of people
receive all kinds of medications over my 18 years personal experience in the trenches of the field of
mental health. By “trenches” I mean direct patient care (the psychiatrists see their patients briefly, sometimes not even daily).
It is people like me who see them all day long and talk to
them as one human being to another (instead of as treating doctor to insane patient).
What we call “mental patients” are individuals of great personal courage, who suffer inwardly in
ways few of us can imagine. They live in an Age where they are not understood. They are often lucky to
have caregivers (nurses
health workers) who
treat them as human beings - with
mental health system treats them as things and as numbers on summary sheets. If they are really lucky
they sometimes get compassionate doctors, but these doctors are themselves caught up in the
institutional system, which has a quite distinct life of its own.
Years ago an acute observer of the
business world (Peter
forward something called “the Peter principle”, which
that: in a hierarchy people
naturally rise to level of their incompetence.
A truism for sure, but certainly not always
the nature of that competence can often be solely for
their own benefit. The present-day financial crisis in America is an example
of that truism. Our mental health institutional systems, and their related
pharmaceutical allies, are full of folks not very good at anything but serving
their own interests. We really shouldn't expect them to produce something that
helps mental patients - that's
agenda under which they operate.
John Maynard Keynes wrote this about our
economic system: “Capitalism is the
extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the
benefit of us all.” A similar statement can be said about the mental health
system. But we (patients, and families of patients, and Society, and state and federal
ourselves if we expect the institutional mental health system to
benefit those unique individuals we label "the mentally ill". The evidence showing
this failure is overwhelming. Hopefully this paper will reveal that even common sense
can know and understand this, and that we need to not be dependent upon so-called
experts to realize something is badly wrong.
Further, we need to realize that only we can fix it. The system won't fix
Of course, we often think of certain
people as violent and aggressive, and with good judgment want to
exclude them from our communities. This need to exclude is a
theme we'll come to at the end of this paper.
Lets add another approach to our
Above we noted that the scientist in the
laboratory sought to understand the plant through reducing it to ash. He did not study the
living plant in its natural environment, but removed it to the laboratory and disassembled it. The medical doctor
in this same period of scientific development spent a lot of time
taking apart the cadaver - the dead body. He did not concentrate on the living organism, but on the dead organism.
A similar kind of thinking has gone on in
brain studies, where
apparatus is assumed (if we read the literature carefully) to be the basis for all
mental activity. The scientist studied dead brains, and if he studied living
often studied ones with problems - that is ill or dysfunctional brains (such as people with the split
If we do a survey of psychological
find different attitudes there as well. Some study optimum states of consciousness, others only diseased or
deviant states of consciousness. Recall the Chief of Psychiatry, and his allies in the pharmaceutical industry - he tests his drugs on an already ill (socially deviant) population, who can't truly consent, because the real nature
of their abuse by the system is not apparent to them. Like most people in the
field, he and
his allies consider their activity (the use and abuse of the unfortunate in the pursuit of limited goals, such as behavioral
profit) to be
normal - that is okay. Remember, the psychiatrist and the
pharmaceutical company are not even trying to heal the patient, but
only modify behavior.
In the background here is a very deep
question, upon the rocks of which Western Civilization now founders.
Natural Science has taken the course where it has rigorously
decided that there is no spirit in the world - no spirit in Nature, no
spirit in the human being. All we are, to this
materialistic outlook, is matter.
In large part this view comes from an
unfortunate truth in the field of psychological studies: that the
investigator never studies his own mind, but only that of others, and then only through processes which take apart (destroy or eliminate the
living element), or which only look at a
dysfunctional consciousness. From an ontological (or basic premise) point of view, natural science mostly uses death processes and disease
processes to try to wrest, from the once living and healthy, its secrets. Were natural scientists to study their
own minds objectively, the presence of the spirit would soon be quite
The application of a little common sense
logic might suggest that the secrets of the living and the healthy will
be found in the study of those elements of existence, where they arise - that
is in the family and social environment. This is not easy,
however. While certain thinkers in these fields have looked to
the positive (Abraham Maslow etc.), the institutional system does not take such an approach.
There is a view held by some in the field
of psychology that speaks of the "identified patient". This
is the person who comes to a soul-healer (the psychologist) in order to
resolve certain personal problems, and many mental health professionals
realize that the so-called "identified patient" might be the most
mentally healthy person in that family. At the least this person
recognizes a problem, but the root of the problem may not be discovered
in the individual, but only in the family-matrix.
A related theme ...
It took a while, but women finally understood that this same method of
thinking had led doctors to think of birth as a disease process, and such views had to be
opposed and eliminated (a struggle not yet over). In a similar way, we have to resist taking the so-called deviant out of
Society in order to study them in isolation, but rather we need to keep the whole together, and recognize that they
aren't so much deviant, as unique and highly individual.
It is in fact Society that needs to be
healed of the assumption that unusual mental states (and their related behaviors) are an "illness".
That is the true insanity - to
living personality and treat it like the
plant in the laboratory where we first destroy it before we can
understand it. To
unusual personality through powerful and intrusive
to coerce changes in behavior, is not healing.
It is in fact the worst kind of tyranny - the tyranny of the majority (who declare themselves superior psychologically) over an essentially helpless
different). It says more about us, as a Society, than it does about them. It reveals our "us and them" assumptions, and our moral weaknesses in shunning them and setting them
outside our company, all the while pretending as if we were helping them, when the raw truth is
that we are only helping ourselves.
