Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Brain picking

One of the books I'm juggling now is Neurodiversity by Thomas Armstrong. Armstrong argues that what we see as mood disorders, learning disorders, etc, aren't deficiencies and deficiencies only. They are, in many cases, adaptations from humanity's past, and about anything we consider mental illness is actually honored in one culture or another.

It's a book for the general market, so not surprisingly there are a fair number of celebrity portraits. Not to the extent of namedropping for namedropping's sake, I don't think. And Armstrong, being a depressive by his own account, has some personal insight too.

A lot of creative people, past and present, have been depressives. It's almost de rigueur for comedians, which might be what's kept me out of standup. If I'm neuro-atypical--and the evidence is pretty strong--my tendencies would be more along the lines of autism/Asperger's. Don't have high ambitions to be a tech innovator, though.


susan said...

Well, I'd have a hard time agreeing that sociopaths and psychopaths ever provided much benefit to the general populace, but I see his point about other differences. The question arises whether mood altering drugs that could have provided benefit to Van Gogh, Beetoven or HP Lovecraft (among many others) would have proved to be worse for us if they'd had access to them. It's a very tricky subject, but I do agree that if you can enjoy life without them drugs are best avoided.

How about banking or hedge funding?

Ben said...

The author is actually depressive himself and admits to finding mood stabilizers a needed resource. That's up to him, of course. But some psychologists have pointed to depression as something we need to eliminate like smallpox. This sounds a little like eugenics to me.

I wonder if psychopathy is less a condition than the name we give an extreme.

We indeed don't know what we would have had - or lacked - had someone like Beethoven simply been treated and medicated in the past. Doesn't mean we should end all drugs, but it's enough to sound a note of caution.

Oh, some aspects of banking maybe, in a pinch. Finance work would be a last resort, though.