Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

The I-word

on 2012 May 22

We have come a long way, right? We used to be called idiots and lunatics. Now we are referred to as individuals living with name-your-disorder, so it appears we have finally moved beyond the language problem. Most people know the R-word is incorrect, and the new (correct) term is a “person with an intellectual disability.” Well, I’m going to challenge that by saying we are not there yet, and it was never strictly the language that was the problem in the first place.

My recent journey of thinking about the I-word started with a reminder e-mail that I got. A studio was giving free dance lessons to autistic people (as I knew from prior announcements), and this reminder e-mail said simply, “There are still a few spaces left in the African Dance and Drumming class! Individuals aged 12 and older, of all ability levels are encouraged to apply.” They used the dreaded I-word: Individuals. One is supposed to understand from this code word that the class is only for us, not for regular non-disabled people. If it was for anyone, it would say “everyone” or “teens and adults” or just “people”.

Before getting into disability naming, I’ll talk about other kinds of naming starting with ethnicity. My favorite name-change story is that of the people formerly known as colored, then Negroes, then known as various other names finally culminating in the now-standard African-American. This ethnic label is contrasted with White, Hispanic, and other annoyingly non-parallel labels for language and religion, as if to ignore the fact that some Africans are light in color, and not all dark skinned people in America stem from Africa, and some of them are also Hispanic, and many other problems of classification. Anthropologists know there is not really any such thing as ethnicity, because there are actually no boundaries – the color and other features of people vary in infinite gradations, and there is no measurable dividing line between “races”. What people refer to as ethnic groups are complex collections of factors that include appearance, ancestral origin, religion, and dialect.

It is the act of naming so-called African-Americans that creates the group; so I’m calling this phenomenon “group creationism”. The group comes to exist because it is identified, talked about, and people believe it exists and that it identifies a real bounded set of people. That does not cause it to really exist in a scientifically measurable sense, however.

Question: Are the people formerly known as Negroes the same people as the people currently known as African-Americans, or did the name-change also change the defining boundary? And a related question is, if the boundary did not change, then what purpose was served by exchanging one word with another? One part of the answer is that, for most people, words are not merely descriptive names but are also laden with associations. There are both derogatory and respectful words for each ethnic group, and the choice of words conveys what you think the other person is. Regardless of which style of word you use, you would still be engaging in group creationism. Perhaps people find it safer to keep switching to a new word that has fewer associations.

And what about intentionally vague euphemisms like “inner city”? This is generally invoked to avoid using a term that might be derogatory, while not literally indicating any set distance from the city center. You can keep changing the name all you want, or avoiding it, but these tricks of language don’t really change the fact that you are still projecting a concept of ethnic boundaries.

Another kind of socially constructed group is the homeless – also one that has had various name changes. Someone who would have been called a hobo or derelict is now a more respectable “Homeless Person.” (The capital letters enshrine that it is a term and not a descriptive phrase.) When I shared an apartment with someone from Texas who had been on the road a long time, my mother said “What!? You’re letting a Homeless Person stay in your apartment?” I explained that since he lived in my apartment, he was, by definition, not homeless. She eventually accepted that, but the initial response (the most telling of how a person really thinks) showed that she had engaged in group creationism – projecting that a group of such people exist and that the qualities of those people make them what they are. So the name is projected on people not only because they have no place to live, but because of some socially constructed quality put onto them through language. So is the new name really more respectable than a hobo? Do people really mean anything different when they go to the trouble to say Homeless Person?

Back to disabilities, I have a friend who says she is retarded. Retarded literally means delayed or slow, and since she is ten years behind her age cohort in school, she logically concludes that she is retarded. Since she is also autistic, she doesn’t much buy in to the associative meanings of words, so she doesn’t care that the R-word has been downgraded to shock-value-level offensive in the culture at large. Again we have the whole history of name changes and overlapping names: idiot, retarded, special needs, person with retardation, intellectually disabled, etc. In the case of my friend, the only true fact is that she is ten years behind in academics. If she is included in the grouping of some label, that’s group creationism, not reality. Suppose I say we really should not call her “intellectually disabled”, then someone might say (exasperated), “Well, what can I call them? I can’t keep up with the terminology!” The point is about needing to call “them” anything. People are not the distance between themselves and the norm. They are just themselves.

If the new name is just a new rearrangement of letters for the same idea – a new way to say we are less than normal – then it isn’t going to be accepted. It’s nothing more than renaming the same people from Negro to black to whatever; it just sounds less pejorative because it is starting out with a fresh set of associations. But if it is really defining the same boundaries and limitations, it isn’t really new and improved.

Let me take another diversion into jokes. Jokes using “retard” or any ethnic label only work because many people share an understanding of a socially constructed group of people who are defined and limited by that label. Whether a person’s speech is a joke or not, and even if they substitute some other synonym for a derogatory label (for example “A Homeless Person walks into a bar…”), they are still communicating beliefs about that made-up group. Jokes convey group creationism just as much as other modes of speech. Humor doesn’t bypass expressing how you think; in fact it often exposes it more clearly than stilted, prepared speech.

I have a few explanations for group creationism. First, it is how most people are wired. When researching for my book, it became clear that a core difference between autistic and non-autistic people is in the way culture is transmitted, and particularly the way socially constructed elements of culture are believed to exist in the same manner as natural phenomena. Those wired more austistically can be blind to things that (as we might say) “don’t exist”, but which do exist in a cultural sense. Those wired in a more associative (typical) way absorb these constructions through their associations, seek out power imbalances, and are more adept at group-creationism as a way to exploit those imbalances. Being on the more advantageous side of a boundary is grounds for needing the boundary to exist, and therefore makes the advantaged person see it more clearly.

