The theme binding these posts together is an unrelenting scrutiny of autism’s common wisdom.
You might think autism does not have a common wisdom, given the multitude of causation theories: genetic defects, brain abnormalities, environmental toxins, refrigerator mothers, vaccines, various combinations of all the above. You might think autism does not have a common wisdom, given the plethora of treatments: applied behavioral analysis, litanies of drugs, endless varieties of therapy, sensory integrations, biomedical concoctions, eugenics. You might think autism does not have a common wisdom, seeing as how we are as in the dark today as we were at the moment of autism’s discovery.
But autism does have a common wisdom. There is one assumption, one unquestioned belief underlying all these diverse theories and treatments, all this lack of progress. The one certitude so widely held is that autism is an indication of something gone medically wrong—an illness, a defect, a disorder, a blight mankind would be much better off without. That is the first step that altogether escapes notice. That is the initial turn in the wrong direction, the one leading right over the edge of a cliff.
In each entry here, you will find yet another attempt to shine light on that common wisdom—probing, exposing, holding the assumption up to the scrutiny of actual vision, holding the assumption up to the current status of our own humanity. With autism, we have talked ourselves into a pseudo-illness, and what a shame that must be for all, and what a lost opportunity for self understanding; for under the spell of common wisdom, we have failed to recognize how the current status of our own humanity has been built upon the back of that pseudo-illness.
I will be saying this again and again: autism’s common wisdom has been blind from its very beginning, and we will gain no understanding of this condition—and no understanding of ourselves—until we step back from the darkness of that abyss.