Being part of the tribe is something of an integral to being human. In essence we are all a part of the human tribe. An inherent part of life as a human is that we are connected to each other. As sheep flock together, humans see each other out. Just as a group of emus streak across a field together so humans seek contact amongst one another.
It seems to be a basic need, a need of community, contact, shared experience. A need to connect physically, emotionally and spiritually with one another. There are so many facets of this need we all share that it occupies philosophers, psychologists, sociologists and other academics for the term of their professional and some of their personal lives.
Whilst we all experience this need we have it at different levels of intensity and importance to daily experience. I wonder if a key factor in this is our sensorial experience of the world. That in some respect our need to engage and be a part of our human tribe is at some level controlled by our experience of the sensory world.
Many of us grow up learning about the five senses, sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Bu that’s just a part of the story. That’s not all the senses at all. We also have the proprioception sense and the vestibular sense. These senses are highly involved in how we experience our body in the world, in terms of our balance, our experience of movement and perhaps most importantly, for me anyway, our very understanding of our place in relation to how the world impacts upon me. I am sure I could reference better definitions, but that is not the purpose of this post.
Really this is just a little exploration of how that sensory experience might just yield influence on the way I as an autistic man make sense of my place as a part of the human tribe of which I am a part. I offer no real solutions or hard evidence but just a little exploration.
As I watch my daughter walk along a footpath or sidewalk, holding a stick and bouncing it between the metal palings of the fence, receiving feedback through the stick and along her arm I am reminded of how it seems that this is somehow a picture of how I receive feedback from those other humans I interact with. How my very experiences of interaction and how they bounce back to me, how they filter themselves through the implements I use to interact with other humans.
Are you lost here yet? I wouldn’t be surprised, perhaps I am a little myself. But in another sense, it seems to have a ring of truth. A sense of reality and insight.
I think, what I am getting at here is that as autistics, being neurologically different we do indeed experience the social connection, communication and other things differently and through hyper and hypo sensory experiences the connectedness with our human tribe can be influenced, perhaps markedly.
Our difference, often means marked difficulties negotiating the social situations we are in and often result in situations that are less that positive. That moment we are called a weirdo, strange, oddball, or whatever other pejorative it is, may just be feedback to us through those sensory channels. And if it is, perhaps then this influences an internal regulator for how much a part of this human tribe we actually want to be.
It’s an interesting question I think. Or I could be simply strolling off into absolute lunacy in thinking it may be the case. I don’t actually know if this is a thing, it’s just a thought, but, I would love to hear your thoughts, or experiences about this.
What I do know, for certain, is that over the many times throughout my life that I experienced situations where I failed the “normal” test in social settings I did experience the rejection in more than just an emotional feeling way. There was always in fact a physical sensory pain involved.
On that note, I hand it over to readers to comment with their thoughts on this question. I look forward to reading them.