Underlying Cause of Asperger's Syndrome: Existential Dread?

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cas
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06 Apr 2008, 5:52 pm

pakled wrote:
I actually took a class in existentialism in College, focusing on Albert Camus. I discovered that Philosophy is the art of applying infinitives to ordinary life. It was either self-evident, or hopelessly vague to me...;)

It depends on where you fall in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If you're worried about feeding a family, keeping a job, and dealing with various ailments, you literally don't have time to worry about one hand clapping, etc..;) I probably wondered about life, the Universe and Everything, but once I hit 42, I realized I didn't have an answer...;)

I don't think that's the case, though; most people have "the time" and often the inclination to worry about things higher on the hierarchy than they ought to be worried about. When you're hungry and struggling you still feel lonely; when you have no friends you still question morality and reality. There's a lot to be said about the "Room of One's Own" theory that people nearly need comfort and esteem to create higher work, but people in dire circumstances also create and pursue justice and live with care.

(Sorry if I missed your real point, I don't really understand what you mean after the hand clapping. It looks like it possibly makes what comes before a joke?)



tbam
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06 Apr 2008, 6:46 pm

From an early age I was very philosophical, and when I got to an age to grasp the meaning of nothingness, or not existing, it scared the crap out of me. To a point where even now, if I manage to dwell too much on losing my sense of self, I go into a panic attack.

Even the possibility of losing my memory via amnesia, or going through surgery without "being" when knocked out on anaesthetics, scares me like nothing else.

I've put a notion in my head, that I must be immortal. Immortality would be the best thing in the world for me, I would trade anything and don't usually understand parables or morality plays where a person wishes for immortality only to be given their wish which they eventually regret. I'd be able to think of something to do, and couldn't think of anything more amazing than watching history in the making for all of eternity.

I have never seen a ghost, but if i saw one, it would be the most amazing revelation for me in the universe. The proof of something after death, SOMETHING. It means that we could have some presence or existence after this world, and that alone amazes me.

The only upside I see to death, nowadays, a mode of thought that actually comforts me, is that anyone who dies is finally able to discover the mysteries of the universe, either through not existing, or through reaching some ethereal plane of existence, and that prospect is pretty much all that gets me through thoughts of death and impending nothingness, otherwise the existential dread would probably crush my inspiration.



Odin
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06 Apr 2008, 8:05 pm

I've been in a chronic, off-and-on state of existential angst ever since I stopped believing in god at the age of 17.


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06 Apr 2008, 10:08 pm

These are my conclusions as far as my own existential dread:

Quote:
Logically, for a materialist (which I am), there is little point to life in that there is no greater goal deemed by the universe. Therefore, once I realized this, I logically decided that it was up to me to decide my own point, my own purpose, whether the universe had ordained it or not.

To me, life is meant to be enjoyed: that is its purpose, because nothing lasts. Therefore, it's all a succession of Nows (not to say one shouldn't plan for tomorrow, but even tomorrow will become a Now). However, I also find enjoyment in feeling as though I'm working towards something, a goal, which will hopefully have its rippling effect after I'm dead and decayed (or in the case of cement coffins, turn into gooey mush :lol: ).

Just like any religion, life is what you make it. One may consider that depressing to believe in no universal purpose. But on the flip side, think of the POWER that gives you: to design your own purpose. That's rather godlike in fact... It's thrilling!

Just think, of all the combinations the atoms of stars could have taken, on this little planet, Earth, circumstance deemed that they would create proteins and eventually us. We can think, act, affect change, even reflect on the universe itself. We're quite a fascinating little star-born hiccup. :)


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marshall
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06 Apr 2008, 10:46 pm

Odin wrote:
I've been in a chronic, off-and-on state of existential angst ever since I stopped believing in god at the age of 17.


Hmm. My existential angst began while I was still a Christian. Worshipping my creator for eternity seemed just as meaningless to me as nonexistence. I also never believed people deserved to suffer for eternity for acts within a finite life span.

My angst pretty much stayed with me when I became atheist at 15 though.



Boozer
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26 Apr 2008, 6:17 am

I think the existential angst we go through is a result of our trying to constantly figure out the "theory" behind everything. We can't figure out the theory behind the universe, or the reason it's here, as that would imply from one thought you could create the entire world, including that thought, and so we give up on the notion that there even is a world at all, since we can't figure it out. Then, usually as we encounter some kind of physical pain, we realize that we definitely at least exist. So we go onto the next step, which is assuming that we exist, but that it doesn't make sense, that we shouldn't really exist. Then, instead of pain, the consequence of this belief is depression, which is where we generally are. Many people never get to the next step in this process.

The problem is that believing that we exist, but that logically we shouldn't, is absurd. Who are we to declare to the whole of the universe that it shouldn't be here? Obviously there is something faulty with our mental model that we have arrived at this conclusion. Believing that everything shouldn't be here is in slight conflict with the fact that everything is here.

