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Patch Adams: Holistic Healing P4

So what does one do? I’m a nonviolent person. I will not defend my family, so I have nothing but ideas and example as a way of addressing that. I can’t rise up. I recently saw this [inaudible] movie, Steven [inaudible] film on [inaudible], almost five hours film. And you know, [inaudible] had a very good idea. He made it clear that whatever we should do doesn’t stop when the revolution wins. You’re always revolutionary, but no matter how I look at it, I’m not going to hurt another person. I don’t see any examples in history where hurting another person got us closer, and so the giant dilemma I have is what can we do? What can people who are nonviolent do?

You know, if you [inaudible]. I have a large library on Mexican history because I come here a lot. I know that my country subsidized corn farmers in the United States so that they could sell their corn cheaper here in Mexico than the Mexican peasant can sell their corn, and so we can screw them and call it [inaudible] and think we’re doing something good for somebody. What is happening in Egypt? I’m wondering is that going to happen all over the world? Why doesn’t it happen in my country? Why isn’t there people everywhere saying, “We’re not going to take this crap anymore of a few people being in charge of things and them getting richer and richer and richer?”

You know, I’m on the dessert phase of live. I’m 65, and because I’m 65, I have Medicare, so for the first time in my life, I have health insurance. All right. So everything the rest of my life is dessert, but I sit here wondering where are our grandchildren? What are they going to grow up in? If there are any people when my children have grandchildren, they will kill for water. We’re already killing for water, and so my challenge is – I’m not sitting here to make you go home and kill yourself, okay? I’m saying if you switch to care, you will never be silent. When you hear a racist comment, you will speak up. When you hear a sexist comment, you will speak up. The difficulties that your country is going through, you’re going to get involved. It’s not about having another great vacation, making yourself secure for you and your family in a gated community.

So the challenge is how can we make love our value? How can we make a world safe enough for women? Nicest part of life, women, and we’ve never been good to them. Women didn’t even get the right [inaudible] until 1890. How stupid were we men? In all of history, it took until 1890? In the world, to give women the right to vote as citizens? What were they before that? They weren’t citizens. Do you have a hand up? No? Okay. Okay, yes. Again, don’t cut your wrists. It’s important to say those things. Get active. Yes, ma’am.

Female 2: [Speaking Spanish.]

Patch: Uh-oh. They’re not working for me. No [inaudible]? Yes, I know. Okay, now she’s ready.

Female 2: [Speaking Spanish.]

Patch: No, she can’t hear you. Is there something wrong? It sounds like the microphone is working. Okay, she will try her English. It’s sounding good already.

Female 2: Watching the video of the –

Patch: Yes.

Female 2: [Speaking Spanish.]

Patch: Well shit yeah, I do. I mean, why would I be here? You know, I don’t think it’s too late. Because I don’t think it’s too late, I am going to work ‘round the clock. You know, I could go all night with you. I go all night at universities with students. Yes, we have to wake up. Some of the reason I answer her question larger than I had to was just to shake people. I take advantage of your love for me to tell you that market capitalism is the worst thing that ever happened in history, and I’m happy and ready to argue with anybody about that.

I don’t think it’s too late. I think this young generation may be the last one to have a full life where they can fight it, and so everyone here is right that I’m asking you to join the revolution for loving. Everyone hears that, right? Or I’m not a good communication. But, you know, men, never make a sexist comment again. Never misuse a woman again. Start, make clubs, get creative, get enthusiastic, feel like Jesus, feel like a hero, and go and do it. Yes, it’s possible, because one thing that’s true in my experience of traveling all over the world, I’m not sure there’s anyone who’s hugged more people on this planet than I have, and I’ll tell you people are beautiful. All over the world, in every country, people are beautiful.

But I hate this idea that human nature is greed, human nature is this meanness and this violence and these horrible things that are in this world. This is not human nature. It is human nature to be influenced, and if you offer people television and very bad educational systems, you will educate thinking out of their life. I am sad to report to you I think less than ten percent of adults in the United States ever think. Not one day in the year do I think that what I mean by thinking, they are not doing it, that we have had such a powerful manipulation with television, with our educational system to have a person actually think that watching TV six hours a day is not death. To be excited for some shallow, stupid television family is somehow interesting to people, that we’ve been able to do that, and I keep at this because I do think love can be an influence. I think you’re showing up to me, bringing me here, the three different events that I’ve had, I see attention, it’s 10:10 at night, and still you’re sitting here and listening to strong things.

