Sunday, July 30, 2006

Off to Autscape in the morning

Well tomorrow actually, but why should I let that get in the way of a catchy title and a literary reference that is probably far too obscure for most of my readers. (If you know the title prove me wrong)

I don’t doubt as I shall disagree with practically all of the presenters, not to mention the organisers, not to mention the very fundamental principle that Autscape ought to be serving but I believe it is not.

So why bother? I guess I want to meet people again (how shockingly NT of me)

Well I might let Wendy Lawson have an easier time than I have given her on my past two encounters. Whatever I guess Autscape does not suck as much as I suppose Autreat would for me, I am not one of natures convergers.

What really pisses me off though is the whole internal “navel gazing” of it all. I prefer myself to present at more hostile conferences because there are more people there who need to hear about how autism positions within a wider disability movement.

This seems to be my latest perseveration, that we are not going to make any progress or inroads against discrimination and the crap we are dealt unless we make alliances beyond what appears to be our rather insignificant movement when you stand back and look at it globally.

Are we saying anything new?

No we are not even if we delude ourselves into thinking that we do.

Autism is no more unique than any other kind of human diversity. Now whatever the Russian scholars might say, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and I am going to have to continue upsetting people on my right and on my left, before me and behind me, above me and below me. Hedged about with ideologues of all persuasions, you can’t be heard unless you make a noise.

My visions mine, though some I share
I bend not break, for such a load I bear
And what I dream no other mind could see
The pattern of my own eternity
My destination not one I would chose
My life's my own and there's no time to lose

So beat the drum if that is what you will
I need no drum my vision to fulfil
I hear no sound, for sound can come no more
Existence’s edge the place where I explore

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Peccavimus (we have sinned)

We are incestuous and cannibalistic

We feed off each others posts in a parody of the construction of co-dependency. We feast upon each other in a parody of the Eucharist, and beyond that we indulge in practices which are tantamount to inbreeding.

We don't see ourselves in this tiny fragment of the blogosphere as part of anything much larger than the world as we see. We have not reached Piaget's stage of recognising the permanency of objects metaphorically speaking, and certainly those distant trees are falling and we don't believe they are making any noise.

I have seen far too much amongst our neat little culture here, that assumes that there is no way of believing but ours, we are the Autistic Amish as it were, or worse the Autistic Exclusive Brethren.

Neurodiversity came to us as a concept via someone whom we now regard as apostate, but the idea came not out of autism at all but out of mainstream disability politics (not that it is that mainstream in terms of wider issues either, but we are an enclave in an enclave)

I feel I need to make these criticisms, to force on us the realisation that we are all talking to the wrong people when we talk amongst ourselves (talk as a metaphor for blog/list/NG discourse)

Reading the criticisms of Kam Nazeer today I was struck by the pomposity of our own positioning, in that we are almost issuing Fatwas against our own kind simply because they are like the Hellenistic Jews of the first century (now there's a mixture of religious metaphor for you) absorbed by a culture which would seem to alienate and distract them from what we believe is the proper way to keep a covenant with our autism.

I spent most of my adult years as an Autist in a different culture, not a mainstream one but a generalist disability one and that is where I learnt the most pressingly important things about autism before I even knew about my own autism or anyone else’s to the degree I do now.

There are many autistics out there who are neither pretending to be normal or aware of being part of our Cosa Nostra. I am bloody sure I spotted one today. Some of them are going to be like Kam Nazeer, well placed and successful in the political economy.

We have to realise we are not the only game in town, and to act on that in a sensible way.

It's like David Blunkett, for whatever you think of him as a politician, he has been in the cabinet as a politician not as a blind man and if he were only a blind man with blind mans interests he would never have advanced that far.

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.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

And notwithstanding whatever I was going to write

And notwithstanding whatever I was going to write, this blog is somewhat delayed in appearance as I have only just got back on Broadband after a thunderstorm fried my modem and ADSL connection.

So what was I going to post. that is already old news?

