Rain Man’s Rainbow

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    Temple Grandin’s talk just went online, one of my favorites.

    She talks about her autistic mind — how she thinks in pictures and sees how an animal sees, unfettered by language. With this cognitive empathy, she has designed new cattle-handling facilities, through which most of U.S. cattle now pass.

    In watching her talk, it might help to know that PETA gave her an award stating:
    “She is widely considered the world’s leading expert on the welfare of cattle and pigs.”

    Oh, and she is a bit of a rain-woman star herself: HBO Trailer

    “If by some magic, autism had been eradicated from the face of the earth, then men would still be socializing in front of a wood fire at the entrance to a cave. Who do you think made the first stone spears?? It was some Asperger guy, and it you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no Silicon Valley, and the energy crisis won’t be solved.”

    “Normal minds ignore details.”

    “Language covers up the visual thinking we share with animals.”

    “We make good stage actors, learning social skills like in a play.”

    vennettaj, Cynthia E. Wood, and 12 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ 62 months ago | reply

      Thumbs up to autism and bipolar disorder!!!!! What would it be of creativity without mania (and depression)! I am coming increasingly to terms with my type II bipolar condition, it's not that bad after all, living within a roller coaster.

      Normal minds ignore a lot of things. The details *and* the obvious. Most of people fail for ignoring the obvious, the macro setting ( = taking it for granted), not for missing the details. IMO. It's like normal minds miss the HDR feature. They think mono, while others do surround 5.1.

      I'll watch the talk later on or tomorrow (will check if I can translate it? or not yet these new ones?... will see)

    2. tifotter 62 months ago | reply

      I've read her books and they really helped in my work with animals. Prey species (like ducks) are extremely skittish and vulnerable and constantly taking in information all around them. I've learned what makes them safe and how to tell when they're not feeling well and more... all from Dr. Grandin. One of my favorite details she shares in her latest book "Animals in Translation" is about how animals looooove anticipation. They are MOST happy right BEFORE you give them a treat. Yes the treat is good, but their ecstasy is knowing a treat is imminent! Great information from a great mind. She has done more to alleviate the suffering of animals than anyone else I can imagine.

    3. Dr DAD (Daniel A D'Auria MD) 62 months ago | reply

      Encouraging for the few with autism who demonstrate exceptional abilities, but we also have to keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of those affected are disabled rather than enabled by this disorder. I sometimes wonder if these exceptional individuals would have demonstrated even more genius had they not been autistic. We seem to have accepted the concept that if they had been "normal", they might not have demonstrated super human intelligence at all. I'm not so certain.

    4. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ 62 months ago | reply

      DrDAD, very good questions to reflect upon. I personally believe that they wouldn't have shown super intelligence without being exceptional, because certain things or features can only live or express themselves under certain conditions of exception. I personally believe in my own experience that artistry, over-the-normal intelligence and creativity are survival and adaptative behaviors to an otherwise intrinsically unadapted individual (which paradoxically, as they try to adapt through their special means, they get increasingly farther away from that they look for = belonging).

      If I were so comfortable with my self and my vision of the world and the world around me, I wouldn't have developed any "special"skills. The word eccentric means out-of-(the)-centre (*). Therefore, it would be an oxymoron by definition if it could happen out of normalcy. I'm thinking aloud here.

      However, I totally agree with you that for most of people with metal disorders it's a disability from partial to total, and it's not something to celebrate. However, as well, I believe that embracing the differences and trying to understand how we can give our best with what we have been given, it's a good start to try to make life way better to people with mental problems.

      It's for me a fascinating sphere of debate, knowledge and understanding. I would have been a psychiatrist myself but I have been too much into figuring out how to channel my own madness out in some way which I try to make it artistic rather than self-destructive (I don't always succeed, tho). Gues that to be a psychiatrist you have to be a rather stable person to stand the challenge. :-)

      (*) eccentric = late 14c. as a term in Ptolemaic astronomy, from M.L. eccentricus, from Gk. ekkentros "out of the center" (as opposed to concentric), from ek "out" + kentron "center" (see center). Figurative sense of "odd, whimsical" (adj.) first recorded 1680s. Noun meaning person with such qualities first attested 1832.

