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I congratulate myself on becoming mature and gently old, on surmounting difficulty; understanding my fate, and letting up, letting go, but truth is, I’m a liar who has pushed the past away, across the border of my small world. Protected by miles of badland emptiness, a curtain of silence has dropped around me; the outside world doesn’t exist except at set frequencies along the electromagnetic spectrum; television, the radio, the internet, and down deep, that’s the way I want it. I crawled to this place, breathing, and no more. I walked and walked the hills, each step forcing a breath, like a respirator powered by my feet hitting the ground. If I had quit walking I would have died.
A wildlife rescue takes injured raccoons, snakes, and birds and once fixed or repaired, returns them to the wild, whatever that means. But some birds will not be birds again, living with wings broken, bent to sickening angles, improper geometry, hopping, not flying: broken into submission. Dogs travel to new homes, to live skittish, nerve-wracked, terrified, and distrustful lives; barking, scratching, insane human lives. Some animals go crazy, like a chimpanzee wrecked by cruelty, by its forced employment in labs or zoos or circuses, tortured by people whose job it is to twist and maim other beings without conscience or regret; psychologists, cosmetics-makers. Children are disobedient rats. Women redden their lips with monkey blood.
What suffering creatures know, when subjected to human perversion, every minute of their existence, is that even if they were to be set free – they will never be free.
An old soul of a chimpanzee discovers grass, a tree, air and sky, for the first time: old, too old – just a breath of what might have been, too late, and we congratulate our compassion.
I have created my own rescue a shelter; it is very pretty, very quiet location somewhere outside of time, outside of America, my house old, pre-me, built long before I was born. Other children played in the dirt, grown by Wyoming, shaped by wind, yellow dust in their lungs, cool air sinking from summer storms, building character. There is a character that I play; the old lady on the block who gardens, tends beauty, at arms reach, under my feet, a profusion of living things tangled, overgrown, so unlike the powdery banded desert. People like my yard and my face, but they don’t know that I’m an injured animal, wings broken and limping toward the wild. Salvation is instinctual, but sanity is earned by walking, walking the world away.
Perfectionism is just a word until one begins thinking about the role it has played in one’s life. As usual, it is an activity, which when fused with social expectations, becomes an object of practical, moral and economic opinion. Perfectionism is not a “thing” but a tool with which to assess standards and compare outcomes, especially in art, literature and other creative endeavors.
Intelligent-creative people, minorities, and the disabled are held to much higher standards of “achievement” than typically-abled humans.
Google “perfectionism” and a highly negative picture appears. Once again, psychology has made a judgment about PEOPLE who are perfectionists; they are bad, unhappy, trapped in a corner, wasting their lives. We see the “pyramid scheme” poking through: common everyday perfectionists are self-abusers, unhappy, and paradoxically, create failure, but upper echelon “money-makers,” are praised as perfectionists. A start up company, or artistic catalogue, once it becomes “trendy” and profitable, is contrarily opined as a positive result of perfectionism. Long hours, dedication to a goal, the march of progress and final economic success are added to the unending search for human perfection.
Athletes and immigrants are particularly subject to having their lives rewritten as journeys that fulfill the cultural need for success; rags to riches, American Dream, unlimited opportunity; the story of those whose early deprivation presented signs of future fame and influence. Perfect performance is always a component of the myth, but the expectation of perfection can be destructive. How many “celebrity” children are crushed by such demands? And, the distance between failure and perfection grows and grows in American culture. It is no longer enough to be a “millionaire.” One must be a “billionaire.” One cannot simply post a funny video; it must generate millions of views globally. One cannot have a handful of close friends; one must garner the notice of thousands of strangers. And so, the perfect life is money and attention; not for any good reason, just because notoriety is the new “unreachable” scale of perfection.
We lie to children and torment them with one treacherous statement:
“You can be anything you dream of being,” is a bald-faced lie.
This pompous assertion cuts off actual potential by a “mental device” that has become typical in the U.S.; by presenting a socially reverse-engineered pop-culture myth, the “you can be anything” statement is delivered by individuals who have already achieved great success. The accompanying myth of their (supposedly) meteoric rise always includes magical signs that predict greatness – a “lucky” legitimacy and foreshadowing of destiny by a chance meeting with a superstar; an injury that turned out to be a blessing; a lost parent who directs a child’s fate from the afterlife; a sudden supernatural voice, at the right moment, that said, “never give up.” These motivational events happen to almost all humans, but do not produce fame and fortune in the majority. The seed is planted: anything less than extraordinary destiny becomes failure.
Dream big! Achieve little.
The goal of becoming an adult who can find satisfying work, a worthwhile partner and the means to raise a family, has fallen to the bottom of the pyramid, when this “outcome” is the common denominator by which “average people” express the greatest source of happiness. But this achievement is not possible: everyone must put up the appearance of becoming more, and more and more.
