The Myth of Mental Illness, revisited

Excerpted from Dark Escape

The Myth of “Mental Illness”

Many medics and psychologists still claim that there are “mental illnesses” as well as physical illnesses. In the early 1960s Thomas Szasz unmasked the belief as the myth, and was promptly ostracized for his revelation, the doctrine surviving all attacks since that time. Hidden in the doctrine is the assumption that something is wrong with the brain of any person who is labeled “mentally ill.” If the brain defect is the culprit then all parties involved are relieved of responsibility—the identified patients, their parents, and the labeling authorities. If, on the other hand, there are no “mental illnesses,” as Szasz averred, then none of the parties escapes responsibility. Neither the identified patients, nor their parents, nor their labelers wish to be held responsible, so the doctrine of “mental illness” survives. All parties, including the identified patients, assume that the underlying brain defect is incurable, and so advocate the use of brain disabling drugs to limit the frequency and severity of the identified patient’s absurd habits.

Those with training and experience in corrective counseling know better. They understand, some more than others of course, that the so-called “mental illnesses” are social arrangements used to escape responsibility. So what they do is designed to encourage actions on the part of their clients, which will make them feel better about themselves. Demonstrating to their clients that they, the counselors, deem them worthwhile, is the first step, and a necessary step, to dispelling their feeling of worthlessness and the abiding dread of being found out. Valuing their clients as worthwhile individuals is implied in each of several powerful methods of corrective counseling that have been developed, most of them during the last half of the 20th century. Unfortunately the true believers in the doctrine of “mental illness” remain ignorant of these methods.

Hippocrates said to healers that if they cannot help their clients they can at least “do no harm.” Too bad that most would-be healers have no training in corrective counseling. To prescribe brain disabling drugs for their clients is to harm them, often irreparably. Best, then, that they put down their pretense that they can help people who use absurd habits in self defense, and pick up the practice of healing the body. Best also that they leave the correction of absurd habits to those who know how to do it. “Psychiatry” is dead, as it should be.

The Myth of Mental Illness

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The Premise of Madness

The Premise of Madness

The following is one of Dr. David West Keirsey’s last distillations of his work on “Madness”.  Even I forget that he even included the method of intervention.

“Though this is madness, yet there’s method in it” — Shakespeare

The Factors of Madness

Methodic — mad action is a means of defining interpersonal relations
Entranced — mad action occurs only when one is socially unaware
Nonsensical — mad action makes no sense to those present
Designed — mad action is precisely relevant to those present
Habitual — mad action is repeated often from time to time
Disguised — mad action is exclusively role playing
Staged — mad action occurs only on circumscribed occasions
Defensive — mad action protects the player from being found unworthy

A person who fails to live up to expectations can be demoralized, that is either depersonalized or demobilized or beguiled or besieged. Which one of these kinds of demoralization befalls a person is pre-determined by that person’s temperament. Born that way and a failure, the person’s own kind of madness follows.

Managing Symptoms

Just as are the symptoms of physical disease managed by prescribing surgery or drugs, so too are the symptoms of social conflict managed by prescribing role practice.

Since playing a defensive role is done automatically in a social context, supervised symptom practice in the absence of that context renders the symptom useless. The symptom practitioner is cooperating with a symptom manager, not defending against critics. Cooperative symptom roleplaying differs from defensive symptom roleplaying. Defense is entranced concealment of shame, while cooperative is entranced display of trust.

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My Father, The Greatest, and Of the Greatest Generation

David Keirsey:

My father is no longer with us, but I will blog some MORE of his material on his unfinished and unpublished work on madness.  He can’t tinker anymore, trying to get it more right.  It was the best he could do.  He was singular human: brilliant and flawed.   A Maverick.  Sui generis.

Originally posted on Please Understand Me:

He was My Father.

He died July 30th,2013 at 91.

I have many memories of him, some early memories have that misty, but warm quality, of the fifties, an age of innocence.

You kinda of realize things slowly.  Kids must learn.  Things emerge into your conscience.

I remember when I realized he was just a man around the time I was a young teenager, he wasn’t all powerful, he was human.  And later I realized what a man.  A Rational Man,  just like me.  And his ideas have changed many lives for the better.

