The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

The Philosophy of Mental Illness

My wife is getting her masters in philosophy and stumbled across a book she thought I should read.  She was right; it’s very interesting.  It’s called: The Disordered Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness by George Graham.  I had never given this topic much thought, but it bears considering because the ramifications of which philosophy of mental illness we choose to believe are simply enormous.

We are all familiar with the mainstream philosophy of mental illness because we are all aware of the current methods of treating it.  We have drugs for depressiondrugs for psychosis; drugs for anxiety and so on.  Issuing prescriptions for drugs to treat mental illness is a demonstration of a mental health philosophy that views mental disorders as disorders of the brain.  This philosophy has roots both in capitalism and materialism.  The capitalistic part is simple: higher profits are made selling drugs than selling labor.  This also works well for insurance companies because therapy is more expensive than drugs.  The materialistic part of the argument holds that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, and therefore the brain must be the root of all mental activities.

Graham does not get into the capitalist element, but I will, because I think it is pertinent to the discussion.  Capitalism is a monetary philosophy based on the acquisition of wealth, which buys material goods and services.  All value is measured with money.  States of mind, such as happiness, love, understanding and compassion have no value under this system and are not acknowledged at all, since they are neither goods nor services.  This is not merely hypothetical; it is codified in law.  In the case Dodge v. Ford Motor Company, 204 Mich. 459, 170 N.W. 668. (Mich. 1919),  the Michigan Supreme Court held that Henry Ford owed a duty to the shareholders of the Ford Motor Company to operate his business to profit his shareholders, rather than the community as a whole or employees. It is often cited as embodying the principle of “shareholder value” in companies.   (Wikipedia)

The Court held that a business corporation is organized primarily for the profit of the stockholders, as opposed to the community or its employees. The discretion of the directors is to be exercised in the choice of means to attain that end, and does not extend to the reduction of profits or the non-distribution of profits among stockholders in order to benefit the public, making the profits of the stockholders incidental thereto.

Because this company was in business for profit, Ford could not turn it into a charity. This was compared to a spoilation of the company’s assets. The court therefore upheld the order of the trial court requiring that directors declare an extra dividend of $39 million.

A company is required by law to place profits above all other considerations within the bounds of lawfulness.  In this way, we can see that the foundations of mental health philosophy are rooted in a system that treats our entire mental life as though it did not exist.  Small wonder then, that so much effort is focused on viewing mental health as the product of an unhealthy brain.  The attitudes of capitalism, which is intricately woven into our social structure, will carry over into psychology and psychiatry.  A mind that is unhealthy is viewed as broken and must be fixed.

As Graham points out, the philosophy that an unhealthy mind is the product of an unhealthy brain is severely flawed.  For example, a person who suffers depression because of a personal loss is not experiencing depression due to physical causes.  whatever changes that might occur in brain chemistry happen as a result of purely non physical thoughts, which activate the brain to behave in specific ways.  Consciousness is clearly the horse that is pulling the brain chemistry cart in this case.  It is a matter of a healthy brain with an unhealthy mind.

If viewed from a materialist perspective, depression is truly bizarre.  It has no symptoms that, when present, are always indicative of depression.  Rather, there is a constellation of possible symptoms.  What’s more, depression is not always considered unhealthy.  If you or I experience depression due to the loss of a companion animal or person who we were extremely close to, this is considered to be a healthy response.  In fact, if we were to display behavior after our loss that is normally considered to be healthy, we would be judged to have an unhealthy mind.  Furthermore, the healthy response of depression due to loss becomes unhealthy after about six months even though there is no change in symptoms.

But this is not the whole story.  In some cases, brain chemistry is the horse, pulling the cart of consciousness.  Take paranoid schizophrenia for example.  While the physical causes aren’t completely understood, the mental disorder certainly is.  It is relatively easy to diagnose in severe cases, as it is typically accompanied by predictable symptoms.

