THE NEED FOR FANTASY:
“Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?”
(Nietzsche 1885/Kaufmann 1974 p. 124 The Portable Nietzsche)
Overcoming Man in my experienced means that disability should be a positive force other than the desire to be normalized or to be an ordinary man. I see myself as having had one foot in one world (around the able-bodied.) and another foot in another world. But, of course I want people to see me for my unique experiences. And if I am to let them see that, I need the truth. If on the other hand, I want them to see what I am capable of however, I need fantasy. Fantasy is what drives me beyond the body…which, I fundamentally believe is only a shell for what we accomplish.
Because I’m confronted with this shell every day, I am driven that much more to get beyond the limitations of disability. And that’s how I see most people these days, actually. Striving to get past immediate impressions, and harsh judgments. Longing for something deeply personal, meaningful, and unique out of what “appears” to be. And I know this because I’ve seen people’s coping mechanisms.Coping with negative images has been a struggle that I’ve seen intensify throughout my life. I’ve seen people who are lost, and I’ve seen people discover who they think they are. As Joseph Campbell says: “Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” (Campbell and Moyers 1988 p. 113)
And that’s what I think I’m looking for in myself. That one thing that leads to my bliss. The sharing of inner experience, that comes from my interpretation of events, not because someone else tells me this is what your disability means. In my experiences with other people with disabilities, I always find that the inevitable topic will be something about what we can or can’t do. I always find this talk so deeply depressing and superficial, because I am, and we are, more than our disabilities and limits. We are filled with hopes and dreams, personalities, histories, more than what we appear to be here and now: and I want to materialize that.
It’s not that I don’t identify with being a disabled person. I love describing the experience, and I recognize it as a personal and meaningful one. Perhaps that comes from my twin experience as well. In that, I like being with people, so long as I am not judged presumptuously as dependent; even though I am. It’s the presumption I take issue with. The idea that “You have a disability because…” (any number of reasons.) No! I don’t even understand why I have it, or what it is! But, I will tell you what I think. And like a good dream, I may never fully understand it, but I will let the mystery and power of it inspire me to do something great. And that to me is why we as humans need fantasy. Because without looking for what is possible, we never discover what “appears” to be impossible, and give it life and meaning.