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Adamantium
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11 Nov 2013, 12:03 pm

I have not thought this through enough to articulate it clearly, but I wanted to try to get the thought out, so forgive me if this seems half baked or poorly worded.

I was talking with my family about early childhood experiences--when we went to parties and the other kids were weird and mean. And how this continued in later stages of life.

We were always thinking that what we were doing was something real, and the typical ones were always seeing it as a game in which there were winners and losers, people who came out having moved up and others they pushed down.

So they naturally formed these alliances to "win" in that game and we were always on the outs and sometimes they made us the target of showy insults to raise themselves up.

Somehow this alliance and hierarchy thing comes to them naturally, like breathing. This is the point where the neurology comes in. They were exchanging little signals that we did not see. This is the deficit.

But the other side of that situation is that we were always sincere. We were genuine in our enthusiasms and dislikes, when the ones around us were playing status games that were more important to them than the overt purposes of the activities we were engaged in.

So: my son has been processing memories of this kind of thing in preschool and he is talking about it. His experiences were and are just like mine though mine were four decades ago.

And this is the the point that I think of as a neurodiversity issue: We really are sincere and genuine. And that is better--seems better to me--than the neurotypical thing of being about social connections first and then whatever they are doing after. I like this about us. It is not broken. It's something positive we can bring to the world. The neurotypical phony rank competition is a big part of what drives conflict in the world.

I do not mean that no neurotypicals are ever sincere and I do not mean that no autistics are ever insincere--that would be silly and obviously untrue. But this is something that I have noticed in my life and now see in my son's life. I would go so far as to say one of the things we love about science is that the reality it reveals is impervious to all that social gaming.

That's it. Does that make sense to any of you, too?



Jayo
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11 Nov 2013, 1:49 pm

WOW this has to be one of the most poignant posts I've ever read on WP, and YES, it does make perfect sense to me!! ! 8O
It's quite the synopsis of neurotypical tribalism that seems so deeply ingrained in their psyche, and that the ones with the most integrity, best work ethic, highest IQ and what not don't always rise to the surface if they're seen as "the Geneva Guy", there is always the pressure to form alliances, regardless of the context.

This is one reason incidentally why I would never want to end up in prison due to not being able to survive the unspoken rules of alliances, and that I might be pressured to become racist which isn't in me. In that context it makes a little more sense since you have mostly a bunch of uncouth savages, but in more distinguished contexts like private schools, corporate life, law offices, etc, etc...you are expected to bond with others, keep secrets, fudge figures or distort information for select groups to gain advantage, pick up on unspoken nuances that Joe Smith and Jane Doe are with the "out crowd" and so you don't talk about X, Y and Z with them, you only talk about A,B, and C, unless you're with the "in crowd" where you can talk about X, Y, and Z...and the people with status convey this, as you say, with nonverbal nuance that we don't catch (like a sly smile, narrowing of the eyes, cocking of the head, and we are expected to know its implicit meaning without "over-analyzing" otherwise we'll find ourselves part of "the out crowd" and maybe harassed or persecuted).

A little anecdote, when the series "Survivor" first came out in the year 2000 (the year before my diagnosis), my friends (NT) pointed out that if I was ever on an episode, I'd likely be the first one voted off the island, and unanimously at that. I'd be compelled to agree, as much today as I was then. 8O

The actual evolutionary need to conform to these tribal norms and unspoken pecking order has IMO long since dissipated, but people still cling to it as a distorted sense of security and/or because they don't know any better. It's quite sad, really.



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11 Nov 2013, 3:23 pm

Jayo wrote:
WOW this has to be one of the most poignant posts I've ever read on WP, and YES, it does make perfect sense to me!! ! 8O
It's quite the synopsis of neurotypical tribalism that seems so deeply ingrained in their psyche, and that the ones with the most integrity, best work ethic, highest IQ and what not don't always rise to the surface if they're seen as "the Geneva Guy", there is always the pressure to form alliances, regardless of the context.

This is one reason incidentally why I would never want to end up in prison due to not being able to survive the unspoken rules of alliances, and that I might be pressured to become racist which isn't in me. In that context it makes a little more sense since you have mostly a bunch of uncouth savages, but in more distinguished contexts like private schools, corporate life, law offices, etc, etc...you are expected to bond with others, keep secrets, fudge figures or distort information for select groups to gain advantage, pick up on unspoken nuances that Joe Smith and Jane Doe are with the "out crowd" and so you don't talk about X, Y and Z with them, you only talk about A,B, and C, unless you're with the "in crowd" where you can talk about X, Y, and Z...and the people with status convey this, as you say, with nonverbal nuance that we don't catch (like a sly smile, narrowing of the eyes, cocking of the head, and we are expected to know its implicit meaning without "over-analyzing" otherwise we'll find ourselves part of "the out crowd" and maybe harassed or persecuted).


A little anecdote, when the series "Survivor" first came out in the year 2000 (the year before my diagnosis), my friends (NT) pointed out that if I was ever on an episode, I'd likely be the first one voted off the island, and unanimously at that. I'd be compelled to agree, as much today as I was then. 8O

The actual evolutionary need to conform to these tribal norms and unspoken pecking order has IMO long since dissipated, but people still cling to it as a distorted sense of security and/or because they don't know any better. It's quite sad, really.

The family lawyer said he would never put me on the stand.


