[nfb-talk] philosophy taken to another level then?

John G. Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Fri Jul 16 16:09:09 CDT 2010


But you're missing the point. Its all well and good that the NFB is trying 
to help blind people be the best darn blind people they can be. I approve of 
that, of course. I'd go a whole lot further with it, in fact. Life is about 
meeting challenges and over coming them. I wouldn't advise going blind to 
anyone but if it happens, take it as an opportunity. Its one of the greatest 
challenges there is and if you can beat blindness, well, you have every 
right to feel proud. Honestly, I feel I'm a better, stronger person for 
having gone blind.

That's what the NFB philosophy means to me. Your mileage may vary.

But we have no right to impose that on others. Its not ethical and it 
doesn't work. You can't force someone learn to cross a street safely w/o an 
audible walk signal. First of all, some people just aren't capable of it. 
But more importantly, some people just won't get that training. We can all 
agree that they *should* -- but they won't.

Why should we care about people who won't get off their butts and do what 
needs to be done? Because they're human beings. Nobody is perfect. If you 
have the kind of guts it takes to get up every morning and put your life on 
the line crossing the street, you should consider yourself lucky. You should 
thank God for making you that way if you believe in that kind of thing. But 
he didn't give everyone that kind of strength.

Its funny that I of all people talk like this. I don't believe in God. But I 
believe Jesus was the greatest ethicist of all time. And I feel strongly 
that he'd tell us that we have an obligation to look out for those who don't 
have our strengths. Look, I'm about the hardest hardass you are ever going 
to find. I always say that I'd rather get lost than get help. I don't even 
let people push elevator buttons for me. But a lot of people just can't deal 
with that. If they couldn't get help, they wouldn't make it through the day. 
And, honestly, I suspect we've all been there.

I don't know... Maybe I'm wrong. But it seems absolutly clear to me that as 
a result of its philosophy, the NFB has made a series of decisions that have 
gone very much contrary to the best interests for those of us for whom 
blindness will never be a mere nuiscance.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brian Miller" <brian-r-miller at uiowa.edu>
To: "'NFB Talk Mailing List'" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 12:18 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] philosophy taken to another level then?


