Mental Illness or Moral Illness or a Life Well-Lit
August 3, 2015 Leave a comment
“See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” Jesus, from an eyewitness account recorded by Luke the physician, chapter 11, verse 35.
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Jesus as recorded in the eyewitness account of Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 6, verses 22 and 23.
I don’t have to tell you that mental health and the lack thereof has been in the news lately. Tied mainly to reports of mass killings, the national mental health issue has been spotlighted when evil rears its ugly head. This post is about perspective on the mental health industry from someone who knows and for those on the treadmill of psychoanalysis.
We learned the other day that the mass murderer Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez supposedly suffered from depression “…Abdulazeez’s family said he suffered from depression for years, and condemned the “heinous act of violence.””
Yet, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez willfully and coherently texted “an Islamic verse: “Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, then I have declared war against him.” Then, Abdulazeez immediately acted out those words by killing four Marines and a sailor.
GIGO: Abdulazeez was not depressed. Rather, he was unhappy, bored and dissatisfied with his view of the West and probably with himself. Stoking his ego with radical Islamist mal-machismo and personal grandiosity, Abdulazeez thought he would become bigger than life itself by becoming part of something that he thought was even bigger than himself – Islam’s Grand Jihad and the Slaughter of Innocents.
Psychology would not have benefitted the mental health of Abdulazeez. Psychology does not judge right from wrong. Psychology is the multiculturalism of all values, the egalitarian leveler of all thoughts into equal subjective and even political values.
Could it be that psychology, like gun laws is ineffectual due to the depraved moral character of the persons involved? Could it be that the individual’s eye and society’s eye is NOT focused on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (From the apostle Paul’s to epistle to the Philippian church, chapter 4, verse 8.)
With regard to mankind’s focus and his progress in the area of proper human self-reflection…”Psychology is not a key to self-understanding, but a cultural barrier to such understanding as we can achieve…” from the Preface of “Admirable Evasions, How Psychology Undermines Morality” by Theodore Dalyrymple, 2015.
Who is Theodore Dalyrymple? Theodore Dalyrymple is a pen name used by retired prison psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Daniels. I have written about Dalrymple in a previous post (see below).
“Admirable Evasions” sheds much-needed light on the mental health industry and in particular on the proactive diagnosis of depression.
Commercially advertised medications are prescribed to stave off unhappiness, dissatisfaction and ennui. Depression as a mental health state is used in courtrooms (and the media, as shown above) as a defense. Thus, responsibility for one’s felony first degree murder is not correlated to one’s accumulated misbehavior or evil compounded into utter darkness.
Dalrymple’s book, as the sub-title puts forward, exposes the absolution of patients from moral culpability. Psychology, instead, seeks to divine a secret knowledge through its Sisyphean scientism efforts in hopes of uncovering the ‘deep’ mystery of the patient’s unhappiness. We read also of the consumer’s constant demand for felicity and the bottom line commercialism behind antidepressant prescriptions. Dalrymple also provides a brief and sardonic history of psychoanalysis.
“The purpose of such all-encompassing understanding, other than moral self-aggrandizement, is the evasion of one’s own moral responsibility; for it follows that if no one is to be judged (because to judge is to judge harshly), then one is not oneself to be judged-not even by oneself. This, in effect, means carte blanche to do as you feel like, because all behavior is put on equal moral footing; it is only to be understood.” (Chapter Four)
Briefly, scientism is a coupling of the lexicon and theories of science with pop culture, anthropology, politics, popular consensus and ultimately with Neo-Darwinism. Scientism becomes a form of ‘truth’ through repetition and consensus opinion. Scientism is the appearance, the apparition, of science and not the reality of science.
Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) for example, is a frequent scientism apparition. And, just as in the opening scene of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the apparition of AGW sets a macabre and eerie tone while foreshadowing a theme of death.
Scientism, like Hamlet’s apparition’s appearance is expected by ‘those in the know’ to be feared and revered-the spirit of Mother Gaia is to be worshipped.
But scientism, uncoupled from reality and from this earth, is not subjected to honest reflection on the empirical science or the realities of cost to benefit analysis (see my previous post). Scientism seeks to generate free-floating angst meant to separate you from your money for the ‘right’ environ-mental cause and candidate.
Theodore Dalrymple has worked in the mental health industry over a course of a lifetime, mostly with prison inmates. With characteristic insight, candor, humor and background Dalrymple empowers the reader with his common sense observations about the mental health industry. He tells us that the mental health industry is NOT based on science. (This pseudo-science has to finance its own grandiosity by repeating its weekly psychic readings.)
Using his logo centric cerebral scanner Dalrymple gives us his diagnosis of mental health scientism where experimentation becomes published ‘settled science” until the next ‘sure’ thing comes along. Counseling “initiates” sooner or later are subjected to new ‘insights’ but the game is always to designate them as “victims”, victims who need to forgive themselves and/or learn to churn out positive self-esteem so as to inflate the ego and ward off scary intruders. And, remember Primal Screaming? “Shout, shout, Let it all out.”
