The human side of chess, 14

The profession called psychiatry

The first thing to keep in mind when a loved one is in crisis is the Hippocratic oath of doctors: do no more harm. Unfortunately, it is precisely the doctors who violate that oath, since the crises of the spirit should never be the province of the doctor.

Carlos Torre was electro-shocked in Monterrey when he lived with his three brothers, all doctors. I read this in the book 64 Variaciones Sobre un Tema de Torre by Germán de la Cruz. I was so intrigued that I made some inquiries. I spoke with Jorge Aldrete, a bridge and chess fan from Monterrey based in Mexico City, who had sold me several imported chess sets. Both Aldrete and Ferriz suggested that I contact Arturo Elizondo in Monterrey. On April 24, 2004, I spoke with Mr Elizondo, who graciously answered my questions. This man of more than eighty years was neither more nor less an eyewitness of the electroshocks to Torre. When I asked him if what de la Cruz said in his book was reliable, he replied: ‘I am sure because to control his physicality’ he was ‘by his side’ during electroconvulsive therapy. I asked him what the symptoms were so that they took such a drastic measure with the Yucatecan chess master. Elizondo replied: ‘The only thing, he was stubborn but he wasn’t aggressive and nothing like that’. Elizondo only slightly disagreed with de la Cruz’s version insofar as he affirmed that the brothers weren’t directly responsible for the commitment. ‘It was the nephew, surnamed Torre’, a Masonic grand master and colleague of Elizondo at the Nuevo León lodge. According to Elizondo, this happened in 1957 in the psychiatric ward of the General Hospital of Monterrey. Due to Torre’s ‘excitatory stage’ to use Elizondo’s expression, the diagnosis was manic-depressive, which is now called bipolar disorder. It had been the arousal phase of his manic-depressive crisis when they applied electroshocks to calm him down.

Universities teach kids psychiatric treatments, such as electroshock, as if they were the praxis of real medical science. No wonder that, being Elizondo a chemist sympathetic to medicine, he repeated to me what is claimed at the universities: that Torre-type excitations are of a ‘neurological nature’, a claim that Elizondo repeated several times during our telephone conversation. The truth is that, without any laboratory testing, psychiatrists rule out psychogenic hypotheses of delusions (see once again my anti-psychiatric site whose address appears on page 3 of this book). He also told me that electroshocks are ‘a very noble therapy’ because it ‘completely relaxes’ the excited. Elizondo participated in the coercive relaxation of Torre, in which he even helped hold him down. He even confessed to me, ‘One or two days I gave him accommodation, then he left with his nephew’. But what Elizondo ignored is that electroshock is a crime. This electric hammer blow to the head frequently erases part of the memory of the people who receive it. One of the cases I mention on my antipsychiatric site is that of a graduate student who, after she was shocked from depression, forgot what she had learned in college. We can imagine the handicap that the ‘therapy’ represented for her career. In Torre’s time there was the aggravating circumstance that it was common to perform marathon electroshock sessions: a practice that some call electrical lobotomy. We can imagine how this barbaric practice could have diminished Torre’s intellectual capacity for chess. Do you remember the scene of the electroshock applied to the character played by Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

This type of assault on healthy brains (like the character played by Nicholson, the electro-shocked folk had a healthy brain before ‘therapy’) continues to be performed in Mexico. This is done even in the largest psychiatric hospital in the nation: the Fray Bernardino Álvarez Hospital in Tlalpan, where students do their internships. In 1960, three years after his experience in Monterrey, Torre was once again harassed by his sponsors and by psychiatrists. When he lived in Mexico City, he was committed for a few days at the Sanatorio Floresta, which was in San Ángel, under the care of psychiatrist Alfonso Millán. Alfonso Ferriz told me this personally, who in his splendid naivety paid for the commitment. The Floresta psychiatric hospital no longer exists, but as I indicate on my aforementioned website, on November 25, 1970 an article appeared in Siempre! entitled ‘A season in hell’ written by two sane young men who were interned at Floresta. The authors of the article reveal that a grandson of Victoriano Huerta was lobotomised and confined there: ‘Before, he was very aggressive until he had a lobotomy. He now is a child. At meals he twists around on the chair, he eats desperately. While eating he drives the flies away from the table’. Ferriz and Elizondo acted in good faith, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. According to Ferriz himself in one of the interviews recorded by Obregón, Torre felt resented with him for life after the outrage of which he was a victim in the psychiatric hospital. In fact, Torre didn’t see Ferriz again until the latter visited Mérida.

In his book, Gabriel Velasco, ignoring what psychiatry is, after the New York crisis wrote that Torre ‘needed medical care’. There were still no electroshocks in the 1920s. But if Velasco refers to some other psychiatric therapy that was applied to him, this way of using language (‘medical care’) is a euphemism for medical crime. In the prologue to Velasco’s book, Jesús Suárez praises that Velasco has omitted all speculation about Torre’s ills. The truth is that it was pure intellectual cowardice, both by Velasco and Suárez, to have omitted that he was electro-shocked in Monterrey; that in Mexico he was admitted to the Floresta, and that he resented Ferriz for life.

Those who knew him were struck by the fact that Carlos Torre was a very affectionate person with people. He called them all angelito, padrecito, madrecita (little angel, little father, little mother): expressions that portray the goodness of his character. Let’s put ourselves in the master’s shoes for a moment. Imagine that we speak in sweet Mexican diminutives. How would we feel after the involuntary commitment by our loved ones? What would we feel after the assault on the brain in Monterrey? In addition to the intellectual loss, wouldn’t it be an attack on one’s dignity and self-esteem? How would our self-image look after the attack?

Although Ferriz assured me that he wasn’t electro-shocked in Mexico City, they administered him psychiatric drugs at the Floresta. I wonder if Torre was tormented there with drugs called neuroleptics: a ‘hell’ as described by the authors of Siempre! According to the words of Ferriz himself, which I wrote down in an interview at his house in March 2004, I guess that Torre was sane when committed. Ferriz confessed to me: ‘But also, he didn’t seem crazy! It was hard to get what was wrong with him’. Like the ‘stubbornness’ Elizondo spoke of, Ferriz interprets anger as a mental disorder. I didn’t argue with Ferriz or Elizondo. But after the interview with the former I wondered what they had done to Torre in the Floresta, the psychiatric hospital that had Huerta’s lobotomised grandson in custody. And by the way: was this guy lobotomised there? Nobody asks questions of this kind in Mexico for the simple reason that it’s difficult to imagine that a pseudoscience is taught in universities. It is a stupendous irony that in Mexico the medical institution had to have arisen precisely in the same building of the Inquisition of New Spain: the palace of the old Faculty of Medicine.

This brief book is far from my extensive treatise on psychiatry that can be read on the internet. But just to give an idea of what I am talking about, I will mention a chilling fact: In the 21st century, lobotomies continue to be performed in Mexico and the rest of the world. The fact that defenceless citizens are currently electro-shocked and lobotomised, as they did to the character that Nicholson played in One Flew, may seem incredible to us. But a little story will shed some light on this matter.

For three centuries, Western civilisation has been cruel to people suffering from spiritual crises. Although the individual who suffers a sudden crisis doesn’t harm anyone—let’s take as a paradigm the buffoonery of imitating St. Francis on a public streetcar—the brain of he who suffers the crisis is damaged by society. From the origins of the mental institution at Bedlam in London and general hospitals in France, the treatment of the individual in crisis has been simply to torture him with various techniques (see ‘From the Great Confinement to chemical Gulag’, pages 143-166 in my book Daybreak). Although these tortures have nothing to do with real medical necessity, they were given a scientific lustre in the 19th century for public acceptance. I wonder what they did to Steinitz in one of those so-called hospitals. In his time, psychiatrists hadn’t devised electroshock and lobotomy, techniques that directly damage the brain, but they did devise some torments that broke the spirit of the person in crisis. In 19th-century nursing homes, beatings and chains were a thing of every day. There were even torture devices. I have not read the biography of Steinitz written by Bachmann. I suppose the Kneip technique applied on Steinitz, an extreme regimen of ice water baths, was involuntary.

Iatrogenesis is the stupid attempts to heal by doctors that produce new and more serious disorders than the existing ones. I believe that Steinitz’s illusory ideas at the end of his life, such as his belief that he could move chess pieces without touching them, were aggravated by psychiatric iatrogenesis.

The Kneip torment is discontinued in psychiatry. Due to modern technology, since the 1930s medical science has progressed from tormenting Steinitz’s body to directly assaulting the brain—what they did to Torre. In addition to electroshocks, chemical lobotomisers that are administered to those who cross through crises like the one Torre suffered are currently very fashionable. With a prescription, about twenty of these chemicals are sold in Mexico: Clopsine, Ekilid, Fluanxol, Flupazine, Geodon, Haldol, Haloperil, Largactil, Leponex, Leptopsique, Melleril, Piportil, Pontiride, Rimastine, Risperdal, Semap, Seroquel, Sinogan, Siqualine, Stelazine, and Zyprexa. Aliosha Tavizon, with whom I used to speak at the Gandhi Cafeteria and who in his category won the Carlos Torre Tournament in 2003, was given one of these crap drugs due to an unreciprocated love that temporarily unhinged him. For months he had a crooked neck and many other muscles in his body. To speak to him, he had to position his torso in profile: a tardive dystonia that may have been irreversible. Under no circumstances, not even during flowery psychoses, should an individual ingest any of these dangerous neurotoxins. Fortunately, there are principled psychiatrists, like Peter Breggin, who denounce the crime of prescribing disabling drugs in their profession.

