Compiled and edited by Frederick Mann
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"The excess of the passion for liberty, inflamed by the successful issue of the war [of independence], produced, in many people, opinions and conduct, which could not be removed by reason nor restrained by government... The extensive influence which these opinions had upon the understandings, passions, and morals of many of the citizens of the United States, constituted a form of insanity, which I shall take the liberty of distinguishing by the name of anarchia." -- Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), signer of the Declaration of Independence, Father of American Psychiatry. (Rush believed that being a negro -- having a black skin -- was a hereditary disease inherited from ancestors who had suffered from leprosy.)
Thomas Szasz - Brief Biography
From The Manufacture of Madness by Thomas S. Szasz: "Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1920. He went to the United States at the age of eighteen, and attended the University of Cincinnati, receiving his M.D. from the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine in 1944. Dr. Szasz subsequently served his psychiatric residency at the University of Chicago Clinics from 1946 to 1948 and underwent psychoanalytic training at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, 1947-50.
Dr. Szasz received his Certification in Psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1951, and became a staff member of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Since 1956, he has been professor of Psychiatry at the Upstate Medical Center of the State University of New York in Syracuse, New York. He is the author of numerous books including Pain and Pleasure; Law, Liberty and Psychiatry; Ideology and Insanity; and The Myth of Mental Illness."
For more information on Dr. Szasz, refer to The Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility and Thomas Szasz's Summary Statement and Manifesto.
Review of Thomas
Szasz: Primary Values and Major Contentions
Thomas Szasz is a champion of individual autonomy and personal responsibility. This is his primary value.
Szasz is also regarded by some as "the most controversial psychiatrist in the world." He displays the fearless courage to question the most fundamental tenets of the entire "profession" of psychiatry.
Because of the volume of Szasz's writings - some 20 books and over 400 published articles - authors Richard Vatz (professor of rhetoric) and Lee Weinberg (professor of legal studies) have done us a great service by including Szasz's main ideas in one volume. Furthermore, to achieve balance, they've included some important critiques of Szasz's work.
Szasz's first major contention is that "mental illness" is a myth. Szasz does not deny the reality of unusual, unconventional, and destructive thought, communication, and behavior -- and the resulting suffering -- generally included under the "mental illness" umbrella. He does take issue with the semantics: the definitions, who gains from the definitions, and who loses out as a result of them.
According to the authors, "To Szasz, the use of strategic metaphors -- especially the camouflaged use of such metaphors -- deprives humankind of its greatest freedom: autonomy. Unlike religious and democratic political persuaders who claim no false identity and implicitly recognize man's autonomy, psychiatrists present themselves as scientists and explicitly deny the right of autonomy to those whom they choose to define and control."
Szasz claims that as a result of psychiatric definitions, psychiatrists - as well as the political system through them - gain the power to effectively "convict" people, incarcerate them, and subject them to involuntary "drug treatment" and other forms of dehumanization, without trial, judge, or jury.
Another of Szasz's major contentions is that "deviant behavior is freedom of choice." To Szasz, autonomy implies that individuals own their own bodies and should be free to do with them whatever they like, provided they don't harm others. This includes taking drugs and committing suicide.
In my opinion, one of Szasz's greatest contributions to humanity is his revelation of how words and definitions are used to gain power over others and effectively enslave them. Authors Vatz and Weinberg were remiss in that they did not include a chapter on this topic, particularly seeing that Szasz wrote two books on it: The Second Sin and Heresies.
Also, in my opinion, Vatz and Weinberg are mistaken in the above quote where they say, "Unlike religious and democratic political persuaders who claim no false identity and implicitly recognize man's autonomy..." Many religious leaders demand all kinds of obedience which deny man's autonomy. Some claim special identities with characteristics like "papal infallibility."
Similarly, most political leaders operate in the name of government with the special identity of having the power to solve all kinds of problems mere mortals can't handle. Most political persuaders explicitly deny man's autonomy: "You may not commit suicide"; "You may only put into your body what we permit."
In Heresies Szasz wrote: "This is what poets and politicians, psychotics and psychiatrists, therapists and theologians have in common: they all deal with metaphors that sustain the dignity and lives of some and destroy those of others; and they all deal with metaphors mendaciously..."
