— Francesco Bellafante (@iameinstein) April 7, 2017
In 2002 a psychiatrist unjustly stripped me of my liberty and the right to pursue happiness because I fit a description of a type of “episode” (manic) listed in the DSM, eleven years before the NIMH abandoned research oriented on the nosology. I don’t argue that I did not exhibit some behaviors that matched some of the diagnostic criteria for mania as described in the DSM. That said, it’s a fact that my doctor patently mistreated me by claiming that I had delusions without ever asking me a single question related to my ostensible false beliefs guiding my presumed to be utterly unreasonable behavior (trespassing at the CIA with weed and a big poster of Albert Einstein with his tongue sticking out).
You necessarily took action to have the police waiting outside your office prior to your examination of me, and to this day, you and I have still never exchanged a single word about my unauthorized visit to CIA headquarters in 2002. Four federal CIA police officers and a staffer from the CIA questioned me for about three hours with a degree of professionalism that still blows my mind, especially considering that I pulled this stunt just forty-one days before the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It’s worth pointing out that these men, despite the fact that I was in possession of a controlled substance when I illegally trespassed at the CIA, decided to release me on my own recognizance versus throw me into a jail cell for the night, pending arraignment. Things played out the way they did for me at the CIA because the people there that I spoke with were open to hearing a reasonable explanation for my actions… which is precisely what they received from me… and precisely why they let me go.
You and Dr. Ekong on the other hand, were patently not open to even attempting to reason with me. You failed to give me a chance to explain my actions before stripping me of my liberty, and she treated me with a potentially life-threatening medication before ever meeting or speaking with me. It is clear to me, as I am confident that it will be to many others, that the forces of institutional corruption in psychiatry were at work in your respective decisions. The knowledge that you had about what happened at the CIA was the by-product of a five-person game of Telephone or Whisper Down the Lane. I told my father some of what happened that day, without much explanation as to why at all. My father told my mother. My mother told my brother. And then my afraid-for-the-life-of-her-son mother told you. You did what you did, and then Dr. Ekong became Telephone/Whisper Down the Lane player number six. The assumptions that you both necessarily made about me are gross examples of professional misconduct.
While you were very sympathetic about the anxiety experienced by your patient’s mother, you failed to even try to understand me, your patient, whom I believe you assumed was psychotic. The fact that I was exhibiting some of the symptoms of a “mental disorder” described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—a nosology disavowed in 2013 by Dr. Thomas Insel, the former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health—is a pathetically inadequate justification for involuntarily subjecting me to forced care that could have ended my life.
You can read the whole letter here.
Revising Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation to propagate free will skepticism…
You believe in free will. You believe that you have the freedom to choose. Every time you make a choice, you believe you consciously decide the course that your life is going to take. You believe you are the conscious author of your thoughts and intentions. As a believer in free will, you believe these propositions not because they make you feel good, but because you think they are true. Before I point out some of the problems with these beliefs, I would like to acknowledge that there are many points on which you and I agree. We agree, for instance, that if one of us is right, the other is wrong. You have the freedom to choose or your don’t. You are constantly consciously deciding the course that your life is going to take or you are not. We agree that to be a true believer in free will that all free will skeptics are mistaken, and profoundly so. If believers in free will are correct, and I persist in my unbelief, I should expect to suffer derision for the rest of my days. Worse still, I have persuaded others, some close to me, to reject the very idea of free will. They too will languish in contempt. If the basic doctrine of the belief in free will is correct, I am misusing my time in a wasteful way. I admit this without a single caveat. The fact that my continuous and public rejection of free will since the end of 2015 does not worry me in the least should suggest to you just how inadequate I think your reasons for being a believer in free will are.
To be continued…