Dear Reader:

Ah, sitting around the in the cozy circle, warming your hands by a roaring idea, tossing stray opinions into the flames, whittling trite beliefs into manageable marshmallow sticks, prodding the coals of dissimilar opinion into a flaring flash in the pan. What bliss.

This Editorial space is temporarily ceded to weekly opinion. Over the past four years and more, many writers and contributors to the pages of WC have dropped by, now and again, to join a loosely knit round robin of discussions, assertions, rants and outright verbal jousts. While some have hinted at similarities to the Algonquin Round Table, I lean more toward the Cobston Dissecting Table.

I thought it might be interesting to share some of these with you and perhaps elicit your feedback. There are a plethora of topics to choose from only the past week, so I will try to pare them down to a manageable choice - and keep them small.

Keep checking in to this section, because there will be fresh ideas and new sparks every week. What is a temporary loan of space, may become permanent. Now here's the first . . .

Thoughts of savants and autism

A pleasant reading experience from Charles Ivie's "Castorbean" chapters led me afterward to thoughts of savants and autism. The geniuses I have met have all been burdened with compensating vacancies in their characters--could be right hemisphere/left hemisphere related--and one or two have been misanthropes whose brilliance was directed toward destroying opponents or conducting a death struggle against the government. Some brilliant people are indeed mildly autistic. Autism is not just the inability to speak in childhood; it can take subtle forms.

I have sometimes thought that my incurable naiveté was a form of autism. I am incapable of perceiving the motives of others (and usually not caring what those motives are so long as I'm left to live as I wish), even though I can understand subtleties of motive from an intellectual point of view as I might find in a story or in following a news story.

We may discover that human beings are usually saddled with certain gaps in their characters that cannot be cured by instruction. Ask any wife if her husband has a stupid zone (and vice versa I'm sure). I have experienced people who have read my stories and said they just don't understand.

Autism may be a complete absence of perception or sensitivity. Some researchers tried to prove that prison guards were often autistic to some degree. This is an area or label that would benefit from more study. Would Bill Gates and William Randolph Hearst admit to such vacancies in their psych profiles? Perhaps only in fiction is the omnipotent savant possible.

Meantime, read Ivie's chapters

Frank Thayer, Las Cruces, New Mexico

NOTE: The Castorbean Conspiracy is a novel in the works by Charles Ivie, scientist, mathematician, astronomer, medical researcher, inventor and writer, living in California. You'll hear from Mr. Ivie very soon in these pages.