I have always had a fascination with mental illness and how it relates to familial relationships. In many cases, well meaning family members try to take the place of well trained caregivers. For many people with exceptionalities a loving family that can keep them safe may be all they need. This is not necessarily the case with individuals who have psychological disorders.
There are some in my own family that struggle with mental illness. I know full well the impact that family has when they are armed with empathetic intentions, but no meaningful training. Jennifer represents many people in the world that have been asked through action or guilt to care for mentally ill siblings. Jennifer felt bad for Kip because his behaviour had been normalized throughout her life. She did not have a professional distance from which to observe his behaviour.
I began writing this story initially from the perspective of the tomatoes. Our busy and often chaotic lives are filled with other living things that we often overlook. The tomatoes represent a part of this bounty of biology that not only surrounds us, but also interacts with our energy. Tomatoes do not communicate in a way that we understand at present – that is, if they do at all. In Resonating Tomatoes, I wanted not only the tomatoes by the spider plant to have a perspective. They may not be exceptionally animated, but they are also being affected by the emotions around them.
This is true for me in the real world. I do not consider myself an animalist; however, I do believe that all life is affected by the actions of the other life forms around them. What that affect is, we currently do not know. I am not really sure that enough research is being done on this.
Kip is neither a hero, nor a victim in this story. He simply is. I wanted to highlight his reality as being as relevant as Jennifer’s within their own experience. Kip does not carry out his actions in a cold and cruel way – he simply takes the steps and actions that his mind believes are the right steps forward. This is the tricky dimension of reality. In practice, we believe things are real if one of the following are true:
- We observe something with our senses (that can be fooled – think magicians!).
- We have others that reaffirm that our beliefs are true without tangible confirmation (often described as faith and/or confirmation bias).
Kip arranges his own sensory input in a unique way. To him, everything he believes is real.
The reality Kip believes in has disastrous, destructive results. Capitalism is much like this reality. The methods of destruction differ. Capitalism is much less hands on for the individual. It allows them to separate themselves from the destruction of the entire planet that they knowingly participate in. Could destroying the only habitable planet we are in close proximity to be considered mental illness?
“Resonating Tomatoes.” Jade Buddha. 2007.