Excerpts from "The Troubled Mind"   &


Since the beginnings of recorded history, man has been fascinated with the insane, with their deranged feeling, thinking, and behaviour. Insane people with fanciful delusions have at times attracted large numbers of adherents, who looked upon their psychotic leaders as prophets or as saviours of some sort. The alluring properties of the "prophet's" message may be more than just a beckoning of a way to escape from the boredom of everyday life. I suspect that many followers are riveted by a peculiarly intoxicating quality of psychotic ecstasy conveyed by the "mad" leader. ........

The psychiatric disease that converts man into an other-worldly creature - at once wiser than the wisest of the sane and yet so deeply troubled that he suffers more than a terminal cancer patient - is surely schizophrenia. Because of his bizarre loss of contact with everyday reality, the schizophrenic can appeal to us as a messiah bearing the message of the infinite. For our conception of the universe is bounded by the straitjacket of conventional thinking processes. A schizophrenic's self-perception is so fragmented that he seems to function at a different plane of consciousness from the rest of humanity. Some psychiatrists who have dealt extensively with schizophrenics even wonder whether the schizophrenic's "psychotic" perception of the world might not conform more to ultimate reality than does our sane vision.

Because of such doubts, Ronald Laing, a Scottish psychiatrist, questions whether schizophrenia should be viewed as a disease at all in the ordinary sense. He feels that the schizophrenic experience may be quite a natural one. In schizophrenia, individuals, for unclear reasons, have entered into an "inner world" that part of their psyche which is unconscious most of the time and which contains many of the primitive instinctual elements "discovered" by Freud. …… He views the schizophrenic episode as a potentially enriching experience, perhaps reminiscent of a psychedelic trip on LSD. "This journey is experienced as going further in, as going back through one's personal life and back and through and beyond into the experience of all mankind, of the primal man, of Adam and pehaps even further into the beings of animals, vegetables and minerals" If society would only allow them to embark on this journey unimpeded by social pressures, psychiatrists or tranquilizing drugs, they would emerge from it as better people.

March 2001 Update -

Here are a couple of collages of photocopies from this book which I just found in an old notebook. Enjoy.

Collage 1

Collage 2

More may follow ...

Just in case those scans aren't legible to you ... here is the gist of what they say ...

' ... which we clasp rather tenuously. To learn how delicate are your claims on reality, all you need do is ingest a moderate dose of LSD. The most frightening and yet most uplifting experience that psychedelic drugs elicit is the merging of the self with the universe. After first being fascinated with the perceptual changes produced by the drug, you may begin to wonder about the boundaries of your own body and soul. You feel yourself shrink to a pinpoint or expand to fill the room. Soon you begin to wonder where you leave off and the rest of the world begins. The ultimate consequence of this sensation - which is almost impossible to describe in words - is a fusion of the self with the infinite, man with God, your body with the rest of the universe. This is the ultimate beatific experience of Eastern and Christian mystics, something they strive for during years of meditation, but ...'

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'Only when Laing's utopian age of nonpsychiatry comes to pass will everyone presumably realise that schizophrenia need not be a disease but instead a uniquely enriching life experience, like sexual intercourse. He argues, "The laugh's on us. They [the ex-schizophrenics] will see that what we call 'schizophrenia' was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds ... perhaps we will learn to accord to the so-called schizophrenics who have come back to us, perhaps after years, no less respect than the often no less lost explorers of the renaissance.'

'If you think about it for a while, it should be evident that your sense of identity as a distinct individual is extremely important in enabling you to function in the everyday world. Being certain that ...'

Unfortunately (or maybe not), our library seems to have misplaced this book. Either that or somebody has eaten it or just didn't feel like returning it to the library. Have'nt found all that much about it on the world-wide-web so you'll just have to be satisfied with those glimpses ...

I believe the author's name was Solomon Snyder.

For more about R.D. Laing, click here




A few more quotes  &


"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." George Orwell (1903–50), British author. Nineteen Eighty-Four, pt. 2, ch. 9 (1949), extract from Goldstein's book. See Fitzgerald on Intelligence.

"All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." George Orwell (1903–50), British author. "Why I Write" (1947; repr. in Collected Essays, 1961).

