Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Peek into "Genius" (my brain) . . .

A N D . . . 5,  6,  7,  8   .   .   .

Stream of Consciousness posting...

(What this means is that there is a method to the madness, a means to an end, but you cannot see it!  Assume this with me always...)
Brains are all different, you see.  Some will talk of "normal" or "typical", please someone show me this...I've not ever seen it in myself, nor have I seen it in an other.  Just as with ASD and ACC, generalizing knowledge is not my strong point...  A child (or adult) with ASD and often with ACC views the world through our particularly unique rose coloured glasses.  As an example; a "typical" 5 year old who has been told "don't cross the street without looking first" while crossing Main St, infers and generalizes that (s)he should not cross any street without looking first.  SAY it isn't SO?~?~?

Someone with my unique neurology experiences life differently:
If you tell me "don't cross the street without looking first", I won't, at least I won't cross Main St. (the street you told me not to cross) without first checking to see if a car is coming towards me.  However, I will, most likely walk over to Broadway and run right across the street with no concern for oncoming traffic.  And (I know, don't start a sentence with "And") likely this will be true for 1st Ave., and 2nd St. too.

People with ASD and ACC often "backwards generalize."  This is how it looks.  Mum tells me "don't cross this street without looking" (Main St.), then she takes me to Broadway and she gives me the same admonition.  Again, she takes me to 1st Ave. and 2nd St. and does so again.  Now I have 4 different examples of how things work, and from this I "backwards generalize", I now create a new rule, thought, behavior, etc... based on my experience with mum and the four streets she took me to.

Repetition, repetition, repetition, and more repetition...We may even state "I got it! I understand", yet will not be able to complete the task in question, until we have actually performed the task under "supervision" many many (did I say A LOT?) of times.  In the old days, teachers taught with the method "See it, hear it, do it" and this works well for people like myself.  In fact all children learn better with that method, because it covers all the main modalities of learning (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) and so regardless of the child's strong points or weak point this method appeals to all the modalities.  Less than 5% of the planet learns kinesthetically (by touch, movement, performance) and I am one like that.  In fact, I almost entirely learn that way alone.

It looks like this:
I see what you've shown me, and I hear your explanation, and perhaps even have a good cognitive grasp on it, yet I will never  be able to perform the task, unless not only shown, but having myself being "put through the paces," through the actual exercise of practicing the task or knowledge  physically, tactically, operationally, etc... and with supervision and prompting.  For me, individually, I might even have to be put through the task dozens and dozens of times for it to "take" both cognitively and as a discreet behavior (actualizing not simply memorizing facts about something.)

Of course, I was born without a Corpus Callosum so their are quite literally two sides to me.  There are with most typical folks too, but they often go unnoticed as discreet and unique processes as they do with me.  For most there is some level of integration...

For many years I felt like the Greek myth of when the Gods created mankind.  (Wo)Man, was created androgynous ("Adam and Eve" were one being, as it mentions in the Torah, not two beings, in the beginning), and they were joined at the back.  The one is always completely aware of the other, yet not able to see, nor touch, nor directly apprehend / comprehend the other.  The myth further states that this created human being moved around through life, almost like when we did a cartwheel as a child, and hopefully the two sides are cooperating, and travelling in the same direction; if not at very best is halted jerky movement, at worst, no locomotion at all.

When I began learning about my neurology, this myth appealed greatly to me.  I felt it described me to a T.  So I began to honour all my disenfranchised parts, so to speak.  I have haltingly, tried to operate from a viewpoint of logic only for most of my life...tried to "figure things out."  This never worked well for me though.  I learn by doing, not by thinking.  I learn by experience.  I learn if and only when the knowledge, skill, behavior has become a gestalt (a whole, 3 dimensional and felt experience), short of this it is only "words in my mind."  Linear words at that, no inference, no colour nor comparison, rather black and white, on and off "facts" which bear little resemblance to reality.

The concept of linear words vs words that are in themselves a gestalt (a felt whole experience) such as the Japanese Kanji, (the adopted logo-graphic/ideographic Chinese characters (Hanzi) that are used in the modern Japanese writing system.) both a Chinese and a Japanese can read it, understand exactly what it means, yet call it something entirely different, still understanding what it means, because they share a common concept.  It does not represent a sound or a (?) phoneme, but a "seed concept."  These seed concepts even built upon each other changing meanings organically, much like a DNA sequence chain.

