6.6. A Parent's Disconcerting Revelation
Carlo Pietzner, who helped found the Camphill movement in America, has spoken of the experience, both striking and shattering, when parents realize their child is more than his symptoms. They suddenly find themselves utterly alone in a society unable to appreciate their revelation. No one is prepared
to help them understand why there is more in the child than the symptoms of stammering, stuttering, not being able to learn to read, not being able to walk, not being able to feed themselves, to complete toilet training. Surely, yes, these are the describable symptoms, the incapacity of the instrument. And yet they can see and feel that there is more to it; there is the player to it. And if there is a player to it, it cannot be only an accident. This player must have the possibility of finding a way to play his sonata, however hollow the instrument may sound, or however many notes may be missing. (1988, p. 18. Slightly paraphrased.)
Whose life is not a broken song? Camphills are a testimony to the conviction that even the most troubled songs need singing and more, that these may be, in their own way, songs of genius, giving voice to some of the most critical melodies and counterpoints in the sung destiny of earth itself.
As I said, I am attempting no explicit justification of such a view, remote as it is from conventional understanding. But Camphills are real places of practical effectiveness remarkable sites of healing and inspiration exactly where the surrounding society would be least inclined to look for anything of much importance. My own inclination, in trying to glimpse a tolerable social future, would be to look at least as hard at what is going on in a Camphill village as at the excitements of Silicon Valley.