20.1.07

Dislexia



Are you one of those people who doesn't read all that fast? Do you have trouble putting letters together in sequence accurately even though you know how to spell a word? Do some words allude you when you need them most? Do you have a tough time understanding specifics, but can full and well grasp the big picture? If so, then you may suffer from Dyslexia, and, according to some sympathetic professors at Yale University, you might be better off than you think. You see (according to Dr. Bennett Shaywitz), despite an acute inability to understand the written word, Dislexic people often have a creative capacity that dwarfs their (hold on I'm thinking of the word...I'm...looking...for, and it's...) apparent disability, and as a result many high-level thinkers and successful artistic and cultural innovators have been and are currently imbued with dislexic powers. Notable among the chronic mispellers of our time are John Irving (who scored a 475 on his SATS - which means he might have got his name right and successfully guessed at a few multiple choice questions), Pablo Picasso (although he hid it under the guise of the cubist approach) and Billionaire space invader Sir Richard Branson.

We value the ability to read very highly in our crusted culture. Upper crust is smart and special because it reads well. Lower crust isn't considered much good at any sort of critical thinking as it doesn't read well. Any way you slice it, it's difficult for any of us, even those of us who are dislexic and fully aware of a latent but potent mental capacity, to utter the phrase 'slow reader, smart guy' with any sort of conviction. It's doubtful that our standards for measuring intellect will renovate their testing space to allow for fair trial any time soon, and that's fine, as life is not fair, and life is not accomodating (that would negate a lot of evolutionary principle, right?). Rather, life is adaptive, and there is plenty of evidence to show that dislexics'll do just fine despite their societal stigma. In fact - we should pay heed to the little knowledge of Dislexic success that we have available to us; in fact, we should be gravely concerned. As the propensity to learn a spoken tongue has been hard-wired into our genes, therefore allowing us to automatically aquire language traits whether we want to or not, the ability to read is not intrinsic; it is a talent that must be learned. Should a dislexic trait (as dislexia is genetic) find an increasing foothold in the rock of our higher cultures, it could potentially reduce many many of our word-processing men and women to the already teeming position of illiterate free-thinkers, and this would be disastrous. Imagine a world full of mentally-eccentric unlettered geniuses and catachrestic executive-types, and you'll begin to understand why 'slow reader, smart guy' will never find purchase in our descriptive soil of success. If we have not the guidlines to measure intellect, then how are we to compare one another to a culpable standard mean? How are we to find our place among our peers? How are we to live, knowing good and well that our neighbor bumbles through newspaper columns like a third-grader, but not being able to lable him or her as unintelligent? How indeed. I'm a slow reader, by the way.

(Apologies to any dislexics that struggled through this blog and didn't find it rewarding. Know that I struggled to write it,
though I suffer only a mild form of the condition at worst)