The Endless Flow of Society: On the Topic of Mental Health
The Endless Flow of Society is a piece I wrote throughout October of 2015. On the topics of society, religion, mental health, and government, I put my own “personal philosophy” down for people to read. I debated what to do with this piece. I considered publishing it as an e-book, putting it online as a PDF for everyone to read, perhaps getting my local newspaper to put it up bit by bit. I’ve been debating this with myself since I finished it, but I’ve decided to post it as a series on my personal website. So, I give to you the “manifesto” of my mind, a collection of unedited thoughts of mine.
ON THE TOPIC OF MENTAL HEALTH
We, as a society, have decided upon diagnosing those with differences as those fraught with disorders. We’ve never been an institution to accept difference, as “normality” is almost required in order to fit in with an in-group. Even on an individual level, our prejudice keeps us from holding optimistic opinions towards everyone. Those who think differently, have different ideas than the majority, have oftentimes been diagnosed with mental deficiencies. We have always done this, and it is something that has always been repeated in the cycle of society since the very beginning. Whether it be through shunning, improper “treatment”, or the modern-day format of medicine and psychotherapy (counseling), our interior motives for separating those who think, act, or behave differently in such negative matters is something that seems almost astonishing if you put your own mind to it.
The word negative is used strongly here. While our society has attempted to become more tolerable towards everything, any diagnosis of difference is still as negative as murder when it comes to the sociological apprehension of free will and thought. Yes, we no longer do forced lobotomies. No, we no longer have horrendously atrocious insane asylums. But, even with a more moderate, even liberal, form of conduct presented with those who have “disorders” such as autism, schizophrenia, etcetera…is it not still a negative mental state we place upon them?
The concept of understanding and recognizing differences respectively is known as neurodiversity. Our society has always labeled people with differences as “problematic” instead of respecting people for who they are. For one reason, individuals find it difficult to see the world through anyone else’s perspectives. This stems from our desire for independence, which still somewhat clouds our need for interdependence. We limit the lives of those who we diagnose.
People who have been strictly and negatively labeled with terms such as but not limited to Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome, Dyspraxia, or Autism are oftentimes treated differently or required to take “treatments” by individuals around them and by the institution itself. Is being requested to take medication today not similar to being forced to take sedatives in the insane asylums of the 20th century? Is being treated like a subspecies of humanity today not similar to being exiled or shunned in our primitive eras?
The claim that someone has a disorder just because of the way they act, look, or speak is plain ignorance towards the concept of variations being within billions of people living together in the same society. It can be compared to singling out drops of water in a river due to molecule arrangements or a brick in the walls of a house due to it being slightly different or discolored than the rest.
Disorders, for the most part, are more or less negative aspects placed upon different ways of thinking or being. Being diagnosed is what throws them into a sociological out-group, one that is treated differently even in the slightest aspects. Someone with autism may be limited to what careers they can shoot for, no matter how acutely present to so-called “disorder” may be. Someone “with” the dreaded Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may be forced to take medication by the family or school in order to fit into the structures of “normality” society wants them to be in. The idea of labeling the true unique in a society as a negative characteristic in which every individual craves to be unique is a pathetic contradiction.
But what is normal? Normal, in essence, is an idea that has managed to (like the suffix –gate) rest in the attention spans of those who do not understand its’ true form. By conforming to a standard, usually the majority within the society or in the very least within an in-group, one can be seen as “normal.” The word – the mere mention of normal – symbolizes conformity. It symbolizes the loss of individualism and the ever-growing presence of our need for interdependence and involving ourselves with other individuals who work together within an institution. Typicality is normality, the loss of what humans strive for but will never truly gain – uniqueness.
How does one shine brightly in a galaxy of stars if every single one of them is painted to be the same size, same color, same brightness, and same distance from the planet gazing at them? Thus we have the complex contradiction of nature within normality. Normality, within our human nature, does not exist. It is yet another side effect of the institution. A dreaded, cursed side effect of a majority opinion. Of personal philosophy. Ironically, our quest for individuality – our sense of self – oftentimes shadows our vision once it clashes with the institutional need for contact with others. We forget, or just don’t know how, to see the world around us in other eyes. The stars’ shine on, kept safe by the galaxy above and around them, but at what cost?
We treat each other with utmost respect until we learn of a “weakness” in one’s sense of normality. Those who practice different faiths, eat different foods, live different cultures, or dress different ways are categorized into those who think, act, and behave differently. Difference is diabolical in the sense of the institution. Difference is what holds the progress of influence. Difference is what ends the Old and begins the New when it, too, suddenly becomes the normal. What Utopia allows difference to be enlightened upon? We look at those imaginary societies – oftentimes ones that can’t and never exist – as ones that solved the problem of difference and normality. One that collectively assures the “sameness” of everyone from within. In any given Utopia, the institution – a weird clash of coexisting societies of Old and New – has won.
