The Evil Practice of Narcotherapy.

By Dr. David West Keirsey (published 1991)

Editor’s Note: It has been about 30 years since my father wrote this article, which was based on his experience in the 50s, 60’s, and 70’s in the American public school system. Unfortunately, the abuse of psychiatry on their victims has gotten much worse and has spread across the world, and not only children in the American public schools are being abused. Old people, babies, the military, and the general public in mostly the “developed world” — are being fooled and drugged to conformity: to the monetary benefit of psychiatry and the drug companies.

Something is wrong with the idea of Attention Deficit. Not just a little wrong, but terribly wrong, and, as it turns out at the turn of the century, tragically wrong. Tragic because it gives the appearance of legitimacy to the practice of prescribing stimulant narcotics for children who are said to be short on attention.


During the 1950s the practice of experimental narcotherapy for so-called “hyperactivity” came into vogue. The drugs of choice were amphetamines such as Benzadrine and Dexedrine, and in the late 1950s, methylphenidate (Ritalin), and pemoline (Cylert). At first only the extremely active boys got zapped with stimulants, maybe one or two per school. But since only a few psychologists complained about this questionable practice, and since the “special education” movement was growing rapidly, more and more teachers demanded that somebody else should be held responsible to put a stop to disruptive behavior in the classroom.

During the 1960s and afterwards only the corrective counselors trained and experienced in the methods of Dreikurs, Erickson, and Glasser knew how to control disruptive behavior in the classroom. Not knowing this, parents turned to those local medics who claimed they could control disruptive behavior with drugs. These medics, knowing that activity level could be dampened with drugs that act on the brain, started experimenting with brain-disabling drugs. They’re still experimenting, but they have multiplied exponentially because the practice is so easy and so lucrative. Now there are millions of kids being drugged, whereas there were only thousands in the 1950s.

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Drugged Obedience

Experimental Narcotherapy vs
 Logical Consequences for Chronic Mischief in Classrooms

by Dr. David West Keirsey (published 1991)

Drugged Obedience

Editor’s Note: It has been about 30 years since my father wrote this article, which was based on his experience in the 50s, 60’s, and 70’s in the American public school system. Unfortunately, the abuse of psychiatry on their victims has gotten much worse and has spread across the world, and not only children in the American public schools are being abused. Old people, babies, the military, and the general public in mostly the “developed world” — are being fooled and drugged to conformity: to the monetary benefit of psychiatry and the drug companies.

Dr. Keirsey explains in this article what are the kinds of drugs, and their effects.


When a child gets up out of his seat at school without permission, his teacher tells him to sit down and get to work. If he is out of his seat every minute or so, say every six minutes in a 360 minute day, that makes 60 times a day. If he’s out of his seat that many times each day, five days a week, that’s 300 Out-Of-Seat-Without-Permissions (OOSWOPs for short). Now 300 is an impressive total of OOSWOPs. The teacher, now and then, reminds him to sit down and go to work, but with little effect. Pretty soon she adds scolding to reminding. Then maybe she gets the principal to spank him. Then maybe his parents are brought into the act. They either get after the school or their son or both. Maybe they take his bike away from him and send him to bed without dinner several times. Something like that. But all to no avail. No matter how many reminders or scoldings or whippings or deprivations, he still rings up his 300 or so OOSWOPs a week.

But the child doesn’t rest his case with just getting out of his seat. There are other kinds of disobedience, other ways to disrupt classroom proceedings. Like making motions and noises while seated. For instance, the disobedient child doesn’t raise his hand with restraint like the other children, but waves it wildly and maybe puffs and whistles to get the teacher’s undivided attention. And he gets it. By that time the child has had so much attention that just raising his hand won’t work, so he’s got to distract the teacher’s attention from the other kids with extra motions and noises, none of which are permitted. Let’s call motion and noise without permission MANWOPs to distinguish them from OOSWOPs. And of course the teacher must remind the child (again without much success) that that is not an acceptable way to get attention. Notice the child’s clever manipulation of the teacher: he is doing what he’s supposed to do — raise his hand to get the teacher’s attention –but in an unacceptable way. Now since an increase of reminding, scolding, threatening, paddling, and depriving doesn’t decrease the frequency of OOSWOPs and MANWOPs appreciably, there seem only two things left to do: remove the child from the classroom, or drug him into inaction. Both work. First, let’s look at drugging the child into inaction. To explain accurately what prescribed drugs are doing to our children, I must first describe in some detail just what drugs we are considering. There are many different kinds of drugs, but only those drugs called “narcotics” are of interest here.