Schizophrenia is often described in terms of positive and negative (or deficit) symptoms. Positive symptoms are those that most individuals do not normally experience but are present in people with schizophrenia. They can include delusions, disordered thoughts and speech, and tactile, auditory, visual, olfactory and gustatory hallucinations, typically regarded as manifestations of psychosis. Hallucinations are also typically related to the content of the delusional theme.Positive symptoms generally respond well to medication.  Negative symptoms are deficits of normal emotional responses or of other thought processes, and respond less well to medication. They commonly include flat or blunted affect and emotion, poverty of speech (alogia), inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia), lack of desire to form relationships (asociality), and lack of motivation (avolition). Research suggests that negative symptoms contribute more to poor quality of life, functional disability, and the burden on others than do positive symptoms.[21] People with prominent negative symptoms often have a history of poor adjustment before the onset of illness, and response to medication is often limited.

This disorder is known to be genetic in origin and there is clear separation between schizophrenic and normal behavior.  Unlike depression, there is no healthy schizophrenia.  It is also not situationally dependent.  It typically starts at certain ages.  Schizophrenia is a case of an unhealthy brain making the mind unhealthy as well.  I will just add briefly, that situations exist where people have overcome their schizophrenia and gone on to live normal lives.  This creates a situation where the brain is unhealthy, but the mind is healthy.

However, this idea cannot be generalized into a class of genetically created mental disorders because there are some grey areas.  Asperger’s Syndrome and Schizotypal types can either be classified as disorders . . . or not . . . depending on who you ask.  Do they have symptoms of mental illness, or are they just different?  This is an important question because a healthy Asperger or Schizotypal mind is surely going to be different from the norm.

To get to the bottom of this, you have to ask the question, “what does a healthy mind look like?”  You probably intuited that this is not an easy question.  We can describe a healthy body fairly easily.  Many standards can be applied and scales can be created to accommodate different body types, but we cannot apply the same process to the mind because we have to rely solely on the subjective interpretation of the person who we are evaluating.  It has no physical form to be objectively evaluated.

To complicate matters, people have many different personalities and what is a healthy mind for one, may          not be healthy for another. If we take for example, a highly analytical person and a highly emotional one, either of them can be said to have a mind disorder if they start behaving like the other personality type.  A highly analytical person who suddenly becomes highly emotional, or a highly emotional person who suddenly becomes highly analytical are said to be mentally ill because they are not behaving according to their “true nature.”  To a certain extent then, you have to know a person’s true nature to know whether they are mentally healthy or not, but who decides what this “true nature” is?  What if the person who is said to be mentally ill has no idea what sort of personality they have?  How do we decide when they are mentally healthy if we require foreknowledge of their “true nature” to determine this?

And this brings up an interesting question: does this definition of a healthy mind for a particular individual change over time?  I think so.

Age is a factor in ways that are entirely different from  the body.  After a certain age, the body undergoes progressive deterioration.  The mind undergoes a transformation as well, but of an entirely different sort.  An accumulation of understanding, experience and wisdom conspire to make the mind more healthy and resilient over time.  Younger bodies are generally healthier than older bodies, but older minds are generally healthier than young minds.

And yet for all this uncertainty, we seem to know when a mind is ill, and when it is not. There are obvious cases, such as schizophrenia, and less obvious, such as depression, but we still know it when we see it.  An encompassing philosophy of mental illness should necessarily be dualistic.  Brain based mental illness will be relatively easy to identify with a clear set of symptoms, and mind based mental illness will be variable with a constellation of possible symptoms.  Both have to be recognized on their own terms and both are valid in their own ways.  It is simply impossible to view all mental illness one way or the other.

31 comments on “The Philosophy of Mental Illness

  1. Ron
    April 22, 2015

    In regards to my April 22 2015 post ‘Ron’ ‘I have been living with…’ my apologies my topic does not concern itself with parapsychology as I wasn’t paying attention to the blog’s focus, rather to the content of craigwiler’s discussion of the book ‘the disordered mind’ please forgive me?

    • craigweiler
      April 22, 2015

      The story that you have related here has been told by countless other people on this blog in the comment sections of various other articles. In addition I have received countless emails from people dealing with much the same thing. What you wrote here is more appropriate than you know.

      I only wish I had answers, but the truth is, I’m in no position to give any advice on this. I have a feeling that meds are not the answer, but I lack any real expertise on this subject.

      What I can tell you is that you are not alone and this problem is not as isolated as it appears.


