Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Post-Manic Shame Reflected Using a Kierkegaard Mirror

Apologies for the cat song earlier. It made me laugh, so... anyway.

"The most dreadful thing that can happen to a man is to become ridiculous in his own eyes in a matter of essential importance, to discover, for example, that the sum and substance of his sentiment is rubbish." Søren Kierkegaard

There is nothing quite like the appalled embarrassment and self-loathing that can follow mania. The partial amnesia that often accompanies it is a gentle blessing at times. Forgetting is a self-defense mechanism. Who would ever summon up an ounce of confidence in themselves if every ghastly failure and misconception of their being was permanently fresh in their mind?

Since madness is primarily defined in practice within the terms of what is socially acceptable behaviour, it casts a shadow over all independent thought, all rebellion, revolutionary ideas, sheer eccentricity, oddball notions. It makes you doubt everything about your intelligence. The only defense is to declare yourself not-mad, merely different.

I have held some strange notions in my time. But what if they were not, in fact, actually that strange? What if they were just inconvenient, dangerous and difficult? What if they were in some way a route forward in my life, my self?

The trick is not to stop dancing, but to learn to dance better.

This all has the dangerous whiff of self-delusion. But it's cheering me up no end.

The bizarre synthethesis the mind can achieve when in an 'interesting' state, is quite remarkable. Even more remarkable is the way that shortly afterwards, one can remember the essence of it, but not how the unearthly logic worked, and a little later, one can barely recall the nature of the disparate elements that somehow one had welded into a new (dangerously new) thing (a bit like copper porridge, or rubber glass - oh hang, that's perspex isn't it - how about a scalding verdigris snowflake perpetual motion aubergine?). Later still, one has blanked all recollection apart from the memory of having had the experience.

I don't believe every bout of mania is a deep-seated learning process but I wouldn't be surprised if a few were. As with all thoughts and ideas, some prove shoddy, others gold. Unfortunately/fortunately it seems the only way to continue living with the more alien concepts is to remain 'mad' - an impossibility.

16 comments:

Hannah said...

Well, I'm going to have to share this now!
At the weekend I manically discovered and demonstrated a sudden new ability to create each letter of the alphabet using, wait for it..myself.
My audience was a potential new boyfriend...hmmm by the look in his eyes I think that ship had sailed by the time I'd reached the letter D...for dumped :0(
I don't think this one was particularly 'golden'!
Shame - it seemed perfectly genious at the time!

Han xx

Abysmal Musings said...

Now, has it all slipped away, or is an explanation still possible? :-)

I just am very grateful I haven't been properly out of it since March. Back to normal I think, for me. Hypos once a month or so, sometimes black, sometimes sunny. I should just remember how I used to live with it, and keep my eye out for the seventh wave.

Lola Snow said...

I think clearly the answer is to try and level the playing field, and make more people madder. Thus reducing the shame and stimga attached to being a fruit loop.

If we could make others more mental then by comparison we would be more vanilla. I feel a facebook group coming on. World domination, mentalists take over the world and reclaim the social norms. There could be lessons in school, and special bank holidays. It could be beautiful, or it could be another wave of ridiculous midnight schemes....

Lola x

LoopyKate said...

Never been keen on Kierkegaard. Took himself far too seriously. Really would like to see that 'scalding verdigris snowflake perpetual motion aubergine' winging its way across my yard though.
K.x

Abysmal Musings said...

It would be beautiful, and it would be another wave of ridiculous midnight schemes....

Damn it, we're saner than the fuckwits who fuck the world up anyway. Quote: "You must be mad not to buy a house!" :-D

LoopyKate said...

p.s. I've never doubted the veracity and inegrity of my 'manic' notions. Just wish they could do something to scour away the depressive 'arriere gout'.
K.x

LoopyKate said...

P.P.S do you configure your own 'word verifications' because each time I come here I am asked to type in 'worsings' or 'manicats' and such likes!!!

LoopyKate said...

P.P.P.s - that one just was... 'dionisig'
This could keep going...

Abysmal Musings said...

I get the same thing too! It's uncanny I tell you... Boring explanation? I wonder if the software scans the blogs for common words to mangle? Who knows?

Abysmal Musings said...

Oh come on, arriere gout? something taste? oh hang on, steps up wearily, walks three paces to the french dictionary... no, that didn't help... back, backwards, rear, late...

aftertaste?

Oh it must be aftertaste. Go on, tell me I'm wrong!

LoopyKate said...

You're apot on with after-taste. i just can't work out how to find the inflections on this keyboard

LoopyKate said...

I meant *spot on. For gawd's sake.
P.S 1345 - 'rantine'

Abysmal Musings said...

Oh, I thought you were calling me a pot. ;-)

Tempest said...

I believe madness, at least sometimes, is not a parting with reality, but a peering into reality in a different way. Because it's 'different,' much of society looks upon it with apprehension; and because it's different, we often don't have the tools we need to properly deal with what we see in those states. The notion that ideas could somehow be gleaned from those states is one that I find interesting.

Consider Ludwig van Beethoven, might some of his works have derived from manic inspiration? The same goes for Sir Isaac Newton. Edgar Allan Poe is another one that comes to mind. All three are believed to have been bipolar, at least according to this Wikipedia article.

I'm not suggesting that every bout of mania leads to glorious revelations ... but I believe some do, and I believe that some minds are capable of translating those revelations into something compatible with normal reality.

"The trick is not to stop dancing, but to learn to dance better." The Dance, indeed! But I think that's why some bipolar people are able to function like Beethoven or Newton, because their minds have learned the dance, or have learned to translate from one perspective of reality into the next.

"This all has the dangerous whiff of self-delusion." If you were suggesting you'd mastered the dance, sure ... but to suggest that we might not be as 'mad' as many would paint us is certainly not delusion :-)

Mo said...

I'm must confess I have never heard of Søren Kierkegaard but can draw some comfort in knowing that I too have experienced self-loathing following mania... in fact I experience self loathing in the absence of mania.

Thanks to email and unerasable posts on websites I am able to enjoy shame on a long term basis. Blur were right... "Modern Life Is Rubbish".

Now I'm heading off to practice me dancing ;o)

Immi said...

I like Lola's idea of leveling the playing field and making other people madder. Probably not too difficult, considering.
Seriously, though, I've been thinking along these lines. How to dance the edge of the knife between losing all originality and spirit without toppling over the edge into mere oddness that brings nothing but shame in the end?