Waiting tables, dyeing textiles, separating goats in heat
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Mark Leviton is reading Thomas Mann, binge-watching 1930s screwball comedies, and trying out new vegetarian recipes in Nevada City, California.
People often ask if I believe autism is overdiagnosed, if we’re just slapping a label on geeky kids who in previous generations would have been considered merely eccentric. I reply that I believe autism is still underdiagnosed in two groups: women and people of color. The cultural and class bias built into the diagnostic process was so pervasive in the 1980s that psychologist Victor Sanua claimed that autism is rare among families of color. The reality was that people of color often didn’t get decent healthcare.
One quality that helps a marriage work is when partners respect each other and are each grateful for what the other brings to the relationship. Relationships run on an economy of gratitude. And if your partner needs to change his or her behavior, it’s important to ask for that change without attributing bad motives to the behavior. When you do argue, or when your partner gets angry, look for the soft emotion under the hard one and talk to that. A belief in the goodwill of the other person is critical.
You have to practice tuning out the noise of the culture to hear the messages transmitted from your gut and your heart. You have to become like a bird-watcher and be vigilant and develop the skills to spot and name the quick flash of awareness in yourself.
Parenting trends are less about what’s good for the child and more about parents’ need for affirmation. The message of my work is that parents have far less impact than they think they do.
I was amazed to read about the New York City newsboys’ strike in 1899, which ultimately improved conditions and raised wages. You had these armies of seven-, eight-, and nine-year-olds bringing the entire newspaper business to its knees. They organized and won. Today we don’t even let our nine-year-olds go on the subway by themselves.
We say children are gifted when their intellectual ability is advanced beyond their age. A four-year-old girl who can pass all the items on an IQ test that an eight-year-old is expected to be able to do would obtain an IQ score in the 200 range. Children who are developmentally advanced are out of sync with their peers, and also out of sync with the expectations of teachers and parents, which leads to vulnerability. They need individualized education and counselors who understand how to work with these children.
For me, churches exist only to serve people and planet. The church is not an empire, a way for leaders to build monuments to themselves, for congregants to take pride in the curb appeal that a lovely edifice affords. The church is not a building. The church is an extension of Christ — literally Christ’s body — and an alternative to the militaristic, consumerist, alienated way of life that has become the norm.
People come to me because their spouse isn’t making them happy. I don’t think any of our grandparents would have considered that a reason to seek therapy. A passionate relationship in which we ask for novelty and mystery from the same person we look to for security and stability — that is a grand new invention in the history of humankind.
I suggest that morphogenetic fields work by imposing patterns on otherwise random or indeterminate activity. Morphogenetic fields are not fixed forever, but evolve. The fields of Afghan hounds and poodles have become different from those of their common ancestors, wolves. How are these fields inherited? I propose that they are transmitted from past members of the species through a kind of nonlocal resonance, which I call “morphic resonance.”
The people who preach that “politics is the art of the possible” continually forget that we don’t know what’s possible; we find out by struggling for what’s desirable. Instead of listening to those who tell you to pick goals that can be achieved in the current political landscape, I say pick goals that will create the kind of world you want.