Brave New Horizons

Good morning.

Neil Postman 1995 “Am I Using This Technology? Or Is It Using Me?”

A few intentions for a series of blogs.

Video description:

‘100 Years of Military Mental Health was hosted by King’s College London on 15 November 2018 and chaired by the Rt Hon the Lord Geidt KCB GCVO OBE QSO FKC, Chairman of the Council.

Be the first to hear about our future webinars and events by updating your details today – https://www.kcl.ac.uk/alumni/keep-in-…

On the panel were Professor Sir Simon Wessely MD, FRCP, FRCPSYCH, FMEDSCI, Regius Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director, King’s Centre for Military Health Research; Melanie Waters OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Help for Heroes; and Professor Neil Greenberg BM, BSc, MMedSc, FHEA, MFMLM, DOccMed, MEWI, MInstLM, MFFLM, MD, FRCPsych, Professor of Defence Mental Health.’

‘100 Year’s of Military Mental Health’

I find this to be a very interesting discussion to *listen* to (I have not watched it)  in lots of ways. ‘Stigma’ is a word that is used a lot, which is to be expected these days. I must be one of the few people on earth who doesn’t really understand what stigma means.

‘Daily Mail’ was mentioned in a hostile way by one of the panellists at least twice. Was the newspaper being stigmatised?

There is much to unravel. It has pushed me to learn about shell shock and how it ‘evolved’ into PTSD and related disorders, and different methods of treatment and experiments on humans and animals… It will  take me on a journey from somewhere not very long before the First World War to the aftershock of the publication of DSM-3 (or 4.)

That will hopefully keep me occupied for a significant fraction of my spare time between now and next Easter.

I am also going to compile as much information as possible about the life of Julian Huxley. It is going to be my first serious attempt at performing research methodically, which in turn will help me stay focussed during my  WW1-DSM studies. If that goes well I think David Nutt might be the next person on my list, alongside the study of assisted suicide and euthanasia etc.

There was one comment by a panellist which caught my attention most at round about the 45-minute mark. Which I will come back to at some point between now and Good Friday.

….

My interest in Julian Huxley has been egged-on by something in a recent article by John Gray in the New Statesman…

9th February 2022

The sinister return of eugenics

The sinister return of eugenics

‘There is a direct line connecting early 20th-century eugenics with 21st-century transhumanism. The link is clearest in the eugenicist and “scientific humanist” Julian Huxley (1887-1975). In 1924 Huxley wrote a series of articles for the Spectator, in which he stated that “the negro mind is as different from the white mind as the negro from the white body”. By the mid-Thirties, Huxley had decided that racial theories were pseudoscience and was a committed anti-fascist.

He had not abandoned eugenics. In a lecture entitled “Eugenics in an Evolutionary Perspective”, delivered in 1962, Huxley reasserted the value of eugenic ideas and policies. Earlier, in 1951, in a lecture that appeared as a chapter in his book New Bottles for New Wine (1957), he had coined the term “transhumanism” to describe “the idea of humanity attempting to overcome its limitations and to arrive at fuller fruition”.

Huxley is a pivotal figure because he links eugenics with its successor ideology. Rutherford devotes only a sentence to him, noting that he advised his friend Wells on the 1932 film adaptation of The Island of Dr Moreau. But Huxley merits more extensive and deeper examination, for he illustrates a fundamental difficulty in both eugenics and transhumanism. Who decides what counts as a better kind of human being, and on what basis is the evaluation made?’

These two sentences particularly  intrigue me:

‘Huxley is a pivotal figure because he links eugenics with its successor ideology. Rutherford devotes only a sentence to him, noting that he advised his friend Wells on the 1932 film adaptation of The Island of Dr Moreau.’

Why did Adam Rutherford, the next president of  Humanists UK, devote only one sentence to Julian Huxley?

I look forward to reading Mr. Rutherford’s book. But I don’t intend to start reading it until May of next year.

That’ll do.

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