Narcotics affect the nervous system and so alter behavior. This effect was first reported by physiologists in the 1920s, followed by a spate of similar reports in technical journals from time to time up to the present. Nowadays physiologists know pretty well what the various narcotics do to the nervous system and how behavior is affected as a result. For instance narcotics like THC (the neuroactive agent in marijuana) is reported to increase the difference in excitation times of adjacent effectors or receptors, while narcotics like LSD reportedly decrease those differences.

[High Activity] High Attention][High Activity] [Low Attention][Low Activity] [High Attention][Low Activity] [Low Attention]
caffeinemescalinelithiumcarbonate opiates
licergic diethylamidetetrahydra
pemoline DMTCibalithAmytol

As shown above, “uppers,” like cocaine, give us a high-high, such that we are both more active and more attentive as long as we are intoxicated. “Downers” such as heroin, in contrast to “uppers,” give us a low-low, so that we are both less active and less attentive, again, as long as we are under the influence of the narcotic. “Calmers,” like marijuana, give us a low-high, which is to say that our activity level is low at the same time that our level of attention is high. Lastly, “confusers,” such as LSD, give us a high-low, which means that we get very active, but have great difficulty paying attention to our surroundings.

Depressants like alcohol reduce nerve conduction, resulting in reduced attention and action. In contrast, stimulants like cocaine increase nerve conduction, resulting in greater attention or action. Tranquilizers like marijuana increase excitation threshold time differences between adjacent nerves so that reaction time is slowed and activity decreases, while attention increases. (Incidentally, this is why swing musicians of the 1930s used marijuana: it sensitized them to syncopation and enabled them to catch each note on the “down beat.”) Lastly, hallucinogens like LSD do quite the opposite. They decrease the difference in conduction threshold time between adjacent nerves so that they conduct simultaneously or nearly so. On the attention side of the neural system the person sees, hears, feels, smells, and even tastes from a single stimulus — that’s why drugs like LSD are called hallucinogens or synesthetics. The same stimulus can also fire off adjacent motor nerves in rapid succession, resulting in convulsions and cramps. Thus synesthetic or hallucinogenic narcotics result not only in more than one of the senses being affected at the same time, they also result in flexor and extensor muscles contracting simultaneously or in rapid succession.

In contrast to the technical names above, the people who use narcotics for their highs and lows (the “addicts”), and the people who try to stop them (the “narcs”) have street names for them. For the addicts and narcs there are “acid heads,” “speed freeks,” “coke heads,” and the like. Calmers are called cannabis, grass, hemp, indian hay, pot, snop, snoose, snuff, etc.; confusers are called angel dust, orange sunshine, PCP, LSD, etc; downers are called barbs, big H, booze, horse, sauce, etc.; uppers are called bennies, black beauties, charlies, coke, crack, crystal, dexies, footballs, heart, MDA, snow, white cross, etc.

There are of course great changes in behavior when people are under the influence of narcotics. This goes for stimulants or “uppers,” all of them. No one doubts that cocaine is a powerful narcotic if enough of it is taken at once, especially if this continues over a long period of time. Whatever the kind of stimulant, the effect on one’s behavior depends more on the amount than on the kind. A little bit intoxicates a little bit and a lot intoxicates a lot. The effect is a high-high, that is a high activity level and a high attention level. When the effect wears off, there’s a crash. The withdrawal from stimulants is said to be far worse than withdrawal from the other three kinds of narcotics. A “speed freak,” whether on bennies, dexies, crystal, or coke, is addicted according to the amount taken and the length of time that amount is taken. And the agony of withdrawal is proportional. People who drink, say, twenty cups of coffee a day are in for a crash when they quit and for painful withdrawal effects. Of course, many won’t admit they’re addicted and they certainly would not like being called “speed freaks.” Incidentally, many are also addicted to nicotine and alcohol, so they’re hooked on three narcotics at once, but still refuse to recognize their drug dependency. Such denial is particularly sad, but the truth is their addiction is their problem because they hooked themselves, however innocently.

