Neurotribes by Steve Silberman

Has anyone read this or listened to it on Audiobook?

I'm trying to get through it on audio book at the moment. Christ it's long winded though , and goes into quite a bit of unnecessary and irrelevant waffly details. In my opinion.  I sometimes loose the thread, and the point of what he is trying to say, due to it being so very rambly.

There does seem to be a lot of important knowledge contained amongst all of the waffle though, so I am sticking with it, although it is testing my patience to it's limit.

The section on Asperger and the Eugenics movement has provided a lot of background info and context.. The story that some people are portraying on Youtube as to the reasons why people no longer refer to Asperger's syndrome by that name, as due to him being responsible for the life and death decisions at the Nazi concentration camps, does not seem to be quite as simple as they are portraying it to be.

The audio book has been split into 20 parts, probably about 15 hours total listen time. I'm up to part 11, and will continue with it this afternoon as I get through my weeks worth of dishwashing and other household chores.

  • I haven't read it.  I think it was a mistake to remove Asperger's a distinct diagnosis.  Asperger's, for me at least, is not the same as autism. They are two different conditions. Even if the name is not appealing to those with certain social or political ideologies (what names and labels are universally appealing?), then find another name,  but bring it back as a separate diagnosis. 

  • I agree people who Asperger's get a raw deal compared to us. I mean we all have *** but yeah people with Asperger's have it more difficult than people with autism I think. I don't know much about Asperger's as I'm not but it does lack aweness.

  • I'm really not sure about the distinct and separate diagnosis, but I think it is wrong to remove someone's name from history for political reasons, if indeed that is what happened.

    Asperger was associated with certain events at a certain time in history. And some people in America did not like this association, and this is why the term has dropped out of use. So argues one Youtuber, I'm not convinced that this is true, although there may be at least some truth to it. It's probably a stretch.

    This is partly why I'm ploughing through this wordy book, but I've not got a clear answer on the above from my first listen. It is quite complicated, and I'd have to listen to all of the relevant section again, in the hope that things might become a bit clearer on that point.

    The rest of the book so far is patchy, it gets quite interesting in parts and then wanders off again. Like most things, you've got to be in the right mood, I guess.

  • History doesn't repeat itself exactly, but it does, sadly, paraphrase itself. From the atrocities committed by the Catholics and Protestants to promote themselves by persecuting witches, to the blacklisting of alleged communists carried out under Senator McCarthy, human history has a long list of political and religious crusades led by cruel, selfish, blinkered fanatical groups seeking to consolidate their power and subjugate all that oppose them.  Now we have hunts for the politically incorrect by the fanatical Wokerati screaming for their opponents to be cancelled, have their livelihoods destroyed, their property confiscated. It won't be long before they call for their arrest, imprisonment and execution. 

  • i found it rather boring and am rather pleased i hadn't bought it.   

  • I started reading it, but lost interest about a third of the way through.  It just felt too much like hard work.

  • This is why I've always taken issue with dwelling on the past.

    Lest we forget and not repeating the mistakes of the past seem like utter nonsense to me. We only have to look around to wonder if society/civilization has actually learnt anything or remembered anything from the past.

    I think that's why I get so frustrated. We cling onto the past, often seeking retribution or reconciliation etc, but it always seems to repeat the cycle. It's almost as if we're destined to be stuck in a loop. It just looks different each time and has a different name.

    I've often felt the best solution is to wipe the slate clean and start over. But that would require everybody to wake up with a memory wipe or something. We'd all have to start over without being dragged down by previous differences, conflicts etc.

    Of course, we could never even conceive of such a thing because it would require so many moral and ethical injustices to go unaddressed, unpunished.

    It wouldn't matter anyway. We'd eventually end up in the same place because


    Or the matrix, hahaha.

    Many years ago I came to the conclusion that we exist like this because that's how it is supposed to be, because that's how we want it to be. How else could it possibly be so?

  • I don't imagine that the goal is to remove Asperger from history, all the books on Autism that I have read include his work and name. It is more to do with people not wanting their neurodivergent identity to refer directly to someone who has become associated with the murder of disabled children, even if he was not a direct participant in murders.  

  • We only have to look around to wonder if society/civilization has actually learnt anything or remembered anything from the past

    We don't even have to wonder.

    It's almost as if we're destined to be stuck in a loop. It just looks different each time and has a different name.

    You've described it perfectly here, exist.

    We are still stuck in the prison of our mind, mesmerised by our own thinking, judgements and opinions, and using them to justify the same pattern of violence and injustice against ourselves and others. 

    I am... a Marxist, a Conservative, a woman, a scientist, a pessimist, and optimist, middle-class, upper -class, working-class, a capitalist, a communist, a depressed person, not good enough, better than, different to, indifferent to, more spiritual than, for this, agains that, more compassionate than...

    .... the list of thoughts we believe and identify with is endless, all with the same purpose of reinforcing the egoic mind's false sense of existence and superiority over the other kinds that don't believe the same thoughts.  The ego cannot survive without an enemy to oppose, whether it be another human being, another concept, another bad thing... out there.

    Of course, we could never even conceive of such a thing because it would require so many moral and ethical injustices to go unaddressed, unpunished.

    Trying to solve the perceived problems out there with the very same dysfunctional minds that created them is as you correctly describe it say, an endless loop. 

    I always shudder whenever I hear anyone say they want to 'change the world'. It's a horrific impulse. And what they always fail to mention is how and why they want to change it.  The why is always to manipulate and re-organise other humans to align with their own thinking; and the how is always either by bullying, dismissing, attacking, removing, killing, brutalising anyone who opposes them.

  • I read it and found it fascinating and illuminating as a history of psychiatry and how we got where we are.  It's a kind of three-way comparison of ideas of autism between Kanner, Asperger and autistic people themselves.  It's nothing like a self-help book, but rather I found it useful in explaining why psychiatrists think what they do about autistic people.

    Certain sections of the edition I read seemed to partially excuse Hans Asperger, since Silberman didn't have all the historical evidence that came to light in the last couple of years that Asperger collaborated and sent many autistic children to their deaths.

    All the same Silberman is a good journalist and a good autistic ally and the book provided me with a primer that could be used as a starting point for investigating or thinking through more accurate views of autism (eg monotropism).