US Surgeon General
Declares 20% Of Americans
Mentally Ill
From Sun Magazine

The Surgeon General has declared one out of five Americans to be mentally ill. Reminiscent of the old Quaker saying that "everyone is crazy but me and thee and sometimes I worry about thee," the Clinton administration report followed on the heels of news that Joseph Heller had died. Heller was one of the few mental health experts who understood the relationship between societal and individual sanity. As he wrote in 'Catch-22:'
"Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to."
The Surgeon General's report was also contemporaneous with news from Harvard U. that it was, as the New York Times put it, "undertaking a sweeping upgrade of its mental health services, in hopes of weaving a better net to catch psychologically vulnerable students, whose numbers, experts say, seem to be mounting at campuses around the country." The Harvard report spoke of the "increasing fragility of students."
Neither the Surgeon General nor Harvard hinted at a problem so well outlined by Heller, namely that we are living in an insane world whose character has been formed with the considerable aid of dysfunctional institutions such as Harvard University and the US government.
We live in a time our parents are too busy for their kids, our schools treat them as inmates rather than seeds of hope, our universities train them in narcissistic ambition, our television teaches them post-apocalyptic guerilla tactics, our president normalizes psychopathic behavior, and then our journalists and "experts" teach them that if they rebel or are anxious about all this, it is their own fault and they are "ill."
The anthropologist Ruth Benedict once told the truth from which Harvard and the Clinton administration flee:
"In reality, society and the individual are not antagonists. His culture provides the raw material of which the individual makes his life. If it is meager, the individual suffers; if it is rich, the individual has the chance to rise to his opportunity."
And she added:
"Tradition is as neurotic as any patient; its overgrown fear of deviation from its fortuitous standards conforms to all the usual definitions of the psychopathic."
Joel Dyer, author of "Harvest of Rage," gave a poignant example from America's mythical heart during an interview with the Sun magazine:
"Twenty-seven percent of all children in rural America go to bed hungry every night -- more than in the inner city. These farmers can't buy food; they can't make loan payments. Their stress level goes up and they start having heat attacks. And some of them -- more than you'd imagine -- kill themselves.
"Five times as many farmers now die of suicide as die from equipment accidents -- which, historically, have been the single biggest cause of unnatural death on the farm. And that's not even counting suicides made to look like accidents; if you're about to lose your farm and have life insurance, you can crawl into your combine, and your family might be able to keep the farm."
Over half of those of those defined by the Clinton administration as mentally ill suffer some form of anxiety disorder. We don't know how many are like these farmers or, like Orr, are really sane but simply don't want to fly any more missions on behalf of a decadent, corrupt, soulless system. We don't know because nobody in power in this system wants to find out. Heller is gone but Catch 22 lives happily on.


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