There was a famous novel written in 1865 that told the story of a girl who fell down a rabbit hole into a world of fantasy populated by anthropomorphic animals – What a great word that is! – meaning the attribution of human traits, emotions or intentions to non-human entities for example animals. The books themes and characters are so interesting and so different that in the 1960’s rumours surfaced that the author had surely been under the influence of drugs.
The more I googled about the book and read bits and pieces online, reminding myself to be careful what I read online, it was sad to read that this beautiful story of an incredibly imaginative and fantastic world had been picked to bits and labelled and dissected and analysed. Perhaps I live in a bubble, but I was surprised to see the lead character in the story despite being fictional, has now been diagnosed with multiple disorders as have many of the rest of the cast. I wondered why Harry Potter an equally and fantastic character does not seem to have any disorders (that we know of) yet to me he lives in a pretty bizarre world as well.
I suppose our human experience on this planet makes us feel the need to ‘label’ in our society, possibly to judge. I am the first to admit there are many things I feel I need to ‘understand’ and don’t, and whilst we have a right to our opinion is it okay to label people a certain way or judge them or their decisions? I believe there is a big difference between this and the need to understand.
So, is there some truth to the saying “I am not crazy my reality is just very different from yours”?
It has been my experience that if you put a person in a vastly different, or difficult, uncomfortable, insert many other adjectives in here, position, foreign to their previous ‘normal’, surely it is not unusual for them to act or react differently or unusually. This could be slightly or extremely and based on what THEY are experiencing in their moment, why should they have to justify? And what about those that just want something different to the majority in life?
Perhaps part of the problem is it is not only uncomfortable for them but also those around them and maybe this is where the ‘labelling or judging’ comes into play. There are so many real-life examples of this. A person doing IVF, or someone who has experienced a medical or natural disaster or maybe someone who has been caught up in an act of terrorism or even someone who started a new business or made a sudden and drastic life change. All could be perceived as acting irrational or unstable or unusual. Does it warrant a label though? Does it mean they are all crazy? And should they be diagnosed with a disorder? I have no doubt there is probably one for this anyway. The “I need to survive at all costs” syndrome.
We can be quick to judge, and label and technology today makes this so incredibly simple. Sometimes the hardest part is making a decision and then justifying it to ourselves based on how it will be perceived and what we ‘should’ or shouldn’t be doing. It is something that can only be determined by the person having the experience. I can assure you if I fell down a rabbit hole (maybe I have) and was speaking with an orange striped smiling cat who spoke back to me and a rabbit wearing a monocle, a watch and a waistcoat I would change the way I thought about a lot of things prior to my fall. This is life.
We are all changed for having had certain experiences and cannot un know what we now know. It is both a wonderful and overwhelming phenomenon filled with opportunities and wonderful curious characters we can meet along the way we would never have come in contact with otherwise.
“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then”Alice in Wonderland
https://soundcloud.com/xuclar/b-e-n Created by Leighton Brackenridge recording as Xuclar
In honour of someone who was brave enough to do things differently and is remembered for exactly that.