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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Dorothy didn’t have Aunt Em to pick up after her, so she threw her garbage on the floor of her cottage. Herr home was soon swanned with mice and rats (kind of like the flying vermin that she confronted in Oz). Dorothy recalled that her uncle had built a fancy contraption in their barn to hold up the feed for his cattle. Dorothy decided to build a similar system of hooks and pulleys so that everything in her Cottage could be suspended from the ceiling. But the strain was too much for the flimsy cottage and it soon collapsed. Dorothy grumbled about the inferior construction of the cottage and purchased a new one.

One day she boasted to several people in her old town in Kansas about the peaceful beauty and plentiful game surrounding her forest home. Afterall, there weren’t many forests left in Kansas. Most of them had been cut down to make way for the farmland. The folks in her old town were impressed and reported back to their neighbors, who began to use the area for picnics and hunting excursions. Dorothy was upset by this and cursed the intrusiveness of these Kansans. She began posting signs, setting traps, and shooting at those who came near her dwelling. In revenge groups of boys would come at night from time to time to frighten her and steal things.

Dorothy took to sleeping every night in a chair by the window with a loaded shotgun across her knees. One night she turned in her sleep and shot off her foot. The folks of Kansas were chastened and saddened by this misfortune and thereafter stayed away from Dorothy’s part of the forest. She became lonely and cursed the unfriendliness and indifference of her former neighbors—and longed for her days with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion (and missed Toto). And in all of this Dorothy saw no agency except what lay outside herself. for which reason, and because of her ingenuity, some of the folks in Kansas proclaimed that she epitomizes the true American Spirit.

While Dorothy might represent the “true American Spirit” for some people, she personally viewed her life as a shattered mess. On the one hand, like most Americans, Dorothy desired community, meaningful engagement with other people, and a modicum of interdependence. However, like most Americans of the mid-21st Century, there is reduced trust on the part of Dorothy regarding the competency and (in particular) intentions of her neighbors. The third element of trust is also absent. This concerns shared perspective and values.

Dorothy has decided to live along in her cottage because of the absence of this trust—and her own actions produced results that reinforced her lack of trust. She longs for the companionship she had found in Oz, but does nothing to bring about this companionship in md-21st Century Kansas. There is no Emerald city that would bring her together with other people around a common goal and there was no yellow brick road to provide a shared pathway to a common goal (if there had been one). The world in which Dorothy dwelled was (and still is) saturated with polarized views regarding goals and pathways, as well as shared mistrust regarding the competencies, intentions and perspectives of those in a leadership role in mid-21st Century institutions.

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