The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Strongest Drug

There is so much unprocessed pain in most human psyches that I sometimes forget how it feels to be one of the ones who hasn't been forced to process, or has been unable to. When I speak about fat issues, I'm touching that live wire. Racial issues hit pretty deep. Rather than ask how our current social situation could arise from natural and universal tendencies within human beings, too many people assume that one group MUST be better or worse than another, and certainly everyone must, secretly feel that way. Therefore, my words, seen through that lens, simply must mean that I harbor secret opinions that whites are evil, and my enemies.

I see how some could feel that way, especially when I talk about cultural images in film, which I consider indicative of alpha territoriality--an incredible survival trait, which has some unfortunate side effects. If you have "brotherhood" lacquered over a belief structure that suggests the playing field is level--but groups of human beings are not--then some of the things I say on this blog must sound condemnatory. That is unfortunate. However, I can't back away from my truth on these things. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for people of good will to pretend it doesn't exist.

What I will never do is suggest for an instant that any racial or ethnic group is closer to God than another. And in my mind, that is the only question that really matters on this issue. And if I love God, I must love both myself and all others. Accept their behavior--maybe not. Love them? Absolutely. Consider myself above them? What a joke. No one is closer to the horizon than anyone else.

##

Jason has trouble focusing in school. He ends up on "red" too much of the time, mostly from fiddling and fidgiting in class. Sigh. I'll take any good suggestions, you'd better believe it. My first thought is that he is a Hunter in a world full of Farmers. Kid has energy to burn, and can't quite focus it in a totally passive setting. And yet, the Hunter archetype demands laser-like focus and calm, so that is no excuse at all. Every morning, I'm working with him on the Tibetans (we're up to eight) trying to teach him to match his breathing to the exertion curve. Everything, and I mean everything, he wants in life is on the other side of learning to apply proportionate attention.

I have to be careful not to get frustrated: it isn't about me. He doesn't belong to me. He is under my protection, until he can care for himself. God, I just love him so much. He comes to me and sits on my lap in the morning, and hugs me, and I can feel his heart, his trust, his need for both approval and discipline. He's relying on me to guide him, and I know something very clearly:

he is going to be fine. Just fine. He already is. Together, we just have to find the part of him that understands how to focus, to release, to deal with frustration, to keep his word, to tell the truth. He wants to be a Good Boy. If there is anything, absolutely anything I can do to help him get out of his own way, he's got it.

##

Somewhere between thirty and three hundred thousand dead in Haiti. Please help if you can--this is so horrible I can barely wrap my mind around it. We are so incredibly blessed to live in this country.

##

A gentleman referred me to his website, upon which there is an essay stating that "Avatar" triggered a sense of guilt about being white. Saw it as a condemnation of the military, and of corporations. Really? This gentleman needs to love himself more, accept himself more deeply. Criticizing behaviors, or writing cautionary tales about the excesses of a group or organization is not the same as condemning it.

But that is exactly how many people feel. And that is not mature behavior. Unfortunately, society doesn't really encourage us to be adults (which is an observation or criticism, not a condemnation of society. Sheesh.) I mean, if I tell Jason he's done something wrong, his poor little heart lurches to the conclusion that he must be a BAD BOY. This is one of the reasons that I will stand him in front of a mirror, have him look at himself and say "I like myself!"

This is horribly hard for him at first, but when he gets into it, there are joyous giggles. Oddly (not really) discipline and criticism are taken MUCH better for the rest of the day--I can point out a non-optimal behavior without him leaping to the conclusion that if he isn't the best boy in the world, he must be the worst.

And I think that a huge percentage of people live in such a binary world. If America isn't clearly the best on every issue, all the time...you must be saying America is AWFUL. If racial group X has abused its power, or segments of it are organized in patterns inefficient for producing stable social/family units...why, I must be CONDEMING it. They're the worst!

If corporations eat everything in sight, and you point that out, why, you must be saying corporations are EVIL! No, I'm saying they eat everything in sight, and must be treated like the jolly predators they are. Like Sam Neil said in Jurassic Park about carnivorous animals: they aren't evil, they "just do what they do." We must simply be careful of limiting them to their appropriate place in the circle of economic life.

