Being Creatively Maladjusted

As I write this just before the end of January 2023, we are mourning more acts of violence in our country.  This morning National Public Radio informed me that we have, in fact, already had more than 40 mass shootings and now two publicized incidents of killings at the hands of police.

As we come to the end of the first month of this year, January, when we commemorate the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., we might be well-advised to remember some of his words which are quoted less often:

“There are certain technical words within every academic discipline that soon become stereotypes and cliches. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any … It is the word “maladjusted.” This word is the ringing cry to modern child psychology. Certainly, we all want to avoid the maladjusted life. In order to have real adjustment within our personalities, we all want the well‐adjusted life …

But I say to you, my friends … there are certain things in our nation and in the world (about) which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few, leave millions of G-d’s children smothering in an air tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self‐defeating effects of physical violence…

Through such maladjustment, I believe that we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.”

As we enter into this second month of February may we hold in tension, that desired daybreak and our need to be attentive and persistent in our maladjustment. Let us work to ban assault weapons, redirect resources to provide mental health resources and continue to remember we are needed in the world.

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