Another level of explanation is the bureaucratic explanation. Imagine discussing registration forms for a conference. You might say “Tom is Monday” (Tom registered for Monday only) or “Mary is full buffet”, as a shorthand, but you don’t mean that the people literally are Mondays or buffets. School staff talk about students with the same shortcuts: “Tom is special-needs” or “Mary is a free lunch”. This vocabulary appears to have escaped the staff room and become a universal, so now we have “special needs children” (where “needs” is now an adjective). It was a bureaucratic classification; it then got projected onto people as group-creationism.

A slightly different view of the same phenomenon is through the economic lens. Imagine a group of farmers talking about animals. They talk about “stock” or “livestock” – in other words, they only mention the aspect of the animal that is relevant to their livelihood, as if the animals are not more than not-yet-packaged retail units. There are producers and consumers engaging in financial transactions, but the animals are just a third party that has no say, and consequently no name. In a possible parallel, the autism industry (and presumably other related industries) is made up of customers (mostly insurance companies, government agencies, and parents) and vendors (private agencies), so all the financial relationships are between those stakeholders, which usually don’t include us. It seems like anyone who is not a party to a transaction gets a term like “livestock”, or in our case, “individuals”. (“Consumers” has also been used.)

Is the I-word one step short of full acceptance, or a sterilized synonym for all the other words? When a group of professionals discusses colleagues and family, they will say “a guy I know” (or any informal term using natural language), but when they talk about us, they often use code words: individual, or sometimes (oddly) citizen, kiddo, or gentleman. But whether they call us specimens, or The Honorable Princess, it would still be group-creationism. The new words (when used as code words) are just a smokescreen to cover that up.

I don’t think the great vocabulary debate will be over until people really see other people as equal in spirit, and they don’t make the “less than” distinction at all. Then we will say what we mean, without having to be careful to use certain code words. If we are talking about someone’s color, we will describe the color as chocolatey or tan (people don’t come in white). If we are talking about someone’s academic performance, we will describe it. If we are talking about someone’s neurotype or personality type, we can use descriptive words like extroverted, autistic, or messy. There just isn’t any reason to resort to projecting groups.

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5 responses to “The I-word

  1. Jessie says:

    Wow, I hadn’t consciously noticed “individuals” as having that particular meaning–like (grr!) “self-advocates.”

    When researching for my book, it became clear that a core difference between autistic and non-autistic people is in the way culture is transmitted

    You said for neurotypicals that it’s transmitted by associations–how would you say it’s transmitted for autistics?

    I like your bureaucratic and economic explanations–or rather, I liked the way you explained them–the economic one is chilling and is tying in to a thought I had earlier today about refusing to be test subjects for free.

    I’m trying to remember if there’s already a sociology word for group-creationism.

  2. ianology says:

    Perhaps I meant that culture is transmitted less, or absorbed less by the autistic person. We can deduce the culture around us by observing it over time, like with any foreign culture, but we don’t believe it. We can use it as a tool but we don’t lose ourselves in it. A tangent concept which is interesting and I don’t have any ready answer to is how a group of autistic people transmit autistic culture among themselves – it seems to be either much more explicit or on the other hand a flow of feelings that isn’t linguistic at all. More to think about!

  3. ldfjgij says:

    Omg, yes as a vegan I always think what you’re saying ;-)
    I’m 17 and I’ve read your book. Very good one.I’m interested what you think of the “intense world theory”?

    and what you think of this thread by an autistic:
    the person who writed left wrong planet, because wrong planet is full of autistics who’re in my opinion and him more and more neurotypical. The post was deleted but I kept it.

    This is what I sent to the ESA people, it is about how society treats autistics badly and leaves many without a place in it, about neurological diversity, how the neurotypical speakers on autism are wrong, about the DSM criteria and about psychology and neurotypical syndrome. You may also see it as a ridiculous amount of text and a big whine but I don’t know… Personally I think there are quite a few truths in here.

    I use the words neurology, neurological etc in the way which they are commonly used by autistics, relating neutrally and primarily to brain functioning and mentality, but also they may extend to senses etc. I don’t use them as a dictionary definition such as this – “Neurology: the science of the nerves and the nervous system, especially of the diseases affecting them.” It should be obvious how I’m using these words, personally I have a more philosophical approach to the ideas of how physicality and mentality work together but I just stick with saying “I have a different neurology” or “genes which dictate neurological functioning” and I hope you understand what I mean by that.

    Contents

    1. What is wrong with you?
    2. So why are you trying to claim ESA?
    3. My neurology
    4. What does that mean? I thought autism was an illness?
    5. Do you have a sick note?
    6. Is it the case that you’re incapable of looking for work, following our instructions etc or are refusing to do so?
    7. So if you’re not ill with autism, why do you have such a problem with “work”, with following our demands, with society in general?
    8. Why do you think the current neurotypical speakers on autism are all incorrect? Why do you think that your autism isn’t an illness?

    1. What is wrong with you?

    There is nothing wrong with me at all

    2. So why are you trying to claim ESA?

    JSA and ESA are both incorrect benefits for me but they are the only two options. I am not ill or disabled, I have a different neurology and I’m not willing to work in this society as it makes no comfortable place for me, I’m also not willing to submit a fake job-search and go to idiotic meetings about help into work etc therefore JSA is not claimable. I would never join this society as things are right now, it has no place for me and it’s unfair for me to have to accept such an uncomfortable slot in this society. I have written to Edward Timpson my government representative about this and I hope he replies.

