Friday 26 October 2007

On madness, intelligence and human kindness

It was Mental Health Week in Ireland, the week before I arrived. Just discovered this, written up on a billboard in some dank alleyway in Limerick city. I have something to say about mental health. An unusual slant, you might say. And I am deadly serious about this. Unkindness is a serious mental illness. Natural human intelligence is wildly kind. Where kindness is lacking, human intelligence is retarded, and just doesn't function right. Lack of intelligent compassion is serious mental illness. The inability to see the humanity in each human being you meet is highly socially dangerous behaviour.

Have a look around, folks. Where exactly are the sane people? Where is human intelligence? Is it in universities, in the bodies of professors spending their entire lives writing theses for 19 year olds to read in order to form an opinion so they can write an essay and get a degree so they can become somebody who writes essays for other 19 years olds to make opinions out of, and that no one else will ever ever ever read, including themselves? Is human intelligence in mensa? Is it making Manhattan go round? Is that human intelligence in motion? Do these words even resonate with you? I'm not fucking around here. Absence of kindness is a BLIGHT, a plague in the world. Funny how we're left to our own devices in addressing that one. No government grants or tax cuts on the kindness shortage.

The degree of our pleasure and pain in life is largely dependent on the way we respond to rolling with the punches. But some things wail like a siren in the soul.

We don't take pictures at funerals. We don't take pictures of our pain. We don't like to live through it and we don't like to be reminded of it. But this stuff is as much a part of life as laughing and joy and weddings. Death and pain and sadness and loneliness and hurt, these all sit at the wedding table too, though they are not given a place, and are usually invisible. Not so invisible, if you look a bit closely. For all the people up on the dancefloor giggling and having fun, there's often twice as many sitting around watching them, looking bored, unhappy, or just drinking themselves to oblivion.

It's interesting that the very people who make official power-wielding judgments about other people's mental health, I think, have their own damage, but have the distinction of being well attuned to living in the world, within world systems, keeping a job, paying the mortgage, maintaining the status quo, not rocking the boat, living a damp life.

It really takes a highly intuitive, instinctual intelligence, and a highly evolved, compassionate kind of understanding, in order to see into another human soul, and see what it is that's actually disturbed, or unaccepted, in that human life, and how to suggest ways of helping. We are not evolved as a species in many of the very basic ways. There isn't a richness of mental or physical sanity around, and human beings are very much copycats. Whatever the available model of living is, is generally what's followed.

People get shocked by a smile from a stranger, in some parts of the world. The thought that follows is, "What's that about? What does he want from me?" That gets called 'being sussed', and your other option in that zone is naivete. It's a vicious pit to live in. I'm talking about being a human being that likes yourself. Being truly friends with yourself. Having a loving air about life. Without that, I don't think we can really hear each other. Until then, we only hear some kind of a distortion. Of course all this is easy to say. Actually getting there is a journey of LIFE. And it's a rocking journey, a fantastic adventure.

This is why we listen to rocknroll. This is why we fucking LOVE rocknroll. When it's good, it's made from the place that the sane madness comes from, and it acts like a hole in the seamlessness of things, that offers a way to jump through into that sane madness of things.

True sanity is highly aberrant. If it's also smart, it probably knows how to keep its mouth shut. Unfortunately, I may be sane, but I'm not so smart.

Things are getting to the point where I NEED to make a rocknroll band.

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