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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Philosophical exercise 3 [S-series 7]

   Separate or intimate? 

    Sounds like I'm going to write about couples, married most likely.
No, I am thinking of a different couple: body and spirit. Or body and mind.
Some people like to think of these two as separate entities. An intimate relationship with your own body?   Ridiculous!  That used to be my answer. My mind was my mind and my body was only holding it back from going at full speed.
     Until I ran into the concept of Sensory Processing Disorder. Before that I thought that anyone who said he felt good with his body, was making it up, faking it. From the work of dr.Jean Ayres I came to understand that it does exist. And that some people have a hard job to do, if they want to build up an intimate relationship with their body.  work on dealing with the information from the vestibular organ, from the skin, proprioceptive signals... 
    And SPD is not the only cause of bad body-spirit relationships. Badly lined up vertebrae can cause the most amazing disturbances in body awareness and signals. So if you think as I used to, find out what is keeping your body and spirit apart.
     Not just to feel good. These signals determine matters of the mind, of the psyche too.
Bad balance can make one insecure and touchy. Low proprioception doesn't help you build up an image of your-'self'.  And what about children who have trouble reading, cannot determine the sequence of the letters on a line?  There is an exercise called "letter walking": large letters are laid down on the floor and the child has to stand on the letter in the middle or the first letter, etc. The spatial exercise helps the child to get a grip on the spatial organisation of words, lines, even pages in a book.
    Since body and spirit just cannot be separated, you better make sure to get as intimate with your body as you can.  Intimate as in close or warm friendship or understanding; personal relationship. [From Collins / reverso ]    So that your spirit has a body to express itself with and the body may 'know' that it's signs are well understood, appreciated and used for prosperity of 'its person' as a whole.

    The reason to bring up the subject is because the next S-series post is going to start with the concept of a "docile body".... how can a body be made docile by outsiders?  

    To turn this post into an exercise, here is a question:
Understanding, close contact, communication, with your own body makes your spirit healthier.   
Can we keep up this argument when moving from one individual to two...

In other words:
*  Can we keep body and spirit separated in relationships ? What kind of relationships are we dealing with in those cases?

*  Can close intimate physical contact make the spiritual relationship of a couple stronger and healthier?     If yes, how ?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Old Dog

  How could Life teach us 
without leaving traces?


  An old boxer, walking with his boss.The dark brown, tiger striped dog holds his head at an angle turned up to its left. As if eyeing his owner, who is just a few steps ahead of him. For a brief moment I see a slight change in the tilt, the dog picks up an interest in me. But silly self occupation is absorbing me and I fail to respond. When they pass by me it is too late, the owner, between us, blocks our view. 
    Is it really too late? I look at the boxer again, when they are a few steps away from me. And he too takes another look. Lifts his head merrily as he notices that the lady at the bus stop is finally making eye contact. His owner is walking on at their slow pace and the animal feels torn for a moment. His love for strangers wins the plea. As I pat and cuddle him, I see how white his snout is.  He must be a very old dog.
        The brown boxer can barely tear himself away from me. But he can take his time, his owner is standing still, waiting calmly now, smiling at us. He knows his friend's interest in people. I give the dog one more loving stroke, then send him back to the waiting man. Had the dog been homeless I would have taken him home with me. But he is being taken care of real fine.  I watch the two walking on, catching one more look from each of them. Only now I'm taking note of the dog's heavily bent hind legs, his twisted back. Walking must be a hard job for him. Yet he lifts his head, looking around for more people to love. What a beautiful creature.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Disempowerment 1 [S-series 6]

I have to thank my friend Raymond van Es for his excellent
up to date information and sharp insight.
Not to mention his hospitality.
June 28:  Hmm... and his corrections for this post...  :\
it made me remove panopticism from this chapter :)

I remember…. how afraid I was of doing what was right, of raising my child the way I saw fit. My view point was correct, it is proven now, after years of misdiagnoses and false accusations from parties that called themselves authorities.
But I didn’t dare to act right, preferred doing what was wrong just to avoid the sanction that the same authorities were threatening with. Because the sanction would be even worse: I’d lose total control, not even a chance to correct or smooth the mistakes I was forced to make in caring for my child.

Systematic, Unfair, Negative Feedback ...
It is frightening to face an opponent who grants itself unconditional power to manipulate you. Not based on facts but on its own ideas, even on the fantasies of its own representatives. It rips your sense of security apart to hear that opponent ridicule your way of thinking, devalue your vision of life based on… its own lack of insight, lack of respect , its self proclaimed ‘infallibility’.
It disempowers you when all your actions are given a negative connotation. To have the opponent declare its own untruth as honest, while your truth telling is called manipulative dishonest behavior. The burden of proof lying on your side.
I only had to appear at its offices, face its representatives every few weeks. I was not isolated, I had a circle of friends who saw things my way… yet I felt watched, feared the phone, couldn’t work with my back turned to the windows facing the street. I could relax a little after five in the afternoon, knowing that the authorities would keep their files closed for the next 16 hours, that I would not be summoned at least until the next day. But during the largest part of the day I felt observed and criticized
So even in its absence the Authoritative System had power over me. I had the feeling I was being watched, being reported and that any kind of result of my own actions would be used against me. Logic nor fairness nor compassion would help me out. These were motives that did not exist in its dictionary.
By taking away a person's ability to do what feels right to him, you disintegrate his personality.