The modern day insane asylum conundrum continues in our everyday lives. We censor our own beliefs, our own thoughts, and our own personal philosophies in order to fit in with the institution. It is only in a period of transition – of revolution – when we stand up at once and allow such ideas to shape ourselves, allowing a brief moment of true individuality. We fear being rejected unless we are the ones doing the rejecting. Then, once the Old becomes the New, it falls back into the cycle of oppressive interdependence. Of course, not everyone is sucked into it. We will always have great artists, great writers, great strategists, great educators, great philosophers, great scientists, great politicians, and even great citizens who attempt to go against the normality. Against the Old regardless of transitional awareness. Against the majority in terms of agreeing with their personal philosophy even more so than others.
They – we – are the freethinkers.
When one realizes the unfortunate end of life, only then will they understand the end of an idea. Anything unspoken, unwritten, will be forgotten. It ends up being another unnamable droplet of water in the endless River of Life. Individually, that drop did nothing.
Thus, I encourage everyone to write what they think. Write what they believe. Write the endless amounts of personal philosophy, and write the ideas that pour from your mind on a daily basis. I encourage the open endorsement of others’ ideas – of difference and of opinion, of factual basis and foundational changes. I encourage within these words to draw and paint and create longlasting impressions of your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. For those remnants of your life, the words and the speeches; the canvases and scrap pieces of paper; they will outlast you. They will be seen, heard of, mentioned, by those who live long after you. The river will then endorse such idealism, and the widening of the river may be accredited to any amount of individuals. Perhaps then the noticeable shifts in society will open up to the minds of those who have never once wrote, never once spoke, or never once drawn their own opinions, personal philosophies, and ideas.
Is every opinion correct? No. I despise the thought of such. Any individual that dares to utter the concept that “opinions are never wrong” knows nothing. Any institution that dares to endorse that “opinions are never wrong” will not lost long in the widening of the river or collapsing of the house. Any man, woman, or child that can be so unfathomably stupid enough to claim that “opinions are never wrong” has not lived a life worth living, perhaps sheltered enough to be so unattached and unneeded by the institution or any other individual that their sense of self has ruined all social aspects of their personality. One who claims that “opinions are never wrong” know nothing of history. Nothing of enlightenment. Nothing of the stages we have gone through. Nothing of perspectives. They cannot distinguish the difference between an awarding good and a consequence-fueled evil. They know nothing of a conflict, and nothing of a consensus. And, most importantly, cannot distinguish between modern day moralities.
Opinions are always wrong. They are worthless, mere aspects of a personal philosophy which has no say in a majority until backed up by statistics, by facts, or by true reason. Opinions will always mean nothing unless supported by a thesis and developed through factual consensus. An opinion will never reach the status of truth until it is matured enough to evolve into a theory – and eventually into a fact.
Let me say it again: I encourage the writing of ideas. But ideas, good or bad, are what they are.
It is an opinion that distinguishes true “difference” from faux “normality.” It is opinion that usually starts ignorant waves of war. It is opinion that introduces racism, sexism, ageism, and etcetera. One can go as far to say that it is opinion which usually results in death more than fact. It is fact that usually resolves such problems. As an opinion is made, it is either dismissed or rejected by the majority – by the Old or by the dominating ideology at the time. Sometimes it may be accepted by facts that have already proven their worth. If rejected, it falls into the abyss of all the other ideas and thoughts that had no chance. If accepted, the opinion becomes a theory. Eventually, the theory becomes so widespread and universally accepted that it can evolve – being nearly proven by every aspect – to become a fact. Until that final stage, until the opinion finally reaches the status of factual knighthood, it is worthless – another idea in the form of flotsam floating endlessly in the nonstop flow of the river. One of a million.
The mere “idea” that someone is “different” and therefore unfit for the institution is what usually starts the revolution. Those who are against the discrimination perceived towards them of the Old usually are the first to band together to create a New. However, with such oppression in shadowed negativity, we see the problems of “diagnosing” one as “different” a pure discriminating factor against neurodiversity itself.
Everyone is different, to some extent. Yes, we (for the most part) work together with other individuals to allow an institution to thrive on the premise of progress and power, but our individualistic personal philosophies cause every idea to change even the slightest. The idea of “difference” due to mentality is wrong to the fullest extent. The claim that someone must be “suffering” due to mental difference – of what we like to call autism, ADHD, etcetera – is just the same as going to an entire community, a subsection of humanity, and oppressing their talents, their viewpoints, their perception and perspectives, alongside the limited growth of their input on the widening of the river. In short, it is yet another way the Old – a destabilizing society that is on the brink of transition or in fear of reaching the transition’s doorstep – can suppress those who may pose a threat in mentality towards it. It is also the leading contradiction of – the tension between – individuality and interdependence.
