THE OFF-TARGET FACTOR IN PERSISTING PROBLEMS

   Some problems appear to be intractable. Wrestled with year after year, they remain recalcitrant bones of contention. 
  I believe, contrary to the man who thinks his car will start if he can just kick it in the right place, that an "insolvable problem" is simply the selection of the "wrong problem."

   Consider the battle of the "pro-choicers" and the "pro-lifers." Lurking in the background of this argument is the real problem, the pressures of over population. This argument is only a convenient but off-target focus for an intensely emotional debate. Everyone can wave their arms and "flush out their livers."

   Let us look at a vast variety of related problems and see what they have in common:

   The destruction of the ozone layer.

   Global warming and an increase in the carbon dioxide level.

   General pollution of the atmosphere, lakes, rivers, and the ocean. Landfills overloaded and difficulties with the disposal of toxic and other wastes.

   There is even "noise pollution" and evidence that in neighborhoods with a high noise level, there is is reduction of Good Samaritan behaviour.

   Also, that even the behaviour of over crowded rats degenerates.

   The lowering of the water table and deforestation.

   The destruction of other species, and of each other in wars.

   The beginning of the "population wars," such as that of Hitler and his Nazis. He closed all the abortion clinics in Germany and proclaimed a subsequent need for "lebensraum" (living room) as a justification for the destruction of 6 million Jews and 20 million Russians. And oddly, this kind of "population war" can still be seen in the struggle of Israel to import 1 million Russian Jews to displace Palestinians.

   One's attention can be caught up in this whirligig of problems, but in each case it's too many people.

   Totally ignoring this underlying population pressure, was the preaching of an unconditional right to life (for humans) by the Bush administration. I.e., a right to unlimited population growth, a philosophy easily understood by a cancer cell.

   In addition, the policy of the modern Catholic Church among others, is not only anti-abortion, but anti-birth control.

   Yet at one time, the Church had an effective method of birth control. Large numbers became priests, nuns, and brothers; entering institutions with a vow of celibacy or abstinance. This policy in combination with a high death rate from the Black Plague, small pox, tuberculosis, and other diseases provided a measure of population control.

   Abortion is admittedly a relatively inefficient, harsh, and expensive form of birth control, but it does operate in the direction of population reduction. As do the equally harsh methods to which Mother Nature has been driven; starvation, pestilence and war.

   Abstinence, masturbation, homosexuality, controlled "petting," condoms, pills, and other birth control methods are milder and operate in the same direction.

   Palliative measures can be proposed for each of these problems resulting from over population, but they won't get any better until population growth is controlled.
                       ***
   Another off-target factor is in a "medical model treatment" of "mental illness" which does little but increase the number of enforced drug addictions and improve the finances of pharmaceutical companies. I believe this "biochemical deficiency" approach is off-target because it produces so few positive results.

   Here one can observe a "patient" caught up in a "phoney struggle" of resisting drugs which are supposed to "cure" him of his "illness."  "Treatment" which he considers punishment, and any "cure" as the result of suppression.

   Let us look at a possible alternative aproach, a sociological one. There is evidence that 60% of all mental hospital amissions have a history of prior abuse. Also, a person who has been abused will tend for some time after to actually evoke similar abuse from others.

   So during the formation of mental hospitals (as a solution), there could be a tendency for these to form as a "scientific" reflection of the original abuser. And so we would have the current mental health system as a bureaucracy which can abuse its clients by a policy of enforced "scientific drugging."

   An observation by Stanton and Schwartz, in a sociological study of The Mental Hospital (Basic Books, NY, 1954), found patient upsetness to correlate with staff disagreement. When the disagreement was resolved, the patient recovered! Whatever was going on, it wasn't a "biochemical deficiency," and the solution to "mental illness" might be sociological!

   The above examples indicate the potential value of locating the real problem when attempted solutions are consistently ineffective.

   Of course, it's much pleasanter to rest in the self-satisfied belief that "if I just kick this car in the right place it will start."

                        ***