Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Symbolic fast as political protest leads to forced confinement for observation in psychiatric ward
(This is a follow-up to my previous post, but is too long to post as a comment...) I was taken into custody on December 25th, 2012, for psychiatric observation. I was held against my will and within a few days was threatened with force-feeding and electro-convulsive treatment (ECT) if I continued to refuse to eat. I perceived that as a threat that my conscience would be destroyed. I was taken to Court within days of being taken into custody, where it was confirmed that, if I continued to refuse food, the Court would allow the psychiatric establishment to 'have their way with me'. (My phrasing.) That is, the Court would allow them to do whatever they deemed 'necessary'. I learned later that I had been labeled as 'delusional'; it was said that I held the belief that I could save the world. In truth, I believe that we together can solve the biggest problems threatening the stability and sustainability of civilization. I never made any assertion of belief that is ascribed to me by doctors of psychiatry at University Hospital. (I feel that one possible path forward is to sue for malpractice and have that Court order reversed. More important, though, is that these ideas are either discussed or rebutted. Whatever wrongful acts were taken against me seem a small matter, the mistaken diagnosis seems a small matter, next to the question of whether we will create a sustainable and just civilization or allow a global collapse, along with all the famine, chaos and environmental degradation that that would bring.) When I heard the threat of forced-feeding and ECT, I felt as though my ego (which I had let go of years earlier, at the time that I realized that normal efforts to use language to communicate profoundly impyortant ideas were going nowhere, were being completely ineffectual) … I felt as though my ego had leaped back into my body, almost as a physical sensation. I knew that, if my conscience was destroyed, then my capacity to take the decision to make this ultimate symbolic statement would be lost. I knew that I had to get out of that threatening environment. I should have written this note earlier. I wanted to write to not only explain the events that led me to interrupt my fast, but also to relate the hilarity and insanity that I experienced during that forced visit to the psychiatric ward. (My only such visit ever in my life.) Although the professional staff was presumably deeply concerned that I receive nourishment, the hospital meal service did not seem able to understand the concept of a vegan meal. I was repeatedly served a tray that contained animal products, which I declined. I came to realize that vegans don't go to hospitals very often, so the staff does not have experience dealing with requests for plant-based meals. I remember surreptitiously eating a muffin with peanut butter on it, since it was against the rules to have food from outside... even while the staff were still having difficulty accommodating a plant-based diet request. At one point (after I had regained some energy), some other patients and I were playing cards and using monopoly money to place our bets. We were becoming quite psychologically engaged, quite animated, and reacting emotionally to each dealt hand's outcome. We wondered, being under observation as we were, whether our game-playing and normal social interaction would count in our favor in our psychological evaluations; or whether our intense emotional reactions to the outcomes of bets placed using play money would count against us as signs of delusional behavior. That was all certainly an experience that I will not soon forget. (Whether I will remember it for a long time is a different question... depending on whether I am around much longer.) I think that I need to take my fast, undertaken in part to protest professors' extreme and egregious discourtesy, to Massachusetts, where the professors teach class at Assumption College. If I must endure forced-feeding and elector-shock treatments, I think it should be close to the source of the most formal and authoritative voices saying that these ideas should not be put to a larger audience. Again (repeating myself), if there is good reason to not publish (such as a conflict with human nature, as claimed by those professors), then I want to know what that reason is. Professors Hickey and Kantarelis (or any other member of the academic community) can simply point to the text that I wrote that implies a need to perform actions that are contrary to our nature. If a misinterpretation has led to the conclusion that there is such a conflict, I want to clarify the text that is being misinterpreted. If there is a better proposal for ending extreme poverty AND limiting humans' impacts on the environment (so that they are held within overall limits that most people find acceptable), I want to know what that proposal is. Where is it? Anyone can point to it to make me aware. Or, if the goals of ending extreme poverty and limiting humans environmental impacts (to levels acceptable to most people) are not important and so a means for achieving them is not worth a public conversation, I want to know that people are willing to go on the record and say publicly that they are not important. Otherwise, I still feel that neglect of these ideas must be protested in the strongest possible terms. Thus far, normal means of communication have failed. We do not have unlimited time to address these most serious threats to the stability and sustainability of civilization. J. Champagne Natural law requires respect of PUBLIC property rights, too Biological Model for Politics and Economics Biodiversity as a Public Good: Is Civilization a Success or Failure, or is it Too Soon to Tell?