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'Denialism: what drives people to reject the truth' by Keith Kahn-Harris

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Melanie, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Melanie

    Melanie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  2. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/may/06/healthandwellbeing.health2

    Many thanks MS for making me aware of Keith Kahn-Harris. He comes across as a distinctly sane, switched on, and very interesting person.
     
  3. Kalliope

    Kalliope Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Keith Kahn-Harris' text you linked to is excellent. As topical today as it was when published ten years ago, perhaps even more so.

    Crude applications of the psychiatric model of ME may have caused a lot of damage, but they are in line with common perceptions of ill-health. ME is still often treated as a battle to be won. To be cautious, to listen to the needs of one's own body, is to "give in".
    ..
    ME has forced me to embrace a healthy lifestyle: yet this should be possible for everyone, not just those with a chronic illness. But how many "healthy" people feel obliged to come into work when sick? How many "productive" people feel exhausted much of the time and are dissatisfied with the maelstrom of modern life? Is "pushing yourself" whether you are sick or well always laudable? It is unsurprising that there is disenchantment among many well people at the pressures of daily life.
    ...
    My hope is that an increase in public awareness of ME will not simply lead to more and better treatment of the condition - although that is clearly crucial - but to a wider appreciation of the lessons it offers to everyone.
     
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  4. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've been kind of hunting for a place to share this. It's about American politics right now, but it is a really, REALLY good lesson on why people argue using things they know are lies. I'd love to hear what you-all think about it.

    Be sure to click on the tweet so that you can see the whole thread. It's long, but worth it.

     
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  5. Melanie

    Melanie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  6. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well done!
     
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  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  8. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yep.

    I've said for a long time that the psycho-oriented within society (about 1% I believe), model the world differently to how most normal people do. Most folk have the notion of what is true and what is untrue, and that deliberately and knowingly stating an untruth is a lie; the notion of truthfulness and lying is pretty core to what makes us tick, and how we behave.

    But the 1%ers, I strongly believe, model the world very differently, driven by cause and effect. And when I say model the world differently, I mean exactly that, core to their mindset, their belief system, what makes them tick ... I don't think they can comprehend anything else. So if stating a truth elicits the effect they want then they will state it, and if an untruth does the trick then they will state that - I really don't think they filter what they say or how they behave on the basis of truth/untruth, but only on the the basis of cause/effect. And I genuinely think they have immense difficulty (and probably negligible motivation) comprehending the truth/untruth model of others. I think they just state whatever is most likely to provoke the effect they desire; the notion of truth and untruth existing in our minds not theirs - I suspect for them it is an alien concept. I also suspect they are disdainful of people who model the world differently to them.
     
  9. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't think it's unique to psych folk, unfortunately.
     
  10. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  11. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree, asking them to explain their actions is giving them a chance to not only legitimize but convince people that their actions are acceptable.
    Open mindedness is an excuse, the search for the truth starts with rejecting evil, a road too far for many, they actually want evil.
    If i say more it'll probably get deleted by the mods so i'll leave it there.
     
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  12. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm on an argumentation kick. :)
     
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  13. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am reminded of this clip :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  14. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The decline in quality of those attempting to defend PACE keeps reminding me of this one:

     
  15. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Wow, I'd never seen the true end of that sketch! A classic.
     
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  16. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    I don't want to be overly nit-picky, but a couple of phrases from Kahn-Harris' piece - the one Kalliope shared - leave me a little unsettled
    These phrases hint at a "stress" model of ME - that it is a symptom of the stresses of modern life.

    So maybe just worth tempering that eagerness till we know a little more?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2018
  17. Kalliope

    Kalliope Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Huh - I didn't read it like that, but do see your point.

    I believe a disease like ME is perhaps particularly provocative in today's society, so interpreted it into that context.
     
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  18. Robert 1973

    Robert 1973 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My thoughts exactly. That was partly why I invited him to join the forum. I can understand how somebody who is quite mildly affected might be inclined to frame things in such a way but it does not resonate with my experience. Yes, I believe that any illness can give you cause to reflect on the stresses and strains of modern life and to question your values and those of others. If I am ever lucky enough to regain my health, my decisions about how to lead my life will undoubtedly be informed by my experience of living with illness and disability – and it may well be that some healthy people could benefit from an insight into such experience – but the bottom line is that healthy people have a multitude of freedoms and choices which I am denied, and it is unhelpful to think of my illness as merely an extension of what a healthy person experiences, as though there were a continuum of experience. There is not.

    What I have learnt from my experience of being unwell is the impossibility of enjoying any sort of quality of life when one is in constant discomfort and/or pain, and one’s mobility, cognitive function and ability to participate in most normal daily activities are severely restricted. Contrary to what Kahn-Harris wrote in 2008, I very much perceive my illness as an alien which needs to be evicted, although I appreciate the importance of trying to accept the limits which are imposed on me by my illness, and the importance of trying to live as good a life as is possible within those limits.

    I’m unsure to what extent I am disagreeing with Kahn-Harris, but at the very least I felt there were ambiguities in what he wrote which were open to interpretations that I would not necessarily consider to be helpful to someone wishing to understand my experience.

    Perhaps such concerns were among his reasons for not writing about ME in his book on denialism. I know that as someone who for a long time was not involved with the ME community I had many concerns about writing about my experience of living with ME for fear that I might get things wrong or say things which other patients might consider unhelpful or inappropriate.

    Here are my embedded Tweets to which others have referred:




    I hope Keith Kahn-Harris may be persuaded to join the forum in due course.

    [Edited to correct typos]
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  19. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Well done with those tweets, @Robert 1973 . Very well put. And I agree with the rest of your post. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.
     
  20. Diluted-biscuit

    Diluted-biscuit Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Personally I think some people that have terrible diseases or injuries use things like “it’s made me a better person” or “I’ve learnt so much” as coping mechanisms to deal with the awfulness of not being healthy.

    That’s not to say it’s a bad thing as such, anything that helps us cope mentally with being so impaired is great but we don’t need to be disabled to be better people and I look forward to the day when medical science means we don’t have to be sick.
     
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