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June 15, 1972 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1972-06-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Probing inside a mental
hospital's bureaucracy
By JOE SCHECHTER
LET'S TAKE a look inside the realm of a mental institution in
our state. The hospital environment is segmented, consisting of
two adjoining lengthy corridors.
A dingy recreation room with a ruptured pool table and a
barely audible record player is at the end of one hall. At the
other end of the passageway is the main day room and coffee
shop, where patients are cramped together, watch television,
play games and nourish themselves.
Providing the patients perform their tedious tasks, privileges
are granted to them - music and occupational therapy, recrea-
tion and bus rides to the nearby city.
Within the institution, there is a permeating occupational hier-
archy of doctors, nurses and attendants-who often demonstrate
a regrettable lack of mental and emotional support for their
patients.
The medical practitioners engage in a surpriisng amount of
pencil work and interaction with colleagues, writing diagnoses of
patients' conditions. Patients frequently complain that the doctors
don't place themselves right down right where the action is-with
the patients' mental problems - often enough.
EVENTUALLY, THE patients do have appointments with their
psychiatrists - but not always with success.
One girl was suffering from a deep psychological depression.
Her doctor thought that she no longer needed hospitalization. A
week later she leaped off the Campus Inn.
Another patient said he was lacking his usual strong hetero-
sexual drive; he believed it was because of some traumatic event.
In therapy he mentioned a dream of having intercourse with his
sister. In reply, his analyst indirectly mentioned homosexuality.
Anger surged within the boy and he struck his doctor.
The next day another analyst asked the confused boy if he
experienced any sexual arousal being elevated - climbing stairs or
riding in an elevator.
Whether or not the doctor's suppositions were accurate, to the
patient they representedlearned theorizing and textbook ideas
and not an empathetic and intelligent handling of a sexual crisis.
MANY PSYCHIATRISTS fasten their safety belts to the schools
of psychiatry they studiously indulge in, and present theories be-
fore their patients. The patient sadly must learn not to rely too
heavily on he learned doctor - the label M.D. and expensive
therapeutic training do not render anyone superhuman.
The patient's behavior is observed, scrutinized and controlled
by the nurses and attendants, who write daily reports on each
patient and dispense the prescribed medicine.
The patients, though, are often in the dark over what pills
they are taking,
.Outbursts are not tolerated. One patient exploded in a fit of
anger. He was immediately placed in seclusion, after receiving two
injections to pacify his "primal scream" for help.
Paradoxically, the miniature world in which the patients dwell
serves some purpose. For example, when a person is cut, he or she
either cries for help or gets out bandages and mercurachrome. In
the same way, the mental patient is cut, but not physically. Hope-
fully, after the help of doctors, nurses and attendants, the next
alternative will be to leave the mental establishment.
THESE SEGREGATED people take upon themselves a very
strong mental pressure. They realize, though, that help must come
from within themselves.

The Last Hurrah

Letters to The Daily

Leaving the service
To The Daily:
I AM ONE of the 30,000' service-
men whose separation from the
armed services has been sus-
pended for at least 90 days by
a Department of the Army mes-
sage dated May 15. Those af-
fected have been given only two
to 45 days advance notice, Many
have already shipped all of their
household goods, broken their
apartment ledsesb obtained civ-
ilian jobs or schooling and those
individuals serving here in Eur-
ope may have already sent their
families back to the United
States.
At a time like this when the
U.S. Army is trying to build up
its image in order to help at-
tain a truly volunteer Army, ac-
tions such as this are unbeliev-
able. It is my opinion that this
action will result in irreparable
damage to the image of the U.S.
Army and to hopes of evior
achievinga volun teer army I
wonder how thousands of in-
dividuals can be rifted (invol-
untarily separated) because the
armed forces are overstrength
and then shortly afterward 30,-
000 individuals involuntarily ex-
tended because someone appar-
ently has discovered the serv-
ices are actually going to be un-
derstrength
It appears that the entire arm-
ed services strength reduction
program has been poorly plan-
ned, implemented, and managed
from the beginning. Too, many
individuals were made eligible
for early discharges and approv-
al for early outs was apparent-
ly given blindly without consider-
ing carefully enough the ulti-
mate effect on the manpower
level of the U.S. Army. T h e
early discharges should h a v e
initially been made available to'
only a limited number of in-
dividuals and then gradually ex-
tended to cover more and more
individuals until the desired
strength levels were attained.
As a result of this mismanage-
ment the plans of 30,000 individ-
uals will be adversely affected,
The resultant financial and psy-
chological effect will be great.
A great deal of resentment tow-
ards the U.S. Army will undoub-
tedly result, affecting on t h e
job performance. Some service-
maent have even had to ask for

a day off from duty for they
were incapable of performing
their job in their present state
of mind.
IT IS MY hope that a congres-
sional investigation will be made
to determine the reasons for this
colossal blunder by those re-
sponsible for managing t h e
strength of the U.S Army and
appropriate action taken to in-
sure that this never happeos
again. I, and I am sure, the
other servicement affected by
this DA message would sincerely
appreciate your writing to con-
gress asking for a complete in-
vestigation.
Larry Larmee, '68
1 Lt, USAR
May 18
Heroin and thefts
To The Daily:
IT IS POSSIBLE to do thingso
to avoid being a victim of breik-
ing and enterings. Lock your
doors and windows and don't put
stereo equipment or whatever
near a window. But this is not
an answer to the problem.
Increased police patrols won't
really help either. Society has
got to start dealihg with the
root causes of these kinds of
thefts. It is impossible to know
how many of the breaking and
enterings are related to herein
addiction but experience dells Us
that the percentage is quite
high, possibly well over 50 per
cent.,
Addiction to hard drugs must
be decriminalized. Rather, so-
ciety must emphasize drug edu-
cation, treatment and rehabili-
tation: It makes no sense to tell
addicts that they are criminals
and thus force them to cause a
great deal of crime in order to
support their habit. Addicts
should have a choice between
rehabilitation programs, like
methadone maintenance, o' as
they do in England,-be given free
heroin at community health
centers. The result would nor
The Editorial Page of The
Michigan Daily is open to any-
one who wishes to submit
articles. Generally speaking, all
articles should be less than
1,000 words.

be increased heroin addiction,
but rather less, and the crime
rate would go down markedly.
Unfortunately the law and or-
der freaks will yell we can't
handcuff the police and tell us
the answer is just more ard
more police in the street. These
same people will denounce the
only real solution, and there-
fore must be blamed for much
of the crime against person and
property.
-Jerry De Grieck
City Council Member
First Ward
June 14

Introducing the new life art

By LARRY DWORIN
TERE IS A revolution in the making - a re-
volution not of politics, but of art. Life Art
encompasses everything: all art, and yet much
more. The Life Artist paints with pain, composes
death, and organizes destruction. Everything that
exists is a valid medium, everything that could
be the final end, and the very fabric of life itself
the end creation.
Destruction, for example, has perhaps the broad-
est potential not only as an art medium, but as a
distinct form in its own right. It is perhaps the
only medium that is both fluid and permanent.
Fluid, like music, in that it is in the actual act
of destruction in which we may find beauty, and
yet permanent, like sculpture, for it leaves an
enduring finished product.
It is this twofold nature of destruction which
establishes it as a separate and distinct art form,
for it is not concerned only with a finished pro-
duct, but with its creation as well. Thus a work
of Life Art might be a Stuka dive-bombing a build-
ing,. A properly handled Stuka is a poem of sound
and movement in itself. What else simultaneously
combines almost the very essence of both free-
dom and power? The bomb drops, giving life to
inanimate matter as the building - perhaps the
very earth itself - rears and bucks under the
unleashed force. And finally, only then - the
ruins.
WHAT ARE THEY trying to show us, those
broken fingers of steel pointing at the sky? What
message lies at the bottom of the crater? What
symbolism in the patterns of masonry scattered
about the landscape. Do not say there can be
none, for this is not the random bolt of lightning
or the meaningless shiftings of the earth.- This is
a work of art, carefully planned, painstakingly
executed. There was a reason for the use of a
Stuka, a reason for that building and that choice
of bomb. Nothing was left to chance, every stone
fell in its preordained place. This combination

of factors provides the onlooker with an experi-
ence which is highly meaningful and of almost
unequalled depth and intensity. Who can say, then,
that this is not an art form the equal of any
in existence today?
And this analysis of destruction might be ex-
tended to pain, to death, and to their synthesis in
war.
This, then, is the barest essence of Life Art.
It takes all the, facets of human experience and
combines them to form the most profound and
meaningful experience for an individual who does
not merely observe it, but lives it. It is the shap-
ing and coloring not merely of canvas or clay,
but of reality,
LIFE ART is what history should have been
but never was: it is the organizing and structur-
ing of human lives and events through purposive
thought, rather than just allowing them to happen.
Who can say these things have any less meaning
because they are engineered by human artists
rather than by God? Pain as well as pleasure,
destruction as well as creation, death as well as
life all must have an important and meaningful
place in the overall picture.
The possibilities of Life Art in today's world
are endless. Modern technology has made possible
the creation of literally millions of situations, per-
haps a totally different one for each person. The
artist will have the ultimate in latitude and
power - the ability to shape not merely inani-
mate objects, but lives. No longer must art suit
the real world - the real world will be made to
suit art.
WE THUS DO away with the greatest of human
bonds: Reality. In its place we create not some
saccharine Utopia, but a world in which every
life can be a perfect work of art.
NOTE: Larry Dworin is a freshman at Wayne
State University, studying the at' of history.

NIGHT EDITOR: JAN BENEDETTI _
ASSISTANT NIGHT EDITOR: JIM O'BRIEN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR' ROSEYSUE BERSTEIN
PHOTO TECHNICIAN; JIM WALLACE

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