via Daily Prompt: Millions
Autism diagnoses are increasing. The question is: why? The legend of the changeling might provide a clue.
The legend goes like this:
Sometimes, a fairy will steal away a human infant and replace it with a creature that has the superficial appearance of a human – a changeling whose fey behavior and uncanny knowledge alert the parents that something was amiss.
The devil steals a human child and replaces it with a changeling.
This pattern of a “normal” child taken by fairies reflects the development of autistic children: typical, then suddenly strange. To this day “autism parents” talk about autism stealing their children.
Could it be that autism itself isn’t actually increasing? We live in a world of crowded subways, constant noise, bright lights, and sensory discomfort around every corner. But in past centuries, none of that existed. I’m not saying it was perfect back then, but someone who today would be diagnosed with autism might find a place on a farm and seem very normal as they go about their days doing repetitive tasks others might find boring.
Autism has always existed, probably in the same numbers it does today, but disability only exists in the context of society. And look at how our modern day societies are hostile to neurodiversity. No wonder there are millions of new autism diagnoses.
Solarpunk is an aesthetic inspired by Art Nouveau, a literary genre, and a social movement. At its core it is a vision of a future that embodies the best of what humanity can achieve: a post-scarcity, post-hierarchy world where humanity and nature co-exist, and clean energy replaces fossil fuels.
This may not be Art Nouveau, but its cute and functional. I think it fits!
The community that has sprung up around Solarpunk has created a lot of beautiful ideas. Here’s why the world needs Solarpunk. Continue Reading
The idea of alternate universes is mainstream, at least among laypersons. Some people even believe they may have experienced another world. From glitch in the matrix stories, to bizarre urban legends and the so-called “Mandela Effect,” there is enough anecdotal evidence that other universes exist that we can’t just dismiss the idea. One scientifically-backed idea supports what many have long suspected: that black holes do not culminate in a crushing singularity, but rather they are “portals to other universes,” or perhaps Farscape-esque tunnels to distant parts of our own universe.
A compelling urban legend is the case of “The Man From Taured.” Take a look at the video:
Whether these stories are more than stories is up for debate. But scientists have introduced a new theory called Many Interacting Worlds, a spin-off of other quantum mechanics theories such as the Many Worlds theory. Professor Howard Wiseman, a physicist at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and one of the creators of the new Many Interacting Worlds theory, had this to say:
“In the well-known ‘many worlds interpretation,’ each universe branches into a bunch of new universes each time a quantum measurement is made. All possibilities are therefore realized—in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonised by the Portuguese. But critics question the reality of these other universes, since they do not influence our universe at all. [emphasis added] On this score, our ‘many interacting worlds’ approach is completely different, as the name implies.”
This new theory is exactly what it sounds like: many worlds interacting with and influencing each other in the quantum realm. It could even open up the possibility that human adventurers could visit other universes.
As of yet, there is no experimental evidence to support this exciting theory. But lack of evidence doesn’t mean Wiseman and his collaborators are wrong. As the above anecdotes show, we live in a wondrous and mysterious universe. The more we know, the more we realize we don’t know. As Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman once said, “I believe I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” He could have easily said the same thing for our universe as a whole.
Who knows what else is out there?
Inspired by this post, I wanted to try my hand at reverse chronology, a story told backwards. This technique was challenging to pull off. I have no idea if I succeeded, but stretching those writerly muscles is good exercise! This story is called “Moonstruck.”
“Oneirodynia” is a short story inspired by an assignment from an intro philosophy class I took several years ago. It has been rattling around in my brain for a long time. This daily post is the perfect time to write it down. It was very hard to write, so I’m not entirely satisfied with how it turned out, but I’m glad to finally get it out of my head.
“Black Swallower” by Lea Lee. The black swallower’s scientific name is Chiasmodon niger.
Humanity’s saga began when we ventured down from the trees of Africa 200,000 years ago. We spread ideas and families across the globe since then. There will come a time when we must venture away from our planet, the only home we have ever known, and claim our destiny among the stars. The impetus for such a venture may be cosmic calamity: our universal neighborhood will look shockingly different in a few short thousand years.
Will our saga continue into the far future? Galactic black holes may devour any trace of our civilizations, but perhaps part of us will live on in the genes of beings who have long since forgotten us. Our descendants may be barely human. They may forget their roots on a lonely planet called Earth. But their determined survival will echo through time like a song to our memory.
For some people, super senses are an everyday unwanted occurrence. Imagine:
- Bright lights sting your eyes
- Feather-light touches sear your flesh
- The low whine of the refrigerator is like a drill in your brain that splits your head into a migraine
- A sweet dessert might as well be rotten garbage because of the way it makes your stomach churn
Sometimes, my senses overwhelm me – and it’s because I’m autistic. Sensory sensitivities are common to those who are on the autism spectrum, but they often decrease with age. Would I tone down my super senses if I had the chance? Non-autistics often only see the agony of being super-sensitive, but it is so much more than that:
Much like Concetta Antico, an artist who can literally see more colors than the average human, my super senses allow me to perceive the world in a unique way.
Smooth and colorful – perfect! Image from neuro-not-so-typical.tumblr.com
I may not be a tetrachromat like Ms. Antico, but my sensitivity to light, color, and touch mean that when the input is good, the feeling I get is indescribably divine. Nothing feels better than running my hands through super-soft resplendent Kinetic Sand after a stressful day: it’s a relaxing, fun feast for the senses!
My sensitivity to taste means sometimes I can actually detect the different ingredients in something – this is a serious benefit when I’m trying to cook a recipe similar to one from a restaurant.
Music, especially when it has several layers of sound, becomes an aural orgasm.
I couldn’t give that up – I’ll keep my super senses!