Jason Becker:Defeating paralysis  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

It was the world disability day yesterday. And there was this program in my company where we had people with various disabilities performing songs, dances and dramas. I was amazed at the spirit of this people who didn't even give a care to their disabilities. There was one hearing impaired dancer, who danced perfectly to the tunes of Rahman's "Dheem tara". He just had to get a signal from one of his friends to indicate the start of the music. Then, there was a group dance by a team comprising of normal as well as disabled people. And not once could we find out who was the disabled one among the lot.

a young Jason, before tragedy struck

This brings me to the case of one man who has inspired me like no other. His name is Jason Becker, a 39 year old American guitarist. You may ask, now whats the big deal! Brace yourself. This is real big deal. He became a guitarist par excellence at the tender age of 13. He started his rock guitaring career as a partner of the great old megadeth lead man Marty Friedman. They started a band called 'cacophony' with limited success. But, the world came to know of the untamed brilliance of young Jason. At this time, he also played with another band too. Coupled with that, his solo career was starting to bloom. Around that time, he began feeling a little powerless. He could feel his body giving in sometimes and he had to get a remodified guitar to adjust with this condition. Still, he completed his debut album. Then the unthinkable happened. He was diagonised with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the same motor neuron disease which affected the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking. He was paralysed and his future dreams with his guitar were shattered. Soon he lost his ability to speak and doctors gave him 3 more years to live.
the smile that defeated paralysis

Till this the story is normal like many others. Its in how he dealt with this tragedy that makes Jason Becker stand out as one of the greatest examples of the triumph of human spirit. At the start he could slightly move his head. And his friend developed a technique by which the movement of his head could be translated as notes into a system controlled by a computer. Its amazing that he created big musical pieces note by note perfectly just from his memory. As the condition worsened he was left in a state where he could move just his eyes. Still he and his family was not ready to give up. His father came up with an idea to convert the movement of his eyes into each letter of the english alphabet. With this, Jason continues to communicate with others as well as compose music. Yes, composing music just with his eyes, the only part left in his body which he can move freely. In his documentary, you can always see a faint smile on his face. It takes courage and an undying spirit to smile like that in the face of adversity. And it is these very own qualities, which still keeps him alive, 15 long years after the death date set by his doctors.

Its when we see things like this that we realise how much we are under utilising our potential. I saw this documentary about 3 years back. Even now, when I get ill and think that I can't do anything, this man's story come to my mind. Don't we all have that feeling of 'Its not possible' whenever we are faced with a slight obstacle. In those moments think about this man. It can really make a difference.

The Jason Becker Documentary-Must see

PS- Jason Becker has said in an interview that the Indian yogi Paramahamsa Yogananda's 'Autobiography of a Yogi' has inspired him a lot during this tragedy. Thats how I read this amazing book. Though there are some incidents which are hard to believe in the book, its worth a read.

PPS-Leaving home for a short visit of 2 days to attend a marriage. Wish you all a happy weekend.

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 04, 2008 at Thursday, December 04, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


this shows determination can help us fight us against nything.....

hmm njoy ur weekend and the marriage..


6:42 AM

Very insipiring, Praveen!

And you are on the dot about how much of our own potential we let go to waste. Why is it that we wait for some kind of personal disaster, before we even explore the limitlessness of the self? Human nature, I guess!

Ah! You've read the Autobiography? Good. That has to be among the most inspiring books and lessons in life ever that I have read too.

Enjoy your stay at home.

7:10 AM

Thanks for the write-up which was very informative!

I cant help but remember Chris Reeves who played Superman! He was paralysed after an equestrian accident!

10:57 AM

Thank You Aniya. This was really inspiring...

11:40 AM

puts me to shame..i gave my music even though i was getting extremely good at it due to some kind of weird complex..i guess ppl have to create miracles for themselves and not wait around for 1

6:25 PM

Truly inspiring! :)

6:59 PM

Sorry dude; I have not heard about this gentleman! I have heard of the ailment, though... But what a tragic tale... Fate, that a promising career had to be blighted thus.

But then again, he did go on to prove that the human spirit is indomitable - belief is all that is needed!

In a way, it reminded me of Christopher Reeves. He moved his little finger after that near-fatal equestrian fall...

Will try to get that book pronto.

Enjoy the wedding. Have a great weekend.


8:48 PM

wow..truly inspiring
hats off to Jason Becker..reminds me of another success story- Nick Vujicic who was born widout limbs..an exemplary survivor! do read up on him

ur blog is such a refreshing change and I enjoy ur take on socially relevant issues as well

12:49 PM

Very inspiring.There are many small deeds which inspire as to do great things.
I still remember during my placement time, my professor showed me a video name "everyday" which showed how, many great people have become succeefull overcoming their difficulties. When my placement came, i was not prepared, infact i was not even sure whther i shud try or not, bt just sheer confidence that this video gave that i thought to try my best and ofcourse when u show the best, no one can stop u na :)

1:59 PM

Have u read "Tuesdays with Morris" , its the best inspirational book i read ever read in my life.

2:00 PM


yes, misfortunes make us to search for possibilities which we would never even think of during normal times..

yeah..reeve was a man of this sort..

thnks chechi

its never too late yaar..start!:D


maybe god created him to fulfil this purpose ..to teach us the importance of human spirit..

will chk upon nick...thnks a lot for the kind words:)

@devil incarnate
i gotta chkout this book..that was a strong recommendation..

1:32 AM

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