Despite this one shortcoming, authors Vatz and Weinberg have done an excellent job in encapsulating Szasz's central ideas in one volume. They handle the closely related issues of personal autonomy and individual responsibility particularly well.
I highly recommend this book, particularly for anyone interested in freedom and its destruction.
My report '#TL07A: The Anatomy of Slavespeak' covers some of the mechanisms whereby language is used by some to gain advantages over others and effectively victimize them. Slavespeak consists of words used by some to control, dominate, and exploit victims. In turn, the victims perpetuate their "victimhood" be accepting the words and definitions of Slavespeak and using them as if valid.
If one person uses words like "aristocrat" and "king" to identify and describe himself, while another uses words like "commoner" and "subject" to identify and describe himself, then the former gains advantages over the latter. The person who accepts and goes along with the designations of "commoner" and "subject" -- just by accepting and using these terms as if valid -- places himself in an inferior position in relation to the person designated as "aristocrat" and "king."
Granted, we've been living in a world where in earlier times, if you didn't acknowledge the tyrant as "king," you got your head chopped off. And in "modern times," if you don't acknowledge "political authority," most people will think you're crazy. The answer is to pretend to acknowledge "authority" when that's necessary to preserve your freedom or life; otherwise to expose and ridicule all terms and definitions that result in master/slave positioning whenever appropriate.
Words Make a Difference
On Sat, 7 Dec 1996 07:09:21 firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim Starr) wrote:
>Part of it came from the speech L. Neil Smith gave at the 1993
>Libertarian Party National Convention in Salt Lake City: "Lever
>Action: Accept No Substitutes". While I did go to that convention,
>and had the pleasure of meeting Neil, I wasn't able to go to hear
>his talk in person. But we listened to it on tape in the car on
>the drive home. I enjoyed it so much that I wished I hadn't
>missed hearing it first-hand.
>In that speech, Neil outlined his strategy of making the enforcement of
>the Bill of Rights the mission of the LP, starting with uncompromising
>defense of the second amendment - never calling it "gun control,"
>always calling it "victim disarmament" instead; promising to repeal
>or otherwise dispose of every single victim disarmament law on the
>books; promising to criminally prosecute every public official who
>votes for or so much as tries to enforce victim disarmament laws.
Please think carefully about the difference between "gun control" and "victim disarmament."
To the superficial thinker "gun control" is obviously a good thing. Without "gun control" people will shoot each other in uncontrolled fashion. With "gun control" there will be peace and harmony.
To the superficial thinker "victim disarmament" is obviously a bad thing. If victims aren't allowed to defend themselves, criminals will go around shooting victims at will.
Given that most humans tend to think superficially, which argument is stronger, the one which attacks "gun control" or the one which attacks "victim disarmament?"
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all." [emphasis added]
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
L. Neil Smith has a website at http://www.webleyweb.com/lneil/index.html.
Vin Suprynowicz, a libertarian journalist with the Las Vegas Review-Journal has written an article, Why we call it 'victim disarmament' http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/96/103096vs.htm.
For some people it seems difficult to understand the phenomenon of Slavespeak and its implications. Perhaps because they haven't developed the thinking skill of distinguishing between the word and what the word stands for... or supposedly stands for. Perhaps because they haven't developed the critical thinking skill of questioning words, their usage, and the consequences of such usage. Perhaps because, "Everybody knows there are kings and subjects; that's the reality of the world we live in" -- out of habit or being reluctant to think and communicate differently from everyone else, they dare not question social convention.
An important reason why some people may have difficulty in grasping the Slavespeak concept is that typically language is used to think and communicate about the world. But to grasp the nature, mechanisms, and implications of Slavespeak, we need to use language to think and communicate about language itself. This often leads to convoluted syntax like, "The notion of "mental illness" (so-called) is mistaken." This sentence indicates that "mental illness" is a bogus term. The self-referencing syntax may be difficult for some to handle.
Fortunately, libertarian psychiatrist Thomas Szasz has written extensively on how words and definitions have been used by some to gain advantages over others in the area of psychiatry. My expectation is that if people can understand some of the basic semantic mechanisms and implications of "modern psychiatry," they should be able to use this understanding to also understand the parallel phenomenon in the political arena.
