Checking out AVfM again (on psychiatry and owning one’s semen)

Perusing AVfM tonight for the first time in a while. Came across this post in their Introduction forum by a man sharing a whole lot of details about what he claims to have been put through as a child. (My spidey sense went off on it too, for the record.)

Not gonna make light of what that man Thomas wrote. If he was in foster care, he has my sympathies. And sexual abuse as a child can screw up a person’s mind in severe ways and perhaps permanently in some cases. Not all are constituted equally nor all capable of coping to the same degrees. That’s just life — not a judgment.

That aside, I’d just like to respond to the conclusion of that thread after “professional” guidance had been suggested. My thoughts on the matter here just as in any case I read about where someone seems traumatized by their pasts are that the mental health field is seriously fucked up and I so wish there was another way available. There’s something jacked-up with too many of the people involved in that field of employment, plus there’s a lot wrong with the theories they tend to operate with, PLUS there’s a lot wrong with how they’re driven to medicate people and how poorly those drugs actually appear to perform. Are the “side” effects even worth it?

It is not uncommon for suicidal ideations to be exacerbated by piling on psychotropic drugs.

The possible therapeutic benefit of psychiatric drugs remains highly debatable all across the board.

Beyond that, those entrusted with the title of “mental health professional” really do tend to too often be the last damn people worth talking to. My own direct experiences are limited, but I garner this from that, plus what I’ve heard from so many others as well as what I’ve read on the subject. The psychiatry profession as a whole is a serious concern all unto itself (for readings that go into it outside of the mainstream focus, there’s Dr. Peter Breggin, having personally so far read his book Toxic Psychiatry, and Dr. Thomas Szasz), and on various levels. To direct people toward it, while well-intentioned, can wind up doing more harm than good. Sadly enough.

But what can we do about this if the situation truly is already as is claimed? I don’t know. But this bugs me. I realize we have little choice but to direct people that way in hope of them finding a worthwhile therapist who can aid them, especially considering we laypeople often cannot. Where would we even start? And online? That’s not going to be what he likely needs.

This brings up two thoughts for me. While psychiatry (and much of the Psychology field too overall) deserves to be lavished with critical scrutiny, we lack any other real alternative for people at present (beyond already being bonded in and/or establishing supportive friendships and kin connections). Do we not really need public alternatives to Psychiatry? But what could that be? Secondly, though already mentioned, I’ve found that the people who help me cope the most have been my close friends and loved ones. Without a constructive bond existing or being established, it can often be a pipe dream to expect someone to really and truly receive help. We’re social beings who greatly value our connections, and it’s this lack of (or damage to) connections to begin with that tends to screw us up so bad.

Easier to provide quality care upfront than to try to repair the broken pieces later, or so it’s been said. But life is turbulent, especially in modern times despite all the material comforts now available. Cultures are in flux and being overran by brand-new ways of looking at life. Technologies have been rapidly ramping up over the last century in particular, and we’re all impacted by that whether we want to be, or are even fully cognizant of it, or not.

That’s what I’ve come to believe anyway.

Though, I also think that some of what winds up broken can’t always be fixed. No guarantees there. Hard to say when exactly that applies since it doesn’t seem to be simply a measure of violent exposure alone that determines this. This isn’t something Science alone can tell us a lot about. Personal will can and does factor in a lot as well, degrees varying, plus social influences and how they stack up over time. One’s own personality matters a great bit in terms of how one views the world and can cope. Not all can cope, and not in the same ways. And I don’t know what, if anything, can be done about that.

It’s just an observation. Not a criticism of anybody on that thread. Just thinking aloud.

Then I began watching an AVfM podcast and now at around the 26-minute mark they bring up a man’s semen being his own property. Well yes, BUT if one donates it, then there it goes. While I can understand that taking reasonable precautions can show intent for not wishing to share the actual seeds with another, there’s always the risk of the precautions failing. Same goes for birth control (and Plan B) pills for women. I don’t know what to tell people on that either. Been thinking on it for many months though (and believe I’ve blogged about it elsewhere on here). If I were a man I’d view the situation very differently, but as a woman who doesn’t want kids it’s another matter. I do have the power at present to choose to not undergo an unwanted pregnancy. Different tools in a woman’s toolbox there (speaking as an American).

