Tag Archives: autism

Searching for an Impossible Bunny-Rabbit

Life is the search for your impossible bunny-rabbit. When I was young I couldn’t go anywhere without having my bunny-rabbit. I could stand not touching it for a while. I could not stand not knowing I could touch it when I wanted to. Not even for the smallest while. My bunny-rabbit was my anchor of tangible trust. Melt-down was always just one moment away: the moment of realizing bunny-rabbit’s absence. Wa-hoo!. My little life filled to the brim with people worrying about bunny-rabbit’s presence was a life in which trust always loomed large.

Lucky me.

Everybody will have had their bunny-rabbit but not everybody will have been quite so attached to it. Some, so I fear, will have been called weak. SHOUTING: “Grow up (or worse: “a pair”)! It is just a bunny-rabbit.” They’re the people who do not understand how a bunny-rabbit is not just a bunny-rabbit. A bunny-rabbit is a tangible, tactile – yes tacky too – reminder others have your back. You can run around leaving bunny-rabbit out of sight, but others will keep it in sight and when – Wa! – before the – hoo! – they will be there with your bunny-rabbit.

Strength is made of joining weaknesses. On that I’ll say no more.

A little explorer explores knowing its back will be had. Bunny-rabbit is the stuffed stuff whereof any exploring is made full stop You do not have to be autistic to realize this. Change requires constancy, otherwise it is chaos. When people shout STRENGTH they have forgotten their bunny-rabbit. They have been dulled into flexibility – FLEXIBILITY FOR INDIVIDUAL SURVIVAL. A word fittingly foregrounding an f ( F. it). Flitting from one fleeting certainty to another. Dull no depth. Life without a bunny-rabbit is not worth living. Even if your life’s worth is so much more $-wise, €-wise, £-wise it is only so clockwise i.e. unwise.

My bunny-rabbit is no longer a bunny-rabbit. On this I’ll need to say more.

Bunny-rabbits wear and tear. Mine lost an ear was stitched barely a multi-colored rag no eyes. I grew out of it. Some would say. Nothing of the kind. My bunny-rabbit told me to to find another bunny-rabbit. Bunny-rabbits have open minds. Anything can be a bunny-rabbit as long as it is a tangible, tactile (yes, tacky too) reminder of others having your back. So you can go out and explore. Letting go of a bunny-rabbit to find another is like the swinging of Tarzan through the forest from one bunny-rabbit to the next, but always having a bunny-rabbit in sight.

Wa-hoo! Ya-hoo! etc. & so forth. That’s life.

The process of moving from bunny-rabbit to bunny-rabbit always knowing some will have your back (this – by the way – is knowledge productive of creating bunny-rabbits for others; bunny-rabbits breed like hell; there is nothing Darwin would marvel at more than the fitness of bunny-rabbits created out of the non-competition of cooperatively having another’s back) is life. Leaving one bunny-rabbit for another bunny-rabbit is exploring a never ending finding passage through where no passage was before. Aporia Socrates would say knowing well, well, knowing, it takes at least two to do a bunny-rabbit tango passing to where no one had passed before.

Life is searching for an impossible bunny-rabbit.

When I was sixteen (many, many bunny-rabbits after my first bunny-rabbit my then bunny-rabbit being a Mr. S. Kierkegaard or other K., readers go through bunny-rabbits faster than anyone else so thank god they breed like hell also by way of books) I realized, without knowing, that I needed what I considered to be the ultimate bunny-rabbit: other people who were not yet bunny-rabbit back-havers. So I passed, painfully, from a solitary confinement to an obsession with all things social. Which I mastered.

So: Ya-hoo! you think, but, No: now I am at Wa-hoo! again. Here’s why.

Now I am a solitary person who cannot stand being alone. The ultimate bunny-rabbit is an impossible bunny-rabbit. And this is, essentially, what bunny-rabbits are if you really, really, really like your bunny-rabbit. They give you the confidence to move on until there is no moving on. There’s no point whatsoever in bunny-rabbits if you don’t move on but, moving on, there comes a time when it becomes a stretch to remain in tactile touch – a time when your bunny-rabbit is no longer tangible enough. It is that point at which you are no longer tacky too. A grown-up realizing that all this talk of bunny-rabbits is not like proper punctuation is something which can go on indefinitely.

Wa-hoo! I do not want to grow up.

