"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Why be normal when you can be yourself? 'Creative Non-Conformity'

A great, beautiful post by my dear friend insurgelicious in hiers Blog.

"Fugitive Desire"

"Your nobility shall not gaze backwards, but outwards! You shall be fugitives from all fatherlands and fore-fatherlands! You shall love your children's land: let this love be your new nobility - the undiscovered land in the furthest sea! I bid your sails seek it and seek it!" - Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Creative Non-Conformity

I came across this beautiful message just the other day. It was scrawled on the wall of a shed at a permaculture garden I go to occasionally to source organic produce. Resisting "normalisation" is surely one of the most important acts of resistance we can perform in our everyday lives.

To police "normality" is tantamount to epistemic violence. Men will police hegemonic masculinity by marginalising homosexuals as aberrant and "abnormal". Authorities will label "mad" people as "abnormal" too - outliers from the supposed "mainstream" of sane people. The epistemic violence of normalisation happens everywhere. It's as if society is one giant "line of best fit" (to use a mathematical term - see example here), and the "outliers" are written off as just that: mere outliers.

To hell with being "normal". We need to embrace diversity instead of demanding that people conform - And I'm not talking about mere "tolerance" (which implies that there's something to be tolerant of), but rather, of a genuine love for the other - "xenophilia" we might say. The "other" is, after all, a part of ourselves. Our diversity never trumps our commonality.

I'm reminded here of a song by Michael Franti called "Stay Human" which contains the wonderful lyric: "All the freaky people make the beauty of the world". That pretty much sums it up!

And then there's Jack Kerouac who writes: "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."

The mad in Kerouac's eyes, then, are those who refuse generic existence; those who refuse the formulaic prescriptions of hegemonic forces in society that constantly tell us who we should be, what we should do with our lives, how we should behave...

There's actually a great organisation in the UK called Mad Chicks who organise around the concept of "Mad Pride". In their own words: "Somewhere in the dislocations of madness, the manic highs or the stunning lucid moments of social disconnection, there might be prototypical versions of other lives to be led. Mad Pride deemed that people are deemed 'mad' simply because they stick out in a crowd, because they refuse conformist lives. People experience pain as their pleasures and freedoms conflict with repressive forces in society."

Beautiful stuff! Thank fuck for mad people! We are the conscience of society. We are the ones who make it interesting. We are the ones who change the world.

"Tolerance is the presumption of superiority, acceptance is a manifestation of love"
-- Aurora

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Fare well,

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