Book review by Michou Landon
Those seeking a comprehensive and concrete scientific investigation into the relationship between neurological function and spiritual propensities may be tempted to dismiss this book, which, while it does touch upon pertinent research, takes a more heart-centered and anecdotal approach. For those who are not so concerned, it is a revealing study.
Author William Stillman, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, refers to Autistics as, “People with different ways of being,” and “exquisitely sensitive.” These are descriptions to which, I dare say, a healthy majority of readers would personally relate. Stillman seems to dismantle or replace the conventional and historically cruel retardation stigma by redefining the specialness of this population as something akin to the status conferred upon Indigo children.
The overall message is that no one is less than whole. Our differences, while they may be striking, are merely a matter of emphasis within the range of human faculties. With the recognition that everyone is different, where is there any room to judge or discriminate?
This will resonate for all readers of a mystic or sensitive fabric of the sort often confused, oppressed and compromised in a culture that demands conformity for convenience sake and fails to honor its shamans.
Stillman relates numerous accounts demonstrating the tendencies for autistics to relate through symbols, to exercise uncanny psychic acuity and to operate unencumbered by the mechanisms that dilute or distort unconditional love in more conventional adults. The language in the anecdotes Stillman shares (such as the one below) seem conspicuously dominated by imagery associated with (though not exclusive to) Christianity: angels, Jesus, and an anthropomorphized God. However, he is quoting individuals in a predominantly Christian nation, who are working to translate into language experiences hard to articulate even by those not quantifiably and clinically challenged in speech and language.
The theme emerges that autistics are advanced souls who’ve chosen the challenge. The final passage quotes one Michael, who acknowledges a sort of trade-off, a divine paradox in his predicament, which harkens to the revelations of many a mystic and to the spiritual value of “suffering”: