A Journey Through Madness

It is now August 2000 and looking back it is hard to believe that I am the same person who wrote these words not so very long ago. I now recognise that these words represent my 'long,dark night of the soul'. However, as with the experience of 'schizophrenia' I was having the experience before I ever knew it had a name. Nor did I know it had ever happened to any other human being in history.

And in a very real sense I am not the same person. If you had told me two years ago I could be in a state where anger, blame, resentment and all the other myriad negative emotions would be a distant memory that seems part of someone else's lifetime ... I would have laughed in your face. For more of that story, you might like to click here

Another file written during my 'long,dark night of the soul' can be found here. I wrote about myself as if from the position of a third party. The Buddhists have a similar technique called 'detachment' but I doubt if mine was as enlightened or healthy - though at times it may indeed have kept me alive ...


A Journey Through Madness
(Playing With Fire)

Introduction:

This book will upset a lot of people. Or to be more precise, it has the potential to upset a lot of people. As with everything in life, it all depends on the attitude with which it is approached. If you do not have an open mind, then don't bother reading this book. Most people like to believe they have an open mind, when in reality they do not. This book will almost certainly question nearly everything you hold to be true and certain. By reading this book, you may have to face the fact that your entire lif e and the lives of those around you are founded on some very questionable ideas and beliefs. You may not be equipped to handle such a jolt to your system, if in any doubt please cease reading now. Of course, I realise there is no way of being certain how much of a jolt any individual is ready to deal with. I have found that I personally can handle a succession of jolts but that has been through necessity rather than choice. So, read on at your own risk. To paraphrase Nietzsche, this book is for the very few - perhaps none of them is even born yet.

This book is written in the third person mainly for convenience. It is based on actual experiences.

That was originally followed by bits of "The Dream" and other stuff (mainly about if you cling to an extreme idealistic viewpoint in this kind of world you must surely go mad ... which caused him to wonder if people were just a figment of his imagination because if they were real they were beneath his contempt etc......)

October 98 - new idea for the start of book -

John stared at what he had just written. He could scarcely believe his eyes. Had he really written such a poem. It was beyond bizarre. Maybe it was all true. Maybe aliens were controlling his mind. He knew he could never be sure exactly what the explanation was but he had long ago come to the conclusion that only the dullest of individuals have a craving for concrete explanations. He wasn't interested in anything that could be said to be true or false. To him, ideas were either useful or useless, truth was a matter for sterile minds to contemplate. Rigid unbending dogma had always seemed to John as the most ludicrous basis for any belief system. He stared once again at the poem he had just written. As always it had simply appeared in his mind as if he was sharing his consciousness with some unseen and unknown entity.

The Mad Prophet

I am the voice of the insane
Aliens gladly control my brain
I could bounce on a thousand knives
I love to believe in the stretching of lives

I bend my life in fifteen ways
I scream and laugh in walls of stone
I fold along the dotted lines
I jump into the ocean alone

I was born like the extra madman
I walk through valleys of steam
I was born like a nameless madman
People never know when to scream

People tell me about their lives
I tell them they should use more knives
Lives and knives, lives and knives
People lose their lives and knives

People find their blood will spill
And ever ever ever always will
I could make your heart explode
By thoughts or even a psychic load

I am a slowly melting lava lake
Your thoughts are but mine to make
I shout and scream and laugh like thunder
I steal your mind and soul and wonder

He wondered why there he had suddenly started to write poems after never even considering it before. He had composed over 30 in a few weeks, all of which would simply pop into his thoughts at random as if tuning into some radio signal nobody else could hear. He would read them over and over and often would find himself catapulted into the sort of manic states people would undoubtedly regard as lunacy. He didn't care what people thought. He had given up trying to describe these experiences to others, especia lly psychiatrists.

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John started to wonder if these poems were more than just words. Maybe they were a representation of what was actually happening to him. He had always experienced wild extreme fluctuations in his mood for no apparent reason. He would be insanely positive and euphoric for days and then suddenly flip to the other extreme opposite experience. At times, he felt as if he was plugged into some great cosmic electric field and in contact with every atom in the universe as described perfectly in four lines in the p oem "Mania".......

My brain is charged with electric force
I feel as if I could walk through walls
I'm not mad and I'm not insane
I have lions and tigers in my brain
.....He really did scream and laugh like thunder. Maybe he was the prophet the world had been waiting for. At othe times, he saw the whole situation as utterly hopless. People would never listen. They would never change. They were far too busy deluding themselves and would never face the truth unless forced to. Maybe alien mind control was the only answer. Or maybe it was already far too late for most of them. Maybe this was a gift for the special few who dared to refuse to conform to an absurd society.

John had tried in vain to convey his ideas & experiences to people. He clearly remembered one psychiatrist telling him that his quest for a "controllable madness" was doomed to fail. John took this as a huge encouragement. If a dull, rigid mind objected to his ideas then he must be on the right path! His best attempt at describing the experiences was to call them psychedelic experiences without the need for narcotic substances. If this meant he had to pay the price of never being able to relate to a "norma l" human being ever again, well he was quite prepared to pay that price. Or he thought he was....

& these....

Of course, he hadn't always thought this way. He had been officially diagnosed as "schizophrenic" 15 years before. He had never really accepted the view that he had a "disease". In fact, at times he was absolutely convinced that normality was the disease and psychosis was the cure! So he came to regard psychiatrists as fools who could never afford to face the truth. His psychosis had taken a million twists and turns. It really did seem as if some external force was controlling his mind and soul and thoughts . Strangely this didn't seem to bother him terribly much. In fact he often felt a surreal calm about the whole process. Admittedly there were times when he would panic and wonder if this could plunge him into such a state as he could never surface from. Even this sometimes held much appeal.

The origin of the title? It was inconceivable that anyone could walk around with such ideas in their head without becoming totally mad. Yet so far it had only happened for brief tantalising periods. Maybe this was all part of the process. He decided to call it "A Journey Through Madness" He also concluded that in any half sensible society, he would be a prophet or even a god instead of being seen as having a "psychiatric condition. This notion would often cause him great frustration and extreme anger. The sort of anger that produces psycopaths. In fact, in his blackest moods he concluded that people deserve psycopaths - in fact they are responsible for creating them by making society so insipid and pathetic that few can conform to it without putting a strait-jacket on their true feelings. I n fact, he had even said to people, "I am amazed society works at all. I am amazed enough people conform to all the bullshit to prevent total chaos." He fully realised that if everyone saw things the way he does, there would indeed be complete chaos. Sometimes even this possibility had great appeal to him. He thought there were far too many people in the world anyway. There was no way you could have six billion individuals on one planet and expect a satisfactory quality of life for most of them. This inevit ably means that those who get a raw deal will be frustrated and angry. Surely he wasn't the first person to realise these things. Maybe he was. Or maybe all the others had already long since gone insane. ..... could develop that theme a bit more ....

