You Get What You Pay For Amerika. Mass Society. Mass Shootings. Chemical Lobotomy.
You Get What You Pay For Amerika. Mass Society. Mass Shootings. Chemical Lobotomy.
29-31 December 2012, 1-2 January 2013
Jonathan ©. Gillis
One looks up at the sky on a clear night, and observes the vast ocean of space and the island(s) of stars; the wonder of seeing a picture of the past, while being cognizant, if only in manner of awareness, of existing in the existence of the present moment. Such marvel in simplicity! "The trouble with the eagerness to make a world is that, being already made, what is there must first be destroyed."
This imperial capitalist way of life is antithetical to nature and natural symbiotic processes. To be clear, imperial capitalist civilization, which is predicated on mass violence and enslavement, causal of mass consumer culture, is in direct and unequivocal opposition to the natural world, which, like the finer and more specific life-forces of biodiversity and bio-diverse interrelations and interworkings contained within, it is rapidly and expansively destroying and replacing like a parasite to its host. The dominant, global hegemonic culture will not last forever. Perhaps in as short a time as 25 years, there will be systemic collapse, as predictable in terms of the looming climate chaos which will soon be in a runaway feedback loop, with the extremely grave threat, if not imminence, of global temperature increases to the point which would make most, if not the entire earth uninhabitable to most, if not all of life.
Countless species are driven extinct every day because of the dominant culture. Yet most citizens of capitalist empire are preoccupied in virtually every aspect of mass consumer life. Consumed by the very economy of consumption, the very economy that is predicated on mass violence and enslavement, and necessitates the utter destruction and decimation of the natural world, non-human and humans, and the natural symbiotic relationships and processes of life which evolved after millions and billions of years. "Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as 'the economy'...[There] are people engaged in the exchange of values, in productive and not such productive labor, and we give an overarching name to all these activities, calling them 'the economy', a hypothetical construct imposed on observable actualities. We then often treat our abstractions...as self-generating forces of their own. So we talk about the problems of the economy in general terms, not the problems of the capitalist economy with a specific set of social relations and a discernible distribution of class power."
The likelihood of the extinction of the species is a rather major dilemma to be sure; probably the gravest. There are of course a multitude of other crises which are components to the actual crisis of dominant imperial civilization itself.
Whenever a school shooting occurs, there is no mention of compulsory schooling in the reactive mainstream narrative. Rather, when a school or other mass shooting occurs, those on the left end of the political spectrum scream bloody murder at the National Rifle Association (NRA), and essentially insist that gun control, and perhaps an increased budget and token reforms for the utterly dismal and thinning mental healthcare system, is essentially the be all end all to solve the serious problem(s) of the increasing prevalence of mass shootings in the domestic homeland of empire. That school massacres have occurred regularly enough to have become somewhat normalized––meaning, the horrific acts and the by now predictable commercial reactions to them are on the mantel of capitalist empire, along with massacres at other locations such as movie theaters and malls––is perhaps representative of the ever-maddening nightmare which the dominant culture characteristically produces.
Compulsory schooling, which was originally defended against by armed resistance, and for apparent good reason, less than six generations ago, certainly not ancient history, is so normalized an institution that the significant discussions around it are usually primarily concerned with reforming the education system itself, for instance, ensuring better pay and social insurances for teachers, that they actually keep their jobs, advocating smaller classes, opposition to budgetary cuts, to a lesser extent, opposition to standardized testing, and so forth. "By 1880, factories and financiers ruled the American roost, and a professional proletariat of lawyers, politicians, and others dependent on the favor of the mighty were making it hot for Americans who fought to maintain a libertarian nation as promised by the Declaration and the Bill of Rights. With this radical transformation from local democracy to de facto oligarchy, people with minds of their own became an impediment to efficient management. Think of it this way: lives assigned to routine work are best kept childish." The mass school system offers the ruling elites mass obedience through mass indoctrination.
Correlatively, "more than 100,000 Native Americans [were] forced by the U.S. government to attend Christian schools. The system, which began with President Ulysses Grant's 1869 'Peace Policy,' continued well into the 20th century. Church officials, missionaries, and local authorities took children as young as five from their parents and shipped them off to Christian boarding schools; they forced others to enroll in Christian day schools on reservations. Those sent to boarding school were separated from their families for most of the year, sometimes without a single family visit. Parents caught trying to hide their children lost food rations."
