2008 年 52 巻 3 号 p. 53-69,235
This paper discusses whether it is true that a person’s distress in life is proportionate to the severity of a person’s disability, by analyzing the meaning-world of mild disabled persons. Robert F. Murphy wrote “Some disabilities disturb the able-bodied more than others. There is a hierarchy of devaluation that varies with the severity and type of disability. At the bottom of the scale are persons with facial disfigurement or marked body distortion.” This is to say that the more different a body is from the norm, the more people dislike it. It is also commonly accepted that severely disabled persons are more distressed in life than mild disabled persons. But it would appear that mild disabled persons’ perceptions do not agree with Murphy’s hierarchy, or with these commonly accepted ideas. The results of this research make it clear that the situation for mild disabled persons is very different from that for the severely disabled. Mild disabled persons cannot decide whether they belong in the group of the able-bodied or in the group of disabled persons. They live in limbo, and tend to be isolated. For this reason, they do their best to enhance their value and try to compensate for their disabilities by making a great effort to acquire recognition. However, occasionally their disabilities prevent them from achieving what they have set out to do, thus proving that they are disabled. But even if they are able to prove this, they find themselves isolated once again. Their difficult situation describes a circle, like a Möbius strip.