    5. vennettaj 62 months ago | reply

      cool lady...first time hearing about her..
      i'm between Dr Dad and the Aieness on what i think about it..
      note to the Alienese: you mean like normal psychiatrist?! :D i just happened to know couple..psychiatrists
      and also believe there is madness in every subject..so not sure what to think about the stability of all kind areas specialists..
      Alienese ~ Alieness

    6. jurvetson 62 months ago | reply

      true true...

      She referred to the value of autistic genes, not autism per se... I wonder if the spectrum reflects recessive traits that are selected for.

      Like Ramachandran on synasthesia:
      "It's 8x as prevalent among artists, poets, novelists and creative people. Shakespeare was a master:.. Why doesn’t it disappear from genetic drift? Why would it persist? “They are the outliers in the population. They are more creative. They may be gaining, but evolution moves slowly."

      P.S. Just noticed that this photo is the lead now on wikipedia

    7. Eppie 62 months ago | reply

      Wonderful! I have to check out the video! Will do so soon.

      I have always had a special place in my heart for autistic people. In my own experience I have discovered that they are not as "disabled" as they may seem to many. It is society that disables them by expecting them to fit in with the norm instead of paying attention to the gifts they bring us. From my experience, we need to enter into THEIR bubble (usually created by ultrasensitivity of their instruments) - often by reflecting, mirroring them... the connection that this creates opens us up to fascinating new ways to see the world and different forms of intelligence that we have not encountered before and which are mind blowing in what they can teach us. Who'se paying attention? It seems that you are. :-)

    8. Cynthia E. Wood 62 months ago | reply

      Temple!! Loved her TED talk; love her.

    9. eshort999 62 months ago | reply

      Thanks for releasing this under the CC license!

      I'm a great admirer of hers, and I've used your photo in my biographical article about Temple Grandin.

    10. cervus 62 months ago | reply

      "Normal minds miss the HDR feature. They think mono, while others do surround 5.1." — Wow, that's a great metaphor TheAlieness! I'd want my mind to have HDR.

    11. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ 62 months ago | reply

      If you liked the metaphor it's because you probably already have the HDR "plugin" installed!! ;)

    12. jnshaumeyer 61 months ago | reply

      I moderate a group called Eye for Science, which is all about trying to spark little science moments for nonscientists. It's hard to imagine anyone who can inspire more than Temple Grandin and this photo, along with your caption, would be a great addition to the group. Please consider joining our group, too, if its mission appeals to you.

    13. jnshaumeyer 61 months ago | reply

      I think this photograph is electrifying.

    14. mimitalks, married, under grace 56 months ago | reply

      As a mom of a 15-year old boy with Asperger's, it is heartening to see what Dr. Grandin was able to accomplish with initiative, bravery and support. i do know that Asperger's in particular has such a wide range, and Dr. Grandin realizes that and addresses it in her books. I don't know that my son thinks in pictures like she does, but he does share a lot of the qualities she has.


    15. murielcacheux 51 months ago | reply

      Merci à Mme Temple Grandin pour tout son savoir mis à la connaissance de tous.
      En France nous avons beaucoup de retard sur la prise en charge des enfants Asperger. En attendant nous pouvons prendre exemple sur Mme Grandin !

    16. Mary Witzig 28 months ago | reply

      This is a fantastic capture of Grandin's spirit. :) I just heard an interview with her on the podcast Science Friday, which prompted me to write an article about her ability to objectively assess and then honor her unique gifts. I used your photo - with attribution and links: www.honestandgentle.com/2012/11/give-thanks-for-your-gift...
      Thank you!

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