Flat Earth Society & Air Loom Gang
Kratkim biografskim ekskursom o Okopi, Čadež me je podsjetio na jedno od dva društva čiji rad pratim s neskrivenom simpatijom; uz starodrevno družinu The Lunar Society, nepravedno sam do sada zapostavljao i Flat Earth Society; kako je Tomislav Čadež prominentni aktivist toga društva, ponudit će vam o njemu prvu informaciju, bez zadnje primisli, ali i sumnje da će u zemlji kao što je Hrvatska ovaj tradicionalni nazor na svijet i položaj čovjeka u Kozmosu naići na nemali odjek.
Dragi Nemanjo, ne bih htio, iskreno, da zanemarimo osnovnu temu. Upadnemo li u tu zamku, lako bi nam se moglo dogoditi da od baobaba ne vidimo kišnu šumu. Ti si čak, u zanosu raspre, prenebregnuo fakat da "zebumba, ba bu, ba bu" i nije stih, to je samo naslov možda najpregnantije ispisane od svih somalskih narodnih priča koje je Okopa sačuvao za vječnost.
No, bilo kako bilo, Okopa i ne duguje svoj strelovit razvoj toliko Mustafi, koliko svom složenom podrijetlu, da nekažem genezi. Naime, ne zaboravi da je Okopa bijelac! Zacijelo pamtiš i neobičnu sudbinu njegove majke Fatime. Njezin otac, nekad glasoviti lord Mortimer Hampden, prvi je pripadnik visokog engleskog plemstva koji je sredinom 19. stoljeća prešao na islam. Lord Mortimer od ranog je djetinstva slovio kao čudak. Sjajno ga je opisao John Michell u svojoj knjizi "Eccentric lives and Peculiar notions", u poglavlju "Loyalists of Flat Earth". U njemu potanko opisuje sadržaj 470 stranica debele lordove knjige u kojoj on briljantno dokazuje da je zemlja ravna ploča. Da bi to dokazao i pokusom, sukobio se sa svojim najomraženijim protivnikom-globularistom, odioznim grofom Isaacom od Bedforda. Postavio je teleskop baš kod bedfordskog mosta i poravnao ga s dva kilometra udaljenom ogradom kamenog mosta u Velneyju. Tvrdio je da ih sunce u isto vrijeme dodiruje i kad raste i kad pada. Grof Isaac od Bedforda ga je ismijao, a ismijalo ga je i Kraljevsko društvo kojem se obratio za pravorijek. Iz protesta se preobratio na islam, pokupio obitelj i nastanio se na saudijskom dvoru. Njegova kći jedinica Victoria sama je, primivši vjeru, izabrala ime Fatima. Okopa je dakle bio drugačiji od sviju. Musliman a gotovo europski odgojen, u mnogočemu zapadnjak, bijelac a među crncima (nakon što su oca protjerali). On je zarana, svim sliama, prionuo uz naciju u kojoj se obreo. Zato što je bio drugačiji, morao je biti i bolji od ostalih. Pa i od Mustafe, dakako, unatoč svemu pijetetu kojim ga je obasuo nakon njegove prerane, tragične smrti u lovu na lavove ljudoždere u Bosingwi.
P. S. Ne znam jesi li znao da je Okopa posljednji bijelac u svom rodu. Njegova je supruga Chu Cheche bila prava Somalijka, izrodila mu je tri sina, a, interesantno, sin jednog od njih, dakle Okopin unuk, Kaopi, studirao je sredinom sedamdesetih na ljubljanskoj univerzi. Čak je preveo Prešernov Sonetni vijenac na sjevernosomalijski. Znaš li kako glasi Julia Primicova u prijevodu: Ka kuba ku kaba zu!
lijecenikatolik 19.08.2008. 00:20
James Tilly Matthews
James Tilly Matthews (1770 - 1815) was a London tea broker, originally from Wales, who was committed to the Bethlem (Bedlam) psychiatric hospital in 1797, and is considered to be the first fully documented case of paranoid schizophrenia.
Voyage to France
In the early 1790s, concerned at the likelihood of war between Britain and France, Matthews travelled to France with the radical David Williams who was acquainted with such Girondists as Jacques Pierre Brissot and Le Brun. Williams made efforts at mediation which failed, whereupon Matthews took the lead. Despite the eccentricity of his statements, he gained the trust of the French government for a short time.
On 2 June 1793 the Girondists were displaced by the Jacobins and Matthews fell under suspicion for his Girondist associations and also because he was suspected of being a double agent. He was arrested and imprisoned for three years during the height of The Terror until 1796 when the French authorities concluded that he was a lunatic and released him.
Returning to London, Matthews wrote two letters to Lord Liverpool, in which he accused the Home Secretary of treason and complained about conspiracies directed against his life. After interrupting a debate in the House of Commons by shouting "Treason" at Lord Liverpool from the Public Gallery, he was arrested and held in a secure workhouse in Tothill Fields, Westminster before being admitted to the Bethlem (Bedlam) psychiatric hospital on 28 January 1797. Upon examination he declared that he had taken part in secret affairs of state (referring to his efforts in France), but had been betrayed and abandoned by William Pitt's administration.
