We’re publishing an original essay today by regular Daily Sceptic contributor Dr. Sinéad Murphy, an Associate Researcher in Philosophy at Newcastle University, arguing that Covid restrictions have left both the young and the old feeling profoundly disorientated. Here is an extract:
Of all descriptions of the condition of autism, a want of orientation may be the most accurate. Children with autism cannot find their place in the world by the usual landmarks. Words and objects that would normally be salient and around which meaningful experience would cluster do not stand out for them even in familiar interactions and environments; there really could be an elephant in the room.
The world, it seems, is not for children with autism; they cannot make themselves at home in it.
This lack of orientation of those with autism is sadly echoed in a condition that is also remarkably on the rise and into whose terminal fog so many of our old people now wander and get lost: Alzheimer’s Disease, and the other forms of dementia.
Indeed, life now is increasingly book-ended by these conditions of disorientation, by autism and by dementia; the one affecting those youngest amongst us who cannot get a foothold on the world; the other affecting those oldest amongst us whose fingertips are losing their grasp.
It is uncertain which condition is the sadder; whether a child’s struggle to be at home in the world is more affecting than an old person’s struggle to stay at home in it. Either way, they describe a growing phenomenon of disorientation in our young and old people, a rising tide of bewilderment.