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The Importance of Neurodiversity in Permaculture  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
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One of our members, Neil Layton, has written this thought provoking article for the Permaculture Magazine, North America



One of the great strengths of Permaculture is its emphasis on diversity. A simple patch of intercropped annuals may have several species with multiple functions. A well-planned forest garden may have a plant species diversity to rival that of a tropical rainforest. It can be made to work everywhere from an urban back garden to a reclaimed industrial plot involving an individual to a couple halfway to the back of beyond to an intentional community of dozens of people. One thing that is too often poorly thought about is how to include, and mutually benefit from, the diversity of human needs and potential contributions.

...

In mainstream society someone whose mode of communication differs from a restrictive “norm”, whose executive function, the processes that regulate planning and action, may be dependent on a less stimulating environment, and whose mode of thinking means that they won’t fit in equally restrictive social boxes, is not only at a disadvantage but may be a disruptive influence. On the other hand these are the same people who disproportionately rule the technology industries, and whose ancestors were working on how to make fire or knap a better arrowhead while their cousins were sitting around nattering.

...

These are precisely the people needed to work on out-of-the-box solutions in the face of climate disruption and a degrading environment. The same executive function problems that make it difficult to switch from one task to another are an asset when something needs to be finished. The intense focus and ability to understand complex systems is an asset when working out function stacking a forest garden with hundreds of plant species, not to mention running it, and breeding new plant varieties (a job that requires patience and attention to detail) to fit in to a changing environment, while your friends and cousins get on with jobs that require you to not be completely ham-fisted.


Full article here - The Importance of Neurodiversity in Permaculture
 
Tyler Ludens
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I love this article and am sharing it with friends.
 
Matu Collins
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Wonderful! We certainly sparked some discussion on the permaculture and autism thread

I have just finished the book "Neurotribes" which is a very well done discussion of the history of our understanding of neurodiversity and the autism spectrum. It's really worth a read, although some of the history is so sad and infuriating. I'm very encouraged by the mainstream nature of the conversation and the direction our culture is moving. Permaculture and neurodiversity are such a natural fit.
 
Neil Layton
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It must be said I'd probably run screaming from a group like that pictured above! At best I'd sit there wondering how to interact with it.
 
Tyler Ludens
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The person hunkering in the background might feel the same way...

 
Burra Maluca
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I like this picture taken at the lab.



Everyone is working together as a team as the log is being lifted into place, except for one solitary figure with his back to everyone else hammering away at his own task apparently completely oblivious to what's happening around him. That's my boy!
 
Burra Maluca
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This bit of the article really struck a chord with me
In mainstream society someone whose mode of communication differs from a restrictive “norm”, whose executive function, the processes that regulate planning and action, may be dependent on a less stimulating environment, and whose mode of thinking means that they won’t fit in equally restrictive social boxes, is not only at a disadvantage but may be a disruptive influence. On the other hand these are the same people who disproportionately rule the technology industries, and whose ancestors were working on how to make fire or knap a better arrowhead while their cousins were sitting around nattering.


It's becoming apparent to me as I attempt to moderate these forums and keep discussion flowing between all kinds of people, that aspies and 'techie types', many of whom may be undiagnosed aspies, often tend to have a very different style of communication, one which many people find off-putting. There is a tendency to use complex sentence structures, longer words, sound rather too authoritative for many tastes, and write in a way that gets interpreted as 'always being right', even when the writer has no idea that their words are being interpreted like that and certainly wouldn't wish that to be the case.

I see the problem as two fold - how do aspies have to modify their writing to make it more acceptable to non-aspies?

And, how do we make non-aspies realise that we really don't mean to sound like that when we write?

I would *love* to brainstorm this!
 
John Weiland
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@Burra M.:"....we really don't mean to sound like that when we write?"

Maybe that's one silver lining of the 'texting' craze. Finally having to build into the culture the notion that written words are just that....devoid of context and inflection unless clearly indicated otherwise. There has been speculation that this, among many other notions, was one reason why many cultures decided to shun a written language.

Interview with David Abram: "I'm not trying to demonize the alphabet at all. I don't think the alphabet is bad. What I'm trying to get people to realize is that it's a very intense form of magic. And that it therefore needs to be used responsibly. I mean, it's not by coincidence that the word "spell" has this double meaning — to arrange the letters in the right order to form a word, or to cast a magic. To spell a word, or to cast a magic spell. These two meanings were originally one and the same. In order to use this new technology, this new play of written shapes on the page, to learn to write and to read with the alphabet, was actually to learn a new form of magic, to exercise a new form of power in the world.

But it also meant casting a kind of spell on our own senses. Unless we recognize writing as a form of magic, then we will not take much care with it. It's only when we recognize how profoundly it has altered our experience of nature and the rest of the sensory world, how profoundly it has altered our senses, that we can begin to use writing responsibly because we see how potent and profound an effect it has.
No culture with the written word seems to experience the natural landscape as animate and alive through and through. Yet every culture without writing experiences the whole of the earth — every aspect of the material world — to be alive and intelligent. So what is it that writing does? It has a very powerful effect upon our experience of language and meaning." -- http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/abram.html
 
Neil Layton
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@Burra

I'm not sure if I'm up to brainstorming this tonight. All I really want to do right now is curl up in a dark room. I'm far from convinced my executive function is up to doing much at all at the moment.

I see the problem as a little different.

Most Aspies eventually realise most people don't see the world they do. That said, intelligence is neither exclusive to nor universal among Aspies, and those of us who are (relatively) intelligent often have a very focused kind of intelligence that doesn't generalise well.

Surely using shorter sentences and shorter words is patronising? I'm mostly not talking to children here.

