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Re: Symptoms as Gifts

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  • mary.josie59
    Your frustration so well expressed reminds me of the old Everything happens for a reason. The existentialist hangs fire between fate and science.
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
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      Your frustration so well expressed reminds me of the old "Everything happens for a reason." The existentialist hangs fire between fate and science.

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
      >
      > For a variety of reasons, I have been unable to read many exchanges
      > here for the last six months or so. But, there are random moments of
      > skimming during which I find a statement that I connect to life in
      > general.
      >
      > The comment today was about embracing symptoms as gifts. I'm going to
      > take that in a slightly different direction, but I am hoping this
      > might be useful.
      >
      > In four weeks, I'll be speaking at a conference on adults with autism
      > and pervasive developmental disorders. The individuals deserve
      > support, encouragement, and yes, some government assistance because
      > these are -- to be blunt -- people with special needs who are, in
      > politically incorrect terms, disabled.
      >
      > Personally, I am tired of parents and activists calling various
      > disabilities "gifts from God," not only because I don't believe in
      > such a Creator (and what sort of gifts are these?) but because it
      > elevates suffering to an almost superior, saintly status. Its almost
      > an idolization of the "angelic and childlike" adult with diminished
      > capacities. And I write this as an advocate and researcher.
      >
      > Maybe it helps the parents, guardians, and even advocates cope, but
      > the truth is that a symptom of a disease, physical injury, or other
      > condition is not a blessing. It is not a gift. It is a challenge to be
      > overcome or in some way addressed. It is something that demands a
      > civil society develop consider rationally.
      >
      > Many of the thinkers we study in philosophy and rhetoric were either
      > flawed personally or had true disabilities. These do not give someone
      > magical insights. That's a myth that should have been discarded by the
      > mid-twentieth century -- at least. Dostoevsky's epilepsy did not give
      > him special writing powers. Kierkegaard's "horrible appearance" did
      > not make him a philosopher. Camus and Kafka were not blessed with TB.
      >
      > I hear students and some faculty put forth the myth that depression
      > and creativity are related, but the evidence is anecdotal. We are
      > simply more likely to remember the horrible ends of some writers and
      > artists than the relatively normal lives of the majority. Being a
      > "broken" person physically or emotionally is not a special requirement
      > to be a thinker or artist.
      >
      > A parent told me that her autistic son, who also has limited
      > intellectual capacity, could perceive the world better than
      > "neurotypical" people. Her evidence was how violently he reacted to
      > minor stimuli. "See, he's more sensitive to everything. It's a gift."
      >
      > No, it's not a gift. It's a challenge and a medical condition. He's
      > also not "blessed" to be in such misery at times.
      >
      > Sorry... but I'm frustrated by what I hear and see in my work. Susan
      > reminded me of the people who had homes saved just north of here. They
      > thanked "God" while others who lost homes were saying "This is a gift
      > we just don't understand yet." Sure, natural disaster as a gift.
      > Nonsense. Utter nonsense. Human coping mechanism gone awry, if you ask
      > me.
      >
      > Philosophically, I certainly see the reason to be strong, to
      > persevere, and to face challenges with confidence. I don't see the
      > logic of reinterpreting the facts.
      >
      >
      > - C. S. Wyatt
      > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
      > that I shall be.
      > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
      > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
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