“When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”
I don’t know about you, but when I was 13 everything I wrote was terrible. That makes this kid, Naoki Higashida, all the more incredible–not only is he gifted, but he uses his gift to strive for connection through his autism. People with disability are not our inspiration–but people with gifts are.
We tend to take the world as we see it, without question. Our senses are an unexamined part of us, our actions follow patterns and are driven by reason. We are so used to this thing we casually call “living” that we don’t notice it most of the time.
People with autism do not have this luxury. The world is a very, very different place for them. The input of the world through their minds and bodies is different, and quite strange to us. They react in ways that are apparently without reason. And so they seem to us mad. But they aren’t mad.
There’s the old joke about how one fish asked the other “what’s water?” Autistic people want to know what water is, and the fact that they cannot know and we cannot explain drives them insane. Naoki talks about his fear of time, his attempts to see voices, the way he is drawn to roads–he is seeing the water. And, through his eyes and his eloquence, we can glimpse this water that we live in.