> On the surface, perhaps... But the key is the phrase "with proper 
> training"
> blindness can be reduced to a nuisance.  The NFB spends the vast majority 
> of
> its time and effort trying to ensure that blind people get that proper
> training.
>
> So, in short, I disagree that this is an inherent contradiction here.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Brian M
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
> Behalf Of John G. Heim
> Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 11:52 AM
> To: NFB Talk Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] philosophy taken to another level then?
>
> Ah! Actually, you bring up an exciting possibility that never occured to 
> me.
>
> No, I can't honestly say that I've been arguing that the NFB philosophy
> should be modified. The trouble is that I've always believed that an
> advocacy group cannot be effective when its own philosophy is that the
> problem it is organized around is fairly minor. Why bother working for
> change when blindness is a mere nuiscance anyway?
>
> You're probably saying, "That's not waht the NFB philosophy means." And I
> think it should be clear that I know that especially after my dissertation
> about how similar  the NFB philosophy is to Lombardi's. The problem, as I
> see it, is that it is impossible to avoid having the philosophy to morph
> into something that blames the victim.  It inevitably will lead to a
> situation where its a sin to ask for an accomodation, any accomodation. 
> The
> only solution I see is to get rid of the philosophy all together.
>
> Well, that's the only solution I saw until now. Actually, I'm really 
> excited
> about the idea you bring up. Can the philosophy be tweaked to address the
> problems I have seen? I'll admit I'm very skeptical. But it sure is worth
> some thought and/or discussion.
>
> Actually, I'd consider it a major victory if someone, anyone, would
> acknowledge the problem itself. How can the NFB be effective as an 
> advocacy
> group when its own philosophy is that with proper training, blindness can 
> be
> reduced to a mere nuiscance? If I were President of the NFB (scary 
> thought,
> I know), I could go on for days about how those 2 ideas are not really
> contradictory. But as a practical matter, I just do not think they can 
> work
> together. And you've got to admit that on the surface, they seem quite at
> odds.
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ray Foret Jr" <rforetjr at comcast.net>
> To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 9:34 AM
> Subject: [nfb-talk] philosophy taken to another level then?
>
>
>> Okay John,  So, let me see if I understand you correctly.  What some
>> of us have viewed as your attacks on the NFB philosophy are actually
>> not attacks at all; rather, they are attempts on your part to help the
>> NFB fulfill and perhaps even improve on its  philosophy?  I want you
>> to understand that I do not intend my question as an attack upon you;
>> but, instead, I truly want to see if this is where you are going.
>> Because, if so, I think we may have the beginnings of a rather forward
>> thinking discussion about a substantive way of moving forward that if
>> we advance it to the leadership of the NFB in exactly the right way,
>> we might perhaps gain ground not otherwise obtainable.
>>
>>
>> Sincerely,
>> The Constantly Barefooted Ray!!!
>>
>> E-Mail:
>> rforetjr at comcast dot net
>> Skype Name:
>> barefootedray
>>
>> On Jul 16, 2010, at 9:02 AM, John G. Heim wrote:
>>
>>> I'm impressed with the number of swimmers on this list. Its a good
>>> sign, IMO. It says something about the NFB philosophy.
>>>
>>> I may have given the impression that I disapprove of the NFB
>>> philosophy but nothing could be further from the truth. Its very
>>> close to my personal philosophy of life which is borrowed from Vince
> Lombardi.
>>>
>>> A lot of people think Vince Lombardi was the mean old coach who would
>>> do anything to win. No, that was not what he was like at all. His
>>> players loved him and still gather to meet each year to honor him.
>>> What he believed was that life's greatest moments come when you meet
>>> a challenge and over come it. That's what life is about. That is what
>>> it is to be human.  You've got to have the will to win, to be the best
> you can be.
>>> Strive for perfection, knowing you'll never obtain it but on the way
>>> there, you'll find three things. First, you'll do more than you ever
>>> thought you could. Second, you'll find the struggle itself can be fun.
>>> And third, , when you do succeed, it will be the greatest feeling
>>> you've ever had. So when I went blind, I decided I was going to be
>>> the best damn blind guy I could be. I learned braille, tried to learn
>>> to play the violin, got a guide dog, and got back into running and
> swimming.
>>>
>>> The beauty of Lombardi's philosophy is that whenever you run into
>>> adversity, you don't say, "Oh, woe is me. Life is so hard."  Instead
>>> the response is , "Well, what are you going to do about it?" You
>>> don't seek out adversity but when it comes, embrace it. Take it on.
>>>
>>> Not to create controversy again but like the NFB philosophy, the
>>> problem with Vince Lombardi's philosophy is that it is easily morphed
>>> into a mentality of showing contempt for losers. You can't live
>>> Lombardi's philosophy and be satisfied -- well ever really since
>>> perfection is impossible to obtain. You can always get better. But
>>> not everybody has the same strengths and not everyone can win.  And
>>> no one has any right to tell anyone else how to live their lives.
>>>
>>> anyway, I think you can see the simularity between Lombardi's
>>> philosophy of life and the NFB philosophy. I would say, though, that
>>> Lombardi's philosophy is a step beyond that of the NFB in that it
>>> gives you a sort of method for carrying it out. The idea of never
