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Postcard 7

meerajay's picture

“Domination cannot exist in any social situation where a love ethic prevails. Jung’s insight, that if the will to power is paramount love will be lacking, is important to remember. When love is present the desire to dominate and exercise power cannot rule the day…concern for a collective good of our nation, city, or neighbor rooted in the values of love makes us all seek to nurture and protect that good…when small communities organize their lives around a love ethic, every aspect of daily life can be affirming for everyone” (All About Love, “Values: Living by a Love Ethic”)

In my field placement at the Center, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the power differences between the volunteers and artists, the neurotypical and the disabled, and other binaries. The powerful thing, however, is that none of these folks always fall into a binary. Because labels are always resisted in that space, I am wary and unwilling to classify anyone as disabled/abled. However, I am aware of the skills and ways of thinking and being that I bring to the space that are different from the skills and ways of thinking that the artists at XYZ bring, which are often devalued in society compared to my own. One way, I believe, to resist this narrative of domination that bell hooks describes, is to assume that no one comes from the same space, to see the worth in complex and diverse experiences. This makes XYZ a place where individuality thrives, where we cannot place people into boxes, because they do not fit. It is there that the concern for the collective good actually comes in – within the individuality: through each of us accessing our individual skills and ways of imagining, we are able to help others to access their skills, therefore furthering the collective good that hooks talks about. XYZ is centered entirely on a love ethic, wherein no one’s skills are devalued and everyone is affirmed. This is also because XYZ is not centered around production for a capitalistic marketplace, which the rest of the world is. To bring this to other institutions – as bell hooks dreams – creates a radical resistance. 


alesnick's picture

I appreciate the way you connect your reading and placement here, and agree that to approach people with complete love and respect is a form of radical resistance -- and I notice it is much more easily done when working as part of a collective than in isolation, when to do so makes one appear quite eccentric or beyond and thus be shut down.