Pamela Anderson has been quoted as saying that she doesn’t like mirrors because she’s hotter in her mind.
I know that there are a few holes in that reference.
A) Her confidence in her physical appearance may need a little less coddling than the Average Joe.
B) I’m not citing Ms. Anderson as a beacon of logic. She just visited Newfoundland as a PETA representative offering $1 million to the sealers to end the seal hunt, which would amount to approx. $167 per family to abandon their livelihood. That may be the most self indulgent shit I’ve ever heard. And let’s be honest: I write this blog about what I got for Christmas in 1986 and how terrible I am at cooking.
But, at the end of the day, I tend to agree with her view about mirrors.
I was taken by a documentary I watched yesterday about a nursing village in the Netherlands for patients with severe dementia. The village is accesible by one entrance point and everyone within the walls is either a patient or an employee of some sort, employees outnumbering patients 2:1. There is a hair salon, a grocery store, various restaurants and cafes. No money is exchanged and everyone who works at the establishments is trained to deal with dementia.
I was a bawling mess watching the stories of these patients. My reaction rivalled the time my hormones boycotted the estrogen pumped birth control I was taking during university and I had a near emotional breakdown due to a particularly touching episode of Oprah.
But there is controversy in the concept.
Are the patients ultimately being mislead? Is that world a lie? Is it fair to perpetuate this lie?
Sure. They are being mislead. They are living in an alternate reality that allows them to feel like they have control. An alternate reality that provides some dignity and safety to live life.
And I think it’s wonderful.
Why can’t we take more care to cater to each others perception of reality? If it doesn’t hurt other people, why can’t we just live and let live? Our soapbox culture perpetuates a false sense of free will, free speech and truth. We are so desperate to connect that we are collapsing under our opinions. I’ve heard more debate over whether or not people on Facebook should be upset over the recent overdose of screen actor Philip Seymour Hoffman than any attempts to examine the root of a drug culture that is all at once celebrated and berated as much as the celebrities we love to hate.
I think we’ve lost perspective.
And it’s Facebook. It’s like watching toddlers duel with pepperoni sticks. If people want to talk about Philip Seymour Hoffman and that somehow offends you, maybe you should just take a chill pill and shut down the IPad for a day or two until there is a new tragedy for us to collectively pine for.
If someone is sad, let them be sad. My heavens, we’ve lost a ton of compassion and care for each other.
In a world that pushes us to share every interesting experience or thought that we encounter in our day through hashtags and Instagrams, we’ve put ourselves under microscopes and on pedestals and yet somehow have lost the decency to respect or honor the experiences, thoughts and feelings of those around us, all in some pursuit of ultimate truth.
Is the illusion of freedom in a controlled environment akin to the illusion of beauty without a proper point of reflection? I wonder if the patients of Hogewey, if presented with the reality of their situation, if they would feel lied to? I wonder if they would feel deceived.
I doubt it.
At 15:40, Ina gets her hair brushed and it will make you feel so warm inside. Heart swelling pride. I don’t know how to describe it. I absolutely don’t know.
The model of Hogewey is an example of catering an environment to a disability, as opposed to forcing people to adapt to the same conditions despite drastically different abilities and needs.
I don’t think of it as a lie, per se. I think of it as a beautiful mansion with covered mirrors.
I have been wandering around the concepts of truth and reality. And I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I just woke up at 6 am still thinking about it.