    3. My neurology

    I am autistic

    4. What does that mean? I thought autism was an illness?

    I believe many things are currently being called autism when in fact they are completely different things e.g. there is strong evidence that “autism” is genetic yet there are many “autistics” who do not have these genetic differences, there are for example many autistics who had oxygen starved brains at birth (which can obviously lead to brain damage). The most common descriptive of autism is “a disorder”, which is short for “a development disorder”, which is short for “a brain development disorder”. Simply, any brain which develops differently may be under scrutiny and be classed as an autistic brain (according to the vague inaccurate criteria for “diagnosis” and the ridiculous scale of “the autistic spectrum” which makes it clear that the efforts of the current neurotypical “authorities” on the subject to explain “autism” are pathetic). I believe the current “authorities” on “autism” are all complete idiots who know nothing and speak frequently and freely on a topic they know nothing about. I believe that environmental brain damage should be prevented if possible, there are for example many, many toxins in our environment and it’s a fact that not everyone reacts in the same way to them, many people, and many “autistics” for example have an MTHFR gene which does not detoxify and process heavy metals etc out of their system, which can lead to brain damage. On the other hand it’s a fact that “autism” for many autistics is a genetic difference. It is quite possible that in some or even many cases these things may go hand in hand, I myself have a much more adverse reaction to many things such as car fumes for example, but I have no facilities to research this myself, and all of the current researchers seem only to want to pinpoint the “autistic genes” so that they can purge them, I do not believe they will be successful as it’s too apparent that autistic genes are superior in many ways. I have written about this last point in more detail under my answer to point 3 of the DSM’s criteria for diagnosis (under heading eight).

    It’s clear to me that the autism currently (and insultingly) called “Asperger’s Syndrome” is a genetic difference. My autism is a genetic difference. I don’t have a damaged or defective brain. I have a different brain (and subsequently a different mentality) as a result of genetic diversity, specifically genes which regulate brain development and neurological functioning. The idea of genetic diversity being an illness comes from deluded people. My mentality is being heavily discriminated against and persecuted by such people. I am not disabled, I am not sick or ill, I do not have a mental condition or mental health problems, I do not have a pervasive developmental disorder a syndrome or a disease. I do not suffer from and am not affected by any condition.

    5. Do you have a sick note?

    A “sick note” is highly inappropriate as I’m not sick. A note from a doctor is also inappropriate because normal GPs are not qualified to diagnose autism and there is a two year waiting list to be diagnosed with autism by a diagnostician (due to it not being funded on the NHS and the alternative funding body currently being bankrupt). Furthermore autism is a genetic difference, it is not an “illness” to be “diagnosed” by a doctor or a psychiatrist anymore than having ginger hair is something which should be diagnosed by a doctor or psychiatrist. A geneticist could prove someone autistic or not, and perhaps a brain scan could also, although different neurological genetics do give off certain noticeable traits, so perhaps a nicer analogy is diagnosing someone as being female – A psychiatrist who specialises in doing so could diagnose someone as being either male or female based solely on analysing personality and specific traits, and perhaps quite often they’d be right, but that doesn’t mean that being female is something to be “diagnosed” as “diagnosis” clearly implies illness, or that a doctor or psychiatrist is the best person to say whether someone’s male or female, or that in many cases an inaccurate “diagnosis” wouldn’t be made. I hope these analogies help you to understand the problem with a genetic difference being classed as something diagnosable by a psychiatrist. However, despite how inappropriate and useless it is, because you’re tied down to inconsiderate restrictions and have had to ask for it, I’ve attached a note from my doctor. It is not a sick note though because that just doesn’t make any sense.

    6. Is it the case that you’re incapable of looking for work, following our instructions etc or are refusing to do so?

    It’s the case that I’m incapable of not refusing to do so

    7. So if you’re not ill with autism, why do you have such a problem with “work”, with following our demands, with society in general?

    This society does not allow my type of mind to function as I desire it to and feel it should. I want society to admit that it is not accommodating to me and is holding me back, that it surrounds and tries to claim everyone yet doesn’t understand or know what to do with me, or many other people it’s trying to claim and even force into it, I want society to admit this rather than just brush me off as an illness. For just one example people like me are self-educated you know, in primary school for example I was sat in a class of people who were learning the alphabet whilst I already read for pleasure, what do you think I learnt in those lessons? They said I had learning difficulties because I refused to do the work they were giving me to do, their solution was to give me a book in which I received either a smiley face or a sad face depending on whether I joined in with their lessons to their standards or not, since they were teaching things which were beneath me I was very bored, I wasn’t learning anything so I tried to entertain myself, this was naughty of me and so I got mostly sad faces, I actually only got one smiley face in my entire time there, I remember it was a special day when I got it, I almost didn’t receive it because at the very end of the day, whilst we were all sat down, someone asked me a question about if the earth moves and why the clouds move as well, I explained to them how the earth is round and is moving around the sun in space, making one full circle every year, and how it’s also spinning on an axis, but that it revolves quite slowly, making only one full spin around every day and that the appearance of the clouds moving was due to wind and air pressure in the upper atmosphere rather than the earth spinning round, the teacher said she’d let me off for this and I still got a happy face, it was naughty of me to say you see because I was supposed to have been listening to some crap the teacher was saying (probably along the lines of “what is everyone’s favourite colour?”) and not talking about clouds, this is a very clear memory I have from when I was in reception which I think is age 4-5. Most days I was told off by my teachers for being “naughty”, and then again by my parents at home, eventually the school said I was ill with autism and needed to go to a special school because they couldn’t teach me. It’s always been that way, I’ve never been catered to in a compatible manner by anything this society offers, and when it causes problems they say it’s my problem and that I’m ill. In reality though I’ve been dragged down by the neurotypical education system and it really makes me wonder how smart I could have been if I was educated properly whilst my mind was young, I really feel like my mind went to waste. Actually writing about it now I remember a girl who was “diagnosed” with “Asperger’s” and was doing GCSE exams, I asked her what she wanted to study afterwards, she said A level physics, biology, chemistry and maths. She said she wanted to work in bio programming. She told me she didn’t want to sound arrogant but GCSEs and A levels were beneath her and she was studying university level biology in her own time for fun. I don’t know why she bothered going to school really, most of it must have been such a waste of her time. But well apparently that was just because of her brain disorder.

