interested in words

A classic quote from R.D. Laing of anti-psychiatry fame:

I am very interested in words, and what we have words for and what we haven’t got words for. For instance, the word “paranoia.” It always seems very strange to me that we have this word which means, in effect, that someone feels that he is being persecuted when the people who are persecuting him don’t think that he is. But we haven’t got a word for the condition in which you are persecuting someone without realizing it, which I would have thought is as serious a condition as the other, and certainly no less common.

5 thoughts on “interested in words”

  1. Laing was thinking of psychiatrists! Did psychiatrists who used to prescribe electroshock to homosexuals to cure their ‘disease’ think they were persecuting them? Probably not. Were they persecuting them, or at least complicit in persecution? Of Course

  2. Of course there is a word for PERSECUTING PEOPLE WITHOUT BEING CONSCIOUSLY AWARE WE ARE DOING IT. It is call HUMAN NATURE. We are racists, sectarian, ethnocentric, theologically paranoid, selfish, greedy, opinionated, paranoid prone creatures which seek pleasure; OUR OWN, at the expense of anything or anybody who gets in our way; OR WHO WE THINK IS GETTING IN OUR WAY.
    We are savage murdering machines which seek to sustain ourselves, our immediate families, friends, and resources which are, in our opinion, important, necessary, or just plain desireable to us. We even kill our own family members; i.e. children, parents, grandparents, wives, and lovers when they get too troublesome or expensive to care for.
    We ship the homeless out of town on the PACE Lines or Metro North to Jersey or Westchester, we starve those we don’t wish to accomodate or find unpleasant into submission to our will and then abandon them in hopes that they just go away or die.
    We neglect the needs of our own people and permit “WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS” to rape and destroy their investors and employees, and then send them to a Minimum Security Country Club where they get to play tennis and get laid after they rip off and gut out their own companies, destroying the lives and futures of thousands of employees and cost their investors their pensions.
    Of course, in the PRC those folks would get LIFE SENTENCES. A LIFE SENTENCE in the PRC is LIFE, at the convenience of the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC. When THEY run out of cell space and it starts costing them too much, they have a tendency to just deterimine that select inmate’s LIVES ARE OVER, and then take them out to a soccer stadium for mass executions to set a public example and reduce the burden on their overcrowded correctional system.
    That’s why people who steal from the PEOPLE in such places as the former Soviet Union, the PRC, Vietnam, DPRK, former Khmer Rouge Cambodia, etc. were just treated like the inconsidxerate, deliberate destroyers of social order and “MURDERERS” that they were. WHen you make other people’s money and livlihoods go away it destroys their quality of life, their security, domestic harmony, families, people are divorced, children suffer, and sometimes folks even die.
    Ever wonder how many bankruptcies, divorces, drinking and drug problems, emotional meltdowns, secondary crimes, neglected children, deaths due to lack of access to medical care secondary to loss of benefits, failure to pay child support, homocides and suicides result from shit like the ENRON debacle, and do you give a shit?
    Let’s go kill us a few more raghead terrorists who just don’t understand we are TRYING TO LIBERATE THEM and/or get revenge for them attacking us on our turf BECAUSE WE MANIPULATE THEM AND OCCUPIED THEIRS…
    Or, we could just try to conduct ourselves in a somewhat more considerate manner. That doesn’t mean kissing up to assholes with attitude who feel entitled to dictate to folks just what THEY consider respectful behavior, appropriate language, or public conduct.
    If you PERSECUTE ME and fail to correct that problem, especially after I make you aware of it, JUST IN CASE YOUR NOT, I will kill you and solve that little problem. THAT IS HUMAN BEHAVIOR!

  3. Nice rant.
    However, you ramble and shout much better than you spell, and steadfastly ignore the fact that in every action, every man (or woman) makes a choice. To persecute, one must choose to persecute, and using the excuse that he was unaware he was persecuting someone is to say that he is unaware of his own self and his own choices, making himself a nonperson, a noncitizen of the civilization he lives within, with no more claim to humanity than a dog or cow.

  4. Nice attempt at rationalization, but most of us don’t realize that with every action we are seeking pleasure, our own satisfaction, personal gain, avoidance of pain and simple survival. When we accumulate knowledge, skills, social graces and develop a sense of propriety which includes certain aspects of local or regionally appropriate behavior, feigned altruism, and consider the needs or feelings of others, it is simply because we need to in order to not feel bad, suffer retaliation, get OUR NEEDS and/or DESIRES met and we will snap all judgemental on anyone, often predictably, but often seemingly not predictably, when we are threatened.
    It seems you believe all of us make all of our own choices in life consciously in “REALTIME” and are aware of all of the subtle nuances we are forced to adapt to in all of our intereactions within our own internal environment emotionally and with others physically.
    We must learn to adjust and seek safety from our own attitudes. I’m failing miserably at this as I am constantly assailed by damned near everyone with an attitude or fear of being insulted, assaulted or destroyed by their fellow man. Most folks ignore the pain and suffering of others unless they can’t or feel the need to act upon thier own feelings of pity, guilt, anger, or conversely feel the need to make themselves feel better by being considerate of the needs and desires of others.
    Forcing folks into treatment, incarcerating them, or forcing them to accept social solutions to uncomfortable or unpleasant situations against their will, without regard for their desires, needs or goals, is often interpretted as assaultive, abuse, insulting and limiting to their personal “CHOICES” as you say.
    We helped the Native Americans by killing them until they agreed to move onto reservations. Of course, when the dominant culture wanted to move them off of those reservations we just did…
    We do the same to the poor, homeless, children, the elderly, and anyone we can move out of the mainstream into ghettos, “day care centers”, the military, mental hospitals, overcrowded, dangerous armories full of people we just want off of the streets, into the mental hospitals and eventually the prison system. Many just go away and die alone.
    Yeah, we persecute everybody who is inconvenient, vulnerable, expensive to care for, or we just ignore the fact that that is what people do to each other in order to make room for themselves, their friends and families, their projects, their success, and call it being good “Christians” or Good Jews, or Good Moslems, or HUMANITARIANS. I’d rather be a Humanist and care about my fellows and our environment as opposed to being a HUMANITARIAN. Humanitarians are just a variation on CARNIVORES and are somewhere along the ecosystem with VEGETARIANS.
    Face it. Most folks would like to care, but don’t and as such, don’t pay attention to their own behaviors or the root motivations thereof.

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