It is Society that lacks the sanity of
true charity, and
impulse to help (and
or heal) the weak
and troubled. Its
far past time for us to grow into a greater maturity
in our social relations with the different.
Lets come at this once more with a
slightly different emphasis ...
Healing the Healer: the first steps in a sane future
evolution of psychiatry and psychology -
Freud's works were translated into English, from the
German, the terms geistes and seele were
translated as mind, and not as
spirit and soul, which easily
could have been done (c.f. Bruno
Bettelheim's Freud and man's soul, A.A.Knopf, 1983). Thus continued
and deepened the materialization of the underlying thinking of those
who sought during the 19th century
to treat problems of human inner life - of the psyche - the soul (which as
everyone knows is the root term for the words psychology and psychiatry).
scientific thinking on the brain now seeks to explain all inner states
of the human being today as consequences of material causes. Mind and brain
are now seen as equivalent. The Fall, from a one
time appreciation of the human spirit and soul dimensions of existence, is, within
scientific thinking, nearly
complete. At least at
the level of assumptions.
"It is old hat to say that the brain is responsible for
mental activity. Such a claim may annoy the likes of Jerry Falwell or
the Ayatollah, but it is more or less the common assumption of educated people in the twentieth century. Ever since
the scientific revolution, the guiding view of most scientists has been
that knowledge about the brain, its cells and its chemistry will
explain mental states. However, believing that the brain supports behavior is the easy part: explaining how is quite another." (Mind Matters: How the Mind and Brain interact to Create
Our Conscious Lives, Michael S.
Grazzanica Ph.D. pp 1, Houghton Baffling, Boston 1988). [emphasis added]
process of materialization of our ideas of human inner states of being
has now gone so far that some believe today that there is no "I" , or "ego" or "self
consciousness", and that this
perception of self by the brain
is nothing but a chemically manufactured illusion.
this minefield today come those who feel called to what remains of the
profession of "soul healer". Even
Grazzanica, in a recent
dialog with the writer Tom Wolfe, when
questioned on this very issue, was loath to
admit such could be possible. This interview, broadcast on C-Span
Grazzanica rising from his chair and moving around so certain was he
that the I or ego was real. All the same, he had to confess
that some evidence more and more suggested otherwise.
appreciate the depth of this problem for modern humanity, the reader is
urged to try to speak or write
of human interactions without using personal pronouns, for this is
the ultimate implication of this train of thought: If there is no
I then there is no you, nor he, or she. All is simply it.
last was dramatically portrayed in the film the Silence of the Lambs when the
serial killer commands the "it" to rub on the
oil and for "it" to obey all commands. If it is an
imagined serial killer madman that refuses to acknowledge in his victim
the reality of an I, how equally
insane then has become certain kinds of thinking in natural science
that would, in the name of
some kind of hyper-objectivity, declare as a
complete illusion the idea of any human subjectivity at all.
a very real sense, we can see
that scientific thinking has run up against a wall of sorts. At the same
time, a careful
review of the research reveals that this wall only really exists in the
conceptual frame of reference in which all this research is conducted. It is not the
facts of experience that are flawed, but the thinking
that makes the errors. It is the paradigm itself that
has reached the limit of its viability (c.f. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).
the writer of this little essay is not unfamiliar with these fields of
interest, but as
previously noted was in his work life drawn into them, albeit not at
the professional level of the doctors. I have 18 years in the
trenches mental health, from lay
therapy in California in the 1970's, to group-home
work with adolescents in the 1980's to ten years
in a for-profit psychiatric facility in New Hampshire in the 1990's. I've been a
counselor, an orderly and
a mental health worker. Nor am I
uneducated, but I have
degrees in pre-seminary (B.A.) and Law (J.D.) My avocation (now full time
in retirement) is philosophy, and this at a
level far beyond ordinary academic philosophy. With this
aside set out, let us
limits of the paradigm of scientific materialism have been reached
everywhere. The studies of
consciousness and how that might arise from a material brain still are
unable to explain how this happens or what consciousness is. There are
theories, but nothing
testable. In reality for
this thinking, the sacrifice
of the idea of self-consciousness is just a cheap and easy way to get
rid of a very big problem.
in physics, the natural scientist has
his own problem with consciousness, for his
split-beam experiments prove in this field that the fundamental
indeterminacy of states of matter does not become "real" until the
observing subjective self-consciousness acts upon the experiment. The observer
can't actually keep any longer his own subjectivity outside the work - the two remain
is true also with regard to a great deal of research being done on the
brain. The researcher
in these fields often has to ask the subjectivity (the "I") of his subject
to engage in certain "mental" actions, in order for a
brain scan to have something to look at. The subject is
to look at pictures, try to access
memory and so forth. The problem
comes when the experiment is thought about afterward, and researcher
tries to create his "model" or theory, and not
include the facts that the subjectivity of the researcher and the
researcher's subject, first had to
make a social agreement before the "mental" act even
physicist knows he can't do this (refuse any
longer to recognize the participation of his own consciousness and
self-conscious choices) anymore, so perhaps it
is time for those who do research on the mind to recognize the same
In Mind Matters, Grazzanica, having already
likened brain to a mechanism, then says
paradoxically: "A thought can change brain chemistry, just as a physical event in the brain can change a thought". My question
for Grazzanica is: what does he
think causes the thought which changes
the brain chemistry?
