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‘Entheogens’ and ‘The Road to Eleusis’ (2022)

“When the recent surge of recreational use of so-called ‘hallucinogenic’ or ‘psychedelic’ drugs first came to popular attention in the early 1960’s, it was commonly viewed with suspicion and associated with the behavior of deviant or revolutionary groups.”

“Not only is ‘psychedelic’ an incorrect verbal formation, but it has become so invested with connotations of the pop-culture of the 1960’s that it is incongruous to speak of a shaman’s taking a ‘psychedelic’ drug.”

“We therefore, propose a new term that would be appropriate for describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by ingestion of mind-altering drugs.”

‘Hallucinogens, not psychedelics’. A letter to the Editor of The New England Journal of Medicine (2021)

“Narcotics that induce hallucinations are variously called hallucinogens (hallucination generators), psychotomimetics (psychosis mimickers), psychotaraxics (mind disturbers), and psychedelics (mind manifesters).

No one term fully satisfies scientists, but hallucinogens comes closest. Psychedelic is most widely used in the United States, but it combines two Greek roots incorrectly, is biologically unsound, and has acquired popular meanings beyond the drugs or their effects.”

Leading London psychiatric hospital starts a partnership with Nasdaq-listed hallucinogens company (2022)

“South London and Maudsley has announced a new partnership to launch The Centre for Mental Health Research and Innovation to accelerate psychedelic research and develop new models of care for mental health in the UK.

Working together with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, and COMPASS Pathways, a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health, this pioneering collaboration will provide patient access to cutting edge research studies in multiple areas of high unmet need in mental health.

The Centre will accelerate research of emerging psychedelic therapies, support therapist training and certification, evaluate real-world evidence, and prototype digital technologies to enable personalised, predictive and preventative care models.”

Roots of Polish psychiatry (2022)

“The roots of Freemasonry, one of the most important cultural and social phenomena of modern times, are clearly European, but the origins of this fraternal organization are as obscure as they are legendary.”

“There has been very little or no research so far into the impact of the Masonic ideas of tolerance, freedom, equality and brotherhood on the development of psychiatry. The degree of this influence was certainly different from one country to another.”

“Polish Freemasonry was reborn in 1920, with an important role played by three psychiatrists: Rafał Radziwiłłowicz, Witold Łuniewski and Jan Mazurkiewicz, who were Grand Masters of the Grand National Lodge of Poland.”

“Freemason psychiatrists headed the Polish Psychiatric Association throughout the entire inter-war period: Chodźko in 1920–23 and 1928–30, and Mazurkiewicz in 1923–28 and 1930–47.  Radziwiłłowicz was the General Secretary of the Association between 1920 and 1928, and he was also the founder of Rocznik Psychiatryczny (Psychiatric Annual), the journal published by the Association.”

‘The Last King of America’ and proto-psychiatry (2022)

“Though the incapacity of the King had been discussed in Parliament […] the British Constitution (was) not merely shaken, it (was) dissolved, and the reign (was) given to every revolutionary projector, who may seek to raise himself hereafter upon the ruins of his country,” and the situation makes “the sovereign a slave of his servants.”

“The two accounts” – Jain and Sarin concluded – “preserved in the same set of documents by Arthur Cole, regarding events in Coorg in 1809 and London in 1810, highlight the tension between madness and a sense of political order. The account in the Madras Courier emphasizes that the paramount power of the Regent cannot, and should not, be restricted by any other process, parliamentary or medical, as it was absolute, even though the King was insane. The suggestion that there should be parliamentary oversight was tantamount to treason.”

Fanon, Third World revolutionary and psychiatrist between Moscow and Washington, D.C. (2022)

“Frantz Fanon’s psychiatric career was crucial to his thinking as an anti-colonialist writer and activist. Much of his iconic work was shaped by his experiences working in hospitals in France, Algeria and Tunisia. [His psychiatric writing] from 1951 to 1960 in tandem with his political work reveals much about how Fanon’s thought developed, showing that, for him, psychiatry was part of a much wider socio-political struggle. His political, revolutionary and literary lives should not then be separated from the psychiatric practice and writings that shaped his thinking about oppression, alienation and the search for freedom.”