>>> settling for anything short of success is implied in the NFB
>>> philosophy but not spelled out. I think Lombardi's take on the NFB
>>> philosophy would have been that the most important thing in life for
>>> a blind person is striving to reduce blindness to a mere nuisance.
>>> You may never get there but the most important thing is to never be
> satisfied until it is.
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Steve Johnson"
>>> <stevencjohnson at centurytel.net>
>>> To: "'NFB Talk Mailing List'" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
>>> Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 7:10 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] swimming (was: Bard(
>>>
>>>
>>>> Hi John,
>>>>
>>>> I think it is just cool that you are swimming.  I think the best I
>>>> would at my skill level is circles!  Good for you in wanting to be a
>>>> tri-athelete!
>>>> Steve
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>>> [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>> On
>>>> Behalf Of John G. Heim
>>>> Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 11:25 AM
>>>> To: NFB Talk Mailing List
>>>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] swimming (was: Bard(
>>>>
>>>> If you swim laps and if you have a way to stay on your side of the
>>>> lane, I'd like to hear about it.  I believe most lap pools have the
>>>> swimmers keep right like on a road. You swim up the right side of
>>>> the lane and on the way back you come down the other side. The best
>>>> I've been able to do is to swim with my right arm flailing out so
>>>> that i can touch the lane divider on every stroke.  That doesn't
>>>> really work very well.
>>>>
>>>> It isn't really very helpful to tell me my skills need to improve.
>>>> After all, I already asked for tips on how to improve.
>>>>
>>>> To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
>>>> Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:14 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] swimming (was: Bard(
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> A lane for yourself alone?  Why?  Is it your swimming skills that
>>>>> vastly need improvement; or, perhaps your blindness skills?
>>>>> Sincerely,
>>>>> The Constantly Barefooted Ray!!!
>>>>>
>>>>> E-Mail:
>>>>> rforetjr at comcast dot net
>>>>> Skype Name:
>>>>> barefootedray
>>>>>
>>>>> On Jul 15, 2010, at 9:04 AM, John G. Heim wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> So you're a swimmer, huh?  Do you ever have to share a lane? If
>>>>>> so, how do you do it? I have never managed to do that
>>>>>> successfully. Here at the pool at the University of Wisconsin, I
>>>>>> call ahead and they set a lane aside for me so I can have it to
>>>>>> myself. Its only a minor sacrifice because there are usually
>>>>>> several lanes with only one person in them. So when they reserve a
>>>>>> lane for me, it only means one other person has to share a lane.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Have you ever done any open water swimming? I would like to enter
>>>>>> a triathlon but I don't like swimming tethered to someone else. I
>>>>>> just can't get comfortable doing that. It effects my breathing and
>>>>>> I just can't swim normally.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Wm. Ritchhart"
>>>>>> <william.ritchhart at sbcglobal.net>
>>>>>> To: "'NFB Talk Mailing List'" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 5:04 PM
>>>>>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Bard
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I really like the new digital talking book player.  I do wish it
>>>>>>> was still smaller and lighter.  With all my swimming gear, lunch,
>>>>>>> back-up cane and everything else I have in my gym bag; it is
>>>>>>> still too heavy.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>> From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>>>>>> [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>>>>> On
>>>>>>> Behalf Of Steve Johnson
>>>>>>> Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 8:22 PM
>>>>>>> To: 'NFB Talk Mailing List'
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Bard
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> John, I have not tried one myself yet, so this is good to know.
>>>>>>> Thanks, Steve
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>> From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>>>>>> [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>>>>> On
>>>>>>> Behalf Of John G. Heim
>>>>>>> Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 3:26 PM
>>>>>>> To: NFB Talk Mailing List
>>>>>>> Subject: [nfb-talk] Bard
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Man, I just got one of those new digital book players from the
>>>>>>> National Library Service.  You might wonder why a computer nerd
>>>>>>> like myself took so long to ask for one of those things. Well, I
>>>>>>> guess mostly the reason is that I have 2 tape players that I
>>>>>>> bought myself plus the one from NLS. So now I have to use the
>>>>>>> player from the NLS all of the time.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> But holy cow, is this thing nice. I downloaded a book and put it
>>>>>>> on a USB thumb drive and was listening to a book amybe 3 minutes
>>>>>>> after getting started. And navigation within the book is very nice.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Your tax dollars at work.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> nfb-talk mailing list
>>>>>>> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
>>>>>>> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfb-talk_nfbnet.org
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>
>>>>>>
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>>>>>
>>>>>
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>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
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