      • Ron
        April 23, 2015

        craig, thanks for taking the time to reply- I’m new at the social media and wasn’t too sure about how to go about it- the fact that you let me know that many more people than myself and my room mate are going through this nightmare gives me some hope, that I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness screaming at the hurricane. thanks again, ron

  2. Ron
    April 22, 2015

    I have been living with a woman who has been ‘diagnosed’ with ‘psychosis-nonspecified’, bipolar, schizophrenia, and lately schizo-affective- she has been trapped in the public mental health system for over 12 years, hospitalized some 20-30 times (against her will) and is not getting better. She was taking up to 17 pills a day and at 4’11” weighed over 200 lbs. She is an amazing pianist, one of the best natural athletes I have ever seen, but with the anti-psychotics, anti- depressants, side effect meds and meds for the side effects of the side effects she is no longer able to express herself through these activities, which of course has damaged her sense of self, her self image, and she is a very troubled woman. In January 2014, after being exposed to Peter Breggin’s book Toxic Psychiatry, and also Robert Whittaker’s books through the only private psychologist in my town (the public mental health agency has grown like an octopus and garners all the public funding) I suggested she get off the meds and try therapy with this private psychologist. It took a lot of work to get the public mental health organization to turn her loose and when they finally did they did so with no counseling on how to withdraw from the meds, the uptake being in six months she was experiencing what I thought were the rebound side effects of going off the meds too fast but no one would listen and back in the hospital she went- for a month- and now she’s back in the public mental health system which in our town is led by one psychologist who hasn’t practiced in years and is staffed with MSW’s. They make the diagnosis. I attempt to tell people my concern- that it’s like going to a hospital where the entire staff is comprised of Physicians Assistants but they don’t get my point.. So- Back on the meds, her weight slowly growing again and when I give the relevant people at the public mental health clinic information I feel is necessary to do their job-i.e. make her better- this relevant information being that she is adopted, that she was sent to reform school from age 16 years to 18 years, that she has suffered extreme trauma, that when she came back from this baptist reform school she was lost, unable to get back into her life as it was, unable to reconnect with her friends, she got into meth, couldn’t hold down a job, they (the clinicians) always respond ‘well, she has a mental illness’ and ‘we are evidentiary based’ meaning of course, that they will continue with the meds ignore the other stuff and have even threatened her that if her behavior doesn’t improve they may be forced to put her on lithium which she is terrified of. So this web page is something i have been desperately looking for. I have problems with the ‘spiritual growth’ stuff being equated with schizophrenia as I have been involved in spirituality i.e. an at-one-ment quest for some time and see little connection between that pursuit and schizophrenia which finally gets me to my ontological question- can a non physical entity exist? if ‘mind’ or ‘mental’ is a nonphysical entity and it has been determined that such and such particular mind is ‘ill’ how can a nonphysical entity that has been determined as ill be ‘fixed’ with a physical entity such as an antipsychotic drug? What is mental illness? All the research I’ve done suggests that a schizophrenic brain has never been studied until after med treatment has begun-yet these meds bring on the very symptoms described as schizophrenia. My roommate has none of the diagnostic behaviors associated with schizophrenia- no voices or visual hallucinations or delusional thinking, and if not bogged down by meds she is very social in nature- yet she is being treated for that diagnosis.- so- I’m scared- because after 10 months being back on the meds I am seeing the same symptoms and behaviors beginning to occur that were so prevalent before she went off her meds- which means these Master Social Workers will begin to administer more meds- they have absolute power over her and it is very frightening. I need some ontological concurrence- and some advise from Psychologists and Psychiatrists who view this ‘epidemic of mental illness’ as a more than likely public relations creation by the pharmaceutical companies and the DSM proponents. Sorry it took so long to compress 12 years of info but its the best I could do.

    • donsalmon
      April 23, 2015

      Hi Ron, I just saw this note of yours. I am a clinical psychologist, and I’ve appeared on Peter Breggin’s “radio” (online) program. Since I don’t know you personally, I’ll start with a disclaimer – it’s good to be cautious in assuming that a diagnosis is incorrect.

      Having said that, I’ve seen, overwhelmingly, over the past 25 years, that most doctors – including psychiatrists – are far, far too ready to overprescribe medications.

      Again, not knowing you, I can’t recommend a specific course of action. however, I can give you a direction to look in. Peter Breggin has trained a number of psychiatrists who practice in various parts of the world. Here in Asheville, North Carolina, Dr. Daniel Johnson is a psychiatrist who has been inspired by Dr. Breggin. Johnson’s primary focus in his practice is helping patients – including those diagnosed with the most “severe” psychiatric disorders – either reduce or at times, eliminate medication.