"We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another, and to the spiritual and material world— mad, even, from an ideal standpoint we can glimpse but not adopt." R. D. Laing (1927–89), British psychiatrist. The Politics of Experience, Introduction (1967).

"If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia." Thomas Szasz (b. 1920), U.S. psychiatrist. The Second Sin, "Schizophrenia" (1973).

"People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." Thomas Szasz (b. 1920), U.S. psychiatrist. The Second Sin, "Personal Conduct" (1973).

"There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him." Antonin Artaud (1896–1948), French theater producer, actor, theorist. Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society (1947; repr. in Selected Writings, pt. 33, ed. by Susan Sontag, 1976).

"And what is an authentic madman? It is a man who preferred to become mad, in the socially accepted sense of the word, rather than forfeit a certain superior idea of human honor. So society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastinesses. For a madman is also a man whom society did not want to hear and whom it wanted to prevent from uttering certain intolerable truths." Antonin Artaud (1896–1948), French theater producer, actor, theorist. Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society, (1947; repr. in Selected Writings, pt. 33, ed. by Susan Sontag, 1976).

From Politics of Experience by R.D.Laing -

Is there anywhere such a thing as a normal man?

Modern society clamps a straitjacket of conformity on every child that's born. In the process, man's potentialities are devastated and the terms 'sanity' and 'madness' become ambiguous. The schizophrenic may simply be someone who has been unable to suppress his normal instincts and conform to an abnormal society

{May type more of this book later - excellent case history & analysis}

Here's an excerpt from the script of the movie "Network" with Peter Finch. I'd like to get the book – I'm not sure who wroted it. ….. "I'm imbued with some special spirit. It's not a religious feeling at all. It's a shocking eruption of great electrical energy. I feel vivid and flashing as if suddenly I've been plugged into some great electromagnetic field. I feel connected to all living things – to flowers, birds … all the animals of the world. I'm linked to some great unseen living force – what I think the Hindus call Prana. But it's not a breakdown. I've never felt more orderly in my life. It is a shattering and beautiful sensation. It is the exulted flow of the space-time continuum, save that it is spaceless and timeless and of such loveliness … I feel on the verge of some great ultimate truth…."




Schizophrenia

This article submitted by John Landau.

Email: drmarcial@aol.com

Literally, the fractal mind. A logos that affirms multiplicity and the occupation of all possible points. The schizophrenic is like the electron : if we predict the position, we cannot predict the velocity ; if we predict the velocity, we cannot predict the position. Like a nomad travelling through smooth space, the schizophrenic, like the electron in an electron cloud, may appear anywhere within the field, occupying all positions while singularly fluctuating between positions aleatorily. Schizophrenia is a Cageian simultaneity of happenings: the nose runs, the mouth babbles, the hands fiddle, the eyes roll, the feet shuffle, the diaphragm laughs or hiccups, the Eucalyptus adds its scent to the moment, the moon at that angle in the sky ... Schizophrenia is a process of compiling lists and letting go of syntax. Social schizophrenia is a simultaneity of spontaneities, a flux of ad-hoc organizings of activity, a surrealist engagement of "collective self-management" as the transtruction [ construction - deconstruction process] of dissipative structures. All of this is distinguished from clinical schizophrenia, which is alienated, repressed schizophrenia isolated from desiring-production and collective creativity. Liberated schizophrenia is schizophrenia that has come into its own as an Escherian, topological celebration of fractal generativity!






Singularity

This article submitted by John Landau on 10/11/97.

Email: drmarcial@aol.com

A singularity is a virtual potentiality existing at the zero point which begins to actualize, upsetting the habit patterns of momentum which struggle to keep time as a linear progression, a stable identity where moment begets moment. Yet time is a discontinuity. Each moment dies and is reborn at the zero point, the Schrodinger space. All possibilities compress at this dense intensity. A singularity is a possibility that escapes compression into actualization. It is a sign of difference-in-itself. Since A is never equal to A, since a thing both is and is not what it is, identity never captures being and self-sameness is impossible b self-similarity generates nano-variations that become amplified in time. Molar identity attempts to scan and surgically remove such nano-variations b becoming involves creatively amplifying them. Because singularities demonstrate that identity is only and always approximate, the State has an ill will towards them.


C  J  '

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