Monday, 17 November 2008

Madness Ethics and Morality

Throughout history, and to some extent in modern times, so-called madness has been seen by others as moral weakness, failing, or depravity. Whilst there is, or can be, an immoral or violent aspect to madness, the vast majority of diagnosed or non-diagnosed mad people, are not immoral, unethical, or violent. What is also true, is that madness can be something which has its own morality and ethics, and which is separate from the morality and ethics of so-called sane society, but is potentially valid, as part of a moral and ethical consensus within, or as part of society.

Diagnosed and non-diagnosed mad people, often disagree or act against the immorality and violence of so-called sane society, or of the so-called sane world, which is seen by us, as justifying the worst aspects of capitalism or communism, exploitation, bullying, racism and other such isms, imperialism, and war. This difference of approach or opinion, of mad people, gets labelled as deviation or non-conformism, by so-called sane society, in order to discredit it and us, as something which is completely opposed, to the culture, values, and society of a region, country, or world.

Sometimes mad people rebel and act, against the false or hypocritical morality of society in bad ways, but overall, sane society violates and goes against our morality and ethics, by inflicting terrorism, violence or the threat of violence, and coercion upon us, whilst mad morality and ethics, are all for the good of ourselves, society, and the world at large. The bad ways that mad people rebel and act, against the true or false morality of sane society and the world, cannot be understood adequately or completely, without also understanding the ways that sane society, violates and goes against our separate but interrelated morality, values, and ethics.

It's not necessarily a matter of competition or comparison, but I personally believe that the morality, values, and ethics of mad people, are overall better than the morality, values, and ethics of sane society or people, who try to force their values upon us and destroy our own. This is what I call mental health imperialism.

However, where a lot of diagnosed, and non-diagnosed mad people, do fail morally and ethically, is in the whole area of disclosing, understanding, and sharing knowledge and information, about the causes of mental health problems. This is because the psychiatric and mental health system - falsely claiming that they are very much part of sane values and society - encourages people with mental health problems, to be very selfish and private about the causes of madness - sometimes with the threat of invading our privacy, terrorising us, and taking away our rights as citizens, if we want and choose to disclose, understand, and share this knowledge and information. This is the point or place where the morality, values, and ethics, of the psychiatric service user, and psychiatric survivor model and approach, meet and connect to the values of sane society, in the form of altruistic values.

What is very much needed and required by sane society and the sane world, is to liberate, protect, nurture, and develop the unique and separate morality, values, and ethics of madness, to discourage violations of the genuine and valid values on both sides, and to form a conscious consensus of where all our values meet, conjoin, and coexist together.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

An Analysis of Developmental Theories of Mental Health Problems in Society

A while ago, I had a very brief conversation, with a person called Peter, who came round my friend Luke's flat with another friend. We got on to the subject of mental health, and I expressed my view to him, that I didn't believe that people with mental health problems, were biologically or genetically inferior, but that it was possible that we were in some ways genetically unique, and genetically superior in some ways, compared to so-called sane people, because we can have higher creative abilities, and higher senses of experience, observation, and awareness.

He thought that what I said was interesting, and he sort of agreed with me, but he said that he believed that all mental health problems were developmental problems. I couldn't really agree with his rather simple and extreme statement, as I realised that there are all different kinds of meanings, and terms, surrounding the phrase "developmental problems", but he was not in the mood to discuss such complexities, and he replied to me that he was "just thick".

I've done some recent research, into modern psychological developmental theory, and unlike the old deterministic developmental theory, that sees us as conditioned by our social environment and surroundings, and seeks to change society, the emphasis now is on total freewill, saying that individuals create their own environments. This is the neo-liberal agenda, but it is obvious, that children and poor people, do not primarily choose their home or social environments, and that there is still a need to change society to benefit people, rather than the other way round.

My other criticism of developmental theory, is that society often has a problem with people who are very highly developed intellectually, emotionally, or politically, and who don't fit into the general mediocrity of culture and society. Some things about human beings, should not be developed out of us, such as some goodness arising from some innocence, whist other things are naturally and socially developed, too far for society to accept or understand.

