Category Archives: Psychology/Psychiatry

Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time

In the 16th Century, French essayist Etienne de la Boetie, amazed at people’s obedience to perceived authority, penned Discourse On Voluntary Servitude. It wasn’t obedience per se that disturbed him, but that he saw people as “driven to servility,” when refusal to comply would end their servitude: “(I)f, without any violence [tyrants] are simply not obeyed, they become naked and undone and as nothing.”

For Boetie, being free is the natural state for humans, and he wanted to understand “…. how it happens that this obstinate willingness to submit has become so deeply rooted in a nation that the very love of liberty now seems no longer natural.” He was ruthless in his assessment of the people he saw: “[T]he essential reason why men take orders willingly is that they are born serfs and are reared as such.”

Boetie’s “… and are reared as such” alludes to intergenerational relationships: “It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to.” This is as we’ve seen since early 2020, as the young developed world views while watching a terrified parental generation yield when commanded to mask up, to isolate and to keep distance from other humans. Given the direction of society, coming generations will certainly see increasing levels of submission to authority as normal. No longer will it be “new” normal. Just normal.

And what is ’normal’ to be? Let transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari explain that people now may be the last generations of Homo sapiens, because “elites” (his word) have the technology to hack our bodies, as one might hack a computer, because after all, individual persons, we are told, are just algorithms. Therefore, they can be engineered en masse, with genetic code “edited” according to “our” intelligent design, and not the design of “some god above the clouds”. Concepts of soul and free will, he tells us, are over, and IBM and Microsoft clouds will now drive evolution. A new regime of mass surveillance from “under the skin” is emerging.

Harari’s “under the skin” mirrors the predictions of Klaus Schwab, guiding figure of the World Economic Forum, seen here explaining the coming fusion of people’s physical, digital and biological identities. Microchips will soon be implanted within bodies, this allowing direct connection between brains and the digital world. Individuals and the cloud, you see, are to be essentially one. And when you add to this the editing of human (for the time being) DNA, the sky truly is the limit.

But really, hasn’t “predictive programming” been habituating us with years of messaging in cultural and entertainment outlets? But of course! — such a claim would naturally be denounced as “conspiracy theory” by establishment interests, but that alone is reason for a closer look. One finds that “nudge units”, governmental programs employing platoons of psychologists and marketing experts, created to influence public perceptions and behavior, are not only acknowledged, but are so successful that countries all over the world are creating their own. The goals of predictive programming and those of nudge units are in perfect synch. That being so, any argument that nudge units would overlook the power of predictive programming to familiarize the public with oncoming conditions is absurd.

Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel is noteworthy for his opinion — a particularly interesting “nudge” — that humans attaining age 75 should cease clinging to life which, by then, is “faltering and declining”, transforming “… how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us.” He doesn’t advocate suicide, just a withholding of major attempts at the preservation of life. This has implications for the passage of information within a civilization over time. Whereas cultures everywhere, and through time, have revered elders as narrators of cultural history, for Emanuel the wisdom acquired by the very old from their unique view of the passing of generations is not, in itself, important enough to cherish.

Emanuel’s position fits well with the coming techno-utopian world conceptualized by Harari, in which a great “useless class” is created: “What should we do with all the superfluous people, once we have highly intelligent non-conscious algorithms that can do almost everything better than humans?” Superfluous! Thus is utilitarianism as an underlying techno-utopian value established. And because the rest of the technophilic pyramid of power prays to the God of Efficiency in the Church of Artificial Intelligence, the only logical path forward would be to disappear the useless bottom layer. The logic inherent in AI would make it unavoidable.

In 1956, psychologist Carl Jung, in The Undiscovered Self, wrote that making people functions of the state “externalizes” them, causing the loss of “their extramundane point of reference …. relation to an authority which is not of this world”. Jung speaks of the importance of a spiritual connection, not based on learned religious dogmas, but internally sourced, “which alone can protect …. from the otherwise inevitable submersion in the mass”. How radically opposite that is to Harari’s mocking reference to anything not definable algorithmically.

66 years before psychiatrist Mattias Desmet referred to the collective reaction to the Covid19 ‘Pandemic’ as “mass formation”, Jung was describing the “collective possession” that “displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations.” Referencing the Nazi’s Third Reich, Jung wrote that it would not be surprising “if another civilized nation succumbed to the infection of a uniform and one-sided idea. America ….. is perhaps even more vulnerable than Europe, since her educational system is the most influenced by the scientific Weltanschauung [worldview] with its statistical truths.”

It is doubtful that Jung foresaw the fatal dangers of transhumanism, the very melding of consciousness with the digital sphere, but for him the purely scientific existence, dominated by cold technical logic, was dreadful enough: “In this reality man is the slave and victim of the machines that have conquered space and time for him.” Nevertheless, his optimism remained intact: “Slavery and rebellion are inseparable correlates”.

But here’s the rub: “Inseparable” would no longer apply in the planned-for transhuman experience. Slavery could be guaranteed, because rebellion could easily be — and certainly would be — rendered impossible if the Great Reset’s promise to a cloud-connected humanity were ever to be fulfilled: “You will own nothing and you will be happy.” For how could any form of rebellion possibly arise from hackable algorithms engineered to experience happiness regardless of conditions? Techno-utopian engineers would naturally create nothing but models of obedience perfectly content with whatever their situations might be. This prospect is what our descendants will face.

The post Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time

In the 16th Century, French essayist Etienne de la Boetie, amazed at people’s obedience to perceived authority, penned Discourse On Voluntary Servitude. It wasn’t obedience per se that disturbed him, but that he saw people as “driven to servility,” when refusal to comply would end their servitude: “(I)f, without any violence [tyrants] are simply not obeyed, they become naked and undone and as nothing.”

For Boetie, being free is the natural state for humans, and he wanted to understand “…. how it happens that this obstinate willingness to submit has become so deeply rooted in a nation that the very love of liberty now seems no longer natural.” He was ruthless in his assessment of the people he saw: “[T]he essential reason why men take orders willingly is that they are born serfs and are reared as such.”

Boetie’s “… and are reared as such” alludes to intergenerational relationships: “It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to.” This is as we’ve seen since early 2020, as the young developed world views while watching a terrified parental generation yield when commanded to mask up, to isolate and to keep distance from other humans. Given the direction of society, coming generations will certainly see increasing levels of submission to authority as normal. No longer will it be “new” normal. Just normal.

And what is ’normal’ to be? Let transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari explain that people now may be the last generations of Homo sapiens, because “elites” (his word) have the technology to hack our bodies, as one might hack a computer, because after all, individual persons, we are told, are just algorithms. Therefore, they can be engineered en masse, with genetic code “edited” according to “our” intelligent design, and not the design of “some god above the clouds”. Concepts of soul and free will, he tells us, are over, and IBM and Microsoft clouds will now drive evolution. A new regime of mass surveillance from “under the skin” is emerging.

Harari’s “under the skin” mirrors the predictions of Klaus Schwab, guiding figure of the World Economic Forum, seen here explaining the coming fusion of people’s physical, digital and biological identities. Microchips will soon be implanted within bodies, this allowing direct connection between brains and the digital world. Individuals and the cloud, you see, are to be essentially one. And when you add to this the editing of human (for the time being) DNA, the sky truly is the limit.

But really, hasn’t “predictive programming” been habituating us with years of messaging in cultural and entertainment outlets? But of course! — such a claim would naturally be denounced as “conspiracy theory” by establishment interests, but that alone is reason for a closer look. One finds that “nudge units”, governmental programs employing platoons of psychologists and marketing experts, created to influence public perceptions and behavior, are not only acknowledged, but are so successful that countries all over the world are creating their own. The goals of predictive programming and those of nudge units are in perfect synch. That being so, any argument that nudge units would overlook the power of predictive programming to familiarize the public with oncoming conditions is absurd.

Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel is noteworthy for his opinion — a particularly interesting “nudge” — that humans attaining age 75 should cease clinging to life which, by then, is “faltering and declining”, transforming “… how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us.” He doesn’t advocate suicide, just a withholding of major attempts at the preservation of life. This has implications for the passage of information within a civilization over time. Whereas cultures everywhere, and through time, have revered elders as narrators of cultural history, for Emanuel the wisdom acquired by the very old from their unique view of the passing of generations is not, in itself, important enough to cherish.

Emanuel’s position fits well with the coming techno-utopian world conceptualized by Harari, in which a great “useless class” is created: “What should we do with all the superfluous people, once we have highly intelligent non-conscious algorithms that can do almost everything better than humans?” Superfluous! Thus is utilitarianism as an underlying techno-utopian value established. And because the rest of the technophilic pyramid of power prays to the God of Efficiency in the Church of Artificial Intelligence, the only logical path forward would be to disappear the useless bottom layer. The logic inherent in AI would make it unavoidable.

In 1956, psychologist Carl Jung, in The Undiscovered Self, wrote that making people functions of the state “externalizes” them, causing the loss of “their extramundane point of reference …. relation to an authority which is not of this world”. Jung speaks of the importance of a spiritual connection, not based on learned religious dogmas, but internally sourced, “which alone can protect …. from the otherwise inevitable submersion in the mass”. How radically opposite that is to Harari’s mocking reference to anything not definable algorithmically.

66 years before psychiatrist Mattias Desmet referred to the collective reaction to the Covid19 ‘Pandemic’ as “mass formation”, Jung was describing the “collective possession” that “displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations.” Referencing the Nazi’s Third Reich, Jung wrote that it would not be surprising “if another civilized nation succumbed to the infection of a uniform and one-sided idea. America ….. is perhaps even more vulnerable than Europe, since her educational system is the most influenced by the scientific Weltanschauung [worldview] with its statistical truths.”

It is doubtful that Jung foresaw the fatal dangers of transhumanism, the very melding of consciousness with the digital sphere, but for him the purely scientific existence, dominated by cold technical logic, was dreadful enough: “In this reality man is the slave and victim of the machines that have conquered space and time for him.” Nevertheless, his optimism remained intact: “Slavery and rebellion are inseparable correlates”.

But here’s the rub: “Inseparable” would no longer apply in the planned-for transhuman experience. Slavery could be guaranteed, because rebellion could easily be — and certainly would be — rendered impossible if the Great Reset’s promise to a cloud-connected humanity were ever to be fulfilled: “You will own nothing and you will be happy.” For how could any form of rebellion possibly arise from hackable algorithms engineered to experience happiness regardless of conditions? Techno-utopian engineers would naturally create nothing but models of obedience perfectly content with whatever their situations might be. This prospect is what our descendants will face.

The post Forgetting Freedom a Generation at Time first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Paean to “Warm-Hearted Sex”

The upper-class married men of Sigmund Freud’s Vienna, like those of Tolstoy’s aristocratic milieu, often led debased, clandestine sexual lives which clashed with their more genteel, conjugal relations. They had invariably married within their own class, of course: unblemished young ladies from good families, versed in the arts of cultured conversation and amateur musicianship. Young ladies who had saved their “treasure” — only to find themselves shocked and unprepared for the raw male passions of the bridal suite.

Such men, by contrast, were certainly “experienced.” Since their days in college and in military service, they had freely visited brothels in the customary red-light districts.  Moreover – to our present-day dismay – children as young as 14 could legally become registered streetwalkers. Such poor children, probably abused in earlier years and desperate for cash, were easy prey for such well-heeled “gentlemen.” Sexual release was sought and obtained–but with the usual hangover of queasy shame. In short, as Freud realized, these men admired women whom they could not desire, and desired women whom they could not love. (There were exceptions – one of Leo Tolstoy’s older  brothers warmly loved and married a prostitute.) But generally, as Freud described, these upper-class males experienced a conflicted eroticism: affectionate tenderness vs. uninhibited sensuality. The outcome was devastating for so many of these genteel
couples: often impotent husbands, often frigid wives.

But what possible relevance could Freud’s observations in Vienna, well over 100 years ago, have now? Well, as I wrote briefly in my book Riddles of Eros (1994), researcher Alfred Kinsey’s tremendously influential books on human sexual behavior (1948, 1953) introduced an unfortunate misconception – that sexual behavior occurs simply to discharge sexual tensions. The preposterously overpraised Kinsey researchers not only promoted the misguided notion that sex is nothing more than such “release,” but also that there are six equally valid “outlets” in which to achieve it. (Bestiality, anyone?). Like hunger or the need to “evacuate,” the sex-drive merely urgently sought for tension-reduction (ejaculation, climax, whatever).

Since the 1960s, the generally easy access to reliable contraceptives has been a great boon for “planned parenthood.” And, more recently, with the availability of generally reliable “morning-after” pills (still under-publicized to uninformed teenage girls), the numbers of abortions performed per annum should have dropped precipitously. But they haven’t, at least in the U.S . — and one explanation is that, while the product is over-the-counter in most states, its price may discourage purchase. (Of course, these products are freely provided in many other countries).

After Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, and Wilhelm Reich (who insisted that only total orgasms would lead to emotional health), the prevailing conception became a purely physiological one. Like other bodily functions (e.g., hunger), sexual tension could be pleasurably released through satisfactory sexual activity with an available “partner.”

What resulted, for so many starved for real human contact, was a depersonalized casualism. For the sexual encounter, Kinsey notwithstanding, is by nature a highly intimate one. Human touching and embracing are not only sexually arousing, but highly emotionally communicative, extending a trusting vulnerability which for a time transcends emotional isolation. Such contact, when defensive dissociation is overcome, is of the utmost intimacy far transcending mere conversation. Such misunderstanding of sexual intimacy has, in my opinion, devalued its subjective, uniquely personal quality – and reduced varied sexual encounters for many to merely an impersonal consumption of pleasure.

The post A Paean to “Warm-Hearted Sex” first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Enlightenment Sets the Record Straight

Negative characterizations of human beings abound. It is common to hear people assert that humans are naturally greedy. Or competitive. Or stupid. It should also be noted that the one making this declaration never includes himself or herself. The messenger is innocent. But the rest of us are judged as being wholly no good. Most of the apples are bad. This view is not new and has a rather rich history. Much of Christian dogma has cast a dim view of human nature. In the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament, the doctrine of original sin holds that, due to Adam and Eve’s transgressions, the rest of us hit the ground at guilty. During the Reformation, the highly influential French reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) built this notion into his joyless and strict theology and ethics.

In this essay, we will look at a string of philosophers from the Enlightenment who redrew what it means to be human. While many have deemed humans vicious creatures, we will consider some thinkers who felt this was not the case. They focused on our internal sense of humanity and the abundant goodness that can be found in people.

Every thinker we will look at—Shaftesbury, Butler, Hume, Smith, and Rousseau—had Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) in his sights. They felt Hobbes characterized human nature in a narrow, reductive way. Hobbes’s name has become a label denoting just such a judgment of humanity. “Hobbesian” now means the opinion that people are terrible and prone to violence. But while his viewpoint was indeed materialistic and mechanical, and he did feel that people needed the protection of a sovereign power, Hobbes does not say people are terrible. If you encountered Hobbes in high school or college, chances are the quotes you were taught came from Chapter XIII (around three pages in total) of his masterpiece Leviathan. Excerpts from chapter XIII are in all the textbooks and it is there where all the familiar quotes come from. In this section, I simply wish to do some corrective work on the subject. The goal is not to include Hobbes with the other thinkers we will discuss—he certainly stands apart from them, but he’s not the Grim Reaper either.

It is common for political philosophers to begin with a consideration of human nature. In order to properly investigate how humans should arrange and organize themselves in the best possible way, it stands to reason that we should decide on what is the essence of human nature; in a sense, that is what I am doing in this essay. We have to know just whom—or what—we are organizing. If people are naturally aggressive and vicious, this must be taken into account when designing systems of governance for them. Likewise, if humans tend to be kind and cooperative, we will need a much different system. The method many philosophers utilized was to consider humankind in a “state of nature.” That is, what are we left with when we subtract those systems of governance? What kind of creatures are humans when we consider them on their own, in the wild, with no overarching political or economic structure of any kind? This is not to suggest that this state of nature at one time existed; think of it more as a thought experiment.

