Asperger in countries with less acceptance?

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Keyman
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14 Oct 2012, 9:38 pm

How does those with aspergers in countries in the Middle east, Africa, Asia etc fare? some countries have a strict theocratic system or strong religious influence or just plain poor. The description is likely not so accurate but it's a starting point. Latin America also makes me curious.

Things like being direct and honest, social misconceptions, disinterest in pointless rituals, or different idea on school Curriculum etc.. could be problems in some goverment systems.



1000Knives
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14 Oct 2012, 10:48 pm

I'd say in many ways those countries could be MORE accepting and inclusive. Key word, could. In my dealings with, say, Middle Easterners here in the States, they're way nicer on the whole to me than natives. If you're an outright Richard Dawkins kinda militant atheist in a Muslim country, then you might have problems. Depends on a lot of things. I know Christians have it rough in Muslim countries, but then the roughness they have leads to even more inclusiveness in the Christian community, though I've heard of people converting to Islam because of more social opportunity and people to hang out with.

It's a wrong assumption to automatically correlate Aspergers being atheist, there's plenty of religious people with Aspergers. In some specific "offices" of religion, so to speak, there's lots of people with AS/AS tendencies. Think theologians, those guys write thousands of pages on theoretical religious things. Monks and hermits in my branch of Christianity, too, those are pretty obvious Aspie religious "jobs." Heh, even most Orthodox priests I talk to are incredibly smart, and usually seem fairly introverted. AS or not, who knows. In Islamic communities in particular, there's people who memorize the Qaran for example, too, specially chosen for being smart usually.

The_Face_of_Boo would be one to talk to or read posts of, he's in Lebanon right now, has lived there all his life. He has all kinds of wacky adventures in Lebanon. Religion in particular, I'd say for the most part actually minimizes a lot of AS social problems. It gives a common group to be a part of, and people often are more forgiving of your social difficulties, partially out of religious obligation (ie, be kind to others) or because you're part of the "group" and then it gives a level of cohesion. So many times, I think AS in a country with strong social/community ties, especially between families/religions, is more or less minimized. Again, being Richard Dawkins and really going out of step with the rest of society could ruin it, but in closer knit communities like that, I feel AS by itself is much less of an issue. You still, say, get invited to big giant family or church/mosque meals, that sorta thing. With Muslims, too, lots of people own businesses and stuff, and will hook up other Muslims with jobs, even if they're menial ones as a butcher or whatever. I know one Ahmadiya Muslim guy who I'm 99% sure has Aspergers, he didn't go to the mosque too much, very quiet, kept to himself, was with his mother, and they basically referred to him like he had a disability. The community seemed nice to him, as closeknit as they are (which I'll get to in a second.)

One case I know in particular, Ahmadiya Muslims, which are sort of a cult of Islam who believe this guy Gulam Ahmad is The Messiah, they're a cult (though from my observations and time spent with them, a fairly friendly one) who upon joining will usually arrange you a wife and/or a job/money. That's obviously an extreme case, because it's a cult, but even in non-culty religions, there's still a sense of "togetherness." I have a few friends at my church, and most everyone else is quite nice to me there, it's pretty much the only place I have a "social group."

I could go on, but here's some links basically explaining my hypothesis. America is socially an unwell country, along with most of the "Western" world. From what I've seen and witnessed in my dealings with foreigners in my own country (especially Middle Easterners, Indians, and Pakistanis) they're much more forgiving socially. But, I could be totally wrong.

These are the links.
http://www.happierabroad.com/comparison.htm
http://www.happierabroad.com/ebook/Page15a.htm

Quote:
Huge lack of human connection. People live in psychological bubbles in a society of social isolation. Neighbors don't usually talk to each other or invite each other over.

The highest rate of loneliness in the world. Social isolation is a norm. Many have no one to talk to about their problems, so they have to pay a therapist who doesn't even really care about them.


First off, the only neighbor I ever had invite me over was an Indian couple, who despite having good jobs, speaking fluent English, and having an immaculate apartment, had no friends in my state. Second off, I never got the concept of therapists, because they never helped me more than friends did when explaining problems out.

Quote:
In general, there is a gaping lack of human connection in America. People are socially engineered to be segregated and paranoid of one another, which is not conducive to healthy human relationships at all. People live in bubbles, do not usually know their neighbors nor invite them over, and do not talk to strangers unless it's business related.


Quote:
This inherent disconnectedness and fragmentation in US society makes it awkward and unnatural to socialize and meet other people, or even to make friends. It just doesn’t come naturally, so to speak. And of course, dating between men and women also suffer. Simply put, the whole essence of human relationships is severely eroded by the fundamental fragmentation and disconnectedness in America. In America, one is never truly “accepted” the way they are, instead one has to constantly “prove their worth” under neverending pressure. Unfortunately, without true acceptance, one can never be truly “whole”.