So I experience it. I experience that you can effect change. You know, all this letter writing that I’ve done, I know I have because I have a stack of fifty thousand letters from nursing, doctor students or social workers or teachers who say because of your work, I’m doing this. So if you’re just starting to decide from this day forward I’m going to be nice, I’m going to radiate disgusting niceness, I’m going to be scary I’m so nice. I’m just going to be loving everywhere and be kind everywhere. I promise you, something can happen.

And the nice thing is you can find it happen the first day. You don’t have to wait a long time. If you’re friendly out in the world, they will be friendly back to you. Everywhere I’ve gone – and I don’t like casually go somewhere, I get out there and attack the population, and they’re beautiful people, and we’d have to turn off our TVs and start saying, “Who am I? Who am I, and what can I do to make a loving world?” And then you notice that your radiance affects people, so if yours affects people, so the people you’re affecting, their radiance is going to affect people, and something can happen.

[Inaudible] revolution – you know, violent revolutions gave revolutions a bad name. Darwin was a revolution. Walt Whitman was a revolution in poetry. There are revolutions in music. There are amazing, astounding revolutions that never hurt anybody. They were great benefits to people. Let’s go out there and get to work. Yeah, baby, yeah. And if you’re feeling worn down, if you’re feeling like you don’t know if you can do it, write me. I will be peppy. I’ll join your team. It’s my job. Somebody else? Yo. Let’s do yo because she’s had a yo for a while, and then you. And yo can [inaudible]. I know we’ve gone over, so you’ll have to tell me get out of here, okay? So we’ll at least do these two people. Okay? Good. Yes.

Female 3: [Speaking Spanish.]

Patch: Oh, no problem. I Espanol.

Female 3: [Speaking Spanish.]

Patch: Well, we can hope that the medical people in the audience heard and that you still have time in your pediatric list residency to practice talking with the kids. You’re right. People don’t know how to talk to people that are different. They think if you don’t speak their language, you can’t speak to them, and I can tell you you can speak a huge amount not even knowing the language. To learn to speak with somebody like Cathy who doesn’t, because of her cerebral palsy, [inaudible] she doesn’t have an ability to speak. So you’re right. By standing up here and having the courage, and I’m sure all the pediatric residents in this room heard you, and let’s hope one of them responds. One of them will remember that however unusual or different your child is, that there’s magic in there, and since I’ve been with many thousands of children like this, there is magic.

When we go clowning, the places that are loved the most by new clowns are places that house many of the most profoundly different children, and they somehow – before then they hadn’t actually stopped to try to make that communication, so as a parent, speak up. Introduce them to your child. Tell them ways that they can play with your child. And speak up friendly. Be friendly, and say, “You know, I was at this talk here at the school, and Patch said for me to speak up, so would you please talk to my child?” And you could create theatre pieces, you could talk to the pediatric staff here and see if there was a mixer kind of thing where people – because if you only have seven minutes, it’s hard, so maybe creating opportunities where you can spend.

We go to a place in Russia where all the children are deaf, dumb, and blind. They also are exhibiting what psychiatrists would call autism or some kind of repetitive, energetic behavior, and when you first go in the room, you can see a dozen children that have no communication with anybody it looks like. And I try to give them an idea how they can go through the maze of trying to find a way to make that communication. You’ve had to do it, and maybe you can get a group of moms with a group of kids and see if there – contact the residency program here and see if there could be a fun picnic where people could journey in that world.

Because, I mean, to change things, you feel the hurt, and I certainly am sure everybody felt her hurt in here. It hurts, because a mother, their child isn’t a disease to the mother. They’re their child, and so you took a lot of bravery, I think, to say what you said, and then you think, “Okay, how can that bridge be made?” And maybe a pediatric resident here will say, “I’m going to make it my life work.” You understand me? And that you never give up. You mention it, you make some [inaudible], and then you try again.

You know, with the hospital rebuilding, it took me sixteen years to get the first donation. I thought it was going to be built by the end of four years. I was sure with my determination I was going to have our hospital in four years. In the 40th year, I started building. Crazy, right? Loco. Loco [inaudible]. Right. You know Don Quixote, right? Who’s read Don Quixote all the way through? That’s a lot of people. Not just the first half.

There’s something about a quest. Get on some quests and make it your dream to integrate with pediatric practice, because one thing I found with profoundly different children is that there’s a journey you can go with them that you cannot go with a normal child and that you can’t invent; it unfolds, and a lot of times it unfolds through their guidance, and you find that words like retarded don’t have any meaning. You find that words like disabled don’t even have any meaning. You find that they are a person, and then what do you do? Yes. And is that it? This guy’s the last one. Remember, you can write me. She’s saying she is the last one. Look how easy you change. And if you want a third one, he probably will change his mind for that. Two absolutely or I’m shot. Alright.

