Episode 92

When is non-neurotypical behavior something to be 'cured', and when is it something to be celebrated? Is ASD a problem to be solved, or is society itself simply too inflexible to respond to that which does not easily conform? Have our religious institutions provided outlets for neurodiversity or are they a part of the problem? Let's talk about it! 


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produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis 



This transcript was automatically generated by www.otter.ai, and as such contains errors (especially when multiple people are talking). As the AI learns our voices, the transcripts will improve. We hope it is helpful even with the errors.


Adam Pryor 00:05

My name is Adam Pryor, I work at Bethany college. My favorite Halloween decoration is a giant, hairy spider that my wife got pretty early on when we were married. And it's motion censored so that when someone walks up to the door it goes. But oh, no, it's gonna do that. And it also shakes and it terrifies small children. Because it's like the size of the small child


Ian Binns 00:47

and is in the bay?


Adam Pryor 00:50

Yeah. Yeah, we we usually put it in a big web. And then it makes the whole web vibrate too. And it's made toddlers cry at our door, which I think is the goal of Halloween.


Kendra Holt-Moore 01:07

So, Kendra Holt-Moore, assistant professor of religion at Bethany college and Lindsborg Kansas, and my favorite Halloween decoration is probably anything skeleton, but especially those skeletons to like sit in the rocking chairs on the front porch and just kind of like look out over the street watching people walk by they may or may not have motion sensors in them, but they still have life in them.


Ian Binns 01:38

Ian Binns social professor of elementary science education at UNC Charlotte. My favorite Halloween decoration and we don't really decorate in our house, but I love walking through the neighborhood and just just seeing which house goes the most crazy, right? And how impressive it is almost like you know from home improvement that show when they would always go bonkers. It's like the TV shows always do the best Halloween things I love to see of houses come up with something like that. So it just varies every year on what my favorite would be. Which is not really answering the question. But as I said, I'm a little tired today, Punchy.


Adam Pryor 02:22

And I couldn't break the rule of


Ian Binns 02:25

Alright, right, Adam? So. Okay, so to segue into,


Adam Pryor 02:30

there's no, there's no good segue. So as we've been like, as we've been talking about religion, mental health and issues of mental wellness. And, in particular, sort of focusing on different aspects of that the area that I was most interested in, when we started talking about taking this up were areas of mental health, mental wellness, where we, we really look at ways in which the world gets sees seen differently. And so the one that comes to mind for me, always sort of right out of the gate is thinking about the autism Asperger's spectrum. And a big part of that was in the summers, my wife wisely requires me to read some things that are not theology, especially when I was doing my PhD because I was a little mana maniacal. And so occasionally, she would go to the library and just bring something back and be like, just read this and stop for a while.


Ian Binns 03:45

And she still does that, right? Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Because


Adam Pryor 03:51

there's yeah, there's a there's a rule of how many workbooks I am allowed to take on vacation. Good. Um,


