Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Minimizing friction in close quarters



My daughter and I had "The Big Covid 19 Discussion" about how we were going to manage an indefinite period of isolation in close quarters together.

We came up with this list which she has transcribed for anyone who is interested.


There is also a bit with a kitten :-)



How we will minimize friction in close quarters


Most importantly, realise it will be impossible to avoid friction entirely, however we can take steps to keep it to a minimum.

  1. Remember that the other person is not a mind reader – if you aren’t sure what the other means, ask politely. If there is a misunderstanding, don’t apportion blame, just work it out between yourselves.
  2. If the other person appears irritable, take a moment to recognise that it may not be about you.
  3. Take a moment before responding – this is IMPORTANT!
  4. Remember, we are not multi-taskers!!! One instruction at a time, otherwise it is confusing and stressful.
  5. If someone is engaged in a task, realise they may need time to finish that task before moving on to the next thing.
  6. Words/phrases to avoid: “Well – “(said defensively).
  7. THINK before acting
  8. No SUDDEN moves
  9. No snatching!!!
  10. Knock before entering a room
  11. Put aside whatever you’re doing in that moment and give your full attention to the other person if they want it.
  12. Modulate tone of voice and facial expressions when conscious of it, but DON’T suppress feelings. We know that VENTING is important, and we can work it out. After every storm, there is a rainbow.
  13. If grievances arise, take a breath and air it calmly. Do NOT bottle it up. If you hold it in, it will only EXPLODE later.
  14. Respect the other’s need for space. If they say they need some down time, then respect their wishes. They will find you again when they are ready.
  15. Remember to use the magic word when requesting that something be done.
Remember, our moods and interests are not always in harmony. Sometimes we may not be able to enjoy what the other is enjoying – though often we do! It’s temporary, not the end of the world

And finally, enjoy dancing, singing, laughing, and telling stories together!






And now, introducing our new kitten,

She-Who-is-Yet-to-be-Named

caught in a rare moment of contemplation
when not skeetering around the house
or sleeping



Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Warpies and Wefties of the World, Unite!

You know those sayings that go: “There are just two kinds of people in the world, the X and the Y”?
I know. Ridiculous, reductionist, over-generalized Binary ThinkingBut as it happens, based on unapologetic self-diagnosis, I have long known that...


There are just two kinds of people in the world



  and 


Read on to find out

why both are equally important and necessary, and
which one you are most like
But take a pinch of salt with you 😉


I base my observation on the art and craft of 


WEAVING 

as Social Metaphor

Weaving is arguably humanity's oldest technology, one that combines art and usefulness. And one associated with women, which rather appeals to me.

And thus it seemed to be both an adaptable and enduring metaphor for our times.

But before I extend the metaphor to human typologies, and get into why the warp and weft metaphor has such exciting possibilities for uniting opposites and, well, weaving them together constructively, a brief intro:  


Weaving Basics for Novices


A fabric is made up of two elements, the warp and the weft


WARP 
  • Taut fixed threads
  • Provide structure
  • Limited colours


WEFT
  • Threads that weave through at 90°
  • Provide variability 
  • Many colours

WOVEN



WARPIES AND WEFTIES: 



SEPARATELY
A tangled useless mess


INTERSECTING
Infinite potential








So which one are you?


If inclined, do take this well meaning, though totally unscientific and unresearched test. If you are perfectionist like me, you will complain bitterly that the test lumps together adjectives that are unrelated and doesn't reflect your "spikes". Just do it anyway. 