    This society is idiotic and is dragging me down. It’s trying (and has been all my life) to make me function as a neurotypical, it’s not allowing me to function as an autistic. I am autistic and it’s not a bad thing at all, my neurology is sound, the case is that this society is stopping me from functioning properly as it does not properly accommodate autistics, it is unfairly disabling me (relative to me functioning happily and to the best of my abilities within it, yes what kind of idiotic society would want to do that?) and wrongfully calling me ill at the same time.

    I want society to admit that as an autistic I’m not ill, that it has not been accommodating to me, and for its inadequacies and in the stead of an acceptable place within it to guarantee to compensate me indefinitely with no prerequisites on my part

    This society does not offer anything for me, does not understand me and does not know what to do with me. It would like me to be neurotypical to get rid of this problem. I would society to be less idiotic, more; intelligent, open-minded, understanding, flexible, compromising, tolerant and accommodating to get rid of this problem.

    I want recognition of my neurology being a valid neurological variety and not an illness. No matter what an autistic does they’re still heavily degraded – “oh look this 12 year old has a disorder and is teaching maths in a university”, “oh look this guy suffers from a syndrome and has hacked into the pentagon”, “oh einstein and newton may have suffered from autism”, “autism is bad”, “our goal is to find a cure for autism”, “is pre-screening for autism a good idea?”, “should autistics be aborted?” Well you can all shut the f**k up. Give me one good reason, why as an autistic, I should join your society? With all the bullshit it gives me?

    I am not disabled, but this society has made it impossible for me to function in it, I don’t doubt I have the ability to make a lot of money, but I’d literally rather be dead than be a part of this society. What is “supporting yourself”? Making money to buy food so you can eat? I am an individual and I have a mind of my own which in my world is the ultimate authority to adhere to unwaveringly, I have morals and opinions to support, in this society I literally can’t support everything about myself, it constantly makes me choose, presenting me with very hard choices – what do I do? Work, earn a decent amount of money and pay taxes which pay for missiles which blow up children in foreign countries? Or not work so that my morals are intact but be very poor for it? Or evade tax so that I can still live comfortably but risk prison? What nice choices this society gives me. And in choosing to be poor do I choose to live on the streets? Or maybe kill myself to avoid that depressing life and starvation? Or should I claim ESA and become another figure for them to say “Autistics cost tax payers X amount per year, should they be aborted?” Relative to fitting in, joining, working etc in this society I am disabled, the choices they force onto me disable me. And I’m proud to be, I’d hate to fit into such a corrupt, immoral and generally stupid and primitive system. Where people just litter the roads every morning in their poisonous metal boxes, thinking they’re intelligent and acting as though they have a purpose in life, breeding to create more of themselves because they’re stuck following their primordial programming with no concept of higher thoughts, meanings or purpose, creating a mess of the world and everything in it because that’s simply all they’re capable of. I don’t want to join that, they are a different sub-species of homo sapiens to me, I am different, they are just like any other species of animals to me, except bad because I’m a vegan and I like all other animals. I want to be away from them. To me they are simply homo sapiens, I do not recognise any authority from them or have any compulsion towards reciprocation of their socially conditioned displays, when I watch them it’s like watching a nature programme about a group of animals, sometimes the things they do are interesting, mostly they are simple and predictable, when they speak, though I literally understand the words, it often just sounds like a noise any other animal may make, they are just unpleasant simple primitive animals to me. This is as a group, I cannot judge one so harshly as an individual, but as a group I very much dislike them and it’s very apparent to me just how different I am, I do not belong to this group of neurotypical homo sapiens and I am not happy to be in it, sadly right now there is no alternative for me, I wish very much for an autistic society (no not “The National Autistic Society” – despite their name they are actually not a society of autistic people, unfortunately they are just a bunch of neurotypical people who speak about autism but don’t really understand it, just like all the others).

    8. Why do you think the current neurotypical speakers on autism are all incorrect? Why do you think that your autism isn’t an illness?

    Here are a couple of extracts from something I wrote a while ago (I said “number 1” because I split some things up into categories but you don’t need to know what they were, my point still comes through properly): –

    it’s very important people realise the fact we all have variation within our genes, that there are common versions of genes and rarer versions of genes, and that this variety is never stationary – it’s constantly evolving, that we all have genes which regulate brain growth and functioning and that these genes do have rare variations as well. A different development in this area should not necessarily be seen as negative – people, in general are very conformist and can be very intolerant of differences. Number 1 is currently being seen as a bad thing but it isn’t – diversity, selection and evolution in this way are part of our design – the fact however that this society does not cater so well towards this type of person can indeed leave many looking impaired, many of these people aren’t being allowed to flourish, are being held back, even degraded and convinced they’re “wrong”. Things do need to change very much, these people need to be better accommodated and their neurologies need to be respected, their differences need to be understood and catered to – not looked down upon and worked against, when properly nurtured and allowed to function properly this type of mind could do wonderful things.

    Someone could be entirely number 1 (from my previously stated three things above), meaning they have rare gene variations which cause a different brain growth and neurological development – it seems there’s nothing wrong with this person at all – in fact they are often a lot smarter – but they are different and don’t relate as well to “neurotypicals” – people with neurological gene versions which are more common. Because of their differences they may be classed as having “Asperger’s Syndrome” or a “HFA disorder” and thought of as having some kind of negative condition/illness.

