Medicine For The Soul
a book by Claudia Wallis
(our site's book review)
Wallis looks at the brain chemistry and neurobiology of conscience, personality and psychological defects. Various locations in the brain where areas relating to morality and personality have been located, and various drugs that alter personality and deal with depression, shyness, and other problems have been invented. But we need to move slowly before we start chemically and neurologically engineering personality. (There is a fine line between brain tweaking and brain damage. See Reclaiming Our Children and Listening to Prozac: The Landmark Book About Antidepressants and the Remaking of the Self, Revised Edition.)
Recall that the human race made some of its biggest mistakes when radical fundamentalists tried to religiously engineer people during the Inquisition and later—in the 20th century—to socially engineer "master races," socialistic equality and justice, and welfare states led by the “enlightened” and the “benign.” How'd this stuff turn out?
The Inquisition was socially engineered religiosity—one of the stupidest damned ideas in all of history
Let’s face it: We’re not the type of beings that take to engineering experiments. We hate others manipulating or controlling our actions.
We hate others manipulating or controlling our actions
We want to control our own lives and we resent social engineers—no matter how good their intentions—interfering with our choices and life courses.
The side effects of antidepressants, sedatives, and SSRI drugs are often very problematical
Breggin clearly demonstrates in Reclaiming Our Children that we aren’t actually a nation of crazies and defectives needing to be saturated in psychiatric pharmaceuticals to fix our broken brains
In this article, Wallis convinces us that personality defect cures, depression cures, and psychological problem cures sometimes seem to be as easy as taking a pill. (The new developments in neurospychology will likely enable us to modify our personalities more and more—but at what cost?) Of course, the problem is that the side effects of antidepressants, sedatives, and personality altering drugs are often very problematical (for adults and kids alike), and the dependency and addiction factors, as well as the withdrawal problems, are often discounted by doctors in their zeal to help patients (or sell drugs and make lots of bucks, if you’re cynically inclined).
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is a great book to empower the treating of depression as well as ridding oneself of negative thoughts and emotions resulting mostly from parenting errors—it works better than Big pharma's drugs!
And then we discover that a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that SSRI's like Paxil and Prozac are no more effective in treating depression than a placebo pill (and yet cognitive therapy is very effective). It’s enough to make one pine for the days when the very word engineer meant someone who drove things that went chug chug and toot toot and united our nation while opening up commerce, towns, westward migration and the Second Wave.
Train engine—what engineers used to be driving