If mercenaries in the service of corporations are said to be capable of amoral behavior, that is hardly a condemnation of the military. It is an acknowledgement that the warrior urge is related to the "death drive," and must be balanced by love and controlled by diplomacy and compassion. Society cannot exist without the courageous men and women who eat stress and spit fire. God knows I ain't going into the caves of Tora Bora...not unless there is absolutely, positively no one else to do it. But condemn this vital drive for OUR mismanagement of it? That would be like condemning the sex drive because immature expressions of it lead to illegitimate children and the spread of disease.

The sex drive, the survival instinct, the drive to dominate and control...these things are not evil. They just are what they are, do what they do. Get this straight: I LOVE this country. There is no where I'd rather live. But because it is populated by human beings, it has been guilty of horrific acts. But wow, can you believe how hard we try to grow and heal? Amazing.

So many men feel guilty about being men, ignoring the price of carrying that toxic and intoxicating drug testosterone in their veins. And apparently, the legacy of racism is that we can't really think of humanity as being non-heirarchical. That the attempt to embrace "equality" leads to staying quiet about your beliefs that group X ain't quite up to snuff. And if you say something that trips a guilt switch, the easiest default is to assume that, well, if My Group isn't BETTER, then We must be worse. Must be. What else could anyone possibly be saying, eh..?

This kind of thinking is poisonous. We are so much better than this. We MUST be able to speak of our pain, speak our truth. And be able to hear it while maintaining, without the slightest doubt, the knowledge that no one is closer to the divine than we are.

The problem is that the cost of holding that belief is abandoning the hope that we are closer to the divine than others. And that, apparently, for almost everyone: whites, blacks, gays, straights, Americans, non-Americans, men and women...virtually everyone seems to need that belief just to make it through their lives.

Believing in differential worth, applied to entire groups of human beings, seems to be one of the most addictive drugs in the world. And when it turns on you...God in heaven, is it ever vicious.

You deserve better than that, each and every one of you. The love you have for yourself will be the love you can offer your family, your community, your world. And trust me: we need every drop you can muster.

24 comments:

Steve Perry said...

Get Jason tested to see if maybe he's got ADD or might be on the high end of the autistic spectrum. I have a nephew with the former and two grandsons with the latter. Both conditions can be treated and dealt with, and eliminating them as a cause for problems is a good idea.

None of the boys are on medication, and are doing much better once a cause for their behavior was determined.

Marty S said...

The statement "all men are created equal" taken by itself is utter nonsense. Literal belief in that statement is as much scientific hogwash as Intelligent Design. The statement only makes sense when applied with respect to all people having certain "unalienable rights" because indeed everyone should be equal under the law and should have equal opportunity under the law. But, it is perfectly reasonable to believe some groups are genetically superior in some respects and inferior in others. Proclivity for various diseases have shown to be genetically linked and in some cases linked by group. So some people are born with different life expectancy, or expectancy of quality of life. It is not the acknowledgment that there are differences between groups that is evil, but the invoking of that inequality, (especially when not scientifically demonstrated,) to demean and/or excuse mistreatment of a particular group. There have been studies which have shown that the average woman is smarter than the average man, at least with smartness measured by IQ. But the same studies show that men's IQs are more widely dispersed than women's IQs. So there are more morons and geniuses among men. So based upon these studies men and women are different. If you value average smarts the women are the "superior group" if you value geniuses then men are the "superior group". I prefer to just acknowledge some times groups are different with respect to abilities without using those differences as an excuse to mark one group as superior to the other.

Steve: With respect to Jason, I had similar habits to what you describe in Jason when I was a child. My problem when I acted out was boredom, I wasn't interested/challenged by what was going on in the classroom at certain times so I would fidget, get out of my seat and play under the desk or just stare out the window. Try determining what kinds of activities are occurring when he acts out. If its always during particular activities, talk to Jason and see if you can discover what about those activities turns him off.

josephrobertlewis said...

I'm always baffled by certain people needing to measure themselves or value themselves in comparison to other people. That seems so much more exhausting than just sitting inside your head and looking at the handful of facts you have about yourself and feeling good or bad about them.

If you get a promotion, or a beautiful woman is attracted to you, or you buy a house, why can't these people assess those accomplishments in relation to themselves: Does this make me happy? Does this help me survive / solve my problem / make my life better?

Why the need to compare to the guy next door? Or to a celebrity on TV?

Your food doesn't taste any better or worse for knowing what your neighbor is eating, does it?

Marty S said...

JosephRobertLewis: The value of comparing oneself to others depends upon the reasons you have for doing so. I might aspire to being a major league baseball player, but if half the guys in the neighborhood can out run, out throw and out hit me its important to realize that. When I was in college I changed fields from the one that interested me the most to the one I was best at and I am confident that my life was better for it.