Hobbes’s conception of humankind in a state of nature starts with the idea that everyone is more or less equal and free. The playing field starts level, for even body and mind; even the weakest person can conceivably kill the strongest. So I could potentially kill you and steal your apples, but you might kill me in the process. However, the threat of someone, or a confederacy of someones, killing me and stealing my apples does exist. No one is stopping them. Also, there is the risk of there being no apples. So, now we are in competition. The threat of scarcity also looms for Hobbes. And scarcity can lead to things getting ugly. But all in all, the Hobbesian state of nature is a set of circumstances where people are more prone to mind their own business. Someone could try and do me in to get my apples, but they probably will not. So if I see you out on the savanna, I’ll probably just ignore you, and you me. Leading Hobbes scholar Richard Tuck maintains,

The common idea that Hobbes was in some sense “pessimistic” about human nature is wide of the mark, for his natural men [people in a state of nature] were in principle stand-offish towards one another rather than inherently belligerent.1

For Hobbes, there are three principal causes of what he calls “quarrel”: competition, diffidence, and glory. The first could be the case where things are scarce and I might do you violence because I need your apples. The second pertains to the insecurity of the state of nature, where you might kill me and take my apples, so if I perceive you as a threat, I might club you over the head. And the third sees violence occur where I might want people to be impressed with me, so I club you over the head just to burnish my image. But what Hobbes does not say is that we are destined to do one another violence. He does not paint the state of nature as a place of bloodshed and wanton slaughter. The threat of that exists, but that’s it. Hobbes says,

[W]hen taking a journey, he armes himselfe, and seeks to go well accompanied; when going to sleep, he locks his dores; when even in his house he locks his chests; and this when he knowes there bee Lawes, and publike Officers, armed to revenge all injuries shall bee done him…. (Leviathan, XIII)

So, when I go to sleep, I lock my door (not dore, it’s 2022). Does this reveal anything about my philosophy of human nature? You lock yours, too. We all do. Are we all Hobbesian in the common, negative sense? No. He then says, “Does he [the guy locking his door] not there as much accuse mankind by his actions, as I do by my words? But neither of us accuse man’s nature in it.” (Leviathan, XIII) There, he just said it out loud. He is not accusing human nature. You lock your doors at night because someone might come in and kill you (and maybe take your apples). But that probably will not happen. You will sleep soundly and you and your apples will be just fine. So, Hobbes is making the case that there needs to be a power—a leviathan—something that proclaims officially, “No one is to kill anybody and take anyone’s apples, and if you do, you will be punished. We’ve got guns.” People need a “a common Power to keep them all in awe, and to direct their actions to the Common Benefit.” (XVII) And the power will “tye them by feare of punishment to the performance of their Covenants, and observation of these Lawes of Nature….” (XVII) Nevertheless, Hobbes highlights in the state of nature this mutual fear of one another, this possible threat, life being potentially “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short” (XIII) without the necessary security arrangements.2 So, while Hobbes does not say what so many attribute to him, his emphasis is not on cooperation and sympathy, as some Enlightenment thinkers chose to do, as we will now see.

*****
During the Enlightenment, thinkers began to cast human nature in a new light. Two philosophers who made early contributions to this new way of thinking were Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713) in his essay “Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit” and Joseph Butler (1692–1752) in his influential Fifteen Sermons.

Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury, better known as Shaftesbury, introduced what would become “moral sense theory,” suggesting that we possess a native capacity to experience and judge moral circumstances. As mentioned, in a challenge to Hobbes, Shaftesbury took issue with Hobbes’s reductive picture of human nature. In the “Inquiry,” Shaftesbury says that we experience “moral objects” much like we experience physical objects:

So, we experience moral judgments just as we experience a painting and approve or disapprove of it aesthetically: “There is a common and natural sense of what is sublime and beautiful in things; and someone who denies this won’t be taken seriously by anyone who has attended properly to the facts.”

Shaftesbury maintains this sense of right and wrong is natural and a “first principle in our make-up”:

Because a sense of right and wrong is as natural to us as natural affection itself, and is a first principle in our make-up, there is no theory, opinion, persuasion or belief that can immediately or directly exclude or destroy it.

Joseph Butler in his sermons influenced a long list of philosophers by also focusing on the moral conscience, that “principle of reflection” bestowed upon us by God (Butler was devout and became a bishop) to judge and regulate our conduct.

Butler maintains that it is too obvious to require the making of the case that we have something in us that leads humans toward the good. Yes, humans can fall prey to “ungoverned passions” and do one another harm, just as humans will do themselves harm. So, we are not divine, but we do have a nature. Just as leopards and flies have a nature, we too possess one. Our nature is acting in accordance with this principle of reflection or conscience. This faculty has an authority and, as he says, a supremacy and goes so far as to say (in the second sermon): “Had it strength, as it has right; had it power, as it has manifest authority; it would absolutely rule the world.”3 Butler observes that we are oriented toward one another. We find “satisfaction and amusement” in our various interactions. As he observes:

There is such a natural principle of attraction in man toward man, that having trod the same tract of land, having breathed in the same climate, barely having been born in the same artificial district or division, becomes the occasion of contracting and familiarities many years after: for any thing may serve the purpose. (Sermon 1)4

So, we bump into a fellow citizen during our foreign travels and form a bond. It seems silly that we do this. Why should I care, if I’m in Jordan, if I cross paths with an American? It is probably silly; actually it is quite silly. The point is that we all do this. It’s a reflex. And Butler says there’s a good reason for it. It lies at the center of what we are.

Shaftesbury and Butler influenced a generation of thinkers. Among the most preeminent were David Hume (1711–1776) and Adam Smith (1723–1790). Both members of the Scottish Enlightenment, Hume and Smith were not only intellectually simpatico, they were close, lifelong friends. Their friendship coincided with a renaissance that took place in Scotland, which up to that point had been a breeding ground of poverty and disease. In the early eighteenth century, Scotland then became the center of some of the most path-breaking and influential intellectual work in Europe—the capital, Edinburgh, itself got labeled a “hot-bed of genius.”5 Hume and Smith played major roles in this story.

Hume was twelve years Smith’s senior, and by the time Smith wrote his two major opuses—The Theory of Moral Sentiments (first edition 1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776—the year Hume died) Hume’s literary output was winding down. Hume’s thought therefore had quite an impact on Smith. In many respects, Smith can be viewed as a revision or an expansion of what Hume was attempting to achieve. The two thinkers did see eye to eye philosophically, but this should not be taken to mean that Smith merely offered a retread of Hume’s work. Smith’s moral philosophy is far more developed than Hume’s, and in many ways superior.

To start with Hume, he challenged the history of philosophy’s assumption that moral judgments are the product of reason. Philosophers, for centuries, took the position that if I saw someone steal an old lady’s purse, my moral judgement of it was an intellectual event. I drew conclusions, using my reason, that the theft was wrong. Hume disagrees. My moral judgment of the theft is akin to getting nervous before I give a speech or getting jealous when I see what I perceive to be flirtation on the part of my date with another person at a party. (Maybe I’m wrong, but the initial feeling of jealousy I certainly did not choose; it was merely a response.) For Hume, I cannot access moral matters intellectually, because intellectual matters deal with two kinds of knowledge: statements like “All bachelors are unmarried men” or “x=x.” Or knowledge that requires empirical verification: “All bachelors are tall” or “water boils at 100C.” The former set produces no new information and the latter does, but you have to verify it. The statement “All bachelors are tall” is absurd, but it’s a type of knowledge or statement. Tall is not part of the concept bachelor—unmarried man is. So, Hume says that our moral judgments must be taking place elsewhere. For him, it is more of a “neck-down” proposition than a “neck-up” one. In his major philosophical work A Treatise of Human Nature, he famously concludes “Morality is more properly felt than judg’d of….” (Treatise, 3.1.2)

In other words, as I examine a murder scene, the only things available to my senses and my reason (my intellect) are the facts of the crime scene. I can do detective work, I can do forensic analysis, I can come up with hypotheses, question the perpetrator, do lab work, get statements from witnesses, etc. This is all that is available. The right and the wrong of the situation are not on display. I cannot examine the scene for immorality. I cannot take it to the lab. The immorality of the scene I brought with me to the scene. It is only when I turn my reflection inward that the sentiment—my moral judgment of the scene—reveals itself. It is in me, in the form of a feeling. I internally judge the murder as immoral; there is no immorality at the murder scene.

If Hume is right, this has broad implications for the species. For one, we don’t get our morality from religion or our parents, it is an internal sense that we have. (Hume was keen to remove God from the picture; his irreligious perspective—which he made no attempt to hide—was something that rankled among some of his contemporaries and prevented him from securing a teaching position.) Moreover, Hume is saying that our core sense of morality is biological. We possess an internal sense of right and wrong and it registers at the level of sense. If we see a heinously immoral act, like a child being abused, we will feel it. It is a response. This is not to suggest that we will always agree. Hume accounts for distance and “disposition of our mind.” If I am present at the scene when the murder took place, it is going to probably affect my day. If I see it on the news, it probably will not. If I read about it in a history book, it definitely won’t. I can also have bad facts and misjudge a situation, like the perceived flirtation at the party. But, I cannot have a wrong feeling. I’m not wrong for feeling jealousy, if that is what I perceived. Maybe I was wrong about the facts—my date was simply getting directions to a restaurant she thought I would like—but the jealousy was not wrong.

In a later work entitled An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (known as the Second Inquiry), Hume discusses the concept of virtue. He states that “It is the nature, and, indeed, the definition of virtue, that it is a quality of the mind agreeable to or approved of by every one, who considers or contemplates it.” (§VIII) In other words, we find the virtuous agreeable; we are hardwired to find such things of use as pleasing. Were we terrible creatures this certainly would not be the case. Hume continues with a bit of a literary flourish, “[It] cannot be disputed, that there is some benevolence, however small, infused into our bosom; some spark of friendship for human kind; some particle of the dove, kneaded into our frame, along with the elements of the wolf and serpent.” (§IX) On a personal note, I really find this passage both beautiful and accurate. Some particle of the dove, kneaded into our frame. Sure, we can proceed like the wolf and the serpent, but we are not the wolf or the serpent. We just have those moments. But the particle of the dove is in there. It is part of what we are.

On to Hume’s very good friend Adam Smith. This is the very first paragraph in Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments ((There are many editions of Smith’s Moral Sentiments, but I recommend the scholarly Cambridge edition: Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. Knud Haakonssen (Cambridge, 2002).)):

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it. Of this kind is pity or compassion, the emotion which we feel for the misery of others, when we either see it, or are made to conceive it in a very lively manner. That we often derive sorrow from the sorrow of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it; for this sentiment, like all the other original passions of human nature, is by no means confined to the virtuous and humane, though they perhaps may feel it with the most exquisite sensibility. The greatest ruffian, the most hardened violator of the laws of society, is not altogether without it.

“How selfish soever man may be supposed”—this is basically a shot at Hobbes. This view of humanity was alive and well in the eighteenth century. If anything it was worse. “[P]rinciples in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.” We know this to be true if only we consult our own experiences. “[T]he emotion which we feel for the misery of others …” Again, we know this to be true. Your friend’s pet dies, you feel something. Your friend loses her job, you feel something. Even characters in a film—whom you do not know and do not exist—you cry, you feel sadness. “That we often derive sorrow from the sorrow of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it….” “The greatest ruffian, the most hardened violator of the laws of society, is not altogether without it.” We are quick to write off people in prison as being lost causes, but Smith’s point is a sound one.

Smith’s moral philosophy is also based on sentiment and sympathy, which Smith uses in an all-encompassing way to “denote our fellow-feeling with any passions whatever.” (1.1.1.5) But at times, Smith significantly departs from Hume’s approach. In a sense, it is more active we might say. Where Hume’s is a more passive transmission of sentiment, Smith employs what he calls imagination.

Put another way, it’s not a mere transmission of sentiment; I, through imagination, connect with the person’s circumstances. Rather than run through the technical aspects and specifics of Smith’s moral philosophy, I wish to center on his view of human nature, which permeates Moral Sentiments. In Part 3 of the text, Smith makes the following observation:

Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely; or to be that thing which is the natural and proper object of love. He naturally dreads, not only to be hated, but to be hateful; or to be that thing which is the natural and proper object of hatred. He desires, not only praise, but praise-worthiness; or to be that thing which, though it should be praised by nobody, is, however, the natural and proper object of praise. He dreads, not only blame, but blame-worthiness; or to be that thing which, though it should be blamed by nobody, is, however, the natural and proper object of blame. (3.2.1)

This is a powerful thought. “Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely.”

Smith highlights the existence and role of our conscience:

Nature, when she formed man for society, endowed him with an original desire to please, and an original aversion to offend his brethren. She taught him to feel pleasure in their favourable, and pain in their unfavourable regard. She rendered their approbation [approval] most flattering and most agreeable to him for its own sake; and their disapprobation most mortifying and most offensive. (3.2.5–6)

At the center of what we are, Smith is saying, there is a native preference for approval. We seek praise and praise-worthiness. And it is through this native sense that we judge our actions and the actions of others:

He [the Author of Nature] has made man, if I may say so, the immediate judge of mankind; and has, in this respect, as in many others, created him after his own image, and appointed him his vicegerent [ruler] upon earth, to superintend the behaviour of his brethren. (3.2.31)

He likens the conscience to a tribunal, to “that of the man within the breast, the great judge and arbiter of their [humankind’s] conduct.” (3.2.32)

I will close the Adam Smith discussion with what is probably my favorite Smith quote. Russian writer Anton Chekhov has a similar quote6 which gets more attention, but I like Smith’s better: “If we saw ourselves in the light in which others see us, or in which they would see us if they knew all, a reformation would generally be unavoidable.” This applies to individuals and whole societies. Humans are not very good at seeing themselves.

Another Enlightenment thinker we would be remiss to not include is the Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1788). Rousseau was an influential thinker who in part inspired Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. Rousseau and Hume knew one another, were friends for a time, and then had a falling out. Rousseau is probably the only person to have had interpersonal difficulties with the illustrious Scot, as he was basically adored by everyone who knew him. But at that point Rousseau’s mental health was declining, so we can cut him some slack.

Rousseau in his essay Discourse on Inequality (known as the Second Discourse), reconsiders the state of nature we discussed with Hobbes, and how other thinkers have employed it. Rousseau maintains that the major political philosophers who used the state of nature as a point of departure—for example, Hobbes and English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704)—started with civilized man and not man in a state of nature. He argues that aspects of socialized life have been imputed to their descriptions of the state of nature. It is Rousseau’s position that humans do not need an overarching structure to provide them protection (Hobbes) or to ensure property rights (Locke). That we were (hypothetically) better off in the state of nature and that it was civilization and the overarching political and economic structures that have created our worst ills. “Man is born free,” Rousseau famously stated in The Social Contract, “and everywhere he is in chains.” It was modernization that put those chains on us. That we were healthier, stronger, more dextrous, and altogether happier in the state of nature. Interestingly, this is the general sentiment in the current literature. Roughly 12,000 years ago, humans transitioned from being foragers and hunter-gatherers to growing crops, attaching themselves to a given parcel of land.

But alas, we cannot return to the state of nature, so we have to make the best of it. It is in his descriptions of humankind in the state of nature that Rousseau, like all the thinkers we have discussed so far, cast humanity in a much nicer light.

At the center of his characterization of humans in the state of nature, Rousseau notes the role of pity in human life. For Rousseau, this “natural sentiment” of pity places a check on our behavior. As he states, “[M]en would never have been anything but monsters, if nature had not given them pity to aid their reason.”7 He goes on to say:

Instead of the sublime maxim of reasoned justice [the Golden Rule], Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, pity inspires all men with another maxim of natural goodness, much less perfect but perhaps more useful than the preceding one: Do what is good for you with as little harm as possible to others.8

He expounds on the concept:

Pity is what, in the state of nature, takes the place of laws, mores, and virtue, with the advantage that no one is tempted to disobey its sweet voice. Pity is what will prevent every robust savage from robbing a weak child or an infirm old man of his hard-earned subsistence, if he himself expects to be able to find his own someplace else.8

And this is a thought worth meditating on. If we were naturally greedy and heartless, imagine what kind of world we would live in. Rousseau already said it above: we would be little more than monsters without this sense of pity. The world would be a nightmare. We might be tempted to point to the news as proof that the world is largely chaos and violence. This is false. If we were at the core unpleasant, the world would be a complete nightmare. And it isn’t. People want their children safe, for them to have good schools to attend, to get along with their neighbors, to have a job—one that pays something—and they tend to be touchy about foreign tanks on their streets. In the Middle East, in East Asia, in South America, in Europe, and all over the United States, I have encountered the same thing. This cannot be a coincidence.

So, very similar to Smith, Rousseau asserts we possess an innate sense and an inclination to not do harm. Likewise, similar to Hume, he calls into question philosophy’s age-old emphasis on reason being the sole source of our “repugnance at doing evil”8: “[T]he human race would long ago have ceased to exist,” he states, “if its preservation had depended solely on the reasoning of its members.”8

In fact, what are generosity, mercy and humanity, if not pity applied to the weak, to the guilty, or to the human species in general? Benevolence and even friendship are, properly understood, the products of a constant pity fixed on a particular object; for is desiring that someone not suffer anything but desiring that he be happy.

Rousseau selects a choice quote from the Roman poet Juvenal: “Nature, in giving men tears, bears witness that it gave the human race the softest hearts.”9

We are seeing confirmation of this Enlightenment redrawing of human nature across the sciences, in primatology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and psychology. Hume and Smith are now the talk of the town.