to the naive experience of any thinking subject, it is their
own self-conscious activity that directs thought. In point of
fact, there is no
experiment and even no theory, without the
thinking of the scientist.
this leads us then is to this:
the psychiatrist and the psychologist are human, and flawed (as we all are
flawed), can it not be
possible that hidden within
modern theories of consciousness are assumptions that are no longer
justified precisely because we have arrived at the above noted limits?
make the question as stark as possible: Can a researcher or "healer" in the field of "mental" health, subject his
patients to treatments he
would not do to himself
or to his own children? Have any
doctors prescribing ECT, for example, actually had
easy answer is that it seems necessary to engage in this kind of
treatment in order to
help the patient. But this is
falsified by the fact that quite often the soul healer no longer
believes he is healing a subjectivity or self-consciousness, but in fact is
really only altering behavior. Certainly, in many
circumstances, the subjective
self-consciousness of the patient wants some kind of relief from inner
simultaneously the social order surrounding the patient seeks and needs
a change of behavior, which this
same social order considers to be deviant, or outside the
Further, since the soul
healer no longer thinks of the subjectivity as real, but only the
material brain, then all kinds
of gross processes and adjustments become possible, because one is
really only dealing with the alteration of a mechanical system. Biological to
be sure, but (and this with
a kind of unrecognized denial) essentially a
thing, not a person.
The system of mental health seems to run itself these days, and the soul healer is just a cog in a unhealthy aspect of the social organism, whose purpose more and more requires of its participants that they not feel either sympathy or empathy with their patients.
it not one of the costs to the psyche of those who work in this field
that they have to stop having normal human feeling, and basically
dehumanize their patients on some level in order to subject them to
such powerful forms of suppression of the individual spirit? Mental health
professionals routinely subject their patients to chemical restraints
on behavior, while at the
same time never actually believing they are curing the patient of a
Remember, please, psychiatry has
become almost entirely behavioral in its approaches. No longer is
the subjective inner state of being of the patient relevant. All is driven
by the need to define certain
behaviors as undesirable (the DSM-V), and then to
attempt to modify them without respect for
the subjectivity of the patient. The
subjectivity (how they feel about the
treatment) of the patient is
less and less a concern, and
modification of unwanted behaviors the entire goal, for the
individual spirit is here being sacrificed to the assumed needs of the
social organism for
order. Any individual
unable to conform to social order is quickly defined (already in
school, and sometimes
even earlier in the family) as either
criminally or mentally defective. (for a
sociological perspective on this read: Deviance and Medicalization: from Badness to Sickness, Conrad and
Publishing Company, 1985)
there a way out?
trying to answer that question, lets take a
look at the whole situating in its basic form.
Are the individuals crazy, or is Society crazy
First lets step back a bit and think about growing up in modern culture. What was it like to live in a family and go to school and then join the work force?
you didn't like to sit still in class. You were
curious and perhaps gregarious. You wanted to
touch things, and play with
them and talk to the other kids, and do fun
stuff. You were full
of life and full of spirit.
the adults around you had, even prior to
your arrival, already "conformed" to the social
norms, and so they
expected you to "conform" too.
the family, if you didn't
behave you were probably physically and/or emotionally punished, although no
one likes to admit how much this still goes on
you survived your families rules and the school's rules, you went to
work. At work you
had a boss and he had his rules too. These also you
need to survive, because in
order to live you had to eat, in order to
eat you had to have money to buy food, and in order
to have money you had to work for a boss.
were criminal or crazy, that is
deviant and non-conformist - that is
irrepressible of spirit in one way or another and wouldn't follow
normative social rules "just like
Everywhere while growing up some "authority" (with a great deal of practical power over you) demanded you do what it wanted you to do, and not what you wanted to do.
all go through this and it seems to make a lot of sense. Everyone more
or less agrees this makes a lot of sense, and it is the
normal or standard thing to do, so most
everyone does it.
be a problem, right?
for a couple of things we tend not to connect to growing up and
learning to conform to the social authority which has spent this
enormous amount of effort to get us to be what it wants us to be and
not to be what we want to be, such as:
and ILLNESS, both PHYSICAL
that energy and spirit that gets pressed down during growing up, through the power
exercised by the "authority" towards the
social conformance urged upon us by society, moves into our
psychological and physical organism and causes stress and illness.
for all the good we believe we do by using our authority on children to
get them to conform to social norms, maybe that's
not such a good idea after all.
spirited nature of the child has a kind of kinship with water and
similar fluids (there are other kinships as well). The one I have
in mind here, however, is concerned
with a well known physical law: the
incompressibility of fluids. This is how
your brake system on your car works. Because the
brake fluid is incompressible, when you push
your foot on the brake pedal, this fluid, trapped in the
tubes of the brake system, pushes the
brakes (whether disc or pad). Because of
other laws of physics the force of the foot gets multiplied, either by
changes in the diameter of the tubes or assisted by engine power (this makes no
difference to the analogy).
this means is that when we use authority, either in the
family, and/or the
school and/or the work place to repress the spirited nature of the
individual, we stress the rest of
"system" of our being
and nature, both
physically and psychologically. [See
the film The Village, by M. Night
Shyamalan, for a fairy tale like metaphorical look at these kinds of
later, when the
stressed individual acts "mental", or "criminal", we treat this
problem with those social systems, which are even
and not less. Even with
physical illness we do the same - the medical
profession uses its "authority" to get us to
take drugs, and the drugs
are a "physical authority" applied to our
bodies and minds. Instead of
offering more freedom from stress, we increase
the stress (remember all those nasty "side effects"?).
