Mainstream Media Beginning to Criticize Pharma-Psychiatry

A few months ago, I became aware of various articles online that stated “Robert F Kennedy Jr. says 70% of news advertising revenue comes from Big Pharma”.  In the articles there is a link to a May 18, 2015 video in which Jesse Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota, interviews Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on an episode of Off the Grid.  Off the Grid is a talk show on Ora.tv, an online network.

Here’s the RFK Jr. quote from the video:

“I ate breakfast last week with the president of a network news division and he told me that during non-election years, 70% of the advertising revenues for his news division come from pharmaceutical ads. And if you go on TV any night and watch the network news, you’ll see they become just a vehicle for selling pharmaceuticals. He also told me that he would fire a host who brought onto his station a guest who lost him a pharmaceutical account,”

One of the things that’s most striking about pharma-psychiatry is that although it is based on a colossal hoax, and does an enormous amount of harm, it receives little critical attention from the mainstream media.  Mr. Kennedy’s comment helps us understand this silence.

Here’s another quote from an article on trueactivist.com, June 1, 2015:

“This deceptive strategy proved to be quite lucrative so the drug companies launched a massive advertising campaign to peddle a wide variety of ineffective and unnecessary drugs to a trusting and ignorant public. This industry actually spends more money on advertising than they do on research and development every single year.”

Pharma, in effect, buys the media’s silence by pumping enormous sums of money  into advertising.

But in the last two or three years, we have seen more and more criticism of pharma-psychiatry in the media.  Here’s a short list of some mainstream media outlets that have taken pharma-psychiatry to task in recent years:

Scientific American, John Horgan:
Return of Electro-Cures Exposes Psychiatry’s Weakness  June 24, 2015:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

New York Times, Alan Schwarz:
Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill June 9, 2102.  How young people are getting ADHD drugs by “lying to their psychiatrist”.
The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder, December 14, 2013
Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries,  May 16, 2014

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

New York Times Editorial:
An Epidemic of Attention Deficit Disorder  December 18, 2013:

“So many medical professionals benefit from overprescribing that it is difficult to find a neutral source of information. Prominent doctors get paid by drug companies to deliver upbeat messages to their colleagues at forums where they typically exaggerate the effectiveness of the drugs and downplay their side effects. Organizations that advocate on behalf of patients often do so with money supplied by drug companies, including the makers of A.D.H.D. stimulants. Medical researchers paid by drug companies have published studies on the benefits of the drugs, and medical journals in a position to question their findings profit greatly from advertising of A.D.H.D. drugs.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

San Jose Mercury News, Karen de Sá:
Senate panel examines why California foster care system ‘addicted’ to psychiatric drugs

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Washington Post:
Peter Whoriskey
Antidepressants to treat grief? Psychiatry panelists with ties to drug industry say yes, December 26, 2012:

“In what some prominent critics have called a bonanza for the drug companies, the American Psychiatric Association this month voted to drop the old warning against diagnosing depression in the bereaved, opening the way for more of them to be diagnosed with major depression — and thus, treated with antidepressants.”

Shankar Vedantam
Experts Defining Mental Disorders Are Linked to Drug Firms, April 20, 2006

Sandra Steingard, MD
A psychiatrist thinks some patients are better off without antipsychotic drugs, December 9, 2013

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Daily Mail, Peter Gøtzsche, MD:
Prescription pills are Britain’s third biggest killer: Side-effects of drugs taken for insomnia and anxiety kill thousands. Why do doctors hand them out like Smarties?  September 14, 2015.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 Wall Street Journal, Ed Silverman (in Pharmalot):
Psychiatrists With Ties to AstraZeneca Resign From Texas State Hospital  April 21, 2015

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Huffington Post, Peter Breggin, MD:
Drug Companies Drive the Psychiatric Drugging of Children  July 24, 2012

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

abc News, Katie Moisse, Health Editor:
DSM-5 Criticized for Financial Conflicts of Interest  March 13, 2012

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

BBC Panorama, four part Seroxat (Paxil) and GSK documentary, Shelley Jofre, reporter:
The Secrets of Seroxat, October 13, 2002
Seroxat:  Emails from the Edge, May 11,2003
Panorama’s two year journey, October 3, 2004;
Secrets of the drug trials, January 29, 2007

For a concise synopsis of all four programs, see truthman30’s July 3, 2015 post All Four BBC Panorama Seroxat Documentaries Now Available To View Online…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Guardian 
Peter Gøtzsche, MD
Psychiatric drugs are doing us more harm than good  April 30, 2014

Will Self
Psychiatrists: the drug pushers  August 3. 2013

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Let us hope that this trend will continue, and that the media will increase their scrutiny and exposure of what is arguably the biggest and most destructive hoax in human history.  If you see an article critical of psychiatry’s abuses in a newspaper or other media outlet, please consider sending comments of appreciation to the writer and the editor.

  • Mark Eccles

    A great collection of recent articles. Thank you.

  • infamouscrimes

    I tried watching NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt recently and had to turn it off in disgust. It was just one half hour long ad for chemical poison.

  • Margaret Costello

    I’ve seen anti-pharma people interviewed on Fox news many times. God bless~

  • Cledwyn (Shame on Me)

    “…please consider sending comments of appreciation…”

    I tend to abstain from indulging the vice of self-praise whilst making a pretense of praising another.

    Praising others? The praise of self displaced onto someone else; the indulgence of vice under cover of virtue; vice poncing about in virtue’s plumage, symptomatic of the prelapsarian pretensions of a postlapsarian humanity (at least when we aren’t praising men or women transfigured by celebrity or apotheosis).

    Yet this particular subtype of the vice of self-praise is the worst of all, for it partakes not only of pride but of hypocrisy also, from which charge it is otherwise spared.

    I struggle to read these articles personally. They are just saying the same things over and over again, ad pukum. Not that they aren’t saying important things, but that they are pretty much the only things being said. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their own areas of expertise within which their knowledge is circumscribed, and this is obviously reflected in their discourse. So this is no criticism of the writers, just of the focus on some aspects to the exclusion of others of equal and perhaps often greater import as regards psychiatry and everything appertaining thereto.

    More articles questioning the foundational suppositions upon which the whole grisly edifice of psychiatry rests would be welcome.