“It was out of desperation and his lack of success with Soviet doctors, Fanon’s biographer David Macey reports, that Fanon had agreed to American offers to fly him to the United States.”

Biden: “A phenomenal negative psychological impact that CoViD has had on the public psyche” (2022)

“As Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General, points out, I think one of the significant things we are going to find ten years from now is a phenomenal negative psychological impact that CoViD has had on the public psyche.

And so you have an awful lot of people who are, notwithstanding the fact that things have gotten so much better for them economically, that they are thinking, but how do you get up in the morning feeling happy – happy that everything is alright?

Even though your job is better, even though you have more income.”

‘Structures of Capital’: Centre d’étude des problèmes humains, CEPH (2022)

“Coutrot was probably the first French businessman to perceive the possible use of psychology and sociology in business.”

“This was the spirit in which he created the Centre d’Etude des Problèmes Humains, CEPH, in association with the writer Aldous Huxley, the archeologist Robert Francillon, and the economist Georges Guillaume. Hyacinthe Dubreuil, Jean Ullmo, Alfred Sauvy (who coined the expression ‘Third World’), Teilhard de Chardin (a close friend of Coutrot’s), Tchakotine, and others participated in the CEPH meetings, which included eight commissions: economic humanism, applied psychology, rational and humane limitation of inequality, propaganda, industrial decentralization, psychobiology, history and analysis of Marxism.”

“Open to psychology, even psychiatry and sociology, the new managers wanted to take into account the human factor and analyse the motivations buried deep inside managers, at the very heart of the spirit of capitalism.”

“Social psychology techniques, and industrial psychology imported from the U.S. Thus, a mixed discourse can be seen to be forming in which the words and expressions borrowed from the spiritualist and personalist vocabulary (community, person, man, liberty, dialogue) are blended with terms used for technical efficiency and psychoanalysis. The switch to human relations and the social sciences by the heirs of Social Catholicism.”

“A new generation of psychosociologists followed the importing of group techniques… Most received, after their university studies, a complementary education in the United States from the “masters” of American social psychology, in particular Carl Rogers.”

Huxley’s introduction to the Bhagavad-Gita (2022)

“Man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul.”

“The evil, folly and ignorance which constitute the thing we call our personality and provent us from becoming aware of the spark of divinity illuminating the inner man.”

“The invention of the steam engine produced a revolution, not merely in industrial techniques, but also and much more significantly in philosophy. … External circumstances came to be regarded as more important than states of mind about external circumstances, and the end of human life was held to be action, with contemplation as a means to that end.”

“The solution… must be be sought in the domain, not of philosophy, but of psychology.”

“The Gita, where the psychological facts are linked up with general cosmology.”

“It is only to a mind purified from egotism that intuition of the Divine Ground can come.”

“There will never be enduring peace unless and until human beings come to accept a philosophy of life more adequate to the cosmic and psychological facts than the insane idolatries of nationalism and the advertising man’s apocalyptic-faith in Progress towards a mechanized New Jerusalem.”

Charles Reade, the Medico-Psychological Association, and “conspiracy theory” (2021)

“The theory of Dr. Sankey – the President concluded – as to the manner in which these injuries to the chest occurred in asylums deserved our careful attention. It was at least more plausible that the conspiracy theory of Mr. Charles Reade, and the precautionary measure suggested by Dr. Sankey of using a padded waistcoat in recent cases of mania with general paralysis – in which mental condition nearly all these cases under discussion were – seemed to him of practical value.”

“The only wonder is that in public asylums – Dr. Tuke added – considering the savage nature of some of the half-educated victims of mental disease, and the liberty which the non-restraint system allows them, accidents do not more frequently happen; that within the last few years several superintendents, and many attendants, have been seriously hurt, would show there are two sides to this question. The fact is that in the refractory wards of our public asylums the attendants, too few in number, carry their lives in their hands. The remedy is to increase their number, and add to the surveillance over them.”