Ian Binns 04:00

yeah, Kendra, listen. Yeah, it


Adam Pryor 04:03

continues to get smaller and more irritating. But that's a difference. So So anyway, this this, this one year we were we were there. And she was like, You should read this book. I just finished it looks really, really good. And it was The Curious Incident of the Dog and the nighttime by Mark Haddon, which has now become a play as well, but I kind of encountered encountered it as the book. And the idea is that it's it's a mystery novel about the death of a dog, unsurprisingly. But the the central narrator is Christopher, who is a 15 year old boy. And Christopher, you learn as the book goes on, is sort of dealing with a nonspecific version of Asperger's. There's autism spectrum. And the author is just deeply clever about the ways of revealing these different experiences of the world that he has. Right. So the like, I remember sitting and being both, like irritated and sort of in awe of when the chapters suddenly skipped. So there was 123. And then it went to five, and there was no four. And I was like, bamboozled. And I kept flipping through the book and trying to figure out what's going on. And all of the chapters are prime numbers. Right. So there's the little, little details, right, that are intentionally put into the book to sort of create this, this sort of effect. What struck me about this as that may be a little different than some of the other disorders we've spoken about, but in some ways that are resonant as well. Autism Asperger's spectrum has a, I would argue, a generally more positive place in public discourse. Then some other mental health issues that we've that we've discussed. But also, there's this sort of interesting overlap with how it is that we raise up or minimize the voices of folks who have these experiences. Part of what struck me the very first time I was Reading this book, as being so important was that it did two things that I think are really impactful and important for thinking about in terms of religion, and mental health. One was that it humanized. The experience of living with Asperger's autism, in a way that as you were Reading the book, the book wasn't about someone with Asperger's, it was about Christopher Wright. And I thought that was really important and effective to remember, right. The second piece that I thought was really, really, really interesting out of that, was that it I found it at least sort of strangely affecting my teaching. And the ways in which I thought about engaging other students in the classroom. And this is the part that I don't, you know, that totally worked out. But one of the pieces that I thought was really interesting, and that is really important for me, as I started thinking about religion and mental health is that we, we make intentional choices about how, how to lift up, or how to cast to the side, non normative experiences. And religion, science, and I would argue, higher education, have a lot of roles in the ways we choose to or don't choose to do that. And so I found this book really meaningful, amusing to me, because it forced me to look at the ways in which I was treating non neurotypical students in ways that treated them as a disease vector in the classroom, not a human being. So, what's attracted me to sort of like thinking about autism, why I wanted to sort of pick this particular topic is that I think there have been so many really interesting accountings of trying to help people understand what experiencing the world, from this perspective is, like, in a way, this may be a little different than other mental health pieces, right? So like, yeah, I read The Curious Incident of the Dog of the night, but there are things like the good doctor, there have been blogs from Autism Speaks, that really, really work on helping people understand the variety of ways that this this experience occurs. And also, which I think is interesting, whether or not it should be cured. And what that even means is really really difficult when you talk about this topic. So I'm a little sad that that can rage on here cuz I wanted to like really poke at like, boy, but that's different in a religious community setting than it is where I am. But I'm curious. Just to sort of like start with like, what has been your experiences with Working with folks who would, quote unquote, be non neurotypical?


Kendra Holt-Moore 10:09

Yeah, I could say, just, you know, what I was thinking of when you were talking are not necessarily the people that I know personally who were not neurotypical, but like people I know, people I know who I'm close to who are close to people with autism. And listening to the way that they have spoken about autism, like in my presence over the last, I don't know, five or so years, and how that has just been really interesting and eye opening. For me, and some of the ways that you're talking about Adam, of just like, you know, asking these bigger questions about what autistic people, like how autistic people see the world and how that, like there are aspects of that, like way of being in the world that it doesn't quite make sense for us to, like, pathologize, in the ways that we have, and, and so, you know, I don't, I don't know that I am aware of anyone that I'm close to who has autism. But yeah, it's just, it has been really enlightening, I guess, to hear people talk about the ways in which autistic people have like, sometimes a very hyper logical way of seeing the world and how that could, you know, be like, useful in different like problem solving settings that is just like a different kind of, like mental proclivity that like not everyone has even, even if you're just talking about like neurotypical people. And so, you know, they're, like, the neuro diversity of people. There are there, there are other like forms of neurodiversity that we just have decided, she's like, not categorize for whatever reason. And so, autism is something that we've like noticed as a pattern and have categorized it as autism. But if you think about what it means to be neurotypical, and this, like much broader sense, and like what neurodiversity is, in this broader sense, then it just makes sense. Like, it's just intuitive to, to think that like, Okay, we talked about people being like, right brained or left brained, and it would be probably odd for a lot of us to be like, Oh, the right brained people are, you know, they have a disease or something. And we, you know, it's like not, not to diminish the, like, difficult aspects of someone living with autism, because there's, like, you know, definitely, it's just true that, like, the system's not really built to accommodate them. And so that leads to a lot of problems for them, and in the classroom, and at work and in relationships. And so there's definitely, like, that's definitely there. But it's just interesting to think about how, like, maybe, maybe we could have systems in education and at work that actually did accommodate neurodiversity. You know, autism being an example of that. And, you know, maybe we could have systems that accommodate these people, and how would that how would that make the world different? How would that how would that change, like our social structures if we were including people who see the world really differently as people that were like in charge or had power in various ways to, to make us who we are? And and so that, I just think is like an endlessly fascinating question, especially listening to people. You know, try to like answer that question when they are living in like very close proximity to people who are very neurotic, neuro diverse and in different ways.


Adam Pryor 14:36

No, so, what I was like what I was thinking about, Kendra, it's, it's that question of pathologizing. That I think is really, really interesting, right? And how we choose to how we choose to pathologize and what the consequence of pathologizing various mental health orders or disorders is is I think, really, really interesting. And, at least so far as we've been talking about this, right, when we've talked about depression, when we talked about anxiety, the way in which those get pathologized feels a little different than something like autism Asperger's spectrum.


Ian Binns 15:18

Can you unpack that? What makes it feel different?


