Most people have heroes, people they admire and would like to be more like. Mostly, we acquire these heroes in early childhood, when we are still open to such things. What attracts us to most of these heroes is mainly the stories of their amazing deeds. As a boy, my hero was Leonardo da Vinci.
Why da Vinci? I so admired his ability to posit ideas; helicopters to submarines to how birds fly. He also used drawings to explore his ideas, a paper version of Einstein's thought experiments. Mostly though he didn't seem to give a damn whether anyone else thought his line of research worthy. Thus he pursued things like the mysteries of human anatomy which in his time was forbidden under penalty of death. And rather than professing any single profession, he followed his bliss wherever it led him.
Da Vinci has never stopped being one of my heroes. As a man though, I have more come to admire people who chose to endure great personal hardship in the service of teaching the world something new. Among these are the personality theorists I so often refer to by name; Freud, James, Janet, and Jung. Each, throughout their careers, endured many personal assaults, often from the kind of folks William James referred to as the "thin" variety of theorists in science and philosophy.
Who are the "thin" theorists of science and philosophy? James said they were people so afraid to venture an original idea that at best, they merely repackaged other men's words and at worst, they felt obligated to discredit anyone else who was audacious enough to be original. James contrasted these men with what he called the rare "thick" theorist, and he named Theodore Fechner, the first modern theorist to posit the world is a living being, as just such a man.
I, too, admire Fechner as well as others like him; Lincoln, Einstein, Newton, Ben Franklin, and Theodore Roosevelt to name a few. Each in his own way endured great hardship in order to be "thick." I too aspire to be seen through James' eyes as thick. Thus like my heroes, I have chosen to endure great personal criticism rather than couch my ideas in the thinness of acceptable ideas.
Often, too, I have endured personal attacks for no apparent reasons other than that my ideas do not parrot the kings and queens of accepted ideas, mostly the linear reductionists. To say then that my work is not supported by scientifically credible sources is an understatement.
To these charges, I would answer simply that I challenge any so called scientific authority to hold their work to my standard. You see, there is no authority who can prove to me that there are partially pregnant women. Nor that there are any partially true ideas. For an idea to be true then, it must be true one hundred percent of the time. Anything less means simply that you cannot know for sure what this thing is, true or untrue.
The following is neither an angry chastisement nor a disrespectful attack. In fact, as you'll see, this young person voiced her message with respect and sincerity. I post this to my site as I feel more and more the need to respond to these requests with at least some kind of remarks.
A young civil engineering student wrote and asked me this . . .
M. F. wrote:
Dear Mr. Paglierani,
My name is M. F., and I am a student at N************** University. I am currently working on a team whose task is to create a disability awareness program for an elementary school, and we are currently focused on teaching fifth grade students about the autism spectrum. I read your article, "The Spectrum of Distraction: Autism, OCD, Asperger's, and ADD," and I think that you have made a very convincing argument for viewing the autism spectrum from this perspective. I also think that your method would be helpful for explaining to young children how disorders that seem very different outwardly can be related.
I did notice, however, that there are no citations in the article. You present factual information to support your arguments, such as details about different stages of development and statements about how symptoms are directly related to age of onset. Are there any studies, articles, texts, or other sources you can cite that support these declarations? Please understand that I am not criticizing you for lack of references, but I cannot use information that is not supported by scientifically credible sources, and I would like to incorporate your ideas into our curriculum. Also be assured that you will be granted all due credit for your work.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Here is my reply . . .
I have to admit, your email made me both growl and smile. No offense taken; your request is perfectly reasonable. At the same time, you've inadvertently hit my hot button (smile). You see, to me, needing to be "sanctioned by scientifically credible sources" means they, not the real world value, make a man or woman's work credible. Worse yet, by accepting this sanction as valid, we inhibit and worse, destroy the very greatest resource we have as human beings; the beautifully luminous curiosity which lives in the heart of each and every child born.
The problem of course is simple; how shall we know if something is scientifically credible? Here then is where I take my stand. You see, while in principle I agree with that our science should be credible, I see the only acceptable proof for this credibility as that the results are fractal not linear.
What's wrong with linear results? They never translate to real world cases. And because fractal science always does, I see no reason to continue grounding our sciences in the partial truths of logical reductionism and statistical inference.
Not sure of what I'm saying? Imagine this. Imagine holding a logically reductive linear science like statistics to the same high standard as a fractal science like weather. For example, imagine using statistics to prove a cumulus cloud is real. Fractal science can and does prove this truth each and every time, and in ways even children can master. Statistics couldn't even begin to pass this test.
This is why I openly admit that my work is not based on what traditional science and education calls "scientifically credible sources." To me, these so called credible sources simply fake real world test conditions so they can arrive at what look like scientifically credible answers.
The thing is, we all know that logically reducing anything in life to even near linearity kills its nature. We just pretend it isn't so as our minds so long for the lovely predictability these fake sciences offer. In a way then, we could say that much of modern science more resembles the emperor's new clothes than any authentic truth. Hence the tendency of modern science to act defensive around new ideas.
The question of course then becomes, in lieu of my refusal to subscribe to what I see as a fake science, what should I do? Should I shut up and keep my ideas to myself? I think not. Moreover, as my home page states, unlike the linear sciences, I ask nothing for what I offer. My site exists solely to help people, mainly children. This includes my theories on personality which, like those of my heroes, the great personality theorists of the nineteenth century (Freud, Jung, Adler, Janet, etc), derive from my having personally sat with many hundreds of people in whose lives I've seen these theories borne out many, many thousands of times.
