Archive for category: #sensuousness,#feeling,#suffering,#emotion
It used to be that emotions were experienced as being invasion from the sacred world given to us by the goddesses and gods.
Emotions is one of those words that everyone thinks understand until you press them with questions. Broadly speaking, Western philosophers have not thought well of emotions. It was not until the time of the Romantics at the end of the 18th century that the tide turned in favor of the emotions. Here is a history of how the leading lights of the West thought of emotions. For most of Western history:
- Emotions were thought of as coming from supernatural forces outside the psyche. It was only in the second half of the 19th century that emotions were thought about as physiological
- Emotions had no separate categorization of its own. It was rolled up into temperament and passions.
Plato was as distrustful of emotions as he was of pleasure. Emotions were part of appetite and a lower form of humanity. Rationality and mathematics were believed to be true. Aristotle, as he often did, struck a balance and said that reason and emotion went together. The Stoics, including Seneca, understood the passions to be dangerous and the cause of imbalances. Reason should put passions in their place. St. Augustine distinguished emotions of human frailty from emotions of God. Reason was separated from emotions since emotions could not be trusted. For Hobbes, the passions are bodily sensations and are the primary sources of action, which prompt both war and peace. Passions could go in two directions. One way was towards an object which was appetite and the other was away from object, which was aversion. Respite from passions make rational decisions possible and the basis for a social contract. Descartes, as most of us know, separated the mind from the body and believed emotion had no place in the mind, which was rational and mathematical.
The status of the emotions began to improve with Spinoza who wrote that both the mind and the emotions were part of nature. Locke added that emotions could be positive as well as negative and added the empathy people have with each other. Hume warned against the rising tide of passion, saying that passions controlled reason. Hume did not think that reason drove emotions. Rather, reason was just a calculator for a way out of predicaments that the passions had created. Rousseau championed natural feelings as more reliable than reason and despised “factious or sham feelings produced by civilization”.
How well do you know what emotions are?
To demonstrate how people’s understanding of emotions can be more confusing than you might suspect, try responding to the following statements below. Except for the eighth bullet, try to decide if each statement is mostly true, conflicted or mostly false. Don’t take more than a minute to answer each one, as my point for this article is to examine your spontaneous answers to these statements. After you’ve marked the bullets true or false, give a reason or two which justify each answer. Then answer bullet eight with a paragraph. The first part of this article is designed to address your answers before discussing other topics. Here are the statements:
- Feelings and emotions are the same thing.
- Emotions are irrational and are the opposite of thoughts.
- Emotions are biological and out of our conscious control.
- Emotions happen first and thoughts follow in order to explain them.
- Negative emotions such as hostility and venting (screaming and throwing things) get those emotions out of your system so they don’t build up.
- Changing your interpretations of thoughts about events that happen to you can change your emotions.
- A two-year old cannot feel angry.
- What kind of conditions might exist in which you wouldn’t know how you feel?
- In general, women are more emotional than men.
- Emotional ranges are universal regardless of one’s social class.
- Non-verbal body language, like gestures and postures, are truer expressions of emotions than what people tell you about their emotions.
- Regardless of the type of society, if a heterosexual woman finds her husband in bed with another women it is natural to feel jealous.
A Cognitive Theory of the Emotions
Are feelings and emotions the same thing?
Usually people use the terms “feelings” and “emotions” interchangeably. I think this is a loss of a great opportunity to differentiate physiological states of arousal (feelings) from cognitive interpretation of events (emotions). While most feelings are biological and out of our control, (fight-flight, pleasure-pain; frustration-contentment), our emotions are under our control. But what do I say, as a counselor, when a member of my Men Overcoming Violence support group says to me “but my anger is out of my control. What do you mean I have control of them?”. Feelings like dry mouth, sweaty palms, headache simply start the process. Which emotion results from these bodily conditions depends on how the physiological state is interpreted. One interpretation is a panic attack. Another is anxiety while still another is anticipating the happy unknown of a wedding ceremony.
Emotional reactions from thick to thin
In order to have interpretations, the person has to give meaning, and in order to do that the person has to think. “Wait a minute” the participant in Men Overcoming Violence, says “when I get angry it happens very fast, I don’t think about which emotion to have, I just have them. How do you explain that?”. The problem is many of us think of thinking as thick – weighing the pros and cons of buying a pair of pants or trying to understand what is causing a leak in the pipe. We have less practice imagining thinking that is thin and happening quickly. How do we account for differences in the speed in which we think?
A child is not given a universal set of emotions which, like buttons, the child pushes on and off. She has physiological states of arousal and the child is slowly taught how to translate that state of arousal into emotions like hurt, confusion, or sadness. The time it takes to have an emotion is mediated by the set of interpretations the parent socializes in the child. As the child reacts to situations, the situations become more familiar, so both the thinking process and the emotional go faster. Soon the emotion is unconscious and automatic. It becomes so habitual that it seems “natural, that is, biological. No emotion is biological. Feelings are biological, emotions are ontogenetic (part of individual development), social, cultural and historical, as we shall see.
Emotional reactions from thin to thick
In the last section I said there that as people are presented with situations that are familiar and predictable their emotional reaction speeds up and eventually becomes unconscious. But what are the conditions under which your emotional reactions will slow down? This can happen when a person is put in an increasingly unusual situation. For example, suppose I broke up with someone I loved after five years. We had differences over wanting children, where we wanted to live and how much money we expected each other to make. So we break up. It is a relatively small town and we are at the point that the last thing either of us wants to do is run into each other. But errands are errands, so I head for downtown. In the distance about three blocks away I think I see her. I duck inside a storefront and watch as the figure moves towards me. How do I feel? Sad, disappointed, angry but relieved. I am frozen in place. Then I see another figure is joining her and they hold hands. Now I am filled with new emotions. Outrage, as I decide not enough time has passed by to justify this. Was she seeing this guy while we were still together? What the fuck?? It gets worse. About a block away I see her partner is a woman. Now all the gaskets are blown. Fortunately, the store front was a clothing store that I can enter to possibly avoid running into them. Fortunately for me she and her girlfriend don’t come in. I flee the scene for home. Do I know how I feel? There is only so much complexity that can be integrated. I friend calls later in the afternoon to see how I am doing. He asks, “how are you feeling?”. My true answer is that I don’t know how I feel. It will probably take me a few days to answer a question like this coherently.
Are emotions irrational and the opposite of thoughts?
Emotions are not irrational and the opposites of thoughts. There are rational and irrational thoughts, not rational or irrational emotions. Irrational thoughts are things like, “my boyfriend is cheating on me because he is talking to a female neighbor for 30 minutes. I am jealous”. The thought is irrational because the woman is jumping to specific conclusions without much evidence. Being jealous is only irrational because the thought is irrational. If the same woman claims that her husband is flirting with the neighbor and might be sleeping with her because she has many experiences of her husband having had casual sex is rational. Here, in this situation, the emotion of jealousy is rational. All emotions follow thought. Emotions are rational or irrational just as thoughts are. Feelings are biological and prerational but only emotions can be irrational or rational
Are emotions biological and out of our control?
Emotions are neither biological nor out of our control. Emotions are ontogenetic, social cultural and historical. Having a particular emotional reaction may be hard to change but that does not mean they are out of our control. As an Italian American man, I am socialized to express anger rather than hurt, sadness or confusion first. Can that be changed? Yes, but it requires a great deal of psychological work. Many men in the Men Overcoming Violence program learned how to do that, but it took them 40 weeks of meeting once a week for two hours. On the wall we had a large list of emotions on a 5×10 foot piece of butcher paper. At the top were seven kinds of emotion. But underneath each emotion there were seven other emotions going from strongest to weakest intensity. Every time a man in the program said he was angry, we would insist that he include at least 2-3 other emotions so he could become aware of the emotional variety of his emotional states that he was unaware of up to that point.
Thoughts precede and create emotions
As is probably obvious by now emotions don’t come first and thoughts follow. First comes interpretation of what events mean and then the emotion follows. The order is:
- Interpretation of what the situation means – dangerous/safe; structured/loose;
- Feelings sweaty palms, dry-mouth, heart racing;
- Emotion – fear, anger, disappointment.
Does the hydraulic theory of emotions work?
Allowing yourself to vent—yell, scream and throw things does not make you have less emotion. What it does is help you form a habit of escalating to the point where it gets easier and easier. “Getting it of your system” is part of an old way of looking at emotions called the “cathartic theory of the emotions” that goes all the way back to Aristotle. It has been called the “hydraulic” theory because it pictures emotions as rising up like water in a bathtub which will overflow if it is not drained. Freud had this theory and so did humanistic psychologists like Fritz Perls during the early 1970s. Reichian therapists would give people tennis rackets and have them flail the couch of the therapist, hoping to get their anger out of their system. It was not until the 1980s when cognitive psychologists argued that emotions don’t work that way (see Carole Tavris, Anger, the Misunderstood Emotion).
