Archive for February 2016

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: DEBUNKING A THEORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS – SOME GENERAL REFLECTIONS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS – WHAT IT IS AND CAN IT BE CURED?

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY RICHARD BENTALL IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Sorry, I just do not agree that misery causes mental illness.

I’m no authority, but I am someone who has always been curious about the subject.

I’ve come to believe that all forms of mental illness represent glitches or flaws in the brain. Parenting, for example, plays little to no role, parents generally – always excluding criminal activity – playing less of a role in childhood lives than they themselves believe. We know, for example, today that peers play a far greater role in a child’s development than parents do.

Various traumas also play less of a role than is generally believed. The impact of trauma has a lot to do with the receptivity of the person. It is the basic structural nature of the brain that determines whether a person succumbs to trauma or overcomes it. We see both all the time.

We know how different imperfections can affect some organs, say the heart, there being a host of illnesses or future illnesses deriving from these differences – thin walls or thick, overall organ size, strength of blood vessels, etc.

The brain is infinitely more complex than the heart or any other organ, and its very complexity means it is subject to a great many possible flaws or imperfections. In a sense, ultimately the term “mental illness” will prove inadequate and not helpful. Flaws are flaws, whether in the shape of a bone or a lung or a brain.

The huge spectrum of mental disorders – from simple forms of anxiety to serious psychoses – is the result of the many individual things and combination of things which can affect so complex an organ. Really serious mental disorders – as, paranoid schizophrenia or severe autism – are likely the result of combinations of faults rather than individual ones because we see so many forms and severities of these conditions. It is much like differences in intelligence, which will undoubtedly ultimately prove to be determined by different combinations of formation and efficiencies of brain structures.

We have always had quacky theories and superstitions around the subject. Psychiatrists actually once believed, and told people, that poor mothering caused conditions like schizophrenia. That was in the last century and likely inflicted a great deal of pain on innocent parents.

Freud’s was the first serious effort to be scientific about these things, but today his “science” looks as advanced as bows and arrows. Freud himself believed his system could only help what he called neurotics but failed with psychotics, schizophrenics, manic-depressives, etc – in other words, it failed the people who really needed help. Nevertheless, we still have Freudian psychotherapists out there taking people’s money for regular sessions.

We have dozens of kinds of other “therapists.” New schools seemed to rise like weeds in a garden. But any of them is about as helpful with serious conditions as going vegan would be in helping cancer or heart disease.

Our pharmacology industry has been able to introduce some helpful drugs, but not enough of them or enough effective ones to make a difference. Some of these drugs for more serious conditions can be dangerous and some produce zombies. Others perhaps do little harm but not a lot of good either. And that is because we do not yet understand the precise cause of almost any of these disorders. Our drugs suppress symptoms at best.

Given humanity’s history of dealing with mental disorders – after all, two centuries ago we chained psychotics to walls in dungeons for life and as recently as the 1950s we cut out parts of the brains of schizophrenics (lobotomies), and for some conditions, we still strap people down and jolt them with electricity as a “therapy” – given all that, I think there has been huge advances in society’s ways of looking at mental illness.

We are such a cruel species at times, much like our relatives the chimps, it is virtually impossible to eliminate superstitions and bullying. We see bullying every day of people who look odd or have terrible physical impairments. We are also ignorant beyond telling. Remember, in parts of Africa they still hunt down poor albinos to kill them, and we are not that much different in advanced societies. Most of the people in our prisons are in fact mentally ill.

Real solutions for mental disorders will require a great deal more science than we yet have.

We need tolerance of course, but preaching tolerance to a society that daily kills people in a half dozen far-flung places because it believes they are dangerous, doesn’t go far. After all,  Britain’s government busies itself with selling many billions in arms to Saudi Arabia, a county murdering people in several places, including its own streets and led by an absolute monarch who has dementia.

