Is it human to seek despite what you have found? Even at the grocery store we don’t stop when we have what we need, we continue until we have everything on the list and then some. There is always one more record for the vinyl collection, one more place to visit or another gigabyte or pixel to be had.

Is it something in our ancestry; times of scarcity or are we being played? If compact disks weren’t marketed would we have any need to abandon cassettes? I won’t argue with the improvement but as necessity is the mother of invention I simply question the necessity. With all the “progress” in music formats why do audiophiles swear by vinyl? If vinyl is the pinnacle has the last 25 years of “progress” been for naught?

Without doubt some advances are clearly so (at present). I am satisfied that health care professionals wash their hands but how many people have been saved by Prozac and how many have died because of it?

Mental illness used to be locked in the attic or asylum; now it resides on the street or in prison. I fear we cannot see the forest for the trees. As we shake our heads at the past, so will the future at the present.

When mental illness is given the degree of respect we hold for physical ailments, change will be inevitable. Mental illness may not be locked in the attic but the window has only been cracked and the breeze of stigma still fills the room with its stench.

If I have cells in my brain that form a tumor I am one thing. If I have cells in my brain that chemically affect me I am another. We split much less than hairs and walk on the opposite side of the street.

We pride ourselves on our technological advancements but fail to see our compassionate stagnation. If only we valued new ideas, new thoughts and new attitudes as much as new products. If only we rushed out an obtained a new point of view as quickly as a Blu-ray. If only we could package and promote understanding and put ignorance to the curb with the garbage where it belongs we might see true progress.

The next time you reach for change in your pocket; ask yourself if it is the change you need to make.

20 thoughts on “Necessity

  1. People sometimes strive for goals just because the challenge is there. Which is good, as this striving sometimes results in something really useful and valuable, apart from some things developed just for the sake of it and not necessary as such.Then again, to live only on the bare minimum might be unbearable, some pleasures and luxuries, even the smallest ones, are good to have.
    Why concentrate on the physical, on the superficial, why isn’t there more change to the way people think? Well, this is simple, on the whole people are nothing but a mass. The average IQ of this mass is frighteningly low and it takes years, centuries, to change the direction in which the mass is moving. But the consolation here is that when this direction has changed already, it takes a whole lot to change it back. Quick but easy and rapid changes would be much less beneficial for the general well-being of humanity and for certain ideas and values.
    Just my two cents 🙂

    • Thanks very much for the comments. I have lived without the luxuries and with. When I was without I didn’t think about what I was missing. When I got a fake pork chop instead of a steak I simply enjoyed the pork chop. I get caught up in luxuries. The thing I see about having them is they are often quickly overlooked and another catches my eye. I agree that many things are useful but I need to practice restraint and make due with what I have at times. When all you have is one ply simply fold it over 🙂
      As far as things changing quickly or slowly, it may be more beneficial for it to be slow. I suppose some ideas involve a paradigm shift. I was with a friend who was in Forensics with me. We used to ride our bikes to our favourite coffee shop when we were hospitalized. Last night we were in a car going through the drive through. I said to him if this was given to us at that time it would have been too much to handle. To have freedom and control would have paralyzed us. Painful as it was, freedom was spoon fed to us. I can see your point that certain ideas or values are best served the same way. Thanks, Brett

    • Thanks Diane. I think that if there was a more compassionate recognition people living with mental illness could concentrate on their treatment rather than fumble around with stigma and misconceptions. Trying to understand yourself is difficult when you are misunderstood by others. Some of the best therapy I received was simply to be among the world without a label.

  2. Brett, I have thought the same thing for a long time. It’s mind boggling to me that people are so quick to fund/research/sympathize nearly any physical ailment. But bring up mental illness and people can’t get away quick enough. So much stigma, so little progress.

    • Yes I sometimes wonder about the social benefits of Viagra. What advances might have been made in mental health medications if the research money and promotional dollars were spent there. I wont argue that Viagra has benefited many people but how many lives has it saved?

  3. Very interesting post, lots of food for thought.

    Just a comment on the nature of change. We live in a period of time where constant technological change has been the norm, at an ever increasing rate, as our past inventions allow us to create new ones faster and faster. We’ve forgotten that change in the past, prior to the modern technological age, came in fits and starts. Some sudden upheavals that returned to a new stasis. Our modern technology makes it easy to maintain an ongoing rapid rate of change in that aspect of our lives.

    Changes to attitudes and beliefs though, still operate in the same old human way, slow torturous progress on small aspects, the occasional upheaval and then a new stasis. Technology has allowed that to happen a bit faster since education can be spread further, but its still fundamentally the same process. Every new idea passes through Schopenhauer’s three stages: first its ridiculed, then its violently opposed and lastly, accepted as self-evident.

    Still, it does happen. Speaking as a gay person, when I came out I was legally a second class person in every country in the world. My home province didn’t even have the limited legal protections that had been adopted in some others. Now, 17 years later (I can’t believe it) the world is a vastly different place and by and large a better one. And it will be that way for people with mental illnesses.

    It will just take a lot of sweat, tears and hard work before its accepted as self-evident.

    • Hi Jack, Thanks so much for the thoughtful response. What you say makes entire sense. I was unfamiliar with Schopenhauer’s stages. I guess the question is which stage are we at with regards to mental illness. If for example we profess mental illness as organic what purpose is served to ridicule or oppose the idea? You seem to know more here so I am asking why do people oppose new information? Is it just a comfort thing where we are stable so long as no one raises any questions regarding our perceived reality? Thanks, Brett

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