navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Category Archives Lessons
  • Forgiveness and Experience

    People get forgiveness wrong.  In a wrong strong enough not to forgive generally the person wronged has people not forgiving them for the fallout of said wrong.  I’ve had people wrong me in the past that have precipitated the destruction of my mental health.  I can pretend to forgive them but I know it’s bull shit.  To me forgiveness is like two plus two equals banana.  You can play cognitive tricks and smoke and mirror a poker face and be cordial but at the end of the day when nobody will forgive you for the fallout of the wrong (treating you like shit because you’re mentally ill) you can’t forgive them unless “God” enables you to (which for me would just mean I’d have to be constantly manic).


    There is a sense to which experiences are more meaningful when they happen communally.  For example in the 2016 election experiencing the hope and ultimate despair of people at the All Access open mic made the whole experience more real.  I don’t have that open mic anymore so no matter what happens in 2020 there won’t be that hope or shoulder to cry on.  I will be experiencing everything as an an atomized individual so whatever happens the joy or the sorrow will be more empty.

  • Noble Lies

    One of the issues with those on the spectrum (including myself) is taking society’s noble lies at face value.  This has been a cause of consternation in my life.

    One of the noble lies I believed was that friendships would last forever (in some capacity) if both parties were close enough at a certain point in their life.  Of course I lost my closest friend from college to low status-itus.  I could have saved myself a lot of grief if someone had gotten it through my skull that most of the idealistic things people say are aspirational rather than actual.  Noble lies are a way for a culture to save face while not changing things structurally in any meaningful way.

    For example the idea you have innate worth.  Pretty people didn’t like the idea that they were just getting by on their looks so they invented the idea that everyone had worth regardless of looks.  Of course if a noble lie is true for you (you happen to be pretty) then it is easy to believe and transmit.  But when you are on the bottom (like a good portion of those on the spectrum are) all the noble lies are definitely lies.  You must keep frame of reference in mind because a noble lie is often true to the person telling it so they are behaving in a rational manner.

    The bullshit of noble lies are like bacteria in your gut, some is needed to digest everything else.  However those of us on the spectrum need extra help teasing out aspirational beliefs from the ones that actually hold true.

  • Taking On a New Thing

    People tell you to improve your life you need to take on a new thing be it a job, a medication, volunteering, or something else.  What they fail to tell you is if you are on the bottom it is very difficult to impossible to actually quit that new thing you tried.  This is because if you are on the bottom you generally don’t have much control over your life, your handlers have control of it.  It’s like the cars that had their accelerators suck.

    I want to quit my job and my volunteering but I can’t.  I would not have started volunteering if I had known I didn’t have the option to quit.  But when you try things people assure you that you can quit them.  This is a lie, they know if they told you the truth, that you couldn’t quit, you wouldn’t try anything.  So they lie.

  • The easy route is to not forgive

    Following up on my Forgiveness and Indra’s Net post, I think a lot of times forgiveness just makes things more difficult.  I know this is not an opinion that is going to be popular with religion or modern psychology but my experience has been it’s been true.  Wrongs never go away in my mind, particularly ones that have caused the most fallout.  I still try to treat the perpetrators of these wrongs well and this s a lot harder than just cutting them off or treating them like crap.  And this non ill treatment is what’s the hardest.  I think people who are jerks to people who wronged them are generally not rabidly evil, they just don’t want to put forth the effort to take the high road.

    Underlying all of this is a current in neurotypical culture where some things people say are true while others are knee jerk dissembling reactions to hard truths (generally noble lies).  The idea that forgiveness always makes you feel better is one of these noble lies (like money and status aren’t everything for a man).  Forgiveness can really be healing but it can also be wounding and subject the forgiver to increased depression.

  • Lesson: At the Store

    Sometimes people on the spectrum’s mannerisms mimic shoplifters.  Follow these tips to be safer.  These tips apply for anyone, especially anyone who is not clean cut, neurotypical and white.

    • If possible don’t bring a backpack into a store.  It raises suspicion.
    • Never put merchandise you are going to purchase in your cloths or jacket pockets.  You may forget it on the way out of the store.
    • Always have a question ready in case an employee asks you if you need help.  A lot of times they are watching for shoplifting.
    • The answer to, “do you want a bag for this”, is always yes.  Sometimes you will be able to purchase things in a different area of a store (for example the electronics section at Meijer).  You always need to have a bag with a receipt in it because this shows onlookers you made the purchase.  You could get stopped without a bag and if you lost your receipt you could be in big trouble.

    The store (particularly big box stores) are not a kind place for those on the spectrum with the crowds, fluorescent lights, and store equipment beeping their trouble tones everywhere.

  • Creativity Comment

    Great comment by Josh on a NYTimes creativity article:

    Unless he’s one of a very lucky few, the creative person will be punished for his creativity at every stage of his life. School rewards students only for completing simple exercises according to schedule. At work, gifts are taken from the creator while most of the profit and credit accrue to others. If the creator is too good, he will be misunderstood. If he is not, he will fail.

    Creativity and talent do have their own rewards, but creativity is a cruel task master, since the creative person must create, and modern society offers relatively few opportunities and rewards for doing so.

