Re: Fwd: The Geek Syndrome

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sat Dec 15 2001 - 16:19:39 MST

On Sat, Dec 15, 2001 at 07:19:55PM -0200, Rafael Anschau wrote:
> Autism can be thought of as a disease. I prefer to think of it as a condition.
> It emerges when there are no evolutionary reasons for a person to develop
> social or motor skills. The solution ? Place them in a context where THERE
> will be evolutionary reasons for them to devolep social and mother skills.
> I'm tired of all the BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU ARE crap. We can
> become whatever we want, given time and an evolutionary context. The trick
> is to place the person in the proper context, and let evolution do the job.

Evolution does not act on individuals, you are probably talking about
learning/adaptation. Which actually seems to be impaired in some
respects in autism - placing autists in social situations does not
usually make them better, but rather makes them feel worse.

But the real issue is: is mild autism disorders like Asperger something
we should try to fix in others?

I take the position that we should strive to grow as humans, and help
others with this striving too. While a person with Asperger may not
handle certain aspects of the human world well, it is not clear that he
or she would necessarily be better off when including these aspects. it
might be preferrable to develop in one's own preferred set of
directions, even when these directions leave out many things other
people find enjoyable.

If I don't find (say) eating fine food to be rewarding, do I have a
condition that should be fixed? I can live a fantastically
self-realizing life without including gourmet food in it, so there is no
point in trying to "fix" this condition. I might of course enjoy food
and exclaim "Wow! I have missed something! How lucky I am that I took
the change, now I don't want to change back!" after such a fix has been
applied, but that does not mean others have a moral obligation to apply
it on us without our consent, and that we always should seek out such
fixes. After all, creating one's life is not just about what we select
to include in ourselves, but also the choices we decide *not* to take.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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