[Marxism] Stan Goff on anorexia

Rohan Gaiswinkler rohanger at yahoo.com.au
Sun Nov 26 20:24:27 MST 2006

Just as anorexia is pathologised and turned into a disease to be cured - whereas in fact the phenomonom is largely a set of reactions to particular social conditions - so too are quite a few other social behaviours.  The one that immediately comes to mind is the so-called "battered woman syndrome" which pathologises domestic/family violence (DVF) into a disease whereby the woman needs treatment for her maladaptive behaviour (she just keeps going back to that abusive husband) rather than "treating" the gender-oppressive societies we all live in.
  I'm extremely interested (perhaps obsessed) with Peak Oil and climate change.  I came across this article below and found the discussion of the pathologising of dystopic future expectations extremely interesting and relevant to this discussion.
  [BTW - I have coined the term "prozachoid" as an adjective for people who hold an irrationally positive "Polly-Anna-ish" view of the world.  I hope this new word gains currency as a descriptor for climate change denialists - so feel free to use it widely!]  : )
  Rohan G
  [original source] The Weekend Australian Magazine - 18 Nov 2006
  Head for the Hills - the New Survivalists
  - by Mark Whittaker
  Psychologist Kathy McMahon has cut a niche for herself ministering to people like Beer, wandering the internet in various stages of foreboding about the end of the world. She was a couples counsellor and sex therapist in western Massachusetts before she reinvented herself under the nom de keyboard Peakoilshrink. She'd been through it all herself, the shock upon first learning about this coming oil crisis, followed by trying to disprove it, then various stages of despair and furious activity as she learned how to dry fruit and farm chickens (she has 28). 

She also felt the rejection of friends telling her to take a chill pill as they went off and refinanced their houses to take a cruise and as the Dow rose inexorably. She also knew that if she fronted up to one of her psychologist colleagues, they would disregard her fears as irrational and start looking for other problems. The first thing they'd ask would be something like "How is your relationship with your husband?" or "How did you get along with your mother?" 

"People in the peak oil community are dealing with a mass delusion [in the wider community]: that there is no problem with fossil fuels; that we're just going to find a solution and there just isn't anything to be concerned about. When they get those messages over and over and the public assumes that if they're not covered in the popular press then they aren't real, it creates a dramatic emotional impact for those with that distinct minority view ... I would argue that the symptoms people in the peak oil community are experiencing - what we in the psychological community would label as paranoia, anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder - are actually a vigilant adaptation to what's happening around them ... I'm trying to educate psychologists to start to frame it as a legitimate fear. Because by saying it's a personal problem, the psychiatrist is doing exactly what the person's family and friends have been doing and the patient will end up more isolated and more fearful." 

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