The Invention of "Mental Illness"
According to Thomas Szasz, Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) was the inventor of "mental illness." Before Charcot's invention, physicians thought in terms of physical or body illnesses only. (Some physicians also thought in terms of "malingering" as the conscious imitation of physical disease and "hysteria" as the unconscious imitation of physical disease.)
In his books, The Myth of Mental Illness, The Manufacture of Madness, The Myth of Psychotherapy, and Ideology and Insanity, Thomas Szasz debunks the very notion of "mental illness." He cogently argues that the notion of "mental illness" was invented through the mistaken use of metaphor and the self-serving definition of terms. So-called "mental illness" was invented by declaration and definition.
It must be emphasized that Szasz does not deny the reality of unusual, unconventional, and destructive thought, communication, and behavior -- and the resulting suffering -- generally included under the "mental illness" umbrella. He does take issue with the semantics: the definitions, who gains from the definitions, and who loses out as a result of the general acceptance of the definitions.
According to Szasz (The Myth of Mental Illness):
"Until the middle of the nineteenth century, and beyond, illness meant a bodily disorder whose typical manifestation was an alteration of bodily structure: that is, a visible deformity, disease, or lesion, such as misshapen extremity, ulcerated skin, or a fracture or wound. Since in this original meaning of it, illness was identified by altered bodily structure, physicians distinguished diseases from nondiseases according to whether or not they could detect an abnormal change in the structure of a person's body. This is why, after dissection of the body was permitted, anatomy became the basis of medical science: by this means, physicians were able to identify numerous alterations in the structure of the body which were not otherwise apparent. As more specialized methods of examining bodily tissues and fluids were developed, the pathologist's skills in detecting hitherto unknown bodily diseases grew explosively...
It is important to understand clearly that modern psychiatry -- and the identification of new "psychiatric diseases" -- began not by identifying such "diseases" by means of the established methods of pathology, but by creating a new criterion of what constitutes disease: to the established criterion of detectable alteration of bodily structure was now added the fresh criterion of alteration of bodily function; and, as the former was detected by observing the patient's body, so the latter was detected by observing his behavior. This is how and why "conversion hysteria" became the prototype of this new class of "diseases" -- appropriately named "mental" to distinguish them from those that are "organic"... Thus, whereas in modern medicine new diseases were discovered, in modern psychiatry they were invented. Paresis was proved to be a disease; hysteria was declared to be one." [Some emphases added; some quotation marks added to indicate questionable validity of terms.]
Szasz uses the analogy of an art expert who "discovers" the "masterpiece" (painting) of a hitherto unknown hypothetical artist called Zeno:
"But did the expert "discover" Zeno and his masterpiece? Or did he make him a famous artist, and his painting a valuable canvas, by the weight of his expert opinion, seconded of course by the weight of many other experts?
This analogy is intended to show that, strictly speaking, no one discovers or makes a masterpiece. And no one "falls ill with hysteria." Artists paint pictures, and people become, or act, disabled. But the names, and hence the values, we give to paintings -- and to disabilities -- depend on the rules of classification that we use. Such rules, however, are not God-given, nor do they occur "naturally." Since all systems of classification are made by people, it is necessary to be aware of who has made the rules and for what purpose. If we fail to take this precaution, we run the risk of remaining unaware of the precise rules we follow, or worse, of mistaking the product of a strategic classification for a "naturally occurring" event. I believe that this is exactly what has happened in psychiatry during the past sixty or seventy years, during which time a vast number of occurrences were reclassified as "illnesses"... This is a colossal and costly mistake...
...[F]or whom, or from what point of view, is it a mistake to classify nonillnesses as illnesses? It is a mistake from the point of view of intellectual integrity and scientific progress...
This reclassification of nonillnesses as illnesses has, of course, been of special value to physicians and to psychiatry as a profession and social institution. The prestige and power of psychiatrists have been inflated by defining ever more phenomena as falling within the purview of their discipline. Mortimer Adler had noted long ago that psychoanalysts "are trying to swallow everything in psychoanalysis"." [emphasis added]
So the power of psychiatrists depends largely on the phrase "mental illness," and terms such as "addiction," "depression," "homosexuality," "hysteria," "neurosis," "paranoia," "phobia," "psychosis," "schizophrenia," etc., when declared, defined, and accepted as so-called "mental illnesses."
