Friday, 10 April 2009

bit of a break...

... forced on me by adverse financial circumstances. No workable internet access at home at moment. Hope this does not last long - I feel bereft!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Of torture and murder

I will return to the subject of my last couple of posts very soon - I have certainly been thinking much about them - but now I would like to talk about something that has been troubling me vaguely for about a month. It was then i received a message on my facebook page concerning a crime that had horrified the British nation some years ago. In February 1993 a toddler called James Bulger was abducted, tortured and murdered by two ten-year-old children. The message that had ben forwarded to me was a hoax, asking me to sign a petition to prevent the release of the perpetrators - who had been, in fact, released several years before. There are many such hoaxes about and many people who unwittingly forward them. What disturbed me, however, was the covering message which asserted that if I ignored it I was "seriously fucked in the head".

This angered me. For one thing, I knew that the perpetrators had already been released but more importantly it revealed, as far as I could see, a terrifying blindness to reality. What happened to this child was horrifying and I would make no attempts to minimise it. But the perpetrators were themselves also children - both aged 10 - below the age of criminal responsibility in many jurisdictions. That means something - they are not expected to realise the full implications of their actions. They were tried and convicted, however, and were taken into custody and eventually deemed to be no longer a threat. Being unacquainted with the full details of their cases I cannot possibly comment on the virtues of their release and subsequent reintroduction into society. I do know, however, that the tabloid press went to town on it.

The crime was horrifying. I do not know what went through the minds of those who committed it nor how they have come to terms with it now they are adults. I hope that they have, however, and that their life is full and rewarding. James Bulger cannot be brought back to life.

The tabloid press, however, so vigilant in its demand for justice to be served on children is strangely silent on other issues. For a large part of the 1950s and 60s the CIA funded an eminent psychiatrist in Canada, Ewen Cameron, in his research on how to delete the human personality. As his subjects this man of science used patients who were experiencing such things as post-partum depression. This scientific moron believed that if he could eradicate all past experience he could rebuild a healthy human being. To this end he used sensory deprivation, extreme disorientation, all manner of drugs, electric shocks and other methods. His funders, however, were not so naive, they did not expect any therapeutic results - their interest was simply in how to disintegrate the human personality. The results of this research, although long practised covertly, were legitimised in the Bush regime and have still not been renounced by Obama, who seems unlikely to pursue the torturers and prosecute those who gave the green light to them.

I am not surprised and expected nothing less. Whatever virtues Obama may have, and they may indeed be many, he is in the service of a nation and a system which has prospered through the use of torture. Which has prospered through deliberate mass murder. Those who own the tabloid press - the Murdochs of this world - have fostered this ideology of theft, greed, murder, rape and torture. They have feted the ideologues who gave an intellectual gloss to naked and unabashed greed - in particular Milton Friedman and his disciples. These, oh-so-dainty and respectable academic apologists for cruelty and greed are still presiding over the deliberations of the politicians whose souls they have bought - including the current incumbents of both Downing Street and the White House. And the latest G20 farce in London.

And nobody seems to care. They are too busy telling me that I am "seriously fucked in the head" if I do not join the lynch mob baying for the blood of a couple of ten-year-olds.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Terror, immanence, metaphor and destiny

(This post is rather rambling and I am not sure how much sense it makes - I would like in many ways to polish it - but am posting it as is - without censorship or judgement. I hope to follow up the themes in later posts and welcome any constructive comments)

I was very surprised to find that my first reaction after the last post talking about the time I spent in Wycoller was completely negative. The following day, I went for a walk in the Buda Hills and returned feeling very tired. I realised how unfit I am after the long winter. But I came home and felt, I thought, pretty good and started to compose a post. Because one of the things I had been doing whilst walking was to think of some very clever things to say. All about transcendence and immanence and how Goddess confounds all such categories. It was all very clever. And is all now deleted.

