Fair enough with respect to the film; I found it to be particularly profound, whereas you might not have been as interested in it. But do you understand the point I was trying to make? Do you not think that your own scientific prejudices influenced how you interpreted the movie despite the fact that Shyamalan was repeatedly beating us over the head with what was going on the entire time?I barely know anything about those movies because they came out when I was a child but I like how they were almost pre social media and inspired audiences to have philosophical debates.
If don't know if you've read my latest reply above yours. It basically answers your question what I'm trying to get at. You insist on this unusual interpretation of psychiatry which I can only describe as an Amish psychoanalyst linguist who hates science. I feel like a gun rights activist; science doesn't kill people, people kill people! It's hard to acknowledge that everyone's condition has at least slightly different causes and steps for recovery. I agree with the idea that we should be taking a more humanist approach to healing mentally ill people, but I'm not ready to burn down the hospital or overthrow the government. I'm more of a reformist. I believe humanity has made progress over the past few centuries including in the field of psychiatry. It is terrifying that gay conversion and lobotomies were performed and I think that should be taught in schools for a long time as a reminder, similar to how the holocaust is supposed to be taught and often isn't unless you're given a Jewish teacher. Humanity isn't out of the woods in terms of extreme inequities and might never be, but continual improvement should be possible.
I think I understand where you are coming from, I simply disagree with it. But you don’t seem to understand where I’m coming from, and instead of directly responding to my content your criticism is limited to “but that’s not scientific.” If you simply believe that only scientific, positivistic ideas are valid, and all other ideas that are not scientifically demonstrated or demonstrable are not, then there really is nothing more for us to say to each other, unless you can convince me of your position, which I’m perfectly willing to consider.
My views on psychiatry are certainly unconventional, I fully acknowledge that. But your characterization of my position as that of an Amish psychoanalytic linguist who hates science—while it has some merit as a witticism, is not a refutation, nor is it representative of what I believe. I am, after all, communicating on an iPhone right now and I’m very grateful for all of the advances in medicine, transportation, communication and other technology that was produced as a result of our scientific models of reality. I don’t hate science, nor do I deny that science often offers a very good understanding of its subject matter, most notably in its understanding of inanimate objects. I accept the scientific models of our solar system, big bang cosmology, and structural evolution, for example. I’m no expert in those fields but but from what I do understand those basic models explain their subject matter in a meaningful, simple, and elegant way. They can also make some awesome predictions, which makes that kind of understanding incredibly useful and valuable to us.
But I question many of the foundational premises and methods of the behavioral sciences, including psychiatry, positivist neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. Those fields, to the degree that they can arrive at a consensus on any models at all, mostly offer highly complex systems that offer some confusing and indistinguishable combination of genetics, structure, material environment and social environment, unable to identify meaningful relationships between these causal factors to explain human behavior, and even their most sophisticated models can predict who will be “dangerous” to a degree better than chance. And most importantly, these interpretations attribute our motion to everything and everything…except for the person who acts. Obviously, I’m suggesting that crazy, heretical interpretation. I frequently hear that the behavioral sciences are still in their infancy. I find that a pathetic excuse. Prior to the scientific revolution of the 19th century, the only of our sciences that made any significant headway was physics and astronomy. But with science’s philosophical and methodological foundations firmly in place, the rest of the material sciences, including anatomy and medicine, started almost overnight to make impressive discoveries and predictions. The behavioral sciences began not more than a generation later. And yet what have they accomplished? What did Pavlov and Skinner discover? That our behavioral responses can be conditioned? We already knew that. After all, how do you think language works? We make symbolic associations between symbols and their referents. The writer of Genesis understood that. And yet, when behavioral science “discovers” the obvious we act like it is new knowledge because it was derived at through a positive scientific inquiry and expressed through that technical scientific language that is so impressive to us. How much solid, new information have we obtained? The 19th and 20th centuries discovered and successfully treated many of the diseases that were making us sick and killing us. How many mental illnesses have we discovered and successfully treated or cured? Well, we’ve certainly constructed many (psychiatric illnesses are not discovered and verified empirically, they are conceptually constructed and democratically voted into existence); but we haven’t found any reliable treatment or cure for any of them.
I am not Amish, nor am I a fan of psychoanalysis. I think that psychoanalysis was to a great degree a pseudo-religious enterprise that concealed its moral pronouncements behind a semi-scientistic language (Freud did claim that his psychoanalysis was a science). And in practice, most psychoanalysts seemed more interested in endless intellectual masturbation instead of actually helping their clients with their problems. So I’m not sad to see psychoanalysis mostly gone, but I don’t think its replacement is much better; in fact, I would argue that it is worse.
You did get one thing right though, I’m a huge fan of general linguistics, semantics, and semiotics. They might not be positive sciences and therefore we tend to view them as inferior or even worthless, but I’m at the present moment convinced that the understanding and treatment of most of what we now call “mental illnesses” should be undertaken by those fields, and not general medicine. If you think I’m wrong, you need to try to convince me instead of claiming that I’m just a science-denier who just refuses to see truth because my reality testing is suffering.
And one last thing. You say that gay conversion and lobotomies were terrifying violations of human rights, but that’s in the past and we know better now. But what was the problem with those interventions, in your view? Is the problem that they are not “scientifically proven” treatments for real diseases? Or is the problem that they were often administered against the person’s will? What is more important to you: the distinction between true and false beliefs? Or the distinction between consensual and coercive relationships? You say that you are a psychiatric reformist. I am not. I make a distinction between institutional and contractual psychiatry. Contractual Psychiatry is politically “good” even if it’s worthless or harmful. And Institutional Psychiatry is positively evil even if it is demonstrated to be perfectly safe and effective. And when it comes to Institutional Psychiatry (the use of coercion and the alliance between psychiatry and the state) I am not interested in reforming it, I am interested in abolishing it.