Weaponizing Psychiatry/Psychology

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This reminds me of the Electric Dreams episode "Kill All Others" in a way.

I live in Florida that has involuntary commitment, it's called the Baker Act here.  There are other states with similar laws.  The fundament for the law is to have law enforcement and the judicial system intervene when someone is mentally ill to the point that they pose a danger to themselves or others.  Sounds like it might be helpful on the surface, but there have been people that have been locked up and drugged against their will without anything wrong with them.  Some get locked up and not drugged, and are released after their "eval".  I 100% disagree with it and it is unlawful and violates human rights.

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On ‎9‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 4:36 PM, KorbenDallas said:

This reminds me of the Electric Dreams episode "Kill All Others" in a way.

I live in Florida that has involuntary commitment, it's called the Baker Act here.  There are other states with similar laws.  The fundament for the law is to have law enforcement and the judicial system intervene when someone is mentally ill to the point that they pose a danger to themselves or others.  Sounds like it might be helpful on the surface, but there have been people that have been locked up and drugged against their will without anything wrong with them.  Some get locked up and not drugged, and are released after their "eval".  I 100% disagree with it and it is unlawful and violates human rights.

That episode gave me nightmares.  (But that series was amazing!  Is another "season" coming?)

A 72-hour hold is the most anyone is going to get in any state in the US.  There is no good solution to mental health issues that require involuntary commitment.  From experience, I know how difficult and expensive it is to get real help for someone who needs it but is not capable of getting it for himself.  An entire family can be prepared to invest hours and hours of their lives and tens of thousands of dollars to ensure that a diagnosed bipolar, borderline, schizophrenic doesn't injure himself or others, and yet... injure himself and many others he will because those hours and dollars will have been wasted when the 72 hours is up.  And the next 72 hours.  And the next 72 hours.  Still, when the front page is filled with his crimes, everyone will be asking why didn't someone get him help before this happened.  The answer?  Those someones dropped all ties and didn't tell him where we moved to after his last attempt to cut our throats and the best we could get was a 72 fucking hour hold.

So yeah, there's some kind of way to find a balance here, but we in the US have not figured it out yet.

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On ‎9‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 11:59 PM, Jules Troy said:


America has been leery of "forced" mental incarceration at least since, "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest."  It may be time to rethink the problem, just as we are rethinking gun ownership by questionable "sorts."

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 Throwing dissenters and politically  "inconvenient"  folks into the looney bin was a standard operating procedure in the late and unlamented Soviet Union.  If a dissenter had a potential future use, he was incarcerated in the asylum or sent to the gulags,  rather than killed. 

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One of the most evil practices I know of is a lobotomy or a motorcycle gang, stomping on someone’s head. Take out some brains so that your enemy becomes a street person in New York City, scavenging in trash bins and sleeping in cardboard boxes in the winter . . . and with no ability to improve their lot. It is like turning a person into an animal with few survival skills.

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  • 9 months later...

I did another search for evolutionary psychology and found the following. How wrong was Freud? Was Freud a bird without feet, as the Chinese proverb puts it? Is he still worth reading for psychiatry and psychology, or just for historical reasons? What would Freud say about Pocahontas, also known as Elizabeth Warren? Peter

From: Walter Foddis To: ATL <atlantis Subject: ATL: [Fwd: Freud's Contributions to Psychology] Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 14:25:37 -0400. [This was originally posted by David Smith (Apr. 19, 2002) at evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com. I think Smith presents an excellent summary of Freud's meaningful contributions to contemporary psychology. He has also written a book (cited below) on Freud and the unconscious. Based on what he's written here, I believe his book would be very worthwhile reading. It seems some Objectivists dismiss Freud altogether, but I would consider that throwing the baby out with the bathwater. - Walter]

Although I will not be able to continue with this thread (I'm off to Europe to lecture on - of all things - the evolution of the unconscious!), I want to take one last shot. A great deal of what Ben Summerfield says about Freud and the seduction theory is true. Like Cioffi, I think that Freud's problems stemmed more from self-deception than from a calculating conscious desire to deceive others. Furthermore, I think that this is an occupational hazard for anyone who attempts to investigate the depths of human social and emotional life. Richard Alexander put it very well "In all the universe, the only topic that we literally which not to be too well understood is human behavior (including, necessarily, our own)." Alexander and Trivers have shown why this is the case, through their arguments about the evolutionary origins and adaptive significance of self-deception.

