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


Unknown said...

Interesting, but I'd like to correct something. Mania does not usually last one day. It could in rapid cycling, but it would be extremely unusual. Mania often lasts for months. Actually, mania that lasts a night might very well be because of Boderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and that can be helped without meds. If you have ever been around a very manic person, you would never confuse it with any type of spiritual state. And, therapist sometimes don't tell their patients they are BPD, and it could be misdiagnosed as Bipolar

Marian said...

Jerry: I didn't write "one day", or night. I wrote a fortnight = two weeks. Acute "mania".

I don't care how people perceive extreme states of mind from the outside. From the inside many people experience them as highly spiritual, if it's "mania", "psychosis", or whatever you like to call it. Actually most people do so before biopsychiatry indoctrinates them with fairy stories about chemical imbalances and brain diseases. It's the initial, unspoiled inside-perspective that is valid, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Considering you've re-put the blog entry you deleted before (I am aware of the editions, yes) you might as well save the comments lost with the deletion and add them onto here. Those comments appear in part on the left column but comes a warning 'no such entry found' when clicked.


Marian said...

Thanks for the reminder, T. I'll see if I can fix this.

Anonymous said...

Person thinks he's having a moment or event of enlightenment in the form of a unique experience about one-self, existence or cosmos; turns out it's a nervous system disturbance symptomatic of the tertiary phase of syphilis. What's the "initial, unspoiled inside-perspective" here? There can emerge new forms and experiences of health out of an illness/ disease, but that doesn't refute the grounds on which the latter is defined.


Marian said...

T.: Syphilis is a real disease. You can make it out under the microscope.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not a certain disease can be traced via empirical tools is most certainly NOT what gives it the status of a real disease or fake one. Was syphilis 'not real' 200 hundred years before the invention of the microscope? Positivist methodology of sciences is not built upon base empiricism or crude causation.

My previous comment isn't about syphilis either. It's about the inadequacy of "initial, unspoiled inside-perspective" to understand the complexity of organic systems and assess health and sickness from a scientific and solution-producing perspective.


Marian said...

T.: Yeah, maybe one fine day we find something even smaller than neurons and the like, and, gosh!, on one of these smaller-than-neurons we can read "I am the cause of schizophrenia". Maybe - maybe not.

Actually, I don't even give a damn, because I have my initial, unspoiled (by psychiatry) inside experience, and that's enough for me to know, that, whatever "mental illness" is, it is NOT illness as in somatic illness. If it is, it's not "mental illness".

Scientific this - scientific that... You know what psychiatric "science" continuously has failed to do? It has never once really looked at the object of its research. On the contrary. It has declared this object for virtually non-existent, and replaced it with its own idea of how this object should look like, react, etc. No empiricism in psychiatric "science". Where is the empiricism? In my, and others', initial, unspoiled (by psychiatry), inside experience. Which psychiatry chooses to declare "insane" = worthless. Pure Kafka, or Orwell (depending on your cultural background).

I don't think I need to defend my experience further against opinions about it held by people who are far too afraid of their own humanity to have the guts and really look at extreme experiences and try to understand.

Marian said...

T.: All of a sudden I'm not so sure anymore that you are the T. I thought you were.

For now, your ad hominem is out here. Tomorrow, I will take it down, though.

Marian said...

On second thoughts: why wait until tomorrow? Since you obviously get a kick out of hurting people: go somewhere else to do that.

Mark p.s.2 said...

I am an unmedicated "paranoid schizophrenic".
I might be judged not a "paranoid schizophrenic" now that I have proven myself with the passage of time I am/can be responsible.

The initial diagnosis of paranoiad schizophrenic presumes I (and all) diagnosed as such will be that description for life.

This diagnosis means drugs.

But the drugs fulfill the diagnosis. If you say I was misdiagnosed , I say you believe in slavery. Had I not fought my "helpers" , dissagreed with the professionals, (BE a patient -patient) I would still be on drugs and possibly worse.

Had I taken the drugs, I would not be mindful. My brain would not be totally functioning, I would feel sick-bad from the drugs. I would not be "me", I would not have my freewill due to the inhibition of my intellect/higher reasoning centers of my brain.

I am not a criminal and only actual criminals should be forcefully punished or jailed for their (proven) crimes.

There is a reason the psychiatric ward doors are locked. It is a prison, not a hospital.

If you are going to have a prison you need real physical crimes to have been commited in order to justify the confinement. Otherwise it is a crazy making factory, a prejudment of peoples behaviours. The belief the person is crazy (we believe you [in the future] are a danger to youself or others, so we take away your legal rights), makes the person crazy.

Where do the crazy people come from? The crazy factory.

Marian said...

Mark: Exactly. And thanks for bringing the comments back to the actual topic here.

muzuzuzus said...

I cannot TELL you how glad I am to find your blogsite and this article!!! I have over the time tried various Google recipe searches to find critiques of Grof (found plenty on Wilbur)--few and far between, the the critique against this typical divide-and-control elitism between the 'pm middleclassians and their 'spiritual emergenciees' and the 'poor's' 'paranoid schizophrenia's. So I felt like dancing round the friggin room when I hit on your article, because it is great to find other people seeing through this BS.
I have read Grof books, and also am familiar with critiques of him from radical feminist authors like Monica Sjoo.
I also am familiar with Sean's videos. I have been perplexed by him, because in most of his videos he will say some cool things, and THEN...and THEN his hierarchical chart is in your face where the 'real schizos' are at the bottom, and included--which you failed to mention in the article, but is VERY relevant--are Indigenous peoples which are termed 'childish', and 'paranoid'. he says--along with his mentor Wilbur--that this is so because they believe spirits are 'outside the brain' instead, as he arrogantly puts it (being part of the most insane patriarchal civilization ever to hit the universe, most likely) whereas the happy shiney smiley pure pm new agers have 'insight that the visions they have come from their own minds'. Now this comes from a total ignoreance--yes even from science--of what consciousness of matter is! So how can he talk about what is 'really real'. Why what he and his influencers say is so dangerous is because this denigration of Indigenous peoples fits with the past stigmatation of them also portrayed in a scientific' way. Please see this harrowing, but VERy revealing video which shows this pattern directly: Scientific Racism: The Eugenics of Social Darwinism
You will see the dreadful connective attitude with these new age pm-ers who imply that indigenous peoples are somehow lower down the evolutionary charts, and hence deserve their demise at the hands of the 'more advances'. They are doing this on the deep levels which they profess to talk about. SUCH fuking arrogance!! makes me very angry.
But yes that is usually always together with classism, because if you watch this very important film, and I hope you and others will, you will see how they applied their seem absurd measuring stragies to 'prove scientifically' how lower indigenous people were in comparison with their precious white arse on the 'lower classes', and the 'mentally ill' also---which included their tedious measuring of their skulls just as they did with the Indigenous people they allowed to starve, and committed genocide on!

So I am extremely glad I have stumbled on your place, and you can count me as a friend indeed :)