      I have personally had cases where I helped people with severe anxiety, depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder either reduce or at times, get off their medications (this can be done with physical problems as well – I’ve done the same for people with insomnia, asthma and a variety of pain disorders). So I know it can be done.

      Your friend is lucky to have your care and compassion. Don’t give up – you might contact Dr. Breggin – he actually loves to hear from people with your kinds of concerns – at least, that’s been my experience (I just wrote him an email to say how much I appreciated his work and that started a fairly extended and most helpful communication).

      Try it. I think it could be helpful. If that doesn’t work out, there are other avenues as well. Don’t stop looking.

      • Ron
        April 23, 2015

        Don, thank you so much for your reply- my concern is basically I don’t feel MSW’s have the credentials to diagnose-Before there was the huge growth of the public mental health agency in my town there was a practicing psychologist who was asked by my room mate’s parents to visit with my room mate and tell them what he felt about her and his 1st comment was that one had to be very careful about making diagnoses, that it was very critical that the diagnosis be correct. Because she has had so many diagnoses I start to wonder as I was also diagnosed many years ago with panic disorder, then affective disorder, then ptsd, then bipolar, then borderline personality disorder. I was put on klonopin almost 20 yrs ago and am still on it with no one in the mental health field private or public suggesting that I should never have been taking it for this long. I’m trying at this time to wean off it but it is a very long process- so my fears for her stem also from my own experiences. The private psychologist i mentioned in my previous post(he is very active in EMDR therapy) holds the position that he doesn’t like to make or if made disclose diagnoses to the patient because it labels the patient and makes therapy much more complicated. It’s a strange phenomenon that once someone has been given a diagnosis a very serious and deep question has been answered for that person- they have been given an identity- I felt that way myself. It’s very strange to find yourself defending your diagnosis as if it was your religion but I would. I have discovered many people that I have talked to exhibit this same behavior. But with this epidemic of mental illness in this country and with Doctorates in Psychology or Psychiatry being few and far between Master Social Workers are definitely needed in some capacity. (my town experienced a 34% drop in crime but mental health complaints to the police dept. has doubled in the last 8 years). I’m just concerned that at least in my town it appears to be that those employed in the public mental health agency (please don’t misunderstand me- I am not initiating an argument in opposition to public funded mental health services) appear to be operating almost as rogue samarai with no higher or more qualified authority to answer to- I apologize for the strong and almost cavalier metaphor but sometimes that’s how they make me feel. I am very glad indeed that you know Peter Breggin. I did call him just two days ago and left a short message and my phone no. I live on the west coast- a long ways from the both of you so I’m not certain he will respond. However I will take your suggestion to heart and try an Email. Thank you again for taking the time to answer my concerns. I am truly grateful.

  3. Kristi Barto
    June 20, 2012

    Hi Craig, I have scoured the internet, and your blog is the only thing I found even slightly close to what I am looking for. I was hoping to get your opinion. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the right ‘conversation’ (as in, I am a bit off topic), therefore, I will try to keep this short and to the point. My entire life I was sensitive, right from my earliest memories. Some of it was visual and audible, but most was in the form of vivid dreams, some of which were premonitions, and some that were symbolic, but so spot on once decoded that they could almost be considered precognitive. I have spoken to spirits a few times, as well. I can easily tell the difference between my ‘special dreams’ and regular dreams. Heck, my regular dreams were so rare that they were kind of special. Anyway, a few years ago, I became pregnant and even before I knew I was pregnant, I stopped dreaming, cold turkey. No dreams whatsoever. It was scary, because it was abnormal. I figured after my daughter was born it would return. It didn’t and I fell into a deep depression. It’s been 3 years and Im still fighting this crazy depression and not dreaming. I say crazy because never in my life had I been depressed. It came out of the blue and swamped me. I have read a lot about it, and see a therapist; I dont believe that it is post-partum. I’m sorry this is getting to be so long, but I guess my questions are: could my depression be blocking me? Could me being blocked be depressing me? I feel like there is this wall that is suffocating me and locking my abilities down tight. I have nobody to speak to about this without them laughing at me, which is why I have finally taken to the internet. I don’t know if you can help me, if you can’t, I’m sorry to have taken up your time. But if you have any answers, I would appreciate any bone you can throw me. Thank you so much, Kristi

    • craigweiler
      June 20, 2012

      Hi Kristi,
      Pregnancy changes the hormonal balance and apparently this had something to do with your dreaming.