For example (and I am making this up for ease) a small line, representing the idea "straight."

From that is then compounded another image in the character that represents a shift in the meaning, with the new strokes in the image "straight" becomes "arrow" etc. and it works more like organic language tiny concepts, but fluid in use of expression.

Our Western language systems however, are based on phonemes, and an alphabet ( a representational sound system.)  My brain doesn't do this well, reading can be quite an effort with a disordered working memory and diminished executive functions...  It is like "translating it twice"  going from the words to a concept, then to an image.  I already have the image, that's how my coconut works LOL. Although, for example , the Japanese Katakana is a basic  system like "A, B, C" however it is used only for the unusual, or the italicized, for foreign borrow words, as the intent it approximating the original word with typical Japanese phonemes. It's used also in signs and advertising, book titles, etc... obviously focused on pronunciation as it's main intent.  

I actually owe a lot of thanks to my mom and dad for involving me very early in Judo and Karate while I was still young. I'm sure I was average, but the experience was invaluable, I learned values and lessons, regardless of any "disability" that have stayed with me many years.  And I also learned to love Japanese culture, in my not so different search that everyone really goes through as they mature and move out into the world.  One of the things I gained from this is an understand of Kanji.  When first exposed to an ideographic representational language system, I felt, for the first time, like a fish in water.  I found my element, so to speak, and found it ridiculously easy.  Today I understand perhaps 2000 of the 3000 Kanji commonly taught in Japan for primary education, I can just about read a Japanese newspaper.

Regarding language, my brain also has its unique abilities.  I am multi-lingual, have competency in perhaps half a dozen languages (even Western ones), but I didn't learn them the way a "typical" person would.... In my case, simple exposure to the spoken language for a long enough period of time, and I do that backwards thing I spoke of.  I learn vocabulary last.  I start by listening to the cadence of the speak, inflection, and syntax.  You may wonder how I can comprehend syntax prior to (advanced) vocabulary, but I pick up basic vocabulary by examining syntax, and phrase structure grammar... not the "normal" way of doing things.

I think in 3D....have practiced meditation my entire life, and find ridiculously natural, skills that many spend their lives trying to perfect.  I not only can visualize any object perfectly internally, but can even project it outward into my (actually visual/physical) field of vision...for example I can image-in an apple and set it on the desk here next to me, eyes wide open....I can then pick it up, feel its texture, smell it, and bite into it, hear it crunch, etc...

Internally it is even a bit stranger...When I "see" something inside, it is primarily, anyhow, not visual but kinesthetic.  I "wrap myself around" an object, and I "see" it with my felt sense.  In the same way you use proprioception (the ability to know where your body is in space and in relation to things around it) externally to navigate the world, I use it internally, to navigate or "feel around" an image.

IF I can do this, then I spontaneously can hold its perfect image, internally, and even externally....YEAH confabulation (it is the imaginative confabulatory process, I believe, that allows me to do this.

In short, you think in words translated to concepts then images, but I think in images translate that to concepts and words most naturally.  Yet for me it has texture and shape, form, colour.  The kicker, this never shuts off.  My brain is constantly producing streams of tens of thousands of images...it gets quite crowded in here (and in hear LOL.)  I have something called sensory disintegration disorder...the typical brain, able to manipulate and order the 6 senses (the 6th is that ability specifically) is easily overwhelmed in me, sound, light, and touch at times can be penetrating and excruciating to a degree I would not wish on the worst of Hitlers.  The technique of deep sensory stimulation, has been quite literally a Godsend for me, the only thing that orders my disordered senses, and does so completely and quickly.  If you are AgCC/ACC and or ASD (or even ADHD) the likelyhood is you experience at least some of this sensory disorder. The link in this paragraph leads to an extract of a study that explains the technique and its use in some details...my thanks to Temple Grandin who helped rediscover and mainline the knowledge and application of this technique.

It is now time to give this brain a rest...thank you for listening....now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

~joseph

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