A Pop Culture Myth

Ten forty at night.

I just figured out one of my dreams, and it dealt with the father figure of darkness, specifically the relationship of Luke with Darth Vader. Star Wars is such a pop culture phenomenon that it’s virtually public domain and a part of the collective consciousness. It can be the source of feelings of paranoia. Luke knows what he can or can’t do that will piss his father off to bring persecution on his head. Is it a form of castration anxiety? Vader, as his father, is authoritarian, and good when he is pleased or terrible when angry. Luke is free to do anything but cut himself loose from his evil destiny. When he rebels, he’d better be prepared to face the worst of his father’s wrath concentrated on him, sort of like Job when he challenges God and the latter terrifies him with extreme displays of weather… So I half awoke, knowing that a misstep in this or that direction could ignite the father’s fury. Then I got up to write this post. And I remind myself of my father’s date of demise this Friday.

I Need Advice!

Quarter of nine.

The early days of my recovery have returned to my memory due to the fifth anniversary of the same. I even remember being on a different medication before Vraylar, a sublingual that didn’t work very well for me… I confess that I’m all confused and I don’t make much sense lately. I need to stay sober, but I also have to maintain sanity and proportion. I hear it raining now, at last. The sound of it is soothing, a simple thing for tranquility and peace of mind. I’ve been so scared of relapse because the five year milestone seems so big and important. But no one else has control over it: it’s only me with that power. For this reason, should I be afraid of what might happen? I think I should trust myself to do what’s good for me.

Nine fifty five.

The recovery rates reported by AA are astonishingly low, and they go down as more time goes by…

Quarter of eleven.

I feel bloated after an early lunch and the second Snapple tea. I left a message for my sister on her voicemail. Now there’s an opening in the cloud cover for the sun to peek through. I don’t see the point in much of anything. Writing keeps my mind and my hands occupied so I won’t be tempted to drink. Yesterday I played my bass but I wasn’t satisfied with my sound or the way it went. When you don’t have a car, how can you hope to play in a band? The world has moved on and left me behind. Even my sobriety doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Supposedly all these good things will drop in your lap when you don’t drink, as if a god took care of you. Still I persist at my life and wait for something good to come my way. And that’s probably what I’m doing wrong. I think what I need is some good advice from a person who is shrewd and realistic, kind of like how my old psychiatrist was, because my life is going nowhere! 

No Ideas But in People

I did most of a two liter of Coke but I threw the rest away because I felt bloated and woozy from the sugar and caffeine. As far as the psychology stuff, it was a short lived phase and now I’m back to pretty much normal. I think I kind of like Adler still but not Freud and Jung so much. I was brainwashed with Freud in college and then I read a lot of Jung on my own after school ended. Two new slogans I can add to public opinion: “You are what you read” and “No ideas but in people.” After my first episode of schizophrenia I also read tons of Lawrence over ten years, and he got some influence from Freud, though he twisted his message quite a bit. And then, when I got a job in an office, I quit reading altogether for a long time. I only started to question my beliefs and rearrange things when Kate was my friend. I learned from her how to think like a realist and we got into Cognitive Therapy, which is related to traditions like the Enlightenment and the Vienna Circle: very rational and realistic. Finally I stopped drinking and got myself a therapist who emphasized Cognitive Therapy, followed by a second therapist who was similar. I don’t know how I was able to accommodate both CT and Christianity at the same time. And now, currently, I’ve found out that CBT has really watered down the original cognitive formula: two schools of thought have been merged into one, the other one being strictly behavioral. I was disappointed when I got a recent book on CBT. And as for religion, I’ve grown pretty skeptical of the supernatural, or maybe I felt that way all along underneath the surface.

I guess that’s my thumbnail sketch of the development of my mind from the middle of university to right now. I think it’s funny that I could’ve been indoctrinated with Freud without realizing whose ideas they were. I feel a lot better today than yesterday and the day before. Poor Aesop really hates it when I use the phone, especially when it’s my sister and we talk for more than an hour.