Freud was not wrong in emphasizing the pervasiveness of resistance to this kind of psychological understanding although, of course, the notion of resistance is often abused and used in an intellectually discreditable fashion. He certainly deceived himself in ways that have been exposed by scholars like Cioffi, Esterson and others. Much of this material is unambiguous. However, it is wrong to say that this is all there is to Freud as a thinker (rather than as a master of rhetoric). Freud asked important questions, many of which are still of concern to cognitive scientists today, and his 'brilliant theoretical imagination' (as Grunbaum puts it) anticipated a number of contemporary ideas. Freud was also a fine philosophical thinker who recognized the poverty of introspectionism and dualism, advocated a thoroughgoing materialism and naturalism, and was  acutely aware of how folk-psychological discourse handicaps scientific psychology. Freud was really lousy at testing claims, had lax standards of proof and disproof, and had little interest in this dimension of scientific work. Freud was an 'ideas man', a theorist interested in big questions. At times his theoretical imagination was superb, while at other times it caused him to lose touch with reality. Freud was a bird without feet, as the Chinese proverb puts it.

Ben, you wrote that " Of all the myths propagated about Freud perhaps the most enduring is that Freud discovered the unconscious. As both Whyte and Ellenberger documented exhaustively the unconscious was a commonplace in Freud's era already. Freud's contribution actually consisted of arbitrarily constructing a bizarre rube goldberg apparatus complete with diagrams and sketches and populating it with increasingly absurd homunculi that repress, sublimate, deny, cajole and manipulate in mysterious  ways. After a century of Freudian thought the fact remains that no specifically psychoanalytic construct has any experimental support."

This is very misleading. As fine as the work of Ellenberger (and, to a lesser extent, Whyte) was, he had a deflationist agenda and a superficial reading of the relevant 19th century literature. Although it is true that many 19th century writers spoke of 'subconscious', 'nonconscious' and even occasionally 'unconscious' states and events, on the whole they understood these states rather differently than Freud did. Briefly, there were two main schools of thought, both of which sought to square their observations with the Cartesian dogma that the mind is entirely conscious. The dissociationists claimed that so-called 'unconscious' states were actually caused by a portion of consciousness being split off from one's main consciousness. The dispositionalists claimed that so-called unconscious mental states are not really mental at all: they are merely neural dispositions for mental states (which were considered to be intrinsically conscious). The dispositionalist thesis is essentially the same as that nowadays articulated by John Searle in his attack on AI. Freud criticized both of these position, but his attack on dispositionalism was particularly devastating.

Amongst other things, Freud's concept of the unconscious involved the following elements:

a) ALL cognition is intrinsically unconscious: consciousness merely display information generated by the massively parallel unconscious system.

b) Consciousness is highly vulnerable to self-deception, because it is constrained both by affect and by biological imperatives.

c) Unconscious cognitions become conscious by becoming indexed to unconscious motor representations of natural-language sentences.

d) Unconscious states are truly mental, and are physically instantiated by neural activation vectors.

These notions, and others like them, are fundamental to Freud's conception of unconscious mental activity. Certainly, he was not alone in advocating them, although I do not know of any 19th century thinker apart from Freud who advocated all of them and tied them together theoretically. This was certainly FAR more sophisticated than most of the (very crude) conceptions of the unconscious that were current in late 19th century thought. The interested reader might consult my article on the unconscious in Edward  Erwin's  recently published Encyclopedia of Freud and Freudianism (Garland), or my book on Freud's Philosophy of the Unconscious (Kluwer Academic, Studies in Cognitive Systems Vol. 23).

