The scale of an event, the sweep of a narrative can make it difficult to comprehend and, therefore, difficult to resolve.
Climate collapse may be difficult to fully grasp but a dolphin or tortoise washed up on a beach, choked to death on a piece of discarded plastic, provokes outrage and sorrow not yet, at least widely, seen around climate issues.
The same logic applies to our health service.
The idea of 10,000 people waiting on hospital trolleys for treatment, as there were in April, is hard to process as it is so in conflict with how we imagine this society. Yet little enough changes.
That juxtaposition seems sharp in our mental health services. That running sore, and as psychiatric nurses consider strike action, was highlighted by a judge dealing with a case where a man was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Judge James McNulty warned in Macroom District Court he may have to release the man as no place could be found in our health service to offer him the treatment and sanctuary he needs.
Tansanqa Radise has been in Cork Prison for five months where only part-time services are available even though he is more a patient than a convicted person.
Unfortunately he is one of many struggling people denied the support a decent society would provide almost without question.
If Mr Radise and others like him are victims of an inadequate service what does that make us?
How can this inhuman neglect be tolerated in such a rich society?