My husband and partner, Paul Woodward responded in an email he shared with me to yesterday’s post (Becoming conscious is risky business) like this:
It made me think of a few things. Firstly, the idea of The Fall is rejected by most people who see in Old Testament Christianity a brutal relationship between god and humanity, but I think the idea that we are all flawed can be constructive and an equalizer. In other words, the idea that we are all “broken,” or “fallen,” isn’t as negative as it might sound because I think it can foster a sympathetic attitude. When asked what defined “beat” in the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac said it meant sympathetic — the ability to resonate with the people and everything else that surrounds us.
The problem with labeling some people as mentally ill is that it wrongly implies that everyone else is mentally well. (See: Everyone in mentally ill)
We live in a society that has a hard time with idiosyncrasies and differences; that doesn’t recognize the uniqueness of each individual predicament. This turns the experience of life as a struggle into an anomaly when in reality, I think life is a struggle for everyone. People differ in as much as they successfully or unsuccessfully construct shields that make that struggle unconscious. But no one can really embrace life without seeing how much pain it contains. So what passes for health are a variety of degrees of anesthesia.
The concept of inclusion was something I never paid much attention to until I heard the Pope using it. It struck me as a bland liberal idea that lacked substance. But I now see how fundamental this is. I think an inclusive attitude is one that doesn’t categorize people — it’s not about embracing a multiplicity of identities and affirming them all. It’s more about tapping into core humanity and the things we share because we are fragile creatures and life is fragile. Beauty and the tendency to break go hand in hand.
See also: The Purpose of Life and the Human Conditioning
and more of Paul Woodward’s work on this site here
and some of my musings (from twitter once again) upon posting yesterday’s post as well…I kept thinking about it too:
Dissociation is normal…I had no idea how much I’d been dissociating…the more I heal the more it becomes evident that almost all “mental illness” are dissociative states…
What is interesting and also very significant is that “normal” healthy people are largely dissociated too. Normal is dissociated.
Those with so-called mental illness are simply dissociated in different ways and we’re made into pariahs…
An inclusive non-hierarchical society would recognize that life is hard for everyone and we are all dealing with reality as best we can…
We need to support one another and not impose our expectations on others that we might all blossom to that which we are by nature.
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When I meant print out the text, I meant print it out to pin on my bedside wall to read when I need comfort (I’m amassing quite a collection of quotes and such on my wall).
This is a very comforting post at a time like this, when I am struggling to see myself in a compassionate way. I live with Lupus (SLE) and chronic health, I am autistic, and have a couple other psychiatric diagnoses alongside complex PTSD. It is very difficult to sort out my own genuine feelings towards myself from the statements and opinions of my ‘mental health’ directed at me by physicians and estranged friends and family. I think I will actually print out the first block of text of this blog entry that discuss The Fall (the enigmatic mythos of the Garden of Eden has been my passion to decipher since I was three years old, btw.)…I must show this to my spouse, whose ideas sound a lot like yours, but because we’re married, I unfortunately treat his words of comfort much like I would treat my mother’s (I take them for granted, I need to work on that). So, thank you again.
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