I'd agree that I (for one) need to avoid making it sound like I think I'm always right. Equally, I'm living in a society whose dominant values indicate that I'm always wrong, but I also think I need to be sticking up for, shall we say, less harmful, less exploitative values. That's not an Aspie question, but it could be argued it's relevant to the social aspects of permaculture.

Personally, I'm very much aware of not always being right. I don't know how to ensure I don't sound like I think I am.

There is also the question of encouraging neurotypicals to realise that not everyone thinks or communicates like they do. Their way of doing things isn't universally right either. It just supports the inegalitarian society we live in.

John's comments open up a whole other discussion, also relevant to building a more generally inclusive society, but I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to get into that here. This is why I've stopped talking about "property", especially as it relates to land, and using vocabulary demeaning to disadvantaged groups, including nonhuman animals.

Pigeons are not flying rats: they are dinosaurs with wings, and we need to be less demeaning to rats.

Apologies if the above is nonsensical. My concentration is not what it should be, but I recognise I have some responsibility to engage with this thread.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Neil Layton wrote:
I need to be sticking up for, shall we say, less harmful, less exploitative values..... disadvantaged groups, including nonhuman animals.


To me these are important ideas but they seem very difficult to discuss. I am afraid to try to discuss them. My thoughts and feelings seem very different from most I see on the board here (not all, though).



 
r ranson
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There is also the question of encouraging neurotypicals to realise that not everyone thinks or communicates like they do. Their way of doing things isn't universally right either. It just supports the inegalitarian society we live in.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts Neil. I especially love this bit. So true. And so difficult to realize in oneself, level on actualize.


I don't self identify as a person with aspergers, but I definitely have an abnormal brain.

I got ill, I got very ill... to the point where life expectancy was (at best) in weeks. The illness is under control now, for the most part, through diet and environment, but that's just background. What's important is that this illness changed how my brain works. I'm too frightened to find out how it's broken, but basically the swelling in the blood brain barrier has done some very obvious damage. Facial recognition is completely broken! I was never good at body language before, but now it frightens me to the point where I can't stand to look at peoples faces when they talk. I trust their words and am often confused when there was a meaning not expressed in words. I am also very confused when people find hidden meanings in my words. There are lots of other symptoms from my broken brain, but these are the most relevant to the topic. Basically, writing on a forum, I can communicate with others because all we have is our words. The intonation is absent and I love not having to deal with it.

Before I got seriously ill, I was clever. I was mensa clever. When I say I lost a good 50 IQ points, I'm not kidding. People I've met since my illness think I'm clever now! HA! I'm a shadow of my former self. Now my IQ tests score in the normal range. Before my illness, I was that know it all jerk.

University was amazing because I learned all these wonderful ideas - and the language that goes with it. It was a perfect match for how my brain was then. I couldn't understand why everyone didn't think this way. How could they be so slow? Why didn't they care? How could they misuse such beautiful words that we use so carefully in university? How come every-day people are insulted when I say something that my fellow students take as kindness? But at university everyone thought just like me and I was learning to think just like them. I didn't realize then that it was a trap. A language trap.

When I became ill, I began to understand what was important to my life. I'm living on borrowed time now - it often makes people think about the world differently, broken brain or not.

One of the important things to me is people.

I discovered that with my university training, I couldn't communicate with people outside the ivory tower. It became important to me to learn how to communicate with the people I care about. So I decided to learn.

It's like this - to learn a specialist subject, you have to know all this subject specific language. These are complex ideas they teach us, be it a trade or a academic subject. Subject specific jargon allows us to communicate very specific and complex ideas instantly to other people with the same training. This training also requires we have confidence in what we say, or we lose marks on our tests and/or we aren't hired or chosen.

The problem comes when I try to talk to someone without the same training. Even though I KNOW what I'm talking about, how do I express it? How come they take my feigned confidence that is so necessary in academia to be combative? It was never intended that way. It was this sort of thing that plagued me when I ventured out to the real world.

Education divides us from other people. The language a highly trained individual speaks is so different from others, that we have to find a lingua franca to be able to communicate with other humans. The specialist vocabularies are a different language. This lingua franca is the vernacular. Or to put it in the vernacular - the common language is the everyday-speak.

Translating these specialist ideas into everyday-speak is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT!

I think it's useful not just to be able to communicate but as a way of cementing and understanding the knowledge these/we specialists have. We know what we were taught, but by translating it into the vernacular we begin to understand what we know. *

I've spent almost a decade dedicated to unlearning my academic-speak and re-learning everyday-speak. I still falter - drastically and hard. But I active try to learn from my mistakes. In doing so, I honestly believe that it's helped me understand my knowledge better. These specialized and complicated ideas can actually be communicated in the vernacular. It's easy to forget this when immersed in a culture that all thinks and speaks the same way.

Recognizing neurodiversity, and diversity in general, is a vital part of learning to communicate. Permaculture and learning about natural systems of plants and animals, has done a lot to help me learn to communicate. But I think I still have a long way to go.


*(if you wish to argue the semantics of what I just said, let's start a new thread - warning though, I have philosopher training, and the study of knowledge and understanding is my playground. It will need to be a ciderpress topic.)
 
David Livingston
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I agree that words are magic but also for me a tool of power used to label people and define in-groups and out groups .
I try not to use such labels unles the person self identifies and even then I am weary .

David
 
Terry Ruth
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paul wheaton wrote:Cunningham's law states that if you wished to learn something on the Internet that the best way to get an answer is to not simply ask a question but to instead state a known falsehood as fact.

