Autism and Schizophrenia = Samsara
By Nobleman Nash Hollowhill - January 28, 2010
Autism is one of the most puzzling conditions we know of. I personally have little experience dealing with people who have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder,) but according to a friend of mine going to school for special education, we are all autistic to a certain degree. I may be freely interpreting information he has told me, but after discussing these ideas with him, he agreed that I have a clear understanding of things as he has been taught. There exists a spectrum on the learning curve on which all beings (formally just humans) can be assigned a specific place. Autism can therefore be described as the inability to make progress in any number of areas of education under normal learning conditions due to a deficient sense of self which prevents positive self-actualization. This can present itself in any number of areas, and in many cases, involves the mental state of being in a repeating reality, an experience that is commonly linked with schizophrenia, and this may cause the person anguish. People with ASD, my friend maintains, may still be capable of understanding profound truths about reality. This may suggest a divine intervention such as is commonly described in case studies of people with acute schizophrenia.
Samsara is the cycle of rebirth caused by the being’s karma being unbalanced at the time of death. It is also the state in which a dying soul is presented with the opportunity to reach Nirvana, the unending state of happiness, but due to incomplete karma reconciliation before death, Nirvana is not attained. I often liken Samsara as a state of mind to the Christian notion of Hell, and Nirvana to Heaven. Samsara includes all states of mind that are not Nirvana, and more often than not, involves being trapped in corporeal form in order to fully experience cycles of suffering. Nirvana is a blissful state of disembodied spirit that is limitless, peaceful, and happy. The Christian concepts of Heaven and Hell emulate these same states of mind, but are geared more directly at parallels with common people’s Earthly experience (clouds above, fire below.) In order to experience Samsara, it is necessary to first glimpse Nirvana for a basis of comparison. Likewise in order to experience Nirvana, a long and arduous battle with Samsara is necessary, which takes countless lifetimes and the conscious pursuit of enlightenment.
Schizophrenics also tend to have little sense of self and are largely categorized as hearing voices in their heads. According to Terence McKenna and our shaman ancestors, these auditory hallucinations are a sign that one is on the path to God. Schizophrenics are subject to confused notions of identity which often take on multiple personality characteristics. Multiple personality disorder prevents successful self-actualization in nearly every area of education. Because the lack of psychological developmental progress displayed in people with ASD can to some extent be attributed to an insufficient sense of self, through specialized educational techniques including those geared at self-actualization, some progress can be made. I suppose that the mental state in which ordinary animals reside is a special case of autism, and that the state in which ordinary children reside is a special case of schizophrenia, with some overlapping between the two in instincts and lack of knowledge about the universe.
Because animals exist with comparatively little sense of self in relation to humans, and because they cannot conceive of the educational processes we are subject to, they lie on the far end of the spectrum of autism that includes little sense of self and little means of self-education, or self-actualization. The opposite end of the spectrum includes highly educated and self-actualized beings, which I assume are largely or exclusively human (but perhaps aliens,) but may possess God-like qualities of mind and spirit. The middle-ground of this spectrum includes those who have a more tangible sense of self than people with autism and animals, but they are tortured by the inability to place the self in a single identity. This makes the performing of repetitive tasks maddening and the experience of new things seem repetitive and futile. Because children go through many phases in which they are unable to find themselves doing the things that bring them happiness, this may be a special type of schizophrenia, one lacking traditional hallucinations and direct contact with God, but still under the influence of frustrated and delusional states of mind.
The process of reaching Nirvana includes and surpasses all of these states. One must be capable of self-educating and self-actualizing, as well as reconciling negative karma before death, often through a communion with God. If Nirvana is not attained, the cycle of Samsara is re-entered, and all the previous states follow sequentially. A person’s Erowid report for Ayahuasca included the realization that past lives are present in the conscious mind in the same way as energy compressed in a spring. The more lives are stacked one on top of another in Samsara, the further the spring is compressed, and the greater the sensation of liberation at the time of achieving Nirvana. This way of thinking supports my ideas that autism and schizophrenia are high-stress states of consciousness which prevent self-actualization due to an inability to reconcile the sense of self as being one with, and at peace with the environment.