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Celebrate neurodiversity

Celebrate neurodiversity
August 06, 2012, 05:41:53 AM
This epidemic in the growth of mental illness suggests that there is a crisis in the making.  How much longer can we continue to add new psychiatric illnesses to the list, before it becomes apparent that we have moved too far in pathologizing a sizeable chunk of the American populace?  There is, however, an answer to this crisis.  The concept of neurodiversity provides a paradigm shift in how we think about mental functioning.  Instead of regarding large portions of the American public as suffering from deficit, disease, or dysfunction in their mental processing, neurodiversity suggests that we instead speak about differences in cognitive functioning.  Just as we talk about differences in bio-diversity and cultural diversity, we need to start using the same kind of thinking in talking about brain differences.  We don’t pathologize a calla lily for not having petals (e.g. petal deficit disorder), nor do we diagnose an individual with brown skin as suffering from a “pigmentation dysfunction.”  Similarly, we ought not to pathologize individuals who have different ways of thinking, relating, attending, and learning


Tend to agree, save that unlike floral features or skin pigmentation, when it comes to neurology in particular, there is more of an impactful adaptive to maladaptive gradient at work for the organism in question.

Re: Celebrate neurodiversity
August 06, 2012, 07:42:17 AM
Never mind trying to address the root of a problem. Instead re-label problem as diversity (=good). A great victory for logic.

Re: Celebrate neurodiversity
August 06, 2012, 08:52:32 AM
I didn't care for the neurorelativism in the article either. He motioned toward correcting that in principle number five but immediately blew it in number six. The unequal natural fitness stuff is a real challenge for the humanist crowd.

Re: Celebrate neurodiversity
August 06, 2012, 11:01:07 PM
I thought it made a lot of sense until this point:
Despite Principles 3 and 4, however, it's true that we don’t live in other places or times, consequently the immediate need is to adapt to our current contemporary culture.  This means that a dyslexic person needs to learn how to read, an autistic individual needs to learn how to relate to others socially, a schizophrenic individual needs to think more rationally and so forth.  Tools such as psychoactive medication or intensive remediation programs can help achieve these aims. 

Treat, but do not diagnose?

And why, essentially, has a nice bronze tan been compared with schizophrenia? Is he stupid enough to believe this, or only hoping the readers are? I suspect the latter, added in with an attempt to appeal to anyone who is afraid of being perceived as racist.

Re: Celebrate neurodiversity
August 11, 2012, 08:30:06 AM
Or, perhaps we need to bend the arc of our "current contemporary culture" away from its current path toward an ever more secure haven for passive, effeminate, organization-minded (as in "company man," not the capacity to provide organization) failboaters...

Re: Celebrate neurodiversity
August 11, 2012, 10:08:07 PM
Using an example that recalls Charles Darwin and Konrad Lorenz, Zinoviev notes that less-developed species often adapt to their habitat better than species with more intricate biological and behavioral capacities. On the evolutionary tree, writes Zinoviev, rats and bugs appear more fragile than, for example, monkeys or dinosaurs, yet in terms of biological survivability, bugs and rats have demonstrated and astounding degree of adaptability to an endlessly changing and threatening environment. The fundamental mistake of liberal observers of communism is to equate political efficiency with political stability.


America, although having rejected the outward signs of its former communist nemesis, has traditionally resorted to the use of the same egalitarian narrative; it has only given it a different name and veneer. I must emphasize that political slogans and words can change their meaning, but certain principles inherent in communism have today a better hold in America than in the ex-Soviet Union. It is therefore wrong to assume that just because the communist Soviet Union disappeared, the egalitarian "love thy neighbor," derived from Christianity monotheism, must also be dead. The end result of Christian belief and its secular progeny must inevitably lead to a multiracial system accompanied by the contemporary chiliastic principle of the end of history.


Homo economicus is extinct, felled by the new sciences of behavioral economics and neuroeconomics, which have demonstrated that we are remarkably irrational creatures. Thousands of experiments in behavioral economics since Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky founded the field with their seminal 1979 paper, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,” have demonstrated that most of us are highly loss averse. Specifically, most people will reject the prospect of a 50–50 probability of gaining or losing money, unless the amount to be gained is at least double the amount to be lost. That is, people feel worse about the pain of a loss than they feel better about the pleasure of a gain. Twice as badly, in fact.