I think this is completely true. However it serves only one person. And that one person came to the information they seek through a deceitful practice. And the person that provides the answer has been poorly used. Further, it does not serve the other readers well- after all the other readers could be confused by the false information that has been presented. Plus the presentation of the information is clearly in a state of conflict. One person has stated a fact and another person, the person with the true information, is calling the first person a liar.

I think this technique is not what you use to build a community. Or, more precisely, I would like to build a community that is not built with this material.


I’ve been a tech writer in a high tech environment for over three decades now and have a developed a writing style and communications some find offensive. I been out on the building forums for some time now and I have been on many forums and communications with all kinds of people globally. When I communicate professionally with other nations for the most part there are no issues since the science we are discussing and the professional environment has no room for “opinions” "feeling's" subjectivity, or error since people’s lives are at stake. So it can be done, high tech communication among peers as it is everyday all over the word hence technology advances. We at times have non-tech people like contracts, finance, human resources, that know when to back off and not engage or advise on subject matter they do not understand. When it comes to building permaculture structures_ buildings I would not understand why that would change. It IS a matter of being technically correct or incorrect, not how science makes someone feel. Good communications, if the goal is to be technically accurate it is not always nice or at times impossible to be nice to provide an OP with the correct answer. As Paul states above, "prevent people that throw bad advices out and do put readers in a state of conflict is an injustice" to anyone brave enough to correct it. My experience has been not to correct it, not worth it, no matter how it is put some people want others to see them as an “advisor” on an emotional not technical level, and anyone that gets in their path will be stomped on, and if they cannot do it with technical fact they will attack personally. It usually goes like this,

“You think you know it all”
“You think you are smarter than everyone”
“You’re not worth dealing with”

Rather than provide data that proves you wrong, at this point the discussion is over and has broken down and would be a good time for moderation since it will only get worse. The perpetrator as Paul puts it is not the one with the data, but rather the one that could not provide the data and therefore to protect their name and ego started the personal attacks. If Paul truely wants, if I read the above correctly, a society that puts good info first, the one that stood up and produce the facts should get an apple or ten or a pie. The other that did not should be told to do more research and back their statements better and loose some, especially if the content of the discussion is technical as you will find a lot of where I post in the building sections.

I think I am professional qualified to provide an assessment that the level of accurate well researched info in the building sections is less than ~10%. To bring that up to Paul's standards is going to take ALOT of efforts on someone’s part(s) and as a result of recent events that person will not be me. I'm done trying only to be seen offensive. Now I don't bother with inaccrate info not even to read it as more and more will follow. There is no shortage of that on the internet. The person or persons in that role would need to be well backed and supported by the site.

As far as big words and big titles that make some feel threatened. Just me if I were to every produce a site like this, those are the ones I’d value the most. If people are offended by big words in most cases those are lazy people that do not want to look the word up since you rarely see them asking or what was meant, or putting any effort into learning what is being said or meant. There have been a few that say I make their eyes glaze over and ask if I can try an explain. I even one that was nice and re-wrote what I did in more laymen terms. I hope I can speak open and honestly here, now there is someone that rather sits backs and cry's and whines how about how some are making them feel does something about it as a permaculture team should. Often as a matter of fact, science and math for such building is not communicated buy "big" or small words. If you see a lot of words as we do on Permies in a scientific subject matter that is a very good indication people do not know what they are talking about. There should be charts, collected data, math or simulation model results. For example, often we see no data but people stating how our ancestors or grandparents built better homes I guess just because they said so. Challenge that, now emotions are flying probably over insulating their grandparents not technical fact they just produced to back their statements. Now the above cycle Paul described above starts.

If such a society is out to take responsibility on how words and titles make people feel I wish you all the luck in the world. Taking the big words and titles away will more than likely change nothing. Some no matter how well you sugar coat their environment just hate being wrong and being shown they are wrong with indisputable technical fact Austie or not.

One thing I might suggest in the building section as many sites have is a “Natural Building Science” or Architecture and Design" sections, also MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) so MEP is easier to find. If you go to the building science section you should expect not to have your ego blown away by technical facts and technical words, or by people stating their education and experience you do not care to learn, nor get offended by being shown that your are wrong. I love being shown I am wrong with fact I cannot argue with, I learned something that day and that is just reality. The presenter should not have to take so much time out of their already busy day to walk on pins a needles for the emotional types. Once again, science has no room for them nor is it in most cases supported by personal opinions and different ways of thinking. It is in most cases very black and white, right or wrong proven. Everyone else can go to what could other wise be viewed as DYI low level content sections, easy to understand, or building trades, etc……

A lot of people I am noticing are migrating over from the green sites tired of sponsored bad information. Natural building is going to grow and this site can be a part of that if the content of information is accurate and the ones making it such are held in high regard.

Just my .02









 
r ranson
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“You think you know it all”
“You think you are smarter than everyone”
“You’re not worth dealing with”


I got this daily before I got ill. Still do a bit now.

In some ways it's fortunate for me to have two points of view. The intellectual focus of before, and the emotional awareness I have now. They are both perfectly valid points of view.

I really miss the confidence and certainty that my intellectually focused self had. Your words Terry, resonate with how I was before I became damaged. I would have agreed with you 110% and we would have got on well.

This new emotionally awareness self is far less certain about the world.

One of the things I feel now is that we use language as a barrier that prevents access to people who don't belong to the same club. They don't have the training, therefore they aren't able to think properly so we exclude them. It's not a concious choice, I'm sure, but it is what seems to happen. It also risks stagnation of ideas - If we all think the same, any new ideas will be a result of this old thinking pattern.

Maybe there are good ideas out there in the minds of people with no specialist training?

Burra said this long ago and it really resonated with me. She's talking about why we work so hard to allow multiple points of view and expressions on this forum.

