You never forget the things that you will learn at your alma maters. UCSB and Pacifica Graduate Institute are mine. I want to speak about an exercise that we did at Pacifica and a few films that may come in handy as “cure” post this tragedy at UCSB.
When I left school, and was an intern therapist here at Family Service Agency, I used Art and Narrative techniques with my clients as part of my bag of tricks as a therapist. One area I have done extensive research into is the generation of “emo children” and I used the web to look at them, as if it were the great collective unc, which it is.
I learned how to make GENOGRAMS from Sal Trevino and Ruth Ackerman at school, and in Mary Watkin’s class, so many years ago now, and after having read “There Are No Children Here” as part of that syllabus — these things apply to the recent tragedy in ways I want to try and illuminate for colleagues.
Many things are important when looking into a generation. The paper I wrote for Mary focused on pre-scripted games and resultant sociopathy that might emerge. You can read Robert Sardello on all that.
Please use Google to search for these things: emo heart, emo drawings, emo guns, emo cutting, emo pro-ana and look at the images.
The first thing I noticed was the color, or absence of color in this group. They are using the simplest black, red and grey — only. Jung would have seen the red as blood, and there are a prevalence of skulls as motifs. But let’s think about this through Hillman’s lens and imagine our way in. As I think about the torrent of “words” in the manifesto the shooter had — what I have not seen in the drawings are “words,” on that level. This “torrent” of feeling, rage, hatred and so forth. His outlets were youtubes, this manifesto, and an act of rage. Studies have been done on a generation raised on this machine. So if we look at a timeline for him, and think of cultural surround as shaping force?
Birth is 1992———————————–2001——————————————2014
We can see that for him, 9/11 is a shaping force — a terrible shaping force. Then, we can toss in the games? He has talked about those in the manifesto he wrote.
I would say that since the time of Sardello’s piece in the NYT in 1984, we can look at a generation who has grown up post that, maybe without the Depressive postion in Piaget’s theory because of the pre-scripted games as teacher/babysitter. In looking at this one case, and the brief glimpse at the manifesto — this is the case.
What could possibly cure this loneliness? A group process. One that might be facilitated in the web itself. I had thought of this in terms of an “Alchemy Project” — because the web is very facile to this group. Art and narrative are ways to express?
But let me explain the most powerful process I ever went through at Pacifica as relates to this.
It was a group process where the men and the women divided into two groups, to tell stories and answer this question: WHAT DID YOUR MOTHER TEACH YOU ABOUT MEN? and WHAT DID YOUR FATHER TEACH YOU ABOUT WOMEN?
Off we went, and told each other in our separate groups — from dyads, to a larger circle of six and then the final large group.
THE MEN SPOKE FIRST.
The men sat on the floor in a circle and the WOMEN surrounded them in a larger circle. EACH MAN was given a turn to talk about his experience with what his father had taught. EACH MAN held a stone that was passed hand to hand, before the speaker began. Many tales came from this exercise, and all learned.
Then the inner circle reversed.
THE MEN FORMED A LARGE PROTECTIVE CIRCLE around the women, just as the women had. EACH WOMAN spoke, passing the stone from hand to hand.
Sometimes there were tears, and you might feel a silent hand on your shoulder. Sometimes there was laughter, and the whole room shared that. The feelings moved through the circles, in one of the most healing group processes I had ever been through.
We will never know the inner daimons that drove the boy to act out in horror. What we can know is the era of limited HUMAN contact he has lived via the genogram. We can know that one might give voice to EXPRESSION through a manifesto of words, and images, and we can know that GROUPS are very healing for people across the spectrum because, quite simply they are GROUPS.
Here was a young man, rage filled that he wasn’t having the party summer of his life and angry that he was still a virgin.
A friend has made a film on this that should be shown across campuses to spark dialogue. You can see that here: http://www.virginitymovie.com/
There are stories up about virginity at the website that goes along with this film.
Out of tragedy can come dialogue and healing. It can.
All my best on a hard morning, because our alma maters are more sacred than you can imagine,