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Archive for March, 2005

Disorderly conduct

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Makota Nakamura's Tessellating Animation

“The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.”
Archibald MacLeish

Came across another article on autism (link now expired). Confirmation for the apparent significant increase in the number of cases in recent years in the United States which can’t be attributed to shifting goalposts in diagnosis (which is often a large factor in changes in disease incidence statistics).

I can’t help but feel we’re missing something here. It has to do with our assumptions about what constitutes “healthy” and “normal” and about how apparent deviations from these states should be defined and treated. These children are described as “damaged”, as having a “disorder” or “disability”, yet many of them exhibit abilities far and away superior to those of “normal” individuals, and don’t appear intrinsically unhealthy within themselves. Even children diagnosed with the so-called relatively “high functioning” states on the autistic spectrum, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, often seem to have quite remarkable talents in certain areas. What if, in our attempts to “normalise” them into behavour that we feel more comfortable with, we are the ones who are disabling them, not their condition? Perhaps there’s very good reason for their apparent inability to appreciate the social “norms” we all take for granted? Perhaps it’s time those “norms” got to be seriously challenged and questioned?

When you spend time with these children, it’s clear that they are open to, and taking in, far more information about their environment than so-called “normal” individuals who screen out the vast majority of sensory input. It’s overwhelming: hence the lack of communication because opening up to more than they already are is too much; hence the repetitive behaviours which serve the purpose of blocking out some of that input for a while and providing something to hold onto amidst the maelstrom.

As the Article of the Moment on Daniel Tammet showed, we have an enormous amount to learn from autistic states which may well turn out to be of benefit to all of us. Isn’t it time we stopped automatically labelling everything outwith the bounds of our collective comfort zones as “damaged”, “disabled”, “dysfunctional”, “disordered”, etc, and consider that we are the ones being wrong-headed about it all, not the ones we’ve labelled as such?

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
Giordano Bruno

A right goose …

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

“Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality.”
G K Chesterton

Here’s a story, posted by BBC News last Tuesday, that sums up nicely what makes me so incredulous about what passes for “science” these days. Not quite nonsense perhaps. Nonscience?

Dr Sam Gosling at the University of Texas is interviewed about his psychological tests for dogs’ personalities so they can be matched to owners with similar personalities. He enthused over how useful such tests could be to the likes of dog homes and presented his findings to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I wonder are Dr Gosling and the good people at AAAS (hmmm … interesting acronym) labouring under the delusion that the entire human race has only one half of a brain?

This is like using a screwdriver to hammer in a nail when you have a perfectly good hammer sitting in your tool box. It’s what the right-hand sides of our brains are for. They do it effortlessly, instantaneously, and perfectly naturally, without the need for any kind of exhaustive (and exhausting) deduction or analysis. Or having to pay some “expert” to do it for you. Logic has its place, but to use it to perform functions such as pattern recognition or to model the complexities of relationship seems somewhat pointless. It can do it eventually, but only by working laboriously and sequentially through enough data – which, of course, has to be gathered in the first place – to approximate a rough degree of accuracy. And still none of that can come anywhere close to the speed, depth and precision of the faculties attributed to the right side of the human brain. It all seems a bit like trying to run a Ferrari on cartwheels. (To see just what brilliance our much-denigrated right-brain faculties are capable of, see this previous Article of the Moment from the General Essays page.)

In fact, when it comes to things like choosing a dog, we don’t need to use pattern recognition, logical deduction, or even intuition. We don’t need to use any conscious processes at all. We know when we like a dog – or anything/anyone else for that matter – because we’re drawn to it. And if it’s drawn to us, chances are it’s a good match. It’s called sympathetic resonance. We dance to the same tune. And opposites being but different sides of the same coin, it’s also why apparent opposites attract each other too. Check out String Theory – physics is demonstrating that resonance underlies the very fabric of existence. It isn’t just a good candidate for modelling quantum gravity, it provides an excellent foundation for a model describing all aspects of life experience (including homeopathy).

You dancing?

(And apologies to Dr Sam Gosling. I’m sure he’s a lovely person sincere in his work. But if he will be such a goose …)

“Information is not knowledge,
Knowledge is not wisdom,
Wisdom is not truth,
Truth is not beauty,
Beauty is not music.
Music is the best.”
Frank Zappa

Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard