Sunday, November 01, 2009
The Use Of Language In Defining Reality
By Patricia Lefave
I believe that one of the most important things to understand about our problems with psychiatry and others is that Language is used to define control and manipulate by those DOING the defining. Let's use a common example that most of us hear repeated over and over ad nauseam to those of us defined as 'sick.' This is one of my favourite meaningless abstractions used to attempt to shut me up.
"We can't blame others."
It is never 'which others' under what specific circumstances with what evidence of what...It is always used as a generalization connected to nothing at all and delivered in absolute terms. The only time that changes is when the
person being 'corrected' changes to become the 'other'. Then it becomes a whole OTHER abstract truth. These things used to stop communications are the same kind of abstraction used to 'diagnose' me. No concrete specific evidence is wanted or 'allowed." The language used to manipulate me though does NOT apply when it is the other way around. It only applies when I am the one doing the 'blaming.' There are many 'other' people who blame me for both what happened to me as well as what has happened to 'others' as a result of it. But you see, in that case, 'blaming others' is all right.
I have found that throughout my experience with both dysfunctional people and psychiatry itself, this duality is ever present and almost always delivered as abstract ideas in absolute terms which does more to create a them and us mentality than anything else they could have come up with for just that purpose. The dual meaning is the one constant. Once psychiatrized, writing in a notebook cannot be seen as healthy expression regarding the release of emotion or an attempt to sort information. Instead it is pathologized as 'writing behaviours.' In this way 'language' is used to define us. So I believe that one of the things we must do is point this out publicly, over and over again until it sinks into the average mind.