Autism

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Autism

Postby randomseb » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:40 pm

Sometimes I wonder: if there were, say, one million years ago, the same kind of medical and psychological sciences as we have now.. Would there ever have been the emergence of "modern human" ? They'd probably have "treated" the deviation from the norm and squashed us, the descendants, at the root. Contemplate that for a while :cheers:

I can't speak about anyone else's experience (despite trying!), as I only have the intellectualism from behind these eyes, but it would appear to be that once I accepted that I just wasn't built the same way as your average joe, and embraced what I was, I was happier then when I was trying to squeeze myself into a social mold as per the usual expectations, which caused more "suffering" than just being what I was. Hence my opinion as to the erroneous response of society's medical profession.. Or perhaps that has been influenced by my readings of other people's accounts that end with the same conclusion heh

Now, as for "past life karma", thanks to PadmaVonSamba for relaying the words of your teacher, it's good to see that the concept of 'karma' that I have been internalizing is on the right track, as opposed to the typical westerner Hollywood concept of karma I started out with :D
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Re: Autism

Postby Angelic Fruitcake » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:57 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Seishin wrote:Going back to the OP's original question, the Pali scriptures say that it is not possible for one to know whether the condition we are born with is the result of previous karma (until we are enlightened). Furthermore, they state that not everything is the result of karma


I asked my teacher (a lama, not a roshi) about this recently. Specifically, I gave him three examples. My son has a disability, my wife is female, and I cannot ride a bike.

Some people would say it is because of negative karma that a person is born with a disability. In some cultures, it is considered unfortunate to be born as a female (I reminded him that I have never regarded the fact that my wife is female as being a problem!) and in some cultures, not being able to ride a bike might be considered as a disability. So, what I posed to him was the idea that how one sees something as a karmic result really depends on a biased point of view.

His reply was that it isn't the disability or gender or anything like that which is the result of karma. How a person deals with their situation is the karma they are working with. So, suppose two people are blind, one of them says, "this isn't going to stop me from becoming the governor of New York" and the other person says, "oh I can never accomplish anything because I can't see", that it is the past thoughts which makes the present situations in a person's life today either positive or negative, and also has an effect on how much they suffer mentally from their present condition and how much this perpetuates future karma.
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Brilliant! :thanks: That really helps my understanding and it makes so much more sense.

As for realizing you're different and accepting it... I realized it when I was 5 or 6 and had no problem with it. Around 10 other people started having a problem with it, which made it a problem for me and something I tried to fight and even deny. After receiving my diagnosis I was confused and upset and relieved. Relieved that I was not a bad person because I fail at human interaction sometimes. Upset because it confirmed that the problem was real. Confused because I didn't know what the implications would be. But ever since then I have accepted myself in a much bigger way, with a lot of help from other people in the same situation. I am now at ease with being odd and don't mind so much if people think I'm odd, which in turn makes me more comfortable around people. So realization and acceptance really go a long way. Next comes action. I'm still on that.
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Re: Autism

Postby randomseb » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:01 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:Brilliant! :thanks: That really helps my understanding and it makes so much more sense.

...


:applause:

I was in my 30's by the time I ever even heard of AS, let alone accepted it, so having to deal with coming to terms with it without the Establishment's assistance probably skewed my perspective strongly in some direction or other!
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:13 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
undefineable wrote:autistic brains have denser local connections and fewer long-distance 'white matter' neurons

I would like to see your data on this.


Thank Dharmata for Google :-P
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:21 am

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:
however, I don't see much compassion or insight in your picture.


Please explain? I don't understand. Maybe we mean different things by sense of self. For me it means not having clear boundaries between yourself and others. It's true for some aspies and not for others.


Since autism prevents the moment-to-moment perception of 'other[s]' -which (I'm led to believe) can even include one's own feelings- the question of boundaries between self and other doesn't seem relevant. You didn't mention anything resembling wisdom or compassion in your picture of 'autistic enlightenment' - These seem unlikely in the relative absence of information on beings (and other phenonmena) in relation to which the autist-being might be wise or compassionate.
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:44 am

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:
Autistics are tacitly seen, especially by themselves, as choosing their condition -the 'path less travelled by'.


