This text is a bit simple, but it’s an angle that we want to start from with, exactly because we are basically that simple …
I should write something about how we’d like to connect Mad Studies, Disability Rights and Animal Rights, since I’d like to find links between theses topics, but I don’t find many, or basically about that constellation none at all these days.
We should start our own project on this, but it’s difficult. I guess we have to try to at least say: this is also our subject, in order to show that we a more than it seems. I know there are many of us out there, but again, it’s not so easy to start to talk about the things one feels, thinks and talks personally about with friends each day … and bring that into a shape that seems adaptable to the broader dialogue.
As you see I wrote this in english although we are not located in an english speaking country but in Germany. But if we write about the issue in German it will seem even more dislocated. We will eventually also talk about it in German, but I guess we first try to express our helplessness in English, because: Mad Studies is discussed wider in English, Animal Rights is discussed much more broadly on an international basis and Disability Rights is more fed also from the international / english speaking plane.
It’s interesting how Lothar and I exprienced that friends and acquaitances of ours tended to go into either directions when they a dealing with disability issues: they either tended to close themselves up towards animal rights and environmental ethics issues or they tended to gain a greater sensitivity.
What we noticed too is that the people with disabilites in our circles of friends are usually not taken serious with their opinions and notions about animal rights and environmental issues by people who consider themselves “normal” and “able-minded/-bodied”.
The approach such friends chose, had with ours in common that we all didn’t go into the standard directions of approaches, which are usually kind of technocratic, choreagraphised and lean clearly towards the natural sciences or firm religious doctrines (a bit more rare though).
We all chose a very “anarchic” or “free” and soulful approach in how we are thinking about our nonhuman fellow world in contrast. Yet this is not taken serious.
It might be a cause that makes people invisible, if they don’t chose the typical and standardized approaches.
We do believe one basic thing really, that being disabled creates a higher resposibilty in how you realize the others that surround you, that are vulnerable to destructive human norms.
We as humans that are affected by the history of exclusion and discrimination should not participate in any forms of the very same mechanisms that exluded us for being different … in the first place. We should understand that the big mean actor is the expectation of sameness, the expectation of being dominant, the expectation of being discriminatory instead of understanding and seeking the other.
Sameness makes us look ridiculous. If we endorse a line that we as humans are all same and on that basis should all have an advantage of this belonging to the same group, then we are creating a basis for others to be hurt and dsicrimnated against from our side too.
It’s not just about being part of the human thing, it’s about being something much more fundamental than that. Being part of the human thing means: being an emperor, being the creator of the anthropocene, being part of a consumerist world, being part of mean social interaction patterns, we are part then of all that we should or could be able to see critically.
Nonhuman animal others as being discriminated against are hurt because there are not interested in being part of that human thing, that (agonistic) pattern.
Some of us people are being discriminated against on the basis of “ability”. We here don’t even want to be part of the “able” collectives, we want to be part of the world, and we don’t bow towards the anthropocenic world of human sameness in thought and so forth.
We try to come up with ideas for other options, and we hope and dream of those.
Lothar and I run a blog about “Diverse thinking, Cogntion, Dignity” about antidiscrimination, mental and cognitive disabilities in German https://simorgh.de/disablismus/