Leonard Roy Frank

Since 1996, Leonard’s monthly column of quotations ”Poor Leonard’s Almanack” has appeared in Street Spirit, “a publication of the American Friends Service Committee” distributed by homeless people in the Oakland-Berkeley region of the East Bay. Back issues of Street Spirit, including the Almanack, may be seen at http://thestreetspirit.org (archives at bottom of left column). Leonard’s Frankly Quoted” column is distributed freely over the Internet on the first of the month since October 2004. It consists of 35-45 entries, mostly quotes drawn from his readings and his probe of the print and electronic media during the previous month, together with several of his own thoughts and observations.

To add your name to the “Frankly Quoted” Listserv, notify him at lfrank@igc.org. Comments and criticisms are always welcome. And if, by chance, you run across a quote (or have an original thought or observation) which you think others will find interesting, amusing, instructive, or inspiring, please send it along and it will be considered for inclusion in a future posting.

Leonard Roy Frank is an electroshock and insulin shock survivor and long-time activist. Leonard has edited and contributed to books which include: The History of Shock Treatment, Influencing Minds, and Random House Websters Quotationary is a classic reference for speakers and writers. His Random House Websters Wit & Humor Quotationary was published in 2000. In 2003, Random House published his Freedom: Quotes and Passages from the Worlds Greatest Freethinkers and 5 gift books titled Inspiration, Love, Money, Wisdom, and Wit, each subtitled The Greatest Things Ever Said.

In his book The History of Shock Treatment (1978) shock survivor Leonard Frank made probably the first public disclosure of the work of D. Ewen Cameron of Canada, who assaulted patients with massive drug doses, bizarre forms of cognitive conditioning and what he calleddepatterning” treatment.

Dr. Cameron’s “depatterning” technique used electroshock (ECT) as its major assault component. His brainwashing technique involved the administration of more than 200 electroshocks during 30-40 sessions. He also used prolonged sleep therapy, neuroleptics (Thorazine), LSD and what he calledpsychic driving,” which was an attempt to reprogram his subjects, most of whom he diagnosed as “schizophrenics.” Cameron found his treatment for schizophrenia to be more successful than any hitherto reported.” In one article published in a major psychiatric journal, he described the procedure’s effects this way: all schizophrenic symptoms have disappeared. There is complete amnesia for all events of his life.” Sensing the potential value of Cameron’s methods for interrogation and social-control purposes, the CIA partially funded his activities.

Around the time of Frank’s disclosures about Cameron’s treatments, Cameron’s work became a major scandal. Cameron was one of the most revered and rewarded psychiatrists on the international scene. He was a former President of the World Psychiatric Association, as well as president of the American Psychiatric Association and Canadian Psychiatric Association. He was involved in experiments in Canada for Project MKULTRA, a United States based CIA-directed “mind control” program.

In June 2006, Leonard’s The Electroshock Quotationary, was published on the Internet. The book is an illustrated, 154-page collection of chronologically arranged quotations, excerpts, and short essays about the history and nature of the controversial psychiatric procedure known as electroshock (electroconvulsive treatment, ECT).

The Electroshock Quotationary may be downloaded free of charge HERE


1 December 2007

Wall Street Lays an Egg.
VARIETY (entertainment daily), front-page headline, 30 October 1929 (the day after the stock-market crash triggering the Great Depression). Contrast, “Stocks Steady After Decline.” Wall Street Journal (business daily), front-page headline (on the same day).

Man is always something more than what he knows of himself. He is not what he is simply once and for all, but is a process; he is not merely an extant life, but is, within that life, endowed with possibilities through the freedom he possesses to make of himself what he will by the activities on which he decides.
KARL JASPERS (German psychiatrist and philosopher), Man in the Modern Age, ch. 4, 1931, translated by Eden and Cedar Paul, 1957

If I wanted it to be easy, I should have got born in a different universe.
REBECCA WEST (British writer and suffragist), closing sentence, “Goodness Doesn’t Just Happen” (1950), published in Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, editors, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, 2006

When I was young, each fresh piece of serious work used to seem to me for a time — perhaps a long time — to be beyond my powers. I would fret myself into a nervous state from fear that it was never going to come right. I would make one unsatisfying attempt after another, and in the end have to discard them all. At last I found that such fumbling attempts were a waste of time.

