I sometimes run into people that try to tell me that my views on psychiatry are wrong because “depression is a real problem” and so forth. I’m not, and have never disputed whether or not the phenomena that psychiatrists observe in the DSM are acutally observable. They definitely are. It’s what is then done with that observation that sets apart psycho-pharmacology and every other profession of earth.
By drugging to “ameliorate symptoms” (actual words used in drug literature) they’re looking to numb the observability of the symptoms rather than handle the root cause.
What if Sysadmins Operated like Psychiatrists?
So, to illustrate this, what if a system administrator operated like a psychiatrist?
Scenario: A user comes up to the sysadmin, frantic. He says, “You need to help me – the server is down.”
When asked what behaviour he’s seeing, he says that there’s a message on the screen saying it can’t connect to the server.
“Ah – so your problem is that you’re seeing an error message on the screen!”
The sysadmin would then have an array of powerful tools at his disposal to handle the problem he can:
- Hang a piece of construction paper over the screen so that the user can no longer see the error message
- Install a plugin on his browser to suppress the error message from coming up,
- Write some dummy code to make the user think the site is working when it’s in fact not
- Simply power off the computer (as it will then no longer display the error message)
- Change the user’s computer’s UI language to Icelandic so that he can’t understand whether the software is working or not (“It says – ‘Þessi hugbúnaður er completetely helvíti!’ — that must mean it’s working!!”
- Hook up a monitor from someone else’s computer to the user’s desktop, so they can think they’re doing work
There are a nearly infinite number of ways that a sysadmin could go about describing the problem describing how the error makes you feel, etc.
One could say that the error message is due to an imbalance of electricity in the computer which is causing it to display an error message, and the handling is to rebalance things so that the error message doesn’t display.
None of these things fix the fact that the user cannot connect to the server and get work done.
Obviously, sysadmins cannot operate that way, as everyone knows that computer systems should work, and a good sysadmin can debug a system, find the root cause, handle it, and get the system working again.
Drug company marketing, however, has been working hard to convince the public that the root cause is a chemical imbalance in the brain (a marketing gimmick) or that the root cause can simply not be handled. One just “has a condition” which nothing can be done about except making it “easier to live with.”
This video on the marketing of insanity is worth a view. It’s good to know whether or not what’s been told to you as a “medical fact” is really just a marketing pitch to obscure the fact that the doctors you’re talking to don’t actually know how to handle the root cause of your problems.