Americans are up against the greatest block to advancement yet–and we probably won’t get past it. Why? We are stuck in the rut of Rights. Rights to this, Rights to that, Rights, Rights, Rights. But with Covid 19 Rights are not approached–or perhaps passed right on by. What masks have to do with is Social Responsibility. Americans have no sense of social responsibility. My Rights. Me, my, mine. There is no sense of others. No Social Responsibility. We only see one side off the mask: it protects you against others. Put it on the other’s face and it protects them from us.
Minna vander Pfaltz & James L. Secor
Literary agents are, according to the Confucian way of looking at society, the lowest of the low. They are of this ilk because they make their money from the hard work of someone else. Perhaps worse, they are con artists, for they not only charge the writer a fee for “representation,” they charge him for office expenses that also are a tax deductible item as a business expense–and then they charge the publisher for “finding” the writer. What a deal! Agents don’t have to pay for anything and they get paid whether they find a “home” for some writer’s writing or not: they try, they get paid. Getting paid for not placing a work, getting paid for not winning is like a boxer taking a dive for a bigger paycheck.
But their influence on literature in general is even more perverse, beginning with their focus on making money. Profit over quality. How this works is via a preconceived idea if what sells so that, in the end, so very many genre writings look alike. And it sets up a free-floating standard for judgment, aside from “is this going to make me money,” that has nothing to do with writing, nothing to do with quality. It has to do with the boxed learning of the college English major.
A college degree in English is a degree in literature. It is not a degree in writing. An English degree is all about judging literature by already well-established (traditional) memes and putting a writer’s work in its appropriate pigeon-hole. It is not about writing. It is about a surface assessment of a finished piece. How off-the-wall is this?
Let’s take Edgar Alan Poe. A writer of horror stories. A writer of the occult. A Romantic writer. A judgment that is off twice over. To begin with, these people have never read his criticism and satire, a far greater quantity of his writing. And, then, they have never gone into the depth, the many-layered manner of his writing. The Cask of Amontillado is a horror story, right? Well. . .it takes place during Carnival, so everything is turned on its head. Carnival is necessary in order to right, to some degree, the injustices of society. The story is also about his hatred of the aristocracy. And, if we consider his choice of names, we find a distinctly Medieval coloring that bespeaks an off-color humor.
So, does The Cask of Amontillado fit into the Romantic mold?
And where do you put Jane Austen? Her stories are, apparently, about romance but, in fact, they are satires. Where do satires fit?
The worst perversion is considering Shakespeare literature. It is not. It is theatre. It was written to be spoken. It was written to be heard. It was written to be seen (often enough his stage directions can be found in the lines). Take any of his plays off the stage and they are only 30% of themselves. While English majors go into fits of ecstasy over his use of English, they blast him for his bombastic writing. All of this beauty of language takes on a different hue when it’s spoken, spoken to someone else. Then what’s important is motive and intent. And these English majors don’t know the difference between monologue and soliloquy. Hamlet’s monologue, “To be or not to be,” is a soliloquy. It is a soliloquy because he is speaking, to the audience, his thoughts. The reason Hamlet is doing this is that he is making his motives known to the audience. It is not a much used device any more. A monologue is what you get in Shaw or with a manic you’ve asked a question of.
At the same time, no drama is literature. It is drama. It is theatre. It is nothing when it is not onstage. The things you can do with drama you cannot do with literature.
Where does Brautigan fit into this pigeon-holing? Cult lit? So, too, Kerouac, then? Cult is a really good place to put lit that bespeaks things critics don’t want to hear.
Judging something on its face misses the point. It also shows an ignorance of what’s known as vehicle. A literary vehicle is a story that is about something other than itself. Poe’s horror stories. Abe’s alternative realities. Kawabata’s Snow Country. Atwood. MacCormac. Hammett. Morrison. Apuleius. Eco. Borges. Le Carre. Gellman. Kingsolver. Pinker (his mention here is Manippean satire).
But agents don’t care. The intellectual quality of a work is not at point here. What’s important is what sells, what makes money. This makes of the writer a cabinetmaker. All he has to do is hone his skills for this particular thing and he’s in like flint. For some of us, writing down is difficult. For others, who the fuck cares! What you get is James Patterson. He does not write his books; he edits what a bevy of writers produce for him.
Because of this, the creative writing MFAs are only cabinetmaking schools. They’ve got rules, all preset by the English curriculum, and. . .how do you teach creativity? How do you teach how to write? How do you teach the difference between plot and story? How do you teach the non-traditional? How do you teach voice?
Most people don’t know what voice is.
Agents are not interested in the difference between plot and story, if they even know. And, as Natalie Goldberg and Ursula Le Guin maintain, there are no rules to writing.
Here is the major rule for writing: grab the reader with the first sentence, with the first page, with the first chapter. If true, then Atwood and Byatt and Borges and Fuentes and many of the early-20th century writers would not find publication if they were not already famous, for they do not follow this rule. Goldberg would say the agents are looking for MacDonald’s hamburger writing. And, indeed, there are agents who are interested in only seeing the first page or the first three pages or the first chapter. They will make a judgment on the viability of the entire book based on less than 1,000 words. Really, how the hell can they tell anything?
