The Subconscious, Part 11.
Now it must be understood that my perspective on psychology is entirely my own. That doesn’t mean the conclusions I have reached are incorrect, it only means that they may not accord with those of the mainstream.
Now when it comes to autism, if there is one element that is common to all descriptions of autism, it is the autistic person’s inability to relate to the outside world in some way or other. In this respect this is the ability to form a judgement of the things one sees around one, being able to place a value on something oneself.
Without such discernment, one is left with the purely animal response of our emigdala: fight or flight. The true purpose of this is to get us out of immediate danger, just as it is with our animal brethren. However, it is not intended that we should behave like animals. Fight, after all, is where the animal asserts its authority (self) over the other, usually by brute strength. Flight is where the animal has the authority of the other asserted over it (other). There is no in between realm where conversation can form a bridge between the two. After all, we have consciousness where an animal is but sentient (1); we can be pro-active, that is to say, creative with solutions and their outcome. We do not have to be merely respondent to the impulses that surround us as a ‘dumb’ animal must. We have a choice, an animal does not.
Many people accept orders from on high because they are paid to act on them. What they do not realize is that they are active in allowing their own discriminatory faculties to slip. Put the other way around, they were not active in retaining their conscious abilities to discriminate, to form their own conscious, creative decision. After all, why should one bother when we live in a world filled with entertainment that allows one to slip into semi-consciousness (2).
That most people don’t know any different only adds to the problems for those who do wonder. That this includes most psychologists is where the problem starts to become rather more dangerous. My point in today’s ramble is to look at the effect of not being able to connect with one’s surroundings. In a world where children are taught knowledge and sports is a world that has forgotten to teach them to relate to these things. Knowledge becomes an issue of right or wrong, sports become winning or losing – put into the perspective of thinking, feeling and willing, we have reduced our children’s capacity to feel.
It is certain that one can encourage a child to express themselves in their schoolwork; however it is not a requirement to do so, as it is in the Waldorf schools. That most teachers know nothing of self expression only compounds the problem further and so the entire schooling system becomes one of de-sensitization rather than genuine learning.
It is an interesting aside that I taught a child who used dayglo colours in her schoolbooks. The effect of this after reams of boring blue and black ink was startling. That she was also the brightest kid in the school speaks to the power of developing the power to express the child’s feelings as well as the other two poles. That is to say, thinking (knowledge) and willing (sports). Waldorf children are renown for beating other schools at sports.
Which brings us to look at autism. This is an extreme case of unfeelingness where the feeling realm is entirely below the surface of consciousness. Autistic people speak of relationships “being entirely beyond them”. This is the same experience I had with the end-bit of my hoover, where it was entirely beyond me as to its whereabouts (3). Autistic people like a routine where everything is ordered and contained – that is to say, there is nothing unexpected that can occur that they might have to deal with. That is to say, discern. Everything has to be pre-discerned and ‘known’.
One can see this in many bureaucrats, who are in my own terminology, ‘voluntarily autistic’. In doing exactly as they are told, they have allowed others to take full control of the bureaucrat’s actions – the ‘flight’ scenario in fight or flight.
The difference between the voluntary and the genuine autistic is subtle: the autistic person simply cannot live in any other way. The bureaucrat had a choice, although it is arguable that this choice existed at a time when as a child they weren’t old enough to make it. In colouring my own schoolbooks, this choice was something I worked on myself. In encouraging children to draw and sing in a consistent and ongoing manner, the Waldorf schools hand their pupils the keys to discerning problems for themselves when meeting the unexpected.
(1) I explore the nature of sentience in my post “What’s It Like To Be A Cat?”
(2) This is a phenomenon termed ‘crossing the threshold unconsciously’. It
is explained in detail in the series that begins with “The Clock Ticks” (Published on my private blog).
(3) Absent-mindedness is the birthright of any professor’s daughter. This is my tale of Frustration.
The Subconscious: Links To Other Parts In This Series.
Part 1 Why Some Africans Can’t Count Beyond Three.
Part 2 Doctor Jazz, Düsseldorf.
Part 3 Letting The Lizard Drive!
Part 4 The Lizard Brain Meets Its Match: Brian’s Fiat Panda.
Part 5 Snow White And The Railways.
Part 6 Enemies In The Boardroom.
Part 7 The Clock Ticks: The Unconscious Threshold. (Published on my private blog)
Part 8 Milena Sees Witchcraft Everywhere.
Part 9 Frustration!
Part 10 What’s On Mina’s Mind Today?
Part 11 A First Peek At Autism.
Part 12 A Railway Waggon At The Roots Of Dementia?
Part 13 What’s It Like In There? Life With Dementia… (Published privately)
Part 14 The Evidence For Dementia.
Part 15 The Trouble With Alzheimer’s.
Part 16 The Man On Platform Two.