“IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND….” When I was young, I read a story (probably abridged) by H.G. Wells in the Reader’s Digest entitled “The Country of the Blind” (this wikipedia article has a summary of it). In the story a mountaineer falls into a valley in which all the villagers are blind. When he realizes this, he repeats to himself the proverb “In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” and expects to rule the villagers. Instead the villagers, who function successfully in their environment, continue to govern themselves, and show concern for this man who seems to them obsessed with an imaginary power. Wikipedia says: “The village doctor suggests that [the mountaineer’s} eyes be removed, claiming that they are diseased and are affecting his brain.” Each version of the story ends with the mountaineer weeking to escape the valley where he was never king.

Imagine a world in which there are 88 autistic persons for each nonautistic person—reversing the recent estimates cited by Jonathan Lehrer. Perhaps the autistic majority would impatient with the slow procession of information by the nonautistic.

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