Mutiny of the Soul – Reality Sandwich.
I find this quite refreshing. A perspective that argues that the world drives people crazy and sick. This isn’t the first compelling argument I’ve come across on this subject (see René Spitz, Thomas Szasz, R.D. Laing, Otto Rank, Ernest Becker, etc.) but most people are so totally ignorant in this regard that any article that comes out that even hints at a socially-based explanation for depression, fatigue, mental illness, and I pay attention. It’s good to share too, isn’t it? My mom always said it was.
There is a reference to this article on Facebook. I thought I’d share.
4 thoughts on “Mutiny of the Soul – Reality Sandwich”
There are more people that support this view than you might think. MadInAmerica.com has a lot of good articles and writers supporting the psychosocial viewpoint. In some of my blog’s articles, I promote a viewpoint on “mental illnesses” related to the Szaszian one. IMO the evidence that social/experiential stressors cause emotional/mental distress is overwhelming and much stronger than the genetic/biological vulnerability viewpoint, although both have valid points of course. As for the notion that randomly misfiring brain chemicals are the primary cause of distress, that is just laughable.
Thank you for the comment. I guess what I’d like to see is this view becoming a much more important part of political discourse. The view that ‘mental illness’ is idiosyncratic still pervades politics at all levels. Sometimes political practice at least locally contradicts the kind of ridiculous Ayn Rand perspective that some people seem to be in love with these days, but mental illness is still seen as a moral failing and not resident in the relationships between people and the organizations we’ve evolved to mediate those relationships, including the courts. Thanks again. I’ll check out your blog.
I agree… it’s interesting how the degree of distortion about “mental illness” seems to be greatest in America (i.e. US psychiatry medicalizes human distress to the greatest degree, prescribes the most medications, and so on, even compared to western Europe, and certainly compared to developing countries). Also, American culture still has the (partly Puritanical) view that individual responsibility/self-reliance is paramount and that one must be held sharply accountable for one’s failings. Along with the ineffective drug laws, I think this might explain a bit of why America has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of its prisoners. I was stunned when I read this statistic a few years ago. I would guess it is probably still close to this now. Our prison system and the incredibly long sentences that people receive for even non-violent crimes, which are really about punishment rather than rehabilitation, isn’t going to make mental illness any better.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with this Frontline video, but it’s definitely worth watching: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/
Thanks again for your comment. I could go on for ages on this topic. I taught sociology of crime and deviance for a long time.
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