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Fragments from the diary of a madman.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE SIMPLE AND THE COMPLEX IN SCHIZOPHRENIA——9
TOO LITTLE IMAGINATION——36
NEARER TO DEATH——41
A SMALL AND A BIG GOD IN OUR IMAGINATION——48
AT THE BORDERLINE OF “HEALTH” AND ILLNESS——58
Could a mentally ill person write a book which would make sense—even to sane readers—and could he also write the preface to such a book?
I think so. Persons who are mentally ill cannot be lumped into one category; they are often as incomprehensible as many others who are not considered, and never were considered, mentally ill.
It seems to me that an attempt to bring the mentally ill nearer to the world of the so-called normal persons, and especially the normal creative persons—if such persons exist-would be useful not only for the mentally ill but also for the so-called healthy ones.
Sometimes it is good to take an interest in mentally ill persons, not from the psychiatrically systematic point of view, but in view of their deepest, most authentic experiences; to acquaint ourselves with their observations and their opinions in relation to certain everyday phenomena in the “normal world.”
And even better … there might be a very good reason for accepting the dangerous hypothesis that the world of so-called abnormals is indeed reasonable, and the world of normals is full of absurdity.
This dangerous reversal of present-day opinion would perhaps allow us to think in “another dimension,” and after experiencing this enlarged awareness, the return to the normal world could be beneficial above all the so-called normal world.
THE SIMPLE AND THE COMPLEX IN SCHIZOPHRENIA
I have read—I do not know how many times—Kafka's novels. Yes, he was definitely schizophrenic, but one who built schizophrenic worlds with much more positive complexity and a higher moral content than the worlds of everyday reality. And more. Only from these worlds could he elaborate the “normal” worlds in their sense and absurdity. And what appeared? It was a method which discovered and verified the atrocity of the normal worlds. Only the worlds of dreams and visions and creative fear allowed him the possibility of observing and valuing “real worlds” from a wide perspective.
It was probably the contacts between these realities, the tensions in their relations, and their distance, their terrible conflicts and collisions which allowed him even further conquest of the world of dreams and visions.
Kafka—like hardly anybody before him—expressed the agony of searching for support in a higher reality separated from a forbidding and lower reality, after alienation in the “normal world.” He grasped multilevel “fears and tremblings” in his suspension between the two worlds.
To soar into the cosmos between two spaces, two worlds, two moralities, two realities as he dial—is very rare indeed. Only from this distance does one grasp the apocalyptic spasms of the so-called human culture, unpredictable spasms which are bulging with this life, which turn to sensual planes and spheres controlled by digestive juices and “noisy clatter” and—finally—by suffering for which the best remedy is death.
How dangerous and comical, how prohibited and inspired do human “values,” “truth criteria,” scientific approaches, and other attitudes in service of lower level instincts of self-preservation look from the level of dreams.
“Shining misery,” superficial strength vulnerable to distraction by the shock of the unknown.
Maybe the following poem “I shall gather strength” will partially reflect the above states.
I shall gather strength,
I shall be attentive,
I shall be in myself, terrified
To distinguish from another,
This which is coming closer;
But not to get stuck at the crossroads,
At the crossroads which separate
That which is in different worlds,
The hurts and irritations of damnation,
And grows up through this damnation.
By the big water—the town,
By the big river—moons,
And up, and up—the street.
Steeply, on stairs, steeply,
Difficult and arduous is this way.
And town of gold rays—
Temples in hanging gardens
And violets' shadows.
The street piles up
To thresholds of town, to thresholds,
And under the feet—fear
And nostalgia still grows.
And larger silence and fear
And a greater secret.
There cannot be much help
Because everyone grows in himself,
Because he is supported by himself, in himself
On the way to the castle, to the town.
And around, and on the sides—graves …
Those who were caught by fear,
Those who were surrounded by anxiety
And whose hearts became pale,
And whose souls were in gloom,
Shadows of uncertainty crept in.
I'm going up, steeply—
The hanging street wavers.
Quiet—do not tell others,
Do not tell, do not tell anyone
Because it is the way home,
To the home of the secret
Hanging over the abyss.
The street wavers and hangs,
Stars fall in anxiety.
Oh, agony of distance,
Oh, way to love
Among the strength of lonely anxieties
Which you cannot distinguish
And You cannot tell anyone.
Through shadows, through gloom, in a mysterious peace
The radiant town arises.
The cross stands on the crossroads,
Behind us there creeps up meekly.
In front of me there stands, zigzag—
The shadow: big and pale.
Oh, my home—distant home,
Oh, my town from years of inspiration.
I'm going through hanging streets,
I'm hanging in spaces,
In the strangeness and remoteness of the soul …
I fall down and startle myself,
And I rise in hesitation and resistance.
And I fall down and again stand erect
And I'm going, going farther …
I am a psychologist and a schizophrenic.
I am a schizophrenic and I am a psychologist. I do not know what helps what or what damages what.
Sometimes I think that my schizophrenic madness is lessened by the fact that I know something about psychology. Sometimes I think otherwise, and feel that my rather “sick” mind enlightens and deepens my narrow knowledge of psychology. Anyway, my inquiries are not without sense. And perhaps they are important, if not in the present then for some areas of human life in the future.
One thing is certain: this type of illness is not characterized by cruelty and aggression; one does not feel from people, in or out of hospital, any forbidding emanations stinking of blood, of egoism, or of tricks. Contrary to this, these are often presented by the “healthy.”
The power of reason is often brutal for others; it is a harmful, refined power, a power of tricks. It is very often subordinated to the instinct of domination, the desire to control.
I hope, I am almost sure that one day we—schizophrenics—will not be thrust away from human life, shoved over to the edge, and perhaps … perhaps we will have a vote in the government of human affairs. Would that be an improvement? Sometimes I think so.
Through my illness I become integrated with it, the same as my friends do. We adjust to it, and even—how do normal people say it—partially overcome it, synthesizing our sixth sense—being able to recognize lies and aggression.
We shall be less strange and we shall know more and, perhaps, we shall even know better. We shall probably have very different aims in relation to people—to be good and not harm others. Besides that … we see few people among normals with whom we want to cooperate.
There are those who have love and understanding for us and—to say commonly—tendencies toward identification with us. Those who do not harm and do not laugh at us in their minds; those who are subtle in their attitudes and acts; those who, not only do not kill, but also do not even
abuse us. Those who are quiet. They do not emanate red; we do not feel in them blood and aggression.
From others, from aggressive people, from normal people, we are separated by a thick wall of misunderstanding, tensions, by the wall of “their” insensitivity and our rigid revolt:
I see the world,
I see people
Only by a gesture,
Only by a movement
Of lips and eyes
I can tell
That which I feel
In other lips,
By the strength of thoughts,
By the strength of fingers,
I want to destroy
I want to fight.
But my own voice,
Do not come
Neither to me,
Nor to them
If only great
Searching and “calling.”
Maybe I would
I would catch
So, I will stay
In tight bonds,
In tight armor
Wall gets thick,
World is far,
Too walled in
The external and internal forms of a schizophrenia.
Healthy people, physicians especially, call my sickness—catatonia. They use the term “catatonic stupor.” Maybe—
superficially—this is true because I am rigid and have an immobile face.
An uncontrolled slaver runs off a wounded tree—and I am partially such—instead of a drop of resin.
Maybe I too am wounded; but I do not effuse the blood outside. My whole attention is concentrated on inner wounds, while on the surface of my body and my mucous membranes, a secretory system functions automatically.
But still … through “psychic slits,” through my seemingly insensitive but sensitive surface something bright, though forgotten and distant, filters.
Physicians and nurses and also psychologists make no bones about stating in my presence that my state is hopeless. Hopeless! From which point of view, in what respect, in what sense, for whom?
I become repulsively rigid for them. Secretions and rigidity. I have and will have nothing attractive.
But that's not the question. Nobody can disturb me in my experiences. I am distant and closed. Only superficial and limited contacts; stereotypy.
My own world, own wounds, thinking in solitude, in social emptiness, in separation.
New reality is discovered, half-shadows bend and some twist, flat, distorted and convulsive faces look into my eyes. They move, look around me, but tell nothing. On one hand, they are unfriendly and very dangerous; but they are also very strange. They are creatures of another dimension.
I have a feeling that if I tame these creatures, if I make an alliance with them, if I stop being afraid of them—they will change. Sometimes I have the feeling that they have a deadly attitude but that internally they are different.
I am a wall,
I am a stone wall,
Though I tremble,
Though I ashen
I will not show
I will hide everything,
They will kill me.
And they will take
The rest of my life,
And they will conquer
They will steal everything.
I am a wall,
I am a stone wall,
I am a wall,
Ropes of hair,
By my strength of will I hold the enemy,
I strain my eyes.
And on peas,
And on peas
Wall is smooth,
Wall is slippery.
I will not let it happen,
I am a wall,
I am a stone wall
I am locked.
And for myself
Perhaps there is something familiar to me here. If only these borders could be transgressed. But only I can do it. Because “they” are too distant.
The same occurs on their side. Between myself and them is an impassable space—for them. Those “real,” true people are not interested in transgressing this space. It concerns only my family and those close to me. I am forbidding, I am beyond bearing. They will forget, they are weary, strange, sometimes bored.
And maybe they are afraid of me?
Without a distant practical talent and sensitive environment—schizophrenic
All those who have a strong nuclei of increased emotional excitability, and imaginative excitability; those who have a too “educated” consciousness; those who have deep insight and are irritable—all those will be inclined to psychic wounds, to psychic fragility, that is to say, to schizophrenia.
What could be their defensive forces against schizophrenia? Perhaps special talents, or love for others—love so strong and vital that it would conquer the gloom of imagination and emotionalism. Perhaps only love and sacrifice for others would transform their lack of power into power, stop the individual from attempting to leave reality and from falling into schizophrenia.
If there is not great talent and love—despair, maladjustment, constant irritability and the temptation of the schizophrenic world are so strong that a “morbid” process is the
only help, the only salvation from a reality impossible to accept.
Insurmountable difficulties and the impossibility of accepting everyday matters creates such a fear of monotony that the only salvation and redemption is to fall into two lives; one—madness and the second—a narrow, superficial contact with everyday reality.
Escape to madmen
I have written already that one can see with “the eyes of the soul” the variety and intensity of colors which different people emanate. There are individuals who do not see these colours but feel them. We say then that they have a sixth sense, that they easily recognize people, that they are intuitionists. I agree with this.
Intuition is a special ability for multidimensional and multilevel synthesis. The so-called realists do not believe in this ability and distrust it. And their knowledge of people is—as a rule—segmentary and superficial. But I do not want talk about it. People grasping intuitively this emanation know, or rather feel, and are oriented toward the human group where they can feel safe, where they can rest psychically.
Here a strange phenomena occurs: many people gifted with the sixth sense can rest with the mentally disturbed. They feel better in their company than in that of normals whose heads are filled with everyday “interests,” concrete plans and instinctive tensions. Inner disruptions and disintegration allow sensitive individuals a certain type of rest with the mentally disturbed people. I—personally—always felt good with the mentally ill; but perhaps this is because I am familiar with them, not only in the sense of breakdown but also in the sense of a certain calm which is created by the sick, who are very often devoid of tensions evoked by the present.
Besides that, I can rest in the atmosphere of “psychic illness” which introduces us into a different and better world—the schizophrenic world.
One cannot become mad if one has a little madness in oneself
From the layman's point of view immunology consists of almost “transcendental,” almost impossible to understand elements such as: the weakening of pain through pain, sadness through sadness, suffering through suffering, pleasure through pleasure, illness through illness.
Immunization consists in the introduction of a small and measured quantity of pathological elements in order to accustom the organism to this fulness in “a small dose,” to protect against illness in “a large dose,” even mortal illness. The last immunization concerns the physical and bodily side; the first—psychic states and experiences.
In the course of our education we are exposed to something like “emotional hardening,” the “psychic injection” of a certain dose of unpleasant emotional experiences which immunize the individual against more serious experiences.
We can say that in the area of mental illness some “minor illnesses” prevent serious ones, that is to say, immunize against them. It seems to me that neuroses and psychoneuroses are such pathological dynamisms and syndromes that protect against psychoses.
Neurosis is increased psychic excitability in emotional, sensual, psychomotor, imaginational or intellectual form. The “injection” of such excitability widens and deepens the ability for a better understanding of reality, and also contains elements of the inner psychic milieu—that is to say—inner psychic transformation. These elements counteract psychic rigidity, allowing the development of the transformation of one's psychological type and the transformation of man's biological life cycle.
The same applies to psychoneuroses. Through tendencies contained in psychoneuroses to anxiety and trembling, tendencies to sadness and depression, obsession and enthusiasm—psychoneurotic individuals are capable of developing empathy, identification, autonomy and authentism, and of reaching new, creative, hierarchical elements even the ideal of personality.
Psychoneurotics—through abilities contained in their personalities—understand the sadness of others; through
depression they understand the depression and obsession of others; through feelings of inferiority and guilt, dissatisfaction with oneself, disquietude with oneself—they develop the habit of treating themselves as objects and others—as subjects. All these dynamisms, all these complications allow the understanding of different “strange” realities and various perversions from the simple, “natural” way of life, allow the understanding of abilities and excessive subtleties, maladjustments and discomforts, the joy and failure of others.
