About Being American

I just love this Facebook entry on my friend’s page. It says it all on what being an American should be about. You can do your thing but don’t try to prevent me from doing mine.

Diversity……

 

2017-01-26_17-31-32.png

Pennsylvania State Museum

In 2014 we went to the State Museum of Pennsylvania on our way back from NYC. It was one of the best of all the state museums we have been in.  It celebrates all aspects of its history.  Here is a small gallery of the art from that visit.

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

Part 10 – My Venture Into Asperger’s – Closing Thoughts For This Series..

Neuro Banner  This is Part 10 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s. This post is primarily about my closing thoughts of what I have learned about myself and the Asperger’s Syndrome in general.

When I discovered that I might be an Aspie I searched the web for info about this condition and found that I share many characteristics with the neurodiverse population.  Before I get into personal details about this topic lets look at the idea of neurodiversity from Wikipedia:

2016-08-12_09-21-09.pngNeurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that suggests that diverse neurological conditions appear as a result of normal variations in the human genome. This portmanteau of neurological and diversity originated in the late 1990s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, instead asserting that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category 

I take the phrase to mean that neurological conditions are for the most part just the normal spread of what makes us human. Of course I realize that the severe cases are anything but normal. In past ages those with Aspergers were often called being eccentric or maybe “marching to the beat of a different drummer”. Yes, I had difficulties in my early years that I could not understand but for the most part I  developed ways to compensate for many of my shortcomings and just avoided others whenever possible. Don’t we all actually do that to one extent or another?

Do my Asperger’s characteristics need fixing? That is the basic question here and my answer is NO.  My unique characteristics which might be related to Aspergers are what makes me who I am. It makes me different from others. Except maybe for my early years I have never felt the desire to be “normal” even if there is such a thing..

In my studies I came across lists of people who are likely Aspies. Since this syndrome was not even defined until the late 1990s most adults today have never have been diagnosed as Aspies. Even since then the thrust of the work in Aspergers has been in the field of childhood amelioration, adults are for the most part outside the current study of this condition. But given the characteristics that are contained in the study it can be deduced who might be catalogued with Asperger:

  • Bill Gates
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Al Gore
  • Bob Dylan
  • Mark Twain
  • Charles Schulz
  • ….. the list goes on and on

I am proud to maybe be included in this list even if it is of my own account.  I just don’t think that characteristics that fall outside of what might currently be considered normal is something that needs fixing. Instead it, like racial diversity, is what makes us a valuable mix of people and views of the world. It is what makes each of us unique.

So I will keep in mind my apparent neurodiversity and continue talking about it here at a background level on RJsCorner but I won’t fixate on it as somehow being a central part of my life.  It, like my deafness, is simply part of who I am.  I do this because I don’t particularly like labels, they are more restraining than facilitating to me.

 

 

Playing a Part…

Vincennes Rendezvous-2There is nothing childish about make believe, it should stay with us our entire lives.  It makes us more aware of the diversity around us and in our history.  I found these two at the Vincennes Rendezvous walking the grounds.  I’m sure they both  had this event on their calendar with a big star next to it.  Playing the part of some of their heroes….

Its All About Communications….

QE BannerJEFFREY BROWN: But couldn’t you make the argument that it would be better if we all spoke the same language, that we all understood each other? There would be — well, there would be more understanding in the world.

BOB HOLMAN: Well, I love that argument, and it makes so much sense, until you understand what understanding is.

Icon_apps_22 [Converted] [Converted]You know, language is much more than communication. When we talk about it on the surface, that’s what it is. But language is the way we think. And it’s the way it’s been handed down through generations. If you begin to think in another language, that’s fine.

But if you have to lose the way that your family has been speaking, that’s not so fine. That’s losing who you are. And when we lose who we are, that’s when we become this homogenized consumer of life, rather than a citizen who comes from a place and knows who you are.

SOURCE:  What does the world lose when a language dies?.

The above quotes came from a transcript of a recent PBS Newshour segment about languages that are being lost in recent years. I will tell you up front so there is no confusion that I simply don’t buy much of the reasons to lament this happening. To me less languages in the world is instead something to celebrate.

