Passed along in email:
From the article/essay provided, and based on my laziness to research the matter, I have no way of judging to what extent it might be true or to what extent it was simply the pouncing proclivities of a writer in search of an oh-my-god conclusion...
Still, it's an interesting proposition -- that the world of psychology as represented by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the go-to arbiter of what's crazy, has identified free-thinking and non-conformity as a mental illness. This is defined as "oppositional defiant disorder" (ODD) and is characterized by "an 'ongoing pattern of disobedient,
hostile and defiant behavior,' [whose] symptoms include questioning authority,
negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed."
You can imagine such a yardstick being applied to obstreperous children, maybe, but there is an eek factor when it is applied to adults. And once the eek factor enters, it naturally segues back onto the world of children as well: Here is a generalization that may fit in the DSM by way of description, but creating such a description can have the effect of de-juicing the juiciness of life, of creating a world of shuffling, obedient clones. A Thorazine universe.
I can imagine the world of psychology might offer a robust reply to such suppositions. Perhaps it would say something like, "the DSM is descriptive, not prescriptive." But given the laziness of the human mind which quails at the notion that life is nothing if not tentative, you just know there are mediocre mentalities out there that are capable of making a lock-step order out of a passing suggestion.
Ah well ... a bit of mental bubblegum.