In looking at life we often find ourselves confronting death. People often commit suicide in the world in order that they might escape the pain that they suffer. We ask ourselves "why do they wish to die?" When in fact they do not. They are not trying to end their lives but their pain. Their pain is so great that their life becomes torment and only in death can they find peace. Usually if most of these people would face the pain head-on they would not suffer any more but rather they would find that the peace they sought was always there once the suffering stopped.
|Right: Tru Davies of Tru Calling (Eliza Dushku formerly of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) looking in on a body in the coroner's office where often the person turns to Tru and says: "Help me!"|
SUICIDE ATTEMPT ALONG CALIFORNIA COAST!
Joan Bryan, the wife of the publisher of the underground newspaper, Open City, once told me the story of a man I'll call Scott Laboe, San Francisco poet, who was with her and a girlfriend on their way up the coast near San Francisco. Suddenly Scott, a speed freak by reputation, a drug addict by admission, decided that he was going to commit suicide and he aimed the Morris Minor toward the cliff. Seconds later he changed his mind and jumped from the vehicle leaving Joan and her friend to fend for themselves as they plunged down an embankment and into the ocean below. Joan and her friend survived miraculously but not without extensive injuries.
Above: A reminiscent scene along the coast of California close to the area Joan's Morris Minor plunged down the cliff. (Below: I do not have photos of Joan's Morris Minor but this is very similar to the one Scott Leboe was driving. Wreckage shown must have looked very much like the actual accident the following morning.
A few years later, after having been arrested and placed in a holding cell at the Los Angeles Police Department, Joan bailed me out. An attorney showed up and whisked me away in their vehicle, much to my surprise and delight, as my parents stood by in bewilderment as I left the jail. They weren't going to bail me out. They were just there to visit. How nice. Joan did not want my parents to know who bailed me out because I lived with her and her husband when I was 17 years of age and had run away from home. Joan reassured me, when I arrived back at the Open City office, that I wouldn't have to take care of her kids. She told me some story about how there had been a prowler in the neighborhood and she and her then housekeeper, Cathy, were all alone while John Bryan was out of town. She just wanted someone there with her for comfort and protection.
|Above: photos of New York peace demonstrations in 1968 including a shot of General Wastemoreland (Tom Dunphy) and General Hershey Bar (Calypso Joe) both of whom were long time friends of John Bryan and all of us at Open City in the 60's during the Viet Nam War period.|
John Bryan meanwhile was busy in New York meeting with writers, publishers, the Curtis Circulation people and attending an enormous peace demonstration. John was having a good time taking photographs but he needed to move closer to the platform stage where the speakers were. He managed to strong-arm his way amiably through the crowd toward the podium. He snapped a few more photos of some performing conga players off to the side but backed into someone behind him. He turned around to apologize only to discover it was Scott Laboe.
John spoke to Scott awhile and explained that the statute of limitations was about up on the insurance claim of Joan's car accident. He explained Joan's medical problems and Scott agreed to come forward and give a deposition as to what happened so that funds could be released to pay her medical bills. John and Scott shook hands and went their separate ways agreeing to meet the next day for lunch. All of the plans were made and everything looked good. John met with Scott the next day, finished up his trip and arrived at LAX a few days later.
|Above left: N.Y.P.D. on horses play a role in crowd control. Above right: Misc. peace demonstration photos from 2003 protesting the war in Iraq from the "Not In Our Name" marches reflect the mood and seriousness of the peace activism of the 60's.|
I was soon going to the office with Joan and working full time for Open City again. A short time after John arrived back in town it was discovered that Scott Leboe recanted his story and backed out of his agreement with John to "tell all" about the infamous accident on a Northern California highway. So much for the underground newspaper business and the people you sometimes meet along the way.
Left: "This Soldier Still At War" by John Bryan written years later in 1975 about the SLA controversy in which Patty Hearst played a key role. Bryan had been an editor in the Hearst chain of newspapers prior to his Open City days.
