Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Really Great Essay, especially for Claire and Ken and Single Dad


It's hard not to think of what's going on in America today -- the grappling with national healthcare, the politicization of what some (like me) might consider basic morality, the decimation of social programs for the disabled in the interest of individualism, the notion of what it means to be human. 

Thanks to Sally over at Maggie World, I read this essay today, written by Chris Gabbard, the father of August. It's wonderful to hear these words from a male perspective -- please read and share.

And if you're sitting around, knitting or something, listen to any program on Krista Tippett's show Being, but particularly this one, Fragility and the Evolution of Our Humanity. Here's an excerpt, written by Xavier Le Pichon, geophysicist and spiritual thinker:

Thus, the most revealing character of human societies seems to me to be that they take care of those who, when considered on the sole basis of immediate efficiency, appear to be debris that should be eliminated. Taking care of fragile and vulnerable individuals has revealed to humans their own fragility and vulnerability. It has forced them to enter this dark world of fear in order to learn to live with it. They have realized that the human individual is a unique reality that keeps its unity under widely changing aspects from the fetus to the aged person at the end of his life. This process must have played a decisive role in the psychological mutation of humans and their acquisition of an artistic and metaphysical capacity. As a result, the social presence of an individual within a human society is related to the tight network of relations, of emotions and more deeply of love that has been progressively woven throughout his life, and not primarily to its immediate material usefulness.



8 comments:

  1. Cracking post. I love your passion and how you write about subjects that might be deemed delicate in such a thoughtful manner. I know that in the past you've been attacked for your views, which goes to show other people's social and political myopia. Keep up the good work, and thanks for those links.

    Greetings from London.

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  2. "Thus, the most revealing character of human societies seems to me to be that they take care of those who, when considered on the sole basis of immediate efficiency, appear to be debris that should be eliminated. Taking care of fragile and vulnerable individuals has revealed to humans their own fragility and vulnerability."

    I think that's why disabilities scare so many people because they realize the disabled are no different than them. Any one of us could become disabled, dependent. A couple of years ago I had a patient who had been out golfing with his buddies, drinking, he fell out of the golf cart and now has a severe brain injury, completely dependent.

    All of us will require help at some point in our lives, due to illness, age or accident.

    We are fragile creatures which is why we live in communities, we need each other. It's not a bad thing at all.

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  3. I went and read the essay, lovely.

    I think of Katie as my hard gift. She has taught me so much and I hope I have taught her as well. I do believe she came into my life for a reason though.

    People always underestimate Katie, believing that an IQ of 25 means you are stupid. Katie is mentally handicapped but she is not stupid. Just as a wheelchair athlete is handicapped but is not incapacitated. Katie understands people, reads body language better than most people I've ever met, and understands jokes and humor. She watched yesterday as I put lipstick on her brother's lips and she got that is wasn't right but when I proceeded to color outside the lines, I thought she was going to bust a gut laughing.

    That's what people need to understand that our children are not handicapped, they are amazing. They live in our world, they navigate a world not set up for them but for us and they do it everyday.

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  4. Cuban -- I'm smiling ear to ear from your comment, particularly that this is a "cracking post." I love that and thank you!

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  5. I am speechless...what a heartfelt essay from a father of his son as well as what has profoundly changed in his way he views life now. His son became a gift to him in ways he would not have thought of. What a father August has...very moving...thank you for sharing this link...

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  6. Come on, a father who loves his disabled kid? Can't believe everything you read on the 'net, you know.

    :)

    Thanks for sharing the great story.

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  7. Hallelujah! Beautiful and so true. Thanks for sharing.

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