• There has been much written in protest of involuntary treatments and drugging in the mental health field: Mad In America "MindFreedom- Fighting Back Against Human Rights Abuses in the Mental Health System." Mad Market Our Voice - Notre Voix Yet it only keeps getting worse: Rise of Involunary Mental Health: What is your resistance strategy? -David Oaks What puzzles me is that the people who write about this issue write as if it only affects those who have what are seen as mental health problems. How is it only of concern to them? Even if we put aside, for the moment, the fact that involuntary treatments and drugging are routinely used in nursing homes, the armed services, and prisons, and we focus solely on their widespread use in the school system by doctors and parents with the acquiescence of teachers and administrators (Ritalin Nation), it becomes clear why no one thinks their use in the mental health system is surprising or even controversial. Descriptions of involuntary treatments in this article, "RECOUNT OF MY STORY IN SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK'S ASYLUM MENTAL HOSPITAL FROM MAY TO MID JULY 1968" (Maria Arsenault Abel, Issue 65 of Our Voice Notre Voix) could be describing the treatment of children in any number of educational and religious institutions or orphanages who are demonized, put in detention, expelled, forcibly ostracized, isolated, mentally and physically abused. Yet, few protest this coercion and force or seem to think it is a big deal because this is all done "for their own good" by nice, concerned, caring, responsible, sincere, altruistic adults who have only the "children's best interests at heart." The same relationship exists between mental health care workers and their clients. How can involuntary treatment and drugs used to quell unwanted and unruly behavior in adults be wrong if it is not wrong when done to children? Coercion and force are being ignored when used on adults because we became accustomed to its use while growing up, and we don't think much of it. We can't understand why it should not be used to correct disconcerting adult behavior. We are simply treating these adults the way we treat children.  

    Posted on December 14, 2017 11:58 pm
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    Freedom of Thought
  • During the many years of practicing Muslim rituals, I heard several people laud their benefits by saying things like, "Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored." -Terry Tempest Williams. But, neither I, nor the people around me, seemed to experience this; just the opposite, in fact. Why was the opposite of harmony consistently the result of performing rituals that promised harmony and so much more (peace, love, unity, etc.)? Ritual implies following something mindlessly without question or thought. However, as with anything else, the effect of doing things mindlessly produces the opposite of the desired result. Instead of peace and harmony, you have war. Instead of love, you get hate. Instead of unity, division. When following any formula or instruction, leaving out mindfulness (www.mindful.org/) is like leaving out an essential ingredient such as flour when following the recipe (formula) for zucchini bread. You will only produce something no one wants to partake in. Being able to think about and question what we are doing, including rituals, is the key to achieving the desired, positive results. From Mindful.org: "Are You Mindful? We all have the innate ability to be present, composed, and to pause before we overreact to the challenges of our busy lives—and that’s the ground of mindfulness. With some guidance and training, mindfulness can develop into a way of living that brings greater focus and effectiveness as well as kindness and caring into everything we do. Both science and experience demonstrate how being mindful brings positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships." A note on the importance of evaluation: Taking feedback is essential to seeing if you achieved what you set out to do.

    Posted on August 30, 2017 9:18 pm
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    Freedom of Thought
  • Source: BBC’s HardTalk–Philosopher and Writer Pascal Bruckner, April 18, 2017: Stephen Sackur talks to writer Pascal Bruckner and asks, is something rotten in the Republic of France? Is France living through an age of decline? Stephen Sacker: "But you also seem to question the very notion that in France today there is a worrying strain of Islamaphobia. ... Do you deny that is a problem?" Pascal Bruckner: "Yes, I totally deny it and I'm going to tell you why..."    [ ... ] Stephen Sackur: "Let me quote you perhaps a significant voice around the world, that is the UN Secretary General, who just the other week said, 'One of the things that fuels terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies, and Islamophobic hate speech.' He has no doubt that there's such a thing as Islamophobia." Pascal Bruckner: "Yes, I knew this quote and I think it puts everything upside down. Why has Islamaphobia started at the first step? Because there were all those terror attacks during the last 20 years. The terrorists have generated hatred of their own religion. They have generated Islamaphobia, the hatred of Islam..." People who know little or nothing about Islam have no reason to fear it. They may fear Muslims who are committing violent acts as well as fear the Islamism that motivates those acts, but they have no reason to "fear Islam." The Muslims who fear Islam know the Arabic language and something of Prophet Muhammed's life and the times he lived in. Fear of Islam--Islamophobia--does exist among Muslims, but to accuse "non-Muslims" of it only confuses the issue. And, the issue is Muslims' fear of Islam.

    Posted on May 15, 2017 10:01 pm
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    Freedom of Thought, Muslim Problem
  • From BBC's HardTalk-Philosopher and Writer Pascal Bruckner on April 18, 2017 with host Stephen Sackur: Pascal Bruckner: "...I don't think the issue is terror. The terrorists won't win, they have no way to transform the population. I think the strategy of the fundamentalists is much more clever. They want to win through predication* and persuasion..." Stephen Sackur: "Let me ask you a very blunt question, do you think France has a Muslim problem?" Pascal Bruckner: "Yes, like most countries in Europe. [...]" *Predication: archaic a:  an act of proclaiming or preaching b:  sermon. "...predication and persuasion." Therein lies the problem. Male authority figures sermonizing about a higher male authority figure (God or Prophet) that cannot be questioned. No debate or discussion is allowed--only acceptance, repetition, and memorization. Even if you're having a "discussion," the feedback will be a repetition of what was already shoved down your throat previously by way of proclamation. Few recognize "the problem" because we are conditioned from the beginning to accept without question the proclamations of the male authority figures that run our government, justice system, schools, medical industry, and military-industrial complex. From the time we're born we are taught to follow mindlessly instead of question, challenge, discuss, think about life's issues. When we do otherwise, as Pascal Bruckner is doing in this interview for HardTalk, we are "inciting," "islamaphobic," "extremist," and associated with the far right. When I was living in the Muslim community I was consistently accused of "fighting Islam" simply because I expressed curiosity for who or what is served by the mindless repetition and parroting of the Quran, prayers, and rituals so many have lost the real meaning of as a result of all the repetition and parroting.   Citation for definition of predication: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/predication. Transcription of entire interview can be found here: https://subsaga.com/bbc/news/hardtalk/2017/04/18/pascal-bruckner-philosopher-and-writer.html  

    Posted on April 24, 2017 10:27 pm
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    Freedom of Thought, Muslim Problem