A Dangerous Drug for a Disease that Doesn’t Exist
The Past is Prologue
A commercial you’ll wish you’d skipped: meet mascot Soothey
Do hole-pocked patterns creep you out? Here’s a radical idea: Stop looking at them! Turn off the gadgets. Unplug the digital intravenous. Open a book. There is no law of physics or logic compelling you to “ask your doctor about Tryposoothe,” the new-fangled miracle treatment for “a serious disorder that often goes undiagnosed.”
The ads are so creepy most viewers will wonder if they have it. Cole and Wilkins explained how this is a natural response to patterns that were often deadly to our prehistoric ancestors. Is it asking too much of Psychiatry to pretend that Evolutionary Biology exists and has something so say about defining “illness”? If it’s not a disorder in the Darwinian sense you’re pitching snake oil with scaremongering, not unlike a recent campaign to convince the public that opiates need not be addictive and everyone needs them.
SPOILER: Tryposoothe is a designer Benzo “specifically designed to reduce and re-balance the stress chemicals saturating receptors overloaded by the flight response this phobia triggers.” Behold the glossy brochure with a colorful graph and huggable homunculus and all shall be revealed.
You’d have to be peaking on acid to believe a word. Not to imply this was predictable, but there are Andromedan civilizations who saw it coming. Name a condition Benzos wouldn’t help in the short term. But are they necessary for an altered state actively sought in other cultures as a means of Quietude? It’s a “mental illness” on one continent but enlightenment on another. Psychiatry, you’re making baby Derrida cry. Our faith in you can no longer prevent Reformations.
(BTW, why did the suicide rate EXPLODE during a time when SSRIs became the third-most consumed substance after air and water? Shouldn’t that almost be impossible on a priori grounds? From now on you’ll need more than pens and clocks to distract us.)
Everyone’s a socialist but no one reads Lenin. Who stands to gain from these potions? The masses huddling at the feet of savage lotus pods? Please. Follow the cigar smoke.
Early Ad for Tryposoothe
A Reader’s Enraged Response to an “Empathy-Challenged” Writer
“You write that we should just ‘turn off the gadgets. Unplug the digital intravenous. Open a book.’ Thanks! Great advice, jackass. Is omniscience fun? Does G-d ever get jealous? What about those of us with intrusive thoughts — regardless of where we look? What about people like me who only lose control when we dream?”
A montage of his recurrent nightmares, based on a lengthy email exchange:
I sit up in a park on the outskirts of a city. Furious clouds tumble across the sky like boulders down a mountain and smokestacks of lightning turn the buildings into tombstones. Seven Lotus Pods surround me, cocking their heads inquisitively, beaming their thoughts to me, judging mine. Somehow we converse without speech and I can detect unique ideas from different Pods.
(“No, it’s not ‘interesting,’ as one shrink said. It’s the most disgusting and horrible thing I’ve ever experienced. I’d kill for a script that mellows this out. So what if it’s a Benzo! Not to get all cosmic on you, but maybe this is why these drugs exist. Be glad you don’t need to resort to drastic options. Who TF are you to tell my doctor what solutions he can utilize?”)
Two of Them part, permitting me to leave the circle. At my feet there’s a silver walking stick with a golden thermometer attached to one end. The Pods watch, their segmented blue eyes fixed on me. Per their sovereign decree, I retrieve the stick and head into town where people writhe on the ground clutching their throats. Some run amok through the streets dodging dog-sized rats and covering their mouths from whatever plague has doomed the others.
Serenely I approach a bank and hold up my staff to its sign. Darkness like ink spills across the sky but an auroral light surrounds the thermometer. The Lotus Pods examine the reading through my mind and dispatch me to another sign to measure its temperature.
The bank thermometers DO NOT correspond to the actual temperature, They insist. To prove this We need readings from other thermometers. But they might be lying too. This could be demonstrated by a third group. But if those thermometers are inaccurate We’ll need another set. There is a way to settle this for once and for good, to escape The Loop. Proceed.
“And eventually I wake up. But you can’t stay awake indefinitely, not that I haven’t tried. Tell me more about ‘turning off my gadgets!’ A designer Benzo sounds just about right.”
A Sympathetic Author Responds to the Dreamer of Holes
Face your fears, always, absolutely, directly. There are practical consideration you have neglected. Over the course of conquests innumerable I have found that an air of supreme self-assuredness is the most powerful aphrodisiac. Whining about failures, phobias, and addictions may net a stray mongrel, but if you wish to mount the prizes, you need to project confidence. Strive for fearlessness, not stupor.
Petronius Jablonski endured PTMD sans chemicals of any kind, sublimating the existential agony to create great Art. Perhaps these dreams have meanings you shouldn’t flee. Is it not curious how we once explored them to heal the psyche (the disguised fulfillments of suppressed wishes, said Freud) but now they’re shunned? Who stood to profit from the destruction of this paradigm?
The U.S. does not need another buckshot blast of an addictive pill (proven safe by two six-week studies!) Our deaths of despair can only be remedied by subtracting the despair, not by adding drugs. There is only one consolation for the Trypophobiac: You look as strange to them.
Pictures rejected for a Tryposoothe brochure: “not awful enough.”
Once upon a time, alternative explanations could at least be mentioned. On the Wiki page, the philosophical analysis provided by Jablonski occupied as much space as the reductive bio-materialism hooey. Then it was reduced to what you see below.
Then it disappeared. Now it’s gone. Take your Tryposoothe and stop asking questions!