There is also the very important matter, of how far society or services are developed. Society, and health and mental health services, also need to be developed to a high degree or good quality level, for people or persons to benefit from an overall and widespread developmental approach. Then there is the matter, of whether development is self-development, or development by others. For children, some development by others is necessary, but for adults self-development is far more ethical and important, individually or collectively, whilst wider social integration and support are important too. I believe in a developmental approach, which does not individualise people too much, but takes account of individual rights and freedom, but also offers the choice of working together and co-operative environments.

Developmental approaches should not also just focus around work, or physical or academic labour, as the mind also needs casual time to relax and develop, within the creative process, and what is needed are a choice of different activities, in order to develop satisfactory social skills and creative imagination. One danger of developmental psychology, is that it can appeal to very radical or political extremists, because it seems ideologically cool or sound, when in reality, they know absolutely nothing about it, in terms of past and present theory or application.

Developmental psychology, tends not to take into account spiritual or mental development, as like psychiatry, it tends to be very physical, biological, and materialistic. The progress of the mind is not purely linear, but it progresses and learns through some ebbs and flows, regressions and progressions, towards some sort of progressive outcome. There can be no rigid planning for the development of people or persons, in terms of an ultimate end product, as it has to be realised that time moves in both directions, backwards and forwards at the same time, towards some achievements and goals.

We need to realise that developmental theory and practise is very valid, if it doesn't treat people as cogs in a machine, but as democratic participants, who can affect, influence, and have a say, on how society operates, influences, and functions, instead of saying that society just belongs to one class or elite group. Society belongs to all of us, and we all have a right to have a say, and an influence on how it works and operates. A developmental approach which does not take this into account, is totalitarian, and which is why totalitarian societies put a lot of emphasis on developmental approaches, to formulate a very compliant character, that will accept propaganda and indoctrination.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Madness and Innocence

There is a common held belief, amongst some of the public and psychiatrists, that diagnosed-mad people are in some ways more child-like and innocent than other people. In my experience of other diagnosed-mad people, I think there is some truth in this, whilst at the same time I realise that it can also be a part of infantilisation (treating adults as children) in order to take away our freedoms, rights, and responsibility as adults. Some innocence is very important though, and I reject the religious concept of original sin. We all have a parent-child-adult within us, and it's important to retain and nurture the child inside us, whilst being wise and knowledgeable as parents or adults.

I recently had an email conversation, with a nice Russian woman, who was a kindergarten teacher. She said that she went to the cinema, watched a fairy story with the children, and communicated and interacted with them. She said that children speak the truth in a way, and say some very intelligent things, and I added that they can be very intuitive, and sense pain or sadness in another child or adult, much more than an adult can in a way. In a way, children have a higher form of consciousness than adults do, although their logical faculties aren't fully developed

I agreed with her point, about installing good principles in children at an early age, and to give them some good analogies and examples of good, love, and kindness triumphing over evil. As long as the child, is also allowed to develop his or her own individual and social values as they get older, and are not having very specific dogmatic values, like political propaganda, imposed upon them in an authoritarian way, then this is fine and all good. The whole matter of morality/principles/ethics and preserved innocence, is a very important point she made, and one that very much interests me.

The big problem we had under the Conservative regime in this country, and which I very much opposed as a Labour party voter, is that children were taught to have respect for very authoritarian teachers at school, who used and misused the cane (corporal punishment). The children were encouraged to be very competitive against each other, at the expense of co-operation and some mutual learning, and which encouraged and created some aggression, and bullying, in the children towards each other. The children were only taught to respect adult authority figures, but were not also encouraged to have respect for each other. The old very bad culture of learning and schooling has somewhat changed under the Labour government for the better, and they will continue to get my vote.

