By Tom Welch
Clarity is a beautiful word.
Clarity of the senses. Clarity of understanding. Clarity of purpose and intent. How would our relationships change with clarity of mutual interest—of boundaries? There would certainly be less hurt.
However, I suspect many people prefer the ambiguous, with the room it provides for changing minds, for maneuvering to advantage, for discovery, surprise and delight. And as human beings, we have ample supply of ambiguity. Is it ‘wrong’ to desire the personal space ambiguity provides, at the very least for privacy and freedom to change one’s mind?
I confess to having mixed feelings on the relative advantages of clarity versus ambiguity.
While I have a strong desire to detect and understand the interpersonal signals that fly unheeded and unnoticed by me, and limited success with it, I do appreciate the absolute delight most people must have playing with all the different signaling possibilities.
So, I do not begrudge others this pleasure. In fact, I congratulate and celebrate with you this.
Why, then, would some of us be born without this talent?
It all comes back to nature’s way of maximizing the chances for survival of our species. The more diversity there is in the gene pool, the more adaptable the population is to changes in the environment, especially rapid ones.
And speaking of the need to adjust rapidly, does anyone doubt that climate change, as just one example, won’t require a boatload of technological advances?
With an unusual ability to focus for long periods to the exclusion of external stimuli, as well as a strong desire to know a subject exhaustively, it’s clear that this genomic trait has had a strong survival advantage for us.
Where once these individuals memorized their tribe’s folklore or copied lengthy manuscripts, these days they do science, technology, game theory and research.
One can easily argue that the high-performing autistics (Aspergians) are more needed now than ever.
So, let us celebrate this small but distinct population segment.
May we be generous in giving them the social help they need to become happy and productive. May we easily forgive them easily for their frequent faux pas and let us welcome them into our midst, which is the greatest gift we can give.
Tom Welch has an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and is a former high school math teacher, US Army Specialist 5, executive at General Motors, and has 10 years experience leading groups of parents and children in a community education program that explores the effects of addiction on families. He has also worked for several years with adjudicated teenagers using these same program materials. He has published a book available on Amazon entitled “Raising Healthy Children” which is available as an e-book and soft cover. His blog contains this story and many others. His wife Gitta’s Husky, Spirit, is 14 years old and loves cold weather, the colder the better. It is Tom’s assignment to walk the dog every morning without complaint. Tom loves to write as ideas come to him. This story came to him as a title, and he wrote it straight out, from top to bottom with only minor wording revisions.
Editor: Daniel Scharpenburg