VIII:Mental Illness Is Loveless

VIII

Maybe we don’t know what love is until our heart gets broken. Until we cry endlessly at night. Maybe I am in love with everyone that is in my life right now. Maybe love is falling in love, falling in hate, and then falling in love again. Maybe love is just a myth.

VIII: MENTAL ILLNESS IS LOVELESS

I eventually lost trust in life or my conception of it. My heart melted. Tears were all I had. Begging for forgiveness. Trying to convince you that I really did know what love was. I was so delusional to think that the hell of my “self” was a saving grace of your love.

I would not be bitter or angry, but I would accept this new knowledge as a beginning of transformation. And I would try to sway you into believing that I could be good.

That was when I decided to write you a letter. A confession. Please read it out loud, for I know you can already read it within your mind.

Dearest You,

I went deep into the depths of this dream. It was a diamond sea and you were that precious stone. An angel to be untouched by anything but the purest of love, just like the innocence of a child. The universe and its forces bound together to keep you holy. And then for some unknown reason, I was born. Dressed in a red that was deeper than blood. I was the dark shadow lurking in all those unknown crevices yet still turning everybody into stone. I saw what I could not be and tried to swallow it like a demon, selfishly out to take what is not theirs. It was you, a true beauty with a soul so pure. I tried to pierce my stare right through you but all evil fails, and it proved to be true that what goes around, comes around. I was not a demon. I was a child just as you were, but had chosen all the wrong things. As a child I chose the wrong path of envy, greed, and jealousy. I created this hell on earth but it showed me it was really heaven, and that you were chosen to be free. A free spirit of love and innocence. As much as you tried to run away , I ran after you. I veiled myself to be your second skin. It became so unfathomable that I would be your worst nightmare. I traveled down the abyss and when I awoke, you were there, as an angel spreading its wings to embrace me. Thank you for your love.

Sincerely, Me

TheLight

(CYER, 1994)

This letter was written in desperation. But you already knew that. You already knew my lies and truth to the matter that I could not even cover my sadism. You knew me better than I could know anyone, let alone myself.

It was then that your voices started speaking again. Telling me I was so desperate, so pitiful… but way too late. I thought the eyes staring at me were ones of compassion, but they were just eyes of confusion and disbelief for the animal I was.

I had dug my own grave. I would wander this planet lonely, and alone, for everyone to see and read. And then, at that point you said, “We’re tired”…”We don’t even care to read or speak to your mind.”…. “You are a zero to us.”

“Every hurt you have given through your thoughts has killed you. You are dead to this universe. You are dead to us.”

VII:The Rebirth Of Death

VII

Do you realize how scary it is to have a psychotic episode? Imagine yourself all alone, with all six billion people against you, conspiring to get rid of you and basically terminate you. Imagine yourself being given every kind of drug, illness, and disease that exists in the world. Imagine having your family taken away and slaughtered, all because of you. Wait a second… this isn’t mental illness, these things really do happen in this world. But imagining that these didn’t exist in our world, can you imagine this happening to you in certainty, when in reality it isn’t? It is a paranoia to its extreme. And it’s voices are not silent.

BlueFig

(MLRF, 1999)

VII:THE RE-BIRTH OF DEATH

You told me there was no such thing as self-death, by ones own hands. You told me there was no such thing as death. You told me I would continue to live, trapped in my own hell in heaven. You told me that I would not even be a spectacle, not even an example of evil, but simply an outcast. No shelter, no pity, no nothing, but still withering with time. Have you ever read the O-BITCH-uaries? You told me they were meant for me. My lack of empathy for the dead on those pages was really your source of entertainment. N.E.R.D. No One Ever Really Dies. Even suicide is a myth. I could hear you so clearly now and it hurt.

