Thank you Mark!

Yes, the election faith question is clearly delineated along the lines you described. I often can't help but wonder whether Trump has been a controlled opposition figure this whole time, although accusations of controlled opposition have become fraught and ubiquitous. Perhaps he was just easily manipulated into acting in ways that fed into setting him up as the perfect boogeyman. But after years of Trump declaring that he would challenge the election results if he lost (starting in 2016), the public was already primed to believe that any future challenge he made to the elections would be considered in bad faith. As a result, any actual vote rigging that might occur against Trump in 2020 would automatically not be considered as a possible factual occurrence in the minds of Trump's opponents, irrespective of evidence.

Of course, the other level of irony here is that Trump's opponents were emotionally manipulated into being so traumatized at the idea that Trump could actually win a nationwide election (again, seemingly aided by Trump, whether intentionally or not), they would also be primed to believe the exact mirror opposite of what Trump claimed (i.e. if Trump won an election, it must be rigged somehow), leading to the credulity of the Russiagate narrative around the 2016 election, while subsequently believing it impossible that the 2020 election could be rigged in the other direction. So we are left with a situation in which both the red and blue tribes are convinced that if their side didn't win, it must be a result of vote-rigging, and if their side didn't win, it's impossible that vote-rigging occurred. In each case, true believers on either side are completely blind to their bias. For myself, I have been suspicious of the integrity of American elections since the Bush Gore debacle of 2020 was covered over by the Supreme Court itself, followed by the introduction of electronic voting machines in 2002, the completely ignored evidence of rigging in Ohio in 2004, and the evidence of vote-rigging efforts against Sanders in both the 2016 and 2020 primaries. The only antidote to this is for citizens on all sides of any election to insist on high transparency and scrutiny of the entire electoral process for all elections, and to demand accountability from the press on this in all instances. I can dream.

One of the clearest examples I saw of this phenomenon of denying election legitimacy if the "wrong" party or candidate is elected was the Hamas victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections. It was clear that Israel would not tolerate a vote result in which the Palestinians elected the "wrong" party, and took military action to reduce the Gaza Strip to a perpetual stage, while arresting leading Hamas members in the West Bank, nullifying their ability to govern, among other actions. Who determines what is "wrong"? As always, the oligarchical military/intelligence establishment.

Yeah, it's likely Fauci really is a psychopath - I was attempting to be generous in the article, since I've been so hard on our tireless public servant in the past. Or maybe I was throwing a concession out there for potential readers who have a hard time imagining that our beloved, trusted leaders might as well be characters out of Game of Thrones. At any rate, it's clear to me that some of these leaders are true psychopaths, and some of them are caught up in a series of self-serving rationalizations powered by an instrumentalist ethos. The upshot is that an instrumentalist ethos will transform one's actions into that of a psychopath even if one would not be a psychopath otherwise.

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Thank you so much for this article. It expresses so well the things that my sarcastic little snippets cannot. For example, I've written about the psychological, personal reasons why people still insist on wearing masks, but your focus on the instrumentalist nature of our government institutions really gets at the heart of the matter.

The election faith issue is a strange one. Back in 2016, we were told by mainstream media that the election wasn't legitimate, because either (1) it was stolen either by some clickbait farmers in St. Petersburg whose $50K spent on stupid Facebook ads somehow overpowered Hillary's $1.5B campaign; or (2) it was stolen by that criminal mastermind Putin, whose elite hacking abilities are unrivaled. Yet somehow, in 2020, the election was totally legitimate, and for some reason, the clickbait farmers and that dastardly Putin didn't even try to influence it.

The best explanation I can come up with is that we are only allowed to express lack of faith in elections if the wrong people get elected.

But who determines what is "wrong"? The same question needs to be asked about Covid mandates and censorship. Who determines what is wrongthink?

One idea I've come across is that bureaucracies and institutions are like living organisms. They have a life of their own and a drive to thrive and grow and increase their power. The people working for those institutions, for the most part, are like cells in a body and are not really running the show. Perhaps only the people at the tops of these organizations really know what's going on and have some influence over the direction of these organizations.

