The term Autism derives from the Greek word 'autos' meaning 'self'. I don't think that's an accurate description for the condition. We're not selfish, self-absorbed, or self-serving. We're disconnected. Imagine being able to talk but not connect or not being able to talk or connect. My mind is like a black hole; once I get sucked into it, I become disconnected from the rest of the world. The ability to zone out is what makes aspies such deep thinkers. My thoughts are a constellation of theories, philosophies, and observations. Professionals call aspie females 'Little Philosophers'. We overthink, over-analyze, and over-explain. Everything is complex. Everything has meaning. Ironically, it's the need to concentrate on the self that contributes to the 'us' in life. I think, therefore we are.
I think. We are. Why do I think we are?
"We are animals that don't follow the natural order of the environment because we co-exist....What is it exactly that sets us apart from our non-human counterparts?"
- from my 'Minds Without Borders' post
The answer to the age-old question 'What is the meaning of life?' is obvious to me. Uncommon sense states that it's exactly what separates us from animals that is the meaning of life: co-existence. It seems like such a simple answer to a very complex question. A simple answer that isn't simple to live up to. Ubuntu is an African philosophy on interconnectedness, a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. Several native communities worldwide share similar beliefs that seek reparation over retribution, and understanding over vengeance. Some cultures considered 'primitive' even revere the disabled. Western and European society isn't designed with ubuntu in mind by perpetuating the every-man-for-himself-mentality. I think, therefore I am.
For someone with a supposed self-interested mind, I've been pretty good at pointing out how society itself is disconnected. It's a paradox that the more I tried to be like the world, the more I felt removed from it. My 'autos' mind was designed to think alone but created nonetheless to live with others. Having a communication deficit shouldn't mean social death. No matter our conditions and personality traits, no human being is meant to live in isolation. Mimicking people's behaviour will help to blend in but not connect. Superficial social skills can fool a group but will never be sufficient to build deep, lasting relationships. I had to get creative with my methods. By being open about who I am I was finally able to feel like I'm a part of something bigger than myself. Co-existing with myself was the first step in co-existing with others. If I live an inauthentic life I'm taking away something from the world that could otherwise be used for the greater good. I think for myself, but live for others. I think, therefore we are.