Home Concepts Managing Stress & Challenges The Shattered Tin Man Midst the Shock and Awe in Mid-21st Century Societies I: Shattering and Shock

The Shattered Tin Man Midst the Shock and Awe in Mid-21st Century Societies I: Shattering and Shock

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The Wizard of Oz was produced as a Hollywood movie at the end of the 1930s (in 1939). The Great Depression was coming to an end (thanks in part to the economy of war in the early 1940s). However, failed leadership was still quite evident in most Western countries. The prospect of a second world war was looming over all societies in the world. It would seem that all was not well in America or other societies in the world.

Specifically, all was not well for the Tin Man in this 1939 setting. Somehow his joints got rusted in a rainstorm. Why didn’t he get out of the rain – and could the rust really occur so rapidly? Was the Tin Man stuck in place for a quite different reason? Was he frozen in place as a result of some trauma in his life – as Robert Sapolsky notes regarding the frozen state of many human beings (Sapolsky, 2004)? Was the Tin Man, like most residents of the late 1930s (both fictional and real) trying to recover from the trauma of economic collapse (the Great Depression) while looking forward with dread to the fall once again into massive global conflict?

Yet the Tin Man was rescued by Dorothy and the Scarecrow. His rusted joints were oiled and his heart was recovered. Then, joined by the Cowardly Lion and the ever-present Toto, the Tin Man and his colleagues in the land of Oz found a pathway (Yellow Brick Road). In our narrative, characters in Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz were joined by two other characters who helped to direct treatment of the Tin Man.

They were Wilhelm Reich and Moshe Feldenkrais, two leading though controversial pioneers in the world of healing arts. All was restored and healed for the Tin Man and his colleagues. They reached the Emerald City and found a new state of stability, certainty, simplicity, clarity, calm and consistency in Oz or back home in Kansas. But then the late 20th Century and early 21st Century spun out with new challenges of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, turbulence and contradiction. Neither Kansas nor Oz would ever be the same.

Shattering of the Tin Man and His Companions

What would it be like for the Tin Man and his companions in Oz if we did a bit of time travel and bring them all into the middle of the 21st Century? In the movie, Dorothy noted to Toto when they arrived in Oz that “we are not in Kansas anymore.” She is likely to declare now, after being delivered into the middle of our century that “we are not in the 20th Century anymore.” Let’s assume that our visitors to Oz have been living in our mid-21st Century land for a while. What has happened to all of them?

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