Adam Pryor 15:22

So well, and that's like part of what I can't, I can't quite put my finger on it. Because but he like each week, we've been talking about it, I'm going like this is there. There's something here that's not quite the same, right? So like, there's an element with like, Ian, when both you and Zack have talked about anxiety and depression, right? There's a social stigma that this is inherently unacceptable, right? And there's sort of this element of like, I'll put it crassly like, just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and you'll be fine. Get over it, get over it, right. Whereas with like autism, Asperger's spectrum disorder, there's a little bit less of the like, get over it. Element. Right. But also, right, there's this like, very clear element that like, people would be comfortable with me talking about someone with Asperger autism spectrum as non neurotypical. And I don't know if somebody would be comfortable with me saying like, Oh, you suffer from depression, you're not neurotypical. Right? Like, there's even this like disjuncture, in the language of how it gets pathologized. That I think is really is really fascinating. And makes me wonder, are the the ways that we talk about those, the ways that we talked about the impact of religion and science on that intersection with these mental health issues? Does that just look really different? In terms of how to how to move forward?


Kendra Holt-Moore 16:59

Yeah, I think that's a really interesting question. And I like do you think out on that, because I also have that sense of, like, there's something different here. But as you're asking the question, I'm wondering, like, is it in part wrapped up with the fact that things like depression and anxiety, they're more centralized in like, the emotional aspect of a person's being, whereas something like autism or, you know, various other conditions are more, I'm not sure how to say it, but like, mental is not quite the right word. But like, they're, they're more integrated into, like, every aspect of a person's being. And it's not necessarily just about like, an emotional like, disorder, disordered experience. But it's like the way that you think the way that you feel the way that you take social cues the way that you you know, like, other behaviors that are not necessarily emotional, you know, at their core, but things like depression and anxiety, I see those as much more emotional in nature. And and I think this like, piece of how, like religious, I mean, not even just like religious people and traditions would maybe talk about them is that it maybe feels more acceptable to be like, Oh, someone with depression and anxiety like this is, this is not actually like a part of who you are, we, we, you know, can like help you, we can pray for you, we can, you know, get you counseling, do all these things to help restore you to like your person, whereas, I think not that people wouldn't also say that about other things like autism or other other conditions, but I think the approach in general would, would feel a little different. It's like, oh, this is who you are. So let's just accept you and love you and try to find a way to integrate you into our community in a way that is like loving and compassionate is like the kind of language difference that I would anticipate.


Ian Binns 19:23

Well, I also wonder to the idea that when we think about anxiety and depression, it at least the the thought is from from some people is that like, so for me, where I want to talk about me, I have not had to deal with anxiety my entire life. It has not always been part of my life. Right? I still also deal with depression and that has not been part of my my entire existence. Whereas someone who either his, you know, either has Asperger's or autism that, you know, the and you know, to my special friends out there may want to beat me up later, I'm sorry for lack of a better understanding of the language to use and everything but you know, that it's almost like, well, it's something you're born with, or that's just part of who you are from the very beginning or, or something along those lines. Right. And so that there's a distinction there that people may view it as I'm not saying that's accurate. But I'm just wondering if that's part of the thing of as you as we were talking about, you know, toughen up when it comes to anxiety or depression is the mentality that some have, whereas with Asperger's, or autism or something like that, it's, you don't approach it that way. Right? Because it's part of your identity of who you are.


Kendra Holt-Moore 20:51

Yeah, that was those basically what I was saying it, but I also want to add that, like, I, I think that there, it would be, this is something I think that Zach, especially would have something to say. But I think people who have like, severe chronic depression, and have like, had it since their early life would maybe resist the idea that like that's not inherently like part of who they are. That's, that's not the way that I tend to think about it or have, like, tended to talk about it. But I wonder if that's the case for someone like that, and with anxiety too, but I think like what I've tended to experience and notice in most of the people that I know, who deal with those things is that even in chronic cases, they're like, their highs and lows. And, you know, it's, it's yeah, it's just usually spoken about in these different ways.


Ian Binns 22:02

Yeah. And just as a caveat, or a disclaimer, to anyone listening, please understand that, you know, I personally have been on some form of an antidepressant most of my life. So I do not, you know, my perspective minute ago is not something I necessarily hold to. I just wanted to say that that, you know, that is not how I view, anxiety or depression, you know, and we have had conversations before about when it comes to like, antidepressant medication and stuff like that, is that when I'm on that, does that is that the real me? Right, we've had those types of conversations in the past and how I am adamant that yes, that is the real me. Because that's the me that I want to be with. Right? So anyway,


Adam Pryor 22:48

I think there's this like, question of identity that is wrapped up in all of the versions of like, how we've talked about the intersection of religion and science with mental health that I think is really important and interesting. And so like, you know, coming back to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the night, right? Like, despite my wife's best efforts, immediately after that, like I was deeply, deeply curious about, like disability studies and disability theology. And like, I just spent a lot of time immediately diving into this. So doesn't work. But


Ian Binns 23:26

then what was the name of the book? Again,


Adam Pryor 23:27

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightTime.