Emotions emerge over the course of ontogenesis moving from simple to complex
Is anger present from birth or is it the product of a developmental process that only arises at a certain age level? Some theorists of emotion claim that there are universal emotions such has surprise, disgust, love, hurt, sadness. My point here isn’t to claim what the right batch is. Rather it is to say whatever the right batch is, it takes time for them to emerge. So to the question can a two-year old express anger, my answer is no. Let me give an example. If you are watching a two year old child play with a toy and you get up and put a barrier in front of the toy and you watch the child try to figure out how to get around the barrier to the toy the child may be frustrated, but they are not angry at you. In order to be angry the child has to perceive that there are a certain social roles and rules that are normal. Anger comes over the violation of these rules. If the child was six years old and you again placed a barrier between them and their toy, chances are good they would be spending more time challenging why you put the barrier up than they would trying to overcome the barrier. Why? Because as the child’s parent, it is highly unusual for you to behave in such a sadistic way. There are complex emotions like jealousy, envy and revenge which require the mastery of rules and roles before they make sense.
How Emotions are Socialized
Are women more emotional than men?
At least in Yankeedom, it is common to say that women are more emotional than men. This is really not the case at all. Socially, women and men are given a range of emotions that it are safe to express and another set that is more or less forbidden.
If we start out with straight women and straight men we can say, women are taught to express a wider set of emotions such as sadness, hurt, fear, confusion, humiliation and love. Men are socialized to be angry, brave and courageous. What is interesting is that if a woman crosses the line and expresses forbidden emotions, she is threatened by being called gay or a lesbian. We all know that when a woman is assertive at work she is called a bitch. On the other hand, can you imagine how a male attendant at a gas station would feel if after finally agreeing with his wife that they were lost came into the store and said:” I feel embarrassed, humiliated and confused because I can’t figure out how to get to such-and-such a place”? The guy might not give him the correct directions right away. He may first say “Get hold of yourself, man”.
There are at least two ways to think about having an emotion. The first is emotional impression and the second is emotional expression. An emotional impression is when an emotion is registered internally. An emotional expression is whether you decide to express the emotion to someone else. Often, women may express emotions more. But that does not mean women are more emotional than men.
Expression of emotions and social class
It is not true that all classes in capitalist societies have the same range of expression of emotions. In the first place, it matters what kind of religion the social class is committed to. If we consider the differences between men and women and we examine Catholic working-class women and men we will find they will express a greater range of emotions than the Protestants will. The protestant working class (at least the white working class) tend to be shut down emotionally. Working-class men and women generally have a hard life and it makes sense they will have thicker skins.
Middle class men and women have better jobs which requires less armoring. They will be more open emotionally than the working class. This is amplified by how committed middle class people are to therapy. Out-to-lunch, class-oblivious, humanistic psychology proclaims that the more open the person, the healthier they are. They fail to understand that if you live in rough neighborhoods, attend rough schools and take orders from a boss all day long, it pays to have a thick skin.
Upper-middle class men generally are the happiest in their work. Woman in upper middle-class positions at work have to be more careful, since they are in danger of being called a bitch for asserting their authority. They also have to be careful about being labelled as too emotional at the slightest turn.
The upper classes are generally old money conservatives. Both men and women tend to repress emotions and they generally feel that the very expression of emotion is bad taste. They carry on an aristocratic tradition which prides itself in never breaking down, whether in love or war.
Happiness and social class
Socialists would be very happy with the results of research about which social classes are happy and which aren’t and why. It seems intuitive to say that the upper classes are happier than the working class because they have an easier life. But research shows that this isn’t quite the case. What we know for sure is that money does bring happiness when money delivers the working class into a middle-class position. However, there is no necessary correlation that money buys happiness as one moves from middle class to upper class. It is not predictable that upper class people will claim to be happier than those who are middle class. All this means is that when money provides the foundation for a good life, people respond well. But beyond middle class there is no correlation between money and happiness. To say money can’t buy happiness is not true. Happiness can increase as we ascend from poor to middle class. A formula for a good economic social policy is that if you want happier people, try to make all workers middle class.
Differences between classes in becoming civilized and becoming disciplinedAs we will see shortly when we discuss the history of emotions, the process of becoming civilized brought with it a whole different range of social and psychological emotions. But for now we want to ask, does the process of becoming civilized apply to all social classes from the 17th through the 19th centuries? In my book Forging Promethean Psychology I argue that the working class and the poor in absolutist states or nation-states never became civilized, but they did become disciplined.
How was becoming disciplined different from becoming civilized? The first difference had to do with the population in question. Becoming civilized was the psychogenetic socialization process of the middle and upper classes. Being disciplined mostly applied to the working class and the poor. The second difference was in the types of influences used. The process of becoming civilized involved softer influences such as rhetoric, charisma, symbolic power, and legitimacy. Discipline, at least initially, involved hard influences such as physical force, the threat of force (coercion), economic deprivation, politics, and later, legitimation.
The third difference was the direction of the class forces operating. Becoming civilized, as Norbert Elias writes was a competitive process for status among classes who were roughly equal – aristocrats, merchants, and intellectuals. Becoming disciplined initially involved top-down orders. Poor or working class people had to obey the authorities or face consequences. Discipline came from the top: Calvinist and Lutheran theologians to their parishioners; from military authorities to their soldiers; and from the state to its subjects.
Following Elias, becoming civilized in the courts of Europe involved a new set of emotions for aristocrats such as shame, embarrassment, superiority and envy. For the working class under disciple, they had another set of emotions; fear, suspicion, paranoia and guilt. It is easy to think classes in other societies had the same set of emotions, but this is not true. Elias says that the situation in 16th and 17th century Europe was unique.
Cross-Cultural Emotions: How They vary from society to society
Collectivism vs Individualism
In his book Cultural Psychology, Steven J. Heine reports that broadly speaking individualists of industrial capitalist societies are more likely to express emotions than collectivists and they are certainly more likely to express negative emotions. This is not hard to understand. People in collectivist societies are interdependent upon each other and consider most as extended kin at work and in their villages. They cannot afford blow-ups. On the other hand, because the relationships between individuals in industrial capitalist societies are short-term and appear voluntary (following social-contract theory), they are more likely to tolerate a falling out.
Another common distinction is between cultures of honor (herding societies) and cultures that are not (farming societies). As has been pointed out in the book Cultures of Honor herders are far more suspectable to insult because: a) their wealth is mobile rather than stable; b) their population is sparse; and c) they have no protection from the state in terms of land disputes. Farmers are more likely to tolerate insult because their wealth in land is stable, they can count on the state for intervention and the land is densely populated. They are less likely to settle disputes with duels or shoot-outs. The differences between southerners and northerners in the United States follows.
Finally, Ruth Benedict characterized the difference between shame cultures and guilt cultures. Shame is embarrassment at letting the group down. Guilt has little to do with groups. Guilt is remorse over a volition of a law, or a holy book. Puritans show a great deal of guilt. She also made a distinction between Dionysian cultures which are expressive and Apollonian cultures which were more reserved.
Analogical messages: gestures, postures
Most people well understand that it is necessary to do emotional work on the job and at home. Emotional work means a) showing emotions you do not have and; b) hiding the emotion you do have. This is especially true in customer-service work. However, people also imagine that their analogical communication (gestures, postures) is somehow less deceptive and imagine they are a more reliable gage than verbal expression of emotions. But cross-cultural research shows this is not the case. For example, Yankees may think that the A-Okay sign is universally recognized when among Southern Europeans, it is a crude gesture. In our Men Overcoming Violence group, a Yankee man innocently propped up his feet on a stool in front of an Iraqi man sitting across the way. He soon found out the showing the sole of one’s foot to someone from Iraq is the greatest insult. If there are gestures and postures that are universal, they are few and far between. They may be harder to hide than the verbal expressions but their origins lie deep in the local context of the culture which vary from region to region.
Cross-cultural nature of jealousy
The following is paraphrased from the textbook Invitation to Psychology by Carole Wade and Carol Tavris. A young wife leaves her house one morning to draw water from the local well, as her husband watches from the porch. On her way back from the well, a male stranger stops her and asks for some water. She gives him a cupful and then invites him home for dinner. He accepts. The husband, wife and guest have a pleasant meal together. In a gesture of hospitality, the husband invites the guest to spend the night with his wife. The guest accepts. In the morning the husband leaves early to bring home breakfast. When he returns, be finds his wife again in bed with the visitor. At what point in this story will the husband feel angry? The answer depends on the culture.
- A North American husband would feel very angry at a wife who had an extramarital affair.
- A North American wife would feel very angry at being offered to a guest as if she were a lamb chop.
- But a Pawnee husband of the 19th century would be enraged by any man who dared to ask his wife for water.
- An Ammassalik Inuit husband finds it perfectly honorable to offer his wife to a stranger, but only once. He would be angry to find his wife and guest having a second encounter.
- A century ago, a Toda husband in India would not feel angry at all because Todas allow both husband and wife to take lovers. However, both spouses would feel angry if one of them had a sneaky affair, without announcing it publicly.
In most cultures people feel angry in response to insult and the violation of social rules. But they often disagree about what an insult is or what the correct rule should be. Here we have four different cultures lined up on the political spectrum in their attitudes towards hospitality and sexuality.
The most extreme right wing is the Pawnee Indian who draws the line at talk at the well. In the center right is a Yankee husband who is outraged at his wife having a martial affair. But on the liberal side of the spectrum we have the Inuit who draws the line not at having an affair, but at having sex twice. The Toda, the most radical has no problem extramarital sex. The problem is if it is done in an underhanded manner.
History of the Emotions
Broadly speaking, it used to be that emotions were experienced as being invasion from the sacred world given to us by the goddesses and gods. It was only at the beginning of the 18th century that emotions were thought of as originating from some part of the mind or the body. After 1860 emotions were seen as cultural, universal, inclusive of all species, biological, physiological and hard-wired.
