Reason: You’d Have to Be Crazy: Mental illness is the new normal

Reason: You’d Have to Be Crazy: Mental illness is the new normal:

In the sketch Steve Martin plays Theodoric of York, a medieval barber with a patient whose condition has not improved despite a bloodletting, a sheep’s-urine-and-staghorn poultice, and a night buried in the marsh up to her neck. ‘Medicine is not an exact science,’ Theodoric tells the girl’s mother, ‘but we are learning all the time. Why, just fifty years ago, they thought a disease like your daughter’s was caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors, perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach.

That funny bit makes its point well. As does this more serious bit:

Judging from the way psychiatrists respond to Szasz’s critique, most of them believe schizophrenia and perhaps a few other conditions described in the DSM are diseases of the brain in the same sense as Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis, albeit with etiologies that are not yet clear. But when it comes to habits and traits such as smoking, gambling, gluttony, shyness, impulsiveness, inattentiveness, dishonesty, and nastiness—not to mention diagnoses that have fallen out of psychiatric fashion, such as homosexuality and multiple personality disorder even psychiatrists recognize the arbitrariness of their taxonomy.

In my eyes psychotherapy is a way of talking about the psyche that is nothing to do with health or illness, it is a way of reclaiming a holistic account of the self that was provided by religion and superstition and in the past. The language of medicine distorts the holistic endeavour.

Later Saturday, 6 February, 2010

Metaxy.

How does the “way of talking” relate to science? I think it is something of value, even if it is full of “dormative hypothesis”.

My defense of the dormative hypothesis (ie that it is not so bad if seen in the right way) is that it is a poem, and that poems are a way of compressing and making order. Making order is a form of science.

Future of Content Management debate in Amsterdam

From the Gilbane Report Blog

Our opening keynote panel at our Amsterdam conference on 25 May, The Future of Content Management will be looking at strategic technology issues businesses, governments and NGOs need to be thinking about. Our panel is made up of technology executives who are responsible for a huge number of installed tools, and for strategic technology development at their respective firms. There will certainly be strong differences of opinion, but where this panel agrees on something, it will be worth knowing.

In Psyberspace here I have been doing quite abit on tags and such. Content management – it is an interesting idea. Is psychotherapy a sort of very sophisticated process that in some ways could be called “Content management”. Of course to call it that would be to belittle it, but it is interesting to see it as in the same family.

Think of mirroring and empathy… it is a way of giving back in a condensed form what is really a huge amount of information. Think of dream work. The structure of the content is related to a theme or meaning that is not to be found by searching the words that describe the dream.

And perhaps there is a lot that CMS vendors could learn about relationships from psychotherapists – content does not flow without a trusting and secure container and the relationship is the container.

And what is content? Not always just what is spoken, or expressed. Content has an unconscious.

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International Community for Ecopsychology

International Community for Ecopsychology:

Ecopsychology, or eco-psychology as it is sometimes called, is situated at the intersection of a number of fields of enquiry, including environmental philosophy, psychology, and ecology, but is not limited by any disciplinary boundaries. At its core, ecopsychology suggests that there is a synergistic relation between planetary and personal well being; that the needs of the one are relevant to the other.

Came across this in connection with the interesting *collaborative blog* Seeds for Thought

Sunday, 31 January, 2010

On my Old WordPress blog, someone left this link in a trackback.

Psychotherapy and Scientific Method

Psychotherapy and Scientific Method pdf file. A paper about sociometry and musings about the future of knowing. Presentation at the NZAP conference, Queenstown, New Zealand, April 2005

This paper has been a long time in the writing. It has been hard to do as the ideas are profound, important but still somewhat underdeveloped. I will be presenting this at the conference this weekend, looking forward to that and with luck, getting more clarity from presenting it. Here is the abstract:

The scientific method used in the physical sciences does not easily lend itself to the study of interpersonal relationships and it can conflict with a psychological depth perspective. Dr. J.L. Moreno, the founder of psychodrama, proposed that the methods he used with the psyche and the socius are scientific but unlike the methods of the physical sciences. He took this one astounding step further by stating this would lead to a new paradigm of investigation that would revolutionise even the physical sciences.This paper explains, examines and defends aspects of the nature of psychological work that needs a re-evaluation of the scientific methods akin to that proposed by Moreno. It concludes with discussion of the implications for psychotherapy in three vital areas: training and assessment of psychotherapists, supervision and evaluation of psychotherapy for insurance purposes.

Another Day

Of course these days are *yesterday* by some standard… as it is already well past midnight as I write. A much more sleepy day but still did some stuff…

thunderbird

Just been importing mail from Forte Agent into Thunderbird. Works well, both share the same unix format… no that is not right, I can “Save messages as” in a unix format. Mozilla then makes its own additional files in the Profile. Nice. Before that added Mozilla Thunderbird to my Second Copy backup Profiles. Will do another backup after importing more mail.

Before that Kate & I listened to a Dawn & Drew Show that was fun.

Dawn & Drew

In the afternoon I did some errands and finished up sitting in the Merivale Coffee Culture listening to more Podcasts, the best one was The Dysons (though Esther was not there).

The Dysons

That Coffee Culture business impresses me – though the coffee at Merivale is not as good as at some of the other outlets – that must be a worry for the chain.

Back further in the day I did a mailout for Kate Tapley Horse Treks – our Christmas Special Voucher offer! We now have almost 300 people on our list – all opt in at the time of the ride plus a few who sub from the web. Woosh would not let me send it out! Had to log on to Ihug.

BTW – love that Woosh.

Archetypes of Cyberspace

My essay is more or less done:

HTML file – best for reading on the web – move back and forth to footnotes with links.

