A. J. knew there was something in his experience that determined his apparent schizophrenic behavioral patterns; the slippages- the assumptions of roles revealed through his humor, art, poetry, and writing. He'd admitted long ago to having a whole kingdom-phylum-class-order-family-genus of related symptoms. Everybody had them in some degree. Only the extremes were ever considered mad. And to paraphrase Thoreau, Pity the poor madman, he never sees himself as such.
A. J.'s schiz flows could also be traced in his assumption of roles, his traits, that which he called upon to venture over the wall- the cast of hero, rogue, fool, and Prodigal Son - all the seekers of transformation. He knew what he was about. He also knew what he was about to do - even if it was rather out of character for most. His doctor would understand:
"It would appear that once precipitated into psychosis, the patient has a course to run. He is, as it were, embarked upon a voyage of discovery, which is only completed by his return to the normal world, to which he comes back with insights different from those of the inhabitants who never embarked on such voyage. Once begun, a schizophrenic episode would appear to have as definite a course as an initiation ceremony - a death and rebirth...What needs to be explained is the failure of many who embark upon this voyage to return from it."
Indeed. His doctor would understand. A. J. smiled. He had an appointment to keep.
- The Fool
- excerpt Gregory Bateson - introduction to Perceval's Narrative: A Patient's Account of His Psychosis.
- photos by Rodney Smith