Part 1: Introduction – What is Visual Connection Mapping?
Since April 2014 I have been going to the University of Victoria’s MacPherson Library to find answers as to how to best solve homelessness in Victoria City. My journey took me through many different avenues, from Philosophy to Medical books and from the Jewish Holocaust to Modern Germany today and then right back to Victoria City, at the Our Place Society where individuals whom are marginalized seemed to find themselves. What I found in my search is that in the past in the times of around 1890 there was a growing dystopia towards the marginalized. This seemed to be escalating and it hit its height in World War II. After World War II it was written that good triumphed over evil but on deeper analysis of the facts, I wonder if that was really the case at all, as political systems seemed to be ambivalent. Ambivalence is a symptom of schizophrenia according to the 4 A’s of Bleuer. Affect, Autism, Associations and Ambivalence.
What I realized was the effects of the ambivalent factor trickle down into almost all Western civilized countries such as West Europe and the Americas. This symptom of schizophrenia has somehow ended up in Victoria City and I believe it is what is pervasive amoungst the individuals who visit the Our Place Society drop-in center on Wednesday mornings when Visual Connection Mapping is conducted. The symptom of ambivalence is a medical term used in the context of being part of a Medical Model, serious mental illness sickness, and it is the most serious of illnesses, namely schizophrenia. Could it be possible that the whole of Western Society has contracted the dominant symptom of schizophrenia, namely ambivalence? What would the outcome of Western civilization be if that was the case? Would it mean a re-evaluation of all citizens lives? Would it mean that every citizen would need to be treated for the schizophrenic symptom of ambivalence? Or would it mean business-as-usual and denying that this observation ever came to light and hence burying this fact for ever and ever?
The next question that I was encountered with was who are the saints and who are the devils? Are the homeless people the saints because they are really victims and really part of Victoria’s Mental Health Medical System, and patients of the Medical Model. Or are the doctors and counselors the devils as they practiced an unauthentic one-way reciprocated communication asserting their authoritarian power over the patients – within the context of the Involuntary Treatment clause regarding schizophrenia in the Mental Health Act.
As a sophisticated society, how far have we actually come? Are we not stuck in the 1940’s mode of conduct? Where fear tactics and assertions of perceived justice over-ride the human rights of marginalized individuals. The ambivalent factor is something that did not just appear in the 1890’s onwards but has been around since the beginning of time. Within the Old Testament within the text of Jeremiah, there is a constant cry of mercy and a feeling of pain caused by the punishment Jeremiah is experiencing. Is not God good? Should not God help Jeremiah instead of punish? What kind of a God is Jeremiah’s God anyway? Within the context of being at Our Place Society and seeing the disparities with my own eyes I have often felt that God was punishing these individuals and condemning. What I was witnessing was so far from any kind of logic that I could not get my head around it. I started reading the Bible in order to understand. I came to two conclusions, one the God was man and second that the Old Testament was joint to the New Testament and could not be interpreted as separate and that from confusion in the Old Testament came light and clarity in the New Testament. I then remembered my
Roman Catholic ancestry and my Roman Catholic University education and then many components seemed to line up for me again. I started to view homelessness in the stage of the Old Testament where psychological development needed to further evolve itself in order to break free from the torment and psychological distress. In order to try to help individuals in this predicament I reached for a communication device that could capture and at the same time transcend psychological distress and that was the birth of the Visual Connection Mapping technique.
Visual Connection Mapping was all about the individual, their own unique existence and it was about mapping their existence into a diagram so that they could physically see the concrete design of their verbal creation. Visual Connection Mapping is so much more than lines on a paper, it is the soul of the other person, their words mapped out like geographical lines defining a new country. Visual Connection Mapping goes very deep into the abyss of a human being and draws out something that has not been brought to light before. It is a human phenomenon and it is not a calculated perceived idea, it is the opposite of that. It is the free-flow of line frequencies and dimensions of feelings and experiences that often get missed in a regular conversation. It is the capturing and the noting down of intricate psychological details that go beyond the 20/20 vision of a regular eye-sighted individual. Visual Connection Mapping taps into the unconscious nature of an individual in a very non-coercive way. It does not provoke, investigate and analyze instead its nature is all-encompassing compassion and empathy. Visual Connection Mapping is psychosis friendly. It is pro-psychotic and it is intended to work as a paradox. The more acceptance of symptoms one is, the more the symptomologies start to fade into the background and the more and more the unique personality comes to light. The Visual Connection Mapping is not some kind of quick fix to end all human pain and suffering instead it is an element to help cope with pain and suffering temporarily. It is a human composition. Often it is two human beings trying to help each other versus one individual being the helper and the other the client. The intention of Visual Connection Mapping is to dissolve stigma and replace it with understanding which is intended to lead to self-empowerment and the finding of oneself through understanding ones true nature and through ones own Existentialism.