In 1809 his family and friends petitioned for his release, on the grounds that he was no longer insane, but their petition was rejected by the Bethlem authorities. They therefore took out a suit of habeas corpus and two doctors, George Birkbeck and Henry Clutterbuck examined Matthews, declaring him sane. John Haslam, the resident apothecary at Bethlem, begged to differ and maintained that Matthews' delusions, particularly on political matters, rendered him a danger both to public figures and the general public.
Illustrations of Madness
In 1810 John Haslam produced the book Illustrations of Madness (original title: Illustrations of Madness: Exhibiting a Singular Case of Insanity, And a No Less Remarkable Difference in Medical Opinions: Developing the Nature of An Assailment, And the Manner of Working Events; with a Description of Tortures Experienced by Bomb-Bursting, Lobster-Cracking and Lengthening the Brain. Embellished with a Curious Plate). Haslam intended to settle the dispute about whether Matthews was insane or not; his book contains verbatim accounts of Matthew's beliefs and hallucinatory experiences and is considered the original description of the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. The book was the first full-length study of a single psychiatric patient in medical history and has become a classic in the medical literature.
John Haslam's illustration of Matthews' Air Loom
Matthews believed that a gang of criminals and spies skilled in "pneumatic chemistry" had taken up residence at London Wall in Moorfields (close to Bethlem) and were tormenting him by means of rays emitted by a machine called the "Air Loom". The torments induced by the rays included "Lobster-cracking", during which the circulation of the blood was prevented by a magnetic field; "Stomach-skinning"; and "Apoplexy-working with the nutmeg grater" which involved the introduction of fluids into the skull. His persecutors bore such names as "the Middleman" (who operated the Air Loom), "the Glove Woman" and "Sir Archy" (who acted as "repeaters" or "active worriers" to enhance Matthews' torment or record the machine's activities) and their leader, a man called "Bill, or the King".
Matthews' delusions had a definite political slant: he claimed that the purpose of this gang was espionage, and that there were many other such gangs armed with Air Looms all over London, using "pneumatic practitioners" to "premagnetize" potential victims with "volatile magnetic fluid". According to Matthews, their chief targets (apart from himself) were leading government figures. By means of their "rays" they could influence ministers' thoughts and read their minds. Matthews declared that William Pitt was "not half" susceptible to these attacks and held that these gangs were responsible for the British military disasters at Buenos Aires in 1807 and Walcheren in 1809 and also for the Nore Mutiny of 1797.
In 1814 Matthews was moved to "Fox's London House", a private asylum in Hackney, where he became a popular and trusted patient, the asylum's owner, Dr. Fox, regarding him as sane. Matthews assisted with book-keeping and gardening until his death in 1815.
• Although it is impossible to make an unequivocal diagnosis of a long-dead person, Matthews' description of his torment by the "Air Loom Gang" reads as a classic example of paranoid delusions brought on as part of a psychotic episode. From this, it can be concluded that his disorder was most likely schizophrenia, although retrospective diagnoses should be treated with caution.
• It should also be noted that while Haslam kept notes on Matthews, Matthews kept notes on Haslam and his treatment in Bethlem. This formed part of the evidence looked at by a Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1815, the findings of which led to Haslam's dismissal and reform of the treatment of patients in the Bethlem Hospital.
• Matthews was also important in the history of psychiatry for more practical reasons. During his involuntary confinement he took part in a public competition to design plans for the rebuilding of Bethlem hospital. Bethlem's governors thought so well of the 46 pages of designs submitted by Matthews that they paid him Ł30 and the drawings finally used to build the new hospital show some features proposed by Matthews.
On the Origin of the ‘Influencing Machine’ in Schizophrenia
On the Origin of the 'Influencing Machine' in Schizophrenia is a highly influential article written by psychoanalyst Viktor Tausk. It was first published in the journal Psychoanalytic Quarterly in 1933.
The paper describes Tausk's observations and psychoanalytic interpretation of a type of paranoid delusion that occurs in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. The delusion often involves them being influenced by a 'diabolical machine', just outside the technical understanding of the victim, that influences them from afar. It was typically believed to be operated by a group of people who were persecuting the individual, whom Tausk suggested were "to the best of my knowledge, almost exclusively of the male sex" and are "predominantly physicians by whom the patient has been treated".
These delusions are known in contemporary psychiatry as 'passivity delusions' or 'passivity phenomena' and are listed among Kurt Schneider's 'first rank' symptoms which are thought to be particularly diagnostic of schizophrenia, and still form some of the core diagnostic criteria.