In the absence of these words used in this way, the power of psychiatrists to dominate, control, and coerce would be greatly reduced. The institution of psychiatry in its present form is largely maintained and perpetuated on the basis of these words.
On October 23, 1998, the NBC '20/20' program featured two military whistleblowers who had been incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals for "treatment" because they exposed "military irregularities" and refused to keep their mouths shut. They both emerged with "broken spirits," their former lives effectively destroyed.
According to the program announcer, they had identified ten other military/psychiatric victims who had suffered similar fates.
I contend that the power of the military "brass" and their psychiatric compatriots to perpetrate these atrocities, could hardly have occurred in the absence of the notion of so-called "mental illness."
The "mental illness" concept is a powerful weapon in the hands of tyrants. It provides them with the coercive power to incarcerate anyone they don't like, without trial, judge, or jury. And anyone so incarcerated can be given the "treatment" of drugs, electro-shock, lobotomy, and other forms of dehumanization to break their spirit and effectively destroy their life. (Jeremy Bentham wrote, "Out of one foolish word may start a thousand daggers." (Bentham's Theory of Fictions by C.K. Ogden.))
The Manufacture of Madness
The Myth of Mental Illness contains a chapter called, "Theology, Witchcraft, and Hysteria," in which Szasz indicates some similarities between the persecution of witches and heretics in the Middle Ages and "modern psychiatry." In the same way that someone was declared a "witch" or "heretic" in more primitive times, today people are declared "mentally ill."
The "witch or heretic" was typically burnt at the stake. Today, the "mentally ill" are typically incarcerated against their will, forcibly "treated" with drugs -- even electro-shock and/or lobotomy.
Szasz suggests a "scapegoat theory of witchcraft": "I submit that witchcraft represents the expression of a particular method by means of which men have sought to explain and master various ills of nature. Unable to admit ignorance and helplessness, yet equally unable to achieve understanding and mastery of diverse physical, biological, and social problems, men have sought refuge in scapegoat explanations. The specific identities of the scapegoats are legion: witches, women, Jews, Negroes, the mentally ill, and so forth. All scapegoat theories postulate that if only the offending person, race, illness, or what-not could be dominated, subjugated, or eliminated, all manner of problems would be solved."
Szasz's book The Manufacture of Madness is essentially an extension of the above-mentioned chapter. He writes:
"...I shall compare the belief in witchcraft and the persecution of witches with the belief in mental illness and the persecution of mental patients.
...Unfortunately, it is easier to perceive the errors of our forebears than those of our contemporaries. We all know that there are no witches; however, only a few hundred years ago, the greatest and noblest minds were deeply convinced that there were. Is it possible, then, that our belief in mental illness is similarly ill-conceived? And that our practices based on this concept are similarly destructive of personal dignity and political liberty?
...The concept of mental illness is analogous to that of witchcraft... the concept of mental illness has the same logical and empirical status as the concept of witchcraft... witchcraft and mental illness are imprecise and all-encompassing concepts, freely adaptable to whatever uses the priest or physician (or lay 'diagnostician') wishes to put them.
...The most important economic characteristic of Institutional Psychiatry is that the institutional psychiatrist is a bureaucratic employee, paid for his services by a private or public organization (not by the individual who is his ostensible client); its most important social characteristic is the use of force and fraud.
[Then Szasz provides some examples and statistics of forced incarceration and involuntary "treatment."] ...I cite these reports not as examples of the unfortunate abuses of the mental hospital system in need of correction by an enlightened citizenry, but rather as characteristic examples of a pervasive psychiatric pattern of harassment, intimidation, and degradation, authenticating the right of certain social authorities to cast individuals, especially from the lower socio-economic classes, into the role of mental patient. To maintain that a social institution suffers from certain 'abuses' is to imply that it has certain other desirable or good uses. This, in my opinion, has been the fatal weakness of the countless exposes -- old and recent, literary and professional -- of private and public mental hospitals. My thesis is quite different: simply put, it is that there are, and can be, no abuses of Institutional Psychiatry, because Institutional Psychiatry is, itself, an abuse; similarly there were, and could be, no abuses of the Inquisition, because the Inquisition was, itself, an abuse. Indeed, just as the Inquisition was the characteristic abuse of Christianity, so Institutional Psychiatry is the characteristic abuse of Medicine."
