Greetings from the ivory tower of academia 😉
Off now to theatre: ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ – Leaving ivory tower to see the real world
Of course, it had been meant to be a joke when I wrote in an e-mail, before leaving office yesterday.
And being there in Munich’s Volkstheater, sitting next to the director, I read the short text accompanying the program, written by Manfred Lütz – only a few sentences and paragraphs being reproduced here in translation:
Watching as psychiatrist and therapist the evening news, one is frequently irritated. You hear about war mongerors, terrorists, murderers, white collar criminals, stone-cold accountants and bare-faced egomaniacs – and nobody is treating them. Well, such guys are even considered as completely normal. Thinking then about those people I am the entire day dealing with, touching dementia sufferers, sensitive addicts, highly sensitive psychotics, harrowing depressive people, thrilling maniacs I am often caught by the a suspicion. We are looking afer the wrong people! Our problem are not those who a considered as mad – our problem are the normal people.
Oiginally I thought about reproducing Lütz’s entire text, on a few pages bringing back to mind all the experiences, the work, the protests …., all the things from the time way back, when I worked in a psychiatric hospital. Following the excellent performance I thought how much changed over the many years: open wards, community care, modern therapeutic approaches rather than a psychiatric clinic with about 2,000 patients, two therapists, many psychiatrist and ball-rollers end one key, for every door. – We, a few of the people working there, had been fighting, in the spirit and at the side of Basaglia, Laing …, fighting like Don Quixote against windmills, but also having some success: some clear successes and some that are more on the dubious (just the day before I discussed with a colleague here in the institute over lunch the huge difficulties we have [had] in Sweden: opening doors is not establishing social spaces).
Sure, there is still tremendous maltreatment, ignorance and breach of human rights in particular in psychiatric hospitals and also in the way of non-integration of people in ordinary every day’s life.
But what may be more worrying is how uncontested we have to state the truth of something else Manfred Lütz highlights, writing about the ‘normal madness’ and not least the ‘madly normal’, those who are obsessed by normality:
No wonder then that everything that does not comply with the norm is a terrible nuisance for this extraordinary normal people. Sure, nobody dares disrespecting the norm against those who are at the top, being a small grey mouse. So every furious feeling against those at the top turns easily to aggression against those at the bottom.
Sure, we see ‘occupants’, can nearly celebrate an increasing protest in different veins – globally. But we are equally witnessing increasing nationalism, xenophobia and narrow-minded elitism, going hand in hand with number-crunching in search for evidence.
We need more though: not opening doors, but demolishing walls. We do not need a tamed capitalism, but a thorough analysis of what this new capitalism actually is about: the shift from accumulation to appropriation; the replacing of capitalist accumulation on grounds of the metabolism between human beings and nature, the relationality with the four dimensions of
- group-relation (as general sociability)
- ‘other’-relation (as ‘institutionalised and ‘defined’ socialbility – including class relationships etc.) and
- environmental (‘organic nature’) relations,
moving to a new mode of production, generating value on grounds of the dominance of abstract processes in the sphere of distribution and circulation. The organic whole, Marx had been talking about in the Grundrisse is … – is it dissolved? Turned on its head?
Only then, with a clear analysis, we will be able not restricting ourselves on another interpretation of the world’s surface but on finding a way to change the world’s essence.
– Presidents should rethink what they are doing. Rather then talking to chamber members about the loss of elitism the Mister Murphys should talk to people who gained their expertise from life and it’s anomalies. Normality is dangerous as long as it is the normality of accepting what temporarily may (have) work(ed).
Well, there is occasionally indeed more realism in theaters than we can find in ivory towers, being the heavy oak furniture of today’s high level officers. We only have to bring it from ‘Luhmann’sche’ background noise’ to the main speech on the stage. not by radicalist action, but by truly radical analysis.