Maybe we really need to think out the whole damn structure of our social culture better from top to bottom, and in the meantime we ought perhaps to stop whacking the "mentally" ill (overstressed spirited human beings) over the head with more authority to conform (whether the rules of a hospital or the physical rules of a drug).
this point of view, its just might
seem like society is more crazy
than the individual; or, that the
collective is more stupid than the one.
return to the question of what might be done...
point of this little paper is not to attack those called to the
professions of soul healing. They are, in fact, caught in
between. On the one
hand there is the social order that wants something done about "them" - the deviants. On another
hand is the massive presence of the paradigm of scientific materialism, which will not
tolerate any mention of spirit or soul, but rather
insists (with less and less evidence everyday) that all is
matter, and all
explanations of human existence must be based upon materialist or
even create prophecies about the end of the human, and the supplanting of
the human with the biomechanical. They imagine we will discover
how to transplant the consciousness of the human being into the memory
chips of a machine, thus giving us imperishable bodies and immortal
the other end are those - the "them" - the deviants. We still don't
know how much behavior is derived from Nature and how much is derived
from Nurture. What we do
know, those of us
lucky enough not to be
caught up "in the system", is that we
don't want someone messing with our inner life. This most
personal sphere of autonomy - our own
thoughts, feelings and
impulses of will - this we will
guard even to the point of violence if necessary.
understand the American and French
revolutions. We applaud the
iconoclast, who manages
their individuality without getting too deviant - we even often
call them artists. We worry about
tyranny, especially the
tyranny of the majority. We even have
gone so far today, that conformance itself is
often seen as a
character flaw. That is, until your non-conformance goes too far.
more and more the parents and friends of psychiatric patients find what
is done to their kin to be unjust, even criminal. Since the
patient is often unable to advocate for himself, others must
take up the task.
then mount on the soul healer. If we step
back from this, and look at it
as a kind of an organic process in cultural development, we could ask
whether or not the soul healer is in fact just that person who can do
the most for all parties, given that the
soul healer is already in the center of
the storm. If the soul
healer takes a stand, then all will
be forced to pay attention.
the weight of scientific materialism
need for social order -> the soul healer <- the kin of the patients
the patients themselves
soul healer is himself a spirit struggling to be scientific, a member of
the social order, kin of some in
need, and perhaps
has even been a patient. All which
surrounds the soul healer socially should help the soul healer, instead of
demanding that the center conform to their one-sided point of view. If we find a
way to heal the soul healer, we might well
begin to heal the whole.
First, concerning scientific materialism: This approach, in that it seeks knowledge of consciousness, makes one glaring fundamental error. It assumes nobody has studied consciousness before. The whole cultural history of mankind is full of such studies, all of which are practical and experimental and rational. Some seem to lean toward a vague mysticism, but this is only when see from the outside. The more modern are eminently scientific. A partial list: the Middle Way of Lua Tzu; Yoga; Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, Quabbalah; Gnosticism; Sufism; Alchemy; Rosicrucianism; Transcendentalism; Christian Hermeticism; and, Anthroposophy (this last is the most modern and scientific).
soul healer will find much to aid his ability to help scientific
materialism overcome its own one-sidedness, by taking in hand
his own path to self knowledge.
Second, concerning the
social order: the soul
healer needs to speak plainly to power, and recognize
that while political
power can want almost
anything, a great deal
it wants is not possible, and let us
still have a free society. Go too far in
eliminating deviance (something more
and more hard to define), and all other
freedoms will be eroded. The soul
healer, being in the
middle of these social forces, needs to have
his views particularly respected, for only he
sees and knows certain aspects of the whole. The social
order needs to follow the guidance of the soul healer in how money is
spent and on what.
Third, concerning the kin of the patients: more and more the kin must accept that they are often (but not always) the best caregivers. Their hearts are most open and committed, but such care must be cooperative in nature ... all four groups, who surround the soul healer in the center have to work together. In practical terms this means that families and communities in which special individuals have been born and raised, perhaps need to stop wanting to send these individuals away, and hide them in institutions.
Fourth, the patients
themselves: they need to
realize that the more they want to indulge in
socially deviant behaviors, the more
necessary they make it
that they be isolated from
the rest. No one, the conformist
or the non-conformist, can force
themselves on another individual
human being. Actions will
have consequences, and no one
will have a perfect life.
becomes essential, for all five
parts of this organism directed at soul health, is mutual
trust and cooperation. Each has a
role. All must sit at the same table. Nothing can change
overnight, but with
patience and agreement the whole can make progress, one day at a
following also needs to be said to the soul healer:
you define deviant behavior as symptomatic of a disease (mental or
otherwise), you have
locked in a box a whole other set of questions that need to be asked. Predominant
among these questions are whether the social order itself is healthy. If the social
order breeds deviance, then why do we
blame the deviant? If all causes
are material, why do we even have a
debate about Nature and Nurture?
main problem, from a
philosophy of knowledge point of view, is that we
live in a time where there is an excess of analysis, and hardly any
synthesis. Remember: the scientific
enterprise (at the present, this can change) is dominated
by analytic thinking - thinking which
takes apart what it observes in order to make it easier to
analyze. The fewer
variables, the easier to
define the experiment.
called this, at the
beginning of the 20th Century, knowing more
and more about less and less. Detail
multiplies far faster than wise synthesis.
