More and more often I see myself as having started a difficult journey from the moment I was born; simply unlike that dominant Homo sapiens species into which I entered, appearing to be a “normal” eight-and-a-half pound baby girl. Healthy, active, precocious – my mother complained that I developed too fast. Walked too soon, talked too soon, scrambled away from her to “see” the world instead of lying peacefully in her arms. It’s all a fabrication, these stories of our beginnings; our personal myths, the behavior and mind sets we manifested as infants are invented like everything else that is human. What does remain is critical-thinking, which has been honed by a lifetime of having to observe and live among Neurotypicals in order to survive as a minority in an alien social environment.
We cling to a bad idea: the assumption that we emerge into adulthood “owning” understanding, good judgement, proper intent, wisdom; properties that magically appear in individuals once puberty arrives, or college is completed, or we produce children. It used to be that cultures decided the proper steps and assured attainment of adulthood through rituals, rules, intimidation, coaxing, and brute force if necessary – and elimination of the odd souls who just didn’t “get it.” It is obvious that neuroexceptional people were around, due to sudden advances in technology in human history: one million years of hand-axes, and then suddenly, precision flaked tools? One person (likely a bright Homo erectus) made the step forward to “better” tools, and manufacturing skills then spread like wildfire to other humans. This is a pattern repeated over and over again in human history. It still is.
With the advent of DNA sequencing, and complete species genomes being added quickly, a new and powerful “reference” has been found for individuals and groups to cobble together exciting ancestries that fulfill the same notions of identity that humans repeatedly desire: European types want to be Vikings, African Americans want to be Native Americans or “exotic” African tribespeople. (I admit to a strange affinity to Ancient Rome, but as an Asperger, this is directed to its architecture and infrastructure. I wouldn’t want to destroy villages inhabited by “barbarians” nor own slaves.)
A longing of “civilized, urbanized” people is to retain, via DNA, a link to a long dead fantasy world of brave self-propelled individuals, conquering the world around them in nifty costumes and with magic weapons. It’s a bit sad, isn’t it? More than enough modern humans are blowing each other to bits with devices that range from $1.5 million guided missiles to cheap “bombs” resourced at a hardware store. The Ancient Greeks and Trojans, despite a reverential awe for bronze weaponry, still killed each other by heaving rocks and smashing skulls with any available object.
The pretense that killing and maiming people labeled “the bad guys” with expensive technologies (and ignoring the deaths of women and children, when starvation, mass migration, a permanent life in refugee camps, and the mental a physical devastation that follow) is somehow more humane than up close and personal death by terror is dangerous: the West retreats to an invented moral high ground and fails to recognize that war is a REAL social activity with REAL causes. It must be engaged to protect REAL people.
Well – here we are again – incompetent leadership has led us to violence.
How arrogant that European and American elites to refuse to let go of an imaginary elevated status on the moral / ethical pyramid, when the price paid to support this fiction is dead civilians blown to bits in the streets of “civilized” countries. Do these deaths mean nothing to supposed leaders?
Lame and self-serving speeches about superior values are not an effective response. Leadership means doing what must be done; there comes a time when a nation or group of allies does not get to choose whether or not they are at war. They simply are – due to the actions of an enemy. Leaders who have failed in their chosen careers as leaders litter human history; delusions of grandeur are a common cause of failure.