I do think that Asperger individuals have a tricky relationship with “perfection”. Perfection as the act of seeking and creating meaningful work I see as no problem, but when our “passion” becomes a “fate” by which we are judged, it becomes a noose that tightens against our “defects”. Expectations as “the gifted child” create a problem: our lives have been laid out before us as a burden and an obligation; “gifts” are dangerous in a mediocre society. This is an ancient human theme in which those who arrive with something “extra” are expected to save everyone’s ass by acts of sacrifice, but are also expected to “disappear” once they are no longer useful.
We see this again and again in young men who are asked to die by old men; soldiers have difficulty in not identifying the two as one and the same: Young males must die for the old. Isn’t this upside down? Why isn’t it the old and useless males, who have had their chance at life who are expected to “volunteer” to “save” young fathers and sons from unwarranted tragedy?
We encounter perfection and want to merge with it, which for me at least, is my subjective experience of “bliss”. Mythologies the world over warn of such improper boundary crossings by humans into the realm of the gods. Countless myths offer up Heroes who are granted “fire stolen from the gods” that costs them everything, but in the long run restores balance to society, which is the real goal of their existence. So, in this philosophy, talents and abilities are not the end in themselves, but means to ends; ends that are available to humans in general when an individual applies his or her abilities toward a realizable goal.
American culture is blind to this deeper and wider actualization of success. In the U.S., only those at the apex of the Pyramid count. The promise is to elevate “the peasants” to the upper levels of the pyramid, but this is logically impossible. The top 1% needs the 99% of humanity at the bottom to fail – and defines failure as “not being” at the top of the hierarchy.
Aspergers are susceptible to being judged on the basis of success as something elevated beyond “normal”. In the neurotypical scheme of life, a child obsessed with knowledge dares to pass into factual reality, which contains the secrets of the universe; a domain where few socially typical individuals dare to go. Taboo, because neurotypical predators crave domination: any “successful” neurotypical would use intelligence to exploit other people. The idea that “Aspergers” have little to no social ambition is simply not credible; in fact it is a source of derision and fear – and opportunity for social predators. .
As a young child I was terribly confused. My intelligence was superficially praised, but harshly received. Intelligence was tested and tracked and presented as important, but forbidden to girls – actualization of “power” was a crime against nature, religion and males of any kind: against all of “defenseless” neurotypical humanity. Ironically, extra abilities and the good fortune of “beauty” could be exploited for family status (marry a rich man, become a “beauty queen”, an actress or celebrity) or to manipulate others behind the scenes to benefit a husband. Selfish ends were quite okay, but a desire to improve a greater sphere of human need was forbidden. To expand knowledge, opinion, laws or the frontiers of human stupidity was, and is, forbidden.
It has taken a lifetime to construct a workable “fix” for myself: Perfection happens. Nature is the domain of perfection and it is informative that nature never rests, but is the continual unfolding of possibilities within a set of laws (boundaries) – a balance of change and continuity that is perfect only in the moment. It’s okay to strive for perfection in creative work, but it’s good to understand that perfection is ephemeral.
Life may be a tool by which the universe acknowledges its own perfection.
However, no human is required to be perfect: What a relief. Nor is any child or adult required to fulfill any expectation that the label “Asperger’s Disorder” attempts to place on them.
Clouds are important to a plain landscape; those familiar shapes that skate above
the horizon, trailing shadows that examine the featureless plateau;
extracting details that cannot be seen on a clear day
and thereby adjusting our foolish estimates of near and far.
Any stranger who trifles with our two-part scheme of land and sky risks losing
the outer world: the fate of isolation is best embraced as a gift
that one could not have known was waiting in Wyoming.
I hate to fly. I really, really hate to fly. The last time I used an airplane for travel, was to return from a visit to my very ill mother. A thunderstorm struck; there was severe turbulence and the heat in the cabin failed. I hid under a blanket (too small) that only covered my head. A sixteen year-old boy in the seat next to me (and some gin) had to talk me through the flight. Combo: severe emotional stress (family) plus lightning, thunder and unstable airplane = Never fly again.
In fact, the only flight I ever enjoyed was a return trip from a business meeting in LA: the client took us to every Hell hole in Hollywood. Too much food, booze and bizarre behavior. I was so hung over that I didn’t care if the plane crashed and we all died.
People who fly all the time may not think about it, but much of modern life is unattainable if one doesn’t fly.
The childhood corollary to this handicap was a fear of heights, in particular roller coasters, Ferris wheels and amusement rides. This pretty much eliminated summer entertainment. I stood around holding everyone’s food, drinks and jackets and purses. People made fun of me and tried to trick or shame me into “not being a party pooper” Being an Asperger child, none of this manipulation had any effect on me. I learned to take a camera with me – it was a convenient excuse to wander off by myself and avoid being harassed. And I eventually turned into a photographer, an activity that has enriched my life, whereas the lack of amusement park rides has not affected me at all.
