The Asperger’s / autism spectrum ~ the next evolutionary step?

The first time I heard this theory, it came from my partner, many years ago.  As usual, the threads of the same theory had been assembling in my head, too, but given my then-unknown tendency to separate thought from words/language, I could never quite express it.  When he proposed it, however, this instantly sparked the union of those thoughts and words.  I knew precisely what he meant.

Of course, neither of us made the connection to the Asperger’s/autism spectrum back then, but only because we didn’t know.  We had barely heard the term “Asperger’s”, and we knew the word “autism”, but for us, it conjured up the same imagery that it does for most people today, and back then, that certainly didn’t seem to hold any resemblance to a higher rung on the evolutionary ladder.  We seriously didn’t know.

What he had said, however, was that there had been certain people who were simply different.  They had a unique way of looking at the world.  They possessed a sharp lens, set to a different angle, that gave them a keen and unconventional insight into the world.  And from this, they could invent something new, or vastly improve upon something that already existed.  He had simply known that throughout history, there was always a handful of these “special people” that moved and shook the world.

And recent decades had seen an increasing number of them.

He and I now know the truth about–and the term for–these people: Asperger’s/autistic.  I know that armchair diagnosis is an etiquette no-no, but sometimes it’s irresistible, and the more one knows about history, the more the theory seems to jive.

I was thrust into the world of Asperger’s/autism quite unintentionally, with the sudden inspiration to start screening myself after little gut-based voices started whispering, commanding me to do so.

Naturally, one of my earliest steps involved looking up the official diagnostic criteria. The next step was, as I’ve written before, to seek the firsthand words and perspectives of other people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, and obtain insight straight from the source.

What I found was nothing short of ground-shaking.  I had indeed swallowed The Red Pill, and there was no going back, nor would I have ever wanted to.  The Rabbit Hole I stumbled upon was too incredible.

People on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, in general, are amazing.  Their writing reflects keen perception of the world, and unique ways of rearranging its contents into a semblance of order that makes much more sense than the default position.

Immediately, I saw it: an ultra-civilized world, where primal urges, hormone surges, and runaway emotions gave way to logic and sensibility that bordered–and often landed into–the über-cerebral.

The ancestral “thrill of the hunt” gave way to the quest for information.  Herd mentality gave way to a parallel thought-wave I affectionately refer to as the spectrum “hive mind” (which is totally not intended to be a diminutive term).  Even the overactive stress response common among people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum is reallocated and repurposed, now used in such a way that does not involve combat with others, posturing, or Chronic Competition.

Social graces are different as well, becoming more raw, honest, direct, and straightforward, made more efficient by doing away with all the muddy window-dressing so prevalent throughout the world at large.  Thought processes became rightfully based in logic and common sense, while emotions detached and took a back seat.  Even sexual attraction and intimacy, traditionally assumed to be a basic human need, became optional.

The “what if” game is usually shunned by mainstream society, dismissed as a time-wasting thought-train.  Sometimes, however, it’s actually quite constructive.  Let’s play…

What if – the enhanced sensory sensitivity we often experience is actually the result of an expanded, greater-developed system?

What if – our direct communication styles that are said to be so off-putting to the majority of the “rest of the world” are actually time-saving methods meant to conserve energy for higher pursuits?

What if – our desire for and reliance upon routine (anxiety-reducing effects aside) is another manifestation of the above?

What if – our “abnormally intense” interests are actually built-in assets to the world at large?  What if they’re simply specialties or niches that need filling, and the only people who could do it “right” are those of the spectrum neurotype?  What if our powers of concentration are the product of increased connectivity within certain brain lobes, necessary to take humanity through the next quantum leap?

What if – we don’t utilize body language, facial expressions, or voice inflection…because we don’t need to?  What if we rely on a newer, more advanced sixth sense that so many of us mention having?  What if our so-called “triad of (social) impairments” is actually the result the disappearance of or de-emphasis on the need for contesting with the world to mate all the time?  Presumably, because we might have better things to do?

Participating in BS and drama seems to be a stark exception to our otherwise tolerant and cerebral rule. We’d rather think, create, and produce, rather than comparatively waste time with small talk.  What if that is an underlying driver of the “lack of socialization” that we’re so often admonished for?

We already know that our “stimming” (“repetitive movement”) activities are massive and crucial stress-relieving strategies.  We already know that much of the stress comes from interaction with a loud and intense world.  What if the world is intense to us because the majority of its inhabitants are tuned to the frequency of a comparatively duller neurological set-point?  And by comparison, our nervous systems are actually more finely and sharply developed?

