An Elementary Community
Monday 10:00 PM on CBS

"Wenn bange, unruhige und böse Gedanken kommen, so gehe ich ans Meer, und das Meer übertönt sie mit seinen großen, weiten Geräuschen, reinigt mich mit seinem Lärm und legt einen Rhythmus allem in mir auf, was verstört und verwirrt ist."
(Rainer Maria Rilke)

"When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused."

"It's also good for swimming."

"I was quoting Rainer Maria Rilke, the German poet.
He was consumed by a need to understand the, uh, fundamental essence of the world.
And himself.
Think I would've gotten on quite well with him."

(speechlessness of the writer of this review following the episode)

Fortunately I managed to find my words again or you wouldn't be able to read this review that will not deal with the case of the week at all or if then only very peripherally.
The Rilke quote struck a deep chord with me and I feel the urge to try to explain how gifted people as well as artists, writers, scientists and other highly creative individuals, with probably a high correlation between the two, experience the world and what that means for them.

When Sherlock quotes Rilke, Alfredo answers that it (the sea) was also good for swimming.
This is a good example for the differences in perception. Where "normal" people, for lack of a better word, see the practical and obvious, creative people experience their surroundings with every fibre of their being.

Alfredo sees the ocean and thinks of swimming, Sherlock takes in the colour of the water, the patterns the waves make, the smell of salt in the air, the slight taste of seaweed, the sound of the waves touching the shore,the sensation of wind in the face, the cries of the seagulls and a lot more that would take too long to mention. Together these impressions create a mood and arouse intense emotions and often also a string of thoughts about for example where the water comes from, where it goes from there, what the seagulls see or what the couple thinks that walks along the beach hand in hand.

Sherlock states that he, like Rilke, was driven by the urge to understand the fundamental essence of the world. This urge, you can also call it curiosity, and the ability to draw connections are the two core traits artists, scientists and gifted people have in common.

They are the source of their creativity and the reason Sherlock is so good at what he does but they are also the source of something called "existential depression".

In the Episode "The View From Olympus" in Season 3, Sherlock says about himself:

"You know, it hurts, Agatha. All this.
Everything I see, everything I hear, touch, smell. The conclusions that I'm able to draw.
The things that are revealed to me.
The ugliness."

Seeing more also means seeing more bad things. Together with the heightened sensitivity and empathy this means that you often feel helpless considering all the misery and violence in the world. This is especially difficult for children as they can understand complex problems but are not able to deal with them emotionally.

For example, a gifted 5 year old girl saw a homeless person begging for money. When she realised that the man was ignored by most of the adults passing, including her mother, she started to cry and she would not stop for about half an hour, worrying about where this man might sleep that night and what he would eat if nobody gave him anything.

"The gifted child envisions how the world ought to be and is quite distressed that so few people share her idealism or vision, even though the solutions to some of the world's problems seem so easy and obvious....
When excessive feelings of personal responsibility for humanity surface, then sadness, anger, helplessness and depression inevitably result. For these children to survive and become content, it will be essential to help them: (1) feel that someone else truly understands their feelings, (2) feel that their ideals are shared by others and that they are not alone, and (3) join efforts with other idealists in ways that can impact the world. Only then will these children find meaning in their own lives and in their associations with others so that they believe they belong in this world."

(from: A Parent's Guide To Gifted Children, James T. Webb, GPP 2007, p.162)

Morland Holmes said about Sherlock in Season 4 that he was born with a malignant sense of self-righteousness, an assessment that is as unfair as it is wrong.
Because Sherlock did not receive the support he would have needed, he became an adult suffering from an anxiety disorder and major depression.

Fortunately most creative individuals have or had caregivers that supported them. I find it remarkable that, when I read interviews with artists, actors and writers, they often talk about their parents and how important they have been for their careers.

There is another factor that often helps gifted people deal with their heightened sensitivity.
Being emotionally overexcitable means experiencing all emotions more deeply, including the positive ones. Besides sometimes being extremely sad, they also have a great capacity for joy and in fact it is possible to savour both.

Additional thoughts:

In the episode there are people who believe that science is devil's work.
In a world that is changing very rapidly, people long for security.
Clinging to what you know gives you that feeling, so scientists are seen as an enemy as they don't want to keep things as they are.
Their ideas and their "Out Of The Box" way of thinking look suspicious to many.
I think this is also the reason why TV shows that stick to commonplace are often more successful than innovative shows like Elementary.
I appreciate that the writers nevertheless keep their path and that CBS has got the courage to give this show a seventh Season.

I loved the song that was played over the last scene. It added to the sombre mood .
By the way: I wrote earlier about the ability to savour sadness.
This scene had that effect on me.

What is your opinion about "Nobody Lives Forever"?

1 Comment
Comments (1)
Jul 07, 2018
Sometime seeing the world in such a wide vision also allows you to see the flaws in the idealists and you run into the issue of idealism, clashed with realism and find flaws and mistakes and errors in too many things and when you have a creative mind, you spend hours trying to figure out a solution to all these things and find a common ground only to realize that common ground cannot be found for those who are close minded, and even idealists close their minds to the understanding of why others are the way they are and therefore you cannot fix something when your mind turns towards a hatred of the stubborn, not realizing you are stubborn yourself. If that makes any sense to you.
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