Ian Binns 23:31

Okay, thanks.


Adam Pryor 23:33

So, in what strikes me about that, and, and to me, the resources that religious traditions have been producing in disability theology over the past 25, or 30 years in particular, are so important, are just so important for it, for helping folks start to tease out how it is that we, we talk about this intersection of identity, and disability and pathology in ways that can be really effective, but also really challenging, right? Like, to my mind, the fact that we're having this conversation, and it's really hard to figure out like, Well, where do I categorize this? Like, you know, as human beings, we like nice, neat boxes that we can put these things into, right. And I think one of the really important things that disability studies has done and disability theology in particular has done has said, hey, look, those narratives that we've had in our traditions about healing and wellness, and in provement, and salvation, even can have really detrimental effects on the way that we think about and pathologize those who don't fit into the norm both in terms of physical health, but also mental health. in ways that can be either really helpful or really destructive. So, like, early on, Kendra, you mentioned this, like, it made me think of like doing like a thought experiment, right? Like, what? What would it start to look like if your social structures around you were designed for and put in place to facilitate engagement with folks who are non neurotypical? Right. Like, and I guess this is sort of like a, this is both, uh, something I think about a lot. Now that I do, I don't know, administrative II things. But also, like, I think a lot about in terms of like religious communities, right. Like, what are the things that we do that accidentally exclude people? Even though that's not what we mean to do? Oh, I


Ian Binns 25:54

think that happens all the time. Yeah, I mean, I think so. The reflective process is what makes it challenging, because you have to really be willing to look at yourself to see how do you do that? Which I think takes a level of vulnerability. Because you're, at least to yourself admitting that, oh, I put people in boxes, by others, I other people, right.


Adam Pryor 26:25

And, um, I guess there's like, part of me, that starts to wonder then, like, what's the role of religious communities in facilitating changes in that regard? Like, what are the steps that we would want? None of us are, you know, clergy, but I look at it sort of to go, you know, maybe into our own context to like, what are the things that we would look at around us and go like, that would really need to change?


Ian Binns 26:53

Well, so. So for me, and this will actually tie into the book I want to talk about, at the end of the show, is, over the past year, and especially throughout the pandemic, you know, I've really struggled with how people, you know, aspects of society have approached the pandemic, with lack of empathy for others. Right, and like, what I perceive as a lack of caring, and it has led, especially me with it coinciding with such a toxic political timeframe in our country, for me to have very judgmental views of others, not necessarily other people that I disagree with politically, like someone who identifies as Republican versus Democrat, that's, that's not it, it's more of the extremes. Right. And so, I have found that I'm in a place where I struggle with that a lot. And so I've purposely been selecting different books and different resources to read as a way to get back to the point where, while I may disagree completely with someone and what it is they believe and stand for that I can still see them as a person. Right, not less than not inherently evil, or something like that, that I you know, but I'm aware of that, as I said, you have to be aware of those things happening.


