It started out in school–from grade one we were told what and when and where and how to think/learn/study without any let-up, even in “higher education.” From there I made a “from frying pan to the fire” move by getting into a marriage where, although neither of us was particularly religious in the beginning, orthodoxy raised its head after we had children. As they grew older severe restrictions on what we could think and discuss pervaded every part of our lives, including leisure time and entertainment. With orthodoxy people are attempting to “protect from defilement” some “pure” religion/culture/tradition. No questioning or free discussion is tolerated because that would lead to the dreaded defilement. The different camps may dispute with one another but never allow free thinking or discussion within their ranks. The result is extreme polarization, along with an explosion in materialism since that is the only area where some freedom of thought and speech is permitted or encouraged.
Is a dysfunctional, disturbed, scared, angry, paranoid, disorganized person mentally ill? What about someone who behaves in a way that seems crazy, mad, insane? Or is the first suffering from the effects of too much exposure to people who feel they must control every aspect of the lives of those around them–all their thoughts, words, and deeds. People so obsessed with control that they lose everything if they lose that control. What about their supporters–nice, intelligent, well-meaning citizens who admire and support control freaks because they seem so in control of everything and everyone around them, including themselves. Perhaps the seemingly crazy, mad, insane person is caught between the control freaks and their nice, intelligent, well-meaning supporters and went mad because nothing made sense anymore. Funny how we “know” our brains are for thinking (as opposed to just learning by rote), yet we are scared to death from the outset that someone (children, for instance) might actually use them for that. So we control, or support controllers, and label people who end up somehow, mysteriously, unable to control themselves as mentally ill and blame their “illness” on “genetics” and “chemical imbalance”–behavior that makes it very difficult to see the difference between science and religion.
If psychiatrists are doctors, they are a very odd sort of doctor. They are like a doctor who gives his patient with a broken leg a bottle of pills for pain, then tells him to go home and take the painkillers according to the directions on the bottle. This doctor not only avoids talking about his patient’s broken leg, he does not even want to acknowledge it exists. Where do such doctors get their training/education? Pharmaceutical companies? Pharmaceutical universities? One more industry dedicated to the avoidance and covering up of reality. Deadening pain makes neither a broken leg, nor an injured psyche, nor reality disappear.
I recently visited a place called MindFreedom located in Eugene, Oregon and, among other things, they gave me a bumper sticker that says “numb isnt normal.” Regarding the subject of normality, their website has an interesting campaign–”Boycott Normal.” I have never attempted to define or even discuss what is “normal” because I grew up in a family that would not be described as “normal” or average. However, they were always responsible, something I appreciated and emulated in my own life. Since I was willing to take on responsibilities, I ended up with a lot of them. I coped by going to others for help whenever I could not deal with a situation or problem myself. The people I went to for help were, for the most part, responsible and were able to give the help they claimed to be qualified to give, until the time our family suffered a traumatic accident that resulted in the death of a family member, and we found ourselves needing help from the mental health industry. For the first time, from people claiming to be professionals, we received minimal or no help at all, or “help” at the time that made things worse in the long run. All I can think is that these “professionals,” who probably believe they are very “normal,” are not responsible, yet they are the people who deal with those who are at sea after traumatic experiences and need to learn how to be responsible for themselves and others all over again or perhaps for the first time in their lives. And the traumatized are confronted with people who only want to throw pills at them and run. No help there, and these are the people defining normality. Mental health “professionals” could be much more effective and helpful if they were less concerned with what it is to be normal and more concerned with what it is to be responsible.
The words power and powerful are being used frequently by people writing and speaking about oppression and inequality. These words are being used to describe authorities and institutions responsible for unjust practices but are misleading because they imply strength, whereas the unjust actions being reported are motivated by fear, weakness, and insecurity. The words control and controlling more accurately describe the actions of those who are constantly searching for ways to take advantage of and make a profit off vulnerable people in the name of helping them. The desire to control others comes out of insecurity, fear, weakness, and imbalance, and instead of helping anyone spreads these conditions throughout society resulting in the opposite of a strong or powerful state.
Each person has their own brain to use for doing their own thinking. No one needs someone else telling them what to think, yet that is exactly what is happening on a massive scale in the name of education, schooling, religious instruction, dissemination of information, news reporting, and so on. From all sides we are told we need an expert or professional, trained-in-the-field person to tell us what to think about everything we deal with in our daily lives. And their advice is not open to questioning or discussion because they spent years and lots of money learning what to tell us to think and do and now only have time for that telling. That is nothing other than indoctrination and is doing great harm. The people known for their wisdom and helpful advice emphasize the need for balance, something we learn through our own efforts, concentration, and thinking–it cannot be learned through indoctrination.
Anyone with any wisdom would know that freedom of thought is vital for the survival and prosperity of mankind. And it is the prerequisite for all other freedoms, including freedom from slavery to the pharaohs of any time. However, to get to the place where it is possible to envision and practice freedom of thought, an environment conducive to such an idea must be created first. That requires not focusing on meaningless and inflexible things, having some free time for everyone set aside on a regular basis and committed to thought, contemplation and reflection, and avoiding actions that cause conflict within the family, community and society. Religion is full of ironies, but the most outstanding irony of all is the consistent misuse and misrepresentation of the commandments until they convey an opposite meaning that defeats their intended purpose of creating an environment conducive to freedom of thought.