The Gift of Difference

Updated: Jan 22

As I mentioned in a previous article, I have Elon Musk coming out as an Aspie to thank for making me less of a weirdo.

So now the definition of “different” is not just skin color, gender, sexual preference and the like –it includes odd people like me. Thank you, Elon.

“We are all ONE but different. Different but the same!”

I hear that a lot--and most people take this as a kind of self-evident truth. I guess you have to be really “different” to get the contradictions.

But there’s a catch --or catches.

What does “same” mean? It does not mean “equal”. Not in a country where a just a few people own most of the place and there is OK Different and Not OK Different, as we saw in my previous article, in the case of Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin.

Of course, we are all the same animal. But, unlike our ancestors, we do not live in small egalitarian bands, where “difference” means different abilities, even among the old who are not shunted away in “homes” to die alone.

The ClockWork Man

Modern neoliberal societies are large, hierarchical, multi-level societies, in which a few dominate many. While hunter-gatherer societies are fluid and dynamic, ours is structured and static and depends on an artificial rather than a natural order—we are all part of a clock-work machine, in which every cog and wheel and lever has a role and a place and we must, also.

Well, not “all” of us.

The cogs don’t own the machine. Elon Musk and Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos do. If the machine is a clock, whose pocket are you in?

In other words, “we are all ONE but different” just means that we are components of the same machine. “Different” just means our mechanical functions are different. “Same” means we all serve our owners.

Components that don’t fit end up in the “spares” box, which is not really for “spares” but for junk that might prove useful later. The Machine is also a kluge and you never know what you might need. Most likely, this junk ends up in the trash.

I would be more impressed by “We are all ONE but different. Different but the same!” if it was it was “We are all ONE but different. Different but equal!” Or “We are all ONE but different with something to give!”

In evolutionary terms, we supplanted other hominids because of our greater capacity for empathy and altruism—not because we were any smarter—but because we were more caring. These characteristics allowed a small band of 30 to 50 people, each unique in his or her own way to adapt to the ever changing circumstances of a nomadic lifestyle.

Box Logic

“Woke” is a great idea. But what do you do after the alarm rings and your eyes open to the morning light.?

Most people just go back to sleep.

Contradictions of any kind are like a persistent alarm. So we try to turn them off “canceling:” ideas and people—that don’t fit in—in a process of normalization.

I realize that being “divergent” is OK for me so long as I conform to middle class values and a socially accepted lifestyle and don’t tell anyone what I really think. TS Eliot’s J Alfred Prufrock said it right….

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I must be constantly aware of which box I am supposed to fit at any given time. It all depends on the situation.

This box logic is taxonomic -- helpful in categorizing people into “identities” and also “roles”, which makes it ever so easy to sort them and assign them to do stuff--or just ignore—or throw out. It provides Order. And Safety.

Think about it.

You don’t find many squares in nature. Most things are round.

Nevertheless, we think in boxes. We live in them. And die in them.

Nature provides round holes, like caves for bears, holes in trees for woodpeckers and squirrels.

We carve ourselves in to square pegs and then try to hammer them into the holes.


The Carpentry of the Human Spirit

Children are naturally creative but since creativity is always subversive, kids must be “reared”, “brought up” -- “normalized” – trained to be unnatural.

As I said—squares and boxes—and pegs traumatically forced to fit. Society imposes an inhuman geometry on its members

We take kids and put them in large boxes called schools, with smaller boxes inside called classrooms, with little boxes called desks to which they attached with invisible chains.

We demand kids think about one thing at a time, blocking out a world of possibilities, studying one subject ever more closely, a kind of conceptual box, divided into smaller ones, paying attention to the inconsequential and the meaningless. No wonder we need glasses.

Our kids come in all shapes, but we make sure they dress the right away, talk the right way, and obey us. If they don’t they have ADHD or ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Quick! Put them on meth’.

Relationships for us are like Aztec pyramids, one box piled on another. The goal is Order. The Sacrifice is Joy.

Remember school?

Put up your hand, if you need to pee. Fido must ask to go outside and pee, too. You must learn to do things on command. Roll over. Beg. Sit. Stay. Society is a one huge, Dog Leviathan.

Still you want to pee on a tree.. Nature will win in the end.

78% of teens diagnosed with ADHD spontaneously recover at age 18. When they escape from School.

How NeuroDivergent people (some of them) think

Indigenous people have a different geometry as you saw in my article Genius is a Disorder (1).

Cats, who all have ADHD and Asperger’s, and are the natural heirs of Pythagoras, know exactly what to do with boxes – hide, sleep, or play. And occasionally pee.

Cats are Pythagoreans

Neurodivergent people do not think in straight lines: 1, 2, 3, 4.

They tend to think in circles, or more correctly spirals and vortices: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21.

Nature is a Fibonacci sequence which we are taught today as a mathematical algorithm, to elucidate patterns such as atomic structures, human DNA and genetic code, not to mention the impact of great paintings and musical and other creative works.

Nature doesn’t “think” of Fibonacci as people do, however, —not as numbers – but as relationships expressed in multidimensional patterns, which our prehistoric ancestors saw and copied.

Paleolithic Fibonacci

Notice the way the lines curve in paleo. The pattern is circular but dynamic, directing the eyes to move in a curve. The proportions somehow work in a unique way, asymmetry balanced by symmetry.

A wall painting is flat.

A rose, however, is multidimensional and the Fibonacci sequence is expressed vertically. —therefore vortically,

Fibonacci is the Name of the Rose

Thinking is a natural function, expressing the organic functions of the brain, therefore Fibonacci cognition is basic to human perception.

Many people have noted that when I talk about how I reach certain conclusions, I seem to be switching subjects arbitrarily rather than following the patterns of formal rule-based reasoning. I polymathically link different things that are normally not associated, locking for the underlying logic of possible connections that suggest something else.

You didn’t understand that, did you?

OK, take poetry. That doesn’t germane to this discussion, right?

But metaphors are essential to poetry, as are the contradictions implied in irony.

Metaphors connect two different things to communication one or several meta-meanings, which superficially appear illogical.

anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) spring summer autumn winter

he sang his didn't he danced his did..

ee cummings

But the illogicality in this case has its own logic.

The fact is our basic mode of thought is metaphorical.

A prehistoric hunter could see a broken branch and a bit of hair and smell something different and know that a deer had passed in the last few hours. For the hunter, everything is a metaphor.

If you listen to Julian Assange or Vladimir Putin talk unscripted, which they mostly do, unlike Western politicians, you will see similar patterns. They connect things which often seem unconnected and extract unexpected meanings. Which is hard to argue with. You may not like them but they are right a lot of the time.

That’s the thing about creativity. It is, as I have said, subversive of social or established order. But let us keep in mind that not all creativity rises to the level of genius and geniuses fail more often that they succeed, which is usually with the help of others.

Of F Scott Fitzgerald's half dozen or so novels, only one, The Great Gatsby, was truly great. And that one needed the help of Maxwell Perkins, the same editor who helped Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe and other literary geniuses.

It also goes without saying that while all geniuses are neurodivergent, most neurodivergent people are not geniuses.

But without the creativity that neurodivergent people offer -- that "difference"--we cannot have even incremental progress or change. The boxes eventually get thrown out – and you with them.


Like many writers, I am dyslexic. So you will see lots of typos. Let me know, please!

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