Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sad Way to Start My Day

Apparently, I've been carrying around a cognitive dissonance with respect to one of my favorite comic strips ever, Calvin & Hobbes. This morning I realized that were it actually to resemble our society, Calvin & Hobbes probably should have ended in one strip.
Panel 1: Calvin is Spaceman Spiff in his flying saucer, a CALVIN! dialogue box at the top coming from the next panel.

Panel 2: Miss Wormwood is in front of Calvin
Miss Wormwood: Calvin, for the third time, what is the answer to my question?
Calvin looks puzzled.

Panel 3: Mom meeting with Calvin's pediatrician.
Mom: Calvin is having trouble in school -- he's having a hard time focusing on what's going on in class.
Doctor: Calvin has an attention deficit disorder. There's a medication that I'd like to try -- let's see if it helps.

Panel 4: 10 days Later, Calvin alone in his room with Hobbes the stuffed toy (not tiger).
Calvin: Hobbes, why are you just sitting there? Hobbes?
Every once in a while I really don't like where my mind's wanderings takes me.


Q said...

You're touching on a serious issue here. Modern medications raise profound issues about personal identity.

I saw a documentary about a high school kid who was a brilliant composer / pianist. But he was an emotional mess, weeping constantly from depression. It got to the point where he was suicidal.

They found a drug that cured his depression. But it also squelched his creativity; he could no longer compose, or even play as brilliantly as he did before the medication was introduced.

Very much the Calvin scenario you've described.

So who is that kid? Is he the suicidal musical genius that exists when he is off meds? Or do the meds restore his true identity, that of an ordinary high school kid?: not suicidal, but no longer a musical genius, either.

aaron said...

Mental illness is not uncommon among creative geniuses -- Vincent Van Gogh and Virginia Woolf, to name two famous examples. There's also John Nash, the subject of the movie "A Beautiful Mind," whose creativity wasn't artistic but mathematic. I typed ("mental illness" creativity) into google and got a bunch of hits, including this one:

As for who the real person is, the creative genius with mental health issues or the sane average person, I would say he's both. The choice should be up to him when he is "sane" as to how he wants to proceed with his life -- he would know what he'd be giving up, his sanity or his genius, and decide which he couldn't live without.

snaars said...

Why should the "sane" version get to make the decision?

The best thing to do is have a sort of time-share. "Normal guy" should stop taking medication on the week-ends and holidays, during which time "creative genius" is not allowed to handle sharp objects. There, another brilliant solution by snaars. Every day there is more evidence that I am a creative genius!

Seriously, it angers me that so many kids are on these drugs. There's something wrong when we feed our children "frosted sugar bombs" for breakfast, and Coke and fast food for lunch, and expect them to sit still in a hard chair at a desk for hours every day.

Growing up is hard enough without all the pressures endured by kids these days. There are more single-parent households. There is more awareness of global issues such as terrorism, war, global warming, etc. Is it any wonder that some of them are distracted?

These are all societal problems. Why should we medicate our children as though the fault lies with them?