The West, and especially the United States, have fallen into the cognitive error of addressing any psychological disturbance from a biological POV, ignoring the humanities. I do not think that this pseudoscience will be repudiated soon despite the iatrogenesis it produces. In my treatise I show, in a nutshell, that the profession doesn’t pass the falsifiability test devised by Karl Popper that distinguishes between science and pseudoscience, and that those who finance psychiatric ‘science’ in journals are the same companies that manufacture the drugs mentioned above. The academia itself has been corrupted by Big Pharma. If the reader doesn’t want to read my book because I am not an established author, read Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and The Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (Cambridge: Perseus, 2001). Robert Whitaker, the author, won the Pulitzer Prize for medical matters.

Published in: on July 5, 2021 at 2:31 pm  Comments Off on The human side of chess, 14  

Classification of life

Yesterday and today I watched the Systematic Classification of Life series on YouTube by L. Aron Nelson, an American who changed his name to Aron Ra.

According to his Wikipedia page, he is a feminist and tried to run in the Democratic Party. It’s fascinating how in the first forty-nine episodes of his series of fifty he describes elegantly the biological evolution from worm to man. But in the very last episode Nelson speaks of human races repeating the most psychotic claims in vogue today, that races don’t exist, etc.

In the comments section of that video 50, in which Nelson appears with a T-Shirt flaunting heavy metal (in the previous episodes he painted his beard blue: a symbol of the current degeneration), I left him a note today: ‘You’re so wrong! in claiming “Modern ethnic groups have very little differences outside of appearance”. Human races do exist and you completely ruined your otherwise excellent series with this politically-correct final episode. Haven’t you even watched the most interesting exchange between Stefan Molyneux and David Rubin?’ And I added: ‘Do you want the scholarly sources?’ linking the AmRen books on race realism.

It is amazing how men of science immediately turn into pseudoscientists when opining about the human races. I recently debunked the Netflix series Queen’s Gambit showing that in the real world women cannot compete with men in chess (here, here and here).

Well, the IQ differences are even bigger between blacks and whites. At least several women have managed to obtain the norms to achieve the status of Grandmaster of chess. But only one black man has managed to obtain such norms, and with a rating of 2504 when he reached the peak of his chess career (the first chess boards in the world have more than 2800).

Nelson doesn’t want to see these brutal differences between blacks and whites for the simple fact that, despite his scientific background, upon reaching the subject of human biodiversity in Episode 50 he bows to the dogmas of the time, just as the scientists of yore had to bow to geocentrism.

Published in: on December 19, 2020 at 8:06 pm  Comments (12)  

Covid & profits over lives

When the previous century I began an in-depth study of psychiatry, I came across a revealing fact. According to studies by the World Health Organization, poor countries such as Colombia, Nigeria and India had much higher recovery rates in people diagnosed with schizophrenia than in western countries. Reason: those poor countries couldn’t afford neuroleptics (‘antipsychotics’ in western Newspeak). So-called antipsychotics cause akathisia, that is, they are iatrogenic drugs. See what I recently said about Jordan Peterson regarding his akathisia produced even by other psychiatric drugs.

So from the last century I knew that there was a pseudoscientific dimension within conventional medicine. Just for the record, I recently told my female friend that ‘I reject one hundred percent alternative medicine and ninety percent of conventional medicine’, referring to drugs in the latter case; that is, most of what comes from Big Pharma.

Chris Martenson’s most recent video on covid-19 is very revealing, the summary of which tells us:

As many parts of the (so-called) developed world enter second lockdowns, and people line up for miles in their cars seeking food handouts in Texas, the less developed nations are busily discovering Covid-19 treatments that actually work. Really well. They work in an outpatient setting, in mild, moderate and severe cases of Covids-19. They work prophylactically. As always, I present the studies for your thoughtful examination.

The video is worth watching. Just keep in mind Martenson’s use of the code term ‘Dwizibin’ when he refers to hydroxychloroquine!

Although I am not sick with covid (not yet…), I already bought both hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. The doctors where I live are under the influence of pseudoscientific propaganda against these drugs, so I had to pay an informed doctor to give me the prescriptions. About these drugs that do work, in the YouTube discussion thread of Martenson’s video a couple of commenters said: ‘It’s almost like a vaccine is superfluous if we followed these guidelines’. And: ‘It’s because there are expensive vaccines now that must be sold’.

It seems very clear to me that Western capitalism must be destroyed if we ever reach power. The absolute proof that it has corrupted the white man is shown in that there is not a single millionaire or billionaire today who substantially sponsors the racialists; let’s say, as they were sponsored in the previous century by the German businessmen who helped Hitler. Although the present ‘profits over lives’ policy is very noticeable in the covid-19 pandemic, capitalism in general corrupts the Aryan soul as much, or even more, than Christian ethics. Or to be more precise: the effect of both is lethal for the race, which is why the US has become a paradigm of ethno-suicide.

For those who haven’t read the essay on the meaning of the ring in both Wagner and Tolkien, it is time to do it…

Nobody wanted to listen, 6

A humanitarian analyst

Once again, I will be told that I chose the wrong people: that the Escobars were unfortunate cases and that in the world there are professionals capable of understanding a tragedy for what it is, a tragedy and call a spade a spade. Let’s now see what happened to me with the most benevolent analyst I have ever met.

Dr. Carlos García had lent money to my parents when they were going to be expelled from their house in Tlalpan for not paying it. Likewise, when I was unemployed at twenty-three, García invited me to play chess with him once a week and paid for my classes. Almost two decades later, the same month as my disagreement with the Escobars, I went to his house to personally deliver a copy of my Letter to him. Let’s see what my diary says of that encounter in his home study:

July 15, 1998

Today I went to see Dr. García and he surprised me with several comments that corroborate my vision of him as a good person. For example, he told me ‘I have never committed a patient since 1960’ and used the word ‘curse’ from Szasz, with whom he says he agrees, when referring to psychiatric labelling.

Given the prestige that the doctor has in society, Tom Szasz says that the semantic stigma with which the psychiatrist denigrates his victim results in a social curse.

He liked Ronald Laing because of his colourful personality, and he told me that Laing played bassoon and had died playing tennis in Monaco.

Also, and this is novel because it qualifies what I wrote in previous pages, it vindicated the role of benevolent analysts like him. He told me that at psychiatrists’ symposia he had been blatantly told ‘That won’t work’—psychoanalysis. ‘This is where the buck is made’— psychiatry—since psychiatrists earn four times as much as analysts. He has had schizophrenic patients and one ‘labelled’—he used that word—of manic-depressive who had been prescribed lithium for life, but he left her well with only therapy, taking away the medicine. The shrink who had treated her before ‘was on the same page’ he told me, pointing to a book by Ramón de la Fuente.

This was a splendid start, and everything suggested that I had finally found a friendly ear in a professional. A doctor who recognises fraud in his profession can be a guarantee of good feelings towards the victims of the parents and the doctors who pay them. A month after I gave him my manuscript I excitedly called García to see what impact my precious text had caused. I don’t know shorthand, but I managed to jot down some important phrases by writing as fast as I could while talking to him on the phone:

17 of August. ‘It is very well written. It is a good testimony, like Kafka’s letter. In my opinion, the family problem must be removed: by removing the names, it could become a good testimony to be known socially; we must remove the character of denunciation and give it more social and collective function. It has curative action. It is a book against family, medical institutions and in particular, ahem, the health [apparently an euphemism for the psychiatric] institution. With pseudonyms… hopefully it may be published’.

This opinion encouraged me and I made a new appointment with him. But I must confess something. Years before I had been offended by García when in his home study he defended Amara against my complaint. That happened before I started my psychiatry research and could properly present my case in two books. But García’s comments about my Letter reconciled me to him, at least momentarily. The day I saw him, back in his home study, I wrote these reflections in my diary:

August 28. Today I went to see him and spent an hour and a half talking to him. I was wrong in believing that García wasn’t compassionate. The first thing he said about my Letter to Mama Medusa was: ‘I was so amazed. I felt moved’.

And he did talk about Amara: that there was no communication, although I remember that he was ambiguous about assigning blame (he implied that it was necessary to find out where the error came from). But he did say that instead of wanting to understand family dynamics Amara turned to drugs. This comment and others end the resentment I had for him when he long ago repudiated my criticism of his colleague. He also spoke of the terrible lack of communication with my parents as a teenager. That was the year [1974] that García met me at my parents’ school. He was incomparably more human than Angelica, Hector and not to mention Solbein. García confirmed to me that no physician in Mexico publicly opposes psychiatry. Almost at the beginning he spoke of ‘the high-risk situation’ in which I found myself as a teenager. But he added that it would be ‘pamphlet’ if I didn’t use pseudonyms, which was ‘the only objection’ he made to my text.

So García advised me the same as Tere: he was more concerned with the public image of my family than with my need to report the case.