How to score: 

  1. Rate each item 1 to 5 from "Not at all like me” to "Totally me" 
  2. Subtract the Warpie total from the Weftie total 
  3. Warpies will of course have a negative value but only for linguistic reasons .... warp usually precedes weft in English usage. No negative aspersions intended. On the contrary, the point is to show we need each other 
  4. PS. If you score High Weftie in the career and wealth questions, it may simply mean you are female and/or all the other intersectional things😏










  

1. THEIR GIFT
Provide the backbone of society: Create, maintain and perpetuate social structures
Provide adaptability for society: Weave through established social structures, experimenting, creating change

2. PRIDE
Pride themselves on being orderly, predictable, responsible, reliable, prudent
Pride themselves on being change agents, brainstormers, creatives, subverting ossified cultural mores

3. CAREER STRUCTURE
Vertical: prioritize staying in stable employment and rising  through the ranks. Will build up an upwardly mobile CV as they progress
Horizontal: In traditional jobs, may move in and out of work, with a patchy  CV: From billionaire innovators, to social security recipients

4. VALUES
Security, stability, promotion. May be willing to sacrifice intellectual and  moral freedom for career

Flexibility, autonomy. Unwilling to compromise intellectual and moral freedom for career
5. WEALTH
Accumulate money due to stable  employment, prudence,  build up retirement funds
Boom and bust, may end up millionaires or penniless at retirement, and even homeless

6. RELATIONSHIPS
Tend to stable upwardly mobile relationships and marriages
Relationships tend to be less stable, often de facto

7. OPINIONS OF EACH OTHER
Consider Wefties to be erratic, untidy, unpredictable, unreliable, self-indulgent, lazy
Consider Warpies to be authoritarian, controlling, boring, dictatorial

8. DREAMS
Dream of throwing it all away and becoming beach bums and artists. Rarely do it till retirement, when they splurge on travel
Dream of getting through just one structured day perfecty:rising early, getting chores done,  having regular mealtimes, sleeping by midnight. Rarely achieve it

9. BIGGEST REGRET
Not spending more time with family, being creative
Not building a career, not paying attention to accumulation

10. ENVY
Weftie freedom and creativity
Warpie wealth and status

11. COGNITIVE PROFILE
Cognitive profile fairly level across strengths and weaknesses
Cognitive profile "spiky" across strengths and weaknesses

12. SLEEP PATTERNS
Morning people: regular sleep patterns
Night owls:irregular sleep patterns, insomnia­

Judy Singer 2020

Afterthought, with a nod to medical science: Are sleep patterns the key diagnostic for the difference, social factors aside? 


Why is this a good metaphor for society?


Warp and Weft separated are weak and useless

Warp and Weft intersecting are strong, and have infinitely diverse potential


Their strength as a metaphor is that unlike the ND/NT divide, they do not oppose each other nor diverge in a different direction, perhaps never to meet again. They separate off, but only to meet again in a constructive fashion.

Warpies and Wefties intersect and create the fabric of society

They do not divide society

They construct society together 


We need each other!



Disclaimer
This is not intended to replace the Neurotypical/Neurodivergent binary which is a necessary advocacy tool. I intend it as an affectionate, plain English form of self-identification for the people it suits.

The  description will obviously fit many who have been the object of prejudice in work and education. It is obviously not a "disability label" though there maybe obvious overlaps with neurodivergent conditions

Monday, 16 March 2020

Through a glass screen, darkly. Coronavirus thoughts

After 7 decades of frenetic rebuilding after the unique horrors of  World War II, Nature has reasserted itself, and is forcing us to take a Sabbatical.  

With all our human ingenuity and creativity, we have accelerated to excess, as we in the advanced capitalist world have failed to exercise enough self-discipline and self-reflection, thinking there was always going to be more, more more. 

We now have the time to reflect on how we came to be at this junction. Here we find ourselves, isolated cells sitting alone in a network of cables, seeing the world and our friends literally “through a glass, darkly”. 

Perhaps this pause will cause us to think creatively about ways forward, although IMO we need less "creativity" and more "receptivity". 

In my sociology days, as I became disillusioned by the simplistic binary division then in vogue, between the "social" and "medical" models, I came to envisage “Culture” as a rubber band attached to “Nature”. 

With all our ingenuity, we can only pull away so far before the band snaps us back. 

Or breaks.

We now wait and see who will bend and who will be broken.

Crisis, opportunity. The world turns. I wish I could pray to a Parent Figure in the sky to fix it for us, myself, my near and dear, and my ever-widening circles, but its now time to wish everyone well, watch and wait, and hope we all weather this somehow and get some wisdom in the process

Crisis, opportunity.

