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  • Category Archives Aspie Specific
  • Christianity takes…

    Intuition: What is this intuition you speak of?  My intuition is as good as the foam package it came in.  Over and over trusting people, including good friends and just getting my head handed to me.  And of course in social situations being awkward as heck.  I don’t think a lot of people on the spectrum have intuition, I think intuition is largely an NT thing.  Intuition being the ability to size up a situation at a moment’s notice.  I don’t think the autistic brain works that way, at least mine doesn’t.  Christianity takes intuition because so much of “God’s guidance” is just what non religious people would call trusting your gut.  If you are like me and “trusting your gut” has gotten you no where then your faith is going to suffer (as mine did).

    Imagination: Atheists say God is imaginary.  They have a point.  Engaging a god takes a robust imagination which modern life with all its instant entertainment screens works against.  The way church services are designed is to point to a world beyond the one we see here, but without imagination all one sees are the props.  Loss of make believe makes one worse off faith wise than almost any other loss.  Additionally the loss of prophetic imagination leaves one unable to picture a world better than the one one finds them self in.  A lot of the good in Christianity has come about by people imagining a better world and fighting toward that end.  Without imagination it’s harder to fight because the reward is not in front of your face (like how the rest of modern life works).

    Patience: I always thought that if Jesus could make things go faster, the church would be packed with millennials.  Fast is expected of us and we need a higher power that can make things go faster.  In modern life waiting is almost always a negative and a sign that you are on the wrong side of an imbalance of power (for example waiting for someone late at a party).  There is also the issue that often things come either instantly or not at all because there is not much trust in the system.  Wait implies hope and trust.  Christianity asks one to trust and wait on God.  These things are counter cultural. People (including church people) are looking for results in your life right now, not in “the fullness of time”.

    Attention: We are distracted by all our screens and other things.  But Christianity is like a hard to read book, it demands our full attention.  But often we don’t have full attention to give to anyone or anything.  Additionally faith is communal property and authentic relationships require people paying their full bandwidth of attention to each other.  That means putting the smart phone down and being present in conversations and tasks.

    Social Skills: The same social skills needed to navigate through life are needed to conduct conversations with a deity.  This puts people on the spectrum at a severe disadvantage because often talking to God is just seen as talking to ourselves (which a lot of us do).  Also to get accepted in a church one needs a certain amount of social skills, sometimes even more so than the secular world.



  • Forgiveness is an NT construct

    Forgiveness is like the horizon.  Everyone says it exists but you can never get there.  Forgiveness is like lotto winnings.  I remember being at a gas station and there was a LED ticker denoting winnings in towns around us.  And we hear about the big wins in the news.  What this sets up is we think lotto winnings happen more than they actually do.  The same goes for forgiveness.  We are taught from the cradle that it exists and, especially with Christian upbringing, read and hear about it all the time.  So it makes it seem like it happens a lot more than it actually does.  Which is bad because we think we can wrong and be forgiven when this is usually a lie.

    As for me people have done things to me that have ruined my life and I don’t have the capacity to forgive, I can treat them cordially but I can’t change my emotions around what happened.  Of course therapists would want to guilt me for not being able to let go, because guilt is like the jackhammer you pull out when none of your other manipulative tools have worked.  You wrong me, the wrong stays in my muscle memory for future dealings with you.  You can label me bitter and angry (which implies I am culpable for my emotions which I have little to no control over).

    For the NT world I would offer the advice, “don’t fetishize and romanticize forgiveness and pretend it happens more than it actually does”.  I have found (particularly looking at my brother’s divorce) that the words you say are either water off their back or mercury in the blood (remaining in them indefinitely).  Everyone opines about forgiveness but, especially for people struggling with depression, damage of words and actions is often permanent (because people struggling with depression often don’t have control what pops and remains in their mind so your wrong’s effect is amplified).

    Also stop demonizing people like me who say forgiveness is a farce.  Because more often than not, it is.



  • life

    In a calculus proof the outcome is subject to the laws of mathematics.  Christianity is not like that.  Whether Christianity is true is itself incarnational.   The only way you show it to be true or false is the way you live your life.  This is why youth directors and even the Jars of Clay are dead on people listening to Nine Inch Nails.  Because Trent Reznor is such a powerful voice who earnestly sought God and found nothing.  This is why his first two albums are the ones Christians like the least.  Pretty Hate Machine in particular is all about apostasy.

