disability

Some disconnected thoughts re disability:

  • If Dawkins is right that she is blind, pitiless indifference, then Nature knows nothing: in particular, the difference between ability and disability.
  • Nature also does not distinguish between ‘successful’ species and ‘failed’ (extinct) ones; or between anything… this successful species and that successful species… this or that anything… between self and other…
  • Blindness is the disability to see.  As far as Nature is concerned (or not concerned), organisms which can see and survive are not ‘more evolved’ than those who cannot, as if evolution (or Nature) had a mind with intentions and/or goals.
  • Nature has no compassion on or understanding of people with any disability… or people with ‘abilities’
  • Some might hold out hope that all the above is wrong: that a currently unknown part of Nature actually does know, care, and/or have compassion/understanding, etc.  A bit like those who believed (or still do believe) in various kinds of nature-gods. The only difference being that they give them names based on what we know from human experience; oh wait, what name could we ever give to such a thing than that from human experience?  Some just sound ‘scientific’ and others sound ‘superstitious’.
  • In spite of the indifference and unconsciousness of Nature, the language of ‘disability’ is still, however, properly basic.  It is simply true that we (not Nature) can recognise and name not only the various species, but the various abilities (or lack thereof) they have.
  • Is the seeing ability of a (sighted) human a ‘disability’ in comparison to that of, say, a bald eagle?  Why would we restrain disability to being only defined within species?  What about non-living objects?  Are we ‘disabled’ for not being as ‘able’ as a star, which (if our modern theories are correct) are ‘able’ to produce solar systems?
  • Are we all not ‘disabled’ in at least some way?  I find this idea to be quite equalising, humbling and right.
  • I went to a Benny Hinn healing meeting a few years ago, so that my criticism of him would have actual experience behind it.  I despise this kind of prosperity crap, and was enraged at how the machine works, but I particularly angered that those in wheelchairs were utterly ignored the entire time.
  • Our ‘disability’ to love as we have ‘ability’ to (now there’s a juxtaposition if ever there was one) must be humanity’s most debilitating ailment.
  • The Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus, means, among other things, that (as the cliche goes) God meets us where we are at, namely in our disability and rebellion, and will not leave us there.

helped helpers

I’ve long held that disabled persons have a gift.

Albeit is is a gift that few if anyone want.  But some of the most mature, caring people I’ve known (in my youth work and elsewhere) have been people who have had the privilege (one nobody asks for) of having a sibling or child who is disabled. Disabled people teach us to care.

But in this post, I wanted to record a different thought I had related to disability – and it might have the potential to be a bit controversial.

I’ve noticed that there is much effort to help disabled persons to be as ‘independent’ as possible.  To live in their own place, to get their own groceries, to drive their own car – that sort of thing.

I guess my question is when does the good, humane task of helping someone ‘stand on their own two feet’ (so to speak) become something that ‘helps’ them into a lifestyle that is isolating, individualistic and thus inhumane?

I have a conviction that humans are made to be burdens to one another, and yet it is resisted both by those who fear being the burden, and by those who fear bearing the burden.  This resistance, I’m convinced (and admit to in my own experience and choices), is part of the pressure of living in an individualistic society where ‘freedom’ is defined by how many (often consumer) options one has.

More choices, though, can be an enslaving thing.  I know a disabled person who has (again) been placed in a living situation that isolates them, makes them feel intensely lonely, and contributes to them seeking out friends that encourage behaviour that has got them into legal trouble multiple times.

But this person, like all of us at times, resists the help that they need so much.  I once threw out my back trying to – at the last minute – shift all my possessions between dwelling places.  Help is not easy to ask for – disabled or not.  And help is not easy to give.

So I’m just wondering.  Should we ‘help’ disabled people to become like us?  People who too often don’t know how to ask for help?  Thoughts welcome.