Robin James Burchett said...

Steve – one thing to consider: if you’re paying attention to Jason’s diet, rest, and exercise, he will simply have more energy than other kids, just as you have more energy than many adults. And given the richness of his home environment, I’m guessing that school is even more boring for him than for most kids. Does he have a clear and immediate reason to sit still and pay attention, or is that just more convenient for the teacher and his classmates?

We’ve had teachers send our eldest out in the hall to run around or do jumping jacks – not as punishment, but just because he needed it. They also let him draw and doodle, which at least is quiet. It wasn’t until this year – 6th grade – that he’s finally been willing and able to really focus on schoolwork that doesn’t interest him. Protein for breakfast also makes a big difference for our eldest, while wheat and sugar spin him up. Hard exercise in the morning also helps, but it’s hard to give them enough when they’re young and strong.

A pediatric occupational therapist might be able to teach you some techniques to help his nervous system develop properly. Under proper medical guidance, we used to spin our eldest in a chair, press him (sit on him) between sofa cushions, and have him push heavy furniture around. This gave his nervous system specific input it needed to wire itself up properly. Fun, too. But he had specific sensory integration deficits – most kids get the needed input just from normal life and play.

Best,
Robin

Robin James Burchett said...

Oh, I didn't mention - all that spinning and pressing - left the little guy calm and focussed.

Scott said...

If you love him, home school him. Sitting in a room, perfectly still and silent, listening to an undereducated civil servant drone is not the skillset you want for him, honest. A lot of people can't realistically apprentice their kids; you could, though. If you think you can't, at least consider Montessori; a mind is a terrible thing to waste, neh?

And no, the hunter isn't the unfocused fiddly fidgety one; that would be the high energy hormone storm, aka healthy teenage male. Doing something physically exhausting, e.g. wrestling, powerlifting, track and field, might help.

Dan Moran said...

Steve,

I will say this carefully, since I really do believe that doing well in school is a much, much better path through life than doing badly -- and my wife and I've drilled this into our kids to the point where they've all done (and are doing) really well in school .... and regardless of what anyone says, learning to succeed in school is great training for learning to succeed in life.

That said, it's not the only path. I dropped out of high school and am in the top 5% in this country by income. Would I have done better with a college degree? Almost certainly -- I've been unable to interview for a few CTO/CIO jobs over the years because of the lack of a degree. But I've still done a lot better than the great majority of people who do have college degrees, so it can be done.

So, for whatever it's worth ... the point of an education in a capitalist society is to be employable. Period. Everything else is personal growth stuff and while that's great, there's an infinite number of ways to address that area of your life. The purpose of going to school and getting a degree is to be employable. Again, period. Here's the good news in that area -- nothing that happens to Jason right now matters a lick. Almost all that does matter is his performance in high school, and at that, principally in the 10th and 11th grades. So you've got a lot of time to get him straightened out, and if he struggles at first, that doesn't mean he has to continue to struggle.

Also, on the ADD front -- there's a real stigma about that stuff in LAUSD. Nothing wrong with having Jason tested, but DO NOT LET HIS TEACHERS KNOW THE RESULTS. (Which may mean not letting Jason know the results, given the way children talk about anything and everything in their lives to anyone who will listen.) Let them label him a problem child, and you'll need to change schools to get him another shot.

Shady_Grady said...

Race is a social construct not a scientific one. It varies from society to society and time to time in a way that gender does not.

There are greater differences within the so-called races than between them. No scientist talks about "genetically superior or inferior" anything.

Anonymous said...

Some little kids just have lots of physical energy. I think it's a sign of robust health. Your boy might just need more ways to burn off some energy outside of school. Sometimes that works better than trying to find ways to get the fidgeting to stop. My kids were like that when they were little. I did not drug them up with ADD stuff or constantly harp on them the way some teachers do. They're older now and they're honor students.

-- Mom of 4

mkf said...

a friend of mine once taught school in costa rica, and explained to me her system for dealing with rambunctious boys with excessive energy and short attention spans (i.e., boys everywhere):

at the top of every hour, she'd stop whatever they were doing and let 'em run around the playground screaming at the top of their lungs for five or ten minutes, after which--exhausted, and knowing another such break would soon come--they were more than happy to give her fifty productive minutes of their time. i thought it a very aikido approach to the problem.

here, now? easier to diagnose normal, healthy boys with ADHD and drug 'em into compliant, apathetic submission.

maybe there's nothing "wrong" with jason--maybe you can't cure normal.

