Aidan Shingler is an Artist, writer and activist, and long time campaigner against human rights abuses in the psychiatric system. Aidan is also the creator of StarDisc, a 21st Century celestial amphitheater located in the Derbyshire Dales.
Areas of interest
- Reframing Schizophrenia
Aidan Shingler was born in London and now lives in Derbyshire. He has worked as an artist, writer and activist for almost four decades. He conceived and organised the Kissit! XX Campaign – a series of national protests to expose human rights violations in the psychiatric system. He co-authored On the Receiving End which was published to highlight the emotional and psychological impact of psychiatric assault and call for radical reform of the mental health system. Aidan has not been involved in psychiatric reform campaigning for some years, and has focused on his project StarDisc – a 21st century celestial stone circle located in the Derbyshire Dales.
In his book Psyche, Aidan writes:
R.D. Laing, an unorthodox psychiatrist, emphasised the link between the mystic and the schizophrenic; he stated:
‘The mystic and the schizophrenic find themselves in the same ocean, but whereas the mystic swims, the schizophrenic drowns.’
I concur wholeheartedly, but point out that the so called schizophrenic can learn to swim … given the opportunity.
Often however, the schizophrenic is dragged under by the very people sent in to help.”
Aidan says schizophrenia is commonly seen as delusional and hopelessly negative, he says this view is simplistic and woefully inadequate. He asks people to put aside their preconceptions and enter the inner reality of one diagnosed psychotic, and see the sensitivities and gifts.
Here is a passage from Aidan’s book Psyche:
The Butterfly Collector
Born into the world, a butterfly.
She takes to the air to experience the gift of life.
The collector (Prof: mg, od, ect, xyz, cert, psych, etc) interested in, fascinated by, ignorant of, the way of the butterfly, nets her and takes her from the natural environment back to his laboratory.
In captivity she is disorientated and fearful. She struggles to be free.
He observes her, recording the ‘peculiarities of her behaviour’, important for his research.
He administers a measured chemical solution, hydrochloric acid.
Heavily sedated, she ceases to struggle.
He examines her psychedelic wings; ‘intriguing’.
He inserts a sterilised needle through her thorax and pins her to a one-dimensional surface… her spirit breaks.
He attaches a label to her.
He is satisfied. She is categorised.
She is placed within a case and displayed behind glass.
He has his prize… another One to add to his collection.
How clever is he? What a curious specimen.