"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, November 18, 2004
per-cep-tion Function: noun
Etymology: Latin perception-, perceptio act of perceiving, from percipere
1 a : a result of perceiving : OBSERVATION b : a mental image : CONCEPT
2 a : awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation b : physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience
3 : in people like me, amplified beyond measure
We see, you know, with different eyes, people like me.
We hear with different ears.
We taste with different tongues.
And we feel with different hearts.
But, when we sing, we are crippled and forced to sing songs that have little to do with us, using words that don't mean, to us, what they mean to others.
The average person, if we can look at them as a machine, has lots of little governors and resistors and capacitors and transistors all through their psyche. When this thing happens, this capacitor keeps them from going too low. When their mind mulls over a train of thought, that resistor keeps it running at a normal speed. When they feel good, that governor kicks in and makes sure the high is manageable.
So, the average life is lived proscribed between boundaries, tied to a biological baseline. They see art, and might be touched. They hear music, and might be moved. They feel an emotion, and may enjoy it or act on it. Right there between those lines, it all happens, and the world is built to operate between those lines.
But for one out of fifty people, our crayons won't stay within the lines.
Bipolar disorder is different in every single person that has it, and usually is different even between "episodes" in the same individual. But no matter whether the person's mood state is a soaring fiery manic, a deep empty depression, or a turbulent "mixed state", one symptom is always present.
In mania, a person may experience life from a sped up hyperactive super charged place far above any place ever reached by the normal person. In depression, the mood dives to depths that are so far from reality that they seem like a vacuum, dark and infinitely empty. In a mixed state, one may have the urgency of mania with the emptiness of depression, the net result being the worst frustration a person can imagine, and then some.
None of these places are places the human mind was ever designed to cope with. We are shackled by language that never pretended to describe what we are feeling. We say "depressed" and another person may bring to mind the sense of loss they felt when their dear parent died, but when we say that it means so much more. We say "manic" and a person may think of the feeling of having way too much caffeine, but it doesn't even come close to what we are saying.
And when we feel...when we experience the world around us...
We look at a painting and can graft it directly to our soul.
We listen to music and it becomes us, we can let it wash over our deepest areas of our mind and spirit.
Even when we taste a perfectly prepared dish, it can be a spiritual experience of sorts.
And when we love, we love deeper, longer, stronger than any other human being. Consumed in passion, we illuminate our world with the fire of our calenture.
And words, words fail.
But, aside from the dark parts, which are truly terrible when they come, I'm still not convinced that all this is a bad thing. Some of us, actually a significant portion of us, find the high manic side intoxicating and addictive. I have heard so many speak of it with more desire than they would of the closest lover. Yet, like so many beautiful things, we have to keep it at a distance lest we are burned.
Because I will still be able to see with my heart, and that is a great treasure indeed.
You have dreamed too well, O wise archdreamer, for you have drawn dream's gods away from the world of all men's vision to that which is wholly yours,...