What does it mean that emotions have a history? Does it mean that new emotions emerge in different historical periods? To say this is to challenge universalis ideas of emotions being static or possibly circulating in different historical periods. In my book Lucifer’s Labyrinth I follow Elias’ description of how differences from the Middle Ages to Early Modern Europe produced new sets of emotional reactions.
Emotions in the Middle Ages
As Elias says, people in the Middle Ages lived a life that was intense, brutal and short. They lived life to the fullest with the time they had. Their psychological life alternated between sensory saturation and religious mortification about what they had done. Middle Age people were more violent and could tolerate more pain. As Elias said, they live their life between the super-ego and the id. The ego was less developed.
The warrior class in the Middle Ages could be characterized as courageous, impetuous, wild, cruel and living in the present. But when these warriors were forced into the courts by the king and the merchants, they had to adapt themselves to court life. Above all, they needed to control themselves. Now their characteristics included being prudent, restrained, self-contained, timely, refined, more humane and more gossipy. Their every mood required foresight for the future, hindsight into the past (people they may have offended) and insight and self-reflection to make sure their behavior was not offensive. So within a century, the emotional life of one class significantly changed.
Emotional life in the Baroque and the 18th century
There are also major differences in the emotions between the Baroque 17th century aristocrats and the 18thcentury merchants during the Enlightenment. The aristocrats of the 17th century had superiority complexes, were preoccupied with “keeping up with the Jones” and cultivated a cool nonchalant attitude. On the other hand, some 18th century merchants strove openly to be happy, and were motivated by their quest for serenity. Their emotions were controlled by reason, not so much by what was expected of them. The emotional life between the aristocrats and merchants differed in many other areas such as attitude toward the senses; attitude towards pain; attitude towards animals; bodily conduct; sleeping patterns and attitude towards dying.
From honor and glory to avarice and ambition: warriors vs merchants
As we’ve said, the values of aristocrats in Europe were honor and glory. But for the merchants in the 18thcentury these values would not do. As Albert Hirschman traces a movement from glory and honor to “interests” in his book Reason and Society in the Middle Ages, Alexander Murray tells the story of how these values were undermined by two new values: avarice and ambition. Both these motivations were despised by all classes in the Middle Ages. But with the rise of merchants there was a slow process by which avarice and ambition were changed from vices to virtues, which supported merchant capitalism
Emotional life of Romantics: late 18th to mid 19th century
Lastly, in the 18th century with the rise of romanticism, early romantics had a new attitude toward the emotions which differed drastically from the Enlighteners. Lionel Trigger in his book Sincerity, points out that with romanticism came new emotions: the importance of being sincere and the importance of being authentic. Being sincere was the exact opposite to the aristocratic of haughtiness and masquerading. It meant saying what you meant and meaning what you said. Being authentic came out of the romantic notion that everyone had a true self as opposed to the roles both aristocrats and merchants had to play. Being authentic meant showing people your true self. Sincerity and authenticity were hugely important to humanistic psychology in the 1960s and 1970s.
Summing Up: Evolution to an Emotion
We are now finally in a position to describe the evolution to an emotion. The first step, or point zero, is an external event that triggers the emotion. Let’s say you work as a cook in a restaurant and your ex shows up for dinner with her new boyfriend.
- Physiological state of arousal:
- Physiological – sweaty palms, racing heart, dry mouth
- Feelings – confusion, frustration, pain, discomfort
- Internalized socio-cultural, class and historical forces
- Type of society – industrial capitalist
- Social class – all working class
- Cross-cultural – Mexican American; Italian
- Gender – heterosexual – man – woman
- Point in history – 21st century crumbling Yankee empire
- Cognitive appraisal
- Automatic thoughts; cognitive interpretations; explanatory styles
- Assumptions – all this from the cognitive psychology of Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck
- Analogical messages
- Gestures, posture, clothing
- Situational constraints
- You are working and you can’t leave
- Display rules and emotional work
- What feelings do you have to show that you don’t have?
- What feelings do you have that you can’t show?
- Emotional impression
- Hurt, anger, fear, jealousy, disappointment, relief
- Emotional expression
- Act like you don’t care
Under normal circumstances which are routine, all eight of these steps could be processed in less than ten seconds because of years of practice. But because of the unusualness of this particular circumstance, our poor cook may take days to process what the situation means and what array of emotions he has.
As we have seen, the cognitive theory of the emotions has revolutionized the theory of emotions by arguing that emotions come from thoughts. But cognitive psychology implies that the individual makes up their own mind about which emotions they have. In the evolution to an emotion steps, the second step is entirely missing. A communist theory of the emotions would have social, cultural, class and historical mediators in place.
The hardest step for people in capitalist society to understand about this evolution is the second step. How could internalized socio-cultural, historical and class forces be inside of people rather than outside? Wouldn’t these forces come later, at the end?
The inclusion of step two attacks the idea that emotions are private, inside people and under their control. A communist theory of the emotions says that emotions are not private. They are products of a particular type of society, a particular social class, a particular kind of culture existing in a certain point in history. All these forces exist prior to the time you were born and they are socialized into you by your caretakers mostly unconsciously, especially in the first five years. The initial internalized socio-cultural, class and historical conditions are inside you whether you like it or not. That is our fate.
Later, as we mature, we become more active in dialectically reciprocating with these forces so that our class status might change. We might go to live in a different country (culture) or go to live in a socialist society. We might work as economic advisors to contribute to the world historical economy shifting Eastward in the 21st century. Whereas fate are the conditions that we are given when we are born, destiny is what we make of those conditions. However, even if you are active on all these fronts, step two is the infrastructural plumbing of all emotions and its creates and sustains all the steps that follow. The content of the infrastructural plumbing may change, but the presence of a plumbing infrastructure will not.
What Capitalism Can Do to Our Emotions
Capitalist psychology splits the individual from his social, cultural, historical and class identity. Then it takes the stripped-down, isolated, alienated individual as human nature as its point of departure. Most every psychological problem is rooted in the chaotic and contradictory interactions of the four systems as they interact.
Alienation Under Capitalism
Alienation is the inversion of subject and object, creation and creator. It is a reversal of ends and means so that the means acquire a life if their own.
Members of capitalist society are alienated in:
- the products of their labor;
- the process of producing the products;
- the other people they are producing with;
- the power settings in which the product is distributed;
- the biophysical environment; and
- their self-identity
The products of their labor: commodity fetishism: hoarding, manic consumption
Marx talked about how under capitalism commodities acquire a life of their own, and become disengaged from the situation which produced them. Commodities, rather than becoming a means to an end for living, become an end in itself. Erich Fromm defined a particular kind of pathology which he called the hoarding mentality and the marketing pathology in which people are obsessed with the accumulation of commodities. The emotional life of a consumer is anxious and destabilized because their identity is centered around the acquisition of new commodities, whether they need them or not. Most capitalist psychologists treat accumulation of commodities and capitalist mania for accumulation as not worth identifying as a pathology as it’s not even in the diagnostic manual.
The process of producing the products: insecurity, anxiety, exhaustion Under capitalism, the workday has lengthened from 40 to at least 50 hours of work in the last 50 years. There is less security about having a job and the average worker is more likely to have two jobs with no benefits. For workers a job is just something to put up with. Life begins when an individual has leisure time. Work under capitalism still possesses a religious root as a way to repent from original sin. This adds extra distress for workers during a recession or a depression when workers cannot find a job but blame themselves for not having a good “work ethic.”
Other people they are producing with: competitive anxiety anti-group mentality Almost a hundred years ago neo-Freudian Karen Horney claimed that it was competition between workers and between workers and other social classes that produced anxiety. As I mentioned in my article What is Social Psychology Part II, that groups under capitalism are treated as:
- no more than the sum of individuals;
- less than the sum of individuals;
- an entity that has a super-personally separate life from individuals.
To give you an example of the third framework, when people join a group at work, they often dissolve into it. They reify the group. They make the group a thing, above and beyond anything they can control. When an individual withdraws from the group, the group is renounced as a resource, as the individual believes their problems are so precious that no one could possibly understand them.
When the individual tolerates the members of a group, the individual renounces the capacity of the member being tolerated to change. The tolerating member does not consider that other members might be restless also, and they are not alone in putting up with members who are hard to manage. When individuals rebel against the group, they assume that other group members are conservative, never change or are stuck in their ways. If the individual tries to dominate the group, the dominating individual renounces their ability to get what they want through the collective creativity of the group. What withdrawing, toleration, rebelling or dominating have in common is that they are zero-sum game, with winners and losers. The best example of a group that is treated as less than the sum of individuals, is in the Lord of the Flies novel. A group being less than the sum of individuals exists in the hyper-conservative imagination of Gustave Le Bon in his books about crowds, or in mass media’s depiction of mass behavior during natural disasters where crowds develop a hive mentality.
The power-setting in which the product is distributed: apathy, myopia
Unions in the United States gave up a long time ago providing a vision for workers in terms of having a say in the decision making on the job. This leads to apathy. In addition, the specialization of labor discourages understanding what is going on in the entire production process. People do their job over and over and know nor care what is going on in other parts of the production process. “That’s none of my business”.
