Diagenesis in Letters

When I was 8 years old, before there were televisions in medical offices, I got my first pair of glasses. On the way home from the eye doctor’s office, I looked across the river and I was absolutely amazed. “Those are trees! They’re trees! I never knew they were trees!” 
I was referring to what I had always seen as the line between the marsh and the sky. I didn’t know what it was. I’d always seen it as a blur. I still recall, in vivid detail, that ride home with my new glasses on. So, I learned very young that we do not always see things clearly, but that they can – with appropriate technology and perspective – become quite clear, quite suddenly.

It’s interesting, a couple of years ago, I was fumbling around all over the place trying to figure out the space in between madness and genius and cope with all that I was coming to realize. I sent a lot of letters to a lot of people, including St. Paul’s Within-the-Walls, entomologist Edward O. Wilson, and Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. Nobody was much help. Fortunately the past year has brought an outpouring of information and dialogue and I have begun to find that I can speak openly about psychosis as spiritual transcendence/reclamation/insurrection.

That is peculiar that you were not able to access the weblog. I do suppose such things happen. Due to the fact that I am consistently strident in my belief that the military industrial complex must be dismantled, and the fact that I have done such foolish things as contact the FBI to inquire about “atypical cloudforms” and regular share digital contact with all manner of brilliant and brave people, I sometimes suspect that I am likely under a bit of scrutiny. 

Wait, let me clarify that, I intentionally tried to draw surveillance to myself in an effort to subtly communicate with the “folks running this show.” I thought perhaps I might be able to persuade them to consider their role in the world differently. Sometimes, my internet is a little peculiar, too.

At any rate, yeah, I feel you on all that you said and I agree wholeheartedly. Professionally, I work with adults in mental health and addiction recovery in helping them to identify strategies to navigate their own function and wellness in ways that work for them. One thing that I have found is that people, particularly those who have experienced trauma, sometimes have some very troubling networks of associated sense and meaning and that these reflexive and habitual processes of reaction sometimes qualitatively impact our experiences of “psychosis” – which I now call reckoning. Further, having no contextual framework to make sense of extreme states leaves people utterly adrift in conflicted and frightening confusion, which then drives further disorder. Therefore, it is not enough to simply say, you are having these experiences because it is part of how you are made and the role of your particular neurology and mind/heart predisposes you to a strong sense of belief in justice, purpose, and calling. You are a part of the collective consciousness and the collective consciousness is a part of you. Sometimes we make sense of things differently, see things diferently, hear things different, FEEL things differently…

For most people, who have grown up in an environment characterized by few opportunities to gain the insight, skills, and experience that may help them in their traversing between self and world, such things do not make sense in the familiar context of consensual reality. Thus, in order to facilitate the necessary paradigmatic shift, we will need to work strongly at many different levels of meaning. Not only must we impart new ideas, we must effectively reframe the old ones, as many have been proved to be, quite simply, bad ideas, by any stretch of the gestalt imagination. 


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T
he vast majority of people who have contact with the psychiatric system are not aware of their rights or their providers responsibilities. This phenomenon exists across all lines of demography and circumstance of disorder. 
Still, there are some populations that are more vulnerable to harm by systems than others. Children in foster care, for example, are routinely involved in psychiatric care scenarios that violate their rights and measurably cause them harm. People with histories of trauma and those who live chronically in diminishing circumstances are also more likely to be harmed by negligent and malfeasant psychiatry. However, everyone – from you to me to about one in every three people in this country – is at risk of being affected by the deleterious and damaging effects of a system that tells us that feeling is a symptom of illness and that there is no recourse other than the treatments they prescribe based on limited information, entrenched stigma, and conflict of interest…or a conflict of human disinterest, in the cases of the psychiatrists that really don’t know enough about brains and hearts to even recognize how reckless and cruel their practices often are.
I understand that there are people who are *okay* with the existence of dangerous and dysfunctional systems within the world. There are billions of people who have yet to realize that *none of this even existed* 75 years ago. Of course, there were other horrors and mass atrocities happening and it is from elements of those protracted events that the practice of psychiatry began to rise. Psychiatry rose out of systems of social control, punishment, and military sciences and thus inherently reflects the needs and interests of its systems of origin and maintenance, which are largely elitist circles of pseudoscientists, industrial profit complexes, and institutions of power and control.
This is not radical. It is a simple analysis of a dysfunctional institution which has contributed mightily to some of the most disgusting and heartwrenching tragedies in this modern world…a strange reality in which people feel obliged to respect systems that don’t respect them, in which people feel that they must extend the right to exist to systems that deny them that very right. 
We are at near opposite ends of the dialectic here. However, I respect your position as being informed of your own interests and experience. My position is likewise forged of who I am and what I know. 
So far as I can figure it, people are hurt by the idea that our human conditions are somehow ill. People are hurt by the professionals that they trust to help them. I am glad that there are tools people can use to feel better in some way. 
What is better though? Not caring quite so much? Proving that you can walk the walk, run the race? Is that “better” or is that just keeping up and, if keeping up is the case, what are we keeping up with?
Ideas that tell us that the range of acceptable human experience and endeavor is limited to bland compliance within a culture of economy that reduces us to service drones and pawns of industries we don’t even respect? 
Are we keeping up? 
No, we’re holding up. We are struggling along trying to maintain a status quo of practice and protocol that has nothing to do with us and, in many measurable ways, is killing us. Yet we support it, because we are coerced into doing so and because it, sadly, doesn’t seem to occur to us not to. The days we can just forget about it all are what we now believe is happiness. We are not even holding ourselves up, we are holding up the very systems that harm us.
Happiness is not being blind to the world. 
That is a double entendre. This has gotten long. I apologize. Sometimes, when I feel strongly about things that I understand clearly on many levels, well…I can get a bit verbose. It part of the way my brain works. They called it illness and treated it as such. 
Thank God they never cured me. 
Have a wonderful day.

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Here is some information and a small poem that I wrote in the parking lot of the eye doctor’s office on the subject of a word that I like a lot.
Diagenesis: 
The process by which 
sediment becomes rock, by which something silty that washes away is pressed into something that you can hold in your hand, 
something that you could throw through a window.
Diagenesis: the creation of dialogue
Who speaks what to whom and how?
——-
Diagenesis
The word looks to me like spectacles,
with e’s for eyes and g for a forehead,
sitting on the face of a bearded man 
who is wearing a hat.
Sand becomes stone 
and stone becomes sand
…which can then be made
into glass and fitted 
into frames of all shapes and sizes.
It is all very, very simple.

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