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Patient 18

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Few weeks ago, I decided to go for a long walk. It was one of those “clear my head” walks, like we all are having every now and then. I put on my AirPods and even took the spare ones, as a back-up. It was a mid week day and it was one of those holiday day-offs, which no one celebrates, yet enjoys not going to work that day. After a few hours of walking, both of my earpiece sets were out of battery. That was the moment when I understood that, AirPods “ain’t gonna cut it” when it comes to my new prolonged walking durations.I found myself around Sahil metro station, walked into the electronics store for new headphones. I never owned one of those noise cancelling big ones, which can last for 30+ hours on a full charge. I walked to the wall with the selection of chunky headphones and picked the best one I could find. Since that purchase, I enjoy music in a different way. 

Let me explain: an introvert who does not drink or go to big crowded events, does not have many options to really enjoy music. For me, this purchase was like a serendipitous goldmine. Since that day, I always have my lightweight but chunky headphones with me. I workout, work, walk & rest with them. Yeah, yeah… I know its weird but not as much as it sounds. 

I continued that walk towards the promenade. Every beat, melody, intro, music note, key, string and beat drop started to hit differently. I always listened to music, but starting from that day I started hearing it. I started listening to different kinds of music, even introduced myself to music in new languages and styles. Some became extensions of previously liked styles & but some were completely new. I mean, I can listen to Anatolian (Turkish) rock, music in Hebrew, Oud instrumentals, French music from 80s, Electronic music, Polynesian koala (steel drum) songs – all in a single day. 

However, sometimes one song takes the stage & I stick to that song on repeat for days. The reasoning for clinging to a song for that long varies. Sometimes I can relate to the lyrics. Often I just like the beats, drops & transitions. Frequently I just love how the music makes me feel or the way song compliments my melancholic state of being on that day.

“There has been a strong tendency in the aesthetics of music to emphasize the paramount importance of compositional structure; however, other issues concerning the aesthetics of music include lyricism, harmony, hypnotism, emotiveness, temporal dynamics, resonance, playfulness, and color.

It is often thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect, and psychology; it can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions. The philosopher Plato suggests in the Republic that music has a direct effect on the soul. Therefore, he proposes that in the ideal regime music would be closely regulated by the state”

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” (Plato)

“Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that it is calculating.” (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz)

“The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain… Music expresses only the quintessence of life and its events, never these themselves.” (Arthur Schopenhauer)

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize With the Hammer)

Can not agree more with all these quotes. They make so much sense now…

On July 2nd I stumbled on an amazing song composed by Kled Mone. His style reminds me of Monolink – one of my favorite musicians. Right at this point I would like to ask you to press play below.

I listened to this song dozens of times first on the background, after which I shared it on my instagram stories. Following that, I sent this song to my loved one as well. She hit me back with the following comment “it has very good lyrics too”. I started paying good attention to the words as well, however before they just seemed like random sentences by the DJ himself. Surprisingly it was something very, very different.

The words are not melodic, it is not someone singing. There are two men talking to each other in the background. I started listening carefully to the lyrics, but they did not make sense. Subsequently, I typed in “Catatonia Kled Mone lyrics” and google gave me no results. Imusic or Spotify did not come to the rescue as well. Today is July the 3rd and since I woke up, at every idle time of mine I was trying to find the lyrics to the song with no result. When it comes to patience or persistence, there are rare occasions when I do not f*** around. I ended up on youtube comment sections for finalizing my quest for the search of the words in the background. 

And voila!

The voices in the song do not belong to a musician, poet, artist and they are not even computer generated . It is from an interview which took place in 1961. 

Here is what you heard in the first 2 minutes of the song as an extract from the dialogue.

Interviewer: Whose idea was it for you to come here?

P18: the psychiatrist decided that this was the situation for me

Interviewer: did he tell you why?

P18 : no

Interviewer: Has anyone told you why? have you any idea why?

P18 : Yea

Interviewer : And what is that?

P18 : I am not completely like other people.

Interviewer :What do you mean by that?

P18 : People dislike me because I am not completely like them. I am trying to do with my life something, which few people try to do. This influences my thinking and consequently my actions.

Interviewer : What is it that you are trying to do with your life?

P18: Play the piano for people.

Interviewer: You don’t feel that you belong in the hospital, but that other people did feel that

P18: Those who dislike me, want to find a worse place for me.

If you are wondering why the article is named Patient 18 and what P18 has anything to do with the song or the dialogue, keep scrolling.

This short video gives an insight into the mental health of a young man. According to the psychologists examining him, he displays a catatonic schizophrenic mental disorder. Hence the song is called “Catatonic”. The interview seeks to enlighten his condition to psychologists and/or students of psychology.

The recorded conversation is a part of a longer psychiatric interview series, produced for the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, by the Motion Picture Division, Theatre Arts Department, University of California, Los Angeles in the year 1961. The young man is identified as patient number 18 out of courtesy for his privacy.

Catatonic schizophrenia is serious neurological or psychological condition in which two kinds of behaviors are typically displayed: stupor and motor rigidity or excitement. When people experience rigidity or stupor, they are unable to speak, respond or even move.

Allegedly P18’s real name was Stephen. There are various versions on how his life turned out. However, before we go any further I would like to show the full interview. 

There are a few stories on how this mans life turned out. 

Here is one of them which circles the internet.

TheSoothsayer 42

“This man was my uncle. I’m not going to give any names, but for those of you who are concerned with how things turned out for him, not well. There’s so much to address here. First let me say that he was being treated in this video with meds. Without the medication his mood ranged from complete delusion to catatonic. As for being gay, I don’t think he had much of a sex drive at all. With or without meds. As for the idea that he was put here because he was gay by some unloving family, that’s ridiculous. I don’t have time to say all the things my family tried just to make his existence somewhat peaceful just for his own sake. 

My family had a couple of openly homosexual and lesbians in it even back in the sixties and with the exception of my mother’s father no one gave a shit. My uncle suffered with meds and even more without. After forty some odd years, most of which he spent in institutions, he took his own life by way of drug overdose. By the way, the comment about the plot twist, he never had a piano was funny because he didn’t. His seeming obsession with piano came and went as did obsessions with religion, especially the Catholic Church and government. 

As far as I know he couldn’t play a lick. He was very ill at his best and a living shell at his worst. I hope that answers some questions because that’s all I have to say on the matter. He’s been gone since the late eighties and I really hope that other members of my family don’t see this video, mostly because of the comments from people that somehow think they understand him better than the people who suffered with him. 

One last thing, I think people thought that he was talking about sitting or standing effeminately or something. No, he was talking about sitting or standing motionless for hours. Usually not even his facial expression would change but when it did it was usually related to something in his mind only. I really can’t begin to tell you all how heartbreaking the whole thing was. He did seem intelligent and with meds he did remind me of a high functioning guy with autism I once met.”

None of the stories about P18 is verified, so it remains as anyones guess. How it actually happened during the interview & what happened to P18 after the fact remains unknown to general public. One thing for sure, his appearance on the video is quite bizarre. He seems to be on meds. Nonetheless, some still think that he was a hired actor for a scripted video later to be used by the students of the university as a mock case study.Until the details of the case are released by the department of psychiatry at University of California this case will remain a mystery. Musics takes us to places & gift us wide range of emotions. This was a story of just 1 song.

Pura Vida!


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