It appeared that after first contemplating a book on some subject, and after giving serious preliminary attention to it, I needed a period of subconscious incubation which could not be hurried and was if anything impeded by deliberate thinking…. Having, [after] a time of very intense concentration, planted the problem in my subconsciousness, it would germinate underground until, suddenly, the solution emerged with blinding clarity, so that it only remained to write down what had appeared as if in a revelation.
BERTRAND RUSSELL (English mathematician and philosopher), “How I Write,” Portraits From Memory: And Other Essays, 1951

The nation will listen only if it is a moment of great urgency.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, 1961, quoted in Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, ch. 27, 1965. Compare, “Sometimes it takes the vision of disaster to bring nations to their senses.” JAMES RESTON, “Thinking About Tomorrow,” New York Times, 17 December 1986

The glory of human nature lies in our seeming capacity to exercise conscious control of our own destiny.
WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965), quoted by C. E. M. Joad, “Churchill the Philosopher,” published in Charles Eade, editor, Churchill by His Contemporaries, 1953

When I’m creating, the creating is the joy. The song coming, oh my god, what’s this doing? It’s writing itself. It’s like I’m watching somebody else doing it. I remember I struggled all morning, six hours, the day I wrote “Nowhere Man,” in 1964, and I finally gave up. I lay down on the couch, I was really depressed, can’t write a song, and as I lay down, exhausted, and because I was no longer centered on “I have to write a song,” all of sudden [I started singing “Nowhere Man”]…. I picked up a guitar and the whole damn thing was there. All these songs came like that; I was not trying. Soon as I tried, it would go away. [Ellipsis points in original.]
JOHN LENNON, Lisa Robinson interview, 29 September 1980 (9 weeks before his murder), “Conversations with Lennon,” Vanity Fair, November 2001

Base our beliefs… on the fact of our existence, and it takes no great step for us to assume that we are not only individuals but may well be a vital part of a larger phenomenon that searches for some finer vision of life that could conceivably emerge from our present human condition.
NORMAN MAILER (writer and author of On God, 2007), “On Sartre’s God Problem,” Nation, 6 June 2005. Mailer died on 10 November 2007 at 84.

Albert Einstein once observed that westerners have a feeling the individual loses his freedom if he joins, say, a union or any group. Precisely the opposite is the case. Once you join others, even though at first your mission fails, you become a different person, a much stronger one. You feel that you really count, you discover your strength as an individual because you have along the way discovered others share in what you believe, you are not alone; and thus a community is formed. I am paraphrasing Einstein. I love to do that; nobody dares contradict me.

So, my credo consists of the pursuit and the act. One without the other is self-indulgence. This I believe.
STUDS TERKEL (radio personality, writer and author of Touch and Go: A Memoir, 2007), forward (closing paragraphs) to Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, editors, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, 2006. Terkel was 95 on 16 May 2007.

I believe that words are easy. I believe that truth is told in the actions we take. And I believe that if enough ordinary people back up our desire for a better world with action, we can, in fact, accomplish absolutely extraordinary things.
JODY WILLIAMS (teacher, founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and 1997 Nobel Peace Prize laureate), closing paragraph, “When Ordinary People Achieve Extraordinary Things,” published in Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, editors, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, 2006

The only viable solution to human conflicts will come through dialogue and reconciliation based on the spirit of compromise….