I’ve even run across a couple agents who want no sample. They will make their decision based on your summary.
What kind of shit is this?
Then there is voice. I know agents have no idea what voice is. Most English majors don’t really know, though they can talk about it in erudite language. Yet voice is a very simple concept: it is what your narrator/narration sounds like. The best example of voice in the US is Mark Twain followed by Hawthorne, Hammett, Kingston, Allende and Sweazy-Kulju. There is also Doyle and Byatt and Grandpa Trollope on the other side of the pond.
Voice is also with each and every character. They ought to speak differently: different rhythm, different sounding. Playwrights are good at this. Not so academic creative writing professors: everything sounds the same, both narration and characters. The head of the writing program at the University of Kansas writes like this. The oddity of it all is that she gets published. So, perhaps the agents and publishers don’t have any idea either.
But voice exists outside of literature. It exists in the tenor of the times, assuming you are writing a historical or historic fiction novel. In this case, though, it does help to read the writers of the age, which few do, it seems.
It exists in the roaming storytellers of old. It resides in Bunraku, Japanese National Puppetry, because the gidayū (narrator) does it all. And in kyōgen. It is easy to see here because it is foreign and very distinctive.
But in today’s lit? Well, if it sounds like everyone else’s, then it’s got voice.
Today’s lit is paint-by-the-numbers in a given frame. Doesn’t natter what you put in it, just as long as it fits. I have something like this: I hung an empty frame on the wall above the sink. In the centre of which I put a smallish iron butler with a tray of drinks. Black with white for apron, etc. So, what’s the story, eh?
The Future is Staring You in the Face
James L. Secor
The future is staring you in the face. The serious social media is in denial, if, indeed, it has any idea at all, so intent is it in chasing after one crumb or another left by Hansel in Trumpty-Dumpty Wood. The frivolous social media is without thought or insight, babbling like a murder of ravens disturbed over some fresh roadkill. The academics, so over-filled with intellectual spasms labeled “other places,” remain in denial, despite the pop culture of the 1970s some 100 years behind the Old Country. It seems that only in America does pop culture have no effect on society and ethics and, as the Valley Girls say, “Whatever.” The pop culture machine rolls on, gold teeth and fangs drooling over greedy profits.
The future is staring you in the face. TV and movies. War and war and more war. Heroism to no end. Only via killing and mutilation and personal suffering of others can you gain herohood. No! Just by being a soldier do you become a hero. Enlist and go kill. Kill. Kill. Kill! All for the greater glory of America, a land so isolated from the rest of the world it has lost its hold on reality. More war to rationalize the cross-eyed destruction and lack of humanity already inflicted on the Middle East–let’s forget the hell America has wrought in South America, too. We are so righteous and glorious. America! America! America! It’s all so romantic. And overwrought. And ignorant.
Romantic. Out of touch with reality.
I’d like to say, “Remember Bull Run” but Americans don’t read and have no truck with history, whether of another country or their own. Bull Run. Site of the first pitched battle of the Civil War. The romance of the battle brought out not only reporters but spectators: ladies and gentlemen and children and servants. What a glorious picnic entertainment this was to be! The rebellious Confederates would surely be put to rout and the self-righteous Union Army hailed as heroes. Heroes of the highest order, fighting is they were for the rights of man. Reality often has a ghastly way of breaking in on silly dreams, especially those of the Three Musketeers sort of high ideals.
Go, boys! Go! Go! Go!
Within moments, the romantic wonder of war for what was good and right became the reality of dead, burnt bodies, shouts and groans of pain and dying, arms and legs smashed and severed, blood and smoke everywhere. What a salacious picnic! Pickles and dessert up on the hillside, death and destruction down in the valley.
And, to top it off, the Rebels broke through the Union’s mightier numbers! How could bad win?! Oh! Let’s go home. This war thing is terrible. Terrible. Suddenly, war was no longer romantic heroism in the fight for right–both sides fought for what they believed right. This kind of nullifies the idea of God on one side or another.
George Bush II made sure the realities of war, as made public during the Vietnam debacle, were hidden from public view by banning coverage. No more blood and guts. Only reports of good. Not even notice of the bodies of dead soldiers coming home, albeit in sealed coffins. Obama didn’t lessen the irreality; he increased the mayhem but kept the blood and guts out of the public eye unless it was to show the enemy creamed and in bad light. And every soldier was a hero. Every enlisted man. The war in the Middle East became a glorified Crusade.
Thank you for your service. Thank you for your missing arms and legs. Thank you for your lifelong pain, your PTSD. Thank you for the medals on your chests and your spiffy uniforms. My heroes!
