Friday, January 26, 2007

On rigidity

This video, courtesy of Edward Winkleman, blew Pretty Lady's socks off.

Pretty Lady encourages you to watch the entire thing, before perusing her more standard, but still quirky, communicative screed.

What Pretty Lady noticed first, was that the first part of the video made some sort of sense to her. It seemed to access a portion of her brain which she is careful to keep under wraps, except when joking around in bed, or with babies, or in her studio. It was calming, in an odd sort of way.

The second part of the video nearly caused her to burst into tears. But then, Pretty Lady has always been a sensitive soul. Not nearly as sensitive as autistic persons, however.

What this sensitive lady points out, in all her devastating eloquence, is that the vast majority of assumptions and judgments we bring to the world and to other people are solipsistic, narrow-minded, and so rigid as to be asphyxiating. These assumptions can be literally murderous.

Pretty Lady has often pointed out that when we assess, when we judge, we are judging ourselves. Rather, we are judging other people as though they were ourselves--not in a larger, mystical, transpersonal sense, but as though their narrow window of perception upon the world were identical to our own. How very dull and pointless this would be, if it were so! And how very unintelligent and slothful, not to mention potentially abusive, of us to act as if it were.


Anonymous said...

This was interesting. Perhaps it is just my mood this afternoon but I was irritated by her implication that somehow we are in the wrong for not learning her language. That would be impossible, as autism does not automatically endow the patient with a language set that is understood by other autistics, and since her language is unique, how can she expect us to manage to learn it without any frame of references even if we were to try?

In addition, I am not angered that I was forced to learn English in order to communicate with the world, in fact I am grateful that I have the ability to express my ideas in a way that is understood by a majority of other humans, from spoken language, to facial expressions, to drawing, to music. I express my ideas and I do not resent having to do that in a framework that others will readily understand.

Her internal world is hers, and hers alone. I am interested in seeing different points of view and hearing ideas that I would not have myself, but I will not feel guilty if I fail to understand someone who will not concede a common ground for communication.


Pretty Lady said...

Those are all valid points, Crom.

However, I was reminded of an anecdote I once read, in a book called 'Happiness is a Choice,' I believe. The author's family had an autistic child; the doctors said there was no hope for a normal life for him. All he did was sit in a dark room in a fetal position and rock back and forth.

The whole family dropped their daily routines, sat in the dark room with him, and rocked. Over time, they got to know the 'language' of the autistic boy, and began to teach him theirs.

He graduated valedictorian and class president of his high school class, with tons of extracurricular activities and a bright future ahead of him.

So maybe, sometimes, it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

i don't believe that.

Crom said...

So maybe, sometimes, it's worth it.

Agreed. I have baggage I bring to this however, and that is I have heard that tone before, the one that blames everyone else for whatever may have gone wrong.

In the late 1980's I spent a year or so at a radio reading service for the blind and print handicapped. My task was to record a national monthly magazine that was then shipped to various radio reading services all over the Unites States. If you were listening to the radio reading services during that time, it is possible the mellifluous tones emanating from your sideband radio were none other than mine.

It was a rewarding activity for the most part, and while I did not get paid for it, an ancient black man who worked there was kind enough to teach me over the months how to play a passable blues harmonica. I am certainly no Sonny Boy Williamson or Sugar Blue, but I can now at least hold my own in a 12 bar.

That was one of the many interesting things that I learned while volunteering there. On the flip side though, I met more than a few of the really angry ones, who felt that world somehow owed them everything since they had either lost their sight or been blinded for one reason or another. Blind people are no different from you or I, they make do with their remaining senses and despite Hollywood's desire to the contrary, they possess no extrasensory skills because of the loss of sight.

This autistic woman's tone in that piece reminded me of the sneering ones who were ugly about everything. I applaud the family who rocked that boy in the darkness up into the light, and I am even impressed with the vocabulary and presence of mind in the woman in the video. They made the effort, and they are now being heard.

I will stipulate that I am biased, since I have known so many people that Fate dealt terrible cards to, and they met the challenge without blaming anyone and are victorious through their own efforts. I am being too harsh on this woman however, and I think she has done marvelously despite her handicap.

Pretty Lady said...