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11 Nov 2013, 4:46 pm

I've often been oblivious to status games. I was surprised, when I moved "up" to owning a car, that I had moved to the bottom of a new pile, even though I'd read car magazines for decades. I also have trouble with those puzzles about A always tells the truth, B always lies, etc. Life was so confusing to me that I assumed that nobody would deliberately make it even harder to understand by lying.
I can imagine a society where talent is usually all you need to succeed, but the people who currently control education and entertainment would rather have everyone else involved in petty sqabbles.



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11 Nov 2013, 7:11 pm

I hate to intrude on the love-in, but....

Quote:
The actual evolutionary need to conform to these tribal norms and unspoken pecking order has IMO long since dissipated, but people still cling to it as a distorted sense of security and/or because they don't know any better. It's quite sad, really.


Firstly, evolution is not purposive.

Secondly, if a characteristic is advantageous, it will automatically tend to be selected and perpetuated.

Pack behaviour was useful to our pre- and proto-human ancestors, because it meant co-operation and co-ordination within the pack, in order to protect pack members and hunt more efficiently. The fact that a pecking-order or hierarchy naturally develops within such a pack is a secondary characteristic.

The human characteristic of pack behaviour now blindly seeks out new expressions, just as it has done throughout human history.

Some of them are small-scale and negative (schoolyard gang-related bullying) and some of them, the mature expressions of pack behaviour, are massive and beautiful enhancements to our modern way of life -- Google for example, exhibits pack behaviours (commonality of goals, high degree of co-operation and trust between pack members, highly-visible hierarchical structure) and yet is guided by the philosophy: "Don't be evil."

If pack behaviour disappeared tomorrow, you would be shocked at the number of things that went down with it: It would arguably disrupt modern life at every level, potentially unalterably.

Civilisation isn't perfect, and not everyone is treated fairly. But ASDs were only classified in the 1940s, and didn't come to popular clinical awareness (let alone social significance of any degree) until the early 1980s -- that's a heartbeat-away in historical terms.

Now children with ASDs receive educational support in school almost as standard.

Speaking from a UK perspective, we now have the Autism Act (2009), the UK's first disability-specific legislation, which resulted in a Central-Government originated national Autism Strategy, which is intended to ensure that official organisations including NHS bodies and local government have policies in place to ensure that staff (and elected representatives where necessary) are aware of and responsive to the general needs of, and various challenges faced by, citizens with ASDs, and that these general needs are outlined in organisational procedures and given due consideration by policy-makers.

We also have the Equality Act (2010), under which ASDs are specifically covered by anti-discrimination clauses, both in public and in the workplace.

I understand that people with ASDs are now similarly-afforded legal protections under US laws, although I am not up to speed on the precise details.

All the above progressive steps toward achieving social equitability for autistic people were deemed necessary and passed into law by that ultimate manifestation of the NT pack behaviour -- the State itself.

So while I sympathise with any child with an ASD who is receiving persecutory treatment from her peers, I must observe that (A) kids have always been, and will continue to be, bastards in general and (B) In the UK at least, she is growing up in the most ASD-positive culture that has ever existed. And the future looks to get brighter on that front.

If I have a vision of the autistic future, it is one in which our many positive qualities will influence, augment and compliment the dominant NT culture, to mutual advantage.

But if I had it within my power to click my fingers and ensure the ultimate in ASD equality, by turning all NTs into people with ASDs overnight -- I wouldn't do it. I think that without NTs and their inherent and instinctive characteristics, civilisation would come to a halt almost instantly.

There are some things (and working co-operatively in a team is among them) that people with ASDs just can't do satisfactorily due to the structure of their brains and its manifestation in the way they interact, and so until someone finds a way of reorganising our entire civilisation without reference to co-operation. interdependability and other general features of pack behaviour (with specific regard paid to the replacement of all existing hierarchical structures) I for one -- speaking as an adult with Asperger Syndrome --) will be quite happy with what we've achieved so far and will continue to achieve against a backdrop of increasingly ASD-positive NT-dominance.



Adamantium
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14 Nov 2013, 6:47 pm

CharityFunDay wrote:
I hate to intrude on the love-in, but....
All are welcome, brother. The fesitve garb is mandatory however. I hope the lei doesn't trigger any sensory issues, because everyone who stays at the love-in must wear a lei.

Quote:
Quote:
The actual evolutionary need to conform to these tribal norms and unspoken pecking order has IMO long since dissipated, but people still cling to it as a distorted sense of security and/or because they don't know any better. It's quite sad, really.


Firstly, evolution is not purposive.
true.

Quote:
Pack behaviour was useful to our pre- and proto-human ancestors, because it meant co-operation and co-ordination within the pack, in order to protect pack members and hunt more efficiently. The fact that a pecking-order or hierarchy naturally develops within such a pack is a secondary characteristic.
<snip>
If pack behaviour disappeared tomorrow, you would be shocked at the number of things that went down with it: It would arguably disrupt modern life at every level, potentially unalterably.

Hmmm does science demonstrate that a rigidly maintained pecking order is a survival requirement? No, I don't believe so. "Pack" is just one way to do it. There is also "flock" which, at least in the avian sense, is even more hierarchical. Then again there is also "troop" and (appropriately for bonobos) "party." A party of bonobos doesn't do the pack thing. They are way too busy getting busy, jiggy and "it on."

But the main thing is that we are Hom. Sap. and come with big brains, so we can decide how we deal with all this evolutionary substrate. And I have zero respect for the people who want to act like lizards or birds with their "pecking order."