Friday, 6 March 2020

That troublesome adjective "Neurodiverse"

The Adjective "Neurodiverse” has become so popular in common usage  as a synonym for “neurologically different", and is so entrenched in both organizational jargon and personal identification that it seems churlish to quibble that it is linguistical irrational and ultimately damaging to the cause.

To my horror, it’s even in the Oxford Dictionary, doing the work of dividing a group called "US" from a group called "THEM"!



Neurodiversity like biodiversity, is literally a feature of the planet not a synonym for "Neurologically Other"

We humans are NOT Neurodiverse 
Not individually. Not collectively.
The PLANET is Neurodiverse

Just no!


The importance of language


It seems there are two kinds of people in this world
  1. Those who believe that language matters and it's important to get it right
  2. Those who believe "Never mind the language, let's just get on with the job"
Naturally, I prefer the first mob. (See below for an example of a perfectly useful, necessary and innocuous adjective permanently ruined by misuse. I refer to the statistical term "Deviant")

But I do waver in my linguistic perfectionism from time to time, as I try to weigh the pros and cons of undermining a juggernaut of change. After all, if all the organizations springing up for the "inclusion of neurodiverse people" are making the world a better place, why complicate things with my obsession with linguistic purity ?

How it ends lies with all of you.

My linguistic point

I have been rightly reminded by Martijn Dekker and others, that my earlier statement that we are ALL “Neurodiverse” is wrong. . But saying that NONE of us are Neurodiverse is equally wrong. I hope my argument below makes it clear. Both are wrong, because ND is a descriptor of the planet, never of individuals. 


Logically speaking, Neurodiverse is an imaginary and irrational adjective, somewhat like an imaginary number, (the square root of a negative number which cannot logically exist) 

This usage of “neurodiverse” cannot be based based on "biodiverse", because that adjective only exists for the comparison of ecosystems, as in "The Amazon Delta is more biodiverse than the Sahara Desert"

Since Homo Sapiens has colonized the whole planet, the only thing we can be compared with is another planet with sentient life. Until such time as we find such a planet, the adjective is out on a very lonely limb.

And it is illogical to use Neurodiverse as an adjective to describe an individual.

You cannot Say "Lee Bloggs is a person, while Kim Bloggs is a neurodiverse person" (note my careful use of ungendered names) any more that you would say "Skippy the Kangaroo is a marsupial, but Wally the Wombat is biodiverse"

So, maybe the concept is lost to all but linguistic nerds, but 

Nevertheless, I register a protest

Neurodiverse should not be a synonym for “neurologically disabled". We are all neurodiverse, because:
  1. It's linguistically illogical.  We are ALL Neurodiverse inhabitants of the planet, because no two minds on this planet can ever be exactly alike.
    .
  2. More importantly, if Neurodiverse becomes a synonym for Disabled instead of remaining a symbol for the incredible wonder of natural variation, it will rapidly acquire stigma,  be devalued, and we would lose its power as a unifying symbol for all

Appendix: The sad case of the word "Deviant"

Once upon a time deviant was a perfectly innocuous statistical term meaning "a quantity expressing by how much the members of a group differ from the mean value for the group". Somehow someone stuck it to the word "Sexual" and it's now sullied for all time. 

One of the fathers of sociology,  Émile Durkheim viewed deviance as an inevitable part of how society functions. He argued that deviance is a basis for change and innovation!
So now so many people think "deviant" means "sexually perverted" that the much better word Neurodeviant has to be avoided, and we must use "Neurodivergent"...


Deviant and Divergent defined

Deviant actually means "a significant standard deviation from the average". That is what the new term "Spiky Neurological Profile" actually means. A "Neurotypical person" has very little standard deviation from the average on a range of cognitive abilities, while "a NeuroSpiky" person with AS ADHD the Dyses etc,  has a range of deviations.

Imagine Kim and Lee walking down the “one true”, socially sanctioned normal conventional path, and Kim deviate from the norm and forges a new path.

Now imagine Kim and Lee walking together on a path, any path, when they come to a cross-roads, split and go their separate paths, perhaps never to meet again.