Marty S said...

Steve: The most important thing with respect to Jason is not to just tell Jason he shouldn't fidget, but to understand why he fidgets and work with the school to fix the problem. If for instance he is a really good reader for his age and he is bored with what they are reading in class then get the teacher to let him bring his own reading material to read during that part of the day.

Shady: Race is not just a social construct if you mate two Asians their children inherit the characteristics of the Asian race they don't sometimes turn out to be Caucasian. There is also scientific evidence that groups do have different genetic proclivities. An example the Ashkenazi Jews have a proclivity toward Tay Schs disease. As for the argument that there is more variation within a group than between groups that argument is both true and spurious. If one applies the argument to the case I cited of male/female IQs we can see this. IQs between given members of both sexes can vary by 150 points or more so a difference the average of 10 points is much less. But since 25% of the population of a group is within 10 points of the average in terms of numbers of people a lot more women are going to be brighter than men then the number of geniuses or morons in either group. Denying that there are genetic differences between groups(and again not all groups are races) is as much a religious tenet of the left as Intelligent Design is of the right.

Michelle said...

Before testing ADD or Autism...maybe you need to have a conversation with his teacher.

My own daughter was having the same issues in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade.

I found out the school was only teaching to the lowest common denominator to get more funds. So if the dumbest kid in school only knew 5 site words then they stopped testing all the kids at 5 words. So the kids who knew 10, 15 or even 100 words were not being challenged.

So I had to move schools. Then I found out my daughter was having the same problem in the new school, but this time it was during reading...the teacher was reading to the class 1: books my daughter had already read at home, 2: books that didn't interest her. We set it up so that she could go to the 3rd grade class (after testing her reading skills) during reading time so she could read on her own. That solved the majority of the problem.

Last is hobbies. Does your son have a creative interest? My daughter showed an interest in writing, reading, art and building. So we invested in more legos, art books and craft projects, and notebooks. With a little encouragement she now spends her free time building and creating when she's not out playing and such. She even got permission to bring her projects to school. The key was to give her these things then let her create with minimalist adult supervision.

So 3rd grade has been a great year so far, she is much more motivated and always in the green. When we talk about what she's learning we always relate it to things she likes. So when she brings math home we talk about how we can use what she's learning to build a lego castle or how her science lab relates to the drawing of penguins in one of her art books.

It's made a huge positive difference...and my child is only going to the local public school.

Shady_Grady said...

Marty, what are the "characteristics of the Asian Race"?

Serious question.

What are the tools one uses to determine who is a member of this "Asian Race"?

As I alluded to in the previous comment, there is much more of a scientific and biological basis for differentiation between men and women, feminist criticisms at the margins aside, than there is for a scientific and biological difference on "race". So trying to extend this very real gender difference to a biological basis of "race" is a sleight of hand which doesn't work imo. "Race" is amorphous in a way that gender simply isn't.

Within different societies and at different times within a society "race" has varied widely. Certain Americans in 1850 would think it ludicrous that Irish are considered white today. Today some "whites" in South America would not be considered "white" in America and flipping it around some "blacks" in the US would not be considered "Black" in the Carribbean or South America. Ask a German if a Turk is "white" or a member of the Northern League if a Sicilian is "white" and you might get different answers than you would in America. Anatole Broyard was "white" for most of his life. Walter White had blonde hair and blue eyes and was a "black" man.

The available scientific evidence has shown that "humans are genetically homogeneous and that genetic variation tends to be shared widely among populations."

The populations in Africa show much greater diversity than those outside of Africa and yet despite this we are generally comfortable assigning most indigenous Africans to one race and one race only.

http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v36/n11s/full/ng1435.html

As it is used today , "race" is a concept that only gained currency in the European conquest and colonizing of the world from the 15th-19th centuries. It's not a scientifically valid concept. As the Human Genome Project concluded, "race", in the sense that most people mean the term, doesn't exist.

"DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other"

Human Genome

Race doesn't exist

Mike Ralls said...

Life has been very busy for me lately so haven't been commenting here or on 101 (need to get back on track) but good luck with Jason. I'm not going to be a parent for another eight months or so so I don't feel qualified to offer any advice.

