by Allen Frances“
Nature has rolled the dice trillions and trillions of times and has learned to pick diversity as the best long-term bet. It would have been far less complicated to go with one species, but nature has consistently been willing to pay a hefty price to keep its options open. You never know what’s coming down the pike and which genetic potential will be most needed to meet the next challenge.
Editor’s Note: The controversial fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5 (a.k.a. the manual formerly known as “DSM-V”) was just released – after a 14-year revision process to update its criteria for defining mental disorders. This opinion is from the former taskforce chairman and leader of previous DSM editions.
Nature takes the long view, mankind the short. Nature picks diversity; we pick standardization. We are homogenizing our crops and homogenizing our people. And Big Pharma seems intent on pursuing a parallel attempt to create its own brand of human monoculture.
With an assist from an overly ambitious psychiatry, all human difference is being transmuted into chemical imbalance meant to be treated with a handy pill. Turning difference into illness was among the great strokes of marketing genius accomplished in our time.
All the great characters in myths, novels, and plays have endured the test of time precisely because they drift so colorfully away from the mean. Do we really want to put Oedipus on the couch, give Hamlet a quick course of behavior therapy, start Lear on antipsychotics?
I think not. Human diversity has its purposes or it would not have survived the evolutionary rat race. Our ancestors made it because the tribe combined a wide variety of talents and inclinations. There were leaders high on their own narcissism and followers content enough to be dependent on them; people who were paranoid enough to sniff out hidden threats, compulsive enough to get the job done, and exhibitionistic enough to attract mates. Perhaps the healthiest individuals were those who best balanced all these traits somewhere near the golden mean, but the best bet for the group was to have outliers always ready to step up to the plate as the particular occasion demanded.Continue Reading “Let’s Fight Big Pharma’s Crusade to Turn Eccentricity Into Illness” »