Let me ask you some questions if I may…
If you had a broken cup would you keep it or ditch it?
How about a broken bowl?
Ok What about a broken chair?
Or a Broken table?
Ok how about a broken cell phone?
Or a broken computer?
What factors do you take into consideration before making those decisions…
Maybe you consider how expensive or valuable the item was?
Perhaps your considerations would be more along the lines of where it came from? Is it a treasured possession?
Does it hold some sentimental value for you?
Or perhaps your consideration is more about how easy it would be to get rid of it and get a new one,
perhaps an even better one?
Isn’t that one of the resultant factors where we are so cosseted within a disposable society? Where getting rid of something and getting a new one is so easy?
Many years ago, long before the industrial revolution things seemed to either cost more, relatively speaking, and be built to last longer.
Nowadays however it is just so much more convenient or easy to discard stuff and replace it or upgrade it.
Take a look of this list of items which used to be far more permanent in our lives but which are now so very disposable…
Disposable Knifes, forks and spoons
What’s that you say? You are uncomfortable with the inclusion of the last one on that list?
Perhaps it is just me? Perhaps I am super-cynical or just see things differently to most people, and certainly I have often accepted that this is a known factor of my mental health and my Aspergers. But I am pretty sure that people – workers, associates, friends, even family and sadly even children – seem to be far more disposable nowadays. Especially when it comes to whether or not we value them, or accept them, or tolerate their imperfections or inabilities.
Yes of course I recognize that there is – especially in respect of workers, and even associates and friends – the whole supply and demand consideration. That where supply out balances demand people can be far more selective or choosy and thus far more ruthless if they wish to be.
And yes I totally understand that ‘functionality’ has been elevated to demigod status within our value systems nowadays.
Is something functioning the way it is meant to?
Could it function better?
How can we make it function better?
Is it worth trying to make it function better? Or,
Do we upgrade to one that functions much better for our needs or desires?
But I have to ask this question…
“Does functionality have to be such a high priority in how we value things and indeed should it be such a high priority in how we value people?”
See that is saddest part of all this for me. That actually we do place a value on people according to how well they function in our lives.
Now perhaps you disagree with me on that? Perhaps you feel that the worth which you personally place on people is never based on their functionality in your life?
And if this is the case then I am truly encouraged and I have to say that I try so very hard to be the same way. To accept people for who they are and not according to their functionality in my life. Only thing is that not only do I often fail in that but I often fail miserably in it.
And here’s the deal. The one person whose worth I seem to judge so greatly on their functionality is….
And guess what I am by no means alone in this and it seems to be very prevalent within folk who suffer from poor mental-heath as well as those who suffer poor physical health.
I could not even begin to count the amount of people I have heard or the number of bloggers whose blogs I have read (and I am including myself in that) who have in the midst of frustration over the effects of their mental or physical health made statements such as, “I am worthless, I can’t even do the most basic of things right” or “I am no use to anyone, I keep making mistakes.” or something very similar.
Now please don;t get me wrong here. I really am not trying to be judgemental or all ‘holier-than-thou’ here. As I said, I do it just as much as the next person and it truly saddens me that I, that we, do this to ourselves.
There’s an old cliché..
“We are Human Beings NOT Human Doings.“
I have struggled with mental illness all of my life and have in that time had varying levels of functionality and I have no doubt I will have varying levels of functionality in what is left of my life. But should I really be allowing my worth and especially my self-worth to be judged according to those varying levels of functionality?
Getting frustrated when we are unable to do something or remember something or achieve something is perfectly natural and in many ways perfectly understandable. BUT is it advisable?
We often talk of the ‘quality of life’ when it comes to the effects of mental or physical illness and we very often make recognition that poor mental health and poor physical health can desperately lower someone’s quality of life.
BUT I am convinced that we need to be very careful to ensure that in a disposable society where functionality is almost a demigod within our value structure, we don’t see a person (especially ourselves) who has a low quality of life as being a low quality life themselves and thus completely disposable.
Can our mental health affect our functionality? Absolutely it can but does that in turn affect our worth? No never! And should it ever place us in a category where we become disposable? No! Not in your eyes, society’s or our own eyes and I hope and pray we will never lose sight of that fact.
We are, each and every one of us….