“Schizophrenics have excellent genes. I wish I had them. They hardly ever get cancer. Adrenochrome kills cancer cells; I think the gene is nature’s answer to the cancer pandemic. On the psychological side, they’re brilliant: artists, scientists, poets, philosophers.
The problem is, we don’t feed these genes properly. If you have a million dollar car and you put water in the gas tank, is it going to perform very much for you?”
An Interview with Abram Hoffer, from Rob Wipond’s archives
In this trailer for Art and Craft, a documentary about his life as an art forger, Mark Landis, who was given a schizophrenia diagnosis as a teen, has a lot to say about recovery, if you listen carefully to what he is saying.
Watch this clip then imagine being a young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, whose troubles are compounded when people shun him and consider him useless. He retreats into a lonely adult life of watching television. Were it not for his hospital art therapy class, his talents in copying works of art might have gone unrecognized and he may not have found a calling.
Listen to what he has to say about why he masqueraded as a philanthropist giving away works of famous painters he had forged:
“I got addicted to being a philanthropist I wasn’t used to have anyone treat me like this. . . Everyone was so nice and respectful —things I was quite unfamiliar with.”
“It seldom happened that people were nice to me.”
“We all like to feel useful. Whatever ability we happen to have we like to make use of it.”
“(This documentary) gave me something to do because I’m really just a lonely old shy man.”
Imagine, for a moment, if people close to Mr. Landis learned early on how to draw him out as a human being. He might not be the lonely old shy man he says he is today.
The diagnosis, and the way friends and family react to the diagnosis, sets up feelings of hopelessness and despair for all. How can a solid recovery take hold in this environment?
America’s most generous con artist
By Jason Caffrey
BBC World Service
31 March 2015 From the section Magazine
“As a teenager Landis had suffered a nervous breakdown following the death of his father, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Art therapy revealed his talent for copying, and he was able to turn out fakes at astonishing speed.”
I tried to get in touch with Father Hank at the Athma Shakti Vidyalaya Society a few years ago when I was desperate enough to consider sending Chris all the way across the world for treatment in India. Father Hank’s name does come up from time to time when people are looking for a center that has a minimal to zero use of medications and a more humane view of “mental illness.” Father Hank was influenced by Jaqui Schiff and transactional analysis.
Transactional analysis “offers a theory for child development by explaining how our adult patterns of life originated in childhood. This explanation is based on the idea of a “Life (or Childhood) Script”: the assumption that we continue to re-play childhood strategies, even when this results in pain or defeat. Thus it claims to offer a theory of psychopathology.”(Wikipedia)