Fortunately, I love trains and driving, although trains just aren’t what they used to be. I drove all over the U.S., but once I moved to Wyoming, I’ve stayed put. I guess all that time I spent traveling around, I was just looking for Wyoming.
DNA analysis shows that prehistoric cave paintings of horses were realistic depictions of the Paleolithic environment, including the leopard-spotted horse.
Prehistoric Cave Paintings of Horses Were Spot-On, Say Scientists
Long thought by many as possible abstract or symbolic expressions as opposed to representations of real animals, the famous Paleolithic horse paintings found in caves such as Lascaux and Chauvet in France likely reflect what the prehistoric humans actually saw in their natural environment, suggest researchers who conducted a recent DNA study.
“However, our research removes the need for any symbolic explanation of the horses. People drew what they saw, and that gives us greater confidence in understanding Paleolithic depictions of other species as naturalistic illustrations.”
Yes, Paleolithic people were concrete visual thinkers! They could not “hunt for” and eat purple dinosaurs, nor shop the farmer’s market for gourmet chili peppers and gluten-free artisanal breads. They didn’t make “cartoon” drawings of actual living animals so that they could make stuffed animals with little appliqued hearts on them to sell online: they killed and ate horses.
They did access interior cave chambers – a feat that was at times astounding, in order to teach hunting and survival skills to the kids; to teach them animal behavior, hunting strategies, teamwork and safety, and which animals were seasonally available and where – which is what hunters still do.
This was done visually – an obvious fact. Real “hunts” were portrayed as “picture stories” which could be referred to again and again to impart critical information on hunting behavior that was successful, and behavior that was fatal. Doing this in a cave (a literal visio-spatial “model” for mammalian reproduction anatomy) not only protected the actual drawings, (they are still present many thousands of years later) but encouraged the earth to “birth” new animals to replace those that die. Pregnant animals are featured: is this a “conservation” reminder to not kill females that are about to increase and perpetuate a prey species, a common prohibition today? Human bodies were left in caves, notably with red pigment – literally blood – the skeletons meant perhaps to supply “mother earth with “scaffolds” or models on which to build new “people”. It can be noted that the “origin” stories of many human groups claim that their ancestors emerged from the earth’s interior, an idea in accordance with cave, and cave burial activities. As “culture” collected, artificial caves – mounds, pyramids, temples and “whole body” burials and tombs sufficed where no caves existed.
Was this a “supernatural activity”? I think not. Reverence for the animals came from absolute necessity, stress and fear and similar status in the animal environment; humans were in as much danger of injury, predation and sudden death as all the other creatures in the food chain. Hunting large animals with “up close” weaponry was no joke: this “identification” of “being in the same boat” as the animals was true empathy, which engendered respect for life, not insincere socially-prescribed clichés as empathy is defined today.
The location of “spirits” (natural physical, chemical and biological forces as observed in movement, change, metamorphosis, growth and decay, could be observed in every animal, plant and object; across the sky, ocean, and land. The world of sense and perception is an interactive system: this is and was true for all living forms. These physical forces were properly seen to “live” in prominent landmarks, springs, streams and lakes, and in unusually-shaped, patterned or colored pebbles; in shells, bones, or other “curious” artifacts found in the environment; collecting these force-containing objects” is the concrete expression of human experience and observation. Material properties, shapes, forms and patterns do have “power” – to teach; to become useful as tools and sources of food, medicine, clothing, shelter and confidence that challenges may be met and overcome through creative use of what is provided by the environment. This potential for utility offers “real” magic: invention.
(Supernatural magic retains the object, or a “copy” of its form, but attributes personal power to whomever possesses the “object” – power achieved by the devotee’s recitation of charms, spells, prayers and ritual actions believed to “seal the deal”. Words are believed to possess power and to corner the power for one’s own use. This principle is blatantly active in the never-ending obsession to find the Holy Grail, the Arc of the Covenant, and myriad other objects, (and LOL) in the “quest” by archaeologists to “dig up, possess and identify” cultural artifacts, thus gaining “ownership” of archaic knowledge. The “interpretation” of a suspiciously high percentage of what archeaologists identify as “sacred ritual religious or spiritual objects”) only adds to the “power” gained; naming and describing confers “ownership” of magic power. Countless peoples have experienced this “appropriation” over the history of Western archaeological activity.
Words have redefined human experience, as an enclosed and limited “supernatural” version of existence; the body (and all physical processes and forms) is believed to be an “illusion” that disguises a hidden “real universe” in which infantile desire dictates a narcissistic “scheme” that defies all reason. Physical reality is no longer the source for the observable environment; an imaginary mental “state” of self-centeredness is given credence as the creative realm. This inversion of cause and effect exists ONLY in the modern human mind, and results in incredible misinterpretation about what the concrete “wild human” brain functioned.