I have never heard this opinion expressed before. Of course some people question the validity of the problems and think it's a matter of will-power, but I have never encountered anyone who thinks autism is a choice. Some people with autism try to view their condition in a positive light and say that they would choose it if they started over, but I've never heard or read anything about it in fact being a choice.


I used the word 'tacitly' to imply what I meant, which is that both autism and the various shades of humanity are seen as if they were choices. Your second sentence sums the most positive interpretation I'd give of what I meant; at the other extreme, there are people across the spectrum of life who just don't imagine -in the first place- what they'd prefer or reject about alternative states of being.

Will power, the Buddha explained vividly and forcefully, is never enough to allow beings to 'escape from the effects of karma'. Being happy to live with those effects is something I've progressed with over the years; kudos to all those in the 'lay sangha' and elsewhere who have come to terms with whatever circumstances are fixed for them in this life. Maybe Nietzchean 'amor fati' is a helpful stage for many people to go through on their [spiritual?] path through life, but personally I'd go further, since every 'choice' of karma-determined circumstances is 'dukkha'/unsatisfactory, and most of them -particularly autism- make it hard to avoid harming other beings, whether one sees it as being for their own good (to make them more tolerant or whatever) or not.
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:33 am

Seb wrote:Sometimes I wonder: if there were, say, one million years ago, the same kind of medical and psychological sciences as we have now.. Would there ever have been the emergence of "modern human" ? They'd probably have "treated" the deviation from the norm and squashed us, the descendants, at the root. Contemplate that for a while :cheers:

I can't speak about anyone else's experience (despite trying!), as I only have the intellectualism from behind these eyes, but it would appear to be that once I accepted that I just wasn't built the same way as your average joe, and embraced what I was, I was happier then when I was trying to squeeze myself into a social mold as per the usual expectations, which caused more "suffering" than just being what I was. Hence my opinion as to the erroneous response of society's medical profession.. Or perhaps that has been influenced by my readings of other people's accounts that end with the same conclusion heh

Now, as for "past life karma", thanks to PadmaVonSamba for relaying the words of your teacher, it's good to see that the concept of 'karma' that I have been internalizing is on the right track, as opposed to the typical westerner Hollywood concept of karma I started out with :D


I fully accept that I either inherited or created (more likely both) some serious negative karma in the form of basic aggression. I did my best not to die after having a 3-year-old brain tumour removed recently, as I knew I'd fall into Hell if what makes sense is right. Much as any of us might like to believe 'was du geschlagen - zu Gott wird es dich tragen' (German lyrics by Mahler by the way), I've found more wisdom in this life.

What, then, explains why I was autistic as well as angry by nature in this life? If it wasn't karma, then was it pure chance, as a scientist would say? If so, then why is my temperament determined by karma while the mechanics of my mind aren't?

PadmaVonSamba, your lama's position looks like the reverse of Padmasambhava's(!):

If you want to see your past life, look to your present condition; If you want to see your future life, look to your present actions


Don't forget 'karma' means 'action'. I'm going to sound horribly patronising and so apologise in advance, but if your lama said something like 'karma right now is how you're dealing with your life, whereas the effects of karma is the life you have to deal with' then he meant what Padmasambhava wrote, not what you wrote (which was that the only effects of karma are your present choice of actions).

I can tell I'm no more intelligent than anyone else here, but my autistic mind is atleast good at logical nit-picking at verbal statements; not so good at fine-tuning responses so as not to hurt feelings :( . Similarly, Seishin, in your post:

Seishin wrote:Going back to the OP's original question, the Pali scriptures say that it is not possible for one to know whether the condition we are born with is the result of previous karma (until we are enlightened). Furthermore, they state that not everything is the result of karma;

"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.
"But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its results accordingly — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fruit.html

In otherwords, if everything is the result of previous karma, then there'd be no way to escape our karma and we'd be caught in a vicious circle.

