Friday, December 25, 2009

I have never been officially diagnosed with autism. Recently, I have gone through various traits of HFA individuals vs. Asperger's, and I believe that I may actually be a high functioning autistic rather than an aspie. There are numerous reasons for this, which are beyond the scope of this entry.

This post, oddly enough, can be considered somewhat political, what with the current issue of universal health care.

I found out after I had self-diagnosed myself with autism that I had been suspected of it at a young age. I was only two or three at the time, but my parents immediately inquired as to what it would take to diagnose me. They discovered that their insurance would not cover testing. My dad said, as my mother told me, that it didn't matter. He didn't approve of what he saw as the over-diagnosis of autism.

And so I went for 20 years without knowing I was autistic. I went 20 years without someone telling me every day that the way I was born was wrong. That the way I was was worthless and I needed to work against my nature to be worthwhile to the world. I went for 20 years with pride in myself, and when I learned I had autism, pride in my autism as well. If I had been diagnosed as autistic all those years ago, I may not have the confidence I do now. So many people seem to think that it would be such a horrible thing if an autistic were to go without social training. How do you explain me? Yes, I was ostracized as a child, and I didn't know why. No, I don't think it was a horrible thing. I don't think that the ostracism (out of ignorance) outweighs the fact that I've grown up without being constantly told that the way I was was wrong. Kids told me that, but what do kids know? My parents were very clear that the way I was wasn't wrong. Despite what parents think, their kids trust them, especially at a young age, much more than their friends.

Here is a story, attributed to Taoism, that says something about that:

A farmer named Sai Weng owned a beautiful mare which was praised far and wide. One day this beautiful horse disappeared. The people of his village offered sympathy to Sai Weng for his great misfortune. Sai Weng said simply, "Who can say what is good or bad?"

A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated Sai Weng for his good fortune. He said, "Who can say what is good or bad?"

Some time later, Sai Weng's only son, while breaking in the stallion, fell off and broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at Sai Weng's misfortune. Sai Weng again said, "Who can say what is good or bad?"

Soon thereafter, war broke out and all the young men of the village except Sai Weng's lame son were drafted and were killed in battle. The village people were amazed as Sai Weng's good luck. His son was the only young man left alive in the village. But Sai Weng kept his same attitude: despite all the turmoil, gains and losses, he gave the same reply, "Who can say what is good or bad?"

The version of this story I originally heard merely had them drafted. Still, the point is the same: You have limited perspective. You cannot know the ultimate consequence of any particular event. You may not even live long enough to see any significant consequence, and often times when we do, we do not connect it to the event.

I remember an episode of Scrubs I watched where a young girl was stabbed, and Laverne said that there was a reason for it, and they'd see it. It turns out that she had a tumor that they never would have caught if she hadn't been stabbed. In reality, we are never shown the ultimate consequence of an event simply because the ultimate consequence of any event is carried to the end of human existance.

There is a Cracked article on this sort of thing entitled "5 Great Things You Didn't Know Came from Horrific Tragedies".

I would like to make one final statement: The thing that must be understood about the Tao is that it is not necessarily good or bad, and thus, unlike Laverne, I believe that the ultimate consequence of an event can be good or bad.


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