One of the interesting things about neuro diversity is how it shapes your relationship to the world. This is not always a bad thing, though the problem with it isn’t how it can inspire the kind of creativity or genius that more intense ‘sufferers’ can experience. The issue is how the regular workaday world is completely at odds with you. That is my problem. It isn’t really even accurate to call it a medical problem, but the only way I can try and draw attention to my needs is through that process, hence going through the Work Capability nonsense.
I don’t deal with change particularly well. Perhaps in a weird way unemployment – though obviously limiting due to financial reasons – is a comfort to the neuro diverse. I had a friend who once said everyone should experience a period of unemployment. I think he was right; if nothing else you see how the tie around your neck is more shackle than style.
People look to religion to find their place in the world. I refute the existence of a higher authority and the man made systems that men built in His name to control the rest of us. However I reserve the right to use what might be termed ‘spirituality’ as a language; a way of communicating with the world my feet are standing on in the place and time I live.
To that end the changing of the seasons, the pattern of the clouds, and the line of trees on the horizon as I look out the window, the angle and position of the sun in the sky are important. They are as hands on a clock. I wonder if I could ever live anywhere else. I was in London for a month a decade ago when I tried and failed to attend a university course (for various reasons, mainly due to it being shit and expensive in the post grant world). I could not even relax in my rented digs. I couldn’t unpack. I felt like a permanent visitor. It wasn’t even so much the intensity of the capital urban landscape; Ealing was a relatively benign sea of concrete (I wonder if that’s still the case).
As the seasons pass I can sense their particular flavour in the same way I can sense the day of the week. Each has its own feel. Not in a mystical – that is, fluffy – way; as opposed to religion this is real mystery. I find that I am acutely aware, on some level, of the differences in the environment particular to different times. The levels of brightness, the intensity and fecundity (or lack thereof) of the land and how it obscures (or not) the pylons on the skyline ten miles away, how the sun sets just behind the tall trees on the left in winter, how it sits in the middle of the sky getting red on my birthday, and how the air feels when it’s warm. Perhaps this is nonsense and everyone notices these things.
This is religion to me. This is the secret code of the world that cannot be expressed through clocking in to a machine or following the orders of Bob from HR. This is the real world and it lives and breathes irrespective of how much money some Welsh tosser with a Napoleon complex tells me he can help me save. This is life. It does not require that I do anything: it doesn’t ask me to bungee jump to my gap year death; it does not require that I earn enough money or date a supermodel. It is almost pagan in that it is the connection men forge with their particular surroundings and how they mark the passing of time.
But that relationship is being threatened. Not just by the Coalition’s attempts to curtail my finances in lieu of my ability to deny that world, but in the changes wrought by human hands. That skyline is threatened by a row of super pylons that the electricity people want to be built. The environment isn’t the lucid blue sky I remember from yesteryear in the summer, instead the months post winter remain cold long after they should. The jet stream has moved pulled, in my non-scientific opinion, by the man made currents of climate change. If people do not believe our climate is in serious flux then I believe they are very ignorant. Summer used to be that period where time itself would melt into the sky and you could lie on the grass staring into azure infinity sublimating yourself into an ocean of sky. Now it is cold and wet. Our crops are threatened and our world is changing.
It is likely that humans will adapt. They will have to, whether you live in a green and pleasant land or in the seeming (and teeming) flood plains of the east in countries like Bangladesh. But this transition is going to be painful; we have forsaken any chance to turn back the tide of carbon emissions. We are going to miss our targets and all our efforts will seem to have been in vain while idiots like James Delingpole argue that fracking wells make more benign and pretty neighbours than a windmill. This is the insanity of the modern world and it is only just getting warmed up.