However, I am aware that there are some Pali and Mahayana sutras that say that the conditions we are born with are the result of previous karma. I personally do not believe this is true and prefer the explanation in the above sutra.


, I read the quoted scripture as meaning the opposite to what you thought it meant, i.e. that all actions have karmic effects (albeit variable according to the nature of experience accompanying the action) - rather than that not all actions are determined by karma. I just took the passage at face value rather than interpreting what it mght imply, which is an autistic way of applying intelligence.

In the end, either possibility means the same for us - The three poisons inevitably cause suffering for ourselves as well as for others, while 'kusala' actions including acceptance -and this includes acceptance that a past being that only shared one's mindstream (and not one's current persona) may have unknowingly preformed 'akusala' actions that led to us suffering natural consequences in this life- lead to happiness, giving us the opportunity to win freedom from the illusion of selfhood.
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:46 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Seishin wrote:Going back to the OP's original question, the Pali scriptures say that it is not possible for one to know whether the condition we are born with is the result of previous karma (until we are enlightened). Furthermore, they state that not everything is the result of karma


I asked my teacher (a lama, not a roshi) about this recently. Specifically, I gave him three examples. My son has a disability, my wife is female, and I cannot ride a bike.

Some people would say it is because of negative karma that a person is born with a disability. In some cultures, it is considered unfortunate to be born as a female (I reminded him that I have never regarded the fact that my wife is female as being a problem!) and in some cultures, not being able to ride a bike might be considered as a disability. So, what I posed to him was the idea that how one sees something as a karmic result really depends on a biased point of view.

His reply was that it isn't the disability or gender or anything like that which is the result of karma. How a person deals with their situation is the karma they are working with. So, suppose two people are blind, one of them says, "this isn't going to stop me from becoming the governor of New York" and the other person says, "oh I can never accomplish anything because I can't see", that it is the past thoughts which makes the present situations in a person's life today either positive or negative, and also has an effect on how much they suffer mentally from their present condition and how much this perpetuates future karma.


I guess I've addressed this confusing issue in my last post. Clearly, if there's been a doctrinal misunderstanding here, your lama's gone halfway -which is effectively all the way- towards creating it if he's literally claimed that disability, gender, and so on, are never and not at all the results of a previous being's karma.

But yours and Seb's points stand - It's clearly not unfortunate to be born female if the culture loses all the prejudices that lead to such a claim. In the same way, polar bears would be a good example of an autistic (well, a-social) population that hasn't had to contend with a powerful 'majority' of social beings 'above' them, and no-one would claim that being a polar bear is as unfortunate as being reborn in hell or as a hungry ghost just because its rare attempts at socialising often appear clumsy and immature (see David Attenborough's latest series!)_ _

There comes a point, though, where whatever one thinks about one's condition, the suffering remains. Better use it as fuel on the path rather than deny it??
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Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:09 am

I'm gonna have to re-post my last-but one message, as I was given the option of editing it, but informed I couldn't once I'd finished!

* * * * *

Seb wrote:Now, as for "past life karma", thanks to PadmaVonSamba for relaying the words of your teacher, it's good to see that the concept of 'karma' that I have been internalizing is on the right track, as opposed to the typical westerner Hollywood concept of karma I started out with :D


I fully accept that I either inherited or created (more likely both) some serious negative karma in the form of basic aggression. I did my best not to die after having a 3-year-old brain tumour removed recently, as I knew I'd fall into Hell if what makes sense to me is right. Much as any of us might like to believe 'was du geschlagen - zu Gott wird es dich tragen' (lyrics by Mahler translating as 'what you have beaten will lead you to God'), I've found more wisdom in this life.

What, then, explains why I was autistic as well as angry by nature in this life? If it wasn't karma, then was it pure chance, as a scientist would say? If so, then why is my temperament determined by karma while the mechanics of my mind aren't?

PadmaVonSamba, your lama's position looks like the reverse of Padmasambhava's(!):

If you want to see your past life, look to your present condition; If you want to see your future life, look to your present actions


Don't forget 'karma' means 'action'. I'm going to sound horribly patronising and so apologise in advance, but if your lama said something like 'karma is how you're dealing with your life, whereas the effects of karma is the life you have to deal with' then he meant what Padmasambhava wrote, and probably not what you wrote - Did you mean that the only effects of past karma are your present choices of actions?

