Saturday, May 18, 2013

Autism Challenges the Norm

For the past few months, I have been reading the book "Icarus Deception" by marketing guru Seth Godin.  After finishing the book last month on my Kindle, I flipped back to the beginning and started reading it again. The book is that important.

I went to college for marketing rather than writing (my greatest talent).  Why?  Because my dad suggested it. It was better to major in business rather than my passion because it would be easier to find a job with a business degree.

The Icarus Deception speaks of the "connection economy" replacing the "industrial economy."  This is a change that will be difficult, but one that I think will ultimately benefit those with autism and those with other disabilities as well.  Why?  Because the industrial economy thrives on standardization.

In the past 100 years, the industrial economy has standardized many aspects of life including schools.  The industrial economy was not designed to accommodate people on the spectrum because those on the spectrum are outliers.  The industrial economy serves the need of the masses, influencing society to contribute by producing and then buying what was produced.  In order to produce faster and cheaper with higher quality, industrialists have dehumanized many aspects of everyday life.  Wonder bread was mass produced, removing the personal touch that can be found in homemade bread.

Those on the spectrum challenge the industrial machine without really trying, just by being who we are.  Why?  Because people have been trained to accept standardization and norms over the past one hundred years.  To be human is to be unique, make mistakes, and possess qualities that others do not possess.  The standardized school system was not designed to accommodate those on the spectrum; it was designed to accommodate the mass of students that would eventually contribute to an industrial society.  But things are changing.  According to Seth Godwin, marketing guru and author of the Cirrus Deception, the industrial age is dying.

The Internet has leveled the playing field.  This blog is an example of it.  Why?  Without the Internet and connections that I have forged in the past two years, you might not even know my name.  And yet, here you are, reading these words because you and I have been connected somehow.  Through the Internet and the connection economy.  By using the Internet, anyone can create something meaningful and then share it with others.  That is the point of the Icarus Deception: to encourage others to create art.

Many people on the spectrum create art.  Not just art work, but meaningful decisions that are risky at times but are completely human too.  I am creating art right now, as I write this.  I have no idea if you will see what I am trying to say here.  I have no idea who will even read this.  My point is the change will be difficult.  All change is.  But the demise of the industrial economy will ultimately benefit those on the spectrum most of all.  Being human means making mistakes, taking risks, and standing out.  That being said, those on the autism spectrum are far more human than an industrialist who thrives in keeping things predictable, secure, and standardized.

If you would like to find out more about the Icarus Deception, click here:

No comments:

Post a Comment