Observation of many phenomena in oneself, transposition of the feelings of others onto oneself—through the possession of an inner psychic milieu—transposing the sensitivity of others onto oneself and the environment, penetration of oneself and the environment and, as already mentioned, creative talents and inner psychic transformation—create possible defensive forces in external and internal life conflicts in unexpected situations and life failure.
This protects against mental illness because certain self-contained potentials for mental disturbance are consciously awakened, transformed and transferred. They grow into the psyche, and not only do they not injure it, but allow its creative growth and creative transformations. It is like a great possibility which does not eliminate the pathological dynamisms, but “de-pathologizes” their harmful aspects through positive development and makes them useful for the growth of personality.
So, in consequence, I can say that madness is impossible when one has already “tamed” and transformed certain forms of light madness. They become then, not enemies that we have to destroy, but slaves in the development of human being and perhaps better—friends in this development: they become necessary dynamisms in accelerated, creative development and in the true “humanization” of an individual,
Again a psychologist and a madman
I have already written that I am a psychologist and a schizophrenic. I do not know which “profession” is stronger. I think that both grow stronger. Anyway, perhaps it is more
useful for the personality that the schizophrenic structure, and not the structure of a professional psychologist, is the central, dominant, disposing and directing center. You will ask: why?
Simply, it seems that schizophrenic structures and potentials are richer than most potentials and psychological abilities. According to my approach, abilities become instrumental in the service of a more or less creative personality.
Psychological abilities serve to accentuate the feelings and make the language of schizophrenics clearer for laymen. It is an attempt to transpose the feelings of creative people onto normal people. But perhaps not fully normal people, because they will never understand the language of madmen. Of course, they will not wonder and be shocked at the fact that they do not understand this. Maybe it is better, both for them and for the mentally ill.
How should schizophrenia be treated?
I have reflected on the role of psychic immunology and the prevention of mental illness. It is well known that it is better to prevent than to treat and that's why I am sure that psychic immunology becomes the best weapon in the treatment of psychoses and schizophrenia.
But I have one reservation about this. Not all kinds of schizophrenia should be treated, because some of them—and especially those which are on the borderline of schizophrenia and psychoneurosis—present creative forces which are, at the same time, almost falling into a precipice and into “heaven,” in the sense of great creativity, self-perfection and the grasping of some forms of transcendence.
If we could differentiate the positive and negative nuclei in schizophrenia, we would know which of them should be treated and which should not. But what is our attitude toward schizophrenia which has already been diagnosed?
Well, I was once in one of the institutes near Paris, for different seriously mentally disturbed children, especially for those with schizophrenia. How did they treat these
children? First of all, they did not impose any demands, duties, commands or schedules on the children. They let them live in conditions of family warmth and love. They were provided with toys, flowers, animals, books and other children who were occupied with other things. The schizophrenic children began to observe and to make contact with others; they tried to play in a group and to let off steam, through activity and even through arguments with others, arguments which were controlled and then weakened. It progressed very slowly.
The schizophrenic children sat down, walked around, observed in their own way, usually making short contacts with “this world.” They were thrown on their own resources only in the sense of having to use their own initiative: only the emotional atmosphere and quiet emotional stimuli were provided. It lasted for months and sometimes for years. People from the institute tried slowly and imperceptibly to introduce an organizing element, but only in those conditions when the child himself required—by his behavior—a specific type of organization. From this period on there began the transposition to everyday reality, that is to say, the reality of normal people. A penetrating observation of these children awakened certain doubts in Institute members, causing them periodically to interrupt and inhibit the children's activities. After a long time, in the minds of the children, something “flared up” very slowly; not in the sense of the elimination of pathological elements but in the sense of the formation of something new which was, often very creative.
And not only in relation to these children but also in relation to all schizophrenics it is very important not to hurry in organizing their lives but to stop—as it was more aptly expressed by Sherrington—“hurrying common sense” which wants, at any price, to return to the norm and especially to the statistical norm.
It is a question of helping people in their schizophrenic worlds and new reality, of creating a friendly, loose, understanding atmosphere and respect for these people.
It is important not to rush these people into “normal reality.” We should leave them in their worlds and make more pleasant and eliminate from them the fear of the reality which has always frightened them. Let them organize and develop the
schizophrenic worlds. In an atmosphere of help and friendship this “development” will often progress in a creative and positive direction which will allow them to harmonize with the normal world.
One should help slowly, with the agreement of the children, to unite their methods with the methods of control which we apply in our life. Let schizophrenics be here and there, that is to say, in their schizophrenic worlds and—gradually—in the so-called real world, but without any pressure. The less dangerous the world around them, the less envy and anxiety expressed by it toward “the unknown,” the “strange,” the faster they will reach reality—without loosing their richness.
Therefore, to treat does not mean to eliminate schizophrenia. It means to look positively at its many aspects, to use its richness for the development of individuals, of creativity, and of perfection. And later, gradually to unite the life of the schizophrenic world and the normal world in a fully harmonious collaboration.
Psychoneurotic and schizophrenic obsessions and compulsions
Authentism is not—necessarily—an expression of primitive sincerity or naturalness; it is not the charm of one's own attitude, one's own voice or one's dancing. These additional qualities could be only marginal elements of authentism.
A true and human authentism exists, therefore, only when a breakdown of man's structures and functions occurs, when one is upset or disrupted. This disruption is closely connected with the clear awareness of our similarities to the world of animal drives and with the added awareness of the need to became a true human being.
This disruption, this “inner crying” and humiliation are the symptoms of authentism. We move away from rigidity, away from the feeling of dignity, pride and ambition. We begin to experience sadness in spite of and because of ourselves, humiliation in relation to ourselves, the feeling of inferiority toward ourselves: we begin to manifest disquietude
within ourselves and the awareness that we are dying to ourselves.
Fear, depression and inner conflicts begin to occur. At the same time there develops irony and poking fun at oneself and the world, an appreciation of the complexity of oneself and others, a desire to eliminate rigidity and clowning, a desire to leave these states, these tensions, all these choking humiliations which are a result of one's own primitiveness.
Sometimes there arise obsessive thoughts, and even acts, such as telling strongly and clearly so-called distinguished people that they are common or uncommon “pigs.” Impulses arise to pull someone's beard, to pull someone's ear and so on. These are—certainly—some authentic qualities, though linked with pathological functions.
I thing that the mentally disturbed, and above all psychoneurotics are more authentic than normal people. Because authentism expresses—in some regards the need to break one's pseudo-dignity, to break “the agreement of snobs,” to break strong adjustments. And it is here that the above mentioned compulsions of pulling someone's beard, of pulling someone's ear or of saying something very nasty arises.
One of the symptoms of accelerated development is a strong need to dissociate from one's own structure, the desire to unite with one's own higher “I,” a refusal to adjust to lower levels of inner and external reality.
This is attempt at schizophrenic as well as creative, reachings into the unknown, into the world of positive alienation.
I divide myself,
I separate myself
Half me and half you.
I divide myself,
I separate myself
From simple forces, from below.
I can no longer
Act and live,
For every day.
I burn myself,
I work myself
Through a circle of thoughts.
To be up
And to live down—
Because it is strange to me.
Because it sounds sickly,
Shallow, empty flood,
Faint, common odor
I took it into my head
To fashion a balloon from rainbows
I will go up on a bright night,
When the moon has risen
I will go up in the light of the stars
To see the light
I will go furtively
Because evil lies in wait,
I will go furtively
Without a sound,
One cut and …
The balloon is burst, gone
Lost forever in the fog.
Wax from a candle,
Clay from holy lips,
I destroy the wall of graves
And on the hill of mountains
I'm going further,
I'm going higher—
Danger to themselves and to the environment
The content of this title is repeated hundreds of times around the world when psychiatrists issue certificates, or in the admitting of a so-called mentally disturbed person to a hospital. It is a fundamental criteria for admittance—that is to say—for being locked in a psychiatric hospital.
In what sense can the mentally ill—let's say a schizophrenic—be a danger to himself? Of course, ignoring one's basic needs can cause a cold, pneumonia or pain. And in the same way some cases do commit suicide. Is the last a danger to himself?—it is hard to judge. There arises a question—to which self?
Perhaps it is a danger to the instinct of self-preservation which is weak in the mentally ill, especially in schizophrenics. I do not know if it is dangerous from the point of view of higher existential and possibly transcendental functions. Perhaps, there, they are not dangerous?
I would approach this matter differently. The mentally ill can be a danger in the sense of thrusting their illness to dissolution, to mental handicap, but even this would be only a group of external symptoms but we would not know what is inside, what is present in the inner milieu on the basis of the external symptoms of a sick man.
So, it is hard to talk about the danger of a sick man to the environment. It seems that one psychopath or paranoiac in a top political or military position can destroy, murder, torture and put in concentration camps millions of people. It was so with Hitler and Stalin, it was so—though to a lesser degree—with other dictators, it was so and it is so with leaders of gangs. It is even present in people who have higher social and professional positions and who have gained world-wide renown; but who destroy many people,
who lead them to blind alleys, who torture them morally through envy, ambition, discrimination, and bring them to mental illness or suicide.
Psychoneurotics are never a danger to the environment. Schizophrenics are very seldom dangerous and only when special constellations appear. Only psychopaths, paranoiacs or paranoid-like individuals can be a danger to the environment.
And why is this term “danger to the environment” assigned to so many of the mentally ill, why is this quality assigned to them though they are—in the majority of cases—an example of a lack of danger to others?
Once again compulsions destroying dignity
How people like ceremonies, how they adore certain signs. and symbols, certain attitudes which mark them “upward climb,” which glorify them, which focus all attention on them, giving them a sense of power, of rule and of dignity.
We have royal, cardinal and episcopal thrones. We have the thrones of monarchs to make the slaves aware of their distance from them. We have a tendency to wear special clothes, to show off at a party, to gain attention by elegant and unusual movements. We have various ceremonies in royal palaces, at the meetings of dignitaries, in world conferences etc. We act like ballet-masters and ballerinas during ceremonial speeches or when making “important contacts.”
The right hairstyle, the proper or improper expression of the latest fashion, jewelry distinguishing us from others—all these increase our value, our dignity, our climb up the social ladder.
I saw once—and not only once—church dignitaries around whom there was a ceremony of moving away and. Pulling up of chairs, of putting on and taking off pieces of clothes, of kneeling down and manual movements—something like a whole show of dignity.
Often I have seen how before a higher dignitary a smaller one not only genuflects but kneels. And all this takes place in the temple of the “King of the Poors,”
churches built in the name of the man who decried just such attitudes.
Probably St. Francis, one of “the poor of God,” who had a disinclination to all richness, to all extravagance, and who was very fond of poverty with a desire to possess nothing—was buried with a splendor of richness and was put in an expensive coffin.
Such pomp lowers people and, at the same time, provokes hate and aggression and a desire to rob the “dignitaries” of their dignity.
I remember a movie with a great psychological truth. During the communist revolution one of the “white” generals kept order and controlled his army through his psychic strength, great powers of suggestion, personal magnetism and his uniform. His power broke down because of a small accident. During a short speech to the soldiers his orderly tore his uniform. This possession of insignia as a symbol of power and its tearing in order to destroy its power indicates clearly that conflict dynamisms exist in “this world.”
There exist very strong aspirations, especially in sensitive people, to discover true dignity and to break illusionary dignity. There exists the drive to have insight into illusion, insight and the discovering of externality in illusions of internality, discovering tinsel in the illusions of the truth, discovering the central point in hypocrisy, discovering the essence in existence.
In the area of psychoneuroses, especially on the border-line of psychoneuroses and schizophrenia there exist external obsessions to destroy dignity through so-called irresponsible acts. This is the tendency to pull a dignitary's beard or ear, to tell some bitter truth which can result in hate and deprivation of all “favors” to the person who tells it. There is a tendency to criticize absolutely all lies, illusions, make-believe, taciturnity. These symptoms we can often find in states of mental disturbances.
Mental disturbance is characterized by the fact that it generally introduces positive disharmony into oneself and into the environment, and that it desires to destroy the rigid forms, desires to destroy the illusory dignity, desires to bring the “sticky” smiles back to the reality where they originated.
Psychoneurotics and schizophrenics aspire to some autonomy and authenticity, to inner truths, to harmonization of content and expression, to bring in or “as if” to the truth.. It is the expression of the desire to take “yes for yes” and “no for no.”
Two kinds of mental illness
In discussion, in outward attitudes, in movement, in the light and expression of the eyes, in movements of jaws, I see two kinds of healthy and ill people. One kind represents the individuals who are sure of themselves, aggressive, identifying with nobody and with nothing, accepting only their ideas. They are primitive, they do not have inner, conflicts and they easily create external conflicts. The second kind represents those individuals who are subtle, sensitive, who do not laugh but rather smile, who do not cry loudly, who are more often sad than cheerful, who mostly give way to others, who are amazed at themselves and at others, who are gentle, sensitive and receptive to wounds.
We, schizophrenics, except for the so-called paranoid schizophrenics, are not aggressive; we retreat, run away and stand off from people and external things. We often “petrify” ourselves, “freeze” to frighten others away from ourselves, to discourage any interest and any tendency to communicate with us.
