A Year Ago at Shift Journal

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


•  Ruminations

There are two major currents contemporary theorists are not noticing, forces influencing the direction that society evolves and its individuals adjust to. Handedness is not arbitrary. Those that are random-handed (commonly called left-handed) are the old matristic or matrifocal neurological types common perhaps 100,000 years ago, and they were still exerting influence in terms of social structure as recently as early recorded history. Second, when Geschwin and Galaburda note the influence of features of the environment, such as light, on handedness, they are observing one of the ways that an individual’s neurology and resulting social structure is modified. Sexual selection proclivities also have enormous influence on these maturational trajectories, revealing left-handers as matrifocal in origin.

Understanding social structure and the relationships between matrifocal and patrifocal frames as they drive human evolution provides insight on the origin of conditions characterized by maturational delay. Understanding the neuropsychological origins of these conditions and the many related psychological and oncological disorders offers awareness of how the nature of societal transformation integrates into the neuropsychological, psychological and physiological profile of the individual.

Much comes down to how and whom we pick as partners. And then, how we live our life. Perhaps the poets should be writing about evolution. Perhaps they are.

•  Barriers to Understanding Autism

Conducting research for this thesis, I continue to be astonished by how little traffic there is among academic disciplines. Noting identical principles appearing in different academic departments with totally different nomenclatures has been deeply disappointing. I have a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in art. The research I conducted in college was mostly in art history. It was only after falling down the rabbit hole of this project that I discovered that the barriers among academic disciplines were so high as to deeply impede pattern synthesis. Specifically, from my perspective, the answer to autism’s etiology is in nineteenth-century biological evolution theories blended with nineteenth-century anthropological social structure insights while exploring late twentieth-century neuropsychological insights from Geschwind and Annett. Clearly, our deep reverence for natural selection as the primary or sole theory of evolution, particularly when it comes to humans, has fractured our ability to conduct reasonable explorations of conditions with evolutionary origins.

Exaggerating the three areas just explored is our contemporary society’s willingness to adhere to Social Darwinism or “free markets” as perhaps the foundation theme of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush years. Corporations decide the information we receive based on their interpretation of what we seek in the context of how they can make money. We’ve lived in a nightmare exaggeration of top-down, paternalistic, patristic values where the commons all but disappeared until the emergence of the web.

•  Who We Are

I started thinking about all this when I noticed I was using “we” in different ways, sometimes in the same post, depending on who I was identifying with in any given paragraph.  Confusing maybe, but given that it’s a running theme of mine that autistic identities are not at all so separate and distinct as we’re led to believe, maybe not surprising.  I actually do identify with every group I just mentioned, and see plenty of overlap between them. Any one person in fact might well belong to two or more such groups, whether named here or not, combining identities which might mix autistic and not-autistic perspectives at the same time.

Liminality is what social scientists call such a state of personal ambiguity, of being not-completely-this, and not-completely-that—at least when it’s not all so superficial as to amount to simply wearing two hats.  Some of us are comfortable with being permanently betwixt and between like this, and with being around others who have feet in two worlds—and some of us fight against such experiences with reflexive denial for our entire lives. Autism in its many presentations makes for a lot of liminality.

on 12/6/10 in Art/Play/Myth, featured | No Comments | Read More

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