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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Aubin, LCSW

My Maximalist Brain Craves Minimalism

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One theory about autism is that our brains have an overabundance of neurons that don’t get pruned enough. From my vantage point, that tracks. I am constantly thinking. Not just thinking, but metathinking (thinking about thinking). It works great for coming up with blog post ideas. It’s not so great for relaxation.

Due to the probable overabundance of neurons and synaptic connections in my brain, whatever I encounter in life gets thoroughly analyzed, whether I want to or not. The more complexity in my life, the more I analyze. In what I believe is an attempt to get some sort of reprieve from overanalysis, I crave minimalism and less. I want less belongings, I want less steps in any process, less physical clutter, less going on… It’s funny because this seems pretty counter-allistic-culture. Allistic culture is all about more! I would never be able to handle the complexity of owning fancy homes or managing a large corporation (which I suppose is the cultural dream). That sounds so overwhelming.

At first glance, someone may make the (mistaken) assumption that having more neurons means you are super smart or something. That is not really how it works. Having a crap ton of neurons and synaptic connections is like having a hoarded house. A hoarded house isn’t necessarily better than a minimalist house. It’s just different. Very different. Imagine trying to understand or keep track of what is in your hoarded house, it’s so stressful. Sure, if someone wants to philosophically discuss what is in there, it looks like I have a lot to talk about. But tell me to organize it and know what is in there and good luck.

Perhaps this is why many autistics like repetition, predictability, routine, and some people would call a certain kind blandness. Those essentially take a very complex world and boil it down to something basic and predictable which requires less analysis. Give us an ever-changing routine with a bunch of moving pieces and then our brains will torture us with endless analysis.


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