Vasalgel can’t get released to the public soon enough. That would be wonderful. Wouldn’t fix everything entirely, but it could go a long way in giving men the ability to choose as well.


Update the next day: Spoke to someone about this post and am wanting to clarify that this isn’t so much about AVfM or the “manosphere” or anything like that — that thread just got me thinking about the field of psychiatry and the harm it can do. Plus, a lot of counselors out there turn out to not prove too useful. And this sort of issue can effect anyone and everyone, not just males in particular. My beef here is only with the field of Psychiatry specifically, though I understand members on that site aren’t in a position to recommend anything else to a person than to seek out local professional help. It’s really beyond the scope of what they’re equipped to handle on a site like that — I totally get it. But that doesn’t stop me from grumbling about the psychiatric field and wishing better alternatives existed and were as easily accessible to people who are struggling.

It boils down to another pipe dream on my part, that’s also understood. This goes back to our social setups and support networks and how those ties and ways of life are actively being eroded as we move into most-modern times. Not sure what, if anything, can be done about it though.

The Birth of Humanity, an ongoing process — Ch. 3 excerpt from the book “The Sane Society”

Carrying on this evening transcribing where I left off in Chapter 3 (page 31) in Erich Fromm’s book The Sane Society (1955):

The animal is content if its physiological needs—its hunger, its thirst and its sexual needs—are satisfied. Inasmuch as man is also animal, these needs are likewise imperative and must be satisfied. But inasmuch as man is human, the satisfaction of these instinctual needs is not sufficient to make him happy; they are not even sufficient to make him sane. The archimedic point of the specifically human dynamism lies in this uniqueness of the human situation; the understanding of man’s psyche must be based on the analysis of man’s needs stemming from the conditions of his existence.

The problem, then, which the human race as well as each individual has to solve is that of being born. Physical birth, if we think of the individual, is by no means as decisive and singular an act as it appears to be. It is, indeed, an important change from intrauterine into extrauterine life; but in many respects the infant after birth is not different from the infant before birth; it cannot perceive things outside, cannot feed itself; it is completely dependent on the mother, and would perish without her help. Actually, the process of birth continues. The child begins to recognize outside objects, to react affectively, to grasp things and to coordinate his movements, to walk. But birth continues. The child learns to speak, it learns to know the use and function of things, it learns to relate itself to others, to avoid punishment and gain praise and liking. Slowly, the growing person learns to love, to develop reason, to look at the world objectively. He begins to develop his powers; to acquire a sense of identity, to overcome the seduction of his senses for the sake of an integrated life. Birth, then, in the conventional meaning of the word, is only the beginning of birth in the broader sense. The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born, when we die—although it is the tragic fate of most individuals to die before they are born.

From all we know about the evolution of the human race, the birth of man is to be understood in the same sense as the birth of the individual. When man had transcended a certain threshold of minimum instinctive adaptation, he ceased to be an animal; but he was as helpless and unequipped for human existence as the individual infant is at birth. The birth of man began with the first members of the species homo sapiens, and human history is nothing but the whole process of this birth. It has taken man hundreds of thousands of years to take the first steps into human life; he went through a narcissistic phase of magic omnipotent orientation, through totemism, nature worship, until he arrived at the beginnings of the formation of conscience, objectivity, brotherly love. In the last four thousand years of his history, he has developed visions of the fully born and fully awakened man, visions expressed in not too different ways by the great teachers of man in Egypt, China, India, Palestine, Greece and Mexico.

