I have lots of empathy for animals, and people are just another type of animal.
I have difficulty with the particular type of empathy where someone knows what someone is feeling without being told that the other person is feeling a certain way.
If you are walking around depressed and upset about something, if I'm not paying attention and trying to read your cues it is unlikely that I would figure this out. If you tell me your 16 year old cat died last night I will hug you and cry with you because I understand how awful that is, but I lack the ability to directly pick up that sort of mental state.Edit
: Hah, I was looking for something to help explain this and found the same example I just used:http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/debunk ... ome/all/1/
6. Myth: They lack empathy.
Fact: “Empathy is a complicated concept,” Gaus said. Some researchers have divided empathy into four components: two called “cognitive empathy” and two called “emotional empathy.” People with Asperger’s struggle with cognitive empathy but have no problem with emotional empathy, she said.
Take the above example: The person with Asperger’s isn’t able to intellectually infer that the co-worker who lost their friend Catherine might be sad, especially in the moment. They might realize this hours later at home. “But when they do know the person is sad, they are able to feel that sadness without any difficulty, perhaps even more intensely than typical people,” she said. In other words, “they have difficult expressing empathy in a conventional way.” It’s a problem of communication, not empathy, she said.
With the discussion we've been having the point you are noticing is what I sum up as: I would rather be right than liked. If someone doesn't like me for who I am, who cares? If you like me and I like you, great, if you dislike me and I like you otherwise, if your dislike is based on a mistaken assumption about me I would prefer to correct that, as I would hate for you to labor under a misconception, but I'm not going to take it personally, opinions don't count.
J Thomas wrote:
Max™ wrote:I think at this point we can set aside the big long quote train and accept that while we both have positions based on various reasons, we agree that there are cases where too much certainty is troubling, but we are both unlikely to be awful babyhaters who want to [throw the world into a new stone age/new hadean era] despite not agreeing on exactly the same things.
Wanna ride the waterslide together?
On another topic, I'd like to present the possibility that the "Asperger's Syndrome" concept may not serve you.
On first sight it looks valuable. People who accept it don't consider you just an insufferable boor, they think it is not your fault because you have a disease.
But all it takes to get this disease is to decide to tell the truth as a regular thing. If you make this philosophical choice, and stick to it, you will do all the things that get people to think you have Asperger's Syndrome. You will say things that are not polite. You will say things that are awkward. As you get ostracized from polite society the rest will tend to follow.
Uh, no, it isn't quite that simple.
The normal human brain has hardware and software packages which are generally purposed for certain things, with a few packages that specifically excel at things ranging from judging distances while walking, to interpreting the mental state of other people based on various bits of information.
Most of this happens "in the background", you don't look at someone and notice that the angle they're holding their body at, the way they have their chin tucked in while they look at you, the position of their eyebrows, and the clipped ending of certain words indicates that they are saying one thing but meaning another due to their feelings on the subject.
You just know this, some people are better at it than others, but it is a fairly normal thing that is taken for granted.
For a long time I assumed that body language was a massive cultural lie; everyone assumed everyone else could observe and read it, so everyone claimed they could as well, but as I am unable to detect any sort of information content supposedly attributed to it, I was baffled as to where this claim emerged.
Various other things like this added up until I was diagnosed and learned, no, in fact everyone is not crazy and lying about shit like that, I just lack a few software packages that normally get installed as your brain matures.
It's not that I am just blunt or honest, I can consciously turn that on or off, I can't just flick a switch and naturally express and interpret body language or properly interpret subtle verbal cues or engage in eye contact without seeming a bit odd.
People tend to have some concept that it's admirable to choose good philosophical principles and stick to them even though they cause you problems. We tend to admire people who do that, when it's ideals we agree with. The man who dies providing covering fire to his buddies, so they can withdraw from an untenable position. The whistleblower who reveals the horrible conspiracy though she can never again get hired for a responsible position. The journalist who braves death threats and kidnapping attempts to publish the story that powerful people want him not to tell. Etc. But in general if you do heroic things people would prefer you do them somewhere else. Far more convenient to honor your memory after you die for your ideals, than put up with you being heroic when they don't want you to.
I noticed in grade school that there were two obviously conflicting views about telling the truth. On the one hand, there's the position that you should be able to say anything you want if it's true, and nobody ought to try to stop you. On the other hand, there's the view that you have a responsibility to stand up for your honor. If somebody says something dishonorable about you or yours, you should be ready to fight them even if they far outnumber you, whether or not what they say is true. Especially if it is true. It's your responsibility not to let them say such things, and if you're too craven to stop them then that's like admitting they're true and that you're a coward, both.