  1. Richard Tuck, Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 65.
  2. I guess I had to include this quote, even though it was with hesitancy. It gets quoted everywhere by everyone. It’s in all the textbooks. But it gets trotted out to suggest that Hobbes is saying that is what life in the state of nature is like. And he is not saying that. When you see a quote get used to death, something is usually amiss. Like Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” concept or his “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange” quote. One gets tired of seeing these quotes. They are overused, misused, and distort what the thinker was saying. The text—all of it—must be tended to.
  3. Butler, Fifteen Sermons, 31.
  4. Butler, Fifteen Sermons, 21.
  5. Dennis C. Rasmussen, The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), 55.
  6. “Man will become better when you show him what he is like.”
  7. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Basic Political Writings, ed. Donald A. Cress, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2011), 63.
  8. Rousseau, Basic, 64.
  9. Rousseau, Basic, 63.
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Naive Documentary (-ies) Makers Barely Scratch the Surface!

W.E.B. DuBois: ‘To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.’

This documentary (see below, first one linked) is not news, and then, of course, it’s Trump in office blather, too. As if UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal are havens for social and people and environmental justice.

How Poor People Survive in the USA — vapid.

The documentarian is done, really, through the auspices of Euro trash context, POV, narrative framing. Contrarily, you have to be in the mix, in the middle, from the chambers of power, schools, colleges, social work, to real journalism, and into the mess personally, with daily fear of losing the job and seeing savings go go go. That is the slippage in the death spiral of USA. 

This is a Reservation/Rez Society. Boarding School Society. Celebrity Cults. Internment Camp FEMA Village (Soon). This entire unfolding of history the past 70 years has been this big time military propaganda operation embedding into all systems. Confusion creator. Mystical hatred or subservience  while praying for that blue-eyed, blond hippie Jesus. Dirt poor, and loving Trump. College student loans over $100K,  and loving AOC and Biden.

The enemy for me, and I’d say for 80 percent of USA, is that grouping — colonized Eichmann’s, the upper classes, the dream hoarders, the intelligence/knowledge workers, the higher ups in education-medicine-incarceration-pharma-medicine-energy-banking-data collecting-surveillance-real estate-Chamber of Commerce-AI-science-ag-retail-logistics-transportation, and then, MIC, congressional military complex. Join the mercenary forces, and lucky you, get your teeth pulled and a GI Bill.

Bullshit.

Ahh, my old platform to rail against the system — LA Progressive! Terminal Velocity no More! Or here! Paul Haeder. 

I’ve asked why the stuff I send and publish elsewhere is no longer getting up on LA Progressive. No answer! Again, this documentary is broken (above), but that is documentary making, most times — focused, rarified, gatekeeping on steroids, with people on the projects not deep systems thinkers, and a willingness to leave out a lot.

Stan Brock memorial remembers founder of Remote Area Medical, Wild Kingdom  star

Missing:

  1. Tens of millions on the edge of the cliff of eviction, foreclosure, endless bad jobs, in the car or van, bunking up with family or friends, while working for middle managers who do not care, and the upper management and the billionaires and millionaires.
  2. Inflammation — Capitalism is a complete, holistic, top-down disease, creating inflammation in the veins, brain, organs, belly. But worse — cuts the thinking process, deforms the mutual aid ethos, destroys collective action, kills the ability to squat and reappropriate wealth, land, whatever.
  3. The rat race of those with a roof over their heads that continue to fuel prescriptions, Disneyland la-la-land thinking, buy-buy-buy, watching sports-stars-musicians, I got mine, you better fight to get yours
  4. This country, USA, is the rotting roots and DNA of Europe, of that narrator above. These are not real people, and they are so sculpted in news speak, in priviledge.
  5. This documentary doesn’t get to the fabric of colonization of cities, schools, the bullshit of privatization, and this wacky religious and wacky elitist country of Indian Removal, Enslavement then and now, and Nomadlands.
  6. Americans are children, and that is thanks to the Media, the Boss, foolish k-6 education, and, well, we are here now, 355 million, and this is pre-covid crazies. Now? Complete imprisonment!

Oh, hell, the list is a thousand points long: Stan Brock, Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom. This is one fellow, and great heart, but in a world of Space Suits, Billionaires and Yachts, Lies Casted in Media-Banking-Digitalization, well, one guy. “He founded Remote Area Medical in 1985 to give people in need essential health care. Since then, RAM has provided free dental, vision and basic health care to more than 740,000 people.”

 

Here, the documentary on RAM above, description: During the U.S. debate about healthcare reform, the media reporters and news crews and filmmakers failed to put a human face on what it means to not have access to healthcare. Remote Area Medical fills that gap; it is a film about people, not policy. Focusing on a single three-day clinic held in the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, Remote Area Medical affords us an insider’s perspective on the ebb and flow of the event, from the tense 3:30 a.m. ticket distribution that determines who gets seen to the routine check-ups that take dramatic turns for the worse, to the risky means to which some patients resort for pain relief. We meet a doctor who also drives an 18-wheeler, a denture maker who moonlights as a jeweler, and the organization’s founder, Stan Brock, who first imagined Remote Area Medical while living as a cowboy in the Amazon rainforest, hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor. But it is the extraordinary stories of the patients, desperate for medical attention, that create a lasting impression about the state of modern health care in America.

This can’t be ramped up, taken to the ultimate level? It’s socialism, brothers and sisters, the only way forward. Forget the hate that the right and the middle of the road have against socialism. They will ply the words of “one world government.” Or, the “government controlling us.” They will talk about Universal Basic Income. They will say it is brainwashing, and communism, and, well, that socialism means all rights are taken, managed, given to and taken away by some master groups of dictators. So we are dead in the water with capitalism by any means necessary: predatory, parasitic, casino, dog-eat-dog, shock therapy, zombie, trickle down nothingness.

That is, you know, vaccine passport, no. But, there is no Forced Healthcare for All. No, Massive Take Over the Empty Lots and Buildings for Massive Rehousing. No guerrilla farming everywhere. Nothing. Because, well, Capitalism is All about “We are all champions. We are all the New Eve and Adam. You can rest assured that the masters will NOT take care of you, but at least you have the stars and bars, god almighty, baby-land.”

This exceptionalism is what has detroyed many in the 80 percent. Many. They will work and think and do things against their own well-being. When you are a lost dog in this country, a limping stray, a hungry desperate pooch, well, you will jump to the master, run for the beasts of slapping, kicking, yelling, and hitting. Under the table, curled up, belly and organs exposed as its tail is between the legs.

Heartbroken Senior Dog Cowering At A Shelter Just Wants To Be Loved
Inflamed — Moreover, they point out how modern medicine has often missed these necessary connections—to our global detriment. What is needed is “deep medicine,” which, according to the authors, “requires new cosmologies, ones that can braid our lives with the planet and the web of life around us.”
 
Rupa Marya and Raj Patel spoke to YES! about the ravages of colonialist capitalism, the failures of modern medicine to treat them, and, most importantly, how a “deep medicine” approach can heal us all.
 
*This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
 
Sonali Kolhatkar: Is the title of the book, Inflamed, a metaphor for what is happening to our planet and its living systems?
 
Rupa Marya: It’s not at all a metaphor. It’s a description of what’s happening inside of our bodies and around us on the planet and our societies. The inflammatory response is the body’s ancient evolutionarily conserved pathway to restoring its optimal working condition when it’s been thrown off by danger or damage or the threat of damage. (Source, Yes Magazine)
 
No jobs, no good jobs, decayed systems, penalties, bad credit, criminal offenses, drugs, booze, and bodies torn at a very young age with multiple chronic diseases, many many diseases.
 
https://youtu.be/YrEwPp2bG48
 
This is the system that the beautiful people in the sciences, in technology, in the Reset Star Chamber, all of those hoarding money and the opportunities have set loose, and these fascists want these people — us, we the people — on UBI, held as data pools — body snatchers, mind snatchers, attention snatchers, activity snatchers, all part of mining people, putting us, them, the 80 percent, in the cloud, in algorithms, in data banks, all mashed up for social impact — do as we say, follow what we command, eat-drink-think like we say, and you will get the tokens, man, the money, the slice of a 200-square-foot-per-person habitat. No pets allowed.
The post Naive Documentary (-ies) Makers Barely Scratch the Surface! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Building Bridges from Pierre Janet to Lev Vygotsky: Transitions to Communist Psychology

Orientation

In his time, the late 19th to mid-20th century, Pierre Janet was considered a great psychologist and rival to Freud. But in Yankeedom he is barely known today. I bring him up in this article, not only because his ideas are worthy of being known, but because in many ways his was a precursor to the work of the communist psychology built by Lev Vygotsky, Alexander Leontiev, and Alexander Luria. In the early part of this article, Janet’s ideas are favorably compared to Freud in the importance of conflict; the origin of neurosis; the ways in which patients are trapped; how centralized the personality is; therapeutic techniques; the place of transference; the ideal patient; and adherence to the scientific method. In the middle section of the article Janet’s theory of three levels of personality are discussed.

Psychologists have spent many years dissecting different spectrum of the mind. These include all aspects from sensations to perceptions to thinking, to analyzing, comparing and contrasting, evaluating, deciding and planning. But what about what people do? After all, psychology is not just what is in the mind or heart. Psychology also studies gestures, postures and movement. Part of this article distinguishes reflexes from behavior, actions, habits, conduct and practical-critical activity. In the last third of the article, these different forms of doing are compared. I close with the similarities and differences between Janet and Vygotsky and socio-historical psychology. As resources for this article, I used Henri Ellenberger’s large tome, The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry which has a long Chapter on Janet. The second resource is Jaan Valsiner’s and Rene van der Veer’s book The Social Mind. Valsiner is also the author of a large biography of Vygotsky. Lastly I shall reference B.R. Hergenhahn’s book An Introduction to the History of Psychology, which I used for many years while teaching the subject.

Family background

Pierre Janet was a medical doctor born in 1859 who died in 1947. His early years of psychological work overlapped with the great hypnosis period of Jean-Martin Charcot and the The Nancy school. Janet was a consummate Parisian. He was born and died in Paris. He came from an upper middle-class family who produced many scholars, lawyers and engineers. His father became a bookseller, specializing in music while his mother was very religious. Pierre was the oldest son of a young mother who was 21 at time of his birth, while his father was 45. His parents were very distant and the only relative who showed interest in Pierre was his uncle, Paul.  Paul wrote books on philosophy which were classics in France for two or three generations. He also wrote many studies on the history of philosophy. Paul’s son wrote studies on philosophy of science and on the psychology of scientific discoveries. Pierre’s mother died in 1885 well before Janet became famous. He wanted to do psychopathological research and decided to take up medical studies. Janet began his medical studies in 1889 and completed them in 1893. He worked in Charcot’s wards. Charcot died in 1893. In 1894 Janet published a book on philosophy he had been working on for 12 years. He was married in 1894. Janet wrote two books on neurosis: Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View and Obsessions and Psychasthenia.

Intellectual influences

Janet was deep into French intellectual life, and he crossed paths with Maurice Blondel, the sociologist Emile Durkheim; the socialist Jean Jaures, and the psychologist Alfred Binet. Janet was very intellectually ambitious. In his Latin dissertation, Janet chose Francis Bacon and the alchemists as topics and thought he was in a similar situation as Bacon. He wanted to found a new experimental psychology based on synthesizing science and magic. He became life-long friends with process philosopher Henri Bergson who was very interested in memory for his arguments about creative evolution. Late in his book Matter and Memory, Bergson refers to Janet’s research on dissociation of personality, hypnosis and suggestion.  They shared an interest in Charcot’s work. Janet also studied the work of Proust and Valery on memory. Over the years, he built a vast and comprehensive system in which almost every possible aspect of psychology found its place. He kept a card catalogue of his books. Late in life he became friends with the author James Baldwin.  Further In his quest to understand the unconscious mind, Janet became interested in graphology and narcoanalysis as a way to link hypnosis to chemical substances. Lastly, he explored electric shock therapy for curing depression. He kept an extensive herb garden in which he collected and classified herbs. He enjoyed hiking and botanizing in the Fontainebleau woods.

He was not only a scholar but a very skillful clinician and psychotherapist, and an admirable lecturer. As a teacher he tried to follow the Socratic Method. He believed there would come a time when a man could travel through the past in the same way as he now travels through air. He would have nothing to do with journalists and granted no interviews.

Freud vs Janet: Similarities and Differences

Both Freud and Janet were medical doctors and they were interested in the same kinds of neurotics, namely obsessives and hysterics. Both were interested in the importance of traumatic events in the shaping of personality and they both valued working with hypnosis to get to the trauma.  Both were interested in patients who were “stuck” (fixation) and they both thought fixation kept people from living in the present. They both also believed that fixation haunted the patient’s future. For Janet, fixed ideas narrowed consciousness in the present which kept the person from completely functioning in the here-and-now at work. They both dismissed parapsychology and religion. Janet thought that therapy would eventually replace religion.

However, they differed in important ways. First, here is a summary of Janet’s psychological analysis.

  • The discovery of subconscious fixed ideas is caused by a traumatic or frightening event that has been replaced by symptoms. This narrows the field of consciousness.
  • Hysterical crisis are disguised reenactments of fixed idea.
  • Fixed ideas are subconscious characteristic, a feature of hysteria vs obsessive neurosis, and were unconscious.
  • Obsessions and phobias were conscious.

For Freud neurosis came about because of repressed sexuality, and as the patient being arrested at the phallic stage of development in either the Oedipus or Electra complex. Janet thought Freud’s ideas about sexuality were “over the top”.  Janet thought the foundation for neurosis was the inability to do creative work in a consistent, expanding manner which he called “conduct”. There were two types of neurosis:

  • Asthenias syndrome – insufficiency of psychological force; and,
  • Hypotonic syndrome – insufficiently of psychological tension.

These will be discussed later.

Both agreed on the importance of conflict psychologically, but the location was different. For Freud the conflict was driven by the clash between the id and the superego.  For Janet, there was conflict between psychological force and tension. Their techniques were different. Freud interpreted dreams and used free association techniques to get at the unconscious.  Janet, anticipating the surrealists, used automatic writing as an active role play to get at unconscious drives. Though Freud did not think much of the ego compared to the id and the superego, he still saw the ego as a centralizing and coordinating force in the structure of the psyche. Janet thought neurotics had no centralizing force. Like Gurdjieff, Janet thought his patients did not already have an I. They had to make one. Janet claimed priority over Freud in having discovered a cathartic cure for neurosis brought forth by the clarification of traumatic origins.

They were on opposite sides of the fence when it came to the relationship between patient and therapist. Freud wanted to cultivate transference and this meant encouraging dependency in his patients. Janet discouraged dependency and expected his patients to internalize their conversations and to become autonomous, the sooner the better.  For Janet it was very bad for someone to be overly dependent. This craving to be hypnotized and need to confess to the psychiatrist had to be gradually stopped. Janet’s method was to phase the sessions out.

Further, the settings and the classes they worked with were different. Janet worked in public hospitals with working-class and poor people. Freud had a private practice with upper-class people. Lastly, their ideal types were different. The motto of Freud’s genital character was “love and work are the well-springs of life”. For Janet, rational-ergastic work was the goal which Janet claimed was scientific practice. The table below summarizes their differences.

Janet vs Freud Compared

Janet

Medical Doctor

Category of comparison Freud

Medical Doctor

Yes – psychological force vs tension Importance of conflict Yes – id vs super ego
Lack of activity practice in work

·      Asthenias syndrome -insufficiency of psychological force

·      Hypotonic syndrome –

insufficiently of psychological tension

Origin of neurosis Repressed sexuality

 

Oedipal complex

Electra complex

Fixed ideas narrowed consciousness in the present now In what way are patients stuck? Fixations haunted people at different stages of development
No centralized I

(The same as George Gurdjieff)

How centralized is the personality? Ego was relatively centralized vs id and superego
Automatic writing

Active role play

Therapeutic techniques Dream interpretation

Free association

Discouraged dependency Place or misplace of transference Encouraged dependency
Rational Ergastic work: scientific practice Ideal Genital character

“Love and work are the well-spring of life.”

Worked in hospitals

with working class

Setting and social class of patients Worked privately with the upper classes
Experimental Scientific follow-up Speculative

Janet’s ideal state

The highest manifestation of humanity for Janet, like Vygotsky and Marxists, is the ability to act upon external objects and change reality in the service of adaptation and to introduce an increase of order (today called negentropy). This includes an ability to completely focus on the here-and-now at work.  Janet called this “conduct”. For Janet, the individual is capable of controlling both force and tension in his conduct. This opposes the natural tendency of the mind to roam through the past and the future rather than staying present when working.

Levels within Psychology

Janet divided the human being into three levels.

Lower tendencies

Lower tendencies include reactive tendencies like expressive, explosive acts. Without psychological regulation, these are tendencies which are like instincts or reflexes. Still within the lower level there are perceptive tendencies which aim at modifying something in the exterior world through waiting and searching rather than taking the initiative. Habitual actions are also included.

The second layer within the lower level are imagination, representative memory, fantasy and daydreaming. There are two inferior levels: emotional reactions and useless muscular movements. Lastly, at the highest of the lowest level are the socio-personal tendencies in which there is differentiation between conduct directed at others and the conduct directed at one’s own body. Examples of this are imitation, collaboration, command and obey, learning and playing roles, hiding and showing, play, sex, and ceremonies.  Social emotions at this level include effort, fatigue, sadness, joy, and delusions of persecution

Middle tendencies

Middle tendencies include elementary intellectual tendencies These include verbal language, symbolic thought, production, and explanation. Human actions began to be dissociated from bodily contact.  Results from discussion among individuals and other social members include doubt, deliberation, and decision.

