Diary – 12th Feb
What a most delightful evening! Beyond its impeccable curriculum, I have always admired Oxford University for the morals and ethics instilled in those students having passed through its ornamented stone pillars and under the parabolic archways of its cloistered arcades. One can be sure that nothing short of an altogether agreeable gentleman is destined to emerge from such an impeccable institution, sound in academic sense and with self-assured sensibilities. Whilst extended explorations of the Orients (as is most fashionable amongst young, well-to-do gentleman nowadays) and other such gaudy adventures are sure to attribute ‘wordliness’ to one’s character, it is through careful cultivation in the University that the precision of a great mind and expert socialite are honed: the rare combination of intelligence, tact and wit which I hold as most worthy of aspiration.
During my time in the Asylum, though books were rather limited, philosophy was the literary genre of choice made available to patients undergoing ‘de-institutionalisation’, those final and, I would argue, most critical stages of recovery. I spent above three months with Doctor Harsham and his team during this period of my illness (not including my extra months of self-imposed stay which – discharged from Harsham’s care – I allocated to both mental and practical preparation for my re-socialisation) I took quite a fancy to reading those idealist philosophers so well revived this past century. I read these theories almost as an artist’s commentary to my own doctoral thesis which details case studies of relapse during the (altogether tentative) process of ‘re-socialisation’ for the recovering imbecile. I am happy to report, with confirmation from this evening’s most enjoyable engagements, I believe my own ‘re-socialisation’ to have been a great success; I have emerged as if born anew.
Perhaps this is why I was quite conscious in taking my extra months stay at Leavesden. Although clearly no longer an imbecile, I was want to explore such a rare ethnological opportunity, as would any medical professional absorbed in his field.
Or perhaps, as Doctor Harsham would often say, I was double guessing my own health in fear of the ludicrous irony that would surely accompany relapse in a doctor, such as myself, becoming patient to the very field of medical concern which comprised the entirety of his last half-decade of research and study. Though it would be naive to entirely deny the influence of such a horror scenario, I held concern more with the stand-alone credibility of my work than for my already tainted name. For a scholar’s work far extends the shortcoming of his character and even the most despicable of men are capable of ideas worthy of extended consideration. Whilst the adventurer would have his experiences of the external world formulate his mechanics of objective and reflexive thinking, the greatest minds hide not from an (albeit unnerving) idea that one’s thoughts and negotiated sense of ‘self’ (in various micro and meta forms) bear primary responsibility for our world as it appears to us and, consequently, the actions we choose to express within it.
I will confess I have only read philosophical literature for pleasure and the function of this diary is not a record of my biblio-endeavours. I do, however, believe it is vitally important to document the workings of my mind during this critical time of my recovery (Harsham would believe me entirely well but he can only ever hold the position of objective onlooker. To be rather frank, he has probably taken some pleasure in joining my well-known name to his list of successfully ‘sanitised’ patients. I will add, to his discredit, that over twenty percent of his “successfully cured” experienced relapse. I have not the heart to tell him that I owe much of my doctoral data to his shortcomings).
I will therefore continue to report my thoughts, feelings, and physical condition. I hope in the near future it prove invaluable to either myself or others in furthering studies of insanity, an illness which has gripped so many promising young minds only these past few decades.
~ 12th Feb,184-