I can tell I'm no more intelligent than anyone else here, but my autistic mind is atleast good at logical nit-picking at verbal statements; not so good at fine-tuning responses so as not to hurt feelings :( . Similarly, Seishin, in your post:

Seishin wrote:Going back to the OP's original question, the Pali scriptures say that it is not possible for one to know whether the condition we are born with is the result of previous karma (until we are enlightened). Furthermore, they state that not everything is the result of karma;

"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.
"But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its results accordingly — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fruit.html

In otherwords, if everything is the result of previous karma, then there'd be no way to escape our karma and we'd be caught in a vicious circle.

However, I am aware that there are some Pali and Mahayana sutras that say that the conditions we are born with are the result of previous karma. I personally do not believe this is true and prefer the explanation in the above sutra.


, I read the quoted scripture as meaning the inverse of what you thought it meant, i.e. that all actions have karmic effects (albeit variable according to the nature of experience accompanying the action) - rather than few conditions being determined by karma. I just took the passage at face value rather than interpreting what it mght imply - an autistic way of applying intelligence if I'm not mistaken!

In the end, either possibility means the same for us - The three poisons inevitably cause suffering for ourselves as well as for others, while 'kusala' actions -including acceptance (and this includes acceptance that a past being that only shared one's mindstream, and not one's current persona, may have unknowingly preformed 'akusala' actions that led to us suffering natural consequences in this life)- lead to happiness, giving us the opportunity to win freedom from the illusion of selfhood.
Last edited by undefineable on Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:14 am

undefineable wrote:

What, then, explains why I was autistic as well as angry by nature in this life? If it wasn't karma, then was it pure chance, as a scientist would say? If so, then why is my temperament determined by karma while the mechanics of my mind aren't?

PadmaVonSamba, your lama's position looks like the reverse of Padmasambhava's(!):

If you want to see your past life, look to your present condition; If you want to see your future life, look to your present actions


Don't forget 'karma' means 'action'. I'm going to sound horribly patronising and so apologise in advance, but if your lama said something like 'karma right now is how you're dealing with your life, whereas the effects of karma is the life you have to deal with' then he meant what Padmasambhava wrote, not what you wrote (which was that the only effects of karma are your present choice of actions).


If you were angry by nature then you would be angry all the time.
Please tell me where this reference to Padmasambhava comes from.
Autism has to do with the mechanics (actually, the chemistry) of the brain.
How the mind experiences that chemistry is what is guided by - but not determined by -karma.
If you say you are 'autistic" by nature, then you are asserting the existence of a self.

What you experience today is guided by your previous actions and what you will experience in the future is guided by your present actions. There is no contradiction between what my teacher said and what Padmasambhava says. So there is no need to paraphrase. Karma isn't what may limit your selection of present choices, even though they may be limited.
Karma merely draws you toward some and not others.

All that means is that if you have a diagnosis of something, how you deal with that diagnosis is going to be influenced by previous thought patterns.

But I also see the complications here, because thought patterns are also influenced by brain chemistry, and brain chemistry is physiological, not psychological.

Sometimes it is necessary to "rewire" brain chemistry. I am not talking about any sort of drastic treatment or heavy sedation or anything. This can be done with through a behavioral modification approach. There is clinical evidence to back this up. As a result, many children who are diagnosed early and receive intensive behavioral intervention, by the time they are adults, may communicate with others, hold a job, and make friends. This is a result of 'brain plasticity'. the physical brain changes when certain actions of body, speech and mind are encouraged and other behaviors are not.

Also, from a buddhist viewpoint, there is anecdotal evidence. For example, by consciously generating compassion, practicing patience, generosity, and so on, one rewires one's reflexive response mechanism so that when things suddenly go negative, a person doesn't automatically react in a negative way. Instead of "losing one's head" as they might have before, a person can respond calmly.

