A Year Ago at Shift Journal

Nut grafs or otherwise relevant excerpts from entries which appeared last year at this time.


•  Predictions

Writing these daily entries, I discover something new almost as often as I record something I’ve earlier discovered. A year ago this is what I collected connected to the hypotheses or predictions of this work.

1) Relative testosterone levels in males and females inform matrifocal vs. patrifocal societal structure. High T females choose low T males for their cooperative abilities, creating more egalitarian, matrifocal cultures. High T males choose low T females for their ability to be the complement to male authority, forming patrifocal cultures.

2) Autistic males, from families of left-handers, will have lower testosterone than the norm, and autistic females will have higher testosterone. In any study of autism, those with familial male maturation delay tendencies, families of left-handers, need to be evaluated separately from those possibly traumatized by an environmental effect.

3) Larger penis and testicle size will be associated with autistic, ambidextrous males and the familial left-handed.

4) Autistic males will exhibit more neotenous characteristics while autistic females should show less neoteny than contemporary populations.

25) If rhythm and dance were the media driving human evolution through rituals of sexual selection, then the sound and feeling of nonstop rhythm may be necessary to encourage the development of an autistic child. Rhythmic environmental triggers may be essential to the healthy growth of maturational-delayed children. Comparing congenitally deaf left and right handers may reveal an unusually high number of autistics in the left handed group.

26) If neoteny is a powerful force influencing the transformation of society, then we might predict societal increases in transparency, diversity and horizontal communication as features of aboriginals and the very young are prolonged into the character of contemporary times.

27) Teleological interpretations of cultural evolution are often the observations of the dynamics of neoteny. By prolonging the features of the smallest bands into the largest societies–transparency, horizontal communication, equality–society is invested with specific features and a predictable direction.

•  Mildly Paradoxical

At some point, we’re going to start monkeying with our own evolution.  I mean consciously.  Clearly we’ve been playing with our evolution, unconsciously, from the start.

One premise of my work is that we in the West have created an arbitrary division between our unconscious and conscious mind, no doubt born from the evil/good split we’ve carried for a few thousand years that is part of the whole human/gods split.

I suspect this is a direct result of most of us having the modern split brain, two hemispheres with language functions tending to congregate in the left hemisphere, with the other hemisphere slightly diminished in size accompanied by the reduced corpus callosum inhibiting hemispheric communication.

With the return of the old, nonsplit brain and the re-emergence of matrifocal social structure, surges in autism and males featuring maturational delay and females featuring maturational acceleration, there is also a return of nondifferentiated consciousness points of view.  It would be useful if the differentiated consciousness characteristic of modern humans and nondifferentiated consciousness featured by the matrifocals appearing in our midst could achieve a synthesis and provide some perspective on nondifferentiated consciousness.

•  Down Syndrome Riddle

Before the conventions, Sarah Palin caused a stir among the parents of children with Down Syndrome.  My Leftist buddy Martin has a kid with Downs.  Martin was moved by this Alaskan elected official’s seeking attention for the disability that his life revolved around.  Martin seriously considered voting for McCain/Palin when Palin was picked as VP.  Until he heard her speak.

I’ve not studied Down Syndrome.  Still, in my explorations of autism, Down Syndrome kept emerging, but I did not swerve to explore its possible connection to the theory I was detailing.  Several things do jump out.  Those details suggest an evolutionary etiology for Down Syndrome.  If supported, advocates like Sarah Palin that lambast evolutionary theory would be left advocating for advances within a discipline that she religiously combats.

Papers heavily support the thesis that Down Syndrome, in males and females, reveals extreme neoteny or maturational delay.  Unlike in autism, where I posit males exhibit maturational delay and females maturational acceleration, all of those with Down Syndrome show extreme neoteny.

As an extreme example of neoteny, Down individuals are exaggerations of how our evolution might have occurred, without evidence of a dramatically expanded brain.  It seems like Down Syndrome is some sort of alternative reality exhibition of how we could have evolved had our brains not grown at as fast a rate as they eventually achieved.  The clues suggesting that Down Syndrome has an evolutionary etiology are powerful.  Unlike autism, there is not a relatively clear hypothesis or picture of how exactly this occurred.  Still, Sarah Palin, an aggressive, high-testosterone woman who gave birth to her Down child after 40, fits the thesis’s profile of the mother of an autistic child from the past.

•   The Iceberg Speaks

What I would like to suggest now is that what was referred to then as icebergs whole, and what was described just now, the perpetually rediscovered ability of nonverbal autistic people to communicate via the written word, are part of one and the same continuum, all of which can be referred to as autism.

Autism in this sense involves an unbroken continuum of behavior that runs from full personalities who engage in no verbal communication whatsoever, to nonverbal aspects of personality in those who are to all appearances both fluently verbal and not autistic—it being only aspects of their personalities that are capable of expressing themselves solely via text or other nonverbal means.  Now, if we need some way to discern who on this continuum can benefit from professional services, support, and accommodations, and I believe we do, then by all means let all the relevant experts have at it—not just the psychiatrists.

For all our sakes though, let’s not lose sight of the idea that this is a continuum that extends into all our lives; if you feel it does not describe you personally, it certainly describes people you know.  In order to see this though, you have to be able to take in those you know and meet by means other than how they present themselves verbally.  Quick instructions for how to do this may be conveyable only in glib metaphors such as learning to read between the lines, or listening to the silences; better maybe to reflect on the fact that the high value we place on verbal communication, on voice-to-voice sociability, is an artifact of our place and time. For all the advantages that come with being a highly verbal society, it also has the effect of devaluing and even rendering invisible some or all of the nonverbal reality we all participate in to one degree or another.

Whether we call that nonverbal reality autism or something else isn’t so much the point as that we recognize it when we see it, in ourselves and in others, and neither dismiss it out of hand nor place it on a pedestal, elevating it to a status of special, precious, or “such as the world has never seen.”  To do either is to tilt life’s playing field viciously against not only those people who are nonverbally autistic, but against the recognition of all human experience that does not lend itself to spoken expression.

on 11/29/10 in Art/Play/Myth, featured | No Comments | Read More

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