Eugen Bleuler and the influence of the Enlightenment (2021)

“A liberal revival movement, under the influence of the French Revolution, began in Switzerland too.”

“The Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler coined several terms such as ‘schizophrenia’, ‘schizoid’, ‘autism’, depth psychology and what Sigmund Freud called “Bleuler’s happily chosen term ‘ambivalence’.”

“He had little interest in the Church and religion. Both Eugen and Hedwig Bleuler didn’t usually go to Church, and there were no prayers said in the family. Both lived under the influence of the Enlightenment: one should live in this world, seek beauty and help others. Eugen Bleuler was critical of the time when theologians rather dogmatically imparted religious education, and children had to learn off the catechism by rote and without any understanding of it.”

Lady Ida Darwin and the ‘Cambridge Association for the Care of the Feeble-Minded’ (2021)

“In 1912 the Association, jointly with Cambridge University Eugenics Society, held a meeting in the Guildhall, where Ellen Pinsent read a paper on ‘Mental Defect and its Social Dangers’.”

“Since its formation in 1914 the Central Association for Mental Welfare has on numerous occasion drawn public attention to the social problem presented by mental deficiency and to the grave consequences and serious cost entailed by the presence of mental defectives in the community.”

‘World Revolutionary Elites’, MIT 1965 – book covers (2021)

Contents of such volume and the two book covers of the hardback 1965 and paperback 1966 editions are presented. The importance and “rediscovery” of such book in PsyPolitics is motivated by the extraordinary concordance with some of the themes present in today’s transforming global politics, currently in mass and digital media, as well as in formulations independently developed over the past three years.

‘Russian Psychiatry – Its Historical and Ideological Background’, Zilboorg 1942 (2021)

“Alcoholism in Tsarist Russia was as typical and chronic a disease as was Tsardom itself.”

“Since the Soviet Revolution, psychiatry has become a branch of public health when it is not a field of laboratory research. What is known here as “mental hygiene” has become the chief field of Russian psychiatric endeavor.”

“The whole working population is brought into the orbit of psychological supervision and educational efforts.”

“A system for ‘the protection of neuropsychic health.’ Sanatoria for borderline cases and for neuroses have been organized.”

“Social hygiene and prophylaxis are the guiding principles.”

A new global psychiatric power? ‘CNN Talk Show’ – 1/13 (2021)

For Dr. Frances, who was claiming that we should discuss politics instead of psychiatry, language was moving from political to psychological metaphorical, while for Dr. Lee language was moving directly from political to literal technical psychological language and concepts, used to discuss a political theme. Both psychiatrists were moving, despite specific content discussed, language to the psychological sphere, metaphorically for Dr. Frances, literally for Dr. Lee.

While opposing each other on a political theme, the net movement of the two debating psychiatrists is from political to psychological language.

‘World Revolutionary Elites’, MIT 1965 (2021)

“Parallel with these events is the perfecting of conditioning procedures, with or without the aid of drugs and hypnosis. The abolition of privacy – already well along in our day – is placing potent instruments of control in the hands of elites who may see an opportunity to consolidate their position by policing the population medically” – Harold Lasswell

The Lancet’s Editor-in-Chief: “We will be transformed into biopolitical citizens” (2021)

Horton, while clearly and unmistakably espousing a globalist and technocratic view, at the same time introduces themes from an author such as Foucault – who worked largely on topics related to psychology and psychiatry – and even appears to criticize the dangers of technocracy at the end of his book. The risk of recuperation – of Foucauldian themes and tools radically challenging the rising ‘biomedical’ as well as ‘psy’ global power – into mainstream globalist and technocratic discourse is definitely present, in my view, in Horton’s latest book.

Origins of the cyber-psychedelic subculture (2021)

In this article, two covers are presented from conferences proceedings sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, about Cybernetics – 1953 Macy Conferences – and Neuropharmacology – 1955 Neuropharmacological Conferences, in which U.S. neurophysiologist and behavioural scientist Ralph Waldo Gerard proposed the term ‘psychotomimetic’.