We are introvertive types, we want to live in the world of phantoms, of hallucinations and of that which only appears to be. We prefer to live in the circle of our schizophrenic worlds rather than in so-called reality. We would rather avoid the external world except for some chosen fragments of it. Simply, we are afraid of it. The worlds of morbid imagination are warmer for us; for we see more coldness in the faces and in the feelings of so-called normal people.
This “illness” develops through nervousness, neurosis and' psychoneurosis. In conditions of external and inner conflicts, arise the schizophrenic psychosis about which I am talking.
There is—besides that—a second morbid line, a second type of illness which displays itself by egoism and aggression, which manifests insensitivity, emotional coldness, egocentrism and suspiciousness. It refers to the type of persons mentioned in the first sentences of this chapter.
Where there are no conditions of psychic breakdown and disintegration of the structure—we find such people, that is to say, psychopaths. Such people do not suffer, they are sure of themselves, they do not have any doubts and inner conflicts. They see clearly their aims and interests but they do not see the problems and interests of other people unless they are fully subordinated to them.
Paranoid schizophrenics make a close, though slightly more broken group. They are, in some regards, psychically broken, full of suspicion, aggression, egoism and delusions. These delusions determine their involutive or dissolutive tendencies, the tendencies to psychic loss, the tendency to become a captive of their own suspicions and delusions.
The last, that is to say, the third group is seldom met in psychiatric hospitals. This group is as described above. It is not generally recognized by the environment though it is the most dangerous. The basis for improper diagnosis by physicians is the fact that these people are apparently less disintegrated or they are apparently integrated. Both suppositions are wrong.
The last two groups described are, in a developmental and social meaning, pathological and a-developmental: the first group because of its pathological compactness, its egoism, egocentrism and cold feelings, its aggressiveness and tendencies to external and not internal conflicts; the second group because its delusions, suspicions, aggressiveness can lead to crime. Found in both these groups are those individuals who play the most horrible roles in the history of humanity, in mass murders, in the creation of concentration camps, in cruel tortures fed by their delusions.
Mankind is still experiencing the effects of misunderstanding such people and often is under their “authority.” Society still does not realize their pathological potentials, still is under their suggestion and suspicions, is subjected to their influences, to their pathological “strength of will.”
Society is afraid—often in a superstitious way—of the strength of their feelings and their powers of suggestion …
The nuclei of such personalities are seen everyday but because of lack of awareness of the danger of these people there are no diagnostic and remedial resources for these individuals. Examples of such personalities are: Nero, Hitler, Stalin and many other aggressive, psychopathic military commanders.
Both these fundamental groups of individuals can be observed in everyday life, at work, in families, in politics and in the military, and—although not very often—in our psychiatric hospitals.
The forms we meet in hospitals are the least dangerous. People who present these structures have a weak capacity for disguising their behaviors. Their feelings are not as aggressive as their “relatives”—structurally speaking—who are not locked in hospitals and who exert a great influence on social groups, in the destruction and degradations of whole societies, causing crimes and trickery, even moral and physical extermination of whole nations.
How much better it would be to be able to recognize such individuals and to protect society from them than locking in hospitals those who are not dangerous, those who are more useful than the mentioned individuals, and often more useful than many so-called normal people.
The co-called disorientation to place, to time and to oneself
The content of this title is repeated hundreds and even thousands of times when the mentally ill are admitted or discharged from hospitals and in all cases of psychiatric diagnosis. It is the ABC of psychiatry.
Of course, we do sometimes have fairly clear cases of disorientation to place, time and oneself. But we have many more cases of various forms of hard to diagnose “haze,” of increased emotional excitability, impulsivity, depression, abulia; states of “deja vu,” of conversion, of contemplation and ecstasy—forms one could hardly suspect of being distinct from the disorientation about which I am talking.
Sometimes these are desired disorientations, disorientations due to departure from reality through existence in another reality, through contemplation, through difficulty in easy adjustment to the actual reality during recovery from a “mental blackout.”
Sometimes many clever and creative persons present states of loss of contact with time on the level of everyday “reality,” on the level of “unilevelness” of time.
These states of contemplations and ecstasy cause, in ourselves, timeless experiences, the experiences of a loss of contact with actual time and followed by a transition to states where one is in contact with dream consciousness, either “day dreams” or there from recent nights.
Disorientation in relation to oneself is a phenomena more complicated and harder to diagnose as pathological. The experiencing of this type of disorientation is related to a higher level of mental growth, to a separation between “lower” and “higher” in oneself, and often to the interlacing of these two levels. It is related to the chaos resulting from the conflict between the need to leave the lower level and the necessity to return to the same level from a higher reality because of either too strong ties with the level of reality, or pressure from the external environment.
This disorientation in relation to oneself is often the expression of creativity, of poetry, of inner tragedy, of inner struggle, of ups and downs on the way to a higher level of personality development and its ideal, and—often—to death.
Mistiness in psychoneurotics and schizophrenics
In psychiatry and in everyday life we use the term “mistiness' to define the state of dimming of consciousness, the lack of intellectual and emotional understanding of a situation, the lack of adequate reactions to stimuli and, in some sense, to define the weakness of orientation in relation to oneself and to others.
Sometimes we have different forms which remind us.
of this mistiness, but they do not have much in common. The individual who is absorbed in inner experiences, who is absorbed in others and not in current affairs, who cannot be and does not want to be prepared for the actual situation—can present this pseudo-mistiness. Simply, the individual underestimates and does not want to appreciate the actual matters because that which attracts him is more pressing, of more importance, of more value.
The reaction time of such individuals can be slow. If the individual is absorbed in something very important, he cannot quickly switch himself, he cannot “bring himself to life” from his “psychic asphyxia” with important matters.
Sometimes it is a resistance to and even impoliteness toward the environment because the individual does not want to transpose himself onto a lower level reality from a higher reality. Perhaps he does not want to leave this “intimate talk” and perhaps even communications with God. Many such attitudes and catatonic behaviors are close to this mood and this attitude.
Sometimes “this mistiness” characterizes a state of “visions of fear,” a prolongation of the mood before or after ecstasy. Then, the transposition into steady changeable reality, into the “reality of one's actual situation” is very slow or even impossible. This state is—perhaps—expressed in the poem “Fears.”
You said that you can't look
Beyond yourself, at distant spaces,
Because the face of a ghost at the crossroads of your mind Annoys, worries and terrifies you.
You said that you are afraid
To stay here alone, here with them, behind the door,
Here in the hospital, that you will be delivered
Into the hands of the ill, these ill—with hallucinations
That here all are alike,
That they look with a fancy smile
On their faces, they wear
A funeral mood, rich in death
In living death, in waxen mask
As if painted in waxy lights,
As if crumpled and strangely flat,
As if caught in a trap unaware.
You said something and got pale and trembled,
You laughed at something and cried at something,
That you are alone, too weak, too small
To stay here, here with them.
Because “they” walk and whisper
And look, and looking, trip.
And talk about freedom, about escape,
Living corpse in a child's cradle.
Antinomies limiting the schizophrenic
Antinomies exist in everyday life, in political contradictions, as well as, in schizophrenic enclosure. Unfortunately, they are limited.
And perhaps the first are bigger limitations, incapacitations; because the second, the schizophrenic antinomies, express clear and very human reaction to inhuman matters; whereas, the limitations or antinomies in everyday life indicate the more shallow reaction of persons experiencing them. They indicate a lack of sufficient human reaction to inhuman matters.
A person close to us is murdered and we forget about it after a few years; even after a few months our regret is less. His wife or her husband, his or her children lessen, after some time, their sensitivity to this inhuman act. Normal, everyday needs and adjustments destroy—it seems—great sensitivity and great injury. The husband prepares to “jump” into a new marriage; the wife thinks about getting married; the children about new, interesting, less obsessive, more varying experiences.
They murdered Kennedy, they murdered Martin Luther King. It does not matter that the first was a great president,
and the second—Christian champion of freedom for Negroes. one has to forget, one has to adjust. There will be before funeral, funeral and after-funeral speeches. There will be talks and calls to resistance, and in the end … in the end, once a year the recollection in the daily newspaper and a few publications—read by very few people.
TOO LITTLE IMAGINATION
The tongue as a physical organ is not a seductive thing
I often observe myself in the mirror. The tossing or turning of the tongue, in many people—the lips pressing with delight to drink; teeth ready to crunch and to devour—sometimes the smell of the body in similar to the odor of a pig's carcass.
In restaurants, on buses or trains—livers, tongues, “tripe”—one eats another after death, though sometimes he would like to eat him—alive.
Sometimes I see a truck full of carcasses, and being carried out are the so-called halves, parts of animal legs, future “headcheese.” I imagine girls' nice legs being cut into “ankles” and “elbows.” Perhaps it is a kind of “identification.” It is a transformation into someone else, into a different man or animal.
I can hardly identify with people chewing gum. This movement of the jaws occurs together with a smiling, unthinking “physiological introspection,” with the sluggish and frightening dynamism of “subject-object” in oneself. Probably such chewing helps the state of health and prevents atrophy of the jaws and the “powerlessness” to which—the man of the future is condemned.
I cannot look, I cannot experience these things. I prefer the gloom or the “schizophrenic world.”
Preparing for the jump
Possibly you have observed the way a cat or a snake prepares to jump. It is intense concentration like the
concentration of a hunter while making a shot. All the muscles are subjected to the commands of instincts which are about to be realized.
We can see the same thing in movies which present the leap of a lion or tiger. This leap must result in success. The victim must be caught. But in these jumps of plunderers or fighters there is nothing veiled, nothing hidden. Everything is out in the open; everybody knows what is going on.
In the human world, in the normal everyday world the same phenomenon appears but in a “sublimated” and subdued form, in seeming “niceties” masked with an “artificial smile.”
From time to time one can catch the intention and direction of the “psychic jump” on a victim who is unaware of his plight. At the same time, one can observe the serious effects of the activity of such a seemingly “nice” plunderer.
Those who are orientated to this attitude and sensitive to the subtleties of communication can see the “psychic expression” of the stretching and stiffening of the backbone, the piercing glance of the eyes—an expression identical to that of one who shoots his victim.
If we could read the emanation of tenderness, we could observe, then, another form of a “preparation to jump” and it would be a completely different picture than that which is expressed by false words and a smile.
The content of this smile is as sharp as “steel.” The words are cold, the intentions are cruel. The voice is saying yes and thinking no; the smile expressing favor and plotting harm. It always wounds and breaks us—us schizophrenics. They say that we are characterized by fragility. We prefer—truly, we prefer—our “fragile” schizophrenic worlds.
The dancer stripped of her skin
In my dream I saw a woman, stripped of her skin, dancing the cancan. She had a strange expression in her eyes, strained movements and seductive lips. She danced, grandiosely,
the cancan and other dances from that era. Sometimes, in the light of the Chinese lantern, she looked like she was dressed in a strange dress of amber, recently dipped in blood.
I considered dancing with her, but I experienced strange feelings of “fear and trembling” at the thought of touching her bloody body. In her movements there was something of a dying but subtle animal, and something like the contemplation of a man in great pain whose pain ceased being painful when it became too hard to bear.
She danced remarkably well, bravely, in a sickly natural way, but I was conscious that it was her last performance.
This dance was the last “on this side”; on the other side there was death.
I wondered painfully, if such a woman could love. Could she understand love and strive for love? Could she have children and take them for a walk?
Healthy calm and “morbid obsessions” during the eating of meat
Many people are vegetarians. They do not eat meat during their entire lives. Some eat it periodically. Sometimes it is because of worry about health, sometimes—it is superficial world outlook, or even a fad.
But there exists a group of people who react so strongly to the idea of eating the corpses of other living creatures that they cannot eat meat. Purely through imagination and fantasy they experience the agony of butchering creatures, and the death of animals in a butcher's shop; they have before their eyes the whole tragedy of killing and mutual devouring. They imagine fields of battle, and bloody, deformed bodies.
Some people partly through tradition and partly through “introspection,” through some kind of cosmic empathy—caused a wide vegetarian system of nutrition, that is to say, the rejection of meat. It is especially common in India.
Alongside the thousands of hungry people dying for lack of food, we have the “sacred cows.” These cows are sacred for the majority of the society. Because of this, the Hindus
are the object of jokes and contempt; they are the objects of humiliating comments and shoulder shrugging. They are thought of as fools, full of superstitions.
Such an opinion has a certain influence on the so-called “more civilized” class of India who share the opinion of other more civilized “civilized people.” But under the disguise of the ridiculous, superstitious and “social nonsense” there is something in this custom which should be considered universally, because it contains a common disinclination to aggression, blood and killing. This attitude expresses something like cosmic empathy for everything which lives; this attitude—if it is considered one-sidedly—can result in many reservations, dislike and even cynicism. But if it is considered many-sidely and from the point of view of multilevel development or positive disintegration—it obtains a different meaning.
This attitude expresses something like group obsession, something like aversion. It is something like Monakow's “ekklisis.” In this attitude there is a need to look at and experience something of a high level of evolution, something of the development of the individual who experiences “fear and trembling” before eating the corpse of a creature who lived and whose life we took for our appetite and for the building of our tissues.
Some say that during our phylogenetic development we have in our bodies some elements of continual bloodguilt, that we have in our body and psychic tissues hate, aggression, dying convulsions which are all connected with killing others.
