2020-03-02

Declaration of the Freedom of Mind

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by Neil Godfrey

I found this declaration on https://medium.com/@bandyxlee/declaration-of-the-freedom-of-mind-f093fa0cd711 — Quite a revolutionary idea, yes?

. . . .

Written by Bandy X. Lee (Forensic psychiatrist, violence expert, president of the World Mental Health Coalition (dangerouscase.org), and editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”)

This statement originated from a meeting with citizen organizers in New York City on President’s Day, February 17, 2020, when we noted a public not lacking in resources or will but gripped with disappointment, demoralization, and despair at a government’s lack of concern for its citizens. The failure to grasp a problem of mental health had resulted in the failure of a political process (impeachment), and the psychological oppression of a populace was proving to be the most pernicious form of oppression of all. The phenomenon of oppression is no different from what our Founders experienced at the time of the Revolutionary War, but it needs updating, taking into account the psychological weapons that have become available. To help protect the most sacred right to freedom of mind, along with the nurturance and societal support that make it possible, we offer a tool for citizen groups to identify correctly and target precisely the problem, by drafting the following.

We at the World Mental Health Coalition believe that freedom of mind is a basic human right. It is at the core of all other freedoms and is fundamental to a working democracy. Without it, all rational systems break down. It is a right that is derived from the Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We declare that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the human right to freedom of mind are the principal cause of public disempowerment and oppression by governments. People denied of agency become easy tools of those intent on ruling, rather than serving, them. When this happens, police and prisons are no longer necessary: people themselves enthusiastically volunteer to their own servitude.

We therefore announce a solemn declaration of the natural, unalienable, and sacred human right to freedom of mind, as a derivation of the above Declarations. We aspire toward reminding the people continually that they have this right, that political bodies should not abuse or suppress it, and that social systems ought to protect and nurture it. With this awareness, we believe that the people, based on the simple laws of nature, will be empowered to live out their full potential to the happiness of all.

Therefore the World Mental Health Coalition recognizes and upholds the following human right to freedom of mind:

1. As stated in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, endowed with reason and conscience and the obligation to act towards one another in a humane spirit.

2. Everyone is entitled to make informed decisions for themselves. The people shall have access to information and the best available knowledge, including expertise, so that they can make informed choices about health care, education, distribution of wealth, and organization of power or other decisions that affect them. Access to information and knowledge is critical to the people’s ability to secure conditions that are necessary for their collective health, including mental health.

3. No one shall be held in mental slavery or servitude. Without being agents of their own minds, a people cannot make reasoned judgments and decisions that will help their situations. When information control, mass manipulation through lying, and thought reform are allowed to occur, mass hysteria and cults of personality replace informed, autonomous rule.

4. The people shall retain the right to have a wholesome environment for the mind. An environment that is flooded with false information, manipulative techniques, and malign psychological conditioning injures their mental health and stunts their ability to reach their full mental potential. Mental health professionals shall make recommendations for maintaining and reclaiming mental health and self-reliance.

5. Law is an expression of the general will. The people have a right to participate personally, or through a representative, in shaping laws that protect freedom of mind and prevent its slavery. Information from journalists, professionals, and whistleblowers increases freedom of mind and needs to be protected. Propaganda and large-scale psychological abuse and oppression should be identified and curtailed, just as other forms of violence and abuse, as impingement on others’ rights, are punishable by law.

6. Since freedom of mind is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived of it, actively or passively. Children shall be nurtured for healthy mental development, safety, and supportive education so that they may build autonomy and critical thinking skills. Adults shall be treated with dignity, whereby no locus of control shall be external, rather than internal, whether coerced or manipulated.

7. We recognize that society, as a whole, is far from perfect in mental health and that a healing process is necessary for even the awareness of mental health matters to grow. There shall be no abridging of speech, of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble around matters that affect their mental health.

. . .

Recommendation: Precisely at a time when the president is using his power to conceal Russian schemes to reelect him, and to muzzle health officials before an impending pandemic, this statement is all the more relevant. Use it to claim your rights! While we are seeking a governmental body or international organization to adopt it, it is our official interpretation, as a professional organization of mental health experts, of your rights.

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Neil Godfrey

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5 thoughts on “Declaration of the Freedom of Mind”

  1. “No one shall be held in mental slavery or servitude.”

    While I agree with the WMHC’s sentiments on “freedom of the mind” as a basic human right that is undermined by disinformation and propagandizing by governments, religions, and other agencies of power, they leave the idea of “mental slavery or servitude” completely undefined. This lapse robs these terms of objective meaning and promotes their abuse as subjective labels to apply to those we disapprove of, i.e. as playground insults. This is seemingly a case of, “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it.” Their manifesto would be more interesting if they had expressed themselves with greater exactitude.

    I also think their format, effectively as an article in a proposed Mental Bill of Rights, may not be the best approach. In America we had three foundational documents, the Declaration of Independence (brilliant!), the Constitution (meh), and the Bills of Rights (often brilliant). I think that a better approach, in terms of individual psychology, would take the form of a Declaration of Mental Independence. I see Mental Independence, not so much as a natural right, but as an achievement. Virtually everyone grows up propagandized, with often toxic inherited multi-faceted belief systems, but a few of us make a personal intellectual Declaration of Independence, challenging authority figures, challenging and testing ourselves and our own beliefs, overthrowing the tyranny of education and enculturation, achieving intellectual adulthood by choosing to think for oneself. This virtually never comes from outside us, but from inside, and is empowering when it occurs. We all have to throw off our own mental shackles.

    By the way I think Vridar is an excellent community of independent thinkers. Hats off to Neil.

  2. “Precisely at a time when the president is using his power to conceal Russian schemes to reelect him”

    If they oppose freedom of mind for Russians, they don’t support it for me. Or, for that matter, anyone.

  3. The fundamental problem that we face, that people have always faced, is that the majority of rich and powerful people, the leaders of the world, don’t give a f*** about the world, society, or anything other than their own power and privilege. At the very least they care less about the world than they do their own power and privilege.

    So it doesn’t matter what we think about these types of issues, because they people in power don’t want a rational thinking public anyway. They want servile, distracted workers, who will punch clocks, watch sports, and say “yes”, while being as little a burden as possible on them.

    The leaders of the world want disinformation, mental paralysis, information chaos, gas-lighting and mental slavery.

    The reality is that propaganda, disinformation and gas-lighting will only grow into the future, especially in America, where all of this is protected under the first amendment. Between America and China, both coming at the issue from opposite approaches, the prospects are pretty grim. The internet and mass media will ultimately be primarily means of the dissemination of misinformation.

  4. I’ve lost too many people to psychiatrists, and know a lot more than that with ruined lives thanks to them. They’ve a cheek: pot, kettle; kettle, black. No thanks.

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