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Sunday, February 9, 2014


When you grow up in a place without buildings and people, it's easy to imagine life in prehistoric times.  Birds were pterodactyls and deer were dinosaurs and virgins were thrown off the cliff to appease the river god.  Whispers of Indians walked the river bank and stone and shell offerings were arranged in secret patterns while clay watchers protected my domain.

Sometimes creating a post for illustrationfriday is fun and easy.  "Prehistoric" has been a struggle.  I keep thinking about the downside to the isolation of my childhood.  When people don't think their actions are seen, bad things can happen.  Some of the people drawn to isolation are drawn there because they don't fit into society.  They function on the prehistoric level of dragging off your neighbor's mate by the hair or fighting wars that no one is fighting with them.

I made my rock arrangements and clay watchers because it was something I could do in an uncertain world.  Sometimes we all want to do something even if we don't know what to do.

Sometimes I'm glad I've lived an interesting life, even with all the monsters that I've met.  "That which doesn't kill you only serves to make you stronger" -- right?  (Friedrich Nietzsche)  On the other hand I've known multiple people who committed suicide, so it's not a fail-proof statement.

We all have demons, and we all find our own ways to cope with them, even if the last coping method is suicide.  I'm not suggesting that's a good coping method, but sometimes it's all that's left.  When I hear about a school shooting/suicide, I think that I've known people like the shooter.  They have so much rage there's no place to take it or way to show it without cutting down a schoolful of innocents.

When we see the world in terms of Disney princesses, how can we help the Adam Lanzas?  Even if you don't give a damn about people like him, how best to protect society from someone like him?  I don't think politicians have a clue about the desperation of some of the people amongst us.

My brother works at a hospital, and he tells me how crazy people come in, are housed for several hours, then set back on the street again because none of the limited mental health facilities will take them.  We need better solutions.  We need to get our collective heads out of Disney idealism and deal with the reality of the people around us.  We aren't in the world alone.  The crazy people are with us.  We need to actually see them and try to help.

We create our own realities -- until someone shoots a child and the murderer's reality is forced onto us.  That's the way politics seems to work.  People live in their happy Disney worlds and can't and won't understand that not everyone is as blessed.

Like I said, sometimes I'm glad I've lived an interesting life.  My experiences have helped me see a larger world.  Perhaps someone else can understand more through my life without having to look into the eyes of the crazy people?


  1. Being Canadian I suppose, I prefer identifying people as ill rather than crazy but I know the dichotomy to which you refer and like your Disney idealism/reality comparison. "Ill" in any form is not a good thing and things like harm reduction strategies are designed around getting people who are ill (and often don't realize it) involved in the medical help system and not traumatized, shunned or isolated. It is only by educating healthy individuals that we can begin removing the stigma of illness and start to live in a healthier, less prehistoric, more inclusive world.

    See? You made me think! Great post.

  2. Linda, you write that crazy people are admitted to the hospital for a few hours only, then set back on the street again because none of the limited mental health facilities will take them. That is frightening, because, like Rand, I think that these people need care and treatment. The costs of treating these people are neglectable compared to the costs of dealing with traumas they can inflict on others. And not only the costs are important, the most important is of course that people feel as okay as possible and cause others no harm.

    I like your soft prehistoric illustration. Like Stonehenge it challenges us why people have arranged these stones this way. Is it a temple? A burial place? An observatory? Luckily the creator is still alive and we can ask her!

  3. Point well made Rand. I wish Americans would catch up with the Canadians and take care of sick people with all kinds of sicknesses. Like Paula says, the cost is negligible when you think of the alternatives. Thanks for the comments!

    1. Oh, we've got a long way to go as well... :) Have a great week!

  4. I think you are so right. If the society doesn't take care of its own, safety valves will always blow up here and there. Collective and social thinking is more and more on its way, out unfortunately, not only in the States, and its more and more me, myself and I taking over. Until somebody attack your make-believe Disney world...

  5. This is a topic after my own heart. I worked at the EPA and no one wanted regulations or rules until the problem was with THEIR water or air. I also think of the difficulty we, as a society, are having setting up (which means paying for) decent health care. The problems go on and on. It's enough to send us back to our rock guardians...

  6. People used to stay put and know their neighbors better, but now people move around so much maybe they just don't feel connected to each other any more, therefore why should they care? Except we are connected and it does matter. I keep hoping for society and for our water and air. Thanks for the comments!

  7. Besides the beautiful illustrations, your posts always 'make me think'. Thank you for advancing the topic!

  8. A very sobering post.... as always, very thought provoking, which I so enjoy (and I'm "digging" the rocks! ;) )

  9. Thanks for making me smile Mit, and thanks for the comments!

  10. Ohhh... I wasn't expecting your prehistoric rocks to take this path. Isolation, crazy/sick people... the reality is so disturbing. It is my hope and prayer that we can begin to handle these situations much better than we have.

    You seem to have an innate understanding or sense of the root of many of life's problems.