V/V:VI/VI

V/V:I REALLY AM AN OPTIMIST ON MY GOOD DAYS, REALLY

Psychotic is a word that makes me cringe. Why? Probably because I too have grown up around the stigmatization of mental illness and the words associated with it, as well as all the stereotypes of people with mental illness. Do you think it’s a group of pathetic people that don’t know how to integrate themselves into a world that’s full of confident, happy, sociable people? If you know anything, you know there is no such world as that. We are all insecure, emotional, and isolated individuals, who are really good at covering up the truth. But people don’t laugh at just anybody. They laugh at what they don’t understand. They create words that hurt. They create thoughts that hurt. They create an image that hurts. They even create an impossibility of integration that hurts. Well, guess what? I fall into what I call a subculture of crazy, lunatic, mentally insane individuals. If you want proof, I could maybe stamp “insane” on my forehead so that I don’t have to live in shame or guilt for my condition.

loveHurts

(MLRF, 2002)

VI/VI: MUSICALITY’S RHYTHMIC BANTER

You spoke to me in the music I had fixed into my ears and mind and visual-mental landscape. All your songs played like water, just like the oceans I dreamt about. And the streams that only I had the ability to dip my feet into, was water that played like tears. Music was all I thought I had and it was truly killing me softly. What I thought was background music to the soundscape of our lives really was the story of our lives. The songs were singing my past, present, and future.

IV:The Rebirth Of Life

IV

We recreate ourselves every day. We also lose a sense of ourselves every day. Aren’t we constantly asking ourselves, “Who am I?”God knows, “I am what I am.” Remember the hype about “The Secret”? Well, the real secret is that there is no secret. There is no big answer to life. If there were maybe it would be love and peace, maybe the hippy generation had it right. I really don’t know where I’m going with this, or what my point is… perhaps, that’s just it. Why live our lives continuously questioning it and continuously searching for answers, when we know shit happens when it happens and it doesn’t happen when we want it most to happen. If we could will our lives into success and grandiosity, we’d all be rich and famous, we’d all be happy, we’d all have an enlightened sense of spirituality, and maybe we’d even have world peace. Perhaps we would live in a functioning Utopian society.

Warrior

(Photo by CYER, 1997)

IV: THE RE-BIRTH OF LIFE

There was nothing unique or “original” about me. I had been spoon fed from the moment I decided to speak. From the moment I thought I had something relevant to say. Gullible and transparent. Living like a puppet, behind a glass cage, with no curtains drawn. It was you that fed me with words, but it was me that battled with my own ego.

Those times you made me travel between cities, countries, and continents, were all detours of distance. The people and places of the world were merely seconds away from each other, not hours or days. You made me a fool because I never wanted to see the world. The first time I boarded a plane, I thought we were at a standstill during mealtime; motionless and floating in the sky, so that even the navigators could eat and nap at allotted times. It was exactly that which gave the illusion to space and time. The world may still be round, or flat, but the truth was that the world was just one. One place, with no name and no segregation and no separation. Simply united.

I did not know whether to love you for all the answers. Accepting that perhaps my crucifixion was coming (God returned) Were you showing me there was such a thing as abundant love? No war? Except for the war on me? Was I the war on terror? What I might’ve thought could be abuse, but wasn’t… was I going to lash out in the future? Did you believe I would steal the dreams of innocent children and try to create my own from them? Why was I not that innocent child corrupted by what the world had to say? Were you showing me that I would be saved from cruel ways, or that I would be too evil to be resurrected? Just a black hole in a well, dark enough to be drowning deeper into its own depths. I never learned how to swim but when I tried, I always ended up going against the flow.

III:Too Much Fiction, Too Much Media

III

We surround ourselves with many things, things, things, things, and more things. Oh yeah, and then there are people. I’ve tried my whole life to relate to people, sometimes succeeding and other times failing triumphantly. If you think about it, the latter seems to reign. If you think about it really hard, you’ll realize you can’t identify with anyone else on a level you understand. Life is the biggest mystery and our human actions play out like a folly. Nothing makes sense, and the harder you try to make sense of it, the harder you fall.