So for example, physics,
having confined itself to dealing only with what it could count (quantities to the
exclusion of qualities), can only
create a world view (the big bang) based upon
number relationships - no other
relationships having been investigated or understood. The soul
healer, trapped in the
scientific model which only counts and takes apart, can't any
longer understand his patient whose subjective psyche is complex in the
extreme, and completely
inter-related and inter-dependent - not just
inwardly, but more
the soul healer there are almost too many variables, at least in
the sense of what is acceptable science today. Thus, everything has
become dependent on material chemistry (in its widest
sense), while the
reality the soul healer faces is obviously a mixture of material
chemistry and emotional or social "chemistry".
Perhaps we need an entirely new discipline: social alchemy, which would
be concerned with how we transform the soul-lead of human weakness and
darkness, into soul-gold for the benefit not just of the individual but
the community as well.
of the problem is the pursuit by the
soul healer of pure objectivity, following the
sense) of physics. By various
kinds of rules (developed over time in the history of soul healing such
as the problem of transference), the soul
healer more and more abandoned his own subjectivity. Yet, and everyone
in this field knows this, the best talk
therapy work is often done in groups, and involves a
great deal of perception on the part of the soul healer of "feelings".
emotional chemistry has to be brought into the open. In order to do
this, the best guide
is actually the self-awareness of the soul healer's own feeling life. A therapist
not seeing his own therapist on a regular basis is not upholding the
necessary standard of self discipline. An explorer of
the spiritual dimensions of human inner life, that is not
studying with someone more experienced, will also fall
into error. If the soul
healer combines his work (that is he
studies his own mind and the art of soul healing), will need to
work not only with other soul healers, but with those
whose spiritual practice is mature.
who want to move in this direction will find, obviously, a mine field. Therapists are
human and subject to much temptation - sexual
manipulation of the patient being an obvious case in point. The soul
healer who pursues real self knowledge in an objective fashion, will discover
that his best guide is his own moral attitude, a problem that
is not at all simple.
are best perceived when we develop the ability to think with the heart. Thinking with
the heart, however, is best done when our conscious
motive is to realize the good. We will the
good, and then think
with the heart. Moreover, the gesture of
what is the good begins in the head. We think first, what is the
good, then we will
the good and let the heart be what it was designed to be: an organ of
does this work in the realm of soul healing?
what every human being wants is to be known and cared about
non-judgmentally by other human beings. This is where
the child begins its life, and where all
the deep pain of growing up is lodged. At the same
time this is a very frightening want. We want our
truth to be known, and our social
order discourages us from expressing our truth. The social
order already in the family doesn't want the truth of who we are, but rather
some kind of mask. Everyone there
is already wearing masks, and this we
imitate from childhood onward. The very first
thing deep psychological art we learn is to put on a mask.
is the fundamental nature of childhood and it leads easily to the
correlative creation of an outer personality - it is a mask
designed to navigate troubled emotional seas. We have how we
behave, and then who
we really are inside - known to our
secret self. Conflict
arises between the two modes of being - the mask and
the reality. Everyone
solves the conflict in unique ways. Some parts we
mask, other parts we
share. The variations
on the mixture are remarkable, and once we
really appreciate the nature of individuality - the true spirit of the
individual human being - we will
discover that scientific materialism has been itself a mask hiding our
fear of religious domination for a long long time.
social order itself put on a mask. The whole
exists to manipulate this conflict
for the benefit of commerce. The soul
healer will find that in order to truly heal the individual, he must
simultaneously help to heal the social.
And, all the keys
to this vast work lie within his own humanity. We discover
and heal the truth of ourselves, and we at the
same time discover and heal the truth of the world. Fully half of
what the soul healer can know is available to him only through a
scientific and objective introspection. At present the
soul healer only knows what is available through his senses. What lies
interior, a vast
landscape already explored by many others, remains
potential. Unexplored, the rest of
the world is incomplete. Once explored, no secret is
What happens when we do this
now two common problems: hearing voices
and serious depression.
the side of scientific materialism, these often
reported phenomena are diagnosed as defects at the level of brain
chemistry. The mind, as a mechanism, is seen to be producing
such effects because those who are not seen as deviant supposedly do
not experience them. The
sub-conscious thought of the soul healer is that since I do not
experience voices or become paralyzed with depression, such phenomena
must be a flaw in the brain chemistry itself. The logical
conclusions then is that if I can change the brain chemistry with drugs
or ECT, I have fixed
is very reasonable, as long as we
refuse to recognize the inherent contradictions and present day limits
of scientific thought about consciousness.
Suppose, for example, we do
something very dangerous (only at this
time, and in this
essay, as a thought experiment), and consider
the possibility that the paranoid schizophrenics' report of
hearing voices is in fact accurate. They are
hearing voices that are real. Granted this
is not a normal condition for a human being, but why do we
assume that because it is abnormal, it is not true. The one fact
does not automatically follow from the other.
