As my latest “mission in Mongolia” winds down, I am as one facing an enormous conundrum: despite the airtight logic of my aims, despite the outstanding pedigrees of those who have offered intellectual assistance, despite my willingness to travel great distances, despite my cultural adaptability and unique grasp of geopolitical issues, despite my considerable connections carefully cultivated, despite the enthusiastic assurances of those who have seemed to offer support, despite an altruistic vision developed out of deeply rational hopes and fears, despite much well-wishing and glad-handing, and despite my own tremendous optimism and hard work, no substantive support has been forthcoming.
My emails go unanswered. My follow-ups have come to naught. My friends (with few exceptions) and family have backed away from me as if any contact with me might bring on some unnamed existential disease. Perhaps I have failed to detect that the early pledges of support were merely polite. Perhaps I have underestimated the enormous gulf that inevitably yawns between pledges of support and cooperative action. Perhaps I have been naive. Perhaps it is true that a prophet feels the sting of scorn most keenly in his own country or among his own circle. Perhaps there are jealousies that my activities have activated. I do not know. But as I struggle to retain and even augment my proactive spirit, I am beset and bemused by this sudden drying up of goodwill. Does this eerie phenomenon proceed from an aspect of my nature connected with my autism? Certainly, autistics are often perceived as almost monomaniacal, even disturbing in their pursuit of purist goals and “abstract” ambitions. Many fear their almost otherworldly drivenness, seeing it as bizarre, eccentric. There are those who view us with a perfunctory suspicion and are eager to demonstrate a kind of dismissiveness toward our persons or our ideas, as they would “will us away” if they could. Indeed, a close friend has warned me that “people are going to be afraid of your project because of its size,” admonishing me to give it up and pursue smaller game. In the neurotypical world, “Don’t disturb people” is rule number one! But for an autistic person, this priority seems illogical and counterproductive. Vision and clarity demand action. It would be unthinkable to put some unscientific murky nonsense ahead of an agenda I see as a clear imperative. I cannot change course any more than I can change my nature.
This clear imperative is irresistible. International Law must be grounded in indigenous wisdom and achieve universal implementation. Human rights, international environmental law and the array of concerns associated with the concept of human security must be elevated to the status of a world religion or code of ethics. My vision sees Mongolia as the logical and spiritual home for such a project. And to that end, I have presented legal seminars, traveled, written, researched, consulted top legal experts and prayed (considerably). I pray to no Christian god, no Buddhist or Hindu deity, no enshrined spirit, no abstract dogma nor even to Mahatma Lenin. I pray to what I feel animating the universe around me. It needed be named to become real. It is, to me, a self-evident being. This being has hardly delivered me fantastic results. But it has leavened my frustration and converts me to untried possibilities. Certainly, my experience with my Mongolian shaman has influenced me in continuing to believe, to struggle, to be patient, to reach deeper. His strength has given me the extra set of wings perhaps to wait and learn. But, to me, Shamanism is not and religion. It is a powerful form of attention that can retrieve success from failure and repair the broken heart. I believe in my Shaman and accept my fate.
Certainly, I will continue my work. As I said, I cannot help myself. Whatever the reasons behind this lonely absence of fellow workers and the quixotic isolation I feel, I keep in mind and am grateful for the talents I have attracted and the ideas that I have developed well enough to guide my daily actions. I love my research. I love the process I call the development of law. I love justice more than I love my own mind. Somehow, I know I must find a way to actualize this project. It is impossible to dislodge the notion that its realization is the answer to the world’s ills. I am strong enough to utterly disregard the mediocre tendency to make my aims more modest. I refuse to affect the cowardly shyness that might give me a common acceptibility. I cannot be other than I am. I decided to “come out of the closet” as an autistic because I actually believe that in so doing I am exchanging propriety for something much better: a burnished and uncommon metal that defies the corrosive effects of general practice. To be safe, to be tame, these have never served me. They have only prolonged the insufferable and diluted urgent necessity. But urgent necessity mounts, as it will do, irrespective of our willingness to acknowledge an urgent reality. The spread of fascism is real. The only antidote is general participation in upholding the rule of law. This law has evolved from time-tested sources and is elaborated in the UN Charter of 1948, the International Covenants of Human Rights, in the treaties and conventions of international environmental law and is attested to by the blood sacrifices and passionate toil of those laborers in the human rights movement who continue to give of their sacred life energy. The fulfillment of law will be real–as palpable as the heat of the sun and the tug of the moon on the tides. Shambhala will be accomplished. And the gratitude of our children will be our joyous reward. There is no higher purpose. There are no higher ideals. And so my will is unshakeable. My readers will act. The means will materialize. The dawn will come. The mental disease of fascism will be eradicated and the rule of law will prevail. And then we will unlock the great treasures. . . .