SOURCE: Autism Aspergers Myths - The Theory of Mind
Although there are many research works on autism, few address the subjective experience of autism. I propose that autistics have a different form of consciousness from non-autistics, which arose from their different experience of self.
About the self
Our self is not a fixed object, but a changing hologram-like system of sensations (of the body), emotions (and desires), thoughts (of facts and information), perception (the way we organized and judge information) and consciousness - the 5 "combinations" of the mind. The connections between these systems link the self together. Without these connections, the self does not function.
With few connections, the self becomes dispersed and does not "awake" or become active. Thus, the person "sleepwalks". With unbalanced connections (too many in some areas and too little in others), the self becomes very awake in some parts and asleep in others. This distorts the inner experience of the person who then lives a distorted life.
My own experiences revealed the most striking aspects of the autistic consciousness:
Theory of Mind
Theory of Mind refers to the notion that many autistic individuals do not understand that other people have their own plans, thoughts, and points of view. Furthermore, it appears that they have difficulty understanding other people's beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.
This passage might offend autistics because it sounds like this:
I have no idea why autistic people think the way they do. Maybe it is because they are not socially intelligent enough to understand that other people do not think the same as them. Perhaps we can only make them understand by dumbing down social skills and then patiently teach them.
I propose the "Theory of Self" as a substitute. The key is that:
Autistics could not understand non-autistics because they do not have the experience of non-autistics.
If they have such experiences, it will help them understand and adapt to mainstream society
To experience this, they must recreate the sense of self as experienced by non-autistics
People who are color blind could not imagine certain colors, but if we can let them catch a glimpse of colors, they will understand. If they spontaneously recover their sense of colors, their visual instincts will take over and help orientate them fast. Likewise, I believe that if only we can let the autistic catch a glimpse of how non-autistics experience life, it will aid them much in their development.
Is the non-autistic column accurate? I have no idea what it is like to be non-autistic, but the autistic column is spot on. This theory explains why autistics do not seem to be as affected as non-autistics by the illusion of the free willing self.