Learning Opportunities


Houston We Have a Problem: The failure of modern psychiatry

I recently conducted an informal survey on my Twitter account, asking the question; “Do you believe institutionalized psychiatry prioritizes the profits of pharmaceutical companies over the well-being of patients?”.  It is worth noting that only 11 people responded, and the survey was not scientific because responders were not a random sample, instead responders were only those people who felt motivated enough to click.

The results were as follows:

Yes: 73%

No: 18%

The meds suck: 9%

I can’t say that I was surprised by the results, my own experience with the ‘pharmapsychiatry industry’ led me to suspect that my well-being was not the primary focus of treatment.

Modern psychiatric treatment, as with so many things in our society, is usually approached with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, and if my life has taught me anything it has taught me that most things in this society just do not fit me very well.

My psychiatrist was very firm in his belief that a strong anti-psychotic med was the only course of action, and no other strategy would be considered or discussed, period. I have never been violent, I have never been suicidal, however his approach was no different than the way he would have treated his most violent and suicidal of patients, something was not right.

What my doc failed to understand was that his approach robbed me of my most precious gifts, my energy, my creativity, and my uniqueness. As my survey seems to suggest, I am not alone in my dissatisfaction with the treatment offered by modern psychiatry, and the meds really do suck!

In Canada, and in fact, globally, we are experiencing a natural disaster of sorts. Mental illness is literally at epidemic proportions. According to ‘The Canadian Mental Health Association’, 50% of the population will have experienced a mental illness by the time they are 40. The costs of this level of mental illness to the economy are staggering. A study conducted by Health Canada (The Report on Mental Illness in Canada, 2002) concluded that the cost burden on the health care system was estimated to be $7.9 billion, with an additional $6.3 billion for uninsured health services and time lost at work.

In addition to the economic costs, the personal costs of mental illness are perhaps even more significant, particularly for our youth. Suicide is the second-highest leading cause of death among the 15-24 year age group accounting for 4000 deaths per year in Canada, and what is society’s response? “Here, take a pill and get over it”.

I think that our whole approach to treating mental illness is misguided, and primarily controlled by the profit motive. There is no pill, no treatment and no therapy that can cure us of the fundamental cause of everyone’s mental illness. We are an unhappy and unfulfilled species.

The source of our unhappiness is clear to me. The expectation to go to school, get a job, earn a living and pay our bills overwhelms all of the aspirations and dreams we had when we were young. Our genius and hopes have been well and truly squashed by the capitalistic greed that currently rules the day, but what can we do?

The filmmaker Phil Borges is working on a project he calls “Crazywise”, in which he visited aboriginal communities globally and investigated how they deal with individuals who are ‘different’. A common theme emerged, instead of ostracizing and marginalizing individuals who experienced a mental health crisis, these people were mentored and taught how to use their difference in a positive way and contribute meaningfully to their society. People who are outcasts in modern society are the shaman and truth seers in traditional communities.

Mr. Borges thesis came as something of a revelation to me, but it made perfect sense in the context of my own difficulties and subsequent spiritual awakening.  Once I was able to stop using toxic medications and start meditating and seeing my difference as a gift, things began to fall into place. It would be a mistake to assume that introspection and meditation will work for everyone, but it has certainly worked for me.

It is an unfortunate reality that people currently seeking help for their mental illnesses are sent into a bottomless pit of pharmacopoeia, but the answer to society’s collective unhappiness does not lie in medications that make rich people richer, rather it lies in the realization that we each bring our own gifts to the table, even if that means we perceive things a little differently than everyone else. We just need to learn how to exploit the boogeyman under the bed.

Here’s to being different!

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I have tasted the bittersweet waters – the intoxicating currents – the eddies – the undertow

They transported me – carried me to – insightful – creative – dark – places

Mind Spaces – Infinite Connectives

lost to me now

spare brief glimpses

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Formal Comments on the Ontario Pollinator Health Legislative Proposal

January 24, 2015


Ontario Pollinator Health
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
E-mail: pollinatorhealth@ontario.ca

Dear Sir;

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on “Pollinator Health: A Proposal for Enhancing Pollinator Health and Reducing the Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Ontario”.  I applaud this legislative initiative and the Government of Ontario for taking the lead in North America on this important subject.

The global decline in pollinator diversity and abundance is a warning from Mother Nature that our current agricultural systems are unsustainable and detrimental to the fragile web of life. Through this legislative proposal, Ontarians have the opportunity to halt and potentially reverse some of the damage we have caused to the environment before it’s too late, however failure to act decisively now would place short-sighted profit motives over our moral obligation to be gentle stewards of planet Earth.

While I am very pleased that Ontario is proposing unprecedented action to reduce the use of NNIs in the province, it is my conclusion that the proposed legislation is inadequate and will not achieve the goal of protecting pollinator health for the following reasons:

  • Only an immediate and complete ban on the use of NNI in Ontario can ensure that pollinators have no exposure to these highly toxic and persistent chemicals
  • Exempting all crops types other than corn and soy grain implies that large quantities of NNI will still be used in Ontario. By one estimate, approximately 20% of NNIs used in Ontario is used on crops other than corn or soy grain. This is a significant amount and exposure at even this level may not be sustainable for pollinator health.
  • No obvious penalties or fines exist in the proposed legislation that compels entities to comply.
  • No obvious mechanisms exist in the proposed legislation to prevent growers from self importing treated seed from the U.S. for growing in Canada.

