Neurotypical Nuttiness about Imagination / Re-Post

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This post is related to: Visual Thinking: Neurotypicals Don’t Have a Clue http://wp.me/p4NH43-ew

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Neurotypicals attribute creativity to the use of crayons, primary colors and making a mess.

A mind-blowing example from a help site directed at parents of Asperger children.untitledcreativity

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The site begins:  “Imagination.”

“People with this syndrome (Asperger’s) can have difficulty with social imagination. They may have trouble imagining alternative outcomes to situations. (Not really; this is one of our attributes; sometimes we see so many alternatives that we have trouble choosing.) Make-believe games may seem pointless, impossible to do, or ridiculous. (This is due to Asperger kids being more intellectually advanced than other children.)

Topics based on logic, memory and systems are more interesting (mathematics, computer science and music, (and history, art, natural sciences, engineering  – in other worlds the REAL WORLD) Many children with Asperger’s syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in those particular areas. Two researchers from the University of Cambridge in England wrote in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders9 that children with AS could offer imaginative suggestions to a situation presented to them, but they tended to be reality-based imaginings, rather than creative ones. (This makes me nuts! Neurotypicals think that being creative is “imagining things that don’t exist” like unicorns! Science, and technology are HIGHLY CREATIVE FIELDS.) 

For example, when presented with a rectangular foam shape, they might say that it could be squashed into a flat rectangle, rather than imagining something like a kite floating in the sky among the clouds and seagulls, with a goblin sitting on top.” This is Neurotypical “creativity” – neotenic/childish and limited to magical thinking. Thank-you, Walt Disney.

Can we please find another symbol for imagination and retire the tired old light bulb?

Can we please retire the tired old light bulb as a symbol for imagination?

OMG! There is no nice way to say this: Neurotypical ideas about imagination and creativity are simply pathetic. Yes! It’s MAGIC WORD diagram time:

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We see this over and over – Neurotypicals can’t grasp that scientific and technical developments require extensive creative thinking that is outside the “supernatural”  imagination of socially typical humans. Creative connections made in science and technology are backed up by thousands of hours of hard work, and must be proven to correspond to how the universe works.  Serendipity plays a role in creativity; it’s not about “making things up.” Intuitive processes are often “key” rather than strict analysis and logic. Visual thinking is a creative asset.

Once again we witness the American fear of intellectual activity and physical reality.

The example given of an Asperger child squishing foam into a rectangle is the child demonstrating an interest in how materials behave – curiosity that could lead to a productive life in science. The “kite” example leads to nothing practical or insightful, but rather steers the child away from understanding how the world works, a deficit that the U.S. cannot afford. The inability to develop beyond magical thinking, a stage of early childhood, marks the neotenic psychology of too many American adults.

Here we go again: 'octopus' diagrams in primary colors represent the same old 'will-to-control' human activity, but in a 'creative' way.

Here we go again: a diagram that looks like an octopus, drawn using crayon colors, doesn’t “magically” translate the content into a “creative” dimension.

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2 thoughts on “Neurotypical Nuttiness about Imagination / Re-Post

  1. I have tried super hard to integrate the “wonderful” memory tools out there. No luck.
    The US is not alone in this reverence for magical thinking. I wonder if all Christian/Islam/Judaism/Hindu based thinking is in danger of just that. There is no research behind that question, nor is there behind this next little bit. Chinese, Japanese and Korean (South) thinking seems to embrace science more. Children who do well in these subjects are looked up to rather than down at. Type of philosophy and whether or not science is admired might possibly be correlated. At least it seems that way when I look at maps. I just realized that must mean that most of the world loves their “fantasy” to the real world. Sad.

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    • Magical thinking is what children do at about 3 (?) years of age. I think that few NTs grow intellectually beyond that, due to neoteny that is cultivated and promoted by religion-culture. I too wonder why many cultures “believe in magic” as you said, but also accept science/technology without a problem. The Ancient Romans piled on the magic like crazy! Adopted every wacko cult that existed, but were totally pragmatic and technical wizards, so it’s not new. In college, there were many foreign students (India, Asia) who were utterly baffled by the magical aversion, and even demonization, of science/math in the U.S. It seemed to me that many religions are ritual traditions, carefully repeated through generations, but without intellectual “baggage.” We do this ritual on this day with these materials to remind us of the ancestors – more “pagan” in the positive meaning of pagan. Showing respect for nature and ancestors – not much call for introspection, anguish, doubt, morality and ethics. All that “stuff” has been settled long ago and a system of order is in place. Follow the instructions and get on with engineering, science, knowledge. That doesn’t answer why Middle Eastern countries, despite restricting women in “social” behavior, have very high rates of female engineers, doctors and scientists, way outstripping the supposedly developed west.

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