Thursday, 13 October 2011

Autism and modern Eugenics

The autist, a modern creation, is a person fronted by his eugenic image - a perfected normalcy made achievable by clinical authority. This image differs from those offered by the eugenics programs conducted in the war-torn industrial west of the last century, though the goal of a perfection endures.

It is not the autist, the person, that suffers from his unattained perfection, despite the clinical directive. It is the autist's clinically created perfect image that suffers from the autist. The autist, the person, not the image, is reduced to a physical "condition". Failing the test of autonomous personhood he must instead posture as a lesser, socially disenfranchised archetype -  The Patient. For this clinical thing, The Patient, holidays become therapies, associates become helpers, home-life a tick-box activity of tasks achieved.

Medicated for achievement, the autist is eternally tasked. For the feisty and independent (and what condition, what patient, could hope to be?) resisting the pressure of the clinical shadow of eugenic perfection can meet life-long resistance from a public and Clinic whose help is conditional upon accepting that shadow and its demands. Diagnosis, and not religion or social good-will becomes the trigger for support and access to social resources. A sad comment on the powerlessness of non-governnment, non-medical welfare strategems. That is how it must be for The Patient.

Alone among others who have been blighted living in the shadow of their perfect image (we can think of others, aspergists, ADHD'ists, in this regard) the autist is affected by, suffers from - himself ! or, from his brain if we are beguiled by neuroscience biologese and its veiled belief of chemical possession. We, the rest of us, may declare that while we just might be affected by our brain there is, nevertheless, one undeniable fact - brain differences between ourselves and autists are their differences, not ours; behavioural differences are their differences not ours, hence, the condition is theirs, not ours.

Irretrievably, conspiratorially, beyond the understanding of any god, mum and dad, the autist is a performer in  Clinical Theatre, playing lead role in a fractious play of equal opportunity strategems and social disenfranchisement.

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