If Most People Were Autistic, Would Non-autistic Introverts Have the Most Power?
A response to Kirsty Kendall’s article “What If Autistic People Were the Majority?”
Kirsty Kendall recently wrote a wonderful article:
What If Autistic People Were the Majority?
A thought experiment of a world where neurotypical people are a minority.
Please read that before you continue reading here. It’s only a 4-minute read.
It fantasizes about what it would be like if most people were autistic. Anyone who’s not autistic would be given a medical diagnosis of “Hypersocial Disorder”. These people would have an unusual need for social interaction. They would also be considered savants who have a superhuman ability to read people’s facial expressions and body language.
This is a genius concept, and it just goes to show how the idea of “normal” really just means how common something is. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the ideal way to be.
It raises an interesting question: what if being a bit autistic is a better way for humans to be?
However, Kirsty’s scenario only goes so far. The reality is a more complex picture.
The “Hypersocial Disorder” of Kirsty’s article describes non-autistic people as having a greater need for social interaction. But this isn’t necessarily true.
There are autistic extraverts. These are described as “active but odd”. They are people who enjoy talking to people and socializing, but often misinterpret social cues and make social mistakes. They will “talk at you” non-stop about their favorite topic, not noticing when you’ve become bored of the conversation.
And then there are the non-autistic introverts. In a world where most people are autistic, these people could potentially be the most dangerous. They would fly under the radar because their lack of a desire for social interaction would mean they would not qualify for a diagnosis of “Hypersocial Disorder”.
They would still have the savant-like ability to read people’s facial expressions…