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Posts Tagged ‘autism’

1984 in 2006

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Big Brother

“It is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.”
C G Jung, ‘The Undiscovered Self’

What a seriously depressing past 24 hours! Having taken a long and deliberate break from it, I made the mistake of paying some attention to the daily news. There should be a government health warning attached to it. Perhaps we could even get vaccinated against it?

First we have the leaders of both main political parties in the UK falling over each other to instigate the repeal of what little human rights legislation we have left. Apparently this is all in the interests of protecting us from “terrorists”. That excuse is wearing dreadfully thin these days. The simple fact is there would be no “terrorists” if our government weren’t meddling in business it’s no business trying to make business out of in the first place. So who are the real terrorists? The governments who blithely march into other countries as if they had the god-given right to do so on the basis of a lie, or the people of those countries who quite rightly object to being invaded for no good reason?

Then we have a piece in the Daily Telegraph – for those that don’t know it, a paper with rather right wing viewpoints and not one I usually find much sympathy with – by Social Affairs correspondent Sarah Womack on “the biggest state intrusion in history into the role of parents”. We are told that, subsequent to the provisions of the 2004 Children’s Act, the government is to maintain a database on the nation’s 11-12 million children, monitoring everything from their educational performance against state targets to whether or not they’re eating their five portions of fruit and veg a day, and that transgressions on more than 2 counts will automatically spark an investigation. (Quite how they propose to action this is anyone’s guess, given the startling incompetence habitually displayed by state bureaucracy at all levels of organisation, but it’s the thought that counts.)

I’m not sure where it came from, but all of a sudden John McEnroe’s voice sounded loud and clear in my head (I guess it must be about Wimbledon time again?). “You cannot be serious!” At least the leader in the same paper had the sense to highlight the sheer insanity of giving more power to state intervention in children’s lives when it was the failure of every single existing state intervention that was largely responsible for the incident that supposedly sparked off this entire initiative!

And lastly – things always seem to come in threes – there are 30 members of the medical profession attempting to cajole the population into greater uptake of the MMR vaccination, claiming there are no proven associations with autism and that the risk of not having the vaccine is far greater than having it. If these people are to be taken seriously, it really is little short of a miracle how the human race has managed to survive for so long against the onslaught of so many dangerous diseases without the benefit of modern pharmaceutical interventions. The reason we have is that we possess immune systems which, like muscles, need to be exercised if they’re to build up any strength. Childhood diseases were traditionally (and still are in many cultures) regarded as an essential part of the maturation of a healthy immune system. In some parts of India, measles is regarded as a visitation from a goddess for the developmental leap that children frequently take after a bout. And yes, there are casualities, but there will always be casualties. Sickness and death is an inescapable part of life, and survival of the fittest is nature’s way of ensuring the health of all species.

Ultimately, it all seems to be about a need to feel in control. It’s apparently acceptable for there to be casualties from vaccination, because it’s being done under human control, ostensibly for the benefit of all (leaving aside the pharmaceutical industry agenda for the moment). But it’s not acceptable to leave it up to nature to do the same thing for the same reasons, because it’s not under human control. Western society’s distrust of what created us, what we’re part of and what we’re evolving within is almost incomprehensible from any objective standpoint. Personally, I’ll take my chances with nature any time. Not least because in trying to reduce the relatively few casualties of relatively minor childhood diseases by supplanting the role of the immune system rather than supporting it, it would appear that what is being sacrificed is the immune system’s long-term strength and integrity. Is it any accident that the rise in immune-deficiency conditions and syndromes is almost an entirely post-vaccination phenomenon, and that the more pharmaceutical interventions a person is subject to, the weaker their immune system becomes?

We have naturally evolved to be cooperative but predominantly self-supporting organisms, and the ability to exist as such might be considered a partial definition of health, not least in the freedom it gives us to pursue our own paths, our own genius in life, whether that be a solitary path or one dedicated to working with others. The more dependence we place on external agencies – pharmaceuticals, bureaucracies or governments, for instance – the less ablility we have to be self-supporting, the more subject we become to the vagaries and agendas of those external agencies on which we depend, and the less freedom we have as individuals. It seems somewhat illogical that we should so willingly give up our freedoms just because some external agency claims it’s “on our side”, and continue to do so even when its actions frequently contradict its claims, while another which dosn’t make such claims we will fight tooth and claw. Giving up freedom is, after all, giving up freedom, whoever it’s given to.

Of course we need to cooperate as a species to survive and build our societies. But the willing cooperation of free individuals (government by the people for the people) is a long long way from the situation that presently obtains pretty much anywhere. It’s what we hold as our ideal. It’s what we think we’re fighting for. But it’s not what we’ve got. Isn’t it time we woke up and noticed the difference? And realised that the main repositories of power in our societies are on an express train headed in precisely the opposite direction? Western society is firmly in the grip of the oldest mafiosi trick in the book; a protection racket of global proportions.

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

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