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.”

‘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.”

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.”

‘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.

“What benefit does Russia derive from this Institute?” Tsar Nicholas II on the Psycho-Neurological Institute (2021)

The last Emperor of Russia and Vladimir Bekhterev’s Psycho-Neurological Institute revolutionaries.

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.

‘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.”