All of our movies extol the suffering heroism of war. New additions to TV land extol the wonder and rightness and heroism of war. Comic books are about war. The superheroes are as vicious and vengeance-filled and virulent as the bad guys. The heroes stand victorious and bigger than life in the midst of destruction, ruined cities and cheering survivors because they are good and right and above it all. Novels of war and survival against all odds fill the bookshelves and Internet sites. Indeed, the ethic today seems to be, if you don’t agree with me I get to kill you. Die! Die! Die. You fucking bastard!
The future staring you in the face, the reality staring you in the face is War.
Great nation, my ass!
But, first, there’s the new Roaring Twenties. Everyone going crazy over living, living for the moment. Something lost in a true epidemic that killed seven million in its first year.
by James L Secor
In 2010 I returned to the States. I did not want to; I liked China. Well, why don’t you go back? Is the first of several ignorant responses I’ve faced. Americans seem to like ignorant, self-satisfied reasoning. My father died. No great loss except to the abusive. The legal shenanigans surrounding his pitifully thin estate dragged on and on. And another American characteristic grew obvious. Americans are very litigious, the more so the less the take. And the longer this process goes on, the more the other person is wrong and “hurtful.” “I” am only right and seeking proper redress. Americans are forever right. Americans have quite an ego, which perhaps explains what they like to call their “stick to itiveness” a positive characteristic. Obstinate might be a better word. Obstinate and unable to let things go. Eleven years on, I am still bothered by certain elements of this case even though, in the end, there is nothing to be had. It’s the principle of the thing, they say. Vindictive? People like to bitch, not do anything about whatever. . .and then they wonder why nothing has changed.
Then there came retirement, retirement because. . .because there’s no other reason for not wanting an old man around. The same is done in China, it is true, but the skin off the retiree’s back is less. As a foreigner–and a writer–in China, I would still have some value. In the US, I have no value and it is held against me that I must access public monies for the poor in order to live. Especially so as I’m white and educated. Perhaps because SSA is not understood by nobody who reads any more so how would anyone know? Just bitch. It sounds better. It keeps you the victim. An easy part to play.
And yet, in relation to the world, Americans are arrogant. Arrogant fools. They think they are the best and have the best, often in the face of proof of just the opposite. Always in the face of greed. Money is worth more than life. As America is a monopoly world, it does not like competition or new technology. America has had no new technology in years; telephone technology is no more than another use for technology already in place. Business new technology is only a new twist for greed. I do not know why greed looks so good to the victim but it does, as if to say, “It’s all done for us!” My ass!
So, if I dislike this place so much, why do I not leave? 1) that’s a very Fascist attitude; 2) there is no one with enough money to pay my way to a country in which I could live easily and live well (donations accepted); 3) being a thorn in the side has its advantages; 4) there are no more Frances for displaced Americans to run to, mostly to continue their art. America doesn’t give a damn about art, good, incisive art. America likes the cliché. America likes the generality, the simplistic substitute for thought, which is why political slogans are so popular. Americans don’t think; they react. Reactionaries. They never prepare for the future, an upcoming event; they always wait until it’s too late and just react as if it’s a new and unknown thing. Discombobulated reactions.
The solution to problems is to get rid of them. Kill them. Jail them otherwise. Bad mouthing is always good as it gets everyone to hate them and push them to the side, read “out of sight.” This results in an America’s greatest behavior: denial. . .even as it’s being filmed. The biggest American problem here, in the face of it’s greatness, is racism. America is racist to the nth degree (no pun intended) and when there’s a rebellion, it will be like the French Reign of Terror: everyone is fair game. The greatest barrier to overcome is the police. Coupled with the military, this might lead to a military dictatorship. Throughout history, military dictatorships last for long periods of time–even quickly changing along the way. Always, of course, for the better, we say despite history, but oppressive and repressive all the same.
Racism and greedism and a fat head: that’s America.
A note to anti-vaxxers:- Because of vaccinations you are here—here and unmarked. Ear pain may be a sign of immunodeficiency which can lead to a reduction of T-cells, the antibacterial fighter: no T-cells, no life. Urinary tract infection could end up kidney disease. Skin infections; doesn’t sound so worrisome, but considering children have little in the way of disease fighters, this could end up scratching until bloody, and then infection. Bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Generalized pain. Measles. Polio, the sugar cubes came in when I was 8 None of you will know this). Some of your parents & grandparents have no idea what these are “if they even existed.” Like you people. And boy children suffer the worst. Then there’re mumps and chicken pox–my brother had chicken pox so bad they were in his throat.
I had pneumonia at age 1 and was in a tent, not expected to survive. I suffered through measles so bad I now can’t catch any kind of measles. But I do have an immunology deficiency. It was not the painless childhood you’re handing your children.
What’s the difference between a few mild side-effects and life leading to death. If you don’t care, what about your children? You’re respon—no, your not, you’re not behaving with the least bit of concern for anyone else, especially your children.
by Minna vander Pfaltz
In fact, the US has outsources much to China: bullets, boots, wool blankets, etc. The US purchases such at greatly reduced cost. Even so,dunderheads, It’s not the maker who’s at fault, it’s the guy who pulls the trigger. But the US has been involved in a similar slaughter (of one person): he made “empty” bullets for the Germans and hid Jews; but because he was a party member, the US cheered his execution: Schindler.