    As for me I have earnestly sought God and found nothing.  And gotten handily rejected by the church.  And I am a pretty virtuous person.  People on the spectrum have much higher rates of non religiosity than the general population.  We don’t have the capacity to concoct God!  The fact that God could just be all in your head is an affront to Christians.  But if Christianity were really true wouldn’t the people who couldn’t concoct God be the ones that found him the most easily instead of the least easily?

    As I have gotten older I’ve lost the parts of myself I would need to exist to be faith filled.  That doesn’t mean God doesn’t talk to me, it’s just that the conversations normally revolve around wanting me to commit suicide.



  • Lights

    I think the best thing you can do at a restaurant as an aspie is take their feedback surveys and complain about the things that bother you.  For example the radio bothered me because it was too loud.  Most NT’s don’t like the radio loud either but it isn’t a deal breaker for them.

    And my latest halfbakery, basically a tip of the hat to Jeff Raskin, an indicator light for whether an OS is patched, a patch is pending, or it isn’t in the patch pipeline at all and thus insecure and dead in the water.



  • numbness and detachment

    The events of the last six months have kind of gotten me jammed to silence.  Kind of like those old 80’s synthesizer keyboards, if you maxed out their polyphony—playing more notes than they could output at a time—you just got silence.  I just feel numb and I really shouldn’t, there are millions of people in Africa and Yemen on the cusp of starving to death in addition to everything the news makes you aware of.  I think the Buddhist notion of compassion with detachment is a feat.  Not something I can muster, maybe because of my neurophysiology I don’t know.  Detachment for me doesn’t come without the consummate numbness.

    Therapy is supposed to give you access to all kinds of extra tools and emotional experiences, kind of like being an organist and getting an upgraded organ that has twice as many registers.  Perhaps the psychologically healthy person can be compassionate and detached.  But I don’t get how that changes things in the realm of observable action.  Our actions are often an answer to pain or discomfort.  For example getting something to eat because you’re hungry.  If one is detached that takes the “pain” of the compassion which is the thing that would goad a person to action.  Because love is so often borne out of pain.



  • Autism and the Burden of Reciprocity

    Scientists did a study and found that people on the spectrum were rated more poorly by children and adults:

    In other words, Autistic people can’t take all the blame for underdeveloped social skills because non-autistic people actually are actively avoiding us, limiting our access to opportunities to practice being social in real-world situations. The study authors found that Autistic people have every bit as much desire for friendship and human contact as non-autistic people and our UCLA loneliness scores were significantly higher than non-autistic people’s, but our ability to socialize is limited every bit as much by social ostracization from others as it is by our own neurology and the challenges to socialization it can present for us.

    The studies repeatedly underlined the importance of first impressions. A negative first impression held true no matter how much further exposure a person was given to reassess that first impression. But there was one scenario in which the Autistic people left a positive first impression: when people read a transcript of their words instead of seeing and hearing the Autistic people saying those words, observers rated them as more likable and more intelligent. In fact, in the scenario where observers just read the written words of Autistic and non-autistic people, they rated both groups the same. For non-autistic people, the written transcripts were their lowest-rated mode of communication, although only by a small amount. For Autistic people, the written transcripts were their highest-rated mode of communication by a very significant margin.

    I always thought the first impression stuck, I’m glad researchers found this to be true too.  I have a physical disability which makes me look different so that tends to net me bad first impressions in and of itself.



  • being opaque

    Skimming this article on tech diversity, something that has always bothered me as an aspie is how opaque people are.  How they’ll use a whole ton of words to say nothing.  I think by and large conservatives are less opaque than liberals.  This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing but I think it explains why a lot of times the two camps feel like they are talking past each other.  One of my favorite founts of wisdom Gordon Livingston is a conservative and a good example of not being opaque.

    I’m also not saying not being opaque means ones words are full of integrity.  Un opaque words are easier to parse for people who don’t pick up social cues so even if they are flat out lies they get latched on to.  But I think when one is opaque and lacks integrity it is seen as more sinister than people who just flat out lie to your face.

     



  • The Senses on the Spectrum

    Great post on The Realistic Autistic, A Hostile World on the way the senses are often affected in people on the spectrum:

    I wish more people would be that thoughtful about their interactions with others.  Most people have no way of knowing these difficulties I’ve described, and so I’m “reclusive” or “hard to get to know” or “unsocial.”  But most days it’s a trial to go out for any reason.  If even a tenth of the people I normally deal with understood that, my life would be a lot less anxiety-inducing.