Without having assimilated this fact, two years later I would send him How to Murder Your Child’s Soul. Once again, I wrote down what he was saying to me over the phone. The brackets and ellipsis mean that I couldn’t write down his sentences in full, but the fragments are significant to know what García was thinking:

June 9, 2000.

What a disappointment! Dr. García told me:

‘I read half. I haven’t finished it; the question of sight has become more acute. From what I have read, I believe that you are wasting time and vital energy on the family matter. [You have to] put a line, a full stop and dedicate yourself to other issues. The critique of psychiatry is somewhat outdated; I feel it’s anachronistic, like that criticism of Dr. Amara. As far as I have read, if you reoriented your critical skills in another field… I think there was a series of misunderstandings and it led to suffering… My point of view [is that you should abandon your project so] you don’t have to continue paying the toll of what happened to you in youth. [I would suggest that] the question of Dr. Amara be put aside’.

I asked him ‘Are you friends?’ and he replied: ‘Not properly. We don’t treat each other; I don’t know about his activities. My opinion isn’t influenced by a question of friendship’.

García’s little sermon caused me enormous indignation. I embarked on a reflection for several days that made me fill my diary with expletives. I didn’t respond to García either at his home study or in writing because it would have been useless. But on the very day of his paternalistic advice I wrote down this soliloquy:

Do you remember his defence of Amara years ago that hurt me? Good!: history repeats itself. All this corroborates my view that only apostates of an ideology understand reality. García is an analyst. He never apostatised from his profession: he’s part of the guild. His internal alliances don’t allow him to see reality. He’s like Hector Escobar: good people but wrong. I mustn’t interact with them at all! I mustn’t speak to him again. You have to accept your solitude, Caesar: no professional will be able to understand you since the profession itself is a trap. Now the last door is closing…

11th of June. One of the nonsense that García told me that I didn’t write down the day before was that continuing my literary project ‘could harm me’. This shows that analysts know nothing of the mind. What García ignores (‘so that you don’t continue paying the toll on what happened to you in your youth’) is that you cannot start a different life without money. And even with money I would write first and only later would I dedicate myself to the cinema, for the simple reason that it’s now that my soliloquies from those years are alive and need to be written down. I have been a mountain philosopher for decades and it would be a crime if, by dedicating myself to something else, they would go out of my memory. I don’t see in what other areas I could help myself and other victims more than by telling my life.

June 17. There is something more serious in García’s response. If Amara keeps destroying teenagers in his office it is deeply immoral to say ‘put it aside’. That advice presupposes as an absolute fact that Amara hasn’t destroyed and is not destroying other young people. García didn’t deny my accusation, he simply ignored it, no matter how obvious the fact that, since Amara and other psychiatrists continue to do these things, my testimony would serve to combat them. Without knowing it, García is part of the system. His message seems to be: Your text is changing the rules of the game for me (he used those words!). I won’t read it all: it may endanger my POV about my colleagues.

June 27th. Another thing. That response from García, allying internally with someone who deserves a trial in court, shows that therapy is really a very bad thing. There is no getting around this conclusion: If García had scolded me for denouncing his colleague in the past, I’d have been terribly confused. Well, something similar happened to me years ago, but in 1976 I would have panicked. I must use this in the future to show the accuracy of Jeffrey Masson’s stance: All therapy is toxic. Now I just hate him. As a teenager he would have hurt me.

Imagine this: suppose my book has already been published and is selling well. If a journalist interviewed García to talk about the literary novelty, he couldn’t have come out with the advice he gave me. It wouldn’t have been so easy to escape. He must have faced what I wrote in that half that he read. But talking to an analyst in private lends itself to violating the most elementary rules of logic and common sense. Therapists despise what their clients tell them and shy away like children. It is too evident that the Amaras, Santarellis, Krassoievitchs, Millanes, Corrales and even Garcías [the analysts who have offended me] should only be challenged in my writings. In other words, their offices are a Wonderland where the accusations are ignored, disregarded.

Remember that counselling the victim instead of reforming the perpetrator is what Miller calls poisonous pedagogy, and the same goes for trying to ‘educate’ the victim without vindicating him against the curse that Szasz spoke of.

It is clear, Caesar, that you shouldn’t expect anything from those in the cult of psychoanalysis, including those who originally showed a good heart. They all belong to a quasi-religion and will not apostatise from it. They will take it to their graves. Forget about them. If they weren’t so religious, García and Escobar could’ve called me to politely discuss our differences. They won’t do it: this is a world without morals and the García case exemplifies it. Instead of telling me something about my accusations, they close their minds. Like my sister Korina, they give advice. It seems that the taboo on these topics is much more widespread than expected. It isn’t just my parents. It isn’t only the old Uncle Beto and Godmother or my cousins Héctor, Octavio and Carmina. People who agree with Szasz himself, such as García, also have closed minds (and let’s not talk about doctors Santarelli, Millán and other renowned analysts who have offended me terribly). That is your world Caesar, like it or not. My message is for other people. Don’t give your pearls to pigs anymore.

June 28th. I can’t leave Garcia alone. I think of the phrases ‘that criticism of doctor Amara…’, ‘there was a series of misunderstandings…’ I didn’t criticise Amara: I denounced him! Using the word ‘criticism’ suggests something like an opinion, a point of view: as if in my book I hadn’t talked about criminal actions, not ‘misunderstandings’! See now this: ‘If you reoriented your critical capacity to another field…’ Imagine telling Solzhenitsyn to redirect his criticism to a field outside Russia! I have been thinking many things about Garcia. It’s a great indicator of how bad his profession is.

García also told me by phone that the National Institute of Psychiatry [known also as INP in Mexico] ‘hadn’t allowed a patient to be committed because it was involuntary’. With this argument he tried to refute my manuscript (‘the criticism of psychiatry is somewhat outdated’) by assuming that in recent years the profession has become more humanitarian. I was speechless. It couldn’t be that I, decades younger than García, knew that the INP is the only psychiatric hospital in Mexico City in which internment is voluntary. In the large psychiatric hospital next door to García’s home, the Fray Bernardino Álvarez Hospital, involuntary psychiatry is practiced, such as electroshocking the inmates! The INP does it too, but it brainwashes the patients into undergoing therapy with their consent. Of course: they aren’t warned that that ‘therapy’ produces amnesia. A woman who was interned at the INP told me in 2005 that the electroshocks that were applied to her there erased her memories of a trip. It is also worth mentioning that the director of the INP, Gerard Heinze, told me personally that he mentions the magic word ‘Fray Bernardino’ to intimidate his patients into submitting to electroshock ‘therapy’.(*)

Garcia’s ignorance of psychiatry in the year 2000 stems from his incredible—truly incredible—blindness before the human rights violations that take place a few blocks from his home. The only psychiatric facility in the country that locks up children, the Juan N. Navarro Children’s Hospital, is also close to his home! In which bubble was Dr. García living? A few months before García told me that the criticism of my manuscript was outdated, the Mexican magazine Proceso had published a cover article exposing the crimes committed in a national psychiatric hospital run by the state. My diary from 2000 continues:

June 29. Oh García: I can’t leave you! Two years ago you told me that the schizoid label is ‘label’ and ‘a curse as Szasz says’. But when a colleague of yours labels me as a teenager while I am perfectly sane, and as an adult I want to denounce him, then you tell me: ‘Amara must be put aside’. Isn’t this precisely schizophrenia?

The anger caused by the old friend’s scolding was such that in my diaries I continued to go after him sporadically in 2001, 2002, 2003 and even 2004. But the above is enough to provide an idea of the bile that I spilled over his little piece of advice and scolding: the ‘poisonous pedagogy’ that Miller speaks of in its purest expression!

Carlos García did exactly the same that my pseudo-friend Tere had done to me. They both advised me to abandon my literary project. They didn’t realise that just by giving me that advice they would become themselves characters in such a project. The only difference is that Tere wanted to dissuade me from publishing my Letter to mom Medusa, where I denounce the crime of my parents; García wanted to dissuade me from publishing How to Murder Your Child’s Soul, where I exposed his colleague Amara. For Tere as well as for García and many others, the crimes that society commits with a family child must remain hidden. No one is to pronounce names. This pair reminds me of the first Gulag fugitive who escaped from an archipelago island and published a book about his experiences. In a crazy western world where Stalin used to be worshiped, the fugitive’s testimony was ignored and its author was subjected to the same kind of expletives that I received.
____________

(*) With another anti-psychiatric activist, in 2002 I interviewed Gerard Heinze, the director of the INP, and later I wrote a report about that visit.

Published in: on October 14, 2020 at 5:43 pm  Comments Off on Nobody wanted to listen, 6  

On depression

A Stone Boat (Faber & Faber 1994)
The Noonday Demon (Scribner 2002)

When we repress our anger, writes Susan Forward in her bestseller Toxic Parents, we will likely fall into depression. But not all cases of depression, the most common form of mental disorder, are the result of repressed anger. It may originate from existential causes: the infinite gamut of insoluble problems in life. However, in cases of repressed parental abuse cathartic anger may be a balsam for its cure. Colin Ross, who coined the term trauma model of mental disorders, believes that ‘anger is the most powerful anti-depressant in the market’. Andrew Solomon takes the opposite stance: he idealised the parent and repressed his anger, as I’ll try to show in this essay-review of his books.

