Monday, October 27, 2008

autism as a gift

I read something really neat, from The Miracle of Mindfulness that I'm going to blog about later. "True mind is our real self; is the Buddha: the pure oneness which cannot be cut up by the illusory divisions of separate selves, created by concepts and language." It reminded me that many cultures see autism as a gift from god, that the inability to speak means the person is closer to god. Words separate us.

I find it interesting that so many cultures are able to see autism as a gift, and so many others see it as a disability. I also find it interesting that autistics have an easier time finding their niche in smaller communities than in large cities, where they simply get lost in the large numbers of people.

The definition of diversity keeps changing and growing in this country and that is a good thing. It used to include only certain physical disabilities. Now it is including more physical and many mental disabilities, as well! Children are far more accepting of the differences than adults and it is easy to see the trend growing.

As time goes on, I think it will be easier for people to see autism as a gift. Probably not for the autistic person being closer to god, but for the other talents we tend to have as a group. We are good at organizing information and looking at things in new ways. It should be possible to fit even lower functioning autistics into a task that they can do to earn money and find a place in society. It can be as simple as helping to sort mail or deliver messages, or something more complicated like going through code to find discrepancies.

Most important, though, is that having less access to language and communication allows us to explore the world in other ways; to cast aside the illusory divisions of language and culture and to embrace people at a deeper level, and to appreciate all life at a deeper level.

While many people spend their entire adulthood trying to learn to discard social stricture, we grow up free from it, able to see what they are looking for with much less effort. Perhaps we are closer to "god", or perhaps it is the false masks of society that draw others away from Nature so that they forget who and what they are.

1 comment:

Daniel Svoboda said...

Before the invention of writing, people had to memorize and declaim long mythologies in their cultures. The invention of writing allowed mythologies to preserved, but only at the expense of people's long term memories. Shows how our bodies are like engineering designs and that making better one area can only be done at the expense of another.