Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Autistic wizard memorial.

Let me start by saying a little bit of me. It will help to understand and contextualize my texts. I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1961. I am the fifth son of a middle-class family. My father worked in the bank and my mother was a maid. My older brothers had great importance in my formation. French was a psychoanalyst; Jurema, sociologist; and Carmi (Maria do Carmo), teacher, poet and writer. My brother Fred was an executive businessman of a multinational company. In a certain way, I am a re-interpretation of these people and the situations that they lived. Also there is my youngest sister, Maria Claudia, design teacher and animated videos producer. She and I are `out of time', that is, we were born well after our older siblings and we were raised when my parents were already in advanced age, and their other sons had already married and left house.
When I was 12 and half years old, my family moved to a small city, Natal, capital of Rio Grande do Norte State, in the Northeast of Brazil. This happened in the shady times of the military dictatorship and the Counterculture was to my generation, more than an alienation of the social reality, a breath inside the despairing cultural emptiness imposed by censorship.
In 1978, I passed first place for the Course of Journalism, of the UFRN, but motivated by the atmosphere of re-democratization of the country, I abandoned the course and I was to live in Rio de Janeiro. From 1979 the 82, I rigorously fulfilled to the initiation prescribed by the journalist and former-governor of the Guanabara, Carlos Lacerda: “Every Brazilian with a heart enter the Communist Party at 18; Every Brazilian with a head abandon the Communist Party at 21”. Soon after this short flirt with Marxism, time when I worked in left-wing periodicals and militated in the student´s movement, and, later, during my practical discovery of Freud´s psychoanalysis, I suspected that the objective thought that explains the social life from the economic and instinctive necessities never came to a real understanding of the human motivations. Up to my graduation as journalist in 1985, in the Helio Alonso College of Communication and Turism (FACHA), I dedicated myself basically to the bohemian life, poetry and to write scripts for comic books.
From then on I dedicated myself to the theoretical and practical study of diverse lines of esoteric thought, critically reading books of different trends attending to many modalities of alternative therapies. In 1986, I had the privilege to meet padrinho Sebastião Mota and to be regimented, in the day of John the Baptist, in the Doctrine of Santo Daime. Among the many changes resulting from this fact, I stand out the spiritual re-approximation of my family and the kardecist mediunic practices where I was educated.
In 1988, November 17th, when Umbanda was completing exactly 80 years, I arrived at the house of Caboclo Tupinambá and also initiated myself in the cult. It worked, then, in Niterói, at O Fluminense, the city´s periodical, when a magazine named Planeta came to my hands with the history of Jose Fernandino de Moraes and the origin of Umbanda in that same city in 1908.
I lived in the Amazon from 91 the 95, working in conditions and activities that had varied from primary professor in the interior of the forest, in the town of Pauiní, of the Amazonas State, to news broadcasting editor in Rio Branco, capital of the state of Acre. And from 95 to 2008 I became social communication professor at UFRN, where I also did my master and doctorate in social sciences. During this period I wrote many articles and books on esoteric issues as well as on scientific, cultural and political matters.[i] Of the point of view of the esoteric thought, I have a deep affinity and one old preference for the contemporaneous authors of anti-platonic character (Krisnamurti, Rudolf Steiner, Gurdjieff, Carlos Castaneda, Rajneesh/Osho, Ken Wilber, Don Miguel Ruiz, to cite the main ones), that give emphasis to the self-knowledge and to the development of the conscience before its different physical, emotional and mental conditionings. To this perspective, the spirituality is innate to everyone and ends up being institutionally domesticated by the religions. And all the ideas, images and beliefs are illusions; all the rituals, the cults and the ceremonies are routines of hypnotic effect directed toward social integration and adaptation. It is a matter of “rebellious spirituality” in relation to all the systems of beliefs and that wants to set free from all the social conditioning imposed by culture.

