The introduction, and the link to the text…
La vie est âpre, mais belle/Life is harsh, but beautiful. A.K. (a friend)
It seems that most humans are still very much excited to exchange thrills with each other (the best translation for the French “frisson”?). Is that enough to keep us going further, from image to image, or artwork to artwork? Could all cultural production stand at a standstill, just for a while? Maybe only then will we, as Cocteau pleaded for mirrors to do, finally have a chance for a little reflection?
The following short text – which characteristically seems to inspire no response – was written after my brain surgery and the loss of my mother, both of which are not mentioned in the text and totally irrelevant to it. To pay attention to this would be a reductionist way to avoid the content of the text. Life is not digestible, so why lie through writing and why lie to each other?
Yes indeed, the text may appear nihilistic, but as all die, that perspective is neither positive nor negative, just a form of realism…
More to the point, tabula rasa was something I grew up with: I was born a Jew in post-war Europe. My non-existent grandparents had not survived the Shoah. Whether praising peace or culture, all speeches seemed greatly farcical. My father who had fought in a Communist Resistance unit in France (cf. “L’Affiche Rouge”) died around May 68. Most of those who remember that period recall a celebration of freedom, but for me it was also the shock of witnessing the unfurled violence of the status quo – comparable to the military apparatus displayed around any presidential debate in the US.
Fortunately, I was not alone in perceiving most of the pretense around me. I was reading A.S. Neill, Reich and Artaud, Daumal, Michaux, Debord. Later Beckett, Porchia, and U. G. Krishnamurti (not the famous one) verified my perception of the surrounding vacuum.
Can insights be transmitted? Probably another delusion like the one that, through some kind of social pressure, has me explain myself and alert others.
I distrust words, I would have preferred not to speak, and a movie like L’Amour à Mort/Love Unto Death by Alain Resnais would point in the right direction.
For those who won’t find that film easily, I have to resort to the text below.
When asked to contribute to a 2010 conference on Media Literacy, I decided to address the topic of Cultural Literacy…
Stuff – Les Trucs Machins
Such a life-changing experience leaves traces. Most concepts become just “stuff.”
Reminds me of the joke about those five Jews:
Everything is one (Abraham). Everything is love (Jesus-Christ). Everything is economics (Karl Marx). Everything is sex (Sigmund Freud).
Everything is relative (Albert Einstein)
Un branle-bas de cette nature change tout et laisse des traces. La plupart des concepts apparaissent comme des “trucs machins.”
Ça me rappelle la blague des cinq Juifs:
Tout es un (Abraham). Tout est amour (Jésus-Christ). Tout est économique (Karl Marx). Tout est sexuel (Sigmund Freud). Tout est relatif (Albert Einstein).
Common Era/Safety, Faith and Hope in Numbers ©Marton 2011
Creative Juices 2012 ©Marton 2012
Done for a couple of presentations around The Holocaust in 1,000 Years.
(done “after” my surgery)
The Living & The Dead ©Marton 2009
I speak of this elsewhere, but it was clear from the ICU on that what was considered normal was a complete aberration. Being surrounded in rehab by many brain surgery survivors who could only mutter vague sounds to express themselves, regular activities like speaking, holding a pen or defecating have to be considered miracles, amazing victories!
Nothing can be taken for granted.
We are born disabled, and most of our lives are probably disabled in one way or another (but deny it)… and we will most likely die disabled.
Another one of those “beams in the eye” – so prevalent it is one more omnipresent blind spot.
With life having slowed down in a major way – did I know whether I would EVER leave ICU, “eternity” appears like a daily occurrence.
A particular bird’s-eye view cannot be avoided – all of the tohu-bohu of daily activity, whether it is the curtains that are drawn across the way in the ICU (I assume from the movement of people that someone has just died), or on the other hand, their busyness, people can easily be summarized in this way:
- The Dead
- The Living
- The Kind
- The Unkind
People Simplified ©Marton 2012
After my brain hemorrhage, I looked for websites to guide me along. Short of that rare meeting when I could compare notes with another survivor, there was no place on the web to consult. So… Brain Bleed!
To summarize, I went from “hell” (how inadequate a word!) through “wild rides” to a present and constant knowledge of what I call “the arrogance of normalcy” – in other words like with many other disabilities, I am not “normal” but most people are unaware of that.
So while I am neither a doctor nor a health professional (PLEASE do consult them if you are looking for more than just support – this blog nor its participants are liable for any misinformation), I am starting this site because “someone needs to do this.” This site may re-appear in a different format at a later point.
As the creator of “Brain Bleed” I reserve the right to edit or block any contribution/contributor that I deem not to be contributing to a supportive environment. Disagreement is allowed but, please no flaming, rants or insults. Yes there is uneven care out there but this is not the place to bad-mouth any medical staff.
Below is a mind map I created that may guide me along as I create, time permitting, the various categories to help us all navigate better this rough terrain.
Brain Bleed/Hemorrhage Mind Map ©Marton 2011
Please feel free to comment so I can tweak the mind-map to reflect the community of brain bleed survivors.