Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Havoc Pork

Sometimes, when a patient settles in for his first visit, the therapist thinks, "This one will take time. This one will take some digging." Reaching into the depths of an unfamiliar psyche can be arduous, tedious, frustrating.

And so, the search for clues begins immediately, automatically, the result of years of training and experience. Has the patient dressed down? Dressed up? Dressed to impress? Does she check her watch, her hair, her make-up? What can be read in the literature of his posture, his hands, the way his eyes follow you, or don't? Can her secrets be seen in a gaze that meets yours with confidence, or in one that flees from scrutiny?

Fortunately, some patients are simple. Such is the case with Havoc Pork, or for confidentiality's sake, H.P. For H.P.'s particular problems are brazenly superficial. Like florid tattoos, like neon, H.P.'s symptoms present themselves instantly to even the most unobservant observer.

Two contradictory propositions: havoc above, and happiness below. How can we account for this apparent impossibility, the coexistence of joy with devastation? What bridges the two and renders the impossible possible?

You don't need a clinician's eye to see it.

The solution, the answer to H.P.'s paradox, is a crushing and willful ignorance. He has resolved to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Only by deliberately ignoring his situation—and by refusing to speak out against it—can he maintain the oblivion upon which his version of happiness is based. This is a delusion paid for dearly, for the price is his mental integrity. Indeed, his very life is bargained away.

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