You raised the question of whether people like Fauci are psychopaths. It's hard to tell at this distance. Like the people who run companies in Silicon Valley (where I worked for nearly four decades), he seems to believe that he has god-like powers to change the world for the better. He spent his entire career promoting drugs (including vaccines) in the belief that he can cure all diseases. The obvious failure of these efforts seems obvious to us, yet he persists. Whether or not he's actually a psychopath, his actions sure make it look like he's one.

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Well said, thank you. I think those who are willing to look, have been. How should we approach the true believers? I often feel I should apologize beforehand for disillusioning others (like telling a kid Santa isn’t real)… not that they’d believe without their own due diligence — again, if they’re willing to look. After reading this, I came across this article, fits right into the conversation: https://www.madinamerica.com/2023/01/acknowledge-psychiatry-religion/

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You're welcome John-Michael! The best answer I've seen on how to approach the true believers is the one recommended by Mattias Desmet, which is to release our hopes of convincing individuals out of their true believerism, and resisting the urge to go into black-pilled despair around it, but to keep speaking out regardless, understanding that the cumulative effects of those who can see through the illusion speaking out about it will over time erode the spell of true believerism, and one-by-one, in their own time, according to their own process, those under the spell will eventually emerge from it as the threads of the collective spell continue to weaken under the mounting cognitive dissonance.

Thank you for sharing that article. There is much in it I agree with - namely, that the DSM is largely arbitrary, and it merely consists of collecting lists of symptoms, drawing a circle around them, and then labeling that collection of symptoms with a circle around it as a specific disorder. This has largely been done for the purposes of fortifying the pharmaceutical approach to mental health, and sometimes in order to marginalize ways of being targeted for suppression and dismissal, sometimes both. It can also be done to paper over and conceal actual sources of illness. The best recent example of this is "Sudden Adult Death Syndrome." The symptom (dying suddenly) gets a circle drawn around it, and then the cause of the death is obscured by naming the syndrome after the symptom itself, creating a closed loop in which the cause will never be determined.

In the case of mental health, it is clear to me in my practice as a psychotherapist, that most of the mental health issues people face are rooted in past trauma, especially interpersonal attachment trauma, and that healing is found through a combination of understanding and processing the trauma on mental, emotional, spiritual, and somatic levels, and by learning methods of relating to the trauma itself, to oneself, and to other people that prevent recapitulation of the trauma and produce corrective experiences. Much of the formative trauma we experience that leads to later mental and emotional suffering is also rooted in dysfunctional and meta-abusive societal norms as well, so there is a vested interest among those in the ruling class to shroud these dynamics in mystery so as to perpetuate the systems that weaken and traumatize individuals and turn them against themselves and others.

The part of the article where I take exception has to do with the approach of attempting to discredit psychiatry by labeling it a religion. In one sense, demonstrating that the dogma of DSM-psychiatry is analogous to religions is quite accurate. Prevailing beliefs are essentially announced into being, and the power of the priesthood as the authority, along with their "bible" (strikingly, the DSM is often unironically referred to as the "bible" of psychiatric health), is self-justifying.

But on the other hand, just because something is a religion does not make it untrue. The article implies this to be the case, contrasting religion (which is false) with science (which is true). Here I see the roots of what is often called "Scientism," the phenomenon by which that which is called "science" is believed to be true in the same way religions are. There are two important elements to this Scientism phenomenon, however: One of these is the degree to which prevailing scientific orthodoxy is not actually grounded in the scientific method (as is the case with psychiatry, and numerous other examples, such as Covidianism). But the other element of Scientism that often gets overlooked is the belief that the scientific method is the only method by which we are able to access truth.

I perceive that the scientific method, when adhered to appropriately, and shielded from confirmation bias, forces of orthodoxical thinking, and undue financial influence, is an excellent method for learning true things. I also perceive that there are many important areas of life that cannot be illuminated by the scientific method. One of these is the life of the psyche. This is because conscious experiences cannot be publicly shared, verified and measured the way material phenomenon can be. In addition, every person has a unique psyche, so it is really not possible to test hypotheses with true controls in many areas of psychological research.

