LET me begin with a disclaimer: There are many ailments both mild and severe which might afflict us at any time however we live our lives. But …
The one thing all today’s therapeutic methods have in common is that they have no moral or ethical aspect. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said: Christianity says that sound doctrines alone are all useless. You have to change your life.’
When it comes to our physical ailments, there is no shortage of advice and this advice often takes the form of a diktat about how many hundredweight of fruit and veg we should eat each day and how few thimblefuls of wine or egg cups of beer we should drink.
Our jailers who, by the way, are always ordering us not to be judgmental, themselves wax extremely judgmental when it comes to beer, wine and spirits. They always refer to these refreshments as alcohol, as if we were all guzzling meths straight from the fluted bottle.
This language of disparagement and disapproval is called dysphemism and it is selective according to the prejudices of the person using it.
The opposite of dysphemism is of course euphemism, and the choice and application of any particular euphemism also betrays the prejudices of the speaker.
Thus, fornication is called free love.
The massacre of the innocent – 200,000 every year in the UK – is not murder, but abortion. And not even that: The preferred word is termination.
We notice, they left off the prefix ex.
The practice of extermination is called choice.
Now what if we began to add a moral ingredient to consideration of our mental and spiritual health – that which is now called wellbeing?
We find we have landed once again in the realm of the prejudiced euphemism as our amoral jailers instruct us that our wellbeing depends on our having self-esteem.
But what if self-esteem is very bad for us and we might even engender in ourselves a lethal dose of it?
In its tertiary stage, the disease of self-esteem is called narcissism.
All the diktats of our jailers are to be found daily in their instruction manuals: The newspapers, the magazines and TV. The purpose of these diktats is to inculcate narcissism.
We are told we have a right to be happy and that the way to achieve happiness is to focus on our own feelings and desires.
The evidence for this abounds and, just to prove I’m a real academic and not some sleepyhead like Wittgenstein, let me offer the fruits of my research in the form of extracts from the daily diktats:
‘We all carry unresolved trauma,’ says Harry.
We don’t need to look beautiful for anyone else – just for ourselves.
Corsets have taught me the joy of keeping it all in.
We need young women writers now more than ever before.
In her new column, Rosie Green explains why she’s putting enjoyment before body angst.
I’m part of a lost generation of women with ADHD.
Why I crowdfunded for a breast reduction.
I had written a book, grown courgettes and broken something in my brain.
Newly separated with badly dyed hair was not what I had in mind at 47.
We need calorie counts on alcohol to curb our kamikaze excesses.
After a year at home, every child in Britain is vulnerable.
No longer fear a sliver of silver, but is it time to go Full Grey?
They really put me at ease and answered all my fitness and health questions.
Rare ant is first to be given a gender-neutral species name.
What I’ve learnt from 371 panic attacks.
How to stop worrying about the future.
‘Line of Duty’ is fuelling a mental health crisis in real policing.
Don’t underestimate the power of undies.
Eco-distress is a meaningful response to climate emergency, says psychiatrists’ group.
How mindfulness has made us more anxious.
The science behind slow dieting.
Will I have itchy red spots on my feet for the rest of my life?
‘The muscles that need warming up are your self-esteem,’ says Zoe.
None of this stuff works. It’s all me. Try some not-me. Think about something else. Stop thinking myself and think of how I might give myself away.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it – Matthew 16:25