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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

THE ORDINARY OF THE UNIQUE

I’ll soon be off for a presentation which I was invited to give. Now that winter is soon drawing in, the lecture season kicks off with me having to go round the island talking about what disabled people mean when we say that disability is a political issue. You’ll see more of that as I get into the routine as the days roll by.

But today I was struck by the fact that we are all unique as individual human beings. Not that it is anything new but if everyone is unique, then it follows that being ‘unique’ is not such a special thing. In fact, some even say that everyone is ‘special’. But I get stuck here. If we are all unique and special, what is so wonderful about these qualities?

And it’s not a matter of stating the obvious but it’s more of recognising that there is value in the ordinary experience of our uniqueness. Because even if uniqueness may be common, the experience that it captures cannot be further than being ‘ordinary’.

Can you imagine if you had not experienced something, be it good or bad? Or that you had never met a particular friend or relation? Or even considered going back that your parents would have never met? That last one is really taken from “Back to the Future” but the answer to all those may be simple.

We just are who we are because the situation and the choices we made have kept us alive till this day. And luckily for you, you’re reading this blog… but seriously, don’t you wonder how a person like you is irreplaceable and can only offer an insight into the human experience that no one else does.

And yet, some of us want to be like an actor or a hero they admire when the truth is that you are killing that uniqueness by trying to clone yourself into someone else. Not that I am totally out of that temptation but as far as I’m concerned, I try to follow example rather than lifestyle or personality. In truth, I still want to discover who I truly am.

As I try to interpret my experience and feeling of the world I live in, I realise how stupid I may have been when I thought I wasn’t good enough or like the others. Although such feelings return once in a while, the fact is that being unique is not just an ordinary fact of life but it also is something that links us all.

And when you love the unique qualities in a friend, you can also connect with the experience of knowing that there is value in both of you essentially because there is a mutual feeling of love and respect. People who see me and who think that they know me just because they have worked with a wheelchair user always miss the point. And the point is simply that my impairment, even if part of my unique experience, is but only a facet of who I am. That said, it is often the case that because people tend to like to simplify the world into good or bad, black and white, healthy and unhealthy, normal or ‘abnormal’, etc. they miss the opportunity to value the common humanity of our uniqueness.

Which in the end of the day means that anything or anyone that opens up the possibility of change is crushed and destroyed for the sake of conformity or uniformity. Which is a pity really because then we’ll really have stasis. And the only thing that stops to change or adapt simply dies. And if you believe in love, then you should recognise that it values the changing form of our uniqueness.

I hope this piece makes sense but it had to get out! Hear from me again...

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