Right: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross teaching on her work. Also shown is her famous book "On Death And Dying" which has become a standard for both traditional health care and alternative healing groups.
The story gets peculiar from this point. Scott continues his poetry but ends up becoming a well-known student of the famous Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, well known for her work in the field of death and dying. He himself begins working with dying patients and along the way becomes heavily involved with Buddhism and other spiritual teachings that he incorporates into his work with dying patients. He authored many successful books on the subject and became a hero amongst the New Age hospice crowds and alternative healing and humanistic care facilities.
One minute you are home with your clothes on and the next minute you are running naked through a famous coffee shop in West L.A. streaking to your heart's content. But you don't have to be naked to experience psychological suicide. You don't have to be Einstein to know that there are no accidents in the Universe. And as Bob Dylan said "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." But you do have to be willing to open up and be honest with yourself even if you keep it a secret. Eventually you won't care what other people think. People often say they don't care what other people think but then you find out that what they really care about is just that. And they care that people think that they don't care. It's a balancing act for sure.
The 60's and the 70's were a time of unheralded shaking of social values and common sense. Everything was turned upside down. Viet Nam was the new front for genocide it seemed. Instead of the Jews now it was the "gooks." Kill the Viet Cong, kill the Cambodians, kill the Chinese it was a regular smorgasbord of Asian genocide based on toilet paper, TV's, toasters and gas guzzling Chevrolets. The poor hippies were driving VW's and the rich hippies were driving Mercedes Benz's. Asia was being pummeled while Germany was rising from the ashes of its genocidal memories just a generation before.
|Left: Albert Einstein: "God doesn't play dice with the Universe." Right: Bob Dylan: "It's alright Ma, I'm only dying."|
Not long after John got back from New York Joan was secretly seeing a photographer that caused the whole uproar between she and John and created the divorce debacle. This threw my situation into a nightmare because of my relationship with both John and Joan. When it was discovered that Joan had turned me into the F.B.I. for not registering for the draft, John's response was that "people get killed in the 'movement' for just that type of behavior." The implication was Joan could very well be murdered by unknown individuals within the "peace movement" for turning someone in to the F.B.I. that was involved in anti-establishment activities that promoted "peace."
My first reaction was flattery. That's how insecure I was at the time. It somehow made me feel important to know that I was part of a movement that would protect me, similar to a gang in one's "hood." I realized later that John was probably just venting and did not intend to act on anything that he said. But it also gave me cause to reflect on the insanity of what had taken place even as conversation. Like the famous quote of that day: "You are what you eat," also the ancient quote "You are what you think (As a man thinketh)." You cannot entertain anti-life thoughts and pretend to be a peace loving person.
|Left: Civil disobedience in action. Gandhi represents the modern version of this philosophy as the man who almost single-handedly got the British to give India its freedom. Right: A photo of "chem-trails." Some believe this is today's version of genocide in the hands of the American government spraying its own citizens across the nation. Some feel it is a population control, others some sort of defensive atmospheric grid while others believe it is combatting the global warming taking place around the planet.|
My studies were beginning to carve a real person out of the stone I had become. I was feeling things about myself that I did not like, but in contrast to denial, now I was able to break out of the patterns that had me in bondage. I was finally beginning to think for myself and even feel what was going on inside of me. The beginning of one's transformation comes with awareness of the self no matter what that self may seem to be. You cannot change what you cannot see. You need to know who you think you are if you are to discover who you really are. The first lie we believe which contributes to war is the belief that there are things out there that are separate from our self. Once you can let yourself believe that there are things negative that are "out there" then you believe that there is nothing you personally can do about it. But once you acknowledge that everything is within your consciousness then you know the answer is only a thought away.
Left: Peace activists at work planning their next move. Right: Derek Lamar looks on and muses that "Everything is mind, it is all Consciousness and until we grasp this invaluable concept, we have no control over ourselves or our world."
Saga continues... A Conundrum of Condoms
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