Operators and Things: the inner life of a schizophrenic

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Psychedelic memoir of the healing power of schizophrenic hallucinations in the 1950s
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Review by: Nepomuk Onderdonk on May 14, 2012 : (no rating)
This is the rich material outlining an amazing case, with full recall of the logic entertained during the six-month-long psychosis, integrated and interspersed with original and penetrating theories on her own case, arranged in a masterful and literary way.

The case that "Something" is actually just the "unconscious mind" of the individual, with "attachments" that "extend" into other minds and can interfere with the operation of physical gambling machines in Vegas, was not convincing enough for me, but I found that I could entertain my own psychoses, overlaid neatly over the ones in the book, quite easily, partly as a result of the great writing and presentation style, which kept the interesting constellation of ideas well organized and clearly arranged.

And though written clearly from the point of view of a gratefully-recovered patient, the total recall of the depths of the psychosis was vivid and compelling enough to have me, at one point in the narrative, wanting to go out and get myself a copy of "Field & Stream" magazine and to walk around with it in full view, so that the Operators would think I'm an Operator and not just a Thing.

Outside of the heat of the material itself, this is a great essay with turns of phrases and colorful ideation throughout. The oddest phrase of all may have stuck with me the deepest, out of all the other phrases in the book; our hero was, for six months, a "pixie in a garret".

-Nepomuk Onderdonk, "Wagging my Redshift Tail, A Philosophy of Madness"
(review of free book)

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