Monday, March 26, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 14: Back In Furnald Hall, 1968

Chapter 14: Back In Furnald Hall, 1968 (v)

By early March 1968, I had reached my peak of personal loneliness and misery at Columbia. I was feeling so alienated and broken-down emotionally that I made an appointment at the student health service at St. Luke’s Hospital to see a shrink. By this time, also, Eliezer was so crazy from his acid trips and his metaphysical rebellion that Columbia had given him a leave of absence and committed him for a few weeks’ hospitalization at St. Luke’s, until he recovered from his hallucinations. When I visited him at St. Luke’s, he appeared to be in an emotionally helpless state and very illogical and paranoid.

My own emotional problem was the same as it had been in Summer 1967: I couldn’t seem to find any women to love in sustained ways and my New Left political activism, although it fulfilled me morally, failed to satisfy me emotionally. I had quit my job at the Journal of Philosophy, so I no longer saw Nancy and Teddy outside of political meetings. I had drifted apart from Ted, Dave and Mark and had not gotten close to Stu. I was not personally involved with anybody in any deep way, so my Friday and Saturday nights were now being spent alone pretty much, except on the few occasions when I would get invited to some hippie pot party--like one in which I stumbled into Mark, as he was sharing a joint.

I felt uncomfortable when I walked into the shrink’s office. He was a young guy in his late 20s who had short hair and no beard and didn’t wear glasses. As soon as he started talking, I regretted making the appointment. He seemed to lack the ability to empathize with my loneliness and my political commitment. I made a second appointment, but did not keep it.

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