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Madness, Genius and All the Rest

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

I had a patient who came to me out of his mind. He lost his mental clarity decades earlier, when, to treat his childhood asthma, up in the mountains of Jamaica, he was given a strong "ganga soup." Overdosing on marijuana is not possible when you smoke the stuff, but eating it is another story.

His madness was that everything was significant. He told me that the woman who lived across the street from him was a witch, that car license plates were alphanumeric coded messages to him from God.

I gave him a homeopathic (extremely dilute) dose of cannabis. That which can cause the symptoms in a healthy individual can cure those symptoms in a diseased individual, is the basis of homeopathy. Ritalin, an amphetamine, has a homeopathic action, causing healthy individuals to speed up and persons with ADD to slow down.

Ten days later he returned complaining of depression. His mental illness had left his life in ruins. There were repeated arrests and hospitalizations. He lost his job. He had alienated his wife's affection. It seemed to me that his depression was a healthy sign, the normal reaction of a person waking up from a real life nightmare.

I asked him if he was still reading license plates. At first, he didn't understand. I repeated what he told me on his first visit, "You know, 'Men are number nine and women are number 11'?" He replied in a dismissive, embarrassed tone, "No man, I'm not doing that stuff anymore."

At the last Fabrica de la Aurora Art Walk I was introduced to a sculptor, Victor Hugo Nunez, by Jorge, the director of the Al Quimia Gallery where the sculptor shows. Jorge telling el Maestro that I was a valuable resource to promote his art is what got my foot in the door.  There is a strong anti-extranjero bias in many Latin circles. Victor Hugo told me later during some very pleasant socializing, "Without Jorge's strong recommendation, I wouldn't have spoken with a crazy gringo like you."

Victor Hugo and I and his 28-year-old secretary and girlfriend, Triana, spent some quality time together that Saturday evening and the following Monday, filming videos, chatting and eating my famous spaghetti sauce.

When it was revealed that Triana is 50 years younger than el Maestro, he explained that the source of his youthfulness was that he had never worked at anything that did not interest him.

From their home base in Cuernavaca, Triana has kept in touch with me since. In one of her messages she mentioned that Victor Hugo was nervous about finishing on time a monumental sculpture that has been commissioned for an airport in Chile, his nativity, from which he fled after the military coup.

She was, in a most affectionate way, "complaining" about having to babysit Victor Hugo's eccentricities. I wrote back, "Genius is always unstable."

I wish I had genius as an excuse for my own instability. While I am not deciphering license plates, I do have this persistent fantasy that there is a dimension behind this material world, which, from time to time, sends me messages through happenings in my life.

It would be nice if these messages contained this week's winning lottery number. As it is, they are strange coincidences that I read, sometimes ambiguously, as directives for my way forward, affirming or negating my understanding of things.

In the same category as these weird synchronicities, I include dreams, myths, religion and poetry, all of which, to my way of thinking, contain non-linear wisdom.

Materialists insist that everything can be reduced to mathematical formulas, blind molecules bumping into each other. But these days, surrounded as we are by information-bearing, non-material waves (cellphone, radio, TV...), and with Panpsychism (mind exists everywhere, like gravity) a well accepted theory, it is impossible to hold that the universe is just dumb matter.

These days, Materialism, like atheism, is no less of a faith than is Catholicism. It is a fashion statement, a political position, a virtue signal: "I am among those who do not believe in divinity."

Speaking of genius and atheism, this past Dia de Muertos, I helped promote a lovely perfume salon presented by my friend, Aaron Reisfield. Held in his garden, it featured a large retort filled with flowers boiling away. While Aaron gave forth the secrets of perfume, and the night came on, the vapors from this boiling were condensed by a very sophisticated chilling apparatus, distilling in a flask as marigold oil.

The event had a modest but respectable attendance. Everyone there seemed to have known Aaron before that evening. On seeing me to my car after the event, Aaron lamented that there hadn't been more new faces. I said something about people being closed, unwilling to open up to one thing for fear of something unexpected sneaking through the aperture. Denial is a blanket phenomenon. We have contracts with ourselves not to admit, not to look at certain of our traumatic experiences.

Later that night, after departing Aaron's ceremony, tucked into bed, I had another of those significant coincidences. I randomly opened a large book on Jewish Chassidus to a passage from the Kotzker Rebbe that continued in the theme of our goodbye, people's lack of openness: "More miraculous than the revival of the dead, is the revival of the living."

I'm not religious in any orthodox sense. I'm sure Stephen Hawkins wasn't either. But like the biblical Jacob, that great physicist wrestled with God, spending much of his career contending against the need for a God. The multitude of forces that underpin our universe are exquisitely fine-tuned, to the only settings that allow life, or even matter as we know it, to exist. A hair's breadth this way or that in the setting of any force, and you get nada, nothing, bubkis.

Physics accounts for the incredible improbability of this in one of two ways:
1- the Metaverse, a near infinity of other universes where only hydrogen and helium exist, with us just happening to be in the lucky universe
2- a creator

"A super intellect has monkeyed with physics."
        - Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer

I hate to stereotype, but those nerdy kids that went awkwardly through life grew up to be scientists (and doctors). Somehow they've gotten control of the dialogue. Pardon me if I find their clinical pontifying too narrow to embrace the multi-facetted nature of my existence.

Atheism is an opinion, not a fact. Science is a work in progress, subject to not just revision, but revolutions in thought. I don't care if it can't be measured, Michael Jordan could feel when he was in "the Zone." The team knows when it is really playing together. Something distinctly non-material is happening when the shaman goes into a trance.

German is the philosophers' language. My motto is, Schönheit über Wahrheit, Beauty over Truth. We are weaving together the threads of our lives: making poems, interpreting dreams, exploring religions and myths. Truth is a slippery fish. Beauty we know when we see it.

I keep receiving these hints from I know not where, now and then glimpsing one small section of a movie screen, on the whole of which something complete and meaningful is being projected. Meanwhile, humbly, I keep weaving.

**************

Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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