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Posted by Alan on December 18, 2003 03:06:43 UTC

Look what happened here:

(See "Christmas Cheer" post).

Mike wrote this stuff about science being seen as advancing; with defeats not apparently noted so much, among other things.

I was using a computer where I had the page ready for a reply and was thinking about what to say. 12yr old makes fun suggestion and types in a title ("The Answer to life the universe and everything is" with content "42". Cool idea I think but doesn't really compute (Have you seen "Hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy"? i.e. do you know where this comes from?)

I delete that; though would be fun to post it. Thinking of other funny ideas I just write "cheeseburger" for no reason other than to write a silly title. Next thing 12yr-old (do you recall the MacDonald's advertising campaign that used this line that follows here?) has made it:

"double double cheese cheese burger burger please" with content "big mac". But most surprising of all; it got posted. But he didn't click on "post". Well it looked hilarious of course; how did it get posted?

Well he accidentally pressed "enter" but neither of us expected it would post.

Re: "mental illness":

as professor Szasz demonstrates in his books and at; there is no such thing. It is a metaphor mistaken for a fact. It is analogous to the belief in earlier times in "witchcraft".

The foremost doctors of the day used to believe in witches. Witches were "diagnosed" by a process of "heads I win; tails you lose".

Same pattern appears with so-called "psychiatric" "diagnoses". Once a person gets into a certain frame of mind, anything can be interpreted as a "symptom" of such "illnesses".

This is demonstated in the joke "if the patient is late he is hostile; if on time he is neurotic, if early he is anxious" or however it goes.

It has been suggested that society might choose scapegoats to hide its own questionable aspects?

Szasz has looked in detail at the historical development of the alleged "mental illnesses".
They are blatantly fraudulant.

For many decades textbooks on patho-physiology ignored the numerous "illnesses" of psychiatry; as they had no scientific pathology.

Now some of these books mention them, but the entries for them are notably wishy-washy speculation compared to the genuine pathology entries. Like astrology turning up in an astronomy book...

Physciatrists confuse metaphors with reality. They impose rules of how they think humans should think, relate, and behave; under the guise of "health". I seem to recall that Szasz has suggested it is the biggest scientific fraud of our scientific age.

Why do people fall for it?

Widespread propoganda?

Szasz does not deny that some people are puzzled, mystified, or annoyed by the behaviour of others. But he says to use a metaphorical language of health and illness to describe this; then to take these metaphors literally; is a category error.

I seem to recall Szasz writing that if society believes that health values justify coercion and that moral values do not; then those who wish to coerce others will try to expand the category of health values at the expense of moral values. He says we are already far along that road.

He is not against an inter-personal help industry re: "problems with living"; he is not against dispute resolution (see his book "Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry"); but he is against a "Therapeutic State"; he is against torture disguised as "therapy", he is I think against stripping people of the right to be held responsible for their own behaviour; he is against force and fraud.

My opinion: I think people are afraid of what lies inside them; and "mental illness" allows them to put things in a "too-hard basket".

In actual fact; even the most bizarre behaviour can be understood. People think nothing of strange use of language in poetry. But if anyone should use poetry out of the socially-approved context for doing so....they might get called "schizophrenic".

The few occassions where a physical-body illness was represented in aspects of behaviour; the genuine illness is identified (e.g. pareisis) and it is kicked out of psychiatry which leaves psychiatry as a grab-bag for prejudice, misunderstanding, and dissaproved behaviours.

Ivan Illich shows that even physical medicine is a political scenario of chosing alleged "wrongs" to be "righted".



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