This is PART II of several segments of Dr. Peter R. Breggin’s interview with filmmakers Aaron and Melissa Dykes in the making of The Minds of Men, a documentary in which Dr. Breggin is featured. In Part II he describes a moment in time when he was about to give up. He was totally unable to get the media or the scientific and medical establishment to pay attention to resurgence of psychosurgery, including the neurosurgeon who was burning holes in the brains of little black children at the University of Mississippi in Jackson. His international campaign to stop the return of lobotomy and psychosurgery was not getting off the ground and Dr. Breggin’s lifelong reform work might never have begun. It all hung on one key person being out of town on vacation and another person being willing to risk changing the world. You will know him and understand his work much better after viewing this.
Providence Intervenes to Bypass the Scientific Establishment
The film examines government-supported mind and behavioral control experimentation, including psychosurgery, electroshock treatment, and sensory deprivation. The film makers generously gave permission for Dr. Breggin to publish his entire uncut interview, most of which is being seen for the first time. The film is an extraordinary success, quickly reaching nearly one million viewers, and rising.
Dr. Breggin shares his feelings, thoughts and actions surrounding one of the most important accomplishments of his career: his successful international campaign to stop the world-wide resurgence of brain-mutilating lobotomy and psychosurgery. In the several segments, he describes his response to learning the truth about the hidden, devastating impact on children and adults and his discovery of the racist and political ambitions of leading psychiatrists and neurosurgeons.
Dr. Breggin describes harrowing and sometimes triumphant confrontations with powerful professional and political leaders, including Senator Ted Kennedy and top officials at the American Psychiatric Association, who did their best to stop his reform work. He describes how the experience made him into a lifelong reformer.
For detailed descriptions of Peter and Ginger Breggin’s successful campaigns to stop federally-funded psychosurgical, eugenic and racist programs of behavioral control, see Psychiatry as an Instrument of Social and Political Control
See also the full documentary for which this interview was conducted: The Minds of Men
Read the breakthrough 1972 Associated Press article: Brain Surgery Gains as Treatment for Anxiety