Thank you for a very interesting discussion.
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Re: Autism

Postby Angelic Fruitcake » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:30 am

I don't want to say that autistic people are enlightened. I would say that given the uneven cognitive profile we typically have, we're likely to have some stronger and weaker points than the average person. Autistic people are often very different from each other. This was explained to me once with the following simile:
All the areas where autistic people differ from the norm may be seen as volume controls. Sometimes they're turned up too much, sometimes down too much. That's why you can have two autistic people who are basically inverse versions of each other. The commonality lies in which areas that are abnorm.

I can only speak for myself. I'm very verbal, but have problems identifying and naming my feelings. My compassion however, is something I have to tame as well as encourage. From as far back as I can remember I tried to save every living creature from pain, including spiders, snails and bees. I still do actually. I felt so strongly about their suffering that I would block people from killing bugs as a child, and cry when other children stomped on ants. Today I have to avoid watching the news sometimes, because viewing the suffering in the world is so unbearable I lose hope.

Additionally I sometimes absorb other people's emotions. I become so affected by other people's mental states that they actually take over my own.

I don't mean to say that I'm enlightened in any way. But I would like to think that certain skills I have balance out my autistic weaknesses. Unfortunately I'm not middle way at all. My compassion sometimes becomes a problem and so does my inability to read other people's motives. Sometimes I'm too rational to understand people's feelings and sometimes I feel things so strongly I can't even talk.
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:50 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If you were angry by nature then you would be angry all the time.


I meant to write 'by temperament' (i.e. as a 'choleric' type); I agree the basic nature of a being cannot be autism, anger, or any such trait beginning with 'a' :tongue:

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Please tell me where this reference to Padmasambhava comes from.


Again, praise the miracle of Google :thumbsup: - If you want a tip, try typing Padmasambhava "present actions" or similar into the search bar, as I memorised the quote word-for-word! However, maybe you can give me references for your arbitrary view that, from the two factors of a being's mechanics (structure as well as chemistry in the case of autism by the way, the altered brain structure making autism intrinsically incurable) and responses (on every level), only the latter can be connected to karma despite both being mind-brain events - Since we've already agreed that neither can form an essential self, what is the fundamental distinction? I've not read or interpreted it anywhere on or off-line, and -further- have heard of neuroscientific research results which demonstrate a direct link between brain chemistry/structure and the mind's experience of that chemistry/structure. - Google 'dualism' for more on your view, but try TV doc.s/news for the research I mentioned if you can't find it online, as it was there that I heard about it!

PadmaVonSamba wrote:What you experience today is guided by your previous actions and what you will experience in the future is guided by your present actions. There is no contradiction between what my teacher said and what Padmasambhava says. So there is no need to paraphrase. Karma isn't what may limit your selection of present choices, even though they may be limited.
Karma merely draws you toward some and not others.


Agreed, but what is meant by what is said is another ball game :thinking: - If the conditions of the body cannot be determined by the karma of previous lives, then why is your body human and not another animal's, or (as a form/formless-realm god's) absent? Why am I 'me' and not someone else?

Of course, I may be wrong, and it may be worth us all asking different teachers simply what do the words mean?? On the other hand, if it's important on an emotional level for people to believe that the match between their minds and the conditions taken on by their bodies was determined purely by chance, then maybe it's best to carry on regardless. Maybe the words as well as the lineages associated with Buddhist thought suffered from having the literal meaning translated without the intended meaning, and maybe as societies we're too 'het up' about such issues as gender and disability to cope, on an individual level, with much thought about them. However, if we do accept them as likely determined by the karma of previous lives, it's hard to see that karma as being particularly negative given the varied, nuanced and even endearing nature of such groups as autistics :consoling:
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:00 am

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:I don't want to say that autistic people are enlightened. I would say that given the uneven cognitive profile we typically have, we're likely to have some stronger and weaker points than the average person. Autistic people are often very different from each other. This was explained to me once with the following simile:
All the areas where autistic people differ from the norm may be seen as volume controls. Sometimes they're turned up too much, sometimes down too much. That's why you can have two autistic people who are basically inverse versions of each other. The commonality lies in which areas that are abnorm.

