The Beauty of Foolishness

I’m no stranger to the idea of foolishness.  Occasionally, I attempt to whimsically write of it and I often live it too.  It is something I’ve embraced, an idea that causes me to go all-in in a unique way: grappling with the understand of what I am, who I am created to be, what I have been wired to love and enjoy, and embracing those things whole-heatedly.  Nevertheless, every so often something unexpected comes along that challenges, broadens the scope, or reinforces my understanding.  Consider the idea of “Mannequins with Disabilities“…

That was a powerful video, wasn’t it?  It was released in conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  In all honesty I didn’t even know there WAS such a day (ironic, I know) and – as a person with Cerebral Palsy – sometimes wonder if there should be.  While the story was clearly meant to pull at the heart strings, I think it was also designed to cause those who view it to think and create a space for reflection.  The video did all of these things well, but I question if the outcome is the same for everyone.  While many will be moved toward/to tears seeing such a display, I’ll admit that I had the opposite reaction: sadness.

While I saw what should be joy, happiness, and the perceived eye-twinkle of the revived inner-child for those featured in the video, I was greatly saddened by it.  I was saddened because something seemed to be absent.  There was no display of the beauty of who these people are in the inner-person, just a display of what they are as someone with a disability.  What I saw was a group of people crying out to be featured as the “perfect” people, as the models, are; to fit themselves inside of the mold and idea created by others instead of crafting something new – an alternate (internal) perspective – for others.  When I watch the individuals featured here I KNOW there is more to them than the camera reveals, because I understand that individuals with disabilities often posses the same “foolish” nature that is exhibited in Yoda from  Star Wars and  Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid; always more than meets the eye.  Most do not see this.  This video seems to say “look at me” and not “look within me”; I don’t think it develops – as Lion-o, Lord of the Thundercats would call it – “sight beyond sight”.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate the comment made by one of the participants about looking at one’s self in the mirror and how difficult that can sometimes be; it raises the keen question of what someone actually sees when they look on themselves and if they are able to look past their “earthsuit”.  Furthermore, I agree with the closing admonition to “look closer” but wonder if that seeks to foster greater external equality toward those physically disabled or is a call to foster “sight beyond sight” to perceive the heightened qualities of the inner-individual.  While I can understand the former, I greatly desire it to be the latter, for greater beauty exists within those who aren’t considered “super” but live lives fueled internally as if superpowers are their norm; this is the beauty of foolishness.


Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

One Response to The Beauty of Foolishness

  1. mike

    Great point: This video seems to say “look at me” and not “look within me”

    I was touched how they had to destroy the mannequins and contort them to fashion the new versions. This was how I think many of us feel: broken and misshapen. Then they polished over and made them glossy–like we do.

    I feel like this having been able-bodied then disabled.

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