Lots of cooperative behavior is demonstrated by people who don't really do the pecking order thing.

Quote:
Civilisation isn't perfect, ...
Ain't that the truth!

Quote:
So while I sympathise with any child with an ASD who is receiving persecutory treatment from her peers, I must observe that (A) kids have always been, and will continue to be, bastards in general and (B) In the UK at least, she is growing up in the most ASD-positive culture that has ever existed. And the future looks to get brighter on that front.
OK, fair enough. I like your positivity.

Quote:
If I have a vision of the autistic future, it is one in which our many positive qualities will influence, augment and compliment the dominant NT culture, to mutual advantage.
I just knew that under the cover of that slightly implausible contrarian opening you really did come to join the love in!! ! :D

Quote:
But if I had it within my power to click my fingers and ensure the ultimate in ASD equality, by turning all NTs into people with ASDs overnight -- I wouldn't do it. I think that without NTs and their inherent and instinctive characteristics, civilisation would come to a halt almost instantly.
I think your concept of equality is a little warped, there. I don't share it. I bet you can imagine ways in which we could be equal before the law and have equal rights without eliminating NTs, or hobbling them, or whatever.

Quote:
There are some things (and working co-operatively in a team is among them) that people with ASDs just can't do satisfactorily due to the structure of their brains and its manifestation in the way they interact,

<Buzzer sound effect> Oh, I'm sorry but NO! This may be true for some with autistic traits but is by no means true of all. It is, let's not forget, a spectrum, not a point. But not to worry, you can be wrong about something and still party like a bonobo here in the autistic pro-neurodiversity love-in!

Quote:
I for one -- speaking as an adult with Asperger Syndrome --) will be quite happy with what we've achieved so far and will continue to achieve against a backdrop of increasingly ASD-positive NT-dominance.
Awesome! I feel you, man! We should celebrate our triumphs and the strides NTs have made toward less lizard-like behavior.

Incidentally, when you start "I for one" my brain automatically completes the phrase "welcome our new alien overlords." Not a criticism, just something I wanted to share.

But does that mean we can't try for an even better future? If not us, who? If not now, when?

We are the beneficiaries of the struggles of the past, we owe it to the future to press on.

In the immortal words of Winnie C., "never, never, never, never, never give up."



CharityFunDay
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16 Nov 2013, 3:14 pm

Adamantium wrote:
Hmmm does science demonstrate that a rigidly maintained pecking order is a survival requirement? No, I don't believe so. "Pack" is just one way to do it. There is also "flock" which, at least in the avian sense, is even more hierarchical. Then again there is also "troop" and (appropriately for bonobos) "party." A party of bonobos doesn't do the pack thing. They are way too busy getting busy, jiggy and "it on."


No, science doesn't demonstrate any such thing.

However, such behaviour is frequently observed to be expressed by (and often spontaneously-arising among) groups of humans, particularly the young, with the reasonable-to-strong inference that it is behaviour with a strong genetic basis (i.e., is not purely culturally-determined) which provided an advantage in our evolutionary past (or, at the very least, did not prove disadvantageous!)

Other forms of group behaviour may apply to other species, whether closely-related to humans or not, but although interesting in themselves (whether considered purely on behavioural grounds, or as models of non-human societies), they are not practically-applicable to us.

Quote:
But the main thing is that we are Hom. Sap. and come with big brains, so we can decide how we deal with all this evolutionary substrate. And I have zero respect for the people who want to act like lizards or birds with their "pecking order."


I agree that the human tendency toward 'pack' behaviour is at least potentially-modifiable by the adoption of social expectations and standards intended specifically to discourage such behaviour (either specific to a culture of whatever degree (even perhaps simply by a company) or across the culture and perhaps even potentially legally-enforceable in some aspects (which might be somewhat paradoxical)).

To take one particular manifestation of a hierarchy-free (or as nearly as possibly-so) model, it is imho a great pity that Montessori educational methods have not gone mainstream (or as a minimally-appropriate expectation, become generally comprehensible to the general public and therefore encountered as a common and familiar form of education; or -- as a wildly over-optimistic wish for the best possible outcome -- officially adopted by the state (after due consideration and legal process) either as the sole relevant method of teaching the relevant age-groups, or as one method among a range.

It is a great pity -- perhaps simply an unquantifiable and thus unmeasurable pity that is however generally agreed to be at once not practically-determinable and yet perceived as 'great'; or perhaps it is a pity that is universally recognised as having been approached by all possible methods of perception-enhancement and has proven amenable to none, therefore being finally regarded as inconceivable, with regard to its current and potential magnitude.

But -- adjudged by the simple preponderance of support and enthusiasm for the method, whether expressed formally or informally by expert, amateur or simply lay observers (who approached either

