To be, or not to be, labeled Asperger

 

It is claimed that Asperger individuals resist change, but as usual, this is an assumption on the part of neurotypicals; an assumption that lacks nuance, sensitivity and understanding of what is actually going on “inside” an Asperger. My life has been one of extreme changes, both desired and imposed by the world of man. Both types of change can be disruptive or productive; the option that makes sense is to work at the problem and not to worry over how these things happen. Life is a tragedy from the “get go” – a circumstance that neurotypicals work diligently to deny. The challenge for every organism is survival, but for humans there is a “bonus” question: How shall one live with the knowledge of personal extinction?

To count on an afterlife is to cheat: there exists only one life that is “yours” and whatever any social person claims, it’s yours and yours alone.

The basic element here is the “illusion” that there is safety in numbers – that somehow, like anchovies or flocks of birds, sheer numbers will keep death at bay. Let “bad luck” pick off the weak, the stragglers, the old and the sick.

“That’s not me!” we tell ourselves, and our friends; our workplace group, our economic group, our educational group: the world could surely not do without us! We’re headed for a nice safe perch at the top of the pyramid. Look how attractive I am; surely, with every trendy purchase, I am building my immortality. My apartment or house, it’s furnishings – my car and my wardrobe, the entire assemblage of “who I am” guarantees exemption from that vague cosmic “creator” who chooses whom to strike down, and who will be awarded entry into the top spot on the pyramid: Paradise.

Burial rites are of interest to most humans: this may be skewed by the fact that graves are often the only source for real objects and can satisfy curiosity about “who we are and how did we get here?” Digging up bones and pondering skulls takes on a weird desperation: owning the bones equals owning the power of that “person” – sacred relics draw humans to them with social magnetism; objects that “touched” a person, or were part of their body, retain contagious magic power. This illusion can become quite gruesome and fuels mass death in religious and ideological warfare.

Auction houses all over the “civilized” social world benefit from selling off the many layers of status (an estate) that buyers want for themselves; a type of “grave robbing” that is socially acceptable – and indeed, transfers instant status, without it being earned. This is a very ancient human practice: a “poacher” of grave goods who acts on economic motive is a criminal; an institution which utilizes those objects to raise money is not. Institutions collect “status” like any other group; donors both impart and gain status by means of “generosity” – that magical act of penance that is the required social gesture for having “hogged” the resources of industry and culture.

The “shopping” culture can be viewed as a continuation of the quest for “status” acquired by having abundant grave goods; in ancient graves these objects are often necessary tools that the person would need in the afterlife. The afterlife is concrete: a definite place where life goes on just as it is, here and now.

Neuorotypicals maintain that their lives are “blessed” by magic: in the U.S. this overwhelmingly means God or Jesus; saints, spirits and all manner of lucky charms and technical gadgets. Corporate brands become secular religious cults; corporations are  representatives on earth of a Cosmic Great Mind, a consciousness, that behind the scenes, is creating mankind’s Future. Participation in this pyramid scheme is easy: BELIEVE in us; buy our products and join the “chosen ones” in a race to immortality. Whatever the form, it’s  the same childhood terror that arises from having to please  Big People, who have the power over us of life and death: Parents.

I have stopped contemplating choices for some time; as one ages, what I would consider optimum rarely matches what is possible. Letting go of desire, or “the Will” to “make things happen” is pushed aside in favor of passive thinking; quick decisions and satisfying resolutions fade away; images arise from a dimension without time, free of the idea of progress, forward motion, schedules, or even conscious deliberation. Pictures float into awareness like deep sea creatures ascending the water column to feed at the surface. Inevitably, one or more of these pictures will “feel” right, but will usually not agree with reason. It’s then up to the intellect to “decide.”

After 66 years this process has never changed; it tends to infuriate some neurotypicals because they already “know” what to do: follow the crowd. Just do what “everyone” does. The Big Guy is in control; he has a reason for everything that he does, even if no one ever knows what his reasons are, it’s “all for the best.”

What I have accepted is that whether or not I’m labeled Asperger, that label is irrelevant to how I perceive human existence.

“What happens” devolves from my choices in response to “whatever comes my way.” No supernatural baby-sitter is going to rescue “my ass” if I mess up. That’s the difference in how this Asperger responds to change. It’s simply the difference between obeying outside control and thinking about inner responses –

Have I changed; yes.

Have I changed? Yes. Has it been easy? No.

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