 

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON “CONSPIRACY THEORIES” FROM THE GUARDIAN – A COLUMNIST’S FEEBLE ARGUMENT DISSECTED

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CHARLIE BROOKER IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Mr Brooker, this is an entirely silly piece.

First, you cannot use the word “theory” for a notion which is in your own words “unprovable.”

Theories, by definition, are capable of being disproved by data.

Otherwise, they are just notions. Much like the vapid content of dreams themselves.

The rest of this piece goes downhill from there.

It isn’t amusing. It’s dumb.

Where great power is at stake, believe me, conspiracies are a reality.

If you don’t know that, you’ve not read any history.

And if you’ve read no history, why bother are you bothering to write?

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NEW YORK TIMES JOURNALIST ROSS DOUTHAT MAKES INSANE COMMENT ABOUT TRUMP BEING ASSASSINATED – WHAT HE REPRESENTS – A GRAVE THREAT IS SHAPING UP FROM THE NEO-CONS WHO WILL STOP AT NOTHING THEY REGARD FOR ISRAEL’S BENEFIT

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE ON INFOWARS

 

I’ll remind readers that Ross Douthat, the journalist who tweeted an idiot reference to assassinating Trump, does a job Bill Kristol used to do at the New York Times.

So he comes from the same ugly pack that has been most strongly attacking Trump from the start, the neo-cons and their close friends.

And these are people who have worked hard to keep the blood flowing abroad, seeing the Middle East flattened, and the U.S. mired in decades of war.

These are people who view independent-mindedness in foreign policy as unthinkable, being totally dedicated to the cozy and immensely destructive relationship which keeps Israel afloat.

Any serious threat on Trump would almost certainly come from this quarter.

After all, these people, the neo-cons, gave the world the whole Middle East in blazes with millions killed and hurt and great masses of refugees. Why would they even pause about the life of one politician they hate after all that?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IS CANADA GOING TO CRIMINALIZE BDS? WHAT SUCH REPRESSIVE LAWS ACTUALLY MEAN

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF

 

The unpleasant Stephen Harper was definitely headed in this direction, with perhaps even more anti-freedom measures added, as criminalizing criticism of Israel.

We’re hoping our fine new Prime minister can resist this kind of genuinely Stalinist law promoted only by special interests.

But, in any event, all of the ugly laws Israel is promoting abroad and Israel’s tireless building of walls simply scream desperation.

If Israel wasn’t threatened by the weakness of its own founding’s logic, it would require none of this.

Just as the Soviet Union was built with a faulty foundation – flaws in logic and basic understanding of economic and social principles – so Israel, an unimaginably inefficient state kept afloat on the world’s greatest flow of subsidies.

Israel is, just like the Soviet Union was, a garrison state where the military/security/police forces are completely out of any sensible balance for a healthy society.

And it holds millions of people as prisoners.

Sooner or later, the crunch is coming, and for all these reasons.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BRAVE ISRAELI SPEAKS OUT AT BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL – AN EXTENDED RESPONSE TO ANOTHER COMMENT ABOUT THE DESCENDANTS OF HEBREWS AND THE BIBLE AS HISTORY AND CLAIMS TO THE HOLY LAND

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Udi Aloni could not be more correct in describing the government of Israel as fascist, and he is a brave Israeli to speak out. His welcome home will be less than enthusiastic without a doubt.

The whole Western world watches this monster Netanyahu at work and does nothing, hardly ever saying a word.

The only man on the planet right now who can compete with Netanyahu for stupid brutality and nonstop lying is Turkey’s Erdogan.

The grotesque irony of Western countries supporting these two – along with the brutal, senile King Salman of Saudi Arabia – while vilifying Putin and Assad is breathtaking.

__________________________

Response to another comment:

 

I’m sorry, but today’s Israelis are not the descendants of the Hebrews.

That has pretty much been proved by DNA tests.

The Ashkenazi people are Germanic, in every respect including their original language which is Yiddish.

