I have made myself sick watching the gun control debate here raging in the United States since the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting incident; as I hear the “talking heads” of television discuss the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of ”maniacs” and the “mentally ill.” Look what the cats on TV dragged into our living rooms:
“Guns do not kill people – mentally ill people kill other people.”
I cringe on my couch.
Yes, the couch. What a fitting place to cringe and analyse psychos. The couch – more American than apple pie; a birth right for every modern citizen who lay in the arms of their couches and suck on the tits of television –natural-born mother for all modern-day children. She sings unending lullabies of 60 second commercials, but no one ever sleeps, no one finds peace and everyone is perennially dissatisfied. Laying on the couch but also continuously consuming?
So, rather than having a civil discussion about the American culture of fear and violence, what our TV experts end up doing is further stigmatizing the mentally ill.
Social determinants (unemployment, un-insurance, family estrangement, exhausted resources) can certainly lead to mental deterioration, but the remedy lies within US – feeling a kinship or part of a community can help eliminate the stressors and relieve the mental pressures.
We live in a society that tells us we are self-determined (and instantly absolves itself of all responsibility). It tells us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps in case of any problem. And most important it tells us to be happy. How can you not be happy with all the products and things you consume?
However as humans we are social creatures and it is in our DNA to rely on each other.
I could be branded as mentally ill for firmly believing that mental illness is a social construction. Mental illness is manufactured as a means of control of humans just as all human knowledge is used to regulate the masses by the power elite rather than emancipate or liberate them.
There may be distressors working on the mind, but the dysfunction squarely lies in the system that ruptures the human spirit. We live in a world that rewards greed and brutally tears us apart from each other. And then if someone rises up to question, it ostracizes those who challenge the abuses of power. For now, I’ll leave you with a quote from Chris Hedges who articulates it better:
“Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes, no matter the external reality, are seen as maladjusted and in need of assistance. Their attitudes need correction. Once we adopt an upbeat vision of reality, positive things will happen. This belief encourages us to flee from reality when reality does not elicit positive feelings. These specialists in “happiness” have formulated something they call the “Law of Attraction.” It argues that we attract those things in life, whether it is money, relationships or employment, which we focus on. Suddenly, abused and battered wives or children, the unemployed, the depressed and mentally ill, the illiterate, the lonely, those grieving for lost loved ones, those crushed by poverty, the terminally ill, those fighting with addictions, those suffering from trauma, those trapped in menial and poorly paid jobs, those whose homes are in foreclosure or who are filing for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills, are to blame for their negativity. The ideology justifies the cruelty of unfettered capitalism, shifting the blame from the power elite to those they oppress. And many of us have internalized this pernicious message, which in times of difficulty leads to personal despair, passivity and disillusionment.”
See the following links for the Newton incident and its aftermath
© Dennis Dodson, 2013