Asperger Syndrome
Everything started with my difficulty to greet for the second time people who I had known. As I did not understand my attitude, sometimes I thought that my ego-centered attitude was pride, superiority; however, in contrast: sometimes I thought that it was shame, shyness, morbid solitude. In a certain way I always considered myself an eccentric person. I fought very much against this. First I fought against the world, against the institutions; later I tried to correct myself in different ways and for repeated times. But, from a time on, I decided to assume the way I am, instead of trying to modify the outstanding harmful aspects of my personality. And then I started co-existing with my isolation and my solitary fight against the institutions. Then, at the age of 47, 25 of which focused on self-observation through different types of therapy, I discovered that I have the genetic syndrome of Asperger, a soft form of autism, characterized, on one hand, by the difficulty of sociability and emotional expression, and for another one, many hyper-developed capacities.
There was, for me, a perspective inversion between my prepotency (I always considered me a genius) and my impotence (a non-comprehended and badly used genius). Before I thought I was different in a sense of superiority and I always ended up frustrated with myself and feeling inferior. When I understood my difference as a deficiency and the resultant capacities as secondary compensations, I am accepting myself better and understanding my real power. When accepting and understanding my cognitive deficiency, today I am adapting, exceeding definitively the contradiction that forged me and better re-dimensioning the compensatory qualities, the resiliencies that I developed.
Resilie… what? Resilience is a notion proceeding from the physics, referring to the property of some materials of accumulating energy when demanded or submitted to stress, going then back to its original state, without any deformation - as an rubber band or a pole of jump in height, that lintels until a certain limit without breaking and later returns roughly, launching the athlete high. Resilience to the physics is the capacity of a material to go back to its normal state after having suffered pressure.
There are two different transpositions of this physical concept to other areas of knowledge: to the psychology (also adopted by different types of medical and biological specialties) and to business administration (and also of the neuro-linguistics programming). Psychology defines resilience as the capacity of the individual to deal with problems, to surpass obstacles or to resist to pressure in adverse situations - shock, stress, risk - without entering in psychological crisis. And for business administration, resilience means the capacity of a company or corporation to adapt to the changes in the social environment where they are inserted, reformulating strategies and business processes in order to attend the new requirements of the market and the society. The majority of the psychological studies focus the individual, as the administrative studies takes organizations as object, but there are also studies on collective resilience in psychology and individual resilience in the studies on administration. In both cases, resilience is the concrete capacity to return to the natural state of excellence, surpassing a critic situation, but in different ways. The administrative resilience is more about taking advantage of adversities, while the psychological resilience emphasis the development of compensatory capacities of a deficiency, as the blind person who has an extended hearing. Such difference is because the administrators stand out the development of the secondary compensatory collateral effect (the extended hearing); while the psychologists emphasize that the determinative factor is the primary deficiency (the blindness). In the case of my syndrome, due to my under-development of emotional intelligence in relation to others, I super-developed the mimetic capacity of representation.
I will follow the path of administration, describing the resilience that I developed to compensate my deficiency, leaving to speak about the most difficult characteristics of the syndrome on a later moment. For example, due to my difficulty of emotional communication, I became an excellent Tarot player. It was the form that I found to relate intimately with people. And the Tarot, perhaps it is necessary to explain, is not merely a game of cards, but a game of symbolic identity.
Also it is necessary to say that the Tarot had only crowned a peculiar way that I developed since I was a child to directly communicate me with the unconscious of the people, through the combination of verbal and visual languages. The difficulty to communicate directly on an emotional way propitiated transferring and counter-transferring easily my psychic contents. Intuitively, my mind mimesise the other mind, understanding it and offering to the mimetized mind an objective image of itself through my view. And the best of everything is that the position of player and my syndrome allow me to share the intimate life of people in a ‘cold’ contact with its affective charge. Indifference different from mere neglecting or the disdain insensitivity: the ritual cruelty or mercilessness. [ii]
Tarot represented a new possibility to me, because allowed me not only to `read' the unconscious and learn through mimesis (what I already partially did because of the resilience of the syndrome), but, above all, because it allow me to `write' in the symbolic, to intervene with dreaming. Also it is necessary to say that the advent of the Tarot in my life was parallel to my initiation in Santo Daime, in 1986, what potentialized the development of this transference capacity. I also believe that this same quality for mental mimesis with affective distance that turned me into a professor with no affective involvement with the pupils. In the symbolic pedagogy there is, despite of the didactic content given, four basic archetypes that the pupils project in their teachers: the father (from whom they want limits), the mother (fro whom they want to be nourished of information and affection), the other (from whom they desire to be seduced) and oneself (where they reflect themselves as person).
