A Short Note on Solipsistic Delusions

I’m quickly getting to the point in the capstone paper in which I will have no choice but to go read Autism Speaks’s website. And a bunch of other dehumanizing shit about how autistic people can’t talk (or can’t talk meaningfully) so therefore we don’t really exist and non-autistic people need to do all our talking for us.

I am not looking forward to this. I am assembling Team Me and queueing up a bunch of palliative reading, including Jim Sinclair (a nonverbal autistic writer who works as a counselor and writes with boundless empathy and compassion for the position I find myself in, probably because he (a) is also there and (b) is trained as a counselor) and Amy Sequenzia (another nonverbal autistic writer, whose “don’t get sad, get even” approach produces some of the most witty, straightforward, and incisive takedowns of Autism Speaks’s bullshit that I have ever read). But it’s still going to be tough as fuck.

Melanie Yergeau’s seminal paper on autism and rhetorical being, “Clinically Significant Disturbances,” is half academic paper, half hyper-anxious ethnography. I don’t say “hyper-anxious” to disparage it. On the contrary, her palpable anxiety isΒ necessaryΒ for Audiences Not Already in a Position to Know to understand what’s at stake when she argues that talk about autism tends to assume that autistic people are fundamentally arhetorical – incapable of understanding audience, impervious to communicative or persuasive attempts, beings without potential or choice or will. Not human.

I get that anxiety. I know what it feels like to be told I’m not a person, that I cannot participate as a being, that I don’t exist, that there is no “I” where I think an “I” exists and that my very belief that “I” exists is itself a solipsistic delusion – that “I” needs to shut up and be a good doormat in order to be permitted its continued survival as an organism (never mind a human, ’cause that’s not gonna happen). That’s the anxiety I have to face this weekend, because I am out of other work to do on this paper.

Team Me, please help.

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6 thoughts on “A Short Note on Solipsistic Delusions

  1. Thank you sooooooo much for doing this difficult work. I know it can feel like an exercise in futility sometimes, but every voice that counteracts the horrible messaging of mainstream society is one more person reached and plucked out of the miasma of hate and bigotry. The work you are doing matters. It matters!!! And you matter!!! I can’t wait to read your work going forward. This is a very exciting time in neuroscience!!! πŸ’—πŸ‘πŸ’—πŸ˜ŠπŸ’—πŸ‘πŸ’—

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  2. I taught first aid in the army along with NBC (Nuclear Biological and Chemical warfare) and over the years have had to do presentations and such for business reasons; latterly I do performance poetry in the streets – the intensity of fear focused into performance followed by the mind burst and the focus down to silence.

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