Wednesday, February 13

Part II - Death

A shitload less understanding than is required!
By boy Brightlulb

A very charismatic man, came for a very philosophical planning day for the Remote Mental Health Team and put the first line of a poem by Gabriel Garcia Lorca (another Gabriel) to us -

“ (Perhaps it occurred because he hadn’t learnt his geometry) ”

Perhaps he hadn’t … I hadn’t thought about this in terms of geometry.

Suicide in Aboriginal societies is something that plagues all of us in Central Australia who are not racist bastards. Suicide didn’t really exist in Aboriginal cultures around twenty years ago. It’s rampant now. Where suicide in Western societies is generally thought about in terms of depression, suicide in Aboriginal societies almost exclusively comes under the banner of powerlessness. Most suicides have a few common elements - domestic violence; an argument between families; and an individual tries to take their life in a public place where they are easily seen by everyone, sometimes succeeding, but never with a truthful purpose; Alcohol is often involved but not necessarily.
They are seen to be extremely impulsive and the perpetrators do not usually have thoughts of suicide and do not have depression per se. Suicide prevention is a tough concept for NGOs. The problem they face is how one combats an enemy with this elusive nature. The locus of the perpetrator’s control is so far from their centre of gravity it’s hard to imagine that they can stand on solid ground without falling to their dooms. The perpetrators are many and give no warning signs until the screaming comes, the heat of the moment seems to burn all ties with reason as they teeter on the edge of oblivion.
It is important to note that this type of suicide, used as a threat under pressure, is not at all singularly related to Australian Aboriginal people but is also found in all societies where there is some breakdown of structure. The Western suburbs of Sydney would sport its own fair share of this behaviour, but perhaps not on the widespread level that this behaviour has been taken on in the last twenty or so years.

Geometry is the study of bodies in space, the distance between this object and that one, their angles, their connections, my relationship to you, your relationship to the government, this could extend from country to country, the planet to the sun, the solar system to the galaxy so on, so forth, etc, Amen.

Lorca’s poem begins with a parenthetic afterthought. Perhaps he had never stopped to think about his relation to the world, his connection to his family and friends. Perhaps Lorca judges him here: he had never stopped to think and learn. Literally speaking of course, he had perhaps not stopped to think even about gravity, the gravity of the situation or the gravity that makes him plummet to the humid concrete below. If you follow our gentle Spaniard out of the window in slow-motion you wonder what is going through his head right now. Is he perhaps thinking “oh shit! I think I’ve overdone it!” Or is he so caught up in the intense emotions that we assume are required to follow through on this act. Like the suicide that associates itself with Indigenous peoples, you could imagine that, in the moment, all thought of consequence are disconnected, all ties to the things that anchor you are untied, you become weightless, your feet leave ground.

No comments: