Brains, Foucault and Specials

Going back to the basics. Just look at the stream of words that flash before your screen.

Psychology. Abnormal Disorders. Society. Discrimination. Socialization. Neurology. Obsessions.

As you can see, I am more of an expert in my field but not in any of these. So if I sound aloof, please do correct me but this has been going on in my mind ever since I got home and thought of the mini conversations our block this school year. As many of you have noticed, I do rant about a specific person who shall not be named. Adding to that, it bugs me that we cannot do anything to make our lives this year better with him in the crowd.

Then I had this fancy over neurology or psychology and how the brain works. Thus my swaying interest in the field along with medicine. But a certain science can only explain so much and sadly I am not an expert in this field. We all dream to be experts in so many fields but with the limitations presented to us by time and our temporality, we have to do as much as we can to remedy it.

There has been a history of mental disorders. These are “diseases” that I do not think every one in our society would tolerate. I admit that I have only a limited amount of patience before I snap. I really do. What I am writing before you is an integration not only of abnormal psychology and sociology. I’ll be adding a touch of Foucault to it because I know this is one of the main themes he discussed in one of his books. If you are a student of Fr. David’s, you’d know what I am talking about.

I’ve observed this pattern for some time now – the increasing number of kids who have inherent mental disorder such as autism and ADHD to name a few. In fact, this is really clear among the kids from my high school as I hear updates from people over the years. Education evolves over time. Times get harder. We need smarter people as we go along. There has been theories that I have read up in several articles where this increasing number is related to the environmental exposure of the future mother’s and maybe a mutation or some sort of the genes/DNA. As we progress through time, the abnormalities as what the society would define them as such, would increase as well.

The definition of illness goes way back to the times of our ancestors. What they took as insane is a little different from our’s. Foucault published one of his first books entitled, Madness and Civilization, kind of related to what we read in Ph104 – Discipline and Punish. This is why I am so fascinated with Foucault – his incorporation of the social sciences (i.e. history, psychiatry and sociology) with philosophy . We think that we can correct all these mental illness going on in our society. Can we? One thing’s for sure, we are not the gods of our minds. Evidently, despite the rants we’ve put through with this specific person on correcting his ways, there wasn’t much progress. All efforts spiraled down.

Looking back on all those theories, concepts, and the such with the experiences and exposure I have gone through. Yes I get mad and impatient with this specific person. I even ranted it out to my mother, thinking that she has a solution for it. Then she just replied, “What can you do about it? You cannot force people like that to change.” Change – it sounds easy to the ears if we just want to change the tires of our cars, our prepping ourselves for some exposure trip. But there are other contexts that make this word, ‘change’, a lot harder to sink in.

Present times, we’ve developed a section or chapter of our education called Special Education – an effort to offer education to the special kids. May I emphasize the word special – a word that sounds lighter to the ears as compared to ‘mental illness’. With our basic knowledge of words, it would sound nicer to name someone special than calling them mentally sick. The latter phrase seems to painful – a form of discrimination or barrier that is being created in our community. It is like comparing the words, gifted and cursed.

Kids who go through Special Education may need to get into colleges like ours to pursue the same level of dreams that we also hope for. We’d come across one or two of these in school and now, I am a blockmate to one of these people.

Let’s face it, we hate people interfering our social barriers where the border of private and public spheres lie. But there are people such as them who cannot distinguish it as I have just noticed for months now. We tend to snap or become irritant to these actions that violate this norm present across the globe.

Looking back at the actions I have done, I know I have misjudged my blockmate for some time. He can be termed as the “cuckoo” in the block or in the Department. He might not be accepted by people like us who have integrated the norms of what society has established in our system. But there is no stopping us to just offer acceptance and patience, or maybe try to understand more what they can offer to us (not only the scientific basis on how abnormal psychology works or how the brain works) such as life lessons and the such. I have not much concrete examples but I hope you know what I mean. Every person has been graced to live in this world and to shout it his existence to others or even the world. We cannot resort to norms which may make us feel safe. We also have to break our boundaries and offer a lending hand, ear, etc. We must learn how to kneel and be humble – to be able to learn more on the life lessons we can offer to one another most especially lessons that come from people like my blockmate because we may never know that they may teach us new and beautiful aspects of life in general.


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