Alienation from nature: physical deterioration shortening life-span
This form of alienation under capitalism has reached a currant volatile form in the areas of pollution extreme weather. John Bellamy Foster has called this a “metabolic rift” between humanity and nature. Air pollution worsened breathing for people with lung problems and added new physical problems. Extreme weather has made both winter and summer conditions hazardous almost everywhere in Yankeedom. The lack of state planning over Covid has either killed millions of people or given them Long-Covid. The United States life span has declined 2.7 years since Covid began. The US is the worst at managing Covid, having the highest number of infections and deaths. Environmental psychologists have long known that getting out into nature reduces stress and has long-term benefits. But thanks to capitalism, communing with a nature which is unpolluted is getting harder and harder to find.
Alienation from self: the illusion of free will under capitalism – depression
Capitalist psychology assumes people are fundamentally selfish, as if we individuals are like Hobbes’ atoms, greedy, insensitive, grasping and mindlessly crashing into each other. Whether it is Freud’s ego or the behavioral motivation of pain or pleasure, individuals’ primary motivation is self-interest.
Under capitalism individuals have supposed “free will”, meaning they may more or less freely choose their situations. Religious institutions, educational expectations, economic and political propaganda, legitimation techniques, mystification and collusion in the end have no bearing on what happens. In spite of everything, free will wins over the type of society we are raised in, our social class, our culture or the historical period in which we live. With these unrealistic expectations about freedom, the individual is likely to internalize the real-life constraints and blame themselves for their less than idyllic life.
For a communist psychology, all these forms of socio-political control affect free will. While none of these processes by themselves or even all together determine a person’s free will, the options people choose to exercise are significantly constrained.
Capitalists eternalize capitalist relations Capitalists eternalize alien relations under capitalism and treat them as if they were always there. They project how people learn, think, emote and remember under capitalism into other historical periods. For example, they present narcissism, attention-deficit disorders or manic-depression as present in tribal or state civilizations just as much as they are under capitalism.
Emotions under Communism Everything that follows is based on the real experience of workers in worker cooperatives, behavior in natural disasters and workers’ experiences in revolutionary situations. These emotional states represent communists at their very bestrather than all the time. Under communism people are seen as primarily collectively creative. This is demonstrated in practice when workers are given the opportunity to operate cooperatives, create workers’ councils in revolutionary situations or even how they behave during natural disasters. Selfishness is a product of capitalism and not the primary way human beings operate. Consuming commodities are a means to an end. There is no hoarding or manic consumption in communism since the primary identity of a worker is fulfilled on the job because they love their work.
Workers are not anxious or insecure about work because there is more than enough work for everyone. The number of hours of work per day will shrunk because technology, no longer controlled by capitalist, is available to do mechanized part of the work, leaving people more time for the creative parts of the job.
Social unconscious: recalling the great moments in revolutionary situations
For a communist psychology, what is unconscious, at least for the working class is a “social” unconscious. It is the repressed memory of the human past, dead labor, that causes this individual to have “social amnesia” and not care about their own history. However, when the collective-creative memory is revived, out pours the wisdom that has accumulated from revolutionary situations: the heroic stance of the Paris Commune; the heroism of Russian factory councils and the workers’ self-management experiments in Spain from 1936-1939. To make this social unconscious conscious is to make the working class shapers of history rather than just being a product of it.
Pro-group basis of communist psychology
In all these examples the group attitude under capitalism is a whole never more than the sum of its parts. The goal of communist psychology is to cultivate a “social” individual who gradually comes to see the activity of building and sustaining groups as the key to emotional health. Even though in socialist psychology, the group as a whole is more than the sum of its parts, the group is still the creation of concrete individuals. The group has no mystical identity floating above individuals. While there is no group without individuals, through the collective creativity of members, the group acquires a synergy whose products are more than what any individual can do by themselves. A communist psychology creates these win-win situations through cooperation.
A socialist psychological group challenges people who withdraw or dissolve into the group by asking what the group can do to give then what they want. The group confronts those who tolerate others by asking them why they are putting up with other members – what would need to happen for things to be different. To those who rebel the group asks “what are you rebelling against and how could we change things to make the group more attractive to you?”. To those who try to dominate the group, socialist group therapy does not moralize against dominators. We simply say that you are losing out on the collective creativity of others by trying to subjugate them.
Our job involves exposing the unconscious commonalities between people that lie beneath our individual differences. It means making a long-term commitment based on the belief that the commonalities between most working-class and middle-class people far outweigh our differences.
The idea is that if you learn to build the collective power of a one group, you can then go out into the world and change it by your newfound capacity to change groups wherever we go, now and into the future. Learning how to change groups through the collective creative capacity of the group moves us from being products of history to being co-producers of it. A rich, co-creative group life is the key to emotional well-being under communism.
Under capitalism we have an emotional life with elements that include hoarding, manic consumption, narcissism, short-attention span, insecurity, anxiety, exhaustion, apathy, myopia, unnecessary physical deterioration, a shortened lifespan and depression. Under communism people are relaxed, serene, enthusiastic, creative, and happy and that goes with the research on happiness described earlier in this article.
“Five months after carrying Sergeant Emory down the stairs in Kamaliyah,” he could no longer shake off all the hurt and harm of war. On his third deployment in Iraq, Adam Schumann was done.
His war had become unbearable. He was seeing over and over again his first kill disappearing into a mud puddle, looking at him as he sank. He was seeing a house that had just been obliterated by gunfire, a gate slowly opening, and a wide-eyed little girl about the age of his daughter peering out. He was seeing another gate, another child, and this time a dead-aim soldier firing. He was seeing another soldier, also firing, who afterward vomited as he described watching head spray after head spray through his magnifying scope. He was seeing himself watching the vomiting soldier while casually eating a chicken-and-salsa MRE.
He was still tasting the MRE.
He was still tasting Sergeant Emory’s blood.
Schumann, diagnosed with depression and PTSD, and thinking about suicide, was sent home.
David Finkel, an American journalist who embedded with the 2-16 Infantry Battalion of the US Army during the “surge” in Iraq, beginning in the spring of 2007, tells Schumann’s story in The Good Soldiers. This Pulitzer Prize-winning account of war reads like a diary of specific days and moments—the excitement and patriotism, the gore (of IEDS, of dead bodies, of killing), the anger and the hatred, counterinsurgency tasks like handing out soccer balls, and the psychological pain of the (mostly) very young soldiers who carry it out. In Finkel’s telling, Schumann is not exceptional, in that the military’s own studies “suggested that 20 percent of soldiers deployed to Iraq experienced symptoms of PTSD.” He also reports that “in the culture of the army, where mental illness has long been equated with weakness,” such diagnoses were not easily recognized or accepted. There remained “a lingering suspicion of any diagnosis for which there wasn’t visible evidence.” And yet injuries for which there is no visible evidence are ubiquitous among troops and veterans of these wars—as recounted by journalists and scholars, as repre- sented on TV shows and in movies, as described in novels and poetry written by veterans who have returned from war. And in a discourse that passes over the military’s primary concern with force protection in favor of talk of a national moral obligation, those so-called invisible injuries are examined and explained to the public at large—so they can be understood and healed, so that proper attention to “the war” is paid on the home front.
David Wood, another American journalist (and author of the book What Have We Done, discussed in Chapter 5), embedded with a Marine unit in Afghanistan and some years later, in March 2014, published a lengthy essay on moral injury in the Huffington Post. He opens with the following questions: “How do we begin to accept that Nick Rudolph, a thoughtful, sandy- haired Californian, was sent to war as a 22-year-old Marine and in a desperate gun battle outside Marjah, Afghanistan, found himself killing an Afghan boy? That when Nick came home, strangers thanked him for his service and politicians lauded him as a hero?” Wood continues,
Can we imagine ourselves back on that awful day in the summer of 2010, in the hot firefight that went on for nine hours? Men frenzied with exhaustion and reckless exuberance, eyes and throats burning from dust and smoke, in a battle that erupted after Taliban insurgents castrated a young boy in the village, knowing his family would summon nearby Marines for help and the Marines would come, walking right into a deadly ambush.
In case we cannot imagine it, Wood does so for us: “Nick … spots somebody darting around the corner of an adobe wall, firing assault rifles at him and his Marines. Nick raises his M-4 carbine. He sees the shooter is a child, maybe 13. With only a split second to decide, he squeezes the trigger and ends the boy’s life.” As for Nick, he struggles with the dilemma: “He was just a kid. But … I’m trying not to get shot and I don’t want any of my brothers getting hurt … You know it’s wrong. But … you don’t have a choice.” This, as Wood informs his readers, is the essence of war trauma as it frequently appears among soldiers who have fought these latest American wars.
In choosing this particular event to open a series of essays on moral injury, Wood ascribes a young American Marine’s trauma to a decision made during a battle reportedly instigated by a barbaric act. Stories of barbaric acts, culturally incommensurable values, and an enemy who does not respect the laws of war characterize many accounts of the wars on terror and the kinds of war trauma, including moral injury, that come in tow. The way Wood understood the situation in Afghanistan, “some ugly aspects of the local culture and the brutality of the Taliban rubbed American sensibilities raw, setting the stage for deeper moral injury.” He quotes Rudolph as an example:
You see the Afghan tradition of basically boys dance for grown men and they give them money and the guy who gives the most money gets to take the boy home. We are partnering with guys who are basically screwing the neighbors’ kids, 6- and 7-year-olds, and we are supposed to grin and bear it because our cultures don’t mesh? … When I really want to fuckin’ strangle those dudes?”