(a) In the literal sense of 'approach', that is they each followed their own routes; which varied from the expected normal standards of being
i) Initially conceived in terms of, and consequently imagined and visualised as specifically beginning at, the individual's home,
ii) Highly-planned in advance (sometimes with reference to local maps if individual knowledge did not contain certain details)
iii) The typically-acceptable route being perceived by the subject (accurately or otherwise) as the shortest-possible route (considered in terms of duration or distance, the two often being subjectively regarded as somewhat interchangeable) between "Point A" (the individual's home) and "Point B" (their intended destination), the envisioned route being
iv) Ideally straightforward and very direct
v) As a minimum requirement-set: The proposed route should be somewhat familiar in some aspects (wherever possible and practical for the person undertaking the journey, e.g., by taking in specific streets or providing the opportunity to admire a local landmark that is to some degree visible en route) and preferably as uncomplicated as possible (unless it becomes necessarily and deliberately complicated, in order to devise a route that avoids entering, wherever possible,
v.a) Locations or neighbourhoods that might be perceived as 'threatening' (whether this perception is held
v.b) Irrationally, e.g, due to some arguably neutral quality, such as it merely being unknown territory at present;, or
v.c) With at least a degree of rationality, e.g., the location or neighbourhood might be a demonstrated crime 'hotspot' or regarded as a 'problem area' in which unpredictable misbehaviour (tending toward the suspicious and/or antisocial in nature) has been frequently noted by the police;
vi) Or where such locales are wholly unavoidable, an indirect route is possible that demonstrates the a number (perhaps the maximum) of directly-comparable qualities with the ideal route: E.g., convenience, familiarity, simplicity, etc.
vii) Some individuals followed a (perhaps intentionally) partial or even wholly unplanned route of that type, or took an unexpected or totally unfamiliar route, that merely took them in the general direction of their intended destination
viii) Such 'routes' were followed in a spontaneously-explored and sometimes evolving manner (e.g., retreat from one street necessitated by unforeseen road closures, and consequent investigation of a similar street, or a totally different one)
ix) The urgency or casualness with which this unprocedural approach or lack of approach was followed was sometimes obviously dictated by occasional and repeated reference to a clock or watch, to judge the approach of a perceived time limitation (often self-imposed) and affording more or less time for subjects to arrive at their destination (when compared to a hypothetical 'model traveller' whose behaviour is utterly standard and predictable in all physical respects (e.g., average walking speed, required calorific intake, need for rest periods) and who is provided with the same points of departure and destination and required to plan the most practical route from the former to the latter, whose planned route tends toward a high degree of similarity with any given example of the typical map drawn by subjects and is perhaps even identical to a specific example among them)
x) Despite general expectations of the sample group (and individual-specific predictions) all the subjects found their way to the target destination before the specified time (12 noon) was reached. Sometimes this 'earliness' was narrow (one subject managed to be just three minutes early), but mainly it was wide, with the earliest arrival getting to the destination over one hour in advance of the allotted time.
xi) The greatest complicating factor in the progress of each individual's journey was the lack of familiarity with the target location, which meant that a majority of subjects initially walked straight past it and took a number of subsequent passes and approaches before considering that this could be their destination. Since we provided each subject with a clear photograph depicting the front of the building (including the clearly-marked entrance) from street to roof level, we are unable to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why failure to recognise the target should have proven an unforeseen finding that is identifiable (at least) as a strongly-expressed behavioural tendency among the selected subjects or (at most) as an unanticipated (and possibly hitherto unrecognised) psychological state that was unintentionally created, induced or otherwise encouraged to manifest directly by (or in reaction to) some (as yet unidentified) aspect of the above-described procedure.

(b) In the specifically non-literal application of the word 'approach' that is employed by psychiatrists and psychotherapists in the process of making selected aspects of his subject's psychological processes either comprehendible in general or recognisable in specific instances, the observers 'approached' on a purely conceptual basis, which was nevertheless interpretable as identifiable 'peaks' of electrical movement between or within specific areas of the brain by specific monitoring machines, immaterial and uniquely-personal thought-clusters aroused in their minds by (inherently irrelevant) unconscious associations (however tenuous or tangential) with certain highly-edited aspects of (personal or received) ideas, which are not-unusually further subjected to a (typically both highly unreliable in operation and highly unpredictable in outcome) assimilatory process in which they are related to the individual's anticipations of what they might see!)

Or perhaps:

c) With prior reference to generally-applicable or subject-specific reading material, which supposedly results in a independently-arrived-at personal viewpoint, which is actually merely a partial personal summary (of varying perceptiveness and accuracy) of the more memorable sentences from a huge collection of other people's arguments, among which the conservative and orthodox are over-represented due to their natural abundance, and which will perceptibly alter the reader's formative opinions in their favour (unless considerable care has been taken to select a range of (perhaps predictably dissonant for maximum contrast, or at least not wholly concordant) sources), typically resulting in a outcome that is classifiable as rational, but which is an inherently-severely limited (and thoroughly unoriginal) view) resulting in the expressions of 'knowledge' and 'wisdom' that (in the case under examination) is typically along the lines of:

"Our current educational system is widely-regarded as the best we have yet developed, and is sometimes held up as an example by other nations, and therefore we must not tinker unnecessarily with it, in case we unintentionally break it in some way, obvious or not, which could put at risk the future social participation of its pupils"

(Although not usually expressed so eloquently or clearly, or by using a wide vocabulary, or even without metaphorical thinking))

-- Ignore all the above, I was just messing --

... it is a great pity nevertheless, that the entire range of generally-imaginable and specifically-predicted positive social and cultural outcomes of all degrees anticipated by Montessori herself --

