Thursday, March 08, 2007

Invasion of the Penis Snatchers

I have a tendency to pick up whiffs of thought here and there and then eventually put it all together. A while ago I found out that the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) originated as a more obviously malicious book known as the Malleus Maleficarum, or Hammer of Witchcraft. This horrid piece of Inquisition literature was used principly to destroy european indigenous religions, Druids, Witches, etc, by describing what to look for in witch hunting. The Christian Church was using Jesus' teachings to enact a deadly system of colonialist control over the population, and religions which didn't depend on an intermediary between the divine and the practictioner were seen as dangerous to this need for total control. In fact one other reason was because pagan cultures practiced the democratic election of leaders rather than choosing leaders by birthright (ie The Monarchy). And you can't exert total control by saying God told me to do this if your population has their own experience with communicating with divine forces and can tell you that's bunk.

Incidentally the word "faggot" as a derogatory term for gay men comes from this era as well, because homosexuals were used to stoke the fires used to burn pagan practitioners.

Apparently the origins of the Inquisition were men becoming convinced that women were stealing their penises (women who were Witches of course). You can parallel this with Freud's later development of Penis Envy, which probably comes from the same paranoia and thus perversion of female power.

Side Note: This is a Tibetan sand Mandala being made:

But we don't have burnings at the stake anymore. Now we have four and five point restraints, and chemical lobotomies. MUCH cleaner and yet equally destructive.

I had been reminded of this when I was reading about Spiritual Emergencies and how they relate to psychiatric designations as Manic Psychosis and Schizophrenic breaks. I had read When The Dream Becomes Real a couple of years ago, but even though it's a solid piece of scholarly writing, I still was too brainwashed to be able to accept or understand it. I've read it again and I have to say, it does a really good job of describing the rise of Pathology labels in terms of colonialist control.

In Celtic Ireland, there was no specific pathology for persons in schizophrenic states. A guardian would take responsibility for anything they did, but there weren't derogatory labels for someone in a state of psychosis. They were touched by god, or taken by god. And in fact the Irish lived by the principle that "the rights of the insane take precedence over any other rights." That is VERY different than today, where the rights of anyone else take precedence over the rights of the insane, even if someone else is asserting their right by destroying the brain tissue of the insane via meds, lobotomies, or ECT. Carl Jung in fact had a concept of schizophrenic breaks as a state of self healing, and Loren Mosher's Soteria project bore this out, along with John Weir Perry's Diabasis and R.D. Laing's Kingsley Hall. However that idea has been generally disregarded in favour of capitalist pharmaceuticals originating from nazi experimentation, while another of Jung's ideas were developed into the Myers Briggs Type Indicator which many people follow wholeheartedly. Kind of like Christians harping on the Ten Commandments and disregarding the fact that Jesus included two more commandments which are even more important than the originals.

Side note: This is an animation of a Mandala:

Colonialism in the guise of Christianity did some hideous things to the European pagan traditions, like turning the Horned God of fertility into Lucifer, who was originally just a knock a bout fallen angel in the Bible. It was also a lazy way of explaining evil in the world. The major Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter, correspond to previous pagan holidays based on lunar cycles. It was the saddest case of appropriation ever. And yet strangely, in it's own way, still adheres to the original Pagan religious structure. Christianity all over the world is adapted by and for different cultures actually, which is why in central America the Virgin Mary is the big religious figure and why the Sacred Heart of Jesus is everywhere. Also Latin American Christianity has some of the most awe inspiring churches and cathedrals because the people who lived there responded to sensual opulance more than in other places. The African religion of Voodoo survived by substituting saints in the place of other spirits.

Sometimes I look at the world and just shake my head. I don't know why religions have to fight each other all the time, especially since I enjoy aspects of nearly every religion. Mostly though I think it's ridiculous for everyone to fight over religion since at it's most basic essence it's using the same types of universal energies for the same communal spirit. Mantras, prayers, magic, medicine, it's really all the same thing. BUT I don't think we should all have to practice spiritual beliefs in the same way, because that would be boring and people would feel like they didn't fit in, imagine a Voodoo priestess trying to sit through an Anglican sermon, or a Catholic trying to deal with being in a hot dark sweatlodge. Not that interfaith occurances don't happen, but MAKING someone worship in a certain way, aaahh! Nooo, don't do it. That's how we get places like Residential Schools and pedophile nuns, ugh.

And yet psychiatry is still the number 1 place people turn to when someone starts talking about God more than they did before or acting otherwise peculiar. Logically one would turn to a religious or spiritual figure in the community, but no. Instead we go directly to the transubstantiated Inquisitors who are only too willing to "help" someone become part of the colonized body politic again.

This is an animation following the rules of Chaos Mathematics.

The irony, of course, is that now more than any other time people need to watch the Self and Ego breakdown, and this means record numbers of people are having psychotic/schizophrenic states. But I don't feel like being ashamed of mine anymore. I sorted some awesome stuff out for myself in it, and I think I'm a stronger person now (especially now that I'm off the drugs). I don't think I'll ever have to go back to that state, because I think I managed to absorb the important bits before I got Blanche Dubois'd.

Graduate student in clinical psychology:

"Dr. Laing, I still don't understand the theoretical basis of your therapeutic approach to schizophrenia. Could you please explain it?"

R.D. Laing:

"Certainly. The basis is love. I don't see how you or I can be of any help to our clients in a visionary state unless we are capable of experiencing a feeling of love for them. Therapy, as opposed to mere treatment, requires that we have a capacity for loving-kindness and compassion."

Graduate student (perplexed):

"But Dr. Laing, what is your clinical methodology for developing this approach?"

– Overheard at a talk given by R.D.Laing in New York (When the Dream Becomes Real)

This is a video of quark and subatomic particles moving according to Chaos theory. By the way, Mandalas figure prominently in psychotic episodes.

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