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Intergenerational trauma and the perpetuation of harm

“Mother is God in the eyes of a child”

William Makepeace Tackery

The above quote, whilst pertinent to this discussion, is only half of the picture. Adults control most aspects of a child’s life, and whether or not we realise it, we do this by being the people they depend upon to survive. I often wonder if those who abused me stopped to realise quite how severely they failed me in constructing a child for whom a feeling of safety was a rarity.

Children, like all of us, are socially constructed. The Self is an amalgam of the relationships and experiences afforded to us by the environment. This proves particularly problematic for children in abusive situations. Extensive and prolonged abuse creates a rocky foundation for Self-actualisation and scaffolding of one’s identity.

Much as the child who grows up seeing nothing but shadows does not realise there is a person who casts them, the child who is consistently and extensively mistreated does not view their abuse as out of the ordinary. This is how trauma passes from generation to generation. The normalisation of inflicted pain allows for it to be passed on.

There is a greater complexity to this matter than simply the way our parents and other family members treat us. Services and professionals who are meant to support us often compound the pain we are experiencing. When one is more concerned with the law than with ethics, you are almost definitely contributing to pain.

So, now we have a world where harm comes from all directions. This harm is so consistent and resilient to change that we do not realise its lack of acceptability. We are constructed into adults who believe that things should remain the same because “we turned out fine”.

We didn’t.

It’s not okay.

Our colonial society has taught us that normative violence is the pinnacle of love, and yet so few of us have actually known what real love feels like. We are hurt people who are hurting people. Not because we are fundamentally bad, but because the inflicting of pain in our world is taught to us as a second language.

We have become masters of our own torture.

It is necessary then to explore ways of moving away from this world of normative suffering. We must queer the expectations of human experience in order to build a new society where abuse of the Other is as unacceptable as any other crime against humanity.

We deserve a world where our fundamental human rights are not trampled daily, and more so, our children deserve the opportunity to construct themselves in love and not the crucible of pain.

Defining and emancipating weirdness: A reflection for Weird Pride

With Weird Pride Day coming up on the 4th of March, I have been considering the way I embody my identity, and how I can use my Self-expression to reclaim neurofuturism from the tech industry and use it to drive us into a post-normal society. It seems to me that post-normal thinking is growing throughout the communities I find myself in. Little by little, we’re getting weirder.

So, how does one embody weirdness? Weirdness is, much like all other adjectives, a social construct. Different cultures and societies have different standards for what classes as weird. Weirdness, then, has been restricted in its own way by normative thinking and what we see as objective weirdness has become somewhat of a caricature. Stereotypical machinations of a prefabricated construct.

True weirdness doesn’t come from the expected. It is not a quantifiable and boundaried concept. Weirdness is abstract, and to embrace, weirdness is to subvert expectation. Weird Pride is not just a refusal to be ashamed of your difference, it is using your weirdness in ever more surprising and innovative ways in order to escape from the soul crushing normativty of the status quo.

Weird Pride is emancipatory. It liberates us from being defined by the observations of others. It is freedom from being a caricature of yourself.

If I can ask one thing of you for March 4th, it is this; be the unexpected. Innovate, generate, emancipate. Don’t be weird by someone else’s standard. Be weird by your standard.

Bigots keep trying to tell us the meaning of words, I have bad news for them

I have repeatedly seen bigots use the “correct” meaning of words in order to try and invalidate and oppress minority groups. An immediate example is the use of singular “they/them” pronouns. Ignoring the fact that the singular use of these pronouns outdates the use of the word “you“, there is further discussion that needs to be had.

The bigots are going to hate this.

Language, at an essential level, is the use of non-verbal symbols and organised sounds. We have, ad a society, decided that particular shapes, sounds, body movements, facial expressions, and actions mean things. The meaning of these things has arisen from our collective agreement. To put it another way, language is a social construct.

