18 September 2008

Letter 3.38

(Between Wat Suan Moke and the Sooke hills Bob and I winged our dispatches about Worthy Bores, after he started to see if he could get the head bone atleast not connected to the butt-bone -- though perhaps it ended up that way on purpose, and consequently most of the correspondence would be incomprehensible to anybody who hadn't read half a dozen drafts over 15 years of an unpublished novel -- among whom was, perhaps, neither of the co-authors. Nonetheless some of the shop talk is amusing, even if incomprehensible, so I've included snippets of it for my own perverse pleasure, -- Hūm)

Thailand feels like the end of a long trek from Indonesia: no more borders to cross for a while. There's a very deja vu feeling to the whole trip, since it touches in so many ways upon that trip in '66. Yossarian was also involved in going around twice. Bangkok, however, offers a totally different contrast than Calcutta: there the overriding factor was the contrast between the wealthy few -- the old elite and the nouveau riche -- with their highrises and edifices -- and the utter poverty and squalidness of millions of lives, and the inescapable awareness of the wretchedness that could be, that was... here the contrast is between the quietness of the forest places and the feeling of the city temples (noisy, but always a relief from the wretched traffic noises and fumes of these clogged streets) and on the other hand the utter accessibility of means of gratifying any of the sensual pleasures. Abstinence and indulgence. Abstinence -- a withered and sere old crone. Indulgence -- a seductive young wench if ever there was one. Why do I keep entertaining this notion for the ugly one? There must be something perverse in my nature.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll wander over the P.O. and see if there are any Bones there for me. If there be and they don't slap me with death duties or bust me for grave robbing, I intend to spirit 'em someplace I can set for a spell to gnaw on 'em. I've just noticed my handwriting. If it keeps getting smaller as I near the end of the page it will eventually become illegible, but that won't matter for I would never get to the bottom of the page, where this letter will end.


Consider the extraordinary implications of this statement, made by one of the world's foremost authorities on schizophrenia:

'The ability to pretend, or to lie, is a good prognostic sign. Delusional life is reality for a patient, not pretension. When he is questioned about his delusions, he cannot deny them or lie about their existence, even when he knows that admitting them will have an unfavorable result, such as the rejection of his demand for discharge from the hospital. He cannot lie or pretend because he cannot shift to an imaginary assumption. (Schizophrenics treated even with moderate amounts of tranquilizers often reacquire the ability to lie.) The denial of delusions, which are so real to him, reacquire a power to abstract or to shift to a set of facts that from his point of view are unreal. At times, when he knows that admitting his truth would mean being kept in the hospital, he will try to be as evasive and defensive as possible, but he will not actually lie. When the patient is able to lie about his delusions, he is in the process of recovery. He will not have to lie for a long time, because the delusions will soon disappear...'


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