Tuesday, October 1, 2013

OUR COMMUNAL CULTURAL MADNESS

Whenever i visit my psychiatrist i see schizophrenics wrapped up in the involuted world of their hallucinations. And something in me wants to break open their mind, understand the constituents of their hallucinations and delusions and affirm that the fears they undergo are universal, that the psychosis that constitutes them comes from us, our communality, our collective consciousness. But i know that they will be given medication which, though alleviating their misery would also obliterate the larger consciousness from where these psychotic thoughts arose.

I visit my psychiatrist and try to articulate some of what i feel . He is receptive, cordial and respectful but uncomprehending. We revert back to my current healthfulness and blood tests and all the paraphernalia of chemical bipolarity. I shake hands and we part. Yet the train of association which witnessing those schizophrenics had sparked is obdurate and unavailing. It insists on itself. The threaded associations it contains expand, with the billowing of my consciousness, to embrace people, culture, society, history and memory.

As an ngo counselor i get opportunities to observe people. And most times what i discern is a disaffection with the external world a helpless awareness that the platitudes proffered are inadequate and unsatisfying. Yet most people who putatively recover, do not leave their therapist's offices having inner experience affirmed or the depths of being explored. They emerge, suffused with probity and self righteousness, armed with appurtenances to navigate a jaded world smoothly. They configure but their configurations are subsumed in the quotidian. The transformative experience of breaking down is never perceived. Instead the individual is made to feel a certain lacunae in their apprehending of the world, some emotional anomaly the restitution of whose integument would solve everything.

We put on masks and construct identities. We regard the individual as a fulcrum, an inviolable singularity. We are aware of what we need and desire but unaware of the same needs and desires in the other. We want to be heard, we want our essential presence affirmed, we want to demonstrate our there-ness. Yet how much of the other do we hear. Sheathed smugly in our cocoon of self sufficiency we negate experience, both ours and of the other. We abrogate our humaneness. We are so obsessed with self expression that we seek analysts to pour forth fusillades of pent up frustrations. We express disillusionment. What we don't realize is that the malaise whose external presence  we excoriate is actually a propensity within. Our expectations outweigh our responsibilities. We are fast fragmenting at a rapid rate. We are embracing the anodyne compensations of the singular by denying the collective. We are solipsistically submerging in our own corporeality. The ties that bind us have become precarious. We trudge forth tenuously, hoping for a soldering yet fearful of self exposure.

What has persisted as a constant amid all this compartmentalization is our storytelling impulse. We may trace an anteriority but we won't find a focal temporal reference. But we have the stories, the stories we created out of nothingness to create being out of non being. The possibility of recovering an ostensible wholeness is rather tenuous. But we can crystallize our indeterminate propinquities and create something out of the impasse of non being, to create hope out of cleaving and togetherness. That way, we can look ahead.

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