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John Elder Robison's picture

That's a very thoughtful

That's a very thoughtful discussion of some of the ideas from my book. As a neurobiologist, you may also be interested in the TMS work I've participated in over the summer. There are some stories on that collected on my blog. Look back in Nov/Dec archive for a summary post.

You remark that my own "different" thought processes provide a new lens with which others can see the world. I've heard that before, but I can now say I've experienced it myself in a very profound way.

The TMS has altered some functions in my own brain, and I've been able to experience slightly altered ways of being and in doing so, gain far deeper insight into certain processes. I'll be talking about that at more length in my next book.

If I may, I'd like to comment on one of your thoughts:

You said: "What do you suppose its telling us that its hard to find niches in our culture where those traits are valued?"

I actually don't think it's hard to find places where my logical behavior is valued today. Indeed, I now have a comparative abundance of people who seem to value logical thought. So what changed?

The answer is that I voiced some of those thoughts in book form, allowing people to evaluate them separately from me, and how eccentric or different I may appear in person. Today, when people meet me in person, my writing or speaking has often come before, and the people therefore start out with a predisposition in my favor.

In our society, if you do things that bring you some measure of acclaim, your eccentricities tend to be rendered insignificant, harmless, or funny by your other actions. I did not know that when I was young, but I see it clearly now. Some psychologists call that the competence-deviance hypothesis.

You also ponder my comment that technical skills did not matter anymore as I rose up the corporate food chain. I should point out that is much less true today. Places like Google (as one example) embrace people like me, and I might have had a very different life if places like that had been around 30 years ago.


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