‘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.”

‘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? /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? /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? /5 (2021)

“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!”

‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /4 (2021)

“Man automatically attaches to his ego extraneous elements and calls them his”

‘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?”

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.”

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.

Cocaine and Morgan: the lesson of Freud (2010)

Morgan, an Italian pop musician, in an interview with Max magazine in 2010 revealed using cocaine and in particular crack as an antidepressant, claiming that Sigmund Freud also prescribed it for such purpose.

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.

Cocaina e Morgan: la lezione di Freud (2010)

Morgan, un musicista pop italiano, ha raccontato nel 2010 in un’intervista al magazine Max di usare la cocaina e in particolare il crack come antidepressivo, sostenendo che la prescrivesse a tale scopo anche Sigmund Freud.