Still watching ghost videos (for the record, I don’t believe in ghosts. I just like having the shit scared out of me because it relieves depression. Sorry to disappoint).
I came across one video that discussed the ghosts of Pennhurst State School and Hospital. It scared me. And for good reason.
Terrors really did occur there…
(Yeah, Dr. Fear and liberal use of the word “retardation” made me uncomfortable too)
A lot of people know about the horrors of Pennhurst. I think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had an episode that took place at a Pennhurst-style asylum. It’s common knowledge, but it was news to me.
And to think that this place remained opened nearly 20 years after the NBC report is disturbing. The part I found most troubling was the boy referred to as “Johnny”, described as “low IQ”. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was far more real than what we wish to confront: most patients could be rehabilitated, placed back into society if under the proper care. But that’s the problem. We don’t care. We keep delinquent, non-conforming, and irregular members of society institutionalized, out of sight, where they are made crazier. But this is par for the course in industrialized society.
However, these institutions are a thing of the past. Nevertheless, the need to ostracize or demonize large segments of the population is an inescapable sociological fact. We fucking LOVE doing this shit.
We look for any reason to justify our disdain or apathy towards a marginalized group.
I’ve always been reluctant to classify “depression”, various anxiety disorders, certain conditions under the autism spectrum, etc. as “disorders” or “handicaps.” That doesn’t mean to dismiss the needs of certain individuals, of course there are those that require help (Annaliese Michel was an example I’ve cited previously). Those with learning and social needs ABSOLUTELY need care and assistance. But there are certain conditions, (for example people like me that have depression, anxiety, bipolar or whatever the fuck I have) that no doubt found their way into Pennhurst. Continuing to view these conditions under the lens of “disorder” could only further isolation, thus making us crazier than we actually are.
Thankfully, we have largely reassessed the mind philosophically over the last half decade. How each individual phenomenologically experiences the world might be far more diversified than what we’re comfortable admitting. Am I making sense? Basically minds are as variable as our bodies and certain minds (as with bodies) are systemically discriminated against.
SO, perhaps we should be more skeptical with our use of the word “intelligence” and IQ tests.
I might be getting lost in the weeds here….
Atrocities happen. They happen here in the United States. They have happened. They will probably continue to happen. Because you and I don’t care. And we don’t care because we’re told it’s okay to not care. Some might even go so far as to embrace open prejudice. Why? Because we’re the “normal” ones: the ones that society is designed for.
Then we’ll become enlightened. Someone will speak on behalf of the downtrodden. Sweeping changes will occur. Then the marginalized will be incorporated into the normal. Peace is restored. And we “learn from history”.
But there’s always someone new to hate right around the corner…