    For one, few are really questioning some of the basic postulates whereupon rests most reasoning about so-called “behavioral health”, such as that suffering and misbehavior can justifiably be conceptualized as diseases and that, accordingly, the patient’s problems are amenable to correction through medical intervention.

    Then there are the rarely questioned assumptions about life itself. The belief that anxiety, and a fortiori depression, is not for the most part a perfectly normal response to life, should come under much greater scrutiny.

    True, there are a number of commentators who focus on some of the specific proximal and distal factors in an individual’s environment that conspire to lay men’s spirits low, or lead to terror and anxiety, but a more philosophical perspective – drawing upon the works of thinkers whose thoughts are/were the most exercised by the subject of the suffering of the species, or upon the works of the great cartographers of the landscape of human experience encountered in the arts – is forgone in favor of a disproportionately great focus (on the one side of the divide) on the biological and neurological substrates of human experience, and (on the other) on bloody nutrition, and social and economic factors, all in accordance with the temper of the times, distinguished largely as our age is by the worship of science to the point of fanatical frenzy, though, as with any faith, its principles are honored more in the breach than in the observance, it would seem (just as no man is capable of truly living in accord with the precepts of the Christian religion, but many are there who pay verbal homage thereto, likewise those who prostrate themselves at the altars of Reason and Science).

    Although varying social, economic, political and cultural currents converged in its founding and its historical progression, one of the prime movers of the whole endeavor we call institutional psychiatry is the fanatical faith in reason (the absurd apotheosis of a faculty) and science, and I would like to see this come under more scrutiny.

    Psychiatry has inherited the legacy of the Enlightenment faith in Reason and Science (fanaticism abasing itself before its superiors), a faith not without its irony, given that the latter (reason and science) are situated at the antipodes of fanaticism (and the faith in things and the world it gives rise to), the correction of which they were charged with, and also given that the logical end-point of all our reasoning about reality and our fruitless inquiries thereinto seems to be suicide, that is, faithlessness transposed onto the plane of action, save the odd simple-minded, fanatical martyr, for whom suicide is a kind of alchemy.

    And a faith is what this is. It has all the classic features. All the great faiths, be it that of veritable religions like Christianity or Hinduism, the faith of self known as amour-propre (Our father, who art in the Mirror….), or secular faiths such as Marxism and the Enlightenment faith, are, au fond, pretty much as interchangeable as the different ages of man in history (which like a stationary object that affords the illusion of forward movement, seems to be going somewhere, but isn’t), for they are all driven by fanaticism; they all orient our thoughts, energies and efforts towards some illusory sublunary or superlunary paradise, unattainable in this world or any other; they all exact human sacrifices; they all have their own demonologies, their own code of conduct for the faithful etc.

    Not that psychiatry has gone along entirely with this blind faith in reason of the Enlightenment, who believed in the infinite perfectibility of man under the tutelage of reason and science (upon which the 20th century gives an ironic commentary, given that it was the most sanguinary and brutal century on record, but faiths being little troubled by knowledge, the belief in man’s infinite perfectibility persists), no, for psychiatrists of a neuro-determinist bent believe in a God of Reason not dissimilar to how the God of Christianity has been envisaged by the Calvinists, who discriminated in the dispensation of its grace. According to this secular equivalent of the Calvinist belief in grace, the God of Reason also discriminates in the dispensation of its favor, and there is nothing you can do to change that, for you are the recipient of one of the brains whereupon God randomly decided not to confer his blessing (the God of Reason works in mysterious ways…).

  • all too easy

    You exceed your own hilarity time and again. I should know by now you have limitless resources to make people laugh so hard they cry and beg you to stop. Bozo is gone, but his spirit lives on and on.

    I recommend a thorough work up and heavy doses of the latest anti-narcissist drug therapy followed by 3 years intense inpatient treatment at Switzerland’s finest teaching hospital where all staff can devote all their time and effort exclusively on trying to save you from Cloddhoppeepuss.

  • Anonymous

    Your best comment in months. Very well said. The sooner the nonbelievers in the psychiatry religion realize they are dealing with fanatics, the better. Those who have been surrounded by, and attacked by, the dead-eyed swarm of syringe wielding fanatics, know this only too well. Tragically we are beset by interests who think these same violent fanatical thugs can be ‘retrained and reformed in alternative methods and approaches’. Nobody over at MIA can see how utterly repugnant it is, how much of a kick in the face it is to the millions of people defamed and tortured by psychiatry, this idea that the very same, tainted, guilty, pseudo-medical human rights criminals are just going to be accepted by their victims with open arms if they get some ‘open dialogue training’ instead…

    Nobody who has crossed the line into inhuman atrocity, by participating in forced psychiatry, is fit for purpose when it comes to claiming legitimacy as someone with any primacy to be someone to go to for help, with the problems of life. I have one message for the mindless ‘reformers’, the brain rapists are tainted, they belong, if not in prison, then outside of polite society, the fact that scum like this are protected and used as some kind of tool to gain respectability and credibility by ‘alternative approaches to psychiatry’ sites, just shows how utterly degraded the world is, and how infinitesimally small the chances of an improvement on a wide scale systemic level are. So-called ‘criticism’ of ‘pharma corporations and psychiatry’ is weak tea indeed, compared to the kind of de-indoctrination from the psychiatry religion that I’ve seen made possible in small numbers of individual lives including my own. The Establishment voices are nowhere near ready to admit the terror and inhumanity that the average psychiatrist, cop, social worker, psychiatric ‘technician’ or ‘nurse’ has perpetrated in the name of “help that people need”. The empathy has simply never been there, never, throughout the last couple of hundred years since modern forced psychiatry was established, in short, still, nobody gives a shit what is done to us.

    Commit heinous atrocities against us and still get rewarded with a front page berth on ‘Mad in America’, the idea that anything but a tiny amount of people understand the gravity of what has taken place with psychiatry’s inhumanity to man is laughable.

    But Cledwyn, again, that was a very good post. The final paragraph particularly.