This is an interesting argument, suggesting a parallel: "There are, and can be, no "abuses of government" because it's the "Institution of Government" itself which is the abuse!
However, from another viewpoint, neither "Institutional Psychiatry" nor the "Institution of Government" is a volitional entity capable of taking action. In both cases, only individuals act. Therefore, the only abuses are those perpetrated by individual psychiatrists (and their helpers) and by individual political agents.
To me, the most interesting chapter of The Manufacture of Madness is #9: "The New Manufacturer - Benjamin Rush, the Father of American Psychiatry." The quote at the beginning of this report comes from this chapter.
"Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), was Physician General of the Continental Army and served as Professor of Physic and Dean of the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the undisputed Father of American Psychiatry...
Rush is hailed as the founder of American psychiatry because he claimed that there is no difference between mental and bodily diseases, and because, through his great personal influence as a successful physician and friend of the Founding Fathers, he was able to implement his ideas on mental illness. In short, he was the first American physician to urge the medicalization of social problems and their coercive control by means of 'therapeutic' rather than 'punitive' sanctions.
...One of Rush's favorite remedies was 'terror,' which he believed 'acts powerfully upon the body, through the medium of the mind, and should be employed in the cure of madness.' To terrorize the patient properly, it was necessary to remove him from his home and incarcerate him in a madhouse..."
Szasz proceeds to describe two of Rush's "therapeutic" inventions. The first was a "tranquillizing chair" in which the patient was strapped hand and foot. It also had a device for holding the head in a fixed position. Szasz suggests that Rush's tranquilizing chair was an adaptation of the "witch chair," used during the Inquisition to torture witches.
"The second of Rush's psychiatric-therapeutic inventions was a machine he called the 'gyrator.' This consisted of a 'rotating board to which patients suffering from "torpid madness" were strapped with the head farthest from the center. It could be rotated at terrific rates of speed, causing the blood the rush to the head...'"
..."The father of American psychiatry thus emerges as an autocratic, domineering, violent, and zealous person who saw mental disease wherever he looked, and was ready to use the most terrifying measures to control this desperate scourge."
Szasz recounts the history of Rush's first-born son John, who was locked up in his father's hospital where he died twenty-seven years later.
Then Szasz analyzes Rush's theory that Negroes had black skins because of a hereditary disease inherited from ancestors who had suffered from leprosy.
"Rush looked to science and found what he wanted: it was not God but nature that marked the black man; his blackness, moreover, is a sign, not of his 'congenital sin,' but of his congenital illness.'
Such a cure [from having a black skin] would also add to the happiness of the Negro himself, Rush believed, for 'however well they appear to be satisfied with their color, there are many proofs of their preferring that of the white people.'
In his attitude towards the Negro, Rush thus adheres to the fundamental principle of Institutional Psychiatry, namely that the 'patient' does not know, and hence cannot protect his own best interests. He needs the medical man to do this for him...
Rush makes us realize how unoriginal, but yet how enduring are the therapeutic posturings of the modern psychiatrist. Since the Inquisition, oppressors have insisted on wearing the uniforms of helpers. First, they donned the garb of the cleric. Today they will not show themselves without their medical coats. Benevolent paternalism (if one wants to so mislabel human evil) was the basic article of faith and the fundamental strategic weapon for the clergyman's domination of those he deemed sinners; and so it has continued for the psychiatrist's domination of those he deems mad.
...The leprosy theory of Negritude -- a forerunner of modern psychiatric theories of a wide variety of behaviors -- is truly an Orwellian parody of medicine in the service of behavioral control."
In my opinion, the most important mechanism to understand is the use of words -- "language" -- by declaration and definition, to brand people as "hysterics," "witches," "heretics," "mentally ill," "deviants," "criminals," "rebels," etc. to justify whatever ("paternally benevolent") atrocities the tyrants or so-called "authorities" wish to perpetrate.