It is important that there is always room for another person's point of view. It would be awful if some delicate, tender soul who has been working away quietly in some far-flung corner of the earth and has solved some problem that we all want the answer to, should feel unable to share that with us. So we try hard to make sure that all views are welcome, and don't allow anyone to call anyone else's view bullshit, or 'wrong', or to demand a citation from them.

The downside of this policy is when members post [what seems like] pseudoscience and impossible creations - by our own rules we really have to leave it there. But for the sake of the one lost piece of the puzzle that we are hoping some member will post, we want to keep things so that members feel comfortable posting stuff that is unproven, or sounds a bit wacky.


It's almost impossible to understand other neuro-types than our own. The me before damage would never have understood the me after, even if the before me could be motivated to try. Maybe I'm exposing too much of myself here, but perhaps it could be a cautionary tail for others... the brain is a fragile thing and subject to unexpected changes. What is certain at this point in ones life, may not be later. The story of the black swans I tell here is not a parable or fable, it is an actual thing that happened. For two thousand years we were absolutely certain there were no black swans so much so that this was given as an example as to what ultimate fact was. This is the TRUTH - just like all swans are white, therefor....

Society was so certain they only had one truth.

Now...

 
Tyler Ludens
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R Ranson wrote: They don't have the training, therefore they aren't able to think properly so we exclude them.


And imagine how people feel when told they "aren't able to think properly."

 
Terry Ruth
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Here is the way an improper tech discussion would be executed. This is one example lately I experienced.

Me: Your COB wall foundation is seeing 40 lbs/ft2 of compression, 20 from roof loads, 20 from static wall weight.

Poster 1: That foundation is not in compression.

Me: Inaccurate, it most certainly is I just showed the math. Mostl foundations see compression.

Poster 2: I think what Poster 1 meant is the foundation is in tension.

Poster 1 changes his mind and says “that is why I meant thanks for clarifying Poster 2”, + 1’s Poster 2.

Me: Obviously due to unsupported statements neither of you have done static analysis on a foundations? If you have please post it.

Poster 3: I don’t think we need an engineer to build a COB wall, it don’t really matter. Poster 1 and Poster 2 +1’s Poster 3.

Me: It most certainly does matter, that is why most jurisdictions require a “degreed licensed engineer” to do structures analysis on building’s, or follow code. You can go out to rural where the requirements may not exist (reason for this is most cities see this out of public harms way).

Poster 1. I empower people to DIY, engineers want to provoke fear into us so we think we cannot. They think they know it all and are not worth dealing with.

Poster 3 agrees we all can’t be wrong and the engineer right.

Me: at this point I am done with the conversation hopefully you can see why. I get moosed saying I got some folks upset and all was waiting for was the one person that is going to recreate science with proven structures analysis showing the math, not some hearsay or personal opinions.

Truth: Anyone that has done structures analysis knows that all static mechanical properties (compression, shear, tension, flexure, deflection, etc) are checked and we design to the weakest.

That leaves some with too many big words that are the only words being used worldwide for static structure analysis. Rather than go off and learn how to do it the math or ask questions, rather than make false statements they point the finger at science hurting their feeling’s. It is really not even the person with the data. Next here comes the PM since it has to be the person with the data that is causing three people to get their feelings hurt, or shall we say ego’s?

When I want to discuss emotional topics I find ones, as I said science and math is usually not one. Did the members that have never done any static analysis on buildings do the OP, readers, facts any justice? Is there some new discovery here we all missed where “opinions” somehow created new revelation? Does this topic look as if though it is in a state of confusion? Would another poster with another similar opinion help that state of confusion? Would a poster that showed an analysis of the foundation seeing 50 lbs/ft3 of compression as the failure mode help the clear up the confusions? Yes! If that were to happen would someone like me get offended since I am wrong? No! If someone did not understand the topic would asking questions or making inaccurate statements be more appropriate? Answer: Ask questions.

An “Architectural Design and Building Science” section will only help if it is moderated properly. Most of the ones on the internet are a mess. Another big issue is people trying to put into words what a simple picture would put into a 1000. Often, they are too lazy to draw up a design intent even if that is on paper and a picture taken with their phone. Now people spend lots of time guessing then get mad if you tell them to put more effort into their OP to get better advise and not waste peoples time.

Then we have the ones that put up technical documents or links in the OP, ask people to read it before posting they ignore, hi-jack the thread with Ill unrelated advise, this is that when no one ask for this advice it is a document or link review. Now we are way off topic, I have one like this now.

I find it an interesting topic I am learning from. I don’t have the answers other than some suggestions above. I think it is awesome Burra is doing this research to make this a better place. Most sites could care less, or do not even know how to approach a better understand of people. I probably fall into that category. The first step is knowing where to look. I have always said that, it you have no experience with something you probably don’t even know where to look for it. I see that often out here. I know my limitations.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Terry Portier wrote:
Answer: Ask questions.


One of my great weaknesses on messageboards is asking questions, because I get frustrated by not getting an answer or getting what I perceive as off-topic answers, and then I inappropriately express my frustration. Not sure what to do about this besides develop more patience some how.

 
r ranson
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
R Ranson wrote: They don't have the training, therefore they aren't able to think properly so we exclude them.


And imagine how people feel when told they "aren't able to think properly."



As a person who is told I can no longer "think properly", I know this feeling very well.

It's not nice being excluded because my vocabulary is different than these specialist groups. Even if I don't think correctly - whatever that is - I feel I can understand many of these complicated ideas.

I deliberately choose not to use specialist speak and this seems to make some people feel prejudice towards me. They seem to think that I don't know the right words, therefore I don't belong to the proper club and cannot possibly understand what's going on. When in fact I do actually know the word, I just won't use them because it's exclusionary. Or at least I try not to use them in public.

