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Forums » Misc » R.D. Laing and Peter Gabriel: Contacts, Connection, Influence-Tribute ?
IrishRover8 February 2010 at 10:56amPosts: 2 (0 today)Status: offline
It would be wonderful and perhaps enlightening to hear Peter talk in some detail about his relationship with and thoughts about the controversial Scottish psychiatrist-R.D. Laing.
Peter has spoken a bit here and there about their relationship-mention of plans for a theme park of some sort, for example.
A fair number of musicians including Van Morrison and Peter got together for Laing for different reasons. I've heard Laing's influence in the music of a fair number of musicians and bands.
I believe that Laing made the most consequential contributions to 20th century psychiatry. Unfortunately, Laing's troubled personal and family life (Laing was unusually candid in discussing his "checkered past")were used by critics to discredit and/or dismiss the rock solid scholarly research and writing he contributed to the field. Similarly, the vicious and merciless attacks on Laing's character made it very difficult for most mental health professionals to recognize his uncanny and deeply moving interactions with people deemed incapable of establishing meaningful rapport.
Laing believed that healing interactions were possible only if a sense of "communion" emerged and was experienced between "doctor" and "patient". He maintained that psychotherapy was best understood as a intuitive and skillful use of "music, meditation, and the martial arts of everyday life".
In reality, Laing was extremely direct, down to earth, and pragmatic albeit unorthodox when working with people. I've included a link to a documentary called "Did you used to be R. D. Laing" ? that contains excerpts of lectures, seminars, psychotherapy, self-revelation and so on for those interested in getting a glimpse of Laing at work.
I remember playing Laing a few songs from the Security album--Wallflower in particular in 1986 as we waited for my wife to fix an impromptu dinner after fetching him from the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. He had just arrived for a 5 day visit to Texas to deliver a public lecture and 2 day seminar at Baylor University during my second year in graduate school. I didn't get the impression he was familiar with Gabriel's music at the time but he took to it immediately.
It's worth mentioning that I was 25 yo at the time -"nobody from nowhere" hanging out with a man I considered to be "God" if you will.just so you get the humor and unreality of the whole experience.
Anyway, fast-forward to 1993 and I'm sitting with Peter Gabriel after a show In Philadelphia (a 33 yo nobody from Delaware) trading stories about our respective contacts with Laing. Peter was very gracious and generous with his time though his was clearly a bit tired after the show and still had to spend time with Philly DJ's and hot shots. It seemed clear that Peter had developed a pretty cool relationship with Laing prior to his untimely death in 1989 at the age of 59.
So, we didn't have much time to really go into much detail about the nature and degree of Laing's influence on his life or mine. In some ways, it felt like we were two guys excited to meet somebody else who had spent time with somebody like Laing (for me it was a "two-fer".hanging out with Peter Gabriel-(another "God") and talking about Laing)
So, this is a long way of asking Peter to consider share with people a bit about his time with and thoughts about Laing. And maybe write a song about Laing. Now, Laing wasn't Steven Biko. However, Laing was crucified by his peers for speaking truth to the powerful psychiatric establishment. His biggest sin was to talk about things like love, communion, solidarity, human rights, .and treating patients (from the Latin--one who suffers) with ordinary human kindness.
The Soil8 February 2010 at 7:31pmPosts: 1894 (0 today)Status: offline
Thanks IrishRover. That was an interesting read. Wanna research Laing now! So you kinda introduced Laing to Gabriel. . .kind of.
BUMP - for everyone to read.
sesmo11 February 2010 at 5:15pmPosts: 1493 (0 today)Status: offline