Neuroqueer theory and the advent of social DEcontructivism
Neuroqueer theory is the idea that one can subvert normality by expressing and embodying the Self in ways that break free from the constraints of colonial society. It is a liberational practice that is accessible to all. No matter your neurocognitive style, you can subvert the expectations of what it means to be a “normal human”. By engaging in neuroqueering, we subvert the very idea of what is meant by the word “human” and explore the infinite diversity of our species. The first step to this is to recognise the social construction of all identity. We have to recognise that the way we identify ourselves, and our sense of Self, is entirely built upon the interpretation and expectations of others.
This opens up interesting conversations about the scope of social constructivism and objective truth. If all knowledge that builds our identity is socially constructed, how can one be sure of who they are?
In my book A Treatise on Chaos I discuss the Chaotic Self, the ever growing, ever changing sense of identity that we possess. I recognise that through our experiences and ongoing learning, our identity is a moving target. As social knowledge changes, so too does our sense of Self. I am not who I was ten years ago, and I will be someone different in another ten years. This highlights the importance of neuroqueer theory in the philosophical discourse of epistemology.
Neuroqueer theory might be reasonably assumed to tie into social constructivism, but in a more accurate sense it’s social deconstructivism. Neuroqueer theory is the art of deconstructing knowledge and creating new understandings. It liberates us from past notions and inter-generational trauma by considering that humanities primary purpose (if there is such a thing) is to adjust paradigms given new information. To consider it in other words, humanity exists to evolve beyond the constraints of cultural normativity.
This in itself becomes somewhat paradoxical. If neuroqueerness becomes the new normal, is it still neuroqueer?
My suggestion is no. By viewing neuroqueer theory as belonging to the idea of social deconstructivism, it can remain neuroqueer provided that it still pushes people to deconstruct socially acquired ideas of normality. A post-normal society requires us to escape from satisfaction. It encourages us to question information, and approach life through a critical lens. For neuroqueer theory to work we must be critical of all assumed normality. It tells us that there is no liberation until we deconstruct societies marginalisation of all minority groups. Beyond that, we must dismantle the oppression of humanity by those that deem themselves to be the higher power of our perceived social hierarchy.
When one begins to delve into neuroqueer theory, you begin to dismantle all that you have held to be true. This means that social deconstruction is a painful process. Like all growth, it leaves you with an ache. It becomes necessary to embrace your existential pain and sit with it as you explore your own subjective truth. This, perhaps, is what people struggle with the most.
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