  • all too easy

    T has been almost a century since the initial description
    of what we now call attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder
    (ADHD) appeared in the English-language medical
    literature, and it is remarkable that the disorder continues to
    provoke strong feelings and controversy. It is particularly
    striking in view of the substantial advances in our understanding
    of ADHD, including its underlying neurobiologic
    features and its treatment. In Ritalin Nation, DeGrandpre
    argues that ADHD reflects cultural changes rather than
    any underlying biologic predisposition. The essence of his
    argument is as follows. We are living in a continually
    speeded-up society — in DeGrandpre’s words, a “rapidfire
    culture,” one in which rotary phones have been discarded
    because they are too slow and in which single-tap
    faucets are used to speed up the mixing of hot and cold water.
    This rapid-fire culture has important consequences for
    children. As compared with children in the past, today’s children
    experience many more stimuli and, as a result, are motivated
    to engage in more and more stimulus-seeking behavior.
    In a sense, they become “addicted” to and dependent on
    continuous sensory stimulation. In DeGrandpre’s scheme,
    the symptoms of ADHD — hyperactivity and an inability
    to attend to unstimulating activities such as paying attention
    in class — reflect a kind of escape behavior used by the child
    to maintain sensory stimulation. According to this view,
    methylphenidate (Ritalin) is effective because it also provides
    stimulation — in this case, pharmacologic stimulation.
    DeGrandpre’s formulation of the cause of ADHD has a
    certain seductive appeal. Who among us, inundated and
    often overwhelmed as we are by e-mail messages, faxes, telephone
    calls, and seemingly endless meetings, would not
    like to go back somehow to a slower pace — “stop the
    world, I want to get off.” The feel-good rhetoric in Ritalin
    Nation has an eerily familiar ring. It is strikingly reminiscent
    of arguments for the use of what are best described as
    idiosyncratic therapies for cancer, brain injury in infancy,
    and an array of other ailments. These arguments generally
    share a number of characteristics. Antiprofessionalism is
    common; there is a strong distrust of modern medical practice.
    The proponents of most of these idiosyncratic therapies
    dismiss conflicting points of view, claiming that any controlled
    studies are biased, perhaps reflecting a conspiracy
    between institutionalized medicine and government or, as
    DeGrandpre states, “the immense power, resources, and
    momentum of the pro-ADD [attention-deficit disorder]
    medical establishment, the huge commercial push by pharmaceutical
    companies,” and “the authority of American psychiatry.”
    Evidence cited to support these idiosyncratic
    approaches is often in media other than peer-reviewed scientific
    journals. DeGrandpre supports his claims that Ritalin
    is dangerous by quoting “newspaper reports across
    the country” and accounts on the Internet. Another hallmark
    of idiosyncratic approaches is their reliance on “natural”
    treatments — presumably, treatments that are not
    only natural but also implicitly or explicitly said to have no
    possibility of side effects. The treatment offered for ADHD in Ritalin Nation is
    consistent with such idiosyncratic therapies. DeGrandpre
    views the characteristic behavioral traits as developing from
    family conditions that encourage hyperactive and inattentive
    behavior. His solution to the problem follows naturally
    from this formulation: slow the pace of the child’s life, specifically
    by having the parents spend less time at work and
    more time with the child — that is, by better parenting.
    Here is the great disconnection. We would all agree that
    life is moving rapidly and that it would be nice if we
    slowed down a bit. But nowhere is there anything but anecdotes
    to suggest that rapid-fire culture leads to ADHD
    and that better parenting would prevent the disorder.
    Blaming parents for the symptoms, as DeGrandpre suggests,
    has the ominous overtones of the notion of the
    “schizophrenogenic mother,” long since proved to be a
    terrible error. In a recent review of Ritalin Nation in the
    New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell notes, “Only by a strange
    inversion of moral responsibility do books like Ritalin
    Nation seek to make those parents and physicians trying to
    help children with ADHD feel guilty for doing so.”
    DeGrandpre fails to acknowledge the tremendous progress
    that has been made in our understanding of ADHD;
    instead, he presents homilies about the rapidity of modern
    life and how the culture of the 21st century may influence
    children’s behavior. Many of the advances in our understanding
    of ADHD have been reviewed in the Journal
    within the past few months, and other reviews examine electrophysiologic
    measures of brain activity and brain imaging,
    including functional imaging studies, in ADHD. As
    for treatment, readers of the Journal need to know that
    rigorous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have demonstrated
    the effectiveness of pharmacologic treatments in
    patients with ADHD and have begun to compare pharmacologic
    and behavioral approaches. These therapies have
    been tested in carefully designed scientific studies. Children
    and adults with ADHD face many difficulties. Denying
    the problem is not the solution.
    BENNETT A. SHAYWITZ, M.D.
    Yale University School of Medicine

    Children and adults with ADHD face many difficulties. Denying the problem is not the solution.
    Children and adults with ADHD face many difficulties. Denying the problem is not the solution.

  • all too easy

    Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D., the Charles and Helen Schwab Professor in Dyslexia and Learning Development, is the Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Shaywitz received his B.A. from Washington University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric training, including serving as Chief Resident, and then a postdoctoral fellowship in Child Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Shaywitz has a long-standing interest in disorders of learning and attention in children and young adults. He has devoted his career to better understanding and elucidating the neurobiological basis of reading and dyslexia and to ensuring that this new knowledge is translated into the better care and treatment of children and adults who are dyslexic. Early on, Dr. Shaywitz recognized the great potential of functional brain imaging and led a national effort to apply functional imaging, especially functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to the study of reading and dyslexia in children and adults. He has made major contributions to understanding the neurobiology, specifically the brain organization for reading, including the identification and localization of specific neural systems for reading; delineation of differences in these systems between good and poor readers (including a neural signature for dyslexia); the functional role of the system for fluency; the finding of at least two neurobiological subtypes of reading disability (one, primarily inherent; the other, more environmentally influenced); and the demonstration of plasticity in the neural systems for reading and their ability to reorganize in response to an effective, evidence-based intervention.