      This situation is either very rare or unique and as such, there is no known method for dealing with it. I can only suggest the following, although I do not know if it will work:

      When you go to bed at night, spend a moment in quiet meditation and then tell yourself that you intend to have your precognitive dreams. Keep this up for a couple of months doing it whenever you can. It’s been demonstrated that people can change their body chemistry through intent, so it’s possible that you be able to reclaim your dreams.

      Good luck,

    • Peter
      June 21, 2012

      Hello Kristi. Even though your message was not directly to me, I am taking the liberty of replying. I have known many people such as yourself who have or have had spontaneous spiritual experiences without having done any specific work on themselves to generate those experiences. Without the foundational work, these abilities can come and go and pregnancy may or may not have anything to do with it.

      Craigs suggestion that you need to do some conscious work is fine, but just trying to retrieve the lucid/prophetic dreaming ability is not enough. You are fortunate to have been blessed with those early experiences. They are taste of what can lie in store for you if you find someone who is knowledgeable and ethical who can guide you to moving beyond the surface effects of spiritual awakening (i.e. the dreams) into the deeper aspects of spiritual unfolding.

      Good luck and let us all know how your journey progresses.

  4. Steven
    April 28, 2012

    I was really enjoying this article until you drew the distinction between depression and schizophrenia. You seemed to say that depression is about the mind, whereas schizophrenia is about the brain. This is not a correct distinction. Both conditions are about the mind, and the focus on the brain from neuroscientists and psychiatrists is misguided. Human beings will never understand psychological states by looking at brains. Human beings are so much more than brains.

    • craigweiler
      April 28, 2012

      Hi Steven,
      I completely understand your objections and I think that you have a valid point of view. However, it is a fact that people are born with a predisposition to schizophrenia and this predisposition is clearly genetic in origin. Depression, on the other hand, is typically a reaction to life circumstances.

      You can look at this both ways, and both are valid in their own way.

      • Steven
        April 28, 2012

        Thanks for your reply Craig. It worries me when people talk about these things in terms of ‘facts’. No one really understands the brain, and it’s important to be humble and admit this. I have a schizophrenic disorder but no history of schizophrenia in my family. It’s a dangerous game to play thinking that genes can determine states of mind.

        • craigweiler
          April 28, 2012

          “It’s a dangerous game to play thinking that genes can determine states of mind.”

          Absolutely. What I was showing in the article was that materialist views of the mind/brain interaction are horribly flawed and there are plenty of examples to prove this.

  5. Michael Bourne
    April 24, 2012

    Over the past few months you may have noticed that I have shown an interest in some of the articles you have written. I have used to allow my audience the opportunity to be aware of them and enjoy the quality of your work. I have recently taken over as Editor for Mindscape Magazine and it is my intention to make the new quarterly edition full of great articles, very much like the ones I have scooped of yours

    Mindscape will be the leading light in bringing information to the public that is often suppressed, or not widely known. In addition to this, it’s aim is also to bring together people who are tired of the misinformation out there and set the record straight.

    Mindscape will now be an e publication and available on all major platforms, Ipad, Android and more. I would like to offer you an invite you to submit any articles you may wish to have published.

    Although you would not be paid it would give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience and become part of the team at Mindscape and a fantastic way for you to build a following of your own.

    If you’ve a book, or a DVD, or are a public speaker, you can mention your work in the bio section of the article.

    Articles ideally should be between 2-4000 words in length, be your own work and any images used must have copyright clearance, or belong to you. Please also include a two paragraph section about yourself, and your a link to your website, or other details. Please make sure all articles are spell checked and your own work.

    Please use the following link to submit your work:

    If you’re not a writer, but know of others who would write for us, please forward this to them.

