Deutsch Italiano Polski
The Answer on the Mind-Body Question
as a Crucial Means for Social Control and Oppression
Speech held at the Conference of the Radical Philosophy Association
at Brown University, Providence Rhode Island, USA on Nov. 7th 2002
First I would like to thank you for the invitation to this conference.
Please do not be surprised if at first you don't find a logical connection between the different concepts I am about to mention. It has consciously been constructed as a patchwork consisting of 6 pieces, which I will call "patches". This patchwork makes itself comprehensible as a complete picture only at the end, although still another whole set of pieces of the puzzle may be missing between them.
First a few basic considerations on the Mind-Body question:
It concerns only two terms and the logical possibilities concerning its relationship are quite clear to see:
I begin with the mainstream statement - and would like to mention straight away that in my opinion it is wrong.
This position, which I will hereafter refer to as "a)", maintains that mind and body is identical and/or the mind is inferable as a function by the body, thus the mind - mental experiences etc. - can be researched via the body.
Just as a footnote: typically esoteric people are just as convinced of this relationship, except that they state the opposite, namely that the body is inferable by the mind.
To make this quite clear:
The mind is the direct product of the brain. The investigation of the brain results in a complete explanation of the mind. This is the paradigmatic prevailing position starting more or less with Immanuel Kant, since he first used the metaphor to locate "mental disorder" as a "head illness". Why I connect this position with a relationship to alleged "mental disorder", I will explain at the end of the lecture.
This viewpoint was reinforced and strengthened by William Griesinger. Mental disorder is from now on no longer only in the head - but further reduced to brain illness and from there on it is only a small step for example to the Viktor von Weizaeckers or Carl Schneiders, the alleged "scientists" who themselves finally thought to have traced the mind, deviant or not, with their brain slices of freshly murdered victims. The same fanaticism also inspired for example Oskar Vogt, the director of the Emperor William Institute for brain research in Berlin as well as the Soviet scientists with their brain collections and brain slices of Lenin and other deceased "geniuses".
Since the 1940's, associating the brain with a functional apparatus (the computer, which was built shortly thereafter) belongs into exactly the same category, which has since been known as the so-called "cognitive turn". Once again an algorithm was searched for, according to which the brain was to function and how they could be simulated electronically. At this time arose psychiatric electro shocking as a particularly evil form of torture. This fantasy has now become very dominant by the massive use of computers and the knowledge of software as locatable information on molecular material. In fact this association only has to do with a language exclusively in a command structure: The imagination of the "master race" and/or military is served. At last it is possible to give orders which are unconditionally obeyed, even if it is only by the keyboard - the old dream of having power.
a1) Also known as the biological primate. In this way the biological becomes paradigmatical and determining, either as genetic teachings or as brain metabolism and/or any kind of electrical process. In order not to get completely lost in an untenable position a), it is conceded that there are possibly undetermined events in the brain and in interaction with the environment and their feedback some unpredictable things happen. Usually however only the banal concession is thereby made "that everything is not yet investigated and in the future a complete explanation will be able to be given".
In a nutshell: one admits to some unclear points in the determination of the relationship "mind/body", but these are marginal. a) + a1) are represented by the entire psychiatrist clique including the psychoanalysts and naturally the drug industry.
Contrary to position a) +a1) there is the viewpoint that "Mind" and "Body" are entities which are completely independent from each other, hereafter refered to as "b)". With it accompanies firstly a distinction of ones own thoughts in contrast to the result of an examinable deterministic cascade, and secondly the subjective, private unknowable information of a basic undeterminableness of the mental. It should be noted that as a radical consequence, one can refer to Goedels "Incompleteness Theorem" [see The Godelian Argument, by J. R. Lucas, discovered 2011]. In principle the non-positivistic philosophy took this position with the so-called "linguistic turn". However it hardly took a position explicitly, but rather let itself be completely driven into the defensive, forgotten behind scientific illusory successes, instead of rubbing salt into the open and incurable wounds of physics.
According to this position, the possibility of talking about mental events is in principle and definitely different, so to speak categorical, in contrast to discussions and findings about physicality or objectivity. "Mind" and "Brain" are completely disconnected entities.