    The author of over 300 scientific papers, Dr. Shaywitz has received many honors for his contributions to the understanding of the basic neurobiology of reading and dyslexia, including election to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Alumnus Award from Washington University, the Annie Glenn Award for Leadership from Ohio State University, and by selection to deliver the New York University Medical Scientist Training Program Honors Lecture. Dr. Shaywitz was also selected, along with Dr. Sally Shaywitz, as recipient of the Haggerty-Friedman Distinguished Lectureship at the University of Rochester; the Lawrence G. Crowley Distinguished Lectureship at Stanford University; the Waldo E. Nelson lectureship at St. Christopher’s Children Hospital; the Leonard Apt Lectureship of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and the Sidney Berman Award for the Study and Treatment of Learning Disabilities presented by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Each year Dr. Shaywitz has been chosen one of the “Best Doctors in America,” one of “America’s Top Doctors,” and one of “New York’s Top Doctors.” Castle Connolly Medical, America’s trusted source for identifying top doctors, has selected Dr. Shaywitz for its 16th and 17th editions of “Top Doctors: New York Metro Area.” Dr. Shaywitz currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the March of Dimes; he also currently serves on the National Vaccine Program Office Safety Subcommittee and has served on the Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Review Committee. Dr. Shaywitz sits on the editorial board of Pediatrics in Review, Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, and Child Neuropsychology.

    Rev.2/2014

  • Cledwyn “Lamb of God”

    Obviously, more articles about psychiatric slavery would be welcome in the mainstream media, but the roots this institution has put down in the all too receptive soil that human society provides for it and other assorted abominations, as things are currently constituted, make this extremely unlikely given the nourishment with which said roots are provided by custom, law, popular opinion and sentiment, and a rhetoric that usurps the idiom of humanitarianism and medicine.

    Of course, calling it a specimen of slavery, or analogies therewith, usually only elicits the response that this trivializes the suffering of the slave (shame on us), that even the worst treated mental “patients” in human history couldn’t make as great a claim to the sympathies of your average victim of chattel slavery, which I would only dignify with a response not because I believe that the aggregate experience of either group should be turned into some sort of puerile battleground whereupon each can stake its claim to having suffered more than other, but as a corrective to the common view that the suffering of many mental “patients” in history is so quantitatively distinct from anything other historically oppressed groups have faced, that it constitutes a mockery of the suffering of the former to even make such a comparison, as if, set next to their own suffering, even the worst treated mental patients were/are mere dilettantes, dabblers in the art of suffering, compared to those individuals for whom, by virtue of their color or extraction, suffering is something of a calling, a calling that instills such pride in those who either engage in it or who have descended from such nonpareil sufferers, they brook no pretenders.

    (Every man likes to view himself as a real world Job. The attempt to ensure privileged status for our own group and the sufferings visited thereupon begins to make sense when this is understood, for through the elevation of the loose collectives to which we belong to the status of some sort of sacred authority on suffering, we can revel all the more in our sense of victimization, and then use our crucifixes as weapons to bludgeon our opponents with, and to demand special rights and entitlements, becoming like the sacred apes of Benares whereof Schopenhauer spoke, believing that the sanctity the peerless suffering of our group confers puts us at liberty to do as we please.)

    An example of this kind of attitude can be seen in an article, specifically in the comments section attached thereunder, on that veritable bastion of all that is good and holy, Mad in America, that oasis of moral purity in a desert of depravity, that limpid pool in which to cleanse the spirit of all impurities, leaving your whole body a-quivering with cleanliness, as Willa Harper would have said.

    He said, in response to what was merely an analogy that didn’t even touch on the relative suffering of chattel slaves and mental patients historically, that there is no comparison between the atrocities of the mental health movement and those of slavery, that this should never be forgotten, that “white folks” need to get this into their heads and an apology is in order (from who, exactly? I didn’t enslave anyone), and that not one oppression that white people have suffered can compare, which he states with the fanatical self-assurance of a preacher of the gospel of suffering with some sort of divine mission.

    Now, leaving aside for one moment the almost touchingly-naive racism, how can someone be held responsible for something whose only relation to him is that it was committed by human beings and they had white skin, or in some cases that these people who happen to have white skin live in a country where this abomination happened?

    Of course, this comment won’t be removed, not by those armchair fanatics who run MIA, yet such a sentiment, in the mouth of a white person, would be interpreted as racist. If a man with white skin generalizes on the basis of the crimes of a percentage of people with black skin, he is a racist. On the other hand, when the generalizations are about people with white skin made by people with black skin, as is the case when the shame of chattel slavery is generalized to all “white folk”, as if it was a crime not of some white people but of all, you are not a racist Yet you are ultimately making another generalization, and treating white people as guilty for something they haven’t done, much as certain white supremacists regarding all black responsible for the crimes of some.

    The writer, like many other members of groups of increasingly sacred identity, ever protective of their position as occupants of a privileged status in the uppermost echelons of a hierarchy of victims, through the generalizations he makes about “white people”, only reinforces the essentialist prejudice which fosters supremacism and divides men and women on the none too granite basis of mere pigmentation of skin, along the lines of which division the invidious distribution of rights, liberties, and sometimes responsibilities, proceeds.

    Sadly, this is what political correctness has come to. Nothing escapes the universal rot. The mobilization of popular sentiment (always a form of ganging up on our enemies, even when justified in the pursuit of our preservation, for it involves an attempt to triumph by dint of numerical superiority, which overwhelms the victim of such a symbolic lynching – leaving his thoughts in disarray and crippling his resolve – in proportion as it emboldens and empowers the one who profits from this preponderance, whilst at work is the same instinct in the man who implicitly or explicitly appeals to popular sentiment as that operating in the man who, in an argument, looks around for support from onlookers with an eye to enlisting their support, as is the custom with most men, who only sprout a pair of bollocks in numbers, and for whom no form of cunning is too base) against the more politically incorrect members of society’s contemporary demonology (which now includes many critics of psychiatric orthodoxy) is fine insofar as its only objective is to ensure the most basic interests and rights of minorities, and to redress an imbalance of power, but, alas, it has degenerated into another form of oppression.

    The mental health movement, unlike chattel slavery, persists in the present, according to which fact alone its evils seem less reprehensible; for every age has to its advantage the belief held amongst those who live in it – save a few proponents of the cyclical theory of history who, performing a kind of eidetic reduction on its successive ages and paring each down to their essentials, see every age as, mutatis mutandis, interchangeable – that any aspect of society that partakes of the present is for that reason to be considered an advance upon that which partook of the ignominy of a past over which posterity keeps vigil; for every age, when viewed under its aspect, suffers thereby, and is not only stripped of all its finery (a fate which awaits ours), of the myths and delusions that protects its depravities and absurdities from the dart of truth, but also has to suffer the fate of the atrocities it has hosted being amplified out of proportion to their proper dimensions, for at such an historical remove the imagination inevitably takes flight, and the awareness of the chilling banality of evils past is lost, only strengthening the conviction of their discontinuity with the present, in which the mechanisms of oppression remain concealed, and upon which concealment their successful operation depends.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    The Will Self article is particularly good. I had no idea he was critical of psychiatry.

