Chapter 1: Schizophrenia

In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.i

George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)

Schizophrenia

Recommended reading.

Imagine, if you would, an average American. We’ll call him “Ed.” Ed is in his mid-thirties, works in an office, and is currently standing at the paper shredder. He’s holding a stack of paper in one arm while feeding the paper shredder with his other. Suddenly, he drops the stack of paper all over the floor and just stands there, rigid, mouth hanging open and eyes as wide as silver dollars. Staring into nowhere in particular, he begins babbling faintly and incoherently to himself. He giggles slightly with a faint smile, and then he looks around with an intense expression of perplexed distress. Ed’s coworkers, who are standing all around him, have become quite concerned and a bit upset with what they are seeing and hearing. “What’s wrong with Ed?” they whisper to each other. “What’s wrong, Ed?” one of them asks him. Ed looks past his concerned coworker and babbles on, muttering something about “destroying” and “saving” the whole world. Because these are common themes found in the word-salad spouted by many a so-called “psychotic,” Ed’s coworkers quickly call a special kind of authority to have Ed taken away. And as expected, Ed puts up a fight, resisting, claiming that the “others” are conspiring against him as he’s taken away to be confined, labeled a “schizophrenic,” electro-shocked, and forced to “do drugs.”

What was wrong with Ed? Can you blame his coworkers for having him confined? Would you have done anything differently? Is it just a matter of “common sense”? That is just the way you deal with people like that? Is it silly to ask such questions? Before you settle into your familiar and comfortable answer, first try to see it from Ed’s point of view. To do so we will need to consider two vital things, the first of which is two sided: First, on the one hand, like millions of other Americans, throughout his life Ed has been waiting faithfully for the imminent destruction of the world. On the other hand, also like millions of other Americans, he has spent many years working hard to save the planet for all future generations. Because these two groups are not mutually exclusive, they overlap, meaning millions of Americans do both. In other words, for many years now, Ed has been alternating back and forth like a binary (on/off) switch between being conscious of one, and then the other, and then back again, and so on. And today, Monday morning, while it was fresh in his memory, Ed was pondering the Apocalyptic (End of the World) sermon he had heard the day before, and as the phrase “the gnashing of teeth” passed through his mind, his eyes fell upon the teeth-like-blades gnashing and shredding the papers he was feeding them. They were left over flyers that were posted all around work to increase worker motivation and participation in the national “Save the Planet” campaign. So, for the very first time, Ed had become conscious of both concepts at the same time. He breached a powerful paradox and therefore has understandably come grinding to a painful and disillusioned halt. He has entered the first stage of disillusionment.

The second vital thing, again like millions of other Americans, is that Ed has been raised since a small child to hold solid the conviction that he has certain guaranteed rights, such as freedom of speech and belief. After all, he’s an “American”! Now start with his disorientated state born from realizing for the very first time that he has been working hard for many years to save the planet while waiting for it to be destroyed at any moment. Then add to this powerful dilemma the fact that he finds himself suddenly being taken away to be confined for what he was saying and believing—by people who openly claim to value freedom of speech and belief. How can we really consider Ed’s reaction irrational? It certainly resembles a conspiracy, doesn’t it? How would you react if people who claim to believe in the freedoms of speech and belief suddenly locked you up for the things you say and believe? And in the middle of such a disorienting dilemma? That’s not just a paradox, but a double paradox that poor Ed is trapped in. Breaching the first paradox instantly placed him in the second. Wouldn’t anyone react in a similar, even predictable way under such conditions? Is it by some strange coincidence, then, that the official psychiatric criteria used to justify confining people for their deviant behavior, speech, and beliefs just happens to resemble this predictable reaction? Of all the things we can conceivably say about it, the simplest and most accurate is that it’s an excellent illustration of the greatest of America’s many paradoxes—the paradox of American freedom. Depending on social circumstances at any particular moment, Americans both believe as well as don’t believe in their freedoms.

Of the many “symptoms” that will be listed in Ed’s psychiatric records, talking to himself is a classic. In itself, it’s a superior illustration of the paradox of American freedom—a second illustration embedded within the first. Though primarily enforced in the upper and middle classes, all “orthodox” or “normal” Americans avoid talking to themselves (at least publicly) because they imagine others will imagine them “mad.” Like many orthodox beliefs, this is the opposite of what is true. In child psychology it’s called monologging, and is the second of three primary stages in which the individual develops the use of language: babbling, monologging, and communication. It’s vital, because it develops the individual’s ability to think and act independently. As each individual enters the third stage, however, monologging gradually becomes shunned, taboo, silently forbidden, and imagined as abnormal rather than normal. Most people stop monologging voluntarily; they stop engaging in an activity that develops their ability to think and act independently, and they do it while believing that they have the right to be individuals.

