Creative people, like those with psychotic illnesses, tend to see the world differently to most. It’s like looking at a shattered mirror
Mark Millard UK psychologist
This article on the BBC site containing the above quotation is a “case study” in how the mainstream attempts to make sense of what they don’t understand. It trots out the same old chestnuts, van Gogh, Dali, even Woolfe’s ghost – dripping wet, with stones in her pockets makes a brief appearance in a side-bar list of infamy. Isolated kernels of truth float about in a sea of unacknowledged assumptions so the result, meant to enlighten and reasure, ends up confusing and causing further disquiet, while maintaining the overall morality lesson that to diverge from the “norm” is dangerous.
It’s all there in the quotation, itself a highlight with it’s own side-bar. Along with a translucent diagram of “the brain” pinpointing the Thalamus, a mental “filtering center” there to protect us from crazy disassociation, the quote takes a truism and pinpoints its location in an attempt to “diagram” human functioning. It also posits a connection between aberrant and laudatory examples of this deviation from the norm, even going so far as to admit it to be a continuum and not a duality of expression. The whole thing seems heading towards a synthesis that might truly expand our awareness until it all comes crashing down with that final metaphor.
This says more about the confusion and fears of the “normal” than it does about anyone who has a more oceanic perspective. Unable to see what all this careful and plodding research has led them to, shaken and fearful of any outcome that does not re-affirm their own crumbling view of the world, in the end the faith must be restored at all costs, the orthodoxy defended.
The schizophrenic mind, even when not enacted by the sweet and able Russel Crowe – yes Nash, through his filmic avatar is on the list – Crowe himself someone who is constantly willfully misunderstood, first goaded and then gleefully called-out as a wild man…
The schizophrenic mind may well be shattered, but the horrible effects of its manifestation may have more to do with the lack of accommodation the so-called sane world gives its schizophrenic brothers and sisters than what the actual condition might reveal in a more open and hospitable setting. In a world in which the predominant world-view, the one the writers and most of the readers of that article inhabit, thinks nothing of risking everything for some mental construct as in the nuclear standoff of the last half-century, or for supposed ease and accumulation for its own sake as it continues to do today; it is problematic for them to be calling anyone else insane. In fact, this question of sanity is far from an open and shut case. We have lived in an insane culture of civilization that has always chosen the most highly functional socio- and psychopaths as its leaders, and rewarded insanity at every turn through what is seriously calls Economics.
Schizophrenics do suffer, as do we all in this system. But to hold up one form of insanity as aberrant and another as normal, while refusing to look at the only glimmer of sanity we have available to us: in a way of perceiving, judging and basing action out of a pursuit of the totality of experience while attempting an engagement with the broadest possible interpretations of what we find; it is a meager and crippled way to be, a hollow shell of what it is to call oneself an investigator of the human condition. We are surrounded by such “experts” cloaked in the trappings of authority and trying to hide their own panic and fearfulness behind a bankrupt process while insisting on viewing the world only through their pin-prick lens.
The “crises,” the “disasters,” the “mistakes,” and “unforeseeable” consequences that inundate our lives today are not any of those things. They are not the system perverted or de-railed, they are the system expressing itself exactly as such a system would and does and will express itself. The sooner we stop hiding behind our fears and looking to those more crippled than ourselves for answers, the better off we will be. If not to undo what has so long been done “for us,” “by us,” “in our name;” then at least to gain the strength and wisdom to navigate the outcome, whatever that might be towards whatever conclusion we each will ultimately come to.