‘“The Indians must conform to ‘the white man’s ways,’ peaceably if they will, forcibly if they must. They must adjust themselves to their environment, and conform their mode of living substantially to our civilization. This civilization may not be the best possible, but it is the best the Indians can get. They cannot escape it, and must either conform to it or be crushed by it. The tribal relations should be broken up, socialism destroyed, and the family and the autonomy of the individual substituted.”’ Thomas Morgan, Commissioner of Indian Affairs was raptly articulating the sentiment of the perpetrator, the United States, of the Wounded Knee Massacre.
“December 29th mark[ed] the 122nd anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee.” In 1890 “upwards of 370 men, women, and children were gunned down as they fled for their lives.” The United States was responsible for the mass shooting and massacring of some 370 Lakota 122 years ago, that’s a mere four generations, hardly ancient history, hardly enough time for those wounds to scar. The Massacre at Wounded Knee “was not an anomaly, nor was it an accident. Wounded Knee is the entire history of indigenous peoples relationship with Imperialism made manifest in a single event.”
And so it is with the Sandy Hook Massacre at Newtown Connecticut. The massacre of 20 young children and 6 adults might be described as the “entire history” and future of the earth, non-imperialist peoples, or 80% of the world’s human inhabitants, and the various cultures of nonhuman life’s “relationship with Imperialism made manifest in a single event.” The dominant culture, essentially founded, expanded, and maintained by white men, is manifestly responsible for the current and future destruction of essentially all of life. Perhaps it was the future of imperial humanity that died that day at Sandy Hook, killing so many innocents before killing itself. Incidentally, in the absence of humans, all nonhuman life is innocent. A good argument might be made that most if not all so-called primitive modern humans––that have lived for at least the past 50,000 years or so, and to a much lesser extent still live, harmoniously with nature––were, and are, innocent. Innocent in that there is no presupposition of guilt in a truly natural way of life; while mistakes might be made and accidents happen, wrongdoing, and thus subsequent shaming and punitive actions, would be virtually nonexistent in nature-based egalitarian communities. Insofar as wrongdoing was, or is, committed within a such societies, the reactions to such unacceptable behavior would inherently correspond with continued nature-communal harmonization. Were it not for industrial, or imperial civilization, an egalitarian nature-based culture would not be plagued with the retardation of normal human development, nor would it be forced into an existentialism that obstructed, altered, and destroyed the normal development of nature and the biodiversity within the matrices of the environment, or real world.
Incidentally, Homo Sapiens originated in Africa (incidentally the same continent that Europeans and Americans have been plundering for the past few hundred years or so), and reached "anatomical modernity some 200,000 years ago. We began to exhibit full "behavioral modernity" some 50,000 years ago. Agriculture, that is to say, the prevalence of a sedentary life predicated on the domestication of plants and animals, began some 12,000 years ago. Civilization, some 5,500 years ago. Industrialism, that is to say, the radical social and economic changes that transformed human groups from agrarian societies into industrial ones, roughly between 250 and 180 years ago. Industrial Civilization, roughly between 120 and 80 years ago. It seems that in a very short period of time, with the industrialization of the world, mass consumer society has ultimately brought about such destruction and devastation to the earth that the future of the species, and that of most others, has become fated. A main part of the abhorrence of this self-inflicted armageddon, is that many billions of humans, and virtually every single species of nonhuman life were and are not considered in the consequences of mass consumer society. This train of thought shall be put aside for now.
When the United States, by its own standards of laws and commitments thereof, illegally attacks, invades and occupies another country that poses no direct or even indirect threat, Afghanistan and Iraq are obvious recent and ongoing examples, it follows that an inevitable result will be the routine massacre of innocent women, children, and elders. Perhaps there is a threat, either real or imagined, yet in the case of the former, it is surely a threat insofar as basic autonomy is sought and achieved. The resistance to absolute rule or the total imposition of the rulers' will, is met with savagery; committed against those who fail to be, or are willfully not, moved by industrial civilizations dictates and the monetary system of which is the bedrock of dominant culture. In order to secure the precious wealth of resources such as oil and gas, and many others, which happen to be in lands far from, and in addition to, the conquered and stolen shores and lands of the continental territories of the United States, total dominance of culture is the exclusive "right" exercised by the rulers of the overpowering way of life. Incidentally, to affront or otherwise shame the hegemon is not necessarily limited to a lack of obedience.