To claim, as some do, that Freud was nothing but a smooth-talking intellectual swindler is simply absurd. Cheers, David. David L. Smith, PhD. Director, New England Institute, University of New England

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I have closed the following up for brevity and edited it to ask a few questions. What was equivocation and what was not true? From her explosive article we never learn the truth. Why couldn’t she ever say Nathan and she were having an affair and Frank her husband, and Barbara the wife of Nathan knew it? The entire article is long but it is on the web. Peter

"To Whom It May Concern" by Ayn Rand (Originally published in The Objectivist, September 15, 1968) I hereby withdraw my endorsement of them and of their future works and activities. I repudiate both of them, totally and permanently, as spokesmen for me or for Objectivism. The reasons are as follows. For the past three years, I have observed a disturbing change in Nathaniel Branden's intellectual attitude. It seemed to indicate his gradual departure from the principles of Objectivism, a tendency toward non-intellectual concerns, a lessening of interest in philosophical issues and in the Objectivist movement as such . . . .  . . . . It is important, at this point, to state the exact nature of my relationship to NBI and to THE OBJECTIVIST.

NBI and its various affiliates (NBI Book Service, NBI Communications, NBI Press, NBI Theater) were organized and owned entirely by Mr. Branden (with the participation of Mrs. Branden). I had no business or financial interest in any of these corporations and no part in their management. My interest was strictly and exclusively intellectual:  . . . . During the past three years, my personal relationship with Mr. Branden was deteriorating in a puzzling manner: it was turning into a series of his constant demands on my time, constant pleas for advice, for help with his writing, for long discussions of his personal, philosophical and psychological problems. About a year ago, I warned him that this was becoming a policy of intellectual and professional exploitation and, if it continued, I would break my association with him.

This year, in a long series of discussions, held at his request to help him solve what he characterized as his psycho-epistemological problems, I was shocked to discover that he was consistently failing to apply to his own personal life and conduct, not only the fundamental philosophical principles of Objectivism, but also the psychological principles he himself had enunciated and had written and lectured about. For example: he was unable or unwilling to identify the motivation of some of his actions or the nature of his long-range goals; he admitted that in many respects he was acting on the basis of unidentified feelings. . . . . About two months later, believing that Mr. Branden had improved and that he could be trusted to resume his public lectures, I was about to acquiesce in his plans to announce the fall semester of his courses at NBI, when Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me certain ugly actions and irrational behavior in his private life, which were grossly contradictory to Objectivist morality and which she had known about for two years.

I confronted Mr. Branden with her accusation and he admitted it. He admitted that his actions had involved the deliberate deception of several persons for a period of some four years. At my lowest opinion of Mr. Branden's behavior, I had not expected conscious deception on his part. I have always been willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt in regard to errors of knowledge -- and I had extended that benefit for too long in the case of Mr. Branden. I have never accepted, condoned or tolerated conscious breaches of morality. This was the last of the evidence which caused me to break all professional, as well as personal, association with him.

. . . . The case of Barbara Branden is far less complex and much more obvious. During the period of the growing breach between Mr. Branden and me, she volunteered to act as my ally, almost as my "protector" against him, expressing great indignation at his behavior. Strangely enough (in the light of what was to follow), it was she who exposed the secret of his private life. I gave her credit for her somewhat belated honesty: she seemed to be a victim of Mr. Branden's policies . . . . And more: I never wanted and do not now want to be the leader of a "movement." I do approve of a philosophical or intellectual movement, in the sense of a growing trend among a number of independent individuals sharing the same ideas. But an organized movement is a different matter. NBI was not quite either; it was intended as a purely educational organization, but it did not function fully as such, and, at times, it became professionally embarrassing to me.

 . . . . During the next two days, while THE OBJECTIVIST's property was being moved out, Mr. Schwartz, Mrs. Branden and Mr. Branden (who suddenly reappeared on the NBI scene) began to act in a manner which has been described to me as unbelievably hysterical. They screamed insults, threats and accusations against me to my attorney and to their own staff. The substance of their accusations was that I had been unjust to them . . . I offer my apology to the readers of this magazine and to the students of NBI, who trusted Mr. and Mrs. Branden on my recommendation. I have written this long account in order to make the situation intelligible and to explain why I did not act sooner. I made every effort to give the Brandens the benefit of the doubt; I took action when the evidence became conclusive  . . . .But my decision on this did not take me any longer to reach than the time required to formulate that question. I do not fake reality and never have. I do not seek or want any value that requires such faking. I hold that no value can be achieved that way. I hold that that way is neither practical nor moral . . . . In conclusion, I want to indicate, at least in a general way, an answer to the question that is now torturing his former students here in New York: How could Nathaniel Branden do this? . . . . If Mr. Branden never intended to correct his contradictions, then he made a mistake about the philosophy he chose to profess: he should have chosen Existentialism, which, recognizing no general principles, gives ample scope to contradictions, to self-exemptions from general rules, to undefined feelings and unknowable whims. end quote

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Ah. I found it. Peter

BBfromM Wed 8/23/2000 2:48 AM atlantis@wetheliving.com Here we go again!

