debate

Staring out the window of an eleventh-floor conference room. Beyond glossy tables topped with glasses of water, the sun sets over Melbourne. She never looks the same. Skyline always seems to change. Haven’t been here long enough to recognize what was, let alone how it becomes. Alas, I distract. Watching red and white pass, to and from flowers and the hive. In a split moment, into those lights, I feel detached from this life. Will anything we say here translate there? What to make of a tower. Bathing in philosophy while people without water. Sliced by fences. Strip-searched of rights. In here, few cushioned. Sipping. Talking, thinking, reading, and writing. Arranging thoughts, growing fields. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. I mustn’t belong. Not—able—enough. But who is to say who gets to stay? An amniotic slip, gasping for air. Between pockets of meaning and earning. Where are they going? Home to families or alone in boxes. Nowhere and everywhere, staring into a screen, just like me. That space I crave, pushing every him away. Curling “Learn Spanish and Leave” into the margin. Not complaining, just debating. What a fucking gift: to be a student. But what’s the point trying to hold a line? Seeking a PhD? Injecting Latin. Punctuating rationality and morality. The letters and numbers don’t add up. An insufficient balance = halted reach. Or can it seep from seats into policies? Alter the next for this planet. Where’s the ripple? Bouncing on a grid, sliding through that divine intersect, I giggle. Prefer poetry. But isn’t it all when the last petals fall?

may be

maybe too soon to understand
maybe each used the other as a means to our own misguidance
maybe we weren’t ready for It
maybe I like to make messes just to wipe circles
maybe it’s impossible to look back in a curl
to name the before
could have sworn we felt it without words
maybe we’ll recollect these scattered selves
restrengthen the illusion we’re becoming ends in and of ourselves
find that place there’s nowhere else to go
for now I’ll just keep going and going

maybe I think what may be too much
certainly we’ll never know

confronted

Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty and the ability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty… He is not, after all, merely a number of a Society or a Group or a deploration conundrum to be explained by Science. He is—and how old-fashioned the words sound!—something more than that, something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity—which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves—we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves… Our passion for categorization, life neatly fitted into pegs, has led to an unforeseen, paradoxical distress: confusion, a breakdown of meaning.”

-James Baldwin
Everybody’s Protest Novel

in motion

To be passing is to live; to remain and continue is to die… in sculpture, architecture, and painting the finished form stands still, but even so the eye finds pleasure in the form only when it contains a certain lack of symmetry, when, frozen in stone as it may be, it looks as if it were in the midst of motion… For when we fail to see that our life is change, we set ourselves against ourselves and become like Ouroboros, the misguided snake, who tried to eat his own tail. Ouroboros is the perennial symbol of all vicious cycles, of every attempt to split our being asunder and make one part conquer the other… Released from the circle of attempted self-love, the mind of man draws the whole universe into its own unity as a single dewdrop seems to contain the entire sky.

-Alan Watts
The Wisdom of Insecurity

?

A few weeks ago I was at the NGV Ian Potter Centre a bit zooted and read all the “Questions for Kids” under the painting captions with fascination. They were brilliantly thought-provoking, and I enjoyed them as much as my five-year-old self would have, giggling at how much adults miss out and oversee simple profundities. Here’s to welcoming childlike, unadulterated curiosity all throughout life ~ reminded me of this timeless lil vid by Kelly O’Brien.

 

Question

Why is nonconsensual, compulsory treatment widely accepted in mental healthcare? Why are many in the medical and bioethics community so certain that the “insane” are undoubtedly unfit to choose for themselves? Who is to say? Who is to decide what is the most whole/beautiful/meaningful/ “right” existence of another?

 

* Thinking specifically about nonconsensual electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in schizophrenic patients, some who deny their diagnosis and treatment. See the case PBU & NJE v Mental Health Tribunal from 2018 in Victoria. Essentially, the patients won and were freed from forced treatment. For those on the side of patient advocacy and autonomy, this was good news. However, this ruling upset some psychiatrists and bioethicists.