Category Archives: psychology

Psychiatric imperialism

Screenshot 2020-01-30 at 09.42.36The growing pseudo-sophistication of credulity

Under the empire of the shrinks, writes Dalrymple (himself a shrink), there is a dialectical tendency to reinforce people’s wish to

objectify themselves and their behaviour, the better to escape personal responsibility and avoid genuine but painful self-reflection.

He observes that

the doctor wants to give patients a diagnosis, and patients want the doctor to give them a diagnosis. Every unhappy person leaves the doctor clutching a prescription. And every study shows that, whatever they are given as an antidepressant, their pills have a powerful placebo effect. Unfortunately, they can have serious and unpleasant side-effects. Gone are the days when doctors can dish out coloured water as a placebo to a credulous clientèle.

We don’t believe any more in spirit possession, he says,

but we do believe in serotonin – too much or too little or in the wrong place – as the root of all our troubles.

The superstitions that beget terror

Dalrymple says of the 2019 London Bridge stabbing:

If it had been an episode in a novel by a social satirist, it would have been dismissed as too crude or absurd.

He writes that public discussion in the wake of the outrage reveals three superstitions that, thanks to the activities of criminologists, sociologists, psychologists, and others, are deeply ingrained in the public mind:

  1. Terrorists are ill and are both in need of and susceptible to ‘rehabilitation’, as if there existed some kind of moral physiotherapy that would strengthen their moral fibre, or a psychological vaccine that would immunise them against terrorist inclinations.
  2. Once terrorists have undergone these technical processes or treatments, it can be known for certain that the treatments have worked, and that some means exists to assess whether the terrorists still harbour violent desires and intentions.
  3. There exists a way of monitoring terrorists after their release that will prevent them from carrying out attacks, should they somehow slip through the net.

Usman Khan

These notions are, of course, false,

though they have provided much lucrative employment for the tertiary-educated and have contributed greatly to Britain’s deterioration from a comparatively well-ordered society to a society with one of the West’s highest rates of serious crime.

Their broad public acceptance

is evident in the remarks of Jeremy Corbyn, who, after the attack, said that terrorists should undergo rehabilitation rather than serve full prison sentences.

The father of the slain young criminologist said that he would not want his son’s death to be ‘used as a pretext for more draconian sentences’. Dalrymple comments:

Decadence can go little further.

Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy

An American psychologist by the name of John Gartner argues that Donald Trump should be removed from office on psychiatric grounds:

We live in a pre-fascist society…The German psychiatric association said nothing during the rise of Hitler…We are facing a crisis that threatens to engulf the world in flames…Trump meets standards for commitment and should be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation, whether he wants to or not…The man is threatening to murder an entire country…We cannot call the authorities because the homicidal patient is the authorities.

Dalrymple notes that Gartner

displays no knowledge of or imaginative insight into what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship—his Jewishness notwithstanding—despite countless memoirs, academic books, and films attesting to and describing life under authoritarian rule. Such ignorance or lack of imagination is culpable. For an American to compare contemporary life in the USA, no doubt unsatisfactory as it is in many respects, with life in a fascist dictatorship is self-dramatising, self-pitying, and an insult to those millions who suffered or died under totalitarian dictatorships.

It is legitimate to oppose the government and to despise the person of the president;

it is another thing to claim jurisdiction over whether he should be entitled to be president and whether he ought to be removed by committal to a mental institution. In the Soviet Union, psychiatrists occupied the kind of commissarship that Gartner is appealing for.

Gartner

shows an implicit contempt for US institutions and history if he thinks that the election of one allegedly unstable man can turn his country into a fascist dictatorship almost overnight.

He is

what Kraus said of psychoanalysis, a cause of the disease it pretends to cure. He believes that people who show instability, anger, paranoia, feelings of persecution, and cognitive confusion would and should be involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation.

Dalrymple suggests that Gartner read Chekhov’s 1892 short story Ward No. 6, in which Dr Ragin is committed to his own asylum.

People feel responsible for everything except for what they do

Thomas Hamilton: perpetrator of the Dunblane massacre

Dalrymple writes that

querulous self-righteousness, combined with a refusal to look inward or to examine one’s own conduct and motives, is characteristic of our age.

He notes that

a curious reversal in the locus of moral concern has taken place: people feel responsible for everything except for what they do.