    “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Michael – Editor of Mindscape Magazine

  6. Pingback: Ok, now I'm depressed - Religious Education Forum

  7. Don Salmon
    March 11, 2012

    Nice column, Craig. Actually, the mysteries around mental illness are far deeper than you mention:

    1. Virtually all of the “identical twins raised apart” studies that have been used to “prove” genetic causation of schizophrenia have been disproved. The methodology was flaws and the conclusions were drawn out of the desire to support genetic causation.
    2. Same is true for bipolar, depression, etc. There is now no solid scientific evidence that points to genetic causation (and I’m not saying there isn’t genetic causation, just that we no longer know how to identify it)
    3. Except for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, psychotherapy (good therapy, which is extraordinarily rare) is equal to medication in effectiveness. For almost all anxiety disorders, good therapy is markedly superior. Recently, Dr. Daniel Siegel has run studies (David Burns has also) showing that mindful CBT and even Burns’ version of CBT can cure bipolar without medication. Schizophrenics around the world have formed mindfulness support groups to deal with hallucinations and delusions and have found much relief.
    4. Support has been shown to be more effective than therapy or medication in some cases. I found myself, working as an intern at Bellevue Hospital in NYC, that many times a schizophrenic would come in, actively delusional and hallucinating, and within an hour of being in a structured environment with many supportive caring people (the patients and nurses, that is, definitely NOT the doctors) they would come back to ordinary (ordinary!) consciousness.
    5. What does it mean to speak of the brain as “physical” – if Consciousness (Chit that is, not the strange word we use in English which nobody seems to be able to agree about it’s definition) is the substance and “material” of virtually everything in the universe, that when we say “brain” we are simply speaking of a particular form of Chit which is perhaps less subtle than “mind” which is also not who “I AM”. (or, “what I AM”).

    At the core, I think, of the mass mental illness we call materialism which infects both our economic system and our treatment of those we call “mentally ill”, is a case of mistaken identity. We take ourselves to be this 5-7 foot tall “thing’ made of globs of this and that, and then we focus our lives on defending it, building it up, protecting it, and either grabbing what we can outside of it to make it “better” or attaching it to other globs of this and that in the delusional belief that that will somehow enhance its status. When we remember to breathe and let go of that mistaken identity, there’s just peace, openness, simplicity and flow. (not that it’s that easy, just simple:>)))

    • Peter
      March 11, 2012

      Thanks, Don, for expanding the discussion of consciousness/mind to Chit. I stopped short of including that in my response but I certainly agree with your use of it.

      Your observation on the mental illness of materialism is similarly apt. I think the “Occupy movement” and other initiatives are in the process of applying the tag of mental illness on rapacious companies and their company executives who disregard both the rights of workers and the gaia consciousness of the earth. Companies fought a long battle to become recognized as “people”. Soon, the more egreqiously disdainful companies may find themselves committed into care as “people” who are a danger to themselves and others.

      • craigweiler
        March 11, 2012

        “Soon, the more egreqiously disdainful companies may find themselves committed into care as “people” who are a danger to themselves and others.”

        Wouldn’t that be nice.

  8. Dan Booth Cohen, PhD
    March 11, 2012

    Excellent! Treating mental disturbances as products of brain disorders is absolutely driven by profit interests. A century ago, the study and practice of psychology came to a crossroads. The profession would either advance the expansion of self-knowledge or it would concentrate on developing tools and techniques to control others. The former would place primary responsibility for mental health on the individual, while the latter would anoint experts charged with changing problematic emotions and behaviors en masse. The profession naturally followed the path that was most enriching to its practitioners. What else?

    A century later, we can see that license professionals in psychology and psychiatry are paid at the upper end of the economic wage scale. Their licenses serve the same function as castle walls and moats. They both enable feasting at the trough of third-party revenue streams and limit the universe of practices to those few that serve to maintain the overall economic structure.

    Unfortunately, for those outside the walls, the suffering from emotional pain and destructive behaviors progressively worsens. A 10 year-old diagnosed with a behavioral deficit today can expect to be medicated with increasingly more toxic and damaging chemical agents over their lifetimes. The providers and manufacturers eat the meat. The patients are managed as revenue streams.Blame it on the brain.

    • craigweiler
      March 11, 2012

      It’s sad that it’s come to this.

