Healing the Insanity of

Psychiatric Medicines and Practice

for artistic perceptions see these videos:

Define Better:

Side effects of Quiting Smoking:
Labelling Kids:


psych visit:

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).  [For supportive details from a self described "dissident psychologist" go here.]

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 control.

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.

*[Diagnostic 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 sorts.  Great 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 announcing another breakthrough, in either pure knowledge or in some practical art.

In agriculture the plant had been studied in the laboratory very carefully, and 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 processed, manufactured and distributed 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 insects, and 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 agriculture, as a way of life, changed radically.

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 itself, which 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 something, these could be added later  (fertilizers etc.).

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 in error.

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 facts, with 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 more chemical fertilizers and anti-weed and insect poisons were added to the farm, the moredeadthe soil became.   A kind of vicious cycle arose, which required more 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 choices.  Somehow we are to be able to overcome corporate and  government power, and the influence of advertising, while at the same time raising the children and creating through our work all the wealth.

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 millions.

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 experience, that psychiatrists working at the hospital were basically poorly supervised experimenters.  I seldom saw 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 undesirable, and then the 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 environment.  Obviously there went 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 reductionism; ecology of mind; and anti-psychiatry, for example).  Psychiatry is asoftscience, not ahardscience.  It is more art than science, and a lot of people practicing it clearly don't have any talent.

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 etc.).

The Chief of Psychiatry maintainedprofessionalrelationships with the Nashua community, and was in fact already thedoctorfor a number of individuals with chronic mental health issues.  All 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 tested, and 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 crisis, but were admitted solely for the study.  Because the study was a double-blind study, some would get a placebo, instead of the experimental drug.

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 cigarettes.  His behavior was erratic, and his speech pressured (speedy and incoherent).  He pestered staff and other patients constantly.   Fortunately he was not violent, just a terrific nuisance to others, and of course miserable inside himself (for which hismadness” - 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 system, such 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 justify anything.

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 are alternatives 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 calledcracking plantsbecause 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 cool them 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 arrogance).

We are aware today of all those allergies that comes with the proliferation of these products throughout human society.  Cigarettes are full 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 world.  That's 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 elaboration.  I 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.  BytrenchesI 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 callmental patientsare 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 and mental health workers) who treat them as human beings - with sympathy and compassion.  The 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 Drucker) put forward something calledthe Peter principle, which stated that: in a hierarchy people naturally rise to level of their incompetence.

A truism for sure, but certainly not always true.  Sometimes people are competent, but 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 not the 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 law-makers) fool 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 itself.

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 consideration ...

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 the physical 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 brains, he often studied ones with problems - that is ill or dysfunctional brains (such as people with the split brain problem).

If we do a survey of psychological literature, we 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 modification, knowledge and 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 apparent.

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 take the living personality and treat it like the plant in the laboratory where we first destroy it before we can understand it.  To repress the unusual personality through powerful and intrusive artificial (not living) chemical forces, simply 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 minority (the 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 an honest 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 -

When 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).

Modern 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]

This 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.

Into 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 Books, shows 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.

To 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.

This 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.

In 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).

Now 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 continue.

These 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.

Over 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 interconnected.

This 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 arises.

The 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 fact.

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?

Clearly 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.

Where this leads us then is to this:

Since 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?

To 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 ECT?

The 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 torments, but 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 acceptable norm.

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.


Is 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 treatable illness.

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 Schneider, Merrill Publishing Company, 1985)

Is there a way out?

Before 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?

Some examples:

Suppose 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.

But the adults around you had, even prior to your arrival, already "conformed" to the social norms, and so they expected you to "conform" too.

In 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 today.

When 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.

Unless you  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 everyone else".

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.

We 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.

Shouldn't be a problem, right?

Except 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:



All 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.

So 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.

The 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).

What 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 the "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 social issues.]

Then later, when the stressed individual acts "mental", or "criminal", we treat this problem with those social systems, which are even more authoritative 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).

From 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.

To return to the question of what might be done...

The 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 physical conceptions.

Some 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 consciousness.

At 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.

We 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.

Today 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.

Pressures 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

The 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.

Some practical suggestions:

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).

The 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.

What 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 time.

This following also needs to be said to the soul healer:

Immediately 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?

The 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.

Eddington 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 crucially socially.

For 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.

Part of the problem is the  pursuit by the soul healer of pure objectivity, following the lead (in a 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".

Unperceived 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.

Those 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. 

Feelings 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 perception.

Why does this work in the realm of soul healing?

Because 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.

That 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.

The social order itself put on a mask.  The whole advertising  industry 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 prohibited.

What happens when we do this

Consider now two common problems: hearing voices and serious depression. 

From 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 the problem.

This 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.

If the voices are real, what, possibly, is the patient hearing?

To 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).

Our 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).

This 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.

Nor 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.

Just 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.

Of 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. 

Our 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 senses.

It 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.

The 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 same here.

Causally 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 request, nothing happens.

Just 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 the experiment.

1) scientist asks

2) subject acts inwardly

3) brain activity is observed

4) subject reports a solution to the puzzle

5) scientist interprets the meaning of the experiment

Clearly 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.

The 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 self-consciousness.

If 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.

If 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 spirit).

Let 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 depression?

What 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 otherwise treated. 

The 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.

What 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.

Egregores are older (and wiser) terms for what addicts know asthe monkey on my back.  I have taken to abandoning that name (it is clearly too archaic), and substituting the idea ofwounds.  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.  

I 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.

If it is clear that the basic problem is a paralysis of the will, and a related experience oflife 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.

A 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.

At 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.

I 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 problem.

How to you prescribe to an addict an upper to defeat their depression?

If 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?)

To summarize:

The soul  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.

Details 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

Social institutions acquire power, and their leaders gain wealth and prestige.  Pharmaceutical corporations have a lot at stake in manufacturing drugs tohelpthe mentally ill.  Politicians like to be seen asdoing something.  People in general don't want to be bothered by deviant behavior.  Patients cry out for aid.

Like 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.

As 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. 

Think 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. "