I belong to a fellowship of lonesome people. Perhaps you do too. Or maybe not. Your life may be “included” in the best sense. Maybe you’ve been a valued member of a team; been invited to a prom; gone sailing with a crew. I hereby admit my jealousy. But not for the reason you might think. My envy, such as it is, comes from knowing mainstreamed lives are the products of foundation.
The underpinning or “base” I’m referring to results from autonomy. Its a Greek word. It refers to the capacity of a rational individual to make informed, un-coerced decisions. People who grow up in fear don’t necessarily develop such capacities. Loneliness is a byproduct of fear. I don’t know how to be among you, it says. If I’m lucky enough to be among you, I must hide who I am.
This is the land of Oprah Winfrey. Everyone says I’m lonely, I’m misunderstood, and look at me! I’m making bad decisions!
People should be saying instead, look at me! I have no foundation! No autonomy!
Autonomy deficiency is the biggest problem faced by people with disabilities. We don’t talk about it enough. Instead we say “self-advocacy” —as in Joey needs to learn how to be a self-advocate. Older people with disabilities (those who grew up before the ADA) are especially fond of this.
You can’t be a self-advocate, or a member of a community, or even a decent dog owner, without having achieved the capacity to make informed and healthy decisions.
I’ll always be lonesome because my childhood was lonely. Now as an adult I have to say “so be it.” But I make good decisions most days; I’m not a victim; I’m aware of, even covetous of progress—especially where human rights are concerned.
Oprah thinks bad decisions come from the inability to tell the truth. In Oprah’s world view, everyone is asleep like Snow White—and then, the truth-kiss is delivered and “voila” people are raised up from victimhood. This is, as the Brits would say, “bollocks.” In Oprah’s world view, no one has an Id.
Now everyone loves autonomy: religious zealots, ideologues, business men, politicians, generals and admirals—all wave the autonomy flag. This is because “informed” (for them) means willing. In turn they get to decide what’s healthy for you.
Real autonomy doesn’t require an Ivy League education. You don’t need to be rich. You don’t have to believe in God.
Underneath all the floors of your house; deep in your psyche; in the basement where the bones lay strewn; back when you were originally “you” did you want to nurture others?
That’s the foundation. Did you wish to feed others? And if you were lonesome from the dawn, did you serve a purpose?