Sunday, July 23, 2006

Larry Arnold Myth and Reality

Right now I am feeling somewhat beleaguered having to defend myself against those who sometimes seem to wilfully misunderstand what I am about for purposes that to me are equally mysterious so I propose a little myth breaking as I say goodbye to the world of Usenet where there seems not point in repeating myself ad infinitum in defence against the slander mongers.

Myth - I have been accused of being a super aspie, only interested in advancing the cause of people like myself.

Reply - Anyone who knows me well enough should be able to see that I constantly speak out against Aspie supremacists and others who want to divide the spectrum into an us and them. Those who have seen me in meetings will know I am as vehement for the rights of the unheard autistics who are the cannon fodder of Autism Speaks videos and Press manipulation. If I were to deny my abilities as a polymath in order to become more "acceptable" I would not be true to myself and truth to self is a right I fight for, for all.

Myth - The second that arises from the first is from the parents who accuse me of wanting there children to left in some sort of state of nature and noble savagery.

Reply - This again is not the case, opposing a cure, does not mean I see autism as static or oppose education and intervention aimed at making it easier for children to survive in this corrupt society. I see the goal of “indistinguishable from his peers” as not only unattainable but undesirable and productive of a great deal of psychological harm.

Myth - I am anti science.

Reply - That is based on a misunderstanding of my position that science is not the only game in town, and that even it's paradigms are governed by social, individual, psychological, commercial, economic and academic factors that need to be taken into account in any reading of what is supposedly objective evidence obtained by the scientific method. Indeed the scientific method can be employed in showing the bias in science. There is no unitary thing that can be called science, economics can sometimes teach as much about the behaviour of individuals as cognitive psychology and what interests me are the synergies between different systems. I am a natural philosopher and without philosophy without answering questions such as where does mathematics derive from, what is language, what is logic, what is the relationship between the perceived and the “physical” experimental science cannot even begin to take hold.

Myth - I do not believe in the physical reality of disability.

Reply - Again that is a simple misunderstanding of my understanding of the way language and society works to create different meanings from the same phonemes and syntax. I believe that it is important not to locate disability in the individual as this has led to a culture that does not adapt for difference and sees the solution as fixing the individual, and if that fails eliminating them altogether.

If my car breaks down and runs into a ditch, even after I sort the engine out, it will still be in the ditch, it is better to get it out of the ditch first.

Of course I go to a doctor for mechanical ailments, but I do not need a doctor to improve the social and the physical environment for those whom society casts in the role of disabled. I do not see why I should adopt the stereotypical disabled role, when it is my right to chose who I want to be.

Myth - and lastly that I live in an unreal world of intellectual speculation.

Reply - I live in the real world, outside of my use of philosophical tools I use the conventional practices of politics to get my ideas of liberation across. I pay my bus fare to travel into town I don’t speculate with the driver on the nature of the coins I use or the causal relationships between there symbolism and the town moving toward me as the universe shifts in a relativistic movement around the actors in this drama of exchange calling every new location into being and extinguishing it again as it passes out of perception, fun though that might be if I did not have a bus to catch and the driver and passengers had all day to discuss this in some Socratic agora.


abfh said...

I don't know who has been attacking you, Larry, but you seem like a decent guy to me, and I agree with your responses to the myths that you mentioned (which have affected many of us at one time or another).

I hope you'll keep on writing.

Joseph said...

I can relate entirely regarding the philosophical points. FWIW, I see social constructionism as a science.

The Littlest Tube of mostly used up Preparation H said...

That was really cool to understand more of your perspective.

Julia said...

I wasn't aware that you were being attacked in that way. I'm sorry that you are.

That said, I'm glad I got the clarification of your position on various things. It reinforces my thinking that you're someone I'd like to get to know. (And even have lunch with if there weren't the whole matter of an ocean between us.)

Natalia said...

I didn't read everything yet but I find the phrase "Aspie supremacists" very useful.

Natalia said...

Oh, and I like the humour in the last bit!!