A Year Ago at Shift Journal

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


•  Ghost Dance

Sometimes I feel like a ghost blogger, sending forth my words to dance on glowing screens in the hope of restoring a world that has been altered irrevocably. When I write about autistic people and our way of life, I have in mind a social minority culture that existed long before today’s labels and diagnostic categories. This culture, the one in which I grew up, strongly encouraged a love of learning and of the natural world. Passionate interests were often discussed at length, not stigmatized as symptoms of an unfortunate disorder. Like the tribespeople when the buffalo still roamed the plains, we felt an almost mystical confidence that there would be a place for us in the world.

This is not, however, the existence that many of our young people know. Like the conquered tribes struggling to survive on the reservations, their natural way of life has been taken from them, forcibly suppressed and branded inferior. Many autistic students attend segregated schools where, like the Native American children in the boarding schools, they are taught that they must change almost everything about themselves before the majority population will grudgingly tolerate their presence.

Becoming Human…

The other day, on “Cat in a Dog’s World“, Sarah takes to task the originator of “The Neanderthal Theory”, Leif Ekblad.  His theory is the result of his desire to justify his ideas of Aspie Supremacy, and not based on any sort of fact.  I commented there, and made reference to a PBS show I had seen recently.  Please watch it, if you are at all interested in the subject of evolution, because it encompasses all that we know on the subject, and that’s quite a lot.  There are also links to Parts 1 and 2.

… snip …

And if it were possible to create such test tube babies, there’s another experiment that simply must take place.  I’d like to see the same experiment done with DNA taken from the skeleton of a 20 thousand year old Homo Sapiens.  What would that show?  Well, Homo Sapiens has been around for 200 thousand years, and for the first 190 thousand showed very little progress.  It was only in the last 10 thousand years that we developed any kind of civilization, and the bulk of that only in the last 3 or 4 thousand years.

Mashup: Time, Death, and Ballastexistenz

Gregory Bateson discusses primary process as the way that very small children, animals and the adult unconscious think.  This might also be the case among the autistic.  Features include one time, one space and no negatives.  In primary process, you can’t image what a thing is not, only the thing itself.


All italics save for the final paragraph, from James Hillman, The Dream and the Underworld, and The Myth of Analysis:  Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology.  Final paragraph, from Andrew Lehman, Shift Journal, Autism and Aboriginal Society.  Original essay (excerpted), from Ballastexistenz, There’s something about death I don’t understand. For further possible examples of Bateson and Lehman’s take on primary process—or, the world as viewed from the perspective of the “unconscious”—see the follow-up essay, Right here, right now.

My own experience parallels that reported at Ballastexistenz, closely in regard to the dead and somewhat more loosely in certain other areas.  This entry continues the line of thought I began in Still a Crowded Room and Notes on Three Dursleys, though more questions are raised here than answered, I’m well aware. Comments welcome.

on 01/24/11 in Art/Play/Myth, featured | No Comments | Read More

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