Monthly Archives: October 2012

From Persuasion to Coercion: Psychopharma’s “Priesthood of the Mind”

The “psychopharmaceutical complex”[1]— modern psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry, and an accommodative regulatory apparatus–sustains itself through a public belief in its medical scientific expertise and legitimacy realized through marketing and public relations. Now a combination of more direct government involvement in medicine via the Affordable Care Act, the 2013 release of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) new and expanded Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Volume V (DSM), alongside more comprehensive systems of federal health surveillance and biometric identification technologies suggest how psychiatry’s behavioral norms and protocols will be more and more integrated into everyday life. Overall, the psychopharmaceutical complex appears poised to abandon a paradigm based on persuasion and belief and move toward a model encompassing coercion and decree to enforce its normalcy ideal.

“Reason is man’s faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man’s ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought. Reason is man’s instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man’s instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man.”—Erich Fromm[2]

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