For the time being I think I’m done with psychology unless it’s Adler. His theories are both old and new to me. They’ve been floating around in conversation for a hundred years and they remind me of my dad. He took the superiority and inferiority complex and twisted them into his own demented policies toward people. Basically he was an invalidator. He put people down to make himself feel better, to puff up his ego. Of course that’s sick. And as a consequence he had no friends.

No Boogeymen

Quarter of seven.

Behind the clouds, the sun is just making the horizon. In order to be free, first believe in freedom. Liberating myself from my past required belief in liberty. I just realized that my old psychiatrist presupposed Freudian ideas, and these things kept me mired down a long time. He sometimes evidenced a belief in ulterior motives and slips rather than accepting accidents as accidents. Since then, I’ve fought to disabuse myself of Freudian determinism and his tripartite model of the mind, especially the unconscious. The more I can make the mind an integrated unit, the better. There’s no reason to set up an impulsive boogeyman in opposition to the conscious ego, though it’s the classic paradigm as old as Plato. All the more reason to discard it. People believe in Freud and Jung just because other people do. It’s a tradition handed down by the generations, often unquestioned and untested. The sky won’t fall if you should try something different. The past is a bucket of ashes. Give liberty a chance.

Privacy of Experience

Eight o’clock.

It’s a Gloria day. I’ve just gone to the store for the basic daily stuff and a Snapple tea for her. The sun is out and there are no clouds. Aesop heard a cat screech and went ballistic for a minute. I’m kind of pondering the nature of introversion just now. I wonder if it’s related to how assertive a person is, or unassertive as the case may be. I was thinking that Coleridge used his imagination and constant talk as a defense for a scared and nervous person inside. My old psychiatrist was very righteous about being an extrovert but it’s not for everybody, depending on how natural it is for people to be shy and withdrawn. Probably we’ll never know the truth of this… My mind hears music by Debussy from Images for Orchestra, taking me back to my birthday in 1995. My dad took me to Fifth and Pearl Shops downtown where I got a couple of new CDs. After that he drove me to the top of Skinner Butte for a look around at the city… I think that in my case, introversion has been a matter of having toxic parents; and yet how can I say this when I have positive memories of my dad since I became sick? Nothing is ever very simple. I guess that’s the thing to keep in mind. Also it’s so hard for people to communicate with each other: our minds are inevitably private and personal, like when you read Virginia Woolf. If it were not for language, we’d never know anything about each other’s thoughts. It is naive to say that everyone’s experience is the same. My psychiatrist was wrong at least on this point. And the Debussy keeps playing in my head, inaudible to anyone but me. 

The Mind

I wrote in my journal that the one mind I always have to deal with is my own. I also thought it might help me to focus on concrete things outside of my head, just ordinary objects. Maybe I would have benefited from getting out of the house. I needed a reality check, though sometimes it’s hard to know what to do. I actually did get up and move into the family room, which helped me a little bit. Right now I feel relatively fine. I just had a nap with some dreams that made no sense. The older I get, the more artificial seem the workings of my own mind, even like a cyborg or whatever. The human brain is a wonderful thing, but it has limits. Some of the stuff my mind does can blow me away, even though it is considered psychotic. But the cliché things we attribute to our minds, like telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and all that Stephen King stuff, is probably baloney. Someday I might be proven wrong about that.

I’m pretty sure, however, that my delusion of time travel was just a delusion.

The human mind has strong desires and wishes, often exceeding the boundaries of what we acknowledge as reality. These desires are expressed in dreams; but sometimes the need is so strong that they intrude in our conscious processes, resulting in delusions and hallucinations. I believe that human beings all desire to be free, like Cervantes when he wrote Don Quixote from a prison cell; nor is freedom itself a fallacy or misleading fantasy. So much has been written about it over the centuries, and nations founded on it, and great social movements inspired by it, that it’s unlikely to be just a chimera or impossible dream.

