Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ADHD and ASD as evolution of the human animal

I've recently been thinking about autism and ADHD and the related symptoms. And I mean this with some serious inquiry, but also with some brevity -- what if these different neuro-biological conditions are an evolutionary step?

What if my attention deficit slows an overwhelming world down in some aspects, for me to be able to process other aspects?

What of my hyperactivity, actually means hyperproductivity?

I suppose the question then becomes, how does this contribute to the actual promulgation of our species? And it may not... But in an increasingly intellectual (not hunting and gathering, or building skyscrapers) society, maybe the symptoms related to ASD and/or ADHD are meant to make us more fit to survive in a world where we don't need to hunt and gather. Where there is PeaPod to deliver your groceries (and I mean your... I can't afford to have groceries delivered). Where advantageous, industrial pursuits are all but unnecessary in an over-developed world that actually needs more natural, green spaces.

I wonder if this isn't why more and more individuals with ADHD or autism are engaged more in the realm of technology and creativity. We can sometimes already be closed off in our own world, so why bother leaving it when we can still contribute, enhance, and thrive? And holy crap, others like it, too, and maybe pay?... Now we are really primed for survival.

I know the basic premise of all this may sound asinine, but I think if you feel that way you A) Don't understand the challenges and gifts of having these diagnoses, and; B) may not really understand evolution. Funny thing is this, for whatever most understand about evolution -- selection by consequences and survival of the fittest (i.e., Darwinian evolution) -- evolution happens as quickly as it does slowly. In fact, when evolution really does occur, it's when the environment and other species compensates for newly selected traits (e.g. Google looking for individuals with Aspergers).

Crazy stuff... What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Novel evolutionary take on these conditions, Joshua. I've always thought of social and cultural, educational and vocational demands as setting the parameters within which we all can function and survive. So in the "old days," when there were relatively fewer kinds of different demands that required frequent shifts in our attentional focus with new skill sets, with more time to adjust to changes in demands, our family members and friends with milder ASDs (and probably ADHD) got along pretty well. As the pace of changes in demands increased, they didn't get along so well. As you probably know Baron-Cohen among others hypothesize increased ASD prevalence is related to couples with milder ASD symptoms having children (i.e. "surviving") today who would have been less likely to in the past, and if some forms of ASD are recessives, there would be increased prevalence of those conditions.