Interpreting the world


DAILY PROMPT: Worldly Encounters: The friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial you run into outside your house is asking you to recommend the one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about. What do you pick?

I would consider the ‘Curious incident of the dog in the night-time’. This book and now stage play by Mike Haddon is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. It gets inside the mind of an autistic child and how he views the world. I think an outsider reading this book or, probably more powerfully, seeing it on stage performed by the National Theatre in recent months, would be able to see some of the difficulties of communication that they might have reflected in the boys’ struggle to understand the world around him. It shows the very contorted way in which humans can communicate and the confusion that this can cause. It feels to me this would be a good early lesson for someone meeting our society for the first time.

I watched the play at the Globe Theatre in London and found it was one of the most powerful productions I have seen in a long time. On stage for most of the play the boys’ struggle to understand, communicate and interpret the world not only demonstrates the theory of mind in which autistic people operate but also the difficulties we can all have to be able to understand the nuanced relationships of everyday life. I would heartily recommend it.

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