The definition of normality in the industrial era is based on the metaphor of society as a factory and on the metaphor of people as machines. Our laws and social norms have been shaped by these metaphors to a far greater extent than most people are able to comprehend without an in-depth explanation.
Diagnostic criteria for hypernormative societies
- A culture based on the an industrial factory model of society that wrongly assumes that all human children develop along a path of universally applicable milestones
- A culture that indoctrinates children in cultural techniques and tools via an “education” system based on age cohorts that actively encourages individual competition and obedience within a hierarchical structure of social power differentials
- A culture that pathologises the neurological diversity of humans and any interests, capabilities, sensitivities, and limitations that diverge from a culturally predefined set of quantifiable “norms”
- A culture that elevates pseudo-scientific techniques of psychological child abuse to the status of remedial “therapy“ to maximise conformance with social “norms”
- A culture that is built on anthropocentric myths of human superiority and technological “progress”
- A culture that insists that people need to “earn” a living instead of appreciating the diversity of possible human life paths
- A culture with a social operating system that denies innate collaborative capacities that differentiate the human species from other primate species, wrongly assuming that individual social competition is the main driver of human cultural evolution
- A culture that allows an Autism Industrial Complex to emerge and become a profitable multi-billion dollar busyness opportunity
- A culture that has led to a growing number of existential threats and that is incapable of dealing effectively with any of these threats
- A culture that elevates the religious belief in continuous abstract “economic growth” to a law of nature
From the perspective of any human scale culture that has any level of appreciation for biological life, a hypernormative culture with the above characteristics is denying the wonder of life, the complexity of living systems, and the endless possibilities for developing de-powered human cultures.
The three tools of the trade for “success” at the competitive social game are:
- persuasive story telling,
- the strategic use of plausibly deniable lies – which some autism researchers celebrate as the “valuable” capacity for flexible deception,
- and the art of bullying to the limits of what is deemed socially acceptable in specific contexts.
Our current globalised industrialised society is best understood as a cult. All people who are unable to or hesitate to play the competitive social game are systematically disadvantaged and pathologised.
The pathology paradigm ensures that all defective people are identified, and to the greatest possible extent, are corrected by suitable therapies and medical interventions, to get as close to normal “functioning” as possible. The diagnostic criteria for hypernormative societies can be traced back to the implicit assumptions of the pathology paradigm. It is impossible to take most “autism research” seriously, because it brims with circular reasoning and cultural bias. The pseudo-science used to justify pathologisation is a reflection of the exploitative nature of “civilised” industrialised society.
Industrialised society has become increasingly normative in many ways. The term “hypernormalisation”, coined in the Soviet era, and transposed into the Western context in an extended documentary by Adam Curtis (2016), is quite appropriate.
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. We can support them by nurturing shared understanding in a deceptive world.
Ban of conversion therapies
I can not imagine the horrors that some Autistic children must go through today, when exposed to intensive “early intervention” autistic “conversion therapy”, i.e. 20 to 40 hours of what is known as Applied Behaviour Analysis or Positive Behaviour Support. Autistic children are systematically taught that their needs and feelings don’t matter at all. All that matters are the demands of “therapists” (maybe better “the rapists”), and ambitious parents and teachers who are concerned about “functioning levels” according to a fictitious and irresponsibly simplistic model of “human development” that simply ignores the diversity of human neurocognitive functioning and lived experience.
Please join us. Now is the time to act and ban all forms of “conversion therapy”, including conversion therapies that target Autistic children, which are often branded as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) or Positive Behaviour Support (PBS). The time for change is now.