So foreigners please rebut me about how the grass is greener here in the States. With the highest rates of mental illness in the world, and highest incarceration rate in the world, I'm inclined to believe we're not socially/societally "well."



Keyman
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14 Oct 2012, 11:13 pm

I guess Canadians are better of mentally and socially with more security and less pressure. The high incarceration is quite specific to USA, only Russia and South Africa comes near.

Being forced to pray 5-times a day sounds like a serious interruption. As well as having to know a holy book inside-out.

Being able to assocciate freely when it comes to sex etc.. Is something I guess that is not possible in many countries.



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14 Oct 2012, 11:24 pm

1000Knives wrote:
Religion in particular, I'd say for the most part actually minimizes a lot of AS social problems. It gives a common group to be a part of, and people often are more forgiving of your social difficulties, partially out of religious obligation (ie, be kind to others) or because you're part of the "group" and then it gives a level of cohesion. So many times, I think AS in a country with strong social/community ties, especially between families/religions, is more or less minimized. Again, being Richard Dawkins and really going out of step with the rest of society could ruin it, but in closer knit communities like that, I feel AS by itself is much less of an issue. You still, say, get invited to big giant family or church/mosque meals, that sorta thing. With Muslims, too, lots of people own businesses and stuff, and will hook up other Muslims with jobs, even if they're menial ones as a butcher or whatever.


This is basically true and the reason I've chosen to live in such a country given my condition. I feel I'm part of a family, even though I don't have any family. But:

1. It's not as much as you think. I'm as much at risk of ending up in the streets for lack of a job as anywhere else in the world (I mean from the point of view of group cohesion). I've spent all religious holidays alone for lack of an invitation for the last 10 years, even though the religious law makes it compulsory to invite those alone to the festivity table. I only got 4 invitations in these 10 years, plus one extended by Social Welfare, who organize a dinner for those alone.

2. There's a downside too. Conforming is a lot more crucial than in the first world. There are far, far less varied communities to find like-minded people. You have the mainstream and the alternative mainstream, and that's it. Being "different" and therefore unclassifiable in a clearly defined box is a lot more noticed and rejected.

3. In the religious subset of 3rd world countries you mention, things like not owning a TV set or not believing in the local sacred Book must be a carefully-kept secret, from absolutely everyone at absolutely all times.


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14 Oct 2012, 11:35 pm

Keyman wrote:
I guess Canadians are better of mentally and socially with more security and less pressure. The high incarceration is quite specific to USA, only Russia and South Africa comes near.

Being forced to pray 5-times a day sounds like a serious interruption. As well as having to know a holy book inside-out.

Being able to assocciate freely when it comes to sex etc.. Is something I guess that is not possible in many countries.


I don't think any governments "force" you to pray 5x daily. The mosques have prayer call megaphones 5x a day, but it's no different than church bells here. In school you'd maybe pray once in the morning and once at noon or so, that's all. Then again, I grew up in a Fundamental Baptist Church and in a small private school, with morning prayer, religious classes, etc. I had a period of rebellion and falling away from church, but found my way back, albeit I'm not Baptist anymore.

I guess it'd depend on priorities, but sexual orientation, religiousity, I don't believe have any correlation with Aspergers. It'd be one thing asking about those things specifically, and their correlation to socializing in those kind of countries, but you asked AS, I assumed by itself.

And Canada is a nice atmosphere. When I went in 2006, it felt like pre-9/11 USA. It does seem a bit leftist for my tastes, but it's more relaxed there compared to US.



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15 Oct 2012, 6:37 am

Keyman wrote:
How does those with aspergers in countries in the Middle east, Africa, Asia etc fare? some countries have a strict theocratic system or strong religious influence or just plain poor. The description is likely not so accurate but it's a starting point. Latin America also makes me curious.

Things like being direct and honest, social misconceptions, disinterest in pointless rituals, or different idea on school Curriculum etc.. could be problems in some goverment systems.


I can tell you that in Africa (even in the more developed nations), a disorder that you cannot see would probably not even be considered.
Religion doesn't even come into it, in places where people have no food, shelter, jobs and education and basic needs are not met, what are the chances that socialisation and self-actualisation are even going to get a look in.


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16 Oct 2012, 9:23 pm

I don’t really know about acceptance, but since I was born and raised in Iraq, I can tell you how things go in that regard there.

The people in Iraq are extreme and hot blooded by nature (more so for Muslims than Christians) but they don’t commit to a cause very easily or for a long time even if they jump at it with great zeal. Most of the time, Iraqis deal with their problems with a “leave it and it’ll solve itself” manner and avoid any conflict with masked (hypocritical) social friendliness.