Other kinds of stories about moral injury are also told, some more critical politically, such as the one recounted by an Army veteran at a conference on moral injury discussed in the previous chapter. He recalled being shaken to the core by his own cruelty toward an Iraqi child. An adult came over to protect the child, and the speaker did not recognize himself in the man’s terrified eyes. Moral injuries can result as well from seemingly banal acts of carrying out an occupation—kicking in doors, scaring the family, and frequently enough finding no insurgents at home. Soldiers tell of mistaking noncombatants for insurgents in the heat of battle or having no opportunity to discriminate, at a checkpoint, for example, with a car speeding at them that fails to stop. For the most part, these narratives are framed by a set of shared assumptions about the inevitable moral ambiguities of counterinsurgency wars. Occasionally they are offered—almost exclusively by veterans—as a political critique of America’s wars, which they now oppose.
War stories told about combat trauma by journalists and scholars who were “embedded” with American soldiers in the war zone or spent time with veterans back home are generally narrated from the soldiers’ point of view. Readers are typically admonished to recognize their obligation to face the realities of war, to confront rather than evade the question of what “we” have sent “them” to do, while, at the same time typically sanitizing the extent and brutality of American military aggression. Wood describes the “scowling young killers of Uganda and Congo” he encountered previously as a war correspondent; a few pages later, he writes of American troops carrying “immense responsibility”; handling it “well and with passion.” “At war, I have seen Americans at their best. In a very personal way, I admire and honor their service.” One has to wonder what he has seen and heard in the midst of battle and in its aftermath that he leaves out of his story. A parallel question might be asked of recent anthropological accounts of the war, narrated from the soldiers’ points of view, in which case ethnography as method operates to some extent as the functional equivalent of embed- ded journalism. What might the soldiers with whom various anthropologists have “embedded” stateside chosen not to share?
In “The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce,” Ashley Gilbertson takes a different tack in her account of the kinds of actions, sensibilities, and affects that drive combat, as well as its horrors and traumatic afterlives. Noah Pierce was an Army veteran who committed suicide in 2007 and whose war experi- ence Gilbertson reconstructs based on his diary and letters home he wrote from Iraq. She wants to know what pushed Pierce to suicide. “It could have been the memory of the Iraqi child he crushed under his Bradley. ‘It must have been a dog,’ he told his commanders. It could have been the unarmed man he shot point-blank in the forehead during a house-to-house raid, or the friend he tried madly to gather into a plastic bag after he had been blown to bits by a roadside bomb, or … it could have been the doctor he killed at a checkpoint.” The “moral ambiguity of house-to-house raids” haunted Pierce. He wrote about how he and others in his platoon would “blow off steam” by “abusing prisoners.” “I’m so pissed off right now,” he wrote to his parents, relating how “beatin’ a s********* unconscious would help but we will get in serious trouble if it happens again.” He stole money from Iraqi civilians and sent it back to his parents. “Well staying here as part of the postwar occupation has had one good impact on me,” he wrote in another letter.
I no longer regret what I did during the war. I have so much hatred in me I could go murder more s********** and I would just smile. That goes for almost everyone here. We had sympathy for them after the war but now we have absolutely nothing but hatred for them. We should have killed more during the war. I let all kinds of “‘innocent” people go when I should have just mowed them down.
Or as he recounted in his diary,
So far, this has been the worst month of my life. With all this work I have been ready to snap. I don’t know how much I can take. A car pissed me off last night. The fucker kept flashing me and when he pulled off the road I almost ran him over. I changed my mind though, I could have gotten away with killing that mother-fucker though. My transmission was going out and I could have blamed it on that. I am just waiting for a good opportunity though. I am just waiting for the chance where I know people will die. I am not going to swerve at them, but I am not going to avoid it like I have been. The only reason I have avoided it so far is there have been women and children in the cars coming at me.
“I am a bad person,” he bemoans.
Americans are suffering and none so much as the young people of this country. In December 2021, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a disturbing report, “Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health” that paints a troubling picture of young people 3 to 17 years-of-age. The report notes that over the decade between 2009 to More
Research suggests that we spontaneously engage in ritualized behavior when facing stressful and uncertain situations.
An open letter signed by over 200 humanitarian groups calls on world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to urgently take action on world hunger, citing that one person dies of hunger every four seconds. We speak with Abby Maxman, president and CEO of Oxfam America, one of the letter’s signatories, who just returned from Somaliland, where a famine may be declared as early as next month. Climate change, COVID and conflicts such as the war in Ukraine are largely to blame for rising hunger, she says, and “those who are the least responsible are suffering its worst impacts.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: One person is dying of hunger every four seconds. That’s the warning from a coalition of humanitarian groups, who say global hunger is spiraling out of control. Oxfam, Save the Children and other groups say 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger — double the number from 2019. Humanitarian groups from 75 countries sent an open letter to world leaders and high-level diplomats gathering this week for the United Nations General Assembly here in New York Ciy. This is the first U.N. General Assembly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a key meeting Tuesday focused on how the war is contributing to skyrocketing levels of hunger. This is the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: At the outset of 2022, conflicts, COVID-19, the effects of the climate crisis had already driven more than 190 million people into acute food insecurity. According to the World Food Programme, President Putin’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine may add 70 million people on top of that — an already staggering number becoming even more staggering.
AMY GOODMAN: This comes as the United Nations is warning of a looming famine in Somalia, where a searing drought fueled by the climate crisis has withered crops, killed livestock and left nearly 8 million people, or half of Somalia’s population, in need of humanitarian assistance. The U.N. says millions more are at risk of hunger and famine across East Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia.
For more on the world hunger emergency, we’re joined in New York by Abby Maxman, president and CEO of Oxfam America. She recently returned from a trip to Somaliland, where a famine may be declared as early as October. Oxfam is one of the signatories to an open letter submitted by over 200 NGOs to world leaders this week, calling on them to take immediate action.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Abby Maxman. Can you start off by laying out the scope of the problem and what you’re calling for?
ABBY MAXMAN: Thanks so much, Amy. Good to be with you.
Having just returned from Somaliland last week, I’m able to connect what we’re seeing in the lived, real lives of people and how they’re affected, and connect them with those global numbers you already outlined. Three hundred and forty-five million people are facing extreme hunger as a result of that confluence of climate, COVID and conflict — and that number, in and of itself, 345 million people, more than the entire population of the United States, and this in the 21st century.
Now, we know that we have been calling the alarm for several years. And we’ve had used our early-warning systems to trigger, to show — that have showed drought has continued to erode the lives and livelihoods of pastoralist and agropastoralist communities. Someone I saw in Somaliland, the stories were very similar. A woman named Safia, mother of eight, divorcée, who had stayed in her community as long as she could over the past several years, and ultimately went to a displaced persons camp near Burao called Durdur after she had lost 90% of her livestock. And hyenas were literally circling her family and her community as the livestock weakened. They had no choice but to move.
What is so egregious about this is the cause of this is climate change. The increasing frequency and ferocity of intense climatic shocks, droughts, floods and heat waves, that we’re observing from Pakistan to Puerto Rico and, of course, across East Africa, are evidenced in all of the news. But we know it’s people like Safia and the 74-year-old farmer who said this is the worst drought he has ever seen in his lifetime, they are down to one meal a day. And they need and deserve our help.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Abby Maxman, you mentioned conflict, as well. To what degree has the Russian invasion of Ukraine affected the food supply, especially to the Global South? And also, to what degree, from your sense, is it the corporations taking advantage of situations? We see the secretary-general mentioning oil companies or energy companies exploiting the current crises. Your sense of these two things — the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and general super profits sought by some international companies?
ABBY MAXMAN: Yeah, Juan, thanks for pointing those two things out. Yes, the war in Ukraine has exacerbated an already dire situation. The economic consequences of COVID and the climate crisis have been supercharged by the war in Ukraine. Prices have gone up exorbitantly. And people in Somaliland who I was talking to and seeing were spending more than 90% — 90% — of their income on food just to survive, and they were using coping strategies, down to one and two meals a day. That just is one anecdote of many about the impacts, direct and indirect, of the global crisis and conflict and its impact on those in East Africa and Somaliland.
Your point on fossil fuel profit and others, it can’t be understated. It is extraordinary that as humanity faces this existential crisis of climate, that there is still more incentive by fossil fuel companies to destroy our planet and people than to save lives and to save the planet. Now, we know that the oil and gas industry has enjoyed staggering profits as they have wrought havoc on the planet. They’ve been amassing $2.8 billion a day. That’s more than a trillion dollars a year over the last 50 years. And just let me contrast that against the fact that 18 days of fossil companies’ profit could cover the entire U.N. humanitarian appeal for 2022, which has been woefully underfunded.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you also mentioned that you were in Somaliland recently. Particularly, could you talk about the situation in Africa? Obviously, there are major conflicts still raging there, especially in Ethiopia. Your sense of the impact of those regional conflicts in terms of hunger and poverty in Africa?
ABBY MAXMAN: Yeah, Juan. Well, that confluence of those toxic three Cs — COVID, climate, conflict — are just supercharging the situation. And those who are least responsible are suffering its worst impacts. So, we need to make sure — we know that when humanitarian access is limited, that exacerbates people’s lives and livelihoods and the ability to get basics of their human rights — food, shelter, water, safety, protection. So, that is part of the cocktail, if you will, the toxic one, that people who — are experiencing, people like the countless pastoralists who are facing existential crisis to their lives, livelihoods, and that of their ancestors. They have rights and dignity that we need to protect and support in crisis. And the international community has a responsibility and a moral duty to act. And this week, in New York, around the U.N. General Assembly, we are calling on those in power, member states and policymakers, to take action now.
