Psychochemistry – Personality By Prescription
By Ernest Havemann
Playboy Vol.15, No. 11-November 1968
Today’s drugs can turn you on or off, bend your mind and alter your perception, but tomorrow’s will do everything from curtailing your need for sleep to boosting your intellect and even reshaping your psyche
As anyone can plainly see, this is one of mankind’s strangest eras. On the one hand, all is pessimism: The world is plagued by violence, starvation, overpopulation and alienation. Yet never have so many well-informed men been so rosily optimistic. There is a strong school of thought holding that all our problems are basically chemical and will soon yield to solution as readily as the question of what happens when two atoms of hydrogen join with an atom of oxygen, (In case you have forgotten, H2-fO=H20; namely, water. As simple as all that.)
It is typical of our era that Dr. Glenn Seaborg, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, should have taken time out from worrying about the atom to tell an audience of women, not entirely in jest, that they will soon have a marvelous “antigrouch pill” to sweeten the dispositions of their menfolk. (Presumably, it could be slipped into the unsuspecting male’s morning coffee, like a lump ol sugar, to turn him from terrible tiger to purring kitten.) It is also typical that two other respected thinkers, one a scientist and one an author, should have placed the rather humorous-sounding antigrouch pill on a serious global basis.
The scientist, Dr. Heinz Lehmann of Canada’s McGill University, has predicted an “anti-aggression drug” that will overcome what seem up to now to be the natural human tendencies to pick quarrels and to make war. The author, Arthur Koestler, claims in his The Ghost in the Machine that most of man’s troubles are caused by a conflict between his “old brain,” which controls his emotions, and his “new brain,” which determines his thoughts; this gap will eventually be bridged by a drug that will give us all a “coordinated, harmonious state of mind,” making us far too contented to fret or to fight.
There are also respected researchers on record as believing that man will soon have drugs that will cure his major mental disturbances, eliminate his fears and anxieties, keep him fat or lean at will, let him decide for himself how long, if at all, he cares to sleep, make him much smarter than ever before and even permit him to live longer. You name it and there is somebody—not a wild-eyed visionary but a sane and skeptical scientist—who believes it is just around the corner.
Are we really on the verge of a chemical breakthrough in the control of human personality? If you were a psychiatrist at a mental hospital, you would have to think so- You might be inclined to say, indeed, that the breakthrough has already been made. What has happened in the mental hospitals has taken place so rapidly and spectacularly that the events have outsped communications; they constitute one of the great untold and unappreciated stories of our time. Few people know about it except the veteran staff members who worked in the hospitals is the old days—meaning before about 1955—and who work there yet.
Related – Aldous Huxley – The Ultimate Revolution [download mp3]
Popular Rolling Stone contributor, writer and blogger Matt Taibbi claims that he was sent e-mails which attacked him and accused him of anti-Semitism for exposing the investment bank giant Goldman’s Sachs and their shady financial dealings over the years. Taibbi goes into great detail in his seven page essay Inside The Great American Bubble Machine on events relating to such market manipulations as the Great Depression, the commodities bubble, the housing bubble and even the upcoming green/environment bubble, and has fingered Goldman Sachs as playing a leading role in each catastrophe. More important than the various scams that have played out, much to the detriment of the average American, Taibbi exposes the reloving door tradition of the private sector employee of Wall Street into high level, unelected positions in the US government.
For that blistering expose alone, Taibbi expected that he would receive reprisals from the Wall Street types looking to rebuke his charges, but never did he imagine that he would be charged with anti-Semitism for his article. Taibbi writes:
It’s been interesting, to say the least, watching the public reaction to my Rolling Stone piece last week. I of course expected that some kind of highly unpleasant response would come my way from Goldman and its allies in the press, but I admit to being surprised a little by the form this response took.
The most ludicrous of these, and the one that surprised me the most, is the accusation that my article was anti-Semitic propaganda. The first letter I got on this score I actually mistook for a joke sent to me by one of my friends. Then I got another one which I quickly realized was not a joke at all. “Isn’t it convenient,” it read, “that an Arab-American writer for Rolling Stone looks at Wall Street and picks the most prototypically Jewish firm around to demonize.”
The last time I heard something similar was a few years ago, when Debbie Schlussel, a severely dimwitted Detroit-based right-wing pundit, railed against my supposed Arabness after I wrote an article about the Lebanese population in Dearborn, Michigan. I wrote to her to let her know that I’m actually Irish and Filipino, and not at all an Arab, but never got a response. This time the charge is a little different, as several writers complained that my article was “a rehash of every classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theory” and “a pale copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
For one thing, while Goldman’s founders a gazillion years ago were apparently Jewish, I seriously doubt that religion plays any role at all in the makeup of the modern Goldman. I don’t have any way of knowing this, but I would be shocked if it weren’t true that a majority of Goldman’s current employees were not Jewish. And whatever the reality is, I don’t care; it’s not a concern of mine and we didn’t make it a concern in the article.
If anything it seems to me that what defines these Wall Street characters is not religion but the absence of it: even a hardened atheist like myself comes away from the experience of reading about the last two decades of Wall Street history shocked by that community’s complete and utter Godlessness and moral insanity. What I’m saying in other words is that if any of these clowns actually had a real religious sensibility, we wouldn’t be in this mess — and that’s coming from someone who believes all religions to be inherently ridiculous. For Goldman now to hide behind the cloak of Jewish victimhood is both more obnoxious and less convincing than Marion Barry wearing a dashiki after the indictment.
It would seem that the reasons for the cries of anti-Semitsim are just as telling as the story of the perpetrators of and the magnitude of their scams. Nowhere in his essay did Taibbi even use the word “Jew” or even suggest that Jews were behind various scams, he just followed the money and reported on where it led him. The charges of anti-Semitism laid on Matt Taibbi for simply following the money should lead to many debates on how the Anti-Defamation League sponsored hate crime and cyberbullying laws have on journalism should they be signed into law.