To put this somewhat differently, there is essentially zero value of anything, culture, humans, nonhumans, and so forth, that cannot be interfaced with civilization, and thus, "interact with the interface separating civilization from its environment" like the potential energy in oil combustion. "[Oil] has zero value if it burns wastefully in the desert, and zero value in its unavailable chemical and nuclear bonds. From society's perspective, any societal element, whether living or synthetic, only has value to the extent it is able to operate in synergy with all other elements to define an interface with environmental available energy. An unavailable road from nowhere to nowhere is just pavement on the ground. But the same road between two cities is part of a larger organism that works collectively at [a] net rate to grow access to the primary energy supplies that civilization requires." Incidentally, this "growth" worship of industrial and post-industrial civilization simply cannot endure much longer beyond peak energy production, notwithstanding gravely destructive and dangerous changes to the environment.
Philosopher and political theorist. Falguni A. Sheth writes that the "shooting in Newtown, CT is but part and parcel of a culture of shooting children, shooting civilians, shooting innocent adults, that has been waged by the U.S. government since September 12, 2001." She continues: "many of 'us' have directly felt the impact of that culture: Which 'us'? Yemeni parents, Pakistani uncles and aunts, Afghan grandparents and cousins, Somali brothers and sisters, Filipino cousins have experienced the impact of the culture of killing children. Families of children who live in countries that are routinely droned by the U.S. [government]. Families of children whose villages are raided nightly in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The Yemeni blogger Noon Arabia movingly observed that as "the U.S and the world mourn these children [murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary], including us in Yemen, we also remember our victims in Al-Ma'jalah who did not make it to the headlines. Their death was unspoken of, they remained anonymous and their names were never read on worldwide televisions, yet we remember them everyday."
Obama might be rightfully accused as having cried "crocodile tears" over the 20 children shot dead in Newtown Connecticut. On 17 December 2009, the U.S. military fired a cruise missile at al-Ma’jalah, Abyan. The result of the targeted killing: a "Yemeni parliamentary inquiry found that 41 local residents, including 14 women and 21 children" were killed by the U.S. missile strike which was of course approved and ordered by Obama. It should be noted, Obama's got jokes about the predicator drones he utilizes to kill thousands of Muslim people. Bush had jokes too, namely about the deceptive Weapons of Mass Destruction pretext touted as justification for the attack, invasion, and occupation Iraq. Incidentally, Bush managed to kill 69 children in Pakistan in a single drone strike; not a murmur of protest or expression of grief for those murdered children by the minions of U.S. culture or the fearful and distracted citizenry. Obama has escalated the drone terror campaign to unprecedented levels, off the spectrum in comparison to Bush's rather conservative use of the technology and tactic.
The drone and "kill list" agenda of Obama's administration "goes far beyond what Bush ever did...it sets a stunning precedent for the future...Essentially, the program kills people chosen through a secret government process, including Americans and individuals selected merely for being near other targets, with no due process or publicly asserted legal authority." Quite shamefully, many US citizens "empowered and cheer for the person[s] responsible...for the violence that continuously kills children and other innocent people in the Muslim world" by paying for and enabling the violence, and acquiescing to if not supporting the killings. Appallingly, "huge numbers of people" particularly in the U.S. "remain completely untouched by the grief" of the victims of attack drones; this is purportedly "by design...to ensure opposition is muted." The results of a poll published in early February 2012 revealed broad support for Obama's "counterterrorism policies." Remarkably, "some 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy". One inference from this is that most U.S. citizens support the global "war of terror", which some 27 cents of every dollar in tax is appropriated to conduct, i.e., 27 cents of every dollar in tax is spent on the military, as compared with say, 2.5 cents of every dollar in tax spent on education, or the 14.5 cents per tax dollar spent on the interest of the national debt, a debt which could and will never be paid.
"[W]hat applies to the children murdered [in Newtown, CT] by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan [and elsewhere in the Muslim world] by a sombre American President. These children are just as important, just as real, just as deserving of the world's concern. Yet there are no presidential speeches or presidential tears for them, no pictures on the front pages of the world's newspapers, no interviews with grieving relatives, no minute analysis of what happened and why." According to an interview in a report by Stanford and New York university law schools, when Pakistani children "hear the [US] drones, they get really scared, and they can hear them all the time so they’re always fearful that the drone is going to attack them...[B]ecause of the noise, we’re psychologically disturbed—women, men, and children...Twenty-four hours, [a] person is in stress and there is pain in his head." In a separate interview included in the report, a mental health professional stated a primary concern as being "that when the children grow up, the kinds of images they will have with them...is going to have a lot of consequences. You can imagine the impact it has on personality development. People who have experienced such things, they don’t trust people; they have anger, desire for revenge...So when you have these young boys and girls growing up with these impressions, it causes permanent scarring and damage." Indeed, similarly, the survivors of the Sandy Hook Massacre will have permanent impairment to development, permanent psychological scarring and damage. The impact that U.S. drone strikes have on education in North Pakistan is of course alarming. "First, some of those injured in strikes reported reduced access to education and desire to learn because of the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of the strike. Second, some families have pulled their children out of school to take care of injured relatives or to compensate for the income lost after the death or injury of a relative. Third, some families reported taking their children out of school due to fear that they would be killed in a drone strike."