The US bought work by the Chinese many years ago: bullets, materiel, boots, wool blankets, etc. But you see, its not the maker of the bullet that’s important, it’s whether the bullet kills you…& perhaps the puller of the trigger. Someone is pulling the trigger. To wit: the US.
by Min’n Jim
Americans love monopolies: look at the right way of doing things, as advertised. The implicit order is not to do it any other way because it is wrong/inappropriate. Speak about a population of one mind! Everyone afeared to go their own way. Be the same, be happy.
If a narrow street has no centre line, it is appropriate to drive down the middle of the street as fast as you can, children be damned. This is good for getting to the end of the street; it is also good for running away from the person you ran down—and the police will do nothing, as happened to Jimsecor’s good friend as she crossed 23rd St., her guide dog leading the way.
If you fall and can’t get up, the Fire Dept. will come in full Firetruck mode to pick you up and make sure you’re not hurt. We’re sure there is no better method for embarrassment. Just because Jimsecor’s frail, disabled and unsteady on his feet does not mean he wants the neighborhood to know that he once again hit the ground/floor—and it would be “once again.” This year, 11 dives. [I’m not frail!]
Under 21 grocery cashiers cannot even touch a 6-pack of beer. A communicable disease? Perhaps if the kid were an octopus. . .
Speaking of which, did you know octopuses are, in fact, aliens?
In 2016 The Great Wall was released, directed by Zhang Yimo. Movies of this scope & adventure are not produced in the States. At least, not since DW Griffith. Oh, so nice, to have a movie usurped by ill-placed kissy-kissy love scenes with the thinnest connection to the movie itself. This movie might be classed as a romance (as opposed to a romantic) movie. Minmin sat on the edge of her seat the entire time. [He’s not my sugar daddy, so I am forever coming to movies (over priced on DVD) late.]
The disgustingly greedy & snotty announcement before a movie. . .let me see if I can, with one example, show you how this works. A DVD is, more or less, $30. It probably costs the company $1.00-$2.00 to make one DVD. In China, $30 is about 210 RMB; for many, this is ½ a month’s salary. The only American company that brought down its product cost was Pepsi. It’s not surprising Americans want to milk the populace: Greed is our corporate nick name. And Interpol can’t do anything about it, Interpol has no jurisdiction anywhere.
Semanticists telling semanticists that their semantics are just semantics &, therefore, their arguments are inconsequential. This, in order to keep everything within the accepted norm. God help us if we think outside the box! The ‘box’ being the accepted norm. PC.
Protesting by doing absolutely nothing à la Senator “Cocaine” McConnell. Chalmers Johnson pointed out that this was the surest way to rebellion, a senator doing nothing ad withholding possibly unkind to him from reaching the floor. The book is less than 50 pp, so not beyond the average senator’s ability’s. First edition. Anybody for the French Revolution right here in Great old America? Let’s hope it’s the Indians & not the illiterate White Supremacists. At least the Injuns have a gripe to attend to.
Libertarians = anacharianists = choasionists. Libertarian = small gov’t = no gov’t subsidies for nothing. No Medicare/Medicaid, streets full of potholes, electrical lines down, yellow greensward, no curb to Pharmaceutical companies’ greed; no insurance, so no hit & run statutes. And, no sense. Making America Great Again.
Piracy, Stealing is a victimless crime, no manner how you count it. Without gov’t, without law, how scarce lawyers.
Tell us, what is Representation sans itself?
Whiney Millennarians who do nothing, play the old blame game & don’t do anything.
Buses for the disabled.
New jeans with holes and pulled threads are the predominant Fashion.
It seems that the bus for the handicapped, which used to be available to all handicapped and accessible for Jimsecor, now has no buses for him at all. No transportation for shopping. No transportation to the doctor’s office. No transportation to the hospital. It seems that the disabled bus line is handicapping itself. Jimsecor has been found to have one occluded cardiac artery, which now has a stent in it to keep it open & congestive heart failure. It is now supporting the made up fact, for not being eligible for the bus service via “finding my way” home via a friend is proof positive that he (Jimsecor) doesn’t deserve the transportation. Apparently he’s problem-solving skills than the people running the bus line can drum up for themselves. “Die you motherfucker!” Jimsecor has undergone some problem solving & has determined that Jimsecor’s intellectual abilities far outweigh his physable disabilities. To wit:- Cardio-logic showed an occluded artery that was immediately fixed via a stent; Jimsecor was so filled with “water” that he was placed on Lasix, medication that removes fluid. So, his legs are no longer swollen & pain is now less. This is CHF (Congestive Heart Failure, a chronic progressive condition in which fluid builds up within the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently). High dose of Lasix brought his leg swelling down & saw about 3000 cc (100 fl oz) of fluid removed from his heart.
