Thinking in Pictures

ThinkingInPicturesThumbSuggested by Brad Nelson • Temple Grandin has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the U.S. and lectures widely on autism because she is a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are incomprehensible to the rest of us.
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3 Responses to Thinking in Pictures

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I was very much impressed by this book. It’s a good read and a fascinating look inside the mind of a highly-functioning autistic person.

    As odd as the autistic outlook might seem, after reading her book I find her thoughts to be much more lucid than the norm. She is like the Helen Keller of autism. She was in that darkness and came out of it to a great extent. And she is quite eloquent when talking about autism. She’s about as no-nonsense a person as you’ll typically find and this is quite refreshing. And I found many of her insights to be extremely, well, insightful.

    One of her most outstanding and important insights was about how she has come to understand that most people combine thoughts and emotions into one “thing.” Autistic people are often short on (or completely devoid of) the normal “social” emotions.

    Ms. Grandin, in particular, is quite intellectually-based. She has emotions, and readily admits that the mix that she has is far sparser than what most people have. And the gem of what I think is her best insight stems from this. She has the ability, even while quite moved by some emotion, to still think completely intellectually about some subject.

    But she’s noted that she perceives that most people seem to have emotion and intellect hopelessly intertwined, and this leads to a lot of the goofy beliefs that people hang onto despite all facts. And I think she is right. And it has even lead me to consider again why emotion evolved at all. Why, for instance, would not a race of people such as Vulcans rule the world? Why would not a race of people who are all intellect, and little or no emotion, gain the upper hand?

    Emotion would appear quite often to be a weakness, not a strength. It clouds thoughts, muddles the mind. Why then did our complex repertoire of emotions evolve in the first place? After reading this book, you might be asking yourself some of the same questions. When looking at the talent and capabilities of people who aren’t Princess-Diana-emotional-basket-cases (such as the autistic and quite artistic Temple Grandin), one wonders what use emotions are at all sometimes.

    But this is my take on the book. But it is that kind of outstanding, mind-opening book that can’t help but give you deeper insights in the world and what makes humans tick.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I can’t speak to its accuracy in portraying autism, of course, but another book that portrays is Elizabeth Moon’s novel The Speed of Dark.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Sounds good, Tim. Maybe I’ll check it out. The nice thing about Grandin’s book is that she suffers from autism and yet is extremely eloquent about writing about her experience of it. I don’t doubt that people experience it differently, and often quite worse. But there are just so many books out there and I highly recommend this one as simply being interesting to read.

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