It was crystal clear in his mind what the problems were. The maddening thing was he could do nothing about them. The only thing he could do was change his perception or awareness of them. etc ........ needs a lot of work to put that section into a coherent form... In a blinding flash of revelation he realised all the philosophers had missed a vital point. God is not sane, people are. Sanity is an unnatural state forced upon people in order to sustain a physical existence. Since god is not a physical being, he has no need to be sane. It blew his mind.

Then work a way to incorporate the poems into it? such as Enigma, Fragmentation, Glimpses Irregularities, Unrelated Puzzles, Shall We Forget etc...... More ideas to throw in:

"The secret of life is to meditate on the true nature of madness"
"Aliens break into my house every night and put blood on my neck"
"My parents nailed me to a tree for seven years"
"I was nailed to the cross when I became God"
Few more ideas for poems: I am the next madman you will ever need

I was born like a human experimental madman
I was born like a human experimental madman

I used to believe in all the shame of life
People told me I was mad.
So, I said yes, I am the madman.
I'm not mad. I'm FEXWAY CROLTHORN.
People love their BRIFTY and their BROIMBLES.
I was a broken down madman
I was the filth of life
People tell me I'm insane But they don't even know the pain
People tell me I'm so weird
But they can't even see I'm revered
People never know if their names are real
People never know if they are going to be mad
People love their SCRINTY SCROINTY NORMAL
People love to believe in the filth of life
I used to believ in all the madness of Christ
I'm not mad. I'm FLOINK the CROINK
The Philosopher's Lament
I ask the questions nobody asks
I wonder about the nature of things
I go about my daily tasks
I wish I had angel's wings

The Robot Meditates
I build myself
I see no switches
I walk through doors
I fall from grace
I move silently
I never sleep
I build circuits
I call out my name
I am nameless
I use batteries
I need repairs
I never die
I find a shoe and softly wear it
I see the world and grin and bear it
I squeeze my life into a cave
Free to scream and rant and rave
I am joined by fifteen angels (and devils)
I laugh as they fly around my head
I used to walk around like an angry mutant
I used to scream into the face of madness
I was a flame in the ocean of blood
I was a screaming mutant in a tree
I used to believe in all the JANTWAY-FROLTHORN
I used to believe in all the JANTWAY-FROINGLE
JANTWAY-FROLTHORN is JANTWAY-FROINGLE
JANTWAY-FROLTHORN is JANTWAY-FROIMBLE
Here's a copy of the recent poems in case I forget..... Then obvously I put a non-Table format of allll the latest .....

Here is the original idea for start of the book ...................

John gradually came to the conclusion that angry people don't suicide, depressed people do. Depression must be caused by anger being suppressed. This gave him no great comfort as anger was more likely to produce psychopathic results. He couldn't begin to fathom why everyone else wasn't just as angry as he was. There was just so much injustice, poverty and misery in the world. How did people just carry on with their lives as if it weren't happening. When he wasn't feeling angry he felt nothing at all. He couldn't remember the last genuine emotion which wasn't anger. It was as if someone had reached inside him and turned off a switch. Perhaps that was the only way he could survive, maybe it was an instinctive reaction to living in such a lost world. Maybe he was just a defective individual. Until one day when an utterly astounding idea just popped into his head. Maybe the rest of the human race wasn't real. What an extraordinary notion! How could he tes t out such an outrageous theory? Why would such an idea suddenly occur to him? Was he going mad? The more he dwelt upon this possibility, the more he realised he had merely assumed that people were real. He had no firm evidence that they were - they may be an elaborate illusion. Or maybe this was the final sign that he was so detached from reality as the psychiatrists had told him. ........ It did solve one problem rather neatly. If other people weren't actual real, he wasn't abnormal or psychotic, rather he was unique. Thus love is not real, so he wasn't a freak incapable of love. This was the first of many revelations on money, society, concepts, language, rationality, luck, re-incarnation, and the many religious errors he could easily see. If he was deluded then they were pretty amazing delusions. There were also revelations about happiness and the fact that people assume it only derives from certain specific activities & concepts.... He felt a strange thrill with each revelation, but he also realised he was drifting further and further away from the way everybody else thinks. Maybe this break would be total, he would no longer be able to relate to people at all. After all, if you doubt whether they are real, there is not a lot of point in retaining any sense of the way they think. Especially if you see that thinking as artificial and doomed. Was he a genius? Were aliens really putting these ideas into his head? Were they evil spirits le ading him astray? He remembered reading about Mental Poisoning and that unhappy spirits prey on vulnerable people. Rapidly he was realising that once you question everything, you cannot be sure of anything at all. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you could handle a state of perpetual uncertainty. He had always felt people have such a desperate need for certainty that they tend to cling to any belief system that provides it regardless of how absurd or unlikely it might seem to others. Sometimes he concluded that he had already read far too much and no longer knew up from down. However, there was no way back, you can't return your mind to the state it was in prior to such ideas being planted into it. Yet strangely, it didn't seem to bother him terribly much. He felt a surreal calm that everything would turn out fine, no matter how bleak it often seemed. Did it really matter what the source of the revelations was? His main frustration being how hollow it felt when he wasn't experiencing th ese revelatory states, which he soon came to refer to as psychedelic experiences. He always felt electrified during these bursts, as if every cell in his body was supercharged with energy. Naturally, any ordinary states of mind were extremely tame by comparison. Extended periods of isolation seemed to spark these moods. So, he was being pulled ever further away from normal society, if such a thing actually existed. Somewhere in the Bible, he remembered stories about the Holy Spirit taking over people who then spoke in tongues. Maybe this was happening to him. Maybe in an earlier era of human history he would be regarded as a prophet or a visionary rather than a schizophrenic. Yet every time he felt even close to being satisfied, a new revelation would storm into his brain, disturbing the peace. Maybe aliens really were toying with his mind to drive him insane, or worse. But this latest one topped them all! If there is such a thing as God, how can anyone be expected to be satisfied with anything less than being God? It blew his mind! Then, before he had even recovered from that, he wondered if God himself was satisfied! What was the motive for creation? Surely a perfectly satisfi ed being would have no need to create anything. So this universe, if it was created, must have been created by a flawed being. I mean after all, why create a universe with billions of galaxies, stars and billions of people. It does seem just a trifle extravagant, as though whoever did it wanted someone to be amazed by it. The only problem being that those creatures capable of being amazed are also capable of the most horrific activities imaginable Were aliens capable of controlling his emotions as well as his thoughts? Did they only do it to people who have been virtually destroyed by modern society? Were their intentions honorable? Nobody could possibly answer his questions. Even if they did, could they prevent it? Of course, he hoped they would supply him with more thrills than torments but there way no way of knowing and he probably had no say in it at all. He was still ambivalent as to whether to make the final leap and abandon society completely. After all, he had already abandoned the concepts it was based on. Maybe these BLACK moods were a sign that he was still clinging to some preposterous hope that he could live like everyone else and somehow get it to work satisfactorily. He had flirted briefly with rehabilitation but his heart was never fully in it. Maybe that was the monumental flaw with society. People who are genuinely happy don't realise what an i ncredible fluke it is and everyone else has to pretend as best they can. He speculated that this disparity does not happen in primitive societies where it is impossible to become isolated from those around you. There would be a sense of "community mood" in such a society. He wondered how he could be so sure of these speculations. Maybe re-incarnation was true and he was remembering past lives and better circumstances. Furthermore, he imagined that people in such societies weren't buried under the amount of factual detail and language that is necessary in a modern world. Maybe this left their minds and spirits far more free to roam. After hours of such agonising over the sate of society, he concluded that if humanity was the result of some masterplan by a supreme being, then the plan was deeply flawed. Those not fortunate enough to have happy lives would naturally be resentful and angry. In extreme cases, they would become psychopaths and megalomaniacs like Hitler, who then proceed to ruin millions of other lives. A truly enchanted scheme. He Once formed a bizarre theory to avoid all words which ended in "ITY" and he composed a list of such words and taped it to his bedroom walls. He could remember most of the entries on that list: SANITY, RATIONALITY, CONFORMITY, REALITY, NORMALITY, INTEGRITY, CHRISTIANITY, INDIVIDUALITY, COMMUNITY, PERSONALITY, NECESSITY and the list went on..... Naturally, he realised it was a practical impossibility (another word ending in "ity"!) to completely avoid such words. The very world he lived in was founded on such words and the concepts behind them. One in particular had riveted his attention for months. He came to the conclusion that the word personality was vital. Personality, after all, is merely a device for dealing with others around you. Once you no longer care to devote any time to interacting with other people, the personality (or charade as he preferred to call it) would simply fade into nothingness. Or so he speculated. There was no way to be sure until he could take that final irreversible step of abd icating himself from society. Why was he hesitating? He cursed the legacy of being raised on such words. He felt it as a contagion that may never be fully cured. It was as if his entire being had been poisoned at birth, and every step in this purification process was extremely taxing and he may burn himself out before the process could be completed. The ultimate step would be to render language meaningless. He had long been convinced, as some Zen Buddhists believe, that the biggest obstacle humans face is the concepts they choose to fill their heads with. These concepts have as much or as little reality as people give them. John saw them as the bars of a prison, in which the mind and spirit were trapped. Some people were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the prison but they were few by his reckoning. Since concepts are merely words, the obvious solu tion is to render words meaningless. He had been able to briefly achieve this during the ecstatic states he experienced. But his mind always returned with a thud back to the pedestrian world of language and concepts. Maybe your mind could never sustain such spontaneous ecstatic states. Few people even knew that they existed, apart from drug users, and theirs was a chemically induced ecstasy anyway. He would often turn a word over and over in his mind for hours until it had literally no meaning. He would als o be unable to follow people's conversations, which held little interest to him - about as much interest as talking to any other lower form of life. Maybe this was why the aliens had contacted him. Nobody else could handle these experiences without going right off the deep end. Maybe this was the explanation of the entire phenomenon known as "schizophrenia". Maybe the "voices" people report are REAL. He once tried in vain to convey this idea to his psychiatrist. What if there were these signals that only a few can tune in to? Somewhat like a television or radio signal. The signal is in the air but without a radio or TV set you cannot pick it up. Suddenly he had a vivid recollection of an interstate trip where he went 36 hours without sleep and read the entire novel "1984". During this trip, his mind periodically jumped into an altered state where he saw himself quite literally inside the book as one of the main characters. These altered states had a very different sensation than your everyday dream states. Although to be honest, his dream states were staggeringly realistic at times. His most vivid memory of childhood was a recurring dream where he was chased in his own yard by a wolf and he would wake in sweat JUST at the moment he was about to be devoured. Lately his dreams had also a vivid and violent sense to them. One recent dream had focussed on him being on the 20th floor of a building and then suddenly going into a frenzy of rage and laughing maniacally as he threw people out of the windows. Then there was the dream about the one inch aliens who had psychic powers and would make your heart beat faster and faster until it explodes. Maybe he was already insane. If so, he didn't really mind. Maybe these dreams were also sent by the aliens telling him what the final irreversible step must be.

John had had dreams before but this was something else. It was so vivid and so captivating that he was astonished to find himself awake and that it was merely a dream. Normally he couldn't remember his dreams once he was fully awake again but this one was crystal clear. He felt strangely compelled to write down the details while they were still fresh in his mind. The oddest part of the dream was the complete lack of 'action'. Normally his dreams reflected his mind. They were very detailed and complex with many characters involved and some often heated conversation. This one was so radically different that it made him question whether it was in fact a dream at all. He would worry about that question later, right now was the time to write down the content and atmosphere of the dream.

In the dream, it seemed as if he was a giant, who was peering in the tiny door of a doll's house. Inside the house he could barely make out a dimly lit room in which someone was peacefully rocking in a chair whilst knitting something very long. He came to realise this was the basement of a building with many storeys. (John briefly chuckled when he considered a pun on the word "story") He heard a distant voice which seemed to be coming from one of the upper floors. It said simply, "It is not too late to guid e them towards the light.

Was this just a dream? Or was it some kind of message. After all, from his perspective, mankind did seem quite lost. Maybe the building symbolised something. Maybe it represented the soul's journey and that most people were stuck on the ground floor, stumbling around in the dark with no idea that the other floors even exist.

Maybe the message was that people get so caught up in the activities of everyday life that they come to view this as the only reality. That was a lot of maybes for John to consider. Surely nobody would choose him as a messenger or prophet! It was unthinkable. Who would take any notice of him? He wasn't a politician or a great orator or in any position to deliver a message to more than a handful of people. Surely if there was some "ultimate being" he could come up with a more efficient way of delivering a m essage of such importance. These ideas raced around John's head leaving him quite dizzy. After all it was just a dream wasn't it? It may be of no greater meaning than to illustrate his own state of confusion and uncertainty.

After all, John was one of the least religious people on the planet. He wouldn't call himself an atheist but he had always been extremely skeptical of the whole experience of faith. John was also fond of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". However he preferred the extended version of this idea, known as Karma. If people really thought that any harm or pain they caused to others would be repaid to them in this or a future life they would surely live very differently. The same would apply to acts of kindness, sympathy and compassion.