I established some limits for me and the others. What it is said during the Tarot games, shall not be discussed out of the game. Initially, I adopted this limit for a question of psychoanalytic ethics, but later I started to forget (or hardly remember) what happened in the interior of the games. As well as in the Tarot, the space of the classroom also became for me a projective field, developing even more this quality of mental mimesis (in detriment of a significant part of my affective life). During six months, I was father, mother, partner and example of for my students and received all sort of projections in a kind of symbolic anthropophagy. Some were aggressive and I did not become resentful; others felled in love and I pretended not to see; they tried to buy me in many ways some forms but I ignored it. But, finished the six months class period, also ceased the projections and my distant attitude. I felt myself free to date, to reply to aggressions (although that had never happened) or simply to be friend with the students.
Besides, in the field of divination as in the pedagogical field, there is the analytical type of transference relation, where everyone are not only conscientious of their roles, but, overall, have a commitment with thinking about that space with discretion and complicity. Life, however, does not respect the borders of the mind. And this same virtue submitted me to many problems in my social life, where the projective transferences are not `analytical' and do not have limits in space and time. So many were the fights I got involved that I wrote a theory regarding conflicts on how provoke changes.[iii] However, after recognizing the theoretical and sociological patterns of the conflicts in general, my specific cognitive and affective patterns were revealed. The individuals of the autistic specter tend to process more the details than the ample picture, while the majority of the people integrate the information according to the context and the central idea. In my case in particular, I usually consider very drastic solutions for small problems, wrongly dimensioning the conflict situations. By the way, I was very impressed with the form that the ethologist Boris Cyrulnik deals with love´s conflict/meeting as a biological ritual. In this perspective, violence is the not-ritualized aggressiveness. And to play the Tarot for me is exactly the opposite, a ritual to suggest daily changes. But, in life in general, without the limitations of the analytical space, my anti-ritual ritual (or my ritual anti-ritual) did not take me towards many victories, but actually innumerable relationship problems and mistaken interpretations.
Well, up to here I told you about my resilience (of extended hearing), now will speak of my deficiency (the blindness).
First: my distant behavior is very unfriendly. The first impression is hardly ever positive. This increased to a competitive position - “presumptuous” – is generally interpreted as a confront, as a territorial invasion. And the alpha-male of the different groups of my life had always felt threatened in their leadership by a guy who is very intelligent but kind of goofy at the same time. This also generates a great difficulty to adapt to authority, either relating to superiors or relating to the ones who want to follow me. When it comes to `females', then, the situation is even more complicated. Many times I seduce them and I do not take the flirt to the final consequences due to emotional blocks. When I don’t I ignore them neurotically.
The one who understands and it passes this first negative impression, end up liking me, until a determined moment, deliberately or involuntarily, I hurt them with inconvenient truths. Not-analytical transferences of negative content occur and I end inciting the worse of each person - as if life was a game of Tarot with no cards. But, the people I hurt do not recognize their own negativity and they project it on me (and the ones who recognize their negativity move away, hurt). Nobody ever thanked me for my contribution to their growth. I would show them the worse in people and they pretty much hated me for this. Moreover, I never knew how to make friends. I always gave many gifts in order to have their confidence but abandon them affectively. I discovered Ludwig Von Beethoven, Amadeus Mozart and Andy Warhol - among others probable with the syndrome - made the same.
