Letter to a friend about psychiatry
Psychiatrists regard those of their patients who manage to reenter the economy at the lowest possible pay scale as successes.
They are one of a number of different groups to imply that this current state of capitalism is a state of natural reality, i.e. this is the only way it can be.
I have been long of the persuasion that is normality itself as a concept and a normative ideal that is broken, not our minds (as so-called “mad” people) that are broken.
If the psychiatric profession is involved in describing the Status Quo as natural and those who cannot adapt to it as unnatural then it is not in the job of curing anyone. “Freaks are revolutionaries and revolutionaries are freaks” that is a quote made by the Weathermen.
It is normality that is pathological. It is in the normal lives of so-called respectable citizens that much pathology, illness, suffering and self-negation lies.
“Some hand in hand some gathered together in bands” but we all stand outside the wall my friend. Pink Floyd.
The Man has grown powerful indeed in our lives. (I mean the government)
“It’s ok” I say to my friends… “don’t worry about me I can see that what I am involved in is way bigger than me”.
Psychiatry is too powerful for it to be trusted not when you can see clearly as I can that it is just the ideal instrument of ideological enforcement of state power as we find it. And we are after all living in an age of information freedom where many people can come to understand the abuses of power in which psychiatry as a profession has colluded with the State. Like the CIA stories of MKULTRA stateside, and other things.
I have met many great people through my participation in the group of psychiatrically diagnosed people and I’m afraid I have to say also that I have lost many great people. There is no such thing as normal, I hope we can see the wise view that all humans are simultaneously geniuses Saints and yet also freaks and weirdoes, in our glory and strangeness.
We have to come to terms with this as denizens of the modern age I may be sending revolutionary to you but I would never vote to have you my dear friend put up on a guillotine all those times I am tempted to yield to anger that I feel when I have been unlucky enough to see this much injustice around me.
There has to be another solution.
When we were friends who use to enjoy each other’s company in exploits of freedom and joy, you knew me. I am not doubting that there are many things that have made your life since I have kept close company with you to be very hard.
And this is also true for me but I pay this tribute because I believe you are a free thinker.
Something is broken in our conception of what constitutes mental illness and how it is to be dealt with. Any human can be seen to feel distress at times. And it will clearly be seen to worsen their distress to be placed on the butt end of a pseudoscientific attempt to pick them to pieces and analyse what is weird and disgusting about them.
When any sensible thinker knows that the remedy for fear is solidarity with another …the remedy for the feeling of lovelessness is love.
You see the ravening power of the State will still seek other means to suppress dissent than merely the criminal justice system, and when it could find that it might make a deal with psychiatry…
…What was created was a truly fearsome thing.
And I can see many who live in fear of this. If you could come to know the terror that I knew as I gradually began to perceive that the entire status of my life was being reduced to that of a slave, you might still have sympathy. But I don’t really need to say that to you because I can see that as someone who claims they are normal you are still living with the fear of that threat – when really you should shrug it off and claim your freedom too.
And admit that every human who has ever lived, in all their beauty, is simultaneously a genius a saint a freak and a weirdo… it truly takes all sorts.