Tests show they arose a thousand years ago near Italy and then migrated.

Judaism in the centuries after Jesus became a much more evangelical religion than we think of it today.

Bits of Africa were also converted, as was the kingdom of the Khazars, a people from the area near Ukraine who were Turkic people. They too adopted the Hebrew ways.

Christianity itself rose up as a cult-like offshoot of Judaism, and its success was startling. At the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, there were numbers of such cults or sects, much like we see today in Protestantism.

The Bible is a history of the Hebrew people only in the loosest possible sense of the word ‘history.’

Archeology teaches us the Jews were never in Egypt (Moses by the way is an Egyptian-origin name). There is absolutely no record of them in a land which kept superb records.

There is not an ounce of evidence too for the existence of King David. Even Israeli archeologists, determined as they are, cannot find any.

The Romans too were great record keepers, and there is no evidence at all of the Hebrews being expelled after the Roman conquest. It is almost certain that the Palestinians are in fact what is left of the ancient Hebrews. They have of course in two millennia undergone many changes, including in language and religion.

By the way, modern Israel’s claim to the Holy Land, tenuous as it is when you know some history, is even weaker when you extend the history of the region.

Egypt once ruled there before the Hebrews, so Egypt could have a claim. The Phoenicians ruled there before the Hebrews so Lebanon too could have a claim. Italy, through the Romans, could have a claim. Iraq and/or Iran could also have a claim since their ancestors also ruled for a time.

The entire idea of basing a claim today on an ancient document full of errors and myths is self-evidently ridiculous. Or maybe you believe in Jonah or Lott’s wife or Noah or Daniel or the burning bush or the ten plagues – all complete fantasy nonsense.

Given that the notion of a wandering people is also pretty much a fantasy – again, remembering the Ashkenazi are not the Hebrews – the entire official narrative means about as much as the Greek myths.

By the way, using modern Israel’s strange logic, Turkey should belong to Greece owing to victory in the Trojan War.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON THE POPE AND TRUMP – LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ON POPE FRANCIS’S QUALIFICATIONS TO SPEAK TO MORAL ISSUES – HIS BEHAVIOR DURING ARGENTINA’S MURDEROUS JUNTA

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

The Pope has no business commenting on anyone’s politics, and I think he is a foolish old man to have done so.

I would admire him if he consistently stood for justice and decency, but he most certainly does not.

Apart from his silence in horrors like Syria or Yemen, I’d like to remind readers of something from an earlier time in Francis’s life in Argentina.

Francis, while a seemingly decent man, had a bad reputation years ago among many people in Argentina.

He never once spoke out against the military junta that murdered tens of thousands of people in the night, running a virtual Reign of Terror against people suspected of leftist sympathies.

He passively accepted the horrors going on around him, standing in the same shameful ranks as the American State Department, an organization without morals, ethics, or shame, then as now.

I hardly think him qualified to speak to any moral issue.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SAUDIS RECOMMEND THE SHEER LUNACY OF SENDING GROUND-TO-AIR MISSILES INTO SYRIA – AND THESE ARE THE GOOD GUYS ACCORDING TO OUR ESTABLISHMENT – NO WONDER AMERICAN VOTERS ARE GOING ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Insanity, but then we’ve known for some time the King of Saudi Arabia is insane.

Imagine the threat to airlines worldwide from the distribution of such weapons into the hands of lunatics?

But as readers may recall, hideous Sarin nerve gas was previously given to some of these lunatics working to destroy Syria, and it was indeed used.

The Russians of course have many steps they could take in response to new weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia, but no matter how you look at it, a larger, more dangerous war would be the outcome.

The West is playing literally with a group of dangerous lunatics here: King Salman, President Erdogan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

And they are supposed to be the good guys?

No wonder American voters are turning their backs on the party establishments. We live in a world that makes no sense, thanks to that establishment.

Posted February 23, 2016 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized