Tonight, I present you with another potential re-hash of many old ideas in a new form. Hopefully it will stick in your craw in a new way and leave you inspired. It is derived from many of the ideas utilized in my theory on Marxism and Mental Illness. It is an exploration of the deployment of "Mental Illness" by the Status Quo as the new "other."
The fact of the matter is, the Status Quo has been demonizing an "other" as part of its standard operating procedure since the dawn of mankind. From women, to people from different countries, to people from different cities; heathens, Jews, Puritans, barbarians, you name it. There has always been a scapegoat for people to blame all of their problems on; some nebulous "other" who, by virtue of being "other," exist as a sort of barrier that defines, by exclusion, who the status quo "is." "We are (insert group name here), and we're not like (insert "other" name here); we're better than them." These days, we are finding less and less obvious cases of this kind of dichotomy, but that isn't because the behavior has gone away; it has merely taken on another aspect.
To be sure, this kind of bald-faced othering DOES still exist. In today's culture, 7/14/11, many Americans view Immigrants this way, as do they view people who are gay. The term "homosexual agenda" is testiment to this fear of the "other" and what "they" will do if allowed "their way." This fear is a principle ingredient in constituting a sense of identity for the Status Quo, by providing them a common enemy to unite against.
On a subtler level, we see the same thing take place with Mental Illness. We are the ultimate other; those of us with a mental illness have something about us that it is institutionally valid to fear, discriminate against and outright judge. You see, for many rational-thinkers, it is no longer sufficient to take part in the identity-forming fears of immigrants or gay people or Jews or pagans; such individuals are, more or less, institutionally justified. This does become a complicated issue of semantics, but the bottom line is, you're not SUPPOSED to judge those people any more. That's not "PC."
But it is "PC" to judge the Mentally Ill. Even if is not PC to judge them as "bad" (though it certainly is a common practice, especially in the media), it is definitely PC to judge them as unfit, unsound, and generally not worth the same amount of attention as a person who is not Mentally Ill. In short, a Mentally Ill person is a second class citizen, via official Psychiatric sanction.
Now, there may well be some people who fall under this classification who probably should be treated as second-class citizens; vicious murderers and worse, people with absolutely no moral backbone and no hope for redemption. But this is just one type of person found under the category of "mentally ill," along with individuals like myself, and even milder-mannered people who simply have "depression." People who are doing their best to be good, who care about goodness, who feel they care about it more than anyone else around them. But despite this, our cries go unanswered, or dismissed as "mentally ill."
Whenever medical personnel agree with me, I am a bright young boy. When they disagree, I'm manic. It really does seem to be that simple; no one will admit it, but the number of times I've seen it happen is staggering. Mental Illness is used to excuse complete ignorance and persecution of dissenting ideals. And Psychiatry is getting away with it because humans seem to have a built-in need for there to be an omnipresent "other" to fear and reject.
It's despicable on so many levels, even a purely utilitarian one. Madness is just humanity's way of trying out new ideas; evolution is a process of mutation and selection. If we worship the status quo of Psychiatry as much as we do now, we do not allow for mutation; only selection. This cannot possibly lead to any real growth of the human spirit. Many of the world's most brilliant inventors and creators have been retro-actively diagnosed (a pathetic project on Psychiatry's part to "universalize" their modern findings, granting them additional agency by making it seem like "bipolar" has ALWAYS existed and isn't something they basically invented to categorize a behavior pattern) with a "mental illness," and it has often been attributed as a major source of their inspiration. If this is true, I can only assume that their inspiration would have been completely devastated by the medication and therapies of the modern approach.
This otherization of mental illness is not just bad for those who are different, but for the species as a whole. Humanity NEEDS us to keep on being mad to supply the energy for our own self-revolution. At least that's my take on it.
Hope you found something to agree with, Citizens. See you next week.