The "Second Sin"
In his book The Second Sin, Thomas Szasz indicates the the first or "original" sin is "the knowledge of good and evil."
He quotes from Genesis 11:6-9: "And the Lord said, 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' ... Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth..."
"It seems to me that the second sin of Man, the sin of using language properly, and God's second punishment, the Divine Confusion, have been astonishingly neglected by students of man and language. Yet the importance and timelessness of the lesson this parable teaches are all too obvious. Authorities have always tended to honor and reward those who close man's mind by confusing his tongue, and have always tended to fear and punish those who open it by the plain and proper use of language. In so acting, authority has donned, successively, the mantle of Religion, of the State, and in our day, of Mental Health or Psychiatry. But it matters not whether confusion and stupefaction are inspired divinely, governmentally, or psychiatrically -- the result is the same: the parentification of authority and the infantilization of nearly everyone else...
Man is the animal that speaks. Understanding language is thus the key to understanding man; and the control of language, to the control of man.
Hence it is that men struggle not only over territory, food, and raw materials, but today perhaps most of all over language. For to control the Word is to be the Definer: God, king, pope, president, legislator, scientist, psychiatrist, madman -- you and me. God defines everything and everyone. The totalitarian leader aspires to similar grandeur. The ordinary person defines some aspects of himself and of a few others. But even the most modest and powerless of men defines something no one else can: his own dreams.
And we are all defined, as well: by our genes which shape us; our parents who name us; our society which classifies us; and so on."
I don't know to what extent Szasz realizes or not that words like "authority," "god," "king," "pope," etc. belong in the same league as "mental illness." Why this is so is covered in '#TL07A: The Anatomy of Slavespeak'.
Szasz says: "The abuse ordinary language has suffered at the hands of the madman and the mad-doctor has now lasted, not twelve years, like the Nazi regime, but nearly three hundred. And its end is nowhere in sight."
Szasz quotes George Orwell: "All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia."
Then Szasz continues:
"Since the power of all the professions that [ostensibly] serve the public rests in large part on their loyal members' ability to confuse and thus dominate the public, it should not surprise us that not only the languages of medicine and psychiatry, but also those of education and law, are composed mainly of what Orwell called "ready-made phrases" whose function is to "anesthetize the brain"... "Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits"..."
..."Policemen receive bribes; politicians receive campaign contributions.
Marijuana and heroin are sold by pushers; cigarettes and alcohol are sold by businessmen.
Mental patients who use the courts to regain their liberty are troublemakers; psychiatrists who use the courts to deprive patients of their liberty are therapists."
..."When a person eats too much, his intestines are short-circuited: this is called a "bypass operation for obesity." When a person thinks too much, his brain is short-circuited: this is called "frontal lobotomy for schizophrenia"."
..."Mental hospitals are the POW camps of our undeclared and inarticulated civil wars."
..."Involuntary mental hospitalization is like slavery. Refining the standards of commitment is like prettifying the slave plantations. The problem is not how to improve commitment, but how to abolish it."
..."Narcissist: psychoanalytic term for the person who loves himself more than his analyst; considered to be the manifestation of a dire mental disease whose successful treatment depends on the patient learning to love the analyst more and himself less."
..."Psychoanalysis now functions as a religion disguised as science and method of treatment. As Abraham received the Laws of God from Jehovah to whom he claimed special access, so Freud received the Laws of Psychology from the Unconscious to which he claimed to have special access."
..."Disease means bodily disease. Gould's Medical Dictionary defines disease as a disturbance of the function or structure of an organ or a part of the body. The mind (whatever it is) is not an organ or part of the body. Hence it cannot be diseased in the same sense as the body can. When we speak of mental illness, then we speak metaphorically. To say that a person's mind is sick is like saying that the economy is sick or that a joke is sick. When metaphor is mistaken for reality and is used for social purposes, then we have the makings of a myth. The concepts of mental health and mental illness are mythological concepts, used strategically to advance some social interests and to retard others, much as national and religious myths have been used in the past."