But then I’ve always been an idealist and a dreamer of big dreams. There aren’t enough of us.

Make a Wish

Small hours.

I guess what I need is a sense of pride in myself. A man in the lobby of the agency with a severe speech problem mumbled something about his finances. Apparently his payee had quit her job before he could receive his income this month, and then he needed proof of income to get his food stamps. He was in a bind. But he also made a reference to the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, saying that Scarecrow only wanted a brain. On Thursday afternoon I heard another allusion. Damien said he knew a woman at the foster home who watched The Wizard of Oz every day of the year and was perfectly happy. And for my own part, I often express a desire to go over the rainbow to escape the dull grayness of the Kansas life, which to me means the duality of sobriety and intoxication. But now I doubt if the same rainbow bridge still exists intact for me should I want to drink again. I wonder if a lot of people seek a cyclone to the colorful land over the rainbow where your wishes are granted by a good witch or wizard. Is it possible that this person is really ourselves? And the Land of Oz is really within you. 

Midnight Mass

Midnight.

I woke from dreams of my garage just now, mingled with the image of my dad’s ghost. I felt violently towards him and I would’ve attacked him in reality. So much of what he did when I was a child was heinous that he deserved retribution. I grew to just hate him and didn’t make peace with him until after his retirement, which coincided with my dx of schizophrenia. Now I wonder why my mother had such a positive talent for picking losers to marry. My dad took the cake for all time assholes. But at his core he was a complete coward and weenie, like all bullies or men without balls. Incongruously, the music in my background is “Strike Up the Band,” an old disco tune by Chic. Whatever was happening with my life, or however dire it was, the music would keep playing obliviously, in benign indifference. It almost seems to say that life for the unconscious goes on no matter what the external circumstances. The soul has its own agenda and it operates in Dreamtime. Where this and reality intersect is something like a peak experience, perhaps a sublime deja vu. We have all been here before. Likely we’ll be there again.

Ubiquity

Ten thirty at night.

It must be raining harder now because I can hear it in the darkness outside. When I was three years old I assumed that rain in one place meant it was raining everyplace. One day I said this to my mother. She chuckled and explained to me the truth of the weather, and that was my first step away from egocentrism. Every child goes through this stage, and if they don’t, then there’s something wrong. It is similar to the attitude that “the world is my picture book” that you find in Schopenhauer and in Poe’s Eureka. Objects exist as long as I am looking at them. But the fact is that they exist even without your perception of them. No individual is the center of the universe. It’s a short trip from Jung’s synchronicity to psychotic delusions of reference in which everything pertains to you alone. It’s a kind of radical subjectivism. I guess some people can live that way, and some do indeed. They exist in a condition of make believe where anything is possible, from flying reindeer to the resurrection of the body even after cremation. I wonder how they perceive the rain; is it ubiquitous to them, as to a three year old? 

For a Green Salad

Ten ten.

Karen did something very nice for me today. She gave me her green salad and some ranch dressing to take home, telling me she would have chili. She had observed that I’d lost weight because of the meager fare at the market and acted accordingly. Karen said that Kim’s divorce will probably go through okay despite her husband contesting it. He hasn’t been behaving well, not doing what he’s supposed to do. They’d been married for 16 years. I think she was being merciful to him… The sky appears like the mercury in a thermometer, silvery with great puffy clouds. Aesop has been very good ever since Gloria started working with me on housekeeping and personal care. Now the sun comes out a little. Yesterday evening I ordered a book of Adler, generally about his individual psychology, which may go well with what I know of Freud, though I’m not a fan of Jung anymore. Eugene is a big Jungian town everywhere you go, so they tend to shove it down your throat. Forcible indoctrination is never a good way to get along with people, but rather it’s a kind of violence. The more the pressure, the more others will rebel. Jung may be a mental giant and an institution, but then so is Shakespeare if I want something Romantic to read and talk about… Across the street, Roger potters and tinkers with a mad scientist project, not at all interested in such things.