I haven’t been able to find the time to read Andrew Fowler’s new biography of Wikileaks creator Julian Assange from cover to cover, but the stuff that I have read has impressed me. It appears that Fowler has been able to draw from many important sources, including the man himself, for his book. The events in Assange’s life outlined in this book and also in the interview with Fowler by Paul Barclay give many clues about the possible origins of Assange’s attitudes towards the state, feminism and women. The book also gives an IQ score for Assange, and in my opinion one shouldn’t underestimate how much having such a high level of intellectual functioning can alienate a person from society in general. It is my opinion that Assange is a fine example of a famous person who appears to have a number of autistic traits, but whose life story is such that it is not possible to determine whether it is an essentially autistic neurology or a high IQ combined and an isolated childhood that made the person a definite outsider. Parents of children who have been identified (or one could say diagnosed) as highly or profoundly gifted should be very interested in Assange’s life story, although I don’t think any clear lessons can be drawn from it. Autism is mentioned in this book in relation to Assange, reporting that a journalist collaborator of Assange’s quoted Assange as once claiming to be somewhat autistic. This appears to be the same anecdote reported by Mark Hosenball last year. It is hard to judge how serious Assange was about this matter.
Julian Assange is one of the famous people in my big list of famous people who are or might be or might have been autistic. Unfortunately technical problems and a lack of time have prevented me from updating the badly out-of-date info about Assange in my list.
An amusing quote referring to Julian Assange by Fowler in an interview broadcast on Big Ideas:
“I like him at the moment - I haven’t spent enough time with him, quite clearly.”
Fowler, Andrew (2011) The Most Dangerous Man in the World: The inside story on Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks secrets. Melbourne Universty Press, 2011.
Barclay, Paul (2011) The Most Dangerous Man In The World. Big Ideas. Radio National ABC. April 14th 2011.
[an interview with Andrew Fowler about his book about Julian Assange, audio can be downloaded]
A referenced list of 175 famous or important people diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition or subject of published speculation about whether they are or were on the autistic spectrum
Hosenball, Mark (2010) Special Report: Julian Assange versus the world. Reuters. December 13th 2010.
[includes a claim that Assange has described himself only partly in jest as somewhere on the autistic spectrum]