Below is a list of autism books reviewed by Sarah from The Realistic Autistic
Below is a list of autism books reviewed by Sarah from The Realistic Autistic
I don’t have the ability to read minds. If you want me to do or not do something you need to tell me. What complicates things in this regard is some people are hurt by bluntness while others are helped. My best friends tend to be blunt.
Sarah did a good write up on Ask vs. Guess Culture on here blog.
Proponents of modern psychology are remiss as to why I’m not in touch with my emotions. There are several reasons:
I’m bipolar 1 and the illness itself as well as the medication stunts emotion. Before I was bipolar I didn’t have as much of a flat affect, I felt things more and was more expressive. People connected with me better because of it.
I had some scares around losing my vision when I was in college. For a while I was in fear of losing my vision. This eventually caused me to start repressing my fear which impaired emotional function.
Starting at around age 31 I got tinnitus. My tinnitus is not near as bad as some people but (as you can imagine) someone likely on the autistic spectrum who was born blind I am super sensitive to sound. To deal with this new stream of unwanted input I became more emotionally numb.
The parade of people (of both genders) cutting me off and ghosting me hasn’t helped either. Most people deal with this but when you have a disability with relationships you have to take what you get because most people won’t touch you with a ten foot pole. A lot of these people are pretty damaged too so it makes for a lot of bad relationship things.
Modern society has made it that much more confusing to navigate with the fact that some asks are really tells. In the olden days there were more tells, in traditional culture there were right and wrong things, for example the Ten Commandments. Nowadays modern psychology runs pretty much everything and people don’t like to be told things outright so they frame their tells as asks. For example I had a job coach who really wanted me to go somewhere and get some IT training. She didn’t tell me this, she just asked about it. But later on I realized when she brought it up again that that was what she really wanted me to do.
This can also be seen in self care. The party line is that exercise, yoga, meditation, eating vegetables, and chores are good for self care. While this might be for some people I think this is a situation where people are being prescriptive but somewhat disingenuous about it. For me exercise doesn’t help at all unless it is done with people who I have a positive relationship with. Meditation doesn’t work for me, stemming (muttering, yelling and even cursing, rocking back and forth) helps me. I like to drink sweet things (mostly diet pop) and watch trashy TV like Married with Children. None of these are approved ways to deal with things but when suspect an ask is really a tell you’ll just be inundated with blow back.
The whole enterprise of therapy is a tell framed as an ask. That’s why I’ve had three women cut me off telling me to “go get help”. They wanted someone to change me because they obviously found a flaw in me they couldn’t change themselves.
Show values permeate our existence to such a degree that it’s easy to start believing they are actually true. Obama comes to mind, persisting to believe in the better angels of our nature even after being given evidence otherwise over and over again. The other side of show values is if you straight up say you don’t believe in one (like the idea that man is basically good) you get shot down really good.
As an individual with a disability I live at the intersection of show and actual values. Show values say you get the job your merit affords, actual values say you get the job your physical appearance affords. If I had known the only job I could get was a janitor job then why was so much time, treasure, and hope invested in educating me.
My latest issue involves something I’ve brought up multiple times on this blog. Show values say that a person with a disability will be tolerated by all but the most ignorant of us. Actual values say that for a person with a physical disability every one of their interactions with the abled world is an incursion that must be apologized for. Granted believing this about people is unflattering which is why the show value of tolerance is pointed to. My problem is because I have impaired social skills I need guidance on how to diffuse the “bomb” of my visible physical disability’s presence in a manner that will appease the room.
I think one of the best arguments against the existence of a personal god is the fact that suffering is so isolating.
God’s people dropping out of your life like flies. Me and many others on the bottom experience is that the people who claim to be closest to God are the ones that get the furthest away when things turn permanently worse. They do this all while parroting the romantic notion of suffering that things are going to go according to “God’s plan”. Well they’re not and you are part of the problem. Religious people will trot out their “free will” theodicy trump card when confronted with the problem of evil. But then they put it away when their free will is frustrating God’s supposed “perfect plan”.
The fact that for a lot of us suffering turns us into much less of an everyman than more of one. One of the things those of privilege selling suffering say is that it will somehow connect you to a greater experience of humanity. While that happens for some lucky people for most of us suffering cuts us off from enriching people and activities we need to actually become what they claim suffering will make us become. I have noticed in my life that I’m not even empathetic to people who have gone through the same things as me (mental illness). This surprised me. I’m just stretched so thin myself I have nothing to give. Plus there is this thing with mental illness called negative symptoms which actually eat your personality away which flies in the face of anything positive coming out of suffering.
The idea of drawing “meaning” out of suffering helps less people than you would think. Highly principled people may concoct backstories and astroturf the bad things in their life to things make sense in hindsight but that requires an expensive brain that can play good mental gymnastics. I want dignity and relationships, I don’t give a rip about meaning. Suffering actually robs my life of meaning because I found meaning in dignified work and relationships and what I suffer robs me of both.
Experiences of God going AWOL. The part of your brain synthesizing “experiences of God” is likely to go down if you suffer enough. Part of this is suffering and skills to cope with it make you emotionally numb and religion (or whatever they are calling Christianity these days) largely transpires on the seat of the emotion. Nobody wants to admit this but the way it’s sold (especially in contemporary worship) is all about emotions. Anything that makes you emotionally stunted is going to torpedo your interaction with “God”. This is partially why so many people on the spectrum are non religious because we don’t have the emotional toolbox to interact with a god.