Highest tendencies

Higher tendencies are labeled by Janet as rational–ergetic tendencies or conduct.

This is the tendency of focused work. This means the capacity to stick things out even if it derives no initial satisfaction.Virtues include voluntary action (rather than being told what to do) initiative, perseverance and patience. It includes the capacity to endure waiting and using the rules of logic. The person at this level is capable of experimenting when a system is criticized according to its practical result.

Then Janet says something very interesting. He says the search for individuality extends into time (history) and space (around the world.) By this he means that conduct at this level involves being concerned about how his work is part of history and interacts with other cultures around the world. A person at this level has confidence in the concept of progress.

Exploration of Neurosis

For Janet neurotics were for various reasons stuck at levels one or two and were not capable of conduct.  For Janet, a good experimental approach consists in knowing one’s patient well—in his life, schooling, characters and his ideas—and to be convinced that one never known him enough. Psychological energy consists of force and tension. Psychological force is the quantity of elementary psychic energy available to accomplish numerous prolonged and rapid acts. They are both intended and manifest. Psychological tension is the capacity to utilize his energy at a high level in the hierarchy of tendencies of coordination and any creative and scientific act.  Janet did not believe the supersession of neurosis involved an absence of tension. Tension can be good depending on the right kind. The greater the number of psychological operations synthesized, the more novel the synthesis. The more novel the synthesis, the higher the psychological tension.

When dealing with a neurotic, the first concern is to evaluate psychological force and psychological tension involved. There are two syndrome that can result from this evaluation.

Asthenia syndrome— is where there is an insufficiency of psychological force

In a mild version of this syndrome, patients are dissatisfied with themselves. They are unable fully to enjoy happiness or pleasure and they become easily anxious or depressed. An intermediate stage is a kind of withdrawal. It is not so much that they are dissatisfied with themselves, per se, but there is an unhappiness with people. There is a feeling of a void, where they do not like people and do not feel liked by others, The most severe form of the asthenia syndrome. This syndrome is where someone is unable to work at a steady occupation. For Janet, like Marxists, meaningful work is the most important thing in life.

Hypotonic syndrome – is where there is insufficiency of psychological tension for managing higher level functions.

Primary symptoms are the incapacity to performs acts of psychological synthesis. This means the lower, middle and higher functions are not coordinated. Secondary symptoms are a waste of nervous energy that cannot be utilized at the desired level. For example, distracting oneself on the job on the internet or with mindless chattering with others. What also goes with this are feelings of inadequacy which come from working at a job below their qualifications.

The treatment of asthenia syndrome: managing the psychic economy

Janet’s suggestions for treatment of the first syndrome was to

  • Increase in energy. These involve some very practical suggestions about regulating energy. Teaching patients the best way to prepare for sleep; structuring the distribution of breaks throughout the work day, and taking vacations during the year. Secondly having a qualitative diet, including vitamins.
  • Diminishing expenditures. Janet emphasized getting rid of what he called “energy leeches”, people who drain energy with their problems and not contribute anything. Janet said that people are very bad at terminating relationships, even when they are counterproductive.
  • Liquidating debts – Janet had a very strange term for this, but what he meant was getting rid of fixed ideas or traumatic reminiscences.

All these interventions are involved in helping patients get to level three to be able to conduct rational-ergetic tendencies.

Treatment of hypotonic syndrome

Derivations meant channeling agitations by transferring them into useful or tolerable activities to increase and heighten psychological tension. Janet looked down on drugs, travels, and love affairs because they are temporary and uneconomical. Lastly, there is training in performing a complete and achieved action and build-up to those steps.

On the whole, when therapy went well it was a therapeutic revolution. The reason for this is because it demonstrates how a healthy relationship to the therapist can be a model for the patient’s relationship with others. In an optimal sense the patient would be able to use the modeling of their relationship with the therapist to build a new community based on what has been learned. Most importantly, the therapeutic relationship should be able to promote conduct at the highest level, preforming work that is rational-ergastic.

From Janet’s Conduct to Vygotsky’s Practical-Critical Activity

In order to understand how Janet’s concept of “conduct” is a bridge to Vygotsky’s “practical critical activity,” we must start by defining a whole spectrum of human “doings” or “ways”. I begin with reflexes at the simplest part of the spectrum on the left, moving toward practical critical activity as the most complex level on the right.

Reflexes

Reflexes are innate instincts that happen very quickly and are a product of biological evolution. All animals have reflexes, and no mental life is necessary to have them. Neither do you have to be conscious for reflexes to happen. Examples include sweating, pulling away from a fire, or knees reacting to the tapping of doctor’s hammer. Reflexes stay more or less the same during the lifespan but they become less sharp with age. Human beings have little control over reflexes. They are a normal part of everyday life. They are in place because they help us to survive since biological beings’ reflexes do not require any theory coming from an individual experiencing them. Reflexes are biological doings which are innate, automatic, and part of nature’s formula for success as a biological species.

Behavior

Behavior is different from instincts because it is based on learning and occurs among virtually all mammals. Like reflexes, no mental life is necessary. Behavior can change simply because of associations happening before the behavior (Pavlov) or consequences after the behavior (Skinner). Consequences can be reinforcers (positive and negative) and punishers (positive and negative). You don’t have to be conscious of your behavior in order to have it. For example, a male who is violent with his partner and children might not know what his behavior will be right before he becomes violent. However, his “warning signs” are known by his wife and children because it is in their interests for survival to recognize it. Behaviors are not as fast as reflexes because learning takes time before the behavior becomes automatic through associations and consequences.  Examples of behavior include most postures, gestures and voice inflections that are molded without any conscious or mindful intention.

Behaviors can change over time, or they can become habits, as we shall see. Unlike reflexes, behavior can be changed if feedback is received. Like reflexes, behavior permeates the everyday life of virtually all mammals, but unlike reflexes, behaviors can be maladaptive. Like reflexes, behavior requires no theoretical activity on the part of an individual member of a species. it is important to keep in mind that what is automatic and occurs below the level of consciousness is not necessarily biological. It seems natural because it happens quickly. But there was a time when it did not happen quickly, but we weren’t paying attention. An example is driving a stick shift. There was a time when you had to think about what you were doing, and your behaviors were awkward. But then your body “got it” and you performed it well and quickly. It seems like a reflex. Behaviors are doings which are learned, occur below the level of consciousness. They can be individual or social, given the level of complexity of the organism.

Actions

Unlike either reflexes or behavior, actions require the participation of the mind and being conscious of what the individual is doing. Actions are limited to primates and are especially prominent in human beings. Actions are the result of the intentions of the mind carried out in space and over time. Actions occur more slowly and are more deliberate because, at least in humans, they require setting goals, making plans, and making lists before carrying them out. Unlike reflexes and behaviors, actions may have a direction which persists over time and is less subject to interruptions. Actions are part of everyday life, but they are often crowded out by reflexes and actions. A standard to measure actions are individual evaluations of past problems along with actions designed to reduce stress. Actions are doings which are learned, can be cultural and involve the mind’s intervention in solving problems and changing one’s direction constructively.

Habits

Like actions, habits can be either individual or cultural experiences, but their focus is mostly on primates and especially human beings.  The mind is involved some of the time and sometimes not, as habits can be formed consciously or they can be acquired unconsciously. Bad habits are usually unconsciously formed but it takes the mind to develop a plan in order to form new habits. Sometimes consciousness is necessary, and with bad habits it occurs unconsciously. Habits are learned slowly at first but can be sped up and dropped into the unconscious. A way to think about this is at its best, habits are behaviors that have stood the test of time, by first making them actions.

Examples of bad habits are drinking too much alcohol, drug abuse, smoking, or eating junk food. Good habits are painting four hours a day every Tuesday and Thursdays from 6pm to 10pm. Another good habit can be writing four days a week from 5am to 7am every Wednesday or Friday. Habits are actions that have thickened and have a more committed direction. Other primates are likely to have unconscious habits but not conscious ones. Habits can be controlled and strengthened with negative feedback as the system is held in equilibrium. Or habits can result in positive feedback where bad habits are amplified and can drop from the socio-cultural level to a biological level, such as alcohol or drug addiction. The standards to be measured are the past of an individual and relationship to present circumstances and future goals (actions). There is no theoretical activity required for habits. What makes good habits unique is that unlike behaviors, they can be repeated over time when steered by a particular goal that comes from action.

Conduct

This is what Janet was most interested in cultivating in his work with patients. For him it was the indicator of a most evolved human being. Conduct is drawn from social-cultural sources, particularly scientific practice. Individual learning is involved but that learning is disciplined by the rules, procedures and methods of science. It is unique to humans and both mind and consciousness are necessary. Conduct is a thick, very slow process that takes years of formal training that is required to be a doctor, lawyer, architect, teacher, engineer, or musician. Conduct requires the highest degree of control, not just for the individual but for the entire professional community. The standards to be measured include socially established standards of excellence which are collectively analyzed, criticized, and improved upon at conferences, in journals, or in the case of musicians, through cooperation, competition and critical audience response.

Unlike any other form of doing, in conduct theory it is necessary to inform conduct. Conduct improves theory, and theory then improves conduct by taking it to a higher level. Conduct is not a habit because it is not thickened by an individual’s goals, which come out of action, but instead out of the goals of a scientific field.  Conduct which is part of a social-cooperative institution has historical traditions with standards which are emulated and improved. The individual “conductor” is both the product of that professional community and a co-producer of it.

From Conduct to Practical Critical Activity

Similarities between Janet and Vygotsky

Vygotsky and Janet were similar in important ways. Both were against the reductionism of behaviorism – there was more to human beings than stimulus-response. Both thought that the study of consciousness was important for its role in mediating the relationship between reactions to the environment and the behaviors that followed. They were both sympathetic to Gestalt theories of perception as wholes rather than bits or atomistic information. Yet they were critical of the passive sense of the environment that Gestalt’s perceptions emerged from. Both Janet and Vygotsky were also critical of subjectivist psychology such as psychoanalysis because they ignored the place of doings that we have discussed.

At the same time, both Janet and Vygotsky were against biological reductionism. They would oppose theories of temperament which argued that people are born with a certain personality. Rather they would say that personality is the result of temperament and socialization. In the process of being socialized, individual experiences accumulate resulting in a personality which is more than temperament. Both Janet and Vygotsky were against overspecialization within a field at least in part because they were well-rounded as intellectuals. Both were interested in theatre, painting, and poetry, and these made their theoretical insights into psychology richer.

Furthermore, both Janet and Vygotsky were committed to sociogenesis. For each, the origin of all psychological functions begins not inside the individual, but in cooperation between people. Only later do these socio-historical experiences become internalized. These internalization processes become social again when the individual goes back into the world to work. Lastly, both psychologists thought that meaningful work was central to psychological health. Each felt that human beings were at their best when they were working. For Janet it was rational-ergetic conduct, while for Vygotsky it was practical-critical activity.

Differences between Janet and Vygotsky

Scale of sociogenesis

A major difference between Janet and Vygotsky has to do with the scale at which conduct and practical-critical activity took place. For Janet what was social was pretty much at a micro-social interaction. For him, sociogenesis was between the individual and their families, teachers, and therapists. The closest Janet came to a larger scale sociogenesis was when he referred to the scientific community. For him, conduct expresses itself in two settings:

  • In the therapist’s relationship with his patient.
  • In the psychologist’s relationship with the scientific community.

In both cases the psychologist has a theory, and the theory is turned into conduct in therapeutic interventions and at scientific conferences. As a result of this conduct the theory is improved so that the next round is improved because the theory has improved.

In the case of Vygotsky (please see my two articles What Is Socialist Psychology Parts I and II for more in-depth coverage.) Practical critical activity does not take place between an individual and a community. Rather, practical critical activity is a collective political practice in which communities intervene politically to change a society. For example, a socialist community has a theoretical commitment to run candidates from their party in the next election. Some want to do this while others say it is a waste of time, and that their practice should be focused on organizing workers. They go ahead with the campaign. The campaign results in a certain number of votes. That was their practice. The practice then turns into a more refined theory based on how they made sense of the results. The new theory then engaged in a deeper, hopefully more advanced practice. In other words, there is a dialectical spiraling interaction between theory and practice. Janet would not disagree with the process but the process would be taking place at a collective and political level.

Social class

Janet worked in public hospitals with working-class and poor people. But as far as I know, he never incorporated class differences into his theory of conduct. On the one hand, his references to conduct were to professional activities. However, a lot of his interventions were with classes well-below those professions. What would make sense is that it was more likely the poor and working-class people would have trouble with lower levels, such as adequate sleep, good food and exercise. At the middle level working-class people might have difficulty fending off “energy leeches”, such as their families or counterproductive friendships. Working-class people might well have problems concentrating, since their work was often miserable and they are less likely to have mind-body integration where they were totally focused on the present, as in conduct. Vygotsky, like Janet, also worked with poor and working-class people, and as a communist I suspect he would be more likely to integrate social class into his practical-critical activity, but I am not aware that Vygotsky did this explicitly.

Human history

Janet’s sociogenesis not only operated at a micro level, but his incorporation of history into his theory of conduct was only vaguely developed, if at all. It is reasonable to think he had an appreciation that his interventions were not limited to immediate social interaction, but that these interactions accumulated and became a thickening historical collective conduct embodied in the practice of psychology as a professional field. Janet was well aware that his conduct interventions were part of a history that was developing between Charcot, the Nancy School, Freud and himself. He did have a sense that this accumulation of knowledge of the scientific community led to progress historically, as well as progress between Europe and the United States.

Vygotsky was extremely conscious of his theory as rooted in history. He was also conscious that his work with Leontiev and Luria was attempting to create a communist psychology. He knew his practices were political and he struggled to overcome whatever anti-communism he faced when he journeyed to psychology conferences. He had a deep sense that what he was co-creating was new. He wanted to create a Das Kapital for the field of psychology.

Practical, Critical Activity Defined

Like Janet’s conduct, practical critical activity is unique to the human species. No other animal does this. But unlike Janet’s conduct, practical-critical activity is not primarily about individual learning, but rather a socio-cultural relationship between socialist political theory intervening in industrial capitalist society. Likewise, the reflective moment of mind is not an individual mind but the superstructure of knowledge of society (science, art, math, philosophy) from which theory is drawn. Being collectively conscious is essential to practical critical activity. The speed at which the theory – practice-theory takes place is slower than conduct because more people are involved, and the interventions take place at a larger scale. The direction of practical-critical activity is a spiral – either improving the world or making the world worse because of the existence of wars, economic crises, or fascism. Practical critical activity is not a normal part of everyday life – with the exception of revolutions. Days and weeks can elapse between rounds of theory – practice – theory. The standards by which practical critical activity is judged is optimally that the self-organization of the working class is improved. What happens is that new technologies are invented which shrink the ratio between necessary labor and freedom, so the human species creates more and more negentropy with less and less collective labor. This practice is critical, reflective and, at its best, resists habits not becoming old and conformist because the social-historical world is constantly changing.

In sum, practical-critical activity is a uniquely human socio-historical activity. It is the structured, recursive, and meaningful political process executed by human beings. We intervene in the infrastructure, structure, and superstructure of society for the purpose of promoting socialism. We do this by drawing from the accumulated wisdom of past super-structural knowledge to reflect, analyze, compare, and contrast, evaluate, and plan our next intervention. Optimally, this takes the shape of a spiral, with higher and higher interventions which are more depthful, fuller of breadth, and expansive.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article is fourfold. The first is to introduce the neglected work of one of the great psychologists of the late 19th and mid 20th century, Pierre Janet. I do this by contrasting him favorably to Freud. Secondly, I present his theory of three levels of human functioning. Thirdly, I present a neglected subject of psychology, the field of “doings”. I contrast five ways of doing: reflexes, behavior, actions, habits, and Janet’s category which he called “conduct”. Fourthly, I close the article by contrasting the similarities and differences between Janet and Vygotsky. One of the main differences between them is that Vygotsky’s theory allows for a sixth way of doing: practical-critical activity. The last part of my article shows the ways practical-critical activity is different from Janet’s conduct.

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post Building Bridges from Pierre Janet to Lev Vygotsky: Transitions to Communist Psychology first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Obama: “I’m really good at killing people”

Consider this article as a postscript to my earlier psychological portrait of Barack Obama as “The Ultimate Status-Seeker” (Dissident Voice, May 5, 2012).  Many unanswered questions remain about Obama: the nature of his emotional life and attachments, his primary motivations for becoming president, and his ultimate values and principles (if any). Here was a man who planned, decades ahead of time, his ascent to the pinnacle of power – and hewed single-mindedly to that single-track goal until he attained it. As president, he was at once a compulsive compromiser – even with the most extreme positions and pathetically unworthy opponents – and a clandestine State-terrorist, using the lawless, criminal army known as the CIA. (“What the CIA wants,” he admitted in a moment of candor, “the CIA gets.”)