The bad names that are currently given to children who disrupt classrooms are Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD). Precisely the same misbehaviors used to be called by other names, such as Aphasia, Asymbolia, Brain Damage, Cerebral Disrhythmia, Dyslexia, Hyperactivity, Hyperkinesis, Minimal Brain Damage, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Learning Disability, Organic Brain Damage, the Strauss Syndrome, and others. Beginning in the mid-forties those writing about abnormal behavior understandably began to change the name of the suspected “cause” of such behavior as soon as the name stigmatized the children it was applied to. You see, these professionals believed that there was something wrong with the brains of the children who were too active or too inattentive for the educator’s taste. So they went along with those physicians who wanted to experiment on such children with narcotics like benzedrine. Not only did they approve of this practice, they even aided such physicians in their experimentation. The practice spread, slowly during the late forties and fifties, and then very rapidly during the drug-culture days of the sixties. By the eighties and nineties the practice had become epidemic throughout America, as many as a million children per year on stimulants. Some large elementary schools admit that they have as many as fifty children on stimulants at the same time. Can there be that many children with defective brains? And all boys? In the late eighties some physicians were even narcotizing preschoolers with stimulants while they continued to prescribe this narcotic for those adults that became dependent on it when they were kids in school.

But when the physician, with the approval of parent, teacher, and psychologist, risks the side effects and the addiction of children, that’s everybody’s problem. After all, these children are innocent of any desire for intoxication. Narcotics do temporarily quiet some children and heighten their attention level, but surely the “cure” is worse than the “disease.” Along with the “cure” comes arrested growth, brain atrophy, drug dependency, and severe damage to the self-image — loss of self-esteem, self-respect, and self-confidence. Maybe the child is “cured” of hyperactivity in school, but the price seems terribly high.

Who is abusing whom? Clearly the child is not abusing the persons who are drugging him. Peter Breggin, a noted psychiatrist, calls such experimental narcotherapy “Psychiatric Oppression,” putting it in the same category with shock, lobotomy, and other barbaric practices, thus challenging the justifiability of treating problem behavior with physiological methods, whether child or adult. In his latest exposé of psychiatric barbarism he says:

“It seems to have escaped Ritalin advocates that long-term use tends to create the very same problems that Ritalin is supposed to combat — “attentional disturbances” and “memory problems” as well as “irritability” and hyperactivity. When children are prescribed Ritalin for years because they continue to have problems focusing their attention, the disorder itself may be due to the Ritalin. A vicious circle is generated, with drug-induced inattention causing the doctor to prescribe more medication, all the while blaming the problem on a defect within the child.” (Toxic Psychiatry, page 307.)

Nor are physicians unaware of the risks involved in drugging children. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are careful to warn them, just as have many research reports over the years, of the dangers of prescribing cocaine-like narcotics to children. The long list of horrific consequences of stimulant therapy are now well known: insomnia, fatigue, listlessness, sadness, dizziness, withdrawal, tremors, tics, spasms, skin rashes, nausia, headache, stomachache, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, cortical atrophy, growth suppression, addiction to narcotics, and worst of all, severe damage to the child’s self-image.

It is true that drugged children stay in their seats longer and make less commotion. The trouble is that, aside from the spoiled identity, growth suppression, brain atrophy, and drug dependence the physician is warned about, the child’s restful sleep is diminished. Just as many adults do not sleep well if they take too much caffeine, so children who take too much stimulants do not sleep well. It is also true that these children seem to sleep as they did before medication was begun, but the sleep is not restful as it was before. That they’re tired when they go to school and are much less inclined to get into mischief should come as no surprise. This docility is usually mistaken for obedience by the principal, teacher, parent, psychologist, and physician, who then congratulate themselves on this “miraculous cure” of the child’s dread case of ADD. One of the interesting things about this solution is that docility is such a relief to all concerned that they don’t seem to notice that the child continues to be unproductive, unfriendly, and unhappy at school. Some physicians will admit that the drugged child doesn’t get to work and doesn’t learn like the other children, but they seem satisfied with reports by parents that the teacher isn’t complaining about too much activity any longer.

For almost everyone involved, in fact, this drug treatment is a comfortable solution. If the child is “brain defective” then his parents and teachers are not to blame for his misbehavior. And the fact that the misbehavior disappears when the child is drugged seems to prove the physician’s case that the child’s brain is indeed “somehow” defective. At least it proves it for those who have a stake in believing it. So everybody’s off the hook. A neat and tidy solution to a knotty problem.