‘Pneumadelic’? Osmond, 1957: “my own preference being ‘psychelytic’, or ‘psychedelic’ ” /3 (2021)

“There is one golden rule that should be applied in working with model psychoses. One should start with oneself.”

“Our psychotomimetics resemble the hypothetical endotoxin that Carl Jung called toxin-X and that we have called M (mescalinelike) substance.”

Osmond views raise an interesting paradox of experience over logos: if in order to discuss rationally about such substances one has to use them and if using them disorganizes the psyche, would it ever be in fact possible to discuss rationally about them? Or the move to use them implies – a priori – an abandonment of human rationality?

‘Freud of the Rings’ (2021)

“In her book The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis, Phyllis Grosskurth explains that around 1912, Freud’s primary disciple and intellectual heir, Carl Jung, split with his mentor and began outlining his own theories which deviated from Freud’s work.

Freud, hoping to keep a grip on the emerging field of study, brought together six prominent students and created a “Secret Committee” to propagate and defend his work against Jungian psychoanalysis. To seal the deal, Freud gifted each committee member a signet ring with a Greek or Roman god from antiquity taken from his collection.

He later gifted other rings to friends and students, in total handing out about 20 of the signets during his life.”

‘Pneumadelic’? Osmond, 1957: “my own preference being ‘psychelytic’, or ‘psychedelic’ ” /2 (2021)

“No account of model psychoses would be complete that did not relate those that are induced chemically to those induced by other means, such as the reduced or specialized environments described by Heron, Bexton, and Hebb and by Lilly. These specialized environments have been used since antiquity.”

“The substances in question can be used to develop very high degrees of that mysterious yet vital quality – empathy.”

“I believe that these agents have a part to play in our survival as a species.”

‘Pneumadelic’? Osmond, 1957: “my own preference being ‘psychelytic’, or ‘psychedelic’ ” (2021)

The broader political meaning of these substances was stated by Osmond from the very birth of the word ‘psychedelic’.

‘Psychelytic’ would appear to be in line with a Gnostic worldview – as presented by Eric Voegelin – requiring the dissolution or disintegration of the psyche. However, instead of psychedelic, for the pneuma to be revealed or manifested a more appropriate term could be ‘pneumadelic’.

‘Psychiatry’ and ‘antipsychiatry’ (2021)

The word ‘psychiatry’ was coined in 1808 by a German Doctor, Christian Reil, and the word ‘antipsychiatry’ was coined a century later in 1908 by another German Doctor, Bernhard Beyer.

For the first time here – and by way of two portraits – the inventors of the two words are presented together.

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /14 (2021)

“Probably the one event capable of instigating so fundamental a change would be a major collapse. Only if the present producing and distributing apparatus should definitely break down, only if hunger and cold should spur the minds of a majority of the nation into unaccustomed activity, could a revolution conflicting with nearly every current belief gain momentum.”

“Since revolution should neither be desired nor expected now, and since the transformation from capitalism to technocracy is so drastic that certain of its stages will certainly be considered to be of a revolutionary nature, it may be asked what preliminary steps should be taken in order to prepare for the crucial moments.”

“Revolution, as Trotsky puts it, can only occur when the class in power has outlived its usefulness and thereby become rotten.”

“As a result, capital has been shorn of its function though the realization of this may not immediately percolate through the group consciousness.”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /13 (2021)

“There is no a priori reason why a sustained, even intelligent, study of the phenomena which induce these visions cannot eventually permit us to attain them at will.” “And when a being is in possession of them, he knows or thinks he knows the meaning of life and thus, as a secondary benefit, reduces, by the aid of memory, to their proper unimportance, the sorrow, the tragedy, even the ostensible evil which is woven of necessity into the texture of our temporal days.”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /12 (2021)

“Society since the beginning has discouraged by means of church, school, and statutory restrictions all experimentation in the domain of spiritual living. The consequence has been a stultification of the intellect, a frustration of the emotions, and a damming up of nervous energy which is bringing many people to the verge of a nervous breakdown. A technocracy would attempt to set free that great surplus of vital energy now burning itself out, uselessly, in the business game, and redirect it into unexplored channels.”

