TED Conversations

Matthew Purinton

Council For Relationships

This conversation is closed.

Is disease eradication = genocide? Is there any room for people with disabilities in the future?

While the benefits of the eradication of a disease is self-explanatory it has a dark side. If polio never existed humanity would have never had FDR, Tobin Siebers or Ed Roberts. I was born without arms but hands, and legs but not knees or ankles. I am in constant pain. If I took a pill to eliminate my disability, no big deal. If the 600 people around the world with my disability made the same decision, the world would weep because an entire tribe of man would be gone. In my role as a psychotherapist I am able to help people with all kinds of pain because I've spent the last 24 yrs. learning to thrive with my own pain. The greatest gift I can give humanity is my unique experience, an experience that may die as the mysteries contained in my blood is revealed. If disability disappears the systemic pathologies that it illuminates will remain, limiting humankind for all time..


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 25 2011: Wow that's a crazy point. Progress in the medical world will not slow down and our society tends to normalize itself whenever it has the chance. I feel that future treatments and cures will become so accessible that anyone refusing a miracle pill will come off as enjoying their pain rather than valuing it.

    Your experience is not defined by the disability itself but by your response to that disability. Allowing disability to remain in the world if we have the tools to remove it seems like an unnecessary obstacle put forth in the hopes that the person will overcome it. We can no longer find courage in our world quite like the gladiators of ancient Rome when faced with a lion in the Coliseum. Who knows what kind of artists we lost when acid was made illegal.

    Do we lose more than we gain by eliminating disability? I don't know.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.