Along with existence I received a way of existing, or a style. All my actions and thoughts are related to this structure, even a philosopher’s thought is a way of making explicit his hold upon the world. Yet, I am free, not in spite or beneath these motivations, but rather by their means.
It does not restrict my access to the world...
It is my means of communication with the outside world.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty - The Phenomenology of Perception, 1945
Does chaos scare you? I feel it, I feel that out of control notion creates anxiety and starts the cold sweats. I understand when you gaze wide-eyed and want to scream so loud that glass shatters. I’ve lived there; I’ve had that moment.
Yet I can also say one thing, the time I was really connected to some other power was when I was in the middle of a tornado and I let my body and soul ride it.
It was chaos, it was madness, it was completely out of control and I probably did go a bit mad in the process, but looking back I can see that it was the moment where the universe and I were in sync. What I wanted, happened. Simple as that.
In the flow of madness.
So what does this mean, that we all need to lark about like crazed loons barking at dogs and doffing our top hats to daffodils? Well, if you want to do that then you should have the freedom to do that, but in this instance no. Yet the experience I had was akin to madness, only in the fact that my actions were questioned because they did not fit the norm. But then that depends on the norm that you should be fitting into. I mean, normal behaviour in Royal Tunbridge Wells is probably not normal behaviour in Chicago. Our actions and behaviours are designed to rest within the social structure around us, and when you break from that structure you are labelled.
Labels include but are not limited to: MAD; ECCENTRIC; WILD; CRAZY; ODD; DIFFERENT; SICK; LOONY; RUDE; WEIRD; MIXED-UP
You know the kind of thing. But I also know, as history would tell us so, that most invention and change has come from the minds of people labelled as such. Simply because they saw something in the world that they did not like and thought to change it.
So the real problem is not that madness is scary, it is that change is scary.
So are people really mad? Certain behavioural issues that were not accepted years ago are now recognised and treated. Where once people shouting in the middle of the high street was rude and odd is now seen as someone with a condition. Although, I see some mothers doing it to their young children and they are perceived as normal!
Madness was treated with barbarism in the 18th and 19th Centuries. I mean, drilling into someone's brain is going to make it all go away is it? I also feel the same with mind-numbing tablets, the fact that you are not behaving in a way that some pompous person deems acceptable in society does not require you to be dosed up to your eyes and left in the corner of a room as a zombie.
During my time of great change (I mean, it is still going on, we should always change), my behaviour was erratic and confusing to some. Yet it was at that time that I placed all of my trust in the universe. At the time I did not know I was doing that, it is only now, after learning, that I see it for what it was. Instead I used superstition and signs to guide me through. For instance, the law of attraction meant that if I had to make a decision I would see numbers, or cars, or colours, they would almost be on repeat. I would play video games and say out loud, if I get through this without losing then I am on the right path; guess what, I got through without losing. I had vivid and clear dreams that, over time, have come true.
I believe that people with depression, and it's splintered groups, are deeply connected to another dimension or the universe or to their subconscious. You can call it what you like. Depression is emotion on a very large and powerful scale. We are emotional animals and some of us feel that connection deeply. When I fall into a depression, I wonder at the sky, stare at clouds and speak to trees; I feel the pain of the world and hear the cries in the air. It is grief but it is also quite magical. If I can steer myself away from the fog that it creates I can feel that fizz in the air, that spark in the breeze. It is our connection to nature. We all have that, you don't need to suffer depression to feel that, but you do need to open your heart and your imagination to believe.
I talk more about this in my novella, The Self-Harming Pacifist, which is available at Amazon. You can also join my new experience, The MI Experience, which is currently online and subscribe to my email list. I promise no spam, but you will get monthly emails about my workshops and shows, as well as ideas and probably crazy thoughts, if you think they are. The truth is, whatever you think, you are right.
So I say madness is not scary. Crazy comedy explains to us the ills of the world in a much more detailed way than the news sometimes does. A book written in surreal form can be far more truthful of the life that we are living than a biography. Madness is our way of seeing the world around us and coming to terms with it; laughing is the closest thing we have to crying, the two are almost the same and sometimes we do both at the same time. Trust your madness, trust your subconscious, trust yourself, you will begin to see signs if you let go and allow yourself to be guided from time to time.
Zac Thraves is a writer and performer.
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