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I recall reading a novel in 1978 by John Irving called “The World According to Garp.”
It was a fascinating read and was later made into a movie starring Robin Williams, Glen Close and John Lithgow.
Though I wouldn’t recommend the book wholeheartedly for a number of reasons, it demonstrated almost prophetic criticism of the way society deals with mental illness that manifests itself in self-mutilation.
Garp was born to a proto-typical feminist mother. She shows great sympathy for a group of women who call themselves the Ellen Jamesians. Ellen James was a young girl who was raped by an attacker who cut out her tongue so she couldn’t speak about the horrific act. The Ellen Jamesians were a group of women who chose to protest this abominable act by cutting out their own tongues.
Having more than a passing familiarity with the brand of radical feminism abounding in 1978, a cult like this seemed entirely plausible to me.
Yet, it didn’t materialize – until now, apparently.
Today there is a growing group of sick people in the world who have a compulsion to amputate healthy limbs, according to Wesley J. Smith, writing about this phenomenon in the National Review.
The mental illness is called Body Integrity Identity Disorder, and Smith writes that he heard about it for the first time at a convention of transhumanists. Transhumanism, in case you haven’t heard about it, is a movement promoting the use of bio-technology to reinvent what it means to be human. It’s one of the most dangerous and ungodly ideas I’ve ever encountered by people who want to surgically or genetically modify themselves in ways that will make them feel better about their identity or even achieve immortality.
(There are some great resources to understand how serious this movement is, such as “More Than Human: The Move Toward Escaping our Human Condition,” “Something Transhuman This Way Comes,” “The Hybrid Age” and “Transhumanism: Destroying the Barriers.” You can read a WND report on this phenomenon from 2011 as a free introduction to the movement.)
But back to one troubling aspect of this transhumanism idea, Body Integrity Identity Disorder, or BIID. The mental illness is also known as “amputee wannabe.” Sufferers perceive their true identity as an amputee of some kind.
“At the conference, the transhumanist speaker argued that sufferers should be able to have healthy limbs amputated,” writes Smith. “On one hand, I couldn’t believe my ears. On the other, I wasn’t surprised. These days, we often don’t treat mental illnesses, but instead, tend toward acceding to and normalizing them. The speaker also argued, that since we have long permitted sex change surgeries, why not amputations? Truth to be told, there is logic there.”
As Smith reports, bioethical journals are actually publishing articles in favor of amputation as a treatment for BIID.
The story explains the plight of “Patrick,” a sufferer of this mental illness. Here’s what he said: “A year or so before Patrick’s operation, a psychologist asked him if he would take a pill to make his BIID go away, should such a treatment exist. It took a moment for him to reflect and answer: maybe when he had been a lot younger, but not anymore. ‘This has become the core of who and what I am,’ he said.”
“One can see why transhumanists look to treating BIID with amputation because their holy grail is to use medical, biotech, cybertech, and every other kind of tech to remake their bodies in their own image,” writes Smith. “But should society go down that path too?”
A better question might be: Have we already descended down this slippery slope?
Already, in San Francisco, taxpayer dollars are funding elective sex-change operations – and, in some cases, reversals of those surgeries.
A bill in the California Legislature would define all homosexuals as infertile and mandate group health insurance to pay for infertility treatments.
This, Smith points out, while some terminal cancer patients are denied life-extending chemotherapy treatments because of government rationing schemes in places like Oregon – and, no doubt, more to come as Obamacare becomes the law of the land.
The inmates are indeed running the asylum.