Quick side note on Avatar. Tons of attacks on all side, but the most interesting interpretation I've read about it was as a defense of property rights, something that many Chinese see as quite blatant;

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/12/stories/2010011256931800.htm

BEIJING: The bull-dozers await at the gates. An evil corporation sends its guards, using every possible threat to move the residents from their land. But all resistance is futile. The people watch in horror, as their homes get torn down to rubble and they are forced to relocate.

This is a not-so-unfamiliar storyline in China where forced land acquisitions by influential real estate companies are rarely away from the headlines. Here, home demolitions are arguably the most controversial of social issues, and widely regarded as the biggest cause of social unrest.

This also happens to be the plotline of James Cameron’s epic blockbuster film ‘Avatar,’ which opened in China last week and has seemingly taken the country by storm.

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

"Rather than ask how our current social situation could arise from natural and universal tendencies within human beings"

Any knowledge of history quickly reveals that all human groups possess the same creative and destructive propensities, and that we're all animated by the suite of basic primate desires to ruthlessly out-mate, out-think and out-fight the competition. In other words, everyone wants to rule the world. Anglos, Germans, Romans, Japanese, Mongols, Persians, Zulus, Aztecs and practically everyone else has envisioned themselves as the "Master Race" or the "Possessors of the Heavens" and used the world to act their narcissistic follies. Once defeated by rivals inspired by their former preeminence, the vanquished revel in victim-hood, deluding themselves that the conqueror's "evil", and that they'd be noble if restored to power. Baring genocide, every ethnicity's fated to follow a trail of blood and tears similar to the long arc of the Jews. The "Chosen People" began as slaves in Egypt, mastered Palestine through the genocides of Joshua and Moses, were defeated and subjected to a long march of oppression that culminated in near-annihilation, and re-emerged as Israelis ruling Palestinians. History's a gory and tedious musical chairs, where we're all slated to play Nazi and Jew, Zulu and Boer, round and round.

A True Highlander Now said...

Barnes,

Easier here than the other elsewhere.

Think back to a good many of your old fiddling and fidgeting classmates of which some you may not have known until times Roman that I did from the lower schools up to that point:

CP was that way. Pro football and successful businessman.

RI was that way. MD/Ph.D, star athlete, and major honcho at a well-known medical facility in LA.

SJ was that way. Psychiatrist.

EL (Dorsey High, yet friend of mine) was that way. Actor and director.

GD was that way. High falutin' record industry executive.

A fellow Lottery cast member was that way and STILL is to a degree. He didn't turn out too bad with all things considered.

I could go on. Young Master Jason is in good company. Don't sweat it. Think Robert Frost and miles to go. These years count for very little in the grand scheme of things.

Steve Perry said...

The purpose of testing is to gain knowledge. Once you know something, you can deal with it. Jason may not have anything that can be diagnosed -- maybe he's just a fidgety kid. But if he does have something that's not his fault and he's getting spanked for bad behavior, everybody loses.

Knowing is better than not-knowing.

We all want our kids and grandkids and nieces and nephews to be okay, to be "normal." But early detection of something that may be relatively easy to fix is better than letting it go on and hoping it will go away.

Highlander said...

Barnes,

My middle child is like YMJ, just older, 9, and has been that way like forever so I know the drill from experience. Had her tested and all that and while no formal ADD was present, those pill pushin' idiots suggested I start dosing her. Screw that. Not enough LONG LONG-TERM evidence for me to even consider and make me feel comfortable with the notion and let folks call me what they will for it. Let 'em dose their own kids.

I've been up and down the hallways of her school to where most of the student body knows me by name now and have had chats with ALL of her teachers from kindergarten to 3rd grade. Do you not find is kind of amusing how teachers kinda pussyfoot around telling you your kid is a budding terrorist if such seems the case with YMJ? I do. Sometimes I'll even say things for them and just giggle internally as I watch their sighs of relief.

However, one thing I make Waterford crystal clear to them. Unless she's greviously violating some safety policy or anything of that nature, or endangering herself or someone else, or just being totally and unreasonably a distracting class factor I am not about to attempt to change her. Why?

I'm not raising droids. I'm not about to train her out of things that may serve her well later on down the road. Her problem is that she has tools yet not the time and experience to manage them effectively and to her advantage, now. She hangs around a law office I frequent and wants to be a lawyer. Great. The very same qualities that go to make for great or even good trial lawyers she has now to a degree. Thing is those kinds of aggressive (not bullying, thank God) and extrovert qualities don't go over very well in 3rd grade, follow me?

I'd much rather see the A and B U U's I see now for Grade and Cooperation and Citizenship than C E E's for the same.

