Neuroculture and the dangers of homogeneity

Today I decided to learn about monocultures. A monoculture is an environment in which a single crop is cultivated. The problem with monocultures is that a small change can destabilise the entire thing.

This got me thinking about something I call neurocultures. A neuroculture can be considered the culture created by a collection of neurocognitive identities in a shared environment. Current neurocultures tend to lean towards neuronormative standards, and this is what I want to discuss.

Neurodiversity is not just a biological fact, it is a necessity. From an evolutionary perspective, the presence of multiple neurocognitive styles in a given culture increases the likelihood of problem solving and the survival of the species. Unfortunately, over the years, we find ourselves in a neurotypical dominated culture, with other neurocognitive identities being actively oppressed.

Imagine a plane. You can take a screw out, and it will still fly, you can probably take several screws out. However, eventually you will have taken too many screws out, and the plane will crash. This is what is happening to society.

The current neuroculture is becoming homogenous, with attempts at eugenics being normalised thanks to the presence of systemic ableism. Screws are being removed from the plane, and we are heading for catastrophe.

This is why rights movements like the neurodiversity movement are vital. We need to perpetuate the neurodiversity paradigm. We need to stop the medicalisation and pathology model of neurodiversity. Such models justify the extinguishing of neurocognitive styles that do not conform to the homogeneity of the current society that we live in.

Much like a monoculture, we can’t predict the small changes that can cause disaster in a homogenous neuroculture. We need diversity to survive. It doesn’t matter whether you are autistic or neurotypical, if your culture only includes your neurocognitive style, you are at risk of collapse.

This is why it is vital for all neurominorities to share their culture with each other. We must create a neuroculture as diverse as nature intended. Humans evolved to be symbiotic with each other.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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