  • Lesson: Bluntness Threshold


    You can’t ascertain the exact meaning of any statement without taking the person into account.  Some people will be blunt in most situations while others won’t until facing some grave situation.  So one person’s bluntness verses another’s is not an apples to apples comparison.  For example the president of a company might tell his employees that the business was financially sound despite its problems.  He didn’t necessarily lie about the problems, just played them down because that was what his shareholders and customers expected him to do.  One day he calls all his employees into a meeting and tells them how bad things really are.  And you know him well enough to know that him being blunt about this means that the company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

    This gets even messier when we add that everybody will interpret your bluntness in a different way depending on what level of it is tolerated in the subculture they belong to.  Being on the spectrum often makes us more blunt and less able to feel out others’ tolerance for it.  For example you’re in a room and you notice a woman with burns on her neck and you point that out.  She gets offended and hurt and others echo the sentiment that she was in the right.

    Many of us (or at least me) like it when people are blunt to us so we don’t understand “social grace”.  For example for most of my life I have had really thick glasses.  When I was a kid other kids would ask about it, I’d explain my eye problem, and they would be fine with it.  As an adult almost nobody asks but most people treat me differently.  I know this because for eight years of my life I wore contacts that made me look pretty normal and the treatment difference was very noticeable.

  • Lesson: Metadata

    Often in social interactions the metadata is the most important and poignant part of the interaction (metadata is the data that precedes and describes the main data).  In the case of social interactions the metadata are things like your age, your gender, your looks, and your social status.  Depending on what metadata you possess you will be treated very differently.  This will happen before you have a chance to open your mouth.  What comes out of your mouth is often the least important thing because you have already been judged.  People don’t like to admit this because we are taught that one is judged by the content of their character (which includes what comes out of one’s mouth) not what they have to offer.

    The metadata goes into serious overdrive when attempting any type of mating interaction.  In these cases whether or not someone communicates is communication in and of itself.  The content of said communication is less important.

  • Lesson: Getting at the Truth

    Words and generalizations are a match made in heaven.  You ask people a question like “does status really matter” and you will get the standard therapeutic B.S.  The point is, almost like the doctor knee toy hammering test, people have an autonomous dissembling reflex.  You need to beat this.  The important point to learn is the truth bubbles up extemporaneously, almost like a Freudian slip, you generally can’t get an honest answer by trying to get at it directly.

    When I went to a psychiatrist in Wisconsin they gave me a bipolar worksheet (because I was a bipolar).  One of the worksheets was a checklist for looking for signs of mania.  A lot of them were the typical fare, like were you happy for no reason, or did you think people could read your mind.  There was one that I was particularly drawn to.  It said, “I thought I could change the world”.  Implying that, of course you can’t.

    If the general is a person, the specific is an alien that bursts out of her chest (I didn’t see the Alien movies but that’s about all I know about them).  I wanted to live on my own and asking wasn’t getting me anywhere so I found a specific place that was for rent.  That forced my parents’ hand and they said I could not live on my own.  I wasn’t satisfied with the answers I was getting from people with regards to status really mattering.  So I spent $8 to reserve a place at a Wheaton alumni gathering (I went to that school and it’s pretty selective so alumni are generally very vocationally successful).  My parents wouldn’t give me a ride there because they knew how bad I would be treated (an ignored email from a former close friend from college who dropped out of my life because of low status portended to this).

    The point is, the therapeutic-industrial complex has made finding the truth more difficult but you can beat it if you find creative ways to tease it out.

    Also the therapeutic-industrial complex would tell me to give people the benefit of the doubt and not accuse them of ignoring me for being low status.  This is on purpose.  They are all about shielding people of power and privilege.  The good old Calvinist depravity of man idea just doesn’t serve those in power well anymore.

  • Lesson: Friendship Window of Opportunity

    People give you a (often vanishingly small) window of opportunity to prove you are worth their acceptance/friendship. Once this window of opportunity closes it’s pretty useless to even engage them. The window’s size varies from person to person. Some people will notice your awkwardness or uncool cloths and immediately disengage communication. Others will probe you a little to see if you share some of their interests and back away if you don’t. Therapists will tell you that in social situations you shouldn’t be so self-conscious because people aren’t thinking about you. In a way this is true—they aren’t having any novel thoughts about you. However, every interaction with you they have are informed by the split second they made up their mind about you in the moment where that window of opportunity closed and they decided to reject you.

    An example: you are a junior in high school and it’s your first day of Spanish class. The person behind you is being friendly to you because you both beaten Skyrim and unlocked most of the Steam achievements. These conversations go on a couple of days. However, a few days in you are having a stomach ache and ask the teacher if you can use the restroom. She says no and then you have somewhat of an outburst because it should make sense to her that crapping in the toilet rather than on the floor is the better of the two options. After this outburst your potential friend only gives you one or two word answers to your attempts at socializing. Your window of opportunity has closed.

    It goes without saying that in the window of opportunity a lot of people are just looking for a reason to reject you. This is because while some people value common interest and virtue, most value adherence to social norms and social status above all else.

    Those in power strongly disapprove of the reality that people give you a window of opportunity to get to know them (and any efforts to do so after this window has closed are futile). This is because a lot of what keeps a person in line in social situations is the hope that, by behaving, he can earn the respect and friendship of one or more of his peers. When this hope is taken out of the equation, there is no real incentive to conform.

    I can remember the end of high school at a school picnic, I knew I had no chance at being accepted by any of the guys. So I actually chased butterflies.

    Also, after giving up on caring (after eclipsing people’s window of opportunity), these people will jerk the hope chain.  They will claim that they would have accepted you if you would have just acted according to their wishes just a little bit longer.  This is to try to get you to feel remorseful because that there was some hope of them engaging you positively left (when there really wasn’t).