Updated: Jan 22
The NeuroDiversity Fad
"Neurodiverse”, a term which no one knew or used not so long ago, is now a buzzword, thanks to “diverse” drivers of public opinion, including, of course, identitarianism for the ever-sleepy “woke” generation, which celebrates "difference" in gender, sexual orientation, race and the like -- and "inclusion" -- so long as you subscribe to middle-class values—work, family and so on.
Capitalizing on social media's promotion of the value of social diversity, there are TV programs like “The Good Doctor”, whose main character-- like that of his predecessor House MD-- is a composite of real-life people, and not like any single one of these exactly--nor really like anybody else.
You would be hard put to find anyone like Shaun Murphy or Gregory House.
Of course, Gregory House (MD) came before “neurodiversity” was a social media phenomenon, so no one ever categorized him as “being on the spectrum”, neuroatypical, autistic or otherwise. although he clearly was, cognitively different.
If the show aired today, you can be sure that he would be ADHD / Aspergers.
In the case of Murphy it doesn’t really matter that you would be hard put to find any autistic person like him. Then, again, why should you?
The “spectrum” is more like Van Gogh’s palette, a mess of pigments and colors. What color is savantism?
"Atypical” means – “original”, one of a kind—rara avis.
Which is why Van Gogh - and House MD are so hard to classify. "Typicality", if you can call it that, means pushing things into convenient boxes with convenient labels--a kind of taxonomic logic. It entails inductive simplification and reductionism -- and-- of course lying, when all else fails.
In any case, the cognitive “differences” of Murphy and, retrospectively, Gregory House empower are designed to “identity” people on the autistic / ADHD spectrum for inclusion in society-- in the appropriate boxes.
The Creativity Fad
The TV programs highlight “creativity”even though not every atypical person is either creative or intelligent -- reflecting the huge emphasis on “originality” and intelligence -- from kindergarten on to high school to college and then business. Parents invest zillions in toys for little Tommy which promise to make him a creative genius, so he can reinvent the I-Pod or a Tesla.
How likely is it that these parents who are, often as not, work in imagination-destroying middle management jobs, will have kids who think outside the box? Their world is governed by Alverson's Stupidity Paradox, where "functional stupidity"-- not asking questions and mindless attention to meaningless detail makes the corporate machine hum at a soothing frequency.
The toys are really for Mommy and Daddy, something to add a bit of color to their grayscale lives and distract them from the fact that Little Tommy likes playing with his pee-pee most.
That’s a bit like buying a toy for a cat. Cats, of course, are ALL “on the spectrum”, which is no doubt why Julian Assange who is said to be an "aspie" bonded so well with the Embassy Cat.
My cats never like the toys I buy for them. Generally, they find, or make their own. No REAL cat likes the those toys that idiot humans invest money in when they have toilet paper.!
The corollary of this in the human world is that If Little Tommy likes the toy you buy him, he is very likely NEVER going to be a genius, although he may end up painting badly or punishing our ear drums with mangled guitar chords or getting a lot of body art and a pierced navel. Instead of Einstein you get Beavis and Butthead. AND you have to pay for their iPods. Is Little Tommy "neurodiverse"-- or just weird?
How "the Spectrum became a Thing
Being on the Spectrum is now a "thing". How did that happen?
The public mind is an extension of Hollywood. When the series Dexter became a hit, it was accompanied by statistics that showed that most CEOs, not to mention at least 30% of "professionals" of all types, were sociopaths. This despite genetic psychopathy or sociopathy only being about 2%, 3% max. Dexter was :
.moral (he only "punished" BAD people
.born psychopathic (meaning he had an excuse)
Suddenly, everybody wanted to be a sociopath! But then Dexter went off the air..and the meme had passed expiry date.
Then came the ADHD "epidemic", 'the Good Doctor" and House MD reruns.
Elon Musk “came out” as having Aspergers and ADHD, which was very good personal PR, and no doubt sold a lot of Tesla's. T
Suddenly, the Internet noticed that Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and the like are all “on the spectrum” (if you include ADHD )—or some characterization to that effect.
If you creative —you are – by definition—not “typical”—so, you must be “neuroatypical"-- but luck, privilege, wealth and so on are not typical either, which is why Donald Trump could style himself a "creative genius".
ASD and ADHD are not only actual phenomenon, they are therefore also a fad--which almost every high school student must have to keep the Ritalin and Adderall manufacturers in business. Breaking Bad indeed! Just in case you were wondering, ADHD drugs are stimulants which are virtually indistinguishable from crystal meth.
Who do you "follow" on Facebook and Twitter? Fads are things we follow, but don't necessarily understand, just like the people and organizations we follow on the social media.
I have real ADHD and Aspergers. But I do not feel that I have a "disorder". But I know what it like to be pigeon-holed as "different" -- aka, "divergent", "special", "alien", or "weird".
As someone “on the palette” so to speak, I see the desire to but neuroatypical people in boxes as a true disorder.
What will we call it? Compulsive Categorization Disorder. CCD. Or maybe Conventionalization Typing Disorder (CTD). Compulsive Stereotyping Disorder. Suggestions please. For the time being, we will call it CCD,
I am not a “typical” atypical….. Because as I have pointed out "a-typical" means exactly that. The box is square. I am a different shape.
Genetic difference as an excuse
The popular narrative is that genetic difference is an excuse, if you have no choice for your behavior. So...you get controversies like this:
That was a headline on a much-viewed article.
When Julian Assange’s lawyers argued he is an “Aspie” or at least “atypical”, the US Government weren’t having it, no matter what doctors –or even cats -say. No, just an asshole, they said. If he had a "disorder" he would be "sick", which would prevent them from throwing into a hole in a SuperMax.
Similarly, when American intelligence issued a report that Vladimir Putin had Asperger's, the American and UK Media were similarly incensed. For the record, I doubt that he does have Asperger's but this not the point.
The current Deep State and DNP narrative tells us that Vlad is a latter-day Impaler, just suffering from a shortage of stakes to drop people on, as a result of American sanctions.
No excuses permitted for Crimea or Syria--or just not dropping dead.
Both Assange and Putin, however are clearly gifted and creative—and polymathic (especially Putin). But so was Doctor Evil.
The cat should be a giveaway. Although Assange still has his hair.
And Hitler liked dogs too, passing the world’s first animal rights legislation. Here Godwin's Law applies.
By definition, giftedness, creativity and polymathy are, of course, neuroatypical. But being on the Spectrum doesn't guarantee these abilities and may sometimes interfere with their expression, which is why I work best with a partner who is cognitively different from me, as you can see from my book. .
The US Government argument is that both Assange and Putin chose to do certain things for which they must be punished, with no excuses for having Asperger's. Assange's lawyers are not arguing that Assange's mental condition makes him less responsible, only that it puts him at risk to maltreatment in the US penal system. The Kremlin just laugh at the whole Asperger's thing: as a way of diminishing Putin's very real accomplishments.
Whether you are "on the spectrum" or not is a matter of opinion, and usually determined by those with power -- teachers, counselors, doctors, bosses-- or even government agencies. And, of course, your enemies.
In such an environment, you can not rely on conventional wisdom about the "spectrum". The "science" is like a kid's picture book-- a lot of images, with text in really big letters.
People like me -- think differently is all. Otherwise, we're pretty much the same animals.