Andrew Solomon✡

Solomon is a very peculiar writer, the son of a millionaire of Forest Laboratories: a company that manufactures psychiatric drugs. That we are immersed in the matrix of Big Pharma is evident in the compliments that The Noonday Demon has received, especially the compliments of those who have suffered from depression. I find this so scandalous that I must write this essay, especially because The Noonday Demon was in the New York Times bestseller list. The pseudoscientific propaganda that inundates The Noonday Demon through its 700 pages (I read the Spanish translation seventeen years ago) is such that I could have written a much longer essay-review.

The Noonday Demon received the National Book Award in 2001. Solomon has thus contributed to what Thomas Szasz calls the pharmacratic status quo. Although Solomon mentions Szasz and Elliot Valenstein, he omits to say that they and many other mental health professionals disagree with the biological theories that Solomon presents as fact. It is not even apparent that Solomon has read the dissident scholars. For example, in the 860 references that he boasts in The Noonday Demon he does not mention a single reference of my critical bibliography on psychiatry that I recommend (see below).
 

An American pandemic?

According to Solomon’s bestseller, almost twenty millions Americans suffer from depression. Solomon confesses in his book how he suffered from this malaise since his mother died, and he recounts the therapeutic odyssey he found in a psychiatric profession that he considers benign.

The ‘noonday demons’ was a religious metaphor used since the Low Middle Ages to describe what since the Renaissance would be called ‘melancholy’, and in our times ‘depression’. Through the centuries, those who have been in panic when these demons attack have been prone to experiment with all sorts of quack remedies. Solomon himself tried a magical ritual in Africa; standard psychiatric medication, and New Age alternative remedies. He even experimented with alcohol, cocaine and opium, as he confesses in his book.

Tom Szasz, perhaps the most famous psychiatrist in the United States, proposes to abolish involuntary psychiatry. Szasz doesn’t propose to ban the prescription of drugs for adults, always provided that the professional maintains well informed his client about the risks (something they rarely do). A great deal of the economic power of psychiatry rests on this not so obscure side of the profession, the voluntary side: something that blinds people like Solomon to see that the profession has a darker side.

If an individual wants to take drugs, whether tranquilizers, stimulants, anti-anxiety pills or even illegal drugs, he should be free to do it according to Szasz. Solomon goes beyond this and mentions cases in which people in panic solicited electroshock. Although shock treatment is sometimes voluntary, I don’t believe it should be legal. Solomon himself cites the case of a young woman who told him that after a shock session she forgot everything she had learned in law school. Solomon also cites the grotesque testimony of an individual that requested psychosurgery to eliminate his persistent depression, and the neuropsychiatrists performed it! (a pointless surgery, of course, because the problem was in his mind’s software, not in the brain’s hardware).

Those procedures affected the faculties of these voluntary patients, the remedy resulting worse than the illness, because psychiatry is an iatrogenic profession. If we keep in mind Colin Ross’ words about ‘anger, the best antidepressant in the market’, instead of these harmful treatments I would recommend a depressed patient to write a long letter to the parent who caused the crisis (I myself did it, as we shall see). This is what Sue Forward recommends in Toxic Parents. Alternatively, I would recommend talking with survivors of parental abuse. Forward describes her group therapies for neurotics; Ross describes the same for people in psychotic crises. In the worst of possible cases, say schizophrenia, I would recommend a Soteria-like house, although there are very few of them because the medical profession monopolises treatments.

What neither Solomon nor the orthodox psychiatrists understand is that, by medically treating those who have been abused at home, they promote a status quo that ought to change. Those who want a better society do not propose prohibiting the drugs that are voluntarily consumed. We want to eliminate the conditions that cause mental stress and disorders. However, we do point out that with the medical model of mental disorders we are heading toward the dystopia described by Aldous Huxley. In October of 1949, when Nineteen Eighty Four was published, Huxley wrote to Orwell a letter telling him that the totalitarian state would not control people with a boot on the face as in 1984 but through much more subtle forms of manipulation: the voluntary drugging in the
 

Brave new world

The efficacy of antidepressants, that started to be manufactured a few years after Huxley sent his letter to Orwell, has been enormously exaggerated by the pharmaceutical companies. Solomon ignores that, just like homeopathic meds, the antidepressant that his father distributes basically functions like a placebo: the power of suggestion and autosuggestion. Studies show that a considerable percentage of the people that are told that a marvellous antidepressant has just been discovered are cured of their depression although they were given sugar pills. This effect is called ‘placebo’ in the medical profession. The companies like the one that made Solomon’s father a rich man also minimise the side-effects of the antidepressants.

In a market society it is very difficult to find the study of an independent researcher about the effects of antidepressants. The few existent studies, say those by Peter Breggin and Joseph Glenmullen, have not been rebutted either by the companies that make the drugs, or by the psychiatrists who prescribe them. Breggin, a graduate Harvard psychiatrist, recommends stopping taking any sort of psychiatric meds. It’s irritating that my dust jacket has Solomon as ‘profoundly human’ when Solomon advises people suffering from depression not to stop taking drugs. He even confesses that he got mad with his aunt’s gerontologist because the good doctor advised her to stop taking Celexa (citalopram): the very drug that Solomon’s dad distributes.

As I said, Solomon writes about psychiatric theories as fact. Curiously, at the same time he recommends alternative treatments. Lots of them! Just as the race of birds in Alice in Wonderland, in Solomon’s book all sorts of therapies, allopathic, homeopathic and alternative, win the first price in the treatment of depression. In Solomon’s wonderland absolutely everything is recommended, from the most diverse forms of popular quackery to lobotomy. Since I only have the Spanish translation of The Noonday Demon I cannot quote Solomon verbatim in English (libraries in Mexico are very poor in their English section). But he certainly says that dozens of treatments, from Saint-John’s-wort to psychosurgery, are reasonably promising. If such quackery apparently gets results, it’s all due to the placebo effect.

Solomon’s book is inundated with incredible treatments, personal testimonies from his depressed acquaintances, and with the theories of biological psychiatry. For example, Solomon writes that some people who abuse stimulants also suffer from depression in the same family. To him, this indicates that there’s a ‘genetic predisposition’ for the consumption of cocaine and other stimulants.

It doesn’t occur to Solomon that there can be no genes responsible for addictions for the simple reason that the genes of our species are older than the making of these chemicals. For instance, a putative gene that moves the alcoholic individual to drink cannot exist because alcohol is chronologically more recent than the genotype of the alcoholic individual, and there have been no substantive changes in our species since the caveman. Similarly, Solomon’s claim that the type of drugs that his dad makes represents real medicine is unsupportable. For example, he recognises that cocaine heals depression, but he disapproves of it because it’s illegal. On the next page Solomon recognises that Xanax pills (alprazolam), a benzodiazepine, caused him unpleasant symptoms. Xanax is the anxiety killer that Solomon used to take: the very drug that made George Bush Sr. vomit in Japan during his presidency. According to Solomon, with this drug he could crash into a heavy sleep plagued with dreams. However, he does recommend it because it’s legal.

Solomon never reveals in his book that Ritalin (methylphenidate) can be moral and illegal in the adult who takes it without prescription, but that it can also be immoral and legal if it is administered to a child to control him at school. Instead, he reasons like the good boy of the establishment: the legality of his dad’s company makes those drugs, by definition, moral; and the illegality of cocaine and ecstasy makes them immoral. Solomon talks about the permanent damage in the brain’s dopaminergic systems caused by cocaine. But he omits to say that Zyprexa (olanzapine), the neuroleptic that the psychiatrist prescribed him, causes exactly the same damage. Similarly, Solomon talks about the withdrawal symptoms that cocaine causes, but he does not dissuade his readers from taking neuroleptics although akathisia is pretty similar to such symptoms. Curiously, Solomon says he would accept taking cocaine or ecstasy to cure his depression, but that the withdrawal symptoms made him have second thoughts. In another part of his book Solomon recognises that while alprazolam killed his anxiety during the depressive attacks, it converted him into an addict. In a magazine article Solomon confessed he used to take about twelve pills per day, but when he’s in another mood he states that the aetiology of his depression is purely existential.

The cocktail of psychiatric drugs that Solomon has taken for years includes Zoloft (sertraline), Xanax (alprazolam), Paxil (paroxetine), Navane (thiothixene), Valium (diazepam), BuSpar (buspirone), Wellbutrin (bupropion) and Zyprexa (olanzapine). Even though this suggests that Solomon believes in the medical model of mental disorders, he often talks of souls in pain. He writes that he ‘discovered something that should be called the soul’. Other times he appears as the spokesman of psychiatric biologicism. His book is a contradictory compendium of both explicit apologetics of biopsychiatry and soft criticism of biopsychiatry; of existential testimonies of depressed people, and the biological myths of the profession. He advertises Prozac (fluoxetine) and on another page he recognises that his mother complained about its side-effects. (If Prozac and the antidepressants work as placebos, the so-called ‘side-effects’ are in fact the primary effects, the only effects of the drug; and the antidepressant effect would be caused by the power of suggestion.) Solomon also presents a mixture of both: existential and biological problems as the cause of melancholy. He sensibly concedes that extreme poverty and homelessness may cause ‘depression’, but he unreasonably recommends treating the homeless with psychiatric drugs. He adds the remarkable statement that more than in any other case, the homeless’ resistance to take drugs is a symptom of a ‘disease’. Solomon quotes the scientists or pseudo-scientists who say that the cause of the addictions is ‘in the brain’, when common sense contradicts this bio-reductionist approach. Asian people for example would disagree that their gambling is in their defective brains. The same could be said of those Westerners who are addicted to shopping in a consumer-oriented society: the problem is in the culture, not in their brains.

