Mind, Body, and . . . nothing?

I awoke at 5 this morning and you all, by now, know what that means.

Time for my world famous (or just locally infamous) satirical banters! Although this one might not be so satirical.


If you know know already, I get the majority of my news from Flipboard magazines I follow. I’m up to date with the latest Windows 10 update which will be hitting your computers this summer and if you haven’t heard, Microsoft is working on a project with Linux which will merge the Bash on Ubuntu system with the Windows system. Don’t know what I’m talking about? For 50 dollars a second I’ll explain it all to you.

Think I’m a rip off? For 100 dollars a minute, I’ll let you rant about my unfairness to me. 

I’m aware that some mad scientists think they’ve devised a way to diagnose Major Depression through a blood test (as if I haven’t heard THAT one before). Let’s celebrate yet another foot in the door of separating mental health from the brain.  So fellow souls with depression, don’t get your hopes up just yet. They haven’t finished constructing this new way to call you sick yet. It’s just another way to undermine psychology. 


Speaking of stupidity, I’d like to criticize  constructively discuss an article I came across while manically flipping through Flipboard this morning, entitled “Why Psychiatry Should Discard The Idea of Free Will”by Steve Stankevicius, M.D. (Read here). He’s got a wordpress I believe.

I will say I respect this man’s opinion, and respect the fact that he’s licensed and has been through a lot of school. I give you props for that man.

But I will tear this apart piece by piece. Because here, my dear, dear readers, is yet another medical individual hellbent on the idea that the brain operates under a pure physical basis.

I agree Free Will promotes stigma. How? Well, if you believe you have the ability to change the way you think indefinitely, then it follows you may develop a warped sense of thought and think it’s possible for someone to cease a hallucination simply by saying “stop brain, I’m sick of this”.


“Stop making me depressed brain, it’s totally not cool”.

Essentially, that’s the reader-friendly summation of the explanation in the article.

Then everything goes to hell. I agree there is a lot of terminology in psychiatry that needs to be abolished, but labeling a mental health issue as Organic or non-organic is not part of that discussion. Organic, if you don’t know, means there is a physical cause. Non-organic means there is no perceived physical cause.

He says “This strange terminology is unique to psychiatry when compared to other fields of medicine”.



Of course it’s unique to psychiatry, for fucks sake! Have you ever heard of a conversion disorder?

Conversion disorders, if you don’t know, are when you believe you are experiencing something physical but in reality it stems from a mental stressor. Your mental aches are essentially expressed in physical terms.

And here, once again dear readers, we see yet another real problem. People who study psychology, who receive degrees in them, rarely ever pursue psychiatry. In fact, many psychiatrists who are licensed have absolutely zero background in it. Maybe they took a few classes like “Personality” or “Abnormal psychology”, but its not a requirement to have a degree in psychology to become a psychiatrist. I would know, I’m becoming one.

By the way, I’m not saying this guy doesn’t have some kind of personal experience with mental health that I don’t know about (I don’t even know who he is honestly).

He does, however, have the propensity to use half-assed justification for his apparent”philosophical” view on things. He compares mood and psychotic disorders to hypertension. When diagnosing hypertension, it is categorized as “primary” and “secondary” meaning “cause not known” or “cause is known” rather than saying “Organic” and “non-organic”.


*Cue slow clap*

There is a stark difference between psychosis and hypertension. I would know, I’ve personally seen and had experience with both–hypertension is the basis of one half of my family. They’re not interchangeable.

The truth is one is mental and one is physical. That’s NOT to say they can’t intermingle, that’s NOT to say mental issues can’t cause physical symptoms or that physical symptoms can’t cause mental issues. Look, I know those of us who go through the medical system and come out with larger scars than we went in with pursue the idea of complete equality between mental disorders and purely physical illnesses but it’s not feasible. Given the biologically-obsessed world we live in, doing so would require we abandon the psychology of mental health. No more therapist, no more venting, only blood tests and medication. Suddenly your depression isn’t because you’re homeless living on the street after your parents, uncle, and sister just died. Nope, it’s because the blood test said you are. Soon people will ignore all the research out on how Yoga helps those suffering with delusions and hallucinations accompanied in schizophrenia. Nope, it’s all about the chemicals sloshing around upstairs.

The mind-body dualism is what fucking got me. I started rolling on the floor. Only because Descartes came to mind. I laugh at him all the time.




Mind-body dualism is the idea that the mind and body are separate and exist separately.

Stankevicius says “Neuroscience has continued to pile on the evidence that our thoughts are entirely dependent on the physical processes of the brain, whilst evidence for ‘something else’ is entirely absent”.  He believes free will is the cause of this, simply because it requires you “invoke . . . some magical aspect of the mind”, that we “relinquish the mind from the bonds of the physical laws of the universe”.

*Cue Crickets*


Let’s go back to Christopher Langen. You all remember him? Remember the one thing I gave him credit for? The fact that people use mathematical principals that haven’t been proven scientifically because they can’t technically be “detected“, that we’re just using them to explain the portions of the physical universe we’re able to observe, and half of the time that’s theory as well?

This man is operating under the idea that all the we’ve “discovered” about the universe using those technically unproven and un-proveable principals is all there is.

So we’ve got evidence of physical processes creating thoughts. That’s great! He’d be a horrible researcher if he’s this much of an absolutist. He needs a little bit of physics in his life. But you don’t need to necessarily take a bunch of that to be a psychiatrist either, just your basic med school requirements where they give you examples of people jumping off a cliff (without a parachute) and you figure out how much force they hit the ground with. I’m not kidding, I saw that in an MCAT practice handbook. Even the MCAT jokes about suicide.

I mean, if your friend jumps off the roof at least you’ll be able to know the physical process of how they made such a big dent in the concrete.


He makes a good point though: “If psychiatry is medicine of the mind, but our common beliefs about the mind are wrong, where does that leave the medicine?”.

Exactly. If the COMMON BELIEFS, such as “all mental disorders require biological cause and treatment options” are WRONG, where does THAT leave the medicine?

He makes another good point: “Our job is to find those reasons and treat them, not to substitute an absence of answers with blame, judgement or indifference until we get there”.

Yes, the belief that the mind is separate from the body, or that we are able to freely control every aspect of how we think or how our brain physically/chemically behaves results in stigma and misunderstanding. But believing the mind and body are one in a simply physical form, or are one in a simply spiritual form results in the same torn mindset.

I’m not going to lie, Psychiatry is one of the weirdest medicines. It has more flaws than I can think of but the reality of this is everyone is overthinking it. Everyone just take a moment and realize everything you think is knowledge is just observation and educated guesses.

The plant is green not because it actually is green, it’s green because that’s what you can see. All the other colors of the world are hidden from us.So it’s not improbable to think information is hidden in the same way. Yes, there are physical properties of the brain. Yes, electricity and neurochemicals result in thoughts. But has that ever explained how we think?

They’ve detected the spark of electricity that results during a thought.


Correlation is not causation.