Monologging is also an excellent illustration of something else of great significance. I find that if I sit somewhere monologging as people pass by, they give me all sorts of funny looks and stares. And yet, I find that I can also control their reactions toward me by using the proper “prop.” If people see me monologging in the presence of our modern god, then as if by magic, their attitudes change to acceptance! It’s not made of wood, stone, or metal, it’s made of plastic and electronics, and it’s considered a more valid recipient of your vocalized thoughts than your own living brain tissue. In other words, you can’t feed your own vocalized thoughts back into your own auditory neural pathway, setting up an amplifying feedback loop that can develop your autonomy, but it is perfectly fine to talk to a machine (a tape recorder). It doesn’t have to be turned “on” either. It doesn’t even need batteries! People just need to see it!

Who says the modern and secular don’t kneel to their deities any more? They simply lost the awareness that they still do.

Getting back to Ed, it is another unwavering orthodox or normal belief that any person in such a crisis (or conceptual breach of paradox) is both ill and dangerous; and just like our belief about monologging, this one is most often the opposite of what is true. For example, anyone with access to a public library can consult encyclopedias and read for themselves:

Schizophrenia, any [one] of a group of severe mental disorders that generally have in common disturbances of feeling, thought, and relations to the outside world.ii

Schizophrenia is the single largest cause of admissions to mental hospitals …iii

Of all mental illnesses [it] … is the most feared iv

[And yet,] the majority of mental patients are not dangerous … a prison-like regimen is not necessary to contain them.v

[What’s more] the cause or causes of schizophrenia remain elusive and no specific neuropathology has ever been identified. In consequence, as with other diagnoses which cannot be verified with laboratory tests, usage of the term is liable to vary from place to place. Indeed … American and Russian psychiatrists [have been] using the term much more freely and loosely than psychiatrists elsewhere.vi

Ed was feared and confined, but he was certainly not dangerous. He was not dangerous for the same reason most people who are confined for being “psychotic” are not dangerous—they haven’t committed the crimes they are most often imagined as having committed. A dangerous innocent person is like a square circle. If you can believe that innocent people are dangerous, then you should have no problem what-so-ever believing that circles can have corners. And because it is a simple fact that most killers are “normal,” you have a far greater chance of having your throat slit by someone defined as healthy (using psychiatric standards) than by someone “psychotic.” So the real question is: Why are these innocent people feared more than the majority of violent people? Or better yet, why do most people believe the opposite of what is true?

In Ed’s case I think it’s safe to assume that some of his co-workers were engaged in the same paradox and were in no way emotionally prepared to breach it. Another reason is that most normal people faithfully expose themselves daily to paper and video “programming” (we even call it “programming”) that forever presents a simple Pavlovian link between the mental states of psycho-sis (literally “a giving of life to”) and the behavior of serial killers (“a taking of life from”) that is voluntarily accepted as reality. The link between psychosis and killing is about as objective as the link between black skin and car theft. In short, as Pavlov conditioned his dogs to salivate to the sound of bell, the economic elite of Western civilization have conditioned the public to fear people pinned with the term psycho and its variants. It’s automatic if you don’t pay attention. After all, most people don’t stop to consider that mind control can be very subtle, catchy, entertaining, and quite addictive.

Has it ever occurred to you that we actually distinguish between normal and ab-normal murder? Imagine two people: (A) and (B). Both (A) and (B) hear voices telling them to kill. Both obeyed the voices because the pressure they felt was too powerful to resist. Why should (A) be confined in prison, while (B) is confined in an asylum where he will also be electrocuted and drugged, even though they committed the same crime? The only difference between them is where the voices were experienced. (A) heard voices from outside himself telling him to kill someone as an initiation to a street gang, while (B) heard voices from within himself. Both had the capacity to kill, and both were told to kill. Both said that the pressure to kill was too great to resist. The idea that (A) is fit to stand trial while (B) is unfit is not a decision about (B’s) incapacity or inability to stand trial as is generally assumed, but merely a decision that (B) simply shouldn’t. Being a puppet to external pressure is normal, useful, and profitable; but being a puppet to internal pressure is not. The main point, however, is that (B) doesn’t even have to commit a crime. Ed, for example, will be confined, electrocuted, and drugged for being strange, while a person who raped a child will simply be confined (unless he’s a priest, then it’s a slap on the wrist).

