Sunday, February 21, 2010

Temple Grandin

This post is a bit off topic as it's not about music, but if you're a music therapist working with the emotionally disturbed, chances are you're going to run into folks on the autistic spectrum. Here is a very good interview with Temple Grandin. She's done more than anyone else to help us see the world as those with autism see it. Oliver Sacks was the first to write about her and used her phrase, "an anthropologist on Mars" as a title. She went on to write numerous books herself. I read one of the first when it came out many years ago and was astonished by how well she describes autism from the inside. 

One thing she talks about is how she thinks in pictures. Here are the closing paragraphs of the interview:

"When I was younger I was looking for this magic meaning of life. It's very simple now," she says. Making the lives of others better, doing "something of lasting value, that's the meaning of life, it's that simple."

How about meaning, I ask. What's the picture for that word? "Ok, now I'm seeing a mother saying your book helped my kid go to college—that's meaning. Or my kid got a job because of one of your lectures—that's meaning. Or a rancher comes up and says that piece of equipment works really well—that's meaning. Concrete, real stuff. On. The. Ground."

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