The case of Obama is especially disconcerting because of his carefully measured words and mastery of equivocation and double-speak. By contrast, of course, the crudely aggressive Bush and the fast-talking con-artist Trump were “primitives,” their brazen lies and cruel rhetoric out-in-the-open and identifiable for all who cared to look closely. Obama, fairly skilled actor and p.r. man, displayed a far more sophisticated persona (mask). His invariably articulate, uncannily calm demeanor seemed indicative of entirely rational motivations behind his decisions. But true rationality and defensive rationalization are worlds apart.

Psychoanalysts have distinguished motivations as both manifest and latent. For instance, Trump’s CIA director Gina Haspel might say that she rose through the ranks of the CIA in order to “serve the national security interests of her country.” But what were her latent motivations when she ran the most notorious of the secret black-sites (Thailand), producing no useful “intelligence” but letting loose a veritable frenzy of endless torture. “She tortured,” observed CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, “just for the sake of torture” (Democracy Now, 3/14/2018).  And hiding evidence of her crimes, she made sure that the 90-plus videotapes were destroyed. (Manifest vs. latent: had operatives at the facility repeatedly watched the tapes for analytical “study” — or for “pleasure”?).

Classical psychoanalytic theory also emphasized the formative consequences, often devastating for a lifetime, of early trauma (cf. John Bowlby, Attachment and Loss). As we know, when still an infant Obama was abandoned by his father, who abruptly returned to Kenya after having studied in the U.S. and sired a baby boy. When Barack Sr. finally did return for a brief visit, some 10 years later, he immediately imposed his pig-headed authority, forbidding the boy from staying up late to watch the TV special, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. At that moment, as Obama recounted in his memoir, his father-idealization collapsed. And, of course, after the short visit, his father left – abandoning him yet again. To her credit – as Obama acknowledged – his mother made great efforts, with the help of her own parents, to be a good mother. But she had her career ambitions as well, which focused on long-term absences doing fieldwork in Indonesia for a doctorate in anthropology. Obama wrote thoughtfully about all this in what appeared to be a mature, if somewhat detached, manner. Significantly, Obama did write with affection about his maternal grandmother, who no doubt provided some compensation for his feelings of being under-valued and rejected. But the reality was that the boy was, for long and/or intermittent periods, abandoned by both parents.

From whence came Obama’s inordinate, burning ambition for supreme political power? My point here, hardly path-breaking, is that unhealed wounds from early childhood may linger throughout a lifetime. In re-making his observable personality, substituting feelings of weakness and vulnerability with an imperturbable, Olympian calm, Obama could hide behind a facade of self-assured equanimity, a compensation for actual emotional neediness from a relatively loveless childhood. With ultimate power-and-status, he was no longer the weak, vulnerable one – subject to the arbitrary fiats and sudden abandonments of his parents – but rather, the calm, emotionally detached person “in charge.” Interestingly, he seemed to have transcended, or even renounced, any vestigial longing for “love” – unlike the applause-addicted Bill Clinton and the (relentlessly) attention-craving Trump.

How did rising politician Obama partially work through his “father-complex” (characterized more by bitter resentment than by the usual ambivalence)? Vis-a-vis substitute father-figures: one may engineer a role-reversal–the “father” is diminished as the son ascends to power. As a freshman U.S Senator from Illinois, the inexperienced Obama sought the guidance and mentorship of veteran Senator Joe Biden (as well as the awful Joe Lieberman, Senator from MIC). It must therefore have been deliciously satisfying when, only a few years later, Obama made Biden his dependent (the office of vice-president being experienced as both powerless and humiliating by all its holders – with the glaring exception of Cheney). (I can’t help being reminded also of Marlon Brando, who complained throughout his life of the humiliations his father had inflicted on him as a boy. But when he became a big-time movie star, he was able to turn his father into little more than an assistant.)

President Obama’s trademark emotional detachment, seemingly indicative of mature resolution of earlier conflicts, at times verged on a strange dissociation. For instance, why would President Obama not only make the notorious CIA director John Brennan a kind of mentor (and pal), but eagerly collaborate with him in innumerable grisly assassinations by drone? The president also allowed Brennan’s CIA to relentlessly harass and hack the investigations into the agency’s misconduct – i.e., the Senate committee investigation headed up by a leader of his own Democratic party (Feinstein). With his campaign for re-election gearing up in 2011, Obama not only cleverly timed his ordered execution of bin Laden (which, again tellingly, he, Brennan and Secretary Clinton chose to watch live), but he compiled a “kill list” which he then deliberately leaked to the New York Times. In a militarized society, prospective voters will indeed tend to prefer a “tough” candidate who brags – as the sadistic Bush did (gangster-style) – of criminally “taking out” whatever “enemies” or “terror-suspects” he chooses.

But that is not the full story. Obama desired to kill–to kill victims, including women and children – in a faraway land, far away from any direct threat of reprisal. To kill, with impunity (one of the most attractive perks of being president). But whyDisplaced vengeance: wounded and rejected as he still felt in the deepest recesses of his self, Obama as president was now enabled — by his office of supreme power – to invert the power-dynamics. Once again: from “the hurt/rejected one” to ”the hurter” — from the “vulnerable” to the “implacable.”

But to wish to directly participate in such targeted-killing? If you doubt the element of naked sadistic satisfaction involved, I refer you to two things: 1) Youtube video footages which graphically show the aptly-named Hellfire missiles in action; and 2) Obama’s casual remark to some aides (and reported in the press with only a little disquiet): “Turns out I’m really good at killing people.” I.e., crushing and incinerating houses with people inside (maybe eating dinner). By the way, his comment, though far less well-known, almost rivals, in malign implication, Stalin’s murderous quip: “The death of a man is a tragedy.  The death of millions is a statistic.” (Of course, either quote might have been made by Bush.)

Obama’s nonchalant and strangely offhand boast(!) exemplifies in an extreme way the kind of “ironic,” malicious humor increasingly found among clever, moderately narcissistic people who seem to feel little, if any, genuine sympathy for the suffering of others.   Such a “cold joke” is noticeably smug and even gleefully self-satisfied in its more-than-evident contempt for “inferiors.”  Shocking – and his choice to direct participate in the murders unmistakably reveals the sadistic pleasure he gained from the experience. Thinking of killer-elites who act out their desire to inflict pain and then mock the worth of their screaming victims, one is reminded of a certain torture facility at Guantanamo, a nightmarish hell-hole which CIA analysts “jokingly” called “Strawberry Fields.”

President Obama’s all-too-evident indifference to the mass suffering caused by the U.S. military occupying Afghanistan–maybe “a dumb war” — also speaks volumes. At least President Biden, culpable in many ways for U.S. warmaking, was willing to accept some temporary political damage in order to end the murderous–but too expensive! — bloodbath.  Moreover, Obama clearly cared little about the horrors, and illegality, of Guantanamo (truly bizarre, for this former constitutional law professor).

How many wounded, vindictive persons deliberately seek power in order to “pay back with interest” the harm that was once done to them?  Of course, psychoanalysts would put Hitler and Stalin at the top of the list, but there are (tragically) plenty of more recent figures to include.  Stalin, whose brutal, drunken father beat him almost daily, to the very end had only one treatment for imagined traitors: “Beat, beat, and beat again!”

The post Obama: “I’m really good at killing people” first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Oil Companies Tell Us About Climate Change and Big Pharma Tells Us About Variants

They never call that Conflic$ of $ntere$t

Doctors are urging everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant are popping up in more states, but the vaccine may also need to change to keep up with the mutations of the virus.

“It is, probably, one of our worst-case scenarios in terms of the combination of mutations that exist in one variant,” said Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Cambridge-based Moderna. (source)

Again, this discussion around SARS-CoV2’s origins, and I mean, LAB origins, is so stunted that I have zero faith in the ability of people running the show and those following the show, and those who bombast and tell me to follow the science, to really have the guts and mental acumen to think outside their pathetic boxes. So, getting the low down from Moderna is not only bizarre, more than the fox watching the hens, but deeper. Here, a wrap up:

Our novel coronavirus is a LAV — live attenuated virus — derived from the work being done at University of North Carolina, the only place on earth trying to make a LAV for SARS-like viruses, which are also obviously not going to be fully acclimated to the human genome like the human influenza virus, which seems to have been with us at least since the Trojan War thousands of years ago.

Until SARS-CoV-2 is understood as a LAV that’s deattenuating towards a highly-pathogenic chimeric coronavirus that’s going through gatekeeping mutations and has no intention whatsoever of following the assumptions drawn from observing natural evolution or even the paths of the H1N1 LAVs which melted back into their original endogenous human hosts – humanity is going to continue to be standing on its head as it attempts to battle this pandemic, and misunderstanding the basic fundamental nature of what its up against.

It’s something we seem to be particularly good at, since all the way back in 1977 when the first H1N1 LAV emerged to a mass global panic, a massive push was made to create and distribute vaccines against what was thought to be a potentially pandemic strain. But it turns out that one of the ways a LAV isn’t a natural virus, is that when you attempt to vaccinate against it, neurological side-effects appear to proliferate among the vaccinated population, as the virus blows through this attempt at protection.

Because unfortunately for all of us, this isn’t the first time we’ve all been down the horrific rabbit-hole of trying to rush out an incredibly profitable vaccine against an enigmatic mystery virus that’s really a military LAV that deattenuated faster than expected. A vaccine which only provides only weak and temporary protection – but also causes wide-spread side-effects because it turns out the pharmaceutical companies were lying about their vaccine studies, and knowingly risked the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans so they could make as much money as quickly as possible: (Source)

Now, watch an old swine flu paranoia story, 60 Minutes:

So, follow the “other” science, and follow the protests. Marketed as life-saving public health measures, lockdowns triggered death and economic devastation on a global scale while doing little to slow the spread of Covid-19. Now, they’re back with a vengeance. — Grayzone.

That Moderna —this one —

Digital Health Pass: IBM and Moderna Hook Up to Capitalize on COVID Reset

Digital Health Pass: IBM and Moderna Hook Up to Capitalize on COVID Reset

Not that Whitney Webb is listened to by the mainstream and left-stream Media —

Moderna attempted to offset the bad press over having to delay the Crigler-Najjar drug with claims that they had developed a new nanoparticle delivery system called V1GL that “will more safely deliver mRNA.” The claims came a month after Bancel had touted another delivery system called N1GL to Forbes. In that interview, Bancel told Forbes that the delivery system they had been using, licensed to them by Acuitas, “was not very good” and that Moderna had “stopped using Acuitas tech for new drugs.” However, as will be explored in detail in this report as well as Part II of this series, it appears that Moderna continued to rely on the Acuitas-licensed technology in subsequent vaccines and other projects, including its COVID-19 vaccine. (Whitney Webb)

Former Moderna employees and those close to their product development were doubtful at the time that these new and supposedly safer nanoparticle delivery systems were of any consequence. According to three former employees and collaborators close to the process who spoke anonymously to STAT, Moderna had long been “toiling away on new delivery technologies in hopes of hitting on something safer than what it had.” All of those interviewed believed that “N1GL and V1GL are either very recent discoveries, just in the earliest stages of testing—or else new names slapped on technologies Moderna has owned for years.” All spoke anonymously due to having signed nondisclosure agreements with the company, agreements that are aggressively enforced.

 

And so we have the constant un-News from the billionaire class, Big Pharma, and the bought-out (prostituted) media. It is worth looking at this piece’s subheading,

Turns out you can’t vaccinate your way out of highly-transmissible RNA viruses in crowded commercial settings, but it also turns out that humans have a little issue trying to play God, and as so here we are.

…tied to this point by the writer, using Harvard To the Big House as his moniker:

It’s probably worth a brief moment to consider that every major industrial poultry farm on earth is stuffed to the wattles with potential viral hosts which are unable to self-segregate when they get sick like they are in wild populations, and so despite the fact that modern poultry farms have vaccination programs with 100% genomic coverage, 100% compliance, and 100% surveillance  – a perfect experimental situation with far more controllability that human societies – the emergence highly-pathogenic influenza strains that easily cull half the flock in a matter of days and sometimes result in 100% mortality are a constant threat. (Bottling-Up the Quasispecies Origins of SARS-CoV-2’s Enigmatic Furin-Cleavage Site)

It’s worth reading this piece, and try to not multitasking why reviewing it, since there are genomics and virology and basic and mid-genetics cited. But you all are caring, smart and patient readers. I know.  The reality is, there are no jobs in Oregon now that do not require the jab, and, for me, 64, over-educated, overly socialistic, well, how can I get a job when, well, this is what is typical of Indeed and other staffing sites put down right up front before a job description:

The State of Oregon requires all executive branch employees to complete their COVID-19 vaccination series or have an approved exception to the requirement due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief. Successful candidates for this position must submit vaccination documentation or be approved for an exception prior to their first day of employment. Failure to provide proof of full documentation or receipt of an approved exception will lead to withdrawal of the job offer. For more information, visit our policy listed here.

And what is a “vaccination” series, then? Is it two-three-four or every-three months a jab mentality? Is my age, 64, the kicker? Do I get to opt out of two-three-infinity shots? How easy is it to get an exception for whatever course of jabbing the state of Oregon requires, per the “Chosen Few” in the VaX Biz$, such as, well, here, December 4, 2021, DV covers one of these fellows, still alive, chosen, this elite “chosen few” — ‘Meet the “Godfather of Vaccines”’: Stanley A. Plotkin? (see Mickey Z!)

Is this existential the entire disaster and disaster mismanagement/management? A thought experiment? Ground-truthing? Or, something else?

The consciousness that biodiversity collapse is anthropogenically caused and in many cases avoidable prompts frequent use of the rhetoric of disaster to portray the human-induced shock to earth’s ecosystems. Amid such environmental distress, the collapse of biodiversity,global warming, melting glaciers, peak extraction of natural resources, structural poverty, intense pollution, high impact industries, and large zones of monocropping anticipate the scenario of a planet becoming orphaned of life. The main risks are created and increased inconsequently by men, in their infinite saga of nature domination (of which they are part, even when they do not realize it). The culture of immediacy pushes society to forget the past and to not care about the future. (Disasters, pandemic and repetition: a dialogue with Maurice Blanchot’s literature)

Look, I was on a Zoom call two days ago. Again, environmental topic; i.e., delta-wetlands “expert” zooming 41 folk. Amazingly flat, dead, and the Q & A, almost like putting in a number for the DMV. I don’t think the people running the show really get the colonization of science and outdoors sciences by this stupidity? In the Oregon-State? Making more and more people suspicious of each other, the Omicron Paranoia.

Estuaries are not only federally designated as Essential Fish Habitat, they’re a Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC). The HAPC designation is for high priority areas for conservation, management, or research because they are important to ecosystem function, sensitive to human activities, stressed by development, or are rare. Habitat types within estuaries vary substantially and consist of either natural (seagrass, large woody debris, natural rock, etc.) or man-made structures. Research from OSU over the last two decades indicates that (1) the fish communities in Oregon estuaries are changing, and (2) natural estuary habitats, particularly seagrasses, play an outsized role in the feeding and growth of juveniles fishes, particularly in years of poor ocean conditions. Given that ocean conditions on the west coast are changing, maintaining healthy natural habitats may become even more important in the future.

Interesting to read Alison McDowell’s latest, Wrench in the Gears. She opened up the Pandora’s box of blockchain connections to military-money-medical madness two years ago.

Check her work — She’s burnt out, and now, reenergized with Texas, where she was recently. Texas at the petri dish for all of the 5G/6G world of digital wallets, digital medicine, digital Gulag.

I am convinced Texas is in the crosshairs of a program of blockchain human capital predation that has been in the works at least since the 1950s. They’re coming in the back door with digital identity tied to electronic government, precision medicine, personalized learning, and equity-based workforce re-skilling tied to the Dallas Federal Reserve. Academic institutions pumped up with government life science grants and defense sector partnerships are in on it, as well as back-slapping non-profits waiting on their next philanthrocapitalist cardboard check. I have seen the web of this agenda. I have mapped a good bit of it. I’ve been caught up in it too, in the enormity of it. Now I finally think I’ve mustered up the psychic energy and clarity to deconstruct it and lay the parts out for all to see. Teasing apart the Texas blockchain web might help me regain my sense of purpose, which started to slip away these past few months. (Source)

Interesting fellow, just interviewed on a Covid-19 series, and that’s not available yet for public dissemination, but here he is in an older video. Covid-Revealed. His talk here on this 13 hour series is pretty clarifying. He does know his virus history, and he is anti-Empire, and this is usually not something these doctors who question the lack of treatments, the mRNA vax, etc. question. Many of the experts fighting the vaccination narrative and the rise of the corona paranoia yammer about socialism, how the WEF and Fourth Industrial Revolution is about global socialism. WHICH it is NOT. The rich — filthy Eichmann Types below them — are not gaming the system to have truly socialism for-by-because of the people, bottom up. Try and find the series, Covid Revealed. Of course, I am watching free, but with a time-frame, and then it is for sale! Capitalism, uh?