    He was on a panel on a debate on youtube called, “We’ve never had it so good”, which motion he firmly comes down against and in which so-called progress in psychiatry was a theme.

    It was little more than a pretext for an orgy of generational ethnocentrism and collective self-congratulation. The motion was mostly approved, unsurprising given that the audience was mostly made up of people from amongst the most privileged of society. There’s also a lady on there in the audience who adduces as evidence in support of the motion that supposedly, “the mentally ill”, have never had it so good, which is one reason why I thought I would write this and which I will address at some point hereunder.

    The case for pessimism was helped by the fact that – though not in the eyes of an eternally gullible audience, the kind of people who applaud mountebanks and demagogues at part political conferences when they should be hurling rotten tomatoes at them for the shameless piffle that pours so profusely from the mouths of politicians whenever they open them – one of the panelists supportive of the motion was a politician, that is, an opportunist, blowing like a weathercock which ever which way the whims of popular opinion takes him; a prostitute, winking seductively at his gullible customers, wheedling his way into their good graces, manipulating them like so much wax; and an enchanter, casting a spell over his audience through repetition of the same mood-elevating insipidities and inane incantations about progress and change.

    Every-time a politician opens his mouth, a truth kills itself.

    Of course, it would be politically inexpedient for any politician to utter anything that blasphemes against the spirit of mindless optimism that prevails in any age, ergo it should come as no surprise to hear one uttering such tripe as “We’ve never had so good.”

    Now if you circumscribe the discussion within very narrow parameters, then the motion can seem reasonable, no doubt; but if you broaden them to be inclusive of other aspects of modern life, and the diverse perspectives that converge thereupon – to the exclusion of which the debate was largely framed – then such an attitude can seem justified.

    Anyone can cherry-pick reality to make it conform to some hypothesis.

    I’ll have no part in this exceptionalist framing of our epoch, poised precariously as it is on a precipice overhanging the abyss whither the species is inevitably headed, an age in which the end of the world is a greater possibility than ever, largely due to the much-vaunted advances in science and living, upon which rests, for the most part, this ethnocentric self-congratulation previously mentioned.

    Yet I have many other reasons. For one, I think that a closer examination of some of the postulates that inform this line of reasoning is necessary, such as that material improvements equate to well-being, which is taken for granted whenever someone makes a case for things being better than ever because of better living conditions, greater access to medical care etc.. If this were true, why do so many people commit suicide whose material environment nevertheless partakes of such advances, and why do so many people suffer greatly who are nevertheless well-off?

    Material well-being is neither a sufficient or necessary condition of spiritual well-being, at least above the bare limit the preservation of our existence demands.

    Then there’s this “we”, subsuming under one rubric a vast plurality of experiences as often divergent as they are convergent.

    The frame of reference of the panelists is problematic. They approach the subject from a positivist perspective, largely for rhetorical purposes, as is the custom amongst public speakers with an eye to the manipulation of their audience.

    But one cannot reliably infer subjective states from objective conditions, which is all statistics can really show an improvement. Whilst the lay of the land without largely determines that within, our inner world is not entirely a product of our physical environment and the dialectical or harmonious relationship struck-up therewith, and even if it was there is much about the current dispensation and the immediate environment of some individuals that makes modern life horrendous and puts a great strain on our mental resources.

    For example, there is little mention about the peculiarities of modern life that conspire against our hopes of happiness, such as the dense population of the modern environment, which gives us a livelier sensation of our own insignificance through the sheer amount of people, and of our own inferiority through the inescapable presence everywhere of people stronger, more beautiful, richer etc., and of course, such people are often rude, and even violent, especially when drunk

    As well as this there is the very topography of the modern urban environment, with its mausoleum-like buildings stretching up to the heavens, and the endless proliferation of ugly geometric forms receding to seeming infinity, disfiguring the landscape, turning it into an Antonionian hell-scape, in which ennui and depression is prevalent amongst those whose eyes are presented with this grotesque, monotonous landscape, which along with the infernal din emanating therefrom – as well as the noxious exhalations of the bins, the bad odors overhanging everything, and the plague of people – turns the modern environment into a vast rape of the senses, so that every-time one leaves the house, it’s like I have opened a sluice-gate through which all the world’s sewage comes rushing in upon me.

    Of course, with the advance of scientific knowledge has come a corresponding increase in the burden of consciousness. Life in the modern world has taken on all the charm of a morgue antechamber for prospective corpses. We have about as much reason to go on breathing as does a cow in an abattoir waiting-room. Evolutionary science has affirmed the verdict of many of the greatest thinkers; life is a brutish, meaningless, Darwinian struggle for survival and power. The more we learn, the more terrifying the world becomes. There is no providential force governing the universe, the world is governed by chance etc..

    One of the indices by which progress is measured is the relative freedom of peoples of different epochs. In modern society, there is much self-congratulation about the freedoms of which we are the beneficiaries, and even more about those of which we aren’t, and the opinions of panelists and audience members in the debate generally reflects this. Basically, there were lots of people saying, to paraphrase, “look how much freer we are in the modern world!”.

    Tell that to the guy subjected to ongoing incursions into that once inviolably sacred place, the human body, now a dumping ground for toxic chemicals.

    Civilization, as it advances, due to the progressive refinement of human cunning and of the technology brought to bear upon the citizenry, becomes increasingly oppressive. In consequence we are in many respects less free than ever. We congratulate ourselves upon our supposed unprecedented freedom to say what we want, whilst ignoring the many restrictions that hedge in tongue, mind and spirit alike, and set a limit beyond which the individual ventures at his peril. The airing of certain thoughts will always be strictly prohibited under pain of some form of sanction, only now the means by which society forges and tightens the fetters of the minds of the individuals who compose it, are much more effective, the apparatus much more refined, for now the eye of government can penetrate, through the use of technology, into areas of the conscious life of men previously unimaginable.

    In a psychiatrized society like ours, and with absurd sumptuary laws regulating the consumption of psychoactive substances, how can it be said that we are freer than ever?