Further, if we turn to the understanding of the historical (and recent) mind sciences (who dangerously don't accept that the mind is based in matter only), we will find all kinds of explanation for the voices. So as to not complicate things, let us just consider such a view as might arise in the West, and is modern and scientific: Anthroposophy.
the voices are real, what, possibly, is the patient
say invisible people is to mock the experience of the individual having
the experience, but at the
same time, this is
precisely what we see when we notice a paranoid schizophrenic walking
down the street, seemingly
talking to the air - talking to
someone that is apparently not there (we don't see anything).
culture defines this as insane and seeks to rid this individual of this
experience. Yet, in Western
mind sciences, two clear
possibilities are recognized. One is that
the schizophrenic is talking to the dead, or that they
are engaged in a kind of spiritually abnormal dialog with the double or
the shadow. These mind
sciences would not say that the individual talking to invisible people
is behaving in a spiritually healthy way, yet at the
same time they would say that what the schizophrenic experiences is
real, and not
illusory (albeit warped by psychic imbalances).
turns everything on its head, certainly. Yet, it also
redefines the problem, and in a quite
significant way. The problem at
once ceases to be one of ridding the brain mechanism of a mechanical
dysfunction, but of actual
soul healing, for something
is out of sorts in terms of the self-consciousness of the individual. The inwardness
is out of balance, and what is
out of balance can be restored to harmony.
does this exclude physical therapies. Rudolf Steiner, the discoverer
of Anthroposophy, gave a series
of lectures to an audience of both pastors and doctors, which he
called Pastoral Medicine. He talked at
length and specifically about mental illness, putting
forward the idea that many such individuals needed both medical care
and pastoral care, simultaneously.
to give an example from personal experience. I was working
on a woman's unit at a for-profit psychiatric facility where was
admitted a nun. She was a
member of an order that teaches children and she no doubt was
exhibiting anomalous behaviors. What struck me
as particularly tragic, was that while
she was in the hospital, the inner
ground of her spiritual life (daily prayer
and Mass etc.) was ignored. If fact, I was the only
one who would talk to her about her spiritual life, and it was
clear how much she hungered just to have someone listen to that aspect
of her soul.
course, the reader may
now say this is ridiculous, but the reader
no doubt has not practiced meditation and other inner disciplines for
years. Had they
engaged in such practices, the
schizophrenics' experiences then take on an entirely different meaning. Hearing voices
and seeing things that supposedly aren't there is a common stage of
spiritual development well know to those on a meditative path. When mind
becomes sufficiently inwardly silent, it also
becomes receptive to that which is otherwise too subtle to be
experienced by ordinary consciousness.
self-conscious subjectivity is actually more real than matter, and when it
wakes up to itself sufficiently, it discovers
another world along side the one we normally experience through the
would go too far here to give meditation instruction, but at the
least lets revisit some of what science thinks is knows. For example, it is common
in an experiment, where the
brain is being watched
with a CT scan, to observe a
certain sequence: the
subjectivity is asked to perform a certain mental function (solve a
puzzle, for example), and then at
some point there appears to the scan a great deal of activity in some
part of the brain, after which
the subjectivity reports the solution. These
observations are seen as demonstrating not only that the brain solved
the puzzle (after all the observed electrical activity occurred in
time prior to the report of the solving of the puzzle), but also what
part of the brain was involved.
problem here isn't the observations being made by the investigating
scientist, but rather
with the interpretation of their meaning. Remember above
that we pointed out the tendency in brain studies to leave aside the
social agreement between the investigating subjectivity and the
subjectivity of the one whose brain is being studied. The physicist
knows he has to reinsert this into his appreciation of what happened in
his split-beam experiment, so lets do the
the first thing that has happened is the social agreement by which the
self-consciousness of the scientist asked the self-consciousness of the
research subject to
engage is certain activity (solve the
puzzle in this case). Without that
as with the indeterminacy problem for the physicist, there is no
brain activity to observe without the social agreement asking the
subjectivity of the one whose brain is being studied to engage in
self-conscious mental activity. The next thing
observed is the electrical discharges in the brain. Prior to this, however, the subject
has inwardly acted (which the subject certainly experiences, and the
scientist if he is honest about his own introspective knowledge of his
own mind also regularly experiences). The causal
train is: scientist asks > subject acts
inwardly > brain activity
is observed > then the
subject reports the solution to the puzzle. The actual
brain activity is surrounded by four self-conscious subjective acts, and it is only
our preconceived paradigm that makes us isolate the brain activity as
if it is causally independent. The fourth act
is the scientist's subjective act of interpretation of the meaning of
1) scientist asks
2) subject acts inwardly
3) brain activity is observed
4) subject reports a solution to the puzzle
scientist interprets the meaning of the experiment
the observed brain activity is caused by the inner activity of the
puzzle solving subject, and therefor
the observed brain activity is a consequence of, not the cause of, this inner
puzzle-solving act. What is
actually being observed, once we free
ourselves of the constraints of the paradigm, is a spiritual
act which needs a material brain to act in a material world.
research subject can't hear the voice of the scientist asking for his
cooperation, without the
physical ear, nor can the
research subject report the solution to the puzzle without the material
apparatus of the voice box. If, for example, we wired the
scientists up as well, we would see
the whole sequence of events quite clearly. But every time
there was observable brain activity, there is prior
to that the spiritual activity (thinking) of the
participants in the experiment.