I can only speak for myself. I'm very verbal, but have problems identifying and naming my feelings. My compassion however, is something I have to tame as well as encourage. From as far back as I can remember I tried to save every living creature from pain, including spiders, snails and bees. I still do actually. I felt so strongly about their suffering that I would block people from killing bugs as a child, and cry when other children stomped on ants. Today I have to avoid watching the news sometimes, because viewing the suffering in the world is so unbearable I lose hope.

Additionally I sometimes absorb other people's emotions. I become so affected by other people's mental states that they actually take over my own.

I don't mean to say that I'm enlightened in any way. But I would like to think that certain skills I have balance out my autistic weaknesses. Unfortunately I'm not middle way at all. My compassion sometimes becomes a problem and so does my inability to read other people's motives. Sometimes I'm too rational to understand people's feelings and sometimes I feel things so strongly I can't even talk.


I find it interesting that you say "autistic people" rather than "people with autism" because as far as I can tell, so-called "autistic people" are in fact typical people who faces a particular set of challenges, a lot of different kinds of challenges that get lumped together and labeled 'autism". As you say, people with autism vary quite a bit. So this is another reason why perhaps thinking in terms of "autistic people" creates a sort of separate sub-group which doesn't actually occur. Again, I am not saying there aren't people with autism. There are. But what I am saying that there isn't a solitary group that can really be called "autistic people" because what differentiates people with autism or aspergers is the degree to which otherwise typical behavior becomes atypical. For example, lots of people tap a pencil when they are thinking about things. It is a typical stimulatory behavior. But this is different from somebody who is stuck, mentally, tapping a pencil for hours at a time and getting totally absorbed in the mental stimulation it creates.

From a buddhist point of view, I think, saying "autistic people" creates a kind of identity which can actually become a roadblock. That's just my observation. But if you want to use the term, that's fine. You are comfortable with it.

In your situation, it sounds as though your sensitivity to others is what is "tuned way up" while at the same time you may have difficulty reading other people's facial expressions or picking up on how they feel if it is very subtle. This seems like a contradiction, and I would imagine imagine it must feel confusing at times. I can completely relate to what you say about being affected by other peoples mental states. I think this is actually quite common even among people without a diagnosis or label of autism, but perhaps more so for you, and i am sure for others with autism or aspergers.
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:07 am

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:My compassion however, is something I have to tame as well as encourage. From as far back as I can remember I tried to save every living creature from pain, including spiders, snails and bees. I still do actually. I felt so strongly about their suffering that I would block people from killing bugs as a child, and cry when other children stomped on ants. Today I have to avoid watching the news sometimes, because viewing the suffering in the world is so unbearable I lose hope.


I'll guess that your gender may have more to do with this than your autism, though only in the sense that it can be shown to make such empathy more likely (for obvious reasons of childrearing!)

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:Additionally I sometimes absorb other people's emotions. I become so affected by other people's mental states that they actually take over my own.


Perhaps that's the autistic (hyperfocussing) twist-?

Angelic Fruitcake wrote: _ _ my inability to read other people's motives. Sometimes I'm too rational to understand people's feelings and sometimes I feel things so strongly I can't even talk.


:thumbsup:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:27 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:as far as I can tell, so-called "autistic people" are in fact typical people who faces a particular set of challenges


:twothumbsup: - If more than a small minority saw things your way, life would be a lot easier for us auties - as well as for those we met!

PadmaVonSamba wrote:there isn't a solitary group that can really be called "autistic people" because what differentiates people with autism or aspergers is the degree to which otherwise typical behavior becomes atypical.


Yep - Think stars around the edge of a galaxy. However, if you look at what you wrote later, a common thread to autism does come up, namely that the interplay of moment-to-moment events in interactions (that subconscious parallel processing again) are harder to fathom if you're autistic, whereas strong, persistent themes fall straight to the centre of one's mind, suggesting an absence of outer as well as inner layers set up to absorb the shock of the relevant and sift out the irrelevant.