Today, more than ever, we need to make this fundamental recognition of the basic oneness of humanity the foundation of our perspective on the world and its challenges. From the dangerous rate of global warming to the widening gap between rich and poor, from the rise of global terrorism to regional conflicts, we need a fundamental shift in our attitudes and our consciousness — a wider, more holistic outlook.
DALAI LAMA (Tibetan Buddhist leader), “Words of Hope From a Man of Peace,” Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 29 October

On Logic, Love and Reason
The brain and heart are like the oars of a rowboat. When you use one to the exclusion of the other, you only end up going around in circles.

MARDY GROTHE (psychologist and quotation anthologist), “Dr. Mardy’s Thought of the Week,” Dr. Mardy’s Quotes of the Week, 25 November 2007, webmaster@chiasmus.com

As a means of extracting information during interrogations, torture is notoriously unreliable, but as a means of terrorizing and controlling populations, nothing is quite as effective.
NAOMI KLEIN (Canadian journalist), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, ch. 5, 2007



1 November 2007

We are members one of another; so that you cannot injure or help your neighbor without injuring or helping yourself.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (Irish playwright), preface (“The Alternative to Barabbas”) to Androcles and the Lion, 1912


In 1918, 17 resisters to World War I died in Alcatraz prison from mistreatment.
JUDITH EHRLICH and RICK TEJADA-FLORES (filmmakers), The Good War (film), 2000

The road to disaster is paved with pleasant illusions.
ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL (Polish-born U.S. theologian), The Insecurity of Freedom: Essays on Human Existence, ch. 9, sect. 1, 1967

Woman to a man, both seated on a couch in a comfortable living room: I don’t want to define myself by who I am.
P. C. VEY, cartoon caption, New Yorker, 25 June 2007

Spiffy man to woman both seated in a café: I’m sorry. I was so busy listening to myself talk that I forgot what I was saying.
WILLIAM HAEFELI, cartoon caption, New Yorker, 8 October 2007

You never know who is swimming naked until the tide goes out.
WARREN BUFFETT (CEO of the holding company Berkshire Hathaway, reputedly the second richest person in the U.S., and philanthropist), referring to investment fund managers during a financial crisis, quoted in Robert Kuttner, testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, 2 October 2007

Hard times and rough circumstances are not excuses for degrading others or allowing oneself to be degraded.
BOB HERBERT (journalist), “Tough, Sad and Smart,” New York Times, 16 October 2007

Our unexamined belief in American exceptionalism has allowed us to imagine ourselves above anything so constrictive as international law. American exceptionalism makes our imperialism altruistic, our plundering of the world’s resources a healthy exercise of capitalism and “tree trade.” From childhood, we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that America is superior to other nations; that our way of life, a mass-market “democracy” manipulated by lobbyists, is superior to all other forms of government; that no matter how frivolous and debased, our American culture is the supreme culture, as our language is the supreme language; that our most blatantly imperialistic and cynical political goals are always idealistic, while the goals of other nations are transparently opportunistic.

Perhaps the most pernicious of American ideas is the revered “My country, right or wrong,” with its thinly veiled threat of punishment for those who hesitate to participate in a criminal patriotism.
JOYCE CAROL OATES (Professor in the Humanities, Princeton University, and author of The Gravedigger’s Daughter, 2007), “The Human Idea,” Atlantic, November 2007. The excerpt is from Oates’s essay written for “The Future of the American Idea,” a special section of the magazine in its 150th anniversary issue.

The Bush administration immediately seized upon the fear generated by the [9/11] attacks not only to launch the “War on Terror” but to ensure that it is an almost completely for-profit venture, a booming new industry that has breathed new life into the faltering U.S. economy. Best understood as a “disaster capitalism complex,” it has much father-reaching tentacles than the military-industrial complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned against at the end of his presidency: this is global war fought on every level by private companies whose involvement is paid for with public money…. The ultimate goal for the corporations at the center of the complex is to bring the model of for-profit government, which advances so rapidly in extraordinary circumstances, into the ordinary and day-to-day functioning of the state — in effect, to privatize the government.
NAOMI KLEIN (Canadian journalist), introduction to The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, 2007