Maybe the “blessed Hindu obsession” will be accepted sometimes by a wider group of people; maybe aggression will become weaker; maybe the hunting, killing and eating of corpses will become forbidden to us. Maybe this “obsession” of a small group of people will became wider and will express departure from a desire for blood, its smell and taste.
And again meat
I have a distinct obsession in relation to the sight and eating of meat. I also have distinct obsessions about all
parts of animal bodies used in everyday life. So, I have obsessions regarding furs, and especially the furs of small animals right after or even before their birth.
How one can stand it when elegant ladies wear furs taken from small animals, in one case, of the caracul—taken from its mother before birth. Don't we have too weak an imagination—can't we imagine the whole surbical and murderous operation, the final result of which is to beautify ladies? I cannot imagine the full acceptance of this fact, nor the disregard of where these furs came from, their “genesis.”
The face of ladies touch with pleasure the collars and sleeves of their furs. At the same time they present charming and “authentic” smiles and manifest subtlety and charm without any sign of disintegration, shock or inner conflict.
Perhaps it is hard to accept calmly meat from a lamb and a calf and compare the delicacy of their looks during their life and the delicacy of their taste while eating.
Something is wrong with the human imagination.
And perhaps a schizophrenic imagination is, in this regard, richer and more interesting?
I had a dream
Not long ago I dreamt of my dead friend—an architect. He sat down on a chair beside my sister and me.
He was rotten and decaying but his one eye was alive and winked and leered at me.
I felt ambivalently toward him. The fact that I liked him attracted me; the fact that he was breaking, and, regardless of that, was “pushing” in my sister in my direction—repelled me.
I protected us by putting the chair between us. But it was not a separation from his personality but from his body, from the crumbling corpse.
I started to talk to him. We talked by gesture and by the expression of the eyes. After some time he disappeared.
NEARER TO DEATH
Why does one not communicate with the dead?
Impassable walls and hindrances; return home and leave the dead behind—though before there was love and tenderness, and the need to be with them.
We are cruel to those closest to us—living or dead ones. We are cruel to people whom—it seems—we love very much. And they, too, are cruel to us.
Why does sadness or illness not disturb our typological rigidity? We part with our close friends through death. During life we absent ourselves through psychic imperviousness, through typological strangeness, through rigidity. Why do we have compassion for famous people only after their death, and why do we do this again? Why are famous people of the future in for misery, death in loneliness, separation and sadness?
Why does one not communicate with the dead?
Only we, the schizophrenics, can do it. Only we can be faithful; only we can have tender memories—not only toward that which they wrote and accomplished, and toward their biographies—but toward their full and vital personalities. Simply, we want to see them alive, and we do it perhaps in a strange way, but a very important way too.
Why are psychopaths not overpowered? Why are they not locked in hospitals.
Why from one epoch to another does one put faith in strong, well-organized but insensitive people? Why does one believe those who are narrow-minded and decisive? And why does one not believe love, tenderness and delicacy? Why do we not enjoy the symptoms of inhibition, uncertainty and retreat?
We lean closer to the psychopath than to the psychoneurotics or schizophrenics.
Suicide after the loss of someone close to us
Suicides following the loss of someone close to us are very rare. Perhaps they are not so close we cannot live without them. Because, if this is so, why do we not accompany them into nothingness or transcendence?—unless that which is here in this dimension is more interesting, and this fact conquers the intimacy. And perhaps … perhaps something better will come along which will prevail over the need to accompany them.
Perhaps there are ways to prolong existence or co-existence on this earth and perhaps there are attempts to “pierce into immortality” while “on this side? And to find out that which we do not know.
Perhaps it would be possible here to join our closest friends? Someone said: “Wait for me in the grave, I am determined to meet you in the valley of shadows.”
I would have to state it differently: perhaps not in the grave, but through such an effort of the spirit, through the painful discovery of oneself, mental illness and ecstasy, we reach our closest friends beyond the grave.
But if we cannot, if nothing happens—perhaps suicide is the best. It is the least of noble solutions, but sometimes we cannot afford a higher one.
Sometimes one hears talk about the authentism of the mentally ill, especially schizophrenics. But there is also the “authentism” of the normals. For example, schizophrenics did not invent the fashionable cosmetology for the dead. The normals did. It derives from common shrewdness, from rummaging in psychology, from a revealing manner and even from a certain attitude in business.
This attitude is one of reaching for new things, on one hand, interesting—on the other hand, grim and terrible; to transform them, silence them, deck them and make them pleasant.
The same title everywhere—“Director of Funeral Home.” The dead person is, as if asleep, with rouge on his face, in half-lying, half-sitting position, scented restrainedly, so as not to show excessive artificiality.
He and those in his environment will listen to mournful prayers and music with serene accents. There will be a light mood of sadness.
The family—cheerful smiling, friendly—to the dead, and to others. Happy ending in a final way. … Sticky smiles, well-run ceremonies.
And then … then, into a hole in the ground. The pastor, the priest … expressions about eternity, transcendence, nobleness, remembrance, in holy or half-holy relations. Prayers and smiles upward to heaven, to the sky. And this part of the ceremony can last a long time. Of :course, not too long, because people are hungry and have to return to fundamental reality. And this embellished, motionless bromide—to go down, down into the “hole in the ground.”
Then—green, flowers; slightly differentiated, slightly individualized graves. In the case of the wealthy—sculptures—done with a talent, interesting, but not individual; splendid paths, shrubbery, flowers. Here one can waltz and think lofty thoughts.
Monism, global, against-individual, a-individual and anti-individual transcendence. And then—reality, the healthy ones, and, at last—psychophysiology, behaviorism, the concrete.
A family's weariness with sickness
A chronically sick individual, or one on the verge of death looks so “down and out” that even the best family thinks about his being gone. They must know that he belongs to that which is “beyond life”; they must “leave” him.
Uncertainty is often worse than death. While here, one
has to organize himself, while beyond, there is nothing to organize.
The funeral still belongs to the healthy. So, one looks at the sick or the dying person and wonders when it will end. People are taxonomists—they like decided matters. If someone stands on the ledge of a window, thoughts of pushing him off cross the mind. These are only thoughts, and usually they are not realized, but the individual is sometimes upset that he has such thoughts.
It is the same with someone close to us who is dying. The sadness, despair and happy memories will come later. But now, with inconvenience, weariness and hopelessness, there appear strange thoughts: “maybe a push?”
It usually does not happen. However, in their thoughts, people want to help settle fate, to hasten it in its realization, to decide something—because people like to help. Dead people look more “decided” than dying ones. There is some order in it, and people like order.
The temporary state—“dying”—is not real enough. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done”—and, perhaps, “our will”—though we would like him to live, to be with us.
But there is this need for everything to be clear-cut.
As a matter of fact, suicide is a further state of rigidity. At the beginning there is torpidity and a lessening of interests in the external world. Then there comes the process of separation from the external world, and discouragement, and indifference. The world in turn shows disinclination, indifference and aversion. It leads to mutual strangeness.
And then there follows a separation from one's own self, from one's immediate instincts and feelings, and from one's own intellectual activity. There comes full maladjustment to the external world. Only the strange part of one's own structure is left.
It is something like partial death or suicide, something which does not lead to immortality, but discovers rather the
entrance to delusion, to the schizophrenic world which attracts us strongly.
Sometimes, full suicide happens, but only in the cases which attempt closer contacts with the real world, for in the majority of cases, the schizophrenic world absorbs the minds of the catatonics.
The remembrance of the dead
The belief in the possibility of contact with dead people is an expression of superstition, psychoneurosis or schizophrenia, and perhaps sometimes of sainthood.
What can contact with dead people offer? It is said that one has to go with the living. But can one build a life, am authentic life, without an encounter with death?
The emotional and moral future must be shaped through serious attempts at transcendence of the impossible. One should study what is beyond this life in every approachable and unapproachable way; one should spy on that which is “beyond” through real or imaginative cracks. One should break unbreakable things.
One should not accept death while dying; one should protest against death. One should rave about death in an elaborated and inspired way.
One should not leave the cemeteries after the funeral of a loved one but should bring the cemeteries into everyday life.
There should not be left only a few memories and some works of the death. With such an attitude, nothing remains of when they were alive.
And now a concrete matter. In Poland, where there were mass murders including thousands of children, it was pondered how to honor such heroic children, children who suffered and went through tragic experiences or died in the fight, and … a decision was made to build The Children's Health Center to document that life would be developed and death forgotten. In this Center there is no mention of death, only of health, and treatment.
Perhaps this is good but there is more to it than this.
Certainly it means care for others, but not those who have passed away. Their deaths we will renounce, we will leave the cemeteries, and they will no longer live for us.
And perhaps the directors of this Center will be people who have nothing in common with the experiences of such children and their way of death.
I am for this Center but I am more for the cemetery. And one more thing. There should be funds for authentic research on death, funds for unlocking its secrets.
What is our attitude toward the dead? What is our memory which is not a memory? How cruel is indifference?
The economics student
Lives on Wybicki street
In Cracov. Today she was admitted
And it is nothing unusual.
They call “specification”
This statistic form on
Which I cast my eyes
In the psychiatric hospital.
The economics student
From Wybicki street …
I do not know her and I shall not,
There's nothing strange about that.
She has an illness
Which splits the soul.
The girl must get
The injection of insulin,
Hypoglycemia of the blood
And sleep, artificial sleep
After convulsions and ravings.
And then it will get worse,
Or perhaps it will get better?
How uneconomically, girl,
You rescue yourself!
And again this statistical form
Will be filled out
At last, in final
Dead or discharged
The economics student …
And then for sure they
Will forget you quickly.
This or another possibility,
To life or to the grave—
The file will be filled out
In the same way.
And nothing will be left
But the statistical form
Of you and of economics
In the psychiatric hospital.
A SMALL AND A BIG GOD IN OUR IMAGINATION
In my consideration I differentiate several kinds of holiness or half-holiness, but I accept only one of them.
The first kind is the holiness which concentrates its whole attention on dialogue: God and I, and—sometimes—I and God, relegating other matters to the side. It is a humble love for God, renouncement for God, suffering for God. It is love close to the world but which transforms the heavy load onto God. This yearning for “marriage” with God and for being his “wife” or “fiancée” is to some people disgusting. It is a draft toward “marriage” with God, sometimes toward a “spiritual' wedding night. This attitude is often expressed in a “sublimated” song without words about the divine lover. These constant prayers, waiting for favors and ecstasy … I am a bit afraid of such holiness.
The second kind, which I would call half-holiness, is a state connected with a certain loosening and breaking of the psyche, together with serious psychoneuroses and schizophrenia. It is humiliation, pain, isolation—without tangible proof of God's love.
It is the entrance to the land of loneliness, coldness, wandering, isolation and rigidity. There is, however, no self-admiration, no narcissism, no egoism of love. It is a world full of harm, a world with no real love. I prefer this half-holiness to the first holiness.
There is a third holiness—according to me the highest one—which consists of involving oneself in the lives of people and their struggles; it is a serious and relentless plan for the improvement of people's lives, and it is without prize, reward or compensation. It is a tragic road of
heroism and an uncompromising attitude. This road does not look for support in quietistic and detached experiences. The way is through atrophy of egoism. It is an enthusiastic though painful ascent to bring as much goodness and love as is possible to those who are suffering, hurt and humiliated.
Aggression in saintly people
Probably St. Augustine—already on the level of perfection—liked to observe sometimes how a spider catches a fly, sucks it blood, and how dogs run after a hare and tear him up. And in this area he contemplated “God's wisdom.” There is a fascination with the efficiency of some living creatures. One can stare impassively from “above” at the efficiency of a cat who catches a nightingale, at a snake who puts other creatures to death with one leap. But man is smarter because of the instruments and weapons he has invented. How interesting are self-control and immobility, because they exercise concentration of attention. How much a man has to intensify his mind and muscles to “pull” the trigger of a gun on his future prey.
And he conquers, still conquers through the death of others. Small, frightened hare; deer with eyes closed forever; royal eagles, wild swans, ducks and geese winding their way, with sad calls, to far-away lands.
Human wisdom knows all. Hunting is needed, for otherwise animals would propagate in impossible numbers and threaten the existence of the human population.
It is necessary to cut down trees and cultivate them sensibly; it is necessary to save them from spontaneous degeneration. It is necessary to destroy wild animals, and besides that people must have milk, and especially meat, from a rational economy.
Mass, systematized breeding, butcher shops, mass production, mass selection—and a friendship with some animals. Choice, selection, statistics, computers. And the mentally ill, the people who think differently—“under lock and key” and in “schizophrenic worlds.”
Authoritative and masterful God
In the history of ideas and human experiences concerned with God, we can differentiate three images and ideas of God: an all-powerful lord; a strong and upright being, and a God of love. These three phases of God go hand in hand with our hierarchy of reality, with our image of the ideal.
The first idea of God was and is most primitive. The last is perhaps the highest level of development and is represented by many ideals in various religions, with—perhaps—the dominant ideal of Christian religion left by Christ.
Alas there still exists the first idea of God. We can see it in St. Augustine's lesson about salvation and condemnation of people. We can see it in St. Thomas' picture where God is a pure intellect and where the approach to him is intellectual, an approach which rejects and atrophies emotional attitudes.
According to St. Thomas' theology there is no place for differentiated love of partners, there is no place for love from both sides. If love is, it is an “intellectual” one; if will is—it is independent from feelings and is intellectualized.