And that kind of sums it up. I almost feel like I have outgrown bunny-rabbits. That there is no further bunny-rabbit to search for. That the gap between the present and the next bunny-rabbit is too wide for a Tarzan too jump – certainly when that Tarzan is too tired for having tried to jump already many bunny-rabbits beyond a point where he felt somebody could still have his back. Too far in fact to bother those still having his back, as they after all should not become mere bunny-rabbits themselves.

So – just wish me the strength to go for one more bunny-rabbit but make the wish strong enough for it to be a really impossible bunny-rabbit which keeps me busy for a while so I can have the back of those who count on me still.

A Last Post

I need to retire this blog. It was started by an engineer would-be philosopher. Now, I am a philosopher would-not-be engineer. The original process was simple: I took a quote, to then think a thought. This (fragment of a) poem by Antonio Machado exemplifies what it was that drove me to create this blog,:

Oh solitude, my only companion,
Oh you muse of wonder, that gave my voice the word –
even if I never asked you for it!, answer
this my question: to whom is it that I speak?

It was the longing to be heard that drove me – after so many years of talking to myself – to put my thoughts – upon reading that what nobody else I knew read – on this here blog. It did not solve a peculiar predicament of mine: loving dearly only those who do not share my obsession with philosophy whilst being so obsessed with philosophy that not sharing my thoughts on it stood in the way of loving them dearly. That said, it was the necessary first step towards, however precariously, solving my peculiar predicament.

Albeit I do not know to whom I am speaking, I know that I am not just speaking to myself so I may well take this last post to tell the story of (solving) this my peculiar predicament.

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a BwN on Pee 178-189 of a1000Pees

Can a Brain without Neurons do a Pee? Well, let’s just see.

“From the viewpoint of racism, there is no exterior, there are no people on the outside. There are only people who should be like us and whose crime it is not to be. (..) Racism never detects the particles of the other; it propagates waves of sameness – until those who resist identification have been wiped out. ” Deleuze & Guattari, 1000 Plateaus, p. 178 (my emphasis).

The idea of racism is that there should be a blank canvas. That we should get back to our innocent starting point. That there is no singularity. It is no coincidence that the language of physics creeps in. Classical physics is racist. If it posits particles, it posits them as being essentially identical. If it posits waves, it posits them as equalizers. God is an equalizer as before him we are all the same.

Ableism, as a strong desire everybody should be healthy, is an equalizer. It wants to bring all of us back to a state of health. A state where we have all of our capabilities. What can we learn from physics here? That experiment renders reduction to determinism absurd. Every phenomenon is a singularity. Both particle and wave. Irreversibly generating what was neither started by nor attracted to God.

Let’s follow Deleuze & Guattari from the white canvas to the a black hole. And, liberated from the the, let’s follow it to a plurality of black holes. In this case concretely to autism, ADHD and Tourette’s.

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Autism and Euthanasia, an unpopular opinion

Being different always results in spending more energy. Sara Ahmed explains this well in her “Living a Feminist Life”. Either you spend energy to ‘pass’ despite your difference, or you assert your difference and spend energy in explaining why you don’t just try to pass. Difference is an exhausting if inexhaustible way of getting into Catch-22 situations. What do you do when you can do no more and not doing anything is simply not an option? Not doing anything, for those who need reminding, is not an option because you are different and being different isn’t something you can shake off. It’s not peripheral to who you are. It is (an integral part of) who you are.

In matters of end of life one is often counseled to be patient or one becomes a patient. A Catch-22 in its own right. Either, so you are told, you are just exhausted and need to give yourself a rest or you are deemed too exhausted to give it a rest such that others need to intervene on your behalf. in the first case you are not really you. In the second case you are not a real you at all. But what if, with Ahmed, we neither want to be patient nor want to be a patient? Not being you, for those who need reminding, just isn’t an option as you are different. It being exhausting is not something you can shake off. It is not peripheral. You’d rather be dead then deny that you are (a) you.

Shit happens:

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What do we say when we say ‘she couldn’t have done otherwise’? Does science tell us she could only do as she had done? Or does conscience tell us that, in her position, we would, probably, have done the same? It is a question that fascinated philosophers for a simple reason: it fascinates all of us and fascinates us all the time. It is a question whose upside is that she can go on with clear conscience and whose downside is science treats her, and therefore us, as believing in the quasi-religious myth of conscience. In the latter case, as I will argue, we are captive to the quasi-religious myth of con-science; science as a con act, or, in French, science as practiced by ‘un con‘. The former case teaches us something very interesting about science: it is something that we do together, something that’s intimately linked to conscience.

