While I am busy with little things, I am not required to do greater things. (St. Francis De Sales)

We were discussing colour blindness and my younger son commented that no one could be sure that they saw colours in exactly the same way as someone else. Much like global colour blindness.
Unlike a shape or an object my two sons discussed how colour was much more personal because it was more about how you “saw” it. We could both call the same colour yellow but you would see it differently- how would we ever know that your yellow and my yellow weren’t the same? My 9 year old asked his brother.
I explained the theory of colour blindness to them, and how it is detected. I assured them that if the difference in perception was significant then it is likely that it would be detected.
My eldest son replied that although this was probably true, we could never be sure that we were not seeing something different because we are all alone in our heads anyway (sic).
His insight made me realise that this is how he sees himself. It made me slightly sad, and I pondered that maybe this was due to him being an Aspie, but afterward when I gave it some thought, I decided that he is quite right. Our perceptions of the world are our own, it’s how we use them in our relationships with others that matter.
My eldest son spends hours concentrating over the most minuete of detail  and will notice patterns and shapes, light and shade that I would never unless he painstakingly points it out and gets me to tilt my head at just the right angle.
He sees beauty in the most mundane places and this is a true gift of his Aspergers.  It is easy to become frustrated with Aspies because of their apparent lack of concentration- I am repeatedly guilty of this myself, but the irony is that it is not a lock of concentration but the absolute opposite, that results in my son “not hearing me”. So immersed is he in whatever he is doing, that multitasking via means of diverting his concentration just for a moment, is not an option. It is both a blessing and a curse. He is fortunate to notice small, tiny things that he perceives as clever and that capture his concentration but paradoxically this can result in him missing “the bigger picture” if he gets fixated on one specific thing; getting him into trouble for not concentrating!
This can upset him if he can’t see the or understand “what he’s supposed to be seeing”. It can make him feel alienated and alone.
Aristotle famously said: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As a
Physiotherapist and ergonomist I understand this perfectly, but as I watch my son grow, I also understand that for him :
The Devil is in the details, but so is salvation. (Mehmet Murat ildan)

One thought on “While I am busy with little things, I am not required to do greater things. (St. Francis De Sales)

  1. I have often pondered how we all see colours. I find it fascinating and think just like your eldest son – perhaps we do see them differently. In fact, I’ve wondered whether thats why some people are better able to put together colour schemes than others. I read somewhere ( I can’t remember where) about how different cultures see different colours – for instance there are people that perceive far more differences in greens and have different names for them and perhaps don’t even have a word for another colour (e.g. red). Interesting stuff. Part of what makes this sort of thing interesting is that you can never be sure.

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