Is that what we want?

If the Gay movement could reclaim the word Queer as their badge of pride, why not NeuroDeviant?

What do you think?

Probably reclaiming "deviant" is a step too far, too late, I admit, but it's all part of my contribution to the Dialectic of Neurodiversity:



Disclaimer

I don't say there's no such thing as "Disability". But you have to ask yourself what you mean by Disability before you criticise others. Their understanding may be quite different.
Do you mean the Welfare System's definition used to save money by dividing the "worthy poor" from the "unworthy poor"? 
The United Nations definition? Your personal experience of pride, or suffering, or discrimination? And more




Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Confession: My neurodivergent hyperfocus comes at a price

Surely, the most crazy-making double-bind question a job interviewer can throw at us, is “What is your greatest weakness?”.

It should be made illegal. After all, the law requires that even criminals caught in the act must be warned not to incriminate themselves.

Fortunately our intrepid employment agents have figured out the most effective retort...  “ Just tell them you're a perfectionist”.

I figured that one out for myself decades ago, simply because I am a perfectionist... once I stop procrastinating...

And perfectionism happens to be one of my greatest weaknesses

Perfectionism, hyperfocus, contrarianism, my superpowers, my flaws, the makers of my power and misery at the same time.

Current case in point: Luckily no one remembers anything on social media for more than 3 days. So no one is hanging by the fingernails waiting for my promised new binary coinages to lighten up the neurotypical vs neurodivergent debate, which I announced with great fanfare about 4 months ago. Ditto my rewrite of my “What is Neurodiversity” tab on this blog, designed to sort out the confusions, misunderstandings, misappropriations and pollyannisation of the concept,

Both these pieces were written in a week, but then I got it into my head that no one reads these days, so we need colorful infographics in bright kindergarten colours,  including a few intersecting circles, some umbrellas, a rainbow and no hints of jigsaws.  How hard can that be?

Several months later, it's still... “I’ll just try one more tweak, and then I’ll be done”. Minutes have  turned into hours, days, weeks, months... I have taught myself Photoshop, Powerpoint, Canva, and Pubisher in the process,  yet each tweak just creates an opening wedge for more tweaks...

And now the price: I've injured my back with all that sitting like a frozen statue in front of the screen.

I have ignored my stated priority of trying to earn some income, am stony broke, and cant afford the operation, were it not for, thank Science and Socialism, Australia's Medicare System/

I am tormented by Guilt and Remorse

And I still cant get those two intersecting circles to bloody well defringe

Anyway, as we used to say in IT, those promised articles are 98% complete... Watch this space, but first, I'm just going to try one more thing with those damn circles...

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Neurodivergent from what, exactly?

The word Neurodivergent begs the question, "Divergent from what, exactly?".

Neurodivergent 1  describes the significant percentage of  humans who are increasingly recognized as differing cognitively from Neurotypicality.

The adjective neurotypical itself emerged from the Autistic Self-Advocacy movement of the late 20th century. Pioneers of the movement used it to bypass the increasingly problematic term "Normal", while essentially pointing to the concept behind it. It's worth pointing out that the word "neurotypical" should not be read as a diagnostic term, i.e. one that has a specific set of signs and symptoms. It is purely a term developed to provide a necessary polar opposite of "neurodivergent".

Neither should the recently coined words based on the concept of  Neurodiversity be read as scientific terms. They are socially constructed terms intended for advocacy purposes.  This should clear up criticisms that these words are "pseudoscientific". When I first used the word "Neurodiversity", I did not intend it to be a diagnostic term.  I saw it as a banner for a "Neurodiversity Movement" -  a civil rights movement for those of us who had been stigmatized for being "weird, odd, or unfathomable" outsiders. While the word is not scientific, it does trade on the authority of neuroscience and biological science - which stresses the importance of conserving biodiversity -  to argue for a revaluing of formerly stigmatized neuroMinorities 

From my thesis, a summary of ideas from
Lennard Davis, Enforcing Normalcy
Normality is a culturally constructed term  which encompasses a broad range of characteristics that centre around a rarely-achieved Ideal of physical, intellectual and sociable characteristics.

