This is porridge. It is goop. You do not chew on goop. It is sluggish, it does not flow, it is not pretty, the sound it makes is murky. Goop does not sing in clear mellifluous tones. Goop just flops and blobs and generally obstructs refinement.
I have been living in a state of goop lately. Despite the unwelcome sensory atmosphere, or perhaps even spurred on by the discomfort and often sheer agony, I have been ruminating… and chewing… and gnawing… there has even been a goodly gnashing of teeth… over the colossal conundrum of EMPATHIC RESONANCE.
Let me try to put this mammoth in two simple, broad categories.
How do I relay my Autistic Parallel Embodiment to my social-focused and neurotypical friends? This is a fundamental need – because we (everyone) first and foremost desire to live in amicable empathic resonance with our ‘inner circle’ of family and friends. Beyond this, as a researcher and artistic practitioner, how may I develop strategies to engender empathic resonance across neurological divides?
Despite the heavy reliance on verbality in the normative setting, I have found that words have very little real impact on people when trying to explain a complex, immersive or embodied experience/situation to them. They all nod with grave attention, they all declare they understand, but their subsequent actions show there is no understanding whatsoever. Hence, the sensory channel for teaching is potentially far more cogent than verbal communication, across neurological dimensions. It is time the autistic paradigm leads the way ahead towards perceptual and communication reform.
How could this be? Under the pathological deficits-based model, it is impossible. Autistics have been pronounced socially impaired, lacking in empathy, and, well, generally perceived as unproductive pitiable flotsam and jetsam in the Grand Froth of Normative Humanity. Yet, in the last few years, our collective Autistic Voice is rising. We are calling for a shift in paradigm, A Different Way of Thinking, a better and more comprehensive template for how neurological cultures should be approached by researchers, practitioners and society at large.
How do we ‘speak’ an alternative dimension to the normative? The social-focused world seems to operate along, rely upon, and glorify the worded communication. Yet, ‘wordedness’ in all its brilliance is ponderous: its audible harmonics may be pleasant to the normative social-focused, its rhythmic ebb and flow can be quite attractive, especially when delivered in dulcet melodious tones full of well-placed embellishment, but when an acutely intense message needs to be disseminated, the semantic import of wordedness becomes thick and goopy. Words are clumsy and the route is full of obstructions. Why inch through a huge traffic jam in a fuel guzzling metal shell with four wheels, when one can just flap the arms and fly?
There is a great deal of ranting about the dismal lack of empathy of normative society for the autistic (and neurodivergent) realm. And rightly so. This is a sizeable sector of human society that has been marginalised, abused and colonised for far too long. The emotional repercussions are merely the proverbial tip of a very large iceberg.
THIS excellent blog post by Dani Alexis is a great read on the topic: Teaching the (Ab)Normal.
OK, this blog post is becoming too viscid as it is. I’ve slurped up all my porridge now, and I should end this post here. Stay tuned, though, because there will be more unravelling and unfolding on ‘teaching empathic resonance to neurotypicals’ in the next few instalments of Bunny’s blibbity-boops. (I shall try to make a worded anthology less word-full… a huge challenge, oui?)