“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“In a technocracy, the separation of private and public function is clearly defined.” “The alterations in structure are radical but simple. First the present tendency to merge the competing units in each industry must be carried to completion.”
“Corporate monopolies would be the government.” “A most undemocratic system!”
“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?”
“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.”
Loin que la raison nous éclaire
Et conduise nos actions,
Nous avons trouvé l’art d’en faire
L’orateur de nos passions.
C’est un Sophiste qui nous joue,
Un vil complaisant qui se loue
A tous les fous de l’univers,
Qui s’habillant du nom de sages,
La tiennent sans cesse à leurs gages
Pour autoriser leurs travers.
The most famous novel by Aldous Leonard Huxley is opened with an epigraph by the man who described how psychiatrist Bogdanov – founder of Bolshevism with Lenin – was treating, surreptitiously, philosophical ideas he disagreed with as a form of mental illness.
“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!”