If I start talking about the coefficient of friction and the way it affects twist ratios while applying kinetic energy to scaled keratin structures, it comes across as pompous and rude (or so I'm told). But if I say string drive bands are more slippery than the rubbery ones so they require different tensions - it only sounds a little bit specialized. Perfectly fine when talking with people who share my passion. If I'm talking in a public space, like on a forum, where the reader might never have seen a spinning wheel before, level on thought about how it works - I would word it differently.

Likewise we could talk about anaerobic and aerobic bacteria or we can talk about invisible beasties - the latter is actually more accurate - when talking about making sauerkraut.

These different levels of communication don't dumb down the idea at all. Nor does it dumb down the persons involved in the conversation. We may not share the same specialist vocabulary, but we can still communicate complicated ideas with each other.


There are so many different ways of thinking, that I suspect, it's difficult for people of drastically different thought styles to find a common way to communicate with each other. I like this forum because there is so much instant feedback. I can see quickly if I've failed to get my idea across and I can learn how to improve for next time.




 
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@R. Ransom.: "I like this forum because there is so much instant feedback. I can see quickly if I've failed to get my idea across and I can learn how to improve for next time."

And really it's about the best that we have at this point. Nothing quite compares to sitting across from someone over a beer and seeing their body language and facial expressions change during a discussion, deep or otherwise. That is what goes lacking in a print forum, and we are left navigating with the back and forth of printed word to accomplish what a furrowed brow and re-worded explanation would achieve in a matter of seconds. We forget often how much we take literacy for granted, but grunt, scowl, and gesture were the first language before more sophisticated oral language arose, itself predating written languages. I guess as with others, I try to stay with technical terms only as much as the person(s) with whom I'm speaking is either on the same level or desiring to converse at that level. But also feel that many deep topics can be made accessible through diagram and metaphor. If I recall correctly, the physicist Richard Feynman was noted for this latter ability.
 
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R Ranson wrote:
These different levels of communication don't dumb down the idea at all. Nor does it dumb down the persons involved in the conversation. We may not share the same specialist vocabulary, but we can still communicate complicated ideas with each other.


I like to believe this is the case. To me, it seems as if the specialist is called upon to utilize their giant brain in order to learn how to communicate effectively with non-specialists. That only seems fair, that the ones with the stronger intellect/greater knowledge are called upon to work harder than those with less intelligence/knowledge in that subject.

I'm only a specialist/world class expert in a couple of esoteric subjects, but not anything to do with permaculture, so here on permies I'm mostly a learner, not a teacher.

 
Neil Layton
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John Weiland wrote:@R. Ransom.: "I like this forum because there is so much instant feedback. I can see quickly if I've failed to get my idea across and I can learn how to improve for next time."

And really it's about the best that we have at this point. Nothing quite compares to sitting across from someone over a beer and seeing their body language and facial expressions change during a discussion, deep or otherwise. That is what goes lacking in a print forum, and we are left navigating with the back and forth of printed word to accomplish what a furrowed brow and re-worded explanation would achieve in a matter of seconds. We forget often how much we take literacy for granted, but grunt, scowl, and gesture were the first language before more sophisticated oral language arose, itself predating written languages. I guess as with others, I try to stay with technical terms only as much as the person(s) with whom I'm speaking is either on the same level or desiring to converse at that level. But also feel that many deep topics can be made accessible through diagram and metaphor. If I recall correctly, the physicist Richard Feynman was noted for this latter ability.


There has been some really, really good stuff in this thread about different modes of communication and different modes of thought. I am reading it, but right now there are limitations to my levels of engagement, but can I raise one point please?

Writing as an Aspie, I cannot read the "body language and facial expressions change during a discussion". I can write, and you can read, and vice versa which puts us on the same kind of level. Sticking me in a pub with flashing lights and too much noise, getting me partially inebriated, and then expect me to cognitively process all the nonverbal signalling is my idea of hell.

Then, of course, you have to take into account other forms of neurological atypicality, such as dyslexia, in which print puts me at a very definite advantage.

I'll come back to the other stuff when I'm feeling up to it, but hopefully this broadens out the discussion a little.
 
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Neil Layton wrote:
Writing as an Aspie, I cannot read the "body language and facial expressions change during a discussion". I can write, and you can read, and vice versa which puts us on the same kind of level. Sticking me in a pub with flashing lights and too much noise, getting me partially inebriated, and then expect me to cognitively process all the nonverbal signalling is my idea of hell.


The amount of concentration such a thing requires would make me ill and probably incapable of functioning for days....

Forget about "nonverbal signaling" even the verbal part would not get across in that kind of situation. Same with my husband who is partially deaf (conveniently in the range of normal human speech) - he is an excellent empath, but can't hear people worth a darn. Can hear a dog whistle, though!
 
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@Neil L.: "Writing as an Aspie, I cannot read the "body language and facial expressions change during a discussion". .... Sticking me in a pub with flashing lights and too much noise, getting me partially inebriated, and then expect me to cognitively process all the nonverbal signalling is my idea of hell. "

Well, a loud pub with flashing lights is my version of hell as well, with or without the beer and conversation Yes, I understand that aspect of Aspie but out of curiosity, Neil, I've always wondered if that inability to read body language and facial expressions is environment dependent. What do you think about this idea with regard to your own inclinations and that of other Aspies that you know? Do you sense that this ability would be altered or modified in some way, say, by being out in the countryside? After reading some of Temple Grandin's work I'm not sure if that notion has ever been raised, but maybe I missed it. I bring this up because there are certain social situations in which I can find my cognitive and argumentative abilities completely shut down and off-line. They are usually emotionally charged instances, but not all.....the situation has to have a certain flavor and if that condition is satisfied, it's "good-bye rational thought". By contrast under certain trauma-type situations, I can sometimes over-perform and completely block out the emotional component when others are just staring immobilized.....maybe I got that from my mum who was a trauma nurse . But I suspect this too is part of neurodiversity, where selection....as I recall Darwin emphasizing....operates on the population level, where within-population diversity will often provide strong buffering to environmental change. But yes, different communication skills and modes will help get messages across that might otherwise not be shared or understood.

 
r ranson
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Me: Obviously due to unsupported statements neither of you have done static analysis on a foundations? If you have please post it.