It is important to note the differential between the permanent psychological harms caused by U.S. violence abroad and the psychologically afflicted individuals who commit mass violence on empire's domestic front, and the psychological harms inflicted on the surviving victims.
Citizens of U.S. empire are instructed from a very early age that all the violence committed that is not sanctioned by the corporate oligarchy is either criminal or terrorist. One corollary to mass produced perceptions would certainly be that advertising is "the scientific management of public opinion."
"Most of the world's media, which has rightly commemorated the children of Newtown, either ignores Obama's murders or accepts the official version that all those killed are 'militants'. The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears. They belong to the other: to the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue." Captivatingly and incongruously enough, those "disappeared" children killed by empire, belong to the very world, "the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue" that has been destroyed and altered by empire to the point where we are very rapidly approaching a world that will not be hospitable to human, or most other forms of life. The loss of non-human life and their natural habitats, is likewise not mourned, let alone commemorated.
Was the Iraq war "good television"? "[W]hat didn't you see? You didn't see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortar landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes...There are horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism or was this coverage-? There is a grand difference between journalism and coverage, and getting access does not mean you're getting the story, it just means you're getting one more arm or leg of the story. And that's what we got, and it was a glorious, wonderful picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable news. But it wasn't journalism, because I'm not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful terrific endeavor, and we got rid of a horrible leader: We got rid of a dictator, we got rid of a monster, but we didn't see what it took to do that." Nor did we see, or were we reminded, of what it took to make that "monster".
Did the Sandy Hook Massacre make for "good television"? Most certainly the tried and proven format of sensationalism which predicated the corporate mass media coverage of the massacre was sure to keep ratings high, thus enthralling mass-perception, as well as advertisers. "[T]he retina collects impressions emanating from dots. The picture is formed only after it is well inside your brain. The image doesn't exist in the world, and so cannot be observed as you would observe another person, a car, or a fight...Perhaps this quality of nonexistence, at least in concrete worldly form, disqualifies this image information from being subject to conscious processes: thinking, discernment, analysis. You may think about the sound but not the images."
Massacres and the perpetrators who commit them do not come out of a vacuum. There are multiple contributing factors to true mental illness; arguably, many, if not most of the mental illness diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the official academic resource on mental illness, are theoretical, not clinical. Knowledge about the cause or causes of most of the many dozens of classified mental disorders is speculative at best. Even the symptoms of so-called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are vague. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, which sourced the DSM-IV-TR authored by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the three main identifying symptoms of ADHD "include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity." Given particular psychosocial circumstances, say, in any given classroom, at any public school anywhere between 4 and 18 years of age, it is likely perfectly normal for some, if not many students, to at times or quite frequently, find it difficult to concentrate and pay strict undivided attention, control their behavior, i.e., not talk when "instructed" not to do so, and be filled with energy––a diet loaded with sugars and high-fructose corn syrup might be the real culprit, not some life-long mental illness as is proclaimed by "experts" and the money-making institutions they are enrolled in and head. Perhaps a change to a healthier diet would be a far more saner and logical approach then pumping young children full of Ritalin. Furthermore, perhaps the cause, or at least a cause, of the epidemic of ADHD, which an astounding 5.4 million children between 4-17 years of age have ever been diagnosed with as of 2007 according to the CDC, is hidden in plain site.
Given the rapid changes in images in television, with several seconds at most between editing cuts, speculation on the effects of TV might indicate a contributing factor to ADHD. TV is a technical, not content driven, medium. Attention would wander pretty quickly if what otherwise would be a procession of natural imagery was not regularly interrupted, and technically altered. "Dr. Matthew Dumont...says these technical effects help cause hyperactivity among children. They must surely also contribute to the decline of attention span and the inability to absorb information that comes muddling along at natural, real-life speed."