Of course, a minority of people who deviate from orthodox normalcy are dangerous. Consider John Hinckley, Jr. He shot former President Ronald Regan, former White House Press Secretary James Brady, and some others for some outlandish reason involving his love for actress Jodie Foster, whom he had never actually met. I’ve come across a number of references to Hinckley, such as in the movie A Time to Kill in which a psychiatrist takes the stand in court and refers to Hinckley as a schizophrenic to illustrate some pseudo-point; the problem is that this is only a half-truth. At Hinckley’s trial, of four medical experts who provided their testimonies as to whether he was or was not schizophrenic, one stated that he was; another stated that he was not; a third stated that CAT scans were “absolutely necessary” to confirm a diagnosis that he was; and a fourth stated that to base a diagnosis on the use of a CAT scan is “simply impossible, period.”vii

If the medical experts who were called upon to diagnose the would-be assassin of the President of the United States cannot diagnose schizophrenia, what reason is there to think that anyone else can? After all, isn’t a disease that has never been verified by a laboratory test a contradiction in terms? Not to mention the absurdity of: “usage of the term varies from place to place.” These psychiatrists were trained to see patterns and to categorize them, and that’s precisely what they did. They see and hear patterns that they label symptoms, while they imagine (their own handbook, the DSM IV, actually says “conceptualize”) the clinical entities that are promptly recorded in, and officially authenticated by the clinical presen-tation. “Clinical” is a word that sounds objective and scientific, yet it really means the opposite of how it sounds: a lack of objective evidence. As one American psychiatrist put it, “Bodily illness is in the patients’ body; mental illness is in his record.” What’s more, when a person is diagnosed as mentally ill, the original “presentation” is reused again and again by others to ensure that the individual remains ill in the same way; otherwise, inevitable contradictory diagnoses multiply. Isn’t that what happens when different people look at the same inkblot? They each see something different. Hinckley’s trial is an excellent example of this, even though only half the reality about schizophrenia enters the popular consciousness via media programming.

What they mean in the last quote by “using the term freely and loosely” is that it is just like tossing around a Frisbee. Try repeating that last quote with diabetes instead of schizophrenia. Imagine doctors throwing the term tuberculosis around wherever and whenever they didn’t find it in a lab test, but saw and heard it, and so diagnosed it anyway. Isn’t that just silly? It’s almost as ridiculous as this incredibly “loose” usage in an article titled “Fasting: An Old Cure for Fat, a New Testament for Schizophrenia.”

[Russian] experiments with food abstinence … have been carried on at the prestigious Psychiatric Institute in Moscow. There, Professor Uri Nikolayev was the first to try fasting as a potential cure for schizophrenia. … [He] has seen a 65 percent improvement rate among his more than 7000 patients [translation: starving political prisoners into submission].viii

What has feelings, thoughts, and relations to the outside world: people or abstract disorders? Again, isn’t that silly? The same “disorder” is listed twice in the same definition; that is to say, the disorder and the disturbance are one and the same thing. For example, Ed was in a severely disturbed state of thought, feeling, and relation to his coworkers and the world. His disturbance could be seen and heard by everyone. Along comes that special authority, which alone is capable of stripping an innocent person of their “guaranteed” rights with a clinical glance, and a stroke of his mighty pen. He sees Ed’s disordered patterns of behavior, speech, and belief, calls them symptoms, while throwing in an extra “of a severe disorder” which he “conceptualizes” in his mind, and “symbolizes” in his clinical presentation. The disorder that is imagined is really a warehouse-like “category” in which are put people when they experience similar disturbed thoughts, feelings, and relations to the outside world.

Although real disease can not be found, Ed’s brain chemistry is searched, and voila: it’s imbalanced or abnormal! “It’s a sign—it indicates schizophrenia!” the authority proclaims. But does it really? Imagine a young woman, who being recently married and eagerly believing she was pregnant, went to her doctor and was accidentally given someone else’s diagnosis that she has “cancer of the uterus” and “will soon die.” Now let’s examine her brain chemistry and 1) ignoring her point of view, and 2) promptly locking her up, strapping her down, and drugging her for the things she suddenly began babbling and raving about. Guess what we would find? Abnormal brain chemistry. In other words, a normal person’s brain chemistry can be sharply altered not only by the things done to the person, but also by the very words used to describe them.

When people are cut of from communication with other people … there is a strong tendency to develop hallucinations … not altogether dissimilar from those of schizophrenia.ix

If depriving a person from contact with others (by locking them up in a small space, for example, while also depriving them of all means of expression, entertainment, distraction, and even movement by strapping them to a table) can produce schizophrenia-like symptoms, then what’s the difference between the innocent people who act like schizophrenics and are said to deserve this inhumane treatment, and the innocent people who act like schizophrenics because they’re forced to by this treatment? Said differently, if the standard treatment of people called schizophrenics can cause schizophrenic-like symptoms, and in both cases, the only way to identify them is to look and listen, then schizophrenics are made by their treatments.