This is what the pre-ill me would have written (only not about building because it wasn't my specialist topic).

Now I usually have to walk away when people are saying something so obviously dangerous and wrong. Perpetuating modern industrial propaganda really gets my goat. The way our population has been brainwashed to believe that milk must be thrown out if it takes longer than 20 minutes to bring it home from the grocery store... well, I'm already getting started. This is me...



... or at least it use to be me.

I like how the Be Nice requirements of this site restrict how strongly I (and everyone else) can say things. When I'm feeling passionate about a topic, I fall into old communication patterns and this creates conflict. Instead, I now have a list of questions I ask myself before pressing the 'submit' button.


Now when I find someone who's completely wrong, I try to follow this format:
  • Show excitement and encouragement for their project.
  • ask questions to clarify to engage the other person - and to help me know if I'm understanding correctly or not.
  • make suggestions and offer support for my position. Write from the first person point of view - without name dropping or sounding too pompous (hopefully)
  • end on a positive note


  • Being calming and encouraging may not bring the 'wrong' person around to the 'right' way of thinking, but what it does do is create a friendly tone that other readers (and some of these threads have 10 thousand hits or more) will listen to. The other write(s) are one or just a handful of people.

    The hundreds or thousands of people reading these forums are the real audience. They have a whole range of Neurotypes and some will judge purely on the data presented, others really do need the information presented in a friendly way or they develop an emotional block to that info - and the next time they come across that same info, they will be more difficult to convince of it's value.


    Talking out my arse here - because I quite frankly don't know squat about foundations and building (except for reading a few books which isn't sufficient, in my opinion to make me an expert in this) - I would give an example of how the new me would respond to the fictitious situation Terry presents above. Please don't take this for accurate response, it's merely to show how the above reply format can be used to reduce conflict when other people are obviously wrong in some way.

    Me: Your COB wall foundation is seeing 40 lbs/ft2 of compression, 20 from roof loads, 20 from static wall weight.

    Poster 1: That foundation is not in compression.

    Me: This is an interesting project and I appreciate your enthusiasm. I really like [some small detail they mentioned earlier in the thread - it shows that I'm actually paying attention to what they write - people like this]. I'm very interested to see how it turns out.

    I'm not entirely certain I understand what you mean when you say the foundation is not in compression. Do you mean, you haven't built your wall yet?

    A useful tool would be to do a static analysis on your foundations. [explain what that is and why it's useful - add link or you-tube if applicable, but only if applicable. Otherwise, it's better to reference a book and suggest people go to the library to get a copy in case they think it's too expensive. That way if they have no excuse not to go and read the book. I bet you at least 20% of the readers go and get that book - even if the other interlocutors don't. Explain exactly why that book is useful to them in a gentle way. Defer the 'blame' to the author so that it's the author's fault for coming up with this idea that these other people disagree with.]

    Please tell me more about [such and such, again a specific detail that they posted about before.] I'm very interested to see how it turns out.



    I don't mention the 'truth' or 'fact' and almost never mention directly my experience or training.

    I don't appeal to emotion or sympathy directly, but I do show gentleness with my writing. As you've seen the facts in themselves are not enough for the majority of the population. They need to feel comfortable with the way these facts are presented.

    If they do come back aggressive or defencive, I refer them to books, and say something like ... those are interesting thoughts... question about how they apply in real life... refer them to more books to make it obvious that the other person hasn't bothered to do any research (remember, we aren't here to convince the other person, it's our hundred+ readers who really matter)... show I am listening to the other person... and then ask for the other person's personal experience with... bla bla bla.


    This communication style I've developed won't work for everyone. It probably won't work for many people. It might only work for one person, and if that one person is me, it only works some of the time.

    But it does work some of the time, and it creates far less conflict than my old style of communication. People often seem to understand what I'm saying now, or at the very least they don't get aggressive at me anymore.
     
    Terry Ruth
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    All I have to say is I'm lost please reword since your making me feel inferior...Seriously though I am lost in this type of discussion I would never offer any advice at this point.


     
    r ranson
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    I should say, the me before my illness and the me after, are both good people. There's nothing right or wrong with either brain type. They are just different. It took a long time to accept the change. Sometimes I'm glad for it, other times I truly miss being the old me.

    The me before was brilliant, academic, specialized, and confident. But that me couldn't communicate outside my field of study, without creating conflict. The me now, not so brilliant, impossible at many real world tasks, but much better (I hope) at communicating. Weather that's a result of my new brain structure or because I spent so much time and effort cultivating communication skills,... I don't know.

    I can't undo the damage to my brain, all I can do is observe myself and the different ways I respond to the same stimulus.

    My change, gives me a better ability to act as a translator between these two neurotypes. I don't think many people have had this kind of experience to see the world from a totally different perspective. It's not nice. It is horrible really - to see myself from a different point of view. To be so separate from who I was. But it is useful too, it helps me be less certain that my way is the correct way. If I am so different now than I was then... what will I be like in ten years (if I make it that long)?