Canadian physician and best selling author Dr. Gabor Maté has profound insight on the critical role that early childhood experiences play in the development of the brain, and how everything from behavior, to physical and mental illness interplay. "Endorphins are the brain's feel good, reward, pleasure and pain relief chemicals. They also happen to be the love chemicals that connect us to the universe and to one another...Now, that circuitry in addicts doesn't function very well, as the circuitry of incentive and motivation, which involves the chemical dopamine, also doesn't function very well." The significance here is that addicts are not genetically disposed to addictive behavior or addiction generally. Maté asserts that "most people who try most drugs never become addicted to them. And so, there has to be susceptibility there. And the susceptible people are the ones with these impaired brain circuits, and the impairment is caused by early adversity, rather than genetics." We are enormously vulnerable after birth, and there is quite an extended period of time when we are critically susceptible to environmental factors, probably all of which interplay with our brain development. Maté explains that "the human brain, unlike any other mammal, for the most part develops under the influence[s] of the environment. And that's because, from the evolutionary point of view, we developed these large heads, large fore-brains, and to walk on two legs we have a narrow pelvis. That means...we have to be born prematurely...That means much of our brain development, that in other animals occurs safely in the uterus, for us has to occur out there in the environment. And which circuits develop and which don't depend very much on environment input." What are the implications of this, say on, severe drug addicts and the so-called "war on drugs" Regan initiated in the early 1980s? "[I]f people who become severe addicts, as shown by all the studies, were for the most part abused children, then we realize that the war on drugs is actually waged against people that were abused from the moment they were born, or from an early age on. In other words, we're punishing people for having been abused." What about the implications of say, the increasing prevalence of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)? "[I]f you look at the preponderance of ADD in North America now and the three million...kids in the States that are on stimulant medication and the half-a-million who are on anti-psychotics, what they're really exhibiting is the effects of extreme stress, increasing stress in our society, on the parenting environment...because of social and economic conditions." That the dominant culture, the hyper-digital information, mass imperial consumer society, retards early brain development in the young, is in all likelihood a systemic epidemic which is causal of, and exacerbating to, other severe afflictions. According to Maté, "if we recognize that [ADD, or addiction for that matter, is] not a disease and it's not genetic, but it's a problem of brain development, and...fortunately...the human brain, can develop new circuits even later on in life...then the question becomes not of how to regulate and control symptoms, but how do you promote development." Seemingly, the dominant culture, that is to specifically say, the social and economic environmental conditions of the family and the societal institutions and the values housed within and espoused by the members and spectators thereof, inherently precludes healthy fundamental human brain development. The implications of the widespread denial and retardation of fundamental human development are vast.
In a second interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Dr. Maté elaborates on many important findings. "In the United States...there are three million children receiving stimulant medications for ADHD...And there are about half-a-million kids...receiving heavy-duty anti-psychotic medications...such as are usually given to adult schizophrenics to regulate their hallucinations. But...children are getting it to control their behavior. So what we have is a massive social experiment of the chemical control of children's behavior, with no idea of the long-term consequences of these heavy-duty anti-psychotics on kids." Even accounting for misdiagnoses, it is clear that the faculties of the brains of an increasing number of children are damaged. In the case of ADHD, "[w]hen their brain tells them to do something, from the lower brain centers, there's nothing up...in the cortex, which is where the executive functions are...the functions...that are supposed to tell us what to do and what not to do, those circuits just don't work." Needless to mention, the circuitry of every mass shooter must have been similarly faulty. The destruction of American childhood is not limited to horrific acts of bloody violence by a singular deranged shooter. "[T]he conditions in which children develop have been so corrupted and troubled over the last several decades that the template for normal brain development is no longer present for many, many kids. And Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, who's a professor of psychiatry at...University of Boston, he...says that the neglect or abuse of children is the number one public health concern in the United States. A recent study coming out of Notre Dame by a psychologist there has shown that the conditions for child development that hunter-gather societies provided for their children, which are the optimal conditions for development, are no longer present for our kids. And she says...that the way we raise our children today in this country is increasingly depriving them of the practices that lead to well-being in a moral sense."
Incidentally, "[t]he semi-nomadic Moken, who live in the Mergui archipelago in the Andaman Sea, south of Burma, are reputedly able to swim before they can walk. A recent scientific study conducted by Sweden’s Lund University showed that the eyesight of Moken children is 50% more powerful than that of their European counterparts. Over hundreds of years, they have developed the ability to focus under water, stretching their visual skills to the limits of what is humanly possible." There appears a direct corollary of optimal conditions for development, and stretching the limits of the various human faculties, not merely, and certainly ideally, reaching rudimentary developmental zeniths.
