Insanity Mental Illness Thomas Szasz Helena Beristin Grupo George Orwell Marketing Position


Mental illness does not exist.

Mental illness is a metaphor.

In order to justify my assertion it is indispensable to know certain facts. Getting to this conclusion will require some review of how it became a “fact” for so many people; instead of the fantasy it really is. A forensic cannot find it in any corpse at all, while he can find cancer, diabetes, and any other physical manifestation. A forensic cannot find schizophrenia, psychosis, or the new list there exists in the new Diagnosis Statistics Manual (no statistics in it, though.)

 “Mental illness” is a brand like Colgate or Coca-Cola.

 If something, mental illness must be hypnosis.

 How come people started to believe in mental illness as something organic?

 If we see this way, we may find out if it does exist or not. When we regard “mental illness” as a brand and we follow the rules of marketing to understand how it was created, it is discovered as one of the most successful public relations, marketing and advertising campaigns in the world. The magnitude of the process of how it was done required plain genius.

 Let’s start from the beginning.

 Dr. Thomas Szasz has demonstrated beyond any doubts that the mental illness (or mental disease, or any of its brand names) does not exist. Its existence is null. We have people who act irrationally, we have strange conduct and behavior, but we do not have anyone being “sick”. If a forensic opened a corpse s/he will find no schizophrenia, no “schizococo” as a medical doctor put it, nothing but physical illnesses, cancer, diabetes mellitus, cold bacteria, influenza viruses, etc.

There is no “mental illness”. Even syphilis, which provokes dementia, is organic, not mental.

That should be obvious.

So how was that something that does not exist came to reside in the minds of people as a fact?

The story of redefinition of such words as “psyche”, “mind”, “mental illness”, “mental health”, is simply marvelous. George Orwell in the appendixes of 1984, gives us the theory. It is very old, and in the past, it was called “rhetoric”. We need to study it in order to prove the non-existence of mental illness. 

Rhetoric is the art and technique of operating with words and concepts. Currently, in France and Mexico there are linguists working still on the subject, but it is empirically well known by any poet.

More recently (well, more or less 20 years ago) Al Ries and Jack Trout the marketing gurus developed a theory on how to put a brand in the minds of people. They called it, “Positioning” and defined like this, “Positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.” Even if their creators did not know this theory, they knew how to change the meaning of words which later George Orwell summarized in the appendixes of his ground breaking novel 1984.

In the case of the “mental illness”, the challenge was to position the idea in the mind of the universities’ and college’s students, and their faculty’s. That is why most of them believe blindly in the “mental illness” as a fact.

And Al Ries and Jack Trout continue,

“The basic approach of positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what’s already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist.”

What was “already up there in the mind” in order “to retie” its connections? Well, according to Szasz, at the beginning there were “witches”, “possessed by Satan” and of course “heretics” and Jews. Later the Inquisition was secularized (in England and Scotland, by the way) to be used by the State.

Later the Inquisition was transformed into psychology and psychiatry. This miraculous transformation is one of the greatest marketing stunts ever practiced in the minds of people. It required a redefinition of words in ways no one ever could imagine so easily, if by this times, we did not know about marketing the way we do.

Even if not knowing these words (still from Trout’s mouth), the rhetors, the operators on the language there in Germany (1879), did exactly this, “In the communication jungle out there, the only hope to score big is to be selective, to concentrate on narrow targets, to practice segmentation. In a word, “positioning”.

Of course, as stated above, they positioned narrowing the target to university medical doctors, removing the Inquisition from the religious field and putting it in the “scientific”, “medical” field.

Next in Al Ries and Jack Trout’s words, it is stated what we could regard as the typical true believer’s motto, “‘Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up.’ That’s a way of life for most people.”

The new “physicians” (psychiatrists and psychologists) banked on the worst of men’s weaknesses in social life, fanaticism. Al Ries and Jack Trout solvee a problem that more than a century ago, the new group of psychologists and psychiatrists had already solved,

“You look for the solution to your problem inside the prospect’s mind…Positioning is an organized system for finding a window in the mind…The easy way to get into a person’s mind is to be first.”

Our heroes in this story, the psychiatrists and psychologists were able to be the first ones in using medicine for “curing” mental illnesses from that point of view; it did not matter if the Gheel town people in Belgium had been doing something effective in the field of “lack of reason” for more or less 700 years!

This incredible feat is staggering, considering that psychiatrists and psychologists started more or less in 1879 to infiltrate (exactly what they did) the universities and colleges, hospitals, and then courts and churches.

We can see their reach from there on. The technique was very, very effective.

 Many people almost magically, accepted mental illness as a real illness, and accepted their treatments almost without a protest. The consequences are obvious: many people still think of them as facts, not noticing anything out of the ordinary. Let’s see some of the conclusions from this redefinition of words,

Since they wear white robes, psychiatrists are physicians (even though they are not treating or curing any physical illness). There is “mental health” instead of rationality There is a need for psychiatric hospitals (for the psychiatrists to treat “mentally ill patients”). People who act strangely are “mentally ill people”. Psychiatrists and psychologists treat people of a true illness, with electro-shocks, adverse reaction drugs and other destructive treatments, but taken as “healing”. Psychologists and psychiatrists have patients. All mentally ill people are patients. The psychiatrists’ classification book (DSM IV or V, or whatever) is scientifically produced (in reality, every new “mental illness” is voted for, not researched for). Psychiatrists are scientists who do have protocols and their congresses are scientific exchanges. Psychiatric drugs are medicines and medications, not poisons given to patients. Psychiatrists diagnose patients, when, in fact, those patients have been misdiagnosed by psychiatrists suffering from nothing organic or from a missed organic illness. Psychiatrists and psychologists are capable of solving social problems, when really they create a lot of social problems.

This stunt was marvelous and apparently, it will continue to be held as a big fat lie for the following years to come.

Therefore, as a conclusion, mental illness does not exist at all. If at all, it is just hypnosis made by using marketing positioning techniques, which many people believe now as the main dogma of a new materialistic pseudo-religion.


Positioning, The Battle for your mind, by Al Ries, Jack Trout.

The Myth of Mental Illness; Manufacture of Madness, both by Thomas Szasz:

1984 by George Orwell:.

Retórica General by Grupo μ

Diccionario de Retórica y Poética by Helena Beristái

Diccionario de Retórica y Poética