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On ‘not seeming’ autistic

Some people say it and others I just see thinking it: “You don’t seem autistic.” It is mostly meant as a compliment but it is one with a jagged edge. The thing to keep in mind is that being different has, always, this in-built tension between not wanting to be defined by it and inevitably being defined by it. In the case of autism the Catch-22 reads this way: “I’d be insane if I accepted to be autistic but, if I’m sane, I have to accept I’m not autistic.”

So I’ve spent months being strong in order not to divert the attention of others to the way I’m feeling (or not feeling, to be more exact). I’m pretty proud of that because I was there when I was needed. It was tiring though. Whilst the gap between the world and me was, at least seemingly, small the internal chasm grew bigger all the time. Ultimately it, again, swallowed me in a vortex of alienation that left me literally lost. I am a lucky bastard and the people whose back I had when they needed me had mine when I needed theirs. But it is not a given that this is the case which is why I feel the need to explain myself.

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Too red or not too red

We try to capture difference. It provides us a sense of certainty in a world of uncertainty. But, as the world is one of uncertainty, our attempts at classifying always wind up killing something of value. So here I am, at a loss because caught up in a need to capture what is different about people with Tourette.

This will probably all sound terribly self-absorbed. The truth is, I think, that one can only appreciate difference if one is open to what is shared. It seems that the one thing to keep in mind is that we are all human and thus, in a sense, the same. Difference and sameness are anything but opposed. In trying to understand those who are different we are asking who we truly are. My struggle therefore (at least also) is to understand myself, faced with a difference which seems so categorical it cannot be bridged.

So this is an attempt to see the red in me in order to be able to see what people see as too red in others or in themselves. Here goes: attempt one in a series that can never end.

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The Charitable Gene, NeuroDiversity and Climate Change

We went viral from the outset. There seemed to be no end to our reproduction. Ever new forms of us emerged. We were having a blast. The world was soon filled with a thin layer of organisms based on us. They started to bump into each other. Suddenly this became a gene-eat-gene world. You’d call it natural selection. We experienced it as stress. It hit us: our perfection was going to be the end of us. This was not going to last. Wanting to have it all would wind up being the death of us. But: wasn’t it already too late? And: shouldn’t we just enjoy it while it lasted? We couldn’t reach consensus. Our reproductive strength was also our weakness so some of us decided to turn that weakness back into productive strength: we would diversify (as we’re condemned to do anyway by the principles of our vitality).

This is the story of these charitable genes’ last ditch effort to save the world even if a lack of self-satisfaction might require some self-sacrifice.

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Strangers amongst us

We struggle with strangeness. Whether we fear who’s different or merely fear those who fear the different differently from us, home’s where our differences largely go unnoticed. It struck me how self-evident it has become to see public announcements, on a hurricane for instance, accompanied by somebody translating them into sign language. It’s difficult not to see this as progress; therefore difficult to see it as anything but self-evident. But it’s not self-evident. It’s the outcome of a struggle by strangers incapable of hearing and once discarded by society and probably labeled “deaf and dumb”. Well, it is their struggle and that of caring people who provided an understanding home to them in which they could be understood and, hence, come to their own understanding. How did they realize such a remarkable feat making acceptance of deaf people into something “so general as to make it unthinkable to see it as someone’s original idea”? The latter is Kafka’s description of that immediate insight which, once made, seems to become so entrenched in custom it is like it could not have been otherwise. Wittgenstein would probably say it becomes part of the grammar of deafness that it is a difference that ought to be accommodated. Still, however self-evident it may seem now it was anything but self-evident not so very long ago.

How can that be? What can we learn from it?

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Autism: beyond the Catch-22

My research starts from a tension between a disorder view of autism, as codified in DSM-5 , and a positive identity view of it, as advocated by the neurodiversity movement . In the DSM-5, autism is defined behaviorally and at the same time coupled to an innate developmental disorder. For a diagnosis additionally the criterion of dysfunctioning has to be met. From the autistic point of view (specifically in cases, like mine, of being diagnosed with autism as an adult) this means getting entangled in a moral dilemma, in the Catch-22 mentioned above: “If I accept to be autistic I am considered crazy, but if I do not accept to be autistic I go crazy.” I argued that going beyond this Catch-22 requires taking into account the ethical dimension when trying to answer theoretical questions as to ‘what autism is’.

Below is a short (well, 1000 words) English summary of my Master’s thesis in Philosophy, the full summary can be found here and a summary in Dutch is published here.

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