TooMuchFiction

(Photo by CYER, 1995)

III:TOO MUCH FICTION, TOO MUCH MEDIA

That night I dreamt I saw satellites shooting up into the black sky. They were speaking to me in dreams and leaving me clues to the unanswerable wonders of the world that I knew nothing about. How was I the only one? Have you read “The Chrysalids” by John Wyndham? Another clue to the real world, that I had only wished were true when I had read it. Minds communicating through minds. A phenomenon I was not born with. I was haunted by that moment in my past when I asked, “How was I supposed to know?” only to get the response that said, “Couldn’t you read my mind?” That comment was powerful enough to linger to this day. My whole history was being re-written.

Did I even come out of my mother’s womb? Did I even have a mother? A father? A brother? A sister? Somehow had I been adopted as the devil-child and branded as Faustus? Lucky with the devil by my side, screaming in my head but unable to speak the words? What point was there, considering everyone could already read my thoughts? But then it happened that my thoughts became your voices. I had always had the ability to listen and speak in this way, but I had been too ignorant to bother because it seemed so unfathomable. Everyone was laughing. And I couldn’t distinguish whether I enjoyed it or not, this sense of being opened up to your “secret.”

I was embarrassed about the life I had lived to this point. There had been nothing hidden, although I believed myself to be a private person. My ‘self’ had deceived me. All the shame I hid from those around my imagination, my thoughts, my “reality”, my perception and me… all had been lies. All cruel. There was no one I could love and no one that could love me. That flash of reviewing life that people talk about when they near death, happened.

II:Life Is Making Us Over

II:

Whichever direction you thought I was going with this story, probably isn’t going to be what you expected. It’s not about the world but it’s about my world. It’s about me trying to find that connection with somebody, with some subgroup that identifies with me. I am a hopeless romantic that lies about never being heartbroken. In a metaphorical sense, my heart has been broken too many times to count. In most of these instances I believed my life was coming to an end. In these instances there was no rationality and no reality, only the reality in my mind.

Scanner

(Photo by CYER, 1998)

II: Life is Making Us Over

The first time I had been exposed to this life, I believed Douglas Adams was God. I gathered enough towels for our rescue mission, and got rid of all our spectacles and monocles because I thought they were tools of data. They were the wearable computing gear that had been created into a reality by Steve Mann. This time around, the latter still held true, but in addition I realized that it was all in my mouth. My teeth were radioactive, broadcasting my existence to the universe. My younger age of cruelty, when they ripped my mouth apart was when they filled it with metal transmission, not that fine porcelain. I had been a fool to be so vain in wanting to change my appearance. Metal wires led to the removal of my Teeth of Wisdom. Was it all in the mouth? These Jaws of Life?

I:Reoccurring Dreams

I: 

There is no straight story from the moment we are born. There are no signs, except for that of the “EXIT” sign, in our mothers’ womb. There is no landing strip, but there are two hands that will carry you , warm you, and then leave you. I have yet to meet anyone who has a recollection of this moment, and I know that if I do, I will not trust him or her.
We need to realize that there really is no point in overstating our direction, to ourselves, or to anyone else. If we choose to listen close enough, we will realize that life writes itself out as its own stream of consciousness.
Will you share this journey with me? I don’t know where or when it began, nor do I know where it will go, but this story belongs to everyone. Have you ever wanted to adopt someone else’s life? Have you ever been so confused that you couldn’t even fathom what your life looked like to the world? Does it even matter? It must because we are constantly trying to identify with other things, and hence trying to give ourselves an identity. What is the population on this planet? As of this second it is 6,859,926,848… I can’t even type fast enough to keep up with the count. What a way to feel small. This is approximately the number of ants it would take to make up your physical weight, and it seems like a lot, but if you were in an ant’s world, you’d be very little. The same goes for human life.