Moreover, "the essential condition for the physiological development of these brain circuits that regulate human behavior, that give us empathy, that give us a social sense, that give us a connection with other people, that give us a connection with ourselves, that allows us to mature––the essential condition for those circuits, for their physiological development, is the presence of emotionally available, consistently available, non-stressed, attuned parenting caregivers." Autism is a potential consequence of severed emotionality and the resultant dissonance, as well as bipolar disorder, to give two examples. Dr. Maté submits that while "autism is a whole spectrum of disorders...the essential quality of it is an emotional disconnect. These children are living in a mind of their own. They don't respond appropriately to emotional cues. They withdraw. They act out in an aggressive and sometimes just unpredictable fashion...there's no clear sense of a emotional connection and just peace inside them." Dr. Maté explains that part of the reason for the prevalence of major behavioral issues such as bullying, precocious sexuality, teenage pregnancies, and so on, which create further problems, such as suicide to give one example, is severe anxiety brought on by an extremely stressed environment at home and, or, community––which would of course include school. "The normal basis for child development has always been the clan, the tribe, the community, the neighborhood, the extended family. Essentially, post-industrial capitalism has completely destroyed those conditions. People no longer live in communities which are still connected to one another. People don't work where they live. The parents are away most of the day. For the first time in history, children are not spending most of their time around the nurturing adults in their lives. And they're spending their lives away from the nurturing adults, which is what they need for healthy brain development."
What explains the massive drugging in response to the damagingly altered brain circuitry of young children? "[W]hat we're doing is...correcting a massive social problem that has to do with disconnection in a society and the loss of nurturing, non-stressed parenting, and we're replacing that chemically." In other words, the dominant society creates this huge social problem of disconnection, and the overriding societal solution is to drug the very children that are debilitated. According to Dr. Maté, "the stimulant drugs do seem to work, and a lot of kids are helped by it...the problem is that 80 percent of the time a kid is prescribed a medication, that's all that happens." That stimulant drugs do help children, with say, better impulse control, is not an engaging solution, especially considering that many children these days, not diagnosed with ADHD, have poor impulse control, namely because of the environment in which they reside. A stressful environment, the absence of nurturing and emotionally available parenting adults, television, mass popular culture in general and the glorification thereof, including violent movies and video games, in conjunction with the drugging of the young among other factors, are contributive to the retarding of fundamental human development; it is little wonder then, when behavior(s) covering the spectrum from bullying to mass shootings occur. After all, "children are being more influence now, in their tastes, in their attitudes, in their behaviors, by peers than by parents." Dr. Maté asserts that "learning is an attachment dynamic...You learn when you want to be like somebody. So you copy them, so you learn from them. You learn when you're curious. And you learn when you're willing to try something, and if it doesn't work, you try something else." The ubiquitous, perverse and corrupted idea of individuation, just at the peer level, is an incubator of stress. The chastisement by peers if one is charged with being a "poser" might be detrimental to a young person who is already in emotional pain. If one is disconnected from themselves, and merely trying to "fit in", or "blend in", by wearing the same type of clothing or listening to the same type of music as others for instance, the behavior of the "poser", which incidentally is synonymous with "loser", might progress to the point of being construed as "acting out". This is a serious problem, in that firstly, one is not able to normally develop and thus they are disconnected from themselves, and secondly, they are not accepted by the social group they're compulsorily attached to. They're "acting out", no matter how harmless or extreme, is merely the depiction of behavior of which they do not have the words to articulate in verbal communication. This social failing enables the bashers of those who try new things for instance, that is to say those that embrace the natural attachment dynamic of learning, regardless of a particular reason, if any, for doing so, to self-justify their discrimination and thus continue it.
"And in terms of who you're learning from, as long as kids were attaching to adults, they were looking to the adults to be modeling themselves on, to learn from, and to get their cues from. Now, kids are still learning from the people they're attached to, but now it's other kids. So you have whole generations of kids that are looking to other kids now to be their main cue-givers. So teachers have an almost impossible problem on their hands. And unfortunately, in North America...education is seen as a question of academic pedagogy, hence these terrible standardized tests. And the very teachers who work with the most difficult kids are the ones who are most penalized."
