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#565#566#567#568 Episode #569 - The Light Within and The Lost Art of Seeing
(Can Technology Make The Handicapped Whole?)



Sat 17 September 2011  Jacques Lusseyran (reading), Steve Talbott (reading), Laura Fogg
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we introduce a new author, Jacques Lusseyran. As a teenager, although completely blind, he organised some of the most effective French resistance to the Nazi occupation. We begin with a reading of Steve Talbott's Can Technology Make The Handicapped Whole? about techno-fixing human beings, which focuses on Lusseyran. Next, we read one of Lusseyran's essays, The Blind in Society. Finally, an interview with Laura Fogg, author of Travelling Blind -- life lessons from unexpected places, on her experience of helping the blind to navigate.
This show is an antidote to simplistic thinking about matters of 'disability'. We start the show by summarising this case, in which a deaf man faces a contempt charge for refusing to force his deaf daughter to wear cochlear implants.

I was introduced to Lusseyran by Steve Talbott's 1999 essay, Can Technology Make The Handicapped Whole?, a call for mindfulness in deciding which technology it is helpful to integrate into our lives. He notes that increased use of technology has promoted the metaphor of human as machine, and of society as social machine, subtly denaturing the human experience, to the point where people are losing something essential. He introduces Lusseyran's remarkable story as an antidote to traditional views about disability.

Although completely blind, before Jacques Lusseyran was 17, he had started a group of anti-Nazi resistance fighters, which become one of the largest and most effective. He tells how his blindness uniquely suited him for this task, and how, after the group's betrayal, it helped him to survive in Buchenwald where he was sent by his Nazi captors. We read Lusseyran's essay The Blind in Society in which he sheds some light on his inner world, and tells his own story as an argument for a re-evaluation of the blind.

We conclude with a 2008 Radio Curious interview of Laura Fogg, blind guide and author of Travelling Blind -- life lessons from unexpected places. Laura Fogg tells some of the lessons she learnt from her work with the blind in facing up to her social prejudice and narrow-mindedness.
Thanks to Barry Vogel for the Radio Curious interview
Episode 683 describes the evolution of the concept of "disability".
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