This logical, “unemotional,” abstracted and intellectual structure of God is compensated for by St. Thomas in his mysticism which is full of emotionality and “human” matters.
The same is true of St. John of the Cross, who elaborates the love of God and destroys the differentiated love of a man; he curtails the right for us to posses exclusive feelings for friends and people close to us. Everything should be given to God; he is rapacious, all-powerful and cannot stand exclusive emotional relations between people.
How contradictory it is to Christ's concept that the highest commandment is “love thy neighbor.” God becomes here an all-powerful, jealous tyrant who demands obedience and who—as matter of fact—is not interested in the world. And, again, St. John of the Cross compensated for
this one-sided idea about God in his poetic and mystical work full of sensuality.
Mistaking elements of love for others leads to an almost compensated perversion of feelings for God and Christ. We can especially see it in such saints as Therese of Lisieux who experiences the having of a small Christ in her, or the ceremony of getting married to him, calling him husband, and so on.
It is—perhaps—a distorted expression of love for God; it is an imposition of exclusiveness of love for him to whom everything belongs and whom it is necessary to reject everything which, even though it is highly spiritual, is not directed exclusively toward God.
It is a distorted expression of the sublimation of one's own primitive egoism, transferring to God the fanatical desire for exclusive love, impossible to express humanly.
There appears, subdued, everything which is perversive even to sexual dreams about God, even to the feeling of having him in the womb, and in the maternal attitude.
The fundamental protest against the egoistic, officious all-powerfulness of God is shown in the Boleslaw Lesmian poem about Ursula Kochanowska.
When after death I came to the desert of the heavens
God gazed long at me, with my hands in his hands.
Come to me, Ursula! You look lively …
I will do all that will make you happy.
Do this, God—I whispered—that in the beauty of heaven
Everything is the same as Charnolas was then.
And fearful calmness, raised my eyes to his
To find out if he was angry that I asked him this.
He smiled and nodded—and soon from God's kindness
A house appeared—for all the world like ours.
Furniture and flower pots of blooming plants
So familiar, the joy could make me dance.
He said—“Here is—furniture, and there—flower pots”
Just watch out for the coming of your longing parents.
And after I put all the stars to sleep in heaven,
I will knock on your door to see you, often.
Then he left, so I made myself as busy as I could
Cleaning the house; like ours, I imagine.
And I dressed in the prettiest pink I could find
Keeping away eternal sleep, I wait, attend …
The first ray of sunshine glitters on the wall
When I hear steps and a knock at the door.
So I jump up and run! Heaven thunders like a storm.
My heart stops … No! It is God, not them.
There are unbearable tensions. Under such tensions some people murder, under such tension… some fall into mental illness.
But one can have a tendency to fall into mental illness which is close to the tendency to murder others, or one can have tendencies to self-aggression; such tendencies are expressed in a desire to injure and hurt one's own body.
With the former tendency are connected: paranoia and paranoidal schizophrenia; with the latter: the other kinds of schizophrenia, depressions and so-called schizoneurosis—that is to say, the transitory stages between schizophrenia and psychoneurosis.
The introductory stage to the second form of mental illness, and perhaps some of its dynamisms, is expressed in the tendency to self-mutilation. For example, Van Gogh cut off his ear under unbearable tension. He could not kill or hurt others because it was not in his personality structure, but he had to do something, so much did he fear madness.
Then, one diminishes oneself of a part of oneself, diminishes something hateful which seduces the greatest—because it is strange to the psyche-suffering. That is the reason why one cuts off a finger, pierces a hand with a nail, cuts off an ear, and attempts suicide.
Somewhat similar are the automutilations of psychically rich offenders locked in prison. The dynamisms, fully inhibited in the outside, concentrate themselves on one easy area of pain and tension toward oneself.
On asceticism and self-torment
The desire for asceticism, self-torment and suicide is great. To the best and most sensitive people there occur the cruel alternatives of everyday life, the necessity of submission to biological reality, the perspectives of tensions, misunderstandings, difficulties beyond measure, and at the same time, nonsense.
Such perspectives of trauma and humiliation in love, in social life, in the family, cause that which appears to many people to be the way of a convent. the way of loneliness, the way of renouncement of that which is existential and essential. It is an unusually difficult way and only heroism under the influence of suggestion can undertake this. Many people are afraid of this way and these are those who are concerned with the uniqueness and unrepeatability of life, with their own way of essence, with a protest against “dissolving” like a drop in the ocean. They want the impossible to be realized.
Then there are only two ways: mental illness or death. Perhaps these ways are not the best, but they leave a shadow of hope, and they do satisfy the feeling of human dignity.
Both the above-mentioned ways present a higher hierarchy than the two first mentioned.
Frustration in feelings
I am running away more and more from the memories of my “normal” life. I bled many times, I underwent frustrations. I had—as physicians say—a low threshold of resistance to frustration.
In my experience it expresses itself in spite of having—according to the opinion of the environment—very good intelligence. I had the need of emotional exclusiveness.
I was terribly disappointed many times. Those to whom I gave my confidence and generosity were not sincere
toward me. My best advice was told to others who did not deserve even a part of my “friends” confidence.
This easy and superficial “replacement” of confidence is the same as unfaithfulness in marriage, it is like the marriage of a widow with an enemy of her dead husband. It is like the transition from marriage or friendship with a truly great man to marriage or friendship with a smaller man. For example, Hamlet's mother went from the dignity of one marriage to the grotesqueness of another.
Lack of exclusiveness, faithfulness, uniqueness; lack of constant relationship, lack of sincerity among friends. I prefer the schizophrenic worlds.
Intoxication with pain
Many sensitive, noble and responsible people express intoxication with pain if the pain, or difficult psychic' experiences were intense, long-lasting and if they left scars on the psyche.
On one hand we can have the highest levels of idealization, spiritualness and authentism; and on the other, these experiences coming to life, these “bloody” eksorie of experiences which set in motion “a circular cycle” without end, without exit, in a tangle of chaos which often introduces automatic activities on a lower level.
The power of these automatisms, the power of these vicious circles is—sometimes—so great that it locks out and moves away from the control of rich centers of a higher level and the dynamisms of autonomy and authentism.
Intoxication is so great, destruction and devastations are so wide that there comes a periodic separation between the higher and lower structure, between the freedom of higher activities and the automatism of lower ones.
In families which experience this, there are often periods of irritation, “series of association,” and these giddy circular reactions which cause disliking of oneself, low spirits, depression, symptoms of tension and excitability.
Heroic efforts, decided strivings for transcendence, are necessary to weaken this intoxication, to introduce permanent
harmony, not to let ourselves be overcome by already characterized automatisms which—with a lack of self-control—can lead to a defeat which cannot be removed and to difficulties which cannot be relieved. It is necessary to help such people.
These bloody marks in the human psyche, poetically speaking—are related perhaps in the following poems.
THEY WERE SHOOTING VIOLETS
They were shooting violets
In masses, shooting them in temples.
They were shooting.
In temples, in roots they were shooting
To forget their color,
To forget their smell,
They did not want them,
Rising pale sun,
Phantom of sun from heaven
Locked, silent and touched,
Where behind the woodland screen
They were shooting violets …
EXECUTION OF DOLLS
I looked at a glass ball,
I looked at a mirror of water,
Through my brain I crept into silence—
I saw strange matters.
In pine-forest, in retreat
They were hanging dolls—
Dolls in rococo dresses,
In Pompadour dresses.
I saw the crowd of dolls shaken,
Their loud crying sound …
I stood immobile
Like the hung dolls,
Surprised, very surprised
Threw the small legs,
Shook the small bodies,
And then, immobile
Looked at the trampled ground.
AT THE BORDERLINE OF “HEALTH” AND ILLNESS
Perversions and unilevelness
I have already reflected on the problem of a hierarchic grasping of value in many areas of life and toward many problems. It is a truth to which Rorschach, Kretschmer and the author of this book have paid attention—that not only the psychological type of the individual is linked with certain kinds of disturbances, but also the level of development—whether the development is lower or higher, one-sided or many-sided—is linked with certain disturbances.
Those who have a tendency to the group of disturbances which contain psychosthenia, neurasthenia and hypochondria will present hypochondric qualities during the onset of disturbances, if they present, at the same time, a low level of global culture. Contrarily, those who present a high level of culture will have an inclination to psychosthenic disturbances.
Primitive structures, integrated on a low level, will express primitive anxiety symptoms and symptoms of fear of external factors or fear of primitive magical phenomena. This fear will express a low level of the self-preservation instinct.
Contrarily—a highly universally developed individual—with conditions which cause him anxiety—will have anxiety of an existential type, anxiety without emotional primitivism, anxieties for others, that is to say—altruistic anxieties, concern for others.
A unilevel point of view toward problems diminishes their multidimensional aspect, diminishes their multilevel sense, and limits their scope, importance and humanistic sense.
The same is true of the group of mental disturbances, mainly of the constitutional type, to which belong perversions. What can sadism have in common with subtle forms of necrophilia; what can uninhibited homosexuality of pederasty have in common with subtle forms of fetishism; what can masturbation have in common with a high degree of awareness, and in conditions of anxiety or difficulties connected with sexual exclusiveness—with perversions or primitive inversions?
They are classified in the same category as sexual perversions: The sexual sadist can express an inclination to murder, together with excitability and sexual drives; a homosexual without inhibition and responsibility can do this in a primitive way. What can this have in common with tendencies to necrophilia which express themselves in sexual and emotional excitability, and on the other hand—in inhibition, shyness, subtlety? What can the brutality
of some forms of masturbation have in common with the subtlety of some forms of fetishism?
What can admiration for pictures of great painters or sculptures of famous artists which contain sexual contents have in common with the need to view sexual acts in brutal forms?
On the one hand these subtle forms of sexual perversion and inversion or pseudo-perversion can be found in subtle works of great artists, while their low levels can be found in the “human animal” on the lowest level of his needs and aims. Hierarchy and multilevelness have here a fundamental importance because they express the differentiated diagnosis of levels of emotional, instinctive and intellectual development.
Sexualism for all
I have studied the problem of instinctive and emotional multilevelness of man. In the sexual area we can have the so-called “sexualism for all,” that is to say, statistical sexualism which expresses primitive similarities in experiences and manifestations connected with this drive.
It is inhuman, generally, to talk about getting married.
It looks as if a normal phenomenon of the animal world were transferred to man. Simply, a 17 or 18 year-old girl is physically full-grown, her body is formed, she is mature in sexual desire, in species and maternal instincts. She is “mature enough for marriage,” her parents want her to get married. Forty—fifty years ago they created special conditions—such as parties, balls—opportunities for her to meet “candidates” for her hand. The same was true of boys, only in a different way. Simply, it was a matter of sexual maturity. They did not take into consideration mental and moral maturity. There existed “natural” opinions, more or less the same as in the breeding of animals.
This differentiation existed only to a small degree. It was not a matter of the realization of sublimated sexual feelings or love through exclusive relation, through typological closeness of opinions, aims and culture. They did not talk about maturity for love, the ability to relate to someone. It was simply the problem of getting married. It was reasoning in the service of Sherrington and Keats's “hurrying common sense.” This phenomenon was presented in many clichés, such as; “every woman—an enemy” and “every man—an enemy” and “mature enough for marriage.”
Boys walking on the streets observe many women of different ages. The same is true for women. Social visits, walks, and very often going to church create conditions for “observations” of both sexes. In this way they are matched primitively.
The further outcome of these processes and phenomenon are opinions about the need for tentative marriage; these are known attitudes expresses in sayings “I was going with her” or “I was going with him” for so many months or years, which means sexual experience.
Some scientists say that such “development” of the sexual instinct, that such sexual experiences build a “good future” for marriage through “familiarity” with this field, through “training” in this field of feelings. Probably there is not, in such conditions, excessive excitability—there is adjustment, there is preparation.
Perhaps there is something to it, but it concerns—to a great measure—statistical sexualism which is an expression of breeding and a realization of species needs. In such an attitude toward sexual matters and love one loses
something authentically human—exclusiveness, uniqueness, unrepeatability. And above all one loses the ability for development, for multilevel grasping and experiencing of phenomena, for realization of the ideal, for humanization. Of course, with such an attitude and such “experience” there are usually no catastrophic traumas or difficult experiences in marriage.
What do I mean by last statement? Why are there no strong experiences, with the exception of utmost cruelty, murder and humiliating primitivism? Simply, it is because the unfaithfulness of one person connects with the unfaithfulness of another; the death or illness of one partner condemns only him to death or illness because the other partner finds someone else. Simply, there is no tragedy because there are no feelings on a higher level, there are no internal or external conflicts, there exists only realization of the sexual need in a “pure form.” If this realization is dominant, and an individual is in good health—other matters have no value. Simply, there is no tragedy and drama on the level of animals of a lower species.
Sometimes there is something dreadful in the desire for marriage on a low level. Especially in women there exists a strong need “to be with someone,” “not to be alone.” This fear of being alone is amazingly common. A woman very often accepts the life of a slave, in brutal conditions which reduce human dignity—in order to be with someone and have children. This species syntony, this need of being “together” without any deep psychic relation, is a herd need, a need “at any cost.” I wish that future societies would have more hierarchical needs, exclusiveness, more unrepeatability and uniqueness, at great cost, and perhaps … and perhaps, at any cost.
