Category Archives: Psychiatry

American Society’s Unnatural Attitude to Aging Naturally

Culture, Ethics, Family, Morality, Pop-Psychology, Psychiatry, Relatives, The Zeitgeist

In “No Country for Old Age,” The Hedgehog Review’s Joseph E. Davis writes, in essence, of the cruel biological reductionism and medicalization of old age, a natural stage of life that ought to be valued:

“When it comes to old age, illness, and death, little remains to us of common meaning or shared social rituals.”

Here are some of many profundities excerpted:

… In our society, to come directly to my point, old age is understood and framed in ways that lead inevitably to its devaluation. Its status is low and arguably is falling.
… old age [is seen as having] no value in itself. ‘Old’ signifies bodily decline, while “success” involves a ceaseless battle to defeat degeneration, and hope is always invested in the prospect of overcoming limits through self-reliance and technological interventions.

There is no space here for stillness or release, no sense of value or consolation in the evening of life. Even cultivating spirituality is framed instrumentally in terms of promoting ‘better physical and mental health in old age.’ An imperative to defeat aging and even death can only consign these realities to fear, shame, and avoidance.

…Representations of old age that add censure and shame to greater dependence and loss of one’s powers can only make matters worse.

… the sociologist Norbert Elias argues that, over time, these weakened bonds and other common features of the later years have been compounded by increased individualization and the isolation of the “ageing and dying from the community of the living.” In contemporary society, Elias argues, older people are “pushed more and more behind the scenes of social life,” a process that intensifies their devaluation, emotional seclusion, and loss of social significance. A physical and institutional sequestering and a pervasive cultural tendency to “conceal the irrevocable finitude of human existence” have made it harder for them and those around them to relate to, understand, and interact with one another. The aged and dying are less likely to receive the help and affection they need, and more prone to different forms of loneliness and painful feelings of irrelevance. “Never before,” Elias writes, “have people died as noiselessly and hygienically as today in [more developed] societies, and never in social conditions so much fostering solitude.”

… Health and longevity are the ends to which remedial action is directed and by which outcomes are evaluated. Even in discussions that include exhortations to build strong connections and communities, loneliness and isolation are treated as individual conditions, and references to community easily coexist with talk of genetic hardwiring, the role of the prefrontal cortex, and the ways in which neural mechanisms might generate feelings of loneliness.

… Typical advice is often some form of self-help: “take a class,” “get a dog,” “volunteer”; build your confidence with social skills training; seek out behavioral therapy. With therapy—highlighted for its positive “impact”—the aged lonely can be helped to see that their low self-worth, perceived isolation, or feelings of being unwanted are probably just cognitive misapprehensions that need to be “restructured.” Once this restructuring is accomplished, the aged can better match what they want in social life with what they have and get on with aging with more success. The status quo can now appear in a new, more uplifting light.

Current constructions of old age in individualistic terms of self-reliance, the fit body, productive accomplishments, or an imperative to deny or defeat aging technologically cannot but deepen our predicament and the need to render it invisible. This is what makes the cultural logic of these constructions irredeemable. They leave us in a cul-de-sac, hemmed in by a predatory commercial culture, a punishing ideology of health, fewer and weaker social ties, an ethic of active striving and mastery, and a mechanistic picture of ourselves. Moving beyond the devaluation of old age requires other orientations and other practices for which we must look elsewhere—to other societies, past or present, and to older traditions. …

… The social orientation of the evening of life need not be individualistic, but toward family and the localization and strengthening of social relations. Similarly, the view of the life cycle need not take its bearings from youth and middle age but from roles and identities appropriate to old age, with their own norms and rewards. These norms and rewards need not be defined in terms of active striving and productivity, but in terms of release, such as from social climbing, and a more contemplative attitude toward the world.

No Country for Old Age,” by Joseph E. Davis, The Hedgehog Review.

NEW COLUMN: American White Male Misery Is Real

America, Crime, Healthcare, IMMIGRATION, Nationhood, Psychiatry, Race

NEW COLUMN IS “American White Male Misery Is Real.” It’s on WND.COM and The Unz Review. An excerpt:

A CNN profiler was speaking about the El Paso shooting, on August 6, in which 22 people were murdered by an angry white man.

