On Evolution, Asperger’s and Sustainability

h1 July 1st, 2011

It came to me in a dream this morning.  We have evolved to recognise and respond appropriately to threats.  Those who did not are no longer with us.  How this relates to Asperger’s and Sustainability I’ll get to at the end of this article.

Most of us recognise and respond to threats subconsciously and do so very fast.  However not all threats can be perceived that way.  Some threats are more long term.  Their perception requires careful weighing up of evidence using intellectual instead of instinctual processes.

I’ll call  these threats and threat detectors type A and type B.

While type A threats need to be dealt with immediately, with type B threats there is time to for those who perceive them to communicate both the threat and possible ways to avoid it to others.

As individuals type A threat detectors will have a better chance of survival in a hostile environment with many immediate threats such as predators.  However groups that have some type B threat detectors will survive better than those that don’t in a hostile environment that also has longer term or periodical threats such as floods, fires, droughts etc.

Both types do better in a group that contains both than on their own.  In a group they protect each other from those threats that they are individually not so good at protecting against.

Threats exist not only from the external environment but also from others in a group.  While type A will tend to recognise and act on those threats at an unconscious or instinctual level, type B will tend to recognise and act on those threats consciously.  Such behaviour by type B being intelectual has to be learnt.

At least to the extent that social behaviour is the avoidance of threat in a social setting, type A will instinctively know how to act, whereas type B will have to learn how to act in each new social situation.

Given that type B threat detection is an intellectual activity, those with higher intelligence will tend to be better at it.  As a consequence type B threat detectors will have evolved and tend to be more intelligent than type A threat detectors.

With the range and types of threat that we have had to deal in our evolutionary past those groups with mainly type A and a few type B threat detectors have survived over those with more type B threat detectors.

Here I’ll make a leap that I am not qualified to make, but I’ll do it anyway.  On the basis that  type B threat detectors have to learn social behaviour and tend to have above average intelligence, I posit that type Bs are currently diagnosed or labelled as having Asperger’s syndrome.

Given the current nature of the threats that we currently face the world would be better of if more of us had Asperger’s.

I’d welcome any feedback on the above.

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