In his book Solomon contradicts himself in a thousand ways. As a master of doublethink, he accepts both the medical model of mental disorders, and the trauma model of mental disorders when both are mutually exclusive. In his chapter about suicide he repeats the slogans of the psychiatrist, for example when he says that we got to understand that suicidal ideation is the result of mental illness, and that mental illnesses are treatable. He recommends electroshock. Not even the horrendous case-stories that he mentions awakened Solomon’s compassion. He didn’t condemn the psychiatric institutions that maintain them alive against their will. But when he writes about the suicide of his mother, Solomon turns suddenly into a compassionate son, and suicide is nothing else than an act of a tormented soul. However, Solomon didn’t condemn the nets he saw in Norristown Hospital that maintained alive patients like mosquitoes in cobwebs to prevent that they killed themselves. They were strangers to him and he accepts involuntary therapies applied to them. But double-thinker Solomon confesses that nothing causes him more horror than the thought that he would be prevented from committing suicide.
 

The ‘unacknowledged revenge’ on mother

Throughout my reading of Solomon’s book the question came to my mind: How is it that someone like me, who writes in a state of virtual poverty in the Third World, never fell in depressions while Solomon, the American junior who spent a fortune in treatments didn’t only suffer from the common blues, but of horrible depressions? Could it be that Solomon has not listened to what Stefan Zweig, the biographer of tormented souls, called the daimon?

Let me explain myself. Solomon writes about some children whose parents took to the psychiatrist’s office for anger therapy. Solomon completely omits to say that this was probably due to child abuse at home. Once the legit anger is crushed in the therapeutic sessions, the shrinks acknowledge that the children fell into a melancholic state (remember Ross’ equation about anger and depression being inversely proportional to each other). Those children are, again, strangers to Solomon and he doesn’t pity them. But in another part of his book Solomon recognises that his depression originated after his mother died. And it was precisely a conflict with his mother, who hated Solomon’s sexuality, what had moved him to write another book: A Stone Boat.

I must confess that what moved me to write this essay-review is my literary project that I have written in Spanish and that I would love to see published in English. Alas, the subject is such a taboo that more than twenty publishing houses in Spain and Mexico have rejected it. There’s an almost symmetrical antithesis between the first of my books, Letter to Mom Medusa and A Stone Boat. Also, there’s an almost symmetrical antithesis between my second book How to Murder Your Child’s Soul and The Noonday Demon.

A Stone Boat is an autobiographical novel in which Solomon eludes discharging the rage he feels toward his mother. In The Noonday Demon Solomon mentions A Stone Boat quite a few times as a description of real events of his life, not as a fictional novel. Unlike The Noonday Demon I do have an English copy of it and can, at last, quote this homosexual writer. Solomon wrote:

I can remember days… that this secret [his sexual preferences] was my unacknowledged revenge on her. I would lie in the silence of my room and imagine the pain I would later cause my mother.

Although on the next page he writes: ‘I wanted somehow to take the unspeakable vengeance’, in the balance A Stone Boat is a politically-correct confessional novel: Solomon is afraid of speaking out the whole truth of his sentiments. The plot starts when the main character, Solomon’s alter ego, arrived in Paris to confront his mother because of her attitude toward his male lover.

I set off to Paris in anger, determined for the first time to act upon anger… I was, at best, trying to see my life as separate from my mother’s.

But he couldn’t. Upon arriving he discovered that his mother had cancer.

Perhaps I was angrier that week than I remember, but I think in fact that when I first saw that my mother might be sick, my anger got put away somewhere, and my mother became as glorious to me as she had been in my childhood.

Hence, writes Solomon, ‘through I had gone to France to sever ties’, the beatific vision continued until she died. In the last chapter of A Stone Boat Solomon confesses:

I forgive my mother as though I were spokesman for the very gates of heaven.

Solomon ignores that unilateral forgiveness is a psychological impossibility. The grace of forgiveness only reaches us when the offender recognises her fault. Neither in real life nor in the novel did his mother repent. And Solomon forfeited to confront her directly (the opposite of what another Jew, Kafka, did in Letter to His Father). Moreover, Solomon recounts that in the funeral he saw his mother ‘like an angel’ and, by seeing her in this way, he delivered himself into the open arms of the goddess of Melancholy.

The literary genre that I would like to inaugurate would not only oppose the biologicism that is breathed throughout The Noonday Demon, but the elegant prose of A Stone Boat: a poetic novel that has been described as a reach toward Proust. Vindictive autobiography doesn’t take care of the literary form at all: it’s a barbarous genre that breaks the millenarian taboo of honouring the parent. Without scruples, repressions and with the real names, vindictive autobiography throws in the parent’s face what s/he did to us. Conversely, The Noonday Demon is a book that approaches depression from every possible viewpoint, an atlas of the world of depression as the subtitle says. But what we need is more profundity, not amplitude. This is true not only of The Noonday Demon, but of many other quack books on the subject. The cause of the mental disorders with no known biological marker is in the psyche’s nucleus, not on a surface that a scholarly ‘atlas’ may explore.

In his autobiographical novel, my antipode Solomon wrote:

It was terrible how much I loved my mother. It was the most terrible thing in the world.

This was reinforced by the family dynamics:

My father expected everyone to understand at once that my mother was more important than everyone else [and Solomon] was as much in the habit of believing it as he was. [To the extent that Solomon] thought that if she died I would also have to die.

Solomon’s girlfriend told him: ‘Enough is enough; if you spend every minute with her, you’ll go crazy’. He further writes that ‘to be in the room’ with his mother ‘was like being splattered with blood’. He loved her despite that ‘in the first weeks of her illness, my mother was to reveal more clearly her terrible brutality: She could be harsh, and she was demanding, and she could be selfish’. The metaphor of a stone boat came from his girlfriend referring to Solomon’s idealisation of a perfect family: a myth that, according to her, would sink in the sea.

But she was wrong. Solomon didn’t sink the stony idea in a sea of truth. He continued to idealise his mom as it is surmised from the fact that, after he published A Stone Boat, Solomon embarked on a huge enterprise: the writing of a treatise to repress the aetiology of his depression even further, The Noonday Demon. In this later work, his magnum opus, Solomon tells us that the old Freudian precept of blaming the mother has been discarded.

Solomon is wrong in all counts. Blaming the mother is neither a Freudian principle (it’s Frieda Fromm-Reichmann’s), nor has it been discarded (cf. the work of Alice Miller), and Solomon himself has to get his ass even with his mother’s if he is to win the battle against depression. That’s Sue Forward’s advice, who recommends the depressed adult to read a vindictive letter to the late parent in front of the grave to achieve inner peace. As a researcher, I have been in anger therapies in the Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma in Dallas. The level of overt fury and hate toward the invoked perpetrators shocked me. The emotions I witnessed there were not creatures of the surface but the demons of the Old World that Solomon and his depressing fans don’t dare to invoke.
 

The daimon

Those who fall in depression are like extinct volcanoes that have long passed by the tectonic plates’ hot spot beneath them. Solomon has not done a good introspection: he’s an extinct volcano. Only thus can we understand when he writes that one of the most terrible aspects of depression, the anxiety and the panic attacks, is that volition is absent: that those sentiments simply ‘occur’. Obviously Solomon has no idea of the demonic magma that inhabits beneath him and that desperately needs a way out. The bestselling author on depression doesn’t know what depression is: psychic congestion or a cooled crag that, blocking the escape valve, impedes the deliverance of a monster. Had Solomon choose the genre of the eruptive epistle instead of the toned down novel or a scholarly treatise, he could have confronted the inner daimon that haunts him and vomit the hell out of it.

There’s a passage in The Noonday Demon that suggests this interpretation. Solomon writes that he once believed that his sexuality was responsible for the suffering of his mother: suffering she endured until she died. The mother hated Solomon’s homosexuality, and that hatred was a poison that started to impregnate Solomon’s mind. I’m not inventing this: I’m rephrasing what Solomon wrote from the translated copy of his Noonday that I have access to. Solomon even writes that he cannot separate his mother’s homophobia from his own homophobia to the point of exposing himself to the HIV virus. And he further confesses that this exposure was a way of converting an inner self-hatred into a physical reality. In A Stone Boat he writes that his mother told him: ‘No child was ever loved more than you’, and in the following pages he adds: ‘A minute later I thought of killing her’ to end the mother’s agony. Mom’s cruellest tirade had been telling him she would eat poisonous maggots and die, and that only then would Solomon regret having been a naughty child.

