Aspie Evolution

framed-evolution

I think of a lot of strange things. It comes with the territory of having Aspergers. My mind gets bored and begins to explore ideas that I find interesting . Sometimes inspiration can come from my environment, however most of the time my idea-selection process is fairly random. I fall back on an idea I’ve explored before and found to be thought provoking and think about it in different ways.

WWL24%20005

For example: Where in my neighborhood would I hide a body if I needed to?

One subject I find myself returning to is the concept of evolution, and where the human race is headed. I look at it from many different angles. My favorite is looking at the types of traits and behaviors that humans have not grown past in evolutionary terms – the human race seems to be falling behind the changing world. Human bodies are still built to function in a herd society, both metabolically and socially. As a species, we are still adapting to a world where the gathering of food is as easy as a trip to you local supermarket. Events happen so fast that we often don’t have enough time to react before the next event. The world is moving ahead while the human race is falling behind.

 losing-the-race

Hey, wait up! I’m still working on opposable thumbs!

Or is it?

The more I think about it, the more I start to believe that Aspergers could very well be a part of the natural evolutionary progression of the human race. Think about what life was like for humans back in caveman times. Social skills were a survival necessity; if you ended up as an outcase, you would either die of starvation or exposure. Those humans that were able to get along together and pool their resources thrived in this society. Aspergers would have been a death sentence back then.

 caveman-walk-away

Ok, guys, I guess I’ll just be over here dodging lion attacks.

In the modern world, things have changed dramatically. Smartphones allow interaction without face-to-face contact; with the growing use of texting, the basic concept of speaking is starting to become unnecessary. Almost anything can be purchased over the internet and delivered to your doorstep, even groceries (thanks to services such as Peapod). The value of physical and social skills has shrunk compared to science and math skills, fields that often require intense concentration and dedication. This is a world where Aspies not only survive, but they have the opportunity to thrive.

Perhaps we shouldn’t look at Aspergers as a disability, and instead consider it a victory for Darwinism.

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Posted on May 25, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I disagree.

    As a species, we are still adapting to a world where the gathering of food is as easy as a trip to you local supermarket.

    That is just on the consumer side, and only if you have money to buy the food. To earn money, you need a job. To get and keep a job (and be able to stand it), you usually need to be able to function socially in a workplace and master wokplace politics plus cope with a multitude of sensory stress factors that bother no one else. Employment is our times hunting/gathering and it tends to be a major obstacle for aspies, although some find ways to make it work, either in a workplace or through self-employment.

    And on the production side, to create the supermarket and keep it running there is a complex and comprehensive network of workplaces, loosely connected through trade. The production, logistics and trading of the huge volume & variety of goods require a multitude of skills comprising both advanced social coordination and sophisticated technical thinking in each of the workplaces.

    The same goes for online shopping. I guess you can say that the ‘herd hunter/gather soceity’ has been replaced by the ‘herd workplace society’.

    Also, if ‘Asperger’s would have been a death sentence’ in ancient times, why does it exist now – how did the genes survive? Just in regard to the evolutionary logic of the argument.

  2. This does have some merit:

    In the modern world, things have changed dramatically. Smartphones allow interaction without face-to-face contact; with the growing use of texting, the basic concept of speaking is starting to become unnecessary. Almost anything can be purchased over the internet and delivered to your doorstep, even groceries (thanks to services such as Peapod). The value of physical and social skills has shrunk compared to science and math skills, fields that often require intense concentration and dedication. This is a world where Aspies not only survive, but they have the opportunity to thrive.

    I do think that the rising demand for highly specialised engineering/systems skills and electronic communication forms explains some of the often claimed increase in the number of autistics (I think diagnosis and awareness explains most if not all the rest) for the reasons you explain and more. The modern society gives opportunity to bypass some of the most stressing social demands and reach opportunity and information anyway, it gives instant access to astronomic amounts of information, it demands a ‘native’ relation with technology, it gives inventive engineers with patchy social skills opportunity to connect with people and resources anyway, e.t.c. Overall, people with typical aspie-like features, abilities and weaknesses (not necessarily Asperger’s Syndrome) are more likely to succeed and connect with others and, I extrapolate, be seen as well functioning and have families and kids et.c. which I think does explain some of the apparently rising numbers.

    However, Asperger’s in itself is clearly a handicap. Succeeding with it based on its strengths does require one to work hard to manage & improve the deficiencies (like, lacking the ability to take others’ perspectives is a major handicap, and lack of sensory discrimination). No one is an island in the human society, and depending on degree of severety, lack of social perspective taking for example affect ALL communication… including electronic communication, and logical judgement as soon as it involves having to take people’s behaviour into account. And what doesn’t?

    The irony of the ‘Aspies are the forefront of evolution’ argument is that almost every aspect of modern society, and every step in the current technology-infused evolution, is about understanding how people interact with technology and how technology can meet their needs. So yes the need for advanced technical skills is on the rise, but so is superadvanced and complex understanding of human behaviour and especially human social behaviour in order to integrate it ever more with technology.

  3. Overall, people with typical aspie-like features, abilities and weaknesses (not necessarily Asperger’s Syndrome) are more likely to succeed

    than previously, I meant.

  4. A few scientists have actually begun theoretically exploring this possibility through genome testing and general performance tasks. Also in tests that require performance in spite of emotional pressure – aspie’s tend to be better able to focus/perform there as well. Perhaps you’re not too far off 😉

  5. I enjoyed reading this 🙂 I will follow your blog & read more of your posts on Saturday night as I have to log off soon! Great post though lovely to read! & had to laugh at the caption under your photo of the woods about hiding a body!

    Take care. Maria

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