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.”

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.”

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.”

“My first audience.” Freud and the genesis of ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ (2021)

“An audience that had greeted, debated, and discussed Freud’s theoretical construction of psychoanalytic psychology, often before he published the results.”

‘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.”

“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.

‘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’.

‘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.”