Solomon’s confessions can help us to understand his depression in a way that Solomon can’t. As he writes in The Noonday Demon, which unlike A Stone Boat is not a novel, his mother committed suicide to stop the pain of her ovary cancer. On June 19, 1991 in front of Solomon his beloved mother swallowed red pills of Seconal (secobarbital: a barbiturate). He and the rest of his family assisted the suicide. Solomon confesses us that his mother’s suicide was the cataclysm of his life; that it’s buried in his guts like a sharp knife—these are his own metaphors—and that it hurts every time he moves. In some of the most emotional passages Solomon tells us that his mother took pill after pill, the ‘poisonous maggots’ she had threatened would make him feel really bad. Solomon even writes that by imitating her he later learned to take handfuls of anti-depressants, ‘pill after pill’…

The psychic radiography of Solomon starts taking shape. However, like the proverbial prodigal son that represses in his mind the parent’s behaviour, Solomon tells us that it is nonsense that teenagers reproach their parents when they have done everything for them. His non-reproached resentment metamorphosed into acute melancholy: just what happened to the children whose shrinks eliminated their anger. But it is the prohibition of touching the mother what makes this Œdipus write that we should not deceive ourselves; that we don’t know the cause of depression and that we don’t know either how it came about in human evolution.

That, my dear readers, is biological psychiatry: the art of blaming the body for our cowardice to confront mom.

 
Œdipus’ struggles with the daimon

In his desperate attempts to escape the harassment of his inner daimon, Solomon found the exit door by a fluke. In The Noonday Demon he paraphrases the psychoanalysts who have written insightful passages about melancholy. For example, Solomon writes that, in order not to castigate the beloved person, the melancholic individual re-directs the anger and the ambivalence he feels for the loved one onto the patient himself. And following Sigmund Freud and his disciple Karl Abraham he self-analysed himself well enough when he wrote that during his first crisis, after his mother’s death, he incorporated her into his writing. Unfortunately, he also writes that he lamented the pain he caused to her, and this false sense of guilt persisted. He further writes that her death prevented that his relationship with his mother had a healthy closure. In A Stone Boat he had written: ‘Our flashes of intense hatred had never really undermined our adoration of each other’.

Solomon never crossed through the very door that he opened. In contrast to John Modrow, the valiant memorialist who published a touching autobiography about his maddening parents, Solomon’s struggles with the daimon of honouring the parent never ended. When he published A Stone Boat the daimon of guilt assaulted him once more. In The Noonday Demon he writes that when he published the novel it made him feel like a defiant son, and that the guilt feelings began to consume him. He even writes about an internalised love-object, his mother, and about internalised sadism: what Solomon did to himself. Solomon wasn’t only masochist to defend the idealised image of his mother (cf. what Ross says about ‘the locus of control shift’ in his book The Trauma Model). He broke pictures of himself hanging in his home, and he left the hammer in the middle of the broken crystals.

Once he even attacked viciously a friend to the point of breaking his jaw and nose. The man was hospitalised and in The Noonday Demon, where we wouldn’t expect fiction or literary embellishments as in the novel, Solomon confesses to us that he will never forget the relief he felt with each of his vicious punches. He found himself even strangling his friend and says that could have killed him. However, Solomon omits to say if he was arrested or if dad’s attorneys kept him out of jail. He does confess, however, that he hasn’t repented from what he did. He justifies his actions and he wrote that otherwise he would have become mad. And he adds that part of the sensation of fear and impotence he suffered in those times was alleviated by those savage acts. And still further he adds the illuminating confession that to deny the curative power of violence would be a terrible mistake, and that the night of the fighting he arrived at home covered with blood with a sensation of horror and euphoria at the same time.

Miraculously, that night he felt completely released from his daimon! But was the struggle with it over? Nope!: this acting out was nothing else than the displaced fury he felt toward his mother.

Alice Miller has taught us that displaced rage is infinite. It never ends. One is left to wonder what would the hospitalised friend say of Solomon’s fans, who have described him as ‘compassionate and humane’. On the next page of Solomon’s fight he gives us the key to enter his mind. Solomon wrote that he realised that depression could manifest itself in the form of rage.

This cracks the daimon’s cipher. Those who fall in depression and go to the shrink office to pop up a bottle and take a pill don’t know what’s happening in their heads! What these people actually feel is rage and fury toward the perps. But God forbid: we cannot touch them. Parents are to be honoured. A Miller reader would argue that only when our selves get integrated about how and when we were abused, we won’t displace our rage on innocent friends. Solomon also confesses to us that he displaced the anger he felt on his lover: ‘I hated Bernard and I hated my father. This made it easier to love my mother’. This is exactly what Silvano Arieti said in Interpretation of Schizophrenia about one of his patients who ‘protected the images of his parents but at the expense of having an unbearable self-image’. The dots start to be connected. Solomon imagined that he ‘would mutilate his [Bernard’s] cat’. But that was not enough:

I wrote him a letter carefully designed to make him fall in love with me, hopelessly in love, so that I could reject him brutally. I would castrate him with a straight razor. [And also fantasised] putting rat poison in his coffee, but I couldn’t remember why.

Of course he couldn’t: he was still displacing his anger onto a scapegoat (in The Noonday Demon he ratifies the actual existence of the person he called Bernard). Solomon was looking for a safer object to transfer his unconscious affects toward his mother, a mother about whom he wrote: ‘You don’t love me. You are obsessed with me, and you keep trying to drag me down into your illness’. Since displaced anger is infinite, in The Noonday Demon Solomon confesses that, in desperation, he went to Senegal looking for an exorcism. The persistent daimon had to be expelled at all costs, and he tried the ritual called ndeup. But witchcraft didn’t work. The powerful spell that his witch-mother had cast unto him wasn’t broken in black Africa.

After his Senegal experience Solomon continued to look for the cause of depression in psychiatry’s blame-the-body theories, and he also tried many pop remedies. It’s fascinating to see that quite a few of his quack remedies are identical to what Robert Burton prescribed in his famous 1621 treatise on melancholy. Both writers, the 17th-century Burton and the 21st century Solomon, recommend Saint-John’s-wort! And parallel to these Old Age and New Age quackery, Solomon writes a ‘scientific’ chapter on evolutionary biology to answer how could it be possible that natural selection allowed depression.

If we take into account that depression is a crack in our attachment systems due to unprocessed abuse, the above is a pretty stupid question. While I only have minor quibbles with Solomon’s stupidities, when he mentions involuntary psychiatry he sides the parents and the professionals against the patients. The pages that infuriated me the most are the ones in which Solomon sides the parents who label their sane children as mentally ill to control them through psychiatric drugs, especially at school.

It is understandable, therefore, that Solomon didn’t dedicate The Noonday Demon to the child victim of involuntary psychiatry, what I do with my texts. He dedicated it to his millionaire father who financed his investigation and whose income depends on the selling of those drugs for social control.

 

Recommended readings:

Criticism of language is the most radical of all criticisms. The following is the first book of my list because, if in our vocabulary we don’t root out the Newspeak of psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and clinical psychologists, it will be impossible to understand the family, social, economic and existential problems that we all have:

(1) Thomas Szasz: Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry (NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990).
 

On the importance of vindictive autobiography:

(2) John Modrow: How To Become A Schizophrenic: The Case Against Biological Psychiatry (New York: Writers Club Press, 2003).

(3) Susan Forward: Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (2002 by Bantam, first published in 1989).
 

On psychoanalysis and all sorts of psychotherapies:

(4) Jeffrey Masson: Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing (Common Courage Press, 1988).

(5) —————–: Final analysis: The Making And Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst (London: HarperCollins, 1991).
 

On the pseudoscientific nature of biological psychiatry:

(6) Colin Ross and Alvin Pam (eds.): Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry: Blaming the Body (NY: Wiley & Sons, 1995).

(7) Elliot Valenstein: Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs And Mental Health (NY: The Free Press, 1998).

(8) Peter Breggin: Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the “New Psychiatry” (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1994).

(9) Robert Whitaker: Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (Cambridge: Perseus, 2001).
 

Note of 2020:

Anyone who wants updated information can watch Robert Whitaker’s YouTube videos, which includes videos from this year (not to be confused with white nationalist Robert W. Whitaker who died in 2017).

My books on the subject appear on the sidebar: Letter to mom Medusa and Day of Wrath.

On vaccine hesitancy

This is a response to a comment of Peter, a regular visitor, about whether or not to vaccinate our children, more formally called vaccine hesitancy. I place it as an entry instead of a simple comment because it involves two questions that I consider fundamental: (1) the principle of the non-falsifiable hypothesis as a litmus test of whether we are facing a pseudoscience, and my metaphor of conspiracy theorists who leave the courtroom every time the prosecutor speaks. Peter wrote:

I’m truly surprised that you would express such a credulous stance on this issue, with mine being that vaccination is a branch of medicine just as fraudulent and pernicious as biological psychiatry.

I’m not sure the analogy is adequate. Although psychiatrists cannot present their central hypothesis (that mental illness is a biomedical entity) in a falsifiable way, I suppose that medical science can present, without violating falsifiability, the claim that vaccines prevent, say, smallpox, pertussis or measles. ‘I suppose’ I wrote because I haven’t listened to the ‘prosecutor’ in the case of vaccines. And this brings me to Peter’s second statement:

Finally, you like to speak of listening to the Prosecution and the Defense to come to a fair conclusion about any contentious topic. So to what extent have you given the “Prosecution” a fair hearing on this issue?