She blamed the killer’s sense of white privilege. Mass murder carried out by white, young men, the “analyst” was saying, occurs because these young men cannot adjust to a changing society. They cling to the way things were, when the country was predominantly white.

In other words, the oppressor in these young white men wants to continue to oppress.

When whites commit unspeakable acts of violence, it is said to only ever come from a place of power and privilege.

When browns and blacks commit unspeakable acts of violence, it only ever comes from a place of powerlessness and deprivation.

With distressing regularity, we’re lectured that black or brown evil is a consequence of systemic oppression; white evil a result of frustration over having to relinquish the systemic role of oppressor.

For heaven’s sake: Let’s not be insensible to contradictions. Let us apply the same method, irrespective of the perp’s skin color, in uncovering the causation of crime.

It goes without saying that mass shooters all are evil, not ill. No good can come of medicalizing bad behavior. Mass shootings are “a moral-health, not mental-health, problem.”

You can’t have a color-coded theory of causation; one for whites; another for blacks and browns.

Ditto for suicide. When a white man offs himself, it’s not because he’s no longer The Boss.

Like the profiler just mentioned, other social scientists implicate a “decline in income and status” in white suicide. It’s discounted and mocked, but, however you slice it, white male misery in America is real.

Better than most media, The Economist’s writers are still no angels. They, too, dance like so many angels on the head of a pin, so as to downplay the effects of systemic hostility toward the white men of America. …

… READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN IS “American White Male Misery Is Real.” It’s on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

RELATED ON TWITTER:

A Color-Coded Theory Of Causation In Mass-Shootings

Crime, Logic, Pop-Psychology, Psychiatry, Race, Reason

A CNN profiler blamed the sense of white privilege for mass shootings carried out by white, young men. These men, the woman was saying, cannot adjust to a necessarily changing society. They cling to the way things were, when the country was predominantly white.

In other words, the oppressor in these young white men wants to continue to oppress. When whites commit unspeakable acts of violence, it only ever comes from a place of power and privilege.

With the same distressing regularity, we are lectured that when browns and blacks commit unspeakable acts of violence, it only ever comes from a place of powerlessness. Black or brown evil is a consequence of oppression.

Excuse me: You have to apply the same method in getting to the etiology/causation of crime.

You can’t have a color-coded theory of causation; one for whites; another for blacks and brows.

I’ve said in my pieces over the years, many times: These individuals all are evil, not ill. No good comes of medicalizing bad behavior:

“School Shootings Are A Moral-Health, Not Mental-Health, Problem”

The facts:

Two shootings: At least 31 people were killed over the weekend in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.
El Paso: 22 people were killed in El Paso after a mass shooting on Saturday. Police said they found an anti-immigrant document espousing white nationalist and racist views, which they believe was written by the suspect. He may face hate crime charges in addition to capital murder charges.
Dayton: Another nine people were killed in a shooting in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio. The suspect in that shooting is dead.

WHITE MALE MISERY In America

America, Drug War, Economy, Multiculturalism, Psychiatry, Race, Racism

The Economist’s writer is no angel. But he is dancing like so many angels on the head of a pin in order to minimize the effects of systemic hostility toward white men in America:

… thoughts of suicide were slightly higher on average amongst less-educated whites than other groups.
… heavy drinking was higher amongst whites than other groups.

… opioid abuse along with other prescription drug abuse and illegal drug use remain much higher amongst non-college educated whites. Other research has shown that whites commit suicide at a higher rate than blacks and Hispanics: according to the CDC, white non-Hispanic Americans commit suicide at around three times the rate of blacks and Hispanics, with the highest and growing toll amongst older men.

…increased suicide rates among white men may be caused in part by a decline in income and status.

The Economist also cleverly attempts to minimize the dire situation of white men in America by implying that these “poorly educated” white ingrates are still “better off than women and minorities.”

Then of course, there are the solutions of shallow economic reductionism:

Increase the minimum wage. Provide more generous earned income tax credits. (“Because of lower incomes, minorities and women are more likely to be eligible for EITC payments, and to benefit from minimum wage increases.”)

READ: “Depression is increasing among Americans reaching middle age: Misery is spreading across all groups, but poorly educated white men remain the unhappiest.” (5/15/019)