Of Nietzsche, Shock Therapy, and Metropolis

The considerably wonderful film, “Metropolis,” was just on Turner Classic Movies. It’s about as melodramatic as it gets, but that’s a compliment here. It doesn’t hold back. The composition is so exquisite and compelling, and the images are marvelous to behold. Seriously. It’s an achievement of historic proportions. Fritz Lang…what a fellow. And his wife, Thea von Harbou, wrote it. I’m not going to scrutinize the film, but I’m thinking about the end card:

The mediator between the head and hands must be the heart!

Fair enough! The head gets us into trouble, and compassion and empathy and simply love would be found in the heart, so there you go. Not so much a mediator, but a filter. A benevolent world, humane and charitable, the result. Sounds good to me.

I’m glad that they’ve restored 95% of the film.

The world we currently live in is full of marvelous people, most of whom trudge through life ensconced in uncertainty, anxious, afraid even. Life hurts. I know a lot of people like this, and I don’t know anyone who is a, “world-beater,” as my father used to say. I’m thinking of Nietzsche, as I’ve been reading a bit of his work. Yes, he once referred to most people as, “The bungled and the botched.” People adore that quote. It appeals to the self-loathing that is infectious these days, for whatever reason. Contempt and disgust for oneself. It’s fashionable, or a compulsion, I’m not sure. Perhaps people were always this way, I don’t know. They probably were. So much torment, that can be oddly dull and banal.

Nietzsche also said, “The thought of suicide is a great consolation: reflecting on it one gets through many a dark night.” A very human and humane thing to say. What speaks to me the most is, “Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler.” I’ve embraced that philosophy in my therapy sessions. Emotion trumps intellect every time. Rage and remorse, anger and joy, and ever-present melancholy. Happiness and contentment are in there somewhere. Aren’t they? Surely they must be. They even show up sometimes. Isn’t that delightful? Kurt Vonnegut once said…

True enough.

True enough.

Recently, I went through 7 early morning sessions of electro-convulsive (shock) therapy (ECT). It went well, and my depression seems better. I’m not thinking of killing myself, or simply extant and there, or here. Wherever one is when around. Where are we? Damned if I know. Look around, that’s it. The concrete and metal and dirt and flesh. There you are, folks.

The people I met in the recovery room were amiable and clearly struggling. I feel for them. They are comrades in the struggle. Depression is insidious. We all had goo in our hair, the gel that kept the electric current from scorching our heads during the treatment. It pissed some people off, the goo. That’s funny to me. Seems like a minor part of the experience.

A state agency, a car service, hired “interesting” people who picked me up and took me home from my treatments. That was stressful as all Hell. Every single one of the drivers were Russian. I just know. And they smoked in the car with the windows closed. People used to do that, like 30 years ago, but it’s crazy today. Isn’t it? They spoke a little English, but craved a Russian conversation. I know, I studied Russian in college and some of it stuck. The Cyrillic alphabet is…challenging. I said, “Dobroye utro, moy drug.” Which means, “Good morning, my friend.” That’s not good, to say that, as it gets the man all excited that I know Russian. I don’t. So it was awkward. I know some Czech, but that got me nowhere. So I inhaled cigarette smoke and awkwardly gave directions. I don’t know where I’m going most of the damn time. So we went out into the 5am darkness, babbling, and billowing smoke. What were we, besides absurd? Getting me to McLean’s Hospital a few miles from my flat, we were doing that, as well. Thankfully.

Am I looking for pity in this post? I don’t think so, it’s just what happened. I’m fine. The ECT worked out well, and that’s a good thing. I’m a very lucky man, to get such fine medical care.


Lately I’ve been afraid. Just disinclined to leave my flat. This picture captures an image of me that illustrates my anxious and apprehensive state. I’m of a mind to think of myself as outside of the mainstream. I’m withdrawn. Leave me alone, world. I have a corner in my flat, and a space in my bed, and that’s it. Leave me be with my books and computer. It’s not sad, but it sure isn’t happy, either.

Actually, the cop cars here are movie props. They store movie cars up the street from me.

Actually, the cop cars here are movie props. They store movie cars up the street from me.

 That was a nice, warm day in August. Although I don’t cotton to heat. It’s 19 degrees outside right now. I’ll take it, but it’s hard on the stray kitties. I don’t like that one bit.

Is this true? I don't think so.

Is this true? I don’t think so. Some days are just bad news, man.

So I keep taking my meds. You should, as well, prescribed or not, whatever it takes. The night is dark and full of terrors. Or just dark, and empty. Mundane. Boring. It’s almost 1am, here I go. My loving wife and assorted pets with me. Life can be good, that’s for sure, whatever it is.


About Darren W. Lyle

I'm certifiably insane (I have the paperwork), collect old typewriters (got one?) and am 45 years old. I've 3 pets, of course, and have thoughts. Some aren't good, some are. some are funny, some are just there, but I'll post them when I'm of a mind to.
This entry was posted in Autobiography, cats, depression, ice, love, Mental Illness, movies, sex and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Of Nietzsche, Shock Therapy, and Metropolis

  1. I knew I needed a foundation for that molding of the deer.

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