The Ideal itself is undoubtedly based on evolutionary principles, but to some extent can be culturally defined; e.g some cultures value extroversion, others, introversion.

The boundaries of the normal range are fuzzy, and subject to contention. Small deviations from the normal range are often claimed as Identities. Large deviations are viewed as Disabilities. The boundary line between an identity and a disability is fuzzy, and will always be subject to disputation.

Why do we need NeuroDivergent? What's wrong with Neurodiverse?

The adjective neurodivergent became necessary because the adjective neurodiverse is not logically meaningful. Neurodiversity has been a property of the biosphere since the evolution of sexual reproduction. It simply says that all human minds on the planet are necessarily different.

So all humans are neurodiverse!

It's just that some of us have been excluded more than others for our divergence from the ideal.

Neurodiversity is a fact. The Neurodiversity Movement is however an identity politics vehicle for people who were discriminated against for differing from the culturally-defined normal range.

There are degrees of difference of course. Thus "neurodivergence" shades from difference to disability, with a grey area in between.

Our Western free-market liberal culture tends to favour extroversion, sociability, competitiveness, self-promotion, lots of noise and buzz. We also tend to worship youth and fear and shun old age.

Other cultures favour introversion, introspection, quietness, modesty, and tend to respect age. Think traditional Chinese, Jewish and Indigenous cultures.

The latter cultures are eye-contact avoidant in various circumstances, considering it variously disrespectful of status, invasive or manipulative.  From the point of view of egalitarianism, this is a good thing. 

But rather naively, Western culture demands eye-contact as a verification of sincerity, when in fact it can easily be used as a tool of emotional manipulation by psychopaths and con-artists!

Cultures change all the time of course. Not so long ago, absent-minded professors were honoured in our culture, though perhaps we laughed at their eccentricities behind their backs. Then along came Dr Lorna Wing and Uta Frith. Before long, we could easily find our professors' eccentricities dissected in the pages of the DSM IV Bible of Everything that could Possibly Be Wrong with the Human Mind.

And yet, from an evolutionary view, we have an expectation of a range of normal behaviours, based on our primeval survival needs as Homo Sapiens emerging from the African savanna.

We evolved as a dominant hierarchical species, and our responses are still primed for survival in the wild, with high general levels of physical fitness, problem-solving and sociability.

But do our advanced cultures still need the same "hard-wired" qualities for survival?   


The Neurodiversity Movement challenges the notion that we must all be generalists to survive. Neurodivergent people are often specialists with spiky ability profiles. The biological reality is that as a species,  our success has been based on the evolutionary imperative of role differentiation.

Now read on for my reductionist, totally un-academic,  Armchair Evolutionary Pschologist's  take on  "The Normal"
Exit JS stage right, pursued by a Saber-Toothed Tiger
Click below to see how it turned out 





Acknowledgments

The coinage of the term "neurodivergent" is attributed to Kassiane Asasumasu

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Is "Paid-Employedness" the new “Next to Godliness”?

"Absolutely Yes!" seems to be the answer in a society desperately searching for meaning, since the fading of our most recent religious fad, the quest for the Holy Grail of Wellness. Disapointingly,  the Rapture didn’t  happen, despite our purchases of sacred crystals, regular donations to vitamin pill industry in the hope of miracles, pilgrimages to the mystic East, daily yogic contortions and kale, kale and more kale.

Being in possession of paid work is now an even bigger measure of virtue than doing good works for the glory of God, with no thought of remuneration. Sure, as a volunteer, you might get some lip-service and some Christmas Party sandwiches from whoever gained the benefit of your unpaid work.

But caring not a fig, the tabloids will still vilify you as bludgers, scroungers and leaners. Thus justified, your government will then cut your benefits to the bone again, and you can go drop dead in a back alley for all anyone cares.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating a U-turn to the good old days of obeiscence to Iron Age Deities and their occasional Female Personal Assistants.

