Mixing the Complex Colour That We Are LO25636

From: ACampnona@aol.com
Date: 11/14/00

Dear Learners.

This could be called a cut and paste...but I'd call it a collage. If you
have ever seen the Matisse 'cut out' in the Tate Gallery, London you might
call it a 'cut and paste', I would call it a 'collage' and Matisse called
it 'L'escargot' (Snail)

"Long ago, in 1949, when psychiatrists still believed in lobotomy, I was a
new member of the staff of the Veteran Administration Mental Hospital at
Palo Alto. One day one of the residents called me aside to see the
blackboard in our largest classroom. A lobotomy meeting had been held
there that afternoon and the black board was still unerased.
This was thirty years ago, of course, and nothing of the sort could happen
today, but in those days lobotomy meetings were great social occasions.
Everybody, who had anything to do with the case turned up - doctor,
nurses, social workers, psychologists, and so on. Perhaps thirty or forty
people were there, including the five-man 'Lobotomy Committee,' under the
chairmanship of an outside examiner, a distinguished psychiatrist from
another hospital. When all the tests and reports had been presented, the
patient was brought in to be interviewed by the outside examiner.
The examiner gave the patient a piece of chalk and told him, 'Draw the figure
of a man.' The patient went obediently to the blackboard and wrote: DRAW THE
The examiner said, 'Don't write it. Draw it.' And again the patient wrote:
The examiner said, 'Oh, I give up.' This time the patient revised the
definition of the context, which he already used to assert a kind of freedom,
and wrote in large capital letters all across the blackboard:
I believe it to be the case that, as we climb the ladder of sophistication
from youth to age, from innocence to experience or in general, from one rung
of the ladder of logical typing to another, we necessarily encounter the
sorts of complexity exemplified by the mystic, the schizophrenic, and the
poet." (Bateson, Bateson, 1987: 173-4)

Working as a resident in psychiatry I was every day overwhelmed with the
complexity of patients. I had more and more questions and I was surprised
that the colleagues at the meetings were more interested to talk about
cars, sport, and politics than about the patients. The psychiatrists in
the hospital were playing the game "of course I know how to work with the
patients" with great persistency.

'They were the ones who knew.'

But Bateson's story conveyed to me a different message: the patients can
be more flexible than the psychiatrists, they can tolerate more confusion.
So I came to the conclusion: I can therefore learn from them how to be
more flexible."

-"As soon as I got out [from the asylum] into the park I got back all my
lucidity for work; I have more ideas in my head than I could ever carry
out, but without clouding my mind. The brushstrokes come like clockwork."
Letter, 630 May 1890, Vincent van Gogh


Andrew Campbell



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