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Comment by dmh_phoenix on Lonely Dissent · 2009-10-07T02:01:32.855Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Certainly, dissent, or "difference" in general is "an emergent phenomenon" -- but what counts, and what can be "part of the design", is how the group chooses to treat people who are different! For example, keeping the "special ed" kids in regular school not only means the educational system stays aware of them and their issues, but it means that the "normal" kids get regular exposure to neurodiverse kids, and at least occasionally have to communicate with them.

Comment by dmh_phoenix on Lonely Dissent · 2009-10-07T01:06:45.471Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Yes -- I was going to reply to "There are certain people who have no fear of departing the pack" with "there are some people who can't stay with the pack!".

These (not just the autistics, but also other neurodiverse folks) are the true "natural outsiders". As demonstrated by the OP's comments, their presence in a group (or contrariwise their exclusion) has nontrivial effects on how a group acts, and especially how it deals with challenges.