Creative Disorder Edit

by David Oaks, Psychiatric Survivor


Creative Disorder or C.-Dis. is the modern update to Martin Luther King's "Creative Maladjustment."

For more than a decade, MLK talked about "creative maladjustment." In fact, he wondered whether the world was in dire need of a "International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment." Really! Use your search engine and look at those phrases:

creative maladjustment martin luther king

international association for the advancement of creative maladjustment martin luther king

You will find many references to MLK's vision. However, this concept was challenging, even for an organizing genius like MLK. For example, when he went to the famous March on Washington, he carried a written speech about the end of normalcy. His speech was going to be about creative maladjustment, which that day he called creative frustration. However, of course, he instead riffed a speech he had given a few times before, the famous I Have a Dream speech.

In other words, MLK probably looked at that big crowd in DC, the hot weather, the way it was near the close of the speeches. Mahalia Jackson allegedly called out to him "Tell them about the dream, Martin!" MLK, for whatever reason, gave the dream speech rather than the speech about normalcy. We do not know why, but my guess is that the speech on normalcy would have been rather theoretical. MLK's actual written speech, which never he never gave, is now in an archive at a university.

Updating: Creative Disorder

MLK would often begin speeches about creative maladjustment by pointing out that psychologists at that time had a favorite word, which he said was "maladjustment." Today, overwhelmingly, the favorite word of mental health professionals is "disorder." For example, the DSM itself, which is the Label Bible for psychiatry, does not refer to "mental illness." Instead, the word "disorder" is used over and over and over again.

Science today, in many different ways, shows that we do not know what the heck is going on in the universe. For example, theories such as quantum physics, complexity, dark matter, dark energy, etc. all point to the fact that we do not understand so very much.

Disorder is inherit in everything we do. Our choice is to try to do destructive disorder, like Donald Trump, or try to do constructive, positive, creative disorder. No guarantee, but we can at least try.

The New CD

MLK mugshot birmingham

Activists have had a favorite acronym for decades, CD, for Civil Disobedience. MLK himself was arrested 69 times. There is a role today for civil disobedience.

However, what we are hypothesizing with the Creative Disorder label, is that we need to address, and peacefully overcome, negative so-called normality. Please understand, as far as we know there is no normality to the extent any of us have a mental health label, we all do. 100%.

Let us support each other in challenging the silence of the destructive normality, with creative disorder events. In the peaceful spirit of MLK, let us gather together and speak out publicly, hold street theater, engage in fun, creative disorder that ends the tyranny of so-called normality!

If you are interested in this, please contact me,