It starts like this:
Psychiatry, the DSM, and the Black Power movement
Once upon a time, a strange thing happened at the Ionia State Hospital in Michigan: A diagnosis of schizophrenia exited the body of a white housewife, flew across the hospital, and landed on a young Black man from the housing projects of Detroit, burrowing into his body and stubbornly refusing to leave.
Most of my writing is in Norwegian at the moment, so I’ll be posting links for a while.
Here is a blog that is described as
“A venn diagram of policing, mental health and criminal justice”
An excerpt from “About”:
I eventually found out that there are no simple answers: you have to triangulate a multitude of opinions and form your own. You must accept from the start that when you then start expressing them, you will meet just some people who are prepared todie in a ditch before they will ever agree with you; even though you are trying your best to understand laws or guidelines and representing back opinions from people who do their job. When you point this out – that other people who do their job disagree with them about the issue in hand – and that they are contradicted by their own guidance, you start to understand the kind of paradigm we’ve constructed. It’s when you then meet other quite amazing health and social care professionals who will tell you that you were quite correct in what you thought you’d read – you start to wonder what onearth has been going on?
In this article Bruce E. Levine writes:
Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.
I’ve never thought of myself as an anti-authoritarian – looks like a label to me, and I dislke labels.
I also prefer pro- to anti-, and consider myself to be pro-responsibility.
Therefore I …
- question whether an authority is legitimate before taking that authority seriously
- assess whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and respect people who are respecting their authority
- and when I assess an authority to be illegitimate, I challenge and resist that authority—sometimes calmly, sometimes aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.
Which has brought me a world of problems from mental health care authorities.
And, looking back over the past 25 years, I would have done the same, even if I knew what was going to happen and how I was going to be harmed by Authority for rejecting It.
Because I have been giving myself who I am all the time, even if authoritarian harm caused progress to be glacial at times.
If I had chosen instead to be compliant? A “good patient”?
I think I would have been long dead.
Mental health care seems to require unquestioning compliance.
Can unquestioning compliance be mentally healthy?
From “Carpe Jugulum” by Terry Pratchett:
The Omnian priest Mightily-Praiseworthy-Are-Ye-Who-Exalteth-Om Oats is sitting by a roadside road talking with an old woman. He does not know that the woman is a witch and therefore knows how many angels can dance on the head of a pin:
“You’ve counted sixteen?” said Oats eventually.
“No, but it is as good an answer as any you’ll get. And that’s what you holy men discuss is it?”
“Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin, for example.”
“And what do they think? Against it, are they?”
“It is not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
“It’s a lot more complicated than that–“
“No it ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes-“
“But they Starts with thinking about people as things…”
An example of “thinking about people as things” is Abraham, who is willing to kill his son because his god demands it. When finally I saw the situation from Isaacs point of view ….
I found it impossible to believe in the Christian faith that I had grown up in.
If you’re getting a sense of deja vu, it’s because I have has a post with this title previously, which I have now deleted because of a niggle … the article I linked to left me with a feeling of unease, which I understood when I reread it and read that the author, Elizabeth Scalia, “is the Managing Editor of the Catholic Portal at Patheos and blogs as The Anchoress.”
I’ll put in the link here in here:
And round this whole thing off with Leonard Cohen’s “Story of Isaac”
I don’t have time to post my own stuff now, mainly because it hs to be translated first.
And I have deadlines on subtitiling the first season of “Game of Thrones”.
I get paid for doing this! And it contains Charles Dance!
Anyway, here’s a debate that contains Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens.
“The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.”
Arguing in favour of the motion are Archbishop John Onaiyekan and the Rt Hon. Ann Widdecombe MP.
Archbishop Onaiyekan points not only to the spiritual assistance that his Church provides, but also to the tangible aid that is given internationally through Catholic projects. He admits that Catholics are not infallible, but are by necessity sinners trying to improve themselves through their faith.
Ann Widdecombe suggests that in trawling all the way back to the Crusades to find something to blame the Catholic Church for, Christopher Hitchens merely demonstrates how flimsy his argument really is, and insists that the actions of the Catholic Church in the past be judged with a degree of historical relativism.
Stephen Fry rounds it off like this:
Well it’s been a really interesting debate, and I’ve loved some of the questions from the floor. I suppose I’m slightly disappointed that Ann Widdecombe in particular should say “oh, I knew they’d bring up condoms and child rape and homosexuality.” It’s a bit like a burglar in court saying “you would bring up that burglary and that manslaughter, you never mentioned the fact that I gave my father a birthday present.” You know, yes, yes, are you getting the message? There is a reason we hammer home these issues: because they matter. It’s such an opportunity, owning a billion souls at baptism. It’s such an opportunity to do something remarkable, to make this planet better, and it’s an opportunity that is constantly and arrogantly being avoided and I’m sorry for that.