Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Let's have it anyway, shall we: Some bipolar-Stan-Grof-Ken-Wilber-élitism with Sean Blackwell from Bipolar Or Waking Up?

I wrote a post about the matter back in January. I took it down because Sean contacted me, and said I'd got it all wrong. Since then, a few e-mails have been sent to and fro, in order to, hopefully, get it all right.

It all started when I came across the comments at Sean's vid about "hallucinations", and got, frankly, pissed off about a reply by Sean to a comment by someone, "abbeyism", who's more or less completely bought into the mainstream "the crazy pick axe killer"-fear mongering: "Oh my God, I hope no seriously ill people hear this, go off their much needed medication for glossier grandiose religious awakenings and become dangerous...again," "abbeyism" wrote.

Well well, we all know that this kind of reasoning, unfortunately, is wide-spread among people, who have no clue what crisis is about but what they've been told by mainstream psychiatry through the mainstream media. So, what I reacted to wasn't that much this comment, although I also left a reply to "abbeyism" at the thread, but, as mentioned, Sean's reply to "abbeyism": "(...) On my previous video on paranoia, I said that in many cases, paranoid people will be better off medicated. (...)" - Btw, I also questioned his viewpoint in the comment thread to his vid on "paranoia".

This is what I wrote in reply to Sean:

An outstanding example of what I call the bipolar-Stan-Grof-Ken-Wilber-élitism. Us and them. The real loonies, and us, the chosen ones.

I think a quite realistic estimation is that about 70 - 80 % (if not more) of ppl labelled "sz" experiences "paranoia". If it were true, that most of them are better off medicated, widely drug-free alternatives like Soteria or Finnish Open Dialog wouldn't have the success they DO have.

Neither would long-term outcome studies time and again suggest, that recovery from "sz" off drugs is far more likely than on them. The truth is, hardly anyone on drugs ever fully recovers. The majority of ppl OFF them does.

John Nash didn't recover and return to Princeton bc he popped the poison, A Beautiful Mind wants us to believe, he popped. He recovered bc he tossed the poison out, and never touched it after 1970. If anyone, HE was "paranoid".

I really love your vids, Sean, but do me a favor, and read up on the science!

In contrast to my reply to "abbeyism", it took some time before this comment was approved of. Maybe Sean wanted to put together an answer to my comment before he put it out there. Fair enough.

Now, in our e-mail exchange Sean said he didn't regard neither himself nor Grof nor Wilber "enlightened", and that it certainly wasn't his intention to discriminate against anyone. I told him, I'd edit my post, and probably also change its title. I won't do the latter though, because élitism is, unfortunately, still what I see is going on here. Pure New Age élitism. As in, for instance, if you suffer from "paranoia" and other distressing experiences during crisis, that may well be a manifestation of the negative, "dark" energies, you're born with. Bad karma, exactly as in bad, "faulty", genes. In other words, if you've suffered severe abuse and neglect during childhood, it's probably because you've been an asshole in a past life. Your own fault, and now you pay for it. Oh, really?? The New Age way of letting the abusers off the hook, and maintain the status quo. Sorry, I don't buy it. And I'd like to see Sean tell this all those many kids who are abused and neglected by their parents and/or other people in their lives to their face: "You know, according to our philosophy, you only get what you deserve. Probably it's because you're a little stupid, spiritually slightly retarded, that you need to go through this. So, stop whining, and get on with your life." Well well well, if this is regarded "awakened", I certainly can do without any awakening.

Anyhow, still in a conciliatory mood, I yesterday ventured to watch Sean's latest vids, "Spiritual Awakening vs. Bipolar Disorder" Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. If nothing else, watch the third part, and pay attention to what Sean says from 09.33 in the vid on, which, as I let Sean know, in my interpretation translates into: "schizophrenics" are less likely to recover than people labelled "bipolar" by psychiatry. Sean did not object to my interpretation.

IMHO, it is utterly snobbish and, indeed, discriminating to tell people, well in fact that they're too stupid, too spiritually retarded to recover, and maybe even turn their experience of profound suffering into personal growth and development, and that they therefor are better off drugged into a stupor. Not to mention that it is plain nonsense, both in the light of the scientific literature, and in that of innumerable personal accounts. As a matter of fact, the more suffering, the more likely recovery becomes. Since suffering acts as an incentive for transformation. It may very well be that, as I wrote to Sean, "[p]eople who've experienced a lot of trauma in their lives from a very early age on probably need more time to work it all out. Indeed, "mania" usually lasts for about a fortnight, on average, doesn't it, "psychosis" for about five to six weeks, which could be seen as correlating with the amount and intensity of trauma the person has experienced. But from there to conclude that people who maybe need more intense support for maybe some longer time than others are less likely to recover..." actually strikes me as some of the worst New-Age-us-and-them-élitism I've ever witnessed, and certainly not as awakened.

Bottom line: Sean's vids are absolutely worth watching. They definitely contributed to my own understanding of my experience. But beware of their dividing holier-than-thou-attitude towards "the schizophrenics", especially those labelled "paranoid".

If you read this, Sean, you'll probably feel deeply injured. You're welcome to comment and tell me that you didn't intend to say that "the schizophrenics", no matter how "paranoid" btw, are less likely to recover than those who received a fancy "bipolar" label from their shrink.

P.S.: If you remember the original post: the person who got turned down by Grof because of his/her label, that wasn't Sean, no. My mistake. Anyhow, it happened, and it tells something about the great guru's attitude towards people who carry the "wrong" label. The person in question was labelled "schizophrenic"...

For comments on the original post see here

Enjoy some bipolar-Stan-Grof-Ken-Wilber-élitism with Sean Blackwell from Bipolar Or Waking Up? - comments

I reposted an edited version of this piece here. Since the comments on the original piece are still relevant, here they are.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Download and donate to Haiti

Download "Flume" for free here.

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