Music for other autistics struggling to get through this awful month of society rallying around the common cause of our abuse and extinction:
For autistic people, April is a parade of eugenicist nonsense endorsed by celebrities with huge platforms. We can’t be online at all and avoid it. So stressful to have society rally around the demise of your neurotype.
I’m working on a piece tentatively called “The Complex Sensory Experiences of Our Neurodivergent Family and the Interconnected Modalities of Stimminess and Sensory Hell”. It’s an incomplete rough draft at the moment. I’m sharing the bones as a Simplenote note that I’ll periodically update instead of waiting for what could be weeks to finish and publish it.
I added a YouTube version of the playlist to “Chronic Neurodivergent Depressed Queer Punk: Punk Rock, the Social Model of Disability, and the Dream of the Accepting Community”.
It’s not yet as complete as the Apple Music and Spotify versions. I’m still working my way through.
I updated “Created Serendipity: Chance Favors the Connected Mind” with selections from “Rabbit holes: Why being smart hurts your productivity : Sridatta Thatipamala”.
Richard Hamming puts it yet another way in his essay You and Your Research:
I notice that if you have the door to your office closed, you get more work done today and tomorrow, and you are more productive than most. But 10 years later somehow you don’t know quite know what problems are worth working on … He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important. … [T]here is a pretty good correlation between those who work with the doors open and those who ultimately do important things, although people who work with doors closed often work harder.
What both of them are saying is that producing brilliant work is heavily reliant on serendipity. Putting your nose to the grindstone will certainly get things done, but when you are working on cutting-edge problems with no predetermined path to success you derive inspiration through chance discoveries.
Both these men were probably relied on conversations with their brilliant colleagues to deliver them random insights. But they also had the advantage of working at the top of their games at Caltech  and Bell Labs, respectively. The common geek today relies on the Internet, especially community watering holes like HackerNews and Reddit, to keep abreast of “what the world is and what might be important”.
I updated “Cognitive diversity exists for a reason.” with selections from “Neoliberal Eugenics 1: Selective Abortion – Leslie’s Blog”.
Professor Robert Sapolsky has hypothesized that conditions such as OCD, schizophrenia, and epilepsy have been selected for due to potentially massive contributions to religious, spiritual, and philosophical thought. Go check out his lecture, link in the description. In fact, I recommend his whole Stanford lecture series if you have any interest in Human Behavioral Biology. Basically: maybe a little bit of schizophrenia can actually be advantageous if you’re in the right society for it. And no, neither Professor Sapolsky nor I are saying you have to be “crazy” to believe in religion. Ugh, the C word. There are many well-studied advantages to religious thought and experience. Carl Jung, in fact, said that he would have diagnosed himself with schizophrenia though he channeled his experiences into his work on the collective unconscious, and received great spiritual comfort from his hallucinations. You can read about these experiences and experiments in The Red Book, though I personally haven’t read it so I don’t know if it’s any good. Due to migraine, I often have visual hallucinations which are entirely harmless and, sometimes, maybe even a little fun.
Neurologist Oliver Sacks, who also experienced these sorts of migraines, wrote in his book Hallucinations:
“To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see overall patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or at least the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology or in states of mind which allow us to travel to other worlds, to transcend our immediate surroundings. We need detachment of this sort as much as we need engagement in our lives.”
― Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations
And no, autism is not the next step in human evolution. Stop that. That’s not how evolution works, autism has always been around we’re just now recognizing and diagnosing it.
Mood: Healthcare is almost universally ignorant of the disability and neurodiversity communities. The lack is deeply unprofessional and an indictment of healthcare training and education.
Further mood: Hey, educators. Y’all too. The collective ignorance and ableism is gobsmacking.
Trans Day of Visibility was a couple days ago. We’re now in Autism Acceptance Month. Some music and perspective for the moment:
I’m vaguely recalling a paper I wrote in my junior year of high school called something like “Ambiguity in a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: Twain’s Mental Dichotomy”. I wish I had a copy of it so I could peer into adolescent me and see what writing indulgences I still carry to this day. For one, long titles with colons.
Mood: Making a living today requires a full stack hustle I’ve never been up to. Few are up to it, and not for long enough, and not without a team that centers care. The cost of relentless hustle is everything that matters most. If you’re lucky, you amass enough social and economic capital to survive the inevitable burnout and the formation of a new adaptive persona. I’m one of the lucky ones with some time to figure out what the hell comes next.