I'm sure CPS, the AMA, Bayer and Phizer, and the Teacher's Union might have other ideas and thoughts, but oh damn well. Tough. Until I get notice she's holding other kids hostage or sabotaging the little girl's room or cafeteria, I'm doing a Darryl Zanuck.

"The kid stays in the picture".

Hers, and written and directed by same with me producing.

Steve Perry said...

I'm not offering that anybody should shoehorn their child into rigid conformity. That the spark of individuality should be extinguished and little Johnny or Jane should become one of the unthinking sheep just to get along.

I'm saying that knowledge is power, and if you look up one day and discover a lump in your breast, better to hie yourself on down to the doctor and get the thing looked at. Might be benign and no problem. But it might not be, and ignoring it is perhaps not the best option.

The first step in solving a problem is figuring out what the problem is.

Lobo said...

Marty, you're point about the Ashkenazi Jews and Tay Sachs is bollocks. The prevalence of Tay Sachs in some Jewish populations is not an indicator of genetics, it's an indicator of the social structure of the population.

Tay Sachs is a recessive gene, meaning it only expresses when both parents carry the gene. The reason it is prevalent in some populations is the same reason hemophilia was prevalent in the English Royal Families(tm). Social conventions strongly discourage them from selecting mates outside of the population. Anyone can be a carrier of Tay Sachs, but if your breeding population is restricted in the same way some Jewish populations are, then recessive genes like Tay Sachs tend to occur more frequently as the generations roll on and the gene gets spread around in the population.

Marty S said...

Lobo: I don't follow your reasoning at all. You admit Tay Sachs results because of an recessive gene, which makes it a genetic problem. Now if this gene were spread equally in the whole human culture then it wouldn't matter whether you married into or out of a group you would have the same number of Tay Sachs babies. The number of babies born with Tay Sachs increases because of inter marriage within a group only if the gene is more prevalent within the group. That people intermarry within a group is one of the things that make them a group. To the degree that inter marrying is a social construct there is a social element to the situation, but this doesn't remove the argument that where these social constructs called groups exist genetics tend to congregate in those groups causing them to have different genetic proclivities than those outside the group. If I climb up a building carrying an apple and when I get to the top leave go of it it falls. Without the human decision to let go it would not have fallen, but this doesn't mean that force of gravity doesn't exist and doesn't play a role in the apple falling.

Lobo said...

Marty, sorry it took so long to get back to this.

I'll illustrate with a hypothetical. Let's say that tomorrow, the elders of the Ashkenazi sect get a confab going and decide it is no longer necessary to restrict marriage (or reproduction) to the group. From that day forward Ashkenazi men and women are free to marry and have babies with any human being that strikes their fancy. It's the ONLY change they make to the doctrine. They're still Ashkenazi Jews in every other way. Within a few generations of the decree, the occurrence of Tay-Sachs will decrease significantly and eventually revert to the mean as the generations roll on.

There is no biological reason for the Tay-Sachs gene to restrict itself to any particular group of humans. We are all humans and we can all intermingle our dna with any other human (of the opposite sex.) The driver of the Tay-Sachs problem in Jewish communities, not just the Ashkenazi but many other sects that practice those kinds of restrictive mating habits, is not biology. It's a biological problem that has been induced by the social construct of restricted mating. If you remove that single social construct, then everything eventually reverts to the mean.

B the II said...

on Jason:

Option 1: teach him to think not about what people say, but why they say it, their motivations etc. This will start to detach him from the positional games, and have him look at things strategically

Option 2: find him a tai-chi teacher. It is the slow-moving art, but also powerful. the aim here is to harness his attention (not energy) on fine motor control.

Option 3: teach him chess. He's got to be bright with you and Tannarive around.

Option 4: get him k'nex, legos and toys that demand he build something, not just be a passive participant (

Option 5: teach him to read other people's energy levels [variation of option 1] instead of just interacting with them.

Option 6: read Making Comics by Scott McCloud yourself, then teach him to write comics, focus on his ability to script interactions and behaviors to be contextually relevant and "win/win".

Option 7: Make him draw a lot, him being able to externalize/communicate his thoughts might help him think about them.


Notice that all of these have no diagnosis required, they involve shifting his attention to different-than-normal areas.

Check out The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. He's the subject of the book/movie "Searching for Bobby Fisher" who later parlayed his chess attentiveness into a world championship or two in tai-chi push hands.