May 3rd, 2005

philosophy, dialogues & conversations, heh

Normalcy and Liberty

Do you know a schizophrenic? anyone who is quadriplegic? I believe that I know only normal people, and within their normalities there exist many chemical imbalances, perversions, and handicaps. It upsets me how these labels degrade the relationships abnormal people are willing to build with the normals. I knocked on my abnormal neighbor's door to collect a heating bill when he asked me, “What is wrong with [that girl].” I flopped on the bed of an abnormal friend when she said, “I love [her], but ... you have a lot of patience and grace, Justin.” I was flattered by the later compliment and now snicker at its ironic context, because my friend complained about my schizophrenic neighbor while herself being obese. Both comments demonstrate the majority opinion: the physically and mentally unique are merely tolerated. Even cultural diversity fails to overcome our antagonistic affair with differences, especially when we seek sympathy.

Please do not think I advocate some equality of treatment for a schizophrenic or blind person. Rather, I alter my relationship according to the unique awareness and perspective those people offer. Doors of perception and faculty open when I accept the reality experienced by my labeled friends.

But, what if Darwin was right? It is odd how some justify their actions through the social application of 'survival of the fittest', stating the expense of other's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is granted by mental or physical inferiority. I sense a dichotomy in this rational. Any theory would seem, according to Heisenberg, to be a subjective realization reacting to our desires. If Darwin was right, many friendships I developed should have never existed, despite my appreciation of my schizophrenic neighbor and quadriplegic friend.

Curiosity kills me, so I finally asked a friend, who is a quadriplegic and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) advocate, how he felt about the above argument. I quietly sat in his dorm room patiently waiting for his shaking hand to fidgit with a small joystick that maneuvered his chair to face me. His explanation sounded subordinate to Darwin, dependent and submissive to the so-called normal majority's tolerance of his handicap. It sounded like my friend thanked everyone in America for sustaining his existence because he accepted Darwin's fate. Upon reflection, I believe this gratuitous explanation is offensive only to the American Dream that Madonna persistently scoffs. No one pays attention to her music anymore, so I relish laughing with Madonna in my dreams because Darwinian justification of superiority intoxicates its believers until their own downfall is imperceptible.

My paradoxical conclusion: it is when I expend my life, the moments when I sacrifice my liberty and pursuit of happiness that other things I desire can enjoy happiness, can be free, and come into existence. This conclusion has various applications, ranging from giving up the energy I consumed in producing sperm so another biological life can begin, to sacrificing the time it takes me to walk with a quadriplegic across campus so that our friendship blossoms. By embracing my schizophrenic neighbor, our bond reciprocates whatever energy and time that I personally expend. There is no net loss, no evolution, I daresay.