One year ago I had received a phone call from Sydney where Antony was visiting his sister. "Julian," he said, "I want to come and see you. I want to talk about to you about Quantum Mechanics,". That's the way he said it. Quantum Mechanics.
I had met Antony when I was 14 when we were both in "hell", a school in rural Victoria and one of 37 I'd attended on during my itinerant minstrel childhood. We were bright sensitive kids who didn't fit into the dominant subculture and feircely castigated those who did as iredeemable boneheads.
This unwillingness to accept the authority of a peer group considered risible was not appreciated. I was quick to anger and brutal statements such as "You're a bunch of mindless apes out of Lord of the Flies" when faced with standover tactics were enough to ensure I got into a series of extreme fights and I wasn't sorry to leave when presented with the dental bills of my tormentors.
Antony fared better. He wasn't new and had a social deftness that allowed him to side step and keep his contempt hidden where mine exuded from every pore. ``What is the most noble emotion Julian?'' he asked one day. ``Curiosity,'' I said after some thought. ``No,''. he said, ``Anger.''
My journal from our last meeting contains the following entry:
Antony arrives from Sydney with girl in toe. A' Mid-length hair and beard, both carrot red. A' decked out in hippy attire. Strong contrast to previous 'tough man' image. Newage fruitiness is now all consuming. A' attempting to dominate J' [brother]. A' can see "dark matter", emit UV rays, is a 15th (3*5) plane yogi, 27th dan Kung Foo Spirit Master. A' casts a voodoo spell "of death" on Michael B. by "cutting the throat" of my ceramic goose. A' clearly suffering some type of schizophrenia. V. poor reality testing and is of unstable affect. Poor reality testing fuelled by reading of Calos Castenida, occult books, etc. Much worse compared to last observation circa 18 months ago, but perhaps madness (then) was concealed as hypochondria. Situation v. sad. Believe A' will be in mad house or dead within 5 years and tell him so... ...A' lucid but intensely verbalising his theories / religious wank. I try to snare A's delusions. He becomes aggressive and frightened, accusing me of "psychotronically raping" girl from last night. I push him further. He disavows my evil heart and flees into the night.
But now he was at the East Ringwood mental health repatriation centre. His smile was shaky but characteristic. His physical edges rounded off by weight gain and his imagination dulled by anti-psychotics. His limbs and jaw gently shuddered with some frequency. He still had his classical guitar and chemistry books. His sensitivity and insight were not completely gone. His diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia with co-morbid depression. The etiology (cause) of onset probably his drug synthesis experiments combined with genetic susceptibility. His prognosis unknown.
In his schizophrenic state he'd had phrases for the most subtle feelings. He had challenged me to deny the reality of 'psyhic vampires' -- those people look at you a certain way, trying to suck out your soul. But I found myself stumbling. There were such people and psychic vampires was a good phrase for them. He'd managed to push internal feeling onto external perception and use the change in perception to name the phenomena. But he'd turned up his gain so much feedback was breaking out everywhere. During his schizophrenic state he'd given me a gold metallic card and said with great earnestness ``Julian. I think the fine lines on this card are picking up neutrinos from the 4-5 helium cycle in the Sun. I'm sure it's getting heavier. Please take it to the Dept of Physics to be weighed''.
What delicacy there is in setting the controls on the amplifier of a human being. In the right context the tiny energy carried by the snap of a distant twig must be sufficient to cause immediate flight and a billion fold liberation of energy. An optimally perceptive brain must always be near the critical point of activing in response to its own internal noise.
When I asked about the cause of his shaking, suggesting a dopamine antagonist, he said ``No. It's one of the other anti-psychotics. If you look closely you'll notice a number of people around here acting the same way. Julian... we're all doing the Mont Park shuffle''.