For a Well Mind, Try Revolution? Creative Maladjustment Week 2015

David W. Oaks
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Your mental wellness requires a global revolution. In fact, your physical wellness requires one, too.

For many years, I have noticed that there are people doing good social change work for mild reform. That is nice, but during my work in what we affectionately call the “mad movement,” I have often called for revolution, because the change we need is so big! Please do not misunderstand me, we need to attempt a peaceful revolution, which I do not think has been adequately tried; however, I am not a pacifist.

How do you know that a revolution has started? How does it feel? Maybe one has started but we did not get the memo? Or maybe you will start one? What is the connection between peaceful, nonviolent revolution and violent revolution, if any?

Given global warming, inequality, and so many other problems such as bee colony collapse, etc., etc., most people I talk with agree that there needs to be a revolution. My amazing wife, Debra, has helped name our revolution “Love Earth Revolution,” and maybe your name for this revolt is different?

It seems that whenever I hear about big problems in the world, the person concludes by saying that we know what needs to be done, we have the technology, a solution is affordable, but we need to act urgently and the main question is, “Do we have the collective will?”

There is a moral paralysis that blocks necessary revolution. Even Pope Francis is calling for a revolution because of global warming and poverty!

Hmmm, paralysis, seems like I might have some tips about that subject, in fact, maybe the disability movement might be able to help?

Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his speeches and essays for about a decade that we all needed to be “creatively maladjusted” to oppression. In fact, he said that the future of the world lay in the hands of the “creatively maladjusted.” MLK said that we are in dire need of a new organization that he called, “International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.” Because this was an obvious reference to NAACP, many in his audiences would laugh, but there is a very serious side here.

As many readers of this blog know, a few years ago, the mental health activist group MindFreedom launched Creative Maladjustment Week to help make MLK’s vision real. Tomorrow, July 7,  is the start of this year’s CM week. Each day has been given a theme which you can read below:

July 7 – Day of Creativity

July 8 – Day of Action & Movement

July 9 – Day of Laughter & Joyful Noise

July 10 – Day of Kindness: This Friday, by the way, I will celebrate out at the Oregon Country Fair. The honorary chair of the IAACM has long been the real Patch Adams. Patch will speak at the Front Porch at 1:00 PM, however, we hear that he will be at the Community Village stage at 5:00 PM to kindly address creative maladjustment. Folk singer David Rogers will do a sign-along of the ancient freedom rebellion song, The Thoughts Are Free!

July 11 – Day of Self Care

July 12 – Day of Community Care

July 13– Legacy of Lunacy

July 14– Day of PRIDE: This is also Bastille Day and for decades, psychiatric survivors have used this day for international protest about changing the mental health system. When the revolution in France overthrew the Bastille, a psychiatric survivor was in there!

Your Leadership is Needed!

We know that leadership is best when it is near equal and everyone is a leader! This leaderful approach is known as a horizontal approach. That means you are in charge of creative maladjustment week, if you choose to! As long as your activity is in sync with the values of MLK, the sky is the limit.

Tomorrow, July 7, which this year happens to be a Tuesday, what will be your creative act of maladjustment to the seeming moral paralysis that is holding us back?

You may leave your answers on this blog’s comment area below. Or, if you are on Facebook, please search for our FB page, and you can leave your ideas there.

MindFreedom set up a webpage to promote Creative Maladjustment Week and you can read about it there.

There is plenty of more info on the web, try these search terms: mad pride, MLK creative maladjustment, IAACM.

This year, for the first time, we will not have the activist present in this world, Leonard Roy Frank. This great psychiatric survivor worked in our movement for decades and died this year. My friend studied revolutionary social change by reading a lot about MLK, Gandhi, and many others who worked for social justice. Leonard was born July 15, 1932, and died January 15, 2015. So the next day after CM Week, Leonard would have turned 83. Personally, I think starting a global nonviolent revolution for justice on his birthday would be a great gift!

Here is a little-known aspect to CM Week that you might not know. There is actually a good reason to start this on July 7. From a Wiki article about Alleged Lunatics’ Friends Society:

“On July 7, 1845, Richard Paternoster, John Perceval, and a number of others formed the Alleged Lunatics’ Friend Society. A pamphlet published in March the following year set out the aims with which the Society was founded:

At a meeting of several Gentlemen feeling deeply interested in behalf of their fellow-creatures, subjected to confinement as lunatic patients.

It was unanimously resolved:… That this Society is formed for the protection of the British subject from unjust confinement, on the grounds of mental derangement, and for the redress of persons so confined; also for the protection of all persons confined as lunatic patients from cruel and improper treatment. That this Society will receive applications from persons complaining of being unjustly treated, or from their friends, aid them in obtaining legal advice, and otherwise assist and afford them all proper protection.

That the Society will endeavour to procure a reform in the laws and treatment affecting the arrest, detention, and release of persons treated as of unsound mind…”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Paris Williams recently posted a piece to MIA headed, Can Madness Save The World? I don’t see how anybody, mad or “normal”, can save the world without applying a little bit of elbow to the wheel, and thus, making it revolve (engaging in acts of a revolutionary, change inducing, nature). Zazen aside, I don’t think anybody ever changed a dang thing by staring at their navel. Thank you, David, for all you do and have done. It’s now the 3rd day of Creative Maladjustment, a day of laughter and joyful noise, and I’m trying to make my little bit of noise right here. I hope others can and will join in, and help us use our creative maladjustment spirit to further change the world. Five more days, and it’s Mad Pride Day. We each have our personal Bastille’s to storm before the ultimate Bastille is conquered. Yes, history has told us, things don’t need to be dull, change can come through pranks and merriment. Positive healthful change, too. Let’s get on it!