Art Still Has Truth

Art still has truth, take refuge there!

[Carved on the south façade of the Saint Louis Art Museum. From the poem “Death of Goethe” (Memorial Verses April 1850) by Matthew Arnold]

Art is a word which summarizes the quality of communication. If art speaks to you, it has achieved its purpose in communicating a message. What does art say? In the first place art produces an emotional impact. All art depends for its success upon the former experience and associations of the beholder.

Art is the least codified of human endeavors and the most misunderstood. Countless authorities will tell you what it is, yet each person observes it differently. The word itself has multiple definitions; one we find useful is “something that is created with imagination and skill,” coming from the Latin word for skill or craftsmanship.

Artists create the future of our culture. Living itself can be an art. And art is not just observed. The observer contributes back to the art — one contributes one’s own interpretations, emotions, or motions; one discusses it with others.

Art and psychiatry

Psychiatry and psychology have a long history of attacking creativity and artists.

For years, psychiatrists and psychologists have labeled the creative mind as a mental “disorder,” mischaracterizing an artist’s “feverish brilliance” as a manic phase of craziness, or melancholic performances as depression. Vision was redefined as hallucination.

Psychiatrists notoriously and falsely “diagnosed” the creative mind as a “mental disorder,” invalidating the artist’s abilities as “neurosis.” They lectured on the supposedly thin line dividing madness and sanity.

In 1916, German psychologist Hugo Münsterberg wrote “The Photoplay: A Psychological Study“, officially setting into motion psychology and psychiatry’s influence over cinema; claiming that the film industry could be “fraught with dangers” that required psychological “advice.”

Psychiatrist Oscar Janiger (1918-2001) lured hundreds of writers, musicians, actors and filmmakers into taking the hallucinogen LSD, with promises of “vivid aesthetic perceptions” that would lead them to a “greater appreciation of the arts” and enhanced creativity. We know now that this was truly a hallucination. LSD induced the very “madness” psychiatrists falsely claimed to be able to cure.

On the advice of psychiatrists and psychologists, studios sent actors for psychoanalysis, which often led to them being placed on powerful mind-altering and addictive drugs that would eventually ruin their career and lives.

Authors Krin and Glen Gabbard refer to the years 1957-63 as the Golden Age of psychiatry in the cinema. During this period, psychiatrists were portrayed as the “authoritative voices of reason, adjustment and well-being,” despite there being no evidence to substantiate this reputation.

By legitimizing themselves on the silver screen, psychiatrists popularized the fraudulent notion that drugs, shock treatment and psychosurgery held the secrets to happier living. A drug era was ushered in, spurred on unwittingly by Hollywood. Society has yet to recover from it.

Marilyn Monroe saw a psychiatrist who prescribed the powerful barbiturates that she abused until her death.

Vivien Leigh fell victim to psychiatric misdiagnosis and was subjected to repeated violent electroshocks.

Judy Garland was prescribed harmful and addictive antidepressants, Valium, Thorazine, Ritalin and brutally electroshocked, eventually dying of a psychiatric drug overdose.

There are many more horror stories of artists destroyed by psychiatry.

The common thread through these stories is that the help these artists accepted betrayed them. That false “help” was psychiatry and psychology. Though it cloaks itself in pseudoscientific jargon, psychiatry is not a science but a hoax.


People in desperate circumstances must be provided proper and effective care. Sound medical (not psychiatric) attention, good nutrition, and a healthy, safe environment will do far more for a troubled person than repeated drugging, electroshocks and other psychiatric abuses.

Harming Artists
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