Scanner

(Photo by CYER, 1998)

I: REOCCURRING DREAMS

Your thoughts led me to the cross on top of the mountain, but I only made it as far as the Oratory on Queen-Mary. It was the closest I could get to God. I was not ready to accept the challenge, although all of the looks I was getting from those I would pass were encouraging and despairing at the same time. I sat on the steps, the stairway to heaven, pondering why I had been chosen as God’s child. His only Son living in the form of a Woman- a little girl really, too naive to know her role in this place; this hell on Earth. The chosen one who was to make this reality Heaven. Baby Jesus. I did not succeed. Instead, I was taken to a separate ward in Hell- a room on fire that was full of thespians I had never seen on stage or screen.
It was then all ideas of God went out the window, only to be replaced by the idea that there was another higher life form… perhaps an extraterrestrial one? Just as I had ignored God, there was one point in my life when I denied the existence of other life forms. Only to be shown now, that they were the ones in control. Humans were not just humans.

The Future Shock Of Alvin Toffler

The FUTURE SHOCK Of Alvin Toffler
IMG_4962
Published in 1970, Alvin Toffler’s book Future Shock, is a foresight into the future which has unravelled to be the truth of today. It is as relevant today as it was decades ago at predicting the economy, technology, politics, and socialization of this generation and the adaptability to the process of change. The term “future shock” is applied to our human response to overstimulation, simply the rate at which we can adapt to the acceleration of change. He even questions what the progress and determination will be for the mental health factor of “techno-societies“.

I recently came across an article about “Computational Psychology,” a relatively new field of study that uses digital technology to research the behaviours of, for example, borderline personality disorder. Although I do not agree with the process of the research they are conducting due to the bias of “psychotherapy”, it is a sign that the field of psychology is advancing to address technology and its impact on mental health. (Of course it is just the term I am interested in as the study itself is not an actual representation of what the field of psychiatry could be studying in terms of the impact and practical uses of technology). As I’ve stated before, the initial response is to simply, “get off” our devices. The rate at which we, in society, are experiencing the global impact of change on all levels of environmental, economic, technological, psychological, societal and political change, to name a few.

In the 1980s-1990s, during the rise of foreign global economies, Toffler met with many foreign dignitaries, especially from Asia. He had a strong influence on China and South Korea, at the time having meetings with Kim Dae Jung (S.K. president 1996-2002). ] Kim Dae Jung was on a path of using Toffler’s writing and applying it to the future of South Korea, as a player in technology and the information age… the so-called “Third Wave” for an established economy that does not ignore the concurrent events of social or political change. [As a side note: My father, has a letter written by Kim from 1971, which he was given when he was a member of the KCIA] Nations such as South Korea and Japan are dealing with the future today by their emboldened leverage of technology, while the rest of the world is trying to catch up.

“Where an earlier generation of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese revolutionaries wanted to re-enact the Paris Commune as imagined by Karl Marx, their post-revolutionary successors now want to re-enact Silicon Valley as imagined by Alvin Toffler” [Daedalus]

Toffler’s “predictions” in Future Shock, as well as many of his other books, have come to life in the 21st Century. The decay of social relations, the demands of social justice, the psychology of humankind, the waste of fast fashion, the speed at which tech is changing (think Apple); there is this incessant need to keep up with all the change happening around us. The change is similar to the rate of the online algorithm and how fast it reacts to your online use. The latter is as fast as the pace at which a person with psychosis (let alone a mentally “healthy” individual) can keep up to date with the racing of their own thoughts. Combine psychosis and the acceleration of online algorithmic change/dialogue and you get information overload and paranoia. This is one aspect of the mental health factor Toffler could have been questioning in his vision of a “techno-society.” At least that is my perspective having experienced this interchange personally as an individual diagnosed with psychosis, fully being aware of my capacity to function while being in a mental state of dysfunction, online. It becomes information overload. The result is an inability to distinguish ones reality as separated from physical and virtual, upon which delusions can be formed based on some underlying truth.

The mental state of today’s younger generation is heavily influenced by Internet usage, especially with the many platforms of social media. They are bullied, they are influenced (pos or neg), and they engage in a way without privacy. There are often news stories of the latest violence reprimanded via sharing online shootings, suicides, self-harm… the list goes on. How do we keep up today (for tomorrow) with the epidemic of mental health care in which the digital age is heavily used as an instrument to spread information? Do we share more resources on prevention? Do we call out the corporations for more censorship? Or do we study a new discourse on mental health/illness for future generations immersed in online culture?