The longing for “being alone” is on a high level and can be changed' to a higher level of longing to be with someone, but on a level of exclusiveness, uniqueness, and unrepeatability.
Psychiatrists conquer psychoneurotics
There is undoubtedly progress in the treatment of the mentally ill and psychoneurotics. But this progress is mini-
mal because there are many psychoneurotics and many subtle, creative and highly idealistic persons with mental disturbances who are treated by society—and all the more by psychiatrists—“from above,” with a constant feeling of superiority, with constant readiness to treat them as abnormal, as lower, as worse, and less valuable.
This problem is my obsession, so deep that it is at the borderline of psychoneurosis and schizophrenia. This obsession is increased by the fact that we still observe, in relation to psychoneurotics, schizophrenics and other persons with mental disturbances—both progress and setbacks in their understanding, respect and cultural treatment.
Lately in many countries the psychiatric rules have been interesting: re-elaborated, “deepened,” revised and we observe here a very interesting symptom. We find not only political aims, but simple individual aggression, aggression of a psychopathic character—as they are looking for their victims.
Otherwise how can we understand the fact that the powers of psychiatrists are growing and that they can incapacitate psychoneurotics and lock them away only on the basis of a psychiatric certificate?
And once more in this field, there comes a gloomy night of aggression, license, stupidity and the triumph of ignorance toward this area of great creative importance.
The physician of little subtlety, of little knowledge of the human psyche—and such physicians are many—can qualify various states of depression, existential anxieties, increased emotional and imaginative excitability, and creative strangeness as morbid symptoms, dangerous to the individual and the environment. And further more … imprisonment, hospitalization and incapacity.
And further, behavior is categorized according to the all-powerful criteria: “He was treated, he was in the hospital.”
Is evil involved in the methods of treatment of the mentally ill?
Opinions of persons of great insight, such as professor Jaspers, professor Baruk and the creator of mental hygiene—Beers, and many others, indicate that psychoneurotics, and even some groups of the mentally ill, express a higher level
of moral sensitivity, a higher level of empathy and weakness of aggression than so-called normal people.
Psychoneurotics and the mentally ill cannot defend themselves and are under the full control of those who “take care of them” and “treat them.”
We know that this power was previously cruel, that psychoneurotics, and especially hysterics, were treated as if possessed of evil, as a source of heresy and impurity and that they were chained, tortured or burned at the stake.
Was not there in this phenomenon and behavior an attitude of hatred against that which is unknown, different than the so-called “normal,” average and subordinated to the systems of primitive instincts? That which was different was wrong, useless, suspicious and should be destroyed or systematically isolated. In spite of great progress in the treatment of the mentally ill—something of this attitude lingers.
Typical member of a family—in which a case of mental illness has occurred—falls into anxiety states, wants the sick person isolated, puts him into a hospital, wants to have nothing to do with him. He sees in the individual who is ill something dangerous, disgusting, defective.
A similar attitude is manifested by the majority of psychologists and psychiatrists. Of course, their attitude is on a higher level and it is different in that, the care and treatment of these ill persons belongs to physicians, psychiatrists and nurses, that is to say, it is their duty and responsibility. It lets them get used to ill people. Besides that, many persons who are ill come back to health, come back to the group of the so-called normals, but with a mark of their past mental illness.
On the basis of contact with the seriously mentally ill, this notion is transferred onto the majority of other individuals with mental disturbances. They are partially or fully incapacitated. According to general opinion their behavior causes complications and brings confusion in social life. They are a burden, they are unwanted.
This attitude—except in the case of the most seriously ill—is distinctly unmotivated, superstitious and derives genetically from a reversal of that which should be treated as illness and health; evil and goodness.
If we go back to the Middle Ages, those who tortured and burnt witches at the stake, (who were mainly psycho-
neurotics) were more evil than the latter. One should place those who chained the mentally ill on the evil side. On the same side should also be placed those who beat and still beat the ill in the mental hospitals.
In spite of great progress in the attitude towards the. mentally ill—in the physician's attitude to the patient, in the healthy individual's attitude toward the ill, there are many humiliating elements, especially from the normal man and from some therapists. Sick persons are for some—something disgusting, anxiety-producing, in need of isolation, withdrawal, incapacitation. One still localizes some elements of evil in the mentally ill. They are weighted down with this load, it has a negative influence on the process of their illness, it dehumanizes them to some degree.
For ages. for thousands of years, the stigma of being dangerous, a source of shame, defective—was attached to psychoneurotics. How could these people, who were full complexes, inhibitions, maladjustments to reality; full of existential and unexistential anxieties; full of hindrances and shame, and inferiority feeling, stand the pressure of an organized opinion which treated them as lesser, handicapped, as being on the fringe of life?
The facts which gradually penetrated the social' consciousness, but which did not capture his consciousness, the facts that among psychoneurotics, and even psychotics were very clever people—increased the dislike and' apprehension of them and the actions of self-defense on the part of the called statistically normal.
The latter lessened, in the only way they could, the value of psychoneurotics in order to elevate their own instincts of self-preservation, to underline their own great value. This attitude lasted for ages, and has not changed much lately. On one hand we have primitive strength and self-certainty, and on the other hand—the softness, indecision, inhibition, anxiety, oversensitivity and suggestibility of psychoneurotics.
And perhaps in these two groups, in these opposite attitudes, there is something of evil and goodness, even metaphysical. But at the present time it is more difficult than in the Middle Ages to identify the first group with; goodness, and the second with evil.
Should we not reverse this scheme?
Turning away from unilevel reality
Faster, stronger and more lasting. A poet said once in a fairly brutal but truthful way: “I do not live, and I do not want to live, and I will say more—I would live a beautiful life—I spit at the pig's survival.”
Life is such without a hierarchy of values., without a consideration of the multilevelness of life, without ideas. It is a unilevel, statistical, adjusting, sensual life with intelligence in the service of primitive instincts. It is “ordinary” life. It is a sensual, instinctive union but it is not a union of respect, love and recognition in each of his originality, psychic richness, unrepeatability and uniqueness.
Life begins only with a hierarchy. Only then, when we have developmental nuclei to “rise above,” when slowly we grasp the hierarchy—does humanization begin.
If we “touch” the longing for a hierarchy, we begin to experience inner conflicts, drama, and even, sometimes, tragedy. Only such experiences make from the species man—individual man.
The grasping of these hierarchical values, the grasping of “the spaces above” gives us new forces, new dynamics of experience—the dynamics of astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, the feeling of guilt. Only such conditions allow us the possibility of “rising” and grasping the new reality.
This grasping of a “new reality” is presented in a very subtle way by Juliusz Slowacki in “Balladyna.”
Soar to the dawn, pierce through its purple;
Glide through the dew, gather its pearls;
Rise to a cloud, discern the blue
And maybe a rainbow thread somewhere wavers
Then seize it on your spindle
And weave, and weave, and weave.
We don't know anything concrete about the higher levels of reality. In some experiences we grasp levels which are a bit higher than the levels approachable by normal statistics: in ideal love, in friendship, in the realization of great and important social ideas, and so on. But in every case—only the multilevelness of grasping and experiencing reality gives us the possibility, and perhaps the hope of reaching its higher levels.
The experiences of great mystics, writers or poets such as Kafka, Rilke, Slowacki are examples of this. The greatest sculptures or paintings give a certain insight into this unusual reality. We can reach this reality through empathy, renouncement, contemplation and ecstasy, and a desire for perfection.
Only in these conditions where we reach, and usually partially, that which is called transcendental, are we able to grasp this transcendental reality in the rather unclear, unsure area between mystical experiences and that which “perhaps” could appear from “true transcendence” during these mystical experiences.
However—multilevelness and only multilevelness. Kierkegaard outlined the esthetical, ethical and religious phases in development. Only the last one can bring us near to transcendence, to the absolute, to a completely different reality than the everyday, statistical one. Of course, this is the individual and mystical religiousness expressing the need of being “tete a tete” with transcendence.
It is an expression of unofficial, non-institutional, non-commanding, unauthoritative transcendence which is reached through a difficult a-statistical way, through a difficult climbing up a narrow path, through difficult intellectual, original, mystical experiences, through experiences of love.
Compulsions to be free
On some levels of development—it is necessary to be characterized by obsessions. They result in emotional forces which cause us to experience something very exclusively, to remember something; to build resistance in the pursuit
of thoughts in order to persist, to put a stop to changeability of thoughts, changeability of emotional attitudes.
And if someone is also dynamic—the obsessions have to connect with compulsions; one has to do something, to change something through the strength of intuition and effective acting. One must do something for selfhood fundamentally; one must oppose something; one must concentrate on something in an active way.
Changeability and the “passage of all values”—terrifies. It is necessary to stop, in some way, this changeability; it is necessary to persist, to do something, to oppose something, to discriminate against something, to choose something, to accept something.
There are some overpowering needs to arrest oneself in time and space, to never let go of certain feelings … some horrific, inhuman, and perhaps superhuman tendencies to arrest oneself, to be unchangeable, to go morbidly into the depths, not to submit to changeability, to flux and to flow.
There is in this a strong desire to be liberated from subordination to the element of time, time which passes superficially without attachment to us, to our personalities.
We have to stop ourselves in order not to be horrified by changeability and by ourselves; we have to stop ourselves in order not to identify morbidly with ourselves and with others; we must stop ourselves in order to forecast some fragments of our immortality, even though this immortality was the most apparent.
Accept obsessions and compulsions as one of the ways to development, even though this development is most morbid, and as long as it is not dull and constantly an escape. It is an apparent but human consolation.
Paradox—the joy of life and the sadness of death
We are gifted with senses from which we draw many aural, visual, tactile, gustatory, olfactory and sexual experiences. Sensory feelings connected with emotional ones give us esthetic, moral and social experiences of various scope and multilevel depth. Sensory feelings connected with intellectual and emotional ones bring us into an experiential—mental,
creative, and—at the same time—concrete and reflexive world from which we draw our intellectual and emotional needs. And besides that our consciousness works toward retrospection and prospection; the feeling of constancy and inconstancy, identity add dissolution. To these experiences add the experiences of illness, old age and death.
There is a tragic, existential antinomy between the more refined experiences afforded by senses, feelings and intellect which attract us and pervade us with joy, and experiences afforded by the same receptors and functions which cause us pain, illness, death, funeral experiences and before—dissolution and nonexistence.
These antinomies are present in some fundamental existential collisions, in constant encounters, cause breakdowns, and at the same time create strong tendencies toward finding the meaning of life, the sense of existence.
There is pain in joy, enthusiasm in suffering; there appears multilevelness of experiences, the problem of transcendence of temporality and of a reaching to the absolute.
Perhaps without these contradictions, without this “fear and trembling,” without these tensions there is no possibility of reaching the absolute.
The sadness of a child
There are two kinds of sadness in a child. Here is one of them: Once, on a street in front of her home, I saw a child, about two-and-a-half, with tears on her face. She turned to me and cried: “Take me to my kitten; my kitten ran away and I want to go to him.” She repeated this several times with great emotion grasping her entire little personality. I observed her for a long time; this intensivity of feelings was not connected with depth and constancy, though it was sincere and it was grasping the whole personality of a child. In a few minutes there was nothing of this sadness. It was a nice sadness, an attractive child's sadness, sadness which does not tear down, is not tragic or even dramatic.
We have another kind of child's sadness, for example after the death of his parents. A child may fall into the
handicap of normal development. But it is yet tragic from the point of view of authentic sadness.
However, the older child, several years older or a teenager, sensitive and emotionally rich—expresses tragic, autonomic, so to say, authentic sadness. With such sadness we have normal external activities but the child ceases moving internally, experiences a spasm which is characteristic of the tragic difference and deprivation of the things important to him. It is a disappointment of an existential and metaphysical type.
The child is deprived of great good. He understands his situation, understands that this deprivation is irreversible, that fundamentally nothing will change from the point of his unique, unrepeatable, so to say, essential good.
Not all, but some of this content and above all—mood is shown in the Pasternak movie “Doctor Zhivago”; it is the scene in the cemetery and the behavior of the child, the hero of the movie, the future doctor Zhivago.
There is a scene of the dead mother in the coffin, put into the grave for eternity; there is the kindness and friendliness of his relatives which cannot compensate for his mother's love because it cannot be replaced, because nothing can replace a mother's love.
There is an atmosphere of beauty in the funeral song, which changes nothing in the actual situation. Add there is the loneliness of a child upon his return home to the place where she had lived and where now exists only her vision. It is the recognition of the waxy immobility of her face, immobility of her figure and of something else … something, else … burying her in the ground.
A contribution to the psychology of expression
The psychology of expression is in its infancy in a scientific sense, but we still return to it to some extent in the metaphysical sense. Of course, all systems working on psychosomatic problems, on the correlation between bodily types and character types, touch this problem.
It is not my intention to write a short scientific treatise on
this subject, the more so, considering the atmosphere of respect for so-called pathology. I want to touch on a small area of this problem, that is to say, sensual and psychomotor emotionality—connections of the psychology of expression with sensualism which express themselves in increased emotional and psychomotor excitability.
Such an attitude is characterized by impetuosity, passion, sudden tension and relaxation, outbursts, inclination with others.
There is something of the strong pressure of passion, of the tactile—sensual attitudes in which the desire for touch, drink and other things are manifested externally very strongly.