Kendra Holt-Moore 28:47

Yeah, I mean, I guess, when I think about like a religious context, again, not a clergy person, but it you know, if we're talking about, like autistic people in particular, I did attend a church. This was when I was in undergrad at church. And there was, there was a young man who started coming really regularly to the college ministry stuff. Who was on the autism spectrum. And I think that, you know, kind of reflecting on that experience, and just what it felt like on a Sunday morning to, you know, to speak with him and to like, watch them interact with other people. I think that like using the autism spectrum, as an example, the greeting time in the morning, in like religious spaces, and again, you could apply this to other organizations in which there's like this kind of loose social time of interaction where people are expected to greet each other or, you know, in like a conference context to like network with each other? Like, what is that? What does that look like? And how do you be accommodating or like welcoming to someone who might like, say something unexpected too. And if you're like, expecting a neurotypical person to be in those interactions, you might respond differently or be like, feel something like off putting or, you know, I don't know, feel awkward in a way that, like, shuts down this possibility for relationship. And I, I think I noticed, in general, like years ago, attending this church, that people, I think, for the most part really leaned into it, it was like, Oh, good morning, let's talk about the 20 pages of like, song lyrics that you wrote last night, and, like, let's like, do a deep dive. And that was just like this kind of particular interaction that you would have with this person. And, you know, maybe the next person you spoke to is just a brief handshake and like, a good morning. But it's just, I don't even know, like, how to speak about that in terms of like a system change. But it's just, I think, kind of a letting go of like expectations of what someone should, like offer you or like, bring to you. And I don't think that's always very easy to do. And it's also like, kind of exhausting to do that, if you are in a space where you're talking to, like, hundreds of people. So, you know, like, it's, I think it's a hard question to figure out what that would mean, to make a shift or like a transformation on a structural level. So I don't know, like, that's what I think of, when I'm thinking of like, the religious context, just like that particular example. But then I think in the academic context, like in my teaching, which, you know, there's like, a lot of things about being like a, in my first year as a professor that I, like, I'm learning a lot about, like my own pedagogy, and what's working and not working. And one of the things that I always feel very sensitive to, because of my own experience, as an undergrad and graduate student, are just people who are like, a little bit either, like a little bit are definitely diagnosed, or somewhere in between, really struggle with like, a DD ADHD type symptoms. And I think, like, that's, that's, it just changes the way like, you have students who are going to, like, read every single word of the page, and always do the Reading, like three weeks early, and, like, come to class and like, know exactly what they want to say. And then there are people who are just like, perpetual, like strategic skimmers, and our, you know, like, they have questions, but they kind of come in the moment, and it's not, it's kind of hard to, like, prepare how to, like engage in the classroom. And then, you know, they're like students who are just like, disengaged, they don't care. There's like, you know, a lot of things going on, or maybe they're just lazy. Like, there's a, there's a bunch of different student experiences. But I, I feel that, like, I have always sort of struggled with the, like, I don't have a diagnosis of ADHD, but I have struggled enough with like symptoms of that, that I have been tested, and have like, tried different, like medication and stuff for it. It's also the case that like, women are, in general, like less likely to have a diagnosis for that kind of thing. But it's been an inflamed part of my experience as a student during my PhD work, especially. And so I just feel like when I'm in the classroom, I try to figure out a way to, like, reward the students who are doing all the things like clearly excellent students, and then reward the students who are really trying, but they just like, there's just something about the process of like being a student, that's really difficult, but they're putting in the effort and they're showing up and they're trying to participate and so to like, do things in class that are engaging and that allow you to enter into the conversation, even if you didn't read and like remember every single person's name and every date and like, you know, all the like super specific details that some students that feels natural to them. And, and so I don't know, like I feel like that's the example that comes to mind because it's like in this, I think conversation of like neurodiversity, but you know, a different kind than what we've been talking about, but just figuring out how to like, have something for everyone to the extent that they feel that they belong either in the conversation, or in the religious community, or whatever it is. And that's really not easy to do. But I think it's worth it. If the goal is community, if the goal is inclusion, if those are really central goals to your organization, or religious tradition or whatever, then you have to do those things. And you have to figure out, I think, like how to reasonably pursue those goals. Always. So yeah, I don't know, those are, those are things that come to mind.


Adam Pryor 36:07

Yeah, I mean, I, to me, it's interesting that the, like, the the two things that that stand out to me, or like the conversation can kind of broaden or narrow, right, because there are certain elements that I think overlap. Anytime you're trying to figure out how to discuss engaging neurodiversity, right, even if it's different types of neurodiversity, but also, right, there's this element of being really aware that the that the specific dimensions of that neurodiversity matter for what any, like whatever practical steps you would take. Lest I don't answer my own question. Yeah.


Ian Binns 36:54

I mean, you've ever done that? No,


Adam Pryor 36:57

it's not like I it's not like I make a habit of doing that. So I, the the piece that has come to mind for me, the more that I've thought about this, and I think just by sheer happenstance, I have ended up almost every semester that I have been teaching, like on a regular basis, I have had a small, not a majority, by any stretch of the imagination, but a small cadre of students who are not neurotypical. In fact, this may be the, like, the first semester where I don't. And it felt kind of weird. But I think one of the things that I've noticed about myself in those contexts is trying to ask over and over what are the expectations that I have of this situation, that privileged people like me? That if you are just a little bit more like me, you do better here? And how is it that I, what then is my responsibility to try and create a situation where I minimize that as much as possible? So the two instances that have come to mind for me are like, and I noticed, I just try really hard not to do any more. But in religious communities where I've been a participant, and I know there are folks, in this case, generally around Asperger's, Autism Spectrum Disorder, that are non neurotypical. The question that keeps coming up for me is, why do we preach every week? That seems really silly. And not a great way of interacting with those folks as part of the community. And I don't know, at least for me, having a week off from somebody giving a sermon feels like a good idea. Because that that's not my jam. And in a similar way, right, like when I think about, like, my time in the classroom, I think about in real instances, right? Like, where are the places that my my expectations about? Well, you would just do a little bit better if you could read the text more like me, or if you could sit still long enough, Ian, to actually just engage the way that I want you to engage. Right? Like I I find myself doing that. And like, for me, the step that comes out of this is to say like how do I how do I prevent myself from asshole mansplaining?