    My own personal answers to the DSM criteria (no doubt they are the same type of NT sufferers who were classifying homosexuality as a disorder until 1973): –

    (I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

    (A) marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviours such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction

    I have no need to gaze at people, to alter my posture, to pull faces or to gesticulate erratically in order to regulate my social interaction. I don’t really see the logic behind it being an impairment to not depend on these things to regulate social interaction. Actually I believe this to be an improvement. A strong dependence on these things for communication seems to be a sign of a brain disorder (such as neurotypical syndrome), along with a severe confusion towards the literal meanings of words, compulsive dishonesty and the illogical need to discuss trivial matters or events.

    (B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

    Who is this infallible judge of appropriate and inappropriate relationships? I believe this also to be a symptom of neurotypical syndrome – blindness to the ego, causing a delusion to the sufferer that they are the neurological ideal and that any deviation is illness. Genetic variation is a part of evolution, currently most genetic variations are either merely genetic drifts or genes which at one point were beneficial but now are much more neutral as currently we are not under much pressure of natural selection (Asperger’s/HFA clearly being beneficial rather than drifts). My peers are mostly neurotypical (people with more common neurological gene variants), as such I do not relate to them in my neurological rarity, I have little interest in relationships with people I have little in common with. Genetic variation is not an illness, and it’s obvious that two people with similar neurological layouts would get on well, whereas if you surrounded someone with a rare neurological layout with neurotypical people they may not relate to them as well, and therefore would not be as interested in a relationship.

    (C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)

    This is not an illness or disorder, on the contrary – neurotypical people are the ones who have the irrational need to feed their egos via conformism, they are dependent on other people to do this for them, which is why they have a compulsion to share achievements – they expect praise, this praise feeds their ego. The ego is one of the inherent self defence/self preservation mechanisms of the sub-conscious, it helps to ensure its host does its part in pursuing the survival/following the goals, of the symbiotic whole. Since neurotypical people are just average – are not spectacular, they turn otherwise pointless activities into mutually (within the group of sufferers of the syndrome) praiseworthy activities, the mass prevalence of this particular symptom of the disorder has lead to illogical things such as fashion – this praiseworthy activity (within the circle of sufferers) allows those who conform to have their egos fed by the group. This ego feeding has a counterbalance of discrimination against those who do not conform, as in the example of fashion, the more someone feeds their ego by receiving praise from being “fashionable”, the more they should also praise others for being “fashionable”, and conversely the more they should look down on those not conforming to their sense of “fashion”. This can of course lead to more dangerous forms of mass persecution as we have seen throughout neurotypical history. The many examples of illogical persecution we see being a counterbalance to the illogical praise from conformist ego feeding – a symptom of neurotypical syndrome. This is often played upon by those in power who know how to ride upon the back of neurotypical syndrome.

    (D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

    Neurotypical people are socially and emotionally dishonest and manipulative, it is for example standard for them to compliment each other without truly meaning it. Autistic people have emotions yet they may be stimulated by different things, I can’t speak for all autistics but personally my emotions are somewhat logically prioritised. Neurotypical people have a severe lack of consistency and logic with their emotions, furthermore they have a severe internal conflict between what they think is the right thing to do but what they are actually compelled to do instead. For example if they saw a child being shot to death in the street they might feel very sad and horrified, if they knew another child was to be shot unless they gave £100 they may feel a strong compulsion to give the money to save this other child’s life. Yet they do not think twice about a child in a 3rd world country who is dying a much more painful death of starvation. A neurotypical person may cry, scream, shout (etc all emotional displays) to see a child killed in front of them, yet why aren’t they crying, screaming, shouting right now for all of the people who are suffering? Because they can’t see them? If this symptom of neurotypical syndrome was cured there would be no world hunger, no lack of medication, clean water, education etc for anyone. Neurotypical people however are simply content to keep their heads down, to live in their own accepted bubble of reality, created by their illness, and to go against their own morals and emotions, preferring to procrastinate, to tie themselves up in other illogical activities such as consumerism, they fill their bubbles with useless junk to keep themselves distracted, this makes the unwelcome things which do occasionally break in through their bubble more disturbing to them. This is when they get confused that I do not reciprocate their exacerbated sense of disturbance – it’s simply that I’m not living in a bubble and that they’re unaware they are. Mass conformist illogical displays of biased emotion and reverence are interesting e.g. A minute of silence for people killed in the Twin Towers – These people of course weren’t more special than all of the other people who were and still are dying in the world, but this particular event broke in through the delusional bubble of accepted reality of those affected by neurotypical syndrome for being purposely presented to them in a manner which their conformism would unavoidably latch onto. Ultimately a suffer of neurotypical syndrome has no emotions, morals, beliefs etc of their own, they are simply what the other people around them are and what their leaders tell them to be. For example if we were in a different culture where everyone did work hard at ending world hunger, and was strongly against consumerism, one neurotypical person would adopt this ethic in conformism to the group, and due to their delusion would believe the ethic to be their own, this ethic could be replaced with pretty much any other. People hide their true emotions behind socially conditioned masks which asphyxiate their true ideals and present an outward lie which is influential to a delusional level even to the bearer. History proves that the outward social and emotional displays of one neurotypical person are not their own but that of the group around them. It is simply social and emotional conditioning on a mind designed to conform and mould to the others surrounding it. It’s dangerous as the conditioning of the group will move to new and more illogical things all the time.

    I am much less susceptible to being conditioned and moulded into a certain way by the people around me. I have a mind of my own, I have my own beliefs, my own morals which my emotions are tied to. Neurotypical people do not communicate in a manner as compatible with my neurological genetic variation, that is they are less logical, I do not reciprocate this.