I have observed, hundred of times, the way such individuals drink. It is the opening of their lips, the tilting of the cup containing the drink to their now swollen, widely “outspread” lips, the adhering to the lip of the cup, together with closing of the eyes, strong tension of the whole body, strong concentration without the possibility of relation of almost “painful joy” during the drinking.
Of course, it is hard to base a full typological diagnosis on such an attitude. It is only a fairly narrow fragment of diagnosis. However, it gives a certain basis for a diagnosis, for looking for correlations. At any rate, this first fragmentary view of the human allows one to grasp the psychology of expression, though in a narrow way.
On the prophylaxes of anxieties
I knew a girl with a logical and reasonable mentality. In the first few years of school she did not talk spontaneously to her friends—she only answered when spoken to.
Outside of school, in everyday matters she was impractical, unsure; she had to be assured that she understood practical matters and could do them. And indeed, being very intelligent she could do these matters very well and thoroughly. She was not shy with her family, on whom she depended very much. She was with her mother and father all the time. Before she went to bed she had to have emotional contact with
everybody, especially with her parents. She had to go to sleep in harmony with those closest to her.
She had outstanding global abilities and abilities for intravertive insight in stories about animals of the forest, imaginary figures. She noticed very early “matters of death.” When she was 4 or 5 years old she learned that, after death, people are thrown into “a hole” in the ground. She did not want to look at death—she tried to wall it out; she did not want to transfer it to her beloved world.
Sometimes she fought with anxiety, “forced” by her consciousness. She did not like to talk about it much. It seemed to her that talking about it would discover and bring to light those matters which she put to one side, anxious matters, unbearable matters.
There appeared occasionally, however, an inclination to deal with these “hidden” matters. Though always under great tension, she was fascinated with prohibited terms, terms having a close relation with death. Immediately after, she became apparently indifferent and, above all, externally indifferent. She fortified herself through criticism of authors of poems, novels or treatises concerned with the problems of death. Sometimes she questioned her father in a calm way which did not show the depth of her feelings and disturbances.
These are childish but elaborated forms of prophylaxis through slow discovery—slow in order not to cause breakdown. This slow discovery of a secret was the school of initiation into one of the most cruel, developmental and crushing experiences in the human experiment—from this, and not of this world.
Intellectual essence and emotional essence
I have thought about this problem but only very one-sidedly. What does intellectual essence, essence in ideals and concepts, cognitive essence mean for man?
If one touches on this problem in an intellectual sense only, and not in an experimental sense, one is reminded of the considerations of Plato and Aristotle about which is
higher and lower in human structure, about that which is permanent and unchangeable and about that which is temporary and inconstant. It is the expression of known opposition to the superiority of intellectual activities and inferiority of emotional and instinctive functions, that is to say, experiencing functions.
We do not always realize that these intellectual essences have one quality: they are common to all people—not in the sense of emotional closeness through love, but in the sense of the condition of “sine qua non” to atrophy, to the nonexistence of individual and psychophysiological separateness of man, this uniqueness and unrepeatability.
If the intellectual is only permanent and unchangeable, it means it is undifferentiated, does not assume the human separateness, the permanency of human feelings and so-called immortality. It is permanent in universality, and impermanent in individuality.
Ideas, abstract activities are alike, are similar, so that they exclude variety which is an essential quality in the instincts and feelings of man.
The above-mentioned philosophers thought that the future belonged to thinking, to abstraction, to ideas. They put human instincts and feelings on a low level and condemned them to atrophy in development. Angels of St. Thomas are not only immaterial creatures but also insensitive—they are “minds” or “intellects.” In this way the intellectual essence is no longer a differentiated one, is no longer essence for individual people, but is essence for all.
This is opposite to existentialism, which assumes a hierarchy of reality. A true existentialism must be at the same time an individual existentialism, in the sense of emotional essence.
If I am an individual, if I have needs for identification, development and empathy, if I want to be unique, unrepeatable, if I want the same for others—that is to say, I want to see them as separate and unrepeatable—my essence must be emotional.
I desire lasting friendship and unrepeatable, unique feelings; I want to have deep interests. The same talents I now have, in my more or less infantile longing, I want to keep in transcendental life.
Essence is a value which I would not renounce because it determines the meaning of my life. Should I have to
choose between existence without it and nonexistence, I would choose the second. It is emotional essence which gives the meaning to existence.
So the human being is not a homo sapiens but homo emotionalis, in, of course, the sense of higher emotions, feelings.
Do not oppose personal evil
In the case of “intoxication” with difficult experiences, hurt and humiliation, people are ready not only not to defend themselves but they are ready to deepen the psychic and physical wounds, forced on them by fate, and to destroy themselves.
These are certain kinds of intravertive reactions when even a child does not react to very distinct injustice and wrong-doings. He waits for injustice to right itself, to balance itself. He manifests great pride and independence and strong feeling of dignity. It is as if the child were a teacher of adults, parents and educators. He waits for the adults to understand their mistakes and remove from themselves their egoistic ambitions, correct themselves and rise to a higher level of reasoning and empathy.
In this attitude is something of an appeal to transcendence, to Providence, to the levels of autonomy, and human authentism. It is not always possible; most often it is impossible to wait for justice, valuation and moral compensation of a wrong. Very often such fulfilment does not happen at all. Too “decisive” people consider it humiliating to correct their defects because of the sad, almost transcendental attitude of a child.
But perhaps even in such cases there comes some fulfilment, some sublimation of a child's attitude. There develops in him a “shying away from” average constellations of persons and leanings toward well chosen people with whom he maintains a close relationship.
There grows in the child something of autonomy, independence, and authentism. There is created in him an attitude of heroism expressing itself in very subtle gestures
and movements, visible only to persons who are gifted with abilities for identification and empathy; persons gifted with great respect, as unrepeatable, unique, individual subjects with rich developmental and self-developmental dynamisms.
Loftiness of Slogans and dullness of reality
The strength of the ideal must be great even though only a few people represent the ideal.
Why do we talk about the greatness of the ideal? Perhaps it sounds paradoxical but the greater the ideal, the greater the number of lies contained in the so-called lofty slogans of people. The pervasion of lofty slogans suffuse and. daze us. Politicians, in their long and short speeches, and persons running for parliament tell us about the ideal. And in everyday life, fiancées, the young and not young married couples, so-called friends, co-workers tell each other these slogans.
There is some need to show off, to present oneself near to the ideal, in spite of one's being a great distance from this ideal; there is a need to portray closeness to this ideal.
My opposition to the lies hidden in slogans is expressed by Ibsen in the well-known saying from “Wild duck”: “Why do we talk about ideals, if we have a better expression for this—a lie.”
Everywhere we notice prosaic kindness, artificiality in. behavior, a desire to introduce ourselves as better, and then … then the return to the “shallower” trend of one's own egoistic, instinctive, materialistic and integrated self' on a low level of needs.
We are raised surrounded by such a multitude of illusions and untrue slogans, make-believe and underhanded tactics that sometimes—very seldom having ascertained the contradictions between truth and illusion—we wonder about it very much, and we are surprised. No wonder, because all around us are lies and slogans—illusions.
Regarding persons who are near us in everyday life, and. whom we think are our friends, and whom we think are decent, unselfish, friendly—we change our opinion about
them when we get to know them better, in everyday contact, when we have to live with them for a longer period of time.
We are surprised and disquieted at this phenomenon but if we had a better and more vigilant imagination, we would have seen that the majority of human attitudes have nothing in common with the ideal reality which is suggested, by them, to us, consciously or half-consciously.
But I will come back to the previous problem: What does it mean when people want to appear better than they are? There exists an unlegislated “harmony,” an ideal system of reality which forces people to lie, to endear to them this ideal of a “higher” reality which we cannot see, and, lastly, which we want to introduce through our tendencies to appear closer to the ideal.
But our personality, hidden under a primitive and self-preserving surface, contains many phenomena and tensions, in fact, control us—and only from time to time, in the case of suffering and conflicts, illness and death do we create a small but authentic path to this hierarchical world of different reality. We want to grasp a small ray of the “kingdom not of this world.”
The power of evil and unverified opinion
I still return to old Ibsen and his aphorism from “Wild' duck”: “Why do we talk about ideals when we have a better expression for this—a lie.”
A true smile, friendliness, “truth” is a very rare phenomenon, because the actual attitude displayed by “humans” consists of “sticky smiles” in the service of self-interest. The unexperienced smile of a child or saint is very rare; however, a fake smile, which is visible for one who can read an expression and external attitudes, is an everyday phenomenon. True friendliness is a very rare phenomenon.. In human relationships there is something of hate.
Can you believe that the interest aroused in someone who grasped a concrete problem in an interesting way, or who recited a poem nicely—can actually cause in someone else who has no inclination toward poetry or philosophy—envy, apprehension, suspicion? These almost non-existent
“competitive” possibilities cause, by oversensitivity to rivalry, in this accidental situation—permanent, active and injurious dislike, even toward countrymen abroad.
This is like the envy of a lawyer when someone becomes a bishop; this is like envy of a social worker who predicts the success of an engineer.
And this jealous person can have social respect, be thought of as a man with high morals, and a Christian known for his great causes. And such an individual can destroy another, can make allusions about the bad points of another, can do harm by competent criticism. He can give imagined facts.
For such an individual truth does not exist. First, motives are imagined, and then he forgets that these facts were made up and he elaborates them and creates a situation, almost without blunder, which is untrue and which contains systematized lies.
But it is a matter of pragmatism, of “attitude,” of life efficiency. And such efficiency is great, we can observe it in various countries, at meetings and so on. The most important thing is the fact that such a weapon is very efficient.
University professors, physicians, engineers, artist accept such opinions thus giving proof that the source, that the criterion, that the method of checking in everyday life does not lie in a desire for objectivity and is not concerned with the need for verification.
There is something in human nature which causes fascination with apparent dangers, which must have an ally, which must attack, which is—as a matter of fact—ruthless and cruel.
In man there is the need to fight, trap, hunt, and roam, and above all—power over others. And one more thing … the need of disapproval, negation and weakening of all true thoughts and custom. It is something of a “democratic” lie to destroy others and something of disloyalty toward that which is true and pure in the filth of this world.
That is why I like psychoneurotics, schizophrenics and pathological worlds. Because, here, there are no lies, no “as if” attitudes. Sadness and tragedy are distinct, joy and friendliness are expressed, revolt is decided; immobility and indifference or dislike—clear; despair—tangible. The morality of the psychiatric hospital—immorality of
the sick—is much higher than that of the so-called normal.
I think that we should go into dynamisms of this difference, into the dynamisms and reasons for psychic clearness in the “morbid” worlds in order to transfer some of them. into the everyday, supposedly “healthy world'.
The existentialism of a madman
The impossibility of reaching for a solution or understanding of fundamental matters of the sense of life forces a change in the level of emotional attitude, the levels of reasoning, of wants, of the hierarchy of values and of the hierarchy of reality.
We become satiated, we become so saturated with the reality of one level that we fall into discouragement, into the experience of barrenness, into feeling that the experience on the present level can give us nothing. We force ourselves. to a higher level which is perhaps not approachable to all, but which is often as concrete as is everyday reality for some individuals, for some groups of people.
The world of intuitive recognition, the mystical world, the world of dreams—in the systematization and description—becomes “different,” becomes a higher level of reality into which we slowly enter. In this way grows our different perception of external and internal worlds.
And one more point: our recognition stops being perceptive recognition in the previous sense. It also stops being the perception connected with analytic and discursive reasoning. It becomes the recognition through emotional-instinctive-rational connections with some subordination of the last one to the first two. The rational elements which are: contained in this recognition become—through these connections—less rational and more intuitive.
So, we enter into a different reality which is higher in respect to level; we enter into it during the gradual changing of cognitive or discovery methods.
This entrance into a new reality causes change, some devastating in our attitude toward our former external and internal reality. There appear astonishment and disquietude
with the previous reality. We feel humiliated that we were a main part of the reality. We begin to have inferiority feelings with ourselves because of the recognition of multilevel reality and our primitive place in it.
We begin to experience shame and guilt that we were in that reality—toward ourselves and toward others. We begin to feel ashamed of ourselves and of others; we begin to be dissatisfied with ourselves and others, but above all—with ourselves.
We begin to see clearly that which is “lower” and “higher” in us. We begin to see that which “is” and that which “ought to be.” We see analogous things in our inner milieu. We want to separate ourselves from the previous “I”—in the sense of “our true,” more autonomous and authentic “I.”
We want to handle the influence of the environment on us in the same way. We wish to choose an independent, authentic, closer-to-the-ideal self and turn away from the dependent, primitive and adjusted self.
So, we begin the work of negation in our inner and external environment. We begin to be objective toward ourselves and more subjective toward others; we begin to treat them as subjects with regard for their unrepeatable, developmental and individual selves.
Such an attitude draws us to others, we grasp them in their own variety, in their better or worse aspects; we feel sympathy toward them; we express our help and understanding though we may not agree with some forms of their behavior.
Thus come about certain fundamental changes in our disposing and directing center. We are not directed by different motivations, whims, and caprices or other stimuli deriving from our primitive instincts.
Our numerous disposing and directing centres organize themselves into one, which is closer to the personality, a unity of fundamental psychic, self-conscious, self-chosen and self-education experience. It is like a second psychic birth, a second unity in which we take our development in “our hands.”