Being deaf and living fully in the hearing world I know that communications is vital to how we live our daily lives. Daily conversations, yes even chit-chat is important. When communications is broken for whatever reason conflict often arises, sometimes deadly conflict. I have often said that the times I feel the most lonely is when I am surrounded by people who I am unable to communicate with. Sitting with a group of people and not being able to join in on whatever the topic of conversation happens to be about is totally isolating to me.

Even communications between those of us who are deaf are often nearly impossible because of different languages. The 20% or so of the deaf are those who were born deaf and part of the Deaf culture. They use a sign language called ASL. For the other 80% of us who went deaf after learning how to speak we use Signed English if we use signing at all, and many don’t. While the two share some common signs they are very different in context and application.  I have great difficulty knowing what a person using ASL is saying.

If only we all could talk directly with each other without the social, political, or physical barriers of different languages much of the world’s current problems would cease to exist. Because I am not privy to many conversations around me I often come to very  wrong conclusions about what is being discussed.  Because, for the most part Christians and Muslims speak different languages communication at the grass-roots level are simply not possible.  Communications is everything in today’s world. Speaking  and writing different languages kills communications.  Languages are not to be confused with thoughts. They are not the same thing. Thoughts, philosophies, cultures and such promote different ways of thinking. We should never lose our ability to think differently than the crowd.

About Islam and terrorism…

I have been meaning to study more about the Muslim world. I know it rivals Christianity as the largest religion in the world. Here are some supposed facts I recently found about it from a recent on-line article. Click the source below to see the complete article.

2015-01-23_11-29-371. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.

2. European Muslims are more moderate on sharia law.

Eighty-four percent of Muslims in South Asia, 77 percent of percent of Muslims in Southeast Asia, and 74 percent of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa believe that sharia law should be official law in their respective countries. Only 18 percent of Muslims in Europe believe that sharia law should be enshrined in addition to (or in lieu of) the existing law.

3. Some Muslims are immersed in an environment that permits and nourishes the core beliefs they cite as reasons for acting as they have.

For example: 2.3 percent of Muslims in Europe believe that people who leave the Muslim faith should be executed. By contrast, 63 percent of Muslims in South Asia share that belief, as do 44 percent of Muslims in the Middle East, and 20 percent of Muslims in Southeast Asia.

4. Just north of ten percent of Muslims worldwide support and sanction religously motivated violence against civilians in at least some contexts.

That’s about 195 million, according to the most accurate polling of Muslim beliefs.

7. There are seeming contradictions in how much Muslims support women’s rights.

In Europe, 44 percent of Muslims think that women should at all times submit to their husbands, but 88 percent believe that women ought to choose for themselves whether they should wear a veil in public. Outside of Europe, strong majorities of Muslims believe that women must obey their husbands and wear their veils outside their home. 

8. There are big geographic differences in how people interpret the truth of the Islamic faith.

In 32 of the 39 countries surveyed, half or more Muslims say there is only one correct way to understand the teachings of Islam. In the United States, nearly six in ten Muslims think there are many ways to interpret Islam.

SOURCE:  8 facts you need to know about Islam and terrorism.

Some of these statistics surprised me. I have always thought that the radicals who seem so dominant in the news were completely out of step with the average follower of that religion. But this article seems to say not as much out of tune as I thought.  Over three-fourths of the Asian and Middle East muslims think that Sharia law should be the only law of their countries. 195 million support religiously sanctioned violence and about half say that if you leave Islam you should be executed!!  The vast majority of practicing muslims don’t support any form women’s rights or even human rights in general.

These numbers say that muslims are more aligned with some ISIS  ideology than I originally believed.  I certainly don’t want to paint with too broad a brush here and it does seem that at least muslims in western countries, which are a distinct minority of muslims,  are less rigid than in the rest of muslim the world. One of the most basic things that confuses me about Islam is that they seem to put much more emphasis on their prophet Mohammad than they do God himself.  Why is that? Is it ok to have a picture of God but not Mohammad? I guess I need to study this religion more…. but what I have found so far kind of startles me….