But can we all remember that our current economic system (I dare not mention the C-Word lest some troglodyte throwback still fighting the Cold War accuses me of being a Communist)... So, can we remember that one of the well-documented origins of said C-ist system as it emerged in Europe, lies in the Protestant Work Ethic: work hard for the glory of the Big CEO in the Sky, with no expectation of earthly reward.

And BTW, John Wesley’s original 18th century dictum “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness” was resurrected to sell soap in the 19th. There's a moral in that.

And thus was the enormous productivity and creativity of Cap***ism unleashed, for both Good and Evil.

For those hoping to find a Red under my Bed, having long out-aged my radical youth, I have concluded that Western Capitalism is as good as society ever got, despite its current decline and imminent fall 😢

But couldn't we instead capitalize on our successes? We have freedoms barely dreamt of in the pre-capitalist world. Despite capitalisms flaws, we have amazing advances in science and public health, growing acceptance of gender diversity, legal protections for ethnic minorities, freedom of movement and information,  and more.

So can't we instead pull back from the brink of self-destruction as out planet drowns, freezes and burns from our our over-productive excesses?

And so, to my point...
No.  The possession of paid work is not the hallmark of moral virtue. Nor is the pinnacle of happiness to be found in working for the profit of others.
Meanwhile there's plenty of evidence that a significant proportion of depression, despair and suicide is a direct result of the injuries of poverty exacerbated by our punitive so-called “welfare” systems.

What could be more depressing to the human spirit then to be press-ganged by the whip hand of punitive "welfare" systems into meaningless jobs creating junky consumer baubles and destroying the planet in the process?

Actual happiness comes from:
  • integration into a social network engaged in working collaboratively and co-operatively towards the common good
  • being respected for your contribution
  • not being stigmatized or shamed for being unemployed in a society that worships full employment
  • being adequately remunerated in work 
  • having your basic needs met adequately if not able to work
  • having a healthy work-life balance and more...

Have you actually SEEN the conditions under which the vast majority still toil?

I note the huge numbers of Neurodiversity Employment Services, both public and private sector, touting their services in hot pursuit of the Holy Grail of Employment. Many are doing great work, and beginning to influence hiring processes to be more aware of the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce. At the same time, where there is profit to be made, there will be exploiters.

As with all new growth industry, first come the creatives, the innovators, the idealists, the people of good faith. Then come the “Cowboys”. Eventually must come the regulators, if there is a government on the side of the people, not the profits.

I notice that some agencies who specialise in autism seem to be muscling into the lucrative IT market, cherrypicking the IT whizzkids and ignoring the rest. There have always been plenty of “ Geeks” in IT, way before the penny dropped that Geeks and Aspies were pretty much the same thing. I should know. I was one of them as far back as the 1970s - female version. Case in point: the glossy brochure of one recent entrant to the Australian market shows happy smiling Aspies in IT jobs. They were all male, with maybe one exception. Says a lot, dont you think?

What the Neurodiversity movement legitimately pursues is recognition and accommodation of the specific abilities and support needs of neurodivergent individuals. But at the same time, we should see beyond the mindset that the possession of a paid job is the measure of all virtue, and the fount of happiness. We and the whole of society would benefit from:
  • shorter working hours and more flexible conditions for ALL people who work 
  • a LIVABLE social wage for those who can't work, and, yes, even for those few who don't want to. It's not as if there were even enough jobs for those who want them. And even the most ideally "neurodesirable" worker is generally working too many hours for too little pay.
  • fallow time for those who need time to discover their talents or heal from illness or trauma
  • more pay and better conditions for human services workers, nurses, teachers, social worker to help them do it

The  Neurodiversity Movement arose from the resistance of neurominority activists to their  exclusion from employment, health, and education etc

But if the movement is fully understood and used properly, it will find itself humanizing the working conditions of all humans, and providing an adequate standard of living for all, not just those with inherited wealth, paid employment, or entrepreneurial abilities.

Finally let me employ Godwin's law to ruin your day

This was written on the gate to the hell-hole of Auschwitz

"Work makes you free"


It didn't then, rarely does now, and probably never will.









