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Friday, March 20, 2015

Our Evolution

Literal: A jewel cannot be hidden for long

(A person or thing with special skills, talents or qualities is like a bright jewel, and cannot be hidden for long. One day these virtues will be seen by everyone).

I have a theory that I've been forming for a long time. It is completely based on supposition and I would never have any capacity to really research it, but I think about it often. I will try to explain it here and it may end up being interesting. And it may end up going in circles, as my mind tends to do.

A look at the rules and confines of our society would easily prove that we are very limited in what we will accept or acknowledge from others. If someone says they are clairvoyant, many will think they are a liar. It is quickly dismissed. But I always then ask why these people cannot be clairvoyant? If I am sitting in the cafeteria at work having a discussion with friends and someone says that an Olympian broke a men's long jump record and went 9 meters, my first reaction would be to ask, "How far is that in feet?" But what if, after being told that was nearly 30 feet I denied that it was possible? What if I countered by telling my friends that it is impossible for someone to jump that far, because I can't do it? I would be an ass.

We have a lot of those types of limitations in society. But I can be shown a video and then understand that, apparently, other people can jump farther than I can. Why can't we then accept that maybe other people have gifts that we don't have that can't be proved? No offense to some people but the existence of God is an idea that is generally accepted and no one can prove that. But it is acceptable in almost any circle of our society to talk about God as a matter of fact and not be dismissed. You will rarely find that kind of acceptance for ideas like telepathy, clairvoyance or astral projection. The people who tell us that they experience these phenomena are usually quickly ostracized and ignored. Society has conditioned itself to think this way because the majority of people do not have these abilities. It is frightening to imagine another human being having so much power, because that is what it would be. We accept other types of power that many of us lack, however. We allow people to have physical power or financial or even spiritual power. But most people will not accept that someone can have a special ability that would allow them to see the world in a way that is in complete contradiction to their own. But the majority of people couldn't jump half the length of the current world record holders, and we accept that others can.

Likewise there are very strict ideas in our culture about intelligence that are limiting, I think. We surely need a way to test for intelligence and determine ones capacity to learn to make sure that information is being received and understood or applied properly in a learning environment, but the way we are expected to think is very narrow. Most things we are given as facts. It used to be a fact that the world was flat. Until it wasn't. Because humans are inherently arrogant, I wonder how many truths we miss finding because we have already settled on them and never questioned ourselves again.

Personally, I have always struggled in math. To this day, when I am figuring out some things my brain takes a path that is natural for me and foreign for others. It exhausted teachers because it was not the correct way to do it. Never mind the fact that the answer was right. If I were given a problem, say, where I needed to determine 30% of 250, I would first analyze the easiest route which is that 200 is 2 100s, then I would do the math first for 100 where 30% is 30. There are 2 100s in 200 so I double the 30 for 60. For the 50, I would take half of my 30, which is 15 and add that to 60 to get 75. That was too many steps. I had a teacher in 8th grade who would get frustrated that I didn't do it the way he taught me. But the way he tried to teach me didn't make sense to me and he refused to allow me to get there my way. Incidentally, 8th grade was the last time I believed I could do math. Thanks, Dude.

So we all receive and process information differently. If our society deems only a single way to comprehend data as valid, what are we missing out on? What brilliant minds are out there thinking about incredible ideas that we have labeled with something considered negative and told them that they are wrong? Then what of people with autism? Studies of prodigies have found connections to higher functioning (I hate that classification and am sorry to use it here, honestly) autistic people as having had a much higher number of family members with similar diagnoses than those of Americans at large. So these genuinely gifted and brilliant people have an actual trait in their families where autism is found. But most of our autistic children are deemed "special needs," which in our society is a negative. It then becomes necessary to train them to conform to our world. That structure would be counterproductive if we were trying to appreciate their differences and learn from them.

It seems to me that if a group of people are put into a single box and then you let a handful out and say they are high-functioning you lose out on discovering what the differences are in the way that those left behind think. Maybe they have something brilliant to teach us but we are too busy painting them with a broad brush and ignoring their minds where we could learn from them. Maybe it is our responsibility to find a new way to communicate to them so we can not only learn from them, but help to relieve the anxiety they must suffer from while being so incredibly misunderstood.

We are very comfortable being sure of our own superiority. Maybe we are inferior. Maybe there are groups of people who have evolved or are evolving and we refuse to see their gifts. Many would think it absurd to attempt to learn from those with autism or would dismiss the idea that a person can help you communicate with a loved one who has passed. I am certain that, because of our arrogance, the human race misses out on a lot of opportunities for growth. And that is, ultimately, where we miss out on a lot of beauty.

***I hope that no parent or loved one of a person with autism reads this and finds offense. I do not discount anyone's experiences or frustrations. I am speaking in generalities and wishing we could all embrace those who are different and believe that we could learn from them and grow from trying to find value in all things that we presently don't understand.***

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