Appendix 1 of Seth Farber's MADNESS, HERESY, AND THE RUMOR OF ANGELS
Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health
Movement (New York: Harper and Row, 1970).
This may be the single most important book on the subject. It is a beautiful, profound elegy, an impassioned defense of freedom , a searing attack on the psychiatric inquisitors and their religion of medical science, a meditation on the spiritual crisis of humanity and a challenge to all of us to transcend the "existential cannibalism" that has characterized the human species for centuries. Szasz notes astutely that psychiatric 'diagnosis' "constitutes the initial act of social validation and invalidation, pronounced by the high priest of modern scientific religion, the psychiatrist; it justifies the expulsion of the sacrificial scapegoat, the mental patient, from the community." This book helped to establish Szasz as one of the great moral figures of our century.
Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory
of Personal Conduct (New York: Hoeber-Harper,
1961). Szasz's first book on the topic.
Thomas Szasz, Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences (New
York: Wiley, 1987). A systematic answer to Szasz's critics
over the years
Thomas Szasz, A Lexicon of Lunacy: Metaphoric Malady, Moral
Responsibility, and Psychiatry
(New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1993).
R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (New York: Pantheon, 1967)
This is Laing's best and boldest statement. Unfortunately, he spent the rest of his career defending, qualifying, and even apologizing for this work. Next to The Manufacture of Madness, it is the most important book on the topic. Laing prophecies that if the human race survives the present "Age of Darkness", human beings of the future will look back on us with compassion and amusement: "They will see that what we call 'schizophrenia' was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds." Laing resumed elegantly, but unsurely, the dialogue between reason and unreason, between the 'sane' and the mad, a dialogue that was stopped two centuries ago when madness was redefined as 'mental illness'. (I am wholeheartedly committed to carrying on this dialogue, and consequently to affirming the ontological validity of 'madness'.)
R.D. Laing and A. Esterson, Sanity, Madness and Family (New York: Basic Books, 1965).
The main virtue of this book is its demonstration that the discourse of mad people makes sense.
R.D. Laing, The Voice of Experience (New York: Pantheon Books, 1982).
Part I of the book contains some of Laing's best essays, Part II is of little interest to persons who are not obsessed with intrauterine experiences. Of particular interest is Laing's interpretation of a dialogue between a 'schizophrenic' and a famous psychoanalyst. Laing demostrates that the former is far more eloquent, far more compassionate and more in touch with 'reality'.
R.D. Laing, Wisdom, Madness and Folly: The making of a Psychiatrist (New York: McGraw Hill, 1985).
Laing's last book, an exquisitely poetic swan-song by a man who died "disheartened" because he was so misunderstood by fellow intellectuals.
Erving Goffman, Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental
Patients and Other Inmates
(New York: Anchor Books, 1961).
This book should have put the 'mental health' system out of business.
Peter Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy, and Love
Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock,
and Biochemical Theories of the 'New Psychiatry' (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991).
This detailed book is an indispensable alternative textbook that counters the propaganda of modern psychiatry. Breggin himself is one of the few psychiatrists who has had the courage and the compassion to publicly denounce the psychiatric establishment and to ally himself with psychiatric survivors. In this book he documents the rise of the "psychopharmaceutical complex", a coalition of industries more resistant to change than the 'military industrial complex', and he discusses in detail the toxic effects fof the most widely used psychiatric drugs
Thomas Scheff, Being Mentally Ill (Chicago: Aldine, 1966).
Theodore Sarbin and James Mancuso, Schizophrenia: Medical
Diagnosis or Moral Verdict?
(New York: Pergamon, 1980).
D. Rosenhan, 'On Being Sane in Insane Places'. In Paul Watzlawick
(ed.), The Invented Reality
(New York: Norton, 1984).
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization (New York: Vintage, 1965).
Kate Millet, The Loony-Bin Trip (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991).
An absorbing and enlightening personal story. The epilogue is a brilliant and succinct defense of 'madness' as an expression of the imagination.
David Cohen (ed.), Challenging the Therapeutic State: Critical
Perspectives on Psychiatry and the Mental Health
System (The Journal of Mind and Behavior, P.O. Box 522, Village Station, New York, NY 10014, $18).
A thorough 'postmodern' debunking of the medical model. Particularly recommended are articles by Leifer, Sarbin, Farber, Scull, Gergen, and Frank
John Modrow, How to Become a Schizophrenic: The Case Against
(Apollyon Press, P.O. Box 5114, Everett, WA). Written by a bona fide 'schizophrenic'.
Jay Haley, Leaving Home: The Therapy of Disturbed Young People (New York: McGraw Hill, 1980).
Haley argues that most 'therapists' have abandoned the pretense of helping to effect personal growth and have become social control agents.
Jeffrey Masson, Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of
(New York: Atheneum, 1988).
Debunks Freud and his disciples
Judi Chamberlin, On Our Own (New York: Harper and Row, 1980).
An astute critique of psychiatry by an ex-'mental patient' who became a human rights activist.
In order to understand how dehumanizing modern psychology is, it is necessary to compare it to more exalted conceptions of what it means to be a human being:
Selected Writings of Rallph Waldo Emerson. Two essays in particular, The Divinity School Address and The Over-Soul. Emerson articulates Christ's sublime and grand vision of human potential, and he explicates the tragic misinterpretation of Christ's teaching promulgated by "historic Christianity".
Rabbi Abraham J. Herscel, The Prophets; An Introduction (New York: Harper and Row, 1962). A genuine religious perspective is concerned primarily not with mystical experience but with 'historical justice'. "Mystical experience is the illumination of an individual; historical justice is the illumination of all human beings, enabling the inhabitants of the world to learn righteousness."
Vladimir Solovyov, The Meaning of Love (West Stockbridge, MA: Lindisfarne Press, 1984) Solovyov lived from 1853 to 1900. I find him the most profound and prescient Christian theolgian and visionary. He believed that romantic love was potentially the instrument for effecting the kind of spiritual transformation that would enable us to attain physical immortality and to realize the Kingdom of God on earth.
Robert McDermott (ed.), The Essential Aurobindo (New York: Schocken, 1973). Aurobindo Ghose ('Sri Aurobindo') was a Hindu philospher and yogi (1878-1950), who wrote in English. He was one of the greatest sages who ever lived.
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