Part 3 (probably my last on this discussion so don't worry!) <Because this is a forum for people with CFS, many of whom will have shared experiences, I worry that it could encourage a mode of expression which will make it more difficult for us to communicate and convince outsiders of our ideas and concerns> Talking on this forum is not the same as talking to the ignorant in the 3D world. Why assume we cannot make that distinction? Obviously people are going to talk in a different way here than elsewhere, and we should be allowed to let our hair down a bit. And for myself, wherever I am, I'm not going to try and convince prejudiced/hardline psychiatrics who have a financial interest in maintaining their position. They have already written us off as crazy. < CFS patients are pretty widely dismissed by the medical community as militant (another good comparison with African American civil rights?)> People defending the status quo regularly dismiss the expolited/oppressed as crazy, too pushy, too militant etc. once they start campaigning for their rights. If having an opinion backed up by evidence is militant, then yes I am militant. We could learn lot from the civil rights movement, they certainly did not advance their cause by sitting at the back of the bus and being quiet. This passage from Martin Luther King seems apt: "I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride towards freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice, who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice, who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a more "convenient season". Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection." (Why We can't Wait, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Harper & Row 1963) <and I think this could be changed if we took a more cautious and self-critical approach to the presentation of our ideas.> Some people have done that and it has been a disaster. Also, there is a world of difference between useful self-criticism, and becoming crippled intellectually, and drowning in a quagmire of inaction by too much focusing on one's own abstract intellectual thoughts. I think it is useful to have a studied opinion and to act on it, once one is always open to learning. I am interested in not just thinking about things, but actually doing things to improve our existence. <but I do think it's worth recognising the limits of this approach, and that we can become influenced by our own cognitive biases in a way that can lead others to dismiss our viewpoints> Having an opinion doesn't mean being irrationally biased. To give another example, I don't believe the earth is flat, not because I am prejudice but because of evidence to the contrary. I feel I don't constantly have to correct my "bias" for thinking the earth is not flat as that would be a silly, impractical, waste of energy. The essence of the psychiatric views have already been disproved, but if we don't act to counteract their views in public scientific progress will be held back. Orla .