Ian Binns 39:58

Yeah, before We can do that. Yeah, I just wanna say I don't mind. I still love you, buddy. It's okay even though you call me out, you know, and everyone can hear it. It's okay.


Adam Pryor 40:16

Yeah, it's good. People don't see that he just wanders around while we're doing this.


Ian Binns 40:21

Yeah. I'm still listening, though. But if I get hungry, I got a.


Adam Pryor 40:25

Just I know. Yeah, I think I think wireless headphones were designed just for you.


Ian Binns 40:32

This is probably true. Yeah. If the wired ones I had word noise canceling, I think I would probably pay attention a whole lot better to life. Right. So, yeah, anyway.


Adam Pryor 40:46

No, but so these are the things that like I think about when I when I when I think about this piece, and it in terms of the religion and science conversation, I think the question that comes to mind are like, one, how do religious traditions decide whether or not they're responsible to folks in their communities? Who are not neurotypical? Like? What does it really mean to take responsibility for that? So that's one side. And then the other is, which we didn't talk a lot about today. But that's okay. Because there are always ways to talk about this, like, how much does science give us an out? I kind of wonder if science is giving us a Get Out of Jail Free card, right? Insofar as it lets us pathologize things. Right, like, I can only call out even if I pathologize the behavior that he's doing in a certain way, which science lets me do a lot better than I could previously. And in like that tension is something that like, as we talk about, like other elements of mental health, and religion and science, like I'm really interested in, in trying to tease that out. In large part, because I don't think it's really hard to do. And it's not something that's like intuitive to us, like, I can't rely on my common sense to find a way out of that. And also, like, they're not my stories, I am like a remarkably weirdly neurotypical, white cisgendered reader of tax who the system was designed for, like, if anybody should be able to be successful on it, it would be, you know, the guy given all of the privileges that the system was designed to foster and develop. So how it is and what then My responsibility is, as I hear narratives that don't fit that neurotypical neurotypical schema is, is, I think, really, really important. Because it can't, it can't just be the job of folks who aren't neurotypical to advocate for themselves.


Kendra Holt-Moore 43:12

Right. And that question is such a, you know, like, to what extent is science give us an out? It's, it's just so hard because that that feels like a question that is like, this universal question. When in fact, like, there's so much about the context in which you're in, that I think changes the way that you might pathologize this behavior in one setting, but in another, maybe not so much. And that, you know, like, I think that's why there's, there's something really valuable about you know, the, the like, quizzes, I mean, some of them are not that good, but like quizzes or just like databases that try to connect people to different vocational goals based on personality characteristics is one thing but you know, like tendencies towards certain behaviors. And I don't know like I sort of see that as this like soft way of trying to address this issue of like where you fit like if you're someone who is high energy and easily distracted and you like love to talk to people. Maybe you shouldn't be like doing super mundane tasks and a dark office in the corner never having to speak to a human for like 16 hours of your you know, day. Like things like that that are really simple. And I think kind of taken for granted sometimes is this like, fun little self reflective task, but I actually think there's like maybe Maybe it's things like that, that are just resources available for people and to get people to self reflect in a more serious way about what your own strengths and weaknesses are and to not pathologize something that is a weakness and to not like, overvalue something that is like labeled a strength. But just to understand that, like, these are your strengths and weaknesses in this role. And to just I don't know, like, change the way that we value different behaviors and skills. Because there are so many different ways to apply those behaviors and skills in different like vocational organizational, like family, social contexts. And so I think, to some extent, like that will never be this simple question, it will entirely depend on how much time we're willing to invest in helping people develop self reflective skills to put themselves or like, you know, attempt to put themselves in situations that benefit their own, like proclivities, intellectually, and emotionally and physically and all of those, all of those things. So it's like, yeah, it's, it's a lot of work and people like that, it's, it's so easy to not want to do that work, because you have to kind of give attention to like, every person, and you can't rely on these generalizations. But like, it's just the nature of being human. And using language, we do generalize, we do other people, because it's convenient. And that sometimes is like, easy, unnecessary to do in certain situations. So it's like this constant tension of, you know, meeting the needs of the particular versus the, you know, General.


