Here’s some thoughts I often have:
I often tend to think that the lesser or milder versions of this condition is actually a good and beneficial quality. With this oversensitivity to perception it seems to of given some people in society a way to look at life differently. In a way, it created a whole new experiential level in humanity. When I look at it I can’t help but feel that the Asperger trait is a quality of ‘peering more deeply into life’, as I always say. It gives a group of people this tendency of ‘feeling’ and ‘looking’ deeper into things surrounding life, seeing things ‘normal’ people don’t see.
When we lived in the wild, with nothing but the air between us and nature, people with this quality seemed very critical for survival. A group of people appeared that seemed to do that, to see meaning in nature and events. They were often perceived as eccentric, mad, alienated, and such. Some of their behaviour can be called Asperger-like. I think of the shamans, or medicine men, in particular. As civilization progressed these changed to people like priests, monks, philosophers, artists, scholars, scientists, and such. Many of these people have had tremendous impact on society and the world. In fact, I tend to have this notion that the ‘modern world’ was actually created by people with the lesser forms of the Asperger condition. Oddly enough, I often wonder if the reason for the ‘modern worlds’ alienating and non-human quality is a direct effect of the Asperger condition, which often tends to create a detached alienated perspective on life. In some ways, isn’t it true that children nowadays are “forced” to be Asperger-like by all the schooling and other requirements the ‘modern world’ now requires?
It seems that now, in high civilization, the use for such people has decreased, but the trait is still there. A thought I often have (whether it’s true or not I don’t know) is that the reason why we have problems with this trait is because there’s no longer a use for such people. The trait has been made defunct and now lies like a dead tumor within us, creating weird aberrations of character that seems to have no use. I’m rather mystified why this trait would get so distorted as to create a severe impairment. Despite this, a gut feeling of mine is that this trait is a remnant of the past that has somehow gone astray (by the non-human qualities of the modern world???). This is probably why I found that turning away from hi-tech society and ‘going back to nature’ helped me with this condition. It’s ‘peering deeper and differently’ quality is probably why, according to what I was told, many people with Asperger’s tend to have a tendency to be spiritual.
I should also point out that I tend to feel that one of the problems with the interpretation of the Asperger situation is how it was discovered and how it’s explained. It was discovered by a doctor using medical terminology and medical attitudes. Everything you hear about it is from a medical point of view, which sees things as diseases. That’s how it’s been since. This means that when we look at it we tend to look at it from the stance of how we were told about it – medically. How else then do you expect us to see this but as a disease? Most certainly there are parts of this problem that are a medical issue but there’s a side that’s not and should not be looked that way. Psychology, by it’s nature, is both medical and philosophical (in many ways, psychology is just a form of philosophizing about peoples actions). The medical/philosophical issue is one of the enigmas of psychology. In some fields of psychological study there is a big dilemma as to where the line is drawn between medical issues and the philosophizing of psychology. Two schools of thought can be created about the same condition depending on if you look at it medically or psychologically. My feeling is that the Asperger condition has been talked about too much from a medical point of view (perhaps too much!). We need to talk more about its philosophical and psychological aspects now.
(I probably wrote this in 2008)