For "b)", similarly as with mentioned about "a)", there is a weakened form, which permits biological and objectifiable as an "interference factor". This is however declared to be marginal, for example that consumption of alcohol or drugs changes mental experiences, but here too "Set and Setting" finally are crucial, so that by no means an "a)" position can be construed from it.
Only with position "b)" or "b1)" is it at all possible to construct human categories, because they proceed from a principle of indeterminableness of personal decisions. Only under this necessary condition can an individual select his actions and then and only then can he answer for them. An opposite example makes that clear: a computer can for example not possess moral qualities and can also not take any blame, it is simply an object. Each metaphorical confounding of the "Mind" as a "Computer-Brain" denies this specifically and substantially human core quality. You will later see how substantial this point is and the fact that the use of the "Insanity defense" not only has become a caricature, rather it has thereby become a means of oppression.
Talking about reasons and causes
Gilbert Ryle named the appropriate categories very accurately. So you see, it is by no means dark romantics, phenomenologists or existentialists, to whom I refer.
The Chair FOR Madness of the free university in Berlin, which I represent here, concentrated from the outset on the distinction between causes and reasons. The difference should be known to everyone, however it is unfortunately not. And so there is a point of confusion in the language, which is however in the interests of many - the topic of my lecture.
In order to make the difference between causes and reasons quite clear, here an example. On October the 31st, 1999 Egypt Air's flight 990 fell into a fatal dive off the north-east coast of the US into the waters off Nantucket Island.
First the authorities for flight safety looked for a technical, objective cause. As soon as the voice recorder was found and the words of the pilots were translated, this investigation was broken off and the FBI, with the help of people with Arabic as their native language, searched for the reasons for the pilots behaviour.
Apparently reasons differ from causes by the use of completely different communication, research methods and questioning.
Reasons form a structure in a cultural, linguistic, logical context, which are understood by interpretation and has literary, social, moral and religious correlations.
Causes however are the relationships of the facts in a tight corset of causal connections, a temporally as well as spatially strictly conditionally arranged relationship - if, then and only then, which can be calculated in advance only with the help of mathematical models and measuring instruments, of how an object will behave in the future or which exact failure led to the resulting damage. We naturally rely on these computations daily with each construction of a house or bridge and our everyday confidence therein is constantly confirmed. That is one reason why there is such a large acceptance of having everything described in a causal blanket of reasoning.
Exactly the same is reflected in the difference between "Brain" and "Mind". The brain can be objectively examined for functional relationships. The "Mind" however is an entity, which can be understood only by interpretation, social, social-linguistic relationships and traditions, classically also called Hermeneutic. So while we submit facts which have causes to an objective investigation with scientific methods, we will only discover the reasons which articulate the behaviour of human beings and their interests through literature and art, film and practical philosophy, as well as the myths of different peoples of the earth. Interestingly and fatally enough, the pentagon has also come to this conclusion and now produces its wars according to Hollywood film scripts in a devilish twist of theater and reality. In the old world another twist of theater and reality took place last month in the Moscow hostage drama and came to another sorrowful climax.
To sum up: as different people can have the same reasons for doing completely different - even opposing - things, and as others can do the same thing for completely different reasons, there is in principle no "scientific" knowledge about human thoughts and no prediction of human behavior possible. This is the essence of the ontology of human liberty. Those who confuse reasons with causes do this at best innocently, however they usually have reasons for doing this: namely the stabilizing of the governing conditions, the impossibility of emancipatory thinking.
Why "mental illness" does not exist.
There is simple proof why its existence necessarilly and rationally must be denied and this takes place in three steps:
The first step:
The description of what an illness is:
In order to speak meaningfully in the medical sense about an illness, BOTH of the following conditions must be fulfilled:
a) an objectifiable change of the body tissue or body fluid must be present, as determined for example with the forensic investigation of a cause of death.
b) the person who has an illness must suffer from it subjectively and/or believe that he will suffer, in other words, he must at least consider that present condition to be unpleasant and have a desire to change it. Furthermore, this is a precondition for anything like "therapy" to take place.
The second step:
there is no illness, UNLESS both criteria a) and b) are fulfilled, because:
- if none of the two criteria are fulfilled, then the word "illness" can only be used as methaphor: for example "a sick joke", or "the economy is ill".