There is here, in Lawrence, KS, a woman who is exceptional: in the dead of dark night she can discern one black cat from another black cat. No one in the world can do this–and yet she lives in obscurity. We should all award her for this feat. It has saved a cat’s life.
by Minna vander Pfaltz w/ a comment here & there by Jimsecor
Now, let’s see. . .baby boomers gave you life—a hell of a lot of it. If it weren’t for the baby boomers, there would be no millennials, millennials who whine about everything like a three year old who has a problem.
A way to the stars. The sending of Voyager 1 & 2 into deep space with updates telling us of new discoveries in deep space. The Millennials launch their cars.
Protesting, bastardized by subsequent legal beagles.
Me–& I’ll outlive you all.
Clean rivers & environmental programs.
Only one idiot war that only produced cripples, cynical war & vets and telling music & movies. The Millennials have brought about a full Middle East war and invaded a country that has not fallen ever: Afghanistan. It took 10 more years of not reading to discover this. But, what the hell, there was no reason to invade in the first place.
Betty Crocker– & I still use the 2nd edition, the book my mother used.
Dr. Spock’s Baby Book—ah! Must be because your mommy didn’t use it. Sorry.
Fast cars. Rich cars.
Computers. And what have you done with them? Hacking (theft). Passing along disinformation faster & in greater amounts. Watching us express our barbarian nature. Play games.
Close to magic outcomes in surgery.
Alfred Hitchcock. The Millennials have no understanding of build up or psychology. . .or of terror. Piling one horror on another in the name of overkill is not terror at all & comes very close to being sense disabling. Maybe this is a sign of the dull, sameness of a Millennial’s life?
Braces & near “universal” dental health.
George W. Bush is all on you, as is Trump.
The Millennials have produced Red State America. There are only three other Red State countries in the world. The one characteristic that all have in common is Communism.
The New Jim Crow in all those states.
18-hr deodorant–from us to you for good reason.
Good as new eyesight.
Alive 50 years past expiration date.
The ability to get away
This took a little longer than expected because of Jimsecor’s cardiac catheterization this past Monday. Millennials wouldn’t have this life-saving technology without the Baby Boomers.
Who would have thought our grandchildren would end up a whining lot who don’t have the ability or desire to change what they find “wrong or distasteful” about their land. Instead, they assume the world as they see it will go on forever and all they’ve got is whining and blaming and–by God, they’re going to do a good job of it!
It does appear that it’s the Millennial has gifted the world a black poison apple printshop of lax thinking and troubles.
Mental Illness by Caveat
James L. Secor
The dictionary defines “caveat” as: a warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices; or a modifying or cautionary detail to be considered when evaluating, interpreting or doing something.
The reason for this title will become clear not just from my tale but from the APA [American Psychological Association] directly. Shhh! Listen closely. You’ll hear the mice running around, playing. Nobody’s watching. They’re all asleep. The people are asleep to what’s happening to them. And the APA’s asleep to reality. Let’s not forget the APA sanctioned waterboarding and other forms of torture at Guantanamo Bay.
This is a direct quote from the APA: “The unreliability of psychological prediction of dangerousness is now an established fact. Even under the best of conditions, it is wrong at least two out of every three cases.”
A psychologist’s answer: “We could do better with a role of the dice.”
And. . .there are no tests for mental illness. How can there be when mental illnesses are no more than loose collections of vaguely-defined problems of thinking, feeling and behaving. The noted labels aren’t coherent entities of any sort, just x number of signs out of x total possibilities. It’s like taking a multiple choice test where there is no right answer. No physical illness is diagnosed based on a conglomeration of some bunch of symptoms from a list of all possible symptoms. Let us not forget Typhoid Mary who had the disease and showed no symptoms; she carried the typhus disease bacteria and passed it along, creating havoc, yet did not evince any of the known symptoms of the disease. None of all possible choices. By the diagnosing standards of mental illness, she would not be ill–as she maintained all her life. Mental illnesses are nothing more than labels of no explanatory significance–and they are not even good labels as they are so vague.
I guess it’s all mental craps. Because what the APA is implying is that the “normal” population is more dangerous and, thus, the group of people who should be watched carefully are those normals. The normals are the ones dangerous two out of three times–and there is a Murphy’s Law coming up for ratification. There is also a political move to have everyone in the country tested for mental illness, child, adolescent and adult. Once. There is going to be one test administered during the life time of each and every person. This is ludicrous. But, then, when politics gets itself involved in matters medical, especially in a medical area of non-definition, the result is always ludicrous. The possibility of error in such a situation is unquantifiable. And, even on the individual level, there is no test that can elicit a diagnosis of mental illness, albeit the MMPI [Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory] can indicate if you may be in a depressed mood. Which, of course, does not indicate a diagnosis of mental illness.