I also present several other symptoms common to the syndrome. I was always a compulsory collector (sticker albums, Comics and Tarots) with some specific interests. I have a great appreciation for silence for solitude. And the desire of being invisible even gave me nicknames. I have recurrent moments of bad-mood and anxiety, when I lose visual contact and I get reticent.
By the way, also I was surprised when I noticed that my idea of `trust' is very different from the majority. Therefore, I frequently fell betrayed (actually, I attract traitors) and see the institutional game of representation as something false[iv] - what put me in some conflicts in my work environment. I know that I got used with the situation of `all against me' (in the truth, It was `I against All’) and to coexist with a distorted public image of me. This made me a strong person in many senses. However it also took me to a dead-end, to a solitary life incapable of growth with interdependent autonomy. With time, my limitations became evident to me and to everyone all. How someone so developed in the field of the ideas can be thus so dull in the emotional field? How somebody that dedicates so much time and energy to his own development can present so many and so contradictory negative aspects in its personality? Why do I consider everyone so false and I feel that all of them are not only deceiving me (what it would be a simple paranoia), but deceiving themselves?
My cold and distant manners plus my verbal incontinence (partially caused by the lack of analytical context of my personal transferences) always had been interpreted (sometimes, even by me) as if I was vilifying and cruel. And, certainly, when I was depressed by my misalignment, saw and spoke on what is more negative in an apparently cynical form. I do not want with this to say that my syndrome justifies my weaknesses of character, but, the truth is that my behavior disturb has cognitive conditionings of genetic background, impossible to be surpassed by the moral or spiritual development.
When I “had the light” It was as if I found the solution of a puzzle, an image constructed from some years of observation through different forms of self-realization. I got alphabetized own my own; I had motor and phonologic difficulties, surpassed later creatively; although an intellectual performance above average, always I presented difficulties of integration and school adaptation.
I was always considered a self-centered person. After years of work and sincere attempts to change, this character not only persisted, as it got sharpened in relation to specific situations. Today I see that my self-centeredness only transvestite my difficulty of affective and emotional exchange. I dissimulated to be eccentric to hide from myself my behavior disturbs. Actually, it has to do with a pact I made with my mother. With the explanation that we built for my different behavior.
It is a great relief and a great humiliation, to find out to be a special person. For me, there was an inversion of perspective between my great prepotency and my impotence. Before I found myself different in a sense of superiority and I always ended frustrated with myself and feeling inferior. When I understood my difference as a deficiency and the resultant capacities as secondary compensations, I am accepting myself better and understanding my real power. By the way, there were diverse types of readjustment in my self-image. Some were natural. I started to feel as if I was `rowing against the tide' during all my life and that from now on I will `fly with the wind'. Others are being herd. To distinguish my `vulnerability' from my `self-commiseration', for example. Before, I did not allow myself to be vulnerable, for that would be an unacceptable weakness. I had already noticed this, but did not know the true origin of the fear of exposing my fragility.
I am now reconciling with many friends and asking them to forgive me for the distant treatment and the inadequate truths with which I treat them. I am re-dimensioning my relation with institutions with which I am involved. Unfortunately, I could not restore the relation with some many people I hurt, mainly partners of the opposite sex that never understood my ambivalent loving attitude, seductive and evasive at the same time. Today I see that I compulsory rejected people who really loved me and I can only be thankful to the fact that there haven´t been many. An I am happy because I found, after years of observation, the origin of my main disequilibrium.

[i] In order to have an overview of my production, v.: www.ufrnet.br/~marcelobolshaw
[ii] Osho makes something similar, mixing cynicism and naivety and still calling this attitude “innocence”. I call `sarcasm', perhaps for being a little more cynical than ingenuous. Or perhaps for feeling guiltier of saying cruel truths in funny ways.
[iii] The Art of the Conflict. <http://www.ufrnet.br/~marcelobolshaw/GEMEOS/pdf/s8.pdf>
[iv]Would it all be a lie?