Monday, November 17, 2014

Autism Spectrum and Seinfeld

In September I reported new research from neuroscientists at the University of Toronto and Case Western Reserve University related to the brain and the autism spectrum. Imagine my delight when I heard an interview with Seinfeld that mentioned autism. The interview was reported on many sites, Huffington Post being one of them. Seinfeld mentioned he thought his brain was likely somewhere on the autism spectrum and described it as just an "alternate mindset." Another time he reportedly said it was just "another way of thinking." Brilliant! Naturally, people only know their own brain, and there is a great tendency to stereotype what has come to be the preferred way of thinking--your own will likely fall into that box--and other ways of thinking tend to be perceived as disordered. Education typically teaches to the stereotype; business hires to the stereotype; parents raise children to the stereotype. Those that fall outside the stereotype are often marginalized if not outright ostracized, bullied, punished, or you name it. And yet the world loves those "outside-the-stereotype" brains, especially comedic brains that share so much laughter as they bring to the listener's attention a perspective hitherto never perceived in exactly that same way before.  I so agree with Seinfeld. The autism spectrum brains do exhibit "another way of thinking." It is only "bad" if compared against the stereotype. It is often "great" when compared against itself and what that brain offers to the world. In this, the age of the brain, my brain's opinion is that it is high time people started looking at what different brains can offer rather than whether or not they match the age-old stereotype...

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