A Flight of Ideas – High Art

My cheeks are red; like cuts of fresh beef.

This clarity of complexion is significant but I can’t locate its source.

The source of significance is always obscure, like the meaning of “High Art’.

Let us assume for a moment that ‘high art’ is art that makes no sense.

Let us also assume that high art is useless.

By virtue of assumption, we enter the realm of critic: one responsible for deciding what is high and who goes low.

They name what we haven’t.

Delusional grandiosity is the basis of all civilized discourse.

What we say is true, is true, because we say it is.

Thus, I poke my complexion and objectively call it clear, but can I
call it high?


(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

Broken

This post was first written and posted in November of 2014.

I was battling with the Kaiser Mental Health System and
struggling to understand what I needed to heal.

I got what I needed. Many people don’t.

 

1.
I’m in a strange frame of mind over this struggle with my health care provider.
It frightens me and the fear spills out everywhere.
I know that I have to file a grievance but the conflict over it is painful.
I look for someone or something else to blame; something not caused by a corrupt health care system that forces its patients to file grievances to get the treatment they need.
I keep thinking that I have survived this far because the part of my brain that isn’t damaged functions very well.
I have a mental health background that includes an understanding of psychodynamic psychotherapy.
I wonder how someone without this background and insight would manage an illness as confusing and destructive as Dissociative identity Disorder under the same circumstances.
The most insidious aspect of corruption is the way it insinuates itself into every day life.
It’s like a malignant spirit.
We feel sickness but we normalize it; especially, if the negative consequences seem incidental, petty or better, don’t seem to apply to us.
What happens to the mind of a man who sees the pain caused by our political and social corruption everywhere he looks?
Do other people see it too?
Does it make them feel crazy too?
And the corruption is arrogant.
It presumes weakness.
It presumes apathy.
It knows that people prefer to do nothing;
especially over things that seem small.
Like making us sign a form and mail it back to opt out of corporate data sharing.
Corruption corrupts everything, one small thing at a time.
It is insidious as it breaks our spirits and poisons our bodies.
But who am I?
I’m one of God’s nobodies.
I don’t do much of anything really,
I read, I write, I like to take pictures.
My passion in life is social justice and to that end I am still a bit of an activist.
I love the field of psychiatry though I don’t have a degree.
I have worked in that field as a paraprofessional and my greatest joy was to see people discover their humanity: the emotional insight of being worthy.
That feeling is important to people.
It is the food of the soul.
2.
When we speak of the spirit of the times, we speak of the passions of the people.
Like this picture that I found at the internet archives:


Freedom of Worship

As I understand the history of World War Two, the average person in the United States believed that he or she was fighting to preserve a way of life based on respect for independent thought and speech,  religious differences, basic economic security, and freedom from war.
In his January 1941 State of the Union Address President Franklin D. Roosevelt enumerated four essential freedoms for which we as a Nation stand and for which we will fight.
“The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.”
The inescapable fact is that in 1941 the nation went to war with human evil as it was expressed in Germany by the Nazis.
Two very different versions of civilization had emerged after World War 1 and they had to clash.
U.S propaganda focused on human rights:

Before The Idea of Government was Demonized

German  propaganda focused on fear:

Antisemitic propaganda

The first poster presents freedom from want and a degree of economic security as a measure of freedom.
The second poster focuses on freedom from reason.
It is the freedom to blame, scapegoat, steal, and murder.
It is a world without negative consequences for the “right” people.
It is a world in which the state can legalize murder and use assembly line technology as the weapon of choice.
It is a world of people who believe that what they pretend they don’t know makes them innocent.
3.
What is faith?
I ask myself this as I contemplate the grievance I have to file to get the treatment I need to make this pain go away.
Why don’t my treatment providers care that I’m in pain.
Why haven’t they studied this disorder and acted on its seriousness?
Why don’t they care that I must live in fear of myself as I use every skill I have to survive the increased fragmentation that is essential to getting well but is dangerous because of  the resistance and anger by some of my alternates?
Why do I have to do something as negative as file a grievance?
What am I “grieving”?
Maybe I’m grieving the time that I’m losing to my illness as I contemplate filing a grievance.
In the cynical version of history Roosevelt lied; cynics look at that generation of people and point to the racism, the homophobia, and they are right.
The people who followed a president into a war based on the premise of  the preservation of essential human rights were flawed.
But they tried.
Hope is what gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement.
The idea that we as a Nation of people will talk to each other and listen, and the idea we will use our economic system and government to realize a vision in which each of us benefits from the creative wonder of the human mind.
Good and evil is always right where we stand.
We cannot defeat evil but we can regulate it and be alert to its seductive power.
I suppose that what I cannot understand is why I feel as if I’m living in a world that refuses to even try.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2014 All Rights Reserved