In its appropriate form, psychiatry, which might be defined as the psychology of healing, is grounded in philosophical roots, just as truths about spirituality and art are. The work of pioneering psychiatrists in the early 20th century, before the field became an arm of the pharmaceutical lobby, was based in creating narratives, frameworks, and possibilities about how the psyche works, based on observation, and creative leaps of speculation and guesswork. As these theories solidify, we then compare them to further observations to test their applicability. The field is necessarily fluid and subject to continual exploration. As in philosophy or spirituality, none of these things can ever be disproven the way a scientific hypothesis in the material sciences can be. We go with what seems to work, and we continually explore and refine our understanding to find frameworks by which to describe the life of the mind and spirit that work better. The very non-scientific factors of the will and belief are prominent to the healing and understanding process, and we notice that the mystery that allows for the generation of will and belief from consciousness itself, has in many cases, the capacity to alter the reality of what is and of what is possible.

I generally believe following religions too closely to be a mistake. But I find that belief systems that solidify enough to become a religion invariably contain wisdom regarding what is true about these matters of psyche and spirit. The pitfall of religion is the part where a person stops thinking and exploring for themselves, but merely follow the scripture or the priest for the sake of following authority alone, rather than taking such authorities as potential guides, and then testing their guidance against our own experience and reasoning.

Put shortly, while I agree with essentially all the critiques of psychiatry in this article, I disagree with its implication that religion=false and science=true. An authentic psychiatry would acknowledge the fluid, spiritual, and philosophical nature of the field as a necessity and not try to pretend that it could ever be capture as a hard science (while acknowledging that some aspects of psychiatry could be informed by the scientific method in useful ways). If psychiatry has become a religion, the problem is not that psychiatry is not primarily grounded in the scientific method - it can't be. The problem is that it has declared itself to be true based on its own proclamation of authority alone, and that people are obeying it as such.

In my work as a psychotherapist, I always emphasize my own not knowing, and emphasize the human condition of not knowing - and then the approach to our lives from there. We can't ever know for sure, but we can have guesses and beliefs, and we can try to steer toward what works. That being said, I will share with my clients what I believe from my observation, experience, and reasoning, highlight the beliefs and values behind my perspective, so they can be taken with appropriate salt grains, and then emphasize my orientation that each of us must ultimately learn to trust ourselves, trust our own intuition, and our own discernment. Much of attachment trauma wreaks its continual havoc through a process of gaslighting and the psyche doubting itself and turning against itself. Healing is found by untangling these knots of abuse, neglect, and gaslighting, and rediscovering self-love and self-trust. This of course, is merely my own belief and perspective, but I offer it to my clients to work with if it resonates with them and they would like to give it a try.

I could go on for pages from here. Perhaps I ought to flesh out this comment and turn it into an article of its own. Anyway, thank you for provoking this discussion!

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Thank you for this insightful response, Relendra! Yes I agree with all you say here. In facxt, I always recoil when seeing the use of “X is now a religion” as it is not fair to religions (in the first place) and not a good descriptor (in the second) for reasons you posit.

This is the crux of the problem IMO: "If psychiatry has become a religion, the problem is not that psychiatry is not primarily grounded in the scientific method - it can't be. The problem is that it has declared itself to be true based on its own proclamation of authority alone, and that people are obeying it as such.” … Authoritarianism has creeped in everywhere, humility (such as you practice) is not the norm, at least in officialdom. The trauma-based controlled programming keeps it in place, for too many fear to face the consequences of “sticking out” - which can all be too real, such as the loss of income, license, reputation, etc.

Yes, I think this is at least an article, if not a book. :-)

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Wow Relendra, you've done it again! Absolutely brilliant. Everyone needs to read this. Yes the truth will set you free, even if it breaks your heart first. Thank you for sharing your gifts for the sake of truth.

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Thank you so much Viveka! And you're welcome! I'm so glad the article reached you in this way! I'm grateful for your beautiful reflections.

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