Wednesday, 1 May 2013

I deserve to exist even if I'm not awesome

You might wonder what the hell this has to do with anything on a blog that supposed to be about Aspergers, but bear with me for a minute while I talk about storks.

Storks are traditionally said to bring luck if they nest on your roof, and the folklore about their role in bringing babies goes far back into the mists of time.  So, for various mythical reasons, storks are pretty awesome.

But we're intelligent citizens of the 21st century.  We know how is babby formed, and that luck is a combination of privilege, effort and random chance which operates independently of avian influence.

But storks are still pretty cool.  Their feeding habits help keep insects under control, their massive nests provide shelter for various other bird species and assorted little critters, and they're also an indicator species that can help us understand what's going on in the habitats where they live.  If you're a birdwatcher, they're also pretty neat to look at.

So, they might not have supernatural luck- and infant-dispensing abilities, but they're still important creatures because they're part of an ecosystem.

Similarly, Aspies deserve to exist because we're human beings and part of society.  Our existence shouldn't be conditional on having awesome savant-skill superpowers.

Quite often, discussions about Aspies' worth and contribution to society revolve around one or two extraordinary outliers, the classic example being Einstein.  I'm not going to argue whether or not Einstein really was on the spectrum.  I don't know.  I wasn't there - and neither were you.  But Einstein is not a typical Aspie any more than he's representative of all men, all Germans, or all people with free range hairstyles.  He was remarkable, and deserves to be remembered and celebrated.  But today's Aspies can't lay claim to a stake in his brilliance by dent of having a shared neurology, any more than people can by sharing his place of birth, his gender or his mad hair.

And more to the point, we shouldn't have to.

Most normal people are just that - normal.  Eat, sleep, hopefully do something productive, occasionally get wasted.  Very, very few of us will be Einsteins, or da Vincis, or Frys, or remarkable in any other way.  And that's OK.  That's more than OK, that's how society works.  Society is not a linear sequence of brilliant minds; it is a mosaic of small, ordinary souls, each at once ugly and beautiful, covering every square inch of the earth with the myriad tiny acts of love and hate and duty and apathy and care that make up humankind.

We are all ordinary.

And we all deserve to exist.