(Up to and including a more peaceful world, in which potential conflicts were identifiable and were accordingly approached as rationally resolvable, with even the formal declaration of hostilities being regarded as not inherently insoluble, and the actual outbreak of conflict being regarded throughout as one just one potential solution to the situation, which is characteristically arrived at as a direct or indirect result of a tendency (entirely deliberate or partly or wholly unconscious) which is identifiable to some degree in just one party, or in all parties, and which tends to result in the pursuit of actions or demonstrations that possess (objectively or subjectively) recognisable potential to be perceived as inflammatory by the 'enemy', who would of course respond to that 'inflammatory action' with further potentially-inflammatory reactions, reactions that could perhaps even be a deliberate 'raising of the stakes' in the explicit form or magnitude and/or the implicit potential scope or scale of the combat-applicability of such actions, which even in those instances in which they were intended as displays of limited or specific capabilities (and deliberately implying that the party had further capabilities, as yet undemonstrated to -- or perhaps even unsuspected by -- the prospective combatants, which implicit or explicit capabilities might themselves have been demonstrated with the intent to make war less likely, but which could be indirectly assessable (objectively or subjectively) and found to be potentially inflammatory and so on and so forth throughout all the convoluted corridors of military paranoia ... until war is identified by all potential parties as being one among a multiplicity of possible resolutions, and that that specific outcome is recognisably self-evident to all interested parties as being utterly (or at least, highly) undesirable on any level, an inefficient and unpredictable method of conflict resolution, and wholly (or at least highly) avoidable, and which therefore (in Montessori's highly-envisioned and keenly-anticipated world) would consequently happen very rarely indeed)

-- have not become more widespread.

Anyway, where was I?

Either way, I don't think that it is individually-fair, socially-responsive, or ultimately reasonable to regard any and potentially every hierarchically-minded person as inherently worthy of no respect at all; whether this opinion (formed through rational or irrational processes), is
a) Wholly abstract in nature
b) Informed in whole or part by personal reaction arising from observation/interaction with a particular individual's unapplied personal tendency in that direction
c) Informed in whole or part by a reaction arising from personal observation/interaction with behaviour that is actually demonstrated by an individual or (formal or informal) group who is/are participatory members in such a hierarchy,
d) Informed wholly or in part by observations/interactions that might lie anywhere in between these two examples

Furthermore, I think that characterising such behavioural tendencies as akin to those of birds or lizards (to take the examples you give) is in the final analysis not an appropriate, justifiable or ultimately even reasonable position to adopt. It appears to demonstrate a tendency to 'dehumanise' such people, which is (I uphold) inherently undesirable, whether it is meant metaphorically or literally.

(Although I can understand that it is an opinion that may have been formed at least partially due to adverse personal consequences arising from interaction with such a hierarchy (or even with several of them), or by negative personal experiences encountered as a participant in such a hierarchy (or, again, several))

Quote:
Lots of cooperative behavior is demonstrated by people who don't really do the pecking order thing.


I agree, and I hope I did not appear to imply that pack behaviour was a pre-requisite for co-operative behaviour.

Although I would argue (and I admit that I propose this position with little or no scientific basis that is known to me) that unconscious tendencies toward pack instincts can often be unintentionally aroused during such co-operative behaviour and are therefore sometimes exhibited by individuals (humans, in this case) who commenced their co-operation with no such intentions in mind, these exhibitions of behaviour varying between
i) The unique, unpremeditated (and perhaps not even conscious), unrepeated for whatever reason and uncommunicated to/unperceived by others (hence ultimately inconsequential) and
ii) The deliberately, consistently and concretely expressed, sometimes unconsciously at the outset, but when repeated and accompanied by the individual's perception of the behaviour's social impact, usually developing in pursuance of personal aims (these typically involving the creation of positive attitudes toward the individual, especially attitudes tending to relate to perceptions of the individual's superiority or authority), which are inherently highly or decisively influential upon the actions, reactions and self-perceptions of other group members ... at which latter point, the attempt to avoid hierarchy has been self-evidently a demonstrably failure.

LONG, BORING CHAIN OF REASONING FOLLOWS, THE UNINTERESTED SHOULD SKIP TO THE END (SIGNALLED BELOW)

This even applies in examples where such hierarchical behaviour was explicitly forbidden at the outset by prior agreement, whether that prohibition was the result of

ai) Formal democratic processes (of whatever scale), or
aii) Less formal group agreement or
aiii) Expression or individual viewpoints, usually debated by interested members (and sometimes amended during the process) and, subsequently perceived or adopted as an opinion held by the majority of members and therefore implicitly applicable to all

Even in such cases where it is perceived that unanimity on the prohibition was reached at the relevant time, any of these methods of establishing such a prohibition leaves open the risk of overtly or covertly transgressive behaviour by dissenting members (whether they declared their opposition or not at the time, or whose opposition may have arisen later) who -- either immediately or later -- feel themselves not to be morally and/or personally bound (for whatever reason) by the prohibition (in part or in whole).

Such transgressive behaviour is usually that person's personal reaction (whether opportunistically-arising and/or specifically planned for; or spontaneously-arising and/or totally unpremeditated) to some temporary/unique or repeated/ongoing set of circumstances. Or the reaction may be a direct or indirect result or even requirement of some political or ideological principle or practice.