    (II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
    (A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

    This is a strength, why not say that neurotypical people have a lack of focus? An attention disorder etc.. No drive to achieve or work on any interest or anything of importance to them.

    Also there is something in addition to working intensely on something very meaningful to you, I recently discovered people writing about the “Intense world theory” in which they mention “autistic’s bubbles”. I found this very interesting as it ties in, from the other end, with my own thoughts on the bubbles of NTs. I’ve always (well for maybe ten years now) thought about NTs living in a “delusional bubble of accepted reality”, this was my primary thought on the subject – an NT’s bubble, not an autistic’s bubble. It is a natural step to see an autistic “zoning out” as their own version of a bubble but I never felt the need to think about that as much, that was just more obvious to me, and to be honest I never really saw that as a “bubble” before.

    From what I can see, an autistic zoning out is quite apparent, NTs don’t zone out so much as have a permanent limbo, their sub-consciousness deceives them about the existence of their own bubble, and their bubbles distract them from everything else the consciousness logically thinks it should do, it’s a conflict between the consciousness and higher ranking parts of the mind; we are just a consciousness which is part of a mental and physical symbiosis, there is always manipulation in at least one direction if not both and there may be unity or conflict between the relationships of each individual, no other part of that is “you” as an individual, but you are a part of a whole, something larger. The NT bubble is debilitating and does not allow symbiotic unity (i.e. the consciousness and sub-consciousness to be at peace). It’s interesting to me how, as the isolated individual of the consciousness, we all need a bubble just to get on in this projected reality, as if we were all designed for somewhere else. I’d say zoning out into a specific interest is an effective and very encompassing retreat, an NT’s bubble is a retreat as well, but it also causes more of a delusion and more conflict. I can choose you see to live in one reality, and then retreat afterwards, to me NTs seem to be permanently in semi-retreat – as opposed to an autistic choosing very limited things for their bubble, and hence having to come out of it regularly, an NT will select a large number (though very controlled) of things to enter their bubble; everything they need to live their everyday life, things to redirect all their emotions to – things they may be angry about, things they may be happy about, sad about etc, but they will all be things which aren’t too taxing, and this allows their bubble to become their permanent entire reality – “I’m very angry that the government has bailed out the greedy bankers” for example, it’s a stable control to redirect to, it’s obviously not the main thing one could direct anger towards, but it’s a safe thing to direct anger towards.

    Basically you could say that an autistics bubble is more restrictive and encompassing but not permanent whereas an NTs bubble is less encompassing and restrictive but permanent. It’s certainly not the case that autistics have a bubble and NTs don’t however.

    A reaction to “Oh dear a children’s hospital in Iraq has been bombed” compared to the reaction to “Oh look this child is being burned alive right in front of me”. The difference in reaction is caused by one of them breaking through, in a most unwelcome fashion, into the bubble. An autistic’s bubble of course, being more restricted, has many more things which are unwelcome. A neurotypicals bubble causes much more delusion towards its affect on sanity and towards a warped view of reality.

    This ties in with “zoning out” which is under this section for “stereotyped motor mannerisms”. It also ties in with “lack of emotional reciprocity” and with “preoccupation which is abnormal in intensity or focus”.

    You will have to go quite deep to properly understand things as they are in true reality with all context but one-dimensional logic removed. I don’t think it’s possible to do this whilst living in a permanent bubble. I don’t know if NTs can remove their bubbles for a while or not, I would be interested to know.

    Here is what I found someone else writing. I may not agree with everything they say, I am just linking it to show that people are talking about “bubbles” now which is interesting to me as I’ve always thought of NTs as living in a permanent bubble. (I think there’s still a misunderstanding towards the difference of a genetic predisposition towards environmental damage and a different genetic brain development occuring separately alongside this, rather than the environment outright causing every neurological difference) – http://www.wrongplanet.net/article419.html

    To me it seems that NT authorities on autism are deluded into seeing the autistic bubble as a symptom of illness whilst being unaware of their own bubble, and perhaps because of this also into seeing realism as misanthropy, depression or a warped view of reality.

    (B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

    From my experience I do not understand why the word “nonfunctional” is in here regarding routines. Regarding “rituals” this would be something like having a compulsion to always drink from the same cup. Yes I can have an attachment to objects like that, it’s as if I have gotten to know it and trust it. If you think about it, it makes sense as a survival trait. I don’t think it’s as “nonfunctional” as small-minded people think (as much as they can think with their low intelligence), rather the most logical speculation to me is that it’s a trait which isn’t currently needed (though it still can actually be beneficial in ways/at times), but it’s a trait which likely had benefits at one stage of evolution, and since it’s not a damaging trait is still here with us now, that’s how evolution works – should there be more of a natural need for this trait in the future for whatever reason, natural selection would choose it (the population which have it would be more likely to survive) and it would become more prevalent. Should there be a future where this trait is suddenly damaging for some reason, selection would begin to cull it. Should the effects of this trait remain neutral – it will stay with us as part of an ever increasing series of genes which are neutral relative to their need in the environment. The less pressure of natural selection there is, the more variety is available in a species. Under strong selection many genetic variations and associated traits would be wiped out, making people more uniform in survival, and I believe exactly which traits are chosen in a natural scenario may be surprising to most people. Genetic drift, neutral (or even “dormant” positive) genes and associated rare traits are not a disorder or illness. I believe the idea of genetic variety being an illness to be one of the possible symptoms of neurotypical syndrome (due to the dependence on conformism and the delusions which go with it).

