The Djao'Mor'Terra Collective (fayanora) wrote,
The Djao'Mor'Terra Collective

Aspies and self-reflection

This article
is interesting
, and I believe its research is valid, but I
disagree with the interpretation of the results. It basically says
that the part of the brains of people on the autism spectrum that
process information when thinking about oneself fire just the same
amount as the part that thinks about other people. This is different
from "normal" (neurotypical) people, whose brains have give more space
to processing data about other people.

Their interpretation of this data was that people on the autistic
spectrum have a less developed sense of self. *Sigh* That's pretty
much exactly the opposite of what they believed before this new data
came in. But from other studies I've read about, observations of
myself, and observations of other people (neurotypical and otherwise),
I think there's another option they've failed to consider. I think it
means that auties/aspies have more self-reflection capabilities than
neurotypical people do. It gets better: I also believe, from other
studies I've read about, that auties/aspies get more data from other
people than neurotypical people do. They go on and on about aspies not
being able to discern body language, but I think what's really going
on is that we get too much body language information, and can't
tell what information is important to social situations and what
isn't. Taking myself as an example, as long as I can remember I have
had the ability to read people like a book, getting an accurate
picture of their personality from just a few seconds to a few minutes
of observation. I think part of it is because I can tell when people
are lying, either to themselves or to others. Where I think I had
problems growing up is in other people's reactions to my having this
information. It makes many people uncomfortable to know that anyone
can know them so well, and so people who count on their facade being
impenetrable (bullies, for example) will react to that discomfiting
idea. It didn't help that I've always been very androgynous even in my
Another problem is that, when I was a young child, I couldn't tell the
difference between a lie told to others and a lie told to oneself, so
often I was able to see things about people that they were denying to
themselves, wouldn't let themselves recognize, let alone anyone else.
And I had no compunction, in my early years, from telling them what I
could sense of them.
One last thing in that vein: I was also uncomfortable with other
people's discomfort. I've always been able to feel other people's
emotions. In fact, the last few years I've pushed my own emotions back
so far that I can feel other people's emotions more clearly than I can
feel my own. And as a child, I didn't know how to ignore flood of
emotive information, so I retreated inside and lived in a fantasy
world for most of my childhood. Lately I've been thinking that
autistics probably have it even worse than aspies, and are so unable
to cope with the overwhelming flood of information that they have to
shut off the whole world to survive it. It reminds me of the TV show
Charmed, the episode where Prue is given the empathic gift, but she's
not prepared for it, so it's driving her insane.

I was also thinking on the way here that being an aspie or autie in
this society is kind of like being one of the few people who can see
color in a society full of color-blind people. How do you talk about
colors with people who can't see them? How can you even conceptualize
colors to yourself when no one around you talks about them? Hell, if
you were born color-seeing in such a world, how would you even realize
that you were different from others when no one talks about colors?
Imagine color-blind people wearing horrible color combonations (bright
red with neon blue polka dots or some such, something that looks like
it's moving when you see it), and you're getting overwhelmed by the
sickening color combonations, but no one can figure out what's wrong
with you because they have no concept of "color" beyond black, white,
and grey. Lacking any concept of what you're going through, they
project their own interpretation onto you. Some say you can only see
blacks and greys but not whites, others say you can only see whites
and greys but not black, or only white and black but not greys, when
the answer is "none of the above."

I believe this to be the true interpretation because I'm an aspie and
I'm empathic. So is Lilla. Even her ex-boyfriend Jordan, who had an
extreme case of Asperger's, could feel other people's emotions (even
when he couldn't figure out their reasons). I believe people on the
autism spectrum are, thus, a mutation. We're evolving as a species,
and I think one day most people will be aspies or high-functioning
autistics. But even if that hope isn't true, I *do* believe
autism/asperger's is a mutation, a surplus of ability rather than a
lack. And being too good at something can become as maladaptive in
some societies as being disabled. In a society of the blind, the one
eyed people can make others uncomfortable. People try to feel better
about their discomfort by calling it a disability; they may not be
able to admit to themselves that the prospect of it being an
improvement scares them.


EDITED TO ADD: I hear neurotypical people going on and on about how aspies only see the world in terms of black and white supposedly, but I've seen far more black-and-white thinking among neurotypical people than I have among aspies. Everyone's guilty of it on at least a few things, but neurotypical people are far more guilty of it than aspies, in my experience. I think because having so much brain power devoted to self-reflection lets us get a clearer picture of our thoughts, and leans us in that direction more than NTs.
Tags: asperger's, autism, cool stuff, interesting stuff, science, theories, thought of the day
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