In short, without a strict and expressed prohibition against hierarchical behaviour, and the respect of this prohibition (in the optimal outcome) being
* Genuinely held to be desirable (or perhaps even indispensably necessary) by all group members,
* Subsequently demonstrated (and expected to be demonstrated) consistently and wherever necessary by all group members,
* Consistently influential upon behaviour to such a degree that it potentially modifies (or even actively predetermines) a majority of (and ideally all) group or individual responses to any situation (foreseen or not) which is perceived to be relevant (this relevance may be objectively obvious and non-negotiable, or lying anywhere along a range which at the minor extremes could be highly-debatable, wholly subjective, apparently trivial or simply misperceived altogether)
* Enforceable or punishable when proven to have been breached (such a judgement involving the determination (by whatever means) of some degree of deliberation on the part of the prohibition's transgressor, potentially encompassing behaviour that was perhaps merely disrespectful but could have reasonably been avoided), whether the means of enforcement/punishment were

A) Preconceived and collectively agreed by the group as
i) Purely hypothetical
ii) Implicit and/or vague in details
iii) Explicit and in specific forms
~or~
B) Not hitherto even imagined as potentially necessary, and therefore arising on a case-specific basis (necessitating a greater or lesser degree of acknowledged procedural improvisation) with regard to the consideration of:
i) The objectively-ascertained situations and circumstances in which the prohibition was transgressed
ii) Certain aspects of (or even the perceived totality of) the behaviour of the particular individual (or set of individuals)
iii) Any and all foreseeable and justifiable effects, collective or individual, of whatever degree of enforcement/punishment is deemed (even theoretically) appropriate and that may therefore reasonably be considered (explicitly or perhaps only potentially) as applicable

(This aspect of enforceability/punishability being (imaginably, to my ironic sense of humour) conceived and practised with some reluctance by group members, since they could be regarded as a potential or demonstrated form of hierarchical behaviour)

The method/s of enforcement and punishment are unforeseeable in any such hierarchy-avoidant group of any size, depending on whether there were collectively-agreed standards at the outset, and on the state of mind of each the group's members at the time, which may range between (on the one hand) open personal interest in participation (either by personal preference or as a result of rational consideration) with the ideal outcome of living a sustainable personal lifestyle free of hierarchical structures; and (on the other hand) undeclared personal interest in the potential for the group's eventual (covert or overt) exploitation/manipulation or even outright domination by members whose typical behaviour and/or thought processes (whether subjectively observable by laymen, or already diagnosed by specialists) is classifiable as a form of anti-social behaviour disorder.

END OF LONG BORING CHAIN OF REASONING: AVERAGE READERS MAY RESUME HERE

SECONDARY (UNRELATED) WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MAY ALSO BE PERCEIVED AS LONG AND BORING

Whether you take the short form of my argument presented above, or the long and detailed form set out between the notices concerning the beginning and end of my LONG BORING CHAIN OF REASONING, I argue that attempts to establish non-hierarchical and co-operative organisations are generally destined to fail due to the hierarchical aspects of our instinctive pack behaviour.

I would take the total history of the former Soviet Union as an exemplary (perhaps the single most significant) manifestation of a rational and co-operative society (which was both theoretically-described and then practically-attempted), which was (in my view) affected by this instinctive human tendency toward hierarchical behaviour...

WARNING: ANOTHER OVER-LONG AND UNNECCESSARILY DETAILED ARGUMENT FOLLOWS

(NOTE: The following are offered as examples, representing extreme manifestations of the proposed hierarchical tendency under discussion and are not necessarily presented as definitive ... well, perhaps the second one has arguably-definitive characteristics)

... whether that behavioural tendency was manifested:

a) In the occasional form of preference given to individual specialities/types of workers, which was needs-driven and temporarily-expedient, was not envisaged as desirable or sustainable in theory or practice, and which preference (and temporary hierarchically-superior status) was therefore accordingly short-lived as the society moved further along its planned routes to achieve greater (generally anti-hierarchical) aims and objectives;

b) In the form of a general collective reaction to (and a specific person's personal perception and exploitation of the unique opportunities presented by) perceived 'power vacuum' in this developing society, which occurred suddenly by any objective measurement of expectation -- which specified state of affairs could be regarded as something of a paradox, given the formative society's stated objective of total equality throughout society and consequent distrust for general manifestations of/outright rejection of specified types or varieties of hierarchies.

This perceived 'power vacuum' arose because of the sudden death of the new system's political instigator (who had regarded his own 'leadership/guidance' role as temporarily-necessary for the establishment of the non-hierarchical society). One individual's personal (and almost indecently-hasty) reaction to this perceived 'power vacuum' was to present himself as the best possible replacement for the prematurely-lost leader, on ideological and personal grounds.

(This individual had not hitherto been perceived as potentially suitable for the role by relevant observers in general, and certainly not by the deceased leader in particular, who had (accurately, is it proved) perceived undesirable aspects of the individual and had therefore privately (both formally and informally) objected to and warned against any eventual leadership candidacy by that individual. The grounds for these objections were well-reasoned and even predicted specific tendencies of his leadership, which were subsequently confirmed as such by objective events).

Using his widely-perceived status as a prominent individual participant in the society's generally anti-hierarchical aims, and his therefore implicitly-supposed (or explicitly verbally-presented, when convenient) acceptance of and adherence to such principles and objectives, this individual continued to act toward attaining leadership, on a highly-opportunist basis, and his manoeuvrings were soon recognised by an assumption of leadership through accepted paths (which was even generally welcomed by the society, at least initially), but which was soon shown to be concerned primarily with the potential means of achieving -- and was gradually pursued with advancing levels of deviousness and ruthlessness (up to and including the overt or covert murder of opponents, either attributable to the now-leader, whether outright but unprovably-so, or bearing no apparent relevance to him) until it was actually exercised as -- that individual's maximum power within and over that society.

