Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No mind for the gaps

Bus fare has gone up 25¢.

The days when I walk to work
fall into the trough
between paychecks.

I walk, not to revive
a lost art, but out of necessity.

Winter was easier with a car,
distances and commuting time
truncated and buffeted
by music or radio as I sped
daily to Amherst for poetics
and to teach essay form,
research, drama and literature.

In the diagnostic manuals
and textbooks I read
while studying for a college major
in psychology, poverty
is a symptom of mental illness.

When you are poor,
you can’t even afford emotions.
Illness can’t be afforded either.
Having a psychological problem
is a luxury good.

Paranoia takes quanta
of information and creates
narratives to complete
otherwise missing information.
The new narrative contains events
that contradict the wishes, hopes,
desires and fantasies of the paranoiac.
The imagined narrative is then acted on
as if it really occurred.

Paranoia is a lust for knowledge
taken to extremes, coupled
with a negative self-perception.
The emotional, cognitive result
of this combination of narratives
supplying harmful information
to the gaps in one’s knowledge
(gaps which are the real fabric
of sensation and consciousness)
is mistrust: of self, other, past and future.

Luckily, we are told, life is not composed
of narratives but of chemicals and hormones.
Research in this month’s Nature magazine
states that oxytocin is the love hormone.

I wonder how many people taking Ecstasy
helped the researchers learn this,
and also how many destroyed
smaller mammals were autopsied
to find these possible new pills
that will help people love one another.

The research also says that the nesting
and trust hormone is called vasopressin.

The New York Times doesn’t simply
report this news, but makes the
recommendation that, while
it might be good to take these hormones
to physically encourage love
between partners, it would be
better to create an antidote to them
to prevent cheating, and cool people off.

The New York Times also says that people
might put these drugs in other people’s drinks.

Thus encouraging readers’ paranoia about love,
about which enough of us
are confused already.

Exuberance and naivete must be cultivated.
“Go thou hence,” the old sage says, “and
Fill all your gaps with sunshine and flowers.”

Bus fare has gone up 25¢.


No comments:

Post a Comment