Jewish Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös (Image credit: amphetamines.com/paul-erdos.html)
Those with Asperger’s syndrome are forced to deal more rationally with social issues; that is the way we function; that is the way those residing on the ‘high functioning’ autism spectrum “highly function”. “Asperger Love: Loveless or Unloved Lovers” detailed a personal example for such rationality and its frequent failure. The unwritten, fuzzy, and shifting social rules are ‘power tools’ in the hands of those with a power we do not have. We take refuge and seek more reliable safety and control in constructs that are explicitly rule based. We often become physicists or engineers, because reliable rules such as the laws of nature are what we desire. In order to function in society, we do not just prefer to be rational, but we are forced to approach social issues rationally, which exercises rationality. Some hold that rational transparency is desirable in future society.
“It seems that for certain scientific or artistic excellence a dash of autism is needed.” Hans Asperger (German original: "Es scheint uns, als wäre für wissenschaftliche oder künstlerische Höchstleistungen ein Schuss Autismus geradezu notwendig")
Asperger’s can render people more honest and sincere. There can be less automatic denial, less self-censorship, less falling for deception by social norms and the illusion of their consistency. “Can”! As already pointed out in “Asperger Love”, this does not imply that such is more often the case than not. Aspies can be insincere, too. Many of my readers love the honesty and integrity of my writing, so they say, the honest analysis and commentary on the most difficult issues, be it suicide or whether quantum mechanics implies that you torture your loved ones in a parallel future. Also this aspect of Asperger’s syndrome helps me analyze, for example physics in its current many-world paradigm change. Thinking constricted by social norms cannot understand “free will” as a socially evolved illusion. This additional point is not about rationality or rules, but about being able to consider dark and undesired hypotheses and about admission of failure. What made Wittgenstein truly great is his deep admission of failure.
Asperger’s can facilitate a rational perspectivism that allows next level, postmodern analysis (postmodernism is perspectivism) and socially critical theory that goes beyond the ‘neuro-typical’ consensus. Many people claim that they cannot imagine how anybody can become that outrageous perverted killer, that Hitler, that evil woman, or dogmatically religious. My understanding of the “normal” person or an “appropriately functioning” social system shows no discontinuity between them and the supposedly evil ones – they are pretty close along the relevant parameters. It seems to me that I can imagine what many can not. Even psychopaths can perfectly well put themselves into other people’s shoes in order to deceive them and later hurt them. That psychopaths can hurt people although they can emphasize is a desirable function that the military and the business world for example have a hard time substituting for, which is why so many CEOs are psychopaths. Very few, if any, suffer Asperger's, because we do feel responsible and share suffering.
Self-proclaimed independent media and progressives vilify men’s rights groups, which concern themselves with issues like boys having increasingly problems in today’s school system and job market (see Hanna Rosin on the Rise of Women). This is related to that it is mostly boy’s who struggle with autism spectrum disorders like Asperger’s syndrome (4 males for every female). Men’s right’s groups support for example the many men who get severely hurt with convenient sexism allegations by Madame I-need-that-promotion; see also Discrimination against Men in Science. This undoubtedly hits especially many socially awkward men with Asperger's syndrome. Instead of the left being supportive of these modern ‘downtrodden by the system’, the progressive participates in silencing and destroying us, as they long since have taken their place at the table of power. An illuminating case study on academia and mainstream suppressing even previously adored feminists who dared to mention men’s issues is the destruction of Farrell.
“Psychotics want to tear the world down, Sociopaths don't care and Autistics want to make the world a better place.” Source
I have had and still have my share of mobbing and discrimination, and politically correct human resource departments have made this discrimination only worse for us. It is thus time to emphasize the positive. I quote, and refrain from criticism (“scientists in Japan have recently discovered” is not my favorite way to argue anything):
Focus and diligence – The Asperger ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision or incentive is legendary.
Internal motivation – as opposed to being motivated by praise, money, bills or acceptance. This ensures a job done with conscience, with personal pride.
Independent, unique thinking – people with AS tend to spend a lot of time alone and will likely have developed their own unique thoughts as opposed to a ‘herd’ mentality.
Higher fluid intelligence – scientists in Japan have recently discovered that AS children have a higher fluid intelligence than non-autistic children. Fluid intelligence is "the ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems. It is the ability to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge. ”(Wikipedia 2009) Experts say that those with AS have a higher than average general IQ as well.
Visual, three-dimensional thinking – some with AS are very visual in their thought processes, which lends itself to countless useful and creative applications.
Attention to detail – sometimes with painstaking perfection.
Honesty – the value of being able to say “the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.”
Logic over emotion – although people with AS are very emotional at times, we spend so much time ‘computing’ in our minds that we get quite good at it. We can be very logical in our approach to problem-solving.
I spare you a detailed narcissist rundown of how this applies to me. Just for example, without “Visual, three dimensional thinking – some with AS are very visual in their thought processes, which lends itself to countless useful and creative applications” in combination with the other points, the visually intuitive EPR many-worlds model, which proves relative actualization of parallel futures,would not exist, the Quantum Randi Challenge would not exist, computer/human visual system facilitated 3D structure analysis in nanotechnology would not exist. None of the work I am proud of and that I can fully stand behind would be, also not the various instances of whistle blowing of course. There would be nothing but the mediocre nonsense that allows me to survive inpublish-or-perish corrupted scientific community and academia. Would I rather have the reputation, salary, and future security that a pill “curing” Asperger’s could conceivably have provided me with? No!
However, relating Asperger’s and rationality is not equivalent to the claim that Asperger’s is all good! There is no naïve scientistic claim here, no new-atheist jumping the misguided ‘look how rational we are and they are not’-dance.
After having fought bullies all my life, I will not let myself be bullied by the fashionable Asperger/autism niche-issue warriors who deny all “negative” as being yet more discrimination. Honesty and sincerity above the socially endorsed level supposedly characterizes us. Those who do not face up to the dark side are suspicious. However, this being the intertubes, I will put the next part into a separate post later.