Today I was inspired by listening to Russell Brand’s #UnderTheSkin Podcast interview with Prof Kehinde Andrews entitled ‘Black Revolution and Whiteness Psychosis’, to think more deeply about a message I received during the epiphanic phase of my own awakening. I was given the message that;
‘Mental Illness’ does not exist; Insanity is real Sanity.
Ever since then I have been trying to fathom out what this actually means.
Today another penny dropped after listening to Russell and Kehinde, in relation to some personal processing I’ve been doing this week. Last week I made a very clumsy comment during a live Q+A session about the #EmergingProud film, which indirectly caused offence. For a moment (or a few hours afterwards actually), I found myself slipping into a familiar spiral of guilt and shame about how my naivety may have caused me to unintentionally come across as racist, until I stopped myself and realised that I needed to walk my talk and seek the opportunity to be gained from my pain of this experience.
I had been questioned about the premise of the #Emerging Proud campaign and explained that my intention was to create a new Human Rights movement; similar to the black and gay rights movements, only for how we perceive mental distress and altered states of consciousness.
It was mentioned that my film was not reflective of the disproportionate representation of black people who end up in psychiatric detention in the West. This is very true, and has made me reflect on my own inherent prejudice just through seeing things through my very privileged white western lens. Maybe I had unconsciously avoided looking at these issues as they were easier for me to ignore as a white woman? As I listened to Kehinde talk about ‘Whiteness psychosis’ I was feeling a bit triggered, until I realised that he was right.
I’ve recently had many a discussion and thought about how working within the Western bio-medical model dominant system causes huge cognitive dissonance (and ironically perpetuates the very thing it’s trying to improve; human suffering) for Workers with Lived Experience of mental distress.
So, what if we take that concept and magnify it out?
Kehinde was talking about the dissonance caused for himself by promoting an anti- Western capitalism paradigm shift, whilst working within the capitalist education system; how his values are diametrically opposed to his behaviour, also paradoxically perpetuated by the system that he relies upon to survive and pay his bills and care for his family.
This is the very dialogue which is very prevalent for me at the moment; how is it possible to ‘Mend the Gap’ between honouring my personal calling, and needing to earn enough money to survive within the paradigm we ultimately want to change?
Has the Western world created the idea of psychosis and indeed any ‘mental illness’ being insanity as a way of denying our collective capitalist shadow, which actually prevents our evolution, the very thing we are striving for? Have we objectified our collective pain, shame and guilt from the genocide caused by creating the patriarchal society we live in, as a way of avoiding having to look at what we need to change?
When we ‘wake up’ and experience the internal discord that this realisation creates, is there any wonder that One can lose their mind? Is so called madness really true sanity in this case?
When we awaken to our spiritual Self, we feel connected to the illogical nature of the pain and the suffering of the world and it can become unbearable. As more people awaken, the suicide and homeless rates are increasing as people feel the weight of this collective shadow.
An internal split is created between our ‘true’ spiritual identity, and the human identity which we’ve created to fit into the constructs and pressures of the current materialist paradigm, and systems that we’ve created within it.
Integrating these polarised identities is the biggest challenge of spiritual awakening, and if that could be acknowledged within our society, then perhaps more people could more easily live their calling, which is always ultimately to create a fairer, more compassionate world.
This is why we need another Human Rights movement for those ‘awakening’ to this insanity, the REAL insanity.
What is the answer?
Russell and Kehinde didn’t have the answer so I’m hardly likely to.
However, for a start, rather than shunning those who are waking up to this split within our society and themselves, such as those we’ve labelled as ‘crazy’, suicidal or homeless, perhaps we should see them as holding vital answers; perhaps we should be prioritising the nurturing of these sensitive souls who often take themselves outside of our cultural norms because they find it just too painful to be a part of, rather than prioritising the augmentation of the capitalist society that is ultimately killing all of us.
We need to re- prioritise what we’re honouring within our current political, educational and health systems and recognise the importance of spiritual over economic practices; the practices that can assist us to connect us to ourselves and each other. This is not ‘woo- woo’, ‘wafty’ or unnecessary. Practices that make us go inwards to recognise our own pain and our collective pain, that brings us closer to our individual calling, and ultimately a paradigm shift. We need a mass honouring of our ‘humanness’. Ultimately we are all a microcosm of the collective; if each and every person were given the tools and resources we need to take care of our own healing, then the world would be healed one person at a time.
For any oppressed group to be heard, we have to shine a light on these issues and provide a platform for these narratives to occur.
We need to shine a much brighter light on the relationship between trauma and awakening; the seemingly very logical nature of how extreme someone’s awakening experience is in its manifestation in relation to how much trauma they have experienced in their life, or even, if we look at the bigger socio, economic and political picture, their whole ancestral history… But that is an additional discussion.
Maybe we need to start a Human Rights movement for the wisdom contained in ‘insanity’; Is madness the real sanity pushing us towards a very necessary anthropological shift for the survival of our species?
Kehinde talked about a pan- Africanism revolution, I think we need to go for broke and aim for a pan-humanism revolution.