“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
In September 1967 Marin Luther King, delivered a keynote speech to the annual conference of the American Psychological Association, at Western University. He noted how psychologists had given the world the notion of maladjusted. He takes issue and stands firmly: “There are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted.” You can read more about it here. A full transcript of the speech can be found here.
It should come as no surprise that creative maladjustment should regain currency amongst social scientists and in militant circles working on perduring questions of social economic and environmental justice. It is refreshing to discover how those thinkers and doers involved in investigating the psychic costs of these concerns as they may manifest in solastalgia, man-nature deficits and forms of psychological distress that ecopsychology seeks to address are wielding the MLK legacy.
Take, the keynote speech of Steve Chase in 2017 at a conference at Lewis an Clark Uni. Author, academic and activist, Chase is the founding director of Antioch University New England’s groundbreaking master’s program in Environmental Advocacy and Organizing. The author takes MKL observation seriously : “King argued in this speech that it is actually pathological for a person to become well-adjusted to a world of injustice, violence, and exploitation.”
Chases task then in his address is to investigate the limits and the paradigmatic breakthroughs that this conceptual tool may offer for political educators involved in the struggle for sustainability.