The fact that man’s birth is primarily a negative act, that of being thrown out of the original oneness with nature, that he cannot return to where came from, implies that the process of birth is by no means an easy one. Each step into his new human existence is frightening. It always means to give up a secure state, which was relatively known, for one which is new, which one has not yet mastered. Undoubtedly, if the infant could think at the moment of the severance of the umbilical cord, he would experience the fear of dying. A loving fate protects us from this first panic. But at any new step, at any new stage of our birth, we are afraid again. We are never free from two conflicting tendencies: one to emerge from the womb, from the animal form of existence into a more human existence, from bondage to freedom; another, to return to the womb, to nature, to certainty and security. In the history of the individual, and of the race, the progressive tendency has proven to be stronger, yet the phenomena of mental illness and the regression of the human race to positions apparently relinquished generations ago, show the intense struggle which accompanies each new act of birth.

Man’s Needs—as They Stem from the Conditions of His Existence

Man’s life is determined by the inescapable alternative between regression and progression, between return to animal existence and arrive at human existence. Any attempt to return is painful, it inevitably leads to suffering and mental sickness, to death either physiologically or mentally (insanity). Every step forward is frightening and painful too, until a certain point has been reached where fear and doubt have only minor proportions. Aside from the physiologically nourished cravings (hunger, thirst, sex), all essential human cravings are determined by this polarity. Man has to solve a problem, he can never rest in the given situation of a passive adaptation to nature. Even the most complete satisfaction of all his instinctive needs does not solve his human problem; his most intensive passions and needs are not those rooted in his body, but those rooted in the very peculiarity of his existence.

There lies also the key to humanistic psychoanalysis. Freud, searching for the basic force which motivates human passions and desires, believed he had found it in the libido. But powerful as the sexual drive and all its derivations are, they are by no means the most powerful forces within man and their frustration is not the cause of mental disturbance. The most powerful forces motivating man’s behavior stem from the condition of his existence, the “human situation.”

Man cannot live statically because his inner contradictions drive him to seek for an equilibrium, for a new harmony instead of the lost animal harmony with nature. After he has satisfied his animal needs, he is driven by his human needs. While his body tells him what to eat and what to avoid—his conscience ought to tell him which needs to cultivate and satisfy, and which needs to let wither and starve out. But hunger and appetite are functions of the body with which man is born—conscience, while potentially present, requires the guidance of men and principles which develop only during the growth of culture.

All passions and strivings of man are attempts to find an answer to his existence or, as we may also say, they are an attempt to avoid insanity. (It may also be said in passing that the real problem of mental life is not why some people become insane, but rather why why most avoid insanity.) Both the mentally healthy and the neurotic are driven by the need to find an answer, the only difference being that one answer corresponds more to the total needs of man, and hence is more conducive to the unfolding of his powers and to his happiness than the other. All cultures provide for a patterned system in which certain solutions are predominant, hence certain strivings and satisfactions. Whether we deal with primitive religions, with theistic or non-theistic religions, they are all attempts to give an answer to man’s existential problem. The finest, as well as the most barbaric cultures have the same function—the difference is only whether the answer given is better or worse. The deviate from the cultural pattern is just as much in search of an answer as his more well-adjusted brother. His answer may be better or worse than the one given by his culture—it is always another answer to the same fundamental question raised by human existence. In this sense all cultures are religious and every neurosis is a private form of religion, provided we mean by religion an attempt to answer the problems of human existence. Indeed, the tremendous energy in the forces producing mental illness, as well as those those behind art and religion, could never be understood as an outcome of frustrated or sublimated physiological needs; they are attempts to solve the problem of being born human. All men are idealists and cannot help being idealists, provided we mean by idealism the striving for the satisfaction of needs which are specifically human and transcend the physiological needs of the organism. The difference is only that one idealism is a good and adequate solution, the other a bad and destructive one. The decision as to what is good and bad has to be made on the basis of our knowledge of man’s nature and the laws which govern its growth.

What are these needs and passions stemming from the existence of man?

[Italicized emphasis his.]

Stopping on page 35, to be continued another day…