I’m somewhat savage in my attacks on the pharmaceutical companies. In many ways, that’s not so much about the poisons they peddle, but about the methods they use to peddle them. For those interested, I’ll write another blog post soon (ish) about the Bernays’ Propaganda approach that has been embraced fully by the drug companies, but the reason for this post is to express the idea (truth? – who knows) about the proposition that the drug culture (medication) is creeping up on us to the extent that we’ll become sanguine about its ‘normalcy’ in our culture and in our personal lives.
As Jones says in the quote herein “all rivers are at the edge of chaos,” and if you believe that you are not part of the bigger picture of existential chaos, then I have to say that the intellectual part of me feels sorry for you, or that the solipsistic, illiberal part of me envies you your blithe innocence (and the latter may be enviable, I might point out – if you don’t care).
This passage is from the latter part of my book Beat Depression the Drug Free Way, so mention of the book relates to information given within it.
The River that is Pharmageddon
All rivers are at the edge of chaos. Their paths change by natural sinuosity, for which there is a mathematical formula. Stand on any river bank for long enough and you will drown – not because you fall in, but because the river will come to get you.
— Dr Steve Jones, geneticist
Steve Jones’ quote, above, is both elegant and fearsome! Life doesn’t move along in straight lines. Society does not operate year-to-year, day-to-day in straight lines. Things move. The fuzzy edges of the dynamics of life and society move. If you do nothing and stand still, sooner or later, those fuzzy edges (and we’re talking here about the onrush of mental diagnoses and medication) will lap at your feet and go on to engulf you.
I used to sometimes tell the story of the frog and the ‘cold-to-boiling’ water. Some of you will know it. The story goes that if you put a frog into cold water and gradually heat the water, then the frog is happy enough to just stay there and won’t be able to notice the rise in temperature. But when the water reaches boiling point, too late to get out, the frog will die. But if you put a frog in already boiling water, it jumps out or dies immediately.
Notwithstanding animal cruelty, I loved that story because it was a perfect metaphor representing how our culture does not notice the rise in the use of legal prescription drugs, and how before too long, we will be a society of ‘the medicated’. Medication of all kinds will be ‘normal’ instead of the other way around. Or, perhaps I should say, medication of the normal will be normal.
I then discovered that the frog story was an urban myth. The biophysics of it is not possible; untrue. Alas! I couldn’t use it any more to indicate our gradual immersion in the ‘normalcy’ of drugging of ourselves, our kids and our species as a whole. Dr Jones’ quote above, though, is an apt replacement to my beloved frog metaphor. But the reaching of a point of drowning in pharmaceuticals is due to come about a whole lot earlier than any river would change its course by natural means, but you get the idea. So, let’s just build the levee a little higher.
And that’s the whole purpose of this book: levee-building. Information lays the foundations of the levee. Choice and challenge provide the mass.
He’s the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines.
— Benjamin Franklin