ABSTRACT

This chapter discusses the ways in which the collectivizing gesture “we are all disabled” bears upon how disabled musicians create, perform, teach, learn, and receive music. It unfolds in a spirit of pragmatic impertinence, examining what it means to hold “we are all disabled” as a shared identity. Charles Sanders Peirce’s synechism or doctrine of continuity provides a philosophical framework in which to show how the possible meanings thereby delineated hover at the elusive boundaries between language and music. The lived realities that choreograph disabled bodies move “we are all disabled” from the domain of pure linguistic utterance and the stern procedures of philosophical analysis to one of floating musical possibilities. Inaugurating new foundations for musical community, “we are all disabled” becomes a poetic move rather than merely a tiresome platitude giving tangible presence to the unremarked supports that allow some to imagine themselves “not disabled.” Voicing the synechist’s relational understanding of self and other, this chapter muses on the qualities of feeling and embodied reactions of “we are all disabled” that come to the foreground of perception when its conceptual signification is bracketed out.