I was abused throughout my childhood and early teens, and had most of my innocence beaten or tormented out of me, and so I had to re-capture and re-create it in a way as an adult. My older brother, was encouraged to often be evil towards me as a child, but he also had to do this in order to survive and escape from the abuse himself, although he was still abused at times. I do very much agree with the Russian woman, that innocence and morality/principles/ethics, can co-exist together, and that the preservation of innocence, is a very good and a healthy thing in children. I would even go so far as to say, that the preservation of innocence, is a good thing in adults too, as it is a part of their intense and sensitive imagination and creativity, their compassion, and again a part of their morality/principles/ethics.

This is why I am very fond of some developmental practice, and theory, in mental health and society, but I think that it is wrong and counter-productive to crush and destroy, all aspects of an adult person's innocence, to make them more realistic, or to wise them up about the world, but this is what some people in authority in social work, society, and mental health, try to do to us. We can be more than wise about other people and the world, without having our innocence beaten, oppressed, terrorised, or crushed out of us. Preserving ones innocence and the child aspect of ones personality as an adult, does not make a person less of an adult or parent, it just makes the adult aspect more holistically integrated, and also able to relate to children more easily, imaginatively, creatively, compassionately, and effectively.

Because my brother encouraged my mother to abuse me, and because I was bullied at secondary school for two years by other children, I developed a fear of children as an adult, and found it very hard to relate and interact with them. I now have a four year old niece though, my older brother's daughter, Jasmine. She is a very good natured child, and I have learnt how to relate to her, both as a child myself, and as an adult. My dad is a full grown man, who is usually a very serious person, but he is a bit silly, and like a little boy when he plays with Jasmine. I could say that he's making a fool out of himself, but I also realise that he has a gift in a way. My mum is very good with Jasmine too, is very kind towards her, and knows how to play with her and entertain her.

I agreed with the Russian woman that children should not see or watch violence on TV. On the other hand, adults should watch violent films, if they are social realism, because it's about awareness and changing society for the better. Otherwise we would all live in a dream world, full of roses and flowers. I tend to dislike gratuitous or unnecessary violence on TV though, although that's a tricky one, because many people argue that it's also therapeutic and cathartic for some adult people, and about freedom of expression, and artistic freedom.

Hearing Voices and so-called Delusions of Telepathy in Others

Many voice hearers, have experiences or perceptions of telepathy, that they can hear other people's thoughts criticising them, or more commonly, that others can hear what they are thinking. A friend of mine, said that it was like when he was a child, and taught that everything he thought was naughty and bad, but he couldn't stop his thoughts from appearing.

He said that he will often think something, that he would not normally say, such as a very irreverent or rude comment, and then get scolded or threatened for it by the voice, and that this is what makes his telepathy voice hearing experience so unpleasant. He added, that it was like being on msn messenger, but you can't control what you type, and you are typing silly or rude things, that you don't really want to say, and you can't close the program, so that the conversation is forced upon you. You get forced into a conversation that you can't get out of. He said that these voices are always people that he knows, and that they can hear his thoughts, but he can't hear their voices, but he experiences them in his mind.

I recently spoke to a voice hearer, who said that other people - some he knows and some he doesn't know- can read or hear his thoughts, but that he can only barely hear their thoughts, as if they are being filtered, but certain voices come through and tell him that he has cancer. This to me represents the predominant view in our culture that mental health problems are diseases, when they are not diseases, but they can sometimes be understood or experienced as such, by the voice hearer.

I then asked him if he'd ever been abused or bullied, to which he replied that he has been bullied as a teenager in college for about two years, but that it triggers the voices if he talks about it, and he doesn't like to talk about it. I assured him that this was fine, if he didn't want to talk about it, but I told him that sooner or later, he might have to deal with that issue with his young psychotherapist, who had just come out of college, and never heard voices.

When voice hearers have so-called delusions of telepathy in others, the voice hearer usually has either been abused or bullied, and has their privacy invaded, and their personal boundaries violated, and which is why they experience telepathy in others. It can also stem from people imposing ideas about us that are not true, and making stereotypical opinions and prejudiced judgements about us.