Ideas are formulated on a constant basis, whether the creator of such ideas understands it or not. Some of them change the entire world, starting as a thought or opinion before transitioning to a fact through the term of a theory. Some of them do nothing, falling short to the abyss of our own ignorance, whether that be for the better or the worse. Some last through the epochs of our human history, surviving through Olds and News time and time again. Some, however, never get a chance to be rejected or accepted…never heard by a society due to this sudden end of life. It is an ill-fated, unfortunate, regretful destruction of any ideas – all unwritten, unspoken, still formulated from within the mind, that bring nothing to society but sadness and disrespect through the rashness of suicide.
Regardless of merit, an idea deserves to be heard. Accepted? No. Adored? No. That is not how the majority works. But any idea, as the intellectual property of humanity, deserves to have the natural right of at least being heard. This social Darwinist capability we see in the endless fight for our popular psychological sovereignty is what keeps some great ideas out of the limelight. For example, we could be locked in a form of an establishment oligarchy which keeps the majority from understanding the promising promises of socialism. The people – the majority that choose exactly which way the Old and New sway – are thus spoon fed information unless they decide upon looking into it themselves. The mere thought of suicide, of depression itself, kills any idea they, as an individual, may have. Their personal philosophy is thus crippled, a pessimistic viewpoint evolving through their stature of mentality, and eventually they, too, fall subject to the diagnosing of disorder if their attitude changes to such a degree that they act, think, or behave differently.
No individual should commit such an act – of suicide, that is – that could end the endless amount of possibilities that could sprout from a single idea. Without the founder of the idea present long enough to declare their statements, the personal philosophy that could perhaps challenge the institution can no longer exist.
However, the Old has decided upon that as well. While suicide, unless it in turn creates the form of a martyr, does in fact end any chance of a suppressed idea from taking the majority away from the institution, the successful ending of life ends influence on an individual.
Suicide, along with poor mental health, is “against the law” and treated as a “diagnosed disorder” not because the society cares about the individual, as it should. It is treated as such because it is against the society’s laws to damage any institutional property. The way the institution sees individuals is of mindless labour that allows it to thrive through progress. By losing individuals to their own demise, the thriving progress that could have been presented through said individual is lost. How does an established formality of society – the Old or the New – keep control of power if the influence between individuals is broken by death? Containment through diagnosis is much more effective at continuing influential control than death by one’s own hand. Of course, this is a Marxist theory. One that has been disproven in the past through the evolution and progress made in modern medicine.
Our recent “demise” of mental health comes from the transitional period. We struggle collectively to decide upon “normality” when the “differences” stack to high. Hence why I make the claim that we are on the brink of a transitional period: more and more individuals are beginning to take their personal philosophies out of the mixture belonging to the institution in order to believe what they themselves strictly believe. We have tried diagnosing every mental difference as something different – from the five compartments of autism to depression to something such as ADHD. We have tried breaking every individual into different sub-categories of our own institution in order to keep people separated mentally, when in reality all we have done is create tension between the individual and the institution itself.
Hence we have created a form of instability between the creation of an idea and the line between right and wrong. How do we express an idea – whether it be through the form of writing, of speaking, or of drawing – when we fear the subcategorization of such mentalities? We, subconsciously, are understanding the oppression holding us down. We see this through political parties as well, with the massive split of at least five dominant sub-parties within the conservatives alone and a scattered establishment belonging to the left.
Meanwhile, all of these sub-categories…the sub-parties, sub-divisions, sub-institutions that appear through the minorities breaking away from the majority…they create a dam within the river. They purposely stop the flow of society and begin the transitional age between Old and New. These people are the beginning threshold which lead to the widening of the river.
These people are slowly letting their personal philosophies disagree more and more with the institution.
These people are slowly turning towards their own philosophical beliefs instead of blindly listening to the powers above.
These people are slowly grabbing hold of their own consciousness.
These people are slowly, but oh so rapidly at the same time, realizing the problems with the way we do things – whether it be socially, economically, politically, religiously, or through aspects of our own mental health.
These people are quickly widening the river and causing the births of new movements.
These movements are the stepping stones to a transitional period, just as they themselves are the threshold to the transition. One that allows us to see through a small window of the New, the oppressed majority, within the Old. It doesn’t matter what people think at this point, the subcategories have been created and etched into the stones at the bottom of the river. Our places have been given to us forcefully. Our social statuses depend upon it, and not many people within the majority appreciate it. The conformity of normality requires no difference. The freedom of thought has been brutally censored, even further than usual within any institution, and it has been like this for far too long.