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Unchained or Unhinged

One day while waiting at an intersection I watched a tandem bicycle ride by.  The driver, or front seat, had a gentleman on it of about fifty years.  Behind him sat a woman of similar age with a beatific grin on her face.  Her gaze drifted around at the world like a child, taking in all of the sites, smells, and sounds.  Ironically, her smile was so wide as to stir thoughts that she was mentally ill.  How wrong that is. 


It is sad that when we see someone who seems “irrationally happy,” we immediately imagine that they are mentally ill unless the person is a child.  Then our society tries to put them in a hospital or medicate them. 


In some cultures I imagine that they worship someone of this level of contentment.  Instead of trying to drug them down, these societies might follow and learn from these individuals.  Imagine what you can learn from the mentally ill if you treat them as different instead of sick.  Of course some do need personal hands-on care as they urinate themselves.  Yet others though, they bother no one. 


To give an example, some wandering mystics in India would be institutionalized here in the
United States.  These Sannyasi surrender everything and wander the world surviving on what it provides.  When asked, they say that they only eat what God provides, either through alms or from what they can scavenge.


Someone very close to me wandered like this in the
USA and ended up in hospitals and jails.   He would get trespassing charges and then be released.  When taken in front of a judge they often asked him to get another psychiatry evaluation.  He would tell them that he did not need to talk to another idiot to measure his sanity.  He just wanted to be left alone.


To this day I cannot find this individual, but I do know that he is living the life that he wants to live.  When offered apartments, homes and other places, he turns them down.  He only wants to live the way he wants to live.  He hurts no one, other than to provide an eyesore to some.  Stories of the homeless abound like this. 


I make no political statement as to what, if anything, needs to be done with or for them.  I only point out that each perspective provides another link in the chain of our ideas about reality.  The question for us is, “What does this chain connect us to?”   Does it anchor us to something which allows us to explore reality further, or does it weigh us down under untenable logical inconsistencies?

By | 2007-05-31T11:06:23+00:00 May 31st, 2007|Perspectives, Philosophy|0 Comments

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