— Francesco Bellafante (@iameinstein) April 7, 2017
The brand new greatest story ever told… is about Albert Einstein’s Unheralded Prescription for Peace and why he was like @thedigitaljesus of our time.
I’m compelled to suggest that Albert Einstein’s free will skepticism–his belief that a person is mistaken in thinking that he or she could have done other than he or she did–is an unheralded prescription for peace that this insightful genius left for the benefit of humanity.
I’m compelled to champion this idea within the suicide prevention community. We have GPS technology and many other modern marvels because of Einstein’s genius insights about reality. It’s time to consider leveraging Einstein’s apparent genius insight into the human condition too.
A world full of people who genuinely view free will as an illusion, and who are committed to maximizing well-being is a world without shame. It’s a world without egotistical pride. It’s a world without revenge–a world without hate of self or others. It’s a world full of people being compassionate, loving and grateful.
Recognizing that we may have already extracted as much utility from the likely fictional idea that human beings are autonomous agents consciously controlling their thoughts, feelings, and actions and therefore their lives, is an important conversation that I don’t hear many people in suicide prevention and mental health advocacy having. I’m committed to changing that reality. Recognizing the likelihood that free will is an illusionary creation of humanity is a silver bullet capable of piercing the heart of the stigma surrounding “mental illness.”
It’s evident to me that Einstein would have said that believing in free will is a major risk factor for depression and becoming suicidal.
It’s time to seriously consider Einstein’s conception of what it means to be a human being. This guy was clever enough to notice that humanity was grossly misperceiving the foundational building blocks of our reality–time and space. Is it so incredible to fathom that Einstein might have had profound insights into the illusory nature of the “self” and free will worthy of our attention and consideration?
Einstein’s conception of what a human being is and how reality works would suggest that we reconsider how we approach describing the problem of human suffering, including the suffering that leads people to die by suicide.
Dear Serial Podcast producers:
In 1993 I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame in just three and a half years, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
In 1998 I had a near death experience in the back of an ambulance due to semi-intentionally caused acute carbon monoxide poisoning. I drew this picture during my first ever stay in a mental hospital.
In 2002, less than a year after I learned that my birth name literally translates to “candid catnip soldier” and within several weeks of watching the movie The Bourne Identity, I trespassed at CIA headquarters with a large framed poster of Albert Einstein with his tongue sticking out, while in possession of marijuana. After being questioned for a few hours, I was cited for two misdemeanors and released.
The next day I told my father a story about what had happened.
Subsequently my father told a story based on the story I told him to my mother and my older brother.
Twelve days later my mother and brother told a story to Dr. Michael Marcus, a psychiatrist, based on the story they had heard from my father.
Without asking me a single question about the story Dr. Marcus had been told by my mother and brother, he committed me to a for-profit mental hospital for emergency involuntary medical care.
Hours later, Dr. Caroline Ekong reportedly read the civil commitment document filled out by Dr. Marcus about why I needed emergency medical care. Without ever seeing or speaking with me, Dr. Ekong directed staff at the mental hospital to treat me with an oral antipsychotic.
I respectfully refused to swallow the medication, and requested to speak with Dr. Ekong before she began providing me with medical care.
Staff at the mental hospital informed me that Dr. Ekong was not at the hospital, and was not willing to speak with me by telephone. I was told that if I continued to refuse medical care, that I would be injected with a different antipsychotic medication.
The hospital staff did not inform me of the potential “side-effects” of the two antipsychotics which include a non-zero chance of causing death due to Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.
I refused to swallow the oral antipsychotic, but I did not resist the hospital staff when they injected me with Haldol.
Subsequently, I agreed to take the oral antipsychotic medication due to the horrible state of consciousness induced by the Haldol.
Dr. Ekong restored my inalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness on the same day that my “civil commitment” for involuntary medical care was subject to review by a judge in a court of law.
Four years later, in October of 2006 I made another unauthorized visit to CIA headquarters in order to illustrate ways to improve this country’s mental health care system, and was cited for trespassing again. Judge T. Rawles Jones of the Eastern District Court of Virginia presided over the ensuing 18 minute trial where I defended myself, and was found not guilty.
Nine years later in late 2015, I watched Sam Harris’s 2012 talk at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas about the illusory nature of free will.
In May of 2016, while working on a memoir manuscript about how the events described above led me to view the life of free will skeptic, Albert Einstein, as “the brand new greatest story ever told,” I learned that Christopher Frick, a 21 year old man whom Dr. Ekong had civilly committed in 2013, stabbed her to death in October of 2015.
A couple days later I posted this on Instagram:
“Imagine if judges in our legal system could imprison suspects and order them to be injected with potentially life-threatening substances without meeting or speaking with them. Imagine if imprisoned criminal suspects and criminals were financially responsible for paying fees for being in prison, including one to the judge who jailed them. These ideas are just as absurd as a reality in the mental health care system as they would be if they were part of our legal system.
I don’t seek attention for my anecdotal experience with mental health care mistreatment for the purpose of retributive justice or sympathy, and unlike some survivors of less than optimal behavioral health care, I do not want to burn the existing system to the ground. Rather, my motivation for sharing this story publicly is to increase awareness about human rights violations occurring within our mental health care system in order to inspire social change and systemic reform. Caroline Ekong and Christopher Frick are victims of the same thing: a broken, but fixable behavioral healthcare system.”
In October of 2016, after securing an appointment with Vice President Biden and/or his policy staff at the White House to introduce him/them to the executive leadership of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I submitted this story to the creators of Serial.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Dear Mr. David M. Larabell,
Mr. Kevin Huvane,
Mr. Ari Emanuel,
Mr. Bryan Lourd,
Mr. Richard Lovett,
Mr. Patrick Whitesell,
Mr. Brian Swardstrom,
Ms. Tracey Jacobs,
Ms. Sharon Jackson,
Mr. Sam Gores,
Mr. Jeremy Zimmer, and
Ms. Theresa Peters
Cc: Mr. Matt Damon
Mr. Jeff Skoll
Mr. Harvey Weinstein
I am writing to see if you would be open to having a conversation with me to discuss a unique and valuable storytelling opportunity for you, and how you can help hasten the coming of the day when suicide is no longer one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States.
100 second teaser trailer – https://youtu.be/ItHa13dpy9I
I will send you the complete story summary by the end of business 6/27/16. (See https://medium.com/me/stories/public for a work in progress partial draft.) After developing this true story for well over a decade, I’m reaching out to all of you now because I’m confident that, after reading the summary, at least one of you will think the goal below is a sure thing.
Receive an opening bid for committed of no less than 1 cent more than the inflation adjusted value of monies received by Mr. Matt Damon and Mr. Ben Affleck for their work in connection with the film Good Will Hunting.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
frank talk about suicide at http://iameinstein.com
@iameinstein on Twitter
The “brand new greatest story ever told” is about Albert Einstein.
I have still not finished the complete story summary I intended to deliver by 6/27/18. My new deadline for delivery is July 13th.
This video includes clips from a few different vignettes from seven years ago when my strategy for sharing the story I wanted to tell and the lessons learned from it was focused on telling the story via a dramatic feature length film. While I still resolutely believe in the story’s inherent appeal for movie-going audiences in America and beyond, I’m not married to the idea of it first being shared via that medium necessarily.
“Andy DuFraine” is the person speaking in this video; he came across YouTube videos I was posting online back in 2009 and initiated a dialogue with me. We barely knew each other back then when he recorded this audio where he shares some flattering and optimistic feedback about his vision of the potential positive impact of the activism work I was and am now again engaged in, to fight suicide.
I hope he’s right.