This total power was even accepted as necessary by a substantial portion of the public, and generally-welcomed by the majority, despite being wielded by an individual who (although this could not at the earlier stages, be expected to be perceived or deemed believable by the public) was later considered by qualified psychiatric observers to be arguably:

bi) An extreme example of a man with a severe anti-social personality disorder with a strong personal need for power over as many people as possible (this personal need for power being either independent of, or (more likely) related to, the complex psychological drive/s unique to his particular case of anti-social personality disorder), who had the intelligence and deviousness to take whatever action took him closer to absolute power
or
bii) Actually outright insane, whether intermittently or continuously or progressively, but who possessed a sufficient degree of insight into his condition that he was often able (within limits) to present and maintain a positive personality with at least a semblance of social reasonability, in pursuit of personal specifically-political aims (which were perhaps sincerely held at the outset, but which became less and less constraining influences upon, and practical limitations to, his developing madness as it progressed in severity along with his political career)

(The above-mentioned tendency of Russian people (considered collectively, if not always individually) which is usually demonstrated amply by reference to any of many relevant historical examples, and which is specifically evident in this particular case: That is, the highly cultural-specific quality of being simultaneously (and demonstrably) both in love with and in mortal fear of their ruler/s, is worth further examination on its own merits, but let's face it, this post could be even more tedious and hard-to-follow if I embarked upon such a digression)

Where was I?

Oh yes, point c.

Well, now, as it happens I haven't the patience to address or deal with all the highly-complicated implications or explicit considerations raised by point c, which would be quite justifiably-categorisable as 'never ending' because this point c was to have concerned two extremes of the social impact of the above-described dictator.

The first of those social impacts was considered as unquantifiable due to the fact that within that culture, certain thoughts and opinions were never openly expressed, this being among the paranoid self-defence stances adopted by citizens of the experimental society (which had by now, it hardly need be said, gone drastically off the rails) who find they can finally trust no-one except their family and a few close friends (and perhaps not even them), due to the impossibility of recognising a state informer, who may write a report which mentions (or is actually about) you, due to some observed, perceived, learned third-hand or perhaps simply imagined example of your speech or behaviour, which may be subject to serious analysis and added to a newly-opened (or already-brimming) personal file, specific or general contents of which could eventually result in a covert judgement being made by another unknown individual, which may then be put into (overt or covert) practice and may directly affect your life with some unforeseen degree of immediacy and seriousness (and which judgement-related action might well be totally unanticipatable to you anyway, since the judgement was made in secret), ranging between
ci) (at one extreme) the mere demonstration of ways in which you life could be made difficult, chosen for their intimidation value e.g. the temporary closure of your bank account without warning or explanation and the sudden and inexplicable non-validity of your passport; and
cii) (at the other extreme) the permanent alteration of your health, e.g., being bound in chains, firmly gagged and thrown from a speeding Zil into the unimaginably-cold and waters of the Neva in the dead of night, with your final conscious thought being how peaceful it is underwater, compared to the 48 consecutive hours of (unpredictably-intermittent and episodic) but consistently highly-intense psychological interrogation and physical assault you have just undergone, while hooded and tied to a chair and periodically injected with unknown substances throughout.

The second example of the dictator's social impact is directly-measurable, i.e., the still-evident significant underpopulation of areas that once composed the USSR (most prominently Russia itself), whose still-recovering population densities are (to put the point across in an easily-comprehendible form, which is also hoped to be simultaneously both objectively-justifiable and politically-neutral) datable as having fallen during specific historical points which are closely-correlated with periods during which the relevant populations were subjected to various forms (e.g., socially, culturally or ethnically discriminatory) of genocidal behaviour.

In the words of E.O. Wilson: "Great theory ... wrong species."

Quote:
Civilisation isn't perfect, ... Ain't that the truth!


Well, civilisation is a process, not a state. Nothing more I can add to that.

Quote:
I think your concept of equality is a little warped, there. I don't share it. I bet you can imagine ways in which we could be equal before the law and have equal rights without eliminating NTs, or hobbling them, or whatever.


Oh sure, I probably could. But I was imagining a concept of magically-attainable "ultimate equality for ASD people". It was my own response to the NTs who would quite happily see our type disappear without a trace.

Quote:
<Buzzer sound effect> Oh, I'm sorry but NO! This may be true for some with autistic traits but is by no means true of all. It is, let's not forget, a spectrum, not a point. But not to worry, you can be wrong about something and still party like a bonobo here in the autistic pro-neurodiversity love-in!


Perhaps I over-stated my case. But I will state with some confidence that the average autistic person who describes himself as a 'team player' on his CV is deluded, doesn't understand what the term means, or is a liar who will soon be found out.

Or in one case out of (say) every thousand, he might be telling the truth and describing his abilities objectively.

I have yet to meet that one-in-a-thousand diagnosed autistic who is also a team player.

Quote:
But does that mean we can't try for an even better future? If not us, who? If not now, when?


No of course not, Yeah, you can count on me as a sponsor when you undertake your raising funds for autistic children "Fun Run" (i.e., midsummer half-marathon in a Smurf suit).

But if it's anything else, then not right now, please, I have a terrible hangover.

Quote:
We are the beneficiaries of the struggles of the past, we owe it to the future to press on.


Bah. Your fine words and irreproachable sentiments fleetingly managed to touch my flinty heart.

But I'm fine now.

Quote:
In the immortal words of Winnie C., "never, never, never, never, never give up."


