A conundrum frequently reveals itself during my observations of left-handed people. An answer to this riddle seems to be connected to an understanding of how bridges, brain bridges, are made.

Lefties are often the most articulate folks I know. Many creative people, folks that drift toward the left end of this arc of maturational delay, are unusually articulate. These are the older-genotype, matrifocal-social-structure naturals, who are high testosterone females and low testosterone males. Obama and three of our last four presidents were left-handed. Bush W. is right handed. Articulateness seems to often accompany the left-handed.

There are major exceptions.

There are those that are left-handed because of trauma to the left hemisphere, which controls the right side of the body. I don’t know the studies that estimate the percentage of trauma-induced lefties, but a marker is if a left-handed person has no left-handers in the family, and another one is if the right hand is extremely nondextrous, in which case the likelihood increases. These folks don’t normally exhibit the skill/talent structures of the maturational delayed, which can include unusual verbal facility.

Then, there are those that are autistic.

The autistic are extremely maturational delayed, often left-handed, sometimes even ambidextrous and often find themselves language-challenged. I observe an arc of maturational delay that is also an evolutionary timeline representing tens of thousands of years of recent human evolution. It is interesting to me that at the point we began to bridge gesture to speech, there are those who had difficulty making the transition (today’s autistics) and those who made it through (today’s articulate left-handers), who have unusual facility with language. Then, it seems, that second brain type–today’s brain–achieved a more highly desired status and right-handers proliferated. The brain of today became engaged. It has the right hemisphere slightly smaller than the left and the corpus callosum or brain bridge turned from a highway to a footpath. Eloquence diminished.

The conundrum comes when noting how close in proximity in evolutionary time that the articulate and the autistic are. These two close brothers, perhaps separated by only several dozen generations, are parted by totally different paradigms of speech.

It seems to me that the left-handers’ brain provides for greater left hemisphere/right hemisphere integration and an increased opportunity for unconscious material to emerge. Hence, the creativity. Hence, the relatively effortless emergence of words and concepts, with greater access to nonconscious material located in the alternative (nonspeech specializing) hemisphere.

Imagine the same brain except with bigger bridges from one hemisphere to the next. Whereas before the increased integration informed an increased ability to express, in the autistic brain there is too much integration and words can’t line up in the necessary rows to cross the bridge and make a clear narrative communication. Consciousness can’t quite differentiate.

Severe epileptics have been treated by severing the corpus callosum, thus preventing debilitating, uncontrollable information cascades from coursing back and forth across the tissue bridge. I suspect that one way to provide autistics a tool that would simulate a contemporary brain would be to create a toll booth on their highway corpus callosum bridge, slow down traffic and maybe gather some of the currency that comes with having a special brain.

Autism is not a disease or a disorder. It is a condition that represents an opportunity to discover who we, as a species, really are. Apprehending autism is to penetrate our origins. Grasping these roots requires our bridging ourselves to a world with few words can be saying more than many, and understanding what these few words mean.


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