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On the phil. implications of lobotomization

YYW
Posts: 36,392
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5/27/2013 2:48:38 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Below, I've posted an abridged version of some thoughts I wrote in the margins as an undergraduate working my way through "Madness and Civilization" after I read the chapter on "The Insane."

Yes, I do write semi-essays in the margins of books...

Please do post your thoughts in response.

The lobotomy, if understood in the sense that the task of psychiatry is to provide therapeutic -but moralized- treatment, is a sort of subconscious recognition of the failure of the "science" of the study of mental health, by its own means, to do what it purports to do. Working with the analysis of psychiatry that Foucault offers, (which takes for granted that the lobotomy is a method within the practice of psychiatry for achieving some psychiatric objective), the lobotomy seems to be the subconscious recognition of its own failure.

In that way, it is the ultimate silencing of madness, because it destroys (and accordingly eliminates any potential for) madness"s ability to show itself in the individual that is supposedly "mad." But it it properly does nothing of the sort. What the lobotomy does do, is something which appears to eliminate any potential for an individual to interact with his or her world. Madness, then, is not "cured" or even "treated" but rather quarantined, in that the things which are called "madness" stop, but only because the lobotomized individual can no longer interact with the world. The lobotomy seems to be the manifested extension of the science of mental health, to its limits, in that rather than "curing" anything or even "treating" anything, that which it seeks to confine is confined for the remainder of the duration of the life of the individual, who continues in pulse, but is dead in consciousness.

So, in that the lobotomy is an active silencing of madness through that confinement, the conclusion that "scientific psychiatry" (which emerged in the nineteenth century) is not "treatment" but rather "confinement" surfaces from an understanding of how psychiatry "treats", in the case of the lobotomy. Likewise, that lobotomies were performed indicates in a similar way, that to the extent and in the context that lobotomies were performed, psychiatry is necessarily coexistent with morality, in the same domain as one another, and yet "in contest" with each other.

Because the lobotomy does not "treat" madness in that it only silences the capacity for the expression of madness of those who have been lobotomized, where lobotomies were preformed, psychiatry indicates it"s coexistence within the same domain as morality. If a mad person were to be lobotomized, and the lobotomy -if successful- would reduce the capacity of that individual to interact with his world, because the lobotomy does nothing beneficial for the person who is lobotomized, the only benefit then from the lobotomy would be to the world, in that it no longer is occasioned to interact with madness.

The lobotomy functions as a sufficient and irreversible excommunication from a state of being in the world. The fact that the lobotomy precludes the possibility of that interaction between reason (non-madness) and unreason (madness), indicates that the world of reason, where the lobotomy is performed, for some reason, feels obliged to confine the "unreason", to it"s benefit of no longer being subject to its exposure, where the confinement itself indicates the moral denunciation of that to be confined, by the confiner. As such, the permanence and unalterability of the lobotomy demonstrates the extent to which psychiatry (not psychology, although that is the example that Foucault himself offers) denounces unreason as a genuinely "moral" thing to be remedied.

This is demonstrated by the kinds of people who were, in fact, lobotomized: those "patients" who were aggressive, and who otherwise could not be "treated" by other means. Persons who were melancholic, children who might today be diagnosed as hyperactive, and others who did not act or demonstrate thoughts according to conventional decorum were candidates for the procedure. Because it was one"s behavior or thoughts (as evaluated by a psychiatrist) which made a person a candidate for a lobotomy, and that the lobotomy was effective in rendering those forms of unreason no longer capable of surfacing, reason is therefore removed from unreason, by the lobotomy, as a method of the science of the time in which lobotomies were performed.

I joked with Mouthwash that I underwent a lobotomy a while back... he believed me. Just thought I'd add that too...

Not sure I'd stand by the above today, but when I was moving some old books I started flipping thorough them and found this. Thought I'd share it with you all.
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bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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5/27/2013 3:18:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At the time it was done, I think they didn't really fully consider that they were killing the consciousness of the person.
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YYW
Posts: 36,392
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5/27/2013 7:04:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/27/2013 3:18:26 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At the time it was done, I think they didn't really fully consider that they were killing the consciousness of the person.

What bothers me is that I think "they" knew exactly what they were doing, and didn't see the inhumanity of it.
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Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
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5/27/2013 8:57:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/27/2013 2:48:38 AM, YYW wrote:
I joked with Mouthwash that I underwent a lobotomy a while back... he believed me. Just thought I'd add that too...

I, uh, didn't quite grasp what lobotomies were at the time.
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
YYW
Posts: 36,392
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5/27/2013 9:46:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/27/2013 8:57:45 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 5/27/2013 2:48:38 AM, YYW wrote:
I joked with Mouthwash that I underwent a lobotomy a while back... he believed me. Just thought I'd add that too...

I, uh, didn't quite grasp what lobotomies were at the time.

No worries... I shouldn't have joked about it... just a sign of the extent to which my sense of humor is abnormally dark.
Tsar of DDO