I read this book yesterday that had an interesting idea. (It was interesting all over, but I wanna talk about this one thing.) NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, by Steve Silberman. Concept: Neurodiversity. Idea is basically everybody has different brains and that is good because we are good at different things. The author wants us to think about this in terms of Autistic people (everyone else too, but he was writing about Autistic people. And also history.).
Basically, he argues (among other things) that a lot of the problems that people experience because of what is called their disabilities or their psychiatric problems come from where those differences hit how we’ve constructed our society. This is a SUPER COOL way of thinking about it, because it means that sometimes we can change it, and then the problems aren’t problems anymore!
Example: Stairs. We assume everyone can walk, so we use stairs to get up to floor two. (So we HAVE a floor two and then use stairs to get there.) Okay, that’s totes reasonable, but then we were like ‘Wait, what about people who can’t walk! They should be able to get to floor two, to!’ So then there were laws about ramps and elevators and stuff.
Example: I don’t like driving. It scares me and it is stressful. It’s a problem! Going to things early in the morning, or in the middle of the evening, is a big risk for me. If I have to drive myself to something at any time of day, I don’t really want to go! If I lived in a city where I could get everywhere I needed to go quickly by walking or taking the bus, this wouldn’t be a problem. It would never come up!
More examples: Being dyslexic wasn’t really a problem until people made up writing. Being lactose intolerant is only a problem if people eat and drink milk where you live. If we lived in a society where most people were deaf or went deaf, maybe we would, like some of those societies, invent a sign language and expect everyone to speak it, and being deaf would be a TOTALLY DIFFERENT THING, just because people changed the culture to work with it because it was normal. (This has totally happened. Wouldn’t that be super sweet?)
So that’s cool.