Ian Binns 46:57

Well, that can be exhausting. Right? to I mean, it's, it takes a lot of effort, but then can be tiring, when you're trying to put forth that effort. For others, right, especially if you if you go all in, and you're always trying to be that way. Yeah, it can be tiring, and some people, you know, and there are times where I've just been, you fall back on the generalizations of type of different people just because it's easier. But then you realize, too, that if they're if it's a particular topic of something that you're focusing on as a way to instill some sort of change in people's behaviors, including your own, then you realize you need to take that step back momentarily, but then get get back to, to the work to the hard work. So you know, so it goes away from that whole notion of other people who are different?


Adam Pryor 47:54

Well, we should probably move on to the ending part of the episode. Do that, edit that into? No, I don't want to say anything. Why would I want to say something, I don't want to make it easy for him. I want him I want him to really struggle with how it is that he's gonna try and wrap that up. Not here to defend himself. I'm not gonna give him anything easy. By which by which to do that. In good fashion, you probably should just leave this as my closing remarks so that everybody knows that it was my fault I've done as much cheery, happy as I could do today. And so I need some suffering to come out of this episode and that are really


Ian Binns 48:50

proud. Well, yes, I am proud of you, buddy. Are you gonna go throw up after this?


Adam Pryor 48:54

Probably. It's probably going to be like rainbows and sparkles.


Ian Binns 49:03

That's how you got to end it and back back and be part of the title, rainbows. So okay, so for my little tidbit, at the end, my little thing I want to focus on, and I'll try it once or twice just to see how it works is I want to do a kind of talk about and reflect on a book that I either am currently Reading or have recently finished Reading. And yeah, so the book that I chose today actually, is called hold it up for the two of you but you belong. A call for connection by seven is a lossy, she is her description down here on the bottom. I love this nerdy black immigrant, Tomboy Buddhist weirdo. She describes herself but I learned of seven philosophy from 10% happier she's one of she's actually the most popular coach on 10% happier. And I've one of the many meditations in the beginning that I really liked that she did. But it was actually one of her, she's very much in to social justice work, and has a fascinating background. And one of the things that I, one of the meditations I do at 10%, happier that made me shift away from other meditation resources was one that she did about racism. And it was a very, a 20 minute guided meditation, that was a very deep dive into racism, and and trying to, you had to be willing to deal with your own level of vulnerability. Because it was not a deep dive necessarily into societal racism, or where it comes from, but looking within and reflecting on yourself. And so it was raw. And it was incredible, because I just loved how she approached it. And then I learned of the book that she was working on this book book called you belong. And instead of kind of start taking with different notes last night, that I had written throughout the book, but I just want to kind of give the general idea of what her whole argument is. And what she's trying to point out, is that she talks about in here, when she says you belong, is recognizing what the whole point of belongingness. And so she says early on belongingness truth, and it is the fundamental nature of reality right here now, whether we feel it or not. And so what she's trying to argue throughout this entire texts, is that belonging is everywhere, it is natural, that happens, everything is connected. And she very nicely kind of throughout, the entire text does a very good job of talking about how more things like ancient ways of knowing ancient wisdom. That, you know, the more scientifically minded individuals would say, is not real solely based on either, you know, something from different religious perspectives, or indigenous perspectives, and how modern science is starting to show, you know, the notion of connection, that everything is connected. And we've known that for a while now based on science, but that how that's been an argument or a part of the belief that people would call it based system within different as I said, you know, religious traditions or cultural traditions that have been going on for centuries, if not millennia, about this connection to everything. And that now science has shown it that that makes that real, right. And so how we kind of limit ourselves with our ways of knowing. And so throughout this, one of the things I really love about it, that she kind of really helps us understand. And this is one of the quotes, I love that she talks about. That she says. So I'll just read this, when you don't like the joke, you belong. When you're the only one of your race, disability or sexuality, you belong. When you're terrified to speak in public you belong, when you feel hurt, or when you hurt, have hurt someone else you belong. When you're down to your last dollars, and the rent is due you belong. When you feel overwhelmed by the horrors of human beings you belong. When you have a debilitating illness, you belong. When everyone else is getting married, you belong. When you don't know what you're doing with your life, you belong. When the world feels like it's falling apart, you belong, when you feel like you don't belong, you belong. And then she helps us kind of delve through helping us see how it is we belong. And so I just wanted to point out a couple other things and then I'll stop rambling, but she nicely sets sets us up sets up the reader as pointing out, you know, the importance of grounding yourself, especially when it comes to like things like meditation, knowing yourself loving yourself. So this is stuff that Adam you would totally love. Right? And there's a whole chapter about self love.