I have been re-elected onto the board of the NAS. I was seriously wondering whether my time was up for that, but I suppose I have the satisfaction of that to moderate this post modern anxiety I feel over having my internet connection cut off.

What does it mean? To me and to others?

Being careful about what I say, to be fair to others, I did not get elected on the board in the first place, the first time I stood. Then I suppose that is natural enough. To be elected in the first place to the board was a relatively minor victory I think, compared to being re-elected. The first time round it established something new, it broke a “glass ceiling” showing that an autistic person could be elected to the board, but I think this second time round, it maybe shows more than that, that an autistic person can be trusted on past performance to carry out the duties and responsibilities that being elected involves. It was not so easy this time, there was more competition. Sadly not from people on the spectrum but there you go, it just shows how much work still lies ahead of me.

I have to admit to attempts at tact and respectability. I might have gone down to my last board meeting in an open necked shirt and shorts, but by the time of the Council meeting I was wearing a suit and tie. Nonetheless any attempt to self muzzle and not have a go at the old enemies, the curebies and the scientists for fear it might jeopardize my chances was doomed to failure,

Well I am pleased with the result, I congratulate the other trustees who either got re-elected or will be joining the board for the first time, I will not have any difficulties working with them or the other way round.

When I first set out to be elected as a trustee I have to admit I did not know what I was letting myself in for and I did not (anymore than I think several other of the new candidates today) knew what we would be letting ourselves in for. You can’t change the world as easily as that because you have to understand the economics and dynamics of an organisation, in the same way that you have to know the MPG of your car when you set out on a journey. You might get in your car at London and want to drive to Scotland, believe that you can, but without realising that petrol has to be paid for and that your tank only holds so much between fill ups, and if you don’t you certainly will not get there.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Being in Control

On reflection I think I can handle a lot of things going on in my life at once so long as I have some idea that I am in control.

Towards the beginning of the year I was very stressed out awaiting the results of my applications to Uni, and more recently with exams coming up, and fitting everything around NAS meetings, getting my DVD completed, presenting a paper in Liverpool and the perennial problems with the Landie.

Well the exams are done with, and Uni is settled and I have been quite able to rush around getting forms filled in, assessments done for Disabled Students Allowance and that sort of thing. I am also resigned to the change in my life that is coming about with leaving the college that has pretty much been the centre of life for so many years.

Even the Landie I am content with at the moment because the work that needs doing has been arranged and some of it is covered by warranty.

No what has put me out now has been a letter I received this morning tell me that on a particular date I am to present at an out of town hospital for day surgery at 7.30 in the morning, with the proviso that if I don’t turn up or let them know if I can’t make it in one day I will lose my place on the waiting list.

Now I have known about the operation coming up for some time, but had no idea that it might not be done in Coventry, and what is more I had been told that the first I would hear would be a call for pre op tests to be done, and this has not happened.

Furthermore the operation was scheduled without regard as to how I could travel to another town for that time in the morning when there are no trains or buses that can get me there that early.

I had a lot of phoning to do this morning to sort that out, not helped by the fact that the wrong number to call had been given on the letter, and that another number I was given put me on call waiting and then told me they were so busy they could not take my call today. Eventually I got through to someone and cancelled.

Now I was not expecting this at this time at all because I have a Cardiologists appointment scheduled for this month and I assumed they would wait until I got the results of that consultation before operating, it makes sense to do that doesn’t it.

I have put in a complaint to the Hospital Trust, about the poor communication that has resulted in this out of the blue, and also about the fact that they are paying no regard to either my AS or my Social situation in any of this. My Social Worker, for once was in today, and he will be writing a letter too.

I need these ops, but I need more certainty to plan around them, this month would not have been a good time, as I want to be able to drive to Autscape and look after myself there and as my Landie is in going in for possibly extensive repairs, being unable to drive would mean I would be unable to get it back from the garage if the repairs were not done in time for the operation.

Hopefully now they will reschedule the op, at a hospital I can get to, and at a time which does not impinge too hard on my new Uni course starting in September, when I also have another conference booked where I am presenting another paper.