Extract from the article
The schizophrenic influencing machine is a machine of mystical nature. The patients are able to give only vague hints of its construction. It consists of boxes, cranks, levers, wheels, buttons, wires, batteries, and the like. Patients endeavor to discover the construction of the apparatus by means of their technical knowledge, and it appears that with the progressive popularization of the sciences, all the forces known to technology are utilized to explain the functioning of the apparatus. All the discoveries of mankind, however, are regarded as inadequate to explain the marvelous powers of this machine, by which the patients feel themselves persecuted. The main effects of the influencing machine are the following:
• 1. It makes the patient see pictures. When this is the case, the machine is generally a magic lantern or cinematograph. The pictures are seen on a single plane, on walls or windowpanes, and unlike typical visual hallucinations are not three dimensional.
• 2. It produces, as well as removes, thoughts and feelings by means of waves or rays or mysterious forces which the patient's knowledge of physics is inadequate to explain. In such cases, the machine is often called a 'suggestion-apparatus.' Its construction cannot be explained, but its function consists in the transmission or 'draining off' of thoughts and feelings by one or several persecutors.
• 3. It produces motor phenomena in the body, erections and seminal emissions, that are intended to deprive the patient of his male potency and weaken him. This is accomplished either by means of suggestion or by air-currents, electricity, magnetism, or X-rays.
• 4. It creates sensations that in part cannot be described, because they are strange to the patient himself, and that in part are sensed as electrical, magnetic, or due to air-currents.
• 5. It is also responsible for other occurrences in the patient's body, such as cutaneous eruptions, abscesses, or other pathological processes.
The Influencing Machine in literature and film
Tausk's paper has been highly influential within both his own field of psychoanalysis and outside. It has in more recent years been used in literary theory to explain character's de-centeredness from their surroundings and their psychical collapse into psychosis; furthermore, the idea of the great alien machine taken over the human race have been more present in the arts.
The most well-known example of the influencing machine delusion is that of James Tilly Matthews who believed he was being controlled "body and mind" by a device called the 'Air loom'. Matthews was a tea merchant and political activist before he was admitted to 'Bedlam' psychiatric hospital after shouting 'treason' in the British House of Commons in 1797. He was a prolific writer and artist and described the 'air loom' in great detail. His descriptions were published as a book entitled Illustrations of Madness: Exhibiting a Singular Case of Insanity, And a No Less Remarkable Difference in Medical Opinions: Developing the Nature of An Assailment, And the Manner of Working Events; with a Description of Tortures Experienced by Bomb-Bursting, Lobster-Cracking and Lengthening the Brain. Embellished with a Curious Plate.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a novel by Ken Kesey (1962). Kesey's novel is in the form of a first-person narrative by Chief Bromden, a Native American and one of McMurphy's fellow patients. McMurphy is a prison ward transfer who pretends to be insane to get out of working. His plan backfires when he is sent to a psychiatric hospital. He tries to liven the place up a bit by playing card games and basketball with his fellow patients, but the head nurse, Ms. Ratched a.k.a. Big Nurse, is after him at every turn. McMurphy wins at first, but then loses it all. Bromden refers to the negative forces of the world collectively as the "Combine," the very force which tries to suppress people like McMurphy. Tausk’s ”influencing machine” is very clear in this book when looking at Bromden. The film (1975) is much less introspective than Kesey's book and focuses mostly on the conflict between McMurphy and Ratched.
Znam da je kasna ura, ali ne mogu odoljeti a da ne citiram jednu također antologijsku Okopinu pjesmu, koju je posvetio upravo svome puncu, lordu Mortimeru. Ispričavam se zbog mogućih pogrešaka u prijevodu. Preveo sam je provizorno, s engleskog jer izvornik je napisan na arapskom. Nemanjo, ako imaš strpljenja, baci pogled na prijevod i usporedi ga s izvornikom. Unaprijed se ispričavam zbog mogućih pogrešaka.
ponosno ju je prekoračio,
dvije jednako visoke žirafe
u boju podno akacije:
smiraj dana, hladi se savana,
o, graničaru sunca,
o, kako si se ugnijezdio u maternicu od trnja.
Šarena su lica, okrenuli mu guzicu,
negdje daleko, među hladnim Slavenima,
čuči gorući grm,
o, leglo udavki mami svojom gracilnošću.
Otiđi tamo, gdje je sve bijelo,
smrznuti snovi Afrike u dalekoj tundri,
vrati se na otok,
ujaši na devi, budi beduin budni,
i vrati se na mjesto s kojega nisi pošao.
Upravo sam primio mejl od svoga prijatelja, dr. Hansa Kristiana Rustada, pridruženog profesora Hedmark University koledža iz Hamara u Norveškoj. Hans je vunderkind i prilično dobro vlada hrvatskim jezikom, doduše, više srpskim, ali o tome drugi put,. Prenosim mejl u cijelosti, a vi mu, da se ne obrukam, makar malo pomozite.
"Nemanja is number one! And you, are you still married? Do you familiar with Somali Hypertext? I'm holding a lecture on new media (mostly focusing on hypertext and multimodality, I guess) for some Somali student this spring and it would have been great and inspiring for the student if I could show them some examples in their own language. The student are in Norway to study Norwegian language and culture, and I assume they're more familiar with Somali literature then Somali hypertext.
Look, here are some links to Somali newspapers online:
lijecenikatolik 19.08.2008. 02:43