atheoryof.me: Schizophrenia, God, and My Life in Political Strife

Today I’m happy to release my memoir.  I really never expected this day to come and I was surprised that I felt called to make it happen.  I have lived an interesting life and it is no ordinary memoir. Available on kindle (reader, tablet, and phone)at atheoryof.me: a memoir.  And follow me on twitter: @caseysschroeder.  I hope you enjoy.

“God came into my life literally two months ago and boy did it hurt. I don’t believe all that crap about God carrying us our whole lives and we just don’t realize it till we’re older. Sure, I knew he/she/it was hanging around, but I didn’t let him in. I fought tooth and nail not to let him in. And you know what, I don’t regret that either. I don’t think you’re really human if you don’t fight him. I mean that. And oddly enough, I wouldn’t have the confidence to say that if he hadn’t come into my life. I mean that too. But now that he’s in my life, I have to say, I think he is kind of nuts. I mean, he wants me to write a memoir. A memoir entails people and places and events and all I can see is a s**t storm of blowback Sure he’s not so stupid as to let me make a mess that he has to clean up alone. But still, the only thing I can take from this is that he thinks the whole world is such a mess anyhow that we have to try something. So I guess that’s what I’m here to do. Why not?

I have to assume that I am pretty dense. I’m not very big after all, but everywhere I go, I seem to warp the field around me. There are any number in perpetual fall about me at any time, and when I show up, they bump into others as though they do not know where they are going. Sometimes I cause an inexplicable pull and when they arrive, they are a bit distorted and can’t communicate much at all. Other times they plot a course to come in for a landing and attempt to take me off course with them as they leave. Then there are those that appear right up close, by means that I can’t quite discern, and I’m pretty careful, but sometimes I let them stay, for better or for worse. For a while though, I think I had a reputation for being too dense. That anything that got too close would be sucked under into oblivion. That happened more than once actually, and it is the worst. I guess I had to lighten up.

This is a theory of me.”

Just a Timely Observation

When you know a lot about a person, there is at least two ways you can approach them.  The first is as a human.  Compliment them on their positive qualities; compliment them on their good ideas and good actions; try to help them where they are failing, both in action and in principle; help them to help themselves with what they have to offer and by correcting where they are failing.

The second approach is to ask how a person may be used (exploited?); how can we take (steal?) from a person as much as we can while paying as little as possible; how a person can be made (coerced?) to agree; how can a person be made a non-factor by playing them against others or by stripping them of wealth, credibility, relationships, etc.

It goes without saying that a capitalism without ethics lends itself to the second approach, and breeds a species of men which are sad at best; but it must also be remembered that we cannot legislate ethics – it must come from us as a people.

The Gunman’s Fallacy

In the battle for liberty there is not one enemy but two.  There is first the ignorant who think they are fighting an oppressive establishment with violence.  There is second, a class of the establishment more than willing to let the ignorant carry out their violence in the hope of future control.  At the front lines in this battle are the police.  They are the keepers of the peace, and a power structure which does not like an overarching oppressive establishment any more than the violent perpetrator.  It is not, of course, simply correct to say that the police and the violent perpetrator are on the same side, only that if the violent perpetrator were not also ignorant, then they would see that the police are not on the side of oppression, and serve as protector of the common man’s liberties in the face of others who wish to strip them.

A Quiet Disdain

The violence that makes it to the headlines is what gets people’s attention.  It is the kind of thing which sells us on psychopaths and a solely black/white divide.  But to anyone who has faced it in their community or abroad, a quiet disdain – the ice and not the fire – is the far more prevalent atrocity and more atrocious when it is systematic.  This is not something faced by one type of person and not another – and it is a greater difficulty when one is very much isolated, even should they have faith.

Gun Control

There are no provisions in the constitution for attaining a warhead.  Yet we allow people to attain automatic weapons – legally – which can do the same damage to human life in a short period of time as a warhead.  We have a constitutional right to bear arms, but there is no constitutional right to human destruction.  The notion of a slippery slope applies equally in the other direction and if one has to choose, they should choose peace over mutual destruction in the name of ideological self-defense.  It is just not that difficult to realize that legislation against automatic weapons is not only appropriate but necessary.