For what happened then was that my partner came home and I discovered that I was deeply angry. She could do nothing right - I believed that everything she said and did was a personal attack. Some of this was purely due to lack of a common language. But not all - that lack has been present since the first time we met about two and a half years ago - and is in any event getting less acute as my knowledge of Hungarian grows. The thing is, I was not really interested in working out what she was saying - but was more prepared to take it all as attack. It was the first time in our relationship that I had behaved in such a way and it scared me. And the more scared I became, the worse I behaved. Until eventually, we went to sleep and I was beset by nightmares.

But, eventually, I awoke and a new day started and things began to clarify. I realised that the previous evening had been dominated by fear and that the fear was related to the memories of which I had spoken in the post. Slowly, I started to remember things that I had not acknowledged originally. Because there was a background to my time in Wycoller. I came there as a fugitive. That is the only word that fits. I was running and I was hiding. I had changed my name. For I believed that I was in danger of being committed - that the powers that be had determined that I should be locked away and zapped with drugs or electricity. That I had been diagnosed as mad.

I do not to this day know the truth of this. I was told later that the diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia. I was told then that it was psychopathy. The former now seems more likely but there may have in fact been no diagnosis at all - for I was never told directly. And that doesn't really matter - the point is that I believed that I was in imminent danger of incarceration under the mental health act - which would have effectively denied me the right of consent to any treatment - I would have become a legal infant - unable to refuse the most invasive and drastic of interventions.

I believed then, and still believe, that what was at stake then was my soul. I believed that it was on a journey towards fulfilment and that there was a grave danger that this journey would be interrupted and, with the best of intentions, aborted. For there is no doubt that I was very distressed. Terrified is a better word. Every day i believed that at any time the gates of hell would open to swallow me. This is not - to get back to the title of the post - metaphorical. It was, at some point in every day, a literal expectation. And at those times all I could do was to hang on and eventually the world would become solid again and I would believe that I would see the evening. And the ever present huge fear that if I told anyone what i feared then that fear would become, through the act of telling, a concrete reality that I would never, in all eternity, escape So I could not tell. So I ran.

And this was the underlying reality of my time in Wycoller. In fleeing from the official asylum I had, ironically, found true asylum A place of safety. A place to be me. And all the experiences that I spoke about in the original post gave me the grounding and strength that I needed in order to continue on the path that I had started.

My brain is pretty good. I have, for what it is worth, a very high IQ. For most of my life, I have seen this a curse. In many ways I still do. Throughout my life, I have yearned to be able to accept the world that was set before me. But I never could. Always there was a ineradicable conviction that there was something that I had to do before I died. The fact that, intellectually, I knew that this conviction was irrational, helped in no way. In fact, it made it worse because it meant that I was ever splintered.

In more recent years I have clung to the idea of metaphor and that, ultimately, goddess is a more functional metaphor. In this way, I was able to speak about the Goddess without totally committing myself to Her as a living reality. I was, if you like, trying to preserve my credentials as an intellectual. There is a lot of validity to this approach and I would not have any problem with it if it were not for the fact that I do not experience Her that way.

For She is not just a metaphor but is, to me, a living breathing reality I feel Her presence physically - She is both within me and without me. I can at times, smell Her. At times, I feel a real physical desire for Her. At other times, a deep asexual knowledge that all is Ok. I see and feel Her in the roots of my being and in the presence and the body of my lover. She is the kindness of strangers and the calling of the birds. She is the bursting of bud and the rotting of the leaves. She is my birth and She is my death when it arrives. She is songs by Leonard Cohen and PJ Harvey. She is Mahler, Bartok, Mozart, Blake and Shakespeare. She is there under my feet as I walk, holding me. She caresses me as I lie on Her and breathe the scent of the soil. She is my heart singing in gratitude. She is my fear in the darker reaches of the night.

And all this is what I found in Wycoller. And what I have carried into my later life. I know that I have a destiny and that is to serve Her and those that She has called to Herself. I know, at a deep level that i do not always acknowledge, that I am Her priest and Her prophet. This is the destiny that I felt when I was young and from which I have fled for most of my life.

I do not know what lies ahead, Inanna will lead me - all I must do is learn to trust.