Adam Pryor 54:15

I can go I feel I can feel ready to engage this text.


Ian Binns 54:20

You should because it's something that will contrary Yes, this is Oh, I'm going to tell Rachel This is the book that she should recommend to you for the summer. Oh


Adam Pryor 54:29

my god, you


Ian Binns 54:31

Yes, I'm gonna I'm gonna fact I'll even buy it. Right. I'll buy it and connect yourself as another one. And then finally learning to be yourself. And so some of the things that really helped me along through this and it took me a very long time to read it because I just kept getting really interested in everything that was she was talking about is that she really does a nice job of helping us see the ways that we are connected. And as I said, one of the things that I'm starting Dealing with personally, is two people that I who, so individuals who identify, maybe they don't claim themselves as white supremacists, but their arguments indicate that they more long, you know, Lie with that mindset of white supremacy, that they are still a person, right, we may disagree completely on that perspective of things, but that they still do matter, they still are a person, we are still connected in some way. And learning that, that doesn't mean I have to agree with them, it just is recognizing that they are still a human, you know, and that they still do matter in some way. There's a great time where she talks about putting yourself in an ad in this kind of talks about what you said, if you do not have, if only you could do things the way I do things, you know, then this right, and then he joked about with me walking around and moving all the time. And seeing things and how that's something that I do a lot too. But what she did, she didn't talk about her own personal story without of learning on this journey of hers that she went through learning that we are, we are all connected in some way. And we all belong, is that she there was during the time of George W. Bush presidency, and how she completely disagreed with everything that he stood for. But that she started thinking, and she would always put herself in the I don't understand how you could come to that conclusion on these things. That doesn't make any sense, right. And we always do that. And I would argue I do that a lot now, especially with with the last presidency, and then you know, the situation on January 6, and all those things of how do you not see these things like it doesn't make any sense to me. That one thing it's important for us to understand is that we did not grow up in that person's life, that even if you know, we like to say that I like to think that if I were in that mindset that I wouldn't do those things. But that's not truly possible, because we don't have that person's life experiences. And so part of her process was recognizing that, while she may have disagreed completely, with what Georgia decisions made by George Bush, that they were still connected, and that she'll never truly be in that in his shoes, because she was not raised the same way. Right. And so trying to better herself and better understand where people come from. And so the last thing I know, I'm all over the place, and I apologize as usual. But one of the things I really like about this, because she kind of goes through, as I said, this whole notion of learning to look past or to recognize the role of your inner critic, and what the inner critic does for you, but not letting the inner critic takeover, the comparing mind of comparing ourselves to different aspects of society. And the dangers with that is that she says near the end, if you want a different world, we must imagine it, to imagine it, we must become intimate with our deepest wishes, we cannot imagine without a desire for creation, without longing for something different. We cannot connect our deepest desire without simply being we cannot long if we cannot, if we can't feel what it is we long for. And then she goes into meditation, I'm not gonna make you guys do that. But anyway, but what it did for me was is and it's still a work in progress is still trying to recognize that the role my inner critic place, as I talked about, in the last episode, the role that my anxiety plays. And and recognize instead of, because when I start going down that spiral with my anxiety, you know, one of the first things I'll happen is I'll fight the feeling of anxiety. And so then I'm now fighting two things. And so it's trying to remind myself that, while I don't like that feeling, I get during a very anxious moment that there is a reason it's happening. And so to, you know, treat it as, as I said, Last on our persona of saying, I know you're there, you're there to take care of me, but I'm in charge, right. So welcome to the party, but I'm in charge. And so that's that was really nice for me in this book. And so something I definitely recommend, again, it's called you belong by seven is a lossy. And it's just a beautiful book about learning about who you are and where you come from. So


Adam Pryor 59:26

that's all it was. It was so nice. I felt like it would go very well


Ian Binns 59:31

with one that Adam was leading to end with that. And as I said, Rachel prior, I will shout out to you that I will make sure that I get a copy of this book to you sometime before next summer. So that you can have it ready to go when you recommend a new book for Adam. And then he can give us his his view of it


Adam Pryor 59:54

might be a fun point counterpoint version of what to do at the end of episodes. You could read a book and I could read one and We'll see what we both find.


Ian Binns 1:00:01

Yeah. And then I'll have seven is the lossy they're ready to roll and she can come in. Just take us


Adam Pryor 1:00:10

straight through




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