Ergo, claiming the social mass shootings are due to the mentally ill is wrong; they are due to the normal in the population. What is known is that some of these shooters were taking anti-depressants because they were depressed–everybody gets depressed. That is, they were taking medicine known for making people more depressed, making people suicidal, making people aggressive and short on the fuse. Big PHRMA hushes up these news items because the open truth would hurt their multi-billion dollar business dealing in harmful and socially disruptive drugs. Better it is to create drugs that fuck people up and create social malfeasance than not. So that it is worth questioning why they would want to help and cure people? If people are asymptomatic, sales go down and that’s not good. No, no, no.
So, what’s the caveat here? Brain disease? There’s no such thing as brain disease. So, of course, there are no tests available to prove brain disease. Any kind of brain disease. When you are not ill, you are not ill; that is, when you are not ill, you are healthy; when you are healthy you are not showing symptoms; when the external stimuli are gone, so are your symptoms relieved.
Mental refers to what the brain does. What the brain does no one truly knows. Mental is your mind working. Mind? No one knows where mind “is,” if it is anywhere in particular. Thinking, too: what is thinking? Where are those thoughts? Point to ’em, won’t you? Feeling. Purpose, intention. Values, ideas, love, fears. Angst. Elation. These things, these mentals that we can’t see and can’t find and can’t define, these mentalities nevertheless run our lives. Terrance Deacon calls these characteristics “absentials” because they are “not there.” Because all mental functions are pointed toward some unseen end, they have purpose, which he calls “ententional”; that is, an ententional process–because the brain is all about processes–are expressions of finality, active processes going toward some end product that is not there as well. All of our living brings about some end or other. And if we’re all sick, suffering from a brain disease, what the hell’s going on? Shouldn’t we be able to define it? Specifically, not vaguely. How, though, can we define and delimit what isn’t “there”? Are we all delusional–including the testers and diagnosing people?
Because these mind-made things don’t have any physical presence, where in the brain do they arise? And where are they when they do manifest themselves? Where are they going? The people who have no feelings are the sociopaths, according to society. It sounds a lot like Big PHRMA doesn’t care what happens to people as long as they get their money, as there is no real reason for giving the medication sans disease. Once again, where’s the disease? (In your head.)
How can this be? The mind organizes and interprets and creates meaning out of other things, the chaos of the things of life, the life around us. Some of it we pay attention to and some of it we don’t. There is a floating choice; e.g., walking or driving we pay attention to the traffic, in the house we do not. That’s the brain’s job, to make sense of the world around us. That’s the mind working. But. . .where is “mind”? Even though it is intrinsic to the brain, it is, in fact, nowhere. As it is intrinsic to the brain it is mental; as it is intrinsic to the brain it is normal.
How can something that has no physical existence be classified as ill–or not? For illness relates to the physical: your body becomes ill, your heart becomes ill, your kidneys become ill. How can you have an illness of something that is not here, there and yet everywhere?
So, mental illness is the illness of the entire human world? Worldview? Apperception? A diagnosis of hallucination is given to people who experience things that are not “there.” Do we have a grand guignol of fundamentalist Buddhism?
R.D. Laing would say this kind or diagnosis is, itself, illusion but to be expected, for we live in a dysfunctional, abusive society. Thus the reasoning for diagnosing mental illness is part and parcel of the dysfunction and follows his three rules of an abusive society: “Rule A: Don’t. Rule A1: Rule A does not exist. Rule A2: Rule A1 does not exist.” Consequences? If you break a rule there is something wrong with you, you are insane, crazy, mentally ill. You are delusional because “everybody” knows it just ain’t so.
For instance, racism is abuse. Even with the obvious racism of certain people, the police, politicos, bureaucrats and the racial uprisings, all these social status quos maintain there is no racism. People who maintain there is racism are breaking rules A, A1 and A2. How fucking dare they! To the point that worthy news items are killed because they question the status quo, i.e., the abuse and dysfunction that is society.
So, then, who is insane? Who is mental? Who is mentally ill?
However, the consortium who made up out of whole cloth the DSM V have taken up the position that everything we do–the people, the lower sorts, everyman–is a diagnosable mental illness. Abnormal. Some of those deciders are doctors paid by Big PHRMA. Some of those deciders aren’t even doctors; they are health insurance representatives who are interested in a sick society because they won’t make any money otherwise. So, too, are the APA drug pushers. “Goddamn the pusher man!”
Ergo, all of the problems in society being due to the mentally ill, the elite status quo setters can continue to deny their culpability. Their abusive behavior. This kind of denial is a psychologically maladaptive behavior.
Brett Deacon, Ph.D. has succinctly set up a situation that is normal, everyday in psychological circles, showing how reactions to external stimuli become symptoms of a diseased mind. And the Psychiatrists and Behaviorists just happen to have the medical cure. . .
“Therapist: How are you?
Client: My house is on fire!
Therapist: I’m sorry to hear that. How are you feeling?
Client: I’m terrified! My dog is trapped inside! All my possessions are burning! What am I going to do?
Therapist: I understand that you’re upset. What’s going through your mind?