Yes, I know, there are lots
of brain activity going on without the self-conscious intervention of
the thinking subject, but all that
just goes to prove the observation of soul healers in the centuries
prior to the full materialization of scientific thinking, when Freud and
others re-discovered the existence of the sub-conscious and unconscious
elements of human inner life (something know to ancient mind sciences
for centuries). The
self-conscious subject has to be coaxed into sufficient self observation (talk therapy) in order to be
able to report, what has
otherwise been hidden from the I, or
this process of self examination is aided by the modern mind sciences
rooted in deep inner disciplines, then it is
possible to go even further in the direction of needed discoveries that
can shed a great deal of light on the soul health of many. What the
Freudians etc. discovered was
just the surface of a plane of existence already well known to
Alchemists, and others, for centuries. The
sub-conscious and unconscious aspects of human inner life are already a
well explored territory.
this understanding is then integrated with all the remarkable research
on brain physiology and chemistry, a whole
unknown world of soul healing can result, such that ECT
and overly powerful drugs then become completely unnecessary. The scientists
of the material world have done a great work, which is only
limited in its
application by the restrictions imposed by the no longer workable
paradigm of strict scientific materialism (all is matter, there is no
us come at this once more, this time with
respect to depression, instead of
hearing voices. What do the
deep explorers of our shared human inwardness already know about
is the basic phenomena of depression? It is a
paralysis of the will, and this a
varying degrees. The deeper the
mal-ease, the more
immobile the patient. Some would
take to their beds and never leave, if not
mind sciences of the Occident (as opposed to
those of the Orient - who are
differently oriented in terms of goals) have long
recognized what is to be called: the doctrine
of the temperaments (the choleric, the phlegmatic, the sanguine
and the melancholic). These are
quite apt objective observations of general human characteristics, and can be
quite useful in their application. Depending on
the temperament the course taken by depression will be different. A choleric
might ignore it until some crisis ensues, while the
melancholic will find self-satisfied glory in it, for it proves all his worst fears.
is similar to all is the influence of the double or the shadow. There really
is no understanding of the human being without appreciating not only
soul and spirit, but also the
dark side - the shadow. One writer (see
Meditations on the Tarot, Arcanum XV The
Devil), speaks in
quite practical terms of the tempter, the prosecutor
and of egregores.
are older (and wiser) terms for what
addicts know as “the monkey on my back”. I have taken
to abandoning that name (it is clearly
too archaic), and
substituting the idea of “wounds”. We bear wounds
in the soul (psyche), some of which
fester in such a way that they overwhelm our conscious will. I point out
the temperaments and the three-fold nature of the shadow simply to
suggest that this way of thinking is as equally complex and rich as is
the present day conventional view. Not only that, but what is
being offered here is meant to supplement, not replace
the conventional view.
also mean to suggest that depression is complicated, and one has to
in any event carefully observe and examine whoever has such a problem
with attention to a lot of detail, for not only
is everyone quite individual, as all soul
healers appreciate, the situation
is delicate, and the
patient very vulnerable and unsure - they won't
know what facts to share, and may often
hide relevant phenomena for a variety of personal reasons.
it is clear that the basic problem is a paralysis of the will, and a related
experience of “life is too much”, then we can be
fairly sure that the shadow, in the form of
the prosecutor is in play. In the soul, the ego (or spirit) is overwhelmed
by the dark.
major aspect of the problem is that we tend to think that this is an
experience that should be eliminated - people, we often
believe, ought to not
suffer, but should be
happy. A choleric, who can more
easily ignore a deep case of the “blues”, will look down
upon a melancholic, who revels in
this mood. Since our
culture teaches no coherent inner disciplines (materialism
doesn't recognize their need), people do not
think that the ego can be taught how to manage their soul life out of
their own inner will. Thinking the
brain is the cause of all inner states, we don't
really following those lines of thought that would lead us to
appreciating other possibilities.
a cultural age where some think the self-consciousness is an illusion, we will no
doubt never consider that this very self-consciousness can become the
master of its feeling
life. Of course, all kinds of
people engage in serious self-help or self-development disciplines, with success. Some people do
manage, through such
as the 12 Steps, to overcome
addiction and alcoholism, using a
discipline that sees the whole process as spiritual in nature. Our culture is
full of examples where the I masters something of the inner life, unless you get
in the mental health system, which isn't
permitted (in general) to apply any
other treatment modalities but medications.
always found it the strangest kind of paradox, in the hospital where I
worked for ten years, to go from the adult unit to the substance abuse
unit, where two
entirely different paradigms were at work. What was even
stranger was to watch how those labeled dual-diagnosis were treated. A bi-polar
addict was a odd creature indeed (you just have
to read the treatment plans and the doctors intake interview, to see just
how weird this can be). For the addict
especially, the problem
was very acute, for what most
troubles them (their addiction) tends to
require that they take no drugs at all. But if they
are simultaneously described as bi-polar with an addiction, and mostly
depressive (those with mania aren't so bothered by their so-called mental disease) there is a big
to you prescribe to an addict an upper to defeat their depression?
we survey the field over the last 40 years, we will see
how just at this juncture the
profession itself created addictions to mood altering drugs. Have a mood disorder (that is have a
soul state the culture defines as deviant), why lets give
you a happy pill. Oh, sorry, you've become
an addict to Valium now? Gosh, you sure are a
wreck. (The system and the doctors are not responsible - right?)