  9. Shalom & Erev tov…the literature on the subject is extensive, but I would suggest you start with:

    Marcia Angell, M.D. 2004. The truth about the drug companies: how they deceive us & what to do about it (Random House), 305pp

    Marcia Angell, M.D., 2011A The epidemic of mental illness. Why? The New York Review of Books 58(11)

    Marcia Angell, M.D., 2011B The illusions of psychiatry. The New York Review of Books 58(12)

    Irving Kirsch, 2009. The emperor’s new drugs: exploding the antidepressant myth (Bodley Head), 226pp

    Thomas Szasz, 2001. Pharmacracy: medicine & politics in America (Praeger Publishers), 212pp

    Thomas Szasz, 2009. Antipsychiatry: quackery squared (Syracuse University Press), 188pp

    Robert Whitaker, 2002. Mad in America: bad science, bad medicine, & the enduring mistreatment of the mentally ill (Perseus Publications), 334pp

    Robert Whitaker, 2010. Anatomy of an epidemic: magic bullets, psychiatric drugs, & the astonishing rise of mental illness in America (Crown Publishers), 404pp

    ‘Psychiatry’, like ‘psychology’, is not a scientific discipline, and the ‘mental health’ typologies are fabrications (much like crucifictionism). These pharmacracy quacks invent ‘diagnoses’ to fit the drugs available, and the history is rife with racism, antisemitism, repression of women (and clairvoyants), etc. The evidence is fairly obvious: ‘schizophrenia’, in the main, is the condition of a human being born with an underveloped brain, a brain which, after birth, does not grow, thus precipitating unpredictable behaviour. The ‘mind’ as you are using the term is a myth. I refer you to the pioneering work of Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff on ‘orchestrated objective reduction of quantum coherence’ in brain microtubles which is a fascinating (and, as far as I am concerned, definitive) introductory analysis of what is ‘consciousness’. With these tools, you will have a firmer grasp of what you are discussing.

    STEPHAN PICKERING / Chofetz Chayim benAvraham

    • Peter
      March 11, 2012

      “The evidence is fairly obvious: ‘schizophrenia’, in the main, is the condition of a human being born with an underveloped brain, a brain which, after birth, does not grow, thus precipitating unpredictable behaviour. The ‘mind’ as you are using the term is a myth.”

      The Penrose-Hameroff notion is not even accepted in the scientific community, never mind in the rest of humanity. Your condescending tone throughout smacks of a lack of convincing evidence for your beliefs. NOTE: listing publications without stating what it is they contain that justifies your contentions is similarly unconvincing and suggestive of you being unable to provide convincing evidence for your beliefs.

      • Shalom & Boker tov, Peter…your comments are without foundation, and for you to question my ontological authenticity as a Torah Jew (and scientific researcher) is not relevant, and negates your semantic pirouettes. As far as Roger Penrose/Stuart Hammeroff’s paradigms — and my providing citations to literature which are necessary to have a perspective on the problematic nature of current analyses — this is your problem, not mine. I have studied the literature, and, in good faith, offer Craig accessible resources, studies obviously you are unfamilkiar with. This is 2012 CE, not 1933-1945. You are hardly in a scholarly, ethical, moral position to posit any extrapolations of my ‘beliefs’ as a Jew. From what I have read above by you, the discussion of scientific evidence stops prudently before their parallelism becomes close enough to yield logical and probable conclusions. The criminal behaviour of pharmacracy acolytes (the continuing post-Shoah attempts to industrialize repression linked to pharmacracy fascisms) are documented thoroughly.
        STEPHAN PICKERING / Chofetz Chayim benAvraham

        • Peter
          March 11, 2012

          Dear Stephan Pickering / Chofetz Chayim ben-Avraham

          This column is about mental illness and those possibly profiting from it. For you to suddenly introduce your claimed religion affiliation into the equation, equate your “beliefs” with it, and to identify yourself with two names, is, how shall I put it, suggestive of one or more dissociative disorders with implications of childhood trauma.

          Your reliance on poly-syllabic verbiage as a defense mechanism without actually saying anything also suggests a dissociative disorder.

          Your claim to have beliefs without being able to articulate what those beliefs further suggests that you have taken leave of your senses. Please seek help. I wish only interact with people who are sane, so until then, adieu.

