My own experiences of hospitalisation have been that of a being subject to a great power, like so many, I had no words to describe it, nor the courage to question it. I understood the term ‘Therapeutic power’ (Dr Maxwell Jones) long before ever hearing it's name. Described by John Perceval and further confirmed in the of writings Michele Foucault we arrive at the notion of Asylum mind, described in the book 'The seduction of Madness' by Dr Edward Podvoll.
- · Asylum mind embodies the idea that madness must be subjugated for recovery to take place. The mind of insanity must learn to bow before the superior power of reason and logic.
- · Asylum mind preserves what is called ‘nonreciprocal observation’ One is observed without being able to observe properly. Mistakes, awkwardness, transgressions are catalogued, diagnosed and studied. One’s own observations are called unsound, resistance, arrogance, transference. Examination of one’s conditions or caretakers is prohibited a situation bound to evoke paranoia.
- · Asylum mind treats madness as childhood. Relegates confines to the status of minors- intellectually, morally, judicially. A prejudice stemming from what has been called ‘damage theory’ that people in psychosis are under developed, arrested, deficient or defective. All of which have for too long excused insufficient care.
- · Asylum mind manifests in an organisation of people whose hierarchy is based on a conviction of its moral sovereignty over the insane.
- · Asylum mind sees spirituality as ‘religiosity’ and as dangerous to the welfare of the patient, here the ageless understanding of insanity as a spiritual crisis has been lost.
- · Asylum mind poses itself as rescuer, to which one should be grateful and obedient.
- · Asylum mind demands a confession to the error of arrogance and to the ancient crime of spiritual self exaggeration. The residue of guilt is to last far into the future, to be an armour and reminder against any excessive self presumption in the future.
- · Asylum is fundamentally a medical space. Somewhere around the turn of the 18C medical specialists took complete responsibility for care of the insane. New territory sanctioned when the lunatic doctors were royally sanctioned to treat George III
- · The asylum mind vision is that recovery cannot take place without sufficient inner self mortification and an attitude of apology.