    (C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)

    I think this comes from a need for consistency and unity in order to zone out into deep thoughts, thoughts which can make an autistic very anxious/restless if they aren’t allowed to zone into them. The thoughts can be intense and painful when not dealt with properly, but in learning how to relax via things such as pacing or focusing on an interest etc, as an autistic you can learn to focus your mind and get the most out of it, and most importantly to work with it so that it doesn’t hurt you, because there is friction there – the mind is saying “I have many many deep thoughts, zone out into them now!” but if you can’t zone out into them, if you’re distracted, the mind hurts you by giving a feeling of intense anxious restlessness, of being uncomfortable in your own skin and not knowing what to do with yourself etc. Having multiple and deep complex thoughts comes with the need to zone out, to be alone, away from distractions, and with carrying out activities which may appear “illogical” or the symptom of a “disorder” to the uneducated. When you see a “low functioning” autistic hitting themselves (usually in the head) they’re usually being restrained or are in a noisy environment or something. It’s because they can’t be completely alone and in perfect peace and quiet to zone out, the mind punishes for not allowing this, the thought of having your head smashed open and all of the thoughts escaping is desirable. It feels like having 10 brains or something and it’s just an overload of thoughts, but if you can control it, that’s where the deep thinking goes to places which neurotypical minds can not go to. It is important for autistics to be allowed to have space, a lot of time completely alone, with no noise distractions whatsoever etc. For an Aspergian/HFA I think most can get this themselves, can find ways to de-stress, to work with their minds etc, something like a long walk alone with a consistent pace will let the thoughts come out gently. It’s as if the mind has a mission and is not taking no for an answer, and it is harder to work with your mind as an autistic, its not a simple mind to have, but it can be such a great mind and a great way of thinking when you learn how to work with it, and it can lead to so many things, so many great thoughts, the thoughts autistics are constantly having aren’t things like “what am I having for tea tonight?” They are deep thoughts, many of which neurotypical people are not ever capable of thinking, let alone non-stop, and so many scientific, philosophical, artistic thoughts etc which have contributed so much over the years have undoubtedly come from this type of mind. I very much dislike how neurotypical people benefit so much every day from things freely given to them by a neurology they degrade so much. And I do feel very sorry for low functioning autistics who can’t get this thinking/zone out space for themselves, a lot are being cruelly tortured by ignorant people who think they know things about autism, but in reality will never know how it feels to want to smash your own head open because you aren’t allowed to zone out.

    Away from low functioning autism and back to Asperger’s though, as this is what this criteria is for, the way we think is highly beneficial and is not a disorder at all, and if it requires only a few minor quirks which don’t harm anyone then I don’t see how these can be classed as symptoms of an illness?

    So that is my explanation of “stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms” – I believe they help a person with an autistic mind to think. You see if you had music from your neighbours as a distraction, but you overwrote it with a slightly louder consistent background noise (e.g. an extractor fan), you would have unity and hence be able to zone out.

    “Oh look the autistic is flapping his hand! Disorder! Disorder I say! Hands aren’t supposed to flap!”

    In reality it’s a bit deeper than that and this point (C) is making it quite clear that the people in charge of these criteria don’t know what they’re talking about and should not be saying anything at all about autism. It should be autistic people speaking about autism, not neurotypical people.

    (D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

    This is a strength. Obviously it may tie in with many things I’ve already said as well.

    (III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

    “Disturbance” – Very stupid choice of word
    “Social” – You mean relative to socialising with neurotypical people?
    “Occupational” – You mean relative to working in neurotypical society?

    It’s quite a stupid statement. I could say that a person has a clinically significant impairment at socialising with a dog. Why not give it some context?

    My neurology is different, of course I don’t connect as well with people who have more common neurologies, most people around me are very neurologically incompatible. It also makes perfect sense that introversion, a natural dislike of most other people and desire to avoid them etc, is a survival trait which was useful at one point in evolution and is still with us now. Again, the way evolution works, rare traits and genetic variety are not an “illness”, that’s just so unintelligent to say. Rare gene variations, including neurological ones, are simply a part of evolution, perhaps in the future selection will decide whether they stay or not, and ironically, it’s the case that neurotypical people, by their own one-dimensional value systems, are far from the ideal for homo sapiens. If extensive unnatural (human influenced) genetic selection and modification does become prevalent, many autistic gene varieties would end up being selected and duplicated, though people may not even realise they are autistic variations. I believe it would actually be neurotypical people in more danger of extinction from extensive human genetic modification and selection, as lets face it, why choose someone with an IQ of 100, who is happy to work at something fairly unimportant all their life, something which most other people could do, and who with their life will buy a car, a mortgage, marry someone, make a few children to carry on their pointless genes, and then die. Why choose that person? Or any genes from that person? Rather than someone with an IQ of 170, with unusual mental talents, who could work for NASA or something? Why would any of the neurotypical person’s genes be chosen? They are just that – typical, average, not special, over-abundant, expendable. Ironically, the disease of neurotypical syndrome is causing these people to search for “cures” for what they perceive as “illnesses”, and they are likely to find a cure for themselves at the end of their search.

    (VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia.

    Asperger’s is not a pervasive developmental disorder. It is a rare variation within genes which dictate brain growth neurological functioning. The belief that this is a disorder is a possible symptom of neurotypical syndrome. Unfortunately many autistics have been told they have a disorder their entire life and have related the term to their differences, embracing it, without even realising exactly what neurotypical people are thinking or truly mean when they direct such words towards the neurology. From my own point of view, in understanding diversity and genetic variation, it’s obvious that it’s not a “disorder” and that “disorder” is a very stupid word to use. If you tell someone who’s a bit different that they have a disorder for their entire childhood and adult life then I’d say that this abuse may very well give them a disorder.