In a third interview, Dr. Maté describes the disconnect in Western medicine between mind and body. In the West, there is healthcare, and mental health, two distinct, profit driven industrial systems. "You know, the traditional medicines of China for 3,000 years, the ayurvedic medicine of India, and the tribal shamanic medicines of all cultures around the world have always taken for granted that mind and body can't be separated. Now, Western medicine has cleaved the two apart for, really, 2,000 years...the tragedy...is that now we have the Western science that shows, incontrovertibly and in great detail, that mind and body can't be separated..." It would appear that this understanding is implicit, for typically, whenever one behaves, one has had prior thoughts corresponding to ones behavior. Even when we act impulsively, or in ways so habituated we need not think of what were are doing or how we are doing it, an electro-chemical reaction, or reactions, is, are, still occurring, if not consciously, then subconsciously. There is not a moment without biochemical signaling and response.
"The point is...that the emotional centers of the brain, which regulate our behaviors and our responses and our reactions, are physiologically connected...with the immune system, the nervous system and the hormonal apparatus...There's one system...wired together by the nervous system...joined together by chemical messengers that they all secrete, and so...whatever happens emotionally has an impact immunologically, and vice versa." In other words, "the brain and the immune system are always talking to one another."
What then are the implications given our relationship(s) with other people, or lack thereof? "[T]he Los Angeles UCLA psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Siegel, has coined a phrase "interpersonal neurobiology," to indicate that our biology of our brains, but indeed of our whole bodies, is in interaction with our personal relationships. So how we express ourselves in those relationships, or how we suppress ourselves, has a lot to do with our health." Quite simply, if we are social creatures, and our social needs are not being met, for any of many reasons, some of which were previously mentioned, it follows that the health of our neurobiology will be in jeopardy. And, to speculate, if prescription drugs are widely viewed as a primary "treatment", perhaps a minority of people would have a much deeper susceptibility to, essentially, a re-wiring of the brain's circuitry to the extent that impulses to commit violence would be activated.
Dr. Maté rightly condemns Western medicine, stating that billions of dollars are being spent "on researches into cancer and so on that are never going to get us anywhere, because we ignore the life stresses that very often, if they don't by themselves cause, they certainly contribute in a major way to the onset of disease. But we're not looking at them. We're not dealing with them. And we're leaving people without the appropriate tools to restore their own health."
If there is even the slightest risk that Ritalin, or any other psycho stimulant might cause brain atrophy, the pharmaceutical corporations that push such drugs, the regulatory bodies, such as the FDA, that approve them, and the medical doctors and psychologists that prescribe them, should be held liable, and would be, if the society we lived in were indeed sane. Do pharmaceuticals give, or create biochemical imbalances in the users, thereby inhibiting natural bio-chemical processes? A major pretext for prescription drugs for mental illness is that the "patient" to be drugged is diagnosed as having a bio-chemical imbalance of the brain. Factually, not metaphorically, speaking, is not all this pharmacological drugging of young children and swaths of other segments of the imperial population essentially individual, and by extension mass, chemical lobotomy?
Importantly enough, "Sixty-eight percent" of the some 160 experts appointed by the APA to update the DSM, a project which the pharmaceutical industry funds two-thirds of, "report economic ties with drug companies." According to a study led by Lisa Grove, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, of "20 authors of treatment standards for major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia: 90% of them had financial ties to firms that make drugs recommended for the disorder." Furthermore, "David Elkins, president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology...complains that psychiatrists have undue influence on how mental illness is defined...'A small group with only 38,000 members has been for years responsible for telling the rest of the profession, consisting of hundreds of thousands of people, how to think about mental disorders'."
Incidentally, if the inherent function of the most invasive and controlling organizations of dominant culture, namely corporations, are tyrannical, it follows that the individuals that operate and run them will need to be considerably pathological in order to be successful; insofar as they are, they are highly celebrated and esteemed by mass culture. Take a mere few examples just from the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, American biotechnology giant Amgen Inc. "agreed to pay $762 million to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from its sale and promotion of certain drugs. The settlement represents the single largest criminal and civil fraud settlement involving a biotechnology company in U.S. history." Also in 2012, Johnson & Johnson "agreed to pay as much as $2.2 billion to settle U.S. probes of the marketing of its Risperdal antipsychotic drug and other medications". In addition, Eli Lilly has consented "to pay over $29 million to settle charges that four of its international subsidiaries paid bribes to win business, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced. The SEC charged Eli Lilly with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act due to payments made to government officials and associates by the company's subsidiaries in Russia, Brazil, China and Poland."
