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But the Emperor is naked?

Why can an outsider often point things out that are bleedingly obvious, whilst the majority in society chose to tow the line. Is ignorance bliss? Is the search for ‘the truth’ a mugs game, or a noble aim?

By Marcus Warry

Once upon a time, there was an emperor who cared deeply about his appearance. One day, two weavers came to him claiming to be able to weave the most magnificent fabric in the world that was invisible to anyone who was unfit for their position, stupid or incompetent. The weavers convinced the emperor that the fabric was so special that it would be the perfect outfit for his upcoming parade. The emperor, wanting to appear wise and sophisticated, agreed to the weavers’ offer.

As the weavers worked, the emperor sent his advisors to inspect the fabric, and they all reported that the fabric was the finest they had ever seen. When the emperor himself went to see the fabric, he could not see it, but he pretended that he could, so as not to appear foolish. On the day of the parade, the emperor proudly paraded through the streets in his “invisible” outfit, while the townspeople also pretended to see the fabric, not wanting to be seen as unfit or stupid.

However, a child in the crowd exclaimed, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” This comment sparked a realization among the townspeople, who then began to openly acknowledge that the emperor was, in fact, naked.

How are most people so easily fooled into believing something that is not true. Why are so many people scared to speak out for fear of appearing foolish? Whereas some people (like children), are perhaps natural outsiders who don’t feel the least bit bound by the constraints of the status quo and can see the truth for what it is. Troublemaking misfits, or uneasy geniuses, they could go either way – and many may even be described as being ‘on the spectrum’.

Maybe some of us evolved to ask the naive or the silly questions, so that the rest of the world can remain ignorant in bliss? But this makes for an uneasy interface between the two worlds doesn’t it? The people who question everything, are often seem as the trouble makers, but, without them, then surely the powerful would be left entirely unchecked to do as they wish?

I’m Dyslexic, and some now say that far from a ‘disability’, that we evolved this way, to ensure humans can continually find creative solutions to challenges ahead. We find it easy living at the edge of chaos where creativity happens… it’s chaos though, and many would understandably my prefer to stay away. We need each other though, as a world with just me in it for example, would surely implode in about 5 minutes.

Perhaps a similar case could be me made for people with Asperger’s. We need them, as much as they need us. people with Asperger’s can see the world for what it is, and find it easier to question and challenge prevailing orthodoxies. Why? Because they are searching for facts in kind of wonderfully nerd like fashion, and they intrinsically don’t mind upsetting people in the pursuit of the truth. You aren’t wearing any clothes?! It’s naive and it’s brilliant – but it’s mildly upsetting for the guy standing there naked!

In conclusion, the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes highlights the importance of speaking the truth, even when it is unpopular or uncomfortable. In the same way I think my dyslexic brain evolved to find creativity easy, maybe an Asperger’s brain evolved to find seeing the truth, easy.

We all need each other in a sort of yin and yang type way. So when you see someone, who may seem to lack a few social graces, who can’t look you in the eye too easily, don’t fear or judge them, but perhaps better to think, how does this brilliant and unique person fit into the jigsaw of humanity?

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