But whatever the issue, it's all mechanics - Extremes of habitat, if you will. I'm sure we'd all be interested to meet a being so genuinely wierd as, for example, to seek suffering and avoid happiness!
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Re: Autism

Postby Angelic Fruitcake » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:36 pm

I call myself autistic as I do not consider my autistic features separate from myself any more than the color of my skin or eyes. I may say I'm white or I'm a person with white skin. Granted, my personality may be easier to start working with than my skin color, but nonetheless.

Actually, the background to my use of the word autistic comes from trying to use my words to work against a particular type of opinion, represented among others by Autism Speaks. They insist on saying their children have autism rather than are autistic, because they consider autism almost a monster or a demon that has overtaken their loved one. Me and many others take offense to that and want to emphasize that this is not our experience. It seems especially important since many of these children cannot speak for themselves and I think it's seriously detrimental to grow up with parents who think you have a demon inside you.

This infomercial was taken down, because too many people took offense, but here's a transcript of how they view autism (the view I try to balance out in my own ittle way):

– man: I am autism. I’m visible in your children, but if I can help it, I am invisible to you until it’s too late. I know where you live, and guess what? I live there too. I hover around all of you. I know no color barrier, no religion, no morality, no currency. I speak your language fluently, and with every voice I take away, I acquire yet another language. I work very quickly. I work faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined. And if you are happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails. Your money will fall into my hands, and I will bankrupt you for my own self-gain. I don’t sleep, so I make sure you don’t either. I will make it virtually impossible for your family to easily attend a temple, a birthday party, a public park, without a struggle, without embarrassment, without pain. You have no cure for me. Your scientists don’t have the resources, and I relish their desperation. Your neighbors are happier to pretend that I don’t exist, of course, until it’s their child. I am autism. I have no interest in right or wrong. I derive great pleasure out of your loneliness. I will fight to take away your hope. I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams. I will make sure that every day you wake up, you will cry, wondering ‘who will take care of my child after I die?’ And the truth is, I am still winning, and you are scared, and you should be. I am autism. You ignored me. That was a mistake.

– woman: And to autism, I say…
– man: I am a father…
– woman: A mother…
– woman: A grandparent…
– man: A brother…
– woman: A sister…
– man: We will spend every waking hour trying to weaken you.
– woman: We don’t need sleep, because we will not rest until you do.
– woman: Family can be much stronger than autism ever anticipated, and we will not be intimidated by you…
– woman: …nor will the love and strength of my community.
– man: I am a parent riding toward you, and you can push me off this horse time and time again, but I will get up, climb back on, and ride on with the message.
– woman: Autism? You forget who we are. You forget who you are dealing with. You forget the spirit of mothers…
– all: …and daughters, and fathers, and sons…
– (crosstalk: several people calling out “We are” and the names of different countries)
– all: We are the United Nations.
– man: We are coming together in all climates.
– woman: We call on all faiths.
– woman: We search with technology…
– woman: …and voodoo…
– woman: …prayer and…
– man: …herbs…
– man: …genetic studies…
– woman: …and a growing awareness you never anticipated.
– man: We have had challenges, but we are the best when overcoming them.
– woman: We speak the only language that matters:
– all: Love for our children.
– woman: Our capacity to love is greater than your capacity to overwhelm.
– woman: Autism is naive.
– woman: You are alone.
– man: We are a community of warriors.
– all: We have a voice.
– woman: You think that because some of our children cannot speak, we cannot hear them. That is autism’s weakness.
– woman: You think that because my child lives behind a wall, I am afraid to knock it down with my bare hands.
– man: You have not properly been introduced to this community…
– all: …of parents and grandparents, of siblings and friends and schoolteachers, therapists, pediatricians, and scientists.
– woman: Autism, if you are not scared, you should be.
– man: When you came for my child, you forgot:
– all: You came for me.
– woman: Autism: Are you listening?

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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:46 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:
Actually, the background to my use of the word autistic comes from trying to use my words to work against a particular type of opinion, represented among others by Autism Speaks. They insist on saying their children have autism rather than are autistic, because they consider autism almost a monster or a demon that has overtaken their loved one.