    Yet it does this largely under cover, for the mechanisms of power are often only effective insofar as they escape scrutiny and operate through furtive channels. This leads, of course, to the belief that people are much freer than they are, to the madness of slaves who think they are free just because their shackles are invisible.

    No, we are not freer than ever, and that we think we are only keeps us from being so.

    Viewed from the Olympian heights from which the majority of people look down on any age other than their own, then no doubt it seems like “we’ve never had it so good.”

    Where this debate got really interesting for critics of psychiatry is where some woman, overwrought and visibly indignant at the very notion that things haven’t got any better, adduced in support of the motion the supposedly incredible advances in psychiatry, the treatment of its patients, and attitudes appertaining to the subject of mental illness (she was clearly a mental health professional basing her view on HER experience).

    The notion that attitudes in the current age appertaining to the subject of so-called mental illness represent a great advance is misguided. No doubt she bases her self-congratulation on the error that by convincing people these are illnesses like any other this will change popular perception for the better. There’s not much evidence for this; instead it would seem that the biogenetic model fosters fear and a sense of hopelesness, and of course, given the connotations of the term “mental illness”, the language itself seems to be a part of the problem, it regularly being put to use as a term of abuse. She also says that the “mentally ill” were once excluded, and by implication not anymore.

    As for advance in “care”, an iatrogenic epidemic of brain disease of unprecedented proportions and withdrawal, as well as numerous other problems, contradicts this.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    In the way of an addendum to my last post, it is in the shadow of such complacency as is implied by the attitude, “we’ve never had it so good”, that inequality, injustice, and all sorts of evil flourish.

    One of the advantages of such an attitude as is currently abroad in society, for those who, as is invariably the case, profit from the current dispensation to the detriment of the interests of others, is that when anyone dares complain, be it about psychiatry or the state of modern life and some other aspect thereof, you can just trot out the old
    line, “you’ve never had it so good”, which, in its implication of ingratitude, can be used to shame an opponent into silence.

    The worst panelist on there was a journalist and writer of execrable fiction (if only taste wasn’t such a precious commodity, then most of the dreadful books that get published wouldn’t, for if their authors had the requisite discernment to realize that what they say is not worth the paper on which it is printed, then would they wouldn’t bother to write them), called Rachel Johnson, who spoke for the motion that “we” are the beneficiaries of some sort of halcyon age, and who in her peroration had the nerve to say that optimism about present and future alike is a duty (I’m always very wary of fanatics, usually not very bright ones, who not only lay down the law for others as regards their conduct, but also as concerns their thought, such as many psychiatrists, obviously) and that, in an aberration of the intellect, somehow the kind of complacency she prescribes is a guarantee of prosperity.

    In response to a girl who was herself countering the claims of the woman who literally had the temerity to say that the “mentally ill” have never had it so good, Rachel Johnson – quite presumptuously given just how little acquainted with the subject she seems to be – started plucking porkies out of the air, such as when she said that, supposedly, 20 years ago, people like the girl – herself “mentally ill” – basically didn’t have a voice and wouldn’t have been allowed to speak, and that, basically, she should be grateful that, supposedly, there is a “societal conversation” going on about “mental health” issues, which is no more true now than it was then; indeed, rather than the present age representing some great advance in this regards, now, with the successful diffusion of the notion that it is stigmatizing to even question psychiatry’s basic suppositions and the entry of the most radical critics of psychiatry into contemporary demonology accordingly, insofar as it can be said that such a conversation is being held – at best a very sporadic affair – then it takes place only within very narrow parameters, much narrower, I would say, than 20 years ago, before the aforementioned notion wasn’t in circulation and hadn’t ushered in an oppressive climate of self-censorship in which, as is common in our politically correct age, people find themselves too terrified to even think what they want, lest they fall foul of the hysteria regarding words abroad in our society and are subjected to the odium of the populace (indeed, this has taken on such frankly absurd dimensions that even to question political correctness in its more oppressive manifestations is streng verboten, and is interpreted as a defense of bigotry).

    She even had the nerve at one point to talk of “the help you need” in relation to the girl, which is typical of the backhanded phraseology of the mental health movement, in which the casting of aspersions on one’s reasoning capacities and attacks on one’s dignity often masquerade as simple diagnoses, as disinterested pieces of advice, and expressions of concern.

    It was once said that in order to be good we must think we are bad. Mutatis mutandis, the same applies to the society in which we live. If some improvement is to be made, then I fail to see how such complacency helps. Just as what allows individuals to realize their potential is self-criticism, likewise societies, and the more the better!

    The worse thing is the way that the speakers for the motion tried to use statistics – illustrative of the abuse of science in political debate – to discredit dissent.

    Coming back to the issue of science and reason and the blind faith therein, which I discussed in another comment in relation to general trends of criticism of psychiatric orthodoxy, I suppose psychiatry and its barbaric history bears eloquent testimony to just how misguided scientism, insofar as is understood thereby the elevation of science to the level of a divine authority and the worship thereof, is.

    Nothing could be a greater testament of man’s need for a faith (and by implication, of man’s enduring fanaticism) than the fanatical worship of science and reason. Just as prior to the great epistemological shift of modern times, men relied on divine revelation as the true source of knowledge, now on scientific revelation.

    Just as once men believed in salvation through religion, now they believe in salvation through the worship of science and reason. The Enlightenment thinkers, and the supposed torchbearers of the Enlightenment who came after them, believed in the infinite perfectibility of human nature and the human condition under the guidance of these secular objects of veneration, and we have inherited their legacy.

    Yet look at the twentieth century. It was as if a god, or Nature, in order to punish men for the Promethean hubris of the Enlightenment torchbearers, for their attempt to improve upon the work of Nature or Creation and the assumption of their prerogatives that this implies, sent a flood of shite, in the form of the most sanguinary and brutal century in human history.

    Just as the gospel states that we must all expiate the Original sin of Adam and Eve, it was as if men and women of the twentieth century had to expiate the sin of the hubris of all the Enlightenment thinkers and their followers, your Benthams, your Voltaires, your Kants, your Mills, and all those who see themselves as Reason’s elect, her emissaries on earth, here to improve on Nature, all the members of the cult of Reason.

