Underlying Cause of Asperger's Syndrome: Existential Dread?

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NeantHumain
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04 Apr 2008, 4:23 pm

One thing that has stuck out in my mind about all aspies I've known—introverted or extraverted, bookish or faddish, funny or humorless, confident or demure—is a bad case of existential dread. I used to think this was a coincidence or merely a consequence of the effects Asperger's has on their life. But then I started researching existential dread and those affected by it; my discovery was shocking, to say the least: Existential dread is directly and positively correlated with Asperger's symptomology (from my observation)! I'm not saying we're all emo—far from it; in fact, it appears that when level of existential dread surpasses a point, there is a sharp and sudden "phase change" from an emo gestalt to a more or less "Aspergic" one. That is, emos lie on the NTmost periphery of the autism spectrum.

I think this poem written by an anonymous Aspergian summarizes it:

Quote:
To be trapped
Between normal
And the living of the dead

I live a shady white dream
We forget those halycon days
Of Greek tragedy
Immemorial names

We drink the Kool-Aid
Flowers wilt
Birds hover
Chrip their dreaded call!
Chirp!

Porridge
Standing room only for three bears
Ineffable clues
Exciting hues
Shaded onto the back of my notebook.

All is disgusting
And all is rot

To be is not to be
I promise



MissConstrue
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04 Apr 2008, 4:37 pm

I'm sorry existential dread? :?
Can you explain a little?


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marshall
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04 Apr 2008, 4:44 pm

In my experience NT's seem to be more concerned about finding their place in the world than I am. They’re often more concerned about their role and what they mean to other people than what their own observations and feelings tell them.

I’m less concerned about my role in humanity and more concerned with analyzing the world around me. I think this makes me more keenly aware of my own existence.

Hopefully this makes some sense. Basically I think we tend to be more analytical.



Rynessa
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04 Apr 2008, 4:47 pm

existential dread = teenager

XL existential dread = goth teenager

:lol:



MissConstrue
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04 Apr 2008, 4:50 pm

I'm observant of the world around me but I also prefer to keep an open mind to things I don't comprehend. I do fit into the diagnosis of AS but I'm not very scientifically minded about everything in the world. In fact I prefer to look through the looking glass.


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Sora
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04 Apr 2008, 5:02 pm

Is 'existential dread' really about finding a place in life? It sounds different than that somehow.

I know my place. It's in me. Ah, cool, that sounds so intellectual haha. I sometimes waver and get confused, but up to know I've always returned to this stability.

I've not always been like this, as prior to my diagnosis and philosophical/spiritual and social research I was endlessly confused. By maltreatment and because even before, nothing from my view made sense.

Too bad I don't have school any longer or else I could ask my philosophy teacher.



Felinity
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04 Apr 2008, 5:17 pm

I'm still not sure what "Existential Dread" means...??

At first glance I thought it might mean Fear Of Death?



Sora
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04 Apr 2008, 5:24 pm

Felinity wrote:
I'm still not sure what "Existential Dread" means...??

At first glance I thought it might mean Fear Of Death?


I was thinking the exact opposite. Dreading to be alive because dreading an existence that turns out to have no higher purpose.

Existentialism, like Sartre?

But seriously, I have no idea whether that was meant or something entirely different.



RainKing
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04 Apr 2008, 8:18 pm

I actually liked that poem. It's clever.

I think you touched on something that I've been thinking about lately. I've been interested in philosophy for several years now, and I've come to some conclusions. From what I've read about Asperger's, part of the mindset is a view of the world less "grounded" in a figure-ground perception, and more--I don't know the term for it, but grounded in direct experience rather than mental projection of forms and "things". I'm not sure whether my perception has changed, although I believe that I've always had Asperger's (anyway, that doesn't change). I have arrived at a philosophical position that favors this style of perception over the Gestalt style that may be distorting and limiting (although our definitions of the world are pragmatic for the sake of communication). I have adopted meteorological nihilism, which says that there are no "things"--the idea of a thing is only a mental construction. I've read a few books concerning Zen Buddhism, and I see a favorable comparison with the Zen view of the world (there are clear philosophical disagreements between existentialism and Buddhism, but the "authentic" mode of experience is similar).

So, in sum, I think that the ability to perceive the world in this way leads to a realization of the lack of inherent meaning in the world, which is a cause of dread or angst in most people (personally I have chosen the "aesthetic" mode of life, which I think is helpful in "overcoming" "existential dread").



anbuend
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04 Apr 2008, 8:23 pm

I think the ways autistic people tend to perceive the world can lead us more often to such a thing, rather than the other way around. I know autistic people who've been there, and then come out the other side, as it were, and who remain autistic, just a lot less angsty.


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RainKing
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04 Apr 2008, 8:28 pm

Oh, yes, I didn't actually say it, but I do not think that it can cause Asperger's, but the Aspergian style of mind seems to lend itself to such views.



Pepperfire
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04 Apr 2008, 8:32 pm

NeantHumain wrote:
One thing that has stuck out in my mind about all aspies I've known—introverted or extraverted, bookish or faddish, funny or humorless, confident or demure—is a bad case of existential dread. I used to think this was a coincidence or merely a consequence of the effects Asperger's has on their life. But then I started researching existential dread and those affected by it; my discovery was shocking, to say the least: Existential dread is directly and positively correlated with Asperger's symptomology (from my observation)! I'm not saying we're all emo—far from it; in fact, it appears that when level of existential dread surpasses a point, there is a sharp and sudden "phase change" from an emo gestalt to a more or less "Aspergic" one. That is, emos lie on the NTmost periphery of the autism spectrum.

I think this poem written by an anonymous Aspergian summarizes it:
Quote:
To be trapped
Between normal
And the living of the dead

I live a shady white dream
We forget those halycon days
Of Greek tragedy
Immemorial names

We drink the Kool-Aid
Flowers wilt
Birds hover
Chrip their dreaded call!
Chirp!

Porridge
Standing room only for three bears
Ineffable clues
Exciting hues
Shaded onto the back of my notebook.

All is disgusting
And all is rot

To be is not to be
I promise


I've been accused of being dark... but what does "existential dread" mean?

Fear of death... bring it on
Fear of life... Fear of idiots maybe

The one thing I dread in life is what I call the Dark (and I didn't even coin that). Is that what you mean.


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marshall
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04 Apr 2008, 8:33 pm

Sora wrote:
Is 'existential dread' really about finding a place in life? It sounds different than that somehow.


I don’t really know what existential dread is supposed to mean. I guess the thought I had in the previous post was really a slightly divergent tangent from the original topic because I didn’t fully grasp the topic.

What I was saying is that most people seem to find contentment and meaning when they find their role in life. What they are gives them meaning. What I am doesn’t really give me any meaning. Only what I experience has meaning to me. I suppose this makes me appear a bit aloof and self centered to other people. I guess I was describing alienation more than existential angst.



RainKing
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04 Apr 2008, 8:39 pm

Existential dread means an uncomfortable or frightening (or sick) feeling upon realization of (or direct confrontation with) the meaninglessness and emptiness of the universe (or nothingness).



NeantHumain
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04 Apr 2008, 9:05 pm

RainKing wrote:
Existential dread means an uncomfortable or frightening (or sick) feeling upon realization of (or direct confrontation with) the meaninglessness and emptiness of the universe (or nothingness).

YES! I couldn't have said it better myself.