Home Mental Health & Well-Being The Intersection of Fake News, Mental Health, and Human Rights: A Philosophical Perspective

The Intersection of Fake News, Mental Health, and Human Rights: A Philosophical Perspective

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Fake news is everywhere! Fake news, misinformation, sound bites, whatever you call it. I am talking about catchphrases and slogans of judgemental and oppressive language. When the opinions of total strangers seem to matter for the wrong reasons and when unhealthy people are most at risk. The danger of believing lies and mistruths dates back to when philosophers reflected on the habits of nomads. Many philosophers question the administrative and political uses of rhetoric. This must be studied: the point where patterns, power, and privilege collide.

A recent article about a generic messaging application I read discussed the historical and sociological implications of letting our morals and ethics be polluted by Trife catchphrases and the common colloquial. All this begs the question of when the purest and spiritual altruism offends a person’s sense of opinion – supports two lines of interpretation.

First, if analysed under the prism of psychoanalysis, the superimposition of the alter ego – the “I” of the other – over the ego – the “I” of one’s self – implies that one surrender one’s subjectivity to the other, which hijacks it in a veiled way, gives rise to what we call the Stockholm Syndrome. 

A ‘true’ altruist is bonded between ego and alter ego. The altruist is stiffened by forces far removed from love. The bond becomes organic, based on the comfort of coexistence or – in more severe cases – on the fear of dissolution of the bond, often understood as vital for survival. As a Lacanian, I understand that the rupture is the only path out of hypotheses. After all, a healthy ego is a significant premise for touching the other, even in a charitable movement.

When the subject enters the lines of Philosophy, unconcerned with the helpful purpose of its solution but with an emphasis on understanding the phenomenon, I cite the German Schopenhauer, especially in his re-reading of Immanuel Kant.

Kantinian dualism, which would be summarised in the world of phenomena susceptible to being experienced by Man and the unknowable universe – the thing, in itself that does not support human experience – suffers an update, in my view brilliant, by Schopenhauer when he adds a third way, embodied in the harmonious union between the “thing” and phenomenon, within time and space. Rather than pessimism, as some more incautious would say, I call it temperance, in a more complex modality than the classical one defended by Aristotle long ago.

Regardless of the philosophical depth of this reflection, any discussion about Mental Health must be the goal. In doing so, everyone must put themselves in the other’s shoes is vital in ideas. Moreover, it is essential in the realm of facts. Therefore, every administrative act must have within its definition the principle of humanitarian protection in recognition of the human being as a legal asset protected by the State and, consequently, by the entire system of laws. Within this line of thought, it is not possible to dissociate the State’s duty to protect the citizen from his right protected in an effective system of checks and balances.

The subject of mental health is often delicate. Having a mental health education and not is the difference between life and death. Today in Brazil, legal and human rights concerns are rising internationally. Other countries have Brazil in the spotlight and are watching to see how and what reforms are introduced in this country.

With this said, the message needs to be about freedom and winning the right to autonomy. And, far beyond issues related to freedom, it is evident that this type of patient often does not have the conditions to express pain, cold, relief, or pleasure before the most common sensations inherent to life. On the contrary, in most cases, they end up being totally in the hands of the State agents, who do not always try to care for them in the best possible way.

The law must incorporate Human Rights into the state apparatus superstructure and high court system. The point of intersection of the State with its citizens is a space for public interest. More studies need to evaluate the public interest’s need versus semantics. Meaning, rhetoric, and semantics in political and judicial systems are roadblocks to real reform. Human rights and national public interest intersect with the law. More ethical considerations are still in the works before progress.


Dr Marcelo Henrique is keenly interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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