Rx

There is an area where the mushroom now (1960) plays a role that is invading our world, namely, in the new drugs, some of which are made from some kind of fungus.  This is invading psychiatry, and it is now hoped that a chemical cure for schizophrenia will be found.  It is indeed quite possible that this can be done because any kind of overemotional state causes intoxication, and we believe that in schizophrenia there is a certain condition of intoxication, and then, naturally, you can eliminate these results.  The snag is, however, that if you analyze people after they have been treated with these drugs, you find that the psychological problem which brought about the schizophrenic episode is not removed.  All the morbid emanations of the problem – that people behave in a mad way and rave, and other symptoms – these things you can stop with the drug, but analysis shows that the basic problem remains unchanged.  If at this point you do not use psychotherapy, the patient is just headed for another episode and then the drug will have to be given again.  This process can continue endlessly.  After such a partial cure with drugs a series of dreams will point out the danger of a counter-tendency – of saying that now I can continue with my wrong attitude, and the next time I go off my head I will just ask for another pill.  The worst thing about the drugs is that with people of weak character they even have a demoralizing effect.  Such people do not want to change their attitude; it is much easier to go on with it, and if a psychotic episode occurs and they fall into the unconscious, they can have a drug to get out of it again – so it is all right!  They do not want to return to psychotherapy because the other is the easy way, but it results in constant relapses and more drugs. 

I know the case of a woman, a nymphomaniac, who lived that to such an extent that she dissolved completely, physically and psychologically, and sank into a psychotic episode.  She got the drugs, came out of it reasonable, and then next dream clearly announced that her real purpose was to carry on now.  She did not need to face the thing which had led to her slipping off into the unconscious; she could just take the drug again.  If you try to interfere therapeutically and say, “Now we have pulled you out of the acute episode, but we still have to face the problem,” such people don’t want to.  They believe in the drug and think why make a psychological effort if they can go on in the old way and if anything goes wrong again, get another pill from the doctor. 

That is why curing people by drugs is very risky and dangerous business.  In a way, it is reasonable to use them, but it leads to a very difficult situation afterward.  I would not speak against the use of drugs in such situations altogether.  It is a short-cut because it undermines the confidence of the patient in being able to pull out through his own moral effort.  It undermines his belief in himself and naturally makes him forever dependent on doctors who have the pill when necessary.  Those are the pros and cons of using these remedies.  TPoPA 241

… if the drug has not been used over a long period … I have seen cases where (loss of soul) has not happened.  Only belief and confidence have been lost, not the soul.  It might go dead if the episode has already progressed very far and remedies have been used very much, but not necessarily.  Confidence dies, however, and that is the danger.  PoPA 244

Remark:  … I have seen one or two cases which by these drugs (they) were forced into a kind of sanity to which I would think madness was preferable. 

Yes, certainly, but that is not sanity; that is this kind of persona existence, like a whitened tomb, which simply enables people to be less disagreeable socially.  Their behaviour is more tolerable, but except for that nothing has changed and they are just as mad as before.  I have heard the confession of such a person.  She had been changed into such a white persona, but later when her madness came back, and with it her better part, she said, “I was mad all the time.  It was only covered up.  I had a pseudo-adapted behaviour.”  That is not a cure; it is only beating people into socially adapted behaviour, so that they may be less disturbing, which is naturally useful for the doctor.  It is really a self-defense mechanism of the doctor’s.  TPoPA 241

Remark: I think if we don’t use drugs too long that the effect is reversible, but also, what seems to be a loss of soul is really an abaissement of the emotional level.  When asked, they all say that the hallucinations and other experiences of the psychotic stage are still there, but that they do not experience the emotional part so strongly. 

Yes.  In a case where there was a lobotomy, the person told me that all the time she felt that the madness was still there.  She used a metaphor and said, “It was in the cellar but it could not come up the stairs any more.”  She was carefully living in the upper story, and the madness was one story lower, which would be exactly what you describe.  The emotional problem is not solved; it is only removed.  There is a certain distance between it and the person, and in this case the operation had the same effect; it simply means cutting off the too strong emotion.  If people fall into too strong an emotion, they afterward generally switch to the opposite pole of being too reasonable, and then they have a secret homesickness for their former emotional madness because to be emotional and mad is to experience the plentitude of life.  TPoPA 245

To say, “I and Naples must provide the world with macaroni,” is complete nonsense, but to say, “I am Christ and the World Tree” is quite meaningful because in the Self we have a divine source, and every Christian mystic must accept that with a grain of salt.  If one could sort out the material, the illness would not be fatal, but if one pulls out of it with drugs, without sorting the grains, he falls into a rigid normality typical of the post-psychotic state.  People become rigid, normal and highly intellectual.  They totally condemn everything they had experienced, saying that they do not want to talk about it.  They repress it and carry on in the rigid normality of established reason, which is generally the standard of the collective conscious and intellectually something very cheap.  TPoPA 266