However much John might admire the sentiments expressed in some religions he found the experience of belief to be quite puzzling. It seemed to him as if there should at least be a bit of doubt in people's minds. After all, there are dozens of different creeds all giving a different version of the "truth" and they cannot possibly all be right. In fact only one of them or none of them. This ought to make people very cautious to claim that they are the ones who are right and that everyone else is on the wrong path. John found it utterly lamentable that many people throughout history have actually been killed simply because of religious differences. He found it even more unfathomable when most of these faiths are based on commandments like "Thou shalt not kill". This had led John at one stage to be very anti-religion. He argued that if God had a message to deliver then surely he would know of a way to present that message so there was no confusion and everyone would be converted. If he couldn't find such a way, that doesn't say much for him being "all knowing". It was a simple argument but thoroughly persuasive - or so John thought.

Lately, he had been preoccupied with these sorts of questions. At times he felt as if he would be driven out of his mind by them. On the one hand, science has revealed that the universe we live in is incredibly intricate and complex. Our bodies and the internal processes which sustain our lives are equally amazing. This is the starting point for most religious people to say that it surely cannot be just some random accident and therefore there must be a creator or supreme being. John could see much merit in this argument. However it seemed to him a huge leap to then claim that some document like the Bible or Koran comes direct from this creator and is the ultimate truth.

He was also rather bemused at the way priests seemed to speak up on "social" matters. Hadn't they read the Bible? Surely there was a passage in there that states "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." So it was an absolute bonus to get a raw deal in this life because that means you'll be well taken care of in the afterlife. It always seemed to John that the people who profess to believe in an infinitely better life to come after death act very much as if this is all there is and you'd bette r get whatever you can out of it. They really were a pretty sorry advertisement for their faith from John's point of view. He felt sorry for them in the end. Being compelled to lie to yourself your whole life through cannot be too wondeful an experience.

John was also obsessed with the old argument about "evil". The simple argument goes that if God created everything then he must have created the evil. But what sort of God would create evil? The view of a "perfect" God always seemed preposterous to John - he tried to imagine what it would be like to be a "perfect being". It sounded nice! In fact, so nice that you wouldn't bother creating anything. After all, you can't improve on perfection, so there would no motive for creation.

John was raised on the idea of Heaven & Hell but he always had grave doubts about this picture of human life. It seemed a monstrously unfair arrangement. Some people live only for a few days or a few hours. Surely they could not have "offended" God in any way and would go straight to Heaven. So they have had an unfair advantage over the rest of us, John thought. He had even dared to say, "A God that operates an unfair system is not a God for me!"

It had always seemed to John as if the most important commandment in any religion was Thou shalt not ask questions (because you won't like the answers. That was why Zen Buddhism was so refreshing, having no fixed beliefs and one of its central ideas was to keep your mind in a constant state of questioning. Maybe John had taken this notion to its ultimate extreme. Or maybe the ultimate state of constant questioning was what people blindly refer to as madness.

John came to the conclusion that if there was any sort of life after death it surely must be based on some sort of reincarnation. So that each lifetime is an opportunity to learn vital spiritual lessons and eventually not be reborn anymore. However, John could see one huge obstacle to him embracing such a view of the world. From history, John knew that the population of the earth was once a few million and now it was several billion. Well, one simple question occurred to him - namely, where did all the extr a people come from? If people are simply being "recycled", then the population shouldn't increase that dramatically. In fact it should actually decrease, since those that learn their lessons well will be shifted onto a higher plane of existence. John could see other obstacles to this being a realistic picture of the way things are. If the purpose of each lifetime is to learn lessons, why would so many countless millions of people choose a lifestyle based on a religious view that is the exact opposite of rei ncarnation? It seemed a curious choice if indeed people do choose the circumstances of the life they will live this time around! This led to an even bigger question, namely how much does anyone know about the life they supposedly choose? This would be based on knowledge of what the future will hold, but surely the elements of chance mean there is a limit to how many details of someone's life you could know in advance. These questions were bending his mind. He came to the realisation that he knew nothing for sure and he could never know anything for sure. He had become the ultimate skeptic, he had questioned everything that people think they are sure of and found that none of it is certain. People delude themselves far too much and yet it is he who is officially labelled as delusional, very ironic. He found it also very ironic that there was one huge bonus attached to being so skeptical and unsure. He now knew he could never just give up like so many people seemed to and as he would once have wished to. This w as due to the fact that no matter what situation he found himself in, there was always the tantalising possibility that he was on the threshold of a major breakthrough. Alternately, a minor variation in approach or direction could lead to the desired result.

At times it seemed as if the whole world was some divine plot to drive him out of his mind. He had read about some Eastern philosophies which seemed to suggest that the entire world of physical reality is an illusion and that death is like waking from a bad dream.

Now, this was a belief system he could embrace! It was a fascinating idea to toss around in his head. However, physical reality seemed very real - especially if you are in great pain or dying from some ghastly sickness. Maybe John would just have to live with the fact that he could never be certain of anything. Strangely, this prospect didn't seem to alarm him too much.

He had read somewhere that each time you are reborn some aspects of your life are chosen so as to learn the appropriate lessons. So maybe his schizophrenia was a choice made in a previous lifetime. This certainly would paint a radically different picture than his psychiatrist would and maybe the so-called "symptoms" are actually the soul's instinctive attempts to break the fixation with worldly concerns in order to get in touch with the ultimate reality. Like any radical idea, John realised few people would accept this challenge to their view of the way things are. John liked to imagine that current psychiatric practices would come to be regarded by future generations in much the same the way we now regard some of the practices from the Dark Ages.

Yet there were times he wondered if the psychiatrists were right after all. Officially he had been diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia and these ideas running around in his head were officially delusions. On the other hand, maybe the "voices" people were hearing were something real and not merely hallucinations. Maybe non-physical beings are in contact with people and trying to deliver a message. After all, how do you determine what is real and what is imaginary? To John's mind anything is possible, he had even once wondered if the rest of the people on the planet are actually real. There was simply no way for him to be sure one way or the other.

John then realised that there was another possible interpretation of his dream. Maybe the house represents the various levels of consciousness in a person's mind. If people focus too intently on worldly concerns then their minds are left trapped in a dull basement and they will inevitably be left dissatisfied and frustrated. This interpretation appealed to John as he had always felt somewhat disconnected and unenthusiastic about the everyday world that other people seem to take very seriously, often to thei r detriment.

At times he was absolutely convinced that some external force or agent was deliberately manipulating his thoughts and emotions. This raised several disturbing questions! Firstly, who or what was the external agent? He could think of several possibilities and having seen a lot of science fiction, one frightening idea is that they are aliens from another galaxy. He could only hope their intentions were benevolent because the alternative was hideous. The other candidates could be his own subconscious or people using telepathy or so-called "spirit guides" which he had read about somewhere. These apparently guides try to guide people onto the right path, some people refer to them as guardian angels. He realised he had absolutely no conceivable means of determining the source of these experiences which people in previous centuries no doubt would interpret as being possessed by evil spirits or witchcraft.

