The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'mutation'
Scientists discover what I had suspected all along: artistic creativity is a mutation; more specifically, it's a mutation that appeared some 50,000 years ago, resulting in the rise of abstract art and symbolism.
(I wonder what proportion of people have the creativity gene, or whether it's just one gene. A population of eccentric artists would not necessarily be sustainable; society needs practical, uncreative people much like an insect hive needs drones. Though perhaps it'd be a recessive gene, with one copy being normal and two turning you into Damien Hirst or David Bowie or someone?)
Silicon Valley, an area with a high concentration of engineers, hackers and technical specialists, is seeing a dramatic increase in diagnoses of autism and Asperger's Syndrome. This suggests that the colloquial links between the conditions and technical pursuits may in fact be provable; and that in sufficient concentrations, those who may otherwise have been prevented from breeding by not getting mainstream society will find similar mates -- and their children may be more severely affected.
Says Bryna Siegel, author of The World of the Autistic Child and director of the PDD clinic at UCSF, "In another historical time, these men would have become monks, developing new ink for early printing presses. Suddenly they're making $150,000 a year with stock options. They're reproducing at a much higher rate."
"Autism gets to fundamental issues of how we view talents and disabilities," he says. "The flip side of dyslexia is enhanced abilities in math and architecture. There may be an aspect of this going on with autism and assortative mating in places like Silicon Valley. In the parents, who carry a few of the genes, they're a good thing. In the kids, who carry too many, it's very bad."
For all we know, the first tools on earth might have been developed by a loner sitting at the back of the cave, chipping at thousands of rocks to find the one that made the sharpest spear, while the neurotypicals chattered away in the firelight. Perhaps certain arcane systems of logic, mathematics, music, and stories - particularly remote and fantastic ones - have been passed down from phenotype to phenotype, in parallel with the DNA that helped shape minds which would know exactly what to do with these strange and elegant creations.