    Yet Nature, the Original tyrant, is all powerful, and reason is powerless to loosen her grip on men’s hearts.

    Take love, for example, that force of Nature, and a veritable force majeure. Love epitomizes the supremacy of Nature over Reason. It matters not how much a man recoils intellectually from the trap into which he is being led, through the tiny encroachments upon the heart by which a woman imperceptibly lays siege to it, through her stares; her teasing glances; the curves of her body; the indifferences that, feigned or otherwise, fan the flames of amorous passion into that devastating conflagration (romantic love) that burns hearts to a cinder and leaves in its wake the charred remains of man’s romantic illusions; or through the beauty the imagination borne on Cupid’s wings lends to flesh upon which the love-struck eye alights; nor does it matter how much woman recoils intellectually, for man and woman alike are the mere instruments of the will of Nature.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    Not that anything I have said in the earlier posts should be taken as evincing a belief in the possibility of a great improvement in the affairs of human societies. It would be utterly hypocritical of me to set myself up as someone who believes that by focusing on evil and guarding against the kind of complacency which allows it to flourish, this will usher in some sort of utopia.

    My belief is that society may be utterly damned to Hades, due to the common substratum of human nature – which, short of some sort of alchemical transformation thereupon, will always be what it is, and likewise human society – upon which all societies rest and within the limits of which the possibility of reform is narrowly always circumscribed; but understanding this shouldn’t stop people from trying to improve things within the boundaries of what is possible, whilst forever keeping before one knowledge of the utter impossibility of making any great change.

    In this sense I identify with the pessimism of Camus to some extent, in that he acknowledged the essentially Sisyphean nature of the struggle to eradicate evil – allegorized in his novel “The Plague – insofar as is understood thereby the whole gamut of man’s inhumanity to man. Yet the man who self-identified himself as a pessimist nevertheless believed that whilst there is breath in one’s lungs, and men are confronted with the plague of depravity in one of its avatars, the rebellion thereagainst is just about the only thing that can give some sort of semblance of meaning or purpose to this ultimately pointless proliferation of days we call life.

    Nevertheless, Kant was right when he said that out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made. Perhaps this was a lapse in his blind Enlightenment faith in the supremacy of reason over nature, along the lines of which he and many others believed the betterment of human nature, the human condition, and consequently human societies, would proceed.

    Coming back to the subject of the Enlightenment faith and the worship of reason and science, any man who identifies himself with a philosophical movement called “the Enlightenment” thereby offers a compelling proof of how fanatically enamored of himself he is. One thing you could never say about any child of the Enlightenment is that they are humble. At such an Olympian remove do these people situate themselves from the passions, follies and foibles of normal human beings, so divinely aloof do they consider themselves from the rest of us, they think it falls to them to guide humanity over the waters of Error and into the land of Truth, to shine the lumens naturale – with which they have been entrusted by the grace of the God of Reason, a god which, like all gods, men fashion in their own image – into the darkness that has hitherto enveloped the human mind. And to distance themselves from the impression of hubris this creates, they can just frame themselves as the humble servants of truth, mere vessels into which the God of Reason pours the juices of his wisdom.

    And like all preachers of a faith, they enchant the masses with second-rate visions of future bliss, and menace them likewise with Dantesque visions of hell, only in this case the hell lies in the Dark Ages of the past, to which we will return if we do not follow the lead of Reason’s elect, no doubt, if we do not submit ourselves to the true faith.

    Assuming for the sake of further argument that such people have the truth on their side – and it is my belief that it is only Reason’s sempiternal slumber that allows such a faith as this to flourish – the truth rarely makes people happy.

    Ibsen dramatized this in his play, the Wild Duck, which features a character whose fanatical mania for the truth destroys a family, the often destructive and corrosive effect of reality on minds and relationships alike leading to the suicide of the little girl who in the story symbolizes innocence.

    If only there was a Zeus to punish the Promethean hubris of such people, and all those who seek to put themselves on an equal-footing with gods!

    In anticipation of possible criticism, many people will question the view I have offered in an earlier post of the 20th century. On the other hand some will accuse you of being a “flat-earther” for blaspheming against the gospel according to Steven Pinker, whose disciples in political debate wield “The Better Angels of our Nature” like holy scripture, as if the stats therein actually support the grandiose claim that Steven Pinker makes about the moral progress of the species, all on the basis of a very limited amounted of data that he has cherry-picked to suit his belief that we live in some sort of golden age, not that he even sees it as a belief, no, for to him it is so obvious as to justify the use of the aforementioned epithet in relation to those who deny it.

    Supposedly violence has been on the decline, and from that he draws the conclusion that there has been moral progress, although of course morality doesn’t just deal with violence.

    How does he know that? Because the science says so. End of discussion. Yet the data is very limited, and only offers a partial view of the sum-total of violence committed over any period of time, and the very sources of the data he relies upon are very questionable.

    He sees a spirit of altruism afoot in modern societies where others, like myself, see only a pestilential egotism, and he also believes this is part of some sort of humanitarian revolution, largely attributable to the cultivation of rational thought, which in his view is what leads to greater empathy for others. Yet rational thought can just as readily be used for corrupt as for noble purposes.

    No doubt reflection has its part to play, but what allows men to empathize with each other is the mapping of the contours of our own experience onto that of others, without which experience pure cold reason is powerless to make us any better, and for which reason I believe that it is suffering that makes people better than what they are. True, it initially can make men bitter, inconsiderate and selfish, which perhaps is what led Pascal Bruckner, inter alia, to say that people learn nothing from suffering (what, we don’t even learn about suffering from suffering?). Yet it would be myopic to say that just because in the short-term it can embitter and preoccupy us to the point of utter indifference to the feelings of others, it does not make us better, for in the long term I believe that there are strong reasons to believe that it makes us wiser and more empathic,

    TBC>

  • Haha… No one denies that people have problems with attention. The issue is whether or not these problems are a brain disease.
    Your posts are so funny.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    A problem I see is that the majority of criticism in the media, based on my limited experience, is confined only to a questioning of the efficacy of the “treatments”, which can be attributed not to some cumulative growth in societies of awareness of the harmfulness of psychiatry, but more likely to increasing scepticism about the current “treatment-paradigm” in a society that, as I have already argued, that is possibly disposed today than it was, say, 20 to 40 years ago, to examine the basic assumptions about suffering and misbehavior and the complexion cast thereupon in psychiatric theory.