When these experiences gripped him, John would feel as if he was in contact with someone else's mind. Ideas and questions would cascade through his mind and he often felt as if his body had electricity running through it rather than blood. John had never taken LSD or anything like it but he imagined this was the sort of experience that those drugs would create. At times his body was so supercharged he felt as if he could walk through walls.

Sometimes these experiences consisted of nothing more than a constant stream of nonsense phrases or ideas which nevertheless seem to catapult John into a state of profound joy and excitement. He realised that psychiatrists would simply describe this as dementia or mania but John instinctively felt as if he was in contact with a "presence" despite always being alone when it happened. Maybe his was one of the few minds that was flexible enough to handle such an experience and thus he was sought out by this "p resence". It almost seemed as if someone was trying to give John a taste of how exhilarating madness truly is. Maybe the "secret of life" is to laugh like a madman. He came to view madness as a higher state of consciousness; a state of imagination roaming free with no boundaries; a state where logic and language and rational thought simply dissolve away as they are no longer useful. He further speculated that the memory also vanishes, leaving no sense of past or future, only an eternal present. He was stru ck by the similarity between this view and some religious descriptions of Heaven.

Maybe madness was in fact the ultimate reality and people were being led away from this path by the mundane concerns of everyday living. So maybe modern civilisation was actually a very bad idea. John once speculated that if everyone would simply stop focussing on the activities of everyday life then the entire dreamlike world of physical "reality" would simply dissolve. Maybe schizophrenia was the first step on a journey to the ultimate reality. Maybe all this was merely idle speculation.

Maybe it was just a dream after all.

In his blacker moods, he could be extremely nasty in his attack on faith. Especially the faith he had been raised on. He would be the first to admit Christianity had some excellent ideas. However, he couldn't begin to fathom the "I'm not worthy" mind-set of the Christians. It seemed dead obvious to John that all the elements of human nature were put there by God. So, in effect, Christians were apologising for the way they were made. If human nature is defective and even contains "evil" then it was God that put it there. So, ultimately God should apologise for making a defective product. Maybe that was what he was waiting for! An honest opinion from amongst those who are forced to live with his arbitrary decisions. He vividly remembered an debate with someone on computer bulletin board. This person responded along the lines of "Well, what are you left with? Personal choice?" To which John had countered "I hate to shatter your illusions, but that is all there is, personal choice. If indeed God chooses to send people to Hell for daring to question his masterplan, then that is his personal choice. The only difference is that his personal choice has a huge clout behind it!" Personally, John could imagine no greater torture than to be forced to spend the whole of eternity with those too spineless and pathetic to dare to question anything. So, to truly punish him, God should send him to Heaven. But then, a God that is so petty as to wish to "punish" any dissent is not worth believing in. He couldn't possibly imagine that God would go to all the trouble of creating people with the capacity to reason and debate, then require that their passport to eternal "reward" is to never question anything. John had actually replied to one person by saying his fondest dream was to live in a world where nobody worships God and nobody even remembers that religion ever happened. John also found missionaries a complete puzzle. What was going on in their heads? They would have to admit they cannot possibly save all the starving and oppressed people but would also say it is vital to save as many as possible. So much for God loving everyone equally! It was just a lottery as to whether you were one of the lucky ones. How could they possibly resolve this in their minds? For that matter, how does any Christian resolve that quite obvious question? So many people get a horrific deal in this world and have no say in it at all. Yet supposedly God loves everyone equally, and by ANY acceptable definition of "love" the very least you would do for someone you love is prevent their suffering if you are able to. To John, this was the absolute impassable roadblock to any thought of believing in such a God. Similar arguments apply to those who believe in miracles. If God supposedly loves everyone equally, why will he go out of his way to intervene to help some people and not choose to do so to prevent all the other horrific events that have happened in history. Rather hard to swallow that! He admitted that he often envied people with faith, envying their peace of mind. If indeed they have peace of mind! They profess to, but maybe it was all a charade. How could they possibly be content with this rather obvious contradiction. I mean you do not have to be Albert Einstein to see the discrepancy! He came to the conclusion that faith was a socially acceptable delusion. Unlike the delusions which were not so socially acceptable, which to John were actually far more believable! He even expressed such views to people on the bulletin board, and was not remotely surprised at the responses received. In the end, he actually felt sorry for such people. They must be in a desperate state to be willing and able to twist their minds to that extent. He saw it as an extreme form of self-violation. He could not believe that his mind had stayed intact while being pulled in several directions at once. Yet maybe that was the intention. He was just dead unlucky that his mind had become so pliable that it would not snap. Nobody could be expected to carry these ideas around in his head on a daily basis and remain sane. Nobody could be expected to endure such torment and uncertainty, yet that was precisely what he had done. From time to time he would suddenly lose all confidence in these "revelations". Maybe it was he who was on the wrong track. The trouble with having such an open mind was that you could never be sure which is the best path to follow. You had to rely on instinct and luck. Lately, he had seemed pre-occupied by the one revelation that he would rate as literally the most mind-blowing of them all. He called it the Theory of Spontaneous Ecstasy and it went something like this: First, you realise that human beings learn to attach their emotions to certain concepts and activities. Then you merely make it your specific aim to dissolve all such attachments. The theory then states that the likelihood of spontaneous ecstasy increases. The main obstacles are other people and maintaining some relation with them requires some memory of the way they think. So, in its most extreme form, the theory would demand a complete dissociation from society. He would spend hours contemplating. He didn't imagine a lot of people did this. They were so busy with their jobs and families and their entertainments. Maybe they instinctively keep themselves busy so as to avoid the questions that were slowly driving John out of his mind. Lately, he had been contemplating memory. What is it? Why do we remember anything at all? Why do we only remember a small percentage of all the events we have experienced? He tried to imagine a state of mind where there was no memory at all. Maybe that's what madness is. Briefly, he could feel his mind was in just such a state. It never lasted very long, some unknown force always seemed to pull him back. Sometimes his contemplations strayed to consider the big picture. Why were things this way at all? Why were there laws and society and countries and language and consciousness and animals? Why did any of these things exist at all? He recalled the classic question about God. If God created the universe, then who created God? It seemed a legitimate question to John. More than legitimate, it was inevitable. As with all such questions, the limitations of human language prevented you from fully exploring it. He began to wonder. His life seemed to have followed a script for the past decade or more. If so, who was writing the script? Aliens? Maybe his mind had been systematically liberated from the strait-jacket of conventional thought processes. Maybe this had done for a specific purpose. Maybe John now had a vital message for all mankind. This seemed quite plausible to John. You didn't have to be a genius to work out this world is in a frightful mess. All the crime, poverty, injustice, pollution, over-populatio n, destruction of the environment, the list was endless. But realistically who would listen? After all he was officially psychotic. John could not get past it. He really wished he could. He wondered how anyone with faith could possibly get past it. Did they even ask the question? Maybe the only answer is to not ask the question in the first place. How can anyone believe God loves people? It just does not gel with reality. Why would a God of "love" allow all the horrors that have dotted mankind's history? It just does not add up to any definition of "love" that John would accept. People defend God by saying He cannot interfere with free will. To John, the unavoidable question must follow. Namely, what value is free will if it can be used to torture, rape, maim and terrify others? No value whatsoever. John would gladly opt for being an automaton if it meant living in a world free of crime and violence. What possible reason is there for giving human beings the option of acting in a manner which causes suffering to others? It was obvious to John that free will is an enormous blunder. But what use is a God that makes catatrophic errors. No us e at all. Besides which, if there is "evil" in human nature then God must have put it there. But what sort of God would create evil? These questions churned around in his mind on a daily basis. Was it any wonder he was losing his mind. He concluded that God's only possible excuse is that he doesn't exist.