- if a) applies, but not b), then the doctors have lost a diagnosis and an operating field: for example people under a certain height were designated simply as being "ill" and the illness described as "exceptionally short". But that becomes irrelevant from the moment that dwarfs say that they are a normal part of mankind and do not suffer because of their size. Another example is deaf people: as soon as they organize themselves as people who speak differently, the "suffering" disappears and with it the possibility to call deafness an "illness".
- if b) does apply but not a), then it would be left up to the subjective feeling whether someone has an illness or not. Naturally so far no society has been prepared to accept the far-reaching consequences of this, because it would mean that - on the one hand - everyone could sign his own sick leave certificate and - on the other hand - the substantial function of the doctors would break down, because - in contrast to todays orthodox medicine - investigations and a diagnosis would no longer be needed, but rather any spiritual charlatanism would have the priority.
The third step:
The alleged existance of "mental illness" can fulfill neither the condition a) nor b) - although even the absence of one of the two conditions of these alleged "diagnoses" would fall through for a candidacy as "illness" (see 2.) because:
- there are no objectifiable changes in the body tissue. As everyone knows, neither a blood test, nor a brainscan, nor a microscopic, X-ray or ultrasonic examination is made, let alone even a "gene test", in order to make any of the slandering psychiatric diagnoses.
- no "suffering" accompanied by a desire for change can be present if people are regularly locked up in psychiatric prisons. Logically they are locked up because they are not there voluntarily and otherwise would leave and thereby extract themselves from the psychiatric torture methods such as four-point restraint, forced injections, electro-shocks etc. and constantly having to see these fascist methods. Rather it is those who are locked up who are turned into suffering people by psychiatry, by being degraded and humiliated, with attempts to break their will, using torture methods to extract a confession in which they finally admit to their "illness", so that afterwards the psychiatrists will be able to call the whole martyr "medical" treatment.
To sum up: The use of the words "mental illness" are about the use of a methaphor, thus only words, not actual findings or facts.
This part of my speech will be exclusively a long quotation from Saul Kripke's "Naming and Necessity" on pages 153 to 155, the conclusion of this fundamental work.
His lectures give obvious references to the fact that there can never be a "identity theory" of "mind" and "brain", even if everything else remains unsettled.
"Perhaps the same point can be made more vivid without such specific reference to the technical apparatus in these lectures. Suppose we imagine God creating the world; what does He need to do to make the identity of heat and molecular motion obtain? Here it would seem that all He needs to do is to create the heat, that is, the molecular motion itself. If the air molecules on this earth are sufficiently agitated, if there is a burning fire, then the earth will be hot even if there are no observers to see it. God created light (and thus created streams of photons, according to present scientific doctrine) before He created human and animal observers; and the same presumably holds for heat. How then does it appear to us that the identity of molecular motion with heat is a substantive scientific fact, that the mere creation of molecular motion still leaves God with the additional task of making molecular motion into heat? This feeling is indeed illusory, but what is a substantive task for the Deity is the task of making molecular motion felt as heat. To do this He must create some sentient beings to insure that the molecular motion produces the sensation S in them. Only after he has done this will there be beings who can learn that the sentence 'Heat is the motion of molecules' expresses an a posteriori truth in precisely the same way that we do.
What about the case of the stimulation of C-fibers? To create this phenomenon, it would seem that God need only create beings with C-fibers capable of the appropriate type of physical stimulation; whether the beings are conscious or not is irrelevant here. It would seem, though, that to make the C-fiber stimulation correspond to pain, or be felt as pain, God must do something in addition to the mere creation of the C-fiber stimulation; He must let the creatures feel the C-fiber stimulation as pain, and not as a tickle, or as warmth, or as nothing, as apparently would also have been within His powers. If these things in fact are within His powers, the relation between the pain God creates and the stimulation of C-fibers cannot be identity. For if so, the stimulation could exist without the pain;
and since 'pain' and 'C-fiber stimulation' are rigid, this fact implies that the relation between the two phenomena is not that of identity. God had to do some work, in addition to making the man himself, to make a certain man be the inventor of bifocals; the man could well exist without inventing any such thing. The same cannot be said for pain; if the phenomenon exists at all, no further work should be required to make it into pain.