    To bring it back to permaculture, I think that diversity in ways of thinking is a great benefit to the world. The world is simply too divided for one person to grasp it all now. We need specialists and different ways of looking for solutions, just as we need nitrogen fixers and birds in a food forest.

    But we also need a way that these different aspects can interact harmoniously. On my farm, this is fences. A fence keeps the goats out of the garden, otherwise they would destroy everything and then possibly destroy themselves with bloat.

    How can we make it so that these different neurotypes can interact harmoniously? Is communication the answer? The current me think's it's important.
     
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    <<<How can we make it so that these different neurotypes can interact harmoniously? Is communication the answer?>>>

    I would think not only communication, but also nurturing a two way street of respect, tolerance, acceptance. Perhaps a more Buddhist approach when interacting with others.
     
    Satamax Antone
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    R Ranson wrote:Sometimes I'm glad for it, other times I truly miss being the old me.



    This makes me think about what Francis Curtet, a French psychatrist was saying about drug adicts. Is that they have an equivalent of body dysmorphic disorder https://bdd.iocdf.org/professionals/neurobiology-of-bdd/

    But in their perception of the functioning of their own brain. They often feel themselves, before the encounter with drugs; as unfit brainwise; to be an integral part of the society. He calls it the broken miror syndrom. His description is prety much of sensitive people, who feel they have unfit mental or behavioral traits, not physical traits, which they dislike.


    I don't know what happened to your brain. But could you imagine that there's no old or new yourself. But rather two different ways of perceiving yourself, due to a change in the perceiving tools you have been given? I don't know if i can make myself understood here.

    To me, most certainly, the pilot inside is still the same. You haven't changed geneticaly. The very inner core of yourself is still the same. But had to addapt to different conditions. A bit like someone who suddenly becomes mute, due to some conditions. Will most of the time start instantly to try to express himself by other means. With the hands first of all.

    Well, sorry for the gibberish.

    Bye.

    Max.
     
    Satamax Antone
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    And i gonna elaborate on the perception.

    About your question set, and the picture of someone feeling important to correct the wrong someone on the net.


    Something which happened to me, and that i explain often to others. Reality is relative.

    When I was a kid, i used to fake sleeping, when my mother came to check on me, in the evening, to see if i was asleep.

    Her reality was, "my son is asleep, good"

    And mine was, "i know i'm not asleep, but she doesn't. But i also know that for her, i'm asleep" and this is simply how i discovered differences in reality.

    I'm a bloody stuborn extremist sometimes.

    But i also can understand that several people with different perceptions on a subject can be right; or wrong; together at the same time.

    For Terry, an encounter you had with Jay, for example. Different acceptance of what safety margins are. If you believe the old guys in roofing, an old slated roof moving 20cm under a snow load is perfectly fine. And i've seen some which freaked me out, but have lasted centuries. Which i know, for you, is complete heresy.

    The only time someone is wrong, completely wrong, is the poor unlucky bastard, who passed under that roof, the day it cracked.



    And i genuinely admit that i am guilty everyday of what R Ranson described in the drawing above. Which i shouldn't give a flying fanny fart about
     
    Satamax Antone
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    Su Ba wrote:<<<How can we make it so that these different neurotypes can interact harmoniously? Is communication the answer?>>>

    I would think not only communication, but also nurturing a two way street of respect, tolerance, acceptance. Perhaps a more Buddhist approach when interacting with others.


    Leaving religion aside. We need a change of paradigm on the whole bloody planet. Where "power relations" in between individuals or bigger entities, should be regarded as mental illness.

    The "i'm stronger,richer, more inteligent,more beautifull, or apealing, than you or him". Should be banned from our minds.


    And this comes from me, someone who can lower himself to punch someone in the face, to make my point! This is madness hey?
     
    Satamax Antone
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    Terry, no need to defend or prove yourself.

    What i'm trying to make you grasp, is the fact that for different people, the norm isn't always the same. There's international standards. But for example, on many of thoses standards, natural building techniques wouldn't pass nowadays. And they have been here for centuries, proven and tested by time, not only by engineers and computer models. There's plenty of lobbys behind many of the actual norms. For example, one which drives me mad, a new house, nowadays, in France, has to be airtight, with double flux ventilation on all the time, and heat exchange. Who the fuck imagined this? This is insane. I would rather have a slightly leaky home, and a rocket stove. Than a plastic wrapped Petri dish. But you have no choice. And the worse bit is, this type of building won't remain in the state they are for long. Nor last as long as most traditional buildings or concrete buildings in France. This is not good sense.
     
    Rebecca Norman
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    Hi Terry,
    I really appreciate your inputs to the building forums, but I also feel you could improve your communication. You can present your informed experienced opinion (or facts) clearly, and reply back to clarify if people misunderstood or asked about details. But then if other people agree or disagree, you can just drop it. Their experience and values in a build may be different from yours, and that's okay. You won't convince every last person. There is no need to have the definitive last word on a post.
     
    r ranson
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    Satamax Antone wrote:
    I don't know what happened to your brain. But could you imagine that there's no old or new yourself. But rather two different ways of perceiving yourself, due to a change in the perceiving tools you have been given? I don't know if i can make myself understood here.

    To me, most certainly, the pilot inside is still the same. You haven't changed geneticaly. The very inner core of yourself is still the same. But had to addapt to different conditions. A bit like someone who suddenly becomes mute, due to some conditions. Will most of the time start instantly to try to express himself by other means. With the hands first of all.



    Very interesting link. Thanks for sharing.

    You're right, I am very much the same person. I had the same emotions before as I do now, but the way my brain processes information is physically different.