Lighthouse for the Blind, eh? I have my own relationship to that, but, regrettably, it's part of the Story that Must Not Be Told. I still have the tapes, though.

Crom said...

The Story that Must Not Be Told?

Hmmm. Sounds like it needs a telling...

Pretty Lady said...

Sounds like it needs a telling...

1) It's been told.

2) It could get me sued.

3) People who have known me more than a decade are really sick of it.

I'll mail you a copy, one day.

Anonymous said...

I want to hear the Story that can't be told! I promise my lips are sealed.

mitzibel said...

Can I send you a SASE and a Kinko's card and get a copy, too? I can't remember names anyway, so your secret will be safe with me ;)

Pretty Lady said...

It's not the names, it's the Direct Quotes which can neither be copyrighted nor faked. But I'll drag it out of the filing cabinet and send y'all a copy, one of these weeks. ;-)

Crom said...

"2) It could get me sued."

Ah. One of those. I thought you were merely being coy with the capitalizations and surreptitiously desired your readership to coax it from you. If there is one thing I am familiar with, it is tales that cannot be told for reasons both sinister and sundry.

Pretty Lady said...

Coy? Moi?

No, if I were capable of being coy, darling, I would not be in the stoic fix I am now. The trouble with coy, is that it's this close to passive-aggressive manipulation, which gives me horrors.

Anonymous said...

You all are so fun to read. I sometimes imagine that I stop in at some normal relaxed greasy spoon coffee spot that hasn't existed for decades in my home town which I don't and never did have and listen and sometimes join in, though usually just sip and listen. Pass the sugar and cream, thanks.

Crom said...

The ability to be appropriately coy falls under the skillset of flirtatiousness and coquetry, talents that all Ladies possess.

Passive-aggressive manipulation on the other hand is a device of the common mind, lacking in ingenuity and élan. None of your erudite subscribers could possibly confuse the two, with the lone exception of the anonymous poster who consistently displays IQ numbers that are homogenous with December temperature ranges.

Anonymous said...


One would think that Pretty Lady would research the origin of the phrase "blew my socks off" before she used it.

Anonymous said...

I hate to interrupt in this manner, however, here it goes. I cannot view Pretty Ladies video postings or listen to her music spots. I have worked diligently, fixing XP (though there are still many registry problems), removing my (CA) security suite and both going without and trying XP's firewall, uninstalling and reinstalling various versions of shockwave, and still I am at a loss. I can play videos at YouTube itself, I can now view the Dredge news feed, but I still can't work with her material. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Although it is completelty beside the point of the video, I thank you for bringing encouragement to my day. I feel so lucky to have a 5 month old to spend my days with, however by 4pm I feel so drained and mentally exhausted, just as I used to feel when I lived in a non-English speaking city. It's hard to convey to anyone who asks what we do all day. Here I am with someone who is profoundly sensitive and who communicates constantly, just not always to me. He's changing, and changing on his own, so I don't have to get in and interfere with him or teach him, just respond to him as he is. Why should that be tough at all? This video expresses a lot of what our days feel like, the ecstatic and the difficult to bear with. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was finally able to see this for the first time today. In spite of my nature, I have a strong tendency to similar thought as was posed by Crom, initially. It is my duty to come to the world, to bring my ideas to it. My skills in doing so as well as my ideas themselves will be judged.

This should by no means be a judgement upon myself unless my form of interaction infringes upon the rights of another. Even then, only the actions can truly be judged in a moral way, despite legal issues I as a person might face. But that judgement does mean that if I am found unfit in communicating or in my ideas, until I have proven myself in other ways, I not only could be but should be distrusted. Not hated, not beset, not killed, just not allowed to be in a position to hurt others or myself.

This thinking that I describe is what has allowed me to crawl out of the blackest pits in which the mind can hide. It has given me the impetus to become human (mostly) again. It also has led me to a civil and kind life, should those options be at all available to me in practical terms. hehe Honestly, the US, regardless of warts and whatnots, is a pretty nice place or you can find a piece of her heart or hand in which to rest.

Of course, and as you said, their are many types of people and thinking, and there should be. Yet responsability is not just other's or just mine, though if I am strange, and I want in, then the balance of the inertia must originate with me. As for whether that is fair or not is of no consequence. Fairness is assumed not to be in practice or we would not have people like her or myself.