healer who undertakes a
serious study of his own
inwardness, following a
modern mind science, will find
their ability to help people greatly increased with every step they
take in self knowledge and understanding.
can be found in my books: the Way of the Fool; and, American Anthroposophy.
the forces opposed to the self-development
of the soul healer
institutions acquire power, and their
leaders gain wealth and prestige. Pharmaceutical
corporations have a lot at stake in manufacturing drugs to “help” the mentally
Politicians like to be seen as “doing something”. People in
general don't want to be bothered by deviant behavior. Patients cry
out for aid.
many people, the soul
healer is confronted with a house of mirrors of choices. He can swim
with the pack, or plot his
own course. One way is
easier, the other
harder. Which way does
Society need him to swim? If we
define Society by its power structures, those structures will certainly
need the soul healer to provide services that lets the powerful take
action. In the Soviet Union, hospitalization for a "mental"
illness was a political tool of a totalitarian State. Recently
during the Bush II administration, psychologists were used to oversee
torture and to help in its application.
I pointed out above, the soul healer is in the center of a surrounding
set of forces, and this fact then reveals something else. While
we can urge that a whole society move in a certain direction, if we
understand the practicalities of how social change actually arises we
realize that such change occurs one individual at a time. It
can't happen by fiat from Washington, but only organically out of
individual free choices.
globally, act locally. Only the soul healer can give us the
example and from there suggest what others can and ought to do.
The coming revolution is personal and biographical.
We do it from within our own lives. My novel America Phoenix begins with
the following discussion, which is entirely relevant here and a good
place to end (with a bit of Art):
"Synergy?" said Hex-man.
"Right, synergy" replied J.C. "Things happen together. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We tend to think that political and social change requires that we organize movements. Remember when we always talked about the "movement".
"Sort of, that was really before my time".
"Yea, right, okay. So anyway, synergy is about multiple things happening together to create something they can't accomplish alone. Its one of the main organizing principles living in the social organism. Just one, by the way, but for our purposes it will help to understand it.
"Yea, I get it. You and I, we do something together. Get better results than if we do it alone. Plus, other people, people we don't even know. They do stuff, and it interacts with our stuff synergistically. Is that a word?"
"I think so, but you get the basic idea. The thing is we can count on it. In fact we need to become highly aware of it. Think of us as trying to navigate the seas of history. In these seas are currents, and if we can ride some of the currents, stuff happens in a better way, than if we are trying to steer across them or against them. So we have to learn to make mental maps of the seas of social existence, and then find that place we want to work, and with whom - keeping in mind that we aren't alone and that others have similar goals and it all works together synergistically. "
"Okay, I get it I guess. But can you explain a little why this works, especially when people aren't really organized into mass movements?"
"Well, actually, mass movements are kind of dangerous. The more mass the less consciousness. We get mobs and violence. Small groups appreciating that each other exists do better. They concentrate more on what they really can do, and less on ideology. The phrase "think globally, act locally" understands this.
"Try it this way. Lots of people today want to decide for themselves what is true and what is right to do. Think of this impulse, a very common modern human impulse, as a kind of emerging social force in the evolution of human consciousness, or human nature as some might say. But everyone doesn't always agree about what is right, yes? Yet, what happens is that when a lot of people are struggling to do what is right, and not just hiding under the covers, you get a lot of right things being done in a lot of places. The way the social organism works, in its synergistic sense, is that all these right things add up to something more than the individuals can often imagine.
"Everyone has a place, the place right where they are. In that place they seek to do what Plato might have called the Good. This ideal of the Good is like a wonderful landscape, seen from many different directions. So each one of us, seeking to do the Good, helps bring this wonderful landscape more and more into real social existence. Each of us is like a kind of small sun, shining into the social organism our own striving for goodness."
"Okay, I can see that. But how do we know what the Good is?"
"Well, everyone has their own Way of course, but if I was to try to put the how of it into words, it has to do with when we think with our hearts and not just our heads. If we think just with our heads we get a kind of cold and calculating idea, generally one more selfish. But we need to think with our hearts, that is we need to think in a warmer way, more empathic, more caring of the other person, the thou. So we will the good and think with our hearts. Everyone can do that, don't you think. Or at least try."
"Yea, I get it. Don't need somebody to tell us what to do. We do our own thing, and if we will the good and think with our hearts, something happens all over the country or the world because of the synergy principle, something we can't imagine."
"Right, you got it Hex-man. Oh, one other thing. Ever see the movie Six Degrees of Separation?"
"No, what's it about?"
"Well, the story is kind of funny, but it has this idea behind the title. The idea is that between ourselves and any other person there are only six relationships. You know someone, and they know someone else, and so on for six relationships, until each of us is connected to any other person in the world by only six such relationships, or six degrees of separation."
"Crap. Can't be true. You think between me and the President are only six people separated? Shit, no way."
"I don't know, its just the idea. Maybe some math people invented the idea. But there is some truth. We are connected in ways we don't see. You know me. I was in Vietnam, and I knew this CIA guy. Maybe now he works in Washington and his boss knows a Senator, and the Senator knows the President."
"Christ, that is weird."
"Yea, I know. But think about it in a different way, along the lines of what we have been doing with the synergy idea. These connections are real. We influence each other. You need something from me, or I need something from you, then these relationships become important. Things spread like splashes on a pond. Who knows what energy flows along the connections. "