This gave him no great pleasure but at least it was honest. He felt like he was the only honest person on the face of the planet and sometimes it made him very angry. Maybe God himself wasn't even honest. This seemed a logical impossibility but maybe reality was not logical after all. Maybe this wasn't even reality and death would be like waking from a very vivid but ultimately farcical dream.

He would watch religious programs with an extraordinary mixture of emotions. Puzzlement was the primary one. How DID people convince themselves of the existence of a "loving" God? What about all the people tortured, raped, abused, oppressed throughout history? John found it dead, dead obvious that if God exists then he made a horrific blunder in the way he had constructed human beings. This was no new argument, in fact it was disarmingly simple: If evil exists and God created everything, then God must have created the evil. He felt quite appalled by the people who felt compelled to "apologise" to God for being made the way they were. It was ludicrous. It was really pathetic. It would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic. He wished he could send flames from his mind to liberate these poor deluded souls. Even better would be to send flames into his own mind to wipe out all memory that such people ever existed.

As maddening as these thoughts were, he felt a strange exhilaration as he imagined the sort of psychotic states of mind that could just conceivably produce such flames. He fully realised he could never discuss such notions with anyone without being placed back into a psychiatric hospital. Maybe that was all that was required! To never relent from his views, to dare to imagine that such things were possible. Maybe he was already mad. Maybe madness was ...... his mind trailed off, exhausted. He collapsed into a restless sleep.

In his blackest of moods he visualised ripping his own head off. He had tried every conceivable way of losing his mind but to no avail. Maybe that was the point. Maybe the exact opposite approach was the answer. To make no effort. He vaguely recalled some Buddhist thought is along these lines. Namely, the absence of effort produces the best results. To try without trying. To release the mind form the shackles of language & memory. He wondered if it was possible.

Often, when he found himself in these moods, John really did regard society as absurd. It was so sterile, so artificial, so controlled. He saw people's lives as a pathetic shadow of what they could be if only their heads weren't so full of rubbish. He wondered if way deep down maybe everyone knew this but kept themselves busy because they were afraid to allow themselves to question the entire basis of society. The only really interesting people he'd ever met were in psychiatric hospitals. He had often descr ibed himself as an anarchist - get rid of all society's rules, regulations, traditions, customs and make it a true survival of the fittest. It would bring some intensity to life rather than this pathetic circus. He came to regard society as just a framework that allowed the dull, the insipid, the spineless to lead a comfortable but ultimately a very lame and limp existence. Obviously there were exceptions but he didn't see too many of them. He would say that all society's trouble stems from this arrangement and that the psychotics and deranged people are merely those individuals who could not suppress their instincts far enough to conform to an absurd society.

It was far preferable, at times, for him to believe all this was not real at all. Ultimately he felt profoundly sorry for people forced to live in such a manner. He saw conformity as a straitjacket and maybe after a while people just get used to it and stop struggling. He dearly wished that human beings didn't have such a powerful drive for survival since they seemed to survive at a terrible cost in a lot of cases and this was not a pretty sight . He was absolutely amazed (and saddened) that there were enou gh people who actually conformed to enable society to continue and not have total chaos. He felt sure that a modern society despite all its technological marvels was a very poor way of life because it generally divorced people from their instincts. Some people seemed to be so lacking in instinct they looked utterly lost. Others were luckier but even they were operating in a manner John would describe as artificial. Even these so-called "lucky" people were not really lucky at all since they still live surrou nded by the angry, the miserable, the violent and the twisted. John concluded that the only way he could ever live like all the rest was if somebody performed a lobotomy on his brain. He had once said to someone that there were only two things wrong with the world - the people who should kill themselves generally don't and the people who shouldn't produce children generally do. In John's mind, the two groups were almost identical.

Despite all these attitudes, John still remained ambivalent. He occasionally enjoyed some people's company and could "plug into" the mood of a group or gathering. This was especially true with younger children, maybe their minds were in a similar chaotic disorganised state to his so he connected well with them. At other times he felt like a ghost that nobody could really see or notice. He would even wonder if he could turn it all around and re-enter society in some manner. These moods would never last long enough for him to fully explore such an option and they probably prevented him from fully exploring the other direction. He often felt as if he had been stranded between two opposite worlds and could never fit into either one. At these times, he would have the oddest thoughts and experience absurdly optimistic ideas. He would wonder if all that was required was to dare to wish for something long enough and it would simply happen. Usually, if anyone else expressed such views John would regard them as simplis tic dreamers without a brain in their head (and probably without a worry in the world) He would sometimes oscillate between these two extreme views like a pendulum. Maybe he had questioned so many things that he could never be sure of which option to choose and would remain in this limbo state until it drove him clean out of his mind.

John would occasionally experience a very different perspective on things. He would wonder if the psychiatric view of his situation was correct and this was merely disturbed thinking caused by emotional trauma or stress. He figured people probably don't become psychotic on a whim, no matter how he may now choose to regard the experience of schizophrenia. He recalled the words of a song by the group Black Sabbath which was entitled "Paranoid": : Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry
Happiness I cannot feel and love to me is so unreal

There were times he felt this song could have been written for him specifically. He had come to view love as a form of madness, other people had described it the same way. He couldn't honestly say he'd ever experienced it himself. He had no doubt his family loved him or at least they believed they did but it never seemed real in any way, shape or form. Initially, he felt he was some kind of freak because he was unaware anyone else had similar doubts or experiences. Although now that he had more of a sense o f what goes on in the world, he concluded that a large number of people are either similarly confused or similarly damaged. The divorce rate would tell you something serious is going on. John could see three possiblities. Firstly maybe people just have poor judgement or instincts. Secondly, maybe love doesn't always last. Thirdly maybe many people are damaged by living so far from their instincts. He was sure that a very complex society produces a wider range of individuals than a more basic society and thi s would mean compatibility is a tougher problem. He fully realised these speculations and theories were of no great use but he felt compelled to examine them from time to time.

