Wednesday, 18 April 2012



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Have you ever seen the original ‘Star Trek’? If you have you will remember the character Dr Spock. Dr Spock was famous for the line “that is illogical captain” usually uttered when some form of human behaviour completely mystified Dr Spock and he could not grasp the logic behind the act because most of the time there was no logic to grasp. But although Dr Spock is pure science fiction just how much of his behaviour is actually science fact?
Since the original Star Trek the study of human behaviour has moved forward immensely in many different areas particularly in the areas of developmental conditions which include the conditions Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Now as many of you know I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome so I can offer an insight into what it is like to be at the extreme of logical living in an illogical world.

So how does this affect me? Well for a lot of the time it does not affect me. When I am at home studying university work or doing housework or shopping being logical is not a problem. This is because I can plan and structure my activities on my own in my own logical way and analyse them as I go along with having minimal contact with other people. For someone with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) this in many ways is an ideal way to live life because daily life can be structured in the unique logical manner that the individuals mind-set operates in and time can be taken over tasks so that the need to analyse every single little detail can also be satisfied.

The problems arise when people who do not have an ASD become involved in the Autistic person’s life. Obviously this cannot be avoided. There are many people in the world who have not got an ASD to avoid and too many situations in life that cannot be avoided in order to make life more comfortable for the person with an ASD.

But how can being logical present so many problems to the individual with an ASD? Surely everybody has problems understanding logic at some point and everybody behaves in an illogical manner from time to time. Why would this behaviour cause an individual with an ASD any more problems than an atypical individual?

Understanding what an ASD is, is the first part of the puzzle. Having an ASD very often means your feelings, emotions, behaviour and understanding of people and society are at the very extremes. Imagine extreme sports. People jump out of aeroplanes for fun, but some people jump out of aeroplanes attached to a bicycle, on a skateboard or even naked. Living with an ASD is very similar to extreme sports except that you have no choice whereas the person undertaken extreme sports does.

So for me an example is I may meet up with a friend who then says that they would like to meet up again and soon. No time and date is set though. So in my mind-set it is entirely logical to wait a day and contact the other person and discuss a time and place to meet.  However when this does not happen is when I start to have problems. I start to analyse the situation in great detail wondering if I have done anything wrong and if so what? How long is long enough? How soon is soon? Are they busy? Do they really want to meet up? This and a million other questions go through my mind as I analyse the situation and try and apply logic to a situation that is largely illogical because human nature is unpredictable and illogical.

But however much I try to see it in a different, illogical way my mind will not let me and I go back to trying to analysing the situation, putting a structure to it and applying logic to it however unsuccessful it may be. It causes me endless problems, sleepless nights, life can stop at that point, but how do you change the way your mind works from being extremely logical to understand and appreciating illogical thought? For me it is very difficult. It is very hard to change the way your mind is wired up and just as difficult to change your mind-set however much you would like to. I have come to appreciate my abilities and to make the most of them. However I still have problems which although getting easier to cope with and understand can still cause my life to go on hold whilst I deal with them in my own very unique way.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012



Sunday, 01 April 2012

Another tumultuous week for the government and its citizens with yet more allegations for the government to deal with. Panic buying at petrol stations across the country and George Galloway returning to politics with victory in the Bradford West by-election. But one story stood out to me this week and set me thinking about how we in society deal with responsibility. The story is one most of you will be familiar with, it is of a York woman. Diane Hill who suffered 40% burns after de-canting petrol in her kitchen whilst the cooker was on:

and this has seen calls for the Cabinet Officer minister Francis Maude to resign over advice he issued telling the public to stock up on petrol in jerry cans.

Now I will firstly say that in no way am I going to say that what Diane Hill suffered was not horrific and I am not going to make a joke out of the accident because it is not a joke. What concerns me is where the blame of who is responsible for this accident lies and who is to blame.

But where does the blame for this accident lie and who with? Is it right to blame a government minister, who admittedly gave out wrong information, but would also assume that anybody taking this advice would use some common sense and when dealing with petrol would do so in a room that is well ventilated and away from lit flames.

Surely the blame and responsibility for this accident lies with the individual who was de-canting petrol in her kitchen, on a warm day and whilst the cooker was on? To myself the individual in this instance has to take the blame for their actions and any responsibility for the aftermath of this horrific accident.

My reasoning behind this is in my early socialisation. I was brought up in an era when you did take responsibility for your actions and if you hurt yourself, as I did many times as a young child, then it was my fault and nobody else’s. If I fell over and cut myself because I was running, then surely it is my fault that has happened and not the fault of my parents, the police, the council, the government of anybody else, and I feel that the same applies here. The information giving out was only on storing and not on de-canting petrol. The woman doing the de-canting should have used some common sense as to where to do it.

But to get back to my original point and where the blame lies with this accident, to be fair to the woman we haven’t heard anything from her as of yet and therefore do no know where she feels the blame lies. The accusations so far have come from Labour politicians, so it could also be assumed that the woman is merely a pawn in a far larger political game of points scoring and one-upmanship, and the accident may have happened anyway because we do not enough about her or her lifestyle and it just happened at the right time for the warring political parties.

And this seems to be endemic in the society we are living in today. Rather than people taking responsibility for their own actions first, people look to blame others be it friends, colleagues, government and even nature for anything that happens to them these days, instead of looking at themselves first and saying “what did I do wrong?”

Is it any wonder we seem to live in a society that is so selfish and people are out to simply get what they can? The rise of Claims Management companies who will get you money because you didn’t take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and the equipment you are using are safe and up to standard is symptomatic of this society we are creating. And now politicians are getting involved by insinuating that we can now blame pretty much anyone, however tenuous the link, to any mishap we have. Does this mean that if you have a crash on the motorway you can now blame the Highways Agency? Or if you go too fast round a corner in wet conditions and crash into a tree, you can now blame your local council for not predicting this situation and removing the tree?

I firmly believe that people need to take more responsibility for their own actions and not look for others to blame when something goes wrong. By taking responsibility lessons will be learned and passed on to the next generation rather than turning to Claims Management companies and looking to pass the blame.

All comments and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Please feel free to add your own comments and ask questions.

Thank you for reading my blog J