Islam and Homosexuality

Homosexuality is a victimless crime, if it were a crime at all.  As such no self-respecting libertarian would consider making it a crime.  Additionally, homosexuals are a fact of life.  There are people who prefer the company of their own sex for sex.  So the short answer to anyone who does not like homosexuality is: deal with it.  The long answer is that we should welcome the day when we ask someone of their sexual orientation and they respond with an answer which we believe and have no reason to doubt – and have no real interest in unless we ourselves are sexually interested or know someone who might be.  Not only is this a reprieve from deception, but it would give those who wish to manipulate with what-does-not-matter-in-the-first-place less ammunition.  It is a sad fact that although the western world is largely able to see the progress in this direction, the eastern world does not.  The eastern world, at least as represented by the Arabic countries, largely allow for – if not dictate – the persecution of people based on their sexual orientation.

I have been a long time supporter of Islamic Americans.  They have quite clearly drawn the short end of the stick.  But there is a fact of intolerance in antiquated Sharia law which the Arabic countries must overcome in their quest to catch up to the western world.  And it should be said that despite the intolerance, there is this ambition.  The Islamic world has been trying to catch up and we should not hesitate to help them, but they remain woefully behind if this map from the Washington Post has any credibility.

But therein, too, is the problem.  The Washington Post does a lot to overemphasize the importance of homosexuality to the Islamic world.  They say nothing of the actual convictions for homosexual behavior and instead are inciting the flames against Islam at a very critical moment.  The shooting on Sunday of this week cannot be thought of anything but the worst of intolerance, but we cannot let the shooter himself speak for Islam – doing so stinks of the very kind of manipulation which the US is being accused of overseas.

The Narrative Of Dontre Hamilton

Dontre Hamilton was a Schizophrenic black man.  A Starbucks employee contacted police, presumably for his aberrant – a.k.a. ‘mentally ill’ – behavior  when he was trying to take a nap in the park.  The first pair of cops to arrive on the scene thought he was not a threat and just wanted a nap.  When officer Manney arrived to the scene – a situation which he apparently didn’t know had already been covered by different officers earlier – he antagonized Mr. Hamilton.  Officer Manney eventually caused a situation by striking Mr. Hamilton and entering close quarters combat – only to lose and subsequently pull his trump card, the gun… shooting Mr. Hamilton an unbelievable fourteen times.

This is not a matter for party politics.  Democrats – much less Socialists, much less Communists – do not own the high ground on this matter and neither does the Right.  This is matter of basic decency and understanding of the existence and legitimacy of people not like ourselves.  However, I did attend and spoke up at a forum on gun control, where Hilary Clinton was the lead figure.  I reminded the crowd that Mr. Hamilton was Schizophrenic in addition to being a black man.  It is fair so say that Mr. Hamilton’s being black and his being Schizophrenic, may have both contributed to the bias which officer Manney brought to the situation and led to the escalation which could have so easily been avoided.  But it should not be lost among the wave of ‘Black Lives Matter’ that Mr. Hamilton was Schizophrenic, and the Starbucks employee was likely not a racist.  Among all the torrential political spin, it must be said that Mr. Hamilton’s Schizophrenia was part – even the most prominent part – of what led to the injustice of his being shot.  14 times.

I suffer from mental illness and though with age and understanding it has become easier to deal with, it is quite clear from my own experience that the mentally ill are and will remain under greater scrutiny by law enforcement and homeland security.  At the forum I said that what the mentally ill need most is hope and opportunity in the face of what can feel like persecution.  In exchange for this scrutiny and infringement of liberties – and subsequent undue social resistance among the general public – they deserve the chance, with time, healing, and understanding, to be heard.  In addition to efforts to stop mental illness altogether, this is the least we can do for those who have suffered and endured without causing social harm themselves.

At the forum I also insisted that the mentally ill should not own guns, as it only puts the mentally ill in a more difficult situation should there ever be an incident.  But the case of Dontre Hamilton shows that officers of the law too must do their part to make it clear that the mentally ill do not need them.

