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On “The Icarus Project” – experiences from a St. Louis participant

The following text was published recently in the latest issue (volume 12) of “Soliloquies From Strange Dislocales” – a zine of poetry and prose of mad-pride, surrealist rebellion, and rebellious surrealism. The entire issue can be downloaded here: sols.pdf

Here are documents which concerns St. Louis Icarus Project itself and something crafted for a film showing I helped facilitate. Our group takes the form of a bi-weekly support group.  Icarus Project hinges a lot around around the concept/identity of “mad pride” which basically means a lot of things to a lot of folks but to me, it means that no matter how crazy we get we (the individuals, the mad ones) are the only ones entitled to define the terms of our madness.

As I write this, I feel Icarus winding down/myself being, for better or worse the primary actor in the project, getting what activists would inevitably call ‘burnt out’.  I’m likely moving soon as well and going for a month long trip between then and then, and without me it seems to struggle to happen.  Man what a weird feeling, tho I guess a lot of these smaller indie events hinge on such individuals and tendencies.  Also, these meetings do help but I often feel myself coming no closer to explaining my madness/ my so-called schizophrenia nor it being often inquired about among friends/comrades.  Maybe not only sanity for me but true sympathy towards my (in)sanity by everyone / among ‘the movement’/ ‘the scene’  or anyone on the earth is as Tolstoy would say ‘meant for the kingdom of god’/ meant for nether forms-of-life beyond this.  Sometimes it seems anarchy and communism are doomed to this relegation as well.

However,  I don’t mean these haggard ramblings to truly define Icarus Project experience for me though since it has been glorious and mutual comings-together around suffering as well.  Maybe we are getting closer to the Kingdom, but in this fucked up world, progress comes sure and slow.

:::::::::::::::::::::::the icarus project

St. Louis Icarus Project Bi-weekly Mental Health Check-In Preamble and Outline

1)    Premises:  Radical Mental Health

A)     Mental Health/Mental Illness:

We may or may not self identify as ‘crazy’ or ‘mad’ people.  Regardless, these terms carry some sort of varying resonance within our selves and experiences.  We may or may not have been through the psychiatric ringer, however, throughout various points of our lives and experiences, if we have not found ourselves as psychiatric subjects, have at least been scared/startled that if we were to open up about our states or  mental conditions and adjoining experiences that we would be subjected to and or suggested/steered towards such processes.

B)     Radical:

Some of us may hate the state, patriarchy, racism or dominant society, or at least ardently desire forms-of-life that are emancipated from these things which we view with emotions ranging from skepticism to disgust.  Some of us wish to build earnest and more genuine forms of interaction without having to rely on these prevalent things which we find ourselves often at odds with.  Furthermore, as Icaristas or Mad People, or those who feel affinity for Mad People, we are especially skeptical of the psychiatric industry and pharmaceutical industries.  We do not stigmatize nor judge those who open themselves up to said industries, however, as radicals we would like to form communities of support and autonomy to share experiences and emotions which would otherwise be termed mad that can endure beyond the monocultural corporate solutions of most psychiatry.

::::::::::::::::::document from ‘crooked beauty’ film screening.

‘Crooked Beauty’ is a documentary film which starkly displays the profound struggle of one person to try and live her life without pharmaceutical drugs while trying not to fly too close to the sun.  She says some intense things about her struggle and altogether seems to find her life without meds still worthwhile.  Icarus Project certainly sees value in this decision especially considering how marginalized such a response can be amidst the psychiatric juggernaut.  However, at least us at Icarus Project St. Louis want to point out that this is only one possible response to having what gets termed these days as a ‘mental condition’.  Some of us while still being vastly skeptical of the pharmaceutical industry do decide to take medication and while this is not the path portrayed in the film, it is one which some of us, including myself, have chosen in order to keep our minds in check.  Therefore Icarus Project takes no hard line on the question of whether to take meds or not, but appreciates what they call in anarchist communities ‘a diversity of tactics’ when dealing with problems of the mind (or the body) which so often gets discussed in our meetings.


One thought on “On “The Icarus Project” – experiences from a St. Louis participant

  1. Thanks so much for posting. I’m in da lou too and can’t wait to find you all. 🙂

    Posted by tessfarnham | August 26, 2013, 9:35 am

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Thoughtful Perspectives on other North American #Occupy Movements

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