Leonardo, Romancia and Ra

£5.00

A Literary Sonata
By Michael Black

ISBN: 978-1-84747-822-1
Published: 2009
Pages: 91
Key Themes: autobiography, spirituality, art history, love


ALSO AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK

Description

Leonardo, Romancia and Ra is a book of extended visions and waking dreams. It continues where my previous book, Angels, Cleopatra and Psychosis, came to an end. But whereas Angels, Cleopatra and Psychosis is sometimes nightmare-ish in its psychiatric settings, Leonardo, Romancia And Ra is more romantic, featuring the soul of romance herself, the spirit Romancia.

In the central chapter of the book I accompany Romancia to Paris for a ten day holiday, and art history is discussed as the story of the French revolution and French romantic art are both revealed.

The spirits of Leonardo and Michelangelo make appearances in the book, as they did in Angels, Cleopatra and Psychosis, and so do two new spirits, the French romantic painters Géricault and Delacroix, best of friends, and guardians of Parisian revolutionary integrity. At the end of the Parisian holiday, Romancia vanishes to become the wind of love, whilst I return to England where I have a confrontation with the ancient Egyptian sun god Ra.

About the Author

Michael Black was born in 1962, and Leonardo, Romancia And Ra describes his life and spiritual experiences within the British mental health system over the past fifteen years. Like its predecessor, Angels, Cleopatra And Psychosis (also published by Chipmunka), the book stands up for the legitimacy of so-called psychotic experience, and questions the validity of the received medical model.

Michael grew up in Cheshire, where he attended Wilmslow Grammar School before doing an English and History degree at York University. He then completed a doctorate in anti-apartheid literature at Cambridge University, whilst variously working as a journalist and theatre producer.

Michael is the author of one novel, Crossing Out The Emperor, and six stage plays, all of which can be viewed at his website www.mwblack.co.uk. He has received three Arts Council Playwrights Bursaries, and is currently working on a new stage play and two film scripts.

Further details about him can be found at www.myspace.com/mwblack.

The publication of Leonardo, Romancia And Ra is supported by Macclesfield Mind.

Book Extract

To an artist, whether the earth moves round the sun or vice-versa is a matter of supreme indifference, whereas to a scientist of course it is crucial. So long as the sun comes up in the morning, I don’t care about the reasons why, whereas a scientist does. And scientists rule the world, not artists, which is why arts budgets are so tiny next to those the scientific community can get their hands on. Except it’s not that simple. Ultimately, you can’t prove what is good art or bad art except by long established consensus, but then can you ever prove what is good science? Will we still believe in Einstein in fifty years time? Many scientific discoveries have actually (although this is seldom pointed out) discredited previous science in the process, and yet our faith in science apparently still grows!

This is particularly true of medical science, and for the Hippocratic oath, simply read “most people are cowards and afraid of dying” in my opinion. In that sense, the NHS has been a disaster, because medical science can now technically keep virtually anyone alive almost indefinitely. And at vast expense! However, whilst you can’t deny the technical skill behind an open-heart operation, you can question the technical and diagnostic skills of the average psychiatrist, psychiatry being a false science that has somehow piggybacked its way to respectability using the triumph of science as its disguise. The average psychiatrist is simply a medic who has done a psychiatry conversion course at the end of their degree, and it sucks. Modern psychiatry does not make sense, and physical and mental ailments are two entirely different things that should never have been confused in the first place. In other words, the medical profession have no right to own the subject of madness at all, and in essence, they don’t know what they are talking about. Modern psychiatry exists only to zombify the apparently abnormal, and act as the ultimate agent of social control. As Thomas Szasz once put it, “deviant behaviour is freedom of choice”, but psychiatrists don’t see it that way. Psychiatrists are the key holders of mental hospitals, and mental hospitals exist in so-called democracies to ensure that conviction without trial still exists via the back door. Psychiatrists are the thought police.

Further, the average psychiatrist has no interest or empathy with the so-called “psychotic” or spiritual experiences of the patient, and simply uses drugs to obliterate them, whether the patient becomes a zombie in the process or otherwise. Rocket science modern psychiatry is not, it’s a scientific joke. But it’s also a joke with a vast financial turnover, and the NHS psychiatric drugs bill must be vast as well.

I’d reached this point in my thinking by about 1998, which is also the time I moved out of my mother’s house to live on my own in Macclesfield. And it’s also the time when Dr. Chung my GP wrote to my psychiatrist questioning the diagnosis of schizophrenia (so I’ve not only had four mental health diagnoses, the medical profession has also said there’s nothing wrong with me as well!). And as I recount in Angels, Cleopatra And Psychosis I was on Clozaril from 1995 to 2001, which I describe as a “dream to be on”. This needs qualifying. It was only a dream to be on relative to being on Clopixol previously! I’d still much rather have been on nothing at all!

On Clozaril I was stable, and I had minimum contact with the mental health world 1995 to 2001. I even managed to return to writing in 1998 (I am a writer through and through, but I actually met a psychiatrist in York who told my mother that writing had “damaged me”!), but of spirit worlds I knew nothing, and had no contact with Leonardo and Michelangelo between 1994 and 2001 at all. I deduce from this that Clozaril obliterated my spiritual receptivity, and it was only when the dose was reduced around the year 2000 that at least some of my spiritual receptivity returned and I met Leonardo and Michelangelo again during the summer of 2001.

I met them again when I was on Adelphi ward. You might say that this proves I only met the delusion of them because I’d gone mad again, but I radically disagree. That summer I was diagnosed as clinically high, and I had a great time relaxing in the Adelphi ward courtyard in the summer sun, but that’s it. Psychotic I was not. And I would argue I wasn’t clinically high at all, I was just artistically inspired. “Is it mental illness or is it artistic inspiration?”, I once said to Dr. J.S. Bowie, to which he replied “I will decide”. But then he was the scientist and I was the artist. Excuse me, Dr. Bowie, but I am the one who will decide! I know far more about these things than you do! There were good reasons for me to be high in the summer of 2001 after all. I’d started thinking about my Dora Maar play, I’d started to think about what would become Stealing Heaven From God. I was filling up notebooks one after the other. Life in many ways was good!


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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 09 January, 2009.