We need to do three big things. Save lives — and there’s a number of ways of doing that: make sure we resource the humanitarian appeals and get the resources to people who need them, support local organizations, women-led organizations. Second, we need to build resilience. We cannot repeat this pattern of pulling resources to respond to crises that we know are coming. And we need to invest in both now. It’s an investment in the future. It’s an investment in protection. It’s an investment in promoting lives and livelihoods and dignity. And third, we need to invest in that future, beyond the resilience. We need to double climate adaptation funds. We need to make sure that special drawing rights are modified so that countries are relieved from debt and debt burden. And we need to fund nutrition and other fundamental issues that need to be supported at this time.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about the growing inequality in the world and how this relates to the crisis of hunger around the world. According to a report just released by the investment bank Credit Suisse, the number of “ultra-high-net-worth” individuals, UHNW people, also increased exponentially last year to a record 218,200. Can you comment on this extraordinary rise in wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, while hundreds of millions are dying from hunger and hunger-related causes? And how must this be addressed?
ABBY MAXMAN: It must be addressed. And I appreciate there’s an acronym now, UHNW, though that’s sad, a sad fact that that needs to be called out. This is a failure in our economic system, a system that is broken and serving a privileged few. It’s not — it’s immoral, it’s wrong, and there’s an opportunity to fix it. It’s not happening by chance. It’s happening intentionally by those in power and political capture and those who are wreaking profits to benefit themselves.
There can be an opportunity to have a global wealth tax, to ensure that fossil fuel companies’ profits can be fairly taxed so that things like the U.N. humanitarian appeals, at a minimum, are funded. This is — nobody suffers. This is a race to the bottom versus a race to the top. And extreme inequality is harmful to all of society and all of humanity. It is very frustrating, it makes me very angry, to hear that, “Oh, there are no resources. That’s why we cannot save lives, build resilience and invest in the future.” That is not accurate. In the 21st century, there are enough resources to ensure the integrity and dignity of people’s lives and livelihoods and a more equal world. And there’s an opportunity to end extreme inequality by changing this failing economic system.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Abby Maxman, we thank you so much for being with us, president and CEO of Oxfam America, recently returned from a trip to Somaliland, where a famine may be declared as early as October.
Next up, Adnan Syed has been freed after spending 23 years behind bars. His case gained international attention when it was the subject of the podcast Serial. We’ll speak with the first attorney to represent him. Stay with us.
In an extended interview, acclaimed physician and author Dr. Gabor Maté discusses his new book, just out, called “The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture.” “The very values of a society are traumatizing for a lot of people,” says Maté, who argues in his book that “psychological trauma, woundedness, underlies much of what we call disease.” He says healing requires a reconnection between the mind and the body, which can be achieved through cultivating a sense of community, meaning, belonging and purpose. Maté also discusses how the healthcare system has harmfully promoted the “mechanization of birth,” how the lack of social services for parents has led to “a massive abandonment of infants,” and how capitalism has fueled addiction and the rise of youth suicide rates.
By Carlos L. Garrido – Sep 9, 2022
A recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry sent shockwaves across the scientific community and popular outlets as it disproved the predominant “serotonin hypothesis” of depression. In just two weeks since its publication it has been accessed by nearly half a million people and the subject of dozens of subsequent articles. The researchers analyzed a total of seventeen systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and other large studies focused on the following six tenets pertinent to the “serotonin hypothesis” of depression:
“(1) Serotonin and the serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA—whether there are lower levels of serotonin and 5-HIAA in body fluids in depression; (2) Receptors—whether serotonin receptor levels are altered in people with depression; (3) The serotonin transporter (SERT)—whether there are higher levels of the serotonin transporter in people with depression (which would lower synaptic levels of serotonin); (4) Depletion studies—whether tryptophan depletion (which lowers available serotonin) can induce depression; (5) SERT gene—whether there are higher levels of the serotonin transporter gene in people with depression; (6) Whether there is an interaction between the SERT gene and stress in depression.”1
None of the studies were able to prove any significant link between serotonin levels and depression based on the above tenets, leading the researchers to conclude that “there is no convincing evidence that depression is associated with, or caused by, lower serotonin concentrations or activity.”2
The researchers further argue, “The idea that depression is the result of abnormalities in brain chemicals, particularly serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT), has been influential for decades,” such that today “80% or more of the general public now believe it is established that depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance.”3 In light of this finding, one must ask—how did a hypothesis which failed to substantially prove the connection it is based on achieve such general acceptance?
The serotonin hypothesis wasn’t always the dominant explanation for depression. Shortly after the Second World War, “the first antipsychotic, chlorpromazine, was synthesized when chlorine was added to the promethazine structure.”4 This synthesis formed “the basis of the development of the first antidepressants” which emerged following Roland Kuhn’s 1957 presentation in the World Psychiatric Association Meeting, where shortly after the first tricyclic antidepressant was released for clinical use in Switzerland.5
A decade later, in the mid-1960s, a series of studies introduced serotonin as the “molecule behind depression.” These studies culminated in the work of Lapin and Oxenkrug, who postulated in 1969 the ”serotonergic theory of depression, which was based on a deficit of serotonin at an inter-synaptic level in certain brain regions.”6 In the following years, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly created a serotonin-depression study team, which found that fluoxetine hydrochloride was “the most powerful… selective inhibitor of serotonin uptake among all the compounds developed.”7 The results led to the 1987 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the clinical usage of Prozac (the brand name given to fluoxetine), the first major selective serotonin receptor inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drug.8
Prozac became the drug of the age, a commodity which, like Brave New World’s soma, could provide direct, unmediated happiness.
The release of Prozac revolutionized the commodification of medicine, incorporating a new field of mass advertisement which has since become the norm. However, as the documentary, Prozac: A Revolution in a Capsule demonstrates, the drug obtained its prominence not only through advertisement—which, interestingly enough, first occurred through business and finance magazines—but through its incorporation into culture as an iconic symbol of the zeitgeist.9 From Woody Allen movies to The Sopranos to late night talks shows, Prozac became the drug of the age, a commodity which, like Brave New World’s soma, could provide direct, unmediated happiness. This quickly resulted in the “Prozac boom,” making it by 1990 the most prescribed drug in the United States, and within ten years of its 1988 release, visits to the doctor for depression doubled and the prescribing of antidepressants tripled.10
The association of depression with low levels of serotonin was an intentional result of institutionally supported (e.g., American Psychiatric Organization) marketing campaigns from the pharmaceutical industry. This has provided “an important justification for the use of antidepressants” and perpetuated an antidepressant drug market that was valued at almost $16 billion in 2020 (a number expected to rise to $21 billion by the end of the decade);11 in today’s antidepressant epidemic, one in six Americans are on antidepressants.12 This phenomenon cannot be understood separately from the general commodification and marketization of medicine. As Joanne Moncrieff has argued, “there are some obvious drivers of this trend, such as the pharmaceutical industry, whose marketing activities have been facilitated both by the arrival of the Internet, and political deregulation, including the repeal of the prohibition on advertising to consumers in the US and some other countries in the 1990s.”13
This is how and why the serotonin theory gained and sustained its hegemony since the 1990s. However, within the scientific community this hypothesis has been on the chopping block for almost two decades as individual studies have disconfirmed various parts of the hypothesis. The scientific community, in general, is much more skeptical of the “serotonin hypothesis” than the general public. This disconnection between the much more nuanced science on depression and the public perception of the issue has been the subject of various articles and speaks to both the separation of science from everyday life and to the effectiveness of medical marketization.14 Nonetheless, the explosion the recent study caused is a result of its comprehensive character as an “umbrella review” which examined all parts of the serotonin hypothesis at once—and in doing so, went well beyond the many studies which have focused on separate parts in the last couple of decades.
From Biochemical Determinism to Dialectical Materialism
There is a prevalent myth which holds that those who function in society as professional “intellectuals” are somehow “autonomous and independent” from the dominant social order and the interests of the ruling class.15 This myth predominates in the community of the “hard” sciences perhaps more than in any level of traditional intellectuals. Here it is taken as sensum communem that science is objective and disconnected from ideology and social factors. For these folks, as Marxist scientists Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin said, “nothing evokes as much hostility… as the suggestion that social forces influence or even dictate either the scientific method or the facts and theories of science.”16 But it is in this illusion of non-ideological objectivity where ideology can be seen to be the most entrenched, functioning as unknown knowns, that is, as unrecognized assumptions or inherent biases which mediate how scientists approach the world.
This does not mean, as the postmodernist disease17 which influences some of the philosophy of science holds, that we should maintain a “deep epistemological skepticism” which often, as Ellen Meiksins Wood notes, conflates “the forms of knowledge with its objects… as if they are saying not only that, for instance, the science of physics is a historical construct, which has varied over time and in different social contexts, but that the laws of nature are themselves ‘socially constructed’ and historically variable.”18
On the contrary, in Marxism, as Helena Sheehan argues, there is “no conflict between [stressing] the historical and contextual nature of science and [affirming] the rationality of science and the overall progressive character of its development.”19 In essence, the Marxist tradition’s understanding of the socially determined character of scientific production does not mean that scientific objectivity is rejected and that the object of scientific study itself is conceived of as relative. The form of abstract and unmediated objectivism which prevails in the sciences is rejected and what is affirmed is a necessarily socially mediated understanding of scientific objectivity. This overcomes, as Sheehan notes, the stale “objectivist/constructivist” binary which today structures the discourse about science and affirms instead a dialectical both/and attitude.20 This is important to clarify so that the forthcoming analysis of capitalism’s influence on science is not confused as an embracement of relativism and a rejection of science’s ability to produce objective knowledge of the world.