For someone who has not entered the courtroom of the debate between those who believe in vaccines and those who don’t, the best analogy wouldn’t be the member of a jury. That would mean spending much time as those members do in American movies. Furthermore, the government compels them not to walk away while listening to both sides. Rather, I would be one of the citizens who listen to the trial from the seats, a layman who is not obliged to follow the case closely but simply wants to get a general idea of the controversy.

To argue, without using much time, that psychiatry is a false science one just has to read my linked article above, or watch any of Robert Whitaker’s videos (whom white nationalists should not mistake for Bob Whitaker). Ideally, in the case of vaccine hesitancy, Peter would link an open debate between ‘lawyer’ and ‘prosecutor’ so to speak. Only if, from that debate, I feel that the prosecutor won (that is, that the vaccine-hesitant POV sounds more scientific) I would use my time to study the subject.

Published in: on March 23, 2020 at 12:30 pm  Comments (13)  

Beware of vitamin quacks

At the beginning of the month I caught a terrible flu that made me spend most of my meagre savings on conventional doctors, inhalation therapy and alternative therapies. But yesterday and today I saw two videos debunking the latter—dietary supplements—that impressed me. The videos cover the fads like antioxidants in pills, Omega3 and Vitamin D but I’ll only say a few words about Vitamin C.

The recommendation from real science is

Skip it: It probably won’t help you get over your cold, and you can eat citrus fruits instead. The Vitamin C hype, as artificial pills, started with a suggestion that chemist Linus Pauling made in the 1970s and peaked with Airborne and Emergen-C but it’s just a hype. Study after study has shown that pills do little to nothing to prevent the common cold (and megadoses of 2,000 milligrams or more can raise your risk of painful kidney stones).

So get your Vitamin C, and the other nutrients, from natural food instead. Remember: our health models are Sparta, Republican Rome and National Socialist Germany—not the US. Pay special attention to what the videos mentioned above say about how the American FDA lost control of quack medicine (here and more formally here).

Published in: on December 20, 2019 at 2:54 pm  Comments (6)  

Ron Unz and JFK

or

Leaving the courtroom

My comment in the previous post, about Ron Unz’s credulity about conspiracy theories (CTs) of the assassination of John F. Kennedy has made me think, once again, about what we might call the pathology of extraordinary beliefs. As the sceptics of CTs have said, which not only includes JFK but also 9/11, this is a topic that, like religion and politics, should not be touched in after-dinner conversations. People feel very hurt and it is impossible to argue on good terms.

Let’s use the analogy of the lawyer and the prosecutor who bring the experts to court to try to convince the jury; say, the mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald staged by British television between Gerry Spence and Vincent Bugliosi. A good litmus test to know who has a closed mind is simply to point out who, when watching the TV show at home, leaves the room when the speaker is either Spence or Bugliosi.

The fact is that it is those who believe in the CT who usually leave the room, so to speak, in the sense that they never read sceptical books. Their attitude is as surreal as Alice’s Queen of Hearts in Wonderland: first comes to the sentence and then the trial. First we ‘know’ that 9/11 was an inside job, or, in the case of JFK, we ‘know’ that Oswald didn’t act alone. The long trial process that culminates in the sentence is of no importance or consequence for those who ‘know’ the truth.

Ron Unz is reputed to be a voracious devourer of books and articles. But when the issue of the trial between Spence and Bugliosi arrives, he leaves the courtroom every time the prosecutor speaks. Last year, in this discussion thread of his webzine, Unz said he had not read the thick Bugliosi treatise. When a supporter of Bugliosi pointed out that there was a much shorter book of another ‘prosecutor’ (pic above)—a book that with his amazing reading capabilities he could read it in a couple of days—Unz didn’t respond.

That is the all too common attitude among those who believe in CTs. True Believers can read a dozen books promoting the conspiracy but not a single article from the other side (listen how Bugliosi explains this bizarre behaviour: here)! That is why they ignore the most basic arguments of the prosecutor. For example, in the most recent discussion thread about the 9/11 attacks, some visitors got mad at me but none advanced an argument about a video I linked about Building 7 (for the believers in the 9/11 CTs, Building 7 is considered one of their strongest arguments of what they call ‘controlled demolition’).

It is relatively easy to find out who’s the one who leaves the courthouse every time the opposing lawyer speaks. They are those who believe not only in the CT about JFK or 9/11, but in the so-called Fake Moon Landing, Satanic Ritual Abuse, or the existence of UFOs in Hangar 14 of the US government.

Let’s illustrate this with my case. I used to believe in the pseudoscience of parapsychology. I spent many years of my life wanting to prove the existence of ‘psi’ (extrasensory perception and psychokinesis). I didn’t read the sceptics of the paranormal because they were ‘the bad guys in the movie’.

When I finally spoke with them, at a November 1989 conference they invited me to, I was surprised that those I considered closed were, in fact, quite open people. They even subscribed to the main journals of parapsychology. That happened also with UFO sceptics. They were avid readers of their opponents’ literature: those who promote the hypothesis that UFOs are manned extraterrestrial ships. It is the believers of the extraterrestrial hypothesis who never read the literature of the sceptics.

Before, I only read literature from parapsychologists. But after meeting the ‘prosecutors’ in the early 1990s I became familiar, little by little, with their literature. A few years after subscribing to the Skeptical Inquirer there came a time when I felt agnostic (just as there are people who are no longer a hundred percent sure that God exists). Concurrently I realised that my parapsychological colleagues did not read sceptical literature, nor did they respond to the main arguments of the sceptics (Occam’s razor, the falsifiability principle, etc.).

Only until May 1995, thinking outside a subway station, there was a time when I seriously doubted, for the first time in life, the existence of psi (something similar to a priest doubting for the first time in his life of the existence of God). However, it would take me a few more years to understand why had I got caught in such a self-sealing belief system in the first place: an issue I address in my autobiographical books (see sidebar at the bottom of this page).

I mention this just so that it is understood that there are times that we are so absolutely convinced that pseudoscience is real science that we do not realise that it is a cathedral built on clay bases.

When I lived in Marin County I once had the opportunity to realise that the foundations of the ‘science’ I was studying were shaky. In a bookstore I saw that they sold A Skeptic’s Handbook of Parapsychology. Thirty-four years have passed since that night and I still remember the image of James Randi on the dustcover. But I thought I couldn’t afford it. If I had listened to the prosecutor, a dozen (lost) years of my life would have been spared! But I didn’t listen to him and embarked on a quixotic project of wanting to develop psi.

You can’t learn from another’s mistakes. I know that what I say here won’t make any dent whatsoever in the True Believers’ worldview who, like Unz, flee from the courtroom every time Bugliosi speaks. They do this to avoid the most elemental cognitive dissonance, as I did when I was trapped in my self-sealing system. But if I could travel to the past and see Cesar in that California bookstore in 1985, I would tell him, I would beg him, to buy the book he had in his young hands…

Great personalities defend eugenics, 6

by Evropa Soberana

 
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), twentieth President of the United States, descendant of the Dutch aristocracy, cowboy, man of extraordinary vitality, father of six children, banned immigration from China, Japan and the Philippines for considering it of inferior quality to that of northern Europe and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his mediation in the Russo-Japanese War.

During the Spanish-American War of 1898, in which Spain lost Cuba and the Philippines, Roosevelt came to lament that the anti-militarist and peace-loving individuals left offspring, while the splendid young soldiers, good genetic specimens often fell in combat without having left a child. During that war, he joined a famous cavalry unit, the Rough Riders.

Time after being President, he was the victim of an attack in which he was shot. The attack broke a rib and left a bullet lodged in his chest but he insisted on finishing his speech one hour before receiving medical attention.

It is really extraordinary that our people refuse to apply to human beings such elementary knowledge as every successful farmer is obliged to apply to his own stock breeding. Any group of farmers who permitted their best stock not to breed, and let all the increase come from the worst stock, would be treated as fit inmates for an asylum.

Yet we fail to understand that such conduct is rational compared to the conduct of a nation which permits unlimited breeding from the worst stock, physically and morally, while it encourages or connives at the cold selfishness or the twisted sentimentality as a result of which the men and women who ought to marry, and if married have large families, remain celibates or have no children or only one or two.

Some day we will realize that the prime duty, the inescapable duty of the good citizen of the right type is to leave his or her blood behind him in the world! and that we have no business to permit the perpetuation of citizens of the wrong type. (January 3, 1913 letter by Theodore Roosevelt to Charles Davenport.)

 

William Duncan McKim (1855-1935), an American doctor, surgeon and organist, he was probably one of the eugenicists who went further, proposing in Heredity and Human Progress that inheritance is the cause of human ruin, and that not only the unfit should be sterilised, but that society should also kill the genetic defectives who were institutionalised as the mentally retarded, the epileptics, incurable alcoholics, incorrigible criminals, and in general ‘the very weak and very vicious’. His proposition was known as ‘eugenic murder’, something like euthanasia, a ‘soft and painless death’ for defectives, in his own words.

 
John H. Kellogg (1852-1943), American physician and brother of the Arab tycoon and horse breeder William K. Kellogg, who also supported eugenics.