Notice that the previous diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s/autism specifically exclude intellectual impairment (now, with the DSM-5’s merging of multiple classifications under a single label and its instruction to specify “with or without intellectual impairment”, this situation just got a whole lot foggier and although I give three cheers for inclusivity, I give just as many thumbs down for any hope of reaching clarity or insight).

Perhaps the Asperger’s/autism spectrum is a new evolutionary branch of the human race.  The way I see it, many attributes typical of human nature are nonexistent.  This doesn’t mean we’re not human!  Rather, it’s almost like we could theoretically be super-human.

Systems and behaviors relied upon for every day life aren’t nearly so visible in many Asperger’s/autistic people.  What is assumed to be missing, what are assumed to be deficits, may actually be irrelevancies to us.  Kind of like having remnants of body hair in particular places that was once protective against harsher elements, but is no longer useful in contemporary life, and these days, most of us wouldn’t freeze to death if we shaved it off completely.  Hell, we probably wouldn’t even miss it.  In fact, it might even pose a nuisance to keep it around, and getting rid of it might bring welcome simplification to one’s life.

That’s how I perceive a lot of the customs of today’s world; I simply have little-to-no use for them.  They weigh me down, merely unnecessary baggage that complicates matters.  The way I see it, we’re not less than human; instead, we could, theoretically, be more than human…?

***

(Image Credit: Roger Dean)


Related Posts:

Unusual, Interesting, and Positive Statements My Partner Has Made About Asperger’s / Autistic People ~ September 4, 2016

How To ‘Opt Out’ of Neurotypical Culture (According To One Aspie/Autistic Person) – October 3, 2016

Depathologizing Asperger’s / Autism ~ It’s a Normal and Healthy Neurological Orientation ~ November 11, 2017

Asperger’s / Autism, Genetics, and MIT ~ Part 2: Jurautistic Park (Nature Likes Us!) ~ February 15, 2017

People on the Asperger’s / Autism Spectrum Are Not ‘Undomesticated Humans’ ~ March 1, 2017

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58 Comments

  1. im afraid that i can only affirm what youre saying by quibbling. in other words: yes, probably, but not quite. not entirely like that.

    above all, give up any hope for “autopia”(tm/jk) because in reality, it would be more like twitter. ‘nough said.

    also i feel obliged to correct someone every time they talk of evolution as a linear progression– its not, its genetically settling into a niche. if we dont find our niche, we will die off. evolution doesnt increase intelligence (necessarily) or anything else, unless it survives. even then, its missing the point.

    those urges you think we would be well off without may be the reason we die off as a “species” too. oh, youre not distracted by sex? see how many “generations” that trait lasts. think about it.

    that said, *all* my favorite people on earth are on the spectrum. you, alex, her mum– i adore you lot. youre my true family. but we werent beamed here as an act of divine creation on a lost planet. oh sure, it could turn out that way someday, but right now survival is key, and claiming to be some “master race” is political suicide, not to mention the staple stuff of wingnuts. i know you better than that– but they dont. youre not obligated to like politics and i dont like them more than you do, but you ignore them at your peril– or the peril of our descendants, if we have any. the truth is, anything that is still here tomorrow and next year is highly evolved. come back in 1000, let me know how autopia works out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed. I have no realistic hopes for an autopia of sorts, because I do realize that it will probably never happen. At least, not in my lifetime, or for a long time after 😊. It’s fun to dream, though 😉. I find that it makes surviving the regular world a little more doable. Others’ mileage may vary, though.

      Yeah “master race”, I’m certainly not going there. Not by a long shot. But maybe a next step in evolution? Possibly. There’s some early evidence that might suggest that, simply given the positive selection for autism-associated genes 😊. Definitely not ignoring politics, either; I’m actually quite political in offline life (libertarian-leaning independent); I just don’t get into it much here, because politics is such a polarizing topic ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I don’t see your comments as quibbling, either, for the record 😘. I see them as intellectual and respectful discussion. I’m glad you make the points you do, because even if you’re not saying “bravo; agreed!” it’s still appreciated. If nothing else, it points out different ways in which my writing could be misconstrued and allows me to clarify more clearly what I meant 😊. So, I thank you for bringing this stuff up ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. youre always welcome, and youre always appreciated ❤

        the funny thing is, ive thought about this topic before. i do think some of what youre saying is very possible actually, but certain parts are not. i also REALLY recommend you go read "ishmael" by daniel quinn, it will change the way you look at the world (the nt world) forever. its been one of my 5 favorite books for about 15 years now.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. its such a bizarre cycle– we should be able to sue the ones that do real damage, and then the insurance goes up for the ones that need to be protected from unfair suits being filed.

