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Laing Blasts 'Anti-Human' Conditions

Addresses Full House at Tufts

By David R. Caploe

R. D. Laing, noted British psychiatrist and youth culture guru, presented a multi-faceted attack on what he termed the "antihuman" state of the medical and psychiatric environments last night to an overflow crowd at Tufts's Couzens Gymnasium in Medford.

Claiming he was bored by "organized, thematic discussions," the brown-clad. Scotsman rambled for an hour, focusing his rather generalized discontent at specific objects--at the way, among other things, babies are born.

Deodorized Babies

"Any baby that comes out of a womb that has been deodorized, anesthetized, and chemicalized has a real good chance of being zonked out before it gets out of the hospital," Laing said.

"Look at the way the umbilical cord, pulsating and still connected with the mother, is clamped at two ends and cut--before the baby ever starts to breathe. And when, after two minutes of life the baby has failed to start breathing, rubber tubes are stuck up his nose to help the 'natural' process," he added ironically.

Seemingly taking his cue from Otto Rank's theory of birth trauma, Laing said that given the way babies are delivered. "I'm not sure I would want to be born again.

"I'm surprised all our senses haven't completely wilted up starting from birth." Laising said as he gave his well-received imitation of an uptight, scrunched-up modern man.

Laing also vented his ire at American dairy processing. "I can't get any milk here--it's all homogenized and pasteurized. It's no wonder it lasts forever, because it's already been killed," Laising wryly noted

After a description of a modern hospital as "an antihuman, antisensory environment." Laing outlined his view of what the ideal hospital should look like.

"The natural environment of man--sun, air, heat, water, and shelter from wind and rain--are laid out in such a way that one's body can get out of its discordant entanglement with the anti-primary-sensory environment in which we live," Laing explained.

"If I'm crumpled up in one big ball of pain I would like to have a place to go where I'll be, first of all, in a place of refuge, sanctuary, asylum--a safe, comfortable, relaxing environment where technology is disposed of an unobtrusively as possible," he continued.

The well-known author spoke quietly and yet commandingly, opening by disclaiming any intentions to "lead people to the barricades. My life's not too bad without the answers that some people seem to need to complete their lives."

Laing made understand fun of bourgeols sex roles, noting the sexism implicit in the fact that three out of every four lobotomies are performed on women.

"After all, lobotomies make for docile housewives who are tame, can bear and raise children, not speak out in front of the husband's colleagues, meet the boss's wife, blah, blah," he noted sarcastically.

Tying his beliefs into a larger social and political context. Laing said that "after six years of medical school, I know less about my own body than I did when I started. I've had to release the experimential knowledge of oneself which relates to the social and political control operations which get right into our bone marrow and endocrine hormonal system."

"After all, the notion of repression was suggested to Freud by the political repression rampant in the rampant dynasty which Freud himself fought against," Laing noted.

During the question period, Laing said he came to America become "as a student of human affairs, I find America very interesting. There's a lot of energy here that I haven't found anywhere else."

Laing started his tour of the U.S. ten days ago in New York. The local premiere of "Asylum," a movie filmed inside Laing's therapeutic community in London will be at 6 p.m., Friday. November 24 at New England Life Hall in Boston

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