What I'm trying to say is, you ask me for credible sources which support my work. My answer to you is that I do, where appropriate, credit prior theorists and such, and even love doing this. I do not however write to please the scientific community. Thus the majority of the supporting articles, texts, and references you seek are contained in no particular order in the work I've posted all over the site, all of which exist in hopes they will somehow help someone.
In truth, to date I've posted the equivalent of some ten thousand book pages of articles, case studies, and such, all of which has been gathered from real life cases wherein I and my colleagues have used my theories to change people's lives. Moreover, like the great personality theorists of the nineteenth century I so admire, I see this power; that my theories can, in a reliable, repeatable, and predictable way, better people's lives, as the only proof my work is valid.
Admittedly, this does pose a problem for one such as yourself; that I'd see as the proof of truth that my theories change lives. To be more direct, what you have asked me for is the very kind of "scientific" research I loathe. I in fact clearly state this on my home page.
On what then do I base this admittedly arrogant sounding claim? On the fact that nothing in the real world is linear. Nor can saying it is so make it true. In truth that, all things in our world are fractal, and this includes the patterns you've been charged with teaching to fifth graders; the fractal patterns underlying the Autism Spectrum.
Why then would traditional science so whole heartedly see linearity as proof of truth? I've often wondered this myself. My guess is that this way of explaining the mind and body appeals to the logical mind. Unfortunately this logic is entirely spurious. Why? Because by deliberately massaging test conditions and data assembly methods so as to make these conclusions appear linear, they ignore the fact that they destroy the very nature they seek to measure.
In a way then, traditional science makes getting nice neat results more valuable than getting the truth. This is tantamount to measuring plastic roses and saying their linearity makes them more scientifically legitimate than real roses. Real life, flesh and blood people will always be more like real roses than like plastic roses. This, M******, includes those folks whom fall on the Autism Spectrum. Beautifully messy yet fractal, every child. Not one case ever linear.
The problem of course lies then with how your professors could ever sanction my work, or any work, which defiantly opposes those scientists who demand linear descriptions of a fractal world. Moreover, lest you think I am alone in my stand (or just a crackpot therapist), try reading the work of personality theorists like William James. James, in his 1907 book on pragmatism, says that what defines something in human nature as true (or in anything else in the world for that matter) is that it is useful in this moment; moreover, that when this usefulness ends, this truth cannot be known. Thus while the idea of "fractals" did not exist in his time, James clearly refers to his belief in this idea throughout his work, in quotes like that the human mind is a "blooming buzzing confusion" and that as such, it can never be studied as if it were an arithmetic.
Still having a problem understanding what I'm saying? Read anything by award winning physicist / philosopher Fritjof Capra. Capra states, again and again, that nothing in our world can be known outside of the "web of life"; that extracting a thing from the system in which it lives kills the nature of the thing. In fact, from his first book (The Tao of Physics, 1975) he states this belief and frequently cites the proto and early fractal / complexity theorists.
Physics not your bag? Then study the work of any of the great philosophers; Lao Tsu to Buddha, Heraclitus to Hume. Each and every one of them states that the world as it exists in real life cannot be put into linear words. The Tao Te Ching, for instance, in its opening lines says "the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao." Here, the word "Tao" refers to the very nature science claims to be able to describe in linear terms. And when the Tao says this nature cannot be told in words, it means that any attempt to describe nature as mere logical constructs will always be woefully inadequate.
Heraclitus too says this when he says "we cannot step into the same river twice." Apply his logic to the work of men like Descartes and Bacon on which modern science is founded and you see that getting repeatable, reliable linear data means, not that something is true, but rather that something is missing. People change dynamically. Statistics don't allow for this.
What I'm trying to say to you here M****** is, in effect, you've written to a Catholic and asked him prove Catholicism true using Judaism's beliefs. In other words, some how you've missed that very nature of my work in that I firmly oppose currently accepted scientific standards and methods as woefully inadequate when it comes to describing real world things.
This, of course, is not to say that statistics has no value. Statistics is wonderful when it comes to peaking our interest. At the same time, no linear, statistically based research will ever describe individual human children. Thus to believe it can is to doom these children to be treated like plastic roses. And while this nice neat clean way of imagining human nature sounds great on paper, teaching these methods to anyone including to fifth graders is just plain wrong.
As for the theory underlying my Autism article, I've used the Social Priority tests derived from this theory to change the lives of ,many hundreds of people. Moreover, unlike statistics which at best resemble the mythical "partially pregnant woman" I referred to earlier, the fractal patterns I base my work on are either one hundred percent true or they make no claim at all. Try asking your professors to hold what they teach to this standard. One hundred percent true or it proves nothing.
Perhaps then if you could voice my work only as a possible theory, then perhaps the kids might benefit. In reality, like Nobel prize winning physicist Ernest Rutherford is quoted as having said, for a theory to be true, you must be able to teach it to a barmaid.
My theory not only can be taught to a barmaid. It can be taught to fifth graders.
Children don't give a damn about whether something comes from "scientifically credible" sources. They care only that it helps. Me too.