Male 3: Thank you. It was great having you today. You know, most people, we all have this performance anxiety as you noticed, but you’re clearly well beyond that. I know many confident, well-informed, hard-working people who does a fine job, who do their best, and yet they don’t go out there and try to change the world, to start a movement, change the practice of medicine, and [inaudible] revolutionary as you’ve been as to inspire the people and lead a [inaudible] movement –

Patch: Talk into the microphone, because you drift off.

Male 3: Sorry, yes. I was wondering, you had a fairly normal life before, and you had this life crisis, you were depressive and [inaudible], and so do you recall a moment of epiphany? I seem to recall Robin Williams doing this bazooka thing with the mental patients, and then this [inaudible] thing with this guy, but do you recall –

Patch: I get your question.

Male 3: What does it take to be revolutionary, exceptional, selfless person as you’ve been?

Patch: I appreciate – I want to be a little bit of a curveball here. I understand the world could say I’m a selfless person, but I could say I’m a totally selfish person. I do exactly what I want to do all the time. It’s been decades since I did something that I didn’t want to do. I am a giver, and I give my life to things all the time. It is my life, but it’s a very selfish life. You know, I want these things, and I’m going to do them. I think it’s one way to prevent there to be revolutionaries by making people special. Martin Luther King, Ghandi, [inaudible], Jesus Christ, many people in history that they hold up as special, and the truth is we’re not special. We’re hard workers. If you actually look at the lives of them, there are a lot of things that are horrible about them as a person, and that – my life was my father was away fighting wars because America is always at war with somebody, and mother was at home doing the work. My father didn’t know me; he knew war. He was out there doing men things, where the person working was my mother, and she was a school teacher, and she made me the person you like.

The crisis I had was that my mother was not a political person. She was a sweet woman, and so when my father died and I had to face war in a very personal level, and then I had to come back in a country and face that this land of the free did not let black people drink at a drinking fountain or go to the bathroom on a white person’s toilet. My mother didn’t prepare me for that. She prepared me to have an allergic reaction. I mean, my mother says you’re never rude. My mother says you are always fair, and so when I saw unfairness and rudeness, I had an allergic reaction.

My mother was not a political person, and so I didn’t know that you make rebellion. What she did give me was as soon as I decided to make rebellion, I knew I could do it. I didn’t have to develop at all. She made me a person who had self-esteem. I’ve very glad – a lot of people have a heart attack or a cancer diagnosis, and they change their life. I’m really glad I had my problem when I was eighteen, because in the third hospitalization, for whatever reason, it suddenly hit me that I wasn’t a messed up teenager, I wasn’t wanting to kill myself, I wanted a different world, and I thought revolution was out there, that it wasn’t me. And then I said I’m going to do it, and then that was my life. Everything’s been easy since then.

If mother hadn’t given me self-esteem and I wanted to make rebellion, but I didn’t think I could do it because I’m just one person, I don’t know that experience, but I know that we work with a lot of people like that and that they can change. But it’s a copout to think that somebody is special. Nobody in history really is more special than somebody else. They did who they did, and anyone can take their place. You just decide I am going to be this if nobody is that. And you get the privilege unless somebody has talked to you about the next person. Okay, this is it. I’m disappearing.

Female 4: [Speaking Spanish.]

Patch: Well, I want you to be concerned. What’s hollow is to say, “I really wish there wasn’t war,” and then to do nothing. The only reason that I’m concerned is that I would be one of the hands behind you, pushing, because if you know the information, you know you need to work for something, and you’re not, it’s going to hurt you. So it’s either better to have no concern and just live for yourself or have concern and then devote yourself to doing the work that makes you happy and to not got “You’re not doing enough, you’re not doing enough.” That’s garbage. You love that you are concerned, you love that you’re doing something, and you constantly expand where you see that you can expand, and enlist other people, and make a painting that makes people want to do revolution, and these sorts of things.

No, I want you concerned. I want you to act on it. What we have in the United States is a huge amount of people saying, “Oh, I’m really concerned about the hungry.” Okay, how would I know if you’re not doing anything? How would I know that you’re concerned if you’re saying, “Oh, I’m really concerned.”

We have a school called the school for designing a society. We teach revolution, and it was started by my partner, Susan, many years ago, and so we joined the school and Gesundheit about twenty years ago. So we want to teach you to have concern and to get really good at revolution. [Inaudible] revolution. There’s lots of good songs. It’s time again to rise up and to rise up with love and not with violence.

I want to thank my hosts who have taken superb care of me. Give them a big hand. [Inaudible].

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