Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Comments by johnabbe

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • Thanks for this article, Robert. I’ve only been working with David for about seven months, but I am always impressed by his energy, and almost irrepressible positiveness. I knew his spirits were in good shape when I found out in the first few days after the accident that the nurses had already identified him as a “character.”

    I also want to point to an additional – even broader – social context for our movement’s work, which David speaks of often. It’s questioning the way that our society conceives the categories of “normal” vs. “crazy” or “insane” (or any of the other popular terms). One of David’s favorite street theater bits is to do “normality screening” – testing people with some fancy-looking equipment. “Are you normal? Are you normal?” Quickly it is determined that no one is normal! We are all unique, fascinatingly individual, and deserve that respect rather than to be put into a box.

    And what we call normal is actually quite bizarre. For example it’s “normal” to drive a half hour (or longer) to work and back home, even though we’re clear that this behavior is profoundly damaging to the ecosystem. David loved a recent book, “Living in Denial” by Karie Marie Norgaard, which explores how even in a town being directly impacted by climate change people just don’t talk about all of their daily activities which contribute to the change which is negatively affecting them.

    One of the main things I’m working on for MindFreedom is Creative Maladjustment Week, next July 7-14, which also relates to this larger social context. The terminology is drawn from some of MLK’s speeches, in which he would list things such as racial segregation, religious bigotry, and other social ills to which he refused to become adjusted. We’ll be promoting and organizing more activism, and celebrating past and present activism and activists – not only on our issues, but on whatever issues people are passionate about. After all, when any group of activists become successful enough that society can’t ignore them, they’re called “crazy” – so, all activists are our natural allies.