Culture & Identity

Life without the false God of Normality

Understanding the emergence of Autistic and neurodivergent cultures requires leaving behind the God of Normality, and imagining the possibility of de-powered forms of creative collaboration. The life denying metaphors of humans as machines and society as a factory are no match for the big cycle of life, for the love of life that resides in all living beings.

Coherent theories of human ways of being

Autistic people support each other, love each other, and care for each other in ways that go far beyond the culturally impaired neuronormative imagination. It is time to remind the so-called “civilised” world about non-pathologising and coherent theories of human ways of being that are integrated into ecologies of care and the evolutionary flows of life in-formation.

Autistic survival tools – Daoist philosophy

The writings of Zhuangzi can also be understood as an in-depth exploration of the social model of disability. This turns the book into a tool for understanding and articulating human rights violations that arise from the pathologisation and marginalisation faced by Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people. The topics covered also make it obvious that the paradoxes, cognitive dissonance, and suffering thrown up by powered-up civilisations are as old as the oldest empires, making the Dao De Jing relevant to our era.

Co-creating comprehensible ecologies of care beyond the human

Unmasked human life is an impossibility beyond human scale. Human wellbeing can only be understood in terms of the health of small, comprehensible ecologies of care. It can neither be understood in terms of an atomised self, which is what much of Western medicine is about, nor in terms of conformance to anonymous cultural norms and expectations, which is what the modern digital sphere of corporations, social media, and big government is all about.

Life is, at bottom, diversity

Just like a cell, a cultural organism has many critical interdependencies with the outside world; the state of environmental health is deeply entangled with the internal state of health of the cultural organism. Autistic life is incompatible within a society that lives within an Overton window. To understand why, look no further than the way in which Helen Mirra is conceptualizing autistic experience as holotropic. Holotropic people have naturally wide open sensory gates. To participate in/as the immense world without becoming overwhelmed, we holotropes have two central methods: in, by hyperfocusing our attention on one sensory or cognitive path, and as, through synthesising our experience into coherence.

The evolution of cultural organisms

Culture may not seem to change much from year to year, but if we look closely in the right places, major changes take place every 5 to 10 years. The toxicity of the industrialised paradigm is not the absence of cultural dynamism, but the systematic channeling of all cultural change into frantic busyness within an established and fundamentally misguided paradigm. For the Neurodiversity Movement this means that engaging exclusively with the pathologising silos of W.E.I.R.D. psychiatry and psychology is a dead end. The futility of cosmetic neurodiversity lite approaches becomes fully visible from a transdisciplinary viewpoint.

The relational nervous system of open knowledge flows between human societies

In an effort to “be the change”, in the industrial era, many Autists end up being sand in the gears of busyness as usual. Luckily, thanks to the Internet, this is not the end of Autistic people. The open question is how humans will treat each other and our non-human contemporaries on the journey towards being composted and recycled. Experiences may vary depending on the human scale cultures we co-create on the margins.

Autistic mutual aid – a factor of cultural evolution

The diagnostic criteria for autism obscure the Autistic lived experience of toxic cultural norms that are ultimately detrimental for all people. Depathologisation of Autistic people as demanded by Autistic rights activists does not negate being socially disabled, and need not prevent anyone from gaining access to appropriate means of communication and other forms of social support.

The possibilities and limitations of human agency

We are part of the web of life, including our imagination. As agents of the human cultural immune system we can expand the language of life and (re)imagine cultures that reconnect us to biological life and local biological ecosystems. This article can serve as a resource list for an education course on human cultural evolution, with a focus on the current human predicament.

Hypernormative Culture Awareness Month

April is Hypernormative Culture Awareness Month. Please spare a moment for all culturally well adjusted people, who are unable to speak about their many fears and the many sources of cognitive dissonance in their lives.

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