Thursday, March 22, 2012

After the Cure

In 1961, the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Committee of the Judiciary of the U.S. Senate conducted hearings on “The Constitutional Rights of the Mentally Ill.” Francis J. Braceland testified: “It is a feature of some illnesses that people do not have insight into the fact that they are sick. In short, sometimes it is necessary to protect them for awhile from themselves” (from Constitutional Rights of the Mentally Ill, quoted by Thomas Szasz in The Manufacture of Madness, 1970.)

How far medical science has progressed in less than two centuries. Now, in 2065, “we the people” have outgrown the awkward process of electing a government, supposedly so characteristic of an adolescent state of development. The disease of free will has almost been eradicated.

In my youth, I had a favourite T-shirt that said: “I’d rather wallow in my pathology.” I would venture outdoors with this slogan spread proudly across my breasts. Of course, they took it from me when I was committed.

I hope this message reaches you. I don’t have much time left. I learned that I am scheduled to be euthanized in thirty days. I was diagnosed with Feminine Senescence (being an old woman) years ago, and now it’s been determined that my condition is terminal. There is no point, according to the Director of the Clinic, in forcing me to suffer until I die of natural causes.

What they don’t say is that the government can’t find a use for me, since I can’t have babies who would raise the declining birthrate. No new fruit of my womb will be socialized according to the principles of Mental Health or report all signs of illness in their mother to the proper authorities. I won’t be missed by anyone who counts.

So many of those I loved have gone. Most didn’t go willingly. Some were diagnosed with Feminine Juvescence (being young, immature females), some with hyper-pigmentation of the skin. Most of those I miss were found guilty of sexual perversions, including a desire for sex without a corresponding desire for pregnancy. Those diagnosed with Masturbatory Insanity were euthanized first. Last year, the World Health Organization announced that thanks to an effective educational campaign, masturbation has been wiped out.

I fervently hope I get to see my loved ones again, somewhere beyond the physical world. I don’t really know if there is an afterlife. My willingness to consider the possibility has been written up as a sign of Senescent Heuristic Impairment.

If, against the odds, this reaches someone who has not yet been brought in for diagnosis and treatment, here is my advice and my blessing: believe your own senses, and cherish your feelings. Don’t let them tell you what to think, and what your experience really means. Cling to hope, even when all the evidence is discouraging, and your closest companions tell you (for your own good, of course) how neurotic you are.

As they said in the Dark Ages of universal madness: Where there’s life, there’s hope.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Jean!

    As I was reading this I was thinking of my own mom, who was mentally ill. I often wonder about a future that will eventually be homogenized by commercialism.

    I think human beings in general will be sort of homogenized into a kind of group think over time, probably as much by the advent of mass communication as government. More likely, similar to what you;re depicting as a combination of rich corporations and government into a market-state, which would ultimately lead to an end of creativity.

    Garce

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  2. Wonderful, Jean!

    And as scary a dystopia as I've ever encountered.

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  3. Thanks, Garce and Lisabet.

    Reading Thomas Szasz is guaranteed to give a person nightmares! (But his explanation of the development of modern psychiatry is worth reading anyway.)

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