In sum, the correspondence between a brain state and a mental state seems to have a certain obvious element of contingency. We have seen that identity is not a relation which can hold contingently between objects. Therefore, if the identity thesis were correct, the element of contingency would not lie in the relation between the mental and physical states. It cannot lie, as in the case of heat and molecular motion, in the relation between the phenomenon (= heat = molecular motion) and the way it is felt or appears (sensation S), since in the case of mental phenomena there is no 'appearance' beyond the mental phenomenon itself.
Here I have been emphasizing the possibility, or apparent possibility, of a physical state without the corresponding mental state. The reverse possibility, the mental state (pain) without the physical state (C-fiber stimulation) also presents problems for the identity theorists which cannot be resolved by appeal to the analogy of heat and molecular motion.
I have discussed similar problems more briefly for views equating the self with the body, and particular mental events with particular physical events, without discussing possible countermoves in the same detail as in the type-type case. Suffice it to say that I suspect that the considerations given indicate that the theorist who wishes to identify various particular mental and physical events will have to face problems fairly similar to those of the type-type theorist; he too will be unable to appeal to the standard alleged analogues.
That the usual moves and analogies are not available to solve the problems of the identity theorist is, of course, no proof that no moves are available. I certainly cannot discuss all the possibilities here. I suspect, however, that the present considerations tell heavily against the usual forms of materialism. Materialism, I think, must hold that a physical description of the world is a complete description of it, that any mental facts are 'ontologically dependent' on physical facts in the straightforward sense of following from them by necessity. No identity theorist seems to me to have made a convincing argument against the intuitive view that this is not the case."
And his conclusion in the foot note:
"I regard the mind-body problem as wide open and extremely confusing."
To these final words by Saul Kripke I could easily continue with patch # 5. He has disproved the identity theory and thus a) and a1) thoroughly, but now stands there confused and orientationless.
I could inasmuch apply it for this speech. For the basic thesis of my lecture that would be sufficient.
Nevertheless, in order not to have you leave here with all too many doubts, I would simply like to propose the following model. Thus it becomes obvious that the identity theoreticians can pack up their bags anyway, as long as this suggested model is not disproved. Its refutation would be extremely difficult anyway. Simply imagine the mind as a non-local entity and the brain "uniquely" as the reception apparatus for it, like a radio or a TV set. It is quite clear - and anyone would be silly to assume - that for example a small big-band is inside the radio set playing the music. Similarly it would be just as silly therefore to search the brain for mental events. With this model it is also easy to understand that making changes to the reception apparatus changes and/or distorts the message: a magnet on the screen makes that immediately clear - in the same way for example that drugs change and/or distort mental experiences.
With this model a connection to the burning questions of physics, in particular quantum physics could be made, where for example in the interpretation of David Bohm the non-locality of information is chosen as a premise. Or the beginning of an answer would be given to the gigantic deficit of all neuronal babblers, who do not even have a hypothesis about "memory". And perhaps most far-reaching: the term of natural "laws" could arise from purely social claims to power, whereas a term such as natural "habits" would be much more adequate to the statistic conditions of atomic physics. From it endophysics could possibly actually be developed. (Endophysics is the physics of the internal observer.)
So now we are already in the middle of the roar of battle, which the physicist Alan Sokal organized 5 years ago and against which - to my knowledge - the Humanities have not countered with even the weakest offensive. One can only be filled with great concern about just how far the erosion of the Humanities has already progressed and their haste for obedience towards the scientific technocracy and their governing logic. In this connection my doubts are far, far beyond of "political correctness".
Thus although the proof is clear that a) or a1) is incorrect, why does one hold on to a) or a1) at all? Because of the governing interest and/or the interest of the governors! In this way it is explained why the wrong basic hypothesis is constantly updated: The behavior of humans is fantasized as being due to causes, in order to bind him in a tight corset of causalities - it is the destilation of an ideology of suppression.
It is thus revealed that the central issue of these psycho pseudo sciences is to pretend that there is a controllability, which however is engraved with medically inquisitorical brutality. The common answer to the mind/body relationship thus shows itself to be simply a function of the governing power. It is to pretend that there is a social constraint, whereas ones own participation would be possible. The "mind" as a completely personal experience, the knowledge about ones owns secrets, etc. should be accepted - contrary to the truth - as being causal and therefore of a deterministic nature. The mind should thus run along pre-ordained, causal tracks and would be researchable.