            maybe we should all go into the insurance industry, they always win either way 😛

            Liked by 2 people

  2. i will give you a hint– our true niche is among nts. maybe not in constant contact (too much?) but certainly in the same ecosystem, for crying out loud.

    i dare say if thats doubted, it will literally be the end of us. but fine if im wrong. it doesnt happen as much as id like, but sometimes im pleasantly surprised. thats always nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve thought of this concept before but was reluctant to bring it up. Hypersensitivity is a double edged sword. It has come in handy when driving. I’ve been able to use it to anticipate other people around me. It does not come in handy however when trying to do a task that requires concentration. I’m working on ways however to dull it for certain situations, but also refine it for others.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Totally! Agreed 👏🏼👏🏼. We can make *excellent* drivers because of our potential for hyper vigilance 😊👍🏽❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a fascinating line of thought. I have often felt we were created to hone in on the more important aspects of life that neurotypicals can’t be bothered with. I also feel that the world has increasingly gotten louder and more shallow, naturally making people like us both more needed to tip the balance and more likely to recoil from that which we cannot tolerate all at once. Sigh. Such a conundrum.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post. Different is good and we thank God everyday for different. Just think if none of us were different how boring the world would be. Your difference has fueled so much discovery about yourself and we believe it is helping others to embrace their differences too. You are right about the customs that we create and spend a lifetime trying to maintain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Different rocks 😊. It would be super-boring if everyone was the same! ❤️. Right now I’m still stuck on trying to get the world to accept our differences, simply because the world in general is rarely aware or respectful of them 💙. Sometimes I do this warmly and diplomatically, while at other times, the spitfire comes out lol 😂😉. My ultimate goal is to be able to relax eventually and let the world go round 💜💞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have passion and passion is great! Share and keep sharing because you never know the people watching and learning that will spring forth into those changes needed in your immediate circle as well as the larger circle. So don’t be afraid to let the “spit fire” come out because sometimes its needed.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you dear!! 😊. Yep, there’s a little (toned-down/modulated) spitfire lined up for April, because of the Autism Awareness Month brew-haha (I’m sure that’s not the right spelling, but my mobile phone is picky lol), but I have tempered it a little to be polite and not too divisive. After all, I’m ultimately trying to build a bridge, not widen the chasm ❤️. Hehe but yeah, my “elements” are Earth and Fire; I guess when you put those two together, they can make a volcano sometimes? 😉💙💜

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I have also had this thought. Are more ASD people being born because ASD parents are getting together? Or environmentally, all this flash, noise, chaos is bad for our (everyone) bodies & the planet we live on? Or are we just recognizing it more?
    I really could go so many places on this topic and I’m an NT or ND or Goofy Goober😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a possibility! Steve Silberman brings up this point in his book (Neurotribes), I think (?). I do know that I remember seeing something like this in a recent study headline that circulated among the community on Twitter a while back. Parents with a higher-than-“usual” number of Asperger’s/autistic traits tend to be attracted to each other (duh lol 😉), and of course, most of them will produce offspring (please pardon the über-scientific term; I don’t mean it in a dehumanizing way) ❤️

      Personally, I think it’s a good thing 😉💓

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Aspie Under Your Radar and commented:
    Personally, I think the surge in autism (if there is one) can be a result of better pre-natal care, better nutrition, medical advances, and pregnant women taking better care of themselves (no drinking, no smoking, or just limited exposure). We’re the result of doing things right. And the folks who think we’re wrong just might be relics of a past age that they actually always wanted to get beyond.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so very much! I’m honored that you enjoyed it ❤️. If this post resonates with you, you may also like the older post about a “utopia” 😉. (Not trying to plug, I promise; just figuring that you might like it, as it goes into more detail about what such a world might look like 😊😊). There are a couple such posts; one about a utopia, and another about what a world dominated by our neurotype might look like.

      If you’re interested (and *only* if 😊), here’s the utopia post…
      https://thesilentwaveblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/if-the-world-were-built-forby-aspergers-autistic-people-my-aspie-utopia/

      And here are the “dominated by us” posts:

      https://thesilentwaveblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/a-world-dominated-by-aspie-autistic-people/

      https://thesilentwaveblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/a-world-dominated-by-aspie-autistic-people-part-2/

      ❤️🌟❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Am I allowed to say I love you!? You have written my beliefs so elequently and just beautifully! So few understand this point of view, but I have lived it for the past, almost 17 years with my Aspie son, who has forever changed my life for the better. I can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! Thank you so much! Wow, awesome – thank you for sharing your story! You and your son sound very well-paired; you’re lucky to have each other 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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