Ellen Moore wrote, "The simple fact is that I do not believe that Barbara wanted to 'humanize' Ayn Rand.  I do not believe that love and admiration was, or is, her purpose.  I had a meaningful but brief association with Alan and Joan Blumenthal, with Barbara's sister-in-law, with MaryAnn Sures, with Leonard Peikoff, with Edith Packer and George Reisman, as well as with many other friends of Rand over the years.  None of them treat Ayn Rand's personal characteristics with the maliciousness of the Brandens. There are still many left who can "tell the tale," and they knew the Brandens too.  I know how to judge the difference between objectivity and subjectivity when the facts are retold by those from all sides of a conflict.  Most of the people on Atlantis naively believe only the Brandens, so I judge them as being willing dupes of malicious intent."

How nice of Moore to judge most of the Atlantis members as being "willing dupes." Is it just possible that such "dupes" recognize the truth when they see it, and are no one's "willing dupes?" No, love and admiration for Ayn Rand, although I feel them, were not my purpose in writing PASSION. My purpose was to tell the truth.

Ellen's "meaningful but brief association" with the people she names need to be more meaningful and less brief. She will find that, particularly but not only in the case of the Blumenthals, their understanding of Ayn Rand is perfectly consistent with mine and in fact their judgments are more harsh than mine.  Why don't you find out, Ellen Moore? That's a rhetorical question; I know perfectly well why you don't find out.

Moore also wrote, "Remember that Rand withdrew from him {Nathaniel Branden} personally when he wrote her a repugnant letter in July '68. . . "

Do you care to say what were the contents of that "repugnant letter," Ellen? Apparently not. The letter was a tortured effort to explain, as you well know, that the age-difference of twenty-five years, now that Ayn Rand was in her 60's and he still in his 30's, had become an insuperable barrier to a sexual relationship, despite his love and admiration for her. She had wondered if that were the reason for his emotional withdrawal, and he confirmed it. Surely most women would have accepted and understood the inevitable change in their relationship.  Ayn Rand did not.

Ellen Moore states that Ayn Rand "repudiated" me when she learned of my past lies and deceptions. Not so.  She did not repudiate me when she learned that I had been covering for Nathaniel; she accepted that and made excuses for me that I would not have made for myself. It was only when I refused to attend a kangaroo court of her choosing that she repudiated me. It's a good idea to have your facts straight, Ellen, before you hurl accusations. But then, you might not be able to hurl them, and what would be the purpose of your life if that were taken away?

Ellen wrote, "And even if Rand had been hurt by the truth that he loved Patrecia, that fact could have been resolved between them by some private agreement. "

You must be joking! It was precisely when Ayn Rand learned of Nathaniel's love for Patrecia that she turned on him and informed him that if he had an ounce of morality left he would be impotent for the next twenty years!

Ellen wrote, "I have never understood, and I disagree with those who condemn the 'Affair.'  I understand their agreement about having an affair, and I do not think that the affair destroyed their relationships."

Oh, Ellen, there go the facts again! Of course the affair destroyed our relationships. How do you think Frank O'Connor felt, as only one example, when Nathaniel twice-weekly walked into the apartment Frank shared with his wife and he had to go out in order to allow them to experience love and sex? Despite Nathaniel's repeated suggestions, his pleas, Ayn Rand had refused to allow him to take an apartment--in the same building if she wished, since she was terrified of the affair being known--where they could have time together without putting Frank O'Connor through the hell Ayn Rand insisted on putting him through.

Who, I wonder, has the greater allegiance to Ayn Rand and Objectivism--you, who insist on ignoring the facts and/or twist them out of all recognition, or I, who am concerned only with the facts?

Although this letter is addressed to Ellen Moore, I know better than to think she is open to reason. It is intended, rather, for "the willing dupes" of Atlantis whom I respect and many of whom I admire, and who wish to separate facts from Moore's fantasies. Barbara www.BarbaraBranden.com 

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