Nor can the child be blamed now that it is “proved” he has something (vaguely) wrong with his brain. For how can you blame a child for misbehavior or expect productivity or friendliness or happiness from one so afflicted? He can now play Eric Berne’s game of “wooden leg.” After all, what can be expected of a boy with a bent brain? There is a terrible irony in this: by stigmatizing the child the adults in his life relieve both him and themselves of responsibility. In that sense even the child is off the hook.

But there’s a problem: even though the child has been drugged into submission he is still friendless, unhappy, has stopped growing, and is not learning. So neither he nor his parents are content. But if narcotherapy is discontinued he will resume his disruptive behavior. The question is: how can he stay in class without disrupting it? The answer is simple. Let him disrupt the class only once a day by dismissing him after his first disruptive act. For example, out of seat, out of school — and nothing more.

Logical Consequences

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“What I cannot build, I cannot understand.”

Richard Feynman invented a whole new way of talking about quantum electrodynamics when writing his PhD thesis at Princeton, which eventually helped him detail some of the properties of weak-force in particle physics in his Nobel prize winning work. Later he invented “Feynman’s diagrams” as an intuitive graphical representation of particle physics, which are still used in theoretical physics to this day.

However, he became famous in part through his maverick and distinctive antics. He was a real character: a very curious character. When at Los Alamos working on the atomic bomb, from picking the locks of his colleagues cabinets which contained top secrets, to playing games with the security personnel; naming a few of his antics which had earned him a well deserved reputation of being a trickster and an iconoclast. Freeman Dyson once wrote that Feynman was “half-genius, half-buffoon”, but later changed this to “all-genius, all-buffoon”. Quickly recognized by the intellectual giants of theoretical physics as a brilliant and quick mind, Feynman was sought out by the innovative thinkers of the day. Contemptous of titles, like all Rationals, when awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, he tried to figure out a way to get out of accepting it.

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The Boss

“The Boss,” as he was called by those under him, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born in Gori, Georgia, in the Russian Empire in 1878.  His father, “Besso,” became a drunk, and beat his wife, “Keke,” and son.  They moved a lot, and finally Besso abandoned Keke and Iosif.  Keke, born a serf, was a tough, but righteous and religiously pious woman; she also beat her son. Keke wanted her son to be a priest.

Gori was a rough and poor town.  Street gangs and crime were common, and Iosif, small but wiry, was known to participate in the fighting.  Nevertheless, Iosif was a good student.  The Russian language was required in the Russian empire, and Iosif learned it, but always had a Georgian accent. Education was by rote and corporal punishment was rampant; one teacher rapping the students’ knuckles if their eyes wandered.   Iosif won a scholarship to Seminary at the age of 16.  The seminary was very Spartan, dogmatic, and severe corporal and psychological punishment was normal.

In the seminary, he discovered revolutionary material, including Darwin and Marx, destroying his belief in religion.  “They are lying to us,” he said to a fellow student. Living a double life, one secret, at night, he got involved in Georgian revolutionary activities. He had chosen the name “Koba,” a Russian, fictional Robin Hood-like character. There, quite a few other students became revolutionaries from that Seminary at that time. Ioseph was dismissed for not taking an exam just before graduating, maybe because he couldn’t pay the rapidly rising fees.  He had become a revolutionary, joining an organization that later became the violent part of the Communist party, the Bolsheviks. It was a life of safe houses, forged documents, and secrecy.  Koba was brilliant at organizing workers and also mixing with criminal elements. He collected and directed “enforcers” like Kamo, a brutal, violent, sociopath.  While in prison, he became the boss of the prisoners: he was inured to physical punishment.

Sent to Baku by the revolutionary committee, Koba ordered the murders of many Black Hundreds (right-wing supporters of the Tsar), and conducted protection rackets and ransom kidnappings against the oil tycoons of Baku. He also operated counterfeiting operations and robberies. He befriended the criminal gangs; Koba’s gangsterism upset the Bolshevik and Menshevik intelligentsia, but he was too influential with Lenin and indispensable to be opposed.  As a revolutionary in Tsarist times, he was arrested eight times and escaped seven times, before the Russian Revolution in 1917; but he changed the facts after he was General Secretary, obscuring one of his arrests. It was suspected by some of his fellow Bolsheviks that Koba was a double-agent, a provocateur, for he seemed to go to-and-fro without any visible support, without difficulty, and was not arrested with everybody else in a particular Tsarist roundup.  Koba, most likely known by Lenin as a double-agent, played the game well, with internal party members sometimes sacrificed for the cause. No doubt Koba used this policy for his own purposes also. At one point, when complaints were getting serious, he was arrested, and rumors were dropped for the time being. Continue reading

Officious Busy-Bodies

“Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker.”
What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

I have lost Wikipedia battles.  The latest I just discovered.