Here, Zach Bush, January 2021, on viromes and viruses. The entire kitchen sink of microbiome.

With the Branch Covidians and their Draconian Digital Dungeon, we who resist this maximum jab-jab-jab mentality — forced medical procedures —  are to be put where? Repurposed Indian Boarding Schools? FEMA camps? Think about that. No job, no home, no unemployment, no humanity!

Gov. Sisolak apologizes for Nevada’s role in relocating Native American children

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum on August 27, 2021.

“They ripped babies from the arms of my ancestors and brought them thousands of miles to this campus,” Stacey Montooth, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission and a direct descendant of a Stewart student, said. “The intent was to absolutely remove all aspects of Native American culture, but I’m still here.

“Keep in mind, it was not Uncle Sam’s priority to keep track of the Native people they sent here. There were bounties put out on little Indian children. … In 2021, we’d call it kidnapping.”

An estimated 20,000 students from at least 200 tribal nations attended Stewart between 1890 and 1980, including plenty from far-flung tribes based in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The boarding school was just one of more than 350 such institutions once propped up by the federal government.

Some families sent their children to the school to get an education, but many were snatched off the road unbeknownst to their parents, according to Bobbi Rahder, director of the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum. (Source)

Stewart Indian School Museum Director Bobbi Rahder stands looking out of a room in a girls dormitory on the school campus on August 27, 2021.

The small graveyard across the street from the Stewart Indian School. Buried here are some of the students who died while attending school here.

Interesting, Zach Bush looks at the political fight, the elections, as imflammation, looking at how as the candidates move closer toward the election their bodies, and their souls, are actually worn and show major breakdown of their mind-body connection. He discusses bacteria, looks at the sterilization aspect of modern medicine at war with viruses and not understanding the human microbiome — 10 to the 15th power the number of viruses in our body. Lining up for vaccines to rely on antibodies? It is not right, and it’s all tied to germ theory not being right. Listen to him, and it’s easy, and goes to biodiversity on many levels, and the air pollution, the cyanide taken into the human cell. Listen hard to the one above and then this one. It isn’t so difficult.

And to beat a dead Covid-19 horse to death, I highly recommend this interview, 25 minutes. You will understand the breadth of this fellow, Zach Bush, and he is coming at viruses, sustainability, terrain disease theory, humanity — birth and dying — from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Oh, I wish I was teaching college again, my courses on critical writing-thinking, from composition 101 to literature.

I have broached so many topics tied to systems thinking, directly relatable to students who are not majoring in English or journalism, per se, but those topics were fodder and incubators for deep knowledge and outside the thousand boxes thinking.

I am locked on Highway 101. The local college is Oregon Coast Community College, and the same people are teaching writing classes, for credit, who have been teaching that for years. There are no advanced classes or special topics classes, such as — critical thinking, research and expression in a time of conflict, runaway consumerism, media and educational control. You know, opening up the discussion with people majoring in say, nursing, or early childhood ed, or aquarium sciences. This society has for decades turned humanity into robots, silo-loving pencil pushers, err, knowledge workers on a laptop. That is exactly why we have a country of broken ideas, unrealized discussions, and flabbergasted people of all shapes and forms.

Zach Bush, on what we are — Homo Virome Sapiens!

The revolution that we are in the midst of — the massive paradigm shift that is one of the biggest scientific discoveries of human kind — is that human health does not reside within the human cell. Human health is dictated by the biodiversity that is at the center of our vitality, the biodiversity of the microbiome.

Dr. Zach Bush

The post The Oil Companies Tell Us About Climate Change and Big Pharma Tells Us About Variants first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The House of Cards of Clinical Psychology

Why is anger a motivation for writing this book? Because the rapid growth and professionalization of my field…has led it to abandon a commitment it made at the inception of that growth. That is to establish mental health base on research findings The practice would ignore the research…Instead, too many mental healthcare professionals rely on trained clinical intuition… it is often no different from the intuition of people who have had no training whatsoever… What our society has done is to license such people to do their own thing while simultaneously justifying that license on the basis of scientific knowledge which those licensed too often ignore.

Robyn M. Dawes, House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth, Free Press, 1st edition, November  24, 2009

Orientation Questions and Claims About Psychotherapy

  • Many clinicians think adult behavior is determined mainly by childhood What does the research show?
  • Surely interviewing and building case studies provide better predictability of individuals than actuarial statistics like those used by insurance companies.
  • The projective testing techniques like the Rorschach tests have shown to be very helpful in getting out the client’s unconscious motivates and drives.
  • How much does the age of the therapist indicate greater learning in the field? Surely this is true because all older therapists have more experience.
  • How well does raising self-esteem with psychological techniques predict improvements in personal and social behavior?
  • Does possessing a license imply that therapists are using scientifically sound methods?

Turning from the therapy office to the courtroom:

  • How good does professional psychological testimony in legal proceedings work in predicting competency for standing trial, establishing divorce and child custody or allegations of child abuse in the absence of physical evidence or reliable witnesses?
  • What are the chances that clinicians can know what someone was thinking just before they committed suicide?
  • Could therapists tell within 10 minutes of meeting them when someone has been sexually abused as a child based on that person’s general demeaner?
  • How likely is it that multiple personality disorders result from repeated sexual abuse or being raised by parents who practiced Satanism?

Defining the Boundaries of Psychology

This article is based on a very powerful criticism of the field of professional psychology by Robyn M. Dawes: House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth.

Are psychological problems mental illnesses?

Recently “mental illness” is being presented in our society as just the same as any other illness. According to Dawes, this has been done to destigmatize emotional distress by claiming that it is an illness is nothing to be embarrassed about. But the constant repetition of this assertion has gradually convinced the public and professional psychologists themselves that what psychotherapists or paraprofessionals do to alleviate emotional distress is similar to what medical doctors do to alleviate or cure physical disease. This is a very bad analogy, as we shall see. We must proceed carefully.

According to Dawes, there are three important mental illness categories for judging people’s mental health:

  • An outside observer thinks its dysfunctional
  • The individual client reports it as emotional distress
  • The behavior is derogated by others

Critics like Szasz and Masson concentrate on the third characteristic.

Psychology does not have the rigor of medicine or engineering

The problem for psychologists in calling psychological problems “illnesses” is that they create expectations that their practice is more rigorous than it is. It promises results that they cannot deliver. The field of psychology cannot give the results of engineering or medicine. We trust engineers because city buildings don’t fall down, and we rarely see plane flights that crash. We trust doctors because we have evidence it works. Doctors take out appendixes, and antibiotics and surgeries can cure people of many diseases.  Once cancer enters the bloodstream, we can usually predict what will happen.

The need for psychology to be cautious

Professional psychologists cannot predict what an individual will do with this kind of accuracy. Dawes says:

There is always more unexplained variation in the results than there is variation that can be explained by the trend we believe the study has supported. (29)

Responsible professionals should practice with a cautious, open, and questioning attitude. The field of psychology has developed several effective measuring devices and ways to predict future behavior. The most surprising thing is that it can be administered without much training and does not require extensive degrees, training, or experience to interpret.In addition, some people who experience distress will simply get over it, whether they are in treatment or not. When high school students were asked to predict which patients would become violent, their average judgments were almost identical to the average judgment of professionals. Some therapists’ research in:

…behavior and theory (are) derived from careful research studies and an analysis of their implications. Ironically, these are often not high-priced people; They are associated with universities and their treatment is systematic, they often involve several paraprofessionals in their teams. (290)

There is very little evidence that expertise in the mental health area has brought about a reduction in the incidence of emotional disturbance and distress. Even great champions of drug therapies maintain that all these drugs do is control the condition. According to Dawes, while therapy helps two thirds of the clients, it leaves the other third worse off than if they were in a control group. A profession with this kind record of failure rate would seem to require caution all the more.

Cognitive biases of professional psychologists

Clinical judgment is often based on a number of cognitive biases:

  • In searching one’s memory in building a case, there is something called the “availability bias”.  Because of selective exposure, recall will be selective. We are more likely to remember some things more than others.
  • The “representative bias”. This is where you fit the evidence that most likely fits with the stereotype of that person or situation.
  • The “vividness bias”. Therapists are no different than other people in that they are drawn to stories that are vivid in terms of color, music, smell, taste, or touch. These cases will stick out in their minds over a variety of drab cases.

Scientific methods: how do we know what we know?

How do we know what we know? By the ability to predict. In other words, if you know a phenomenon well, you should be about to show me what happen next. In doing this, a scientist must not only have a group of people with whom he tests his hypothesis. He must also have a randomly controlled group alongside of it in evaluating treatment and therapy.

To summarize, what is needed to test a professional psychologist’s claim to understanding is:

  • An assessment of their predictive power.
  • A comparison of the accuracy with that of some other means of prediction.
  • The ability to reach their conclusions in a way that would convince skeptics.
  • Allow the outside observers to reach a conclusion about its effectiveness. In psychotherapy symptom remission is a prime candidate for such an indicator.

In terms of evaluation of the therapy, patients are not reliable judges because they have spent a great deal of money.  It would be hard to admit it wasn’t worth it. Therapists are not good judges because of all the time they spent with the client, and they have a theory to defend.

Why statistical reasoning is necessary

Statistical predictions are specifically designed to discover a pattern of contexts of variability.  People have a very great difficulty time combining qualitatively distinct or incomparable predictors. Dawes gives the following examples:

  • How does an interviewer for a student applying for medical school combine information about a past college record with a score on the medical school aptitude test?
  • How to integrate information about past job history with a self-reflective statement about ambitions and goals?
  • A positive test result with an unusual Rorschach inkblot test with the knowledge that a disease indicated by such results are extremely rare.

The problem is the more we know about people through interview case studies, the more complicated these individual cases get. In reaction we might be tempted to be drawn to striking but irrelevant information rather than statistically valid information, which is less striking.

Bad judgments among professional psychologists:

As we will see, many professional psychologists do not follow scientific procedure or rely on knowledge of actuarial tables when:

  • judgments are made in the absence of well validated scientific theory;
  • when therapists are evaluated without systematic feedback about how good they are;
  • the supportive evidence is simply hypothesized;
  • the negative evidence that has been collected is simply ignored, or;
  • arguing from a vacuum – what is purported to be true is supported, not by direct evidence but by attacking an alternative possibility.

Does Licensing Assure Quality?

There are various unlicensed people who also present themselves to the public as experts, such as rape counselors, alcohol counselors, and religious counselors. This is one set of problems. But what about those who are licensed? Surely, they must be better. Does licensing ensure that valid scientific techniques of findings will be used by professional therapists in a valid manner? Sadly, the answer is no. Licensing is set up for institutional psychological settings like hospitals, prisons, psychological wards, or halfway houses. The problem is that these settings deal with patients very different from the relatively tame clients that private psychotherapists see. In addition, according to Dawes, only 9.8 percent of licensed psychologists work in these settings.

The education and training psychologists receive is not necessarily training in valid scientific techniques or theories. The licensing does not mandate that the psychologist share with the client the fact that they are employing a technique where no scientific standard exists. Nor that they are practicing techniques that are not generally accepted as reliable in the psychological research community. In 1990, only 30% of APA members subscribed to any of its journals. Licensing can be defined as official and legal permission to do or own any particular thing. But another definition can also mean deviation from normal rules and practices. Licensing has ironically and unintentionally taken on the last meaning. Professional psychologists have been granted a license to ignore the research once they have the license.

Dilution and deterioration of the field

In addition, the field is on the one hand growing by leaps and bounds, but it is also deteriorating in quality. Here Dawes describes a personal experience:

When I joined the APA in 1959 it had approximately 18,000 members…When I quit in 1988, there were 68,000, approximately, 40,000 of whom were in clinical or counseling… Psychological association members in professional practice grew by a factor of 16.  Clinical psychologists had doubled its numbers every 10 years. For comparison the doubling rate of lawyers is 12 years; social workers 14 years; psychiatrists 20 years. The selling point for psychologists over psychiatrists used to be that they had more extensive research training. In the light of this. The APA recognized a new degree, the Doctor of Psychology without research training PsyD (12)

…During that expansion the rigor of the scientific training of practicing psychologists diminished. We are not graduating thousands of psychologists. We are graduating thousands of practitioners who are peripherally acquainted with the discipline of psychology (6)

If the professional psychologist allows himself to be drawn into private practice, the chances of keeping up with the research and incorporating it into their practice shrinks.

The steady erosion of professional’s commitment to research findings is a basis for practice over the past 30 years. There has been an explosion in numbers which assures that there will be more bad therapists around in the 1990s than at the time when the studies were initiated (14)

Parameters and Qualifications

There are six basic schools within psychology: psychoanalysis, behaviorism, cognitive, biological physiological, biological-evolutionary, and humanistic. The criticisms Dawes has laid out against professional psychology is only directed at psychoanalysis, and to a lesser extent humanistic psychology. Why? First, because they do not limit themselves to interventions that have been proven to work. Secondly, they do not create settings which lend themselves to scientific scrutiny. Psychoanalysis and humanistic psychological theories do not follow the science. Dawes is not suggesting that psychotherapy doesn’t work. He is suggesting that:

  1. we can only know what works if the therapist follows and applies scientific research in therapy;
  2. therapy can be successful regardless of the credentials, or training. A skilled paraprofessional is just as good as a professional provided – they have empathy and;
  3. experiences of the therapist are unrelated to outcomes since the setting of therapy does not easily lend itself to immediate, consistent, and repeated feedback from an outside source.

Despite these disturbing conclusions from a professional psychology point of view, the salaries of professional psychologists are high relative to researchers and academic psychologists. Professional psychologists would, no doubt, like to keep it that way. These conclusions are based on over 500 scientific studies of the psychotherapy outcome.

Psychoanalysis and humanistic psychology do share one common characteristic: individualistic egoism. Dawes points out that this egoistic individualism framework is consistent with frameworks in other social sciences, like classical economics or political science. This leads to the following individualist mistakes of psychodynamics and humanistic psychology:

  • a preference for case studies rather than statistical reasoning;
  • attempting to build self-esteem before taking action (as opposed encouraging action first and seeing if that might raise self-esteem) and;
  • motivation and insight must precede effective behavior.

I am not a stranger to the field of psychology. In addition to teaching as an adjunct in college and psychology departments for 27 years, I worked in halfway houses for two years in the 1990s. I worked in a 40-week training, court-ordered program for two years called Men Overcoming Violence. I have worked as a private counselor with a specialty in goal setting and overcoming procrastination. In most of these settings I used the methods of cognitive psychology. I have an M.A. in counseling psychology.

Psychoanalysis

Table A below shows the most important myths of psychoanalysis that Dawes points out:Weaknesses of interviews and case studies

Some professional psychologists think they and their clients are above statistical reasoning. They say that while statistical generalizations can be useful, they cannot predict what the therapist’s client is likely to do next. For this, the therapist claims their knowledge of this individual case will deliver the goods. After all, the individual is “unique”.

Besides, humanistic psychologists might say, statistical predictions are “dehumanizing” because they reduce people to “mere numbers”. In addition, these findings are taken as an affront to the self-image of the purported experts themselves. For persuading the public on television shows that while single vivid anecdotes might work, they don’t work in science. In the majority of situations, the individual’s past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, and these can be given with statistics.

Actuarial statistics hold up better in hospitals and prisons, according to Dawes. Weighing actuarial variables of those in hospitals like material status, length of psychotic distress and the degree of patient insight, outperformed the hospital’s medical and psychological staff members’ opinions. Turning to prison recidivism, actuarial variables, like past criminal records and current prison behavior, predictions of whether the prisoners would return to prison have proven better than expert criminologists’ predictions:

Jack Sawyer, 12 years later, published a review of about 45 studies; again, in none was the clinical prediction superior (83)

…Professional psychologists could not even detect young adolescents who were faking brain damage on standard intellectual tests after {the subjects} were given no instruction other than “to be convincing”. Yet less than 10% recognized the fake results. (91)

In the business context of predicting bankruptcy, a formula has been found to be superior to the judgement of bank loan experts (93)

It is not as if the case study and interview is worthless. The interview can be good for framing the kind of questions asked, and the categories that should be included in the experiment. In addition, the qualities that impress therapeutic interviews are not the same as how the client acts at work, with their co-workers and supervisors, or at home with their families where they live their lives. Despite all this, experts continue to interview and make predictions, and express great confidence in the validity of their predictive judgments.

Ignoring the counterfactuals

Psychoanalysts ignore what are called hypothetical counterfactuals. For example, in the courts, knowing what would have happened if custody had been granted to the other parent. Mental health workers in hospitals notice people who return to an institution, but do not notice those who do not.

Making up theories and tests that have not been scientifically validated

Perhaps the worst license of all is the “license” to make up one’s psychological theories from the psychologist’s experience with clients that have not been peer reviewed or tested. Secondly, the “license” to make up one’s tests from experience without scientific validation. This often leads to the Barnum Effect, where the list of the symptoms gets larger and larger and where virtually every symptom becomes an indicator of the problem. I have seen this happens over the years with the use of symptom growth of ADHD, borderline personality, narcissism, and addiction.

