Guest Blog, Jason's View
This Huffington Post blog is a collaboration between Jason Harris and Diane Wiener.
I have always in some ways felt a fortune cookies chooses you like a wand in the Harry Potter universe. That maybe in some magical way, the fortune writes itself specifically for you. You keep what the fortune cookie says for a while, and then move on. Sometimes, I even physically keep the fortune. There is one fortune cookie I doubt I will ever forget: the fortune cookie that wasn’t a fortune cookie. It was my first semester in graduate school at Syracuse University, I went to a restaurant. As always, at the end of the meal, I looked for the treat of that fortune cookie and the wonder of the tiny piece of paper inside. This time, though, I had something that had never happened to me before. While sometimes you don’t get a cookie, this time, although I got a cookie, nothing was inside it. There was no fortune. I felt deprived in some way, but also felt a bit amused by this turn of events. It was totally unexpected to not have a fortune in that cookie. It also filled me with wonder: what could a fortune cookie with no fortune mean? Like a great piece of art, it is completely up to you.
Like a fortune cookie, the mind has a mystical, mysterious quality. The mind is open to interpretation, much like a fortune cookie. What is considered to be a normal, extraordinary, or bad mind is up to interpretation.
Fortune cookies work because of how we perceive them. They interact with us. This orientation is much like thinking about the mind. Like a fortune cookie, the mind has a mystical, mysterious quality. The mind is open to interpretation, much like a fortune cookie. What is considered to be a normal, extraordinary, or bad mind is up to interpretation.
Much as if every fortune cookie was the same, if all of our minds were the same, life would be so much less exciting and beautiful. Each animal on this planet, on this earth, has a mind that works in wonderfully unique ways. As humans, this is no different, and much like how we must learn to value and appreciate not what a mind cannot do, but what it can, it would be meaningful and welcoming to consider what each mind brings, whether a non-human’s, or belonging to a person who is neurodivergent.
I choose to accept myself and all the different wonderful ways the mind works as I try to make the world accessible to all.
For me, I have been able to find pride that my mind works in its own ways, that while it can have its faults — like all minds do — it can also bring its own strengths and ways of looking at life. And my mind is part of a culture. This culture has always been and will continue to grow. The way we choose to interact with this ongoing culture is up to us. We can choose to keep the world only accessible to the few minds we deem acceptable, or we can open it up to the varied ways many of us think, feel, and live. I choose to accept myself and all the different wonderful ways the mind works as I try to make the world accessible to all.
Founder of Jason’s Connection – an online resource for those with disabilities, mental health, aging and other needs. Jason was awarded an M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education and Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies from Syracuse University. Jason is also a Project Coordinator and Research Associate at the Burton Blatt Institute, an international think tank for Disability Rights and Human Justice at Syracuse University. He regularly contributes to the blog in his own series called Jason’s View and travels the country consulting and speaking about disability issues and rights. To read more from Jason Harris, read Jason's View.