Larry Welkowitz's Radio Weblog
Discussing Asperger's Disorder and other Psychology topics

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Friday, June 07, 2002

Asperger's and Hyperlink Metaphysics

David Weinberger on the hyperlinked metaphysics of the web indirectly provides a rationale we need to provide individuals with Asperger's for pursuing social contacts, even with strangers.  While AS individuals may not be interested in other people, we need to convince them that these very contacts will make their lives more diverse and rich.

As a result, we’re seeing a reversal in the role of strangers. The stranger has been a fundamental touchstone of cultures at least since Abraham and Sarah invited weary road travelers into their tent only to find out that they were angels in disguise. The Odyssey, too, is a meditation on strangers and hospitality: Odysseus experiences different ways of being a stranger on his way home while the suitors abuse every rule of hospitality in his own house. It’s easy to see why strangers are so important: a culture’s attitude towards them expresses its understanding of its position in the world of social groups. In our culture, we’re suspicious of strangers. They’re a threat. They lurk in shadows. On the Web, however, strangers are the source of everything worthwhile. Strangers and their utterances are the stuff of the Web. They are what give the Web its matter, its shape, its value. Rather than hiding in our tents and declaring our world to exist of the other tents near us – preferably with a nice tall wall around us – the Web explicitly is a world only because of the presence of so many strangers.

Of course, many Asperger individuals do have regular contact with others in the virtual world, but not in the "real" world.  We must extend these interests from one domain to another in order to further enrich their lives.

11:02:29 AM    comment []

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