Client: I can’t believe this is happening! It doesn’t seem real. It’s like I’m dreaming or something.
Therapist: Do you also feel detached from yourself or your surroundings?
Client: Yeah, I feel like I’m in a daze. You hear about this happening to people but never think it can happen to you.
Therapist: I understand. These are common symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder. It’s a mental illness some people experience in response to a traumatic event.
Client: What do you mean mental illness? My house is on fire! My dog is trapped inside!
Therapist: I’m not saying you have a mental illness, only that you might have one. We’ll have to wait two more days and see if your symptoms continue before we know for certain.
Client: What symptoms?
Therapist: Symptoms like feeling unreal and being in a daze, and other symptoms like having upsetting memories and nightmares about the fire.
Client: Aren’t those to be expected?
Therapist: It’s normal to feel upset when something bad happens. But if you have a variety of symptoms that last for at least three days, and they bother you, then you may be suffering from a mental illness.
Client: Uh, okay. But what am I supposed to do? My house is on fire! My dog is trapped inside!
Therapist: Let me teach you some skills for coping with your negative thoughts and feelings. If you are feeling upset, breathe slowly and count to ten while thinking “relax.” You can also tense and relax your muscles. Negative thoughts can be replaced by positive thoughts, like memories of funny movies or times when you were happy. You can also imagine your negative thoughts floating past you like clouds in a sky.
Client: Okay. But what am I supposed to DO?
Therapist: Practice your coping skills like we discussed. And come back and see me for another session as soon as possible.
* * * * *
Two weeks later…
Therapist: How are you?
Client: I’m devastated. My house burned to the ground. My dog died. I lost everything.
Therapist: Have you been feeling depressed?
Client: Of course.
Therapist: Have you felt depressed most of the day, nearly every day for the past two weeks?
Client: Since the fire, yes.
Therapist: Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy?
Client: I guess so. I used to enjoy hanging out with my dog, watching movies, and surfing the internet. But my dog died and all my stuff was destroyed in the fire.
Therapist: How have you been sleeping?
Client: Terrible. I’m staying at a friend’s house on the sofa and their baby cries all night long.
Therapist: Have you felt fatigued or had low energy?
Client: Yeah, I’m tired all the time.
Therapist: Have you been thinking about death a lot?
Client: I can’t stop thinking about my dog. It must have been horrible for him to die in the fire. I miss him so much and can’t believe he is gone. He was my best friend.
Therapist: Have these symptoms been bothering you a lot?
Client: What symptoms?
Therapist: Feeling depressed, losing interest in things you usually enjoy, not sleeping well, loss of energy, and recurrent thoughts of death.
Client: I guess. I’m just really upset and don’t know what to do. I lost my whole life in the fire.
Therapist: I think I understand the problem.
Client: What do you mean?
Therapist: You’re suffering from a mental illness called Major Depressive Disorder, also known as clinical depression. You reported having five symptoms that have persisted for two weeks, and the symptoms are producing significant distress.
Client: Wait a minute. I’m feeling depressed because of the fire. I’ve lost interest in doing things I used to enjoy because I can’t do them anymore because of the fire. I can’t sleep because the baby screams all night long. I feel fatigued because I’m not sleeping. I’m thinking about death a lot because I just lost my best friend.
Therapist: It’s normal to feel sad when something bad happens, like a fire or the death of a loved one. But when symptoms of depression persist and become distressing or interfere with your life, that’s when we know a mental illness is to blame. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Depression is the most common mental illness. It afflicts millions of people every year. And it’s not your fault: it’s not a sign of weakness or poor character. Depression is a brain-based illness caused by a chemical imbalance. It’s a real medical condition, no different than diabetes or cancer.
Client: I’m confused. Isn’t it normal to feel depressed after what happened? Why are you saying I’m mentally ill?
Therapist: Because your symptoms meet diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder in the DSM-5, our diagnostic manual. Good mental health literacy involves recognizing the symptoms of mental illness. In your case, that means understanding that things like depressed mood, difficulty sleeping, and recurrent thoughts about death are symptoms of clinical depression.
Client: So, you’re saying that thinking I am depressed because of the fire instead of a chemical imbalance in my brain means I have low mental health literacy?
Therapist: That’s right. It’s important to understand that mental illness is real, serious, and treatable. Understanding the facts about mental illness reduces stigma.
Client: It reduces stigma to say I’m mentally ill with a chemical imbalance in my brain?
Therapist: Yes. The best way to combat stigma is by having good mental health literacy. Understanding that depression is a real, treatable illness caused by a broken brain reduces stigma.
Client: But it makes me feel worse about myself to think my brain is defective.
Therapist: Would you look down on someone for having cancer? Would you blame them for being sick?
Client: No, I guess not.
Therapist: When people understand that you’re sick with a real medical condition, and that it can be treated, they will have less stigma toward you.
Client: Wouldn’t it be less stigmatizing to say I feel depressed because my house burned down and my dog died?