    You have to get into your head that Asperger’s is not an illness diagnosable by certain impairments. They (neurotypical people) say that autism is a disorder and requires certain “impairments” to be diagnosable, as if an autistic person is the same as a neurotypical person except they have certain impairments from a mental condition. I disagree, I believe autism is natural genetic variation within neurological genes and therefore an autistic is autistic for having this genetic variation rather than for having what they perceive as “impairments”. That said many Asperger’s/HFA autistics are unjustly impaired. We are all surrounded by neurotypical people we don’t relate to, and to make it so much worse we are all being unfairly judged by the one-dimensional value systems of these neurotypical people. Current society is very incompatible for most of us and we’re being held back, we’re being expected to act as neurotypicals and not as autistics, we’re being told it’s not ok, it’s “wrong” for us to be autistic, that how neurotypicals act is the “correct” way. I also believe that the current “authorities” on autism are all complete idiots, they are all neurotypical people who think they have the right to speak for autistics, when plenty of us are capable of speaking for ourselves, they just speak over us anyway, they think they have the right to tell people what autism is when in fact they will never understand it. Current “charities” are operating like businesses, they are dependent on raising money and hence show a more biased view of autism – the more piteous autistic subjects – to raise more public support and financing, at the expense of a more impartial view, in which would be displayed a range of autistics from across the spectrum, including autistics such as myself who are happy with their neurology and who strongly disagree they have an illness or disorder – people would not be as inclined to support and give money for seeing that.

    And even if you say to me “well ok, Asperger’s and HFA aren’t so bad, they have been treated quite unfairly, but the other autisms are bad and should be cured!” – Personally I disagree that we should be judged by the standard of “the majority is correct” or “is the correct way to be”. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a brain growing differently, even if it leads to “learning difficulties”, as long as this difference isn’t caused by damage, as long as the person isn’t suffering. I mean I’m not so smart but the average neurotypical person does have learning difficulties compared to me, the thing is they don’t suffer for it at all though. People need to accept that a part of evolution is relative “trial and error” and that all of our genes, including neurological ones, are never stationary. “Error” of course being relative to the “goals” of evolution – something separate to what we may see as “good” or “bad”, and the term “suffering” is used rather stupidly in my opinion, for some reason “suffers from” is a very popular precursor to a number of things but it often isn’t very accurate or appropriate to use, as in the generalisation of all autistics suffering from their neurology, if someone is different but not suffering – let them be. That’s my opinion. Don’t try to change them to conform to the ideal standard, it’s a pathetic one-dimensional value system, and if a neurotypical person thinks that an IQ below 70 is “wrong” then why can’t someone with an IQ of 160 say that anything below 140 is “wrong” and needs to be cured? We’re all in this together and we’re all capable of looking after each other and understanding each other’s differences, of allowing each other to just be what we are and making sure we’re all happy. If someone has the mental age and IQ of a 2 year old their whole life and they spend their entire life in their underwear watching the Teletubbies, but they just so happen to be the happiest person in the world, is that a bad thing or a good thing? Or someone with an IQ of 100 who works in a meaningless job, has a mortgage, car, wife, 2-3 children then dies… is that the ideal standard? Is that so much better? Is that what we’re all “supposed” to be doing?

    More

    There is no such thing as “severe” Asperger’s. There is no such thing as “early intervention” for autism – autism is something that can either be worked with or against, there is no intervening with it. There is no “cause” for autism any more than there is a cause for people to have ears. By this I am talking about autism as a genetic variation, I do believe that some forms of environmental brain damage are also being classified as “autism” in some cases. It is clearly incorrect to call them both the same thing, though from some things I’ve seen perhaps it is possible in some cases they may be linked (an autistic with a higher chance of being damaged by environmental sources, leading to someone with a brain which developed differently genetically and which has also been environmentally damaged). I am completely for stopping environmental brain damage, I am completely against stopping genetic variations natural to our species unless they are most sufferable ones. Autistics do not suffer from autism – they suffer from neurotypical people. It’s clear to me that my autism is a genetic difference and that I’m being discriminated against and persecuted by neurotypical people. Neurotypical people are always persecuting something.

    “Oh it’s human nature!” “Oh it’s a group mentality!” – No it’s Neurotypical Syndrome. Neurotypical Syndrome is a genuine illness. The illness only really shows itself in a group of neurotypicals rather than in isolated individuals, the larger the group the more apparent the illness. So many people have written about it. Less intelligent people seem to write about things such as autism whereas more intelligent and noteworthy people seem to write about neurotypical syndrome – Sigmund Freud, Henry Thoreau, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, for example – They all wrote about the illness of neurotypical syndrome, and they all wrote about the suffering caused by the effects, ethics and ideals etc, of groups of neurotypical people, they just didn’t know it was called neurotypical syndrome back then. Name one famous and intelligent person who writes about autism? Whose name and literature will be world famous and carried on across the years? Hans Asperger? He seems to be the most famous, but only because it’s just a name for Asperger’s now, I doubt many have read anything he’s written or if the average person would even know who he is, and the term is incorrect anyway as it’s not a syndrome. Anyone else? Neurotypical syndrome is the true illness and I need a break from being surrounded by those afflicted by it, and from the illogical and idiotic things they keep on doing all the time.

  4. ldfjgij says:

    I’m also interested what you’ve to say about facebook, and other social platforms and autism communication
    (maker of facebook seems to have asperger syndrome).
    Do you think it change anything?

  5. ianology says:

    L, thanks for all this, and I think we agree on most things. Like any theory the intense world theory is just a way of organizing how you see things, and of course it matches our experiences more accurately than the defect model. Facebook is very unfriendly to me. There are many things I want to tell people that I don’t want to tell everyone, so I mostly don’t say anything.

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