My son has Aspergers. It makes him highly intelligent, socially awkward and seriously obsessed with various things – mostly Money, Pokemon, Doctor Who and Card collecting…
Aspergers is what they call an Autistic Spectrum Condition. Autism is –
a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them
Everyone has a few autistic traits, it’s just when there is a whole slew of them that the condition is diagnosed. Aspergers / High Functioning Autism are two separate conditions, but are so similar that they get mistaken for each other.
Why am I talking about this?
Well, I came across this video in my internet ramblings earlier today and was immediately struck by something… Go watch the video and come back – I’ll hang on until you do…
…interesting one isn’t it?
Okay, what struck me about this video is that it took a teenager with Aspergers to notice something significant about the way the human mind works.
We shove our kids into school at an early age and push them to “Learn Something”. We insist that it is the best way for them to grow up; they have to be tested and constantly have information shoved into their delicate brains and memorised before they can be allowed out to play .
Yet Jacob Barnett noticed that it was only when Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were stopped from Learning (one by the plague, the other by racialism) that they made their biggest and best discoveries.
This is why his Tedtalk was called “Forget What you Know.”
In order to be truly creative in our thinking, we have to free ourselves from that crammed in mass of knowledge that the education systems of the world force us to memorise.
It doesn’t matter what subject you are working in or learning – forget about the book learning we are all piled high with and allow your creative mind to wander through the daisies.
Believe it or not, this actually works!
My best stories have come from times when I have ignored conventional forms and styles of writing and allowed my mind to run free with an idea. My favourite short story was created for a charity anthology called “Words to Music”.
The story isn’t remarkable because of that though. It’s different because of the way I wrote it. I originally wrote a story called “Statues of Justice” for the anthology.
I’d been assigned a song I’d never heard of and I had to look it up in order to write my contribution. The story that I created was just a little pedestrian and predictable (it’s changed substantially since it became “Tales of Cassius: Statues of Justice”) and wasn’t really my best work; mostly because I had tried to write the story that the lyrics told.
So when it was rejected, I lay back, listened to the song for about the fiftieth time, and let my mind wander.
It came back with the idea of rebelling against a higher authority. And while Statues is definitely about rebelling, it isn’t pure enough. The story for the anthology needed to be more idealistic and the second story I came up with was perfect – it’s called “I, Dragon”…
The idea was simple – a lightning strike on a computer creates an AI mind which travels the interconnected worlds of the electricity system and the Internet to find a way of becoming a physical reality.
I managed to combine SF and Fantasy into one story without being too clichéd – and this time it was accepted.
So forgetting what you know and allowing your creative mind freedom does work… and it’s much more fun!