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

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Sun Jul 18 16:52:11 CDT 2010


Right. And your musings below then lead to a number of further questions: 
(1) what level of competence should members of society routinely assume 
blind people have (I suspect we would receive different answers from 
different organizations of the blind)? (2) When and to what extent should 
society in general and NFB in particular encourage individual blind people 
to strive for increased competence beyond that which they already possess 
and when should we attempt to compensate these same individuals for any 
supposed lack of competence? (3) How do we distinguish between flexibility 
of training and/or expectations and knuckling under to our 
all-too-often-experience of having reduced expectations of ourselves and 
others by virtue of our/their blindness?

No one ever said tackling any philosophy of living at the margins would be 
easy.

Mike

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <ckrugman at sbcglobal.net>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2010 1:36 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] philosophy taken to another level then?


>I think the point here is that we are living in the real world and not a 
>utopian world where all blind people will receive the proper training or 
>adapt to all levels of the so-called proper training. The question now 
>becomes whether "proper training" is the same for all blind people. and 
>what happens for whatever reason if the ability to attain the necessary 
>skills that define completion of proper training are not achieved for 
>whatever reason by all reasons. This proposed issue regarding proper 
>training is similar to the problems that exist as a result of reliance on 
>too much standardized testing for achievement for students in our schools 
>or reliance on such mandatory standards such as high school exit exams for 
>all students. The reality now becomes that since we are in the real world 
>which is not perfect there will degrees of attainment of the competence 
>referred to with the so-called proper training and the degree to which 
>blindness becomes merely a nuisance is related to the degree to which a 
>blind person accomplishes the so-called "proper training." As a result of 
>this we are now back to the current position that we deal with in the real 
>world that the degree that blindness is merely a nuisance is an individual 
>factor determined by many variables which I don't need to go in to here as 
>it doesn't take much imagination to consider what these variables are.
> Chuck
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "John G. Heim" <jheim at math.wisc.edu>
> To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 8:51 AM
> 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.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>
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>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
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