Yes, I am familiar with autism speaks.
Unfortunately, for many parents this is exactly the experience.
Perhaps you have never encountered that experience, but it is quite common.
For families of people disabled by autism, it is a nightmare for them and for the person who has it.
That is why the emphasis has to be made on disability rather than the label.

I am also familiar with ASAN (Autism Self Advocacy Network) and the concept of neurodiversity.
Advocating a 'self' is not a Buddhist approach.
This is popular among people who are not actually disabled by autism.
But there is no such thing as a separate race of autistic people.
Everybody is neurologically diverse. That is what makes each person a little (or a lot) different.
The claim that some people are neurologically diverse and others are not is nonsense.
For some, that diversity disables them.

For you, some autistic characteristics may present a set of obstacles, other characteristics may help you. I don't know,
but you are able to convey what those things are.
A lot of people with autism cannot express the difficulties of their situation.
They suffer as a result. I think if you are really as sensitive to other people as you say, you would know this.

"autistic" as a word is just something that was made up to describe a series of brain functions that scientists do not understand. Autism Speaks supports scientific research to find out more about brain function.
The more that we know about the neurological causes of autism and aspergers,
the more it will be possible to give people the help they need.
If you don't need help, then it isn't a disability.

But this doesn't mean that what Autism Speaks is doing for people who need help is wrong.
That's like saying "I can take a drink now and then, no problem, therefore treatment for alcoholism is wrong",
and then using the label 'alcoholic' for everybody who ever drinks alcohol.

When we attach our constantly-changing condition to labels and say "I am autistic' or "I am Buddhistic or whatever,this only reinforces the concept of an existent self. And then any sense of compassion or wisdom one may experience merely becomes a byproduct of that ego-fixation.
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Re: Autism

Postby Angelic Fruitcake » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:27 pm

I know how difficult autistic children can be, as my son also has autism. I also have friends whose families have suffered immensely as a result of their childrens disabilities. Believe me, I do not glamourize autism, but I cannot see it as a positive thing when children are told that a part of them is an unacceptable monster that destroys their family. Because for many people, that is the message they receive. I am happy there are support systems out there, I'm happy to have been part of them. But as far as Autism Speaks goes, they seem very focused on their own suffering, rather than the suffering of their autistic children. So they are in fact a voice for parents, not for the individuals who have autism. I guess I would like to see strong advocacy for the appreciation of the suffering autism creates for the autistic individual, not just about the burden they become for their families.

I don't think autistic people are a different race any more than I think gay people, dyslexics or blind people are a different race. But we perceive the world in a different way and face other obstacles. But just as a blind person sometimes has super-sensitive hearing, some autistic individuals have strengths that are unusual among other folks.

Autistic people are people too. And autistic children are children too, not little vessels for the autism-monster.
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:44 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:I call myself autistic as I do not consider my autistic features separate from myself any more than the color of my skin or eyes. I may say I'm white or I'm a person with white skin. Granted, my personality may be easier to start working with than my skin color, but nonetheless.

Actually, the background to my use of the word autistic comes from trying to use my words to work against a particular type of opinion, represented among others by Autism Speaks.


Ironically, it is precisely the labeling of people as 'autistics" which perpetuates the notion that people with autism are somehow intrinsically different from everyone else, and which subjugates them to the type of misunderstanding you speak of.

You wouldn't say that having lighter or darker skin color makes you intrinsically different from anyone else. Likewise, having extreme variations in neurological brain activity doesn't make a person intrinsically different from anyone else. When you say "my autistic features" aren't you really talking about things that everyone has, except happening at an extreme level?
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:52 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote: So they are in fact a voice for parents, not for the individuals who have autism. I guess I would like to see strong advocacy for the appreciation of the suffering autism creates for the autistic individual, not just about the burden they become for their families.


Yes, I can see where a person could get that impression from that film (I've seen it too). I think its purpose was to highlight the real problems that autism pose for families, because this is an aspect they felt was not understood, and is often denied, even by the families who are affected. But to be fair, "oh what a burden on the family" is not Autism Speaks' main concern,
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