“Research work, directed toward discovering the causes of psychic maladjustments, may prove more difficult than devising a machine to pick cotton; and successful achievement in this field will surely be harder to measure.”

‘Psyspeak’ on PsyPolitics and ‘therapy-speak’ on The New Yorker (2021)

In the summer of 2019, I proposed the use of the terms “psyspeak” or “ideopathological lexicon” to mean psychologized as well as medicalized lexicon used outside of the clinical context especially when applied to the wider societal and political world, during a talk at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London.

On the 26th of March this year, just a few days ago, The New Yorker online published the following article, under Cultural Comment: “The rise of therapy-speak. How a language got off the couch and into the world” by Katy Waldman, a magazine staff writer.

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /11 (2021)

“As a last measure the energy certificate” – a measure reminding of today’s Chinese ‘social credit’ – “could be cancelled. This punishment should prove efficacious in most cases. When an individual proved obstinately recalcitrant for obscure reasons, the psychiatrists would attempt to unravel the trouble. In no case should real punishment, such as solitary confinement or labor forced by physical threats, be necessary.” “On first thought, tyranny, due to the human tendency to get drunk with power, would seem to be a grave menace to the technocracy. Our present constitution is so preoccupied with guarding against this menace that executive action is greatly hampered. In fact, action would be nearly impossible if every legal requirement were conscientiously fulfilled. In a technocracy there would be no statutory checks on tyranny.”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /9 (2021)

“Man and his environment act upon each other. Both are altered in the process.” “Some men work upon the external world. The remolding of the earth’s crust in order to make it more congenial to human life, and the use of natural materials to satisfy physical needs are functions of men of action.” “Other men remold human nature. Their attempt is to adapt man to his environment rather than vice versa. The transmuting of the nature of man, the developing of his perceptions so that he is able to attune himself to those inner harmonies which give value to life, the digesting of phenomena so that instead of fear and disgust they give pleasure, and the interpreting of nature’s phases are the province of the artist.”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /8 (2021)

“To avoid an enormous increase in discontent and misery of the psychological variety, the consequence of multiplying the individual’s leisure, provision must be made for pleasure stimulation. The intermediate period would be particularly difficult.” “The control of anything the appeal of which is subjective, such as the theater, or painting, should not be entrusted to the state. A state may be entrusted with engineering projects, with the production of goods, to a lesser extent, with the preservation of health. Values in these fields are objective and can be tested by trial and error experimentation. Consequently skillful work is easily recognized and successful accomplishment allows of no debate. This is not so with the more subtle longings of the human soul.”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /7 (2021)

“One cannot maintain an ethic on a transient certificate of service entitling the possessor to a certain quantity of energy. Ethics requires at least the illusion of eternality. Ethics deprived of the immortal dollar might again interest itself primarily in spiritual values.” “During the period in which the nature of man was adjusting itself to economic security and a superabundance of leisure, emotional needs would doubtless be rampant.” “If technocracy should be successful, and when its success had become accepted even by the individual’s subconscious mind, religion might undergo a metamorphosis.”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /6 (2021)

“Some individuals consider periodical health examination an invasion of their private rights; but such invasions are not resented long.” “It is only the suspiciousness of the poor, whom experience teaches to expect no good of the unknown, which makes them recalcitrant to medical advice.” “With doctors assuming the intimate role of family adviser, mental defectives would inevitably be recognized. When suspected of dangerous tendencies, their habits would be watched; when necessary their actions restrained.”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /3 (2021)

“Six thousand years have been required to harness the forces of nature. Will another six thousand years be necessary to check the forces which have impelled society to found its faith in greed? Economic competition, the free-for-all, called capitalism, is now breeding a condition which is imperiling the complicated structure and the very civilization of the Western society. Is the alternative to capitalism so dreadful that it may not even be envisaged?”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /2 (2021)

“The sole function of conventional politics would be “showmanship” to keep the public amused: “receiving distinguished guests, laying corner stones, making speeches about the rights of man, American initiative, justice. Its offices would be elective, thereby titillating the egos of those who like to think they are running things. Prominent clowns will, doubtless, be frequently elected.”