Therapist: But that shows low mental health literacy. Remember, depression is a biologically-based mental illness. And the good news is that we have effective treatments for it.
Client: What kind of treatments?
Therapist: Both medication and therapy can help. Antidepressant medications help correct the chemical imbalance that causes depression. Therapy provides emotional support and helps you learn coping skills for managing depressive symptoms.
Client: How do you know I have a chemical imbalance in my brain? Don’t I need to take a test or something?
Therapist: No, that’s not necessary. We can tell your brain has a chemical imbalance because your symptoms meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. Although antidepressant medications are effective, they are only part of the picture. Many people respond best to a combination of medication and therapy.
Client: What does therapy involve?
Therapist: Therapy provides a safe space for you to talk about what’s on your mind each week. I will listen with empathy and no judgment and provide emotional support. I can also teach you skills for coping with your depressive symptoms. These include skills for reducing negative feelings, like slow breathing and muscle relaxation. You can also learn skills for reducing negative thoughts, like replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts and watching your thoughts pass through your mind like clouds in the sky. Having a good relationship with a trusted therapist is the key to success.
Client: What do you mean by success?
Therapist: Having fewer symptoms of depression.
Client: How am I supposed to have fewer negative thoughts and feelings? My house just burned down and my dog died!
Therapist: That’s where the coping skills come in.
Client: But I lost everything. I don’t know where to go from here. What am I supposed to DO?
Therapist: I will refer you to a psychiatrist for a medication consultation. Let’s meet again next week for another treatment session. You can book it with the receptionist when you pay for today’s session.”
(Cf. “House on Fire: A ‘Mental Health Literacy’ Parable,”Brett Deacon, PhD, for the full
article and his comments.) Ergo, we are sick at every turn. Mental health caveat.
I can say no more.
Two of the churches in Wamego, KS, both Southern Baptist, teach knowing the devil—and how they have taken this to heart! Nowhere in the New Testament does Christ or any of his followers teach knowing the devil. Combative organizations do, as in know your enemy, knowing and how to engage him and win. So, does this put the Southern Baptists in Wamego on the offensive? Since they preach destruction, it in fact does. These churches go after evil and unconventional thinkers–especially druggers. Even unto death, for by that path good surely is found and ye will be rewarded. Make them suffer and then kill them. Clean up the world.
But what Christ said was to go out into the world and teach his gospel. His doctrine did not in include terror and death. But Nietzsche’s doctrine of nihilism is included within these churches. Nihilism is about negativism, getting rid of others. Nihilists never think of consequences, yet there are always consequences to any action. And since these churches are negative and all about getting rid of people, they are nihilist. None of them read philosophy, so they’d not know the difference between an apple and a persimmon.
So, with their negative, destructive behavior they are practitioners of Nietzsche’s God is Dead moment. If Christ’s God were alive, there would be no need to destroy others—for any reason. God is dead because some people want to kill anything that they dislike, consequences be damned, for the bad guys deserve what they get. A smoker of marijuana deserves to have his housing and other medical help taken away but someone using opioids for pain is excused. Opioids are heavily addictive; marijuana is not habit forming at all. This is selective killing. It is prejudicial. When people choose whom to get rid of, who is evil, they become Gods, and they have gone into God-is -dead practice. Christ is certainly not welcome in their midst. Nor is forgiveness, empathy and understanding because it is only when God is cut out of the equation we see God-is-dead people standing, standing up and ready for war, for wiping these others out.
What will they do when they’re alone in the world? Nihilists know only one action—destruction, destruction until there is nothing left– truly a clean world. What have you got when you’re the only one. . .or the only ones?
Killing people is not a utensil from Christ’s tool box. It is in the devil’s or with anarchists who believe they are the rule and you’re not. There is no social cohesion or responsibility with these people and the God-is-dead Christians who go about damning and nailing those who use drugs, chiefly. But, really, anybody they do not like.
Present day Sartres? Well, it does nauseate me.
How they hide their antisocial, homicidal souls and then sing on one day how they believe their righteousness about how worthy they are—hallelujah the Lord be praised. It is these types who believe the end of the world is nigh and the more miscreants they can pass judgment on are good marks in their good books with large margins and wide spacing. Big Chief Notebooks. God is the big chief.
They will not find themselves burning in hell. . .they’ve been doing the devil’s work here on earth and he will reward them with cushy chairs, champagne (or other alcoholic, addictive substance) and willing girly devils. The good times roll when you’re a devil to begin with.
They continue their rampage like Ted Bundy on amphetamines because the more miscreants they take out, the greater the reward.
But these heretics are nothing compared with the local hospital who allows these Ted Bundys the time and space for them to blame and badger their chosen drugger upon discharge. Surely they are next in line for a position at Gitmo. All they need is a breakdown and admission of felonious activity to stop the pain, giving these God is dead do-gooders license to do whatever it is they will in recompense.
So, not only do the godlingers have no ethics, the hospital has no ethics.
What to do, what to do.