We have wonderful new races of horses, cows, and pigs. Why should we not have a new and improved race of men?… The attitude of the average man toward the question of human eugenics is well illustrated by the story told of a New York merchant, who had four full-blooded dogs and two young sons. A friend, observing that he employed a tutor for his boys while he cared for his dogs himself, said to him one day:

“Mr. Smith, why do you give your personal attention to your dogs and turn your boys over to a tutor?”

“Oh,” said the merchant, “my dogs have a pedigree.” (Proceedings of the First National Conference on Race Betterment, January 1914. Battle Creek, Michigan.)


Stanley Hall (1846-1924), American psychologist and pedagogue, specialising in childhood, adolescence and youth. Influenced by Darwinian theories that came from England, Hall delved into the biological and psychological differences between men and women, as well as the issue of racial eugenics. He was the first president of the American Psychological Association, as well as Clark University. He denounced the efforts of modern societies to ‘save dying, defective and criminal patients, since helping them survive interferes with the natural selection process’.
 

Madison Grant (1865-1937), American lawyer, eugenicist and conservationist. Furious anti-communist. In addition to his well-known Nordicism, Grant played an important role in the American policies of the early 20th century, which sought to prevent racial miscegenation and immigration into the US of genetically defective people, giving priority to immigration from England, Scotland, the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands and Northern Germany.

Grant very seriously warned about the danger posed by miscegenation of the white race, as this would inevitably entail a ‘third worldization’ of the US (as it is beginning to be seen today in certain neighbourhoods in the South, more exposed to the pernicious and destructive Mexican immigration).

In 1906, as secretary of the New York Zoological Society, he helped to exhibit Ota Benga—a pygmy of the Congo—with the monkeys at the Bronx Zoo. Grant, who was trying to make the United States a Nordic society, wrote The Passing of the Great Race, a book that was reissued in Germany during the Third Reich and which Hitler is supposed to say, in a letter to Grant, ‘the book is my bible’.

Grant fought ideologically against the Jewish anthropologist Franz Boas (who refused to shake hands), a supporter of the theory of cultural anthropology, while Grant advanced hereditary anthropology (traits are inherited and respond to genetics, not education or the environment). In response to the pernicious Boasian school, Grant founded in 1918, together with Davenport, the Galton Society.

A rigid system of selection through the elimination of those who are weak or unfit—in other words, Social failures—would solve the whole question in a century, as well as enable us to get rid of the undesirables who crowd our jails, hospitals and insane asylums. The individual himself can be nourished, educated and protected by the community during his lifetime, but the state through sterilization must see to it that his line stops with him or else future generations will be cursed with an ever increasing load of victims of misguided sentimentalism. This is a practical, merciful and inevitable solution of the whole problem and can be applied to an ever widening circle of social discards, beginning always with the criminal, the diseased and the insane and extending gradually to types which may be called weaklings rather than defectives and perhaps ultimately to worthless race types. (Emphasis added, The Passing of the Great Race, 1916.)

 
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), engineer, inventor and Serbian-American intellectual.

The year 2100 will see eugenics universally established. In past ages, the law governing the survival of the fittest roughly weeded out the less desirable strains. Then man’s new sense of pity began to interfere with the ruthless workings of nature. As a result, we continue to keep alive and to breed the unfit. The only method compatible with our notions of civilization and the race is to prevent the breeding of the unfit by sterilization and the deliberate guidance of the mating instinct. Several European countries and a number of states of the American Union sterilize the criminal and the insane. This is not sufficient. The trend of opinion among eugenicists is that we must make marriage more difficult. Certainly no one who is not a desirable parent should be permitted to produce progeny. A century from now it will no more occur to a normal person to mate with a person eugenically unfit than to marry a habitual criminal. (February 9, 1935 issue of Liberty magazine.)

 
Arturo Redondo y Carranceja (1855-1923), Spanish professor of medicine in universities such as Granada, Zaragoza, Valladolid and Madrid. In 1918 he delivered to his Faculty of Medicine a speech entitled ‘Degeneration and Regeneration of our Race’. He estimated that the degenerates formed approximately sixty percent of the population, and that it was necessary to stop the multiplication of lower types in order to ‘reconstitute the race without having to go through the deadly procedures that natural selection is worth’.

What I have said about inheritance, that I will not tire of repeating, is the true cause of the horrific loss of children; and I shall abstain from entering into more details or considerations about infant mortality. Look for their origins as you like, in the background two facts are hidden: the conditions of the parents and of the moment of the conception, and the one in which the gestation is developed until its term. Infant mortality is nothing more than the inexorable fact of natural selection, which denies life to the degenerate, because only the viable lives. A bad seed, bad harvest, whatever the exquisite care of the crop. (Redondo y Carranceja, page 70.)

 

Charles Richet (1850-1935), French physiologist, Nobel Prize for Medicine of 1913. In his magnum opus, La Sélection Humaine (1919), he dedicated a chapter no less than to the elimination of the abnormal:

What makes man is intelligence. A mass of human flesh without human intelligence is nothing. There is bad living matter that is not worthy of any respect or compassion. To suppress them resolutely would be to render them a service, for they can never do anything other than cope with a miserable existence.

 

Marie Stopes (1880-1958), Scottish paleobotanist, known along with Margaret Sanger for her role in some areas of ‘female liberation’ and birth control in order to treat what she called ‘weeds invading the human garden’. As in so many other figures of this period, I see her ideological flaw in classism and non-genetic consideration. Many of these men and women were often unable to assume that a worker or a peasant could have better genetics than a capitalist. After her death, much of her fortune went to the Eugenics Society.

It is, however, neither necessary to castrate nor is it suggested by those who, like myself, would like to see the sterilization of those totally unfit for parenthood made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory. As Dr. Havelock Ellis stated in an article in the Eugenics Review, Vol. I, No. 3, October 1909, pp. 203-206, sterilization under proper conditions is a very different and much simpler matter and one which has no deleterious and far reaching effects on the whole system. The operation is trivial, scarcely painful, and does not debar the subject from experiencing all his normal reaction in ordinary union; it only prevents the procreation of children. (Radiant Motherhood: A Book for Those Who Are Creating the Future, 1920.)

 
Pío Baroja (1872-1956), Spanish writer of the so-called Generation of 98. Baroja had read the original sources from which the whole Nordicist current starts: Gobineau, Vacher de Lapouge and Houston Stewart Chamberlain. He endorsed the thesis according to which the greatness of Spain, which relied on the Aryan and Basque elements of the country had been losing, over the centuries, presence before the progressive contamination of Semitic and Middle Eastern (‘Mediterranean’) elements. Baroja openly advocated the resurgence of the former and repressing the latter, as a preliminary step to the rebirth of his country.
 

______ 卐 ______

 

Editor’s Note: Instead of the page and a half quote from the novel El Árbol de la Ciencia (The Tree of Knowledge) that Evropa Soberana chose, a novel by Pío Baroja that may only be of interest to Spanish speakers, I translated a 2015 post of my blog in Spanish titled ‘Answer’ to my question: Is there a Spanish or Portuguese writer of past centuries who has said that the backwardness of their nations, compared to the most Aryan nations, is due to their miscegenation with non-Aryans (the mixture initiated by the Visigoths since the 7th century)? Kurwenal, a commenter, provided relevant information on what I was looking for, which is what appears above in the section of Pío Baroja.

The collected quotations so far demonstrate that old eugenics was a mixture of pseudoscience (e.g., the identification of poverty among whites with bad genes) with science (e.g., what Grant says above in Italics or why Roosevelt prevented the migration of non-whites into the US).

Although I will finish reading Soberana’s long essay, in the next instalments of this series I’ll only add the scientific quotes. I shall omit pseudoscientific quotes even if they come from Soberana’s section on National Socialism.

Brief definition

I have been receiving some email feedback for my latest anti-psychiatric post and instead of posting this entry on Friday, as I had planned, I’m doing it today. At the beginning of the century, in another language I wrote the below conclusion of an online book:

The thought of [Alexis de] Tocqueville and [John Stuart] Mill provides the conceptual platform for understanding [Kingsley] Davis’s articles and [Michel] Foucault’s study; and it moves me to try a definition of the mental health movement that, in addition to what has been said in previous chapters [not translated for this site], takes into account their observations.

From the point of view of science, and specifically on the basis of the litmus test that distinguishes between science and pseudoscience, psychiatry, a supposed medical specialty, is not a science. The central concept in psychiatry, the entity called mental illness is not defined in biomedical terms but in political terms; and the so-called biological psychiatry has not presented its theories in a testable or falsifiable way: an unmistakable sign of pseudoscience.

From the point of view of politics and law, psychiatry is an organ of society that, from the family, regulates human behaviour. It is a paralegal institution of penalties in democracies. With drug-based technologies it controls deviant individuals: especially those who are either genuinely disturbed or have been abused by their parents. People stigmatised by psychiatry have not broken the law. Through this medical specialty, the System conceals the fact that some parents destroy the mental health of their children. In the case of the sane population, which is considerable—think of the millions of children and adolescents drugged at the initiative of their parents and the school—, the individual initiative is eliminated.

The ultimate truth about this matter is that the System has created an entire profession with the express purpose to blind the whole society to the truth discovered by dissenting psychiatrists: that some parents drive their children mad.

Published in: on March 25, 2019 at 11:36 am  Comments (5)