In a courtroom setting, both manufactured theories and tests are presented as part of being an expert witness. This license that has been granted is frightening in cases of child abuse and sexual abuse. The claim of some professional psychologists to detect child abuse has been to assert that “children never lie”. The subconscious mind is claimed to have a memory bank of everything we ever experienced – exactly as we perceived it. This flies in the face a great deal of research that indicated the flawed nature of human memory. Its nature is reconstructive – such that events that literally never occurred can be recalled in great detail with the proper leading questions by the therapist, both in therapy and in the courtroom.

Making the past determine the present

Historically, psychoanalysis has made its bread and butter from telling people that events that occurred within the first three years of life pretty much determine how adults turn out. Dawes points out that there is no evidence for this, especially in determining child abuse. He says:

There is no evidence that childhood abuse and neglect will out, or that it will have some permanent effect on adulthood without it first having an effect on adolescence. (219)

Jerome Kagan, who has spent decades studying temperament in young children, says: continuity does not imply inevitability. The human organism is highly resilient in the face of deleterious experiences and sufficiently malleable to bounce back, given constructive inputs. Only continual obstacles will prevent an initial bend in a twig from righting itself towards the sun. (218)

The problem is that feeling and believing that one is a victim of early traumatic experience is likely to induce a demoralized state in which the person stops trying to make things right in the present.  Or they must wait for years until they develop insight with the therapist’s help into what really happened so that these early events no longer haunt their lives. In the meantime, their lives can become worse. Dawes says the therapist should be blamed for putting unscientific ideas in people’s heads and teaching them to hate their parents. Where is the evidence that simply learning to blame or hate somebody is therapeutic?

Doll interpretations are not scientific

In the courts, professional psychologists often turn to doll play for as a tool for finding out if a child has been abused. Dawes says there is no psychological evidence that this works. Currently there is no standardized set of questions for conducting interviews using the dolls or standardized agreement as to how to interpret them.

This lack of validity does not prevent professionals from using the technique. The sad reality is that agencies not directly connected to psychology are using these unscientific techniques, including child protective agencies and the criminal justice system.

Rorschach tests aren’t scientific

Whether in or out of court settings, Rorschach tests are very popular among clinicians. This is popularly known as the inkblot test. Vague images are presented that are either the result of actual inkblot patterns resulting from a folded paper with a blot of ink on it or standardly vague images are presented and then interpreted.  For example, the clinician interprets whether the client attempts to integrate the entire blot into a single image or uses only part of it or only focuses on small detail. Use of the whole blot is interpreted as needing to form a big picture of grandiosity. Tiny details are interpreted as being an obsessive personality. The content of the imagery also matters. Many people see animals, but too high a proportion of animals indicates immaturity or a lack of imagination. Seeing figures that are part human and part nonhuman like satyrs, cartoon characters, or witches indicates alienation. It’s not that these interpretations aren’t interesting. But a therapist with a license that requires them to be scientific should not be making untested interpretations while making money off the public’s dime.

These tests have been dismissed by scientific psychologists:

In 1959, many of the world’s most eminent psychologists were lined up against the use of the Rorschach. Hans Eysenck quoted Lee Cronbach, one of the world’s leading experts of psychometric testing, said that “the test has repeatedly failed as a prediction of practical criteria”. In 1978 Richard H. Davis concluded that “the general lack of predictive validity for the Rorschach raises serious questions about its continued use in clinical practice”. (151-152)

After all this, why does it continue among licensed professionals. One reason is that it has intuitive and creative appeal. But another reason could be they are paid well for administering it.

Humanistic Psychology and the Obsession with Feelings and Self-Esteem

I feel, therefore I am

Late in his book, in Chapter 8, Dawes shifts gears from writing about the problems of clinical psychoanalytic therapies to what he unfortunately calls “New Age psychology”. What he is describing (the preoccupation with feelings and the obsession with self-esteem) were happening long before the New Age, the beginnings of which I date around 1978. The school of psychology that fits the bill is humanistic psychology. So, I will continue to describe the results of his research,but I have renamed the school as it is an expression of “Humanistic”, not New Age psychology.

As far back as the 18th century Enlightenment, the cause of psychological behavior was believed to be conscious choice after rational weighing of pros and cons.

For the Calvinists of 16th and 17th centuries, lack of willpower was considered a problem and needed to be overcome through prayer and introspection. Emotions were never taken seriously. They were seen as temporary fits of irrationality. It was not until the romantics in the hundred-year period between the end of the 18th and 19th centuries that emotions were not only taken seriously but were also considered primary. Humanistic psychology, just like the counterculture it sprang from, is directly connected to Romanticism.

The tendency of humanistic psychologists is to reduce all problems being determined by feelings which are repressed and need to be expressed. As Dawes writes, the platonic hierarchy was turned on its head. Contrary to the Enlightenment, it was rationality that was the problem. The belief is that we can only get better by allowing the magical but bratty child within to come out.Self-esteem

Beginning in the late 1970s, poor self-esteem is often cited as the cause of everything from failure to learn in elementary school, to failures in business, to failed marriages. Nathaniel Branden’s The Psychology of Self-Esteem propagated the importance of self-esteem. Instead of self-esteem arising as a result of action taken, high self-esteem was presented as a pre-condition for taking action. Diminished self-esteem stands as a powerful independent variable. But what does it matter that we know why we exercise before exercising? The behavior is more important than the motives for engaging in it. It is not necessary to feel wonderful about ourselves first. Dawes writes:

there is no evidence that for the majority of people a change in internal state and feeling is necessary prior to behaving in a beneficial way. (293)

Nevertheless, long-time state assemblyman John Vasconcellos promoted the establishment of a task force to promote self-esteem and the governor of CA, George Deukmejian, signed a bill to fund its work in 1986. The conclusions after putting these problems into practice were the following:

  1. There is insufficient evidence to support the belief in a direct relation between low self-esteem and child abuse.
  2. Low self-esteem should not be perceived as the primary cause of child abuse especially when compared to other factors such as age, employment status, availability of childcare and economic insecurity.
  3. There is no basis for arguing that increasing self-esteem is effective in decreasing child abuse.
  4. there is no evidence that lower self-esteem plays a causal role in alcoholism or drug use.

Furthermore, Dawes writes that this way of thinking about low self-esteem discourages taking action, and instead seeking talk therapy. More importantly, raising the self-esteem of children had no bearing on the academic performance of Yankees compared to students in Japan and China in the areas of geography and mathematics. Yankee students also do much less homework and have a shorter school year. They are poorer students despite the crusade to raise self-esteem in the schools. Finally, Dawes claims that attempts of schools to raise self-esteem by lowering standards hurts children in the long run.

Mental health equals living on the sunny side of the street

Humanistic psychology’s picture of mental health consists of high self-esteem, optimism, feelings of invulnerability, and self-confidence – all characteristics which are internal, pervasive, and stable over time for one’s own success. Conversely external locus of control, specific conditions and fleeing explanations go with one’s failure. This argument may be found in Shelley Taylor’s Positive Illusions: Creative Self-Deception and Heathy Mind.

By the late 1970s, the decline of Yankee capitalism had not reached the middle classes, and even working-class people could still imagine that the American dream was possible. With the proper internal characteristics – hard work, frugality, prudence and preservice – people could live the dream. But as the standard of living declined steeply for middle-class and working-class people, how psychologically healthy was it to continue to imagine you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps? Having good reasons for being pessimistic might be healthier. If a worker is out of work because of the chaotic capitalist economy, wouldn’t it be healthier to have an external locus of control which blames the system, not the individual? Nonetheless, for comfortable upper middle-class professional psychologists, the mandate they give us today is the old “pull yourself by your own bootstraps”, and “don’t worry, be happy” at whatever cost to one’s own reality testing.

How Do Professional Psychologists get away with this?

The myth that expanding experience leads to increased learning

Part of the reason the public has gone along with the lack of the use of science on the part of clinicians is because of the public’s belief that long-term experience enhances the performance of professionals. After all, it does that in other professions, such as medical procedures being performed by surgeons. However, in the case of mental health professions, because of the lack of critical, consistent feedback, it is far from a done deal that therapists learn from their experience. The empirical data indicates that:

  1. mental health professionals’ accuracy of judgment does not increase with clinical experience once a rudimentary mastery of the techniques has been learned, and
  2. neither does their success as psychotherapists.

Learning motor skills is not the same as learning how to categorize and predict

It is clear we learn many motor skills, gradually from practices such as learning to drive in a straight line or learning to drive a stick-shift. But are clinical skills in the mental health professions of that nature as well? No, they aren’t. Because the psychologist does not experience feedback about the effects of their intervention on a patient that are:

  1. Immediate,
  2. unambiguous (a clear understanding of what constitutes an incorrect response), and
  3. continuous.

In the mental health profession, none of these conditions are satisfied. The type of feedback mental health professionals is given by their clients tends to be not immediate, chaotic, and sometimes non-existent. The client leaves and the therapist doesn’t know what happened. Meanwhile, the profession has been going merrily along in the absence of such findings, and that reflects the degree to which the profession has lost its research base. The public is not aware of this contradiction between the license and the lack of systemic learning and just trusts them as professionals. The American people know the national mental health problem is getting worse, yet they do not know the research about expertise incompetence.

The power of lobbying

Professional psychology has been able to survive, though far from its resource base in science, by lobbying state and national governments for money and privilege. Clinical work also appeals to students so they can apply their knowledge to real people after years of academic “preparation for life”.

Unscientific clinical theory often matches public intuition

The first need to which arguments are made for enhancing professional psychology is the need for authority. Imagine how extremely difficult life would be if we did not accept what many authorities tell us is true. Life would become impossible. In addition, sometimes the views of therapists’ views often coincide with popular intuition. For example, when people are told about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they usually spontaneously agree with it. Yet there is no scientific evidence that the hierarchy of needs matches any scientific testing and follow up. Another opinion that seems to make intuitive sense to the public is thinking that personality factors matter more than situational factors. Social psychologists name this as the “fundamental attribution error”. This is a tendency of people in industrial capitalist countries to:

  1. attribute personality factors when someone else does something that we don’t like,
  2. or when we do something we like.

This is opposed to situational variables. Both professional psychologists and the public think individualistically that the person determines what happens to them, not the situation. The fact that psychoanalysis and humanistic psychology ignore the scientific research done by sister psychologists in the same field and fail to incorporate it into their theories demonstrates how rigid they are in their own theories.

Why the public should care

We are all paying for these services through insurance premiums and taxes. Dawes says:

We should not be pouring our resources and money to support high-priced people who do not help others better than those with far less training skill would, and those judgments and predictions are actually worse than the simplest statistical conclusion based on obvious variables. (5).

By supporting licensing, income and status for credentialed practitioners, the mental health professions have treated variables that really don’t matter as if they did matter. (62)

In the case of so-called “repressed memories” in court settings, parents are fighting back against charges of incest by children at the prodding of clinicians with half-baked unscientific theories:

A new group called the False memory Syndrome Foundation (1992) had a membership of about 2,000 families, mainly parents who claimed that they were falsely accused as a result of their children’s “therapy”. By the end of the first half of 1993, the membership had grown to over 4,600. (173)

By 1994 the foundation had grown to more than 7,500 members. It was dissolved on December 31, 2019.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article is to expose the exploitation of psychological licenses on the part of psychoanalytic and humanistic clinicians who ignore scientific research in the field while claiming expertise on the dime of the public. After some rhetorical questions and answers about the field of psychology, I began by raising questions about whether psychological problems can be categorized as mental illnesses. Then I discussed how the field of psychology does not have the rigor of predictability of medicine and that the field of psychology needs to be cautious in their claims. I discussed three typical cognitive biases in the field as well as five bad judgments that psychologists make. I contrasted this to the process of good scientific reasoning as well as the necessity of making psychological judgments based on actuarial statistics rather than case studies. In the next two sections I discussed why licensing does not assure quality judgments and how the field of professional psychology is overpopulated, and the quality of training has deteriorated.

Next, I identified the six theoretical schools of psychology. Four of the six follow scientific research while psychoanalysis and humanistic psychology tend to ignore it. In the next two sections I discussed the myths of psychoanalysis by outlining the weaknesses of case studies as a method. I also pointed out the unscientific nature of the use of dolls to ascertain child abuse as well as the use of Rorschach tests for determining psychological problems. Next, I turned to humanistic psychology and its championing of the central importance of emotions and self-esteem in psychological life. Dawes argues against the cathartic theory of the emotions as well the need to raise self-esteem prior to taking any action. He points out that the children of the Yankee population are way behind the children in China and Japan, despite many years of implementing techniques of raising self-esteem in schools. Lastly Dawes challenges the Pollyannish humanistic equation of psychological health with happiness and internal locus of control. Psychological health does not automatically mean living in the sunny side of the street.

Dawes makes the following claims based on 500 validated scientific studies:

  1. we can only know what works if the therapist follows and applies scientific research in therapy;
  2. therapy can be successful regardless of the credentials or training. A skilled paraprofessional is just as good as a professional provided they have empathy; and,
  3. the experiences of the therapist are unrelated to outcomes since the setting of therapy does not easily lend itself to immediate, consistent, and repeated feedback from an outside source.

Anticipating Objections

Single studies that contradict his thesis aren’t enough because the generality of his conclusions is dependent on:

  1. multiple studies,
  2. conducted on multiple problems, and
  3. multiple contexts.

It would take a substantial body of new research to overturn the conclusions presented here.  A new finding or set of findings that would turn the whole field I have discussed upside down is extraordinarily unlikely to occur.

Given that this book was written in 1994, it is tempting to think new research has been found to overturn Dawes’sargument. In critical book reviews I have not found significant challenges. By way of closing, I would invite you to review the questions and statements I made at the beginning of this article to see if your questions have been answered.

• First appeared in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post The House of Cards of Clinical Psychology first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again

Time and time again, the left sites just keep pushing all those international stories, all those stories tied to this or that political party head, and while China is important, and while we know the dirty deeds of Blinken to Pompeo, all the way back, we still miss out on the common people, us, the little ones.

Sure, this is a trending story, in California, tied to the vaccine mandate, the hysteria, the fascism:

The University of California, Irvine has placed their Director of Medical EthicsDr. Aaron Kheriaty, on ‘investigatory leave’ after he challenged the constitutionality of the UC’s vaccine mandate in regards to individuals who have recovered from Covid and have naturally-acquired immunity.

Last month Kheriaty, also a Professor of Psychiatry at UCI School of Medicine, filed a suit in Federal court over the mandate.

Natural immunity following Covid infection is equal to (indeed, superior to) vaccine-mediated immunity. Thus, forcing those with natural immunity to be vaccinated introduces unnecessary risks without commensurate benefits—either to individuals or to the population as a whole—and violates their equal protection rights guaranteed under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment,” Kheriaty wrote in a Sep. 21 blog post.

“Expert witness declarations in support of our case include, among others, a declaration from distinguished UC School of Medicine faculty members from infectious disease, microbiology/immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, pediatrics, OB/Gyn, and psychiatry,” the post continues (click here to read the rest).

…there is now considerable evidence that Covid recovered individuals may be at higher risk of vaccine adverse effects compared to those not previously infected (as seen in studies herehere, and here, among others). -Dr. Aaron Kheriaty

This issue, though, is more important on a local level for schmucks like me, who are overeducated, aging in a hateful society, left of left in a centrist and capitalism hard left/right contradictory world. I am back at a job, and the pay is embarrassing, and the fact that I am in a rural county with rural thinkers and with a service economy tied to beach combing, fishing, crabbing and vacation rentals also contributes to precarity.

You think I am ready to leave to go somewhere else, to some big sophisticated city, some harbinger of high tech and military industrial complex to find more sustainable and lucrative work? Each day, my skill sets, my background, all the ground-truthing and other on the job training, all the travel, all those deep learning moments in my life in several fields, all of that is mush to the masters of academia, the masters of companies that are small and large, getting on the gravy train of city, county, state, national and international money. Tax cheats and welfare queens and kings are those in the complex, the big C for the CRC, Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment.

Yep, bad that an environmental lawyer was under ankle bracelet house arrest for more than two years and faces six months in jail for contempt as a lawyer who sued the pants off of Chevron for killing and polluting communities south of this border. Sure, the hellfire and brimstone of this rotting empire is addictive, with all these blogs and newsfeeds and whatnot tapping into the lizard part of the collective American brain.

Chevron Steven Donziger Feature photo

Judge Loretta Preska, an advisor to the conservative Federalist Society, to which Chevron is a major donor, sentenced human rights attorney and Chevron nemesis Steven Donziger to six months in prison Friday for misdemeanor contempt of court after he had already spent 787 days under house arrest in New York.

