Autistic people are the garlic in life’s salad, and therefore not to everyone’s taste. But how dull life would be without them – a case of the bland leading the bland. With diagnostic hindsight, we now know that Mozart, Einstein, Orwell, Van Gogh, Steve Jobs and many other scientists, mathematicians, artists, musicians and computer masterminds such as Alan Turing were on the autistic spectrum. Joining their quirky ranks is Julian Assange.
They're the disrupters1, they're not very sociable, they're generally not interested in being nice, harmonious or agreeable - quite the opposite.
“... as youths (Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Hans Christian Anderson, Niels Bohr, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Humphrey Davy, Albert Einstein) all had one characteristic in common; each was an individualist, saw no need to explain himself and was thus listed among the odd men out.”2
In regards to Einstein:
“He was in his mid-fifties, unsociable rather than the reverse.”3
“He was, as he often said, the kind of man who did not work well in a team.”4
(He was) … “the man who failed to fit in or to conform, the non-respecter of professors, the dropper of conversational bricks.”5
And yet those disrupters, those mavericks, those 'droppers of conversational bricks' who fail to conform or fit in, serve a tremendously valuable service to society. As George Bernard Shaw put it, somewhat bluntly
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
So, a question I think that deserves discussion in a future Byron Sophia discussion is "Do we seek peace, unity and harmony to the detriment of a progressive, genuinely creative society, which is reliant on said disruptive disagreeable types??"
How well do we know our own 'shadow' biases? To what extent are they causing us difficulty in life, while ever we remain unaware of those biases? Are we being too reasonable for our own good?
In many new-age, spiritual workshops I've often heard the call for harmony, yet I don't ever recall hearing the call for disharmony as a means to elicit genuine, significant 'scare the horses' creativity.
We're at a juncture in human history where significant creativity (to solve many world issues) is becoming crucial to our future.
I think that deserves our attention and exploration.
- 1. "The noun (disrupter) is ultimately derived from the Latin verb disrumpere, which means to break into pieces or burst asunder, as the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) says." Source: A disruptive spelling
- 2. Ronald W. Clark, Edison. The Man Who Made The Future, Macdonald & Jane’s, London 1977, p.9.
- 3. Ronald W. Clark, Einstein, The Life and Times, Hodder and Stoughton London 1979, p.496.
- 4. ibid. p.137
- 5. ibid. p.121