Personally, I do hope we pave the way for open communication on how to observe mental health, without just the simplicity of “take a break” and “get outside”. Although that is a key facet to staying mentally healthy, I want to know about how online culture triggers new ways to look at and study mental health care. New definitions and new boundaries on staying healthy online. Virtual Reality is already being used as a device to help stabilize people with addiction through simulated situations. For me, virtual reality of my own doing through actions on social media, helped me manage a lot of my psychosis triggering delusions, as well as cognitive healing. Wouldn’t it be great to have a guidebook on how to stay sane in the 21st Century, while embracing the acceleration of digital change. Alvin Toffler gave us foresight, now it’s up to this generation to continue that insight.

The Storyteller: Wodiczko

The Storyteller: Wodiczko

I was first introduced to the work of Krzysztof Wodiczko, in 1998. I spent my time as an undergrad at Concordia University re-using, re-working, and rewriting essays about him. I was fascinated by his work and with access to the Internet today, have come across smaller details about his personal life. He is an important figure (past/present/future) in using Art/Design and Technology, but he is also a visiting professor at the Warsaw Department of Social Psychology, and a professor at MIT since 1991. In 2002, I was able to have a brief discussion about my essay with my professor Tim Clark, who had personally known him and worked on a project with Wodiczko, who first emigrated to Canada from Poland in 1977.

Wodiczko is well known for his politically motivated, large-scale, video projections on monumental buildings and surfaces, throughout the 1980s and to this day. What intrigued me most during my studies, were his philosophies and use of commonplace and modern technology, readily available during that period for works that focused around ideas of Xenology and the identity of the immigrant(or ‘other’). Works such as Alien Staff (1992), and Mouthpiece/Porte-Parole (1993), both utilized digital technology, such as a display monitor, speech recorder that could be manipulated to speed -up/slow-down or change the sex of its users voice, to address communication and the public sphere of an Ethnic Minority. Immigrants have in the past been referred to as “aliens” that migrate to foreign lands. They cannot easily assimilate and blend in to a culture where they appear as “other”. This is prevalent to what countries all over the world are facing even today, with high immigration and migration of refugees. Of course there is also a looming doom on the rise of Nationalism, predominantly White Nationalism, that brings Wodiczko’s work back to mind. His beliefs about the consequences of global capitalism and conflict created by the unfair distribution of resources and opportunities, focus around the political landscape of the marginalized.

Alien Staff, was designed so that the person carrying the object in public, could communicate a story of his/her history to any passerby that was interested in approaching the user. The staff itself is something that would draw attention and would be hard to ignore in a public space. If a stranger approached the user, they would then start asking questions, opening up a dialogue. Atop the staff is a mini video monitor with pre-recorded footage of the users face, narrating stories about his/her past life experiences, to “humanize” them and replace notions of otherness. Juxtaposed to the physical person carrying the staff, was a way to close the gap between a version of “us” and “them”, as well as time and space.

The implications of his work have remained with us to today, which back then could have been an insight to the future. In history, art has often been a way for us to look back at the social discourse and climate of that specific time period.

Today, although there is still a strong plight of “us” vs. “them”, there is an ongoing dialogue in the general community about how we can close this gap. How we can represent each person as their own individual without having to regard them only through stereotypes, prejudices, or assumptions. The global market is more open because of the Internet and the access we have online. The world’s history has always involved immigration and belonging, and it will continue to do so. Rather than focus on the negatives, there is a future(present) of technology that opens up culture. We are able to translate foreign languages to our native language online. Babel Fish (the original online translator) has introduced Babel Fish earphones through Google. You can experience nearly real-time translation by having someone speak their language into the speaker on your phone, and have it translate into your native language back into your earphones… giving the ability to have an open dialogue in real time.

Language is the biggest barrier to communication. In hand it is the biggest barrier in learning about individual stories and understanding other people. Knowledge is the key to understanding and hopefully abolishing ignorance. Information gets misused, especially in today’s age, so the further along we move into the future… the more we have to learn to communicate.