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Schizoid Man


Death seed blind man’s greed
Poets’ starving children bleed
Nothing he’s got he really needs
Twenty-first century schizoid man

~King Crimson

I have attempted to imagine what it is like to be schizophrenic. Try as I might, I cannot fathom a realm in which my thoughts, emotions, and actions are so out of touch with reality that I exist in a delusional state where I cannot identify hallucinations from reality. I have heard that psychedelic drugs can induce an approximation of a schizoid state, have read books describing such experiences and was intrigued. But, I lack the courage to experiment with mind-altering substances.

Some schizophrenics experience auditory hallucinations, hear voices driving them to erratic, sometimes violent, behaviors. I knew one person who would throw on a set of headphones and crank the volume to a screeching eleven hoping the heavy metal music carried the magic to drown the voices out. I wondered how the decibels affected hearing long term but that was probably of minor concern to this person trying to escape brain turbulence.

I have a different problem set I am trying to rectify albeit in a similar way. I have many writing ideas buzzing through my brain which demand attention. I will throw them into a notepad hoping they will rest but no sooner than my pen lifts, a new idea is rodent gnawing at my subconscious or anvil hammering my conscious. Sometimes, I’ll immerse in a book to distract myself but a sweet turn of phrase will trigger another idea petitioning to be fleshed out into a one-page vignette or a deep, multipage exploration.

One escape I have found to stall the bombardment is to numb my brain by watching TV. However, I am worried about the long-term effects of the idiot box. Watching TV is a passive activity wherein the brain wave flattens resembling the cerebral activity of a person in a coma. I prefer to encourage the active waves as seen in a person writing or reading, creating something. I only have one brain and my desire is for it to grow and remain healthy deeper into my waning years.

What to do? More often than not, I succumb and seed the idea on a page, coax it to germination with a fountain pen, then help it along to full formation in electronic media. It is my preferred meditation and coaxes the screaming monkey from the tree.

But…another but…my understanding of meditation is the goal is to empty the mind. While writing I am focused, in the zone. The mind is far from empty. There are images morphing into word sequences vying for placement on the paper. I am avoiding emptiness and choosing busyness.

And I question myself, if I accept the supposition that meditation is the path to enlightenment, will the activity I call writing meditation ferry me down the desired path or lead me astray? Am I erecting an ego wall that is working contrary, preventing me from becoming enlightened? Have I created a self-fulfilling hallucination obfuscating reality but I cannot tell the difference?

Are my lucid moments more closely related to an acid trip? If so, I think I have more in common with a schizophrenic than a person with a healthy brain.

04 Dec 2018

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