..."Much of what passes for mental illness nowadays is actually the result of fearfulness and timidity. We speak of "the wages of sin," which are no doubt real enough. By the same token, we should speak of "the wages of fear": the fear to be, the fear to live and to die, the fear to be wrong, the fear to be envied or pitied, the fear to be different. Their wages are the multitudinous self-inhibitions we call mental illness.
..."If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; if God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic."
..."When Jones says he is Jesus, scientific psychiatry declares him to have a delusion. I say he is lying. What is the difference? A delusion is something that happens to you; that you "have." A lie is something you make happen; something you do."
The above illustrates Slavespeak very well. If you think in terms of "having a delusion," then you're relatively powerless. If you think in terms of, "I lied," then it's easier to gain control and stop lying.
In the Preface to his book Heresies, Thomas Szasz writes that it is a continuation and extension of several of his previous books, and especially of The Second Sin.
Encyclopedia Britannica (1973): "The word heresy is derived from the Greek hairesis which originally meant an act of choosing, and so came to signify a set of philosophical opinions or the school professing to them. As so used the term was neutral, but once appropriated by Christianity it began to convey a note of disapproval. This was because the church from the start regarded itself as the custodian of a divinely imparted revelation, which it alone was authorized to expound... Thus any interpretation which differed from the official one was necessarily 'heretical' in the new, pejorative sense."
In Heresies Szasz wrote:
"Heresy: believing that the brain should be an organ generating new truths to please its owner instead of reproducing old falsehoods to please the authorities."
"Today, two of the most important religions are communism and psychiatry. Each is based on the principle, proclaimed by their high priests, that human behavior is determined by scientific laws and that individuals have therefore no free will. And each consists of the practice, zealously pursued by their leading practitioners, of systematically depriving individuals of their freedom to make uncoerced choices.
"This is what poets and politicians, psychotics and psychiatrists, therapists and theologians have in common: they all deal with metaphors that sustain the dignity and lives of some and destroy those of others; and they all deal with metaphors mendaciously, insisting that metaphorical meaning is literal and that literal meaning is metaphorical. The result of all this is the mystification, the nonsense, and the outright prevarication that make up a large part of the semantic air people in all cultures have always exhaled and then, mistaking it for the pure air of the mountains or oceans, have enthusiastically rebreathed."
..."Thus, today, one of our leading literalized metaphors is our image of the state as a wise and just father whose ministrations will provide "social justice" and "welfare" for all." [This is also an example of anthropomorphism -- see '#TL05AB: Anthropomorphism and Related Phenomena'.]
"Another [of our leading literalized metaphors] is our image of disease and death as enemies invading our otherwise healthy bodies, whose attacks can be successfully repulsed if we help our doctors develop a "therapeutic armamentarium" powerful enough for the task." [This view of disease being caused by an "external invader" (e.g., "HIV causes AIDS") could involve a degree of animism -- see '#TL05AB: Anthropomorphism and Related Phenomena'. From this "bug theory of disease" it usually follows that the cure requires drugs, etc. to "fight off the invader." In the case of some diseases, e.g., malaria, this view is correct. In the case of so-called "AIDS" it's probably incorrect -- see "Rethinking AIDS & the HIV Hypothesis." "AIDS" could be an example of a "disease" invented by declaration and definition.]
"A third [of our leading literalized metaphors] is our image of disagreement and discord as mental disorder due to a medical disease and hence eradicable like malaria, It is these metaphors, and some others, and the consequences of their literalizations -- which are every bit as odd and awful as were the consequences of the literlizations of Christianity -- that are the main targets of my heresies."
..."We possess appropriate terms to identify a variety of moral beliefs and the social organizations which seek to promote them -- such as anarchism, communism, conservatism, liberalism, socialism, and so forth. The one moral belief for which we have no appropriate term is that which emphasizes the value of personal choice and the political forms that would promote such choixe-making. I propose that we call this ethic, and the politics articulates it, hereticalism (making use of the Greek root hairein, which means "to choose")."
..."By treating bread as if it were the body of a god [anthropomorphism], we generate certain similarities between it and the deity; by treating certain opinions as if they were the unintended consequences of an illness rather than the intentional products of a decision, we create certain similarities between deviance and disease. The languages of poetry and science make use of descriptive metaphors, whereas the languages of religion, politics, and psychiatry make use of strategic metaphors."