In 2011, British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline "agreed to pay $3 billion to settle United States government civil and criminal investigations into its sales practices for numerous drugs." Also in 2011, "Merck & Co [agreed to] pay roughly $950 million to settle criminal and civil charges that it promoted the painkiller Vioxx for an unapproved use, the U.S. Justice Department said." In 2010, "pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca [agreed to] pay $520 million to settle allegations that the company illegally marketed an antipsychotic drug and paid kickbacks to physicians, the Justice Department announced". Also in 2010, Novartis Pharmaceuticals plead to pay "$422.5 million for off-label drug marketing" of the drug Trileptal. In 2009, the "pharmaceutical giant Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations that it had illegally marketed its painkiller Bextra, which has been withdrawn." The settlement, "Pfizer’s fourth...over illegal marketing activities since 2002" amounted "to less than three weeks of Pfizer’s sales". In 2008, drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb settled with the state of New Hampshire for $1.2 million to resolve "pricing and marketing allegations". In 2007, "Eli Lilly agreed...to pay up to $500 million to settle 18,000 lawsuits from people who claimed they had developed diabetes or other diseases after taking Zyprexa, Lilly’s drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder...Including earlier settlements over Zyprexa, Lilly [paid] at least $1.2 billion to 28,500 people who said they were injured by the drug." There are many more examples. The pattern of this particular corporate pathology goes on, across the board; corporations habitually break the laws, perhaps even some of the ones they write, and pay the separate justice system which deals exclusively with corporations an arbitrary sum of money in order to continue doing business as usual, unabated.
There is circumstantial evidence of a correlative link between the rise of mass shootings in the past 30 years or so, and the widespread access to prescription mood altering drugs which curiously coincides with this particular kind of violence. It is certainly established that certain prescription psychotropic drugs induce suicide, such as the "antidepressant" Prozac, to give one example. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, and additionally the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), knew of a potential link between the "antidepressant" Prozac, the only FDA approved drug to treat depression in children and adolescents, and suicide during clinical trials, as early as 1988, and probably before the drug was even approved for mass market. Over 15 years later, most likely primarily due to continued pressure from citizen activism, the FDA stipulated to the pharmaceutical manufacturers the requirements for "black box labeling", the most serious labeling warning, of prescription drugs. "These labeling changes are applicable to the entire category of antidepressant medications because the currently available data are not adequate to exclude any single medication from the increased risk of suicidality." It follows, that an increased risk of suicidality implies an increased risk of homicidality, in fact, many of the perpetrators of the 62 mass shootings that took place from 1982 until the 14th of December 2012 reported by Mother Jones, committed suicide after their horrific crimes. How many of the perpetrators of mass shootings were on prescription drugs, or withdrawing from prescription drugs, and what exactly were those prescription drugs? Most of the killers unsurprisingly had a history of mental illness with clear indications thereof, which obviously went either untreated, or the treatment was entirely ineffective, or perhaps, in some cases, even a complicit driving force in the perpetration of the massacres themselves.
According to the FBI, there were 12,664 murders in the US. in 2011, 8,583 of which were caused by firearm. There were some 851 accidental deaths by firearms, and a further 19,766 people committed suicide using a firearm in 2011, according to Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics. In 2009 there were 33,808 roadway fatalities, 10,839 of which were caused by alcohol impairment, and 1,905 fatalities which were caused by a driver under the influence of some alcohol. According to the CDC, "prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 people in the US in 2008", which was "more than 3 times the 4,000 people killed by these drugs in 1999".
Gun control? What about prescription drug control? What about alcohol control? What about corporate control; namely the complete abolishment thereof? What about stress control? What about the glaring observation that there is too much control? Maybe the NRA has blood on its hands. This entire culture is certainly drenched in blood. If guns are to be banned, or even strictly regulated, then that should necessitate a universal ban, no guns accessible to the police or military, or enacted regulations on the citizenry should be applicable to police and military as well. Regardless of what response will be touted as proper and thus normalized, the sickness of this culture cannot be so easily dismissed and passed off as being remedied legislatively, financially, or otherwise, especially while the history of genocide and slavery that this empire is predicated upon, especially while the continuing genocide, slavery, and ecocide that this empire demands for its continuation, albeit temporal, is virtually completely disregarded, or even more perverse, defended as the necessary costs of doing Business––the only real thing that appears to matter.
What about allowing and encouraging fundamental and organic human development? Nay. That would require the abolishment of this entire psychopathic system, and thus salvation from all its derivative pathological conditions, including the earth's response to mass society's psychosis. That is perhaps unfathomable, like seeing the air we breath.
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