The self must be a tense bow. It must struggle with opposites rather than harmonize them, rather than turn the tension over to the great instruments of —the skilled bow unbenders and Jesuits of our days, the psychiatrists, who, in the same spirit and as part of the same conspiracy of modernity as the peace virtuosos, reduce conflict. .
Modern man no longer communicates with the madman ... There is no common language: or rather, it no longer exists; the constitution of madness as mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, bears witness to a rupture in a dialogue, gives the separation as already enacted, and expels from the memory all those imperfect words, of no fixed syntax, spoken falteringly, in which the exchange between madness and reason was carried out. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue by reason about madness, could only have come into existence in such a silence. .
Many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of ‘unadjusted’ individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself. .
Nowadays lunatic doctors and other laymen talk a steady stream of nonsense about homosexuality. In the course of these events it has become customary to divide homosexuals into two classes—those who cannot be anything but homosexuals, and those who can. Having made this distinction, those who can’t be anything at all—that is, our guardians of law and morality— then distribute compassion and contempt among them. In due time — anywhere from 129 to 175 years from now — mankind with probably rise to the dizzying heights of declaring that “congenital” homosexuals are sick, and will insist on forgiving them; and that “acquired” homosexuals are sinful, and will continue to persecute them with the coercions of criminal law, the contempt of society, and the curse of blackmail. Of course, I leave the methods for making this distinction to the psychiatric executioners. .
If we see [our lives] from the outside, as the influence and popular dissemination of the social sciences and psychiatry has persuaded more and more people to do, we view ourselves as instances of generalities, and in so doing become profoundly and painfully alienated from our own experience and our humanity. .
So long as men denounce each other as mentally sick (homosexual, addicted, insane, and so forth)—so that the madman can always be considered the Other, never the Self—mental illness will remain an easily exploitable concept, and Coercive Psychiatry a flourishing institution. .
There are two basic kinds of impersonations: those that are publicly supported and those that are not. Examples of the former are an actor playing a part in a play or a small boy playing fireman. Examples of the latter are a healthy housewife complaining of aches and pains or an unemployed carpenter claiming he is Jesus. When persons stubbornly cling to and aggressively proclaim publicly unsupported role definitions, they are called psychotic. .
Psychiatrists look for twisted molecules and defective genes as the causes of schizophrenia, because schizophrenia is the name of a disease. If Christianity or Communism were called diseases, would they then look for the chemical and genetic “causes” of these “conditions”? .
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