And of course, he is of the Greatest Generation.  An American marine fighter pilot, who at one time was sitting on a carrier off the coast of Japan, ready to invade their homeland.  Not thinking of a future.  Then there was the news.. Atomic Bomb.  He now had a future, he could go…

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Productive Ability


The four kinds of ability are not equally distributed. Half of the population, fifty percent, are Guardians, born with logistical ability, Forty percent of the population are Artisans, born with tactical ability. That leaves a mere ten percent for the Idealists and Rationals, born with diplomatic ability in the case of Idealists, and strategic ability in the case of Rationals. Fortunately, the few Rationals can do all of the mobilizing, arranging, inventing, and designing needed. Unfortunately, the few Idealists are far too scarce to do all of the educating, counseling, advocating, and reconciling needed, education, especially, suffering from the shortage of Idealists.


Civilization would not prosper as it has these many centuries were it not for the preponderance of those born with logistical ability, the Guardians. Half the population, they see to it that procedures, products, materials, and possessions are safe and secure. The other beneficiaries, especially Artisans and Rationals, fending for themselves by pooling in places where they can best use their favored words and tools to advantage. Unfortunately, most Idealists, although birds of a feather, do not flock together, knowing only that they are different from all others. Those few, the brightest and most aggressive, do find themselves, and thrive in places that appreciate and reward them for their splendid abilities.


The factors above the frame are ways of implementing aims. For implementation of aims, tools are required, each kind of tool structured precisely for the function to be accomplished by the tool-user. The Idealist uses covers to adorn and enable, the Guardian containers to equip and store, the Artisan sticks to handle and steer, the Rational ropes to empower and align. The factors beside the frame are ways of communicating with others. For communication of messages words are required, each kind of word chosen for the meaning intended by the word-user. Learner education, procedure supervision, scheme promotion, and force mobilization are ways of preemptive initiation. In contrast to preemptive initiation, alienate reconciliation, possession protection, display composition, and structure designation are ways of responsive accommodation. In contrast to competitive contention, applicant counsel, product inspection, device craft, and contingency arrangement are ways of cooperative collaboration. The four ways of communicating ─ initiating, contending, collaborating, accommodating ─ facing the four ways of implementing ─ diplomacy, logistics, tactics, strategy, reveal sixteen kinds of productive ability, each unique, each valuable, each irreplaceable. None of us, no matter how gifted and practiced, can master more than a few of the sixteen kinds of competent action.  

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Tool Use & Word Use

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Drugged Obedience

David Keirsey:

Drugged Obedience

Originally posted on Your Kids Aren't Sick:

We are addicted to our chemicals, you and me, and that’s a problem.  Not just for you or me.  It’s a problem for our kids.  Equipped from birth to imitate us, what do we show them?

Got a headache?  Grab an aspirin or an ibuprofen, or something else for pain.  We have many choices.  Seems harmless enough.  And it is – most of the time.  After all, they sell “baby aspirins” for babies.  They seem to work too, if given properly, and not too much.  Makes sense.  A headache isn’t, really, behavior.  The chemical we take works on our physical body, right?

Sometimes, though, when we’re too tense, or there’s too much stress in our life at the moment, a headache – or a backache, or a soreness somewhere else in your body – can occur.  We say it’s “stress-related.”  That’s what our doctors, friends and family members will tell…

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David Keirsey:

The past is here, and in the future, it just isn’t evenly distributed. David Mark Keirsey

Disable Madman: Part I
Disable Madman: Part II
Disable Madman: Part III

Originally posted on Your Kids Aren't Sick:

The Judge Rotenberg Center 

Artist: Kim Noble 


Have you ever heard of the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC)?  Probably not.  They are, well, infamous to most of us in the profession.

The JRC has been around for nearly 40 years.  About 20 years ago they started doing something only they can do.  I’ll show you a link to their site a little further down, but first let me tell you a little more about the JRC.  You likely won’t believe it.

Believe It

What’s are the chances, in 2012, that American children are being electrified on a daily basis by “professionals,” sanctioned by medical doctors, with the written permission of their parents, in a facility that charges $220,000 a year for their services?  The chances are excellent if you visit the Judge Rotenberg Center.

The GED (no – it’s not about high school!)

It’s called a Graduated Electronic…

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