I was sitting in a comfy chair watching my cat as she happily purred, kneaded and clawed my bathrobe. Divinely relaxed as she was, every noise, movement or change in lighting, caused an immediate shift in her attention. Though she continued to purr, her focus was elsewhere for a moment. Once the interruption ceased or was deemed non threatening, uninteresting even, her focus returned to my bathrobe which she kneaded with unbridled passion.
As I continued to observe her behavior a thought occurred to me. My cat has ADHD. Which is of course completely ridiculous. She’s a perfectly normal and healthy cat, doing exactly what it is that cats do. In fact, she does “what cats do” exceedingly well. She hunts everything in sight. I pity the poor field mouse, fly, or other small creature that wanders into our home. Their death knell is already ringing and they don’t even know it, yet.
I considered the correlation between us as hunters and ADHD, again. Originally proposed by Thom Hartmann, the hunter vs. farmer hypothesis, basically states that ADHD is an adaptive behavior from the time when we, as a species, were hunter gatherers. During which time the “symptoms” of ADHD, spatial thought, adaptability, distractibility, hyperfocus and impulsiveness, would have been highly valued. Whereas, in an agricultural setting, not so much. Linear thought, memorization, organization, timing and repetitive tasks are traits valued on a farm.
So, is what we’re looking at a disorder? A deficiency? A deficit? I don’t think so. Unless, of course, my cat has the same issues. What we’re looking at is an evolutionary difference in people. One group with a brain more skilled in the processes aligned with farming and one with a brain more closely aligned with hunting. Since the hunters are not diseased, should they be medicated in order to fit in with a society currently favoring the farming mentality? Perhaps I should drug my cat, so she acts like less of a cat.
Why would anyone consider medicating a child because they think differently? Laziness. In our current educational system, it’s easier to plant a drugged hunter in a chair and ask them to sit still and be quiet than it is to deal with their persistent questions, movements, and interruptions. Discussions, arguments even, used to be a valid part of the classical education process. Perhaps it’s time for a reintroduction of the Socratic method.
“You got a person who has a psychiatric illness in a public school that requires medication from a multibillion-dollar industry, but when you put him into an alternative school environment, not only does he not require the medication, but the disease seems to vanish and he does very well. The question is, then, where is the disease? And I have firmly, solidly come to the conclusion that the disease is in our schools. It’s not in our kids.”
Interesting, huh? One day we’re going to look back at this period in time with disdain, and shake our heads at the ignorance of it all. Like we do now when we look back at doctors prescribing overweight children amphetamines in the 60′s and 70′s. …and for what? Expediency. We are numbing and shaming the genius out of our children in this country, my beloved United States of America, where free thought and individuality were once admired. Now we are encouraged to walk lock step with the perceived “norm”. It’s shameful really.
I won’t be medicating my cat any time soon. Fierce and wild. Strong and flexible. Highly adaptive to change and extremely adept at survival. She wouldn’t do well in a dog show, as she’s not very obedient. I love her as she is. My little hunter.