Tag Archives: Books

Reading Neurotribes

I just finished reading Neurotribes, and found it impressive, inspiring, and depressing. I should know better than to be depressed by it, because I already knew that the history of progress in understanding the mind is a black pit of shams, scams, and baseless theories. Psychology, as a whole, is the least scientific of the sciences, and it’s unfortunately true that most attempts to quantify it with legitimate standard scientific methods have been doomed to failure.

The human mind is not quantifiable, and it’s the insistence that it is, that has prevented the “experts” from granting any legitimacy to the reports of actual experiences of real people. Of course, autism isn’t the only topic that suffers from the blinkered view of science that devalues mere “anecdotal” evidence. Nevertheless, there are areas of enlightenment, and the light is slowly beginning to shine on autism. It will continue to be a fight, of course, but there is going to come a time when the last six or so decades will be seen as typical of any period when entirely new concepts are trying to make their way through the morass of ignorance and biases.

March 10 Odds and Ends

I do these odds and ends posts on my writing blog every so often, but this is the first for Disorderly Minds. So don’t expect a long ramble on one topic today. I’m not always that organized, cognitively, and there are always bits and pieces of the world floating around that don’t require a great deal of attention.

Such as what I’m currently reading. It’s usually two or three books at a time — one or two nonfiction, and one kick back and relax fiction. Or a reread of a novel I love but haven’t read in quite a while.

The aspie-applicable one I’m digging into right now is Neurotribes. Yes, I know it’s been out for quite some time. I’m always behind (behind a pile of books waiting to be read), and I don’t normally buy books when they’re brand-new. I want to see how well they age, but cost is also a big factor. I’d prefer to own an ebook version of a monster like Neurotribes, but the budget said no way, so I have a nearly-new used print copy. I’m being slowed down a bit by the need to keep shifting my support for this doorstop, in spite of sharing half my lap with a cat. Is that a unique reason or not, for taking longer than normal to get through a book?

The book is well-written, engaging, and does a great job of covering the history of autism. Lots of stuff I didn’t know about, lots to think about. I’m only about 200 pages in so I haven’t hit anything that I vaguely remember some reviewers objecting to.

I’ve been reading a lot of aspie blog posts, and keep running across things that annoy the hell out of me. One of them is the way that too many aspies attribute some of their personal traits to autism when they aren’t. Being on the spectrum doesn’t make you spiritual, or give you a deep relationship with nature, or any other qualities that some people seem to require as ways to distinguish themselves from those “other” people. It’s awfully easy to identify so strongly with autism that you forget you’re human in most ways.

The other thing that’s increasingly pissing me off is the acceptance of medical terminology that frames everything in terms of diagnoses and disabilities. Maybe one of these days I’ll start collecting them and breaking them down into normal language. Just for now, I have to ask if a special interest is a normal interest if it’s pursued by someone not on the spectrum.