"Had the white settlers in North America called the natives "Americans" instead of "Indians," they could not have said that "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" and could not have so easily deprived them of their land and lives. Depriving individuals or groups of their proper names is often the first step in depriving them of their property, liberty, and life.
When the Swiss are for nonintervention in war, they are called "neutral"; when Americans are, they are called "isolationists."
Getting "dangerous drugs" from a doctor is called "drug treatment"; giving them to oneself is called "drug abuse."
Likewise, dying of a disease is called "natural death, but dying of a decision is called "suicide."
In these ways, and in countless others, our language says that heteronomy is good, and autonomy is evil. If we valued autonomy more and heteronomy less, we would call drug abuse "self-medication" and suicide "self-determined death"."
"Our body is composed of what we eat; our minds of what we hear, read, say, and write. This is why every society, every social institution -- religion, law, medicine -- controls not only what we can and cannot take into our bodies, but also what we can and cannot take into our minds. In the final analysis, control of food is tantamount to control of the body, and control of language to control of the mind."
"The FDA calls certain substances "controlled." But there are no "controlled substances," there are only controlled citizens."
"In the classic tale about the emperor's finely woven clothes, a child discovers that the emperor is unclothed. That makes him a naked emperor. But, for modern man, the point of this story should be not that the emperor is naked, but that he is a liar." [And the biggest lie of all, the most difficult to discover, is that when the naked man calls himself "emperor" he is lying -- and when his idolaters call themselves "subjects of the emperor" they are lying to themselves.]
"Ours is an age in which idols perish while idolaters flourish. The result is liars worshipping the clothes of naked emperors. The challenge is clear: we must develop a new ethic of personal self-respect or sink into another Dark Age of self-rejection." [Slavespeak word-combinations such as "master"/"serf," "king"/"commoner," "emperor"/"subject," "government"/"citizen," "tsar"/"peasant," etc. are relevant here.]
"To control people -- to rule over them -- it is necessary to establish that those who govern are dignified and respect themselves and that those who are governed are undignified and do not respect themselves. The primary aim of every political ideology -- of the imagery underlying every system of human organization -- is to articulate that this distinction and division is true and just. The priests have maintained that the rulers are divine and the ruled diabolical; the politicians, that the rulers are competent and the ruled incompetent; and the physicians and psychiatrists, that the rulers are healthy and sane, and the ruled sick and insane. Then, offering to "cure" and "guide" their depraved, dependent, diseased, or deranged brothers and sisters, each of these groups has been able, over long periods, to rule over their fellow men and women. Thus in every political system, the most subversive idea is dignity and the most subversive act is a display of self-respect." [Just as "mental illness" is invented by declaration and definition; so "emperors," "kings," "presidents," etc. are "mocked-up" by declaration and definition, and perpetuated by the idolatrous masses who cannot distinguish between "mock-ups" and reality.]
..."There are fundamental differences between natural and (so-called) social science. In the former, the student must try to understand what "the thing" -- for example, oxygen, diabetes, penicillin -- is, whereas in the latter, he or she must try to understand why the authorities say that "the thing" -- for example, crime, schizophrenia, psychoanalysis -- is what they say it is.
In natural science, in other words, language -- conventional and constant -- is a tool: it is the microscope revealing a landscape hidden to the naked eye; whereas in social science, language -- arbitrary and inconstant -- is an impediment: it is the distorting mirror reflecting familiar faces as monstrous masks."
Szasz concludes Heresies by quoting from Yevgeny Zamyatin's "Tomorrow [1919-20]" in A Soviet Heretic: Essays by Yevgeny Zamyatin edited and translated by Mirra Ginsburg: "The world is kept alive only by heretics... Our symbol of faith is heresy: tomorrow is inevitably heresy to today... Yesterday, there was a tsar, and there were slaves; today there is no tsar, but the slaves remain; tomorrow there will be only tsars. We march in the name of tomorrow's free man -- the royal man. We have lived through the epoch of suppression of the masses; we are living in an epoch of suppression of the individual in the name of the masses; tomorrow will bring the liberation of the individual -- in the name of man... The only weapon worthy of man -- of tomorrow's man -- is the word."