What we call mental illness is a position in a pecking order

“There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit. I mean, you just can’t define it. “
- Allen Frances, lead editor of DSM-IV

Allen Frances confessed how there is no definition of a mental disorder, and how it’s bullshit, but that’s not entirely true. There is a definition — that mental illness is a position in a pecking order. And pecking orders are not bullshit, but are hard-wired into the social organisation of all mammals.

Our brains make extrapolation about its social status based on feedback from the group, and expands our shrinks the self through adjusting serotonin levels. Esteem. This self-mirroring behavior facilitates the spread of memes within cultures, and makes it possible to spread information fast.

The guise of psychological authority is just a way to gain an advantage in the competition for authority. It’s a strategy to remain at the top of the hierarchy, to secure one’s position in the pecking order, while making sure those at the bottom continue to take all the punches. It’s politics. It’s cheating.

Diagnoses are the contemporary equivalent of racial biology. It’s used to legitimize ideas that would otherwise have been contested, provides the authority necessary for statism to emerge, and has no real science or empirical evidence to back it up.

100 years ago, hysteria was used to legitimize enslavement of females. 50 years ago, homosexuality was pathologized to ostrasize and dis-empower gays. 20 years ago, ADHD and bipolarity and schizophrenia and autism was used to legitimize wage slavery or the enslavement of children into a coercive education system. These superstitions are merely a strategy to legitimize coercion and to gain an advantage in the competition for power. And, 100 years ago, people accepted hysteria as a story. 50 years ago, people accepted the story that homosexuality was a mental illness. 20 years ago, people accepted the story that their children suffered from ADHD or autism, or that their friends were schizophrenic and lived in an alternate reality. And so on.

These diagnoses are not science, they are local tradition, a form of superstition and a pre-requisite for statism. Without them there could be no statism — the pecking order would collapse — which is why we need to stand up for the fact that they are myths.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Johan Nygren’s story.