Psychology Is a Cult

Psychology is a cult that asserts itself to be science when in reality it is a culturally accepted tome of cliches.

It even has its own religiously revered text, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known by the cute little abbreviation DSM for insiders or those with lazy tongues. The book has been revised numerous times over the years, with old disorders and mental illnesses curiously disappearing and new ones popping up in their place, as if what constitutes mental illness is as mutable as the world of fashion.

The cult daddies would have you believe that this is all to be expected, all a part of the progress inherent to good science. Research methods and mental diagnostics have improved over time, they would go on to say, and with those improvements have come revelations. But their claims break down when one compares psychology to a real science – physics, for example, which has an underlying math that can be tested and improved upon. It is not the absence of a mathematical underpinning that damns psychology, but that it is bereft of any underlying foundation at all. The definitions in the DSM are more the fruits of occult wackobabble than they are empirical science.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this lunacy were limited to some crackpot corner of academia, but the kooks are loose and free to mess with other people’s minds and experiment on them with drugs of which they have little understanding.

Many illnesses which once graced the pages of the DSM have since disappeared, having fallen out of fashion for offense to our modern sensibilities. “Female hysteria” was one of the most common diagnoses for women in use up until 1952. Feeling anxious? You might have female hysteria. Getting tired in the middle of the day? Don’t want to sleep with your husband? Female hysteria might be the cause. The cult daddies were heavy peddlers of this diagnosis and used it as a reference when giving medical advice, doling out drugs and locking women up. “Come on,” your friendly neighborhood shrink might say, “be fair, everyone back then thought women were a little over the top. It was just part of the culture.” Yeah, fair enough, keep that in mind the next time you hand out Ritalin, Seroquel, Prozac, Ambien, Celexa, or Xanax like candy you god damn quack.

You see, the diagnoses of today are in a way mutations of “female hysteria.” Drapetomania was once the “illness” used to explain why slaves could possibly want to flee the psychos that enslaved them. Drapetomania fell out of fashion and about 100 years later oppositional defiant disorder popped up in its place. This sort of fickleness goes on and on, old and new diagnoses that are, as the shrink argued, just part of the culture in a different time and place. Homosexuality was once a mental illness in the late modern west and it was until recently in China.

These diagnoses and the drugs that accompany them radically alter people’s behavior and life choices. And it is nothing short of abuse. A recent study showed psychiatrists were diagnosing the youngest kids in the classroom with ADHD. Whether or not you have ADHD, apparently, is a function of what month your birthday falls on. Other studies show that meditation is better than therapy, keeping a journal is just as helpful, exercise better than the drugs they prescribe, and some illegal drugs are more effective than the ones they can control and circulate.

To the discerning eye, all of this cultish abusive behavior while pretending to be in some way related to science, is eerily reminiscent of Scientology. However, Scientology’s one saving grace is its hostility towards psychology, amusingly, both use similar tactics. Both interrogate their prospective members, get them to reveal their deepest most painful secrets, cudgel their members using shame, indoctrinate them, mess with their brains, take over their lives and make them certain they can never leave or survive again without them. The only difference, Scientologists aren’t going to jack you up with drugs.

And at least Scientology has its facts straight. The problem was alien ghosts in volcanoes in the sixties and it’s almost 2019 now, and the problem is still alien ghosts in volcanoes. Psychology, on the other hand, can’t make up its mind. One decade you have a mental disorder and the next you’re brain is just fine. Whatever psychology needs to do to stay hip and keep people coming back.



Photo: “[ P ] Lari Pittman – Optimal Setting for Atmospheric Conditions that can Induce Hysteria in the Male (2001)”by cea + is licensed under CC BY 2.0