Were the Vietnam war American generals mentally ill? Jervis on power and madness (2021)

“To attribute the behavior of generals or of the imperialists to a sort of monstrous irrationality commonly accepted as normal means not allowing oneself to consider that the logic of war, or of the bomb, or of hunger, is not the result of particular psychological processes, but of a social system which is neither mad nor irrational and simply defends with maximum coherence some vested interests.”

Voegelin’s “Science, Politics and Gnosticism” (2020)

“Gnostic man must carry on the work of salvation himself…. Through his psyche (“soul”) he belongs to the order, the nomos, of the world; what impels him toward deliverance is the pneuma (“spirit”).

The labor of salvation, therefore, entails the dissolution of the worldly constitution of the psyche and at the same time the gathering and freeing of the powers of the pneuma.”

A new global psychiatric power? Intro (2020)

More than one year ago I presented the talk “Are we witnessing the emergence of a new global psychiatric power?” at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London, in the summer of 2019. The (anti)political, technocratic and revolutionary globalist agenda was clearly and unambiguously presented as the one that would have benefitted from phenomena and discourses of mass global psychiatrization. In 2019 such phenomena and prospects were most definitely not under the unprecedented level of attention we are witnessing today in 2020.

Paul Goodman, 1945: ‘The Political Meaning of Some Recent Revisions of Freud’ (2020)

“Is it possible to draw any other conclusion from this reasoning than that the goal of therapy is the smooth running of the social machine as it exists?” “And what familiar name shall we call a “therapy” that pretends to create harmony on a mass scale?” “The need does exist in its millions — and there are, for instance, 250 Freudian analysts in the United States!”

The economics of ‘ego death’ (2020)

According to Keynes “the essential characteristic of capitalism” is “the dependence upon an intense appeal to the money-making and money-loving instincts of individuals as the main motive force of the economic machine.” Keynes emphasized the role of the irrational in economic life and talked about “the Freudian theory of the love of money.”

‘CyPsy’ mind? Cyber super-ego and psychedelic id. Or digital surveillance, mass hallucinogens, and the new ‘black gold’ of the unconscious (2020)

In the CyPsy hypothesis on the mind, as the mind is currently transformed by cyber-psychedelic capitalism, the super-ego becomes largely externalized onto the surveillance digital system, the ego is dissolved, and the id becomes free of internal constraints only to be regulated by the external substitution of the super-ego, which is the digital panopticon of surveillance capitalism making profits.

Huxley on Proust and psychology (2020)

“The invention and development of the modern science of psychology has made us regard as important and interesting a multitude of small odds and ends of thought, emotion and sensation which seemed to our ancestors almost negligible. They did not insist on the phenomena because they were interested primarily in what they regarded as the reality behind them.”

Trump, spectacle and psyspeak (2020)

“Zimbardo sees reality TV as a logical format for teaching psychology. “The reason reality TV is so popular is because to observe human behavior is fascinating,” he observed. “I spend my whole life doing this.”

Are we witnessing the emergence of a new global psychiatric power? (2019)

The current public psychiatrization of “the most powerful man in the world,” as the media often describe the President of the United States of America, could be seen as a new paradigm shift in contemporary power.

In addition to the increasing use of a psychologized lexicon in everyday speech, a role might be played by such spectacle communicating symbolically, and contributing to, a global cultural shift towards a subjectivist worldview and a progressive de-politicization of citizenship.

From citizens to patients: a threat to resist (2020)

Pandemic Lectures at the International University College of Turin http://www.iuctorino.it/

Ugo Mattei & Federico Soldani, May 4, 2020

“The decline of law as a tool for social control and its supplanting by technological, mental, and medical management aimed at preventing deviant behavior, with nary a concern for such substitution’s deleterious effects.”