    My brain physically changed because of an infection. The cushion of blood that surrounds the brain (oversimplifying) got very swollen and remained somewhat swollen for several years. This put pressure on the brain which damaged some of it. On top of that, another side effect of the infection is occasional shut off of blood flow to the brain - which starves it of oxygen. Oversimplifying but the result is a bit like a stroke. These are doctor diagnosed events, I wasn't well enough at the time to do any self diagnosis.

    I don't have the courage to go through the whole testing to find out exactly what is broken in my brain. This is the first time I've talked about it publically. To be honest, it makes me very uncomfortable to talk about it. I hope sharing this can help someone reading to understand that there is a difference in different brain types and it affects how we communicate with other people.

    There is a lot of other damage from the infection, and I find it debilitating to think about all the things that are wrong with me. Part of it is emotionally depressing, but part of it is self fulfilling prophecy. If I believed the specialists and doctors, then I would have keeled over a decade ago. Then they said if I did survive, I wouldn't be able to walk, and probably loose all use of my short term memory. Good thing my memory wasn't very good that week, because I forgot to remember that part of what they said. Now I walk, I can function in many settings, I can wrestle my ram and understand the basics of plant genetics (including some of the math - which is another brain function they said I would never get back).

    I have a long way to go to get close to normal. I don't think I will ever get there though - mostly because I don't want to.

    I don't want to be a city dweller with the latest gadget again. I like my permaculture lifestyle (or whatever it is I have now) where I make my own food from scratch. Yesterday I pulled a baby lamb out of mummy sheep, saving both their lives. I didn't know how to do that 5 years ago, I would never have had that chance in the city. I love this life. I learn new skills every day (learning, that's another thing the doctors said I could never do again). I am grateful for the opportunities my illness gave me.

    ***

    I'm being hard on doctors here. They don't deserve it. They did what they were taught and they did their very best. Without their help, I couldn't have gotten over the worst of the illness.

    We can use doctors as an example of communication among people of different trainings and neurotypes.

    Doctors need to communicate very specific ideas, very accurately, to each other, very quickly. This is an example of where specialist jargon and language structure is not just useful, but vital. Something like your professional environment Terry.

    When the doctor talks to the patient (at least in Canada - local laws vary on this) they have to change their language structure to match the patient's. They still have to communicate these complicated ideas, but they must (legally in Canada) do so in a way that the patient understands all the relevant information well enough to make an informed decision.

    That's two different levels of communicating in two different environments.

    Now, maybe a pop-culture doctor (do they still have those things on TV?) want's to convey the same complicated idea in a public setting. He/she has to choose different language structure again to be able to reach the largest audience.

    Different settings, different methods of communication.

     
    Neil Layton
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    On the autie side, maybe a more conducive environment will put an end to this, where we die anything up to decades younger than the rest of the population: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35833997

    This makes me sick, but doesn't surprise me. It does show the urgency of solutions to the marginalisation of the neurologically atypical.
     
    Neil Layton
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    Rebecca Norman wrote:Hi Terry,
    I really appreciate your inputs to the building forums, but I also feel you could improve your communication. You can present your informed experienced opinion (or facts) clearly, and reply back to clarify if people misunderstood or asked about details. But then if other people agree or disagree, you can just drop it. Their experience and values in a build may be different from yours, and that's okay. You won't convince every last person. There is no need to have the definitive last word on a post.


    I think this is part of the discussion: we need a clear distinction between someone's knowledge based on training and/or years of experience on the one hand, and someone's opinion on the other. They are not equal.

    If I am building a structure, I would rather have Terry's training and years of experience behind me than the opinions of a dozen without those.

    Now, whether those modes of thinking and modes of communication are divided down autistic-allistic lines isn't clear (I suspect not), but what is clear is that the knowledge-based thought systems are relevant to certain specialist fields, like building, and are vital to keeping buildings up when the opinions of a dozen others will see leaks, or a pile of rubble.
     
    Neil Layton
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    Tyler Ludens wrote:
    Neil Layton wrote:
    Writing as an Aspie, I cannot read the "body language and facial expressions change during a discussion". I can write, and you can read, and vice versa which puts us on the same kind of level. Sticking me in a pub with flashing lights and too much noise, getting me partially inebriated, and then expect me to cognitively process all the nonverbal signalling is my idea of hell.


    The amount of concentration such a thing requires would make me ill and probably incapable of functioning for days....


    Pretty much the same here, although I might well bolt before I got to that point.

    John Weiland wrote: Yes, I understand that aspect of Aspie but out of curiosity, Neil, I've always wondered if that inability to read body language and facial expressions is environment dependent. What do you think about this idea with regard to your own inclinations and that of other Aspies that you know? Do you sense that this ability would be altered or modified in some way, say, by being out in the countryside? After reading some of Temple Grandin's work I'm not sure if that notion has ever been raised, but maybe I missed it. I bring this up because there are certain social situations in which I can find my cognitive and argumentative abilities completely shut down and off-line. They are usually emotionally charged instances, but not all.....the situation has to have a certain flavor and if that condition is satisfied, it's "good-bye rational thought". By contrast under certain trauma-type situations, I can sometimes over-perform and completely block out the emotional component when others are just staring immobilized.....maybe I got that from my mum who was a trauma nurse .,


    Complicated. One of the problems with everyone referring to Grandin is the assumption that all Aspies are like Grandin. It goes back to what I said in the article, which is that it won't work for everyone - simply because of the diversity within Asperger syndrome, never mind autism more generally, never mind the sheer diversity of human modes of thinking.

    In theory a less generally overstimulating environment should lead to a situation where more energy is available for processing body language. In practice I don't know, but I wonder what for. The point is not to make me better able to think and communicate like you, but put everyone in a situation where everyone can be themselves.

     
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