We feel that some structures, some qualities, some interests, some emotional relations become matters of indifference to us while others, unique, unrepeatable and exclusive, we
could not lose in fear of losing autonomy, authentism, empathy and the meaning of life.
These qualities, these concerns become like essence to us, an essence without which we could not live and the loss of which would destroy the meaning of our existence. Simply our life would have no value for us.
In this way we become determined, independent from our external environment and from our lower inner milieu. We identify with our higher subjective, and perhaps objective, reality. At the same time we feel clearly the rights of others to the same existence and essence, the rights of others to a chosen union with us on the basis of the right of absolute independence, unrepeatability and uniqueness of human beings.
One cannot have too rich an imagination or empathy
Demands of adjustment to everyday life, to social life and to the so-called norm are so great that hardly anyone does not undergo it. One cannot have a too rich and deep imagination because it could lead him to “unreal” worlds, to excessive oversubtlety, to breaking away from everyday reality, to schizophrenic and psychoneurotic worlds.
One cannot reject meat because it is physically and psychically unhealthy, because it would be mocked and even derided. One cannot ignore fashion because it draws excessive attention. One cannot be too dutiful and too responsible a physician because it causes dislike and jealousy. One cannot take a too small fee for educational, medical, or lawyer's service because it would counteract the interest of the group.
One cannot be an ascetic because it is suspicious and looks like an illness. One cannot talk in company about matters of the meaning of life, about psychological, metaphysical and mystical matters because it is boring and does not let one ramble from subject to subject, and also because the majority of people do not have anything to say on these subjects.
One cannot have too much empathy because some degree o f egoism is a norm from which one cannot depart for fear
of rejecting the so-called normal life. One cannot express an. excessive sense of responsibility and duty because it gets into the area of mysticism, into a field of “cosmic empathy,” into a field about which Mickiewicz wrote: “I am called a million because I love and suffer for millions.” And on the other hand, such excessive responsibility uncovers neglect of duty on the part of others.
One should always know the limits of his responsibility. One cannot base his responsibility on a steadily growing sensitivity which does not allow him rest and reassurance.
We have defensive forces in order to oppose this excessive sensitivity and imagination. We have to forget about death and funerals; we must make contact with life; we must stop remembering because too much thinking of all would lead us to despair, mental illness or suicide. We also display primitiveness, brutality and aggression in the service of our instinct of self-preservation.
It is necessary to know well what is more important, what, is real and what is fantastical, what is substantial and what is spiritual. One cannot compare the importance of mystical, esthetic and moral experiences to experiences connected with sleep, eating, health, satisfaction of the sexual instinct.
We cannot be obsessive, we cannot repeatedly experience crimes, rapes, blood, the dead body in decay and so on.
We have to separate ourselves from that by a wall of forgetfulness, by a wall of inattention. How much more lofty is the smell of a roast than the smell of dead bodies; how much nobler is the smell of alcohol than the excessively subtle smell of flowers? Both are important but the proportion is one to a hundred and we must see this proportion clearly—unless we are psychoneurotics or schizophrenics. But mental illness on the borderline of this illness is the most difficult matter. Stay as far away as possible from such matters!
Theosophical and antroposophical experiences in the area of spiritual life (which are full of chaos and option), concern
with mystical experiences of Yoga—are the expression of rules whose acceptance must be—notably—based on one's own experience, on experience which one has by oneself, in this way, to confirm the experience of others, perhaps chosen ones.
Not all can participate in these experiences because they concern only those with special spiritual qualities, with special life histories—persons who have autonomic factors.
This are the states of separation from that which we call “lower bodies,” that is to say, of lower bodies from “higher bodies”—the separations which allow independence for the latter.
Perhaps psychoneurotics and schizophrenics—especially some kinds—know something about it, because these phenomena are connected with the ability for psychic looseness, for the breaking of the personality into two or three persons, often into lower and higher, which takes place through a “split” into two different existences, also perhaps lower and higher.
This development goes through inner conflicts, through maladjustment to lower reality and adjustment to higher one. Such individuals have special predispositions to such transformations. They are concerned with the feeling of the lack of meaning of life, of adjustment to integrated everyday forms of behavior.
They have a strong longing for “getting beyond oneself”; they have strong needs to experience day dreams, to systematize them and make from them—a shaped reality; they have a need to transfer the important material of life into the area of the “unknowable.”
In the case of great tension and an usually difficult experience there can occur this split into “body” and, “soul”: into a body which lives a physiological life and into a soul which stops being dependent on its body, separates from it and begins to “soar” into different dimensions, into different areas and levels.
Probably this separation from the body comes with the mood of “difference,” with the mood of immobilization and rigidity of body and with the mood of the slow birth and growth of mystical visions.
Such an individual is a witness, an object and a subject
of this mystery. One figure falls into immobility, and the second separates from the first one in a form of a double who loses many bodily qualities, can soar into spaces, can go through walls, can contemplate the higher realities and can act not under the influence of human will but under the influence of his own musings and admiration of another reality. Then the body becomes motionless, respiration and pulse slow down, temperature drops, pupils contract. It would seem that this state comes close to a physiological dream. However, with one difference—consciousness works very intensively in such states though is not interested in everyday life and turns away from it. Sometimes in this process of separation of a higher figure from a lower one, that is to say, the higher body from a lower one, we can see this split into two bodies, we can see the slow leaving of the lower by the higher, and even—in certain moments—“the leap” of a higher from a lower figure. There comes then—probably—activity, walking, wandering, contemplation, longings, aspiration which—depending on the level of development—can be more and more independent, expressing the highest of human activities; or they can be undecided and less independent.
This process begins often in conditions of increase in some area of sensitivity, for example—olfactory of smell, of a flower's fragrance. It does not have to possess the entire consciousness at once. The individual—who undergoes this process—can stop these states and control them, can determine the time and place of an experience, can see and control the environment and come back to the state of contemplation.
Sometimes—as some mystics say—in the beginning of such experiences one can hear something like “ethereal music” which cannot be described, which does not resemble real music, is not rhythmical but presents something like a spoken process of development, that is to say, development which progresses toward the quickening process of separation of the soul from the body.
Sometimes these experiences look only partially similar and sometimes they express—after the first period of separation—“cosmic leap” into the “ethereal music”. It is probably a big impetus into space, a space filled with prayerful mood, with emotional aims toward Divinity, with
the need of not returning to the so-called real environment. Sometimes, in the process of such experience one feels the strong gravity of bodily life; there arise inner conflicts; and the “higher ego” returns to the body with which it has strong feelings of connection.
Also it is possible—during the first kind of experience—to transport oneself in the air, to steer oneself, to experience spiritual joy because of independence from the rules of gravity, from the pressure of connections with the earth. This experiment—say those who experience it—has nothing in common with dreams or with “flying” during dreams. Consciousness is more perfect, control much higher and there is a possibility of stopping the experiment and coming to it, at will.
It has probably happened many times that sensitive individuals saw and were “called” by a “double” brought on by an individual who was contemplating and experiencing mystical states of split. It sometimes happened that the individual who saw “double” went to the house of the owner of this “double” and asked him what he wanted.
The contemplating individual usually knows what was going on and tries to introduce someone to the normal interpretation of this phenomenon.
So, there are things on this earth and in heaven “about which even philosophers did not dream.” However—it seems to me—that these states are often connected with development of psychoneurotic, and even schizophrenic processes. Proper study of an attitude toward these matters could perhaps throw a fundamental light on the proximity of the positive developmental states of the above described.
So, perhaps the future belongs to the psychoneurotics and schizophrenics?
Authentism in madness
I think that authentism of man exists only in nuclei that can be developed through life's difficulties, sufferings and breakdowns.
Now I realize that the above sentence is taken from the automatic, superficial though organized expression of
normal people. As a matter of fact, in the world of normal people there is almost no developed authentism because it would be something aggressive, too big a jump from the automatized, adjusted structure. This uniqueness of automatism makes it strange and abnormal. It manifests itself often as symptoms of psychoneurosis and psychosis. It is somewhat like partial authentism, which does not express the whole human personality.
But something else is ascertained here. In the "abnormal” group many symptoms such as obsessions or compulsions contain something of authentism. They free a man from alarming tense aims to shatter the existing reality, to reject the official, the rigid and dignified.
Sometimes authentism results from the need of prospection from reaching "beyond,” a need containing morbid tendencies to be rid of the automatism of the instinctive structures and functions. We could ascertain this in the case of Van Gogh who cut off his ear. It was a protest, it was a compulsion against automatism; it was an expression of tension impossible to control; it was an expression of the impossibility of finding creative expression—that is to say—it was a compulsion of the "lower self" in spite of impossibility of finding the proper self. Sometimes suicide expresses more the global aim toward authentism than the above mentioned kind of compulsions. Here there are various gradation of an attempt to get out from unbearable, impossible to control tension.
On existential anxiety
I am not talking here about existential fear but about existential anxiety. Why?
Anxiety has—among other things—3 important differentiated qualities: it is a less primitive phenomena and is higher in the scale of development; in content it is less concrete, that is to say, more global; and inner elements are dominant over external.
All this indicates that existential anxiety has complicated philosophical coloring and that it expresses the connections
between analytic and intuitive thinking and experiencing elements.
What main intellectual-experiencing contents can we find in existential anxiety? The name itself tells us that this anxiety has strict connection with existence. This anxiety is far away from the fear of financial difficulties, of misery, of one's own death. So, it is not a primitive anxiety. It is also not the anxiety of some types of existence, of normal, of "statistical" life, for example, in the sense of financial difficulties. Anxiety is rather an expression of the protest against this everyday, apparent, non-essential existence. It is an expression of a protest against "apparent" essences.
It is not only a result of a protest against non-existence, it is a protest against some forms of existence. It is an expression of a protest against existence in identification with God, against the limitation of individual and against absorption of the individual by God because both are an expression of ill-usage of truly human feelings of a man and ill-usage of authentic understanding and experiencing of God. It is a need of a human longing to love independently, not under pressure. It is an anxiety not to be limited in acquiring God's love through freedom and with keeping his independence and freedom; love in the sense of unavoidable individual's essence accepted by oneself autonomically and authentically in harmony with the unchangeable qualitatively human personality.
Existential anxiety is perhaps an apprehension of development and perfection of such a personality which—from God's will and one's own good and chattels—would be at the same time in God and beyond God and which would break in an absolute way the fear of God and others.
It is a protest of tragedy. It is a huge and deep self-consciousness of the possibility of autonomy and authentism based on a disposition of man, on "a shout of will" and one's own dignity, and not on sufficient experience and verification. This self-consciousness leads to the highest tensions and inner conflicts, leads to tragedy.
Independence in a human way, love in a human way, truth created by oneself and in harmony with God's truth
- that is to say, demands of autodeterminism and authentism—are the basis of existential anxiety.
"I hope they do not take that which I have loved in altruistic and essential truth; I hope they do not take that which they let me acquire in struggles of the "higher with the lower"—some representatives of the human race ask and fight for this.
If this is taken from man, if he is pressed down by God's power or by nature under the mask of "higher love of God" or by rules of involution—the human individual, matured in a tragic antinomy of existence and non-existence, will choose non-existence in an imposed life which is grasped discursively and abstractively.
Acquiring the unknown in that which is unknown but grasped in longing and human essence and which develops in the feeling of dignity—is one of the fundamental elements of existential anxiety.
"I want to be with them, with the chosen, with the beloved, with friend like the relation of Christ with Apostles; I want to have and keep these interests, needs and abilities which make my essence; I do not want to forget about my tragic way; I want to have the same of more sensitivity"—here is my creed, here is my lament and cry toward higher hierarchy. Without this I prefer to die forever.
This split between the unconsciousness and needs and longings; this tragedy of uncertainty, this fight between a slave and a man dependent on the unknown—is the content of existential anxiety.
Cosmic spirituality and cosmic techniques
In the world of nuclear experiments, in the world of biology and biochemistry, in the world of electronic brains—there arise thoughts and experiments of penetration into new worlds. One thinks about the creation of artificial people, about refrigeration and thawing of human tissues and bringing to life—the dead.
These are biological and physical experiments and besides them, in a very poor way, there appear aims in the spiritual
world in order to bring about great progress in spiritual matters, in separation of higher things from lower ones through spiritual encounters, astral experiments, through the exercise of will and through the exercise of yoga. It is an field analogous to biological and technical experiments.
Perhaps the technique through the slow but systematic problem solving from the borderline of biology and medicine, and the detailed techniques will indicate the even greater possibilities for psychology, education, philosophy and spiritual life. Perhaps they will prepare for a spiritual "leap into the unknown," will allow the invention and creation of forces of autonomy and authentism which are at present too weak. Perhaps it will allow the fortification of these efforts from the biological- side; perhaps it will allow the discovery of one's own methods of regulation of spiritual multilevel forces which would be able to transgress the life cycle of man, to transgress the dependence from constitutional forces and external environment.
Perhaps we will enter the area of possibilities of enlarging the forces of concentration, of human essence and of "approaching" transcendence.
Frankly, I doubt it, and even I do not believe in reaching these roads on a narrow path: scientific and technical. In every case there must be the cooperation of transformed, sublime and authentic spiritual forces of man, that is to say, also "psychopathological forces."