Archive for November, 2012

Autism

I think autism is the most misunderstood of the psychological afflictions. Certainly at its most extreme it can be debilitating, but if properly cultivated it can create a profound inner strength, particularly in terms of intellectual capacity. The unautistic mind can be left under a fog of social needs and anxieties, while the autistic mind is almost bodiless in its observance of the natural world. It is not bound by emotion or the pressures of external forces; it is free to see the world objectively. I would argue that it is at an advantage in terms of thinking independently and freely. That Imageis not to say the autistic mind is not spiritual, simply that its spirit is exclusively derived from within, cherished, and difficult to extinguish. It does not read great authors or take in great ideas and adopt those ideologies; it conforms them to itself and creates a more whole being of multitudes and diversity of worldviews. Unconstrained by social constructions, it can be without identity and exist only as consciousness. It is not afraid to shout truth from the rooftops while its more feeling centered intellectual equals cower in fear of the labels that might then be applied to them. An autistic mind at its highest cultivation is unbiased, unfiltered, rational, and possibly the greatest threat to the corruption of entrenched power elites.

The tendency is to pity those with autism, and to seek to find a “cure.” But many in the autistic community would see this as akin to finding a cure for homosexuality or blackness, which, of course, are ideas discarded decades ago. It may be difficult for the family members of autistic individuals to cope with the lack of communication and antisocial aspects. But if you frame these obstacles as insecurities instead of symptoms, they can perhaps be easier to deal with. And it can be easier to stop trying to protect and to let flourish. Or to let fail. Insecurity over intelligence or appearance can be pretty debilitating, too, and individuals with those problems are allowed the opportunity to fail, without question.

Autism is associated so often with innocence, but is that a trait, or a result of being shielded from the harshness of the world by well meaning family members? What of autistic members of the poor class? They generally aren’t even diagnosed and just defined as “odd,” or especially sensitive. I can’t speak to how these sorts of individuals develop into adulthood, but I would guess they end up, on average, as productive as any other persons who grow up poor.

This speaks to a larger problem in the parenting of the baby boomer class, especially those in the middle and affluent classes. The urge to protect, diagnose and to build self esteem of their children has been discredited as resulting in spiritually empty and unsuccessful adults. Read this piece by Lori Gottlieb at the Atlantic for further proof. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/how-to-land-your-kid-in-therapy/308555/

My main point is that autistic people need to be let be, not pitied and protected. Ask them; they would probably agree (It’s kind of their M.O). Maybe they fail; maybe they end up needing help. Or maybe they end up changing the world. They deserve the opportunity to find out.


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Dedicated to the life and times of Officer Dog