          • Shalom & Erev tov, Peter…your antisemitic nonsense is incomprehensible…and predictable. I have two names (both integrally linked to my ontological authenticity), I choose to use both, and your problematic semantic diarrhea is irrelevant. Every word you are expostulating is an unnecessary stain on silence and no-thing-ness. I choose not to interact with you further because Jew baiting is hardly the basis for dialogic paradigms.
            STEPHAN PICKERING / Chofetz Chayim benAvraham

      • NancyGene
        May 6, 2012

        Interesting that Stephan Pickering should show up here, as he himself has a long history of mental illness. He is also a vocal Internet troll, claiming scholarship on all manner of things about which he actually has no clue. His replies are copy-and-paste of things he has written dozens of times on other sites. If challenged, he claims anti-Semitism.

        • craigweiler
          May 6, 2012

          Thanks for the head’s up. I will take that into account the next time I see a post of his.

  10. craigweiler
    March 10, 2012

    With capitalism, I was pointing out how our economic system sets the stage for our ways of thinking about mental illness.

    I almost completely agree with you on most of your statements.

    I was not aware of spiritual emergence syndrome. I’ll look it up. However, I’ve seen paranoid schizophrenia close up and personal. My uncle has it and there is no mistaking it for anything else. He needs all the help he can get.

    And that is really the important aspect of schizophrenia. It can severely mess with people’s lives and make them unable to function. They need help.

    Fortunately, most psychologists and psychiatrists don’t treat the DSM as their bible. To them, it’s mostly a reference for insurance purposes. But you’re right. It’s highly biased.

  11. Peter
    March 10, 2012

    One can’t blame capitalism for everything, especially in this case of so-called mental illnesses. A better culprit is the psychology/psychiatric industry. Here, I am reminded of Abraham Maslow’s observation, “ If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” I might even extend to say, “you tend to see every EXPERIENCE as a nail.”

    The modern psych industry is playing with very limited tools indeed. It focuses exclusively on the brain. It is unmindful of the other parts of the body that also have neural consciousness, ie. spine, heart, gut., independent of the brain. It is largely unmindful of the consciousness of the individual cells despite Dr. Candace Pert’s 1997 Molecules of Emotion. It is even unmindful that many people do not have discernable brain structures at all as was pointed in the 1960’s and 70’s by Dr. John Lorber and again in 2007 by Dr. Lionel Feuillet.

    This paucity of tools, of course, includes a complete absence of knowledge about the consciousness functions of chakras and gunas, well known for millenia in Hinduism.

    Lastly, the modern psych industry makes the elementary mistake that because there seems to be a correlation between types of consciousness and certain brain activity, there is therefore a necessary causal connection between the two. This industry seems unaware or unwilling to entertain the possibilty that there may be a third factor(s) that cause(s) the changes in consciousness and that the brain merely registers those causal episodes.

    Rather than expanding its tool kit, the modern psych industry is loathe to admit that it is ignorant of the sources of and influences on consciousness. It therefore, merely adds more cases of “abnormality” to the DSM with each new issue in an effort to protect its territory and to assuage the egos of its participants. It is unmindful of philosophy professor Randal Martin’s observation, “The pursuit of truth is like picking raspberries. You miss a lot if you approach it from only one angle.”.

    Your mention of schizophrenia is also a landmine because one person’s schizophrenia is another person’s spiritual emergence syndrome. It takes a person skilled in both western medicine and in spiritual transformational experiences to accurately diagnose schizophrenia. Unfortunately, most diagnosers are not only unskilled but, more importantly, ignorant of spiritual transformational experiences. These diagnosers rely on a pharmaceutical treatment mode because that is all they know. In doing so, they might condemn a spiritual emergence sufferer to a permanent state of infantilization and incarceration.

    You mention that one might classify certain symtoms as mental disorders or NOT. That is exactly what is being done with the new DSM-V as the boundaries of autism are being expanded. Soon, it will be only the psych industry particitioners who are sane and they will have completed their conquest of the world.

  12. Monica
    March 10, 2012

    Really interesting…I think psychologists would say things like ‘healthy depression’ or ‘unhealthy depression’, though. And as for what a ‘normal’ Asperger’s person would look like, you must’ve been reading Wrongplanet or something–that’s a huge debate between NT parents\friends and Aspies. Nice post!

    • craigweiler
      March 10, 2012

      I wasn’t trying to argue that psychologists would not mention healthy depression. I was only showing it demonstrates the complexity of this mental health problem.

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