Below please find my specific responses to the questions posed in the consultation. I am available for further consultative input as required.


John Larsen, Ph.D. (Biology)


Capitalistic Anencephaly

I think that our current time can be summed up in one phrase; ‘capitalistic anencephaly’.

‘Anencephaly’ is a medical condition in which individuals are born without a brain. Now …. I’m not suggesting that today’s ‘ultra-capitalists’ are ENTIRELY devoid of cerebral development – after all, they  must have the basic neural network, including brain stem, occipital, parietal and temporal lobes – all  to keep them breathing, digesting, reproducing and going on and on about how bad the left is … no, what I’m referring to are the higher brain functions governed by the frontal lobes – the lobes that oversee attitudes like ‘common good’ and ‘individual rights’ – those are the lobes that appear to be somewhat diminished (in the 1%).

When I hear today’s ultra capitalists say things like “water is not a basic human right and access to this vital resource must be privatized”, I realize (yet again) just how seriously fucked-up our current economic system really is.

This planet, this sphere, this amazing blue umbilicus to existence itself is not a commodity, it is not a thing that we can allow to fall completely into the hands of greedy people who are only concerned about themselves.

This planet is THE most precious and valuable thing, so let’s treat it that way and defend it from those would would lead us down the path of environmental ignorance, economic expansion, wealth inequity and human servitude.




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The Illusion of Democracy

When we cast our vote at the polls, do we really have any choice? – I think not. Choice is an illusion perpetrated by the grand illusionists on Wall Street. It’s pretty clear to me that that governments do not, nor have they ever truly represented the will of the people; The puppets in elected office are obedient tools of the economic elite and an educated and very cynical populous has had quite enough of it.

When I act on something, I believe that I have choice, and I am motivated by my own good intentions, but choice is an illusion – I can have an apple or an orange, but I must have fruit because there is nothing else on the table.

“When one provokes in a child a fear of the dark, one awakens in him a feeling of atavistic dread. Thus this child will be ruled all his life by this dread, whereas another child, who has been intelligently brought up, will be free of it.”  – Adolph Hitler. July, 1941.

Today, it is not ‘fear of dark” that we are indoctrinating our youth with, it is the fallacy that we can continue to endlessly expand economies on the backs of humanity and the planet. With these thoughts in mind, I suggest you take a sober second look at your own choices, are they yours, or are they manifestations of the will of the ruling elite?






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Robotic Exobiology Expedition III

[This is a work of speculative fiction, any resemblance to existing, living and potentially litigating trans dimensional, alien amphibians is purely coincidental]

Salamandria dopplerensias was the first confirmed sentient life-form to be discovered on a planet other than Earth.

The life form was discovered on “Enceladus”, the sixth-largest of Saturn’s moons. The ice and water environment provide this organism with conditions perfect for it’s survival, which is reasonably logical – considering that the organism evolved here. The gravity of Enceladus is 0.0113g, and it was within this low-g, cold environment that the amphibious, telepathic and most notably *transdimensional* entity evolved.

The organism was discovered quite by chance; A re-entry shutdown tech noticed that the spacecraft had a smear of white, gelatinous material on the side of the re-entry vehicle – which the tech surmised to be a ‘bug on the windshield’, but when Labs Division came back with the results, the only conclusion was that they were the remains of a life form that did not come from Earth. The Exobiologists at the institute were able to fully describe the natural history of this organism, with the exception of it’s totally bizarre and completely unique “quantum mating ritual”.  The exact mechanics of quantum mating are not yet fully described or understood, but it appears that these organisms are able to manipulate space/time by fully synchronizing with one of the infinite other parallel Universes.

Research to date indicates that their “Dimensional Commute” can only be performed between adjacent parallels, however there is no limit to the number of parallels that the organism can traverse – each dimension must be synchronized in order, one at a time, and in the order it is encountered. Attempts to circumvent this limitation have invariably been met with disaster. 

Such a disastrous scenario was currently playing itself out before our bloodshot and hung-over eyes as we stood-by, helpless to intervene on this particularly dangerous undertaking that we had all been assembled to witness.

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Dream Sequence Fades from White

Scene opens [Fade from White]:

The massive, teardrop-shaped tropical tree leaf glistens with the rain of a thousand nights; Tree frogs chirp and echo through the darkness of this tropical jungle location.

The micro steady-cam begins to target the tip of the leaf with timing perfect enough to capture a single drop of water as it begins it’s journey from leaf tip to ground; as the water begins to drip, the cam plunges in and is carried along on the journey.

Once inside, the cam records a translucent, amphibious-like creature that has joined the ride. Suddenly, violently, the leaf tip releases the precious drop of water and the drop begins to tumble to the ground.

Turbulent forces act on both occupants of the dropping placental life pod as the triage meets it’s final destination upon the soft, dark soil of the forest floor.

With “motility mode” fully activated, the cam sprouts legs where and when required and focuses in on the translucent, microscopic amphibian as it begins to explore the local environment.

Scene closes [Fade to White]