RE: virus: Death Wish (was "Quest")

Dave Hall (
Thu, 20 May 1999 00:17:58 +0100

Hi Brett,

>I want to say that I also think everyone should have the right to
>self-medicate (and that the medical profession maintains elitism and
>inequality through legislation to the contrary). Also, Dave, I don't
>think you lack anything needed to debate philosophy (thanks for visiting
>the website)... though *time* is ever valuable.

On the philosophy side of things, I'm following the mutations of this thread with interests and learning quite a bit. Perhaps I may have something to contribute after I've absorbed a few more days worth and done some incubatin'. I have some potentially controversial ideas about "will", but need to do more homework to be in a position to get my point across. The discussion is saving me some time.

With regard to rights to self-medicate I just want to say thanks, and add a bit of explanation, as what I'm doing is not exactly "normal", and this is as good a place as any to go "public" albeit it in an extremely small and informal way. Either way, I respect that stance, thanks.

When I'm done with my "research quest", I pretty much intend standing up and making some loud as possible, but rational, noise about the current methods of treating the "mentally ill", with a focus on the "affectively mentally ill" .. a percentage of the population that is growing at epidemic proportions. I'm fortunate enough to have been able to survive okay, and have developed some alternative coping skills, as scientifically as possible under the circumstances, that I'd be selfish to keep to myself. There's something called the Self-Medication Hypothesis, which is ludicrous cos it's not a hypothesis but a fact .. someone who's in enough pain to smash heads on the floor will try anything at hand to alleviate the "alien pain" of a manic dysphoria, grabbing for a bottle of vodka if neccessary, even though it's a consciously made "dumb" decision and that the "relief" may only be temporary and likely to make things even worse the next day. Mere words cannot explain. Read "The Wasteland".

Not that the current mental healthcare system is "wrong" or something I'm seeing as The Enemy, it's better than nothing especially for those in very serious trouble (it happens). It does work pretty well for some, in fact the system works well for 70% of cyclothemic/bipolar people who try lithium, and it's dirt cheap, being natural salt.

However, the other 30% are fed into the system of trying a stupendous amount of trial "mood stabilising" drugs, an average of 3 doctors each over a ten year period to find the "right one", and on going cognitive theory designed to help one accept having a "mental illness". It's a mess, for those who feel there is something more than accepting entrance into the Unbelievable Class. I'm totally convinced that there just *have* to be alternatives and better ways other than utterly destroying a person's last vestige of self-belief, something that happened to me last year with near fatal consequences. (Side note: FWIW I've made the conscious decision not to "hide" anything, not if I'm going to push for changes in a Very Huge and Very Rich System. I'm a "failed suicide". It's an area I don't plan to succeed in and feel I can offer a lot of the "new generation" some advice on just what some music cults are doing to their minds. Anyway I'm alive whilst kids are going postal and not even understanding why, and I feel strong enough about being alive to actually stand up and do something. It's tough going, being a nut. It puts people off talking about it. The last Great Prejudice ;->)

Then there are the 300m and growing "normally depressed" trying things like "smart drinks" to find the will to get to work and show a face, and the many millions of "manics" who just don't actually know why they rant and rave all summer, and can't stand the thought of waking up in the morning to get into the consumer rat-race during the long winter months. So up to 40%, in ignorance, and entrapped in a system essentially invented by Edison and his light-bulb end up committing suicide .. never knowing why they feel the need to go that far. Or turning to alcoholism and cocaine which only masks the real problem and the possibility of help via lithium ... a slower form of suicide. (recommended reading: "Sleep Thieves", it'll change your mind a few times about just what is driving consciousness forward. IMO. Probably not the mushrooms ;->)

So this is the area where most of my *personal* research quest is focused, although my food & rent job is being a "software guy". It just so happens that my idea of memetics, as derived from the original Dawkins idea in the book "The Selfish Gene", is vitally important to my research area, hence my being involved in this particular list, amongst a few others. Looking for the advantages in affective mental disorders, which means understanding them and the people who managed to somehow thrive, and ways to get around the disadvantages by analysis how previous "Great Thinkers" have survived and thrived. Have been learning some pretty interesting things about people like Einstein, Newton, Kafka, Descartes and a number of others. A lot of what keeps scholars busy today came out of the minds of some very tormented men ... there's a new biography out on Newton which I only browsed throughly briefly at a bookstore in San Francisco a few weeks ago that is going to shock many many people .. if they're open minded enough. I think the book is simply entitled "Newton".

What stuns me is the absolute lack of interest in properly researching the phenomenon, considering these guys were the greatest idea/meme creators/generators of all time, and they didn't have the Net to force feed them hundreds of daily hints. Truly original stuff that came from occultish type thinking processes. No problem .. I can keep the whole gold mine to myself and get awarded all sorts of Honouree Doctorates for doing research that was just plainly obvious anyway! ;-> (tongue-in-cheek)

So this pretty much covers what is that I'm most interested in. I'm not sure if I have what it takes to become an activist, time will tell. Trick is to somehow avoid the Irretrievable Kook label and ensure that I have a valid case to put forward.