The fact that a lot of us turn to the internet for refuge. When the world shuns you the internet raises you. Many forms of suffering like disability narrow people who will interact with you beyond reduced functionality mode to a subset of people which you find online. For example with me if someone doesn’t have a disability and/or mental illness the chance of a relationship happening is just about zero. Unfortunately for religion the internet is not a community friendly to religion partly because a lot of the people seeking refuge on it were already rejected by the church so they carry that with them. Also online interaction is not incarnational the same way real life interaction is so it’s less conducive to spreading religion.
I’ve been over exposed to religion my entire life and I try to believe in all that stuff but it’s like an algebra problem you suspect you got wrong but you don’t know why you got it wrong or have the intelligence to derive the correct answer. Materialism is the idea that the world we can taste touch and see is all there is. Some reasons:
The colossal failure of prophecy. I don’t care if it comes from a parishioner rolling in the aisles full of the Spirit or a wizard sacrificing a goat in the middle of a flaming pentagram, accurate prophecy from the Dream Team or the Mean Team would go a long way in convincing me that there was something beyond this existence. If someone the beginning of 2019 would have heard a word from the beyond that we need to make two billion N95 masks and they could make a killing doing so, that would have been great. What passes for prophecy is usually as vague as a horoscope. Like “you’re going to meet someone interesting today”.
The lack of scientific evidence for the supernatural. If there were angels, demons, or ghosts it seems like it would end up on social media as most of us can whip out a camera from our pocket at a moment’s notice. We have elaborate scientific instruments to measure basically almost anything from gravity waves to subatomic particles. Incidents where the supernatural has been seen like with Prophet Yahweh seem to point to certain actors able to leverage glitches in the simulation rather than a world whose rules are governed by what our major religions tell us.
The fact that suffering is so incredibly isolating. The problem of evil is correctly on every atheist’s checklist but I think just is big of a problem is people’s orientation towards those who suffer. As a hedge against the idea of chaos and senseless evil Christians try to concoct a redemptive narrative around suffering and pain. Unfortunately this ends up backfiring on them because in order to keep this narrative intact they have to cut anyone out of their lives whose narrative doesn’t end up redemptive, proving that this narrative was a lie all along (just like in quantum mechanics you can’t measure without modifying). When tragic things have happened in my life the people who believed in “God’s plan” were the first to exit. During this time of plague it’s becoming increasingly clear that the people romanticizing suffering and the ones doing the actual suffering are worlds apart. Poverty in the best of times causes incredible isolation (especially as people get past 45) and now Coronavirus is killing these older poor people which is heartbreaking.
The fact the people on the spectrum are generally not religious. I have stated that the brain has to do a lot of heavy lifting to get religion working through/for you. The same social skills one needs to interact successfully with people are needed to interact successfully with a deity. And just like we do communicating wrong (according to society) we are even gaslit for our expressions of religiosity. When I was Christian I had this crazy theory about the color orange being really redemptive and that got pretty laughed out of the room. God is sold as being near those on the margins (as most autistics are) but our experience bears the opposite, not being able to build an image of God in our head that helps us function or being able to be accepted in a community of believers. Granted not every autistic’s experience is this but I’d say a majority are and mine definitely has been.
The observation that the content of Near Death Experiences are more a measure of the person’s mental health than anything else. People pushing the supernatural generally point to Near Death Experiences as proof that there is a heaven. What evidence they don’t admit is there are also hell NDE’s and these are pretty arbitrary, not contingent on people’s virtue or religiosity. The fact that that when they did a study on people’s reaction to shrooms they screened out those with bipolar and schizophrenia is telling. People who believe in the supernatural want us to believe these experiences are more than our brain’s regions communicating with each other differently.
Verbal abuse hurts the most when it is accurate. People fed a diet of modern psychology wish to write off all abusive communications because the ill will of the person dishing out said abuse. But the more wrong you have with you the more likely verbal abuse flung at you is going to be accurate. For example I had a best friend years ago that called me pathetic. Had I made something of my self that abuse would not have hurt so much. Another girl on cutting me off said I was painfully awkward. Also accurate.
Pastors and psychologists generally have enough of their lives together not to have the verbal abuse slung at them be accurate. But those of us lower down this is not the case. And the cognitive tricks and platitudes helping professionals parrot don’t help us.
I have long argued that socialization was a a series of feedback loops and if it started out negative you were screwed. Now a study of autistic individuals interacting with the wider world agrees with me. Challenges can be constructive but people who always had to take every swing from a sand trap don’t end up good at golf.
Sarah did a great post on shopping sound sensitivity at Meijer. I am very sound sensitive as I was born blind so have had to use my ears to make up for my poorer vision. Plus I’m likely on the spectrum so have sound sensitivity due to that. Here are some tips on how people can improve the lives of people like us:
Produce speakers with directional sound. Right now the technology is in its infancy and I only ever experienced it at a video game demo display at Best Buy but boy was it glorious. You could hear the ad for the game but then if you walked a foot away you couldn’t hear it any more. Imagine if TV sound bars had this technology to point the sound only at the people actually watching. This would particularly help in small houses like I’ve lived in for the past 20 years where the living area is open plan so sound coming from one place fills up the entire floor.
Provide better options for sound proofing windows. Many of us sensitive to sound are bothered by the whine of neighbors’ heating and central air unit. They have heavy curtains and other things but I don’t see a solution that could really block off the sound well.
Make equipment produce gentler trouble tones. This is actually a hard one because the beeps machines make when they alert you come from simple cheap sound hardware and for them to produce gentler tones they would have to upgrade said hardware. It’s like how the default beep tone on the Super Nintendo was gentler than the one on the original Nintendo (because the Super Nintendo had better hardware).