They are virtually nameless.  They just appear in the history of edits on a Wikipedia page.  They are vandals in the guise of “Wikipedia Administrators.”  Self appointed legal vandals, in the guise of upholding “Wikipedia standards and practices”.  Their religion is to enforce that the Wikipedia has conforming and superficial knowledge.  I believe there are some good Wikipedia Administrators out there, but I haven’t encountered one.  I have had battles with these “little Caesars” with their officiousness throughout the years.

Here is what this “Wikipedia Administrator” troll has to say about his “work” — what he doesn’t mention is his trashing and deleting of Keirsey Temperament Wikipedia pages:

My current Wikipedia programming project is Wikipedia:Typo Team/moss, which aims to spell-check, grammar-check, and style-check all of the English Wikipedia.

“spell-check, grammar-check, and style-check”  and deleting perfect legitimate material that had been on Wikipedia for more than a decade at least.

I call it: Ignorant Censoring

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Gestalt Science

modeling_relationA Viking Reader

Fearless Asymmetry and Symmetry

Chaos to Order,                                 Order to Chaos

My father died on July 30th, 2013 and I intend to honor him, if I can, by writing a blog about him and the consequences of me integrating his ideas every year.  First year,  Second YearThird Year, Fourth YearFifth Year, Sixth Year. this is the Seventh Year.

keirsey_seaweedMy father, near the end of his life, considered himself the last Gestalt Psychologist. When I was very young I was fearful of kelp seaweed: my father showed me that it couldn’t hurt me, so I shouldn’t be afraid of it.   I learned from him. If you understand something, you can reason about it.   If you only have a correlation, you can’t be sure of the factors. He was never afraid to question conventional wisdom or the current fashionable and entrenched ideas (however old or fast those ideas were).

As a clinical school psychologist he was on the front line against invasion of chemical psychiatry into K-12 schools, and he saw how they used “their pseudo-scientific expertise [and argot]” to fool and trap kids and parents into approving the use of brain disabling drugs, within the “educational system” and with the implicit pressure and blessing (and relieving of responsibility) of the teachers and administrators.  He also didn’t buy into the dominant paradigms of the first half of 20th century of Freudian psychology and the correlational “blank slate” behaviorism of Watson and Skinner.

“If you don’t understand something said, don’t assume you are at fault.”
— David West Keirsey

Throughout my discussions and debates with him in my lifetime, he talked about ideas.   We talked about philosophy, science, mathematics, computers, people, and life. 


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More Moore

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I was in his office.  I remember it to this day.  Think it was Sue Lapin who directed me to his room, but that’s another story.


He was a classic example of a gray haired, balding, absent-minded professor, his office shelves stuffed to the ceiling with books, papers, and other flotsam and jetsam of an academia life. There we were: two different generations —  he, my father’s generation, and me, a 50’s nerd baby boomer. The commonality was we were both computer nerds, interested in ideas and the nascent computer science field.   At the time I was just trying to get a job to support my education: a Masters degree at University of Wisconsin, Madison, far from my home in sunny SoCal.  I had driven the two thousand miles or so across the US for the first time in my life to get there.

We talked for about four hours non-stop about all kinds of things, the Chinese language is the only subject I remember: he was a fountain of knowledge, and both us could have gone on many Moore hours.  I probably didn’t know the significance of it at the time, except he did point me to a job which I got to support myself in that strange land.  A year and half later, I got a Masters in Computer Science, and left Madison to wander towards Enlightenment for the next 46 years, and hopefully beyond.


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The Digital Sand Reckoner

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

— William Blake

New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized,
but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher
who struggles with his problems in lonely thought and unites all his thought
on one single point which is his whole world for the moment.
Max Planck


Connecting precise physical relationships between the finites and the infinites.

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Let’s be Reason-able


No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection [opportunity] of [under] the laws. [14th Amendment of the American Constitution, modified by DMK]

“All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright on that ground …”  Sarah Grimke

The Notorious Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


“Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

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