Yeah, this is reading more into what I said than I meant. I tell the truth because it's what it is. If someone makes a mistake, it doesn't make sense to me that it would be more socially acceptable to ignore it than to try and help by noting it and explaining the error. I'd be far more embarrassed at being wrong than having it be corrected publicly, it took some time to realize not everyone, in fact most people, don't feel that way.
People who tell the truth can expect to get into a lot of fights in grade school.
Wasn't grade school actually, I never got in fights in school, I was too busy helping kids with their schoolwork. Conflicts relating to social situations in school didn't exist for me, to have social conflicts requires you to consider others your peers, but kids in school were just kids to me. I don't care what they think about me, why would anyone let someone else's opinion matter to them?
Well, not quite accurate, I did get into conflicts, but that was with the school system itself, after being told enough times that I was testing at a 12th grade level or higher I began to ask why I needed to do busy work any longer, could I not simply take the appropriate tests and move on? Getting the answer "because you have to go along with the system" just agitated me so I began pushing at the boundaries of the rules til I finally left and got a G.E.D. instead. Looking back I should have just slid through and aced everything while applying for scholarships, but it didn't occur to me that I could get into college just by being smart. I figured since we were poor, that wasn't something I would be doing, so I just studied on my own.
It settles down later, though. If you say uncomplimentary things about people that you owe -- your employer, your patron, somebody who has done you a favor, etc -- then you show you have no loyalty and people will stop doing you favors. Why should anybody be on your side if you show you won't be on their side afterward? They mostly won't hit you. They might give you bad work reviews, scapegoat you for any failures that could have been your fault, possibly frame you for crimes, etc.
Oh, I know this sort of thing well enough now.
It does not make sense to act like an aspie unless you are willing to suffer for your philosophical position.
This isn't just a philosophical position, there's no such thing as an aspie philosophy, it's a specific type of developmental deficiency related to the complex neurological functions which come with being a social animal.
But there doesn't have to be anything else wrong with you than that single mistaken ideal. People can have various sorts of brain dysfunctions that leave them unable to read body language, unable to tell when other people are uncomfortable, unable to tell when they are annoying everyone around them, etc. And those will get the same diagnosis. But they are not the same.
Uh, yeah, THAT is actually what AS is, a mild form of autism, I'm not locked in my head, but I'm locked out of YOUR head in ways that most people are not.
I say, if you are willing to suffer for telling the truth, you ought to hold out for the benefits that go along with it. You may be a political dissident, someone who deserves to emigrate to a place where they appreciate dissidents from your country. You may find people who respect you for speaking up for yourself despite the consequences. That's worth something.
If you agree that there is something wrong with your brain which makes you do it, you lose all that. And you open the way in coming years to involuntary treatment. You are causing misery for yourself and others. If a treatment is found -- perhaps involving aversive behavioral measures, painful electric shocks to your prostate etc when you misbehave, maybe -- and you could be cured, it would be a blessing for you whether you wanted it or not. You would thank them afterward. Guaranteed you would thank them afterward, since the treatment is not complete until you are ready to thank them for it....
Uh, no, there's not something wrong that makes me do something, there is an explanation for why I don't "have an app for that", I can fake it and run through practiced interactions which can at times seem fairly normal, until someone does something which I'm unable to model and everything goes fuzzy in my head while I try to figure out what went wrong between my expectations and observations... which can get a little awkward when you're in a conversation and suddenly freeze up while you start going over things in your head as the other person/persons wait for a response.
Of course my view is only my opinion. It's one way to look at it, that I think is worth considering.
Well, I appreciate the thought I suppose, but you're a bit misinformed about what AS is or why I would bring it up. Like I said, it is not an excuse, I would go so far as to say if you see someone online blaming something on AS with a "not my fault" overtone, they're a self-misdiagnosed "assburgers" type who thinks it's an excuse to be an asshole.
I don't need an excuse to be an asshole, if I feel like it, I can, and if there are consequences I will deal with them.
I do think that it might be useful to explain why I do or don't respond in a typical fashion in some instances, and would describe my use of this explanation as more of a "whoops, my bad, sorry" than a "fuck you, I don't gotta apologize, Imma aspie" type of thing.