Steven Meinking on 1 Sep 2000 15:43:58 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Take the Red Pill


Excellent text! I agree with you completely: that current (and past?) drug
sympathies are spawned from the constraining grip of a drug culture that
functions from a determinate platform of normalization, a dangerous
platform, in that its very foundations are rarely appraised critically, if
noticed at all.

I was surprised to see you mention critiques of psychoanalysis in this
context. While psychoanalysis and its discourse remains at the core of
present day psychology/psychiatry, psychology/psychiatry took a radically
different turn with the advent of drug therapy. Up to the time of his
death and afterward, Freud was constantly ridiculed and criticized for not
forging psychoanalysis into a "true" scientific discipline, and thus for
failing to provide a scientific ground for psychology.

It wasn't until psychology and its discourse were institutionalized, until
psychology as science had settled on a concept of "normal," until
psychologists became psychiatrists and engineered a regimen of drug
treatments for "abnormal" conditions that could be changed through
treatment, that psychology finally earned a seat at the table of "normal
science." And it is for this capability to physically manipulate and
biologically alter the body according to its own scientific norms, that
psychology is lauded and held in great esteem today - _not_, on the
contrary, on the merit that psychology is able to actually _cure_ anyone.
Our endearment to psychology and its legitimation rests only in its
apparent ability to help one _cope_ normally with their environment.

So it should come as no surprise that consumers flock to prescription
drugs, over-the-shelf drugs, self-medication, herbal remedies, etc. to
gain that competitive _edge_ in our culture, an edge which ideally enables
one to cope at or above the "normal" level of the general population. And
with the release of the new over-the-shelf anxiety drugs, it appears that
the border-limit of the "normal" is once again expanding.

Yours in discourse,

Steven Meinking

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