Hypothesis: Some aspects from various forms of Autism Spectrum Disorders might be humanity’s attempt at an evolutionary leap.
In my family we hold the opinion that this might be a possibility. We’ve been mulling the theory round in our minds for a few years and looking for examples to support or refute the suggestion.
In evolution, Mother Nature for wont of a better description, throws out a variation, a new thing, a “let’s see what happens if I …” in an attempt to gain advantage for subsequent generations and adapt to the environment. If the adaptation is useful, and if the adaptee can find a mate and let their offspring inherit this new adaptation, it is determined to be a successful adaptation.
We are familiar with the monkey to man with spear pictogram explaining evolution.
The monkey adapted, found a mate, the adaptation became widespread and with many proto-human evolutionary lines dying out but others succeeding here we stand today before you as ancestors of that creature who thought to themselves:
“hang on a minute, I can stand up and I think I’ve just invented indoor fire, that’s going to make proteins more palatable and easier to digest which will speed up the incremental development of my brain compared to these other forest and savannah dwelling animals thus giving me advantage in the food chain, I think I’ll invent a spear now, hold my fruit”.
In our small group, we are collecting examples to see if the quirks and idiosyncrasies of people we meet, some of whom are blessed to be on the spectrum, help or hinder them in this new digital era.
A person close to me who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome describes their situation like having a digital brain in an analogue world.
In the digital world there are absolutes, yes no, on off, right wrong. Modern Computers are digital.
In the analogue world there are variations, perhaps maybe, gradients instead of absolutes. Long wave radios are analogue.
The person I was speaking with explained that they can cope with absolutes but ambiguity drives them to distraction even though they pass for Neuro-Typical on any given day.
This same person can be listening to music, reading a book and watching a show on their device while simultaneously taking a walk outside with no aspect of confusion evident.
This person is a “data in” person, craving more and more information, faster and faster and at a more and more complex level until their need to master an understanding of a topic is sated.
It is fascinating to watch.
I am more of a feelings and gut instinct person. I gather a few bits of information until I start to see a picture, test the water with an idea then make a decision.
The two ways of being are not very compatible to say the least!
Each time we come across someone who might be blessed to be on the spectrum we notice what they are good at, what are their talents, how do they prefer to communicate.
The idea that portions or parts of ASD might be an attempt at an evolutionary leap is gaining traction in our thought process. We see so many people with natural talents beyond non-spectrum folks natural abilities.
It is difficult to gauge how many people as a percentage of the population have had ASD’s through the generations of humanity so comparing numbers is ineffective as the opportunity to receive a diagnosis is more prevalent nowadays. Viewing some aspects of ASD as a positive puts a new perspective in to the frame. It gives us an opportunity to see the good rather than the difficulty. It gives us an opportunity to count our blessings and be pleased that we might be part of something bigger than ourselves. Suddenly, digital is cool.