    As the empire of a given faith expands, its capacity to tolerate heretics and any doubt vis-a-vis the dogmas that lend it authority diminishes; a climate of fear soon sets in that insinuates itself into the minds of all, hedging all thought about with limitations that so stifles the free flow of thought, any attempt to venture into forbidden territory can only be undertaken against the ovine impulse to mindlessly conform for the sake of social and emotional convenience; one’s mind becomes a front whereupon, subtly and usually unawares, society wages war on the individual, establishing itself furtively therein through small, imperceptible encroachments the moment the individual is disgorged from the mother’s womb, culminating in almost complete control over his psyche, whereupon Hydra – that many headed monster – sprouts another head with which to petrify others into a state of absolute mental servitude.

    This can put the heretic at a great disadvantage in his conflict with the faithful, who must struggle against the tide of popular of sentiment and the fear it brings with it.

    What the fanatical faithful have successfully managed to do is inculcate the notion that criticism of psychiatry offends against Enlightenment faith in reason and science, and against compassion. They also associate it with a denial of suffering itself.

    Power is like anything else much desired; the more we have of it, the more we want, and the more we want something, the greater the difficulty in resisting the temptation to procure it or more of that which we already possess by any means possible. Hence why it is that power corrupts.

    What I have said heretofore is equally applicable to the liberal humanist faith, which like the psychiatric faith preaches reason and science, whilst practicing the very fanaticism and intolerance that so haunts Reason’s repose whilst leaving it blissfully undisturbed, and that ill-comports with the spirit of skepticism that animated the founding of science.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    That should be “,more ill-disposed today…” in the first paragraph.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    It’s this climate of fear that can largely account for the so-called “humanitarian revolution” afoot in society, as Panglossian Pinkerite optimists would have everyone believe. Absent this, and the apparatus of state power, and things would look very different.

    In many or most regards, a notion of progress is unjustified.

    Firstly, there’s the issue of mental patients. In the past people have been seen as mad by the grace of god, and madness therefore a sign of superiority, not inferiority, as in our society.

    Then there’s homosexuality. I’ve lived in areas at both ends of the socio-economic spectrum, and homophobia has always been the norm, hardly an improvement upon attitudes in ancient Greece and in Feudal Japan, quite the contrary.

    Then there’s attitudes towards tran-sexuals. I don’t see much evidence of a humanitarian revolution there. Such people are treated as freak-shows.

    Then there’s the disabled and the disfigured. The book “Scapegoat” by Katherine Quarmby and numerous documentaries have documented the prevalence of hate crimes against such people in the modern age, hardly surprising given the current worship of the body beautiful and bully-worshiping (that is, the worship of sports stars).

    Not that this is an exhaustive list. There have also been more enlightened attitudes towards obese people than in our age, for example, and I imagine people with red hair, who are commonly bullied at school and treated as physically inferior.

    Vive la revolution!

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    The views that psychiatry has made great progress and that the “mentally-ill” have never had it so good are nothing more than a Whig interpretation that conceives of the history of the profession as proceeding along the lines of a transhistorical narrative of progression towards ever-increasing enlightenment, culminating in the eradication of human suffering. This is driven by the desire to shore-up psychiatric empire and by the chronological snobbery of men that leads them to see past ages as inferior to their own – so much more advanced – age simply by virtue of their temporal priority, which always depreciates an epoch in the general estimation.

    Which snobbery informs our view of evils and miseries past, for when the imagination takes flight on the wings of fantasy towards that illusory landscape the word “past” usually signifies, it alights in a realm that suffers in the contrast with our own (though undoubtedly it can seem to us more exciting), dotted as it is with plague-pits, bodies writhing in unimaginable agony, devilish Inquisitors presiding over an auto-da-fe, people wallowing in feculence, the charred remains of witches etc..

    Yet the evils of the past, I imagine, were as chillingly banal as those of the present. The same applies to its miseries. People always assume that the past was the scene of sufferings greatly surpassing anything people at least in the modern Western world undergo, even though so many men nevertheless kill themselves in spite of the greater difficulty now than ever, one might argue, of fulfilling the desire to dispose of one’s person, given the now greater reach of the state than in distant times. Yet people still suffer greatly, in part because of transhistorical torments such as unrequited love, and also because science and technology have made possible new modes of agony, such as those experienced on certain psychiatric drugs and in withdrawing from them (it was not for nothing that certain dissidents in Communist Russia described the neuroleptics as the worst torture they experienced, having nevertheless run pretty much the whole gamut thereof).

    Yet I digress. It would be nice to see more of a critique in the media of the most basic assumption of psychiatry, to wit, that there is such a thing as a divide running through societies, on either side of which men and women can be grouped.

    Sadly, all one can do now is sow the seeds and hope that somewhere down the line they will burgeon, blossom and bear fruit in a future age, one more receptive to the idea than ours, in which its suppression is made necessary by the hold on the human heart of the Enlightenment faith, which envisions a truly rational, sane humanity and that reaps for its adherents far too rich and abundant a crop of pleasurable emotions, and who are too mad themselves (and none are so hopelessly mad as those who think they are sane and truly capable of always living in accordance with truth and reason, a fanaticism all the more terrifying for the disguises it has assumed), for allowance even to be made in their minds for the mere possibility that they are not sane animals.

    Alas, the evolution of cultures is little affected by truth. There is no free-market of ideas wherein each “product” is valued by its measure of truth, only a market-place in which only the most powerful aggressively “sell” their ideological wares; nor is there some sort of process of natural selection amongst ideas underlying cultural evolution, as fanatics of truth would have us believe, whereby in a supposedly rational society the most truthful ideas, finding it easier to adapt themselves to such an environment, flourish and propagate themselves, no doubt a comforting notion for victims of certain democratic delusions, for men who acquire fame for their own ideas, and believers in progress, but nothing more.

    What determines the value of an idea in the market place is primarily the extent to which it is receptive to the needs and desires of the hegemonic social group. Truth has little say in this, even when it is the truth that prevails, because men are not philosophical wayfarers, but creatures held captive by their desires, needs, sentiments and passions, which sometimes bring us to the truth, but more often not, and therefore not any essentially sane.