From my own experience with hearing voices, I also sometimes experience the voices reading my thoughts, and so I try to talk nonsense, or think irrationally, and which sometimes works.. It's very hard to stop the thoughts or stop the voices from hearing the thoughts, because when the voices hear the thoughts, is it is immediate, and there is no time to block, distract, or interrupt the process.. There are some coping strategies though. I've thought and had voices singing silly songs before, and in that way prevented them from attacking me for my thoughts. I've also read their minds, showing that I have as much magical ability, social predictability, and power as them.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Candour, Duplicity, Betrayal, and Authenticity

There's a view that some radical people and others have, that candour, or being very honest and open in communication, involves aggression, suppressing the other persons opinions, free thoughts and actions, and betrayal. This is sometimes the view of radical people on the liberal or left of politics, but also the view of some of the conservatives, as exploitative power and betrayal were actually openly endorsed by Margaret Thatcher in her "Lion's strength" speech.

No one is as pure as the snow, and in some ways, as Orwell said in his novel 1984, we all betray each other. What is important, is that we don't betray ourselves, meaning our conscience. The only time I will betray anyone, is if there is a very good ethical or moral reason to, and then I will avoid naming the person.

I was recently told by a family member, that another family member, had phoned his four year daughter and pretended not to be her dad. I was told, that his daughter supposedly got the sick joke, and responded by saying that she was someone else as well. I was concerned by this, that such a "joke" to play on a four year old, is inappropriate, because it is teaching the child that betrayal and deceit are something humorous, when we should be teaching children values like loyalty and love, and not imposing our screwed-up ways of relating, from when we were children towards other children, and by our parents or parent towards us.

Betrayal, is also sometimes seen by people as being authentic, or showing their true selves, whilst it is in fact showing a false or evil self. There are many ways that a person can be aware of the false or evil side of themselves, by introspecting, and without imposing it upon others.

I have consistently spoken out against authoritarianism and abuse, but some social workers have terrorised me with some of the Police, which they continue to do to poor and powerless people in my local area, and I get nothing but ill-will from these people, when all I want is a better society and what is good for everyone. This is obviously an evil town, where corrupt and oppressive people are rewarded, and where any kind of uniqueness and goodness is suppressed, distorted, or destroyed.

When some of the Police terrorised me with others, with choc-a-block traffic, threatening to run me over if I tried to cross the road, and shouting hatred and insults at me, like hate-week from Orwell's novel 1984, my family and what I thought were my friends at the time, joined in with those Police against me. Despite their cowardice, I have continued to love and support my family, as they have been good to me since, and I understand their backgrounds as to why they behaved towards me as such. I now have much better friends too.

If a person has mental health problems in my local area, and which are mostly just problems with living, then their lives are made deliberately harder by others, because people just want to use themselves against others, and push others to extremes, where they have to go into psychiatric hospital, because the oppressive people want to perpetuate the very hierarchical class system that operates here.

Also, the kind of solidarity that operates here in my local area, is very sectarian, and excludes people with less money and power. The far-left also treat others as inferior in this way, and they have the same out-dated oppressive and distorted psychiatric opinions about people with mental health problems, and which is why I will never trust or support them.

It's also a fact, that any kind of libertarian and new social findings about mental health, tend to get distorted and misused by the state, when state power is not the issue, the issues are democracy, solidarity, freedom of association, and individual freedom. The label of psychotic and deluded, is sometimes misused to terrorise and torture people with mental health problems, and to abuse us, and for others and society get away with doing this. People with mental health problems must organise in some way, and fight against this abuse, and defend and protect those who are subjected to this harm and injustice.

I will never fully recover, from the abuse I have suffered as a child and adult, and I cannot go on silently without speaking out about what is till happening to others. Some of the abuse I suffered as a child, has happened to me in some ways as an adult: the threat of violence, confinement, verbal abuse, and threat of abduction. This makes me wonder if my abuser when I was a child, was subjected to this by some of the Police in some ways too, and was projecting that onto me. Child abuse, and abuse by Police state power, are two separate things, but I wonder if the two things are in some ways connected. Intelligent common sense tell me that in some ways they are.