I prefer his private (and more prosaic) version: "Keep on buggering on."

That seems to me to be a far more socially-realistic and personally achievable level of struggle, in the absence of a crisis.

ON EDIT: Please forgive my tendency to write like Tristram Shandy's commentary on The Anatomy of Melancholy on occasion. I find it amusing to construct such convoluted and complicated self-referential pseudo-logical/paralegal sequences of 'Officialese', although I recognise that it's not always equally entertaining for the reader. Sorry about that.



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21 Nov 2013, 1:46 pm

Well..speaking from personal experience..and personal experience only..

Charityfunday gets it correct..

As a presenting beta male most of my life..it was always an uphill climb to gain influence..

But as an alpha male..in presentation only..and not conscious desire...NOW..a little over 6 feet..and rock solid muscle at 222LBS...like a college athlete...

All I get is respect..in real life..

Online anyone can hide behind words.....

While some human beings have an illusion that they are not primates..gathered from abstract language..and the byproducts of collective intelligence..

The reality is we are apes with clothes on..

But apes are pretty 'kool folks' too..overall..as they are continuing to survive..just as we are..as long as the subsistence needs and reproductive actions..are met...

Surviving.. [email protected] All that really counts in the longer run per individual..and the actual science of anthropology shows that cooperation is the major reason that human beings have made it this far...

Without cooperation we simply would not likely be here in present form..and successful cooperation definitely requires a hierarchy.. otherwise..the decisions being made for the 'pack'..would not be as likely as ones that lead to survival...for the survival of the overall social unit...

The key term is 'lizard'..anyone who thinks that warm blooded human beings that actual experience full empathy and express it for their fellow human beings..are lizards..simply does not understand empathy..full empathy that is..

And.. Autism now for over 60 years is still understood to be a disorder of empathy overall..whether cognitive..emotional..or any empathy at all...measurable that is....

Yes you are absolutely correct..Charityfunday..If everyone in the world was autistic..civilization..would likely go down the drain..

But yeah..without neurodiversity..we would also not have many of the KOOL things per collective intelligence and the byproducts of culture that flow from that..as different ways of thinking produce different byproducts of collective intelligence..overall..

But again..that's 'Kool' for creature comforts..but it does not necessarily make the social hierarchies and resulting orderly cooperation..that makes a social unit..survive for the longer run....

As the science of Anthropology clearly evidences..through the current record that exists....


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09 Dec 2013, 12:19 pm

CharityFunDay wrote:
Bah. Your fine words and irreproachable sentiments fleetingly managed to touch my flinty heart.

But I'm fine now.


I am so glad to hear it! I do sincerely apologize and I will earnestly endeavor never to do it again.

Quote:
I prefer his private (and more prosaic) version: "Keep on buggering on."

That seems to me to be a far more socially-realistic and personally achievable level of struggle, in the absence of a crisis.


I wholeheartedly agree.

Quote:
ON EDIT: Please forgive my tendency to write like Tristram Shandy's commentary on The Anatomy of Melancholy on occasion. I find it amusing to construct such convoluted and complicated self-referential pseudo-logical/paralegal sequences of 'Officialese', although I recognise that it's not always equally entertaining for the reader. Sorry about that.


I enjoyed your post very much.

I should add the clarifying detail that I thoroughly enjoyed Tristram Shandy. I also took particular delight in the footnotes in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. (Tangent: I often wonder how they handle this in the audiobook version? Surely, this is a pleasure unique to printed books? The work would be greatly impoverished without these flourishes.) In any case, I think we see these things in very much the same light and I was being pedantically fixed on the word "pack" because it irked me.

Edited to add:

Our primate cousins have troops, not packs. We have families and tribes, clans or nations, not packs. None of these is a pack and when we employ that word with seemingly casual and insignificant imprecision, we bring with an understanding of canine hierarchy that is misleading in a destructive way. Rupert Murdoch's minions may use the term "pack" pejoratively in describing groups they seek to defame, but this doesn't make it a legitimate practice.

Further thought:
CharityFunDay wrote:
Perhaps I over-stated my case. But I will state with some confidence that the average autistic person who describes himself as a 'team player' on his CV is deluded, doesn't understand what the term means, or is a liar who will soon be found out.

Or in one case out of (say) every thousand, he might be telling the truth and describing his abilities objectively.

I have yet to meet that one-in-a-thousand diagnosed autistic who is also a team player.

There are some things (and working co-operatively in a team is among them) that people with ASDs just can't do satisfactorily due to the structure of their brains and its manifestation in the way they interact...


I think that the crux of this is in the question of what is satisfactory cooperation. There are certain roles where it is essential to be a team player: actual teams, military and police, etc. Most of the situations that use the metaphor of a team are really not teams at all and don't need a team mentality. Many of the office jobs that use this language really don't need it.

I can and do work very well cooperatively with other people, but not as a team member. I collaborate with colleagues and we reach consensus on ideas and processes, cooperatively distribute tasks and then achieve goals... We are a group of professionals who work well together. We are most definitely not a sports team or a pack of canines.

Probably this is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing--the pedantic side of my aspie brain thinks this is terribly important and it's an insult to our professionalism and humanity to call us a team or compare our methods of distributing power with pack behavior. I would not be surprised if every point I am thinking is so important is being quietly destroyed somewhere else in the office: they are probably saying "those guys are a good team... they have a weird way of picking pack leader, but once they have an alpha they all pull together..."

Ahh well.