Tuesday, 26 February 2013

How To Imagination

The philosophical roots of Empiricism as explained by John Locke is believed to be the first detailed theory of mind in western civilisation. Autistics are said to lack the theory of mind that is supposedly instinctive and develops normally among other people when they interact with others over time. I have to wonder about the origins of that notion considering how much it relies on ignoring Locke's arguments or assuming them to be wrong without addressing them. To Locke, the mind was a blank slate to begin with and what defines sentient conciousness is direct experience and nothing else. The obvious challenge someone can make is the behaviour of animals: migration patterns, play, inter-generational themes which offspring have never been shown by their parents or even met their parents, like turtles returning to the same beach to lay eggs or die as where they were born. They lack any direct experience of any of these, they do them because it's in their nature.

So it must be true for humans as well, but you can always identify a dogma or a fraud by the earnestness with which it asserts it's virtue as 'human nature'. The whole point of being human is that we have the choice to not entirely do what feels right or commit with certitude to something that is counter-intuitive. That is the closest I could imagine what human nature actually is and even then I can't be certain it isn't self-serving: an extremity of this trait is precisely what in my mind defines Autism. There's no way of saying that without it being a refutation of the idea that Autistics lack theory of mind, so I guess it is. Locke postulated that the blank slate meant 'man in nature' was the default and to be with people they had to agree to a social contract, creating a society that its members consented to join. Every connection makes me feel anxious, not safe. I feel very restricted and need the rituals I engage in to cope. Unable to seek the direct experience that would shape me into the person I'd rather be, I'm left having to manage with what is most readily available and it is no coincidence that Autistics began asserting their right to meaningful participation in Autism organisations following the advent of the world wide web. Direct experiences had suddenly gone from narrow and mostly controlled by others, to being very large, but still ultimately controlled by others. Progress of a kind but I'm still left in the same pattern of behaviour- I absorb what I see, it filters through and then I output it somewhere.

At the support group, I drew something I'd seen online. It was this.


Mine was with rubbish stick-men and was even more amateurish. It's an internet viral called 'troll science' for the obvious reason that every strip(made by many anonymous people using MS Paint) is an intentionally exaggerated misunderstanding of physics. Having had positive feedback though, I drew another but this time it was my own idea. It didn't stay with troll science for long though, branching out into lots of different subjects. The one thing I did keep was from this one panel beginning with 'find a bro' which I thought to be memorable. The rest was my imagination, which if John Locke was right is also nothing more than a lot of stuff borrowed from other experiences.

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