By loading rule with symbolism, the intimidation is taken to such an extent, that in the haste for obedience, this nonsense is actually believed. The main symbolisms are: the university - this new "church" with a torture department in the locked psychiatric wards - , the experiments, the training analysis and the insignia of the state power. Thus the oppressing psychiatric system could - on a fictional basis, only by using force - stabilize itself so that even many of the victims do not charge it with the humiliation and dehumanizing which they have experienced. Instead, as in a treadmill, they accept the perfidious method of being individually given a "diagnosis" in as much as they search in isolation and within themselves for the reasons for their being abused. And in doing so they are imprisoned in a vicious circle created by the defining authority. This is an almost perfect impregnation as a lifelong victim. The political side of what is taking place is thus relatively well covered up.
Although this control requirement rubs continuously against ones personal experience, it can be only be understood as an indication of a comprehensive ideological misjudgement that this false statement continues to remain so successful. This is the only explanation for the fact that a dungeon-like system with a torture regiment, namely coercive psychiatry, could be maintained for more than two centuries against all the rules of human compassion.
This system developed its full consequences in the 6 institutes for gas-chamber murder of the psychiatric Holocaust in Germany, the blueprint for the later, better known extermination camps in Poland. This too has not been understood until now and instead has been repelled.
The historian Ernst Klee by contrast put it quite articulately: "It wasn't the Nazis who needed the doctors, rather it was the doctors who needed the Nazis."
After this political explanation, I would still like to make another explanatory reference to the subjective side of the "why". However only on the condition that you don't interpret this as psychologising:
It seems to be me that in the fear of liberty there lies a need for subordination despite the marked pretense of "individuality". This hypocritical rhetoric seems to be used like a shield against the fear of liberty. In addition comes the specific relieving function by the selection practice of coercive psychiatry, which naturally condemns in some way dissident people into the black hole of psychiatry. With this selection practice the powerlessness of the non-selected is numbed, so that even if one is only scarcely higher up in the symbolic hierarchy, for example physically impaired, one still feels superior, because one is finally not one of "them", a "schizophrenic". Thus the need for exclusion of the non-selected stabilizes the pecking order of the prevailing governing conditions and/or the conditions of the governors. This need for exclusion of the non-selected is surely an important aspect in order to understand why this society functions as it does.
Patch # 6
This is an Appeal
Abolish the Mental Health Acts.
Abolish coercive psychiatric tyranny and help the UN Declaration of Human Rights to finally be practiced in society, also in the USA.
Please recognize, what a central role anti-psychiatry, better still, anti-coercive psychiatry plays for emancipatory hopes and desires.
Be confident that coercive psychiatry can be overcome - it is even a very brittle system, because it claims to be a science and deal with "illness", as if this were an objective fact. This is the weak point where Goliath can be hit. If, anywhere in the world, it is possible to legally refute the claim by psychiatry that it is a science by using a loop-hole which denies a psychiatrist the right to incarcerate someone, then the system is fundamentally broke!
In conclusion here a few words of thanks.
The thoughts spoken here are based on ideas by Michel Foucault and Prof. Thomas Szasz, who developed these more than 40 years ago already.
Patch # 7
Addendum - 13/2/2011
Meanwhile the results of the so-called "Nun Study" are published which are like a meltdown, the worst case scenario for the psychiatric construction. Because when an undoubted correlation is claimed for the increasing forgetfulness in old age and the brain to be identified as alleged "Alzheimers disease", then it was the plaque in the brains of the dead whose brains were examined.
But the opposite is the case: "A striking result was the independence of the pathological brain findings (multiple Alzheimer's plaques) from the repeatedly collected intellectual performance of the same persons during their lifetime. This means that even persons who were found to have severely altered brain findings in the section were able to perform mentally demanding tasks until their death." as the actual finding is shortly and concisely summarized by the German Wikipedia [see a video displaying the same].
Thus even the most solidly believed psychiatric-neurological „knowledge“ on a supposed body-soul correlation is proved to be nothing more than pure blabber. If psychiatrists were not still provided with such state legalized power, they would be the most laughable star in the academic heavens.
They are thus state-protected criminals.
© René Talbot