... and Autism
Science to me is merely a temporary conclusion, based on biased observations and assumptions. Take the theory of mind tests for instance...
Sally puts her marble into her basket. When she leaves the room, Anne stealthily takes that marble out and puts it in her box. Where will Sally look for her marble, when she's back in the room? 80% of young autistic children will answer “in Anne's box”.
Did the one who subjected young autistic children to the Sally and Anne test and made his far reaching conclusions, have any 'theory of natural variation in minds' ?? It is believed by many that autism is primarily a “social disease”: a defect in the ability of the autistic person to feel for someone else. The theory of mind test has helped to anchor this idea in the mind of the vast majority of people.
I believe autism is mainly a neurological disorder, causing the autistic person to experience the world, including social interactions, differently from “neuro-typical” [= normal] people. Seeing more than others do, experiencing touch or smells more intensely, makes the world a different place, Makes simple things, like -for example-  shaking hands with all the guests at a party, an unpleasant and tough job instead of a pleasantry. I hate shaking hands with strangers and I'm sure I'm not unable to feel for others. 

Since neurotypical persons do not understand the response of an autistic person, they give negative feedback to the autistic  person -who is in fact responding in a logical fashion to his different sensory perception-.   So the autistic person runs into unfair criticism... receiving negative feedback on his spontaneous, creative and probably socially inclined actions. Confusing, scary, painful... Since the autistic person is running into this kind of negative feedback from the majority, the neurotypicals, he is experiencing unfair negative feedback almost systematically. Concluding from what was written in the first paragraphs 'our' autistic person is prone to have problems in developing his personality and social skills. Not due to his neurological state, but due to the feedback 'normal' people tend to give him. No wonder that non-directive therapies like Son Rise are so successful, these therapies rely on giving positive feedback, unconditionally. Giving the autistic person a chance to gain self confidence in social situations. 


        Isn't that striking... the situation, described at the beginning of this post, about constant negative reporting, unfair sanctions, the lack of respect and compassion, being forced to act contrary to what you feel is right*.... This is the world of the autistic child [and adult]. Can you blame him for losing interest or belief in others? For not liking social conduct, since the word social is not aimed at him? For withdrawing, avoiding a world full of painful experiences?       



   

       Here's a very sharp review of someone who is diagnosed as autistic, but very capable of making good conversation... telling us what someone with Asperger [high functioning autism] thinks of the theory of mind tests and the dangerous [mis]interpretations of the results: Journeys with autism: a critique of the theory of mind test
Conclusion

Autism, like Sensory Processing Disorder, is not about disturbed, undeveloped, feelings towards others. It is about differences in receiving and combining sensory information.


It is the negative feedback of those who can't accept that their way is not the only right way, that turns disorders like these into psychological disorders. If those who do not understand are the leading group. And since the 'neurotypicals' are in the majority... they lead.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

The Modern Prince

Sleeping Beauty

I meant to write a Very Tale as a funny version of Sleeping Beauty, making it a parody on fairy tale cliches. While writing, I forgot the humor causing the romance to bleed to death. Obviously humor plays a vital part in relationships....  In the mean time, a little trick was being played on me by a Higher Force.

"I rarely open the gate at the back of the yard, afraid my rabbit will escape. But now I can hardly reach it. The garden door I mean.  I have to crawl under the rosebush, which came from the wall and is sagging terribly.  I'm being held hostage by it !!   I feel like Sleeping Beauty. Should I put a note on the garden-door telling the prince on the white horse to simply ring the bell on the front door??  What if he's the pauper and I don't see through his scam? I think I might as well not open the front door either."

I wrote this three weeks ago and just let the rosebush go on blocking my way through the garden. Yesterday, looking at it from my attic* I noticed  that it was full of tender yellow rosebuds. OK, I thought, I'll let you live until all your flowers have finished flourishing.  
Below was the sound of breaking glass, of doorposts and window frames being ripped from the wall. I was getting a new fa├žade.  -No, that's not a euphemism for plastic surgery, I'm still more into sleeping than being a beauty.- Instead of slaying the two headed dragon, responsible for getting the job done, I lavished it amply with coffee, to make sure the new windows and front door would be in place soon. The sooner, the better, right? Wasn't my prince on the white horse coming to rescue me from the raging rosebush through the front door? 

This morning only half the dragon returned to round up the renovation. The new door and windows had been in place already, keeping me safe from being abducted during the night. Now only tiny matters like lamps and doorbells needed to be replaced. Tiny but important if you expect a prince to come calling by the front door.
I lavished the one remaining head of the dragon just as dutifully as the day before. While having our coffee, we discoursed about rebuilding houses and the pleasant side effect of that on the selling price. "You must redo your garden too" the One Head advised me. I nodded and complained about my rosebush. A friendly shrug was the response. "I'll be finished around lunchtime and I brought an electric saw. I'll do it for you in no time."  I thought of the budding flowers and looked doubtful... I just didn't want to explain the half-dragon about my sentimental promise to the rosebuds, sensing it would not find fertile soil in him.
My guest practicably pointed out that the dumpster would be next to my house for a only a few more hours. He made my common sense win the internal battle. Unconscious of all this he went down the attic stairs, back to his work, promising me to cut the rose stems. The rest was up to me.
As I watched him retreat a little voice inside of me started to shriek with laughter, seeing the hilarity of the situation... here was my prince rescuing me from the spell of the rosebush! He didn't ride a white horse, but drove a white van. And he definitely had come through the front door!  


After having cut off the rose bush, and the fig tree into the bargain, the prince with the flushed cheeks drove off in his white van. Home to a lady who is already his second princess.  She wants a Siamese. But the prince prefers dogs, so she won't get her cat. He thinks.
He left me with an enormous tangle of thorns, not to be touched with bare hands. And a new doorbell. 
Which I desperately need. Because as soon as the rose bush was slaughtered, a dark knight arrived on the scene with his truck, picking up the dumpster. Way before I could move the rosebush out... 
It's still keeping me imprisoned and I have to watch it whither and die before blooming... a proper punishment for letting common sense win from romance.
 



* This lady has her living room in the attic, which comes as close to a tower as possible.