“We [the mental health industry] need everyone who suffers to be a victim because only thus can we maintain our pretense to universal understanding and experience the warm glow of our own compassion, so akin to the warmth that a strong, stiff drink imparts in the cold.” (Chapter Four)
From Chapter One: “The first psychological scheme of the twentieth century to provide man with the illusion of much expanded, if not complete, self-understanding, together with hope of an existence free of inner and outer conflict, was psychoanalysis, then came behaviorism, after which came cybernetics, Sociobiology and evolutionary psychology were next; and now neuroscientific imaging, together with a little light neurochemistry, persuades us that we are about to pluck out the heart of our mystery. Suffice it to say, by way of deflation of exaggerated hopes and expectation, that 10 percent or more of the population now takes antidepressants, a figure is all the more remarkable as the evidence is lacking that they, the antidepressants, work except in a very small minority of cases; rather the reverse. That they are taken in such quantities is evidence more of dissatisfaction with life than of increased understanding of its causes, as well as of the spread of superstition regarding neurotransmitters and so-called “chemical imbalances.” (emphasis added)
Dalrymple goes on to talk about the absurdities of Freudianism and of Freud himself: [Freud] belonged more to the history of techniques of self-advancement and the foundation of religious sects than to that of science… He says Freud was ”a habitual liar who falsified evidence…”and “ he was a self-aggrandizing manipulator of people…”
“Admirable Evasions” delves into the mental health industry’s ‘absolution’ of a patient’s wrong doing based on as yet to be determined psychological mysteries locked in the patient’s brain. Hence the undermining and “Evasion” of morality as the book’s title posits. Hence, morally deficit people are left to roam our streets and at times kill others. Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) is not a defense in court or a comfort to those who have lost a loved one to amoral psychoanalysis with its lawless diagnosis.
“Men can change; this is their glory and their burden, for it is precisely the capacity to change that renders them responsible for their actions; but what they do may be irreparable.”
The above quote from Admirable Evasions is found within the article “The Multiple Lives of Mehdi Nemmouche” . There Dalrymple talks about the “doctrine of the Real Me”.
Everyone wants an out…
Remember CPL Max Klinger of the MASH unit who feigned mental illness (in women’s clothes) so as to be discharged as unfit?
Remember “The devil made me do it.”?
On the couch, morality is posited as just a scary apparition, an angry “Epicurean” god, a figment of a tormented mental condition, an unwarranted guilt complex, genes gone awry, synapses misfiring or firing at the wrong time due to over-stimulation. One Nudge too far!
To neo-Darwinists, morality is considered a Darwinian materialist’s adaption to one’s societal surroundings. Neo-Darwinists do not want to go where morality dwells because that would entail submitting to a Moral Absolute. It is much easier for their pride to accept a humanist’s scientism solution every time. It is easier for them to dabble in the mystical arts of new age scientism.
Dalrymple, in a footnote, admits that he (an atheist) has no moral high ground of his own: “The fact that I do not have any watertight metaphysic of morals does not mean that psychology can just rush in to fill the gap.”
…but fools rush into the utter darkness anyway.
“…Emerson said in one of his brief excursions into comprehensibility, foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” (Chapter Four)
The default diagnosis of mental illness proffered by the media and by the waiting in the wings defense psychologists is most likely evil and its focus on fatalism.
“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
Theodore Dalrymple’s answer to the mental health industry’s inability to improve one’s healthy self-awareness is straightforward-read good literature. Read and become self-aware after reflecting on the characters and the situations they encounter in the book. I agree. Psychoanalysis tends to be a masturbation of the ego.
I also agree, as Dalrymple asserts, there is some good in the mental health industry. There are those who are dealing with incurable psychosis. These need help working with reality. But, most people do not need the packaged nonsense. They do need good books, good friends, exercise and to be held accountable for their actions by their friends and society before the point of no return.
As a Christian, I would strongly suggest that if you are desirous of a healthy mind that you also turn your eyes upon Jesus. Cable TV and today’s media have nothing healthy to offer you. You won’t find moral absolutes on TV.
Consider the following offering to evil:
[Ryan] “Murphy tells ET that he plans to initiate Gaga with a particularly “disturbing and awful” murder scene with her co-star Bomer, when the show begins filming next week.”
“Diversion is the only thing that consoles us in our wretchedness, and yet diversion is itself the greatest of our miseries. For it is diversion above all that keeps us from seriously taking stock of ourselves and so leads us imperceptibly to perdition.”
From the Evil One’s point of view, the liturgy of psycho-babble is meant to replace the Lord ’s Prayer.
In Jesus you learn to forgive others and no longer hold grudges or unresolved anger. Any root of bitterness is soon uprooted and you are free to plant a plush garden in its place. That garden will be where Jesus comes to visit-as he did with St. Teresa of Avila and where He also visits me.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20
I have written about Dalrymple in a previous post: “Three Atheists I Listen To”
A second opinion: “The Moral Limits of Psychology”
“Following more than 2 1/2 hours of closing arguments, Judge Timothy Joyce concluded that Bryant Brewer wasn’t mentally ill but simply chose “not to be bound by society’s norms.”
“The only completely truthful thing I heard from (Brewer) is that he’s a cop killer,” the judge said as Soderberg’s widow, Jennifer Loudon, clutched a tissue in her right hand. “He brutally, callously, viciously and without compunction murdered Officer Thor Soderberg.””
“Joyce delivered a lengthy verdict, finally announcing the guilty decision after 8 p.m. He found Brewer guilty on all counts — including the attempted murder of three other officers in addition to Soderberg’s first-degree murder.
The judge concluded that the defense presented no admissible evidence that Brewer had schizophrenia.”
Added 8-7-2015, from NBC News:
“…the same jury that convicted Holmes of 24 counts of first-degree murder and 140 counts of attempted murder last month in the July 20, 2012, massacre at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora. The jury deliberated less than 13 hours before reaching that decision.”
“Defense attorneys argued that [James] Holmes suffered from schizophrenia and he was legally insane when he carried out the attack. The jury rejected that defense in finding Holmes guilty.”
This astounding finding should be an integral part of the mental health debate:
Robert Whitaker author of Anatomy of an Epidemic asks the question, here paraphrased…
Is there a correlation between the increase of prescribed psychotropic medications over the past twenty-five years and the current epidemic of disabling mental illness? He notes that the disabled mentally ill place a significant burden on society.