And yet that was not the end of the story (it never was in his case!) He felt this whole matter was part of a larger issue. It was all part of what he would describe as "external focus". People learned to believe that their ultimate fulfillment lies in something external to themselves. This could either be the "perfect partner" or the ideal career or even some supreme being that would (eventually) make their dreams come true. John saw this as potentially a very dangerous way of viewing the world since peop le come to view themselves as incomplete and unable to become complete without the aid of something external to themselves. In the case of religion, John saw that people cling to a hope that can never be disproven no matter how absurd it might seem to him personally. If one could genuinely convince oneself that it is true then ..... his mind lost track of where he was going with this line of analysis. He dearly wished he could reach a Zen-like state where he felt no need to analyse anything at all. Maybe it would come.

He would often ponder such words as imagination and behaviour. Why is it that we are capable of imagining things which simply never happen? Such as a human flying like a bird or the events in great works of literature or spontaneous ecstatic moods for "no reason at all" Why should moods and emotions be linked to events in any way? Why shouldn't people be deliriously excited all the time? Maybe such things were possible once you freed your mind from the desperate clutches of language and concepts. He could i magine having the power to vaporise other people. His mind suddenly leapt to contemplating "What is me?" It seemed a strange question but consider this: If he cut off both his arms and legs, he would still be "John". What if you went further? Assuming he could stay alive, how much of his body could be removed and still he would be "John"? He fully realised any psychiatrist would call this psychotic thinking, but he saw it as a valid line of thought. If just his brain were alive somehow, would he still be hi mself? If aliens could keep his thoughts alive even if his body perished? Someone must have had similar questions in the past, surely. Maybe all this modern living was very bad for the "spirit"! People focus on so much entertainment and knowledge about the physical world they live in because it has become so complex. This leaves precious little time to contemplate such questions. Maybe people keep themselves busy because they are afraid of these questions. Or afraid of the answers. Or afraid of the lack of answers. After all, you could speculate till the cows turn red about what may or may not happen after you die. The only way to be certain is to die. However, if people are indeed reincarnated then they have already died and been reborn possibly several times.

All religion does is shift the "random chance" up one level. The faithful rebuke the theory of evolution because it renders human life to random chance. However, the existence or otherwise of God is surely also random chance. Even if God indeed exists, that is just random chance - it could just as easily be the case that God does NOT exist. God has as much influence over whether he exists as we do, namely zero. You haven't really eliminated the aspect of random chance. Why should it bother anyone anyway? Wh y do you have such a need to believe your existence was carefully planned in advance. This need is the sign of a warped mind.

John had been unusually stable for the last few months. He was beginning to seriously wonder if those psychedelic experiences he had previously enjoyed were ever to return. Maybe he was having too much contact with "normal" people. He knew from the past that these altered states and revelations were far more likely to occur if he remained physically and psychologically separated from society at large. Maybe he had already been given the keys and it was up to him to try the lock.
However, just when he had almost resigned himself to the possibility that these experiences were consigned to the past, they returned with a vengeance. They were more intense and overpowering than ever. Maybe the alien presence with which he was in contact had given him another chance. Or maybe he was finally losing his mind completely. Either possibility was fine by him. This latest blast was the most intense of all. He had never felt so electrified. It was as if he had been plugged into an atomic reactor in overdrive. Instinctively he decided to record the vocal aspects which seemed more extraordinary than ever before. As usual it was a curious mixture of the profound, the bizarre and the nonsensical. A few days passed before he was prepared to listen to the tape since they could never fully capture the mood of the moment. This one however seemed more intriguing than the actual experience. Had he really said all those things? Surely this must be proof that indeed his mind was connected to some alien entity of unknown origin. Well, the origin didn't matter that much to John, he was more concerned with the ideas contained in the message and whether they could be of use to him. He decided to write some of them down:

Pathways to Madness

God is madness and madness is God. There is no madness. There is no truth. This is already the path to madness. People are unreal in many of their forms. They never know the ways to be insane People are already mad. The keys to the door are the keys on the floor. You can follow several Paths all at the same time. There is no light. There is no death. There is only madness.

The secret of life is to allow yourself to be controlled by aliens. The secret of life is to sing these poems for hours on end:
"I was born in a dead man's grave, 16 years and a bottle of rum,
I was born in a thankless world, 16 years and a bottle of rum"
"People need heir only worlds, People need their next of blood"
"People wipe their only knives, 16 years in a dead man's grave"

"I was raised to be king of the insane, I was born to scream away"
"I'm not mad I'm the next of weird, I was born like a madman in the grave"
"I was born like a knifetime of the insane, I could bounce on all my knives"
"People walk through their lives, People bounce on their knives,
People dig their own graves, People live like slaves"

People scream when they realise their lives are dead.
People scream when they walk through their knives.
They take their names and they take their places
Then they take all their names and places
Then they take all their ways and they take all their knives
People are the blips of blointy.

Distressing as it might seem, maybe the real winners are the psychopaths. They have learnt to
play the games.
I invented all the mad ways.
I invented all the sad days.
I was born in the 12th of next.
I was born like an infinite whirlpool
I was born in the unexpected chaos of my own mind.

Some people can see infinity in a cup of tea.
Some people can live like a snowstorm in the desert
Some people can become everything and nothing in a single clear instant of infinity
Some people love to blame their lives and then they blame their rusty knives.

I could live like a thousand priests - I could live like all the rest.

People need their sad lives.
They need to wipe their knives.
They never blame their days.
They always change their ways.
People love to walk into my room and start killing me with an axe!

Life is neither meaningless nor meaningful. These are merely interpretations. People rarely see the true nature of their lives because they cannot release their interpretations.
There are actually 14 ways of being insane - you simply have to find the one that suits you best.
I was born in the 15th cycle of madness - I could live like a knife in the forest.
I never know if my name is a number. I never know if their faces are real.
The secret of life is to bounce on the knives and bleed on your own neck.
"I could bounce on a thousand knives."
I was poisoned by a madman.

I used to believe in all the old numbers - I used to believe in the careful madman.
People live like the nameless madman - they never know when to scream!
I am the saviour of the world - anyone who believes in me will surely never die!
I wrote the Bible and I am the Bible and I will surely never die.
I was Christ in the Bible and I have lived for a million years.
I could scream and they would all disappear. They never know their own names.
People live their random lives - they never even know if they are dead.
People blame their names and then they blame their days.
People love to blame their lives

I was born like the early madman
I was born like an angel in the forest
I was born like the angry madman.

I used to live like the nameless madman - 16 years and a bottle of rum.
I used to scream like all the mad priests - 16 years in a dead man's grave.

