Ever struggled with a psychiatric diagnoses given to you?
Ever been curios about where mental illness categories come from?
ever been curious about the process by which came about a way of categorizing, talking about and thinking about human struggle and human distress?
Curious about the power that the language of mental illness holds our our lives, our discourse about human and response to human struggle?
James Davies tells the story of how he went about uncovering just how the compendium of mental disorders -DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)- was generated and the rational for the approach
“Agreement does not constitute scientific proof”.
Voting is not science.
Evidence of a majority vote in a committee of nine to twelve people in the minutes of that committee is evidence of how the members of that committee voted. It does does not by any stretch qualify as “scientific evidence”.
When James Davies went to talk with Robert Spitzer, who headed the task force of nine people driving the project to great the new diagnostic system, he asked Spritzer…
“what led you to believe you could do it this way?”
Robert Spitzer: “Because we could”.
Not evidence of evil or evil intent, and for sure not evidence of any science or even science-y-ness, but it is the language used and the very way of thinking found at the root of all evils perpetrated and imposed by the institutions and structures we create.
How can we participate unknowingly in systems of oppression?
Because relying on our unknowingly participating and our willingness to not question and to just-go-along-with the orthodoxy is exactly how systems of oppression do work.