RTF file – best for printing – right click to download and to read in Word etc.

This is version 0.31, the one I presented at NZAP on 13 November. I am still working on this and I will update the file from time to time till done.

Archetypes, teleology and what is real

Archetypes of Cyberspace is the title of an essay I am writing (still!). The research notes are on this weblog, they are this weblog. I will be doing a more research in the next few weeks if I get the time.

What *is* an archetype? It means chief type as I understand it, in other words the BOSS. But not the boss of the other types so much as the boss of the phenomena. Thus Venus and Eros are archetypes of love, Mars is the archetype of war. The question I put then is – who is the architect of cyberspace, the force that governs it, is behind it, whose domain is it? WHO is building cyberspace? It is interesting think if there is an outcome we are being pulled towards. Is there a plan.

That question might look to Terence McKenna as if I am thinking of the pioneers of Cyberspace as human receivers of instructions from the spiritual realm – the mushrooms or the aliens telling them what to do. Terence postulates that we are TV sets who receive our thoughts from angels etc. I don't think like that.

Even less am I thinking of teleology as used in the Catholic proof for the existence of God by design – though that might have some mileage in it for me.

In a way I do think in both those ways, but not literally, not ontologically. The world is *as if* there were these daemons running the show. It is best to behave as if there are. This is because there are objective unknowable structures in their depth and detail, that we can participate in only by allowing our own psyche to mesh with those structures. To do that we need to live, to allow our own unknown depths to mesh. We are not as machines, but living participants in the world. In other words to live as full humans who are not just systems and wo see not just systems. Is fathering the same as being the male in a family system? No, but sadly many people talk like that. Seeing through the mechaniocal world to the living energy might be hallucination but it is the way to fully participate in life.

The paragraphs so far are prelude to an I dea i am dwelling on. Teleology. That we can relate to a living world by knowing the archetypes is the essence of psychology. But to what extent are the archetypes also out there with definite plans – with an end-point in mind?

Thinking that there is a plan, a pre-conceived end point, is teleology. The idea is much maligned in science as nonsense hanging over from God as the literal architect of everything. Let us be struck for a moment with the word tele here. There is something archetypal in this word. Look how it recurrs in various devices we use: television, telescope, telephone etc.. Distance – space in other words – is what it refers to. J.L. Moreno used the word on its own to refer to the feelings and thoughts directed by a person into space – distance – to an entity, imagined or real, I am not sure about how that hangs together… space=tele, if we substitute space with tele we get cybertele. If steering is what the cyber is about we are able in cyberspace to steer our tele in the morenian sense.

This following passage is interesting from Teleology item on Principia Cybernetica. In this item they manage, quite appropriatly for a 20th century science, to take the supernatural out of teleology while still allowing it to have a meaning within the legitimacy of a fairly positivist model.

Originally, the study of ends, goals and purposes. In cybernetics, the STRUCTURal and organizational conditions for systems to exhibit purposeful behavior, reach goals (see goal oriented), maintain steady states (see homeostasis), survive threats from their environments (see evolution, adaptation), etc. (Krippendorff)

Along with the supernatural they take the metaphor out, and thus the psychology out. They see the world as a machine – which is one way. Which is fine – it makes them biologists or physicists of large systems. Someone has to do that, but it is not psychology. So can we think of a metaphorical teleology? Can we rescue teleology from religion, not for the physical sciences but for psychology? It is the *as if* which cyberneticists leave out that is important.

One reason is role reversal, we can learn about the world from the inside by being the world, or the spitit of a 'system' in the world. Role reversal is the ability we have to step into another's shoes. But we can do this with things and imaginal entities as well as people. As Moreno put it, [1975, p22]

Instead of coming down from the skies, he comes in by way of the stage door. God is not dead, he is alive in psychodrama!

Archetypes are dramatic, imaginal, that is where their power lies, by fully entertaining them we get to know them. But is there some sort of destiny, some sort of pull into the distand future?

I have a sense there is, and that this is not some "transcendental other" hovering out there in any literal sense. More along the lines of a fractal, that a bit of coastline will let us know the shape of the whole coastline, even when that coastline is still in formation.

Following Hermes and Serpents – Archetypes of Cyberspace

fUSION Anomaly Has a quote from Hakim Bey The Obelisk :

It is Hermes who bridges the gap between the metalinguistic and the sublinguistic in the form of the message, language itself, the medium; he is the trickster who leads in misleading, the tremendum that echoes through the broken word. Hermes is therefore political, or rather ambassadorial — patron of intelligence and cryptography as well as an alchemy that seeks only the embodiment of the real. Hermes is between text and image, master of the hieroglyphs that are simultaneously both — Hermes is their significance, their translatability. As one who goes ‘up and down’ between spirits and humans, Hermes Psychopomp is the shamanic consciousness, the medium of direct experience, and the interface between these other forms and the political. ‘Hermetic’ can also mean ‘unseen’.

The full article is here. Also this from Erik Davis, Techgnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism In The Age Of Information:

Already in Homer, Hermes is a multitasking character. The figure who flits through the _Iliad_ as a messenger and thief becomes in _The Odyssey_ a guide of souls and a shamanic healer, curing Odysseus from Circe’s witchy poison. But the god really doesn’t find himself at center stage until the pseudo-Homeric _Hymn to Hermes_, written around the sixth century b.c.e. The poem begins with the nymph Maya, lately loved by Zeus, giving birth to a boisterous child. Leaping instantly out of his crib, the babe Hermes dashes into the outside world, where he happens upon a turtle. He kills the creature, takies up its shell, and invents the lyre, becoming the “first to manufacture songs.”