LISTENING TO THE SILENCES

 

CHAPTER 12 PAGE 2
It can be comparatively easy to describe the most overtly serious, threatening and obscene intrusions. Far more subtle and insidious - and arguably more effective in disrupting one's life and thought - is the intrusion that itself appears to be an extension of one's own thoughts. I have already written about the ambience that can be created in the mo-ments of first consciousness after waking. Unless one has established a personal 'drill' aimed at excluding any responses that one may be tempted to make in one's mind, it is exceedingly difficult not to respond. The semi-automatic and instant reaction closely resembles the interchange that can take place between couples who have shared their lives for many years. A stage can be reached when it can appear rude not to respond in ones thoughts.

This ploy is one that frequently is used at the start of what promises to be a productive day in whatever activities one plans to be engaged. As one begins to address one's mind toward the first task, they will put forward a pressing alternative. Then, if that is rejected, another, and another, and so on, inducing a feeling of panic and the thought that nothing will be commenced, the whole lot aborted, and the day completely wasted.

In time, it will be realised that this particular ploy is often used, and used most effectively, when the meteorology is such that a woolly brain is being induced. By 'meteorology', I do not mean wet or dry, hot or cold, windy or still. Instead, I must refer you back to where I wrote about the Föhn wind and the effects that may be induced in sensitive individuals. I wrote that while we in Britain do not have named winds such as the Föhn, Chinook, Santa Ana and the rest, we do have movements of air across the country that can provoke reactions in people similar to those produced by the notorious winds. The property of these winds that is replicated in those that blow across Britain, is the excess of positive ions over the more desirable negative ones.

It is so relevant that one should consider the effects of all winds and other ambient influences that I believe it to be worth repeating the quotation from the book The Ion Effect that I included earlier:

"The search for information that led to this book actually began in 1970 as an attempt to prove to myself that I was neither a manic-depressive nor a hypochondriac. For ten years I had lived and worked in Geneva, and almost from the moment I moved there from New York I suffered totally inexplicable fits of anxiety, depression, physical illness, and the kind of bottomless despair that at times even led me to flirt with the idea of suicide. Neither doctors nor a psychiatrist could explain what was happening to me, but when one said vaguely that it might be "something electrical" in the air of Geneva I seized upon it as a possible explanation and spent five years travelling through Europe, the Middle East, and North America meeting scientists and amassing an awesome pile of scientific literature.

I made three discoveries. The first was that in certain places at certain times - in Geneva, in a large part of Central Europe, in southern California, alongside the Rocky Mountains and in at least a dozen other parts of the world - the air becomes sick not because of the pollution we all know about, but because of imbalances in the natural electrical charge of the air…"

In archive material that I obtained from the Boston Globe newspaper, I found interesting corroborative comments:

Folklore has the so-called devil winds bringing out crazed behavior among Californians. In her essay collection "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," sixth-generation Californian, Joan Didion, calls the time of the Santa Anas "…the season of suicide and divorce and prickly dread, wherever the wind blows.'
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While Raymond Chandler wrote: "Meek little wives test the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's throats".

In the main, the winds across Britain do not blow for long periods at a time, certainly for insufficient time for them to acquire a name or a 'character'. It is undoubtedly one of the benefits of our rapidly changing weather pattern of which the majority are unaware. However, because the changes are so frequent, and because there is a lack of awareness about the quality of the winds, their effects upon the behaviour and mental health of individuals are largely ignored.

The wind most favoured by the originators of the ploy that I am describing comes as a mild, warm south westerly. It flows from the Azores 'high' and traverses many mid-Atlantic miles. Perhaps the most noticeable effect, and the one frequently remarked upon, is the ability that it has to activate every source of ache or neuralgia that exists in someone's body. (To anyone who doubts that the weather can induce such effects in people, I must refer to one of the many Websites devoted to weather, and to one that I use that shows a map of North America indicating where it is anticipated that individuals will suffer 'aches and pains'. The forecast is based on the predicted levels of temperature, humidity, wind chill and other factors, and divides the country into areas of anticipated severity.)

In the context of my ploy, it is the second effect that is most exploited by them. Unless one has identified the effects and consequence in oneself, it is difficult to envisage them in others. As I mentioned earlier, brains turn to cotton wool, the ability to think coherently vanishes, and a sensitive or vulnerable person is potentially at the 'mercy' of the intruders. Into the mind that is made sluggish, inert or confused by such winds, they will introduce a controversial topic, a topic that is skilfully aimed at provoking one into response. Just as stupid and pointless domestic arguments can develop out of nothing, and go on and on with no resolution until one party recognises the futility and waste of time, so can the inner controversy. Looking back at the times when I have been drawn by them into such stupidity, I can recognise those occasions when it has happened and when I have been about to make something that requires precise measurement or neat fitting, and acknowledge the frequency of the times that the result has been a cock up. Either material has been wasted, or I have had to waste time in a 'rescue' operation. In both such cases, one can end up feeling exactly the same as I did when I had the 'know all' partner of the second marriage, who always seemed to be about when anything went wrong.


 

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