Because language is socially constructed, even if words have prior meanings, we can collectively choose a new meaning for those words. This has happened many times throughout history, and in some cases, we have invented entirely new linguistic conventions where prior ones have not been able to convey what we need them to.

The fun thing about language is that you can repurpose it with very few negative consequences. Don’t like a change? Don’t use it. These changes can have huge positive impacts when made in the right spirit.

Language is the biggest social endeavour in history. It is a work of art, and each of us is the artist. By experimenting with language and altering it, we can create new images that we never thought possible. Language is the social construct that controls all other constructs because without it, we can not convey information. This is why we need to honour the words that describe a person’s identity. They are using language as a tool to dismantle normativity. Each time a person uses the words that feel right to then, and not the words they’ve been told to use, the weaker the chains of normative oppression become.

The people who are so attached to their understanding of words that they can not fathom new uses are not the future of the human race. In order to meet the future, we must first cut loose the chains of the past. Normative thinking has so conditioned the bigots that they react with fear at the suggestion of making even the smallest of changes. Mankind can not survive with such aversion to change, and we need to recognise that growth, like many changes, is not always a matter of personal comfort.

Neuroqueer theory and the liberation from Self-Interest

Neuroqueer theory liberates Neurodivergent people on many levels. It allows us to explore the topography of the Self with startling attention to detail, and to embody our discovery of the Self in a way that feels authentic to us. This doesn’t always mean in a typically Neurodivergent way, and in fact, one may find themselves breaking conventions of their own communities in their journey to the Chaotic Self and a neuroqueerer lifestyle. Some might falsely assume that neuroqueering means doing what you want, when you want, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Neuroqueer theory invites us to consider the nature of truth and explore it’s meaning in our own lives.

Hedonism has been a long-running theme in the human zeitgeist. We have incorrectly assumed that happiness comes from the fulfillment of desire. This has been held as truth by many, but the nature of truth is far more complicated than what society has taught us. Truth is, in itself, a human construct. We have developed our understanding of truth through millennia of of scientific and philosophical inquiry. The thing is, truth is not a naturally occurring thing. It is a label invented by humanity that dictates what should or should not happen. Truth in itself is the basis of all normativity. It is built upon a set of “truths”, truth in this context has been used as a tool of oppression. It has taught us to place our own interests before those of society at large.

Neuroqueer theory liberates us from that truth by showing us the socially constructed nature of not just things we hold to be true, but the very concept of truth itself. When we place objective truth to the side, we are left with our own subjective experiences. The solipsistic nature of human experience is that the only truth we can be sure of is that which we experience ourselves. This is how it invites us to build community and culture that emancipates Neurodivergent people from neuronormativity. We start with the knowledge that what we experience can be known to be true. We can then link those experiences up to that of others through our shared embodiment of those experiences.

From this, community grows, and culture arises. Perhaps the greatest failure of society is the insistence that one person’s experience is more true than another. This highlights the importance of abandoning self-interest. If all experience is true, then as humans we have a duty to ensure that the world we are building allows for positive experiences, such as happiness and fulfillment. In this way, we can see that doing what you want, when you want, is not neuroqueering. Neuroqueering asks us to dismantle the socially constructed normative attitudes that are conditioned into us from birth. It charges us to use our own liberation to liberate others.

I will tread the path so that you can find your way.

It asks us not to be leaders, but to clear the obstacles that befall those for whom the privilege of neuroqueering is not yet accessible.

A neuroqueer society is one that recognises the validity of one’s subjective truth. It accepts that my truth may be different to yours because my truth is constructed from different experiences than the ones you have had.

Neuroqueerness is more than a label, it is not an identifier for the unmasked Neurodivergent. Neuroqueerness is the responsibility to free all humans from the chains of normativity. It is the act of subverting objective truth through the understanding of it’s abstract and socially constructed nature. It pushes us to create a post-normal society in which all people can thrive, and find happiness beyond the fulfillment of material desire.

Until all of us are free, none of us are free.

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