The serotonin hypothesis emerges from what Levins and Lewontin called “Cartesian reductionism” (the objectivist extreme), which they held to be the “dominant mode of analysis” in all spheres of today’s sciences. In psychiatry this shows up as genetic and biochemical determinism, an attempt to reduce the complexity of mental health issues to genetics or to biochemical mechanisms which, with respect to the latter, somehow the major pharmaceutical companies always have a pill for. But, as Moncrieff has argued, “mental health problems are not equivalent to physical, medical conditions and are more fruitfully viewed as problems of communities or societies.”21
Reductionism, in essence, is a methodological reflection in the sciences of bourgeois individualism and Robinsonade forms of thinking, which artificially divorce individuals from society and hold the latter to be simply the sum of the former.
For instance, studies have shown that “within a given location, those with the lowest incomes are typically 1.5 to 3 times more likely than the rich to experience depression or anxiety.”22 The plethora of factors that stem from and contribute to poverty has allowed researchers to establish “a bidirectional causal relationship between poverty and mental illness,” such that poverty both increases the likelihood of mental illness and is proliferated further by it.23 The fact that the poorest in any context are up to three times more likely to experience depression than the rich shows that any analysis of depression must necessarily take into account the socioeconomic context of the individual. This inequality induced dissatisfaction allows one to understand both poverty and depression relationally. As Marx had already noted in 1847,
Our desires and pleasures spring from society; we measure them, therefore, by society and not by the objects which serve for their satisfaction. Because they are of a social nature, they are of a relative nature… A house may be large or small; as long as the surrounding houses are equally small it satisfies all social demands for a dwelling. But let a palace arise beside the little house, and it shrinks from a little house to a hut… if the neighboring palace grows to an equal or even greater extent, the occupant of the relatively small house will feel more and more uncomfortable, dissatisfied and cramped within its four walls.24
The Cartesian reductive framework contains various methodological flaws which prevent the concrete understanding of the world. It treats, for instance, the interactions of parts and whole one-sidedly—as if parts are homogenous entities ontologically prior to the whole, and hence, as if the whole was simply the sum of its parts. In so doing, this outlook draws artificial hard and fast lines between causes and effects and fails to see how parts and wholes are reciprocally conditioning, i.e., how “their very interaction structures the way they are interrelated and interpenetrated, resulting in what is called a whole.”25 In short, how wholes are not simply the sum of their parts, but the totalities through which the parts themselves attain the functions which form the whole. It is, in essence, a methodological reflection in the sciences of bourgeois individualism and Robinsonade26 forms of thinking, which artificially divorce individuals from society and hold the latter to be simply the sum of the former.
However, biochemical determinism/reductionism does not necessarily have to reduce explanations to only one factor. For instance, the inconsistent success of SSRIs27 in treating depression has led some scientists to sustain ex juvantibus28 (from reasoning backwards) that serotonin’s role in depression is interactive and dependent on its relations with adrenaline, dopamine, and other chemical processes. Although this represents a more complex view of the serotonin hypothesis in particular, and of the often wrongly conflated “chemical imbalance” view of depression, it is nonetheless a form of biochemical determinism.29 This is because it fails to see how the “chemical imbalances” don’t arise out of a void but are produced by the concrete environment the individual is in. The point, again, is not to diminish the biochemical in order to elevate the role of the environment, but to see both the biochemical and the environment as dialectically interconnected, acting “upon each other through the medium of the [individual].”30 As Levins and Lewontin argue, the individual “cannot be regarded as simply the passive object of autonomous internal (biochemical composition/genes) and external (environment) forces;” instead, the individual functions as a subject-object which is both conditioned by these factors (as object) and reciprocally conditions them (as subject).31
The limitations of the prevalent serotonin hypothesis also helps to demonstrate what Friedrich Engels noted in his unfinished Dialectics of Nature: although “natural scientists believe that they free themselves from philosophy by ignoring it or abusing it… they are no less in bondage to philosophy but unfortunately in most cases to the worst philosophy.”32 This reductive, bio-determinist outlook straitjackets science within abstract thought, preventing it from seeing things in their movements and interconnections. It forces the reduction of larger problems to simple components—since these are seen as the ontological basis of wholes—and limits the possibility of observing issues like depression dynamically and comprehensively.
It is much easier to reduce depression to a biochemical phenomenon in the brain than to analyze how the social relations prevalent in the capitalist mode of life create the conditions for the emergence of depression. Similarly, once this reduction is established, it is much easier to treat the “solution” through individualized drug consumption than through socially organized revolutionary activity. As Moncrieff has argued, “by obscuring [the] political nature” of mental illness, certain “contentious social activities” are enabled, and attention is diverted “from the failings of the underlying economic system.”33
Tracing depression to the exploitative and alienating relations sustained between people and their work, their peers, and nature, is not only a much more laborious task, but one which would necessarily end in the realization of the systemic root of the problem. Given capitalism’s universal commodification, and the form this takes in what Levins and Lewontin call the “commoditization of science,” such a result is directly against the interests of the institutions that control scientific knowledge production.34 As one of many other fields in which the universalizing logic of commodity production has penetrated, the aim is, of course, profitability; the quest for truth and scientific discovery is subsumed under the quest for profit. This is especially true after four decades of neoliberalism, where, as Moncrieff notes, “more and more aspects of human feelings and behaviour” have been commodified and turned “into a source of profit for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.”35 “Investing in research,” as Levins and Lewontin argue, is but “one of several ways of investing in capital.”36
In the West, this reality was clear to the rich tradition of British Marxists scientists like J.B.S. Haldane, J.D. Bernal, Hyman Levy, and others which emerged following the 1931 Second International Congress of the History of Science and Technology. As J.D. Bernal stated in 1937, “production for profit can never develop the full potentialities of science except for destructive purposes,” only “the Marxist understanding of science puts it in practice at the service of the community and at the same time makes science itself part of the cultural heritage of the whole people and not of an artificially selected minority.”37
Towards Socialist Science and Medicine
The serotonin theory gained prominence because: 1) it fits within the one-factor, causally linear framework of the Cartesian reductionist outlook prevalent in mainstream science; 2) it was a diagnosis which facilitated the greatly profitable solution embodied in the tens of billions of dollars’ worth antidepressant drug industry; 3) it plays a hegemonic role in steering the diagnosis of the depression epidemic away from its real source—capitalist social relations which sustain the mass of people alienated from what they produce, from other people, and from nature—and, specifically with respect to the United States, in drowning debt for getting sick, pursuing an education, or attempting to own a home.
Socialism removes these material difficulties upon which many mental health issues are grounded and places the working class in control of the economy, state, and civil institutions, making them function in the service of human and planetary needs, not profit. By abolishing poverty and war; guaranteeing healthcare, housing, and education as a right for all; providing everyone with meaningful well-paying jobs; amongst other things, a socialist society creates the economic and social security which radically transforms the environment in which most cases of depression are rooted. If one seriously seeks to overcome the depression epidemic capitalism is hurling the mass of people into, socialism is the only real solution.
In Cuba, mental health treatment emphasizes “individual and group psychotherapies” of various kinds and incorporates psychopharmacology in an integrated fashion with the former.
Likewise, only socialism can de-commodify science and provide the general social atmosphere for a move away from a hegemonic outlook dominated by static, reductive, abstract, individualist, irrationalist, deterministic, and binary thought, and towards a dialectical materialist one which emphasizes change, interconnection, reciprocity, sociality, emergence, and concrete investigation of the concrete.38 The extraordinary successes of Cuban science and medicine testify to what can be done when the profit motive is removed and comprehensive, preventative, and community-based care becomes the norm.
While enduring an internationally denounced blockade from the most formidable of empires, the Cuban revolution’s commitment to a science for the people has allowed it to construct what is internationally recognized as one of the best health care systems in the world.39 Cuba’s comprehensive social care emphasizes the impact of biological, social, cultural, economic and environmental factors on patients. Far from the United States’ drug-first approach of dealing with mental health issues, Cuba’s comprehensive social care allows all medical issues to be better understood at their source, treated, and prevented from occurring.40 In Cuba, mental health treatment emphasizes “individual and group psychotherapies” of various kinds,41 and when not hampered by the blockade, incorporates psychopharmacology in an integrated fashion with the former.42
Cuban scientists see mental health issues and treatment “within the context of the community,” not isolated individuals.43 As Alexis Lorenzo Ruiz, president of the Cuban Society of Psychology, said: “At all times, the community—like the family—are participants and necessary contributors in each action taken to move toward an improvement in the wellbeing of people with mental illness.”44 Additionally, unlike the disease-centered model of care which predominates in most capitalist countries, this human-centered approach promotes multidisciplinary and integrative relations between mental and medical care within the different fields of medicine—various forms of medical doctors, psychologists, nurses, and other health care professionals train side by side each other within the communities they serve in.45 This socialist model has afforded the Cuban people the conditions where, despite the enormous material difficulties created by the US blockade, depression in Cuba affects only 3.8 percent of the population, whereas in the United States 4.8 percent.46
In their 1985 book, The Dialectical Biologist, Levins and Lewontin reformulate Marx’s Eleventh Thesis and state that “dialectical philosophers have thus far only explained science. The problem, however, is to change it.”47 In the West, the seeds of such a change are emerging once again. As Nafis Hasan wrote in Science for the People, “recent developments in the fields of immunology, cancer, theoretical and evolutionary biology lend credence” to the view that “any non-reductionist approach (e.g., systems biology) to studying biology will advertently end up using a dialectical approach.”48 The fall of the reductive serotonin hypothesis in depression research is but one instance in many pointing to the fact that the dominant outlook presents a fetter for the development of the sciences. Just like a socialist revolution is needed to free humanity and the forces of production from the fetters of the capitalist system of waste, a revolution in outlook is needed to free the sciences from its archaic Cartesian reductionism and furnish it with “the most scientifically apt method for understanding the world”—dialectical materialism.49
- Joanna Moncrieff et al., “The Serotonin Theory of Depression: A Systematic Umbrella Review of the Evidence,” Molecular Psychiatry (2022), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-022-01661-0.