Important recent advances in the understanding of the neural mechanisms involved in schizophrenia have come from discoveries of the mode of action of drugs used in its treatment.x

If the neuropathology, and hence neural mechanisms, of schizophrenia cannot be verified with laboratory tests, how on earth can knowledge about them possibly come from the effects of drugs that they decided to give them anyway? How could giving Hinckley some Haldol for example, possibly clarify the obstinate, medieval-like tangle of psychiatric dis-agreement over whether he was or was not a witch—I mean, schizophrenic? (Pardon me.)

A few years ago two Israeli psychiatrists took Haldol … and they reported that they were unable to work, think, to even answer a telephone.”xi And these just happen to be symptoms of mental illness, un-deniable proof that they are what the orthodox holds them to be. Thus the purpose of giving Hinckley the Haldol would be to produce the symptoms that in turn produce agreement among observers—which itself is the necessary foundation for many unnecessary but profitable industries.

I’m not saying that every drug psychiatrists pass out is poison. I’d take a valium from a psychiatrist. But I would not take Haldol, Stelazine, Lithium, Prolixin, Thorazine, or Prozac, just to name a few. Promoters of Lithium, for example, have described it as turning down the dial of life so that things don’t seem as important any more.xii It controls their symptoms—their thoughts, speech, and behavior. Taken regularly over long periods, these drugs cause many morbid side effects and experiences that the coerced are told are actually symptoms of their illnesses. For it is an inescapable fact that many who are coerced to take these drugs, yet absolutely refuse to do so, are eventually able to work out their “issues” without them. Those who continue to take the neurotoxins increasingly develop neurological damage such as tardive dyskinesia/dementia, “… an often permanently disfiguring muscular disorder … which severely hinders your ability to think and feel.”xiii I call it “Schrodinger’s Cat Syndrome,” or the state of being half-alive/half-dead. For example, here is a woman named Kristen describing the combined effects of Stelazine and Prolixin:

I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t walk. I felt a disinclination to live. I could not get out of bed. My arms were like metal and the bed was like a magnet. My tongue was all rolled up in my mouth. My toes were in spasms. I couldn’t move. I peed my bed.xiv

Her psychiatrist accepted these as symptoms of one of the zillion potential variations of schizophrenia, or a mixture of it and the drugs. Despite his insistence, she stopped seeing him and taking the neuroleptic toxins, worked out her personal crisis and became a therapist!

After reaching this officially declared impossibility of a goal, she came to realize: “The mental health system has ripped me off twice, first as a patient and then as a counselor. I thought I could work within the system. I was wrong. You can’t show any human emotion because they’re mental health trained. They look for symptoms in everything and everybody …”xv She even goes so far as to describe a paradox:

The patient is [officially considered] paranoid if he or she thinks therapists talk about them. But we do. You do talk about them when they’re gone. You all get together and talk about how paranoid they are that they think you’re talking about them. It’s crazy.xvi

People who work in asylums help to make the segregates paranoid, while at the same time being responsible for entering “paranoid” into the clinical records, and all while in a half- or mono-conscious state—the state of mind that Ed and Kristin slipped out of.

Consider the most severe symptom of schizophrenia according to psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler, who personally coined the term, from the very text of 1911 in which he officially introduced it:

The most serious of all schizophrenic symptoms is the suicidal drive. I am taking this opportunity to state clearly that our present-day social system demands great cruelty from the psychiatrist … People [in asylums] are being forced to continue a life that has become unbearable for them … However, it is even worse when life is made increasingly intolerable for these patients by using every means to subject them to constant surveillance. … I am convinced that in schizophrenia it is this very surveillance which awakens, increases, and maintains the suicidal drive.xvii

Even Eugene Bleuler admits that the segregated are treated with great cruelty (while blaming society for demanding it), forced to live an unbearable existence, and driven constantly into suicide. Now take just one wild guess as to “why” they constantly subject schizo-phrenics to suicide-inducing surveillance? Schizophrenics are “known” to commit suicide, so they obviously must be kept under constant surveillance. This surveillance then pushes them to the edge of suicide, which makes necessary even more surveillance, which drives them closer to suicide, and on and on and on. Around and around and around they ride this not very merry-go-round of amnesia-ridden, inquisition-like, allopathic manufactory of chronic insanity.

