After at least two years on my loony forum of desperately trying to break through to my loonies, in missionary fashion, as to WHY their ideas about the mind/body relationship are tainted by the eternal prejudices of our time, I have decided to see if... YOU GUYS, the cream of the crop, the medical elite, the A+ students of top American colleges will... GET it better than "my" loonies do.
Here goes :
A little background. A week ago I got pounded into the ground following a news post about a chiantific experiment highlighting the... nocebo effect. You know, the... nocebo, which has the opposite effect of a placebo.
I found that.... really really interesting, and proceeded to tie this reaction in to my all favorite anecdote about the power of.... NEGATIVE thinking, to be found in Dale Carnegie's little treasure, "The Power of Positive Thinking", book number one in the endless series of management books that has since hit the racks.
You know, the story about the guy who gets locked into a refrigerator wagon, and, after scribbling on the wall that he is expiring from the cold, promptly proceeds to freeze to death in a... disconnected wagon.
I presume that my readership here is already acquainted with this rather... remarkable incident which has no... RATIONAL explanation.
Freezing to death in a disconnected refrigerator wagon throws a loop in our carefully constructed prejudices about just HOW our thoughts manage to translate themselves into our bodies.
When Freud began opening his mouth about psychoanalysis, he had been working with hysterical patients. Mostly women. And along with Charcot, he had made some rather interesting observations.
Observation one : (this one is for the ophthalmo...) Hysterical blindness exists.
Hysterical blindness is blindness for which the doc can find no LESION. (Not finding lesions didn't stop Freud from finding other things. He found : thoughts, memories which the person had translated into corporeal language.)
Blindness exists also which is the result of organic lesions.
Now we get to the clincher...
If YOU'RE BLIND, and there is no lesion, YOU CAN'T SEE.
THE SAME WAY that
someone who has an organic lesion can't see.
So... if BOTH people can't see, then.... why the fuss about the lesion ?
Could it possibly be because... if there is NO LESION, then we say... "it's all in your head (stupid) ? (We also say this when we can find no EXPLANATION for a phenomenon.)
Freud and Charcot both discovered that people suffering from hysterical complaints had their suffering discredited/ignored/belittled by the medical caste. And they discovered this at a time when docs were doing autopsies at record paces in the attempt to LOCALIZE psychic disease in the body and brain. And... when the docs did those little autopsies on their hysterical patients.... AW SHUCKS, they just couldn't manage to find them littl' ole lesions. (Some people are still looking, by the way, or they are trying to localize in other manners...)
As it turns out, as I mentioned over here a while ago, the current DSM has totally bottomed out the diagnosis of hysteria, which is really not surprising, considering that... the epistemological position of the people who came up with the DSM leaves them with a MAJOR blind spot (hé hé...) concerning hysteria, since the PURPOSE of hysteria is to... challenge an all-knowing, all-powerful (generally masculine) MASTER, and... this is precisely the position of the DSM.
So... since there is NO lesion in your body that means that... it's all in your head (stupid).
You might think that since we came to the realization that the brain was commanding most of what is going on in our bodies, we could admit that, to a certain extent EVERYTHING is in your head, but...
This would be too easy. The logic behind this illogic goes like this : if you have a lesion which can be localized, then, you are on the side of truth. But, if you don't have a lesion you are telling a lie, you're a fake, you're a simulator, etc etc.
(And docs know just how exasperating hysterical patients can be, they are just not GOOD, REWARDING patients that you can tinker with in erector set fashion, do a little bit of manual fiddling, chop off a this, extract a that, and illico presto, magic, the person is CURED !! Good doc, good boy, you've done your job, thank you, a million thanks)
Now... since I KNOW that every advantage has its disadvantage, and every disadvantage has its advantage, I cannot say in honesty that I think that it is MAJOR PROGRESS that we have now decided that for every corporal problem there has to be an EXPLANATION of the lesion type. No. I don't think that minutely scrutinizing everybody in hopes of finding the elusive (illusive ?) lesion (or the "faulty" genome, while we're at it...) is necessarily the answer to our problems.
And... as Thai would say... it costs a HELL OF A LOT OF MONEY TO STICK EVERYBODY UNDER THE MICROSCOPE.
Can you believe it ? In the good old days, before we had all this modern medicine, Freud was such a savvy clinician that he could do an excellent clinical exam and determine whether the patient was suffering from a hysterical complaint, or not.
Don't you wish we had clinicians like that these days ? I sure do... It would save us all a lot of filthy lucre.