"What we call 'normal' is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being. The more one sees this, the more senseless it is to continue with generalized descriptions of supposedly specifically schizoid, schizophrenic, hysterical 'mechanisms.' There are forms of alienation that are relatively strange to statistically 'normal' forms of alienation. The 'normally' alienated person, by reason of the fact that he acts more or less like everyone else, is taken to be sane. Other forms of alienation that are out of step with the prevailing state of alienation are those that are labeled by the 'formal' majority as bad or mad." 

R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience

mandag den 21. december 2009

Juleferie i skizofrenifabrikken, og noget om respekt

"The flight from Massachusetts to Georgia creeps along grey and shrouded in fog. At several thousand feet, there is a brief moment of sunlight: best wishes from a kind angel soon very far away. I am going to visit my family for christmas.

Two hours in a car in downtown Atlanta with my father, mother, and brother, the first time we have been together in more than three years. There, there, that was open. No it wasn’t. Let’s turn around. Ok so keep going. Should we go back? I think I saw lights. Look what about that place? Closed. Ok keep going, there’s got to be something. I manage to text message a friend. TRAPPED IN PSYCHOTIC FAMILY VORTEX. DRIVING EMPTY STREETS LOOKING FOR PLACE TO EAT. My family and I ride in circles, on christmas day. Keep going, there’s got to be something.

By the time we find a table at a chinese by-the-pound buffet, I am in — I still don’t really know what to call it — one of my ‘dissociated paralysis states.’ My mind and body are seized by an overwhelming force, and I am acting and feeling the way that earned a schizophrenia diagnosis more than ten years before. The words of my mom and dad and brother claw at me. Coded tones of voice and a secret language of gestures and glances grab and pull me down. I stare blankly from farther and farther away, trying to resist, but across the growing distance something makes me listen closely. They talk about my father’s work, they talk about our farmhouse, they talk about relatives. Between gaps in sentences and pauses in eye contact, voices in my head begin to yell and taunt. Nasty, cruel, and vicious. With each shouted accusation and whispered insult I wince and withdraw deeper.


This is my family. They have the diabolical power to entrance me."

Det er begyndelsen på Will Hall's både stilistisk og indholdsmæssigt brillante fortælling om jul i "familiens trygge skød", eller, for hans og mange andres vedkommende, i skizofrenifabrikken. Læs hele fortællingen "Christmas vacation in the schizophrenia factory" her.

Et andet must-read er Amanda's essay om respekt - for katte og alt andet. Her et par citater:

"I think the argument about whether animals (including humans) have a nebulous and abstract quality called “personhood” (which seems to have to do with the values of a particular set of human cultures) is the entirely wrong way to go about giving respect to animals. Too often it is terribly ableist and depends upon whether the creature in question possesses certain traits valued by certain humans, and when you go down that road you end up creating a set of criteria that not even all humans let alone all the rest of animals meet. Then you end up creating a system that privileges people based on those traits."

"I believe that everything, human or not, animal or not, conventionally considered alive at all or not, is worthy of respect."

"Respect has to do with really listening to who someone is and treating them accordingly, even if that differs from how you would treat someone else with respect. Identical and equal are not the same."

Læs hele essayen her.

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