Maybe the final step is a random act of extreme violence, it could break the riddle.
Maybe all that is required is to visualise it in your mind, and the riddle will be broken.
If you find this idea horrifying, just take two valium and call me in the morning.
I could live like a knife in the forest, I could live like the only next.
I wouldn't even die because they don't even know.
They wouldn't even tell because they don't know when and they
can't tell me why because they couldn't even say.
People know that they are the next of names and they wouldn't even
know because they're next in their ways. People thank me from all their ways.
They could never know because they wouldn't even say.
I could never believe in all the ways of next.
I was born like the extra madman. I was born in a million ways on a thousand days.
I was born to save the world. I was born to shatter people's minds and lead them to
the glory of madness. I was born into the cycle of madness.
Nobody was ever supposed to be sane, it was all a ghastly accident. We apologise.
People need their extra madmen. People need their FOINKLE-DROINTY. People believe in the gadgetry of life.
I believe in everything and nothing, at the same time.
I believe in the ecstasy of madness.
I am the voice of the insane.
Throw away all your labels. There is no madness. There is no sanity. There are only labels. Throw
away your language. You never needed it in the first place.
I used to believe in the ten of numbers.
I used to believe in the NEXT of NEXTLY
I used to believe in the madness of Christ.
I used to believe in all the next of ways.
I used to believe in the little puppy numbers.
I used to think I was a robot from outer space.
I used to believe in all the stretchless croindy.
I used to believe in all the angry mutants.
I used to walk around like a madman with his only mad plan.

Many other items were recorded that cannot be expressed in terms of human language. You need to understand the language of madness.

Idea for a comedy routine: A Typical conversation in Heaven: "Tell me about your boring life."
"I used to bleed on a Wednesday night"
"Where is my name and where is my number?"
"Mate! You're insane!"
"I'm not mad! I am the madman!"
"Where is your doctor?"
"I'm not the doctor! I'm the next of weird!"
"People are never weird!"
"People need their next of numbers and they need to sing like a weirdo!"
"Can we ever believe in our own names!"
"I believe in the medical job loss."
"I used to believe in the fifteen of people."
"If there is some ultimate truth it could never be expressed in conventional language anyway"
"Yes, but that doesn't seem to prevent people from believing that theirs is the ultimate truth."
"I love to sing strange songs about being insane."
"Maybe I'm a bit weird because my parents used to tie me to a tree for ten years."
"People should always be dead"
"People should never believe in their own lives."
"People wipe their legs and wipe!"
"People learn about their ghastly lives."
"Why didn't you ever have children?"
"I would have mad a lousy parent. Very few people ever think they will make
lousy parents but that's only because they delude themselves. If I had
children they would eventually ask me what it's all about. And I would have to
reply that I haven't got a fucking clue .... and neither has anyone else
but that doesn't seem to stop them from deluding themselves that they have."
"Thanks for that. I love your brain."
"You shouldn't say things like that. I might have to eat my own lunch!"
"People love their weird lives."
"People need their horrible lives!"

He fully realised if he ever showed this to anyone, he would surely be committed to a psychiatric hospital. Maybe that was the best place for him! Maybe he needed to be left with no option other than the inevitable madness. He liked to imagine that it could be vastly different. Maybe he could convince everyone else to his way of thinking. Then the world would be a magical place because it would no longer be based on the absurd notion that sanity is a healthy or a natural state of mind. There would be no lon ger any dull people or any unhappy souls or any miserable sods parading the earth in their mindless ways. Maybe he needed to channel his madness into other people's minds by telepathic means. Maybe he could develop the power to cleanse other people's minds of all the rubbish they had been programmed with since birth. Or maybe he should simply forget about these people. After all, if they are stupid enough to pretend they are satisfied then maybe they don't deserve anything better.

Lately, he had been thinking about the word "conformity" and all its implications. John instinctively knew that words like conformity, weird, eccentric, normal were all based on comparisons. If everyone was identical, these words would have no meaning. These words only apply to a situation where you are one member of a large population that contains a broad spectrum of personality types. He could vaguely recall a notion that had popped into his head once. He thought it was likely part of the "Zen" type of thinking he liked to envisage. It went along the lines that you should aim for a state of mind where you make no comparisons and feel no need to make them. As with many of these ideas, it could be interpreted many ways depending on your perspective.

Even the word "personality" he found intriguing. It was after all merely a device for functioning in a situation where there is some requirement to interact with those around you. John saw it as a mask which people learned to wear and different masks were worn in different circumstances. Different people create different masks and like any other skill, some do a far better job of it than others. John felt that Schizophrenia was an instinctive process which happened in certain individuals where their masks a re not working so their entire personality is dismantled and reconstructed. He knew this was only one person's view of things but felt sure it was correct. Not that it mattered much, his opinions were never likely to gain wide acceptance unless the world changed very radically. He would often daydream about such a world which only seemed to make this one even more intolerable to live in. He wondered if it would even be possible to have a world where everyone had an open mind. Probably not. It would be total chaos because nothing would ever get done since there would never be total agreement on anything. He would like to rule such a world but it was a forlorn dream.

John tried to remember when he first started thinking differently from those around him. Not that it mattered, he was merely interested in tracing its path. He recalled several books that ultimately led him to question everything he had ever taken for granted. He came across a book entitled "The Politics of Experience" which was a very significant book since it was the first time he had ever encountered someone describing Schizophrenia as anything other than a disease. In fact the author believed Schizophre nia to be a process or a journey, which once completed gave the person insights and a perspective unattainable to those who never embarked on such a journey.

Another book which made a big impact on him was "The Chaotic Mind" which drew parallels between the experience of Schizophrenia and some religious descriptions of revelation. The author compared the disintegration of the personality and the sense of individual self with the some ecstatic religious experiences where devotees claim to merge with the universe. John found this a very intriguing line of thought, even more so because it seemed to describe his situation very neatly. Of course, there was also Nietz sche who showed him that you could dare to think in a manner nobody else would dare to. Naturally, Nietzsche went mad and possibly John would follow him to the same place.

Just when he thought he had written the final chapter in these revelations, he was hit with a most fascinating idea. He vaguely remembered reading somewhere about some theory that the entire universe we live in could be one elementary particle in a larger universe. This larger universe in turn could be but one elementary particle in a still larger universe and so on to an infinite number of successively larger universes. Equally every elementary particle in our universe could be an entire universe on its o wn. He suddenly realised that some or all of these universes may contain life. Maybe some of the elementary particles in his own body contained entire universes with sub-atomic aliens living in them. These aliens could be in communication with his mind, especially if their universe was contained within some of the molecules in his mind. He became obsessed with this notion and decided that he would concentrate on trying to locate the sub-atomic aliens in his mind. But unfortunately, he went mad before he cou ld locate them.

The End

Geoff Allen June 1998

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