- Moncrieff et al., “The Serotonin Theory of Depression.”
- Moncrieff et al., “The Serotonin Theory of Depression.”
- Victor Silva Pereira and Vinícius Antonio Hiroaki-Sato, “A Brief History of Antidepressant Drug Development: From Tricyclics to Beyond Ketamine,” Acta Neuropsychiatrica 30, no. 6 (February 2018): 307–322, https://doi.org/10.1017/neu.2017.39.
- Pereira and Hiroai-Sato, ”A Brief History.”
- Pereira and Hiroai-Sato, ”A Brief History.”
- Pereira and Hiroai-Sato, ”A Brief History.”
- Pereira and Hiroai-Sato, ”A Brief History.”
- “Prozac: Revolution in a Capsule,” New York Times, September 21, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000003127845/revolution-in-a-capsule.html?playlistId=100000002148738.
- Pereira and Hiroai-Sato, ”A Brief History.”
- Linu Dash, Vidhya Wable, and Onkar Suman, Antidepressant Drugs Market: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021–2030 (Allied Market Research, 2022), https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/antidepressants-drugs-market; Moncrieff et al., “The Serotonin Theory of Depression.”
- Megan Pagaduan, “America’s Epidemic of Antidepressants,” Berkeley Political Review, November 7, 2021, https://bpr.berkeley.edu/2021/11/07/americas-epidemic-of-antidepressants/.
- Joanna Moncrieff, “The Political Economy of the Mental Health System: A Marxist Analysis,” Frontiers in Sociology 6 (2022): 771875, https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2021.771875.
- Jeffrey R. Lacasse and Jonathan Leo, “Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect Between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature,” PLOS Medicine 2, no. 12: e392, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020392. Note: This article also shows how the disconnection between the science and the advertisement violates the laws of the FDA, but that the FDA has been deliberately inactive in cracking down on marketized misinformation because these advertisements are given “to the fraction of the public that functions at no higher than a 6th grade reading level.” Basically, the FDA allows this misinformation to disseminate because the viewers are too unintelligent to understand the truth.
- Antonio Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks (New York: International Publishers, 2014), 7.
- Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), 4.
- “Postmodern Disease” is a concept introduced by Ellen Meiksins Wood in the Monthly Review collection In Defense of History: Marxism and the Postmodern Agenda, which deals with themes relating to the hegemonization of postmodernism in academia and how it serves, in various and often indirect ways, the capitalist “end of history”’ narrative. Its rejection of history, comprehensive outlooks, socially informed scientific objectivity, class struggle, etc., establishes it as an enemy of Marxism while passing itself as “more radical.” The paradox, however, is that it not only fails to oppose the existing order, but actively serves as one of its key hegemonic tools. As Ellen Meiksins Wood states, “Postmodernism is no longer the diagnosis… it has become the disease.”
- Ellen Meiksins Wood, “What is the ‘Postmodern’ Agenda,” in In Defense of History: Marxism and the Postmodern Agenda, ed. Ellen Meiksins Wood and John Bellamy Foster (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997), 5, 7, 10.
- Helena Sheehan, Marxism and the Philosophy of Science (New York: Verso Books, 2017), 46.
- Helena Sheehan, “Marxism, Science, and Science Studies: From Marx and Engels to COVID-19 and COP26,” Monthly Review 74, no. 1 (May 2022), https://monthlyreview.org/2022/05/01/marxism-science-and-science-studies/.
- Moncrieff, “The Political Economy of the Mental Health System.”
- Matthew Ridley et. al., “Poverty, Depression, and Anxiety: Causal Evidence and Mechanisms,” Science 370, no. 6522 (December 2020): eaay0214, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay0214.
- Ridley et. al., “Poverty, depression, and Anxiety.”
- Karl Marx, Wage Labour and Capital (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1975), 33.
- Kaan Kangal, “Engels’s Emergentist Dialectics,” Monthly Review 72, no. 6 (November 2020), https://monthlyreview.org/2020/11/01/engelss-emergentist-dialectics/.
- “The individual and isolated hunter and fisherman, with whom Smith and Ricardo begin, belongs among the unimaginative conceits of the eighteenth-century Robinsonades.” Karl Marx, Grundrisse (London: Penguin Books, 1993), 83.
- For instance, studies have shown that “approximately 80% of the response to medication was duplicated in placebo control groups.” See Iving Kirsch et al., “The Emperor’s New Drugs: An Analysis of Antidepressant Medication Data Submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” Prevention & Treatment 5, no. 1 (July 2002), https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2002-14079-003. A similar conclusion was arrived at in a recent study which pooled 73,000 patients and showed that only around 15 percent of the time do the drugs work better than the placebos. As the researchers concluded: “Patients with depression are likely to improve substantially from acute treatment of their depression with drug or placebo. Although the mean effect of antidepressants is only a small improvement over placebo, the effect of active drug seems to increase the probability that any patient will benefit substantially from treatment by about 15%.” Marc B. Stone et. al., “Response to Acute Monotherapy for Major Depressive Disorder in Randomized, Placebo Controlled Trials Submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration: Individual Participant Data Analysis ,” BMJ 378 (2022): e067606, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2021-067606.
- As was noted by the study referenced above, this “line of reasoning is logically problematic—the fact that aspirin cures headaches does not prove that headaches are due to low levels of aspirin in the brain.” Jeffrey R Lacasse and Jonathan Leo, “Serotonin and Depression.”
- The conflation is distinctly present in marketing.
- Levins and Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist, 89.
- It is also important to note that “every part or activity of an organism acts as environment for other parts,” such that this dialectical integration does not just occur mechanically between the whole organism (individual X) and their environment, but within various sub-levels which themselves function as part and environment. Levins and Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist, 58.
- Friedrich Engels, Dialectics of Nature (London: Wellred Books, 2012), 213.
- Moncrieff, “The Political Economy of the Mental Health System.”
- Levins and Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist, 199.
- Moncrieff, “The Political Economy of the Mental Health System.”
- Levins and Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist, 200.
- J.D. Bernal, “Dialectical Materialism and Modern Science,” Science and Society 2, no. 1 (Winter 1937): 63.
- This refers to the method of ascending from the abstract (less determinations, more superficial, less complex) to the concrete (more determinations, more complex, more comprehensive) which is at the core of both idealist and materialist dialectics. For instance, Marx’s Capital (as a whole) is at its core a categorial ascension from the less concrete categories in volume one (commodity, money, capital, absolute and relative surplus value) to the more concrete categories in volumes two and three (various capital circuits, turnover of various forms of capital, etc. for volume two and price, rate of profit, various types of capital, etc. for volume three). This categorial ascension allows for the most concrete—capitalist production as a whole (the title of volume three)—to be reproduced concretely in thought. The same movement can be seen in Hegel’s Logic’s ascension from being (most abstract category) to absolute spirit (the most concrete category).
- For more on the United States’ hybrid warfare on Cuba, see my article for Covert Action Magazine or my seminar on the 26th of July movement for the People’s School for Marxist Leninist Studies.
- Helen Yaffe, We Are Cuba: How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World (Great Britain: Yale University Press, 2020), 127.
- This includes activities like psycho-ballet and other exercises and arts, yoga, martial arts, etc.
- Sheila J. Linz and Alexis Lorenzo Ruiz, “Learning About Mental Healthcare in Today’s Cuba: An Interview with the President of the Cuban Society of Psychology,” Perspectives In Psychiatric Care 57, no. 1 (January 2021), https://doi.org/10.1111/ppc.12548.
- Linz and Ruiz, “Learning About Mental Healthcare in Today’s Cuba.”
- Linz and Ruiz, “Learning About Mental Healthcare in Today’s Cuba.”
- Linz and Ruiz, “Learning About Mental Healthcare in Today’s Cuba.”
- Linz and Ruiz, “Learning About Mental Healthcare in Today’s Cuba.”
- Levins and Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist, 288.
- Nafis Hasan, “Biology at Another Crossroads,” Science for the People, July 18, 2022, https://magazine.scienceforthepeople.org/lewontin-special-issue/biology-at-another-crossroads/.
- Carlos L. Garrido, “The Dialectical Ascension from the Abstract to the Concrete,” Midwestern Marx, July 28, 2022, https://www.midwesternmarx.com/articles/the-dialectical-ascension-from-the-abstract-to-the-concrete-by-carlos-l-garrido.