If aspies were in charge of a space ship, going on a super-important mission that meant life or death to everyone back on Earth, what do you think would happen? The fate of mankind hangs in the balance and the aspies have been chosen because, for whatever reason, they are immune to the catastrophe that has befallen the rest of the human race. Only we can save mankind, etc.
It would probably start well, with lots of good intentions and checklists. Aspies are often highly intelligent and the geekier ones would love the whole idea of living out the sci-fi dream. Yes, at last, we get to traverse the stars and meet robot overlords face to face. Finally!
Then the arguments would start about whose turn it was to press the trash-chute button. I can guarantee that something like this would be the first sign of instability. It would be nothing major. A small thing, the smell of uncompacted bananas mouldering behind the corridor wall would be enough to set it off.
Aspie Glen in sector 2 would deny it was his turn to press the button but Aspie Boot from sector 9 would have the job list to prove it was Glen's turn. Aspie Derek from sector 5, who had always wanted to look after the trash button, would wade in and make things worse by letting his latent jealousy get the better of him.
Aspie Susan from sector 1 would find a small tussle had broken out next to the trash button, with Glen repeatedly pressing the button to prove he was fine with doing it while Derek fought to reach the button and Boot did all he could to stop him reaching it, because it wasn't his job and it wasn't on the list.
Being the calming influence she is, Susan will immediately tell Glen he has now broken the button and they will all have to manually compact the trash, which involves a small bucket and a hand held macerator. Glen will start crying and go to his room.
Boot will have decided by now that the whole thing was Derek's fault and they won't speak for the next four years, until the time Boot finally discovers that Derek has the last surviving copy of Dungeon Keeper, as well as the appropriate cosplay gear.
Susan, content she has scared the living daylights out of them, will re-set the trash button and get rid of the smell of rotten banana. She will then forget to go back and finish what she was doing and the whole mission will fail because of it, leaving the Earth to whatever fate awaited it and meaning that the human race now consists of a space ship full of aspies, most of whom don't actually like each other and at least half of whom would prefer to mate with robot overlords anyway.
Yes, when it comes to saving the world and/or the universe, aspies will have the right idea but, for the most part, the wrong personality-type to get it done. For all that so many of us love things like Star Trek, you never found Captain Kirk obsessing over his RPG holographic unit - he only ever wanted the real-life experiences and very often got them.
Mr Spock, perhaps the one people may think of as a latent aspie with his coolness of demeanor and difficulty with emotions, was actually a highly efficient officer, always able to save the day and a counter-point to Kirk's unashamed lechery. Spock was just cool, people, he wasn't an aspie. He had control of his emotions, he wasn't repressed.
If Mr Scott had been the aspie, there would never have been anyone to refuse to push the engines a little harder or to hand out the malt whisky. He would have given in and pushed the engines too hard, the ship would have exploded or broken and he would be permanently drunk, as a reaction to the stresses of life.
The true aspie in the equation was always Dr McCoy. He hated the transporters, even though he knew how they worked and why they wouldn't vaporise him. He was argumentative and fond of telling people what he would and wouldn't do. He was always speaking inappropriately to Spock, pointing out his physical and emotional attributes. And given any encouragement at all, he fell in love (without the lechery) and then, usually, the lady in question would die or turn into a monster.
So, you see, to be successful the space ship has to have non-aspies in abundance, with only one aspie to spice things up. Isn't that right? Isn't life like that?
To function, do we need more non-aspies than aspies? Do we need aspies to be in safe places, away from buttons that operate more than the trash? (Does anyone else know they would push a big red button, no matter what it did, if they had to stand near it for long enough?)
I would like to say that aspies could save the world on the illustrious space ship. I would love to promise you that we wouldn't be petty enough to make the mission fail because we fell out over little disagreements. I would also like to attest that a mass gathering of aspies, forced to live together, would not fall into anarchy. Actually, no, I can definitely attest to that one as anarchy requires a sustained level of action and rising up against something. Come on, we're not going to manage that one.
I think, given the right support, we'd be pretty happy on the space ship, though. So long as we didn't hold the fate of the world in our hands and didn't always have fights over the trash buttons. Imagine, floating through the stars, surrounded by technology and only the quiet peace of computers doing all the organised, methodical, attention-to-detail stuff on our behalf.
Perhaps, if the human race was reduced to a ship full of aspies, we could make a decent go of it. There would be hiccups along the way, but with the right checks and balances and no enormous red buttons linked to self-destruct mechanisms, we would probably be okay.
Also, we would always, always be ready to believe the impossible and so would never be surprised by what space threw at us. Sentient goo? Naturally. Brains as big as planets? Why not? A peaceable race of aliens that wants to be our friends and invites us onto their planet?
Are you kidding? We'd never fall for that one!
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