There are many powerful studies that illustrate this vividly, such as D. Rosenhan’s aptly titled, On Being Sane in Insane Places (1973), what psychotherapist Seth Farber has described as…

the most dramatic of a number of studies demonstrating that there is … nothing scientific about psychiatric diagnosis. … In Rosenhan’s study, ‘normal’ people, that is to say, individuals who worked as professionals (teachers, lawyers, psychologists, and so forth) and who had no previous history of psychiatric hospitalization pretended they were hearing sounds in order to be admitted into psychiatric wards; once inside the wards, they acted as they normally would. Not a single one of the staff … suspected that these were, in fact, ‘normal’ people. Rosenhan wrote that “having once been labeled schizophrenic, there is nothing the pseudo-patient can do to overcome the tag. The tag profoundly colors others’ perception of him and his behavior.” Indeed, Rosenhan found from an examination of the staff notes and case reports that the patient’s behavior and past history were interpreted in such a way as to confirm the diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’.xviii

So saying that “schizophrenia” is the leading cause of involuntary “confinement” is analogous to saying that “witchcraft” was the single greatest cause of involuntary “witch burnings.” But the greatest psychiatric symptom of silliness is that just as priests “vote” on what is and is not a “sin,” so also psychiatrists “vote” on what is and is not an “illness.”

The schizophrenic is beset with strange beliefs (*delusions). … Schizophrenia is only correctly diagnosed when these beliefs are unshakable and totally out of keeping with the ideas and philosophies of the sufferer’s own class and culture.xix

[*] … A delusion is a fixed, idiosyncratic belief, unusual in the culture to which the person belongs. Unlike normal beliefs, which are subject to amendment or correction, a delusion is held to despite evidence or arguments brought against it.xx

A man named Roger Bannister once held a strange belief that was “unshakable,” totally “out of keeping” with thousands of years of civilized belief, and therefore definitely out of keeping in his class and culture. “For thousands of years, people held the belief that it was impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes. But in 1954, Roger Bannister broke this imposing belief barrier.”xxi Roger can easily be classified as “schizophrenic,” except for one vital thing. Roger’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs diverged sharply from everyone else in history, but he didn’t disease others emotionally in doing so. That’s the crucial difference. Upon Ed’s breaking of his belief barrier, his coworkers reached an emotional threshold of tolerance—they became diseased emotionally, triggering a conditioned reaction-formation that in-volved Ed’s coworkers’ temporary suspension of their beliefs in certain freedoms, so that Ed could be taken away and officially stamped diseased mentally.

What if, for example, Roger had broken his cultural belief barrier within a culture that held the belief, for whatever reason, that only a person in league with evil powers could do what everyone knew was impossible? Then his fellow citizens would first become quite upset with him, and then they’d deal with him accordingly. They might burn him alive, thus proving that he was a witch, or they might lock him up, depriving him of contact with others, thus inducing schizophrenic symptoms that must be controlled by symptom-making-drugs and suicide-inducing suveillance—thus proving that the was a schizoid. Roger was very lucky that most Americans don’t hold such a belief.

What is “subject to amendment or correction,” then? Is it the belief or the person to which the belief belongs? To amend or correct a belief means changing a person’s point-of-view, and doesn’t that mean changing the person? So a more accurate translation would be “unlike normal people, who are subject to amendment or correction, idiosyncratic people persist in their strange beliefs, despite what normal people consider to be adequate evidence or arguments brought against those beliefs.” According to those definitions, a normal person is expected to cave in like a house of cards under a flurry of arguments. A person is normal if they can be re-aligned with others the same way one realigns a tire on a car. Said simply, you are as free to be as unique as the people observing you are stable.

The phrase “not altogether dissimilar from” is a Newspeak tactic to avoid the more simple and honest phrase “similar to.

i Orwell, 1981, p. 167.

ii EB, Vol. 10, p. 520, bold added.

iii EB, Vol. 23, p. 961, bold added.

iv OCM, p. 697, bold added.

v Ibid, p. 54, bold added.

vi Ibid, p. 698, italics & bold added.

vii Szasz, 1990, p. 218.

viii Szasz, 1976, pp. 117-18.

ix OCM, p. 393, italics added.

x Ibid, p. 699.

xi Farber, 1993, p.105, italics added.

xii Ibid, p. 131.

xiii Ibid, p. 201.

xiv Ibid, p. 37.

xv Ibid, p. 41.

xvi Ibid, p. 42, italics added.

xvii Szasz, 1976, p. 25-26, italics added.

xviii Farber, p. 124, italics added.

xix OCM, p. 473, italics added.

xx Ibid, p. 184, italics added.

xxi Robbins, p. 81, italics added.