Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cultural Imposition on Intellectual Pursuits

The modern arbitrary division between Art and Science was a childhood mystery. I read about men who during the Renaissance had created paintings, architecture, and sculpture, planned cities, invented weapons and battlefield strategies, uniting all these endeavors under the spell of a creative mind. There were priests who studied astronomy, painters who studied anatomy and chemistry, sculptors who studied the properties of stone and bronze and engineered monumental buildings. They were sought after by powerful families and institutions; the wider the range of their knowledge and skills, the more valuable their work. It never occurred to me that as a female I must be excluded from participation in such activities. Intelligent pursuits simply aren't sex-determined, but culture does its best to thwart women's ambitions by imagining that the intellect is gender-bound, that is, what you are permitted to do with your brain is culturally imposed.   

While looking at photographs of medieval architecture, a photo of Speyer Cathedral reminded me of the space shuttle on its launch pad - this impression is of course based on a particular view of the massive building. A supernatural thinker might claim that the similarity is proof that 'God' or some intelligent designer is at work, but both of these 'machines' were designed by humans working within the demands and limits of a universal physical system. Gravity, force, and mass must be balanced and environmental stresses accounted for. The deeper commonality between the massive 11th Century Romanesque cathedral (primarily a tomb for the Holy Roman Emperors, which has been damaged and rebuilt many times) and the Space Shuttle, is the will to obtain limitless technical power.

To read my book, Top Males - Anger by Design,
go to:


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Personal Experience with Sensory Sensitivity

Although I was not diagnosed as an Asperger until late adulthood, sensitivity to certain places and situations has affected me all my life. Disturbing reactions began in early childhood, as I remember, when I was about three years old. The severity of my reactions, notably nausea, fear and panic, and an overwhelming urge to flee, were judged by adults to be a willful state. There was little awareness back then, that any manmade products (such as pesticides) affected humans, or that the sounds produced by machinery (from airplanes or in industry) could be harmful. It seems unbelievable today, but cigarette smoking was promoted as positively healthy!

We're not as smart as we think we are. Denial
persists as to the harm produced by products.
Our pediatrician believed that nothing in the environment could be a trigger or cause, and she advised my parents that I did have control of these physiologic responses, but was using them to get attention. (It was all in my head.) She simply concluded that I was a bad and selfish child: Punish me and I would soon "shape up." This pronouncement left me even more desperate and vulnerable. Not only did I fear the strange mystery of people and places and circumstances that caused pain (that's what sensory sensitivity is.) A new layer of anxiety was added: I must hide the pain. If I didn't (and I couldn't) the consequence would be further reprimand, isolation and emotional abandonment.

The adult view of my strange behavior did not include compassion or empathy; it was self-centered. The environments that elicited upsetting reactions in me were benign for them, so how could it be other than my fault? It never crossed their minds that I was suffering, and I was repeatedly told to just stop being upset or afraid. End of concern. Other people suppress their emotions, why can't you?

I refused to enter certain houses; to me they smelled like death. Being in a crowd of people disrupted my equilibrium. The cacophony of sound was like information that had been chopped to pieces in a blender and thrown at me, and it physically hurt. The panic and urge to flee that overwhelmed me were immediate and instinctual, commanding me to 'just get away' and find a quiet place. I was admonished by my mother to stop embarrassing her and was forced to remain in situations that were almost unbearable. Blame, blame and shame was the consistent message. Is there any reason to wonder why Asperger children (and adults) become reclusive?

The tragic mistake was that everyone concerned assumed that I was experiencing a 3 or 4 on the pain scale, when my pain was actually shooting off the chart. I assumed that other people lived with this same pain, but were very strong and courageous and could control fear and panic. The adults around me had no clue as to the level of pain I lived with. Their conventional and conformist social orientation completely discounted that there is anything personal about human sensory experience. The brain? Just some blob stuck in our heads into which information can be stuffed.  We're all supposed to be the same, and anyone who isn't is just plain bad.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Listen to Infrasound Made Audible by Infrasound Lab, University of Hawaii

"At the Infrasound Laboratory of the University of Hawaii, we use very sensitive microphones to listen to low-frequency sounds in the atmosphere. These sounds, known as infrasound because they are too low in frequency to be audible to the human ear, can carry through the atmosphere for thousands of kilometers."
Brief audio samples are available of infrasound emanating from volcanic activity, earthquakes and storms. These have been compressed (speeded up) so that humans can hear frequencies below the human range. Samples are available on ISLA home page and under Infrasonic Zoo.

If anyone does access the audio samples, I would appreciate comments on reactions, if any, to specific samples. Infrasound generated by an Arenal Volcano provides several of the audio recordings.

Much of the research being done in infrasound is aimed at verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty. I'm trying to track down scientific work on manmade infrasound and its effects on the human body. Too many articles are repeats of old conspiracy stories to be useful.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sensory Diversity, Brains, and Judeo-Christian Myth

Does the Autism Spectrum make any sense?

I want to spend some time on sensory sensitivities, because I believe that the myriad confusing symptoms that are considered to be diagnostic of Asperger's are the RESULT of a different sensory reception and processing scheme than is present in so-called normal people. The unusually broad array of behaviors and thought processes used to diagnose Asperger people is internally contradictory and inconsistent. Also, these symptoms are unequally distributed among individuals diagnosed as Asperger. A grab bag of 'suspicious' or unwanted behaviors is being used to diagnose an increasing array of new disorders without looking deeply into the origin of such disparate symptoms. Dozens of characteristics are  grouped as a spectrum more from convenience than evidence. The range of possible drivers of behavior is left unknown, and therefore facts that might untangle the mess and lead to a better understanding of developmental diversity in our species remain hidden.

An analogy: A panel of experts decides that having a pain in the neck is pretty much the same as having a headache, so neck pain is swept into a Headache Disorder spectrum. Regardless of how many, or which symptoms the individual may or may not exhibit along this spectrum, he or she is then told that the problem is a defective brain. There is no cure or treatment, but a person can be trained to act is if no pain exists. The CAUSE of the headache (or neck pain) is ignored. The pain might be traced to a brain tumor, allergies, or whiplash, but no differentiation is made.  
The sweeping conclusion that diverse humans can be categorically removed to a "disordered" space reflects a dominant religious attitude that a male god made man in His likeness, therefore there is only ONE God-given correct set of thoughts and behaviors acceptable in human beings. Note that the "disordered space" by definition includes females, and any person authorities designate.  Too many experts and scientists have this conceptual structure embedded in their work and don't even realize it, but cultural ideas taint their assumptions and therefore their conclusions. The insistence that Homo sapiens is the ultimate human, divinely inspired and separated from the animals by a towering barrier of supernatural origin, is only recently being challenged in anthropology and evolutionary science. The supposedly rock-solid line that was drawn by religious males over two millennia ago, which divides "sub-humans" from a self-designated Supreme Man has wrecked the lives of millions of human beings.