The querulousness which lies at the heart of such events as the Dunblane massacre,

and of which it is an extreme manifestation, is fostered daily, hourly, in almost all our newspapers and on radio and television. Our belief in a constantly expanding number of rights, and that everyone except for a tiny gilded minority is a victim of circumstance, favours a frame of mind in which revenge upon the world is justified.

Of course,

self-exculpation, self-justification and special pleading are nothing new in human psychology. But never have these rather unattractive human traits had so much material upon which to work.

New ways of understanding youth

Dalrymple writes that Hermine Hug-Hellmuth was

sycophantically respectful of and grateful to Sigmund Fraud, which meant that, being the kind of man that he was, she remained in his good books. This was not the case with Freud’s daughter, Anna, who could not forgive her for having been the first to apply psychoanalysis to children, which is how she, Anna, wanted to be known. Pettiness and spite have always been the hallmarks of psychoanalysis, despite its claims to wisdom.

She was leading an arid existence, involving herself

in an arcane sect that contributed nothing to human understanding. Rather, the reverse: it erected elaborate screens of absurd theory between people and their proper self-reflection or self-examination.

She had an illegitimate elder half-sister, Antoine, who in 1906 gave birth to an illegitimate son called Rudolf. In 1924, Rudolf murdered Hermine brutally, shortly after publication of her book, Neue Wege zum Verständnis der Jugend: Psychoanalytische Vorlesungen für Eltern, Lehrer, Erzieher, Schulärzte, Kindergärtnerinnen und Fürsorgerinnen. It is hard, says Dalrymple,

to suppress a smile at the irony of it.

Užívání antidepresiv je moderní obdoba vymítání ďábla

Není to psychologie, jste to vy: přestaňte vaše chování zaměňovat za nemoc

Literatura, vzkazuje Dalrymple,

přinesla lidstvu daleko více světla, než v co psychologie vůbec může kdy doufat.

Místo nalézání sebe sama během dlouhých let terapie pomocí povídání o sobě,

byste se raději měli věnovat nějakému zájmu nebo činnosti.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 09.05.07

Elaborate confirmation of banalities

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 15.51.17No doubt, writes Dalrymple,

psychologists perform experiments that are interesting (Milgram’s on obedience to authority come to mind). But the idea that psychology has cast any valuable light on the human condition or has assisted us in understanding ourselves is preposterous, a modern myth.

Of all the subjects of academic study, psychology is

probably the most useless, or at least the most useless by comparison with its pretensions to use. In a century and a half, it has not told us anything of undisputed value. It is subject to absurd fashions, and its published experiments are often either not reproducible or their relevance to life is unclear.

The cultural effect of psychology is

negative, insofar as it tends to alienate people from their direct experience and causes them to speak of themselves as if they were mere objects. They then attribute their actions to forces or things other than their own decisions, one of the popular explanatory forces or things at the moment being neurotransmitters. This is a boon to drug companies.

Dissatisfaction is the permanent condition of mankind

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 08.56.39Witch-doctoring, says Dalrymple (from 16:15),

can work for those who believe in witches and spirits.

However,

there is no total explanation of the human condition. There is no theory that will release us from dissatisfaction.

Get a hold of yourself!

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.28.10Dalrymple argues that psychology

doesn’t help us understand ourselves. In the last 100 years we haven’t found anything of any value. We haven’t moved beyond Shakespeare.

On psychoanalysis, he remarks:

I daresay some people will have benefited from it, but they will have benefited from witch-doctors. It doesn’t help us to understand the human condition. I’m not sure anything will ever do better than literature, and even literature doesn’t help that much.

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 14.46.33Dalrymple explains (from 37:05) that a book was recently sent to him through the post by its publishers

in the hope that I would make some reference to it or even review it.

In 360 pages, the book

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 14.40.02sought to prove, with an immense machinery of academic references, that human beings, on the whole, are happier if they have some face-to-face and person-to-person contact.

Dalrymple’s comment:

Imagine someone going to Shakespeare and earnestly explaining to him the content of this book.

‘Well, William. Did you know that human beings need one another to be happy? I bet you didn’t, because, poor chap, you lived in the 16th century.’

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 14.31.50I don’t think the Bard would have been bemused, because nothing human bemused him, but he might have been amused.

Two lines of his might have run through his head: Lord, what fools these mortals be!* and O brave new world, That has such people in’t!

*A Midsummer Nights Dream, Act 3, scene 2, 110–115; †The Tempest, Act 5, scene 1, 181–184