May 5, 2013
me+ME:  No Dutch Nationality + DSM-5 + Being lucky
1.  Why there was no Dutch Nationality stuff
2.  More about the DSM-5
3.  Why I am lucky, in some ways
About ME/CFS


I am still paying back my walk of over a week ago, so I am still not feeling very well.

1. Why there was no Dutch Nationality stuff

Yesterday it was May 4, which is The National Dutch Day Of Commemoration.

Commemoration of what? This year, it was - I think - of all the Dutch deaths that fell in wars, especially World War II. The year before that, it was - I think - of all the deaths in all the wars. [1]

Or something similar.

Meanwhile, history no longer is being taught in Holland, except for those who chose to, and so it is not so very strange that an event that terminated 68 years ago, this year, has lost much of its appeal.

Clearly, if everyone is being taught in schools that between 1939 and 1945 circa six millions of Jews were murdered, and likewise many others also were murdered, you have some sort of foundation for a National Commemoration, but when being taught history is a matter of choice, recalling things that have gone older than most who are alive is ... vain, as Ecclesiastes had it, before that too was retranslated into something else, nine years ago. (Yes, it was.)

Again, today it is May 5, which is the Dutch National Day of Liberation.

I made a walk of half an hour, which is the most I can do, and counted twelve (12) flags.

However, mere flag counting is not quite fair: There are at least two large pop-festivals in Holland, nominally - since 25 years, at least - dedicated to The Liberation Of Holland, 68 years ago, but again it is mostly about modern music.

I don't mind, especially, but again I see no special reason for me to be glad and joyful, apart from the fact that, for nearly the first - I think in fact: the third - time this year the weather was fairly nice.

It was the same, or indeed more so, on February 25, which used to be the day the February Strike was commemorated, in Amsterdam at least. These days, whatever has been left of that has been appropriated by the Dutch Labour Party.

In any case: I saw no reason to do anything about it this year. Except for the present piece. (And it may be different next year.)

2. More about the DSM-5

Let me also explain something about the DSM-5, since that only really got clarified for me yesterday:

The only reason for me to write about it is that I was (and am) worried by its application to patients, and then again especially to patients with ME/CFS - of which there are literally millions - and patients with other real diseases that from May 18 onwards may risk being told that they are not ill, and should work. [2]

And this is especially important to me because I can write; I have ME/CFS; and I have academic degrees in psychology and philosophy.

Otherwise, I have no interest in psychiatry, and indeed also not a negative one: If I had been healthy, it is most improbable that I would ever have written about it, simply because it does not interest me.

And let me also make that as clear as I can:

It is not that I am not interested in consciousness, in meanings, in selfs, in ideas, and in feelings, since I clearly am; it is that I am not interested in what psychiatry has to tell me about these subjects, because I regard psychiatry as almost completely mistaken, and always did so, from age 17 onwards, when I read Mullahy's (good) introduction to psychiatry, and decided that, whatever it really was, clearly was really not science.

Again, this does not mean I am against it, or want to forbid it, or am convinced it always must be harmful. It is probably  - purely abstractly, at least, which is not quite how it really is - mostly like some sport that doesn't interest me: It's not science; it's not founded on science; and it's mostly simply a waste of time for whoever does not care for the sport.

But then some of the leading sportsmen have convinced a sizeable part of the population that in fact their sport is not a sport but is "a real science"; that the "real science" is of importance to all, as it teaches 78% of the people are mad; and that everybody should in fact pay at least 5 to 10% of his or her income to "scientific" drugs that the sport has developed, or else risk being publicly depicted as a spoilsport aka an insane person.

And that's when and why I do get interested, especially if I have a real disease I cannot get any help with, because the sportsmen have decided that the disease I have is not real.

For I do have such a real disease, and it is especially the psychiatrists that have made living with that disease far more difficult than it otherwise would have been, the last 25 years at least.

Also, what only yesterday got really clear for me is how different my real position is from almost everyone:

Almost all patients with my disease differ from me in not having any special competence to judge psychiatry, and almost all psychiatrists believe far more about their own trade than I consider justified - so that when somebody with a truly great amount of institutional power in psychiatry says "No" to the antics of the APA, the psychiatrists - notably, the few who are mostly "on my side" - are hardly interested, fundamentally because he did not say "Yes" to their own preferred games in psychiatry.

But I am not interested in their preferred games: I think they are all mostly mistaken - all I can say is that some psychiatrists are (even) more mistaken than others, and that in fact, I am lucky in not being a psychiatrist.

And besides that, I am lucky to have seen the beginning of the end of psychiatry as it has been since 1980 or 1970.

3.  Why I am lucky, in some ways

The last conclusion does not mean that I am lucky about what psychiatry is now, nor does it mean that I think it will be easy to prevent its abuse the coming 5 or 10 years, and especially so to people with ME/CFS and some other medically unexplained diseases.

But in fact I am fairly lucky in some other respects:

In fact, although ill since I was 28, and now nearly 63, with a father who died at 68, who also was far more healthy most of his life than I have been, I did have the quite unforeseeable good luck of having been read at least 10 million times since I got a website in 1996, and of having on that website over 20 books of philosophy that I wrote.

I listed them on April 15, and while they are definitely not the most well read on my site, I think they are the most important
, especially those with stars:
* Aristotle: Ethics
- Epicurus: Principal Doctrines
- Machiavelli: The Prince
- Rochefoucauld: Maximes et Pensées
- Descartes: Meditations
* Leibniz: Nouveaux Essays and Monadology
* Hume: Enquiries on Understanding and Morals
* Mill: On Liberty and Utilitarianism
- Multatuli: 7 delen Ideen: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
* Clifford: The Ethics of Belief
* Russell: The problems of philosophy
- Wittgenstein: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Those are 21 volumes, nearly all as long as the books they comment on, and all written since 1995, i.e. in the last 18 years.

It's extremely difficult to paraphrase or summarize them, because they are nearly all in a format I have seen no one else write in: As explicit commentaries to explicit full texts (the one exception is probably the best of all: Leibniz, but even there I quote everything I commented on).

To my way of thinking that is the best way to criticize any important text of any great philosopher, and if others did not do so, as they did not, too bad for them: I did.

In any case...
although I failed in a lot, I did not fail in everything, and this is one of the things I have not failed in.

More about this later.
[1] I am not quite sure, since I switched off the radio yesterday, when this was being explained. But it is a fact that since some years the subject of the commemoration changes yearly, although indeed the second world war and Holland are normally mentioned. (This year, accordingly, Anne Frank, who was stateless, could not be remembered. Formally speaking, as someone else pointed out, I think in de Volkskrant.)
[2] Which mostly they can't do, which means that they will not get any money, which means that they will die, if they cannot find someone who will care for them: It's as real as that, and - still - may cost many lives, especially if the crisis deepens.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

       home - index - summaries - mail