With all that in mind, differences in others that have little to no effect on self are disregarded even if not liked. That is also encouraged by religion (not by the extreme sides of it, just the moderate ones) but mostly come to Iraqis from cultural habit.

Adding to that the fact of the none existence psychological health monitoring bodies and a near total ignorance of such field. Any psychological disorder that is not acute is never diagnosed; people who have it are mostly left to their own ways after a weak attempt from parents and teachers to rectify them.

Over the time, and with the prevalence of the more dare aspects of living in a troubled country, most people develop mental problems which they deal with by ignoring them. The people who are born with mental problems end up fitting pretty well with all the madness.

Bottom line, in the land of the tormented blind, no one will notice that blue tree in the red forest.
Or as my people like to say: In the land of madness, sanity is short-lasting illness.

Note: I don’t view Asperger as a mental disorder, but a different configuration of the human mind that deviates from what is agreed upon as “normal”.


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Keyman
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16 Oct 2012, 9:45 pm

Interesting! ;)

On a side note I asked the question because some countries to tries to control people in a Orwellian 1984 manner. Communist Soviet, present China?, Syria, Burma seems to try to control people from a political belief point of view. While countries like United Arab Emirte (UAE) and Iran seems to be more of the religious belief aspect.

These kind of regime systems may inherently collide with aspies finding status and authority is irrelevant. And being forced into a conformity form that doesn't make rational sense may be rejected as well.

Now say you grow up in Thailand and think nothing about authorities and say something negative in public about the king.. oops.



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17 Oct 2012, 1:38 am

I grew up in a dictatorship and because the dangers of saying something forbidden were communicated to me verbally, I had no problem being careful. It's subtext we trangress, because we don't hear it.


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17 Oct 2012, 2:02 am

Moondust wrote:
3. In the religious subset of 3rd world countries you mention, things like not owning a TV set or not believing in the local sacred Book must be a carefully-kept secret, from absolutely everyone at absolutely all times.


Yup - numerous Islamic countries actually execute people for trying to leave Islam (all but one out of 15 countries where apostasy is criminalised is majority Islamic). Christian and Islamic intolerance towards gays is widespread in Africa and in the Caribbean - homosexuality is frequently illegal, and children and adults are frequently murdered as witches.

Indeed - people who are atheists in those countries often are better off fleeing for their own safety if at all possible (consider the Pakistani teenage girl who spoke out for a desire for her education who the Taliban recently tried to murder and who has been threatened with death if she returns). It's not a safe place for them to be.



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17 Oct 2012, 7:34 am

All this blathering about religion is total nonsense.

It's pretty much a fact that it's much easier for an aspie to get by in societies that are more regulated and restricted. The rules are in writing, with stricter social distinctions also, being charismatic is less important.


In western societies a well spoken indivisual is valued over one that is smart, one that is rich, and one that is good(the whole bad boy thing). In restricted societies one that knows their place, gets alot more respect than one who talks alot.

It's easy, however it is also much duller, as their are far less outlets for those that are different.



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17 Oct 2012, 9:16 pm

@Stoek, A regulated and restricted society also means that when the aspie says that being forced to learn holy book is non-interesting or that it's sub optimal to draw the railway network through the rulers home town is sub optimal.. the person gets punished.

Moondust wrote:
3. In the religious subset of 3rd world countries you mention, things like not owning a TV set or not believing in the local sacred Book must be a carefully-kept secret, from absolutely everyone at absolutely all times.


How can NOT owning a TV set be punished?



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18 Oct 2012, 2:33 am

By ostracism.

I made that mistake in a previous job and didn't last long there. I hid it with my life in my current job until the HR manager asked me point blank and I was so stupid I told her the truth, that I don't own one. In front of several people. She had become suspicious when I for years had no comments to make about Big Brother and other idiotic shows that apparently run on TV nowadays. It was demanded that I say on the spot how I use my time otherwise, I said "addicted to eBay" and was lucky that the HR assistant jumped up saying "ME T00!" and I kind of passed, but who knows.


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18 Oct 2012, 2:47 am

I wanted to add that the "togetherness" in 3rd world countries, due to the tight-knit communities that are formed because interdependence is so much more necessary for survival than in 1st world countries, leaves aspies a lot more exposed. People at work, in the building where you live, the kindergarden of your kids, etc. get to know you better and it's a lot harder to hide stuff, like not owning a TV for example. And people you hardly know ask very personal questions and you're supposed to answer, something you guys in the 1st. world have long forgotten about.


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Keyman
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18 Oct 2012, 3:18 am

What kind of job did you have where watching big brother is an implicit requirement?
As for close-knit .. just lie if they overstep the privacy boundary.



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18 Oct 2012, 12:22 pm

Stoek wrote:
All this blathering about religion is total nonsense.


I think that is a rather immature statement.