The Galaxy Maker’s Daughter

“Dad, what do you do behind there?”
“Where?”
“There, the curtain”
“Yes, I am there a lot, I know.”
“And always, always working.  What for?”
“For us.”
“For us?  Then why can’t I see?”
“It is not ready.”
“Will it ever be ready?”
“Yes I know, it always takes me a long time, too long.”
“I have never seen anything you’ve done.”
“No?”
“No.”
“I don’t believe this is true.”
“It is.”
“No it isn’t.  Actually, I could show you, but I don’t know that you are ready.”
“I am, I am!”
“We all think that before we see it – and then we see it and we are not prepared.”
“What do I have to do to be ready?”
“You must practice.”
“What?”
“Being prepared.”
“How could I possibly do that?”
“Do you remember the story I told about the fairy?”
“That fairy doesn’t exist, that was a lie.”
“That was a story, but that too was practice.”
“For what?”
“Well, I can’t tell you, you must just practice – but maybe you are already prepared, nothing surprises me       anymore.”
“Ok, this sounds like hog wash.”
“Fair, but it is not.  It is practice.”
“Just show me what’s behind the curtain!”
“Fine.”
He withdrew the curtain.
“Whoa… What is that?”
“This is a galaxy.”
“Yes, I know that too – but you built it?”
“Yes.”
“But you didn’t build it – that would make you God.”
“I am not God.  There is a God, but She did not build this.  It is far too crude.”
“But how?”
“Ingenuity.”
“I don’t know what that means, but I still don’t believe you.  You built a galaxy?”
“I did.”
“It’s not real.”
“No?”
“No.  You can’t just build a real galaxy.”
“Do you want to visit it.”
“Sure.”
“This is no joke.  You must think about this.  Do you really want to leave our galaxy and visit this one.          You must be strong in your conviction.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“Yes.”
“Yes!?  Why did you do that?”
“Because I had no choice – it is real.”
“Ugh.  None of this makes sense.  How can this be real and be a new galaxy you made?”
“Like the morning star is the evening star…”
“Again, I have no idea what you’re saying, but if this galaxy is our galaxy, then you did not make it.”
“Semantics, Semantics…”
“Stop using big words!  One day I will know all these big words and know what you are saying!”
“I must remember that, it is true.”
“If it is our galaxy, why did you have to build it?”
“Because I hope it is a better than the old one.”
“So are you going to let me visit your galaxy?  Cause if it is our galaxy, then I am not scared.”
“No.  Now I know you need more practice.”
“Ugh!  Let me go!”
The girl took a big leap into the galaxy.

You are but a girl, by thoughts besieged
from hopes and fears which by turn breathe,
your breaths for you, as you devine,
a passage through this galaxy of mine.

You took a trip, innocent enough,
but you could not see just how rough,
the going would be, all alone,
without a map, a prayer, or a poem.

Who will say what scripture to read?
It is but from the hand that feeds,
and if this accident should so decide,
keep the mind open to other guides.

Let this be but one my dear,
though it will not stop the fear.
The fear you must conquer before it abates,
there is only through, let’s hope that’s your fate.

And so I give my perhaps strange advice,
that a heaven may come and you get your slice.
The world is complex, that’s not my fault,
but my guidance simple, so take it with salt.

The lives we lead are not always our own,
the tide does come and rattles the bone.
Should you make it, I’d be proud,
for there are dangers behind the shroud.

As you see them, they will come;
rampage and riots and drugs bar none,
murder, disease, hatred and gore,
noise and noise and too much war.

And to keep your head, that is a quest,
despite gestalt, slander, and jest.
Learn who you are, and don’t forget,
or doing other’s bidding is your bet.

There is in this galaxy a struggle anon,
so that what is good shall never be gone,
of rationalists and empiricists, of left and right,
of liberals and conservatives, who always fight.

If I should, and I guess I must dare,
to say it is a fight over methods is fair.
And it will forever be hard to concede,
that a life was lived and only for the deed.

And for this reason, should you endure –
after the great fight, should you prove pure –
there will be for you an opportunity to take;
and we will allow you a galaxy to make.

She came back.
“Well?”
“Whoa..”
“Would you wish to live there?”
She was still stunned.
“Most choose one galaxy in which to create their own galaxies”
“I have seen your galaxy…”
“I know it is a bit rough, but there was a lot we had to account for.”
“I have seen your galaxy and it is crazy…  Can I wait for something better?”
He sighed.  Put his chin on his fist.  Thought and thought and said… “Yes”
And so the girl waited… until the next option was available.
She approached it in wonder, but not without trepidation.
And here, she wrote stories of her own.