Preska’s caustic outbursts — she said at the sentencing, “It seems that only the proverbial two-by-four between the eyes will instill in him any respect for the law” — capped a judicial farce worthy of the antics of Vasiliy Vasilievich, the presiding judge at the major show trials of the Great Purges in the Soviet Union, and the Nazi judge Roland Freisler who once shouted at a defendant, “You really are a lousy piece of trash!”

full image
Original illustration by Mr. Fish

So, note the “proverbial two-by-four between the eyes” comment from this judicial devil . . . . From a multimillionaire “judge.” Imagine that! If I told a pig that exact same thing, after stopping me for a dangling mud flap on my minivan, just think what might happen to me. Or if I told that she needed a proverbial two by four between the eyes to a judge during my trial or someone else’s? Or, to the boss, uh? Or to the teacher if I was an 11th grader. Or, to the drill sergeant? Or the TSA guy smelling my feet at the airport.

This judge is human scum, and while this is of national and international importance, I have been in courtrooms (local, small and midsized town) where women lost their children, where drug addicted got the book thrown at them, where homeless rough sleepers were fined and incarcerated, where people more sane than this judge were committed to mental ward. This is the truth about systems of oppression, about modern white civilization, a fucked up rule of law lawlessness. This is it in our world. But it happens every day a few ten thousand times. To we the small ass people.

Now, multiple that by a factor a ten thousand — try suing Boeing, or Pfizer or FDA, or Ford, or General Mills, or Bayer, or Trump Towers or Bank of America, or Amazon, or Google, or the manufacturer of the air bag in the minivan or the pretzel maker  your kid is choking on.

Now, bring it back to a real perspective. Local, where cities have no money for infrastructure, where medical systems are threadbare at least, or missing altogether. No country for old men, for young people, for the sick, disabled, poor, mentally challenged, psychiatrically impaired. This is a country for no regular people.

Paperback No Country for Old Men Book

Yet, we will hear the media mental midgets yammer on and on about us bumkins, us flyover fucks, deplorables, or deploying any other laundry list of pejoratives or socio-psych mumbo jumbo for their elite brains to find more ways to subjugate the many in the name of profits, and in the words of their deep alter egos — “The world of elites and beautiful and worthy and good members of society have to deal with these useless breeders, breathers and eaters. Really, all we want is what’s best for the masses, for these misbegotten, less than high IQ, and multiple-dysfunctional people who in some cases, well, don’t mean to be useless eaters, breeders, breathers, existers. But we can corral them into good deeds, and we can make so much money from their faults, chronic illnesses, their low IQ’s, their inbreeding, their constant bad bad bad decisions in life. Their mistakes and pain and dysfunction are our opportunity to make society the way we want it designed, with a few trillion of profits in greenbacks to boot. But we would never say this outright to Anderson Cooper or Oprah or NPR or what not.”

But reality is always local, no matter how much bullshit college sports and pro football teams and idiotic Republican and Democrat lying and spewing interferes with their noggins. For example, the outfit I work with, as a social services guy, doesn’t ask our clients — developmental and intellectual disabled adults — if they have had “the jab,” but rather, they ask: “If an employer asks you to provide proof of vaccination, will that be a problem?”

That is the reality now — adults barely surviving, after their whole lives have been spent in special ed programs and being evaluated, separated, roomed, housed and institutionalized, and many coming from proverbial messed up families, dysfunction being the functional word — I have to navigate more of the same systems of oppression-poverty inducing-safety net fraying eating at our communities’ very souls. The chances of getting part-time work in a field tied to the five F’s (food, fur, factory, filth, foliage — restaurants, dog cleaning, warehouses, janitorial, and landscaping) are already slim, as so much is stacked against these folk. Think about the propaganda around “those with developmental disabilities are more vulnerable to the covid so they need to be vaxxed first” ideology.

Many clients were so scared that they were more or less forced into getting the Pfizer or J & J, both mRNA biomedical experimental treatments. Most live in supported housing, and most of these in group homes, sanctioned by the state, so the vaccine mandates are not just inferred, but demanded. Boosterism (booster x, y, z, omega) will continue to run rampant. More will be sick. Some will die, or course.

The reality is I know people who are losing jobs, and they are not sitting on piles of cash like a lot of professionals you might read about that are opting out of the forced chemical jabs. These people do not have the luxury of taking a stand with unlimited credit card limits, or fully owned homes, or hobby gardens out back with the swimming pool. These are people who read up about this planned pandemic, who take precautions, who listen to experts. Their choice is to not get jabbed.

Imagine, being a teacher, PhD in physics, after  20 years, and you have 130 accrued sick days (paid) and you refuse to do the jab but accept the draconian test and mask. You are still going to be fired, or put on unpaid leave, and those PTO days you have accrued, well, forget about them.

LEAKED GRANT PROPOSAL DETAILS HIGH-RISK CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH
The proposal, rejected by U.S. military research agency DARPA, describes the insertion of human-specific cleavage sites into SARS-related bat coronaviruses.” (source)

This is reality for one of my friends. Forget about the death proclamations of the Death Cult of Fauci. This guy is criminal, and he has sold millions a bill of goods. This bill of goods is dangerous, deadly, injurious.

A bill of goods, man, the lies, the continuing criminal enterprises, and then, remade, make overs, etc. Take these middle of the road news sites: Robert Scheer is not my favorite, but this takes the cake, no, as he appears as Mister New York Times and Most About USA is Good Scheer. So, no doubts about this fellow joining up with the CIA, and then now in Holly-Dirt?

This is the very celebrity culture that Chris Hedges rails against. This is a sick little blurb here promoting Scheer’s podcast of this criminal — CIA is a criminal outfit of the highest order.

A former CIA officer and Emmy award-winning creator of the hit FX series “The Americans” about two Soviet agents living secretly in Washington during the Cold War, Weisberg offers a refreshing perspective on the tense relationship between the two countries throughout his work. He joins Robert Scheer on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” to talk about his latest book, “Russia Upside Down: An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War,” in which he examines how he, like so many Americans, got Russia wrong.

The author tells Scheer about his childhood growing up in a liberal Jewish household in Chicago, Ill. before studying Soviet politics at Yale University and joining the CIA, eager to do his “duty as an American” and fight what he considered then to be the “evil” Soviet empire. Now, after years of writing fiction about the Soviet Union in novels and TV scripts, Weisberg has decided to reflect on the historical events that he briefly played an active role in during his brief time at the CIA as the Soviet Union was collapsing through a more critical, factual lens. Based on both his personal experience as well as detailed research, Weisberg dispels common misconceptions about Russia that he once held to be true in “Russia Upside Down.”

Here we go: More meaningless Hollywood-CIA-millionaire stuff that the average Joe in Tucson or Portland, in Kansas or Utah has zero connection to. But we get he is Jewish (hmm, why this?) a Yale graduate (Yale being a CIA-Imperialist school), and lover of CIA and USA (when he was young — what puke). Fiction writer, and now a book writer and TV series producer, wow, what a radical.  This is the upper echelons of America Putridity, and you couple that with his millions thrown at him as a Holly-Dirt thing, and we have the mini-Celebrity fawning.

Scheer Intelligence Is America’s View of ‘Evil’ Russia Merely Projection?

The Americans: The Complete First Season (DVD)
More TV junk!

I was at a hospital two weeks ago, and the nurses must have thought I wasn’t awake (I never sleep in a hospital, in jail, or on a plane). They talked about the Samaritan Hospital system they work for introducing a “no vaccine, no medical service” protocol. They did not sound happy about it. And here we have it yesterday:

The Associated Press

Leilani Lutali, foreground, and Jaimee Fougner pose for a photo, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Lutali recently found out her hospital wouldn’t approve her kidney transplant surgery until she got the COVID-19 vaccine. Even though she has stage 5 kidney disease that puts her at risk of dying without a new kidney. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert) — source

A hell of a country, and a hell of a “follow the science” kind of messed up system, no? Idiots of the Biden-Obama variety, like Thom Hartman, are yammering on and on about how these hospitals have a right to refuse un-jabbed folk. This is it for the liberals — you eat junk food, you drink booze, you suck on fags, you drive recklessly, you think this or that anti-Democratic Party thought, then we, the good beautiful, Hillary-Obama-Harris have a right to cut you off, cut you down, chop you off at the knees!

Many people I speak with and communicate with are tired of the pro-pro-pro forced jab perspective we are getting from the leftist Counterpunch, and from St. Clair.

I am referencing “Roaming Charges,” Counterpunch, 10/8/2921, from the anti-science pro-some-science get-out-of-that-science’s way thinking coming from some of the articles posted on the site. Very sad in many ways, so sad that there is not a robust discussion of the vaccination that we see on Dissident Voice, even Mint Press, and especially OffGuardian and Left Skeptics. Here, bullet points, direct quoting from “Roaming Charges”:

+ I’m against any exemptions (our social contract should require either all of us to get it or that the jab be completely voluntary ), but if there’s a religious exemption there should be one for philosophy, too. “Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s worried that people resisting COVID-19 vaccine shots based on religious grounds may be confusing that with a philosophical objection.”

+ Merck is selling its high-touted new Covid pill Molnupiravir, whose development was federally financed by NIH and the Department of Defense,  back to the U.S. government for 40 times what it costs to make.

+ These people, if you want to call them that, seem to have taken their “tactics” from the Westboro (“God Hates Fags”) Baptist Church which used to (and I suppose still does) scream their godly obscenities at mourners during the funerals of people who died of AIDS.

+ Anti-vaxism is itself a kind of brain-eating virus…A Cumberland, Maryland man murdered his brother and sister-in-law in their Ellicott City home last week because his brother, a local pharmacist, had administered COVID-19 vaccines.

+ Cuba began vaccinating its population 150 days ago. In that time, it has administered 192 doses per 100 people. In contrast, the US began its vaccination program 297 days ago and has managed to administer only 119 doses per 100 people. The Covid death rate in Cuba is: 684 per million. The death rate in the US is: 2190 per million. This seems to provide pretty clear evidence that the embargo has been placed on the wrong country for the last 60 years. (end quote)

And therein lies the problem with fake leftists — attacking even doctors and virologists and journalists and educated/educators who have doubts about the entire pandemic and mRNA and coronavirus multiplicity of very pro-pro Capitalist and pro-pro Authoritarian and pro-pro Government Bureaucracy rhetoric. The reality is Cuba is not jabbing its people with mRNA: “All of Cuba’s vaccine candidates—Abdala, Soberana 1, Soberana 2, Soberana Plus, and Mambisa, are subunit protein vaccines, like the Novavax vaccine. Crucially, the vaccines do not require extreme refrigeration, are cheap to produce, and are easy for the country to manufacture at scale. They are made by fermentation in mammalian cells, a process Cuba already uses for monoclonal antibodies.”

A nurse holds up a vial of vaccine

Now, we are worried about more of the celebrities, this time, a professor who was sacked —

Now, think about any criticism against any university, when you are employed by the institution. I was employed by the University of Texas at El Paso. I was an English Department faculty, part-time, a radical, and I fought like hell for adjuncts, for students, etc. I was part of a group of students as a faculty member who made a human chain to stop the group of overweight sheriff posse dudes dressed up as Conquistadors on horses strutting on campus. That was 1992, the 500th anniversary of that evil contact we call Columbus Day. The El Paso Times ran a front page photo of these undercover cops jumping out of the bushes, and wrangling students, clobbering male and female with forearms to the neck. I was right in the middle, and I had to answer for myself to the Provost and president.

This is what a university, then, in 1992, was encapsulated inside, under a rich white president, a campus that was and still is 80-plus percent Mexican-American, Latinx, now. You can’t protest without our permission and our approval of signs!

More cities are recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day

This was a campus that introduced a free speech zone out of the way of foot traffic. A state sponsored school, with a limited small postage stamp of land near dumpsters where people can gain the public square for protesting. And the campus Nazis demanded permission, permits, and full written details of the “protest” or “information gathering.” Now, sure, talk about Covid, about Nuremburg protocol, about mandates, about those who have the jab and those who do not. Talk about NIH and Fauci and the shadowy origins of the SARS-CoV2, or the doctors who have protocols to stop not only Covid patients getting on ventilators, but getting patients out of the hospital and back home in recovery zone. Not allowed.

These articles are verboten on campuses:

And, if I was still on that campus, how quickly would I be sacked for criticizing a campus– that pushes the Hispanic University of the World theme while colonizing Hispanics (mostly Mexican Americans) — for lock-step falling into the fold of the Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment? This campus is the whoring field of military, aerospace, drone and weapons makers, and even more nefarious. What ugly optics! Four Star Murder Bomber Air Force General all smiles and the PhD’s just lapping up the uniform!

So, back into that ground-truthing — try being a radical, a revolutionary, a critic of bureaucracies and corporate mandates and this sort of bullshit on a local level. UTEP is a sell-out, an embarrassment, but so are most all the colleges and universities in this shit hole. (Source) I have gone up against every single college and university I have taught in. EVERY ONE.  Can you imagine bringing this into the classroom — anti-war, anti-military, anti-corporation discourse and readings and critical thinking debates? Shit! Then, this? Pfizer Exposed! 

And while the big house is for us in the 80 percent, the ground-truthing in your neighborhood is littered with the poisons of that Complex, the Continuing Criminal Enterprise called capitalism.

[The aim of the international bankers was] nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.

— Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope, p. 324 (source)

Finally, another point from a friend: “Fishy Felonious Fraudulent Fauci: Read Whitney Webb’s latest.”

During the panel, the moderator—Michael Specter of the New Yorker—asked the question: “Why don’t we blow the system up? Obviously, we just can’t turn off the spigot on the system we have and then say ‘Hey! everyone in the world should get this new vaccine we haven’t given to anyone yet,’ but there must be some way.” Specter then mentioned how vaccine production is antiquated and asked how sufficient “disruption” could occur to prompt the modernization of the existing vaccination development and approval process. Hamburg responded first, saying that as a society we are behind where we need to be when it comes to moving toward a new, more technological approach and that it is now “time to act” to make that a reality.

Several minutes later, Anthony Fauci stated that the superior method of vaccine production involves “not growing the virus at all, but getting sequences, getting the appropriate protein and it sticking in on self-assembling nanoparticles,” essentially referring to mRNA vaccines. Fauci then stated: “The critical challenge . . . is that in order to make the transition from getting out of the tried and true egg-growing [method] . . . to something that has to be much better, you have to prove that this works and then you have got to go through all of the critical trials—phase 1, phase 2, phase 3—and show that this particular product is going to be good over a period of years. That alone, if it works perfectly, is going to take a decade.” Fauci later stated that there is a need to alter the public’s perception that the flu is not a serious disease in order to increase urgency and that it would be “difficult” to alter that perception along with the existing vaccine development and approval process unless the existing system takes the posture that “I don’t care what your perception is, we’re going to address the problem in a disruptive way and an iterative way.”

During the panel, Bright stated that “we need to move as quickly as possible and urgently as possible to get these technologies that address speed and effectiveness of the vaccine” before discussing how the White House Council of Economic Advisers had just issued a report emphasizing that prioritizing “fast” vaccines was paramount. Bright then added that a “mediocre and fast” vaccine was better than a “mediocre and slow” vaccine. He then said that we can make “better vaccines and make them faster” and that urgency and disruption were necessary to produce the targeted and accelerated development of one such vaccine. Later in the panel, Bright said the best way to “disrupt” the vaccine field in favor of “faster” vaccines would be the emergence of “an entity of excitement out there that’s completely disruptive, that’s not beholden to bureaucratic strings and processes.” He later very directly said that by “faster” vaccines he meant mRNA vaccines.

The Bright-led BARDA and the Fauci-led NIAID in just a few months’ time became the biggest backers of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, investing billions and co-developing the vaccine with the company, respectively. As will be explained in Part II of this series, the partnership between Moderna and the NIH to co-develop what would soon become Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was being forged as early as January 7, 2020, long before the official declaration of the COVID-19 crisis as a pandemic and before a vaccine was proclaimed as necessary by officials and other individuals. Not only did the COVID-19 vaccine quickly become the answer to nearly all Moderna’s woes but it also provided the disruptive scenario necessary to alter the public’s perceptions of what a vaccine is and eliminate existing safeguards and bureaucracy in vaccine approval. (Watch the 2019 Universal Flu Vaccine event here.)

As Part II of this series will show, it was an alleged mix of “serendipity and foresight” from Moderna’s Stéphane Bancel and the NIH’s Barney Graham that propelled Moderna to the front of the “Warp Speed” race for a COVID-19 vaccine. That partnership, along with the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 crisis, created the very “Hail Mary” for which Moderna had been desperately waiting since at least 2017 while also turning most of Moderna’s executive team into billionaires and multi-millionaires in a matter of months.

However, Moderna’s “Hail Mary” won’t last – that is, unless the mass administration of its COVID-19 vaccine becomes an annual affair for millions of people worldwide. Even though real-world data since its administration began challenges the need for as well as the safety and efficacy of its vaccine, Moderna – and its stakeholders – cannot afford to let this opportunity slip through fingers. To do so would mean the end of Moderna’s carefully constructed house of cards.

The post Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again first appeared on Dissident Voice.