Sunday, 22 September 2019

Results of my Twitter poll on "the prime cause of disability"

This twitter poll was my experimental response to critics of Neurodiversity who paint it as a movement of people who want to deny the reality of disability as a medical condition.
My assumption was that though the poll is rough and ready, as most of my twitter followers are pro-Neurodiversity it would be a reasonable measure of how they think about this question

The Poll Question and Final Results




Explaining the subtext


  • By "this is horribly simplistic" I signified that I am aware that this is not a scientifically valid poll.  
  • And by  "purists", I meant social model or medical model fundamentalists. 
Why didn't I say so? Because if I had, respondents would have got tangled up in defensiveness and would have dragged me into increasingly arcane academic theorizing in the totally unsuitable twitter medium. 
I wanted to elicit gut reactions. 
  • I also suspect that many of those who did choose Option 1.  "a medical condition" were Neurodiversity critics. 
Being neurodivergent myself, I have never found even the most rigorously scientifically designed profilers satisfactory. They invariably feel like "Nothing, nothing about my complicated case!". 

That is why I prefer qualitative to quantitative methods. Too often, profilers actually create reality rather than sample it. I always sense a subtext that subliminally informs us of the latest view of normality they measure difference from.

Then again,  I must admit that these tests can flush out some very broad trends. As it happens I just tried out Amanda Kirby's Neurodiversity Profiler app, and though I found the process agonizing given my pedantic nature, it actually gave me results that matched what I already knew about myself. 

So finally let me apologize to everyone that I have tormented into feeling torn between the importance of having a voice, versus having to suppress their much more nuanced and complex thoughts to do it

So I think the results here are valuable, but please make up your own mind. 



 




Sunday, 18 August 2019

Acknowledging the dark side of Neurodiversity: the sociability spectrum

If the "Neurodiversity Movement" is to mature and be taken seriously, it must acknowledge that neurodiversity includes all humans, including those with extreme anti-social conditions

Perhaps it’s time we recognized there is also a Sociability Spectrum: ranging though sociable, asocial, anti-social

I am referring to what psychologists call the Dark Tetrad: Psychopathy, Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Sadism

These personality traits are considered to have substantial genetic components. One thing is sure, these conditions can't all be the fault of bad parenting, trauma or societal barriers

While the neurodiversity movement grew out of the pioneering Autism Self-Advocacy Movement, Autistics were already acknowledging what they called "Autistics and Cousins" though I don't remember  this going much beyond ADD and dyslexia. But the question of hereditary anti-social traits could not be completely swept under the carpet even then:
Autistic villains have been identified too, but out of a desire to avoid further stigmatization, autistics tend to play them down. AS people are beginning to debate and formulate a response to the linking of certain types of crime with “loners”, and to argue that simplistic conflations of good/evil with certain varieties of disability cannot be made.
I think the time has come now that autism has enough recognition, acceptance and sympathy that we can debate these matters openly.

In no way does the reality that there is a human spectrum of social, asocial, and anti-social behaviour undermine the significance of the Neurodiversity Movement.

While Neurodiversity is the indisputable fact that no two minds are alike, the Neurodiversity Movement is the first global movement to address this reality from a social justice perspective.

Like any movement, the movement may attract a few fringe elements who want to see Neurodiversity either through rose tinted glasses or through the darkest of glasses.

But the sensible mainstream movement simply seeks

  • a re-evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of all Neurological Minorities who have been marginalized by purely negative views of human divergence, and
  • greater emphasis on acceptance and inclusion to the greatest extent possible
  • and for the support needs of all to be met, whatever the degree of disability


Neurodiversity, being a biological descriptor of all humanity, is amoral. But human society must be moral and ethical to be sustainable. .

Those who are socially responsible must always strive to include those who are asocial, reform those who are anti-social, and for those who cannot be reformed, we have a criminal justice system.

Oddly enough, we still have a society that seems to reward psychopaths, narcissists and machiavellians with high office and wealth.

Perhaps greater Neurodiversity awareness will cause educate the public to recognize such people and cease rewarding their behaviours

But that is another story...