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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Authority and Autism

My son was diagnosed with severe Autism at age three. He's 21 now, and years of study along with my now 26 year old daughter, have revealed that family members often have characteristics of Austism. I have many.  
    One of them is the lack of recognition of Authority Figures. Far from the struggle against authority, I have trouble identifying authority. Where they are widely accepted as authority, as in the case of judges, (I've had to learn these things. because they are not readily apparent to me.) I do see the responsibility they have, the relative power they have, the rules they must work within, but mostly I see a fellow human being. If I am one not to break rules that fall under their jurisdiction, and I don't, then there is no need for any  authority they may possess. The same would go for my supposed *authority-ship* on certain areas of art technique. If such a person is not interested in art in any fashion, they do not land in any need of, nor are they impressed by, my knowledge. This renders the *authority* of either of us a mute point. I've a friend who is a judge, and for whatever reason, this amuses him to no end. People are interesting.
   I cannot go along with Authority (often authority is mass accepted social standards rather than a person.) simply because it is named so, any more than I'd eat a chair simply because it was named, "Apple." I need to see logic. If what they are doing makes no logical sense to me. I simply cannot follow. Things like practicality and honesty are forefront in my mind, and other routes of living adhering to hierarchies or social constructs for the sake of having one have no weight to me. If a fashion authority says I should put feathers on my head, chances are I'll be curious as to their willingness and need to share that opinion, but I'll give it no greater weight than a mild curiosity to an insignificant annoyance.
   Perhaps because of my literalistic, pragmatic thought process or maybe because of intense study in various areas, I've been put in positions of the authority. This is a most curious predicament. I see no more reason that people should follow me, than I would see reason for me to follow them. If it does not work for them, in fact I'd deem it ridiculous.
   I don't regard myself as a Leader, rather a Watcher. I hold no position within the social group of leaders and followers. One of my biggest stumbling blocks to add to the problem is that I have a hard time understanding the social need for "authority" in myself or others, inasmuch as most people seem to self discipline. I, do however see clearly that there are those who respond beautifully to authority, and in the abscence of it, are not people I'd want to be around.  I get put in charge at times for whatever reason, and I'm not really one to ask people to follow, having never done it myself. The hierarchies make no sense to me. People have minds and hearts. I want them to use them.
   I do understand rules though, and I like them. They make the world make sense to me. They give organization to what otherwise appears chaotic to me. I believe that most would adhere if loosely to most common sense rules. If speed limits were eliminated, I doubt everyone would be driving twice the now recommended speed. Sure a few would, but most are rather considerate of the world around them and the relative safety of others. For those few, I can understand rules. For me, they are the stuff of kindergarten understanding, and obvious beyond obvious.
   Being pragmatic, or of the mind that what works is always what's best, there is a time to break the rules....when they don't work, and that of necessity must be decided by the individual and circumstance by circumstance.

7 comments:

  1. This is a constant pardox. Those of us who try to go our own way seem to attract those who need to follow.

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  2. Ah my dear!! YOu have touched upon a subject that is sooo true in all aspects of life on earth!
    You write: ''I need to see logic. If what they are doing makes no logical sense to me. I simply cannot follow. Things like practicality and honesty are forefront in my mind, and other routes of living adhering to hierarchies or social constructs for the sake of having one have no weight to me.''
    Yes,yes...being that my profession (herbalist, natural medecine) is contrary to ''regular'' medecine, I often ask myself why some people rather use poisons to help their bodies to heal instead of using logic; eating properly; exercising, etc...Just ask questions...investigate...one shouldn't take someone else's word (neither mine) as the one and only AUTHORITY!!!!
    Thanks my dear....you do make us think!!!

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  3. Interesting article-I have always struggled with 'authority' and I have a 'high-functioning' autist also in my family and as you mentioned, now I see HOW my brilliant Grandfather-and my grandmother (had one child MY MOTHER!) thus they both doubled the impact genetics exerts in forming such people. My only brother is now deceased-he just couldn't really properly use his 'abundant gifts' although my other similarly challenged relatives and myself seem to have figured out how to acceptably 'function' in a society that punishes 'Free Thinkers' and those who 'color outside the lines...' THANKS! My sons and daughter were tested as 'gifted' but this appellation only seemed to complicate their integration into 'perceived 'normalcy...'and increased their sense of being 'different' and their alienation. Luckily, all of them have been able to stick with their childhood friendship attachments-which has helped them tremendously, whereas my brother and myself wre repeatedly 'uprooted.' (Military family and our Father's sudden accidental death-then my mom marrying NAVY guy again and back to MOVING every two or three years!)and so I STROVE to keep my children with ONE 'set' of friends-no matter how difficult it became for me as a single parent divorced when they were fairly young. Thankfully that 'lifestyle' decision has stabilized them to a great degree and allowed them to prosper as fully actualized human beings. Best Wishes TINA!

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  4. jbf,
    Thanks so much for your comment. I think natural medicine is in such need, and I'm interested very much in the effects of our diets. I know for me that a few changes have made major differences in my ability to think clearly, including eliminating table sugar.

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  5. Dreamgardens,
    Thankyou for your very touching post!
    tina

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  6. Some of your ideas here seem to jibe well with a book I read called The Authoritarians http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/ . It talks about some of the characteristics that those who love authority [one way or another]seem to have. I, too, have trouble respecting authority automatically and have special trouble with those who demand respect without proof that they deserve such attitudes. I also have been diagnosed with Asperger's as and adult while appearing to have had some of the characteristics of "classic autism" as a child. This helps to counter those who jealously guard the concept of autism as their own cross to bear. I am so grateful to Selene DePackh for alerting me to your blog.

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  7. skybluskyblue,
    How interesting. I've not read this. I'm most curious about this behavior of following authority or crowds.
    I am very pleased to meet you.

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