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I Am That Child

I am that child who watched in horror
as a policeman shot and killed my
Father.

I am that child gunned down
at school; my last words were,
Help me! I don’t want to be here!”

I am that child tortured and beaten
and left in a field to die because
I am gay.

I am that child who listens
fearfully as a rich white lady
on TV says that my life does
not matter.

I am every child who has ever gone to
bed hungry

And cold

And homeless

And illiterate

And sick

Because of the evil of adults who know what
they do.

And If I grow up I will shit on your streets

And feed your prisons

And live as evidence of your contempt for life

And the human spirit

And your bestial need for more.

I am the battered face of your hate.

Look at me!

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
I Am the Battered Face of Your Hate

 

Poem and Image (c) Rob Goldstein 2016

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A Tribute to Kendall Person and The Neighborhood

An illustration made in Virtual Reality that depicts a male and a female avatar in formal attire dancing in a nighclub
An Illustration made in virtual reality.

My first post of 2017 is a tribute to Kendall Person and the healing power of community and collaboration.

Faith and a belief in one’s self worth is crucial to the recovery of someone with a serious mental health diagnosis.

I’ve discussed our cynical legal system that protects the rights of the mentally disabled by using our loss of judgement as an excuse to deny us treatment.

Truly integrating people with psychiatric disabilities into society means respecting us enough to grant us access to the resources we need to heal
and fulfill our lives as people.

To give us a chance to collaborate and contribute where we can.

In Kendall Person’s Neighborhood I was accepted and treated with respect
which restored my sense of self-worth as an artist.

The videos I’ve worked on with Kendall and The Neighborhood have both involved the use of Virtual Reality to make illustrations.

The first video I worked on with Kendall was about a couple named Jack and Belinda.

As Kendall envisioned them, Jack and Belinda had always loved each other but had never met.

An illustration made in Virtual Reality that depicts a male and a female avatar in casual attire dancing in a nighclub
The first incarnation of Jack and Belinda.

As the narrative evolved, Jack and Belinda are dead but Belinda doesn’t know.

An illustration made in Virtual Reality that depicts a male and a female avatar in formal attire dancing in a nighclub
Jack arrives to take Belinda up in a dance of ascension.

Jack arrives to take Belinda up in a dance of ascension.

I spent a week making textures and sets in virtual reality.

I shot hundreds of high-resolution stills of avatars in different costumes and skins as they danced and became Jack and Belinda.

I’d send Kendall a test video and he critiqued it.

We often disagreed, but learning how to intelligently argue a point of view is an essential life skill and crucial to successfully coping with a chronic mental illness.

People with mental illness often become passive out of fear of alienating friends and treatment providers.

I had never made a video and only did so because of Kendall’s faith me.

The result was a 1 minute video called Jack and Belinda, the Ascension.

A couple of weeks ago Kendall asked me to give a short statement for
December’s closing performance, a one night only live-stream on Facebook.

My contribution was a short video in which I describe how I evolved a
healthier sense of self by describing the work I did with Kendall.

Imagine the power of living in a community of equals who nurture the
best in each other.

For the video below I went back to the raw shoots and chose the shots I considered the best as illustrations.

RG 2016

Jack and Belinda created by Kendall Person
Photography and video by Rob Goldstein
(c) 2016
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