Thursday, May 10, 2012

Savant Syndrome and Severe Autism - Open Channels of Expression

Have you ever experienced flow? Many creative people sense that their art is created through them rather than by them. Many scientists and philosophers have had similar experiences. Where do these inventive ideas originate? Who or what is the source? Our individual egos cannot help but question, analyze and edit. I suspect that a savant is not encumbered by ego and thus remains in flow.
I speculate the savant experiences a gradient of exchange in which he opens up a vacant part of himself to ideas, a form of canalization that deepens and widens over time. The passage of information flows freely, uninterrupted by configurations of brain wave patterns that transpose higher-level thinking into constructs that configure themselves to the mechanism in place. In other words, savants experience information as a free flowing river without the tributaries. The source of the information can be thought of as the ocean of the mind where all information is available. Random thoughts proliferate in a disorganized fashion, attuning to the frequency of the individual being used for expression. An open channel or receptivity occurs.
This genius includes direct expression of an extreme area of competence since the ego of the savant does not interfere with the process. This subjugation of objective self occurs, as the dominant force is the expression of the idea. The savant is able to turn himself over to another source for expression. Unlike most of us, who self monitor, his gate to the emanating force is wide open.
The savant may not have full awareness of what he has produced; however, he is aware that he is in flow. It is a meditative state for him in which his system feels relaxed and at peace. His accomplishments, though not entirely his own, could not occur without him. It is a dance so to speak. He is a tool to express areas of consciousness that would otherwise be unavailable. It is a process that affirms the unique aspects of his connection to universal knowledge and the knowledge base of others individually and collectively.
Balance of self with soul and complete surrender to the process demands ultimate trust and courage. Who among us is capable of that level of abandon? Perhaps, that is why so many of these intriguing savants have been diagnosed with autism or other neurological and/or perceptual differences. Just maybe, it is the lack of ego restraints that allows their genius to flourish.
Many individuals diagnosed with low functioning autism, I believe are intellectual and spiritual savants. Their process differs- they need an agent/facilitator to serve as a catalyst for expression. The preconceptions and knowledge base of the agents/facilitator limit their expression since they interpret the autistic savants unmitigated free flowing thoughts using their own vocabulary and knowledge base. Some agents, I believe reside on the perimeters of knowing but fear of taking the plunge holds them back. If the agent makes a concerted effort to incorporate new knowledge with past understanding, the circle will continue to widen. But in order for this to occur the agent needs to acknowledge that it exists.
Engagement in this process manifests its own rewards for both the person with autism and the agent. Both experience flow each influencing the other in a meditative dance of possibilities.
I have worked with individuals with autism for many years. What they have taught me was to be sure of nothing, and open myself to the extraordinary. I am compelled to share what they have shown me. Please recommend this article to anyone you know who might be interested. Questions and comments are appreciated.
Mary Ann Harrington MS
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