The question is, what does the world like when viewed through the paradigm that everything is here AND that it should be here as well? Perhaps that would give a more liberating view on reality.



kleodimus
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26 Apr 2008, 7:23 am

i agree to an extent...(extremely long pause



SabbraCadabra
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26 Apr 2008, 2:12 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).


I find plenty of meaning in the universe, but I do not find meaning in the society in which I live. Struggling your entire life to raise a family, while the media pushes you to buy all this crap that you don't need, forces you to watch all this crap you don't care about...just so your little ones can repeat the process...over and over? Mindless. Pointless.

That is what depresses me. When I walk into a gas station and cardboard cutouts are telling me to buy their energy drinks, their chewing tobacco, their beef jerky. When the Presidential candidates are spending millions of dollars to throw mud at each other and pretend to care about the issues. When I'm in the checkout line and racks of magazines are telling me who's cheating on who, who's gaining weight, and who's got a secret drug addiction.

I try not to think about it.

I'd gladly go back to a society where we grow our own food, chop our own wood, and the liars and the scammers don't get ahead by cheating the system.

Maybe I need to go Amish or something ;D

</rant>



cubolazaruka
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17 Apr 2014, 12:00 am

Reading Sequences cured my existential angst. It takes a while to read the thousands of pages of blog posts but the philosophy contained therein is the most profound I have ever read.



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17 Apr 2014, 12:16 am

Because I was one hardcore existentialist when I was a two year old.

Emo is just a sub culture in the punk rock scene. Fans of the music aren't always down on life. They were some of the happiest kids I've ever met.

Lastly, correlation does mean causation. I hate that statement but it comes in handy.


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jbw
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17 Apr 2014, 3:51 am

Pepperfire wrote:
Aha.

I have found myself driven to change things, since learning that if THEY won't do it, I have to... It doesn't take away the sick thought that people are idiots. (Even though I have been lucky enough to actually learn that they aren't all). I have made a point of putting time, effort and energy into fighting the good fight. It is my intent to change the world... even if I only manage to change my tiny universe, at least I will have tried. Fighting the "existential dread", if you will, has given my life it's meaning.


Yes, NTs are largely motivated by social status, which leads to an extremely anthropocentric perspective that is characterised by abstract hierarchical structures that are completely disconnected from the physical world. In the anthropocentric perspective, understanding and navigating the social world is everything, and understanding or appreciating the physical world is largely a non-topic.

Anyone who does not buy into the values of mainstream human culture is bound to end up on a very different path, and will develop a entirely different value system, i.e. one where the hierarchical human social sphere is just a microscopic element in a much larger universe.



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17 Apr 2014, 4:43 am

Felinity wrote:

The autistic brain quite simply has a notably different neurology in how it functions, much like a cat and dog are different in neurology, though seem mostly alike in many ways: a cat isn't a defective dog, just a cat. Likewise, if a cat attempts to be a dog, it doesn't work so well in practice: a cat that tries to be something it's not (a dog) will end up with mental problems from attempting to live that lie. So, too, will autistics have more psychological problems brought on by trying to (or being forced to externally) act like neurotypical (aka "everyone else") people, because it isn't natural, and results in a lot of long-term stress.

Mental illness is something that's transient, or at least it develops over time: autistics are born that way, and it can't be cured, and it doesn't go away with time: it is a developmental difference, and some types of expected developments may not happen, or happen much later, while still other developments may be something neurotypicals never have themselves.


This is correct, and well written.



nouse
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13 Sep 2018, 1:48 pm

Usually when I see people I think they are blissfully ignorant about big picture (there is no meaning and you are practically dead when you born etc). Whenenever I drop this mentality I'm like another person: happy, sociable and well liked. Then I reflect back towards the world and become embarrassed and angry at myself.
I wiev aspergers as philosophical condition.



Mythos
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13 Sep 2018, 3:07 pm

I fail to see the correlation myself. At what point do autistic traits lead to existential crises? Does severity of symptoms have a direct correlation with the deepening of such feelings? Do NT's just generally not experience this? If they do, then where is the connection and how do we quantify this?

From my experiences, most people with autism (that I've met) don't seem to act in an "emo" or "goth" fashion. If I were to make a pure estimate, it would be that autism decreases the likelihood of falling into these categories, not increases.



salamander132
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08 Nov 2018, 2:39 pm

Existential dread is at the forefront of my thoughts in almost every moment I experience. I think what it is primarily about is this realization of objective reality and its dissonance from human reality; meaning: while reality is an objective thing, humans don't have the organs with which to observe all of it and often supplement that with things like meaning, philosophy, and thought systems. For me, I accept the existence of reality as something I cannot wholly perceive and thus find my own reality through that. Having that view on life, I tend to view many human practices and customs as completely arbitrary and based solely on the human drive to create a barrier from existential dread.
All in all, I think that your theory is very intriguing and I'd be very interested in exploring it further!